Cookies with a Twist

One of my first friends in Kansas City was Megan. Like me, she was an old soul in a young body. We met while working on our Masters degrees at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. We also had a lot of fun exploring the city – dinners, plays, and concerts. Megan is so talented and has taught me so many things. I also owe the start of my nonprofit career to this lady. She helped me make a resume that visually popped. Her networking skills also helped me find my first nonprofit job as a grant writer. That job was one of the best teams I’ve ever worked on and a few of those fantastic women are still dear friends.

Megan is Martha Stewart. Not only is she an amazing cook but she and her husband are also master gardeners. They have turned their passion for gardening into a full-scale Kansas agri-business. If you are close, visit their Next to Nature booth on a Saturday morning at the Bonner Springs Farmers Market. They have everything from fresh seasonal produce to products made from honey. I love watching their business adventures on Facebook.

Megan_weddingI was lucky enough to be a bridesmaid for Megan and Chad’s wedding. Like all weddings, they had a hiccup right before their big day. Less than a week before their big day, the building where they were going to have their wedding reception was hit by a car. The good news is that structural engineers determined it was still safe to remain open. Their wedding end up going off without a hitch. And nine years later, they are still happily married.

For our wedding, Megan shared this recipe. I wasn’t sure what to think at first. Orange and chocolate chips? Sure, I’ve seen chocolate covered orange slices but I’ve never eaten them. But I trusted Megan. She’s Martha Stewart, right. I have to tell you, these cookies were so good I wish I had made a larger batch. I hope you love these super soft cookies as much as I did.

Orange Chocolate Chippers by Megan Gilliland
IMG_01601 c. shortening
1 – 3 oz. package of cream cheese
2 T. grated orange peel
2 c. flour
1 (6 oz.) package of chocolate chips
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt

Cream together shortening, sugar, and cream cheese. Add eggs, orange peel, and vanilla. Shift together salt and flour. Then, add to mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoons onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool and remove. Makes 4 dozen.

An Amber Original

Cheesecake has sort of become a tradition on Valentine’s Day for us. This year, I decided I wanted a Monster Cookie Cheesecake. When I couldn’t find a recipe that matched what I was looking for, I modified this Mr. Food’s Tasty Toffee Cheesecake. The first time I made this recipe, I prepared it for my sister’s birthday. I’m pretty sure I made it for a Friday night dinner at my friends Kassie and Joe’s house too. It’s delicious!

I hope you enjoy a small slice of this cheesecake spin on one of my favorite cookies – my mom’s monster cookies. I just can’t make the cookies as good as she does.

fullsizerender-13Monster Cookie Cheesecake by Amber Bourek Slater
2 – 8 oz. packages of cream cheese
½ c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. of vanilla
1 package of refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough
quick oats
M&Ms
chocolate chips

In a sprayed pie pan, spread out peanut butter cookie mix. Top with quick oats and press into crust. In a bowl, mix together cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in M&Ms and chocolate chips. Pour into crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used one package of fat free and one reduced fat cream cheese. I did that because the fat free bricks were on sale for $.39. I think it turned out ok.
  • I’m thinking mini M&Ms and chocolate chips would work great. I used regular size through because that’s what I had on hand.

Quadruple Chocolate Cookies

I was looking for some new recipes when I ran across cookie recipe. I love Chocolate Crinkles (my signature dish) so these seemed like something I’d enjoy. Although they are tasty, I think my Chocolate Crinkles are better. But they did give me another excuse to use my Kitchen Aid mixer.

Quadruple Chocolate Soft Fudgy Pudding Cookies from Pinterest
img_0018
¾ c. butter, softened
¾ c. brown sugar
¼ c. sugar
2 eggs
1 packet of chocolate pudding
¼ c. cocoa powder
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

5 oz. dark chocolate chopped

Mix together butter, sugars, and eggs. Add in pudding, cocoa, flour, baking soda, and salt slowly. Stir in chocolate. Refrigerate for two hours. Roll into balls and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

No Bake Monster Cookies

A few weeks ago, a friend posted a picture on Facebook of some cookies her daughter had created for 4-H. One of the cookies was a no bake monster cookie. I asked her for the recipe and she said they had found it on Pinterest. Since I follow her on Pinterest, I checked out her pins. This recipe is super easy and protein packed. It’s quick and easy but not as good as my mom’s original monster cookie recipe. My husband agreed. However, I did get a chance to use my my new cookie scoop I got as a wedding gift.

No Bake Monster Cookies by The Baker Mama
FullSizeRender (7)2 1/2 c. oatmeal
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. mini M&Ms

Mix together oatmeal, peanut butter, honey, and extract. Then, stir in chocolate chips and M&Ms. Scoop into round balls on parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating. Once solid, you can transfer to an airtight container so they don’t dry out.

Notes:

  • I used reduced fat creamy peanut butter but the original recipe says you can also use crunchy peanut butter.
  • I used regular sized chocolate chips and M&Ms. They worked but the might have stayed together better if I had used the mini sizes.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I usually buy Pillsbury Refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. I figure if someone makes better cookies than you can, why not buy them? I ran across this recipe that uses cornstarch to soften up the cookies. I made them and felt like they were just as good as Pillsbury. I didn’t have enough chocolate chips so I used half white chocolate chips and half mini chocolate chips. My co-workers thought they were good judging by the fact they were gone by lunchtime.

Chocolate ChipsChewy Chocolate Chip Cookies by American Heritage Cooking
¾ c. butter, softened
¾ c. brown sugar
¼ c. sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 c. chocolate chips

Mix and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Healthy Haystacks

It feels like it has been forever since I have written a blog post. That’s probably has been. In addition to working two jobs, Jeremiah and I have spent the better part of the last three months planning, packing, moving, and (still) unpacking. It’s super exciting because we finally have a place together with all of our stuff. Well, almost all of stuff. We did have to get rid of a few things to move into together.

In addition to keeping busy with all of this stuff, I took on another task. Yesterday and today, I made 120 cookies for Family Volunteer Night at work. I know, am I completely insane? Well, it had to be done. My boss promised we would have a healthy cookie as the volunteers left. Needing all hands on deck for tonight, we just didn’t have enough people at work to make them. Here is the quick and easy recipe I prepared in my beautiful new kitchen. Please note though, this is one of those recipes you’ll want to put on an apron to make. Peanut butter is super messy.

HaystackHealthy Haystacks by Harvesters’ Nutrition Department
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. butterscotch chips
2 c. Fiber One bran cereal
1/2 c. dry roasted peanuts
1/2 c. dried cranberries (craisins) 

Cover two cookie sheets with wax paper. In a large bowl, mix peanut butter and butterscotch chips. Microwave for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes stirring every 30 seconds. (Use a potholder while stirring and removing from oven as it will be hot.) Then, add cereal, nuts, and cranberries. Once completely coated, spoon onto wax paper. Refrigerate until firm and serve. Store leftovers in the fridge.

Nutrition Information: Makes 32 servings. 101 Calories, 7 g. fat, 10 g. carbs, 3 g. fiber, 3 g. protein, and 80 mg. sodium.

Notes:

  • I omitted the nuts and doubled the cranberries.
  • You can substitute other dried fruit such as raisins or cherries.

Hunger Sweats

Did you know that hunger sweating is a really thing? Google it. Jeremiah learned this on Thursday morning. Although more common in diabetics when their blood sugar is low, it can also happen to non-diabetics. If I were to guess, it might also be a reaction to our diet with the medicines Jeremiah takes. Of course, this is making me nervous for the week to be over. I don’t want anything to happy to my love.

Of course, it is also a reminder of the chronic health conditions so many people who receive food from Harvesters. Twenty-nine (29%) percent of the households who receive food from Harvesters have at least one person in their household who is in poor health.  Thirty-seven (37%) percent of households have at least one member with diabetes, and 62 percent report at least one member with high blood pressure. Can you imagine having to choose between purchasing food and paying for medicine? As you can see, cheap unhealthy food or lack of food can also be bad for your health.

After experiencing hunger sweats in the morning, Jeremiah ate his banana. Of course, that means he did not have one to eat at lunch time. I guess it is a good thing we packed the leftover Chicken Penne Pasta for lunch. It was made with whole wheat pasta which helped get him by until dinner.

Bless his heart, Jeremiah waited for me to eat dinner. I was late because I had a hair cut after work. We ate Red Beans and Rice, corn bread, and five saltine crackers. For dessert, two cookies each plus a cup of coffee for Jeremiah. That was the last of the extra cookies so we won’t be able to have any for dessert tomorrow night.

Check-out the cookie recipe we prepared on Sunday for the week. The recipe comes from Harvesters’ Nutrition Services Department. The cookies cost $3.06 to make or $.09 per cookie. They don’t taste very different than the homemade chocolate chip cookies my mother made growing up.

cookiesWhole-Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies by Harvesters’ Nutrition Department
3/4 c. oats
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. canola oil
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1 large egg
t tsp. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind oats in a blender or food processor until texture of flour. Pour in a medium bowl with flour, baking soda, and salt. In another medium bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add oil, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Beta until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix on low. Once combined, stir in chocolate chips. Drop spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet, approximately two inches apart. Bake 9-12 minutes. Makes approximately 24 cookies.

Nutritional information: Calories – 131, Fat 7 g., Protein – 2 g., Carbs – 17 g. , Fiber 2 g., and Sodium 79 mg.

Wacky and Wild Stuff

It’s been so long since Johnny Carson retired from The Tonight Show that Jay Leno is about to hand it off for the second time. Johnny was from the town of Norfolk, NE – where half my family lives. And like me, Johnny was an alum of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Although I don’t think he ever had this cookie in mind, one of his catch phrases popped into my head when I ran across this recipe.

If you’ve even been in one of those fancy chocolate shops like at Crown Center, you’ve probably noticed they make chocolate covered potato chips. In fact, the new “it” taste is salted caramel mocha. It’s everywhere – including my favorite Starbucks drink.

When I ran across this recipe on Pinterest, I thought to myself “I have to try this recipe”. I figured it would either be the best or the worst cookie I ever made. Although I don’t think it is better than my Chocolate Crinkle recipe or will be as popular as my Weight Watchers three-ingredient cookie recipe, I did enjoy it and will definitely make it again.

Sweet & salty cookiesSweet and Salty Potato Chip Toffee Cookies from Pinterest
2 c. plus 2 T. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. crushed chips (I used Reduced Fat Ruffles)
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 c. Heath bits or chopped Heath candy bar

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. In another bowl, blend together butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla. Slowly add flour mixture and beat. Fold in chips, chocolate chips, and Heath bits. Chill for 30 minutes. Bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

HIMYM

If you are a fan of How I Met Your Mother, you most likely got the HIMYM reference. I actually didn’t start watching the show until about a year ago on Netflix but ended up watching all the seasons consecutively by the end of Christmas break. I used to think the story was Marshall (Jason Segal) telling his children how he met their mother Lily (Alyson Hannigan). Although a friend set me straight, I hadn’t figured out how to get into the show in syndication. I realized it is one of those shows you really need to watch straight through to get all the references in futures episodes.

I think one of the reasons this show resonated with me so well because I could relate to the Ted character. As a single 36 year old, I’ve dated more than my far share of guys. It’s frustrating too because I’m a good girlfriend and the type of person you set down with. I’ve even had relationships with serious boyfriends end because they didn’t share my vision for wanting children. My friends are also a little like Lily and Marshall. So many of them found their perfect matches (although years after college). They also continue offer encouragement that I will find the person I’m meant to be with. On occasion, I know they’ve even wanted to yell at me – “break-up with that guy”.  And we share a few little secrets that only REAL friends would do for you.

I was super excited heading into the finally season because we got to meet the mother. Unfortunately, this season isn’t what I had in mind. I should have known when I read in Entertainment Weekly they would be flashing forward to Ted and “The Mother” that we would be stuck in Barney and Robin’s wedding for the entire season.

This recipe comes from the season 9 premiere in which Lily and “The Mother” meet on the train. “The Mother” befriends Lily by calming her down with cookies. Lily says, “Sumbitches” when she bites into the first one and “The Mother” informs her that is what the cookies are called. May you enjoy these cookies as much as my co-workers did today.

SumbitchesSumbitches by “The Mother” on How I Met Your Mother courtesy of People magazine
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. creamy peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
36 bite sized chocolate covered caramels

Beat together first four ingredients. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add to creamy mixture slowly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Shape 2 T. of dough around candy and place three inches apart on baking sheet. Cook for 13-14 minutes at 350 degrees.

Notes:

  • I used Rolos but you could use Milky Ways.
  • The recipe didn’t say whether or not to soften the butter. I did.
  • I refrigerated for an 1 1/2 hours before baking.

An Amber Original

Back in my Komen days, I remember going with our Community Outreach Manager to Atchison to present our first grant to the hospital. As the only hospital/imaging center serving that region of northeast Kansas, they hosted a big pink party to celebrate. One of the things their chef made was these amazing chocolate cookies with Raspberry M&Ms. I was in love. Although I haven’t been able to locate a recipe for these delicious cookies, I opted to take my best cookie recipe, remove the confectioner sugar, and add raspberry M&Ms. My you enjoys these as much as my Marriott co-workers did. They will melt in your mouth when served warm.

Chocolate Raspberry CookiesChocolate Raspberry Cookies by Amber Bourek
3/4 c. Butter, melted
1/2 c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 c. Sugar
2 c. Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 c. Chocolate Chips
1/2 c. Raspberry M&Ms

In a large bowl, mix butter, cocoa, and sugar. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use an electric mixer to add eggs and vanilla into chocolate mixture. Slowly add dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate overnight. Roll into balls and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Notes:

  • I used mini-chocolate chips and it wasn’t as rich as I would have liked. I’d recommend using Milk Chocolate regular sized chips. You might even want to use 3/4 cup.
  • I used 1/2 c. Raspberry M&Ms. That put only about one M&M per cookie. You might want to use 3/4 or 1 cup of M&Ms.
  • I didn’t add but you could easily add a tsp. of raspberry syrup instead of adding more M&Ms.