Applesauce Brownies

Earlier this week I posted a recipe that used applesauce and whole wheat flour as two of its ingredients and today I am sharing another recipe with those two ingredients… A brownie recipe. Granted these brownies were more like snack cakes, but, were delicious nonetheless. And truth be told, that’s all that really matters.

After making the batter I poured it into an 8×8-inch pan I sprayed with baking spray. I’ve come to realize that greasing your pan isn’t enough when it comes to making brownies. The addition of flour in the baking spray ensure that the brownies will not stick the pan when removing them. I then sprinkled the top of the batter with a walnut, chocolate chip and sugar mixture.

Next, I baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 30 minutes and after letting the brownies cool in the pan for a few minutes…

I removed them from the pan so they could cool completely on a wire rack…

Before slicing and enjoying them. As I mentioned, the texture is definitely more cake-like than brownie, and yes, I know that cake-like brownies are a thing, but, having had and made cake-like brownies, these definitely were not reminiscent of that. The brownies themselves aren’t overly sweet so the chocolate chips in the topping is a welcomed sweetness as is the crunch from the walnuts.

Applesauce Brownies

  • Servings: 12 Brownies
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Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

6 tablespoons cocoa powder*

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

3/4 unsweetened applesauce

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Topping:

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 chopped walnuts

1/4 chocolate chips (any type)

 

*I used a 50/50 combination of Hershey’s 100% Cacao / Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder. The original recipe called for King Arthur’s Triple Cocoa Powder

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8×8 inch pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl combine the butter, cocoa powder, oil, sugar, eggs, applesauce and vanilla and using a hand mixer on medium speed beat the ingredients until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until just combined.

Spread the batter in the prepared ban.

In a small bowl combined the ingredients for the topping and then sprinkle over the batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester inserted about 1-inch from the sides comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan before slicing them.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Spiced Applesauce Muffins

A while back I was trying to find recipes to use up a bag of whole wheat flour that I had in my fridge. It’s funny, when I wasn’t looking for recipes I would come across them all the time and pass on them because I didn’t want to buy whole wheat flour, but, once I bought a bag late last year to make an Apple Cider Doughnut Cake I haven’t come across any. The few recipes I have come across, including the one I made last year, all have unsweetened applesauce as an ingredient. Is there something about applesauce and whole wheat flour going together that I am not aware of? The recipe for today uses whole wheat flour and applesauce to make Spiced Applesauce Muffins.

To make the batter I prepped the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another and then folded them together. Next, I divided the batter amongst my prepared muffin tin. The recipe was for 12 small muffins, but, I decided to make 6 large muffins instead and adjusted the baking time. Once I divided the batter I then added a walnut and brown sugar topping to the muffins and baked them in a 400 F preheated oven.

After letting the muffins cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, I transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cooled it was time to try one. Outcome… They aren’t overly sweet and have a nice subtle spice flavor thanks to the addition of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and the walnut topping provides a nice crunch. They are perfect for a snack, or to start your day off as breakfast.

Spiced Applesauce Muffins

  • Servings: 6 Large Muffins or 12 Small Muffins
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Ingredients:

Muffins:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup applesauce, unsweetened

1/3 cup light brown sugar

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Topping:

1/2 chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons lights brown sugar

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a 6 – cup or 12 – cup muffin tin with liners.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients -wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt – and set aside.

In a medium whisk together the eggs, applesauce and brown sugar. Once incorporated, add in the melted butter and continue whisking until everything is combined.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin tins.

In a small bowl combine the walnuts and brown sugar and sprinkle on the muffins, pressing down lightly.

Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes for 12 small muffins, or, 18-20 minutes for 6 large muffins. A cake tested inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Let the muffins cool in the tins for 10 minutes, before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from Super Healthy Kids

Walnut Pesto

I decided to plant a small garden this year. Granted, my garden isn’t your typical one. I opted to plant my herbs and veggies (peppers, tomatoes & zucchini) in pots instead of in the ground. Although, I ended up having to transplant my zucchini plant into the ground when it started to take off and produce a lot of zucchinis, or zucchini flowers which will ultimately turn into zucchinis.

The first thing I ended up picking from my garden was cilantro. I picked this super early, back in the beginning of June.

And decided to make Cilantro Lime Rice with it.

Soon after it got quite hot outside and my cilantro bolted and began to flower. I did a little research and I learned that the flowers would ultimately become seeds and those sees are coriander. So, after letting the coriander seeds stay on the plant for a while they began to brown. I then cut off the stems with the seeds and hung them upside down in a brown paper bag to dry them out. I am planning on crushing the dried seeds into coriander powder.

There’s also some flat leaf parsley in my herb garden that I have been cutting to use in salads.

Also, from my mini herb garden… Basil. I planted three basil plants and while at first it didn’t seem like they were growing, they had a bit of a growth spurt and one of them started to flower. I pinched the flowers off hoping that by doing so the plant will continue to bear leaves.  I ended up picking a bunch of the larger basil leaves off the plants…

And turned them into a delicious pesto sauce, using walnuts instead of pine nuts. Totally random, but did you know there was a condition called Pine Mouth / Pine Nut Syndrome. With it you end up with a metallic taste in your mouth soon after eating pine nuts, it’s not permanent, but it can last a few weeks. This isn’t the reason why I used walnuts, but something I came across that I found interesting and thought I would share.

Here are some jalapenos that I grew as well. Thankfully these will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks until I decide what to do with them.

And here is a picture of my zucchini plant and the zucchini that I recently picked. I learned that you can’t leave zucchini on the plant too long as they will end up with too many seeds. I am hoping that I will have a few ripe ones at the same time so I can make zucchini fries.

And I also picked some of my tomatoes that have grown to a decent size. I didn’t intend to pick them green. I had one red tomato on the plant that was going bad (it had a huge black spot on the bottom) and when I went to cut it off, two of the green ones came off with it. After doing a little research to make sure that it would turn red sitting on my counter, I went and picked off the other two tomatoes that were also a decent size.

I’m also growing some bell peppers and snacking peppers, but they are not ready for picking yet.

And there you have a tour of my mini garden.

Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:

2 cups lightly packed basil leaves

1/3 cup walnut pieces

2 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

2/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor chop the walnuts into fine pieces. Add the garlic, basil salt and pepper and process until the mixture resembles a paste.

With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube.

Add the parmesan cheese, and process for an additional minute until well combined.

Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. Add olive oil as needed so the pesto does not dry out. Alternatively, you can divide the pesto among an ice cube tray to freeze and once frozen transfer to a resealable bag to have on hand when needed.

Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies

Today we are celebrating Christmas in July with Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies. I always pick up a few bags of Ghirardelli’s Peppermint Chunks during the holiday season and I always end up with one stray bag that I don’t use. I am sad to say that sometimes it ends up getting tossed in the trash because I don’t use it before the expiration date, but, this year I made it a point to use it and to try out the recipe on the back of the package… their Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies.

Before we get to the cookies though a little history on where Christmas in July came from.  You might quickly just think that it’s the halfway point to Christmas, but, it’s not, that would be back in June.

According to legend, Christmas in July dates back to 1933 at Keystone Camp in Brevard, North Carolina. They decided to dedicate two days (July 24th & 25th) to the holiday with fake snow, a tree, gift exchange and of course Santa. In the 1940’s there was the movie “Christmas In July”. The plot, a man’s coworkers prank him into thinking he won a $25,000 cash prize. He ends up going on a shopping spree and finally proposes to his girlfriend. By the 1950’s retailers got in on the action. I wonder if this was the catalyst to many people starting (and some completing) their Christmas shopping during the summer months. Nowadays Amazon Prime has their Prime Day in July, unfortunately due to Covid-19 this year it will be held in the Fall. Speaking of shopping this year, I was watching the news last week and there was a segment on the best things to buy during the month of July and at the end of it the two reporters began to discuss when a good time to start Christmas shopping is and they agreed that now might be the best time since there’s no way of knowing what the situation will be come the Fall/Winter. There is that possibility that stores will be closed again, and shipping times may be delayed again.

Even television has gotten in on the action. Hallmark channel takes full advantage and airs their original Christmas movies across their networks, and it coincides with the release of their Keepsake Ornaments in their stores. I won’t lie, I have been enjoying my fair share of Christmas movies these past few weeks.

I always have the great idea to make my Christmas cards during the month of July as a way of celebrating and to have one thing off my list come the holidays. But it never happens. I came close this year. I had a design all picked out and I started working on them, but quickly decided I didn’t like them. So, it’s back to the drawing board. Maybe I can get another design narrowed down by the end of the month. I got an email the other day with the top 10 reasons as to why you should start preparing for Christmas now and it makes total sense. Especially if you make handmade items and you do a lot of baking.

And now, back to the cookies. One thing I like about this recipe is that it’s only for 2 dozen cookies. Sometimes you need 3 or 4 dozen cookies and other times, you just don’t. Granted, these wouldn’t be great for a cookie swap, but they are the perfect amount for a get together with friends or to snack on while you are decorating your home for the holidays. And they are the perfect combination of peppermint and chocolate, without the peppermint being to overpowering even with those huge chunks!

Merry Christmas in July!

 

Ghirardelli Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies

  • Servings: 24 Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 10oz. bag Ghirardelli Peppermint Chunks

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each until completely melted. Set aside to cool.

Sift together the flour, baking soda & salt in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar using a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add in the cooled melted chocolate and vanilla extract and continue mixing until well combined. Fold in the flour mixture and stir in the peppermint chunks.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the prepared cookies sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake in the preheated oven for 9 minutes, do not overbake. The cookies should be soft and fudgy. Let them cook on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Lemon Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

These cookies have a little bit of everything. A nice light lemon flavor, a tad bit of oatmeal and the soft chewiness of a sugar cookie. While they are perfect for the warmer months ahead, they would also be a nice addition to your holiday cookie baking. Since I wasn’t sure how they were going to taste, I halved the recipe and ended up baking only 24 cookies. Big mistake! These cookies were such a hit I should have baked the full amount. But just in case you don’t need 48 cookies, you can easily halve the recipe below.

Lemon Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 4 Dozen Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 3/4 cups flour

1 cup quick-cooking oats*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Additional sugar to roll the cookies

*Can also use old-fashion oats

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lines two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Gradually add in the flour mixture.

Pour additional sugar into a small bowl. Use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and then roll in the sugar and then place on the prepared cookie sheets. Using the bottom of a glass flatten the cookie about halfway down.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe slightly modified from Taste of Home

A Bake ‘n Fill Fail

Recently while doing a little cleaning and organizing I came across something I purchased years ago and never used… A Betty Crocker Bake ‘n Fill Cake Pan. The pans were still in their plastic wrapping. Not really sure why I never used it, but having come across it I figured there was no time like the present to try it out. And obviously from the title of this blog post I wasn’t that successful! The cake part was fine, the fail was the filling… So, we’ll say it was a Bake ‘n Fail!

In case you have no clue what I am talking about. These pans were sold in a set by Better Crocker years ago. They first came out in the early 2000’s. Below is a link to the infomercial if you are curious. The whole idea was that you are able to create cakes with fillings (ice cream, fruit, another cake, etc.) or make a cool design like a baseball or a lady bug.

Betty Crocker Bake ‘n Fill Pan

I decided to follow a recipe for a Chocolate Mocha Cake with Chocolate Mousse Filling that was in the recipe book that came with the pans. I began by prepping two of the pans – the inside of the tall pan and bottom of the insert pan (this is the pan that makes the cavity in the cake so it can be filled). Normally I spray my pan with baking spray, but, I decided to follow the directions and greased them with shortening and then coated them with flour. Next, I prepped the batter. I added all of the ingredients for it into a large bowl and beat them with a hand mixer until they were blended together. I then poured it into the tall pan.

Next, I placed the insert pan over the tall pan and locked it into place and then baked it in a 350 F preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Thankfully the insert pan has small holes in it, which I am assuming is to allow the cake to “breathe” while baking, but, I used them to insert a cake tester to see when the cake was done.

After removing the pan from the oven I let it cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes…

And then I removed the insert pan and let the cake cool completely in the pan for about an hour.

Next I made the filling. In a saucepan I combined heavy whipping cream, sugar and coffee liqueur. I cooked it over medium heat until the sugar dissolved. After removing it from the heat I stirred in semi-sweet chocolate chips with a wire whisk until they were melted. And finally I stirred in vanilla extract before transferring the mixture to a large bowl to cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a chilled medium bowl I beat additional heavy whipping cream with a hand mixer until stiff peaks formed. I then folded the heavy whipping cream into the cooled chocolate mixture.

And finally I spooned the whipped chocolate mixture into the cavity of the cake and then refrigerated the cake thinking that the filling would firm up. It never did! I even put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes and that did nothing to it as well. So, I gave up and decided to invert the cake out of the pan and do my best not to make a mess. Well, taking the cake out of the pan was no easy feat. I had to pry a flexible spatula between the cake and the pan to loosen the cake. I was FINALLY able to invert the cake out and surprisingly didn’t make a complete mess with the mousse filling that was definitely not mousse-consistency.

While I thought about throwing in the towel at this point I decided to go ahead and make the frosting for the cake. I added additional heavy whipping cream to a small saucepan and heated until it was hot. I then stirred in semi-sweet chocolate chips and stirred the mixture until the chocolate was melted. After letting the mixture cool for a few minutes it was the perfect consistency to frost the cake.

I won’t show you what happened when I sliced into the cake. As you can imagine the filling just, I hate to use the word ooze, but, that’s pretty much what it did. It did taste good though! And I was able to spoon it over the cake after slicing myself a piece so it wasn’t a total loss. So, will I attempt to use the pan again? Absolutely, but, I think the next filling will be something like whipped cream folded with some fresh berries, or, I will use the filling I normally make for my other cakes. Oh, and yeah, I will be using baking spray next time. It hasn’t left a cake stuck in a pan for me yet!

Lemon Ricotta Fritters

It’s the first Friday in June and you know what means… Happy National Donut Day! A little history just in case you didn’t know, this food holiday started in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army as a means to raise money during the Great Depression and to honor the WWI Salvation Army volunteers who helped prepare baked goods, including donuts, and coffee for soldiers. I wonder if this could possibly be the oldest “food holiday”, I tried to do some research but came up empty-handed. In honor of the day I am sharing with you a recipe for Lemon Ricotta Fritters.

I began by making the batter. In a large bowl I whisked together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Next, I added in lemon zest, eggs, whole milk ricotta cheese and vanilla extract and continued whisking until the ingredients were well combined.

Meanwhile I heated vegetable oil in my Dutch oven over medium low heat to 350 F. I normally use my cast iron skillet to fry things, but, I already had my Dutch oven out and I like that the higher sides of the pot prevent the oil from splattering. Also, I find that the temperature of the oil remains consistent in the Dutch oven throughout the frying process. It’s important to keep the oil around 350 F, any hotter and you could end up with cooked fritters on the outside with raw dough in the middle. Once the batter was ready I used a cookie scoop to drop small amount of dough into the oil and fried them until they were golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

I then transferred them to a paper towel lined cookie sheet to drain off the excess oil. Now, these were delicious on their own, they are incredibly light with just enough hint of lemon…

But, if you want a little extra sweetness, while they are still warm, dust them with confectioners’ sugar. I prefer to sift the sugar over them as opposed to rolling them in the sugar so it’s not too thick or clumpy.

 

If you love the combination of lemon and ricotta, check out these other lemon ricotta recipes:

Lemon Ricotta Bars

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

 

Lemon Ricotta Fritters

  • Servings: About 40 Fritters
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Ingredients:

Vegetable oil, for frying*

2 cups flour

3/4 cups sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

5 large eggs

1 3/4 cups ricotta cheese**

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar for coating

 

*Can sub with canola or corn oil

**I used whole milk ricotta cheese

 

Directions:

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium low heat to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with paper towels to drain the fritters as they come out of the oil.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in the lemon zest, eggs, ricotta cheese and vanilla extract and continue whisking until the ingredients are well combined.

Using a cookie scoop drop mounds of the batter into the hot oil. Add about 5 to 6 at a time, make sure not to crowd the pot. Fry until the fritters are golden brown. About 3-4 minutes on each side. Check the temperature of the oil periodically. You don’t want the oil to get too hot because then the fritters will cook on the outside but be raw on the inside. Remove from the oil and drain on the paper towel lined cookie sheet. Repeat until the dough is finished.

While the fritters still warm dust with the confectioners’ sugar. You can either roll them in a bowl of the sugar or use a sifter (or a fine mesh sieve) to dust the sugar over the fritters.

Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 5 days.

Recipe slightly modified from Domino Sugar

A Quick, Easy & Creamy Cheesecake

Happy Memorial Day! The unofficial kickoff to the summer. Albeit, this summer will definitely look and feel different than summer’s past. One thing remains certain though, the days will be getting warmer. And with warmer days you’ll be wanting to spend less time in the kitchen but will probably still want something sweet that’s quick and easy to make, and this cheesecake is just that. Topped with some fresh berries that are soon to be in season it’s the perfect treat for the warmer days ahead.

Instead of using a springform pan and graham crackers crumbs for the crust you simple use a store-bought graham cracker crust. For the cheesecake filling beat room temperature cream cheese with sugar, vanilla extract and sour cream until well blended. Then add two room temperature eggs to the mixture and continue beating until all the ingredients are well combined and then pour the batter into the crust and bake for 40 – 45 minutes in a 325 F preheated oven.

After removing it from the oven I let it cool on a wire rack for an hour before refrigerating it overnight. I then topped it with sliced strawberries and blueberries. And to add a little extra sweetness and to ensure that the berries wouldn’t slide off the cheesecake I brushed them with an apricot glaze. To make the glaze I warmed apricot preserves with water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the preserves had melted. I then strained the mixture through a strainer.

And after letting the glaze cool for a few minutes I gently brushed it over the berries.

An as the title says, the cheesecake was super creamy and delicious!

 

Quick Easy & Creamy Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For The Cheesecake:

2 8oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

9-inch graham cracker crust

For The Topping:

1 cup blueberries

1 cup strawberries, quartered

1/2 cup apricot preserves

1 tablespoon water

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs and continue beating until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake in the preheated oven for 40 – 45 minutes, or until the center is almost set.

Let cool on a wire rack for an hour and then refrigerate for at least three hours.

To make the glaze combine the apricot preserves and water in a small saucepan and whisk together over medium heat until the preserves have melted. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and let cool for a few minutes.

Arrange the sliced strawberries and blueberries on the chilled cheesecake and then brush the warm apricot glaze over them.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Hershey’s Deep Dish Brownies

I love brownies, but, truth be told, they are not one of my favorite things to bake. Not because they are difficult to prepare, but, because I always have an issue with either removing them from the pan and/or slicing them. They always seem to stick the pan, even though I prep the pan, and/or crumble when I slice them, even though I wait until they are completely cooled before doing so. And I will point out that I have used parchment paper sometimes to make brownies, but, I still run into some issue with them, usually it’s them falling apart when I slice them.

Recently I tried a very simple recipe that resulted in perfect brownies… They didn’t stick to the pan when I flipped it over and I was able to slice them without any crumbly pieces. Who knew it was actually possible!?!? This great recipe is from Hershey’s, it’s their Deep Dish Brownie Recipe. I will tell you though that these brownies are more cake-like than fudgy, but, if you want a fudgier brownie you can reduce the egg count in the recipe from 3 to 2. I will admit I haven’t tried it with this recipe, but, I do know that eggs are one of the ingredients that changes the texture of brownies from cake-like to fudgy. One other thing I liked about these brownies was that they had some height to them as well. Great for topping them with ice cream after warming them up for a few seconds in the microwave.

Hershey’s Deep Dish Brownies

  • Servings: 12-16 Brownies (depending on how you slice them)
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Ingredients:

3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 eggs

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8×8 pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt – and set aside.

In another bowl whisk together the melted butter, sugar and vanilla extract until combined. Add in the eggs and whisk everything together until well incorporated. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and when a cake tester inserted about one inch from the edge comes out clean.

Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before inverting and slicing.

Recipe from Hershey’s

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

Truth be told there’s nothing like a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie! It’s comforting and familiar. And if you’ve ever stayed at a DoubleTree Hotel you more than likely have been welcomed by their signature chocolate chip cookie, I know I have. Last month they finally made the recipe for their iconic cookie available so at-home bakers can bake up a batch themselves to find some comfort in these crazy & unfortunate times.

There are quite a few reasons to love these cookies. First and foremost they are delicious. They only require 1 bowl (no need for mixing the dry ingredients separately and then incorporating it into the dough) and they have walnuts! I love chocolate chip cookies with walnuts!

As I mentioned they only require 1 bowl. So, I began by creaming together the butter with the sugars and then adding in the eggs, vanilla and lemon juice. Yes, you read that right. Lemon juice in a chocolate chip cookie. Don’t worry, the cookies will not have a lemon flavor whatsoever, what the lemon does do is brighten the flavor of the cookie. I continued mixing until the dough was light and fluffy. Next, I added in the dry ingredients – flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. After mixing the dough on low to incorporate these ingredients I then used a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Now, these cookies aren’t your typical chocolate chip cookies that use about a tablespoon of dough, these require about 3 tablespoons of dough. I ended up using an ice cream scoop to scoop the dough. Since my ice cream scoop is slightly more than 3 tablespoons I ended up with less cookies than the recipe indicated; 20 as opposed to 26. I placed the mounds of cookie dough on parchment lined baking sheets 2 inches apart.

I then baked them for 20 minutes in a 300 F preheated oven and once I removed them from the oven I placed the baking sheet on a wire rack for an hour so the cookies could cool right on the sheets. The cookies were golden brown around the edges and quite soft in the middle when I removed them from the oven, but, as they cooled they firmed up nicely.

Once cooled it was time to enjoy them. And they definitely did not disappoint. I know I will be baking these cookies up for years to come. Also, they are sturdy and large enough that they could be the base for the perfect ice cream sandwich.

 

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 26 Cookies
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Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup rolled oats*

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt**

Pinch of cinnamon

2 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips***

1 3/4 cups chopped walnuts

 

*These are the old-fashioned oats, not the quick-cooking ones

**I used kosher salt

***This is about 16 oz. of chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and both sugars using a handheld mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs, vanilla and lemon juice to the butter mixture and mix on low for 30 seconds and then on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to the mixture and beat on low speed for 45 seconds. Don’t overmix.

Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

Portion the dough with a scoop (about 3 tablespoons) onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 23 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown and the center of the cookie is still soft.

Remove the cookies from the oven and place the sheet on a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.

Recipe from Hilton