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.

IMG_3837IMG_3836 (1)

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!

Quick + Easy Scones

Hi blog readers! It’s been a while AGAIN. Our sincerest apologies.

So. Scones. I don’t know about you but I am an afternoon tea aficionado. I have been at Claridges, the Empress Hotel in Victoria, the Drake in Chicago and the Garden Court here in San Francisco. I absolutely adore afternoon tea. It makes me feel like I am Lady Mary, about to go meet my dashing race car-driving husband or follow the hunt in some utterly fabulous clothes. Simply put, I feel like a queen.

The most important part of afternoon (other than the tea) is the scones. Taken with lemon curd and clotted cream, they are divine. I recently hosted (along with Michal) a petite afternoon tea with some friends. Because clotted cream is incredibly annoying to make, I made whipped cream instead. Michal made some incredible lemon curd, and I made these. The group made quite a refined trio.

I will be posting more from the tea party soon, but let’s start with these scones.

Zuni Cafe Scones 

IMG_2370.jpeg

ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 stick of butter (VERY VERY COLD)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup whole milk

directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix well.
  3. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Continue cutting until you achieve tiny pea size butter chunks.
  4. Whisk together egg yolk and milk, and add to the bowl.
  5. Stir to combine, then knead with your hands until the dough comes together.
  6. Roll dough out with a rolling pin, and cut into triangles.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes, then let cool for 5 minutes on the pan.
  8. Enjoy! These are best warm and make a great breakfast if you have leftovers 🙂

 

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Chicken and Tomatoes

Hi blog readers!

We apologize for our absence of posts these past few weeks.We were taking a holiday hiatus because things caught up with both of us. Sorry! However, buckle your seat belts because 2016 is going to GREAT for the Flour Power Girls. We have a whole lineup of incredible posts ready for you over the next few weeks.

This year, I really want to get more involved with savory things. My parents would DEFINITELY appreciate not having to cook dinner every night, and I get excited just thinking about the whole new world of recipes that dinner, lunch and meals that don’t involve baked goods bring to the table. I received a few top notch cookbooks this year, including The Sugar Hit! by one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Sarah, Veganomicon by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero, and Voracious by Cara Nicoletti. I am so psyched to cook from them! Yay!

And on to the recipe. We’re kicking off our new savory section with this cream-sauce pasta recipe.

Get ready, because what I am about to tell you might shock you. DISCLAIMER: Flour Power Girls cannot be held legally responsible for your actions after reading the following sentence.

This super-thick, creamy pasta has NO CREAM. Yes. You can laugh in disbelief, but it is 110% true.

It is so so fast, with minimal prep, and the results are incredible. Trust me. This pasta tastes indulgent and rich, but definitely doesn’t come close to the foooooood cooooooma stage. In fact, it’s relatively light. It has some heat, refreshing lemon, lean protein, and healthy greens. It may just be the perfect meal.

Creamy Lemon Pasta with Chicken and Tomatoes.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons pepper, divided
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided

For the pasta:

  • 3/4 lb pasta, preferably spaghetti or another thin, long pasta (ie tagliatelle)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 3/4 cup greek yogurt (yes, nonfat totally works!) or creme fraiche
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 cup arugula or spinach (stems removed)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Instructions:

For the chicken.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 fahrenheit.
  2. Combine spices and 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes and gently dredge chicken in spice mixture.
  3. Cook in 1 tablespoon of oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Flip after 3 minutes or so, developing a nice char.
  4. Transfer to a baking sheet, and bake for about 25 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked (test it please!).
  5. Let cool and cut into bite-size pieces.

For the pasta.

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, and drain, reserving 2 tablespoons of pasta water.
  2. In pasta pot, cook garlic in remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and remaining pepper flakes.
  3. Add lemon juice, greek yogurt and pasta water.
  4. Once the sauce has thickened slightly, and greek yogurt has melted, add chicken, pasta and Parmesan. Mix well.
  5. Once the cheese has melted, add arugula/spinach and tomatoes. Combine and let wilt.

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!

IMG_3114 IMG_3116 IMG_3117 IMG_3118 IMG_3119 IMG_3120  IMG_3123 IMG_3124

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Swirl Frosting

IMG_5121 IMG_5124

Blog readers – get ready for the biggest event of the year. It’s October, which means it is Pumpkin Month! All month, Ellie and I are going to be posting recipes that use pumpkin all month and we are so beyond excited! We ❤ fall. Even though fall in New England is very different from fall in California, I can still pretend that the leaves are changing color and that I need to wear sweaters all the time. 😛 Seriously though, fall is the best time of year.

These cupcakes are incredible. The best recipes come when you’re baking with friends, and this recipe is proof. S, N, and I frosted these together. Don’t you love the swirled, two-color effect (special note to those of you in my English class: not affect)?  We chose purple and orange for Halloween, but you could do this with whatever colors you want. Speaking of amazing fall frosting, one of my fave bakeries posted this on Instagram the other day. Beautiful! So are the flavors in this cupcake. Pumpkin bread is my favorite fall dessert (funnily enough, I’m not a fan of pumpkin pie), and that’s what these cupcakes taste like. The cinnamon frosting tastes like fall itself! There are no words for the combination of cinnamon and pumpkin.

Such exciting things happening right now! Ellie just got a puppy! I have always been a dog person, and I think puppies are God’s gift to the world. Plus Yogi the Schnoodle is absolutely adorable. He gets his own blog too! Yay!

As you can tell, I’m very excited. You will be too, once you try these cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Swirl Frosting (cupcakes adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Ingredients:

  • for the cupcakes:
      • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour
      • 1 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
      • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or use a pinch each of ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, and ground allspice)
      • 2/3 cup (133g) packed dark brown sugar
      • 2 large eggs
      • 1 cup (227g) pumpkin puree (canned is best here)
      • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
      • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • For the frosting:
      • 2 sticks of butter, softened
      • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
      • 2 tablespoons milk
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla
      • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
      • Optional: for swirl effect, 2 colors of gel food coloring (I used purple and orange for halloween).

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 12-count full-sized muffin pan with non-stick spray or line with cupcake liners.

  1. First, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger into a medium bowl.
  2. In another medium bowl, whisk brown sugar and eggs together until thoroughly combined.
  3. Whisk pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla into the brown sugar and eggs.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix just until combined, being careful to not overmix the batter!
  5. Pour batter into the prepped muffin pan and bake for 17-18 minutes. Allow to cool completely (I’m impatient, so mine go in the fridge) before frosting.

To make the frosting:

  1. In a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth, about 1 minute.
  2. Add powdered sugar and beat for 2 minutes.
  3. Add milk, cinnamon and vanilla and beat until combined, about 1 minute. To frost, use a piping bag and tip (I used a wilton 1M) or a plastic bag with one corner cut off. Or, try the swirl technique below.

For the swirl:

  1. Divide frosting into 2 bowls.
  2. Add one color to each bowl, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Place your piping bag into a tall glass, pulling a “cuff” over the top.
  4. Using a spatula, stuff one color into half the piping bag.
  5. After rinsing your spatula, use it to stuff the other color into the other half of the piping bag. The two colors should be SIDE BY SIDE, not stacked.
  6. Pipe frosting onto your cupcakes and admire the swirled effect!

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 8.59.08 AMIMG_5125

IMG_5115 IMG_5111

IMG_5101 IMG_5103 IMG_5116

Red Velvet Cake

Attention, readers! Here in the Palo Alto kitchen we have a science-defying, diet-busting, jeans-shrinking, mind-blowing red velvet cake. This distinctly Southern delight was inspired by a certain character in a certain play that a certain theatre class is certainly performing soon! That would be Clairee Belcher in Steel Magnolias, people. Yup, that’s the one where (SPOILER ALERT) everyone cries. The absolute tear-jerker of a play manages to be hilarious, devastating and breathtakingly written at the same time. I get to bring to life the matriarch of the whole thing, the epitome of a proper Southern lady (not unlike a particular grandmother [yup, Gram, I’m talking about you]). Clairee is sweet and sassy and she inspired this cake. The cake itself is a bomb.com recipe from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. I got it from a woman who found it in her shed with a note that said that the recipe-recorder had paid $250 dollars for it.

The decorations were – an adventure. I, being the Buzzfeed addict that I am, was inspired by one of those classic Buzzfeed lists, this time about cake decorating. Unfortunately, once I’d melted my chocolate, with which I was going to artfully pipe out some pretty decorations, I added cold milk. This turned my nice, melted chocolate into basically chocolate clay. I will let you in on a secret, readers. I am a baker. I am not a decorator. Decorations are usually the weakest part of whatever I am baking. Hopefully I will improve with time, but it is a work in progress. Riley Guggenhime, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU! you are a decorating lifesaver. So here it is. The cake that tastes delish, has a beautiful red color, and which broke the no sugar pact I’d been keeping up for a week.

Note: Try this substitute for cake flour: 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons regular flour, 2 tablespoons cornstarch. You can put the cornstarch in the bottom of your measuring cup. For buttermilk, try this: 1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice with 1/2 cup milk. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes. I learned that from Sally – thanks, Sally!

Waldorf Astoria Cake from Food.com:

Makes two 8-inch round layers.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ounces red food coloring (I used “christmas red” gel)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa (heaping)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (see note)
  • 2 1cups cake flour (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  1. In a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar and eggs.
  2. Make a paste with red food coloring and cocoa. It will basically still look like cocoa powder, your paste will not turn red. Add to mixer.
  3. Combine flour and salt, then add half to the mix.
  4. Add half your buttermilk, then the rest of the flour and salt.
  5. Now, add the rest of the buttermilk and mix.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Create that super fun reaction with the baking soda and vinegar together (let out your inner second-grader!) and wait for it to stop bubbling a bit to add it to the mix.
  8. Pour into greased and floured cake pans (I also put parchment paper circles on the bottoms of mine), and bake at 350˚ for 24-30 minutes.
  9. Let cool and frost.

Cream Cheese Frosting from the Food Network:

  • 4 ounces butter
  • 4 ounces soft cream cheese (I used low fat neufchâtel cheese)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Combine butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer.
  2. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, with mixer on s l o w  s p e e d.
  3. Beat in vanilla.

IMG_4793 IMG_4795

and yes, I am burning the almost-midnight oil to post this. you’re welcome. 😉