Dark and Milk Chocolate Monster Cookies

I know that judging by the contents of my blog over the last month or so, one might think that we've been eating only jam, pickles, bread and desserts.  It's not exactly true.
Over the last couple of months I've discovered that my life was incomplete before using Hoisin Sauce and I've set out to complete myself by using Hoisin Sauce in just about everything I can get my hands on.  Really... that stuff is off the effing chain peeps.  I've also realized that cabbage has this wonderful substantialness and sweetness (kinda like me) that works beautifully when it's slowly caramelized with some onions and bacon (yeah... I said bacon), then just barely bathed in cream and generously sprinkled with parmesan.   Yup.  It's good.  I've also made some pretty disgusting turnip and potato patties that I took pics of but felt so gross when I ate it that I couldn't bring myself to use them.  If I ever post it I will be tagging it as a disaster - if I can stomach posting it.  Lastly, there's this idea I have for a Focaccia bread thing of goat cheese, roasted tomatoes and roasted Cavalo Negro Chard that I'm tot's gonna steal from my kids school garden (seriously, nobody is using it and it's gonna go bad - I'm all ready to run over there during the night and cut it all down).  Sounds good doesn't it?
Even though all of that is going on I just can't seem to bring myself to post any of it.  The turnip/potato crap for obvious reasons.  The cabbage elixir I haven't posted yet because I haven't been able to get some good pictures of it.  The Hoisin Sauce perfection - well,  I kinda feel like I've posted a lot of that kind of thing already.  I guess I just feel kinda guilty and dumb.  I haven't actually committed the Cavalo Negro crime at the school garden yet.  The post will of course follow the crime... and the final product.

I'm posting these cookies instead.
It took me a while to figure out that they were called Monster cookies because the recipe called for making them BIG.  Duh.  Whateve's people, I'm tired these days.  I can deal with something so inane taking me a long time to figure out.  The original recipe called for M&M's.  I didn't have any and to be totally honest, I kinda like the idea of this better.  I would also totally add something crunchy, like a flake cereal or something.  That would be fun.

So my cookies weren't monsters but more like almost normal sized one's.  As a result, it makes a truck-load of cookies.  If you don't want as many cookies (just a p.s. on that though - you're still using the same amount of dough) then just make them bigger and watch them more carefully cause they'll need a couple of more minutes in the oven.  Otherwise, set up a network of friends and family who are happy to take baked goods off of your hands.  People like you when you share and it makes you feel good.
So, I'll be getting to some savoury, healthy, seasonal, colourful recipes soon.  In the meantime, I'm going to run a half marathon (no jokes) and eat some cookies.

Monster Cookies with Dark and Milk Chocolate adapted from 'Baked'
makes about 4 doz med sized cookies

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking soda
dash of salt
5 3/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup cold, unsalted butter in cubes
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
5 lg eggs
1/4 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla
2 cups creamy peanut butter (I used organic/natural)
1 cup milk chocolate chunks
1 cup dark chocolate chunks (about 80% cocoa solids)

Combine the flour, baking soda and slat together in a large bowl.  Add the oats and mix well.  Set aside.
Cream the butter until smooth and pale yellow (you can use a mixer).  Add the sugars and mix on low until just blended - DON'T OVERMIX.
Add the eggs, one at a time and beat for until it's incorporated (15 seconds or so) - scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Add the corn syrup and vanilla and mix lightly.
Add the peanut butter and mix until just blended.  Add the oat mixture in three additions, mixing on low until just incorporated (I actually did this part by hand though).
Fold in the chocolate chunks.  Cover the mixture and refrigerate at least 5 hours (or overnight is what I did)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet (parchment or silicon liner).  Scoop out the cookie dough in about 1 1/2 tbsp balls onto the sheet.  Keep about 2 inches distance between each.  Bake for about 12 - 14 minutes, turning the cookie sheet half way through baking.
Remove from the oven once they look browned on the top and not completely wet anymore.
Let them cool for a minute and then carefully remove them to a cooling rack.
Will keep for about 4 days but taste best the first two days.

Thanksgiving Apple Cake and things I've learned this week.

It still happens.  I learn stuff.
Here are some of the things that I've learned this week:
1.  If I boil old, nasty smelling kitchen wipe rags then they're good to go and they won't smell.  Very Handy.
2.  Don't go food shopping when you have a head cold and are craving comfort food.  Very Bad.
3.  Doing a long run when you think you might be getting a cold might just bring it on.
4.  I can make my own saline solution to spray up my nose so that my head cold feels a little less wretched.
5.  Sometimes it can be 26 degrees on October 8th in Toronto but if you have a nasty sinus cold then you might not enjoy it as much as you wish you could.

As you might have been able to deduce by now... I HAVE A COLD... and it BITES.
So, yeah, I had all these plans for my Thanksgiving weekend and the only thing that I'll really be digging into is doing a whole lot of nothing and spraying crap up my nose, praying that by tomorrow I won't feel like every crevice above my teeth has been stuffed with socks (I don't know why socks... it just makes sense to me right now).  This truly bites because it is uncommonly warm here.  I'm not going to go into how it makes me feel about the state of our climate these days because it makes the knot in my stomach a little tighter.  I'm going to do my best to live in the moment and stare at the sun through my bedroom window, feeling just a little bit sorry for myself.

However, doing nothing isn't all bad, I caught up on some movie watching that had been badly ignored over the last few weeks.   Secondly, I had to make this cake.  I had to make it because we were having dinner with my parents.  It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  That means dinner with family and I had to make stuff to take.  I can't show up at someone's house (even my own parents place) without something in my hand to give them.  I volunteered to make a dessert and a veggie dish.  I still haven't figured out the veggie dish yet but I'll be sure to take pics and get it up here when I do.
This cake has been sitting in my 'must try' bookmark for a long time and for some reason I just haven't gotten around to it.  It sounds easy and looks great in the blog picture.  As usual, I don't have the exact ingredients but I figure that anything with honeyed pecans and glaze on the top will be pretty forgiving, so I'm forging ahead.

The cake rises beautifully, this tempting, bubbly brownness that makes you want to put your finger into it.  Once you add the stuff on the top... it's a beautiful thing.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves...
except for kid #1 who declared that he doesn't like nuts... so he got gross rolo ice cream instead because apparently that's what kids get when they are at their grandparents place on Thanksgiving.  Another thing that I learned this week.

Pear and Apple Cake adapted from 'In Praise of Leftovers'
makes 1 9x13'' cake

2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
4 med apples (or pears or mixed), cored and sliced thin
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 - 3/4 cup candied pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
4 tbsp melted butter
1 cup icing sugar
2 - 4 tbsp milk or cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Lightly butter or grease a 9x13'' cake pan.
In a large bowl combine the sugars, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla together.  Mix until well combined.  Add in the fruit and mix until the fruit is incorporated well.
Add in the nuts and the flour.  Mix until the flour is completely incorporated.  The batter will be pretty thick.
Pour into the prepared pan.  Bake for about 1 hr 10 min but start checking after an hour.  I gave my cake a quarter turn after about 35 minutes too.  Once the cake looks good and a tester comes out clean (test the cake in the middle of the pan please people) then remove from the oven and cool for about 20 minutes.

In the meantime:
Mix together the butter, icing sugar and 2 tbsp of the milk or cream.  If you need more milk or cream then add it until the glaze is the consistency that you like.
Sprinkle the chopped, candied nuts over the 20 minutes cooled cake and then pour the glaze over top of everything.

A long Weekend

Since this blog is called 'When I'm not at Work' I feel that it gives me some freedom to work outside the 'food blog' box sometimes.
It's 9 in the morning.
I've already run 16k.
I've already had two showers (don't ask).
I'm starting on my second breakfast.
I have time because my breakfast date bailed - it happens, it's Thanksgiving, it was a long shot anyway.
So, not being one to waste time when it's given (I know, right!)... I'm blogging.
You might recall that I've talked about some of the trips that we've taken.  Some of the crazy things we've done and some of the random craziness that is... ME.

This is Canadian Thanksgiving today, Monday October 10th.  We had a lovely day yesterday outside of the city, with my parents... and I played a lot with my camera.  It's been eerily warm here in Toronto and although I'll be the first to admit that it's weird, I'm taking advantage of every moment of the sun and warmth.  Normally these plants wouldn't be outside still.  Normally we wouldn't be wearing shorts and sleeveless tops.  Even though it's far from normal, I wanted to share some of my day with you.

Why Art exists...

Happy Kid #2 with his Grandpa.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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  • Naparima Girls High School Cookbook
  • The Silver Palate Cookbook
  • More-with-Less Cookbook
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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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