Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thick Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

You know what's sad? The amount of people who turn up their noses at Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. A lot of people won't give the chewy, cinnamony deliciousness a chance simply because there are delicious raisins thrown in there. I say, to heck with the haters! These cookies are IN.CRED.IB.LE.

I was searching for an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe so I could send cookies to my Uncle Tim when I stumbled across these Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies from Sally's Baking Addiction. I changed them slightly, using raisins instead of Raisinets, but I know either way the results would be phenomenal. These cookies were da bomb.

The cookies themselves were tiny, but delish. They were thick and chewy and had the perfect cinnamony-oatmealy-raisiny flavor. And don't skimp on the raisins either, they add a delicious bite.

So don't turn your nose up at these babies! Make them and enjoy :)

Thick Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Recipe slightly adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
(originally adapted from How Sweet Eats)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 and 1/2 cups raisins
  1. With an electric or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing well until combined.
  2. On slow speed, mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Manually stir in oats until the dough comes together. Fold in raisins. Roll into balls and freeze the balls for about 5 minutes, to get them to chill quickly.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheet. Transfer to a cookie rack. Cookies will be very soft and may not appear to be done, but they will set up in minutes.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Brown Sugar Crackle Cookies

If you've never had brown butter, you need to make some...IMMEDIATELY. What is it you ask? It's butter, cooked on the stove until golden brown with a nutty aroma. Oh my lanta, it is sinful. Brown butter adds such a rich and unique flavor to anything it's added to, including these delectable cookies.

I saw these cookies from The Farm Girl Recipes on Pinterest and made them 48 hours later. These cookies were one of those recipes that just screamed "MUST EAT NOW!" at me. I am so pleased I listened to the call.

I love brown sugar, and this cookie is chalk full of the good stuff. It is a simple cookie, but it is packed with flavor. The brown sugar and brown butter are a divine combo, and when rolled in brown sugar before baking, they develop a crispy little coating.

Listen to the call, and make (and eat!) these cookies ASAP! Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Crackle Cookies
Recipe from The Farm Girl Recipes
  • 14 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  1. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in a stainless steel (do not use nonstick) skillet or small uncoated saucepan over medium heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook butter, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes (browned butter can burn easily and quickly so keep a close eye on it). Remove the skillet or pot from the heat and transfer the browned butter to a large heatproof bowl. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter into the hot butter to melt. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. While butter is cooling, adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, silpat liners or lightly coat them with non-stick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Add 1 3/4 cups brown sugar and salt to the bowl with the cooled butter and mix until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla, and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 more seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined, about 1 minute. Give the dough a final stir with a rubber spatula to ensure that no flour pockets remain and the ingredients are evenly distributed (the dough will not look exactly like regular cookie dough, but no worries it is right).
  4. In a shallow baking dish, pie plate or small mixing bowl, mix the granulated sugar and the remaining 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, rubbing the sugars between your fingers until well combined; set aside. Divide the dough into 24 portions (Note: I made 36 portions), each about 2 tablespoons. Working in batches, toss the balls in the sugar mixture to coat, and set them on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart and 12 dough balls per sheet.
  5. Bake one sheet at a time until cookies are browned and still puffy and edges have begun to set but the centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone, but don't overbake), about 11-13 minutes. Cool the cookies for 1-2 minutes on the baking sheets and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Easy Black Bean Dip

Isn't it true in life that sometimes the simplest things can bring you the most joy? For example, the first cup of coffee in the morning, a nice note from a friend or even just a smile from a stranger. Not to get all sentimental and dramatic, but that's how I feel about this Black Bean Dip from one of my favorite blogs, Two Peas and Their Pod.

This dip is beyond easy to throw together, but it is so darn tasty. I actually made this for the Super Bowl so my posting of the recipe is quite delayed, but delayed gratification is good, right?!

The dip was quite the hit. I love that it is SO healthy, and that it tastes good piled on top of tortilla chips, pita chips, pretzels and veggies alike. Basically you could spread this dip on anything and it would taste incredible.

The texture is what you make of it. I don't like my dips to be completely smooth and whipped, but if you do, just pulse this longer in the food processor. I love black beans and they shine in this dip. The onion flavor is definitely present, so if you are not an onion fan, feel free to use less. There's a bit of the kick from the jalapeno, too, which was great for a spice lover like me.  Mmmm, just thinking about it is making me want more!

This dip is a great party appetizer or after school snack, but I can't wait to try it as a topping on my tacos! Yum! I hope you all will enjoy it as much as I did!

Easy Black Bean Dip
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Put the black beans, onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour the black bean dip in a bowl and service with chips and/or cut up vegetables.
***Note: the dip is gluten free/vegan, just serve with gluten free chips/crackers.

I shared this post at: Zent Mrs. & The Mr.Inside BruCrew LifeFeeding Big and MoreSemi Homemade MomBuns in My OvenFood Done LightMandatory MoochTaste and Tell BlogChocolate, Chocolate, and MoreSassy Little Lady, Six Sisters' Stuff

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Project 365: February

So, first of all, hello! I have been quite MIA. I hate that being at school means cooking and baking takes a back seat, but such is reality when I don't have a kitchen. I will try to be back with a new recipe soon, but I can't guarantee when that will be! Gah, real life. Please forgive me!

For now, let's take a trip down February's memory lane...

February 1st: I went home the first weekend of February for some relaxation. My first night back, my family and I ate at our favorite Italian restaurant, Riccio's!

February 2nd: Roxie and I enjoyed a lazy Saturday on the couch. She is the greatest to veg out with.

February 3rd: My family and I went ALL out for the Super Bowl. We had tons of appetizers, a big pot of jambalaya (NOLA theme!), and brownies shaped like footballs! I was STUFFED. Super Bowl = winter's Thanksgiving.

February 4th: Whenever I go home for the weekend, I love staying as long as I can and driving back Monday morning before class. This particular Monday, my drive was made much more beautiful thanks to this sunrise.

February 5th: Another amazing sky scene - loved staring at these puffy clouds!

February 6th: My friend, McKay, and I baked cookies for our bus ride to Indianapolis! Sometimes break and bake is the best option :)

February 7th: I had to attend a conference in Indianapolis, but to get there required a TWELVE HOUR charter bus ride through the Midwest. At least Ohio had some pretty scenery?

February 8th: All of us conference attendees had a blast going out in Downtown Indianapolis. We managed (somehow) to even have the VIP section reserved at two random bars!

February 9th: On Saturday in Indianapolis, I was able to meet up with my aunt, uncle, and cousins who live in Indiana. We had a fabulous lunch at Mesh and I loved spending time with them. Hate that we live so far away!

February 10th: Sunday was an early morning to begin our voyage back home, but at least our incredible hotel had nice views!

February 11th: I randomly found $10 in my jacket pocket, along with some Bible verses, and couldn't figure out where these things came from! Suddenly, it hit me. My mom slipped them into my pockets when she sent me my coat. I love that woman. (slash Happy Half Birthday to me - haha!)

February 12th: I am OBSESSED with Trader Joe's. OBSESSED. This particular trip to Trader Joe's made me even more in love. I was confused about a product and the manager ripped it open and let me sample it. That's service, y'all.

February 13th: The Tar Heels took on the Blue Devils on the 13th, and while we lost, these cupcakes sure made the day more fun.

February 14th: I may be single, but this Valentine from my sorority's chef's son (did you follow that relationship?) sure did make my day. He made it for me because I always let him read his joke book to me!

February 15th: My friend, Warner, and I got all decked out in hippy attire for a fraternity cocktail!

February 16th: My parents came to Chapel Hill for the weekend which was such a nice treat. We ate a delicious lunch at Panera, went shopping, and made dinner in our hotel room. I absolutely love spending time with those two!

February 17th: While I was out with my parents on Saturday, I missed a package that came for me. My Mimi sent me her famous homemade chocolate chip cookies - to die for! She is so wonderful.

February 19th: This sunset was unreal. It looked like the sky was on fire!

February 20th: The next morning, this was the sunrise I woke up to! The sky was wildly beautiful those two days!

February 20th: I had a midterm this Wednesday night that I was SO nervous about! I found this penny, heads up of course, in the library while I was studying and took it as a sign of good luck.

February 21st: Some Thursdays call for cinnamon coffee cake and lemon poppy seed loaf, don't you agree?

February 22nd: My best friend, Nick, came into town from Clemson! We always have such a blast together and this weekend was no exception. On Friday, we had a delicious dinner at Shiki Sushi!

February 23rd: On Saturday, Nick and I, along with our good friend, Tom, spent the afternoon at Target and Chick-fil-A. What more could you ask for?!

February 24th: After a week of TERRIBLE weather, Chapel Hill finally saw some sun. My friend Kenan and I soaked up the rays with a long walk around town. We want to check out the greenway when spring actually decides to stay!

February 25th: After a nice stroll the day before, Kenan made my day once again by leaving this sweet note on my desk. Thoughtful people rock.

February 26th: I don't know how many times I can say it, but my mom is the best. Ever. Period. End of story. She always finds a way to pop up right when I need her, even though she's hundreds of miles away! She managed to sneak this note into a notebook of mine for me to stumble upon. It's true, God doesn't make junk!

February 27th: My sorority hosts a Scholarship Banquet every semester and gives out Gerber Daisies to chapter members. There's no way this pretty flower couldn't have brightened my day.

February 28th: This photo is somewhat of an after thought because I was busy helping set up UNC's Greek Groove (a sorority dance competition). While I wish I had pictures of the event, I only managed to snag a shot of the free shirt I got! But hey, it's cute!

So there you have it folks, February 2013. I am hoping for a happy March! Preferably, with more cooking and baking involved! Hope you all had a happy February!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

I'm sorry for being MIA over here. School got the best of me last week, but I am ready to tackle whatever it throws at me next! So long as I can do it while shoving muffins (and let's be real, spoonfuls of peanut butter) down my throat.

I kid you not, I think I am addicted to peanut butter. I eat it on any and everything. Kid.You.Not. It's kind of scary. I really need an intervention. BUT I CAN'T STOP. And I won't. So there. I even have a board entirely dedicated to peanut butter on my Pinterest. Not sorry.

I have had my eye on these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins for quite some time, but for some reason have never made them. I don't know what's wrong with me. I think it's just that anytime I buy jars of peanut butter, I devour them in approximately 12 hours and never have enough leftover for baking. Luckily, that all changed when I saw that my family had two jars of peanut butter in our pantry - one for baking, and one for reserves. It was perfect.

I made a batch of these for my best friend, Nick, and my sister, Kelley. While I did give these away, you better believe I snagged a couple for my self (oops). All I can say is that you CANNOT beat the peanut butter chocolate combo. You just can't. If you can't tell from this, this, thisthisthis, this, OR this, I will forever be loyal to PB & chocolate (hehe).

These are a perfect breakfast treat AND they double as a fabulous dessert. Or snack. Basically what I'm saying is that you can eat these whenever you want and your taste buds will sing songs of joy. That's a verified fact. So go ahead and enjoy!

Brown Sugar Bliss.

Choosy bakers choose Jif.
Yes. Just yes.
Gettin' all melty up in here.
Melted butter + peanut butter...I'm diving in this bowl.
Here comes the chocolate.
Sprinkle 'em with sugar. Every good muffin comes with a coating of sugar. It's a law.
Hello, lover.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins
Recipe from Annie's Eats (originally adapted from Baking Bites)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Jif Creamy)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • coarse sugar for sprinkling (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth. Add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Divide batter evenly between prepared muffin tins, filling each to the top. Sprinkle each muffin with coarse sugar, if preferred.
  5. Bake muffins for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
I linked up this post at: Inside BruCrew Life, Zent Mrs. & The Mr., Hungry Little Girl, Back for Seconds, Semi Homemade Mom, Buns In My Oven, Mandatory MoochSassy Little Lady