To Bake / Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

 
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     Hi there! If you're a 90's kid like moi, the movie Parent Trap (the Lindsay Lohan remake, not the original 1961 film - which was good but the styles are definitely different!) was probably a favorite of yours at the time! At least, I know my sisters and I loved it/still love it! Anywho, there are many things about the movie that were inspiring, but one of my favorite things I got from it was a new food combo: Oreo's dipped in peanut butter. At first it sounded strange, but if Lindsay Lohan said it was good, then we were all at least trying it (oh to be young and impressionable LOL)! I may be an adult now, but my chocolate-loving heart still thinks of this combo anytime I buy a jar of peanut butter. This time around, I decided to act on the whim, and whip something new up in compliance with #the100DayProject! I've never made peanut butter cookies, so I decided to take the classic recipe and amplify it with chocolate for the ultimate Parent Trap dream cookie! They delivered, and I'm so excited to share the recipe here! Get the how-to below!

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Ingredients:

- 1 + 1/2 cups AP flour

- 1/2 cup cocoa powder

- 1/2 tsp. baking soda

- pinch of sea salt

- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

- 1/2 cup brown sugar

- 1/2 cup sugar

- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I used all natural, so it's way more drizzly than regular, but either one works!)

- 1 egg

- 1 tsp. vanilla

- 2 tbs. milk (if your dough is still too dry, up it to 1/4 cup)

- 1 cup of chocolate chips

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Directions:

1. Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt - set aside. In a stand mixer, cream butter and scrape down the sides. Then, beat in both sugars and peanut butter. Lastly, add egg and vanilla. 

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2. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat until combined. Add in milk and chocolate chips. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes, then preheat oven to 350. Using an ice cream scoop, make dough balls and place on oiled baking sheet. 

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3. Bake for 11 minutes, and let cool for five if you must! ;)

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4. Serve after a meal of chili (I hope you get the Parent Trap reference :)) and enjoy! 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Wednesday!

To Bake / Salted Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

 
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      Happy Valentines Day! I've been trying to decide what to make for this love-filled holiday (and for me, it's a celebration of all love, and that includes self-love - so even if you're spending it alone, there's still cause to celebrate!), and landed on these salted caramel stuffed chocolate cookies from the Half Baked Harvest cookbook! They're rich and gooey, almost like a brownie! I'd also like to note that they were gone by the end of the night after I made them, so it's safe to say Brett was a fan. Get the recipe below!

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Ingredients:

- 1/2 cup of flour + 2 tbs.

- 2 tbs. of cocoa powder

- 1/4 tsp. of salt

- 1/4 tsp. of baking soda

- 3 large eggs

- 2 tsp. of vanilla

- 1/2 cup of sugar

- 6 tbs. of butter

- 4 oz. of dark chocolate

- 2 cups of chocolate chips

- Ghirardelli Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Squares

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Directions:

1. Melt your butter, dark chocolate, and chocolate chips in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir consistently until fully melted. 

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2. In a mixing bowl, beat together your eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Then mix in your melted chocolate + butter mixture. Add your flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder, and mix until combined. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour minimum, or overnight.

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3. After the dough is chilled, preheat your oven to 350 and scoop out small golf ball sized portions onto a greased cooking sheet. Flatten each ball with a spoon and place a piece of the chocolate caramel squares on each cookie. 

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Had to do a close up on those chocolates!

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4. Scoop out slightly smaller balls of dough and place one on each cookie on top of the caramel. Flatten with your spoon and smooth the edges together. Sprinkle tops with sea salt a la Bailey. 

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5. Bake for 10 minutes, and serve warm with a glass of milk. Enjoy!

To Bake / Chocolate Sugar Cookies

 
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     Good morning! Growing up, we always made sugar cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, and I wanted to do something similar with Bailey this year. We didn't make them on Christmas Eve, I'll be making chocolate chip cookies because that's Santa's (i.e. Brett's) preference this year, and cinnamon rolls for the next morning from scratch - another family tradition, c/o my dad (although we always enjoyed Pilsbury instead, but who doesn't?!)! Even though chocolate chip will be on Santa's plate this year, I still wanted Bailey to get to do the cookie cutters and icing aspect of Christmas cookies. However, sugar cookies are one of my least favorite cookies, so I added some cocoa powder! They turned out better than I expected (duh, chocolate). They have a brownie taste with a sugar cookie texture, and in my opinion, that's a huge upgrade to the original cookie! See for yourself below, and peep Bailey getting in on the action. She had a blast! 

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Ingredients:

- 1 cup of butter (2 sticks) - room temperature

- 1 cup of sugar

- 1 egg

- 1 + 1/2 tsp. of vanilla

- 2 cups of AP flour

- 3/4 cup of cocoa powder

- pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Mix together butter and sugar, then add your egg and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to the wet mixture. Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper. Let dough chill in the fridge for one hour. 

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2. Using whatever cookie cutters you like, cut out shapes. Chill shapes in the fridge for 10 minutes.

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3. Preheat oven to 350.

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4. Bake for 12 minutes.

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5. Let cool to room temperature before icing, this is very important!

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6. Ice your cookies as desired and enjoy!

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      Bailey really loved doing this, and I think we definitely have a new holiday tradition now. 

     Thanks for reading, and have a fun Tuesday! We'll be back later this week to celebrate the start of winter!

To Make / Chocolate Coffee Nice Cream

 

    Hi there! This is my last #whole30 friendly recipe for the time being! I loved this treat for when I had a sweet craving, and it's guilt-free, which makes it even sweeter! Get the how-to below!

Ingredients:

- 1 ripe banana

- 1/2 cup of almond butter

- 1/2 cup of almond milk

- 2 softened dates

- 1/2 cup of coffee

- 1/4 cup of cocoa powder

- berries for topping (I used fresh blackberries because the taste really works with this strong chocolate flavor!)

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Freeze for at least 6 hours.

3. Scoop out and enjoy!

To Bake / Avocado Chocolate Cookies

 

     Good morning! I love a healthy dessert recipe, as you all know, and one weekend, I wanted something very chocolatey, in cookie form. I've made avocado pudding before, and found this recipe for a cookie version. They turned out so good and yummy! Check out the recipe below!

Ingredients: yields about 10 cookies

- 3/4 cup of ripe avocado

- 1/2 cup of sugar

- 1 egg

- half a bar of dark chocolate, chopped

- 1/2 cup of cocoa powder

- 1/2 tsp. of baking soda

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350, and in a mixer, blend your avocado and sugar together. Then, add the egg, cocoa powder, and baking soda.

2. Add in your chocolate chunks, and using two spoons, drop balls of batter onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

3. Bake for 10 minutes, let cool, and serve. Enjoy!

For Design Appreciation

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     Hi there! Today's Art Appreciation has a little twist, in that we are going to start looking at packaging and design for a little bit. Pinterest has opened my eyes to how interesting and beautiful product branding and packaging can be. To start, we have a gorgeously designed chocolate bar from Mast Brothers.  

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      If you aren't into minimalistic design, then it probably doesn't look like much, but to those who are, the clean lines, black + white color pallete, and choice of font all jump out at you.  

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      Mast Brothers are well known for their candy bar design. All cater to the minimalistic aesthetic, and only vary in color ways each season. They are constantly coming out with new collections, all of which are as beautiful as the previous ones. Take a minute today, and search "packaging" + "branding" on Pinterest. You'll find endless inspiration! Thanks for reading, and haves great day! 

To Make Pudding

 

     Hi guys! I first tried Avocado Pudding at Brett's parents house. Kristen (Brett's sister) found an awesome recipe, and included it in her cookbook Myriad. At first, I was pretty skeptical to try it, for pretty obvious reasons. I mean, avocado with chocolate? What? I tasted it though, and was basically blown away. It tasted like dark chocolate icing. It makes no sense, that something so good and healthy can taste like that. So wrong, but also so right. It was the solution to all of our chocolate-loving dessert problems.

     A couple of weeks ago, I uncovered a recipe over on A Beautiful Mess for a very similar Avocado Pudding (link to recipe below). This one was slightly more whipped and mousse like, due to the addition of almond milk. I decided to give it a whirl, and was still equally blown away that it could taste that good. Here today, we have the second recipe, and all of it's awesomeness. Check it out below!

Ingredients (recipe adapted from A Beautiful Mess): yields one serving

- 1 ripe avocado

- 1/2 cup of almond milk

- 1 tbs. of honey

- 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

- 1/4 tsp. of vanilla

My usual hand model was opting to go for it and just stick her face in the pudding.

My usual hand model was opting to go for it and just stick her face in the pudding.

Directions:

Step one - Pit and remove avocado from it's skin. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If using a blender, make sure to mash your avocado first, my blender in the past has not agreed with avocados. Serve chilled, in cute little bowls, and enjoy!

To Make Cheesecakes for Two

 

     Oh my gosh, you guys. I made chocolate cheesecakes for Brett and I, but I ate them both. LOL. In my defense, Brett isn't the biggest fan of cheesecake. The minute he said he didn't want it, I ran to the fridge and grabbed it. I have a weakness for chocolate cheesecake, it's probably my favorite dessert. I also, had never made any kind of cheesecake before, so I was VERY excited. I had always been intimidated by cheesecake for some reason, and I also needed a "For Two" dessert that you all could make for Valentines Day, and this was perfect for both! I will probably make Red Velvet Cookies on actual Valentines Day, since Brett actually likes those. I wasn't banking on him not liking cheesecake, I swear! :)

Ingredients: yields two ramekins of cheesecake.

- 1/2 cup of crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (just throw some in a ziploc and go to town stomping on them)

- 1 tbs. of melted butter

- 6 oz. of cubed cream cheese

 - 1/3 cup of sugar

- 1 egg

- 1/2 of chocolate chips, melted

- 1/4 tsp. of vanilla extract

Instructions:

Step one - Preheat oven to 350 and oil your ramekins. Mix together your cookie crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Press a layer of that mixture into the bottom of the ramekins to form a crust.

Step two - In a large mixing bowl/mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, and then add in your chocolate and vanilla extract.

Step three - Pour batter into ramekins and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes and let cool. Chill in the fridge for at least four hours before serving. Enjoy!

To Make Pomegranate Cups

 

     Attempting to make candy has always been on my cooking skills to-do list. I also have been trying to eat seasonally. Enter: dark chocolate pomegranate cups! These helped me check off the candy from my list, and stayed within my clean eating, seasonal food philosophy. They are delicious, to top it off. Although, I've never tried anything covered in dark chocolate that wasn't amazing, so that was expected. Any candy making process has always been a little intimidating to me, mostly because of my lack of experience with it. This one in particular was only a little scary, because of its specific instructions that the pomegranate arils had to be completely dry. The chocolate wouldn't adhere properly if there was a speck of moisture. It turned out to be an exaggeration, in that after patting the arils dry a few times, they were perfectly fine. I didn't end up needing to leave them out to dry for hours like suggested, thank god! I don't have time for that, and I don't know anyone else who has time for that either. Thankfully, everything went fine and the chocolate hardened perfectly. Bailey ended up loving these as well, so I split one with her anytime I have one. It is adorable to see her face covered in chocolate! :) See the recipe below, and don't be afraid of ending up with your face covered in chocolate too. These are so worth it.

Ingredients: yields 6 regular cups

- 6 cupcake liners

- 1 cup of dark chocolate chips

- half a pomegranate

Directions:

Step one: Halve your pomegranate half and soak in room temp. water for about 5 minutes. Once soaked, break apart pomegranate in the water and remove every part except for the arils. Drain the arils with a colander and pat dry until dry to the touch.

Step two: Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium high heat until smooth. Spoon chocolate into cupcake liners, one at a time. Add arils to cups and then top with more chocolate. Let set and harden in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Enjoy!