Metamorphosis in Cookie Form

oatmeal raisin cookie 2Making Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I had an urge to bake and have been wanting to make oatmeal raisin cookies for a while.  It’s something sweet, but I can feel like I’m being somewhat healthy with the raisins and oatmeal…even though there’s plenty of butter and sugar (what makes it so good and crispy!).  This recipe has a good amount of rolled oats so you can consider eating a few of these as being part of your nutritional intake 😉 .

I found this recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies  (my edited version at the end of this post) after an internet search and came upon the Smitten Kitchen food blog by Deb Perelman.  The photos and write up persuaded my stomach into trying out her recipe, titled by her as ‘thick, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies’.  They certainly are thick from the amount of oats and come with a little bit of chew because of that (due to using rolled oats rather than instant oats?).

The above picture is of the ingredients.  As I gathered it together and started mixing, I realized I should take a photograph of the ingredients before the final product.  I enjoy photo set-ups with ingredients of foods (like Simply Scratch’s lovely visual) before it comes together to create something new.  It’s like seeing a “before” and “after” shot; it gives you a chance to take a peek into what makes the dish when all the ingredients aren’t so obvious.  [Though, you don’t see everything in my picture like salt, plus I added powdered ginger to the recipe.]

I made two batches of the recipe so it does look like a lot.  It probably made about 5 dozen of small, but thick, one and half – two inch cookies.  Below are mine cooling off straight out of the oven.  Hard not to resist the urge to immediately bite one of these… but it is steaming hot so that certainly is convincing enough not to 😛 .  Amazing how a pile of flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and different add-ins and flavorings become the below sweet treat…!  What a metamorphosis!!  Seeing the visual of the end product is a proud moment, knowing I had I hand in creating it.  I always look forward to seeing what emerges as the finished product; whether it turns out as I envisioned or surprises me.  It’s all part of the fun.

Cooking is fun in that way.  Separate ingredients can certainly be visually interesting on its own, but when combined together wonderful and tasty things can happen (…plus science with its chemical changes and such…sure).  And my taste buds and stomach are certainly thankful!  I enjoyed these oatmeal raisin cookies, and so did some of my loved ones.

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oatmeal cookies - cooling 2There’s a nice shimmer to these cookies due to being rolled in sugar. It makes a nice crust!

oatmeal raisin cookie plate

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
an edited version of Smitten Kitchen’s thick, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies;
measurements are for a double batch

1) 1 cup (2 stick or 230 grams) butter, softened
2) 1 cup (250 grams) light brown sugar
3) 2 large eggs
4) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5) 1 cup (190 grams) all-purpose flour
6) 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
7) 1/2 cup of garbanzo bean flour
8) 1 teaspoon baking soda
9) 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
10) 1 teaspoon ground ginger
11) 1/2 teaspoon table salt
12) 3 cups (240 grams) rolled oats
13) 1 1/2 cup (240 grams) raisins

  • optional: 1/2 cup of white sugar to roll cookie batter in

Cream first two ingredients together until butter + sugar combo are fluffy.  Add next two ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.  Separately, sift or whisk together dry ingredients (#5 – #11).  Lightly mix dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just barely incorporated (it’s okay to have some lumps and streaks).  Stir in oats and raisins.

Best to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for cookie batter to be easier to scoop and portion out.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Space cookies out about one to two inches apart (they don’t spread very much but should have enough room to get nice and crispy).  I portioned out cookies about one inch in size and popped them in the freezer for a few minutes before baking so the butter would be good and cold before baking.

[Also, I tested out a few cookies and found it didn’t quite have the amount of sweetness I liked.  For the subsequent cookies I rolled them in the optional sugar after portioning them out.  Of course, you could always add a little more into the beginning of the recipe, but I liked the added crunch the baked sugar provided to the cookie crust.  😀 ]

Happy eats!

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Getting Lost in it All

chocolate pot de creme

 

There’s something to be said about a routine or process that can fully envelop all of your focus. It’s almost meditative because your mind is so intent on the task at hand, it temporarily pushes everything else out of sight. That is what cooking sometimes can be for me. Meditative.

When I have the time to do so and I have a fresh recipe I’m excited to test out, I like to go through a little “warm up process” by:
1) reading through ingredients and directions,
2) visualizing the process, and
3) putting together all the needed items and creating a work space for myself (mise en place?)

Then I’ll leisurely take my time to go through and double check each of the cooking steps, while I smile over a each completed one.  It’s like my way of fully savoring each morsel of the cooking process and the awe as the food goes through its metamorphosis stages into the final product.  [Mind you, that’s when I can allot the time to do so, which most likely falls on a weekend afternoon.  Otherwise, there’s also the ‘Let’s-put-that-and-that-together-and-call-it-dinner’ kind of cooking that typically happens on a weeknight.]  Though it’s nice to enjoy the final product and get it done with, there’s pleasure and tranquility to be found in going through all those motions in between.  Being able to eat and enjoy the food in the end is just a wonderful, delicious BONUS! 🙂

I guess that’s why there’s a cliché for this, “It’s not the destination [that is important], it’s the journey.”  So remember to take the time to savor the journey, be in the moment.  The destination is added value to another great moment.

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[I don’t mean to leave you hanging with that picture of chocolate pot de crème—so yummy in an almost frozen state, by the way.  I had found the recipe after browsing on the DashandBella blog written by a Phyllis Grant.  It’s a recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson‘s recipe.  Phyllis’ adaptation uses Nutella, which makes it extra indulgent.

During a snowy weekend away in Vermont, I did my requisite outdoor activity the day before so I could have a leisure day of cooking and just soak in the view of snowy mountaintops and trees.  Though the snow was a bit difficult to drive and/or walk in, it really was a very scenic journey (see picture collage below).  So my day of leisure cooking began with an early morning, but an extended wake-up of loping around the gorgeous rental house.  I sat in a sunny spot and played a game of Solitaire, afterwards, I set about making a breakfast of juice, coffee, “eggs in a basket” which is eggs cooked into a toast cut out, a mini peanut butter & jelly toast made from the cut out, and clementines.  After some walking around the grounds outside, I read through my recipes for and prepped a brine for BBQ chicken wings, and my loose adaptation of a Bon Appétit chocolate stout cake recipe with Nutella whipped cream.  The cooking was certainly a fun, though a many-stepped process.  It was particularly fun when getting to see AND TASTE those final products!

I was intrigued by the Daily Meal‘s chicken wings recipe because it called for a sauce mixture of mayonnaise, hot sauce, and BBQ sauce after having been brined (hot sauce is already a win in my book, and you add a rich mayo layer??  Yes please!).  I hadn’t brined chicken wings before, but the little wing-ette of the wing−the extra bony, wing tip—certainly was very tender and not burnt to a crisp, which was nice as I enjoy gnawing on every piece of the wing.  Though if you don’t want to take the extra step, maybe the brining part could be done away with if given a couple hours extra of marinating in the sauce mixture and covering the roasting pan when cooking in the oven.

As for the chocolate stout cake recipe, I’ve always enjoyed complementary flavors and wanted to play with the coffee, dark stout beer, and chocolate flavorings.  It certainly was a rich and flavorful cake, but not dense nor heavy, particularly since I switched out the called for chocolate frosting and instead made an ad-hoc Nutella whipped cream.

In the end, lots of tummy-satisfying, great eats from a day of leisure!
Not bad in a day’s work 😉 .  Here’s to enjoying more delicious moments.  Cheers!]

Vermont 2.2014 collage 2