mini chocolate chip cookie cups


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These tasty bite-sized treats take your ordinary chocolate chip cookie and turn it into a deep, chewy, cookie cup.  Plus, they’re perfectly bite-sized (hello, portion control!).  In case you, like me, are unable to eat just a bite of a giant cookie.  Or a regular-sized cookie.  Or, of anything…

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Yes, that’s me texting the BF …  Self control, I have none.

So yes, the beauty with these is that you don’t have to try to limit yourself to just a bite.  Instead, just to one cookie… or maybe two.  You can always stuff the rest in the freezer for convenient snacks for the future you.

I also took the opportunity to stuff a bunch of chocolate into the middles of them to make them like little molten-chocolate-stuffed cookies once you reheat them in the microwave… which is totally normal.  Because, everyone reheats their cookies before they eat them, right?

Although the BF seemed to think it was “too much” chocolate, as if that’s a thing!

I borrowed this recipe from Shannon over at A Periodic Table, you can get the recipe there or you can see it below :)

mini chocolate chip cookie cups

Yield: 24 cookie cups

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips*

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375?F; lightly grease the cups of a mini-muffin pan
  2. 2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugars and butter together until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape down the bowl and add vanilla and continue beating 30 more seconds until incorporated.
  4. 3. Add the flour mixture in 2 parts, beating on low just until incorporated. Gently fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.* Place dough in refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes.
  5. 4. Once chilled, remove dough from refrigerator and form into 1-inch balls. Place a dough ball in the muffin tin, pressing down to flatten the tops. Continue with the rest of the dough until each muffin tin has dough in it.
  6. 5. Bake for maybe 7-12 minutes, checking them at the 7 minute mark for doneness. Let the cookies cool in the muffin tin on a metal rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack to continue cooling. If you have any issues getting them out you can wedge a thin knife or spatula between the cookie and the tin to loosen it.

Notes

* Alternatively, you can press a large chocolate chip or a couple of them into the middle of each cookie dough ball once it is in the muffin tin

http://wee-eats.com/2013/08/20/mini-chocolate-chip-cookie-cups/

[ Recipe from A Periodic Table ]

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strawberry mascarpone tart

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Things that are difficult to take pictures of: ice cream, anything shiny, and this strawberry tart.

I almost didn’t post the recipe because I didn’t have any pictures that I deemed worthy, but instead I just settled on this picture, taken with the BF’s iPad.

Why?  Because this recipe needs to be shared, people.  It’s so easy, and so refreshing, and so… perfect.  It’s light, refreshing, and the right amount of sweet.

The kid in me prefers a Nilla Wafer crust, but you could use a regular pie crust all the same, just baked according to its own directions.  You could even use one of those store-bought graham crusts if you were extra short on time, I’m sure it would still taste great!

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

Makes 1 8- or 9- inch tart

Printable Recipe

For the Crust

•             2 2/3 cups vanilla wafer cookies

•             1 tbsp sugar

•             1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

•             4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

•             1 egg, whisked with 1 Tablespoon water

For the Filling

•             2 lbs strawberries, stemmed and sliced or quartered

•             1/2 cup white sugar

•             1 Tablespoon lemon zest

•             1 teaspoon lemon juice

•             8 ounces mascarpone cheese

•             4 ounces whipped cream

•             1/2 teaspoon vanilla

•             1/3 cup powdered sugar

•             1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Make the crust

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Crush wafer cookies in a food processor until fine crumbs.  Add melted butter and vanilla extract and continue processing until blended.  Dump into pie or tart pan and press firmly into bottoms and sides (I find using the bottom/sides of a glass to help press makes a big difference).
  2. Brush bottom of crust with whisked egg and bake for 10 minutes until golden brown; cool completely (up to overnight) before filling.

Make the filling

  1. Toss the strawberries with half of the zest, all of the juice, and sugar in a large bowl; set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. While the strawberries are macerating, mix the mascarpone cheese with lemon zest, vanilla, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until well combined.  Gently fold in the whipped cream; refrigerate until needed.
  3. After 30 minutes, strain juice from strawberries into a small saucepan.  Add the balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil of medium heat.  Reduce until thick enough to cover the back of a spoon, it should be like a syrup.  Set aside to cool.

Assemble the tart

  1.  Spread the mascarpone mixture over the bottom of the tart shell, top with strawberries (sometimes I arrange them fancily, other times I just dump them on top and spread them out, whatever your preference and energy levels call for that day), brush with balsamic syrup and chill until ready to serve.

 

[ Adapted from Simply Recipes ]

 

 

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In Defense of Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day gets a lot of grief from an ever-growing anti-Valentine crowd.  The “nonbelievers” (as I shall call them) seem to think that it’s not a “real” holiday.  Another excuse is that you should show someone you love them every day and “not just on Valentine’s Day.”

So,  maybe Valentine’s Day has become overly-commercialized, unlike  St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras, which are “real” and happily-celebrated holidays (at least by the non-believers that I know).  And maybe it has been hijacked by greeting card and candy companies, unlike those other real holidays (I’m lookin’ at you, Christmas and Easter).

I happen to like Valentine’s Day.  Possibly because I have a severe medium addiction to chocolate and will happily celebrate any holiday that make it acceptable for me to receive an entire box of it, but also because it’s a pretty easy holiday.  I only have one gift to buy, only one other person to feed, and I don’t have to binge-drink 1,000 pounds of green food coloring.  (Red food coloring is way better for your health, true story*)

*Totally not a true story.  Just made that up to support my argument. 

Of course, Valentine’s Day is not about candy or presents, and you don’t need a special day to show someone that you love them (If you are only showing affection one day out of the year, there may be many issues at play there).  The BF and I do little things for each other every day, but going out of your way to not celebrate a day that is dedicated to the one(s) you love just seems like a silly concept.

To me, at least.

So, even if you do something special every day, why not do it on February 14th?  What did February 14th ever do to you?

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Even if you don’t have a sweetheart, you can spread the love to your friends and/or co-workers.   What’s wrong with having just one more day of the year that you can show the people you love (or just the people you spend your day with) that you care?

And, even if you’re still not convinced…  Even if you’re still set on being a Valentine Scrooge…

Even if you “don’t believe” in Valentine’s Day…

I’m pretty sure that you probably believe in brownies.

So, Scrooge, make these brownies on the 13th, or the 15th, or make them in April for all I care.

Make the frosting orange or blue or whatever color you want, crush up the hearts and sprinkle them on top, broken and shattered.

But please, don’t take your hatred of Valentine’s Day out on these poor, innocent brownies.  Don’t let your Scroogeness (totally a word) prevent you from trying these delicious, bite-size morsels.

So make these for your sweetheart, or your friends, or your co-workers, or yourself.

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Not super into the whole chocolate/strawberry combo?  The frosting recipe for this is like the easiest thing ever and infinitely adaptable.  You can just replace strawberry jam with the flavor of your choice:  Raspberry jam?  Peanut butter?  Nothing at all?  Whatever floats your boat.

After I made these, I totally realized that I did a strawberry and chocolate combo last year for Valentine’s Day, too.  What can I say, chocolate and strawberry is the BF’s favorite combo, and Valentine’s Day is all about him.

Well, for me it is.  Hopefully not for you.  That would just be silly.  (Plus I would totally fight you.*)

*Just kidding.  I love you.  It’s Valentine’s Day.  Have a brownie.

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Valentine Brownie Bites with Strawberry Marshmallow Frosting

Makes: 24 mini brownie bites with frosting

Note: Following the recipe from its source yielded WAY MORE than the 24 mini brownies that it claimed, I’ve provided the halved recipe below, which should give you enough for 24 brownie bites and frosting for each. 

Printable Recipe

For the brownies:

  • 1 cup  sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 7-ounce container of  marshmallow fluff
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup seedless strawberry jam
  • pink or red food coloring, if desired
  • decorations, if desired

Make the brownies:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F and line a mini muffin tin with 24 of the cutest  mini paper liners you can find.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just incorporated.
3.  Spoon into 24 prepared mini paper liners and bake  for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes of baking, turn the heat off and leave pan in the oven for another 5 to 6  minutes.  Remove pan from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing individual brownie bites to a rack to cool completely.  The tops will be dry and slightly cracked.
(To make in standard muffin tins, bake for 19-20 minutes at 350°F, then turn off the oven and let sit for another 10 minutes before removing from the oven.  Cool in the pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to complete cooling.)

Make the frosting:
1, In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth and creamy.  Add marshmallow fluff and continue beating until combined.  Add the powdered sugar and mix to incorporate, then and the jam and continue beating until it is evenly distributed.
At this point the frosting will be a light pink or red color depending on the jam you used, you can beat in food coloring (I did) to achieve your desired color.

2. Top brownie bites with frosting and sprinkles.  I scooped the frosting into a gallon-size ziplock and cut off one of the corners of the bag making an opening between ¼ to ½ inch in diameter.  Gently squeeze frosting into the cupcake, creating a frosting “bubble”.

[ Adapted from: A Farmgirl's Dabbles ]
If you like these brownies, you may enjoy these other romantic sweets:
dsc_5818small  mocha brownie thumb  chocolate cake thumb

Sunday Brunch: Meyer Lemon Cake

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Two things:

1.  This cake is filled TO THE TOP with lemon flavor.

2.  It is probably the best lemon cake known to man.

Maybe not, but it might be.  I haven’t tried every lemon cake on the planet (yet). It has  a bright citrus flavor with a light and airy crumb… I don’t know how it happens, but it does.  And it’s magical.  Even though it’s no secret that I’m a chocolate girl at heart, every once in a while I crave something a little more… refreshing.  Plus, it’s not really acceptable to eat chocolate cake for breakfast.

Lemon cake, on the other hand, is totally legit.

Replacing the lemons called for in the recipe with meyer lemons allows the ctirus flavor to really shine and keeps it light and refreshing instead of having the citrus flavor assault your tongue.

Like, I love lemons, but if you give me a lemony treat I can usually only eat so much of it before my mouth is just tired of the lemon flavor.    It’s all “HEY I’M LEMON AND I’M HERE IN YO FACE,” where meyer lemon is like the regular lemon’s sweeter, more laid back cousin who is just like “Hey, what’s up? I’m kinda lemony and kinda sweet… whatevs.”

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That being said, if regular lemons are your thing (ahem, BFF), go with that.  I will happily use regular lemons later in the year when my darling meyer lemons are nowhere to be seen.

But, if you do get happen to find some meyer lemons in your basket at the store, bring them home and make this amazing sweet, citrusy cake.  You will not be sorry.  A little guilty, maybe, but not sorry.  Not too guilty though, this cake has yogurt so it’s good for you!  (Something like that)

Meyer Lemon Cake

Makes: 1 loaf

[ Printable Recipe ]

For the Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup vegetable oil

For the Soak:

  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease or line a 8 x 5 inch loaf pan

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  In a large bowl whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, and lemon zest.

3. Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until mixed.  Gently fold in the vegetable oil until incorporated.  Pour into prepared pan and bake about 50 minutes or until done.

4. While the loaf bakes, make your lemon soak by heating ⅓ cup lemon juice and ⅓ cup sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.  Set aside while loaf finishes baking.

5. When loaf is done baking, cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.  (To make clean-up easier, line the baking sheet with foil).  Pour the lemon soak over the loaf and allow it to soak in while the loaf continues to cool.

6. Once the loaf is completely cooled, make your lemon glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Drizzle over cake to your liking.  Honestly, I think the cake was just perfect even WITHOUT the glaze, so if you want to skip this step, be my guest!

* Alternatively, you can use 1 cup of plain yogurt + 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

[ Recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home ]

hot chocolate on a stick

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We recently had a cold snap here, which I hear is in store for the rest of the country as well.  (I don’t know what that means, because I’m pretty sure it’s actually “winter” for the rest of you, but that’s what the weather man said.)  I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better way to warm up than a nice cup of hot chocolate.

Not just any hot chocolate, but THE BEST HOT CHOCOLATE IN ALL THE LAND!

I know this because I was told so by my co-worker when she had some.  And also from those who received it in their Christmas baskets.

Oh, and it’s way more fun than regular hot chocolate, because it’s on a stick!  How fun is that?  Just stir it into hot milk (note: really hot milk, unless you want to eat the fudgey leftovers like I some people do).

It’s so good it’ll warm you right up.  It will warm your tummy and your heart.  Especially when served in an adorable, heart-warming penguin cup.  (BF took this pic with his iPad)


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This is nice to enjoy while warming your toes with your loved one, or as quietly as possible standing in front of the fridge.  I store mine in the fridge because I think it stands to reason they should last longer that way.  In the event that they hang around long enough that their shelf-life becomes a concern.

Did I mention that it’s also delicious on its own as a fudge-pop?  Like a lollipop made of fudge.  Fudge on a lollipop stick.  Whatever.  Or, ya know, as a cube of not-hot chocolate.

You should always taste for quality-control.  You wouldn’t want to gift a sub-par product, would you?

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Hot Chocolate on a Stick

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate (chopped chocolate bars or chips)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or extract of your choice)
  • Marshmallows
  • Lollipop sticks

1. Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

2. Heat the cream and condensed milk over low heat until steaming.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate.  Set aside for 10 minutes while the chocolate melts.

3. After your 10 minutes have passed, return the pan to the burner and whisk over low heat until the chocolate has completely melted.  Whisk vigorously until the mixture is thick and shiny.  This is where you can add extract, if you wish.   I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract, you could make peppermint hot chocolate with peppermint extract, or hazelnut with hazelnut extract… you get the picture.

4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan and shake the pan to level.  Set aside overnight (I stored mine in the microwave… with the microwave off, of course).

5. Remove your chocolate from the pan by pulling your foil handles (if you covered the pan in foil), or you can turn it upside down if you like.  If you didn’t line your pan (aka – didn’t follow step #1), gently go around the edges of the pan with a butter knife to loosen the chocolate, then remove it from the pan.

6.  Slice into 1″ to 1-1/2″ cubes (I actually tried to size mine to the diameter of my marshmallows).  Heat a knife in hot water and wipe dry before each cut, for smoothest cuts.  Stick a lollipop stick into the center of the marshmallow, then the center of each chocolate block.  I wrapped mine in cellophane bags that were made for “cake pops” (the bags and sticks actually came together as a cake pop kit, but the sticks were a little shorter than I’d have liked.)

7. When you are ready to consume your hot chocolate, just stir it into 8 ounces of hot milk -plus or minus a couple ounces, depending on how chocolatey you want your hot chocolate.

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