Monday, August 27, 2012

Moose Munch Shortbread Cookies and a Trip to Harry & David

*alternate post title: Why I've gained 10 pounds in two weeks.*
This is a long "picture-heavy" post, but bear with me...I think you're gonna like it. 

Along with several other bloggers, I was invited to visit the Harry & David headquarters in Medford, Oregon. 

A. After seeing their catalogs for years, I've always secretly hoped that someone would send me a Harry & David gift basket (it never happened), so I was curious and knew this was a place I needed to visit.

B. Take a look at these other bloggers in attendance:  hello, bloggy rock stars!!!  (I'm not sure how I got thrown in with this bunch...they are the coolest.) I couldn't pass up seeing some familiar faces again AND meeting some bloggers I've been jonesing to meet for years now.
{back row: RebeccaKristenJenna, Lori, Heidi and moi.  
front row: Maria, SandyRachelJessica, and Amy  photo credit: Sandy}

Here's my big takeaway from the trip... 
...the people at Harry & David LOVE food.  Love.  I had no idea that in the Rogue Valley of Oregon, Harry & David has over 700,000 pear trees.
They are famous for their Royal Riviera Pear; it's a Comice.  They don't grow it because it's the easiest to grow (it's not); they grow it because they feel they are the best.

I was so very impressed with their approach to growing, innovative pest management, and how they treat their harvesters by providing daily meals, medical care, and housing. 

Harry & David has a 3rd generation chocolatier who has been with the company for over 30 years...yes, as a matter of fact, his name IS Charlie.  The recipes are developed and made right there on site. May I recommend the coffee truffles?
This is a good place to talk about these Moose Munch Cookies.  They consist of a buttery, thick shortbread cookie, spread with a luscious, bittersweet chocolate glaze, and topped with a generous sprinkle of Harry & David's Moose Munch. 

{Moose Munch is a delectable caramel popcorn (made with slabs of butter...I saw it), mixed with cashews and almonds and enrobed in chocolate.  Yep.  I used the Dark Chocolate variety here.}

Moose Munch Cookies 
{makes 15-18}

for the cookies:
3 & 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 pound (3 sticks) salted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or extract)

for the topping:
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, such as Ghiradelli
2 TBSP unsalted butter
Moose Munch

Whisk together the flour and salt.  Set aside.

Beat together the butter and sugars using an electric mixer until creamy.  Mix in the vanilla bean paste.  Add the the flour mixture in 3 additions, beating on low, just until combined.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, pressing the dough together and refrigerate 30 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the chilled dough on a floured surface to 1/2" thick.  Cut with a 2 & 1/2" cutter and place the cut-outs on a cookie sheet.  Freeze for 10-15 minutes to prevent spreading.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden on the edges.  Remove immediately to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.

To make the glaze, place the chocolate chips and butter in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Stir until melted.
Dollop the melted chocolate onto the cooled cookies and spread with an offset spatula.  Sprinkle on the Moose Munch.

The chocolate will set after several minutes, but will not harden completely.

Optional:  if you're feeling festive, break out your gold disco dust (you have gold disco dust, right?) and add just a touch to the completed cookies. 

Can I show you just a few more peeks from the trip?

{Travel day: sparkly shoes, big airplane and tiny airplane rides with Rachel proved to be very memorable, Ashland Springs Hotel...gorgeous.}

Sandy & her darling hubby Paul hosted dinner at their home our first night.  Sandy has a long relationship with Harry & David...her mom and aunts all worked there.
Sandy may call herself the Reluctant Entertainer, but she sure pulls off entertaining with a calm, relaxed demeanor and knows how to put everyone at ease.  From the setting, to the food, to the conversation, the night was perfection.  Her lovely daughter even provided music.

Harry & David treated us like royalty...snacks in the fields overlooking the orchards, dinner at a vineyard, wine and cheese tasting.  Yes, I could get used to this.  (Somehow, my yogurt for lunch doesn't cut it anymore.)

Aaaand, hanging out with these ladies wasn't too shabby, either.
{from top: Jenna, Maria, Jessica...Jessica (me) and bottom: Jenna, (me), Rebecca, Lori, Rachel, Maria, Rachel, Heidi}
(photo credit, bottom 3:, Jenna, Lori & Kristen)

I was even able to hang out with a few of my fellow red-faced runners!
{Amy, Kristen, Lori, (me)}

Let's look at those gorgeous pears one more time.
 Thank you, Harry & David.  You have a customer for life.

65 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a really fun trip, Bridget. I love Moose Munch (and pretty much all things Harry & David)! These are such a creative idea and with that layer of chocolate they look delicious!

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  2. What a fun trip! And the cookies look amazing....yum!!

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  3. Look at you adorable ladies! One of the coolest gift baskets I ever received was from Harry and David.

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  4. Ive been watching the H & D trip posts come up in my Reader from everyone and I'll say it again, it looks like a first class experience from start to finish and just totally amazing and fabulous! Happy for you that you could go on the trip (ten lbs and all-- LOL_ :)

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  5. This sounds like such an amazing trip and these cookies look so delicious!

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  6. Oy vey (in a good way). My sister lives in Medford & every fall she brags about the bounty of pears they always bring in. H & D's looks as amazing as I imagined. As always, Bridget, you are so lovely. Thank you for sharing your trip.

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  7. Moose Munch is SO good! I get it for my husband at Christmastime. These cookies are spectacular. And only 10 lbs? I would have done that per DAY with all that amazing yumminess. ;)

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  8. Your trip sounds like so much fun! and the cookies divine!

    I want a play by play of what Bridget wore everyday! your dress looks so cute! :)

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  9. This looks like seriously an AMAZING trip. I am so jealous of you laides! :)

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  10. What an exciting trip! I'm drooling at these cookies this morning...they look amazing!

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  11. What an awesome trip!! So jealous!! And these cookie look unreal too :)

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  12. Looove the chocolate tour. Such fun pictures! Looks like you had a fantastic time.

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  13. Looks like a great trip. Glad I am not near any moose munch!

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  14. I love that you created a cookie with moose munch! All of my moose munch should be coming today... and I am scared. Scared that I will eat it all!
    I'll say it again: meeting you was a highlight of my life. You.are.incredible.

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  15. I am totally jealous of this trip!! SO glad you had a great time, and good lord, I need those Mondo Maltballs in my face.

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  16. Now that is a great way to use moose munch!

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  17. Looks like such a fun trip! I've been loving everyone's pictures.

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  18. I love Moose Munch and H&D - thanks for the insight on their company - I especially liked the comments about meals, housing and health care. It makes me respect them even more. I will continue to support them. I love shopping at their outlet stores and the one at the mall. On a side note - are all bloggers as cute as you all??? Great photos!!

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  19. oh I dream about that store, we don't have on anywhere near us at all, but I think about it all the time.

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  20. Did I see gold sparkly shoes?!? I think I have them in silver :)

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  21. LOVED meeting you in person-finally! You are beautiful inside and out! And I am dying over these cookies! I need one-NOW! Miss you! xo

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  22. Looks like such a wonderful time with such lovely ladies!! You're cookies are fabulous as usual! Miss you sweet friend!

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  23. I enjoyed wandering back through our trip through your photos. What fun it was! Miss you bunches!

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  24. Bridget you pictures are stunning and I feel like I was right there with you!!
    I loved following along with you all via Instagram!! What a beautiful trip!

    I received H&D fruit of the month for 6 months a year or so ago and LOVED it! you can get very spoiled eating their fruit!

    LOVE your moose munch shortbread cookies too!!

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  25. What a beautiful post, my friend! You did great things with that Moose Munch!!! Love the disco dust!

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  26. Employees like Charlie working at Harry and David for over 30 years speaks can only mean that this is a wonderful place to work and from the photos in this post, a fabulous place to visit. What a lovely time you were all treated to and what a fun treat you made for all of us!

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  27. I am so glad that you got a chance to check out Ashland, OR! I live up in Portland, but man, I loooove Ashland so much. You should come back and check out Agave (for the most amazing tacos of your life), and hit up the Shakespeare festival. It's amazing. You could probably even sneak in some Moose Munch to one of the plays. Nothing like a little bit of crunching in the middle of a Hamlet soliloquy! ;o)

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  28. I was living vicariously through all you and the girls' IG photos that weekend - looked like a hoot!! So much fun! Thanks for sharing the trip with us Bridget!

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  29. You are amazing, girl. Love the post, the recipe, the friends, the pears, H&D ... love it all.

    And love YOU!

    I can't believe I got to see you twice in a month. IRL is the best! xoxox

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  30. You are amazing, girl. Love the post, the recipe, the friends, the pears, H&D ... love it all.

    And love YOU!

    I can't believe I got to see you twice in a month. IRL is the best! xoxox

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  31. These look so great!! Love all the pictures

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  32. Ahhh! Love Moose Munch. And your red with white polka dot dress is darling - where did you find it?

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  33. these cookies are seriously insane...i'm a little scared to make them because i KNOW for sure i'd gain 10 lbs in 1 week with them!

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  34. I had such a fun time with you B... it's such a wonderful group of ladies. Great recap :)

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  35. Their pears are phenomenal!! I never knew fruit could taste so much like candy :)
    I've never tried their Moose Munch, but it sounds like the absolute perfect combination of salty and sweet :D

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  36. Looks like you had an amazing time. Love all the photos and recaps. The pears look amazing and the shortbread looks divine. I love the touch of glitter too. Makes me happy.

    -Lisa.
    Sweet 2 Eat Baking

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  37. Oh friend!!

    I was there and you make me want to go back again!

    Your cookies are truly inspired <3 miss you, already

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  38. this sounds AMAZINGLY delish!!!! I wish i had some of that popcorn here!

    love K

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  39. These cookies! Oh my gosh, these cookies! You are a genius!!!

    Your photographs are gorgeous, Bridget! Absolutely gorgeous!

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  40. Totally amazing! Trip of a lifetime really! Looks like you ahd a fab time!!

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  41. The trip looks phenomenal as do these cookies. My goodness!! I remember eating a lot of Moose Munch as a kid!

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  42. What a lovely trip, it seems that you all had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing that yummy recipe.

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  43. It was so fun to read your post and re-live the fun. And you're right. I keep waiting for the tour bus to pick me up and take me places with wine and cheese. So far, no one has come. :)

    It was such a treat to see you again and to share in getting to know and love Harry and David!

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  44. It seems like quite a place to work at. Thanks for the moose munch cookie recipe.

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  45. This treat looks very cute and delicious!

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  46. What an amazing opportunity Bridget! Looks like you all had a fabulous time - and you all look so lovely! Speaking of lovely...these cookies look INCREDIBLE! Can't wait to give them a try! Thanks for posting! XO

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  47. How fun! Forget the gift basket from Harry and David, go for the Tower of Treats! Once I open a bag of Moose Munch it's gone, I can't stop, I have an illness. I'm pretty sure it will be the same thing with these delicious cookies.

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  48. Oh my! Those look delicious. I love Moose Munch, so these cook be an issue with my hips..

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  49. We have a Harry & David nearby and I love it! Looks like you had tons of fun:) I have shipped those fabulous pears to my in-laws, who already have "everything" and they loved them!

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  50. I admire your piece of work, regards for all the good blog posts.

    Cut Out Cookie Recipe

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  51. You have an amazing blog! More power to you!

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  52. Wow!Excellent and wonderful post.I love this post very much.Its so attractive and colorful.Here,I got lot of sweetest informations.I want to visit my friends too.Thank you for your superb post.
    Konto walutowe

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  53. MMMMM, I absolutely love Harry & David!! How do I get invited :) Getting their gift baskets are the best present.

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  54. Forwarded this to some friends, appreciate your advice

    Chocolate Cutout Cookies

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  55. Your wrap up makes me want to go back! If only we'd been able to taste that Moose Munch hot out of the vat, can you imagine? I love your pics of the weekend, and those cookies are TDF! So happy to have met you in person this go around. Can't wait to see you again, it can't come too soon! XO

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  56. I love your mouse munch very much man !!!!!!! Amazing and delicious

    Chocolate Cookies

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  57. What an amazing your Bridget! Looks like you all had a fabulous time - and you all look so lovely! and also related site women gift baskets is my site plz visit the site and greet comment hear.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! Happy baking! :)
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