Milk Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

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I know what you are thinking: another cookie recipe?

What if I told you that these Milk Chocolate Pistachio Cookies are filled with melty chocolate chunks and hearty pistachio pieces, with a slight chew and a slight crunch?

Is your mouth watering yet?

 I created these treats as a way to use up a Santa-shaped solid piece of Godiva chocolate–repurposing of gifts at its finest. You can use any type of chocolate, from chips to chunks, from semi-sweet to dark. Of course, milk chocolate has a much lower melting point than darker chocolate, leaving melted streaks of chocolate throughout my version of the cookie. I’m not complaining.

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Milk Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

Adapted from Martha Stewart 

Makes 18-22 cookies

1 1/8 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

3/4 cup chocolate chunks

1/2 cup shelled pistachios, unsalted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In small bowl, mix flour and baking soda.

In separate, larger bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, and butter. With a mixer, beat until fluffy. Reduce speed and add salt, vanilla, and egg. Beat for one additional minute. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. 

Drop tablespoonfuls of dough on prepared cookie sheets, spaced 2″ apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are slightly golden. Let cool on tray for 2 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack. 

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Brownie Mix Cookies

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What a delicious problem to have: too much brownie mix. These Brownie Mix Cookies are perhaps the best way to solve such an “unfortunate” problem. If you are in need of a last minute cookie to bring to a holiday party, or you want to change up your brownie routine, these cookies are an easy and tasty solution. The result is a moist, chewy and yet sturdy cookie. Perfect for traveling or shipping, perfect with a tall glass of milk, perfect out of the oven or perfect a day later.

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Brownie Mix Cookies

Adapted from I Take Joy

Makes 18-22 cookies

1 box brownie mix [I used Ghiradelli Triple Chip]

3 tbs flour

2 eggs

1/3 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets. with parchment paper.

In large bowl, mix flour into dry brownie mix.

In separate bowl, beat eggs with oil. Stir into brownie mix, until thick dough forms.

Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough on cookie sheets. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes on tray, then transfer to cooling rack.

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Healthier Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I distinctly remember carving pumpkins as a child: the smell of the wet newspaper protecting the kitchen table, the rawness of your skin after hours digging around the orange goop, the sweet yet mild odor, the anticipation of putting a candle in the finished product, and the saltiness of baked pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin, like banana and applesauce, is moist and acts as a healthier binding agent in baked goods than butter or oil. These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies use only a quarter cup of butter mixed with a quarter cup of pumpkin, making this recipe a great way to use up the rest of an opened can of pumpkin. Of course, with the sugar and the chocolate, these are still “treats.” But hey, everything in moderation, right? The oatmeal insures a true cookie dough texture, and the spices help bring out the autumn flavors.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Baking Bites

Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup pumpkin purée

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In medium bowl, mix flour, powder, soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugars until fluffy. Then add in egg, pumpkin, and vanilla. Slowly add in flour mix to wet mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto sheets. Bake for 11-13 minutes until edges turn golden. Allow to cool on sheet and then transfer to wire rack.

Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Cookies

Something is making me sneeze.

Perhaps it is the colossal pollen eruption that took over my neighborhood:

Or maybe it has to do with this new family member:

Here’s another photo, because one is just not enough:

One thing for sure is that these scrumptious things are so amazing that I would be willing to sneeze continuously for the rest of my life in order to eat these. Of course, this side-steps the fact that if I were sneezing continuously, I probably couldn’t eat.

These are Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Cookies.

Say what?

I love peanut butter cookies, but adding salt and chocolate to them? That should almost be illegal.

Thankfully, I made these pups for my little cousin’s birthday party so I didn’t have to sit in a corner and shovel them down my throat in guilt. While these certainly didn’t overshadow the Modern Pastry cannolis, or the blue frosted Carvel cake, I feel these at least stood up to the other desserts. I realize they look like feces, particularly when placed against other desserts, but believe me on this one: they don’t taste like feces.

My only complaint is that they have a cake-like consistency. I prefer my cookies to be gooey, melting, and chewy. Don’t let that stop you from trying these out. An easy recipe to follow, you can substitute peanut butter chips for a sweeter taste, or use peanuts as I did.

Check out the recipe at Food 52.

A Long Run, and Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars

Coming home from Mexico, with only four weeks until the Boston Marathon, I vowed to eat more protein, vegetables, and whole grains. I was doing a tremendous job, eating hard-boiled eggs, hummus, vegetable-filled sandwiches, and Greek yogurt. What loomed over my head all week was my 21 mile training run. I carbo-loaded on Thursday night, eating bowls of cereal instead of my vegetables (I know how my digestive system would act if I ate my traditional vegetables and legumes right before running 21 miles). Then, I ran and ran and ran and ran. Until my legs felt like goop, my sweat caked to my forehead, and my  body felt arthritic. Success!

I counteracted this extreme exercise with an extreme dessert, as a gift to my friend who vigilantly held water for me during the run.  My friends gathered around the pan of gooey, crunchy, sweet and salty masterpiece. The pretzels take this cookie bar over the top.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla

12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

12 oz. bag peanut butter chips

1 1/2 cups mini pretzel twists, chopped.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a square baking pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. In a large bowl, combine sugar and butter. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients. Fold in half a bag of chocolate chips, half a bag of peanut butter chips, and chopped pretzels. Spread batter in pan, press down. Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. While still hot, sprinkle bars with additional chocolate chips and peanut butter chips, as well as pretzels. Place in oven for a minute so that chocolate and peanut butter melt. Cool completely, then cut into squares.

My Grandmother’s Favorite Cookies

My grandfather had a passion for genealogy, and I believe most everyone in my family was affected by his zest for family heritage. He kept a diary for most of his life, something that most people can’t say they have done. I was always intrigued by family histories, particularly that of my maternal grandmother. Born in Egypt but of Russian heritage, she immigrated to the U.S when she was 18. I’ve always admired her independence, perhaps because, like me, she is an only child. During the holidays, my mother told me my grandmother would be visiting. She also hinted that my grandmother’s favorite cookies were Russian Tea Cakes.

These treats also go by Mexican Wedding Cakes, so I’m not sure whether to attribute the recipe to one culture or another. However, the combination of butter, sugar, finely chopped nuts and some vanilla is ubiquitously delicious. I used good ol’ Betty Crocker’s recipe, which you can find here.

My grandmother did not realize I had made her these cookies on Christmas Day until my aunt ran into the living room exclaiming how amazing these cookies were. I’ve never seen my grandmother leap out of her seat as quickly as she did, particularly considering that my grandmother claims she would prefer a piece of bread at the end of dinner, rather than a sweet.

The way the cookie melts in your mouth is surely why so many people commented on these bites of goodness. Not to mention, that messy powdered sugar that remains on your lips after taking the first bite is a cute look.

Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Many times when I was little, I would try baking cookies on my own and forget and/or mix up ingredients. Take for example the time I filmed my friend and I making chocolate chip cookies, as if we were on a cooking show. We left out the vanilla extract. There’s the time I put in baking soda rather than powder in a recipe. And then there’s the big “no-no” of melting butter in cookie recipes.

Using stiff butter is the proper way to make cookie dough, regardless of how difficult it is to cream. One of those $200 pink KitchenAid stand mixers is what I lust after. Unfortunately, as a college student, I don’t have a stand mixer or even a hand mixer, nor are my arms and willpower strong enough to cream butter and sugar by hand. This is when cookie bars come into the picture.

Like brownies, bar cookies typically involve (cooled) melted butter, whether in the microwave or on the stovetop, in order to add consistency to the batter. The recipe I used to make these devilishly good Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars is essentially a cookie recipe, but suitable to be baked in one flat sheet. I avoided an arm workout and got to enjoy the taste of chocolate chip cookies. As if the mention of not having to cream butter is enough, let me reiterate how simple this recipe is. If you need a dessert in a flash, this is it. I used a good brand of chocolate chips, which I recommend for taking these bars up a notch.You of course could add nuts, other kinds of chocolate, or even dried fruit.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 pan.

Mix butter with sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour into greased pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.