Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies and Pure Joy

Am I the only one who is drooling?

There are few things in this world that go together as well as Peanut Butter and Jelly (or Nick and I :P).  One of these perfect pairings are (is??)  Cookie Dough and Chocolate Brownies.

I needed to bake something that would match how I am feeling: pure joy! I get to see Nicholas in THREE MORE DAYS! I could have made cookies, or I could have made brownies, but what makes these two separate desserts even better is when you combine them.

This is THE baked good for the sweet tooth in your life. The brownie layer is sweet, moist and full of flavor. The cookie dough is safe to eat (contains no eggs) and tastes exactly the same as your regular ol’ dough, without the risk of salmonella!

What makes this recipe especially dangerous is how easy it is to make!

This recipe is from Recipegirl!

Ingredients

BROWNIE:
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

COOKIE DOUGH (EGG FREE!)
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 Tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet chips + 1 teaspoon shortening for drizzle, optional

1. Prepare the brownies: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick spray. In a medium glass bowl, melt chocolate in the microwave in short bursts of 30 seconds; stir after each burst and remove from microwave when melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Mix in melted chocolate. Blend in flour and mix just until combined (don’t over-mix). Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 35 minutes. Watch closely and remove from oven when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.

2. Prepare the cookie dough: In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Mix in milk and vanilla. Mix in flour just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Spread cookie dough over the cooled brownies. Refrigerate until the dough is quite firm. It’s okay to speed up the process and place it in the freezer too. The firmer the dough, the easier it will be to cut into neat squares.

My First Attempt At Making Bread! Quick and Easy French Bread

My First Loaf!

Bread has always been an intimidating, scary area of baking for me; the concept of kneading is downright frightening. Since receiving my new KitchenAid Standing Mixer, I have decided to let go of my fears since this nifty kitchen gadget can do all of the kneading for me!

This recipe was great for beginners! Simple, direct, and yielding excellent results. My family is bread lovers; being Italian, bread is served at essentially every dinner. When my dad told me that this bread was excellent, I knew that I was on to something! The bread is perfect: not to light, and perfectly heavy. The interior is soft with a nice and perfectly crispy exterior. It pairs perfectly with some butter, margarine, or some olive oil!

This recipe is from Urban Strawberries! Thanks for the phenomenal bread!

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp. yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
5 1/2 cups flour
1 egg white (or 2 Tbsp olive oil)

Directions
Preheat oven to 450*F.

In a large bowl, mix warm water and yeast until yeast has dissolved.  Next add sugar, salt and flour. Knead ingredients together till it’s a soft uniform dough.

Now place a thin towel over the bowl with the dough in it and let it rise in a warm place for 15-30 minutes.

Seperate dough into two, and begin shaping dough into long loaves, and place on a baking sheet.

Make slits with a knife and brush with egg white or olive oil. If you are garnishing with herbs or cheese, do so now.

Cover the dough with the towel once more and let rise 5 minutes or so (the longer the better).

Remove towel, and bake for 12-15 minutes or until tops are brown and crusty.

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins and a Sweet Christmas Gift

A yummy belated Christmas present for your tummy!

This Christmas was fantastic! I was able to spend it with my family, Skype with Nicholas while he was visiting Rome, and I got a present that I was not expecting: a KitchenAid Standing Mixer!! For a baker, this is probably the best gift that one can receive: I tested it out today, and it cut my time preparing in HALF. Now I am purposely looking up recipes that I could use my mixer for :P.

I  made this recipe before receiving my gift, and it is so easy to make that you don’t even need a standing mixer! As I stated in a previous post, my father works for Tastykake. When I was younger, he would bring us home chocolate donuts. Back in the day, the package used to say “Great for Breakfast!”. I would use this as my excuse to eat the donuts for breakfast and it drove my dad crazy!

But alas, this recipe tastes like a donut, but can be eaten for breakfast because of it’s muffin form! This is a moist, sweet, and delicious treat for any time during the day. It is a great alternative to less-healthy fried donuts and it satisfies your sweet tooth just the same!

This recipe is from one of my favorite blogs, Baked Perfection.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 cups flour (I used 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla

Topping:
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper cups.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix with light strokes until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Do not overmix; batter will not be smooth.
  3. Divide batter among the muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in one or two of the muffins come out clean, 12-15 minutes.
  4. While the muffins are baking, melt 1/2 stick butter and place in a bowl just large enough to hold a muffin. Combine ½ cup of sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a small, shallow bowl. As soon as the muffing are done, dip them one at a time in the melted butter and then roll in the sugar mixture. Set on a rack to cool.

Yields 12 standard muffins.

Nutella Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies…Am I in Heaven?

Is it bad if I am drooling?

As my friends know, I am a chocoholic. There are few things in this world that I love as much as chocolate: My family, my boyfriend, and  nutella. When you put nutella and chocolate together you have created a beautiful, beautiful thing.

When I saw this double chocolate nutella cookie I dropped what I was doing (metaphorically speaking) and baked up a batch. I couldn’t even wait for them to cool before I tried one…they are absolutely delicious. You can taste the rich, smooth taste of the hazelnut spread combined with the sweet milk chocolate chips. This recipe perfectly combines these two amazing favors. Santa would love to try these when he stops in your home this Christmas!

This recipe is from Cooks.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup nutella
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  3. Cream sugars and the butter in large bowl until smooth and light in color. Add the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla extract and Nutella.
  4. Add the flour mixture on low speed 1/3 at a time until just mixed. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. On an ungreased baking sheet, place rounded balls of dough at least 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes until set but still soft. Let cool on a rack.

Cheesecake Brownies

I love the swirls!

Nick left for Italy today at 5:30, and I know this may sound tacky but I feel as though a part of me left with him. In a bid to keep my mind off of my emotional distress (and in an attempt to remain sane), I volunteered to bake for my father’s holiday party.

My dad is a distributor for Tastykake. Friends have always thought that this was an awesome job that came with a closet full of Krimpets and mini donuts, etc. The reality is I usually only have a box of mini donuts and if I am lucky some Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.  So no, I am not special :P.

Since about 90% of my daily communication with human beings consists of conversing with Nicholas, I needed to get myself distracted. I decided to go all out for this holiday get together: two new recipes in one night. I’ll upload the other one tomorrow morning! 🙂

This recipe is a simple way to spice up your same-old brownies. It gives your typical brownie a tangy, rich, and velvety taste. In other words, if brownies and cheesecakes hooked up and had a baby, this would be the delicious result.

The recipe is from Taste of home and is as follows:

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese

Directions

  • Separate two eggs, putting each white in a separate bowl (discard yolks or save for another use); set aside. In a small bowl, beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar until crumbly. Beat in the whole egg, one egg white and vanilla until well combined. Combine flour and cocoa; gradually add to egg mixture until blended. Pour into a 9-in. square baking pan coated with cooking spray; set aside.
  • In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth. Beat in the second egg white. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls over the batter; cut through batter with a knife to swirl.
  • Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until set and edges pull away from sides of pan. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 1 dozen.

Sour Outlook and Sour Cream Cake

Today is a bittersweet day.  Tomorrow Nicholas and his family will be leaving to go to Italy for ten days. I am SO excited for him; after taking Italian last semester, I have learned about the beauty of the country and I think it is so great that he will be able to experience it firsthand. At the same time, Nicholas and I have never gone a day without speaking to each other, none-the-less TEN days of no texting, IMing, or skyping.

I have grown extremely close not only to Nicholas, but to his family. I had spent three of the past days with him and his relatives, watching their old home videos and laughing at memories. There is one member of the family that I have grown especially close to, however; his name is Buddy and he is a Cockapoo. They don’t offer dog tours in Italy, so Buddy will be spending the next two weeks with my family and puppies! He is my silver lining :).

Buddy is a sucker for the camera!

While I was visiting, Nick’s grandmother came over and brought a DELICIOUS dessert that I had never tried before. The treat was Sour Cream Cake: a moist, flavor-filled loaf cake that contained not only chocolate but also Walnuts. Don’t let the name scare you away: you DO NOT  taste the sour cream, it simply makes the cake moist and soft. After eating a few slices, and complimenting her creation multiple times, Nick’s grandma gave me her recipe! This recipe makes three loaves; a great baked good to give to family and friends around the holiday season!

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

1 cup  mini chocolate chips

1 cup walnuts

4 eggs

1 16 oz container of sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla (the original recipe called for 2 tsp but I LOVE vanilla!)

3 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

FOR THE TOPPING:

an additional 1/2 cup walnuts

an additional 1 cup mini chocolate chips

2 tsp cinnamon

4 tsp sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease three loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter together until well blended.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring between each until fully incorporated.
  4. Add the entire package of sour cream and the vanilla, mixing in completely.
  5. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
  7. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Pour the mixture evenly into the three pans, about half full.
  8. In a tiny bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle evenly over the three loaves. Sprinkle the additional walnuts and mini chocolate chips evenly. Put into the oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until browned and toothpick comes out clean.

 

 

BARK the Herald Angels Sing!

Ooey-gooey goodness

The holiday season can be a HECTIC time. Between all of the shopping, the wrapping, and the visiting, it is easy to not have enough time to bake!

For a college student who is broke, baking is a perfect, easy, and inexpensive way to give gifts to friends and loved ones. With all of the hustle and bustle of the season, sometimes all you need is a quick and easy treat to bring to a get-together. This, my friends, is that quick treat: let me present to you what I call Tree Bark. This is one of the first treats that I learned how to bake…EVER. I learned how to make it in high school, lost the recipe, and have been DYING to make it since. I found it online the other day under a different name: Toffee Crack…ers.  It is the easiest, simplest, and quickest dessert to make!

The best part of this treat, however, is the TASTE. The blend of salty and sweet is phenomenal; it will totally satisfy your sweet tooth and rid you of any craving thats you might be having. Oh, and did I mention that it only requires FOUR INGREDIENTS?? Yeah, I know, it does not get any better than this.

Ingredients:

40 Saltine Crackers

1 Cup Unsalted Butter

1 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet or a jelly roll pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Lay saltines across the sheet on top of the foil.
  2. Melt the sugar and butter in a saucepan until it reaches a boil. Lower the heat, and let the mixture simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until mixture thickens/ sugar is dissolved. Pour the mixture overtop the saltines, spreading it evenly.
  3. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until the toffee is bubbling.
  4.  Upon removal, pour the chocolate chips over the toffee. Once the chips start to melt, spread evenly. Let cool and/or refrigerate to harden the bark quicker.

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