Black and White Cookies

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Scandalous Day 5

Finally. FINALLY. Today is THE day, Gladiators. The wait for Scandal will officially be over at 10:00 p.m. tonight. I can hardly wait to see what Shonda’s got for us. I know it’s gonna be awesome, but I just hope my blood pressure can handle it. Scandal has a tendency to return with a real ‘bang’ that leaves me reeling.

Hopefully you’ve been following along with me in our countdown to today’s season return, but if you haven’t that’s okay. I’ll post links to all the other recipes in the Scandal series at the end of this post in case you want to check them out (which I highly recommend that you do).

I’ve wanted to make Black and White cookies for a long, LONG time. I’ve mentioned in the past that my favorite dessert is a thick, bakery-style sugar cookie. Anytime I find a recipe that’s even remotely similar to it, I’m gonna want to try it just out of curiosity to see if it will satisfy my craving and meet my ‘Sugar Cookie’ standards- that are actually pretty steep to be honest.

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Black and White Cookies are thought to have originated in New York delis. They’re much larger and thicker than the typical cookie, which the texture being a cross between a very soft, tender cookie, and a shortbread like cake. They get their name from the coating of icing that they’re decorated with; one side being white,  and the other being black or brown. When I was picking out which recipes I wanted to do for the Scandal series, these came to my mind for a few reasons, which I’ll get into in a second. First let me give you my general impression of they turned out:

I’m an absolute sucker for these kinds of treats, guys. After that first bite, literally the first thing that came out of my mouth was “Wow!” It was everything I want and love in a cookie: the dough had a pleasant lemony flavor all on it’s own, the texture wasn’t too dry and crumbly, and the icing (on both sides) provided just the right amount of extra sweetness that sent the taste of these cookies over the top with deliciousness. I didn’t expect to like them as much as I did, and I didn’t expect them to puff up so thick and lovely in the oven the way they did either. Typically I have to chill my cookie dough overnight to get these types of results, but these went straight from the mixing bowl to the sheet pan to the oven- it probably had something to do with that 1 tbsp of baking powder that’s in the recipe, huh?

Decorating tip: Use the vanilla icing FIRST, then let it fully set up before spreading on the chocolate. I also held a pastry scraper down the middle of the cookie while spreading the chocolate to make sure it didn’t smear with the white icing, but I could see the flat end of a butcher knife or something like that working in a pinch too.

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The Scandal inspiration for these cookies isn’t as obvious as you may think. Yes, obviously we have a Black-White relationship on the show, but my reasoning was a little more complicated than that. If there’s anything that 2 1/2 seasons of this show has made clear, it’s that in Shonda Rhimes’ crazy, but brilliant world, nothing- absolutely NOTHING- is ever strictly black or white. Just when you have one impression of a character or situation, the plot spins around to make you switch sides. One week, it seems like it’s Black. Another week, it seems like it’s White. Then other times, it’ll seem like it’s a little bit of both. You just never know in Shondaland. But regardless, we love it all the same..just like with a Black and White Cookie.

Well, we did it Gladiators. We made it to Scandal Day. I’ve had a blast with this series, and I hope you take the time out to try one of these ‘Scandal-ous’ Recipes below. You won’t regret that you did.

See you at 10:00!

ScandalousRecipes

Day 1: Cookies and Cream Popcorn

Day 2: S’mores Popcorn

Day 3: Texas Bowl of Red

Day 4: Blackberry Jam

Day 5: Black and White Cookies

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Black and White Cookies

Recipe Courtesy of King Arthur Flour

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon oil, or 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup milk (regular or low-fat; not nonfat)

Vanilla Icing:

  • 3 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons hot water
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional

Chocolate Icing:

  • 2 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chips, or chunks), melted

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2) To make the cookies: Beat together the butter, sugar, salt, baking powder, lemon, and vanilla till well combined.

3) Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4) Stir in the flour alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.

5) Using a muffin scoop or a 1/4-cup measure, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten/spread the dough to a 3″-diameter circle. Leave 2″ to 2 1/2″ between each cookie.

6) Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, until they’re set, a very light golden brown around the edges. Cookies baked for 10 minutes will be quite moist. Cookies baked for 12 minutes will be drier. Bake for 11 minutes for an in-between cookie.

7) Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them right on the pan. As they cool, prepare the icing.

8) To make the vanilla icing: Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, and hot water. Spread the icing over half of each cookie. Place them on a rack to set while you make the chocolate icing.

10) To make the chocolate icing: Combine the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, hot water, and espresso powder. stirring till smooth. In the microwave, or in a pan set over very low heat, melt the chocolate. Add the melted chocolate into the sugar mixture, stirring till well combined. Spread the icing on the uncovered half of each cookie.

14) Set the cookies back on the rack, and allow them to rest for about 30 minutes, till the icing is set.  For best storage, wrap each cookie individually, in plastic wrap, and store at room temperature.

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Blackberry Jam

Blackberry Jam1Tagged

Scandalous‘ Day 4

Gladiators! ONE.MORE.DAY.

We are one (just ONE) short day away from the long wait being over and FINALLY being able to get back to our favorite show. I don’t know about you guys, but I can hardly wait until tomorrow night. I know we all have our own ways to #CopewithoutPope, but there’s just nothing like the real thing.

The Olivia-Fitz relationship is undoubtedly one of the most popular aspects of the show, and for me, it is a sort of guilty pleasure. One one hand, I’m in love with Olivia and Fitz as a couple because #1, Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn have MAD chemistry with each other on camera. I have no idea how the two of them can manage to show so much emotion and raw passion within both their dialogue and even in their gazes. They’re both phenomenal actors in that respect. #2, I love the “I just can’t quit you” attitude that they have towards each other. I tend to be cynical about love/relationships/romance in real life, but watching the Olivia-Fitz relationship on Scandal frequently yanks at my more sappy side. The only thing more romantic about a man and woman who are crazy about each other is a man and a woman who are crazy about each other but can’t be together.

And last but certainly not least, #3…He.bought.her.a.HOUSE!

On the other hand, their relationship is something that my moral center just hates. Regardless of how Fitz and Olivia feel about each other, the facts remain: he’s the President  of the United States, and he’s married with 3 kids. Not only that, Mellie has sacrificed WAY too much for Fitz for him to continue to disrespect her in the way that he does with Olivia. Whether he knows the full extent of her sacrifice or not is irrelevant. She’s his wife, and he swore a vow to her. Until that changes, his affair with Olivia is wrong.

So in TV Land, I’m #TeamOlivia all the way. But in real life? I’ve gotta be #TeamMellie.

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The inspiration for this recipe should be obvious to us all. Who can forget the scene between Fitz and Olivia from the episode “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” where they begin to fantasize about what would happen if the stars would align and they would suddenly be able to have their Happily Ever After together:

Fitz: Somewhere, in another life, another reality, we are married and we have four kids, and we live in Vermont, and I’m the mayor–
Olivia: And I make jam.
Fitz: And you make jam. 

Sigh. I just caaaaaaan’t with them *wipes eyes with tissue*

This jam was the first recipe that I knew I wanted to make for the entire Scandal series before I even started. It’s not only ridiculously easy, it’s absolutely delicious as well. I decided to use blackberries because that’s the berry that my family likes best, but feel free to substitute strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or even a mix of all for this recipe. They all will work just fine.

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{Olivia’s Vermont} Blackberry Jam

Recipe Adapted from Ina Garten

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 1/2 pints fresh (or frozen) blackberries

Directions

1. Combine the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over very low heat for 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add the blackberries and continue to cook over very low heat for 20 minutes, until the blackberries release some of their juices and the mixture boils slowly. Cook until a small amount of the juice gels on a very cold plate.

3. Pour carefully into 2 pint canning jars and either seal or keep refrigerated.

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S’mores Popcorn

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Scandalous Day 2

It’s Day 2 of our countdown to the return of Scandal and I’ve got another popcorn recipe for you guys. On a general note, I loveloveLOVE the flavor combination of the s’more. It’s composed of three simple ingredients, that when smashed together and placed over the fire, give you something that is plain out of this world and turn into pure nirvana in your mouth.

The more that I thought about this when I was planning the next recipe for the Scandal series, the more that I thought I’d try to use a s’mores recipe in honor of our favorite Gladiators in Suits: Harrison Wright, Abby Whelan and Huck.

Side Note: I do know that Quinn is not included from this list. No, I didn’t make a mistake. Rest assured,  it’s completely intentional. We don’t have to get into a big discussion about it. Suffice to say, after witnessing her many fumbles & fails throughout the show, as well as her consistent habit of being just plain annoying, I’ve come to the conclusion that Quinn’s not a real Gladiator. At all. So, moving right along…

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Let’s break down the elements of this popcorn while also breaking down the elements of Olivia’s Gladiators in Suits. First, we’ve got the marshmallows, and I’ve decided to associate the marshmallows with Abby. What’s the bad news about that? Well, Marshmallows are all fluff and air.  On their own in a dry state, I really don’t think that they taste like much of anything, except that artificial, processed flavor which I don’t really care for. In the same way, in season 2 I had my suspicions about Abby’s ability to be a true Gladiator when it came to showing her loyalty to Olivia and putting that first, even above her relationship with David Rosen. To me, she spent way to much time on the fence deciding who she was going to stand behind, especially in light of how Olivia really helped her turn her life around after the life she had with her ex-husband. However, when placed under fire, marshmallows lose that artificial after taste and turn into gooey pillows of deliciousness. In the same way, when all the chips are down and Abby is under the fire that threatens her or Olivia, she loses her air of artificiality, and shows herself to be a true Gladiator that’s willing to do what it takes to succeed.

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Melted marshmallow is perfectly good all on its own, but in a s’more, it just won’t cut it. You gotta have the melted chocolate. Mmhmm. We need our Harrison. Everybody loves chocolate. Not only is he extremely attractive, but I don’t know any true Scandal fan that doesn’t love Harrison, from his finely tailored clothes, to his no-nonsense get up and go that refuses to settle for anything but the highest standard when doing his job. I notice that in most of the cases that Pope and Associates handles, Abby and Harrison are usually seen working together as a team to ‘handle it’. Harrison feels like a sort of brother to Abby and frequently does what he feels is necessary to support and help her in the ways that she can’t even help herself. Marshmallows and chocolate are the perfect combination in a s’more, and I think we can agree that Abby and Harrison are a tried and true team when they’re working together.

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I saved the best for last. Melted chocolate and marshmallows are all well and good, but by themselves they just make a big (albeit gooey) mess. They need the sturdiness of the graham cracker to hold it all together. In the same way, Abby and Harrison may be good at what they do, but I think that we all know that the true foundation of Pope and Associates isn’t even Olivia Pope. It’s Huck. We all remember the stunning episode ‘752’ where Huck’s post traumatic stress from being tortured and held captive by the CIA finally caught up with him. Each one of the members of Pope and Associates admitted during this episode that without Huck’s presence, the team just wasn’t the same. They literally needed him- just like marshmallows and chocolate need graham crackers.

Guys, this popcorn is SOOOO good. I literally have to limit myself to a handful ration each time I eat it, to keep me from polishing off the whole bag in one sitting. Like our Gladiators, each element brings something great to the table, but when they’re put together, they’re truly out of this world.

Gladiators Collage

Who’s your favorite Gladiator?

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S’mores {Gladiators} Popcorn

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white popcorn kernels, plus 4 separate kernels.
  • 1/4 peanut or vegetable oil
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups graham crackers, lightly crushed

 Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°

2. Pour vegetable oil into a large wok or pot over medium heat.*

3. Heat the 4 separate kernels in the oil until one pops. Add the other 3/4 cup  of kernels and cover the pot. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally until the popping stops. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. Whisk melted butter with vanilla extract and kosher salt; drizzle over hot popcorn.

5. Toss popcorn with marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham crackers.

6. Spread on baking sheets and bake until marshmallows and chocolate are slightly melted, about 2 minutes.

7. Allow popcorn to sit on baking sheets, until cooled, about 30-40 minutes. Keep popcorn refrigerated once cooled off to keep chocolate from melting.

 *You can also use 2 bags of microwave popcorn to substitute for the freshly popped version.

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Cookies and Cream Popcorn

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Scandalous Day 1

I am SOOOO excited to be kicking off yet another themed series on Cooking Is My Sport. This one I’ve decided to dedicate to a special little television show that (hopefully) you all may have heard of, called Scandal.

Created by the brilliant Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy anyone?), Scandal centers around the life and career of the incomparable Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington), boss of a crisis management firm that primarily represent political figures in the public sphere, and handle their embarrassing crises and problems (and subsequently make them disappear).  Olivia is supported by a team of employees- the ‘Gladiators’- that help her smooth out and ‘fix’ the lives of her clients. However, Olivia’s own personal life is more often than not filled with more than its own share of drama and crises and the conflict of the show centers around how she handles (or doesn’t) all of that for herself.

I sincerely hope that I’ll be preaching to the choir for what I’m about to say here. It hardly needs further explication, but I’m gonna say it anyway. Just in case.

Scandal is the show, guys. And I do mean THE show.

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This series on the blog I’ve decided to do is a result of my extreme impatience/excitement/celebration/anticipation of February 27th…the day we’ve all been waiting for: the premiere of the 2nd half of season 3 of Scandal. The food that you guys’ll be seeing over the next few days was in some way, inspired by the show and its characters- some of those ways will seem obvious, while others may not seem so obvious. But don’t worry- as is the case with Scandal, nothing is ever ‘random’ or by ‘coincidence’, and I’ll be giving my explanation for the inspiration behind all the food- and hopefully we can get some lovely Scandal-ous discussion going here as well. (Because the only thing more fun than watching Scandal is talking about Scandal. Right? Of course right.)

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I don’t know about you guys, but in my house every time Scandal comes on, a bowl of popcorn is made. Apparently I’m not the only one who considers this a must. The combination of Scandal, popcorn and red wine is one that many a Gladiator swears by: the shows delivers the thrills and suspense, the popcorn delivers the cure for the munchies, and the wine has the job of mellowing out the viewer from the hour of intense drama that they’re about to see. This is all well and good for most people, but I happen to be one of those freaks of nature that just doesn’t enjoy alcohol that much- even wine. I don’t know why really, but all of it just ends up giving me a stomach ache. And stomach aches during Scandal is a no-go. So yeah, I just don’t ‘indulge’ when it comes to booze. My great secret revealed: I’m a light weight.

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However, I have absolutely no problem with putting away some popcorn. Especially this popcorn. My inspiration for including this recipe in the series should be pretty obvious. Cookies and Cream is a combination of something white/vanilla with added black/chocolate cookies to it. I’m sure that this sounds pretty familiar to Gladiators, right?

Let’s just imagine that the cream and white popcorn in this recipe represents President Fitzgerald Grant III before his election to office. He wasn’t too bad by himself, but Fitz still needed something more to get him to that next level. We all know what that ‘something’ was for Fitz. Olivia Pope. Once he had Olivia, Fitz just went to a whole new level (literally). In the same way, once this popcorn gets the Oreos added to it, it’s just out of bounds. You’ll be lucky if you can actually put it down or want to share with anyone.

And now that I’ve beat this metaphor to a pulp, let’s just let this recipe be called the ‘Olivia and Fitz Popcorn’ and leave it at that.

Any ‘Olitz’ fans? Where do you think their relationship will be going in the second half of the season?

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Cookies and Cream {Olivia & Fitz} Popcorn

Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup white popcorn kernels, plus 4 seperate kernels.
  • 1/4 peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 cups lightly crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (such as Oreos)

Directions

1. Pour vegetable oil into a large wok or pot over medium heat.*

2. Heat the 4 separate kernels in the oil until one pops. Add the other 3/4 cup  of kernels and cover the pot. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally until the popping stops. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Warm sweetened condensed milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle over the hot popcorn.

4. Toss popcorn with the crushed sandwich cookies. Spread onto a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Allow to sit until fully dry, about 30-40 minutes.

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