Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Almond Butter Cups

Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Almond Butter Cups | cookiemonstercooking.com

Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Almond Butter Cups | cookiemonstercooking.com

I know, I know.  You can just buy peanut butter cups at the store.  But can you buy dark chocolate and pistachio almond butter cups???  I have never seen such a delicious treat so clearly I needed to just go ahead and make them myself.  {Although if anyone has seen something along those lines please share so I can go check them out … and have even more candy in the house.  On second thought, don’t tell me.}

So with Easter coming up I figured it would be fun to share a recipe for homemade candy.  Because as much as I kid, we all know that I prefer to make things myself anyway.  And these almond butter cups?  They only have a few ingredients … and you can pronounce every single one.  Plus, they are easy – nothing complicated here.

Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Almond Butter Cups | cookiemonstercooking.com

And one of these with a cup of tea at night can make any day better.  I have a bad habit of getting on the internet and researching medical ailments anytime I have an itch or cough or obsessively think I have new mole (it’s never new).  Which leads to me convincing myself I am dying of something or other.  Which then leads to a giant flip out over nothing … some yelling at my husband since he tells me I’m fine and I don’t believe him … you know, total awesomeness.  Hypochondriac much?

Anyway, I may done this the week I made these almond butter cups.  Hot tea + almond butter cups = a cure for all made up sicknesses.  As does a visit to the doctor who also confirms that your husband was indeed correct.  Oops.  But we won’t dwell on that fact.

Decadent dark chocolate, creamy almond butter and a little saltiness from some crunchy pistachios.  I mean, you just can’t go wrong.

Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Almond Butter Cups | cookiemonstercooking.com

And dark chocolate is totally healthy, right?  Just go ahead and nod your head in agreement.

Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Almond Butter Cups

Yield: 12 cups

Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Almond Butter Cups

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped and divided
  • ½ cup creamy almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil or melted butter, if needed
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachios, chopped

Instructions

  1. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  2. Add half of the chocolate to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50 percent power for 30 second intervals until the chocolate is completely melted, stirring after each. Alternatively, use a double boiler to melt the chocolate.
  3. Using a small spoon or a cookie scoop (my preference!), evenly distribute the melted chocolate in the prepared tins. Gently drop the pan on the counter several times if needed to help flatten and smooth the chocolate out so it is in an even layer. Transfer the pan to the freezer and let firm up for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, using either a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat together the almond butter, 2 tablespoons butter and confectioners’ sugar until nice and smooth. If your mixture isn’t completely smooth, add in the vegetable oil (or melted butter) and beat again (I needed to do this). When the chocolate is ready, remove the pan from the freezer. Drop small spoonfuls of the almond butter mixture on top of the chocolate, use a small spoon to help spread it out if needed and again drop the pan on the counter several times to help flatten/smooth it out. Transfer the pan back to the freezer and let firm up for another 15 minutes.
  5. Melt the remaining half of the chocolate using the same method described above. When ready, remove the pan from the freezer. Working 2 to 3 cups at a time, drop even portions of the chocolate on top of the almond butter layer. Quickly drop the pan on the counter several times to even out the chocolate (since it is so cold it will harden much faster this time). Immediately sprinkle the tops with some of the chopped pistachios. Repeat with the remaining cups. Freeze the pan once again for 15 minutes or until the chocolate is completely set.

Notes

I prefer to store these in the refrigerator in an airtight container. We like to eat them chilled but you can definitely let them come to room temperature before serving. Just depends on your own preference!

This is one of those recipes that I think the quality of chocolate makes a difference. The better chocolate you use, the better they will taste!

These are not super duper sweet with the dark chocolate (they are definitely sweet but you catch my drift). Use semi-sweet or milk chocolate if you prefer instead.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/04/16/dark-chocolate-pistachio-almond-butter-cups/

Source:
Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking. Originally from Fifteen Spatulas.

 

Orange Chocolate Chip Bread with Brown Butter Glaze

Orange Chocolate Chip Bread with Brown Butter Glaze | cookiemonstercooking.com

Orange Chocolate Chip Bread with Brown Butter Glaze | cookiemonstercooking.com

I’m all about the citrus lately … in case that wasn’t already blatantly obvious.  Which even surprises me, considering about two years ago I hated (like with a serious passion) any type of citrus in baked goods.  Sure, I have always loved fruit but in cookies or cake and the like?  I don’t think so jack.  Clearly the times have changed.

So today I have for you an orange chocolate chip quick bread.  No mixer required.  Just some bowls, a whisk and a spatula.  And a quick bread means you can eat it for breakfast right?

That may have been the case if I didn’t go right ahead and smother it in a brown butter glaze.  And oh goodness gracious this glaze.  I would just drizzle it straight into my mouth all the time if that wouldn’t give my dentist a heart attack.

Orange Chocolate Chip Bread with Brown Butter Glaze | cookiemonstercooking.com

And I have the best dentist so I wouldn’t want to do that.  So side story – the first time I went to this dentist after we moved here they were asking all about me and what I did and I mentioned this blog.  It has become a huge conversation topic during each visit and a few weeks ago while I was having two old cavities replaced I mentioned the lemon poppy seed cupcakes.  Within seconds, some of the other staff materialized in the room and wanted to know why I didn’t bring any for them to sample.  It was pretty entertaining.  But really, is it a good idea to bring cupcakes to your dentist??  That are made of lots of sugar??

Anyway, my husband went in for his check-up a week later and all they wanted to talk about was the cupcakes.  Ha!  Who’s more popular?  This girl, that’s for sure.  Why I care that my dentist likes me more than my husband I don’t know.  Let’s just go with it.

Orange Chocolate Chip Bread with Brown Butter Glaze | cookiemonstercooking.com

So make a loaf of this bread for yourself or maybe for Easter brunch, yes?  And if you find yourself licking some of the glaze with a spoon just let it happen (but don’t tell your dentist it was my idea).

Orange Chocolate Chip Bread with Brown Butter Glaze

Yield: 1 (8 ½ by 4 ½ inch) loaf

Orange Chocolate Chip Bread with Brown Butter Glaze

Ingredients

    For the bread:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil*
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • For the glaze:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • about 2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.**
  2. To make the bread - in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar and egg until well combined (it will clump together at first but just keep whisking and it will smooth out). Add in the vanilla, coconut oil, milk and orange zest and whisk again to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips. Do not over mix.
  3. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Bake for about 50 to 55 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean. If the top starts to brown too quickly, tent loosely with aluminum foil. Once the bread is cool enough to handle, gently run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the glaze - add the butter chunks to a small skillet. Let the butter melt over medium heat and then continue to cook, whisking frequently, until it begins to brown (this takes several minutes). You should see brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Once you see those bits, turn off the heat and continue to whisk constantly for about 30 seconds, until the butter is golden brown. Be careful not to burn the butter - those bits can turn black quickly.
  5. Transfer the browned butter to a small bowl (make sure you get all those caramel bits in the pan!). Let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes. Add in the confectioners’ sugar, milk, vanilla extract and salt and whisk to combine. Add more milk or confectioners’ sugar to achieve the consistency that you want. Pour the glaze over the completely cooled cake. Let set before slicing to serve.

Notes

*Make sure that you melt the coconut oil first and then measure out the correct amount (otherwise you may use too much). Alternatively, you can also substitute in canola or vegetable oil - they should both work fine here.

**If you only have a 9x5 inch loaf pan, you can go ahead and use it. However, be sure to check the loaf while baking about 5 minutes earlier than noted in the recipe above.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/04/11/orange-chocolate-chip-bread-brown-butter-glaze/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting | cookiemonstercooking.com

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting | cookiemonstercooking.com

It’s Monday again and well, Mondays call for cupcakes.  And let’s call these celebration cupcakes … for the fact that it may actually officially really be spring!  Yes, yes, I know that the official start of the season was a few weeks ago, but this was the first time that we had a string of slightly warmer days.

On that note, we finally went to the store this weekend and got all the goodies to start our garden.  So funny story.  We were merrily shopping away for our garden supplies when I realized I was supposed to be at a potluck brunch thing that I do with my friends every few weeks.

I somehow managed to put it on my calendar for Sunday (not Saturday).  Which set off my crazy mode – you know, dashing to get out of the store, get home, finding something to bring (since I didn’t make my planned contribution because I thought it was the next day) and finally winding up grabbing a bag of cookie dough balls from the freezer.  Thank goodness for cookie dough, right?  Saves the day.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting | cookiemonstercooking.com

So do you see why I need a cupcake on this Monday?  I was frazzled mcdazzled.  And then it carried through the rest of the weekend because all the things I scheduled were now flipped around.

And my type-A personality can’t handle that kind of funny business.  Which brings me to cupcakes.  These cupcakes will make any day better.  I took my favorite favorite favorite vanilla base and jazzed it up a bit with lemon and poppy seeds.  They are light, tender and well, pretty perfect.

And then there’s the frosting.  A blueberry cream cheese frosting.  With just a hint of blueberry flavor from fresh blueberry puree, it pairs deliciously with the slightly lemon base.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting | cookiemonstercooking.com

Cupcake Monday.  I think it should be a thing.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: about 22 cupcakes

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes with Blueberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

    For the cupcakes:
  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the frosting:
  • 6 ounces fresh blueberries
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, chilled
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 ½ to 5 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Garnish ideas:
  • lemon zest
  • fresh blueberries
  • poppy seeds

Instructions

  1. To make the cupcakes - preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the poppy seeds and give it a quick stir. In another medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingers to rub them together until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add in the butter. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, until it is very light. Add in the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add in one third of the flour mixture. Next, add in half of the buttermilk mixture, beating until incorporated. Repeat this process, one third flour mixture, remaining half buttermilk mixture. Finally add in the remaining third of the flour mixture. Once incorporated, increase the speed to medium low and beat for 2 minutes, to ensure it is well aerated. Fill the prepared cupcake tins evenly with the batter (about ⅔ of the way full).
  4. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
  5. To make the frosting - add the blueberries to the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the skins, using a wooden spoon to help push it through. Measure out ¼ cup of the strained puree and set aside (any extra you can discard).
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and butter. Beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar (start with the 4 ½ cups) to the bowl in several batches, beating on low / medium-low until combined (it will be very stiff at this point). Add in the ¼ cup blueberry puree, vanilla and salt. Start on low then increase the speed to medium high and beat for another 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the bowl and beater blade as needed. If the frosting is not thick enough to pipe, add in additional sifted confectioners’ sugar to get it to your desired consistency (and beat again on medium high - I usually add the full 5 ½ cups since I prefer it to be stiffer when piping).
  7. Pipe the frosting on the cooled cupcakes as desired. Garnish as desired.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/04/07/lemon-poppy-seed-cupcakes-blueberry-cream-cheese-frosting/

Source:
Cupcake base adapted from my vanilla bean cupcakes, which were originally from Baking: From My Home to Yours. Frosting from Cookie Monster Cooking.

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies | cookiemonstercooking.com

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies | cookiemonstercooking.com

With brown butter.  Just go ahead and add that to the end of the title up there.  The length was getting a little crazy (and tongue-tying) so I cut it off.  The first clue was when my friends couldn’t repeat the title back to me after trying them … yeah, time to change the name.  But really it’s a super important part of these cookies, so we’ll just pretend it’s up there with the rest.

You don’t even want to know how many attempts it took to get these cookies just right … but it was soooo worth it.  Even the failed batches were delicious – although the amount we had in the house (and still have in the freezer) was / is borderline ridiculous.  So I started force-feeding them to friends.  Apparently I’ve turned into the crazy cookie lady.  But I promise they enjoyed them so it’s cool.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies | cookiemonstercooking.com

Kidding aside, these peanut butter chocolate chip pretzel cookies are incredibly good.

  1. They have that sweet and salty thing going on big time, which I just can’t get enough of lately.
  2. They are chewyyyy.  Essential.
  3. There’s the brown butter factor.  Which we just can’t overlook.  Whole different level of goodness I tell you.

If you’ve never browned butter, don’t be intimidated.  And don’t get too upset if you burn it the first time.  Ahem, I may have some first-hand experience in that department.  After you do it a time or two you get the hang of it … and then there is no turning back.  Your world will be changed.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies | cookiemonstercooking.com

So go make me proud and bake up a batch of sweet and salty cookie awesomeness.  Or just come raid my freezer … there’s plenty to go around.  I’ll share, promise.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

Yield: about 22 to 24 cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup roughly crushed pretzels

Instructions

  1. Cut the butter into chunks and add to a small skillet. Let the butter melt over medium heat and then continue to cook, whisking frequently, until it begins to brown (this takes several minutes). You should see brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Once you see those bits, turn off the heat and continue to whisk constantly for about 30 seconds, until the butter is golden brown. Be careful not to burn the butter - those bits can turn black quickly. Pour the butter into a bowl and let cool down so that it’s warm and not hot.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cooled brown butter and peanut butter. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Add in the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Beat on medium speed until smooth and completely blended. Add in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Beat again on medium until well combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the chocolate chips and pretzels. Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. When the dough is done chilling, scoop about 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of dough (I used my larger cookie scoop) and drop onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 to 3 inches apart. Sprinkle the tops lightly with some of the sea salt.
  5. Bake for about 9 to 10 minutes, until the cookies are set and the edges are a light golden brown (they may not look completely done but will continue to cook when you take them out). Let the cookies cool directly on the baking sheet for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack.

Notes

I don’t usually use natural peanut butter when baking but it’s all I’ve been buying lately and it worked fine for me with this recipe on numerous occasions.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/04/02/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-pretzel-cookies/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Polenta with Mascarpone Drizzle

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Polenta with Mascarpone Drizzle | cookiemonstercooking.com

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Polenta with Mascarpone Drizzle | cookiemonstercooking.com

Is it breakfast?  Or dessert?  Both??  I say eat it for whichever your heart desires.  For me, that was breakfast … and I enjoyed every last bite.  But seriously, I’ve been staring at my computer screen for about 10 minutes trying to decide which category this bowl of creamy polenta goodness fits into best … and I still haven’t made a decision.  I can be very indecisive. Just ask my husband, he’ll gladly verify that fact.

But polenta, let’s get back to the polenta.  Last year I made breakfast polenta for the first time and totally fell in love.  So I decided I should make some more … and really jazz it up.  Make it super snazzy.  You know, lots of dark chocolate, pistachios (because they are pretty) and to make it even more fun a mascarpone drizzle.  Yeah, that’s right, a mascarpone drizzle.  Awesome.

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Polenta with Mascarpone Drizzle | cookiemonstercooking.com

So this dish isn’t quite as in-your-face sweet as a piece of cake, making it perfectly acceptable for breakfast (at least that’s what I told myself).  The dark chocolate melts into the warm, slightly sweet creamy polenta and then you get some crunch from the pistachios … and for the grand finale you finish it off with a mascarpone drizzle, which also sort of melts into the mixture.  Perfection.

But don’t drizzle the mascarpone sauce onto a super hot bowl of polenta and expect it to stay for pictures – that whole melting thing.  That’s what I get for being impatient and refusing to wait for it to cool down a bit to take photos … because I wanted it in my belly as soon as possible.

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Polenta with Mascarpone Drizzle | cookiemonstercooking.com

Dark chocolate. Pistachios. Mascarpone.  Go make it happen.

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Polenta with Mascarpone Drizzle

Yield: about 4 servings

Pistachio and Dark Chocolate Polenta with Mascarpone Drizzle

Ingredients

    For the polenta:
  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarse polenta (not instant or quick cooking)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the mascarpone drizzle:
  • 2 ounces mascarpone
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For topping:
  • dark chocolate chunks (or chopped dark chocolate)
  • shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. To make the polenta - add the milk, water and salt to a medium saucepan. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a low simmer. Slowly pour in the polenta in an even stream, whisking constantly the entire time. Turn the heat down to low and partially cover with a lid. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, whisking every few minutes to get out any lumps (be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan). You want the polenta to thicken and have a creamy consistency. If it starts getting too thick, you can add in a little more milk (a tablespoon or so at a time).
  2. Meanwhile, to make the mascarpone drizzle - add the mascarpone, milk, maple syrup and vanilla to a small bowl. Whisk until well combined and smooth. Set aside.
  3. When the polenta is done cooking, remove from the heat and add in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
  4. Ladle the polenta into bowls. Top with some of the chocolate and pistachios. Drizzle with some of the mascarpone mixture. Serve immediately.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/21/pistachio-dark-chocolate-polenta-mascarpone-drizzle/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Boozy Brownie Pretzel Trifles

Boozy Brownie Pretzel Trifles | cookiemonstercooking.com

Boozy Brownie Pretzel Trifles | cookiemonstercooking.com

I’m back with more sweet and salty goodness.  Because it’s Friday and what better way to end the week than with another boozy dessert for St. Patty’s Day?  You can go right ahead and add these to your weekend plans … you certainly won’t regret it.

Plus these boozy brownie pretzel trifles are super easy … you can have them ready in no time flat.  Getting to eat dessert quicker = a huge bonus.

Boozy Brownie Pretzel Trifles | cookiemonstercooking.com

Now, I used some of the chocolate stout brownies to make these little guys, but feel free to use whatever brownie you would like.  Crush up some salty pretzels, whip up some fresh whipped cream and then layer layer layer.  And that’s it!  Then grab a big spoon and go to town.

Can I also just say how much fun it is to crush pretzels?  I personally like to add them to a baggie and then bang them up with a rolling pin or measuring cup.  I’m not exactly sure why I find this so amusing, but I had a grand old time doing it for this recipe.  And let’s be clear that it’s not to get out any pent up anger … I kinda hop around while doing it.  Thank goodness nine times out of ten no one is around when I do this.  If my husband is home, he kinda smirks / laughs and then walks away.  But seriously, it’s fun stuff.  I keep trying to convince him he needs to try it.  No such luck.  Lameeee.

Boozy Brownie Pretzel Trifles | cookiemonstercooking.com

So tell me about your weird kitchen habits … make me feel better about my strangeness.  And then we can eat some brownie trifles together in yoga pants because that’s how I roll.  Sounds like a plan, yes?

Boozy Brownie Pretzel Trifles

Yield: whipped cream for about 3 mini trifles, but varies

Boozy Brownie Pretzel Trifles

Ingredients

    For the whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon irish cream liqueur
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For assembling:
  • chocolate stout brownies, cut into small chunks*
  • pretzels, gently crushed

Instructions

  1. To make the whipped cream - add the heavy cream, sugar, irish cream and vanilla extract to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start with the mixer on low and then increase the speed to medium high. Whip until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat, or the mixture will look curdled.
  2. To assemble - place a few brownie chunks in the bottom of a small jar. Layer on some of the whipped cream, then some of the crushed pretzels. Repeat this process until the jar is full, ending with the pretzels.

Notes

* I used about 1 cup of chopped up brownies to make 3 small trifles. And while it may be obvious, I only used the brownies from the linked recipe (not the frosting!).

The amounts / servings here will just depend on the jars you are using. If you need more of something, just increase the amounts!

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/14/boozy-brownie-pretzel-trifles/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Chocolate Stout Brownies with Irish Cream Frosting

Chocolate Stout Brownies with Irish Cream Frosting | cookiemonstercooking.com

Chocolate Stout Brownies with Irish Cream Frosting | cookiemonstercooking.com

I’m finding it very hard not to lick my computer screen as I’m writing this.  I’m currently on a self-imposed sugar ban for a bit and frankly looking at these pictures is making it very difficult to hold on to my willpower.

I love dessert and while it’s not something I would ever give up, let’s just say that we were eating it a little too often for a time period there.  So I’m trying to take a step back for a bit and have only been having a cup of tea at night before bed.  It hasn’t been all that bad … until I went to edit these pictures.

Chocolate Stout Brownies with Irish Cream Frosting | cookiemonstercooking.com

Because the rich, fudgy brownies topped with a thick layer of creamy dreamy irish cream frosting staring back at me are not helping one little bit.  And seriously, these are crazy fudgy.  Not cake-like at all – more like a flourless chocolate cake even though there is flour involved.

Now let’s talk about the stout factor.  I said it about this chocolate stout cake and I’ll say it again about these.  You don’t actually taste the stout – it just really intensifies the chocolate flavor – making them outrageously chocolaty and obviously plate-licking good.

Chocolate Stout Brownies with Irish Cream Frosting | cookiemonstercooking.com

And did I mention that these are finished off with a dusting of sea salt?  A little salty, plenty sweet and boozy?   Now that’s one heck of a combination right there if I do say so myself.

Chocolate Stout Brownies with Irish Cream Frosting

Yield: about 16 brownies

Chocolate Stout Brownies with Irish Cream Frosting

Ingredients

    For the brownies:
  • ½ cup chocolate stout (regular works fine too!)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • For the frosting:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons irish cream liqueur
  • For finishing:
  • flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. To make the brownies - preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with aluminum foil (leaving an overhang on the sides) and then spray well with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Add the stout to a small saucepan. Bring the stout to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer until reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes (keep an eye on it - you don’t want it to burn - every so often I’ll gently swirl the pan). Set aside to cool.
  3. Cut the butter into chunks and then add to a heatproof bowl. Add in the chocolate chips. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water (don’t let the water actually touch the bowl) and stir occasionally until the mixture is completely melted and smooth.
  4. Carefully transfer the melted chocolate mixture to a medium bowl and let cool slightly (you want it to be warm to the touch). When warm, add in the sugar, vanilla, salt and reduced stout and mix until combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until just combined. Add in the flour and gently fold into the mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the surface of the brownies starts to crack. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely (don’t try to remove them until they are completely cool!). Once cool, lift out of the pan using the foil overhang. Set on a cutting board.
  6. To make the frosting - add the butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar. Once incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat until well combined. Add in the salt, vanilla and irish cream. Beat on low speed until incorporated and then increase the speed to high and beat for about 3 minutes, until fluffy.
  7. Spread the frosting in an even layer over the cooled brownies. Sprinkle lightly with some flaky sea salt. Cut into bars.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/12/chocolate-stout-brownies-irish-cream-frosting/

Source:
Brownies adapted from Foodie Crush. Originally from Bon Appetit. Frosting barely adapted from my irish cream cupcakes.

 

Healthier Carrot Cake Cookies

Healthier Carrot Cake Cookies | cookiemonstercooking.com

Healthier Carrot Cake Cookies | cookiemonstercooking.com

It’s Monday morning and we’re talking cookies.  Because cookies make everything better.  They will cheer you up from those Monday-morning-start-of-the-week blues.  If we’re being technical, it’s actually Sunday night as I’m writing this.  When that storm cloud settles in and you realize that the fun of the weekend is coming to a close.

You know, how you blew off all the work you should have done over the last two days to watch episode after episode of Chuck.  Seriously, I’m obsessed.  And because Netflix can be oh so bad for you.  Like how at the end of an episode you get that little timer thing that a new one will automatically start in 15 seconds.  And you have 15 seconds to decide that even though you should turn off the TV, instead you’ll just watch “one more.”  But one more, well, turns into more than one.  And so on.

I blame the automatic next episode feature.  Clearly it’s not my fault that they suck me in every single time and I don’t even have to touch my remote.

Healthier Carrot Cake Cookies | cookiemonstercooking.com

But I digress.  Cookies.  Healthier cookies!  Healthier carrot cake cookies!  That you can eat while watching way too many episodes of a new favorite show and not feel guilty about!  I mean, that’s a huge win right there.

These are basically just a slight twist on my healthier chocolate chip cookies that I made a few months back.  I tweaked the base recipe just a tad by altering the ratio of honey to maple syrup, making these a bit sturdier than the chocolate chip ones.  Because I’m a perfectionist and that always bothered me about my original recipe.

And then I went ahead and stuffed these with the good stuff – shredded carrots, plenty of juicy raisins, lots of coconut and a nice amount of spice.

Healthier Carrot Cake Cookies | cookiemonstercooking.com

So go ahead and enjoy one of these bad boys warm straight from the oven – with no guilt.  They will help beat even the worst of the Monday blues.

Healthier Carrot Cake Cookies

Yield: about 15 to 18 cookies

Healthier Carrot Cake Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour OR 1 cup almond meal*
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil**
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes (or shredded coconut)
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour (or almond meal), oats, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, honey, applesauce, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the raisins, coconut, pecans and shredded carrot.
  3. Scoop about 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of dough and drop onto the prepared cookie sheet (I used my large cookie scoop). Gently flatten the cookies slightly. You can space them pretty close together as they won’t really spread while baking. Bake for about 11 to 13 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool directly on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

*Make sure that you use either the whole wheat pastry flour OR the almond meal (do not use both!). It works great either way but the dough will be slightly wetter with the almond meal (again, it still works fine, just make sure you measure everything correctly).

**Melt the coconut oil first and then measure out the 3 tablespoons (otherwise you may use too much).

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/03/healthier-carrot-cake-cookies/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Pear Bread with Oatmeal Streusel

Pear Bread with Oatmeal Streusel | cookiemonstercooking.com

Pear Bread with Oatmeal Streusel | cookiemonstercooking.com

This recipe has been in the works for a long time.  We’re talking all the way back in September.  My best friend from college was getting married and all the girls were getting ready with the bride.  Her mom picked up a loaf of pear bread from the local farmers’ market and we pretty much demolished the thing – it was that good.  I vowed then that I needed to recreate this delicious hunk of bread as soon as possible and filed it away in my brain as a must-make for the blog.

And here we are at the end of February.  This is one of those times that I kind of want to kick myself for not doing it sooner.  Or writing down the idea in the first place.  That would have been smart.  But I was a bridesmaid and had more important duties that day.  I’ll give myself a pass for this one.

Pear Bread with Oatmeal Streusel | cookiemonstercooking.com

So better late than never?  We’re talking a quick and easy bread here – filled with lots of fresh chopped pear and plenty of cinnamon.  Now the bread we had at the wedding didn’t have a streusel but I couldn’t help myself.  Streusel, nay oatmeal streusel, makes everything better.  Am I right or am I right?

Pear Bread with Oatmeal Streusel | cookiemonstercooking.com

No mixer needed, just a super moist and easy bread that I guarantee you’ll demolish in no time as well.  Or burn your finger when you try to pull off a piece of streusel the second it comes out of the oven.  Not my finest decision.

Pear Bread with Oatmeal Streusel

Yield: 1 (8 ½ by 4 ½ inch) loaf

Pear Bread with Oatmeal Streusel

Ingredients

    For the streusel:
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • For the bread:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup melted coconut oil*
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup cinnamon chips
  • 1 pear, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 ½ by 4 ½ inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.**
  2. To make the streusel - in a small bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon and salt until well combined (breaking up any clumps). Add in the melted butter and mix until combined and evenly moistened. Set aside.
  3. To make the bread - in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, granulated sugar and egg until well combined (it will clump together at first but just keep whisking and it will smooth out). Add in the vanilla, coconut oil and milk and whisk again to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the cinnamon chips and chopped pear. It will be a nice and thick batter.
  4. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top.
  5. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean. If the top starts to brown too quickly, tent loosely with aluminum foil. Once the bread is cool enough to handle, gently run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen (a few crumbs on the edges may fall away but that’s okay!). Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Notes

*Make sure that you melt the coconut oil first and then measure out the ⅓ cup (otherwise you may use too much). Alternatively, you can also substitute in canola or vegetable oil - they should both work fine here.

**If you only have a 9x5 inch loaf pan, you can go ahead and use it. However, be sure to check the loaf while baking about 5 minutes earlier than noted in the recipe above.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/02/26/pear-bread-oatmeal-streusel/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking