Monday, December 17, 2012

Big, Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

One of my favourite foods from my old highschool cafeteria was the big soft oatmeal cookies that the ladies would bake up first thing in the morning. They were HUGE and cost $0.50 a piece. Every now and then I'd buy one before homeroom :)   ... needless to say, it was gone before O'Canada!

These cookies are really tasty. My saying is always that "an under-cooked cookie is a well cooked cookie" so make sure that you remove the cookies just, just as they start to brown. That way, you'll ensure that they stay nice and chewy. Bon appétit!

1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 eggs
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1. Adjust the oven racks to the low and middle positions, and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg together in a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

3. Beat in the eggs one at a time. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the oats and raisins, if using.

4. Working with a generous 2 tablespoons of dough each time, roll the dough into 2-inch balls. Place the balls on the parchment-lined cookie sheets leaving at least 2 inches between balls.
5. Bake, reversing the position of the baking sheets halfway through baking (from top to bottom and front to back), until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown, 6-8 minutes (check check check them though!). Slide the cookies, on the parchment, to a cooling rack. Let cool at least 30 minutes before peeling the cookies from the parchment.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Growing up, I love, love, LOVED Sloppy Joes. Under the influence of my father, I honestly believed that they were named after my real-life Uncle Joe who was (according to dad) always a messy eater. I think that I liked making this meal too because it was one of the few dishes that I could actually make by myself - all I had to do was brown the ground beef and add a package of Old El' Paso seasoning. I have since discovered that - amazingly enough - you can make an even better (an cheaper!) version on your own.  This recipe is pretty darn tasty and an easy weeknight dinner. Bon appétit!

* I've tried my best to estimate the seasonings but you may have to do a little tweaking to get the flavours right.

1 pounds ground beef
1 medium onions, chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tsp. cumin
3 tsp. chili
2 tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup apple cider or cider vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste
Hamburger buns, split

1. In a large skillet, cook the beef, onions and garlic over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomato paste and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Serve about 1/2 cup meat mixture on each bun. Or cool and freeze in freezer containers for up to 3 months.