Gingerbread Dudes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Gingerbread Dudes

Gingerbread Dudes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Presumably, most of you spent yesterday overeating and napping to your heart’s content. Now that we’ve got all that turkey and thankfulness out of the way, we can start talking about the C word.

I’m getting the most outrageous birthday/Christmas present ever this year, our very own apartment. With us moving at Christmas, I doubt we’ll get to have a tree and all the decorations that make Christmas feel so special this year. Things could be much, much worse, I know. But there’s just something about the way the whole world seems to change at Christmas that makes it so magical. 

Gingerbread Dudes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

To kick of our Christmas cheer, I made us some fun and tasty Gingerbread Dudes. Often times, I don’t like gingerbread cookies because they’re made with molasses which I just can’t get into. These are made with brown sugar and golden syrup. 

Golden syrup is impossibly sweet and quite possibly the stickiest substance in the universe. I’ve just come to accept it as unavoidable, especially as it’s sold in a container similar to a paint can. If anybody knows any tips for measuring this stuff without making a huge mess, please share it in the comments. If you can’t get your hands on golden syrup, light corn syrup will work, too.

I like to let each person decorate their gingerbread dudes themselves. No matter your age, it’s impossible to decorate a cookie without getting a huge smile on your face. It’s instant happiness. I brought a tin full of these and some store bought tubes of writing icing to work, and I loved seeing everyone’s cookies. They loved making them. The joy was much needed.

Gingerbread Dudes | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Bring a smile to everyone’s face. Make some Gingerbread Dudes and share them with friends, family, and coworkers. Be merry.

Gingerbread Dudes
Yields 20
Gingerbread Dudes made with golden syrup are delicious and bring a smile to everyone's face.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
12 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 350 grams all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 125 grams butter
  6. 175 grams light brown sugar
  7. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  8. 1/4 cup golden syrup
Instructions
  1. Add the flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
  2. Add the butter and process to mix. You should have a mixture resembling wet sand. Add the sugar and pulse to combine.
  3. Add the beaten egg and golden syrup and process until the dough starts to clump together.
  4. Turn your dough out onto a clean surface and knead it two or three times just to bring everything together. Flatten your dough into a disc and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough about 15 minutes.
  5. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll out your dough t about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out your dough using a cookie cutter in your favorite shape and transfer the cut cookies to a cookie sheet. Give them a little space. They will spread a bit.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. These are crisp cookies, so you don't want them underbaked. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Once the cookies have totally cooled to room temperature, you can use writing icing and other decorations to create the gingerbread dude of your dreams.
Notes
  1. If your dough starts to get too soft and sticky as you're rolling and cutting, wrap it up and stash it back in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  2. If you're baking your cookies in batches, store the cut cookies in the fridge until they're ready to go into the oven. This will help keep them from spreading too much.
Adapted from BBC Food
Adapted from BBC Food
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

In the UK, there’s no Thanksgiving, so that means the moment Halloween is over, it’s all Christmas all the time. I’m still a hard core Thanksgiving junkie, so I’m not quite ready for trees and lights and snow. I am, however, always ready for cookies.

I don’t know if they do Christmas cookies here. I think they’re more into mince pies and fruit cake. I’m definitely sticking with cookies.  And I think there should be mountains of them. My mom used to make chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, chocolate-dipped peanut butter cookies, and more fudge than humans should eat every year at Christmas. I’ve never had the time or the space to be quite so zealous, but cookies for Santa are still a requirement at my house. Even on years when there are no kids around. 

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve made the chewy cookies of your dreams. Smashed up toffee bits and chocolate chips come together in a thin, buttery cookie for optimal crispy chewy awesomeness. Toffee Chocolate Chip cookies are where it’s at.

This is a basic cookie dough. Nothing too tricky. If you can’t get already busted up toffee bits, dump your larger toffee pieces into the food processor to get them into smaller, crunchable pieces. You’ll also need to be patient with the cooling, or you’ll end up with busted cookies because the toffee has glued them to your parchment. Just wait for them to cool completely, then you can peel the paper off and never stop eating.

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Who cares what holiday is coming down the pipe. It’s time to eat Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 36
Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies are a sweet chewy dream.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup shortening, softened
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 1/4 granulated sugar
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  10. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  11. 2 cups chocolate chips
  12. 6 ounces toffee bits
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, shortening, and both sugars with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in your egg and vanilla until combined.
  3. In a separate container, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With your mixer on low, slowly add your dry ingredients and beat until incorporated.
  4. Fold in in your chocolate and toffee.
  5. Scoop your cookie dough onto your baking sheet leaving about two inches in between. These cookies will spread quite a lot, so give them ample room. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until they just start to brown around the edges.
  6. Let the cookies cool on the pan for about five minutes, and then remove the cookies, still on the parchment paper, to a cooling rack. The toffee will be very sticky, so it's easier to remove them from the paper once they're completely cooled.
Notes
  1. To be honest, I didn't really measure the chocolate chips and toffee bits. Follow your heart.
Adapted from Circle of Friends Cookbook - 25 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
http://awesomeon20.com/
Giant Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Giant Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Giant Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I think I may have achieved cookie perfection. This is in no way to say that I’m a perfect cookie baker or any of that nonsense, but with this batch on this day, everything came together in just the right way. I just couldn’t stop thinking about how great these cookies were. I could have eaten one of these every day for the rest of my life. Is it wrong to love a cookie so much?

Giant Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’ve made these chocolate chip cookies for you before, so what makes this version so much more exciting? First off, I used two kinds of chocolate. See, they only sell chocolate chips in dinky 100 gram bags in this country, so I never have enough of them. Plus, they’re usually milk chocolate, and I wanted something a bit more intense. This is how I ended up with finely chopped dark chocolate hanging out with some milk chocolate chips in my cookie dough. The finely chopped chocolate meant that rather than having cookies with pieces of chocolate in it, the chocolate just permeated the whole experience like some sort of chocolaty, slightly gooey dream of cookieness.

The second extra burst of awesomeness came from the fancy flaked Cornish sea salt I sprinkled on top of the cookies. Okay, your salt doesn’t have t come from Cornwall, but it should be lovely, light sea salt flakes. A little goes a long way, so it’s definitely worth the price. It takes these cookies from great to blow your mind awesome. You can use your every day salt in the dough itself, and then sprinkle some sea salt flakes on top of the cookies right before they go into the oven.

Giant Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I was so happy while eating these cookies that I briefly considered quitting my job and opening a shop that sold nothing but these cookies. It seemed like a fairly reasonable business plan. They’re really good cookies. You must must must bake these.

Giant Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 12
Without a doubt the best cookie I've ever eaten. These cookies are life.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 150 grams (2/3 cup) butter
  2. 125 grams (5/8 cup) brown sugar
  3. 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 egg yolk
  7. 300 grams (2-1/2 cups) flour
  8. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1 tsp fine sea salt (or whatever you use for everyday stuff)
  10. 100 grams milk chocolate chips
  11. 225 grams dark chocolate, finely chopped
  12. Sea salt flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter and let it cool for a bit. I use the microwave in 30 second intervals. Get it all melted, then measure out the rest of your ingredients or, you know, check Facebook or something.
  3. Put the brown and white sugar in a mixing bowl, then pour the melted butter over them and beat them together with your electric mixer.
  4. Add the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk and beat until creamy and smooth.
  5. Slowly mix in the flour, baking soda, and fine sea salt.
  6. Finally, fold in the chocolate.
  7. Using your 1/4 cup measure, scoop out the cookie dough onto your parchment-lined baking sheet. Give them plenty of space to spread out. I make mine six at a time. You may need to stash your dough in the fridge between batches.
  8. Grab a small pinch of sea salt flakes and sprinkle it over each cookie, crushing the salt gently between your fingers as you do to break down the flakes into smaller pieces.
  9. Bake for 13-15 minutes. These cookies are best, in my opinion, when still a bit gooey in the middle, so don't overbake. Let them cool on the pan for five minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool.
Adapted from How to be Awesome on $20 a Day
http://awesomeon20.com/
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