Tag Archives: cookies

VEGAN MERINGUES WHAT

17 Sep

I’m late to this vegan meringue game, compared to vegan bakers, but I think I’m still ahead of the game for, yknow, normal people.  (I kid, I love you vegan bakers!  Strangely I have three good friends and an ex who are vegan and love baking).

If you know someone allergic to eggs, or a vegan, or if you make hummus/use chickpeas ever, you should try making vegan meringues!  This time I just went with normal meringue cookies, next time I might try pavlova or a pie.  I’m so impressed by what the vegan baking community has done with “aquafaba”- the liquid leftover from a can of garbanzo beans/chickpeas/chana (as in chana masala the Indian dish, as I learned from wikipedia).  Look at this crazy list of recipes on the facebook group.  And there’s a website dedicated to aquafaba, with the history of it (basically it was a myth, and then someone did it but way too hard molecular gastronomy-style, and then finally someone was like wait you don’t have to do anything fancy).

It is pretty unbelievable how beaten chickpea liquid looks just like beaten egg whites, stiff peaks and all, with nothing added (I would expect agar or something).  So let’s get to it!

It's a garnanbo!  A Zoganba!  I meant a garnanza!  (Or did I?  Everything gets garbled sometimes... )

It’s a garnanbo! A Zoganba! I meant a garnanza! (Or did I? Everything gets garbled sometimes… )

First, use your can to drain the liquid from the garbanzos.  I used the beans in a crockpot on low with a jar of salsa, a beer, and a pack of chicken thighs all day.  I added some zucchini about half an hour before we ate with tortillas, queso fresco, and spinach (didn’t have lettuce).  Yum.

What if Andre Young is actually a robot series, and this is the 14th iteration of him?  He'd be Dr. Dre N.

What if Andre Young is actually a robot series, and this is the 14th iteration of him? He’d be Dr. Dre N.

I realize I’m in the middle of a blog post and I baked these meringues tonight just so I could have a blog post out on Thursday but oh my gosh I just read a great tweet that you should know about.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>I can't get over Euclid.</p>&mdash; Ric (@ellopickle) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ellopickle/status/644340277361049600″>September 17, 2015</a></blockquote>
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Anyways.  Let’s all calm down.  I laughed so hard at this my husband told me to go to sleep because I’m getting delirious.  That should make a fun post!

Start beating that bean liquid!  It takes approximately FOREEEEEVEEERRR by which I mean 10-15 minutes.  We worked on our new hobby, PANDA magazine, during this time.  (Brag: we’re in the magazine this issue, because we completed last month’s!  It’s really hard!  Great for DASH fans.  Which should be everyone in the relevant cities.  I’ve DASHed in Davis, San Francisco, Chicago, and will in Austin next year.)

How you bean lately?  Oh, same old same old

How you bean lately? Oh, same old same old

How bout you, how you bean?  Oh, things in my life are a little crazy.  I feel like things are getting really mixed up.

How bout you, how you bean? Oh, things in my life are a little crazy. I feel like things are getting really mixed up.

Tell me about it.  I've bean beaten again and again by life.

Tell me about it. I’ve bean beaten again and again by life.

I thought you've bean sort of stiff lately

I thought you’ve bean sort of stiff lately

Bean there, done that is how I feel toward everything nowadays, you know?

Bean there, done that is how I feel toward everything nowadays, you know?

Because I can’t read directions I dumped all my sugar and vanilla in at once.

But you shouldn’t do that!  Add about a tablespoon at a time and beat, so you don’t get any sugar clumps and it mixes smoothly.  Then you won’t have any holes in your meringue like I did.  Mine worked out anyway.

If we said "kapull" instead of "kernel" and "lite" instead of "lew tenant", maybe my friend Thomas (grad student at Temple U) would be meringue

If we said “kapull” instead of “kernel” and “lite” instead of “lew tenant”, maybe my friend Thomas (grad student at Temple U) would be meringue

Bake at a very low temperature for a very long time, and they magically work!

20150916_212550

20150916_222238

Aquafaba meringue cookies, from slate.com

1 can chickpeas

1 tsp vanilla

sugar- 1.3 times as much chickpea liquid you get (so a cup or less)

Drain the chickpea liquid.  Start beating it- I did speed 3 (low) for 4 minutes.  Then medium for 4 minutes, then high for 2 minutes.  It’ll form fairly stiff peaks, if not as good as egg whites pretty darn close.

Preheat oven to 250.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat in the sugar 1 TBSP at a time.  Add the vanilla and beat it in too.  Dollop onto your parchment paper sheets.  Bake for 90 minutes, then turn off oven and crack it.  Let cool to room temperature.

This makes about 36 small meringue cookies.

Advertisements

Triple Ginger Cookies

10 Sep

I first made these cookies a decade ago, back when I was in high school, and was blown away by how good they are!  They pack a punch with lots and lots of ginger flavor.  I actually messed up baking these (used something that was not powdered ginger) but they still taste pretty good despite the potential garlic-onion in there.  Sounds pretty gross but the molasses and fresh ginger and crystallized ginger sort of hide the strange savory notes.  I also have old baking soda so the cookies didn’t rise as much as they should’ve.  Oops.

Anyways!  They’re even better without any onion flavor in them!  I highly recommend these.  I already had everything I needed to bake a half batch in my pantry; we like keeping crystallized ginger around to chew on if we have a stomach ache.

If you were running a Scottish daycare but didn't have enough enrollment, maybe you'd put up a sign saying "SPACE FOR MO LADDIES AND MO LASSES"

If you were running a Scottish daycare but didn’t have enough enrollment, maybe you’d put up a sign saying “SPACE FOR MO LADDIES AND MO LASSES”

It generally helps to have slightly softened butter when you start baking cookies, to easily cream the butter and sugar together.  You don’t want it too soft, just to have been out of the fridge for half an hour or so.  In this case I took butter out of the freezer an hour earlier, and it was still a bit too hard to beat.  Thank you extremely strong Kitchen Aid stand mixer– it did a great job beating up the butter.  Cream the brown sugar in, then add the molasses.  Normally you have a pretty fluffy butter-sugar base for cookies, but the liquidy molasses makes it look a little grosser with clumps of butter suspended in the molasses..

If your lawn is dying and you start to see things that look like huge anthills appearing, take another look.  You might see some creatures scuttling down into the holes, and you'll catch a glimpse of some mole asses

If your lawn is dying and you start to see things that look like huge anthills appearing, take another look. You might see some creatures scuttling down into the holes, and you’ll catch a glimpse of some mole asses

Then mix all your dry ingredients, as usual.  Flour, powdered ginger, salt, baking soda.  Toss those in with the wet and mix.  Finally, chop up the crystallized ginger (this is difficult if it’s very dry) and grate some fresh ginger, and mix those in too.

I have fairly large eyes for an Asian person, while my best friend has short eyes.  My other friend is named Chris.  If he were a redhead I could refer to him as Chris-tall-eyed Ginger

I have fairly large eyes for an Asian person, while my best friend has short eyes. My other friend is named Chris. If he were a redhead I could refer to him as Chris-tall-eyes Ginger

I just learned all about the Kuna, and their traditional garments.  Mola says "give us our autonomy!"

I just learned all about the Kuna, and their traditional garments. Mola says “give us our autonomy!”

After you’re all mixed, toss the dough into the fridge for a while.  I’m not usually a good recipe-follower and I don’t often chill my cookie dough, but it helps these ones hold together (that tricky molasses!).  They’re particularly nice if you roll them in sugar before baking, but I skipped that this time.

What if all the "l"s of the world were suddenly replaced by "r"s?  Directions would be so muddled.  We'd all be stuck in crazy morasses.

What if all the “r”s of the world were suddenly replaced by “l”s? Dilections would be so muddled. We’d all be stuck in  sticky molasses.

A pretty quick bake (10 minutes) and they’ll be done!  These are soft chewy cookies, not crispy.  Again, pardon my old baking soda in the next photos.  The original recipe makes massive cookies, but I like them smaller.  So i did a half batch (original says makes 18) and I got out 27 cookies.  Up to you!  Surprisingly, smaller cookies bake in almost the same amount of time (9 minutes v 10)

20150909_083431 20150909_084449

Triple Ginger Cookies (half-recipe from allrecipes) Makes 27 cookies.

6 TB butter

1/2 c brown sugar

1 egg

2 TB molasses

1 C + 2 TB flour

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

1 TB grated fresh ginger

1/4 c chopped crystallized ginger

  1. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then mix in the molasses.
  2. Stir together flour, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt.  Add to the wet ingredients and mix.
  3. Add the grated fresh ginger and crystallized ginger, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Chill the dough in the fridge for awhile.  (I did overnight)
  5. Preheat oven to 350.
  6. Roll heaping teaspoons of dough into small balls, then roll in sugar.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet, and bake for 9 minutes.

Basic, soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies

17 May

I haven’t been feeling very inspired baking-wise lately, so I was happy that a friend brought over some frozen chocolate chip cookie dough balls before we left Chicago.  They were so tasty that she emailed me the recipe.  She then emailed me a few more times about said cookies vs. another recipe, and sent me the delightful line: “And now I’ve sent you too many emails but cookies: serious business”

What if the general of the Confederate States of America actually transmogrified and moved to Scotland?  So everyone's been saying the Loch Ness monster, or Nessy, but really she's a he and is Ness Lee?

What if the general of the Confederate States of America actually transmogrified and moved to Scotland? So everyone’s been saying the Loch Ness monster, or Nessy, but really she’s a he and is a Ness Lee monster?

I baked a half batch of these a few weeks ago and dutifully melted the butter, which really does turn the cookies from a normal soft cookie to a delightful chewy cookie.  But I was lazy this time and wanted to finish off my Earth Balance (from when I had a potentially vegan person over and made some awesome vegan mac and cheese) so that’s what I did, and ended up with a basic, solid chocolate chip cookie.  This blog is usually pretty adventurous, but everyone needs a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe!

First, cream the butter with the sugar.  I love how much brown sugar is in this recipe.

I've worked out a code to transmit messages via rolls and dairy products.  But you can trust me with your secrets; I won't butter a word.

I’ve worked out a code to transmit messages via rolls and dairy products. But you can trust me with your secrets; I won’t butter a word.

Then add eggs and vanilla.

Make no mixtakes- I'll make puns no matter who reads this

Make no mixtake- I’ll make puns no matter who reads this

Finally you add the dry ingredients.  Since I use salted butter I rarely add salt to cookies, but I am incorrect and you should add salt.  It really brings out flavor!  I’m just lazy (also note that I didn’t use one egg + one egg yolk, because why would I separate out one egg?)

Mix that up, and stir in the chocolate chips.

How bad are my puns?  Bad, batter, or baddest?

How bad are my puns? Bad, batter, or baddest?

I also bought parchment paper the other day because I am not good with silpats despite my professed love for them.  I made cookies on them about a year ago that tasted like dishwashing liquid because I was putting the silpats in the dishwasher.  Parchment paper is so easy! (But so wasteful.  But so easy!  Dang it I feel bad enough for switching from cloth to disposable diapers when we moved.  Now I feel guilty about parchment paper.)

To freeze cookies, just scoop them out into balls on a baking sheet and shove the whole thing in the freezer til they’re hard.  Then dole them out into freezer bags, and label them.  Bake for about 2 minutes longer than normal.

If Tom Petty was a ball of chocolate chip cookie dough: "Cause I'm freeeeeeeze, freeze fallin"

If Tom Petty was a ball of chocolate chip cookie dough: “Cause I’m freeeeeeeze, freeze fallin”

Puns were worse than usual this time around.  But the cookies were still good!

20150517_135752

Chocolate chip cookies, adapted from Smitten Kitchen which adapted from allrecipes

2 c flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 c + 2 TB butter (1 stick + 2 TB)

1 c brown sugar

1/2 c white sugar

1 TB vanilla

2 eggs

2 c chocolate chips

Cream together the butter and sugars.  Preheat oven to 325.  Prepare a baking sheet (parchment paper or silpat or nothing).

Add in the vanilla and eggs and cream.  Add the flour, and sprinkle with baking soda (this is because you are lazy like me and didn’t sift them together earlier).  Mix.  Add the chocolate chips and stir.

Drop by tablespoons onto your cookie sheet (I fit a dozen per sheet).  Bake for ten minutes, or until the edges just start to look toasty.

Snickerdoodles, or more morning baking

12 Jun

This KitchenAid stand mixer is changing my life!  Baking during breakfast is awesome!

No normal subgroups here!  Sorry, this is a math pun, and only if you've taken abstract algebra (no normal subgroups = simple)

No normal subgroups here! Sorry, this is a math pun, and only if you’ve taken abstract algebra (no normal subgroups = simple)

I particularly liked my students this semester, so I made cookies for the last day of class.  The first summer I taught (the very first college course I taught!), I made two kinds of cupcakes for my students.  But I didn’t actually like the students that much (the cupcakes were DELICIOUS- margarita flavored (tequila-lime cupcake with salted lime frosting) and Irish car bomb flavored (Guiness cupcake, filled with whiskey-chocolate ganache, topped with Bailey’s frosting)), just baking.  And it was summer, so I had extra time.  Anyways.  These cookies were thrown together while I was making hashbrowns + eggs for

If I put some trinkets in a glass of lemon+sugar+water, it probably won't be as good a kitsch in ade as this one!

If I put some trinkets in a glass of lemon+sugar+water, it probably won’t be as good a kitsch in ade as this one!

Snickerdoodles are ridiculously straightforward: beat butter, sugar, eggs, add flour and leavening.  Pretty much all snickerdoodle recipes out there tell you to use cream of tartar+baking soda instead of baking powder, but I didn’t have any.  Whatever!  They still ended up delicious!  Form into balls and roll in cinnamon-sugar.

I should try this pick up line on husband while making these: will you be a sin o' mine, sugar?

I should try this pick up line on husband while making these: will you be a sin o’ mine, sugar?

We watched Clueless yesterday and I can't stop thinking about "rollin with the homies"

We watched Clueless yesterday and I can’t stop thinking about “rollin with the homies”

Bake for not too long while you eat breakfast!

Sometimes he likes to help out in the kitchen, but he never knows when I'll go BALListic on him (those are too close, damnit!)

Sometimes he likes to help out in the kitchen, but he never knows when I’ll go BALListic on him (those are too close, damnit!)

P1010827

These also cool nicely and pack well in tupperware.

Ridiculously easy snickerdoodles (adapted from the internet and cut in half from most recipes, makes about 2 dozen)

1 stick butter (1/2 c butter)

3/4 c sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 TB baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 TB sugar

Beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy, then beat in the egg.  Add flour and baking powder and beat.  Form into balls.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Roll the snickerdoodle balls in the cinnamon sugar, then place about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet (they do spread, but only a little bit)

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes until just golden brown on the edges (you want crisp edges but soft and cakey middles).  Let cool.

Salted chocolate chip cookies

1 May

Much thanks to the social media folks at MoMath for tweeting/facebooking my last combinatorics post!  Welcome any new math-loving readers!  You will probably not be interested in this post, but there’s a chance you might be!

My in-laws got me a BEAUTIFUL red KitchenAid stand mixer for the wedding and I LOVE it.  It also matches our new food processor (loaned for at least the next three years to me by my incredible maid of honor/wedding photographer), which I also LOVE.  Since getting the stand mixer, I’ve gotten into the habit of breakfast baking if I’m up at least an hour before I need to get out the door.  That is, I put ingredients in the mixer and turn it on, then start making breakfast, and do both simultaneously.  I can eat my hot meal (hashbrowns, bacon, eggs, lots of fun lately) while the cookies bake, then clean up both afterwards before heading off to the office.

Two weeks ago I made these salted chocolate chip cookies, and I liked them so much that I made them the next week as well!  The first batch was awesome, but a few of the cookies had a strange taste on the bottoms.  My adviser tried the cookies, and immediately said “stop putting your silpats in the dishwasher.”  I was amazed that he knew what silpats areand gave me advice on using them.  (I suppose he is my adviser, and so can advise me…)  The point of this story is that I’m not using my silpats with cookies anymore, just going right on the ungreased baking sheet- cookies don’t make too much mess anyway.

Not a very loquacious bunch here- all I heard was a couple of "Can Is Terse".

Not a very loquacious bunch here- all I heard was a couple of “Can Is Terse”.

First, you cream the butter and sugars.  I’ve been buying pounds of butter and freezing them, and have spent a bit of time experimenting with the best way to get them to soften.  Of course the best is to put them out a day before you want to use them, but who plans to bake?  After a lot of microwaving on random powers and at various times, I’ve decided that easiest is best here: 30 seconds on high.  You might still have some frozen chunks, but if you’ve got the stand mixer that doesn’t really matter.

Also, this recipe (link below) is SUPER METICULOUS.  I am not super meticulous and it still turned out delicious!  For instance, 1/4 c packed brown sugar is like, a heap over 1/4 c *not* packed brown sugar, right?

He eats a lot of fruit, but my husband doesn't pack the sugar down.  Oh well, at least we don't have ghosts running around our house trying to kill us. (This is a long reference to Pac-Man if you didn't get it).

He eats a lot of fruit, but my husband doesn’t pack the sugar down. Oh well, at least we don’t have ghosts running around our house trying to kill us. (This is a long reference to Pac-Man if you didn’t get it).

Also, learning to use the stand mixer was not the fastest!  I ended up googling how to take the beater off because I didn’t know we had a manual (we’re still organizing the kitchen…)

It's clear what the nemesis' attachment of choice would be.  And baking Peter Pan would pick the left attachment: Dreams come true, if only we WHISK hard enough.  That leaves the standard beater attachment- I say Tinkerbell, because in her jealousy she whispers to the mermaids "beat her!"

It’s clear what the nemesis’ attachment of choice would be. And baking Peter Pan would pick the left attachment: Dreams come true, if only we WHISK hard enough. That leaves the standard beater attachment- I say Tinkerbell, because in her jealousy she whispers to the mermaids “beat her!”

Okay enough with the jokes.  Toss in an egg and vanilla, beat again, then toss in the dry ingredients.

P1010809

No more puns? Yeah right, Yen. Even under eggstreme conditions I can’t avoid them.

P1010807

What sort of conditions? Things I can’t handle?

P1010811

Even under dough-ress the puns would sneak out

 

The key to these cookies is SALT.  I normally don’t add salt to my baked goods (I use salted butter and have never noticed a huge difference), but the SALT makes these cookies incredible.  I used leftover vanilla salt from the wedding favors, though coarse sea salt would also work.

Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes while you eat breakfast!

Doughn't forget that you're not supposed to eat raw dough (I always taste it though)

Doughn’t forget that you’re not supposed to eat raw dough (I always taste it though)

P1010813

 

So, as promised, here’s the link to the “Best EVER Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I warn you: the recipe is VERY METICULOUS.  She uses timing.  I assure you, you don’t have to leave the cookies on the sheet for exactly 2 minutes, then remove and let cool on paper for 3 minutes.  They’re still delicious.

Here’s another glamour shot, this time on one of our new cutting boards.  Really I’m just trying to show off all our new kitchen equipment in this post.

P1010815

 

 

 

Fractions are hard, or way too many brown butter cookies

8 Feb

Sometimes I have parties at my house.  I enjoy hosting people, and I especially enjoy feeding people.  There usually comes some time between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. when there’s no more food but still plenty of people, and I get bored of my friends antsy to bake.  I threw a party to celebrate moving out, so of course at some point I stopped what I was doing and made brown butter cookies.

I bet Fall Out Boy would love these cookies.  We're going brown, brown... sugar we're going brown baking

I bet Fall Out Boy would love these cookies. We’re going brown, brown… sugar we’re going brown baking

I love brown butter with some sage leaves, tossed over gnocchi or pasta, so I wondered if brown butter cookies would work out.  I didn’t have a lot of people over, which meant I didn’t want to make 5 dozen cookies, so I decided to divide the recipe by four.  Totally reasonable.

Start by melting your butter: two cups divided by four is half a cup, or one stick.

Foam, foam on the range, where the butter and the pots play, where seldom is heard, a discouraging burn, and the skies are the ceiling all day

Foam, foam on the range, where the butter and the pots play, where seldom is heard, a discouraging burn, and the skies are the ceiling all day

It’ll foam up and then die down, and you just let it cook for a few minutes until it turns a beautiful brown.

There used to be some loose tea in this bowl, but it vacated when the butter moved in.  If I look into these patterns, can I read how tea leaves?

There used to be some loose tea in this bowl, but it vacated when the butter moved in. If I look into these patterns, can I read how tea leaves?

While the butter is browning, toast up some pecans, either on the stove in a hot pan with nothing in it (stir every thirty seconds or so) or in the oven.  I went with oven.  Takes a few minutes in either case.

Hear hear, a toast!  We didn't think P. could, but yes, P. Can!

Hear hear, a toast! We didn’t think P. could, but yes, P. Can!

Set aside about two tablespoons of the butter for icing, then mix all your ingredients except for flour together with the butter, starting with the brown sugar.

Brown butter-brown sugar.  I can't remember if I used brown eggs- guess I browned out. (This is a double entendre but not a sexual one).

Brown butter-brown sugar. I can’t remember if I used brown eggs- guess I browned out. (This is a double entendre but not a sexual one).

Then add the flour.  Here’s what I did: the original recipe called for 3 cups of flour.  I looked at it and thought, oh, 3/4.  Inexplicably, I then multiplied 3 by 3/4 to get 9/4, or 2 and a 1/4 cups of flour, which I then dumped in.

Hippies need to leave- there's way too much flour power going on here

Hippies need to leave- there’s way too much flour power going on here

“That’s weird…” I thought.  These cookies are WAY too floury to hold together.  It took me another few minutes to figure out what had gone wrong.  Frankly, I was amazed I’d done something so bone-headed.  (This is funny because there’s a really big bone in our heads, and I’d be concerned if someone didn’t have a skull.)

Of course I wasn’t going to give up on these cookies now.  So I halved the recipe and did everything again (because 1/4 + 1/2 = 3/4, a fact that I triple checked before I restarted).

2014-01-17_20-25-22_869 2014-01-17_20-33-50_279 2014-01-17_20-37-31_407 2014-01-17_20-25-04_263

Now the dough was a reasonable texture, and a dropped tablespoon at a time baked for ten minutes resulted in beautiful, buttery, brown cookies.  Mix the set aside butter (now there should be about 6 tablespoons) with some powdered sugar (I used around 3/4 cup) and a dash of vanilla, and use it to frost the cookies.  Apparently you were supposed to mix hot water in there too, which I didn’t realize until now.  Given how well I’d done earlier in the night with reading comprehension, I shouldn’t be surprised I messed up another step.

Anyways.  These cookies are super delicious and ridiculously rich and buttery.

 

2014-01-17_21-15-41_741

Brown butter cookies, recipe poorly followed but turned out great from all recipes:

To make 45 cookies

3 sticks of butter (1 and 1/2 cups)

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 egg

vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

2 1/4 cups flour

handful of chopped pecans (I used the rest of a bag in my freezer)

1 cup confectioners sugar

 

Melt butter and let foam and die down until it’s a rich brown color, then pour into a big bowl.  Take out 3/4 cup or so and put in a small bowl, set aside.

Preheat oven to 350, toast pecans if you want them.

Mix the butter with the brown sugar, then add the rest of the ingredients except for flour, pecans, and powdered sugar.  I like putting in a liberal amount of vanilla- maybe 1/2 TB.

Stir in the flour and pecans.  Drop onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes to get a slightly crisp outside and soft middle.

Mix the powdered sugar with the set-aside brown butter and another dash of vanilla until frosting-like.  Recipe says to add hot water, which would make it easier to spread and icing-like.  If you need more powdered sugar, do so.  If it’s too sugary, add some water.  Use to frost cooled cookies.

 

 

 

 

 

Lunchbox oatmeal raisin cookies

18 Oct

I was always a hot lunch kid in elementary school, which I found delicious and a fun way to explore what I’ve pretty much always thought of as “white people food” that I couldn’t eat at home.  Chicken nuggets, sloppy joes that everyone would get excited about which I thought were super gross, fish sticks… basically anything fried and/or covered with cheese.  Also, quick google of my elementary school shows that you can look up the lunch menu online!  This is incredible!  I used to bring $40 checks to school for my lunch (fun fact my PIN number was 32367, I think.), which would last somewhere around two months- maybe $1.25 a day.  Now it costs $2.50 a day for lunch.   Still so little, and probably still so tasty and nutritious (I loved school lunch).

But some kids brought lunch to school.  I’m about to say something fairly unrelated but I promise there’s a segue coming.

http://naturalvitalitykids.com/2010/09/the-school-lunch-revolution/

I loved this stuff.

http://naturalvitalitykids.com/2010/09/the-school-lunch-revolution/

There is a connection between these.

Every day in just about every math department I’ve been to, there’s a tradition of afternoon tea, generally at 3 p.m. in the math lounge, with tea and cookies.  Back in Santa Barbara everyone came out and chatted for half an hour to an hour, sitting around on ratty old couches, while at Yale I was always surprised to see the grad students/professors/postdocs scurry out of nowhere to grab cookies/tea, then break into clumps around the room to talk math at the chalkboards.  At UIC it seems like just graduate students show up on Monday through Thursday.  But we have the special Friday teas at 4:15 after colloquium, and then we have the super special Wine and Cheese tea once a month.

Last month my friend Ellie and I decided to host the Wine and Cheese tea (tea is often run by graduate students).  We had a bunch of department money and some time on our hands (our advisers were out of town that week), so we grabbed a Zipcar and went to town at my favorite place in Chicago.

Here’s the email I sent to the department:

It’s been a long week/month and by now, everyone should be settled in and back to the routines of the school year.  Do you remember, back in the day, those elementary school lunches?  Packing or unpacking lunchables, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, baby carrots, and best of all, homemade cookies?  You can re-live it all again today at 4:15 in SEO 300, and since we aren’t little kids anymore, you can also enjoy those apples and peanut butter with a glass of wine.  Or, if you prefer, a juice box.

Even though I didn’t bring lunch, I still have a wave of cultural nostalgia for all of these things.
I knew I loved you before I met you

I feel rather like a savage toward school lunch.  Like a Savage Garden: I knew I loved you before I met you

This was a very long way of saying that Ellie and I baked cookies a few weeks ago.  I made oatmeal chocolate chip off of the box top, and she did chocolate chip derby day cookies that she will one day guest blog for me.
Oh right I forgot my promise:
If Moby was here I would kick him out of the kitchen because I'd be scared he'd drop a beat(er) and then we'd have to clean it.

If Moby was here I would kick him out of the kitchen because I’d be scared he’d drop a beat(er) and then we’d have to clean it.

These cookies are pretty straightforward: beat the butter and sugar, then add in egg and vanilla and beat that.

The electric beaters really help you get a lEGG up in your baking

The electric beaters really help you get a lEGG up in your baking

Next add all of your dry ingredients.  You should as a matter of principle whisk together the dry ingredients ahead so you don’t get baking soda clumps, but I’m not very good with principles (seriously it took me a very long time to understand induction) so I just throw them all in there.

Dry ivgredients really drive forward the recipe.

Dry ivgredients really drive forward the recipe.

Then toss in the oats and the raisins, make your lil balls, and bake those suckers!  I made little 1/2 TB sized balls which made a ton of adorable teeny cookies to feed the 50 or so people who come to wine and cheese tea.

2013-09-27_09-37-09_631 2013-09-27_09-30-26_77

 

Oatmeal Raisin cookies copied exactly from the Quaker container:

  • 1/2 Cup(s) (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 Cup(s) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon(s) vanilla
  • 1-1/2 Cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon(s) Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 3 Cup(s) Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1 Cup(s) raisins

Beat butter and sugars for awhile.

Add eggs and vanilla, then beat it.

Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.

 

%d bloggers like this: