Archive | January, 2011

Find The Light At The End Of The Tunnel & Then Bake Cookies, Big A Cookies

31 Jan

So as everyone knows, the North East has been getting pummeled with snow since December 26th.  It’s snow, snow and more snow.  However, despite the consistent snow storms that seem to have a penchant for starting on Wednesday and affecting us at least until Friday, we have yet to get used to it.  Snow can be quite frustrating and stressful.  Yes, we know it’s initially beautiful.  Especially, when the first drop lands on the ground and we know the kids love it.  However, it’s still frustrating.  It’s messy, it causes school delays, traffic delays and every other delay.  Did I mention it it’s stressful.  I just became a little stressed as I was writing about it.  Luckily, the stress, like the snow melts away….

<-Ok, so we didn’t have this much snow. But it was pretty close.

Anyway, during these stressful times, it’s important to find a light at the end of the tunnel.  This morning, as I awaken to find my house surrounded by 16.9 inches of snow, my light came in the form of my neighbor.  My neighbor B. 

B is a nice guy who has a wife and two kids and he works full time.  However this morning he found time to wake up, at what must have been the crack of dawn and help his neighbors.  What he did was  quite simple, but I found it rather remarkable.  He took his handy snow plow and plowed out ALL the driveways in our cul de sac. 

Now my husband, along with many of my neighbor’s husbands were already outside with shovels tirelessly attempting to tackle the white flaky monster.  However, B met every single one of them at their driveway and quickly helped them diminish the white monster also know as “this damn snow”.

So as stressful as this snow situation was (and still is, my kids ended up missing 2 full days of school) it felt great to know that with all of the CNN, FOX & MSNBC reportings of the horrid deeds of people, B represented the another side.  He represented the simple goodness that someone could provide to another person. 

“But Pennylove, I thought this blog was going to be about cooking”.  Oh, that’s just my inner voice speaking to me…don’t act like you have never had a discussion with your inner voice. Oh, you haven’t…ummm, let’s just pretend you didn’t read that.  (Wow, if you all only knew how well I humor myself).

Alas, how does this tie in to anything even remotely cooking related.  Well, how else would I thank B, but to do what I do best (Yes, I said it BEST…patting self on the shoulder, lol) and bake him something.  So for B I decided a nice bottle of Pinot and one of my Big A cookies would be a nice way to say “Thank You For Being A Good Neighbor”.  

So now comes the baking part.  I love making this cookie for several reasons.  I think my Big A cookie makes a great presentation at any party, office meeting, or as a gift.  The other reason I like it is because since I’m only making one cookie, I’m not able to snack on cookies all night.  I also love the texture of a the Big A cookie.  It still has some of crispiness but also a little bit  of cake doughiness.

This is the Big A cookie in a Tart Pan.  Nice & Elegant. When you remove the pan the edge of the cookie has the a pretty scalloped pattern.

This is a pic of a decorated Big A cookie made in a pizza pan.  I made these cookies to give to 2 neighbors who had just moved into the neighborhood.  What, when someone buys a property on your street, be thankful, very thankful!  Plus it’s the neighborly thing to do.  The pizza pan was one of those aluminum ones you buy for about $3 in a grocery store.  Which works well because you can transport the cookie in its cooking dish.  The icing is just a chocolate frosting.  I typically use this recipe from Williams and Sonoma http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/quick-chocolate-buttercream-frosting.html 

So how do I make these Big A cookies?  

  • 4 Cups Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Sticks Butter Softened
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon Molasses
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1.5 Teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 12 Ounces Chocolate Chips
  • 6 Ounces Toffee Chips

Preheat oven to 350.  In  a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  In a blender beat butter, both sugars and molasses until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and almond extract. Beat until well mixed. Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and toffee chips. (Note this recipe makes enough for 2 Big A cookies.  If you only need 1 Big A cookie use half of the dough and freeze the rest.  You can use the extra dough to make Small A cookies, lol.

In 2 tart pans (I used this one http://www.customchocolateshop.com/2105-441.html) or 2 pizza pans, equally distribute dough into the lightly buttered pans.   Make sure dough is spread evenly in the pan. 

Bake your Big A cookie for 12-15 mins or until golden brown.  If you are baking 2, then it may take a an extra 5 minutes.   Once cookies are done, let cool for at least 5 minutes.  Then remove the outside out the tart pan.  I know it may be hard but let cool for another 5 minutes before cutting into them.  If using pizza pans, then just let it cool for 10 minutes.  When ready to serve, use either a pizza cutter or a large knife to cut into 12 slices.  If you like you can decorate your Big A cookies.  However, a plain Big A cookie makes a statement just the same. 

If you are taking this as a gift or to a party, make sure you remove bottom of the tart pan.  Place cookie into a baking box.  Try putting a paper lace doilie in the box first to make it extra pretty.  Or go wild with some pretty colored cellophane paper.  Heck even some ribbon.  These are also good as treats to your coworkers at the office.

Oh, B and his wife and kids were very gracious about the neighborly gift.

Hello World!

25 Jan

Hey you, yes you and even you…

I’m over here, come on over, have a seat, and let’s chat for awhile.  I’m new to the blogosphere.  However, I like it here, so I think I will definitely stay.  I’m still getting acclimated so I request your patience and solicit your advice.  I’m not too proud to beg so throw your suggestions right on at me…I’m a good catcher. 

Ok, I know.  You want to know why would I want to read what you have to say.  Well, all I can say is I really try not to suck.  I do try to be informative and I am always me.  I love to talk about cooking, children, weight loss, fashion and education.  I’m very diverse with my ideas and thoughts and I welcome the same.  So I really hope you will visit me sometime in the near future.  I look forward to thoughtfully exchanging words with you.

Your new neighbor,

Pennylove