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. I have definitely been following the election cycle but I don’t want to fire up any of you internet people, so I will just say I am super anti-Trump.

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!

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 

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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 🙂

 

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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Not Your Average Apple Cider Holes

Hi there fellow bakers! Today we have, dun dun dun, apple cider donut holes! Growing up in Massachusetts, apple picking is an autumn festivity. Lots of people spend their Sunday afternoons going to fall fairs, pumpkin patches, and of course picking apples! After spending all this time reaching for the top apple on the tree, what should I do with all of my delicous findings, I thought to myself. There are soooo many different apple recipes. From apple pies, to strudels, to applesauce, there are lots of possibilities!

Last year, while apple and pumpkin picking, my friend and I went to the concession stand and got apple cider donuts. When we tasted the moist, soft treats, we loved them, but thought about how much better they would be if we made them at home! The next week, the same friend and I made those scrumptious donuts, but in bite-sized form and instantly, a tradition was formed! Now every year we make these, and each year they get better and better!

Make these muffins for a delicious, easy, perfectly flavored snack! They pair perfectly with a tall glass of apple cider, or simply on their own! Hope you enjoy:)

This recipe is adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Spiced Apple Cider Donut Holes, and makes about 72 mini muffins.

Ingredients:

Donuts:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ granulated sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized pot, simmer the apple cider until it is reduced to ½-¾ cup. This will take about 20 minutes.
  2. In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a mini muffin pan with a non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in your largest bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, brown sugar, and sugar together until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and ½ of the apple cider reduction.
  4. With a rubber spatula, lightly indent the dry mixture into the sides. Pour the wet mixture into the center, and combine. Gently mix together until just combined, and very few lumps remain. DO NOT OVER MIX!
  5. Pour the batter* into the muffin pans until ¾ full. Bake the muffins for 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Combine the sugar and cinnamon to make cinnamon-sugar. Lightly brush the butter onto the muffins and dip them into the cinnamon-sugar. Serve that day, or cover tightly for up to three days! Yum!

*Spray the spoon with non-stick cooking spray before pouring the butter. It will keep the batter from sticking to the spoon!

Feels Like Fall Soft Pretzels

Hi Fellow Bakers! Sorry for not posting last week, we have been VERY busy! So from now on, we will be trying to post on Thursdays. Yesterday was my first day of school, ugh. I wish we could have summer all year long, NO WINTER! After last year, I’m so sick of the cold and snow and snow and snow and snow!!!! UGH! Anyway, let’s get to baking!

Today, I have for you Feels Like Fall Soft Pretzels! These pretzels are soooooo delicious that they were gone within a day. They are just like your favorite store-bought ones, but like 10x better! Not only are these pretzels DEEEElicous, but they are super fun to bake! I PROMISE you, you will N-O-T regret making these scrumptious fall treats!

I revised this yummy snack from our favorite blogger Sally McKenney with Sally’s Baking Addiction! If you haven’t checked out her blog, you totally should! She has great recipes and techniques. I hope you LOVE these soft pretzels just like I do!

~Eleanor/Hingham Kitchen

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

Yields about 8 pretzels.

Ingredients:

Pretzels:

  • 1 packet standard yeast (2 ¼ tsp)
  • 1 ¼ cup warm water (110-115°F)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra
  • 1 pot full of water (about 9 cups)
  • ⅔ baking soda

Topping:


Savory:

  • 3-4 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Sweet:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  • PREP: Preheat oven to 425°F. Place parchment paper or silicone baking mats on two large baking sheets. Set aside.
  • MAKE THE DOUGH: Combine the yeast with the warm water in a medium sized bowl. Allow for the yeast to fully dissolve before whisking in the salt and brown sugar. Add the flour slowly, one cup at a time until the dough begins to form. Do not add too much flour, or the pretzels will be too hard.
  • KNEAD THE DOUGH: Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes and shape into a ball. Cut the dough into 7-8 sections with a sharp knife.
  • ROLL THE DOUGH: Roll each section into a 18-20 inch rope; not too thin. Form the rope into a giant U shape. Then take the ends and twist them together toward yourself to create a pretzel shape.
  • BOIL THE PRETZELS: Whisk the large pot of water with the baking soda. Bring to a boil. Place a pretzel onto a strainer and dip into the boiling water until it floats to the top; about 30 seconds. Take the pretzels out of the water and place onto the baking sheet. Repeat with all of the pretzels.
  • BAKE THE PRETZELS: Bake the pretzels for 10 minutes. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl together. Remove the pretzels and brush the top with the melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar or salt. Bake the pretzels for another 5-8 minutes, or until their bottoms aren’t raw. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with more of your desired topping.
  • ENJOY!: Serve warm for best results:)! Pretzels will last for up to two days in an airtight container!

Please answer the question below!

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