White Chocolate “Brownies”

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Twelve more days until I can begin introducing “trigger” foods back into my diet.  I’m counting minutes.  While cutting out these foods for the last three months was easier than I thought it might be, it certainly had its challenges. (And breakdowns. And fits.) I seriously had the brownie cravings. Oddly enough though, I wouldn’t normally consider myself a brownie hound. Or even chocolate for that matter. Don’t get me wrong, I really like chocolate. But given the choice, I usually pick vanilla. I heard on television this morning that vanilla choosers tend to be more reckless and adventurous…Right. That’s why we’re choosing vanilla all the time.

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What I realized is that it wasn’t the chocolatey-ness of the brownies that I missed, but it was their chewy-dense-fudgy texture. Especially the edges.  I pick brownie edges first every time. So after watching everyone eat brownies for the last few months, I finally decided I couldn’t wait 12 more days. This recipe happened instead and I’m SO glad it did.  As we’re headed to visit my family this weekend, I’ll be happy to take the rest of this batch with me to share.  Otherwise, I could easily eat all of them.

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Ingredients:

6 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped

5 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup AP flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×9 inch pan and set aside.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the white chocolate and butter. Keep a watchful eye as it can burn quickly. When the mixture is almost all melted, remove from heat and keep stirring. Mine almost looked a bit curdled at this point. Not to worry, it will all come together.

In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until nice and smooth. Add the white chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir until just combined. Note: If you prefer to add nuts, extra chips, dried fruit, etc, this is a good time to do so.

Spread evenly into your prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes. The top will be a nice, golden yellow. Cool. Cut. Enjoy.

Source: Slightly adapted from Lovin’ From The Oven

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Key Lime Pie – Celebrating Pi Day


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Today is Pi Day! Mathematicians everywhere are celebrating the magical number used in many abdjslsdienkdlkd…. I start to zone out as soon as math is brought into anything. But pie… I can get on board with. So that is how I will be celebrating my 3/14. With my co-workers, who will also be bringing pies to work. Any excuse to eat in excess, right?

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My mom shared this key lime pie recipe with me and it’s so simple. I made it this past weekend for the family and was pleasantly surprised at how quick it came together. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my brother Joe get seconds of pie and I’ve certainly never seen my dad ask for the very last piece. He’s never been much for sweets (unless it was a ding-do

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If you decided to make this, make sure you have enough key limes. It takes about 20 of those little guys to get that ¾ cup of juice. Also, I found that using a garlic press was the quickest and easiest way to get them juiced. Happy Pi Day!

IngredientsIMG_4779
For the crust:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
10 graham crackers ( or 1 ½ cups cookie crumbs)
2 tablespoons sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt

For the filling:
3 cups sweetened condensed milk
½ cup sour cream
¾ cup key lime juice
2 teaspoons grated lime zest

For the topping:

½ cup heavy whipping cream
half a vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
sugar, as desired
lime wedges and zest as desired

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Crush graham cracker crumbs or pulse in a food processor until finely ground. Mix together with melted butter, sugar, and salt until all the crumbs are evenly coated. Press into a 9-9 ½ inch pie plate keeping an even thickness along the bottoms and up the sides. Place in the oven and bake about 10 minutes, keeping a close eye. Don’t let the top edges brown too much as it will bake additional time with the pie filling.

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In a medium bowl, combine lime juice, zest, condensed milk, and sour cream. Mix well. Pour into the prepared crust. Bake for 5-8 minutes. Tiny pinhole bubbles will begin to form on the surface of the pie. Don’t let it brown. Remove from oven and cool on racks. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator before serving.

Beat heavy whipping cream, vanilla seeds, extract, and sugar until soft peaks form. Garnish pie just before serving.

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Source: Crust adapted from Smitten’s Smore Pie, Filling from All Recipes 

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

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Does anyone else check their Pinterest ten times a day? No? Yea…uh… me neither. While I was checking mine for the first, or fifth time in a day, I saw this recipe for baked doughnuts. Jordan has told me before that his parents make killer cinnamon sugar doughnuts so I thought a variation like this would be just the treat for him. He’s been working a lot lately.

A few notes about these. Get lazy, and don’t over-knead the dough. It comes together really quick and I really don’t think it needs a lot of work. It’s pretty elastic as is. Also, they dry out pretty quickly. So I recommend making them day-of or the night before you want to enjoy them and keep them in a very airtight container.

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The dough is simple enough that you could add any sort of topping, glaze, or frosting to these. I think a confectioners sugar glaze or a maple coating would be great. That’s how I’ll make these next time. Also, you could probably cut these into any shape you like. Some cute hearts for your valentine or other related shapes depending on the day. I just think they’re so dang cute in the mini rounds. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the Dough (makes about 15 doughnuts)

3/4 cups warm milkIMG_4124
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
2 ½ cups flour
A pinch of ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt

For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions

For the dough, place ¼ cup of the warm milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the yeast into the milk and let it sit for 5 minutes.

In a small liquid measuring cup, combine the remaining milk with the sugar and butter.  Add it to the bloomed yeast mixture and stir to combine.  Add in the egg and give the mixture a good stir until combined.  Add the flour, cloves, salt and mix well. The dough will start to form.  Put the dough hook on the mixer and knead until the dough starts to become smooth, about 2 minutes.

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Place the dough ball in a large lightly greased bowl, and cover with a clean dish towel.  Let sit in a warm place for about an hour, until doubled in size.

Once the dough has doubled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to half an inch thick.  Using your cutter of choice cut out as many doughnuts as you can get from the dough.

Preheat the oven 375 degrees F.

Place them on a baking sheet lined with silpats or parchment paper, about an inch apart. (They don’t spread during baking) Cover again and let it sit for about 45 minutes.

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Bake for 8 minutes, until lightly golden brown on the bottoms.  Take care not to overbake. Let the doughnuts cool for about 5 minutes.

Melt the butter in a saucepan or in a microwave safe bowl. Combine the cinnamon and sugar  in a small bowl. Dip the topside of the doughnut into the melted butter.  Then dip them into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Place on a cooling rack to set, about 5 minutes more. Best when served warm.

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Source: adapted from Krissy’s Creations

Chocolate Syrup

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Now because Jordan and I are grown adults, making important life decisions and all… we choose to drink chocolate milk. A lot. I’m slightly embarrassed to truly admit the extent of our intake. After we’ve eaten our daily portion of vegetables, fruits, and protein (of course I’m telling the truth here) we look forward to this treat served up with some bonus nostalgia. Ah, the days.

Now, you might think I’m crazy to be making my own chocolate syrup. Right? But I promise you, not only is it less expensive because it comes from pantry staples, but it tastes significantly better. Not to mention, it will save us another trip back to the store to return our previously beloved chocolate powder due to a recent recall. “Um… Yeah.” Is the exact response Jordan got from the store manager who thought he was crazy for returning chocolate powder. We were heartbroken. I promise you this isn’t a rebound recipe, its a keeper.

IMG_2818Ingredients

1 cup sugar (more can be added, to taste)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

In a medium saucepan, combine the cocoa and sugar, whisking to get rid of the extra lumps. Add in the water and salt and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring very frequently. Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce to a lower heat, letting it simmer for about 5 minutes. The mixture will be slightly thickened. Remove from heat and let stand for another 5 minutes or so. Add in the vanilla, stirring well. Let it cool. Keep it in the fridge and it will last you a long time.

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Source: Adapted from Pennies on a Platter and Annie’s Eats


Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

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The new year has been off to a great start. We’ve both been busy with work (especially the wolf pack), the new, healthy, nephew has arrived, we’ve had several great adventures over the past few weekends (I know, so vague), and neither of us have caught that nasty cold/flu bug that seems to have hit every other house. I consider 2013 a victory so far. To celebrate: a classic.

I love this recipe for a few reasons. I don’t have to let butter come to room temperature. That is huge. Our cookie cravings tend to hit fast, and when they do, I’m usually up making cookies within 15 minutes or so. There is no time for silly things like room temp butter. Second reason: that tablespoon of vanilla. I’ve always been one to double up on it anyway because I think it goes with everything. Pancakes, brownies, smoothies, bananas in various forms. Jordan thinks I’m crazy ( “Vanilla isn’t a flavor!”)… but he’s a chocolate lover so his opinion doesn’t count on this one.

These chocolate chip cookies have recently become my go-to. In a pinch, I choose these. At this point, I know myself too well to say that these are my one and only… but they’re close. Nature of the beast.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line sheets with parchment paper or sil-pats.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended and fluffy.

Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Drop cookie dough a tablespoon at a time onto the prepared sheets. They tend to spread a bit so make sure there are a few inches in between each one.

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Bake about 9 to 11 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges start to get some color. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes. Ours never make it to cooling racks.

Update: As it seems that brown butter is all the rage at the moment, I thought I’d mention that these are wonderful with the addition. Since the recipe calls for melted butter already, simply melt it down in a sauce pan and cook it about for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Be careful to keep a close eye on the cooking butter as it can turn from brown to burned very quickly

Source: I make the smaller version (but with fewer chips) of Deb Pearlman’s at Smitten Kitchen.

Molasses Ginger Cookies


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These cookies have become my go-to holiday treat. I’ve made them the last several years and they always come out great with minimal fuss and hardly any time at all. The recipe doesn’t call for butter, which worried me at first, but they have a wonderful texture and aren’t heavy. I like a little bit more of a spice kick so I adjusted from the original recipe, which is reflected below.

We had a very busy holiday, but we got to see most of our family. It was nice to spend a four day weekend with Jordan and catch up with everyone. I’m really looking forward to the new year. 2012 was full of change and I’m hopeful for what lucky 2013 will bring. (especially excited to meet my new little nephew any day now!)

Ingredients

3/4 cup vegetable oilIMG_3184
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 ground ginger
Additional sugar, for rolling

Instructions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, sugar, and molasses. It will try and separate on you, but don’t worry.  Add the egg; mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and ginger; add to sugar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or until easy to work with.

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 Shape dough into 1.5-in balls; roll in sugar. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets (or line sheets with parchment or sil-pats). Bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 min or until tops are cracked and edges are set. Cool for 2-3 min before removing to wire racks.

Makes about 2 dozen

The Infamous Homemade Oreo

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These cookies. I don’t even know.  By far, they get the most attention out of anything else that I make. I’m not sure if it’s an aesthetic thing, how amazingly perfect in texture they always seem to be, or if people just have a nostalgic soft spot for Oreos and judgmental taste buds no longer apply. That’s not it. These cookies would still be outstanding even if I had never had a store bought Oreo in my life. With that being said, use caution where you take these. If you’re like me, and want to try new recipes every time, this is one of those cookies that people ask for over and over again. Deb Pearlman (my go to lady for recipes!) wasn’t kidding about this one.


Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking sodaIMG_3098

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons room-temperature, unsalted butter

1 large egg

For the filling:

1/4 cup room-temperature, unsalted butterIMG_3072

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

2 cups  sifted confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 Instructions

Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. On low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue mixing until dough comes together.

Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. Note: I like to keep the diameter of the wafers on the small side. After all, they will be sandwiched together in the end. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

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To assemble the cookies, using a knife, spread about a teaspoon of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.

Source: Slightly adapted (for less sweetness, as Deb notes) from Smitten Kitchen