I ran my very first 5K last weekend! After being inspired by the book Born to Run and many runners including my half-marathon champion Dad and bloggers like Shannon and Elina, I decided to try jogging on the treadmill in January on a whim. Even though I’ve always been pretty athletic, running has never come naturally to me, so you can imagine my surprise when I actually got hooked fairly quickly.
I’m really enjoying it because I feel so energized after I jog, and like I’ve done something good for my body, unlike when I use the elliptical or bike where I tend to have trouble pushing myself. I also love just being able to throw on my shoes and run outside, without having to trek all the way to the gym to use the machines. So, when Shannon mentioned she was running the Ras na hEireann 5K, an Irish themed race celebrating St. Patty’s Day, I decided to sign up and use the race as motivation to make myself run a bit farther and faster every week.
Unfortunately, the weather didn’t corporate at all on Sunday and we had to run the whole thing in the gusty cold rain! The wind was blowing hard and the water cups were flying off the tables. My pants got so waterlogged that I kept having to hike them up, and I actually got too hot because I wore too many layers under Apolinaras’ bright yellow rain jacket, but I still had fun and managed to meet up with speedy Shannon after the race! I was pretty happy with my time of 32 minutes flat – I still had some steam left when I was done, and I know I will be able to get faster as I increase my training and figure out how to run a smarter race!
To celebrate, I decided to bake some cookies! I made a rich mocha dough, stuffed a balled-up caramel into the center of each cookie, and then rolled them in chopped macadamia nuts. I polished off a few of these right away – good thing I had already worked out!
Caramel Mocha Crunch Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
18 caramels, rolled into balls
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped
Heat oven to 350˚F. Place butter and chocolate in a bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds; mix until smooth, microwaving for 15 additional seconds at a time, as needed. Place melted chocolate mixture in a large bowl and stir in both types of sugar, instant coffee, egg, and vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt until soft dough forms.
Wrap cookie dough evenly around the 18 caramels and roll each cookie in chopped macadamia nuts. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350˚F for 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes and transfer to wire racks to cool completely, about 30 minutes. Makes 18 cookies.
Nutrition: 187 calories, 10.9g fat, 1.6g fiber, 2.4g protein per cookie
Cost: $0.31 per cookie