Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

For old quotes, look here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Leftover Cookies That Are Never Left Over

The Evil Genius pointed his death-ray at me and demanded cookies. Since I was planning on making them anyway, I agreed. He also wanted to help, so after I shifted his paradigm by making him wash face and hands before we began, we baked.

He's really digging the whole baking Shui, and I'm hoping he'll learn a few things from it - math, chemistry, patience, how to clean up after himself, the meaning of life, and of course cooking.

Yeah, yeah, I know - enough of the demi-hippy home-schooling family crap...get on with the cookies!!

The cast:

For the basic cookie part:
2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter. Yes butter. Real, salted, bad for you butter. Room temperature.
1 C firmly packed brown sugar - I like dark brown, but you can use light if you want.
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla. Real vanilla, none of that fake plastic crap. Yes, I know it costs more. You'll thank me.
1 1/2 C flour - I use half whole wheat and half unbleached all-purpose.
1 tsp baking soda.
1/2 tsp salt.
1 tsp cinnamon.
3 C old fashioned oats

For the "Leftovers" part, some or all of the following:
More vanilla.
More cinnamon.
Dried, ground ginger.
Raisins - I like golden.
Dried cranberries.
Dried cherries.
Chocolate chips.
Chocolate chunks.
Toasted almond slivers - I toast them on my stove top.

Gargoyle optional.

Wow, what a cast, huh? Don't worry, it's not that complicated. Ready? On with the show! (Don't ask me why I use semi-show business talk for this stuff...I have no idea.)

Dump flour, baking soda, and at least one teaspoon (I used way more) of the cinnamon into a sifter. Add ground ginger if you're using it - I think I used a bit less than half a teaspoon. Add the salt. Set the sifter aside to contemplate the meaning of life while you get busy with the other ingredients.

Drop butter into mixing bowl and pour granulated sugar over it. If you're cooking with a child, let them dump the sugar in while you nervously pray to the gods of fine motor control that he doesn't see something more interesting, gesture excitedly to it, and create a sugary little Sahara all over your counter and floor.
Wouldn't it be nice if they always had this kind of focus on the job at hand?

When all the sugar is finally in the bowl, beat on low until the sugar's all incorporated (it's an LLC, if you were wondering). Add the brown sugar - piss off the kid by telling him you need to do this bit because that sugar's packed in the cup and doesn't really pour out. Assuage his ire by letting him work the mixer control. Wonder if Kitchen Aid makes a mixer with a rev limiter.
Vanilla next, at least one teaspoon. I use two. When the Spawn asks if he can dump the vanilla in, say "no" - what he really means is he'd like to tip the bottle in and ler 'er rip.

Eggs next. If you are mad enough to let the sweatshop serf helpful child crack the eggs into the bowl, pre-crack them and try to assist his directional control. Also, have a spare egg handy for when one of them slides half into the bowl and half onto the counter. Make the child go wash the raw egg from his hand before he licks his fingers or picks his nose. Quick, while he's washing his hands, get the spare egg in there without letting him see so he won't feel bad. Yeah, yeah.

In three lots, sift the flour mixture into the bowl. Let the kid turn the sifter crank a few times - it's like magic, to him! He also likes dumping the flour in, but make sure the mixer's turned off or you'll be sorry. Just ask Dawn over at Because I Said So. Mix thoroughly, then add the oats.

At this point, your basic cookie is done and you may commence to baking. I wouldn't, because I can't leave well-enough alone. C'mon, you don't want a boring cookie do ya??

I didn't think so.

For this batch, I added half a bag each dried cranberries and cherries, a quarter of a bag Nestle semi-sweet chips and a half a bag of Ghirardelli (try typing that in a hurry) semi-sweet chips. I usually also add golden raisins, toasted almond slivers, and chocolate chunks, but I didn't have any. This is why these are called "Leftovers Cookies" - you use whatever you have leftover from other cookies, brownies, or cakes you baked this month to tart it up a bit. I thought about throwing in some toasted pine nuts, but decided they'd be too pungent.
Drop by big old spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and cook at 350 for eleven minutes or so - more if you like them crunchy.
Cool on a rack, yada, yada, yada.


Mrs. G. said...

I'm on my way over. I'll bring the milk.

devilsivy said...

That's some action-packed cooking! I love those familiar stories.