No Bake ‘Comfort’ Cookies

Pin It

No Bake Cookies

It seems like everybody has this recipe, or some version of it, so this is probably not a new one for you. As a kid it was one of my favorites. I loved it so much that I did a cooking demonstration of the recipe for my 4th grade class. We were supposed to do an oral presentation and I thought what better way to a “viewer’s choice” award than through my classmate’s stomach.

We lived about a mile from school and my mother didn’t drive so I headed out in the morning with various cooking utensils, pre-measured ingredients and an old (very old) electric cook plate. The results? I didn’t burn down the school, (luckily) apparently none of my classmates were allergic to peanuts, there were no leftovers, and I got an A! Actually, the one thing I didn’t get my parents approval for was selling them at school at lunchtime. If I had, maybe I would have beat Mrs. Field’s to the punch. Darn.

If you like chocolate and peanut butter and don’t mind a cookie that is very sweet, you’ll probably give them an A too. They only take about 10 minutes to make. The calorie count? I know it, but do you really want me to tell you?

No Bake Cookies (about 10 minutes start to finish)

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup cocoa (I use Hershey’s)
1/2 cup margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter (in my opinion there is only one and its name is Skippy!)
3 cups quick oats

 (Before beginning to cook place a couple newspaper pages on the counter and cover with waxed paper or parchment paper.)

 Combine sugar,milk,cocoa, and margarine in a large saucepan. Heat on low until margarine is melted. Turn up the heat and bring mixture to a boil. Boil ONLY one minute. Overcooking will result in a crumbly cookie (undercooking will result in spoon candy which is actually pretty good but won’t hold a cookie shape and must be eaten out of a bowl!). Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Mix well and drop by soup spoons onto the waxed paper. Allow to cool (though these are excellent warm!) and store in an airtight container.

Hot! Handle with Care Habaneros!

Pin It

A bit of summer heat.....

While I didn’t go as far as using vintage kitchen utensils to handle them, I have a healthy respect for habanero peppers and don plastic gloves when handling. I felt a photo with a pair of orange-stained plastic gloves draped gracefully over my pepper jelly wouldn’t make quite the same statement, artistically speaking that is.

Years ago I learned my lesson, having scraped the seeds and membranes out of a pound of jalapenos with my fingernails. All well and good until I ended up spending the entire night flung across the sofa cushions with my right hand dangling into a bucket of ice water. Ever wonder how many nerve endings are under your fingernails or in your fingertips? I’m not sure how many exactly, but I believe I had over a bazillion little bonfires in my fingers that night. Never, never, NEVER again.

That red beauty up there has only about 1/20th the amount of habaneros that it has red bell peppers, and baby, it has ZING!

Not so restful waiting.

Pin It

bronze hands, Berkeley

There has been very little resting but my hands are trying to quietly wait until the studio is set up again, there is peace in the house (change that to reduced chaos in the household because, let’s be realistic!) and I can once again focus on art.

Summer is flying by, the vegetable garden is in full swing, though the tomatoes are being stubborn little buggers and we’ve only picked two ripe ones so far! The plants themselves are immense and loaded with green tomatoes but so far, no huge bowls of fresh tomato and basil pasta, my version of caprese salad except with pasta. Last year I canned a great relish using the end of season green tomatoes so even if they don’t ripen I still have something to look forward to!

For those of you who DO have fresh ripe garden tomatoes right now the recipe below is what I do with them. No store bought tomatoes for this recipe unless you are lucky enough to have a store that sells fresh from the farmer. If you don’t have a garden try one of the Farmer’s Market vendors. It also makes a huge difference if you use a rich balsamic and extra virgin olive oil. I don’t go crazy expensive here, but I try to get ones a cut above what I use for cooking.

Caprese Pasta

3 pounds sweet tomatoes, peeled and cut into pieces*
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. high quality balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp. high quality olive oil
1/2 cup loosely packed diced fresh basil leaves
1 pound penne
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated (you can also use slices of fresh mozzarella but I like having the cheese in every bite!)

Toss the tomato pieces and garlic in a bowl with the vinegar and oil. Add basil.Chill.

Cook the pasta al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water to chill. Toss with the tomato mixture and add salt and pepper to taste if desired.

I like to serve this chilled. I refrigerate the tomato mixture and pasta separately then toss before serving. Great served with a good french bread to soak up the juices. Enjoy!

*Sometimes if my tomatoes aren’t as sweet as I like I add a touch of sugar to them.

Salty and Sinful………but oh so worth it!

Pin It
Sees Scotchmallow Bar

Pure Decadence ala Mary

This gastronomical treat is SO very wrong, wrong, wrong, I keep telling myself and doesn’t belong anywhere near my diet. However it is CRAZY decadent and when it comes to chocolate I was born to be bad!

Don’t ask me why I ever tried this the first time, or actually why I even thought of trying it, it just popped into my head one night, grabbed hold of me for days and wouldn’t let go. I finally surrendered and headed to the nearest Sees store. I am now hopelessly addicted and live in dread that they will discontinue this candy bar.

I was always the one person in the family that didn’t over-salt, and sometimes didn’t even salt my food, and yet I can’t have one of these bars in the house, make that in this town, and not eat it this way. The way I make is not for the faint of heart mind you. No sparse sprinkling of salt for me. I literally douse it in salt.

If you like salted caramels, or the combination of sweet and salty, I dare you to try it and not love it.

How I do it:
I put the Sees Scotchmallow bar under the toaster oven broiler for a second or two, just until the chocolate starts to soften then hurry and remove it. You don’t want to overdo the broiler step, you just want the top of the bar soft enough for the salt to stick to it, you want to try not to melt the sides and the bottom. Really, it only takes a few seconds. Once I have it on my plate I douse the bar liberally with Himalayan pink sea salt and, try to make it to the table before I take my first bite.

I guess if you don’t have a broiler handy you could always lick the top of the bar then salt it. The added benefit with this version is you don’t have to worry about sharing with co-workers or pushy household members!

Don’t try cheap imitations (believe me I’ve tried), they don’t even come close. Possibly a Sees caramel would work if you don’t want the marshmallow part, but with this beauty weighing in at just under 200 calories and tasting like 2000 why would you want to play with perfection?

I have to guiltily admit that not only do I put salt on top, but I also dip the bitten end in more salt as I go. Ahhhh.

What are cinnamon rolls and soft serve ice cream?

Pin It
Cinnamon Rolls I Crave

Cinnamon Rolls I Crave

Two of the things I crave most when I have a migraine (after that ‘sick’ part of the migraine is over, that is!).

Right now my eyes and ears are not playing nicely with my head so lampwork, hammering metal, grinding gemstones, photography, reading, computer work, and pretty much everything I normally do on a daily basis is out of the question. That leaves eating. Once I’m over the worst part of my migraines I tend to crave different types of bread and ice cream. Most other foods just don’t taste right (well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!)

These cinnamon rolls (seen dough form above) are easy to make and my absolute favorite cinnamon rolls to eat. The hardest part is to not eat them so I typically freeze them individually and microwave to warm them at my leisure.

The last time they were made it was a joint effort of mine and Colin’s. When we got to the rolling part, he took one end I took the other and we nearly completed the most beautiful log of raw cinnamon rolls before we both stopped short, looked at each other and uttered the king of all exclamations… “oops”.

Unfortunately, as we got to the end we both realized simultaneously that we had forgotten to put the cinnamon and brown sugar on before rolling. You haven’t truly experienced a greasy mess until you try unrolling unwieldy, wobbly, and slippery, buttered dough. Luckily we were triumphant and the picture above are the rolls getting ready to be baked.

If you would like to try the recipe, you can find it on my recipe site, Recipe Drawer. Enjoy (and save me some, I don’t feel up to baking right now!)