I have a serious, serious problem.
I’m addicted to baking for people. Be it my classmates, roommates, family or co-workers, I cannot stop. It has gotten to the level that it is unhealthy and I am in the kitchen for five hours straight. I am surprised my oven hasn’t exploded yet. The worst part? I ENJOY IT. At least I’m not in denial anymore. That’s the first step towards recovery, right?
It all started like this…
As some of you know, I’m interning at the Ottawa Citizen this month. This means that I haven’t been at home with my family for the traditional holiday build-up. Logically, I decided to recreate Christmas home time for myself here in Ottawa. That means lots and lots of baking. Even more than usual. Anyways, my co-worker Matthew and I were in cahoots one day over email and decided to start #operationcovertcookie.
I told him that I was planning on bringing cookies into the newsroom one day, and he said he would join me. Then a flash of what I can only describe as pure genius struck him: a top secret cookie FLASH MOB. People love cookies. People love flash mobs. This plan was brilliant.
Matthew and I got a few of our other co-workers on board, and we decided on the time for our operation to get underway. 13hr30 Wednesday afternoon. Close enough to Christmas that it’s appropriate, but on a random enough day that people are still surprised.
Since I have this perpetual need to impress people through baking, I decided to bake three different kinds of cookies.
The latter recipe was a real doozy and made – wait for it – five dozen cookies. Le sigh. What a first world problem, having too many cookies. Luckily Twitter is a wonderful cookie-getting-rid-of tool, and I quickly disposed of (if that’s the correct word) a dozen of them. What are friends for, right?
Anyways, #operationcovertcookie was a HUGE success. We didn’t wear black unitards nor did we don fake cheetah print (both were suggested undercover outfit choices), but it was fantastic nonetheless.
A few lessons/fun adventures from this cookie baking session:
– If you’re prone to eating several cookies worth of raw dough (guilty, guilty, guilty), you will eat EVEN MORE when said dough is vegan and doesn’t contain raw eggs and other things that are normally supposed to be bad for you. The ginger cookie dough was unreal. Plan to eat at least 1/8 of it pre-baking.
– You may have to explain to the clerk at your small, local corner store what Smarties are. You will motion frantically at the M&M’s and say they’re similar and then draw out a spherical shape with your hands. You will ask if they have Christmas-themed Smarties, which will confuse him even more. You will then proceed to buy the normal M&M’s and pick out the green and red ones.
– When trying to be sleuth bringing cookies into an open-concept newsroom, don’t bring a Tupperware that is the size of half of Texas. See, if I didn’t have a baking problem this wouldn’t be an issue. Related: people on buses don’t like people with Tupperware.
– Pampered Chef parchment paper is wonderful. I’m so glad the no name stuff was sold out and this was on sale. It lasts FOREVER.
– Colourful sprinkles improve cookies by a tenfold.
I’m also addicted to photographing cookies. Here’s what you’re stuck with.
Oh yeah, and here are some of the other cookies I’ve made for classmates over the past month…Instagram-ified Not pictured: peanut butter stuffed chocolate cookies. They were good.
Recipe: Peanut butter candy cookies
– 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
– 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
– 1 cup peanut butter
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 egg
– 2 teaspoons vanilla
– Hershey’s Kisses
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift flour, soda and salt with a wire whisk and set aside.
Beat butter and peanut butter.
Add sugar and beat until fluffy.
Add egg and vanilla.
Add flour mixture and combine.
Roll dough into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls and then roll the balls in sugar to coat.
Bake on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes or until slightly firm. Remove from oven and press a single chocolate kiss into the centre of the cookie. Let cool.
Makes two dozen cookies.
Recipe: Vegan ginger cookies
Adapted from Bread & Honey
– 4 tbsp sugar
– 4 tbsp Christmas sprinkles
– 2 cups all purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
– 1/2 cup canola oil
– 1/4 cup molasses
– 1/4 cup almond milk
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Mix 4 tbsp sugar and sprinkles in a small bowl.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate large mixing bowl, mix together the oil, molasses, soy milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and combine well. Roll into 1-inch balls, and roll in the sugar/sprinkles bowl, coating all over. Place 1 inch apart sugar side up on a prepared cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes (don’t overbake!), let cool on cookie sheets for 3 to 5 minutes, and transfer to a cooling rack.
Makes two dozen cookies.
Recipe: Peppermint double chocolate cookies
Adapted from Spork or Foon
– 2 cups all purpose flour
– 1/2 cup cocoa powder
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1 tsp salt
– 5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
– 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
– 4 eggs
– 2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 1/4 sticks (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
– 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar
– Random other Christmas-themed chocolate – I used about 1/2 cup chopped peppermint white chocolate bark, 3/4 cup Skor chipits, two packs of M&M’s with the red and green picked out and a 1/2 cup of ground candy cane…
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
Chop chocolate finely and place in a heat-proof bowl. Set over a pot of simmering water (make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl) and stir with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until the chocolate is fully melted. (You can also melt the chocolate at 50% power in the microwave in 45-second spurts, stirring the chocolate after each time until melted).
Combine eggs and the vanilla together.
In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add the sugars and beat until just combined. Gradually add the egg mixture and combine. Gradually add the melted chocolate and combine
Add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add your random chocolate(s) of choice. Cover the bowl and allow it to sit in fridge for an hour. Use a cookie scoop to plop 1 1/2-inch balls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Bake until soft on top, but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Makes a whopping five dozen.