Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gifted Goodies

Brother #2 (the lovable know-it-all, shoestring world traveler, crazy dedicated marathoner, and quick-witted physics teacher to a brood of British boys who call him sir) is back in America at last! Last night, Mom and I drove to Logan to welcome him "home" (read: bring him a set of wheels so he can take his friend from France on a whirlwind tour of the east coast's biggest cities before gracing us with his presence here in Maine).

Since he's only around for such a short period of time every year, we always spoil him like crazy. Mom and I whipped up a gift basket full of goodies/healthy snacks so their first adventure wouldn't have to be to the grocery store.

Brother #2's Welcome Back Basket

What's in the (overflowing) basket:
-1 Tub of Whole Foods creamy almond butter
-1 Bag of raw almonds
-4 Bananas (8 are pictured here but 4 were demoted to free up space)
-3 Peaches
-3 Nectarines
-1 Bag of Reese's
-1 Bar of Godiva Dark Chocolate (85% cocoa)
-1 Bag of homemade cookies with chocolate chips, butterscotch morsels, and health bar toffee bits
-2 homemade peach blueberry muffins
-1/2 Pint of raspberries
-1 Pint of blueberries
-1 Tub of Whole Foods roasted red pepper hummus
-1 Loaf of whole wheat 3 seed bread
-1 Ziplock bag of carrots and celery

Brother #2's was just thrilled to see his favorite things from this side of the pond (although he was quick to ditch the girly basket and pile it all into a Runningwarehouse bag). As the bag of buttery cookies disappeared, I only felt a tiny pang of regret. Unfortunately, kissing goodbye homemade baked goods never gets any easier. I've found it's best to close your eyes and do it quickly, like you're ripping off a Band-Aid!

Cookie Recipe:
(adapted from the original Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe found on the back of the chocolate chip bag)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups of chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (we omitted this)

If you've been following the blog for awhile, I'm sure you know how rigid I am...but you'll be happy to know that I have no qualms about tweaking recipes! We doubled the amount of chocolate chips the recipe called for and added in 1/2 bag of butterscotch morsels & 1/2 bag of health bar toffee bits to really sweeten the deal.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Stir in morsels.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 13 minutes (or until golden brown). Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Cooling Cookies

Sneak one that's most-of-the-way-cooled and eat it! After a gentle first bite, these cookies truly do melt in your mouth. There's something about the swirling chocolate, butterscotch, and toffee flavors that makes this grab-it-and-go dessert completely irresistible. 

For Brother #2

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