The Great 8: Valentine’s Day Recipes

Ready for Valentine’s day?
Or Galentine’s day! This year, my girlfriends and I are getting together for a potluck.  I plan on making some pizza and some goodies from the list below. So, if you’re getting together with your sweetie, friends, or it’s just you and and a glass bottle of wine, here’s a list of some of my favorite delicious in a dash recipes you can easily whip up this weekend.  Share your love with food!

Looking for a breakfast treat?

Peanut butter banana oatmeal muffins

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins.jpgOr how about some homemade granola? My Maple Pecan Quinoa Granola is crunchy and makes a great topping for yogurt, oatmeal or just for great snacking.  It’s much healthier and tastier than anything you get in the store. (cheaper, too!)

Maple Pecan Quinoa GranolaEasy and Delicious Meals:

Tasty Vegetarian: Easy Thai Coconut Butternut Squash SoupEasy Thai Coconut Butternut Squash Soup.jpg

A hearty sausage and pepper pasta – a perfect winter meal.  Especially enjoyed when eaten after shoveling feet of snow after successive Nor’easters.

20140318-081953.jpgDelicious Desserts:

No-Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal bars.  No oven needed – whip these up in no time at all!

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For the peanut butter lover:  The best peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, EVER

Super chewy and never flat.  You can make a few cookies and freeze the extra dough for later.

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies.jpgFor the chocolate addicts in your life: Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies.  These are for chocolate lovers and must be accompanied by a big glass of milk.

Triple Chocolate cookie stackFinally, the top thing I am making this Valentine’s day is a favorite of my taller half – Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake bars.  They are made with pomegranate Greek yogurt – so no need to spend your time getting those pesky seeds out of the fruit.  (You can also sub strawberry yogurt if you can’t find pomegranate)Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake bars.jpgForget about the cards and the mediocre boxed candy.  Share your love with delicious food!  ❤

 

 

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie (butter) Cake

A rich, chewy, and decadent cookie cake.  Made in 35 minutes flat – from prep to your plate or belly.  Gooey, chocolatey, cookie buttery cake. With an easy Biscoff caramel on top.  Yep.  Biscoff caramel.

Cookie butter cake light

This is the ultimate.  Why is this the ULTIMATE?  Because it is just so damn good.  When you bite into this cookie cake you’re going to say “Wow” but it will sound more like “Mow” because your mouth will be full of chocolate goodness and gooey Biscoff caramel.  That was the reaction I got when my coworkers devoured this cake and again when I brought this to my future mother-in-law’s house, then to a friend’s graduation party and then again to a family BBQ. Many of them asked for the recipe, so I decided to triage this cake to the top of the blog roll. In the past 3 weeks, I have made this cake FOUR times. It really is incredible how chewy and rich this cookie cake is.  And drizzled (or smothered) with a Biscoff caramel on top.  Moist, chewy, chocolately goodness.  And, it is SO simple to make – I will show you step by step how simple this was.  Don’t take my word for it.  Just scroll down.

Cookie Butter Cake.jpgThis recipe came from me needing a quick dessert. You know, when you need something delicious and you need it NOW!  Whether it be you have last minute guests, or you are such a clutz, you dropped the original dessert that took you hours to make and now it’s all over the floor, scattered with broken glass. Or you had a bad day and there is no pint of Ben and Jerry’s in sight. Or maybe you’re just looking for a quick and delicious way to use up that Biscoff in your cabinet so you stop eating it by the spoonful 3X a day. #dessertproblems

WELL, let me tell you, that this cookie cake is about solve all your problems.  ALL of them.  Because that’s what cookies are.  Problem solvers.  This cookie cake is faster than baking individual cookies (no dropping dough on a pan, or chilling dough), it is faster than baking a cake (no mixer required!), it is faster than blondies (no hour + cooling time needed).  And, if I haven’t mentioned, it is so damn good.

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Chewy, chocolate, cookie goodness. It is so moist, and so chewy, it is the ultimate cookie cake.  If you like chocolate chip cookies, and you like blondies, you will LOVE this cake.

I promised this cake is easy – so here is a quick rundown of the steps in photo form:

20140605-074207-27727615.jpg1. Melt the butter

2. Add brown sugar

3.  Add Biscoff (Save a spoonful for yourself!)

4. Beat in 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, and vanilla

5. Add flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder

6. Fold flour until well incorporated.

Then add your chocolate chips – I used a mixture of semisweet and white chocolate for this cake. Then pat into a prepared pie pan and bake for 20 minutes

20140526-113026-41426595.jpgThe next time I used a combination of semisweet and butterscotch chips – YUM (My taller half LOVES butterscotch)

The last step is to make your Biscoff Caramel Sauce.  As I’ve stated before: I LOVE Biscoff – it is the most delicious thing that comes in a jar.  So why not smother the top of this cookie cake with some extra Biscoff love.  The caramel sauce is made with just equal parts milk and Biscoff stirred together until smooth.  This makes a creamy drizzle on top of your cookie cake.  You can alter the ratio to get a thicker or thinner caramel on top.  I made it with both a 1:1 and a 1:2 milk to Biscoff ratio. The 1:2 ratio yields a thicker caramel (see left bottom pic) which makes it difficult to drizzle (compared to the 1:1, the bottom right pic) But I honestly loved it both ways.

20140609-235623-86183078.jpgCan’t decide? Heck, just make it all 4 ways.

 Also, try some Biscoff caramel in your morning oatmeal – shhhh I won’t tell.

Recipe: Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie (Butter) Cake Cookie Butter Cake.jpg

Yield: 1 9inch cookie cake

Time: Prep 10 minutes Bake: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2
 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup Biscoff
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (Or half semisweet chocolate chips and half white chocolate or butterscotch chips)

Biscoff Caramel

  • 2 Tablespoons of milk (I used 1%)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Biscoff

Instructions:

Make cookie cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round pie pan.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir to mix everything and set aside.

Melt butter in microwave, just until there is a small piece of unmelted butter left. In a large bowl, stir melted butter and brown sugar until well combined. Then add in the Biscoff and mix until well incorporated. Next add the egg and egg yolk and vanilla and stir until everything is well combined.

Add the mixed dry ingredients into the large the bowl with the wet ingredients. Fold the flour mixture into the Biscoff mixture using a spatula until well incorporated. This may take a minute because the wet ingredient mixture is thick, but keep folding, everything will go in. Fold in the chocolate chips. Then dump it into the prepared pie plate and pat down using your hands to make an even layer.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until cookie is light golden brown on the outer edges. Allow cookie cake to cool about 10 minutes.

Make Biscoff Caramel drizzle:

While cake is cooling, in a small bowl, stir milk and Biscoff until well combined. This may take a minute or so, just keep stirring. If you would like a thicker caramel to spread, use only 1 tablespoon of milk.

Drizzle or spread Biscoff Caramel over cake. Serve directly from pie pan and enjoy!

Store leftover cookie cake in plastic wrap or in a sealed container. Cookie cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days

Want more BIscoff?

Easy S’mores Cookies Bars

Easy S'mores cookie bars.jpg

Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake bars made with Greek yogurt that will satisfy your craving for fruity Spring treats and won’t bust your waistline.

20140414-002049.jpgFruit, Oreos and cheesecake!?! YES. This is what we’re making today. Creamy cheesecake made with tart pomegranate Greek yogurt and speckled with sweet strawberries. No need tap out all the seeds from a pomegranate for this cheesecake. Nope. That is waaaay too much work. I just used pomegranate yogurt that has the seeds mixed in!

20140414-002101.jpg Had too many treats for Easter? Impossible! But I know I’ve eaten a TON of Easter candy. I love Cadbury mini dark chocolate eggs! The dark chocolate ones are harder to find than the milk, but they are well worth the search! I’m also a Peeps fanatic (shocking, I know). All that candy is delicious, but these bars, MMmmm MMm. Besides being creamy, fruity and chocolately all in one bite, these bars come with a bonus – they are made with Greek yogurt – so you get a nice boost of protein. They are basically like a health food. (not really, but that’s what I tell myself when I scarf down my fourth bar of the day) AND you probably get a serving a fruit with 4 bars, so, go ahead, have that fourth. 🙂

20140414-002111.jpgThe other great thing about these bars is that they are EASY. Yes, I know, I usually say this about my all my recipes, but I only say it because it is true! Let’s make some Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake bars!

Start by adding a teaspoon of sugar to about 10 sliced fresh strawberries.  Let these macerate – this allows the strawberries to release some of their delicious juice – you can start this step hours ahead if you like.  While they are juicing up, make the crust.

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To make the crust, crush up the oreos in a food processor until they are fine crumbs (my food processor is very crappy, and thus, my crumbs are not fine) These less than fine crumbs still make a super tasty crust, but the bars can crumble a little easier when cutting. While the crust is baking you can whip up the cheesecake layer. The key to creamy cheesecake is to whip the heck out of your cream cheese (and to make sure your cream cheese is NOT cold).  You want all the sugar to get incorporated well into the cream cheese so you have NO LUMPS.  Add the remainder of the ingredients, except the strawberries, and beat until well combined.  Then gently stir in the strawberries with their delicious juices!

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Pour into a prepared pan and bake! Cool in the fridge (a perfect make-ahead dessert!) and get ready to enjoy creamy sweet, tart, oreo-licious cheesecake!

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Recipe: Pomegranate Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Yield: 16 bars

Ingredients:

Strawberry Center

  • 10 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

Oreo Crust

  • 25 oreos
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Layer

  • 8oz of cream cheese, softened to room temperature (This is essential!)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 container of Pomegranate Greek yogurt (Chobani is 5.3oz )
  • 1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt – I used 2% (all yogurt should equal ~ 1 cup total)
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang (for easy removal of the bars later).  Spray foil with non-stick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of sugar to fresh sliced strawberries, stir and set aside
  3. Make the Oreo crust: Using a food processor, crush Oreos into very fine crumbs.  Dump crumbs into a medium sized bowl and stir in melted butter until all crumbs are moist.  Press crumbs into a single layer in prepared baking dish.  Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Make the cheesecake layer:  In a large mixing bow, add room temperature cream cheese and beat on medium-high speed until cream cheese is whipped – about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and then add half the sugar and beat on medium-high until well incorporated.   Scrape down the bowl again before you add the remaining sugar and beat on medium high until sugar is well incorporated.
  5. Add in the eggs and beat until well incorporated.  Then add the yogurt, flour and vanilla and beat until all are well incorporated.
  6. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries with their juices
  7. Pour over prepared Oreo crust into an even layer.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, until edges are set but the middle jiggles a little.  Let cheesecake cool to room temperature then place in refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours or overnight.  After cooling, remove from pan and slice cheesecake.  Enjoy!

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Pile-o-cheesecake. Oreo-licious. Berry-licious. Pomegrant-e-lcious. Yum.

Easy S’mores Cookie Bars

Happy Valentine’s Day! Time to mix it up with a sweet treat!

20140213-073459.jpgI LOVE s’mores. They’re gooey and chocolatey.  The flavor combination of marshmallow, chocolate and graham is one my favorites.  I’ll eat anything s’mores – s’mores ice cream, s’mores cake, s’mores candy, s’mores cereal (remember Smorz?!)… you get the idea.  There is just something about toasty marshmallows, melty chocolate and graham cracker that just make the perfect dessert for me. MMMmmm! My mouth is watering just thinking about these cookie bars!

20140210-194227.jpgThese bars are made with Biscoff spread, aka cookie butter.  If you have never tried Biscoff, it is a creamy spread made from Belgian Biscoff cookies – which are shortbread cookies that have a hint of graham taste mixed with a little cinnamon.  I know this sounds weird, a creamy spread made from cookies, but it’s not.  It’s the most delicious thing that comes in a jar, which is why I had to make some treats with it.  1. To make a DELICIOUS dessert 2. To use it up so I wouldn’t keep eating it straight out the jar with a spoon.  ACK!  I usually have pretty good self control, but this is my kryptonite.  Seriously.

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And if you’re wondering, yes, I ate this whole spoonful after I took the photo.

These bars are so great not only because they’re SO moist, chewy, toasty marshmallow-y and chocolatey, but because they’re super simple to put together! No mixer is needed!  AND, unlike standard S’mores, no individual serving assembly required – No fighting over the fire to roast your marshmallows and no sticky fingers.  You’re welcome.

Definitely Delicious in a DASH!

20140210-194300.jpg1. Combine all the wet ingredients and then stir in the Biscoff spread (Cookie Butter) 2. Add in the dry ingredients and 3. Fold in until well combined 4. Add in the chocolate chips and marshmallows 5. Toss it all in a baking dish lined with parchment paper 6. Smoosh it down and throw a few more marshmallows on top.  Then pop it in the oven – and you are 25 minutes away from Heaven.

Make this for your sweety for Valentines Day. Or better yet, Treat Yo Self!

20140213-071432.jpgMy taller half loves cheesecake – so I made him some special cheesecake bars for Valentine’s Day (stay tuned for the recipe!), but I’ll be making THESE for myself. Who says you can’t have a whole 8×8 pan of cookie bars for yourself?

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Stretchy, toasty marshmallow, and melty chocolate with a chewy, moist graham center.  Yep. make these for yourself.

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Happy Valentine’s Day, YOU. Wonderful, Beautiful YOU.

Recipe: Easy S’mores Cookie Bars20140213-073459.jpg

Yield: 16 bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Biscoff spread (or Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of mini marshmallows + an extra handful for the top

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper or spray with nonstick spray
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the dry ingredients –  flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside
  3. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar together until combined and then add the eggs and the vanilla. Stir in the Biscoff spread. Stir until mixture is well combined
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not over mix – I usually fold with a rubber spatula to ensure that I don’t overmix.  The batter will be very thick.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows and “dump” the batter into a prepared baking dish.  Then press down the batter so that it is even throughout the baking dish and top with reserved marshmallows.  Gently press down the marshmallows.
  6. Bake for about 25-35 minutes. The bars will appear very soft and look under done but they will firm up as they cool. Allow the bars to cool completely- about 3 hours – before cutting into squares. *I know this is TORTUROUS but if you don’t wait, they will be too mushy and fall apart and you’ll need a spoon.  Totally feel free to eat them with a spoon 🙂

Cookie bars stay fresh for a week when stored in a sealed container at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Maple Walnut Apple Crisp

I hope you’re ready for some apple recipes!

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If you make one apple dessert this fall – make this maple walnut apple crisp! Apple crisp has ALWAYS been my favorite apple dessert. Why? Because I love the crunchy, sweet topping. AND because it is easier than pie (haha) – no crust needed!

My Taller Half and I recently went to Smolak Farms to pick apples. The orchard is picturesque and has dozens of apple varieties! I LOVE apple picking. Ever since I was a little piglet, I always looked forward to biting into a crisp, juicy apple just picked from the tree, and then would do this over and over again for until my belly was waaaay too full. This year, I held back a bit and didn’t make myself sick. It was a perfect fall day and we picked TONS of apples. I just couldn’t wait to get home and bake with the freshly picked fruit.

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A beautiful day at Smolak Farms!

Now, let’s talk about this crisp! It has such a thick, crunchy, cinnamon-y topping. Hands down my favorite apple dessert. It also went really fast!

20130925-213732.jpgThe filling of this crisp has tart apples (I used a mixture of Gravenstein, Cortland and Granny Smith), mixed with meaty walnuts, cinnamon and sweet maple syrup! And then there is the topping. OOOh the topping. It is so crispy, so thick, and crunchy (and of course cinnamon-y) and perfectly balances the tender, soft apples. You NEED to make this crisp. Bonus – It takes 5 minutes to put the topping together and only 5 minutes to make the filling. So what are you waiting for?!! Let’s make some maple walnut apple crisp!

20131016-235032.jpgSprinkle cut, peeled apples and chopped walnuts with cinnamon and a few squirts of lemon juice

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Pour the melted sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and butter “sauce” on top

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Prep the topping by mixing flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and cut with chilled butter -just smash it up with your hands until it is crumbly, like so:

Crisp topping

Then add the walnuts to the topping and spread the topping over the apples

( look how thick that topping is!!)

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Place in the oven and wait 45 minutes for sweet, cinnamon-y, apple-y, maple-y, oat-y goodness.

OH. MY. GOODNESS.

20130925-213824.jpgOne more thing- If you don’t have walnuts, or don’t like walnuts you can substitute any other nut – almonds, pecans,  peanuts, hazelnuts etc… or just leave the nuts out. They add some texture and taste but are not essential to your new favorite apple dessert.

Recipe: Maple Walnut Apple CrispMaple Walnut Apple Crisp

Servings: 6-10 (or 2 if you are me)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 5-6 apples, peeled, cored, chopped chunky (I used Gravenstein, Cortland and Granny Smith – but any firm, baking apple will do – you may have to adjust the sugar if the apples you use are less tart and more sweet)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (substitute almonds, pecans, peanuts etc… or omit)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Few squirts of lemon juice (About 1/2 -1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping (adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats (not quick oats)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (substitute almonds, pecans, peanuts etc… or omit)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and spray an 8×8 pan with non-stick cooking spray
  2. Make the filling: In a large bowl, toss apples and walnuts with cinnamon and lemon juice and pour into a 8×8 baking pan.
  3. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the butter, sugar and maple syrup***  while stirring.  Do this slowly, you don’t want your sugar to burn! When combined, remove from heat and add vanilla extract.  Pour sauce over apples in baking pan and stir to coat apples.
  4. Make the topping: In a large bowl, add all the topping ingredients EXCEPT the butter and walnuts.  Stir until well combined.
  5. Add the butter and use your hands to incorporate the butter and the dry topping.  This involves squeezing the butter and the flour/oat mixture together in your hands – until the mixture becomes crumbly – you don’t need to overwork this – you want the mixture to be lumpy.  Just smash it between your fingers with the oat/flour mixture – it will be uneven and will look like wet sand.  If you don’t like the “hand” technique, you can also use 2 forks, 2 knives, or a pastry cutter (oh so fancy!).
  6. Stir in walnuts and sprinkle the crumbly topping over the apples
  7. Place on top of a baking sheet, to prevent a sticky mess (just in case the apples/sugar bubble over) and bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. As always, baking time may vary based on your oventop should be brown and you should see bubbles on the sides of the baking dish. The apples should be tender.
  8. Allow crisp to cool for about 10 minutes before serving – just so you don’t burn your tongue on SUPER hot, bubbly sugar/apple goodness.

Serve warm, with vanilla Ice cream if you please. I didn’t have any.  Shameful.

ENJOY!

*** For easy maple syrup measurement, spray tablespoon with non-stick cooking spray prior to measuring and maple syrup will slide right out.

Happy Fall!

Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies

This is a chocolate lovers dream.

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Do you wish you could have chocolate after every meal? Or maybe, INSTEAD of every meal?  Do you dream about chocolate while awake? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then THESE are your NEW favorite cookies. Chewy triple chocolate cookies.

Let’s review over the 3 major chocolatey players that make these cookies over-the-top chocolate:

  1. Unsweetened cocoa
  2. White chocolate chips
  3. Dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet, if you prefer)

Triple Chocolate CookiesThese cookies, and the fact that there are 3 chocolates together reminds me of my two  best friends from grad school, C and K. They both live in different states now. 😦

When we all lived in the same state, we enjoyed these really delicious “break and bake” triple chocolate cookies. They were really good, and you could break off just a few and bake them up. The downside of the “break and bake” cookies: they were really expensive. So, back in April, when I was going to meet up with the girls, I went on a mission to try and replicate the cookies.

HERE. THEY. ARE.

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I tested them out on C on our way down to DC to meet K to run the Nike All Woman half marathon in April.

Here we are after the race!

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Ok. ok. back to the cookies… C ate them on the plane at 7am (I’m a huge supporter of sweets for breakfast!) 🙂  SHE LOVED THEM.   They got a little banged up in the plastic bag, so she proceeded to tip the bag so that the crumbs would fall out and she could enjoy every last bite. Cookie replication success!

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The secret to these cookies being so chewy is honey! It keeps them soft and chewy for days after you bake them.  Honey adds moisture to the cookie, even after it is baked – it pulls moisture from the air (to get all science-y on you, honey is hygroscopic), so these cookies are guaranteed to stay soft! This is based off my Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies – which also have honey to keep them soft and chewy. The other thing about these cookies is that they are very, very and I mean VERY chocolatey.  They are not too sweet, which is why I added white chocolate chips to them.  White chocolate is much sweeter and balances out the cookie.

Triple Chocolate Cookie stitchA few important points when making these cookies –

1. Just as in my Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, cream the butter/sugar, then add the wet ingredients.  I always mix the dry ingredients separately and THEN mix the wet and dry together.  I really like doing this because it ensures that everything is mixed prior to combining, that way you don’t over mix your cookie dough.

You NEVER want to over mix your cookie dough.

2.  This dough MUST be refrigerated for at least 2 hours before baking. The dough must be cold.  Two hours might be overkill, but I want to make sure the dough is cold.  The chilled dough is sticky, but I promise you, the messy hands you get as a result of measuring out dough onto a baking sheet is WELL WORTH it.  Non-chilled dough is impossible to handle (WAAAY too sticky), and the cookies will just bake out flat.  blah.

flat cookies = sad Liz.

I know, I know, this waiting a whole 2 hours totally goes against my “dash” mantra, but you can make the dough ahead and keep it in the fridge a day or 2 or 3 or freeze them until you’re ready to bake them up.

20130911-070939.jpgLook at that soft, chewy chocolatey center and the dark chocolate chips are all melty…  Mmmm my mouth is watering just thinking about these gooey, chocolatey cookies.   Not too sweet, and all the chocolate you have ever wanted. Fat. Chewy. Delicious. Super Chocolate cookies

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20130911-070939.jpgRecipe: Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies

Makes ~20-24 cookies

Wet Ingredients – step 1:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

Wet Ingredients- step 2:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of honey*
  • 1 tablespoon water

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet chocolate chips, if you prefer)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients, except chocolate chips, and set aside
  3. In large mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients from step 1. Cream the ingredients until smooth
  4. To that same mixing bowl, add step 2 wet ingredients *To measure out the honey, use a non-stick cooking spray (like Pam) to spray the tablespoon. The honey will slide right off the tablespoon and you won’t loose any honey.
  5. Mix all the wet ingredients (step1 and 2) until well incorporated
  6. Add the mixed dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir the wet and dry until just combined
  7. Fold in the chocolate chips
  8. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours  (or wrap in double layers of plastic wrap and freeze)
  9. After dough has chilled, roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on a baking sheet. You can smoosh the cookies with your hands if you like.  The dough will be sticky.
  10. Bake for 9-11 min. 10 minutes is perfect for my oven and the size I bake, but it may vary based on oven and cookie size.  Let cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet – then go ahead and DEVOUR them.  Cookies may look a bit underdone – but that’s ok!  They will continue to bake a few minutes after being removed from the oven. If you over-bake them, the cookies will get crumbly.

Recipe Source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

Want MORE soft and chewy cookies made with honey??!!  Check out my Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Ever (or to see representative step-by-step pictures of creaming butter and sugar)

The Best Peanut Butter Chocoalte Chip Cookies, Ever

No-Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

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Summer is the season for so many wonderful things: BBQs, beach trips, outdoor concerts, sweating while doing just about anything, and eating tons and tons of ice cream.   This week, I was craving something sweet that was NOT ice cream and I really didn’t want to sweat while making it.  However, there is this whole dilemma that I can’t turn on my oven to bake because it’s just too damn hot on the 5th floor.

The solution – super fast No-Bake bars! 

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I chose butterscotch for these bars because my Taller Half LOVES butterscotch, and his birthday was last week.  Aw. I’m such a good girlfriend. (meanwhile I’m in the kitchen scarfing down half the batch before I even show him what I no-baked) Yes.  I made these bars with total and complete unselfish love.

Anyway,

Let’s review why these bars are amazing and you need to get in your kitchen and No-bake these bars right now:

  1. These bars are subtly sweet, chewy and creamy all in one
  2. They take less than 10 minutes to no-bake
  3.  You only need 7 ingredients (well, 8 if you include salt)
  4. These bars have peanut butter (Protein!) and oats (Fiber!)

You will thank me.  We finished the first batch in 2 days.  TWO days. oops

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My Taller Half says they taste like a cross between a chewy granola bar and butterscotch fudge.  You heard me.  You are making chewygranolabutterscotchfudge bars in less than 10 min!

Let’s no-bake some butterscotch oatmeal bars in a DASH!

First combine the oats, salt and butterscotch chips in a large bowl

Then melt peanut butter, oil, milk and honey in a small saucepan.  Heat slowly and stir.  This mixture can burn easily, so keep the heat low and keep stirring.  Plus, it’s too damn hot out!  No need to turn that burner all the way up!

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Keep stirring. This mixture is not well incorporated yet!

Heat mixture and stir until everything is combined.   Then remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.

Next, simply add the wet mixture to the oat and butterscotch mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until all the oats are coated and the butterscotch chips are nice and melted.  Mmmmm melty butterscotch.  This mixture is deeee-licious.

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Now scoop out everything into a 8×8 baking dish that is lined with parchment paper and squish down to even out the mixture and let it set for about 30 min.  I put the first batch in the fridge to set, because my kitchen is A LOT hotter than “room temp”.  If your kitchen is a normal temperature or you are blessed with air conditioning, then you can probably let them set outside the fridge.

20130729-213423.jpgAfter the bars have set, eat entire pan of oat bars cut into squares and enjoy.  Store bars in fridge, if you have any left after I ate them all.  : )

20130729-213445.jpgMMmmm  look at that chewy, oaty texture.  The creamy butterscotch and peanut butter smooths oat the old fashioned oats and you get this wonderful chewy, creamy bite! Yum!

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20130729-213529.jpgRecipe: No-Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Resting time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 40 min
  • Makes 1 full 8×8 pan

Ingredients:

     Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

     Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I always bake or no-bake with Skippy)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup honey (you can use less to make them less sweet) – **see below for tip for measuring
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used 1%, but you can use whatever you have)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Line an 8×8 dish with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients and stir
  3. In a small saucepan, combine all the wet ingredients, except vanilla.**
  4. On low heat, melt the peanut butter and stir to incorporate all the wet ingredients.  Do this slowly and keep an eye on it.  This mixture can burn easily.
  5. When peanut butter is melted, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  6. Pour hot wet ingredients directly into bowl with dry ingredients. Stir until all oats are coated with warm mixture and the butterscotch chips are melted. (I used a large rubber spatula to stir this all together.)
  7. Pour into prepared baking dish and press down with either a metal or rubber spatula to make an even layer
  8. Let it set in the fridge for about 30 min.
  9. Cut into bars and Enjoy!

Store leftovers in a air tight container in fridge for about a week.

** To easily measure honey, use the same cup as the vegetable oil and measure after oil.  Or, spray measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray (such as Pam) before pouring honey in.

Recipe source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins

20130619-223034.jpgI have a bit of a sweet tooth. Ok. That’s a lie. I have a mouth full of sweet teeth. Growing up, I always loved to eat sweet stuff for breakfast. My mom always made us eat well balanced lunches and dinners, but when it came to breakfasts, my mom let us eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Count Chocula, and Lucky Charms. Mmmm. I still love all these cereals. I think the weight I put on in college was probably from eating tons of sugar cereals from the dining hall. Although I don’t eat sugar cereals for breakfast anymore too often, I still love a sweet treat for breakfast. That’s where the idea for Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins came from. I know, it’s a mouthful. But these muffins themselves are a mouthful.

20130619-223052.jpgI wanted to make a quick, sweet breakfast to grab and go. I thought muffins would be a perfect, grownup sweet breakfast. They just needed to be tasty, healthy and filling and these muffins fulfill all three requirements. They’re made with simple, whole ingredients that you would eat for breakfast: Peanut butter, banana, old fashioned oats and milk. And of course, cinnamon. Because cinnamon makes everything better! And even better, these muffins have NO butter and NO oil, and they are still super moist and super delicious. You can definitely feel good about eating these for breakfast because of all the good-for-you ingredients!20130619-223101.jpgAnother great thing about these muffins, is that they are super easy to make, they don’t require a mixer and they use up those brown, overripe bananas you have sitting on your counter. How do you make these muffins in a DASH?

First, combine the flour, old fashioned oats, salt, cinnamon and baking powder in a bowl and set aside. Next smash two overripe bananas, and mix this with the peanut butter and egg until well combined. You’ll need to use a little elbow grease to really combine the peanut butter and the egg together.

20130619-223405.jpgAdd the remaining “wet” ingredients and stir until combined. Then add the dry ingredients to the mixed wet ingredients. The batter will still be a little thin and a little lumpy and will look like this:

20130619-223611.jpgFill a greased or lined muffin pan with the batter. Be sure to fill cups all the way to the top!

Bake, and be prepared for healthy, moist, muffin heaven.20130619-223621.jpg

Now, I’m going to share a little extra decadence with you. The muffins, as is, are delicious, but if you want to bring them OVER-THE-TOP, you can add a cinnamon sugar topping. It is perfect, little something extra that makes these “weekend muffins”, or what I call breakfast.

To keep these muffins butter-free, you can just dip the top of the muffins in a bowl of cinnamon sugar mixture. Just roll the top around when the muffins are still warm and the cinnamon sugar will stick right to it.

20130619-223120.jpgNow, take a big bite into this soft, moist, peanut buttery, slightly sweet, banana-y, oaty muffin.

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The muffins are not too sweet, and the peanut butter taste is not overwhelming. I tried to add more peanut butter, but it made the muffins really dense. I wanted a lighter muffin, which is what these are. If you want more peanut butter flavor, you could try adding chopped peanuts to the batter, or make a peanut crumb topping. But, I loved these muffins just the way they are. What could be better than peanut butter and banana combo?! Adding oats to it and eating it warm for breakfast. Yum!20130619-223139.jpg20130619-223131.jpgRecipe: Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Muffins
Makes 12 large muffins

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used Skippy creamy peanut butter)
  • 2 medium overripe bananas (~ 1 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cups milk (I used 1%, but use whatever you have)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, smash the bananas and beat in the peanut butter and egg till well combined. Then add brown sugar, vanilla and milk and stir until blended.
  4. Add the mixed dry ingredients to the bowl containing the wet ingredients and stir. Batter will be a little thin and a little lumpy (See picture above).
  5. Fill prepared muffin cups with batter and bake for 15-18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow muffins to cool for a few minutes before adding cinnamon sugar topping

Cinnamon sugar topping!

  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and dip and roll top of muffin in until coated.
Enjoy!  : )

Recipe source: deliciousinadash.wordpress.com

If you like these muffins – try some of my other peanut butter and oatmeal recipes:

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies, ever (I’m serious)

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies.jpgNo Bake Butterscotch Oatmeal Bars

No-bake Butterscotch Oatmeal bars.jpgMaple Pecan Quinoa Granola

Maple Pecan Quinoa Granola.jpgMaple Almond Cinnamon Granola

Maple Almond Cinnamon Granola

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, EVER

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My best friend, Chelsea, defended her doctoral thesis on Friday, and this post is in honor of her. What is her connection with these supposed “Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, EVER”? Chelsea, is not a cookie lover. You know, she’s the type of person who will choose any other type of dessert over a cookie. Well, ladies and gentleman, this changed after she tried these cookies. She’s actually requested me to make these cookies multiple times AND she nagged me for the recipe. I say nagged, mostly because I took forever to give her this recipe. I stink at writing down recipes, which is one of the reasons I started this blog. It forces me to write down my recipes and it makes it easier for me to share them with my friends and beyond!

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These cookies have clearly changed Chelsea’s life (for the better), and I’m confident they will change yours. What makes these cookies the absolute BEST?

These cookies are super chewy and soft, and they are this way consistently. Look at those beauties. They’re nice and fat.

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If you like crispy cookies, sorry, these are not crispy. But I do beg you to try these, because I bet you will like them. No. You will love them. They might even convert you to being a chewy cookie lover. Seriously, if you follow my easy recipe – no substitutions, they will come out perfect every time you make them. These cookies don’t flatten and these cookies don’t run. The dough doesn’t need to be refrigerated before you bake them, but you can if you need to. Normally, cookies are a delicate beast, so to be able to say these are so easy to make and hard to mess up?! Well, we have a gem on our hands.

Another bonus? The peanut butter to chocolate ratio is perfect and they are not too sweet. I’ve worked really hard to perfect this. *disclaimer: your taste for chocolate/peanut butter may vary.

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Do you need anymore reasons? OK Ok, I have another one for you. The dough freezes really well. This means you can have fresh baked cookies in under 10 minutes anytime you want. ANYTIME. I guess this can be a pretty dangerous thing. But, eh. Enjoy life. You can whip up a batch and divide it into smaller portions and wrap 2x in plastic wrap and pop it in the freezer.

20130418-075253.jpgThen when you want the Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, EVER, you just take a frozen portion out of the freezer, let it thaw for ~ 1 hour on the counter, or a few hours to a few days in the fridge – and bake up a fresh batch. Simple, easy and amazingly delicious. I guess you could say these cookies are Delicious in a DASH : )

20130418-074844.jpgSo how do you make these chewy, chocolatey, peanut buttery cookies in a DASH?

First, pull out your butter so it can soften at room temperature. You never want to melt your butter, just let it sit at room temperature about 5-10 minutes. While your butter is softening, gather up all the other ingredients and bowls and things. I usually prep my dry ingredients first, because my butter is still softening. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. **When measuring flour, be sure to scoop into the cup, and then level off with a knife. You never want to scoop with the cup. It will pack the flour down into the cup and you will measure too much. For more on how to measure flour, check out the King Arthur Flour website.

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Now tackle the step 1 wet ingredients. I cut the still cold stick of butter into 4-6 pieces, this way, it is easier to mix. **A tip for measuring out the creamy peanut butter – spray the cup with non-stick cooking spray – it will make the peanut butter slide out easier.** I also have always used Skippy creamy peanut butter with these cookies, but any creamy peanut butter will do. I’ve never tried natural peanut butter with these cookies, (I usually save that for sandwiches) so I can’t guarantee their perfection, however, you can try.

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In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugars and peanut butter together. If you are using a mixer, do not go above medium speed, it will warm up the butter too much. It should look like the picture below. Make sure the ingredients are very well combined, mix for about 3-4 minutes. You want the sugar to poke holes in your butter so your cookies will have air in them (the baking soda needs some air in there to work with). Now, I should warn you, if you taste this stuff at this phase it will taste like peanut butter frosting. Careful, you need this stuff to make the cookies, but go ahead, taste it. : )

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Next, combine step 2 of the wet ingredients to mixing bowl that contains the well-creamed butter/sugar/peanut butter mixture. ** Tip for measuring honey. Just like the peanut butter, spray the tablespoon with non-stick cooking spray before measuring the honey. The honey will slide right out.** Mix all the ingredients till they are well combined.

20130416-215254.jpgFinally, Add the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda) to the mixing bowl that has the well mixed wet ingredients. I add the dry ingredients in 2 batches – ½ in, stir till combined, then the other ½. Do NOT over mix your cookie batter at this step.

After the flour mixture is incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips. Mmmm

To measure out the cookies, I usually use a tablespoon, this is the size cookie that my baking time is for. You can certainly make them larger. You will need to adjust the baking time. These cookies don’t spread, so you can put them closer together than I have pictured here.

20130418-075239.jpgNow you’re ready to bake. Get ready for peanut buttery, chocolatey deliciousness!

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Mmmm! Warm, creamy peanut butter and melty chocolate.

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Recipe:20130416-215148.jpg

The Best Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, EVER

Makes about 4 dozen

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 and ½ cups of flour (I use all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt

Wet Ingredients – step 1

  • ½ cup of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (1 stick)
  • 1 cup of creamy peanut butter (not natural kind – I like Skippy the best)
  • 1 cup of dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup of white sugar

Wet Ingredients – step 2

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 and ¼ cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and set aside
  3. In large mixing bowl, combine wet ingredients from step 1. Cream the ingredients until smooth
  4. To that same mixing bowl, add step 2 wet ingredients **To measure out the honey, use a non-stick cooking spray (like Pam) to spray the tablespoon. The honey will slide right off the tablespoon and you won’t loose any honey.
  5. Mix all the wet ingredients (step1 and 2) until well incorporated
  6. Add the mixed dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. You may add the mixed dry ingredients in 2 batches to make it easier to incorporate.
  7. Stir the wet and dry until just combined
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips
  9. Drop cookies onto baking sheet using a tablespoon to measure. You can smoosh the cookies with your hands or mold them into balls if you like.
  10. Bake for 7-9 min. 8 minutes is perfect for my oven and the size I bake, but it may vary based on oven and cookie size. ** The cookies will be soft and a will look a little underdone – but will cook a little more as you let them cool on the sheet.  Do not over bake.  The cookies will come out hard and crumbly if you bake them too long. 

Enjoy!

Cooled cookies keep for a week in a sealed container.

Dough freezes well up to 3 months.

You can also refrigerate the dough for up to ~ 3 days before baking.

* I used a mixer because I have one. But you do not need any mixer to make these cookies.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies