One of my most indulgent and impossible to ignore food cravings is chocolate chip cookie dough. Whether it’s Ben & Jerry’s ice cream or anything else, there is something about that rich, decadent flavor with just a tiny hint of salt that drives my tastebuds and my MOAR MOAR MOAR brain circuits absolutely nuts. Obviously, even the types of cookie dough that are safe to consume (like the ones sold in ice cream) are not an “every day” food, so I wanted to create a recipe for a sweet treat that tastes decadent, but made of nutritionally dense ingredients that carry no risk of salmonella or e coli poisoning. (TIP: Most people, me included, have been told all our lives that only the raw eggs in cookie dough are a concern. Raw flour is actually just as likely or more likely to be contaminated with poisonous pathogens.)
When Nielsen Massey was nice enough to provide me with a bottle of their premium vanilla extract to sample, I decided to make my move. When you smell or taste this extract side by side with a “regular” pure vanilla extract, you’ll notice that the flavors in this one are richer and deeper and more complex. (I compared this side by side with a store brand from my local grocery store chain.) The flavor in this premium vanilla makes a noticeable difference in the flavor of the smoothie, and it is a star player in fooling my taste buds into thinking I have just had a cookie dough shake. (Spoiler: this smoothie contains no actual cookie dough. No cookies were harmed in the making of this shake.) The fat in cookies acts as a flavor carrier, which is probably why I love cookie dough SO MUCH. That flavor and the velvety mouth feel is what I was trying to reproduce in this smoothie.
So when your brain, which frankly doesn’t have to wear jeans and therefore doesn’t care whether they fit or not, will not shut up about wanting cookie dough, try feeding it this instead, and see if you can distract it long enough to make a salad sound like a good idea. (Ha ha. Just kidding, salad is good too…)
Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips in blender and blend until smooth.
Add chocolate chips and pulse until evenly distributed.
Garnish with additional chopped chocolate chips, if desired.
DO NOT be tempted to add the chocolate chips to the blender without chopping first. You will be disappointed unless you have one of those highly intelligent, robot blenders that do everything but wash and wax your car, because the chips get clumped up under the cutting blade instead of mixed into your smoothie. You also very much want a RIPE banana. The banana is supposed to fade into the background and provide texture, but if it's green the green banana flavor jumps out and ruins the illusion.
The first trial of these could have been called the “Nobody’s Happy Muffins.” My taste tester reactions (in the order they were recieved) were:
Mad because I put in chocolate
Mad because I put in blueberries
Mad because he couldn’t eat faster than he could chew and swallow (that’s my boy!)
Mad because he wasn’t allowed to have two
Uh… what’s in these?/not enough ginger.
They disappeared, though, and so I made a follow up batch, and they are about to enter the Pantheon of Family Favorites. You know, the things my family requests for birthday breakfasts and special rewards? Yeah, that list. (Mr. You Could Have Made Vanilla will come around eventually.) The tops of these muffins, when they are freshly baked, are tender and just a tiny bit crunchy, like a delicious gingersnap cookie. (My husband’s favorite!) The next day they soften and are almost fudgy. (Bonus: The white whole wheat flour means you’re sneaking in some whole grains!) The jury is out on the blueberries. They have my vote, but there were a significant number of down-thumbs. Let me know whether you’re pro- or anti-blueberry, ok? Thanks. Continue reading Chocolate Gingersnap Muffins→
I needed a quick, easy, and food coloring-free frosting recipe for a birthday playdate, and this one really came through! It works up fast in the microwave, and, as a bonus, you dirty exactly one bowl and a set of mixer beaters. (Which my guys wouldn’t lick. Because they are WEIRDOS.) To turn these into funny face cupcakes, I used store-bought candy eyes and a quick squiggle of white frosting for the mouth. (For my cupcake recipe please visit my Creamsicle Cake post.)
The kids were tickled pink by the variety of expressions on the faces, and we’ll just pretend I did that on purpose, rather than that I couldn’t have made them identical if my life depended on it, okay?
Have you ever thought that waiting almost an hour for the perfect brownies to come out of the oven is just too darn long? Well, either way, I’ve got your back. You can make these fudgy and delicious in just four minutes in the microwave, or fudgy and delicious with a crispy top in the oven. Either way, you will be deep in love after your very first bite.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8" square pan. Unless you have a Pampered Chef round covered baker and you're a sundae junkie like me. In which case, just grab your RCB.
Stir together butter, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract in bowl. (Unless you're using a round covered baker. I melt the butter right in mine- about a minute in the microwave, and then add the sugar and extracts to the baker. Use a silicone spatula to mix.)
Add eggs; mix well. Don't overmix. Use a spatula, not a hand mixer, or your batter will have too much air in it. You want these brownies to be nice and fudgy!
Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, mixing until well blended. (Again, don't overmix.)
If you are baking these conventionally, bake 20 to 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan, then cool completely in pan on wire rack. If you're using your Round Covered Baker, 4 minutes on high in the microwave and you'll have a delicious, fudgy, brownie base for your ice cream. (Sometimes there is a liquid layer on the bottom- this happens when you don't mix the eggs and the butter 100% thoroughly and it does NOT mean your brownies are underdone. Just that they are extra delicious!) These brownies will have a crumbly sugar crust on top if you bake them in the oven. If you prefer a tender top, substitute ½ cup canola oil for the butter.
These are the standard Hershey's brownieswith my own twist. You will want to eat the whole pan! Personally I love these as a base for ice cream sundaes.
Adapted from Hershey's Best Brownies