Hello, yeah it’s been a while, not much, how ’bout you?
I love that song and it has been a while – almost three weeks to be exact. Yeah, I know..I don’t post very often anyway (and that will eventually change), but for some inexplicable reason, this time it feels like I haven’t posted for months.
There’s really no major reason behind it other than LIFE stuff and that mysterious ‘lack of motivation’ plague that has been festering inside of me for months. You know, the one I always complain about in almost every.single.post.
Sorry about that.
Well…I’m back and I’ve returned with COOKIES!
Me want cookies! – the cookie monster
I was contacted by Wayfair.and Peapod a few weeks ago, telling me they paired up for holiday baking. They asked if I’d like to bake some cookies using one of their recipes – and I could add my own twist to their recipe(s), if I’d like..
Add my own twist if I’d like? That’s like asking me if I’d like to breathe.
I was also contacted by an old friend, OhNuts.com. Every holiday they let me choose two ingredients to bake with then send them my way. I love free stuff I can bake and cook with. I never turn those down. Not to mention, the quality and packing of OhNuts ‘nuts’ and other products they sell, is perfection.
I highly recommend you order something from OhNuts and see for yourself, and I’m not just saying this because they sent me two free bags of nuts. I don’t sell out for two bags of nuts (well..I did once, but I really liked the guy), or anything for that matter, but I do speak the truth. I chose what I usually choose..’insert different nut or candy each year’ and…shelled pistachio nuts. I have ripped my fingertips to shreds shelling pistachio nuts for baking and I LOVE to bake with pistachio nuts, so there is never a time where I don’t choose these when given the opportunity.
So, I put a twist on their recipe for Festive Drop Cookies, from the several recipes Wayfair and Peapod sent me. Well, more like a full lambada. I took the pistachios from Oh Nuts and paired them with dried cranberries, chunks of white and dark chocolate and a bit of cinnamon and orange zest, in lieu of the M&Ms in the original recipe, to really make them pop and boy do they pop! I’m very pleased with how they turned out.
Several years ago, I decided I was going to make a bunch of cookie baskets to give as gift to friends, the nail salon, the hair salon, the oil change place..OK, basically, if I used your service, you were getting a cookie basket, like it or not.
I AM COOKIE BASKET WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR!
For two weeks, every day, I made 4 dozen of a new cookie, then froze them. It became such an obsession..I couldn’t think about anything other than what kind of cookie I was going to bake the next day.
If there is a holiday cookie or bar and then some, repertoire, you can bet your cotton pickin’ cookie dough I made it. By the time I was satisfied, I had made about 20 different cookies and bars and my freezer could barely shut since it was filled with tons of double thick freezer bags stuffed with almost every kind of cookie imaginable. One week before Christmas, I loaded up ten pretty wicker baskets with 4 of each cookie, then wrapped the baskets in colored cellophane tied with mounds of curly – corkscrew ribbons (you know, the scissor drag trick).
I delivered each basket to oooh’s and ahhh’s, the reflection of me walking funny with giant cookie baskets against my chest via the glass doors of the different businesses I brought them to, becoming all too commonplace.
There was one problem, though, I still had tons of cookies left. SO, I made a basket for my sister, the mother lode of all cookie baskets, one that came up to my hip when set on the floor. BUT, I still had A LOT of cookies left. I looked in the freezer and it was as if the cookies were giving birth to more cookies. They truly seemed to be multiplying and were starting to scare me. Delicious, festive holiday cookies were now an albatross – a cookie cross I had to bear.
Exterminators don’t deal with cookie infestations, so I went to my parent’s house and forced two huge cookie baskets on my Mother – begging her to give them to her hair and nail salons as gifts.
She declined, telling me it was too much since she already bought gifts for them, showing me two boxes of candy, lotion/perfume sets for the owners, plus tips with all.
That and a cookie basket the size of a small child? “Uh uh..no way”, she said adamantly.
“Yeah, but you can add these, they’ll love you!” I said, gently pushing one of the baskets against her, watching the cookie bulk create a dent in her thin arm.
“No, Lisa..it’s too much…really…” she said, sounding a little terrified as she moved away from the basket of evil multiplying cookies pressing harder against her flesh.
I was desperate.
“TAKE THE BASKETS………PLEEEASE!!” I roared..an almost guttural sound emanating from deep within my baked dough elimination desperation.
She finally gave in and took them. Later on, she excitedly told me everyone was thrilled at both places, and went straight for the cookies, ignoring her candy, including the customers. They raved about them, she said, and many packed some into bags to take home, some even asking if I could make some cookie baskets for them, no matter the price. Wow.
I felt great, but never made a cookie basket again, no matter how many people asked for them. I think I can only ‘Martha Stewart Overload’ about once or twice a decade, now.
By the way, a little cookie factoid When baking drop cookies (or roll into balls cookies), like these, one tablespoon of cookie dough is actually about two measuring spoon tablespoons of dough and one teaspoon of cookie dough is actually one measuring spoon tablespoon of cookie dough. I’ve always used dinner/tableware spoons to drop cookie dough, the larger ‘tablespoon’ filled for one tablespoon, and the teaspoon, filled, for teaspoons. Good to know I’ve been measuring and dropping cookies the right way, but it was kind of obvious considering they didn’t have measuring spoons when cookies were created – I think. (??). Wait…
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs or 4 egg whites
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt (omit if using salted pistachios)
- ½ cup quick cooking or regular oats
- 2 cups white chocolate chunks or 1½ cups white chocolate chips (or a mix of white and dark chocolate chunks) *
- 2 cups whole, shelled pistachios, toasted (not chopped..you want them whole for a bigger bite), preferably Oh Nuts pistachios, since they, well..just taste better!
- 1½ cups dried cranberries or cherries (or any dried fruit OR none at all)**
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
- In a large mixing bowl beat butter, orange zest and sugars until creamy smooth. Add eggs or egg whites one at a time until incorporated. Add vanilla extract.
- In a medium bowl combine flour, cinnamon, salt (if not using salted nuts). oats, and baking soda. Mix well.
- Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in white chocolate, pistachios and dried cranberries. The dough should be a little hard to stir with the white chocolate, pistachios and dried cranberries added in. This is what you want.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silapt. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough, two inches apart, onto lined baking sheet. If you like, cover baking pan with cookie balls and chill in fridge for a few hours before baking. This intensifies the flavor and gives you a puffier cookie.
- Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.
** If not using dried cranberries or other dried fruit, just add more chocolate and/or pistachios to equal about 1 cup.
- If desired, dip half of each cookie in melted white or dark chocolate and place back on baking sheet to set. Edible glitter and/or sprinkles make the chocolate dipping fun for kids, as you can see below.
Kids love dipping cookies in chocolate and edible glitter
So, Wayfair sent mea little box of goodies to bake with..including the red spatula in the cookie dough photo and a Peapod added ar gift card to buy the ingredients to futz with one of their cookie recipes. Here’s the best part..I’m offering one reader a Peapod gift card worth $25.00 to buy what you need or your holiday baking! To enter..just leave a comment. For extra entries:
1. Like Peapod on Facebook 2. Like Wayfair on Facebook 3. Follow me on Twitter 4, Follow me on Google+ Leave a separate comment for each thing you do. A winner will be chosen via random.org on Friday, December 14, 2012. If the winner does not respond to my email within 2 days, another winner will be chosen.