November 28, 2012
If you’re 40 or younger, go do something youthful for a minute. I need to talk to women nibbling at mid-life and beyond. Seriously. Go away for a minute. I’ll call you back when we’re ready for you.
Now that the girls are gone, I want to ask the rest of you something. Do you ever stop in the middle of the day for no reason at all and say to yourself, “I can’t believe I’m 45 or 48 or 52 or 55″? Now, if you’ve ever done that, did you then have the follow-up realization that when your mom was the age you are now you thought she was sooooo old? Or is it just me? You’re right. Probably just me. Mid-life contemplation can be so exhausting.
I should probably have the girls rejoin us so they don’t start thinking we’re talking about them. But really, aren’t they adorable? I could just hug them to pieces.
Okay girls, you can come back. We missed you.
And don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything. I was just having a moment. You’ll understand. One day about 35 years from now.
I’m coming up on my 56th birthday in a couple weeks and recently I was lamenting this upcoming passage on the phone with my older by seven years sister. Her empathetic compassionate response was, and let me refer to my notes for the sake of accuracy, “Oh please. Get over it. Come talk to me in seven years about what old is.” Big sisters. They’re always there when you need them . . . to slap a much needed bucket of cold water in your face.
But she was right as she usually is 49% of the time (which leaves 51% of the time for you know who) because it’s all about perspective. To someone in their seventies or eighties I’m a young thing and your average ninety-four year old would card me before pouring me a glass of wine. If I drank wine which I don’t because I prefer chewing calories over sipping them. Chewing calories in something like, oooooh let’s say, a Cinna-bum Cookie. Cinna-bum because if you eat enough of them they go right to your . . . I leave you to finish the sentence.
The way my brain is flowing this afternoon must be deeply concerning to you. I’m a little troubled myself.
Anyway, what I started to say three U-turns in thought ago was that while I’m not soooo old, I am old enough to remember when children rode standing in the front seat of the family car with their noses pressed against the front windshield and not a seat belt in sight. I am old enough to remember rabbit ears instead of satellite dishes and the day’s television programming concluding at midnight. And yes, I am old enough to remember saying “Man, that’s groovy!” and meaning it. And please note for the permanent record, I would still take groovy any day over awesomeballs. Really?! You kids nowadays wouldn’t know hip, slick, and cool if it sucker-punched you from the back side. And in case you’re wondering, I’m about to tie this all together. I know you don’t believe me but wait for it . . .
Aaaaaaand I am old enough to remember when the only baking chip that existed were semi-sweet chocolate chips. Ba-dum ching! That was it. That was the destination I was heading for all along. Ridiculous you say? Well fine, then let’s see you write an interesting post leading into a cookie recipe. Whatever.
So here are some of the baking chip flavors that are currently in the lower bin of my freezer….semi-sweet chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, chocolate mint chips, cappuccino chips, peppermint chips, raspberry chips, lemon chips, and cinnamon chips. Most of them came from local grocery stores but a few, like the cappuccino, lemon, and raspberry chips were ordered online. I am the consummate chip collector. Everyone needs a hobby.
When making drop cookies I add the chips in whole like most normal people but in cut and roll cookies, I de-chip them. De-chip is a technical term defined as “the action of pouring baking chips into a food processor and grinding into a finely chopped consistency being sure to use pulse control so as not to risk melting the chips from the heat of a continually rotating blade.” I provided the definition for you here since de-chip has yet to find itself into most popular dictionaries. Trust me. One day. You heard it here first.
Anyway, I prefer grinding the chips for my cut and roll cookies for a few reasons which I will list now even though you’ve already grown weary of my rambling and are off doing your second load of laundry or checking to see what’s on Bravo.
Grinding baking chips (or any large pieces of chocolate) :
- Keeps a clean line around the cut shape of the cookie and a smooth surface for decorating
- Prevents creating weak areas in the cookie that can easily cause the cookie to crack or break
- Adds additional moisture to the texture and richness to the overall taste
- Distributes the flavor evening through every bite of the cookie
In coming recipes you’ll see that I use baking chips on and off and since they can be frozen and last indefinitely without any noticeable loss of flavor, I’ll buy several bags at a time when they’re on sale. I say several bags but I think you know me well enough at this point to know that several covers any number between 2 and 50. I leave you to ponder the size of my freezer. And just to mention the obvious, holidays are a great time to look for chips, not only because grocery stores often special deals on baking ingredients but there are occasionally seasonal flavors and colors available.
The good news is cinnamon-flavored chips are available year round so you can make Cinnabum Cookies anytime though they seem perfect for fall and winter to me. Can you make CinnaBum Cookies by replacing the baking chips with ground cinnamon or cinnamon oil? The short answer is no. The longer answer is nope. Not in my world anyway. Warm yeasty cinnamon rolls hook your nose with the fragrance of cinnamon but when you bite into them the spicy cinnamon balances with the sweet buttery dough and cream cheese in the icing. When using ground cinnamon or cinnamon oil only it’s easy to end up with a burst of cinnamon flavor that overrides everything else and so I prefer the mellowness of the cinnamon-flavor in the chips for this recipe. Sorry. It seems I just had a Food Network taste description melt-down. They can come on me suddenly and without warning. When I start talking about flavor profiles or back notes of flavor, grab a chair because I’ll be awhile.
This is one of those cookies I’m going to argue tastes soooo much better decorated with corn syrup glaze than it does with royal icing simply because glaze is crazy sweet just like cinnamon frosting. And here’s some totally groovy news. . . LorAnn Oils just released a new Cream Cheese Emulsion! My bottle is being shipped even as I write and you’re folding your clean laundry. Get yourself some and add a dash of that to the dough or your icing and this cookie is going to be awesome
balls! I will not say it. I simply won’t.
1 cup softened butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup de-chipped cinnamon baking chips
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or Butter-Vanilla Emulsion
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Roll Flavor (optional if you’ve got it, not necessary if you don’t)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 – 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
…..Preheat oven to 360 degrees.
1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and ground cinnamon baking chips in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugars together.
3. Add in the eggs and beat until well-blended.
4. Add in the extract, and emulsions (optional) beating until well-blended.
5. Add in the dry ingredients one cup at a time until the dough is fully incorporated.
6. Roll out the dough on a lightly-floured surface to the desired thickness. Place the cut cookies onto a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet and bake on the center rack of the oven for 8-12 minutes. Baking time will be determined by the thickness and overall dimension of cookies.
7. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet before moving to cooling rack.
Whew. All that for one cookie recipe.
I just bet you’re wondering how many cups of coffee I’ve had today or if I’m simply manic.
The answers are three and no.