Sunday, October 21, 2007

Checking into Rehab

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 eggs
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.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Woo boy, those cookies have something to make just about everybody happy. I can see why they'd be heavy and bend. The sound super rich and yummy!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

And Lynn I always love how you can tell a story and get to what's cooking!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

I'm very glad to hear that your rehab is a B&B - I was worried for a minute, there! These Mrs. King's Cookies look quite tasty, with the combination of raisins and white-chocolate chips (I just purchased a bag of vegan white-chocolate-chips, so I could easily veganize the Mrs. King's Cookie recipe!)

Anh said...

Lynn, i never know BB can be that great. I would love to find out!

And your cookies are so beautiful as always!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

My Kitchen in Half Cups - Thanks! My posts might be a little convoluted, but I try to eventually get to the point.

VeggieGirl- I'd love to hear how your vegan version turns out!

Anh- If you come visit Washington state I've got a book full of B & B's to recommend. I wouldn't mind making a tour of them myself.

Anonymous said...

Those sound divine. :D Jonathan and I are going to try to bake cookies together tomorrow. I was going to do oatmeal but these are pretty tempting.

**doffs her cap and vanishes**

Aimée said...

OK I have to try those cookies with Noah. They look great! How nice you got away for a night. Sounds like fun. Maybe you can make some suggestions to the management about their food at the B&B!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Wow, that's what I call a wonderful rehab, Lynn!
These cookies are fantastic, so many delicious ingredients...

Lisa Johnson said...

Oh there is something so special about staying at a B&B!! I haven't been to one in a few years. The last one I visited was the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, Maine. What a great time! I could go on and on, but I'm going to reel myself in. I love these cookies! ; )

Anonymous said...

Phew...I was worried about you when I saw the title. I thought, 'Oh dear, she's going low fat! There goes the blog!'
Mykitcheninhalfcups has it spot on...there's something in them for everyone!
Lynn, What is your very favourite chocolate cookie that you have ever made? Can you tell me why it is your favourite? Oh then, I need to have the recipe.
I just made my favourite recipe for chocolate chip cookies and changed the shortening for butter. (A trans-fatty reason) The recipe is totally different tasting with that one change, and I don't really like it now.
I really would like to know what you think and if other people have a good recipe I like to hear from them too.
I was sure that cookie baker Lynn could help me out!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Gabe- What cookies did you decide on?

Aimee - I hope your darling little guy enjoys them.

Patricia - Yes, so much better than the other kind!

Anali - a B & B in Maine sounds wonderful. If they had cookies and lobster I don't know if they would be able to pry me out with a crowbar.

Melinda - Low fat? Ha! Been there, done that. I'll send you some cookie recipes to try. Let me know if you like them.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you write your lil stories, and especially adore those scrumptious-looking cookies! For those, I'd check into rehab anytime :p

Big Boys Oven said...

love the way and style you captured those cookies.... absolutely gorgeous!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Lynn, I'm definitely planning on baking a vegan version of these cookies this weekend; or the LATEST, sometime next week. Check my blog for updates, if you get a chance! :0)

Homemade Heaven said...

After being sick for the last week, those look like just the kinda re-hab I need.

Anonymous said...

Cookies! Whoahee! Never enough cookies, never enough new receipes :] Thank You!

Belinda said...

lol, Lynn! The "drug house", that's hysterical! I needed a smile this evening, and I come here to visit, and that's just what I get...thank you. :-) And not just a smile, but yummy cookies too. That's a pretty good deal, I must say.

Renee said...

The Drug House!!!!'s a weird feeling when things you vividly remember as a child turn out to be so different as an adult.

Anonymous said...

I love this story!
Those cookies look amazing.