Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

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I honestly don’t need to say much about this recipe other than MAKE IT.  IMMEDIATELY.  For your own good and the good of all the people you love around you, make these cookies and share them with the world!  Yes, I love them that much.

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Once again, Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction has nailed it with these Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies.  I will admit that at first I was skeptical about putting a Rolo in the middle.  Umm, there’s not much gourmet about a Rolo?  But once you put it in the middle of this super dark double chocolate cookie that is sprinkled with sea salt and it gets all melty and gooey inside…you forget it’s a Rolo and only know you can’t stop eating it!  These cookies are thick and soft and perfect.  Honestly, perfection.  Grab some milk and enjoy!

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, softenend to room temperature
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, rom temperature
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1⅓ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ¼ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 c. Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (or whatever dark chocolate chip you prefer)
  • 35 Rolos, unwrapped
  • Coarse Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the sugars with the mixer on medium speed and cream together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients. Slowly mix in the heavy whipping cream then the bittersweet chocolate chips. The dough will be thick and sticky. You can chill it for a few minutes at this point but I used mine immediately and had no issues with it.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. Form a 3-inch ball of dough in your hands and then flatten slightly and make an indentation in the middle. Place the Rolo in the indentation and wrap the rest of the cookies around the Rolo making sure to seal well and form into a slightly flattenened ball again. Repeat with the rest of the dough and remaining Rolos. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt before putting in the oven.
  5. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes
Makes about 36 cookies. Store in an airtight container.

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St. Patrick’s Day Dessert 2015

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done a recipe roundup and thought St. Patty’s day would be the perfect time to share some goodies from around the web!  These all look SO good to me and I wish I could make every single one!  Hope they give you some inspiration!

Thin Mint Puppy Chow

 

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Surprise-Inside St. Paddy’s Day Cupcakes

 

Suprise Inside St. Patricks Cupcakes

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies

 

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St. Patrick’s Day Rice Krispie Treats

 

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Thin Mint Brownie Ice Cream

 

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Leprechaun Hat S’mores

 

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Mint Chocolate Fudge Recipe

 

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Thin Mint Truffles

 

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Mint Chocolate Cookies

 

Mint Chocolate Cookies

Thin Mint Brownies with Bailey’s Buttercream

 

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The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar

The title of this recipe does not lie.  These truly are THE BEST chocolate chip cookie bars I have ever had!  My friend made these for a New Year’s Eve party and I became obsessed with them and had to make them!  They are the thickest, softest, chewiest, most delicious cookie bar!  And easy peasy, like 30 minutes start to finish.  Love that!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I almost like them as much as my super yummy Sugar Cookie Bars..almost.  I’m still a sucker for frosting on a cookie.  Which just gave me the idea that putting buttercream on these bad boys might make them the most insanely delicious thing I’ve ever tasted.  Hmmm I’m gonna go try that out right now…

Enjoy!

Recipe Source: So Festive!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ t. Salt
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter, sugars and vanilla until thoroughly incorporated, about 3 minutes. Add in eggs at low speed.
  3. Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add gradually to butter mixture at low speed until fully incorporated. Add in chocolate chips at low speed.
  4. Spread evenly in pan and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes (mine took about 25) until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely and cut into squares.
Notes
Makes about 18 bars.

 

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Chocolate Chip and Coconut Almond Meal Cookies

Chocolate Chip and Coconut Almond Meal Cookies

I have been making almond milk for my one year old for the past couple of months.  We are dairy free in our household  for many reasons (ok, except for the occasional Andy’s treat), one being that almond milk has a TON more calcium than cow milk.  I love the fact that you can not only make your own homemade almond milk which is FAR better than even the healthiest store bought kind, but you can also use the pulp that is left to make your own almond flour (or you might see it labeled as almond meal in the store).  And it’s all so easy!  But the downside is that if you have an almost toddler  who drinks as much milk as mine (I say almost because she is ALMOST walking on her own and to me that is when she will no longer be a baby *tear*), you are making it ALL. THE. TIME.  And it leaves you with almond flour coming out your ears!!!  Thankfully, there are so many awesome recipes these days using almond flour.  Many vegan and gluten-free recipes use almond flour so hopefully it won’t be any problem using all this stuff up!

I’ve baked with almond flour before and had amazing results.  These Blueberry Almond Meal Muffins are still one of my favorite muffin recipes.  When I came across this recipe for almond meal cookies with chocolate chips and coconut, I had to try them and they turned out so good.  When I say so good I mean the kind of good that I can probably never make them again because my husband and I ate them in like, two days.  All of them.  Eeek.

Chocolate Chip Coconut Almond Meal Cookies

They reminded me of a cross between a super soft, thick graham cracker cookie and an almond joy.  I mean…kind of delicious.  The ingredients are nutritious and if you can limit yourself to just one or two then you’ve got a perfectly suitable (and in my opinion better) substitution for a run of the mill chocolate chip cookie.  So if you’ve never used almond flour before, I definitely recommend starting with this recipe!

Enjoy!

Original recipe here.

P.S. Mine didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as theirs!

Chocolate Chip and Coconut Almond Meal Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ c. Almond Meal
  • ½ t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ½ c. Shredded, Unsweetened Coconut
  • ⅓ c. Sucanat or Coconut Sugar (I used Sucanat and processed mine in my Vitamix dry attachment until it was finely ground)
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 3 T. Coconut Oil, melted
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Bittersweet/Dark Chocolate Chips (I would chop them next time for finer pieces..the big chips made it a bit difficult for the cookies to hold together)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and coconut. In a small bowl whisk together egg, coconut oil and vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Shape dough into 1½-inch balls, place on baking sheets and press down slightly with the palm of your hand.
  3. Bake until edges begin to brown, 7-10 minutes (mine took 8), rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool completely on wire racks and store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes about 18 cookies.

 

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Dark Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

Skillet Cookie Sundae

I have always wanted to make a cookie in a cast-iron skillet and this past Mother’s Day I finally had my chance.  I’ve seen a lot of recipes for them and they always looks so absolutely thick and chewy and decadent and warm and gooey and…   Well, you get the idea, I could go on and on with the descriptive words here.  But I won’t.  They practically beg to be eaten straight from the pan with a huge scoop of homemade ice cream on top.  We were a bit more civilized when I made it for my husband’s family and managed to eat it properly, in our own individual bowls.  😉

Skillet Cookie

I have to say that I LOVED this cookie.  To me, it was everything a chocolate chip cookie should be–slightly chewy but still soft with a tiny but of crisp to the very outer edge.  It was a little richer than your typical chocolate chip cookie due to the brown sugar and bittersweet chocolate chips.  We topped ours with homemade vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, toasted coconut, sprinkles and a cherry, of course!  It was the perfect treat after dinner and would actually make a GREAT Father’s Day dessert.  I don’t know a dad who wouldn’t love this cookie.  Or anyone for that matter!

Enjoy!

Original Recipe Source:  Tasty Kitchen

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. Sugar
  • ½ c. Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (or semi-sweet, etc)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in an 8-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in sugars and vanilla and remove from heat. Let rest until pan is warm, but no longer very hot, about 5 minutes.
  2. Crack an egg onto the butter and sugar mixture and use a fork to whisk it into the mixture. Place flour baking soda and salt on top and carefully stir into the mixture until smooth and well-mixed. Stir in chocolate chips. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes (mine took 25) or until starting to turn golden on the top and around the edges, but still soft in the center. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

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Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookie

I think I might be on of the only people who have never had Mexican Wedding Cookies.  I made them to take to our Gourmet Cooking Club because our theme was Mexican and everyone started talking about how they LOVE Russian Teacakes.  Say what?!  Apparently they have many different names–Russian Teacakes, Russian Wedding Cookies, Snowballs, Butterballs and probably more that I don’t even know about!  What I do know is that they are incredibly simple and incredibly good.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

They are the kind of cookie that I really can’t have around because they are so delicious and not too rich which means I have a problem eating just one.  If you’ve never had them before, they are similar to a shortbread but not as dry and crumbly.  Much more tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.  I loved the flavor from the toasted pecans and slight saltiness along with the sweetness from the powdered sugar both in and on the cookie.   You can have a batch whipped up in literally minutes.  They almost take longer to bake than they do to cook!  They are absolutely delicious and perfect with coffee.

Enjoy!

Mexican Wedding Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 c. Powdered Sugar, divided
  • 1 T. Vanilla
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Pecans, finely chopped and toasted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, ½ c. of the powdered sugar and the vanilla until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add the flour and salt, beating on low speed after each addition until well blended. Mix in the pecans. Shape dough into 1½-inch balls and place on baking sheets.
  3. Bake 15-18 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets. Roll warm cookies in the remaining ½ c. powdered sugar until evenly coated. Place on wire racks and let cool completely. Store in an air tight container at room temperature.
Notes
Makes 24

 

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Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

I never thought I was a huge fan of snickerdoodles until I found the recipe I’m going to share with you guys today. I mean, I always liked them ok but if given the choice, I’d probably choose a peanut butter or classic chocolate chip cookie.  However, this snickerdoodle totally gives those other cookies a run for their money.  Just like the title says it is totally soft and crazy thick and full of yummy cinnamon flavor!  I took them to our gourmet cooking club the other night and heard several people say they were THE BEST snickerdoodle they’ve ever had.  Yay!  And I have to agree!  If you’re looking for a cookie you can whip up quickly and will get you rave reviews, look no further!  This is it!

Snickerdoodle

Enjoy!

Recipe source:  Sally’s Baking Addiction

Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1⅓ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, room temperature
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 t. Cream of Tartar
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 2½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Salt
Topping
  • ¼ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Make the topping by tossing the ¼ cup granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three different parts. The dough will be thick.
  5. Roll 1.5-2 Tablespoons of dough into a ball and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on the pans for two minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes 2 dozen.

 

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The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think it has finally happened.  I may have found the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie.  I’ve searched high and low and my journey may be over!  I’ve always struggled to find the ideal chocolate chips cookie which in my mind is thick, soft and slightly chewy.  This N.Y. Times Chocolate Chip Cookie was good, but a little flat for my preference and didn’t quite hit the mark.  Then, I saw this recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction and had to give it a try.  I had made her Soft Baked Monster Cookies which were PHENOMENAL so I had full confidence she knew what she was doing when it came to cookies and was excited to try her recipe.  And I was NOT disappointed.  Seriously, the perfect thickness and so soft and chewy at the same time.  Amazing.  I was SO happy, I think my search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie is over!

The Perfct Chocolate Chip Cookie

Enjoy!

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ¾ c. Dark Brown Sugar
  • ¼ c. Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 t. Cornstarch
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • ½ c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. On low speed, mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Roll dough into 1½" balls with the palms of your hands and place about two inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes (I did 4 minutes, rotated pans and switched racks and did 5 more minutes) until barely golden brown around the edges. Let cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheets and transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

 

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Double Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookies

Double Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookies

Cake mix cookies…or as some call them, CRACK cookies.  And I will not lie, they are good.  But Sarah, they use a cake mix!  Yes, I know.  And I’ve discovered that very good things can come from cake mixes…such as Chocolate Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Strawberries & Cream Cake, Strawberry Cakies and even Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes!  And while I much prefer a made-from-scratch-cake over a box mix any day, sometimes when you’re in a pinch and need something quick, a cake mix can be your best friend.  Which is totally the case for these cookies.  I needed something super quick for a meeting I was going to and recalled having these cookies for the first time at my friend Joelle‘s house.  I honestly didn’t believe her when she told me how good they were but once I tasted one, I knew I was in trouble and could probably never trust myself with a batch of them in my house.  They turn out super soft in the middle and slightly crispy on the outside.  I added semi-sweet and white chocolate chips along with toasted pecans but you really could add in whatever you like and even use whatever cake mix you prefer…spice cake with cinnamon chips, orange cake mix with dark chocolate chips,  chocolate cake mix with peanut butter chips…you get the idea!

Double Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookie

Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 18.25 oz. White Cake Mix
  • ½ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ½ c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cake mix, oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth and blended. Stir in white and semi-sweet chocolate chips and toasted pecans. Using a large spoon (or use a small spoon if you want smaller cookies..mine spread and turned out quite large), drop onto pan, two inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes (8 minutes if you want them slightly underdone), rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes about 20, 3-inch cookies.

 

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White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

I have not found a cookie in awhile that it is hard to stop eating.  You know, not so rich that you can only handle a few bites and then you’re done?  But more along the lines of “Wow, those are so good I can’t believe I just ate five!!!”.  Yeah, that.  Let me introduce you to these White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies.  They are soooooo good.  The kind of good you can’t just stop at one with.  The are so soft and slightly crisp around the edges and the tartness of the freeze-dried raspberries sets off the sweetness of the white chocolate perfectly.  And I love the slight chewy texture from the oats.  Yep, can’t make these often or we’ll be spending extra time at the gym!

Oh and the bright pinkish red bits make them a lovely treat for Valentine’s Day, don’tcha think?

Enjoy!

 

White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1½ c. Quick Oats
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Raspberry Jam
  • 2 c. White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Freeze-Dried Raspberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In an electric mixer beat the sugar and butter at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and raspberry jam. Slowly beat in the flour mixture. Beat in the white chocolate chips. Gently fold in the freeze-dried raspberries. Roll into 1½" balls and place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes 36 cookies.

 

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Soft-Baked Monster Cookies

Monster Cookies

One more Superbowl recipe before the big game this weekend!  Who is watching?  Do you even care about the game and teams or is it ALL about the food?!  I say food, duh.  We’re having a party at our house and I can say with certainty I am looking forward to the food the most.  I have some friends who are fabulous cooks so I know we’ll have quite the spread!

M&M’s Fun Size Milk Chocolate Candy, 11-Ounce (Pack of 6)

I found these cookies a couple of weeks ago via Sally’s Baking Addiction (fabulous blog I JUST discovered–where have I been?!) and she has hit it out of the park with this recipe!  I have trouble getting cookies to bake up soft, thick and chewy and these Soft-Baked Monster Cookies fulfill all three of those requirements perfectly!  The only thing I’d do different next time is use MORE crushed Butterfingers and throw in some Reese’s Pieces!  I knew there was something I was missing after the fact and it hit me that Reese’s Pieces would be PERFECT in these cookies, along with all the other add-ins.

Monster Cookie

Set out some milk along with these cookies at your Superbowl party!  People will need it!

Enjoy!

 

Soft-Baked Monster Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ c. Sugar
  • 1½ c. Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 2½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Old-Fashioned or Quick Oats (I used old-fashioned)
  • 1 c. Regular M&M's
  • 1 c. Dark Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet)
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2-4 Regular Size Butterfinger Bars, roughly chopped (I used 2 but if I did them again, I'd use more)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in peanut butter and then eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and oats and mix into the butter/egg mixture on low speed. Mix in the M&M's, dark and semi-sweet chocolate chips and Butterfingers.
  3. Roll the dough into 2 " balls and place about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 10-11 minutes (10 if you want them just slightly underdone), rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes and then transfer to wire racks and let cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 40 cookies.

 

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Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free No-Bake Cookies

Healthy No-Bake Cookies

Today I have given a little makeover to one of my all-time favorite recipes–No-Bake Cookies!  My mom’s recipe is seriously THE BEST.  Yes, I do think that about many of her recipes.  Because it’s true!  I’ve had lots of other no-bake cookies and people have no idea there is an exact time they need to boil otherwise you get dry, crumbly, icky no-bakes.  Such a shame.  Luckily my mom’s recipe uses the perfect ingredients and method and they are no-fail every time.

Like I said, I gave them a makeover…a healthy makeover.  I was curious if altering the recipe with alternative ingredients would yield the same delicious cookie I grew up loving and eating way too many of in one sitting.  Off to experiment land I went!  I wanted them to be dairy-free because we don’t drink cow’s milk or eat cow products in our household unless it’s organic butter or Greek yogurt, so I used almond milk and coconut oil.  I knew it could be tricky because coconut oil will only firm up according to the temperature in your house so these cookies needed a little help in that department.  You must keep them in the refrigerator or freezer after they are done or you’ll have a sticky mess!  But we LOVE them cold, straight from the freezer.

Other changes I made were using a reduced amount of sucanat in place of the refined sugar.  It gave the cookies an amazingly rich, dark chocolatey, fudge taste.  I also used organic peanut butter and thick-rolled organic oats.  Very small changes but they make a world of difference in the nutritional content of the finished product.  Don’t get me wrong, you can’t eat five of these at once because they’re “healthy” or replace your daily fruit servings with a bunch of cookies!  They still have sugar after all, just not refined, processed sugar.  Which is a GOOD thing.  These are still meant to be an indulgence, but one you can feel pretty good about.  Jeremy and I both love them so much…maybe better than the original!  Just don’t tell my mom!

Enjoy!

 

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free No-Bake Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Sucanat
  • ⅔ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 c. Unsweetened, Regular Almond Milk
  • ¾ c. Organic Coconut Oil
  • 4 c. Thick-Cut, Rolled Oats
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Organic Peanut Butter (I use one that is only peanuts and sea salt)
Instructions
  1. Line two large baking sheets with foil.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine sucanat, almond milk, cocoa and coconut oil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute and 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Quickly stir in oats and drop by large spoonfuls onto the baking sheets. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and then place the pans in freezer for about 10 minutes to firm the cookies completely. Store in an air-tight container in the freezer or refrigerator (we like ours really cold from the freezer).
Notes
Makes 30 cookies.

 

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Peanut Butter and Banana Quinoa Cookies

Peanut Butter and Banana Quinoa Cookies

Woo hoo it’s the first recipe of the new year!!!  I’m so excited.  How about you?  I know you’ve just been waiting on the edge of your seat to see what the first super-indulgent, sugar-laden, fattening recipe would be, right??  Well, the wait is over!  And I really hope you’re not too disappointed because…it’s a HEALTHY recipe!  Yay!!!  Oh, am I the only one saying yay?? Surely not.  I know there had to have been some of you feeling like I was after Christmas…in need of a major refined sugar and fat break.  And I know someone out there made a resolution to eat healthier and drop some weight.  Well, this recipe fits the healthy-yet-incredibly-yummy bill to a “t”!

Peanut Butter and Banana Quinoa Cookies 2

I was soooo pleased with how these came out.  I took great liberty with this recipe and tweaked it to my liking.  It’s got tons of protein from the quinoa, no refined sugar and whole grains.  It’s seriously amazing.  I’ve actually been eating these for breakfast.  They’re quite filling and not too sweet.  Hope you love them as much as I do and they help you stick to that new healthy living resolution!

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Banana Quinoa Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Thick-Cut Oats
  • 1 c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • ¼ t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Sea Salt (I prefer pink himalayan)
  • ¼ c. Sucanant (or just use more honey)
  • ½ c. All-Natural, Organic Peanut Butter (I use one that has no salt, oil, etc)
  • 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Ripe Banana, mashed
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ⅓ c. Honey
  • 2 c. Cooked Quinoa
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, oats, baking powder, salt and sucanant. In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, egg, banana, vanilla and honey until smooth.
  3. Add the peanut butter mixture and quinoa to the dry ingredients. Stir together until everything is thoroughly combined. Drop by large spoonfuls onto the baking sheets and bake for 15 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on pans for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 20 cookies.

 

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Healthy Sweet Treats

As of right now, I’m in recovery stage from Thanksgiving eatings.  Is anybody else with me?  Lots of fruits, veggies, lean meat and trying desperately to stay away from sweets…at least for the moment.  But doesn’t it just seem like you are inundated from Thanksgiving to Christmas (ok, more like Easter) with candy and sweet stuff EVERYWHERE?!  At the office, church, cookie exchanges, holiday parties, special holiday treats from local bakeries and ice cream shops…I mean, you’ve only got one month to stuff your face with all these limited time, seasonal treats!!!!   No wonder people gain on average 10 pounds from November to December.  Sheesh.

I’ve found the best defense is to have a plan of action!  I think ahead about what I REALLY want to indulge in and what I can live without.  It seems that we think since something is laying out on the kitchen table in the breakroom at work, we might as well eat it, even if it’s really not that good.  Save your calories for the things that are AMAZING, not just o.k.  I also like to keep fruits and healthy baked treats on hand at our house.  That way we already have something to grab in case the sweet tooth kicks in or we want to go out and get that limited-time dark chocolate candy cane shake.  Tomorrow morning I’m going to share a recipe for healthy Dark Chocolate Chunk Toffee Bars but for now I thought I’d share some of my favorite healthy treats I’ve done over the past few months. These are all great options and totally delicious.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Trail Mix Bars

Grain-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Java Mocha Protein Balls

Lightened Up Gluten-Free Brownies

No-Bake Almond Butter Rice Crisp Treats

No-Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites

Strawberry Almond Butter Soup

Whole Grain Strawberry Newtons

 

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Best Butterscotch Cookies Ever

I have finally made a cookie recipe that I LOVE and it is as close to a perfect cookie as I will probably ever get.  I always struggle with cookies.  Not all cookies, just the most basic cookie ever--chocolate chip!  For some reason I have never found the perfect recipe for a chewy, thick chocolate chip cookie, like one you'd find in a bakery.  And I've tried many.  MANY.  That's not to say I don't have some absolutely fantastic chocolate chip cookie recipes, I just haven't found one in my mind that is the best. Anywho, this isn't quite a typical chocolate chip cookie but let me tell you I might just give up my search after making this one.  It is literally the thickest, chewiest, most delicious cookies I have ever made and maybe ever had...EVER!  Yeah, I'm pretty excited about it.  I took a really basic recipe for oatmeal butterscotch cookies and made some changes to it that I hoped would make it beyond awesome.  And much to my delight, it did.  Seriously, this cookie is out of this world.  Let me know if you agree! Enjoy!
Best Butterscotch Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. White Sugar
  • 1 c. Packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, 1 Large Egg Yolk
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 c. Rolled Oats
  • 2 c. (11 oz. pkg.) Butterscotch Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat, brown the butter. This will take about 8 minutes for the butter to melt and turn golden brown. Remove from heat and combine the sugars and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats. Add to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in butterscotch chips.
  4. Roll mixture into 2" balls and place on baking sheets two inches apart. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Cool on pan for 2 minutes and then transer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes about 30 cookies.

 

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Grain-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy baking has come a looooong way.  Especially in my kitchen.  I remember back when I did most of my “healthy” baking and it consisted of mass amounts of whole wheat flour, Splenda (God forbid) and tons of egg whites.  Thankfully, I now know what healthy really means….REAL ingredients that are not artificial, preservative laden bombs.  And most of those recipes honestly, well, they weren’t that great. Let’s just leave it at that.

But the healthy recipes I’m finding nowadays are a whole other story.  They are chocked full of nutritious and real ingredients.  And I have yet to come across one I did not LOVE.  Seriously.  Such is the case with these cookies.  I found the original recipe on the Texanerin Baking blog and only tinkered with it a bit.  Ok, that’s a lie.  The first time I made it I messed with the recipe ALOT and while I managed to create what could be considered the most amazingly delicious healthy peanut butter and chocolate chip fudge EVER, they didn’t quite bake up like a cookie.  Not to say they weren’t good..just not very cookie like.  So I tried the recipe again and stuck as close to the original as possible with only a few minor changes.  And they. Were. Awesome.

Don’t let the beans throw you off…it’s amazing how great they work for gluten-free baking and meld seamlessly with the other ingredients. The first time I used beans for these Chocolate Cupcakes with Tart Cherry Frosting, I was highly skeptical, but the recipe turned out awesome and honestly it was one of the best chocolate cakes.  In my opinion at least.  So give beans a try in your baked goods!  They add loads of protein and fiber which our bodies need!

Enjoy!

Grain-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. (15 oz. can) Chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels
  • ½ c., plus 2 T. All-Natural Peanut Butter (no oil, salt, sugar, etc)
  • ¼ c., plus 2 T. Honey
  • 1 t. Baking Powder (I use aluminum-free)
  • ⅛ t. Salt (I use Pink Himalayan Sea Salt)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ⅓ c. Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line one large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, blend together all the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, until very smooth. Scrape the sides and top to get the small pieces of chickpeas and process again until smooth. Scrape into a medium size bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. Drop by large spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
Makes 14, 1½" cookies. Note: They are best to eat on the first day and are the most like a traditional cookie. The next day they are still yummy but the texture changes just a bit and they seem more like cookie dough.

 

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Bakery Review – TwentyOne Cakes in Nixa, MO

Cupcake places are popping up everywhere!  It’s madness I tell you!  Delicious, sweet (slightly sickening) madness!  Believe it or not, after Jeremy and I stopped at Stacey’s Sweets in Ozark, we hightailed it to Nixa to try ANOTHER new cupcake joint.  I have to be honest…this place was good but after trying several different kinds of cupcakes and a brownie at Stacey’s Sweets, I probably was a little sugared out at this point.  TwentyOne Cakes is in a house turned bakery right on Highway 14.  It’s a very straightforward, unassuming place.  I was surprised to walk in and see the cupcakes were actually mini cupcakes which I was VERY thankful for after gorging ourselves on EIGHT regular size ones not even an hour earlier.  There were also a couple of different kinds of cake pops, a HUGE peanut butter chocolate chip cookie and I believe there was a cake also that you could get by the slice.

My only criticism of this bakery was the lack of just a basic cupcake.  Most of the flavors were somewhat unique and different if not what some might consider “odd” and I really like to try at least a couple basic cupcakes when I go somewhere new.  Then again I might have just come on the wrong day.  I did however think her cakes were nice and moist (which is impressive for minis!) and the buttercreams were quite delicious.  And I wasn’t a fan of the cookie; it wasn’t quite as soft and chewy as I prefer.  But hey, that’s just me.  Overall, a delicious experience!  Here’s what we ended up choosing:

Maple Bacon

German Chocolate

Strawberry

Red Hot

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie

If you are in Nixa, check this place out for a sweet fix!  And if you’ve been there, let me know what you think!

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Thin Mint Brownies with Bailey’s Buttercream

I am proud to say that my husband is now a chocolate and mint convert–all because of these brownies.  He said he wasn’t going to try them but then he saw them…and then he tasted them…and then he couldn’t keep his hands out of them.  Hah!  And I have to admit, they are GOOD.  I mean, I love anything mint and chocolate but these are one of the best renditions of that combo I’ve ever had…if I do say so myself.  The mint flavor from the Thin Mint cookies and Andes mints is not overwhelming and somewhat subtle and then the Bailey’s buttercream…oh my word, don’t even get me started.  It took so much restraint to keep from eating this frosting by the spoonful.

Now when I say Bailey’s, let me clarify.  When I went to purchase my bottle of Bailey’s I could not believe that is was nearly $20!!!  And all I needed was two-thirds of a cup!!  Ummmmmm, no, not happening.  So I thought hey, what about Irish cream flavored coffee creamer?  Yes!  Perfect.  Well, much to my surprise and delight I discovered that Bailey’s had their own brand of coffee creamer–for two bucks!   Score!  I knew I had some whiskey at home that I could throw in and I’d be good to go.

Perfect for St. Patty’s day!  You’ll love them–promise.

Thin Mint Brownies with Bailey's Buttercream
 
Ingredients
Thin Mint Brownies
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • ⅔ c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 T. Instant Coffee Granules
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • ⅔ c. Bailey's Irish Cream Creamer
  • 1 T. Whiskey
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla
  • 1 Box Thin Mint Cookies (3 c. crushed cookies)
  • 1, 8.5 oz. Bag Andes Mints
Bailey's Buttercream
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 5 T. Bailey's Irish Cream Creamer
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla
  • 1 T. Whiskey
Instructions
For the Brownies
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt until combined. Set aside.
  3. Place chocolate, butter and instant coffee granules into a medium size bowl and melt in mircowave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely smooth. Set aside to cool a bit.
  4. Once the chocolate mixture is warm (NOT hot) add eggs, one at a time, whisking to incorporate. Add sugar, vanilla, Bailey's creamer and whiskey and whisk until combined.
  5. Add the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture, folding with a spatula until just combined. Fold in the crushed Thin Mint cookies.
  6. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. While the brownies are baking, chop up ⅔ (about 30 squares) of the Andes mint squares. As soon as the brownies come out of the oven, sprinkle with the chopped Andes. Put back in oven for about 25-30 seconds, remove and spread melted Andes over the brownies. Let the brownies cool completely and frost.
For the Bailey's Buttercream
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in two cups of the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, on low, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add 3 tablespoons of the Bailey's Irish Cream creamer and beat thoroughly. Beat in the remaining powdered sugar, one cup at a time, on low until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla, whiskey and remaining 2 tablespoons Bailey's creamer until completely incorporated. Chop remaining Andes mints, frost brownies and sprinkle with chopped mints.
Notes
Serves 18.

 

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Cookie Monster Crockpot Cake

I struggle with some recipes…in particular, bread puddings and crockpot cakes.  Why??  Because they are so darn hard to photograph!  It’s a crying shame that a couple of the most delicious types of desserts (especially bread pudding) just look plain ugly in photos.  Delicious?  Yes.  Photogenic??  No.  So hopefully I can convince you to make this crockpot cake based on my simple review of this recipe!

To say this cake is AWESOME is an understatement…it’s actually FREAKIN AWESOME.  I was making a dessert for a family get-together and was a little stumped because I knew everyone wanted something majorly chocolate but I didn’t want to just do a chocolate layer cake or cupcakes.  And then out of nowhere I remembered this Rocky Road Crockpot cake that one of my former co-worker’s had brought to work for a party and how absolutely, incredibly amazing it was.  So I thought why not swap out the nuts for cookies and voila!  Cookie Monster Crockpot Cake!  If you like chocolate, cake, gooey marshmallows, chocolate chip cookies and Oreos, you may like and possibly even love this dessert.  Oh and do I even have to mention the vanilla ice cream??  That’s kind of a no-brainer.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Southern Living Rocky Road Chocolate Cake

Cookie Monster Crockpot Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (18.25 oz) Devil's Food Cake Mix
  • 1 (3.4 oz) Package Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • ⅓ c. Butter, melted
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3¼ c. Milk, divided
  • 1 (3.4 oz) Package Chocolate Cook-and-Serve Pudding Mix
  • 2 c. Oreo Cookie Pieces
  • 2 c. Chocolate Chip Cookie Pieces (I used Keebler Elf Soft and Chewy)
  • 1 c. Bittersweet or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 c. Miniature Marshmallows
  • Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease a 4-qt slow cooker or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cake mix, next 5 ingredients and 1¼ c. milk at medium speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour batter into slow cooker.
  3. Cook remaining 2 cups milk in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 5-8 minutes or until bubbles appear (do not boil); remove from heat.
  4. Sprinkle cook-and-serve pudding mix over batter. Slowly pour hot milk over pudding. Place a towel over the slow cooker and place lid on top (this prevents condensation from dripping into the cake). Cook on LOW for 3½ hours. Meanwhile, mix chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, mini marshmallows and chocolate chips together in a large bowl.
  5. Turn off slow cooker or onto low if yours has that setting. Sprinkle with the cookie, marshmallow and chocolate chip mixture and let stand 15 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly melted. Spoon into dessert dishes and serve with ice cream, if desired.
Notes
Serves 8-10.

 

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Bakery Review – My Daddy’s Cheesecake in Cape Girardeau

As I mentioned last week in my B&B Weekend post, we stopped in at a bakery called My Daddy’s Cheesecake while were out and about exploring Cape Girardeau and hitting up antique shops.  I did NOT expect the town to have a bakery, let alone one that offered all that this one did!  The building was very straightforward, nothing kitschy or frilly about it and kind of reminded me a of a Panera Bread or McCallister’s restaurant.  They did, in fact, have quite a menu of food other than dessert but that was NOT what I was there for–I had come to get a sugar high!

First of all, let’s just start with the selection.  They had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR bakery cases jam-packed with so many different, mouth-watering treats that I was immediately overwhelmed and thought “Holy crap, how am I going to decide!”.  We’re talking one whole case with only cheesecake (of course!), another with cupcakes, gooey butter cake slices, chocolate covered strawberries, cannoli, etc, another with muffins, cinnamon rolls, Italian pastries and yet another case pretty much devoted entirely to cookies…you name it, I’m pretty sure they had it!

So after a little (ok, a LOT of) deliberation, we made our choices!  So, here they are, in no particular order.  Ok, that’s a lie.  They are definitely in order, from least favorite to most favorite.  These are my selections, although Jeremy and I agreed on our top three.  Yay!   Ok, here we go!  (First, a picture of the spread!  I’m sure people thought we were absolute pigs!!)

First up in sixth place the Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookie.  I chose this cookie because not only were there only two left (from a massive tray of them) the girl that was helping raved on and on about them.  I was excited.  And then I was sad.  These cookies were, in a word, horrible.  It was dry, crunchy and tasteless and I wanted so badly to spit it out but didn’t have a napkin.  I knew I should have gone with my gut and got the white chocolate macadamia nut cookie and I was *this close* to going back up to the counter and asking for a trade-in or something.  But I didn’t.  So here is the red velvet cookie, dead last.  Sigh.

Fifth, the baklava.  I love baklava.  LOVE.  But this just didn’t hit the spot for me.  It was ok, but a little dry and lacking some serious honey/gooey factor that is a necessary component of great baklava.  Not bad, just not outstanding.

Fourth, the Chocolate Raspberry Swirled Cheesecake.  It was decent but to be honest both the cheesecakes to me were more thick (solid?) and like a very firm ganache consistency than they were creamy.  The texture was just a bit off for me.

Third, the Amaretto Cheesecake.  Again, texture weird, but the Amaretto flavor redeemed it slightly for me–that was YUMMY.

Second, the Chocolate Ganache Cupcake.  I have to say this was a very good cupcake.  The cake was tender and fluffy, the chocolate frosting was delicious and the chocolate shavings on top were so yummy.  Only complaint was the massive tunnel of chocolate ganache inside the cupcake that had completely hardened.  A little awkward trying to cut into the cupcake but we managed!

And, drum roll please, first place goes to…the Cannoli!  Woo hoo!  This thing was deeeeeelicious.  I couldn’t stop eating it.  And I didn’t.  And I did not care.

So the desserts were a little less than stellar and seemed to be more style than substance but I’d really like to go back and try some other things, since they have such a variety!   And I heard people raving about the cinnamon rolls which were so huge and nearly sold out…I KNEW I should have tried one!  Oh well, next time.

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