Thursday, October 22, 2009

Searching for Oatmeal Cookies with Apple Filling - Can you help?

I need your help.  When I was a child, I remember eating an oatmeal cookie with apple filling.  It was the kind of cookie they put right at the register at the perfect height for children to exclaim to their mother or father "I HAVE to have this" while clutching it to their chest.  (Sidenote: I don't have children so I can't help but smile whenever I see this act in a store.  No matter what the object, the child instantly realizes that it is the answer to all their prayers.)  Lately I've been craving that cookie but can't find it.

I thought maybe it was a Grandma's Cookie. 

But when I went to the website, no apple oatmeal cookie.  So I decided to try to re-create it.  And since I'm a child of the 80s, I decided to go to a cookbook from the 80s for inspiration.  It is ironically titled "New Cook Book" from Better Homes and Gardens.  Love this book.  My mother gave it to me when I got my first apartment.  Jellymolds, fondue and 22 different recipes for fruit salad (ambrosia - gag me with a spoon) aside, I've found most of the recipes to stand the test of time.  And, there was a recipe for Apple-Filled Oatmeal Cookies.  Perfect! I made some slight adjustments to make it sweeter and omitted nuts and raisins in the filling.  Do we have a winner?
Apple Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook (circa 1981)

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I used light because that's what I had on hand)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg (room temperature)
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup rolled oats

1 1/2 cups finely diced peeled apple
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a cookie sheet.  (I don't think people used slipmats and parchment paper in 1981.)
Make Filling - Cook apple, sugar, cinnamon and water on medium/low until sauce is thick and apple is tender.

In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, spices and salt with whisk or spoon.  Set aside.
Beat butter for 30 seconds; add both sugars and beat until fluffy.  Add egg; beat well.
Add dry ingredients and milk alternatively, beating after each addition.  Stir in oats.
Drop cookies on cookie sheet.   Make a depression in the center of each and fill with apples.

These cookies are not the cookies I remember from my childhood but they are so good.  The cookie is soooo chewy and not too sweet.  They definitely hit the spot and are super easy to make. 

Have you tried to recreate a store bought treat from your past?  Does anyone know what cookie I'm talking about?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

TWD Sweet Potato Biscuits

For this week's Tuesday with Dorie, Erin of Prudence Pennywise chose the Sweet Potato Biscuit recipe.  I was really excited to make this week's recipe as I've never made biscuits and I love a good sweet potato.  This is definitely a recipe I will make again.

I think I put a little more than 1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg.  =)  I actually put even more in later.  I love nutmeg with sweet potato and the canned puree I used just didn't have enough flavor.

I think next time I may have to use whole sweet potatoes (or just doctor up the biscuit a bit).
"Rolling out the dough was real simple - love that!"

This biscuit has fall written all over it.  Its good plain but even better warm with a little butter. 

My biscuits didn't rise, but I didn't really mind. The flavor was nice and the biscuit was soft.

Don't forget to visit Prudence Pennywise and the rest of TWD bakers to see their versions of Dorie Greenspan's Sweet Potato Biscuits.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Food Network Cake Challenge, Here I Come


But seriously, I made this.  Can you believe it?

I was given the opportunity to learn how to make this cake and couldn't resist.  Part of me thought, I shouldn't do this. 

I'm a baker, not an artist and outside of my Wilton courses, I've never decorated a cake let alone carved one. 

This is going to be way over my head.   But the thought of making A Wild Thing was too good to pass up.

So I went for it. 

Little old me, who has only worked with fondant 2 other times...
Who didn't even know how to make modeling chocolate*... 
Who only puts a knife to cake to cut a slice... 

Created the cutest little Where The Wild Things Are cake.

This is my inspiration.

Image Source:

Pretty good eh?

The legs are fondant.  I mixed a little food color gel with vodka to pant his pants and shirt.

We (oh did I not mention that I took a class to learn how to make this?) were told to use modeling chocolate for the arms because fondant is just too heavy.  I also used modeling chocolate for the teeth and nails (I LOVE the nails).

The hair is black royal icing.

The OH SO TALENTED Chef Janet Ben-Ami of Hey!Cookie taught lucky members of The New York Cake Decorator's Meetup group how to make this masterpiece.  This group ranges from cake novices like myself to professional cake decorators.  The thought of being in a class way over my experience level was intimidating.  But I'm so glad I did it.  First of all, Chef Janet is the greatest.  Janet was the best teacher. You can tell she loves what she does and she was so encouraging throughout the entire process.

The class was 4 hours and well, let's just say I didn't get very far in class.  If I would have been on the Food Network Challenge, Kerry Vincent would have shook her head and said, "You really need to work on your time management skills.  We would have loved to judge your piece, but well, its just pound cake with buttercream." 

But I learned enough to have the confidence to finish the project at home.  And by finish, I mean - color the fondant, roll it out, add the arms, legs, teeth and nails.

He is so cute, no one would cut him.  I think my family was a little turned off to learn there is a PVC pipe acting as his spine (I totally cleaned the pipe before adding cake which isn't even touching the pipe.)

So we took my Aunt Melva's famous pound cake out of the freezer, added some of my leftover buttercream, and ate it while we looked at my Wild Thing.  I love him - he's like a little kitchen gnome.    

What have you been afraid to try in the kitchen but are so glad you did?  Are you going to see the Where The Wild Things Are movie?

* So easy -- For white modeling chocolate, just melt 14 oz of the Wilton white candy chips and then add 1/4 cup of Light Corn Oil. Mix but don't over mix. Lay on a heavily parchment papered cookie sheet for an hour or two.  A lot of oil will ooze out during this time, don't worry.  Once "dry", wrap tightly with saran wrap. with Dorie

I know that I'm 2 days late, but these muffins were so good, I had to share them with you.    This week's recipe was for Allspice Crumb Muffins.  If you are like me, allspice isn't sitting pretty in your spice rack.  Let me suggest that you add it to this week's grocery list. What I LOVED about these muffins:

(1)  They are sweet enough for dessert but not too sweet to eat as breakfast
(2)  The possibilities - I could see myself adding apples or bananas or nuts to this muffin - YUM
(3)  Quick and easy - so quick, I forgot to take pictures of the process

Does the oven count?
(4)  Allspice - seriously brown sugar never tasted so good and I think its because of the allspice (but I'm no Alton Brown so don't quote me)

These were great!  Seriously - this is one recipe you will definitely want to keep. 

My tops weren't so crumby.  I think I mixed the streusel a little too much.  But I liked how the topping melted into the muffin.

This week's recipe was chosen by Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table.  How much do you love that blog name?  Visit her site and then see how other TWD bakers fared.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Possibly My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Although it is 2009, I still receive the occassional the email hoax.  Just this morning, I received an email stating that a certain tech company was giving away laptops.  All I had to do was forward the email to 8 people.  And why wouldn't a company that sells laptops want to give away all of their laptops for free to millions of people all over the globe? 
And friends, when you mail said hoax, saying you don't really believe it but "You never know..."?  That doesn't make it any better.

But I do have to thank a loved one for this Neiman Marcus Cookie recipe.  You know the one about the mother having the most delicious chocolate chip cookies with her daughter at insert {Mrs. Fields/ Neiman Marcus/ Marshall Field}? And when she asked to buy the recipe, the waiter replied "Sure that will be two fifty".  The woman paid with her credit card only to discover later that it was actually $250.00 not $2.50 and as revenge she is mailing the recipe out to the world.  Well, disgruntled recipe buyer, THANK YOU. 

Money well paid.

This is the perfect chocolate chip cookie for me.  I get kind of disappointed when my chocolate chip cookies come out flat with the only texture coming from the chips sticking up, especially when they get hard.  Gooey chocolate chip cookies are fine, but I start to feel sick by cookie number 3 (who eats just one fresh out of the oven cookie?).

But this $250 cookie from your favorite department store is so not flat, so not hard, and so not gooey.  It is perfectly soft, amazingly chocolate and makes you say "I made this?".   Please make it.

So that the next time a loved one sends you an email stating something cool will happen to your screen when you forward the message to 11 people, you can give them this cookie to eat while they wait.  Cause "you never know".

What's Your Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie?

$250 Chocolate Chip Cookies (slightly adapted*)
(this makes a ton of cookies, recommend halving unless you are having a BIG party)

2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder - I add a cup at a time)
24 oz. chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Chips)
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey bar (grated - just chop little slivers with a non serated knife)
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. 
Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

*The original recipe calls for 5 cups of oatmeal and 3 cups of chopped nuts (your choice).