Sweet & Salty Cookie Bars

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Needs more toppings

Do you ever think to yourself “Nope, I don’t need to pour more chocolate on this”?

I didn’t think so. Well I’m sure there are the few who would say this level of chocolate drizzle pouring would be excessive, but we don’t need to concern ourselves with these blasphemers.

Long ago, I realized that I’m not very good at coming up with cutesy names for desserts. Whenever someone asks what a dessert, or meal, that I serve is called, I usually panic and rattle off a long list of ingredients and descriptors, and they say, “Oh…okay…it’s good…”

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“Butter-sugar-peanut butter-baking soda-flour-chocolate chip-pretzel-caramel-baked at 350-chewy-bars….”

When I served these yesterday, no one even asked what I called them! It was amazing and I didn’t have to panic, even though I totally had the name prepared. People just ate it without asking questions. It was awesome.

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Just eat it, damn it!! 

I like to think of myself as a creative person, but I just feel so cheesy and contrived whenever I try to come up with a fun name for food. Maybe that’s supposed to be the fun of it… But anyway, it didn’t require stretching the imagination too much to come up with “Sweet and Salty Cookie Bars”. We’ve got chocolate and caramel and brown sugary flavors with pretzels and peanut butter. Sweet and salty. “Okay, that’ll do”, I thought.

Try and stop watching. YOU CAN'T.

Try and stop watching. YOU CAN’T.

I am super excited to show you this handy-dandy gif above, that I made with this online gif maker if you are interested. When you are making these bars, at some points in your topping process, you may think, “there, that’s enough”, but you would be wrong. This gif serves to show you the minimal amount you need for optimal taste experience. We go from cookie bars (which I’m sure really are delicious on their own) to pretzel-topped, to peanut butter chocolate drizzle, to more chocolate drizzle with broken pretzel pieces, to dollops of melted caramel. You may choose to add some coarse sea salt after that as well.

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I’m lucky I had a leftover square for this photo! 

I adapted Dessert Now, Dinner Later‘s beautiful Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Bars for today’s recipe!

Sweet & Salty Cookie Bars

Bars:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (I used natural)
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp. flour (I used half white whole wheat, half AP)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 to 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1/2 to 1 cup broken pretzel pieces

Topping:

  • 24 whole pretzels plus more crushed
  • chocolate chips (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup caramel pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  1. Beat butter, peanut butter, with both sugars in large mixing bowl until creamy. Then mix in vanilla and eggs.
  2. Add in baking soda and salt, then slowly add flour and mix until combined.
  3. Fold in chocolate chips and pretzel pieces.
  4. Press dough into greased 9×13 inch pan and chill, covered, for around 30 minutes.
  5. Bake the bars at 350 F for 20- 25 minutes (mine took 21).
  6. Lay 24 whole pretzels over the bars in a 4×6 pattern.
  7. Melt together chocolate chips and peanut butter, then drizzle over the bars with a spoon or a plastic squeeze bottle. Sprinkle with broken pretzel pieces and add more chocolate if desired.
  8. Melt together caramel pieces and milk, then drizzle over bars. Top with coarse sea salt if desired.
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I keep doing these one-bite-photos. How uncreative and delicious…

May your bars be as delicious as mine were, and may you come up with a better name for them than I did! 😛

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Fo’ Drizzle Bars 

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Posted in Bars, Caramel, Chocolate, Dessert | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mint Dark Chocolate Pudding (made vegan, non-vegan options)

It's chocolate, it's peppermint, it's delicious!

It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint, it’s delicious!

Last week, we had some freakishly nice weather here in Arizona. Of course it couldn’t last. It’s about 102 out there now. We were filling my car’s tires up with air, and it was so hot that the air compressor hose melted, so there’s that… Clearly we’re in need of refreshment over here, so and I thought some cold chocolate peppermint pudding sounded awesome.

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One pot, no problem.

Just like the PB2 Banana Bars I made for Mother’s Day, this pudding turned out to be vegan too just based on what I had in my kitchen! I don’t think I’ll give up eggs or ice cream or cheese anytime soon, but I cycle in some vegan substitutes in my groceries if they’re healthier than the regular option. Contrary to popular belief, one CAN run a baking blog and pay attention to their health too. 🙂 I just signed up for a 10K actually!

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Resist just eating it like cold chocolate soup!

This recipe (adapted from Hershey’s Kitchens) is awesome because you can whisk everything together just in one pot. The less time I have to immerse my hands in steamy hot water for dish duty, the better.

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I didn’t beat the level 😦

The good thing about having to whisk pudding over the stove for 15-20 minutes is that it gives you some quality Candy Crush time with your other hand. Just don’t drop your phone into the hot, bubbling chocolate abyss.

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If it were winter, this is the kind of jacuzzi I would want to be in.

It’s really important to use low heat (on a stove scale from 1-10, I used about a 4). You’ll think you can speed it up by making it boil faster, but then it won’t thicken up. I mean, you’ll still have a delicious chocolate mint soup, but it won’t be pudding. That’s why I suggest the Candy Crush method, or just old fashioned patience I guess.

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Soon…

This recipe filled about two 8 oz mason jars. You could also fill about four little custard cups with it. I would definitely double triple it next time!

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Never enough pudding

Mint Dark Chocolate Pudding (vegan)

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 cups milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil (you could use butter if not vegan)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp. mint extract (or to taste)
  • optional: toppings such as broken candy cane, chocolate chips, whipped cream, etc
  1. In a medium pot, whisk together sugar, corn starch, cocoa powder and salt. Eliminate any cocoa powder lumps as best as possible.
  2. Whisk in the milk.
  3. Over low-medium heat, whisk the pudding mixture about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not use higher heat, or the mixture will not thicken.
  4. After the mixture starts to thicken, it should boil. Continue to whisk over the stove for about 2 minutes after boiling begins.
  5. Remove pudding from heat and stir in the extracts and coconut oil (or butter).
  6. Pour into the serving cups or containers for storing and press plastic wrap or the lid tightly over each. Refrigerate about 2 hours.
  7. Add optional toppings before enjoying.
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Chocolate peppermint forever ❤

I still had some crushed candy cane that I bought after Christmas for 50% off, so I thought I’d make it extra minty and refreshing! Regular or mint whipped cream sounds good too… I’m also wondering if I can turn this into some kind of frozen pudding pie or pudding pops in the future. What can I say, I dream big, people!

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Speaking of Candy Crush, here’s some crushed candy.

Posted in Chocolate, Dessert, Mint, Pudding, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Cherry Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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Completely literally, I popped a LOT of cherries yesterday. 

I would say I had an adventure de-pitting cherries yesterday, but it actually wasn’t as scary or exciting as I thought it would be, and didn’t take very long either. Which I guess is a pretty good thing! I don’t have a fancy cherry de-pitter, but I saw some ideas online for how to do it without one.

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I wonder how useful it would be to have frosting tips for fingers for the rest of my life. 

I used a small round frosting tip (Wilton #3, though you can probably use any small tip) and slipped it over my pointer finger. What happens, ideally, is that you poke the frosting tip through the top and the pit slides out the bottom or side of the cherry in a gentle manner, like so:

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Look at this cherry, behaving for the camera and all! 

The ideal way happened about half of the time. The other half of the time, I had to excavate a little for the pit with the frosting tip until my hands were covered in bloody-looking cherry juice. I don’t recommend wearing a white shirt while doing this… Overall though it was a pretty simple process! And it led to cookies, which is always a nice thing.

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~Part of this nutritious (…) breakfast~

If you don’t really want to deal with the bloody massacre of cherry de-pitting, I’m sure dried cherries would work great too! Cherries were on sale near me, and though I couldn’t really find any fresh cherry cookie recipes, I wanted to give it a go. They just seemed to belong in an oatmeal cookie with some nice dark chocolate! I used a recipe from Averie Cooks for her “Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies” as the base, and adapted it.

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The ratio for chocolate to anything should always be 2:1. Like, chocolate:cherries, or like chocolate:homework….

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Make sure you get little specs of chocolate and cherry peeking out on top so your cookies look beautiful!

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Precious. 

Cherry Dark Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 3/4 cups flour (I used about half white whole wheat, half AP)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups (12 oz bag) dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cherries (if using dried, decrease flour to 1 1/2 cups)
  1. Cream together butter and sugar about 3 minutes with mixer. Then mix in eggs and extracts.
  2. Add in the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and continue to mix on low speed until combined.
  3. With a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips and cherry pieces.
  4. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to form cookie dough balls on parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for about 2 hours or more.
  5. Bake cookies at 350 F about 12 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets about 10 minutes before moving them.
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Like I need a plate to tell me what to do! 

Now, it’s almost June, so it’s starting to get a little toasty out here in Arizona. It’s also a long weekend so you might be spending some time outside barbecuing and swimming (though I’ll just be inside studying for an exam and watching Game of Thrones…) So if you’d like to jazz up these cookies just a tad more in summertime fashion, make some whipped cream with almond extract, or whisk  1/4 tsp. almond extract into 2 cups Cool Whip, sandwich it between 2 cookies, and freeze!

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Just don’t break your jaw on frozen cookies or cherry pits. 

Whether you freeze em or not, have a cherry great weekend!

…That was really bad; I’m so sorry…

Have some cookies.

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Cookies are an acceptable form of apology, yes? 

Posted in cherry, Chocolate, cookies, Dessert | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mounds Bar Chocolate Chip Cookies

All cookie and no school makes me a happy baker

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! Yes that’s a thing, and it’s May 15th. Google it. I like any excuse to bake something up, so I’ll take it! It has to be the least divisive holiday out there, unless you’re fighting over the last cookie. ^Wendy Torrance clearly would like to keep that for herself, thank you very much Cookie Monster.

Attack of the Clone Cookies

Attack of the Clone Cookies

Luckily this recipe makes around 30- 40 cookies depending on how big you measure them, so at least you won’t be dueling for the final crumb for at least a little while! And they’ll even stay nice and soft if you somehow can’t finish consuming them in an evening or so.

Just beat it

Just beat it

Maybe it’s just because I read through a lot of baking blogs, but I feel like everyone has their go-to chocolate chip recipe already. And I was sure that just about everyone liked their cookies soft and moist. However, I had a bad encounter with someone’s homemade chocolate chip cookies recently. They were so dry, crisp, and flat that the chocolate chip flavor was lost to its sad cookie surrounding. It was a depressing experience. How can people live like that?! I was sure that that kind of cookie was viewed as objectively bad. Alas, the world is a mysterious place folks.

EAT ME

EAT ME

My go-to recipe uses pudding mix to help make the cookies soft, so I basically collect boxes of instant pudding in the pantry in order to be prepared at all times. I’ve had a box of Mounds pudding for a little while, so I wanted to use that for today’s special National Chocolate Chip Cookie day recipe!

Chip central up in here

Chip central up in here

We’re loading these suckers with shredded coconut, white chocolate chips, and my favorite, dark chocolate chips.

Here's the scoop

Here’s the scoop

I thought cookie scoops were a very frivolous purchase until I bought one on sale. I feel like my taste-testers can feel good about my hands being less all over their cookies. The little scoops also look pretty adorable…
…And only a baker would think cookie dough is cute.

Mounds Bar Chocolate Chip Cookies

Starring Cast

Starring Cast

  • 2 1/4 cup A.P. flour
  • Mounds Instant pudding (or instant chocolate pudding ~3.6 oz)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 11 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
  • 5 Tbsp coconut oil, melted or solid
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tsp extract (I used half coconut, half vanilla)
  • 1/2 cup sweet shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups chips (I used half dark and half white chocolates)
  1. In medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, dry pudding mix, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, coconut oil, and both sugars until fluffy. Add the egg and extracts and mix well.
  3. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, then coconut, into the butter mixture. Then fold in the white and dark chocolate chips.
  4. Cover and chill the dough in the fridge long enough for it to be firm (~2-4 hours), but scoop-able to make dough balls. This is to prevent extra spreading in the oven. If dough is made ahead of time, or is too firm, just leave at room temp for a bit until it can be shaped into balls.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 F and parchment paper 2- 3 baking sheets. Use a tablespoon or cookie scoop and place balls 1- 2 inches apart on sheets.
  6. Bake 8- 10 minutes. Cookies will still look slightly wet out of the oven and will continue to cook on the sheet for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack. For nicer appearance, push extra chocolate chips into the cookies’ tops while still hot.
Step 6: Consume

Step 7: Consume

This recipe is awesome because you can really customize with different pudding mixes, extracts, and chips! (I usually use all butter — 1 cup). Once, I tried a strawberry pudding mix with white chocolate chips and that was definitely interesting. For a more standard chocolate chip recipe, I use a vanilla pudding mix.

Puddin' this in my mouth now

Puddin’ this in my mouth now

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Also showing off how I haven’t picked this nail polish off yet even though it’s been like a full 3 days

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day to all, and to all a good bite!

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Yessss that melty chocolate

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PB2 Banana Bars (vegan) with Chocolate Roses

As a 20 year-old lady, Mother’s Day is weird nowadays since I know people from my high school that are celebrating it for themselves! Today, I’m content to just celebrate my mom without being one myself quite yet!

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I’m trying to get fancy here. Is it working? 

My mom requested something simple that “wasn’t too heavy” for today, so I figured I would experiment and make a health(ier) dessert using whole wheat flour, banana, and PB2 instead of peanut butter. My mom is definitely not vegan (I’m already the odd one of the family by being a vegetarian), but my recipe did turn out that way!

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They look at least like something rose-adjacent, right? 

Of course, I can’t really do this “simple” thing, so I got the idea to make some chocolate clay and form some roses out of it to top the bars. I think they look alright, but I’m definitely not going into the chocolate sculpting business any time soon.

PB2 Banana Bars (Vegan)

The starring cast!

The starring cast!

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  •  1/4 cup milk (I used light vanilla soy)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 6 Tbsp. PB2 (I used regular, but the chocolate kind would be awesome too!)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup flour (I used white whole wheat)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mash the banana well with a fork.
  2. Measure in the coconut oil, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and milk and whisk to combine.
  3. Slowly add in the other dry ingredients to the same bowl and continue to whisk together.
  4. Prepare an 8×8 pan by oiling, lining with parchment paper, and spraying again.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into the pan and bake at 350 F for 20-23 minutes.
  6. Let cool before slicing or shaping with a cookie cutter.

Chocolate Clay

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Dark chocolate ❤ Though, I used milk chocolate for my mom.

  • 10-11 oz. bag of chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • small amount powdered sugar for hands
  1. Melt chocolate in a medium bowl in 30-45 second intervals in the microwave.
  2. Stir in corn syrup well.
  3. Work in some powdered sugar if it still looks very shiny (I used about 1/4 cup here).
  4. Let sit in an airtight container at room temperature for a few hours or overnight before using. Chocolate clay should look more dry at this point.
  5. Dust hands with powdered sugar and knead before using.
  6. Roll out between parchment or wax paper to flatten.
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I’m really surprised that I didn’t make more of a mess. 

Just cut into 9 regular squares, each one has about 150 calories. I went a little more cutesy for Mother’s Day and used a frilly circle-looking cookie cutter to punch out pieces, and actually got 11 circles out (with scraps leftover for taste-testing). The recipe definitely turned out well for being so healthy! Of course I had to put chocolate on top too. Sorry mom — or, you’re welcome?

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Channeling banana flavors with this new yellow plate. 

To make the roses here, I used a tiny circle cookie cutter to punch out 2-3 clay pieces per flower. I twirled one piece at a time around a small pretzel rod “stem”, then placed the second around that layer. Then, I broke half of the pretzel off, and pushed the pretzel stem into the bar.

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I’m not a bad daughter, amiright? 

Posted in Bars, Dessert, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rebel Alliance Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Dark side cookies

You know, the good guys have cookies too — and you’re probs less likely to choke from them!

May the Force be with you on this fourth of May! I can never turn down the chance to make themed desserts, and Star Wars has so many options for doing that. This Star Wars Day, I decided to try my oven at chocolate sugar cookies decorated with the Rebel Alliance logo. Sugar cookies are one of those desserts that can be as simple or complex as you want them to be. From the following photos, you’ll probably tell I’m no pro at this, but I always give it the tryhard try!

Alliance to Restore Freedom to the Galaxy and Deliver These Cookies to My Mouth

Alliance to Restore Freedom to the Galaxy and Deliver These Cookies to My Mouth

Even if the icing part of sugar cookies seems daunting, the dough is definitely easy! The hardest thing there is just waiting for it to chill in the fridge for a little bit. You can make rolling the dough out and cleaning up a lot easier by putting the dough between pieces of wax paper before rolling.

Looks really delicious right now, right..?

Looks really delicious right now, right..?

For these cookies I just used a simple circle (you could even use a drinking glass if you had to), but obviously this recipe will work with any cookie cutter you’d like to use! There’s some fun Star Wars cutters available different places online if you want to get fancy.

Try not to eat ALL the cookie cutter scraps!

Try not to eat ALL the cookie cutter scraps!

Icing

Actually making the icing is real simple too — I’ve never followed a recipe to the letter for icings or frostings. I just work with the ingredients until I get the right consistency, flavor, and color I want. Here I used Wilton Icing Color in Red-Red (whatever that means) because it’s concentrated and blends in a little better than regular food dye liquid, but you can definitely use whatever you have! You may just have to play around a bit by adding extra powdered sugar to make up for having more liquid. I just used maybe 4 toothpicks full of this Wilton color to get the red I needed.

True skill. I took art classes once, you know.

True skill. I took art classes once, you know.

Just please don’t call me Rebel Scum if my icing designs aren’t perfect! To make the icing part a little easier, I used Wilton squeeze bottles I had bought at Walmart, and I also did a little practice on some parchment paper beforehand (obviously this practice was not too extensive…)

My face when some of the icing dripped off the edge of the cookies. Not really. Don’t worry if the designs aren’t perfect. I can’t guarantee it, but I don’t think anyone will force choke you. They will still taste awesome, afterall! And if your hand gets tired, just switch to sprinkles instead. What Jedi would say no to sprinkles??

Add sprinkles when in doubt.

Add sprinkles when in doubt.

I made slight adaptations to SprinkleBakes‘ chocolate sugar cookie recipe, and referenced several icing recipes before just doing my own thang.

Rebel Alliance Iced Chocolate Sugar Cookies

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  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened (not melted) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Butter Vanilla Emulsion (or vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. flour (I used AP)
  • 1 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Dark)
  • Pinch salt (do we only say pinch because we’re too lazy to use the 1/8 tsp.?)
  1. In large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together without overmixing. We want it firm so it won’t spread too much in the oven.
  2. Mix the egg and vanilla emulsion/extract in on low speed.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, cocoa, and salt. Slowly add into the butter mixture. The dough will clump around the beaters or paddle. This is the right consistency!
  4. Place dough on one layer of wax paper and top with another. Flatten it out with hands and rolling pin. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and chill in the fridge for about an hour.
  5. Take the dough out and roll it a little thinner (about half an inch). Take of the top wax paper sheet. The dough should not be sticky.
  6. Cut out your shapes and carefully place them onto the parchment lined pan. Chill again for about half an hour.
  7. Bake the cookies at 350 F for about 9-11 minutes. Leave them to cool on the sheet about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Cool all the way before decorating.

Icing

  • 3-3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tsp. milk (I used vanilla soy, but use any kind!)
  • 6 tsp. light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Wilton Icing Color/ Food dye
  1. Place the milk in a small mixing bowl. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and combine with a fork, spoon, whisk, whatever you want. The mixture may be a bit lumpy.
  2. Add and mix in the corn syrup.
  3. Add the flavorings and desired colors.
  4. If mixture is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick, you can add more milk, corn syrup, and/or flavorings until it’s right.
  5. Place into a decorating bag with small round tip, snipped-corner plastic bag, or squeeze bottle to decorate the cookies. Leave to set a few hours before stacking/transporting.
In a time far far away, these cookies will finally be dry.

In a time far far away, these cookies will finally be dry.

Gather your galactic swag and enjoy!

Gather your galactic swag and enjoy!

When my car was broken down over Christmas, I asked my brother to buy me a new car. He bought me TWO new cars: the Star Wars HotWheels pictured above… Happy to have them for this picture though! Have a very happy Star Wars Day friends! May the Force be with you!

Posted in Chocolate, cookies, icing, star wars | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

The egg tried to escape.  Tried.

The egg tried to escape.
Tried.

While I was measuring out the sugar, this little guy got sneaky and rolled off the counter in an attempt to avoid being baked into a delicious dessert. Luckily my foot was there to break its fall (which actually hurt more than you’d think) and I was really surprised to find the floor NOT covered in eggy mess. So that was nice. I also only cut my finger open on a tin can once while making this recipe, so all in all, a very lucky day indeed.

This meme really reminded me of my boyfriend’s mindset on dessert sharing… Luckily *I’m* the baker of this relationship, so I always do get a taste anyway, mwahaha. 🙂 Yesterday I brought dessert to his family’s house for their weekly family night! I volunteered because I really need people to eat up all the things I bake for this blog! In his family, if it’s not chocolate, it’s not dessert (which is totally fine with me)! So, I’m sharing this simple chocolatey bar dessert with you all today. This recipe is originally from Crazy for Crust.

Jacuzzi o' Butter

Jacuzzi o’ Butter

We’ll be browning some butter for this recipe! So butter is basically your really reliable friend who’s always there for you — he’ll give you a ride to work if your car breaks down and he’s not bad to hang out with on a regular basis. But brown butter, man, he’s deep. He prefers Victorian satire over CollegeHumor articles and always has something interesting to say. He blows your mind. He smells like autumn, but tastes good all year round. Okay, I don’t know that you’re tasting your friends on a regular basis, so maybe the metaphor stops there.

I made a video of the brown butter process so that you can see it the whole way through! I could have actually cooked it a tad longer than I did, but I was a little nervous about filming with one hand and stirring hot butter with the other. It still worked out great in the recipe! The video is 9 minutes long, so you can skip through it just to see the different stages of browning butter. However, the constant stirring motion and the French music I was listening to in the background really is peaceful, so I suggest watching the entire thing on repeat for a few days straight or so.

I'm brown butter and I have a lot of complex feelings about stuff and things.

“Hi, I’m brown butter and I have a lot of complex feelings about stuff and things”.

The little brown specks in there are normal — you can strain them out, but I actually like to keep ’em! It’s easier that way too.

Having a stand mixer must be like having a third arm without looking like a mutant.

Having a stand mixer must be like having a third arm without looking like a mutant. I myself am pretty dexterous at using a hand mixer and taking photos at the same time despite being klutzy otherwise.  

When you start to combine the flour into the sugary brown butter mixture, the dough will resemble thick caramel ribbons in look and taste. Be sure to not eat too much dough! Not because of salmonella, but just because you need that precious dough for the bars!

No golden ticket here. :(

No golden ticket here. 😦

Have a Charlie Bucket moment when you unwrap your XL chocolate bar of choice — dark chocolate here.

Here comes the gooey part of this recipe.

Here comes the gooey part of this recipe.

When you pour the sweetened condensed milk on, try to not get it too close to the edges. You will learn that this is nearly impossible to do. It just wants to get everywhere and I eventually just let it. But next time, I will make the edges of the bottom dough a little higher to help avoid that!

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Nestle your chocolate rectangles into the condensed milk, and top with nuts, marshmallows, coconut, candy cane pieces, caramels, peanut butter cups…. I considered adding more of these things but I think that may be what they call “excessive” in some schools of thought. I just stuck to dark chocolate and walnuts for now, but I’m already scheming up a s’mores variation with marshmallows and graham cracker pieces!

Into the oven with ye!

Into the oven with ye!

The second half of your dough may not be enough to completely cover the milk layer, but it should spread enough in the oven anyway. Is this because you sampled too much dough before…? Worth.

I don't even like the word "gooey" but I don't think the English language has a more pleasing synonym. Whatever you call it, it's yummy.

I don’t even like the word “gooey” but I don’t think the English language has a more pleasing synonym. Whatever you call it, it’s yummy.

Still gooey even after chilling on the counter and then in the fridge for ~45 minutes!

Gooey Brown Butter Cookie Bars

Not pictured: milk (any type) and butterscotch chips leftover from last week's Grapefruit Brûlé Bars

Not pictured: milk (I used 1%) and butterscotch chips leftover from last week’s Grapefruit Brûlé Bars

Bars

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (I used dark)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 1/4 cups flour (I used about half AP, half white whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • (if needed) 1-3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 1/2- 2 cups chocolate chips ( I used mini semi-sweet plus butterscotch chips leftover from last week’s Grapefruit Brûlé Bars
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1- 2 XL size chocolate bar
  • (optional) nuts, caramels, coconut, marshmallows, or other fillings
  1. Melt and brown the butter in a light-bottomed pot or pan over medium heat over 5- 10 minutes. It is done after the foam has reduced some and the butter is light tan with a nutty scent. Stir often. Let sit to cool ~5 minutes.
  2. While it’s still warm, transfer the brown butter to a mixing bowl. Add both the sugars and mix. Set aside to cool it slightly before adding other ingredients.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Mix eggs and vanilla into the butter/sugar bowl with an electric or stand mixer.
  5. Slowly add in the flour mixture. If the dough seems too dry and hard to combine, add milk by small amounts. I used ~2 Tbsp.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips and/or other flavor of chips.
  7. Coat a 9×13 pan well with cooking spray. Press about half of the dough into the bottom of the pan. Make the edges a little higher so the sweetened condensed milk and fillings will stay in better.
  8. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the bottom dough layer, trying to keep it away from the edges of the pan. Break up your chocolate bars and press the rectangles on top. Sprinkle nuts or other fillings over the milk and chocolate.
  9. Flatten the remaining dough to cover most of the milk, chocolate, and nut layer. Some blank spaces are okay as the dough will spread.
  10. Chill the pan in the fridge at least 30 minutes.
  11. Bake the bars about 35 minutes at 350 F. The top dough will be slightly browned when done, but still look slightly doughy. Cool on a rack before slicing into neat(er) bars (if that’s something you care about).
And we're supposed to wait until this cools for 30 minutes? Yeah, okay.

And we’re supposed to wait until this cools for 30 minutes? Yeah, okay.

With its deep, complex brown butter flavors and chocolate layers, this bar looks you right in the taste buds and says "I know you".

With its deep, complex brown butter flavors and chocolate layers, this bar looks you right in the taste buds and says “I know you”.

Kind of laughable compared to the pretty pictures from Crazy for Crust's original recipe....

Kind of laughable compared to the pretty pictures from Crazy for Crust’s original recipe….

But who doesn't like a messy plate of melted chocolate and soft pillowy cookie dough?

But who doesn’t like a messy plate of melted chocolate and soft pillowy cookie dough?

Luckily the bars were enjoyed by all for dessert last night. I hope you all enjoy them too, friends!

Posted in Bars, Chocolate, Dessert | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments