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Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookie Dough Thumbprint Cookies

24 Oct

I am hopeless when it comes to directions. Forget about offering me tips like, “Go north on Main Street.” I’ll counter back with, “How am I supposed to know which way is north?” Come on, people! It’s hard for some of us.

It’s not hard for all of you, though, is it? Some people just have an aura of good-directionness around them.

Take my husband, for example.

The first time we went to NYC on our own, we were just two college kids taking an adventurous trip for the weekend. Naturally, I was terrified. And just as naturally, my pre-husband (pre-marriage, FYI) was in complete control.

We left Grand Central Station, my pre-husband assertively navigating up the right streets and down others and me lugging my roller-bag suitcase behind me, half-walking, half-running, and panting all the while. I was sure we were lost. I wanted a taxi with my whole heart, but for some reason, a taxi was not an option. We walked 10 or 50 blocks, depending on who you ask.

And then, out of nowhere, we were at our destination. This was a small miracle to me, the hopeless direction girl. But pre-husband never batted an eye. (Aura of good-directionness, I tell you.)

Today’s destination is not nearly as navigationally challenging as that trip to NYC; it’s just to some cookies. So come on, no reason not to make these.

I first made these cookies approximately one month ago. Then I made them again two weeks later. And then I made them two days ago (and put the last batch in 30 minutes ago). Yes, folks, they are that good.

These cookies are special because they’re not your run-of-the-mill thumbprint peanut butter cookies with a unwrapped, waxy chocolate kiss lazily thrown on top. (But don’t get me wrong, those lazy kiss ones are great, too!) The chocolate cookie dough topping is what takes these over the edge. They are rich and chocolatey and peanut-buttery. The ultimate trifecta in my book.

Cream your butters and sugars together. You know the drill.

Add the rest of your ingredients to complete the dough.

Shape the dough into tablespoon-sized balls, roll into sugar, and make a thumbprint impression with your thumb.

Bake at for 10-12 minutes until golden on the edges.

Before the cookies cool (and before you take them off the sheet), deepen the thumbprint with the back of a spoon.

While the cookies are cooling, start on your chocolate cookie dough topping. (Eggless, of course!)

It should look like this at the end. Smooth, chocolatey, and oh-so-perfect as a topping for the peanut butter cookies!

You know what comes next: you put it all together and admire your handiwork. Then you eat your handiwork. (more…)

Toffee Cookies

12 Sep

My friend Kelly and I used to go to her house after middle school and hunt for after-school snacks. We’d usually settle on something nutritious like cheese curls and then move on to dessert: brown sugar and melted better.

Brown sugar and butter is one of my all-time favorite combos. See? I’m a simple girl. Don’t need no new, strange, fancy treats to impress me.

Now I recognize that you can’t just offer brown sugar and butter to guests as a dessert. So let’s take that brown sugary, buttery taste and make it into cookies. Spread some chocolate on top and call it proper.

Beat the brown sugar and butter together. Feel free to take a few finger-licks for old times’ sake.

Add your yolk and beat some more.

Toss in the flour.

Mix by hand until combined.

Spread the dough in a jelly roll pan in a thin, even layer.

Bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle chocolate chips on top until they get melty.

Spread melted chocolate chips in an even-ish choco layer.

Cut into squares to serve. (more…)

White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookie Dough Blondies

15 Aug

I have contradictory ideas when it comes to nicknames. I don’t want anybody giving me a nickname. Nicknames don’t really work with a long name like Adrianne. People have tried “Adri” and “Dri,” but they never really stick. But on the other hand, I give everyone else nicknames. Sometimes they don’t even know about the nickname, but I still refer to them as that most of the time.

Before you go thinking I use nicknames as a means to talk behind someone’s back, I usually don’t make up mean or senseless nicknames to be cruel. For the most part, they are quite simple and nice, and truly, if I don’t make up a nickname for you, then I probably don’t care for you that much. So a nickname from me is really a badge of honor.

Here’s a nickname for these blondies: Best Blondies Ever. After I saw this recipe re-created online, I knew I had to have the cookbook. Based solely on its name, The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook, the cookbook had to be a winner. I’ll save you the anticipation. It is a winner. And these blondies definitely are. Combine the deliciousness of white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies with chewy blondies and then toss cookie dough topping in the mix. Convinced yet? If not, drool over the pictures for a while, then get back to me.

Start by melting your white chocolate and butter until smooth.

Add your sugars, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, and salt to your melted chocolate/butter mixture.

Pour into your parchment-lined pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Whip up your eggless white chocolate-macadamia nut cookie dough. DROOL.

Spread the cookie dough nice and evenly over the blondies.

Melt the remaining white chocolate and pipe or drizzle in a decorative pattern.

Cut into 20 squares and enjoy. Refrigerate any leftovers. (Good luck with the leftovers part!) (more…)

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars

19 Jul

When asked what my favorite animal was, I always used to say a cheetah. They have bright, spotted coats of fur and can run as fast as cars can drive. Also, have you ever seen pictures of a baby cheetah cub? Cutest. Thing. Ever. I guess I imagined cheetahs to be like big house cats—just more adept at leaping and hunting.

This time next month I will be in South Africa. That’s right everybody, SOUTH AFRICA. It’s a little bit crazy, considering the only time I left the United States was to go to Jamaica, and at that time I was living in Florida (so it wasn’t really that far away). One-way travel to our first destination is a mere staggering 26 hours.

I’m excited to go (understatement of the year). Things I will be doing include going on a wildlife safari, visiting Cape Town, touching the Indian Ocean, and tasting some new-to-me African dishes. My mind is boggled. It is actually a possibility that I might see a real cheetah. My life might be complete after that.

In retrospect, my life might have been complete after making and eating these chocolate caramel shortbread bars. I’ve always had a thing for caramel, and what better way to eat caramel than sandwiched between a layer of smooth chocolate and buttery shortbread?

Yes, the bars happen to contain 4 whole sticks of butter. Yes, the recipe makes a large 9 x 13-sized batch. Yes, I ate the majority of these by myself in under a week’s time. Any more questions?

Start by making your shortbread. At first it will be very crumbly. Keep mixing.

Keep mixing.

Before you know it, the dough will come together and feel more like cookie dough.

Press the dough into a parchment-lined cake pan. Even out the dough with your fingers or the bottom of a flat glass, then bake it.

To make the caramel, melt the butter with the sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk. Stir constantly!

Keep stirring constantly even once it starts to boil.

Keep stirring constantly as it starts to thicken.

Keep stirring constantly until it turns a light caramel color. Remove from heat.

Spread the caramel over your shortbread, then put the pan in the refrigerator until you’ve made your chocolate.

Combine your butter, corn syrup, and chocolate.

Heat over simmering water just until melted.

Spread chocolate over caramel and shortbread layers.

Refrigerate until firmed up. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Cut into bars and serve. Refrigerate leftovers for up to a week or freeze indefinitely. (more…)

Chocolate Chip Lava Cookies

9 Jun

I can’t stop making chocolate chip cookies. It doesn’t matter how many times I eat them, I will never stop craving them.

I saw these cookies on Pinterest, and my heart fluttered. I couldn’t stop looking at them and dreaming about them. There is nothing more boring absolutely satisfying than chocolate chip cookies cranked up a notch.

These cookies are perfect because they give you that satisfying chocolate chip taste but look more special and fancy. They also ooze with melted chocolate when warm. Wanna eat them warm with ice cream? Let’s be friends.

Start with your chocolate chip cookie dough.

Use half of the dough to make 10 flat balls in the bottom of the muffin tin.

Top each with a dollop of melted milk chocolate.

Then top that with the second half of the dough.

Bake for 17 minutes or until golden brown.

Drizzle with any remaining melted chocolate. Enjoy gooey, melty, chocolatey goodness. (more…)

Big Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

5 Jun

When I was a kid, I got in trouble for putting my feet up on my chair at the kitchen table. Everyone corrected me for it. It’s like all the adults in my life had it in for me just because of this one little habit. Here’s how it normally went.

Begin scene.

Mother/Father/Grandparent: “Adrianne.” (Serious tone.)
Me: “What?” (Innocently.)
Mother/Father/Grandparent: “Put your feet down when you’re sitting at the table. You cannot sit like that when you’re grown up.” (Sternly.)
Me: Slowly put feet down like a proper lady. Thirty seconds pass. Slowly put feet back up like a comfortable, hunched-over little monkey.

Repeat scene.

That was a habit that I just couldn’t seem to break. One of the first ways I celebrated my freedom when I lived on my own was putting my feet up on my chair in the comfort of my own apartment. No one corrected or reprimanded me or told me I was acting like a child. It was awesome.

I also ate too many cookies as a child. That’s not a habit I’m willing to break as a grown-up, either. Children sometimes have it right.

Here’s a recipe for one of my favorite cookies since I was a kid. These chocolate cookies are huge, chewy, and full of peanut butter chips. Because they’re so big, no need to feel guilty for eating too many. You’ll probably start feeling full after one.

Cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.

Add eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition.

Add the dry mixture to the creamed one, mixing gently by hand until combined.

Add in those peanut butter chips.

Form dough balls the size of golf balls.

Bake 16-18 minutes until puffed and cracked on top.

A close-up…mmmmm. (more…)

Peanut Butter Cookies

26 May

When I was in seventh grade, I had to take a sewing class and a cooking class. The idea was to get kids back to the basics. The sewing class was probably the hardest class of my life. My hands are not meant to sew. They just aren’t. We made the most challenging things, too—like pillowcases. OK, so I know what you’re thinking. A pillowcase? Are you serious? That’s just two pieces of fabric sewn together. Well listen Mister Judgey Pants, it might be simple if you didn’t have to sew the pieces together. But apparently you do.

If you needed help, classmates were allowed to assist. I took “assist” to a whole new level when we moved from pillowcases and onto duffel bags. I convinced a nimble-handed girl to practice and assist on mine until it was finished.

Those were stressful days.

So let’s go back to the basics. (No, not the sewing basics, because those basic skills were never actually acquired.) This recipe hails from my seventh grade cooking class. It truly is easy enough for twelve- and thirteen-year-old kids (not like cursed pillowcases).

Did I mention this recipe has three ingredients? Yup, just THREE. If that isn’t incentive enough for you to grab a bowl and start mixing, I don’t know what is.

Start by getting out your list of ingredients. All three of ’em.

Mix the sugar and peanut butter. It will be nice and crumbly.

Add the egg and mix again. Your dough will be very shiny. Form into little balls.

Next make those cute little crosshatch marks.

Bake for 10 minutes, then eat, eat, eat!

(more…)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 May

Shortening. There, I said it. If you are too scared to keep reading, I understand. I know some people ban shortening from their houses, but sometimes, just sometimes, I think it makes food taste better. (Traitor! Witch! Dummy!)

You may still be skeptical. Chocolate chip cookies? I already have a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, and I make them with butter, and I’ve made them 100 times, and they taste just fine. Well…true. But because chocolate chip cookies are part of my food pyramid, I like to mix things up a bit so I’m not eating the same cookie every week.

The shortening really does make these cookies taste like a new chocolate chip cookie. These cookies are still delicious when cooled and even for days to come. I like to flatten them a bit before baking. This gives them a simple look and makes it easy to smash a scoop of ice cream between two little disks for a smart cookie sandwich.

(more…)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

16 Apr

There is something about Mondays that just makes you want to be healthy. It’s the start of the workweek—well, basically, the start of a new life! Try to look at each week like a fresh start. Like today is the day you’ll cross off that to-do list 1. Get out of bed. 2. Go to work. 3.  Come home. 4. Watch something uplifting like Dancing with the Stars. Or today is the day you’ll start exercising again. (Or preferably watch other people exercise on a show like DWTS.) Or hopefully today is the day you’ll be healthy…starting with these cookies. They have oatmeal in them, so they must be healthy, right? (more…)

Milk and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

5 Apr

People love these cookies. I don’t really know what it is about them, but people just love them. I like the combination of white and milk chocolate chips. It’s simple, yet smart. The chocolates complement each other very well in this cookie. (more…)