Welcome to The Cookie Monster, a blog about the most marvelous, versatile, and beloved bakeable item in the land: The cookie. You may see occassional forays into pies, bars, and other sweet treats, but my main focus is and has always been on the bite sized genius behind my very favorite snack. Happy Baking!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shoofly Bars

When I was a kid, we used to go up to Maine to visit my uncle and cousins on Thanksgiving. Their dessert policy, which I highly support was “a pie per person.” My personal favorite, every year, was the shoofly pie. At the time, I had no idea what was in it. I just knew it was goey and sweet and yummy. Now, in all my adult wisdom, I know it involves one of my favorite, and infamously overstocked, ingredients: Molasses.

So when I came across this “Shoofly bar” recipe I had to try it. I don’t have the metabolism anymore to eat a whole pie, but I’m pretty sure I can get away with a bar. Or Four.


1/3 cup shortening
1 ¼ cups flour
1 tablespoon Sugar
¼ tablespoon salt
1/3 cup snipped dates
¼ cup Molasses
¼ tsp baking soda
3 Tablespoons hot water
1 egg
½ cup flour
3 tbsp brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch ginger
¼ cup cold butter

First off, you want to make your crust, which is basically a simple pastry. Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Then cut in the Shortening using a pastry blender. You can also do this by criss-crossing two knives. I did that for a long time, until I spent the best 6$ of my life on this little baby.

Once your shortening is looking like small little floured pea-sized grains, moisten the pastry with cold water, one tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork. Mine took 5 Tablespoons to be Moist enough to handle.

Roll your pastry into a ball.
Then roll it out, into a square. Mine looked more like an oval, but I made it work.

Lay your pastry in an 8x8 or 9x7 ungreased baking pan. Spread the pastry up the sides of the pan, I rearranged excess pieces since my shape wasn’t exact.

Next, Snip your dates.

Or you could by snipped dates, I bought whole, pitted dates, because I love doing extra work.

Sprinkle them on top of your pastry.

Next, we’ll make the topping. Mix together the dry ingredients, and cut in the butter using the same nifty tool shown above. You’ll want the end product to look like a grainy yummy topping.

Next for the filling. Mix your hot water and baking soda. Then add in your molasses and egg. This smells so yummy.

Pour this over the pastry and dates, as evenly as possible.

Then sprinkle on your topping.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Let cool, and slice!


The flavor of these was great, but I think I'd make a few changes. First off, I would use butter in the crust instead of shortening. The "crust" was kind of bland. Secondly, I would add some melted butter to the filling, I thought the texture was a little off. Definitely a fun experiment!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spider Cupcakes!

Last night I attended the annual "Octoberfest" party at my dear friends' The Kucaj's house, costumes required. I wanted to bake something "Halloweeny" so I decided to try to do some fun cupcakes. I saw a pictures of some spider cupcakes on the cover of a magazine at the grocery store, and it looked pretty simple, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

As far as the type of cupcake goes, I thought I'd stick to the fall theme and bust out the pumpkin. Pumpkin Spice cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. yum-o.

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin

Mix together all your dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and set aside.

Then cream together you butter and sugars (both white and brown). Add in your eggs one at a time, waiting until the first is mixed in to add the second, then add in your milk and pumpkin.

Next, slowly add all the dry ingredients, and mix just until well combined. bust out your muffin tins, and start spooning the batter evenly into paper muffin cups.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. The house smelled fabulous.

While the cupcakes are cooling, mix up your frosting.
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
I added some food coloring to get this Orange hue in honor of Halloween. I accidentally squirted myself in the eye with red food coloring, which took an awful lot of make up remover to clean off of my eye lids. Try to avoid doing this if possible.

Next I decided to tackle the spider legs. In the picture I saw it looked like they used pull apart black licorice strings, which I couldn't find anywhere. So I thought I'd do a little sculpture with tootsie rolls.

I nuked the rolls in the microwave for about 10 seconds to make them nice and pliable, then I started rolling them out into long strings. This actually took forever. Finding licorice strings would be a better plan ;)
Next I frosted all my cupcakes. And ate, oh I'd about a cup and a half, of the cinnamon cream cheese frosting in the process. That stuff is deadly. Make some now.

Then I started making my eyeballs out of Necco wafers. I cheated and used store bought decorating gel for this part.

Next, insert your eyeballs into the frosting on each cupcake. At this point, I was starting to get pretty pumped because they looked pretty hilarious. I was laughing out loud at the little critters.

So fun! Eventually I ran out of Necco wafers but still had a few cupcakes. I scoured the pantry for something else I could use for eyeballs, and found some little hard candies that actually worked out quite well.
The final step was sticking on the legs and getting them into a safely-transportable container.

Tada! My army of delicious bugs. I ended up only putting four legs on each because I was running out of time. No need to be anatomically correct when you're making bugs out of cupcakes.

And here's me and the hostess at the party. She's Snookie from Jersey Shore. I'm a Facebook page.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

My darling college roomie Beanie sent along this recipe to me a month or so ago, alleging they were called by some "the best cookies ever." Clearly I had to give them a go, and I have to say they are definitely in the running for this lofty title. Yummers.

I have the house to myself this weekend, so I will obviously be baking and making a mess of the kitchen every chance I get. The above ingredients will be easily accessible on the counter at all times. Particularly the wine.

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pureed pumpkin
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp chives
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 tsp salt

First off, cream together the butter and sugar. then add the egg, vanilla and pumpkin. Blend until smooth.
Mix together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, until you have this tasty concoction.

Drop by tablespoon fulls onto a parchment lines baking sheet. Warning: Super Sticky.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Let your cookies cool, and in the meantime, mix up your glaze ingredients. It's really just as simple as throwing them all in a bowl, and whisking....

Once your glaze is of the desired consistency, dip each cookie in one at a time, and let the excess glaze drip off.

I added some sprinkles for good measure.

Glaze and all, these little babies are contenders for the "best cookie ever" badge of honor. Pretty damn good. enjoy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cocoa Banana Bars

I came across this recipe on allrecipes.com a month or so ago and decided I'd give it a shot the next time I had ripe bananas lying around. unfortunately we kept eating all the bananas I bought. Finally last week I bought a ridiculously huge bunch of bananas for the sole reason of having left over ripe ones with which to bake :)

Cocoa Banana Bars; Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
1 cups sugar
1 egg
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder

First, cream together your butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in your egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Next, add in your mashed bananas and mix it all together.

Put all your dry ingredients in a large bowl, and mix 'em together. Make a well in the flour.

Then pour in your banana mixture. And stir.
Once your batter is evenly mixed, pour half of it into a greased baking pan. The recipe said to use a 9x13 pan. I followed directions, but ended up with this:
The half portion of the batter couldn't be evenly spread all the way through the pan. This made me think I needed to used a smaller size. So I went ahead and greased my good old 9x7 and made the switch. I love making dirty dishes, clearly.

With the remaining half of the batter, stir in the 1/4 cups of cocoa powder.

Spoon the chocolate batter over the regular batter, and swirl to make a marble looking pattern.

I wasn't all that great at the whole "swirling" thing. Haha. I need to practice I guess.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. I ended up letting mine go for an additional 5, because the small pan made them thicker than originally intended. I think you really are supposed to use the big 9x13 size, because the batter does rise quite a bit.

Slice and enjoy! These were pretty yummy! They're like the love child of banana bread and brownies. Definitely give them a shot!