Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chewy Oatmeal Rocky Road Cookies

My summer job is being a summer student in a lab at the BC Children's Hospital. Our lab researches new treatments for leukemia and also how to make bone marrow transplants less harmful to the kids. A couple nights ago, I was in a baking mood and tossed these together and brought them to work yesterday.

Wonderful Doctor N I work with sat down to prep an experiment she was going to do later in the day and says.
"You just received a nice compliment from Dr. S_____  . . .
On how I'm such a promising scientist?

On how I'm going to be a great doctor?

. . . On those cookies you brought."
Though I do love compliments on my career potential (Once a prof at school said that I "cut well" when we were dissecting, it pretty much made my day), compliments on my baking pretty great too.

Chewy Rocky Road Cookies
Adapted from Oatmeal Rocky Road Cookies
Yield: 5.5 dozen

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1-1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 2-3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1-1/4 cups almonds, roasted and chopped
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  1. Preset oven to 325F
  2. Cream butter and sugar
  3. Add molasses, eggs and vanilla, mix well
  4. Add salt, baking soda and flour and stir
  5. Mix in rolled oats, chocolate and almonds
  6. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a lined or greased cookie sheet
  7. Bake for 9-10 minutes
  8. Immediately out of the oven, press marshmallows into cookie

Monday, May 16, 2011

Better Burgers and Fries

High-fructose corn syrup, monosodium-glutamate. . . Doesn't sound like a tasty burger and fries meal to me. The problem is, that's exactly what's in the burger combo you'd find at your local drive-thru. Even with these frankenstein ingredients, your meal rarely looks are great as it does in the ad.

Why settle for something that comes on a paper-lined questionably clean plastic tray when you can have something so much better?

At school I get to eat whatever I want but now that i'm back home for the summer, compromises must be made. After all, I do have to share the dinner table with my meat-atarian younger sister. Luckily, I got them to agree to 'Meatless Monday's', one day a week when we'll have a completely meatless supper. Here's how week 1 went:

Better Burgers and Fries
Yield: 7-8 burgers

Burger patties:

  • 3/4 cup canned chickpeas
  • ~ 1 cup cookied quinoa (cooked from 1/2 cup dry quinoa)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preset oven to 350F
  2. Slightly mash chickpeas in a large bowl
  3. Add remaining ingredients, salt and pepper to taste, mix well
  4. form into patties and bake until slightly browned, ~15 minutes
  5. serve on toasted buns

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • vegetable oil
  • salt
  • garlic powder
  1. Preset oven to 400F
  2. Clean and peel sweet potato
  3. cut into fry shaped pieces
  4. In a large bowl, drizzle fries with oil and toss to mix well, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder
  5. Bake on a cooking rack until crisp ~15 minutes
Creamy garlic sauce:
  • 3/4 Greek yogurt
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  1. Mix yogurt and garlic well and serve with burgers and fries

Monday, May 9, 2011

Week 21: Mother's Day Scones

I still remember the first time I made scones. I was 9 years old and a teacher at school was retiring. Because she was English, another teacher had the idea for us to host an English afternoon tea for her, complete with scones of course. She had asked for a few volunteers to help her out in my school's small kitchen and I was eager to get involved despite not even knowing what a scone was. Clearly I was an adventurous baker from a young age.

As a product of a Harry Potter-filled childhood, I am a fan of all things English, scones included. I don't quite know why, but I also think that there's some quite motherly about them. Perhaps the way the often come alongside a warm and soothing cup of tea, just like my own mother? This year, I baked up some in both cranberry and chocolate-orange (ok, maybe these were more for me) varieties to say thank you before we spent some quality time at a local farmer's market.

Mother's Day Scones
Yield: 8
  • 1-1/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup butter (cold)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk + a little more

For cranberry scones: 1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
For Chocolate-orange scones: 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 3 tablespoons marmalade, orange zest

Egg wash:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

  • 1/4 icing sugar
  • Water as needed
  1. Preset oven to 375F
  2. Mix flour, salt, and baking powder
  3. Add butter and mix with a pastry blender (a few butter knives work too)
  4. Add in either the cranberries or chocolate chips/marmalade (the zest is for later)
  5. Mix in 1/3 cup butter milk to form dough, as more as needed
  6. Form dough into an 8" circle and cut into 8 slices
  7. Brush with egg/milk mixture and bake for 12-13 minutes
  8. Allow to cool slightly and drizzle with icing, sprinkle with zest if making chocolate orange scones
  9. Serve warm

How did you say thanks to Mom this year?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Oat Crepes

I've been trying for years to turn my sister into a morning person. From cross-border shopping trips, to days on the ski hill and even promises of Mcdonald's breakfast, my parents and I have tried them all. Nothing has worked yet. Regardless of our efforts, I have no memories of ever seeing my younger sister before noon on a weekend.

She's really missing out. There's a certain calmness and quietness about mornings that I love. Mornings are always optimistic and full of potential for you to do great things. And coffee just doesn't smell quite as intoxicating at other times of day.

My new tactic is to bring breakfast in bed and hope that the smell is enough to get her up. I know that a whiff and Nutella and bananas would get me up any day.

Oat Crepes
Ever so slightly adapted from 3 Ingredient Oat Flour Crepes
Yield: 7 crepes

  • 1 cup oat flour (just process/blend rolled oats)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch salt
  • Toppings (see below for ideas)

  1. Mix all ingredients well
  2. Pour 1/4 cup servings of batter right onto a hot pan and tilt the pan around to evenly distribute
  3. Flip when the surface looks 'set'
  4. cover one half with your toppings of choice and fold over
  5. Serve warm

These were so delicious I ended up having four! They're great because there's endless toppings to try and can be either sweet or savory. Here's how my sister and I had ours:

  • Nutella and bananas
  • Peanut butter and bananas
  • Swiss cheese and chopped tomatoes
  • Peanut butter and candied cashews
  • Egg and cheese
    • Scramble an egg and pour directly onto the cooked crepe, sprinkle with shredded cheese

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Butter-free Garlic Bread

Back home? Check.
Adjusted to the time difference? Check.
Started my summer job? Check.
Unpacked? umm, maybe. . . maybe as in, no.

Made my favourite garlic bread? Most certainly.

This is one of my favourite ways to serve bread alongside dinner because it's garlic bread that's nice and garlicky without giving you the feeling that you've just eaten a tablespoon of butter after one slice. So if you do indeed like the whole spoon-of-butter feeling, then I apologize, but please do give this a try. I might just be able to convert you.

Butter-free Garlic Bread
Yield: 1 loaf
  • 1 French baguette (or any crusty bread)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • butter (optional)
  1. Preset oven to 400F
  2. Slice loaf and toast in oven
  3. Rub garlic cloves directly on the surface of the bread (as if you were trying to erase a mistake with your garlic eraser)
  4. Serve with butter on the side so your guests can use as much or as little as they wish

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Week 20: Butterfly Sugar Cookies

Sometimes I just need to bake.

Even if its past midnight. Even if I'm tired. Even if I still have exams left that cover 10 months and 700+ pages of material. 

I just need to, it's like therapy. I don't know what's so therapeutic about trying to cream butter without a mixer  or working with measuring spoons that are less than accurate, but it is. It just is.

At least my friends don't seem to mind. . .

Butterfly Sugar Cookies
Yield: 6-7 dozen (I lost count)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups flour

  1. Cream butter and sugar
  2. Add egg and vanilla and mix
  3. Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk and mix well
  4. Chill dough in the fridge for at least an hour
  5. Preset oven to 375F, Roll out dough to no thicker than 1/4" and cut out with cookie-cutters
  6. Chill dough again (important!, see why below)
  7. Bake for 9-10 minutes

And this, is why you chill the dough


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