Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve read a lot of great reviews about this recipe for Chocolate Chip cookies. The only reason I made these (since they are SO not diet friendly) is because our over-generous neighbors were landscaping at the same time as my fiance and I. They gave us ALL of their leftover top soil (which was more than what we needed.we didn’t even have to open any bags that we purchased at Lowe’s). So, my fiance suggested that I bake them something. Any excuse to bake works for me! AND it felt good not to use applesauce haha!

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Brown Eyed Baker from Baking Illustrated

Makes about 18 large cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
  • 1 cup packed (7 ounces) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate chips)

Directions:

  1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Either by hand or with an electric mixer, mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips to taste.
  4.  Roll a scant 1/4 cup of the dough into a ball. Hold the dough ball with the fingertips of both hands and pull into 2 equal halves. Rotate the halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, join the halves together at their base, again forming a single ball, being careful not to smooth the dough’s uneven surface. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart.
  5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets with a side metal spatula.

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It took a lot of willpower to avoid eating this dough as is.

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Here’s my best effort to make sure the jagged edges stayed jagged. AND, here’s the Silpat debut!! The Silpat totally rocks way more than regular silicone baking sheets I’ve used before!!

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Here they are out of the oven. Yum!

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Finally, these babies are cooled and ready for a taste tester! Sorry, couldn’t help it!!

I will admit, these are some crazy procedures on this recipe (jagged edges on top, what?). However, follow them to the T! The cookies will come out a little gooey, but if you leave them on the baking sheet, they will finish baking into a perfect cookie! The jagged edges do bake into a neat looking top as well.

By the way, since this recipe used a yolk, there was a white left. So, I got bored, and I tried to make a meringue while a batch was baking up. I’ve never done it before! Super cool!! :)

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Oven “fried” Chimichangas

My fiance and I had some leftover rotisserie chicken from Target to use up. So, I searched online for ideas and found this great recipe for chimichangas on Recipezaar. Even better, it’s healthy!

Oven Fried Chimichangas
Source: Recipezaar

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup picante sauce or your favorite salsa
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped with some tops (about 1/4 cup)
  • 6 (8 inch)  flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons margarine, melted
  • shredded cheddar cheese, for serving
  • chopped green onion, for serving
  • picante sauce, for serving

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Directions:

  1. Mix chicken, picante sauce or salsa, cumin, oregano, cheese and onions.
  2. Place about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla.
  3. Fold opposite sides over filling.
  4. Roll up from bottom and place seam-side down on a baking sheet.
  5. Brush with melted margarine.
  6. Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes or until golden.
  7. Garnish with additional cheese and green onion and serve salsa on the side.

These came out pretty good. I would add more cheese for next time, but I think this is a definite keeper in the recipe file for us!

POINTS*: TBA

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WC Fall Exchange

So, every 1-2 months, there is a gift exchange between members of the “What’s Cooking” board on the Nest. I always have fun compiling the package, as well as getting the surprise package. This time was no exception!

Carrie of Carrie’s Sweet Life sent me a Silpat and spoonula. I used those this weekend to do some baking, which I’ll post about in the near future. Let’s just say these are both AWESOME additions to my kitchen!! Thanks so much, Carrie!!!! Can’t wait to use these more in the kitchen!!!

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Elephant Cookies!

My fiance’s nephew just turned 3 years old, and for his birthday, I volunteered to make cookie favors. His favorite animal (of the moment) is an elephant, so I went on the search for an elephant cookie cutter. I found a great set called “Noah’s Ark” at Macy’s that had an elephant. Then, I used the standard Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix (remember I’m still on the search for that PERFECT cookie recipe, so in the meantime, I use my trusty mix) and went to town!

This is the first time I worked with flood icing, so I think I did pretty well considering! I’m now ready to make fun Christmas cookies using my experience with the icing!

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As you can see, my work is nowhere near perfect, but the kids loved them!

Eggnog Cookies and a couple of recipe revisits!

For my last day at my old job, my coworkers asked me to bring in some goodies for them. I decided to make Cranberry White Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti (scroll down a bit for the recipe), Eggnog Cookies and Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies.

The treats went over really well!

Here’s the recipe for eggnog cookies. These left for a very subtle spice taste, so if you want more eggnog, add more. Many people on Allrecipes adapted the recipe that way.

Eggnog Cookies
Source: Allrecipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Cream sugar and butter until light. Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks; beat at medium speed with mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake 20 to 23 minutes until bottoms turn light brown.

Check out the spread!!

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Cranberry White Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

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Eggnog Cookies

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Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies

 

Dixie-booscotti!

Ok, I love my dog, Dixie. (Who doesn’t love their dog?) She’s such a little trooper dog. She’s a hunting dog for my dad, and she is 8 years old. Even at 8, she is very fit, but she gets SO tired. It’s cute to see her knocked out all day, twitching (chasing ducks in her dreams).

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Here she is falling asleep! :)

Anyway, I decided to make her (not so) little self a happy dog. I made her Rachael Ray’s “Isabooscotti”.

I didn’t drizzle carob, because I couldn’t get it to melt well, and didn’t want to add crisco at the chance of making her sick. So, it’s plain biscotti. :)

Isabooscotti
Source: Rachael Ray

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 pinches ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter (I used fresh ground peanut butter from Whole Foods. I spoil her :) )
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup carob chips

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Place the peanut butter in a medium bowl and microwave at high power to soften, 5-10 seconds. Whisk in the milk, then stir the mixture into the dry ingredients.
  3. Shape the dough into a long, flattened log and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes; remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Slice the log crosswise on an angle into 1-inch-thick pieces. Set the slices on their sides (they should look like biscotti) and bake until crisp, 10-12 minutes more. Transfer to a rack to cool.
  4. Melt the carob in a microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. Thin the melted carob with 1 tablespoon water, if needed. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted carob over the biscuits. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

 

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Not the most appetizing looking. I cut these in half since I didn’t want to give her too much treat-age at once!

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Ok, I had to use flash here. It was dusk, and this makes her look like ghost dog! But let’s just say these treats were very well received. :)

Pumpkin (White) Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these pumpkin cookies last week, since I was on a serious pumpkin kick, as you can tell from previous entries. These were a little too sweet with the white chocolate chips, in my opinion. So, next time, I’ll omit them and let the pumpkin shine!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Allrecipes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I did 1/2 cup applesauce, of course!)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used white chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional and omitted)

Directions:

  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

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Pumpkin Bread

After yesterday’s pumpkin cheesecake brownies, I had to use up a good bit of the leftover pumpkin. So, I searched blogs until I found Katie’s adaptation for a classic pumpkin bread that would use up all the rest of that yummy pumpkin before it went bad in the fridge!

Of course, I subbed applesauce for butter here. It was still very good though! :) Thanks Katie!
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Classic Pumpkin Bread
Source: Good Things Catered adapted from Joy of Cooking

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 6 Tbsp butter, at room temp (I used applesauce instead)
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Have all ingredients at room temp and prepare 9×5 loaf pan.
  3. Whisk together flour, soda, powder, salt and spices thoroughly.
  4. In another bowl combine milk and vanilla.
  5. In large bowl of mixer beat butter until creamy (about 30 sec).
  6. Gradually add sugars and beat on high speed until lightened in texture (3-4 min).
  7. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  8. Add pumpkin puree on low speed until just blended.
  9. Add flour mixture in 3 parts alternating with the milk mixture in 2 parts beating on low or stirring with spatula until just combined. (Don’t overmix here! Really just stir until just combined. Sorry, I watch too much Alton Brown….)
  10. Scrape batter into pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (It took me about 75 minutes)

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    Yum! I love seeing the little spice specks in there!
  • Ok, drumroll for the POINTS* value (with my applesauce change in there)….

    Serves: 12
    POINTS*: 3

    YAY! So, POINTSwise, this doesn’t make for a bad breakfast at all!! :) Enjoy!

    Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies

    So, yesterday I realized that I wanted to bake with more pumpkin. The Fall is only here another month and a half, so I need to enjoy pumpkin while it feels right! I saw on Cara’s Cravings a picture of these beautiful swirly pumpkin cheesecake brownies and knew I just had to try it. Thanks for the recipe, Cara!

    As far as for the diet, I didn’t really skinny it up that much (not that it really needed it as you will see in the POINTS* value), because it was election night and heck, I knew my family needed some fun food to enjoy the night with! I did make some changes on here, though.

    Pumpkin Spice Cheescake Brownies
    Adapted from: Cara’s Cravings

    Ingredients:

    Brownie Batter

    • 3/4 cup butter, melted (used 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup applesauce)
    • 1 cup sugar]
    • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
      (added 1/4 oz. semisweet baking chocolate)
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp cinnamon

    Cheesecake Batter

    • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 1 egg
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 2 tbsp flour
    • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
    • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp each ground ginger and ground cloves (I used 1/2 tsp nutmeg instead)

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8″ square metal baking pan.
    2. Beat together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla, then beat in eggs one at a time. Combine dry ingredients and then gradually stir into butter mixture with a wooden spoon. In separate bowl, beat together cheesecake batter ingredients.
    3. Spread about 2/3 of chocolate batter into prepared pan, and spoon cheesecake batter over. Dollop remaining brownie batter over cheesecake batter. Swirl the batters together by running a butter knife back and forth through the pan.
    4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until center is set. Cool completely on wire rack and chill before cutting and serving.

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    Don’t they just look great? Ok, I won’t keep you waiting. Here’s the POINTS* value.

    Serves: 20 (I made them small because they are very flavorful brownies and you don’t need much to give the sweet tooth what it wants!)
    POINTS*: 4

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    Pumpkin Pie

    With the time change, I was anxiously awaiting Desperate Housewives to come on at 8. However, it was 5:30 and dark! I realized I needed to make the time zoom a little faster, so I decided to make a pumpkin pie.

    Not just any pumpkin pie, a Weight Watchers friendly pumpkin pie! I found this great recipe in Cooking Light, believe it or not. I’m being completely serious when I say I cannot tell the difference between normal pumpkin pie and this pumpkin pie!

    Pumpkin Pie
    Source: Cooking Light

    Ingredients:

    Filling:

    • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated low-fat milk
    • 2 large egg whites
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin

    Crust:

    • 1/2 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury) (I used premade frozen crust)
    • Cooking spray

    Topping: (I omitted this topping and subbed some Cool Whip Fat Free)

    • 1/4 cup whipping cream
    • 1 tablespoon amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur)
    • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar

    Directions:

    1. Position oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 425°.
    2. To prepare filling, combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pumpkin, and stir with a whisk until smooth.
    3. To prepare crust, roll dough into an 11-inch circle; fit into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under and flute.
    4. Pour pumpkin mixture into the crust. Place pie plate on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet on lowest oven rack. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° (do not remove pie from oven); bake an additional 50 minutes or until almost set. Cool completely on wire rack.

    To prepare topping, beat cream with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Add the amaretto and powdered sugar, and beat until blended. Serve with pie.

    Serves 12.

    POINTS*: 4.5/slice (with 1 tbsp. whipped topping included)

    Seriously, try this recipe for the holiday season. You will not be disappointed! :) This is now going to be a favorite I’m bringing to every holiday I’m asked to bring a dish for!