Rocky cookies

I have a dear friend named Roxanne.  Those who know her well call her Rocky.  Rocky is a giving and loving person, always there to listen to a friend, offer advice, lend her opinion.  Rocky also happens to be famous for her cookies, and I mean that.  She’s been asked to make them for parties at a salon, for people’s backyard shindigs, she’s made them for co-workers.  She willingly shares her recipe and I’ve used it over and over.  In fact I have a family member who swears that Rocky cookies helped her survive through a rough patch of menopause.  My weight-lifting friend asks me to make them as her cheat after competitions.  I’ve made them for constipated children who don’t get enough fiber in their diet, and for adults after surgery.  I make them for myself as a snack.  Unlike conventional cookies, they’re packed with healthy fats and fruits, nuts, and energy-supplying seeds.  No butter, no brown sugar, no white sugar- you get my drift.

This cookie is hearty.  It can be made with every ingredient in the list, or only a few of them.  You can play with combinations for flavor such as pumpkin and walnut, or chocolate and cherries, or sunflower and raisin.  Personally, I love to have a little bit of dark chocolate, lots of different fruits (prune, fig, raisin, cranberry), some wheat berries, a mixture of flours (barley and whole wheat)- a little bit of everything.

The recipe may confuse some as it calls for a handful of this and that ingredient.  It means that, literally.  The dough should not be terribly stiff when complete, but if it’s too runny just add a bit more flour to the mix.

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup steel cut oats

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (or oat or barley flour)

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon cinnamon (can also add a dash of cloves and/or nutmeg)

Sprinkle of sea salt

Handful of bittersweet chocolate chunks

Handful of raisins

Handful of dried cranberries

Handful of walnuts

Handful of wheat germ

Handful of flax seed meal

Handful of seeds if you like them (sunflower, pepitas, flax, sesame, etc.)

the dry ingredients

1 egg

¾ cup real maple syrup (or any variation of, honey, agave, and/or molasses)

¾ cup plain, unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup coconut or olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup canned pumpkin (or a well-ripened banana)

1 large scoop of peanut butter (or almond or cashew butter)

the wet ingredients

  • Preheat the oven to 375
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix

the mixture

  • Scoop the batter by the tablespoon onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (cookies will not spread)
  • Bake for 15-25 minutes (depending on your oven).  You want a finished cookie that is golden brown around the edges and a bit on top

the Rocky cookie

J

A different twist on chicken salad

Also in this month’s Food & Wine mag was a recipe for Spicy Asian-Chicken-Salad Lettuce Cups.  I wanted to bring something healthy to the party for those who don’t eat cherry ganache-stuffed chocolate chunk espresso cookies.   I liked the idea for a moist chicken salad that used rotisserie chicken, rather than the standard breast meat only.  The spicy aspect certainly appealed to me as well.  What did not tickle my taste buds was the use and quantity of mayonnaise.  So, I substituted in some plain, fat-free yogurt and that added a nice tang to the dressing.  I served mine in Belgian Endive leaves rather than Bibb or iceburg lettuce.  Recipe is here.

Spicy Asian Chicken Salad

Spicy Asian Chicken Salad

A fantastic new cookie idea

So this month’s Food & Wine mag came in the mail last week and as is my norm I read it cover to cover and ripped out pages that looked interesting as well as recipes that looked hopeful.  When it came time to decide on dishes to bring to a party this past weekend I was inspired by their idea of Ganache-stuffed chocolate chip cookies for my unhealthy dessert.

I already have what I believe to be the best recipe for chocolate chunk cookies eva, so I ripped their idea and used my own recipes for the cookies and the Ganache.  I decided to add some freshly ground espresso to the cookies this time around, and I also had a great tip from Sarah to add chopped fresh cherries to the ganache.  The feedback that I got from folks at the party was indicative of a winner.  Behold, the cherry ganache stuffed chocolate chunk espresso cookies:

Cherry ganache stuffed chocolate chunk espresso cookies

Cherry ganache stuffed chocolate chunk espresso cookies