Posted by: Kennedy | December 22, 2010

Baking success: It’s a Christmas miracle!

So, I don’t bake much. Like, ever. It’s nothing personal… I love treats as much as the next guy. But baking just seems so much more complicated than cooking, so I tend to avoid it.

That is, until the holiday season.

As soon as December hit, copious amounts of cookie recipes began to bombard my inbox… each one sounding tastier than the last. I decided it was time to get into the holiday spirit and make a few batches of treats for my co-workers. This way I could feel good making something for my friends to enjoy, knowing I wouldn’t have to deal with dozens of cookies calling my name from the kitchen every night. Win-win, right?

So I set out to get everything I needed. Turns out, it was a long list. My cupboards were lacking a number of staples… like flour, baking soda, chocolate chips… I really never bake!

Not only did I need to stop at the grocery store, I also had to make a trip to Canadian Tire to purchase a hand mixer. That’s kind of embarrassing to admit. Yes, this was one expensive batch of cookies.

I selected two cookie recipes: Cranberry Almond Oatmeal and Chocolate Brownie. Both seemed relatively simple and completely delicious.

I started with the oatmeal… they seemed easier.

It took all of 30 minutes from start to finish. A few ingredients, a few steps, no big deal. What’s really neat about this recipe is that it calls for pumpkin instead of butter, which means these cookies are healthy(er)!

INGREDIENTS
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
.5 tsp salt
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup dried cranberries
.5 cup almonds

*Makes about 42 cookies

DIRECTIONS
-Heat oven to 350 degrees
-Beat together pumpkin and sugar
-Add eggs and vanilla, beat well
-Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon salt ; mix
-Stir in oats, craisins and almonds
-Drop rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet
-Bake 10-12 mins.
-Let cool one minute
Enjoy!

Next, it was time to tackle the brownies…

I admit I was pretty intimidated to try these. A few more steps involved… a little more mixing action… and more specific directions (i.e. don’t over-mix, don’t over-bake). But, I’m happy to report these cookies were a big success! All feedback received to date sounds something to the effect of “(bite)… O…M…G!” That’s what I was going for, guys… 🙂

I highly recommend adding this recipe to your baking repertoire immediately.

INGREDIENTS
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, broken into large pieces
½ cup unsalted butter, softened and divided
1 1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

*Makes about 40 cookies

DIRECTIONS
1. Melt chocolates and ¼ cup butter in microwave. Cool briefly.
2. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. Beat ¼ cup butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until the consistency of wet sand.
4. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix.
5. Mix in chocolate mixture, beating only until combined.
6. Stir in flour mixture, only until combined.
7. Chill for 1 hour.
8. Roll into balls and place onto a greased or lined cookie sheet.
9. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 9 to 11 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Do not over bake.
10. Cool 2 minutes on pan before moving to cooling racks.
11. Enjoy (ideally with a tall glass of milk!)

Sidenote (a.k.a indicator I don’t know anything about baking): this recipe originally referred to a ‘stick’ of butter and I thought it meant an entire pound. Thinking that seemed a little excessive, I Googled a ‘stick’ of butter to get the equal measurement in cups. Good thing I did. A stick of butter is only 1/2 a cup, a.k.a half the amount I was about to throw into the bowl. Thank you, Google, for preventing me from ruining my coworkers’ Christmas goodies.

What did people DO before Google?!

Another thank you to Chelle for giving me a very timely gift of parchment paper from the Paper Chef! It came in handy as it surely was the reason the bottoms of my cookies did not burn and turn black.

And with that, I’m signing off for the holidays – or at least until my Grandma’s turkey dinner is digested. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!

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Responses

  1. Can’t believe I missed the cookies!! 😦
    They look great Kennedy. Must try them out soon!

    • Oh no I brought some leftovers in today but forgot to bring them down to the 8th floor! Don’t worry, I will definitely make them again and I promise you’ll be the first person I share with.


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