Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday - Baking Day

I think I saw that embroidered on a kitchen towel once. Either that, or Sunday was Laundry Day. Either way, it's typically the day we know another week is inevitably bearing down upon us, and we need to get ready to face it. Like it or not, those two days we worked so hard to get to don't last half as long as they reasonably should. We go grocery shopping for what we'll need at work and at home, we wash clothes and shave our legs/face (depending on the person and day), and tie up any loose ends hanging off from Friday.

Every once and a while, I get inspired to go a little further. Do something that will make surviving through the week a less painful proposition. Maybe clean the garage. Or, as I tried to convince Matt this week and failed, organize the pantry. What I did do this Sunday was turn on the oven and start baking. While scavenging through my recipe clippings and cookbooks for weeknight and Easter recipes, I came across a couple treats I'd wanted to try but never got around to. We also have some cold-weather comfort food slated for tonight and tomorrow (jambalaya and a chicken and gnocchi soup based on the one Olive Garden ladles out for lunch), so I thought I'd bake up a few loaves of French bread. You know, just so we weren't too carb-deprived.

I had all my favorite gadgets and machinery working their magic. The Kitchen Aid, with miracle dough hook. Kitchen Aid blender, which mysteriously made a cupcake batter. Pampered Chef citrus squeezer. Microplane zester. Registry muffin tin! I made a royal mess, but made the house smell like heaven.

The only problem? Who's going to eat all this crap. Matt's not a big sweets guy, although I think I saw him eat about 4 of those cookies. And with my sloth-stealth metabolism, I am the last person who should be getting such wild kicks from playing patisserie. Everything would work out so much better if I had a hobby that was more advantageous to staying in shape. Like, water polo. Or long-distance marathon training. I want to cook like Ina Garten, not look like her.

So, the fruits of my labor are going to have to end up where good food comes to die - the office break counter. They come for the coffee, they linger a second to examine what's in the mysterious tupperware. On a rainy Monday, it can help get everyone loving you. Or moderately tolerate your existence at least.

Here is the Rainy Monday Cookie recipe, from Giada. Use LOCAL hazelnuts, FARM FRESH eggs, RAW milk and GOOD vanilla. God help you if you don't have good enough vanilla....

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats (not the instant kind)
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp.
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Heath bar, finely chopped
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked and chopped
2 cups semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Finely chop the oats in a food processor.

Or, if you're like me, you don't have one and you have to use a knife, like the pioneers.

Using an electric mixer (or if you don't have one, a spoon like the cavemen) beat the butter and sugars in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in the toffee pieces, hazelnuts, and chocolate chips.

Drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets by rounded tablespoonful, spacing them 1 inch apart. Bake until the cookies are golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Maxie says:
"I do not accept your piddly cupcake offering!"