Pastry eludes me. I have yet to make a really good muffin, despite 100s of attempts. Cupcakes and icing aren’t even in my repertoire and I hate slicing bars. Bread stays in the bread machine.
Cooking though, is much more fun for me. I am an expert at the one-pot meal and I can do some pretty cool stuff with leftovers and a few spices. I almost never follow a recipe unless it’s as a guideline for something I want to try that I’ve never attempted before.
Baking, I never deviate. Unless it’s to sub raisins for chocolate chips or coconut for walnuts. Swapping around oils and eggs and getting dry to wet ratios right scares me. Yes… it scares me.
So, I was pretty proud of myself when I scrambled together this cookie recipe using a regular recipe I have as a base. I mixed up fats and flours with reckless abandon! Woo hoo!
Texture wise they turned out really well! But, my nutella/peanut butter ratio was off and I kinda knew it would be. You can’t really taste much of the nutella in the cookies. I will readjust next time! Even so, these are super tasty, if I do say so myself! (and I do say so!)
Also, here’s what I’ve discovered: Kraft regular peanut butter makes the best cookies. The natural stuff and the low fat stuff just don’t cut it. I’m sorry to say it but it’s true.
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup of butter
- ½ cup creamy peanut butter
- ¼ cup Nutella
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of flour
- ¾ cup oats (quick cooking work best)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¾ cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375F
- combine sugars and butter till light and fluffy
- add peanut butter, Nutella, egg and vanilla and continue to stir till well blended
- in a separate bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda and salt
- add gradually to the other ingredients
- at this point, if you are using a stand mixer, remove the bowl and mix in the cranberries and chocolate chips by hand
- drop by the tablespoon onto parchment or silpat lined cookie sheets
- gently flatten cookies with a fork or your fingers
- bake for 12 minutes or until golden
- remove from cookie sheet and cool on racks
Food Photography Tips
I mentioned in my last post that I am B-O-R-E-D with food photography. I really don’t have a nice way to say it. So I’m embarking on a mini project to photograph some of my posts in their “natural environment”. In other words, where I actually cook and eat them. I think it could be a fun challenge. They won’t all be like that – sometimes that’s not the best way to showcase a dish. But it’s something different. For me, anyway. And I write this blog… so there! haha 😉
These photos were taken where I eat the vast majority of the cookies that wind up in my belly – my office desk. I barely did a single thing to “style” the photo. The Starbucks I bought on my way back from an appointment about 15 mins before I took the photo. The cookies are sitting on top of my Bamboo tablet (which I guiltily admit gets used far more as a coaster than a tablet…). The cherry coaster and the little plate are always on my desk. About the only thing that isn’t true to life is the three cookies. I usually only have two 😉
Image 1: 100mm macro, f/2.8, 1/125, 400ISO, no exposure compensation
Image 2: 100mm macro, f/2.8, 1/125, 400ISO, no exposure compensation
I initially shot the top image with my 50mm lens but I just couldn’t get the composition tight enough and it became more about the contents of my desktop than it did about the cookies so I switched back to my macro lens.
March/April is the time of year where I evaluate my tools and see if I can manage upgrades. While there won’t be any new hardware (lenses and such), I’m very excited that I can make the jump from Adobe CS4 to Adobe CS6 when it comes out of beta later this year. I’m also upgrading my Lightroom to version 4 next week. But the one fun splurge I made last week was purchasing some of the Florabella Photoshop Actions. I’ve had my eye on these for months. I think they are gorgeous. So I purchased the Classic Workflow and Luxe and LuxeII.
I’m having a lot of fun with them and I used some of the Classic Workflow actions on both of these images but toned down a lot. I think the actions work much better on portrait shots and don’t suit my style of food photography where I want very true to life colours and lots of pop. And I am so used to doing so much of my work in Lightroom that it was weird to move back to Photoshop for these but… they are definitely fun and I think I might do a post or two showing some of the neat ways you can use them for other types of photos!