Archive for October, 2011

Pipe Dream #6, Revisited Again: To Make The Perfect Snickerdoodle – Snickerdoodle Cookies

You probably already know about my obsession with snickerdoodles. There have been snickerdoodle muffins and snickerdoodle cupcakes already on this blog. But what you have likely missed, being that you are not me, is the countless number of true snickerdoodle cookies I have eaten in my lifetime.

I ate a snickerdoodle at least once a week this summer cuz I was workin’ at ca-amp, and it was glorious. Working at camp and eating the cookies. Depending on the week and who was baking them, the cookies would turn out flatter or puffier, crispier or softer. My favorites were the soft n’ chewy weeks. No surprise there, but it’s not like I was complaining the rest of the time. Heaven forbid.

8 oz. of 2% milk, please.

Oh thanks.

:],

Lauren

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Adapted from Village Creek Bible Camp‘s recipe

Yields about 25 cookies

1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar + 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients besides the cinnamon sugar and mix to combine.

Using a cookie scoop or two spoons, scoop up a ball of dough. Roll it briefly in your hands to form it into a ball, then roll it in a dish filled with cinnamon sugar to coat.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until tops have cracked a bit.

 

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Favorite Shots: Happy Sheep

I think y’all should prepare for all the sheep pictures that will eventually grace this blog. I am fascinated by them. Their cud-chewing countenances never cease to amaze me. And because I am surrounded by them, I take a few shots of them every time I’m out with a camera.

Here are the first shots of many.

I’m sorry,

Lauren

Pipe Dream #68: To Be Perfect Without Trying


Sometimes, taking perfect pictures is just not hard.  It’s not any skill of mine that makes it easy, it’s just three simple things.

Beautiful people who know how to smile.

 

Idyllic surroundings without a dumb advertisement in sight.

Perfect afternoon sun.

And that, my friends, is Heather in England. Enjoy.

L

Pipe Dream #67: To Be A Jelly Belly Conoisseur – Monster Cookies

I have no idea why monster cookies are named monster cookies. I just googled it, and all I could find were Wikipedia articles about Cookie Monster. Shoulda seen that coming. In the article, it talks about how Cookie Monster’s first favorite cookies are chocolate chip, and his second favorites are oatmeal cookies. Monster cookies, then, should be his ultimate favorite, because they are a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie plus peanut butter and M & M’s. Ok.

For years, I ate the same monster cookie recipe and thought it was just so-so. I never really had a passion for them until I tasted Sweet Katrina’s recipe. She hath breathed new life into these cookies and my psychological perceptions of them. While the original recipe calls for a 1/2 pound of chocolate chips and a 1/2 pound of M&M’s, try making it 1/3 of a pound and adding in 1/3 of a pound of Andes mint pieces. It sounds weird, but trust me, it is nothing less than phenomenal. I was eating it, going, “Is that mint? No, it can’t be. But there is something subtle and different about these…” Turns out it was mint.

It kind of made me feel like a Jelly Belly mixer master. You know on the package where it says something like, “Eat one at a time, or combine flavors for a totally maxed out flavor explosion?” Or something like that? My sisters and I would come up with the weirdest stuff, like tangerine and toasted marshmallow and cinnamon. That is what monster cookies + Andes mint pieces are. Totally wild, but totally awesome.

Enjoying seven flavors all at once,

L

Monster Cookies

Adapted from Katrina’s recipe

Makes many, many cookies

6 eggs

2 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 cups white sugar

4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 tablespoon white corn syrup

1/2 tablespoon vanilla

1 1/2 pounds peanut butter

1/2 pound butter

9 cups old fashioned oatmeal

1/2 pound M&Ms

1/2 pound chocolate chips

(If desired, substitute in 1/3 pound Andes mint pieces and reduce chocolate chips and M&M’s to 1/3 pound each.)

Cream the butter and sugars together before adding eggs.  Mix the remaining ingredients in order.  Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet, allowing room to spread.  Press down a bit with your hand.  Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.  Don’t over bake.


Favorite Shots: The Lake District

“But I don’t even know the way back to my own country,” pleaded Edmund.

“That’s easy,” answered the Queen. “Do you see that lamp?” She pointed with her wand and Edmund turned and saw the same lamp-post under which Lucy had met the Faun. “Straight on, beyond that, is the way to the World of Men. And now look the other way”- here she pointed in the opposite direction – “and tell me if you can see two little hills rising above the trees.”

“I think I can,” said Edmund.

“Well, my house is between those two hills. So next time you come you have only to find the lamp-post and look for those two hills and walk through the wood till you reach my house. But remember – you must bring the others with you. I might have to be very angry with you if you came alone.”

“I’ll do my best,” said Edmund.

-The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

I’m not promoting dragging people down with you into sin or listening to the directions of dubious characters, but this picture did remind me of the White Witch. I went to the Lake District. Somehow, reading C.S. Lewis books here is just that much more appropriate.

L

A Really Cute Idea: Deception

Ha, so deception is not such a cute idea. It is actually quite an annoying and ugly idea. But! Deception can be really charming sometimes. This was the case at this particular women and girls luncheon. The speaker before lunch had been speaking about can you guess? Deception. Hey-o!

We made these fun “floral arrangements” out of radishes. Delish.

This was probably the most effective part of the meal lie-wise. Hilarious to see the little girls picking up their glasses and trying to suck up the fake red drank. It was Jell-O.

We also made cake, which is the reason I decided that this post is relevant enough for my baking blog. You know, cuz I be so relevant. It was a two-layer meatloaf cake with mashed potato/sweet potato frosting and parsley sprinkles. Parsley sprinkles. Who woulda thought?

The cakes were almost easier to frost than a regular cake. After you soaked away the grease from the meat, the potatoes stuck to the sides, so we just had to mold it on and smooth it how we wanted it.

The table centerpieces were edible too. And bright. The centerpieces were bright. Bright = cute.

If you are planning a lie-themed party soon, this meal is perfect for you. I don’t know many people who hold lie-themed parties (kinda has to sit on the bench behind princess parties and ugly sweater parties), but one never knows. I write on the ahnternit now. Anybody could read this.

My nose is significantly longer than it used to be,

L

Pipe Dream #66: To Never Over-Bake – A Literal Pound Cake

A few things about this giant cupcake:

1) I am not particularly proud of the way it tasted.

2) I am definitely not proud of the way it looked. I had about 20 minutes, and I was totally messing around with leftover frosting.

3) It is giant, which is cool.

4) I remembered Anthony’s birthday, for which to make it. So.

5) My aunt gave me this baking tin for no reason at all except that she loves me. Thank you.

Pretty nifty, eh? It’s connected. Bulky in storage, but handy when you are actually baking. Which I was.

I was super excited to try it out, so of course I spent 10  hours researching the perfect flagship recipe. Not. But I did research the back of the giant cupcake tin box, which said that this pan was ideal for pound cakes.

You know, pound cakes? The dense, moist-y crumb that is made from a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a pound of eggs and a pound of flour? Yeah, that pound cake. There are endless variations that deviate from the true thing. Who knows what they add, cream cheese, leftovers, sprinkles? True story, once I added pink sanding sugar as a secret ingredient to a meat marinade. The chicken turned out slightly pink. Anyway, I wanted to go legit, so I decided to try the original.

Basically, the recipe was not good for the pan. Maybe the recipe just isn’t good for any pan, but I can’t believe that, really. It’s a pound cake.

The bottom part of the cupcake did not bake as quickly as the top part, so the whole thing stayed in for too long. This was unfortunate, because as we know, over-baking is the most heinous sacrelige one can commit in regard to cake. It was pretty dry. In fact, I’m pretty sure if I had let it sit overnight, it would have been hard as a rock by the next morning. Also, the recipe did not make quite enough batter to fill the top part of the pan, which is one of the reasons that my frosting turned out so janked. Next time, I would scale up the recipe a bit to fill the pan. The cake won’t rise very much because the batter has no leavening agent in it; you can fill the pan as high as you want.

It was still birthday happy, though. Nothing chocolate cream cheese frosting couldn’t make up for. You heard me right.

Have fun with that pound of butter, now. :]

L

Legit Pound Cake

1 pound (2 cups) sugar
1 pound (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 pound (9 large) eggs
1 pound (4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer, then gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat until well creamed and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add the flour and salt, beating constantly. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating until well blended.

Grease and flour a 10-inch tube, bundt pan, or giant cupcake pan. Pour in the batter and distribute the batter evenly. Bake until a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes (I would check it at 40 minutes), taking care not to overbake. Turn cake out onto a rack and let cool.


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