Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

All hail the Baking Gods, as the curse has been lifted! *bows down*

Yes, folks, you read it right. I baked today and it didn't turn out horribly below standard!

I went with one the simplest recipes I knew, just putting it into bar form, since it'd be faster. Plus I'm sending out a box to my parents tomorrow, and know they'll appreciate home-baked stuff.

Did what I could for a picture, as my batteries need to be recharged after last weekend's wedding, so... it's not as pretty as it could be.

Oh. And from the corner piece that's missing? Very yum. And I'm not a big brownie/cookie-edge fan either. I used dark chocolate chips since those were the first found, and it definitely adds to it. :)

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen bars.


Mint-Center Brownies

These are pretty much based on the Andes Mint Brownies that I dreamt of a few years ago. Pour half the batter in the pan, put a layer of a thin chocolate, then top it with the remaining batter. After it's fully cooled, the center firms up, and it's like a candy bar in the center. Pretty nifty.

I'm currently in the middle of a weird "everything I attempt goes to hell" phase. These were made earlier in the week, before the cooties attacked. I'm doing just a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe tomorrow. If those aren't up to standards... well, we'll deal with that then. :)

½ cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa
¼ tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 3.5 oz Ghirardelli Intense Dark Mint Bliss chocolate bar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Mix together butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture.

Spread half the batter into bottom of pan. Break apart chocolate bar and place squares as desired. Spread remaining batter (gently) over the chocolate.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.


Strawberry-Filled Lemon Cupcakes

When I first saw these over at Coconut & Lime, I knew I simply HAD to try them. The first attempt last week... well, we won't talk about those.

But THIS batch! Oh wow. I really wish my camera batteries hadn't died. By the time it's charged, they could very well be gone. My guinea pigs taste-testers at work (Henelyne, Johanna, Greg, Ella) loved them. And ya know what? Dave's even eaten a few. I'm down to three of them left in the fridge, from the original dozen I made on Wednesday night. So I guess that's a good sign. :D

Again, no picture because the camera batteries pooped out. Next time because I WILL be making these again.

7 Tbsp. butter, at room temperature
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1½ cups flour
12 small to medium strawberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, cream butter, zest, and sugar. Add juice and eggs. The mixture may look curdled. Mix in buttermilk. Slowly add flour, beating for an additional 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Fill muffin cups 3/4s full. Insert berry into the center of the cup.

Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or until a tootpick inserted outside of the strawberry comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

I used a basic cream cheese recipe (as much as I hate making my own frosting), but you could easily do buttercream or something lemony. (Oh, yes, I did often find myself going, "Lemony Snickett!" while making these. *shrug* /ends geekiness)

8 ounces cream cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
3/4 tsp. vanilla
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla, beating well. Gradually add sugar. Let sit in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours to thicken.


Toffee Chocolate Bits Cookies

Part of the reason I love baking so much is that when I'm stressed or just needing to not be thinking so much, a good recipe and some good music competely changes everything. I also realized that I feel much more human when I've baked recently (which would explain adolescence, right? LOL!).

Anyways, I thought I'd make some cookies tonight, along with my breakfast muffins for tomorrow morning. I've made this recipe before, but with just the plain Heath Toffee Bits; this time I used the Toffee/Chocolate mix. The Hershey website says this will make about four dozen cookies, if you put down a teaspoonful at a time.

I have about six dozen cookies, give or take. I do enjoy these cookies - the toffee bits give them a nice, nutty flavor to them, which I don't eat nearly as often as I probably should. Made these one Christmas and they were very popular. I'd say... three days, if not less, before they're all gone. :)

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1-1/3 cups (8 oz. pkg.) Heath Toffee and Chocolate Bits

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease.

Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Add eggs; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in toffee/chocolate bits. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto prepared cookie sheet.

Bake at 350F for 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 6 dozen.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

There's a girl that I work with, Darlene, that has to be one of the sweetest people I've ever met. Her birthday is tomorrow, so of course I had to make something. This was on my 'to try' list, and figured it'd be easy to transport and be a hit, since, hey, it's basically a chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I'll post tomorrow with the results :)

1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) Swirled Chocolate and White Morsels, divided

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9-inch pie plate.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg and beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 1 cup morsels. Press dough into prepared pie plate. Sprinkle with remaining morsels.

Bake at 325F for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set and top is golden brown. Cool pan on wire rack for about 20 minutes or until still slightly warm.


Apple Spice Bars

These were made on Day Four of the Baking Frenzy. I would've continued, but I'm not allowed to bake when it's over 80 degrees in the apartment. *pout* (This is the girl who made two cheesecakes on the hottest day in July last year)

I'm not sure exactly what called me to this recipe. Oh, yeah. I had an apple in the fridge. Which, upon cutting, I discovered that it had been there longer than I thought. Oops. Well, the batter was all together, I couldn't just abandon ship. So I ran to the store and bought some apples. Crisis averted.

I like these. I'm always a fan of cinnamon-spicey, apple, reminds-you-of-home foods, and these totally fit all three categories. Although I think next time I'll add a bit of nutmeg and more cinnamon. I like a bit more of a kick.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup chopped apple

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x9-inch baking pan.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar, until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add the flour, mixing just until combined, then stir in the chopped apple. Spread the mixture evenly into prepared pan.

Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool in pan, then cut into squares.


Lemon Raspberry Bars

While on the phone with my mom yesterday, it came to me that I've never made anything with lemon. (Well, short of what is now referred to as the 'lemon burgers' that Dave and I made two summers ago... but that is so the fault of the recipe! Long story) So I started searching for lemon bars, preferably one with some raspberry or strawberry. Unfortunately, after copying down the recipe, I didn't save the website. Oops.

I had some concerns, though... A) there wasn't much lemon 'filling', and B) it didn't look pretty when I pulled it out of the oven! So I sprinkled some powdered sugar, and let it cool. For the night. Since it was late. This morning I tried a quick corner, and thought, 'Eh. Not another recipe I don't like!', and went off to work. Tried it again this afternoon, after scraping off some of the sugar, and it was much better. Not sure if I'd make this exact one again, but maybe.

1 cup flour
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
6 Tbsp. butter

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. lemon zest
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. baking powder
1/3-1/4 cup raspberry preserves

Confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8-inch baking pan.

Stir together flour, sugar, and salt, then cut butter in until crumbly. Press crust into pan. Bake for about 15 minutes; set aside.

Mix together the eggs, sugar, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, and baking powder. Spread raspberry preserves over semi-cooled crust. Pour lemon batter over preserves.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until set. Once cool, dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired, and cut into bars.


Mini Reese's-Filled Peanut Butter Blondies

I don't understand the current baking spree these days. Thank goodness I have people at work more than willing to eat what I'm making!

Since Dave isn't a ginger fan, I offered to make him whatever he wanted yesterday. Of course that involves peanut butter. :)

Pretty basic recipe, I found it on the Hershey's website. AND, more excitingly - for some reason, a close-up picture that I took actually came out clear! For the first time ever! :D

3/4 cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter or margaine, softened
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1-1/3 cups (8-oz. pkg.) Reese's Baking Pieces Filled with Peanut Butter

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch baking pan.

Beat peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add to peanut butter mixture, beating until well blended.

Spread one half of batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle baking pieces over batter. Drop remaining batter by 1/2 teaspoonfuls over mixture, covering baking pieces.

Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. About 16 bars.


Ginger Blondies

Baking fiend these days, aren't I? LOL Actually, no, I keep dreaming of baked goods and feel compelled to make them, that's what it really is.

And it works out that Myriam of Browniebabe of the Month said we could enter two recipes. :D

So, the inspiration for this one came from a dream this morning. I used my normal blondie recipe, but it took some time to figure out how much ginger to use. Thank the Baking Gods that I toned it down from the original thought of a tablespoon! There are two teaspoons in my batch, but the next time around (and, trust me, there will be), I'll use just 1½. I like ginger, but not THAT much!

They're very soft and moist, a very pretty golden color. I have a feeling most of these will go to work with me on Sunday.

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1½ tsp. ginger
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
½ tsp. vanilla
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger; set aside.

Beat brown sugar, butter, and vanilla until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually add flour mixture. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes about 16 bars.


Just a thought

I just read on another blog that the person doesn't like baking because it's too precision, too "if you make a mistake, you're screwed and can't cover it up."

I don't like cooking because it's the exact opposite. I like my boxes and lines and compartmentalization.

Not OCD, just very particular on things, that's all :D

World Peace Cookies

So I'm finally hopping on the bandwagon, one would guess. But, no, I have a much more interesting story than that.

Two nights ago, I was in a whole lotta pain. The type that even Vicodin wasn't touching. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep. But at one point, I dreamed. I dreamed of making these cookies.

Now, since I first heard/read of them, when Baking: From My Home To Yours came out, I've wanted to make these cookies. But I was secretly intimidated by them. I don't know why, maybe because everyone was making them, and I was afraid of being a total flop.

Anyways, I remembered this dream yesterday afternoon, and instantly went to work. It was a very un-me sort of thing to do. Not the spur-of-the-moment baking, that's nothing new, but the facing the fears head-on thing. I'm more of a planner.

So I started. I had specifically bought the sea salt a while ago for this, so I was set. Between the splitting of the dough and the rolling it into a log, I thought I'd never get the dough out from under my fingernails. LOL

However, my elementary-school math skills are obviously rusty, because I thought a centimeter was a bit smaller than what it actually is. Oops. So my cookies, while yummy, are a bit thin. Dave calls them wafers. But that does explain why I had 49 cookies, not the 36 as the book says. :)

I brought half the batch with me to work today, and I had people coming back for seconds and thirds. Darlene, who requested the recipe, said, "These give me such an endorphin-rush!" Which I thought was cute.

(I'm typing up the recipe now, using the book instead of what I copied from another food blog, and I'm noticing some differences... the butter amount, for one. And the thickness of the cookies. No wonder mine are so thin! I'm definitely going to have to make these again! They'll be prettier then!)

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 stick plus 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp. fleur de sel or ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips OR 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together.

In a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt, and vanilla, and beat for 2 minutes more. Pour in the dry ingredients, mixing just until the flour disappears into the dough. (Work the dough as little as possible; don't worry if it's a bit crumbly) Gently mix in the chocolate pieces, mixing only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1½ inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 2-3 hours (depends on fridge temperature, of course.)

Preheat oven to 325F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a sharp, thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are ½-inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.

Bake at 325F for 12 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm.


Cinnamon Bread

Worry not! I haven't been kidnapped by muffin-obsessed aliens! :D Dave and I went to Reno over the weekend for a bowling tournament that he was in, thus no baking this past Friday.

But I was in the mood last night for something for breakfast, and wound up finding this recipe on Allrecipes. I altered it slightly (cutting down on the oil, and upping the applesauce. I put what I did in the recipe posted). If I make it again, I'll definitely add more spices to it. It's moist and yummy as it is, but I'd like just a little bit more kick. After all, mornings can be rough, and sometimes we all need a kick to get started. ;)

Oh, and at first, I kinda questioned the whole vanilla pudding powder in there, but once mixed - even when still just dry ingredients - it smells so good. It adds almost a smoothness to the flavor, which was a very pleasant surprise.

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 5.1-oz. package of instant vanilla pudding
½ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1½ cups milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup applesauce
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease two 5x9-inch loaf pans with nonstick spray.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, pudding mix, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, stir together milk, vegetable oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture, mixing until well blended. Divide batter (relatively) evenly between the two loaf pans.

Bake at 325F for 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire rack.