Years ago, my husband Rob had the amazing idea to gamify cooking. We call the game "Throwdown" after the old Food Network show, "Bobby Flay's Throwdown," now called "Beat Bobby Flay." Our Throwdown is a competitive game to see who can make the most delicious version of what you (or your kids) choose to make. It can be a side dish, entree, salad, dessert, or even a sandwich. We once did BLTs, and Matt surprised us by creating a balsamic reduction plus brie cheese in his. Ah-mazing! He won of course. Each of you will be making your own dish independently, but at the same time. Well beforehand, each person decides on ingredients he/she will need and creates a shopping list. I'm usually the shopper for the group. On game day, everyone gets focused, and the kitchen smells tantalizing as we each create our masterpieces. Have an impartial judge present to taste each person's creation without knowing who made what. Or, choose from among the cooks–someone who's good at being impartial.
Last weekend, Dylan challenged us to a Throwdown. We are all in love with a gluten-free, vegan cookie from a café in San Francisco. Dylan's idea: Who could create a cookie most like the café's? With the ingredients listed online (and below), some of us stuck to the basics while others embellished their recipe with almond butter or eggs. I was the purist, and mine was closest to the original. The addition of almond butter put Dylan's cookie over the edge in taste though. He won this time.
I'm so grateful that my guys enjoy cooking. With time together while sheltering in place, I highly recommend making Throwdowns part of your family ritual. Happy cooking and Happy Thanksgiving!
Here's the basic recipe I made for my cookie. Get creative and add 1 T almond butter, 1 t cinnamon, or whatever your heart desires.
Makes 1 giant 4" cookie
1 c almond meal (We used Bob's Red Mill fine almond flour.)
Scant 1/2 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
2 T unrefined coconut oil, melted
2 T maple syrup
1 t vanilla
70% dark chocolate chips (can use dairy free or stevia-sweetened)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine first 3 dry ingredients and mix well. In a saucepan, melt coconut oil. When melted, turn off heat and add maple syrup and vanilla to pan. Stir well. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients using spatula to get the liquids out of the pan. Mix the batter well until fully combined. Add chocolate chips and mix well again.
Place parchment paper onto cookie sheet. Turn batter onto center of parchment, and press into a 4" circle. The cookie should be about 1/2" high. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let cool. Can store uneaten cookie (as if) in refrigerator. Enjoy!