Compost Cookies

Guys, who am I?

One day, I’m like: “look at me making healthy changes!” The next, “put every delicious item in your pantry into buttery cookie dough and then put it in your face”. In my defence? Christina Tosi is clearly a psycho, in the best possible way. I also hasten to add: I’m giving all of these away, after I eat a couple.

These cookies are sisters with the cornflake-marshmallow cookies I made earlier this year, because they were both birthed by Momofuku Milk Bar. Speaking of sisters, I love both of mine. In one week, one of them got a cooler-than-thou (and by thou I mean me) cartilage piercing and the other applied to go on exchange in Vienna and be a boss. This is just the usj in my family. Also it was my beautiful, wonderful mother’s birthday yesterday so like, shoutoutz mama! You da best. (Not that I don’t do a shoutout to my mother in every single post I’ve ever written, ever..). Dad, you rock too, I hope you are wearing your snazzy pink pinstriped shirt to work today. Keep on keeping on.

Make these cookies. They have a cup of butter in them and butter makes people happy. I suggest you give these away to everyone you love, like, or see on street, because they are day-makers. Bonus: you can put absolutely anything you want in them, sky’s the limit. I used peanut butter M&Ms, mini chocolate chips, and salt-and-vinegar potato chips (yes I did)(and it was awesome)(so there).

After a thoroughly over-cooked first batch, I learned that right around the 14 minute mark is good for these babies. Also, do not skimp on your refrigeration time. Even after chilling the dough balls for over 24 hours, they spread out and melted almost instantly in the oven. If you didn’t chill them beforehand, I’m guessing you’d pull out a tray that was just corner-to-corner, tray-sized cookie. Of course, if that’s what you’re into, all the power, my friend.

I got the Compost Cookie recipe from Krissy’s Creations, an awesome food blog that does a recipe from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook every Monday. Those recipes are nonsense, but amazing.

Happy eats, and Happy Monday. This going to be an amazing week for all of us, I am sure of it. xo.

X Bread

Bet you thought I forgot about my bread challenge, didn’t you? Well, considering that the last time I baked bread was in February, I don’t blame you for thinking that. But have a little faith in me! The 2012 goals were all chosen for a reason – mainly, to have me practice and learn to do a few different things well. So I’m hoping to accomplish them all, and then some!

I adored making this loaf of bread, and wish I knew how to make more bread-like products. I’m not positive, but for next year I’m considering a bread challenge to up the ante and let me practice bread-making skills. 40 loaves might be a bit high for me, so that number will take some playing, most likely. Stay tuned.

I’ve heard so much about this “X bread”, recipe by Pioneer Woman. She just calls it “The Bread, In His Words”, but its telltale feature is the large X you cut into the top, so the “X bread” name is more fitting. When I first saw the recipe, a while back, I was like: “Oh, it has yeast, too bad.” I used to always say that! I was fairly terrified of yeast. Like not in a “it’s going to grow and open the refrigerator door – it’s alive!!” kind of terrified. Just, I didn’t have the cojones to conquer it. NO LONGER. When I looked back at this recipe last week, I was amazed to find that it actually looked incredibly easy.

Gather: 1/2 cup melted butter, 4 cups bread flour, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp yeast, and 1 cup of water. Add chopped herbs (I used chives) to the butter. If you’re using active dry yeast (as I was), sprinkle it on the surface of the water so it can start working for a few minutes.

Add all of the ingredients together. Like so:

Looks cool right? Like there are flour mountains and islands amid seas of butter. My kind of world.

And begin mixing together by hand! At first, your fingers will be covered with sticky goo, but soon the dough will come together and your hands will be magically clean. Alternatively, you can use a fancy stand mixer with a fancy dough hook, but I, sadly, do not have one of those. I ended up kneading it for about 15 minutes (while listening to the sultry tones of John Mayer) by hand, which is a decent workout. Seriously. I kneaded it until I could do this:

It’s called making a “window pane”, and it means that you grab a small chunk of the dough and stretch it slowly and gently. If it can become somewhat transparent before ripping, it’s done.

Form it into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise for 1-4 hours until it’s “doubled in size”. I can never tell whether it’s doubled or just larger. Either way, I only had an hour  to let it rise, and it turned out just fine! Preheat the oven to 450.

Place in a casserole dish/soup pot/oven-proof bowl. Coat the dough with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and cut a large, deep X in the surface so the bread can “bloom”! So much fun! At this point in the baking process, I was fairly giddy. Cover (with the lid of the dish, or some aluminum foil) and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for 15-30 minutes. Mine needed only 15 after removing the lid before it was nicely golden brown and beautiful.

MMMMM. And smelled divine, too.

It tasted even better! I’ve been warming it up in the oven every time I want a slice, because it’s so delicious warm from the oven. This is a delicious, savoury bread that I would (and will) make again.

In fact, I’m off to eat some right now! Happy bread-making.

Martha’s Macaroni-and-Cheese

It’s summer! Despite the rain, and dreary skies, and the chill in the air, it’s still technically summer and I couldn’t be happier. This will be my second summer in Montreal, and I can’t wait for it to really start. Everyone was moving in and out of apartments yesterday, but I’m staying in my little apartment another year. I’m hoping to do a few touch-ups here and there, but overall I love my place like crazy.

Since I had 2 exams Monday, I didn’t get my act together on the blog. Don’t worry – I’ll make up for it from here on out. I have a couple of great things to share, as well as a brand new project that I’m working on, which is going to be totally awesome. Stay tuned for that!

Today, it’s a mac-and-cheese kind of day where I am. It’s rainy. It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s blah. I made this mac-and-cheese a couple weeks ago, but boy am I wishing I had a bowl right now. I made it right this time: making sure I had all the right ingredients (not just winging it with what I had in my fridge), used real butter, baked it in my Grandma’s casserole dish, tore up baguette for the top, and felt like a regular Martha! For me, the key was the chewy bread “crumbs” – they added a really nice texture that contrasts with the softness of the pasta. I really can’t see myself making any other mac-and-cheese recipe ever again. Except if I’m lazy and just make it from the box!

I used Deb’s recipe, which is adapted from Martha Stewart’s famous recipe. There are many adaptations, but it’s all the same really: lots of butter, lots of cheese, lots of pasta. Carbs. A lot of carbs. I ended up using the Pecorino Romano cheese instead of Gruyere, mostly because I’m a cheapskate and Gruyere is more expensive. My mac-and-cheese was delicious with Romano, as I’m sure it would have been with Gruyere. But just in case you’re a cheapskate like me, go with the Romano and it’ll still taste super-duper.

My favourite part was piling all the sort-of-al-dente pasta into the pan with the cheese sauce. I just think it looks awesome. How do they do that? How do they make tiny little macaroni noodles so perfect? I left it like this for a few seconds before stirring it all in together. By the way, the cheese sauce is out of bounds. If you wanted to stop and dip some leftover baguette into it and eat a bunch of it, I would not judge you. I would understand you.

But it’s worth it to wait until there is pasta and bread involved, until it’s been baked, until there’s a glass of fruit punch (sadly, that’s not red wine, though I wish it had been!) in your hand and you’re ready for a beautiful lunch. Comfort food, for real.

Do you love macaroni-and-cheese? What recipe do you normally follow? Or what brand do you like out of the box? Happy eats, folks!

Momofuku Cookies

Heavens to Betsy. Who wants to take a pilgrimage to Milk Bar with me? Friends, they have things called Cereal Milk (like the stuff at the bottom of a bowl of Froot Loops) and Crack Pie. Crack pie. It’s like I secretly became Christina Tosi’s muse and I don’t even know it. Because I want everything they sell. Everything.

Of course, since I don’t live in NYC, I have to make do with homemade versions of their food. So I decided to make cornflake-chocolate-marshmallow cookies a few weeks ago. They did not disappoint. I still have some in a jar in my kitchen, if you want to come over and have one? There are also a few unbaked in the freezer if you’re a fan of raw dough. I can share.

These cookies are really easy. The only hard part is beating the dough for about 10 minutes – apparently, that’s so that we’ll be able to incorporate as much butter as possible into the cookies, without them melting in the oven. Of course, I’m impatient, so a few of mine melted a bit in the oven. I survived.

Let’s make em, shall we?

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