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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Peach Crumble Bars

Ok, you guys. This is it. School starts today. Ew.

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It’s not that I don’t love school and learning and advancing the nursing profession (because who doesn’t love that??). I do. I really do. But working 36 hours a week and taking 4 classes makes for a fairly hectic schedule. I needed something to cheer me up and take my mind off the impending life-craziness.

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So, Peach Crumble Bars. Naturally. Peaches are so hot right now, and I’d been dying to make something with them for days and days. These are prefect. The crust holds together sturdily on the bottom and is perfectly crumbly on top. The filling is sweet and tart, and I love the color I got from using white peaches.

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Even though late summer means classes starting up again, it means peaches are in season and I can make these fabulous bars. It definitely makes the end of August a little more bearable!

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Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes | Bake time: 45 minutes | Total time (with cooling): about 1 hour and 30 minutes

Yield: at least 16  2×2 inch bars

Crust and Crumble

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 4 peaches, sliced
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 º F. Butter an 8×8 baking pan and set aside. In a small bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut in butter until it’s the size of small peas. Add the egg and mix together until just combined. Spoon half of the mixture in to the baking dish and press evenly in to the bottom of the pan.

Next, make the peach filling. In a large bowl, mix all of the filling ingredients together until blended and peaches are completely covered. Spoon filling over the bottom crust. Evenly sprinkle the rest of the crust mixture on top of the peaches. Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes, until the crumble is slightly golden brown. Remove and let cool completely before cutting.

Boozy Banana Cake with Coffee Rum Frosting

Forget all this healthy eating business. Sometimes a girl just needs some cake.

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Cake with booze.

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Sometimes a girl needs a cake with booze for no particular reason.

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I didn’t have a bad day, wasn’t celebrating anything. I just really wanted, no, NEEDED a boozy banana cake.

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Oh, and I had some overripe bananas lying around that were just begging to be used. And a nearly empty bottle of rum. So really I had no other choice but to bake this cake. Like, STAT.

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I’ve made many, MANY worse life choices. This cake was divine. It was soft, had a tender crumb, and I loved the subtle rum and coffee flavors. The coconut, walnuts and raisins added fantastic texture.

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And the frosting. Ooooohhhhhh my god the frosting. I could eat this every day for the rest of my life and be happy. I LOVED the coffee and rum flavors with the tang of the cream cheese; there was almost something maple-y about it, and I was totally digging it.

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So if you want a fancy cake for a celebration, need cake for therapy after a bad day, or just want cake because you just want cake, make this. For such a dramatic cake, it really comes together in no time. And since there’s banana’s in it, you could even have it for breakfast if you want and it would be totally fine… so I’ve heard…

Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes | Bake time: 35-40 minutes | Total time (with cooling and frosting): At least 2 hours

Yield: 12 (at least- this thing is huge)

Boozy Banana Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon strong coffee
  • 1 tablespoon  rum, plus additional for brushing ( I used Gosling’s Dark Rum)
  • 3 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup rum soaked raisins

Coffee Rum Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 7-8 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup strong coffee
  • 1 tbsp rum (Again, Gosling’s Dark Rum)
  • Chopped walnuts, to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 º F. Butter and flour three 8 inch round cake pans and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light at fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time until blended thoroughly. Add in vanilla, coffee, rum and banana and mix.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients alternatively with the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients and making sure to mix in between each addition until mixture has just come together (do not over-mix!). After the last addition of the dry ingredients, mix until just combined then fold in the coconut, walnuts and raisins. Divide the batter equally in to the three prepared cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in to the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove and place in freezer immediately to stop the baking process. After 30 minutes or so, remove cakes from pan and assemble the cake, or wrap in saran wrap and place back in the fridge to frost later.

To make the frosting, whip butter and cream cheese together until combined. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix on medium speed for about a minute. If frosting is too thick, add in a little more coffee, 1 tablespoon at a time. If too thin, add in a little more powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time.

To assemble the cake. place a layer flat side up on a plate. Brush with a little bit of rum (not too much though, we’re not in college anymore). Frost with approximately 1/3-1/2 cup of frosting. Place the second layer on top and repeat. Place the third layer on top with rounded side up for a more rustic look. Frost with remaining frosting, and make big swirls with your knife to complete that slightly messy look. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and place in fridge to let frosting set for about 30 minutes. Remove from fridge about 20 minutes before ready to serve and enjoy!

Adapted from A Southern Grace.

Red, White and Blue Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

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It got reaaaalll patriotic up here this past weekend.

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I don’t know what happened. I’m usually not the go-nuts-with-red-white-and-blue-for-the-Fourth type. American flag t-shirts, bathing suits and tattoos are just not my thing. Never have been.

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But I got the idea to make this red, white and blue layer cake in my head and it had be done. So, I jumped out of my color comfort zone and got baking. I’m so glad I did.

Because how fantastic is this cake? The contrast of the colors is stunning, and the pure height of this thing is impressive on its own. And what’s a more classic American dessert than vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream? Ok, fine, Apple Pie… but vanilla cake is definitely a close second.

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If you want to show up to your Fourth of July barbecue with an impressive dessert that has amazing flavor and a serious wow-factor, you’ve  found it.

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I think I could get used to this Red, White and Blue thing.

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Recipe:

Prep time: 15 minutes | Bake time: 25-30 minutes | Total time: 3 hours (including cooling and frosting)

Cake

  • 4 large eggs (separated) at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups  sifted all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups  granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • Red and blue food coloring, if desired

Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 ° F and place racks in center of oven. Grease and flour three 8 inch cakes pans and set aside. Separate egg yolks and whites and set aside. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, whip butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Add in 1 1/2 cup sugar and whip on medium high for 5 minutes or until light and creamy. Scrape down sides and then, on low speed, add egg yolks one at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed to ensure even mixing. Add in vanilla and combine.

On low speed, add in flour and milk in 3 additions, starting and ending with flour. Mix until just combined (do not over mix!). Remove the batter from the bowl and set aside. Clean out bowl, dry completely.

With your whisk attachment and with your mixer on medium speed, whip eggs whites until frothy, then add cream of tartar and increase speed to high. Whip until soft peaks form, then slowly add granulated sugar and whip for another minute.

Divide the cake batter evenly in to three separate bowls and add the food coloring to batter until you have the color you desire (this took a pretty significant amount of food coloring, I’m just saying).

Divide the egg whites evenly in to each of the three bowls  and gently fold the egg whites in to the batter until just combined (do not over blend the egg whites and deflate the batter!).

Pour the batter in to your prepared pans. Place the pans on the middle rack of your oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in to the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Remove and immediately place in freezer to preserve moisture. When ready, remove cake from pan and wrap in saran wrap and place back in freezer until ready to frost.

For the frosting:

Whip butter on high speed until light and creamy. Add in confectioners sugar slowly (careful, this could get messy!), then add in heavy cream and whip on high until combined. Add milk, vanilla, and salt and whip on high for 5 minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Assembly:

On your desired serving platter, place a small dollop of frosting, then place a layer of the cake on top of that. Place about 1/2 cup on frosting on top of the first layer, then add the second. Repeat and add the third layer. Coat entire cake with a thin layer of frosting then place the whole cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and let harden. This is the “crumb coating” and lets you frost the cake without getting all the little crumbs in your frosting.

Finally, use the remaining frosting to frost your cake. Decorate as desired. Store in the fridge but bring it to room temp before serving (this takes about 30 minutes). Enjoy!

Adapted from Sweetapolita.

Blueberry Lemon Sweet Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze

So I had one of those weekends.

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You know, where everything seems to just flow?  Everything was easy, fun. It felt like summer. Life was good.

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Life was also good because I made these sweet rolls. Sweet as in they have sugar in them, but also sweet as in awesome. Because that’s what they were. Totally. Freaking. Awesome.

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These rolls rocked the blueberry/lemon combo, which I’m seriously loving right now.  The fresh blueberries in the filling get super sweet during the baking process and just melt in your mouth, and the lemon zest adds a little punch that’s soooo gooooood.

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And if you’re thinking that the lemon cream cheese glaze on top is too much and are considering leaving it out, whatever you do, don’t. I could have eaten the glaze by itself with a spoon, but putting the it on top of these things was maybe the smartest decision I’ve ever made. The extra lemon-ness took these things to a whole different level. A whole better level.

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This recipe takes a little bit of time, but, hey, all good things are worth waiting for. Let’s just call this a labor of love, shall we? Also, you can definitely make the rolls the night before, let them rise while you sleep and just pop them in the oven when you wake up in the morning and have yourself an awesome breakfast in no time.

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Totally. Freaking. Awesome

Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Bake Time: 25-30 minutes | Total Time: about 4 hours (mostly downtime)

Yield: 8-10 rolls

Dough:

  • 1 eggs
  • 2 ¼ cup all purpose flour (an additional ¼ cup may be necessary)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1  (¼ oz) packet instant dry yeast
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup light canned coconut milk (buttermilk, cows milk, almond milk, etc may also be used)

Filling

  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • ¾ cup blueberry preserves
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries

Glaze

  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Juice of ½ a large lemon

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or by hand) mix together all ingredients except the milk. Bring the mild to temperature by heating it in the microwave. The temperature will depend on what brand of yeast you’re using, but it’s usually between 100° F and 130 ° F… Just look on the yeast packet to determine the correct temp! If it doesn’t specify, I would err on the cooler side, around 110 ° F so as to avoid overheating the milk and killing the yeast.

Pour the milk over the ingredients in the stand mixer and mix on low speed for 7-10 minutes (10 minutes if by hand). Dough should be formed and come away from the side of the bowl easily. If it is super sticky, add extra flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough becomes less sticky.

After kneading the dough, turn it out onto a large greased bowl, cover with saran wrap and place in a warm space until the dough has doubled in size, about 90 minutes to two hours. Punch the dough down, roll out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for about 3 minutes.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, approximately 12×18 inches. Spread the two tablespoons of butter evenly over the dough. In a small bowl, mix the blueberry preserves and lemon zest. Pour the mixture over the buttered dough and spread evenly. Sprinkle the fresh blueberries over the preserves.

Butter and flour a 9-inch pie dish and set aside.

Gently roll the dough up lengthwise. Cut the rolled dough into approximately 2 inch wide pieces, discarding the very ends of the roll (I ended up with nine rolls). Carefully place the rolls into the pie dish.

At this point you can either:

1)    Let the rolls rise in a warm space until doubled in size, about 60-75 minutes.

2)    Cover with a damp cloth, then saran wrap, and let the rolls rise overnight.

Regardless of which option you choose, in the last minutes of rising preheat your oven to 350 ° F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops of the rolls are just the slightest hint of golden brown.

In the last minutes of baking, make the glaze. Simply combine all ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle (or, if you’re like me, pour excessively) the glaze over the rolls. It will smell like blueberry-lemon-weekend joy in your kitchen.

The rolls are best served immediately, but can be stored and heated up in the microwave for 24-48 hours (possibly longer but I honest can’t tell you because these disappeared within a matter of hours!). Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Averie Cooks.