Wednesday, May 15, 2013

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

Last week on Smitten Kitchen, Deb briefly mentioned 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies. I was in the middle of a hardcore week of extreme procrastination, so 20 minutes after reading it, I went downstairs and made 4-ingredient cookies (because even numbers are better than odd numbers, but really I super like the jam we have and peanut butter goes so well with good jam). They were soooooo easy, and are naturally gluten and lactose free! (When you live in a co-op where everyone has different dietary restrictions, this is a really big deal). I even have the recipe memorized already, its that easy. Memorizable recipes are my favorite. This is going in my list of things I can make with only thinking for about 20 seconds. Aka, my favorite list.
I'm going to apologize for this post. It's finals week which means I'm acting a little crazy. Sometimes I just have to stand up and do some star jumps*, or say something completely out of nowhere, or write a really wacky blog post about peanut butter cookies. Its happening. Its okay. Let it happen.

*Star jumps is what New Zealanders call Jumping Jacks, and is now what I want everyone to call jumping jacks, because I like it.

These cookies are sweet, peanut butter-y, and squishy. I loved them. I really like peanut butter. I really like our blackberry poppy jam. I really like cookies. Therefore, I really like these. Common sense, no?

Also, they are just adorable

Recipe! From my brain! I didn't even have to look it up or link it. Proud moment

1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup Peanut Butter (I used chunky)
Spoon fulls of yummy jam

Preheat oven to 350˚
Mix together ingredients until smooth
Roll into balls
Use your thumb to create thumbprints in the center of each ball
Use a spoon and place jam in the thumbprints
Bake until the look snazzy
Eat eat eat. Try to stop yourself after 3, but then eat another one, because you just made adorable cookies in 20 minutes after thinking for only 20 seconds. Do a star jump and then pat yourself on the back. Have a great week! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Mushroom and Leek Galettes (and Special Dinner)

There was no snack this Tuesday, instead we had our Special Dinner! In the co-ops it's tradition to end the semester with an extra special dinner to celebrate our time together. We spend way more money than we should on fancy ingredients, and cook way more hours than anyone thought was possible. Then at the end of the day we feast and drink to our hearts content. This semester the theme was 1950's Murder Mystery Dinner Party. It was the best special dinner yet, it was planned so perfectly and I couldn't believe all of the effort everyone put in to make the night memorable.
I decided to make Mushroom and Leek Galettes because I love galettes and wish I could eat them every single day. It was a lot of work, but it was worth it. The mushrooms and leeks worked really well together and I could talk for days about how much I love this crust. It is so easy to work with and somehow turns into a magic flaky perfection. Deb Perlman is a "pie" crust genius. I made 6 galettes for the 6 main tables, and it was plenty of food because we had so much other delicious food. I was so full by the end of the night.

  The evening started at 5:30 with a cocktail hour and appetizers including fresh oysters and bruschetta. Then it was dinner time. The tables were set beautifully and all the food was already plated. We sat down, made a quick toast to Thea, Sasha, Monika and Meg for all of their amazing hard work and dove into the delicious-ness. There were spring rolls, mussels, cioppino, duck, truffle mac and cheese (!!), butter dumplings, sushi, paella, pomegranate and walnut chicken, flank steak, tamales, veggie lumpia and ceviche. They all (well at least the vegetarian ones) tasted amazing. So many different flavors, but I appreciated each of them in their own way. Then there was dessert. I could not fit anymore food in my body but I made it work and enjoyed pavlova, truffles, frozen peach torte, berry cream pie, ice cream sandwiches, and beignets. Only a tiny bite of each of course. :] My taste buds were definitely satisfied.
The meal ended with a murder! Mr. Black stumbled into the room, bloody, and fell to the ground. It was very dramatic, but so fun to watch. We broke off into teams and went through 7 challenges together to get clues to figure out who the murderer was. My team was rambunctious but so entertaining, we weren't very good at the challenges but we still got the clues and at the end of the night we guessed the murderer right! It was Ms. Scarlett. Typical. My housemates played 7 different clue characters, and they pulled it off so well. We have some great actors here. After all the challenges we reconvened and arrested Ms. Scarlett then danced the night away. I had so much fun. Definitely one of the best nights of my college years. I am going to be so sad when I have to move out in a couple weeks. This house has definitely become a home and the people I live with are like family. 

Tres Magnifique

The recipe for the crust is here: Galette Crust
And I used this recipe as a vague guideline for the filling: Mushroom and Leek Galette

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Homemade Oreos

I honestly don't like oreos that much. Unless they are double stuffed, I probably won't eat them. (Side note, however, Vanilla Jo-Jo's (from Trader Joe's) I could eat an entire box in one sitting. So delicious.) I don't like oreos, but I love chocolate cookies, so this week I decided to make homemade oreos to see how I liked them. Conclusion: 100% better.
Homemade oreos are more chocolatey, and the frosting is creamier. They are more flavorful, and the sweetness was definitely more intense (next time, I would probably tone down the sugar a lot).
They were pretty easy to make and the amount of excitement I received from my housemates was well worth the trouble of sandwiching over one hundred oreos.

While I was in the kitchen making them I got a variety of reactions. My favorite one was, "HA! You can't make oreos, oreos are processed! Homemade oreos? That's so silly!" This comment came from our very own kitchen manager, Monika. It was a hilarious moment (sadly she didn't get to try any of them because she is gluten intolerant, sorry Monika!). I love that you can take items that are generally thought to be only found in the grocery store and make them at home, like Oreos and Cheez-its.

I ran out of frosting before running out of cookies, so I made a second batch. For the second batch I decided to spice up the frosting a bit and I added orange blossom oil that we had. You could definitely taste the orange blossom in the frosting. It gave it a subtle flowery taste, which I thought was almost soapy. Some people liked it, but the general consensus was that the original frosting was better, and I agreed. But sometimes, you have to be daring and try something that might not work. Regardless, homemade oreos with orange blossom frosting sounds way more legit than simple homemade oreos. Even though it didn't work, it was worth a shot. Next time, I want to try peppermint extract! Or peanut butter filling. Yum. So many possibilities.

Recipe: Homemade Oreos
(For the orange blossom frosting, I made the same frosting base, and then added a splash of orange blossom oil that we had in the house!)