Collections of the Week I

I love food.
My life is full of food, but food is not my life.
Therefore, I don’t want Sweet Spree to be just for food. I want to document all things I love. Photos I take, links I love and tidbits of life. A collection, I’ll call it.
So here we go, the first post.

Flowers in the yard
Flowers in the yard

salad22beet
Beet salad with goat cheese and walnuts. Don’t tell me this doesn’t look good.

melight2
I love the trees this time of year.


Song of the week. Take a listen.

Photo courtesy of deathandtaxesmag.com/

Photo courtesy of deathandtaxesmag.com/

Happy friday, may your weekend be #extra relaxin. #treatyoself

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Oreos

Homemade Oreos Original
Confession time: I love Oreos.
I don’t always admit to myself that processed wafers stuffed with an ambiguous cream make me happy. And really, to be properly enjoyed, an Oreo must have a good slather of peanut butter. (The most sugary, unnatural kind. This is dessert you know).
Even I don’t understand how a chocolate and cream fanatic can enjoy this extremely basic treat. But here I am?
Confession number two: The other night I somehow ended up watching Oreo taste tests on YouTube.
It’s summer, okay? I’m allowed to watch strangers on the Internet enjoy caramel apple and birthday cake flavored cookies.
In this web excursion, I knew I wasn’t going to survive the week without recreating this cookie. So I did.
Homemade Oreos Original
This is what happens when you come home from college for the summer. The freedom gets to you. Oh, you want to make Oreos right now? You can!
[Cut to a later scene of me rolling out the last of the dough, as well as my patience.]
These are pretty close representations in terms of taste and texture. The cookie recipe is pretty simple, and the cream is actually a sugar paste.
When you make your own Oreos you have the freedom to take on the cream myth. Nabisco, are you really going to argue that “double stuffed” are in fact, double stuffed? I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a mind game because those “double stuffed” cookies look single stuffed to me.

Despite this process being a bit tedious, it’s quite pleasing to see your efforts come together in a neat cookie (or a million, which is how many I made).
(And you should eat this many, because think of all the chemicals you’re not ingesting that normally inhabit Oreos! #cleaneating #notreallythough #fitfam?)
I hope you all had a lovely long weekend! Enjoy this amazing weather!

Also…sidenote. I used whole wheat flour (all I had) which contributed to the texture of the cookies. Gotta love the specks, right?

Oreos

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tps baking powder
  • 2 sticks of salted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 tbs water (+/-)
  • For the Cream
  • 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbs vanilla
  • 1 tbs water, if needed

Instructions

  1. Begin by creaming the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy and well combined
  2. Add in egg and vanilla and mix briefly until just combined
  3. Sift dry ingredients together, then mix into the wet
  4. If dough does not come together, add in water by tablespoon
  5. Finish needing dough and separate into 2 slabs. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour
  6. Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness and cut into circles (I used a tea canister for a cutout!)
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes. As a rule, they'll probably take less time than you think. Don't wait for crisp edges, take out when they have just set.
  8. For the cream, mix cooled, melted butter with powdered sugar and vanilla until a dough forms. If the dough is too thick add in water by the tablespoon. If it is too thin add in more sugar.
  9. Roll the dough into a cylinder roughly the same size as your cookies will be. Refrigerate until firm. When ready to use, remove and slice. Assemble cookies! Enjoy.

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Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries BakedI’m home again!

It has been a little too long since “chocolate chip cookies” aired on Sweet Spree. It has also been a busy semester with limited kitchen use!

But I’m back, with sweet potato fries!

In light of previous (kind of wimpy floppy) sweet potato fries, I did my research this time. Crispness is crucial or else you’re serving up uncomfortable sticks of a Thanksgiving side dish.

Just kidding sweet potatoes, you’re my favorite.

The lessons I learned from the web:

  1. Coat fries with cornstarch first in order to develop a crisper coating/exterior.
  2. Canola, not olive (high temps, ya know).
  3. All the Spices.

Sweet Potato Fries Baked
While making these it occurred to me that I could technically make sweet potato chips and cover them in chocolate (perfection). So, keep your eyes peeled this summer for that experiment. (Yes, a potato pun, big lol).

Meanwhile I’ll be mostly living in my kitchen after our long time apart, and I guess doing a liiiitle life elsewhere as well. Enjoy the tater’ fries!

Some flavor combos to try: cumin and garlic, paprika and chili, & cinnamon and nutmeg.

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 4-5 Sweet Potatoes
  • 3 tbs Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbs Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • Spices of Choice! (see post)

Instructions

  1. Begin by chopping ends off of potatoes, peel or leave skins on (I peeled).
  2. Slice Potatoes in half then into smaller fry-chunks
  3. Toss fries in a freezer bag (or a large bag) with cornstarch
  4. Add in olive oil, then salt, pepper and spice. Toss again.
  5. Bake at 420 degrees for about 30 minutes. Flip halfway. Use a non-stick pan or a cookie sheet with oil and foil (heh).

Sweet Potato Fries Baked

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies Homemade Sweet Spree

Here I am with some basic chocolate chip cookies. No lavender or exotic nuts added, just the classic cookies. But the thing about chocolate chip cookies is that there’s no ‘basic’ or ‘normal.’

Everyone has a different vision, or at least a preference for how the perfect cookie should be.

That’s why it’s always fun to give the old Google a spin and type in, ‘perfect chocolate chip cookies.’ Oh, did you guys all use the same recipe? I’d accuse the baking community of being sneaky, but none of these cookies look the same.

When it comes to variety, I’ve really tried every trick in the book to get the perfect cookie. I’ve followed the classic back-of-the-bag recipes, gone by eye with adding the dry ingredients, and even added a little cornstarch.

But for some reason I have never been able to settle. This is partly because of an optimistic idea I have that the best cookies ever have yet to come out of my oven, and they will with time.

However, I’m pretty sure I’m haunted by some not-so-good batches I’ve made in the past. Everyone knows a dry cookie that you finish and think…hm, maybe I’d rather just have raw cookie dough?

Of course, even with a good cookie this is still valid emotion. Being the official cookie dough taste-tester is God’s gift to bakers everywhere.
Chocolate Chip Cookies Homemade Sweet Spree

When I saw this recipe poking around the Internet, I wanted to give it a try. I’ve had a lot of success with chilling the dough as well as adding cornstarch. And they did turn out really well. I always strive for a chewy middle and crisper edges and these do not disappoint.

Are they perfect? Is there perfect? I don’t know, ask Google.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (6 oz) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ dark chocolate, chop coarsely

Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cooled melted butter and the sugars with a hand-mixer for about one minute. Then, add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until just combined.
  3. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix briefly, just until there are no flour clumps left. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 325 degrees, making sure you have the racks in the middle of the oven.
  6. Scoop heaping tablespoons of cookie dough at a time and roll into balls. Form the dough into an upside down traffic cone shape that still stands up. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure the cookies have plenty of space to spread.
  7. Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating half-way through, or until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden, but the center of the cookie still looks soft and just slightly under-cooked. Let cool on the baking sheets until the cookies are firm enough to remove. Every oven is different, so I recommend starting with just one or two cookies on the tray to see what baking time works best for you!
  8. Repeat with remaining batches, until all cookies are baked.

Adapted from The Best Chewy Café-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

 
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