Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Salted Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Made these tonight as I was experimenting for a Career Day presentation at the high school on Thursday.  They are a definite winner and I will be taking these to share.  Since I use the "home-madesimple" logo - I figure the kids will think it is a great addition - pretty sure they will 'eat it up' - pun intended!

Got the recipe here: http://www.thediaryofdaveswife.com/2011/09/daily-dose-of-delicious.html

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Makes a 9X13-inch pan of bars
2 1/8 cups (10 1/2 ounces) all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 (3 1/2 ounces) cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips (use your preference of semisweet, bittersweet, milk, white, peanut butter…the options are endless!)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, letting the excess hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch so you can grab those edges and pull the brownies from the pan after they have baked. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the melted butter and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula.
Bake until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, and edges start pulling away from sides of pan, 24-28 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the foil overhang and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated
Just made these for a closing last week - got rave reviews!  Taken from http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2010/02/thick-and-chewy-chocolate-chip-bars.html.  Very soft and great flavor!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Colada Crunch

1 1/2 scoops protein powder
1 slice fresh pineapple
1/4 cup whole grain puffed cereal
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1.2 tsp vanilla extract
Truvia (stevia)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 banana
6 ice cubes
1/4 cup water

Combine in blender and blend to desired shake consistency - add additional water if it is too thick.  Delish!  LOVE these meal in a blender lunches when I am on the go!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chocolate Brownie Cookies with White Chocolate and Roasted Macadamia Nuts

  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp instant espresso
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts, roasted and salted


  1. Place racks int he upper third and middle of the oven and preheat oven to 325.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Gently simmer 2 inches of water in a medium saucepan.  Place bittersweet chocolate and butter in a medium-sized heatproof bowl and place the bowl over, not touching, the simmering water, creating a double boiler.  Melt the chocolate and butter together until butter is melted.  Remove from the simmering water and stir until chocolate is completely melted.  Allow the chocolate to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  4. Whisk the granulated sugar, espresso powder, and vanilla extract into the warm chocolate mixture.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated.  Add the chocolate mixture, all at once, to the flour mixture.  Fold to incorporate.  When flour just begins to disappear into the chocolate mixture, add the white chocolate and macadamia nuts.  Fold thoroughly.  Batter will be THICK.
  5. Dollop batter by the tablespoonful (or use a medium cookie scoop) onto prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 11 minutes (the cookies are best slightly undercooked).  Let rest for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a cooling rack.

OK - so this weekend has been a baking weekend for sure!  This is my third recipe from this weekend's trials - this one is a keeper for sure!  Very moist and great flavor!  A brownie and cookie in one!  AND really, who can resist macadamia nuts and white chocolate?  Killer!!!!!!

Nutella Swirl Bundt Cake

123 a copy 1 600 - Copy

  • 1 1/2 sticks (171 g) unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 ml) good vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, (High Altitude use 4)
  • 3 cups (360 g) flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (High Altitude use 1 1/4)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (High Altitude use 1)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces (340 g) plain Greek yogurt, (Kirsten used 5 oz. sour cream + 7 oz. plain yogurt)
  • 3/4 cup (220 g) Nutella, warmed slightly in the microwave for better spreading
  • confectioners sugar
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 10 inch (12 cup) bundt pan, set aside.
  2. In a bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar on medium speed. About 4 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well. Don’t forget to scrape the bowl. Add vanilla.
  5. Mix in the yogurt until well incorporated.
  6. Slowly add the flour mixture until well combined. Don’t over mix!
  7. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Spread 1/2 of the warmed Nutella evenly over the batter. Pour half of the remaining batter over the Nutella layer and spread with the left over Nutella. Pour the rest off the batter in the pan. Swirl the batter evenly with a knife.
  8. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Mine took 45 minutes on 350 F Convection.
  9. Let cool in the pan and dust lightly with confectioners before serving. Enjoy!
High Altitude adjustment are provided for 6500 feet.
Tried this one today for my family dinner too - rave reviews on this one and even I liked it!  Very moist - I used all Greek yogurt.  Definitely adding this to the list of "make it agains".  Did one very stupid thing - I put the plastic container of Nutella in the microwave to "melt" the remaining Nutella since I was finishing off the jar and caused the microwave to spark due to left over foil bits on the top from the seal - kind of "blonde moment" if you will.  I don't recommend doing that! :))
Very easy to remove from the pan too!  


If the word “butter” is in the title, you know it’s gonna be good!
1 tsp vanilla extract
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting
1 - 18 oz box moist chocolate cake mix
1 - 8 oz brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
1 stick butter, room temperature


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and gooey. Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
Just tried these for a family dinner today.   While I was not a big fan (too rich for me), the boys LOVED them!  Super fast and easy (except you have to allow time for chillin' in the fridge).  

Monday, March 5, 2012

Blueberry Pancakes

1/4 cup whole grain pancake mix
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup water 
2 T Greek yogurt
1 T sugar free syrup

Mix first three ingredients together- cook pancake in frying pan sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with yogurt and syrup.  A surprising yummy combination!  (For my meal plan, added a protein shake).