Two-Bite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes I wonder if my blog should have been named, Counting My Cookies. Of course I loooveeeee cupcakes, but cookies? I love a good cookie just as much. I have my dad to thank for that. He’s a chocolate chip cookie king. 

This is the other cookie recipe I was referring to last week when I posed the Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies. You know, another one of the cookie recipes that didn’t turn out quite like I expected?

Have no fear. While I had a slightly different outcome in my head, these tiny, chewy treats still brought their A-game.

The best part? The recipe contains no added sugars and no butter. That’s a big handful of bonus points if you ask me.

Speaking of handfuls. Making these into two-bite portions will allow you to eat a handful without the guilt.

They almost remind me of chewy Chips Ahoy cookies, but homemade. This calls for even more bonus points! It seems like we’re on par for an A+ in baking class today.

In other news, our vegetable garden is just barely starting to show signs of life. The mixed greens are beginning to sprout leaves above the dirt, but that’s it for now. Hopefully we haven’t killed anything yet. Assuming we haven’t, we should be seeing the rest of the veggies growing above ground this week.

If nothing else, the garden is teaching me patience. Most of the plants will be ready to harvest within 60-80 days. That sounds so long to me, but it falls in mid/late May. Saying it that way feels a little better. I can’t wait to have tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and more in my own backyard. My bank account is going to thank me for the decreased grocery bill as well.

Now if only I could grow a two-bite chocolate chip cookie tree…

Two-Bite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes one dozen small cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 large egg
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with Silpat mats or coat with non-stick spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Whisk and set aside.
3. In a separate medium bowl, combine melted coconut oil, egg, honey, vanilla extract and coconut milk. Whisk well. Slowly add dry ingredient to wet ingredients until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
4. Use a spoon or small scoop to drop about one tablespoon of dough onto cookie sheets. Gently press down with your hand or a spatula (cookies will not spread while baking).
5. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to cooling rack. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

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Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies

Cookies!

This past weekend when I was being especially productive, I made a lot of cookies. Baking cookies is the definition of productivity if you didn’t know.

Of the two varieties I made, this being one and the other coming to the blog soon, neither turned out quite the way I expected, but I can’t complain. Expectations are a funny thing. It’s nice to have something to look forward to – a vacation, seeing someone for the first time in awhile, and the important things like eating a homemade cookie… – but when expectations aren’t met, what happens? Disappointment can ensue.

Let me clarify. The cookies were not bad, and I really shouldn’t say I was disappointed, but they were different than what I was originally hoping.

The good: They were full of texture, not overly sweet, and the warm cinnamony flavor (from both ground cinnamon and cinnamon chips) made them perfect to be called a “breakfast cookie” if you so desire.

The bad: What they were lacking were enough Raisinets. I had a box (about 1/2 cup total) of dark chocolate Raisinets and was giddy over the idea of incorporating them into the cookie dough. But I needed MORE! One box was simply not enough to live up to my expectations.

The solution(s): A. From the beginning, expect a cinnamon oatmeal cookie with an occasional dark chocolate raisin surprise or B. Double the amount of Raisinets.

If you chose option B, please let me know how it is.

Once I took a second bite and got over the initial feeling of these not living up to my expectations, I quickly realized what I created was just as good as my original idea.

The moral of the story: let go of expectations and take one step in life (or one bite of cookie) at a time.

…Easier said than done, right?

One day, I’m sure I’ll get around to meeting those Raisinet overload cookies that formed in my head, but until then I have other cookie recipes to tackle. I have a difficult time repeating or trying to re-do a recipe when I have hundreds of others catching my eye.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies
(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen small, or 1 dozen large, cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup oats
1/2 cup dark chocolate Raisinets, or other chocolate covered raisins
1/4 cup mini cinnamon chips

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl combine flour, cinnamon and baking soda.
2. In a separate bowl add the butter and beat with a handheld mixer until creamy. Add sugars and beat again until creamy. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, beating on medium-low speed until just incorporated. Add oats and beat again until just combined. Fold in Raisinets and cinnamon chips. Chill in fridge for 20-30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop dough into golf ball size balls and place about two inches apart on a cookie sheet (use silpat mats or spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray).
4. Bake for 16-18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before moving to cooling rack. Enjoy!

Cookie Butter Snickerdoodle Bars

Hi.
Are you ready for this? You’re Wednesday is about to get all kinds of delicious.
Speculoos, as in Speculoos Cookie Butter from Trader Joe’s, takes these Thick and Chewy Snickerdoodle Bars to another level. Those old bars are one of my most popular recipes on the site, and I can’t even take credit for the recipe. But these. These Cookie Butter Snickerdoodle Bars are a game-changer.
The texture is almost scone-like. Moist and soft, yet just a tad bit dry and crumbly, in a good way. If you know me, (I’m talking to you Hannah, and Brooke…and GG!) you know how much I love a good scone. Especially when there’s cinnamon involved. In fact, cinnamon might be my favorite spice. On a daily basis, you can find me either stirring it into oatmeal and ice cream/frozen yogurt, shaking it on top of baked sweet potatoes, and of course mixing it into manymany baked goods

So it’s no surprise I like snickerdoodles, where cinnamon sugar takes center stage. I’m not sure what exactly qualifies a snickerdoodle as such. Whether or not replacing some of the regular dairy butter with cookie butter takes away from their “snickerdoodleness,” I’m not sure, but I doubt it. I’m standing by the name. You’ll still find brown sugar and butter in the dough, and you’ll still sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar. Cookie butter contains cinnamon as well, so you get an added punch by its incorporation.

Some other notable ways I changed the original recipe: I cut back on the brown sugar and I replaced some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. This is me trying to be better to my body.

As easy as it is to eat the cookie butter straight from the jar, think about these next time you have a jar (which hopefully is right now). It doesn’t take too much, only half a cup, to turn already amazing cookie bars into even more amazing cookie bars.

**P.S. It’s not too late to enter the GIVEAWAY for a $250 Food Lion gift card!!**



Cookie Butter Snickerdoodle Bars
(Adapted from these Thick and Chewy Snickerdoodle Bars)

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Speculoos Cookie Butter
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×9 inch baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder and salt. Whisk well and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine butter, cookie butter and brown sugar. Use a hand mixer to cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Continue to blend on medium speed until everything is well-incorporated.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing between additions. Use hand mixer to blend until all ingredients are just incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go along.
5. Add batter to the 9×9 pan. Use your fingers to press down to fill the entire pan.
6. In a small bowl, combine white sugar and cinnamon. Stir together. Sprinkle evenly across the top of the batter in the pan.
7. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until edges just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. It is better to undercook then overcook! These will set up a bit after rooming from the oven, so you want to pull them out when then are just barely done.
8. Let cool 5-10 minutes before slicing into square and serve.

For best taste, bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days.

Fluffer Nutter Cookie Sandwiches

I know what you’re doing right now. You’re staring at that unbelievably creamy marshmallow fluff, puffing its way out the sides of those cookies. So light, and pure, and white. Heavenly, one might say. Like mounds of snowfall or a sky full of pillow-like clouds. 

That’s an awfully big coincidence, if you believe in coincidences I should say, because right now I am in Breckenridge, Colorado. Not only am I almost 10,000 feet high in the clouds, but I am also surrounded by powdery white snow.  
If only the clouds and snow tasted like marshmallow fluff, as my childhood self used to imagine. 

And then we have the cookies. If you’re eyes were closed while taking a bite, you might think you were eating peanut butter chocolate chip banana bread. The cookies couldn’t be more soft and gooey. They do their best to contain the marshmallow fluff, but they will inevitably fail. 
Sure, it makes for a messy snack. You may even prefer to eat these sandwiches with a spoon (I did!). In the end, you won’t care how it gets in your mouth, as long as it does. 

And now I will proceed to ski my heart out, hopefully burning off close to as many calories as I just consumed. Then again, the recipe doesn’t contain any flour or butter. On top of that, peanut butter is a healthy fat and there’s even a banana in the mix…the guilt is washing away as I speak! Can you say “health food”?

Fluffer Nutter Cookie Sandwiches
(Cookies adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Makes about 6 cookie sandwiches

Ingredients:
1 large egg
1 medium extra ripe banana, mashed
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup marshmallow fluff

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with Silpat mats or spray with non-stick spray. Set pans aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg. Add banana, peanut butter, brown sugar, baking soda and cinnamon. Stir well to combine. Fold in the pecan pieces and chocolate chips. Place bowl in fridge for at least 10-20 minutes to stiffen up the dough.
3. Use a cookie scoop to drop dough onto the pans, spaced evenly apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes (I baked for 8 minutes for a very soft, doughy cookie; bake longer if you want a crispier cookie). Remove from oven and let cool at least 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
4. Add marshmallow fluff to a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 20 seconds. Stir well. Spread about two tablespoons of fluff onto the bottom of a cookie. Place another cookie (bottom down) on top of the fluff. Repeat with remaining cookies. Eat immediately!

*Warning:
-These are very delicate cookies. Things will get messy if you’re not careful.
-They are best consumed the day you bake them. If you are not going to eat them the same day, wait to form the sandwiches until you are ready to eat.

A Restaurant Review – Mosaic Cafe

Time is just flying on by isn’t it? This past Thursday was the one-month mark until my wedding. What?!

It also marked the five year anniversary of when Greg and I began dating. It sounds crazy to me to say that. Here we are, five years after it all started, closing the chapter on one part of our relationship and about to begin the next. I need to cherish this last month of being a fiance! Not a girlfriend, not yet a wife. (Yes, I was just channeling my inner Britney Spears with “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman.”)

To celebrate this special time in our lives, we did what we normally do for special occasions and went out to dinner. I have had a Living Social coupon to Mosaic Cafe for far too long (in fact, it had already expired, but you can still use it for face value), so I told Greg in the morning that’s where we should go. He didn’t oppose, so after work and a relaxing bike round around the island, we headed to Mosaic.

We had the Smoked Gouda Dip ($6.99) as an appetizer. Sounds good, right? Well…I wasn’t impressed. I only took a bite or two before deciding it really wasn’t worth the calories. Greg agreed that it wasn’t close to what we were hoping.

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For my entree, I had the Fit Life Burgers ($8.99): “Spicy, mini black bean burgers, served over spinach, garnished with edamame hummus, cucumber-yogurt sauce feta, grape tomatoes & roasted peppers.”
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Unlike the appetizer, the Fit Burgers were delicious! I enjoyed every part of this dish and could feel good about eating such a nutritious meal too. 
Greg had the Charleston Chicken Roller ($9.99): “Grilled chicken, bacon, smoked Gouda pimento cheese, spinach, tomatoes, basil mustard on a tortilla.” (minus the mustard for Greg.)
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I asked Greg for one bite and ended up having many more than just that. It was SO good! Especially the pimento cheese. Mmmm, mmmm. We all know I don’t eat much meat, but when it tastes this good, it was well worth it.

I also have to mention they have the most amazing cookies. A co-worker brought some to our office a long time ago and I remember falling in love then. I couldn’t leave without getting one, the only question was what kind would I get?! Although the white chocolate raspberry sounded great, I opted for my favorite cookie flavor of all time, oatmeal raisin. Greg says I always pick the worst flavors, but I’m willing to bet some of you would agree with me that oatmeal raisin is the best. Right?

I polished that baby off in no time…hence the lack of a picture. Let me tell you though, it was super thick, chewy, full of texture and simply amazing.
In the end, we were happy with the meal, despite the disappointing appetizer. If you don’t go for a full meal, I highly recommend stopping in for a cookie. You won’t be sorry.

Mosaic Cafe & Catering on Urbanspoon

Lemon Blueberry Skillet Sugar Cookie

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I am going to come right out and say it. I cheated with this recipe. I used packaged sugar cookie mix. Gasp!!!

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Betty Crocker to be exact. You know what? I don’t feel the least bit guilty either. I have made some good sugar cookies from scratch in my day, but I honestly don’t think a homemade recipe could have beat what this turned out to be. 

LB Skillet Sugar Cookie

I was hooked after the first bite. Super thick, soft and chewy with just a hint of lemon and blueberry to brighten the flavor. It almost makes you think spring is here. Almost. So incredibly perfect in every way. So perfect it’s annoying. Annoying in the sense it keeps calling your name and won’t leave your mind alone until you take another bite. It’s a good kind of annoying if you ask me. I’m always up for another bite if it asks me kindly enough. 
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Then there’s the bad kind of annoying, like when someone STEALS YOUR IDENTITY! Sorry, was I yelling? I’m a little upset. 
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I received a call from my bank on Sunday morning asking me to verify a few purchases on my debit card. Sure enough, I didn’t recognize a single one. The little thief tried to make three different purchases of $200+ at True Religion in Florida. 
Seriously?
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What a punk. That’s what I’m imagining this person to be anyway – a punk. The things people will do to steal other people’s information, only to go off and buy jeans of all things? Unreal. 
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I am so thankful for my bank catching this right away and it seems it’s going to work itself out. I won’t be financially responsible for the charges as soon as I finish some paperwork. 
So while this little punk may have stolen a piece of my bank account, what he doesn’t know is that he missed out on a slice of THIS. At least I still have this. 
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Lemon Blueberry Skillet Sugar Cookie 
(Adapted from Munchkin Munchies)

Makes 10-12 servings 
Ingredients:
1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
3 tablespoons blueberry Greek yogurt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup vanilla frosting
Sprinkles for topping, if desired
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. Combine sugar cookie mix, Greek yogurt, butter, egg and lemon juice in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly until all ingredients are well incorporated. Add dough to cast iron skillet and press down with your hands to spread the dough in an even layer across the entire pan. 
3. Bake 12-15 minutes or until the top of the cookie just becomes golden brown and edges slightly break away from the pan. Remove from oven and let cool completely before frosting. Slice and enjoy!

Chewy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

You know what’s frustrating?
I am slightly dessert-obsessed, if you didn’t know that already. Like cannot go a single night without DESSERT! No, not ‘dessert.’ But DESSERT!! (Said with much enthusiasm, because dessert is just that exciting). The frustrating part comes when there are so many options and possibilities and all of a sudden DESSERT turns into an overwhelming experience when it should just be plain enjoyable. 
Each night, very shortly after dinner, there comes a time to determine what can be eaten that will finish off the day in the tastiest way possible. 
Okay that’s a lie. This thought process happens well before dinner even begins. 
One night in the very recent past (as in yesterday), I picked up half a dozen Cupcake cupcakes more than a day in advance to bring to my family who I’ll be visiting in Ohio this weekend. 
That box of cupcakes was tempting as could be. It just sat on the counter, screaming for someone to eat one. Those poor cupcakes didn’t want to wait another whole day before being consumed. 
So I decided I would have half of the Death by Chocolate cupcake. Half quickly turned into the whole thing. 
Doesn’t it always? 
I was literally about to shove another chocolate bite into my mouth when Greg says, “I want to take you to get ice cream.” 
Ummmm. You have to be kidding me. Any other night, any other time, I would have jumped at his offer. But what was I supposed to do? I had a perfectly amazing cupcake right in front of me and I couldn’t just walk away. I wasn’t about to let myself have two full desserts in one night – the holidays are over and I’ve been doing so well controlling my excessive sugar intake again.
This, my friends, is frustration. Overwhelming dessert possibilities! I had to turn down the ice cream, but Greg almost got me to give in when my response to his offer was, “I’ll save it for a rainy day.” He quickly pointed out, “It IS raining!” 
Now I’m saving my ice cream date for another rainy day.
So what does all this have to do with the cookies in the pictures? Well, nothing really. Nothing at all except cookies are dessert too. And just in case the thought of cupcakes and ice cream don’t overwhelm you enough, throw cookies into the mix.
Which would you choose?!
Chewy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies
Ingredients:
2 sticks butter, softened
1 box instant French Vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup Ande’s Creme de Menthe baking chips
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray and set aside. 
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter, pudding mix and sugars. Beat on medium speed until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. 
3. In a separate medium bowl, add flour and baking soda. Add flour to butter mixture and beat until just incorporated. Fold in creme de menthe chips until evenly distributed.
4. Drop cookie dough by the tablespoon onto baking sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes. Tops and edges will become golden brown, but don’t worry if the cookies don’t look quite done – they will set while cooling. Remove from heat and let sit about 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack to finishing cooling.