So my plan for this Columbus Day long weekend was to take full advantage of the extra time and beautiful DC fall weather…while also not breaking the bank. My first step in accomplishing this was to take a trip to the Smithsonian National Zoo on Saturday morning. Like most branches of the Smithsonian, the National Zoo is completely FREE!
My personal favorite animal was the Asian elephant…which is totally biased since everyone knows elephants have always been my favorite animals. But the most fun “exhibit” was definitely the Orangutans. Instead of actually being in an exhibit behind glass, they were climbing around on some wires above the park. They had everyone at the park stopping, staring, and hoping no Orangutan presents landed on their heads.
In preparation for my upcoming trip to Rochester, I spent the rest of the weekend baking some old favorites as well as some new inventions to feed my hungry friends still living off campus food. The first round was two batches of Mint Cookies. Simple, colorful, and delicious – what more could you ask for? I used a variation of a recipe I found online so I’ll list my recipe here (as this is my first attempt at actually reiterating a recipe, bear with me if the details aren’t there quite yet!):
1 package of sugar cookie mix
1 stick butter or margarine (softened)
1/2 tablespoon mint extract
10 drops green food coloring
8 oz creme de menthe chips
8 oz chocolate chunks
[Note: I usually make the mix on my own….but since I’ll be slaving away in the kitchen all week, I decided to skip this step and buy packaged mix to save time. And because the main attraction is the mint flavor, the base mix doesn’t matter as much.]
1. Preparation: Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees/spray bottom of 11×13 pan with cooking spray
2. Mix: Combine softened butter, egg, and cookie mix in a large bowl/once mixed, add mint extract, food coloring, and chips/mix until fully combined
3. Bake: Bake for about 8-10 minutes (this is always a tough measurement since every oven is different – I usually just check back every few minutes and stick a toothpick in the middle of the pan – if it comes out clean, the cookies are done!)
I created a delicious extra layer of chocolate on one batch by sprinkling 8 extra oz of chocolate chips on top once the batch was almost finished baking, after about two minutes, I took the pan out and was able to use a knife to spread the chocolate chips into a thin layer of chocolatey goodness. This is obviously optional, as the cookies are good with or without the top layer, but I figured I’d give people some options!
Hope you’re hungry, Rochester!
One last note! With Election Day less than a month away, I’d like to take part of this blog entry to remind everyone how important it is to exercise your right to vote to help determine the direction of our wonderful country’s future. If you’re not sure who to vote for, or don’t know where to start, take this easy, 10-minute online quiz to help you figure it out!