Friday, February 15, 2013

Soft Raisin Cookies #52cookies

This is a cookie my Mom used to make when I was a child but I haven’t made it in forever because I live with a raisin hater! 

Yes, Hubby HATES raisins – so much so that he wouldn’t even try one of these cookies!  The worst part about his hate for raisins is it seems he has somehow passed on the genetic hate of raisins to our children.  They both tried a cookie but they picked out the raisins!  Seriously!  Freaking crazy kids!

Oh and when I told them that raisins were merely just tried grapes – they did not believe me.

Anyway, I like these cookies but they were not a panel favourite and now that I have had some feedback and looked at the ingredients, they are more of a muffin than a cookie.  So if you are looking for an excuse to eat cookies for breakfast – here you go!

At Home Panel:

Little Boy: (as he is spitting out a raisin) it’s good, I like them, I don’t like the raisins.  They are very soft.
1 out of 5 stars

Little Girl: Are there raisins in them?  I don’t like raisins. They are tasty. 
2 out of 5 stars

Hubby: refused to allow a raisin to pass his lips.

At Work Panel:

Brent:  It’s not a cookie.  It’s a muffin.  It’s a good muffin.  It tastes like a chocolate chip muffin without the chocolate.
1 out of 5 stars

Bryce: Good, unique.  I would call it a breakfast cookie.
4 out of 5 stars

Sandee:  Too dry, they don’t have a lot of flavour.  The raisins are good, I like that they are round and thick.
2 out of 5 stars

Barb: Not my favourite.  You would probably like them if you liked scones.
2 out of 5 stars

Adam: Like grandma’s cookies.  (He came back for more.)
3.5 out of 5 stars

Sarah: I like the softness, needs more raisins or something.  Something is missing?  A spice?  Cinnamon maybe?
3 out of 5 stars

Average rating: 2.9 out of 5 stars

Soft Raisin Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sour cream
2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375F.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

Using either a stand mixer or by hand, beat together the butter and sour cream until well mixed.  Add in the brown sugar, vanilla and eggs and continue mixing, scraping down the sides as needed.  Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined, then add in the raisins and stir until incorporated.

Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes until nicely browned and set.

Yield: 3 1/3 – 4 dozen cookies.
Little Girl's plate of picked out raisins.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Family Photos

I realized I haven't shared these photos with you all yet, so I'm going to share picture overload, there are just too many good ones I can't pick only one or two.


They were taken back in September at Spruce Meadows on an extremely hot day where I insisted everyone where jeans; can you tell we are over heating in these pictures?

A little note about Spruce Meadows: it's open to the public 7 days a week when they don't have a show on.  You're welcome to walk through the barns, bring your dog, and don't forget a bag of carrots!

Monday, February 04, 2013

#52cookies - Chocolate Florentines

One of the best parts about this cookie challenge is I am making cookies I normally wouldn’t make and finding out my family likes them.
Before I tended to stick to sugar cookies, chocolate chip and the odd peanut butter thrown in, but now – well I obviously need to expand my repertoire if I am going to get 52 different cookies made.

I have never made Florentines before and I think I might have only ever eaten one, so there was a little trial and error and I also wasn’t really sure what I was looking for in texture etc.  Thankfully my At Work panel was very knowledgeable in Florentines and gave me some great info / feedback.

At Home Panel: (The chocolate had not had a chance to harden; hence their comments about the mess.)

Little Girl: Kinda slimy, kinda chocolaty inside.  I like it.  A bit messy.
5 out of 5 stars

Little Boy: Sandwich cookie.  I really like it.
5 out of 5stars

Hubby: Extremely chocolaty, it’s almost a little overpowering.  Pretty messy.
3 out of 5 stars

At Work Panel:

Barb: Very tasty; hard – are they supposed to be hard?  Mine is hard on the outside.
3.5 out of 5 stars

Sarah: These are good.  5 out of 5!  One cookie is enough at a time.  Soft fancy cookie.
5 out of 5 stars

Sandee: I love Florentines; I usually have the nougat ones, I’ve never had this kind before.  They’re great.  They are chewy but not too much so they tick in your teeth.
5 out of 5stars

Andy: It’s very good; but anything chocolate is a hit for me.  I like the texture; I like chewy cookies.
4 out of 5stars

Bryce:  Really good.  I like the oatmeal part; a bit too sweet because the chocolate is so sweet.
4 out of 5 stars

Brent:  Pretty good.  I like these.  This is an overload of my favourite cookie.  Definitely needs a coffee.  Just the right amount of crunchy and chewy.
5 out of 5 stars

Amber: Delish.  Good cookie to chocolate ratio.  I like that they are chewy.
4.5 out of 5 stars

Overall rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars

My notes:

The original recipe calls for milk chocolate chips, I only had semi-sweet chocolate chips so that is what I used.  If you used milk chocolate they wouldn’t be as sweet, and you could use dark too if that was your favourite chocolate.

I used 2 different cookie sheets to make these; one was a nice thick one and the other one is thin.  The cookies made on the thick sheet turned out better.  They were softer and chewyer.
It is very easy to under cook these cookies, if you under cook them THEY WILL NOT COME OFF THE FOIL!  At the same time it is pretty easy to overcook them.  I suggest if you are making these and need specific amount, make extra – the first few might not turn out.
It is also quite a long process of baking (unless you have 10 cookie sheets which I do not).  So plan for the time – you need to let you cookie sheets cool down between batches – I ended up using my 2 thick cookie sheets once I learned the thin ones don’t work as well and it really slowed down my afternoon.

But these are cookie made to impress, they look great and a definitely taste good.

Chocolate Florentines

2/3 cup butter
2 cups quick oats
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup corn syrup
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet or dark)

Preheat oven to 375F.
Line baking sheets with foil and spray lightly with cookie spray.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, remove from heat and stir in the oats, white sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk and vanilla.  Stir until fully incorporated. 
Using a scoop (small) or rounded teaspoon, drop onto cookie sheets.  Make sure to give lots of space since these cookies will spread a lot.  Use a rubber spatula to spread the cookies out.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until theyare just starting to turn golden. 
Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool completely on wire rack.  Once cooled, peel off the foil.
Take your time, there is a bit of trial and error to getting the right doneness of the cookies.
Once all your cookies are done, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 20-30 second intervals stirring in-between until smooth.
Spread chocolate on the bottom side of one cookie and top with another one to make a sandwich.
Allow to set for a few hours before consuming.

Yield: 2-3 dozen cookies (depending on how big you make them).