Archive for August, 2011

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Now that I’m getting closer to the end of my pregnancy, I haven’t been cooking or baking nearly as much as I used to.  There are two reasons for this.  First, I’ve been spending a lot of my free time preparing for my babies to arrive, and second, I just don’t have the energy to spend hours in my kitchen like I used to.  I used to cook or bake something almost every day, but now it’s more like only once or twice a week.  Lucky for me, I married a man that likes to cook too, so he has been making a lot of our dinners lately.  :)  These days when I do cook, I’ve been choosing simpler, less time consuming recipes, so that I have more time to rest (and tackle my never-ending to-do list!)

These peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are a great example of the type of recipes I have been baking lately.  They take less than 20 minutes to make (plus cooking time).  If you’re fortunate enough to have your sister (or a friend) over to help you like I was, they take even less time!  :)  And all of the ingredients are common pantry items, so no special trip to the grocery store is needed.  These cookies are the perfect thing to make to satisfy your sweet tooth.  They are soft, chewy, and filled with the flavors of chocolate, peanut butter, and oatmeal – a classic and delicious combination.  I’m sure I will be making these cookies again and again!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

(print recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. On medium speed, cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg and beat to combine.  On low speed, gradually add the flour until just combined.  Stir in the oats, and then the chocolate chips.
  3. If desired, you may refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, but no more than 36 hours.
  4. A few minutes before you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Use a large cookie scoop (3 tablespoons) and drop dough onto prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden and just set in the center.  Cool completely on the baking sheet and then store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Yield: 16-18 cookies

Source: Kristine’s Kitchen; Originally adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

One Year Ago: Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting

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Twix Caramel Brownies

When I first saw the recipe for these Twix Caramel Brownies on the blog ‘Two Peas and Their Pod’, I could not get them out of my mind.  I mean, how can you resist brownies made out of chocolate, caramel, and Twix bars??  I absolutely love the combination of chocolate and caramel, so I knew I would love these brownies.  After a few days went by and I still couldn’t stop thinking about these brownies, I finally decided it was time to give into my craving, so I picked up some Twix bars and caramel sauce at the grocery store, and then got to work in my kitchen.

And all I can say is wow.  These brownies are amazing!  They are definitely some of the best brownies I have ever had.  They are so fudgy, rich, and chocolaty.  And the addition of caramel and Twix bars takes them over the top – I love the extra little bit of crunch and sweetness that the Twix bars impart.  If you are in the mood for a fancier variation of classic brownies, try these Twix caramel brownies!

Twix Caramel Brownies

(print recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups chopped Twix candy bars
  • 1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Place butter in a medium saucepan on the stove. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in sugar and vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well with spoon after each addition. Add cocoa; stir until well blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt; stir until combined. Stir in Twix candy bar chunks. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Drizzle caramel evenly over the brownies. Using a toothpick, swirl caramel into brownies. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool brownies completely in pan on a wire rack. Once cool, cut into squares and serve.

Yield: 24 brownies

Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

One Year Ago: White Wine Sangria


Green Monster Smoothie

Ever since the first time I heard of a green monster smoothie I was intrigued.  How could a smoothie with this much spinach in it not taste like, well, spinach?  I see variations of these green smoothies all the time on food blogs and healthy living blogs and everyone swears you cannot taste the spinach.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like the taste of spinach; it’s just not something I would have thought would be good in a smoothie.

But after making these delicious green monster smoothies, I can say that it’s true- aside from the pretty green color it imparts, you really cannot tell that there is spinach in these smoothies.  But it’s there (and lots of it too- 3 cups!).  It’s a great addition because it bumps up the nutrition factor, providing lots of calcium, vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, and potassium.  This smoothie is so refreshing.  I love the flavors of pineapple, pear, citrus, and bananas, and the honey adds a touch of sweetness.  The next time you are looking for a healthy snack or breakfast treat, try this smoothie recipe!

Green Monster Smoothie

(print recipe)

Ingredients

  • 1 banana (frozen or not), cut into chunks
  • 1 cup chopped frozen pineapple
  • 1 pear, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ cups orange juice
  • 3 cups baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 1-2 tbsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. ground flaxseed (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust sweetness with additional honey, if desired.  Serve immediately.

Yield: 2-3 servings

Source: Annie’s Eats

One Year Ago: Italian Sausage Ragu


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