February 21, 2009

Clutter Cookies

Nothing is more comforting than a little old fashioned clutter. I'm talking stacks of books on the coffee table, jars and vials of spices in the kitchen cabinet, clusters of Virgin Mary images on the living room wall, and mantlepieces adorned with innumerable crystals and shells. This cozy clutter, to me, is what makes a house a home. Add a long-haired cat to that formula, and chances are I'll love that place 'til the death of me.
(Recent spotting of earring/coin/baby leg clutter in my bedroom)

It's no wonder, then, that this preferred aesthetic would find its way into some of my recipes. In fact, just last week I applied the clutter-approach to a batch of cookies. These treats were a jumble-lover's dream! The recipe did not call for merely 5 ingredients (save those recipes for the minimalists), let alone 10--or even 15 ingredients! These cookies were as clutter-happy as a museum basement! Or a baroque Catholic Church! I've donned these 17-ingredient cookies with this very unoriginal but fitting name: Clutter Cookies.

This cookie recipe is extremely versatile because you can add any random, soon-to-be-thrown-away ingredient to the mix. Do you have 3 apricots left in your pantry and you don't know what to do with them? Add them to the mix! Do you have a few tablespoons of wheat flour left that would soon turn to pantry dust? Add them to the mix! Not sure how to recycle your pencil eraser shavings? Add them--wait! As clutter conscious as I tend to be, I would hesitate incorporating items such as rubber, roach legs or leftover break fluid into the recipe. While this cookie recipe might be flexible, please exercise caution before tossing in potentially hazardous ingredients.

There is a sad ending to the Clutter Cookies, however. Sure, these treats might be totally unruly and multi-textured and collaged with both the subtle and strong--everything a clutter connoisseur could want in a cookie! However, they will most definitely leave your kitchen pantry in a state of nightmarish...order. (Breathe, breathe.) Remember that for every spice and nut and flour you throw into this dough, you could be creating vast, clutter-free spaces in your cabinet and fridge...and hence, in your heart.

Therefore, if you're like me, you must re-equip your cabinets with haste once these cookies are out of the oven. Rush to the bulk section of your nearest grocery store and start filling new baggies like mad--even if you have no idea how you'll eventually use the stuff. You never know--those wheat berries and wasabi-flavored hemp clusters might be called upon to serve in your next clutter-crazed recipe!
(Clutter-friendly ingredients used in my own cookies!)

The amazing Bridget over at Perpetually Creating (just one of THREE blogs this creative woman produces, which is why she dons the adjective "amazing") called these cookies Granola Bites after I gave her a few to munch on this past week. I like that description. A lot of the ingredients I used in this version of the Clutter Cookie do seem granola-ey in nature: oats, nuts, dried fruit, etc. Now that I think about it, granola is a very clutter-inspired snack; it fuses together a wide variety of tastes, textures, and colors into one, whole snack.

Make these cookies part of your spring cleaning ritual. Instead of throwing perfectly edible items away, see if you can give them new life in your own clutter-inspired cookie recipe!

What combinations of flavors would you select for your own Clutter Cookie recipe?

Clutter Cookies
(makes about 2 dozen)


1 dark chocolate bar (3-4 oz.), chopped finely
1 cup whole wheat flour (or whatever you have on-hand)
1 cup oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup almonds, chopped (or other nut)
1/4 cup cried cranberries (or any dried fruit you might have on-hand)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup margarine
1 tsp. vanilla extract (almond would taste great, too!)
1/8 cup of milk (I used rice milk)
1 Tbs. molasses (I used blackstrap)
1 Tbs. agave
1/8 cup peanut butter
1 egg (I didn't include any eggs, but it might work to gel these cookies together. They were a little on the crumbly side.)

1. Beat the margarine together with the molasses and agave in a small bowl. If you are using an egg, now would be the time to incorporate it. Begin adding the remaining wet ingredients: peanut butter, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix until well-combined.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. In yet another bowl (yes, your kitchen becomes a delightful, cluttery mess!) combine the coconut, chocolate, nuts, and cranberries.

3. Now comes the fun part: pour everything into the large bowl, and mix well until you have a solid, shining cookie dough.

4. Since so many odd-shaped things are incorporated into this dough, they are a little difficult to form into perfect balls. Grab about a tablespoon of the dough, and press it tightly in your hands while rolling it slightly. You're not going to get perfectly shaped cookies with this dough, but that's okay. What they lack in presentation, they make up for in taste!
5. Bake these delights in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Allow them to cool for at least 20 minutes before diving in--that chocolate can definitely burn your tongue even after 10 minutes of cooling! (Believe me: I know. It happened to me not once, but 4 times.)

Here's to some delicious clutter for your own mouths and hearts!


Breedale said...

First off, thanks for sharing that recipe. I really did love these cookies. They were so different from the usual fare and yet they were still undeniably delicious. Second, I love the tea mug in the last pic. I think I grew up with that mug. So nostalgic.
Now, to reply to your comment to me, I would be totally siked to have someone to share raw recipes with. We will have to make that a project after the bread project, which by the way is fully on over spring break. I am looking forward to making some comforting bread. It will be a good time too because the little one will be at school and hubby still has to work, so no distractions! Lastly, I will fill you in on the best and cheapest places to buy some plants for your garden. Some of the people that go to the farmers market on the weekend actually raise their prices to bring the stuff downtown. You get a better deal if you go directly to them. Thankfully, one of those awesome farmers is right down the road from me so we will definitely do some garden planning soon. Ok, sorry for the book. Hope you're feeling better and the grading has subsided!

Hadley Gets Crafty said...

I made myself some clutter scones, but they didn't turn out as well as it would seem these cookies did!

Happy almost Spring!

madcapcupcake said...

Ok, these cookies look very promising indeed - yummy, yum ingredients to be sure. I will give it a whirl using flax meal/water combo in place of egg and see if it doesn't stick together nicely - looks like the perfect accompaniment to a big mug of coffee - thanks for posting :)

stacey said...

these look ridiculously good!

Dia said...

They DO look (& sound) good! I've begun using coconut flour, so would prob put ~ 1/4 cup in - & I've used flax meal & water to add binding power!
My (grown) dau's allergic to egg yokes & peanuts, so I'ld prob sub. almond or sesame butter as well -
& of course use the coconut oil instead of margarine (recently read Nina Planck's Real Food - I didn't use margarine, anyway)

Thanks for sharing - lovely blog!