Cowboy Cookies

Oh my goodness! It has been a while again. I am so sorry!

Those of you who know me will know that I love politics. I do Model UN and international relations are a huge part of my life, and I love following politics.

So, it is certainly fitting that this recipe actually came from an incredibly political family. A Texan political family with two presidents and another presidential hopeful of “please clap” notoriety. Can you guess who I am talking about? Yup, the Bush family. This recipe came up while I was whiling away my hours on the NY Times food website in the cookie section. Apparently, these cookies were featured in an article that came out during the 2000 election cycle, before I was born, about the baking of the first lady. Um, why is it just the wives cooking? Let’s get the candidates in the kitchen. Anyhow, they are the cookies of Laura Bush. I wonder if these cookies were eaten in the White House. In case you were wondering, these cookies were eaten on the campus of Castilleja School, where the future white-house dwellers are educated.

I did make substantial edits to this recipe. First off, they had enough butter to be a Paula Deen recipe, so that had to change. Secondly, they also had all sorts of crunchy things, but not pretzels. That also had to change immediately. I also did not have pecans, so I used walnuts.

So here’s the recipe. I hope you enjoy these, perhaps while pondering Trump’s racism, xenophobia and rampant sexism.

– Eliza in the Palo Alto kitchen

note: this makes around 3 to 3.5 dozen cookies.

Eliza’s Cowboy Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2.5 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups usweetened flake coconut
  • cup chopped pecans or walnuts (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup chopped pretzels

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together to combine.
  3. Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs to the butter-sugar mixture one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add vanilla.
  5. Mix dry ingredients, just until combined.
  6. Mix chocolate chips, rolled oats, coconut, nuts and pretzels into the bowl. It will be hard to mix, but just keep going, it all will come together eventually.
  7. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out cookies and place on a baking tray laid with parchment paper.
  8. Bake for around 15 minutes, then let cool on a cooling rack.

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Chef Forrest’s Blondies

Our many Castilleja School readers will recognize this recipe, although it appears just once a year. The last minutes we spend at school before the summer vacation are spent eating these blondies, as they are the fonder for many hungry middle schoolers after 8th grade promotion, baked by the inimitable Casti kitchen staff. I can definitely tell you that these blondies are one of the main reasons why Promotion is 10x better than Class Day, a day so boring that they give the sixth graders bingo cards to keep them entertained. After watching two different classes be promoted to the Upper School, it is finally our turn to dress in our finest dress whites and receive fancy diplomas (possibly even make some speeches). I am excited to move on to our next chapter, but I am very sad to be saying goodbyes way too early to several members of the class of 2020. You will be missed! If I could keep everyone at Casti, I would. I know that I will be making a batch of these simply delicious blondies to eat after finals (and some of you may be lucky enough to snag a few). I can easily replicate the simple, sweet and toffee-y (yes that is totally a word) flavor of these yummy treats, but not the feeling that yet another year has ended and another era is about to begin.

So, whether or not you go to Casti, please enjoy making this recipe as you think about new beginnings and remember that as one door closes, another opens.

** also please note, this recipe is the simplest I have ever made. You cannot screw these up, so if you are looking a recipe to dive into baking, this is it. It will definitely impress your family, and you can feel very smug about the effort to praise ratio of this recipe.

Chef Forrest’s Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (room temp)
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • optional! 1/2 cup chocolate chips (if you must; for the authentic version please skip these)

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla and remaining ingredients, until just incorporated.
  2. Spread on buttered/floured square brownie pan (mine is 9×5).
  3. Bake at 350˚ Fahrenheit for 25 min.
  4. Cut after cooling. Enjoy!

Fail-safe chocolate chip cookies

Hello blogosphere! Today I bring you one of the most popular recipes ever. A google search brings up about 26,600,000 results. It is a quintessential American recipe and is considered the ultimate comfort food. I’m talking about the chocolate chip cookie.

Ruth Graves Wakefield published the first chocolate chip cookie recipe in 1936. She owned the Toll House Inn in Whitman, MA, and allegedly discovered chocolate chip cookies by accident, when she added chocolate chips to a drop cookie recipe, intending to make chocolate cookies.

Chocolate chip cookies have been a staple in the Thordal house for as long as I can remember, almost as long as we have received the New York Times. So it makes sense that our cookie recipe would originate from the newspaper. However, we have deviated from that recipe a bit (the cookies in the images below use mini chocolate chips and whole wheat flour).

We always use the thick-and-gooey version of this three part recipe, however here is the thin-and-crisp version as well as the flat-and-chewy variety.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 8 ounces butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups bittersweet chopped chocolate or chocolate chips

Chocolate Chip Cookies (inspired by NY Times)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with a Silpat or parchment powder. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy, 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and blend until a dough forms. Fold in the chocolate. Chill the dough for several hours (preferably overnight.)
  3. Roll tablespoons of dough into rough spheres (for thick cookies, make as tall as possible). Bake for 8-10 minutes, switching the sheets halfway. Let sit for 5 minutes on cookie sheets, then transfer to cooling racks.
  4. Enjoy warm with a glass of milk!

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Funfetti Cookies

I’m going to admit it. Funfetti cookies were not my first choice of things to bake. I had a vision of watermelon cupcakes, or maybe lime cupcakes with mint frosting. Someday, those cupcakes will be made! It’s up to you guys, my dear readers, to remind me 🙂 . However, cookies travel better when baking with a friend. I got lots of votes for these incredible funfetti cookies and I have to admit that my inner “sophisticated palate” was silenced as I happily made these cookies and added lots of cheerful rainbow sprinkles.

Anecdote about sprinkles: My grandparents, my mom and I went to go get Carvel soft ice cream on our last night in Bronxville, where my grandparents live. I ordered a swirl with chocolate sprinkles, as per my custom. As we walked back to the car, my mom commented on the artificiality of sprinkles. My grandfather looked at her and said “But aren’t sprinkles just little chopped up nuts?” We cracked up. Maybe this isn’t funny, you guys let me know in the comments.

Anywhoo, these cookies are incredible. A revamped recipe from fave blogger Sally at Sally’s Baking Addiction, this is sure to become a Migdal-Thorp-Rentz classic. You could use red and green sprinkles at christmastime, or pink and purple sprinkles for valentine’s day, or orange and black for giants games or halloween! You get the idea. Go crazy! These got rave reviews from supposedly “dieting” visiting family members, so beware of these.

-Eliza in the Palo Alto kitchen/Team 555 HQ

This recipe is from adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature preferred
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar1
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sprinkles
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a cookie tray with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter on medium speed, then add sugar and continue creaming for about a minute.
  3. Add eggs all at once and mix until fully blended. Add vanilla.
  4. Sift flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cornstarch and salt together.
  5. Add dry ingredients in 3 parts to slightly combine, then add sprinkles.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then chill for at least one hour.
  7. Scoop onto your tray. I use a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop for big cookies, or a 1 tablespoon measure for smaller ones. For thick cookies, try to make your cookies tall rather than wide, as per Sally’s trick.
  8. Bake for about 9 minutes for perfectly soft cookies.
  9. Enjoy! Share with friends and family or simply hide them and eat them all yourself. We won’t judge 🙂 .IMG_0270