baking cookies primal

Cookies the (Very) Old-Fashioned Way

So, some of you may have noticed a dearth of posts in the past couple of months. Also, some of you may know that Tim lost 90 pounds last year by following what’s called the primal way of eating.

These things are not coincidental in any but the most literal sense.

Although I lost 30 pounds last year using SlimFast, I hit a plateau in late October and could not lose anymore. At the same time, I started having horrible carb cravings, worse than my standard carb cravings. I think those things were not coincidental either.

So at the beginning of December, I started eating primally.

It was not easy: Two of my major food groups were bread and sugar. But it was necessary.

Regular food has been fairly easy to adapt: no rice or pasta, no bread. No biggie.

But dessert. And snacks. And, you know, good stuff. That was what I missed.

So, here begins a reimagining of Confectiona’s Realm, one in which I work through the issues involved in being a sugar addict who gives up sugar.

Step one: Cookies. I found this recipe on the Internet, and thought it looked like a good place to start. After some tweaks, it turned into this:

    • 1¼ cup almond meal
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    • ¼ cup coconut syrup
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    • ¼ cup chopped pecans, or to taste
    • 1½ ounces chopped dark chocolate, or to taste

Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until desired doneness. Be careful: They go from not quite done to burnt quite quickly. Allow to cool for a minute or so on the pan, then slide the parchment onto a rack and let cool. Eat at least one warm.

These are good. These are very good. They’re not as good as Dorie Greenspan’s amazing chocolate chip cookies, but they’re healthier. Or so I hear.

Next up, cookies not based on nuts!

baking boys cookies Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Translucent Maple Tuiles

This week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipes was Translucent Maple Tuiles, chosen for us by Clivia of Bubie’s Little Baker. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for as long as I’ve had Baking: From My Home to Yours, so I was very happy to have an excuse to bring cookies into our increasingly low-carb life.

Most of my tuiles had nothing in common with the picture in the book, except color. The color was spot on.

I baked two sets of cookies. In the first set I put 12 little balls of dough on an unlined, ungreased cookie sheet. Six minutes later, they’d baked into one large tuile. I waited the few seconds specified in the recipe and tried to pick one up with a metal spatula. No. Almost the whole batch wound up smooshed up into miniature cigars — delicious cigars, mind you, but not what I was after.

I didn’t take any pictures of those, because Ben and I ate them too fast. They were essentially candy, like toffee. Yum.

For my second try I put six little balls of dough on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Six minutes later they’d baked into lovely tuiles, looking very much like the picture in the book.

I followed Ben’s brilliant suggestion to leave them on the cookie sheet longer this time, and it worked! They still weren’t perfect — the edge nearest the spatula wound up thicker than the rest of the cookie — but I put them over a marble rolling pin for about 10 seconds, and they set!

We crumbled them to eat over vanilla ice cream, and the combination was absolutely delicious. Highly recommended.

So go visit the other TWD bakers to see how their tuiles turned out. And if you want to try your hand at making some delectable tuiles yourself, buy the book or visit Bubie’s Little Baker for the recipe. See you next week!

baking cookies Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Peanuttiest Blondies

Oh, yes.

I love Tuesdays With Dorie.

This week’s recipe, chosen for us by Nicole of Bakeologie, is a modest little number, a peanut butter blondie with chocolate chips. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

But they’re the crack of the cookie world.

I don’t even like peanut butter cookies, so I wasn’t expecting much from this recipe. I made it only because I haven’t done TWD in a couple of weeks, and the next two weeks involve fruit.

So, blondies. I used natural peanut butter from Trader Joe’s, even though the recipe says not to, because I was at Trader Joe’s and not Wegman’s. I was willing to take the chance, because I really didn’t expect to enjoy them all that much.

Other than that, I made the recipe straight, using mini chocolate chips rather than taking the time to chop chocolate, like I do when I’m expecting to like what I’m making.

Oh, God. These things are so good.

Next time, I’ll throw in some cinnamon chips. Or those cappuccino chips I can almost never find. So very, very good.

I don’t have a lot of pictures, because we ate all the blondies. Really fast. Ben and I scarfed down a bunch as soon as they came out of the pan. Then Tim ate some. Then I took some to a friend. (Who also said they were addictive.) Then we ate some more.

And now they’re gone.

You might be able to find some more photos at the other TWD blogs; everyone can’t be as weak-willed as I am. And Nicole, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

baking cookies Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Peanut Butter Crisscrosses

Oh, God.

I love cookies, almost all of them. (Well, not those ones with candied fruit in the middle.) But I’ve never liked peanut butter cookies — they’re always dry and kind of pointless, in my experience.

But these are fantastic. (Thank you once again, Dorie.)

I made two batches, one straight and one with the chocolate variant. The only thing I changed is that I didn’t add chopped peanuts to either batch, although I did use chunky peanut butter.

I figured I’d like the chocolate ones, but not the regular. Boy, was I wrong. I ate the batter, like I always do — even when I don’t like a particular cookie recipe, I nearly always like the batter. And this batter is great: soft and light and very flavorful.

But then the first batch came out of the oven, and I tried one, just because.

It was a revelation: by far the best peanut butter cookie I’ve ever had. I ate several. And then several more.

And then I made a second batch, adding cocoa and chopped dark chocolate.

Perfect. Sublime. Stupendous.

The two kinds are great individually, and even better together:

And then, last night, I made an ice cream sandwich with two of the chocolate cookies and vanilla ice cream. Seriously, try this. There was coffee ice cream too, but I was a good girl. Next time, though …

So there you have it. I have nothing else to say. Both of these have skyrocketed up the list of my favorite cookies, debuting somewhere in the top ten.

Thank you, Dorie. Thank you for giving me back peanut butter cookies.

And thank you Jasmine of Jasmine Cuisine for choosing these for us to make this week; I’d never have tried them on my own.

Check out the other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers to see what they did with these cookies, and then buy the book (Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan) or visit Jasmine Cuisine for the recipe and make them yourself.

You won’t be sorry.

baking cookies Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

I don’t know why I wasn’t terribly fond of these: I love coffee, chocolate, and shortbread. The combination should have been fantastic.

To be fair, I made them for my older son’s going-away party, and they had some competition. I also made Dorie’s World Peace cookies (with a combo of chocolate chips and mint chips — they were beyond delicious), Ben made some of Emeril’s amazing Hazelnutty Nuggets, and we had a pound cake from Stock’s (which I have been assured by someone who ought to know is the best in Philadelphia) with homemade chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

But still, the shortbread just didn’t do it for me. I was very careful not to overbeat, but they were still a bit grainy, and the coffee flavor overpowered the chocolate and butter.

But hey, other TWD bakers may have had more luck with these than I did. Thanks to Donna of Life’s Too Short Not to Eat Dessert First for choosing these cookies, and I’ll see you next week!

baking cookies Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chewy, Chunky Blondies

Oh, yum.

That’s pretty much my post for this week’s installment of Tuesdays With Dorie. It really encapsulates my feelings about these little nuggets of joy, and the feelings of everyone I shared them with.

So thanks for stopping by.

Oh, OK — I’ll be more specific. I made these a couple of summers ago, shortly after I got Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. I took them to an outdoor concert (the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Music Center; coincidentally enough, I was just there again last night, which is why this post is late), where they provided a marvelous dessert for our al fresco dinner.

And then I never made them again for some inexplicable reason.

So when I saw them in the rotation for July (thanks to Nicole of Cookies on Friday for choosing them!), I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity, despite the fact that we just don’t eat things like this (marvelous, delicious, life-affirming things) anymore.

For those who don’t know, my husband has pretty much dumped carbs. This has made my life (at least the baking/eating part of it) sad and empty, although that’s balanced by the fact that he has lost a ton of weight, has way more energy, and feels great. But cookies!

But a bunch of people from my high school class were getting together in a park for a picnic, and the timing was just superb. I made a double batch of Chewy, Chunky Blondies.

I used chocolate chips and toffee chips and toasted pecans and coconut. Oh.

And for some reason, they didn’t all get eaten. And so I brought them home. And so we ate them. And they were good. (I had intended to save the leftovers for Alex’s going-away party next month, but, um, no.)

Tim fell off of his otherwise-rigorous eating regimen (he really is good; I have no idea how he manages to be as disciplined as he is). He popped about eight of them over two sessions (the day I made them and the day of the picnic). I ate way, way more than I had intended to. Ben — well, Ben would have eaten hundreds of them whether they were good or not. And Alex, finding fault as always, prefers his blondies without chocolate.

I’m sure there will be many awesome variations among the TWD bakers; go check them out. And if you want to try them yourself (and you really, really should), Nicole has the recipe for you.


baking cookies Dorie

Tuesdays With Dorie: Sablés

Sablés, shortbread — call it what you will, it’s yummy.

This week’s TWD cookie (oh, I love it when it’s cookies!) was the French version of my beloved Scottish shortbread, and honestly, I think I liked it better. (I’m sorry, Scotland!) Dorie gives a basic recipe and then suggests several variations. I combined two of her suggestions (using ground almonds in place of some of the flour and adding cinnamon and nutmeg), and I think the possibilities are limited only by imagination. (Coconut? Cocoa powder? Grated chocolate???) Some I baked plain, some I sprinkled with raw sugar,

sables 1

and some I rolled in a combination of raw sugar and almond meal.

sables 2

Some I burnt.

They were all good. Really good. There’s not much more to say: They’re shortbread, with a particularly nice texture and flavor. I would make these again. I will make these again. I will use ground nuts in the dough again, probably pecans next time. (Would have been pecans this time, but Trader Joe’s failed me.) And I think I’ll try grated chocolate inside and coconut outside. Wow.

And from the family:

Husband: For being impregnated with almond, they were pretty good.

#1 Son: It was shortbread, a little chewier than shortbread I’ve had before, but nothing special.

#2 Son: Yum, sandy texture. Really good.

I guarantee you some fascinating variations among the many hundreds of bakers on the TWD blogroll. And try them yourself: Get Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or visit Barbara of Bungalow Barbara (she chose the recipe for us this week, and she’ll have it on her site for you).

More cookies next week!

sables 3