Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yum in my tum.  This is a great, quick go-to cookie recipe.  These had a great oatmeal to chocolate ratio! Too bad I couldn’t stop eating them!

Enjoy!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup butter (or margarine!), softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
  3.  Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Football Whoopie Pies

Congrats to all you Giants fans out there for your victory on Sunday evening! We had a small Super Bowl get together and it was great!  Husband believes that Super Bowl Sunday is even better than Christmas Day…I happen to disagree (Christmas is the bestest!!).  Every year he invites his buddies over and they buckle down with chili, beer, and lots of junk food! This year, was no different.

Those who know me, know that I love (understatement) baking.  My friend Jess and I had so much fun making these and they turned out adorable!

These chocolate whoopie pies turned out so fluffy and were stuffed with the most amazing butter cream icing! It’s my go to icing recipe. I’ve even converted many non-icing lovers with this recipe 🙂

While I made these football shaped – they will be just as fantastic in any other shape!

Enjoy!

Whoopie Ingredients: 

  • 1 box of chocolate cake mix (any kind you like)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water

Buttercream Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening*
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon clear butter flavoring
  • 2 tablespoons water (or milk)
  • 1 tablespoon merengue powder (optional)
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (approximately 1 lb.
  •  *  Get white shortening, not yellow! So you the icing will be white, rather than a tint of yellow

Instructions: 

1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Start off by whisking together the eggs, vegetable oil, and water.

3.  Then add the cake mix and stir well, until it is smooth and lump free.

 

4.  Place spoonfuls of batter on baking sheet, be sure to keep each spoonful spaced apart as they will spread out.  Use the back of a spoon or a butter knife to shape the batter in to a football shape.

5.  Place in oven for 8-10 minutes. Take out of oven and allow to cool completely.

6. While you are waiting you can start making the buttercream icing.

7. With an electric mixer, soften shortening.  Add vanilla, butter flavoring, water (or milk), and merengue powder.  Mix well.
8. Start adding powdered sugar, one cup at a time until well blended.  I like my buttercream frosting to be really sweet, so taste as you go and add more or less depending on your sweet tooth
9.  Once icing is made and whoopie’s are cooled, it’s time to assemble the whoopie pies! Place some icing on the underside of a football shaped cake.  Place another cake on time and press down a little.
10.  Decorate with laces using white decorating gel or by piping out remaining buttercream icing.
11. Time to enjoy 🙂

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

‘Tis the season for pumpkin!

I’ve been searching for the “perfect” pumpkin bread recipe, and this recipe was the winner. I got the recipe from allrecipess.com but made a few changes because I was missing a couple ingredients.   This recipe is a must try, it turned out amazing!!! Delicious, delicious, delicious.

I have to admit while I was putting it all together, I was a little nervous. The recipe asks you to place half the pumpkin batter in the loaf pan, followed by a layer of cream cheese filling, and then the remainder of the pumpkin batter.  The batter was so heavy that it fell in to the cream cheese filling…but somehow, some magic must have happened in the oven and it turned out perfectly.  Did I mention that it was delicious?

Let me know how it goes if you try it! I hope you enjoy as much as we did.

Ingredients:

Cream cheese filling: 

– 1 (8 ounce) package reduced fat cream cheese
– 1/2 cup white sugar
– 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
– 1 egg
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (original recipe called for  1 tbsp orange zest)

Pumpkin batter: 

– 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (original recipe called for 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp ground gloves)
– 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– 1 cup pumpkin puree
– 1/2 cup vegetable oil
– 2 eggs
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1  cups white sugar (original recipe called for 1 1/2 cup white sugar and no brown sugar)

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease (with PAM) two 8×4 inch loaf pans. ( I apparently can’t read and only used 1 loaf pan…oops! I just made one GIANT loaf instead of two)
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; beat until smooth. Set aside.
  3.  Sift together 1 2/3 cup flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and pumpkin pie spice; set aside
  4. Place pumpkin, vegetable oil, 2 eggs and 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup sugar in a large bowl; beat well.
  5. Stir the flour mixture in to the pumpkin mixture, just until well combined.
  6. Pour 1/2 of the pumpkin batter into the loaf pans. Spoon cream cheese mixture on top of this layer and then pour the remaining pumpkin batter on top.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes (mine took about 80 minutes since I made one giant one), or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pans for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Can’t wait to have a slice with my pumpkin spice coffee in the morning for breakfast, yumm!!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I  needed to bake and I wanted to make something simple.  What’s more simple than chocolate chip cookies?  This is a great recipe and the cookies turned out delicious 🙂

This recipe is from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup light margarine, melted (original recipe called for unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.
  4. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. (or rubber spatula…)
  6. Drop tablespoon fulls of cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Fresh Peach Muffins

I think breakfast might be my favorite meal of the day.  But I typically don’t get the chance to really enjoy breakfast as classes start most mornings by 7:30.  So, I try to make muffins or other quick, on the go breakfast type items at the beginning of the week.  Today I made peach muffins since I had a couple of really ripe peaches. I found a recipe on allrecipes.com but I as usual I couldn’t help but tweak it a bit.  Before peaches are completely out of season, I definitely think these are a must-try!

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup light margarine
  • 3/4 cup sugar (or Splenda)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (I had peach greek yogurt, so I used that)*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda*
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped fresh peaches (Be sure to remove peel from peaches)
*You can substitute the yogurt for sour cream, in which case you wouldn’t need to add the baking soda
Instructions: 
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Add egg, yogurt, vanilla, and honey, mix well.
3. Combine flour,  baking powder, and baking soda; stir into creamed mixture just until moistened.
4. Fold in peaches. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full.
5. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack.

 

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

It’s been a great first day of “summer” break.  I slept in, ran some errands, had lunch with the hubby, and when I got home I tried to fight the urge to bake…and I failed.  These cookies turned out amazing! They are so so moist and chocolatey and well, they hit the spot. Unfortunately they were soo good that I’ve already eaten three…and they’ve only been out of oven for 30 minutes. Epic. Fail. Hopefully I can pawn them off on friends before I eat them all!

Side note:  You know who’s not having a good day??  Diesel.  Poor puppy has an ear infection and a hurt paw…he looks so sad and helpless.  He’s on pain killers, ear drops, and antibiotics!! Poor pumpkin. His favorite treats are ice cubes (weird right?), so he’s been getting extra ice cubes and lots of love today…. hopefully he feels better soon!

Anyways, back to the cookies. Here’s the recipe, enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (or splenda!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients using a wooden spoon. Mix in the oats and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Dig in and enjoy!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yesterday was a friend’s birthday (Happy birthday Jess!) and the day before she had hinted at wanting some red velvet cupcakes… ask and you shall receive!!

I love using recipes from the Cake Mix Doctor because they’re so quick, easy, and always delicious.  I typically like to make all my cakes from scratch, but every once in while when I’m in a hurry I’ll use one of her recipes.  She always starts by using pre-made cake mix (like the kind you buy in a box from the grocery store).  But instead of following the directions on the back of the box, you follow her directions.  I didn’t really make any changes to her red velvet cupcake recipe, but I did use a different cream cheese frosting recipe that I’ve used in the past.  I promise these are easy to make, even if you’re not a baker! It’s a pretty straight forward recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Paper liners for cupcake pans (2 1/2 –inch size)
  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) plain German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring
  • 3 large eggs
Directions:
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line cupcake cups with paper liners. Set the pans aside.
  2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, food coloring, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer (or in kitchen aid mixer) on low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides again if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined.
  3. Spoon or scoop 1/3 cup batter into each lined cupcake cup, filling it three quarters of the way full. (You should get between 22 and 24 cupcakes…I got 18) Place the pan in the oven.
  4. Bake the cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Take cupcakes out of pan and allow to completely cool before icing.  If you’re in a hurry you can always put them in the fridge to cool down quicker.
Now it’s time to make your frosting!
Ingredients:
  • 2 (8 ounces each) packages of reduced fat cream cheese*
  • 1/2 cup of light margarine*
  • 3 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
* You can choose to use full-fat ingredients if you like! If you’re looking for a stiffer icing, I would use full-fat cream cheese and butter instead. You’re icing will be a little runnier if you stick to reduced fat ingredients…but you will be saving yourself many calories!!
Instructions:
  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator to thicken, if too runny.
  2. Ice cupcakes.
  3. Dig in and enjoy!
This frosting doesn’t turn out overwhelmingly sweet. It’s basically in your control…just add more or less confectioner’s sugar depending on how you like your icing!
If you’re looking for an overall healthier red velvet cupcake recipe, then check out my friend Sarah’s recipe! She says they turned out amazing 🙂

Apple Pie

A friend asked me to share an apple pie recipe with her, so here it is 🙂 Let me know how it turns out Mel!

Apple pies can be tricky, the most common problem people face is having a watery pie. The best kind of apple to use to prevent this from happening are Granny Smith apples.  Also, adding some cornstarch to the filling helps thicken it up.  I’m definitely not a pie expert but here is a recipe that I’ve successfully used several times. Enjoy!

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour (can substitute 1/2 cup flour if you don’t have almonds)
  • 16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, chilled in freezer for at least 15 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 to 6 Tbsp water, very cold

Filling Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 pounds of 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices of peeled and cored good cooking apples, Granny Smith work best
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 large egg yolk  (to be brushed on top of pie)
Instructions:

1 In a food processor, combine flour, almonds, salt and brown sugar, pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add water 1 Tablespoon at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready, if not, add a little more water and pulse again.

Remove dough from machine and place on a clean surface. Carefully shape into 2 discs. Do not over-knead the dough! You should still be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These bits of butter are what will allow the result crust to be flaky. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

2 Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F.

3 Combine sugar, flour and spices in large bowl. Use your hands and mix in the apples so they are well coated, then add brandy and vanilla extract.

4 Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Sprinkle some flour on top of the disk. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12 inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, use a metal spatula to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. Add a few sprinkles of flour if necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Gently fold in half. Place on to a 9-inch pie plate, lining up the fold with the center of the pan. Gently unfold and press down to line the pie dish with the dough.

5 Spoon in apple filling, mounding slightly in center.

6 Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently turn over onto the top of the apples in the pie. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that the edge of the fold is flush with the edge of the pan. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork.
7 Blend egg yolk together, and brush over top of pie.  Cut slits in top crust to allow steam to escape. Bake pie until crust begins to turn golden, about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F. Tent the rims with aluminum foil or a pie protector if the edges are browning too quickly. Bake until crust is golden and juices are bubbling, anywhere from an additional 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of apples you are using. Transfer to rack; let stand 1 hour. Serve pie warm or at room temperature (don’t forget the vanilla ice cream on the side!)
Remember, if you’re not feeling adventurous enough to make pie crust, then in the frozen food section at the grocery store, there is pre-made pie crust! If you’ve never made homemade apple pie before, it can seem a little overwhelming.  But if I can do it, you can do it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Warning:  These are not so good for you, but they are so yummy.

Sometimes we just need to indulge a little (or sometimes a lot!) … If you love the peanut butter – chocolate combination, then these will hit the spot! The cupcakes turn out so so moist and surprisingly they’re not too overwhelmingly sweet.  There’s a nice balance between the chocolate and the peanut butter! This recipe is definitely on my top 10 favorite things to bake list!

Enjoy!

Ingredients for cupcakes:

– 1 package chocolate cake mix
– 1 1/4 cups water
– 1/3 cup canola oil
– 1/2 cup peanut butter
– 3 eggs
– 24 miniature peanut butter cups

Ingredients for frosting:

– 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate, chopped (I just chopped up chocolate chips)
– 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
– 1/3 cup peanut butter
– Additional miniature peanut butter cups, chopped

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, peanut butter, oil, and eggs, beat on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium for 2 min or until smooth.

2. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 1/2 way.  Place a peanut butter cup in the center of each cupcake.  Cover each with 1 tablespoonful batter.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick is inserted near the center corners out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before remove from pan to wire racks to cool completely.

4. Place chopped chocolate in a small bowl.  In a small saucepan ring cream just to a boil.  Pour cream over chocolate; whisk until smooth.  Stir in peanut butter.  Cool, stirring occasionally, to room temperature or until ganache reaches a spreading consistency, about 10 minutes.
** (My icing turned out a bit runny, so I had to stick in it in the fridge for about 15-20 min!)

5. Spread over cupcakes, immediately sprinkle with additional peanut butter cups.  Let stand, until set!

** Best not to use reduced-fat or generic brands of peanut better