Friday, May 21, 2010

Prelude to Portugal:Cookie Call to Action

Well, I'm back home in Dallas and after a particularly exhilarating evening of dinner with my grandparents followed by watching Julie and Julie with my parents I am inspired to catch you up on my baking adventures.
I know you come to read about my conquests and see some good recipes so I hate to disappoint you, but...I haven't been so ambitious in the realm of baking for the past few weeks! The reason?I blame the dreadful final exams that consumed my life for the past two weeks and somehow won priority over baking. But here's the good news I'M DONE! It's summertime! Now I have two months to bake, cook, and thankfully do those activities and still use a good chunk of the day to work out and balance things out. But, because I have been so preoccupied spending 12 hours a day in the library, having melt downs, and stress eating I haven't had much time to bake much of anything. Luckily, I did manage to bake a couple of batches of two different delectable cookies before my time was eaten up (no pun intended... I think I gained about 10lbs stress eating. YUCK!) with work.
The organization I am an intern for put up a survey required by the international offices and were having difficulty garnering responses from students. I joked with my boss that I would announce to my boyfriend's fraternity that if they filled out the survey and informed me that they had completed it I would bake them cookies. I gave them one week to complete the task and notify me by any form of communication in order to claim their reward. The result was a group of hungry boys who came together to help me with just the promise of a tasty incentive.
As for the cookies, I baked two kinds based on suggestions from a few of the boys: the first type was white chocolate macadamia nut and the second was oatmeal chocolate chip. Both very basic cookies but SO good and guaranteed to make a bunch of boys jump into action. Boys are boys and when they are offered home made cookies they absolutely leap at the opportunity regardless of what's being asked of them.
Due to recent technical difficulties of my computer I am unable to find the white chocolate macadamia recipe for ya'll...but, luckily I do have the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe on hand! The recipe comes courtesy of none other than Quaker oats and it can be found on their website. As always, I made some changes though...see below. Might I add that this recipe would go excellently with heath toffee bits mixed in or even peanut butter chips.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe adapted from Quaker Oats

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
        • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
          • 1/4 teaspoon salt
            • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
              • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
                • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
                  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
                    • 1 large egg
                      • 2 tablespoons milk
                        • 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
                          • 2 cup Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

                  • Directions:

                    Heat oven to 375°F.

                    In small bowl, combine flour, baking power, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. In large bowl, beat butter, sugars and vanilla with electric mixer until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture and milk. Stir in chips, oats and raisins. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.

                    Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are crisp but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes; remove to wire racks. Cool completely.

                    Basically, the cinnamon makes this recipe what it is-absolutely exquisite. Now, my changes were extremely minor. I added an extra cup of oats (the website recipe only calls for 1c) and I also used semisweet chocolate chips rather than milk chocolate. I just prefer the taste of semi-sweet, but it's completely personal preference. I don't believe milk chocolate has a place in cookie-I think it should stick to making a name for itself in the candy bar biz, but hey-that's me! Semi-sweet chocolate just oozes decadence and demands to be used in baking because the sweetness is just enough to fulfill even the most intense chocolate craving. Ok, enough on that topic I'm starting to sound like a fanatic (I kind of am though, aren't I?)

                    The cookies

                    Next conquests: banana bread and possibly Portuguese butter cookies.

                    Sidenote: While picking something up from my doctor I made the most wonderful discovery on Wednesday: Society Bakery, my absolute favorite bakery in Dallas, now has a location in Medical City hospital. Not a prime spot that I hope to visit often, but much closer to home than the original location. Any Dallas foodies have got to stop by and try their treats. My favorite are their giant m&m cookies-they will change your life. As for the bakers-I strive for such talent!

                    Adeus (that's Portuguese for goodbye...)-Next time I write I'll likely be in Portugal! I'll keep you updated on the cuisine I encounter...I keep seeing the words "salted cod" floating around and I'm getting nervous. We'll see what I'm bound to subsist off of!

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