No Bake Pumpkin Cookies

No Bake Pumpkin CookiesEverrytthinggg’s commiiinnnggg upppp pumpppkinnn….

Ok, so that’s not quite how the famous song goes, but it’s certainly appropriate for the beginning of fall. Already pumpkin spice fever has taken hold, especially for those of us who absolutely love the season.

While cooking dinner tonight, I decided to find an easy (and healthy) recipe that might satisfy that craving for autumn-y goodness. With a bit of searching, I ran across this one for No Bake Pumpkin Cookies. No bake and healthy? I’m there!

As I didn’t have coconut, I substituted rolled oats for that ingredient. I also used a combination of peanut butter and almond butter just to use up the last little bit of each in their jars. The only other change I made was to simply throw the mix in a dish and flatten it out to be cut later into squares. Much quicker and easier than forming separate cookies. And for those of us who are a bit lazy, shortcuts are everything.

The result? A lightly sweet cookie with plenty of flavor. I can’t wait to munch on these while drinking a big cup of coffee. Now, if only we had some pumpkin spice coffee…

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Simple Treats: Almond Meal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Coconut

almond meal cookiesI have to admit that lately I’m feeling a bit worn out. Although I actually enjoy cooking and baking, it just seemed too overwhelming in the midst of all of my work lately. I must confess that we’ve been eating out a lot. Not frugal, but sometimes necessary for sanity’s sake. Rising early and staying up late, I found that cooking can be simply too much when faced with such a schedule. I don’t think it’s bad to ask for help in such times, and seeking rest eventually will help with the soul as well as the mind.

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” —Psalm 62:1-2

Luckily, I believe I’m at the end of the heavy work period and so will be able to dive into baking and cooking. To celebrate–a tiny bit, at least–I decided to bake a quick batch of Almond Meal Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Coconut. I had some time and all of the ingredients, so off I went to the kitchen.

For my cookies, I chose to use coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar, and I used chocolate from Bulk Foods. The batter was easy to mix up but resulted in a somewhat crumbly mixture. I was able to form the cookies, though, after the refrigeration period, and they cooked up nicely. One tip might be to do the smooshing of the cookies after a few minutes in the oven so that they don’t crumble into pieces. I also baked mine about 9 minutes, which seemed perfect for my oven.

The cookies were sweet, but in a natural way, with a light texture and taste. I would definitely make these again as they satisfied the tastebuds of both children and adults.

So here’s to simple pleasures and treats! Be sure and take some time for rest for your bodies and souls in the midst of heavy schedules. And don’t forget some nourishing treats as well.


Cinnamon Streusel Crisps

cinnamonstreuselcrispsThis week has certainly been one of busy-ness for myself, one in which I was not focusing on my home and providing for my family. I suppose that’s what happens in life—especially when you get older and gain more responsibilities—but it makes you feel a bit bad about that neglect. Although I usually focus on frugality, sometimes I’ll take shortcuts in my cooking in order to relieve some of the stress and time involved. Part of this would be pre-prepared foods, but also technology.

When we were grocery shopping this past week, I found the tubes of refrigerated sugar cookie dough on sale. Knowing that I would be busy most of this current week, I grabbed a couple. With my husband’s daughter coming this week, I thought that they might come in handy.

Having run out of desserts for the family, I decided to use one of those tubes today. But what to do? Google is all knowing, for better or for worse, whattodowithsugarcookiedoughand so I decided to consult it with my problem. Typing in “what to do with sugar cookie dough,” I found quite a few ideas to solve my predicament. One stood out, though. Loving coffee cake, I settled on making cinnamon streusel crisps.

The resulting cookies were light and crispy but still sweet. I hope they’ll satisfy my family’s cravings and allay some of my guilt for this week. And with the help of the web and pre-prepared food, I didn’t have to stress too much. And who doesn’t love a light and sweet cookie on a Friday afternoon?

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A Tale of Two Cookies

oatmealscotchiesMy husband and I are pretty much opposites in every area. Whether it is the choice of favorite science fiction show—Star Trek is the best!–or our favorite pastime, we seem to have differing opinions on most anything. Perhaps opposites do attract, and if so, we seem to be the confirmation of this saying. Our love has sustained us throughout almost ten years of marriage. Our personalities do make it difficult, though, when it comes to eating cookies.

Take, for example, the recipe for my latest cooking adventure, Oatmeal Scotchies. I found that our oven required a greater cooking time than that listed in the recipe. And the result? The cookies spread out and were quite chewy, with almost a sugar glaze on the bottom of the cookie. When I did my initial taste test, I feared that the entire batch was a loss. My husband, though, found them extremely tasty, stating that they were “perfect.”

As a contrast, my favorite cookie is this recipe for sour cream cookies. I suppose that the label, “Old-Fashioned,” would be a hint that this would be my idea of a “perfect” cookie. Light and fluffy with a hint of sweetness, this cookie is soft and cake-y. It is wonderful with coffee or tea, and it is certainly the antithesis of the oatmeal scotchies and their chewy texture.

So what are we to do? In order to maintain my own girlish figure, I tend to lean toward making those desserts preferred by my husband. The coconut oil chocolates satisfy my need for sweetness while still staying within the bounds of my fairly loose diet. However, I may make my favorite cookies every now and then. “Everything in moderation” is my personal motto when it comes to eating and other activities. And that includes the best cookies around, my husband’s opinion notwithstanding.


Nutella Gem Cookies

nutellagemcookiesAs we did a bit of work around the house this afternoon, I thought some cookies might be in order. Too, today has been quite chilly, and so heating up the kitchen a bit sounded quite nice. Of course, my energy is quite low today despite lots of coffee; anything I made had to be easy.

After considering the ingredients that we currently had on hand—mainly a tube of sugar cookie dough and an almost-empty tub of Nutella—I did a bit of quick searching on the internet. What did I find?

Voila! Nutella Gem Cookies!

These cookies were definitely easy to make. I was pulling the first batch from the oven when my husband walked in the kitchen.

“Did you just make these?” he asked.

“Yes, of course,” I acknowledged.

“You are amazing,” he replied as he grabbed a couple of cookies.

And the verdict? My husband thought they were a bit rich, but he seemed to enjoy them. (He came back for seconds.) I tried one myself and found them quite good even though I don’t normally like Nutella.

I would have to say that this recipe is a winner and perfect for a Sunday afternoon. Enjoy the rest of your day with your family!


Cookie Wars: Autumn Edition

cookiewarsautumnThere is a war going on in my household. It is a cookie war. Yes, dear friends, I have learned an important lesson this week, one that might prove instructional for others. When your family members express their desire to become healthier, take this with a grain of salt when choosing recipes to make. Their desire for a healthy lifestyle may be less strong than the pull of their sweet tooth, thus producing a cookie war, one that can potentially cause dissension within the ranks—and lots of healthy cookies for you to eat.

pumpkinspicebreakfastcookiesIn an effort to keep breakfast a bit simple and healthy, I decided to make Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Cookies. This recipe not only utilized ingredients already stocked in our pantry, but it also featured the key ingredient for fall, pumpkin. And who doesn’t like pumpkin around this time of year? Too, the recipe seemed very healthy and packed full of nutrition.

When looking at the recipe and the use of whole wheat flour, I decided to take a chance that my freshly ground soft white wheat could be used in the batter. Rather than go with my usual half and half rule in regard to using whole wheat flour, I used a whole cup. I excitedly mixed these babies up and cooked them to perfection. The texture was soft and very nice; the sweetness was light and not overpowering. The smell of pumpkin and spices in our kitchen was heavenly. I personally couldn’t wait for coffee and cookies the next morning!

The reaction among my family members was less than enthusiastic, however. My husband remarked that they could have used more sugar, and his daughter frowned as she ate her breakfast. I admit that I was perturbed. I had found a cookie that could be eaten for breakfast, and they didn’t approve. Well, I decided I would show them who could bake up something sweet.

instantoatmealpacketcookiesSome time in the not so distant past, my husband decided that he would buy a couple of boxes of instant oatmeal packets so that we could have an easy breakfast. A few of these packets were used, but most languished in the box, forgotten like an old rag. Well, I wanted to remedy that situation. Enter the Instant Oatmeal Packet Cookies. These cookies seemed like a solution to all my problems in the cookie realm. They used up some old ingredients and provided my family with a super sweet cookie.

Mixing up the batter, I realized that it was a bit dry, and so I would recommend possibly adding a bit more milk if you find this to be the case in your home. However, the cookies themselves had a great texture and were sweet as could be. I couldn’t leave it at that, though. I whipped up a batch of Maple Cinnamon Glaze just to add a final punch to the cookies. And yes, that definitely took them over the top in the sweet department and was a perfect addition to the dessert.

The final verdict? If you have a family like mine, you might want to begin healthy cooking a bit more slowly. A cookie battle is never pretty. We all know who the winner will be—the glazed beauty with the sweet goodness. I’ll keep eating my pumpkin cookies, though, and tuck away this learning experience for future examination. For husbands and kids, sweet is everything when it comes to cookies.


Easy Whole Wheat Cinnamon Cookies

easywholewheatcinnamoncookiesLately I’ve been feeling mighty poorly, and when I feel poorly, I want some comfort. For our afternoon coffee today, I decided to attempt to make something I remember from childhood, cinnamon cookies. My grandmother made these tasty treats from leftover pie crust, and they were perhaps my favorite cookie, even if they were possibly the simplest thing in the world. Pie crust sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar…what could be better than that?

As we use freshly ground wheat in our home, I searched for a quick recipe for whole wheat pastry crust. I used that basic recipe with the following modifications:

  • 1/2 cup freshly ground pastry flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Changes noted in the comment on the recipe

After mixing up the dough, I melted two tablespoons of butter and poured about half of it on a cookie sheet, spreading it around a bit. I then pressed the dough in the butter, flattening it evenly. The rest of the melted butter was spread over the top of the dough. Brown sugar and cinnamon were then sprinkled over the dough. It baked at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. I then briefly removed the pan and cut the dough with a spatula into strips. The dough baked for another couple of minutes while we prepared our coffee.

And the result? It was a lightly sweet cookie with a good texture. They made a nice addition to our afternoon coffee, and with so little time involved in their preparation–perhaps 15 minutes–there wasn’t any reason not to make them. They may not be fancy tea biscuits, but they’ll do. My husband certainly ate his right up and then finished off mine. The cookies turned out simple and comforting, two things that I certainly love in a recipe.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

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On a recent trip to Sam’s Club, my husband and I snagged a large jar of Nutella as we thought his chocolate-loving daughter would enjoy having a large quantity of it. She had eaten it before and thoroughly enjoyed the stuff. As with a lot of things, she apparently decided that Nutella was no longer for her and chose not to eat it. It was a bit too chocolate-y for my husband and myself, and so it sat on the shelf, dejected. I decided to give it some love this week by baking some Perfect (Nutella) Chocolate Chip Cookies.

As you can see above and in the recipe itself, these cookies are packed full of chocolate. With Nutella put in the batter–twice!–and chocolate chips added–twice!–these cookies are perfect for your chocoholic. I had a tiny piece of one but found it a bit too sweet. My husband and his daughter, though, are eating them with gusto.

Once again, the internet and those lovely people who create these recipes have saved my family from a chocolate-free week. Too, that Nutella now feels the love that it always deserved. A happy ending in a world that sees too few of them.