Chocolate Chip Cookies

img_7189

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.

Advertisements

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

IMG_6844.jpg

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!

 

Cranberry Almond Chocolate Cookies

img_6267

I had planned to sit down and write this post last Tuesday, as in a week and half ago, but…went into labor instead!!

Landon David Blackwood was born 11/02/16 at 6:30pm
It was an intense 25 hours but we made it through and couldn’t be happier after our first week at home. I will be sure to share Landon’s birth story as well as constant photo updates soon!

We have spent the last week getting comfortable and acquainted with our new little man, learning all his little nuances and just enjoying his already fun personality.

img_6277

img_6289

img_6294

img_6303

img_6351

I went into labor at 41 weeks pregnant. In that last week when I was past due, I did a lot of cleaning, organizing and cooking. These cookies are one of the things I made and they were SO delicious!! Perfect amount of sweet and savory!

img_6260

Cranberry Almond Chocolate Cookies
16 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chopped almonds
sea salt, for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a large bowl (stand mixer if you have one) cream together the butter and sugars. Scrape down the side of the bowl, then add the egg and vanilla. Beat until combined.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add to the butter mixture and stir just until combined. Add in the cranberries, chocolate and almonds and stir until they are mixed in.
4. Scoop cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 14 minutes, or until golden brown  on the edges. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with sea salt Allow to cool a few minutes on the pan before transferring to a cooling rack.

*Original recipe from The Well Floured Kitchen

Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Bars

img_5762

I mean…I don’t really feel like I need to say much about these. The name kind of says all you need to know…Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Bars! We DEVOURED these! Just looking at the photo and remembering how delicious they were is making me want to whip up another batch. They were so easy too, no bake, just chill in the fridge for a bit and then eat to your hearts content. Ok, it’s settled, I’m making them again.

Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Bars
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups finely crushed cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (about 25 cookies)
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
7 ounces marshmallow crème
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely crumbled cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (about 7 cookies), plus more for garnish

1.Stir together the melted butter and crushed cookies in a medium bowl. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; lightly grease foil with cooking spray. Press the cookie mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
2. Beat the cream cheese, marshmallow cream, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently fold in the coarsely crumbled cookies. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pan, spreading it evenly over the cookie crust. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. Lift mixture from the pan using the foil overhang as a handle, and cut into bars. Garnish with more coarsely crumbled cookies, if desired.

*Original recipe from Real Simple

Nutella Stuffed Sugar Cookies

IMG_4758
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

IMG_4561
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!

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)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

IMG_3966
Somebody please help me!! I’m not kidding, not exaggerating…I CAN NOT STOP EATING THESE! For some reason, because I made them, I don’t feel nearly as guilty as if I were eating the store bought kind. I can’t get over how good these peanut butter cups are. No bake, only 3 ingredients and little mini sizes that are only 100 calories each, so it’s a tiny little snack for your dessert cravings. At least, that’s what I told myself…then my husband and I ate the whole pan…The secret is the coconut oil mixed into the peanut butter, makes it extra creamy.

Ok, go make them now and let me know how much you love them so I can justify my addiction.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 12 mini-muffin sized cups
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped baking chocolate
4 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 tsp coconut oil, warmed

1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can create one with a heat proof bowl sitting on top of a saucepan of boiling water. Watch the chocolate closely, stirring occasionally to make sure it melts smoothly and doesn’t burn.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter and coconut oil until combined.
3. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Spoon a tablespoon of chocolate into 1 of the muffin tin cups, spooning it mostly to one side, then add a spoonful of peanut butter to the other side of the cup. Continue this until all the cups have been filled.
4. Use a toothpick to swirl the chocolate and peanut butter together.
5. Place the muffin tin in the freezer and allow them to set for at least half an hour. When you are ready to each, run a knife around the edge of the cup to pop them out of the tin.

Original recipe from Cooking Light.

Peppermint Bark

IMG_3716

When I first got married, I was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home wife. That only lasted about 6 months before I went totally crazy and was bored out of my mind (if only I had the blog back then). While I was playing Suzie Homemaker, I decided to try making candy. This peppermint bark was my first attempt and it was amazing! Not only that, it was so simple. I had heard that candy making is very difficult (which it is) so I was expecting a labor intensive afternoon, but literally, 50 minutes start to finish, and that includes the time it is cooling in the fridge.

This makes a great treat to wrap up and give to teachers, babysitters, your kid’s friends, neighbors, etc. as a cute little holiday gift.

Peppermint Bark
3 bags white chocolate chips
24 candy canes
1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1. Break candy canes into 1″ pieces by placing in freezer size zip lock bag and hitting with a kitchen mallet.
2. Use a double boiler (or a saucepan with a heat safe bowl on top) to melt chocolate. Fill bottom with water, bring to a boil, place chocolate in top bowl and melt, stirring constantly.
3. Once chocolate is melted, remove from heat and stir in candy cane pieces and peppermint extract.
4. Pour chocolate mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and cool in the fridge until hard, 25-30 minutes.
5. Break chocolate into 2-3″ pieces and enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

IMG_2734
I threw this together this morning for a quick and tasty breakfast. I don’t generally like to eat a big breakfast but I know it’s important in jumpstarting your metabolism for the day. This is a light and easy way to do it.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie
1 ripe banana
1 cup almond milk
2 Tbsp peanut butter (I like to use one naturally sweetened with honey)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup ice

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.