Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Final Crowdown


I have written about HOB’s love of/spiritual identification with crows here before. Regular readers will remember the dead crow in the freezer story and HOB’s plan to carry the frozen crow through airport security.

Some of you may remember my post about HOB tossing cat food up on the roof each morning so that the crows gather around whenever they hear the garage door opening, making us look like the McCreepy family.

While I find crows to be fine birds and I do appreciate their beauty and their brains, I am not drawn to them the way HOB is. In the evenings, we’ll be out for a walk and I’ll be talking to HOB, sharing one of my salient observations of the day when I sense that his attention has shifted away from me.

That’s when I look over and see his eyes transfixed on a crow in a tree.

Think old black and white western—the wise but wizened Native American stopping to have a mysterious interlude with his brethren the crow. Can you hear the strains of the theme song from The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly in the background? Do you see the close-up on the face of the man as he penetrates the airwaves with his stare, locking eyes with the black, winged creature who stares back at him, conveying the wisdom of the ages?

Yeah, well, it gets real irritating when I am trying to talk to him about how I think somebody should create a pen that has chocolate inside or how cookies are so much better than cupcakes.

All I can do is roll my eyes and wait until the mystical moment is over and then continue my important observations.


When our beloved dog Maddie died, I gave her canned food to a friend of ours for her dog and was dragging the big bag of dry food out of the garage when HOB stopped me. He said, “Oh no. Don’t give that away. That’s my crow food now.”

Later on, he came into the bedroom, actually chewing on pieces of the dog food saying, "I see why they don't like it as well as the cat food. It's really not that good."


Now, in the past the crows hung out in the trees near our house and flew down when they heard the garage door opening signaling snack time. However, about three weeks ago, I noticed they had started to gather on the fence just outside our bedroom window. It’s just a bit unnerving to walk into the room and see six black birds, sitting, perched on the fence, staring into the room. Forget trying to take a nap in the middle of the day.

Normally, if the birds get a little noisy, a few raps on the window or a sharp “Hey!” get them to be quiet and fly away. However, the other day, there was an especially loud one who spotted me in the bedroom and squawked very loudly, bobbing up and down, obviously very worked up about something.

“Quiet!” I said “Shhhh!” “Stop it”

Still more cawing. More urgent squawking.

“Stop it!” I said. “He isn’t here!” I yelled.

(I think the bird knew I was lying. HOB was indeed home, at the other end of the house.)

The squawking was high-pitched and nearly frenetic now. I thought maybe this was a mother bird whose baby was in danger. Perhaps it had fallen from a nest. I called HOB and told him to go and check it out.

He went out and within seconds I heard a somewhat familiar sound. I looked out the window and strained to see out to the far right. There was HOB, pouring out dog food into a dish on top of a small shed at the end of the windows. There were wings flapping. The squawking stopped immediately as the crow and his friends settled down at the apparent lunch counter.

HOB came back in.

“You have a bowl out there for them now?” I asked.

“What?” (HOB’s best stalling technique)

“You can’t do this,” I said. "Haven’t you ever heard of conditioned response?"

"What?"

"Stop that."

"You wanted the problem solved and I solved the problem, didn’t I?” he said.


So now HOB is out of town for a few days. The gang is hanging out and right now it’s all good since HOB left some party food out for them. However, that food is going to run out. I’ve already stood at the bedroom window and shouted warnings to them through the screen.

“Make it last, Birdies, because when it’s gone, it’s gone. You can’t rattle me. You can’t train me to be your food monkey. You’ve met your match.”

One of them looked at me, his eye raised, his beak turned up just a tad, like a sneer.

“Yeah. You heard me,” I said, my voice high and my hands shaking the screen a little.

“You’ll see whose the boss," I yelled. “You’ll see."

Just to rub it in, I make loud fake chomping sounds, "Oh, and I've know where the good stuff, the cat stuff, the fresh cat stuff, is too."

They all looked at me, worried.

Real worried.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Berry, Berry Nice!


Hey, People!

I had a little gum surgery yesterday which kept me from pestering you on your blogs.

I am doing fine and have eaten an incredible amount of tapioca pudding.

Tomorrow, I tackle a box of these beauties that I bought at the local farmers' market.



In other news:

We are eagerly awaiting Sonny Boy and his girlfriend who are moving home from college today.
They will be with us for a month before they set out to Virginia for graduate school.

I intend to exercise all my mothering ya-yas while they are here.

Happy Wednesdays to you all!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "Untitled" by Bruce Dethlefsen



Untitled


what would I write
if I had only
four or five lines worth
of ink or time left?

how we children were put down
around eight o-clock in the bedroom nearby
with a crack of light from the open door
so the grownups could smoke play cards and talk

how I walked my sweetheart home
from eighth grade on that orange afternoon
carried her books from school
and she said the word marriage

how perfect the rainbow of the ball
my triple during
the all-star game
with my father there

how I heard the first cries of my baby
little bundle wrapped
in that thin pale yellow flannel blanket
in my arms against my chest

what would I write?
would I drop an anonymous note to jesus?

would I beg you
to remember to keep
this untitled green and blue
world of ours?

really what would I write
if I had only
four or five lines worth
of ink or time left?

--Bruce Dethlefsen




Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers and Road Trip Review!

Happy Monday, My People!

I hope your week is starting off well.

Here is your Flower Love:





Some inquisitive readers wanted more details of my time with the English Majors.

Here is just a sample of our exciting activities:

1) Discussion of the words "field" and "prairie" and the differences implied by each.

2) Recitation of "To His Coy Mistress" from memory.

3) Heated argument concerning James Joyce and his place in the literary canon

4) Near brawl over the use of quotation marks in third paragraph of Jane Eyre.

5) Spontaneous game of bowling.

6) Various movie/book reviews.

7) Confusion over numbers on restaurant bill. (Math--not our strong suit.)

8) Debate of name to be given to GPS Lady. Helen? Linda? Debbie?

9) Visit to book store. Played "Read It" at book table display.

10) Stayed up until 11:00 at night!!!!


Whew! You can see why I needed a day or two to recover.


Hope you have a great week!


A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.

--Bernard Meltzer

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Betty's Back!


I am back from my road trip!

I had a wonderful time.


Molly the dog was one of my hosts.


Also, the very cute Noki kept me company early in the morning while others slept!


We dropped Evan off for his college orientation.

The campus was beautiful.


Then it was time to stop at the Cheese Shop.


We also stopped to admire the vineyards of Sonoma County.


Hope you are having great Sundays!



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Road Trip!



Betty will be gone from the Blogosphere for a few days as I travel up north to take Evan to his college orientation.

All the good parents will be attending the Parent Program at the university, listening to experts discuss how best to help students make this important transition from high school to college.

Betty, on the other hand, will be doing some hard-core partying with her grad school buddies who live in the area.

That's right. After I drop the kid off, I'll party with the English majors. We'll play word games, drink soda late at night, and maybe even get into some pretty confrontational book reviews.

It's going to be a blast.

See you when I get back!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Poetry Tuesday: "Rain" by Shel Silverstein


Rain


I opened my eyes
And looked up at the rain,
And it dripped in my head
And flowed into my brain,
And all that I hear as I lie in my bed
Is the slishity-slosh of the rain in my head.

I step very softly,
I walk very slow,
I can't do a handstand--
I might overflow,
So pardon the wild crazy thing I just said--
I'm just not the same since there's rain in my head.


--Shel Silverstein

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Morning Flowers



Happy Monday!

Hope you had a good weekend!

We celebrated Father's Day with a hike. The rock just to the right of HOB's head is called Lizard Rock. That was our destination! We climbed out on the nose of the lizard and enjoyed the view.


Here are your flowers for the week!

Hope they bring a smile to your face.







The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

--Flora Whittemore


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!


Yesterday I was standing in line at the store when I saw them: candy orange slices.

They never fail to make me smile. They were my father's favorite candy--a treat he bought only rarely. Usually, it was at the Woolworth's candy counter. The clerk would place about a half a pound of them in a white paper bag and hand them over. While the candy was good, the real treat was being with him and having him share those sweet moments with us.

As I stood there in that line, I tried to resist the urge to buy them and then I remembered it was the anniversary of my father's death. I reached for the bag immediately and held it close. Later at home, I poured them all out onto a plate and sat there, smiling, remembering.

Just the other day, Evan came home with a pair of house slippers, something he had never purchased before. They were just like the ones my dad wore, and just like my dad, he steps on the backs as he shuffles around the house. I see them on the floor and I automatically smile.

Orange Slice Candy. Corduroy Slippers. These are just two ordinary things that bring back extraordinary memories. I wonder what items make my sons smile when they think of HOB? They will be as individual as they are.


Happy Father's Day to all those men who, just by being consistent and kind, make the world a better place and who leave in their wake simple and eloquent reminders of their love.



Friday, June 17, 2011

It's Cookie Time! Almond Spice Cookies!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Bakin' With Betty


As we all know, "stressed" spelled backwards is "desserts." And while I will be discussing the latter today, some of my readers may become the former. I know this in advance. However, there are times in life when a woman has got to take a stand (mixer), lash herself to the blade and ride out the quick trip from the Stir/Mix/Whip of emotions that the subject is sure to bring out in her readers. After years of careful thought and deliberation, I am now ready to take my bold stand: I am Pro-Cookie.

Oh, please, take your hands off your ears while I explain why I have taken this dramatic stance.

Yes, brownies are good. They, like the cookie, are comfortable, fun treats--at first. However, the placid surface soon cracks and when they are cut into squares they begin to get testy, argumentative, a bit overbearing. They are like the couple who agrees the divorce will be civil, but when the final separation occurs, there are crumbs to be claimed, crumbs no one wants. The division is never completely square. Some assets are bigger than others. There are rough edges that may never be smoothed out. They fall apart. They've changed; what was once sweet and unified is now more than a little bitter and overly-complicated.

Out of a sense of duty, we must tolerate the occasional doughnut as it sits, the aging plus-sized model, lined up in the box beside the other gussied up corpulent doughy has-beens, each absolutely convinced she is the star of the fashion show as they all proudly wear their coats of white icing, coconut, chocolate and the perennially garish multi-colored sprinkles. They sit, swelled up and florid. Little do they know, no matter the designer, no matter whether the stage is white or pink, we have seen this show over and over again. They are out of style, some puffed up with their own air of over-confidence, their glazed expressions hiding their lack of inner substance. Some are just plain old-fashioned.

To the inexperienced, the round pie seems to be the ideal dessert. Yes, the spherical shape connotes a sense of global awareness. The crust suggests a playfulness and sense of mischievousness, but the drama unfolds when the pie is cut and placed on individual dessert plates. Then the seemingly peaceful facade of the pie disappears. The piece sits before you. Turn it so the crust is nearest to you , and the tip points accusingly at other guests, or draws all eyes towards the dirty kitchen. Turn the plate, and the pie, without the slightest bit of hesitation or pause, points directly at you. Suddenly the table is silent as everyone looks at you and considers his or her long-held, but repressed opinions about your self-absorbed, self-important nature. You eat the tip quickly, hoping to stifle the looks, only to glance up and realize you have just reinforced those unspoken accusations. "Did you SEE how she gobbled the pie up, like someone besides Her Majesty herself was going to get at it?"

All of these examples lead me to my bold stand stance: I am Pro-Cookie. Cookies are the quiet and self-contained work horse of the dessert world. I am particularly fond of the oatmeal cookie which presents itself with an admirable sense of dignity. They are the sturdy wheels upon the wagon train of the everyday meal. They do not crumble easily, but maintain a quiet strength while knowing all along that, despite a modest exterior there is within a soft goodness and a sweet combination of lovable ingredients. My friends, is this not exactly what we, as people, should strive for as well?

Therefore, I now publish for the first time:

Bossy Betty's
Fancy-but-not-Ostentatious
Helpful-but-not-Officious,
Delectable-but-not-Dramatically-Decadent
Oatmeal Cookie Recipe.

1/2 of a tub of Earth Balance spread. (You can use two sticks of butter instead.)
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs (You can use egg replacer too)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Tiny bit of almond extract (two or three drops)
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups oatmeal (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
handfuls of chopped walnuts, shredded coconut, Crasins, cut up pieces of dried apricots.

1. Heat oven to 350. In large bowl, beat butters and sugars until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla and almond extract and beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Add oats and other ingredients.

2. Drop by rounded tablespoons on to ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack.

Now I hear some of you out there saying, "That seems like a lot of work, Betty. Can't I just go to the store and buy some cookies?" And Betty says, "Oh, you must be so busy and tired from your long day of sitting in your cushy office chair and this IS a big job so of course you can go to the store and buy yourself some cookies!You can also quit your job, hitchhike to Las Vegas, get drunk as a skunk, get a tattoo, stumble down the aisle of a tacky wedding chapel/bar/cigarette store to marry the first pathetic person who shows you the slightest bit affection and live in a hellhole all your life too, but is that what you really want?

Straighten up, put on that apron and get to work! This is America! Do you think our pioneer ancestors, bent-over, hungry and tired from their work busting the hardened harney silt loam with a horse-drawn plow dropped into a 7-11 for some pre-packaged Nutter-Butters or Chips Ahoy and a Big Gulp? No! Now let's hear some bowl-rattling in that kitchen!

Happy Baking to All!
With Love,
Betty



My, that last post from Betty was a long, windy one, wasn't it?

Well, now, at last, it's cookie time.




This recipe comes from Kathryn White from the Beechmont Inn Bed and Breakfast.

I gotta tell you, these suckers are YUMMY!

I went a little crazy and made them oblong instead of round, added some dried apricots to the dough, and added some frosting too. Whew! Talk about livin' on the edge!


Almond Spice Cookies

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon each ground allspice, cloves, and nutmeg
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil (canola or your favorite vegetable oil)
1 egg
4 Tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use Silpat or parchment paper on the cookie sheet.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together sugar, oil egg and molasses. Add flour and spice mixture and blend. Stir in almonds.

Drop by tablespoons on prepared cookie sheet. Bake approximately 10 minutes, remove from sheet and cool on rack. Store in an air-tight container with a slice of plain bread to preserve their chewy texture. Makes about 2 dozen cookies (they are about 3 - 4 inches in diameter).


Hope you enjoy this recipe!!!

Make many cookies.

Eat many cookies.



Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Told You So...


Did I say this week was going to take a lot of cookies?

Oh, I meant it.

Keep 'em coming until I say it's safe to switch to salad.

That time has not come yet, nor do I see it coming in the next two days.

Focus on the cookie. Focus on the cookie. Focus on the cookie.



Chocolate Mint Cookies
from The Joy of Vegan Baking

1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer*
2 Tbsp. warm water
3/4 cup non-dairy butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter & sugars together by hand or with an electric hand mixer at high speed.

Beat in the egg replacer mixture & the vanilla & peppermint extracts.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, & salt. Add this to the butter mixture along with the chocolate chips. Stir until combined, but do not over-stir.

Drop the cookie batter by rounded tablespoons onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies for 10 -12 mins., or until the edges begin to harden. Although they might not appear completely done, the cookies will continue to cook after they're removed from the oven.

After removing them from the oven, immediately take the cookies off of the cooking sheet & place them on a wire rack to cool.

Yields: 1 1/2 dozen cookies

Betty's Note:
*You non-vegans can slip in an e-g-g instead of using the egg replacer.

These little gems are good for the upcoming holiday season. Chocolate and Mint. Yum!

I add lots of walnuts to this one.

You can leave the mint flavoring out completely if you don't like mint or if it brings back memories of a wedding reception where, out of nervousness, you ate way too many of the little mints on the table and felt physically ill resulting in photos in which you look stricken and queasy which everyone took as your non-verbal comment on the pairing of the couple who were, really, doomed from the start what with his three past failed marriages and her one-time romantic involvement with one of his ex-wives. Yeah, then you could leave the mint out.

Focus on the cookie.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Forget the Flowers. This Monday Morning Delivery Includes Cookies!


Oh yes it's Monday and if your week ahead looks anything like mine, there's no time for flowers.

We're gonna need cookies.

And lots of them.

I found this recipe at the Real Simple Website and made some up today. Yow-Wow. They are good. They remind this girl of Pecan Sandies.

"Oh! Betty!" I can hear some of my health conscious readers say, "These sure don't look healthy!" OK, here's what you can do to remedy that:
Get the good kind of potato chips, crush the required 3/4 cup for the recipe and eat the rest of them as you make the cookies. Also, guzzle at least a liter of Diet Pepsi and gobble about a pound of chocolate as the cookies bake. By the time the cookies come out of the oven, you'll think of them as health food and they are--Mental Health Food.

Potato Chip Cookies
Ingredients

• 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup more for coating
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 3/4 cup potato chips, crushed
• 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Directions
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Cream the butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed. Lower to medium speed and add the vanilla. Add the flour and cinnamon to the butter mixture. Beat on low speed until incorporated. Fold in the potato chips and pecans.
2. Form into approximately 1 1/2-inch balls. Dredge in the remaining sugar. Place on parchment- or foil-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart.
3. Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

Betty's Notes:

1) I added an egg yolk to the mix because the dough was super crumbly and I thought I might as well throw it in there for the glue-like effect eggs can bring to nearly anything.*

2) I formed these into balls as directed. When I looked in the oven after about 8 minutes I noticed they were still in uptight little balls, so I took a spatula and lightly but firmly slapped on the cookies until they submitted to my will and flattened out to look like normal cookies who could go out into society and lead normal lives.**

*When we were kids and ran out of glue for school projects, my mom would crack open an egg, separate the white and the yolk and we'd use the white as glue. Cool, huh?

**Attention Gals! This works on men too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Cranberry Crusade Continues...

Oh yes, oh yes, the campaign to infuse cranberries into your everyday life goes on. (OK, OK, maybe I am a little fixated. Don't worry. This will pass soon.)

I found this recipe for cookies using fresh cranberries on the Coconut and Lime Blog. I used regular-sized white chocolate instead of chocolate chips. I went to Williams-Sonoma to get the vanilla paste. As far as I can tell, regular vanilla would work just as well, but the paste is pretty darn fun.

I really liked these cookies. HOB had trouble with the intensity of the cranberries. I don't like that kind of weakness in man, but he has other good qualities, so I am willing to overlook this for the time being.


Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup semisweet mini chips
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg



Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vanilla and sugar. Add the egg, beat until fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, and oatmeal. Mix until well combined. Fold in cranberries and chips. Place 1 tablespoon sized blobs of dough on the cookie sheet (about 1/2 inch apart) and bake for 12-14 minutes or until they look "set" and the bottoms are just brown. Carefully, remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Home, Home on the Range/Oven


AH, the Sunflower--the state flower of Kansas.  It's a happy, cheery flower and what other state flower has actually nuts growing out of the center.  Huh?  Huh?  

I found this recipe in my collection recently.  I cut it out of the newspaper over twenty years ago, but had never made these cookies until recently.  This is my cousin's recipe.  

Just like good Kansas folk, the personality of these cookies doesn't reach out and grab you with sweet, showy pizazz, but, once you try them, you'll be back for more of their unusual texture and solid goodness.  You'll want to sit down on your front porch and and just chew on these sweet things, letting your mind drift off as you stare at the clouds, thinking about what route you'll take to the lake to see the sunset this evening.



Kansas Sunflower Seed Cookies
                            from Jo Turner

1 cup butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 1/4 brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 1/3 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups oats
3/4 cup sunflower seed
1/2 wheat germ

Cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs and almond extract.  Sift together flour, salt and soda, stir into creamed mixture.  Fold in oats, sunflower seeds and wheat germ.

Place teaspoon of butter 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hello, Sugar!


Sugar Cookies are like those good friends who show up at your door with flowers and smiles and maybe even a funky lamp they picked up from the Goodwill which they know you will love.
 
These friends are sweet, but not too sweet.  The best ones balance out their sugar with just enough lemony tartness to keep your attention, but not enough to overwhelm their goodness.

Sugar Cookies know who they are and they don't need a bunch of flashy, attention-grabbing add-ins to call attention to themselves.  They don't come to you to be adored.  They sit at your table, reliable and solid, there to delight, console and nourish you when you need it the most.

This recipe is dedicated to all my Sugar Cookie friends.  

You know who you are, you Sweet Things, you.

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies

From Martha Stewart's Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t coarse salt
1  3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tb finely grated lemon zest
1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 TB fresh lemon juice
sanding sugar for sprinkling.

1.  Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.

2.  Put sugars and zest into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed 30 seconds.  Add butter, mix until pale and fluffy, about one minute.  Mix in eggs one at a time, and then the lemon juice.  reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture.

3.  Using a 2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing three inches apart.  Flatten cookies slightly, sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Lightly brush with a wet pastry brush, sprinkle with more sanding sugar.

4.  Bake cookies until golden, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.  Transfer cookies to wire racks using a spatula, let cool completely.  Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature for up to three days. 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bossy Betty Shares a Recipe for an Excessively Good Chocolate Cookie.


You know a cookie is a good one when people take it with both hands and eat it the way a hamster munches on a big fat nut.  That's just what happened when I took these cookies into the office wing the other day.  My co-workers were very hamster-like as as they enjoyed their delicious chocolate cookies, nibbling on one edge, then thoughtfully turning the cookie, nibbling on another edge, gazing skyward as their little teeth worked over the morsels in their mouths.  It was the quietest the hamster cage had been in a long time.

I found this cookie recipe at the Joy of Cooking Website.  Yow-wow, it's good!  It takes Dutch-processed cocoa which you can find at Williams-Sonoma or other fancy-schmancy stores.  It took me awhile to actually get in there and buy it, having been a Hershey's cocoa powder girl all my life, but then I thought, "What would Fancy do?" and I went right up to that gleaming Williams-Sonoma counter and asked for it.  I did the right thing.  Nobody processes chocolate like the Dutch.*


Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer),  cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. 

First sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt and then add to the butter and egg mixture. Mix just until incorporated. Fold in the the chocolate chips.

Using a small ice cream scoop, or two spoons, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter on the baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the the cookies are still soft in the center but are firm around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 24 - 3 inch round cookies.

Betty's notes:  

I put in chopped walnuts too!

Vegans--I have not tried this with egg replacer, but I think it would be fine.  You could use dark chocolate chips instead of the white chips.  Oh, you're smart people.  I think you can figure this out.

Here's an additional note from the recipe on the Joy of Cooking web site:

This dough freezes beautifully so you can enjoy freshly baked cookies on demand. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and put in the freezer until the cookies are frozen. Remove the baking sheet from the freezer, place the frozen cookie balls in a freezer bag, and return to the freezer. When you want these cookies, simply place the cookie balls on a parchment lined baking sheet, preheat the oven, and then bake as directed.


(* No Dutch were harmed in the making of this cookie.)


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Cookie Fever!

          (Can you find the cookie that has the face of my Uncle Claude without his teeth?)


There I was, innocently walking down the street in my stylish exercise wear when my normally well-behaved neighbor Linda opened her front door.  I gave her my friendly wave and wished her a good morning and how did she respond?  She yelled, "I Want Some Cookies!" and shut her door. 

Oh my.    

As my regular readers know, I love to bake and I am strongly pro-cookies.  (Newbies, please see entry entitled "Bakin' With Betty" to see just how strongly I feel about this.)  When I bake up batch of cookies,  I am sure to package some up for five of my neighbors and I deliver them.  Apparently, have been remiss in the past few weeks and some people are beginning to have withdrawal symptoms.  It's not pretty, nor is it safe, so I whipped up a batch of Molasses Cookies this morning.

I found this recipe in Nutrition Action Newsletter a couple of years ago and we have been sucking them down ever since.  For my vegan and my "I-wanna-be-vegan-really-I-do" friends, this is a really great recipe to convert.  Just use egg replacer instead of the egg and maybe throw in some soy milk at the end if the batter seems too dry.

Molasses Cookies

2 cups whole wheat flour (you can use regular flour)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup trans-free tub margarine (I use Earth Balance!)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1 whole egg
   cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl and set them aside.  In a large bowl, combine the margarine, sugar, molasses, and egg and beat with an electric mixer until well mixed.  Add the flour mixture and  and beat until all the flour is combined.

Drop the dough, one teaspoon at a time onto a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.*  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. (The cookies may look dry or be slightly cracked.)*  Allow the cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet,* then remove them to cool completely.*




*Betty can't leave it alone:  I roll the dough into little balls instead of dropping them by teaspoons and then I roll them in sugar before putting them on the cookie sheet.

 *Don't we all, at some point in our lives?

*Betty REALLY can't leave it alone.  I sprinkle more sugar on the top of the cookies as they are cooling. 

*Then I lick out the remaining sugar in the bowl. This, of course, is optional, but I recommend it.  It makes the ten minutes afterwards very interesting.

OK, I really have to make those deliveries now.  I think I hear clawing on my door.