Friday, September 12, 2014

Warm Cookies, Molasses Milk & Changes



For the first time in 24 years I find my mornings peaceful and sad at the same time. Peaceful because I'm no longer getting up at 6am, rushing to make breakfast and lunch for my kids. Sad because this has been a treasured chore that I have always taken pride in.  Making sure my kiddos started their mornings off with something yummy and making their lunches was fun for me, especially since they always looked forward to lunch and it being their favorite subject at school.

Now that my youngest is driving herself to school and has insisted she is old enough to take this "burden" chore off my hands, I find myself quite melancholy.  You could call it the start of "empty nest" syndrome, but I don't remember going through this when my son left home. Perhaps because when he left I still had a little one at home to care for (they are 8 1/2 years apart).  Either way, I now need to find other things to do in the morning before work. One thing that I can still do and as my family claims they will never get tired of, is coming home to homemade cookies.

Today as I was thinking of what to bake, I was reminded of my childhood and how much I loved those warm cookies my Mom would make on occasion after school. Sometimes she would serve them with molasses milk. I know what your thinking... "Ewww!" But hey, when you grow up with something it becomes a memory of comfort later in life. So today, as I'm feeling kind of blue, I'm going to remind myself that even though this is just another change of season in life, it can still be made sweet by memories... and cookies and milk.  I'm jus' sayin'!


Brickle Drop Cookies (as found on the back of Heath Bits of Brickle Bits bag)

*I added 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips to this recipe

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1-1/3 cups (8 oz. pkg.) HEATH BITS 'O BRICKLE Toffee Bits

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl until blended. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in toffee bits. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheet.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.



Molasses Milk

For every 8 oz of milk (My Mom used whole milk but I am using almond milk now), stir in 1-2 Tbsp of good molasses.

You have to stir quite vigorously to get the sticky molasses to incorporate but that's half the fun. This is equally delicious served warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon.



Monday, August 4, 2014

Cereal Milk Ice Cream It's Grrrrreat!



As a kid I remember only having sugar coated cereal not only for breakfast, but as a very special treat while watching Gilligan's Island - Wait, did I just age myself? I think my mom always felt that the sugar content of those cereals garnered as much, if not more, than a dessert, so that's how we treated them.  I would let the cereal soak for about 2 minutes and then I would gobble up the flakes while they were still crunchy just so I could get to the best part - that sweetened milk that pooled at the bottom of the bowl. Oh, it was glorious!

Slurping Drinking that wonderful sweet milk was such a treat and still to this day, I can close my eyes and taste it.

When Momofuku Milk Bar of New York City introduced their version of using cereal milk for ice creams and cookies and other yummy dishes, I was blown away by the genius behind the idea. Who doesn't love a bowl of cereal for dessert, or maybe breakfast, if you grew up with it? The problem was that their recipe had quite a few more steps than my patience would allow. So I decided to take my trusty and true, no cook, no egg ice cream recipe and tweak it using cereal. It came out pretty good. After I made it, I thought I would Instagram it to the new #austin360cooks to see if any other cereal milk ideas would pop up. Boy did they ever! Besides people asking for the recipe, I got some great tips from others using cereal milk. @jeffamador has been using cereal milk as a sweetener for his coffee and he also enjoys it in a White Russian where he sometimes adds a bit of amaretto. This got me thinking of all the flavor concoctions that could be made. These days cereal is a low priority in our house as the sugar and preservatives are high on my health radar, but for a special dessert to bring back those memories? Why not! After all, if tvland can bring back the reruns I grew up on than I think it's perfectly acceptable to bring back a favorite taste memory, I'm jus' sayin'!





Simple Cereal Milk Ice Cream

In a bowl Combine the following:

1 1/2 cups of whole milk
3 Cups of heavy cream
3 Cups of cereal (I used Frosted Flakes)
 Soak for 15-20 min.

Strain the cereal over a clean bowl to get only the sweetened cream. I used the back of a wooden spoon to really push all of the liquid through, so very little was left in the soggy cereal. Discard soggy cereal (unless that's your thing, in which case by all means feel free to chow down). At this point taste your liquid, mine tasted sweet enough so I did not add any more sugar or vanilla. It should taste just like the cereal milk you remember but a little thicker as there is so much cream added. That's it, pour it into your ice cream maker and follow its regular directions. I thought I would add a fun crunch by making corn flake candy, but that called for peanut butter and my husband is allergic so I went simple again and just tossed some cereal flakes on top. Perfect. If you try another flavor of cereal, please let me know how it comes out - or if you have a favorite old tv show you want to talk about I'm up for that too!