So despite my best intentions, I still failed to blog anything for the past few months. I tend to be quite a perfectionist, meaning I want to do it all the way or not at all. Obviously, that’s not the greatest mindset, so for the past few years, I’ve slowly been learning to give myself grace when I’m less than perfect. With that in mind, I’m trying not to stress about my lack of posting last year (or even last week, when I originally intended to post this :P) Obviously, trying to balance this whole Jamberry biz (that I love!) with THM (I had a rough last month, but I’m trying to slowly get back on track.) and my regular life is taking more work than I originally thought. Honestly, I think a large portion of that is due to THM. There are tons of THM recipes out there, but not so many that I think are amazing in and of themselves (as in – I would eat that when I wasn’t dieting). And if I don’t have recipes to post, I don’t feel motivated to blog. To overcome this issue, I’m hoping to take a different approach this year. I really want to blog every week to help keep up that consistency/momentum, so hopefully even the weeks where I don’t have a recipe to share, I can link to recipes that I tried that week with my thoughts on how they turned out. I’m sure there will still be missteps along the way, but that’s the plan. 😀
Now, like I mentioned, I haven’t really been doing THM for the last month. I’ve dealt with some illness, lots of family/friend get-togethers, and just crazy schedules that messed with our eating habits. I’m attempting to get us back into the groove of THM, but for this week, I don’t have any recipe links to share. However, I do have a couple of cookie recipes! (Just what you wanted to look at when you’re trying to diet, right?)
This first cookie recipe is one of the ones I tried for our family Christmas. I wanted something not too sweet, with good flavor, and not too much work, and these fit the bill really well. I actually made the dough for these a week or two in advance and froze it, which really helped to simplify the days right before the get-together. All I had to do was let it thaw, then roll it out, and cut it like normal. These cookies have a light flavor, but it’s exotic enough to really keep you interested. And I personally think that the combination of cardamom and orange is wonderful. If cardamom or orange aren’t your thing, you could definitely swap in your preferred spice and citrus combination. Other then that, these were easy to work with. They do spread quite a bit in the oven, so I’d suggest using basic shape cutters. (I did try Christmas shapes, but after the first batch came out deformed, I just stuck to a plain circle and a fluted circle.) I also didn’t ice these. They’re not super sweet, so the extra sugar wouldn’t be overwhelming, but I didn’t feel like they needed it, and I wanted the focus on the flavors instead of the sugar load. Feel free to do whatever makes you happiest. 😉
Cardamom-Orange Sugar Cookies (from the December 2009 issue of Bon Appetit)
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. + 2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. orange zest
1/2 tsp. vanilla
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter til creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add in the sugar and beat til light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the orange zest and vanilla; add in the egg and beat to blend. Add the flour mix in 3 portions, beating on low after each addition just til blended. Refrigerate til firm enough to shape, about 1 hour.
- After the dough has chilled for 1 hour, divide it in half and form each half into a flat disc. Wrap each disc in plastic and chill til firm enough to roll out, about 45 minutes.
- Position your oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the discs out to a generous 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out with your desired cookie cutters and carefully transfer to the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with sugar. (I didn’t find this necessary.) Gather the scraps of dough and repeat the process til it’s used up. Also repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Bake the cookies, 2 pans at a time, til light golden brown, about 16 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Cool on wire racks.
And this next recipe is one that I tried just this weekend for our very belated friend’s Christmas party. I wanted something easy, that made plenty, and was super delicious. Easy to me usually means bar cookies so that I don’t have to scoop or roll anything out. I’d seen this recipe on Pinterest several months before (Hey, eating healthy doesn’t mean I can’t occasionally splurge on treats or at least drool over pictures of them on Pinterest.), and it definitely seemed like it would fit the bill. These were super easy to whip up and none of us could stop eating them, so I’d say it’s definitely a winner. These are also a little cool because there’s no flour in them. Now, they’re not healthy by ANY stretch of the imagination, but I do love that people who can’t have gluten could still enjoy these – and nobody else would know that they’re “gluten-free”. (I wasn’t worried about them being gluten-free, but if that’s something you need, be sure to purchase the appropriately certified gluten-free ingredients. I just used regular stuff.)
Monster Cookie Bars (from the Together As Family blog)
1/2 c. softened butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. peanut butter
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. quick-cook oats
3 c. old-fashioned oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1-2 c. mini M&M’s (I found a 10 oz bag of mini M&M’s which I think was a little over 1 c.)
1 c. mini chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment, a silicone mat, or some greased foil. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugars, and peanut butter til pale and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add in the eggs and vanilla and beat to combine. Add in both types of oats and the baking soda and beat to combine again. Stir in the M&Ms and chocolate chips with a spatula.
- Dump onto the prepared cookie sheet and spread out. (You can go ahead and spread it right to the edges, it doesn’t really rise or spread.)
- Bake for 17-20 minutes, or til the edges are lightly browned. (It’s okay if the middle still looks a bit pale, it should finish cooking through as it cools.) Cool at least 1 hour before cutting into bars.
Notes: First, mine are a little overdone. I got caught up doing laundry and left them in a couple minutes too long. Since they were for friends, I decided hubby and I should taste test them to make sure they’d still be okay. 😉 We tried a couple squares from the brownest corner, and they were still VERY good. And like I said earlier, we couldn’t stop eating them at our get-together. I certainly wouldn’t recommend over-browning them, but don’t fret too much if you over-do it just a tad. Also, the blogger who originally shared these said that some commenters have told her that they’ve successfully made them with 1/2 the amount of sugars. I’d definitely be interested in trying that next time.
I hope you enjoy these tasty treats, and I really appreciate you sticking around even though I haven’t been great about posting regularly. Hopefully, I’ll do better this year. 🙂