With the plethora of stars checking into rehab, it seems to be the trendy thing to do. Not that I'm trying to jump on the bandwagon, but I figure it's time for me to confess. I've done my time in rehab and I'm now clean. Well, most of the time. There are a few days when I skip a shower and end up baking in my pajamas all day.
Across the street from the elementary school I attended as a child was an old historic house that was being used as a halfway house for drug addicts. On the playground we'd scare each other with elaborate tales of the depravity of that place and if we had to go past the house, we'd scurry to avoid the skanky-looking characters dozing on the porch in a (we were sure) drug-induced stupor.
After I got married and had kids, on one of my trips home to visit my folks, my mother surprised me with the gift of a night out with my husband. She said she'd booked us into an elegant bed and breakfast for the night and would watch the kids for us. Wow! Then she told us where it was - across the street from my old elementary school. What? She'd booked us into the drug house???
Yes and no. It had changed hands in the intervening years and had undergone extensive restoration and renovation. The result was a delightful little B & B. Our room was in an upper corner with window seats, angled ceilings, and every convenience that you could reasonably expect from a 100 year old house.
In the morning I felt refreshed, renewed, with a clearer outlook on life. I had a positive direction to my life - to go rescue my parents from their grandchildren. It might have been just the thrill of having a night alone without kids, but I'll chalk it up to my stay in rehab.
Of course, a delightful bedroom is only part of the charm of a bed and breakfast. There is food. Or there's supposed to be. I don't think the people running the rehab B & B got the memo that there was cooking involved. Serving a store bought roll and a thin slice of cantaloupe and trying to pass that off as a "continental breakfast" has always seemed a bit cheaty to me. Which continent are they referring to? One on which famine is in vogue?
The best B & B's are as well known for their food as for their lodgings. After all, a nice room can be found in a chain hotel, but a beautiful, delicious, home-cooked meal is worth coming back for.
Thus I was so pleased to receive a cookbook from my sister, containing the best recipes from
Washington State Bed and Breakfasts. Yes! The recipes from people who's bread and butter is bed and butterhorns. I loved leafing through it, imagining I could actually stay at each enchanting cottage they described. The first recipe I tried from this cookbook is for cookies (imagine that). Not just any cookie, but cookies so popular that I have since seen this recipe in two other cookbooks. Mrs. King's cookies.
They are totally comfort food. Handfuls of deliciousness with just enough batter to hold all the tastiness together. They aren't tidy cookies. When warm from the oven they kind of droop from the weight of the melting ingredients, but that's when it's best to scoop up a plateful and sit with your sweetie in front of a fire with a cup of tea. You'll feel happy, cozy, and delightfully pampered. And you won't need to go through rehab afterwards.
Mrs. King's Cookies
adapted from her recipe served at the Highland Inn in Friday Harbor, Washington
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp grated orange zest
1 tsp vanilla extrace
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups raisins, craisins, or dried cherries
1-1/2 cups chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
1-1/2 cups good granola, preferably unsweetened
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup rolled oats
Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F.
Cream together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the batter just until evenly blended. Stir in the raisins, nuts, granola, white and semisweet chocolate chips, and oats.
Scoop the dough into ping-pong sized balls and arrange them on an ungreased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake until firm on top and just beginning to turn brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Check for doneness, rather than going strictly by time, as ovens vary.
Let the cookies sit on a baking sheet for 3 to 5 minutes to firm up a bit. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly while baking the remaining cookies. Be sure baking sheet is cool before using it for another batch.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies, or more.