Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nutella Stuffed Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This cookies are amazing. Seriously amazing. What makes them so amazing. Well, I want to say it is the Nutella, but honestly the sea salt really brings the cookie together. Oh, and the browned butter (which, by the way, will make your kitchen smell fantastic). I had them for the first time last November at a work party and they were so good I asked the guy who made them for the recipe. He politely said he could not claim credit and emailed me the link to Ambitious Kitchen's Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter + Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies. I don't know why it has taken me so long to make them, although I did make Nutella Swirl Blondies over the winter which may have unconsciously been linked to the desire for these cookies. Regardless, I plan to make them or some version of them again soon. Such a delicious combination of flavors.

Honestly, they were completely craveable as I made them, but when I make these again I want to try adding the yogurt and more Nutella (I used the amount in the recipe). I did change the brown sugar to granulated sugar ratio a bit to help make them more chewy en lieu of the yogurt. Also, note that the pictures are from after the cookies were completely cooled. They were much more drool worthy out of the oven.

Nutella Stuffed Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
How I Did It:

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1/4 minus 1 tbsp cup granulated sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (at least 60%)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
small jar of Nutella, chilled (I put it in the freezer 30 minutes before using)

1. Make your brown butter. If you have never browned butter, please see here for step-by-step directions. I want to stress the importance of using a skillet/wide pan and not a pot. Once you're done, pour into a large bowl to let it cool a bit (large, so you can just add the rest of the ingredients into it).

2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. Pour sugars into the bowl with the butter and beat well. Then beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla.until well combined.

4. Slowly (in 3-4 parts) beat in the dry mixture until just barely combined.

5. With a spoon (and/or clean hands), mix in the chocolate chips.

6. Chill your dough overnight (or at least for 2 hours).

7. When you are getting ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350.

8. Scoop out a large chunk of the dough (at least 1 1/2 tbsps), roll into a ball and then flatten. Scoop out about 1 tsp of the chilled Nutella and place in the center of the flattened dough. Fold the dough around the Nutella, completely covering it. Shape back into a ball, making sure all of the Nutella is covered. Repeat for the remaining dough.

9. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges start to darken, but the centers still look slightly uncooked. Remove from oven and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Let rest for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Rosemary Potato and Kale Vegetable Soup

Rosemary is definitely one of my all time favorite herbs. It makes everything better from bread, cheese (grilled cheese!), homemade popcorn, potatoes, chicken, and even cocktails! The one thing I hadn't tried was in soup. I was in the mood for a good soup and almost made up a new chili (that will also happen soon), but I had rosemary on the brain. I tried to pick vegetables that I thought rosemary would compliment. Sadly, I was unable to get parsnips, but I would recommend adding them in as well if you can. If you don't like rosemary, this soup is not for you, but the flavor is in no way over-powering. The photo is from right after I made it, but now it is two days later and the broth has definitely thickened up a bit which I like.

Note that I like to made a crazy amount at once and then freeze part of it. You can easily cut the recipe down as desired.

Rosemary Potato and Kale Vegetable Soup
How I Did It:

1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 large red potatoes, chopped
6 celery ribs, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
30 oz (no salt added) diced tomatoes
3/4 tsp black pepper
6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
64 oz low sodium vegetable broth
1 zucchini, chopped
15 oz navy beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz green pigeon peas, drained and rinsed
1 bunch of red kale (any variety would work), removed from stems

1. Heat two tablespoons of water into a large pot. Once the water is heated, add in onion and garlic and cook until the onion is softened, stirring occasionally. 

2. Stir in potatoes and celery and cook for about 5 minutes. 

3. Add in carrots, diced tomatoes (not drained), and 1/2 tsp black pepper and let cook for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Throw full rosemary sprigs in, stir around and then add broth, zucchini, beans, peas, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Stir to combine and turn up the heat and cover. Once it starts to almost boil, turn the heat down, but not too much below medium.

5. Let cook for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the rosemary (it will fall off stems). 

6. Remove rosemary twigs (pulling off any pieces of rosemary that might remain), mix in kale, stir to combine and cook for another 10 minutes.

7. Serve!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Whole Wheat Caramel Apple Cookies

Nothing beats a chocolaty cookie, am I right? Well, while traveling for work last year I had a caramel apple cookie that completely wow'd me. After I was done wishing I had taken two instead of just one, I decided I would have to make my own caramel apple cookies. So I started to look to see if I could find their recipe. Sadly, I couldn't find it or anything that seemed even similar. Skip ahead a year and the fall has brought thoughts of caramel apple cookies back to my brain. Instead of trying to replicate my work cookie, I made my own healthier version and I was pretty impressed with how they turned out.

Whole Wheat Caramel Apple Cookies
How I Did It:

(Makes 10-12 cookies)

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup diced peeled apples
10 caramels, chopped

1. Whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

2. Combine the oil and sugar and stir together for a couple minutes with a spoon. Add in the apple sauce, vanilla, and egg. Mix until well combined.

3. In three parts, slowly stir in the dry mixture until just combined. Add in the apples and caramels and stir just until distributed.

4. Cover and place dough in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to firm up.

5. Preheat oven to 375.

6. Form dough into large balls and place on Silpat (or parchment paper) covered cookie sheet.

7. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they look set and not gooey. Unlike other cookies, I do not recommend under-cooking these, but they do go from under-cooked to slightly too cooked very quickly.

8. Let cool for a couple minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. They are the best fresh (with the gooey caramel), but you can store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Quick Brown Rice Veggie Noodle Soup

With evenings that have been officially feeling like fall, I was craving some soup, but far too hungry to turn it into a huge planning/grocery store ordeal. I quickly threw this together with what I had around and it turned out really well. The broth was even tasty.

Quick Brown Rice Veggie Noodle Soup
How I Did It:

4 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tbsp low sodium dry chicken flavoring
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup chopped dried vegetables
3 tsp thyme
2 tsp parsley
1/4 cup bell peppers, chopped
2 cups of broccoli, chopped
1/4 package of brown rice noodles

1. Bring water to a boil and stir in chicken flavoring and dried vegetables.

2. Add in all of the vegetables and spices. Stir, reduce heat, and cover for about ten minutes.

3. Stir in uncooked rice noodles and let cook in soup for about ten more minutes.

4. Serve!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Quick and Delightfully Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

The easiest peanut butter cookie you will ever make. While I was posting about my quick and easy flourless and butterless peanut butter cookie, I got to thinking that I could make it even more simple. Well, I did it and they are amazing. Thanks to the peanut butter, they hold up well, but are moist and chewy to the point of almost being creamy. Can a cookie be creamy? I thought I would miss the chocolate, but they are just so good as is. If I added chocolate I might dunk half in melted chocolate - I wouldn't want to disrupt the wonderful texture that they have.

Quick and Delightfully Simple Peanut Butter Cookies
How I Did It:

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a baking sheet.

2. Place the flaxseed meal in a bowl with three tablespoons of warm water. Stir and then let sit for 5 full minutes (to gel up).

3. Pour the flaxseed egg into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine.

4. Form into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet 1-2 inches apart (they only spread a moderate amount). Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake for about 10 minutes or until they are just starting to brown and still look under-cooked. Remove from oven and let cool before transferring.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Coconut Strawberry Cake

In keeping with the healthy coconut strawberry theme, I give you this addicting cake. This is one of those desserts that is healthy and still tastes really good. It's gluten-free, vegan, and sugar free (aside from natural sugars from the fruit of course), and very refreshing. If you like coconut and strawberry, you will like this easy to make cake!

Coconut Strawberry Cake

How I Did It:

4 tbsp coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup almonds, soaked for a few hours in water
4 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked for a few hours in water
3 cups fresh strawberries

1. In a food processor, grind almonds until very fine.

2. To the processor, add 2 tbsp coconut oil, 2 cups coconut, and the dates and process until well combined.

3. Press evenly into the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking pan.

4. Clean out the processor and then place the remaining ingredients ( 2 tbsp coconut oil, 2 cups coconut, and the strawberries, reserving a few for the top if you'd like).

5. Pour the strawberry coconut mixture on top of the crust and even out with the back of a spoon. Slice strawberries in 3rds or 4th and place on top.

6. Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight before serving.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Gluten-free and Sugar-Free Berry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

It's easy to make a tasty cookie, it's not as easy to make a tasty cookie that is gluten-free, sugar-free (excluding fresh fruit), no unprocessed nuts/seeds, peanut-free, dairy-free, chocolate free, and full of flavor, but not too sweet (read: barely sweet). I was pretty proud to have come up with these cookies. I wasn't entirely sure how they would turn out, but even as a lover of sweets I enjoyed them.  They are basically a guilt-free cookie that you want to eat.They are dense - more like a bar and there is zero sweetener other than the strawberries and blueberries (which do add a nice amount of sweetness). I like to think of it as handheld oatmeal.

Berry Coconut Oatmeal Cookies
How I Did It:

1 3/4 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup raw almonds
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp all spice
2 eggs
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup wild blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Place almonds in a food processor and grind into a flour. Keeping the almond flour in the processor, add in 1/4 cup of the rolled oats and process that into a flour as well.

3. In a large bowl, combine the flour/almond mixture with the rest of the rolled oats, unsweeetened shredded coconut, salt, cinnamon, and all spice.

4. In a seperate bowl, mix together the eggs, coconut oil, vanilla until well combined.

5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry along with the blueberries and strawberries. Make sure the the fruit is well distributed.

6. Form dough into balls and place onto cookie sheet and flatten. They will not expand or rise/flatten so shape them as you wish to serve them.

7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges start to brown and the center looks dry.