The second entry to arrive was from the lovely Claire Helene! Claire is the only one of you blogging goofs that Grizzled and I've met in person so I promised myself I would not be biased. I promised to use a steely eye and harsh judgment when testing Claire's cookies... even if they were from Claire, sweet, sweet Claire. Claire, whom my lamblets adore. Claire, who let them play with her beloved Polaroid. Claire... ok, I'll stop.
Claire's entry arrive relatively unscathed. It came in a charming tin and was accompanied by festive photos. Frank is now on our fridge, the only cat with any place of honor is this allergic household.
I opened the tin and was swept away with wonderful odeurs of chocolate and spices... If this were an aroma-off, Claire would be the winner. The goodies in the tin smelled great!
I looked at the accompanying cookie description and saw that Claire had baked 3 types of cookies. She said they weren't much to look at, but she felt taste would make up for that.
They were varying shades of brown. Brown is underrated. Brown gets a bum rap. Brown is especially good in cookies. They were also made up of a cornucopia of textures... another important factor in cookie enjoyment.
Included in this grouping were:
1) Pistachio Apricot Oatmeal Cookies
2) Butter Spice Cookies (lots of yummy cardamom)
3) Her family's Chocolate Cookies with Mocha Frosting
She also suggested drinks to accompany each cookie for maximum cookie enjoyment. Have I mentioned how sweet Claire is??? Have I mentioned how much my lamblets love her!?!?
But back to the cookies...
The oatmeal cookies were a hit. Grizzled and I both loved them. We loved the texture, loved the flavors, loved the combo. They were chewy and crispy. They were buttery. They were delicious and I didn't even have them with the recommended milk. These were probably Grizzled's favorite.
My favorite was the butter spice cookies. They looked a little innocuous... a cookie that would most likely be passed over for something more flamboyant, but oh my god!! They were wonderful. They somehow had some ingredient that hit every portion of ones tongue and yet worked together in harmony. They were sweet, salty, savory, buttery... the even had some wonderful heat. They were good and I didn't even have them with their recommended beverage. I had them with coffee, but think they would indeed be great with tea. UC had mentioned Chai and I think that would be a wonderful accompaniment as well. I loved these cookies and thought as I was eating them that these were ones I would want to make.
Last, but not least were Claire's family recipe... the chocolate cookies with mocha frosting w/milk accompaniment. They look incredibly rich, but are surprisingly not. I expected to be overwhelmed with CHOCOLATE, but they were actually rather light. That's good, you don't always need a chocolate hammer. Sometimes a chocolate whisper is just the thing, or maybe a chocolate hug. Grizzled and I both like the mocha frosting. It was not too sweet, but had a lovely mocha flavor. These were indeed good. The lamblets gave them a big thumbs up, but of course, their opinions will not be tallied into the final outcome.
Claire brought it folks. I think I would make all of these cookies, but of course, there are two other judges yet to weigh in.
It's proving to be a tough fight so far. Both Mandos and Claire have done some awesome work. Only time and taste buds will tell!
Bake-off goods update: The western judges now have the following entries in hand... next after Claire is TeamChicago, followed by Brando and TLB, Snag, and last, but certainly not least, 3B Inc!!! Yes, waiting for me today when I arrived home was a half-assed package from none other than 3 Bulls!!! I haven't opened it yet... for all I know, it could be filled with emus or sparkle pants, or emus wearing sparkle pants! Woo-hoo!!!
Have I mentioned that my lamblets LOVE Claire??? :)