Author Archives: Jen

Perfect Hot Chocolate

perfect hot chocolateThere comes a time in every girl’s life when she needs to know how to craft an impressive cup of hot chocolate. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t need crazy ingredients, it just needs to be dang good.

I’ve struggled for years to find the hot chocolate I want. I think primarily because I’ve used dry cocoa powder, which was never quite what I was looking for.

Cocoa powder is made from the leavings after they squeeze all the fat out of the cocoa beans. I think that’s why I prefer using actual chocolate bars.

The cocoa butter. Yummmmmmm.

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I also prefer a cup of hot chocolate that is creamy. 2% milk is great, but it’s not quite creamy enough. And cream is way too creamy.

I bridge the difference by adding evaporated milk.

The mixture of evaporated and 2% milk is perfect. I like to put a can of evaporated milk in a 4-cup measure, and make up the difference with the 2%.

It’s important that you use a good bar of chocolate. I use this one, but there are plenty of good ones out there. You can make your hot chocolate interesting by trying flavored chocolate bars.

This makes a nice, creamy, rich and impressive cup of fantastic hot chocolate. If you must dress it up, I suggest a candy cane, a couple large marshmallows, or a dollop of whipped cream.

perfect hot chocolate
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Perfect Hot Chocolate

A simple creamy hot chocolate.

Servings 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
  • 2 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 4-6 ounces bittersweet chocolate to taste

Instructions

  1. Pour milks into a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Do not allow it to come to a boil.

  2. Break up chocolate into small pieces. Add chocolate pieces to warm milk. Stir until chocolate is melted. Serve hot.

Recipe Notes

You can vary the amount of chocolate to your taste. I like to use about 5 ounces, personally, but if you find it too rich, you can reduce it to 4 ounces.

Lace Cookies

lace-cookies-4cOne of my mom’s best recipes is her peach cobbler. It’s more of a crisp, really. Peaches, sugar, crust, what’s not to love?

As much as I love peaches, I always preferred the crust topping. It’s made with oats, butter, brown sugar, sometimes crushed nuts, and it’s freaking fantastic. Try it for yourself with this recipe or this one.

It’s why I really love this cookie. It’s basically that crumb topping, in cookie form. Freaking fantastic.

I’ve been looking for new Christmas Cookies, and let me tell you, it gets harder every year to find something new and amazing. I don’t know why I’ve never tried these before. They’re kind of a no-brainer.

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But the issue here is that they are SO fragile. They are a little tough to store and serve. But more on that in a minute.

Some tips for ya. First, make ’em small. My first panful had very large cookies, so I made them half the size after that. I already use a small cookie scoop (this one which is just 1 tablespoon), and I had to split that in half. In other words, scoop your cookies the size of 1/2 tablespoon for best results.

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Second tip, leave plenty of space for them to spread. Because they do spread. A LOT.

Third tip, watch them bake. I found the baking time to vary just a bit, depending on your oven and the size of the cookies. It could take anywhere from 6 to 10 minutes. The edges will be pretty brown, and the cookies will be very very flat when they are done.

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Last tip, let them sit on the pan for 3 minutes or so before attempting to move them to a cooling rack. They need to cool in place in order to keep their shape. Scoop them too soon, and they turn into a pile of goo.

Very tasty goo.

I actually had a brilliant idea to dip these in chocolate, which turned into one of my more epic baking failures. I don’t recommend it. The chocolate is too heavy and the cookies are too fragile.

Be really gentle with these if you want to serve them in one piece. But if they do break, take comfort knowing the broken pieces are SO GOOD on ice cream or yogurt, or peach pie filling.

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5 from 1 vote
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Lace Cookies

A very thin and fragile oat and brown sugar cookie.

Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings 3 dozen
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 10 tablespoons butter (1 stick + 2 T.)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

  2. Place butter in a saucepan, and heat over medium heat to melt. Add brown sugar and stir. Butter and brown sugar may not combine completely, and that is okay. Remove from heat.

  3. Add flour and salt, and mix in. Add oats and mix until combined.

  4. Drop 1/2 teaspoon sized balls of dough on a baking sheet, leaving plenty of space for spreading. Bake at 375F for 6-9 minutes. Watch cookies, and remove when edges are quite brown and centers are flat.

  5. Let cookies sit on the baking sheet for at least 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Cookies will be thin and fragile.

Recipe Notes

It is imperative you use parchment paper or a silicone liner on your baking sheet if you want these to remove easily.

Store very gently in an airtight container.

Coconut Cream Pie

coconut-cream-pie-4Strange as it sounds, coconut cream pie has always been one of those recipes I have struggled with. Robb loves coconut cream pie, and will frequently order it at restaurants. Which makes me feel like I just need to get this one right.

I have tried several recipes over the years, and none of them have quite met my standards, except one glorious recipe which promptly disappeared from the internet, never to be seen again. Here are my parameters for success:

  • Not too runny. Most of those I tried required a bowl and looked like a pile of goo.
  • Has enough coconut. I was shocked at how many were thin on coconut content. They were more like vanilla pudding with a little coconut mixed in.
  • Uses both sweetened and unsweetened coconut. The unsweetened, fine shredded stuff is great for flavor and texture, but many don’t use it.
  • Maybe this goes without saying, but it has to taste good. I’m shooting for a nice, heavy, rich coconut flavor.

I ended up creating my own version, which takes the pieces I like from all the recipes I tried.

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I felt like I really perfected this recipe some time ago, but for whatever reason, I was unable to photograph it, and therefore unable to blog it. But I didn’t want to forget it, so I wrote it on a white board calendar in my hallway, where it has remained for many months.

You might think I have a more organized way to keep my recipes. But I don’t.

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This pie uses 5 egg yolks. Yes, FIVE. I know it’s indulgent, but this is, after all, my husband’s favorite dessert. If you’re wondering what to do with the leftover whites, you could try these fun meringue cookies. They’re actually pretty easy to make.

Let’s talk about where to spend your time on this pie. I chose not to use a boxed pudding mix, but to make this one from scratch, so if you’re looking for some time savers, I can suggest two.

  1. Frozen pie crust
  2. Cool whip

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You can do the homemade crust if you want, and if you have patience. I have a recipe for a good one here. You only need a bottom crust for this one, and whether you use frozen or fresh crust, you do have to blind bake it. I recommend baking at 400F for 11-14 minutes, until it’s just starting to turn brown.

You can do real cream too, if you’re going all out. I’m a fan of real cream, but I’m also a fan of not spending my entire freaking day baking pie. Which is why I chose the frozen whipped topping for this recipe.

Of course, if you use real cream you can add a little coconut extract to it for flavor. Or you could use coconut milk to make the cream, if you’re really ambitious.

I can’t wait to share of piece of this with Robb!

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Coconut Cream Pie

A creamy coconut pie in a baked shell, topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

Servings 1 pie

Ingredients

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 package unflavored gelatin
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut finely shredded
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut, + 1/4 cup for garnish
  • 1 pie crust
  • whipped cream, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Blind bake pie crust at 400F for 11-14 minutes.  (For detailed instructions, read here:  http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-blind-bake-a-pie-crust-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-197553 )

  2. Place yolks in saucepan. Mix lightly. Add sugar, cornstarch, gelatin and half and half. Whisk ingredients together. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a boil.

  3. Let boil, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and add butter and extract.

  4. Stir in unsweetened and sweetened coconut. Mix to incorporate. Pour completed filling into baked pie crust, and let cool.

  5. Place 1/4 cup coconut on a piece of foil or a small baking sheet and bake at 400F for about 5 minutes, checking frequently, until it reaches a brown color.

  6. Top cooled pie with whipped cream and toasted coconut. Serves 6.

 

Molasses Crinkles

molasses-crinklesTo be completely honest, I was short on time. I had intended to make a pie over the weekend, but just couldn’t swing it. So I baked a quick batch of cookies instead.

Just as tasty, but much quicker.

Of course, all this time I saved by making cookies instead of pie was wasted when I lost the charger for my camera battery. I spent a good hour looking for it, and another hour pouting about it, before I finally discovered it in the car, of all places.

(Pretty sure I put it there when we went on family vacation, and then I forgot the actual camera.)

I guess I could have just made cookies and not photographed them, but where’s the fun in that?

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In my head, I was picturing the classic Chocolate Crinkles, a cookie I seriously adore, and hoping I could make something with the same texture, and a different flavor profile. I wasn’t really sure it was feasible.

In the end, I came pretty close.

Well, except that I burned the first pan-full. But let’s not talk about that.

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For this recipe, I went a little heavy on the molasses, partly for the texture it gives the cookies, but mostly for the flavor.

This cookie is a little on the chewy side. If you want something crispier, just bake them an extra minute or two! The extra time you spend will be worth it.

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Molasses Crinkles

A chewy, spiced molasses cookie, rolled in powdered sugar.

Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • about 1/2 cup powdered sugar for rolling

Instructions

  1. Combine butter, oil, sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs and molasses and mix well.

  2. Add salt, baking powder, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon, and mix to incorporate. Add flour and mix just until incorporated.

  3. Place powdered sugar in a shallow dish. Roll dough into balls, and roll in powdered sugar to coat. Place on a greased or lined baking sheet.

  4. Bake at 350F for 11-13 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool.

 

Old Fashioned Donuts

old-fashioned-donuts-12The Lizard is home from college this weekend, and with the other kids being typical teenagers and leaving the house every possible minute they can, it was pretty quiet around here.

Robb put The Lizard to work, demolishing our master bathroom in preparation for a much-needed upgrade. It’s a smelly, dirty, annoying job. And let’s be honest, I’m just happy I’m not the one doing it. I’m more than willing to provide freshly made snacks and hearty lunches.

My parents never made donuts, so they were never really part of my baking repertoire. But Robb’s family has this basic donut recipe, and he has some really good memories of eating the donuts with his cousins and grandparents. They often made large batches and froze them, and they would eat them slowly right out of the freezer with cups of cocoa.

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But trust me when I tell you, these are best eaten as quickly as possible after cooking. I mean seriously. They’re like sugar cookies, but fried.

Let me share some tips for success with you.

Like most baked goods, you don’t want to overwork the dough. Just mix until all the flour is incorporated, and leave it alone.

Roll out the dough pretty thick. Mine is about 1/2″. You can re-roll the dough once, but I wouldn’t do it more than that. Each time you roll it out, it makes the dough tougher and less pleasant to eat.

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If you don’t have a donut cutter, don’t despair. I used two circle cookie cutters, but I personally don’t see why donuts always have to be circles. I used the large and small cutters from this set to make a few star-shaped donuts, just for laughs.

And because Robb likes things funky that way.

Don’t overcrowd your pan. The pan will be working overtime anyway, keeping the oil at the right temperature, and not too hot or too cool. Give it a break and just do a few at a time.

When the donuts come out of the pan, put them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels or a brown paper bag to soak up the excess oil.

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And by the way? The leftover dough can be cooked just as-is. This is seriously the best, because I love how all the little corners get all crispy in the oil.

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The glaze is the final step.

Robb’s family just rolls the donuts in sugar (It takes two coats, if you want to do it this way.), but I wanted a more traditional glaze to finish them off.  This glaze is just powdered sugar and milk, and you can add more or less milk to get the consistency you want.

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My preferred method of glazing involves a fork, and a cooling rack inside a sheet pan lined with wax paper. This makes it easy for excess glaze to drip off, and for the glaze to set and harden just a little.

The wax paper is because I’m lazy and don’t enjoy washing dishes.

These will keep for a day or two in a lidded container at room temperature, but the quality decreases pretty quickly. If you’re not going to finish them within a day, I recommend freezing them, in a lidded container between layers of wax paper.

Or do what I do, and use them as bribes to get the incredible disappearing teenagers to do a little housework before they leave again.

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Old Fashioned Donuts

A basic cake-like fried donut with glaze.

Servings 18 donuts & holes
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • dash nutmeg
  • 3 1/2 cups flour all-purpose
  • + more flour for rolling
  • vegetable oil for frying

GLAZE:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 5-8 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. Beat eggs, add sugar and mix. Add butter, milk, and vanilla, mix.

  2. Sift together dry ingredients and add to mixture. Stir just until combined.

  3. Roll dough on well-floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness. Use circle cutters to cut donuts and holes from centers. Re-roll once only.

  4. Heat oil to 350F. Add dough, a few pieces at a time. Cook until golden brown, turn, and cook other side until golden brown.

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  5. Place cooked donuts on a baking sheet lined with brown paper or paper towels to soak up excess oil.

For Glaze:

  1. To make glaze, put powdered sugar in a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of milk, and stir. Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time, stirring between each, until glaze reaches desired consistency. (6-8 tablespoons of milk.)

  2. Dip donuts in glaze to coat, using a fork or chopstick to remove. Let excess glaze drip back into bowl.

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  3. Place glazed donuts on a cooling rack with a baking sheet or wax paper beneath to catch excess glaze. Let glaze dry and harden, 5-10 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Store donuts in a lidded container between layers of wax paper. They will keep 1-2 days on the counter, or 2-3 months in the freezer.

If you don't want to glaze, these can also be rolled in sugar. Place sugar in a bowl, dip donut in sugar to coat. Set donut aside and let sit a few minutes, then coat a second time.

 

Plain Chocolate Chip Cookies

plain-chocolate-chip-cookiesI have all manner of chocolate chip cookies on this site. The brown sugar one, the egg free one, the one made with condensed milk.

The oatmeal one, the crunchy one, the one on a stick.

The one with walnuts.
The chocolate chip dip.
The chocolate chip scones.
The chocolate chip cake.

In fact, I have a collection of over 100 chocolate chip cookie inspired recipes.

But what I do not have on this site is a plain chocolate chip cookie. Why? The truth? I’m intimidated by it. The way a medical researcher is daunted by the idea of curing the common cold. It’s simple, it’s basic, and it’s HUGE.

My daughter called me out on this the other day, after I called her out for making the totally wrong chocolate chip cookie recipe. She claimed she was forced to make that recipe because there is no Plain Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe on my site. I guess I was just hoping she would choose one of the others, and modify it to suit her needs.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it wasn’t my smartest move.

But after my kids made two batches of chocolate chip cookies in the same week using a really sub-par recipe, I decided that I wouldn’t try to give you the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. I would just give you the plain old recipe we usually make, the basic one that everyone knows and loves. A pretty good chocolate chip cookie recipe.

And then explain to my children why we use this one, and how to make it.

If you already know how to make chocolate chip cookies, feel free to skip the following.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO MY CHILDREN

DEAR CHILDREN:

I love when you make chocolate chip cookies. I really do. But it’s time we learned to do it right. So next time you are making cookies, please use the following recipe and follow these rules.

1. For the love of all that is holy, there is no need to use 2 cups of butter to make one batch of cookies! Even a large double match will require only 1 cup. The recipe below uses only 1/2 cup, which is just one stick of butter. This is plenty. We don’t actually need a double batch every time we make cookies, because as much as we might enjoy them, it’s really not a good idea for us to eat cookies for breakfast, lunch, dinner, 2nd breakfast, 2nd lunch, 2nd dinner, elevensies, afternoon tea, and midnight snack. A regular batch is plenty.  I actually got 39 cookies from this batch. Which would have been 42 if you guys had kept your moochy little fingers out of my dough.

Also, softened butter is not the same as cold butter or melted butter. Baking is basically chemistry, and butter in its different forms reacts differently, just like water differs from ice and vapor. This recipe uses softened butter. That means it’s at room temperature. If no room temperature butter is available, you can put a stick in the microwave, but do it on a low power level for a very short time, because if it starts melting, it changes.

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2. After you put the butter in the mixer, do the sugar next. Guess what? If you understand the big picture, you can make your own choices about the sugar. I like a butter to sugar ratio of about 1:3. That means, for the 1/2 cup of butter you used, you can use 1 1/2 cups sugar TOTAL. You can kind of mix and match the white and brown sugar amounts here.

More brown sugar makes a chewier, softer cookie. More white sugar makes it a bit crispier. If you’re planning on dunking it in milk you want it to hold up to the dunking, so use more white sugar. For the basic recipe, I use 1 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. This cookie tends to be a bit soft anyway, so it doesn’t really need the extra brown sugar.

Mix the butter and the two sugars together. This step is important. We want some (but not all) of the sugar to dissolve into the butter. It gives the cookies their very best texture. So, give it a good minute to mix, but it doesn’t need more than that.

This should give you plenty of time to put the sugar away. Just sayin’.

3. Eggs and vanilla are next. There’s not much to say about these, except please don’t get eggshell in the cookie dough, and if you spill any egg on the counter, please clean it up before it turns to glue. And why do I keep seeing all the ingredients put away except the vanilla? (Not that I’m pointing any fingers. Ahem, Hippie Chick.)

4. Next is salt and baking soda. I use only 1/2 teaspoon of salt because I buy salted butter. Why do I buy salted butter? Because it tastes better. And I’m not into buying different butter for baking with, so I just use less salt in the baking. If you ever find yourself baking with unsalted butter, you can make this a full teaspoon. Don’t skip the salt, thought, because a little salt really does make the cookies taste better.

Baking soda is super important. I know it’s only a teaspoon, but it’s a very important little teaspoon. The baking soda is the leavening, and the cookies will be flat as a pancake (flatter, actually) without it. One teaspoon is the perfect amount. Once you do this, you’re done with the teaspoon measure, so consider just putting it straight into the dishwasher.

You can do it. I believe in you.

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5. Flour amount is something we need to discuss. Let me be clear here. Following a recipe is a good thing. But you know what’s even better? Using your brain. If your brain understands why the recipe used that amount of flour, and your eyes can see whether the texture is what it should be, you can confidently make adjustments if you need to.

If you use two cups of butter to begin with, you might end up with a very sticky dough. Sticky dough means there is too much water and not enough flour. (Butter has water in it. And eggs and vanilla are both liquid elements in your dough.) Sticky dough turns into very fragile, flat cookies that have spread too much.

When I look at a chocolate chip cookie recipe, I look at three items… the fat (butter, shortening, or oil), the eggs, and the flour. The ratio in this recipe is 1/2 cup butter – 2 eggs – not quite 2 cups flour. The recipe you’ve been using? It has 2 cups butter – 4 eggs – 4 cups flour. Which is way way too much butter.

I used 1 3/4 cups flour in this recipe. Actually, what I did was start with 1 1/2 cups, and then look at the dough. It was still a little sticky, and didn’t have that heavy dough texture that I like. So I added just 1/4 cup more and looked at it again. This time it looked good, so I didn’t add any more.

Now here is a VERY IMPORTANT POINT. Perhaps the most important. Once the flour is added to the dough, Do. Not. Overmix. It. 

You know how bread is kneaded? It is mixed and mixed and kneaded and worked with so that the gluten in the flour makes these very long lovely strands that gives the bread it’s wonderful chewy texture. But no one wants their cookies to be like bread. When we make chocolate chip cookies, we try to avoid making long gluten strands, and we do that by only mixing as much as absolutely necessary, and then not one bit more.

6. Time for the best part – the chocolate chips! Now, dear children, I better never again hear you say the words “All we have is the weird bittersweet chips.” Those bittersweet chips are seriously the best chocolate chips ever. They are my hands down favorite chips. They are big and flavorful and amazing. They are the chips this family uses. I repeat… we use bittersweet chocolate chips in this family. Get used to it.

Are there other options? Sure. Since you guys used all my chocolate chips with your terrible recipe earlier this week, I chopped up 2 oz. of a bittersweet chocolate bar, and added a half a bag of white chocolate chips. You can really use any chip combo you want. I have never met a combo I didn’t like, to be honest, though chocolate and peanut butter chips is my favorite combo. You can also throw in some walnuts or coconut if you want.

The cool thing about chopping up a bar of chocolate is that you end up with different sized pieces. Some of them melt in, and other stay in big chocolatey chunks. But the problem with chopping up a chocolate bar is that if you’re not careful the crumbs will get everywhere. And if the dog eats the crumbs from the floor, he will get sick, and you will be on dog diarrhea duty. Be forewarned.

7. Prepare the pan and oven. Remember when I told you that my new oven cooks cool? 350 isn’t really 350 in this oven, unfortunately, so I like to compensate by setting the oven to 365F. (If you’re worried about the accuracy of your oven, try one of these fancy tools. It’s just good info to have.)

I use this big half sheet pan for my cookies, and one big reason for that is that you can get a whopping 20 cookies in the oven at once. Put down the silicone liner, use the cookie scoop to make them all a uniform size, and place them 4-across and 5-down on the baking sheet for 20 total. If you make them big, they’ll bake into one another, but if you use my favorite cookie scoop, which makes the cookies just a touch on the small side, they will fit just fine.

If you don’t want to use the silicone mat, use the parchment paper.

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8. Time to bake. Remember what I said earlier about following a recipe and using your brain? With a little practice, you can get really good at knowing when to remove the cookies from the oven. Almost all cookies should be a little underdone when they come out of the oven, otherwise they turn crunchy. But too underdone is not good either. I know this recipe says 8-10 minutes, and you should check them after 8 minutes, but don’t take them out until the centers don’t look gooey anymore and the edges look dry, like they’re just about to turn brown.

If you ever run into this situation where the edges are brown and the centers are still gooey, your oven is too hot. It has over cooked the edges before it got a chance to get to the middle.

Here’s a very important point to remember. Once you set the timer, stay in the room and pay attention! (I’m looking at you, Fruitarian.) If you leave the room, you’ll forget the cookies, and they’ll turn black and make the house smell bad, and then your sister’s friend will think they are chocolate cookies, and take a big bite of what is basically ash, and cough and gag and probably never come to our house again. If you leave them long enough, they could fill the whole house with smoke and make the neighbors wonder if they should call the fire department, like that time you decided to make syrup for your pancakes, and then walked away and left it cooking on the stove.

9. When the cookies are out of the oven, just wait a minute. Take a deep breath or two, and wait. If you’re watching, you can kind of see the cookies deflate and settle into their final shape. If you want them to not fall apart, and I hope you do, let them sit 1-2 minutes on the pan, and then move them to a cooling rack. I know I have several pancake turners to choose from, but the small-ish, wood handled one is truly the best for taking cookies off a pan.

10. Clean up your mess. For real. Actually put the dishes in the dishwasher, actually hand wash the pan and silicone mat, put the cooled cookies in a container with a lid, and wipe the counter. It’s not rocket science. And it will keep your mother from hearing concerned comments from well meaning friends who are worried about how often she threatens to murder her children.

11. Last but not least… Mom tax. Remember that your dad and I get one while they’re still warm.

Thanks kids. You got this. Now, go forth and bake cookies!

Love, Mom.

 

 

Plain Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Cook time
Total time
 
A basic, pretty good, chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 40 cookies
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¾ cup flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  2. Add salt and baking soda and mix well.
  3. Add flour and mix just until combined.
  4. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Place spoonfuls of dough on a baking sheet, and bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Let cool 1-2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

 

 

Italian Lemon Drop Cookies

lemon-drop-cookies (2 of 4)My son graduated from high school this year.

GRADUATED.

I was sitting in the arena (the high school has a nice auditorium, which is in no way large enough to handle the graduation crowd) watching the kids line up, when I realized that I am THE MOM of the graduate.  The. Mom.

Holy crap, I’m old.

Having a kid that is done with school is a weird thing. Very weird.  And, as I always do when things feel weird, or uncomfortable, or sad, or I’m just hungry, I decided to comfort myself with cookies.

This time, the cookies were lemon, and the recipe was…  well, to be honest… stolen. From this blog here.

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The lemon flavor in these comes from lemon extract, so be sure you have some of that on hand before baking. Although, I think they would taste great with other extracts, too, like orange or almond.

These cookies are different than your average cookie. They are kind of spongy, cakey, and very soft. The recipe calls for milk, which is not something you see in most cookie recipes.  Robb told me the dough tasted more like cake batter than cookie dough. And I agreed with him on that.

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I did modify the icing just a skosh. The original recipe called for a lot more than I thought was really necessary. I cut it in half and still had plenty. And I added a little yellow food color, just to get the point across about what flavor people would be biting into.

Let’s just say, I love surprises. Except when I am eating. I prefer to have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to taste before I start tasting it.

But it is a good cookie for those days when you feel weird about how old your kids are. Or when you feel old about how weird your kids are, because that happens too.

Check out these fun lemon cookies from my friends!

Strawberry Lemonade Madeleines from Crumb: A Food Blog
Lemon Crackle Cookies from Posed Perfection
Bakery Style Sugar Cookies from Tastes of Lizzy T
Lemon Meringue French Macarons from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt
Lemonade Cookies from Kelli’s Kitchen

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Italian Lemon Drop Cookies

A spongey, cakey lemon cookie with lemon icing.

Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 dozen

Ingredients

For Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 cups flour

For Icing:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • yellow food coloring

Instructions

For Cookies:

  1. Cream oil, sugar, milk, eggs, and extract until well combined. Add baking powder and flour and mix just until combined. Dough should be soft and sticky.

  2. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to drop spoonfuls of dough onto a greased or lined baking sheet. (If you prefer to use your hands, coat them in flour first.)

  3. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and let cool.

For Icing:

  1. Combine all ingredients well, using as much food coloring as needed to achieve desired color.

  2. Frost cooled cookies. If storing, let frosted cookie sit out for about an hour to let the icing dry and harden. Store in an airtight container between layers of wax paper.

 

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade

This fresh squeezed lemonade recipe is a breeze to make, and a perfect refresher for warm afternoons!

old-fashioned-lemonade Summer is definitely here, and it is HOT.

Over the 4th of July weekend, our family made a little trip to Idaho, to visit a family friend who has a really nice little farm with lots of old tractors.  It was a really lovely weekend, though it was really, really hot.

We went swimming in the creek to cool off, which actually worked really well. It was an idyllic setting, with a huge willow tree, weathered wooden bench, and a rope swing.

I felt like we were in the 1950’s. The only thing that was missing was the old-fashioned lemonade.

fresh-squeezed-lemonade-recipe

I always thought that real lemonade would be so hard to make. I mean, squeezing lemons? Who does that? For years, I opted for the frozen concentrate, believing it the easier choice.

Little did I know, squeezing lemons is not any harder than breaking up that dang frozen concentrate. In fact, it’s probably easier. And it tastes far better, so these days, the choice is an easy one.

Fresh stuff, all the way, for this family!

fresh-squeezed-lemonadefresh-squeezed-lemonade-recipe

This recipe is easy to customize, too. Add some fresh berries, if you like, or a sprig of mint. Any way you make it, this lemonade is the perfect addition to any warm summer day.

 

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
 
Fresh-squeezed, old-fashioned lemonade.
Author:
Recipe type: Beverages
Serves: 6 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar to make simple syrup. Bring to a boil, and boil about 5 minutes. Set aside and let cool. (Refrigerate to chill completely)
  2. Squeeze juice from lemons to get one cup. Chill lemon juice.
  3. Once simple syrup and lemon juice are chilled, pour both into a pitcher with 4 cups very cold water. Stir to combine.
  4. Serve over ice.

Rocky Road No-Bake Cookies

This no-bake cookie recipe uses peanuts and marshmallows for a rocky road flavor combination!

Rocky Road No-Bake Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com I ran over my niece with a scooter. It’s a true story.

We recently went on this big family vacation, all eighteen of us spent a week together on a cruise. When we got to Cozumel, Mexico, we decided to rent scooters and drive down the highway to the beach. We must have looked like one strange scooter gang.

I don’t actually have any experience driving a scooter, but I swear this accident wasn’t my fault.

Well, it mostly wasn’t my fault.

The scooter in front of me caught the edge of the road when we were turning around, and they went sliding. I couldn’t stop in time, and literally just drove right over the top of poor JFK. You could literally see the tire tread on her arm. It was awful.

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I had visions of spending the rest of the vacation in a Mexican hospital, but as it turned out, JFK was fine. No broken bones, no internal bleeding, just the huge scrape on her leg that she got before I drove over her.

BEFORE. It’s important you know that.

I came away with some nasty bruises (I’ll spare you the details, but for real, I looked pretty beat up.) but JFK and her mom had the worst of it, with scrapes that ran the length of their legs. To her credit, JFK smiled and laughed, and made the best of the situation.

And then she lobbied me for cookies.

rocky-road-cookies easy-no-bake-cookies

“I think you owe me some sorry-I-ran-over-you-cookies!” she told me, about 10 minutes after the crash.

“Wrong,” I said. “You owe me some sorry-I-fell-under-your-tire cookies.” She didn’t buy this argument at all.

So I put on my thinking cap. I mean, what cookie says we were in a scooter accident on vacation?  Well, Rocky Road, obviously.

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One word about the marshmallows in this recipe. I used the Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits. I like these, because they are small, and dry, and don’t melt into the cookies as easily as the regular variety. I have discovered that they are not available in every grocery store, but I can almost always find them in Walmart, next to the hot chocolate mix.

They’re meant for cocoa, but they’re really fun for baking.

And they’re perfect for saying, sorry I ran over you with a scooter.

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Rocky Road No-Bake Cookies

An easy no-bake chocolate cookie with peanuts and marshmallows.

Servings 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • dash salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 1 cup dry marshmallow bits (Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits)

Instructions

  1. In a heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add milk, sugar, cocoa, and salt, and mix well. Bring to a boil and let boil 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

  2. Stir in coconut and oats, until well coated and combined. Fold in peanuts and marshmallow bits.

  3. Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Refrigerate 10-15 minutes before serving.

Triple Chocolate Chunk Oreo Cookies

A recipe for a chocolate cookie with chunks of semi-sweet chocolate, white chocolate, and Oreo cookies.

Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com - a chocolate lovers dream come true!I normally try not to make chocolate cookies twice in a row.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a confessed chocoholic and would be happy to make all my cookies super chocolatey.  I guess I also believe in moderation and variety and making my family members happy and crap like that too.  I’m not always happy about it, but I cut the chocolate with other stuff.

But not today.  I’ve been wanting to make Maria’s Triple Chocolate cookies for some time now, and this week my patience ran out.

When I was a teenager I had a job at a malt shop.  We had dozens of different flavors of shakes, and making these shakes was the bulk of my job.  My favorite was one called “Chocolate Lovers.”  It involved chocolate ice cream mixed with chocolate syrup, chocolate chips and Oreo cookies.  I found that most people thought the flavor was too rich, too chocolatey.  I thought they were nuts!  I’ve never found anything to be too chocolatey.  I ate this shake regularly, back when I had the metabolism to handle it.  Trolling through TP&TP and coming across this particular cookie took me right back to that malt shop, and that particularly rich shake.

Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com - a chocolate lovers dream come true!I should start by telling you that I did have one little problem with this cookie.  It calls for dutch process cocoa.  I really have nothing against dutch process or dark cocoa (in fact I looooooove these Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies!) but this one just felt better with regular old cocoa powder to me.

Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com - a chocolate lovers dream come true!

The big surprise (well, not that big a surprise, when you think about it!) was how amazing the dough tasted.  It is literally one of the best doughs I have ever eaten, and that is saying a lot.  Have you tried the Soft Sugar Cookie dough yet?  It’s one of the few that can compete.  I was really tempted to just get a spoon and eat the dough, and skip the baking altogether.  I had visions of chilled dough mixed into my ice cream.

Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com - a chocolate lovers dream come true!

Another bonus about this recipe is what a big batch it makes. I made them for my niece for her birthday, (I just can’t say no to a girl who wants chocolate-chocolate-chocolate cookies!) and I was so happy that after I stuffed her cookie box as full as I could get it, there were still lots of cookies left. It’s a good day when there are LEFTOVER triple chocolate cookies.

These cookies look and taste super yummy.  They store really easily, too. And if you don’t have a niece to share them with, you might be lucky enough to keep the whole batch to yourself!

 

Triple Chocolate Chunk Oreo Cookies
 
Cook time
Total time
 
A super chocolatey cookie with big chunks of chocolate and Oreos.
Serves: 5 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup + 2 T. unsweetened cocoa
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup Oreo cookies, cut into chunks
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla.
  2. Sift together dry ingredients, and add to the mixture, mixing only until incorporated.
  3. Add in chocolate, white chocolate, and cookie pieces, and mix gently.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
  5. Allow to sit on baking sheet for 2-4 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.
  6. Store in an airtight container.

 

Chocolate Blackberry Cream Cookies

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It is just not that difficult to come up with a reason to purchase berries.  I’m never quite sure what to do with them, but it never takes me long to figure it out.

When I found this recipe, I was excited to have a good reason to purchase blackberries.  They sat in the fridge for a couple days before I got around to baking with them, and the kids kept asking me about them.  My son, the “fruitarian,” was going crazy with blackberry-desire!

The cookie itself is deceptively delicious.  Even if you don’t want to top your cookie with berries, consider making this cookie plain.  It is a super simple version of a chocolate crinkle, made with a devils food cake mix.  It can be mixed up very quickly, and comes out soft and fudgy and almost brownie-like.  YUM.  Since the dough was quite soft, I used my scoop to drop dough into a bowl of powdered sugar, and I was quite generous in coating it, so my fingers wouldn’t get too sticky.

chocolate-blackberry-cream-cookies-1Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem licking chocolate cookie dough off my fingers.  I just wanted to save myself for the blackberry cream frosting.

Sometimes I make this cookie without the powdered sugar, and that works great too. Either way, you’ll have a soft chocolatey cookie that makes a great base for the frosting.

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I have honestly not baked with berries much.  The recipe on Your Cup of Cake calls for a blackberry puree, without actually mentioning how to make the puree, so I guessed.  I know there are other ways to make a puree, but this worked just fine and it was really easy.

I dumped a bunch of berries in a bowl, and  I used a fork to smash them a bit, and then I let them sit and macerate for maybe 10 minutes while I rolled the cookies in sugar and put them in the oven.

I then came back and smashed them some more.  The truth is, I am just way to lazy to strain this.  Plus, I don’t have a good strainer.  The only strainer I own has been used to clean the fish bowl, so I don’t have much desire to use it on my berries.

True story.  I figured it would be fine if my frosting had berry chunks in it.  Fine and dandy.

By the way, you won’t need nearly the berries you see pictured above. A small handful is enough, since you only need 3 tablespoons of puree. If you do end up with extra puree, cook it with sugar and water for a really delicious blackberry syrup!

chocolate-blackberry-cream-cookies-2I measured about 3 tablespoons of the non-strained berry puree, and mixed into my softened cream cheese and butter, and added powdered sugar until it was a nice, thick, frosting consistency.  I gently frosted my soft chocolate cookies, and topped them with a leftover berry, to make them look extra pretty.

And actually, if you’re into making things pretty, use a piping bag to pipe the frosting on. I was mostly into stuffing these in my face as fast a possible, so I used a knife to give the frosting a quick smear.

I think these would really impress at a gathering, so I definitely recommend them for entertaining!  Plus, since the cookies are made with a cake mix, they are one of the simpler recipes on this humble blog.  The only real problem was cleaning up all that powdered sugar!

My friends have some amazing berry-themed cookies this month too!  Check these out…

Raspberry Tarts by Tastes of Lizzy T
Olive Sables by Kelli’s Kitchen
Blueberry Lemon Cookies from Bake or Break
Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal Cookies from Posed Perfection
Chocolate Blackberry Cream Cookies from Jen’s Favorite Cookies

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Chocolate Blackberry Cream Cookies

A recipe for a fudgy chocolate crinkle cookie topped with blackberry frosting.

Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings 2 dozen

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1 box devils food cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • powdered sugar for rolling

Frosting:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 2-3 tablespoons blackberry puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • about 2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Cookies:

  1. Mix together cake mix, eggs, oil, and vanilla, mixing just until combined.

  2. Roll dough into balls, coat with powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet.

  3. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool.

Frosting:

  1. Mix all frosting ingredients together. Adjust consistency by adding more powdered sugar to thicken, or more puree to thin.

  2. Generously frost cooled cookies. Top with a blackberry.

Frosting Stuffed Cookies

frosting-stuffed-cookiesA word about my life… it’s crazy.  And getting crazier all the time.

Between The Lizard’s graduation, The Fruitarian’s new job, the upcoming big family vacation, The Hippie Chick’s heavily planned social life, my new job, and Robb’s extensive traveling, I’m sometimes amazed we have time to sleep, let alone bake cookies.

But, when you do finally get some cookies made, everyone is just so happy to have them.

Today, it’s the first Monday in June, which means it’s time for the Cookie of the Month. This month we are all making cookies with frosting. It can be tough to come up with new good ideas for frosted cookies. I mean, I already did this one, and this one, and let’s not forget this one.

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Ultimately, I decided to put the frosting inside the cookie, just to be different.

Also, because I stole it from Shelley at Cookies and Cups. I’m not really as unique as I’d like everyone to think. True story.

Of course, Shelley’s cookies were all fat and mine are all flat, and that’s because I made frosting with butter while she used shortening. Also, mine are chocolate, which doesn’t make any difference to the texture of the frosting, I just like chocolate.

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My friends have awesome ideas for frosted cookies too! Check these out:

Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Oatmeal Maple Cream Pies from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt
Frosting Stuffed Cookies from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
Twix Cookies from Kelli’s Kitchen
Oreo Whoopie Pies from Tastes of Lizzy T
Strawberry Buttercream Sugar Cookies from 365 Day of Baking and More

 

Frosting Stuffed Cookies
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Large chocolate chip cookies stuffed with chocolate frosting.
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 18
Ingredients
FROSTING:
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons mik
COOKIES:
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. FOR FROSTING: Place butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and milk in a bowl. Use a hand mixer to beat until smooth. (The frosting should be kind of thick.)
  2. Place very small spoonfuls of frosting on a lined baking sheet. (I used a small cookie scoop and split each scoop into two frosting balls.) Freeze for about an hour.
  3. FOR COOKIES: Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Add salt and baking soda and mix well. Add flour and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. (Dough should be kind of thick.)
  5. Wrap dough around frozen frosting to form large (2-inch) balls. Bake at 350F for 14-17 minutes. Let sit on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

 

May 2015 Wrap-Up

may-2015-wrap-up-1So yeah, it’s June 4 and I’ve just realized that I never put together my month-end wrap-up for May. If that tells you anything about my life.

It appears I am vastly more protective of my down time than I imagined I would be. I’m pretty sure that makes me lazy, but I don’t care. I’ll just be lazy. I will.

Lazy with cookies, though.  Who’s with me?

My favorite recipe of the month was the Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cake. Seriously, it was even tastier than I expected it to be. I love when that happens. I think the reader favorite this month was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Pops. Not that I blame you, they are totally fun!

 

We started off the month with the Cookie of the Month. This month’s cookies were all about chocolate chips, and I decided these cookie pops were the way to celebrate. I think they make super cute gifts and party favors. Plus, it gives you an excuse to eat two, because as any toddler knows, when you have a treat on a stick, you need one in each hand.

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The Lizard brought me this fun recipe for Chocolate Torte from school. He absolutely loved making it, and has made it about 3 or 4 times in the 6 weeks he’s had the recipe. He even made a butterscotch version, which was pretty darn good, if I say so myself. It’s basically a really rich and dense cake, and it’s ah-mazing with whipped cream and fresh berries.

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May 15 was National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. I assume you celebrated privately? I celebrated by putting together a big-old list of chocolate chip cookie recipes on this site for you to have fun with. You might notice a chocolate chip theme to this whole month, honestly.

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Easy Chocolate Chip Muffins are up next. This is one of those cases where I realized I had some fun and fancy muffin recipes (like this TO DIE FOR zucchini muffin) but I had neglected to post a good, basic chocolate chip muffin recipe. Consider this situation rectified.

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I participated in Triscuit’s campaign to put 3 things on a cracker. I wanted mine to be tropical, maybe because I had just returned from a quick trip to California, and was dying to return. I topped my crackers with pineapple, coconut, and cream cheese. Get the details here.

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My sister’s contribution to the blog this month had a chocolate chip theme to it too. She made these awesome 3-ingredient peanut butter cookies, which she topped with chopped dark chocolate. Because WHY NOT?

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My last recipe for May was a Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cake, which my son requested for his birthday this year. He wanted something topped with berries, and this really did the trick. You guys know how much I adore a buttermilk cake by now, right?

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Wondering what to expect in June?  Well… there might be even more chocolate chips. One can never have too many, right?  And it will probably be a slow month here on the blog, since my family has got all kinds of things going on, which has pushed blogging down my long list of priorities, unfortunately. But never fear, I am not gone forever, and the blog will continue to churn out new fun and easy dessert recipes for you to try.

In the meantime, I’m always open to suggestion. You tell me… what would you like to see on Jen’s Favorite Cookies in the future?  Leave me a comment below!

 

See what else you missed in recent months!

april-wrap-up-2march-15-wrap-up-2feb-2015-wrap-up-2

 

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cake

The recipe for this buttermilk chocolate chip cake is a family favorite that stands the test of time. You’ll love this chocolate chip cake with ice cream, or just topped with whipped cream and fresh berries!

chocolate-chip-cakeI don’t want to date myself, but I can’t tell you this story without telling you that The Lizard (our oldest son) is graduating from high school next week.

I honestly don’t feel old enough to have an 18 year old. Maybe it’s just that I don’t feel smart enough to handle the situations and heavy life choices that are going on for him right now.

I don’t even feel old enough to handle my own life choices most days.

The Lizard likes just about everything, so when I ask him what kind of birthday cake he wants, I never know what answer I’m going to get. A couple years ago, he asked for a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake, which ended up being a top contender for the best thing I have ever stuffed in my face.

buttermilk-cake

This year, he requested “something with berries.”

Uh… “something with berries?” I replied.  “Like a strawberry cake?”

Turns out, he just wanted fresh berries on it somewhere.  Not that I can blame him.  He was probably remembering how awesome his Chocolate Torte was when we added whipped cream and fresh berries to it.

We ended up deciding on a chocolate chip cake, topped with berries.  And I added buttermilk, because, well, you know me.

buttermilk-chocolate-chip-cakechocolate-chip-cake

The Lizard was thrilled with his cake.

I will say this… I would probably prefer this cake with regular old frosting rather than whipped cream.  If I had it to do over, I would probably use the frosting from this chocolate cake. But cake with fresh berries is never a bad idea!

It might make me feel better about having a graduating senior in my house!

 

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cake
 
Cook time
Total time
 
A rich, dense chocolate chip cake with whipped cream.
Author:
Recipe type: Cake
Serves: 12 slices
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 pint whipping cream *(see notes)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • fresh berries *(optional)
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  2. Add salt, soda, and baking powder and mix well. Add flour and buttermilk alternately, mixing just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Divide batter evenly between two greased and lined 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  4. Let cakes cool before frosting or topping with whipped cream.
  5. Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add sugar and whip to combine. Spread whipped cream between layers of cake, and on top. Top with fresh berries.
Notes
While this cake is pictured with whipped cream, I wish I had used regular frosting instead. The dense richness of the cake is in stark contrast to the light whipped cream. I think the frosting used in this chocolate cake would be a great match. http://jensfavoritecookies.com/2014/09/03/grandmas-chocolate-cake/

 

Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

These simple peanut butter cookies take just 3-ingredients to make! Gluten-free, small-batch, fun to make with kids.

easy-peanut-butter-cookie-recipe

My sister and I come from a peanut butter loving family, and it shows. (Remember when my sister came up with these peanut butter and jelly cookies?) Just use the search bar on this site, and search the phrase “peanut butter,” and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m totally not surprised she came up with something this awesome. It’s just like her. I’ll get out of the way now, and you can read what Em has to say!

***

Honest question: at what point does eating peanut butter straight out of the jar stop being a snack and start being a meal?

I don’t know why, but whenever I’m home by myself and I feel like I want a snack, I open the fridge and stare in it for about three solid minutes before I decide to have a spoonful of peanut butter.  I guess it’s because when you have peanut butter, you’re never really alone.

It’s like…peanut butter just gets me.

The only thing I like more than peanut butter is avocados and the only thing I like more than avocados is being lazy and there is nothing I’m willing to do to prove it.  To that end, I have what seems to be this affliction where every time I feel ambitious enough to bake something elaborate, I’m always out of just ONE ingredient.

simple-peanut-butter-cookies

Given my aforementioned laziness, you know I’m not going to the store for one stupid thing.  So I’ve taken to developing a habit of mitching and boaning for a few minutes, eating a spoonful of peanut butter, then sitting in front of the TV and foregoing any baking aspirations that may have cropped up in my subconscience.

Mr. Nation and I were simultaneously experiencing a hankerin’ for something sweet the other night (who says we don’t do things together?).

If I’m going to exert the energy to actually make something, then I’m going to go a step further and write a potential blog post about it.  Enter the universe trying to have its way with me by declaring my entire house devoid of flour.  If you’re contributing to a baking blog, a flour shortage is a mighty big challenge to overcome, but again…too lazy to go to the store.

I stood in the middle of my kitchen for a minute, looking down the mouth of an open jar of peanut butter and realized that I also have a few squares of dark chocolate in my fridge.  Knowing that nothing can go wrong with this combination helped me summon the confidence I needed to come up with a solution.

simple-peanut-butter-cookies-recipe

That’s when I MacGyved these delicious little cookies.

They seriously take next to no time and about the same amount of effort.  I especially enjoyed haphazardly wrapping my chocolate squares into a piece of parchment paper and breaking them up with a meat mallet.

 

Simple Peanut Butter Cookies
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Easy 3-ingredient cookies topped with chocolate.
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 1 dozen
Ingredients
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 5 teaspoons sugar
  • 4-5 squares dark chocolate (about 2 oz.), broken into pieces *(optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, egg, and sugar.
  2. Using two spoons or a cookie scoop, form small balls of dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Sprinkle chocolate pieces on top of each cookie. Bake at 350F for 12-15 min.

 

Tropical Cracker Topping

pina-colada-crackers (4 of 2)

Crackers and cream cheese have long been a favorite at our house. Plain old crackers, and plain old cream cheese.

But for you, something better. Something sweeter. Something one step above.

This week, I opted for Triscuit crackers.  They’re just better than a plain old cracker. They’re all wheaty, with texture and flavor.  And they just beg for interesting toppings.

You can put practically anything on them and they taste awesome.

I bought some of the whipped cream cheese. I like this kind because it is so easy to spread, it’s perfect for crackers. Then I spooned on some crushed pineapple and a little pinch of coconut, and voila! The Tropical Cracker Topping was born.

pina-colada-crackers-2

On a recent trip to California, I dipped my toes in the ocean, and promptly realized just how long it had been since I had been to the beach.  I had forgotten the smell, and the feel of the sea breeze, and the sand in my toes.

It’s an experience I would love to have more often, but living two states away from the ocean makes it a bit difficult.

The pineapple and coconut remind me of that. The beach. The pier. The sand. The breeze. It actually makes me wish I was back there right now.

pina-colada-crackers (3 of 3)pina-colada-crackers-3

I love that Triscuit is more than a plain old cracker. There are tons of ideas out there for toppings for Triscuit, so if you’re looking for more ideas, check out their Pinterest boards, their Instagram, or their Twitter feed.  (And remember, the suggested serving size is 2 crackers.)

Chime in! Leave a comment below and tell me what you put on your Triscuit!
 

Tropical Cracker Topping
 
Triscuit crackers topped with tropical flavors.
Author:
Recipe type: Snacks
Ingredients
  • 2 Triscuit crackers
  • Whipped cream cheese
  • Crushed pineapple
  • Shredded coconut
Instructions
  1. Spread cream cheese on each cracker. Top with pineapple and coconut.

 

Easy Chocolate Chip Muffins

These easy chocolate chip muffins use quick oats for great texture, butter for great flavor and chocolate chips to make them over the top delicious!

easy-chocolate-chip-muffinsYou should see the amount of chocolate chips we go through at this house. And butter. It’s obscene.

But seriously? Chocolate chips are SO good.  I’ll put chocolate chips in just about anything. I mean, this blog has a chocolate chip dip, chocolate chip brownies, chocolate chip scones, truffles, cake, blondies, not to mention a bunch of kinds of chocolate chip cookies, and of course, these muffins.

My kids even ask for chocolate chips in their waffles.

Let’s face it. Everything is better with chocolate chips.  It’s worth having a few packages hanging out in the pantry… just in case!

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When it comes to muffins, I am super proud of this Banana Bread Muffin. I added some quick oats to give them some awesome texture. They are dense enough, but not too dense.

I did the same for these Chocolate Chip Muffins. A little bit of quick oats makes for an amazing texture. It makes them just a little fluffier.

I’ll tell you, I was super happy to start my day with these.

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My son, The Fruitarian, even made bets for these muffins. I told him if he won the bet, he could have a warm muffin right out of the oven, rather than waiting for me to photograph them.  That made him happy!

He lost the bet, of course. He apparently hasn’t learned the cardinal rule of betting, which is, never bet against me.  Ha!

He and I both had quite a few of these gorgeous muffins.  I predict they’ll disappear fast at your house too.

Especially if you eat them warm!

 

Also try these!

Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Crazy for Crust
Perfect Chocolate Chip Waffles from Mommy Musings
Chocolate Chip Pancake Poppers from Deliciously Yum

Easy Chocolate Chip Muffins
 
Cook time
Total time
 
An easy chocolate chip muffin recipe with great texture!
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 15-18
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup quick oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  2. Add salt, soda, baking powder, and oats, and mix well.
  3. Add flour and milk alternately, mixing just until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Prepare a muffin pan by greasing or lining the cups. Fill cups about ¾ full with batter. Bake at 425F for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and bake 15-18 minutes more.

 

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

It’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day today!  It might be the greatest food holiday EVER.  At least, it’s the only one I get truly excited about celebrating.

I don’t know how many chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chip cookie inspired recipes are on this site. Not sure I can count that high. Let’s just say, it’s a lot.  So today, I’m celebrating by sharing some of my favorites with you.

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Ever tried your chocolate chip cookies on a stick?  You’ll want a cookie pop for each hand!

brown-sugar-cookies-recipe

The extra brown sugar makes these cookies SO soft and chewy. They have an awesome rich flavor, and of course, taste great with milk!

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Sometimes a girl wants her chocolate chip cookies with a little extra chocolate. Or a lot of extra chocolate.

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These are so creamy and tasty, you won’t even miss the eggs. Trust me.

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We’re huge fans of coconut around here. And coconut tastes awesome with chocolate chips!

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It’s like chocolate chips and peanut butter were made for each other.

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This is our family favorite, and the one that landed me a ribbon at the county fair.

three ingredient cookies

These super easy cookies are made with condensed milk, and have a texture similar to shortbread. My most popular recipe!

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The fudge layer is gooey stuff, but I’ve never heard anyone complain.

smores-cookie-recipe

These are a summertime must, especially if you don’t build fires in your own yard.

chocolate chip cookie

The graham crackers give these cookies a kind of surprising, sweet edge. These are definitely near the top of the favorites list!

chocolate chip banana bread cookies

These taste amazingly similar to banana bread. Except they’re cookies!

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Chocolate chips AND Kit Kat Bars. These chocolate chip cookie bars are heavenly!

cookie-dough-dip

This cookie inspired dip isn’t exactly like eating dough, but it’s darn close!

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Turn this egg-free cookie dough into easy candies! Your family and friends will thank you.

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Who needs frosting? Top these awesome brownies with chocolate chip cookie dough!

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These easy buttermilk drop scones will have you wrapped around their little finger!

Keep your eyes peeled, because there are more chocolate chip cookie – inspired recipes coming up this month!  In the meantime, be sure to stock your pantry with high quality chocolate chips, and find even more chocolate chip recipes on this Chocolate Chip FAVORITES Pinterest board.

And don’t forget to check out this awesome collection of 100 chocolate chip cookie treats!

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Chocolate Torte

chocolate-torte-cakeThe Lizard (our oldest child) has been taking a culinary arts class at school, which he has loved. He found running the cafeteria strangely satisfying. He came home with onion-cutting skills and salsa-making skills, but his favorite experience from the class was making this torte.

He was super excited to make it for the family. It’s a rich and dense chocolate cake, so naturally, I was in love with it immediately.

He even made us a butterscotch version of the torte by using butterscotch chips in place of the chocolate chips. By the way, butterscotch torte? Also good.

He talked me into blogging it this week, but I feel I should be upfront with you and let you know that this is not a recipe of my creation. This is the recipe straight from the culinary class.

chocolate-torte

Normally, we eat this cake plain. No frosting. No ice cream. Just cake.

But today? I added whipped cream and fresh berries. Mostly because we were in the mood for berries. We were surprised how much it added to the torte to have the berries there. You could say they took it to the next level.

I highly recommend it.

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You know what else I recommend? Having a teenager make this for you while you have some quality couch potato time. The cake tastes even more amazing when someone else makes it and brings you a warm slice!

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Print

Chocolate Torte

A rich, dense, easy to make single layer chocolate cake.

Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 slices
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • whipped cream (optional)
  • fresh berries (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line and grease one 9-inch round cake pan.

  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, corn syrup, and chocolate chips. Stir until melted and smooth.

  3. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add chocolate mixture slowly. Add flour and mix just until combined.

  4. Spread batter evenly into the prepared 9-inch pan. Bake at 375F for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

  5. Let cool 5-10 minutes, then turn cake out onto a cooling rack to continue cooling. If desired, serve with whipped cream and fresh berries.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pops

chocolate-chip-cookie-pops (6 of 1)You guys, May 15 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. I mean, how can I NOT celebrate that?

It’s basically the Holy Grail of cookie holidays.  (And because I know you’re going to ask, yes, there are other cookie holidays. Like Cookie Day Dec. 4, and Oatmeal Cookie Day March 18, and National Macaron Day May 31, and a few others.)

This year I wanted to make it easy for everyone to get in on the fun, so I put my chocolate chip cookies on a stick.  The kids thought they were really fun, and they were excited to show my creation to their friends and cousins.

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Let me tell you the key to putting a chocolate chip cookie on a stick. You can’t just use any old recipe. The cookie has to be kind of stiff and crunchy in order to hold its shape. This cookie uses powdered sugar to help with that.

They also work best if you roll the dough out kind of thick (about 1/4-inch) and cut circles.

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I know what you’re thinking… isn’t it hard to get the cookie cutter through those chocolate chips?  Why yes, yes it is. How smart of you to notice. In fact, I often found myself digging through the dough to remove an offending chip or two, so I could get the cookie cutter through the dough.

And you may have to finesse those sticks through the dough a little in order to avoid the chips, but this part was not as difficult as I anticipated.

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My favorite thing about this cookie is how dang stinkin’ cute it is. You could hand these out as little gifts or prizes, and everyone would be thrilled!

Or you could eat them yourself and be thrilled alone. I did some of that, too!

 

Celebrate Chocolate Chip Cookie Day in style with these awesome recipes!

Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Cookies from Kelli’s Kitchen
Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches from Tastes of Lizzy T
Corn Flake Chocolate Chip Cookies from Bake or Break
Brown Butter Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies from A Cookie Named Desire
Chocolate Chip Cookie Pops from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
Avocado Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies from Posed Perfection

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Print

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pops

A crispy chocolate chip cookie on a stick.

Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Cream shortening, sugar and powdered sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

  2. Add salt and baking powder and mix well. Add flour and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.


  3. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or overnight.


  4. Roll chilled dough on a well floured surface, to ¼-inch thickness. Cut 2-inch circles (or other shapes).


  5. Push sticks into the circle from the side toward the center. Carefully place cookie and stick on a lined baking sheet. (If desired, you can chill these in the freezer for 2-3 minutes to help them keep their shape.)


  6. Bake at 375F for 13-15 minutes, until edges are sightly brown. Let cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheet, then use a pancake turner to carefully transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Do not pick up cookies by the stick until they have cooled completely.