Cashew Butter Grapenut Cookies

I don’t think it’s possible for me to be more exhausted. While some people say this time of year is the holiday season, I consider it the concert season. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had about 4 recitals, and these coming weeks are only bringing more along. Something I’m excited for in the middle of the madness is the concert that I’m playing this Saturday. It’s not your typical setting, because instead of my chamber group performing by itself, we get the opportunity to accompany a local ballet studio in their upcoming production. They don’t do the Nutcracker like most studios, but instead perform a piece called “La Boutique Fantastique.” It’s a different experience trying to match to dancers, and it’s a nice change of pace from the usual quartet setting.

Although I haven’t talked about it much on RTTC, I’m still going to gymnastics as much as I can between seemingly endless amounts of chamber group rehearsals. I’m competing level 8 again this year because I wanted this year to be fun, not filled with competition stress. And, since I typically can’t stay for a full practice because of rehearsals, it’s better for me mentally that I don’t have to worry about lots of new skills. Anyway, our first meet is next weekend and I’m pretty excited. I wouldn’t have been able to stay in the sport for all of these years unless I loved it, and the adrenaline and excitement that comes from competing is something I can’t get anywhere else.

Now that I’ve bored you enough talking about my various life adventures, let’s get to the real reason why you came here- cookies. As much as I love reading copious amounts of food blogs and finding interesting recipes to try, I can’t help but get creative in the kitchen. I had originally wanted to whip up something quick, simple, and delicious: a peanut butter cookie. But, after looking in my cabinet and seeing cashew butter shining in the front row, I knew that I couldn’t go back to plain ol’ peanut butter. Then, as I was making the dough, I thought, why not add some texture to these? I couldn’t find the cashews, so the next logical solution was clearly to go for the good-for-you, whole grain goodness that is Grapenuts. They add such a nice heartiness and crunch to these cookies that I just love. Besides, it’s an excuse to eat cookies for breakfast- obviously something I have never done before. 🙂

rayna's grapenut breakfast cookie

Cashew Butter Grape Nut Cookies: Adapted from King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter or vegan butter substitute

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

  • 3/4 cup smooth cashew butter

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • ¾ cup grape nuts

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  2.  Beat together the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and cashew butter until smooth.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the cashew-butter mixture, beating gently until everything is well combined. It may take awhile for this rather dry dough to come together; and when it does, it’ll be quite stiff. Only if necessary, drizzle in enough water to make the dough cohesive. Mix in grape nuts until just combined.
  4. Drop the cookie dough by tablepoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here), leaving 2″ between them.

The holidays are coming- better get baking!

-Rayna

Cornmeal Cookies

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all get a chance to enjoy your day off and spend some time with friends and family. The weather went from 40 degrees and rainy to sunny and warm, so I’m excited for some delicious grilling and time in the sun. Obviously, I’m going for the food first.
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All of the chaos has finally started to die down! AP tests are over, my jury is over, so I finally have some time to get back to baking! I’ve missed being in the kitchen, but I wanted to be sure you weren’t left dessert-less for Memorial Day! If you don’t already know, my mom has started her own web-zine called The Weiser Kitchen, so I’ve been helping her out by baking. It clearly took a lot of coercing. These cookies were one of the recipes, and when they turn out this well, I’m more than happy to help!

As you can probably tell, I love cookies. But, because I make so many cookies, I’m always looking for cookies that have something special about them, and the texture in these immediately stood out to me. I love cornbread and the rough, course texture that cornmeal has, so I was interested to see how it would fair in a cookie. It was a great investment! The course cornmeal paired with the pop of fruit from the current was just great. Cornmeal comes from corn, so these cookies are even a vegetable! Okay, maybe not. You should still make them!

Cornmeal Cookies- From The Weiser Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (3 7/8 ounces) cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounces) currants

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 cookie sheets.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg and the vanilla extract. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the currants.
  3. Using a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop, evenly drop the dough onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown.

Now make these cookies and enjoy the day off!

-Rayna 🙂

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hey there! I hope everyone’s weekend is going well. Yesterday, I had my seating auditions for orchestra. The way that seating auditions work is you are assigned a few excerpts to play from the pieces that we are doing and during orchestra rehearsal, you leave and go to a room where you do a blind audition. There is a black curtain between you and the judges so they don’t know how old you are, if you’re a boy or a girl, or anything else. All they care about is how well you play. Although it’s a very fair system, I sure was nervous! Results come out next week, so wish me luck!

I know I know, these don’t seem like the type of cookie recipe that I would post on here. They’re too typical for me. I like cookies that grab my attention, whether it be they have almond flour, stuffed with other cookies, or have unusual ingredients stuck in them. Chocolate chip cookies don’t do that. However, whenever someone finds out that I bake, the question I most frequently get asked is “Can you make me chocolate chip cookies?” So I finally gave in and made some plain chocolate chip cookies from Martha Stewart. I know everyone has their preferences for how they like them- chewy, soft, crisp, etc., but these are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, which is my ideal combination. A great cookie to make your weekend even better!

Chocolate Chip Cookies- Makes 3 Dozen Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the vanilla and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Just a great chocolate chip cookie. What’s not to love?

-Rayna 🙂
(P.S. I love the way these pictures turned out. Opinions? Thoughts?)

Brown Sugar Blueberry Cookies

Well it’s official, I’m a junior in high school! School started yesterday, and we had a modified schedule so I would be able to meet all of my teachers. I’m not stranded without any of my friends in any class, so I think I’ll be alright! Also, while I’m getting adjusted to my new schedule in school, I head back to the gym this week after taking our annual week-long break. It’s a strange schedule, but next week, things should start to settle in.

I put blueberries in a cookie. Not dried blueberries- fresh, plump, juicy blueberries. In a cookie. And it was delicious. These irresistible delights from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen are like a perfectly puffy cloud cookie, and once you get a squirt of the fresh summer berries, these are irresistible. They would make a perfect, light ending to your Labor day barbecues, a perfect breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, midnight snack…the possibilities are endless! 🙂

Brown Sugar Blueberry Cookies
Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, for rolling dough

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees and prepare 2 baking sheets. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla extract until fully incorporated. Add in the milk until it just comes together.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, being careful not to overmix (or else you’ll get hockey puck cookies-ew)! Fold the blueberries in gently, taking extra caution not to pop them.
  3. Take a medium sized bowl and add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Using a tablespoon or an ice cream scooper (or your hands), make balls of dough and roll them in the granulated sugar, then place them on a tray.
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the cookie centers are set and the tops are lightly colored.

They’re almost too easy. 🙂
-Rayna 🙂

 

Soft Gingersnap Cookies

Sorry for being gone for so long! Midterms just wrapped up today, so now I finally have some time to update you on what’s been going on in my kitchen. When my grandmother came over recently, I wanted to bake something for her especially since her birthday was coming up. She doesn’t like chocolate desserts she’s so insane but she loves spiced desserts. I’d rather have a steaming hot serving of apple crisp or a decadent chocolate mint cookie if you ask me, but I bake upon request. 🙂

For a girl who hates ground ginger, these were really good. They were perfectly soft but with a crispy edge, and my grandmother loved them. These were cookies that I’ve had my eye on from Two Peas and Their Pod and I’m glad I was able to make them for someone that I knew would really enjoy them.

Soft Gingersnap Cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • White sugar for rolling

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and the brown sugar. When it’s nice and fluffy, add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add in the molasses.
  4. Slowly add in the flour mixture to the wet ingredients until just combined. Using a tablespoon or eyeballing it, take the dough and roll it into a ball and cover it with the white sugar. Bake for 8-12 minutes (depends on your oven) and enjoy!

I heard rave reviews about these cookies, and I’m sure you will love them (if you like ginger)!

-Rayna 🙂

Rugelach

This cookie has a very funny story behind it. My best friend Deanna and I were hanging out in October, and while baking another item we decided it would be a good idea to make rugelach dough as well. Because of schoolwork and gymnastics and classical viola, I barely had any time to bake as it was, so certainly I couldn’t do a roll-out cookie such as rugelach! So this dough went into the freezer, and now I finally got a chance to make this traditional Jewish cookie.

Rugelach is conventionally a cream cheese dough (such as this one) and I made 2 batches- one with raspberry jam on the inside and one with a layer of brown sugar. The cream cheese dough was very good, but if it had sat overnight rather than in the freezer for a few months, I’m sure that it would have turned out even better. All in all, this was such a fun cookie to make, and they’re just too cute as well!

Rugelach- Dough from CIA Baking and Pastry

Makes about 30 cookies

I don’t feel comfortable giving you guys the recipe, but rather I encourage you to buy this spectacular book that will teach you all of the basics of becoming a spectacular baking and pastry connoisseur.

For the filling, I just used raspberry jam (you can use whatever flavor you would like!) in one batch, and I used just a thick layer of brown sugar in the other. I would add something to the brown sugar to make it adhere better next time, and probably add some sort of crunchy element (i.e. nuts).

Off to bake with my new treasure, the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Book!:)

-Rayna 🙂

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I hope you are all having a very happy holiday! Mine has been filled with family and the lovely smell of baked goods all around me. 🙂

These cookies have been everywhere in the food-blogging world. How could they not be? It’s a cookie stuffed inside of another cookie! Since everyone was virtually raving about this decadent cookie from the Picky Palate, I knew that I had to try these out for myself. Ohhhhh boy. Not only is the chocolate chip cookie recipe a keeper, but the way that the cream inside of the Oreo gets all warm and melty, these cookies are like a party in my mouth. If they weren’t the size of my head, none of these cookies would have made it past day one. These cookies are more than just a clever idea, but a very delicious one at that!

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 15 GIANT cookies or 2 dozen moderately giant cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) softened butter
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 10 ounce bag of chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
  • 1 package Oreos (I used double stuf!)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour and the baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the sugars and the butter. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract until just combined. Add in the dry ingredients until just incorporated.
  4. Take one Oreo, and using a medium sized cookie scoop, scoop out the chocolate chip cookie dough and put one scoop on either end of the Oreo. Smoosh down the dough until the sides are closed.
  5. Bake for 9-13 minutes, or until they are baked to your liking. (I ended up doing mine for around 15 because I made GIANT cookies). Enjoy!

I think I’m in heaven. Happy Holidays! 🙂

-Rayna 🙂

(P.S. I know you love the Hannukah mat! :p )

Triple Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

It’s been awhile since I’ve had this much time to bake! School let out for break yesterday, so this upcoming week will be full of baked goodies and breakfast recipes to help spice up your holiday week.

If you haven’t been able to tell, I love cranberries. Their tartness is a wonderful contrast to the sweetness that baked goods have, along with being festive and pretty. When I stumbled upon these cookies on Epicurious, I knew that they had to be in my mouth instantly. These cookies will make those people who claim to “not like cranberries” quickly fall in love with this magical fruit. The distinct tartness of the cranberries pairs so well with the sweetness of the chocolate, and the texture of the oatmeal in the background is exactly what you need to make these cookies oh-so-amazing. After stuffing yourself with thumbprints and fudge until you feel like you’re going to explode, I hope that you’ll try out these truly awesome cookies. Have a very happy holiday! 🙂

Triple Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (1 1/4 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries

Directions

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat together the sugars and the butter until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla extract. Add in the flour mixture and the oats until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and the cranberries.
  4. Spoon evenly onto baking sheets and bake until golden brown, around 16 minutes.

This are a nice twist from your traditional holiday cookie, and once you have one, you’ll be addicted!

Happy Holidays!

-Rayna 🙂

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops

My family and I love to try new foods and experiment with ingredients that aren’t in your typical kitchen. In our kitchen, you can find dried chrysanthemum flowers, monkey-picked tea, date paste, and spices that you didn’t even knew existed. A vanilla malt has always been one of my brother’s favorite drinks, so I went to the store to get some malt powder to add to our ever-growing collection of ingredients that you will never use. 🙂

These cookies provide a decadent combination of that chocolate malt flavor with a crunch from the Whoppers (and Crunch Bars!) mixed in throughout. They were exactly what I needed after a long week at school, and they’ll certainly be appearing again sometime soon. 🙂

Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops- Makes 30 Cookies

From Baking: From My Home To Yours– Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup malted milk powder (Either regular or chocolate flavored, I used chocolate Ovaltine)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 11 tablespoons (1 stick and 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 4 ounces chocolate-covered malted milk balls (I used Whoppers)
  • 2 ounces crispy rice candy (I used Crunch bars)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (or chunks)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 baking sheets.
  2. Mix together the flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, and baking powder.
  3. Beat together the butter and the sugar until very smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating about a minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla- Don’t worry if the mixture is curdled.
  4. Mix in the dry ingredients until just incorporated, and fold in the malted milk balls, crispy rice candy, and chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop onto the cookie trays (make them even!) and bake for 11-13 minutes- they will be slightly soft to the touch.

The only bad part about these cookies is when they’re all gone! 😉

-Rayna 🙂

(P.S. I’m trying to work on my food photography skills, feel free to comment!)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, schoolwork has really caught up to me, and my time to do much of anything else has been very limited. But once these cookies came popping out of the oven, they made my stressful week oh so much better. They weren’t your crispy dainty little cookies, these pumpkin cookies are very cake-like, and I made a few tweaks to the originial recipe just to make that pumpkiny-fally flavor that much more amazing.

Fall is my favorite time of year. The temperature is just right (Me and Goldilocks are on the same page) and all the leaves make for the best looking trees around in the northeast. And fall=pumpkin, to me and many other food bloggers out there. What’s not to love about it? If you’re looking for a great recipe to add to your fall recipe collection, you have to make these. Now. 😉

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies- From My Baking Addiction

Makes 16 large cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (make sure it’s puree, not pie filling)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease 2 cookie trays.
  2. Combine the pumpkin, sugar, egg, milk, vanilla extract, and vegetable oil.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda.
  4. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and add in the chocolate chips. Make sure not to overmix!
  5. Scoop the dough onto the cookie trays and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Seriously, go make these cookies. Your mind will thank me. Your pants? Not so much. 😉

-Rayna 🙂