Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Great Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Showdown

Ok "The Great" might be a bit much. And "Showdown" is maybe a little unrealistic. It wasn't like I drew a line in the flour a la that scene in the movie Hook and told the cookies that they can either be delicious or delicious-er a la the movies in my head. That would be weird because cookies making choices and my mind movies and whatever. But it's a moot point. Because that's exactly how this showdown went...down?

In this corner of my flour dusted counter, weighing in at a modest 133 calories and making the world an animal friendlier place, one block of firm tofu at a time is The Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookie.

"I make my own clothes out of synthetic fabrics!"
-Vegan Oatmeal Cookie's Senior Quote

Because I think Vegan cookies are interesting (I wanted to say exotic like in the same way the elderly refer to everyone not white as "exotic" but it's too soon or something?), I'm going to share the recipe with you.

*many hyphens were harmed in the making of this book

I lifted this recipe from Tofu 1-2-3: 125 East-to-Prepare Cholesterol-Free Recipes because if you know anything about me, you know I have a tofu-centric cook book in my possession. Duh.

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup rice milk
1/4 cup silken tofu
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup of raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookies sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl with a wire whisk. Add oats and sugar and stir more. In a food process, combine oil, maple syrup, rice milk, tofu, and vanilla and puree til smooth. Pour liquids into the dry stuff and stir. Add raisins. Chill.
3. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to rack. Profit.

How exotic!

Shit was crazy easy to make, by the way. And they came out insanely perfect. I added a little extra sprinkle of cinnamon because I like to jazz things up/I wanted my kitchen to smell better/I think adding things to recipes makes me seem mad knowledgeable. Taste wise - not too shabby. I was surprised with both the consistency and the fact that I didn't notice the missing butter and eggs. Way to go, Vegans. I still think yall are batshit crazy but you know, your cookies can be okay.

I expected vegan oatmeal raisin batter to look much more resentful.

But this wouldn't be a showdown if there wasn't some competition.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking this is a done deal, yo. Other dude shouldn't even show up. You're also thinking I am the perfect height to be an arm rest for most full grown men. There you are correct. The former, however, is what I like to call "jumping to cookie conclusions before giving the animal product using cookies a chance." Yeah. I like to call it that.

So let me introduce the challenger...

Continuing with the overdone, cliche at best use of boxing terminology, weighing in at you-don't-want-to-know and sporting a mean chunky salt topping is The Salty Oatmeal Raisin Cookie.

"I rob animals of their goods on the regular!"
-Salted Oatmeal Raisin Cookie's Senior Quote

I first had a salted oatmeal raisin cookie when I was a carefree youth on the mean streets of NW Washington D.C. I had stopped off at Marvelous Market (thug life) after school with my mom to pick up my favorite Caprese Sandwich (hood shit, yo) and maybe a nice challah or some french bread with olive dip and a Perrier (I've run out of impressive street lingo) when a cookie by the register caught my eye. A monster salted oatmeal raisin beauty. It was probably one of the top 10 single things I've ever eaten. So I sought out to recreate it.

I settled up my debt at Williams-Sonoma the old-fashioned way,
with an IOU note for my firstborn son.

This recipe came from the Williams-Sonoma baking book I just purchased. It was a little different that other recipes I've come across as it asked you to melt the butter in a skillet first. Then you proceed by mixing in the remaining ingredients by hand. The not so obvious differences from the Vegan cookie included the use of nutmeg and brown sugar instead of white.

Common misconception: The Vegan substitute for butter is sand.

These smelled hands down 100x better than the Vegan cookies. Like, if you're into that sorta thing. To give them that little extra salty kick, I topped them with this fancy pants finishing salt I bought at Williams-Sonoma (I only spent a million dollars there is what I'm getting at). Popped those bitches in the oven and BOOM. Incredz.

Common misconception #2: Oatmeal Raisin Cookie batter
can replace your every daily need.

But to compare the two is pretty hard. The regular cookies flatted a bit more than I wanted while the Vegan ones kept a really lovely shape. They look just about perfect. The regular cookies are much more home-made in appearance. But man. The salt. I added extra salt to half of the Vegan cookies too and it just makes such an incredible difference. I highly suggest topping your oatmeal raisin cookies with chunky salt. Shit is unreeeeeeeeeal.


Salted Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. The vegan cookies are surprisingly good but the consistency is a little spongier than I'm used to. The salted cookies are really delicious. So salty. So wonderfully spiced.
EASE: Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. I've found that any cookie recipe that involves a food processor is way easier than any cookie recipe that does not. I don't really know how to justify this argument but it's my blog, not yours, and beat it.
FILTH OF KITCHEN: Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. It helped that they had like 9 more ingredients to deal with. And sloppy ingredients at that.
DID THE DOG EAT THE DOUGH: It's official. My dog does not like to hang out in this kitchen while I bake. It's a real drag because it means I have to mop the floor now.
IMPRESS-O-METER: It's almost a toss up here. On one hand, Vegan Cookies are pretentious and the Impress-O-Meter was birthed from pretension. But on the other hand, I topped those other guys with finishing salt. Finishing salt. What can I say, I'm 100% impressive 80-93% of the time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


In case you had any doubts, I'm a total Jew. Case in point: I wanted to try baking bread today for the first time. What was my go-to bread recipe? Challah. Because duh. Also, if you said "matzoh," go fuck yourself. No seriously. Not only do I have ample unemployed time to watch my bread rise (sorry Jewz of Pharoh times, that must've suuuuuucked), but I have serious beef with matzoh.

**This is where I'm going to go off on matzoh for a sec in a slightly smaller font so as not to be a bother...
hold on to your seats**

Ok. Matzoh. Here's my ish with matzoh: non-Jews think it's incredible. When your high school sets out matzoh in the cafeteria around Passover because your high school gets it, you know who is the first in line to make matzoh PB&J sandwiches? Non-Jews. And when you causally bring up that you're a Jew and Passover is totally your jam, who pipes up about their love for matzoh? You got it. Non-Jews. Because non-Jews are the only people in the world who can't get enough of matzoh. Probably because they haven't been forced to get enough of matzoh yet. Give them time.

Here's the thing, non-Jews: matzoh tastes fucking terrible. It's not up for debate. It's not supposed to taste good. It's supposed to taste a little like guilt, a little like sadness, and a lot like cardboard. Jews escaping from Pharoh did not eat matzoh because it appealed to their palates. No. They ate it because they were too busy escaping horribleness to wait for their bread to rise and it tasted slightly better than sand and helped them starve less in the desert.

**This is where I stop going off on matzoh.
I feel better now. Thanks.**

So that time I went off on people who like matzoh for 2 paragraphs was kiiiiinda weird. Anyways. Challah! The bread non-Jews should really being going nuts for! AMIRIGHT?

If you're not familiar with challah, get with it already. It's a supremely delicious egg-y bread that's sorta similar in taste to brioche. It's sweet without being dessert-y. It's downright gluttonous when spread with butter and insane as french toast. (See: egg-y sugar-y egg bread doused with more egg and smothered with syrup. Also see: duh.) And it's braided so it's totally adorable.

Frank and I getting down to business in the kitchen.
(I'm the cute one.)

Of course, being the idiot I am, I decided that the first bread recipe I tackle be one that incorporates braiding dough. Turns out it's not as easy as braiding my hair. Which is weird because my hair often has the consistency of wet dough. Hmm.

But it was still kinda fun. It's something that clearly takes practice and a little know-how but hot damn, SO CUTE.


But hey, I'm totally getting ahead of myself here. The recipe started with me dissolving some yeast and some sugar. Exciting!

Then I whisked in oil, more sugar, and 4 eggs, one by one. I decided to hand whisk it instead of using my insane monster KitchenAid Pro Mega Destroyer 3000 XXX because A) that thing means BUSINESS and challah is like a delicate buttercup and B) I skipped going to yoga in order to make this bread which means girlfriend needed some serious exercise but didn't do that either and instead pretended that vigorous mixing was "exercise." Also C) I live in a dream world.

My right arm's sore/totally toned now.

Then I added 8 cups of flour. Eight is so many cups of flour! I got mad egg yolk/vegetable oil/yeast/sugar/flour on my shirt which was cool except that it looked pretty obscene.

Hey egg yolk/vegetable oil/yeast/sugar/flour mixtue: ew. Also: inappropriate.

It was fun/filthy/fun. I kneaded it brutally like a lady and let it sit for an hour as it expanded to twice its size.

It's like one of those dinosaur sponges except not at all because it actually works and doesn't ruin your entire day because it's a letdown like everything else in your childhood.

Blah blah blah, a little more resting, a little more assaulting. Then I split the dough in half (the recipe was for two loaves), kneaded some raisins into one loaf, and then got myself totally psyched for some bread braiding.

This is gearing up to look like something I'll be a natural at!
(I was not a natural at this.)

I'll be the first to admit it, my first loaf came out pretty stumpy. Whatevs. Still totally adorable and that's my number one requirement for all the food I eat. (Interesting note: it was at about this time that I was shocked that I didn't think to make mini challahs. That would have been the quintessential adorable Molly food makeover move. Next time.)

"Next time, I'll braid your hair!"
- Challah Loaf

Since I threw some raisins in the second loaf, I decided to keep it real after braiding it and form the loaf into a circle. Raisin-y circle-y challah loaves are mostly eaten around Rosh Hashana time to represent the cycle of a year and to bring a little sweetness into the new year. (Jew talk.) Also because raisins are my new favorite food. No joke.

"Have you met us? We're raisins, Molly's new favorite food and we are no joke."
- The Raisins in my Raisin Challah Loaf

Blah blah blah I had to throw the loaves in the freezer because I had dinner plans because I am important I am really cool I am a social butterfly everyone wants a piece of me my dad invited me out to dinner. When I got home, I took my little lovelies out of the freezer and let them thaw for 4 hours. (NO BIG DEAL.)

Next up was the second coat of whisked egg (I left out mentioning the first coat because it was just as boring as that time I brought up the second coat a few words ago) and a sprinkling of poppy seeds on the regular loaf. THEN CAME HEAVEN.

Holy shit. I am going to make the world's best wife/mother/first female president.



4.7/5 > Even though the raisin loaf may be a tinge overdone, these taste outrageously good. I went so far as to email my mother at 2am to tell her how good these taste because I can't keep my awesome to myself/I suffer from insomnia.
EASE: 2.5/5 > It's not so much that it's hard to make challah, it's just hard to make it perfect. The braiding isn't difficult but it will certainly get easier. Also, the dough itself is incredibly easy to make.
FILTH OF KITCHEN: 10/5 > The dough attacked me (dayenu!), there's flour everywhere (dayenu!), there's bread everywhere (dayenu!), there's everything everywhere (dayenu!). Do you see what I did there with that cleverly placed Jew joke?
DID THE DOG EAT THE DOUGH: Frank was mysteriously absent from this exciting introduction to bread baking. I think he was exhausted/emotionally distraught after I walked him to the grocery store and tied him up outside so I could buy some eggs. I'm pretty sure part of him died inside. He was really banking on riding in the grocery cart. :(
IMPRESS-O-METER: 1000/5 > I made braided challah, motherfuckers.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Care Packages | Ho-Ho's and Pies


Let's be real for a second, guys. Can we be real? Are we in the RealZone now? You're not familiar with the RealZone? It's like an arena of truth. That's centrally located on my couch. Welcome, guys. Welcome to my RealZone (couch).

Oh, nice to see you guys here. Took you forever. Anyways, here's the thing. I had this harebrained idea the other day about my future. This isn't out of the ordinary. I have silly ideas all the time. But this one almost seems doable. I want to, one day, open my own itty bitty bakery. I have some little twists that make my bakery idea adorable and awesome but I'm going to keep those a secret because even though we're in the RealZone, I don't trust a single one of you fuckers. Anyways, this exercise in care-packaging was just so I could try out some fun recipes I half-made up and see how shipping chocolate things works out.

(Hey at least my harebrained idea isn't as absurd as's thesaurus entry for a harebrained idea: "a completely mad scheme to build a bridge between two mountains." That's fucking mad crazy.)

Now get out of my RealZone and let's talk about baking.


GUYS. I'm pretty sure I suffered from some minor diabetic shock last night. I was just wrapping up the final batch of Ho-Ho's and getting along to writing some notes. I was staring at my computer when the room started spinning. I don't know about you guys, but that only happens to me on Tuesdays and some Saturdays. (Tuesday is the new Saturday is the new every day of the week when you're unemployed, guys.) I think that's what happens when you surround yourself with red velvet cake, cream cheese frosting, and melted chocolate glaze for two days straight. That and you look fat. (Unrelated: I need to go to the gym.)

Mmmm. Tastes like thunder thighs and dizziness!
Just like Ma Hostess used to make!

But let's take a step back. Back to where this all started.

I've made normal Ho-Ho's before but the frosting in the recipe I used was horribly sweet. Sorta gross. So I thought, hey, these would be way cuter if they were red on the inside and I'd spread cream cheese frosting all over my face if it was socially acceptable (one day!). Why not make some red velvet cake Ho-Ho's? With cream cheese frosting? WHY NOT, I said.

So I did.

I'd be lying if I said it isn't the blood of a
virginal ox that makes Red Velvet Cake taste so good.

Making Ho-Ho's is all about technique. You have to make sure the cakes aren't at all over baked which is tough because you're baking them on a cookie sheet. Bitches gonna be thin.

Red like your pent up rage. Velvety like those fabulous curtains in the den.

Then, as I learned after much trial and error, you have to cut that cake in it's thinner. This, by the way, is not very easy to do. Especially if the cake is at all over-baked. (Basically, if the cake is over-baked you've let down everyone you know. This goes back generations.)

Unfortunately, I took these pictures before figuring out a better technique but you get the gist anyways. You either ice that sucker as one big sheet and cut it up or cut it up and ice it. The latter makes a thousand times more sense when you get into the thick of things.

This is lose-your-left-hand diabetes material.
(Worth it.)

The rolling is a crapshoot. Sometimes it's perfect. Sometimes it looks like I'm making a hilarious joke where perfect Ho-Ho's are the butt and I pretend to be better than them even though all I want in the world is to sit at their table at lunch. Sigh.


Finally, you dunk your little rolled cakes into melty chocolate. Using your hands. Using both your hands. Let's skip to the point: I had chocolate all over me. You know how you think melted chocolate all over someone is like, oh I don't know, sexy? Well, it isn't. It's fucking disgusting. You can't do anything. Nothing. You can't touch the sink to wash your hands. You can't even use your elbow to turn on the sink because even your elbow is covered in chocolate. WHY IS YOUR ELBOW COVERED IN CHOCOLATE? In summary: you will never be clean again.

But, if you play your cards right, you do end up with something as beautiful as this...

The Hostess people have started throwing bricks through my windows.
Bricks attached to more bricks.

This is getting so long! Sorry! That's what happens when you start out in the RealZone!

I made various mini pies too that I won't go into detail about. (It's called making a mini pie with lattice crust. Your grandma could do it if your grandma had tiny nimble fingers like mine and if your grandma didn't talk so much smack about you like EVERYDAY, yo.)

I made apple pies, peach pies, and mango/kiwi pies. Oh the pies I made!
Your girlfriend called. She said she's never going to be like me and you
should stop drawing big hearts in your notebook around 'Mr. Molly Wilkof' already.

Remember those neato oversized cross-section books that always had the hidden guy taking a dump somewhere in the scene? Here's a similar cross-section of the beauty that'll be arriving at people's doorsteps between noon and 3pm tomorrow...There's no dude taking a dump in there so you can stop looking for him. Also, what the fuck was up with that anyways?

Mini pies are capital 'B' Booming, guys.


5/5 > Incredible. Nothing has ever tasted better in the history of things being tasted.
EASE: 1/5 > Instead of sewing wallets, sweatshops should make kids roll up Ho-Ho's so they could really appreciate the meaning of hard work.
FILTH OF KITCHEN: 5/5 > The melted chocolate debacle of 2010 will go down in history as super gross. As will all the other crap still strewn about the kitchen. I think my dog may have icing on him. Not sure.
DID THE DOG EAT IT THE DOUGH: When he wasn't giving me the cold shoulder last night, Frank was most certainly eating the dough. Which was great because it got everywhere and looked a little like blood and so it's a good thing he helped clean up the murder scene kitchen.
IMPRESS-O-METER: 10/5 > I would now like to quote a Twitter Direct Message from the one and only Josh Kenner: "i didn't know that hohos are a thing that people can actually make at home. this will be an adventure." You're damn right, Josh. You're damn right.

Last little note: I'm totally stoked about the 100% likelihood of
the Ho-Ho's melting in transport. Things might get sloppy. We'll see. They're going to Maryland, Virginia, Oregon, and Colorado. Extra big pie packages are going to Georgia and South Carolina because they don't allow Ho-Ho's there. For real.