“Big Ass Chocolate Chip Cookies” For My Man’s Birthday

25 Jan

When I asked my husband what he might want for his birthday cake this year, I expected the usual – something chocolate, maybe with the inclusion of raspberry or beer (or both!) – but he surprised me by saying “I want big ass chocolate chip cookies to make ice cream sandwiches with”. Well, easy enough! Not exactly a traditional birthday cake, but it’s nice to mix it up sometimes!

I knew I could go with a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I wanted to try one that was specifically designed with “bigger is better” in mind – so I did a bit of searching and came across these Best Big Fat and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies – seemed easy enough, and the name certainly fit what I was looking for

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Recipe courtesy of AllRecipes.com)

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
-Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
-Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
-In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.
-Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.
-Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.
-Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.
-Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
-Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

BigCookies1

As I gathered the ingredients I thought “why not make a double batch?” Because too few cookies is not a problem anyone wants to have – EVER

BigCookie2

Various stages of dough-ness – from scoop to done

BigCookie3

These came out perfectly golden brown (note just how big they are – with my hand next to one for comparison)

BigCookies4

The Birthday boy is Making A Wish – and enjoying an ice cream sandwich too!

These were a big hit with the Birthday Boy – they certainly were what he asked for – and he loved making ice cream sandwiches with them, too! He was kind enough to share some with our son and I – and we really enjoyed them, too!

Recipe wise, I like that you start out with melted butter (mostly out of laziness – as it’s easier to stir the dough together if it’s melted vs just softened), and it helps make for a bigger/crispier cookie – which is not my personal preference, but my husband really enjoyed it – and that’s really all that matters!

Happy 31st Birthday to my husband – may your year be full of laughter, fun, bike rides, great food and beer, family, and hugs – you deserve it all and more!

Advertisements

Peanut Butter Balls – An Easy No-Bake Addition To Any Get Together

28 Dec

Growing up, my aunts always made peanut butter balls at Christmas time – there were never a ton, but those first to the cookie trays would be rewarded with the sweet heaven that is peanut butter & sugar mixed together and dipped in chocolate. They have become more scarce over the years, and this year I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands – if I wanted peanut butter balls at Christmas time, I would just have to make them myself!

When I was looking for a recipe, I was intrigued by the ones that included crispy rice cereal in the peanut butter mixture – I really loved the idea of that bite/crunch to cut through the sweetness – so I decided on This Recipe

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
(Recipe Courtesy of Idaho Mom)
Ingredients:
2 c peanut butter
2 c powdered sugar
3 c rice krispies
2 bags chocolate chips, melted or 1 bag light cocoa wilton candy melts

Directions:
mix the first 3 ingredients together and then roll into balls.
dip the balls in chocolate to coat.
let the chocolate peanut butter balls set to harden.

Pretty simple, right? 

PB Balls 1

As I assembled my ingredients, only the furry helper emerged (he sensed the presence of peanut butter). But once I turned on the mixer, the toddler helper came scurrying into the kitchen wanting in on the action

 

PB balls 2

He helped me mix up the peanut butter and sugar – and I added a little vanilla for flavor, too

PB balls 3

I had the help of both my boys when it came to making the balls! I actually froze them for a while – just to ensure they weren’t going to fall apart on me when it was chocolate time!

 

PB balls 4

I used part wilton melts and part chocolate chips – worked fine for melting/coating the balls. And I also did some fully coated, and some half-coated in chocolate – just for variety’s sake

PB balls 5

My helper really enjoyed the finished product (and the furry helper was dying to get in on it too – but sadly couldn’t partake – see him trying to sneak in on the balls?)

These were easy to make, and the ingredients were all things I already had on hand. They didn’t turn out exactly like I remember the peanut butter balls of my childhood- but they are still delicious!

Easy, No Bake “Reindeer Bait” Is The Perfect Christmas Treat

21 Dec

These days, my Facebook feed is mostly composed of food videos – you know the ones – that have cutesy music in the background and take you through a recipe in under a minute and make it look not only delicious – but easy and super enticing? I try not to be so easily taken in by a flashy video – but I have to admit – I love a good recipe – and enjoy watching these types of videos. I don’t often end up making them in real life, but this one was too good to pass up. I had already done a ton of Christmas Cookie Baking – so the fact that this one didn’t involve the oven sealed the deal for me – to the store I went to pick up the few ingredients I didn’t already have on hand for this delicious Reindeer Bait!

Reindeer Bait
(Recipe Courtesy of Delish)

Ingredients
3 c. corn chex
2 c. wheat chex
2 c. mini pretzels
2 c. mini marshmallows
1 c. red and green M&Ms
20 oz. white chocolate
Red and green sprinkles, for garnish

Directions
-In a large bowl, mix together Corn Chex, Wheat Chex, pretzels, mini marshmallows, and M&Ms.
-Melt white chocolate and pour over mixture. Stir until fully coated.
-Transfer mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet or dish and top with sprinkles, then refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
-Break up into bite-size pieces and serve
**There should be a final step of this recipe – “Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting”**

Reindeer1

I picked this recipe in part because I knew it was one my son could easily help with – he really enjoyed measuring the ingredients and stirring them up

Reindeer2

While he stirred the dry stuff, I melted the white chocolate and then mixed it all together into a gorgeous blob

Reindeer3

Adding the sprinkles was his favorite part – he kept asking “now?” with the sprinkles poised over the pan. He did a great job making it extra festive

reindeer4

The finished product was enjoyed by all!

This recipe was easy to put together and the end result was delicious – the only thing I changed was I added some Craisins I happened to have on hand, but you could really add just about anything to it – nuts, raisins, Reese’s Pieces instead of M&M’s, or you could change up the candy and sprinkle colors depending on the season/holiday you’re making it for

Well – it’s Thursday – and I seriously doubt this “Reindeer Bait” will make it to the weekend – much less Monday (Christmas) – so I hope the reindeer don’t mind if we leave them carrots and extra cookies instead!

The Day Of Cookies

14 Dec

As someone who loves to bake, I have always enjoyed baking for others, and when the holidays roll around, I like to make a BUNCH of cookies to share with my loved ones – what better way to let family and friends know how much you care than with goodies baked with love?

This year I decided that instead of trying to bake in the evenings and on weekends inbetween activities and such, I would just take a day off from work for baking – a day where my husband was at work and my son was at daycare, so that I could focus on the task at hand – COOKIES!

If you’re planning on doing some Christmas baking – here’s a few tips:
-Pick cookies that all cook at the same temperature
-Stick with the “tried and true” – this is NOT a time to try out new recipes – stick to what you know!
-Prep ahead of time if you can – get the supplies the week before, make the dough(s) the night before, get out all your bakeware before you start, etc

In following my own advice, I chose these 3 recipes (that all baked at 375 – which made my life much easier!)
White Chocolate Craisin Cookies – everyone loves these!
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies – I replaced half of the chocolate chips with Christmas M&M’s for a festive touch
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies – an easy (but delicious!) one I could throw together between batches of the other 2

XmasBaking1

I prepped the doughs the night before – two double batches of each (that’s a LOT OF DOUGH!) and I also unwrapped the peanut butter cups the night before, too

Xmasbaking2

Just a fraction of the delicious results

Xmasbaking3

All frozen and ready to pull out as needed for gifts, parties, and snacking of course!

Xmasbaking4

When you realize it’s only Tuesday…but then you remember Mom made you cookies! (as his shirt says, he’s just here for the cookies anyway!)

So – to recap:
-Set aside some time JUST for baking – take a day off like I did, send the kids (and husband!) to the grandparents, do what you need to do to get an empty house so you can focus on baking and get it all done at once with no interruptions!
-Pick recipes that can all bake at the same temperature
-Do as much prep ahead of time as you can – supply shopping, dough making etc
-Don’t use this as an experiment – stick with recipes you know and trust!

When it comes time to actually bake – crank up the Christmas music, slap on an apron – and HAVE FUN! Baking should feel like something you WANT to do – not a chore you HAVE to get done – for me, following the tips I outlined help ensure I have a good time – and that I am baking with LOVE!

Happy Baking!

Candy Cane Danish = Christmas Brunch Win!

13 Dec

Ah, Brunch. It’s really the most perfect meal ever created. Not only can you sleep in and still get to enjoy it, but it includes basically all the best foods ever – breakfast meats, eggs, carbs galore, sweets, fruit, and of course – booze and coffee generally play a part as well. I love brunch – eating it, hosting it, going out to it – it’s all the best. And team up a winner of a meal like brunch and the holidays, and you have something truly amazing – an excuse to eat copious amounts of amazing food and get tipsy while wearing ugly Christmas sweaters.

I took my brunch game to the next level last weekend with this Candy Cane Breakfast Pastry – cream cheese and cherries nestled inside crescent roll dough – it was delicious – plus the shape was perfect for getting into the festive holiday spirit!

Candy Cane Crescent Roll Breakfast Pastry
(Recipe Courtesy of 3 Yummy Tummies)

Ingredients
2 packages of refrigerated crescent rolls
1 8 oz. Cream Cheese; softened
1 egg
1/3 C. Sugar
1 Can Cherry Pie Filling
Glaze:
1/2 C. Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. Milk

Instructions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-On a cookie sheet, arrange crescent roll triangles pointing inward into the shape of a candy cane with edges overlapping. Lightly press triangles together to seal. I used exactly 1 1/2 packages of crescent rolls to make the candy cane shape.
-In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar, add egg; beat until smooth.
-Using a teaspoon, spoon cream cheese filling onto the larger part of each triangle; leaving around 1/2 on inch from the edges. You will have extra cheese left.
-Add teaspoons of cherry filling over the top of the cream cheese.
-Fold tops of triangles towards the base end of each triangle and press lightly to seal. Using the extra croissant roll dough, cut the triangle ends off of 2 rolls to fill in extra spaces at the top of the candy cane as necessary.
-Bake for around 15 minutes or until top of pastry is golden brown.
Allow to cool slightly before adding glaze.
Prepare Glaze:
-Beat together powdered sugar and milk until smooth. May add an additional 1/2 Tbsp. of milk if too thick.
-Using a teaspoon, drizzle glaze over crescent tops of candy cane.

CandyCane1

At this point I was unsure if it would fold together to actually resemble a candy cane…(the suspense was killing me!)

CandyCane2

Luckily – it did fold together nicely and actually look sort of like a candy cane!! Yay!

CandyCane3

Literally just realized right now that I forgot to even make much less use the glaze. Oh well. Still turned out pretty!

This was pretty easy to put together – I am glad I had some extra crescent rolls so that I could use them to keep the filling from leaking out as I folded it all into the candy cane shape – otherwise things would have gotten messy

Like I said, I forgot the glaze – and it was still delicious. It might have looked a bit cuter to have the glaze but taste wise I was really happy with how this turned out – festive, easy, and yummy – a win all around!

“The Best” Soft And Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies?

14 Nov

My son and I were over at a friend’s house and she offered us all some cookies. Of course, I said yes – as did my son (like mother, like son – obv). Honestly – I thought I had died and gone to heaven – that’s how good these cookies were. Just – huge, soft, STUFFED with chocolate chips – I was swooning with the first bite! I HAD to ask for the recipe – and then immediately replicate it at home. IMMEDIATELY – NO TIME TO WASTE:

The Best Soft And Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Recipe Courtesy of Averie Cooks)

INGREDIENTS:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
one 3.5-ounce packet instant vanilla pudding mix (not sugar-free and not ‘cook & serve’)
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
one-12 ounce bag (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Trader Joe’s)

DIRECTIONS:
1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes
2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute
3. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the chocolate chips, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds

PuddingCookies1

4. Using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form approximately 14 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly. Tip – Strategically place a few chocolate chips right on top of each mound of dough by taking chips from the underside and adding them on top.

Pudding cookies3
5. Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days. Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.
6. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 11 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center; don’t overbake. Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. I let them cool on the baking sheet and don’t use a rack.

Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Puddingcookies2

As usual – my adorable baking assistant was on hand to ensure everything ran smoothly in the kitchen. His main jobs include: flour-stirrer, and chocolate chip eater (He’s REALLY good at the chocolate chip eating part of baking)

I didn’t actually bake them until the next day – as I noted the importance in the recipe of refrigerating the dough – I did NOT want flat, spread out cookies. I wanted huge, thick, chewy masterpieces – which is EXACTLY what I got.

Puddingcookies4

Could they be any more gorgeous? Huge, soft, chewy, amazing. That plate of cookies and a glass of milk would be the perfect snack (or meal – hey, I don’t judge – you do you).

I am always weary of recipes that claim to be “The Best” or “The Most Delicious” – but this time the name is definitely TRUE – they ARE the best chewy chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. Is the secret the pudding? Or the pre-baking chilling of the dough? I don’t know – but what I DO know is all of it combines into an AMAZING COOKIE. Pretty darn glad I made a double batch of these. They will not last long around here, that’s for sure!

Pumpkin Cheesecake, Oreos, Brownies – What More Is There?

2 Nov

PBars4

Holy Crap – it’s NOVEMBER! – how did that HAPPEN? It seems like October FLEW by for me and my family – probably because we were REALLY BUSY – my son’s 3rd birthday, family pictures, Halloween activities, Trick or Treating, apple/pumpkin picking, crafts – gosh. I need a nap just thinking about it!

Just because October is over doesn’t mean that the PUMPKIN fun has to end though – I personally will enjoy pumpkin treats well into December (ok – if we are being honest I will enjoy them year round!) – and when I came across the recipe for these Slutty Pumpkin Bars I thought to myself “hmm – what a perfect post-Halloween treat!”…because that’s what we need after Halloween – more sweets. Oops – well – whatever. They still got made (and eaten!)

Slutty Pumpkin Bars (Recipe Courtesy of Delish)
Ingredients:
1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients called for on box
12 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2/3 c. pumpkin
2/3 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice
Pinch kosher salt
15 Oreo cookies, plus more for topping
Warm caramel, for drizzling

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 325°. Line an 8″-x-8″ baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil leaving a 2″ overhang. Pour brownie batter into prepared pan
-Top with a layer of Oreos and set aside
-Make cheesecake layer: in a large bowl using a hand or standing mixer, beat cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin spice, and salt until smooth. Pour over cookie mixture
-Top with crushed oreos and bake until the center is only slightly jiggly, 50 minutes
-Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 3 hours and up to overnight
-Remove cheesecake bars from baking dish and slice
-Drizzle with warm caramel and serve

PBars1

Various stages of batter preparation – Brownie, with Oreos, plus Cheesecake, plus MORE Oreos!

Pbars3

The Finished Product – I LOVE the layers!

So these were easy to put together – I chose to use the oreos that had the orange filling (much more festive that way I think!), and then baking took a bit longer in my oven – about an hour or so

I cut them into pretty SMALL pieces – as it’s a lot of thick, rich flavor packed into each bite – so you really don’t need a huge hunk of it (but I wouldn’t judge if you ate a huge hunk ha). The taste was great – not too pumpkin-y, and could distinctly taste the Oreo and Brownie parts, too

As for the name – it’s derived from the Original Slutty Brownie – which incorporates Oreos, cookie, and brownie into one dessert. I personally love the fall/halloween/pumpkin twist these bars take on the original – I would eat these for breakfast if I could! Oh wait – I can! Ok bye gotta go – going to grab some to go with my coffee!