Godiva Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake.

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     Mmm, cheesecake…creamy, dreamy cheesecake…creamy, dreamy, chocolate, coffee cheesecake.  Need I say more?

P.S. The crust was pretty soft from being refrigerated (It was kind of like the consistency of Oreos that have been dunked in milk.)  The next time I make the cheesecake, I will probably try pre-baking the crust.

Chocolate, Chocolate, White Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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     Hello, all!  Yesterday was the official end of summer.  While I’m sad to see that season go until next year, I’m way more excited for fall baking than I probably should be.  Right now I have a pan of pumpkin pie bars cooling on the counter, and the house is filled with an amazing, buttery, spicy smell.  Each season has its own style of food.  To me, fall is pies and bars, pumpkin and apple, cinnamon and spice.  Just thinking about it makes me want to curl up with a mug of tea, a blanket, and Betsy’s Wedding.

     Now, with all this talk about fall and spices, you might be lead to believe that I’m going to post a fall recipe.  Well, I’m not.  These chocolate, chocolate, white chocolate chip cookies, though, are perfect for anytime of the year.  Before I go any further, I would like to say how much I love the Pioneer Woman’s blog!  Her recipes are delicious (and almost always full of butter—the best kind!).  Anyway, these cookies are like a chocolate explosion.  Yum, yum, YUM!  My only note I’d like to add is that I used chopped white chocolate instead of chips.  Mmm, I want some of these cookies right now!

Double Chocolate Chunk Oreo Cookies (Cookies and Cream Cookies)

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     Do you ever run across a recipe, decide to try it though you’re skeptical, and end up discovering something amazing?  That happened to me!  Okay, let me first explain why I was skeptical about these double chocolate chunk Oreo cookies (or cookies and cream cookies, as I like to call them.)

     My first doubt arose from putting a cookie in a cookie (I know!  I know!  Cookie-stuffed cookies are all over Pinterest, and everyone says they are amazing.  I’m a learning-by-doing kind of person.  I needed to try it for myself to actually believe the hype.  Technically, though, I haven’t yet tried the real Oreo-stuffed cookies, but I’m getting off track here.).  Why would a completely baked and ready to eat cookie taste good re-baked into a different cookie?  Wouldn’t the Oreos burn?  Wouldn’t they get really dry?  They’re so delicious by themselves, why not just eat them plain?!?  You know why you shouldn’t eat them plain?  It’s because they don’t burn or get dry and taste even better when encapsulated in cookie dough and chocolate chips.  That’s why!

     My second doubt arose from the fact that these cookies are made with shortening and not butter.  I’m a hardcore baking-with-butter fan.  Double chocolate chunk Oreo cookies have changed my mind about exclusively using butter in cookies, though.  The cookies were soft on the inside yet light and crisp on the outside.  Plus, the cookies underwent this strange change.

     You know how usually if cookies last more than a day and a half, they begin to get kind of tough?  These cookies changed texture just a little to become crisper.  It’s strange, but it’s true.  Now, I’m not talking about crunchy, here.  I don’t do crunchy cookies.  I’m talking about a delicious, buttery (ironic) crispness.  Maybe this phenomenon, though, was just a result of the humidity level in the kitchen that week.  The moral of the story is that these cookies are amazing right out of the oven and also amazing a few days later.

     Please, try these cookies.  It’s hard to explain how delectable the combination of Oreos, chocolate chips, and white chocolate chunks really is.  If you need any convincing, let me just say that these cookies disappeared very quickly!  These are the kind of cookies that make it hard to eat just one!

     I made the double chocolate chunk Oreo cookies a couple of weeks ago, and I feel like I had a couple of notes about what I did that I wanted to share.  I’ve made so many things since then, though, that my cookie-recipe-overloaded brain is having a hard time recalling them.  I believe that they were as follows:

1.       I, as usual, chopped up a white chocolate baking bar since I can never find real white chocolate chips.  I believe I used a whole four ounce bar.

2.       I quartered the Oreos for my first batch and stirred them by hand into the dough so that they wouldn’t get broken up into pieces.  These chunks actually seemed a little too big to me in the finished product.  I had large fragments of Oreos jutting out the tops and sides of the cookies.  For my second batch, I put the quartered Oreos into the bowl of the mixer.  The paddle broke them down into smaller pieces, which I liked better.

3.       Ummm….

4.       I turned my oven down between the 325˚ and 350˚ marks on the oven knob.  My oven runs kind of hot, though.

     Happy baking and go check out Bakergirl’s blog.  I’m not trying to be bossy, but I really think you’ll be happy if you do!  The things I’ve tried from her blog so far (chocolate chip espresso bars and the double chocolate chunk Oreo cookies) have been fabulous.  I can’t wait to try more!

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Chocolate Chip Espresso Bars

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   The other day I needed to supplement black and white spiral butter cookies that I was bringing somewhere, and I needed it to be something fast because I had

1.       Already spent around five hours the night before making black and white spiral cookies and

2.       Needed to leave with the food soon

     I hopped online and, after searching around, found myself at Bakergirl’s blog.  Her recipe for chocolate chip espresso bars intrigued me.  They had cinnamon but no eggs?  What kind of bars would they be?  Even though I had a few doubts about the no egg thing, Bakergirl’s blog post was just too convincing!  I decided I had to make these!  I’m so glad that I did, too.

     Bakergirl likened the smell of these bars to baking a small Starbucks coffee shop in your oven, and it is completely true.  Oddly enough, I would kind of describe the taste like that, too.  With the espresso, cinnamon, and chocolate in the bars, they taste not only like some amazing coffee drink but also like that first wonderful whiff of coffee-and-spice goodness that you experience when you step through the door of a coffee shop.

     Now, I hate cutting bars…like hate it!  I (confession) will actually avoid making bars of any sort just because cutting them is almost always a nightmare.  (I used to avoid brownies, too, until my sister gave me the most amazing brownie pan ever from Home Goods.)  Bars break.  They stick to the pan.  They crumble.  They cut unevenly.  I end up with a big plate of mismatched, jagged-edged chunks of whatever bar was originally in my pan.  Looking at the pitiful plate of bars that was once a beautiful, delicious-looking pan of dessert usually makes me want to cry.  You understand my reservations about making these since they are definitely bars, too.  These also didn’t have eggs.  How would they even hold together at all!?!?!  My fears proved to be groundless.

     I have never come across a cookie bar that cut so beautifully.  I was able to slide a steak knife right through the bars.  They didn’t pull or tear or stick, not even to the sides of the pan (which I had greased with Crisco).  I ended up with a plate of fantastic, beautiful bars that I proudly took with me.  Another great thing is that the recipe makes a 10×15 sheet.  How awesome is that?  I love recipes that make sharing-size batches of food.

     If you love coffee, make these.  If you hate coffee, make these!  I gave these to someone who certifiably hates coffee, and even she said that these were really good.  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  We have a winner, folks!  Plus, these are eggless.  If you know anyone who has an egg allergy, which I do, these bars would be perfect to make for them!

     Note:  I didn’t glaze these because I needed them to stack and transport neatly, and I didn’t know how sticky the glaze would dry.  Next time I make these, though, I definitely want to try them with the glaze.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

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     I like to start my notes to you as if we’re already in the middle of a conversation.  I pretend that we’re the oldest and dearest friends…

     I’ve decided that I’m going to start this blog Kathleen Kelly style and jump right into it.  So, without further ado, I give you Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies!

Ingredients:

    For the chocolate peanut butter chunks:

    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    1/3 cup extra crunchy peanut butter (If you don’t have extra crunchy peanut butter, I’d imagine creamy peanut butter would work fine.)

    For the cookie dough:

    ¾ cup (1 and a half sticks) unsalted butter (I prefer to use unsalted butter when I bake because then I’m not adding extra salt to the recipe, which gives more consistent results because each stick might have a different salt content.  But, when I want to bake, and I’m out of unsalted butter, I will go ahead and use salted butter.)

    1 cup packed dark brown sugar

    ½ cup white sugar

    1 egg

    1 egg yolk

    1 tbs. vanilla

    2 cups plus 2 tbs. all-purpose flour

    ½ tsp. baking soda

    ½ tsp. salt

    1 cup dark chocolate chunks

    1 recipe chocolate-peanut butter chunks

To make the chocolate-peanut butter chunks:

     To melt the chocolate chips, microwave them in a microwave-safe bowl for thirty seconds.  Stir, and then microwave for another thirty seconds and stir again.  Mix the peanut butter into the melted chocolate and then spread the mixture in a thin layer on a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet (or any large tray).  Pop the tray into the freezer until the chocolate is hardened.

     Once the chocolate is hardened, roughly chop it into about ½ inch pieces.  If the chocolate starts melting while you are chopping it, don’t worry.  It will harden up again in the freezer.  If it is melting to the point where it’s too squishy to chop, it probably needs more time in the freezer.  Wait a little while and then try chopping it again.  (The first time I made these cookies, the humidity was pretty high and the chocolate took a really long time to harden.) Pop the chopped chocolate back into the freezer until ready to use.

To make the cookies:

     Preheat the oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Because my oven runs a little high, I usually turn the oven knob in between 325˚ and 350˚.

     Melt the butter and then let it stand at room temperature until it solidifies, about an hour, stirring occasionally to make sure all of the butter sets.  I melted the butter in the microwave and then transferred it to a large, shallow bowl to help it cool faster.  I know that melting butter just to let it re-harden sounds silly, but it really gives the cookies a nice texture.

     In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, about one minute. Add the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk to the bowl and continue to mix until incorporated.

     In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three additions, mixing until just combined.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.  I personally find that with my mixer, the bowl is too narrow to add the flour while the mixer is running because some of it spills on the counter while the rest poofs up in a white cloud before settling on the floor.  I will stop the mixer and take the bowl out to add each addition.  When I pull the bowl out for the second addition, I usually scrape the sides of the bowl down, too.  That’s just what works for me, though.

     With the mixer running on medium-low, add the chocolate chunks and peanut butter chocolate chunks and mix until just incorporated.  If your mixer starts making churning noises, either bump up the speed or stop and mix by hand.

     Okay, right now you have a couple of options.  Cookies in general will bake up prettier (they’ll spread less) if the dough is refrigerated before baking.  I am impatient when it comes to baking cookies—the sooner they’re baked, the sooner I get to eat them, right?—but I do think refrigerating the dough at least a little bit is a good idea. 

     I will admit that I didn’t refrigerate the dough for two or three hours like I probably should have (Like I could wait that long for freshly baked cookies!), but I did cover the mixer bowl with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge while I cleaned up my baking mess.  Then, when I was done cleaning, I got my first cookie tray ready and put it in the oven.  While that baked, I got all of my other trays ready.  As I finished each one, I popped it in the fridge to get extra chilling time in while it was waiting its turn in the oven. 

     So, you can either do that, be patient and let the dough chill the proper amount of time, or just bake them up right away and have delicious and hot cookies while I’m still trying to make room in my refrigerator for three cookie trays.  The choice is up to you!  Back to the recipe, though!

     Using a tablespoon, scoop up dough and plop it onto the tray.  I like doing three cookies across and four down on my 9×13 in. cookie trays.  You can make the cookies smaller or larger depending on how many you want.  I usually am making cookies for a crowd and tend to make the cookies on the smaller size, but it really is up to you.  If you make them pretty large, though, I suggest doing fewer than three across and four down because your cookies might run together and make one big cookie!  Actually, a giant cookie sounds pretty good.  Maybe you should do that!

     Bake the cookies for eight to ten minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, or until the cookies are a light golden brown.  I like baking cookies one sheet at a time because I find that they bake more evenly.  If you do bake two sheets at a time, watch them carefully, rotating and switching the trays halfway through baking.

      Cool the cookies on a wire cooling rack.  Once the cookies are just warm to the touch, I like to transfer them to a paper grocery bag I cut open and spread on the table.  This opens up my cookie sheets in case I still have dough to bake and also frees up my cooling racks.  It also helps the cookies cool a little faster since they’re not soaking up the heat of the hot cookie tray.

     Enjoy the cookies with a glass of milk!

     Inspired by Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffle Cookie Cups from butterbaking.com

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