Jon’s Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is to head to the swap meet in the parking lot of my local High School. Under the watchful stare of the Foothill Falcon, people sell all sorts of wares and treasures displayed in cases, boxes, and plastic tarps. While browsing a box of rare Betty Crocker cookbooks, I was offered a delicious cookie by the stand’s proprietor, Jon. We got to talking and it turns out Jon is quite the baker! So, I purchased that box of cookbooks for my shop, and then arranged with Jon to share the secrets of his lacy oatmeal cookie recipe.

And these really are delicious. Flat, crispy, rich with butter and oats — they’re perfect for snacking or even indulging as part of an outstanding ice creamed sandwich! Jon is a big fan of his Kitchenaid Mixer, but you can do this by hand with a spoon if you want. Just don’t forget to use the proper “drop” technique!

Here’s Jon’s cookie wizardry in action:

The Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Recipe:

    1 Cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
    1 Cup brown sugar
    1 Cup white sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla extract
    1 Cup all purpose flour
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    4 Cups rolled oats
    1.5 Cups dark and white chocolate chips
    1 Cup Rasins & crazins
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Mara’s Cold Brewed Coffee

For many, many years I was not a big coffee drinker. I instead enjoyed an afternoon PG Tips tea with a spot of milk and honey with the occasional thin biscuit on the side. Then I met our real estate agent Mara. During our open house tours, Mara got me completely hooked on her delicious cold brewed coffee which was rich and smooth and unlike any coffee I had yet encountered. I’ve since completely reworked my approach to an afternoon beverage and I’m now one of the coldest brewers out there!

I think what gives Mara’s coffee a little something special is the addition of a few raw cocoa nibs to the brew. It gives the whole beverage a luscious texture that is at least three degrees beyond the usual levels of delicious. Another tip is that you want to do your brew in a glass container, and use freshly ground coffee for the snappiest results. I really like this drink served over a few ice cubes with a splash of cream. It’s just like drinking coffee ice cream!

Here’s how simple it is to make:

Cold Brewed Coffee Ingredients:

    4 Cups filtered water
    1.5 Cups coarsely ground coffee
    2 Tbs. raw cocoa nibs
    (Optional: Star anise, cinnamon stick, nutmeg)

If you need to get yourself a good brewing vessel to fit all these ingredients, these nice big Bormioli Canning Jars are pretty great. You can also use them to make iced tea, which is also pretty darned refreshing!

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Chocolate Snack Cake

I’m not sure what makes this cake “snack” cake, as opposed to just regular old cake, but it sure is delicious and easy to make! Hero, my guide in snack-caking, is a super kid from my neighborhood who often has a weekend lemonade stand going with her brother Poet (From the Rice Krispie treat episode). When I hear them sounding the lemonade gong, I always head over because you can count on them having some great treats to go with their lemonade. Plus it stops the gonging! Hero’s parents say that she loves to bake things, especially treats, and she proved to be a great, and very well organized instructor. Hero is an excellent measurer of ingredients!

A couple cooking notes before we get to the video. It helps if you have a really nice quality cocoa powder when you make this, as that flavor is really what comes through. Scharfenberger, Valrhona, Callebaut, or even Hershey’s Natural Unsweetened will do you well. The folks at Cooks Illustrated like Callebaut, and you can get some Callebaut here if you can’t find it at your local store.

Hero’s guide to Chocolate Snack Cake:

Hero’s Chocolate Snack Cake Recipe:

Dry Ingredients:

    1.5 Cups All Purpose Flour
    1 Cup white sugar
    1/4 Cup quality cocoa powder
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:

    1/3 Cup vegetable oil
    1 tsp white vinegar
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 Cup cold water

Toppings:

    Ice cream
    Berries
    Whipped cream
    Anything else you think would be yummy!
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Ruby Red Vodka Punch

When Kendra had her family visiting for the holidays a little while back, I knew I had to find a great beverage that was going to keep everyone happy. Since Kendra’s people don’t speak a lick of English, I’ve found that having a cocktail or two lubricates any friction imposed by language barriers. Emily’s Ruby Red Vodka Punch turned out to be the recipe I was looking for. Wow, just pour a few of these beauties, and stand back and watch as everyone bonds with laughter inspired by impromptu pretzel mustaches!

When you’re serving a cocktail for a crowd, there’s really is nothing better or easier than a delicious bowl of punch. In this video, we get a wonderfully refreshing libation recipe from Emily that’s perfect for the holidays. It’s bursting with berries and citrus, so this goes down in a refreshingly dangerous manner. The secret, aside from the fancy berry lined ice cube that Emily creates, is to have all your ingredients chilled beforehand so you have cold punch when everything is all mixed up in a nice looking glass punch bowl!

Here’s how to get your punch on:

Ruby Red Vodka Punch Recipe:

    1/2 Cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
    2 Cups Pomegranate Juice
    1 Cup Cranberry Juice
    (Juice note: Use just straight juice! No sweeteners or blends. Also chill it in the fridge before making your punch)
    1 Cup Vodka
    1 Cup Triple Sec
    1/2 Cup Simple Syrup (equal parts sugar and water)
    Splash of soda (or sparkling wine!)

Serve up each punch with a skewered cranberry for a little seasonal flourish. Then sidle up to the nearest hearth, say hello to a new friend, and extend them a hearty cheers!

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