Fudgy Center of Attention

Oatmeal Walnut Fudge Cookies

just go nuts

If you’re a fan of oatmeal cookies, you’ll probably go cuckoo for these. If you’re a fan of walnuts (here, lightly toasted, pulverized and mixed into the dough), you’ll probably go nuts. And if you’re a fan of chocolate fudge, well, these cookies will probably make you flip out from happiness.

Because seriously, what’s not to like about a dollop of gooey fudge on top of a chewy, nutty cookie?

Nothing, that’s what.

Oatmeal Walnut Fudge Cookies
12 oz of shelled walnuts
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup of brown sugar
½ cup of sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
3 cup of rolled oats
1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 12oz bag of semisweet chocolate chips

Heat your oven to 350º.

Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, turning halfway through, until toasted. Grind them in a food processor until they’re about the size of mini chocolate chips. Remove all but 1/4 cup from the food processor and process until fine.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, vanilla and maple syrup. Add the flour mixture a little at a time until well combined. Stir in the oats and larger walnut pieces.

In a small sauce pan, heat the condensed milk and chocolate chips over medium-low heat until chips are completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Keep on a low heat.

Drop small rounds of the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten the center to form a nest, and then spoon a teaspoonful of the chocolate mixture in the middle. Sprinkle each with the fine ground walnuts. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then place a cooling rack. Then eat.


Going Bananas

banana oat bars

shh … they’re good for you

This recipe might lead some to believe that I’ve lost my mind. I haven’t. Well, I don’t think so. But I am branching out from my typical kind of baked good. Last week I was looking for something new to do with my ripe bananas. I love banana bread but just wasn’t in the mood. So when I found these banana oat bars I was intrigued. The most interesting thing: there’s no flour or sugar or eggs, so if you’re in the know, that makes them vegan. And if you know me, you probably just fell off your chair. But listen: they’re good. Really! I drizzled the top with a little maple syrup for a touch of sweetness. You could also mix in pretty much anything you like – craisins, raisins, chocolate chips, almonds – and these chewy, granola bar-like treats will make a great breakfast or satisfying afternoon snack. So who’s crazy now?

Banana Oat Bars
– 2 very ripe bananas
– 2 cups of rolled oats
– 1 teaspoon of vanilla
– ½ teaspoon of salt
– ¼ cup of dried & pitted dates
– ¼ cup of walnuts, roughly chopped (or pecans, hazelnuts or almonds)
– Maple syrup (or cinnamon or nutmeg)
– Cooking spray

Heat your oven to 350º.

In a mixing bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. It should look like banana pudding. Stir in the oats and vanilla, and then stir in the salt, dates and nuts. Lightly coat a 9×9 (or similar) baking dish with cooking spray. Press the mixture evenly into the dish. Lightly drizzle maple syrup over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are golden. Let cool on a wire rack and then cut into bars.


Some Nuts Roasting in a Closed Oven …

jack frost would certainly nip on these

Shopping for presents is hard. Especially when you have absolutely no clue what to get somebody. Even if that somebody happens to be someone you’ve known your entire life. Oof.

But you know what’s a gift everyone likes? Food! And I have a feeling one person in particular on my list will enjoy these sweet and spicy nuts, a roasted mix of pecans and cashews seasoned with brown sugar, cumin, cayenne and cinnamon.

Sweet & Spicy Nuts
– 1 egg white
– 7 oz of unsalted pecans
– 9 oz of unsalted cashews
– 1/3 cup of brown sugar (or ½ cup if you want it sweeter)
– 1 tablespoon of cumin
– 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
– ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
– ¾ teaspoon of salt

Heat your oven to 250º.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water until foamy. Add the nuts, sugar, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and salt and mix well. Spread the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until the nuts are mostly dry but still lightly sticky, about 40 minutes. Lower the heat to 200º, stir the nuts (mostly to make sure they’re not sticking to the paper) and then bake for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir to loosen the nuts from the paper, and let cool completely. Then eat, or toss them into a festive tin and hide them under the tree.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve, everyone!