Welcome! :-) Whatever brought you here today wasn't an accident, and I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm always glad to have folks drop in my kitchen for a visit and hope you'll feel right at home. We always have an ample supply of fresh lemonade, sweet tea, and a pot of coffee brewing along with a sideboard full of baked treats for you to enJOY while you're here. Relax and take your time as we visit and catch up on the latest news. Don't forget to email and let me know what's going on in your world, as well. And, come back soon!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Coooookie MONSTER'S Cooookies!

One of the best parts of my "Nanna Days" with Samuel is getting to watch Sesame Street with all its great muppet characters, each special in their own way. One of our favorites is the segment where Prarie Dawn introduces the "letter of the day" while having a plate of HUGE, MONSTER-SIZED cookies on hand to appease Cookie Monster (so he won't eat the letter of the day before she introduces it). Cookie Monster always manages to eat not only Prarie's plate of HUGE yummy cookies, but he also eats the "letter" before he's finished. I love this part, because it always makes Samuel giggle (with a special twinkle in his eyes that Nanna can't resist).

Today, we're celebrating our favorite muppet by making Cookie Monster's Cookies. Although Cookie Monster won't actually observe his birthday until November 2 (which is also Ken's and my wedding anniversary :-), I wanted to honor him today with a new cookie recipe, named especially for him (by me). So, "Happy EARLY Birthday, Cookie Monster! If you were here, I'd let you be the first to sample this special cookie, named just for YOU!"

I also want to introduce to you one of my boys' (James, Jacob, and Samuel) favorite no-bake cookies, since it's really HOT outside right now, and it's a perfect time to make these nutritious and delicious treats. (I've made no less than four batches of these over the past week. Someone likes them!)

Let's begin with the Cookie Monster's Cookies.
(I apologize for not having step-by-step photos, but I did take pictures of the final product so you can see how yummy these are.) If you have questions, you can always email or message me. I'd be happy to help.

So, here's what you need (Go gather your ingredients and get started! AND don't forget to print or save the recipe to your files.):

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar (light might work best... I used dark, but next time I'll use light.)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg

1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Blend in the sifted ingredients until the flour is just taken up. Do not overbeat. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir in the chocolate chips. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets or use an ice cream scoop to portion out uniform amounts. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart. These will spread out as they bake, so leave them in ball shapes when you place the dough on the cookie sheets to bake.

Bake for 17 to 19 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. (If you choose to make smaller---not monster-sized---cookies, be sure to reduce your cooking time. For an average-sized cookie, I'd bake about 12 to 14 minutes, but watch your first batch so they don't burn!)  Cool on baking sheets for five minutes before transferring to wire racks or lined cabinet top to cool completely.

When Cookie Monster eats something, he makes a very distinct, loud munching "noise", often interpreted as "OMM-nom-nom-nom-nom!" These big, fat, chewy, gourmet cookies are guaranteed to make you say, "OMM-nom-nom-nom-nom!" or maybe just "YUMMMMM!"

Our next recipe is for a smaller, but equally chewy/gooey and delicious, cookie. These are named after my own favorite resident cookie monsters: James, Jacob, and Samuel Rains! I first started making these when James (now almost 36-years-old) was a little boy. I've had the recipe published in two different cookbooks where I titled them "James' Peanut Butter Crunchies" (see page 150 in "A Pinch of This... A Smidgen of That" Cookbook). I should probably revise the title since I now have two more "monsters" who enJOY them.

One of my favorite things about this cookie is that I usually have all the ingredients on hand and don't have to make a trip to the store. Another favorite thing is that I can make them in the heat of the summer without ever firing up the oven (This is also one of Ken's favorite parts of this cookie! It may be why we've consumed four batches of them over the past week or so---of course, we gave some of them away, as well. It's always nice when a recipe makes more than you need, so you can share with friends and family.) Another plus for this cookie is that it's nutritious---who can improve upon ingredients like peanut butter and corn flakes?---so you don't have to feel guilty when the little ones ask for mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks. They're a nice "pick-me-up" to go along with your coffee breaks, too. Kids aren't the only ones who enJOY these.

So, let's get started making  "James' Peanut Butter Crunchies" ...

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup White Karo Syrup
½ stick butter (cut in small slices to hasten melting)
½ tsp. vanilla flavoring
2 Cups smooth (or crunchy, if you’re creative J) Peanut Butter
6 Cups Corn Flakes (use 5 for a softer cookie.) (I like Kellog's Sugar Frosted Flakes)

(OPTIONAL: If you’re REALLLLY CREATIVE, toss in some peanut butter swirled chocolate chips after you’ve added the peanut butter/syrup-sugar mixture to the corn flakes. Be sure it’s cooled just a bit or it will melt your chips.)
Measure corn flakes into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Combine sugar and Karo syrup in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for approximately 2 minutes (no less) after it reaches a rolling boil (one where bubbles can’t be stirred down with your spoon/spatula). NOTE: I always set my timer for 2 minutes just as soon as I have a full boil that I can’t stir and make disappear. 

 Remove from heat and add butter pieces and vanilla. Stir well and add peanut butter until completely taken up into the mixture and no lumps remain. (Don’t stir too long or it will get too thick to pour.)

Pour mixture evenly over corn flakes and lightly mix with a spatula, then spoon or use a cookie scoop to transfer portions to foil or waxed paper lined cabinet. Cool completely. Store in covered container. Makes about 4 to 5 dozen, depending on how large you make the cookies.
I hope you enJOY making and eating these cookies with your resident "Cookie Monster(s)".


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