Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Day 25 – Merry Christmas! – Toasted Coconut, Almond and Dark Chocolate Cookies

Well, we made it to Day 25 and we did what we said we’d do, bake at least 1 cookie recipe from scratch each day (30 total recipes).  We never kept an exact count, but I estimate over 1,200 cookies, around 35 sticks of butter, 40+ cups of white and brown sugar combined, 75+ cups of flour/oats and lots of other fun stuff that we shouldn’t consume in such large quantities.

After yesterday’s Holiday fun, I decided to make a cookie that I knew Beth and I would enjoy.  I chose three ingredients that are among our favorites and fairly healthy; Coconut (Toasted for extra flavor), Almonds and Dark Chocolate.  We obviously subbed Almonds for Pecans and these combined for a yummy ending!

The elves made one last run at the Cookie Joy.  We shared a large assortment of cookies for “Room at the Inn”, which is a program that our church helps support, where those in need are given a warm meal and time for fellowship in a safe and comforting environment.  Thanks to Ann Fields for making this happen.

Delivered a little Joy to a few neighbors and a small assortment to Mom when we visited for the afternoon.  We’ll share some cookies over the next few days, but this was the perfect ending with a nice mix of our closest family, folks we know and folks we’ll never know.

Now, the obvious question is what have we learned? 

- We learned how to follow-through on a simple commitment, even when the days are long and the task seems meaningless. 
- It’s always helpful to make your commitment public.  This was a great motivator and kept us going on several tired nights.
- Our friends don’t comment on blogs!  I know we had some technical difficulties early on, but come on people!!!  We committed the time and effort every day for 25 days.  We delivered cookies to dozens of you and we only had 6 comments.
- As much fun as it is to eat cookies, it really has been more fun to share them.  It’s great telling people about the different varieties and seeing their smiles of appreciation.
- Every one of us has many concerns and worries that we deal with every day.  Whether it’s our closest family or friends, the people from our neighborhood or church who we think we’re in touch with or that person walking down the street that we’re not quite comfortable making eye contact with; a simple gesture can provide a little hope and some Cookie Joy.  I hope we can all find a way to keep it going after today.

Thanks for joining us.  Please enjoy the rest of your Holiday and know that there will be no cookies baked in the Robinson house for some time!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Day 24 – Homemade Iced Christmas Cutout Cookies

Okay we had to stick with our Christmas Eve tradition and make Homemade Iced Christmas Cutout Cookies.  The kids have always enjoyed this or at least acted like they enjoy it.  We broke from tradition slightly this year, the cookies are from scratch because that is what this whole adventure was about – cookies from scratch.  

We searched a bit this morning for the right recipe and settled in on one that had over 5000 reviews and the title “The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies”– we figured we’d be okay.  John prepared the dough and, just to keep our math skills sharp, he reduced the quantities by 25% (he and Logan confirmed the accuracy).  I was the official dough roller (using Grandma R’s rolling pin).  The rolling pin is great, the roller (Beth) wasn’t getting them thin enough.  There is a balance there between getting them too thin which results in burning and breaking to too thick, but most of ours are a bit thick.

Regardless, they turned our great and after a few scuffles, the creativity started flowing and we ended up with some really fun designs (at least by our standards!). 

It was a cold, rainy day, but the elves were out and about.  We delivered two dozen cookies and half of a chocolate cake to the Charlotte Rescue Mission.  We saw an article last year asking for homemade treats for their Christmas meal and decided to take some down.  Today was our second time, so we hope a tradition is starting.  For more info on the good work of the Mission visit, http://charlotterescuemission.org

We had a few extra cookies in the car (after 24 days and hundreds of cookies, they seem to be with us all the time!), so on the way home, we stopped at Hospitality House of Charlotte.  The HH provides shelter for out-of-town families while their loved ones receive treatment at nearby hospitals, so they could certainly use some Cookie Joy.  For more info, visit http://hospitalityhouseofcharlotte.org/Default.asp

Finally, we ended the night out our Christmas Eve service at SPCC and shared some of today’s batch with JT and Zeb and hopefully some of the other kids at church.

Tomorrow will clearly be anti-climactic after today’s efforts, but it’s Day 25 so we will bake cookies one more time.  Sleep good.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day 23 – White Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies

After a full day of family activities we settled into the kitchen to bake today’s batch of White Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies.  This was one of the recipes we found early in this adventure and it had been on our list for a while.  I think we held off on these only because they are festive and we wanted to make them close to Christmas.

These were any easy cookie to make with a nice taste, like yesterday not too heavy on the peppermint.  A festive blend of sweet and peppermint.  I also like the bits of red and white in the cookies, although I noticed that we crushed our candy cane finer than was recommended by the photo on the original recipe.

The elves spread the Cookie Joy to the Crums and Baileys and shared a few with the Englishs.  The end is in sight, so we hope to finish strong.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Day 22 – Three Cookie Saturday! - Olive Oil Cookies (with Rosemary and Red Wine), Toffee (Brickle) Drop Cookies and Candy Cane Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s Saturday, not only is it Saturday but it’s the Saturday before Christmas so we need a Saturday before Christmas type of cookie.  So we are going with Olive Oil Cookies, not only do they feature olive oil, but also rosemary which turned out nicely in a cookie early in this adventure, and we finally worked red wine into the mix.

I again went with half the batch just not knowing what I was getting into.  The batter tasted great but seemed way too runny so I added some more flour.  It was still pretty runny, not your typical cookie dough when I put the first one in the oven.  I learned from the other day – I tested one by itself first.  It came out, cake-like with a purplish tint.  I may have used more rosemary than the recipe called for but we like rosemary, so we’re okay with that.

This cookie is uniquely yummy.  Not too sweet but I got all three flavors mentioned above:  rosemary, olive oil and red wine.  I used a Coppola Merlot we had.  The kitchen smelled wonderful while these cookies were baking, the aroma was like we were baking homemade bread.

Before Beth started drinking wine at noon (JK, JK) I wanted to get a quick and easy batch in to help our numbers.  We haven’t made anything with toffee bits, so that’s where I headed.

I started with the recipe on the package and it makes a LOT of cookies.  We baked well over 100 of these and the only adjustment I made was to swap one cup of oats for 1 cup of AP flour.  These always turn out well, crunchy and sweet, and a good start to a long day of baking.

Needed to be more creative in the afternoon, so I went back to the recipes we’d researched from the beginning of this journey.  Beth found this recipe that featured candy cane Oreo cookies and it sounded really fun.  As you might imagine, I’m not going to go out and buy a packaged cookie after baking our own for the last 22 days! 

It turns out we have a pack of regular (Reduced Fat) Oreo cookies, so I grabbed 6 of those and found 8 Hershey Peppermint Kisses.  I chopped these and added them to the core recipe and the outcome was exciting. 

I’m not a huge fan of peppermint; but this modest amount, combined with the Oreos and chocolate chips created a refreshing mix.  These were one of my biggest surprises of the last 3 weeks.  I will definitely make them again.

The elves were out in force, delivering Joy to the Iversons, Whalens and Poynters.  Much more work to be done over the next few days, so be ready.