Posts tagged ‘Cookie’

Checking In + Faking Freshly Baked

Hello Everyone!

(Natalie Dee)

Story of my life.

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been pretty busy. Well, sorta. My last day of classes was Thursday. Finals officially start on Tuesday, but my three finals are this Friday and Saturday. So, I have a week off to study and pack. The good news? Plenty of time to study and pack. The bad news? I’m not home.

I seriously cannot wait to get home! The suspense/wait is killing me. There are so many things I’m looking forward to at home: friends, family, home-sweet-home, home-cooked meals, eating at restaurants, relaxing, baking (!), and so much more! Of course, I’m seriously looking forward to anything food related!

I having a bit of a blogger’s block right now. All I can think about what I will make and blog about when I’m home but not here, right now in Boston. I’m also pretty busy studying and packing and doing other end-of-stay activities. So, this is me checking in. Hello! I fly home Saturday night, and I’ll have some new recipe posts soon after!

(Natalie Dee)

However, I don’t want to leave you now without anything food related. So here is a quick story and tip:

One food I’ve been missing with all my heart is freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. That fresh-out-of-the-oven flavor and texture (for one thing, because of the melted chocolate) seriously can’t be beat! Since I have no access to an oven here, I can’t get them here – except for the occasional Deep Dish Sundae from Uno Chicago Grill: vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream atop a giant chocolate chip cookie freshly baked in a deep dish pan. All I can say is foodgasm x 100!!

Any who, I recently found a way to not only get that freshly-baked flavor in the comfort of my own dorm but also in a healthy way! All you need is a Larabar and a microwave. My favorite Larabar flavors for this are  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Peanut Butter Chocolate. Chip.

(Source)

First, remove the wrapper from the Larabar and microwave the bar on a napkin or plate for about 15-20 seconds. Then, enjoy!

It’s as simple as that, but it makes an amazing treat! The bar gets warm and doughy, the chocolate chips get melty, and the Larabar goes from good to amazing! Tastes very much like a freshly baked cookie! I sometimes only microwave a small chunk at a time, so each bite is ‘freshly-baked.’

Question: What’s your favorite type of cookie? What’s your favorite type of Larabar?

May 8, 2011 at 8:24 pm 12 comments

Food Fashion Friday

I love food. You love food. We all love food. So, why not show our love for food in addition to eating it?

In this fun little post, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite food related shirts that I found while scouring the internet. I hope you enjoy – and maybe even buy one yourself!

Please note, most of these shirts are available in a variety of colors, styles, and sizes plus girls and guys cuts!

Love tofu, froyo, or sushi? Show it with these adorable shirts from TheShirtDudes on Etsy. (The photos are close-ups of the designs.)

I love cookies and milk!! This “Cookie Loves Milk” shirt from Threadless is adorable.

I know Katie from Healthy Diva Eats would love this next shirt from Hot Topic. (Katie, we can pretend the hamburger is a veggie burger, okay? Haha.)

It’s on sale but only available in XL and XXL. It would make for an adorable, comfy PJ shirt after a day of delicious eats. 🙂

Eating local and homegrown veggies rocks. They taste better and are better for you (and the planet)! Show your support of Eating Local Greens (left shirt by joeseppi on Etsy) and Growing Your Own Food (right shirt by happyfamily on Etsy) with these shirts.

PB&J is one of my favorite food combos, so I’m in love with these two shirts: the left shirt is from Hot Topic and the right one is from Vintage Pop Tees on Cafe Press.

(Below left) I’ve added this shirt (from I Love Sriracha on Cafe Press) to the list in honor of my brother, who is in love with Sriracha and all things spicy!

(Below right) I love peanut butter and I’m a princess (my mom told me so!), so this shirt from Princess Gifts, Apparel and Decor at Cafe Press.

When I visited Vietnam (and Cambodia) during winter vacation 2009-2010, I ate some good Pho! Here is a cute and funny shirt from TheShirtDudes to honor all the delicious Vietnamese food I enjoyed during my travels! Gà means chicken. Now you know. 🙂

[TheShirtDudes have a bunch of other awesome food related shirts, so check them out!]

This shirt from theboldbanana declares “Baking is Sexy.” Heck yes, it is!!

Eating salad (and other healthy foods!) is the new black. Walk around looking cool with this Mr. Salad shirt from Threadless.

(Below left) Here is a shirt by nonfictiontees for you science-y (and eco/health?) types.

(Below right) This shirt, “Keep Calm and Carry Chocolate” shirt by redbrickwall, is very smart! Chocolate is a health and mood booster as well as oh-so-delicious and the perfect de-stresser! So follow my advice to follow this shirt’s advice!

And last but not least, the shirt that pretty much summarizes my life: the  “I run so I can eat Ice Cream” shirt by The Fan Cafe at Cafe Press. If only it said “…and Chocolate and Peanut Butter and a Sense of Accomplishment,” then it would be the perfect definition of me. 🙂

Question 1: Which one is your favorite?

Question 2: What do you run (or exercise) for?

April 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm 22 comments

Fueling My Addiction: No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

Hi, my name is Lara, and I’m a peanut butter addict.

Don’t try to cure me. I can’t be fixed. If loving peanut butter is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

When I stumbled across these No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies on How Sweet It Is, I knew I had to make them as soon as I could. By the way, I am also addicted to no bake recipes. My parents had a party a few days back, and I took that as the perfect opportunity to make these. They are so easy (like most of my recipes, haha) and out of this world delicious! They aren’t the healthiest things ever, but they are so satisfying (thanks to the peanut butter) in moderation!

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

Makes about 20 cookies – I doubled the recipe and made almost 60 smaller cookies.

  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 + 1 tablespoon cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup – I used agave syrup. You can sub corn or maple syrup.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of ginger – I didn’t use this because I didn’t have any.
  • Optional: chocolate (for drizzling)

Instructions:

Step 1: Make graham crackers into crumbs.

I did this by putting the grahams into a plastic bag and smashing the bag with a peanut butter jar.

This worked pretty well, but I should have done it longer because there were still some larger crumbs.

You want a flour-like consistency, or else forming the cookies will be hard. I also suggest using a food processor or Vitamix to get this consistency.

Step 2: Add the rest of the ingredients.

Pool of peanut butter and agave syrups = makes me drool!

Vanilla river.

Final “layer” of ingredients.

Step 3: Mix it all up! The mixture will be crumbly. It may take a while for the mixture to come together, but it eventually will.

Step 4: Form dough into uniform balls.


x2

The original recipe suggests 1-inch balls. I made them a bit smaller (maybe 3/4-inch). It’s really up to you and your preferences. Since these are no bake, the size won’t affect the “baking” outcome.

If the balls are sticking together well enough, add a bit of peanut butter or agave. I didn’t have to do this.

Drool!

Step 5: If you want cookies (and not balls), either flatten first with your fingers and then indent with fork or flatten with fork while making indentations. I did the latter.

They look like true peanut butter cookies and taste like them, too, but they are no bake! Yay!

Step 6: If you want to “ice” with chocolate, melt the chocolate and drizzle on top.

You can either melt the chocolate in a double broiler… or be lazy like me and do it in the microwave.

Drool… Boy, my keyboard is getting dirty. 😉

I topped 1/2 of the cookies in chocolate just in case some of the party guests didn’t like chocolate. But who was I kidding? Who doesn’t love chocolate and peanut butter together? Stupid people.

And there y’all have it! No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies, with a chocolate topping option!

Now, go out and make them. I promise you won’t be sorry!

Question: What is your favorite flavor combination in cookies or other baked cookies?

I love PB + chocolate and PB + J.

(Source)

If only… Haha.

March 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm 6 comments

Holy Cookie Dough Balls

One of my favorite parts of baking cookies is devouring testing the raw dough before baking. Don’t try to deny it, you do it, too. I sometimes reckon that cookies taste better before they are baked.  Who else is with me?

The one thing between me and eating all my cookies in raw form is eggs. Who wants to get sick from raw eggs? I sure don’t.

With the creation of vegan cookies (i.e. cookies with no eggs or other animal products), we all have the freedom to eat cookie dough raw whenever we want and how ever much we want. But alas, part of me still misses the texture and fresh-out-of-the-oven flavor of fresh baked cookies.

So, how can I get the flavors and textures of both raw and baked cookies, and make them right in the comfort of my own home? Well, I couldn’t… until now.

(Source)

Inspired by Annie the Baker’s Cookie Dough Balls, Mama Pea over at Peas and Thank You came up with her at-home variety, Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls. Mama Pea’s cookie dough balls don’t contain eggs (and the original recipe is even vegan), so you can’t get sick from “under baking” them. In addition, by refridgerating, not flattening, and under baking the cookies, what results is perfection in so many ways. A slightly hard exterior and a doughy interior leads to a cookie that will melt in your mouth and lead to, dare I say it, a foodgasm. Trust me, after reading this, you will want to try baking them for yourself.

For the original recipe, check out Peas and Thank you. Here, you will find the original recipe plus the changes I made. I promise you though, which ever way you decide to make them, these cookies will be absolutely delicious. At the end, I will share how these cookies are healthier than your average cookie. Don’t get me wrong though, these cookies definitely aren’t diet food.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

Makes 12-18 cookies: I made 26 because my balls were smaller

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. non-dairy margarine (i.e. Earth Balance) – I used regular butter since I didn’t have non-dairy margarine.
  • 3/4 c. natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. organic brown sugar
  • 3/4 c. organic powdered sugar
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c. unbleached organic flour
  • 1/2 c. natural peanut butter chips – I didn’t have PB chips and couldn’t buy any because my family was kinda snowed in since we were still in Tahoe City at this point. So, I just used 1/2 c. more of the chocolate chips.
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy chocolate chips – I used semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Instructions:

Step 1: In a medium bowl, mix butter/margarine, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla until thoroughly combined. The original instructions suggest using a stand mixer. However, since I was at a rented cabin and didn’t have access to one, I used my sweat and blood a wooden spoon to mix everything. It took a bit longer, but the results were the same. A hand mixer would work, too.

Using a wooden spoon or a mixer, you too can turn this…

… into this!

Tip: Room temperature butter/margarine is easier to mix with the other ingredients than when it’s fresh-out-of-the-fridge. You can let the butter/margarine sit outside until it reaches the right point, or you can be lazy and microwave the butter until it reaches the right softness (but not much more). I nuked my butter for 20 seconds, but you may need to do it less or more depending on your elevation (I was at somewhere around 6200 feet) and microwave. Also, save the wrapper to butter the baking pan later if you don’t have parchment paper, like me.

Step 2: In a small bowl, combine baking powder, baking soda salt and flours.

Step 3: Now, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time and mix until you end up with something like this (aka until a dough forms):

Tip: If using a stand/hand mixer, make sure to start off at a slower fastness unless you enjoy looking like a ghost.

Step 4: Add your PB and/or chocolate chips and combine. I agree with Mama Pea when she adds that exact measurements aren’t needed… if you know what I mean. 10 cups of chocolate chips, please.

The Chips get their close-up.

In they go!

Time to stir things up.

Try a bite… you know, for quality assurance purposes. 😉

Step 5: Cover in plastic wrap (or something else) and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. See the original recipe for notes on how to fix dough that is too dry.

Step 6: While you wait, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 7: Using a mini ice cream scoop or your fingers, form dough into balls…

…and place onto a oiled, buttered or parchment paper covered cookie sheet.

Note: Since I don’t have my cookie scoop with me, I used my fingers. I formed twenty-six 1.5-2 inch balls. My recipe yielded more cookies than the original recipe, which was probably due to a smaller cookie size. The cookies still came out amazing, but remember that the smaller size may cause a need for a shorter baking time.

Step 8: Bake for 10-12 minutes. I baked mine for 9 minutes, due to higher elevation and smaller cookie size. They will look similar to their pre-baked selves. They will be soft and a tiny bit brown underneath, but will harden slightly after they cool. Do not over bake.

Step 9: Let the cookies cool on the pan for a minute, since they are pretty delecate at this point. Then, transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Tip: Feel free to eat one or a few or all fresh out of the oven, but wait a minute or two so you don’t burn yourself. They are gooey, warm and delicious.

Step 10: Eat and enjoy!!

The end result is a cookie that is slightly hard and baked on the outside…

… and has a soft, dough-like texture on the inside.

Perfection!

But don’t just take my word for it, try them for yourselves. You can thank me (and Mama Pea and Annie the Baker) later. 🙂

The Down-Low:

These cookies definitely aren’t diet food, but in ways, they do pack more nutritional value than your average cook, or maybe I should say, at least they aren’t as bad as normal cookies.

  • Many cookie recipes often use ~ 3/4 c. to 1c. of margarine/butter. This recipe only has  1/2 c.
  • Instead of using a full 3/2 c. of all purpose flour, 1 c. of it is whole wheat flour. Yay for whole wheat! It’s less processed and less nutrition then regular flour.
  • Peanut butter may be filled with calories, but it’s also very nutritious. It has fiber, protein (8g per 2tbsp service), low in sugar, and packed with minerals and vitamins (iron, potassium, iron, calcium, Vitamin E). Also, although fat makes up for 71% of the calories in PB, the fat is healthy fat. More info below.
  • Also, the more organic ingredients, the better for you and for the planet. Yeeha!

Healthy Fat in PB

Peanut-Butter.org has this to say about the fat in PB:

“Most of the fats contained are however monounsaturated, and have been shown to improve the cholesterol profile by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol. This effect is compounded by peanut butter containing polyunsaturated fats, which in turn help raising the “good” HDL cholesterol; the synergistic effect makes this spread a very good cholesterol regulator.”

Many of us think all fat is bad fat. But, when you eat healthy, it’s important to incorporate (heatlthy) fat into your diet. It’s good to know that some fats are healthy and that you should be eating it! Pass the PB here.

Question: What is your favorite type of cookie??

January 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

Quick & Easy “Crack” Cookie Bars

1. Do you ever have cravings for home-baked cookies but don’t want to dirty the entire kitchen?

2. Do you ever have events you need to bring something to, but don’t have the time to make something from scratch?

3. Do you have a bunch of chocolate chips, nuts, dried fruit, and other baking left-overs you need to use up and don’t know how?

4. Do you ever have a fresh-baked cookie craving you just need to satisfy (and quickly!)?

5. Are you lazy?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions (and even if you answered “no”), then this recipe is for you! I prefer baking goods from scratch, but sometimes I have to answer “yes.” Here is my quick fix. All you need is store bought (or home-made, if you have the time/preference) cookie dough, marshmallows, and any other toppings. The result? My friend, Katie, described it best: “These are like crack!” So good and so addictive!

Here are the directions to the QE cookie bars I made. The combination of butterscotch and chocolate pair perfectly but not as good as chocolate and peanut butter, especially with the sugary-crunch of the sugar cookie dough and the light bite of the marshmallow! This version is very sweet, but these can be made less sweet or even sweet and salty (one of my favorite combos of all time!) with other topping variations. After the recipe, I’ll give you tips on how to make your own variation!

Quick & Easy “Crack” Cookie Bars

Makes 16 bars (8″x8″ pan)

Ingredients:

1/2 roll of store-bough cookie dough (I used 1/2 of a 16.5 oz Pillsbury (r) refrigerated sugar cookie dough)

1.5 cup marshmallows

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.

2. Break up cookie dough into even pieces and lay on bottom of an ungreased 8″x8″ pan. Wet or flour your fingers/hands (to prevent sticking!), and use them to spread the cookie dough evenly in the pan.

3. Bake 13 to 16 minutes or until light golden brown (and when an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean).

4. Take pan out of oven, and immediately and evenly cover dough with with marshmallows. Sprinkle evenly with rest of toppings. Lightly press toppings into marshmallows.

4. Bake bars for another 4 to 5 minutes or until marshmallows begin to puff. Remove pan from oven and cool completely on cooling rack, about 2 hours. Cut into 16 bars (4 rows x 4 columns).  Take out and ENJOY!

Tip: This recipe can be easily doubled! Bake in a 13″x9″ pan for equal time.

Variations:

Use your favorite (store-bought) cookie dough, such as chocolate chip, peanut butter, etc.

Other possibly toppings (1/4 to 1/2 cup of each or to taste): Peanut butter chips, toffee chips, trail mix, M&M’s, nuts (peanuts, almonds, etc), broken-up cookies (sandwich cookies, chocolate chip cookies, etc), raisins, dried fruit, shredded (dried) coconut, crushed graham crackers, and more!

Next time, I’m trying this combo: S’mores “Crack” Bars = 1.5 cup marshmallows + 3/4 cup chocolate chips + 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers

Note: The marshmallows act as a sort of “glue,” attaching the other toppings to the cookies. While toppings such as chocolate chips will melt and mold to the cookie dough, toppings such as nuts will not and will fall off the cookie without the “glue.” If you don’t want to use marshmallows (or don’t have any), here is a suggestion: When layering the toppings, put all the melt-able toppings (chocolate chips, pb chips, etc) on the cookies first and then layer the non-melt-able toppings on top. After baking for 4-5 minutes, remove pan and lightly press the top toppings into the melted toppings. Make sure there is enough melt-able toppings that cover most of the dough. Cool completely.

Health-ified:

While my version isn’t necessarily healthy, yours can be! Just add any combination (one, a few, or all!) of these nutritional toppings to “healthify” this recipe: nuts (protein + healthy fats), dark chocolate [antioxidants + serotonin (anti-depressant) + stimulates endorphins (feel-good hormone)], unsweetened shredded coconut (sweet  with no added sugar), dried cranberries (antioxidants + improves body circulation + reduces bad cholesterol + may decrease chances of getting cancer),  raisins, dried fruit (including dried banana chips), and/or more!!

All packed up and ready to be taken to school to be enjoyed by my friends! (PS. These bars were made about two weeks, so they’ve already been devoured.)

Hope you enjoy my happy little invention! I hope you give them a try! If you try your own variation, I’d love to hear from you. Even better, I’d love to see photos of what you come up with sent to my email: sixtimestheyum@gmail.com

Please leave me comments. Have questions? Suggestions? Ideas? Let me know!

~Lara

May 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm 3 comments


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