New Year’s Resolutions and Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Just like the rest of the world, when the New Year begins I sit down and think about my new year’s resolutions… Or I think in the car, while taking a walk, during a boring show, etc. I now have a list of things I’d like to do, change, improve, learn, or quit; and whether I’ve written it down and taped it to my closet, typed it into my phone, or just thought about it over a long period of time until it is burned into my memory, the chances of me completing this list is as slim as ever.IMG_2200 (2)

But just for the heck of it, I will type them here for your viewing pleasure.

  1. Quit biting nails (this has been on my list since 1999… Has not changed. Sometimes after I get a manicure I manage to grow them out for a few weeks, but I rarely get manicures. Mostly because the old Asian woman who does my nails scolds me about bringing her bitten-down nubs to work with. It’s a vicious cycle.)
  2. Get in shape. (I know this is everyone else’s resolution as well, but since I’ve been living in Spain I’ve gained a significant amount of weight and can no longer wear my favorite jeans. So obviously something has to give. And that something is going to my waistline.)
  3. Bake more (This will probably cancel out all aforementioned efforts to get in shape.)
  4. Cook more while I am at home (that is, until mid-March. My mom works and while I am picking up a few babysitting jobs, I have 2 more months to kill while waiting for my visa to come through and I would like to spend it cooking in this kitchen. This resolution is off to a very good start, I might add. Mainly because my boyfriend and I became obsessed with Masterchef recently.)
  5. Don’t be so anxious about my health. (This is by far the most difficult thing for me. Since I was diagnosed with celiac disease over two years ago it has been hard for me to trust the medical community and have faith that they aren’t missing blatantly obvious symptoms of some other disease – like they did last time. But this is mostly on me and I need to start up yoga again and relax. This is why getting into shape is important for me this year – because it will help me get more in touch with my body as well.)
  6. Start being fiscally responsible and think like an adult (That is, have a plan, any plan, for my future and make one of my tedious google doc/excel spreadsheets about it.)
  7. Go to Italy (This kinda seems to cancel out number 6, I know, but my boyfriend and I cancelled a fabulous long weekend to Rome last year right after the Paris attacks. We’re still waiting until we both have the money and time off of work to go enjoy ourselves… So in a way, since I have to budget for this trip, it might actually reinforce my resolution to be more responsible with my money.)
  8. Throw things away. (This gets back to number 6 again, in a way. I never get rid of things – even if I know I’ll never use them again – because I paid money for them and I can’t bear to see it go to waste. What I need to do to avoid this is not only clean out and donate things, but also think more before buying new clothes, stationary, books, shoes, etc.)
  9. Write more. (Professionally, for myself, and on my blog.)

 

That’s it really. They’re simple enough and I have some down time these next few months to get my ducks in a row medically, financially, and mentally before heading back to Spain. For which I am grateful. This also means I have more time to bake and peruse the interwebs for inspiration, as well as my increasingly large library of cookbooks.

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(the dark spot in the center cookie is chocolate hazelnut butter. I wouldn’t recommend adding it.)

This recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies I got from the book Ovenly which is a gorgeous little book from a New York bakery that I found in the public library just the other week. I didn’t realize they had any gluten-free recipes, let alone this absolute gem. The upper corners of certain recipes are marker if they are gluten free or vegan, which is fantastic. (If you’re thinking about buying this book I should state that it is not their intention to bake only allergen-friendly goodies, they just happen to have some well-labeled, thoughtful recipes sprinkled through the book for us non-normal eaters.)

I was extremely skeptic about a flourless peanut butter cookie that literally has 4 ingredients and no chill time in the fridge, and was even more skeptical when I put the unappealing blobs into the oven. All I can say now is… Wow. This is one of the best cookies I’ve ever made and absolutely one of the easiest. The only downside is it takes almost a full jar of peanut butter to make, but it is worth it. The good thing about this though is that they suggest Skippy, so you don’t need to go out and buy an outrageously expensive jar of natural, organic, certified, vegan, nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free, refined-sugar free peanut butter made of ground up flowers and dirt. Yay! (*I would like to take this opportunity to say I am a big fan of Justin’s and Big Spoon natural and fresh ground nut-butters.)

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Without further ado, here is my first attempt at New Year’s Resolution #3: Bake More! (And win the powerball tomorrow night.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ c. light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp.
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (I always add a bit more)
  • 1 ¾ c. peanut butter (again, the NON-natural works better to help cookie maintain its shape)
  • Course sea salt for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the brown sugar and eggs until they make a homogenous mixture. Mix in the vanilla extract. Now add the peanut butter and mix with a spatula until you cannot see ribbons or clumps of peanut butter. It will make a thick dough.
  3. Scoop out the cookies into balls and drop on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the balls with course sea salt.
  4. Bake for 20-22 minutes (turning the pan halfway through this time) or until the cookies are lightly browned and crackled a bit on top.
  5. Let cookies cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to a week. (They won’t last that long. My mom and I got through 5 days but only because we rationed them like it was 1944.)

 

ENJOY!

Another Chocolate Chip & Potato Chip Cookie

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I’ve found in the past few months that after the initial shock of my celiac diagnosis and the subsequent hatred I felt towards all foods subsided I was left craving anything and everything I couldn’t eat. But mostly, I craved salt. Before I started eating gluten free, I ate fairly healthy foods and wouldn’t have dreamed of munching away on potato chips all day every day…. yet somehow in the past 6 months or so these deliciously oily, cheesy, herbed, barbequed slices of potato have become my favorite form of sustenance. For the most part, they are safe. I can eat them without worrying about gluten or contamination and just fill my little gluten starved belly up to the brim with starch and salt – problem solved. I’ve become so obsessed, in fact, that I’ve even started baking them into my desserts. (*Just for the record, I am cutting back now that fresh strawberries right up the road are available for my snacking needs. Yay fresh fruit!)

That’s right, I’ve made another weird potato cookie! (But, all things considered if you’re baking gluten free this probably doesn’t come close to some of the weird things you’ve baked with, right?) I tried out this recipe a few weeks ago and liked it just fine but I couldn’t figure out why the cookies were so flat. The flavor was spectacular but I believe after very little research and no investigation whatsoever that it is due to the excess oil in the potato chips that came out during baking. So, what did I do? I chose a slightly different cookie recipe, used my same old trusty flour blend and *SPOILER ALERT* I put the dough in the fridge to harden up in hopes it wouldn’t get as oily during baking.

This was both a good and bad idea, because while I definitely wouldn’t classify the chips in this newfangled cookie as “soggy” (these cookies are in fact very good) they had undoubtedly lost their crispy, salty edge that they maintained unrefrigerated in the first cookie! My hypothesis? Next time I think if I use the first cookie recipe – simply because its committed to my memory at this point – the NON-ruffled potato chips and refrigerate the dough for a mere 15 minutes. Voila. Two great cookie recipes converge to form a masterful sweet and salty and gluten-free (hell yeah!) snack.

YAY COOKIES! YAY CHIPS!

potatochip2Ingredients: (adapted from Martha Stewart. Yield: 3 dozen cookies)

  • 2 1/4 c. gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. softened butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 c. crushed potato chips, like Lays Classic

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour and baking soda and set aside. Cream butter and both sugars in stand mixer until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add salt, vanilla and eggs; mixing until well blended.
  3. Mix in flour then stir in chocolate chips and potato chips. Refrigerate dough for 15 – 20 minutes.
  4. Drop tablespoons onto baking sheets 2 inches apart and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool before transferring to wire racks.