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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holiday cookie 5.0

This is it.  The fifth and final installment of my holiday cookie adventure.

I started on this journey trying to find a cookie that would top my gingersnap cookie.  You know … the one Robin and her mother passed on to me.  Basically … I’m considering this my family recipe (I spent a lot of time at Robin’s house growing up).

My journey lead me to discover:

1.  a delicious and chewy little spicy molasses cookie.

2.  a surprisingly tasty little chocolate ginger espresso cookies.  It requires a bit of work – but sure does look pretty.

3.  a thin, uber moist little ginger-maple thins.  A new Canadian classic me thinks.

4.  ginger-molasses lemon cookies.  I have declared it, and will stand by it, as my ultimate favourite holiday cookie.  (this did top the original gingersnap cookie).

And now for cookie number 5.  Inspired by my brother Louis.

I remember watching Louis slather a piece of white bread with peanut butter, cover that with an equal amount of molasses, and then top it with another piece of white bread.  After school snack.  Yep.  My reaction … astounded.  I preferred the classic peanut butter and honey combo and couldn’t understand his desire to ruin the peanut butter with sticky, bitter molasses.

Oh how things have changed.

Now I could eat spoonfuls of molasses.  No bread or peanut butter required.  Yes … you may look at me with complete bewilderment.

And so … with my brother in mind I decided to make these cookies.

They are … not for the faint hearted.  Heck.  These could be a meal.  Do I recommend these for the cookie spread?  Not really.  But I totally recommend these as a pre-playing in the snow snack.  Or a not to sweet treat in the morning.  These cookies stick to your bones.  In the best way imaginable.

Do not expect these to be at all like the other cookies I’ve been sharing with you.  They aren’t at all the same sort of cookie.  I can’t stress enough that these are dense.  And not sweet.  And not gingery.  But I still liked them.   Enough to eat half a dozen over the course of an afternoon.  I was giving my sweet tooth a little rest :0)

And so I present to you my peanut butter molasses cookies.  Made for my brother Louis.  But you should make them too.

peanut butter molasses cookies

ingredients:

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 c. peanut butter

1/2 c. molasses

1 1/4 c. flour, sifted

1 c. oats

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

chocolate chips, melted

Preheat your oven to 375 F.  Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until it gets nice and fluffy – about 5 minutes.  Add the egg.  Beat well and scrape the sides of the bowl.  Now mix in the peanut butter, the molasses, and the vanilla.

In another bowl, combine all your dry ingredients: flour, oats, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and salt.

Add to the wet mix – mix until incorporated.  This shouldn’t take very long … maybe 1 minute.

This batter does not require cooling before handling.  It’s a drop cookie.

Drop a spoonful of cookie dough on your prepared cookie sheet (I use two spoons to assist in the dropping of the dough – it’s pretty sticky … thank you Arctic Andrew for showing me how to cornell the dough).  These cookies spread while they bake – so leave about 2-inches between each cookie.

Flatten with a fork.

Bake for 6 minutes.  But you should watch them carefully.

Leave on the cookie sheet for 4 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.  These are the types of cookies that get better as they sit … otherwise you don’t really taste the molasses – you’ll think you’d made just a peanut butter cookie.  Wait and you’ll see that it improves.

I then melted some chocolate chips in a double-boiler and then piped the chocolate over the cooled cookies.  Otherwise the cookies aren’t sweet AT ALL.

This is the one recipe where you will not feel like you’re baking holiday cookies.  So if you can’t be bothered to make it this weekend (but you should), then whip it up once you are over the ginger.  Over the spice.  Over the holiday flavours.  These could become a new staple in your life.  For reals.

Thanks Louis for the inspiration :0)

just a bite

 

Sometimes all you want, all you need, is one bite. One bite of something sweet… one bite of home baked goodness. These mini muffins are those little bites (well, more like 3 bites, unless you’re in a hurry).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, oatmeal chocolate chip muffins remind me of my mom; of being a kid and the excitement of coming home from school to a freshly baked treat. I decided to take the classic recipe and make mini muffins… they baked up perfectly, with slightly golden puffed tops…super cute and absolutely delicious. Who doesn’t love a muffin? Especially one that brings you right back home, sitting in the kitchen with your mom. :0)

*Special note for Abigail… these could be perfect for your “coffee, cake, 1000 words per day” goal… only substitute the muffins for the cake ;0)

Traditional Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins (mini sized)
ingredients:
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. oatmeal (not instant)
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. mini dark chocolate chips (I used mini since the muffins were going to be mini)

Preheat your oven to 400 F. Line your mini muffin tin with paper liners – I was able to get 24 muffins out of the batch.

In a large bowl, mix together the buttermilk and the oatmeal; then allow them to sit for about 10 minutes or so.

While you’re waiting, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Go back to the soaked oats and use a large spatula to stir in the egg, the brown sugar and the oil. Add the flour mixture to it and stir to just combine (you’ll see, all it takes is a few strokes). Toss in your chocolate chips, incorporate those and, voilà! Your muffin batter is done.

Grab your mini-ice cream scooper and scoop out the batter evenly into each muffin liner – you want the batter to hit the top (so that you get a nice puffed up effect once baked).

Bake for about 12 minutes (I checked at 10 minutes and then added a couple more minutes for good measure). Remove from the oven, allow to sit in the muffin tin for another 10 minutes and then allow to cool completely on a wire rack… but really, why wait?