Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Oatmeal Raisin Results!

The results are in!!

3.1 YUMS!

3.9 YUMS!

SALT wins again, but there was a somewhat interesting twist to all of this.

As we mentioned in the recipe posts, Sugar is out of town this week. She left her cookies (which she claimed were not very good) in my office, sealed in a Tupperware container. I don't know what kind of magical Tupperware voodoo occurred, but her cookies were actually much better 2 days later than they were when we first sampled them on Friday. (I know because I taste tested them myself.)

So while I feel that we shouldn't completely forgive Martha Stewart for what she put Sugar through, it's nice that her cookies went over better than expected with the taste testers.

What we are making for Monday is going to be a surprise. Just as much for me as it is for you!

Seriously I have no idea what she wants to do...maybe I should send her a Facebook message...

Happy rest-of-the-week to everyone!

Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm no oatmeal raisin connoisseur or anything, but I think these taste pretty darn good.

You may have already read (or are about to read) all about Sugar's oatmeal raisin fiasco. Her post is scheduled for today as she is off at some beach enjoying a well-deserved vacay. In her hurry to get packed and ready to go, she got her recipe together at the end of last week.

So I've already tasted her cookies. And she's my friend so I'm going to withhold comment on them other than to say that we are in agreement that I have a pretty good shot at winning this week unless I decided to bake blindfolded.

It's all Martha's fault.

Anyway, my Google search method worked well enough for the chocolate chip cookies, so with a quick plug-in of "best oatmeal raisin cookie recipe" I was on my way.

The original recipe that mine is based on comes from the Simply Recipes site. It was posted by a woman named Elsie who claims that her grandmother used to make these cookies years ago. I just love a good back story.

I made a few slight changes. The cookies were originally regular oatmeal (sans raisins) and contained walnuts. Because I'm not sure if anyone in the office has a nut allergy, I decided to opt out of those and of course added raisins because that's what this contest is all about. If you do feel like adding nuts to the mix, it calls for 1/2 cup.

Someone's Grandma Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
(Does not contain bits of real grandma.)

Yield: About 2.5 dozen large cookies.
1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 cups oats (I used Quaker Old Fashioned. Recipe warns against instant.)
3/4 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Cream shortening and sugars. Add in eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
  3. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add to mixture.
  4. Add in raisins. Then add oats last.
  5. Spoon out rounded tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely.
Depending on your oven, you might want to let them bake an extra minute or two. I left my first batch in for 10 minutes and they were a little too soft in the middle. Now that they are cooled, I'm sure they are firmer, but I haven't tried them out yet.

I have never in my life made anything with shortening in it, so this was an adventure. I tried half of a chewy cookie right out of the oven and thought it had a nice flavor, but who really cares what I think, right?

See you on Wednesday with the results!

Slap the Ankle Bracelet Back On, Martha.

In 2004, Martha Stewart was convicted of lying to investigators with regards to insider trading. She served 5 months in prison. In 2010, Martha Stewart is convicted of lying to Sugar about having awesome “Classic Oatmeal Cookies”. Martha, you were wrong. You should wear the ankle bracelet and be on house arrest until you come up with a better recipe, because this one sucked.

The cookies were, indeed THAT BAD. This must be the recipe she hands out to avoid giving away her super awesome secret recipe. Martha, this cannot possibly be your recipe for real, I mean... you're MARTHA STEWART for God's sake.

Go with your gut…. , go with your first choice… all the advice that teachers from elementary school through college gave about multiple choice questions has been tossed out the window with this recipe. I owe an apology to each of my teachers for this. I had to make my cookies early this week as I’ll be on vacation Monday and I wasn’t putting off a good tan in the name of cookies (and crappy ones at that). I printed one of Guy Fieri’s recipes off FoodNetwork.com for this week and loved the recipe. (Please make it, I’m sure it’s way better than this one).

However, I chose Martha’s recipe for three reasons:

  1. One would think Martha Stewart would sooner jump off the highest point of her Hamptons estate roof before publishing a mediocre recipe.
  2. I had all the ingredients for her recipe, and not Guy’s.
  3. I'm lazy, had to pack suitcases for me and Baby J, and this was quick.

The cookies were a little dry (more like chewing on raw oats and flour) and slightly bland. I’m hoping that by sitting in a Tupperware container in Salt's office over the weekend it will only help. I had the idea of experimenting and putting a test cookie in a Tupperware with a ghetto-shotglass of saltwater to see what happened and if the cookie improved. Salt will have to report the results of my saltwater cookie on Monday as I’ll be soaking myself in saltwater by then. A coworker suggested adding a slice of bread to the batch of cookies. I may have to give that a whirl, too, if I can locate a loaf of bread in the office.

Also – if you do for some reason test Martha’s recipe, use regular raisins. Another gut feeling I should have gone with. Golden raisins may have further ruined these cookies and I highly recommend staying away from any food products which use the word "golden." Ick.

So, that being, said. I give myself a 2.25 Yum rating this week. I may as well hand Salt the golden spatula now and begin researching what I want to make for next week. Double Ick.

(Photo Courtesy of Martha Stewart OMNIMEDIA)
OMNIMEDIA - That's just rubbing it in your face that she's got some evil plot to take over the world. More on my developing conspiracy theory with Martha Stewart later...

Martha Stewart’s Mediocre Classic Oatmeal Cookies

Yield: About 3 Dozen


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup wheat germ

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1.5 cups golden raisins


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs; mix on high speed to combine. Mix in vanilla; set aside.
  3. Combine oats, flour, wheat germ, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture to to the butter mixture, and beat on low speed to combine, 10 to 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer, and stir in raisins.
  4. Using a large metal scoop, drop dough onto prepared sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden and just set, about 18 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire rack to cool.

(Copyright 2010 Martha Stewart Living OMNIMEDIA, Inc.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So which chocolate chip cookies take the cake? Er...cookie?

The results are in!!

3.9 YUMS!

4.1 YUMS!

Which basically means that SALT wins the very first throwdown by an extremely teensy margin, and we learn that our mad baking skillz are evenly matched.

We have decided that for now the person who came in 2nd (who I refuse to call a loser because she's SO not and next week it could totally be the other person in 2nd place – aka: me) gets to have the upper hand by picking our next Food-of-the-Week.

So stay tuned for Sugar's choice:

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies!

See you on Monday!

Monday, July 19, 2010

This is what happens when you wait until the last minute...

When Sugar told me this morning about her recipe search and subsequent invention of a brilliant new chocolate chip cookie, I felt like a total lazy ass.

Although I did bake my face off yesterday, no matter the fact that I was up until 5am the previous evening playing Rock Band at my bff's house. In typical Salt style, I used the procrastination method when looking for which recipe I would use.

I located online after a painstaking search that lasted all of 10 minutes.

Salt's Procrastination Cookies
(Copyright: Some woman that isn't me.)

Yield: About 66,000 cookies. Seriously, unless you are attending a big party or feeding a family of 12, cut this bad boy in half.
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 (3.4 oz) packages of instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Sift flour and baking soda together. Set aside.
  3. Cream together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar.
  4. Beat in pudding mix until blended.
  5. Stir in eggs and vanilla.
  6. Blend in the flour mixture.
  7. Add chocolate chips (and nuts or something if you're feeling sassy).
  8. Drop in rounded spoonfuls on ungreased baking sheet.
The recipe said to bake for 10-12 minutes, but I let mine go a for like 15 because they seemed undercooked before. I would suggest just keeping an eye on them after the 10 minute mark.

One thing that really struck me about this particular recipe is the fact that it called for vanilla pudding mix; I had never heard of anyone using it for chocolate chip cookies before. I think it made these cookies taste phenomenal (and my husband agrees and is thrilled that the recipe made so many), but we will just have to wait and see what our taste testers decide!

I'm thinking it's time for cookies for breakfast. :)


Wow. I never thought baking a simple batch of chocolate chip cookies would be so flipping hard. I’ve created my own “captain’s log,” if you will of the thought process behind such simple little tasty treats that, before this friendly competition, I have not given so much thought. It’s amazing what the want of a week’s worth of bragging rights can do.

Day 1 (Friday night):

I have been lazily browsing the internet for days and flipping through all my happy-homemaker magazines (Southern Living, Good Housekeeping, Cosmo…wait..nevermind, that was something completely different with chocolate altogether) and hoping that some magic cookie recipe would jump out, grab me, and beg me to make it. However, no such luck. I did, however, find in all these fitness magazines that chocolate is good for your heart and for the purpose of anti-aging. That justified skipping my run, grabbing a glass of wine (also extraordinarily healthy), and finding a great cookie recipe in the name of health and longevity.

As it turns out, typing “best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever in the world” into Google turns up many claimants that they have, in fact, the world’s best chocolate chip cookie recipe. Amazingly, none of these people had their own bakery, Food Network show, or famous last name like Ghirardelli, Fields, Spunkmeyer, or Chips Ahoy! I take the recipes that look the best and merge them into one recipe I can call my own. I created 2 simple rules to live by for the sake of this recipe, and probably giving at least 1/2 the people who eat these cookies a heart attack

  1. More butter + lard + eggs = better. (Paula, this one’s for you)
  2. More brown sugar = better

I started the traditional route and pulled a few recipes from blogs, one from Southern Living, and a three from the Food Network. Below is a copy of the chicken scratch that may become the recipe for the BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES TO GRACE THE PLANET EVER!!

I felt like I was doing a horrible, never-ending algebra equation with a hint of chemistry mixed in. And for those of you who know me, math is not my strongest subject. Break out the calculator.

Day 2 (Saturday):

Okay, so maybe the first draft was not, by any means, the BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES TO GRACE THE PLANET EVER!! For starters, I think I went a little too Paula Deen-ish by throwing in extra shortening on top of the extra butter. (These are not health food, wait, yes…yes, they are – see day 1 post) Apparently, that makes for some very soft and crumbly cookies. Even a little too soft and crumbly for me as they really didn’t brown up like I wanted. By the end of my trial and error session, the grease on the cookie sheets from my cookies could have rivaled the griddle at Denny’s after the drunk-shift and breakfast shifts combined.

I did the first batch small, tablespoon size and they were okay. I tried some larger, flatter cookies, too. Flavor was good, but not at all what I was going for.

Awww, Isn't he cute!??

I also am going to try baking soda instead of powder. Baking soda is more common in cookies, but I thought after studying food chemistry online last night that baking powder may be the way to go if I was chilling the cookies. I think my leavening agent leavened too much.

Regardless, Baby J and J both loved the flavor. J wasn’t too impressed with the texture. Luckily for our dinner guests tonight, I made a backup gingerbread cake so they won’t be disappointed. J gave it 3 Yums! 3 Yums ain’t winning anything, and if that’s a guaranteed win on this blog, we should pick another topic. Our dinner guests, D & S, said that they were like a shortbread cookie with chocolate chips thrown in.

Back to the drawing board.

Day 3 (Sunday):

J tells me the recipe is pretty good for a first shot at making my own recipe. I think he’s trying to boost my ego in return for more cookie dough batter to lick. I tweak the recipe – less flour, more anise, more salt, and more vanilla. I also reverted back to the traditional baking soda for a leavening agent. I turned the heat down to 350 as a crazy daredevil move (the only recipes I read showed 375 and there was one 325). Baked the cookies and 14 minutes later gooey and crunchy tasty goodness emerged. I crossed my fingers and said a prayer as J came downstairs to try one and…(start playing Rocky theme music)..LOVED THEM! 5 Yums! from J. Hallelujah. So, below is my recipe for BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES TO GRACE THE PLANET EVER!! Hope now that I’ve named them that I get bragging rights for the week.

If you make them, please let me know what you think! If you are a coworker, Erin (they are being sent to you today), Kristin (I will drop them by on my break tomorrow), or anyone else who has tried them, please comment and let us know what you think.

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies to Grace the Planet EVER!!

(Copyright 2010, Sugar)

By: Sugar


Yield: 2 Dozen Big Cookies


1 c. packed dark brown sugar

½ c. granulated pure cane sugar

1 c. unsalted sweet cream butter, softened

2 T. pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 ½ c. all purpose flour

¾ t. +/- salt

1 t. baking soda

1 t. anise seed

12 oz. Ghiardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix butter & sugars on low speed with an electric mixer until well combined.
  3. Add vanilla & eggs, continue mixing on low speed until well blended.
  4. Add salt & baking soda to mixer while still on low speed.
  5. Gradually add flour to wet ingredients while still mixing on low speed. Continue mixing until all cookie-doughy.
  6. Stir in anise.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips with a wooden spoon until just combined. Do not overmix.
  8. Spoon giant balls of cookie dough so that only 6 fit on a standard cookie sheet. Do not grease the cookie sheet or use parchment paper.
  9. Bake for 14 minutes at 350.
  10. Cool on wire racks. If you like extra melty, gooey chocolate chips eat immediately , but risk burning your tongue. Badly.

Happy Baking!!



The way to a man’s heart is undoubtedly through his taste buds.

Oh! And a BIG PS –

This was the recipe on the back of the McCormick Anise jar. Apparently, Mrs. McCormick couldn’t really bake but wants you to buy her spices, or else she’s in bed with the Pillsbury dough boy.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Welcome to the Throwdown!

Hello blogland! We are Sugar and Salt and we would like to welcome you to the THROWDOWN!

Basically, we are a couple of real life (as in non-internet) friends that love to bake and this project has been a long time in the making. We wanted to create a joint venture where we could experiment with recipes and then post our findings. Then Sugar (aka: the smart one...and she's not even the one writing this so you know it's true) had the brilliant idea to turn this blog into a baking throwdown.

So how is this a "throwdown"? So glad that all none of you asked.

Every week we will choose something to make. It might be a cookie. It might be a cake. It might be muffins. You get the idea. Then we will each locate a recipe for this Food-of-the-Week and cook them up in our respective kitchens. These recipes must be FROM SCRATCH. No cheating and trying to pass off something out of a Betty Crocker box as our own.

The results might be delicious. They also might be terrible. That's for our taste testers to decide. Every Monday, we will bring our completed creations in to our office...

Oh did I mention we work together? Yeah, not important.

...and they will be set out in the kitchen for people to try. They won't be labeled and these taste testers won't know which dish belongs to who, which works out well in case one of them is feeling particularly spiteful towards one of us that day. Then they will vote based on this nifty little rating system that we came up with:

I give you...THE YUMS:

5 Yums basically means that whoever created the dish must have cast serious magical baking voodoo on it. It would make angels sing and bring peace to the Earth. Unicorns frolicking on a rainbow. That sort of thing.

4 Yums is like a A-/B+. Still very delicious, but maybe lacking a little bit of that magic something.

3 Yums is above average. The tasters have had better, but they have also had much, much worse.

2 Yums is...meh. It's not like anyone will spit it out into a napkin, but it definitely isn't setting the world on fire.

1 Yum? Yeah. Not good. One bite was more than enough.

And then we have 0 Yums, which is basically WTF were you thinking? Were you drunk when you made this? Massive baking FAIL.

Every Wednesday we will post up the results of the tasters' testing using the Yum system. Winner gets bragging rights. Also we will post up what the food for the following week will be! While this will also be a lot of fun for us, we hope that the people reading this blog might be able to use some of these recipes for their own friends and families. The good ones of course. Neither of us recommend recreating anything that gets 0 Yums.

Now because it is our very first challenge this week, we decided to stick with something easy. So stay tuned for this Monday when we bring you...


Thank you so much for stopping by today! We hope you stick around...we can't wait to get started!


Blog Template by YummyLolly.com