I have some stories to tell in the coming days about the outdoor bread oven in Chezbonneau, France, but for the moment, my story is about a cookie. The story begins with the recipe for Magnolia’s “Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chip Cookie“, but takes a detour to become something quite a bit different. The detour was purposeful.
Remove the peanut butter chips for a simple oatmeal cookie.
Replace light brown sugar with dark brown sugar.
Increase the brown sugar and decrease the amount of refined white sugar.
Increase the amount of cinnamon by just a bit.
Chezbonneau’s recipe for a dark, moist, chewy, hint-of-molasses oatmeal cookie
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
11/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed DARK brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
21/2 cups quick-cooking oats
DIRECTIONS (as per Magnolia’s cookbook)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Stir in the oats. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Bake for 11–13 minutes. (I SUGGEST NO MORE THAN 11 minutes for a moist, chewy cookie.) Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
I have had a hard time getting the oatmeal evenly distributed into this relatively dry batter. I decided to use the dough hook on my mixer to see if that might do the trick, and it did a great job – no over-beating, even distribution of oatmeal late in the game.
#54 Poppy Seed Bread – #55 Brown Sugar Pecan Cake – #56 (already posted)- #57 Zucchini Walnut Bread – #58 Coconut Oatmeal Drop Cookies – #59 Orange Vanilla Chip Cookies – #60 Hummingbird Cake – #61 Dump Cake
Keeping up with my baking project got rather difficult during December and January. There was a trip with students to Paris, moving into a new house, a Christmas trip to family back in the United States, then midterm exams, grading and reporting. Sorry for the litany. I did manage to bake during this time, but at a much slower pace and with less time for blogging. Both blogging and baking took a hit, but the blog took the worst hit. All that said, the deck is newly cleared, and it’s time to catch you up on what I have managed to do towards the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook project. So, a few words on Seven unpublished recipes (in bake order – as always):
I had been looking forward to traveling abroad so that I could buy poppy seeds for baking. Poppy seeds are not imported into this country because of the association of poppy with narcotics.
Well, the “bread” (I couldn’t find a bread mold at my mom’s house) was lovely to behold but kind of flat on taste. We finally decided that the vanilla I had used had lost its flavor, been in the cabinet too long.
As a note, my mom has a very serious sweet tooth and a very keen sense of taste in these matters. I enjoyed her comments on my baking so much. If I were baking in her house all the time, I’d receive the kind of feedback I need to improve things.
This cake was the last one I baked while with my parents this past Christmas. I don’t have any pictures of it and that surprises me. It looked almost identical to the poppy seed bread from a distance, but up close and upon tasting, it was obviously very different.
NOTE: “Nutty,crunchy bundt cake” – This is a wonderful cake, but to kick it up a crunchy notch, finely chop up an extra 1/2 cup of pecans and stir it into the mix (being sure to include all of the fine pecan powder that results from your chopping). The result is a dark, golden brown cake with a pecan crunch exterior. Just do it.
“This wonderful cake, filled with bananas, pineapples, and pecans, came our way by good fortune.” (Magnolia)
Of the layer cakes I’ve baked so far, the Hummingbird and the Carrot Cakes are hands down favorites – and the Hummingbird just might take the cake. What makes it even more wonderful? It’s super easy to make, moist and with a perfect crumb.
FUN LITTLE STORY: I baked this cake to take to a dinner party and share with friends. It was the hosts birthday but I was unaware of the fact. When time for desert arrived, out came some cupcakes, a huge, gorgeous chocolate cake from a bakery, and the Hummingbird cake. The Hummingbird was devoured and the others left standing, almost untouched. As I said, it’s a great recipe and easy to make.
“It’s the easiest thing in the world,” says Kaplan, “because you just dump in all the ingredients, and out comes this terrific cake!” He sure was right!” (Magnolia)
I resisted cooking this cake for two reasons: 1) I was saving it for a moment when I needed a drop-dead easy recipe as a time-saver, and 2) It seemed too “canned” to take any pride in.
But, hey! I was feeling down for baking so little, so I decided the time was right and just did the dump deed.
So. Can the pride thing. It’s a fun sweet to have around to make carbo-craving teenagers think they have a dad worth keeping and it’s actually impressive to others.
I baked this cake, as is the case for most that I do, for no special reason other than my learning project. About half of it disappeared on a Friday afternoon and then I realized I could share it at a dinner party. But, hey! who takes a half-eaten cake to a dinner party?
Bright idea! Scoop this 0h-so-scoopable cake into cupcake cups and share it that way! I had some extra-lovely cups as a Christmas present and did just that. It was a hit! (But I didn’t get any pictures of it. 😦 ………. Since then, I learned that this manner of serving such deserts is already out there (see below)
I know this “catch-up” post is less than entertaining or enlightening. Hopefully, I’ll find my voice again in the coming posts. I actually have some more recent successes and spectacular disasters to talk about. Thanks for visiting and reading!