oatmeal & peanut butter cookies [jen-fit’s playground]

Today, I give you something…different. Something this blog has yet to see, yet something that is going to appear more and more often, especially over the summer.

Today, I give you something…healthy.

(Gasp! -cue threatening music-)

Okay, okay, all kidding aside: I tried a healthy cookie recipe! The original recipe comes from Jen-Fit’s Playground and is for oatmeal and peanut butter ricotta cookies. I went with a modification somewhere in between her original and Cassey Ho’s version on Blogilates.

Let me warn you up front: these have neither the texture nor the flavor of a standard cookie. If that’s what you’re looking for, just go eat a cookie. Seriously. It won’t kill you. But if what you’re looking for is a sweet, flavorful, healthy snack, this is a solid recipe.

So here’s how it happened:

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Well that looks deceptively unappetizing.

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Like breakfast, except it’s becoming COOKIES.

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Oatmeal & Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Jen-Fit’s Playground and Blogilates
Makes 5 cookies

Ingredients
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 T peanut butter
1 egg white
3-4 pitted dates
a dash of cinnamon

Instructions

+Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease or line a small baking tray with parchment paper.
+Blend together cottage cheese, peanut butter, egg white, dates, and cinnamon. Chop the dates if your blender doesn’t break them up. Chunks are fine.
+Mix in oats and baking powder.
+Spoon 5 cookies onto prepared baking sheet.
+Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until firm and the tops begin browning.
+Cookies will keep for a few days in an air-tight container, but they’re best when eaten fresh.

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Ta-da! They have an interesting glossy finish to them. To be honest, I don’t know how Cassey and Jen got their cookies looking the way they did. I think next time, I’ll just mix with a fork like Jen recommends, to keep the texture.

Cassey…you just work magic in a kitchen, I’ll tell you that.

Also, use all-natural peanut butter like Jen says. Just do it. It’ll taste so much better. I wish I’d had some handy.

Anyway, they tasted pretty good, and I definitely didn’t feel bad eating them!

More healthy recipes are in your future–but I promise I’ll test them out a couple times before posting them! Don’t worry 🙂

Happy almost-4th-of-July!

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slutty cupcakes: a story

Picture it if you can:

Wednesday night of 10th week. Classes are done for the year, finals are still far enough that the panic hasn’t set in, and the ladies of PBT are rocking out to Taylor Swift in a dorm basement kitchen.

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Note how excited Emma and Estelle are. As they should be.

Their mission for the night has been long awaited, but what better way to welcome reading period than with stress baking? Yes, the night was simply perfect for slutty cupcakes.

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You’ve never heard of slutty cupcakes? Victoria is skeptical.

Now don’t ask me why they’re slutty. I can’t answer that question in any remotely satisfactory fashion. What I can tell you is that they’re so rich, so deeply indulgent, and so damn easy to make that they should be illegal(Except not actually, because then what would we do without them?!) These classic but slightly terrifying muffin-cupcake-brownies–because one name is not enough to capture what they are–consist of a soft cookie dough base, one full Reese’s Cup, and one full Oreo layered over it, all topped with a healthy serving of gooey, moist brownie batter.

Warning: more than one of these may kill you.

So we assembled the trays. Readymade cookie dough, Reese’s Cups, Double Stuf Oreos, and Betty Crocker brownie mix. They looked like those adorable chocolate-covered marshmallow and graham cracker cookies, whose name completely evades me.

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So cute already!

The baking time was an educated guess, so I set the timer for 20 minutes, and we went off to find a way to amuse ourselves.

Victoria remained skeptical.

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I was domestic.

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Emma vandalized Sheena’s whiteboard.

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And we took incredibly cheesy photos in our matching dresses.

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Somewhere in between all of this, Victoria ended up with a busted ankle. No worries–she’s fine now–but the valiant sacrifice of her body will not be forgotten.

Finally, out came the slutty brownies, hot and baked to perfection, crisp with melting insides. We probably should’ve let them cool longer, but we couldn’t help it. We dug in.

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Estelle is super excited…

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…and super cute when caught off-guard. Sorrynotsorry, girl.

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Nina’s allergies deprive her of slutty cupcakes and make her sad. (It’s okay; she got real cupcakes after this.)

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Emma shows off those beautiful layers.

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And Sheena is simply pleased.

Satisfied, we split up the remaining cupcakes and called it a night. Almost zero effort for a small treat that goes a long way–and makes a great gift for physics TAs, as we found out.

Seriously, make these. You won’t regret it in the slightest.

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On to baking logistics things! One package of brownie mix and one roll of ready to bake cookie dough yielded 24 cupcakes, with leftover brownie batter. Our cupcakes stuck to the paper liners pretty badly, especially once they’d cooled. If you don’t want to deal with that, I’d suggest forgoing the liners and simply spraying the pan. That should solve the problem.

20 minutes at 350F was enough to bake these really thoroughly. As you can see in the photo above, the brownie batter formed a light, flaky skin over the Oreo just as it normally would, and the surrounding edges were crisp like the edges of a pan of brownies. I would actually start checking the cupcakes around 16 minutes to make sure they don’t overcook. The cookie dough will definitely be cooked–you’ll just want to test the brownies, which you can do with a toothpick as normal, cooking until a toothpick inserted into the batter (away from the Oreo!!) comes out clean/with a few moist crumbs.

IN OTHER NEWS…

I’m back! In case that wasn’t obvious. After a week at home to settle in, I’m getting back into the baking swing of things, and updates will become regular again (every weekend!). Unfortunately, being back home means the UChicago cupcake orders have been put on hold for the summer. That being said, if enough people around here want custom cupcakes, I’ll consider making this a second location. Just drop me a comment/message! 🙂

And speaking of UChicago–shameless self-promotion! HUGE thanks to Hannah at Spoon, a UChicago food magazine/blog for writing about tlc baking this month! Spoon is growing quickly, and is definitely worth keeping an eye on even if you don’t go to UChicago. Check out their site here, and read the article about tlc here!

Aaaaand that’s it for my very, very long post. Sorry, guys! Making up for lost time here. 😉

See y’all next weekend!

chewy coconut-lime sugar cookies [tracey’s culinary adventures]

The temperature is steadily increasing, and all I can think about as the days go by is summer, cold coconut water, and sunny days spent lying in the grass.

Alas, physics labs still exist, and I’ve spent the warmest parts of the past couple weeks stuck indoors.

So I bring the summertime here in other ways! This week, it’s through these wonderful coconut lime sugar cookies–another pull from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures (which, by the way, was the first food blog I regularly followed).

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I like how subtle the flavors are in these. The lime definitely comes through–it’s hard not to notice fresh lime juice in just about anything–but the coconut is just about unnoticeable, both enveloped in a deliciously chewy sugar cookie.

Granted, I used unsweetened coconut flakes, which might have made a difference. I think next time, I would add more coconut, and perhaps see if I could incorporate some coconut water into it, too, just to amplify the taste. As it is, there’s enough coconut and lime to know that you’re not eating just a sugar cookie, but it’s subtle enough that it doesn’t kick you in the mouth or anything.

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I’m kind of also just in love with flat, chewy, sugar-coated cookies like this. :3

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A side note: the batter is really sticky, and will probably seem too gooey. Just roll balls of it in the sugar and do as the recipe says. They’ll turn out delicious.

These cookies speak for themselves pretty well, especially if how quickly they’re disappearing on this overcast Friday afternoon is any indication.

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Also, other news!

+ Only one week left to place cupcake orders and have them count towards Relay for LifeMake your order count!

+ In response to the requests I’ve been getting, I added a couple new options to the order form! I had to adjust some of the cupcake prices too, but remember, that still means more money for Relay, so it goes to a great place in the end.

+ If you’re in central Jersey, look for my updates over the summer! I’ll be taking orders from home instead of school, so if you can’t order now but would really like to try some tlc cupcakes between June and September, drop me a line in Jersey, and we’ll see if we can’t figure it out. 🙂

That’s it for today. Happy Friday, friends~

dark chocolate + butterscotch chip cookies [tracey’s culinary adventures]

Who doesn’t love a warm, chewy chocolate chip cookie with a tall glass of cold milk? There’s something so simple, so childlike and comforting about milk and cookies. And sometimes–most of the time–dining hall cookies just don’t cut it.

So I took matters into my own hands last week and turned to my absolute favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.

Honestly, I was going to go for just plain chocolate chips, but I had none left. But this ended up working in my favor because butterscotch and dark chocolate how could you go wrong

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I’ve been using this recipe for a while now. It’s my favorite for two reasons: 1) brown butter. ‘Nuff said. 2) Everything is whisked by hand, so there’s no need for a stand mixer or a handheld blender or really anything more than a stovetop, a heatproof bowl, and a whisk. It’s extremely conducive to dorm baking.

You might think the instructions are strange at first–whisk, wait, whisk, wait, etc.–but don’t skip any steps, because it will make a difference in the final product. It’s not a difficult recipe; it’s just precise. And it’s definitely worth being a little patient. 🙂

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The only change I made was replacing the 1 1/4 cups of semisweet chocolate chips with 1/2 cup dark morsels and 1/2 cup butterscotch chips. The slight bitterness of the dark chocolate, the nutty toffee hints from the browned butter, and the creamy sweetness of butterscotch all combined in a chewy, buttery explosion of flavor. The only reason I still have a couple left? They’re too good to finish.

Seriously, I can’t rave about this recipe enough. (In case you couldn’t tell.)

Way more than the butterscotch or dark chocolate, it’s the brown butter in the base that makes these cookies so delicious–and so different from most other chocolate chip cookies. I’m sure you could throw just about anything into this dough, and it would taste fantastic.

A last note on the baking: err on the side of taking the cookies out too early if you really want them to be chewy. They won’t get hard even after about 13 minutes, but they won’t be quite as soft as they could be. And if you want them thicker than the ones I made, after you portion the dough into balls, freeze it for a couple hours before baking. It works wonders.

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That’s it for today! I think I’m gonna go find myself some milk and eat what’s left of these. 😉

Have a great week!

soft gingersnaps with butterscotch chips [SBA]

In the vein of recipes I’m dying to make again, I have these gingersnap cookies for you all today!

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They’re another one of the many recipes I’ve bookmarked from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and they are dangerous. Bite-sized, chewy bits of sweet perfection with a zing of ginger softened by the creamy butterscotch chips that melt into the thumbprints of these cookies. You eat one…and then two…and then ten, and all of a sudden, your massive batch of cookies has been depleted and you’re left confused and very full.

Totally worth it, though. 😉

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The butterscotch is what really does it. And don’t be fooled: there’s no “snap” in these gingersnaps. They’re pillowy and practically melt in your mouth–just how I like my cookies! Perfect with a cup of tea, a glass of milk, or just to pop every time you walk by the kitchen counter.

NOTE: Be extremely careful when measuring out the flour for this recipe! 3 cups leaves a lot of room for error, and it’s super easy to pack way more flour than you need into your measuring cup. Use the spoon and level method to keep your dough from ending up sad and powdery (like mine did the first time…oops). I also over-baked mine by accident, so really stick to the recipe, and you won’t end up with cracked cookies like mine. (Delicious nonetheless!) I’ll try these again when I’m home and get some better pictures.

If you’re in the Midwest, keep your fingers crossed for sunshine soon! And if that doesn’t work, just bake a batch of these babies and let the warm ginger make up for the silly weather. 🙂

Happy Friday!

P.S. Keep your eye out for a ~special announcement~ tonight! If you live in the UofC area, you’ll definitely want to see this!

candy cane crinkle cookies [what’s cooking with ruthie]

I love the holiday season. Not because I necessarily celebrate the actual holidays, but because of the music, the decorations, the general spirit of festivity ringing through every street–and most importantly, the peppermint.

I love peppermint. Especially with chocolate.
And I’m sure you have some candy canes left over from December, hiding in your kitchen.

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These candy cane crinkle cookies come from What’s Cooking with Ruthie. The box mix base cuts a good deal of time out of the prep, and you certainly won’t lose any flavor because of it. I made these cookies in the middle of finals week–half celebration, half a reprieve from studying. They were more than worth the time.

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Pillowy, chocolatey cookies that aren’t too rich cut by melted down peppermint–you won’t be able to stop at one, especially if you make them as small as these ones.

I substituted all-purpose flour for the cornstarch, and it worked perfectly well. I imagine the cookies will be even fluffier if you use the cornstarch 🙂

Is there a specific type of recipe you’d like to see next? Let me know in the comments! Coming up soon, we have more cookies, cupcakes, and perhaps even one of my own recipes ooooooh~
Happy Friday, folks!