April 2, 2012

Cookies, Screnzy, and the Silver Dragon

Please note that these taste much better than they look.
You might have noticed something new here on Treats & Trinkets. Something that doesn't quite go with the design or color scheme. Something that may not make a whole lot of sense to you. Something on the left side of the page there.


Well, if you have seen it, let me e'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. You see, it's April, and what does that mean?...

That's right, it's Script Frenzy time! What's Script Frenzy (or Screnzy, as it's commonly known)? It's a challenge to write 100 pages of script in 30 days (like the graphic says). Script Frenzy is an event by the same people who host NaNoWriMo. Which makes sense, since they're both for masochistic writers.
I was going through NaNoWriMo withdrawals, and Screnzy was right around the corner, I figured I'd give it a shot. I'm adapting my favoritest book in the whole entire world: The Merro Tree by Katie Waitman.

Anyway, that thing to the left is my page count widget. I'm at 7 pages, which is precisely where I need to be for day 2.

And you know what else exciting happened?
Note that this is not actually my car, but one that's exactly the same as mine
 I bought a car! A Subaru Forester. And I've named it the Silver Dragon, because it's silver and roars. Rawr.

Anyway, as an experienced NaNoer, I know that one of the secrets to keeping up your word- err, I mean page count, is to give yourself a little treat when you meet your daily goal, or whenever you have an especially productive day. And I've found the perfect recipe for that treat.
Start off with sugar, milk, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, quick oats, Nutella, salt, and instant coffee. I also added some caramel bits, but those are optional. These are flourless, so they're naturally gluten-free so long as your vanilla extract is. Oh, and we have our almost-ninja ingredient:
1 stick of unsalted butter. You almost got away with it, butter. You almost got away with it.
In a large saucepan, add the sugar, milk, cocoa powder, instant coffee, butter and salt.
Bring to a boil. Cover and boil for about a minute. Take off the heat.
Stir in the vanilla and the Nutella until smooth. Stir in the oats and let cool for about 10 minutes.
If using the caramel bits, stir them in after the mixture has cooled for a few minutes. You want it warm enough to melt the caramels a little, but not so hot that they melt completely.
Drop the batter by the tablespoonful on a cookie sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Don't be afraid to crowd them. I know it went against every baking bone in my body, but you don't want to use another cookie sheet if you don't have to. Let cool completely.
Annnd, you're done. Sorry, didn't I mention these were no-bake? They're also fantasmic. And the combination of coffee, caramel, and chocolate, with the hint of Nutella, makes them perfect for NaNo, err, Screnzy.

No-Bake Mocha Cookies {Printable Version}
Yield: 32 cookies

1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup cocoa
½ cup unsalted butter
1 heaping tbsp. instant coffee
Pinch salt
½ cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups quick oats
1 cup caramel bits (optional)

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, milk, cocoa, butter, coffee and salt. Heat on medium, stirring
constantly, until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is well combined. Bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and let boil for 1 minute. Remove cover, stir, let the mixture come
back to a boil, and remove from heat. Stir in the Nutella and vanilla until smooth. Add the oats and mix
until completely coated. Let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Or, if using the caramel bits, let
cool for a few minutes, mix in the caramel bits, and then let cool for the remainder of the 10 minutes.

On a cookie sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper, drop rounded tablespoonfuls of the
mixture, and allow to cool completely (chill in the refrigerator for a few minutes to speed the process).
Serve at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from busycooks.about.com