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“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

There was a time in my life when I loved to travel. The packing, the planning, the excitement and the idea of journeying to far away lands thrilled me to no end. It all seemed glamorous, fun and interesting. How times have changed.
“You want me to pay extra so there’s room for my legs?” “Is this bottle of liquid too large to carry on the plane?” “Be sure to wear the slip on shoes and to take off your belt so you don’t set off the alarm.” “How do I get this camera equipment through without them losing it or destroying it?” “I’m losing how much to convert dollars to Euros?”
cookies and coffee pot
It’s not uncommon for New Englanders to take mid-winter vacations. The need to escape typically climaxes in February as the frigid temperatures and long, dark days take a toll on even the most well-adjusted among us. Because of this, I rank myself among those in need of an annual winter get away. Every year I pull out the travel guides. Every year I read the Trip Advisor reviews. Year after year I’m increasingly mortified by the cost and how little we can get for our money.
This year we decided to do something different. We sat down and calculated the cost of vacation, cut the total in half and decided to spend the money on making our own home more luxurious and cozy.
cookies and beverage
coffee pot
edge of cookie
So far we’ve upgraded our bed linens and bought fluffy comforters, robes, slippers from the Matouk and Anichini outlet stores here in New England. We’re visiting local antique stores here and here, consignment shops and Craigslist so we can create a library in our home office. We’re busy framing, painting and decorating so we can turn our spare bedroom into a music room. We’re making lists of movies we want to see, developing our own at home cooking/ baking immersion courses and building our music collection by sourcing our materials at the local library. Soon we’ll be making lists of museums we want to visit and restaurants we have yet to try. Surprisingly, we’ve done quite a bit and have only made a small dent in our tropical vacation fund.
resting cookies
I am aware that this process will not bring us sunshine and 80 degree weather. But for us, it’s been much more fun than planning a vacation and hopefully the rewards will last longer. At the very least, we can curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and a few of these sensational cookies. I know for sure that I won’t get dessert this good at a resort.
So what about you? How are you feeling about travel these days and what are your vacation plans this winter?
oatmeal chocolate chunk- Version 2
Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Coconut and Sweetened Dried Cherries
230 g (1 c) butter, room temperature
195 g (1c) sugar
75 g (1/2 c) light brown sugar
75 g (1/2 c) coconut palm sugar (you can substitute brown sugar)
2 large eggs
16 g (1 tbs) milk
4 g (1 tsp) vanilla extract
2 g (1/2 tsp) cherry extract (you can substitute vanilla extract)
1 g (1 tsp) Kirsch (cherry flavored liquor)
290 g (3 c) oats
175 g (1-1/4 c) all purpose flour
8 g (1 tbs) teff flour (you can substitute all purpose flour)
6 g (1-1/4) baking soda
4 g (1-1/2 tsp) cinnamon
1 g (1/4 tsp) nutmeg
< 1 g (1/8 tsp) cloves
2 g (1/2 tsp) mace
85 g (1 c) dried, sweetened coconut
360 g (12 oz.) good quality dark chocolate, chopped
85 g. (3/4 c) dried cherries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (177 Celsius). Marinate the dried cherries in the Kirsch while you make the recipe.
Combine the sugars and butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the milk, vanilla extract, cherry extract and eggs. Combine. Add the oatmeal and stir on low speed until combined.
Sift together the flours, baking soda and spices. Mix into oatmeal mixture. Stir in coconut, chocolate and cherries until evenly distributed. The batter will be very thick.
Form patties of about 1-1/2 tbs of dough. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes, depending upon your oven.
Makes about 30 two inch (5 cm) cookies.
Bon appetit!
 
 

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38 Comments
  1. When I moved to Holland I noticed that the Dutch did the same exact thing; go on vacation in February. It seemed so strange to me, coming from Greece, but now, boy do I understand them. As you say, those long dark days take their toll on your mood!
    I love to travel. I don’t mind all the things that you mention, I just laugh them off.

    Your cookies look amazing, El! I would love to eat a couple of them right now as I’m having my afternoon coffee!

  2. I completely agree with you about the travel. I find the treatment of customers disgusting and refuse to pay for it. I like your idea much better and may try it myself. The cookies look great as well.

  3. Wow El, these cookies look really good! I love the chocolate cherry coconut combo and may have to give them a try this afternoon. Does the liquor make the cookies taste boozy? I think travel is worse and more disrespectful in the US than abroad. I definitely think the costs are going up and agree that you get less for your money and so I refer local inns that really care about their property. Your idea of making a home vacation is sweet and romantic!

  4. I think that’s a brilliant idea. Love the idea of giving yourself some year-round luxuries. Anachini is a favorite of mine… used her fabulous sheets and coverlets in the first movie I ever did (Anachini knew my art director and was kind since we had NO money!)
    Those cookies are ever so good, they would make you feel like you were taking a vacation eating them!

  5. Sometimes a ‘stay-cation’ is what you need. For the past couple of years I have been lucky enough to go on long overseas vacations, and this year I spent nearly two months overseas. Next year I am planning to stay a little closr to home for the most part and see the beautiful countryside around me that I have perhaps taken for granted 🙂
    Oatmeal cookies are my favourite – I’ll have to try these!

  6. Nice to hear from you. Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Delish- I’m pretty sensitive to the taste of alcohol and the amount is so minimal that I’d have to say no, they don’t taste boozy at all. You can leave out the Kirsch all together or you could soak them in vanilla. Good luck!

  7. I can honestly say I’m revolted by how early it gets dark here… this part of Maine definitely belongs with New Brunswick in a different time zone:)

    I can’t help myself, I live and breathe my dreams of travel. But there are so many places I haven’t been – I’ve never had a true tropical vacation, for instance – that I can’t help dreaming what it all could be like.

    Once I have a home to call my own, I’m sure I’ll want to hang around it more than I’ll want to leave!

  8. I want to go the the Bahamas but the prices are outrageously expensive this year. Hunkering down with a big comforter may be my only option! With your beautiful cookies, too.

  9. Fantastic cookie. I’m totally up for a staycation this year. Would love to buy new linens and maybe visit a local bed and breakfast or 2 for inspiration. Gorgeous as always!

  10. I’ve been thinking the same thing lately. With so much to do at home, I’ve been enjoying the experience of discovering how to live the best life here and now. As you pointed out there is good adventure in seeking out treasures in your own backyard.

    These cookies look quite toothsome. I love love a chunky cookie dense with such goodies and spices.

  11. chocolate chunks! sun-dried cherries! coconut! oat-meal! woah! what a cookie!!!! and what an amazing combination ! love ur pics!

    When you live near the equator, long cold winters days are just what you crave for 🙂 I love anyday when the sun is not burning down on me and when I can step outside without fear of getting a sun-stroke 🙂 Quite a contrast from your side of the world 🙂

  12. Oh I love this idea for starting with making home more lovely all year round. Sounds like a fun adventure in of itself. It’s amazing how we can discover new things about the places we’ve lived forever just by looking at it all with new eyes. I still have the travel bug, but I’ve got youth on my side I guess. And if you skip the idea of Europe entirely and think SE Asia or South America, your dollar will go a LONG way! 😉

  13. The chocolate cherry combination is one of my favorites! Yes, I completely agree with you on the travel thing. The stay at home vacation/house upgrade sounds refreshing and smart (especially in this economy!)

  14. I know that it’s a cliche to say that New Englanders are solid and practical. One of the flakiest friends I ever had was from southern Maine. But I have to say that your attitude toward vacation and spending money, and how you solved the question, makes so much sense to me….

  15. Oh I love this idea of sprucing up the home using what could be vacation money! And these cookies are such a holiday/winter classic–it’s been far too long since I’ve made them. I hope you had a warm, restful holiday at home, El. Happy (early) New Year from California!

  16. My comment may have gotten deleted by accident, El. But I wanted to say how much I love the idea of putting money towards sprucing up the home and making it comfortable. That’s fantastic and the perfect time of year to do so. We always make these cookies around the holidays and didn’t this year, so thanks for the nudge. Hope you had a warm, restful holiday at home. Happy (almost) New Year from California!

  17. I love traveling yet I love staying at home. Husband and I often shake our head in wonder at the French who spend every free moment away from home as if they are trying to escape something. I love your idea of spending holiday money on your home! Home should always be our favorite place to be! And your photos of these fabulous cookies are so beautiful! Happy New Year!

  18. Jackie hi. It’s not a name brand. It’s a no name from a Montreal spice store. I’ve never seen it anywhere else. It just says “cherry extract” on the bottle. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.

  19. Jackie, one more thought. If it’s hard to find cherry extract, you might try cherry juice or simply substitute the same amount of vanilla extract.

  20. El, I am not that keen to travel to often these days. As I get older, I find myself becoming quite the home body. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy an adventure. Can’t tell you how pleased I was to have Christmas at home this year. First time in 32 years that I didn’t either travel some distance over Christmas, or just ‘go visiting’ family at their home. Delicious to spend it at home… definitely doing it again!

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