I came home with plans of making Spaghetti with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce, but was met with grilled steaks and homemade French fries. The Husband had decided to cook. Spaghetti will have to wait.
I promised Baking Escapades and will deliver. After a few after-dinner errands, Nicholas and I headed for the kitchen to make some goodies for him to bring into school tomorrow.
We made Oatmeal Crisps and Coconut Almond Cookie Brittle. Both recipes were beyond simple and delicious and were done within 30 minutes. Considering I had a 2-1/2-year-old helping me, those “in the know” will know that’s quite an accomplishment!
The Oatmeal Crisps are light, tasty and, well, crispy. The Coconut Almond Cookie Brittle is an interesting take on the traditional brittle recipe. It tastes more like a shortbread-type cookie and both recipes will be definite repeaters. Get your baking pans ready!
I figured if I led with the news, I must lose some of my audience. A cute picture of my son was a better bet. Now, on with the news. Yesterday, the Departure of Agriculture turned the traditional food pyramid on its ear, so to speak. After 13 years of the food pyramid you’ve grown accustomed to seeing, the government has turned the pyramid on its side, added a staircase with a figure climbing it and prepared a dozen different pyramid models, all to help America’s growing waistline. Still a rainbow-colored image, the new pyramid (called MyPyramid) has the colored bands running from top to bottom now, instead of left to right. Orange for grains, green for vegetables, red for fruits, yellow for oils, blue for milk products and purple for meats and beans. Now emphasizing exercise, the staircase was added on the side.
Although the traditional food pyramid is a familiar sight, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns says that few Americans actually follow it. To that end, they have unveiled a new website to help everyone figure out their calorie and exercise needs. There you’ll find 12 different pyramid models, one for just about everyone, basing the information on your age, sex and activity level. Although it already has its detractors, the basic premise is still the same … Eat Less, Move More. Check it out when you have a chance.
Coconut Almond Cookie Brittle
Makes about 24 pieces
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350. Combine butter, sugar, salt and extract. Beat until creamy. Stir in flour gradually, beating until blended. Fold in nuts. Press dough 3/8-inch thick in a jelly-roll pan (dough will fill only 3/4 of the pan, and won’t spread). Bake for 15-20 minutes (the shorter the time it bakes, the chewier it stays; longer baking time produces a crisper cookie). Leave in pan to cool, then break apart like peanut brittle. Store in airtight container.
Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray. In a medium bowl, mix 8 tablespoons softened butter, 6 tablespoons sugar, 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon salt until smooth. Mix in 2/3 x 2 (what the heck is the math here? High school math was too long ago…) cups rolled oats. Drop firmly packed teaspoons of dough 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake until golden, rotating sheets halfway through, 12-15 minutes. Cool on sheet 1 minute; with a very thin spatula, transfer to paper towels to cool completely.