Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Anna (one of my former college roommates) and I made some ridiculously delicious cookies with just about everything you could want in a cookie: some cake mix, some chocolate chips, some sprinkles and of course, the baking essentials. These cookies were amazing and it was great to catch up with this awesome lady ūüôā

P.S. the batter requires at least 2 hours in the fridge so just use that time to go grab some pizza like we did!

Ingredients: 

  • 1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/4 cup yellow or vanilla boxed cake mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (we used a blend of white and semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles

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Directions:

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat on high until combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low-medium speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and sprinkles. Mix on low until the add-ins are evenly disbursed.

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Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 3-4 days. This step is mandatory. The dough is fairly sticky, so chilling the dough is required in order to avoid the cookies from spreading too much. If you chill longer than 2 hours, make sure you roll the cookie dough into balls after the 2 hour mark. Place dough balls on a plate, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You may also freeze the balls at this point for up to 3 months. (Then bake as directed adding 1 minute to the bake time without thawing.)

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Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350F degrees.¬†Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.¬†Scoop rounded balls of the cold dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, use about 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie. Shape your cookie dough balls to be “taller” than they are wide, as pictured above. Press a few chocolate chips into the tops of the cookie dough balls, if desired. That makes a pretty cookie. Make sure to keep dough chilled when working in batches.

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Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned. The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool. You may also press a few more chips into the tops of the cookies at this point (the chips will melt down and stick from the warm cookies).

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Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days; baked cookies may be frozen up to 3 months. They won’t last that long!

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Peanut Butter M&M Bars

Craving something quick and easy? This recipe is filled with chocolate and peanut-buttery goodness!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose baking mix (Bisquick, for example)
  • 1 bag of M&Ms (I used regular)
  • Some chocolate chips to sprinkle on top before serving

Directions

Preheat oven to 325*F. Spray an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray. Combine peanut butter and eggs until well mixed and smooth. Add in brown sugar and stir until combined. Stir in baking mix until moistened (I used my hands because the spoon wasn’t cutting it for me–it is a very thick batter). Fold in M&Ms. Again, using my hands worked best for this step. Not all of the M&Ms stuck in the batter (or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it dough). I just shoved them in when I put it all in the pan. Spread mixture in greased pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

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These smelled so good I couldn’t even wait to try some before taking¬†the picture!

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Waffles at the Workplace

Because there’s nothing better than a Waffle Work Meeting on [the day after] International Waffle Day!

The recipe itself is still on the organic waffle mix bag at the office,which was quite good and healthy using¬†soy milk and¬†honey. But the idea for this came up as a team bonding experience¬†for our relatively new team. Within one day, we had all of the equipment and ingredients needed to make fruit and maple syrup covered waffles in the office kitchen. They smelled and tasted delicious and I got some new Instagram followers from it ūüôā

Remember, baking can be with anyone, anywhere. Just enjoy it and don’t stress about it!

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Strawberry Pie

In addition to it being my sister’s birthday, it was also a historic Pi Day!

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This recipe¬†had a recipe to make the crust as well¬†I had to buy a¬†pie crust in the interest of time (which worked just fine except that my filling started to bubble through the crust toward the end of the baking time). I’m sure this crust recipe is just as good as the filling which was absolutely delicious!

Ingredients
  • 6 cups (about 2 pounds) of strawberries, small ones whole and larger ones chopped into chunks
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • ¬ľ tsp. salt
  • ¬ĺ cup + 1 tbsp. pure cane sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. real vanilla extract
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Directions
Chop strawberries and put in a large bowl. Sprinkle cornstarch on the berries along with the salt and stir thoroughly. Add vanilla, lemon juice and ¬ĺ cup of sugar. Mix until berries are evenly coated.
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Remove crust from the fridge. Roll one half of the dough out into a circle, large enough to lay in the pie pan with the pie crust laying over the edge of the pie pan.
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Spoon the strawberry mixture on top of the pie crust.
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Roll out the other half of the dough into a circular shape, enough to cover the pie plate with 1 inch or so hanging over. Cut strips across the dough approximately 1 inch wide using a pizza cutter or a decorative edge cutter. Lay strips horizontally and vertically across the pie.
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Pinch the ends of the top and the bottom dough together and make the decorative edge of your choice. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
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Preheat your oven to 425 F. Cover the outer edge of your crust using a pie ring or foil.
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Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a baking rack.
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More pictures from the birthday festivities:
You can find the recipe to the cake here!
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The birthday girl and I!
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 The full spread!
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And some behind the scenes:
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Cinnamon Donuts with Vanilla Glaze

My sister turned 23! I just can’t believe it! She will always be my little sister but that just means the older she gets, the older I’m getting! Because she is my PIC in my baking madness, I wanted to dedicate the next few posts to her. I baked quite a bit for her birthday week and here are some recipes and pictures of what we did. Needless to say we were on a sugar high for that week but it was quite nice and I’m grateful every day to have such a kind, funny, talented, and all around awesome sister.¬†¬†Love you and to many more happy and sweet birthdays!

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To start it all off, I made her some donuts! She loves cinnamon flavored treats and I though this was perfect to start off her birthday ūüôā Also, these donuts are baked so no need to fry anything or feel guilty later!

Ingredients

Donuts:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¬Ĺ cup sugar
  • 1¬Ĺ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¬ľ teaspoon salt
  • ¬ľ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¬Ĺ cup milk
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon white vinegar
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
Glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ¬Ĺ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Directions
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. In a small saucepan bring together the milk, white vinegar, vanilla, egg, and butter. Cook over medium-heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the butter melts, about one minute. Remove from heat.
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Add the milk mixture into the flour mixture; mix until combined.
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Using a large tablespoon, spoon the doughnut mixture into an ungreased doughnut pan.
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Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove and immediately invert the pan onto a cooling rack. While the doughnuts are cooling, begin to work on the glaze.
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Glaze
Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-heat, stirring constantly just until combined and no lumps appear. Set the saucepan over a bowl filled with hot water.
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Dip the doughnuts into the glaze, one at a time, and set on a rack, glaze side up. Put something underneath the rack because some of that glaze will drip off.
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Give it a few minutes before you dig in!
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We went to a dance performance at the Kennedy Center that evening and the sunset was stunning!
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And afterwards, the birthday song of course!
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Blueberry Pie

Another snow day! We had a leftover pie crust and a new box of blueberries sooo we made a blueberry pie! It was super easy to make and quite delicious as dessert tonight! Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp¬†flour
  • 2 tsp¬†vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp¬†salt
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

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Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix the Greek yogurt, 3/4 cup sugar, egg, 2 tablespoons flour, vanilla extract and salt with a spoon until smooth. Gently fold the blueberries into the sour cream mixture. Spoon the filling into the unbaked pie crust.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

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While the filling is baking, prepare the streusel topping: In a medium bowl combine the brown sugar and flour. Mix the butter in (I always use my hands) until the mixture resembles course sand. Fold in the chopped pecans. After the filling has baked 25 minutes, sprinkle the streusel crunch topping over the top of the pie. Make sure your crust doesn’t burn. Either use a crust shield or make a loose foil tent towards the end of baking. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until filling is set and topping is brown.

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Remove from oven and let pie sit for at least 10-15 minutes. Serve pie warm or chill it and serve cold.

Fluffy Vanilla Cake and Frosting

Snow day! My sister and I set out to make the fluffiest cake ever and have a snowy¬†photo shoot.¬†We really had a great time and were able to take pictures out in the snow before it stopped snowing (all though it was more hail by the time we went out!). We put some food coloring in the cake batter and just put all of it in a pan and cut it in two with a large bread knife. After frosting the cake, we covered it with coconut shavings. Definitely making this again and hope you enjoy the pictures! Check out my sister’s photography site at http://www.laurajquintero.com

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Ingredients for cake:
    • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
    • 1 whole egg
    • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
    • 2-1/4 tsp¬†pure vanilla extract
    • 3 cups cake flour, sifted
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 tbsp¬†+ 1 tsp¬†baking powder
    • 3/4 tsp¬†salt
    • 12 tbsp¬†unsalted butter, cold and cut into 24 even pieces

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Ingredients for frosting:
  • 3 sticks + 2 tbsp¬†unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (icing, powdered)
  • 3 tbsp¬†milk
  • 1 tsp¬†pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

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Directions: 

For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350¬įF. Grease, line with parchment, and flour two round 8-inch pans.
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In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the egg whites, whole egg, 1/4 cup of milk, and the vanilla. Set aside.
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In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients together on low speed (I use the “stir” setting on my mixer) for 30 seconds.
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Add the butter one piece at a time, about every 10 seconds, ensuring it’s cold (you can keep some in refrigerator while you’re adding pieces). Continue to mix on low until the mixture is a fine crumbly texture. Add milk, and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and begin to add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches, mixing until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. (You want to ensure that the batter is homogenous.) Fold once or twice to ensure the batter at bottom of bowl is incorporated.
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Divide the batter in two, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh to ensure 2 even layers.
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Bake until a cake tester comes out with a few crumbs when inserted into the center, about 30 minutes. Be so careful to not over-bake. Check cake at 20 minutes, but not before, and then set the timer for 5 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.
Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 days, refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months. Best eaten the same day as baked.
For the frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4” on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy and fluffy. Best used right away. You can eliminate the vanilla bean and use a total of 1-1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract.
Assembly:
Place bottom cake layer on cake plate or 8″ round thin cake board and spread 1 cup of frosting on top with a small offset spatula. Gently place 2nd cake layer face down on top. Place a generous scoop of frosting on top, spreading evenly with a small offset spatula and working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Chill until set, about 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and apply a final “coat” of frosting.
Store in a cake keeper at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in refrigerator for up to 5 days. Best eaten day 1.

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes and Frosting

First snow day of 2015! After a huge craving for some hot cocoa, I found recipes for hot cocoa cupcakes and hot cocoa frosting! My sister and I had been planning on taking some snow-filled pictures and this was the perfect opportunity to do so! Enjoy the recipes, the snow and the pictures!

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup hot water

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup¬†Hot Cocoa Mix
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 pound powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tray with baking cups. Mix flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer until all of the dry ingredients are combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing in between. Add milk, oil and vanilla and mix until combined. Turn mixer on low and slowly add hot water until incorporated. The batter will be very liquid.

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For ease of pouring, transfer batter to a large measuring cup and pour batter into baking cups about 2/3 full.

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Bake for about 16-18 minutes or until done. Remove and let cool.

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For the frosting, combine cocoa mix and water in large mixer bowl. Beat in butter and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Add more hot water if frosting is too thick.

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Here are my sister’s awesome pictures!

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Behind the scenes :p

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Malasadas

My grandfather is Portuguese, from the beautiful island of Madeira, also known as the Pearl of the Atlantic. He has been such an inspiration to¬†me throughout my entire life. Even though we live far away,¬†all the chances I have had the privilege¬†of sharing with him¬†have been filled with great wisdom and life-long lessons. I have been lucky enough to visit his home town Monte and even enjoyed some of their annual festivals. In light of Carnaval, my mom and I decided to make a recipe that my grandpa would make for us when we visited and are so delicious and are actually common during this time of year as well. The¬†online¬†recipe¬†we found¬†was pretty close to my grandfather’s! Happy Carnaval and please enjoy these pictures from the¬†!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp¬†sugar
  • Molasses syrup for topping

Directions:

Mix the warm milk with the yeast and sugar and let rest for half an hour. Once it has started to bubble, pour into flour and salt mixture.

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Add eggs one at a time.

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Fry them in hot oil until they are golden brown all around.

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Serve with molasses syrup and enjoy!

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Strawberry Heart Pocket Cookies

In preparation for Valentine’s Day, my sister and I got together to bake¬†these yummy, adorable, easy cookies! My sister took some amazing pictures that you will see throughout this post. Enjoy the post, enjoy the cookies, and enjoy Valentine’s Day with all our loved ones!

Ingredients

  • 1 package pie crust
  • strawberry jam
  • sugar for garnish
  • milk

Directions

Preheat oven to 370 F. Cut heart shapes from pie crust.

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Put a teaspoon of strawberry jam in the middle of the heart.

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Top with another heart slice. Press the sides with a fork.

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Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

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Bake for 15 ‚Äď 20 minutes.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

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