Whether it be cooking weeknight meals or baking to fulfill my sweet tooth, I enjoy both trying out new recipes with new ingredients and returning back to those old favorites I will suddenly get a craving for (he-llo Hershey's Special Chocolate Cake). If you are a Betty-Crocker wannabe like me, your pantry/cupboards are full of wonderful things to include in your recipes...and they are all in bags with some sort of twisty, clampy closure thingy...and they are all shoved into a corner of your pantry...and they may be a bit older than you would like to admit publicly. Every time I open my cupboard I think to myself, "Geez, Anne, clean this out!" Well today I got a start on it...
I have been following Simple Mom for a couple of months now because I like her ideas on simplifying and organizing life. The past couple of weeks she has been presenting a new "Project: Simplify Hot-Spot" for her followers to tackle in their homes--cleaning, organizing, simplifying, decluttering, stuff like that. This week's spot is the refrigerator/pantry. ( I am proud to say I cleaned my fridge out yesterday.) Today I began tackling the the baking side of my cupboard. I really loved how Simple Mom used recycled glass jars to store dry goods...goodbye bags with twisty, clampy things. And since I just cleaned out my fridge, I had plenty to start with. I printed some address-sized labels from Giver's Log, slapped those on my jars, and I am now one more step to being less cluttered (and I am reusing too!)
And when you clean out your baking supplies, what do you wanna do? Bake! I had some (not expired) ingredients in a bag here, a container there that I thought of using up to free some cupboard space and ended up making a much-altered-version of an old family favorite...Jumbo Golden Raisin Cookies. But wait! I don't have golden raisins, nor do I have walnuts...I have dried cherries, apricots, cashews, and honey roasted peanuts...oh, and some flaked coconut. It will have to do!
The result was a chewy, large, breakfast cookie-type treat. Mild flavor, hearty, and oh-so-yummy. I really enjoyed them with my impulse (note: pregnancy) buy at Wegman's today--vanilla flavored almond milk. mmmm...
This is the recipe for Jumbo Fruit & Nut Cookies:
1. Put 1/2 cup dried cherries and 1/2 cup dried chopped apricots in a small bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover, and let them sit about 10 minutes. Drain, then added a cup of flaked coconut
2. Cream 1 cup butter, 1 cup white sugar, and 1 cup packed light brown sugar in a large bowl.
3. Add 3 eggs, one at a time and beat well.
4. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup chopped nuts to the fruit mixture (I used 1/2 cup chopped cashews and 1/2 cup chopped honey-roasted peanuts).
5. Sift together 4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, allspice, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon (I used 2 cups all-purpose and 2 cups whole wheat flour).
6. Gradually add to butter mixture and blend well.
7. Stir in fruit/nut mixture.
8. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle sugar on top and bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 (I used my BIG cookie scoop, flattened the cookie slightly, and baked on an ungreased stone for 20 minutes. If left on stone too long, they will stick a bit).