December 8, 2009

We’re living the winter wonderland dream, people: NaCoBakMo, Day 11.

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:15 pm by the Green-Eyed Siren

Here in the great city of Chicago we have now had our first consequential snowfall of the season, which meant doing a (very little) shoveling yesterday morning as the sun rose on Day 11 of NaCoBakMo; this evening saw a slushy rerun as my currently thawing toes can attest. Adding to the excitement, Unfocused Me has jetted away to rainy San Diego for a week of high-intensity lawyering, or so he tells me. I’m thinking that if ever there was a moment when he is NOT lying to me about work being the reason for his travel, a week during NaCoBakMo is probably it. However irresistible another woman might appear, I am reasonably confident she would not be slaving in the kitchen baking cookies. And Mr. Unfocused likes his cookies.

This is going to be a short post (yeah, yeah, I can hear the hallelujahs from here, internet) so I can allow my toes to come to room temperature revel in the majesty of a snowy winter evening. Plus I need to start writing about Day 12’s cookies, which I baked today (I’m on a time delay, much like the Super Bowl Halftime Show), and since I just made that recipe up (woo-hoo! baking without a net, baby!) I need to get it down before I forget.

I clipped Day 11’s recipe from the newspaper’s annual holiday cookie contest story. Every year the Chicago Tribune (and the Sun-Times, and probably every other newspaper in the country) celebrate the best holiday cookie recipes from reader submissions; as you might have guessed, I tend to keep an eye out for the story. This year’s winners were published last week, along with a helpful article that has me panicking over how all of these cookies are going to weather the whole freezing process, despite their carefully-stored state. (An aside: Lady, it does not help me to know that you think I should just be freezing dough. I cannot bake more than 2,000 cookies from frozen dough on Christmas Eve. I have stuff to do.) I’m starting to worry that you’re going to open your box of cookies, aquiver with anticipation, take a bite, and go, “Meh.” I’m trying to wrap them well, but we’ll just have to see how it goes. Knowing me, I’ll get to the box-packing day, take a nibble from a random cookie, cry out in agony, and get to work baking a replacement batch. It’s almost certainly going to happen—the only real question is how many times will that scenario play out before my family has me committed.

But I digress. This cookie caught my eye when it ran in the annual cookie roundup the year or two after my son was diagnosed with the peanut and egg allergies—it was Junior-safe, so it was a keeper. As it happens it’s not really his kind of cookie (“Mommy! I can’t! taste! the chocolate!”), but Unfocused Girl and I are fond of it. I don’t recall if Mr. Unfocused particularly likes this one or not, and I’m afraid I can’t investigate at the moment (have I mentioned he’s away for a week? and not shoveling my snow?) so it’s anybody’s guess. It’s the sort of cookie that is an ideal accompaniment to a cup of coffee, very light and crispy. Also, not least among this recipe’s many virtues is the huge quantity of cookies it yields for what is really not a lot of effort. So thank you to the family who submitted this cookie to the Tribune, and thank you to the Tribune for publishing it. It was a great relief to this baker to have another cookie to make with my kids in those long eggless days.

Also, a quick but heartfelt shout-out to the folks whose weather is considerably worse than Chicago’s is at the moment. Perseverance! You shall prevail! Bake some cookies!

UPDATE: Last night before collapsing I looked more carefully at this year’s Tribune cookie feature. Nothing there for me this year, as they are all too nut-heavy, but I am 99% certain I know one of the winners. Crazy! Congratulations, mystery friend!

Yes, that's our undecorated tree in the background.

Chocolate Shots

1 c unsalted butter, softened
1 c confectioners’ sugar
2 T vanilla extract
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1 c rolled oats, not instant
3 bottles (1.75 oz each) chocolate sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350º.

Beat butter in large bowl of electric mixer at high speed until creamy, about one minute. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Gradually beat in flour and baking soda until smooth. Stir in oats. Refrigerate dough in mixer bowl 20 minutes for easier handling.

Remove dough from refrigerator. Divide dough into 2 to 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pour sprinkles into pie plate; roll logs in sprinkles to coat evenly. Wrap logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours, or overnight.

Cut dough into 1/4 inch slices. Bake on greased or parchment-covered baking sheets until lightly browned and slightly firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Remove to cooling rack. Makes roughly 90 cookies.

TOMORROW: OMG! A cookie invention that will TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

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