Tag Archives: cookies

A bare pantry, birthday cookies and the tumble dryer

Well that was an awkward silence. This feels like the first post in months (okay it actually is the first post in months – seems time flies when your having fun and drinking beer and of course moving across the world). So the blog has made the move with us to Canada from Pretoria in November, and the LiveInBaker has finally had some time amongst all the settling in, exploring, and getting dragged around by me taking in as much of the craft beer that can be found in our area as possible. However birthdays give rise to exceptions, and as such, this is the first BakedInPretoria post that hasnt been written in Pretoria, but rather comes to you from a cold and snowy Mississauga.

We arrived here with an empty pantry that would put even Mother Hubbard to shame – we have some basics in the fridge and pantry but certainly nothing that would be worthy of a birthday bake – and so the challenge was to find something to bake using what little was in the pantry, and not breaking the bank buying loads of ingredients. Might I add that all our bakeware, mixers and baking related kitchenware is sitting safely in storage somewhere in South Africa – and so challenge number two was to find something bake-able with the limited bakeware at the LiveInBakers disposal.

Now I wasn’t exactly privy to the LiveInBakers first attempt at baking here, instead being told that no I wasn’t in fact smelling anything to do with baking, and that I should calm down and go to sleep. Afterwards, once the cookies had been revealed, she had the following to say:

“First on my mind was to simply buy a box cake mix and ready frosting and throw together a birthday cake, but I wanted to make something a little more interesting than that. Maybe brownies using box cake mix but changing the ingredients around a little so that you have a dense, moist, gooey brownie – a little something like this
But I am embarrassed to say that we don’t even have a pan to bake the brownies in – but not to worry, another idea came to mind…ready-made cookie dough! With the help of the Pillsbury Dough Boy himself and a little inspiration from the recipe section, I decided to make:”

Birthday Cookies

Ingredients:

• 2/3 cup crunchy peanut butter (we always have peanut butter)
• ½ cup oats (our breakfast staple)
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 1 egg
• 1 roll of Pillsbury Choc chip cookie dough
• ¼ cup mini m&ms or chocolate chips
• ¼ cup raisins (we add these to our oats – cranberries/cherries/blueberries would work too)
• ¼ cup chopped salted pretzels (salted nuts would work well)
• 1 tumble dryer

Heat your oven to 350°F – yes our oven now works in Fahrenheit, but it’s about 180C. In a large bowl (now we don’t actually have a bowl, but do have a salad spinner, so it’s bowl was used) stir together the peanut butter, oats, oil and egg. Break up cookie dough and add it to peanut butter mixture. Add the m&ms, raisins and pretzels and stir until well mixed.

On ungreased baking sheets, drop heaped tablespoons of dough about 5cm apart. Press with fingers to flatten slightly.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and edges are just set (tops will not look done). Do not overbake. Cool for a few minutes until they are firm enough to handle and remove from baking sheets to cooling racks.

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Oh yes, and the tumble dryer, well the birthday cookies were a surprise and they needed to be put somewhere safe. There is no hiding place in this apartment – it is so small and absolutely every cupboard and drawer space is packed with our stuff. And so The LiveInBaker resorted to hiding the baked cookies (along with the other evidence in the form of leftover pretzels and m&ms) in the tumble dryer, knowing its the one place I was guaranteed not to look.

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Christmas in July Sugar Cookies

Fake Christmas sucks!
Yeah sure the food is amazing, there’s always more than enough drinks, and the company is normally not too bad either.
Okay, maybe its a bit more than amazing.
But for some reason there aren’t any presents. What the hell?
It takes a lot to get me out of bed before the sun rises, and this normally only happens a couple of times a year, and most of those times involve gifts of some kind. The other times, early morning rugby games. Maybe someone forgot to send Santa the memo, but for our Christmas in July, he definitely forgot to deliver the gifts.

I will be addressing this oversight on his part (and I am sure that he is very sorry), in writing, when I send him my annual Christmas wish list.

But cowboys don’t cry, so I got over my disappointment, and got into helping the LiveInBaker with the preparations for our first Christmas in July dinner. And on the recipe stand this time:

Fake Christmas Sugar Cookies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (250 ml) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups (875 ml) cake flour
  • Coloured sugar / sprinkles / edible glitter (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 190°C. In large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed of an electric mixer for about 3 minutes or until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Add flour and mix on low-speed until just blended.

Shape the dough into 2 balls, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough between 2 pieces of cling film (about 5mm thick), and use a cookie cutter to cut out your shapes (stars and christmas trees in our case). Place the cookies onto wax paper lined cookie sheets; decorate with edible glitter/sugar/sprinkles.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are a light golden brown colour. Cool cookies for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet and then move to a cooling rack (we use an amazing 3 tiered rack). Repeat with remaining dough, if you haven’t snaked on it all yet.

This makes about 60-70 cookies, which is more than enough to share if you can control yourself. Unfortunately, our cookies didn’t make it to the main course!

At least some cookies made it to the table.

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