Gingerbread Blossom Cookies

Gingerbread Blossom Cookies

Since Halloween is officially over, I usually just eat all of the candy leftover from trick or treaters like it’s no big deal. Heck, that’s why I’d get chocolate…always. However, with this diet thing going on, I felt like I could totally do the whole portion control thing. That lasted one night…when I caught myself eating 3 Reeses cups the next afternoon, I decided ALL of the candy had to go.

Even the pumpkin spice kisses in the freezer. :-(

So, I decided to make blossom cookies with them, but I didn’t want to do plain sugar cookies. I wanted to do something a little different and more festive. I know it’s not the holiday season yet (to the majority, that is…I’m so ready to decorate for Christmas…judge away). However, gingerbread is fall spice-ish, so I figured it would probably work. Um…yeah…this totally worked. TOTALLY. These cookies are a soft, chewy gingerbread and with the pumpkin spice kisses in the middle?? Y’all…I can’t even. These cookies had to get out of our house! Thankfully, my coworkers didn’t mind polishing these off. :-)

Now, I know these kisses are a Halloween candy, but you may luck out at your store. I saw them at my local Target a couple of days ago, and right now, the Halloween candy is SUPER cheap, so if you love these kisses, stock up! I really wish Hersheys would make this a year-round candy, but I guess it’s better for my thighs this way. :-P

Gingerbread Blossom Cookies
Source: cookie recipe from Taste of Home

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Additional sugar for rolling
  • Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a mixer, mix the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add in the egg and molasses.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix until everything is well-combined.
  3. Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out cookies and roll the dough into granulated sugar. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on a parchment or silicone mat lined cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 8-11 minutes, until puffy and lightly browned along the edge.
  4. Immediately after taking the cookies out, press a kiss candy into the center of each cookie. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely. Since these kisses are a softer chocolate, you may want to place them in the refrigerator for about 10-20 minutes, to allow the kiss candy to set before serving.

 

Golden Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

Golden Vanilla Cupcakes

I can’t believe that the weather is no longer in the 90s. I have been so used to leaving work, getting in my car and immediately rolling down the windows to escape the sauna. It’s so nice to wear long sleeve shirts, and burn spicy candles when the weather is actually cool. The highest the weather has been lately is the mid 80s. I’m so spoiled by this weather right now…I wish Louisiana was like this for more than a few weeks a year!! :-)

In fact, it was the most perfect night for trick or treating a couple of nights ago. We like to give out candy outside, because just one doorbell will make Millie go batty. It’s just not worth giving her the anxiety, so we dress her up (ha…she’s fine with it as long as it’s not a full sweater or something) and sit outside with the candy. The families in our neighborhood just love Millie, and she loves the attention (unless someone wore a mask…we found out this year that she’s scared of those).

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If you follow me on Instagram (username: niftyfoodie), you probably saw this last night. :-) The little hat eventually came off, since she kept trying to eat the string, but she was pretty much the cutest pumpkin in the neighborhood (in my HIGHLY unbiased opinion).

For our coworkers, I usually bake something festive for the day. These cupcakes were what I chose to make: a simple vanilla cake with chocolate buttercream. I had to make a double batch, so I wanted to keep things simple. I ended up throwing some sprinkles in the batter to give it a festive feel, and they were definitely well-received. :-) This cake leans towards the denser side, but the flavor was definitely there. This chocolate buttercream is pretty addictive, too and it couldn’t be simple to make. It comes together in minutes, which could be trouble…I had trouble resisting after having a spoonful, but I promise I did!

Golden Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream
Source: cupcakes from King Arthur Flour, buttercream from Savory Sweet Life

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs

Ingredients for the frosting:

  • 2 sticks  unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners  sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp. heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and prepare your cupcake tins by placing a lining in each well.
  2. In a large bowl, add the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt and then whisk everything together. To that, add the softened butter and beat on low speed in a mixer, until the mixture resembles sand.
  3. Mix the milk and vanilla in a small bowl and add that to the butter mixture. Mix everything together on low speed for 30 seconds, and then mix on medium speed for another 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl down.
  4. Put the mixer back on low speed and add one egg. Once the egg is added, beat on medium for 30 seconds. Repeat this with the second, third and fourth egg, scraping the bowl down after each addition.
  5. After the last egg is added, beat the mixture on medium for another 30 seconds.
  6. Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners (about 3/4 of the way full), and then bake the cupcakes for 22-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Once the cupcakes are done, place them on a cooling rack.
  8. While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare your buttercream by placing your 2 sticks of butter in the bowl of a mixer and beat the butter for about 2 minutes until fluffy and light.
  9. With the mixer on low, add in the confectioners sugar, as well as the cocoa powder and mix well. Add in the salt, extract and cream, and increase the speed to medium. Mix the frosting, scraping the bowl down a couple of times, until the frosting is light and fluffy.
  10. When the cupcakes are cool, frost with the buttercream (and add sprinkles, if you’d like). Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkin Nutella Bread

Pumpkin Nutella Bread

Counting calories has definitely changed things around the house. It was definitely strange to come home to bake this recipe, only to find out that I had almost 3/4 of a container of Nutella in the pantry. In the past, I used to seriously sneak spoonfuls of this stuff before bed, which isn’t really a bad thing, but the guilt of admitting to MyFitnessPal that I went over in calories because of Nutella kept me from grabbing for a spoon.

My love for Nutella started in high school French class. We had some sort of group project, where each group brought some sort of snack that the French enjoy. One of the stand-outs was definitely Nutella, which I had never tried (or even heard of) before. I remember going to work that afternoon, (at a grocery store) and searching our database to see if we sold Nutella. Sure enough, the store did. Whew! From then on, I was hooked!

However, now that I’m counting calories, I feel like I’m neglecting some of my old favorite snacks. :- I try to plan ahead with my meals and snacks. Sometimes, my calorie count is so close, that there’s no room for an impromptu snack. There are times where I think…”Heck, why not? Not like I’m going to gain ALL of this weight back from this snack”, but most of the time, I have to remind myself that while a certain snack is delicious, I don’t want to end up where I was 50 lbs. ago. If you’ve ever dieted, I’m sure you can relate.

Back to the recipe…when I saw this pumpkin bread with a Nutella swirl, I thought it would definitely be a fun twist to the classic pumpkin bread that I always enjoy in the fall season. :-) I ended up making this in mini loaves, as the recipe stated, and brought them to coworkers. I did try a slice (or two), and the Nutella definitely gave this bread a little extra indulgence. It was a fantastic combination, actually, and the swirls on the loaves look so pretty. If you love classic pumpkin bread, you should definitely give this a try.

Pumpkin Nutella Bread
Source: mildly adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 tbsp. Nutella (2 tablespoons per mini loaf)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare 4 mini loaf pans by spraying with baking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk the dry ingredients well.
  3. In another larger bowl, add the sugar, applesauce, water, pumpkin, eggs and vanilla extract. Mix/whisk the wet ingredients well, until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients, a little at a time, mixing until the ingredients are just combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly into the mini loaf pans. Then, in each pan, drop 2 tbsp. of nutella, and swirl the nutella into the batter using a butter knife.
  6. To avoid leaks in the oven, place the loaf pans onto a baking sheet and then place the sheet with the pans in the oven. Bake the loaves for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool the loaf pans on a wire racks for about 15 minutes, and then remove the loaves from the pans. Allow the loaves to cool completely before eating.

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Oreo Crispy Treats

Pumpkin Spice Oreo Crispy Bars

I have a bone to pick with Hershey’s. Why are your pumpkin spice kisses ONLY out for the fall??! I understand pumpkin is a fall thing, but OH MY GOSH y’all…pumpkin spice kisses are one of my FAVORITE candies out there. Starting in September, I start stalking Target for these things. Sadly, for some reason, my Target was WAY behind on stocking their Halloween shelves, and that made this pumpkin spice kiss fanatic slightly crazy. So crazy, in fact, that when I finally saw these on shelves a couple of weeks ago, I bought FOUR bags. I’m sure the cashier thought I was stocking up for PMS or something, because my basket was full of the healthier stuff and then 4 bags of kisses. Ha! Priorities, y’all.

I figured since I bought four bags of these things, I probably shouldn’t eat all of them. I mean, I really could, but it’s so much more fun to make things with candy! When I saw it was “National Rice Krispies Treat Day” a while back, I got a huge craving for one of these things. Then, I thought…heck, why not just throw some of these in with the cereal? I thought some chopped Halloween Oreos would be fun too, because that would make these bars a lot more festive. :-)

These treats are surprisingly really good. I had a few people tell me they were absolutely delicious, and they wanted to know what gave them the fall-ish flavors. Between the spices and the kisses, these little treats are just so darn good! I even found out someone in my office ate FIVE of them (for real)! I guess they were a winner, eh? :-)

Pumpkin Spice Oreo Crispy Treats
Source: adapted from Kellogg’s

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 30 pumpkin spice kisses, coarsely chopped
  • 15 Halloween Oreos, chopped in quarters

Directions:

  1. Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large pot, melt the butter and the marshmallows on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Once the marshmallows are melted, remove the pot from heat, and add in the cereal, chopped kisses, and chopped oreos.
  3. Using more of a folding motion, mix everything together until the mixture is combined. Immediately spoon the mixture into the baking pan, spreading until the treats are fairly even in the pan. Allow the treats to cool and set in the pan for at least half an hour before serving.

White Chocolate Brownies & A Giveaway

White Chocolate Brownies

I love living in the South. Sure, the heat index is enough to make you want to just sit in an ice bath all day, but the food?! Oh, the food MORE than makes up for it.

Around here….

…your cooking is judged based on how good your gumbo is
…we embrace stale bread for bread pudding
…we have a love (the drink)/hate (the storm) relationship with hurricanes
…we don’t mind getting our hands dirty to dig out tiny pieces of seafood over newspaper
…a biggie–you know the difference between creole and cajun food

I know a lot of people frown upon Louisiana since there are some stigmas about living here, but I really am blessed to say that this is my home. I just love the little things that make Louisiana home, and even if I don’t live here the rest of my life, I know that Louisiana will always be a part of me. Cheesy, but seriously true.

When I was contacted about reviewing a cookbook called “The Southern Foodie“, I just couldn’t resist. The book, written by food/drink/travel writer Chris Chamberlain, features recipes from favorite restaurants in the South and it’s organized by state. Of course, when I got the cookbook, I frantically flipped through the pages and bookmarked numerous recipes.

I was very happy to see Louisiana well-represented in the book, too. There are some great staples in there, like red beans and rice, pralines and bread pudding, to name a few. Besides the classics, I found that there are some fun, out of the box recipes, like barbequed oysters and sweet potato-andouille soup. This book is great for someone trying to get a feel for Southern food, and even for Southerners, it’s impressive how many different recipes the author has in here that I’ve never heard of.

One of the hardest things for me when I find a good cookbook is to choose a first recipe. I actually have quite a few that I want to try, but I was really in the mood to bake, so I decided to make these white chocolate brownies. I love that brownies bake up so quickly and you don’t have to fork out the mixer to make them. It’s sort of dangerous how easy brownies are to throw together and these were no exception. :-) This brownie is a white chocolate brownie base with white and bittersweet chocolate mixed in. Often times, I find white chocolate desserts to be a little too sweet, but I really think the bittersweet chocolate helped to balance things out a good bit. I ended up halving the recipe, since the original recipe makes two 13×9 inch pans worth of brownies (the halved recipe is below). I sent these to work with my husband, and found out that some people enjoyed 2-3 brownies on their own, so this recipe is definitely a winner. Based on this recipe, I can’t wait to give some others a try!

Now, you know I wouldn’t just dangle this cookbook in front of y’all without having a giveaway. :-) The publisher sent me extra books to giveaway to two lucky readers!

Cookbook Giveaway

[Read more…]

Levain Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This time last week, our living room was completely full. While I enjoy having family over to visit, it wasn’t because of a celebration. Rather, we were sitting in our living room, praying for our power to stay on,  and stressing about how terrible the wind/rain would be. Hurricane Isaac visited slammed southeast Louisiana, almost making landfall on the exact day that Hurricane Katrina hit. All of these feelings of anxiety just rushed back, and I hoped and prayed that our levee system would hold for my family’s sake.

When the storm was at its peak, I noticed that my family and I were definitely stress eating. I know stress eating isn’t healthy but sometimes, something like a freshly baked cookie just hits the spot and helps a little to make things more comforting. Of course, sitting through a hurricane where the winds are howling past your windows, rain is pouring horizontally, and the dogs are freaking out just can’t ever be comfortable, but something about snacks…I can’t explain it, but it just helped to get our minds off of things. These cookies were thick, chewy and just darn delicious.

Now, as for me and my (immediate) family, we were very lucky. My parents’ fence fell down, and that was the worst of it for them. However, my heart is heavy for those whose homes were flooded or otherwise destroyed from this storm. When I go to Facebook lately, quite a few of the statuses from my friends aren’t about football or politics. They’re about finding a place to do laundry, because they have no power; finding a place to take a shower after spending their whole day hauling damaged items out of their home; hoping they can find water and food for their families; hoping that FEMA can assist them in some way; scared about what the rest of the hurricane season has in store for us.

I’m tearing up as I write this post, because I’m sitting on my couch, with an intact roof over my head, knowing that all of my family members are safe and sound. I’m thankful, and I realize how truly blessed we are. We are truly blessed. If you have some prayers or good thoughts to spare, there are thousands of people out here who could use them as they rebuild. I don’t know of many local charities right now who are accepting donations for disaster relief (feel free to leave a comment if I’m wrong, though), but I do know that the Red Cross is out here. (Just to note, I’m not writing this post to ask for money, but if you wanted to donate, here’s the link for Red Cross.)

Levain Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter (very cold, shredded with your food processor or cut into small cubes)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the cold butter and sugars until just combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
  2. In another bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add this to the wet mixture and mix until everything is just barely mixed together. Add the chocolate chips and hand mix in until the chocolate chips are well mixed into the dough.
  3. Divide the dough into 12 balls, about 4 oz. each. (Size-wise, a little larger than a golf ball. You can use a jumbo cookie scoop to get a slightly rounded scoop as well.) Place the balls of dough in the fridge for about 20 minutes to chill.
  4. Once chilled, place 6 balls per ungreased cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 18-22 minutes, until browned along the edges and set in the center.
  5. Allow the cookies to fully cool on the pans before transferring to an airtight container.

 

 

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

I’ve been making a ton of frozen treats lately. With the crazy heat outside, I feel like the best way to “cook” is to not use any heat at all. Sure, some ice creams use eggs, but since you have to cook the ice cream mixture in that case, I’ve been trying quite a few quick (egg free) ice cream recipes.

One of my favorite ice cream treats is a Sonic Blast with Reese’s cup pieces mixed in. Reese’s cups for me is just one of those candies I can’t say no to. I can only buy them if I have a recipe in mind, otherwise I tend to black out and find myself surrounded by Reese’s wrappers. Those things are my weakness.

In a brief, insane (yep, insane…I’m trying to lose some weight y’all!) moment, I thought to look up recipes for Reese’s ice cream, and I came across this one. Two great things…it comes together quickly and it’s egg free (no cooking!). Taste wise? Let’s just say that I’m thankful that I bought the fancy little ice cream cup that I have, because 1/2 cup of ice cream fits in there and in my mind, it feels like I’m eating a full bowl. I really could have eaten the whole container in one serving, I imagine.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Source: barely adapted from Recipe Girl (originally found in the Cuisinart Ice Cream book)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped peanut butter cups

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the peanut butter and sugar and beat the mixture for 2 minutes until it’s very smooth. Add the milk to the bowl and mix everything on low for another 2 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat the mixture on low for another 2 minutes, until the ice cream base is well-combined. Chill the mixture in the fridge for an hour.
  2. Take the ice cream mixture out of the fridge, give it a quick stir to make sure nothing settled and add the ice cream to your ice cream machine, and churn the mixture according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Add the chopped peanut butter cups, and stir them into the churned ice cream. At this point, the ice cream will be like a soft serve ice cream. If you’d prefer a more scoopable consistency, place the ice cream in a freezer safe container and freeze the ice cream for a few hours. Enjoy!

 

Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Ahh cookie dough. Whenever I see cookie dough, I imagine myself sitting on the sofa with a roll of Pillsbury dough and a spoon. Don’t judge me. I know half of you are nodding your head and smiling — y’all know how awesome it is! I know, I know…salmonella risk. However, I’ve been eating cookie dough for years and I’m still kicking. :-P

Because I’m paranoid, I just want to disclose that I’m not encouraging ANYONE to eat cookie dough containing raw eggs, like Pillsbury dough…I don’t want to get sued over this post darnit!

Anyway, since I have been seeing cookie dough all over the blogs lately, I just had to make something involving it. The craving was just too strong. I had some heavy cream in the fridge, and I figured that it would be the perfect excuse to make some ice cream. I had this recipe from Annie’s blog starred for quite a while, because it wasn’t your ordinary cookie dough ice cream. No…it was DOUBLE chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Oh man, y’all. Not only are there chunks of cookie dough in there, but the ice cream is also cookie dough flavored.

Once I finished making it, it was SO hard to not eat the whole batch right out of the ice cream maker bowl. Seriously. In fact, that little ice cream bowl you see in the picture is my secret weapon while I’m calorie counting. It’s dainty, makes me feel all sorts of fancy, and it fits two scoops of ice cream on it. For this gal who could put away a pint of ice cream, this is awesome. Portion control y’all. I’m learning.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Source: Annie’s Eats (ice cream from Joy the Baker and cookie dough from The Perfect Scoop)

Ingredients:

For the cookie dough:

  • 5 tbsp. salted butter, melted (or unsalted butter plus ¼ tsp. salt)
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

For the ice cream:

  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. To make the cookie dough chunks, stir the melted butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until everything is smooth. Add in the flour, then the vanilla and mini chocolate chips. The dough will be very soft before chilling. Form the dough into a disk over some plastic wrap, wrap the dough well in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm.
  2. While the dough is chilling, make the ice cream by first melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir often over the heat (to avoid burning), until the butter is a deep golden brown color. Whisk in the heavy cream and heat the mixture until simmering. While this is going on, in a medium bowl, vigorously stir the egg yolks and the brown sugar are pale and fluffy.
  3. Once the cream mixture is warm, add a small amount of the cream mixture to the bowl with the egg yolk mixture, whisking well. Once that’s done, slowly whisk in the rest of the cream mixture. Then, add in the salt and return the egg/sugar/cream mixture to the saucepan and heat the mixture until slightly thickened, (the temperature should read 170-175 degrees on a thermometer). Immediately take the saucepan off of the heat and pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  4. Stir the vanilla extract and milk into the egg/sugar/cream mixture until well-mixed. Then cover the bowl and chill the ice cream mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  5. Once the ice cream mixture is chilled, churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker (according to the instructions on your specific ice cream maker). While the ice cream is churning, chop the cookie dough into small chunks. Once the ice cream is done churning, transfer to a freezer safe bowl or container and stir in the chocolate chips and cookie dough chunks. Freeze the ice cream in the freezer for a few hours (or until firm) before serving.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m not usually a fan of shopping. My goal is to get what I need, and get out as quickly as possible. I’ve been like this since I was a kid. You can ask my Mom. A trip to the mall was agonizing. I remember most Sundays after church, there was a decision to make. Shop with Mom or shop with Dad. I usually opted for shopping with Dad. It’s not that I have issues with my Mom. Heck, I feel super blessed to have an amazing relationship with my Mom. However, my method of operation was to go on the shopping trip that would be the shortest, and usually, that was with Dad (with the exception of his trips to the sportsmen stores).

Now, as an adult, shopping trips are still quick for me. It’s very rare that I linger around a store for a while. Take the grocery store, for instance. I can usually do the weekly shopping for H and I within 20 minutes (unless the lines are crazy). This usually means that I have to stick to my list. The only time I stray away from the list is when I’m starving, which I try to avoid, but well, a few weeks ago, I went to the store starving. The chocolate chips were definitely calling me….and they were on sale. So yeah, some chocolate chips went home with me that day. :-)

I decided that the best way to handle this situation was to make cookies, of course. :-P I’ve had this recipe pinned for quite a while, since they went viral on Pinterest, so I wanted to see what the fuss was about. The cool thing about these cookies is that cornstarch is involved. I was really intrigued to see how cornstarch affected the taste and texture of the cookies, so I really wanted to finally give these a try.

These end up making mini cookies (with a tbsp sized scoop), so they bake up fairly quickly. I found that these were a nice, fluffy texture, and they were very chewy as well. I prefer a more butterscotch-y flavor cookie, like these cookies, but I will say these cookies were still really good. This recipe made a few dozen mini cookies too, so this recipe was perfect to make just one batch to the office so everyone could give them a try.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Kelsey’s Apple a Day, originally from Anna Olson

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugars together with the paddle attachment for a couple of minutes, until the mixture if fluffy and light. Scrap the sides of the bowl with a spatula, add the egg and vanilla and mix.
  2. Whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl and add to the wet mixture, mixing until everything is just combined. Using a spatula, stir in the chocolate chunks.
  3. Using a small tablespoon sized scoop, drop dough onto a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are barely golden brown around the edges. You don’t want to cook these cookies for longer than 10 minutes (that will overdo it), and just as a note, the tops of the cookies will not brown during baking.
  4. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for five minutes. Then, move the cookies to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.

 

 

 

Thin Mint Blondies

Thin Mint Blondies

Somehow these cookies have survived in our house for well over a month. I guess I was afraid to open these or something. I mean, these cookies only come once a year, and I’m known for eating these a sleeve at a time. I can behave when it comes to Tagalongs, but Thin Mints? Oh no. I had to ignore them…had to.

Then, this past Saturday, I opened my freezer and stared the Thin Mints down. Then, in my cheat day rage, I ran to Pinterest and looked over recipes using thin mints and stumbled upon these blondies. Of course I had to find a way to make thin mints less diet friendly. :-P

The wonderful thing about bars or brownies is they whip up so quickly. It’s kind of dangerous, but it’s also a good thing when you want to bake something for your coworkers after getting home from work, but also before you have to start cooking supper. :-) I had a small taste of these when I was cutting into them, and whoa. If I wasn’t counting my darn calories, I’d save half of the pan for myself.

If you happen to be one of the few with a box of thin mints stashed away, definitely give these a shot. You, or whomever you give these amazing bars to, will thank you a million times over. Just to note: The original recipe calls for Andes chips, but since I couldn’t find these in the store, I made them with a mixture of milk and white chocolate chips.

Thin Mint Blondies
Source: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 box Thin Mint Cookies, cut or broken in half
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×13 inch pan and set it aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Then, add in the white and brown sugars and whip the butter and sugars together for 2-3 minutes until everything looks light. Scrape the bowl down
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time, as well as the vanilla and beat the mixture on low speed for about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl after adding each egg.
  4. Mix the salt and flour with a whisk separately in a small bowl. Then, add your flour mixture to your wet mixture with the mixture on low. Mix everything together until everything is just fully incorporated.
  5. Turn off the mixer, and using a spatula, fold in the milk chocolate chips as well as half of the box (one sleeve) of the Thin Mints.
  6. Spread the batter into your 9×13 pan. If it’s too thick to use your spatula, dip your fingers in warm water and spread the batter using your fingers.
  7. Bake the blondies for 20-25 minutes, until they are set in the middle.
  8. Once you take them out of the oven, working quickly, sprinkle the white chocolate chips evenly on top of the blondies. Allow them to sit for a minute, and then gently press the other half of the Thin Mints into the top of the blondies.
  9. Allow the pan to fully cool on a rack before serving.