This is why I don’t make sugar cookies

I spent the last hour looking for my cookie cutters. I know I had several. After going through most of the boxes of stuff that we packed up when the house was on the market, I could find none. Before packing I knew right where they were. I can’t remember when I had last used the cookie cutters, if ever. Somehow one would find it’s way in my stocking every couple of years. Now, an hour later I am pretty sure I had a conversation last July that went something like this: “Cookie cutters? I don’t ever plan on making sugar cookies, I don’t even like sugar cookies, I might as well take these to Goodwill.” Of course. Could I remember that before going downstairs and ripping through 20 boxes, of course not.

Strangely enough, for Christmas one of my dear friends got me some St Patrick’s Day kitchen towels and they came with a shamrock cookie cutter. I adore St Patrick’s Day and love anything shamrockie, but thought, when am I ever going to use this cookie cutter, but it is a really cool cookie cutter. Strangely enough my mom, who loves sugar cookies and would bake and decorate them for almost any holiday when I was growing up gave me a bag of Gluten Free Sugar Cookie mix in my stocking this year. This time I thought, that is probably the only way I will ever make sugar cookies and told her, what a coincidence as I had just received a shamrock cookie cutter.

I was thinking about what I could get my sweetie for Valentine’s Day and since the smoking jackets on Amazon were all party costumes (he smokes a pipe while roasting coffee and drinking homebrew outside) and pretty sleezey looking, I thought a very stupid thought: “I will make him some sugar cookies shaped like hearts drizzled with white chocolate that is turned red or pink from food coloring.”

Since I couldn’t find the heart cookie cutter I know I had, I diligently cut out three cardboard hearts to use as a tracer. I did heavily debate just using the shamrock with the pink white chocolate (that sounds a bit odd, pink white chocolate). I may still do that if the cutouts don’t perform.

So, I have had a very busy week this week, but happen to have a couple of hours that I could take off this afternoon since I worked last night and thought, I must make the sugar cookies while he isn’t home so it is a surprise when he gets home this eve.

I loaded the butter into the KitchenAid and set it to cream. The bag said to pour the mix in slowly to the bowl while mixing, so I opened the bag and it wouldn’t come out. I so I opened it wider and gave it a shake and then another shake and all of a sudden the whole mix comes out in a plastic bag. In the blink of an eye I reached to turn the mixer off and ppooooofff ! The mixer caught the bag and it exploded all over everything. My face was white, my sweatshirt and tee shirt coated, all over the floor and counter, it even went down my bra and up my nose. I paused and then all i could do was laugh. I think you would have been on the floor laughing if you had seen me and the shock on my white powdered face. Luckily the camera was near by on the counter and I snapped a pic before going to wash my face, change shirts and then begin the cleaning. Oddly enough we finally ordered a dust buster for the kitchen as the kitchen floor gets messy quite fast when I cook and bake, how handy was that to have in the next room?

This is why i should never make sugar cookies. So, I had no idea how much mix I lost to adjust my ingredients! There was quite a bit of butter on the exploded bag, so perhaps I decided to just follow the recipe with the remaining ingredient amounts. It is now chilling in the fridge.

I never thought there was a bag within the bag! He he he, I will check from now on though!

i’m out and I am rolling cookie dough.

 

Squirrely deal..how fluffy the killer squirrel became a housepet

I believe I have previously mentioned that my house is for sale right now. We put quite a bit of mola into redoing the kitchen floors and painting the kitchen cupboards and three rooms in the basement. (I will get around too blogging about cooking and knitting in a bit, hold on) Ah, we were happy to have a new floor and show the house on occasion. Then, there was a leak in the roof. Whenever it rained, drops of water would appear between the sun room and dining room and eventually work their way down the wall to the laundry room in the basement. Luckily, we have a friend who is a roofer. He came over and put us on his list of projects. About 6 weeks later (all the while, panicking that it would rain while the house was being shown) it was our turn for roof work. It took them 2 partial days to rip off the old one and repair it. Ah… we can relax, no more water in the house, life is good. Relax.

Wait…..what is that noise? Squirrels playing on the roof? It must be that they too enjoy the new roof over the flattish dining room. Wait, that noise sounds like it is inside, as I run over and stand directly below the door arch. (sound of squirrels playing in a close location and then sound of squirrels scratching) Holy something, those squirrels are in my roof, not on my roof. So we called my friend the roofer who brought his guys over to check it out. Sure enough, there is a hole right under they work that they did, it was rotten collapsed wood there before and now it was just open. Whoops. A bit of steel wool and some expanding foam will take care of that they say.

So, the next day, best boyfriend ever got up on the ladder (once we thought the squirrels were out for the day) and we shoved the hole with small bricks to block it temporarily to make sure no squirrels were inside before permanently sealing it. Those little suckers moved the bricks and still got back in. So, we have to wait for a day when both of us are home during daylight as they will be no ladder climbing by one’s self – safety first – what if a squirrel jumps out at your face and surprises you on the ladder? You see what I mean. Friday night I was upstairs in the hallway and heard the squirrels making noise from a new location. Uh oh. I opened the built into the side of the slanted ceiling closet doors and looked around with a flashlight. All looked well on that side. I moved some clothes aside and shined the light on the other side of the roof. Hum, that insulation used to be pink and now it is pink and black. Now the insulation is staring back at me with little beady eyes – yikes! I yelped and it ran. The only thing separating the squirrel from my closet and the interior of the house was a piece of clear plastic over the insulation, one scratch and it would be through to the house. Panic! So, we carted big pieces of plywood, little pieces of plywood and a drill up into the closet (more like an attic) and sealed the potential hole, knowing that it would only hold for so long before the squirrel would find it’s way over to a new section of insulation. We slept easy that night. Bourbon likely helped calm me down, it usually does.

my bourbon

Yesterday we were co hosting a baby shower so no time for squirrel business, so it waited until this morning. So out came the ladder, the expanding foam sealer and the steel wool. It is afternoon. Squirrels are out in the yard trying to get to the freshly filled bird feeders. In goes the foam, the ladder goes back into the garage. BF is outside roasting coffee on the grill and I hear a scratching. NOOOOO! It can’t be. I move closer and listen to the sounds of a sealed in squirrel panicking in the roof. Crap! We never expected it to be inside on a nice balmy January day. What to do? The squirrel is not happy he can’t get out and will find a way. Ah, the closet. I go up and check it out and make sure there is nothing left in it that he can destroy should he break through. I close the door and shove a big heavy box up against it as the door doesn’t have door knobs, just handles and no latch, very convenient right now I know, but I have a big heavy box, so that works.

I go back downstairs and fire up the computer. Then I hear some squeaking and a pitter patter. This fellow is walking around, not just in an in closed area now. He has busted through to what he thought was freedom, the closet. The cats are going crazy now and jumping up on the counter to be closer to the ceiling where they can here the squirrel. I run upstairs to check the box. The squirrel is in there and is not happy. I hit my hand on the door and tell it we will get it out side and it rushes the door and body slams it (not kidding). That squirrel is pretty strong and very mad.

I call animal control. They are conveniently closed on Sunday. Apparently squirrel emergencies need to happen between 8 am to 11pm Monday through Saturday. The BF is over at a friends helping put together bedroom furniture from Ikea. I call in a need for traps – get 3 different kinds, one will work for certain and then we can let fluffy the killer squirrel out. I had kinda hoped that it at least was Oscar the grey squirrel who I have been hanging out in the yard with for years, but this is the black squirrel, the one that fights with Oscar.

So, here I sit to keep myself occupied with a killer squirrel in my closet and three confused cats. On to cooking and knitting then.

One reason we didn’t get to blocking up the squirrel hole yesterday is because the library finally had a copy of Spelt Healthy available and BF picked it up and started reading it on Friday night while I was making chicken roulades. He kept asking do we have any of this? Do we have yeast? Do we have… Yes, yes, no, I used the rest of that up yesterday.

So, on Saturday morn, I wake up to hearing the microwave beep, the cupboards opening and general sounds of the kitchen aid whirling. Whatcha making I ask? Cinnamon rolls and beignets. Wow!

Now he is a recipe follower. I have a hard time not wavering from one somewhere, even when baking, he doesn’t. I went down stairs to work out and when I came back up the cinnamon rolls were out of the oven and the beignets were being fried up. I immediately bit into one and felt teary eyed. It was first donut like thing I have eaten in almost 2 years. It was so airy and light and tender. Amazing. I ate four of them without guilt. It was fabulous! I immediately wanted to call the author of the book and thank her! What a difference it is to know how to work with the nuances of spelt. It tastes a lot like wheat, but needs totally different TLC, half the mixing time, half the kneading time, a wetish dough etc. I had been adding too much flour to stuff so that it felt like the wheat loaves of bread I used to occasionally knead. Tonight, once the squirrel trap is in place, we are making pizza.

I know there are many of you out there shaking your heads about being Celiac and eating spelt. (It is ok Sea, comment away!) If you are willing to risk it, please do try it. I started by eating just one pretzel. Just one bite or less will tell you. Try one when you don’t have to go anywhere in case you do react. You might not. You just might be able to eat spelt. It is a crazy thought and everything, yes everything on the internet says spelt is a no no. Yet is has hardly been tested and most sites say that it is assumed that since is it so like wheat, that it must contain the same glaidin protein and react the same. I took a risk, I am glad I did. It is not for everyone. Not everyone with Celiac can eat it, but you won’t know unless you try. I will be honest, I had a friend try it and it did not work for her. Please let me know if it works for you!

I will post a pic of my chicken roulades when flickr is finished with their massage. Whoops, I have to upload them first.

browning up the chicken roulades chicken rolades with proscuitto, spinach and fontina

I took some chicken breasts and sliced them open three ways so that it was a huge flat piece of chicken (will have to find the term for that) and then I pounded them thin. Next sprinkled the chicken with salt and cracked pepper, then I placed two slices of prosciutto on them, a layer of fresh spinach (next time I will use twice as much spinach) and grated fontina cheese. I rolled them up, tied them up and then dunked them in an egg wash and rolled them in a combo of ground almond and parm cheese. Into the sauté pan to brown on all sides and then into the oven. I poured white wine into the sauté pan along with some shallots to make a pan sauce and added a dash of heavy cream and then drizzled it over the finished roulades. Served it up with some sautéed broccolini and homemade style “rice a roni” with jasmine rice, brown rice noodles, broth and seasoning.

Verdict: Why don’t I do this every week? Delish!

Now for a bit of knitting: Flickr is still massaging, so when it is finished I will post the two baby hats that I knit for my friend’s baby shower. They are very cute, esp on my cat’s head. I am now working on a scarf for another friend’s birthday next Friday. Then, onto several more hats. It is winter in Michigan…sort of.

baby hat fergus trying on the baby hat baby hats

I am checking on fluffy the killer squirrel and

i’m out

KinniToos, oh my, oh yes

Ok, I bought some brand of chocolate cookie in the last year that looked to be Oreo-esque. It wasn’t. In fact I could barely bite into them with my teeth. Last week I was shopping at Foods For Living (which is more expensive than Whole Foods if you can believe that!) as they have a few GF items I can’t find any where else. To my delight and surprise, they had something new : Chocolate KinniToos, made by Kinnikinnick Foods (they make vanilla too, see comments below about those).

They are fabulous. You cannot tell the difference between these and Oreos, really. I had my boyfriend taste them to be certain. Only one though, as I am not giving these babies up! The package was $5.09 and was about the same size as a pack of Oreos. I am happy for two reasons: I can use these for cheesecake crusts and they make great snacks for the road when you just need a bite or two of something sweet. The other barely edible pack was about $6 for a package less than half the size of these.

Run out and get yourself some!

Since we are on the cookie topic, Pamela’s new Gingersnaps are wonderful too! They taste so similar to my mom’s Ginger Snaps (which of course, I have an affinity for being named Ginger) and have a nice chew and crisp bite – in the same cookie. I really like the resealable bag that comes with this one.

GF treats are getting tastier……

i’m out

Coconut and cookies

Yum. I haven’t even baked them yet and I already can’t resist them. I am not a raw cookie dough eater by nature, but, well, it has been awhile since I have had a delicious choc chip cookie. I did make some with oats several months ago and used ground up McCann’s steel cut oats in place of normal flour for the Nestle Tollhouse recipe. Grinding the flour yourself makes the flour fluffier, so you have to compensate by adding a bit more, which I did not. But that didn’t stop me from eating flat cookies. They were very tasty. I can only eat so many cookies in a setting and really don’t like cookies when they are more than 24 hours old (I know..so picky) so I just made enough for us to eat that evening and a couple for breakfast (why not? It has eggs in it.) and then made logs using parchment paper and tightly wrapped each log in plastic wrap, then in foil and then into a large freezer zip bag and wrote the baking directions right on the bag (I thought that part was rather genius of me and helpful in case I die and someone wants to know what that is in the freezer). I must have been close to an overnight or road trip as I tend to think that way before traveling.

 cookies

 cookies

For the recipe below, I followed it exactly except for two things – omitting the nuts and I used unsweetened, shredded coconut from the local Indian store as I thought it looked sweet enough. Plus, it is affordable there. Actually sweetened coconut from the regular store may be as affordable, I just never use it. I like my coconut to be flexible so that I can use it for my coconut shrimp batter that I have not yet fully invented. But when I do create it, I will serve it with my mango salsa, which is also fabulous on grilled fish. It has been awhile, so I will try to make that one soon and post a few photos.

Does anyone have a source for bulk brown rice flour? My Asian market doesn’t carry it and I don’t think my coffee grinder will get it fine enough before it dies trying to grind 3 cups worth.

From Mrs. GF ‘s site the other day

Chewy Crisp Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 cups brown rice flour
1 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xantham gum
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Spray pan with non-stick spray, or use parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350.

In large bowl, beat butter with granulated and brown sugar until fluffy; beat in eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, potato and tapioca starches, baking soda, xantham gum and salt; stir in chocolate chips, pecans and coconut. Pour over butter mixture, stir to combine.

Drop by 1 Tbsp, about 2 inches apart onto prepared pans. Bake about 12 minutes. Transfer to racks; let cool or not!

This batch made 4 logs that I put in the freezer and I baked a dozen (in addition to the logs) last night. My boyfriend can’t stop eating them and decided that they would be just fine for lunch. I am not sure I have seen him eat a GF baked good so whole heartedly. They are good and I like the coconut texture and taste. I think they might be too sweet if you use sweetened coconut. I can definitely live with these cookies the rest of my life!

Between you and me, I would add at least one more cup of chocolate chips as there is a lot of dough and doesn’t everyone want a chip in every bite?  If you are going to eat a cookie, you may as well indulge.

i’m out