Dada, I love you 

Standard

To the man from whom I inherited a portion of my stubbornness, cheers to your spirit and heart. You left us today only physically. You will always be remembered by the way you laughed, the ways you made me laugh, your funny little habits. I wish I knew you better, but alas distance got the better of us. I’m drinking a brandy for you and wishing you so, so much peace. Cheers, Dada. We’ll miss you. 

Quote

“Who says paper worlds
Are an escape from what is real?
As though the lives trapped in their binding
Are not ones that make you feel.
For sometimes our greatest lessons
Come from those with ink for skin,
Who reach beyond the page
To take our hand and pull us in.”
― Erin Hanson

Brown Penny

Standard

I WHISPERED, ‘I am too young,’
And then, ‘I am old enough’;
Wherefore I threw a penny
To find out if I might love.
‘Go and love, go and love, young man,
If the lady be young and fair.’
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
I am looped in the loops of her hair.
O love is the crooked thing,
There is nobody wise enough
To find out all that is in it,
For he would be thinking of love
Till the stars had run away
And the shadows eaten the moon.
Ah, penny, brown penny, brown penny,
One cannot begin it too soon.

 

Peanut Butter Cookies (with coconut oil)

Standard

Since my chocolate chip cookies with coconut oil came out great, I decided to try the same substitution with peanut butter cookies.

 

The final recipe is based on Betty Crocker, with a 1:1 substitution of butter for coconut oil, a little less sugar, and a little more peanut butter. Averie Cookies gave me the cornstarch tip, as well as the baking soda + powder tip.

 

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (you can use a bit more if you want)
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: about 2 cups of chips (peanut butter, chocolate, toffee–get creative!)

Recipe:

  1. Mix the following well: shortening, coconut oil, peanut butter, egg, and sugar. The dough will likely have a Play-Doh-like consistency, so use your hands if you need to! (It’s more fun that way, anyway.)
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and blend in until well mixed.
  3. REFRIGERATE at least 2 hours and up to 5 days (otherwise the dough will be too soft and will yield flat, hard, cookies).
  4. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for 8-10 minutes (or 350 and bake 12-14 minutes, depending on your oven).
  5. Cool on tray for 5 minutes, and then cool completely on wire rack.

Results: I have to admit that I messed the recipe up today; I used 1/2 cup each of shortening and coconut oil because I misread the recipe. So my  ‘Lesson of the Day’ is not to bake when stressed and tired (I have a senior thesis due in a week, and thought baking would help me relax.) The cookies had a great melt-in-your-mouth quality, but are hella fattening. But the taste was great, they weren’t too dense thanks to the cornstarch I believe, and they were soft and gooey (well, too much so because of the extra fat). I will use the correct proportions next time, and update! Apologies!

 

Next time (once I fix my extra-fat-problem): I’m going to try these eggless!

Chocolate Chip Cookies (with coconut oil)

Standard

 

Today, I began a journey. A journey to figure out the best possible way to bake chocolate chip cookies with some healthy substitutions. Part One? Switching out the butter with some organic, unpressed, unrefined coconut oil.

Here’s the final recipe, and I referred to the guidelines from both Nestle and this recipe courtesy of Averie Cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unrefined, organic coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional — I didn’t have any)

Recipe:

  1. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  2. Beat oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. It won’t get as fluffy as butter will, but it should mix well and look creamy.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Gradually beat in flour mixture.The dough will look somewhat “Play-Doh”-esque at this point, but as long as it has both an oily and dry consistency, it should be fine. Once I started adding the flour, I could no longer use a mechanical beater; I used my hands to mix the flour in (which were really soft afterwards). And, you can feel how soft and moist the dough is, despite the dryness.
  5. Add morsels and nuts. Again, ditch the spoon and use your hands. Trust me, it’s fun!
  6. Refrigerate overnight (well, at least 3 hours). Averie Cookies suggested shaping the cookies before refrigerating, but I was in a rush and shoved the dough in the fridge before heading out for the night. I’ll be sure to try shaping first next time!
  7. [After X amount of hours…] Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, drop the dough by the tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet (leaving an inch or two in between), and bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
    1. NOTE: I baked one batch at 375 for 9 minutes, and a second batch at 350 for about 12 minutes. Both came out quite nice!
  8. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

THE RESULTS: This recipe yielded about 48 cookies that were just the right amount chewy, just the right amount stiff. The softness lasted a full 4 to 5 days in an airtight container!

MY THOUGHT PROCESS:

I started with the Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. With the help of this blog that tried the Nestle recipe with coconut oil, this blog (Averie Cookies) that offers a delicious-looking recipe and tips for baking with coconut oil, and these coconut-oil guidelines, I made the following changes.

1 cup of softened butter replaced by 3/4 cup coconut oil 

3/4 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 cup packed brown sugar replaced by 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar 

[In case you’re wondering why: I used less coconut oil despite the 1-to-1 replacement guideline, because the wonderful person who used coconut oil in the Nestle recipe said the cookies came out greasy (but still good), and the recipe that uses coconut oil from the get-go used 3/4 oil for 2 cups of flour. So, I figured 3/4 cup of oil for 2 1/4 cups of flour should work okay. I used less than the total 1 1/2 cups of sugar after reading that coconut oil will lend the cookies extra sweetness, and because I admittedly didn’t have the brown sugar the recipe called for.] 

I refrigerated overnight, to allow the coconut oil to harden again. [The why: without refrigeration, the greasiness of the oil will cause the cookies to flatten, harden, and be, well, greasy.]

 

The next time I make this recipe, I plan to use an egg substitute, to make them completely dairy-free so lactose-intolerant munchkins like my baby nephew can eat them, too!