How to Freaking Cook on campus: Elaina’s Apple Craisin Walnut Cookies

ELAINA MERCATORIS/THE CAMPUS

If you’re one of those people who complain about Brooks Dining Hall almost on a daily basis, now is the time for you to shut up.
This here is cooking for dummies.
Upon seeing my room for the year, my mom said it looked more like a kitchen than a bedroom. I think that’s a compliment.
The first couple days of classes felt like a whirlwind, so when the weekend rolled around, I needed to de-stress. Cooking provided an atmosphere that required almost constant attention that did not allow obsessive thoughts about homework.
I found a recipe for apple cookies, something I’d never tasted. It called for a lot of butter, and it made me feel a tad guilty, but I caved out of curiosity.
I spread out all of my ingredients and materials onto the floor around me and started mixing things together.
As usual, I ended up altering the recipe to fit the foods I currently had in my room. I ended up substituting 1/3-cup applesauce for the egg, dried cranberries for raisins, walnuts for pecans, and applesauce for apple cider. I didn’t have any cloves or nutmeg so instead I added vanilla extract.
Mixing the dry ingredients doesn’t require much effort, but oftentimes recipes call for you to cream or beat the wet ingredients (suggesting an electric mixer of sorts).  I’ve learned that old-fashioned manpower does the same trick for less money. I slowly stir my buttery sugar mixture and gradually get faster until my arm gets tired or when it looks flawlessly fluffy.
Beating the eggs doesn’t require an eggbeater either. Forks do the trick. Just make sure you achieve the perfect blend that doesn’t leave egg liquid floating at the top of your batter.
Carefully add your dry ingredients to the wet mixture step by step. Do not add it all at once—you’ll most likely either spill flour everywhere or be unable to combine them thoroughly. My advice is to add the dry mixture three separate times, mixing completely for each.
Next, you’ll want to fold in the walnuts, dried cranberries and apple separately. Folding is an easy technique using very circular, slow motions. You don’t need to beat them into the batter.
Once everything is mixed in, drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto a greased cookie sheet about two inches apart.
Cooking involves trial and error. I wanted to cry when my first batch came out one huge, thin, buttery cookie.
I raced back and forth frantically trying to remember a spatula, plates to place the cookies on and the butter to grease the pan for the next batch.
All it took was an extra ¾cup of flour to the original recipe I found and the next batch turned out beautifully. Flour usually adds texture and helps ingredients stick together.
While the second batch baked, I created the icing mixture—yet another unhealthy aspect of this seductive cookie.
Don’t make the mistake of icing the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven. Be sure to let them cool or else the icing will melt. So be patient. It’s worth it.
Some of my friends actually liked the chewy first batch more than the visually pleasing ones I felt the need to bake, specifically for your viewing pleasure. However, no one on The Campus complained about the pretty ones either.
So take some time out of your exceptionally busy week to try these cookies.  Substitute your own ingredients for mine. Relax and enjoy!

The original recipe can be found at www.delish.com.