Big Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here’s a recipe for giant chocolate chip cookies, courtesy of Martha Stewart.

I split the recipe in half. Modifications are in italics.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (1 cup)
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda (3/4 tsp)
  • 1 tsp salt (1/2 tsp)
  • 1 cup/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (1/2 cup = 1 stick)
  • 1 cup white sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (3/8 cup)
  • 2 eggs (1 egg)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (1 tsp)
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) chocolate chips (I used half a chocolate bar, cut into chunks)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.
  3. Add flour mixture with mixer on low speed. Mix until just incorporated. Add the chocolate chunks with a wooden spoon.
  4. Drop 1/4-cup mounds of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet, 4 inches apart. One cookie sheet should hold 4 cookies. A half batch makes about 7.
  5. Bake until golden, 15 to 18 minutes. I baked mine for 13 minutes and they came out almost too brown.

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Cinnamon Vanilla Granola 

I’ve been obsessed with making granola lately. It’s cheaper and healthier than buying it, and you can customize it so many ways. My friend shared this recipe with me. It’s from Foodbabe.com.  It’s delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups raw nuts (I used half pecans, half sliced almonds)
  • 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries (I omitted this but if you include it, make sure you add it after the granola comes out of the oven)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except dried fruit.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the granola in a single layer on it.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, turning the granola over every 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the granola from the oven and let cool. Add the dried fruit.

This will keep for a couple of weeks! You can also freeze it.

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Cookies

I finally made some shortbread cookies. This recipe kept showing up on several websites and blogs. These cookies are great straight from the freezer! I’ve noted the original amounts but I used only 1/3 each amount.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 unsalted butter, softened (I used 1/4 pound, or 1 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar (I used 1/3 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used 1/2)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 1/6)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I used just a sprinkling…about 1/12)
  • 6 to 7 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used half a bag of Nestle semisweet morsels/large chunks)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (to combine with the chocolate when melting)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup sliced almonds, for sprinkling on top

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute, until creamed.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and continue beating another 30 seconds.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Add this mixture to the stand mixer bowl, beating slowly to incorporate all ingredients.
  4. Mix on low speed for about 20 seconds, until dough forms a large clump.
  5. On a floured flat surface, roll out the dough into a flat disk or a 2-inch diameter log and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour or in freezer for 10 minutes to harden.
  6. You can then roll the disk flat and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces using cookie cutters, or you can slice the log into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Place the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle with some sugar if you want.
  7. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes (or 16, depending on how thick you made them), until the edges are slightly browned and toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. The original recipe suggests you bake them for 20-25 minutes, which would work well if you have a finger-shaped cutter that measures 3×1 inch. However, since I used small rounds, they baked quicker.
  8. Once the cookies have cooled, melt the chocolate chips and the coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl, 25 seconds at a time, until chocolate and coconut oil blend together into a creamy consistency.
  9. Dip the cookies in the chocolate, using a spoon to cover all sides. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top or dip the cookies into a bowl of almonds to cover the chocolate portion with them. Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with wax and place in refrigerator to harden, about 30 minutes.

You may store these cookies on the counter, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.

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Fluffy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are fluffy! They puff up when baking and remain soft and chewy for several days. I found this recipe in a Good Housekeeping Cookies book, and I’ll be making these again. I dropped the dough into blobs measuring 2 tablespoons instead of 1.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 package (16 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup–I used the large Nestle morsels)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) chopped pecans, or walnuts (I used walnuts)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown and white sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.
  4. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture, beating until combined.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.
  6. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons (or two tablespoons if you want bigger cookies) 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375F 10-12 minutes, until golden at the edges. For my oven, 10 minutes was perfect.
  7. Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool. You can also bake two batches at one time, rotating halfway between the upper and lower oven racks.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Cookie for One

Cookies have been on my mind for a while now. My stand mixer was boxed up for about a month during the transition period of moving and finding everything in boxes. I Pinned this recipe from Cooking Classy a while ago. It’s fantastic and does not require a mixer.

Here is how I tweaked it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 T softened butter (salted) — I used Kerrygold Irish butter
  • 3 T light brown sugar
  • 1 T whisked egg — Crack one egg open, whisk it, and scoop out 1 T of the mixture
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla — I used white vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup flour — I used organic white flour
  • 3 T chocolate chips — I used Nestle large chocolate chunks

Directions:

  1. Combine the softened butter, sugar, egg, baking soda, vanilla, and flour. Stir with a spoon until mixed well.
  2.  Add the chocolate chips and form into a 3.5 inch disk on a baking sheet. Press more chocolate chips onto the cookie if you want.
  3. Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes. I baked mine for 14 minutes, and it came out perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside!

Processed with Snapseed.

Guava Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Guava…one of the most fabulous fruits you can find in sunny south Florida. I am very excited that we will soon be moving back to our home state. Hopefully I will see guava more often in central Florida than I see it up here.

For this recipe, I used a Duncan Hines cake mix and simply used guava marmalade (Ancel) instead of the 1 cup water called for in the recipe. I had a little bit of marmalade left over, so I added more to half of my cream cheese frosting. I found this cream cheese frosting recipe on Allrecipes. This was my first time making cream cheese frosting, and I had a blast. I was impressed with how well the gel food coloring blended into the frosting! I’ve always had trouble blending color into buttercream frosting. Although I prefer the taste of buttercream, I think I’ll be using this recipe a lot more. This is the cake mix and marmalade:

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For the cupcakes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Classic Yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs (as called for in the Duncan Hines box)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (as called for in the Duncan Hines box)
  • 1 cup guava marmalade (to replace the 1 cup water)

Directions:

  1. Beat all ingredients together using a stand mixer on low until incorporated, 30 seconds.
  2. Beat on medium high for another 2 minutes. The batter will be thick and frothy.
  3. For mini cupcakes, bake at the temperature suggested on the box (I think it was 325F), for 13 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. For regular cupcakes, bake at the temperature suggested for 20-22 minutes.
  5. Let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting.

Yield: About 36 mini cupcakes and 12 regular cupcakes.

For the frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened (I left the Philadelphia cream cheese out about 2 hours)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Beat butter and cream cheese on medium high until blended, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the sugar and vanilla, beating on low until incorporated.
  3. Beat another minute or two on medium high until light and whipped.

If you wish, you can add 1-2 T of guava marmalade to make the frosting even tangier and sweeter. The cupcake batter is quite sweet (you could eat it as a Bundt cake alone) so you may want to skip this step. But if you really want to incorporate as much guava flavor as possible into your cupcakes, add the marmalade to the frosting. If the frosting isn’t pink enough, add a bit of red food coloring. The gel coloring blended perfectly in.

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Almond Coconut Cookies (Gluten-free and Butter-free)

For the past 3 years, I’ve been making my husband’s favorite almond cookies, but I’m trying to move away from using butter in his baked goods. Minimalist Baker has a fantastic almond meal cookie recipe that uses no butter! I didn’t have any dark chocolate, so I used a combination of half-milk chocolate and half-semisweet chocolate chips instead. Also, I added 1/4 tsp almond extract to the mix. In my kitchen adventures I have discovered that accidentally adding that amount of almond extract to any cookie batch makes the almond taste stand out much more. My poor KitchenAid mixer was not happy when I combined the dry ingredients with the chocolate chips, so next time I will add the chocolate in at the end. This would also be nice with some crunchy walnuts, pecans, or slivered almonds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups almond meal (or flour)
  • 1/4 cups chopped dark chocolate (or cacao nibs)–I used 1/8 cup milk chocolate chips and 1/8 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 T coconut oil, melted (zap it in the microwave for 10 seconds if it is solid)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • My addition: 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 egg

Directions:

Combine almond meal, chocolate chips (I will add these at the very end next time, along with any nuts), coconut flakes, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg for a few seconds until light and frothy. Add the melted coconut oil and vanilla and almond extracts. Beat for 30 seconds or 1 minute. Add the dry mix and beat for 1 more minute.

The original recipe suggested the dough be chilled for 30 minutes or overnight, but I was short on time, and I baked them right away. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet 1.5 inches apart. Flatten each dough ball a bit.

Bake until the edges are brown, 7-10 minutes. In my oven it took about 12-13 minutes, but I also made the dough balls a bit larger than 1 inch. The recipe yields 20 cookies, 78 calories per cookie. I ended up with 11.

These were fantastic and will continue to be a presence in our household!

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