Tag Archives: walnuts

Oaty Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I offered to bring dessert to a family BBQ a couple weeks ago, but when it came time to make it I didn’t have much on hand, and didn’t have a ton of time. I searched the internet for ideas and came across this recipe for Granola Blondies by the ever amazing Shelly of Cookies and Cups. I used the idea as a basis for my bars, but none of my fix-ins are the same because I had to use what I had in the pantry!

I wasn’t sure what to call my version, so I settled on a wordy thrown together name that just encompasses everything they represented.

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Oaty Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars – adapted from Cookies & Cups

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1 cup chocolate chips

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Don’t all of the fix-ins look amazing together??

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350*.

2. Line 9×9 pan with foil for easy removal. Spray foil lightly with non-stick spray.

3. Beat together butter and brown sugar until fluffy and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, and scrape sides if necessary.

4. Add salt and baking powder. Slowly add flour until all incorporated. Mix in the fix-ins by hand.

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5. Spread into the foil-lined pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until edges start to turn golden. Let cool completely before cutting. (You can put in the fridge to cool faster.)

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I didn’t have time to let these cool and set up enough, so they were very very gooey when I cut into them.

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Still amazingly tasty, but not the cutest pictures or the cleanest fingers. 🙂

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Valentine’s Snowballs

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My husband calls these ‘snowball cookies’ but they are also commonly referred to as Mexican Wedding Cookies.

I came across these made by the talented Callye of Sweet Sugar Belle, and decided I wanted to make some for Valentine’s day. I’m not so much a red girl, so I opted for the very lovely, very predictable, Pink!

I told my husband about them and he said “oh you mean snowball cookies?” I had never tried or seen them before, but apparently his mom makes them every year for Christmas. I asked her about them and she was happy to share her recipe. I compared it to Callye’s, and it was identical, except Callye’s had 2x more nuts. I texted my mother-in-law to tell her this and she said her recipe had been in the family for generations! How funny that they were the same!

I am pretty much obsessed with walnuts in my cookies, so I opted for the double amount.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened – or cut up into small chunks

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Food coloring (optional)

2 cups flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups chopped nuts (I used walnuts… pecans and almonds are also a popular choice)

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar for rolling

Directions:

1. Mix together butter and powdered sugar until fluffy, then add vanilla and food coloring.

2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and salt, then stir in the nuts.

3. Add flour/nut mixture to butter mixture a little at a time until fully incorporated. The batter was very thick; I had to make husband stir it with a wooden spoon because my mixer couldn’t take it.

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4. Form into 1″ balls, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

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5. Immediately after pulling from the oven, roll in powdered sugar then place on a cooling rack. After all cookies are baked and rolled and cooled, roll once more in powdered sugar.

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6. Store in an airtight container with the remaining powdered sugar to keep them well dusted.

**I just realized after typing this that my mother-in-law’s recipe says to bake at 300 for 30 minutes. I am curious what difference that would make to these, since they have all the same ingredients. I will have to have her try these and tell me what she thinks?

Make something sweet for those that you love for Valentine’s Day! ❤

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The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

My search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie has ended.

This is technically round 3 of my personal chocolate chip cookie challenge. This go-round I combined different elements from attempt 1 and attempt 2. The result is a thick, chewy, loaded-with-good-stuff cookie with perfectly balanced flavors.

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Here is my recipe:

1 1/2 sticks butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups + 2 tbsp flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1 cup oats

 

1. Preheat oven to 350*F.

2. Melt butter, then set aside to cool down.

3. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

4. Mix together the sugars. Add the butter and mix well. Then add the vanilla and eggs and mix well again.

5. Add dry ingredients and mix until completely combined. Stir in chocolate chips, walnuts, and oats.

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6. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop (or spoon) to make 2 tbsp sized balls and space them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

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7. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving cookies to drying rack.

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Self proclaimed challenge complete… now I have to find a new goal to work on…

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Chocolate Chip Cookies, Round 2

When the craving strikes, you gotta do it!

Chocolate chip cookies are one of the easiest things to make. No store-bought dough allowed!

I liked my recipe last Christmas, but it wasn’t perfect. The last time I made chocolate chip cookies, I went specifically for chewy, but that receipe wasn’t perfect either. I must find the perfect chocolate chip cookie! Eventually I will if I keep trying, right? This one isn’t perfect, but I think it’s my best so far. Next time I may try a mixture of the last 2 recipes.

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts & Oats

recipe adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 12oz package chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1 cup oats

Beat shortening and butter together for 30 seconds. Add sugars and baking soda and beat until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.  (You may need to scrape down sides in between to get everything incorporated.) Beat in flour. Add in chocolate, nuts, and oats and stir until combined well. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to scoop balls onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Tips:

*Mine did not spread at all. First batch came out in balls just like when they went in. I had to kind of squish down the balls to get the cookies to cook and look better.

*Parchment is not necessary, but trust me it’s the best change I have ever made in my baking.

*I didn’t write it in the ingredients above because I didn’t use it, but if I made it again I would add a bit of salt – it really needed it. I’ve never before seen a recipe without salt and it didn’t occur to me that it was missing until I tried one.

Look at all the goodies in there! Definitely the best part of these cookies.

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Best Brownies EVER

Okay so I have mentioned before that I don’t really like chocolate that much. Basically I don’t like chocolate just by itself. No chocolate cake, brownies, chocolate bars… the exception comes in when you add stuff to it. Nougat, caramel, nuts… I love Milky Way, Snickers, Sees caramels in the nuts and chews box.. mmm… So anyway, I don’t eat brownies. Like never.

About a month ago, a coworker and I had a play fight over him eating too many of the sugar cookies I brought in to work… somehow the result of this play fight was him trying to “out do” me and bring something yummier than my cookies. So he brings in brownies. I had to let him down with the news that I don’t like brownies/chocolate, and he INSISTED anyway that I try one. Ugh, fine. I took one and it sat on my desk a few hours before I figured what the hell.. and took a bite.

O.M.G.  – Heaven. In my mouth. Like Seriously.

I was a little too embarrassed to tell him that I was in love with it, after just telling him I don’t eat brownies. I did however, go back for another before they ran out! By the end of the day I did confess that the brownie was the best thing I have ever eaten. He promised he’d bring me the recipe, but kept forgetting… But I decided I wanted to make them for a wine party I was going to last night. (Wine+chocolate=perfect, right?) He was kind enough to finally remember to get me the recipe. And I am now going to share with anyone who happens to read my little blog! Trust me, you’re gonna want to print this one out and keep it!

Caramel Brownies

14 oz bag caramels

5 oz can evaporated milk

box chocolate cake mix w/ pudding in mix

1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

6 oz bag chocolate chips

Unwrap caramels and put in small pot with 1/3 cup (half of the can) of evaporated milk. Turn on low and stir every once in a while to get things melty. We eventually want it to be smooth, but it can get started while we get the rest ready.

Beat together cake mix, the rest of the evaporated milk, and the margarine. It will eventually turn into a ball of dough.

Press half of the dough into the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 6 minutes.

Pull the pan out of the oven and sprinkle 1 cup of chopped walnuts over the top of the dough, followed by the chocolate chips.

When the caramel is good and melty smooth, pour it evenly over the top of the chocolate chips. Don’t drool into the caramel!!!

The rest of the cake/dough mixture goes on top. I tried to smoosh it down and it wasn’t working well with the caramel there. Instead I took small pieces of the dough and flattened it as much as I could with my fingers then laid it on top the caramel. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just as good of coverage as possible.

Sprinkle the rest of the nuts across the top. (This helps hide the holes!)

Pop the pan back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Let cool completely then cut up and serve. These pics arestraight out of the oven. Look at the crispy gooey caramel on the corner!

 

Plated and ready for the wine party!

The brownies were brought out just in time for the red wines, and they paired perfectly! I will definitely be making these again and again and again… you should too!

*PS – they are good cold! We kept the leftovers in the fridge and my husband said it made them even better!*

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Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Usually when I make something, I get little to none of it because I either make it for someone else, or I make it to share.. Well last night I felt like cookies. Did it matter that it was 10pm and I was out of sugar? Nope. I borrowed some from my parentals (who live very close-by) and I made cookies at 11pm.

I wanted chewy.. the cookies I have made before had good flavor and ingredients, but they were always harder than I prefer. Here is the recipe I used.  Apparently there is scientific evidence that makes these chewy cookies so good. And they really were. Although I think they are better after cooling completely (yes I had one for breakfast) than they did last night when they were warm.

Recipe says 10-13 min, and I definitely went the full 13 and they were still a little uncooked-ish in the middle, but letting them cool on the pan definitely helped them set. I used only about a cup of chocolate chips, I don’t like when they take over my cookie and I’m not the biggest chocolate fan. Oh and I used chopped walnuts, the recipe didn’t include nuts. I think next time I am going to add some oats, my mom’s cookies have oats and I love it…

I know chocolate chip cookies are a little boring compared to my other cookies, but this recipe is good so I wanted to share! Plus, what’s easier and quicker than homemade chocolate chip cookies?!

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Lemon Pudding Cake & Chocolate Strawberries

For Mother’s Day I wanted to make something amazing to take to my mother-in-law’s. I know they favor lemony desserts and so I offered to bring this cake that I already had on my “need to make this one of these days” list.

My aunt makes an amazing lemon cake that I have always liked. It starts from a box, and I know if has some pudding mix in it.. and then she pokes holes in the top and mixes powdered sugar and lemon juice and pours it over the top of the cake… I decided I wanted to try and make something similar, but maybe “fancier” looking, since hers doesn’t actually have frosting or anything on it.

I found this recipe while perusing different lemon recipes and I thought it sounded amazing… plus it is accompanied by a light frosting so I could “fancy” it up. I pretty much just followed the recipe with only a few minor changes. A few of the comments recommended using lemon cake rather than yellow, so I went with that. (I am of the opinion that it’s difficult to get desserts too lemony.) For the icing I used lemon juice rather than extract, cuz well, I don’t have extract.. and I used 2x as much. Also, I don’t have a 10×15 inch pan. (Seriously?! Who has a pan that big?) so I did half at a time using an 8×8 pan, and just slopped some of the icing in between.

I think the “beat for 4 minutes on high” part made the the batter uber smooth and the cake itself looked like velvet coming out of the oven. Also the comments said to  definitely keep the cake in the fridge – the cool whipped icing is key for the refresh-ness of this cake!

Here is the final picture:

I left it pretty plain looking… and of course, here is the cut picture:

Served with fresh cut up strawberries of course. It paired perfectly! This cake was YUMmy! Super smooth and light and moist. I wished there was more of the icing. It is definitely better cold right out of the fridge. I think the strawberries were an essential part, I don’t think I would make it again unless I had the fresh strawberries for it.

For “fresh” strawberry definition, see this post!

Since we are lucky enough to have both families in town, we spend brunch/lunch with my in-laws and dinner with my family. I told my family I was bringing strawberries. I don’t know what they were expecting, but I brought these:

My grandma loved the strawberries (yes they are fresh!) so much I am making her some for her bunco group later this week. (The cups near the center are filled with chocolate drizzled walnuts.)

After brunch with the in-laws I had HALF of the lemon cake left over. So before heading to my family dinner, I stopped home and used the leftover frosting and frosted the cut side. It looked good as new, you couldn’t even tell that it was reused!

**Coming up next… I am making my own birthday cupcakes!

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