Browned Butter Mocha Chocolate Chip Cookies

So…. I have a new favorite cookie.

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I know, I know, this happens to me  like, 12 times a week.

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But this time it’s for real, people.

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I made these a week ago and I CANNOT stop thinking about them.

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They’re like my classic chocolate chip cookies but cracked out on espresso grounds, browned butter and toffee bits.

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The coffee flavor and the warmth of the browned butter make these a perfect late- night snack. The little bit of cornstarch in the batter makes them extra chewy and stay that way for days. Oh and the sea salt on top? Please please please, for the love of cookies, do not leave that off. The salt complements all the other yumminess in the cookies and is really what makes them so perfect.

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I brought these in to work and nearly caused a riot (the good kind, obviously- only good things happen when cookies are around).

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If you’ve ever doubted me before, now is not the time. Even though the ingredients are a little non-traditional, these cookies are unreal. I’m 99.98% sure they’ll be come your new favorite, too!

Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 10 minutes| Total time: about 30-40 minutes, plus cooling

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

  • 1 cup butter, browned
  • 1 ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 egg, 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup toffee bits (I crushed up some Skor bars!)
  • ¾ cups chocolate chips
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 º F. In a large saucepan, brown your butter (here’s how!). Set aside and let cool. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, espresso powder, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

By now your butter should be somewhat cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the sugars and butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes.  Add in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla and combine. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until completely blended. Fold in the toffee and chocolate chips!.

Place heaping tablespoons of the dough on to your cookie sheets. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are just set (due to the deep color of the cookies, it will be hard to see if the’ve browned at all!). Take the cookies out and let cool on the sheets for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Prepare for a life-changing cookie experience.

Recipe adapted from Kevin and Amanda.

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Banana Cupcakes with Honey Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate Filling

Phew! What a name. But really these cupcakes have so much going on that I couldn’t help but put a crazy long label on them. They earned it.

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Ohhhh man are these good. Banana and peanut butter. Banana and chocolate. Chocolate and peanut butter. Peanut butter and honey.  No matter which way you look at it, the combination of flavors here is classic and like, the best ever.

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The banana cake is my favorite recipe. It’s dense and super banana-y, but still sweet like cake should be. It has Chobani in it, so obviously it’s healthier and awesome-er than regular banana cake. Also, is adding hyphens and letters on to the ends of words a thing? If not, I’m making it one.

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This peanut butter frosting is my go-to recipe and has been for years. This time I made it a million times better by using the Bee’s Knee’s flavor from Peanut Butter & Co and a little extra honey. The remainder of the jar is now gone. I literally can’t be controlled around peanut butter.  Oddly enough, there was no left over frosting, either. Weird.

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The ganache is an awesome little surprise in the middle. You could totally make these without it and they’d still be divine, but, really, if biting in to a banana peanut butter cupcake and finding chocolate in the middle doesn’t make your day, something’s up…

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I went the extra mile with these and drizzled honey on the top.

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Don’t judge me. It was perfect(-er).

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Cue the drool.

Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes | Bake time: 30-45 minutes | Total time (with cooling and frosting): approximately 2 hours.

Yield: 18 cupcakes

Banana Cupcakes

  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter at room temp
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • ¾ cups Greek yogurt (I used Chobani, duh)
  • 2 tbsp apple butter
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 2 ½ cups confectioners sugar
  • ¼ cups butter at room temp
  • ½ cups creamy peanut butter (I used Peanut Butter & Co. Bee’s Knees)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp honey plus extra for drizzling

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 275 º F. Line cupcake pans with liners, enough for 18 cupcakes. In a stand mixer, whip together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in egg and egg white and mix until combined. Add in vanilla, then the yogurt, apple butter and bananas. Mix until homogenous. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt, then slowly add it to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined, scraping down sides of the bowl if needed.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full with batter. Place on middle racks in oven and bake approximately 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately place in freezer to stop the baking process. Let chill in freezer for approximately 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make the peanut butter frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, simply combine all the ingredients together, whipping on high speed for approximately 5 minutes, scrapping down sides intermittently.

For the ganache, place both ingredients in a small saucepan. Over very low heat, melt together, stirring constantly. Remove from heat as soon as the chips have melted (this is very important to avoid burning the ganache- burnt ganache= bad). Set aside to let cool.

To assemble, first hull out the middle of each cupcake. Here’s a great tutorial on how! Next, spoon about a teaspoon of ganache in to the hole (or more depending on the size of the hole you’ve created, you want to fill these babies up!). Spoon the frosting in to a piping bag fitted with the piping tip of your choice (or a large plastic baggie with a corner cut off!). Generously pipe the frosting on to each cupcake, there should be plenty to go around! Share the wealth! Drizzle a little bit of honey on to each cupcake right before serving. It just makes them even more awesome-er.

Cupcake adapted from The Novice Chef. Frosting and ganache are Life Love Lemons originals :).

Avocado Black Bean Brownies (Really)

Sometimes a recipe comes a long that I’m not sure it’s real. Sometimes its just stupid delicious. Sometimes it’s just too easy to be true. Every once in a while it’s healthy but also super awesome tasting.

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This recipe is all of those things and more. Soooo much more.

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Like for real you guys. I know you just read that title and were either A) totally grossed out, B) intrigued but still pretty grossed out or C) thought I was kidding. I’m so serious about these being super delicious that it’s not even funny. You need to try them. I think these are the best tasting brownies I’ve ever made, which is not a statement I throw around very often.

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There is no flour or butter in these beauties (the beans do the work of the flour, the avocado of the butter), and tons of fiber and healthy fats. Using dark cocoa powder and chocolate chips also adds antioxidants. These are gluten free and could easily be made vegan if you use an egg substitute in place of the eggs. Sounds kind of wonderful, right?

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These come out of the oven as dense, fudge morsels of chocolate heaven. They’re honestly amazing. And the best part? You can eat a whole bunch of them and not feel even a little guilty. Please, you guys, trust me on this one and make these, like, STAT. Ok? Ok.

Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes | Bake time: 25-35 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes (plus cooling)

Yield: About 12 large brownies

  • 1 can black beans (15 oz)
  • 1/2 of a large ripe avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips (these melt in to the batter and make it even MORE fudgey) plus more for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 º F. Grease a 8×8 or 9×9 pan and set aside. In a food processor or blender blend all ingredients except for the chocolate chips together until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon entire mixture to your prepared baking pan and spread evenly. Top with chocolate chips if desired. Bake for 25-35 minutes until middle is set and cracks begin to appear in the top. Remove from oven and serve warm, cool, frozen, naked, with ice cream, whatever! Just enjoy (I know you will!).

Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen.

S’mores Bars

So… Yeah… These S’mores Bars. They’re amazing.

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I think I’m just going to show you a lot of pictures so you can kind of understand how unreal these things are.

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It’s totally not going to convey the full deliciousness.

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You had to be there.

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The fluff topping has been officially renamed “liquid crack” (I cannot take credit for this… wish I could).

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The chocolate middle layer is like a smoother fudge that’s made with only 2 ingredients. It’s so rich and silky. It’s perfection and I just want to swim in it.

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The bottom crust is a hearty, classic graham crust that is crumbly like a graham should be but still solid enough to hold the whole thing together at the same time. Kind of like magic.

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Crack on the top, magic on the bottom, perfection in the middle. I die.

Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 15 minutes | Total time (including chilling): 2 hours

Crust

  • 2 cups graham crackers, ground to crumbs
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Filling

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk, chilled in fridge  overnight
  • 1 (340g) bag chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Fluff Topping

  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla

For the crust, preheat oven to 400º F. Line a 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with aluminum foil or parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix together all the crust ingredients until homogenous. Pour the crust in to the bottom of the pan and press down until even. Bake for 15 minutes, until somewhat firm. Remove and set aside.

For the filling, open the can of coconut milk and remove the cream from the watery portion of the milk. Chilling in the fridge will have caused the milk to separate and form two layers; the top will be the milk/creamy part, the water will be on the bottom… you want to use as much as the creamy part and none of the watery part! Place the cream in to a saucepan over medium-low heat with the chocolate chips and melt together, stirring almost constantly. Once the mixture has just barely melted, remove from heat to avoid burning. Add the maple syrup and vanilla and combine. Pour the mixture over the graham crust and spread evenly. Stick in the fridge for at least 2 hours until the chocolate is firm (if you have no patience like me, the freezer is totally an option here, too).

Once the filling is chilled, make the fluff topping. Preheat your oven to broil. Add corn syrup, water and sugar to a saucepan and bring to temperature, about 240 ºF, stirring constantly (a candy thermometer comes in very handy here). In the meantime, in a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip 2 egg whites and cream of tartar on high until soft peaks for. When you have soft peaks and the sugar syrup mixture is up to temperature, remove the sugar mixture from the burner and slowly pour it in to the egg whites (I pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl of the stand mixture). Whisk on high for another 2 minutes until stiff peaks have formed. The fluff topping (liquid crack) should look like this:

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Pour as much or as little of the fluff on to the bars as you’d like (in my opinion, go big or go home). Even distribute and make a nice little swirly pattern in the top if you’d like to create some texture. Stick the entire pan in the oven for about 60 seconds until the top just barely begins to brown (do not take your eyes off of this, this will happen quickly and we dont want burnt fluff on our hands!). Remove the bars from the pan (so easy if you’ve used foil or parchment paper), cut up and prepare to become a heavy S’mores Bars addict.

Peanut Butter and Pretzel M&M Cookies

I’ve been on a cookie tear lately. Have you noticed?

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It’s mostly because cookies are awesome. They’re super easy to throw together and when you show up pretty much anywhere with cookies, everyone thinks you’re really cool.

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Especially when your cookies are as fun as these. I don’t know if you guys have ever tried the Pretzel M&M’s, but they’re freakishly addictive. Paired with peanut butter, they’re out of this world.

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In cookie form, they’re kind of orgasmic. I’m not kidding.

The cookies are soft and sweet, the pretzels and M&M’s are crunchy and salty. These things have this crazy flavor-texture thing going on that makes your mouth sososo happy.

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Seriously, you guys, these things are totally worth trying, especially if your a cookie beginner. All you do is put this stuff in one bowl, mix it up, and you’re done. Your tastebuds will thank you.

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Nomnom.

Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes | Bake time: 10 minutes | Total time (with cooking): 40 minutes

Yield: about 18 large cookies

  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup pretzel M&M’s, crushed
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Pretzels to top

Preheat oven to 375 ° F. In a large bowl, simply mix the butter, peanut butter, sugar, vanilla, baking soda and flour until well combined. Fold in the M&M’s and chocolate chips. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of dough, roll in to a ball, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Top with pretzel pieces. Repeat until all the dough has been used up. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden and the middle is still soft. Remove and let cool on tray for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely. Devour.