iscribblings

Charting life's circuitous path


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Dark and Handsome Cookie seeking Tummy

Smooth, dense with a hint of brownie.  Not afraid to delve into the dark side.  Sophisticated yet able to have fun on the go.

One smart cookie looking for someone who will appreciate depth and savor life.

See photo below.

choccrinkle

I had been craving chocolate cookies and this recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies from my Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook had been teasing me with its good looks forever.  Every time I went to bake something, they’d be there tantalizing me with their promise of the divine.  I finally fell for their pure powdered sugar exterior with the hint of dark chocolate interior and made them last week.  And you know what?  I was swept off my feet!

Even though I knew they were going to do me wrong.

Like the fact that they contained 4 eggs.  😯

And I only had 2 in my carton. Talk about high maintenance!

Or that they also wanted 2 cups of sugar. I was starting to have my doubts.  😕  Were these really the dream cookies I thought they were?  Was that pure white goodness deceiving me?  The sugar alone almost had me dropping them like the pending sugar crash they promised to be.

But, like all chocolate starved people, I gave them one more chance – only this time we were going to do things my way. 😈
I used 2 eggs and replaced the other two with 2 tbsp flax seed meal plus 6 tbsp water.  I also only used 1/2 cup of sugar plus 1 cup splenda.  There’s only so much riskiness I was going to take from my cookie.

My tall, dark and handsomes were so sinfully delicious you would never have guessed they would actually do you good!
Seriously, they do! They make me feel like I’m cheating without actually doing so and that, to me, makes for the start of a beautiful relationship!  😉

choccrinkle2

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

(Note: Original recipe adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook. Makes about 24 big cookies.  My changes are in red.)

Ingredients

  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate (or unsweetened per recipe)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs  (or use 4 large eggs and skip the flax seed meal)
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal + 6 tbsp water (stir and let sit 3 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup sugar + 1 cup Splenda (or use 2 cups of sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or 1 1/2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or more if needed)

Directions

  1. Place chocolate chips and butter into a small pan and heat on low until melted.  Stir and keep a careful watch so that it doesn’t burn.  Remove from heat once melted and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat on medium speed the eggs, flax seed meal mixture (if using), sugar and vanilla.  Beat for 3 minutes until thick.  Beat in the melted chocolate until blended.  Stir in by hand the dry ingredients until incorporated.  Add chocolate chips and mix.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in your refrigerator at least 2 hours.  This is important since it lets the dough stiffen a bit so that you can roll the balls.
  5. Preheat oven 325 F and line a cookie sheet.  Place powdered sugar into a small bowl.
  6. To form dough balls, scoop about 2 tbsp dough and roll into a ball between your palms.  Gently coat the ball in the powdered sugar and place on cookie sheet 3 inches apart.  No need to flatten.
  7. Bake until tops are puffed and crinkled. My oven took about 15 minutes, but it might be anywhere between 13 – 17 minutes.  Let cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  8. These cookies freeze beautifully once cooked!  Just pop them into the microwave a few minutes to heat them back up.

Tip: Place your dough back into the fridge between each round of baking.  I found that it helped keep the dough solid and easier to roll.  Plus it gave your cookie sheet time to cool down as you rolled your balls, if you’re using only one sheet like me.

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A Box Full of Christmas

We have a bookshelf.  Still.  A good friend of mine wants to replace her bookshelves with ebooks, and I can see her point.  Books are big, they take up space, some have horrid spines with tatty edges.  Perhaps she dreams of filling that space of old paper and dried glue with something more . . . well, more.

We don’t buy a lot of books anymore.  I borrow from the library like an addict seeking their next big hit.  Buying a book feels more like an investment – will its physical presence pay off in the end?

And then there are books you want to buy for everyone you know and that guy down the street because, obviously, their bookshelf is deficient and paltry without it.

The Fault in Our StarsOur book club’s first selection was John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.  It’s epic while being so very simple.  It’s a tearjerker, a laugh-maker, a thought-creator all in one.  It’s about love and death and disease, but even more so it’s about life.  You’re forced to look at how you treat life and the lives of those you know and don’t.  It explodes the question on how we deal with death while we’re alive and if our lives are filled with a life worth its deserved weight.

It’s all kinds of wonderful and I was ecstatic that it was our first choice.

However, no matter how many ideas, thoughts and cookies I brought to the table, I can’t share it adequately when no one shows up.

sugar cookies

One person did come, and I tried not to reveal my true fanaticism about this book or else scare her away, but in the end I was still left with an abundance of thoughts and cookies. (Is a club still a club when there are just two?)

snickerdoodles2

I made sugar cookies and snickerdoodles because not only do they make the holiday that much more sparkly, but they’re my grandmother’s favorite cookies.  She would always have a pile of them at her house on Christmas and we would be allowed to eat as many as our sugar-blitzed stomachs wanted.

She’s in her 80s now and hasn’t cooked or baked for a few years since my grandfather died.  We aren’t quite sure why she stopped cooking, but it was one of the first things that would become a part of the list of symptoms we would later see.  Holidays are still full of home-cooked meals and desserts, but they’re brought in by the rest of the family.

Her cookie recipes weren’t exactly special.  She wasn’t adventurous, either, with her cooking and preferred to do things exactly by the book.  But while her cookies wouldn’t win a blue ribbon, they won a place in my memories forever.  They’re what make me feel like Christmas is here, that the world is that much cozier and that for one sugary, spiced second, it’s all okay.  They remind me of warm houses, tall trees, bustling noise and bossy relatives.  They remind me of smiles, laughs, and the thrill of being at grandma’s for Christmas.

present

Which is why I’m packing them and sending her a tin of cookies and cocoa this year.  It’s alright that I didn’t share them with others at our club meeting.  It’s okay that I’ve stuffed myself with memories sprinkled in sugar.  It’s all okay because in the end, it’s my grandmother who’ll open a box full of Christmas.

(And The Fault in Our Stars?  It has a permanent spot on our bookshelf.)


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The Impending Sugar Crash

Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday.

Cheap candy, cheaper decorations and pathetic attempts at scares makes for a grumpy me.

Is there a Halloween cousin to Scrooge?  That’d be me.

iScribbler aka iScareNot

(Let’s ignore how in my heart of hearts I really can’t wait to give out candy to adorable kids in bee costumes from my own doorstep.  Or how I secretly wish I had enough nerve to dress up in a cute costume.  Or how I really wish I could just eat all of the candy we bought for our coworkers. Yep, not at all reasons why I grump Halloween.)

It’s also the month that officially kicks off the Sugar Rush.  A time of no holds barred, kick in your teeth, cavity inducing, recipe hunting baking that starts off with simple brownies and culminates to confections of every cavity-inducing sort at Christmas.

And I’ve started off with a bang.

Our office loves parties.  There’s a special group of people that plan these extravaganzas and I’ve joined their ranks.  Like all parties, we need food and that’s where I step in.  I bake.  A lot.  So much my own teeth ache just thinking about it.  Because what I bake for these parties aren’t my typical “healthified” version we have at home.  Nope.  It’s 2 sticks of butter and 1 cup of sugar baking.  It’s a sugar rush that never crashes.

I live out my baking fantasies on my coworkers.  😈

As the hubby told a coworker who asked if we ate like this at home:  No. 😕

First were the Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies up above.  Take a normal brownie mix, whip up a pumpkin cheesecake layer, top, bake and cut out with a cute pumpkin cookie cutter.

Office Workers 1, Take home leftovers 0

Next up:  Toffee Chip Cookies with White Chocolate Icing

Take my brown butter chocolate chip cookie recipe toss in Heath Toffee bits in place of chocolate chips and drizzle white chocolate candy coating on top. Result was a chewy, thin cookie with a lot of toffee flavor and a dash of creaminess.

Office Workers 2, Take home leftovers 0

This week I made two different desserts for our pizza party on Friday.  The chocolate chip cookie pies got me voted the unofficial “baker in residence”.

I used Bakerella’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie and made them into individual pies with my silicon muffin tin.  I then topped them with whipped cream.

Next up were Caramel ‘n Chocolate Pecan Bars.  I used a cat cookie cutter I had bought for 79 cents and made about 10 large cat bars.  I followed the recipe exactly except for adding a few white chocolate chips to brighten things up a bit.

I placed them in my nifty Halloween treats basket and took them into work. (The black plate to the side contain the rest of the bars.)

Office Workers 4, Take home leftovers 0

And that was just October.  In November there’s a proposed Chili Cookoff, a book club, a Dr Who Club, Thanksgiving and a birthday.

Excuse me as I prep my bed for the hibernation that will surely hit me like a ton of sugar come January.

Right now, though, I’ll just buzz through the holiday season with a smile. 😀