Monday, February 18, 2013

Baking at A Joyful Cottage - Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

I love the combination of oatmeal, cranberries and walnuts. And I real-ly love that combination in cookies. So this morning I pulled out the Kitchenaid, gathered the ingredients, and went to work. 

I found a recipe I liked, but it needed some tweaking. See, we live at high altitude -- 7,522 feet above sea level -- and that can throw a monkey wrench (or a spatula) into the whole baking-from-scratch process. I've sat through enough "alas, the horrors of mountain baking" stories to know that success often comes through trial and error.

I have baked from recipes without making any changes and the results came out perfect.  Like my go-to banana quick bread recipe.

Always a winner.

But this morning's cookie recipe was obstinate. It didn't want to cooperate. The first sheet out of the oven produced cookies like these.

Which is okay if you like thin, crisp cookies. But that's not what I was going for. I wanted fat, chewy cookies like these.

And that's what I got after adding more flour to the cookie dough. (Uh-huh, you can do that. . .even after you've added the final ingredients.  Just mix it in with your wooden spoon.)

Here's a photo of the flat and the fat next to each other.

See the difference? Flat n' crispy vs. fat n' chewy.

Following is the high-altitude recipe.  I've noted to decrease the flour to 1 cup if you're baking at low altitude.

High Altitude Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies
Yields 3 - 4 dozen cookies

1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla
1-3/4 c. all-purpose unbleached flour (note: decrease flour to 1 c. at lower altitude)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2-3/4 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c dried cranberries
1 c chopped shelled walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt in bowl and set aside.

Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and beat just until mixed in. Don't overmix. Stir in oats, cranberries and walnuts.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8 - 11 minutes, or until golden brown. Ovens and cooking times vary, so keep an eye on your cookies. 

Cool on racks.

Sweet cranberries and crunchy walnuts with the wholesome goodness of oatmeal. Very tasty with coffee.  

By the way, all is not lost with the flat, crispy cookies.  Dennis took some to dunk in his coffee. 

Here's lookin' at you kid.

Sharing with You're Gonna Love it Tuesday.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cottage Gardens Perfect for a Stroll

In the Heart of London Photo by Christine:
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Maybe it's because my own garden is covered in a blanket of snow. 

Or maybe the latest Burpee's catalog has inspired me.

Or maybe it's because today is hubby and my third anniversary.

Whatever the reason, I fancy a stroll through cottage gardens today.

"Agapanthus on Tresco" Photo by Rob 'n' Rae:  Some Rights Reserved.

I'm going to indulge myself, and take you with me. That is, if you want to come along.  

You do, don't you?  I thought so.

"Cottage Garden, Brittany" Photo by Torcell Trio:
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What's prettier?  The garden, or those blue shutters?

"Show Garden 'Chocolate Orange'" Photo by Adheds:  Some Rights Reserved
Beautiful color contrast in this garden, don't you think? 

"Cottage Garden" Photo by Daryl_Mitchell:
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The little white cottage adds architectural interest to this perennial bed.  I believe that's phlox in the foreground.  Pretty pink.

"Cotswold Cottage Garden" Photo By Maia C:
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I love the patina on this sundial.  Paired with the delicate flowers the effect is very romantic.

"Cottage Garden" Photo by Rob 'n' Rae:
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This photo reminds me of a cottage garden I once planted in Illinois.  

"Stone House Cottage Garden 5" Photo by Tony Hisgett:
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Imagine standing on the balcony looking down on this lovely cottage garden. 

"Stone House Cottage Garden 7" Photo by Tony Hisgett:
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"Rosemoor Cottage Garden" Photo by Howard Stanbury:
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Cottage gardens can be soft and dreamy,

"Cottage Garden" Photo by Paula Bailey:
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or bursting with vivid color.

"Faerie Land" Photo by Tairre Christopherson:
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"Garden Cottage" Photo by Bruce Fingerhood:
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I have a brown cottage with white trim.  Now all I need is a stunning cottage garden like this one in Hood River Valley, Oregon.

"Cottage Garden in Tissington, Derbyshire" Photo by UGArdener:  Some Rights Reserved

The pinks and reds in this Derbyshire cottage garden pop against the gray stone walls of the home.

"Rose Cottage Garden" Photo by Maia C:
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A beautifully blended cottage garden.  Like a Monet painting.

"YIP Day 171 Garden" Photo by Paula Bailey:
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Striking purple and yellow blooms.  So cheerful.

"Garden Walk" Photo by Maia C:
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This is very much a "planned" cottage garden.  Stone borders and walkways lend formality. 

"Pink Hollyhocks at Charleston Farmhouse Garden, Sussex" Photo by UGArdener: Some Rights Reserved

Pink hollyhocks always say "old-fashioned cottage" to me.  I do like them.

Well, we're at the end of our stroll.  Did you enjoy the cottage gardens as much as I did?  

Today is Valentine's Day, and I pray yours is filled with beauty and joy.

"Mottisfont Abbey Rose Gardens, Hampshire, UK | The best romantic rose garden in the world (1 of 20) | Garden seat framed by rose pergola" Photo by Ukgardenphotos:
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