I am a baker. I bake - and I cook - a lot. I mean, a lot. There is always some type of baked good in my house, often two or three. Part of that comes from the fact that I have kids with food allergies and it's tough to find baked goods that are safe. Part of that comes from the fact that I went to culinary school - I didn't finish, because I ran out of money and took up working full time and got married and had a bunch of kids - but the seed was planted.
Part of it comes from the fact that I find cooking and baking utterly intriguing and compellingly relaxing. I pop on some good music - it might be Philip Glass one day, because I'm totally partial to his stuff - or Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Dolly Parton, the music of John Williams, Johnny Cash - or even, maybe, Eminem. I'm a music kinda gal. Any time I'm stressed, worn out, frustrated, in need of relaxation - I find myself in the kitchen, scouring through the cabinets for the vanilla salt and the Guittard and the parchment paper, bent on making something.
I put on my linen apron and my super supportive clogs - my legs ache and my feet hurt if I don't, because I'm really 112 years old - and I get to work.
I think I do it mostly because it's fulfilling. I can clearly see the fruits of my labor, I have a concrete piece of evidence that hey, I did something. Not like dong the laundry or mopping the floor.
I spend a lot of time, in my job, looking at blogs and cooking blogs are my favorites. I find a lot of inspiration in them, and often, some really great recipes. I also peruse Pinterest quite a bit. Several years ago, I found a recipe for a cookie that sounded so awesome that I just had to try it. I liked it, really liked it, but wanted to change it up a bit. So I made them, several times, changing up little things each time, and landed upon this version that I really, really like.
I could eat probably the entire batch in a day, if I was maybe depressed. Or watching a good movie on tv.
Or hungry, let's be honest. I mean, this IS me we are talking about, and not you. You probably have more willpower than I will ever have. The recipe includes chocolate chips, but I (often) leave them out, as I find the flavor of the cookie better without the chocolate.
I KNOW. WHO AM I, ANYWAY?
- 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp vanilla salt (can be found online at various retailers, or you can make it at home)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (you can use more, I typically use less - I like the other flavors in this cookie better and find the chocolate distracting)
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup flaked coconut (depends upon how much coconut you like - I like a lot)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup yellow raisins
- 1/3 cup coconut rum
Mix the rum and the raisins together in a microwave safe bowl. Cook for 2 minutes, and then give the raisins a good stir and allow them to sit on the counter to cool.
Melt the butter in a skillet and allow to cook over medium heat until the begins to brown. Stir as it bubbles, and after 2-3 minutes or so you should see brown bits appear on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat immediately and continue to whisk for another 30 seconds or so, then let it cool on the counter until it's room temperature.
Cream the cooled and browned butter and the sugars together. Add in the egg and the vanilla, and combine well, scraping down as necessary. Add in the baking soda and mix well - there's nothing worse than a mouthful of baking soda - and add in the flour. Mix just until combined. Stir in the nuts, rum soaked raisins, any leftover rum in the bowl, the coconut and the chocolate chips, if using.
Place in the refrigerator. I like to leave it to sit overnight, because it allows the flavors to really blend through, but you can move on with yourself after about an hour, if you are in a hurry. The dough will now be a fairly solid block. You have two choices - use a knife to cut hunks off, or allow the dough to warm up a bit and then use your kitchen scoop (also known as your ice cream scoop, if you don't have a dedicated kitchen scoop, which, if not, Christmas is coming, add it to your list) and place the dough balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
You can flatten the cookies with your fingers, if you like a more crisp cookie - or let the dough remain in a ball when you put it in the oven and you will end up with a more "fluffy" cookie - my personal preference.
Bake at 350° for 10-12 min. (Ten minutes if you like a more chewy cookie, twelve-ish if you like 'em crisp, like my husband.)
Allow to cool on the pan for a minute or two, because if you don't, the cookies will fall apart when you try to transfer them to the cooling rack. (Go on. Ask me how I know. On a bright side, the broken cookies have no calories, right?) Cool and then store in your favorite easy access cookie jar, because you'll be coming back to these again and again.
Inspired by this recipe from Kayotic Kitchen