Think Outside the Oven – Microwave and Toaster Cookies

cookies

So my oven went out for about a week.  At first this was no big deal, I can certainly cook on the stove.  The oven wouldn’t be repaired for a few days and I made soups, chili, quesadillas, crepes, etc.  My family was eating no problem and didn’t give the oven a thought until I was to make sweets for the school garden fair.

 

I forgot about the oven and even thawed out my homemade cookie dough I had (always have) to make some quick and easy chocolate chip cookies to go with some brownies I was also going to bake and bring to the fair.  Then I went to turn on the oven and remembered.

toaster

toaster2

I didn’t want to waste my homemade dough and decided to experiment with other ways to cook it.  First I lined my toaster oven with parchment and tried to bake.  It worked!  I set the toaster on bake and it took longer than the oven, maybe 15 minutes.  But the pan is so small, the cookies were small and I couldn’t make too many at a time.  They did kind of spread together, but hey, they cooked well and were tasty!  Since they didn’t look as nice and round as usual I decided they wouldn’t be going to the fair.  However I was pleased I wouldn’t be wasting the dough.  Since I was now making these to eat for my family I wanted to try another cooking method…Yes, the microwave.  I try to control myself from experimenting with the microwave too much. Remember my post to popcorn where I started a fire while trying to pop corn in a bag?

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I looked online and others had tried baking cookies in a microwave too. I experimented with a plate vs a ramekin.  Ramekin was better.  I tried different cooking times so the cookie would be cooked through vs just hot dough.  What I came up with was pretty good.

The cookie became more like a cake.  I dropped a heaping tablespoon full of dough into a ramekin and cooked on high for 35 seconds.

cookie cake

I let it sit to cool a bit and it became less doughy and more cake like.  I was really excited to show my kids and loved how we could have individual servings of fresh hot cookie cakes so quickly and easily.  We even ate the warm cookie cake with ice cream on top.  Yum!

 

As for what I made for the garden fair…I went to the store and bought Rice Krispies and marshmallows for a few batches of Rice Krispies Treats.  I followed the stove top recipe on the box and added 3/4 cups of white chocolate so it was a little “out of the box” and we took them to the fair.  Although my stove is fixed we still make the cookie cakes on occasion.  Another excuse always to have homemade cookie dough on hand.

melting marshmallow

 

 

 

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Take a Stand: Tips to Help Kids Raise Money Through Food/Drink

You may have heard of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.  A little girl named Alex was diagnosed with cancer when she was 1 year old. When she was four years old, Alex asked her mom if she could have a lemonade stand to raise money for “her hospital”.  Her legacy lives on as lemonade stands all  over the country continue to support her pediatric cancer foundation to the tune of $100 million as of January 1, 2015.  How cool is that?!

My kids and friends wanted to make cookies and sell them at a stand at the park.  They’ve done lemonade stands but they wanted to make cookies all by themselves (for the first time) and then raise money to give to The Milo Foundation, a Bay Area dog and cat rescue group.  How could I say no to that?  Of course we were going there for the third time that week to try to adopt a dog.  The kids raised $19 and gave it to the foundation.  Ironically we didn’t find a dog there, but a few days later at the Marin Humane Society.  Guess we know where the next stand money will go.

Here are some steps to help you create a stand and raise money for something you or your kids believe in…

1. Make excellent homemade product.  If it’s lemonade squeeze it yourself.  If it’s cookies make them from scratch.  Store bought is not an option.  My kids made the recipe from the bag of the chocolate chip bag with some added sprinkles.  It doesn’t need to be fancy.  Here’s a lemonade recipe.

Lemonade

(Makes 3 ½ cups)

½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, juice from about 4 lemons

½ cup sugar

1 ½ cups water, divided

Heat sugar and ½ cup water over medium heat in a small saucepan.  Stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.  This is simple syrup.  Combine lemon juice, simple syrup and additional cup of water to taste.

Chill in thermos for easy packing or plastic pitcher, if location is a short walk.

Pour over ice in plastic or paper cups.

2. Create fun signs.  Kids can get really creative with this one.

3. Set up shop with friends and family to help.

4. Choose a location with lots of people.  Think parks, game fields, school.

5. Set a fair price or simply ask for a donation for each cup. (*You’ll make more $ by asking for a donation.)

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Happy Birthday and National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

I always like to bake something to send to Poppa for his birthday.  How many golf hats and shirts can you have?  Although we did that too – sshhh.  When I realized today was Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (no it’s not on my calendar, another blogger informed me) I figured that was the start.  Trying something different I was inspired by a vegan chocolate mint cookie recipe.  I made some tweaks to reduce oil, omit nuts and amp chocolate and here’s what I came up with.  I had to pack them quickly and remind my kids they were (mostly) for Poppa.

Oatmeal Chocolate Mint Cookies

The mint and spices make set these apart from the same old chocolate chip cookie recipe.  They have a scone or cake like texture because of the lack of butter and addition of applesauce.  These can be made vegan by choosing dark or vegan labeled chocolate chips.

Makes about 24 cookies

2 cups flour

1  1/2 cups chocolate chips

3/4 cups rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch ground nutmeg

2/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup applesauce

3 tablespoon canola oil

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place dry ingredients, first six listed, in a large bowl and mix together.

Combine wet ingredients in a medium bowl.

Add wet to dry ingredients and mix well with a rubber spatula.

Refrigerate dough for 15 minutes.  Drop dough on prepared sheets by heaping tablespoon or small ice cream/cookie scoop.  Gently press with spatula.  Cookies will spread so leave room between.

Bake until golden brown on bottom, about 12 minutes.  Let cool on sheets.

 

 

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Spicy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies for Grandpa

What do you get for grandparents that say they don’t need birthday gifts?  Something homemade of course.  My kids are great at making special cards and artwork, but we also like to make baked goods to send in the birthday package too.  Who doesn’t enjoy getting cookies in the mail?  I make an oatmeal cookie inspired by Oatmeal Cherry Cookies from the Junior League San Francisco Flavors Cookbook (which I helped recipe test for years ago), that has lots of savory spices and then added chocolate chips rather than cherries or raisins (to be honest I was out).  There’s not too much chocolate to overpower the spices, which I like.  They were a big hit.  I made extra so not only did Grandma and Grandpa enjoy them, but our family as well.   At our house they went quickly as a sweet treat with hot chocolate on a rainy afternoon.

Here’s the recipe….

Spicy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour or wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 egg yolks at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup reg or mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchmnet paper.

In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, salt, baking soda and spices.

In a large bowl or stand mixer cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Blend in dry ingredients until all are incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop tablespoon sized portions of dough 3 inches apart on prepared pan.  Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let cool on pan for 3 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

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