Chocolate CJTV Cookies

On Thursday I had my last journalism class of third-year.  HOW CAN THIS BE?  It seems like just yesterday I was blissfully unaware of the magic of broadcast journalism and was not attributing things and was writing run-on sentences (see what I did there?).  I now consider myself a seasoned half-expert and a complete broadcast convert.  God I love my program.

To celebrate this love and the end of the year, I wanted to make something for our last television class.  I imagine many of you are unfamiliar with the end-of-semester routine with Carleton journalism, so let me explain.  We have these three newsroom days where we basically get thrown into the world of same-day production.  With tv, this means that you are reporting, shooting and editing something within a few hours, just like the big guns down at CBC and CTV do.  You learn so much, but the days are a tad stressful.  Food, particularly baked goods, always helps reduce this stress.  So here we are.

The first and last time I will ever try to pipe a four letter acronym onto a tiny cookie.

When I got home Wednesday, all I wanted to do was bake.  I had handed in two major assignments earlier that day and thought I deserved a little treat.  I was devastated that I had already had to scrap my plans to make a Twitter-inspired fondant cake for my multimedia class, so I thought both me and my classmates deserved this late night baking extravaganza.

I knew I wanted to make some sort of corny television inspired cookie.  I originally thought of doing these with a shortbread or sugar cookie base, but quickly decided in favour of something a little more chocolatey.  The decorations were completely impromptu.  I bought a bag of shoelace licorice with the full intention of cutting them up to make little antennas but, after I (a) ate 3/4 of the bag, and (b) couldn’t figure out a way to stick them on the cookie, gave up and ate the rest.  The white and red outlining you see on the cookie is piped chocolate.  At 11:30 p.m. that Wednesday night I was hunched over the counter decorating them, so I hope they look good!

PS: I love slightly undercooking chocolate cookies so they taste like brownies.
PPS: CJTV stands for Carleton Journalism Television.

And so, signing off from my kitchen, this is Hilary Duff, CJTV News, Ottawa.

Source (chocolate cookies): Cake Batter and Bowl

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Pink Chocolate Surprise Cookies (also known as the cookies that can’t be “beet”)

Sorry if the title of this post made you groan, I can never resist the opportunity to insert a bad food pun.

Since Valentine’s Day is officially in…3 minutes, I figured I’d better keep blogging about all my holiday-themed treats in what appears to be a V-Day baking post marathon.

These cookies.  Wow.  Earlier this week I was perusing the pages of Tastespotting trying to get inspired for my Valentine’s Day baking.  I stumbled on a picture of these cookies, and was immediately drawn to the vibrant hue of the dessert.  Now you must understand that in my baking this week I challenged myself to one task: using beets as a natural dye in a dessert.  You see, I’d been considering making red velvet something-or-anothers for a few weeks, but had always been turned off by my memories of awful tasting red artificial colouring.  When I read that beets were a great replacement for all that fake stuff, I was a little hesitant.  Sure, beets are great in borscht and in other main meal things, but could they really be used in a dessert?

The answer was an overwhelming “yes.”

When I found this recipe I decided I was going to go all out with the beet colouring.  Remember, I’m trying to be brave with this food exploration thing, and this was another big step for me.  Since I was going to make my own beet puree to use in the cookies, I decided the easiest thing for me to do would be to buy canned (but NOT pickled, this is very important!!) beets at the grocery store.  This way I could smartly avoid any time wasted chopping, peeling, and dying my hands a bright shade of magenta.  In the end, it was kind of fun to make my own puree in our food processor.  It turned out looking like some sort of blood-red applesauce, and added the best natural colouring to these cookies.

So how did they turn out?

Well they were AWESOME!  Okay, I know cookies are never healthy, but think about it.  These have vegetables in them and no butter (normally a bad thing, but it worked out in this case).  I guess I’m in a “put vegetables in my desserts” phase after my chocolate zucchini cake, but the trend seems to be working out for me.  My cookies actually turned out to have more of a cake-like whoopie pie consistency, which gave them a perfect chewable quality.  Even my roommate Amanda who is the pickiest eater EVER liked them, although she did initially wrinkle her nose when I told her about the “surprise ingredient.”  I found the beets added almost a sweet after taste to the cookie, enough to keep the eater guessing as to where the great flavour came from.  And of course, they were pink, which is all I really wanted in the first place.

PS: I don’t know why I haven’t thought of this before, but isn’t using coloured paper as the backdrop for my food pictures a wonderful idea?!  I have so, so, so much coloured paper, so this gives me an additional place to use it.  To take my pictures I simply line our world atlas with paper, prop it up against the window sill with my hip, and photograph my heart out.

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Festive Fruitcake Cookies à la Pioneer Woman Cooks

Okay, so maybe these aren’t that festive anymore since it’s now January, but shush.

So I know it must seem that all I’ve been doing lately is baking.  This is, in part true, but only because I haven’t had much time to eat anything but my copious amounts of reheated, leftover soup.  To add to my massive amounts of baking, I present to you these fruitcake cookies.  After I made my dad’s fruitcake back in December, I was left with several bags of leftover gooey fruit and peel.  In a stroke of genius, my roommate Britt came across this recipe for fruitcake cookies on one of our favourite blogs, The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  When we measured out my leftovers ingredients, I had EXACTLY the right amount of fruit.  It was like the fates wanted me to make these cookies and really, who am I to deny the foodie gods anyways?

Now, these are technically called cookies, but they’re really more of mini whoopie-pie-like cakes.  I didn’t actually like the fruitcake that I made for my dad (although he loved it!), so I was a little skeptical as to how these were going to turn out.  In the end, they wound up being fantastic and, although not for everyone I’ll admit, had a hearty taste and a chewy softness that made me super happy.  Also, there was a cup of brandy/whiskey in these babies, which absorbed quite nicely into the fruit…

PS: WHY do I blog before bed?!  All I want now are the enchiladas that the Pioneer Woman has on her homepage.  Deadly.

Happy Birthday Amanda! ft. white chocolate macadamia nut cookies

Yesterday one of my dear roommates Amanda celebrated her 21st birthday.

Seeing as she is the first of us to hit this age of eternal youth and glory, we were obviously expected to celebrate in style.  No one, and I repeat with emphasis NO ONE loves their birthday more than Amanda loves hers.  She even has a name for her week of birthday festivities: Amandapalooza.

One of her birthday wishes this year was for me to make her white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.  You see, Amanda almost loves cookies as much as she loves her birthday.  And so, a birthday wish was granted, and three dozen mini clone cookies were created.

But WAIT!  Just because Amanda’s birthday was yesterday doesn’t mean that the fun has stopped.  I may be out of town this weekend with my other roommate Britt, but the festivities continue.  Amanda, have a blast this weekend and have a shameless time feasting on cookies and cupcakes (calories also don’t count on your birthday weekend!!!).  Have fun and make this the best Amandapalooza ever (until next year, that is)!

PS: the recipe for these cookies can be found here. :)

Radio Potluck Party aka Christmas Baking Part ONE

It is currently 12:23 a.m. and I am sitting at the kitchen table waiting for a chocolate cake to bake.  This cake is for the family potluck (i.e. my six roommates and close friends) are having tomorrow eve.  While I listen to Glee music (which is WAY too peppy for my current mood), I figured I might as well type out a new blog post.  Please excuse me if my sleepiness is greatly apparent within this post.  Grammatical skills depart as the evening goes on.

So today was our last radio class of third year (sob).  Through newsroom days and the rest of the semester our class has gotten pretty close, and I’m hoping that most people will be in Thursday TV next semester so we can have more delicious potlucks.

PAUSE: One of my cake layers just finished baking!!  This is very good news, the other half has now entered the oven and sleep time crawls more and more near by the minute.  Hoorah.

ANYWAYS, back to radio.  Since I baked something for two out of three newsroom days, I figured it was only appropriate to end off the semester with a Christmas-themed potluck.  Also, I actually look for ANY excuse to hold a potluck and was extremely eager to once again display my baking skills to an audience other than my roommates.  At one point in the afternoon, Mary (our professor) actually said: “this is the reason why I don’t believe journalism students are too busy,” or something along those lines… Not true.  I just have ZERO life and spend any time that would normally be consumed by a university student’s social life baking.  It’s an addiction.

Okay, but seriously.  This potluck dealt me the perfect opportunity to begin my Christmas baking.  And so, I spent approximately 10 hours this past Sunday baking to my heart’s content.  Although some people dread it, I LOVE doing this sort of thing and the unfortunate “woman slaving over a hot stove” thing totally applies to me here.  Did I just set feminism back decades?  Apologies.  Let me explain: I’m actually the LEAST domestic person in the universe.  Sure, I love cooking, but I’m not a domestic diva or anything.  Yes, I occasionally answer to the name “Martha Stewart,” but I really want nothing more than independence, adventure, and zero children (until I’m old and have lived my life).  There, perhaps feminism has been restored to its 2010 level.

Okay, so here’s what I made:

1. Peppermint brownie bites
2. Ricotta cookies
3. Chocolate-dipped orange shortbread rounds (don’t these cookies look like little Spock heads?)
4. Gingerbread cupcakes with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting – SO amazing.  The recipe came from the blog Sweet Girl Confections and they were just wonderful.  Thank you so much!

Now, for any Canadian Living fans out there, I can tell you that the top three recipes came from the magazine’s special “Holiday Cooking” edition.  All three were marvelous, but I especially appreciated (a) their freezing ability from Sunday-Thursday, and (b) the fact that CHEESE can be put in cookies.  Fantastic, right?

Also, I made hand-moulded chocolate Christmas trees.  It was fun.

Alright, better check on the other half of my cake.  Later days!

AND the preparation/chaotic packing mess…

Christmas tree farm?

One more thing… In anticipation of tomorrow night’s cake and the blog post to follow it, please just take a look at what my baking looked like last year at this time.  I hope to improve on this times a badgillion.  Yes, the icing did melt off the cake, laugh away.  I’m so ashamed.  On that note, I’ve come a long way, n’est ce pas?