Peanut Butter Cookies

I am really excited for this year! For some reason, it feels different…but I’m not sure why. Lots of thoughts rolling around in my head right now though. I hope to do some traveling, plan a few camping trips, and I want to run another half marathon. Completing a half last year was really challenging but it was totally worth it. Perhaps I am being too ambitious but I guess only time will tell. :)

I’m also in my second week of taking a nutrition class at the City College! So far, it’s really fun and interesting. We’ve learned a lot about the 6 classes of nutrients, the difference between calories from fat vs. calories from carbohydrates, and a few types of studies that are commonly used for nutritional research.

You might be thinking…Duh, Steph, everyone knows this stuff. LAME. Well, not meeee! I read a lot about nutrition in my free time but I really wanted to start from the basics and dig deeper into the subject. The science behind what we eat and how it effects ours bodies is just fascinating.

Which brings me to….peanut butter + cookie dough = magical. Scientific research says Trust me.

Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

Good ol’ fashioned peanut butter cookies are. simply. the best. They are crispy on the outside and super chewy once you take a bite. This recipe makes a large batch but you can easily cut it in half if needed.

Let’s start 2014 off with a full batch, shall we?

If you have any fun goals/plans for 2014 that you’d like to share, please do!

Recipe adapted from All Recipes.

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies
 
Serves: 3.5 dozen

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 Cups crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Sticks unsalted butter, softened at room temp
  • 3 Cups flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt

Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugars, and peanut butter using a hand held mixer. Then mix in the eggs and vanilla extract.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet batter a little bit at a time while mixing in between.
  3. Once all of the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, put the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  4. When the dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I usually use two sheets so that i can switch them out of the oven more quickly).
  5. Roll dough into 1.5 inch balls. Place the dough balls on the lined baking sheet. Using a fork, flatten the dough ball by forming a criss cross. make sure there are about 2 inches between each cookie.
  6. Bake cookies for 10-12 mins or until the edges and bottom of the cookie are golden brown.
  7. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes and then move to a cookie rack to cool completely.

 

Chocolate Nutella Cookies

It’s that time of the year again…cookie season! And my favorite way to kick it off is by participating in the Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap hosted by The Little Kitchen and Love and Olive Oil. This is my third year participating and I feel like it just gets better and better every year! Here are my cookies from Year 1 and Year 2 if any of you are curious.

The way it works: Food bloggers sign up online and then we receive 3 matches. We then make 3 dozen of the same cookie and send out 1 dozen to each match. In return, we get 3 different types of cookies (1 dozen each) from 3 other bloggers. It’s pretty amazing, especially when you have hundreds of bloggers participating from all over the world!

Also, this year Julie and Lindsay got some great sponsors who matched our donations, and we ended up raising over $13,000 for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer! I’d say it was a huge success!! :)

Chocolate Nutella Cookie Recipe

These cookies are chewy and chocolatey with a rich nutella undertone. Holiday baking with Nutella is a must!

If you’re looking for an easy, delicious cookie to whip up, give this recipe a try. It’s fantastic! For another twist, you could omit the powdered sugar and sprinkle on some sea salt to make it a salted nutella cookie :)

Also, does anyone have any great holiday cookie suggestions? I’d love to add them to my list!

Chocolate and Nutella Cookies

I received delicious cookies from Valentina (The Baking Fairy), Justine (Cooking & Beer), and Stacey (Treats 4 Ta-Tas). It’s always fun to get packages, and when they’re cookies, it’s even better! I had them delivered to my office so it was awesome to be able to share all the treats with my colleagues.

I hope Erin (Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts), Renee (Kudos Kitchen by Renee), and Corinne (Reverberations) enjoyed these chocolate nutella cookies! Sorry I didn’t include the powdered sugar on them…I didn’t think it would look too great when they arrived haha.

Recipe only slightly adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, gently packed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Nutella
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • Powdered Sugar for garnish

Instructions
  1. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Using a hand held mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together until the mixture is creamy. Then mix in the vanilla extract and nutella.
  3. Pour half of the flour mixture into the butter/nutella bowl and mix until everything is incorporated. Add the milk and then the second half of the flour mix. Mix well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, and place the cookie mix in the fridge for at least 15 mins.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball.
  6. Place the balls on the sheet and press down on each one (using your hands or the bottom of a glass cup) until the balls are flat, disks aka cookie shaped :)
  7. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until the the edges start to set. Remove cookies from oven and let sit on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. Once completely cooled, dust cookies with powdered sugar.

 

Sausage Apple and Sage Stuffing

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! And I can’t wait. It’s my favorite holiday by far…you don’t have to stress about getting people gifts, friends and families get to spend quality time together, and then you just eat and eat and eat until you want to pass out and nap. Who could ask for more?

Sage Apple Sausage Stuffing

One of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes is stuffing. I guess it’s technically called dressing if you don’t cook it inside the turkey…but that sounds like salad dressing and it’s confusing, right? So let’s stick to calling it “stuffing” even though it’s baked in a casserole dish.

This stuffing is sourdough heaven. It has a slight apple tang, a hearty flavor from the sausage, and then a heavy  drizzle of browned butter and fried sage.

Can we talk about combining browned butter and sage for a minute? It produces the most amazing aroma ever. If you’ve never tried this, do it…you won’t regret it.

Sausage Stuffing with Apples and Sage

This recipe will make enough to feed 8-10 people. You pack it down into a 9×13 inch casserole dish and then bake it until the top is nice and crispy. It’s also really easy to make! The hardest part is slicing the bread into 1 inch cubes (why don’t I have a sharper bread knife for this?!).

The apple/sausage/sage combo is a fantastic alternative to your traditional stuffing recipe. Plus, if you’re not cooking for a big group, leftovers tastes just as delicious when heated up the next day!

Stuffing with Sausage Apple and Sage

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? 6 more days until Thanksgiving! :)

Sausage, Apple, and Sage Stuffing
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Loaf of sourdough bread
  • 1 Lb sausage, removed from casing, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 Green apples, peeled and diced into 1/2-1 in cubes
  • 1 Yellow onion, diced
  • 4 Stalks of celery, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 Heaping tablespoon of fresh sage, minced (about 8-10 leaves)
  • 1 Stick butter
  • 1 Can of chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. The Night before: Cut bread into 1 inch cubes the night before and leave in bowl to dry out.*
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Place bread cubes on a baking sheet (spread evenly) and bake for 5-10 mins to dry out the bread.
  4. In a large skillet, melt 5 tbs of the butter over medium to medium-high heat. Add the chopped celery, onions, and apples and cook until the apples and celery are softened (about 10 mins).
  5. In a very large bowl, combine the apple/celery/onion mixture, the bread cubes, and the sausage together.
  6. Using the same pan that you cooked the celery in, melt the remaining 3 tbs butter over medium high heat. Add the minced sage.
  7. Swirl the pan so that the butter doesn’t burn but keep cooking it until you start to see brown bits and the butter is golden brown–you must watch this carefully as browned butter can turn into burnt butter quickly!
  8. Drizzle the sage/brown butter combo over the stuffing and stir to incorporate.
  9. Mix in the chicken broth a little at a time until the stuffing is nice and moist.
  10. Add a generous sprinkle of salt and some pepper to taste.
  11. Pour everything into a lightly buttered 9×13 casserole dish. Push down the mixture lightly to condense it a little bit.
  12. Pop into the oven for 30-40 or until the stuffing is heated through and the top is crispy.

Notes
*If you don’t have time to dry out the bread cube the night before, just toast the cubes a little longer in the oven.

 

 

Sriracha Mac and Cheese Baked

Mac and cheese is quite possibly one of my favorite comfort foods. And hot sauce? Hot sauce is my best friend. This sriracha mac and cheese has it all.

For many of you, autumn has arrived and pumpkin spice everything is everywhere. Leaves are probably turning all of those pretty fall colors. But in San Francisco? It’s summertime! For about 2-3 months out of the year, we get some warmth and sun in this foggy city. And even though I’m soaking it up while it lasts, I’m starting to crave those cold weather comfort foods. Ergo, sriracha mac and cheese.

Sriracha is added into the cheesy béchamel sauce and then extra hot suace is also drizzled on top right before serving. Spicy perfection!

Sriracha Bechamel for Mac and Cheese

I got this idea from my friend Cassie who is awesome at whipping up great meals. She invited a huge group of us over and made multiple batches of this good stuff. It was so delicious that I had to make some myself. The subtle sweetness from the green onions rounds out the spicy kick in the sauce. But I also threw in a diced jalapeño for good measure.

Spicy Sriracha Bechamel for Mac and Cheese

This recipe calls for whole wheat macaroni but that’s only because I predicted that I would be eating a lot of the dish myself (which I did!) and I didn’t want to feel THAT guilty. Of course, if you’re not a fan of whole wheat, regular macaroni will work perfectly.

Sriracha Mac and Cheese Recipe

Hot sauce. Cheese. Crispy bread crumb topping, More hot sauce. More cheese. Pasta.

I mean, what else is there to say? :) Happy Friday!

Sriracha Mac and Cheese

 

Sriracha Mac and Cheese
 
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients
  • 1 Lb whole wheat elbow macaroni (can use regular elbow macaroni if you’d like)
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons All-Purpose flour
  • 4 Cups whole milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 medium jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 4-5 Tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce (3 if you want it milder)
  • 1 Cup green onions, sliced
  • 3 Cups of shredded sharp white cheddar cheese (I got a 12oz bag and it was the perfect amount). Extra is always encouraged though :)
For the Bread Crumb Topping
  • 1/2 Cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 Cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
For Garnish
  • Sriracha hot sauce
  • Sliced green onions

Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta about 1-2 minutes less according to the package (the pasta will finish cooking in the oven). Drain the pasta and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. In a large pot melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and combine until it’s lightly bubbling and just starting to smell a little nutty.
  4. Whisk in the milk, 1 cup at a time, and turn the heat up to medium. Let the milk come to a simmer so that it can thicken up a bit. (A great way to tell if it’s thick enough is if it coats the back of a wooden spoon and it doesn’t run down the spoon).
  5. After the mixture has thickened, add the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, jalapeño, and sriracha. (Add more or less sriracha to your liking–remember you will also top off the dish with more sriracha!).
  6. Remove from heat and mix in 3 cups of cheese, 1 cup at a time. Then stir in the green onions.
  7. Put the pasta into a 9×13 in baking dish and then pour the cheese sauce over it. Incorporate everything together with a spoon.
  8. Mix the panko and plain bread crumbs together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and then pour over the breadcrumbs. Mix well and then spread evenly across the top of the pasta and cheese.
  9. Place baking dish in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly and the bread crumbs start to turn golden.
  10. Drizzle extra sriracha and sprinkle some green onions over each plate before serving.

 

I was recently given the opportunity to work with Biscoff and create a recipe with their ridiculously delicious Biscoff Cookie Spreads. Let’s just say that I’ve been eating this stuff non-stop, and I could eat 10 more jars. No questions asked. I love Biscoff cookies but have never really tried the spreads. I was missing out–this stuff is addicting! I’ve been spreading it on crackers, eating it with apples, and just straight out of the jar via giant spoons. Someone help me. I normally don’t even like to eat too much sweet stuff at one time but what’s not to love about cookies in the form of a spread?! Genius.

And I could also make 10 more batches of this Biscoff apple crisp! But wait, it get’s better. Biscoff caramel sauce also happened. And it’s the most amazing caramel sauce ever!!! I hinted about it on Instagram but no one was able to guess that the secret ingredient was Biscoff :) The sauce makes the perfect topping for ice cream or frozen yogurt and it’s awesome to dip apples in. I also brought the left overs into the office and we’ve been making Biscoff caramel lattes with it (video by my colleague Peppe)! To top it off, you can also drizzle it over a batch of Biscoff apple crisp.

It’s really easy to make too. The most important thing is to watch the sugar at the beginning because sugar can burn and crystallize very easily. Creamy Biscoff Spread is then slightly melted and whisked into the caramel at the very end.

Apple crisp will always have a special place in my heart because it’s one of the first dishes I ever made in my high school’s Food and Nutrition class. That was the only cooking class I’ve ever taken, and I’m so glad I learned so many basic skills that I still use everyday when cooking. I love making apple crisp because it’s simple to whip up, tastes fantastic, and can easily serve a big group. Adding a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream on top doesn’t hurt either.

This apple crisp has the crunchy version of the Biscoff Spread added to the topping which gives the crisp such a wonderful and warm flavor. When baking the apple crisp, I like to maintain a (very slight) crunch factor in the apples themselves so I take the crisp out after about 30 minutes in the oven. If you like your apples in the crisp completely softened, bake it a few minutes longer and test by piercing an apple slice with a fork.

Also, Biscoff is currently running a “Spread the Love” photo contest! If you love Biscoff Spread, submit a picture of how you enjoy it for a chance to win a trip for 2 to Belgium!

Does anyone have any favorite recipes with Biscoff Spread? I’ve love hear so please share!

Biscoff Caramel Sauce 

  • 1 Cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cubed
  • 1 Cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1/4 Cup creamy Biscoff Cookie Spread, heated just sliiiightly warmer than room temp.
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  1. Heat sugar on medium to medium-high heat in a tall sauce pan while constantly stirring with a wooden spoon.
  2. Stir until the sugar is melted and turning a dark amber color (this could take anywhere from 3-10 minutes depending on your stove/heat level so watch closely! It can burn quickly but a little smoke is ok).
  3. Once the sugar is ready, remove from heat and wait about 30 seconds.Then give it a stir and whisk in the butter. The mixture will bubble up so this is where using a tall sauce pan comes in handy.
  4. Once the butter and sugar are melted and incorporated, slowly pour in the heavy cream while constantly whisking.
  5. After everything is mixed together, stir in the softened Biscoff Spread and a pinch of salt.
  6. Then let caramel cool in the pot for about 10-15 minutes–you can stir it a little throughout this time. You can then transfer the sauce to a jar to cool to room temp before storing. You can store the sauce in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Biscoff Apple Crisp 

  • 5 Medium-sized Granny Smith apples
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

For the topping:

  • 1 Cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 Cup flour
  • 1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Crunchy Biscoff Spread
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (slightly warmer than room temperature)
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Optional: Biscoff caramel sauce (Recipe above)
  1. Slice the apples into 1 inch slices and then place them in a 9×13 baking dish. You can peel or leave the skin on, it’s up to you! 
  2. Pour lemon juice evenly over the apples and toss or mix with your hands.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg together until they are well incorporated.
  4. Melt the butter and let it cool until it is slightly warmer than room temperature. Add the Crunchy Biscoff Spread to the butter and mix until they are combined (leaving cookie chunks from the crunchy spread is fine). 
  5. Pour the butter/Biscoff mix over the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is mixed together. 
  6. Then spread the oats/biscoff mixture over the top of the apples–it’s ok (and a good thing!) if the topping goes between the apples.
  7. Place dish in oven and bake for about 30 mins or until the apples are softened. To make sure you don’t over cook the apples, you can test by sticking a fork in a slice to see how soft it is. 
  8. Once the crisp is cooked, remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Serve with homemade Biscoff caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. 

Biscoff Spread is a sweet, creamy spread made with Biscoff Cookies. Try this delicious European alternative to peanut butter or chocolate spread. Upload your Biscoff Spread photo to enter Biscoff’s “Spread the Love” contest for a chance to win a trip for 2 to Belgium!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Biscoff . The opinions and text are all mine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Biscoff .  The opinions and text are all mine.

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