I am mildly OCD...this has been downgraded I assure you. Nothing will make you loosen up like having kids. Instead of keeping a museum-like spotless home, my OCD shows itself in more subtle ways. For instance, when hanging pictures, it HAS to be straight and evenly spaced. If the level is even the slightest bit off, I rehang it. If you remove some of the frames from my walls, you will see sometimes up to 5 nail holes (not including the hole the nail currently occupies) from my attempts to get it straight. Now if these frames decide that they don't want to hang straight, I will place a nail holding the corner in place that sets the frame right...instead of hanging crooked.
Sound like not a big deal? Okay, I'll grant you that.
So now we move into my area of the house. This is the ONLY area where I have supreme control over the state of cleanliness, what happens here, and can control who comes in this area. Which room am I talking about?
I heard someone say it! You up front. Say it again. That's right, the Kitchen!
For me, having the rule of the kitchen is a huge deal and makes manageable the rest of the chaos that the girls cause in the rest of the house. At any time when the rest of the house is too noisy, too messy, too chaotic and I'm feeling overwhelmed I simply step into my kitchen and all is well. The counters can never be too clean; there are always dishes to be cleaned or put away; or I can simply bake.
When some people get anxious or uncomfortable or are in an awkward situation, they talk a lot or go out for a smoke or get jittery or need coffee or find some other outlet. I find I can't handle the awkwardness of some situations unless I am cleaning my kitchen. Most recently, I had some people over to our place and it was really awkward and uncomfortable for me. I spent about half of the time they were here in the kitchen. I cleaned. I found that once they had been here for a bit and I had occupied myself with the state of my room, I could deal with the situation.
You're right, that's not really OCD.
Okay, how about this. IF Nate loads the dishwasher but doesn't run it and I come behind him to finish loading the dishwasher, I rearrange what he has done because it isn't the "right" way and it just doesn't feel right to me. I know, that sounds awful and overbearing and shows some issues. (Thank you for pointing that out.)
There are just some things that have to been done a certain way (or even a certain number of times) before it feels "right" to me. Brushing my teeth is another example. Or drying off after taking a shower--if I don't do it the same way I still feel wet, even though I may actually be completely dry. Anyhow, I think you get the point: I have mild OCD that is under control.
Which actually brings me to my other reason for this post. Unprompted, I definitely wouldn't be sharing this admission. So Nate worked late last night and I didn't know what to do with myself. I put on some comfy clothes and ended up...where?...that's right, in the kitchen! :) I felt better and relaxed and enjoyed myself while whipping up some absolutely scrumptious cookie sandwiches. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!! Oh yea, fair warning, I was lonesome so I took A LOT of pictures. :)
So I donned my Scooby Doo pajama pants, N.C. State hoodie, and pulled back my hair. Armed with a recipe as a good starting point, I set about the kitchen.
You know you like those pajama pants, don't lie. ;)
Dark Chocolate M&Ms Chili Cookies with White Chocolate Filling
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup dark chocolate M&Ms
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking sheet, or parchment paper. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and chili powder until combined.
I decided to measure out the sugars and put them in a bowl first.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Beat in the dark brown sugar and the granulated sugar. Once light and fluffy, beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Beat at medium speed until well combined.
Turn the mixer down to low and slowly beat in the flour mixture half a cup at a time. Once all of the flour is incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir in the M&Ms and hazelnuts.Okay, okay. I give. Yes, these are unfinished M&Ms leftover from Christmas. C'mon though, what better way to use them up than by putting them in cookies???
To drop them onto my baking sheet with the silicone mat, I used a glass of water and the 2 Tablespoon measuring spoon.
Drop onto the prepared sheets and bake at 375 degrees F for 11 minutes.
Let stand for a minute or two on the sheets then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.
What was my Peanut doing while I was baking? I'm sooo glad you asked, because it just so happens I took a picture. Actually, I took about 10 pictures with some close up, some of Peanut and the whole bed, some in black-and-white, and some in sepia tone. So I picked the one I liked best to answer your question. :)
While the cookies are cooling, we whip up the filling! Woohoo!
8 oz white chocolate baking pieces
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cup confectioners' sugar
3 Tbsp whole milk
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white pieces. Stir frequently so as not to over-heat. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Once light and fluffy, beat in the remaining ingredients over low speed. When all of the ingredients have been incorporated, turn up speed. Beat for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Let's make some cookie sandwiches!!
I decided leaving the frosting white was just no fun at all. So I searched through my cake decorating drawer at all of the food colorings I have. After much debate between teal and burgundy, I went with burgundy. I put a lot of coloring inside my make-shift pastry bag because I was looking more for fun coloring rather than a swirl effect. You'll remember this technique from the Snowflake Cupcakes from a couple of weeks ago.
After filling the Ziplock bag with frosting and snipping off one corner, I gave each cookie a good "swirl" on the bottom and then sandwiched both sides together.
I realize that may seem like a lot of icing to some, but it is really really REALLY good. You'll want that much too, I promise. Besides, big cookies need lots of frosting filling. ;)
Here are two of the many pictures I took of my beautifully scrumptious FAHB-ulous Dark Chocolate M&M Chili Cookie Sandwiches with White Chocolate Butter Frosting!!! YUMM!!!