Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Also, in light of Valentine’s Day, we made these pink chocolate chip cookies. They were quite easy to make but I think I made them a little bit too big. Oh well, more cookie in every bite! Props again to Laura Quintero Photography!

Ingredients

  • 1 box (18.25 oz) strawberry cake mix, like Duncan Hines
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable/canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder.

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Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla by hand.

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Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to form a dough- stir vigorously until all of the pockets of dry cake mix are gone.

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Gently mix in the chocolate chips.

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Drop rounded balls of dough, about 2 Tablespoons each, onto prepared baking sheet. Make sure the balls of dough are taller than they are wide. Bake for 10 minutes – do not let the cookies get brown. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes; they will be very soft at first. As they cool, the tops may settle down; press them down gently with your fingers if they are not sinking much. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

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Blueberry Shortbread Bars

Have some blueberries in the fridge? Or any berries for that matter?  Mix up this incredibly quick and easy 4-ingredient recipe and enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 125g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar plus an extra 2tbsp
  • 100g cold butter, cut into several chunks
  • 150g fresh blueberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180°C (Gas Mark 4 / 350°F). Combine the plain flour and caster sugar in a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Press about two-thirds of the shortbread mixture onto a lined baking tray or loaf pan. Be sure to press it in firmly to help it hold together. Scatter the blueberries across the shortbread, and sprinkle over the remaining breadcrumb-like shortbread mixture.

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Top with a couple of tablespoons of sugar, and bake for around 30 minutes, until the shortbread is light golden brown and some of the berries have released their juices. Allow to cool completely, and then cut into squares with a pizza cutter.

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Berry Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze

Making this cake was quite nice but the lemon glaze didn’t quite end up looking like the original picture but it was still delicious and the combination between the lemon and the berries was awesome! Also, the flour over frozen berries was a total life hack! Enjoy!!

Ingredients

Cake
    • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup kefir (or buttermilk)
    • 3 cups mixed berries (I used 1 cup raspberry, 1 cup blackberry, 1 cup blueberry)
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Glaze
  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened (not melted! the butter should still be able to retain its shape!)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt and combine thoroughly.

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In a separate large bowl, add together the softened butter, sugar and lemon zest and mix, using mixer, on high setting for about 5 minutes until even consistency is reached and the mixture reaches lighter color. Add eggs, vanilla to the butter-sugar mixture and continue beating until well-incorporated.

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Now we’ll be adding flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture in 3 gradual steps, instead of dumping all of flour at one time. If you dump all of flour mixture into your butter mixture at one time, it will be more difficult to stir and you won’t get a smooth texture. So, we’ll be adding flour and kefir (or buttermilk) in 3 additions: With your mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of flour mixture to butter-sugar mixture, beating just a little until all is well combined. Then follow by 1/4 cup of kefir (or buttermilk). Add second 1/3 cup of flour mixture, beating with mixer just to combine. Follow by 1/4 cup of kefir (or buttermilk), beating just to combine. Finally, add third 1/3 cup of flour mixture, followed by final 1/4 cup of kefir (or buttermilk). Again, beat just enough to combine. Make sure to have your mixer on low speed while adding flour, otherwise flour might fly around your kitchen. Make sure to not overmix or overbeat, use mixer just to combine the ingredients.

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In a separate bowl, combine berries with 2 tbsp of flour. This is supposed to prevent berries from clumping together and sinking. Note about using frozen berries: I did make this cake with frozen berries without defrosting them. It’s important that, if using frozen berries, they should not be clumped together, each berry should be separate (I freeze fresh berries by lining them on a cookie sheet). So you can use both fresh and frozen berries, and in either case you toss them with flour before adding to the batter.

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Using spatula, fold berries into the cake batter, trying not to squish the berries.

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Spray your cake pan with a Baking Spray with Flour (which works great for bundt pans). Pour batter gently into prepared pan.

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Bake for at least 60 minutes (depending on the oven, it could be as long as 1 hour 15 minutes), until the toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Mid-time through the baking, turn the pan around in the oven for even baking.

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Remove the pan from oven, let it cool for 40 minutes on wire rack. And here is my way of releasing the cake from the bundt pan, which proves successful each time I use it: After your bundt pan cooled off for 40 minutes, place the bundt pan in the freezer for 30 minutes – it will still be quite hot to the touch (even after 40 minutes of cooling), so use kitchen gloves to handle the pan. Remove the pan from the freezer after 30 minutes, invert the bundt pan and let it sit inverted for a bit to let the gravity do the work (it could take as little as half a minute or as long as 20 minutes, depending on your bundt pan). Then, gently lift bundt pan and your cake should be released

Whisk powdered sugar, lemon juice and butter until very thick and very white. Spread this lemon juice frosting over the top of the cooled cake like shown on the photos.

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Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cake

Super Bowl Sunday! In preparation for the game, we had a huge menu for appetizers and snacks for the game but we couldn’t forget about the dessert! This cake was so delicious and the combination of the strawberries and chocolate chips were wonderful and the cake itself was very soft and fluffy. Enjoy (and what a game!!)

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips plus more for sprinkling the top of cake
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

Instructions

Heat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9×3-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Grease the side of the springform pan or square pan with butter or cooking spray.

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Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl.

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In a separate large bowl, combine butter, Greek yogurt, and 1 cup sugar and, using electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy – no more than 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, mix in the egg, beat until light and fluffy. Then mix in milk, vanilla. Keeping the mixer speed low, mix in the flour mixture, gradually, just until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips into the batter.

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Transfer batter to springform pan.

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Arrange strawberries on top of the cake, cut sides down and close together.

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Place chocolate chips in spaces in between.

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Bake cake for about 1 hour until the top is golden brown and the tester comes out clean. In the last 5-10 minutes of baking, you can take the cake out of the oven and sprinkle some more chocolate chips on top, pressing them lightly into the top of the cake (the top of the cake will already be baked and a bit crusty) – it will make for a nice presentation. Return to the oven for 5-10 more minutes, to allow chocolate to melt a bit and look even nicer!

When the cake is done baking, let it cool (still in the baking pan) on a wire rack. After cake has cooled for about 40 minutes, release the cake from the springform pan. At this point, if the cake is cool enough, you can slide your hand under the cake, between the parchment paper and the bottom portion of the springform pan and move the cake with the parchment paper attached to its bottom onto a cake plate easily.

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Notes

Storage tips: Because strawberries tend to make any desserts overly moist, this cake is best kept refrigerated. When refrigerated, it keeps very well for at least 1 week, and tastes just as fresh! It tastes pretty good cold, and you can also microwave it for 10 or so seconds to melt the chocolate chips.

Freezing tips: This cake freezes very well. Cool the cake completely. Tightly wrap the cake in plastic wrap, make sure it’s airtight. Freeze for up to 1 month.

Raspberry Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are surprisingly soft and quite healthy! These are great to have for when you have cravings and are trying to watch your weight.

Ingredients

  • 1 c instant (quick-cook) oats (measured correctly)
  • ¾ c whole wheat flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ c honey
  • 6 tbsp fresh raspberries, diced
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Directions
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla.
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Stir in the honey until thoroughly incorporated. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated.
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Fold in the raspberries.
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Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes. (If chilling longer, cover with plastic wrap, ensuring it touches the entire surface of the cookie dough.)
Preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Drop the cookie dough into 15 rounded scoops on the baking sheet. (If chilled longer than 1.5 hours, flatten slightly.) Bake at 325°F for 13-15 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

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Notes

It’s incredibly important to measure both the oats and whole wheat flour correctly, using the spoon-and-level method described in the links above. If scooped from the container using the measuring cup, you’ll end up with 1.5 times as much, which will dry out your cookies and make them crumbly.

To make your own instant oats, pulse 1 cup of old-fashioned oats in a food processor 5-8 times.

Melted unsalted butter or melted margarine may be substituted for the coconut oil. Regardless of which is used, be sure that the egg is at room temperature before whisking it in. A cold egg added straight from the fridge would rapidly cool the fat source, resulting in small blobs of semi-solid coconut oil or butter.

If the cookies are still really flimsy after cooling on the baking sheet for 15 minutes and threaten to break apart, let them cool completely on the baking sheet. That won’t let them crisp up too much, and they’ll still stay soft for an entire week!

Chocolate Caramel Oat Bars

This recipe is for caramel lovers only! A whole bag of caramel goes into these bars and that’s what makes them so amazing! The chocolate and oat crunch just add to the caramel goodness so grab some friends and enjoy making and eating these together!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, melted (1 1/2 stick; I use salted butter but unsalted may be used)
  • 3/ 4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-rolled old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 35 caramel squares, unwrapped (I used Kraft Caramel Bits which are wrap-free (!) and you can use the entire bag)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt, optional and to taste, if you prefer salted caramel sauce
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Lining your pan is highly recommended for ease of cleanup due to the stickiness of the caramel; set pan aside. In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 90 seconds. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, optional pinch salt, and stir until combined. Mixture will be quite thick. Add half of the mixture to the prepared pan (just eyeball it), and smooth it with spatula or the back of a spoon, to create an even, smooth, flat layer; set remainder aside.

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Bake for 10 minutes. While it bakes, make the caramel sauce.

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In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine the caramels, cream, and heat on high power in 60-second bursts to melt caramels, stirring after each burst. It will likely take about 4 to 5 minutes total to melt; heat until mixture can be stirred smooth. Alternatively, combine caramels and cream in a medium saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat to melt, stirring nearly continuously, until mixture can be stirred smooth. Optionally stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste, for salted caramel sauce; set sauce aside.

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After 10 minutes, remove pan from the oven and evenly sprinkle with the chocolate.

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Slowly and evenly pour caramel sauce over the chocolate.

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Evenly crumble reserved oatmeal-brown sugar mixture over the top.

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Return pan to oven and bake for about 15 to 18 minutes (I baked 16 1/2), or until edges are lightly browned and center is bubbling slightly.

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Allow bars to cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving, giving the molten caramel time to firm up. This can take up to 4 hours, or overnight, at room temperature. You can speed it up by placing pan in fridge with a sheet of foil over the top to prevent fridge smells. If you don’t wait for bars to cool completely, they’ll be a literal hot mess. They’ll taste fine (don’t burn yourself), but they won’t slice neatly with clean cuts. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

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Blueberry Muffin Cake

This cake really does taste like muffin, no joke! I was having a rough day and I really just wanted to make a cake. My sister helped me out and we worked on this cake for quite some time while watching the CFB Championship game. It was a lot of fun but the cake didn’t look quite as nice as the original recipe did. But that just drives home the purpose of Baking with Friends: that the process itself is what is so enjoyable about baking, the cake may come out pretty or ugly, tasty or nasty, but either way, the important part you will remember later on was how much fun you had in the process. So grab some friends, make this cake and let me know if yours didn’t fall apart in the end! 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose Gold Medal Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 pound fresh blueberries (I didn’t have enough blueberries so I mixed in some raspberries as well)

Buttermilk Glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Oat Crumble Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons oats
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (I didn’t use these but you can!)

Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with flour to fully cover the pan.

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In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour and buttermilk, alternating each, until all incorporated.

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Finally beat in the lemon zest before turning the mixer off.

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Use a spoon the stir in half the blueberries.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top.

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Bake for 60-80 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack.

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DO NOT try flipping the cake any earlier than 20 minutes, or the cake will stick. Promise! Waiting 30+ minutes is safer.

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Once the cake is cooling on the rack, mix the oat crumble. Add all the ingredients to a small bowl and pinch with your fingers to blend the ingredients and break into small pieces. Sprinkle the mixture over a baking sheet and bake in the heated oven for 5-10 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet before proceeding.

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For the glaze, whisk the buttermilk and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and immediately sprinkle the oat crumble over the top of the cake before the glaze dries.

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Not too shabby and absolutely delicious!

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Blueberry Oat Greek Yogurt Pancakes

This year I’ve started to include pancakes on my blog because I absolutely love breakfast so I wanted to start sharing some of my favorite recipes in that category. The second breakfast recipe this year are these delicious pancakes that I made for Saturday brunch.  They were really delicious and I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Maple syrup, for serving

Directions

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F and a nonstick griddle to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, butter and eggs.

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Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.

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Add blueberries and gently toss to combine.

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Lightly coat a griddle or nonstick skillet with nonstick spray. Scoop 1/3 cup batter for each pancake and cook until bubbles appear on top and underside is nicely browned, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook pancakes on the other side, about 1-2 minutes longer; keep warm in oven.

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Serve immediately with maple syrup.

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Raspberry and Clotted Cream Whirls

In getting ready for the season premiere of Downton Abbey, I got inspired by my sister’s Christmas present to me. Her initial present to me was the Amy Poehler book, but she didn’t know I had just recently ordered it online! She let me exchanger her copy of the book for another one at Urban Outfitters. I found a recipe book called Tea & Treats: Perfect Pairings for Brews and Bakes by Liz Franklin. I am SO excited to try more recipes from this book and this was just the first one I tried. I will say that I didn’t do the real clotted recipe but a quick and easy one I found online that did the job (but I’m sure that doing the real thing would be more tasty). Enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • 2 sticks soft butter
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • scant 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups clotted cream:
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1/3 cup sour cream
    • 1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • granulated sugar for dusting

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix butter, flours, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract together until it forms a smooth dough. Spoon them mixture into a piping/pastry bag and pipe oval shapes about the size of a large egg onto the prepared baking sheets or flatten dough balls out with a flat round surface.

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Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden.

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Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack until completely cold. To serve, sandwich together with clotted cream and raspberries and dust lightly with sugar. IMG_7141 IMG_7142 IMG_7143     IMG_7148  IMG_7150  IMG_7152   IMG_7155 IMG_7156

Brown Butter Banana Waffles

Before the end of the year, I wanted to treat my family to a special brunch. I really appreciate all that they do and what I can offer is my sweet treats so I went ahead and made this delicious recipe! I will say that if you are in a rush, do not make these. There are so many components to the recipe that it does take some time but if you do have time, they are definitely worth the wait! My sister got a bit fed up with the brown butter piece that I asked her instead to set the table and boy did she take that literally! She set up a beautiful spread and was able to capture some pretty awesome pictures at the same time. I’ve included some of my pictures and some of hers (hers are the nicer looking ones up top!). Follow her on Instagram @lauraquinterophotography Overall, it was a great end to another year filled with blessings! For 2015, I am amping up my social media presence so check me out on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas

Directions

Preheat a waffle iron. Into a large bowl, sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

To brown the butter, heat a thick-bottomed skillet on medium heat. Add the sliced butter, whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter until melted. The butter will start to foam and browned specks will begin to form at the bottom of the pan. The butter should have a nutty aroma. Watch the butter carefully because it can go from brown to burnt quickly. Remove butter from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, buttermilk, brown butter, honey, and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients; stir until just combined.

In a separate small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork; stir into batter. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry.

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Gently fold into the batter.

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Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the hot waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Close lid; cook waffle is golden brown on both sides, about 5-6 minutes. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.

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Note-these waffles freeze well. To freeze, place completely cooled waffles in a freezer bag and freeze. To reheat, pop the waffles in the toaster.

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