Tag Archives: Dessert

M&M Cookies

MM Cookies from LaurenFoodE
I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that most of my memories are tied to food, including my earliest memory of eating an apple at the YMCA while I watched my mom take aerobics class. So while I was perusing Pinterest a couple weeks ago, an image caught my eye that immediately took me back… back to the mall. Remember how you’d be walking through the mall on a weekend and suddenly there was a scent… a warm, chocolatey, freshly baked scent that forced you past 5-7-9, past DEB, past Charlotte Russe, past Wet Seal… to The Cookie Place. Did it have a real name? Who cares. To me it was The Cookie Place. I would beg my mom with every ounce of gusto I had in me for one of those beautiful cookies. Sometimes I got one, sometimes I didn’t. But when I did it was always the same: M&M. In the recesses of my mind it seemed like two treats in one, candy and a cookie. See what I did there? Always thinking.

It should be noted that later in life I would work at the mall across from said Cookie Place and I ate so many that I gained some weight… enough weight that one day the button on my pants popped while I was driving to the mall and when I got there I had to buy myself some new pants. It’s amazing how life comes full circle, am I right?

Anyway, I saw the picture on Pinterest and committed myself to making the mall M&M cookies. I did leave the blogger who originally posted them (Liz of the amazingly named That Skinny Chick Can Bake!) a note to make that these cookies are CHEWY and not CRISPY (obviously) and she assured me they are, in fact, chewy. That is, if you eat them within the first day or two of making them. But don’t worry. You will.

M&M Cookies
Makes approximately 18 cookies
Originally from That Skinny Chick Can Bake!

3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream together butter and sugars with an electric mixer. Add egg and egg yolk and combine. Add vanilla and combine. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the butter mixture and mix well until combined. Add flour and mix by hand.

Take 2 Tbsp of dough and roll into a ball. Place dough balls on cookie sheet approximately 2 inches apart (these spread a LOT) and flatten slightly with palm of your hand. Top with 6 – 8 M&Ms and press down a little so they’re nestled in the dough.

Bake for 11 – 13 minutes or until brown around the edges. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

No, that's not mold, it's blue candle wax.

No, that’s not mold, it’s blue candle wax.

I have this HUGE problem, in that The BF doesn’t want me to bake anything but chocolate chip cookies and occasionally BOXED chocolate brownies (never brownies from scratch). No molasses cookies, no cupcakes, no blondies, no muffins, nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I make these things anyway, but they inevitably get stale or the entire batch ends up as that extra 5 pounds on my thighs. It’s starting to become a reeeeeeal problem for me.

So for his birthday I said, “Do you want me to make a cake?” He said, “Surprise me!” I said, “Do you want brownies?” He said, “Surprise me!” So I did. I make red velvet cheesecake brownies. Who wouldn’t like red velvet cheesecake brownies?! Probably just runway models and I don’t know any of those.

So what did he say when he took a bite? “They’re a little rich for me.”

I guess I’ll stick to chocolate chip and boxed brownies. And eat the entire batch of brownies by myself.

On the menu:
Red velvet cheesecake brownies
Makes 16
Note: I still do not own an 8 x 8 pan which this recipe originally calls for, so I made it in a round 8″ cake pan and then cut the brownies into thin wedges. These truly are rich, so you don’t want to cut them too big.

2 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 Tbsp red food coloring
3/4 tsp white vinegar
3/4 cup flour
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 (or 8″ round) pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Beat eggs together in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium sized bowl, add warm, just-melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar and stir until combined. Add eggs and stir until combined. Fold in flour until incorporated. Pour batter into baking pan, leaving 4 Tbsp of batter for later.

To make the cheesecake: in a large bowl, blend cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until light and fluffy and completely blended. Drop the cheesecake batter on top of the brownie batter in large dollops. Add your reserved brownie batter in dollops on top of the cheesecake. Use a sharp knife to cut lines across the batter until you have a lovely swirl pattern.

Bake for 28 – 30 minutes for a square pan, or 30 – 32 minutes in a round pan. Test with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting.

Note: this should be kept refrigerated because of the cheesecake on top. Set it out for about an hour before serving so the brownies aren’t cold.

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One Mug Brownie

One mug brownie from LaurenFoodE

Do you ever REALLY want a brownie, but the thought of baking up a whole batch is just exhausting? Plus you don’t want the temptation of a huge plate of brownies sitting in your kitchen, begging you to eat the entire lot? Well then have I got the answer for you… a brownie you can make in ONE MINUTE in a MUG in your MICROWAVE. You’re welcome.

On the menu:
One mug brownie
Serves 1

4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp water

In a regular sized mug, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Add vegetable oil and water and stir until completely combined, no lumps. Put the mug in the microwave and cook on high for one minute. Since microwaves vary, you may need 10 – 15 seconds more. The center of the brownie should still be a tiny bit undercooked.

Let cool for a few minutes. Devour.

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Double Chocolate Cookies

LaurenFoodE double chocolate cookies
I could’ve died for a cookie last night. The BF and I have gone on a major HBO binge and have been watching entire series worth of HBO shows in one go (I’m talking 5 seasons of The Wire in 2 weeks… it’s a sickness, really). And is any TV-watching binge complete without snacks? Of course not. But did we have any freshly baked cookies in the house? No. No, we did not. So tonight, while we embark on the final episodes of Season 1 of Game of Thrones (it took me awhile to get into, but it is soooo good… and those who are attracted to females will like it because there are topless ladies in every. single. episode. yeesh.), I will be eating my weight in chocolate cookies. You should, too.

On the menu:
Double chocolate cookies
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies

1 cup plus 1 Tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, blend together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla extract.

In a separate smaller bowl, sift (or whisk) together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix by hand to combine. Add chocolate chips and stir together.

Drop by Tbsp sized spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 9 – 11 minutes. Cookies will be soft when you remove them from the oven, but careful not to overbake or they will dry out. Let cool briefly on the cookie sheet and then finish cooling on a rack.

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Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting by LaurenFoodE
I don’t have to tell you about my problem with late night cakes. There really should be some sort of “Late Night Cakes Anonymous” group or something. In any case, it’s putting a reeeeeal damper on Project Lose That Holiday Weight. I may or may not have gained a small amount of weight due to excessive holiday eating (namely chimichangas and In N Out and Jack In the Box, all of which I blame on The BF and his SoCal roots). And I made one of those stupid New Year’s resolutions that I was going to get healthy in 2013, finally join the gym across the street from me, and stop eating as if I was hosting an un-televised version of Man Vs. Food.

But here’s a short story about me: The BF, being a stand up comic, works weekends and a lot of nights I find myself alone with nothing to keep me warm but a kitchen just begging to be baked in. My pantry had pumpkin, my fridge had cream cheese, and I had a recipe and a dream. You know what that means… pumpkin cake.

On the menu:
Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting
Makes one 9 x 13 cake

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
1 15-oz. can pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend together the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir together until combined. Pour into an ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Frosting:
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Blend together all ingredients with an electric mixer until combined. When cake is completely cooled, spread frosting evenly over top. Refrigerate cake until serving.

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Red Velvet Christmas Cupcakes

Red velvet cupcakes
Red velvet cupcakes are a mystery to me… there is nothing really special about them aside from their color. They’re basically barely-chocolate flavored cake with cream cheese frosting. But when I was trying to come up with a special little dessert for mine and The BF’s honorary Christmas celebration (traveling on Christmas doesn’t really lend itself to hauling around loads of gifts, ya know?), I couldn’t think of anything more perfect than little red colored cakes. And besides that, The BF loves red velvet. So I took a crack at it, threw caution to the wind and added the ENTIRE little bottle of red food coloring, and kind of loved it. Here’s to red velvet. I saw its face, now I’m a believer.

On the menu:
Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp liquid red food coloring
1/2 tsp white distilled vinegar
1/2 tsp baking soda

In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder together.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until it’s soft. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Add the egg and beat until combined, and then add the vanilla and cream the mixture together.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk with the red food coloring. Beat together on low speed the flour mixture, the butter mixture, and the red food coloring mixture, alternating the flour and food coloring in three separate pours, ending with the flour (i.e.: Add 1/3 of the flour, half the red, 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 the red, then the rest of the flour).

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and the baking soda. Quickly fold the liquid into your batter and then divide into 12 muffin tin tups until each cup is half full (don’t worry, this batter rises a lot).

Bake for 18 – 23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one cake comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

Cream cheese frosting:

4 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Blend cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar and vanilla until combined. Pipe onto cupcakes (or spread with a knife) and sprinkle with green sugar to finish.

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Snickerdoodles

These cookies are hands down one of my favorites, and I pretty much crave them every day of my life. They turn out thin, with crispy edges and chewy middles. Is there a better kind of cookie? These are fantastic to have around the holidays since they make your house smell like butter and cinnamon, and also they are not healthy by any means so they’ll help you gain that much desired winter weight.

You… wait… what? You DON’T like winter weight? Then what the heck are you doing here?!

On the menu:
Snickerdoodles
Makes 36 cookies
Recipe from Joy of Cooking

2 cups flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs

For rolling dough balls in:
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat in eggs one by one. Add flour to butter and sugar mixture and stir until combined.

In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and then roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake for 12 – 14 minutes or until brown around the edges. Let cool. Devour. I mean… serve to friends.

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