Graham’s Cookies

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To be clear, these cookies are not cookies Graham made. Rather, these are cookies that his sweet sister makes a version of and I was determined to create a from-scratch version. These have less oatmeal than the originals, but that means you can sneak them to people that “don’t eat oatmeal cookies.”

Cream together 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, and 1/2 cup white sugar. Beat in 2 large eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup old fashioned oats, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 1/4 cup dried tart cherries, and 1 cup dark chocolate morsels. If you like walnuts or macadamia nuts, throw some in too. If you’re related to Graham, don’t do that, it’s probably not safe.

This will, in fact, look like it’s mostly cherries and chocolate. Do not judge me.

Drop by tablespoons a few inches apart on silicone or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 14-17 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool then remove to cooling rack. Smack husband’s hand away when he tries to steal them while piping hot.

 

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Goodness Gracious, Sweet Jam of Fire

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“Fire” is a bit dramatic. There’s some heat in this chili jam, but it’s nothing wild. Once upon a time, Trader Joe’s had a Hot and Sweet Chili Jam. It was delicious. I purchased it in triplicate when I ran out.

And then.

Trader Joe’s stopped making it.

At first, I was in denial. Perhaps they hadn’t restocked at my store in a while. Then, I thought they’d start making it again if enough people asked about it.

They did not. I waited two years. Then I found the ingredient list on a photo on Amazon for the discontinued jam. Though I had never made jam, I experimented with the ingredients to get something passably close to the original.

Bring 2 cups of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup crushed red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup dried minced garlic to a boil. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often. To this mixture, add 1 1/2 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons pectin, and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring continuously. When the mixture coats the back of the spoon, remove from heat. Ladle into jars. Heat seal if you’re kooky like that, otherwise store in the fridge for up to a month.

Eat with every cheese plate you ever make, with bagels, straight out of the jar, on ice cream. Bring it to all the picnics and game nights.

 

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Clouds of Whipped Cream

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I know, there’s already a post with a recipe for whipped cream. But with the holidays approaching, you need peppermint whipped cream in your wheelhouse for holiday desserts, hot chocolate, and I won’t tell anyone if you add it to your coffee, too.

Chill a bowl in the freezer for about 20 minutes.

Using a mixer (chill the mixer paddles for extra credit), whip 1 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract. Don’t use spearmint (which makes up the regular “mint extract”). If you’re struggling to find peppermint, check the cake decorating sections of your local grocery store or even craft stores. If you still can’t find it, you can buy entirely too much of it on Amazon.

 

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Pudding Pie

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A word of caution: this is not a pie that you can throw together at the last minute. This is a pie that needs to be refrigerated for at least 24 hours. Sometimes longer. I recommend making this with the chocolate animal cracker pie crust, but the shortbread crust is a good option, too.

 

Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 3 cups whole milk, and 4 egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Whisk together. Whisk over medium heat until it just barely comes to a boil and starts to get thick. For me this takes about 15 minutes because I don’t want to curdle anything and I keep it over medium-low heat if we’re being honest. First you want it to coat the back of your spoon. This means that when you lift a spoon, you can wipe your finger in the sauce and leave your finger trail. Keep stirring until it’s thick like pudding.

Remove from heat. Add 6.5 ounces (1 bar) bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped roughly, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/4 teaspoon chili powder if you want it to have a bit more flair. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Stir until it’s all melted together. Pour into your pie crust. No need to bake it. Pour any excess into a pudding container of your choice.

Let your pie come to room temperature, then move it to your fridge to sit, uncovered, for at least 24 hours. 36 hours seems to be a sweet spot.

 

 

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Animal Cracker Pie Crust

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In a food processor, crush approximately 2 cups of chocolate animal crackers (or other wafer cookie) until it forms fine crumbs. Measure 1 1/2 cups of these crumbs into a mixing bowl. Slowly stream in 6 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled.

Press into a pie plate and really smash it all together. The more compact you can make it, the easier it is to serve intact later.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.

 

Let cool completely before filling with pie filling of your choice.

 

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