|The view from my bath
Glinda, Jim and I went out to dinner last night at Afghan Kabob one of our favorite restaruants. Glinda and Jim had been to the David Bowie exhibition at the MCA yesterday afternoon, and Jim decided to stay for dinner and take us to do some grocery shopping afterwards. All of which meant that today and tomorrow are pretty much free for domestic pursuits.
Glinda and I started the day by sitting over coffee and cinnamon rolls for several hours. You might think we lack ambition, but trust me, we were marshaling our energy and resources for the all-out effort that began when Glinda’s cats pooped on her floor rather than use their litter boxes, and Leo sent my last cup of coffee flying, smashing the mug and spraying coffee all over my wall.
Glinda went up and changed her litter boxes while I vacuumed and washed the bathroom and kitchen floors. Here’s a shot of the point where they meet. (That black spot is paint; I’m a messy painter.) I kind of like my pink tiles but whoever decided that white tile was good for the kitchen and hallway really needs a talking to. The whole house smells of Method lavender all-surface cleaner now, and I’m thinking about going over the whole thing once more with the steam mop. I never get my floors clean enough to make me happy. I’ve actually gotten down with a toothbrush to scrub the grout. I can be a little compulsive about cleaning. When I can be arsed to do any at all that is.
Anyway, the next thing I knew, Glinda was down here with a handful of spiced, sugared pecans made from a recipe that she got from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz. (Her copy is autographed and everything. David, if you’re reading this, Glinda is your soulmate. Trust me on this.) Man these things are good. They’re crunchy and spicy with a touch of heat, and sweet but not too sweet. They spurred me to do what I’ve been meaning to do all week.
I’d gotten all the stuff I needed to make my Nikolajs (which if you don’t recall from a previous post, are a variation on the NTSC, or Never Twice the Same Cookie cookie, and so-named because they’re Nikolaj Coster-Waldau naked good. No, really, they are just that good. Recipe to follow.) The thing is I’m almost constitutionally unable to make these cookies the same way twice, hence the original name.
This time I just didn’t feel like cutting up a bunch of apricots, so I only used cherries. I didn’t have cocoa nibs, so I put in about an ounce more chocolate chips. I used a 10-grain cereal instead of rolled oats, and just pecans, no almonds. What I got was a less refined cookie that tasted wonderful, but was heartier, though softer and less chewy. It wasn’t quite the cookie I was planning to make, but it’s pretty damn good anyway.
I can’t begin to tell you how good the batter was at the stage to the left. I could have spread this on a cake as a frosting it was that spectacular. This is the butter, almond butter, two sugars, eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice. Yes, I know you’re not supposed to eat raw batter like this, but look, I’m 62 years old and it hasn’t killed me yet. If I die from eating raw batter then I’ll die happy, okay?
To the right, the batter with the cherries, chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut added. It’s so stiff it’s nearly impossible to mix at this point.
I got three dozen good-size cookies out of this particular recipe. Some are going to the neighbors, some to Glinda’s office, and many of them are staying here. (I apologize for how shitty the photos are.) And no, these are not pretty cookies, unlike their namesake, but they more than make up for that in flavor.
|No really, they taste way better than they look.
So tomorrow I am going to be making sugar cookies. I don’t normally do that, I’m not nuts about sugar cookies. But I have to review a set of Moon Cake cookie molds
. I’d never even heard of these things before I got the review request, but they’re fantastically pretty, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do to sugar cookie dough. I’m not actually making up the dough. I picked up a couple of rolls of pre-made dough yesterday. It’s just easier that way. I hope I’ll have some decent photos to share.
All this? This is how I get out of making dinner. We’re ordering Chinese tonight, and I plan on ignoring the sink filled with cooking dishes as long as I possibly can. I expect that several generations of fruit flies will have been born, reproduced, and died before I load the dishwasher later tonight.
And just so you know what I mean when I talk about how good the Nikokajs are…
1 cup butter
1/2 cup almond butter
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 T vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon or more
1 tsp ground cardamom or more
8 oz bag semisweet chocolate chips
4 oz chopped pecans
4 oz chopped almonds
8 oz shredded coconut
4 oz dried cherries
4 oz chopped, dried apricots
2 T cocoa nibs
2 T flax seeds
Cream butter, almond butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until they’re blended. Add vanilla and lemon juice, then the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Then add the cinnamon and cardamom. You really need to flavor these to your taste. I used a lot of both, probably more than a teaspoon of each. Use your own good judgment here.
Then the fun really starts. Toss in the nuts, coconut, oats, dried fruit and chocolate chips. Then add the cocoa nibs and flax seeds. By now your batter is getting stiff, so you may have to blend with a spoon at the end.
Bake on parchment @ 350 for the best results. You want a mound about the size of half an apricot, maybe a little larger. This batter doesn’t lend itself to small cookies. Just go with it. They’re usually done in about 13-15 minutes, and will be a bit golden around the edges. They’ll make about 4-5 dozen lovely, chewy cookies.