Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies

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It’s yearbook deadline week, which means one thing…hours of work! (And therefore, very short blog posts.) Sadly, I won’t have time for making delicious cookies like these. But you might! And these cookies really are amazing. Peanut butter-chocolate chip dough is smooshed together with chocolate-chocolate chip dough to make a beautiful swirled cookie. I made these for my lunch table last spring and they were a big hit. No doubt that anyone who tries one of these will love it! They are just too good.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

For the chocolate dough:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons milk

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the peanut butter cookie dough:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

For the chocolate dough:

Cream together the butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom as needed. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula occasionally. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined (the dough will be stiff). Mix in the milk and fold in the chocolate chips. Chill for 1 hour or more.

For the peanut butter dough:

Cream together the butter and sugars with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla.  Slowly mix in the baking soda and flour until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Chill for 1 hour or more.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Measure 2 tablespoons of peanut butter cookie dough. Roll into a ball. Take 2 tablespoons of chocolate cookie doug and roll into a ball. Smoosh together the two balls and roll them into 1 large ball. Repeat for each cookie.

Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes, until the The cooki cookies until just set, but still slightly underdone and puffy. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

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We’ve been going crazy with the pumpkin recipes this Fall, haven’t we? All of the pumpkin recipes that we’ve shared here so far have been delicious (especially these cupcakes), but these really take the cake (well, pie). These bars entail a perfectly spiced pumpkin pie filling sandwiched between two buttery oatmeal cookies, which, as you can imagine, is delicious. They’d be great to bring to a party or for a Thanksgiving gathering because they are easily doubled to make a 9×13-inch pan that will feed a crowd. A regular old pie only feeds about 8 people, so this way there’s plenty of pie for everyone!

We ate way too many of these yesterday, but I’m calling it a celebration because we finally applied to college (which is why our blog posting has been a bit sparse the past few weeks)! We’re both applying to six schools for the November 1 deadline. Five of the schools that we are applying to are the same, but our reach schools are different. Anyway, it’s great to be done with college stuff for now. I’ll be applying to a few more at the end of December!

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Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

Recipe from Cooking Classy

Makes one 8-inch pan (at least 9 bars)

Ingredients:

For the crust/crumb topping:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups oats (old-fashioned or quick)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

3/4 cup melted unsalted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed-light brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

1 pinch ground cloves

1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups canned pureed pumpkin

1/3 cup evaporated milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust/crumb topping:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, salt and baking soda until evenly combined. Add the granulated sugar and the brown sugar (1/2 cup of each). Combine melted butter and vanilla and stir into the flour mixture until evenly mixed. Press half of the mixture into a greased 8 by 8-inch baking dish bake for 15 minutes. Set the remaining mixture aside

For the filling:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar (1/4 cup), brown sugar (1/4 cup), cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and stir until smooth. Whisk in the pumpkin and then milk. Pour mixture over the slightly cooled crust and return to oven to bake 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top. Return to the oven to bake for about 20 – 25 minutes longer until golden brown on top and nearly set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 hour at room temperature, then transfer to refrigerator to cool 1 hour longer (it still tastes good warm, as we know from experience!). Cut into squares and serve with whipped cream. Enjoy!

Espresso Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

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We are both tea people. It probably is hereditary, considering that our mom has two full drawers in our kitchen filled with tea (and this is after she cut down her supply quite a bit!), a shelf of unique tea pots she has collected, and a collection of pretty tea cups. In my opinion, there is no better way to solve a bad day than enjoying a hot honey-sweetened cup of tea and a good book, and it is also the perfect cure when you have a cold.

All of that aside, we recently were shopping at our favorite store (Williams- Sonoma, of course. So normal!) and we found espresso powder, something that we had been planning on buying for a while. We forked over $11 for a measly 3 ounces and promptly went home to start baking. Since a lot of recipes on our to-try list involving espresso powder (like espresso cheesecake brownies and pumpkin spice latte cupcakes)  called for ingredients we didn’t have on hand, we decided to simply make chocolate chip cookies and add espresso powder and white chocolate to the dough.

These cookies are delicious. They have a nice amount of coffee flavor- not overwhelming, but still present- and the white chocolate is a nice touch. We used our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe which turns out perfectly chewy and delicious cookies every time. You should try them!

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Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from The Best New Recipe Cookbook

Makes about 24 large cookies (we generally make ours a little smaller, and end up with about 3 dozen)

Ingredients

2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

1 1/2- 2 tbsp. espresso powder (use more if you like the flavor of coffee)

12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm

1 cup brown sugar, packed

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven 325°. Whisk together dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat together butter and sugars until well-combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in both kinds of chocolate chips.

Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball place dough onto cookie sheet, leaving plenty of room between each ball (or, make your cookies about 2 tablespoons of dough or so for smaller cookies). Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft, about 12 minutes. Do not overbake.

Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

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Let’s talk about things that are ugly. Some things that come into my (Celine) mind are suburban strip malls, rainy slush in the middle of winter, gum on the sidewalk, and the mood inside Congress on a normal day. All bad things, inside and out! But then there are ugly things that are actually good, like extremely worn out and waterstained books (like my copy of Hamlet, which I accidentally soaked with an entire bottle of water, along with the rest of my school books…), a comfortable but scuffed up old pair of shoes, and this apple cake.

I am not pretending this cake could, would, or should win any beauty contests, because let’s face it, it is pretty ugly (not to mention that my let-me-take-this-picture-in-30-seconds picture does it no favors). But I can promise you, without a doubt, that it is delicious. The cake is sweet and perfectly spiced, with soft pieces of apple strewn throughout. The frosting is the really delicious (albeit unattractive) part. It is pretty close to heaven. You melt together brown sugar and butter and milk, let it boil, and then add powdered sugar and spread it over the top of the cake. This cake is not only simple but it is really, really delicious and a nice breather from pumpkin flavored stuff all the time in the fall.

Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Makes 1 9×13 in. cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

2 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 large eggs

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

4 cups peeled, cored, chopped apple, about 1 1/3 pounds whole apples

1 cup diced toasted walnuts or pecans (optional; we left them out)

For the frosting:

7 tablespoons unsalted butter

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

For the cake:

 Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 in. pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the dry ingredients, sugar, butter, and eggs. Beat until well combined and stiff but cohesive. Stir in the apples and nuts, if using, until the mixture becomes thick batter (slightly less thick than cookie dough).

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread with a spatula. Bake the cake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out mostly clean. Let the cake cool in pan on a wire rack.

For the frosting:

Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and cook while stirring until the sugar has melted. Add the milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Sift in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat together (add more sugar if necessary if the frosting is too thin). Spread the frosting over the cake and let set slightly before serving. Cut into squares, serve, and enjoy!

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Crumb Muffins

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My senior year schedule has been busy to say the least. I like most of my classes, but the homework load, especially in AP Bio, has been huge. A few weeks ago my class was learning about the macromolecules that make up life (carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins, in case you were wondering). We spent a little bit of time learning about glucose and fructose, which are two types of carbohydrates that are commonly known as sugars. Even though the chapter was interesting, my favorite way to learn about sugar is through baking!

That’s where these muffins come in. The original recipe listed them as cupcakes, but I think that in texture they were more muffin-like. However, in taste and sugar/butter level, they were definitely cupcakes. So feel free to call them what you want depending on what time of day you want to eat them. They would make an indulgent breakfast or a great dessert. The flavor packed into these muffins is amazing because between the chocolate chips and the brown-sugar crumb topping, they have a cookie-dough like flavor. Cookie dough flavored muffins sounds like the perfect way to start the day to me!

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Crumb Muffins

Makes 16 muffins

Recipe from Love and Olive Oil, originally from Chocolate Chocolate

Ingredients

For the crumb topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the muffin batter:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips, divided (we used full-sized chips, which was a mistake since they sink more easily in the batter)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

For the crumb topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line muffin tins with 16 paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Add butter, and using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter into the flour until it forms pea-sized chunks. Sprinkle vanilla extract over top and continue to cut to combine.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the muffins:
Whisk together flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Spoon 1 tablespoon of flour mixture into a small bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (this will help prevent them from sinking too much).
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula if necessary.
Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Fold in flour-coated chocolate chips.
Divide batter into muffin liners, filling each about halfway. Divide the crumb topping over the muffins.
Bake muffins for 13 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over top of cupcakes (optional; we didn’t do this since we used full-sized chocolate chips). Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Dust with sifted powdered sugar before serving. Eat within three days. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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A few weeks ago, our parents went to a party and requested that we make something for them to bring. We made these cupcakes (a whole bunch of mini ones, plus a few regular ones for pictures!) and wow, were they amazing! The pumpkin cake is truly delicious, with the perfect amount of spice and the right texture. Cream cheese pairs naturally with spiced cakes (such as carrot cake or gingerbread), so it goes nicely here. These cupcakes are like pumpkin roll but more convenient! They are our favorite treat we’ve made this fall and we are looking forward to making them again.

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe for the cupcakes from Williams- Sonoma, frosting recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Makes 30-36 regular-sized cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1 cup raisins (definitely optional)

1 can (15 oz.) solid-packed pumpkin (about 1 3/4 cups)

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 cup canola oil

4 eggs

For the frosting:

12 oz. cream cheese

10 tablespoons, softened

3 teaspoons vanilla

4 1/2-5 cups powdered sugar

Directions

For the cupcakes:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line three 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Toss the walnuts and raisins with the flour mixture, if you are using them.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.

Add the flour mixture in three additions, stirring until just combined (we recommend using a rubber spatula).

Fill the muffin tins about three-fourths full. Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the tins to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the tins and let cool completely.

For the frosting:

Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Sift in the powdered sugar in batches, mixing until combined. Spread over the cupcakes. Serve and enjoy!

Note: since the frosting is perishable, make sure to refrigerate the cupcakes if you do not eat them within a couple hours (which you probably won’t, since this recipe makes a lot of cupcakes!).

Toasted Marshmallow Cookie Bars

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Several weekends ago, our brother had a birthday party. There was a bonfire, and the kids all toasted marshmallows, but there were a ton left over because everyone was full from this huge and very delicious cake: (That’s three layers of cake and about six batches of frosting)

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The marshmallows been slowly dwindling in our cabinet, and we wanted to finally use them up. We saw the recipes for these bars a day or two later and decided that we had to make them.  These bars are pretty spectacular. We were both slightly skeptical of plain toasted marshmallows without chocolate or graham crackers in a cookie bar, but our fears were over after the first bite. They are ultra-buttery, chewy, and have a nice toasted marshmallow flavor that is not overpowered. We made these the night before the SATs for some fun baking, and they were gone by lunchtime the next day!

P.S. Lunch table friends, this will be the next treat that we bring in!

P.P.S. For the bars, we broiled the marshmallows for the bars to a bit of a darker shade than the marshmallow in the back of the picture so that the toasted flavor would come through.

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Toasted Marshmallow Cookie Bars

Recipe from Annie’s Eats
Makes about 16 bars
Ingredients

6 ounces marshmallows
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 vanilla bean, split down the center
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Toast the marshmallows on all sides using whatever method you prefer (we used our broiler- if you’re careful, it’s fine). Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the butter, sugars, and seeds scraped from the vanilla bean.  Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, blend in the dry ingredients until just combined.  Remove the marshmallows from the refrigerator, chop into quarters or so, and combine until no large clumps of marshmallow remain. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press down evenly.

Bake until lightly browned on top and just set in the center, about 30 minutes (for us, it was closer to 40).  Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and slice into bars. Enjoy!

Snickerdoodles

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Hi everyone, and sorry again for the rather intermittent posting! We have both been so tied up with homework, after-school activities, and college applications (not that they’re done…) that blog posting has been on the back burner. Never fear, though- this weekend, after the SATs on Saturday, we plan to do a lot of cooking that may or may not include a new pizza recipe and some delicious-looking burritos.

Anyway, this is the perfect time of year for dessert. When you are busy, there is nothing nicer than whipping up a batch of simple, quick, and delicious cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are usually our go-to basic cookie recipe, but we sometimes like to switch it up. We have always loved snickerdoodles and we recently had a craving for some. We tried the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook recipe, which, in typical CI fashion, was perfect. These cookies are chewy, perfectly sweet, and have just the right amount of cinnamon. If you are busy, try to put aside a little time for stress baking- you’ll be glad you did! (Especially if you make these cookies.)

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Soft and Chewy Snickerdoodles

Recipe from  The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Makes about 24 cookies

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups sugar (12.25 oz), divided
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups (12.5 oz) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
8 tablespoons vegetable shortening (or if you are like us and get grossed out by shortening, just use more butter)
2 large eggs

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.  Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in small bowl and set aside.  Whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.

Beat together butter, shortening, and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined,  scraping down bowl as needed.

Reduce speed of mixer to low and slowly add flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl to ensure no flour remains unmixed.

Roll 2 tablespoons of dough at a time into balls.  Roll dough balls in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat and set on a prepared baking sheet spaced a couple inches apart.

Bake until edges of cookies are set and starting to brown, but centers are still soft, about 10-12 minutes.  Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.  Enjoy!