Everything Cookies

As you probably know if you’ve been following along for a while, I am an uncontrollable cookie-making machine during the holidays: Dorie Greenspan’s world peace cookies, chewy gingersnaps, almond thumbprints filled with fig jam, meringues dipped in chocolate, Μελομακάρονα.

But during the rest of the year there is only one cookie I make on repeat. It’s loosely based on cookies my Sunday school teacher used to make for breakfast, combined with the infamous New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe and whatever I have on hand thrown in because Pantry Raid!

Everything cookies are pretty damn forgiving. You’ll want to be precise with the basic dough base, but the mix-ins are totally up to interpretation.

A few notes:
-I don’t recommend skipping the oatmeal, but if you have something like quinoa flakes on hand that could work too!
-you can sub in a little whole wheat or sprouted flour for two ounces of all purpose
-The cookie base is sweet both for texture and to accommodate for bitter chocolate. If you use sweeter chocolate, know that your cookie will end up on the very sweet side.
-Use whatever nuts or seeds you like! Personally I think all nuts and dried fruit should be chopped to the size of a raisin, but this is your adventure.
-Really, I’m serious, you need to bake these cookies in 1/4 cup scoops. You can use a springform scoop for speed and convenience! It’s important for getting some of “everything” in each cookie and for texture. Also, you want a giant cookie and you know it. Shut up.
-lately I’ve been using homemade vanilla extract. The price is on par with real vanilla extract from the store. The imitation kind, by the way, literally comes from a beaver’s ass and although it’s taste probably stirs up nostalgia for most of us, once you’ve made some yourself you won’t want to go back.
-I like to buy giant blocks of chocolate (shout out to my new friend Amanda Frederickson who is also in the Pound Plus chocolate fan girl club!) and chop them into irregular pieces. Feves or chips work 90% as well.
- I have a habit of baking off half a batch of these cookies and freezing the other half in portioned balls for whenever I really need a late night cookie (see photo below)

HMMessinger_everythingcookies.JPG
HMMessinger_everythingcookies02.JPG

Everything Cookies
-makes 12-14 large cookies

5 ounces salted butter (or unsalted + 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt), at room temp
5 ounces brown sugar
4 ounces raw cane sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces flour, mostly all purpose
2 ounces old fashioned rolled oats
2 ounces nuts of choice (pictured: walnut pieces, dried fruit will work too)
2 Tablespoons seeds of choice (pictured: sesame)
10 ounces chocolate, preferably dark or bittersweet

1. Beat the living crap out of the butter (+salt if using) and sugars. I like to use the paddle attachment of a stand mixer.
2. Add the egg and vanilla and whip until the mixture resembles a very beautiful buttercream.
3. On a low speed, mix in flour and raising agents.
4. Fold in the “everything” with your hands or a sturdy spatula, making sure it is distributed evenly.
5. Scoop into 1/4 cup balls and refrigerate overnight.
6. To bake: preheat the oven to 350. Bake 12-14 minutes or until barely set in the middle. Cool on the pan for 5-8 minutes before transferring- the massive amount of melted chocolate makes them very fragile at first!

Two ways to eat beets

I know with beets you probably think there’s only one option when cooking them at home: stain your hands and your cutting board and your pans and everything you own.

Been there, friends. Lost good t-shirts to the cause of beet research. Here to help.

There are many, many ways to eat beets: roasted, caramelized, raw, braised, pickled and pureed. This is a post about the first two.

HMMessinger_beets01.JPG

Peeling beets is a personal choice. If your beets are pretty small, you’re not roasting very many of them and/or you have a sturdy peeler, go ahead and peel them while they’re raw. If your beets are large, you’re roasting a lot and/or you don’t carry around a reliable peeler in your purse like a certain crazy lady whose blog you read, peel them after they’re cooked. Either way, cut them into uniform pieces so that they cook evenly and wear an apron!

I like to line a heavy bottomed small pot with foil (two layers to be safe), preheat the oven to 375 and toss the beets with oil and salt inside the pot. Bake with the lid on until they’re soft. How long that takes will depends on the size of the beet. Start checking after 30 minutes, though they will likely take 45-60.

Okay! Now you have roasted beets. Enjoy them cold in a salad with cucumbers, pickled squash, goat cheese, herbs and spicy vinaigrette. Remember to add pumpkin seeds and golden raisins even though I forgot.

HMMessinger_caramelizedbeets.JPG

Now, to caramelize them all you do is put them cut-side down in a well seasoned or non-stick pan heated over medium. The sugar in the beets will start turning into deep caramelization within a minute or so- stay alert! Once they look like this, I think they’re such a nice side dish on their own, or served over something creamy like labneh and topped with a very herb-y dressing like chimichurri.

Week 8 Overview

This is not a drill: cherry tomatoes are here. It’s really summer now. We’re really sweating all the time and drinking ice tea from dawn until well after dusk. Slicers come next, so polish your mayo making skills.

HMMessinger_CSAweek8.jpg

In the basket:
cherry tomatoes
squash blossoms
globe squash
red potatoes
kale
green beans
sprouts
rosemary

The plan:
1. Ben Mims’ savory clafoutis with cherry tomatoes and squash blossoms.
2. Ginger and rosemary iced tea
3. Dilly beans! (Probably destined for egg, tuna and chicken salads in weeks to come)
4. Pesto pasta salad with canned artichokes, blanched kale and possibly some castelvetrano olives
5. Skillet hash with zucchini, potatoes, onions and cheddar
6. Cucumber, sprout and herbed cream cheese sandwiches for breakfast

CSA week 7 overview

Week 7 of a CSA share is when the dread sets in. Even I thought, oh wow…more kale, when I saw my basket at pick up on Wednesday. You wonder, how many kale salads can I eat? How much pesto will fit in my fridge?

I can’t answer that for you, but I can break my “don’t cook kale unless it’s in a sauce” rule this week by making a kale, sausage and white bean soup using chicken stock and red sauce from my freezer. To be honest, half of the soup will probably go back in the freezer and end up at a new parents’ house for a meal delivery, but that’s okay!

HMMessinger_CSAweek7.JPG

In the basket:
kale
leeks
1 head broccoli
squash
cucumbers
red beets (greens were not in great condition, went to the compost)
1 small cabbage
crunchy sprouts
cilantro

*I also have three zephyr squash plants that just started producing like crazy. So I will probably make more squash pickles because young, firm squash is pretty damn tasty quick pickled and I’ve been eating it on everything!

The plan:
1. Crispy broccoli and toasted garlic red sauce pizza!
2. Kale, sausage and white bean soup using the leeks and whatever red sauce is leftover from the pizza
3. White pizza with one shaved squash + all these things leftover from last week: leek oil, homemade ricotta, quick pickled squash
4. The cucumbers I’ll probably eat for breakfast on toast, as well as use in another beet salad with mole vinaigrette
5. Pan roasted salmon over greek yogurt mashed potatoes, served with squash tossed in Lady & Pup’s extra-browns browned butter + lemon
6. Caramelized cabbage and onion pasta, probably topped with some dill from my garden
7. You guys…I’m going to try to use the crunchy sprouts to make falafel and use the cilantro. I will let you know how it goes!!