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, June 30, 2011

Healthy Banana-Oat muffins

Happy almost-Friday everyone! I was home early today and was greeted by some very-ripe bananas when I walked in the door. My first thought was banana bread, but Joe and I have been trying to eat better so I thought I'd try out a healthy muffin recipe.

3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 tsp almond extract
3/4 cups sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 cup coconut
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup oats

Time to bust out the new hand blender! This thing was from my cousin Jenn at our shower, it's great for quick recipes that don't quite need the kitchen aid.

Beat the eggs until fluffy, the mix them with the mashed banana. Add in your almond extract. In a separate bowl, mix together all of your dry ingredients....

And mix it all around.....

Spoon the batter into lined muffin cups....

I topped these with a mixture of coconut, brown sugar, and quick cooking oats. Largely because that's what I had in the pantry....


Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. These smelled awesome. They taste ok, ya know, "healthy" food. Not up to my usual delicious standards but good for a guilt-free breakfast.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mini Strawberry Crisps

This week at the grocery store I bought this enormous box of strawberries. After putting them in my cereal every morning for five days, this was all the progress I'd made. Hmmmm. Obviously I had to come up with some tasty dessert to use them up. Since Joe always complains that I never bake anything for just him, I thought I'd whip up a couple of strawberry crisps for our Friday night dinner.

First I chopped up the strawberries and added about 1/4 cup of sugar and a tsp of vanilla extract.

Then for the topping, I mixed 3 tablespoons of melted butter, 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour (wedding diet), 1/4 cup of oats, and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.

I used a couple of our new Crate and Barrel ramekins from our Wedding Shower. These things are so cute, and perfect for single serving desserts.

I topped off the strawberries with the crunchy topping.... And then baked them at 350 for about 20 minutes. With berries the bake times are pretty low. If these were apples, I'd probably have extended it another 10 minutes.

Yum! For dinner, I made a veggie and bacon quiche. I'll share some picture, because it was pretty. Although it looked better than it tasted. All in all it was just okay (wedding diet, strikes again). It was super low-calorie though :)

Have a great weekend everyone!!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Meringue's Round 2. Slight Improvement.

Alright! SO round two of Meringue making went slightly better then round one, however I would still classify it as a bit of a baking failure. However, in the spirit of full disclosure I thought I would share my findings with my faithful blog readers anyway....

After my first meringue failure, which was REALLY a failure, no cookies at all were produced, I did a little research on what went wrong. After a few simple corrections (room temp eggs, not cold eggs, and a very careful separating process for the egg whites) the consistency of the Meringues was much improved.

I used a VERY simple recipe I got off of allrecipes.com. 3 egg whites at room temperature. 1 cup of sugar. 3/4 tsp of cardamom. That's it. 3 ingredients. That's my kind of cookie.

I also took the opportunity to break in one of my new bridal-shower appliances (Thanks Collins family!) The Cuisinart smart stick blender. This little contraption comes with a whisk attachment. Power tool meets Whisk. So cool.

First up, beat the egg whites until foamy.

Then slowly add in your sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Then fold in the cardamom. I think this is where I went wrong. Impatient little me decided my peaks were stiff enough when really, this was not the case. As a result my meringue didn't really hold its form well on the baking sheet. They weren't pancake flat either though, so we're getting closer....

Bake at 275 for about 45 minutes. The recipe said 60-90 minutes, but they started to get burny-brown after 50. I think this over-cooking was also partially responsible for the final product that wasn't quite up to snuff.

Tada! Instead of the pretty piped swirlies I was going for, I got meringue blobs. Boo. The consistency was decent, but the cardamom was WAY too much. I think for round three (which WILL be a success I promise!) I'll stick so something simple to flavor the meringue, like vanilla extract.

I only made a few, as I also managed to dump half of the batter onto my kitchen counter while attempting to transfer it to a piping bag. Sigh. All in all, it was a bit of a rough experiment. I think I will try something with a high probability of success my next go 'round to recover a bit of my baking momentum. Then I'll try to tackle these bad boys again.

Happy Baking!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Bridal Shower!!!!

Hello blog friends! I have been MIA for a couple of weeks, largely due to a very busy schedule. I have only engaged in one baking adventure which was pretty much an epic failure, BUT I wanted to share with you some fun cooking related news: Yesterday was my Bridal shower! Above is a picture of me with my flower girls and bridesmaids after the gift-bonanza. I cannot believe what wonderful generous families Joe and I have on both sides of the Aisle. We are very blessed.
These were the cookie favors made by my sister, cousin and aunt. Look familiar? http://shan-thecookiemonster.blogspot.com/2010/12/buell-family-gingerbread-marathon.html

How cute are they???

And here is our new toaster! It has an LED display that counts down the "toasting cycle." I mean seriously? This thing is like a space ship....

Our kitchen is now appliance central....

Spices.....I'm sure these will be used in subsequent blog posts....

Cookie cutters! But of course! From my darling friend Kristin :)

A whole cabinet's worth of bakeware. OH MAN. I almost don't want to use it, it's all so beautiful.

Very Very shiny pots. It won't take me long to bang these up.....

And finally, me and Joe. In cookie form.

I will be attempting to rectify my recent baking failure shortly. I tried to make some chocolate meringues, which I'm admittedly inexperienced with. Basically I had some soft peaks, added sugar, and instead of stiff peaks, I ended up with zero peaks. Maybe even negative peaks. Big Sigh. I'll figure it out soon ;)