THE Best Chocolate Chip Cookies…

I know everyone thinks they have tried “THE BEST” & I was just as skeptical. However, I decided to try them after reading that they contained sea salt. There was something appealing about the sweet & salty combo that had me set on trying these cookies & I don’t regret it for a second!🙂 These truly are my favorite chocolate chip cookies & will be the go to recipe around here. Another reason these are a winner is that the dough freezes perfectly. I scoop them onto a wax paper lined cookie sheet & pop them into freezer. Once they are frozen you can place them in freezer bag or container & bake them anytime you want a warm out of the oven cookie!!

THE Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened {or one 8oz. package of Kerrygold Irish Butter like I used-yum!}

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 3/4 cup flour (spooned & leveled)

1 tsp. sea salt (trust me on this!)

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli preferred)

Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Cream butter & sugars for 3 minutes on medium speed until light & fluffy. Add eggs & vanilla and beat an additional 2 minutes. In small bowl combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) and mix together. Add dry ingredients to butter & egg mixture and mix until incorporated. Add chocolate chips. On parchment lined cookie sheet, drop dough with medium or large cookie scoop depending on size cookies you’d like. Bake 10-12 minutes depending on cookie size, just until edges are golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool on pan for a minute & then transfer parchment to counter to finish cooling. Again if you’d like to freeze dough, instead of baking- drop on wax paper & freeze balls of dough & bake when ready! Enjoy!

Adapted from Savory Sweet Life

Christmas Baking Prep

With the chaos that is now my life, I felt the need to get some Christmas baking prep work done this weekend since I want to continue to do things like send a Christmas goodie box to work with my husband & bring cookies to parties throughout the month. I made a double batch of Nutella Cookies, Chewy Cheesecake Cookies, and Ginger Molasses Cookies (recipe coming soon) {well in this case not the cookies themselves but the dough}. I then put the dough in storage containers & popped them into the freezer. I also went ahead and made Peanut Butter Balls and the filling to the Peppermint Truffles. All of these doughs freeze perfectly without compromising flavor or texture, like you would with freezing the baked cookie. Now most of my prep work has been done for fresh cookies any time this month for holiday guests or a great gift to friends & neighbors! To take this one step further you can scoop cookies onto cookie sheet, freeze, then place in containers for individually frozen cookie dough:-)

 

Guilt Free Microwave Popcorn

Who doesn’t like popcorn?! I know everyone in our house does {well, Little Man can’t have it yet but I’m willing to bet that he would!} What I don’t like is all of the health concerns in what should be a light snack. I had been wanting to try the paper bag method from one of my hubby’s favorite chefs, Alton Brown, so tonight we did just that. The last time I was in Fresh Market I bought some good kernels in bulk but they are available many places (including the grocery store with *ahem* other popcorn). This was super simple & quite tasty! If you’re looking for the greasy soaked in who knows what but they call it butter, then this isn’t what you’re looking for. It was tasty but Russell and I agreed it needed a bit of salt. Alton Brown suggests popcorn salt to top it since popcorn salt is super fine- I’m going to try & find some…I think that would make it perfect! Give it a try, it was nice to give my family a light snack that wasn’t full of chemicals & fat and the perfect snack to watch one of our favorites- Home Alone!😉

You will need:

Brown paper lunch bag

1/4 cup popcorn kernels

2 tsp. olive oil or butter (I used one of each)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Mix kernels, oil, salt, & garlic powder in bowl. Mix together and put in bag. Fold the top over 2-3 times and microwave for 2-3 minutes or until “pops” are approx. 5 seconds apart. Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

Some of you know just how DELICIOUS the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins are…if not, you need to make them and find out. Since small group was being held at our house (2 weeks ago now, bad blogger!) I decided to try a Pumpkin Cupcake that would be similar to the muffins, but with a Cream Cheese frosting…because you have to have frosting on a cupcake.  The results were quite yummy! It may be past Halloween now, but slow down folks, Thanksgiving is still weeks away so enjoy the fall & pumpkin goodness before rushing off to peppermint & eggnog everything!😉

{Looks like late night crappy photos are all you’re getting these days…kids are my excuse for all things these days, so we’ll go with that! ;-)}

Pumpkin Cupcakes

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together dry ingredients. In mixer (or mixing bowl) beat butter & sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well after each. Add vanilla & pumpkin. Add half of dry mixture, then milk, then other half of dry ingredients. Beat well. Using an ice-cream scoop, scoop cupcake batter into lined muffin pan. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. (Or when a toothpick is inserted, comes out clean.)

 

Meanwhile make frosting…

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick butter, softened

1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 lb. confectioners sugar

1 Tbsp. milk or  cream (or until the consistency you’d like)

Beat butter & cream cheese together until combined & smooth. Add vanilla. Add confectioners sugar slowly until incorporated. Add milk or cream and turn mixer on medium high and beat until fluffy. Top your cooled cupcakes & ENJOY!

Cinnamon Pull Apart Boule

Boule is just a fancy word for round bread, so don’t fret- no special crazy ingredients!😉 Sorry for the horrible photo but with a screaming toddler ready to eat, you don’t have time for quality photographing! This is another one of the Pinterest finds that I just had to try & it was delicious! I happen to LOVE sourdough these days. (Oddly enough I used to HATE it) I am especially fond of Sourdough with Imported Butter, but that is a different post😉 Sourdough was the perfect balance to all of the sweet cinnamon sugar goodness in my opinion but any bread would do. This was the perfect Sunday morning breakfast, or any morning… The recipe for honey butter must be made, not only for this recipe, but because it is AMAZING!

1 Sourdough Boule

Honey Butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar

2 TBSP. milk

Cut boule in opposing directions to create one inch cubes without cutting through bottom. Spread honey butter between “cubes”. Mix cinnamon & sugar and sprinkle between layers. Wrap in foil and bake 20-25 minutes on 350 to warm. Combine confectioners sugar and milk and drizzle over warm bread. Serve & Enjoy!

To Die For Honey Butter

Y’all this stuff is AMAZING! As I told you in my previous pretzel bites post…I’m a big fan of rolls, especially at places like Lone Star where they are paired with a delicious honey butter. You can have your own taste of heaven at home if you have rolls and this stuff. I usually make a double batch and freeze half & it holds up well. Seriously…go try it, you will thank me!

1 stick room temperature butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix ingredients together well with mixer until light. Enjoy!

Arugula Salad

{sorry for the poor quality photos, this is what happens when you eat dinner at 9pm in a horribly lit kitchen!}

Arugula Steak Salad

3 cups Arugula

1 steak cooked to liking {still mooing if you’re Russell} & sliced thin

Parmesan Cheese

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced

Layer Arugula, steak, cheese & onion in bowl or on plate.

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp. lemon zest

juice of one lemon

1 Tbsp. honey mustard

Salt & Pepper

Whisk together & pour over salad.

Marinated Tomatoes

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

pinch of chopped or dried parsley

pinch of chopped or dried basil

pinch of dried oregano

Salt & Pepper

In a small bowl mix together all ingredients oil, vinegar, herbs, S&P. Pour over halved tomatoes. Stir and let “marinate” in fridge for a few hours.  Serve as side dish, OR do as my husband and dump them in the salad above😉

{Easy} Pretzel Bites

I have a special place in my stomach heart for pretzels. While on Pinterest {shocker, huh?!} I saw that someone used Rhodes rolls to make pretzel bites. I already had some rolls in our freezer (& seriously…if you love rolls from Lonestar, Logans, or the like you must have these in your freezer too!) I decided to give it a try & they are so simple and SO good! These  were an appetizer for Russell and I last night but would be great for a party, it isn’t very often hot soft pretzel bites are served!😉

Pretzel Bites

Rhodes dinner rolls, thawed & risen as directed on package

melted butter

salt {cinnamon & sugar, Parmesan cheese, whatever you like on your pretzels!}

After your rolls have thawed & doubled in size cut into bite size pieces. (I use a pizza cutter) Bring a pot of water to a boil, place a few dough pieces {do not crowd}  into boiling water for 30-45 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon and put on paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining dough. Place dough pieces on parchment lined {or greased} cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-12 min. While still warm place in bowl and toss with melted butter and sprinkle salt {or topping of choice} and serve warm. Enjoy!

Nutella Puffs

Oh.my.goodness. These were SO good! I bought some puff pastry to use in a quiche for Russell but had an extra sheet and remembered seeing these on Pinterest. I am so glad that I did because they were amazing & so simple! We devoured these at breakfast but would probably be more appropriate for dessert😉 Either way, they are delicious!

Puff Pastry sheets

Marshmallow Creme (I used a marshmallow because it’s what I had on hand)

Nutella

Milk

Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut puff pastry into triangles (I used a biscuit cutter and cut circles). Spoon a heaping teaspoon of Nutella onto puff pastry, add marshmallow or marshallow creme.  Crimp edges of puff pastry with a fork. Brush tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 18-20 minutes (or until golden brown) and enjoy!