This week, instead of delivering another deep dive into a new marketing topic, we wanted to come up for air and just say: Thanks. Thank you for being you, for working so hard and for doing your best to make our world a better place.
In celebration of the holiday weekend, we’ve included some of our favorite easy recipes, and stories about recipes, below.
By Jon Cooper
Chocolaty, chewy, peanut buttery goodness. There’s no better way to describe this tried and tested family recipe for Monster Cookies.
PREP TIME 15 mins COOK TIME 20 mins TOTAL TIME 35 mins SERVINGS 24 cookies
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 cups oats (Old Fashioned or Quick)
- 1 cup mini M&Ms
- 1 cup mini-chocolate chips
- Candy eyes (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat baking mats.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar, brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then beat in the peanut butter, vanilla, baking soda and salt until well combined.
- Add the the oats and mix until combined, then add the mini M&Ms and mini-chocolate chips.
- Scoop 2-to 3-tablespoon mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the mounds at least 2 inches apart.
- Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes then remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring them to a rack to cool completely. (See Kelly’s Note.)
- The best way to guarantee your cookies are chewy and not too crispy is to underbake them slightly then remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the baking sheets.
- If you’re using the candy eyes, add them to the cookies immediately after you remove them from the oven.
By Brian Wringer
Long ago and not so far away, I was spending my first Thanksgiving away from my family. So I called my Mom, pen and notebook in hand, to ask her to divulge the secret family recipes. As in many families, the Thanksgiving feast was steeped in tradition. The menu never varied, and everything was, of course, a little bit better than any other family’s Thanksgiving.
I had always helped with the cooking, but as a grown man, I hoped to persuade Mom to finally share the secrets from one generation to the next.
“So what’s the recipe for the dressing, Mom?”
“Well, first you just get some celery and onion, and cook it in some butter, and add some poultry seasoning…”
“Wait, how much celery, and how much onion?”
“Oh, you know, just cut ’em up until it looks like you’ve got enough. Cook ’em in the butter in a big skillet, then add some poultry seasoning.”
“Er, how much poultry seasoning?”
“Just stir it in until the celery and onion looks about right. Sorta green, but not too green. Then stir it into the bread pieces and add chicken broth until it’s sort of all mixed together, then add some eggs…”
“Wait, uh, how much broth? How many eggs?”
“Until it looks about right. Wet and gloppy, but not too squishy or yellow.”
“How long do I cook it?”
“Until it looks done.”
And as it turned out, the same undefinable process applied for everything. Grandma’s apple salad, Mom’s mashed potatoes, my Aunt’s green bean casserole, our turkey, ham, gravy, and even the pumpkin pie. Every carefully guarded secret family recipe pretty much amounted to “use the Force.”
When I went shopping, I did my best to relax, switch off my scientific mind, and grab the ingredients and amounts that “felt right”. I did the same when I started cooking that Thursday for myself and my roommates. I tried to operate on instinct.
And Mom was right. I knew. I knew what looked and smelled and sounded “right”. I knew when to start and when to stop, when to stir, when to add a little more, and when to wait. And in the end, everything tasted… just right.
I just cooked in the ways I knew how to cook, and because they were her ways, and my Grandma, and my aunts and uncles, and everyone I had watched and helped all my life, it was their cooking too.
Simple Crusty Bread
By Kent Dicken
My Mom was a Home Economics teacher, well, at least until she became Mom. So it was important to her that her sons could also cook for themselves. We all took turns helping to make everything from cookies to casseroles, pancakes to cheesy breadsticks.
But for most of my adult life, cooking was more of a necessity than an interest. It wasn’t until the pandemic that I took time to actually enjoy cooking – as long as it didn’t take all day.
So here is my go-to recipe for two loaves of crusty bread in about 4 hours, with only a few ingredients and without all the kneading. Use only bread flour if you like it airy, or a combination of flours for a more even texture. Add seasoning to make it even tastier.
- In a large measuring cup, mix together and set aside for now:
- 3 cups warm water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp dry yeast (fresh yeast is better but harder to find)
- In a large bowl, mix together:
- 6 cups bread flour (I use 3C bread flour, 2C wheat flour, and 1C white flour)
- 1.5 tbsp kosher salt
- Optional: 1 tbsp rosemary (or 1 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp nutmeg)
- After mixing the dry ingredients, add the water/sugar/yeast mixture and stir until completely mixed.
- Lightly sprinkle top of dough with flour and cover bowl with a dish towel. Set in a warm place for 2 hours (or more) to rise.
- Lightly grease two bread loaf pans, including the sides.
- Divide the risen dough in half, and place each half into a loaf pan. Shape the dough evenly to fit the pans, cover and let rest for 40-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425, then bake for approx 35 minutes (ovens vary).
- Let pans cool for 10 minutes before removing the bread. Let the loafs rest for a bit, then slice and enjoy.
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