Much-needed baking bliss: Lemon olive oil cookies and orange-raspberry muffins

As written on Thursday evening…

I was going to go to bed early tonight. I swore to myself that I was. Early these days is anything before 10:30 p.m., FYI, so that I can wake up at 6-something and listen to CBC’s morning show. I have failed to wake up before 7:20 a.m. three times this week. And tomorrow’s not looking too hot, either. Next week I’ll adapt to this full time work thing. Promise.

Anyways, how am I supposed to go to sleep when I had such an amazing evening of baking and creating things? I am on a DIY high, and no matter how tightly I shut my eyes, sleep will not come. I’ll blame the sugar – the mouthfuls of cookie batter and almond glaze that was transferred from mouth to belly this eve.

It seems as though Thursday has become my baking day. I’ve discovered that if I do not bake, I get really anxious and grumpy. Back in Ottawa I would bake at least three times a week, and it’s an activity that has been significantly cut down post-grad. No more running to the corner store in my sweatpants to buy icing sugar and cherry pie filling. Perhaps this is for the best… Anyways, my point is that baking relaxes me and makes me feel like my normal self again. Baking is something I know and am always sure of. It’s a chance to make something beautiful out of nothing, a principle that I’ll hopefully be able to apply to my journalism work over the next few months.

But enough of the personal ramble. Let’s talk food and flowers.

One half of the food-flowers super combo

I’ve wanted to make lemon cookies ever since Brittany made these delicious little cookie morsels that burst with lemony flavour. I still don’t know what recipe Britt used and, since I started making these cookies at 1 a.m. Paris time (remember? She’s on an exchange!), I figured I wouldn’t disrupt her slumber for the sake of my own personal cookie pleasure. Anywho, I used a Joy the Baker recipe because she is my favourite cookie recipe source ever. These were a little untraditional – lemon scented olive oil cookies with almond glaze. Yeah, you read that right. Olive oil. What the hell, right? Ah well, Joy knows what she’s talking about. And god knows the Greeks need me to use all the olive oil that I can.

I also made some orange-raspberry muffins.

Then, in true Hilary fashion, I had a photo shoot in my bedroom, where the 8 p.m. sun shines the brightest and my cute desk decorations serve as the perfect backdrop.

I also made a paper flower out of nine paper muffin liners. Yes, it is looped around that bottle of Marsala that I still haven’t put away. Yes, I do plan on making my own muffin liner bouquet should I ever get married. Yes, I did give this flower to my mom as a corsage. Judge. Not.

These are accompanying me to work tomorrow and shall be gifted to my hardworking, well-deserving CBC colleagues. Apparently Hilary Makes Friday Treats is baaaaaack.

Happy Thursday (well Friday now) and cheers to DIY bliss.

Recipe: Lemon scented olive oil cookies with almond glaze
From Joy the Baker
– 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 tsp baking powder
– Generous pinch of salt
– 1 cup sugar
– Zest of 1 lemon
– 2 eggs
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
– 3/4 cup whole milk

Almond glaze
– 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
– Splash of pure almond extract (about 1/4 teaspoon)
– 2 tbsp of milk, more as needed to create desired thickness

Combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth.

For cookies…
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Zest 1 lemon and rub the zest into the granulated sugar, creating a slightly fragrant sugar.  Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla extract, olive oil and milk.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just to combine.  If the mixture is stiff then add a touch more milk.

Drop by tablespoonful onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.  Cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.  When cooled completely, drizzle with almond glaze.

Makes two dozen cookies.

Recipe: Orange-raspberry muffins
From Krista’s Kitchen
– 1 six-ounce package of fresh raspberries
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 tsp. baking powder
– 1/4 tsp. baking soda
– 2/3 cups sour cream
– 2/3 cups packed brown sugar
– 1/3 cup canola oil
– 2-3 tsp. orange zest, grated (about 1 orange)
– 1/3 cup orange juice
– 1 large egg

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl, breaking up any lumps of sugar.

Combine sour cream, oil, zest, juice and egg in a large bowl. Stir in flour mixture until partially moistened. Add raspberries and stir gently until evenly mixed. Batter will be thick, do not over-stir.
Divide evenly between muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.

Bake 20-22 minutes until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Makes a dozen muffins.

PS: Paper flower instructions can be found here.

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