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AUTUMN inspired COOKIE jar {3 recipes}


Scenic Fall brings me inspiration and a reminder to slow down.
It's with this embrace that I'm coaxed into baking cookies again.



Nature’s stunning Fall colors, aromas and textures elate me.
I actually can become very forgiving of the undesired extra chill in the air.
It does quickly remind us that Winter is quickly setting itself up for a roar in our direction.


Fortunately, slowing down the pace a little can lead us to surprising treats.



When a few experimental baking tweaks turn cookies less sinful...
my healthy heart and hips are grateful for these efforts.

Dried fruits...apricots, raisins and my cherished cranberries have all been...
hanging around to be validated into something crunchy and delectable.
Chocolate is also never far behind.  
It’s an ingredient that certainly can excite me about any recipe.
Nuts, of course, figure prominently in most of my baked goods, therefore...
surely, a cookie recipe is usually a wide invitation to a multitude of nut varieties.



This is what inspires me during the start of chillier months.
No longer capable of truly sitting around outdoors..
I’m indirectly inspired and pushed indoors to warm up the oven.



FALL color inspired COOKIE jar 
The following first two recipes were originated by others, however...
with time, they soon became very much my own.  
Hope you get the chance to adapt these recipes to please you as well ;o)

The last cookie is purely a creation put together while fooling around in the kitchen.  
At times, it does succeed on the very first try.  
Ohh...how I wish I had many more of those moments.  

Here's sharing 3 cookies which may one day also find their way to your baking sheets.  

***

CHOCOLATE banana PEANUT butter OATS cookie
Initially adapted from this recipe.
This is one of my latest takes on a classic peanut butter chocolate cookie.  
Chocolate along with ripened bananas worked together to create soft, cake-like tasty treats.
The flavour of peanut butter does not over-power the rest of the ingredients.

Makes about 32 cookies.

Click HERE for a PRINTER version of this recipe



INGREDIENTS:
(American / Metric measures)
. 1/4 cup / 1/2 stick (60ml) unsalted butter, softened
. 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar, packed
. 1/3 cup (70g) granulated sugar
. 1/4 cup (60ml) Peanut butter, softened
. 2 large eggs
. 1 cup (250ml) {2 medium, overripe} bananas
. 1 Tbsp. (15ml) vanilla extract
. 1-1/2 cups (225g) All-purpose flour
. 1/2 cup (50g) premium, Cocoa powder
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) baking soda
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) salt
. 1 cup (90g) rolled oats, flakes
. optional garnish: peanuts and/ or a few dried apricots



PREPARATION:
Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4...for later on.
Position rack on the 2nd level from the bottom of the oven.
Prepare two large baking sheets to be lined with parchment paper.

1. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream together the first 4 ingredients.  Now, add the next 3 ingredients.  Continue beating until everything is well combined.  Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the next 4 ingredients.   Add this mix gradually into the butter mixture. Afterwards, with a strong spatula, add the oat flakes last.  
3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (over night is fine also).  If baking soon...pre-heat oven now.
4. With the aid of a small ice-cream scoop (flat measurement) and a spatula, roughly scoop and form 16 rounded mounds of dough per cookie sheet.  Arrange them about 2 inches (5cm) apart. 
5. Bake one tray at the time for about 15 minutes.  Once out of the oven, leave them on the sheet for 5 more minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.  Let them cool at room temperature before eating or storing.
6. Meanwhile...the first batch of cookies are baking, repeat the process for the next tray.  
...If desired, place the optional decorative garnishes:  The apricots are sliced in half and then lengthwise. Cut again twice within each half lengthwise and being careful not to cut to the end.  Press the garnish into the dough and fan the tips slightly.  The peanuts can be placed in any direction and lightly pressed in.
. Afterwards, the cookies can either be stored in an airtight container for about a week or frozen in batches within the parchment papers which were used for baking.  Slip into a freezer bag and use within three months.  Once out of the freezer, leave them out at room temperature for 15 minutes or lightly warm them in the oven for a few minutes on very low heat.  Enjoy.


***

Here is my version of a very popular cookie:



CHOCOLATE chip NUT cookie

(NO electric beater required)

Makes 32 standard size cookies


Printer version



INGREDIENTS:
(American / Metric measures)

. 1/2 cup /1 stick (120g) unsalted butter, (divided)
. 1/4 cup (60ml) grapeseed oil
. 1/4 cup (55g) granulated sugar
. 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar, packed
. 1 tsp. (5ml) sea salt
. 1 xLarge egg
. 1 xLarge egg yolk
. 2 tsp. (10ml) pure Vanilla extract
. 1-3/4 cup (225g) all-purpose flour
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) baking soda
. 1 cup (180g) bittersweet (65-70%) chocolate chipits
. 1/2 cup (60g) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped




PREPARATION:
. Pre-heat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5.
. Position the rack in the center of the oven.
. Prepare 2 large, Silicone or parchment lined baking sheets.

1. In a small pot, melt the initial 1/4 cup (60g) of butter on MEDIUM heat.  Swirl the pot until the butter is lightly golden brown (about 5 minutes).  Close the heat and set the pot aside.  Add in the remaining butter as well as the oil.  Let it cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare and set aside:  In a large bowl, add the brown sugar, and salt.  Then, also in a medium bowl, prepare the flour and baking soda.   
Assembly:
4. Add the cooled, melted butter to the sugar mix.  Use a sturdy whisk to combine everything.  Add the eggs and  vanilla extract.  and combine again.
5. Then, add the flour mix all at once.  Use a sturdy spatula to combine everything just until all traces of flour disappear.
6. Use a tablespoon or better yet...use a medium size (#30) ice-cream scoop to properly portion about 16 cookies.    Press the paste into the scoop, level and release.  Place them evenly apart onto a cookie sheet. 
7. BAKE them for no more than 10 minutes.  Remove the cookies from the oven and let them rest on the pan for no more than 5 minutes before transferring them onto a rack.  REPEAT.
Storing: These cookies will be ready to eat within the hour.  Leave them covered in a plastic container for up to a week or so.  Otherwise, freeze them into parchment or wax paper, then into an airtight plastic freezer bag.  They never freeze solid, therefore, get them out for about 15 minutes and they'll be ready to serve.  Or, Lightly re-warming the cookies will bring out the freshness.

***
With all these goodies in my pantry...
this rustic cookie really envelops how I feel about Autumn.



 rustic NUT and FRUIT cookie 
SPELT rocher
yields about 40 cookies
So many ingredients are interchangeable in this recipe...
don't hesitate to make this cookie your own.

Click HERE for a PRINTER version of this recipe


INGREDIENTS:
(American / Metric measures)
Wet mix:
. 1/2 cup /1 stick (125ml) unsalted butter
. 1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar, packed
. 1/4 cup (55g) granulated sugar
. 1 Tbsp. (15ml) vanilla extract
. 1/2 cup (125ml) unsweetened applesauce
. 2 large eggs
Flour and Flakes mix:
. 2 cups (260g) unbleached All-purpose flour
. 1-1/2 cups (90g) rolled Spelt, flakes*
. 1 tsp. (5ml) baking soda
. 1 Tbsp. (15ml) ground cinnamon
. 1/2 tsp. (5ml) salt
Nuts mix:
. 1/2 cup (90g) sunflower seeds
. 1/2 cup (70g) pumpkin seeds
. 1/2 cup (65g) hazelnuts, lightly pre-roasted
. 1/2 cup (85g) walnuts, coarsely chopped
Fruits (dried) mix:
. 1/2 cup (120g) dried cranberries
. 1/2 cup (110g) / (about 10) dried apricots, coarsely chopped
. 1/2 cup (120g) raisins
* Spelt flakes: can easily be completely replaced by either Kamut flakes or rolled Oats.


PREPARATION:
Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4
Position rack on the 2nd level from the bottom of the oven.
Prepare two large baking sheets to be lined with parchment paper.

1. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream together the first 4 ingredients.  Add the applesauce and the eggs.  Continue beating until everything is well combined.  Set aside.
2. In a separate, medium bowl, mix together the flour and flakes mix.   Add this gradually into the wet mixture and combine.  
3. Afterwards, with a strong spatula, fold in both the nuts and dried fruits.  Combine well until there are no traces of flour.
4. Make small-medium mounds of cookie dough, enough to place 20 per baking tray.
5. BAKE one tray at the time for about 18-20 minutes.  If you desire to have flatter cookie shapes...gently, press down with a fork and bake for about 13-15 minutes.  Once out of the oven, transfer them to a wire rack as soon as possible.  Let them cool at room temperature before eating or storing.
6. Afterwards, the cookies can either be stored in an airtight container for about a week or frozen in batches within the parchment papers which were used for baking.  Slip into a freezer bag and use within three months.  Once out of the freezer, leave them out at room temperature for 15 minutes or lightly warm them in the oven for a few minutes on very low heat.  Enjoy.




Did I inspire you to invite a few more treats to your cookie collection?

Just remember, no matter how healthy we try making these treats...the calories do unfortunately pile up.  Let's help each other be reasonable.  Who am I kidding...I've already polished 3 cookies as I finished off this post. Shhh...let this be our little secret.  I never did say I do willpower very well ;o)


Have a blessed week everyone.
Ciao for now and flavourful baking wishes,
Foodessa


Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com


Go HERE for more SWEET creations.




Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.