Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chocolate cherry and parchment.

I'm going to give it to you straight. These cookies are a bit fussy. They are gooey. They are sticky. They are sea salty and chunky. And they are so worth it.

After three attempts, I have tamed most of the fuss for you.

The biggest issue for me is : I don't have cookie sheets. It's true. I've been sort of accidentally / on purpose trying to bake cookies in glass baking dishes for a long time. This means I can only bake six at a time (at best). And, it means cherry juice will stick.

After much deep contemplation on how to salvage this magical cookie dough for the upcoming Boston Cookie Swap, I had a small cookie epiphany.

Parchment.

Parchment can turn even a seasoned pizza stone into a silky smooth cookie sheet. Whether you have cookie sheets or not (you probably do), I recommend using parchment to keep the cherry juice in line. You could always opt for dried cherries to avoid the gooeyness altogether, but these are so crazy indulgent as is, I'd say don't.

Double chocolate cherry cookies
  • 1/2 cup flax or almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 3/4 cups sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup pitted black cherries (frozen)
Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets (baking dishes, pizza stones, etc) with parchment. 

Use a knife to halve frozen cherries, and then place back in freezer until ready to use. (Melting cherries will thin the batter.)

In a small bowl, mix flax meal and flax milk. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and sea salt. 

In a medium bowl, beat sugar, oil and extracts. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir just until combined. Fold in cherries and chocolate chunks. 

Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into balls, drop onto parchment and flatten slightly with hand. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Pull parchment off of cookie sheet and allow to cool for at least another 5 minutes before removing with spatula and moving to wire rack. These cookies will continue to firm as they cool.

Note: Depending how quickly you work, I recommend keeping the extra dough in the refrigerator while batches bake, to keep the dough firm and the cherries from melting. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Color and quiet.

I have been living in Boston for a touch over nine years. This, in a way, signifies how long I have been an actual adult for.

This is a difficult fact for me, because I still geek and gush over things like washi tape.

Nevertheless, in my near decade as an adult Bostonian, this is the most brilliant fall I can honestly remember.

Colorful. Leafy. Crisp. Nostalgic.

If summer is a time for expansive adventures, fall is a time to be still, to go inward. A time to appreciate the smaller, quieter moments. . .

Favorite socks. Soft scarves. Morning oatmeal. Afternoon tea. Reading in bed. A lit candle. Toasted squash seeds.

It is, after all, the tiniest pleasures that create our richest memories.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Radish loving.

Current obsessions include :

The weekends edition of Kinfolk

The idea of a digital detox

Black tea with almond milk

Hot yoga

Split pea soup

All things tortoise shell

The Farmer's Lunch at City Feed

Homegrown radishes

I'm a pretty big vegetable nerd. (You know this.) But I think, aesthetically speaking, the radish just wins.

So pink. So plump. So effortlessly lovely.

Such a sweet and spicy little creature from the dirt the radish is. Pulling something oh so pink up and out of the ground almost makes it alright that our coveted tomato season is fading into memory now.

Radish instructions : Plant seeds in late summer. Water. Wait. Weed. Pluck. Slice thinly. Sprinkle atop everything. Next year, plant more radishes.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sweet beet.

It's not quite time to talk about beets yet.

We still have stone fruits and late summer greens to chat about.

But. Well. Post Labor Day summer brings about a lot of talk of reorganizing, restarting and resetting. Usually, or always, I resist this wholeheartedly.

It seems, though, that this year I could use a bit of a reset myself. And so I say, let's give this last month of summer its due time. And, let's get ourselves together.

To that end, I bring you, the sweet beet. She's a lovely, almost summery shade of magenta. And by starting our day with beets, raw honey and other earthy treats, we can extend an apology to our cells for those things we wish we didn't eat, drink and do in July and August.

Here's to a sweet, slow moving, healthful last month of summer.

Sweet beet:
  • 1/3 cup red beet (cubed)
  • 1/2 red grapefruit
  • 1 cup raspberries (frozen)
  • 1 banana
  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1 Tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup cold water
Wash, peel and cube raw beet. Measure out 1/3 cup. Halve grapefruit, remove outer peel and any seeds (as they are extremely bitter.) Measure remaining ingredients. Place everything into a high-speed blender. Begin blending on low, gradually increase speed to the highest setting. Blend just until smooth.
For a conventional blender: finely chop or shred the beets, and blend them with the 1/2 cup cold water as the first step. Once a juice-like consistency is reached, add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Beautiful fruit.

As a child, there were precisely three foods I did not eat.

1. Fish

2. Quiche

3. Tomatoes

Obvious exceptions included: tuna fish sandwiches, ketchup, and tomato sauce. (No exceptions on quiche. I had a legitimate phobia of it's loose innards.)

Back then, tomatoes always seemed to be cut into cold, hard, clumsy wedges. And, most often, they accompanied a form of iceberg lettuce.

With all of that squishy seediness to boot, I simply could not understand tomato eaters (or tomato juice drinkers for that matter). Tomatoes were just a constant inconvenience in my preadolescent life.

Now that I spend my early summer mornings watering fourteen most treasured tomato plants, of nearly as many varieties, I wonder what all that fuss was about. And when exactly did I go from abhorring to adoring this beautiful fruit?

We are nearing peak tomato season, which means that tomorrow is the highly anticipated Tomato Festival at Red Fire Farm in Granby, MA.

I will be there, basking in all things tomato (as long as fish and quiche stay out of it).