Halloween Cookies

So, my mojo is gone.

I’m still cooking and baking, I just can’t get the writing/photography going. (I think because I truly am not a professional photographer and am never satisfied with the pictures I take.)

Anyhow, I thought I would quickly share a couple Halloween cookie ideas I made with my kids that they LOVED. And we all had a great time doing them. I am just going to post the link to the cookies since I didn’t really alter the recipes at all.

Here’s the first – Gooey Monster Cookies

And our version:

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And the other: Chocolate Peanut Butter Spider Cookies

Here’s our version (with the small substitution of Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups instead of chocolate truffle balls.)

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Can I just say that candy eyeballs are super fun?!

Happy Halloween to you all!

Coffee Sugar Cookies

Do you ever see a recipe on your social media feed that is just undeniable?

Not only does it sound tasty, but it looks beautiful and you just know you can recreate it.

Yeah, that did not happen this week.

I saw an amazing recipe from I am Baker a couple weeks ago, pinned it, and waited until I could find a quiet, non-kiddo time to make it.  (Dreaming of gorgeous off-white round cookies, with perfect little sprinkles of black coffee throughout.)

You’ll have to scroll to the end to see what happened.  I bet you can guess.

The Recipe:

Coffee Sugar Cookies, adapted very slightly from I am Baker (mostly because it didn’t turn out exactly right)

1 c butter, softened

1 1/4 c sugar

2 eggs

2 T instant coffee

1 t vanilla

2 c flour

1/2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. In a small bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, and coffee until fully incorporated. In separate bowl add together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add your egg mixture to the butter mixture until well combined. Slowly add flour mixture until fully combined, do not over beat.

Chill this dough for at least one hour, preferably overnight.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough into tablespoon sized balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Allow cookies to cool completely.

The Results:

Let’s just start out by sharing the picture…

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Sad little misshapen cookies

Hmmm, I’m thinking something went wrong. (You should click on the link to I am Baker above to see what they actually should look like.)

I’m not sure if it was the use of instant coffee vs fresh-ground or what, but these did not look like the cookies of my dreams. Plus, my dough ended up really sticky – so I couldn’t roll it out as suggested or use a circle cookie cutter to make a perfect shape. Ooops.

But, but, but

In the good news column, they still tasted like I dreamed!

They were crisp and chewy and very much a grown up coffee-flavored treat (no kids allowed!).

So, my suggestion – head back to the original recipe…and let me know if your’s turn out better.

 

 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

I’ll give you one good guess on whether or not this recipe was chosen by me or the kids.

Yep, we’re back to kid-friendly cooking.  And really, I don’t mind.  It’s generally really fun and this time, both boys got involved.

(Which didn’t make it easier… but they were both so proud of the finished product.)

The lady hung out snacking in her chair while I divided the boys into dry vs. wet ingredients.  We only had one major whisk of flour across the counter and one too fast KitchenAid blast of ingredients.  

I call that a win.

The Recipe:

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies, adapted from Oscar’s Gooey, Chewy PBJ Cookies

3/4 c flour

1/2 t salt

1/2 t baking soda

1/4 t baking powder

1 c oats

1/4 c butter, softened

1/2 c creamy peanut butter

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 c oil

1 t vanilla

1/2 c jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment.

In medium bowl whisk all dry ingredients. 

In mixer, 

Pregnancy Craving #1: Chocolate {Deep Dark Chocolate/Toffee/Espresso/Brownie Cookies}

Okay, I’m starting a new series here on the blog… devoted entirely to my crazy pregnancy cravings.

So be aware that most of these will probably have absolutely no nutritious value whatsoever.

But man, will they taste good!

And for now, I’m really okay with that.

I had to start with, of course, chocolate.  (I know, big surprise… but seriously, I cr-ave it; breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And dessert.  And snack.  And in the middle of the night when I’m awake with darn insomnia.)

I digress.

Anyways, this was my attempt to fulfill my need for something chocolate plus.

The Recipe:

Deep Dark Chocolate Toffee Espresso Brownie Cookies, adapted from Just a Taste

3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 c bittersweet or dark chocolate chips

8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced

3 large eggs

1 c plus 3 T sugar

1 T instant coffee granules

3/4 c all-purpose flour

1/3 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

1 c toffee pieces

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a double boiler (a small pan set within a larger pan of simmering water), combine the unsweetened chocolate, 1 c of chocolate chips, and butter, stirring until melted.  Remove the smaller pan containing the chocolate from the double boiler and set it aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs, sugar and instant coffee granules on high-speed until very thick and mixture forms a ribbon when whisk is lifted, about 3 minutes.

Slowly add the chocolate mixture to the bowl, whisking just until combined.

Turn off the stand mixer.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and stir just until combined.  Stir in the remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips and toffee pieces.

Portion heaping tablespoons of batter about 2 inches apart on parchment paper or Silpat-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are cracked and puffed on top.  Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Additional notes from the original recipe:

The batter will be much looser than your average cookie dough.

When in doubt, underbake the cookies, as they’ll continue firming up as they cool on the cookie sheet.

The Results:

Obviously, I had some serious ideas of what I wanted included in this recipe.

(What the baby wants, the baby gets.)

But I actually started this recipe wanting to lower the amount of coffee flavor in half… instead, I misread it and instead of lowering the instant coffee from 2 t to 1 t, I thought I was lowering 2 T to 1 T (which actually increased the coffee flavor).  But really, it was a happy accident.

And I do have to say all the flavor compliment each other well.

This is not a sweet cookie, so be aware.  (If you want it sweeter, check out the original recipe and use semi sweet chips instead or use semi sweet bakers chocolate.)  It is rich and chocolately – and the texture is just like a brownie.  It’s got a little crisp outside and absolutely full of chewy goodness on the inside.

If I were to make it again, I might actually break up toffee bars instead of using the toffee pieces, so you can really taste them in each bite.  But other than that, I found these excellent.

And very, very satisfying.

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I hope you do, too!

Healthier Cookie Dough Balls

Hi.

My name is Courtney.

It’s been two weeks since I baked and/or ate a real dessert.

(No, these do not count – they are for breakfast.)

I think I might be slowly going insane.  Seriously, the last dessert I baked and ate was our pie on Fourth of July.  And I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed something chocolate-y.

I needed an intervention, stat… so I was very glad when I saw these healthy cookie dough balls.

I was excited to find a way to enjoy something sweet with chocolate, while still sticking (mostly) to our healthy eating (I refuse to call it a diet).

The Recipe:

Healthier Cookie Dough Balls, adapted from Bake Your Day

¼ c whole wheat flour

1-¼ c oats

1 t cinnamon

¼ t salt

1/2 scoop protein powder

½ c creamy peanut butter

¼ c applesauce, all natural/no sugar added

⅓ c all-natural maple syrup

1 T honey

2 t vanilla

¼ c dark chocolate chips

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, oats, cinnamon, salt, and protein powder; set aside.

Cream the peanut butter, applesauce, maple syrup, honey and vanilla in a large bowl until well-combined.  Add the flour and oats mixture and stir until combined.  Add dark chocolate chips and stir well.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough and roll into balls.  (I just used a small ice-cream scooper.) Recipe makes about 12-16 dough balls.

Refrigerate before serving.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

Yep, this pretty much did the trick.

The dough tastes similar to most (peanut butter chocolate chip) cookie doughs I may have allegedly sampled in the past.  And it so filled my craving for something bad – without being that bad.

They are a little sticky, so be prepared to wash your hands afterwards.  But it’s a small price to pay for a little sanity happiness.

~~~~

We’ll be out-of-town camping this weekend and won’t return until Tuesday… so don’t expect to hear from me until Wednesday.  And wish us luck – a two-year old and five-year old… in a tent… for several days.  Oh, boy.

Good Stuff Breakfast Cookies

I hate change.

Especially when it involves food.

But sometimes, change in food is good, like when you’re trying to eat healthier.  (That’s what I keep telling myself.)

Anyways, Hubs and I are trying to get into better eating habits.  And for some reason, me making at least one, or perhaps two, sweet treats a week has not been very helpful.  So, I’m trying to change.  (And it’s so hard!)

But, I do have to say, today’s recipe was kind of fun to make… mostly because I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.  All I had was this recipe from Blueberry Girl as inspiration – and I just fiddled from there.

I’m actually kind of proud of myself right now.

The Recipe:

Breakfast Cookies, inspired by Blueberry Girl

1/4 c ground almonds

1 T ground flax seed

1/4 c vanilla protein powder

2 c oats

1 1/2 t cinnamon (for me, to obscure the flax seed taste)

1/2 c raisins

1/4 c coconut flakes

1-2 bananas*, mashed

1/4 c olive oil

1 t vanilla

1/4 t salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In bowl, mix dry ingredients (down to the coconut).  In another bowl, mix banana/s, oil, vanilla, and salt.  Add to dry mixture and stir well.  Using a round cookie cutter/mold, press a scoopful of dough until filled.  Remove cutter and continue with the rest of the dough.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the top just begins to get golden.

*I only used one banana, but I think it could’ve used a little more.  You can try another half if you’d like.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I seriously just threw things in a bowl, crossed my fingers, and figured if it turned into a complete miss, at least I’d have something to write about.  Instead, these turned out terrific!  They’re chewy, a little sweet, and full of good stuff for you.  I actually loved the coconut-cinnamon-raisin combination which surprised me.  (And a bonus for me, no flax seed taste.)

The kids even adored them, too.

And it’s just crazy to think that there’s no sugar, no butter, no flour, and no eggs.

Maybe I can rock this cooking change!

Lemon Crack(le) Cookies

After all that rich chocolate from The Brownies (yes, capitalized), we needed something a little bit lighter.

A little bit fresher.

A little bit tart.

So I didn’t stop myself when these gorgeous cookies screamed ‘bake me’ when I saw them on Pinterest.

(Don’t recipes ever speak to you?  It happens to me all the time…)

The Recipe:

Lemon Crackle Cookies, adapted from Lauren’s Latest

½ c butter, softened

1 c sugar

½ t vanilla

1 egg

zest of one lemon (about 1 T)

lemon juice from 1/2 lemon (about 1 1/2 T)

¼ t salt

¼ t baking powder

⅛ t baking soda

1-½ c all-purpose flour

½ c powdered sugar

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light-colored baking sheets with non stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest and juice.  Scrape sides and mix again.  Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined (excluding the powdered sugar).  Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly.  Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate.  Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar.  Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte (not melty or shiny).  Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

As the title of this post subtlety alluded, these cookies are like crack.  You can’t just eat one, or two, or five.

They’re almost like the perfect mix of a lemon drop and snickerdoodle – barely crisp on the outside, chewy and full of lemon flavor on the inside.  Thank goodness the recipe only made about two dozen or we would’ve been in big trouble.

(One thing I’d suggest if you make these, I’d line your cookie sheet with parchment, rather than grease them.  Even with a generous greasing, my cookies stuck to the sheets.  Just a little FYI.)

These cookies were just what we needed for a change of pace – and a little indoor sunshine.

Happiest of Mondays, everyone!

Chocolate Wafer Ice Cream Sandwiches

Did you know it’s been a whole…um, oh, 4 posts since my last chocolate dessert?

(Really?  Only 4?  Well, that’s not nearly as long ago as I was convincing myself of yesterday.)

Hmmm, I’m thinking I just wanted an excuse to make a chocolate recipe (though really, it being a Thursday is reason enough around here).  Plus I was in the mood to cook alone – I mean, as much as I love my boys and I love working with them in the kitchen, it’s much easier to bake on my own: less mess, less arguing, and less noise.

And sometimes, I just need a little time to myself.

So, I looked in my cupboards, googled the ingredients I had on hand…and came up with this delicious summer treat.  (What can I say, I’m an eternal sunshine optimist in this rainy land.)

The Recipe:

Chocolate Wafer Ice Cream Sandwiches, adapted from smittenkitchen

(Makes about 50 wafers and 25 small ice-cream sandwiches.)

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

3/4 c unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1 c plus 2 T sugar

1/4 t salt

1/4 t baking soda

14 T (1 & 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened

3 T whole milk

1 t pure vanilla extract

1 quart vanilla bean ice-cream

Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, and baking soda in the bowl of food processor and pulse several times to mix thoroughly.  Cut the butter into about 12 chunks and add them to the bowl.  Pulse several times. Combine the milk and vanilla in a small cup.  With the processor running, add the milk mixture and continue to process until the mixture clumps around the blade or the sides of the bowl.  Transfer the dough to a large bowl or a cutting board and knead a few times to make sure it is evenly blended.

Form the dough into a log about 14 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter.  Wrap the log in wax paper or foil and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour, or until needed.

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.  Cut the log of dough into slices a scant 1/4-inch thick and place them one inch apart on the lined sheets (cookies will spread).  Bake, rotating the baking sheet from top to bottom and back to front about halfway through baking, for a total of 10 to 12 minutes.  The cookies will puff up and deflate; they are done about 1 1/2 minutes after they deflate.

Cool the cookies on the baking sheets on racks, or slide the parchment onto racks to cool completely.

(These cookies should crisp as they cool. If they don’t, you’re not baking them long enough — in which case, return them to the oven to reheat and bake a little longer, then cool again.)

Once cooled, pull out ice-cream container and let sit out for about 5-10 minutes to get soft.  Place one scoop on a cookie, top with another, and gently press to evenly spread ice-cream.  Wrap in plastic wrap and put in freezer for at least 10-20 minutes.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I turned up a little music and had a great time singing and dancing away while making these.  (Sorry no videos for your enjoyment – really you should thank me for that.)

I was excited to use my food processor instead of the KitchenAid  – for two simple reasons; one, it is much quieter, and two, everything’s contained – so no mess!  Making the dough was a snap (though do not get tempted to add a little extra milk when the dough doesn’t seem to come together as you like.  It may cause a very sticky dough – just hypothetically, that is.)

I’d also suggest wrapping your dough in wax paper, not aluminum.  The foil really wanted to to stick to my dough (though probably my own fault), and I had a hard time slicing my cookies on it (again, my fault – probably could’ve moved to a non-stick surface).

My sticky misshapen log of chocolate.

Now, a lesson I learned (that should’ve been obvious) – the more misshapen your log, the more misshapen your cookies.  So you may want to take some time to form an actual cylindrical log.  Mine was not – and many of my cookies were funky shaped.

But I did have a few that were just fine – and they were all set to accept their duty as a vessel for some cold creamy ice-cream.

Now, I have to say these sandwiches were absolutely wonderful.  The crispy wafer cookies get just a teeny bit chewy in the freezer – which actually makes the sandwich even better!  The cookies are not overly sweet, so they pair perfectly with the sweet ice-cream.  Everyone loved them (even if it was only 50-something degress outside).

I also want to let you know that I did not, in fact, make 25 sandwiches, so I had plenty to enjoy by themselves – and they are also very good on their own, too.  Dark, crispy, and quite addicting…yum!

The best thing about this recipe, is that it’s almost like a base recipe that you can change up for your own personal preferences… change up your ice-cream to mint chocolate chip or strawberry or anything your little heart desires.  Hey, you could even add a little mint or coconut extract to the cookies and really play around with flavors.  You just cannot go wrong.

So, go forth this lovely holiday weekend and make yourself a treat.

I know you deserve it.

Clean out your Cupboard Cookies

It was a long weekend.

Hubs had weekend duty, so he was at work both days… which left me with two hooligans to keep busy (while attempting to keep my patience in check.)

We did pretty good on Saturday, as it was a beautiful day, and we had t-ball smack in the middle of the day.  Sunday, on the other hand, was kind of gray – a perfect day to stay in and spend some time together in the kitchen.

Now, it being a lazy Sunday, I had no desire to get out of my pj’s before noon, so I searched around our house for possible ingredients.  And I came across four partial bags of mix-in left-overs from previous recipes: some large dark chocolate chips, semi-sweet chips, peanut butter chips, and some sweetened flaked coconut.

Gotta include a pic featuring the ugly counters – as they will be gone on Friday!

I decided why not use these in the best chocolate chip cookie recipe – and see what happened.

The Recipe:

Clean out your Cupboard Cookies, from me and Hubs

1 c butter, softened

3/4 c sugar

3/4 c brown sugar

2 eggs

1 t vanilla extract

1 T milk

2 c oats, processed until fine

2 c flour

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

4 oz dark chocolate chips

4 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

3 oz peanut butter chips

3 oz sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and milk until well blended and forms a light batter-like consistency.  Add processed oats, flour, soda, baking powder, and salt.  Stir until well incorporated. Fold in chips and coconut.  Using a tablespoon, drop onto baking sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes – remove when sides turn golden brown.  Cool on wire rack.   Makes 3 dozen.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

Well, first I had to gather my sous-chefs… which means I had to pull out the mixer and they both came a-running.  (They do love to use our kitchen machines.)

We all took turns measuring, dumping, and turning on the mixer.  The boys were in pure heaven.

After everything was blended, we added our random ingredients and were ready to go.

Now, since there was so few of each thing, when you ate a cookie, you had no idea what it would taste like – it could have salty peanut butter or chewy coconut or rich chocolate or any combination thereof.  It’s kind of fun, like five types of cookies in one recipe, and you have no idea which one you’re going to get.

I do have to say, though, I definitely prefer the original recipe.  It’s just perfect at it is.

This one was really good, too – so if you’re looking to clean out some of those leftover bits of this and that (and you want to keep your kids happy and occupied), you should give this recipe a try.

 Have a wonderful Monday!

Lime Sugar Cookies

I’ve been distracted this week.

Not only did T-ball season start (which honestly, is the best way to enjoy baseball),

Isn’t he adorable?

But I started reading that book for my book club.  Now I’m pretty sure that if you’re a woman, a woman who has friends, and/or especially if you are a woman in a book club, you know exactly what book that book is.  (If you don’t, ask a friend or two, they’ll be more than happy to tell you, I’m sure.)

Let’s just say that that book is distracting.

So, this week has been all about baking, because I can continue to read between the recipe’s steps.  I’m hoping to get back to some dinner cooking again next week.

Anyhow, I decided to go with this cookie recipe since tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo – and I love any excuse to make a sweet/tart/sour treat – and my last lime-y excursion was so successful.

The Recipe:

Lime Sugar Cookies, adapted slightly from Sweet and Crumby

1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened

1 1/2 c granulated sugar

2 T lime zest (zest from two limes approximately)

2 egg yolks

1/2 c sour cream

1 T lime juice

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1/2 c confectioners sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line (or spray) cookie sheets.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter on sugar on medium speed.  Add the lime zest, egg yolks and lime juice and combine.  Then add your sour cream and mix on low until just incorporated.

In a medium-sized separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour through salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and combine on low-speed until just mixed in.  Don’t over-mix.  Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of cookie dough and place on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-14 minutes or until slightly golden on the outer edge.  The cookie should be just a little bit firm when touched lightly.

Sift powdered sugar on top of them while they are still warm.  (This will help the powdered sugar stick onto the cookie.)

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

The cookies, themselves, were a breeze.

(I did learn that I like the shape for the cookies when rolled into a ball – though on my first sheet I just dropped them with the scoop.)

I kind of had a small snafu with my sifter while they were cooling, though.  Instead of a gentle snow dusting on top of the cookies, it decided to dump a truckload all over.

I’ve always known that the sifter was not my friend.

Anyways, the second cookie sheet went much more smoothly with the rounded balls of dough and my conquering of the sifter.

Now, let’s move on to the taste.  Geni has done it again, folks, with the perfect ratio of sweet sugar to tart and sour lime.  As she suggests, serving them with a salty margarita will be on my list of things to do this weekend.

Lesson for all you food photographers out there: do not place items covered in powdered sugar on a colored plate. It will not look good.

I think you should add it to your list, too.

(And I sincerely apologize for the over-sized pictures – WP won’t let me size them down for some reason.)

Now off to finish my book.  😉