Thursday, March 26, 2015

Crispy M&M, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip Cookies


GUYS.


THESE COOKIES.


It has been, precisely, two months and ten days since my last blog post. I am sorry about my absence. It's been a crazy 2015 so far. Cory and I spent an amazing week in Park City, Utah at the Sundance Film Festival--I saw 26 movies in a matter of six days!! Work has also been a bit of a whirlwind, plus we moved out of our apartment of 3+ years to a bigger, better apartment with--if I may brag--a big, awesome adult kitchen!


So after a bit of time away, I thought it would be rather fitting to get back into the blogging action with crazy, awesome cookies! Everyone LOVES cookies, after all :-)


These cookies are e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. The are chewy and sweet, packed with wonderful goodies like chocolate chips and--the grand finale--CRISPY M&Ms!


If you are anything like me, and I hope you are, you absolutely lost. your. sh*t when they announced that Crispy M&Ms were back. These candies made my childhood complete, and I developed a lot of trust issues when they were discontinued (along with 3D Doritos, and Mountain Code Red...STOP TAKING AWAY THINGS I LOVE!).


Anyway, now, they are back. And I ran to the closest store and found the biggest bag and I tore into those M&Ms like I hadn't eaten in weeks. And now, I am putting them into cookies.


These cookies are chewy and sweet, spiced with just a touch of cinnamon. Mini chocolate chips are speckled all throughout along with nutty rolled oats and those perfect, wonderful Crispy M&Ms. The textures and flavors are surprising and fun--perfect for kids of all ages!

Here's what you need for Crispy M&M, Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip Cookies* (Print Recipe!)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup egg whites (or 1 egg)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup Crispy M&Ms

Here's what you do

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg whites and vanilla and beat for another minute until combined. Stop the mixer and add the flour mixture all at once. Turn the mixer on low speed and mix until just combined and no dry flour bits remain. Use a flexible rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl. Fold in the chocolate chips and M&Ms.

Roll heaping tablespoons of the batter into balls and place on the baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie. Bake for 10 to 13 until the cookies just start to turn golden around the edges. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter.

Cookies will last well wrapped at room temperature for about 3 days. If they last that long, that is.




*Recipe adapted from The Joy the Baker cookbook
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Friday, January 16, 2015

Chocolate Chip Almond Flour Cookies


I need to talk to you about the last chocolate chip cookie recipe you will ever need.


It’s this one. This recipe for amazing, delicious, silky Chocolate Chip Almond Flour Cookies is the game changer.

I know these are big statements but I cannot stop eating this cookies. And neither can Cory. Mr. “I don’t eat sweets” REQUESTED that I make ANOTHER batch of these glorious cookies because, well, they change lives.


The secret is in the flour, or rather the fact that I replace half of the all-purpose flour with almond flour. The crumb is so soft and delicate that I almost named these Chocolate Chip Cloud Cookies!

Like any soft-batch cookie, this recipe requires a few tablespoons of melted butter and that is totally OK. We will add 2 egg whites, a cup of brown sugar, and a generous 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the party. The vanilla and the almond create one of the tastiest cookies I have ever known.


Wet ingredients mix with dry, which as I mentioned include almond flour, along with regular flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and cornstarch. A wooden spoon and a bit of elbow grease is all you need. Things finish up with semi-sweet chocolate chips, and that requires no explanation.


Be sure to keep an eye on these cookies while they are in the oven. They should hold their shape for the most part. They are baked until just set, to the point that they may still seem under-cooked, but trust your instincts. A tender cookie makes for a happy belly. Let’s get baking!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Loaded Vegetable Honey Whole Wheat Flatbread


See, I have this problem.


Every year I am so ready to start up my New Year's Resolutions just like every other basic betch. I want to get in shape, I want to eat healthier, I want to feel good.


But then I remember how much I love pizza and BAM! New year, same me.

This year I resolve that loving pizza and sticking to a healthier diet doesn't have to be mutually exclusive. Enter: Loaded Vegetable Honey Whole Wheat Flatbread.


We are taking all of the vegetables and a fresh, homemade tomato sauce, piling them high on a honey whole wheat quick pizza crust and topping it all with melted, gooey part-skim mozzarella cheese. Sure, this isn't totally guilt free, but when those insatiable pizza cravings hit and you start to reach for the take-out menu, let this delicious pizza be the new norm.


The really great thing about this pizza is that you can customize it to your liking. My vegetables pictured here include kale, asparagus, zucchini and mushrooms, but feel free to dig through your crisper drawer and find what veggies work for you! In fact, you may notice only half of my pizza has mushrooms. That's because a certain fiance who shall not be named, for some crazy reason, does not like mushrooms. We don't judge. We accommodate the picky eaters in our lives.


For the sauce, instead of using store bought pizza sauce that's loaded with unwanted sugars and salts and who knows what else, I simply added a can of no salt added diced tomatoes to a food processor with garlic and a salt-free Italian seasoning. Cook it down a bit until it's thickened and there you have it. It's great knowing exactly what you're putting into your body.


When it comes to this flatbread, I know I am eating whole, fresh ingredients that make my taste buds do the happy dance.


P.S. Over New Years Resolutions? Here are some outrageous pizzas from Gas Stove Girl, previously.

Chicken, Spinach and Artichoke Pizza
Sausage and Broccoli Pizza
Chicken Pot Pie Pizza with Parmesan Ranch Cream Sauce

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Salami and Arugula Breakfast Quesadillas


I just took breakfast to a whole new level.


This is like a cheese plate all wrapped up crunchy, gooey, quesadilla. My first bite sent me into wonderful breakfast bliss and all my troubles faded away.


Melty cheddar cheese, salty cured salami, crisp peppery arugula and perfectly scrambled eggs--oh this is what dreams are made of. I'm not kidding. This is a breakfast dressed to impress.


I am so obsessed with quesadillas that if I can have one for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner, I will. I love the crunch of the tortillas and the smooth blanket of cheese. And let's not forget the bells and whistles--that is, the garnish. For me, my knees go week for cool, creamy sour cream and spicy salsa. If guacamole and chopped cilantro make your skirt fly up, they would be just perfect as well.


Now, I know there is some controversy over the best way to cook a quesadilla. Do you get a big tortilla, burrito size, fill one side with the good stuff and fold the other half over? Or do you get a smaller, 10-inch tortilla and top it with a second tortilla? I have tried both, but for this particular dish, I used the smaller, sandwich technique. I find it easier to flip this way.

Whatever way you flip, this a breakfast that will start each and every day on the right foot.

P.S. Quesadillas, previously: BBQ Chicken

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies


ONLY TEN DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!


BAKE ALL THE COOKIES!!


Are you baking up a storm in your kitchen? 'Tis the season after all. I am whipping up a whole bunch of these AH-mazing Chocolate Crinkle Cookies. Rich, sweet, chocolatey cookies, blanketed in a generous layer of powdered sugar. These cookies look like festive balls of snow, and they taste like everything you could ever want in a chocolate cookie.


I love these cookies for so many reason. First is, you can prepare the batter the night before, because it is critical that it chills for at least a few hours. Then the next morning, just roll the batter, toss each cookie in the powdered sugar, and bake! Another reason these are wonderful treats is that there is no fancy equipment or ingredients required. As long as you have a big bowl, a whisk, and a couple of cookie sheets, you are just a few steps away from decadent chocolate cookies.


After baking off my first batch, I was a bit sad because I didn't feel like the crinkles had enough powdered sugar on them (though they still tasted amazing!). The next time around, I was very generous with the powdered sugar, and now they look great! Just like the classic cookies you think of when you hear "crinkle cookies." So, pro-tip: don't be afraid to be heavy handed with your powdered sugar!


I guarantee Chocolate Crinkle Cookies will be a real crowd pleaser this Christmas season. All the chocolate lovers in your life will be begging you for these year-round!


For other chocolate cookie treats, check out the links below!


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Spicy Sausage, Gnocchi and Kale Soup


SURPRISE! I have a new favorite soup!


I feel like I say this with every new soup I cook, but this one. OH, this soup. It is spicy and creamy, rustic yet refined. The ingredient list is small, but that doesn't mean this isn't packed with delicious flavor. In fact, this is a soup that is dressed to impress - perfect for early holiday get-togethers or as a first course at your Christmas table! 



This Spicy Sausage, Gnocchi and Kale Soup is like a big blanket wrapping you in warmth. It is truly the definition of comfort food. The spiciness of the hot Italian sausage is cooled wonderfully by the heavy cream. The kale is tender and filling, packed with all sorts of good-for-you nutrients. A can of diced tomatoes and a chiffonade of basil seems too appropriate here--their natural sweet and tangy tastes complimenting the sweet cream. 


And let's not forget the gnocchi. I might as well admit it now--I am wholeheartedly obsessed with gnocchi. Big fluffy potato dumplings. What could be better? I never thought to use gnocchi in soup; I was a bit concerned that they would become gummy and create a weird texture in the soup. Turns out, I was wrong. In fact, this soup is just as tasty the next day! 


As with most soups, I strongly recommend serving this with a big piece of crusty bread and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Some extra basil gives this creamy soup a much needed freshness. What more can I saw? I wouldn't change a single thing, Let's eat!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Apple Crisp!


I feel like Apple Crisp always warrants an exclamation point, so I have titled this delightful seasonal recipe: Apple Crisp! Woohoo!


If cool weather and changing leaves has you craving a warm and gooey apple dessert, look no further. This Apple Crisp is as traditional as it gets--and I mean that in a very, VERY good way. In fact, the base of this recipe is from the Joy of Cooking cookbook. I have mentioned this cookbook MANY times, and I cannot stress enough. It is truly a kitchen table.

It seems nowadays, anybody who can take a nice picture and write some basic recipes can have a cookbook, but the Joy of Cooking is SO MUCH more than that. It is the home cook's survival guide! From meat, to breads, to cookies, to vegetables--there is a recipe for everything (and this is totes NOT sponsored: I really truly live by this cookbook).


Also, sorry for saying "totes" back there...

Anyway, back to this sweet, cinnamon-y, crispy, gooey perfect fall dessert. It doesn't take much work, but it sure is a crowd pleaser. Might I recommend a scoop of good vanilla ice cream to tie it all together? My knees are weak at the thought.

The best apple crisp will be made with local apples freshly picked from the orchard. Whatever variety that may be, you are guaranteed to have a juicy, ripe and sweet apple. I used about 6 apples, but two of them were unreasonably large; I'd say you'll use about 8 average sized apples. I used a variety of McIntosh and Gala apples. I also enhanced the natural sweetness of the apples with a touch of sugar and a bit of freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice.


Let's not forget the second most critical part of an apple crisp; that is, the crisp. I went totally traditional--just a mixture of flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cold butter. If your heart desires, you could also add in rolled oats for some added texture and nuttiness.

Dear apple crisp: get in ma belly!!