Cookie Time!

IMG_0110I’ve weirdly had a lot of time off this week and it has afforded me the time to think, bake, do my Bar Method DVD several times (ugh, I hate her but she knows her stuff), and read. Other than the whole exercise portion, these are literally all my favorite things to do! Well actually I don’t ever just sit around and think, I mean who does that? Every time they show someone pensively sitting around staring out a window or something in a movie I always think “I would never, ever do that.” Being left alone with your thoughts? Sounds gross. I like to keep my brain busy people!

And this week it was busy making cookies. Delicious cookies from two of my newer cookbook purchases, the Joy the Baker Cookbook and Pure Vanilla. The cookies on the left are Joy’s Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (minus the nuts + some white chocolate chips) and the little beauties on the right are called Vanilla Snaps.

IMG_0107The Brown Butter Cookies are excellent – EXCELLENT! Basically it’s just a regular ol’ chocolate chip cookie recipe but you take half the butter and brown it in a saucepan before adding it to the creamed butter and sugar. I’m sure you could do this with any chocolate chip cookie recipe and you would be adding that awesome toasty layer of flavor. Since you pour melted butter in there you have to give the dough a little rest in the fridge before you bake it but it’s not an unbearably long time before these can be in your face! I’d like to link to the recipe or something but I can’t seem to find it online and I feel ill at ease about being the first one to post it. Just buy her book okay? It’s really cheap and chock full of great recipes. Totally worth your $12, I swear. Plus she is cute and funny and I’d like her to stay successful in her field. Help a girl out.

Now onto the Vanilla Snaps. They look so simple and kind of plain in the pic right? Well they are not! They are amazing and crisp and just slightly sweet with a bang of vanilla flavor and a little salty kick. Basically they are one of the most dangerous cookies I have ever baked because I could probably eat like 20 without realizing it. I blame their cracker-ish consistency. In the book it says you can crush these up to become the crust of a cheesecake but I kind of couldn’t bear to do it. Plus I had a better idea. We had a Chocolate cooking class at work the other night and there was some leftover ganache that needed to find a home….what better real estate than between two delicious cookies? These Ganache-Filled Vanilla Snaps are not like breaking new ground in baking history or anything but they are seriously delicious.

IMG_2447The deep, dark chocolate flavor just pops and makes these little sandwich cookies divine. Basically they are like homemade E.L. Fudges x infinity. I think there is one left and I am totally going to snag it after I’m done writing this post. Also, did you happen to notice my cute new mustache mug? I got it at Target last weekend and I definitely think you should love yourself enough to buy one too. On their website you can only buy the set but in the stores they’re $3.99 each and they make morningtimes more fun. Go get one.

In other news, WordPress informed me that this is my Blog-a-versary. I guess one year ago today I decided to give this blogging thing another go. I already talked about it a little in my 100th post, but I’m super glad I’ve stuck with it and I plan to keep on going until I can’t think of any more new things to cook or bake or any more dumb things to say. Seems like that’ll take awhile though so it’s safe to say I’ll be here for a bit.

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Ringing in the New Year with Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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So, no big deal but this is my 100th post. Actually it’s a little bit of a big deal. Just kinda. I started this blog as a late New Year’s resolution last year and I didn’t know how it would go. I had actually started it under a different name and with a different host site way back in 2010 and then only did 3 posts before it sat forgotten on a dusty shelf in internetland so I didn’t know if I would stick with it this time. Turns out that I did and I’m a little proud of that fact. I’ve never really liked anyone to read what I write (especially anything creative) but I’ve always enjoyed the process, so putting this out on the internet was a big step for me. Granted, it’s not like I have a HUGE readership but at least a few people read it and that feels like a big accomplishment. Joining the FFWD and the BWJ groups was such a good decision and I’ve been so happy to try new things foodwise and to meet new people through it. I can’t wait to get going on 2013’s baking and cooking adventures.

But let’s get real for a second. I work in retail and the holidays are…..shall we say draining? Then after the holidays comes the worst thing of all: inventory. It’s terrible because it takes forever and once you commit all the counts to the computer it tells you just how much people have shoplifted throughout the year and that is just depressing. De-fucking-pressing. The other night I came home after a 13-hour day of counting, counting counting only to find that the mac and cheese I had planned on eating had been consumed by another (naughty husband) and this basically happened:

Thankfully I did not kill him with a giant fork or anything and inventory is mostly over so yay! Last night I realized I hadn’t cooked anything for about a week and that just felt wrong. The other day my friend yummychunklet did a post about these cookies since she got the cookbook for Christmas and though I was a tired girl last night, they seemed very do-able (and delicious). I’ve babbled about how much I love this cookbook in a previous post so I’ll try to refrain but seriously everyone, just go get it. There is such great info in it and the recipes! Ooooooh the recipes! It basically makes me feel like this:

So to celebrate the new year and not be cliche and say you’re going on a diet, I vote that you buy yourself this cookbook. I bought myself the Joy the Baker cookbook the other day and I can’t wait for it to arrive so I can try something new. Happy New Year everybody and thanks for reading!

Pure Vanilla

So there’s this blog called Piece of Cake that I’ve been reading for about a year and seriously if you’re not reading it already, you need to start. Shauna is super witty, smart, and has great taste – as evidenced by her new cookbook Pure Vanilla. I got mine in the mail the other day and read it pretty much cover to cover. Honestly, it was really hard to decide what to try first. But since I had a loaf of bread to use up, I went with the Vanilla Bean Bread Pudding. And boy-howdy, was it a good decision.

I had it for dessert last night and breakfast this morning and I plan on finishing it tomorrow morning with my mint-mocha coffee. Yum! I think the next thing I try will definitely be the Glazed Vanilla Bean Doughnuts…or the Vanilla Cloud Cake…or the Tres Leches Cake. See what I mean? It’s hard to decide. Not only is this thing chock-full of really tempting recipes, it also has super useful information as well. One of my favorite tips to amp up the vanilla flavor was to add the vanilla to the fats in a recipe ASAP which is kind of the opposite of most recipes I’ve read. Usually you’re instructed to add the vanilla right at the end and I’ve always wondered why. Turns out, adding it to the fat earlier intensifies the vanilla flavor. I guess some recipes might not want that, but all the ones in this book most certainly do!

So yeah, I think you all need this cookbook. Like now. I know I said I was going to eat it for breakfast tomorrow, but I hear that bread pudding calling my name from the fridge. If you’ll excuse me….