Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies to Celebrate Spring!

 

Although there have been a few questionable days weather wise, I think it is safe to say that spring is here! As I type this, I hear birds chirping and a light breeze is blowing in through the window.

I personally love spring- it isn’t too hot, nor is it cold. I don’t last long in the summer; I sit outside for ten-ish minutes and I burn. During the spring I can enjoy the fresh air without the fear of developing melanoma. But what I like most about spring are the desserts! Specifically carrot cake. I LOVE carrot cake. So when my mother (who is a paraprofessional) told me that they were throwing a little bridal party for a teacher at her school, I took advantage of the occasion and decided to try this recipe.

If you read my last post, you would know that I am now a summer nanny! This is my second year nannying during the summer, and I absolutely adore the two (soon to be three!) girls that I watch. The job can be tiring, though; I have been working early hours (which is absolutely fine!) but now I don’t have as much energy, time, or desire to bake after work.

This recipe solves my problems! It is simple, quick and truly one of the BEST things that I have ever baked. I brought some in for the children that I watch, and both of them gobbled it up- even the picky two year old! My mom brought them in to school today and multiple people asked for the recipe (of course I just told her the URL for my blog…nothing like a little free PR 😛 ) The best part of this recipe? It is made with a box mix. But trust me, NO ONE can tell.

The cookie itself is light, soft and filled with flavor. The frosting is rich, sweet (but not overly so!), and is the perfect way to top off this delectable little creation.

Allergic to walnuts? They are totally unnecessary! Don’t want frosting? You can stir the walnuts right into the batter. If you want to change it up a little bit, you can also add in some raisins or chocolate chips. This recipe would be absolutely perfect for a mother’s day brunch or dessert.

Now tell me, what is your favorite spring recipe?

This recipe is from Betty Crocker.

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • One box or pouch of oatmeal cookie mix
  • 1/2 cup of butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots (about 2-4 carrots)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg

Frosting:

  • 4 oz (half of 8 oz package) cream cheese, softened*
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup walnuts

* I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese, and the cookies turned out delicious. It is a great way to cut out a few calories!

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl (or standing mixer), stir cookie ingredients until stiff dough forms.
  2. On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  4. In small bowl, mix cream cheese, 1 tablespoon butter, the vanilla and powdered sugar with spoon until smooth. Spread frosting over cookies. Sprinkle with nuts. Store tightly covered in refrigerator.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

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I’m baaccckkkkk! The semester ended last week, which means three things to me. One, my brain can turn to mush. Two, I am unfortunately separated from Nicholas and limited to only weekend visits. And three, limitless time for baking!

Well, not really limitless time- I am a summer nanny. Today I found out that the 2-year old that I watch, Claire, would be attending a play group tomorrow. What a perfect excuse for me to get back in the kitchen! I didn’t want to make something too rich or sweet; essentially I didn’t want the parents to hate me for making their children bounce of the walls.

I decided to utilize this recipe for the occasion. The cookie is sweet, but not too sweet. Most children LOVE strawberries, and parents do too, since it is a simple way to get a child to eat a serving of fruit. They are SO light and airy; they pretty much melt in your mouth. They taste very much like a little mini scone. The best part? There are only 68 calories per cookie! So you can eat  A LOT without feeling guilty or weighed down.

I am planning on giving these to the children for breakfast tomorrow morning. They are light, healthy, and perfectly portioned for their little tummies.

This recipe is from none other than Martha Stewart herself!

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream (if you don’t have heavy cream on hand, don’t worry! I used this simple alternative and the cookies came out perfect.)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining granulated sugar in a large bowl.
  2.  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (I simply used my KitchenAid Mixer for this step…it made things a lot easier!) Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.
  3. Use a tablespoon to drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown.

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.

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.

Archway Dutch Cocoa Cookies and an Apology!

I may or may not have eaten 5 of these thus far today..

First off, I must apologize. Things have been extremely hectic lately! Between going home for Thanksgiving break and coming back to school with a boatload of work to complete, I have had virtually no time for this blog! With a week left until Christmas break, I still have five exams and a quiz to complete. Unfortunately I am not sure when my next post will come, but I promise it will be worth the wait just like this gem of a recipe ;)!

When I was home from break, my family and I went to an Italian deli/ grocery store when I spotted something that I had not seen in years. As my friends know, I am a HUMONGOUS fan of cookies and I always have been. When I was a child I remember eating Archway dutch cocoa cookies while watching cartoons in the kitchen. When I saw these cookies in the store I had to buy them (for old time’s sake of course!).

Needless to say I finished the entire box in about three days. When I went back to school, I checked out the downtown grocery store for the Archway cookies, but they didn’t have them. With my lack of free time I haven’t had a chance to go to Walmart, so I got a brilliant idea: why not make them myself???! I stumbled upon the recipe with a simple google search and let me tell you:  it is seriously THE BEST COOKIES I HAVE EVER MADE.

I have devoured around 7 in the past 24 hours and I have no regrets (until I go on the scale). Even Nicholas, who assisted in the baking, says that they are absolutely delicious (and he usually doesn’t say much of anything!). They have a perfectly crispy outside with a chewy center…what more can you ask for in a cookie??! Nicholas says that they taste like brownies which is understandable since most brownie recipes contain cocoa. These are the perfect Christmas cookies for friends, family, and maybe even Santa!

This is not my original recipe! All of the credit goes to this blog!

Ingredients:

2 cups of all purpose flour
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

2 ½ sticks of butter, unsalted and at room temperature (you can get away with salted butter here)
2 cups of sugar, plus a little for “dusting”
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Sift/mix together the first four ingredients together, then set aside.
  2. In second bowl, combine the butter and sugar until well mixed
  3. Add the vanilla to the butter and sugar, and then the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add flour mixture a little at a time until completely incorporated.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill until firm, usually about one hour.
  6. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar to completely coat (DO NOT FLATTEN THE TOPS! It will be tempting, but it will get rid of the chewy factor and make it a more crispy cookie).
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes until set in the middle.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate and Mint Chip Cookies AND Homebound!

I LOVE the Holiday Edition Oreos!!

I have been waiting so long for this day to come! I’ve been patiently counting down the days, the number of classes, and the number of large assignments until I could finally go home. I have only been home once (unfortunately for a sad reason) this semester and I have been looking forward to a mental break.

I miss my family and my puppies (I affectionately call them my babies) and I can not wait to spend an entire week with them, although I will miss my Nicky-Poo terribly!

Anyone who follows baking blogs has probably heard of the AMAZING Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are absolutely epic. Nicholas LOVES those things. They have even received several requests for birthdays. Since Christmas is a little more than a month away, I decided to get a head start on my holiday cookie baking, and make these bad boys. They are AMAZING: chocolatey, soft, gooey, and with the refreshing (but not overwhelming) taste of mint. It is a wonderful mixture of  rich chocolate and mint.

I brought a TON of them to the lab with me and all I had was one left! I decided to be a “Teacher’s Pet” and I gave it away to my teacher :P.

ANYWAYS, here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup andes mint chips
  • Oreos
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a cookie sheet.
  2. Cream until light and fluffy: margarine, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and mint extract.
  3. Combine in separate bowl: flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.3
  4. Gradually beat the dry mixture into the creamed mixture.
  5. Stir in semi sweet and mint chips. At this point I would recommend refridgerating the batter for AT LEAST a few hours…the longer the better. The dough by itself is really hard to manipulate.
  6. Scoop the dough with a tablespoon and roll into a ball. Place one ball on top of an oreo, and another one below the oreo. Press down on the dough, making it completely surround the oreo. Make sure none of the oreo shows and that it is completely enclosed.
  7. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

 

Pumpkin Funfetti Chocolate Chip Cookies and 100 Days!

Seasonal and festive cookies...with chocolate chips!

As a Penn State student, I along with most (if not all) of my peers, have been disgusted by the abuse that has been made public within the past couple of days. It sickens me when such acts are committed, especially when it is by an individual in a position of power. Luckily our justice system will take care of the criminal, and our campus has done an excellent job of following through with cleaning out certain faculty and administrative members.

As expected, this news has unfairly tarnished Penn State’s reputation. I absolutely love this school: the environment is welcoming, the education you receive is phenomenal, and our contributions to charities and research are unparalleled. The actions of one sick man should not erase the wonderful impact that over 44,000 students and countless alumni leave on society.

Today was a great day for Penn State students (aside from the news of Joe Paterno’s convenient retirement announcement). Today marked 100 days until THON. For those of you who don’t know, THON is the WORLD’s largest student-run philanthropic organization. It is a non-profit organization that raises funds and awareness for pediatric cancer. Since 1977, THON has raised more than $78 million for the Four Diamonds Fund. If you are interested in donating, or would like to learn more, you can click here.

In celebration of 100 days until THON, I decided to bake something that children would LOVE. I have never met a child that is against Funfetti. The only problem with Funfetti cake is that it tends to come out a bit dry; the pumpkin fixes that problem! It makes the cookies not only extremely chewy and soft, but it also makes them have a nice “fluffy” appearance. And of course, since this is my creation, I HAD to include chocolate chips.

The combination of seasonal flavors, festive funfetti, and rich chocolate results in a cookie that will have you reaching into the jar many, many times (not that I know this from personal experience…).

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of funfetti cake mix
  • 1/2 cup of AP flour
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, grease or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the funfetti cake mix, flour, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Add the eggs, vegetable oil, and pumpkin puree. Stir until all dry ingredients are moistened.  Mix in the chocolate chips. Use a tablespoon to create your individual cookies. Roll into balls, and place on sheet.
  3. Press down and slightly flatten the tops of each cookie dough ball. This helps them spread a bit. Place in the oven for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown.

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