Browsing Tag



Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies

July 2, 2013


I told you all last week about the new blog I’m contributing to at work, Tasteseekers Kitchen. Well, if you hopped on over there, you probably saw the ultra-decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownie Pops. They super cute and much easier than cake pops, which drive me crazy! I can’t never get them to look as pretty as I would like.

When my friend, Laura, invited us over to dinner a couple weeks ago, I decided to make a version of that same recipe, with a few less steps. Instead of making the brownies into individual brownie bites in pop form, I layered cookie dough on top of brownies in a 13×9-inch pan and topped it with the cream cheese cookie dough mixture. On top of that, I spread a thin layer of melted semi-sweet chocolate to help with cutting the bars into clean pieces.

I think it’s safe to say the bars were a big hit! I cut them into fairly large pieces, but since they are so rich, I think I could have gotten away with making them smaller. I took the leftovers and stored them in the freezer, then thawed them slightly before serving a couple nights later. They were still totally delicious and worth every calorie.


Cookie Dough Stuffed Brownies
Recipe just slightly adapted from Tasteseekers Kitchen
1 box Betty Crocker fudge brownies, prepared according to package directions for a 13×9-inch pan
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural peanut butter)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

In large bowl with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar until creamy. Stir in mini chocolate chips by hand. Spread mixture atop baked brownie mixture in pan.

Spread melted chocolate atop cookie dough mixture until you can no longer see any of the cookie dough. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, at least 30 minutes. Cut into bars to serve.

Happy Baking!


Everyday Brownies

June 19, 2013


Do you grocery shop with your husband or significant other? Here’s the deal: I love to spend time with Joe and we do a lot of activities together, but lately I’ve been trying to make a habit of going to the grocery store without him. Why, you ask? Because I find it incredibly difficult to stay on budget when I have a hungry hubby along with me. Somehow, we always end up with more snack food and unhealthy treats when Joe is along to drop things in the cart. I’m looking at kale. He’s browsing the chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels.

Don’t worry, I usually add some snack food into the cart when I shop solo (typically almonds, healthy tortilla chips and salsa, etc.) but last week I took it too far! I was informed by Joe that we had absolutely ZERO snack food in the house.

So, what’s a girl to do? Make brownies, of course! These brownies are easy to make since they don’t require you to have a ton of chocolate on hand (just a few ounces of unsweetened or semi-sweet) and are really easy to pull together. I like to call them “everyday” brownies because they aren’t super sweet (I cut the sugar in the recipe down to 1/3 cup from 1/2 cup and they turned out great) and since they have nuts as an option, it totally makes them everyday food, right?


Get the recipe for Better Homes and Gardens‘ Ultimate Brownies HERE



Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free & vegan)

June 3, 2013


First up, the winners of the pancake giveaway! They are:
-Sarah (who likes her pancakes with syrup and Nutella)
-Jessica Honcoop
-Kristin Darhower
-Andrea (who likes to make healthy pancakes with whole wheat flour, oats and yogurt)

Ladies, shoot me an e-mail with your address to to claim your prizes!

Lately I’ve become increasingly interested in gluten-free, vegan baking. Not necessarily because I personally need to bake treats without gluten or animal products. But it feels like the next frontier in baking, a wide, undiscovered world of flours, meals and gums, among other things. Gluten-free, vegan baking challenges me, and everything I’ve come to know about baking. Since I was little I’ve been baking with all-purpose flour, eggs and butter. It’s incredibly challenging to break all my previous assumptions about what makes a quality baked good and play around with recipes that are entirely different in method and ingredients.

In the past, I’ve always felt that even the most successful gluten-free, vegan baked goods needed to come with a disclaimer. “This is a really good cookie recipe, for being gluten-free and vegan!”

But last week I finally arrived at an adapted cookie recipe that didn’t need a disclaimer. In fact, I think these cookies may have become my favorite cookie recipe. No disclaimer or excuses necessary. These Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are, plain and simple, my favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookie; they hold their own when pitted against their butter and gluten-laden counterparts. And I’m sure that when you make them (please make them!) you will agree.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten-free and vegan)
Makes 24 cookies
Adapted from the Baby Cakes Bakery recipe on the Bob’s Red Mill package
1 1/2 cups oat bran (make sure it is gluten-free)
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1/4 cup ground flax
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil or canola oil
5 tablespoons applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (to make this recipe completely vegan, make sure the chocolate chips are vegan)

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
2. In large bowl combine oat bran, all-purpose gluten-free flour, flax, sugar, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon and salt until well combined. In small bowl combine oil, applesauce and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to try ingredients and stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Drop mixture by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheet, rolling between your hands into balls if you want the cookies to be uniform and round. Mixture will feel oily and may take a little effort to keep the dough in round balls. Don’t worry, that’s totally normal.
4. Bake 7 minutes. Rotate baking sheet. Bake 7 minutes more or until cookies are golden brown. Cool on pan 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Happy Baking!


Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana Bread

March 18, 2013


We’ve been switching up our Sunday routine a little bit around our house over the last month or so. You see, mornings are our favorite time of the morning, specifically lazy mornings that include sweat pants, copious amounts of coffee and something a little sweet and extra special for breakfast. The church we’ve been attending has a Sunday night church service for young adults and young families so we’ve been taking things pretty easy around here Saturday and Sunday morning. I swear it makes our weekend feel longer.

Last week I bought way too many bananas at the grocery store. I can’t ever seem to get the number of bananas right each week. One week we run short, the next weekend I buy too many. This week was one of those weekends where I found myself with bananas that were a little over ripe. I froze a couple for smoothies throughout the week, then decided it had been too long since a batch of banana bread had been made. Of course I wanted to mix things up and do something I hadn’t done before. I’ve made plenty of loaves of banana bread, whole wheat even, and I’ve made a few versions of chocolate chip banana bread. But I’ve never made chocolate banana bread until this past weekend.

Joe, being the diligent taste tester that he is, had a slice straight from the oven. Then another for good measure slathered with butter. And another two slices the following day. This stuff is seriously delicious. I found my initial inspiration from Martha Stewart’s recipe for Banana-Chocolate Bread, though my end result only vaguely resembles Martha’s recipe. I used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, cut the sugar way back and added cocoa powder and almond flour for texture and flavor.


Nutmeg, who desperately needs a haircut, showed remarkable restraint while I photographed this bread. She asked that I put this photo up as proof of her good behavior. I obliged.


Whole Wheat Chocolate Banana Bread
Despite the more healthful ingredient list, this loaf is incredibly decadent and rich thanks to the hearty whole wheat flour and an abundance of mashed bananas. I’ve found that I can save a lot of hassle when mashing the bananas by putting them in my mixer and beating them with the paddle attachment for 30 seconds or until smooth. If you don’t have almond meal on hand, feel free to substitute additional whole wheat flour for the almond meal. The resulting loaf should turn out equally delicious.

*1 stick butter, softened
*4 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
*2/3 cup sugar
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*2 large eggs
*1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
*1/3 cup almond meal
*1/4 cup cocoa powder
*2 oz semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped (almost shaved)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add in the bananas, sugar, vanilla, baking soda and salt and beat until well combined. Beat eggs in one at a time until just combined. In a small bowl, combine the flour, almond meal and cocoa powder and add to wet ingredients. Beat until just combined. Stir in the chocolate by hand.

Pour mixture into pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan.

Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Happy Baking!


Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie (aka Pumpkin Spice Latte Pie)

October 15, 2012

Today, my friends, was the ultimate relaxing Sunday. In fact, Joe and I had an entire weekend full of relaxation, which was exactly what the doctor ordered. Both of us seem to be coming down with a bit of a head cold, and it was incredibly rainy/stormy for most of the weekend, giving us an excuse to do very little other than watch football, bake (things like this Chocolate Pumpkin Pie) and run some errands that have been on the to-do list for quite a while.

Another exciting development? Grinnell got a new restaurant this week. Joe and I have eagerly been awaiting the opening of Prairie Canary in our small town, since the owner is known around Des Moines for being quite the restauranteur. We swung by for brunch on Sunday, and although there were a few kinks to be worked out in the service department (understandable for it only being the third day open) the food did not disappoint. There were a bunch of vegetarian options (I had the tofu curry scramble) as well as options to please my meat eating husband (bacon and eggs, anyone?) If you’re in the Des Moines area, I think it’s worth the trip to Grinnell for dinner some night.

And that baking I did? Well, in addition to my weekly double batch of bran muffins, I also baked this Chocolate-Pumpkin Pie. Since we’re halfway through October, I thought it was high time to make some version of my favorite pie. Last year, it was Caramel Pumpkin Pie, and this year’s twist came from chocolate.

Pumpkin and chocolate have long been one of my favorite combos, and adding a little bit of melted semi-sweet chocolate to the custard base gave the filling an extra smooth texture and sweet, creamy flavor. Joe said this was the best pumpkin pie he’s ever had and likened it to a Pumpkin Spice Latte in pie form. Sounds like a ringing endorsement if you ask me!

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
Inspired by Martha Stewart’s Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Crust from Desserts By The Yard by Sheri Yard
*2 1/2 cups flour
*2 tablespoons sugar
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
*16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter, cut into small pieces
*1/2 cup ice water
*6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
*4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
*15 ounces (1 can) pumpkin puree
*1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
*3 large eggs
*3/4 cup brown sugar
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 tablespoon corn starch
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 cup milk chocolate chips, melted (can substitute semi-sweet if desired)

*Preheat oven to 350°F. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse with on-off turns until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Combine the vinegar and ice water. Slowly add the ice water to the flour-butter mixture and pulse with on-ff turns until the mixture just comes together. Divide into two portions and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
*Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter and chocolate chips. Melt, stirring frequently, until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
*In a second bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except the milk chocolate chips. Stir until well combined and smooth. Add the chocolate-butter mixture to the pumpkin mixture, stirring until smooth and well combined.
*Remove one of the dough portions from the fridge. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface into a 1/4-inch thick circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Crimp the edges with your fingers. Pour the filling mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is still slightly jiggly. Cool for 30 minutes on wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Before serving, drizzle with the melted milk chocolate. Makes 8 servings

Happy Baking!

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