Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend Eat, Write, Retreat in Philadelphia. But the question would have to be, why would I not go given the opportunity, especially since it was just a 10 minute drive from home. It was glorious affair and you couldn’t have asked for two better hosts than Casey Benedict and Robin Webb.
For me the best part of any conference is meeting my online friends in person and reconnecting with those I’ve met at conferences before. I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed, not only did I meet old friends from Foodbuzz (may it rest in peace) but new friends from Google+, with the added bonus of making some brand new friends that I met for the first time at the conference.
If you were to ask me what my favorite session had been at Eat Write Retreat, my answer would be most emphatically the Key Note Address given by Monica Bhide. Monica is an Engineer, Food /Travel /Parenting Writer, Cookbook Author and a Writing Teacher with online classes available. If you’ve never had the pleasure of listening to Monica speak, you don’t know what you’re missing, as Monica puts its “she’s a storyteller” for me she was simply mesmerizing. They couldn’t have made a better choice for the Key Note Speaker. Monica also spoke on “Writing in the Age of the Sponsored Post” which was equally engaging and offered some wonderful lesson on working with brands.
Not only did I get to enjoy the company of my food blogging friends but I also got to meet and spend time with the sponsors. EWR is a little different than some conferences I’ve been to, in that the sponsors actually take part in every aspect of the conference, not just sitting on the sidelines observing. And because of that I got to meet and speak with many of the people representing the brands that sponsored the event. We also got to take home a swag bag full of goodies and all the samples we could carry!
While we were there I got to taste a sugar cookie (or as I tweeted inhaled 3 of them) that was made with Monk Fruit in the Raw, made by the “In The Raw” sugar company. I was pleasantly surprised with the taste, and the fact that it had no calories what so ever.
I was so impressed with Monk Fruit in the Raw that I decided to put it to the test myself in a cookie using more of the wonderful samples I had received at the conference. I had a box of Erewhorn Crispy Brown Rice Cereal from Attune Foods and more raisins that you can possibly imagine from the nice folks at California Raisins that I wanted to use. And I even tried out some of new kitchen tools I had received from OXO. So you can say this cookie was brought to you through the courtesy of the sponsors of Eat Write Retreat!
I used a recipe I had found on the Joy of Baking site and adapted it to the cookie I wanted to make, and the recipe couldn’t have been better. The only change I might make the next time I make this wonderful cookie is to reduce the Monk Fruit in the Raw by 1/4 cup (down to 3/4 cup) because if anything the cookie may have been just a little sweet, which isn’t surprising considering Monk Fruit in the Raw is 300 times more sweet than cane sugar.
The cookies were amazingly delicious and very satisfying, just 2 or 3 cookies and I was a happy camper (instead of my usual half batch…sigh). They also held up really well (since I was controlling myself) in a sealed plastic container for over a week.
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup Monk Fruit in the Raw
- ⅔ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1½ crispy brown rice cereal
- ¾ cup golden raisins
- ¾ cup walnuts - chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Prep two baking sheet pans with parchment paper
- In the bowl of your stand mixer with your beater attachment beat the butter until smooth
- Add the sugars and beat until smooth and creamy for about 2 minutes
- Add the eggs one at a time beating enough to just incorporate, scraping down the bowl after each egg
- Add in the vanilla extract, mix just until incorporated
- In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt until well blended
- Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat just until incorporated
- Add the oats, walnuts and raisins and stir mixture by hand until well blended
- Add in the Crispy Brown Rice Cereal and carefully stir in to the mixture until fully incorporated.
- Refrigerate cookie dough for about an hour until mixture is firm
- Using a tablespoon or a small ice cream scoop, place cookie dough on your prepared sheet pan about 2 inches apart in rounded dough balls, using a the tines of a fork flatten the dough ball slightly so they are about ½ inch thick
- Bake cookies for 10-13 minutes or until the outer edges begin turning golden brown.
- If you want your cookies to be crisper, leave them in the oven a little longer, mine were soft and chewy.
Just to be clear, no one asked me to write this post about Eat Write Retreat or to mention the sponsors or to use their products. I had such a good time at the event and enjoyed all of the products and wanted to make something tasty as my way of letting everyone know just how much fun I had and how much I enjoyed meeting everyone there. If you’re looking to cut back your calories a bit ( as I need to) this is an excellent cookie to have around the house for those sweet tooth times!