Why, hello again! I hope you are all having a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with lots of delicious food, family, and friends. This is the first year that I’m not going home for Thanksgiving, because with the silly quarter system schedule with Northwestern, I would have only had to come back here for one week between winter break and Thanksgiving, and figured I would save the money on airfare and try to get a bit of work done in my apartment.
It’s been quite awhile since I last posted, as you probably realized. Life has been a bit crazy the past months, with me starting my junior (?!?!) year at Northwestern, taking lots and lots of classes, and going to a plethora of music festivals over the summer. I was traveling a lot, going from Ottawa to Bowdoin to northern Quebec, and it was so, so wonderful. I had the opportunity to work with wonderful teachers from the US and Canada, and the musicians I met were all so inspirational, and I really grew as both a musician and a person.
I have to admit, I’m slightly embarrassed by how little I cook now that I have my own place at school. When I get home, I’m usually famished and am looking for something that I can eat without having to cook for more than 5 minutes. I’ve been eating lots of the marinated tofu and pre-cooked frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s, although there have been a few nights where I ~splurge~ and make some fish. In addition, I don’t have the luxury of my mom‘s pantry, so my cooking and baking time has been limited. Thankfully, I’ve had some time to leisurely make some treats using one of my all time favorite ingredients- fresh cranberries. These biscuits are light and flaky, and an easy start to a day that is filled with lots of food.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, and the salt. Using your hands (or fork or pastry blender), add the cold butter and mix until it looks like coarse crumbles. Add the buttermilk and stir until just mixed. Fold in the cranberries.
Scoop six even spoonfuls onto a baking sheet, about 1/4 cup each. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Obviously, these aren’t the only things I’ve eaten today…. (shh).
Hello again fellow bakers! I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have the first part of my A.P. U.S. History final over, as my best friend Deanna can tell you. This part of our final, which was an essay called a DBQ (Document Based Question), required us to know every detail of American history between 1900-1950. For Thursday, we are required to know every detail from when the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock to Ronald Reagan. You could say that I am slightly stressed out.
Throughout the multiple tests, finals, and A.P. testing coming up in school, I am on break week from gymnastics! The regional championships, held up in Maine (a 5 1/2 hour drive) was a great experience, and I loved representing the state of Connecticut. As a member of the team, I got to wear a royal blue leotard with Connecticut spelled out in rhinestones and a lime green breast cancer symbol in the upper left hand corner. We also got a Connecticut jacket, that has Connecticut written on the back and the Region VI gymnastics symbol on the left breast pocket. I was so proud to be on the 2nd place team and to earn the silver medal on floor. Go CT!
Now that my mother is a chef, you can be expected to find all sorts of unexpected ingredients in our house. Whether it be date paste, dried chrysanthemum flowers, or monkey-picked tea, our house is filled with unique ingredients. Finding a various assortment of flours in our house is normal. All purpose, bread, cake, spelt, buckwheat: you name it, I bet we have it. Almond flour is not actually flour, oddly enough. It is just very finely ground almond- strange, right? Due to the almond flour in these cookies, they took on a very marzipan-like flavor, which I loved! The pecans added a much needed crunch and the dried cranberries supplied the perfect amount of sweetness. Plus, they only take a few minutes from the cabinets into the oven. Perfect for any busy schedule! 🙂
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
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 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
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
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.
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!
My Saturday mornings are spent playing away at classical viola, so I don’t have time for a nice leisurely weekend breakfast. Pancakes and waffles rarely make an appearance on a weekend morning, but certainly freshly baked goods are available!
I love cranberries. Adore cranberries. I think they are one of the best all time things to bake with in the entire planet. They offset the sweetness of cookies and cakes and offer just the right amount of tartness to pair along with it. Not to mention that they don’t expire quickly, leaving time for lots of goods to be baked :). This coffee cake will blow your mind. I’m actually not the biggest fan of (eating) a 8 layer cake, just because they tend to be a little sweet for me, but this coffee cake is just the perfect balance. It was loosely based on the Smitten Kitchen, but I changed up the recipe to what would work what I had on hand and it turned out great! It’s a great recipe for the holidays once you’ve polished off all of the chocolate peppermint cookies. 😉
Cranberry Vanilla Coffee Cake
Makes 2 9 inch cakes
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, cut in half (6 ounces, I used fresh)
2 cups and 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 stick and 1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
Turbinado sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray 2 circular 9 inch by 1 inch cake trays.
Combine the sugar and the seeds from the vanilla bean (just scrape it with the back of a knife) until fully incorporated. You can also just use vanilla sugar if available.
Whisk together the flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl, beat together 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of the vanilla sugar. When light and fluffy, beat in the eggs.
Add in the flour and the milk, alternating between them until just combined.
Add half of the batter to each cake tray and cover with the cranberries and turbinado sugar.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
This will be gone from your breakfast table faster than you can say “Happy Holidays!”