Tuesday, June 25, 2013

cookies and cream cookies

I love a lot of what I make {if I don't love it, I don't post about it :)} but these cookies were the best things EVER.

They are my new go-to cookie.  Everyone needs a go-to cookie.  I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe that I found it a few years ago in Cooking Light magazine and used crushed oreos instead of chocolate chips.


I love Oreos.  They might be little processed bits of sugar and who knows what else, but they are justsofreakinggood.  I also really love the Trader Joe's version JoJo's.  The Trader Joe's version has a really nice vanilla flavor that it just a little different and so tasty.  They also make a mint version around the holidays....which means, come December,  mint cookies and cream cookies will be my new favorite holiday cookie.

If you love Oreos or JoJo's or any version you must make this recipe.  I ate at least ten cookies in one day.  I could.not.stop.

cookies and cream cookies {makes about 3 and a half dozen}
-2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 cup packed brown sugar
-3/4 cup white sugar
-1/2 cup butter (softened or left at room temp for a few hours)
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 large egg whites
-4-6 crushed oreo cookies {or a similar cookie}

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt and stir with a whisk.  Set aside.
3. Put sugars and butter in a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer at medium speed until well combined.  Add vanilla extract and egg whites and beat for another minute.  Add flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Lastly, mix in the oreos.
4. This dough will be slightly crumbly, so roll into balls about 1"-1 /2" in diameter and press onto baking sheets that have been coated with cooking spray {or parchment paper}.  

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow the cookies to cool on pans for two minutes and then transfer them to wire racks or a plate in order to cool completely.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

sunday dessert - jam filled mini chocolate cupcakes

Confession - I made these little cupcakes on Friday but was still consuming them on Sunday....so it counts as my Sunday dessert.

I am actually a little surprised these lasted until Sunday.  They are mini - so you know how it goes with any mini dessert, you think you can eat ten in one sitting.  Or is that just me?  Mini candy bars are my kryptonite.

I found out Friday morning {via instagram} that it was national doughnut day and immediately had a doughnut craving.  As I drove around, running my usual Friday errands, I was hoping to see a doughnut shop....but I never saw one.  A drive thru Tim Horton's or Dunkin' Donuts would have been ideal but this isn't the Midwest.  Damn you healthy Southern California!

I went home with an unsatisfied sweet tooth craving and decided to make my healthy-ish chocolate cake recipe into mini cupcakes and fill them with this homemade jam.  The homemade jam filling was a last minute decision and I am so glad I did it.

Filling a cupcake or muffin with something sweet makes it instantly more amazing than its unfilled friends.  SO good!  Try them, they aren't too unhealthy and it will be a great way to use up those four pounds of strawberries Trader Joe's tricked you into buying.

jam filled mini chocolate cupcakes
-1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
-2/3 cups sugar
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-2 tablespoons canola oil
-1 cup warm water
-homemade {or stor bought} jam - about a cup of it

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a mini muffin {or regular size muffin pan} with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients {cocoa powder, flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder}.  Add the oil and water to the mixing bowl and stir all together.  I like to a use a wooden spoon for this.
3. Fill each muffin cup a little less than half way.  Next, put about 1/2 teaspoon of jam on each muffin, then fill the rest of the cup with more batter.
4. Bake these cupcakes for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Let them cool for a few minutes in the pan and carefully remove them and set on a plate.  
5. Dust with a little powdered sugar and eat! These are best consumed within a few days.  

If you use regular a regular size muffin pan, this recipe will make about 12 large cupcakes.  Since these cupcakes have a low fat content, I find that paper liners stick too much. Instead, I opt for nonstick spray.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

diy window chalkboard

A few weeks ago Wonderland and Company sent me a sample of their Plaster Paint.  Plaster Paint is somewhat like chalkboard paint, but different because it can be used as regular paint to redo furniture, etc.

Well, I think this is how it's different.  I have never actually used chalkboard paint.  Sorry, revoke my blogger/crafter/diy-er license if you must.

Annnnnyways, I decided to use my sample of gray plaster paint and makeover a window pane.  Last summer we got new windows in our kitchen and the old ones have been sitting in my garage...waiting to be used.

Plaster paint is super simple to use.  You don't have to sand or prime any surface and it can be used on anything - wood, metal, or glass.

The first thing I did was tape the edges of the window {I'm a sloppy painter} and spray the glass with frosted glass.  I have painted clear glass a few times and starting off with a coat of frosted glass makes it so much easier to get full coverage in one or two coats.

Next I painted, waited for it to dry {plaster paint dries fairly quickly}, lightly sanded with fine grit sandpaper, and added a top coat of the wax that came with the paint.

I created a weekly mail planner on the board using chalk pens....chalk pens are much easier to write with than normal chalk. If you look closely at my board and the meals I wrote in, you will notice that I cannot write with regular chalk.  I need to go back to kindergarten :).

The meal planner was Neil's idea.  Last week he said to me "you know what we should have? A weekly meal plan!"  Like it was the most genius idea ever.   

Typically, he travels a few days a week and dinners are his own problem.  But, ever since the beginning of May he has been right here in San Diego, home every night, asking me "what's for dinner?"

I love to cook, but wow am I sick of this every.single.night thing.  I guess chips and salsa doesn't qualify as "dinner" in Neil's world.  But, I do love my meal planner.  Hopefully it will result in lots of glorious dinners and not so many frozen Trader Joe's meals....and hopefully Neil starts travelling again soon.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

simple homemade berry jam

I made this suuuuper simple berry jam over the weekend as a waffle topping.  This recipe is more like a guide - you can use any berries you have on hand.  Right now is the season for berries - they are so sweet you don't need to add in any extra sugar....unless, of course you want extra sugar, which is fine.

Yesterday I bought a bunch of perfect raspberries and strawberries and plan on whipping up another batch of this jam today.

berry jam
-3 cups of berries {for this one I used strawberries and blueberries}
-a tablespoon of lemon juice
-a few tablespoons of honey {if you want it extra sweet}

Put all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 30-45 minutes. The fruit will reduce and the mixture will become thick and syrupy.  

Eat on toast, waffles, pancakes, ice cream, etc.  The leftovers will last for a few weeks in the refrigerator.

Monday, June 03, 2013

sunday dessert - vanilla pear souffles

Remember my recent souffle obsession?  Well, it happened again - this time with pear souffles.

I don't know what to say about these except....go make them right now.

They are light and delicious and kind of perfect.  

The funny thing about taking souffle photos is that they begin to fall as soon as they are removed from the oven.  The first few photos I took, the souffles were nice and poofy but as the photo session went on....they looked flat.   Normal people would just enjoy their dessert, I had to photograph it first.  Blogger problems, right?

Anyways...enjoy!  These are so good.  

vanilla pear souffles {makes 4}
-2 eggs - separated
-1/4 cup flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-2 tablespoons powdered sugar
-1 pear - grated 
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-two teaspoons of butter or buttery spread {I used earth balance} and two teaspoons of white granulated sugar

1. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and powdered sugar.  Whisk in the two egg yolks, the almond milk, and the vanilla extract.  Finally, grate the pear {peel too} and add to the bowl.  Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until peaks form - this will take about a minute.
3. Gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the ingredients.
4. Take a little of the butter or buttery spread and lightly coat the inside of four ramekins.  After buttering, dust the ramekins with a little granulated sugar {about 1/2 teaspoon per dish}.
5. Spoon equal amounts of the batter into each ramekin and bake in a 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes.  The souffles will poof up and brown a little on top.
Serve immediately - these will fall after a short while but they will still taste amazing.

You can experiment with different fruit.  For my next souffle I am going to try berries.

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