Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Character-inspired Recipes: Cinnamon Oat Crispies, Molasses Curls, Double Chocolate Scones

Last week, my new book, Hugging Death: Essays on Motherhood and Saying Goodbye came out on Amazon. To celebrate my mom, I reminded you of these amazing cookies. (P.S. Hugging Death hit the #1 spot in SIX of its categories. It's still on sale for $1.99 through the end of the week.)

This week, my YA fantasy novels are both on sale. Grey Stone is for sale for the ever-lovable price of FREE (on Kindle) (P.S. It just hit #1 on Amazon it the epic category as I was writing this post!). And Grey Lore is just $.99. If you like fantasy and you haven't snatched them up, then you definitely should. But lets forget about books (haha; don't really; seriously go buy them) for just a moment and talk about FOOD.

When those books came out, I created several character-inspired recipes to go along with them. They were really good. Here is your loving reminder to go make these right now.

Two are cookies that are connected to each other (much like the books are connected to each other). And the last are just some really amazing chocolate scones.

Zinnegael's Cinnamon Oat Crispies (aka Cinnamon Lace Cookies)
ORIGINAL POST HEREadapted from Add a Pinch
Makes 50-ish cookies
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5-8 minutes
Cost: $2.25 (that's $.04 per cookie. I didn't even realize how cheap these actually were till doing the math)
butter: 1.25, sugar: .50, oats: .25, egg: .10, other stuff: .15

For gluten-free adaptation, use a gluten-free flour or skip it altogether. You may also need to use oats that haven't been grown or harvested with wheat or gluten-y foods.

1 C (2 sticks) butter
2 1/4 C brown sugar
2 1/4 C rolled oats
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats. You must do this. Don't skip it or these will not come off.

Heat butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon  until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in oats, flour salt, cinnamon, egg, and vanilla.

Drop the batter by the teaspoon or half tablespoon onto the baking sheets (did you notice how little those scoops are. They must be little; they are going to SPREAD and if you use too much you will have one huge pan-sized rectangle of cookie at the end).

Bake to 5-8 minutes until the edges have browned (you can make these blonder, but they crumble more easily).

Allow to cool. Then remove from parchment paper.

Store in airtight container. These will last well for several days and freeze wonderfully.


Molasses Curls
 (Zinnie and I would like to thank Pioneer Woman for her inspiration for these cookies, though neither of us is big on brandy, so it had to be adapted) 


1 stick (1/2 C) butter
½ C molasses
¼ C sugar
¼ C brown sugar, packed
2 tsp vanilla
¾ C flour
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp ginger


2 C heavy cream
1/3 C sugar
1 T vanilla
1 T cream cheese, softened to room temperature (this acts as a stabilizer)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Put butter, molasses, brown sugar, and white sugar in a skillet. Allow butter to melt, stirring constantly with heat proof whisk or a wooden spoon. Allow mixture to bubble and cook for one minute.

Remove from heat and add in the flour, ginger, and salt. Stir together quickly, then stir in vanilla.

Drop ½ tablespoon FAR APART on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper or a silicone pad. You’ll only fit about 6 cookies on at a time. They will spread A LOT.

Bake for 10 minutes. They should be bubbly and flat. Ours always ran together a little no matter how hard we tried to get them not to.

Remove from oven. Allow to cool three minutes. They should be pliable, but not stretch when you pull them off the pan.

Drape over cannoli mold (or the large metal handle of a whisk, which is what we used; anything thick and round will do; we used the handle of an ice cream scoop as well). It will drape over the edges and you’ll kind of form it into a cylinder shape. Set on parchment paper sealed side down and allow to cool completely. You have to work kind of quickly so they don’t get too brittle, but don’t panic. It’s not too hard.

Allow to cool and set completely.

Meanwhile, make whipped cream. Combine cream, sugar, vanilla, an softened cream cheese in a large bowl. Whip until stiff peaks form.

After all have cooled completely, use a frosting piping thing (or a Ziploc bag with a small hole cut out of the corner like we did in our apparently insufficiently stocked kitchen). Pipe the whipped cream into the cookies.

Trouble Shooting:
-Once we let our cookies cool too much and they were too brittle to form into cylinders. Life went on; we ate them anyway.
-Since you have to make these in batches, your batter will cool as you wait. That’s not a problem. Just scoop it onto the cookie sheet when it’s its turn and it will spread and bubble as it should.
-When we were folding these, they were very greasy and that worried me, but then the grease went away and wasn't a problem. So don't stress if they seem greasy. 
-As I said above, if you want these to be as they are supposed to be (crispy cookies), you need to pipe them right before eating, but they are so divine soft that if they sit in the fridge, your life might just become a little bit fuller. 

(Ugh, this picture needs a serious photo re-do, but I don't have time today.)

Double Chocolate Scones
ORIGINAL POST HEREadapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
makes 8 scones
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Cost: $2.60
flour: .10, whole wheat flour: .10, oat flour: .05, cocoa: .20, sugar: .10, butter: .60, cream: .50, egg: .10, chocolate chips: .85

Note: To healthy this up just the slightest little bit, I couldn't help but use some whole wheat flour and oat flour (Zinnegael would never have done such a thing, but I did). They were delicious and while the oat flour makes it a tiny bit crumblier, I think it also helps it stay moist and gives it a depth of flavor that is fantastic.

1 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C whole wheat flour
1/3 C oat flour
1/3 C cocoa
1/2 C sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/2 C (1 stick) butter (frozen or cold)
1/2 C plus 1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (oh, and we were short, so we threw in some white chocolate chips too)


Note: This glaze adds more sweetness, but it also sort of seals the scone so that it doesn't dry out. The original recipe recommends dipping them in this glaze, but I just drizzled it rather thoroughly over the top of the scones, and that was way easier. (Yay for laziness and stuff.)

1 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 oz water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put baking rack in middle-low position. Line it with parchment paper (seriously--this is a good idea).

In a bowl or food processor (I use a food processor and it makes things like this so fast and easy), combine flour, whole wheat flour, oat flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

Cut the butter into chunks with a knife and toss those in. Give the food processor several pulses (or mush them into the dry ingredients with your hands, or a pastry cutter if you must).

In a small bowl, whisk the cream, vanilla, and egg. Pour it into the food processor and process until combined. Don't overmix it. A bit crumbly here is better than being it to death.

Dump out your mixture and press it together until it forms a bit of a ball. Knead it 10-12 times. Don't knead the heck out of it. You just want it to come together and be combined. That's all. Scones are sensitive little things and if you overmix or overknead them, they will be dry. So err on the side of underdoing it. You won't regret it.

Form into a ball and roll or press it into a nice circle that is about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cut this into 8 triangles (like cutting a pizza).
(Sorry that this pic is a little blurry, but wanted to show you the correct thickness)

Put these on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or just until they lose their shiny look. Again, err on the side of too little. Cook too long and they dry out.

Remove and let cool slightly.

Prepare glaze by mixing all those ingredients together and drizzle thoroughly over scones (or use a pastry brush, which is easiest). You want the glaze to pretty much cover the top and sides as much as possible (you're welcome).

Eat warm or not. They're delicious.


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