Cookies and Brownies and Lemonade, Oh My!

So I’ve got my first ever vendor fair coming up in a few weeks for my oils and jewelry, and I’m trying to get everything organized for a successful event.  I’ve had a lot of time to prepare, and the amount of prep work and planning I’ve done probably seems excessive to people who don’t have the same {moderate} control issues that I have.  But, the way I figure it, if you get everything organized the first time around, then it’s SUPER easy to replicate that for future events.

So the biggest “to do” on my list this week was testing some recipes for food samples made with essential oils.  I’ve been Pinterest-ing like a mad woman for recipes for weeks now, and I finally picked a few that I thought looked like winners.  I had intended to narrow it down to two desserts and a beverage, but they all turned out so well, that I think I’m just going to do all of them 🙂

One of the coolest parts of using essential oils in cooking (for me anyway) is the reduced waste.  When I buy packs of fresh herbs, I wind up throwing half of them away, because I just don’t have a use for that much.  It’s important to note that not all types oils are safe for consumption, nor are all brands of essential oils.  Some oils, just by the nature of the plant they are extracted from, are not safe for consumption.  And many oil brands on the market use synthetics and fillers, made for use only in perfumes, bath products, etc. and could cause harm if ingested.  Please always do your research to determine what’s best for you and your family.  Personally, I use Young Living products, because I’m very confident in the quality of their products due to their Seed to Seal Guarantee.  Young Living actually has a whole line of Vitality Oils that are specifically intended for consumption as supplements, etc.  Also, if you’re swapping herbs, etc. for oils, remember that essential oils are HIGHLY concentrated and a little goes a LONG way.  Start with the smallest amount, and work up from there, tasting as you go.  You can always add another drop, but you can’t take one out!  If you have any questions about oils, please feel free to check out my Essential Oils page or drop me a line on my Contact page.

Now, without further ado…the recipes 🙂

Dark Chocolate Orange Brownies

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Okay, these can’t get much easier.  Buy a box of Dark Chocolate Brownie mix (yep, you heard me…ready-to-go, boxed mix…I used Duncan Hines).  Follow the mixing instructions on the box…it’ll depend on which brand you choose, but will probably include some variation of eggs, oil, and water.  Add 4-6 drops of Orange essential oil (to taste) and mix well.  Bake according to package directions.  I followed the directions for the mini muffins, since I’m doing them as samples, but you can do a whole tray instead.

Milk Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

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I bet you can sense a pattern here, right?  Same deal as the Orange Brownies.  Get yourself a box of milk chocolate brownie mix (I used Pillsbury), mix it up with eggs, oil, and water per package directions.  Add 2-3 drops of Peppermint essential oil (to taste) and mix well.  Bake according to package directions.  Easy peasy, right?  🙂

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

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Mix together 3 1/2 c. flour, 1 c. sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 3/4 lb. butter.  I cut it together with a pastry blender/cutter before busting out the electric mixer.  It will seem like it could never possibly come together.  Just keep cutting…it will eventually.  When it’s finally all starting to get to the point where it might hold together, go ahead and add 4-6 drops of Lemon essential oil (to taste) and then hit it with the electric mixer.  After that, it should be to the point where you can smush it together into dough balls.  Now, you have some options…if you’d like to roll it out and use a cookie cutter, you can.  If you’d like to roll it into a log, refrigerate it, and then slice off rounds, that works too (if you do that, make sure they get back to room temperature prior to baking).  Personally, I used a melon baller to scoop out evenly sized balls, placed them on a cookie sheet, and smashed them down to about 1/4″ thickness.  This yields about 50 cookies.  Then bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.  Optional: Put 1-2 drops of Lemon essential oil in 1/4 c. sugar and roll dough balls in the sugar prior to the smashing/baking portion of the show!  The most irritating part of shortbread cookies is that it’s obnoxious to tell when they’re done, since they don’t brown (well…I imagine they would at some point, but you definitely wouldn’t want to eat them at that point).  I did a few batches, from 10 minutes all the way up to 15, and 11 was definitely the sweet spot in the electric oven I was using.  If you’re worried about it, do a small batch first, let it cool, and decide if you like the consistency.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

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These are almost exactly the same as the Lemon Shortbread Cookies.  Just swap the Lemon essential oil for:  3-5 drops of Lavender essential oil in the cookie batter (to taste), and 1 drop in the optional sugar topping.

Lavender Lemonade

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Ohmigosh…I’m obsessed with this lemonade.  I have trouble with lemonade…usually it’s way too sweet, or waaaaaay too tart…I can’t ever seem to find a happy medium.  This one is perfect.  Mix one cup of water and one cup of sugar in a medium saucepan, bringing to a boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Remove from heat and add 1-2 drops of Lavender essential oil, mix, and let sit at least 2 minutes (or up to a couple of hours, if you’re not ready to finish mixing yet!).  Pour mixture into a pitcher, add 1 cup lemon juice and 4 cups water.  Mix well and serve over ice.  The lavender is subtle, but just enough…and it probably wouldn’t hurt to mix it with vodka, if you were of legal age and feeling so inclined, but since I’m looking at this for a public event, I decided I’d leave that experiment for another day 🙂

In any event, I’m super happy with the turnout of my baking session, and continue to be impressed with the versatility of my fab little oils.  If you try anything, let me know how you like it!  🙂

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