Tag Archive | cookies

Friday Confessions

Hi friends! Happy Friday. Another week almost over…sheesh! I am not sure where June is going but I want summer to slowww down.  Why does the best time of the year always have to go by the fastest? Why why why? Well, I truly haven’t had a chance to write since my last post, so I wanted to try and squeeze a quick post in before the weekend, I have lots to share!

1)Post-wedding depression is a real thing.
I’ve heard about the post-wedding blues before but I never thought much of them. Now I totally get it. I wasn’t even the bride and my sister’s wedding being over and done with has seriously depressed me. I think it’s the long-awaited anticipation and build-up of such a fun, life-changing event suddenly being over that’s the culprit of it all. The day after the wedding, we all had the post-wedding wedding blues, that’s for sure. In the last couple weeks though, one thing that’s helped cheer us all up is catching some glimpses of  the professional wedding photos. (This is just a Facebook peek, but it’s so cute) LOVE!
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2)I’m beginning to think I have a serious ice-cream problem.
Last week, I ate ice cream for dinner twice, and this week I’ve had a cone every day for the last four days; whoops. I wish I could say I was sorry but…I’m not.
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3)I am 100% positive my hair has never been this long.
Originally I was growing my hair out for the wedding, but now that it’s over, I’m not sure what to do. Keep it long? Chop it off? I’m liking it long but goodness gracious it’s a pain in the heat. Suggestions welcome!
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4) Everyday is a gift
I’m trying to remember this each and every day, especially when I’m feeling down about something or defeated. One of my closest friends was recently in a horrible car accident and although she was injured and suffered a terrible wrist-break among other things, she is thankfully on the road to recovery and is SO optimistic and up-beat. Having dinner with her this week put it all in perspective.  Everyday is truly a gift. I love you, Tiff!
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5)These are the best cookies ever.
No joke, I made a gluten-free Almond Butter Chocolate-Chip Cookie recipe last week and the entire batch was gone in 2.5 days (thanks mostly in part to me). I’ll share the recipe next week!
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6) Whenever I am feeling unmotivated to work out, new clothes always help.
I’ve been loving outdoor running over the last month, but lately it has been feeling harder and harder  to get motivated in the morning. A new top and new sneakers did the trick. (Thanks to my love for the shoes, and to Nike outlet for an amazing deal!)
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7) I just love my Dad( s )
Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dad’s out there this weekend, especially mine.  I am so grateful for you each and everyday. And to my second Dad, too! I am so blessed to have you in my life!
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Have a great weekend, friends : –)

Ever suffered from the post-wedding blues? How did you cure them?

What should I do with my hair?!

Any holiday is a baking holiday..australian anzac cookies

Hey there and happy Anzac Day from Australia! Anzac Day is Australia’s National Day of Remembrance, which stands to remember the service of Australian veterans. I had the day off from classes today, and nearly everywhere in town was closed, too. It really is a true day of honor.  I started the morning off bright and early with a sunrise service at 5:30 a.m. with some girlfriends. Despite the very early awakening, I am so glad I went. The music and words spoken were beautiful, and it was so nice to see such a big turnout to honor the veterans. I would say at least 600-700 people were there!
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Sunrise Service

In my opinion, any holiday is a baking holiday, so in honor of Anzac Day, I wanted to bake the traditional “Anzac Cookie” that I’ve seen all over Australia in coffee shops, restaurants, airports, and supermarkets. I just wanted to make it a bit healthier than the traditional versions.  I have tried a few Anzac cookies at various places and believe me, they are delicious, but I know they are full of butter…lots of butter! What made of butter, oats, brown sugar, syrup and flour isn’t delicious? There’s nothing wrong with these ingredients at all, I just wanted to use less of them! In my search to find a healthier  recipe, I found a keeper from Cooking Light. This recipe uses minimal butter compared to other traditional recipes, but still uses enough to yield a soft texture and buttery-like flavor to the cookies.

These cookies take only minutes to put together, and you only need one mixing bowl from start to finish. Less dishes=happy Meredith. Hope you enjoy these as much as I am!
P.S. the dough is pretty great too…I would know, obviously : –)

Healthier Australian Anzac Cookies
Recipe from Cooking Light
Ingredients
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  • 1 cup whole oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons golden cane syrup (I used maple syrup and it worked just fine!
  • Cooking spray

    Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (176°C). Line two cookie sheets with baking/parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
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  3. Next, add the water, butter, and syrup; then stir well.
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  4. Pat/roll the dough into ball formation, using about 1-2 TBSP of dough per cookie, and space the dough out evenly on the cookie sheets. Then bake at 325° for 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove them from the oven, and let them cool. Once firm, remove them from the pans to cool completely on wire racks.
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  5. Eat them with vanilla ice-cream…that’s an order! : )

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I brought these to dinner tonight and my two girlfriends really enjoyed them. They said they tasted just like a traditional Anzac cookie…and they would know since they’re Australian! I’d say these are a winner for sure.

What’s your favorite type of cookie?
Oatmeal Raisin and chocolate chip are my top two!

Have a Special Easter Sunday

Happy Easter ! I hope you’re all having having a wonderful day with your families. Since this is the first Easter I’ve ever spent away from my family, I went to bed vowing to wake up and only do things that make me happy today in order to keep my spirits up.

First up, I baked these adorable M&M inspired Birds Nest Cookies:
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Next, I’m heading out to grab a latte and walk on the beach.
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If I can’t be with my family today, I at least need to do things that make me smile, right?
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What are your Easter plans? Please share!

P.S.
In case you’re in need of a last minute Easter treat, here’s the cookie recipe…I had a blast making these, and I think they’d be adorable on any Easter table! This recipe is on the back of the
“Spec-tacular Eggs M&M Milk Chocolates” bag, which they don’t have in Australia, so I owe my girl Sarah for sending me these. Love you Sar!

Birds Nest Cookies
Inspired by the Spec-tacular eggs M&M Milk Chocolates bag
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Ingredients
1/2 bag M&M speckled milk chocolate m&ms (or any variety!)
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 and 1/3 cups flaked coconut

Directions
1) Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread coconut on a parchment-paper lined cookie sheet, and bake in the oven for about 20-minutes, until golden brown. (p.s. the aroma from the toasting coconut is AMAZING!) Once this is done, remove it and set aside in a bowl.
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2) Turn up your oven to 350 degrees, and in a large bowl, add your softened butter and sugar, whipping with a hand or stand mixer until it’s light and fluffy. (I used a hand-mixer). Then beat-in your egg and vanilla.
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3) Combine the flour and pinch of salt in a medium mixing bowl, and then blend it into your creamed mixture.
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4) Roll the dough into balls (each about 1 inch in size), and then roll them each in the baked coconut.
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5) Place them on parchment-paper lined baking sheets, and put a thumb indentation in the center of each cookie. Then cook for about 12-15 minutes, until the coconut is browned.
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6) Let them cool completely, and then fill your pastel-colored m&m’s into each indentation. Voila, you have birds nest cookies!
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I’m taking a couple of these along as my treat of the morning to enjoy with my latte down by the beach. Have a special Easter Sunday!
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Mint Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies

Today marked the start of my holiday baking. Trust me, I’m extremely ashamed…this is a VERY late start for me. To be honest, I didn’t want to make these. I have been DYING to make gingerbread truffles(recipe is soon to come!) but time was an issue tonight. So instead, I settled on this tasty treat. While they aren’t the fanciest of cookies, they certainly are delicious. And I know what you must be thinking…mint chocolate chip, cake, and cookies? Hey it’s Christmas…why not? Plus, these cookies are as good as they sound. They’re moist like a cake, chewy like a cookie, and chock-full of mint flavor.

The best part about these cookies is how easy they are to make. In less than 20 minutes, I had a batch of two dozen cookies. If you’re looking for a quick, tasty, inexpensive Christmas treat, it’s right here!

Enjoy!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake Cookies
Ingredients:
1 box Devil’s Food cake mix
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped mint chocolate chips (I used Andes)
Powdered sugar for garnish (about 1/2 cup)

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
2) Combine cake mix, oil and eggs in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until everything is combined. Then, pour in mint chips and stir.

dough + candies

3) Pour powdered sugar into a small bowl. Roll cookie dough into balls and roll around in bowl of powdered sugar until they are coated in a thin layer of the sugar.

dough ball

rollingggg

4) Place dough balls on cookie sheet and bake for approximately 12 minutes.

dough balls

alllll baked!

 

5) Cool on cooling rack and enjoy.

christmas cookies!

After I taste-tested a few cookies (as every baker should) I packaged them up to give away to my co-workers in these cute little goody bags. If anything gets me excited for work, it’s this! Countdown to Christmas is on!

cookie bags!

Sugar Cookie Central

It feels like Christmas (it’s as cold, if not colder than December), looks like Christmas (due to the piles upon piles of snow), and smells like Christmas (a result of the aroma of cookies baking!) But it’s not Christmas…it’s Valentines Day! The perfect excuse to make tasty treats if you ask me. When I found out I was responsible for the dessert component of tonight’s dinner, I was
PUMPED! I knew I wanted to make something that I could incorporate pink( my favorite color), red, and white into…so frosting came to mind. My favorite thing to frost is sugar cookies! Plus, my Mom has one of the easiest, tastiest, and somewhat healthiest sugar cookie dough recipes that I’ve ever seen. I say healthiest because this recipe only calls for one stick of butter. Most sugar cookie recipes call for two. If you don’t believe me, look online!

I firmly believe a recipe is a good recipe if you reuse it over and over again. This recipe descended from Grammie Rowden’s cookbook and we still have her original recipe card. It’s that good! Although I’m fully aware sugar cookies can be a tedious task, I was prepared. I made the dough yesterday afternoon, let it chill overnight, and baked the cookies after work today.

chillin' dough

 I made the frosting as they cooled, and split it up into 3 separate batches for 3 different colors.

frosting assembly line

Grammie Rowden’s Sugar Cookies 
Ingredients
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 T milk (I used skim)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tarter
1/2 tsp. salt
2 ½ cups flour ( I used white)

ingredients

 Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place butter and sugar in the bowl, and beat until combined. Add the eggs, vanilla, and milk and beat to combine.

blending

2) Sift together flour, baking powder, cream of tarter and salt, and add to liquids. Mix all together.

all together

3) Wrap dough in wax paper and chill for approximately 2 hours (or length desired).

chillin' dough

4) Sprinkle a work surface ( I put wax paper down) and rolling pin with flour and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move dough frequently to prevent it from sticking and add more flour to the work surface and rolling pin as needed. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, (or a paper cookie cutter like me!),cut hearts, re-rolling dough as needed. Place at least 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets, and bake until cookies are set but not brown, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the pan slightly before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

ohhh my cookie cutter

into the oven

Frosting
2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 – 2 lbs powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk ( I used low-fat)

Mix butter and powdered sugar together, adding sugar gradually to the mix. Add vanilla. Mix in milk, adding more if needed. Continue to add milk and sugar until it reaches the desired consistency. Add food coloring if desired!

pretty, huh?

love themed!

the whole batch

I’m off to lick the spatulas! Don’t be jealous!

What did you make for Valentine’s Day?

The recipe behind my cookie addiction

It’s only fair that I reveal this recipe. After all, its put most of my friends and family into a cookie coma at one point or another. I’m going to claim that it’s my Mom’s fault, since it’s her recipe! Of all of the desserts she makes, this one is the most simple, and most likely will sound pretty average to you: Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. But allow me warn you…it’s not average. I’ve had this memorized since I started to bake. It’s that good, and once you make these, you may never go back to pre-made cookie dough….you won’t want to! On a countless number of occasions, I’ve eaten so much dough that I haven’t been able to fill the baking pan…major oops.

I bake these at least once a week, mostly because I never get sick of them, and I typically have the ingredients on hand at all times. These are my go-to dessert for office parties, cookie swaps, and get-togethers with friends. Just make sure you keep one for yourself…they seem to disappear VERY quickly. A guaranteed hit for any occasion. Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 stick butter
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
2 ¼ cups white flour
1 cup (or as many as desired) milk or dark chocolate chips (I used dark!)
1 cup heath-bar bits(optional)
cooking spray

Directions

1)Preheat oven to 350

2) Soften butter in the microwave on low power—do not melt.

3) Once the butter is softened, mix in sugars with a spatula.

4) Once mixed, add in both eggs and vanilla. Stir until mixed.

5) Add baking soda, and gradually add the flour.

6) Once mixed, add chocolate chips.

7) Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, or until browned. (I like mine slightly undercooked. That way, they stay doughy when they’re cold!)

 

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Thick, dense, doughy, chewy.  Good luck eating just one :)