baking · chocolate · comfort food · Cookies · dessert · easy · Party food · quick · snacks · Swedish · vegetarian · Yummy

Havreflarn – Swedish Oatmeal Crisps

After more than a year of thinking about it, I finally did an Ancestry DNA test to find out more about my heritage. I’ve always been told that I’m at least 50% German, because my great great great grandparents immigrated here from Germany. Of course, no one in my family was taking into consideration that they could have immigrated to Germany from elsewhere sometime before that. Nope. We’re German, and that’s that.

Turns out that that is all a goddamn lie. My results came back last week and I am actually predominately English and Swedish, and only 15% German. While I am immensely disappointed in my lack of Norwegian ancestry (as I felt very at home in Oslo), I have fully embraced my Swedish heritage. After frantically emailing several new family members (none of which have emailed me back – fuckers), I immediately went on the search for a traditional Swedish cookie recipe. No joke, I found this recipe on Pinterest while using an elliptical at the gym. I’m not even a little sorry. I maxed out at like 20 minutes of exercise that day, and promptly ran home to start baking. I followed the recipe to a T, and my cookies still ended up looking like this:

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So I adjusted some things for the next batch. I decreased the butter by 2 tablespoons and made the cookies a little smaller. Don’t get me wrong, the original batch was still delicious. They just weren’t quite as pretty. Also, the recipe called for an entire stick of butter and it only made 6 cookies. The bowl with the dough had a puddle of butter at the bottom after I’d finished scooping it all out. It was fucking madness.

In addition to celebrating my newfound heritage, I’m also on the lookout for anyone on my biological dad’s side of the family. Not knowing who he is has never bothered me much, but now we have all this technology, so why not use it? I’m curious as fuck about this entire family that is out there waiting to be found. It’s crazy. I am the product of artificial insemination via sperm donor, so I’ve been messaging all the people I don’t know on my DNA match list (which contains over 400 people) with things like, “Do you know of any men in your family that went to medical school in Minneapolis in the 80’s and possibly donated sperm?” I’m like that lost duck in the children’s book looking for it’s mom. Except it’s my dad, and I have the internet. So I’ll just continue to message everyone on Facebook with names from my DNA list asking, “Are you my dad?” And maybe eventually someone will know something. Or at least check their fucking messages and respond even if they don’t.

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When I researched these cookies, I found out that Swedish women used to have coffee parties back in the day. At these parties they would serve seven different types of cookies. If they served less than seven, they were considered cheap asses. If they served more than seven, then they were showing off. Honestly, you’re lucky if you get one kind of cookie at my house. Who makes seven different kinds of cookies for one party? Those guests sound like a bunch of entitled bitches.

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6 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

3/4 instant oats

2 tablespoons light cream (or half and half)

Preheat oven to 375. Butter and flour 2 cookie sheets, as these WILL stick.

In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, melt butter. Once melted, lower heat to medium-low and add in the sugar. Stir until fully incorporated. Continue with the flour and oats, again mixing well after each ingredient with a wooden spoon. Finally add in the light cream. Continuously stir over medium-low heat while the edges bubble for just a few minutes. Pour dough into a medium sized bowl and set in the fridge for 10-20 minutes, or the freezer for 5-10 minutes (dough will still be warm, but not hot). Each cookie will be about a tablespoon of dough. Press each ball of dough down a little bit with the back of  a spoon. The dough should still be a bit warm, so this should be easy. It will encourage the cookies to spread, which helps make them thin and crispy. Because they do spread so much, make sure to leave lots of space between each cookie. Limit yourself to 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Recipe makes about 12 cookies.

OPTIONAL BUT AWESOME: Dip half of them in melted chocolate. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips that I microwaved for 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Place dipped cookies on parchment paper to cool.

baking · comfort food · Cookies · dessert · vegan · vegetarian

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

I’m not sure what the deal is, but I had horrendous anxiety tonight. Like, I was fine all fucking day, but then this evening hit, and I just lost it. Does this happen to anyone else? I ended up calling Cortney in a panic, and she calmed me right down. I have the best friends in the world, for real. Even when I’m being irrational and frantic, they always reassure me that my feelings are valid, and that it’s important to just let myself feel things. I think that is worth repeating, since it’s only been within the last few years that I have come to accept this…

Regardless of how you are feeling, or how other people might feel in your situation… even if it seems silly or irrational… please know – your feelings are valid. Always. 

It probably doesn’t help that I keep cramming 25 things into my days, instead of just giving myself time to relax. I have 3 separate friends coming to visit in the next week, plus the teacher training, plus work, plus yoga, and trying to fit in time to see my mom once in awhile. It’s a disaster mostly. Seems appropriate, considering I am mostly a disaster all the time. It’ll all work itself out… right?

On a whim, I decided to make these cookies for my Yoga Teacher Training class today. Class started at 11:30am, and I got up a 7:15am to get all my shit done. This meant going cat sitting, stopping at the farmer’s market, doing laundry, and baking these cookies. I was pleasantly surprised with my mad time management skills when everything was done, except the cookies, by 9:45am. I was like, “Fuck yeah! I have so much time to bake! This’ll be done in like 40 minutes.” So I started mixing everything together without reading the full recipe first. I got all the way to the end before I read, “Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.”

W.T.F.

It was like 10:10am at this point, and I needed to leave my apartment by 11:20am. PANIC.

But I’m a fucking pro. So, fuck yeah those cookies made it to class. Maybe they were too hot to have a lid on their Tupperware container, but they fucking made it.

Unrelated: Can someone please fucking help me get my air conditioner unit into my window? I’m fucking melting over here.

Also unrelated: I nailed my fucking headstand this week!

 

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour

2 tablespoons corn starch

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons flaxseed meal

4 tablespoons almond milk

6 tablespoons cashew butter

6 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Warning: This recipe requires refrigeration of the dough for 1 hour! You need to know that before going in.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, corn starch, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. In a smaller bowl, whisk together flaxseed meal and almond milk, then add cashew butter, oil, vanilla, and cinnamon. Whisk together until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients. You’ll need to use your hands a little for this one… add about a tablespoon of water if not holding together, and knead with your hands. Once all the ingredients are fully mixed in, and dough can hold together in a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Mix equal parts cinnamon and sugar into a small bowl (I did 3 tablespoons of each). Roll balls of dough (1ish inch in size) in the cinnamon/sugar mixture, and arrange on a cookie sheet. These cookies will not spread, so feel free to cram as many as you can get onto one cookie sheet. Press each one down with a fork, and bake at 375 degrees for 11 minutes.

Let cool, then shovel them all into your face. Be shocked that they don’t taste like shit (because they’re vegan).

 

baking · breakfast · brunch · chocolate · comfort food · Cookies · dessert · easy · quick · snacks · vegetarian · Yummy

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

So my mom finally wrote down her chocolate chip cookie recipe. If you remember, she’s not great at measurements. She doesn’t understand that baking is science. In fact, she scoffed when I told her.

In her defense, the cookies always turn out perfect. I figured her baking skills are genetic, so my version of these would also be perfect.

But then Hannah fucked it all up.

The brown sugar I had was rock hard. I’m not allowed to go to the store, and I knew there was a way to soften it… but I couldn’t remember how. Hannah was sitting in the background drinking White Russians. She hears me complaining, and says very matter-of-factly, “Just microwave it with a little water. It’ll be fine.” Rather than take the 2 minutes to Google a real method of softening brown sugar, I take her advice. The sugar at the bottom of the bowl melts into brown goo, and the sugar on top stays rock hard. Sigh. When I yelled at Hannah, she responded with, “Kelsey, I’ve never baked anything in my life. Why would you listen to me?!”

She just sounded so confident. She’s an excellent bullshitter.

In the end, the cookies turned out acceptable. Next time I bake, Hannah is not invited.

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 sticks of butter, softened (My mom says to melt them all the way, but I know that’s bullshit)

Splash of vanilla

2 eggs

2 3/4 cup flour

Dash of salt

Teaspoon baking soda

2 cups dark chocolate chips

Coarsely ground sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together both sugars, butter, and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fluffy. In a separate bowl (or if you’re my mother, the same bowl) mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together. Pour flour mixture into wet ingredients and mix well. Remove from mixer, and fold in chocolate chips. Form into 1 or 2 inch balls, and place on a cookie sheet. Add a few pieces of salt to the top of each ball of dough, and press in slightly (so they don’t fall off).  Bake for approximately 10 minutes. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies. Make sure to eat at least 10 while they’re still warm and gooey.

 

comfort food · dessert · easy · quick · snacks · vegetarian

Sugar Cookies and Christmastime

20151209_092140The Christmas season is usually one of my favorite times of the year. It’s not too cold out yet, and there is usually a light layer of fluffy white snow, covering all the ugly, brown plants. I love the cozy nights indoors, drinking hot chocolate, and watching Elf. It’s basically an introvert’s dream – I’m pretty much required to stop socializing and stay home.

This year is different. I mourned the loss of summer, and have not fully recovered yet. The only thing I’m fully embracing is Christmas lights. I didn’t even put up a tree this year. It just sounds exhausting. In my defense, the Christmas tree I normally put up is full size, and from 1986 (I live in a small, one bedroom apartment). It’s flocked and everything. I actually love it, as it was the tree I grew up decorating, but the idea of vacuuming up fake snow (and trying to keep the cats away) is overwhelming. So fuck it. I’m not decorating this year.

20151209_092219Also, presents are getting more and more difficult with the kids in my family. My twin nieces are now 3 1/2, and starting to notice the difference between what toys/colors/things are “for boys” and what are “for girls.” When I asked why they weren’t super heroes for Halloween, they proceeded to tell me that those are “boy” costumes. Sigh. I guess I need to pay even more attention to what I’m buying them as gifts. This year they are mostly getting books, all with strong female protagonists. They’re going to hate it, but maybe they’ll be grateful one day.

The struggle is real.

20151209_093125Speaking of my nieces – we all made frosting together last night for my nephew (who hated it). One of my nieces took it upon herself to make up for her brother’s lack of interest by shoving handfuls of frosting into her mouth with her bare hands. A girl after my own heart.

There are no rules when I babysit.

20151209_101555Another part of Christmas that I love is cookies. Cut-out cookies are cute, but a pain in the ass. Plus, they never taste very good. I opted to make plain sugar cookies this year, and I’m not sorry. They take all of 15 minutes to throw together, and are practically inhale-able. So. Fucking. Good.

I found this recipe on Baking Away, via Pinterest. It is going to live in my recipe book from now on.

20151209_101520Sugar Cookies

2 3/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar + extra for coating cookies

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat over to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Beat butter and sugar together in a mixer, until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract – beat until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients, with mixer on low. Roll about a tablespoon of dough at a time into balls, and coat with sugar. Place on cookie sheet, evenly spaced, and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let sit for a couple minutes to cool, and use spatula to place cookies onto a clean surface.

If you don’t eat at least 3 cookies worth of dough while making these, you’re doing it wrong.

 

 

 

dessert

Mom’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

My mom has always been famous among my friends for her amazing cookies. As a child, I often “helped” bake them with her. And by help, I mean, of course, that I was a great taste-tester. Mostly I sampled the raw dough, but I’d also wash it down with a finished cookie or two. I often painstakingly chose the largest of all the finished cookies, and ate it right out of the oven, doing my best to not drop the gooey bits onto the floor.

I don’t think I’d ever actually paid attention to how they were made, until last night. My mom and I were babysitting my nieces and nephew overnight at her house over the weekend. After they went to bed, we opened a bottle of wine and got to baking. Wine is mandatory.

My mother doesn’t measure a fucking thing when she bakes. And she was so frustrated with me demanding measurements (“Kelsey, you just eye-ball it!”). “But, Mom,” I said, “measurements are required for a cooking blog!” I ended up dirtying several extra bowls and spoons trying to figure out how much of each ingredient was being added. She was in a tizzy over all the extra dishes.

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When adding the flour, she said to “be generous” when scooping with the 1 cup measuring cup. What do you mean?! She initially told me to put in 1 1/2 cups, but then rolled her eyes at my precise measurements. Taking the cup out of my hand, she huffs, “Not like that! Be generous!” It ended up being 1 2/3 cups, but then we had to add another 2/3 cup later, when she said the dough didn’t have the right consistency. By the time we got to the oatmeal, I was noticing a pattern. I rolled my eyes, and asked, “Ok, how much oatmeal?”

“Three cups.” Wink.

It was really 3 1/2 cups. The madness.

I drank more wine.

The only ingredients that actually get measured every time are the eggs, and the butter. But that’s only because they come in neatly measured packages. Not even the baking soda was measured. “But, Mom!” I yelled, “You can’t guess – it’s science!” She rolled her eyes.

Sure enough, we pulled those cookies out of the oven, and they were perfect.

This is the first time this recipe has ever been written down. She claims it’s just the recipe from the oatmeal container, but with a few modifications. We checked the oatmeal container, but it wasn’t even close.

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened (most people would say unsalted – but my mom only buys salted butter)

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla (you can’t overdo it)

2 eggs

2 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Dash of salt

1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

3 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 1/2 cups raisins (or chocolate chips, or cinnamon chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter, vanilla, and both kinds of sugar in mixer. Add eggs and mix will. In a separate bowl (or in the same bowl, if you’re my mom) mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Turn mixer on low/medium and slowly add flour mixture. Once fully incorporated, slowly add oatmeal. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in raisins by hand. Once it’s all mixed well, eat several spoons of raw dough (keeping in mind that raw eggs can poison you, but it’s worth the risk). Place spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool (or don’t), and eat as many as you want.

Baking tip from my mom: If you have butter in the dough, you don’t need to grease the pan.

Also, be loose with your measurements.