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Guys, I am so so very close to finishing off #3 of my 31 before 32 list! Recipe 11 of 12 tried from the wonderful and intimidating Sweet & Vicious. Do I wish I had managed to do it sooner? Yes, but some of these recipes were a little more complex than I anticipated, not to mention that almost every recipe had an ingredient that I had to make a special shopping trip for. I think that’s why being this close to the end make me feel strangely powerful. I won’t go as far as to say I defeated the book, but we fought to a draw and I am good with that.
- For the first time, in a very long time, these did not go to my trusted taste testers. They were good enough that Andy and I decided to keep them for ourselves. Now in all honesty, he is consuming 3 or 4 cookies to every one that I eat, but these are some of the best cookies I’ve had in a while.
- I think the added heat is what makes these cookies something special. I think you could forgo the extract, but the chipotle pepper is essential. For me, it cuts some of the sweetness -and these are very sweet cookies-, and it forces me to slow down and really enjoy the complexity of what I am tasting.
- If you guys are interested in the hot pepper extract, it’s fairly easy to make, but it does require two weeks to cure. Comment below if you’re interested and I’ll post the how-to.
After the relative success of the “Serious Oatmeal Cookies”, my mom and I decided to tackle one of the more holiday-y cookie recipes from my Sweet and Vicious cookbook, Jacked Up Ginger Cookies. Now, I’ve never made ginger cookies before, but if you are fond of the spice then these are the cookies for you.
I’m not normally a fan of ginger cookies, but I have had a few in the last couple of years that have amended my attitude from “Ewww” to “Well, I’ll give it a try”. I will admit though as I was chopping the various kinds of ginger and measuring out that full 1/4 cup of molasses my skepticism of this recipe was definitely growing. Not that I thought that it would be “bad”, just that I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, or bag of cookies as the case may be.
- Flavor-wise these little ginger bombs delivered exactly what they promised. Plenty of big ginger flavor. Did I like them? Not really, but my mom and Andy did. So much so, that Andy “forgot” to remind my mom to take a few of the cookies to take home with her. He just waited until she left and then demolished the remaining cookies that day. It was kind of cute.
- Texture and bake-wise these were pretty spot on, chewy when they first came out of the oven and then perfect for accompanying a hot beverage after they had set up after a day or two. Even though I didn’t care for the flavor, everyone else liked them enough for me to make them again anyway.
Also, my mom got me this cute little plaid plate for Christmas. It’s a set of four: a bunny, a fox, a raccoon, and a pug. The trash panda is my favorite by far. He reminds me of the cheeky little bandits that come to our back porch every night to eat the cat food for the outdoor cat.
My traditional holiday plans have been a bit wonky this year, but one of the things I knew I wanted to do while my mom was visiting was make cookies. I also figured it would be a perfect opportunity to knock another recipe or two off of the 12 I wanted to try from my Sweet & Vicious cookbook. Since I wanted to make something I knew she liked, I made a supreme culinary sacrifice and offered up the book’s take on my least favorite cookie, oatmeal raisin. Shudder.
- These cookies turned out thick, chewy, and lightly sweet. There was a hint of kick from the ginger and the tang of the dried cranberries made them almost bearable for me. Almost. Andy and my mom, however, gleefully consumed cookie after cookie and then packed them up for Andy to take into work since they couldn’t stop eating them.
- Despite a few quirks, this recipe was pretty straight forward and easy to follow. The only issue I had was the cook time. It may have been my oven, but I needed an additional 4 minutes of bake time per batch. Just keep an eye on yours and make sure to let them sit for a couple of minutes before trying to scrape them off the cookie tray.
Okay guys, I am all for scratch baking. If you got time and energy (and sometimes a little ingenuity), you can really create some amazing things. However, there isn’t always the time to trial and error your way into greatness. Keeping a mix or two on hand for a baking emergency, especially when you are baking with dietary restrictions. No lie, there is always a GF brownie mix or cookie mix in my pantry. I’ve gone through a few different brands, and though I deviate from time to time, King Arthur is my tried and true go-to.
So if you too would like some pretentious, low effort cookies follow the instructions on the back of the box and add these four ingredients:
- 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
- 1 tsp smoked sea salt (for finishing)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powdered vanilla
- 1/2 a heaping cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Put the mix together according to the instruction on the box and then mix ingredients 1,3 &4.
- Bake as directed.
- As soon as they come out, sprinkle some of that delicious overpriced salt over the top of those bad boys (sparingly, this stuff is potent) and let cool. Seriously, let them cool for at least 5 minutes or they’ll fall apart when you pick them up. You’re welcome.
Look how pretty! These bad boys are so delicious, and yes, you need to make them. ASAP. Seriously, go get some mix now.
Inspired by my success with my last recipe from Sweet & Vicious, I decided to try out another one ASAP. One of the things I am really enjoying about this book is the names of the different things she comes up with. Plus, each recipe has a little blurb about her inspiration and more often than not they are quite hilarious. These Hiker’s Bravado Cookies sounded delicious and appealed to me in spirit since I frequently pray that people will think I am wearing yoga pants because I just came from a work out and not just because they are comfy. I mean, I do have a yoga mat; I’m just not entirely sure where it is right now.
- As you can see, these are not the most attractive cookies; likewise, they are not the cleanest to eat. Expect to end up with pretzel pieces all over; I mean, it looked like a bag pretzels exploded on my counter top by the time I was done. Ultimately, it’s worth it though. These cookies were very good and fairly easy to make. The rolling in the pretzel bits part got a bit messy, but I got rhythm going towards the end.
- The flavor balance in these cookies is deeply satisfying. You have the richness of the peanut butter, the sweetness from the chocolate chips, a little tart from the dried cranberries, and a nice pop of crunchy salt from the pretzels.
- The other thing I think is a big selling point for the recipe is how easily it can be made gluten free. Just use GF pretzels and you are good to go. No weird flours or conversions required 🙂