With Sweet Dreams and Even Sweeter Days

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I've never been one to deny the power of words.

Words can hurt. Words can heal. Words can definitely inspire.

Words are the way we attempt to classify and understand the world around usas we know it. Words are the way we attempt to define ourselves.

For the last few years three of the most important and frequent words I've used to describe myself have been "almost science teacher".

And just like that three words go to two, and change a huge amount about who I've been. Change to a definition of who've I've been imagining I'd be. (But if I'm being honest someone I'm definitely still shaping.)

Almost science teacher. 

My graduation from undergraduate college and being hired as a seventh grade science teacher has finally come.

And now that's its here I couldn't be more thankful to have shared it with so many wonderful people who mean so much to me.

A part of the celebrations were these classic cookies, ones that bake up quick and simple, and in large quantities no less.  Perfect for celebrating big victories as well as the every day.

Perfect for celebrating with anyone you love.

Cheers to anyone else out there in the class of 2013.  It may have taken me an extra year to get here, but I couldn't be happier to be joining you where we are today.

Classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Servings: 6-7 dozen cookies

- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 sticks (16 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl combine ingredients oats through salt, and stir until well distributed.  In the bowl of a separate electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium speed until pale and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time.  Beat in vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.  Stir in the raisins until well distributed.  On baking sheets lined with either a silicon baking mat or parchment paper, scoop between 1-2 Tbsp dough (a 1 1/2 inch ice cream scoop works great) spacing at least two inches apart.  Bake for 13-15 minutes (or until just set and light golden) rotating galway through.  Let cool on sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes and then transfer cookies directly to wire racks to cool completely.  Continue with cookie dough until completed.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature when cooled completely.

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart's Cookies

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Occasionally to be inspired, we don't have to search out something completely new.

We don't have to reinvent the wheel, start from scratch and develop the next greatest thing.

Often times, inspiration can come in the form of revisiting a familiar favorite. Something tried and true. Something that either stirs a memory or rekindles a feeling within us, reminding us why we fell so hard in the first place.

At least for me that is.

Simple dark chocolate brownies.  Dense.  Fudge like.  One bowl.  Most importantly outstandingly satisfying.

These could be a vessel for just about any add in you could think of: nuts, candy, even more chocolate. The combinations alone could keep you busy for ages.  But that being said, these are just as great on their own.

Simple and sweet or adorned and fancy. Whichever way you choose, a real winner.

Dark Chocolate Brownies
Servings: 9 large or 16 small brownies

- 8 Tbsp butter
- 4.5 oz dark chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup flour (sifted)
- powdered sugar for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a 9x9 inch baking dish with aluminum foil.  In a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine butter and chocolate until melted and combined.  Take bowl off the heat and whisk in sugar.  Whisk in eggs, one at a time.  Whisk in vanilla, espresso powder, and salt.  Stir in flour until no streak remain.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-22 minutes (or until cake tester comes out clean).  Let cool on a wire rack.  Top generously with powdered sugar, slice, and serve.  

Recipe adapted from: Baking From My Home To Yours