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I love tools that make life easier, particularly in the kitchen. Like a food processor. An immersion blender. My KitchenAid. A good bottle of red wine (that last one may just be me). I find, in particular, that I gravitate toward cool tools when it comes to baking, and I got to use two of my favorites recently: the Adjust-a-Cup and my cookie scoop.
I know, the “Adjust-a-Cup” sounds like a bra (there’s another brand of these called the Wonder Cup, which is even better), but it’s an apt description for this little beauty.
This thing is a measuring cup that allows you to measure wet or dry ingredients measured in cups, pints, milliliters or ounces. To use it, you just adjust the plastic part up to the amount you need to measure and fill it up. To get the stuff out, the stainless steel part works like a plunger.
It’s perfect for sticky things like peanut butter or honey, though I’m sure you could use it for non-sticky things, too. I pretty much only use it when I’m measuring peanut butter or honey, but it makes me smile every time.
I finally asked for and received a cookie scoop for Christmas after wanting one for a long time. A cookie scoop isn’t mysterious; it’s just like an ice cream scoop, but it allows you to dole out perfect portions of cookie dough so your cookies bake more consistently. It’s a great help with sticky doughs, too, and a must when making sandwich cookies (I went through a Pumpkin Cookie phase this winter and it made my life so much easier to use a scoop).
Using Cool Tools: Energy Bites
I got to use both of these tools recently when I made this recipe for Energy Bites, which, of course, I found on Pinterest. You can see the results above. They should not look this bad. Another important tool in the kitchen, it turns out, is the ability to read and follow directions. I for some reason tried to make the balls and then refrigerate, when the recipe clearly states to chill the “dough” first and then roll into balls. So I made more of a mess and got more frustrated than I needed to, but once refrigerated these were great. I will definitely make them again and do it right this time!
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1/2 cup peanut or other nut butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 cup coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (the original recipe calls for minis, but I only had big ones and it worked out OK)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
All you have to do is mix it all up, let it chill in the fridge for an hour, then roll into balls or use your handy cookie scoop for that. Store in the fridge in a covered container. Yum.
I could easily see variations on this one, such as using raisins instead of chocolate chips, or maybe a different dried fruit and a different nut butter. I’m not a big fan of coconut, though I didn’t mind it here, but I’ll bet you could make a date paste that would help hold them together if you wanted to leave that out. (And I did end up using a little extra peanut butter to get the last balls to come together, which, again, probably would not have been a problem if I could follow directions.)