Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

Lately I have been having wild intense cravings for peanut butter. I don’t know what it is, and I can’t figure out why I used to not be a fan of the creamy delicious treat before. What’s great about it? It’s kind of healthy for you. It’s chock full of protein and good fats, pretty low in the carbohydrate department, and insanely delicious. These cookies? Not healthy for you. I DID use Natural Jiff peanut butter, but I don’t really think that counts. They are still full of all those ingredients that make a delicious and unhealthy tr eat (sugar, butter, chocolate chips). But guess what? I didn’t make these in an effort to try and be healthy. I made them because when peanut butter and chocolate come together, it creates something beautiful. And these cookies, are a beautiful thing. They aren’t huge, they are a good size, about the size of a chips ahoy cookie. You could call them “treat sized” as Starbucks likes to call their new peanut butter cookies (and their double chocolate cookies, as well.*) I almost came close to not baking these, because of lack of flour, but i had exactly enough! After baking these, I realized I need to have more cookies in my life. They are just so simple to make, and almost always tasty. So, if you’re into the whole chocolate chip meets peanut butter thing, I recommend you bake these. You don’t HAVE to use natural peanut butter, and I only used it because it was the only kind I had in the house. If you do decide to, use the kind that does not seperate, (such as Skippy or Jiff Natural), because I’m not really sure what would happen with the kind with extra oils. It might work, but use with caution!

*For all of you Starbuck-goers, I wouldn’t really recommend their treat sized cookies. I’m not sure as an employee, I should be saying this, but as a person who loves baked goods, these are not worth it, at about $1 a piece. You’re better off buying their outrageous oatmeal cookies, or chocolate chunk. But really, you’re better off baking these! ;)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe can be found here
yields approx 3 dozen “treat sized” cookies

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and peanut butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Gradually mix in the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in chocolate and peanut butter chips.
  4. Place sprinkling sugar on a plate. Drop dough by rounded teaspoon into sugar and roll around, then put onto ungreased cookie sheet, leaving several inches between them for expansion.
  5. Using a fork lightly indent the top of each cookie (or use a small offset spatula if you want a smooth top), but don’t over-flatten.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. DON’T overbake — the cookies may look really soft and underdone, but trust me, they aren’t.
  7. Cool the cookies on the sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  8. Enjoy while warm! (or not, but awesome when still warm.)

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

I’ve seen these cookies a lot on the web, and they’ve always caught my eye, but I’m not sure what has kept me from baking them. They are extremely easy to make, and I’m sure almost every one of you has all the ingredients on hand — if not, they are ingredients that every household should have: dutch processed cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and the basics (flour, sugar, etc). The recipe did call for maple syrup, but I didn’t have one, and used agave syrup instead. This recipe comes from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie jar.” I don’t own the book, and actually have only browsed through it, but there are some cookies in there that look great. I may have to pick up the book one of these days. Although these cookies are from a vegan cookbook, the ones I made in particular are not vegan, only because I didn’t have any nondairy milk on hand. Since I’m not vegan, I don’t mind, but I’m sure they would be just as good made with soy, almond, or some other nondairy milk, since that’s what they were made to be.

The cookies turned out pretty good! I would describe them as being chocolaty, that hits you with a subtle hint of spiciness when your chewing. Nothing crazy spicy, and honestly I could have put just a tad bit more cayenne to kick it up a notch.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
recipe from The Post Punk Kitchen
yields 18-24 cookies

For the topping:
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cookies:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons almond milk (Or your preferred non-dairy milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract (or more vanilla extract if you have no chocolate)
1 2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Mix the topping ingredients together on a flat plate. Set aside.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together oil, sugar, syrup, and milk. Mix in extracts.
4. Sift in remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all ingredients are added mix until you’ve got a pliable dough.
5. Roll dough into walnut sized balls. Pat into the sugar topping to flatten into roughly 2 inch discs. Transfer to baking sheet, sugar side up, at least 2 inches apart (they do spread). This should be easy as the the bottom of the cookies should just stick to your fingers so you can just flip them over onto the baking sheet.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, they should be a bit spread and crackly on top.
7. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Brown Sugar Coookies with a Touch of Sea Salt

Over the weekend I was craving a cookie. Not just any cookie, but a crunchy cookie. As much as I love chewy soft cookies, I’ve got a sweet spot for a cookie with a crunch. So Sunday I browsed foodgawker, looking for a cookie that I could bake with whatever ingredients I had on me. I wanted something simple, and I found the perfect cookie; brown sugar cookies. The batter was filled with simple ingredients I had on, and I decided to change something up a little bit. I’ve been really into salty-sweets lately, and so I thought I’d give this cookie a little salty touch, by replacing the regular salt with sea salt. It was the perfect amount, and it really hit my salty sweet spot. Some of the cookies turned out crunchier than the rest, but I liked that, because it gave me the chance to try both a crispy cookie and a soft chewy one as well. If you do decide to make these, I hope you enjoy!

Brown Sugar Cookies
Recipe from Furey and the Feast
Makes: 16-18 large cookies

3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp course sea salt

1. Move oven racks to upper and middle third of your oven, and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets or with parchment paper. Cream butter and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer/hand mixer. Add egg, vegetable oil an vanilla, mix until incorporated.
2. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, and mix to combine. Add flour mixture to mixing bowl and mix until all ingredients just come together (dough will be somewhat wet and crumbley-like).
3. Portion dough into 16-18 balls (around the size of a golf ball) and place on cookie sheets about 2 1/2 inches to 3 inches apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes for chewy cookies, and 16 to 18 minutes for crunchy. Remove from oven, cool in pan for 5 minutes before placing on rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

The Perfect Cake to Make with your Overripe Bananas.

We’ve all been there. Neglected to eat our bananas — forgetting about them as they turn brown on our kitchen counter. Don’t feel like making a fruit smoothie? Sick of making banana bread or muffins? Well I know I was. So I was on the search for a recipe that I could make with my overripe bananas that didn’t seem boring, or overdone  — like muffins. Not that I have anything against banana bread, or banana walnut muffins, etc., but I’ve been there before. I wanted new. I took home a few overripe bananas from work, without having a plan on what to make. All I knew was that it had to be good. I’ve done banana and chocolate chips together, but how about banana and chocolate? A chocolate banana cake — bingo! Found a recipe that looked simple enough, and I already had everything I needed, which never happens. The recipe I found paired this cake with a chocolate  ganache frosting, which, don’t get me wrong, looked really great, but meh, I didn’t want that. I wanted something more fun, something that goes well with bananas and chocolate, something like, say…coconut? Yep. I had it. I would make a toasted coconut cream cheese frosting. This cake would be PERFECT! I was right. It was. It was delicious in every way. The bananas didn’t overpower the chocolate,  it was more of a slight banana taste. The cake was perfectly moist, not too moist, not too dry. And cream cheese frosting goes well with um, everything? And all of you coconut haters, go away! This cake ain’t for you! Okay, well it can be if you omit the coconut, but I know it wouldn’t be the same. To me, toasted coconut looks so lovely. It’s definitely a cake I see myself making again in the future.

Chocolate Banana Cake
from Joy of Baking

2 cups granulated white sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium sized bananas)

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup safflower or canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 13 inch (23 x 33 cm) pan. Set aside.

1. In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. When completely cooled, frost.
6. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top of the cake and on the sides if you prefer.

Toasted Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe by Me.

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup butter (1 Stick)
8 oz cream cheese
2-3 C confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp almond extract (can substitute Vanilla)
1-2 Cups flaked sweetened or unsweetened coconut.

1. With an electric or stand mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the vanilla extract while still mixing.
3. Add the powdered sugar slowly, until you reach your desired texture and sweetness. You may or may not use 3 cups of sugar, or you may use more! Use your judgement.
4. To toast the coconut, I did it over the stovetop, on a nonstick pan, on low heat, until slightly browned. Careful and make sure to watch it, as to not burn.

Sugar braised pork

Earlier this week I had purchased a new cookbook called The Filipino American Kitchen by Jennifer M. Aranas. My parents are both from the Philippines, but I never officially learned how to make any Filipino dishes. My great aunt was always the one who cooked for us, so it never occurred to me until lately that I want to learn. The only thing I really knew how to make was chicken and pork adobo, which is really the simplest recipe ever. What made me purchase this specific cookbook was what it said on the cover — “Traditional Recipes, Contemporary flavors.” I like how the author incorporates traditional Filipino food with American — contemporary flavors. To some people, authentic Filipino food might not sit well with their taste buds, and so I would recommend this cookbook for those people. The cookbook has beautiful photographs of the food, and the recipes seem fairly simple, but do contain some ingredients that would have to be purchased at either an Asian grocery store, or in the international aisle at a market or grocery store. Continue reading

st. paddy’s day goodness.

happy late st. paddy’s day! i hope you all had your share of corned beef and cabbage. i know i did! i was really looking forward to st patrick’s day because i was going to be making my first corned beef brisket and cabbage (and potatoes, carrots, parnips). since cooking corned beef brisket usually takes hours, i decided to use the trusty crock pot. i had to work at 5 am, so before i left, i just popped everything in the crockpot, and hit go, and left it to do its magic. and magic did it do. the recipe i used was really a winner, incorporating carrots and parsnips, not just potatoes and cabbage, and also including a bottle of guiness! when i arrived home sometime around noon, i had to remove the parsnips and carrots, and pop in the potatoes and cabbage. my crock pot would barely hold it all, but i made do. the recipe suggested using a pineapple ham glaze to top the brisket, and broil for a few minutes. i did this, but not only did i do this, i decided to add bacon! what could make a dish better than it already is? bacon. just add bacon. that’s going to be my new motto — just add bacon. sounds good to me. so i cooked the bacon in the oven first for about 20 minutes, then when that was done, glazed the brisket, added the bacon, then added some more glaze. broil for only a few minutes, and make sure to not get distracted like i did. some of the bacon was burnt, but only a portion, so nothing to get crazy about. let me tell you. BEST. CORNED BEEF. EVER. it was soooo good. on st paddy’s day i usually eat it simply cooked with cabbage and potatoes, nothing fun, but always good, but i decided to do things different this year. do things different and you’ll almost always be glad you did (ALMOST, always). so i ate all this with a side of rice, cause i’m asian. i have to eat it with rice. =) it was great.

Continue reading

No, that’s not snot on my chocolate cake.

it’s avocado!

so, like many other people, i have a love for avocados. my love is so strong, that i would eat it with everything — including chocolate cake. i found this recipe on Joy The Baker‘s blog, and knew I had to try it out. We all know, I’ve failed veganism, and vegetarianism, but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good vegan or vegetarian meal every now and then. And vegan baking is something that I like to try every now and then, because it amazes me that I can make such a yummy dessert with no eggs or butter! and this cake, lemme tell you, it was good. it was moist and chocolatey, and didn’t contain even a tiny bit of butter or an egg. instead it used one small avocado and just a bit of vegetable oil. i think it may be one of my favorite chocolate cakes for sure. and what’s nice about it is that you don’t have to feel AS guilty as you normally would, because it’s made with healthy fats. but alas, don’t eat it thinking it’s a “healthy” choice for a dessert, because it still contains a nice amount of sugar, and a whole lotta sugar in the frosting. so sorry to burst any healthy people’s bubbles out there.

the chocolate cake itself doesn’t have a single hint of avocado, but the frosting, that’s another story. avocado butter cream, an Alton Brown recipe, tastes like avocado, but a sugar coated avocado — so good. to me it tasted similar to an avocado bubble shake, which by the way, are amazing. when i first tasted the frosting before putting it on the cake, i thought it was yum, but i wasn’t sure as to how it would taste on top of the cake. i was iffy. but alas, i frosted it, and hoped for the best — and i got the best. i never imagined how good an avocado frosting would be with chocolate cake, but then again, its an avocado. avocados officially taste good with everything, and need to be eaten with everything, including chocolate cake. and i know for sure that this recipe was a success, because my worst critic, my boyfriend, said the cake was really good. so once he gives it the okay, then i know i’m good to go.

so with that said, i highly advise you all to try out this cake, because if you are an avocado aficionado like myself, you will not be disappointed.

Vegan Chocolate Cake w/Avocado Buttercream Recipe from here.