ottawa cookie jam 2013

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Wouldn’t it be GREAT if there was an event in Ottawa that celebrated the cookie?

A place where you could find a plethora of cookies … some thin and crunchy, others thick and chewy. Chalk full of chocolate-chips or intensely spiced. Cookies of every shape, size, texture. Basically … wouldn’t it be amazing if you could go to one place and find just about every kind of cookie you could dream of?

Each and every one of them would obviously ALSO be home baked.

Thanks to the organizers of Ottawa Cookie Jam, we are about to have just that … an event where cookies are the star.

Actually … that’s a lie.

Ottawa Cookie Jam is all about eating cookies AND helping a great cause: In From the Cold, a programme run by the Parkdale United Church.

It doesn’t get much better than eating cookies for a good cause does it?

This isn’t just your run-of-the-mill basement of a church cookie sale though. There’s also a commpetition going on … there will be judges, there will be categories to enter … and proceeds go to a great cause.

Here’s the thing. Whether you decide to participate as a baker or simply as a taster and supporter of a good cause, you NEED TO REGISTER. The organizers need to know how many people are baking and attending.

In case you’re wondering, Ottawa Cookie Jam takes place Saturday, October 5th between 1 pm and 4 pm at the Parkdale United Church.

Will I see you there?????

Now … since this is a baking blog … and I’m promoting a cookie event … I wanted to do my part. I decided to take the classic oatmeal raisin cookie and … well turn it upside down. I opted for chocolate chips, oats and coconut. The result: A thick and chewy cookie with a kick of cinnamon. It’s pretty awesome.

It’s kind of the perfect cookie for this time of year. Hint hint … I think you should make a batch. Seriously.

*bakers note: you might find the measurements slightly strange … the original base of this recipe is from Thomas Keller. He prefers to weigh his ingredients, so this is my attempt at converting the measurements.

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oatmeal, coconut, chocolate-chip cookies
ingredients:

1 c. flour
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. + 3 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 c. + 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 c. butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/4 tsp vanilla paste
2 c. oats
1/2 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. chocolate-chips

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, using your paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed, until it is the consistency of mayonnaise (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add the sugars and mix for a further 3-4 minutes, until fluffy.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the egg and vanilla paste, mixing on low until combined, about 15-30 seconds. The mixture might look a little curdled – no big deal. You would rather that than over-mixing.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, whisking together.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter, sugar, egg mixture in 2 additions; mixing on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds each time. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate.

Add the oats, and count to ten with the mixer on medium – low speed.

Add in the flaked coconut and chocolate-chips. Again count to 10 with the mixer on medium-low speed.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

*bakers note: If you chill for 30 minutes, the result is a thin, crunchy cookie. If you chill for longer than 30 minutes – say overnight, then you end up with thicker, chewy cookies. It’s up to you.
Also – the original recipe actually makes 6 x 4-inch cookies (quite large). I actually opted to bake 16 2-inch cookies. Again, it’s up to you.

Heat the oven to 325 F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

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Whatever size of cookie you decide to bake, make sure you don’t allow the dough to touch while baking … especially if you are baking after only allowing the cookie dough to rest for 30 minutes – these spread.

If you are making the larger cookies, bake them fro 21 to 23 minutes, reversing the tray position halfway through the baking time.

If you opt for the smaller cookies, bake 18 minutes. Again … reversing the tray position halfway through the baking time.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then remove from the cookie sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

Or you know … grab a glass of milk and dunk right it. They are so good freshly out of the oven.

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smores bars

These are addictive.

Highly addictive.

Eating them was descirbed to me as “floating down a chocolate river in a graham wafer boat with marshmallow sails” … I kinda totally agree!

I have loved smores … since … well … since forever.

Who doesn’t love an ooey-gooey bite of delight?

Because that’s what graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows are … bites of delight.

Especially when you add a little momofuku twist to the recipe.

Actually … I should call these twisted smores.

You’ll see that these are easy to make … as easy as making them on a campfire … you start with the graham cracker base …

then you make the chocolate layer … melted chocolate and milk … stirring in mini marshmallows and the cornflake crunch (flaked coconut is a supurb susbstitute as well) …  

Finishing it off by spreading even more mini-marshamllows on top; then broil for 3 minutes.

That’s it.  Simple eh?

Oh wait!!!!

I do recommend that if you line the pan with parchment paper … don’t place the rack too close to the broiler … otherwise … a fire might ensue.

True story … it happened to me ;0)

I guess I really wanted to make smores by the campfire!

twisted smores bars

ingredients:

the base:

2 c. graham cracker crumbs

7 tbsp butter, melted

2 tbsp sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Line a rectangular pan with parchment paper, and then spray it with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; stirring with a wooden spoon.  Press the crumbs into the base of the pan; make sure that the base is spread out evenly.

Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from heat, turn off your oven and set the pan aside to cool slightly.

chocolate mini-marshmallow-crunch filling:

ingredients:

1 c. milk

16 oz chocolate, chopped into small chunks (or chips)

4 c. mini marshmallows, divided

2 c. momofuku cornflake crunch (or flaked coconut)

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, stir the chocolate and milk together; slowly melting the chocolate.  The mixture should never get to a boiling point.  Remove the pan from heat and pour the mixture into a medium sized bowl (this will allow the mixture to cool immediately).

Add 2 cups of the mini marshmallows and the 2 cups cornflake crunch.  Stir in … and then pour the mixture over the graham cracker base.

Top with the remaining 2 cups of mini marshmallows.

Turn the broiler on in your oven … move a rack close(ish) to the broiler and toast the marhsmallows… this takes about 3 minutes.  I do tend to move the pan around to ensure that they are all evenly toasted.

Remove from the oven and allow the pan to cool in the fridge for 2 to 3 hours (or over night).  I don’t cover the pan right away … but once firm, I do cut the smores into squares and store in an airtight container.

I’d say they will last up to 1 week in the fridge … only they won’t.  Because you’re gonna want to eat them … pretty much immediately.

No lies.

I can’t stop eating them! 

lemon blueberry coconut bars

I have a friend who makes the BEST (absolute BEST) lemon squares.  EVER.

Micheline … I’m talking about you.

Her lemon squares are tart and fresh and light.  The side pieces are spectacular … the graham crust base adds a little sweetness.  Perfectly balanced.  Perfectly baked.  A complete delight.

I loves.

And so … although I heart all things lemon, I haven’t baked lemon squares in ages because I can’t imagine making a batch as wonderful as Micheline’s.

Until now.

These aren’t the same.  But they sure are good.  DARN GOOD.

I was co-hosting a female cocktails and bling thingy (you know … ladies gather to drink and try on jewelry) … and wanted to bring along some baked treats.

I decided that it was time to try a new recipe (friends and family are always the best people to taste-test new recipes on) … and upon mentioning a blueberry – coconut – lemon combo to another friend (Rose … I’m talking about you now) … she pretty much convinced me I absolutely had to make these.

I’m glad that I did.

The original recipe is from bon appétit’s desserts  recipe book (double-lemon bars).  It caught my eye because it promised big lemon flavour (a must) … and looked like it would have a firm enough base to hold the addition of toasted coconut and blueberries.

It lived up to my demands.

The one thing … and perhaps I’m noticing it because I haven’t made lemon squares recently … but these were really (and I mean REALLY) sticky and gooey: both good things … just have a napkin on hand … or don’t be afraid of licking your fingers.

I pretty much always opt for licking my fingers ;0)

crust:
ingredients:
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 c. butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tsp vanilla

lemon – blueberry filling:
ingredients:
1/2 c. coconut, toasted
1 1/2 c. frozen blueberries
1 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
6 eggs, room temperature

3 tbsp flour

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a rectangular pan (9×11) with foil or parchment paper and generously spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Using your food processor, blend together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter, and cut it in, using the pulse “on/off” method, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add vanilla and process until the dough comes together. You’ll know it’s ready when you take a bit and pinch it together and it holds.

Press the dough evenly into the pan – using a flat bottom measuring cup, evenly flatten the base. Bake until the crust is golden – about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling.
Toast the coconut for about 8 minutes on a cookie sheet in the oven. Set aside.

No need for fancy equipment – whisk together the sugar and eggs until well blended. Add the lemon juice and flour. Whisk to incorporate. Strain into another bowl (you’ll see that not all the flour dissolved, the whisk will catch that and any lemon pits you might have missed).

Mix in the lemon zest.

Reduce your oven to 325 F.

Spread the blueberries evenly over the base. Top with the toasted coconut. Pour the lemon mixture over-top; ensuring that the entire pan is evenly covered.

Bake until the sides are set and the filling no longer moves when the pan is shaken. About 35 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Cover and chill at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Using the foil or parchment as an aid, lift the dessert from the pan. Fold down the sides, cut away the edges, creating a clean side … and a little snack for the baker :0)

Cut into rectangular bars … or do like me, and cut the rectangular bars into 3 smaller cubes. I was able to get over 2 dozen pieces.

Remember this recipe creates a very gooey bar… a very delightful twist on a the traditional lemon square.

You should try it.