Posts Tagged ‘Cookies’

We are heaven-sent.  We will make all your problems disappear.  The answers to all of life’s questions lie in this cookie jar.  Yes, we are talking cookies, and yes, we are now controlling your miiiiiiind.

Do you guys ever get the feeling that your food is…you know…talking to you?

Okay, well, maybe it’s just me.  But man, I could’ve sworn those delicious little cookies sitting on the counter were, well, beseeching me to do their bidding.  No?  You’ve never felt like that?

You are nothing without us!  We can give you everything your heart desires!  We look so inviting!  Inviting and, yet, off-limits!  Irresistible we are!  Make us now!

About a week ago, the Boy’s sister (the Girl) came into town to stay with us and attend a ridiculous, poorly-organized corporate conference and spend some good times catching up.  And eating.  She is a Chicago-born expat living in St. Paul, after all.  So while the week certainly didn’t lack for good beer, great Italian beefs, and phenomenal pizza, I felt we needed a little something extra.  Like, something with a lot of butter in it.  And sugar.  That’s also rolled in more sugar.  Enter the pecan sandies.

Yum, yum, yum–if there was ever a recipe that made me wanna find out how to turn everything I make into a slice-and-bake deal, it’s this one.  I mean, what could be easier than six ingredients thrown together, rolled into a log, chilled, and then sliced up anytime you need a cookie fix?  Of course, I didn’t wait for the fix, opting to bake mine all at once instead.  But wouldn’t it be great to just keep a few short rolls of these cookies in the freezer for, you know, like, a cookie emergency?  As an added bonus, it’s practically effortless to make all these cookies the exact same size and shape, and the dough is incredibly forgiving and resists burning.  I wonder what the cookies have to say about that?

Take us to your leader!

Man, you can never count on a cookie to stay on-topic.

Mind Control Pecan Sandies

1 cup butter, softened (the best non-local, grocery brand you can get is Kerrygold–it’s imported from Ireland, where they know how to treat their dairy cows)
3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for rolling
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans

Beat the butter mercilessly with 3/4 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla.  Really go at it until it’s nice and fluffy.  I don’t have a hand mixer (I know–shocker!  I really find beating the shit out of something with a wooden spoon to be therapeutic.  If you’re not up to merciless, it would probably only take you two minutes with an electric mixer.)  In a separate bowl, mix the salt, flour, and nuts.  Add this dry mixture into the wet mixture in thirds, beating well between each addition.  Take the dough out of the bowl and work it with your hands until you can roll it into two thin logs, maybe about an inch and a half in diameter.  Roll the logs in waxed paper and stick ’em in the fridge for at least an hour. (OR, at this point you can stick the logs in the freezer for future use).

When you’re ready to start baking, preheat the oven to 350.  Unwrap the dough logs and use a sharp, heavy knife to cut 1/4 inch thick slices of dough, placing them maybe half an inch apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (until the cookie tops start to get golden on the edges).  Take them out and pour some powdered sugar into a decent-sized bowl.  Drop the hot cookies, a few at a time, into the powdered sugar, and roll them around until they’re nicely coated.  Then place them on cooling racks.  Repeat until you’re done rolling all the cookies, working quickly so as to prevent the hot cookies from cooling off before they’re rolled (the heat helps the sugar to bond to the cookies).  Once you’re sure they’re all cool as cucumbers, feel free to pack them into cookie tins or mason jars, as I did, and let the mind control begin!

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These were one of my contributions to the cookie exchange I hosted yesterday.  Oh.  Yeah.

I mean, really.  OH, YEAH!

Sorry–just had a Kool-Aid Man moment there.  But seriously, these delicious goodies are my Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Mallowmars.

Or, as we’ve taken to calling them around here, the Gay Pride Tophats.

Here’s the recipe, along with pictures of other bakers’ interpretations.

But that recipe won’t get you these babies.  No, ma’am’s, these cookies are the result of some serious screwups and improvisations, all of which you virtually witnessed if you follow me on Twitter.  Things started okay–after all, the homemade graham cookies turned out pretty nicely, if I do say so myself.  And I do.  Say so myself, I mean.  But things went a little downhill from there.  Let’s review, shall we?  Pull up a comfy armchair, don a smoking jacket, have your bubble pipe at the ready, and sit back for…


4:46 PM Dec 21st from web:  First cookie disaster of the day: double boiler, um, boiled over, burning me and causing my white chocolate to seize up!

4:49 PM Dec 21st from web:  Cookie Baking Day totals, so far: 1 boilover (chocolate’s), 1 meltdown (mine), and 1 act of taking it down to a simmer (The Boy’s)…

5:07 PM Dec 21st from web:  Does having a cookie tantrum make me immature? Hmm…

7:28 PM Dec 21st from web:  Cookie Day Disaster #2: homemade marshmallow fluff isn’t setting! I’m either gonna lose it or stop caring altogether, and I’m not sure which!

7:30 PM Dec 21st from web:  AND my mixer broke! I burned out the engine on my freaking hand mixer!

7:44 PM Dec 21st from web:  Dark chocolate isn’t solidifying on the half-dipped cherry cookies–at this point I’m just laughing maniacally…I promise I can bake!

7:50 PM Dec 21st from web:  Accidentally bought unsalted peanut butter yesterday and I needed the regular kind! ARRRRGGGHHH!

And finally, my morning after haiku on the subject:

9:27 AM Dec 22nd from web:  Cookie Exchange Day/You’ve brought me pain and pleasure/Also, sticky floors…

Tell me you’ve had nights like this.  Come on, there must be some good cooking/baking/candy-making horror stories out there, guys.

…guys?  Seriously, I could stand to laugh at misfortune right now.

Someone else’s misfortune.

What ended up happening with these cookies is that I gave up on the failed marshmallow fluff (we’ve since discovered that the candy thermometer was broken), and dug out a leftover bag of jumbo marshmallows, snipped ’em in half, attached them to the grahams with blobs (not smears, not dollops, but blobs) of peanut butter, and dipped them in melted milk chocolate…then in dark chocolate when I ran out of milk chocolate.

The Boy can only be expected to make so many emergency grocery runs in one night.

And then came time for fun–time for the girls to come over and tell me all about their baking issues (dough-eating husbands, peanut brittle that wouldn’t, um, brittle, projects that got nixed and re-started the morning of the exchange…), while we drank champagne (heavily), snacked on meatballs and goat cheese (heavily), and giggled (also heavily).  Seeing as how we decided to go with the as-few-rules-as-possible route (two varieties of goody made per attendee, a dozen baked for each attendee), we were amazed and pleased with the variety and skillful execution in our spread.  There were fudges and barks, cookies dipped in chocolate, cookies glazed with liquor (divine!), and cookies cram-packed with fruit and nuts.  All in all, I’d say we had a good time, despite–

–okay, BECAUSE OF–

the astonishing quantity of alcohol we “dainty” babes put away.

You readers came up with some brilliant suggestions for hosting the ultimate cookie exchange–everything from baking extra cookies for charity to using Chinese takeout containers for the–well, the takeout.  And it was HARD to choose just one winner for the mystery giveaway.  But what is life without challenges?  The winner is…Elsa! Elsa put so much time and effort into her post, and covered so many cookie exchange conundrums (she even offered up a recipe of her own), that I just had to award her the fantabulous mystery prize.  Which is <drumroll>…

A Williams-Sonoma message-in-a-cookie set!  Customizable cookie cutters allow you to choose from pre-set holiday messages, or arrange your own for that one-of-a-kind, only-she-would-give-me-a-cookie-that-says-that sort of effect (some of my suggestions: “Jehosephat, it’s Christmas!”; “U Yule My Log”; “Bite Me”; “Bad Mama Genny RULZ”).  Congratulations, Elsa!

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Photo by Artgeek3K at stock.xchng.

Oh, misfits, you should’ve KNOWN I’d be a freak for Christmas.  Really, now.

Have you ever noticed that you go into the holiday season with all these expectations?  That you just assume you’ll be able to knit Mom a bolero with ruffled feather edges?  That you’ll–CHYA! of course!–make an authentic figgy pudding?  That you’ll, oh definitely, watch every movie in your 30+ Christmas movie collection. hot cocoa and a The Boy or The Girl by your side, matching Cosby-esque holiday sweaters gleaming in the light of your glowing fireplace, your Colgate-white teeth glinting ever so brightly as you toss your head back to share a hearty laugh over something that incorrigible Donald Duck has done?  Oh, Donald, you and your hilarious hijinx!  Whenever will you learn?

Well, that’s me, and I don’t know what I’m thinking when I wrap myself into this mental giftbox of horrors.

I don’t even have a fireplace.

Nevertheless, the BMG always heads into fall with all these expectations, a mental checklist that grows by leaps and bounds once we pass Halloween, and which has inevitably swollen to fuck-all unmanageable proportions by the time Thanksgiving hits.  By Black Friday, I’m convinced that Christmas for this year is already shot and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

Uh, dramatic much?

That’s why this year I’m taking a different approach.  I’m pencilling in Christmastime on my schedule–like, for really reals.

Now those of you who know that I had a Thanksgiving clipboard may laugh and brand me a control freak (trying to suppress denial rising in my gut), but yes, YES, Bad Mama Genny IS going to make a holiday wish list. And on it, I’m putting all my essential experiences, all the things that will really, truly matter to me in making it feel like I’ve “had” Christmas.

One of those things I’ve always wanted to do and never actually made time for is the ever-elusive, all-encompassing, life-altering, MAGICALLY DELICIOUS….COOKIE EXCHANGE!

For the uninitiated, a cookie exchange basically means that you have a party where every attendee brings a designated number of cookie recipes, with a designated number of cookies of each variety (entirely dependent on how many attendees you have), along with copies of the recipes.  You lay all the cookies out on a table, hand out boxes, and everyone gets to pick up the cookies and recipes that they like.  So you come out of the day with a sugar rush, delicious new goodies to bring home, slammin’ recipes, and all the juicy sexual details you’re too polite to ask for when you’re not high on sugar and champagne.

And dudes, it’s also a super boss way to legitimize going overboard.  (“But, The Boy, it’s the rule!  If I don’t show up with 565 cookies, they’ll strip me down and pelt with gumdrops!”)

Actually, sign me up for that.

Now, I’m a newbie at the Cookie Exchange thing.  I’ve never hosted one before.  But the way I see it, there are a few essentials:

*Alcohol: I’m serving “Bitch.” Keepin’ it classy.

*Hot Cocoa: Yes, with marshmallows and peppermint sticks, I can’t believe you EVEN asked.

*Christmas music: Fa la la la la, la fucking la.  

*OFFICIAL treat boxes: Or you could just have everyone use the tupperware they brought their treats in.  But that’s just so…sensible.  And, you know…not official.

*Festive decor: We’ll be exchanging confections by the light of one of my Christmas trees.

Yes, I said “one of.”  Are you really surprised?

It’s the extra oomph every party needs, like that friend who drinks too much and finally agrees to dance, and then you realize why he never agrees to dance, or the loopy aunt who sells Native American-esque jewelry at the craft mall and tells everyone about her recent experiments with the occult and offers to channel dead uncles for all y’alls.  

Actually, it’s not at all like that.  But it is oomph, I can promise you that.

*Good People: Bottom line: you’re only going to enjoy yourself if you keep this engagement small-ish, low-key, and low-anxiety.  That means no frenemies allowed.  

The negative Nancy who’s always telling you that you’d be so cute if you could just clean up your language and hang out with the boys less?  Not invited.  

The desperate chick who hangs on every word your best misfit’s boyfriend says and thinks it’s funny to try to sit in his lap while said misfit is in the bathroom?  Not invited.  

The very, very sweet girl who is only very, very sweet until she starts to tell everyone they’ll be burning in hell for all eternity unless they take Jesus into their hearts?  NOT INVITED.

*A loose definition of the “right way”:  Don’t get on your friend for bringing vegan cookies.  Don’t berate anyone for decorating storebought goodies with icing and sprinkles.  And don’t ask if there’s high-fructose corn syrup in anything that’s been made.  

This is about fun.  It’s about the holidays.  It’s also about expanding your vision of what fun and the holidays mean.  Everyone’s got something to bring to the table, and your way isn’t the only right way.  

That being said, my way is the only right way.  

Kidding!  Take a deep breath and repeat after me: “I am blessed to have such unique and creative friends.  I am blessed to have such unique and creative friends…”

What are the essential components of a cookie exchange for you?  What are your fun ideas?  Do you have any tips or tricks that have worked for you in the past?  What would make it your ideal cookie exchange?  Let’s make this fun–there will be an awesome cookie-related giveaway for the best suggestion I receive before midnight, CST, on Sunday, December 19th!

That’s over two weeks to get your misfit juices flowing! Shortly after, I’ll post the winner, his/her suggestion, and the prize!

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