Friday, January 30, 2015

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


 This year when my kids and I went to go visit Santa, we asked him what his favorite kind of cookie was. He told us that while he loved ALL cookies, chewy oatmeal raisin cookies were his very favorite. 

Well, hmph. That wasn't what I expected to hear! I make a lot of cookies, but oatmeal raisin have never really been one I cared for much. Well, now that we had asked, it would be just plain rude not to deliver, so I need to put on my "A-game" and make Santa some good cookies. 

I think we were successful. My kids informed met that this was a "keeper recipe," and I would have to agree--they were perfectly sweet, cruncy, crispy and chewy. Loved them! Just like the Sugar and Spice Bark I posted about last, these babies are SOOOO yummy dipped in hot chocolate. A little too yummy. I definitely over did it on more than one occasion with these ones.




 We added some chocolate chips in them, because we were all pretty much in agreement that a bit of chocolate would definitely enhance the flavor (except my 2-year-old who still does not like chocolate! She keeps wanting to like it because everyone else does, but 99% of the time, she spits it right back out!).



So, if you have been looking for the perfect chewy chocolate chip recipe, then look no further--gives these a whirl and see if you are as satisfied with them as we are.

 

The original recipe is from Nick Malgieri's Cookies Unlimited cookbook, which is super fun. We've been trying out all sorts of recipes from it when we borrow it from the library, and all of them have been scrumptious. We tweaked this one a bit (whowever heard of an oatmeal raisin cookie without cinnamon anyway?) Enjoy!



Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
About 60 cookies
From Cookies Unlimited by Nick Malgieri


Ingredients

2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 c. rolled oats
16 Tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ c. raisins
1 c. chopped walnut or pecan pieces
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
3 to 4 cookie sheets


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well mixed, about a minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating smooth after each addition, then beat in the vanilla.
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients: combine the flour, baking powder, salt and oatmeal then add to the wet ingredients.
  4. Stir in the raisins, nuts, and chips.
  5. Drop tablespoons of the batter about 3 to 4 inches apart on the prepared pans. Flatten the mounds a bit. Bake the cookies until they spread and color evenly and become firm, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on racks.




Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Art Activity for Kids: Watercolor Animal Silhouettes

My kids and I did this fun art activity the other day with some friends. 
We made watercolor animal silhouettes.


 Each child picked an animal and then us moms printed it and cut it out for them. We discovered that the activity worked better for the kids if the animals were printed on cardstock. 

We really wished we had some rubber cement to adhere the animal silhouettes to the watercolor paper, but we didn't so we just used lots of tape and it worked fine. 

Then we just let the kids go! They seemed to enjoy the painting, and it was an activity that allowed for a lot of freedom and success.






I was so impressed how each child without any discussion or suggestion did it so differently. We had horizontal stripes, frames that started from the outside and worked in, outlines, radiating brush strokes, and for the little 2-year-olds just random splashes of color. So fun to see the individuality!


Supplies
watercolor paper
watercolor paints
paint brushes
animal silhouettes printed and cut out on cardstock
rubber cement or in a pinch, tape

How to
adhere the silhouettes to the paper
provide brief instruction on how to use watercolor paints if necessary
let the kids create!
 

 Enjoy!



Monday, January 26, 2015

Body Outline Block Activity with Kids

What fun this was!
Block outlines of our body.



We were playing with blocks the other morning and came up with fun activity. 
It's perfect for the foggy cold mornings we've been having (well, when we're not out in it taking pictures of the fog at least). 


With this little active 2-year-old it was a bit of a struggle to get her to hold still--I can't believe she laid there long enough to make an out line of her body let alone for me to get a picture of it! 




We decided it needed a face. :)



This "running girl" pose was a bit trickier but it was fun too. 




Just one of the thousands of ways to use blocks when playing with kids. I've heard it said many times that blocks are the best toys a kid could have. Now after 3 children of my own, several sets of blocks, and hours and hours spent playing with them in more ways than I can count, I agree: blocks are the best. 

Give these body outlines a try sometime with you kids--if you can just get them to hold still long enough (you have to be fast!) then they will be delighted with the results. They even made a body outline of me. :)



Friday, January 23, 2015

Sugar and Spice Bark

Emily has told me about these cookies a few times now, and I don't know...I just never really got around to making them.

Boy was I missing out!

I made some this last holiday season, and we LOVED them!
They are such a great cookie for the holiday season due to the warm cinnamon and nutmeg in them, but it would be a shame to only make them then. 



These Sugar and Spice Bark cookies are a great texture--soft with some structure--and less sweet than the traditional cookie, which I found appealing. Of course, I really enjoyed dunking them in my hot chocolate, which completely negates any health benefits of having less sugar, but whatever. They were even perfect for that! While a lot of cookies would be overwhelmingly sweet once dunked in your hot cocoa, these were perfection. :)

So, they have the perfect texture, a subtle nice sweetness, a warm spiciness and they are just plain adorable! Sprinkled with coarse sugar and cinnamon and engraved with elegant wavy fork marks, what's not to love about them?


Many thanks for the folks over at Better Homes and Gardens for once again making such wonderful cookies. :)
Here's the recipe link:




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