Sunday, December 20, 2009

Jumping the Shark

When I was in media studies classes back in highschool, I was introduced (or rather, re-introduced) to the concept of TV shows and ideas that had overstayed their welcome in the mainstream avenues of media. Those that fell into the "death category" were known to have "jumped the shark" - an odd term still, and not one that I really have a viable background for in terms of it's introduction in modern vocabulary. Regardless of where the term came from, the amount of current TV shows, movies and even ad concepts that have become synonomous with "overplaying" are ever-growing, and the reason for that is simple: repetition is cheap and easy, and the public is so used to the same plots re-branded 47 ways from Sunday that there is no real risk involved in the practice.

So what does this have to do with me? Well, as I'm sure you've seen on this blog every December I too have fallen into the habit of repetition. Not duplicate postings, per se, but several variations on a theme - the theme of cookies. I know it's probably getting tiresome to read entry after entry of Christmas treats, and I promise, I am almost done - provided that I can keep my butt out of the sweet kitchen the rest of the year! Luckily for my family (and for you, if you are getting sick of the whole cookie thing here!), I will be more or less out of commission for the rest of 2009. Tomorrow is Wisdom Tooth day for me, involving a fairly intensive triple-impaction removal(!) so in between doses of T3' s I'll be nursing soups (inspired by recipes found across the blog-o-sphere) that I'm teaching my Mom how to make tomorrow. With luck, the fact I won't be cooking all that much means I can catch up on half a month's worth of backlog! Or I'll be asleep. Whatever!

So these three cookie recipes I'm sharing today are some of my favourites from this "December of a thousand doughs". All of them in one way, shape or form have an element that is pretty well overdone in the culinary field, but nonetheless they are all worth a nibble and a space on Santa's goodie plate Christmas Eve!

For instance, these cookies were actually the second ones I began devising a recipe for this year, around the same time I started working on Bon's Thin Mints. I happen to know of a few local fiends of smoky flavour, you see, and I had been dying to try and incorporate my newly found smoked sea salt (which I had been looking for - preferably cheap - since spying a tempting recipe of Very Small Anna's) into a sweet application. I always loved the whole sweet/salty/smoky combination. As a kid, you could bet that if I had bacon at the Golden Griddle's Sunday brunch, it would be doused in syrup! I know that now anything and everything "bacon" is so prevalent it's almost passe, but I had to try - and instead of maple syrup, I switched up my standard oatmeal cookie dough with toffee pieces and butterscotch chips mingling with liquid smoke and the aforementioned salt. I would have added some bacon bits too - but it would have been overkill even for the guys, not to mention I had none on hand!

Smoky Oatmeal Toffee Cookies
Makes 3 dozen
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
¼ cup hot water
¾ cup shortening
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp liquid smoke (one shake of the bottle)
1 cup flour
2 tbsp mesquite flour (optional)
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp smoked salt
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup toffee baking bits
1/3 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F, lightly grease baking sheets with nonstick spray or line with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flaxseed and hot water, set aside.
  3. Cream shortening and sugars until fluffy.
  4. Add flaxseed mixture, milk, vanilla and liquid smoke, blending well.
  5. In another bowl, whisk flour(s), baking soda and smoked salt.
  6. Beat into the creamed mixture until smooth.
  7. By hand, fold in oats, toffee pieces and nuts.
  8. Bake 12 minutes.
  9. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet, then move to a wire rack to cool.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 157.1
Total Fat: 9.0 g
Cholesterol: 5.4 mg
Sodium: 89.2 mg
Total Carbs: 17.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 2.2 g

For these next oatmeal-based treats of mine, well there's no escaping it... they are filled with all that "ancient grains" crap that's incorporated into everything these days. So yes, the ingredient list is long-winded and rather complex looking - blame the plethora of different grains and seeds that go into them! Luckily, all the nuts, grains and seeds add a touch of crunch and a whole other texture to what would otherwise be a traditional oatmeal cookie, and the added nutrition means that you can snack on a few while wrapping gifts and you can avoid the diet police. In theory!

SuperGrain Cookies with Nuts and Fruit
Makes about 48
½ cup raisins
½ cup diced dates
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
¼ cup hot water
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ cup butter (I used salted), softened
¼ cup shortening
¾ cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maple extract
2 ¼ cups rolled oats (not instant)
½ cup chopped nuts
2 ½ oz corn germ
1 oz poppy seeds
1 oz white sesame seeds
1 oz black sesame seeds
½ oz flax seeds
1 ½ oz amaranth grain

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place raisins and dates in a small bowl, cover with boiling water. Let stand 30 minutes, then drain and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flaxseed and hot water, set aside.
  4. In another bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening and sugars until light.
  6. Beat in flaxseed mixture, followed by the vanilla and maple extract.
  7. Gently stir in flour mixture, followed by oats, nuts, corn germ, seeds, amaranth and the soaked fruit.
  8. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
  9. Let cool on a baking sheet for 5-6 minutes, move to a wire rack to cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 120.1
Total Fat: 5.2 g
Cholesterol: 5.1 mg
Sodium: 54.9 mg
Total Carbs: 17.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
Protein: 2.1 g

Last but not least are these oatmeal drops that I made after watching one of my professors at school struggle with her pregnancy-related nausea - considering that it was a kitchen lab class, I felt for her... it's hard to evaluate your students if the smells and sights of the product make you want to hurl! I adapted the recipe minimally from yet another Baking Bites cookie creation, and I have to say I'm really pleased with how these baked, and more so after chilling the dough in the fridge for a day!

Double – Ginger Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 3 dozen
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
¼ cup hot water
¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 tsp ground ginger
¾ cup butter (I used salted), softened
1 cup sugar
½ cup Demerara sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 ½ cups rolled oats (not instant)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flaxseed and hot water, set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until light.
  5. Beat in egg and flaxseed mixture, followed by the vanilla and fresh ginger.
  6. Gently stir in flour mixture, followed by oats.
  7. Bake for 12-14 minutes.
  8. Let cool on a baking sheet for 5-6 minutes, move to a wire rack to cool completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 106.4
Total Fat: 4.5 g
Cholesterol: 16.1 mg
Sodium: 86.3 mg
Total Carbs: 15.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
Protein: 1.7 g

6 comments :

Janice said...

jumping the shark actually started as a term from the happy days episode where fonzie literally jumped over a shark on waterskis. plots got more and more bizarre after that in an effort to top the shark episode! Not sure how it crept into popular lexicon, but there you go!

kat said...

I was going to tell the Happy Days story too but instead I'll just wish you the best for the holidays & your wisdom teeth removal. I had to have my done two days before Christmas when I was in college as well so I feel for you!

Sarah said...

Ohhh ok,thanks for the Shark info!

canadianfoodiegirl said...

I must try one or all of them. I think that Foodie411 could handle more bacon, he of the True North Strong and Frees.

Hope the surgery is painless. I'll watch for drug induced tweets tomorrow and not hold you accountable for what you say. :)

Simply Life said...

oh my! everything on here looks amazing!

..and yes, I think you could make the gnocchi gluten-free but I've never tried it!

Striving Green said...

I'm intrigued by the Smoky Oatmeal Toffee Cookies - I must try.

Also - I hope your wisdom teeth cooperated - and that you are eating all kinds of delicious soup!