Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe comes out of the Joy the Baker cookbook. I know, you’re thinking, another chocolate chip cookie but the thing that intrigued me about this recipe was the addition of some more uncommon ingredients, like molasses. I made it my own by adding in nonfat milk powder like I have been doing in all my other baked goods, which just pushed it over the top. This cookie was super delicious and while it was slightly more involved than some of my chocolate chip cookies it was totally worth it.

  • 1 cup (2 sticks), plus 1 tablespoon of butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 heaping teaspoon nonfat dry milk powder, optional
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Brown 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat in a shallow sauce pan, stirring constantly. Once browned, transfer to a bowl and stick in the fridge or freezer to cool off. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the remaining 1 stick of butter with sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and molasses and beat until incorporated. Once the brown butter has cooled slightly (I found it had cooled enough in the freezer that by the time I had mixed in the ingredients preceding this), add to the mixer along with the brown sugar and mix for about 2 minutes. Add in the egg and yolk and beat for 1 more minute. Add in your dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated, then add in your chocolate chips and pecans. Cover the bowl and refrigerate while your oven preheats to 375. Once the oven has preheated, line your baking sheets with parchment paper. I used my 2 tablespoon scoop and got 24 cookies. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating halfway, until the cookies are lightly browned on the outside, but still a little soft in the center. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then move them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

*If you are like me and are wanting to bake cookies but don’t have softened butter, just grate your butter straight out of the fridge with a cheese grater. You will almost instantly have softened butter!

Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins

I am one of those people that loves having buttermilk in the fridge, but can never seem to use all of it before it expires. Such a happenstance occurred last month and I googled the best way to use up a lot of buttermilk. This recipe popped up because it uses a whole cup of buttermilk and who doesn’t love a blueberry muffin. This recipe is a winner in so many ways, but I think my favorite part is the way these muffins bake up. Because you fill it to the top of the pan with batter, you get this beautiful looking muffin that you can’t help but want to eat.

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons nonfat dry milk powder*
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • coarse sparkling sugar to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a standard size muffin tin with parchment paper liners and spray each one with nonstick spray for baking (If the muffins are just for your family to save time just generously spray your muffin tin with baking spray). In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nonfat dry milk powder. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually mix the buttermilk into the flour mixture, stirring gently and being careful not to over-mix. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter. Use a large scoop to divide the batter evenly into each muffin well. They will be filled to the very top. Sprinkle generously with sparkling sugar! Bake for 22-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

*I have started adding nonfat dry milk powder to all my baked goods and it adds just a little something something to my desserts. It is entirely optional though so if you don’t have any the muffins will still be delicious.

Hot Buttered Churro Cheerios

I am always on the lookout for new finger foods to make for my kids to snack on. I love to munch on plain Cheerios, but when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. I made the first batch yesterday and it was gone in under an hour. My youngest made it into a cereal and my teenage son and his friend just ate it by the handful. It is also incredibly versatile. This recipe calls for cinnamon sugar, but you could easily make a savory version with a ranch packet, or a pumpkin pie version with pumpkin pie spice instead of just cinnamon.

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups Cheerios
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Add in the vanilla, then the Cheerios. Stir and cook for 5 minutes, or until the cereal is nicely toasted. Once toasted, pour the cereal into a large bowl and toss in the cinnamon sugar.

Bulldog Brittle

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE baking shows. It’s one of my favorite things about Christmas time; there are so many holiday themed baking shows to enjoy. This past Christmas Food Network had a Kid’s Holiday Baking Championship special, and on it, one of the contestants made bulldog brittle. According to this girl, it’s a Georgian speciality, hence bulldog (the bulldog being University of Georgia’s mascot). It looked so simple and the judges raved about it so I knew I needed to try it. I found a couple recipes online and decided to use all butter and white sugar to make mine. Some recipes call for a stick of margarine and a stick of butter, some called for brown sugar, but I knew I didn’t want a toffee flavor in this brittle so white sugar was the winner. All in all I was really happy with this recipe. It would make a great gift for teachers or holiday goodie bags.

  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 box graham crackers

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 10×15 rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lay out your graham crackers, filling as much of the pan as possible. In a saucepan, melt your butter over medium heat. After the butter is melted, add in your sugar, stirring constantly. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for two minutes. Take the mixture off the heat and add in the pecans. With a large spoon, spoon the mixture of the graham crackers, trying to get it as evenly distributed as possible. Bake for 10-12 minutes. When it looks caramelized and gooey, take the pan out of the oven and let it cool completely. Break into pieces and serve once completely cooled.

Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

I was having a couple of friends over for a little get together and wanted to have some protein to snack on. In the past I have gone to my crockpot smokies recipe, but I had meatballs in the freezer and wanted to try something different. I found this recipe on Pinterest and it sounded too good so I knew I had to try it. I’m glad to say that it was a success and I really liked that the sauce made by the cranberry and chili sauce was nice and thick and didn’t need a cornstarch slurry like my smokies recipe sometimes does. Another bonus is this recipe comes together so quickly and lives in the crockpot til you are ready to serve so it’s great for entertaining.

  • 14-oz can cranberry sauce 
  • 12 oz bottle chili sauce 
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 lb bag of homestyle meatballs, frozen

Pour your meatballs into a medium size crockpot. Combine the sauce ingredients in bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6-8.

Crockpot Mexican Shredded Beef

I have a bunch of chuck roasts in my freezer and was looking for something different than my usual Mississippi Roast to make with them, so it was off to Pinterest! I found this shredded beef recipe and it was a winner for everyone. It would be great in a rice bowl, on nachos, or in tacos. I tweaked the recipe a little bit because I was missing a couple of ingredients but I’ll note those substitutions at the bottom. Recipe and photo courtesy of asouthernsoul.com.

  • 3 pound beef chuck roast
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 ounce can green chilies
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Layer sliced onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place chuck roast on top of onions. Sprinkle chopped garlic around the side of the beef. In a small bowl, add green chilies, chopped chipotle, beef broth, vinegar, and lime juice, whisk together then pour over the roast. Sprinkle the top of the roast with cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Place lid on the slow cooker and set the timer to 8 hours for low OR on high for 4 hours. When the roast is done, remove it from the slow cooker and shred using 2 forks. Drain off 3/4 of the liquid from the pot. Add shredded beef back into the pot and gently toss with remaining juice. Serve immediately.

*I didn’t have chipotles or green chiles, so I left out the chipotles and substituted 1/2 a cup of salsa verde for the diced green chiles and it turned out great.

How To: Thin Crust Pizza Dough

This recipe is very similar to my other pizza dough recipe, but it makes less dough, and you don’t proof it before baking. This leads to a nice, thin crust that bakes up well and holds up to multiple toppings.

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water, about 110°
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour*

Preheat oven to 450°. In a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer, mix together yeast, water and sugar and allow to sit for 10 minutes until foamy**. Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture.  Then, using the dough hook on your stand mixer, or a sturdy spoon if using a bowl, mix in the flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough has started to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If using a stand mixer, mix the dough with the dough hook for 3 minutes on medium speed until the dough has completely pulled away from the sides and is smooth.  If you are not using a stand mixer, place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Shape the dough into one ball, and slice in half evenly. At this point you can roll out both balls of dough for two 10 -12-inch pizzas. Or, store the remaining dough in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or the freezer for up to one month. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface and transfer to prepared pan.  At this point you can add whatever toppings you like and bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the size of your pizza.

*All purpose flour is fine too if that’s all you have in the house!

**I use instant yeast so you can just add all the ingredients to the bowl and proceed with mixing.

Butter Dijon Parmesan Chicken

This is another quick and easy meal that is simple and delicious and can pair with any side dish you can think of. Even my family who doesn’t like mustard likes this chicken.

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • honey for drizzle if desired

Preheat oven to 400°; if you have a convection feature in your oven it will help brown the crumbs. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment, then spray with cooking spray. Pat dry and trim any extra fat off the chicken thighs. Melt your butter in a microwave safe bowl, then mix in the dijon mustard. Combine the panko, parmesan, salt and pepper in another bowl. Coat the chicken thighs in the butter/dijon mixture, then into the panko mixture. Place the chicken on the prepared sheet then spray the tops with more cooking spray to help with crisping. Bake for 25-30 minutes until coating is crispy and brown and the internal temp is 165. Drizzle with honey if desired and serve with your favorite side.

Apple Butter Cookies

Every October we go to our local pumpkin patch to get pumpkins for the house. Some years we carve them, some years we don’t, but we always pick up a couple of jars of apple butter while we are there. I was in the mood to make some cookies the other day and found this recipe. These cookies are so good, slightly chewy with a wonderful apple butter flavor. My oldest son called them a national treasure, so I knew it was a winner.

  • 1/4 cup butter, I used salted
  • 1/4 cup apple butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar, for rolling

Cream together butter, apple butter, and sugar. Mix in egg, and vanilla. Mix until well combined. In a medium bowl, combine cinnamon, flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until dough forms. Place into fridge and chill for 2 hours. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°. Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, roll cookies into a ball and roll each ball in cinnamon sugar. Place cookies onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes, or until the bottoms have started to brown. Move baked cookies to wire rack to cool. 

PB&J Scones

Another scone recipe! Are you ready? If you are like the rest of my family and not as excited about scones as I am that’s okay, I have enough excitement for all of us. This scone had the perfect balance of peanut butter to jam, although I would recommend using a thicker jam, a la Bonne Marie, so it doesn’t get lost in the center.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold, salted butter, preferably frozen
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/4 cup jam of choice

Preheat oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Set aside. Grate the frozen butter on a box cheese grater, then mix into your dry ingredients. Add in the peanut butter chips. In a medium bowl whisk together 1/2 cup heavy cream and peanut butter. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix the dough together using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It should have a slightly dry texture and hold together, but not be crumbly. Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of cream if the dough seems too dry. Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and make two balls. Flatten each ball into a circle about 2/3 of an inch thick. Spread a layer of jam onto the bottom disk, making sure to leave about 1/2 an inch border around the outside edge of the circle. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden.