Healthier dark chocolate chip cookies

I’ve been attempting to curb my chocolate habit. Not that it’s gotten out of hand. I’m just trying out this strange concept called self-control. It’s been working for the most part. In order to make myself feel less guilty about partaking in chocolate desserts, I came up with a healthier chocolate chip cookie recipe. The result was delicious and less fattening than regular chocolate chip cookies!

Healthier dark chocolate chip cookies
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe
Makes three dozen cookies (which makes this recipe great for sharing cookies with friends & coworkers)
Prep time: about 10 minutes
Baking time: 10-12 minutes per dozen

Healthier dark chocolate chip cookies.

Healthier dark chocolate chip cookies.

Ingredients & supplies

  • baking sheets
  • parchment paper
  • wire rack (for cooling cookies)
  • small bowl
  • large mixing bowl
  • spatula
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips (I used the jumbo kind)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda and set aside.
  2. In the large mixing bowl, combine the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the sea, vanilla, and egg whites.
  3. Add flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the dark chocolate chips.
  4. Drop tablespoon-size dough balls about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake until cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, so the cookies are golden around the edges, but soft in the center.
  6. Cool cookies on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Enjoy!
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Blackberry cobbler

This is a foolproof cobbler recipe. My favorite kind is blackberry, but you can substitute blackberries with apples or peaches, too. While I like making this, it’s also a go-to dessert recipe for when you’re in a bind and need something quick and easy to make.

Blackberry cobbler
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 30-45 minutes
Makes about 12 servings

Ingredients & supplies:

  • 9 x 9 baking dish
  • 12 or 16 oz. container of blackberries
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsps baking powder
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • vanilla extract
  • optional: vanilla ice cream to add on top
Blackberry cobbler.

Blackberry cobbler.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. (I just eyeball it and use a few shakes of cinnamon and nutmeg.)
  3. Add milk and vanilla extract (I use about 2 tbsps).
  4. Melt stick of butter in 9 x 9 baking dish.
  5. Pour batter over butter. (Do not stir!)
  6. Pour blackberries over batter. (Do not stir!)
  7. Bake for 30-45 mins, until crust is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy! Serve with vanilla ice cream, if you like.

Junior Mint cupcakes with cream cheese frosting & sprinkles

Three years ago, Brie and I went to Kroger to get ingredients for her 19th birthday cupcakes.

“Brie, what kind of cupcakes do you want to make?”

Brie surveyed the candy aisle and grabbed a couple of boxes. “Junior Mint!”

“That sounds good. Cream cheese frosting?”

“Yeah! And sprinkles!”

“Of course.”

I used my favorite chocolate cupcakes recipe and added the Junior Mints. While the cupcakes were baking, I made my go-to cream cheese frosting recipe.

Junior Mint cupcakes with cream cheese frosting & sprinkles
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s chocolate cupcake recipe & Food Network’s cream cheese frosting recipe
Makes a dozen cupcakes (I usually have a few extra, as I like to make smaller cupcakes)
Prep time: 25-30 minutes
Baking time: 20-25 minutes
Cooling time: 15-20 minutes

Junior Mint cupcakes with cream cheese frosting & sprinkles.

Junior Mint cupcakes with cream cheese frosting & sprinkles.

Ingredients & supplies

Cream cheese frosting:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • 1 stick of butter, softened at room temperature
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese
  • 2 cups confectionary sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract

Directions: 

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese.
  2. Add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla extract.

Cupcakes:

  • Muffin tin that holds a dozen regular-sized cupcakes
  • Medium bowl
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Whisk
  • Toothpicks
  • 12-16 paper cupcake liners
  • Wire rack for cooling
  • 3/4 cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 4 oz. boxes of Junior Mints
  • 1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Sprinkles

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put paper cupcake liners in tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with spatula until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla.
  4. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream. Fold in Junior Mints.
  5. Pour batter into cupcake liners until it’s halfway to 3/4 full (depending on how big you want your cupcakes to be). Brie likes little cupcakes with a ton of frosting, which is why I make mine smaller.
  6. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.
  7. Cool in tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Cool for 10-15 more minutes.
  8. Frost with cream cheese frosting and top with sprinkles. Enjoy!

Chocolate chip cookie pie with Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce & sea salt

Amanda often jokes that while she doesn’t like to bake, she will gladly provide ingredients for friends who do. (Lucky me!) Earlier this year, she gifted me with a jar of delicious Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce. The port wine adds a dimension of decadence that’s missing from regular caramel sauce. Since it pairs well with chocolate, I decided to fold it into the recipe I usually use for chocolate chip cookie pie.

Chocolate chip cookie pie with Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce & sea salt
Adapted from this recipe
Makes one pie
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 – 30 minutes

Ingredients & supplies:

  • one glass pie dish
  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • 1 small mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • good spatula
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus a few pinches to top pie
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus butter to grease pan
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • several tablespoons of Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce
Chocolate chip cookie pie with Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce & sea salt.

Chocolate chip cookie pie with Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce & sea salt.

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Generously grease pie plate with butter.
  2. In large mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and sea salt together.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar and beat until smooth with a good spatula. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until blended.
  4. Add the butter to the large mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix in the chocolate chips and Sweeteeth port wine caramel sauce.
  5. Spread cookie dough into the greased pie plate.
  6. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, sprinkle with extra sea salt, cut, and enjoy!

Fruit pizza with a sugar cookie crust

During summers in college, Athens was a ghost town. When we weren’t taking summer classes, working, or taking advantage of the discounted drink prices downtown, my friends and I would bake delicious desserts. This one is easy to make and is relatively healthy, since it’s topped with fruit. Normally, I make cookie dough from scratch, but for simplicity’s sake, I use pre-made dough for this recipe. Note: you can use whatever fruits you like, if you don’t like the ones in my recipe.

Fruit pizza with a sugar cookie crust
Adapted from this Pillsbury recipe
Makes one pizza, between 8-12 slices, depending on how large you make each slice
Prep time: about 20 minutes
Baking time: 12-18 minutes; Cooling time: 10 minutes
Decorating time: 5-10 minutes
Chilling time: 15 minutes to an hour (we were never able to wait longer than 15 minutes before digging in, but it didn’t taste less awesome)

Fruit pizza with a sugar cookie crust.

Fruit pizza with a sugar cookie crust.

Ingredients & supplies:

  • 1 roll of sugar cookie dough (I use Pillsbury)
  • 1 8 oz. package of softened cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 of a kiwi, peeled and sliced
  • 10 strawberries, hulled & halved
  • 1/2 cup of blackberries
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 pizza pan
  • plain cooking spray or butter to grease pan
  • small bowl to mix cream cheese “sauce” in and spatula to do mixing

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease pizza pan with cooking spray. Spread sugar cookie dough evenly onto pan. Bake for 12-18 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Cool for 10 minutes.
  3. While the sugar cookie crust is baking, mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl until fully incorporated. (I use a spatula, not a whisk when mixing this, as cream cheese tends to get stuck in a whisk.)
  4. After the sugar cookie crust has cooled, spread the cream cheese onto crust.
  5. Decorate the pizza with the banana, strawberries, kiwi, and blackberries. Enjoy!

Vanilla caramel almond cookies

I’m a chocolate fanatic. The only chocolate desserts I won’t enjoy are poorly executed ones. My boyfriend isn’t a fellow chocoholic, so I came up with a cookie recipe that included three of his favorite things: vanilla, caramel, and almonds. (Note: if you’re not confident in your caramel sauce-making skills, then you can use pre-made caramel sauce instead and skip step 4.)

Vanilla caramel almond cookies
Makes 24 cookies
Prep time: about 20 minutes
Dough-cooling time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 8-12 minutes

Vanilla caramel almond cookies.

Vanilla caramel almond cookies.

Ingredients & supplies:
• 1 stick of butter + an extra thin slice of butter (about 1/4 tbsp)
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 3 tbsps vanilla extract
• pinch of sea salt
• 1/4 tsp baking powder
• 2 cups flour
• 1 cup caramels
• 1 cup sliced almonds (which I just smashed in the bag, so I wouldn’t have to chop them further)
• 2 medium-sized bowls
• 1 saucepan
• 1 sturdy spatula
• 1 cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

Directions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a bowl, melt butter, then cream white sugar, brown sugar, egg, & vanilla extract into it.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk salt, baking powder, & flour together. combine with butter mixture to make dough.
4. In a saucepan, melt thin slice of butter on medium-high heat and slowly start adding caramels, stirring vigorously with a sturdy spatula.
5. Once caramels are melted, quickly fold into the cookie dough. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes to cool.
6. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, form cookie dough balls and bake for 8 to 12 minutes. Enjoy!

Strawberries and cream cake

The other night, I had a dream that my KitchenAid mixer scolded me for not using it in months. I took it as a sign that I needed to bake a cake today. Since strawberries are in season, I decided to make a strawberries & cream cake. Even if the original recipe is simple, I neglected to keep watching the whipped cream, which resulted in sweet cream butter. My second batch of whipped cream turned out nicely, though! Note: while the cake is baking, you should clean your mixer attachment & bowl, as you’ll be using it to make the whipped cream, as well (unless you’re a baller & have more than one mixer).

Strawberries & cream cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe
Makes 12 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes; Cooling time: 10 minutes before layering; Chilling time: 1 hour to a day before serving (it’s up to your discretion)

IMG_2274

Ingredients & supplies:
For cake:

  • 8 inch cake pan, plus parchment paper (or part of a brown paper bag — which I used, since I didn’t have parchment paper) cut in a circle to fit at the bottom of the cake pan
  • Electric mixer (you could make the cake without one, but definitely not the whipped cream)
  • Wire rack for cooling (I don’t have a cooling rack, so I used a roasting pan rack)
  • 1 stick of butter (plus a little more to grease cake pan)
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (plus more to add to cake pan)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk

For strawberry topping:

  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled & thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar

For whipped cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of water & 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease the bottom of the cake pan with your extra butter. Set paper circle on top of it. Grease the paper circle and sides, then dust flour on the paper circle and sides.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt together, so baking powder & sea salt are evenly distributed. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer (thanks, KitchenAid!), beat the stick of butter and 1/2 cup of sugar on high until it’s light and fluffy. Slowly add each of the eggs and egg yolks. Add the vanilla extract. Then, setting the electric mixer on low, slowly add the flour  mixture by 1/2 cup increments and then the milk by 1/4 cup increments. Mix until combined, then spread batter evenly in cake pan.
  5. Bake cake for 30-35 minutes, so that when you put a toothpick in the middle of it, it comes out clean. (It baked in exactly 30 minutes, when I made it.) Let it cool for 10 minutes. Then, turn the cake upside down onto the wire rack to cool while you prepare everything else.
  6. For the topping, combine the strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl. Chill in refrigerator.
  7. In a small saucepan, add 2 tablespoons of cold water and the 1/4 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin. Whisk together until gelatin is dissolved, then set aside to cool.
  8. For the whipped cream, using an electric mixer, beat the heavy whipping cream and 1/4 cup sugar at medium (to medium high) speed and slowly add cooled gelatin until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  9. Using a large serrated knife (I used a large bread knife), cut the cake in half horizontally, so you will have two layers. Place the bottom half, cut side up on a serving plate.
  10. Add strawberries on top of cake. Add whipped cream on top of strawberries. Put second layer on top, cut side down. Top with rest of whipped cream. Refrigerate cake for an hour to a day before serving (I cheated & only let it cool for 15-20 minutes). When ready to serve, top with the rest of the strawberries & enjoy!