Tag Archive for 'cookies'

Crunchy Cereal Chocolate Chip Cookies & Memories

I’ve been trying to comfort myself. I haven’t been home much over the past few weeks, as I spent most all of my free time with Ginny. Little did I know two weeks ago that these would be the last two weeks we would be physically together. It’s the kind of realization that leaves me with a difficult to swallow lump in my throat. At 104, Ginny (AKA Gram) my paternal grandmother was remarkable. She would be the first to tell you that she had lived a good life and was ready ‘to go’- but somehow that had remained well beyond her control.

Since she was in her 90’s I had wondered how I would feel on the day we were no longer together. Little did I know that we were going to be granted 14 more years to enjoy each other’s company during our weekly visits and calls. And while I know it would have been selfish to want more, there was no amount of time that was going to make it easier for me to let her go. I was never going to be ready. I just don’t do ‘good-byes’ gracefully.

In retrospect, I realize that everything about me during these past few weeks was trying to find comfort from reality and my emotions. I wanted to dress in only the softest materials – flannel hit the top of my list, and leggings weren’t too far off either. I was constantly craving my favorite comfort foods – and yet none of them satisfied me. In the past, pasta and chocolate could almost always turn the corners of my mouth upwards into a smile, until now. Sleep escaped me and it seemed that music was my only outlet to calm my otherwise inconsolable emotions.

I tried to prepare my children for the inevitable as my mother, aunt and step-mother tried to prepare me. My head understood that it was time for Ginny to go but my heart refused to cooperate. Each car ride into San Francisco to see her left me in tears as memories would sneak out of my eyes and rapidly roll down my cheeks. The return ride home was much the same. I thought there might be at least one ‘dry’ day but such a day never materialized. It seemed I was capable of providing an unending supply of tear juice.

I haven’t had much of a desire to cook or bake which makes it challenging to be a food blogger. This week I paced around the kitchen in a circular clockwise motion, for the better part of 30 minutes, until I decided that I had to try to crack the seal and figure out how to unlock my suppressed cooking gene. I pulled out my recipe archives and after a lengthy span of time, and several opportunities to be side-tracked, I finally summoned some cookies into the oven. It was not easy. My heart wasn’t in it, but I pushed through to try to find that glimmer of me that has gone suddenly missing. The cookies certainly put smiles on faces around the house and at the office, which was all I could ask for given my state of mind. It confirmed that while I may be momentarily lost in emotions, my baking abilities still work. And I am sure with a bit of food coaxing, time will help me find my stride again.

In the process of rediscovering my take on an old-time classic cookie recipe I managed to somehow feel closer to Ginny. I’ve been searching through my archives and found SO MANY of her amazing recipe creations … and there is one that I can’t wait to make (yes, I am a tease) … which we will discuss soon. Until then, I share with you this crunchy cereal infused chocolate chip cookie. While I typically tend to make chewy chocolate chip cookies there was a time when I was a “tried and true” crunchy cookie gal. Meet a cookie with some serious texture in its character– and while it is not necessarily a beauty for the eyes to behold, it does the belly good.

Crunchy Cereal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

½ cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

1 TBS brown sugar

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup corn flakes, crushed into crumbs

½ cup raw oatmeal

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium size bowl, using a hand mixer, combine butter, sugar, vegetable oil, brown sugar, egg and vanilla together. Add in flour, baking soda and salt and mix well. Lastly add in corn flakes, oatmeal and chocolate chips. Stir by hand until well combined.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

Tropical Pecan Tortilla Sandies

pecan sandies on an angle.JPG

A number of years ago I was in a little town near my home and stopped into a small shop that looked more like a party store than a catering facility. I’d heard about this place for years, as my mom would always pick up their patented sandwiches for parties. Yes, that is not a typo, they make a special sandwich in a round loaf of rye bread that is patented. The bread is hallowed out and then it is cut amazingly thin Continue reading ‘Tropical Pecan Tortilla Sandies’

cookie-o-logy

A friendship that can go the distance is worth waiting for. It had been four score and umpteen days since my former Florentine roomie had visited the San Francisco Bay Area. We had seen each other in between, and talked as often as life would permit, but having her here made each morsel taste more flavorful. As is often the case, my memories are provoked by food related stories. This story would start the same, but to the keen eye there are differences. We were two young American brown-eye’d girls living in Florence, and life was just FUN. Our apartment, the nicest I had ever had, was on Piazza D’Azeglio and it was a location that completed the vision of what life in urban Tuscany was like. Funds were often quite limited, so we cooked…and we cooked, and found that we just loved the ritual of shopping, preparing, cooking and eating an array of fresh flavors.

My earliest recipe development takes root in Piazza D’Azeglio. Dishes I still covet today all began in this lovely, tiny, modern kitchen; risotto with mushrooms (Porcini Risotto), pasta with tuna (Pasta al’Tonno), rabbit stew (Coniglio a la Campagnola -I know, how politically incorrect!). But I have digressed, my love for Burley (her given name: Kimberly), grew in Italy, and has never wavered.

Now back to food, upon her arrival I quickly found myself in the kitchen, with her by my side. We played and fussed with this recipe until it was anything but Italian, but it was all too reminiscent of so many things that comprise our friendship: chocolate chunk cookies (not easy to find in Italy), pinenuts (traditionally found in pesto sauce, we wanted to pair it with a sweet combination), oatmeal (get healthy- it is 21st century), and ginger (well, sailing on the Almafi coast can make you a bit ill and digesting ginger does help). Mix it all together and what have you got? The perfect cookie to take with you when you go sailing and want to feel indulgent- Ginger, Chocolate Oatmeal & Pinenut Cookies, AKA Race Committee Cookies, concocted by two girls who used to live in Italy. (Did you manage to follow that complex web of cookie-o-logy?)


Ginger, Chocolate Oatmeal & Pinenut Cookies (AKA Race Committee Cookies)

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup candied ginger, chopped into pieces
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped (we used Scharffen Berger’s Ben Tre Dark Chocolate for this recipe)
1/2 cup dark chocolate, grated
1 cup pinenuts, toasted (or substitute chopped macadamia nuts)

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small pan, on medium-low heat toast pine nuts. They will brown quickly so be sure to watch them closely. When light brown in color, remove from heat and set aside.

In a large-size bowl, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Then add in eggs and vanilla and beat well.

In a small-size bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, shredded chocolate and salt; mix well. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and blend well. Stir in oats, coconut, nuts chocolate chunks; mix well

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

Yields 4 ½ dozen (unless you eat too much of the batter, which I am prone to do!)

Note: A great tip is to bake half and freeze half in a log shape in plastic wrap and then foil. Then for quick, hot, fresh baked cookies, cut a few sections off and pop them onto a cookie sheet and place them into a pre-heated oven. They may require a few extra minutes of cook time once frozen, but they will be a delicious TREAT. And for those of you that read my Halloween post earlier this week, consider this post the Treat to my Trick post.