Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Can't Help Myself

"Sugar pie, honey bunch
You know that I love you
I can't help myself
I love you and nobody else!"

Ah, yes. A good sugar cookie is tough to beat! I'm really more of a chocoholic, but every so often I get ridiculous cravings for plain ol' sugar cookies. It's been kind of a rough couple of days, so I've been baking to relieve some stress! Which would be why I made three (yes, three) variations of this sugar cookie recipe.

Besides baking, I've been relieving stress by laughing at the dog...have you ever tried to give a dog a jalapeño? Or a wasabi-flavored almond? Next time you're feeling crummy and need a laugh, please try it. Trust me on this.

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies
recipe from Eat, Live, Run


4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugars. Add in the vegetable oil, vanilla extract, eggs, baking soda, and salt. Whisk well. Mix in the flour and stir to combine; the dough will be slightly dry and crumbly.
3. Shape ping-pong size balls of dough and place them on the prepared sheet. Press each dough ball with a fork and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 8 minutes; cool slightly on the baking sheet before removing cookies to a wire rack.

Chocolate Chip: Replace the granulated sugar with dark brown sugar and add 1 cup of mini chocolate chips.
Sprinkles: Add 1/2 cup of your choice of sprinkles.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chock-Full of Chocolate Chips

Who doesn't love birthdays?! Stop pretending you don't! Okay, so maybe you stop loving your own birthday as time goes on, but you still love other people's birthdays, right? Well I do. Perhaps I'm weird like that. But I love to bake goodies for friends and family on their birthday...........whether they want me to or not!

My friend DV's birthday is this week so I dug through my books and files and found a new cookie recipe to try. Ever wonder how many chocolate chips a single cookie can hold? I'd say this many:

This recipe came from The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook, it's the cover recipe and it certainly lives up to the esteem! I like my chocolate chip cookies warm and gooey, slightly crisp around the edges but deliciously doughy in the center. These....are perfect. And extra chocolatey!

Chock-Full of Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted slightly from The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 oz (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 oz (2 cups) milk chocolate chips

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute.  Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute.  The mixture may look slightly curdled.  On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated.  Mix in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
4. Use a Tablespoon to drop heaping spoonfuls of dough (about 3 level Tablespoons each) onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 3 inches apart.
5. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges are lightly browned and the centers are golden, about 15 minutes.  Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes.  The cookies will flatten slightly as they cool.  Use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Yield: 27 large cookies (I ended up with 24).

Yes, milk is going to be necessary with these bad boys!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blueberries and Blogging

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question.

Well, I caved. So voilà! Here is the first post of 'Bring Me Sugar,' hopefully to be followed by many more...but I make no promises! I was one of those kids who would have a diary and write in it religiously for a week or two, and then the entries become a bit spottier...a week goes by, a month, several know how it goes. But alas! I'll stop rambling about my diary entries (most of which centered around whichever boy was the object of my affection that day) and get on to the food.

A friend requested that I bake her something sans chocolate, peanut butter, and coconut, as she is not a particular fan of those flavors. I wasn't really up for a trip to the grocery store so I poked around in the pantry to see what I could whip up and came up with these ridiculously simple but delicious Blueberry Streusel Bars.

They taste the best after they are completely cool, similar to a grown-up version of a Nutri-Grain Bar. Feel free to swap out the blueberry jam for any other flavor, or use a different cookie mix as the base! I've done sugar cookie with raspberry, oatmeal chocolate chip cookie with blackberry, and double chocolate cookie with raspberry so far. Enjoy :)

Blueberry Streusel Bars

1 pouch (approx. 1 lb.) Betty Crocker oatmeal cookie mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp maple or almond extract
3/4 - 1 cup blueberry jam (depending upon how "jammy" you want your bars)

1 Tbsp brown sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8x8" pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray.
2. In a bowl, combine the cookie mix, butter, egg, water, and extract and stir until a dough forms (quite a workout!). Divide your dough in half and press half of the cookie dough into the bottom of the pan. Bake the cookie base for 15 minutes.
3. Spread blueberry jam evenly over the cookie base. Add brown sugar and cinnamon to remaining dough (this is optional) and stir to combine; crumble dough over top of the jam. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.
4. Cool completely (trust me) before cutting into small bars and serving.