Holy Chocolate Chip M&M Cookies, Batman!

I have a new favorite cookie recipe.

The original recipe can be found here: chocolate chip cookies

But I can’t make a recipe without changing something, so here are revised baking directions:

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, mostly melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 overflowing teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 (12-ounce) bag chocolate chips (or in my case 3 heaping handfuls from the 4.5 lb Costco bag of Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chips – shh, don’t tell anyone)
A healthy dose of M&Ms or nuts (a cup? Half a bag? That decision is between you and God!)

Revised Directions:

1. Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. (on convection setting if you have it – see note on timing in step 4). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone sheets. Let baking sheet cool completely between batches if you are working with only one cookie sheet.

2. Put the butter in a microwave safe bowl, cover and microwave on high power until almost melted. In my microwave this was for 11 seconds three times – stirring between each heat time. (Alternatively, you can soften butter in a small saucepan; be careful not to overheat). Butter should not be completely melted! Cool slightly. Whisk the sugars, eggs, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth.

3. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a spoon or spatula; take care not to over mix. Stir in the chocolate chips or chocolate chunks or M&Ms or nuts or whatever makes your tummy happy.

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4. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared pans. Space the cookies about 2-inches apart on the pans. Bake, until golden, but still soft in the center. For me this was only 9 minutes in a convection oven, but the original instructions call for 12-16 minutes bake time. This is completely dependent on whether or not you are using a convection oven or traditional oven. The next time I make these I’ll skip the convection oven to figure out timing. Transfer hot cookies with a spatula to a rack to cool.

5. Take a bite of cookie. Thank the good Lord for chocolate chip M&M cookies. Take a drink of milk. Repeat.

What I like about this recipe:

– I like soft, thicker, chewy cookies and these totally fit the bill.
– No heavy mixing or creaming. I used a whisk, a spatula and a spoon. The end.
– These are so easy to make that my little Ellie can help me make these with no problems! =) Edit: these are simple to make, but not with a two year old who is being an overzealous helper to get out of bedtime. Sugar and butter went everywhere.

Din din

 

You know what I just had to do?

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I just had to inform husband that instead of having dinner tonight, we’re having peanut butter cookies. It was all I felt like making today (this pregnancy sweet tooth is killing!). It must be terribly difficult to be married to me. Dessert instead of dinner? Disgraceful.

 

IMG_1912I officially hit 39 weeks last weekend.

Baby girl’s due date is Sunday.

Wait. What?

Baby girl is due in four days. FOUR days. What the WHAT?! It feels like we just discovered we were expecting and like I’ve been pregnant for ages all at the same time.

Her room is completely ready. Her clothes are washed and ready for her to spit up on – I mean wear. My hospital bag is packed. We’re just waiting.

And waiting.

And waiting.

My life right now consists of waiting on signs of her arrival while talking to her and trying to coax her that this is a good day – ANY day is a good day – for her to come. All in God’s time (is it time yet??).

 

 

200th Post?! / Anniversary Dinner Date

Two hundredth post?! I wish I had something to give away, but alas, I’ve got nothing but my love for you.

And, actually, as I think about it, that’s really not as exciting of an achievement since I started blogging in 2007 or 2008; I average less than 20 posts a year if you look at it like that. womp womp. BUT, I did take a a couple of long hiatuses from blogging a few times (read: I forgot I even had a blog).

Consistency is apparently not my strong suit. But here is a blog post about our anniversary dinner date that we went on two weeks ago.

And because I know you’re not sick of me pushing Mumford and Sons on you yet, I’m just going to share this link on NPR and this link on youtube with you so that you too can marvel at the talent in that room.

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There is a place in the Lone Star State that imports lasagna from heaven.

Would I lie to you?

Not on purpose.

This lasagna, and everything on their menu, is delightful. Husband and I ordered appetizers, salads, and two entrees.

Then we ate it all and rolled ourselves out to the car like Violet Beauregard.

How could I forget the ravioli with beet filling??

Divine. I’m sad that we have to drive so far to eat there, but it’s worth it.

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I’m making another one of these cakes today for no other reason than my mom (Hi, Mummy!) said that she caught up on reading my blog yesterday and she can’t wait to try the cake I was raving about. And I, being the genius that I am (but not really since I’ve been trying to avoid sweets), offered to make the cake today since she and my dad (Hi, Dad!) are coming up tomorrow with some projects they’ve been working on for the nursery.

Have I told you how grateful Husband and I are for my parents’ help with the nursery? They came up one weekend with a small arsenal of tools and helped husband put down laminate wood floors and new base boards and trim. Baby girl’s chest of drawers is the same one my mom shared with her sister when they were little girls. And the glider that I spray painted white last weekend is from my grandmother’s house. This time they’re bringing up the cushions for the glider that my mom re-upholstered, a wall shelf with hanging hooks below that my dad made and the mirror for the chest of drawers that they stripped, sanded, painted and are planning to attach to the chest tomorrow. I don’t like to brag, but my parents are the best. So I will make them whatever kind of cake they want, whenever they want it and as long as someone is not already sleeping in it, they will always have a bed to sleep in at our house.

In other nursery news, after getting estimates from three different contractors over the last week, we scheduled a handyman to do the last finishing things in the nursery! I’ve been waiting for this for weeks. I’m so excited to get everything set up and arranged. The anticipation is almost more than I can handle. So I’m going to go make a cake and not eat the batter or icing.

Heaven in a Cake

 

Check back here for the recipes. It’s not pretty, but it’s pretty darn delicious.

And there’s something magical about chocolate and raspberries with a buttercream icing.

Once again, I implore you to make this cake. Unless you can’t have dairy or gluten, and then, well, I’m deeply sorry for your loss.

Oh. Em. Geeee.

Make this.

Make it and love it and share it with your friends. Or don’t share it. I haven’t even assembled the cake yet, but it is mind blowingly delicious.

Trust me.

Trust the pregnant lady who has been craving chocolate cake for a week.

Or make it and then trust yourself.

When I get to heaven, I think God will have a piece of this sitting on a pretty plate with a nice, cold glass of whole milk.

It’s just…

so good. I’m speechless, but I’ll stop rambling and just give you the recipe already!

Classic American Buttercream frosting from savorysweetlife.com.
This recipe uses powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and milk. This is a great recipe for decorating and piping on cupcakes and cake.
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
  • 3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.

And this cake. I used decaf coffee because I can’t think of anything worse than lying awake in bed wishing you could sleep but for the extra caffeine you just had in that piece of cake. Having to think about chocolate cake that is keeping you awake instead of being asleep dreaming about chocolate cake just doesn’t seem fair. Torturous, maybe. But not fair.

Best Chocolate Cake Ever from iambaker.net

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Directions

  1. MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8-inch round
    cake pans and line them with parchment paper; butter the paper. Dust
    the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the
    flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt
    at low speed. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs
    and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry
    ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee
    until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or
    until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.
    Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes
    onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.
  4. Set a cake layer on a plate with the flat side facing up. Evenly
    spread one-third of the frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with
    the second cake layer, rounded side up. Spread the remaining frosting
    over the top and side of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour
    before slicing.

Pictures to follow (if the cake lasts that long).

Don’t throw out those bananas!

I’m the type of person that usually throws bananas away when they look like this. I know better. Of course I do. My mom makes the best banana bread in at the least the 48 continental states. Trust me. It’s not just that I’m biased. Anyone who has ever tried her banana bread will take a bite, their eyes grow as big as saucers and then they say (around their bite of banana bread), “Oh… my! This is the most amazing banana bread I’ve ever had!” And then their eyes close in delight, they finish that first slice of bread and then have another. Honest. I’ve seen it happen more times than I can count.

As delicious as they are, there’s something about my mom’s recipes that makes me lean towards not ever wanting to make them. It’s special when I drive the 2.5 hours to her house to eat them. And they’re kind of sacred – the meals and treats of my childhood. Banana bread, cobbler, fruit pizza (a newer addition), chicken spaghetti, turkey taco casserole, peanut butter cookies – I need a moment of silence to honor her peanut butter cookies. They are pretty much my favorite cookies in the world. Sure, I’ve made them several times, but I don’t like to. Is that weird?

To make these favorite dishes, desserts and delights for my own husband and (soon to be) kids just seems wrong. It means I’m an adult now. That’s a little depressing. But in the same breath, I think it’s kind of exciting. I had such a happy childhood and there are lots of meals I remember eating over and over again and never growing tired of them. Maybe there’s some connection. Happy tummy = happy heart? There must be some truth to the old adage “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” I’m going to suggest it’s not just men. Maybe the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. Nothing wrong with that as long as you’re not encouraging life-threatening obesity, right?

Mom’s Banana Bread – from the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book, 1972 edition
(Mom’s recipe is slightly different than what is in the cookbook. We’re keeping the adapted version as a family secret, but play around with this one and figure out what works best for your tastebuds!)

Ingredients:

1/2 C shortening
1 C sugar
2 eggs
3/4 C mashed ripe banana
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
self-control, so that you don’t eat it all before your husband gets home

Method:

Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in banana. Sift together dry ingredients; add to banana mixture; mix well. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-40 mins.

Breaking Fast (Update)

You’ll be interested to know that of the last 4 meals, three of them have been breakfast, featuring scrambled eggs.

One of my good friends came over for dinner last night and I convinced her that we should have breakfast bowls (in my house that entails scrambled eggs, hash browns, turkey sausage and halved cherry tomatoes with a sprinkling of salt and pepper). I’m a sucker for a nice breakfast casserole and breakfast bowls are a quick and easy version that produce similar results: happy taste buds and happy tummies!

Also, this morning I spent about two hours researching chickens and coops. I’m leaning towards buying a plan for a coop that has a flat roof appropriated for growing herbs! There is still a lot of research to be done, but I’m trying to remain realistic and not get too overly excited. I want to be prepared before I start bringing any chickens into this world… I mean backyard.