Spreads Cookies by Pioneer Woman

Monday, January 27, 2014

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
Spreads by The Pioneer Woman

On Saturday morning, I turned on the DVR and found a new episode of Ree Drummond in The Pioneer Woman Food Network show. It was all about football camp with her making 120 sandwiches and these "Spreads" cookies for the football camp boys.

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
Spreads are the often requested treat of Ree's older brother and it's basically a cookie dough topped with melted chocolate chips. In her 2009 post on her blog, she doesn't top it with extra stuff, but on the show, she went crazy and filled it with toppings.

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
On this spread, I topped it with two types of candy sprinkles.

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
This was topped with Heath English Toffee Bits. I just love these. They go great in scones too (see this recipe)

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
The dough is very close to a cookie dough and you simply spread it on a baking sheet. After it bakes for 15-20 minutes, you take it out and place chocolate chips on top. Then it goes back in the oven for 1 more minute (just long enough to soften the chips) and then you spread them out with your offset spatula. Seriously easy peasy.

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
After they chill out, you can cut the spreads into any size pieces. I found it helpful to refrigerate them for 15 minutes before cutting.

Spreads Cookies (Pioneer Woman recipe)
I made one batch and split it between two quarter-sheet pans. You can make one big spread, or smaller individual ones too. On the show, she topped one with this crazy s'mores gone wild: crushed graham crackers, mini marshmallows, M&Ms and caramel sauce.

Cidney the Girl Dog
Cidney the Girl Dog was hanging out on her Costco doggie bed (the cover was in the wash) while I made the Spreads. I'm not sure she liked me interrupting her rest. :)

Spreads by The Pioneer Woman
See her original recipe (2009) and from the Food Network

1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 large egg
2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (I added this, not in the original recipe)
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 - 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 8 ounces, but I think 6 ounces would be fine)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place parchment paper on a half-sheet or quarter-sheet pan. The Pioneer Woman does not use parchment, but I find the clean up easier with parchment.
3a. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
3b. With an electric mixer and paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add the egg and blend together, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
5. Add the vanilla and blend.
6. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour and salt and blend until just combined.
7. With an offset spatula, spread dough on the baking pan to a thickness of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Don't spread it the edges of the pan.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on the edges.
9. Pull out of the oven (leave the oven on) and sprinkle the chocolate chips on the cookie.
10. Return to the oven and for 1 minute. Remove and spread the chips over the top with the offset spatula.
11. Spread your selected toppings on top.
12. Let cool before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

On yesterday's episode, @thepioneerwoman made Spread cookies. I tried them today! Heathbar topping & Sprinkles
From @instagram - My account is @foodlibrarian - follow along! (it's 85% food, 10% dog and 5% more ridiculousness).
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Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies

Our coasts in the US are polar opposites right now. Los Angeles has been going through another heatwave...we've been in the 80's. And the East Coast is getting hit by a snow storm. What to do?

Make cookies. That's the answer for everything.

The best part of LA's "winter": meyer lemons from my folk's tree #nofilter
My parent's have a great Meyer Lemon tree and come winter, it's bursting with lemons. Meyer Lemons are very fragrant and sweeter than your regular lemon. They've gotten super popular in recent years and they deserve the attention! I hope you are able to find some...and I hope they are from California.

Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
This is a simple cookie to make. I made it while watching Sherlock. Oh, I love that show. Don't you? I tried really, really hard to stay up to watch it after Downton, but didn't make it so I watched it the next day while baking these cookies.

I made smaller cookies - the original recipe from Martha Stewart has about double the yield.

Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
Both the cookie batter and the glaze include lemon zest.

Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
Fresh from the oven. Let them cool completely before glazing the cookies.

Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
After glazing the cookies, let the cookies rest for an hour so the glaze sets up.

Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
Recipe: Meyer Lemon Glazed Cookies
Adapted from: Everyday Food/Martha Stewart Glazed Lemon Cookies

2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda (original recipe was 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely grated meyer lemon zest (I used two meyer lemons)
2 tablespoons fresh meyer lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Lemon Glaze
2 cups confectioners'/powdered sugar
zest of 1 meyer lemon (about 1 Tablespoon)
1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh meyer lemon juice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the lemon zest until damp and fragrant. This will release the lovely meyer lemon flavor.
3. In an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter with the lemon zesty sugar until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides. Add egg, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat until combined. It may look curdled but that's okay.
4. With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture until just combined.
5. Drop dough onto cookie sheets (I line my half-sheet pans with parchment paper). I used a small cookie scoop and got 42 cookies. The originally recipe uses one heaping tablespoon and yields 24 cookies.
6. Bake until edges are golden, 12-15 minutes for small cookies or 15-20 minutes for larger cookies, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
7. To make the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest until pourable. Spread glaze on the cooled cookies and let sit for an hour until the topping is set.
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Amazon Fresh Review - Home Delivered Groceries

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Amazon Fresh Los Angeles Home Delivered Groceries Experience
Amazon Fresh Los Angeles Home Delivered Groceries Experience

I'm in the midst of a 30-day free trial for Amazon Fresh, and a couple people asked about it so I thought I'd post my experience so far.

Amazon Fresh is home delivered groceries. Yes, order in your pajamas, and have groceries on your front porch. They started in their hometown of Seattle and have expanded to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Okay, stuff up front. I'm not paid by Amazon for this review, and anyone in the service area can get this free 30-day trial. I am, however, in the Amazon Affiliate program so if you buy books, subscriptions to Amazon Prime, and stuff via my Amazon link, I get a few cents. I'm on the fence about continuing the Amazon Fresh due to the price...but more on that later.

My neighbor and I were chatting after the holidays about Amazon Fresh. It's so darn tempting! There are a bunch of people who have Amazon Prime and the OnTrac, UPS, FedEx and USPS trucks almost caused a traffic jam on the street during the holidays. We shop via computer. A lot. So, I thought I would give it a 30-day try!

Amazon Fresh Basics: Your Amazon Prime membership goes from $79/year to $299/year. Grocery minimum is $35 per order. I can't live without Amazon Prime and sometimes I feel like I abuse it..."Oh, that $7 cable? Just order it on Prime and get it with free two-day shipping (often getting it in ONE day)." Anyway, the price difference is big and it's my biggest concern.


Amazon Fresh Los Angeles Home Delivered Groceries ExperienceFirst order: It was quite exciting to open the door around 5:30 am and see your groceries on the porch. Sure, it's totally lazy, but just let me have my moments in the morning.

You get these large Amazon Fresh green bags with your order. The next time you order, you leave the bags out for the driver to pick up.

When you order refrigerated items, they place them in a collapsible Styrofoam container with four frozen water bottles. This is ingenious! Amazon has a note saying the water is fresh and fine to drink later. The bag on the right has two Stryfoam containers broken down inside.

Order #1 - December 2013:
4 packages of Science Diet dog food for Cidney ($18.99) each package
Bananas (they come in packs of five), ripe $1.49
Fage Yogurt, flavored, 5.3 oz $1.00 each
Organic heavy cream, 1 pint $2.19
3 bottles of Martinelli (for Christmas with the family)
The order was about $100.

When you are ready to check out online, you get a grid of delivery options. You can choose "unattended" (leave on porch) or "attended" delivery (must be home to sign - alcohol purchases need attended delivery). You get to pick the time! (unattended has 3 hours spans but attended delivery has one hour spaces). The times range from "pre-dawn - before 7 am" to 10 pm. Pretty convenient!


Also, the grid will tell you if you can't get a delivery time because one or more items isn't available. For instance, I wanted pre-dawn delivery and a lip balm was holding up the order. I could either remove the lip balm and get the time I wanted, or keep it in and pick a later time in the day. You can also leave the driver a tip. They suggest $4 and it's charged a few days after the delivery so you can adjust it if you wish. I went with the default $4 (the delivery guy wasn't hiking up stairs or anything difficult).

Order #1 Issue - The Bananas. You can order bananas in two ways - ripe or green. I ordered ripe. They were placed in the large green back with a 12-pack of canned dog food (on the bottom). Also, there were three glass Martinelli apple cider bottles. And the bananas. So, in the packing, delivery and overall move to my house, the bottles fell on my bananas. They were a bit bruised. I ate them no problem, but I let Amazon know that I didn't think it was the wisest move to pack bottles with bananas. Within hours, they sent me an email saying they credited my account for the bananas and gave me a $30 credit for AmazonFresh (I didn't ask for that). I've ALWAYS had really good dealings with Amazon customer support and this was no different.

Order #2 (December 2013) General Stuff - This time, I ordered things like lettuce, carrots, more yogurt, hummus, sugar, flour, and more bananas (I love bananas, okay?)

This time, I tested buying something frozen (Kashi frozen meal) and it came in the collapsible Styrofoam container with packets of dry ice. If you wanted to get a fog machine going, you could have fun with this. :) But there is a warning notice, so if you have children, watch out for the dry ice because improper handling can burn.

Amazon Fresh Los Angeles Home Delivered Groceries Experience
Cold stuff - refrigerated stuff comes with four (free) frozen water bottles.

Amazon Fresh Los Angeles Home Delivered Groceries Experience
Order #3 (January 2014) This time I ordered a bunch of yogurt, laundry detergent, bread, turkey sandwich meal, cereal and buttermilk. This is the dry stuff. They wrapped the laundry detergent in a plastic bag.

Amazon Fresh Los Angeles Home Delivered Groceries Experience
Ripe bananas (left) and Green bananas (right) (sold in packs of 5 bananas). These bananas were perfect with no bruises! 

Amazon Fresh Los Angeles Home Delivered Groceries Experience
Refrigerated good from Order #3. Yes, I like Fage and Siggi's yogurt!

Amazon Fresh Los Angeles Home Delivered Groceries Experience
Order #3 Issue - Expiring buttermilk. I placed the order on January 9th, got it delivered on January 10th and the buttermilk had an expiration date of January 12th. If I were in the store, I wouldn't put this in my cart. I gave Amazon feedback about this (really, usually I'm not a big complainer, but since they are piloting this program...I thought they should know) and they credited back my buttermilk purchase and said they would contact the fulfillment center and have them check the expiration dates on the dairy products (the rest of the dairy (yogurt and cream) had fine expiration dates). And they gave me a $30 credit again (I told them they didn't need to do that, but I guess it's almost automatic since the wording was the same as the last email).

So, there are many pros and cons of Amazon Fresh.
Advantages:
1. Convenience!
Shopping in your pajamas? Yes, please. Also, if you have children, you don't need to take them grocery shopping with you...and have them ask for stuff you didn't plan on buying! I think the money and time saved on this might be a factor in a family decision :)
2. Delivery Times
If you order before 10 am, you can get delivery that night. Order by 10 pm and get it the next day. Awesome sauce.
3. Carrying heavy stuff
If you have mobility issues, this might save you a few steps of lugging stuff. If you live in an apartment on the 5th floor with no elevator, this would be great. No car? No problem with Amazon Fresh. Also, it seems you can have the groceries delivered to another address (in their service area) - this would be great if you want to buy groceries for your parents, relative or sick friend.
4. Los Angeles Spotlight
Although I didn't take advantage of this, Amazon works with local merchants to offer their products. Angelenos will know Fugetsu-do mochi, Border Grill, Intelligentsia Coffee, Santa Monica Seafood and Valerie Confections.
5. Good customer services from Amazon
My two interactions were met with prompt replies.

Disadvantages:
1. Price
Going from $79/year to $299/year is a large jump.
The price of food was pretty close to the grocery store. Some a little more, some a few cents less (you can go online and see the products yourself and compare). You can't use manufacturers coupons so if you are an extreme coupon contestant, this probably isn't the program for you (they do have some "online" coupons you can click on and use).
2. It's not Trader Joe's or your local Farmer's Market
I'm still going to Trader Joe's and I go to my local Farmer's Market on Saturday or Sunday. They have some organic produce, but they'll never match the freshness of a Farmer's Market - plus I like getting out, saying hi to the vendors, and getting a homemade pupusa along with some kettle corn too.

Overall, I really like Amazon Fresh and I can see it working for a super busy family, people without a car (looking at you San Francisco friends), and many of my fellow Angelenos. I'm still deciding if I want to continue it for the additional fee. Of course, I'll continue regular Amazon Prime (I often wonder how people live without Amazon Prime), but we'll see if I continue the Fresh side of things...I have a few more days before my 30 day trial is over! Have you tried it?

Updated 1/20/2014: I received a couple questions via the comments and email...
- There is no limit on the number of orders you can place per month with Amazon PrimeFresh. However, there is a $35 minimum grocery order on Amazon Fresh. (There isn't a limit on the number of packages you can order on Amazon Prime - geez, I totally take advantage of that when I order from Amazon way too frequently).
- I didn't order many "fresh" items such as meat, seafood, or fruits and veggies.
There are a couple reasons for that: 1) I don't cook much. I bake, but I don't cook much. Did you see all that yogurt I bought? The boxed Mac & Cheese? In my defense, I do fancy it up with some cold cuts or leftover chicken teriyaki and frozen corn - hey, it's practically gourmet. Most of my lunches are eaten out, and I sometimes find myself eating a sweet potato and fruit for dinner. Thus, I didn't buy the meats of a more typical family so I can't judge the quality of the meats from Amazon Fresh. 2) Farmer's Market & Trader Joe's - I usually hit TJ every other week, and go to the Farmer's Market once a week to pick up loads of fruits and veggies.
- There is an App for Amazon Fresh so you can order on the go. I downloaded it for iPad and it was super easy to place the order. You can also build a cart anytime (say, as you run out of stuff) and then place the order when your cart is full, or you hit the $35 minimum.

Hope this helps! Thanks for the comments about this post. It ran really long, but it sounds like it might be helpful for those in the Amazon Fresh delivery zone. I say - sign up for the free trial and see how you like it. And order heavy food and be all happy when it arrives on your doorstep. :)

- mary
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Happy New Year! JustJenn's Oshogatsu New Year's Spread of Deliciousness

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

JustJenn's Oshogatsu New Year's Lunch
Happy New Year! I hope 2014 is off to a great start!

I had to work yesterday so I wasn't able to even stay awake til midnight! Oh, getting old. I woke up this morning and watched the Rose Parade with Bob & Stephanie (Angelenos know this duo as the often bickering commentators of the Rose Parade on KTLA Channel 5. We have all grown up listening to them host the telecast...and when they demoted Stephanie from the broadcast box to the streets in 2006? Remember that LA?! Stephanie in the freaking rain on the streets? Oh...Los Angeles natives were pissed. If that happened today, there would be a change.org petition and a Twitter #bringstephanieback campaign.) Do you watch the Rose Parade where you are? It's tradition in my house to watch it - the floats really are a huge production of countless volunteer hours in a cold storage area and they come out just beautiful. And they smell great. Although I've lived in Los Angeles my whole life, I've never seen it live on the streets of Pasadena...maybe one day!

Anyway, after watching the cool Public Storage float (with the cool aliens driving off the float), marching bands, lots of flowers, and the first same-sex marriage (congratulations newlyweds Aubrey and Danny!), I was off to my friend JustJenn's house for her annual Oshogatsu New Year's Day party!

JustJenn's Oshogatsu New Year's Lunch
There was soooo much to eat! Some traditional (you need to eat certain beans and fish for longevity and good luck) and some a reflection of our Los Angeles-Southern California-Japanese-Hawaiian influenced lifestyles. It was all delicious! Go to JustJenn's blog later to find details and recipes.

JustJenn's Oshogatsu New Year's Lunch
Footballs! I mean, inari sushi from Gardena's Sakae Sushi - old school sushi the way your grandma used to make it. And Jenn made Spam Musubi - yummy!

JustJenn's Oshogatsu New Year's Lunch
I sat really close to the buffet table and kept reaching over for more of these bacon wrapped shrimp with adorable cherry blossom picks.

JustJenn's Oshogatsu New Year's Lunch
Remember all that plain mochi my family made last Saturday? Well, here it is in a bowl of ozoni - a special soup eaten on New Year's Day to bring you a year full of good times.

JustJenn's Oshogatsu New Year's Lunch
Mochi filled with sweetened red beans (recipe here) and JustJenn also filled some of them with Nutella (recipe here)

JustJenn's Oshogatsu New Year's Lunch
I brought a Broken Glass Jello Bundt (recipe here) Bundt love in the New Year!

JustJenn's Oshogatsu New Year's Lunch
JustJenn's delicious Chocolate Pumpkin Mochi Cake (recipe here). Yes, you CAN have mochi a million different ways!

Thanks Jenn for inviting me once again to your delicious lunch with your extended family. It's wonderful to see them all again and talk about our love of See's Candy.

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you have a delicious 2014!

- mary the food librarian
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