I like to cook, and especially to bake. I think that’s obvious, as I’ve started a blog mostly about my cooking adventures, and you’re here reading probably because you’d like a recipe. There are a few things that I dislike about cooking: recipe failure, cleaning the kitchen and wasting ingredients.
I don’t like failure, and really, who does? Working hard on a recipe only to have it fail is heart-breaking, and I’ve had some pretty spectacular failures. My biggest problem is one I set myself up for: I forget to check that I have enough ingredients. I get so frustrated when I’m halfway through a recipe and realize I’m missing sugar, eggs, or whatever else I should have in my pantry. I also have a bad habit of doubling recipes and forgetting to double each and every ingredient, like when ended up with some pretty awful cookies after doubling everything but the flour. To me, nothing in the kitchen compares to the heartache and frustration of failing when you’ve spent hours working and the end result is a bust: bread that doesn’t rise, pastry that crumbles to pieces, sauce that breaks. The list could go on and on.
Even when the recipe was a success, it is always followed by the my least favourite kitchen activity: cleaning. I always clean because I hate a mess, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it. I usually try to get at the mess as soon as I’m done cooking, but that doesn’t always happen and things pile up in the sink (sometimes so much that I have to wash my hands in the bathroom – ed). Today, I’d let a mess creep up so I had to spend extra time cleaning: sweeping, mopping, scrubbing counters and various kitchen gadgets. The specks of icing that fly out of the mixer when it’s on high that I don’t clean up (or sometimes don’t notice) until later. The flour dust that gets all over the other appliances that I leave until after the dishes are done and then promptly forget about.
My final kitchen gripe is wasting ingredients. I try hard to buy only what I need and will truly use, and I schedule my week so that I will use everything up. Meal planning saves so much money, time, and I waste significantly less, which is why I get upset when the produce I carefully selected goes bad sooner than it should. This drive to reduce wastage is probably my number one motivator to try new recipes, such as last week’s coconut-lime-banana muffins, which were a result of margarita night leftover sliced limes and a half can of coconut milk lingering in the fridge. I didn’t really care for them, but some did and not every recipe is a resounding success.
A problem that is unique to me and my lactose-free needs is party treats going to waste. I know, you think, how is that possible with me and my sweet tooth? I often buy non-lactose-free treats for when I have guests, sometimes this leaves me with excessive treats that I just can’t eat. Last Christmas my party plans fell through due to a sick toddler, which resulted in three large bags of Hershey Kisses in my kitchen, taunting me with their gastrointestinal horror inducing lactose. They sat in my kitchen until I couldn’t stand it any more and forced myself to whip up some killer Caramel Kiss Cookies for my band mates, thus preventing waste and the aforementioned horror. I’d post that recipe here, but it’s not lactose-free and I think that’s against the purpose of this blog.
Instead I offer a recipe for Double Chocolate Stuffed Cookies. These treats use the same cookie base, but instead of using a Hershey’s Kiss (which is not lactose-free) I’ve used a piece of a Camino dark chocolate peanut butter bar.
Double Chocolate Stuffed Cookies
Yield: 3 dozen
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes | Cooking Time: 30 minutes
3/4 cup vegan margarine
1 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp water
100 g plain dark chocolate, dairy free
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/1 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 32g Camino Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
1. Mix the brown sugar, margarine and water in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. When the margarine has melted and the brown sugar has dissolved, stir in the plain dark chocolate bar broken into pieces. Stir continuously until the chocolate has melted.
3. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Allow to cool for approximately 10 minutes.
4. Transfer the cooled chocolate mixture to the bowl of your mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
6. Cover the bowl and chill the cookie dough for an hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking pan.
7. While the cookie dough is chilling, unwrap the peanut butter chocolate bars and break into 6 pieces each.
8. When the dough is chilled, make 1 tbsp balls of cookie dough (I use a 1 tbsp ice cream scoop).
9. Flatten each ball and place a piece of chocolate bar in the centre. Form the dough around the chocolate bar to form a ball.
10. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on a lined baking sheet.
11. Bake cookies for 7 – 9 minutes each tray. Allow to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
(Adapted from Dark Chocolate Cookies with a Candy Cane Swirl by A Southern Fairytale at http://asouthernfairytale.com/2011/12/05/dark-chocolate-candy-cane-cookies/)