Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Can I just say, infant sleep training is not for the faint of heart. I’m probably taking longer with each stage because once he masters one part, I just want to sleep at night so I am hesitant to move on to the next stage. We’ve only been working on it for a week and the first stage is getting baby comfortable with sleeping with his arms outside the swaddle. I may be starting a bit too early, we will see. Most blogs and experts recommend sleep training not begin until after 4 months old. I decided to start a little early because Landon kept waking up in the middle of the night fighting to get his arms out of the swaddle. Last week I started swaddling 1 arm outside and it took 2 days for him to be used to it and back to his regular sleeping pattern. Thursday, I started keeping both arms outside the swaddle. You would think going from zero to 1 would be much harder than 1 to 2, not the case. We are on day 3 and he seems to be getting more comfortable with it but even so, his naps are still short and he woke up 4 times last night. Let’s see how this goes…

Anyway, time for a tried and true classic! I have been searching for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I could find, and, after weeks and weeks of excruciating (sorry, not sorry) recipe testing, I think I finally nailed it. These cookies have tons of chocolate chips and are perfectly soft and chewy! Since perfecting this recipe, I think I’ve made about 6 dozen…oops.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 bag chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
2. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mixture may look lumpy.
4. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the bowl of dry ingredients and until mixed. Lastly, mix in the chocolate chips.
5. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the baking sheet. Mine were about 2 tablespoons each.
6. Bake for 8 minutes until edges are golden brown (baking time will depend on oven). Let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

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Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

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This will be my one Christmas themed post of the year. I think I failed on the holiday preparedness front. But in turn, I’ve had lots of baby snuggles instead.

These cookies are so yummy! The original recipe, from Liv for Cake, called for Black Cocoa which I couldn’t find so I just substituted more regular cocoa. The cookie batter also has peppermint extract which is tasty but you can leave it out if the candy cane pieces are enough peppermint for you.

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder or 1/4 Dutch-processed and 1/4 cup black cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 tsp peppermint extract (optional)
1 bag white chocolate (melted)
crushed candy canes

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powders, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars on med-high until light and fluffy (approx. 2-3 minutes). Reduce speed and add egg and peppermint extract. Beat until well combined. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
    3. Chill dough for at least 1 hour or overnight.
    4. Preheat oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
    5. Portion dough onto baking sheet, approximately 1 Tbsp each. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the middle is set. Cookies will deflate and crinkle a bit upon cooling.
    6. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
    7. While cookies cool, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler (I don’t), bring a small sauce pan of water to a boil. Place white chocolate in a small mixing bowl that will rest atop the sauce pan without touching the water. Continuously stir white chocolate as it melts.
    8. Dip in melted white chocolate, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Allow to set.

Enjoy!

 

Nutella Stuffed Sugar Cookies

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There are so many great things about today…
1) It is officially fall!
2) I was decorating for fall like a mad woman today; hay bales, pumpkins, mums, the whole nine yards
3) The season premier of Scandal is on RIGHT NOW and I am watching, Olivia Pope style, with a glass of red wine in my hand
4) These INSANELY delicious cookies 🙂

One thing though…how did I forget how amazing Nutella is?!?! I used to eat it all the time as a kid and somehow I stopped and forget that it was so delicious.

Glad that streak is over!

Nutella Stuffed Sugar Cookies
1 roll of Pillsbury pre-made sugar cookie dough
1 cup Nutella
1 cup granulated sugar

1. Line a large baking sheet (that will fit in your freezer) with parchment paper. Spoon out 1 tsp of Nutella and place it on the parchment paper. If possible, try to keep Nutella in ball or oval shapes. Place Nutella in freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes.
2. Unwrap sugar cookie dough and prepared a flat surface with sprinkled flour to keep dough from sticking. Slice dough into 24 even slices, approximately 1/4″ thick.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper and begin to assemble the cookies.
4. Take 1 slice of dough, flatten it like a pancake. Repeat this step with another slice of dough. Place a ball of frozen Nutella on the top of the first cookie patty, then place the second sugar cookie patty on top of the Nutella. Gently pinch the two dough pieces together around the sides so the cookie is sealed. Loosely roll the cookie between your palms, forming a ball, then roll the cookie in the sugar. Place finished cookie on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this step with the rest of the dough and Nutella, spacing cookies 2 inches apart.
5. Bake cookies for 11 minutes, or until the edges and bottoms of the sugar cookies begin to turn golden brown. Cookies may be puffy, that is ok, they will deflate as they cool.
6. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mini Brownie Sundaes

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I came home from work today, put on my workout clothes and was ready to get a productive workout in. First I needed a snack, something healthy, because I was going to workout after all. Once my pre-workout snack was complete, I realized I needed to take some blog photos and should do so before the daylight went away. One of the photos I needed was of this delicious mini brownie sundae which meant I needed to make a mini sundae first. Photos were finished and I was left with a delicious mini brownie sundae which I OBVIOUSLY wasn’t going to throw out, plus it was topped with ice cream so I couldn’t save it for later…now, not only am I not working out but I’m eating a brownie sundae for dinner. Finally, I’m finished with photos and the sundae, maybe now I should work out? Hmm…I should probably just have a glass of wine and blog instead. I mean, wearing my workout clothes while taking photos, eating a sundae and drinking wine has to count for something, right? Seems perfectly logical to me!

Mini Brownie Sundaes
1 box store bought brownie mix
ice cream of choice (I used Vanilla Bean)
sauce topping of choice (I used Stonewall Kitchen Maple Honey Caramel Sauce)
2 muffin tins

1. Prepare brownie mix per package directions.
2. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray. Pour brownie batter into cups of a muffin tin, filling cups 2/3 full. Bake brownies per package directions.
3. As soon as brownies are done (when a toothpick comes cleanly out of the center of the brownies) take the 2nd muffin tin (sprayed with non-stick spray on the bottom side) and place it on top of the brownies, pushing it down to form the brownie cups. Place something heavy on top of the 2nd muffin tin, such as a heavy cookbook, and allow the brownies to cool like this.
4. Once cool, remove brownie bowls from the muffin tin. Use 1 brownie bowl, 1 scoop of ice cream and a tablespoon of sauce for each mini sundae.

Enjoy!

Fresh Fig Galette

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Man! Finally getting this beauty on the blog!! Every time I have a work trip, no matter how short or long, I get so behind on everything. I pack so much into my free time that being away for just a day or two throws me off completely.

So this was the first time I made a galette, it looks beautiful and fancy, but it was actually really easy to make. The best part about a galette is how rustic they are meant to look, so the dough and filling should look perfect, you can mess up and it’ll still come out great.

Fresh Fig Galette
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
4 1/2 Tbsp almond meal
2 Tbsp sugar, divided
3/8 tsp salt
7 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
3 Tbsp canola oil
3 Tbsp ice water
1 lb fresh figs, stemmed and quartered lengthwise
2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp sliced almonds

1. Place flour, almond meal, 1 Tbsp sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with a dough blade; pulse to combine. Scatter butter into processor; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle in oil; pulse to combine. Add ice water; pulse just until combined. Turn mixture out onto a sheet of plastic wrap; pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
3. Place figs in a large bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp sugar and lemon juice; toss gently to combine.
4. Unwrap dough. Roll dough on plastic wrap into a 12-inch circle. Arrange dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spoon figs onto dough, leaving a 2-inch border. Fold edges of dough over filling to partially cover. Bake at 400°F for 35 minutes or until fruit juices bubble and crust is browned. Remove from oven, sprinkle with almonds. Cut into 8 wedges.

*Original recipe from Cooking Light

Dark Chocolate Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

IMG_4308 I’m getting a little tired of pre-made scrambles every morning so I thought I’d try something new. I still wanted something healthy but I also needed something tasty that my husband will eat…enter baked oatmeal muffins…made with NO FLOUR! These are easy to prepare ahead of time, customize with whatever toppings you prefer and grab and go as you head out the door in the morning.

Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 24 muffins
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups applesauce, unsweetened
1 banana, mashed
1/2 cup honey
5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 Tbsp almond meal
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups 1% milk
Toppings: walnuts, blueberries, chocolate chips or whatever your heart desires

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Mix eggs, vanilla, applesauce, banana, and honey together in a large bowl.
3. Add in oats, almond meal, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and mix well with wet ingredients. Add milk and combine.
4. Spray muffin cups with cooking spray. Pour approximately 1/4 of mixture into each cup.
5. If using toppings, add them onto the tops of the muffins. I used blueberries, dark chocolate chips and chopped walnuts. You can also mix frozen fruit right into the batter. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before eating (muffins may not come out of liners cleanly if they are not cool)

Pumpkin Mascarpone Pie

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OBSESSED! This pumpkin pie with mascarpone whip cream is heavenly!! I don’t make pies…in fact, this may be my first homemade pie…ever. I probably tried to get a little too fancy with the crust because it didn’t hold up so well after I cut into it. The good news is the crust, the filling and the whip cream were all incredible delicious, which is the most important part, right?!?!

Now just a heads up…the recipe below is the original recipe but I doubled the ingredients for the pie crust so that I had enough to make all the disc cutouts for the edge of my pie crust. If you want a traditional crimped edge, simply follow the recipe below. If you want to get more decorative, double your flour, butter and shortening.

And another heads up…I will be eating this pie at midnight on Thanksgiving when I get home from work…just in case you were wondering.

Pumpkin Mascarpone Pie
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
5/8 tsp salt, divided
5 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/4 cup chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1/4 tsp ground cloves
8 oz plus 1/4 cup mascarpone, divided
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar

1. Blend flour and 1/4 tsp salt in a food processor. Add butter and shortening; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1/4 cup ice water by the teaspoonful if dry. Gather into a ball; flatten into disc. Wrap in plastic; chill at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350°. Roll out dough on a floured work surface to a 12″ round. Transfer to a 9″ pie dish. Trim overhang to 1″ beyond rim. Crimp edges. Chill crust while making filling.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat pumpkin and brown sugar until well blended. Add eggs, lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp vanilla, cloves, and 1/4 tsp salt; beat until blended. Add 8 oz mascarpone and beat until mixture is smooth. Transfer to chilled crust.
4. Bake pie until custard is set, about 55 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.
5. Using mixer, beat remaining 1/4 cup mascarpone, whipping cream, sugar, remaining 1 tsp vanilla, and remaining 1/8 tsp salt in a medium bowl until soft peaks form.
6. Serve pie with whipped topping.

Original recipe from Bon Appétit.

Cheddar & Sage Biscuits

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We’re about halfway through the Thanksgiving feast posts! Still to come…green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey & pie! All the best parts!

These biscuits take things up a notch, not just a plain dinner roll with butter, the sage and cheddar taste great together and it makes your house smell so yummy when they are baking.

I’m not one for labor intensive recipes, so I’ve always stayed away from baking breads, but these were quick and easy.

Cheddar & Sage Biscuits
Makes 12 biscuits
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for working
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp coarse salt
2 cups grated sharp white cheddar (5 1/2 ounces)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 450°. In a food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cheddar and sage and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture is the texture of coarse meal, with pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. Add buttermilk and pulse until just combined, 2-3 times.
2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead just until it comes together. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough to a 3/4 inch thickness. With a floured 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut out 12 biscuits (reroll and cut scraps).
3. Place biscuits on a baking sheet, 1 1/2 inches apart, and bake until puffed and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Original recipe from Martha Stewart.

Savory Cornbread

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Everyone needs a cornbread recipe in their life…right? This one is quick, easy and delicious. Plus, you’re going to need it for an upcoming food post next week…cornbread stuffing! Part of my 5-week build up to your best Thanksgiving feast yet!! That’s right 🙂 I’m testing out all sorts of Thanksgiving recipes in the coming weeks and picking my favorites to share with you. Takes the guess work out of it a bit! I’m also focusing all my November DIY projects on things you might need (or just want) before you have your friends and family over for the biggest meal of the year. Are you as excited as I am???

But even on it’s own, the cornbread is perfect for chili and fall soups, our turn it into cornbread muffins, add some cheddar and jalapeños, the possibilities are endless!

Savory Cornbread
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus more for baking dish
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups cornmeal
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8×8 baking dish.
2. Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk and milk together. Mix egg mixture into dry ingredients until just combined. Mix in 3 Tbsp of butter.
3. Scape batter into a baking dish and bake cornbread until tested inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

*Original recipe from Bon Appétit.

Plum Tarts

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I had such a great weekend! Some of my best girlfriends came down from Seattle with their hubbies for some wine tasting in the Columbia Gorge. The weather could not have been more perfect, the wineries were stunning, the wine was fabulous (correction…is fabulous, as I’m drinking some right now) and the company, amazing. I have the best group of friends a girl could ask for and being that I don’t see them very often, it was so nice to relax and get caught up.

We did our wine tour through Wine Dirt, which is owned and operated by my friend’s mom, Mary. If you love wine and prefer some knowledge and education with your wine tasting, be sure to check her out. Not only did we taste some great wines at wineries we probably wouldn’t have come across on our own, but Mary has so much knowledge and experience in the wine industry that you leave each winery with a true appreciation for what they do.

I think my favorite winery had to be Syncline Wine Cellars. Their tasting area is situated amongst vineyards and oak trees, complete with Adirondack chairs, picnic tables and hammocks, so you can fully relax while you sip away.

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And now, a yummy Sunday night dinner at home with my hubs followed by an even yummier dessert, these plum tarts with honey & pepper. I know, I know…pepper? On dessert? Yes! The sweetness of the plums and the honey really balance it out, trust me! And, they are so quick and easy to prepare.

Plum Tarts w/ Honey & Pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
1 pound red plums, cut into 1/2″ wedges
1/4 cup sugar
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp honey
flakey sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. Cut pastry into six 4″ squares, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and prick all over with a fork. Top each square with plums, leaving a 1/2″ border. Sprinkle each square with sugar and a few grinds of pepper.
3. Bake tarts until edges of pastry are puffed and golden brown, 25-30 minutes.
4. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with salt just before serving.

Original recipe from Bon Appétit.