renewal, part two

renewal, part two

In our previous post we talked about renewal of our commitment to newdeal kitchen, and of renewal in our personal lives as we prepare to downsize our living space from two bedrooms to one. During the packing process, we’re experiencing another form of renewal: the renewal of acquaintances with some kitchen stuff we forgot we had (which is easy to do when you have a lot of stuff).

This stuff was hidden in kitchen cabinets and in boxes stored away in our spare bedroom/storage facility, and we are so excited to find it, we are keeping it! (So much for downsizing, right?)

For example…Kathy rediscovered these Chadwick Miller bone dishes imported from Japan. She originally bought them at a local thrift store. Each dish has a different pattern, but all bear the CMI Inc gold seal. (And yes, there are similar sets on sale on Etsy.)

Set of 6 Chadwick Miller Inc. bone dishes
Bone dishes ‘n harmony.

Mike rediscovered two boxes of kitchen supplies related to a private chef career that never got off the ground. In one box was a complete place setting for four, minus the silverware but including napkins and placemats; in the other, miscellaneous gadgets, including Mike’s mise en place bag from his Bauman College days.

But the real rediscovered treasure is a box full of recipes collected by Kathy’s mother, who was quite a fabulous cook in her day, and an even better baker. The highlight of the box is a collection of recipes either handwritten or typed by “Ma” herself, usually on whatever paper was handy—even on personnel forms from JC Penney, where Ma worked part time. There are even written-out menus for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day feasts.

We’ll be sharing more about our newdeal kitchen “renewal”, including some amazing tidbits from Ma’s recipe collection, as the weeks progress. Renew on!

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our vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt!

our vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt!

Yesterday we published our traditional holiday cookie receipt. Today we have another holiday gift for you: the vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt that Mike developed this year and that was the major subject of “the cookie diaries” earlier this month.

This receipt was developed for a co-worker of Mike’s who had become a vegan earlier this year. The goal was to create a vegan, gluten-free receipt which emulated Mike’s traditional receipt. The procedure is the same: instead of chilling and rolling flat the cookie dough and then cutting it into shapes, he covers the dough and leaves it at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then the dough is shaped into balls, flattened, sprinkled with sweet red goodness, and baked.

The result: a crunchy, fluffy cookie with peppermint candy and bittersweet chocolate baked in. Non-vegans eat this cookie up, and they have been known to be hoarded by certain individuals (like Mike’s boss).

For those of you who followed the progress of this receipt, we’ve made a small but important change to the procedure: instead of using a #30 ice-cream scoop/disher (which is about 2 tablespoons), we’re using a #24 disher (which is the next size down, about 1-1/4 tablespoons). This will increase the receipt yield to about 15 cookies and make the cookie size identical to the traditional receipt.

Thanks again to everyone who followed along and liked what we did; this receipt is for you! And to everyone, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year!

Vegan, Gluten-Free Holiday Sugar Cookies with Bittersweet Chocolate and Peppermint ~ a newdeal kitchen receipt ~

  • Servings: Yields 15 cookies
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

This recipe was developed to be a vegan, gluten-free counterpart to our traditional Holiday Sugar Cookie receipt. The procedure is virtually the same; only the ingredients have been changed. No animal products of any kind are used in this receipt.

By Michael Reardon, based on a receipt by Florida Coastal Cooking & Wellness

Ingredients

1-3/4 cup gluten-free baking flour (for best results, use Bob’s Red Mill® Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour)

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup coconut oil

½ cup organic cane sugar

¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce

2 tablespoons nut milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon peppermint extract

1 tablespoon crushed peppermint candies, plus more for topping

1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate pieces

Directions

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, cream coconut oil and sugar. Add apple sauce, nut milk, vanilla, peppermint extract, and crushed peppermint candies. Blend together.
  3. Add in dry ingredients slowly and blend until batter is thick.
  4. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces until the batter is well combined.
  5. Cover the batter with a towel and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 375º.
  7. While your oven is heating up, place a sheet of parchment paper or a silicon pad on a cookie sheet.
  8. With a #30 disher/ice cream scoop, create a rounded ball of dough (approximately 1¼ tablespoons) and place it on the cookie sheet. Flatten the ball slightly with your fingers so it resembles a hockey puck.
  9. Repeat until you have approximately a dozen or so balls of dough on the cookie sheet.
  10. Add pieces of crushed peppermint candies to the top of each cookie (try to have some red stripes!).
  11. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes (or until they smell ready). Then remove, let cool several minutes, and enjoy!

Note: Bob’s Red Mill® is a trademark of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, Inc., and is used here only for informational purposes. newdeal kitchen does not have an advertising relationship with Bob’s Red Mill®.

 

our traditional holiday cookie receipt!

our traditional holiday cookie receipt!

As one of our holiday gifts to you (and to thank you all for following along with “the cookie diaries”), we’re publishing our traditional holiday cookie receipt. This receipt was developed over the last few years by Mike and Kathy, who discovered the base of the receipt on a lining paper for a cookie sheet made by “The Bake King Company”, which at the time was a brand of The Chicago Metallic Bakeware Company.

The innovation of this receipt is twofold: First, instead of refrigerating the cookie dough and then flattening and cutting out shapes, we cover the dough and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, then scoop out balls of dough onto the cookie sheet and top them with red sugar sprinkles before baking.

Second, we add two ingredients to the dough mixture which scream “holidays”–slivered almonds and Guittard’s mint chocolate chips. Combined with the altered procedure, these additional ingredients help create a fluffy, crunchy cookie that we’ve been told is “absolutely addicting”. (One of our friends tell us, “Those cookies keep calling my name.” We tell him, “Keep listening!”)

So without further ado, here is our traditional holiday cookie receipt. Enjoy, and have a happy rest of your holiday season!

(Don’t forget, tomorrow we reveal our vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt!)

Holiday Sugar Cookies with Slivered Almonds and Mint Chocolate Chips ~ a newdeal kitchen receipt ~

  • Servings: Yields 20 cookies
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

This holiday cookie receipt has been developed over several holiday seasons, and it started with a recipe we found on a paper insert for a sheet pan made by the Bake King Company. Our take on the basic receipt is to let the dough at room temperature, then to spoon on balls of dough instead of rolling it flat and cutting shapes. Oh yes, the slivered almonds and mint chocolate chips are different, too.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon lemon extract

½ cup slivered almonds

½ cup mint chocolate chips (for best results, use Guittard® Mint Chocolate Chips)

red sugar sprinkles, to taste

Directions

  1. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, cream butter and sugar. Combine vanilla and lemon extracts, beaten egg, and milk. Add to butter and sugar and blend together.
  3. Add in dry ingredients slowly and blend until batter is thick.
  4. Fold in slivered almonds and mint chocolate chips until the batter is well combined.
  5. Cover the batter with a towel and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 375º.
  7. While your oven is heating up, place a sheet of parchment paper or a silicon pad on a cookie sheet.
  8. With a  #30 disher/ice cream scoop, create a rounded ball of dough (approximately 1¼ tablespoons) and place it on the cookie sheet. Flatten the ball slightly with your fingers until it resembles a hockey puck.
  9. Repeat until you have approximately a dozen or so balls of dough on the cookie sheet.
  10. Sprinkle cookies with red sugar sprinkles to your look and taste.
  11. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes (or until they smell ready). Then remove, let cool several minutes, and enjoy!

Note: Guittard® is a registered trademark of Guittard Chocolate Company and is used here for informational purposes only. newdeal kitchen does not have an advertising relationship with Guittard Chocolate Company.

the cookie diaries: lessons learned

the cookie diaries: lessons learned

The story so far: Once Mike perfected his vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt, he turned his attention to producing batches of his traditional holiday cookies to give to family and friends. It was smooth sailing up to Traditional Batch #06…and then things got interesting. Today in the cookie diaries: lessons learned.

Another season of holiday baking is almost over, and after developing a vegan, gluten-free version of our holiday cookie (and grinding out roughly a batch a day of traditional cookies), we feel like we learned some important lessons about baking cookies and writing food blogs:

  • For vegan, gluten-free baking, our new go-to flour is Bob’s Red Mill® Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour. Once we started using it, the quality of our dough improved greatly. The secret? This flour has xanthan gum already blended in, which helps the dough achieve the stickiness that gluten provides to traditional flours. (Note: This is a free plug for Bob’s Red Mill®; we don’t have any advertising relationship with them.)
  • Be ready to improvise and always have backups: this was the lesson of Traditional Blend #06. First, we constructed the batter only to realize we had forgotten to buy one of the ingredients; luckily, we found enough in the freezer to be able to continue. Second, the plastic ice-cream scoop we’ve been using for years SNAPPED IN TWO while making the balls of dough; however, we were able to find another ice-cream scoop to complete the process.
  • Finally, after almost a year of blogging, we realize we have a lot to learn—and a lot to be grateful for. Thanks to all who have followed our progress and have liked what we’ve done. We liked the “diaries” format so much, we’re going to continue to use it—there are more receipts to come!

(Don’t forget…tomorrow we reveal our traditional cookie receipt—a holiday gift to you!)

the cookie diaries, day eight

the cookie diaries, day eight

The story so far: Now that Mike has come up with a vegan, gluten-free version of his holiday cookie receipt, it’s time to start making cookies with his traditional holiday receipt. We’re talking a lot of cookies…like 41, to be exact. Today in the cookie diaries: Traditional Batches #01 and #02.

Mike has baked these cookies and given them out as holiday presents for several years, and his mission this time is to make enough cookies to send back to family members in the Midwest. The traditional receipt is based on an old sugar cookie recipe, but with significant changes.

(Don’t forget…if you’ve been following along with our cookie diaries, your reward will come on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when we reveal Mike’s holiday cookie receipts!)

Baking this first batch was pretty much like getting back on a bicycle after a long time away. Plus, working on the vegan, gluten-free receipt got Mike up to speed on the basic procedure, which is pretty much the same for both receipts.

The only real drama in the batch came when Mike applied a new brand of red sugar sprinkles to the top of the cookies before putting them into the oven; they seemed to bounce off of the dough and all over the cookie sheet.

Mike knew he was back on familiar ground when he began to smell that old aroma…that smell of love, of comfort, of home. Of the holidays.

Out of the oven, the new red sprinkles looked (and tasted) great.

Mike’s using a slighly smaller ice-cream scoop for the traditional cookies, so the yield is somewhat greater: Traditional Batch #01 was 20 cookies; Traditional Batch #02 was 21. More than enough to send back home.

Now it’s full production mode: a batch or even two every day until Christmas. Good times.

 

 

the cookie diaries, day seven

the cookie diaries, day seven

The story so far: Mike is keeping a running diary of his holiday cookie efforts. Right now, he’s on a mission to create a vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt that emulates his traditional receipt. Today in the cookie diaries: Vegan Batch #06.

Let’s head straight for Mike’s notes:

“Vegan Batch #06: Made with ingredients and procedure of working receipt, just as confirmation that THIS is the receipt.

“The oven has been set to 375º. Confirmed!

“Dough is resting comfortably. Worked together very nicely.

“I took a lot more care with shaping the balls of dough, trying to make sure they had the right balance of chocolate pieces and not too many chunks of peppermint candy. The dough handled very well, and now’s the time to put on the crushed peppermint candy topping and then put it in the oven.

“I also took greater care in placing the pieces of crushed peppermint candy on top of the cookies. I placed the big chunks directly on top where they could be seen. I also tried to make sure there was some of the red striping on each cookie. Finally, I sprinkled some of the candy dust on the cookies.

“This batch yielded 11 normal-sized cookies and one slightly smaller squib (which got extra peppermint pieces as compensation).

“They’re in the oven now. All appendages crossed.

The-Cookie-Diaries-7-Low
The low, artsy view of the finished cookies. Note how the peppermint candy melts into the crust.

“Out of the oven, they look and smell great. The toothpick test confirms they are DONE. Now to let them cool…

“Five minutes cool, and they are very good. Not too sweet, not too strong on the peppermint or the chocolate. It’s moist and chewy, not grainy; the peppermint pieces give it a little crunch factor.

“Kathy the Chief Taster has already eaten three as of the morning after. I guess she likes them.

“I’ll be taking this batch to work tomorrow, making my vegan co-worker (and my boss) very happy.

“THIS is the vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt I’ve been looking for.

“Now it’s production time. I have 42 traditional cookies to bake and pack for shipment by Friday.

“We’re just getting started.”

the cookie diaries, day six

the cookie diaries, day six

The story so far: Mike is keeping a running diary of his holiday cookie efforts. Right now, he’s on a mission to create a vegan, gluten-free holiday cookie receipt that emulates his traditional receipt. Today in the cookie diaries: Vegan Batch #05.

“Vegan Batch #05: Made with CORRECT ingredients from base receipt, plus 1+ Tablespoon crushed peppermint candies, 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, and 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate pieces.

“This time we’re trying for much less chocolate. I’m using only 1/3 cup of semisweet chocolate pieces, which are smaller than the dark chocolate chips in used Vegan Batch #04. The dough mixed well—even the crushed peppermint candies played nice.

“The batch yielded 11 normal sized cookies and one smaller squib. The dough seemed stickier than the other batches.

“I’m definitely not getting the overwhelming chocolate aroma this time. There actually seems to be more of a peppermint aroma.

“Out of the oven, they look a little paler than user, but they smell great. Just gonna let them cool for a few minutes…

After cooling five minutes: it’s chewy and moist. The big chunks of peppermint candy on top may be off-putting—we’ll see. But this baker thinks it’s a pretty good cookie.

“Later that evening, Kathy the Chief Taster liked it, but I’m having second thoughts. Somehow it tastes like the cookies weren’t completely baked.

“I took a batch to my day job. My vegan co-worker liked them (again) but said they tasted a bit ‘flour-y’—which makes me think this batch may have been a bit underbaked.

“My boss, however, loved it. ‘You can bring me a platter of those any time,’ she said.

“So, for all intents and purposes, we’re there. We have our vegan, gluten-free cookie receipt. Just have to use the correct ingredients and the correct procedure (and maybe small pieces of peppermint candy) on the next batch to confirm.”