Sunday, July 17, 2011

Give the man three and a half dozen gold stars!

Gold Stars for a job well done. © Ryan Schierling
We've had a limp-along oven for a while now. That might be generous, even. It was a 20-year-old base model that showed every decade of abuse when we moved in to our Wee Suburban Cabin. It was still operational and the least of our priorities after traveling 3,000 miles seeking adventure in Austin. But, it was no easy mistress – baking required temperature monitoring, pan placement was tricky because the heat distribution was terribly uneven and, horror-of-horrors, it couldn't even clean itself! The last straw was when the oven knob cracked a few weeks back and we had to start using pliers to turn it on and off. It wasn't even worth the $25 to replace the knob.

So, we've been shopping for a replacement. Everything seemed like a fully-loaded Cadillac after the one we'd been living with, so we weren't even looking for something new, just something decidedly better. Surely some lovely people in the area must be remodeling their kitchen – discarding stalwart appliances and replacing with something spanky-new. We did our level best to be patient until the right one came along, but having the limitation of not being able bake, well, absence makes… Julie want to bake!

This weekend Ryan outdid himself and wildly exceed my expectations when he found a great deal on a well-cared for and relatively new range to replace our old one. It is light years better than its predecessor – glass digital touch-screen control, convection oven, three racks, "Cake" mode, a warming drawer with "Proof Bread" mode and a great big window to see all the action!

I was like a kid at Christmas, giddy with excitement. Ryan's only question... "What are you going to bake first?"

For my man who just made my little baking heart so very happy? He got gold stars!!

See, I found these star-shaped peanut butter coated cookies in our local HEB store's bulk department the other day. Ryan really isn't one to eat a lot of sweets, but he does happen to have a soft spot for the classic chocolate and peanut butter combination. So, to inaugurate the new oven and to thank Ryan… double chocolate cookies with crispy peanut butter stars!

The chocolate cookie part is an adaptation of a recipe for Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies that I have had in my recipe box since I was in grade school – I've been making them that long, and almost every time I change it up in some way or other. This time I was going for really dark chocolate cookies and wanted to minimize the texture of the oatmeal, so this is where most of the modifications were geared.

The oven? It worked like a dream. Ryan deserves every single one of these chocolate and peanut butter rewards.

Gold Star Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups rolled oats (or quick oats), whizzed up in food processor
8-10 ounces dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet)
Peanut butter coated star cookies, cooled in freezer (not frozen).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add the egg, water and vanilla and mix well. Mix in cocoa powder, then the flour, then the oats, and finally the dark chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until almost no indentation remains when touched, 10-12 minutes. (Take care not to over bake.) Remove from oven and quickly press a star cookie into the top of each chocolate cookie. Move at once from the baking sheet to a cooling rack.

Makes about 3-1/2 dozen cookies.

1 comment:

  1. I love that this is what you covet. And I love that your hero found you just the perfect replacement for your "not-so-easy bake" oven. Gold stars indeed! (save Jay and me a cookie?)


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