Greek Yogurt Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted here–life took over for a bit. Don’t worry, I’ve still been cooking. In fact, I’ve written a few pieces for Daily Burn including my favorite White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Crostini [recipe]:

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But for today, I’ll leave you with a fantastic muffin recipe that will knock your socks off. Thanks to my co-worker for the recipe suggestion, I made these Greek Yogurt Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins in an attempt to use up overripe bananas sitting in the freezer. Damn are these satisfying. The yogurt is a great binding ingredient, replacing much of the oil but retaining the moisture. I added some chocolate chips, because, well…everything is better with chocolate. You only live once, right?

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Makes 20 muffins, or 40 mini-muffins

Adapted from Averie Cooks

3 medium ripe bananas [frozen bananas work well, just make sure you let them thaw]

1 large egg

1 5.3oz container banana Greek yogurt

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour muffin pans. 

In a large bowl, mash banana. Add egg, yogurt, oil, sugar, vanilla and spices. Whisk well. Add the remaining dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin tins until three-quarters full. Bake for 20-22 minutes (10-11 minutes for mini muffins). A toothpick should come out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Barb’s Cookies: The Secret-Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I almost didn’t want to post this recipe, since it is such a treasured one. Here’s why:

18 years ago, my family moved into a new house. The neighbors across the street, Bob and Barb, brought over housewarming cookies. They were so delicious that we asked for the recipe. We’ve since given a batch of these divine treats to almost every new neighbor, including most recently a young couple up the street.

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Now, what makes these cookies so damn delicious? Coffee.

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And two kinds of coffee!

Instant espresso dissolved in water, as well as ground coffee. Sounds gross, or overwhelming in flavor, but believe me (and the other 8 neighbors) that the minute amount of coffee actually brings out the chocolate flavors.

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Here’s the treasured recipe:

Makes 5 dozen cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp instant coffee, dissolved in a few droplets of water

1 tsp ground coffee

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips [splurge here! I used Ghiradelli]

1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. 

Cream butter, sugars, egg and vanilla. Beat in flour, salt, powder, soda, and coffees. By hand, mix oatmeal, chocolate and walnuts into the dough. 

Place tablespoon-sized drops of dough on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to cookie rack.

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Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Father’s Day reminds me of the weekly Sunday drives I used to take with my Dad to visit my grandparents, NPR always filling the car. Upon arrival: a freshly baked tray of cookies.

But peanut butter also always reminds me of my father–it seems to be a mainstay in the kitchen, whether for sandwiches or a simple dollop straight from the spoon.

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And so, I tested out these Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, with a recipe thanks to Tasty Kitchen and Two Peas and Their Pod. With no butter, these seemingly healthier cookies maintain a great chew thanks to the peanut butter and oatmeal. I used high-quality chocolate for extra oomph–a worthwhile decision. With few ingredients and batter that is hard to resist eating out of the bowl, I was pleased with their simplicity. To say the least, I am a fan.

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Yellow Cake Blondies

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Who doesn’t like yellow cake from a box-mix? Sure, it’s filled with things I can’t pronounce and flavors not found in nature. But every once in a while, I yearn for that nostalgic taste. Of course, colored sprinkles are necessary. These Yellow Cake Blondies were a quick treat to bake, and perhaps more importantly, an easily transportable dessert. I used semisweet chocolate chips, instead of the heavily sweet white chocolate found in the original recipe, which you can find here.

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White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

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These remind me of the oatmeal raisin cookies I used to eat in my elementary school’s cafeteria. Except that these White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies are so much better. There is still the spice and chew that was so familiar in the grade school version, but now there’s a hint of maple, tang from the dried cherries, and a healthy amount of sweet white chocolate. A childhood favorite, totally revamped.

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White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Joy the Baker

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oatmeal, uncooked

3/4 cup dried cherries

1 cup white chocolate chips

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

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. 

In a separate, larger bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla and maple syrup. Beat until combined.

Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until just mixed. Fold in oatmeal, cherries, and white chocolate. 

Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough onto lined sheets, leaving two inches between cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges look golden. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before transferring to cookie rack. Image

Chocolate Pistachio Bark with Sea Salt

ImageSwoon. 

That’s what I tried to make my boyfriend do by giving him this Chocolate Pistachio Bark with Sea Salt for Valentine’s Day. I used roasted pistachios and semi-sweet chocolate, though ideally I would have used raw, unsalted pistachios and excellent-quality dark chocolate. Alas, I go to college in upstate New York and this is what was available. 

So, go on. Make this. I swear to you that you, too, will be swooning.

ImageChocolate Pistachio Bark with Sea Salt

16 oz. chocolate [preferably good-quality and dark]

1/2 cup shelled pistachios

1/2 tsp sea salt

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Melt chocolate in microwave at 30 second bursts until melted. Pour chocolate onto cookie sheet, using a spatula to smooth into an even layer. Scatter pistachios and sea salt on chocolate. Chill in fridge until set, about 30 minutes. Break bark into pieces.

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Golden Grahams S’mores Bites

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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, in case you forgot. And if you did forget: rest assured. These Golden Grahams S’mores Bites are an easy treat to whip up. I made these back for the Superbowl and they were gone by halftime. What’s not to love about a gooey cereal bar filled with summer’s bounty, i.e. S’mores?

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Golden Grahams S’mores Bites

Adapted from Serious Eats

4 tbs unsalted butter

10 oz. bag mini marshmallows

6 cups Golden Grahams cereal

1-1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips [I used Ghiradelli]

Grease a pan of your preferred size. 

In microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in microwave until melted. Add marshmallows and stir. Microwave this mixture for one minute, or however long it takes for the marshmallows to melt. Stir to combine. 

While microwaving butter and marshmallows, place cereal and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Pour the microwaved mixture into the cereal and chocolate. Stir. Place cereal mix in greased pan. Press firmly with spatula. Let cool at room temperature for 45 minutes, or 

in the refrigerator, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

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Banana Cream Pudding Cookies

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 Unexpected flavors, with the crunch of Nilla wafers, and the added sweetness of white chocolate pieces, these Banana Cream Pudding Cookies took me by surprise– in the best way possible.

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With the help of pudding mix, the cookies stay moist in the center, while still being sturdy. You could try using any type of chocolate chip in these cookies, and if Nilla wafers are not your thing, they can easily be omitted.

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Banana Cream Pudding Cookies

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

Makes 3 dozen cookies

1 cup butter, unsalted

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 pkg. banana cream instant pudding (3.4 oz)

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup chopped wafers

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

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

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in pudding, eggs, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add this dry mix to the wet mix. Stir until incorporated. Fold in chopped wafers and chocolate chips. 

Drop by the tablespoonful onto sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Let cool on sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cooling rack.

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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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Ginger Spice Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks

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I’ve always shied away from making spice cookies mostly because my uncle is famous in our family for his version. His are of the gingersnap variety, i.e. crunchy. This recipe, Ginger Spice Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks, is not crunchy, and thus I don’t feel like I’m invading on my uncle’s cookie celebrity.

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In fact, these cookies are chewy and moist, thanks to the applesauce and molasses. What is most unbelievable is that, before adding the white chocolate, these cookies are free of fat. Sugar, on the other hand, is plentiful. But what’s the holiday season without a little sweetness? Store these in an airtight container–the cookies get chewier with time.

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Ginger Spice Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks

Adapted from David Lebovitz

Makes 18-24 cookies

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened

1/3 cup molasses

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp dried ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 large egg whites, room temperature

1 4oz. white chocolate baking bar [I used Ghiradelli], chopped

1/2 cup sugar [I used brown] + pinch of cinnamon, for rolling cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie trays with parchment paper.

In a large bowl with electric mixer, mix brown sugar, applesauce and molasses for 5 minutes. 

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, spices, soda, and salt. 

Add egg whites to wet mixture, beat for 1 minute. At lowest mixer speed, add dry ingredients to wet mixture. Once incorporated, mix for 1 more minute. Stir in white chocolate chunks.

Chill dough in freezer for 15 minutes, or in refrigerator for longer, even overnight.  

In a shallow dish, mix sugar with cinnamon. By the tablespoonful, roll dough into balls and roll in sugar mixture. Place on sheet, with room to spread. Bake for 13 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute on sheet, then place on cooling racks.

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