Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

I've got two cheesecake bars coming up for you all. Excessive? I think not. Cheesecake never goes out of style. And when topped with cookie dough crumbles, I don't think any of you all will be complaining!

These chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake bars are fabulous (and a great way to use the graham cracker crumbs you have left from the Peanut Butter S'mores!). I have had this recipe pinned on Pinterest for a while and have been dying to bake these. They are decadent and will satisfy all of your sweet cravings. Graham cracker crust, cheesecake filling, and chocolate chip cookie dough to top it all off...winning.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
Recipe from Brandy's Baking

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
     Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
     Cheesecake Filling:
  • 10 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, allowing a little overhang, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack. Leave your oven on while you prepare the dough.
  3. While the crust is cooling, prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour on low speed, and mix until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside. (*Note: This mixture is going to be dry...that's okay! It's like a crumble topping and it will be crumbled over the cheesecake layer.)
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with fitted paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla on low speed just until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter onto the prepared crust. Distribute the cookie dough on top of the cheesecake batter. Be sure to use all the dough.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and firm (the cookie dough), and the entire pan looks set if given a gentle shake. Move bars (in the pan) onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Chill in refrigerator overnight or for at least a couple of hours.
  6. Lift the bars out by the overhang and cut into squares for serving.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Peanut Butter S'more Bites

The forecast this holiday weekend is calling for beautiful SUMMER weather and I couldn't be happier. With highs close to 90 degrees, you will likely find me laying out whenever I have a free moment. I am looking forward to spending time with a great friend from school, Madi, as she comes down for Speed Street! Bring on the free country concerts and redneck sightings!

To get fully into the summer mode, I thought it was only appropriate to bake some treats that remind me of my favorite season. Thinking it might be weird if I lit a fire to roast marshmallows and sit in my backyard devouring s'mores by myself, I decided to make these peanut butter s'more bites. I have never met a peanut butter dessert I don't like, and when combined with chocolate, it's always a home run. These peanut butter s'more bites are cute and delicious, and a perfect summer treat.

Peanut Butter S'more Bites (makes 36 s'more bites)
Recipe from Created by Diane

  • 1 Package Peanut Butter Cookie Mix (plus the items required to make cookie mix - if using Betty Crocker Mix you'll need 1 TBSP. water, 3 TBSP. oil, and 1 egg)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 72 mini marshmallows
  • 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 36 mini muffin liners


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Begin by making the ganache filling: bring one cup cream to a boil then pour it over one cup of chocolate chips. Let the chocolate chips melt for a minute then stir until creamy. Let cool.
  3. Mix peanut butter cookie mix with water, oil, egg, and flour.
  4. Roll about two teaspoons of dough into 36 balls and place them into paper lined mini cupcake pans.
  5. Create a well in the center of each dough ball.
  6. Place a teaspoon or so of the cooled chocolate ganache into each well and top with a few mini chocolate chips, two mini marshmallows, and graham cracker crumbs.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes, let cool before eating!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies with Sea Salt

Note: Serving these on a Carolina Blue napkin will actually make them taste better.

If it isn't extremely obvious by the fact that I created a baking blog...I love baking. I love when ingredients come together to make something delicious AND it doesn't hurt that I have quite the sweet tooth. And as much as I love baking for myself, I find it even more enjoyable to bake for other people.

This weekend at church, I was able to catch up with some good family friends who kindly offered to be the recipients of some of my baked goods. I know the most generous people. I was excited to whip up something yummy for them because they are so darn sweet (cheesy, but true).

I chose to make these Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies and they were a wonderful choice. They are a notch above your average chocolate chip cookies; the toffee adds an extra sweetness, while the salt provides adds a little variety. Like I said, who doesn't love the sweet and salty combo?! These will surely satisfy a variety of taste buds. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookies with Sea Salt
Recipe from The Baker Chick

  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Heath Bar toffee bits
  • Sea Salt for sprinkling

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed until just combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee.
  6. Roll cookie dough into balls and place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with as much or as little sea salt as desired.
  7. Bake for approx. 11-14 minutes, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cake Batter Bars

Gooey and golden brown. Melt in your mouth good.

Those who know me know that every year for my birthday I have a Funfetti cake. Without fail. Some may call me boring, but I will gladly beg to differ. When my parents (typically my father) whip out the Funfetti mix in August, I freak out. I dream of it. I eat the cake on my birthday, for breakfast the next day, and at all hours until the 13x9 pan has been completely devoured. I can't get enough.

Pinterest has fed my Funfetti addiction by allowing me to drool over all kinds of recipes made using Funfetti cake mix. There's Funfetti pancakes, Funfetti fudge, and these amazing Cake Batter bars made, obviously, using Funfetti mix.

My best friend, Tara, recently made these bars for the kids she babysits, and they were a hit. We both had a hard time describing their texture: was it a cookie, a brownie, or a cake? Whatever it is, the golden brown outside provides a slight crunch while the inside is so gooey and delicious.

These bars are a divine twist on the traditional Funfetti cake. They are a new obsession. I nearly ate the entire pan in one sitting, and coming from a Funfetti addict, that says a lot.

Cake Batter Bars
Recipe from Lovin' in the Oven

  • 1 1/4 cup Funfetti cake mix
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 5 heaping tablespoons sprinkles of your choice (I forgot to buy "chunky" sprinkles at the store, so I just used traditional sugar sprinkles, but "chunkier" ones may have added more texture. Think these if you don't follow my jargon.)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 pan.
  2. Cream both sugars, butter, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk in a separate mixing bowl.
  3. Gradually mix in flour, cake mix, and baking soda until just mixed. Stir in sprinkles.
  4. Spread batter evenly into greased pan.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is slightly browned and middle still jiggles slightly. Cool completely before cutting.

Waiting for these to cool was torture...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm a little bit indecisive, I'll admit it. I usually try on about 30 tops before I finally select one, I have a hard time deciding what to eat when I go out (it all looks sooo good), and I definitely can't solve the debate over milk's favorite cookie. Oreo's slogan is just that, "Milk's Favorite Cookie," and can you deny that is delicious when dunked? Probably not. BUT, nothing makes eating chocolate chip cookies better than a cold glass of milk.

That's where these cookies come in: you don't have to choose between the two!

These cookies are delicious. I mean can you really go wrong when you combine two cookies into one? Didn't think so. They have a great texture and, if I may say so myself, definitely deserve the award of milk's favorite cookie. Enjoy!

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from Lovin' in the Oven

  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 11 broken pieces Oreo Cookies (or more if you feel so inclined)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugars until well combined. Add egg and vanilla until mixed well.
  2. Place flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl, stir to combine. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients then stir in Oreos and chocolate chips until just combined.
  3. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked, but still soft. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.
  4. Serve with a glass of cold milk!

I took my own advice and added more than 11 Oreos. It was a wise decision.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Reeses Chocolate Chip Brownies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Perfection

Today, my mom and I enjoyed a full day of errands around Charlotte. Shockingly enough, shopping is not one of my favorite activities, but we did wind up finding some great pieces and more importantly some great steals (it should be known that I am an EXTREME bargain hunter - TJ Maxx all the way!). We had shopped till we dropped, so to reward ourselves I decided to whip up a batch of brownies...naturally.

Now, I must admit that at the ripe age of 19, I have never made homemade brownies. I guess it's true that my generation really does like instant gratification. So, when I reached for my favorite brownie mix, Ghirardelli Double Chocolate, I wanted to spice it up a bit. That's when I noticed the bag of miniature Reeses sitting in our candy jar.

Now, I don't know about y'all, but my self-control is in the negative region at this point in my life, so needless to say I was shocked that my parents still had Reeses from Easter! It really amazed me that a person could have a bag of such chocolatey peanut butter goodness on hand for a month and not eat every last morsel. Reeses are my greatest weakness, and I would eat them on nearly everything if I could.

So, being as resourceful (and addicted) as I am, I decided it was only proper that I chop up these Reeses and pour them in the brownie mix, which itself is filled with chocolate chips. You can never have too much chocolate and you can definitely never have too many Reeses. These brownies were beyond easy to make and so ooey-gooey right out of the oven. I plopped a scoop of ice cream on one while it was hot and ate my heart out. It was a wonderful reward for my day of hard work at the mall.

Reeses Chocolate Chip Brownies

  • 1 brownie box mix, prepared (I used Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix)
  • 1 bag miniature Reeses, unwrapped 
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Ice cream to top it out (I used Breyer's Smooth and Dreamy Vanilla)
  1. After preparing the brownie mix according to the box's directions, chop the bag of Reeses.
  2. Simply fold the Reeses into the mix until well combined.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Bake to perfection!
  5. Cut,  top with your favorite flavor of ice cream, and indulge!
Hard not to eat all of these...

...but somehow I managed (yum).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

(Photo from Two Peas and Their Pod)

I can't believe I have returned home after completing my sophomore year at UNC Chapel Hill. It's surreal to think that I am halfway done with college - high school feels like it was just yesterday! I am enjoying all the comforts of home, especially the kitchen! I have been so busy since I have been back, but have finally had a chance to do some baking.

My boyfriend, Lee, who is also from Charlotte will be living in Chapel Hill for the summer and working in the "real world" in Raleigh. I am so proud of him for getting such a great internship! As a parting gift for the summer I thought it was only appropriate to send him off with some baked goods. It's become a habit of mine to fill him up on sweets, so I'm trying not to let the distance between us affect that!

After combing through the nearly 300 recipes I have saved on my Pinterest boards, I came across these delicious looking cookie bars. Honestly, does it get any better than the sweet and salty combo of chocolate and caramel?? Well, maybe chocolate and peanut butter, but we'll save that for another day.

These bars were truly delicious. While I did make them for Lee, I kept quite a few for my family and we devoured them immediately. My dad claimed these bars were the best dessert he'd had in years, and he even ranked them higher than our family favorite "Oatmeal Caramelitas." They are the perfect spring treat alongside a cool glass of milk.

Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Cookie Bars
Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature 
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 10 ounces soft caramel candy squares, unwrapped
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling over caramel and bars

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart baking pan (which is an 11x7 pan - I ended up using 13x9 for thinner bars) with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the melted butter and sugars together until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream. Microwave caramels on High until caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes, depending on your microwave.
  5. Divide the cookie dough in half. Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. Pour hot caramel over the cookie dough. Sprinkle caramel with sea salt. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough over the caramel and spread dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered. Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt.
  6. Bake cookie bars for 30 minutes or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Cool bars on a wire rack to room temperature. Cut bars into squares and serve.