Friday, September 13, 2013

Somewhere in Here is a Recipe

On the one hand, I miss writing my baking column for Twenties Hacker. Every time I make something new, in fact. It feels weird to not be taking photos or making notes or sharing some delicious goodness with my small but loyal legion of bake-sketeers. (That didn't work as well as I had hoped.)

On the other hand, I don't miss the stress of hitting a weekly deadline, especially not one that I wasn't getting paid for. It never really worked to "bake ahead" and do a bunch at once. I tried it, toward the end. I think it actually stressed me out more. It's also kind of nice to not stop every thirty seconds and take a photo - my cooking/baking process is much more streamlined and efficient without trying to document every step.

In order to reconcile these two conflicting sentiments, I've decided to go ahead and just occasionally post a recipe here. It makes sense - I've already got the real estate. I tried having a separate recipe blog but it's kind of a barren wasteland over there. I haven't posted on it in two years. I can't bring myself to delete it, either. But considering that everyone has to eat, and I'm not going to post recipes that are impossible or gross, I'm hoping it won't bother any of the ten or twelve of you that read this. If it does, in fact, impair your enjoyment of this site, I will move them over to the other one.

Blah blah blah, my point is: I made cookies.

If you know me at all, even casually, in passing, you've heard of me, maybe, you know that I am one of those crazy pumpkin people. The day that Starbucks releases the Pumpkin Spice Lattes is like an extra Christmas (is it just me, or are they exceptionally good this year?). I will buy everything I can find that has "pumpkin" in the name (this year's new finds so far: pumpkin spice M&Ms and pumpkin pie ice cream). I've finally even started a dedicated Pinterest board to Just Pumpkin. I've been sent multiple compilations of pumpkin recipes already... which means, it's time to get started.


I found this particular recipe through one of those articles and decided to start with it because I already had all the ingredients on hand (or ingredients that I could substitute, which slightly alters the original recipe) and because it finally stopped being 100+ degrees outside so I could finally turn the oven on without having a heat stroke. These cookies are stupidly easy, which means I'll probably have to make them again, which I say about everything but there's only SO MUCH TIME.


Anyway. Here's the recipe. In case that's what you came here for.


PUMPKIN CRANBERRY OATMEAL COOKIES
adapted from Eat Drink Love's Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:
1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup almond oil
1/3 cup raw honey
1-1/2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Some notes on the ingredients: 

1. THE PUMPKIN

No matter what the recipe calls for, I will, without fail, put in an entire can of pumpkin. This has yet to cause me a problem, but I'm sure someday I will screw something up. Until that day, I will continue to change every single recipe I make to call for the whole can.

I mean, really. What are you going to do with a quarter can of pumpkin anyway? Exactly.

2. THE ALMOND OIL

Almond oil is great and I've subbed it in several recipes, usually ones that call for an oil that the BF is allergic to (macadamia nut oil, coconut oil, etc). I didn't really know it existed until I read about it in a cookbook that is full of healthy recipes and talks about the benefits and awesome properties of the various foods. It is an anomaly among my cookbooks, though at this point I would probably own more healthy cookbooks if I used them anymore - mostly, I just pull things from the Internet.

The reason almond oil is great is because it's pretty versatile and can be used in any range of temperatures. Not all oils "work" at high heats, but this one does. It's also high in "omega-3 essential fatty acids" which I don't really know much about but it's supposed to be good for you. Almonds are good for your heart, anyway. And I guess they can lower your cholesterol. See, this is educational.

The caveat? It's hella expensive, unless you can get a deal on it. I actually found a bottle at TJ Maxx, of all places, that was twice as large and half as expensive as the bottle I got at the grocery store. Go figure.

3.THE RAW HONEY

Raw honey is great, but kind of expensive, but worth it, in my opinion. The original recipe called for agave nectar which multiple people have told me isn't the greatest for baking, plus I already had a jar from a surprisingly delightful batch of chickpea brownies that I made a few months ago, so I decided to go ahead and swap it out.

I had a hard time finding it at first, and ended up victorious at our local food co-op. I think the health section of our regular grocery store has it now too. It looks different than regular honey - it's kind of an opaque gold color, and might still have bits of the honeycomb in it. It's better because it hasn't been processed to death like "regular" honey (you know, the kind that comes in the little bear-shaped containers) - it still has all of the original enzymes and antioxidants that get lost in the heating process.

4. THE OATS

If, like me, you happen to be standing in your kitchen at 9:15pm, still sweaty and gross from your run (because if you're going to turn the oven on and sweat some more, you may as well hold off on the shower), and realize that you only have 2/3 of a cup of quick oats left and you really don't want to go to the grocery store, and hey, there's an almost-full container of old-fashioned oats sitting right there, and you decide to mix the two together to get to the 1-1/2 cups that you need... it seems to work okay.

5. OTHER THINGS I CHANGED

The original recipe called for whole wheat flour, which is better for you, but I had perfectly good regular flour that I needed to use up. So I did. You can also add walnuts or other nuts to it but I left those out because (a) I did not have them and (b) the BF is allergic. I AM SO CONSIDERATE. You can also add chia or flax or whatever else moves you. I didn't because I forgot. But you totally could if you wanted.

IF YOU SURVIVED THE INGREDIENT LIST, HERE IS HOW TO MAKE THE COOKIES, BUT I DID NOT INCLUDE STEP-BY-STEP PHOTOS BECAUSE IT IS REALLY EASY AND ALSO THAT IS A LOT OF WORK AND IT'S ALREADY PAST MY BEDTIME:

Preheat your oven to 350ยบ Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, honey, applesauce, and oil (aka: the wet ingredients). No need to get out the fancy mixer - using a spoon or spatula or whisk works great.

In a different, smaller bowl, mix together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt (aka: the dry ingredients.)

Mix the wet ingredients and dry ingredients.

Add the cranberries and/or any nuts that you might be using.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you probably don't have to, but I did because I didn't feel like washing my cookie sheet) and scoop the batter into little balls. I found that mine stayed in ball formation even after they were baked (the original recipe showed them being flatter...) so you'll want to leave some room around them but you don't need a lot.

Bake for 14 minutes. Cool on a rack. EAT.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

1. These are really good. Usually when I think of "cranberry" my next thought is "orange" - I wasn't sure what to expect with the cranberry-pumpkin combo, but it was awesome. I did toy with the idea of throwing in chocolate chips, but that would have decreased the healthiness value... and also, I didn't have any. I don't think it really needs them though. But it might be interesting to try. The texture is pretty soft and chewy. In case you were expecting something else.

2. I took the word "breakfast" out of the title of my version because these taste too damn delicious to be something that would be appropriate for breakfast (not that that's going to stop me from using it as an excuse to eat them right when I wake up). I'm not sure what makes a breakfast cookie, a breakfast cookie, but it almost seems like cheating to me. Cookies for breakfast?! What is this madness?!

3. I got 35 cookies out of this batch. Enough for sharing! I mean, if I'm nice. That's kind of a lot of cookies to eat by myself though.

4. This post is probably indicative as to why the CIY franchise should remain resting in peace. Howeeeeeeeeever, it's not technically part of that series.... yeah, this post is a disaster. Whatever, it was fun. Next time it will be much more straightforward. Probably.

1 comment:

Kelly L said...

Dude, breakfast cookies are whack. Which is to say delicious. And essential. I SHALL NOW MAKE ALL THE COOKIES.