Saturday, August 30, 2008

Peanut Butter Dream Cheesecake Cups

I am so excited about these.  For one, I totally thought of it on my own, second, I made the recipe up myself and, third, THEY ARE SO GOOD!  Quite the feat for me, since I usually just make other's recipes and/or just change a few things up.  I have to be careful with these and give them away soon because Kevin doesn't love peanut butter that much, so he probably won't eat them, but since they are just cup size, I will use that as an excuse to just keep having one.  My boys don't seem to like cheesecake all that much, so they probably won't like them either.  Hmmm, who's gonna be the lucky ones to get a few?!


Here's the recipe!

Peanut Butter Dream Cheesecake Cups

1-8 oz. pkg. Nutter Butter Bites (the mini ones)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2-8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened (I actually used 1 that was 1/3 less fat and one that was fat free because that's what I had-so could these be considered low fat?   Hmmm.)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup Egg Beaters with touch of yolk (also less fat!) (or could use 2 large eggs)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural)

peanut butter chips and milk chocolate chips for topping (mini Reese's PB cups would be good, too!)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cupcake liners.  This recipe made 15 cakes perfectly.  I actually used the liners that have foil on the outside, so they don't need to be in a muffin tin.  Worked great.

Pulse cookies in food processor until fine crumbs.  Add melted butter and pulse a few more times until all incorporated.

Add one heaping tablespoon of crumbs to each cupcake liner.  (There's just a little left, maybe 1/4 cup, I used for sprinkling on the tops of the baked cheesecakes.)  Flatten each into cup shape with back of spoon.  Set aside.

Wipe out bowl of food processor and add the cream cheese.  Pulse until creamy.  Add sugar and vanilla and pulse until smooth and well mixed.  Scrape sides of bowl and add eggs and combine until creamy. 

Add 2 (heaping) tablespoons of cream cheese mixture to each cup.  Spread so it covers the crumb mixture.  After this, there is about 1 cup (give or take) of the cream cheese mixture left.  Add 1/4 cup peanut butter to mixture and again pulse in food processor until smooth.  Add 1-2 teaspoons of this mixture to top of each cheesecake.  I did this by putting the mixture in a piping bag and squirting it over each in a squiggly pattern.  I wanted to get a marble effect with this top layer.  After each had the peanut butter mixture on top, I carefully cut it in with a knife, swirling it together.  (I also did a few with just the peanut butter cream cheese mixture and I may just add 1/2 cup peanut butter to the whole cream cheese mixture next time and not bother with the swirling/marble effect.  But it does look nice, just liked the more intense flavor of the peanut butter mixture better.) 

Bake for 18 minutes or until no longer shiny looking and you can touch the middle of the cheesecake without any getting on your finger.  Remove to cooling rack.  Sprinkle with peanut butter and milk chocolate chips.  Let cool.  When cool, refrigerate.  The longer the refrigeration, the better these get. 


This one above is only about 30 minutes out of the oven, when cool enough, I popped it in the fridge.  I REALLY just wanted to try them.  This one was made with just the peanut butter mixture.  I cut it into about five bites and shared it with the family.  Kevin had a friend over, who really liked it, as I did.  Kevin just isn't the best person to ask about a peanut butter treat.  (Crazy guy!)  Did I mention that I really liked it?!  I knew they would only get better with age. 


The marble effect wasn't enough contrast, which is why I'd just do them all with the peanut butter mixture next time.  And there will be a next time.  A good 1/2 cup peanut butter or maybe even 3/4 cup added to the 2 pkgs. cream cheese would probably work great.  The peanuttery buttery crust is SO good and the chips on top just add the over the edge-ness to them.  I added the chips and THEN refrigerated them.  They melted slightly when I added them right out of the oven, then hardened up in the fridge, which made biting in to them a little messy/tricky.  But hey, food SHOULD be fun and messy and these are worth every bite!


Yum!  Want some?  Hurry.  They aren't going to last.


Friday, August 29, 2008

I've Done It, I've Gone Bananas! Chunky Monkey Cookies


I love bananas.  I have one everyday, usually with my morning oatmeal.  I wanted to find a cookie that had banana in it, but I didn't want just the usual soft, cakey banana cookie.  I found these cookies, to which I adapted the recipe from in Rosie's Bakery Chocolate-Packed Jam Filled Butter-Rich No-Holds-Barred Cookie Book, by Judy RosenbergShe gives the cookies a little tribute to Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey Ice Cream and tells how that is the reason for these cookies.  I changed a few things, so here is the recipe as I made it.  I wanted something peanut buttery, chocolatey and banana-ish. 

Chunky Monkey Cookies (Rosie's Bakery Cookies are called Banana-Nut Chocolate Chunks, pg. 49)

1 1/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

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

2 oz. Smucker's All Natural Peanut Butter

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons brown sugar, lightly packed

5 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon milk

1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 cup walnuts, chopped

2 small bananas, chopped into small chunks

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and whisk together.  Set aside.

Cream together butter, peanut butter and both sugars until light and fluffy in mixer bowl.  Scrape sides of bowl.  Add vanilla, eggs and milk and mix well.  Add dry ingredients, including the oats and mix just until combined.  Stir in by hand the chocolate chips, walnuts, and banana chunks by carefully folding with a spatula until combined. 

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 8-9 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool.  Makes 45 cookies (about 5/8 oz. each)


The peanut butter flavor wasn't as strong as I'd wanted, and I'm planning to play around with the recipe, but these ARE good, especially if you like bananas, nuts and chocolate!  It is suggested that these cookies don't store well, so eat them all that day!  Ha.  Go bananas with cookies!


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Homemade Oreo Cookies


I had been wanting to make Oreo cookies for a while now, but remembering my old roommates Oreo recipe, I knew I didn't want soft cakey cookies, and that is how hers always turned out.  I wanted to see if there really is a recipe that is true to Oreos, with crispy, dark chocolate cookies.  All the recipes I have seen always call for a box of Devil's food cake mix.  I could not find any that didn't use the cake mix.  But this one was a bit different than all the others I've seen, so I decided to give it a try.  Let me also say, I knew going in to this that I wasn't going to suddenly clone the Oreo.  I will say though that this is a darn close clone to the cream filling!  I found this recipe here at Best Recipe Source.  Here is the recipe as I made it.

Homemade "Oreo" Cookies

1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup chocolate drink powder (like Nesquik), plus a little more for flattening cookies

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In bowl of mixer, combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and chocolate drink powder.  Mix well.  Batter will be thick.  Let sit 15 minutes.  Form 1/2 inch balls with dough and place on parchment paper lined baking sheets.  The dough is very sticky.  I sprayed my hands with a little cooking spray and rolled the dough into balls.  It worked great.  Flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass sprayed with cooking spray, then dipped in to some of the chocolate drink powder.  (Otherwise it will stick to the glass.)  Bake for 8 minutes (any longer they will burn).  Remove from baking sheet onto wire rack as soon as they are taken from the oven.  Cool completely.

Cream Filling

1/2 pkg. unflavored gelatin (1/4 cup water)

1/2 cup shortening

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dissolve gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water in glass measuring cup.  Sit the glass in some simmering water in a pot on the stove.  Stir gelatin until heated enough that gelatin dissolves.  Beat shortening in mixing bowl and gradually add powdered sugar.  Mix in vanilla extract.  This will be grainy until the gelatin is added.  Slowly add gelatin to sugar until it is icing/spreading consistency.  (You may not quite need all of the gelatin liquid.)  You could spread desired amount of filling on each cookie half, but I put it in a piping bag and piped some on to each cookie.  Let set or chill to harden.  This recipe made 35 sandwiches. 


So, the cookies are okay.  Even if they weren't supposed to be "Oreos", they are just an okay cookie.  Fun to make, but if you REALLY are having a craving for Oreos, there just is nothing like the real thing.  If I added up the amount spent on ingredients, it would be about the same as buying a package of Oreos.  These cookies aren't Oreo chocolatey enough, and are a bit too sweet.  They were soft when I first filled them, but after sitting in an airtight container overnight, they are now kind of soft/chewy.  The filling, in my opinion, is pretty darn close to a real Oreo filling, maybe just a bit softer.  I actually halved the filling recipe and still had enough leftover that I filled a bunch of graham crackers.  I actually preferred the graham crackers to the chocolate cookies.  Maybe it's because I remember coming home from school sometimes while growing up and an afternoon snack of frosted graham crackers would be waiting for us.  Sometimes it was chocolate frosting, sometimes vanilla.  I always liked the vanilla with graham crackers better.  Tasty memory, Mom!  I'll have to dig through my old recipe box and find my roommate's Oreo cookie recipe to compare, but I remember hers were big cakey ones, but they were GOOD.  These that I made are not horrible by any means, in fact, the boys really like them.  I meant to try to add some dark cocoa to the mix to get a more dark flavor like Oreos, but I forgot until it was too late.  They have dark chocolate cake mixes that I would also try over Devil's Food.  The funny thing about all this, I have a new, unopened package of Oreos in the cupboard!  (I actually don't LOVE Oreos, but there IS something about having a few with some milk that just has to happen now and then, I mean, if there's an open package lying around, ya gotta have a few, right!)  Put them in a chocolate chip cookie and I'd just might have a new love for them--like I've seen Jenny do recently here at Picky Palate.  These look GOOD!


How about this little cutie!  Sam sees the boys getting crushed ice from the ice dispenser in the fridge and he wants to have some, too.  So I give him little cups with just a few pieces of small ice.  The other day he was having some in the kitchen and I went in to another room for a few minutes and came back to him "cleaning up" some spilled ice.  I just thought it was too cute that he got a towel himself and was attempting to wipe up the spill. 

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What a sweet little helper!  He's got a yucky cold right now, poor guy.  Parker came home from school sick today with a fever of 102.  (It sure doesn't take long for the sickness to start around here once they are back in school!)  He's also had a bit of the barfs.  He laid around the rest of the day sleeping and whining.  I really hate it when I just can't help "make" my kids better when they are sick.  Hope whatever he's got isn't going to make its way around the other three boys (but it most likely will!)  Sigh!

Okay, someday I really will post some of the yummy things I've made for dinner, but now it's too late tonight and I always start with dessert first.  Speaking of dessert, Taylor missed out on this snack tonight-----

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because he would not eat the world's smallest carrot at dinner!  He was not a happy camper, but I just cannot get this kid to eat ANY vegetables.  Am I too hard on him?  Sometimes he won't eat a single bite of dinner.  He did eat some of the spaghetti for dinner tonight, but pretty much never eats ANY vegetables.  Tough love, or am I the meanest mother in the world.  (Will never forget the chicken pot pie dinner/breakfast/lunch/dinner again/breakfast...., Mom!) ;) 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Most Beautiful Mother


This is my mom!  I love her to pieces.  She just got a new smile and looks so beautiful.  I am so happy for her.  I miss you so much, Mom!  I think of you everyday.



I think I saw this idea on Family Fun.  I have tried making little caramel apples bites before by taking a melon baller and scooping out balls of apple and putting them on toothpicks, then TRYING to cover them with caramel, which I saw done once.  Well, the caramel does not stick to a cut apple.  I tried a number of things and it would just run off and pool at the bottom.  I loved the idea of bite sized, and was excited when I saw this new idea of melted peanut butter chips.

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Taylor and I melted 3/4 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, 3/4 cup peanut butter chips (in separate bowls), chopped up some peanuts and some toasted pecans and got out the sprinkles.  We had a good time dipping the apples in all the goo and "decorating" them however we wanted.  We used about three apples (they were all different kinds, but I would suggest a Granny Smith as a few of the ones we used from the farmer's market were a tad on the soft side and were trying not to hang on to the toothpick.  After we were done with the little ones, we still had some leftover melted chocolate and peanut butter, so we did one more big apple.  Then we sprinkled most of the leftovers all over it.  The peanut butter and chocolate (we dipped some in the chocolate first, too) stuck to the apples well and it was really fun.  I must also say that they were so much easier to eat than a caramel apple, which is often too big of a chewy mouthful, know what I mean?  It was also suggested that you could use butterscotch chips, but we did not today.  These harden quickly in the fridge! 




These were a great, fun, in-the-kitchen activity for kids.  The boys LOVED eating them tonight for their snack.  I would suggest that they be eaten the same day they are made, but if you use a good, crisp apple like Granny Smith, they may be good for a day or two.  Pretty toothpicks and holiday themes would be fun sometime.


And now for some random photos that Taylor took today as he grabbed the camera from me and began snapping away.  Maybe a photography future here?   Hmmmm. 

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I'm not sure what I was so seriously reading on the computer, but great photos, T!  There were more, but then you'd see how messy my house is, so they will remain hidden.  Love how he just randomly took a picture of my foot and hand.  Silly boy!  (And you may notice the string holding the computer open.  Yep, it won't stay open on its own any more.  It's one of those big old beasts that was Kevin's OLD laptop.  I am lucky to have inherited it.  It also weighs about ten pounds.  Seriously, Hon, if you read this, I'd rather go to New York with you than get a new computer! ;)

Moving on---


This is the only somewhat decent picture I took of these delicious muffins, but I wanted to share the recipe with you and the blog I got them from.  Kevin at Closet Cooking has such a yummy blog!  He takes amazing pictures of his food and also makes some really great recipes.  If you love good food, add him to your list of blogs to visit often, if not daily.

He recently made some blueberry muffins-with a twist and I just had to try them.  I added my own twist to them by adding a little more "healthiness" and using a few lower fat ingredients.  Here is Kevin's recipe.  And here is the recipe as I made it.


1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

3/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt (I used Dannon Lite & Fit)

1 mashed banana

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 cup Egg Beater with touch of yolk (I love these!)

3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I think these would work fine using all whole wheat pastry flour)

1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup blueberries (I used fresh, frozen would work, too--add them to the batter still frozen)

1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons Smart Balance Buttery Spread

pinch cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.  Set aside.

Mix the 1/2 cup brown sugar, maple syrup, yogurt, banana, oil, egg and oats in a large bowl.  Let sit for 10 minutes.

Mix the flours, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt in a separate medium sized bowl.  Carefully fold in the blueberries to the dry ingredients.  After the 10 minutes, add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and carefully mix together with a rubber spatula just until incorporated.  Do not over mix.  With a cookie/ice cream scoop, fill the muffins tins until 3/4 full.  (I made 12 mini muffins and 10 regular sized ones with this recipe.)

Mix the pecans, flour, cinnamon, brown sugar and Smart Balance with a fork until they form crumbs.  Sprinkle some of the streusel onto each muffin.  Bake mini muffins for 12 minutes and larger ones for about 16 minutes.  Remove from tin after cool enough to handle and cool on wire rack.



Yum, thanks Kevin!

Okay, it's now 10:30 and I have to get up before 5 a.m. for my water aerobics class.  It's good and fun to be doing something different from jogging everyday, but MAN--it's early and I've been SO tired.  I just can't go to bed any earlier!  I love my evenings after the boys are finally in bed (usually by 9:00) and if I went to be too early, I wouldn't be able to sleep.    

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hearty Whole Grain Berry Medley Chocolate Chip Cookies (Now That's a Mouthful!)

I couldn't think of what else to call these cookies, but whatever they are called and whatever similar add-ins you use, these are good!


I adapted the recipe for these from Rosie's Bakery Chocolate-Packed Jam Filled Butter-Rich No-Holds-Barred Cookie Book by Judy Rosenberg, page 40.

Hearty Whole Grain Berry Medley Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour (or regular whole wheat flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1 tablespoon wheat bran

1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 Egg Beater with touch of yolk

3/4 cup Berry Medley Antioxidant Blend Trail Mix (from Sam's Club--it has goji berries, cranberries, honey-glazed walnuts, soy nuts and dark chocolate pieces) (note--it also has yogurt covered raisins few and far between, I took those out and my son ate them)  Another note***see bottom of this post.

1/4 cup 60% cacao dark chocolate chips (I used Gharidelli)

1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.  In medium size bowl, measure dry ingredients and whisk together (flour, baking soda, salt, oats, wheat bran, and wheat germ.  Set aside.

In bowl of mixer, combine butter and both sugars.  Beat until creamy.  Add egg and vanilla and again beat until light and fluffy.  Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Fold in add-ins of trail mix, chocolate chips and pecans.  Drop by tablespoonfuls on baking sheets and bake for 9 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes then remove to cool on wire racks.  (I need to start counting, but this was only half a batch of the cookies in the Rosie's Bakery cookbook and still made about three dozen 5/8 oz. cookies.) 


These were great, crunchy, but still chewy and full of all kinds of yummy goodness.  I really liked the soy nut crunch, the addition of the dried berries and of course, I loved the chocolate.  I also really liked the wheatiness from the whole wheat flour and the wheat germ and bran.  Looking for something a bit healthier than the regular chocolate chip cookies?  These are great!  You could substitute any add-ins you'd like, try other trail mixes, or you could just add chocolate chips and nuts.  Enjoy!  I had to freeze most of these so I didn't keep eating them.


***I don't really know what goji berries are, but apparently they are rich in antioxidants.  They taste somewhat similar to the cranberries.  Better go do some research....

Friday, August 22, 2008

So Many Things, So Little Time

If I could only post all the things I make in a timely manner, that would be great!  I'll try to just get one done here, as it's yet again getting late as I finally sit down for the day.  I'm tired!

So I had some fun this week playing around with the idea of brownies in a chocolate chip cookie.  I tried just mixing some of both batters together and while they tasted good, I didn't get the look I wanted.  Here are some where I had previously made these Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies and after making plenty just as the recipe was made, I stirred in some brownie batter to some of the cookie dough.  You can see ALL kinds of interesting oatmeal cookies on this blog called Oatmeal Cookie Blog


So I'd mixed in some brownie batter and this is how the cookies came out.  I didn't want so much of the "marble" effect, so I came up with an idea.


I made Brownie Chips with brownie batter (I used the recipe I linked in a previous post for Anna's One Bowl Cocoa Brownies) in a piping bag, then I froze the chips.  I then mixed them in another chocolate chip cookie dough.  This time I used one of the recipes I really love for chocolate chip cookies, Elinor Klivan's Chock Full of Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, which I also have previously posted.  Keep checking back as I'm trying to tag my goodies in to categories so you can easily find a recipe you're looking for!  While this chocolate chip cookie dough has 4 cups of chocolate chips in them, I did not put that many in this time as I was trying to make the brownies the key.

The frozen Brownie Chips 


Carefully folding them in, they thaw quickly!


I also decided to add some walnuts to these as I think walnuts are great in both brownies and chocolate chip cookies!

They baked up great, crisp and chewy and looked a lot how I was wanting them to. 


And look at this strange beauty.


It came out in the shape of a heart and with a perfect, strange little hole in it.  I let Kevin eat this one because he has my heart.  (Awwe, sweet!)

I wasn't quite done with the whole Brownie Chocolate Chip Cookies craze.  But after this, I promise I'll move on!  Yesterday I made up a quick batch of, well, none other than the Copycat Levain Bakery Cookies (the ones with yeast).  I wanted to try a cookie that was thick with the brownie in it.  These turned out just as I had envisioned and tasted great!  I made them small (each about 1 1/8 oz.) and am calling them Little Levain Cow Brownie Cookies because I thought they look like cows!  I actually used some baked brownies (I baked an 8x8 pan from the same batch I'd made where I'd froze some brownie chips) rolled into balls for these and they stayed moist and worked well. 



Yummy Fun!

And on a bit healthier note, tonight I made pizza for dinner.  What?  Healthy?  I bought some premade whole wheat pizza crust, name brand Mama Mary's.  They are next to the Boboli Crust in the supermarket.  I actually didn't even know they existed and was happy to see the whole wheat when I went to buy the Boboli crusts.  So I made the kids their plain old pepperoni pizza with a regular crust and was excited to make this one for Kevin and I.

Barbeque Chicken Pizza


Thin crust, which is my favorite with barbeque sauce for the sauce.  I cooked up two chicken breasts and then cut them into small pieces.  I used fresh mozzarella cheese, pineapple, a bit of corn sprinkled on the top and a pinch or two of dried oregano and after it baked I threw on some fresh basil.  This was SO good.  I really piled the chicken on.  I had two pieces. 

I'm still trying to get to posting another recipe I made a couple days ago for dinner that I thought was really yummy.  In fact, my boys actually gobbled it up--and it had spinach and broccoli in it.  What?  Stay tune for that and a "smorgasbord" cookie I made up today.  I need my weary head to be in bed. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Apricot White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

First of all, I promised some pictures of the boys.  A few days ago as the boys were playing out in the driveway, a ball kept going under the car.  A neighbor kid dove under it and grabbed the ball.  Moments later, the ball went under the car again.  Sam, having observed the kid earlier, immediately started getting under the car, scooted his way toward the ball and almost got it, but Parker and Taylor decided to try to get it too, with the broom.  It was funny to see them all under the car for a second. TEAMWORK!

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Sam threw a great "lefty" to our neighbor (Sam is right handed).  All the older kids were riding bikes (I love our culdesac!)  They were lining up in our driveway and racing down the street.  The weather has been SOOOOO nice!

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I know there's lots of pictures of Sam, but he's the one who is always near me.  The others are always off elsewhere!

DSCF8508 DSCF8523   A small confrontation with the neighbor boy, Sean.  (Sam is one week older than Sean.)


They quickly worked it out and Sean gave Sam a boost on the toy car.    Okay, cookies!

My friend, Julie, mentioned seeing these cookies on the Food Network from Sunny Anderson's new show, Cooking For Real.  She thought they sounded interesting and good and so did I.  They are called Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Cookies, but I didn't have dried peaches, so I decided to make them using dried apricots.  I did, however, have three little peaches from the farmer's market that were on their last leg, so I removed the pits and squeezed the juice out of them and added that to the dough.  It wasn't quite as strong of a flavor as I'd wanted, but these cookies are good.  I think they could have benefited from a touch of vanilla.


Here is the recipes as I made it.

Apricot White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies  (adapted from Sunny Anderson on Food Network)

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt

1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 tablespoons peach juice

1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup chopped, dried apricots

1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

1/2 cup white chocolate chips (I used a chopped bar of white chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Whisk together and set aside.  In bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add egg and peach juice and beat together well.  Add flour and mix until just combined then after scraping sides of bowl with rubber spatula, fold in oats, apricots, walnuts and white chocolate. 

Drop by tablespoonfuls on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake 9-11 minutes.  Let set on baking sheet for a few minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool.  Recipe made about 3 dozen cookies.


Oh so much more I wish I could get blogged, but must get to bed!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yummy and Healthy Zucchini Muffins and "Playing" With Cookies

I've been baking!

First off, I made some zucchini muffins and they were really good.  Maybe I just really liked them because all I usually ever make is banana muffins and these were different. 


I almost always make my muffins mini size.  They are great for kids and then I don't eat a whole big muffins.  Of course, I had to throw a little chocolate in these!  You could make these regular size or even make zucchini bread.  I also like mini muffins because they take a lot less time in the oven than breads!

Zucchini Mini Muffins

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar (If I wouldn't have been out of xylitol, I'd have used it instead of sugar)

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (you could just use all applesauce and no oil, I wanted a little in these)

1/4 cup Egg Beaters w/touch of yolk plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/2 eggs)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (I used my Salad Shooter-so easy.  A food processor also works well, but then, so does a good old hand grater!)

1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts (optional)

1/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly spray mini muffins tins with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In medium size bowl, mix  together wet ingredients (sugars, oil, applesauce, eggs, vanilla)  Add zucchini and mix in.  Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl, sift together with a whisk, then add to wet ingredients.  Mix with a spatula just until combined.  Do not over mix.  Lightly fold in walnuts and chocolate chips.  Drop tablespoonfuls in muffins tins and bake for about 12 minutes.  This recipe made 30 mini muffins.


Next, I've been playing with chocolate chip cookies!  Surprise.  I have seen recently on a couple different blogs, brownies baked in cookie dough.  So I've tried some different things to see what works best.  I made up a half batch of the New York Times Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and used semi sweet chocolate chips (instead of disks), because I knew the chips weren't going to be the "star".  This time it would be the brownies lurking throughout the cookie.  And it WAS a STAR.  If you like cookies and brownies, these are yummy, full of chocolate flavor and richness.  For the brownies, I made half a batch of Anna's One Bowl Cocoa Brownies.  These are such a simple go-to brownie.  I think I've said it before, use this recipe to replace buying boxed mixes.  I baked off the brownies in an 8x8 pan.  After they cooled, I made teaspoon or so sized balls with the baked brownies, by squeezing it together in my hand and rolling it into balls.  But thinking of the flat chocolate disks like Jacques Torres uses, I flattened the brownie balls slightly.  I then froze these on a plate lined with waxed paper.  I thought freezing would help in that I was worried about the brownie over baking in the cookie, since it was already baked.  Whatever the case, this made some great cookies.  I wrapped each brownie piece with cookie dough, rounded them up and baked them on a parchment lined baking sheet.  The brownie was not over baked at all.


I tried different things, by then cutting the brownie pieces in to fourths and just making a bunch of smaller brownie pieces.  I mixed them in with the cookie dough and baked them.  They were neat looking.


I played around some more with the brownie cookies all day and will show you some more another day.  It's late and I have to get up at 4:50 a.m. for a water aerobics class I've started taking.  The first class was today and though I was SO tired and wondered what in the world I was thinking, it was pretty fun and seemed like a pretty good workout.  I've been jogging for months and it seems to really be getting to my joints and bones.  I'm hoping three days a week in the water will help.  We jog in the deep water, basically treading water for an hour doing all kinds of aerobic exercises.  I really need to get more sleep!  More cookies to come.  Stayed tuned also for some latest pictures of the boys.