Oatmeal (Bourbon) Scotch-Scotch-Scotchies

Oh hey… we’re doing another recipe post… That’s okay, right?

As I mentioned yesterday, Farmer Ben and I did some baking on Sunday!

I realize that I am going to lose almost all of my “healthy baking” street cred by admitting this… but one of the best cookies I make is the oatmeal scotchie… You know, with those artificial-everything-butterscotch chips? Yeah, those… I only make these cookies a few times a year, but when I do, they are a huge hit. I’ve tried to track down a better butterscotch chip, but have you seen the price on some of the alternatives?! Woof! No thank you. Any suggestions on a better brand that isn’t $100/lb?

Anyway, because I’m already using something unhealthy, I’ve made a few tweaks to the classic recipe.

1.       Whole wheat flour

2.       Less sugar/all brown-sugar.  2a. Coconut sugar-it’s got a lower glycemic index than regular sugar and trace minerals (just make sure no one has an allergy if you bring these to a party).

3.       Flax seed meal. It adds a layer of nutty-ness.

4.       Bourbon… not healthy, but doesn’t bourbon make everything better?

Again, these are pretty tasty. And, because the recipe yields around 4 dozen cookies (depending on size), they are great for a crowd (I usually keep a secret stash at home for Farmer Ben). No, these are not the prettiest cookies… but once people taste them, it’s tough to stay away.

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Farmer Ben struck again....

Oatmeal (Bourbon) Scotch-Scotch-Scotchies  

Adapted from the Nestle Butterscotch Chip Bag.

What You’ll Need:

·         1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

·         1/4 cup all-purpose flour

·         2 Tbsp. flax seed meal

·         A pinch of salt

·         ½ tsp. cinnamon

·         1 Tbsp. cocoa powder

·         1 tsp. baking soda

·         2 sticks butter, softened

·         1 scant cup coconut sugar

·         2 large eggs

·         1 tsp. Vanilla

·         ¼ cup bourbon

·         3 cups oats

·         1 package (11 oz) Butterscotch Chips

What to do:

·         Preheat oven to 375 degrees. *

·         Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

·         In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar (I use a pastry blender, but can also be done with a mixer).

·         Stir in eggs, vanilla and bourbon (I switch to a rubber spatula at this point).

·         Slowly stir in your flour mixture.

·         Mix in oats and butterscotch chips.

·         For a super bourbon taste, cover mixing bowl and place in fridge for a few hours (*if doing this, wait to preheat your oven).

·         Spoon dough onto un-greased cookie sheets and bake for approximately 9 minutes, 11 minutes if you like a crisper cookie.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite Christmas Cookie?


Deceptively Delicious

So… I’ve been doing a lot of kitchen experiments lately. Sometimes gluten-free, sometimes dairy-free, sometimes completely unhealthy…my favorite recipes, as of late, involve the immersion blender. These deceptively delicious cookies (see what I did there???)  are no exception.

It looks like completely normal cookie dough...

It looks like completely normal cookie dough…

These little buggers are good! But they’re sneaky. They seem like perfectly normal cookies at first bite…but… totally not.

The secret ingredient? Garbanzo beans. I know, your mind is blown.

Anyway, I’d seen variations of this recipe a couple of times but was hesitant to try it…The other night, I finally caved when I had a serious craving for melted chocolate goodness and–gasp!–no butter.

In all honesty, I didn’t have to tweak this recipe very much…other than using maple syrup instead of honey and a little more peanut butter.  Still good.

You need six ingredients….five if you don’t add salt (I used a no-salt peanut butter so I added smoked sea salt.).

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I brought the first batch (minus the few that I devoured right out of the oven) in for a gluten-free co-worker.

I made another batch (minus the few that I devoured right out of the oven) for the hubby and his co-workers.

I made the last batch for fun.

The original recipe author says that these aren’t good cold…I disagree. But they are better warm.

She also says to use a food processor and not a blender…an immersion blender worked perfectly fine, but ours is pretty powerful… I am kind of lazy when it comes to doing dishes…and I love immersion blending.

So here you go. You’re welcome.

So much melted chocolate goodness....

So much melted chocolate goodness….(This batch, I used a chopped-up brick of chocolate)

Deceptively Delicious Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies (G-F/D-F)

Barely adapted from Texan Erin.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained.
  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter (I used Once Again’s Old Fashioned Crunchy with no salt…1 ingredient!)
  • A splash of vanilla (or 2 tsp. if you really want to dirty another spoon)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (I used a delicious chipotle infused maple syrup from Vermont)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • a pinch of (smoked) sea salt-optional
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet, but prefer bitter-sweet)

What to do:

Pre-heat oven to 350. Line cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside.

Combine first 5 ingredients in food processor or a large bowl (if using an immersion blender) and blend until smooth. If necessary, scrape the bowl to ensure you get all the tiny bits blended up.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon mixture onto prepared cookie sheet (I use two small spoons, a small ice cream scoop could also work…or just use your hands if you don’t mind getting sticky.)

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until chocolate melts and cookies start to brown.

~makes about 18 cookies

Enjoy!

 


My Thoughts: Burritos, Baguettes and Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cider.

Confession Time: I have been in a major funk lately. I’m not sure what caused it, but I just can’t seem to shake it.

All I want to eat is taco salad and/or burritos. Is that wrong? Does it make it any better if I made my own flour tortillas? They’re whole wheat!

I may or may not have eaten half a batch of chocolate chip cookies over the course of 24 hours this weekend…. luckily Farmer Ben made them so he cut down on the sugar….WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I don’t even really want coffee in the morning… what’s wrong with me?! Actually, that’s a lie… I want coffee, but then I can never finish it…I think that is classified as an ever bigger offense.

I’m hoping it’s just a winter fad. I’m trying to drown my sorrows in big glasses of water and fully decked out salads…. whether or not this works remains to be seen.

But until then, I guess I’ll have to keep eating chocolate chip cookies and homemade breakfast burritos. Is there such a thing as too much of either of these things? I hope not.

Burrito eating and chocolate chip cookies soothe my soul.

So does wine tasting at the local vineyards. Yeah, that also happened. There was wine and chocolate. No big deal.

Bourbon barrel-aged hard cider made from local MacIntosh apples? Mind-blowing.  Check it out!

On another note, baguette-me-nots is my latest obsession. Hilarious. You’re welcome.

Happy Monday!


October Foodie Penpals

I’m a day late, but I am so pumped to tell you about this month’s foodie penpals!

I sent a package to Susie in Indiana…she recently moved there from Chicago and couldn’t be happier!  I have to say that this was the first time I received an email from a foodie penpal that made me laugh out loud. Major props. I sent her some of my favorite (and local) items from our co-op.

To see what other Foodie Penpals received, check out the Lean Green Bean’s Post.

This month I was paired with Mary from Wisconsin. She describes herself as a “food enthusiast” and teaches chocolate making classes in her spare time. How awesome is that?!

I received her package when I arrived home from my trip to DC (for the ATM!) And it was AMAZING. Seriously…I think this was my favorite package ever. Thank you, Mary!!!

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Penzeys and coffee and chocolate! Oh MY!

Not only did I get a small note for every item in the package, I also got a copy of Penzeys Spices latest catalog (which has some great recipes in it, btw!), a variety of recipe cards, little post cards (also from Penzeys) and some new knowledge about the company-Did you know that they are out of Wisconsin?! Mary wrote in one of her notes that she has watched them grow from a small shop into an awesome company. I love stories like this!!!

Along with some great Penzeys recipes, I also got some of Mary’s favorite spice blend, Northwoods (Ben and I tried some the other night. Very tasty) and some natural high fat cocoa, which I put this in some pumpkin cupcakes and it gave it that extra little something.  Mary also sent her recipe for cappuccino thins, which I will definitely be making soon!

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I’m all about new cookie recipes!!!

Other items in the package included:

– Mary’s favorite coffee blend (a chocolate roast mixed with an orange roast and tossed in cocoa-heavenly!)

-Wisconsin Truffles filled with beer. Also delicious.

-Her family’s favorite Fall snack-a trail mix which includes dried cherries, nuts and other wonderful goodies. This is really good. I’m trying to make it last a long time…but I don’t think that will happen.

Like I said, AMAZING!!!

Mary, you went above and beyond. Thanks again!!!

And now it’s time for some details about Foodie Penpals:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes! Most of the time it takes 2 days to go anywhere in the country!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa.
If you’re interested in participating in November, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions.
You must submit your information by November 4th as pairings will be emailed on October 5th!


Whiskey Cookies? Whoa.

I know what you’re thinking. I spent yesterday’s post talking about how I was so sick of cookies and how much I love veggies and how I was getting back on track…and now I am going to tell you about another cookie?! What kind of sick person am I?! Awkwaaaard.

But in all seriousness, I need to tell you about these. They are…in my opinion, the perfect cookie. Chewy but not crunchy, soft but not mushy, with just a hint of healthy. Oh, and did I mention the whiskey-chocolate-pecan combination? Yum.

Check out that texture.

Also…I made these on Monday. So… that makes it okay.

I got the original recipe from the Serious Eats 2010 Cookie Swap but have made a few changes. It’s a pretty basic recipe. The whole wheat flour and the flax seed meal add a nutty texture and instead of being uniformly flat like most cookies, they are a bit puffed up…I love this, it gives them major character. When I make these, I usually use Red Stag, which gives a lovely cherry tone but this time I used some sort of Jack Daniels Black Label Specialty… whatever you have on hand.

Whiskey Cookies: 

*adapted from Rachel Heise Bolten via Serious Eats*

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I use the unbleached stuff)
  • 1 cup stone ground whole wheat flour (Bob’s Red Mill is my favorite brand)
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seed meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temp.
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 oz. (Or about half a bag) bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans *I’m lazy, so I usually just break the pecans up in my hand before I throw them in)

Preheat oven to 375.

In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla and bourbon until creamy. I use my trusty pastry blender to do it by hand, but you can also use the paddle attachment on your KitchenAid.

Add your eggs in one at a time. Mix until combined.

Add your dry ingredients to the butter mixture. I added half, mixed and then added the rest.

Once your dry and wet ingredients are nicely combined, stir in your chocolate chips and pecans with a spatula.

*The original recipe calls for letting the dough sit in your refrigerator for at least three days, because I significantly increased the amount of whiskey, I don’t believe this is necessary. However, if you’re looking for a bit more whiskey flavor, stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours.* 

Drop cookie dough by the (large) spoonful onto an ungreased cookie sheet-use parchment paper for super easy cleanup.

Bake until edges are golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.


Veggie-Tales!

I am so sick of cookies. I am tired of sweets in general. I don’t know why, but this year, I really think I overdid it. I didn’t even do as much baking as I had planned but the thought of eating one more piece of fudge, slice of cake or bite of a cookie makes me want to run screaming for the hills. Seriously… I am going to turn into a chocolate chip cookie…or a stick of butter. Basically, I’m over it.

That being said, I am probably the only person out there who chose yesterday, the day after Christmas, to do some serious baking. I know you’re judging. I am judging, too.  But I had to do it! There are some very dear friends and family members who I had promised crazy confections… and I just… didn’t get around to it until yesterday, I mean, I had time the day before Christmas, but then the cookies would have sat around for days before I mailed them out, and who wants stale cookies? I certainly don’t. Anyway, I decided to jazz them up a little bit and make them a bit healthier (and more delicious-in my opinion-look for the recipe later this week!)…So, to the recipients of my baked goods, you’re welcome.

After overdosing on sugar this month, my latest food obsession is the veggie pita. I take a whole wheat pita, slice it down the middle and stuff each side with mixed greens, sprouts, avocado, tomato, onion and Ben’s chili sauce. I forgot the chili sauce today, so I used hummus instead. I can tell that I have been going through clean food withdrawal because it feels so GOOD to be eating veggies, even if it is just the basic stuff.

Side Note: Ben usually grows everything mentioned above (minus the avocado, obviously) in our garden-we still had scallions and Swiss chard growing up until a couple of weeks ago!- but, as it is the off season, we get most of our veggies at our local co-op, which works with local farms and greenhouses. I bought our tomatoes at Price Chopper- they were hydroponically grown in Vermont (and pesticide free!), I chose these over the organically grown tomatoes from Mexico.

I don’t pretend to be an expert about food and I don’t consider myself a “health-nut”, but as a personal policy, I do try to stick with all natural ingredients and buy local whenever possible. I also try to buy farmer-owned brands (such as Cabot or Organic Valley) and stick to items with ingredients I can pronounce. If I pick up a package that has a list of 40+ ingredients, I immediately put it down. I don’t believe that our bodies were meant to have so much junk put into them.

When we buy meat, we get it directly from local farms, the farmers’ market or from our food co-op. Again, it’s not always “organic”, but it’s local, hormone-free and grass-fed, the way it should be. The same thing goes for our eggs.

As far as microwaveable foods, I don’t. We don’t even own a microwave. I prefer to cook it, chop it, slice it, steam it or boil it myself…and if I make too much I can simply freeze it and reheat it on the stove or in the oven-or give it to a friend. I also avoid chain restaurants as much as possible, just because Ben and I have both worked in the restaurant business and know how much of the chain food comes in a bag and goes in the microwave. It’s gross…and ridiculous, considering how easy most of the food is to make.

The idea of mass-produced foods (whether it be meat, cheese, bread or vegetables) kind of freaks me out…especially after some of the reading/documentary watching I’ve done. I believe that food is meant to be a personalized experience-not just eating whatever garbage is put in front of you-and that you’ll get more out of your meal if you know where it’s coming from and how it was prepared. It saddens me that so many people out there have no idea what they are putting in their bodies, day after day and even more have no idea how to cook for themselves!

I am not saying that I am perfect. I do slip up on occasion, but for the most part, I try my hardest to follow these rules. I realize that it’s not super difficult for me as I was blessed with a wonderful mother who cooked a ton of different things and made me try new foods on a weekly basis (I didn’t grow up eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Hamburger Helper, I grew up eating lentil soup, roast chicken, swiss chard, and countless other homemade things) …and I am married to a chef-slowly-turning-farmer-who-cans-freezes-everything.

Farmer Ben, hard at work.

I haven’t always been as passionate about where my food comes from… I used to stand with the many who see buying local/organic as pointless and too expensive. This simply isn’t true, you just have to do your homework. And honestly, if I spend a few cents more on my Cabot butter, I am okay with that, because I know that it is going to the farmers…or if I spend a little bit more buying the crackers with 7 ingredients instead of 47, I feel confident knowing that I am saving my body from a ton of extra junk it doesn’t need. Again, I am no expert, these are just my personal beliefs, but I like to think that I am healthier because of it.

Anyway, that is the end of my rant for the day…who would have thought that talking about vegetables could get one so worked up?!  With that in mind, I’m using this post as a public announcement. I am getting back on track-starting today! I am a big believer in the food journal. Even if you aren’t trying to get in shape, it’s really helpful to see exactly what you are eating-or not eating- and track your water intake. I know that this month I have been horrible about drinking water and I have felt it.

So, I am getting back to my food journaling ways. I recently discovered MyFitnessPal and have been using it…kind of… for the last couple of months. I really like this site because it’s very comprehensive, has a really large and pretty accurate database and has a lot of different tools that I have found very helpful. They also have a smartphone app with a really awesome barcode scanner (probably the coolest thing ever!).  Today, I am getting back into it after a brief hiatus and want to invite you to be …my fitness pal! You can find me-my username is nre820.

Alright kids, catch you later! Be on the lookout for a few life updates and some baller recipes!