Bananaberry Cookies

Monday! Need a cookie!

So far, today has been fabulous. After a weekend with Matt (the first Friday and Saturday in a row that we’ve both had together…and not working…in a LONG time…maybe ever), I am off today and living it up. Workout with a friend, wandering around a mall, very relaxing. I’ve noticed (and Matt has, too) that having a job {at a church} that I love, living in a lovely neighborhood, and feeling sunshine most every day has really livened my spirits. Life is too short to be unhappy or just be content, and I’m very thankful that this is a season in my life where things are pretty darn awesome. You know what I mean? Life has ups and down, of course, so I’m trying to relish in the moments when there’s a lot to smile about. I hope that for you, too.  

Here are a couple of fun photos:

Waldport, OR

Our front yard

See Mt Hood in the middle?

Front yard again

Rose Garden in Portland…no roses yet, but these cuties are blooming!

Our side yard…granted, we live on a church campus, so we take NO CREDIT for the gorgeous flowers!

Now on to butter, strawberries and bananas. To be honest, cooking/baking bananas is a pretty weird concept to me, but usually tastes good. These cookies are pretty tasty. For those who aren’t obsessed with chocolate, these are a nice alternative–quick and easy, too. This is my cousin Cindy’s cookie dough base recipe, and I’ve tweaked it a little to allow for the strawberry and banana.

Bananaberry Cookies!
Makes 15-18 medium-sized cookies
 
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup white sugar

1 stick butter or margarine, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped strawberries (about 4 large)

1/3-ish cup chopped banana (1 small banana)

step one: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix first four {the dry} ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a second bowl, combine butter through vanilla.
step two: Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients and combine until lumps are out, but don’t stir forever. Fold in strawberries and banana.
step three: On a nonstick baking pan, scoop 1 tablespoon worth of dough and space apart by an inch or two (they spread a little). Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until non-jiggly and a little brown on top. Let cool for 2 minutes or so before transferring to a cooling rack or before devouring. Enjoy! 

Happy eating!
Laurel

~Laurel~

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Monday!

Okay, so Mondays usually remind me of the Boomtown Rats song that Tori Amos later covered. I (usually) don’t like Mondays. It is the death of the weekend and all of that. But I made cookies on Sunday and, seeing them on the kitchen counter the next morning, I instantly felt like today would be good. What can be bad when you have cookies with sprinkles!?

Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 20 cookies

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup white sugar
1 stick butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)
1 TB sprinkles (optional)

You’ll need: 2 medium bowls, 1 large spoon, 1 teaspoon, baking sheet, nonstick spray/baking mat, oven

step one: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine first four (dry) ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In the second bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla. 

step two: Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and sprinkles. Using both spoons, form balls about the size of a golf ball and set on the cookie sheet. Repeat until 12-15 dough balls are formed. 

step three: Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove from oven, let sit for 1-2 minutes, then transfer cookies to a cooling rack or a cool plate. Yummm. 

By the by, check out my Recipage (link at the top right) to see some of my recipes by category/ingredient/etc. I’m adding more each day! Happy Monday!

~Laurel~

Honey wheat apple crostata

It is so rewarding when I am feeling a little brave and try to make a bread for the first time. Baguettes were a big deal the first time, and bagels were fun, too. In the upcoming year, as I am choosier about eating breads, I hope to make breads more and start a bit of a collection of tricks I can store in my baking bag. Today, we will share a crostata.

This is not a difficult pastry to make. It’s rustic, warm comfort food. In case ya didn’t know, a crostata is a rustic Italian pie, usually filled with fruits like cherries or peaches, sweet ricotta cheese or anything else you like. It’s pretty but not perfect. It’s humble but beloved. Let’s make one!

I learned the basic way to make the crostata dough from Joann from Alforno Restaurant via Martha.
Then, thinking a little more fiber and all of that would be helpful, I’ve changed it up a little using whole wheat flour. Here we go.

Honey wheat apple crostata
This crostata is rustic, hearty and Italian comfort dessert at its best. The baked apples and wheat flour dough bake to a golden brown, giving off a “honey” taste in each bite. Enjoy on a cold winter night or a snowy morning in.
Makes 2 small (7-inch) crusts or 1 large crust

Dough
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 sticks butter, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup cold water

Step one: In a food processor, pour in flours, salt and sugar. pulse a few times to combine. Then, add the butter and pulse until crumbled. Next, add cold water while pulsing. Dough will be very crumbly.
Step two: Lay down flat a piece of plastic wrap. Pour dough onto the plastic wrap and wrap up. Push dough together into a disk shape. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or up to 3 days). 
 Step three: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take the dough out of the fridge and lay on a floured surface. Roll out to a large circle or square. (Remember, this is rustic. Put your perfectionist hat aside and have fun!) Transfer dough to a nonstick baking sheet.
  
Filling   
2 apples of any variety, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup white sugar
1 TB flour

Step four: In a  medium bowl, combine the apples, cinnamon, sugar and 1 TB flour. Pour the filling onto the center of the crostata dough, leaving 1 to 1 1/2 inches of dough clear around the edges. Starting with one side, roll up and over, folding the next side over the former side (see photo). Be sure at least half of the fruit is exposed.
Step five: (optional egg wash: Beat an egg in a bowl and use a brush to lightly brush all areas of the dough exposed.) Bake at 375 degrees for one hour. Serve warm for breakfast or dessert (with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream).


Happy eating!
Laurel

~Laurel~

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