Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

There seems to be many new chocolate chip variations this year! When I was shopping last week, I came across peanut butter chips mixed with chocolate chips, and thought ooh peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! Hence the recipe:

Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

(adapted from Katie Lee Joel’s The Comfort Table)

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

 1/2 cup light borwn sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 1/2 cup Nestle peanut butter chip and chocolate chip mix

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a separate bowl sift together four, baking powder, and salt.

In a stand mixer whip the butter until fluffy. Add sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated. Add the vanilla and peanut butter and mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing on low speed. Lastly mix in the peanut butter chips and chocolate chips. It should look like this:

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Finally, using a tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto silpat or parchment lined cookie sheets about an inch a part. Bake for 10 minutes until lightly golden on the bottom.

Let cool on the cookie sheet for three minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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Mint chocolate chip cookies

Mint chocolate chip cookies. They all started because I saw this:

Cupcakesandcommentary - mint chocolate chocolate chip cookieswhile shopping at Target. As you can see I used most of the package to make the cookies (there are none in the see through spot, ahhh!).

If you love mint chocolate chip, you will love these cookies. They are a combo of cookie/brownie texture and they will make your day!

Cupcakes and commentary / Mint chocolate chocolate chip cookies

So here is the basic recipe (it makes about 22 cookies, using a tablespoon size cookie scoop):

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp of baking powder

1/8 tsp of salt

1/4 cup plus 2 tbs of unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghiradelli’s….cause it’s fabulous)

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 to 2 cups of winter mix chocolate chips (dark chocolate and mint morsels)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.

3. On medium speed cream butter and sugars together (using a mixer) until smooth (about three minutes). Add in the egg. Add in vanilla extract. Mix until blended.

4. Slowly add flour mixture to sugar mixture and mix until flour disappears. Stir in mint and chocolate chips. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoon-fulls onto prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.

5. Bake cookies for 9 minutes, or until the cookies are set around the edges, but still soft in the center (don’t over bake!). Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Move to a cooling rack and cool completely. Store in an air tight container.

Mint chocolate chocolate chip cookies

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Cherry Turnovers

I am trying out a new recipe plugin! I’ll have my discussion of the recipe process and then the completed directions at the end. Okay, let’s get cooking!

The other day I was trying to stuff items into my freezer faster than J could grab them out, I found a box of puff pastry (don’t worry it was still good, I checked the label!). I also knew I had cherries sitting in my fridge that while we were trying, had not been finished. The next thing I knew I was pulling stems and pits from cherries and throwing them in a sauce pot. I added some sugar, lemon juice, and a bit of water and cooked the halved cherries for a good long time:

IMG_2303This is where they started.

And this is about 40-50 minutes later:

Cherry turnoversI then put in about a tablespoon of flour and let the sauce thicken up a bit.

I rolled my puff pastry just a bit and cut it into four squares/rectangles:

Cherry Turnovers

Then you just load up one end of each rectangle with some cherry mixture (about 1/4 cup) and fold it over:

Cherry Turnovers And press along the edges with a fork to seal them.

At this point I actually put them on a lined cookie sheet and in the fridge until I was ready to cook them. Then I cut three slits in each turnovers and brushed an egg wash on top of each one:

IMG_2309 Then I put them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

IMG_2311 They will be puffed and golden and spilling out cherry sauce if you didn’t seal them, haha. Don’t worry they will still taste fabulous!

After they had cooled for about fifteen minutes I dusted the tops with powdered sugar, but you could use fresh whipped cream, ice cream, or nothing!

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Besides the labor intensive part of pitting, removing stems, and halving the cherries this is a really simple recipe. And sooo good!

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Okay here is the complete recipe! Enjoy!

Cherry Turnovers
Nicole: 
Recipe type: Pastry
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2½- 3 cups pitted, stemmed, and halved fresh cherries
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 3-4 tbs of water
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 1 egg wash (create an egg wash by whisking an egg with about 1 tsp of water)
Instructions
  1. Place cherries, sugar, lemon juice, and water in a medium sauce pot. Heat over medium-low heat for about 30-40 minutes until cherries have cooked down, and water is almost evaporated. Once cherries have cooked down, turn heat off and add flour. Stir quickly to remove lumps and then set aside to let cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Thaw and roll puff pastry on a floured surface slightly to about ¼ inch thickness. Cut into four rectangles. Place a scant ¼ cup cherry mixture on one edge of each rectangle and then fold over to make a triangle. Press edges closed with the back of a fork. Make three small slits on the top of each turnover. Place the turnovers on a baking sheet (either spray baking sheet with cooking spray, using parchment paper, nonstick foil or a silpat mat). Then liberally brush turnovers with egg wash. Cook at 375 for about 30 minutes until tops are golden and cherry juice is bubbling. Let cool for 15 minutes and then dust with powdered sugar.

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The power of yogurt and pizza

I have found that there are two foods that I can serve in pretty much any way and style and the boys will eat: yogurt and pizza. The boys will both eat the spectrum of yogurt from greek yogurt, to fruit mixed yogurt, to cereal mixed yogurt, to yogurt with veggies, and so on and so on. It’s one of my favorites to find when we are traveling because I know that they will both eat it in any shape or form.

A’s current favorite is Yoplait Cars Vroom Vanilla:

Very Vanilla And J’s current favorite is Stonyfields Yo Kids Raspberry Greek Yogurt:IMG_2247

I tried to get a picture of the face he makes when he eats it because apparently it’s quite tart. He scrunches up his eyes and puts his hand on his head, like he has a brain freeze, but then he always wants more! Silly boy!

The second item that I can switch up and mix up is pizza. A and I made pizza last week and we used the following toppings:

Pizza IngredientsRagu pizza sauce (A’s request), mini pepperoni’s, sliced fresh spinach (from our potted garden!), provolone, sharp cheddar, and mozzarella cheese.

I made the crust using this recipe from Lauren’s Latest, and we cooked it at 500 degrees for about 9 minutes on a pizza stone (it’s faster than you can make a Totino’s pizza…just saying):IMG_2217

And the boys ate it up! Yum! A told me next time he wants to try artichoke hearts and fresh parsley. What I have found is that if he thinks of the item and helps me make it he will eat it. Although I still am not sold on his peanut butter and cheese pizza idea. 🙂

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Lemon bars

Lemon Bars

On the spectrum of non-chocolate desserts that I love lemon bars rate very high. They are up there with my two other favorites: key lime pie and petit fours. However, also in line with key lime pie and petit fours they can be a bit tricky to make.

I jumped into the recipe on Sunday planning to make the lemon bars for dessert. The trick with lemon bars is to make sure you cook them for just the right amount of time (not too long and not too short). You cook them too long and they become dense. You cook them too short and the filling doesn’t bake and runs out when you cut them (as I found out on Sunday).

I attempted the recipe again on Monday and this time they came out perfect. I think what I learned was to not let the crust cool too much before you put the filling on and bake it again. It also should be a bit golden on top.

What I really loved about these bars is that the crust is that crumbly perfect ratio to the amount of filling. I used regular lemons (because that is what they had at the store), and the tartness was just perfect. They also taste very light and airy, not overly dense or sweet. Jump on over to alpineberry and try them for yourself! Unless you are my Mom or sister…then you are getting some in a tupperware. 🙂

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Building a better oatmeal

CupcakesandcommentaryThis kid. I tell ya.

A has been on an oatmeal kick lately. I had bought a packaged brand for J to try and he wasn’t that interested in it, but A ate it up. Then he asked for it again. And I didn’t have another package of it, so I recreated it with the big container of quick oats we have in our pantry.

Quick Oats

It is seriously huge. The smell of cooked oatmeal always makes me think of my Nannie and Grampie because they cooked it almost everyday for breakfast. Then I think of my Grandmother’s roast in a bag. Now I’m hungry and off to get some gravy toast. Just kidding. Here’s the recipe:

Brown sugar and cinnamon oatmeal / cupcakesandcommentary

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Oatmeal

Ingredients (serves one):

1/4 cup quick oats

Very scant 1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground flaxseed (optional)

1/2 – 3/4 cup water (depending on how thick you like your oatmeal)

Directions:

Combine all dry ingredients in a microwavable cereal bowl. Add water. Cook on high for 1 minute. Let cool until child safe temp (I taste test it). Taste test and add more brown sugar and cinnamon to taste.

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Simple veggie pasta

I told you I would follow up with a veggie pasta, and here it is! I always get to Sunday and feel blah about fixing dinner. My husband offered to make spaghetti and my response was blah, blah. The boys love spaghetti, but it is such a HUGE mess when they eat it. A mess I don’t particularly feel like cleaning up after. We had also gone out to lunch and I didn’t really feel like a heavy dinner.

I began searching through my pinterest board and on-line recipe blogs, and came across this recipe. I was inspired by it, although I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients and hence the veggie pasta was created. I served it with some simple popovers and green salad with clementines.

Simple Veggie Pasta

12 asparagus, trimmed and cut into one inch portions

12 baby carrots cut in half (and some quartered)

1/4 tomato chopped in a large dice

1 1/2 cups of pasta (I used campanelle)

Olive Oil

1 tbs of grated lemon peel and 1 tbs of fresh lemon juice

Salt and Pepper

1 to 2 tbs of cream cheese

1/4 to 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees (start your water for your pasta in a large stock pot). Place all your vegetables on a pan lined with non stick foil. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with 1 tsp of kosher salt and 1/2 to 1 tsp of pepper.

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Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes.

IMG_1947Until it looks like this.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Once pasta is done remove about two cups of pasta water before you drain the pasta. Drain the pasta. In the same stock pot that you cooked the pasta put the pasta back in the stock pot, along with the roasted vegetables and the lemon peel and juice. Now you can stop there:

Pasta without cheeseAs my husband wanted his with no cheese. He removed the portion he wanted.

Then for the boys and I, I added in the cream cheese, the Parmesan cheese, and about 1/2 cup of pasta water (add more or less depending on the consistency you want), then stir until it is combined and smooth:

Pasta with cheeseAnd there you have it! Simple veggie pasta, with cheese or without.

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Spring white chocolate pudding cookies

I have to say Spring Break is kicking me a bit, is it kicking you? A has bowled J over twice and once accidentally stepped on his face (no injuries at any of these points, thank goodness). I am seriously ready for warmer weather to kick in to give them some more consistent outside time.

Anyway, we baked some tasty spring cookies yesterday. I got the recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod and I made them this past Christmas. I substituted the Oreo cookies for Spring M&Ms and that was that. A learned that 4 1/4 cups = 1 cup and dark brown sugar has more molasses than light brown sugar. And J learned that a box on the bar means COOKIES. And he screamed for them at dinner. So now they are hidden. I seriously think that kid could eat cookies, fruit, and milk and he would be good to go.

White Chocolate Pudding Cookies Prepping cookies…A’s favorite part.

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Eating cookies. J’s favorite part. Oh my gosh his eyes are so ridiculous, right?

IMG_1817 A showing you the M&Ms in his cookie. In his ninja turtle shirt. Which he is obsessed with. That and a cat bandit from the Umizoomi app on the iPad.

IMG_1818 IMG_1819These cookies are so good. They are bakery style deliciousness, but with that homemade taste you can’t get anywhere else. It’s really the pudding that makes them fabulous.

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Biscuit Pizzas: AKA 1,2,3, pizza!

So as far as simplicity goes, this recipe is the simple of the simple. My sister introduced me to these, and then my husband remembered them from college. They are quick and kid friendly. A likes them because it’s his own personal pizza.

Ingredients (Makes 8 mini pizzas)

1 can of grands buttermilk biscuits

1 small jar of pizza sauce

Grated mozzarella cheese

Toppings of your choice: mini pepperoni, ham, and pineapple are our favorites.

Directions:

Roll out biscuits on a floured surface until they are about double their original width and about 1/4 inch thick. Spread sauce on top, top with cheese and toppings. Bake according to package directions (but you will usually have to add about an extra 1-2 minutes).

And the visual:

Biscuit pizzasWe fit seven on our pizza pan rolled out IMG_1767Then spread on the sauce and added cheese…. IMG_1768And mini pepperonis.. IMG_1771And for some reason A really wanted a dessert pizza with peanut butter and blueberries so this was the eighth pizza IMG_1775And after cooking them for about fifteen minutes they were all bubbly and delicious!

* You can really get creative with these, my sister and I have done fresh basil, tomato and mozzarella and we also once made a shrimp scampi one (like the one they serve at California Pizza Kitchen). Enjoy!

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