Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

27 Apr IMG_6206

I know I make chocolate chip cookies quite often on this blog. It’s just so simple, a crowd pleaser. This one is definitely one of my favorites. The cookies are soft, plump yet airy, just the right amount of sweetness and a little nutty from the ground oatmeal. It’s quite perfect, actually.

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I have been using this “top secret”(but not really) recipe for about 8 years now. It never fails me. Sometimes, I eliminate the nuts, add in some raisins, whatever. They turn out good any way.

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So there is some history to this recipe. These cookies are actually called the Neiman Marcus cookie. There is a whole back story/legend behind this special recipe (fine it here). I won’t get into it. You be the judge. I will just share the recipe.

Again, recipe from here.

Ingredients:

2 cups butter

4 cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups brown sugar

5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)

24 oz. chocolate chips

1 tsp. salt

1 8 oz. Hershey bar (grated)

4 eggs

2 tsp. baking powder 3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)

2 tsp. vanilla

Direction:

Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet..Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

 

Vegetable Lasagna

10 Apr IMG_6195

Who says lasagnas must be meaty and cheesy? While lasagnas are undoubtedly delicious meaty and cheesy, I wanted to make a healthier option. You know, spring is here, summer is approaching, I know you are also watching your waistline. Don’t lie.

So I roasted some vegetables- onions, zucchini, and eggplant, layer on whole wheat lasagna, top with a little mozzarella, ricotta, and homemade marinara sauce. Of course it tastes delicious. Warm, gooey, a little cheesy but light. With this recipe, I don’t think I want to go back to meaty lasagna if I have to.

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Ingredients:

1/3 cup olive oil

salt & pepper

2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

1 medium eggplant, sliced

2 zucchini, sliced

1 small onion, sliced

Lasagna Pasta

3 cups marinara sauce- homemade or store bought

1 cup shredded mozzarella

1.5 cup ricotta- skim, whole, your choice.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place sliced onion, zucchini , and eggplant on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and toss. Once all the veggies are evenly coated, place the sheet into the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

2. In a 9 x 12 baking sheet, layer 1 cup of marinara sauce . Layer a layer of lasagna pasta, then vegetables on top, then dot some ricotta, then a thin layer of mozzarella. Repeat this rotation until all the ingredients run out. It should be enough for 3 thick layers.

3. Bake in the oven with aluminum foil on top for 30 minutes. Take off the top and bake for another 15 minutes, until top is golden brown.

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Enjoy!

Blueberry Crumb Cake

19 Mar IMG_6188

So crumb cakes, eh?

I love crumb cakes. They are light yet scrumptious, fluffy yet buttery. Do you know what I mean?

For some reason, crumb cakes always remind me of summer days down the shore. It makes the best breakfast, summer or winter, paired with coffee or hot tea. Oh, and it’s also a dessert, and snack, I guess.

I found this Ina Garten recipe for blueberry crumb cake. I had to make it. I love the role blueberries play in this delicious good. Sweet yet tart, combined with the heavenly crumbs with a hint of cinnamon. It’s quite perfect.

IMG_6194Ina Garten’s Blueberry Crumb Cake

Ingredients:

For the streusel:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

For the cake:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.

For the streusel:
Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and then the flour. Mix well and set aside.

For the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

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Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife. With your fingers, crumble the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.

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Irish Soda Bread

14 Mar IMG_6181

In case you care, I am not Irish. However, I decided to channel my inner Irish and made some Irish Soda Bread. Perfect timing for St. Patrick’s Day!

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To be honest, I have only had Irish Soda Bread once; the Shoprite kind. Yup. I know. So truthfully, I really don’t know or remember what it is supposed to taste like. The version of Irish Soda Bread that I made were quite okay in my opinion. The crust was actually the best part- crumbly, light, with a hint of citrus. The inside of the bread was thicker than I typically like, but not too bad. This recipe turned out pretty good in my non-Irish opinion!

IMG_6184

I followed my girl Ina Garten’s recipe for the most part. I did made some alterations based on what I did/did not have. For example, instead of buttermilk, I used half buttermilk, and half sour cream. I replaced orange zest with lemon zest. Lastly, I used dried cranberry (Craisins) instead of dried currants.

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Copied and Adapated from Ina Garten’s Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 cup cold buttermilk

1 cup sour cream

1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 cup dry cranberries

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

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3. With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, sour cream, egg, and lemon zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the dry cranberries ith 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. It will be very wet.

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4. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
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5. Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

IMG_6181Hope you enjoy this recipe and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Chocolate Cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing

1 Mar IMG_6172

Peanut butter and chocolate are a classic combination. The nuttiness of peanut butter and the richness of chocolate just never go wrong together. I can now hear “We go together like  rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong”, Grease fans, anyone? No? okay.

I made these moist dark chocolate cupcakes and peanut butter icing with a pleasant surprise- mini Reese’s cups on the bottom.

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Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup flour

2 cup sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup almond milk (can replace with butter milk)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup warm coffee

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line tin with cupcake cups. Place one mini Reese’s in each cup.

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2. Combine and mix in all dry ingredients- flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a separate large bowl, with electronic mixer, mix together eggs, almond milk, vegetable oil, vanilla, and coffee.

4. Continue using the electronic mixer, mix in dry ingredients to the wet batch until incorporated.

5. Pour and divide batter in cupcake tin. Fill up about 3/4 full.

6. Bake for between 15-18 minutes.

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Peanut Butter Icing

Ingredients:

1 cup confectioner sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

5 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup milk or heavy cream

With an electronic mixer, mix together all ingredients until fluffy and smooth.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, ice the frosting on top and decorate with sprinkles as you like.

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Enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

17 Feb IMG_6133

So I made chocolate chip cookies, again.

I can’t help it, it’s a classic, you know?

This time, I followed and modified Chef Michael Mina’s recipe that I discovered on Refinery 29. The finishing product was delicious- crunchy, sweet, and fulfilling.

Ingredients:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature and diced
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Using hand-held electronic mixer or stand-mixer with paddle attachment, beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar.

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3. Once the mixture is fluffy (after beating for about 5 minutes), add in eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and continue to mix until combined.

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4. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt.

5. Turn the mixer on and slowly incorporate the dry ingredients to the mix.

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6. Once combined, fold in chocolate chips until they are incorporated.

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7. Roll the dough to about a size of a golf ball (2 inches). Put the dough on nonstick baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.

8. Bake cookies in the lower rack of the oven for about 15 minutes.

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9. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and serve warm.

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ENJOY!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta

7 Feb IMG_6121

Do you like goat cheese?

If you do, you’ve got to try this recipe. It takes less than ten minutes and it’s absolutely delicious! Creamy, cheesy, thick, garlicky, yet not too heavy. If you are a goat cheese lover, it doesn’t get much better than this dish!

This recipe is an adaptation of Giada’s Penne with Spinach Sauce. I’ve made Giada’s recipe a few times, it’s amazing, but I decided to use what I had on hand to make this dish work!

IMG_6122

Ingredients:

1.5 cloves garlic

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 ounce goat cheese

3 ounces of spinach (I used a spinach mix since I didn’t have full spinach)

1/2 pound pasta (to make it healthier, I used organic brown rice pasta)

Grated parmesan to finish

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to its directions. Save pasta water!

2. In a blender/food processor, blend in all the ingredients together with 1/3 cup of pasta water.

3. Mix in the pasta and sauce. Top the dish with grated parmesan on top. THAT’S ALL!

It’s THAT easy! You try it now!

Liv Hambrett

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