Dark Chocolate, Cherry and Cashew Cookies | Espresso and Cream
Hello, strangers! It feels like forever when in reality it’s only been about a week since I last checked in with you. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ve seen more than enough photos of our vacation, but I’ll be sharing a full update of our time in Boston and Maine very soon. It was such a wonderful trip and even the rainy weather couldn’t get us down. A huge highlight? We happened to be in Kennebunkport at the same time as Natalie and Dan, so we grabbed ice cream together and chatted. So fun!

Now that we’re back home, I’m really looking forward to eating a little more normally. Don’t get me wrong, we ate really well on our trip, but probably a little too well! Today it’s been really nice to have a plain bowl of oatmeal with almond butter for breakfast and a sandwich with fruit for lunch. I think there’s a good reason vacation doesn’t last forever.

Surprisingly, we didn’t eat many sweets on our trip at all. We loaded up on savory items like lobster rolls, fried fish, and the most indulgent egg dishes for breakfast. When I got home the craving for a little something sweet hit right away, so I raided the bulk bins at Whole Foods on my grocery trip this morning and got to work.

Dark Chocolate, Cherry and Cashew Cookies 1 | Espresso and Cream

 

These cookies really do have it all. They’re packed with coconut, cashews, dried tart cherries and dark chocolate. And somehow, these cookies manage to feel a little bit healthy, which I’m sure is just an illusion since they also have plenty of brown sugar and butter, too. I made them on the smaller size, which means I can totally justify eating more than one.

Dark Chocolate, Cherry and Cashew Cookies
Author: 
Serves: 30
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted cashews, chopped
  • ½ cup dried tart cherries, chopped
  • 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat (such as a Silpat). Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter 2 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add in the sugar and brown sugar and beat 2 minutes more or until sugars are combined and mixture is fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg and beat until just combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined Add in the cashews, cherries, chocolate and coconut and beat until combined.
  4. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour. Use a small metal cookie scoop to scoop dough onto baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Bake 12 minutes or until edges are just golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.

 

Cashew Butter Cookie Dough Truffles | Espresso and Cream
Sometimes you just need to eat a little raw cookie dough, am I right? Which always sounds like a really good idea at the time, until you have a spoonful (or 8) and then feel sick to your stomach with all the sugar and chocolate and find yourself too sick to actually enjoy a cookie when they come out of the oven. Tell me I’m not the only person who does that… Not that I’m really in the position to be eating raw cookie dough anyway, but I’ve been down that road many a time.

In the afternoon when a snack craving strikes, I usually reach for something healthy-sweet, meaning a Larabar, a Quest bar, a smoothie of some sort, or yogurt with fruit. But the other day I had the craving for cookie dough, so I spent some time in the kitchen determined to find a way to make a suitable, healthy alternative.

These cookie dough bites are made with ingredients you can feel good about: cashew butter, honey, protein powder, cinnamon and oats. Seriously, that’s it! But since they’re a little on the soft and sticky side, like real cookie dough, I decided to roll the balls in sprinkles before putting them in the fridge. And to be honest, I was a little surprised at how closely they resembled the real thing! If you’re feeling really crazy, feel free to stir a couple spoonfuls of mini chocolate chips into the dough before making the balls.

Cashew Butter Cookie Dough Truffles 2 | Espresso and Cream

Cashew Butter Cookie Dough Truffles
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack, Dessert
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup JIFF cashew butter (you could substitute peanut butter or almond butter, but NOT the natural type)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup Vega French Vanilla protein powder (or other protein powder of choice)
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • Sprinkles, if desired
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, combine the cashew butter, honey, cinnamon and protein powder. Blend until well combined. Add in the oats and blend about 30 seconds more, or until oats are broken up and combined into the dough.
  2. Use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough into balls. Roll dough in sprinkles. Place in a plastic storage container and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until firm. Keep in the refrigerator for a healthy and indulgent snack any time a craving strikes!

 

CollageRoundUP

One of my favorite features on any blog is when a blogger I like does a “best of the web” round-up of interesting content, especially when it’s done well. I hope to start sharing these round-ups a little more frequently, seeing as it’s a great way to feature some of the amazing content that others have shared.

My friend Robin is doing another FREE Pilates program in August called Mind, Body, Matt.

These Peach-Wine Slushies from Dessert for Two make me wish I could drink wine. Perfect for a summer party!

The #1 item you need for houseguests. (I agree!)

This pie is swoon-worthy.

Isn’t Natalie just the prettiest pregnant woman you’ve ever seen? Love her emerald maxi dress.

Joanna’s post on Faith that Says It’s OK has stayed with me for weeks.

Coffee hasn’t sounded good to me for over a month, but when it does sound appealing, I’m making these Mint Mojito Iced Lattes from Eat, Live, Run.

Scotcheroo Ice Cream?! Stephanie, you’re killing me!

3 Ingredient Biscuits | Espresso and Cream

I should probably postpone writing this post until I have a few more words to say. I’ve been sitting in front of this screen, trying to find the words. But between the nausea, exhaustion and cravings for carbs, carbs and more carbs, I’m finding myself at a bit of a loss for words.

We had a lovely weekend. My mom made a surprise visit on Saturday and we took Pippa and Nutmeg to a Cavalier play date (yes, you read that right). We got a small glimpse into what parenthood might look like when Pippa was the only cavalier who jumped into the kiddie pool, started drinking the water and then proceeded to pee in the pool with everyone watching! It with simultaneously hilarious and embarrassing all at once.

Since, as I mentioned, carbs have been high on the list of foods I love, I did a little baking this weekend. Last week at work we had the pleasure of having Jeni of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams come to the kitchens to talk with us about the creative process and making ice cream. She also did a demo with a few of the recipes from her newest cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts.

One of the desserts Jeni made was a fruit cobbler with the most amazing biscuit topper. It used self-rising flour and heavy cream. I decided to take the same concept and make biscuits, using whole milk instead of heavy cream and shaping them more into regular biscuits rather than drop dumplings. The results were fantastic and I was thrilled with how easy the recipe ended up being. Great for weeknight cooking!

3 Ingredient Flaky Biscuits | Espresso and Cream

3 Ingredient Flaky Biscuits
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread, Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 5 to 6
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour and butter. Pulse 5 to 8 times until the butter is broken up into small pieces. Add the milk to the flour mixture and process until the mixture forms a ball.
  3. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. Press into an 8 by 4 inch rectangle about ½ inch thick. Fold rectangle in half. Use a 3½ to 4-inch round biscuit cutter to cut five to six biscuits from dough, rolling and re-rolling dough as necessary to use up remaining dough.
  4. If desired, brush biscuits with egg.
  5. Bake 20 to 24 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Serve warm with butter, jam or honey.

 

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This week we went for a follow-up appointment at my OBGYN office for, you guessed it, yet another ultrasound. I’m thankful for so many opportunities to see our little one, but I’ll admit that the ultrasounds make me nervous and jittery and filled with all kinds of anxiety leading up to the appointment.

We were blessed, and maybe still a little surprised, to see another image of a healthy little baby, who is starting to look more and more like a baby every week. The ultrasound tech, who we’ve come to love, pointed out the head and showed us the spinal cord and the little flickering heartbeat. We even saw our baby move for just a second. Crazy! The little jellybean was measuring right on track, once again, with a heartbeat that had gotten quite a bit faster from our last appointment.

So now we’re entering into uncharted territory, and I find it a little scary. Entering into our 8th week soon will be the longest we’ve ever made it with a pregnancy (though we didn’t find that out last time until the 12th week). Most of the time I feel a lot of peace, much more peace than I’ve felt with either of our two previous pregnancies, which I find strange and wonderful. But sometimes I find my mind grasping onto old memories, feeling fearful of what we’ve experienced in the past, sometimes convinced that we’ll experience that same fate yet again.

I’ve been praying a lot lately, for other women who are on a difficult fertility journey, for our little baby’s heart and that it would continue beating, that our little one would love the Lord and would be a living example of the miracles that God does in our lives. I’ve found so many opportunities in the last few weeks to talk about my faith in a very real way, something that I will admit I was never all that great at in the past.

This week my doctor sat down with me after our ultrasound, all our various scans printed out on a sheet of paper, and said that she was unable to explain how what we saw at 5 weeks turned into what we saw at 7 weeks. You could tell that science was failing her in explaining what had happened, and she seemed very cautious about this pregnancy. And believe me, I get it and I understand her questions. If I didn’t have faith myself, I’m not sure how I would explain it, either. But instead of feeling cautious and fearful, I’m diving headfirst into the scary waters of the next four weeks. Sometimes those four weeks feel like a mountain! Sometimes I wonder how I’m going to get through the next four weeks, with all the uncertainty and questions and our scary past. But when I think about our God, who cares for us and looks over us, knowing exactly what we need, I find a little more peace. One day at a time, Joe and I are stepping out in faith, trusting to walk down a road not knowing where it leads.

Our doctor offered to do another ultrasound next week, the day before we leave on vacation. I decided to pass, not wanting to risk ruining our vacation in any way with bad news, so we are going to have our next ultrasound two weeks from today, on August 1st. We’ll be about 9 1/2 weeks at that appointment. I can hardly believe it!

With two ultrasounds that have been positive under our belt, it might seem like we’re doing good and it’s smooth sailing going forward. But may I continue to ask for your prayers? If anything, I feel like the next four weeks are going to be the biggest hurdle of all, and the hardest path to walk down. Your continued prayers for the sustained life of our very loved baby would be greatly appreciated.

Madison

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