Malted Milk Ball Cookies! (Because I had a lot of Whoppers my Christmas Stocking to Use)

Malted Milk Ball and Tahini Cookies

For the couple years that I have had a blog, I have had to move in January. First to Texas, then to Pennsylvania, then to our current house. Every January. It marked something, it's given me anxiety that I haven't had to leave in 2018 yet. That this, finally, is my real home. My roots are small but they are growing. But I'm still taking January slow out of habit.

Our Christmas tree is still up and I'm okay with that. The small jingle of the baubles has become comforting to me as we stampede downstairs in the morning - me for my coffee and the dogs for their morning fried egg. It will come down next week, but I'll miss it around here. It, too, has become a familiar face, a friend, a reminder that time moves on and snow melts and it'll be Spring soon and then Summer and I'll hardly remember the gentle comforts of keeping a conifer in my home.

There are vestigials of the holidays all around the house - a bit of ribbon I haven't tucked into a shoebox, the holly wrapped around the taper candles in the dining room. But one so small, so inconspicuous hides above the pantry cabinet in a bag: a mix of Hershey's party-sized candy. I've eaten the Kit-Kats and the Reese's were gone within a day. Picked through, all that remains are the Whoppers that neither of us care too much for.

Nutty, sweet, and a little bitter at the end, I couldn't find a use for them until I was playing around with a cookie dough recipe earlier this week. And with a little tahini and big flakes of salt, it was the perfect marriage of a candy I otherwise am not too fond for. And maybe there's an allegory there, maybe there's some kind of holiday sustainability I'm in right now; but maybe there's not and that's okay, too.

Malted Milk Ball Cookies

Malted Milk Ball and Tahini Cookies

Makes 1 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaked sea salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 TB tahini
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature and beaten slightly
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Roughly 30 malted milk balls (Whoppers), crushed

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together
  2. In a stand mixer (or by hand), cream together butter, tahini, and sugar until light
  3. Add egg and vanilla, beat for another minute or so
  4. With mixer on, slowly add in your dry ingredients (I actually did it on low and a spoonful at a time and I think it came together better than dumping in)
  5. Finally, stir in your Whoppers
  6. Place in fridge and rest for 1 hour
  7. While dough is finishing up resting, prepare a cookie sheet with parchment or a Silpat and preheat oven to 375*F
  8. Roll out a dozen dough balls, each about 1 1/2 to 2 TB of dough and place on baking sheet
  9. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until edges brown
  10. Allow to cool slightly before eating

 

Malted Milk Ball and Tahini Cookies
Malted Milk Ball and Tahini Cookies
Malted Milk Ball and Tahini Cookies
Malted Milk Ball and Tahini Cookies
Malted Milk Ball and Tahini Cookies
Malted Milk Ball and Tahini Cookies
Malted Milk Ball and Tahini Cookies

Cookie Galette!

Oatmeal Cookie Galette

The chickens are still not laying and they're just a little over 6 months now. It's getting unbearable, anticipation of finding a tiny egg between the straw. Instead, all I have found is a small and timid mouse I tried to shoo away with the back of my glove. But, I'm waiting as patiently as I can, watching their combs grow a little darker, closing the barn door when the sun goes down.

I'm trying to keep busy while I wait. Finding new things to do with the time that autumn somehow offers me. I'm reading more, taking a bath in the evening. I'm cleaning the garage and painting the living room. We're visiting my sister, going out to dinner for my birthday. Spending more time together. Starting new TV shows. Falling asleep by ten, waking up at six to feel the morning fog that surrounds us in the mountains.

And with all this extra time I find, I'm practicing my piping skills. My unsteady hand and lack of artistic talent prevented me from trying it for too long. But, now I'm eager. Now I want to learn. Now I have the patience to sit down and sketch what's in my head. And now, with it slightly chilled by 6 o'clock, I don't mind spending time in the kitchen with the stove on and the dogs waiting patiently for samples.

So I made a cookie. I adapted a recipe I had for childhood desserts I wanted to reinvent. This one was originally an oatmeal cookie, the crisp and chewy iced ones you buy in a 30 pack at Wal-Mart. But so sharp and brittle, so thin and browned, it felt less like a cookie cake and more like something else. With its iced border and buttercream center, I got to calling it a galette. A cookie galette--which will henceforth be my stripper name and the new rebrand for cookie cakes. Join me in this, won't you?

Oatmeal Cookie Galette!

Oatmeal Cookie Galette

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup +2 TB AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB honey
  • 1/2 TB molasses
  • 1/2 TB pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until light and pale
  4. Add your egg and beat to incorporate
  5. Add honey, molasses, and vanilla
  6. Now, using a wooden spoon (I found the stand mixer mixed the dough too much), slowly add in your flour while stirring
  7. Stir in oats until fully mixed
  8. Transfer dough to a floured work surface (I just did mine directly onto the parchment) and roll out to about a quarter inch
  9. Using a dinner plate, cut dough into a circle and tap the edges in a bit if they crumbled slightly
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are browned and center is firm, but not burnt
  11. Allow to cool before decorating (see notes below)

Decorating note: As always, feel free to decorate however you'd like. For me, I whipped together 1/2 cup shortening, 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon orange juice, and 1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar until light. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with

Oatmeal Cookie Galette
Oatmeal Cookie Galette
Oatmeal Cookie Galette
Oatmeal Cookie Galette

Oatmeal Skillet Cookie with Crumble Topping

I spend a lot of time by myself. I've read four books since we moved to Ligonier. We get to name our house this month and I have a list narrowed down. I make sure the dogs get fed, my work gets done. I hate folding laundry and I love when I smell the dirt and concrete in the air from a passing truck kicking up gravel.

I told Nolan we can't leave anytime soon. We can't move again. I showed off my house to my best friend, Carissa, when she was visiting last weekend. I called it ours instead of mine and that shift in a possessive pronoun echoed like a foreign chord in the dining room. I'm still not used to having it be ours, but I love the idea of it all the same.

I told him we can't leave until our dogs are ready and they may never be. They've moved too much, from California to Pennsylvania. Milo flew home with me when we thought we could start all over again. They need consistency, we owe it to them now.

And for me? Home was never a place, but has always been something to run away from. I would walk up a hill in front of my childhood home and see how far I could go before it got dark, before I got tired and scared. Before anyone would know I wasn't in my bedroom. Home has been invented over and over and over again. And each time I found myself awake in the night, I'd be anchored to the spot by the sounds from my window.

The frog in the creek bed. 

The lazy moths that hit the window.

The lost cricket from the woods and the only thing separating me and the coyotes was a chain link fence.

We moved back last year and bought a house. Things have changed and I go back to the theme of creating home through food. One that I can't run away from. And so here is a skillet cookie with butter and oatmeal and a crumble topping. It smells the way comfort does and tastes just as good as normalcy can. I make oatmeal for the dogs a lot; they've come to expect it. So this recipe, in the silliest way, feels like home for us, too.

Oatmeal Skillet Cookie with Crumble Topping

Oatmeal Skillet Cookie with Crumble Topping

Ingredients for Skillet Cookie (inspired by one from The Food Network)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 TB shortening, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries

Directions for Skillet Cookie

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F and prepare a cast iron skillet with oil and flour
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, soda, cinnamon and salt
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together fats and sugar using the paddle attachment
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla
  5. Turn mixer off and use a spatula to stir in your flour mixture
  6. Finally, stir in oats and cherries
  7. Turn out into your skillet and press down

Ingredients for Oatmeal Crumble

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 2 TB maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 TB candied ginger, diced

Directions for Oatmeal Crumble

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and pinch with your hands until fats are incorporated wholly into the mixture
  2. Pour over the top of your cookie
  3. Bake entire dish for 1 hour, cover with aluminum foil (to prevent burning) and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  4. Enjoy with whipped cream for up to three days in an airtight container
Oatmeal Skillet Cookie with Crumble Topping
Oatmeal Skillet Cookie with Crumble Topping
Oatmeal Skillet Cookie with Crumble Topping
Oatmeal Skillet Cookie with Crumble Topping