Tag Archives: chocolate chips

Four Bite Sized Desserts for the Fourth

4 Jul

Fourth of July is one of the most beloved American holidays because not only does it celebrate America’s hard-won freedom, it also gives Americans a great deal of freedom as to how they want to celebrate. While a BBQ and fireworks are traditional, there is no necessity to do anything other than have a good time. You don’t have to buy gifts, spend lots of money, or go through the stress of planning the perfect holiday meal. Fireworks are free, the beach is open to everyone, and barbecuing is way easier than planning a sit-down dinner party. The Fourth of July is an excuse simply to hang out and have a good time.

And what could be a better complement to your BBQ than a few homemade American desserts. Instead of getting super elaborate with the sweets, keep it easy with rice krispies, lemon bars, s’mores, or brownies. In bite-sized squares, these treats are easy to pick up and nibble on at any point of your 4th of July celebration.

I chose to update these American classics a bit with Browned Butter Rice Krispy Treats, Light and Tangy Lemon Bars, S’mores Cups, and Chewy, Chocolate-Studded Brownies. When I made these desserts for a casual get-together with friends a few weeks ago, the s’mores bites and lemon bars were both HUGE hits.

Just a secret between you and me…these desserts are all a bit healthier than most treats, so you can indulge without feeling guilty. These desserts each take less than an hour to whip up, so make all four or just stick with one of two.

This year we are having a BBQ and outdoor screening of Independence Day for some of our friends and just keeping it simple and relaxed. What are you doing to celebrate?

Browned Butter Rice Krispy Treats

Adapted from Krissy’s Creations

Serves 16 (to make 24 treats, I  made mine in a 9 by 13 inch pan and multiplied all ingredients by 1.5)

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bag of large marshmallows
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla bean extract)
  • 5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
 Directions
  1. Butter the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Continue to cook until the butter has turned a golden brown color, about 7 minutes.
  3. Place a mesh strainer over a large saucepan and pour the browned butter through the strainer to remove any little black dots (the slightly burned pieces). Place the large saucepan over low heat and add the marshmallows and salt.  Stir occasionally until the marshmallows are completely melted and smooth, then mix in the vanilla. Make sure not to keep the marshmallow mixture over the heat for too long otherwise your rice krispy treats will turn out hard and crunchy instead of soft and chewy.
  4. Add the cereal to the marshmallows and stir until the cereal is completely coated with the melted marshmallows.Remove from the heat and stir a few more times to make sure the cereal is evenly coated.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Let it cool slightly for 2-3 minutes, then use a rubber spatula to press it down into the pan.
  6. Let the treats cool in the pan on counter until completely cooled and hardened, about 2 hours.  Do not refrigerate them in an attempt to speed up the cooling process, as this too will make your rice krispies undesirably hard.
  7. Cut into 16 squares, and serve!

Light and Tangy Lemon Bars

Adapted from Shape Magazine

Serves 16

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 chunks

Filling

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 lime
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Additional powdered sugar for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and lightly coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. To make the shortbread, in the bowl of a mixmaster, mix the almond meal, flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Add butter and beat until no large chunks remain and mixture is loose and sandy.
  3. Transfer to baking dish and press firmly into base and edges until even. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling by combining sugar, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Finely zest lemons (about 2 teaspoons) and one lime (about 1 teaspoon) into bowl. Squeeze 1/3 cup juice from lemons and 1/4 cup juice two tablespoons from two limes and add to bowl along with eggs; whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the filling over crust and return the dish to oven and bake for 30 to 32 minutes or until center is set.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. Just before serving, cut the squares into 16 squares and sift powdered sugar over squares to garnish

S’mores Cups

Adapted from The Pampered Chef

Serves 24

Ingredients:

  • 8 graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 bars of chocolate, milk or dark
  • 12 large marshmallows (or 24 if you like very marshmallow filled s’mores)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place the graham crackers in a large plastic bag, and use a rolling pin to finely crush them.
  3. Using a spoon, combine the graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and butter in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin. Then evenly distribute the crumb mixture among the cups, placing about a tablespoon in each tin.
  5. Use your fingers to press crumbs to form shallow cups. Bake the graham cracker crust for 4-5 minutes, or until edges are bubbling.
  6. Meanwhile, break the candy bars into 48 rectangles. Remove the pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup.
  7. Cut marshmallows in half  crosswise (or use whole marshmallows if you like your s’mores really gooey) using kitchen shears. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven 2-4 minutes depending upon how toasted you like your marshmallows.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and press the chocolate pieces into the top of each marshmallow and return for them to the oven for another 1-2 minutes so that the chocolate can start to soften a bit.

Chewy, Chocolate-Studded Brownies 

Adapted from First Look, Then Cook

Serves 16

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9 inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with a straight edge. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Combine 1/2 cup chocolate chips and butter in the bowl of a double boiler until melted. Remove chocolate from the heat and allow it to cool for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir in milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs into the chocolate mixture until combined.
  5. Add the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the remaining cup of chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the brownies comes out almost clean.
  7. Allow the brownies to cool over e baking rack then cut into 16 squares.

Oatmeal Cookies Two Ways: Chocolate-Cherry and Butterscotch-Chip

6 Jun

I know that as summer rolls around, people start choosing frozen treats over baked goods, but I wholeheartedly believe that even during the summer, nothing can beat homemade cookies.

Butterscotch-Chip on the left and Chocolate Cherry on the right

These cookies are for when you just need a good, chewy cookie. The cookies that I have to share with you today are not soft, airy cake cookies, but rather chewy, textured oatmeal cookies. That’s why they’re best served warm with a glass of milk!

Yummy Fillings

Carmely sugar and butter mixture

Sugar mixture plus flour mixture

Dough combined

Mixed again after addition of egg and vanilla

Although my mom has always had a soft spot for  oatmeal raisin cookies, to be honest, I’ve never been a big fan. I always felt like I was getting ripped off by finding yucky raisins instead of chocolate chips in my cookies. Unlike raisins, tangy sour cherries, on the other hand, are delicious. Even still, everything is better with chocolate chips.

Two bowls of basic oatmeal cookie dough

Butterscotch and Chocolate Chips added

Dried Sour Cherries and Chocolate Chips added

Butterscotch-Chip on the left and Chocolate Cherry on the right

That’s why I first decided to make cherry chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. But Goose hates cherries (or any fruit for that matter) and whenever I bake, I like to be able to share the goodies with him. So I decided to also make chocolate chip butterscotch cookies, so that he could have some too. Instead of making two entirely different cookies, I wanted to make a basic dough that could suit us both. Hence, these super-adaptable oatmeal cookies were the perfect fix. Simply divide the batter into two (or more) bowls and add whatever mix-ins you want.

Butterscotch-Chip cookies ready to bake

Chocolate-Cherry cookies ready to bake

Chocolate-Cherry Cookies (for me)

Butterscotch-Chip Cookies (for Goose)

Chocolate-Cherry and Butterscotch-Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted From Cooking Light

Serves 60

Ingredients

  •  2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  •  2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 2/3 cup butterscotch chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line your baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flours, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar until smooth.
  4. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Then add the vanilla and eggs and beat until combined.
  5. Divide the dough among two bowls and add cherries and one cup of the chocolate chips to one bowl. Add butterscotch chips and the remaining chocolate chips to the other bowl.
  6. Drop tablespoons of the dough two inches apart onto the baking trays from the first step.
  7. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes or until almost firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks. Repeat until you have baked all of the cookies.

Other possible flavor variations…the sky’s the limit!

  • Pistachio Ginger
  • Salted Caramel
  • Apple Pie (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and freeze dried apples)
  • Peanut butter
  • Pumpkin Pie (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and pumpkin puree)
  • Maple Pecan
  • Rocky Road (mini marshmallows, walnuts, and chocolate chips)
  • Fluffernutter (peanut butter chips and marshmallow fluff)

Halfway Cookie Bars

17 May

Recently I’ve been reading Amy Thomas’s dessert-filled memoir, Paris My Sweet in which she describes her journey to track down the most delectable sweets in Paris. I am so impressed by how simply through her mastery of language, she can make my mouth water! I’ve had an insatiable desire for an indulgent treat ever since reading Thomas’s description of macarons as “firm but tender, shiny yet rigged ,with ethereally light shells and heavy middles [that make them] miniature studies of contrasts-and deliciousness.”

While these Halfway Cookie Bars definitely lack the delicate refinement of macarons, they make up for it with their melty chocolatey deliciousness.

Cookie Dough

Press it into the pan: Layer one done!

I’m warning you now…these cookies are addictive. Make them at your own risk. Luckily for me, I made them and then was immediately able to dispense them among ravenous friends, our high school’s victorious baseball team, and much-deserving teachers.

Chocolate: layer two

These things are ridiculously good! If chewy chocolate chip cookies and fluffy meringue cookies had a love child, this would be it. These bars consist of a classic cookie dough base topped with a layer of chocolate, and then finished off with a meringue coating. The lightness of the meringue makes it so that you can scarf down two or three of these bars without going into a butter-induced food coma.

Whipped Brown Sugar Meringue

Scoop all of that fluffy deliciousness on top of the cookie dough and chocolate…what could be better!

Three layers complete. Add the sprayed parchment, then into the oven they go!

My little sister helped me make these scrumptious treats, and while they do require quite a few steps, none of them are that difficult… except for the last one.

 

Halfway Cookie Bars

Adapted from The Kitchn

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, separated
  • 1 whole egg + 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of milk chocolate chunks
  • Canola oil cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover a 9 x 13 inch pan with aluminum foil, leaving some extra foil to  hang over all four sides of the pan and spray the foil with cooking spray. This will ensure safe removal of the bars after they cool.
  2. Make the cookie dough by whisking together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl. Then use a mixmaster to blend together the butter, the granulated sugar and just 1/2 cup of the brown sugar until it’s smooth and creamy. Slowly mix the egg into the sugar-butter mixture until it is completely absorbed, then mix in the water and vanilla. With the mixer at a low speed, add the flour mixture and beat gently until all the flour has been absorbed and the dough looks crumbly.
  3. Gently press the cookie dough gently into the pan with your hands, making sure the surface is even.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and chocolate chunks on top of the cookie dough and use your palms to press them slightly into the dough. This will help keep the chips from moving when you add the meringue.
  5. Start making the meringue by whisking together the two egg whites in the mixmaster in a clean bowl with a clean whisk attachment. Gradually increase your speed to medium-high. When the egg whites are very frothy and look like loose foam, start adding the remaining half cup of brown sugar a little at a time. Continue increasing your speed to the highest setting. When all the sugar has been added, continue whipping the meringue until it holds firm peaks.
  6. Use a spatula to gently spread the meringue on top of the chocolate layer. Star by dumping the meringue in the center of the pan, and gradually spreading it out towards the edges.
  7. Coat a piece of parchment paper with cooking spray, then lightly press it on the top of the meringue to protect the meringue from scorching. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the parchment. Continue baking for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the edges look toasted and are pulling away from the sides of the pan.
  8. This is the most difficult step of the entire process, but do your best to wait until the pan is completely cook before lifting out the bars and cutting them into pieces.

Optional Variations:

  • Add some espresso powder or cocoa powder to the top merangue layer for a more pronounced flavor
  • Swap some or all of the chocolate chips for butterscotch chips or toffee pieces
  • Replace the chocolate layer with a fresh fruit preserve layer
  • Replace the classic cookie base with a peanut butter cookie base
  • Add old fashioned oats and coconut to the bottom for a bar reminiscent of Hello Dolly Bars

Or try anything else you can think of, the sky’s the limit!

Aside

My New Favorite Cookie Recipe: Chewy, Crinkly Chocolate Chunk Rolo Cookies

13 Mar

Everyday people do amazing things, and far too often their actions go unnoticed. While being fully aware of every single thing that every person does is next to impossible, it is important to celebrate even the small things when you do notice them. Being appreciative and thoughtful never goes out of style.

Next time that your neighbor watches your pets while you’re out of town or your friend gives you some of her hand-me-down clothes, bake them a batch of these delicious cookies to show your thanks. Or just make a batch and bring them to your school or work to share with the people who enhance your life on a daily basis.

Especially during Girl Scout cookie season, it’s nice to have a batch of gooey, preservative-free cookies. Bake up a batch of these ASAP and share them with the people you love. Nothing beats a homemade showing of love, especially when that something is delicious cookies!

These may be my very favorite cookies ever, and that’s saying a lot because I’m a major cookie fiend. Although my Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars were absolutely delicious, their large size and thickness made them a bit too over-the-top for me, so I decided to adapted them into single-serving chocolate chip cookies. With the individual cookies, I decided to swap rolos in for the salted caramel sauce. I also used chocolate chunks instead of chocolate chips because I was all out of the chips. By sticking to thinner cookies instead of bars, the crinkly tops and chewy insides of this amazing cookie recipe really stood out.

Chewy, Crinkly Chocolate Chunk Rolo Cookies

Yield: ABout 30 cookies
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups + 2 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • ½ Tsp baking soda
  • ½ Tsp salt
  • 12 Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • ½ Cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chunks, made from dicing dark and milk chocolate Hershey’s Miniatures
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven 325 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Unwrap 30 rolos and set them aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine  flour, salt, and baking soda, then set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until thoroughly combined, then add in the egg, yolk, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  5. Slowly pour in the flour mixture, beating at low-speed just until combined, then stir in chocolate  chunks.
  6. Start with about 1/4 cup of cookie dough in your hand and flatten it out. Next place your rolo in the center of the flattened cookie dough. Then start to roll the sides of the dough up around the candy, adding more cookie dough as needed. Space the cookies at least 2 inches apart on your cookie sheets because they spread out.
  7. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes. Rotate the cookie tray around 6 minutes into the cooking time to ensure that all of the cookies are evenly cooked.
  8. Allow your cookies to cool on wire cooling racks if your willpower allows it.

What’s your favorite cookie recipe?

Shake Off the Monday Blues with a Chocolatey Antioxidant Kick!

5 Mar

I know that going back to school or work after a weekend of fun is always a bummer. Normally for me Mondays start off with a blaring 6 AM alarm clock to remind me that my weekend bliss is in fact over, and that it is time to return to the tedious world of tests, homework, and project deadlines. This weekend is especially hard for me to return from because I had an extra two days off school while I visited my dream school and had the incredible opportunity to interview for a scholarship and spend time with current architecture students.

Anywho, I decided that this Monday isn’t going to be tiresome or disappointing. I’m going to rely on a few cups of my favorite green tea and a handful of my favorite chocolatey antioxidant mix to brighten my day and start off this week on a good note! I highly recommend splurging on some good green tea because grocery store powdered tea cannot even compare to the taste of high-quality, whole-leaf tea bags. My favorite is the Sencha Uji tea from Lupica. Their tea is so good that top restaurants even serve it! If you are lucky enough to have a Lupica store nearby, you can save some money by buying tea with a blue dot on it, which means that they are discounting the price because it expires within a few months. Here’s an inforgraphic that points out how green tea can induce your work productivity, along with many other benefits in case you need a little more encouragement to treat yourself to a delicious cup of luxurious green tea.

From FrenchSunKiss

Accompany your productivity-enhancing green tea with some happiness-enducing dark chocolate. Indulge your sweet tooth with some dark chocolate with 65% or higher cocoa concentration. Dark chocolate has been scientifically proven to increase the release of serotonin and endorphins. The release of these two chemicals decreases stress and heightens happiness. As it turns out indulging in some chocolate really can make you happier, it’s not just your imagination.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy dark chocolate is by munching on the mouth-watering antioxidant mix created for the Montage spa by Executive Pastry Chef Richard Ruskel. Since clearly we can’t simply go to the spa whenever we are feeling blue, I decided to throw together my own variation of this feel-good mix.

Your regular grocery store may not carry some of these ingredients, but Whole Foods or Trader Joes should have whatever you need.

Realistically you should only have a quarter cup or so of this tasty mix, but if you want to bulk up the serving size of this tasty snack without majorly increasing the cost or the calories, mix it with some air popped popcorn or simple cereal, like Cheerios.

Chocolate, Fruit, and Nut Antioxidant Snack Mix

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups high quality mini chocolate chips (try Guittard or Ghirardelli; Hershey’s probably won’t cut it this time)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup cocoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
Directions:
  1. Roughly measure out all ingredients and pour them into a mixing bowl
  2. Mix the ingredients together well
  3. Store your snack mix in a cute container that will brighten your day just by looking at it

I hope that with a cup of green tea and some dark chocolate, or whatever fun indulgence you choose, you can start off your Monday on a good note. If you still aren’t feeling it, take a few minutes to jot down one small thing that you are looking forward to each day, or something exciting that is coming up next weekend. By enjoying all of the little things in life, you will find that there is less time to   fall into the trap of the Monday blues.

Ooey Gooey Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for a Very Special Occasion…..

6 Feb

Today, my friends and I become second semester high school seniors. As much as our teacher try to convince us otherwise, this means that we have paid our educational dues and now it’s finally time for studying and schoolwork to take the backseat in our lives for now as we finally start doing what we want to do instead of what we have to do. This means that I will have more time for baking, crafting, exploring LA, practicing yoga, and blogging. What would you do if your responsibilities suddenly eased up, allowing you with more time for yourself?

Even more important than being the first day of my last semester of high school, today is Goose’s 18th birthday. He is one of the kindest, most creative, and most thoughtful people I have ever met, and I feel incredibly lucky have grown and matured besides him from when we started dating as two crazy 15-year-olds.

Yum...cookie dough!

A few days ago I asked Goose what he wanted me to bake him as his birthday treat, because he has been such an obliging taste tester over the past few years. His request was simple enough…chocolate chip cookies or something simple…absolutely nothing with frosting. The ruled out the adorable smash cake or the cute baseball rice krispy treats that I had been considering making him.

I combined his favorite drink, Starbucks’s salted caramel hot chocolate, with one of my family’s favorite birthday recipes , chocolate chip cheesecake bars, to make these delectable Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. These are two layers of delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies with a layer of decadent salted caramel sandwiched in the middle.

Cookie dough with caramel sauce on top

There are a variety of ways to alter these delicious cookies based on your taste preferences and time availability. You could:

  • Use pre-made cookie dough to save on time
  • Use your own go-to chocolate chip cookie dough recipe
  • Use peanut butter, snicker doodle, or sugar cookie dough instead of chocolate chip
  • Fill the cookies with a layer of marshmallow fluff, hot fudge sauce, buttercream frosting or any other filling of your choice
  • Instead of making the caramel sauce from scratch, melt 10 ounces of caramels candies (such as Werther’s) with 3 Tbs of heavy cream in the microwave for about 2 minutes in 20 seconds intervals, stirring after each 2o seconds
  • Top the warm cookie bars with ice cream for an extra decadent treat

thick layer of caramel topped with sea salt

Ooey Gooey Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Recipe adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod, Salted caramel sauce from The Cooking Channel’s Kelsey Nixon

Pieces of cookie dough floating on top of the caramel

Ingredients:

For the cookies

  • 1 Cup + 2 Tbs all purpose flour
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tsp baking soda
  • 12 Tbs butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 Cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1  Egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups chocolate chips

3 layers complete!

For the Caramel Sauce

  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup water
  • 3/4 Cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 Tsp sea salt

Yummy in the oven

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, then spray an 11 X 7 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside

2. In a medium bowl, combine  flour, salt, and baking soda, then set aside

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the melted butter and sugars, then add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients (from the second step) and mix on low until just combined, then mix in the chocolate chips

5. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat and bring to a boil without stirring until the syrup is a deep amber color (about 5 to 6 minutes)

6. Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream, then stir in the butter and salt

5. Press a little less than half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula

6. Pour the hot caramel sauce over the cookie dough and sprinkle caramel with sea salt

7. Flatten spoonfuls of cookie dough into sheets and gently place them over the caramel, filling in the cracks with extra dough and smoothing the top down until the caramel is completely covered

8. Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt, then place them in the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown

9. Once the bars are completely cooled, cut bars into squares and serve

Happy Birthday Goose! What special birthday traditions or special occasion recipes do you have?

Baked cookie bars

Ooey, Gooey Deliciousness

The Easiest Cookies You Will Ever Make…Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with M&Ms

15 Jan

Today I feel very fortunate to be celebrating my 2 1/2 year anniversary with my incredible boyfriend, Goose. He is not only my best friend but also the love of my life. Every month I try to cook something special to  show him how much I care, and this month I decided to cook Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with M&Ms (after his suggestion of something peanut buttery)

I almost feel like it’s cheating to give him so simple, but the delicious combination of peanut butter and chocolate make these cookies addictively delectable without having to do any baking magic.

1 bowl + 2 types of chocoalte + 6 other ingredients = pure deliciousness

These cookies take a mere 10 minutes plus 12 minutes of cooking time so you could make them while watching the Golden Globes tonight without missing much.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with M&Ms

adapted from Divine Baking http://www.divine-baking.com/2011/04/best-peanut-butter-cookie-ever.html

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all natural, smooth peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup m&ms

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined
  3. Use hands to shape the cookie dough into 1 tbs size balls, and place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes
  5. When cookies are firm enough to transfer, allow them to finish cooling on racks

These cookies are so easy that you don’t have any excuse to mkae them. They are the perfect thing to bake with your family tomorrow when eveyone has a day off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

How are you spending your Monday off sweet readers?