Who doesn’t love OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES?

So, after discovering I was a Baking Goddess…see my first blog post…I decided to expand my repertoire. And by, “expand my repertoire” I really meant, “learn to bake a second type of cookies in order to begin a repertoire.”

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Mama’s Little Baking Helper 2017

 

I posted to my personal Facebook asking for a good oatmeal raisin recipe. I know there are tons of great recipes on the interwebs, but honestly, I love baking things that are personal. I love getting recipes from my friends which are their mother’s, grandmother’s, or however many generation’s tried and true recipe.

Well, wouldn’t ya know; so many of my friends had a “tried and true” recipe…from QUAKER OATS!  The original recipe on the Quaker Oats container was a hit among the masses.quaker_logo-sflb

The slight variations among my friends on how to “re-plump” the raisins were now a topic of debate.  From a cup of water to a cup of bourbon/whiskey/brandy/schnapps and everything in between, my friends had a lot of advice…and clearly a LOT of booze in their kitchens!

The first time making the cookies, my oldest daughter was only 13 at the time (she’s now 19) so, I went with the non-boozy option of water and cinnamon. I mixed a cup of boiling water with a teaspoon of cinnamon then poured that over a cup of raisins. After an hour, I drained the raisins and added them to the batter. The cookies came out great!

HELPFUL SIDE NOTE: Something I discovered with my newfound Baking Goddess skills: cookies get hard as a flippin’ rock within a day or two. How do you keep them fresh without adding all sorts of crappy chemicals or eat them all in one sitting??? So, of course I had posted to my Facebook page asking for advice…what else does one do on Facebook when not farming or playing poker???  Placing a slice of bread in the container with the cookies was a FANTASTIC idea…in theory! As I quickly discovered however, bread will help cookies retain their freshness, but the cookies that touch the slice of bread end up tasting like bread. So, what is the new answer to the question?? (Unless you enjoy a bready taste with your cookies, in which case, just ignore this next recommendation) TORTILLAS!

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Small or medium soft shell tortillas are phenomenal! Depending on the size of the container you’re storing the cookies in, you can use a whole, half, or even quarter of a tortilla to keep the entire container fresh! (The tortilla will become stale, but the cookies are fresh as can be….SCIENCE!)

Over the years I have tried many variations on the Quaker Oats recipe and the one I now bake all the time was a complete and utter accident/screw up! I wanted to bake oatmeal raisin cookies in the fall and was getting frisky with my flavors. (as one does when their confidence starts to build)  The Quaker Oatmeal Raisin cookies were delicious as is, but what would make them BETTER? What are some of the “flavors of fall?” Pumpkin, apple, caramel, ginger, cinnamon, cranberry, pear, and so on. Hhhhhhmmmmm I don’t like pumpkin anything, so that was out. I LOVE apple everything, so that was a strong contender! Cinnamon went well with apples. Apples and raisins with cinnamon started sounding REALLY good!

My Baking Goddess ideas were spinning! Okay, I was going to re-plump my raisins in applesauce with some cinnamon, strain them and add them to the batter like I did with the water!  Well, when it came time to add the raisins to the batter, straining the applesauce was a complete pain in the arse! Plucking out the raisins one by one was not happening either…after I plucked out a dozen and wasn’t even close to being done.  Sooooooo, I dumped the raisins and applesauce into the batter and mixed it all up. The batter tasted amazing, but how would they bake? (If they were terrible, I would just start over and soak the raisins in something boozy.)

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As I started to assemble the cookies on the cookie sheets, I noticed they were mushy rather than firm. (Well, there was more liquid in them because of the applesauce) Into the oven for the recommended time they went and then I waited. When the timer went off they were far from done. So, I put them back in for 5 more minutes. Checked them, and 5 more minutes.  Checked…I feel like you see where I am going here. They literally had to be baked for double the original time! From 8-10 minutes, these lovelies were not done until close to the 20 minute mark!

I put them on a cooling rack and gave them a few minutes to cool off. Which, let’s face it, is a good idea with anything you take out of the oven. They were SO yummy! I brought them into work the next day for my coworkers/guinea pigs to try, and they were a HUGE HIT!

Over the years I played with the amount of cinnamon, flour, and timing of baking. I have it perfected, and because of the moistness of the cookie, they’re more cake-like than crispy cookie, but a HUGE hit at parties!

GOT KIDS? Kids LOVE to bake! My 2 year old and my 12 year old are AWESOME helpers in the kitchen! My 12 year old is using her math skills to measure ingredients and my 2 year old, well; he eats most of the raisins and then is an excellent cookie tester once they’re cooled off!

Here is the recipe for my AWESOME Applesauce Oatmeal Raisin cookies!

Applesauce Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • ¾ Cup of packed brown sugar
  • ½ Cups of sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 3 Cups of Old Fashioned Oats (NOT instant or quick…YUCK/MUSH!)

 

  • 1 Cup Applesauce (Unsweetened or Regular, whichever you prefer)
    • 3 TBSP Cinnamon (to be mixed thoroughly into applesauce)
  • 1 Cup Raisins

 

Instructions

***BEFORE BAKING***

  • Boil applesauce and 3 TBSP of cinnamon
  • Put into bowl
    • Add Raisins
    • Cover and set aside for 1 hour

Preheat the oven to 350° F

  • In large bowl, beat butter, vanilla, and sugars on medium speed until creamy.
  • Add Eggs one at a time
  • In a separate bowl combine:
    • Flour
    • Baking soda
    • Cinnamon
    • Salt
  • Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well
  • Add oats and raisin mixture to bowl and mix well

 

Put cookie size dollops on baking sheet which has been lined with parchment paper!

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Bake for 12-18 minutes, depending on size.

  • If you take them out and they don’t look quite done to you, put them in for another 2 to 3 minutes. They should never look wet/moist.
    • Also, make sure bottoms are not burnt when putting them back in for more time.

 

Next blog, I will be sharing my banana chocolate chip muffins! Find out what happened when I was in the middle of mixing everything and realized I was almost out of chocolate chips! OH NO!!!!

Happy Baking!

Cheers,

~Mama Foley

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The hunt for Grandma Kay’s Gingerbread Men recipe!

When I was 5 years old my father’s mother passed away. Although I was young, I remember her quite well. She loved to bake…I guess that is genetic. I remember her baking gingerbread men and creating the most gloriously beautiful gingerbread houses at Christmastime. I remember the taste of these sweet treats as if I had them yesterday…even though it was 35+ years ago. (Yeah, yeah, I am almost 40)

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Seriously: this girl LOVED her Grandma Kay’s gingerbread cookies!

 

My lifelong hunt for Grandma Kay’s gingerbread recipe has been, well,  futile at best. After she passed, my Pappa didn’t save any of her recipes. He didn’t bake, so why save them? Oh, Pappa! *sigh*  I have baked and tasted different gingerbread cookies over the years, but am yet to find the correct version of Grandma Kay’s gingerbread cookies.

I posted on my personal Facebook page, asking for gingerbread cookie recipes from friends. I wanted something from their mum’s or better yet GRANDMOTHER’S, recipe box. Maybe that was the key…someone else’s grandma’s recipe! I was given one recipe from a friend and found another recipe online. I have posted both recipes below. Although both here HUGE hits at home and at work, neither one were quite Grandma Kay’s.

Is my hunt over? 

No…I will bake every recipe out there until I find the one I am looking for!

I am hoping by Christmastime 2017 I will have the proper gingerbread cookie recipe. I might even go rogue and concoct my own recipe. I would love to build a gingerbread house just like Grandma Kay’s someday! Something I could pass along to my four children and the generations to come!

The two recipes I tried were quite fun to make with my 12-year-old daughter…while my 2-year-old son was in and out of the kitchen declaring, “I LOVE COOKIES!” You know, in case I somehow forgot toddlers like cookies. And please don’t get me wrong: both of these recipes are absolutely delicious and fun to make. They’re just not what I am searching for.

The first recipe: Molasses Cookies!

This came from a 1943 cookbook a friend of mine had. Being from Boston, molasses cookies made complete sense to me. Maybe Grandma Kay used an Olde Boston recipe! Now my mind was wandering…Did Grandma Kay make molasses cookies and call them gingerbread?  No. Well, at least not this version…well, at least not the way I made them anyhow. The recipe calls for ground ginger, which I was out of at the time, so I substituted ground cloves.

SIDE THOUGHT: Maybe if I used ginger it would be closer to Grandma Kay’s. An experiment for another day…as well as another blog post!

1943 Molasses cookies

From a 1943 cookbook

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½  tsp baking powder
  • ¼  tsp salt
  • ½  tsp baking soda
  • ½  tsp ground ginger
  • 1 ½  tsp cinnamon
  • ½  cup shortening, melted
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2 tbsp. warm water
  • 1 egg beaten

 Directions

  • Sift dry ingredients together

 

  • Combine remaining ingredients.

 

  • Mix well before adding dry ingredients

 

  • Add sifted ingredients mix thoroughly

 

  • Let stand 10 minutes.

 

  • Better yet; refrigerate for an hour

 

  • Roll out on floured board and cut into shapes.

 

  • Bake in hot oven 400 F about 15 minutes.

 

  • Makes 4 dozen

molasses-cookies

 

Now to make them more decorative!

I made and (poorly executed) royal icing for the very first time. I watch baking shows all the time, so how hard can the piping and icing of cookies really be? My fabulous mother-in-law had given me her old piping tips, I just needed a bag to put the icing in. Well, according to the interwebs; one can simply cut the corner of a plastic sandwich bag and use that as one’s own piping bag.

SIDE NOTE: Did you know not everything in the interwebs is true? Yeah! For example: using a plastic bag as a piping bag. THEY BURST when pressure is added!  Fun times!

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May I kindly suggest: if you’re intending on piping, icing, or otherwise decorating with a bag, get a proper pastry bag. You can literally get one at the dollar store…for a buck!

Here is the recipe, and warning, for the Royal Icing:

Royal Icing

Ingredients

3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Directions

In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low-speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy-duty storage bag <– SEE! Even The Food Network suggests the bag trick!  and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Warning
CONTAINS RAW EGGS: The Food Network Kitchen suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell. For recipes that call for eggs that are raw or undercooked when the dish is served, use shell eggs that have been treated to destroy salmonella, by pasteurization or another approved method.Image result for the food network logo

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, The Food Network.

As you can clearly see from the photo below; I have a LOT of work ahead of me when it comes to learning how to pipe/ice cookies properly. I mean, for a very first attempt, they’re not half bad. Part of the problem was the plastic sandwich bag and its bursting contents. Maybe a heavy-duty bag would work better…like The Food Network suggested. I added some water to the royal icing to dilute it down in hopes of keeping the bags from bursting, which sorta worked. Coupled with figuring out the proper pressure to squeeze the bag, things went a little bit better. But after four bags bursting, I was done!

pretty-molasses-cookies

 

PRO TIP: when things are not going well in the kitchen (or anywhere in life for that matter) don’t swear within earshot of a toddler. “Why the f**k do you keep bursting?” isn’t as adorable as it sounds when said by a 2-year-old!

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The second recipe: Gingerbread Men Cookies!

I wanted something old-fashioned and figured a recipe from someone I knew was the best way to go, but whereas I didn’t get one, I went to the interwebs. The interwebs are chock-full of fantastic recipes! This one is from www.tasteofhome.com  and came out quite delectable!

I only had a small gingerbread man, but 4 different sized hearts, so my daughter and I made (mostly) gingerbread heart! She is sassy and loves to bake, just like me. Here she is showing us the heart cookie cutters! Ooooo…well done!

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Gingerbread Men Cookies

By: Taste of Home

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Ingredients

  • ½  cup butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup = 1 stick
  • ¾  cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½  teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½  teaspoon ground allspice

 

  • Frosting of choice:
    • I prefer Royal Icing…see above in blog post!

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°

  • Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in molasses, egg and water.
  •  In another bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients minus frosting
  • Gradually beat into creamed mixture.
  • Divide dough in half.
    • Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic.
    • Refrigerate until easy to handle, about 30 minutes.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness.
  • Cut with a floured 4-in. gingerbread man cookie cutter.
  • Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets.
  • Bake until edges are firm, 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Frost as desired once cooked.

Yield: about 2 dozen.

© 2017 RDA Enthusiast Brands, LLC

The gingerbread hunt continues.

These cookies too had a royal icing disaster. I thought (incorrectly this time) that the royal icing was once again too thick. So I once again added water. OY! No, no, no. Rookie mistake! This made the royal icing too runny! I tried to pipe designs onto the hearts and faces, buttons, and mittens on the men, but the icing was WAY too liquidy! UGH! My inspector (seen below) loved everything about the cookies. From the “ginger men” to the “pink hearts.” He was a huge fan! I see nothing at all biased about his opinion! 😉

PRO TIP: After the cookies come out of the oven, and they’ve cooled down, they may still be covered in some of the flour from when you rolled them out to cut them. Take a paintbrush (that has never been used for painting) and brush excess flour off both sides of the cookies. 

Like I said earlier; maybe if I made the molasses cookies according to the recipe, I would be more satisfied with the results. Honestly though; I think I am just going to just turn my kitchen into a Gingerbread Man laboratory and get all wild and crazy with it. Sometimes the craziest mistakes turn into the greatest inventions!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Next week we will be making Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. But this time, they’re anything but traditional! I have perfected my very own little recipe for these lovelies!

Happy Baking, Everyone!

Cheers,

~Mama Foley

PS: If there is a recipe you would like to share, or something you would like to see me (attempt to) bake, send an email to IrishMooseCookies@yahoo.com.

The Christmas Pavlova Wreath Adventure

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T’was the week before Christmas and I was sitting at home

Flipping through TV channels, all alone.

On PBS I happened to stand,

Where they were broadcasting a show from a faraway land!

 

PBS was airing a show from the BBC, the British equivalent to American PBS, with Mary Berry and a handsome gentleman I had never heard of before, Paul Hollywood. They were cooking, baking, and creating all sorts of deliciousness for the holiday season. From appetizers straight through to dessert, the pair were concocting the most fascinating dishes. I watched in awe as they broke the recipes down and made them seem as though ANYONE could make these dishes with ease. When they got to the dessert; that’s when I saw something I knew I HAD TO MAKE:

 A Christmas Pavlova! 

I had never heard of Pavlova before, let alone made anything like it. When the episode was over, I watched the Pavlova bit a few times to make sure I had a rough idea about what to do. (I also found it online so I could watch it as a refresher when the time came to bake it.)

pa·vlo·va

noun: pavlova; plural noun: pavlovas

  1. a dessert consisting of a meringue base or shell filled with whipped cream and fruit.

 

Two days before Christmas my youngest daughter and I were ready to start this Pavlovian adventure!  I printed out the recipe from the BBC website, but had to convert the measurements from British to American.  (The recipe below is all converted for you!) My husband, who does most of the food shopping, got all the ingredients we needed, and we were ready to go. We watched the video once again to make sure we knew what to expect, but what happened next was anything but expected.

I had a container of presorted egg whites in my fridge from a previous (successful) kitchen experiment, so, I thought I was a step ahead of the game when the Pavlova recipe calls for 6oz of egg whites.

LEARN SOMETHING NEW:  6 oz of egg whites is the equivalent to 6 eggs

We measured out the egg whites, sugar, cornstarch, and vinegar and were ready to start.

Step 1: whip the egg whites until they’re pillowy clouds.

GOT IT!

We know what clouds look like!

We put the egg whites into the bowl and put the hand mixer on the highest setting, as was recommended, and watched.  My daughter and I watched…and watched…and watched. Well, they were stirring, and getting kinda bubbly…but pillowy? Nope! *sigh*

Okay, maybe we did it wrong. Clearly this batch wasn’t working, so we dumped out the egg whites then watched the video again.

GOT IT!

CLOUDS!

We measured out 6 more ounces of egg whites…from the presorted container. (For the record: these worked VERY WELL when making royal icing.) We put the hand mixer on the highest setting and whipped the egg whites into a…a…a… puddle of bubbles again! Nowhere near the pillowy clouds we were supposed to be whipping up.

Feeling defeated, we once again we dumped the mixture out. What on Earth were we doing wrong? (and by “we” I mean “me” because my sweet daughter was only 11 at the time.)

Put egg whites in the bowl, whip them for a few minutes, and BAM, (supposed to be) PILLOWY CLOUDS! We did everything correctly, WHY did we not get pillowy clouds? I have watched plenty of baking shows and baking competitions to know what I am looking for! Could it be the TV magic? Was reality TV different from reality life? (when it comes to baking…don’t get me started on scripted “reality TV.”)

I went to the interwebs for answers. “Why are my eggs not whipping into meringue?” Surprise, surprise, there were answers! We were using the presorted egg whites you get in the dairy section. People were complaining about these not whipping properly and suggested using actual eggs. Separate the whites from the yolks and supposedly this was the magic trick.

I’d never separated eggs before and was quite surprised that there is a distinct difference between the two bits of eggs once you start to separate them. The yolks separated very easily from the whites! HUZZAH! Finally something was going right!

Okay, 6 eggs sorted and put into the bowl, and wouldn’t ya know…THAT was the difference maker! The egg whites whipped right up into pillowy clouds! YAY! (We literally said, “yay” at the same time when we had pillowy clouds.)

Step 2: Slowly add in the sugar and your pillowy clouds will stiffen into pillowy peaks.

GOT IT…we hoped!

Step 2, 3, and 4 went smoothly! We even added a Step 5…green food coloring! We got stiff pillowy peaks and even tipped the bowl upside-down to “prove” we had done it correctly.  (It’s a thing…literally every baking show does it.)

We arranged the green pillowy batter into the shape of a wreath then baked the Pavlova in the oven for an hour and left it in there for 2 hours. 2 hours was the recommended minimum for the Pavlova to sit in the oven. Yes, leave it alone in the oven for a MINIMUM of 2 hours; but leaving it overnight is strongly suggested. A suggestion we should have heeded.

We carefully took the Pavlova out of the oven and went to place it on the counter. This is where disaster struck! Pavlovas are VERY fragile.

Let me say this again for the rookie bakers: PAVLOVAS ARE VERY FRAGILE!

The beautiful wreath was destroyed in an instant and all we did was carefully move it from the oven to the counter.  UGH! I tried using food spray coloring to “hide” the mistakes. No, no, no. That simply AMPLIFIED the mistakes!

Well, by this time, it was late and we were out of sugar. Making a new one to rest overnight was not going to happen. First thing in the morning though, my amazingly wonderful husband went back to the store to get more sugar for his favorite girls. (we are very lucky to have such a wonderful man)

Back to the kitchen my daughter and I went! We had about 7 hours to get this made, cooled, and out the door for our family Christmas Eve party.

Steps 1-4 were a breeze this time. I realized, while hubby was gone to the store, that I had green sugar in my cupboard. We added the green sugar to the regular sugar instead of using the green food coloring and it worked perfectly! We baked the Pavlova and let it sit for 6 hours. This time…moving it worked a LOT better! (I would still recommend overnight if you’re able.)

Now to make the whipping cream, chop up the strawberries, assemble the Pavlova wreath, and sprinkle it with powdered sugar.  We only used strawberries for the wreath because it was for Christmas and I wanted it to look festive. The recipe below uses a few different berries. The fun part about this…you can make it however your little heart desires!

We were thrilled the final Pavlova came out PERFECT!

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I have been doing some more reading about Pavlovas and there are SO MANY variations out there. I am planning on making little ones filled with different creams and berries for Easter; so stay tuned for the Pavlovian trial runs in late March/early April.

Here is the recipe for the Christmas Pavlova Wreath:

Ingredients

For the pavlova

For the filling

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 320° F.

Line a large baking tray with baking parchment paper and draw a 12in circle in the middle of the paper. Draw a 6in circle in the center of the larger circle to make a ring/wreath.

 

  1. Put the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer until the look like pillowy clouds.
  2. Gradually add the sugar a little at a time, mixing on maximum speed until they are stiff & glossy pillowy clouds.
  3. Mix the vinegar and corn starch in a cup until smooth.
  4.  Stir into the egg whites.

You’ve now made a meringue! Well done!

 

  1. Spoon the meringue onto the ring/wreath drawn on the baking parchment paper.
  2. Using a large spoon make a shallow trench in the meringue for the cream and fruit to sit in.
  3. Transfer to the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 284° F .
  4. Bake for 1 hour–1 hour 15 minutes, until the outside is hard but not turning brown.
  5.  Turn the oven off and leave the Pavlova inside for an hour or overnight to cool and dry.
  6. To assemble:
    1.  Whip the cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar in an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
    2. Spoon the cream into the trench in the meringue.
    3. Arrange the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and pomegranate on top and decorate with a few mint leaves, if using.
  1. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into wedges.

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Like I said earlier, PAVLOVAS ARE VERY FRAGILE, so be careful when moving it from the oven to the counter. I strongly recommend letting the Pavlova sit in the oven overnight to cool/harden.

The next blog is going to be about my lifelong search for a specific gingerbread man recipe. My grandmother died when I was 5, but I remember her gingerbread men and houses. I know what I am expecting them to taste like, but haven’t found the proper recipe yet…or have I? Stay tuned to see if I found an equivalent to my Grandma Kay’s recipe!

Happy Baking!

Cheers,

Mama Foley

 

I am a Baking Goddess!

I love to bake…now that I know how! I decided to start this blog to share my baking experiences and recipes. For me, baking is therapeutic.  Whether I am by myself in the kitchen or sharing the experience with one (or more) of my children, I love baking treats that make people happy.

Years ago, with my oldest daughter, I would buy the premade dough or the boxed powder where you add eggs & water, and call that baking. We would cut the dough into shapes, throw some sprinkles on them,  and BAM there were cookies…but we didn’t actually BAKE them. We just stirred and/or cut a few things, mind you; they were delicious none the less.  Below you see our cute creations. My daughter was 13 at the time and loved to “bake” with me. I didn’t have a rolling pin back then, so the blue wine bottle was what we used to roll the dough out. (Ironically, I also didn’t drink wine back then.)*shrugs* At least I was resourceful back in the day.

“I don’t know how to actually bake.” I would often mutter to myself. I WANTED to know how to bake; I just didn’t know how!

Well, turns out, there are these magical spell books that give step-by-step instructions! I know, crazy, right?!?! And now with the interwebs…well, you know how the interwebs work.

SIDE NOTE: Now, you must know, I am a DIEHARD Red Sox fan. I was born into the fandom…my family have been diehards for generations. So, in 2011 when my beloved Red Sox made an epic, and I mean EPIC, collapse at the end of the season, I needed something to do to keep myself from going crazy all autumn and winter. (until Spring Training) 

So, I got myself one of those magical spell books, went to the store to get the ingredients I needed, and wouldn’t you know…I baked cookies for the very first time from SCRATCH! Yeah, ME! The one who thought baking was some sort of voo-doo mystery only reserved for ethereal souls with some sort of magical skill set that I was clearly lacking. The cookies were delicious AND easy! So, I was either some sort of Baking Goddess who finally unlocked her magical skill set OR I discovered that baking wasn’t difficult!

(Let’s go with Baking Goddess…it’s good for my ego.) 

Being a New England girl, I grew up with Toll House cookies! (Chocolate Chip cookies for those not from New England.) The inventor of the Toll House chocolate chip cookie, Ruth Graves Wakefield, and her husband, owned the Toll House Inn, located in Whitman, MA.  (what would be considered a Bed & Breakfast today) While trying to get creative for her guests, Ruth placed pieces of Nestlé’s semi-sweet chocolate bars into her drop cookies and they were an instant hit in 1938!  Massachusetts families started shipping care packages to soldiers in WWII containing the Toll House cookies. The soldiers shared the treats and thus a sensation was born!  Because she was inundated with requests from around the globe for her cookies, Ruth struck a deal with Nestlé’s and they printed her recipe on the back of their semi-sweet chocolates. In return, Ruth received a lifetime supply of Nestlé’s semi-sweet chocolate bars. (not a bad deal, if you ask me.)

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Ruth Graves Wakefield died 2 months before I was born, but from all I have read about her, we would have gotten along famously! In 2016, while searching for a new house with my husband, Ruth’s house (not the Toll House, but her actual house) was up for sale. One of the selling features was the fact that it was Ruth’s house. We looked at it online, but it just wasn’t for us…it needed one more bedroom to suit our needs. How cool would that have been though???

The very first cookies I made from scratch were Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies! I modified the reccipe a tiny bit by adding 1 TBSP of cinnamon to the batter, but otherwise, they’re just like Ruth intended. Here is the recipe:

TOLL HOUSE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon (Mama Foley’s secret ingredient which is totally optional)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE

  • Flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in small bowl. (cinnamon lets you see it’s mixed well)
  • Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  • Stir in morsels and/or nuts.
  • Put in fridge for 20-30 minutes to harden a bit.
  • Roll dough in palms of hands forming balls and place on parchment paper. (on cookie sheet)

BAKE

  • 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. (If they’re a little thick, it will take a few minutes longer.)
  • Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes.
  • Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

I hope you have enjoyed this first baking blog.  As I experiment in the kitchen, I will be sharing my trials and tribulations as well as recipes of what I am baking. (or attempting to bake) If you have a recipe you would like to share…and I do encourage you to…please email them to me at IrishMooseCookies@yahoo.com.

Cheers,

~Mama Foley