As of late I've been in a baking mood but for me there isn't any escaping the idea buried deep inside my brain that I'm simply not a very good baker, if I was a good baker then I'd probably try making scones (which I did try once, it played out as a tragedy). But, since I know that I'm not a very good baker I decided to try making cookies from recipes printed on the back of boxes, I'm sure you know the one's I'm talking about. In this instance I had two different boxes, from two difference brands, for two different types of cookies.
TRADER JOE'S Buttermilk Pancak & All Purpose Baking Mix
Obviously I bought the Trader Joe's Buttermilk Pancake & All Purpose Baking Mix in order to make a few pancakes, I had been eating them so often lately I decided to try making them at home. Sadly the pancakes were not as delicious as the one's I was eating at breakfast restaurants. The pancakes turned out rather tasteless, I even added blueberries to make them exciting but there just wasn't any getting around the fact that the Buttermilk Pancakes were tasteless. So in order to get my moneys worth from this box of All Purpose Baking Mix I decided to try out the chocolate chip cookie recipe printed on the back of the box. A lesson to us all amateur cooks, you can't change something tasteless into something delicious simply by baking cookies with it, unless of course you're putting loads of other goodies in it which wasn't so in this case. What I ended up with were tasteless chocolate chip cookies with boring texture... Zzzzzz..... If there's one thing I've learned from this experience it's that the mix really does matter.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 tsp vannila
3 cups Trader Joe's Baking Mix
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup (6oz) chocolate chips
Add softened butter, eggs and vanilla to a large bowl. Blend with a spoon until creamy. Stir in baking mix, sugar and chocolate chips. Using a teaspoon, drop heaping spoonfuls of dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. For a chewier cookie, remove cookies a few minutes earlier and allow to cool.
McCann's Irish Oatmeal, Quick Cooking Rolled Oats
I've targeted McCann's Irish Oatmeal as my favorite, and I have gone through many different brands of oatmeal but I found that McCann's Irish Oatmeal had the best texture and the best flavor (even when absolutely nothing was added!) I always have a box of McCann's in my kitchen pantry and on the back of the box is a recipe for walnut and raisin oatmeal cookies.
I decided to try out the cookie recipe but instead of walnuts and raisins, I omitted the walnuts completely and simply added a mixture of dried berries (blueberries, golden raisins, chopped dried dark sweet cherries and cranberries). The mixed berry oatmeal cookies turned out fantastic and was a big hit! I made 27 cookies which were completely gone in 3 days!
I was so excited that the mixed berry oatmeal cookies turned out great that I decided to try a different type of oatmeal cookie using the same recipe but once again substituting. This second time, instead of using the mixed dried berries (which I had run out of) I used chocolate chips and the rest of the chopped dark sweet cherries that I had left over. I made the mistake of adding a 1/2cup LESS flour into the mix and the chocolate chip cherry oatmeal cookies turned out flatter than the first batch (as you can see from the pictures) but crispier around the edges and slightly crunchier... the chocolate chip cherry oatmeal cookies were even better than the first batch!
|Thinner and Crispier cookies when adding 1/2 cup less flour|
I suppose after reading my experience with the two brands and the cookie recipes on the back of the boxes, it goes without saying which I will suggest. The oatmeal cookies turned out wonderful, the crunchy texture, the flavors, being able to easily substitute ingredients, the simple recipe! If you're not a very good baker, such as I, try the recipe on the back of McCann's box and you'll feel wonderfully satisfied with yourself, as probably your husband and children will too. And after a few rounds of baking delicious cookies with McCann's rolled oats you may just find the courage to bake something a little bit more challenging.
1-1/4 cups softened butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
3 cups McCann's Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla extract. [I used a hand mixer to cream the butter and sugars and used a wooden spoon to mix in the egg and vanilla extract].
3. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to butter mixture. Mix well. [If you add 1/2 cup less flour (which I accidentally did on my second batch, you end up with crisper and crunchier cookies].
4. Stir in McCann's Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal, raisins and walnuts. [I substituted the total amount of raisins and walnuts with my own ingredients, ie. mixed dried berries and chocolate chips].
5. Drop rounded teaspoons of batter on an ungreased cookie sheet. [I found that the oatmeal cookies do not spread as much (unless using less flour) so I was able to put the oatmeal cookie dough roughly 1-1 1/2" apart opposed to the standard 2" apart usually asked for when baking cookies].
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degree F. Cool for 1 minutes before removing to wire cooling rack.