Tag Archives: cookies

ACC Parties: A Masters Party

Marry a golfer and you marry golf they say.  Well “they” are right.  From about March to November I can count on Patrick golfing at least once a weekend, every weekend, and sometimes twice.  I am not planning on taking up this incredibly frustrating and expensive sport, I will leave that to the husband.  However, I am not opposed to wearing preppy golf clothes, vacationing at lovely golf resorts and throwing a golf themed party when called for.  The Masters is actually the one golf tournament that I used to watch even before I met Patrick, simply because Augusta is that beautiful.  Even before HD the greens just always seemed so green and the rows of azalea bushes in bloom made you want to don a funny hat and some white pants and start wacking around a little ball.  I decided the best way to celebrate this annual event was with a party, so the golf lovers could watch the Saturday rounds, and those of us less invested would have yummy food and drinks to keep us entertained.  I may have gone a little theme overboard but that’s part of the fun.  Here are some great menu and decoration ideas to get you ready for the 2017 Masters.  You know I love a party favor and personalized tees were a no brainer for this one.  I got them at Oriental Trading and then put them in cello bags with Masters green ribbon.  Super easy to do and actually functional (if you golf).

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Every party needs a bar and a signature cocktail.  The signature cocktail here was really easy – a John Daly.  This refreshing mix of lemonade, iced tea and vodka is a twist on the original Arnold Palmer and named for another, lets say more notorius golfer.  I split the difference on making my own iced tea and adding Trader Joe’s lemonade.  Just make sure to make a BIG pitcher and add fresh lemon slices, easy on the vodka.  This is an all day drinking affair so slow and steady wins the race.  We also had a selection of beer and wine over in the bar corner as well as in the other rooms.  For the bar set up I decided to riff on the famous Amen Corner of the Augusta National Golf Club.  Amen Corner is a nickname for the 11th, 12th and 13th holes and has something to do with the first time Arnold Palmer won his first Masters (ask a golf expert please – my expertise is parties).  Anyway since our fireplace is a perfect bar set up and in a corner – viola!  Some letters from Paper Source and we have Amen Corner.

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Since Augusta is in Georgia I went with a Southern theme for the food.  Pulled pork sliders are delicious and easy to keep warm in a slow cooker so people can help themselves through out the day.  I made my own but you can also make life easier by ordering from your local BBQ place.  You also need a classic slaw that acts as a veggie side and works so well inside those sliders.  Make sure to have a spoon handy for people to serve the pulled pork and a big bowl of buns.

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To keep the table themed and fun I used a grass table runner you can find on Etsy and glass jars full of golf balls.  The Masters always serves Pimento Cheese sandwiches so I made them using Southern Living’s recipe and then added cute little flags I made out of toothpicks and yellow paper.  Round things out with chips and mini corn muffins and people will have enough food to hang out all day.

DSC03333Last but not least you are going to need something sweet so I made Peaches and Cream Oatmeal cookies (georgia peaches get it??) and had a friend bring her delicious brownies.  Golfers and non golfers alike had a blast – I hope you enjoy this year’s Masters in style.  DSC03335

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you are like me you are trying to eat a bit healthier in the new year.  Eating healthy and being a food blogger are hard to reconcile but I have learned that everything in moderation is the key.  If I just drink green juices and have kale salads after a week you will find me gorging myself in the cheese section of Whole Foods swigging from a bottle of Malbec.  So in the spirit of moderation I bring you these amazing cookies.  Banana and oatmeal make them feel like breakfast in a cookie but the really good stuff (butter, sugar and chocolate) mean a little bit of decadence.  The perfect treat for those of you that have found your way back to the gym after a brief (ok two month) hiatus.  A former colleague used to make these for the office and I always thought she was ruining perfectly good cookies with bananas.  That was until I tried them and realized they are perfection and the banana makes them even sweeter while ensuring they are nice and chewy. And remember, moderation – have 2 instead of 3!

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Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  “healthy cookies”
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup oatmeal – not quick cooking
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 bananas, cut into ¼ to ⅓ inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.  In a small bowl stir flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.  In a  large bowl cream the butter and sugars.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix (mixture may look curdled).  On low speed add the flour mixture until just incorporated.  Mix in oatmeal and then chocolate chips.

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Use a large spoon to mix in the banana until evenly distributed and some are mashed but most are still visible, about 20 second.  Place heaping tablespoons of dough on cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned and tops look dry about 18 minutes (cook one sheet at a time).  Cool on the sheets for 10 minutes and then transfer to a rack.  Cookies can be stored in a covered container for 3 days.

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Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 24 cookies
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup oatmeal – not quick cooking
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 bananas, cut into ¼ to ⅓ inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat.  In a small bowl stir flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together.  In a  large bowl cream the butter and sugars.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix (mixture may look curdled).  On low speed add the flour mixture until just incorporated.  Mix in oatmeal and then chocolate chips.  Use a large spoon to mix in the banana until evenly distributed and some are mashed but most are still visible, about 20 second.  Place heaping tablespoons of dough on cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned and tops look dry about 18 minutes (cook one sheet at a time).  Cool on the sheets for 10 minutes and then transfer to a rack.  Cookies can be stored in a covered container for 3 days.

Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am a confessed saltaholic.  Have been since I was a kid – sweets just didn’t have the same allure as a nice salty snack.  So a couple of years ago when everyone started putting sea salt on desserts I knew I was going to have to add more spin classes to my schedule!  Salted caramel ice cream, yes please.  Crunchy Himalayan salt on your brownie?  Of course!  These cookies are incredible but it’s not just because of the addition of the sea salt.  A pretty exacting and somewhat complicated cookie (at least compared to the Toll House version) somehow all of the elements come together to create a nice chewy on the inside, crispy on the edges, decadent chocolate chip cookie.  A former colleague shared the recipe with me and as first I was off put by the different kinds of flour, the 24 hour chilling and the milk powder (???) but they are seriously worth it.  If you are a baker you probably have cake flour and bread flour on hand already – if not you can store flours in the freezer in plastic baggies to keep them fresh if you don’t use them often.  I went online and found this milk powder which supposedly lasts for years.

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I guess you could bring it camping if you are into that kind of thing – my guess is once you make these for your friends and family they will request them so often you will work your way through these ingredients pretty fast.  The amounts here are very specific so I am going to recommend again you go out and get yourself a kitchen scale (reminder I like this one).  Even with a baking recipe that isn’t this specific you will always get a better result if you weigh your ingredients.  A cup of flour can vary a lot depending on how much you pack it down, if you fluffed it before you measured or if it’s not exactly level.  This small investment will pay real dividends.  This recipe makes pretty big cookies but don’t cut down on the size or you won’t get the right texture.  It’s actually better that they are so big as it can help you from eating multiple cookies in one sitting (I am not promising anything).  So bake up a batch, leave some for Santa and you will be assured everything on your list!  I will be taking Christmas day off but will be back in action next week with ideas for New Years.  Happy holidays!

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Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  salt makes everything better
Special Equipment: food scale and stand mixer (both make life easier but not necessary)

  • 8 1/2 ounces cake flour
  • 8 1/2 ounces bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried milk powder
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces light brown sugar
  • 8 ounces granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 20 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Sea salt

In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, milk powder and salt with a whisk.  Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes (or use a hand mixer).DSC00030

Add the eggs, one at a time, then add in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low so you don’t cover yourself with flour and add the dry ingredients.  Don’t overmix here – do it just until combined, then add in the chocolate chips and mix for another couple of seconds until they are mixed in.  Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.  When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.  Make the cookies about the size of golf balls and space them apart with at least an inch in between.

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Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then use a spaulta to transfer them to a baking rack to cool a bit more.

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Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 20-24 cookies
  • Print

Special Equipment: food scale and stand mixer (both make life easier but not necessary)

  • 8 1/2 ounces cake flour
  • 8 1/2 ounces bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried milk powder
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces light brown sugar
  • 8 ounces granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 20 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Sea salt

In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, milk powder and salt with a whisk.  Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes (or use a hand mixer). Add the eggs, one at a time, then add in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low so you don’t cover yourself with flour and add the dry ingredients.  Don’t overmix here – do it just until combined, then add in the chocolate chips and mix for another couple of seconds until they are mixed in.  Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.  Make the cookies about the size of golf balls and space them apart with at least an inch in between.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then use a spaulta to transfer them to a baking rack to cool a bit more.

Cookie Decorating Party

It’s easy to get bogged down during the holidays with all of the very important staff adults “have to do” like attend boring work parties, address and send hundreds of Christmas cards, not to mention the daily vacuuming of pine needles.  An easy fix is to spend an afternoon with some kids decorating cookies.  Seriously, I came up with the idea of this party because I thought it would be fun for some of the little people in my life but the adults had just as much fun as the kids.  It was so therapeutic that my friend Tara said she hadn’t been that relaxed in months! So bust out the frosting and sprinkles and have yourself a party.

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Keep the party low key so you can enjoy yourself – I took several short cuts.  First and foremost cover your table!!  We made a ridiculous mess but I had put down craft paper before we started and at the end of the party I just rolled it up and tossed it (along with about 3 pounds of marshmallows).  I went a step further and bought premade dough.  Did you know they even sell it rolled out for you??  Normally I am a bit of a snob about these things but in the interest of my sanity, and the fact that I knew the cookie would just end up being a means of delivering frosting I took the shortcut and was glad I did.  If you want to make your own this recipe has always worked for me.

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It is important to make the cookies in advance, even the day before if you want.  Cutting out cookies is hard enough for adults let alone kids but also you can’t frost them until they are completely cooled.  Trust me you don’t want to be the one telling the kids they have to wait an hour to decorate!  Turns out I had a million different holiday cutters (shocker) so we had snowmen, wreaths, trees, stars, gingerbread men, and snowflakes.

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I decided to make my own frosting but you can certainly buy tubes of the premade stuff.  Just make sure you have lots as the icing went fast!  I used Wilton’s Royal Icing recipe – it’s great because it hardens fast but you may need to tinker with the proportions, I found I needed a lot more water than called for.  To make the different colors I really like gel coloring because you need a lot less of it than standard liquid food coloring and the colors are a lot richer.  I did white, red, green, blue, yellow and purple cause heck it was a girls cookie party.  I also put out some mini marshmallows and Hershey Kisses for decorating/snacking.  My friends Karin and Tara brought their adorable girls Sophie and Grayson who dove right in.

It is also important to have some non-cookie food to munch on.  I made mini pizzas and a cheese board (with some bubbly for the adults of course).  It was such a fun way to spend the afternoon and in the end each kid had a special box with their names on them to pack up their cookies and take them home.

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Everyone had a great time and with about 1 hour of prep time I was able to pull this off.  Who can argue with a party that comes with a cookie goodie bag?  I think this just might become an annual tradition….

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What You Need For A Cookie Decorating Party

Special Equipment:

  • different varieties of sprinkles, candies and marshmallows
  • craft paper for the table
  • milk for dunking
  • frosting and squeeze bottles for frosting (or tubes of frosting)
  • bags or boxes to take home cookies
  • cookie dough – premade or homemade
  • cookie cutters
  • snacks
  • a couple bottles of bubbly (in case of emergency)

Peanutty Oatmeal Cookies

Ok there is plenty of candy around at Halloween – dessert seems like overkill.  But this cookie has oats in it!  Don’t you feel virtuous already??  We get a million trick o’ treaters so having something to snack on while drinking wine and passing out candy is a good thing.  You can also make these cookies with peanut butter chips but the Reese’s gave them a nice Halloween look.  Two important tips to take away from these cookies that work for all drop cookies – first make sure to really cream the butter and sugar together.  I used to just mix the two until combined but once I started really letting my mixer go to work until the butter and sugar gets light in color and fluffy, my cookies are much lighter and softer.  You cannot over beat the batter before the flour has been introduced so really work the butter and sugar for as long as your arm can take it if you are using a hand mixer or about 3 minutes if you have a stand mixer.  Second tip is to chill your dough.  At least 20 minutes is good but you can also store the dough in the fridge for a couple of days.  Drop cookies if the dough is too warm will spread when they bake and you will end up with a flatter, crunchier cookie than you want (or perhaps even the dreaded one giant cookie melted together).  Wednesday I will be posting the perfect dinner to go along with these cookies and trick or treating and then Friday will be a special cocktail to wash it all down with.

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Peanutty Oatmeal Cookies (printable version at the end of the post)
Special Equipment: none

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted room temperature butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 9 ounces Reeses Pieces

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the butter and sugars in a large bowl or a stand mixer – mix for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.

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While the butter and sugar is mixing combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl with a whisk.  Add the egg and vanilla to the butter and sugar and mix until combined.  Stir in the oats and Reeses Pieces with a spoon and then refrigerate for 20 minutes.  Drop the cookies on sil pat or parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes until golden.  Let cool on a baking rack – the cookies can be stored for several days.

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Peanutty Oatmeal Cookies

  • Servings: 24 cookies
  • Print

Special Equipment: none

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted room temperature butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 9 ounces Reeses Pieces

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the butter and sugars in a large bowl or a stand mixer – mix for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.  While the butter and sugar is mixing, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl with a whisk.  Add the egg and vanilla to the butter and sugar and mix until combined.  Stir in the oats and Reeses Pieces with a spoon and then refrigerate for 20 minutes.  Drop the cookies on sil pat or parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes until golden.  Let cool on a baking rack – cookies can be stored for several days.

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