Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Cookies

October 5, 2011
I found the recipe found here.
2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
¾ cup cocoa powder (I used a ghiradelli semi-sweet cocoa powder)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups chocolate chips (and used ghiradelli semi-sweet choc chips)

Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheet with wax paper.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.  Next, melt butter and combine with cocoa powder until smooth.  Mix in sugar, vanilla and buttermilk.  Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Be careful not to send flour flying all over the kitchen. Trust me, it happens quite easily. Then mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop 1-inch balls of dough onto the baking sheet with the wax paper.  I thought the wax paper step might be a silly step, but turns out this will make or break the final cookie quite literally.

Depending on your oven, bake about 10-12 minutes.  I actually baked closer to 14 minutes.  If the edges (not the middles) are set then the cookies are done. Whatever you do, don’t try and scoop them up now.  They will break and thus the whole purpose of the wax paper comes into play.  Let them cool for 3-4 minutes on the baking sheet.  The bottoms of the cookies will become perfectly settled and when you finally take the spatula to them, they’ll scoop up easily and maintain their shape perfectly.

The final cookie has a little crunch on the edges but gives way to a chewy fudgy center. Delicious.


Lil’ Laverne’s Congo Cookie Bars

October 8, 2009


Tonight, friends were coming over and I had a craving for Snickerdoodles for dessert, but alas, I didn’t have much white sugar. Fortunately, I had a recipe for cookies that used only brown sugar. My mom, Lil’ Laverne, had  sent me a recipe for the Congo Bars she had made during my visit last week. Don’t ask me why they’re called that. All I know is that they’re delicious and simple.

These cookies are quick and easy because there’s no shaping little dollops of dough onto baking sheets, or transferring the freshly baked cookies elsewhere to cool. You simply mix up all the ingredients, pour the batter into a baking dish, and put the dish in the oven. I halved the recipe and baked the dough in a medium-sized, rectangular Pyrex container. The result? Tempting smells and thick squares of gooey chocolate chip cookie goodness. I ended up using more egg than called for (I figured that halving an egg would be a bit ridiculous) and the bars came out extra fluffy and cakey.


¾ c. butter
2 ¼ cup (1 package) brown sugar
3 eggs

2 ¾ c. sifted flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp salt

1 cup broken walnuts
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter and place in a large bowl.  Add brown sugar, stir until well-mixed, and allow to cool slightly.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.  Add flour, baking powder, and salt, then nuts, chocolate chips, and vanilla.

Bake in a greased 13 x 9 pan at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Do not overbake.  Cool in pan and cut into squares.  Yield:  2 ½ dozen.

Super Easy Apple Crisp

September 22, 2009


I remember watching one of my former roommates in awe as she whipped up an apple crisp in 10 minutes flat, without a recipe. It wasn’t until I made it myself that I realized how easy it really is. It’s really hard to screw up an apple crisp, even if you estimate the measurements. It’s a pretty healthy dessert that tastes amazing, and you can make it on a whim because you’ll probably have the ingredients on hand. In fact, I did that last night when a friend came by unexpectedly for dinner, marking the second time I made apple crisp in a week. I found this recipe on Cooks.com and adjusted it slightly.

4 medium apples, sliced (I used half Granny Smiths for tartness and half Fuji, but any combo will work)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 cup butter, softened (you can use a bit less if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease square (8 x 8) baking dish with butter and arrange apple slices on the bottom. Mix the other ingredients well in a medium sized mixing bowl; the mixture should end up crumbly. Sprinkle it over the apples, covering them. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the apples are tender, 30-35 minutes. If you like the topping extra crispy, turn off the oven but leave the baking dish to warm inside for another 10-30 minutes.

Serves 6. Serve warm, by itself or with cream or vanilla ice cream. Makes a great breakfast when topped with whole milk yogurt and crumbled walnuts, as pictured above.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

September 15, 2009


Tonight I had a random craving for a chocolate peanut butter smoothie and decided to make one up. I fancy myself a  darn good smoothie maker. It must have been my professional training at Jamba Juice during that month in college. There, I learned to keep frozen fruit on hand for when the smoothie mood strikes, and to think of a blender as a necessity.

Although this smoothie is pretty healthy, full of potassium from the bananas and protein from the peanut butter, it tastes like a thick, creamy, chocolatey milkshake. (Darren doesn’t like bananas, but he couldn’t taste them very much.)  As with all smoothies, you can improvise with this one. If I’d had chocolate syrup, for example, I would have used it instead of cocoa powder, because it blends better.

Tip: Frozen fruit, particularly bananas, makes smoothies thicker and icier than unfrozen fruit. Buy bags of organic frozen berries to keep in the freezer. Also, get in the habit of freezing sliced bananas in Ziploc bags–particularly those that are too ripe to eat.


  • 1 1/4 cup milk (whatever type you like; I use almond)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder + 2 teaspoons brown sugar (you can substitute sweetened cocoa powder or chocolate syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 2 small bananas or 1 large one, preferably sliced and frozen in advance
  • 1 handful of ice cubes

Blend everything together until thick and smooth. Enjoy!

Addictive Oatmeal Cookies

July 9, 2009

I need to learn to sleep apparently. Last night instead of going to bed early and thus making it probably easier to wake up for a run in the morning, I decided to make 4 dozen oatmeal cookies.  Yes, that’s right 4 dozen.  I could have halved the recipe, which I sometimes do, but it seemed more exciting to have bags of cookies to hand out to random passersby. Anyways, these are so good.  I usually alternate what I want to put in them (I never put raisins)… chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, cranberries… mmmm. So without further ado…

Preheat oven to 350.

2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup delicious/optional addition (I used 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup butterscotch chips)

Cream butter and sugars together.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Mix well again.  Stir in oatmeal, and then stir in any additions. Spoon onto cookie tray and bake 10-12 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen.

Bite-sized Lemon Explosions

April 27, 2009

So I made these this weekend. Be warned, they are extremely addictive and way too easy to eat way too many. Kind of like a cupcake but not really, so I’m calling them explosions. No dynamite necessary.

Lemon Bites

Ingredients for Batter

1 package of Yellow Cake Mix
3 oz package of Lemon Pudding Mix (I could only find sugar free at the store, so I added a couple sprinkles of sugar to the mix.)
4 eggs
3/4 cup Vegetable Oil
Splash of Lemon Juice

Ingredients for Glaze

4 cups Powdered Sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 and half lemons)
1 Lemon zested
3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
3 Tablespoons Water

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix all cake ingredients together. It will be very thick, not at all the consistency of cake batter. Take a mini muffin tin and spray very well with some sort of cooking spray.  Fill muffin tins about half way. This makes about 4 dozenish.  Bake for 12 minutes.

When they’re done, just turn muffin tin over onto a towel or rack and shake the tin.

While they’re cooking you can make the glaze.  Sift the flour, don’t sift the flour. Up to you. I didn’t and the glaze was still smooth and delicious.  For easy glazing, you can just pick up the muffin/cupcake by the bottom and dip into glaze fully coating the top.   Let the glaze harden before fully enjoying or storing.

My next plan on these is to experiment with different flavors.  Maybe strawberry explosions.

Blueberry and Mascarpone Turnovers

April 9, 2009

Okay, my old roommate and I made these for book club last month and they were A-mazing.  I feel not sharing this would be a disservice.  Recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis.


1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling (I used powdered sugar for dusting)
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh or frozen and thawed blueberries
2 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crusts
1 egg, beaten
Vegetable Oil for frying

In a small bowl, mix together the cheese, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and lemon zest until smooth. Stir in the blueberries.

Using a 3 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut the pie dough into 12 circles. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the edges of the dough with the beaten egg. Place about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture in the center of the dough. Fold the dough in half to enclose the filling and pinch the edges to seal. Using the tines of a fork, gently crimp the sealed edges. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

While the pastry is chilling: In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. (If you don’t have a thermometer a cube of bread will brown in about 3 minutes.) Fry the turnovers for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until golden. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sugar while still hot. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.