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Easy (and Healthy??!) Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies April 23, 2012

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dessert, vegetarian.
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Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have a problem. My sweet tooth is out of control!  I’ve tried going cold-turkey with no sweets, which failed miserably. I’m doing better at cutting back, but I still eat way more than I used to before I had a baby.  I was talking with a friend about this Saturday morning and told her “I really need to get into baking healthy sweets”—if I’m going to continue to chomp on cookies as often as I do, at least I could TRY to make them a little healthier.

An hour after we had this conversation, I passed a roadside booth that said “FREE WINDSHIELD CHIP REPAIR”—but my sugar-crazed mind read it as “FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES”—seriously!! I did a double-take.

So, with the goal of creating a tasty but not AS bad for you cookie, I googled around, and found a post on Cookie and Kate for banana chocolate chip cookies. Two of my favorite tastes in one snack!  These came together really quickly and are delicious.  They make a really soft, chewy cookie with a strong banana taste.  With only 2 tablespoons of butter for an entire batch, they are definitely healthier than the cookies I’ve been making.  Try em, you’ll like them!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Slightly adapted from Cookie and Kate)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 ripe banana
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour (can use whole wheat or all-purpose)
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 350 Farenheit.

Cream together the butter and sugars using a mixer.  Add the egg, and then the banana.  Add the vanilla.  If you are using a stand mixer, keep it running on low as you gently mix in the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. If you are using a hand mixer, mix all of the dry ingredients together and then slowly add them to the wet ingredients, making sure they are thoroughly mixed before moving on to the last step, which is adding the chocolate chips.  Add those chips, and then spoon the dough out in rounded teaspoons onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.  The dough will spread a little as they cook, so try not to put the balls too close together. Bake for 10-11 minutes.  Let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes, and then move them to a wire rack to continue cooling.  Try not to eat all of them immediately!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars June 20, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dessert, vegetarian.
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I woke up early yesterday and had these cookie bars in the oven by 7am for our Father’s Day gathering later in the afternoon.  As I get closer and closer to having this baby (about 2 weeks to go now), I have to believe that this “nesting” thing people talk about might really be true.  Why else would I be up before dawn on a Sunday, and have baked cookie bars, emptied, organized, and restocked our kitchen cabinets, washed the basement floor, and done 3 loads of laundry all before 8am?  Only a crazy or pregnant woman would consider that a “good” Sunday morning!

(By the way, if you are interested in following along as this baby is born & grows up, check out our new blog, Hey Emitt. Now, back to the recipe….)

These bars tasted like a delicious, soft chocolate chip cookie with a little something extra added to spice them up.  The pretzels gave them a nice salty/sweet thing and the peanut butter chips, added at the last second, were a great idea.   I’d make these again for sure, but only if I had somewhere to take them, because they are so good I’d probably eat half the pan if left alone with them for too long!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars
Adapted from Food & Wine magazine
(Printable Recipe)

chocolate peanut butter pretzel bars

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 (6 ounces) sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Half a bag (6 oz.) of chocolate chips
Half a bag (6 oz.) of peanut butter chips
1 1/2 cups mini pretzels, crumbled

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-by-13-inch pan.

Using a mixer, beat the butter with both sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. On low, sprinkle the baking soda in, and then beat in the flour in half-cup increments, just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate and peanut butter chips and pretzel pieces.

Spread the batter evenly in the buttered pan. Press the batter down with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. The middle might be a little gooey but the bars will set up as they cool. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely before cutting. 

Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting March 29, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dessert, vegetarian.
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Carrot Cake Cookies

I got the urge to bake yesterday.  I’m not sure what got into me; this doesn’t happen very often.  I LOVE to cook but baking is not something I do regularly.  I had an almost-full container of New York Bagel cream cheese and some carrots on their last legs, and carrot cake seemed like the best choice for those ingredients.  I found a few carrot cake cookie recipes, and adapted one to make the cookies you see here.  I frosted half the batch and brought all of them to work today, where they received rave reviews from the early morning cookie-eaters.  If you are a fan of carrot cake, make these for sure!

Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
(Printable Recipe)

Shredded carrots

Ingredients:

1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks of butter (1/2 pound), room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (about 3 large carrots)
1 cup raisins (optional; add more carrots if you leave the raisins out)

Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature (cut into pieces)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Sprinkles, if desired

Method:

Beat sugars and butter together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until combined.

In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger together.  Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing at a low speed until everything is just blended together. Stir in carrots, oats, and raisins (if you are using raisins).  Chill the dough in the refrigerator for an hour.

While the dough is chilling, you can make your frosting by putting the cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.

When the hour is almost up, begin pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Prepare your baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.  Spoon small balls of the chilled dough onto baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.  Bake until browned, about 14 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool. When the cookies are completely cooled, frost the tops and add sprinkles if you wish.  Keep cool, if possible, so the frosting continues to set.

Holiday Cookies December 28, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dessert.
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I’m way late but maybe you can bookmark this for next year! My column on holiday cookies went up on Patch last week. You can check it here: Cookies to Get You in the Holiday Spirit.

Banana Muffins with a Crumb Topping November 27, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in breakfast, dessert.
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banana muffins with crumb topping

Sometimes, Ryan has to be at work at 7am.  When that happens, I wake up at 6am with him and make us both lunches for the day. When he leaves for work, I usually do one of three things:

1.  Go back to sleep for an hour

2. Clean the house

3. Go to the gym

Last week, I changed it up a little and decided that I’d bake a batch of banana muffins before the sun came up.  I put up my favorite Clipse album , pulled out all of my of baking ingredients, and in 30 minutes time, I had a nice warm batch of banana muffins to take to work.

I’ve made quite a few baked goods for my co-workers over the years but these muffins were perhaps one of the most loved.  Never before have I received so many thank-you emails.  The tray was empty in less than twenty minutes!  They were really, really good, and really, really easy.  Next time I have a few over-ripe bananas sitting around, these will be the first thing I make.

Banana Muffins with a Crumb Topping

banana muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 ripe bananas
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted

For the crumb topping:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tablespoon cold butter

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 375F and line 12 muffin tins with baking papers (cupcake wrappers).

Mix the first four dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix together the bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter.  Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until they are just mixed.

For the topping–mix together all ingredients except butter.  Cut the cold butter into small cubes and then mix it in to the dry ingredients.  It’s easiest to do this with clean hands.  It should resemble coarse sand when you are done.

Fill the lined muffin tins about 1/2 to 2/3 full.  Top each one with a sprinkling of the crumb topping.  Bake at 375F for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Try not to over-bake!

Makes a dozen muffins.


Peanut Butter Cup Cake November 13, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dessert.
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peanut butter cup cake
Happy birthday to Ryan!  Although he looks a decade younger, my husband has turned the big 3-1.  I wanted to make him a birthday cake for a celebration with our families, and decided on his favorite flavor combo, peanut butter and chocolate.  Who doesn’t like PB & C?  It’s delicious!  And so was this cake.  Three layers of chocolate-y, peanut buttery decadent delicious cake.  The first layer is a 9″ chocolate cake spiked with peanut butter chips; the second  layer is a thick layer of peanut butter frosting; the third layer topped it all off with a chocolate ganache.  It’s easier than it looks, though it take some time with the making, cooling, frosting, cooling, topping, and cooling some more.  Totally worth it.

Peanut Butter Cup Cake
(From That’s My Home, prize-winning recipe from Lisa Robertson)
(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:

Cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup peanut-butter morsels

Peanut Butter Layer:

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Ganache:
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Method:

1. For cake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 9-inch round cake pan. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixer bowl. Add milk, water, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla; blend until moistened. Beat for 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with the peanut-butter morsels. Bake for 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely.

2. For peanut-butter layer, in a medium mixing bowl, place peanut butter, butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Mix until combined. Sift in powdered sugar. Mix well. Spread mixture on top of cake (I did this using a small spatula). Refrigerate 30 minutes.

3. For ganache, heat cream in a small saucepan to boiling; remove from heat. Add chocolate chips; let stand 5 minutes. Stir, then refrigerate for 30 or until mixture is spreadable. Spread on top and sides of cake.

Getting Fresh: Check it Out! November 12, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in bread, dessert, vegetarian.
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pumpkin scones

My first monthly column for the just-launched Ferndale Patch site is up!   Each month, I’ll be posting a recipe along with step-by-step photos and information on where you can locate the ingredients in Ferndale grocery stores. My first entry is for delicious pumpkin scones with a double glaze–check it out by clicking on the link or the image above.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies August 7, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dessert.
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I am not very good at baking. I don’t know what it is—my cookies come out flat, my cupcakes are usually burnt on the bottom, and my cakes sag in the middle. This cookie recipe, however, is the one that never fails for me.  I’m convinced it’s because of a mistake I made the first time I made this recipe—the original recipe called for 2.5 sticks of butter, and I set out three sticks of butter to soften, accidentally adding all three sticks when it was time to cream the butter with the sugar.  They turned out so well that I add the extra half a stick every time now!  Good thing I don’t make them that often!  I also added a half bag of chocolate chips instead of a full bag of peanut butter chips.  Other than that, this is the recipe you can find on the back of any bag of Reese’s peanut butter chips.  I love it, and the cookies are never around long when I make them!

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

double chocolate peanut butter chip cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 sticks of butter, softened
2 cups of sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Half of a bag of peanut butter chips
Half of a bag of chocolate chips

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.  In another bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix well.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar/butter bowl, mixing well after each addition.  The batter will be thick and fudge-y at this time.  Mix in the peanut butter and chocolate chips.

Drop teaspoons of the batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 9 minutes.  Don’t overbake—they will look under-done when you take them out after 9 minutes but if you leave them on the pan for another 2-3 minutes after taking them out of the oven, they’ll be perfect.  After the 2-3 minutes on the pan, transfer to a cooling rack until completely cool.

Should make about 40-45 cookies.

Chocolate Banana Cake June 18, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dessert.
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This recipe was taken from Apartment Therapy and modified only slightly based on what I had in the house.  Check out the original recipe, because their pictures are much more beautiful than mine and they included blueberries in the batter. I read this recipe last night and realized that I had almost everything I needed in the house, save for the blueberries called for in the original recipe.  No problem, we always have plenty of chocolate around, and chocolate & bananas are good friends!  I don’t bake all that often, and I got nervous in the last step, right before pouring the batter into the lined pan.  My batter looked really runny and I was worried it wouldn’t turn out, so I added a cup of oats at the last minute to thicken it up.  It probably would’ve turned out fine without it, but I think the oats were a nice addition, especially since I’m bringing this cake to work and trying to pass it off as breakfast.  The icing is great—I almost left out the lemon, because I thought it might be an odd combo with the chocolate, but I’m really glad I didn’t leave it out.  I added rum in both the cake and the icing, and the amount called for is really subtle and adds a nice flavor.  No one will be getting drunk off my breakfast cake, no worries!

Chocolate Banana Cake

banana cake

Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum (optional)
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (from about 3 bananas)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup rolled oats (not instant)

For the cream cheese icing:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package light cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Pinch salt

Method:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper, with enough paper that paper hangs over the two long sides. Grease lightly with baking spray or butter.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer) cream the butter with the sugars. Blend in the eggs one at a time, and whip until creamy. Add the vanilla and rum, if using, as well as the bananas. Mix until creamy.

Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir the mixture roughly, but do not combine completely. In a large measuring cup, mix the lemon juice with the milk. (Reserve the lemon zest for the icing.) With the mixer running, slowly pour the milk into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips and oats. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for up to 75 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. (Start checking after 60 minutes—mine took exactly 60 minutes.) When the cake is firm and a tester comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven. Run a knife between the cake and the short edges of the pan to help release the cake. Lift up on the parchment paper to remove the whole cake from the pan, and place the cake, parchment and all, on a cooling rack. Place the rack in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and let the cake cool completely before icing.

Before icing:

For the icing: In a large bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese together until very smooth, with no lumps remaining. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon rum, if using. Add the confectioners sugar, reserved lemon zest, and salt and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth. Spread on cooled cake.

Frozen Mango Yogurt Dessert with Pistachios April 30, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in cooking club, dessert.
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Last night, as part of a monthly cooking club organized by Kirsten of I Eat Veg, I made a quick and easy mango yogurt dessert to go with our Indian theme for the month.  I’m not going to lie–I almost felt guilty bringing such an easy treat to a club that is all about cooking, trying new things, and sharing recipes with friends (so I supplemented dessert with a mango summer-y drink).  But really, who doesn’t love something that is easy and healthy and tastes good?   Full disclosure: I used frozen mango chunks from Trader Joe’s to make this. I didn’t even peel the mangoes myself!!  Such a slacker!  Here we go….

Mango Yogurt Dessert with Pistachios

mango dessert

(photo by Kirsten of I Eat Veg)

Ingredients:

Chopped frozen (or fresh) mango

Vanilla 0% Greek Yogurt

Chopped pistachios

Method:

Blend the frozen mango chunks in a blender until they are smooth enough to easily spread into a small bowl. Spread the mango in the bottom of a small dessert bowl.  Freeze that for at least 20 minutes.  Spread vanilla Greek yogurt on top of the mango, and place back in the freezer for another 20 minutes.  You can freeze the mango alone longer, but if you freeze the mango with the yogurt too long, the yogurt gets a little weird.  Right before serving, sprinkle with chopped pistachios.