Sometimes a simple chocolate chip cookie is all I need to make everything right in the world again. There is something so warm and inviting about fresh, homemade chocolate chip cookies. I love the taste, the chew, and how intoxicating my home smells when I make cookies. Every step of the baking process (including the eating part!) is completely comforting to me, like being wrapped in a warm blanket fresh from the dryer. I will make these cookies, specifically this recipe, until the day I die.
The thing I’ve learned through baking batch after batch of cookies, is that every cookie spawns from the same basis recipe. If you mix sugar, butter, flour, leaveners (etc.) you end up with some type of cookie. Some recipes I’ve tried result in puffy cookies, others are crispy, and some are just plain… well, plain.
Personally I love a chewier, golden cookie and I’ve found the perfect ingredient to make that happen every.single.time – melted, brown butter. I’ve had the best luck achieving this by using melted butter and if you let the butter brown, your cookies will taste as if you added caramel to them. Sooooooo yummy! I think this cookie recipe is pretty darn perfect but I’m always open to other learning differen baking tips. Share some of your own cookie tips in the comments below!
Preheat the oven to 360°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt the butter in a light-colored saucepan over the lowest heat possible. Swirl the pan occasionally to ensure the butter is cooking evenly. The butter should begin to foam. The butter will progress from a light yellow-brown color to golden-tan then a dark, deep nutty brown. When you smell a nutty aroma, your butter is browned. Set aside.
In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a whisk. Set aside. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and whisk in the sugars until all lumps are gone. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until just combined. Stir in the vanilla. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir in the dry ingredients until barely blended (do not over mix or you will have tough cookies!) Gently stir in the chocolate chunks.
Refrigerate the dough for 5 minutes and then roll into 1 heaping tablespoon rounded discs and gently press each cookie into a bit of flaky sea salt (or you can lightly sprinkle sea salt on top and press the salt into the dough). You wont need much salt to make an impact. Arrange on the prepared pans leaving 3 inches between each cookie. Bake until the tops are cracked and lightly golden, 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool on the pan for 2 minutes, the move to a wire rack to cool completely.
I am so excited to share pumpkin recipes on this blog again! Pumpkin season is my absolute favorite. Pumpkin spice lattes… pumpkin cream swirl coffee… pumpkin coffee cakes… pumpkin ravioli… pumpkin everywhere!
You’ll have to excuse me if you’re like my boss and do not like pumpkin. More for us pumpkin lovers then!
If you’re here because you love pumpkin as much as I do, then let’s talk about pumpkin muffins.
Pumpkin muffins are arguably my second favorite pumpkin baked good after pumpkin pie. They are moist and fluffy and I can’t help but rip off those crunchy muffin tops (heehee!) and scarf those down before I can even blink. The batter scared me at first, a bit thicker than I thought it should be. But after I baked them I quickly realized that the batter was just right. These muffins are completely fluffy and flavorful. There really isn’t need for streusel or glaze, but heck, when in Rome right?
The streusel adds that extra bit of sugary crunch that we all love. Plus the glaze… well, frankly I’m happy I added the maple glaze. The maple compliments the pumpkin and spices extremely well. I never knew! I just might have to add syrup to my pumpkin pie from here on out. Okay maybe not… but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try it. 🙂
2 1/2 cups flour (I used a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Streusel:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
1-2 Tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 24 cupcake pans.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until combined, about two minutes. Add pumpkin and eggs, beating until blended. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt and slowly combine until thoroughly mixed (I did this by hand with a wooden spoon). Spoon batter into cupcake tins, dividing evenly (each about 2/3 full).
In a separate bowl, mix streusel ingredients together with a fork. Sprinkle over muffins evenly.
Bake for 17-18 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
For the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar, vanilla, maple syrup and milk together until desired consistency. Drizzle onto the muffins, allow to set for a couple of minutes and enjoy!
If freezing, do not add drizzle. Allow muffins to cool and store in an airtight freezer bag. When ready to eat, thaw and make drizzle fresh.
Howdy and happy Groundhog’s Day to you! This isn’t really a Groundhog’s Day inspired recipe (who eats groundhog anyway?) but I had a plethora of oats and almonds in my pantry that inspired this recipe instead.
I bought some fresh strawberries and these vegan strawberry bars were born! I love that this recipe uses real fruit instead of jam. That makes it healthy right? Okay, not really. There is plenty of sugar in these bars, but they are completely dairy and egg-free, so that helps.
Usually when I read those words (“dairy-free” and “egg-free”) I instantly connect it to being tasteless. I know, that’s a shameful thing to do but I am a bacon-lover at heart after all. Have no fear though, because the fresh strawberries with the texture of the crumble really are a winning combination that does not lack in flavor one bit. I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!
December 8th is National Brownie Day! Yes, these moist and fudgy (SnackWells reference, anyone?) sweet, baked delights have their own national “holiday.” Like the sandwich, pizza and potato chip, the first brownie ever made was actually a mistake. The baker didn’t have baking powder and ended up with this dense, baked good (actually creating what is now commonly known as a blondie). The baker added cocoa to this recipe and voilà! The brownie was born.
In honor of this glorious treat and as a spin-off of my chocolate chip cookie pie recipe, I thought I’d share this combination recipe with you today. Can you tell that I love chocolate chip cookies (in any form)? Not at all, right?
I figured the fudgy brownie layer covered the basics and the cookie dough layer was an added bonus.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature or almost melted
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons milk or cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
Additional miniature chocolate chips, if desired (to garnish the top)
Prepare the brownie layer:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x9-inch pan with nonstick spray, then line with a strip of parchment paper so that it covers the bottom and comes up two sides of the pan. Spray the parchment with nonstick spray too.
In a microwave safe bowl (or in the top of a double boiler or pan set on top of a pan of simmering water), microwave in 30 second bursts to melt butter and chocolate chips together until all is melted and smooth. Whisk in the sugars, then whisk in the eggs, vanilla and salt. Sift flour into the bowl and stir that in too. Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the brownie layer is cooked through (toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean). Place the pan of brownies in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process (or cool at room temperature and add the cookie dough layer later).
Prepare the cookie dough layer:
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter, sugars and salt until soft and creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Mix in the milk and vanilla. Sprinkle in the flour and mix in until combined. Stir in the 1 cup of chocolate chips. Scoop the cookie dough onto the top of the brownies and spread onto the brownie layer. I find that it's easiest to do this if the brownie layer is chilled and firm. Wet your hands or spray them with nonstick spray and pat the cookie dough on top in a even layer. Sprinkle additional chocolate chips on top to create a nicer, visual appearance. For easy, clean cutting, chill the brownies (wrap the brownies with plastic wrap and chill until firm- 1 to 2 hours or up to 2 days).
Cut the brownies: Run a knife along the sides of the brownie pan and then use the parchment paper to lift the brownies from the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice the brownies with a sharp knife, wiping the knife with a paper towel between cuts. If you'd like all of your slices of brownies to look clean-cut without edges, use the knife to cut the sides of the brownies off before cutting pieces. Keep brownies slices covered and chilled until ready to serve.
Grandmas always make the best pies don’t they? Well, my grandma always did anyway. My grandma’s apple pie was always my favorite growing up. Those warm slices of gooey, cinnamon apples and flaky crust were the perfect treat. She would always make pies for the holidays and when she did, you knew you needed to grab a slice right away or the rest of the pie would be gone before you could blink!
I need to make about a million more pies and a million more cakes before I can deem myself a “baker.” Throughout the years, I’ve learned that living on my own (my cat doesn’t count in this case) I never eat all of any pie or cake that I make. So I’ve turned my grandma’s apple pie recipe into something a little more single friendly… apple dumplings!
I’ve done a lot of research on “baking apples” and found that the sturdy Jonamac and the more common Granny Smith apples are the most successful. If I can find Jonamac apples I end up mixing the two together. Both apples are solid enough to hold their shape when baked. Avoid soft apples like Red Delicious as they’ll sag and cause the crust to cave in.
3 tablespoons and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
2 teaspoons and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided
1 1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel apples and remove the cores. Slice off just a small amount at the top and bottom of each apple to flatten them so they'll wrap in the dough easier. Rinse off the apples in cold water and dab dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter, and mix with a pastry blender or food processor until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in milk all at once and stir to form a dough. Add a little more flour if needed to make the dough less sticky. Do not overwork the dough as you want it to remain light and tender. Split the dough ball in half and on a floured surface, roll out one half to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into two 6'' squares.
Place a whole apple in the center of a dough square. Mix together 6 tablespoons of sugar, 3 tablespoons of cinnamon, and 2 teaspoons of nutmeg. Generously dust each apple with this mixture. Moisten the edges of the pastry square with a finger dipped in cool water and bring the corners together at the top of the apple. Press edges together to seal and pinch together and tears in the dough around the apple.
Repeat the rolling out of the second half of the dough and creating the other two dumplings. Place all four dumplings in a baking dish, one inch apart, and decorate with dough cut-outs of leaves or any other creative flare you invent.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 and a half cups water, 1 and a half cups white sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg for the syrup. Bring to a boil then remove from heat to cool slightly. Pour the syrup over the dumplings and sprinkle with additional sugar (this forms a delectable golden crust once baked). Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until apples are tender (use a fork poked into them to test) and dough is nicely browned.
Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Can be stored in fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 200 degrees F for 15 minutes.
I was looking for something easy and quick to make for a party. These individual cheesecake tarts were perfect. The cheesecake batter in this recipe is really light and I like to use a whipped cream as “frosting” for a sweet end any meal that wont weigh you down.
You can decorate these with anything your heart desires. I like to use fresh fruit because it makes me feel like I’m eating something that’s “good for me.” Unfortunately, hips don’t lie. Get creative with toppings — lemon zest, chocolate shavings, caramel, fresh fruit or canned pie filling.
The “crust” in these tarts are a single Nilla Wafer. Buy the large size. One time I bought the mini snack-sized wafers by mistake. I figured I could crumble them and press them to the bottom of each cupcake liner to pass for a wafer crust. The results were a crumbly mess. I learned my lesson… stick with the large Nilla Wafers. Check.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar. Add in flour and baking powder and beat to combine. Then add in eggs, one at a time, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat to combine.
Fill a muffin pan with cupcake liners and place one vanilla wafer at the bottom of each one. Divide batter between the 12 muffin papers, filling each cup to about 1/4 inch from the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. They'll puff way up during baking, but they'll settle after being chilled.
When you take them out of the oven, place them on a cooling rack and let them cool completely. While they cool, they will sink down in the center. Don't worry, that's normal! It makes the perfect little well to fill up with your toppings. Before you top them, be sure to allow them to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
My good friend Jason shared this recipe with me this weekend. It’s actually his mom’s recipe, but he gets the credit since he introduced it and we made it together.
The name of the recipe is a little deceiving I think. This recipe is super quick because you just dump all of your ingredients into a baking dish and the “cake” turns out really tasty. The fruit adds your sweet and tang finish, while the crust that forms adds a nice crispness to the cake, almost like a crumb topping. I could have gone back for thirds and fourths.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9" x 13" pan and spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan.
Dump the pineapple chunks as evenly as possible on top of the cherries. Dump the dry cake mix on top of the fruit and smooth it out with the back of a spoon so it is level and covering all of the fruit. Melt the butter and carefully pour it over the dry cake mix. DO NOT STIR IT! Do try to get the butter to cover everything as evenly as possible.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, until the top is set like a crust and golden brown. Serve with a heaping pile of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
It is important not to mix the layers together. As it bakes, the juice of the fruit comes up and the butter dribbles down and you end up with a delicious dessert with a buttery top crust. If you don't have pie filling, you can omit it and the recipe will still work. Try substituting blueberry pie filling for the cherry too.
Today is my very good friend Derek’s birthday! I made these sweet little treats to celebrate. I’m a firm believer that nobody should have to work on their birthday. But unfortunate circumstances do happen and sometimes you just have to make the best of it. Carrot cake makes it all better.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY D$ROCK!
[On a side note, check out his podcast. The man has great taste in music!]
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yields: 24 cupcakes
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 pound of carrots, grated
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
2 cups of sugar
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of orange zest
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 teaspoons of ground cardamom
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
6-ounce of white chocolate chips, melted
16-ounce of cream cheese
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F. Toast the walnuts in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Rinse the carrots and peel the rough skins off, then grate the carrots.
Place the carrots, buttermilk, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest together in a bowl and whisk thoroughly.
In another bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon.
Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture, being sure not to overmix. Fold in the toasted walnuts until evenly incorporated.
Scoop into cupcake papers about 1/2 to 3/4 full and bake for 19-21 minutes at 350F, being sure to rotate the pan after the first 15 minutes of baking. Afterwards allow to cool for 5 minutes before taking the cupcakes out of the cupcake tin and allowing them to fully cool on a wire rack. Frost cooled cupcakes.
For the frosting, beat the cream cheese, chocolate and butter on medium speed until well combined. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix.
Spread onto cooled cupcakes and decorate however your heart desires.