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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

3 Oct

Sometimes I have no hope for the world. I went to Target and looked at their book section. Under the banner “Non-Fiction Best Sellers” were The Hobbit and vampire books. Under “Fiction Best Sellers” were self-help books, memoirs, and Mitt Romney’s No Apology. My husband shrugged this off as an honest mistake that anyone could make. I, dramatically, was horrified. Mistake? Mistake???! This is fifth-grade stuff, people.

Other times, I have the highest hopes and confidence in the world. Ever since I gifted myself The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook, my life has been 10x better. Every recipe I’ve made thus far has been an A+ winner.

These brownies are no exception.

Oh my gosh, when I took my first bite of this brownie, I felt like I was eating a stick of butter (IN AN EXTREMELY GOOD WAY, I PROMISE!!). Now that might turn some of you healthy people off, but trust me, these brownies are fudgy-cookie-doughy heaven. (And it’s not actually quite as bad as eating a stick of butter…I don’t think anyway…)

Enjoy my pictures, and then, please, I urge you, make these for yourself.

Start by stirring up your brownie batter.

Bake for 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, make your eggless cookie dough for the topping. Spread on cooled brownies.

Refrigerate until ready to eat, then cut into bars to serve. Look how fast that was?! OK, in full disclosure, these pictures were taken over the course of 2 hours, but it was worth it. (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…)

Fudgy Brownies

1 Aug

I love everything homemade. In my book, homemade always, always, always trumps box mixes or store-bought foods. The only time this truth comes into question is when we’re talking about brownies. There is something delicious about box brownies, and I’ve determined it’s their fudginess. Homemade brownies (usually) don’t have that same fudgy texture and tend to get hard and stale rather quickly.

These brownies are winners in my book because they are both homemade (win!) and still magically fudgy (double win!).

Don’t expect these to be a piece of cake (har har har) to remove from the pan in neat little squares because they truly are fudgy and a bit sticky. Neat, little squares won’t matter so much after you stuff a couples of these into your mouth.

Add your chopped chocolate to your melted butter. Let sit for a few minutes while the chocolate melts.

Stir until smooth.

Add the white and brown sugars to the smooth chocolate.

Whisk in your eggs, one at a time. Then add the maple syrup and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, and stir just until combined.

Spread evenly in the parchment-lined cake pan, and bake for 25 minutes.

Let cool before cutting into 20 squares and serving. (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…)

Red Velvet Cupcakes for Independence Day

2 Jul

What is it about bad fashion that I find so darn enticing? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some trendy styles, but I can’t help myself when it comes to the cheesiest, outdated fads.

One of my all-time favorite wardrobe pieces are jean overalls. Overalls, you’re thinking. You must be joking. Nope, not joking.

I think overalls are adorable. You can get them all dirty, you can wear them over anything, and they look cute on everybody. OK, that last part might be stretching it a teeny bit. Nevertheless, they won’t go out of style in my book.

Here’s something else timeless: a little, old recipe for red velvet cupcakes. This recipe comes from Ryan’s grandmother, loving known as “MomMom” to the grandkids. You know you can’t go wrong when you’re using a trusty grandma recipe. Thanks, MomMom.

This makes a rich, thick batter. The cupcakes themselves are nowhere too dense, though—they are the perfect balance of crumb and density. The frosting is light and airy. A perfect topper to contrast the indulgent cupcakes. See for yourself.

Ooh la la! (And not even frosted yet!)

Stir together flour and salt. Set aside.

Cream together sugar and shortening.

Crack in an egg.

Beat until smooth.

Combine cocoa and red food coloring.

Whisk away.

Add cocoa/food coloring mix to creamed mixture. Beat until smooth.

In 3 additions, add in flour mixture.

Alternating, of course, with your buttermilk in 2 additions.


Be a scientist and combine vinegar and baking soda. Watch it bubble.

Add baking soda/vinegar mixture to batter. Then add your vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Fill your cups 2/3-way full. (I love how red these are!)

Bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool while making your frosting.

For the frosting, start by combining milk and flour in a small saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes until it thickens

Set aside to cool and cover with plastic wrap.

In another bowl, combine shortening, butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Beat until light and fluffy.

Add cooled milk mixture.

Beat until it’s the consistency of whipped cream.

Divide the frosting into half white, half blue, and frost away. Happy Independence Day! (more…)

Chocolate Cream Puffs

22 Jun

I was a hyper kid. I always had trouble winding down. My real problem was that I couldn’t stop laughing. (And mostly I found myself hilarious.) The family would be sitting around having a jolly time, and I would start getting silly. Inevitably something would crack me up, and I would start laughing. At first, it was no big deal because everyone else was laughing too. But then the laughter would all die off, except for mine. And of course I found this even more funny. Times like these would end in tears. Laughing for a straight 10 minutes is bound to cause a bodily reaction, and I would usually be gasping for air as tears rolled down my face. Like I said, I had trouble winding down.

I was always the hyper one—that is, until my little brother came along. He is 14 years my junior, and the caboose of the family. I went home last weekend and have since decided that we are twin souls. He cracks up at himself and can’t stop laughing for the life of him. He was laughing so hard at one point that he yanked his shorts down and starting doing the underwear dance. Crazy kid. Again, twin souls. Twin silly souls.

I made these chocolate cream puffs after some begging from my mom. They aren’t silly. In fact, I’d say these are the opposite of silly. But sometimes you gotta balance out the silly with serious, mature treats such as these.

The chocolate filling is by far the best part of these. It has a rich chocolate flavor, and I’m not opposed to eating it alone like a bowl of decadent chocolate pudding.

Stir together the water, butter, and salt until it begins to boil.

Add all of the flour, and stir until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Use a 1/4-cup scoop to drop dough balls onto a cookie sheet.

It’s fine if they all look a little different. It adds character.

Bake until puffed and golden brown.

This is how your baked puffs should look.

Cut off the tops and pull out the doughy insides. Now make the chocolate filling!

Heat the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, salt, and milk, stirring constantly. Keep stirring until the mixture begins to boil.

After adding beaten eggs, return to heat and stir constantly until mixture thickens and begins to boil.

Mixture should be very thick. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

Pour filling into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the chocolate to prevent a film from forming.

Now fill the puffs with thick chocolate filling.

Dainty chocolate cream puffs. (more…)

Devil’s Food Cupcakes

18 Jun

Wrinkly feet. Constant sleeping. Even, open-mouthed breathing.

There is something magical about newborn babies. All you want to do is touch their perfect skin and smile at them. I got to hold my friend Tess’s baby girl this week, hence this pondering. And I’ve determined all is right in the world when you hold a tiny infant.

Or a kitten.

Or a puppy.

What is it about baby creatures that we can’t deny? For me it comes down to sweetness and cuteness. (The most important “ness-es,” probably.)

I like to think these cupcakes are sweet and cute. The chocolate cake is rich and oh-so-moist (thanks in part to the cocoa + boiling water and the buttermilk). The frosting flavor will remind you of ganache, and yet it’s thicker and velvety (thanks to the cream).

Whisk together the cocoa and boiling water. This makes the cake extra-rich.

This is what the batter should look like after the eggs are mixed in.

This is what the batter should look like after the flour and buttermilk have been added in.

Fill your muffin tins using a 1/3-cup scoop.

Bake until the cupcakes puff and the centers spring back when touched.

Frost your cupcakes. (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…)

Strawberry Shortcake Muffins

24 May

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and exclaim, You’ll never guess what I dreamed about. . .a new cupcake recipe! And I’m not joking. I actually dream about fantastic new recipes, and then I scribble them down so I don’t forget about them. (Because you know how sometimes you can remember your dreams clear as day right after waking up but then you start forgetting little details and then more details until you’ve forgotten the whole dream in an hour’s time?)

I dreamed about strawberry shortcake muffins one night. I woke up with a smile on my face because I knew this was pure inspiration. After doing a Google search, I discovered that other people have had this very same inspiration, but I like to think mine is special because these were speaking to me from my dreams.

My recipe is different from others because they really are muffins and not cupcakes. They aren’t too sweet, and they actually taste like strawberry shortcake. And they’re oh-so-pretty.

Start with your favorite plain muffin recipe. I used my blueberry muffin recipe (without the blueberries, of course). Using a cupcake corer or a serrated knife, cut a small core in your muffin.

Chop some fresh strawberries.

Fill your core with the strawberries.

Cover with a dollop of pink Dream Whip.

Top with a fresh strawberry. (more…)