Archive | August, 2013

Chocolate Cookies With A (Cayenne!) Kick!

26 Aug

I just want to go on record as saying I think that the cookie may in fact be the best baked good ever invented. I mean, it’s handheld, portable, they freeze well, go great with milk, and they can be made into like 765,453 different varieties – so what’s not to love, right?

One of my BFF’s is pretty into baking too, and when I first heard about these Double Chocolate Cayenne Cookies, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Cayenne powder? In cookies? Nah, that can’t be good, right?

Oh, how WRONG I was! These are simply amazing – you get the chocolate cookie and chocolate chip flavor right away, and after a few seconds, you get this slight kick of heat from the cayenne powder. It’s not “spicy” or overpowering at all, it’s just this amazing extra layer of flavor that really adds to the overall taste and takes these bad boys to the next level!

Cayenne Chocolate Cookies
Ingredients
o 1 cup butter
o 1 cup sugar
o 1 cup brown sugar
o 2 eggs
o 2 cups flour
o 1 cup cocoa powder
o 1 teaspoon baking soda
o 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
o 1/2 teaspoon salt
o 1 cup chocolate chips
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Cream butter and both sugars until fluffy.
3. Add eggs and blend well.
4. Add cayenne, cocoa, baking soda and salt and blend very well. It’s important to blend this stage completely so that heat is evenly distributed.
5. Add flour and blend.
6. Fold in chips.
7. Refrigerate for one hour.
8. Drop teaspoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet.
9. Bake 10-12 minutes
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

CayenneCookie

What’s great about these is not only are they easy to make, but you likely have all of the ingredients on hand already, so they are convenient too!
If you’re a cookie lover like me, then I highly suggest you try these out. If you like the idea of chocolate and chocolate but not the cayenne, then you can give my Double Chocolate Cookies a try instead!

Triple Peanut Butter = Triple the YUM

11 Aug

I am grateful for the slightly cooler weather upstate NY has been experiencing over the past week – it has inspired me to get in the kitchen and do some baking! Getting ready for fall with these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies was fun, and it made me want to bake some more…hmm…but what to make? Maybe I should try something new…

I am ALWAYS on the lookout for new recipes, and this one for Triple Peanut Butter Monster Cookie Bars from Averie Cooks (one of my fave baking blogs!) immediately caught my eye – my BFF from high school LOVES Peanut Butter – so much so that she eats it with any and every dessert. Hopefully, the TRIPLE peanut butter in these bars will be enough to satisfy her PB cravings!

DSC_0306

My best friend (and Maid Of Honor!) Gina and I share a love of girly movies, bright nail polish, chocolate, baked goods, late night shopping trips, and, of course – PEANUT BUTTER!

Triple Peanut Butter Monster Cookie Bars
Yield: one 8×8 pan, 9 to 12 generous squares
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients:
-1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
-1 large egg
-1 cup light brown sugar, packed
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-heaping 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 cup Peanut Butter M&Ms (or your favorite variety)
-3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
-1/2 cup Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips
-1/3 cup Heath Bar Toffee Bits

PB Bars Ingredients
Don’t these ingredients look amazing? Peanut Butter, butter, sugar, and tons of CANDY – can’t WAIT to throw these together!

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
2. In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
3. Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
4. Add the peanut butter and whisk or stir until smooth and incorporated.
5. Add the flour and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
6. Add all remaining add-ins and fold to incorporate.
7. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. I like to strategically place a few M&Ms on the top of the batter for a nice visual effect.
8. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until top is set. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

This recipe is all about using up what’s in your pantry – if you have butterscotch chips, or chocolate chunks, or peanuts – feel free to toss them in there! I personally followed the recipe as written, but added dark chocolate peanut M&M’s instead of the peanut butter ones – I wanted to add a bit of “crunch” to the bars with the peanuts

PB Bars Batter

I am pretty sure there is more candy here than actual cookie batter (which is no problem in my book!)

PB Bars Baked

Here is the finished product – doesn’t it look great? Smells even better…

PB Bars Close Up

Triple Peanut Butter = triple the drool, triple the tastiness, triple the YUM!

The bars turned out great – dense, gooey, and tons of different tastes going on – you get the crunch from the peanuts, a hit of chocolate from the chips, and an occasional burst of peanut butter from the Reese’s chips. There was a slight PB flavor to the bars, but it was not overpowering, which I appreciated

I can’t wait to share these with my BFF…something tells me there won’t be any leftovers for my husband (sorry babe!)

Embarrassing Confession (+Pumpkin +Chocolate)

9 Aug

 

I LOVE FALL – this is not a new love, and I have obsessed over the autumn season for a LONG time (maybe it has something to do with all the amazing things you can do with APPLES?). Love everything about it – the foods, the colors, the weather, the décor, the activities, the holidays – nothing beats it in my book. That being said – it’s now time for me to make my embarrassing confession- ready? I HATE SUMMER. There. I said it. I hate the heat, the sun beating down on me, the bugs, the humidity, grilled foods are not my first choice, and I am not too much of an “outdoor girl”, so getting to spend summer days outside does not appeal to me. At all. When I admit this to people – most of them are shocked and appalled, as the majority of people love summer. Sad (and slightly ashamed) to admit – I am just NOT one of them

So when people complain about the back to school ads and fall decorations and Halloween candy coming out earlier and earlier every year, I listen and nod along with them – but am secretly thrilled with the ever early arrival of fall (I got my first email for a “back to school sale” a few weeks ago and screamed out loud – that’s how exciting fall is to me!). I decided that since it was back to school time, then its fall recipe time too – and then I came across these Salted Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies on Picky Palate, I knew they would be the recipe to usher in the start of (my) fall season!
Salted Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Ingredients
• 1 stick/8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
• 2 tablespoons molasses
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal Flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• one 10 ounce bag chocolate chunks (2 cups)
• A few pinches Fleur de sel salt or sea salt for sprinkling on top of cookies
IMG_4741
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place butter and sugars into stand mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add molasses, pumpkin, egg and vanilla, beating until well combined. Add flour, salt and baking soda, mixing to combine then add in chocolate chunks. Using a scoop/tablespoon, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet. Flatten cookies with hands then sprinkle lightly with salt if desired.
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until baked through
Makes about 15-20  2 inch cookies

IMG_4744

Me and my sous chef Walter – his main job function is cleanup should any debris accidentally litter the floor

IMG_4746

Pressed and salted cookies all ready for the oven!

IMG_4750
…Aren’t they pretty? Look at that pumpkin color, and that salt!

The only things I did differently from the written recipe were that I used all brown sugar (because I was out of white), and I also sprayed nonstick cooking spray on my fingers to flatten the cookies so the dough wouldn’t stick to my hand

IMG_4751

The end result? A cake-y, chocolate, delicious cookie! You could definitely taste the salt and chocolate, and the pumpkin makes it super moist, but unfortunately, the pumpkin taste gets lost in the shuffle, it’s VERY subtle, and that saddens me, as I would prefer as much pumpkin flavor as possible! But my husband loved that it was not as pumpkin-y, so to each their own I suppose

I will make them again for sure – what a fun way to take a chocolate chip cookie and put a salty, autumn-y twist on it!