Archive | November, 2017

“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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

2 Nov

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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

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

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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!