Cookies and Cream Cookies

Cookies n Cream 1

Random fact about me……I’m not the biggest fan of Oreo cookies. I’m not sure why, but Oreos just don’t do it for me. Here’s where it gets a little weird though – even though I don’t really like Oreos, I loooooove anything Cookies and Cream! It makes no sense, I know!! But man, if you put Oreos in just about anything (ice cream, donuts, cake….) I’m all over it. These cookies were inspired by my love for all things Cookies and Cream. They have both crushed and chopped Oreos in them and a little white chocolate and milk chocolate to balance out the flavor. The end result tastes like the perfect bowl of Cookies and Cream Ice Cream…..but in cookie form! Hope you guys like them as much as I do!

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Best Ever Butterscotch Cookies for My Pops

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Today is kind of a big day.  Today is what I like to (jokingly) call my Dad’s “Old Man Birthday.”  That’s right….today my Dad is turning 70 and Fiancé and I are in town to help him celebrate.  And yes, Boyfriend is now Fiancé and since I feel so weird and even a little pretentious typing out the word fiancé all the time – he will now be referred to as “Dude” (per his request).  So as I was saying, Dude and I made a special effort to make sure we were able to spend my Dad’s birthday with him.  For me, it was especially important to be there.  I mean this is the man who taught me how to bake and has in so many ways shaped the person I am today.  While most girls like to say, “I’m turning into my Mother” – the phrase you’re more likely to hear out of my mouth is, “Holy crap, I’ve turned into my Dad.”  I usually say this about once every couple of months to Dude, who whole heartedly agrees with my statement.

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Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Dark Chocolate and Pecans

Today marks the first official day of Summer (best day ever), which means the hot sunny days of ice cream and BBQs are finally here.  Last week I was in Miami and had my first ice cream craving of the summer.  So I stopped by Whip N Dip (a staple for all born and raised Miami folks) and decided to buy an ice cream sandwich that was, no joke, the size of my face.  It was incredible.  I’m not sure if it’s because it was crazy hot outside or because it was the largest ice cream sandwich on the face of the earth, but I started wondering why I don’t make these more often.  When I was in college I used to make ice cream sandwiches all the time for my roommates and myself……….that could explain why we all weighed a good 5 to 10 pounds more back then.  To me, ice cream sandwiches are synonymous with Summer.  When I was a little kid, I used to love getting a Chipwich from the ice cream truck.  There was just something about those soft chocolate chip cookies and cold vanilla ice cream rolled in mini-chocolate chips that spoke to me.  It was and still is the perfect dessert for a long hot summer day.

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What I’m Baking: Oatmeal Raisin Biscoff Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Biscoff Cookies

I had a few requests for the Biscoff Cookie recipe I mentioned in Monday’s post, so I figured I would go ahead and share it with you guys.  The original cookie I made was a Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Biscoff, but after tasting them I decided I wanted to make them into a more classic Oatmeal Raisin Cookie.  I thought it would be a better flavor combination and, personally, I prefer raisins over chocolate chips in my oatmeal cookies.  I didn’t have any raisins on Monday hence the chocolate chips.  I tweaked the original recipe ever so slightly by adding in more Biscoff (because in my world you can never have too much Biscoff) and replaced the chocolate chips with rum soaked raisins and toasted walnuts.  After tasting the newly revamped cookie, I can tell you it’s even better than the original.  This one will definitely be going on The Earnest Baker menu.

A couple notes about the recipe.  Soaking the raisins in rum is an optional step, but if you have the time I highly suggest doing this.  It plumps up the raisins and makes them juicy and boozy and delicious.  Don’t worry, the cookies won’t taste like rum, but it will add a really lovely subtle note to the raisins and guarantees you won’t have dried out raisins in your cookies.  Toasting the walnuts is also an optional step, but I’m a firm believer in toasting nuts.  It brings out their flavor and it’s an easy touch that makes people feel like you went that extra mile (even though it’s ridiculously simple).  If you want to see the difference toasting makes, try toasting some nuts and comparing them to raw ones.  It will make you a believer.

My technique to make cookies is a little different.  In fact, I do some things that some people will specificially tell you not to do.  I’ve always made my cookies this way though and it’s how I get the exact texture and chewiness I like.  Oddly enough, when I got the Milk Bar cookbook I discovered Christina Tosi makes her cookies the same way.  I’ll go into detail about the technique in the recipe and have provided lots of pictures this time (yaay!).  Hope you guys enjoy the cookies as much as I do! I’ve already eaten two while writing this and am eyeing up a third……I’m writing them off as fuel for my 5 miler today (that makes it okay – right???).

I’m trying a new recipe style that goes into more details and provides more helpful tips and tricks.  Let me know what you guys think about it!

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Balancing the Fun with the Not So Fun

Choc Chip Cookies

Starting your own business requires a lot of focus and self-motivation, especially when you’re working out of your home.  I try to maintain a relatively normal work schedule Monday through Friday.  My goal is to be as productive as possible those days.  I can get a wee bit distracted and if I don’t have a schedule my days might look a little something like this: “Oh wow it’s actually warm outside? I should get a quick 4 mile run in.” Followed by, “I wonder what’s on TV……holy crap a Boy Meets World marathon?! I should probably watch that.” Which would inevitably lead to, “I wonder how production is going on the Boy Meets World spin-off…….I should Google that!”  As you can see, it’s really best for everyone if I keep myself on track.

At this point, I spend most of my days testing and researching recipes.  Unfortunately, today I was waiting on an ingredient to arrive from Amazon and didn’t have anything to test.  This meant I had to figure out another way to be productive.  There is something I have been putting off, but knew I had to do……the dreaded kitchen inventory.  Rooting around my cupboards is not my definition of a fun morning, but it was definitely necessary.  I have a ton of random baking supplies and have been meaning to do an inventory so I can see exactly what I have and exactly what I need to buy.  The upside of doing this means I’m totally justified in buying more baking supplies (yaaaaaay).  The downside is that I realized I HAVE to buy more baking supplies (stupid lack of income).  Turns out, I have some incredibly random supplies and am lacking some very basic ones.  For example, I have a deep dish tart pan, but no pie pan. How this happened, I have no idea.

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What I’m Baking: Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

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Today is Valentine’s Day.  A holiday that, if I’m being honest, I’m not too keen on.  I have a hard time getting behind a holiday that puts pressure on couples to be super romantic and makes single people feel bad about their lack of a relationship.  I do, however, really enjoy the whole eating tons of chocolate part of the holiday.  That part I can get behind.  My boyfriend and I don’t exchange gifts or really do anything out of the ordinary for Valentine’s Day.  Although, maybe I could get him to watch the new episode of The Vampire Diaries with me tonight by playing the Valentine’s Day card……….interesting.  Anyways…..in the spirit of eating chocolate, I decided to be a good girlfriend and surprise my boyfriend with his favorite cookies, Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies.

These aren’t exactly the sexiest or fanciest cookies, but my boyfriend loves them.  I’d actually never had one before dating him and my first experiences with the cookie left a lot to be desired.  Most of the recipes I found were way too sweet (and that’s saying a lot coming from me) and the chocolate and peanut butter flavors got lost in the overabundance of sugar.  Since these are Boyfriend’s favorite cookies, I knew I’d have to figure out a way to create a No-Bake Cookie I could love.  I wanted something that downplayed the crazy sugar overload and let the other flavors shine through.

I found a great recipe in the book Baked Explorations that was almost exactly what I was looking for.  It contained chunky peanut butter, which added a nice texture to the cookie, and used dark cocoa powder.  The recipe was still a little sweet for my taste, so I dialed back on the sugar, added a little salt, and threw in some semi-sweet chocolate to up the chocolate quotient.  The end result was perfect.  It was a No-Bake cookie I could get on board with and, more importantly, my boyfriend loved them.

If you haven’t tried a No-Bake Cookie before or have had some bad experiences with them, I highly recommend giving this recipe a shot.  It made me a believer in them.  And if you need help justifying eating this cookie – I’m kind of a pro at that, so here you go……….oats have lots of fiber and are considered  a “superfood,” whole milk has calcium which some say helps burn belly fat, and peanut butter has protein.  I mean when you really think about, these cookies are pretty darn healthy.  Like I said, I can justify just about any dessert.  Hope you enjoy these cookies and Happy Chocolate Eating Day!!

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