Cookie season 

Here is a recipe for some gluten free Chocolatey Oatmeal cookies for all your “stay inside and bake stuff” needs. These puppies don’t spread much so feel free to crowd them a little on the baking sheet. This yields a sturdy oatmeal cookie and is exactly what I have been craving…. for like….. years. 

Chocolatey Oatmeal Cookies

1/4 pound softened butter

1 cup brown sugar 

Beat these together until fluffy and sugar is dissolved. It may take a bit of elbow grease. Stay the course. 

In a separate bowl combine

1.25 cup buckwheat flour 

2 tsp cornstarch 

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

0.25 tsp salt

Mix it up. Gently. Sift into the bowl containing the butter and sugar mixture.

Add 

1.5 cup quick oats

1 egg 

1 tsp vanilla 

Stir everything up until it is a homogenous mixture. 

Place heaping spoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Press tops down gently. Bake at 350*F for 6-8 minutes. Let cool slightly before lifting from the tray. 

These are super awesome if made into chocolate on chocolate sandwich cookies with either nutella or chocolate spread. It’s bonkers. 

Enjoy! 

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graham crack.

Homemade graham crackers are so much better than their store bought counterpart it feels like they should be given a totally different name. I vote for Graham Crack. They are super simple to put together and bake off.

Make these. They are a game changer.

Graham crackers

6 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

2 cups butter, whipped

1.5 cups brown sugar

4 Tbsp honey, melted

2 Tbsp molasses

1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.

Whip the butter until pale and fluffy and then add the brown sugar. Cream the two together until they are one sexy homogeneous buttery mixture.

Add the melted honey, molasses and vanilla and beat it up a bit more.

Add the dry stuff to the buttery stuff and fold it all together. Mix it until smooth and supple.

Push plastic wrap right on top of the dough and toss it into your fridge to rest for 20 minutes.

If you want nice little consistent shaped cookies you might try rolling the dough into logs, wrapping it tightly with plastic and chilling it until totally firm. It would probably slice well, like an icebox cookie. I haven’t tried this method but the dough is very buttery and I imagine it would work beautifully.

Every time I have made graham crackers I have extruded the dough. Extruding works well for some doughs that you are a certain consistency and that you do not want or need to add more flour to (cannoli and pasta dough for another example).

To extrude the graham crackers:

Place the dough (or half at a time, depending on the size of your sheet pan) between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin press it all over and gently roll and push it out until it is 1/2 cm thick and even. Trim any excess that has escaped the edges of your parchment paper. The trim can be re-rolled later. Slide the sheet of cracker dough onto your sheet pan and lift off the top layer of parchment. Dock your dough all over with a fork and score it deeply in squares so that it can be snapped apart later.

I baked my sheet of crackers for 12 minutes at 350*F until it looked slightly darker around the edges and smelled delicious. It should look dry in the center and not yield when pressed.

If you make this into logs – cut 1/2 cm slabs off for baking. Poke each several times with a fork. I suggest baking them for only 8 minutes and then checking for doneness.

When you have let the crackers cool you should eat  one.

If you feel extra fancy they are fantastic with their bottoms dipped in coating (or tempered if you know how) chocolate.

These crackers make a great s’more, or a base for a sweet canape. I used them along with caramelized bacon and marshmallows for my offering at Winnipeg’s Baconfest one year.

The most recent batch of graham I made was specifically to use for crumbs. Once it cools and dries it crumbs nicely and stores very well for about a month in an airtight container at room temperature.

Happy making (and eating)!

Imperials

finished imperialsImperial: befitting an emperor or empress; regal;majestic; very fine or grand; magnificent

(dictionary.com). My little baby girl is turning one tomorrow and we are having a pink polka dot birthday party. I thought these magestic cookies would be appropriate with their little pink polka dot of jam bursting out the center of them. Also on the menu: cranberry lemon loaf, strawberry jello, watermelon (both cut into polka dots of course!) as well as various other pink fruits, pink lemonade with pink polka dot ice cubes, and the piece de resistance: a beautiful pink polka dot birthday cake hand crafted by the oh so talented Desiree Nickel.

I had some leftover sweet paste in my freezer which I used for the dough. The recipe was from Gordon Ramsey’s Just Desserts cookbook, Fragrant Orange Pastry on page 203. I really enjoy the addition of orange flower water to this recipe, but if you don’t happen to have any don’t sweat it. Try using 1/2 tsp of orange juice mixed with 1/2 tsp of water. It won’t be quite the same, but no one will notice anyway. I used this batch of dough for one large tart shell and still had enough for about 3 dozen imperials. The dough freezes well if you choose to save some for another application.

Fragrant Orange Pastry

 

150g unsalted butter

75g icing sugar

1 orange zested

2 egg yolks

1 tsp orange flower water

250g AP flour

Beat together the butter, sugar, zest, yolks and orange flower water. Add the flour and knead gently until the dough just comes together. It is important not to overwork this type of pastry as it will become tough and harder to roll and re-roll. Form the dough into a log shape and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let it chill in the fridge for a few hours. If you are in a hurry, you can form it into several flat disks and wrap it. Throw the disks in the freezer for a while, don’t forget about them though. You want the butter in the dough to chill down again and the temperature to be uniform throughout the dough before you start working it. 

To make the cookies:

 

Unless you have a lot of counter, start with only half the dough. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 3 mm on a heavily floured surface. Cut circles of any size you like, and then cut a smaller circle out of half of the cookies for the tops. Re roll the dough and continue to cut circles until it is all used up. Place fairly close together on a parchment lined baking sheet, they won’t spread while they bake. Bake the cookies at 350*F for about 8 minutes (depending on the size) until they just start to look golden around the bottom edges. Let them cool completely before decorating (I baked them one day and decorated them the next).cutting rounds of sweet paste

The filling on these lovelies is any kind of smooth red jam, I used my mom’s homemade strawberry jam. Put about one cup of jam in a small saucepan and heat on medium high until melted and smooth. Keep stirring the jam while it is on the heat as it burns fairly easily. It should not be totally melted as you have to be able to spoon it on to the cookie. Put that jam into a little bowl and make the glaze.baked cookies

Take 1 cup of icing sugar in a small bowl. Add 1/2  tsp of vanilla, 1 tsp of lemon juice and about 1 tsp of water. Mix thoroughly until there are no lumps. Add water a 1/2 tsp at a time to thin the icing out if you need to. putting it all together

Dip all the tops of the cookies into the icing and set them aside to harden slightly. Meanwhile put about 1 tsp of jam into the center of each of the bottoms (flat side or bottom side faces up here) and smooth it out a little. Try to avoid putting the jam right to the edge of the cookies, leave about 1 mm of smush space.

When all the bottoms are jammed, and all the tops are dipped a little bit dry, SMUSH them together. Press the tops on to the jam lightly. If you don’t feel like the centers are quite jammy enough, you can either spoon or pipe a little more jam into them after the tops go on.

Et voila! Imperials!