Cockadoodledo!

I’ll be honest, I haven’t much felt like baking cookies lately. In fact, I haven’t been near my oven in two weeks. I’ve also been rather down in the dumps (which is silly, because I live on a freaking mountain–how can anyone rightfully claim to be sad when she lives on a mountain??).

I realized that I would need a little kick to get out of my funk and back into the kitchen. And that kick delivered itself in the form of sriracha.

Food porn. Yes, I said it.

If you’re not familiar with sriracha (or colloquially referred to as “rooster sauce”–because of the picture on the bottle of the most famous brand, not because it’s made with rooster, you silly geese!), you need to immediately find yourself a Vietnamese restaurant, have a bowl of pho, and fix that. I’m one of the crazy ones who believes that food isn’t spicy unless it makes you cry, so sriracha is my magic go-to sauce at ethnic restaurants when the waiters think that the pasty Dutch-American girl really only meant to make her order “spicy.” Well, hold the air quotes, I say, because a dash, a dollop, or a heaping quarter cup of this stuff quickly restores the dish to its sweat-and-pain-inducing glory, exactly as it should be.

So what does this have to do with cookies? Well, I’ve been feeling uninspired, and so I figured it was time to think outside of the box. My friend Alex had mentioned the peanut and sriracha combination several months ago, and I figured that now would be the best time to experiment.

I bought a bottle of sriracha (and this brand is vegan, although next time I’d like to go all Bonzai Aphrodite and just make my own all natural sauce) and had Whole Foods grind me some raw peanut butter (and trust me, you can taste the difference when it’s raw and freshly ground. Although again, next time, I’m looking forward to doing it myself instead of expensively–though more conveniently–outsourcing the job) and set to work.

Oil free and freshly ground? Yes PLEASE.

In under 25 minutes, I had concocted a perfectly balanced blend of sweetness and spice, perfectly moist and with a warm heat that creeps up and hits you at the very end. These little “Rooster Cookies” were most definitely a surprising success.

But the most surprising part about these cookies was the response. I’m known for pushing the boundaries on my cookie flavors (garlic hazelnut cookies, anyone?), but I was honestly concerned about how these cookies would be received.

Sharing is caring.

The vast majority of my coworkers who braved the break-room caution sign came back with rave reviews–only a few were a bit skeptical, but mainly because they just weren’t sure how to “contextualize” the sensation, as my friend Amir put it.

These cookies were definitely the kick I needed to get my day going and get my back in the kitchen–a proverbial rooster crow to kick the morning off right.

The proud parents pose for a family portrait with their deliciously spicy offspring!

Love and Cookies,

KP

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Do You Like My Hat? (And My Peanut Apple Pretzel Cookies?)

Hello, again, blogosphere. It’s been a while. (I seem to have this terrible habit of disappearing for long stretches of time, but I promise that it’s been for a good reason:

At this exact second*, I’m sitting on a plane bound one way for San Jose, California, and all of the time between my last post and now has been consumed with the energy of packing and shipping my life several thousand miles, working my last few weeks at my old store, and working on an art project at my grandmother’s house–details of the latter to follow.

*Disclaimer: This post was written on the plane, but I wasn't able to publish it until today, since there's no way in hell I'm paying $8.00 to use in-flight Wi-Fi .

So why am I sitting on a plane to San Jose? Because, as of today, I am no longer a resident of the state of Florida. I’m moving across the country to live with my mother & brother, and to wipe the slate clean and get started on living my life. I figured that 2012 was as good a year as any to follow my passion and finally just live…if the world ends, great. If it doesn’t, even better.

For just over a week, between the first of the year and now, I’ve been living with my Grammy & Papa. I don’t know what I would have done without them–especially since I was cornered in my own kitchen & *ahem* “politely” told that I had to be out by the first unless I wanted to pony up my portion of the entire month’s rent. I’ve had an amazing couple of days, especially since my Grammy & I spent much of the time making my mother’s Christmas present [granted, a few days late, but I’m blaming that on Amazon.com for losing the materials in shipping].

Merry (Belated) Christmas, Mom!

My mother’s family has a strange love for the book Go Dog, Go by P.D. Eastman (aka Dr. Seuss). There’s just something about the “do you like my hat” bit that is unendingly funny…and so it is an oft-quoted part of our every day exchanges.

After discovering a really cool hack for turning an old book into a purse on Epbot, Grammy and I spent a good several days researching the “recipe,” if you will, for trying the project on our own.

My grandmother and I bonded. Literally.

Of course, I can’t ever make anything easy, so we started to deviate from the recipe, and, despite some setbacks involving Gorilla Glue and an industrial stapler, the end product was nothing short of really darn cool.

What does this have to do with cookies? Nothing, really, but in the midst of the chaos I ended up baking a batch of Peanut Apple Pretzel Cookies, which my grandmother loved–and to me, seeing her happy was the very best part. Also, I’d apologize for making you read a page-long parenthetical, but one of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop apologizing for everything. So there.)

Peanut Apple Pretzel Cookies are not peanut butter cookies. I substituted part of the Vegetable/Hazelnut Oil mix that I use with my Divine Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies with Peanut Oil (which can be easily obtained from the surface of an un-mixed jar of all-natural peanut butter). I crushed up regular pretzels and threw in some diced Pink Lady apples (which I chose because they have an incredibly dense makeup that allows all of that tart juicy goodness to hold up when baked).

These cookies are all kinds of awesome…I may do some experiments in the future with dehydrated apples as opposed to fresh, just because the fresh apples saturate the cookie with excess moisture, so they, like my pumpkin cookies, are best eaten just after they’ve been baked. I’ll keep you all updated on the results.

As for California, I’m on my way…I am excited to be starting my new life, and to be one step closer to opening my cookie company for real. 2012 is the year of possibility, and I’m going to make that possibility my reality.**

See you on the West Coast!

Love & Cookies,

KP

**P.S. My good friend Steve has challenged me to “Oprah” a cookie by 2013. Think I can do it?