Categories
Cookies Dessert

‘Soy’ vey: These cookies were quite the weird experiment

Soy Sauce Chocolate Chip Cookies
These soy sauce chocolate chip cookies don’t look pretty, but they are tasty, sweet and chewy and don’t taste like soy sauce one bit.

“Well, these are a disaster,” I told Joey, pulling my baking sheet out of the oven. “I guess they won’t be going in the column.”

Earlier in the week, I was excited to try a recipe I ran across that used soy sauce in chocolate chip cookies. It sounded just weird enough that I had to see what they tasted like.

But then, catastrophe struck. I’m assuming I softened my butter a bit too much, because these cookies spread out like crazy, and I was bummed that the recipe was a total fail.

But then I tried one. And another one. And, dear reader, I must admit, several more, and they were, well…good.

They were thin, yes, and the chocolate chips kind of just hung out in the middles instead of spreading throughout the cookies, but they were tasty, and the texture was soft and chewy.

I was also delighted to find that they didn’t taste like soy sauce at all.

This recipe, aptly enough, comes from the Kikkoman website. You can find the original at https://kikkomanusa.com/homecooks/recipes/soy-sauce-chocolate-chip-cookies/. I doubled the vanilla in my version and increased the chocolate chips a bit.

Soy Sauce Chocolate Chip Cookies
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Soy Sauce Chocolate Chip Cookies

These soy sauce chocolate chip cookies don’t look pretty, but they are tasty, sweet and chewy and don’t taste like soy sauce one bit.
Course Dessert, Main Course
Keyword chocolate chips, sea salt, semisweet chocolate chips, soy sauce, vanilla

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce I used low-sodium
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon coarse or flaky salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper, and set them aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the soy sauce, vanilla and eggs. Finally, beat in the flour and baking soda.
  • When everything is well combined, fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Place the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Spoon out the dough onto the prepared baking sheets in rounded tablespoon scoops, leaving about two inches between them.
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are browned. While they are still hot, sprinkle the cookies lightly with salt. Let them cool before transferring them to an airtight container.

Like I said, despite the weird secret ingredient, these were just darn good chocolate cookies. Honestly, I’m not sure why they spread out so badly for me—especially since I chilled my dough as directed.

But it ended up being a happy accident. Honestly, the fact that the cookies were thinner probably helped with the chewy texture.

“These are going into the column after all,” I told Joey through a large bite of cookie.

He just nodded.

He’s used to my strange kitchen shenanigans. Besides, he’s too polite to talk with his mouth full.

This piece first appeared in print on Aug. 31, 2023.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Get lost in a piece of amazing cake

Amazing cake has too many ingredients to put in its title. It features an easy base of a boxed cake mix, elevated by pecans, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and a swirled cream cheese mixture that is not to be missed.

The names people choose for recipes often crack me up.

There’s the embarrassing-to-talk-about “better than sex” or “sex in a pan” variety of dishes, followed by “blue-ribbon” and “award-winning” options, and of course, there are a million recipes purporting to be “Mom’s” or “Grandma’s,” although few identify which matriarch those actually belong to.

So you’ll excuse my skepticism as to how “amazing” the recipe I tried this week was when the author simply called it “amazing cake.”

Upon reading the long list of ingredients, though, not only did I start to believe that this just might be amazing, but I also realized that she couldn’t have possibly come up with a more descriptive name without having to list at least five items in the title. Amazing cake it was.

This recipe comes from a Facebook reel by @genie_cooks. I adjusted the ingredients just a tiny bit, based on what I had in my pantry. I also used an Oreo chocolate cake mix that had Oreo bits in it for the cake part, and that was phenomenal.

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Amazing Cake

Amazing cake has too many ingredients to put in its title. It features an easy base of a boxed cake mix, elevated by pecans, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and a swirled cream cheese mixture that is not to be missed.
Course Dessert
Keyword cake mix, chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate chips, coconut, cream cheese, easy cake, easy dessert, pecans, powdered sugar

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pecans divided
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 chocolate cake mix and ingredients listed on the box
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips I used semi-sweet

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare a nine-by-13-inch baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
  • Spread one-half cup of the pecans and all of the shredded coconut evenly along the bottom of the pan. Set it aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, prepare the chocolate cake mix according to the directions on the box. Pour the prepared mix evenly over the top of the pecans and coconut in the prepared pan.
  • In another mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and melted butter until it is smooth. Fold in the remaining pecans and the chocolate chips.
  • With a large spoon, place dollops of the cream cheese mixture all over the surface of the cake batter, and then gently swirl the cream cheese mixture into the batter with a knife.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool completely before cutting into it. Sore any leftovers in an airtight container.

This really did turn out, well, amazing. I brought some to the office to share, and Adam described it as a “German chocolate upside down cake,” which I thought was a fairly apt way of putting it. The incorporation of so many different flavors and textures in this cake makes it decadent and delicious, and the best part was that it was super easy to create. Put this one on your “I need to make a quick dessert” list.

While “amazing cake” doesn’t really tell you everything you need to know about this recipe, it was a decent descriptor after all, and I certainly recommend it. As for some of the other descriptive terms people tend to use in their recipe names, I think I’ll stick to the tamer adjectives. I don’t need my cooking to get a strange reputation.

This piece first appeared in print on April 20, 2023.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

You’ll be ready to poke into this chocolate-filled cake

Hot chocolate poke cake takes the flavors of hot chocolate and elevates them into a delicious cake that will satisfy any chocolate-lover’s sweet tooth.

We had an early Christmas celebration this past week, and of course, I volunteered to make dessert. I knew I wanted to make a cranberry orange tart that I first tried last Christmas (check out my website for that one), since I had a full bag of cranberries in my crisper drawer, but I was feeling completely uninspired about what else to make.

So, I sent a text to my sister to ask the most creative person I know—my 5-year-old niece—what I should make.

The answer came back: chocolate chip cookies.

OK, so not the most creative answer. But my sister saved the day, sharing a recipe she was eyeballing, and it turned out to be a huge hit and an absolutely delicious dessert.

This comes from the blog “Persnickety Plates.” You can find the original post at https://www.persnicketyplates.com/hot-chocolate-poke-cake/. I didn’t do any playing with the recipe outside of clarifying a few directions.

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Hot Chocolate Poke Cake

Hot chocolate poke cake takes the flavors of hot chocolate and elevates them into a delicious cake that will satisfy any chocolate-lover's sweet tooth.
Course Dessert
Keyword cake mix, chocolate cake, chocolate chips, dark chocolate, easy dessert, hot chocolate, hot fudge topping, instant pudding, mini marshmallows, whipped cream

Ingredients

  • 15.25 ounce dark chocolate cake mix
  • 2, 3.9 ounce instant chocolate pudding mixes
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup cold chocolate milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 11 to 12 ounces hot fudge topping
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • mini marshmallows and chocolate chips for topping

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a nine-by-13-inch baking pan by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the cake mix, one box of instant pudding, eggs, vanilla, chocolate milk, oil and sour cream until the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour it evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes, and then, using a skewer or the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cake.
  • Heat the hot fudge topping in the microwave until it is easy to pour, and then pour over the cake, spreading it out with a spatula, if necessary, to get it evenly distributed.
  • Let the cake cool completely, either on the counter or in the refrigerator before continuing to the next step.
  • Once the cake is completely cooled, add the other box of pudding mix along with the two cups of milk to a bowl and whisk until they are well combined. Pour the pudding mixture evenly over the cake and put it in the refrigerator to set. (I let mine set overnight.)
  • For the whipped cream, add the heavy cream, cocoa powder and powdered sugar to a mixing bowl and beat on high for several minutes until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  • Spread the whipped cream evenly over top of the cake and finish it off with some mini marshmallows and chocolate chips.
  • Keep the cake refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it, and keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

This was chocolate cake, elevated to a whole new level. The hot fudge and pudding layers kept it especially moist, and there’s nothing to complain about when it comes to fresh chocolate whipped cream.

My little cousins really enjoyed it, and my sister gave the recipe two thumbs up, as well.

My niece also seemed to enjoy it, so I was glad I didn’t disappoint her by skipping out on her chocolate chip cookies. I’ll have to make her a batch sometime soon, although by then, she’ll probably have a new kind of sweet on her mind.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 22, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Breakfast Dessert

New baking technique delivers ‘dome sweet dome’ for muffins

Sour cream double chocolate muffins are moist with the perfect amount of chocolate flavor to pair with a cup of coffee for breakfast.

I learned something new this week that totally blew my mind: how to create muffins with perfectly domed tops.

It’s been a mystery for me for a long time how bakeries and other super bakers manage to get their muffins to rise so tall, puffing perfectly over the edges of their cupcake liners.

This week’s recipe finally gave me the secret. I was reading the post on the recipe for sour cream double chocolate muffins I wanted to try this week, and the author started talking about how the secret is starting your muffins at a higher temperature and then lowering it during the baking process.

I decided to trust her wisdom and give it a try, and it was awesome. I managed to create huge, beautiful muffins. Oh, and they tasted really good, too. If you’re like me and want to finally conquer domed muffins, this is the recipe for you.

This recipe comes from the blog “JaJa Bakes.” You can find the original post at https://jajabakes.com/sour-cream-double-chocolate-muffins/. I doubled the vanilla in my version below.

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Sour Cream Double Chocolate Muffins

Sour cream double chocolate muffins are moist with the perfect amount of chocolate flavor to pair with a cup of coffee for breakfast.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword chocolate chips, cocoa powder, muffins, sour cream, vanilla

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chocolate chips divided (I used semi-sweet)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a 12-well muffin tin by placing cupcake liners in it.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the oil, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla and sour cream until well combined.
  • Add in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and beat until the mixture is smooth.
  • Fold in about two-thirds of the chocolate chips and spoon the batter into the prepared cupcake liners, filling each all the way to the top of the well.
  • Sprinkle the leftover chocolate chips on the tops of the muffins, and bake for five minutes. Then, without opening the oven door, lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake about 15 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centers of the muffins comes out clean.
  • Let the muffins sit in the tin on the counter for about five minutes before removing them and placing them on a baking rack. Once the muffins are cool, serve them or store in an airtight container.

These were moist and chocolatey and perfect with a hot cup of coffee for breakfast. These would be a showstopper for a bake sale, too, and they were super easy to make.

We ended up sharing them with friends for dessert during Sunday afternoon football, and they went over really well.

Nobody else commented on how beautiful my muffins were, but I was still really excited to finally cross making gorgeous little cakes off my baking bucket list.

Hopefully I can use that same technique the next time I pull out my muffin tins, but in the meantime, I’ll just revel in my own awesomeness.

This piece first appeared in print on Oct. 27, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

‘Micro’save yourself some time baking fresh cookies

Strangely enough, this chocolate chip cookie was made in the microwave. It comes together easily and is a good way to enjoy a sweet treat without making dozens of cookies.

When I was little, my dad would wake up early every morning, pack his lunchbox and head out for work.

I probably wouldn’t have cared at all about what was in that black plastic box if it weren’t for the Tupperware bowl of sandwich cookies in the pantry. Dad would normally toss a couple into the lunchbox for a sweet ending to what I’m assuming was a meal of a bologna sandwich.

For me, the bowl represented a clandestine mission to sneak a treat every once in awhile. This worked out well for me until my younger sister discovered my scheme, and I had to include her in my raids in exchange for her silence.

To her credit, she never ratted me out—on purpose—but her method of eating any chocolate cookie usually ended with a ring of crumbs around her mouth that Mom astutely noticed every time. In later years, we’d get away with sneaking a cookie or two when we’d come home from school to enjoy while we completed homework assignments.

This week, my mind was blown when I realized we could have gotten away with an even tastier snack if only we had known that you can bake a chocolate chip cookie in the microwave.

The recipe I tried out this week came from an online video from John Nonny of “The Pun Guys.” You can find him on Facebook at facebook.com/johnnonnyofficial/. I added extra milk and a dash of salt in my version.

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Microwave Cookie

Strangely enough, this chocolate chip cookie was made in the microwave. It comes together easily and is a good way to enjoy a sweet treat without making dozens of cookies.
Course Dessert
Keyword baking for one, chocolate chips, cookies, easy cookie, microwave cooking, single-serve dessert

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons chocolate chips

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, melt the butter. Mix in the brown sugar until it is well incorporated, and add in the milk, flour and salt. Continue mixing until the mixture comes together into a dough. It should be Play-Doh consistency—not dry and crumbly but also not too sticky to handle. If the dough won’t come together, mix in just tiny splash of milk until it does. If it is too sticky, mix in just a tiny bit of flour until you can roll it in your hands.
  • Once you reach the desired consistency, fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Place the dough onto a small piece of parchment paper on a microwave-safe plate and press it down into a circle until it is about one-half inch thick.
  • Place in the microwave and cook on high for one minute. Allow the cookie to cool a bit before enjoying.

Was this the best cookie I have ever had? Nope. I can definitely make vastly superior batches in the oven.

However, it was a pretty darn good cookie overall, and between mixing and “baking,” I was able to accomplish it in under five minutes. I’m definitely going to keep that in mind the next time I am craving something sweet but don’t want to bake an entire batch of a dessert.

I also thought this recipe would be great for kids to help make when Santa comes in a few months. This would be the perfect type of cookie to dip in a glass of milk.

Overall, I’m glad my sister and I didn’t know that we could make cookies with only our microwave. I’m sure we would have gotten in even more trouble. I mean, if the kid couldn’t keep cookie crumbs off her face, who knows what would have happened with gooey chocolate chips. (Sorry, Sis.)

This piece first appeared in print on Oct. 6, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert

Make ’em go ‘coco’nuts for fudgy, layered brownies

Coconut brownies feature a top and bottom layer of fudgy, flavorful brownies sandwiching a sweet, light coconut layer in between.

This weekend, I stumbled on an article by Gabrielle Drolet called, “In Defence of Garlic in a Jar: How Food Snobs Almost Ruined My Love of Cooking.”

It’s a long read, but Drolet makes the point that cooking shortcuts are a great way to make the kitchen more accessible to people who have disabilities.

She mentions—but doesn’t elaborate on—the fact that some people use them for the sake of time, too. The opinion piece addresses the idea that so many food shows and blogs and posts push the concept that there are “right” and “wrong” ways to prepare food, and some of those opinions end up discouraging less experienced cooks from even attempting to try something new.

Personally, I’ve moved beyond my need to always follow every recipe to the letter, and as I have continued to experiment, I’ve learned which rules need to be followed and which ones can be ignored.

This week, for example, I decided not to both line my cake pan with parchment and spray it with cooking spray. I decided not to mix my wet and dry ingredients separately and then carefully mix them together with a wooden spoon. I decided to ignore the directive to coat my chocolate chips with flour before incorporating them into the batter.

And I still ended up with some delicious brownies—rules be darned—and I’m sharing the result with you so you can end up with a great pan of dessert, too, in spite of any rule-breaking behavior.

This comes from the blog “Spaceships and Laser Beams.” You can find the original post at https://spaceshipsandlaserbeams.com/coconut-brownies/. I added extra vanilla and chocolate chips in my version, along with simplifying the instructions.

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Coconut Brownies

Coconut brownies feature a top and bottom layer of fudgy, flavorful brownies sandwiching a sweet, light coconut layer in between.
Course Dessert
Keyword brownies, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, coconut, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla

Ingredients

Brownie Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 rounded cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Coconut Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare an eight-by-eight-inch baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
  • For the brownie layer, in a mixing bowl, beat the sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the flour, cocoa powder and salt until everything is combined, and then stir in the chocolate chips.
  • For the coconut layer, combine the coconut flakes, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Stir until all of the components are well combined.
  • To assemble, spread half of the brownie batter evenly in the bottom of your prepared pan. Next, gently spread all of the coconut layer evenly over the brownie layer. Finish off with an even layer of the rest of the brownie batter.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top of the brownies looks set up and is just starting to pull away from the edges of the pan.
  • Let the brownies cool completely before slicing so they fully set up. Store them in an airtight container.

These are super rich and really fudgy. The pan I made ended up being demolished at the office to rave reviews.

Based on the lovely photos on the blog that provided me with this recipe, I’d assume the author loves to follow rules—using her flour sifter, wooden spoons and multitude of mixing bowls for each recipe she makes—and that’s OK.

We all have our own style in the kitchen. Some people get joy from the extra steps. Some, like me, get joy from eliminating as many hand-wash-only dishes as possible from the process.

In the end, we all like to create, share and eat, and that’s really all that matters—jarred garlic or not.

This piece first appeared in print on July 21, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

You’re fine ‘pudding’ whatever you want in these cookies

A package of pudding gives these cookies a bit of a cake-y texture and flavor, and doubling down on the chocolate makes them even better.

I am and always have been a rule follower.

I rarely if ever got in trouble in school, and I still read instructions before completing a form or assembling a piece of furniture.

For years, I was that way with recipes, too. I followed the directions to the letter. But I have had the good fortune to write this column every week for over eight years now, and one thing I’ve learned about recipes is that the rules are meant to be broken.

That was definitely the case for this week’s recipe. I didn’t sift the flour and baking soda before adding it to the batter. I didn’t use vanilla pudding. I added extra vanilla extract. I grabbed margarine instead of butter, since that was what I had on hand.

And you know what? My cookies still turned out great, so I’m sharing this recipe with you this week so you can be a rule breaker, too.

This comes from the blog “I am a Honey Bee.” You can find the original post at https://iamahoneybee.com/2014/01/09/chocolate-chip-pudding-cookies/. I changed this up by substituting in different flavors from the original and doubling the vanilla.

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Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

A package of pudding gives these cookies a bit of a cake-y texture and flavor, and doubling down on the chocolate makes them even better.
Course Dessert
Keyword chocolate chips, cookies, instant pudding

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3.4 ounces instant pudding I used chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 16 ounces chocolate chips I used semi-sweet

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars until they’re light and fluffy—about two minutes. Beat in the pudding mixture. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add in the flour and baking soda and beat until everything is mixed well.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Roll the dough into one-inch balls or scoop it out with a one-inch baking scoop and place them about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for eight to 10 minutes or until the cookies are set in the middle. Once the cookies have cooled for about five minutes, transfer them to an airtight container.

Despite using the chocolate pudding, these weren’t overly sweet or decadent. They were just really good, soft cookies. We shared some with some friends of ours, and they gave them two thumbs up, too.

And these are infinitely customizable. Go look at the instant pudding in your local grocery store and get creative with your flavor combos. Maybe lemon and white chocolate chips? Coconut with almonds? Butterscotch and dark chocolate?

There are many, many times that being a rule follower is a wonderful trait to have, and believe me, it keeps you out of trouble a lot in life. But in this case, I’d say go ahead and live on the wild side a little. I’m not quite ready to be a rebel without a cause, but cookies are a cause I can get behind.

This piece first appeared in print on March 18, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Breakfast Dessert

Pastries are dish worth ‘scone’ing on about

With walnuts and chocolate chips mixed in, banana bread scones are a great choice for breakfast or dessert.

I don’t get a chance to listen to the radio much on the weekends, but when I do, I try to catch the public radio show “The Splendid Table.”

It’s a fun listen, if you’ve never heard it. The show isn’t just about sharing recipes. They tend to jump into all aspects of food—the culture, the techniques, the cooks. Strangely enough through, despite listening to quite a few episodes over the years, I haven’t tried very many of the featured recipes.

That changed this week when I was once again looking for some way to keep using up the rapidly browning bananas on my countertop, and I realized I should have tried more of their dishes a lot sooner, because this one was delicious.

This recipe is on “The Splendid Table” website and was written by Samantha Seneviratne for her cookbook “The Joys of Baking.” You can find the original post at https://www.splendidtable.org/story/2020/01/17/banana-bread-scones. I doubled the vanilla and changed the directions just a tad in my version. I also used walnuts instead of toasted hazelnuts.

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Banana Bread Scones

With walnuts and chocolate chips mixed in, banana bread scones are a great choice for breakfast or dessert.
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword banana, chocolate chips, scone, walnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 large over-ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream plus some for brushing tops
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter cold and cubed
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup walnuts finely chopped
  • Sugar for tops of scones

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  • Beat the banana, cream, egg and vanilla together in a small bowl.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt and then cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter or a fork. Once the mixture looks crumbly, add in the banana mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.
  • Using a large cookie scoop, place scoops of the batter about two inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Brush the tops of the dough with cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

We had to make sure to give several of these away, because Joey and I were going to quickly eat all of them by ourselves. If you like banana bread, you’ll definitely like these, too.

The only problem is this recipe only helped me get rid of a single banana. I may have to make a second batch this weekend. I already know what I can listen to while I do.

This piece first appeared in print on Oct. 29, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

Banana cookies extend past partisan’chip’

Peanut butter banana chocolate chip cookies are extremely soft and moist cake-y cookies.

Joey and I were watching TV once, early in our marriage, and an advertisement for a brownie pan that would let you have all edges brownies came on.

I reacted to it by laughing.

“Who would want only edge brownies,” I said. “The middle brownies are the best ones.”

Joey looked at me like I was crazy.

“No, the crispy edges are better,” he told me.

And that’s when we decided to agree to disagree on not only brownies, but cookies, too.

Over the years, I have been majorly disappointed with a crispy cookie recipe, while Joey has rejoiced in how great they are.

So, when I tried this week’s recipe, I have to tell you that while Joey agreed they were tasty, these were definitely more my speed: cake-y, soft and amazing.

I got this recipe from the blog “Mom on Timeout.” You can find the original post at https://www.momontimeout.com/peanut-butter-banana-chocolate-chip-cookies/. I added extra vanilla and baking chips in my version.

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Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut butter banana chocolate chip cookies are extremely soft and moist cake-y cookies.
Course Dessert
Keyword banana, chocolate chips, cookies, peanut butter chips

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10-12 ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 10-12 ounce bag peanut butter chips

Instructions

  • Cream the butter, bananas and sugars together with a mixer. Beat in the vanilla until the mixture is smooth, and then beat in the flour, baking soda, corn starch and salt. Once everything is combined, fold in the chocolate and the peanut butter chips.
  • Cover the bowl and leave in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven and prepare cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
  • Using a one-inch scoop (or just eyeball that amount with a regular spoon), place dough onto the cookie sheets, about two inches apart.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden on top. Let them cool completely before transferring them from the parchment paper to an airtight container.

I will warn you that these really do need to set up before you pull them from the parchment. I pulled some early, and they were falling apart (of course, if you need to test one or two for…ahem…quality control, eating some that are warm and gooey is perfectly acceptable).

They stayed soft and moist in my plastic container, and when we were able to share some of these at an office meeting, the consensus were that they were awesome, and they disappeared quickly.

It seems like there are too many flavors going on in these, but really, both the peanut butter and chocolate chips take a backseat to the banana flavor, which is the real star.

Even though these were super soft cookies, I did notice that Joey didn’t complain too much about having to eat them. Of course, I don’t think I’ve ever turned down a crispy cookie or an edge brownie, either, for that matter.

We can certainly agree to disagree, but when it comes to sweets, we’re both willing to take one for the team.

This piece first appeared in print on May 28, 2020.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

Categories
Dessert Snack

Cherry Garcia brownies makes friends ‘Grateful Fed’

Cherry Garcia brownies are patterned after the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor of the same name.

Over the seven years since I started writing this column, my family has gotten very used to being guinea pigs for new recipes.

So much so, that when I showed up with a dish of still-warm brownies for a board game night with my sister and brother-in-law last weekend, my sister looked at me and said, “I’m going to get quoted about this, aren’t I?”

I just shrugged, but yes, Sis, you are.

As I often do when summer rolls around, I bought a big bag of fresh cherries last week, and these brownies seemed like the perfect candidate to include them. I also might have spent some time sampling cherries while I baked, too. Job hazards.

My sister said she generally hates the taste of cherries and chocolate together (she might be adopted), but she gave two thumbs up for the new recipe.

I found this one by Lauren Miyashiro on the website “Delish.” You can find the original at https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a48932/cherry-garcia-brownies-recipe/. I doubled the vanilla, added more cherries and specified a dark chocolate brownie mix in my version.

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Cherry Garcia Brownies

Cherry Garcia brownies are patterned after the Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor of the same name.
Course Dessert
Keyword brownies, cherry, dark chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1 box dark chocolate brownie mix plus ingredients it calls for
  • 8 ounces cream cheese slightly softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pitted and quartered fresh cherries
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare an 8-by-8-inch baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
  • Prepare the brownie mix according to package instructions and dump into the prepared pan. Set it aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, vanilla, egg and sugar until it’s light and fluffy (mine actually ended up mostly soupy, which works, too. Just make sure it’s well combined).
  • Stir in the cherries and chocolate chips and dump the cream cheese mixture over the brownie mix in the pan. Swirl the mixture with a knife to get some of the cream cheese layer into the brownies.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted down into the brownie layer comes up clean (mine took a bit longer than 45 minutes) and the cheesecake layer on top is set up.
  • Let the brownies cool a bit before slicing. I stored mine in an airtight container in the fridge.

I would recommend cutting these on the smaller side, because they’re a bit rich. The top is creamy, and the bottom is dense and chewy. And then there’s a little layer in the middle between the cheesecake and the brownie layer that’s perfectly gooey.

We had a great time playing games and eating brownies together, and we all decided the recipe was a winner, which was the only winning I did all night.

Maybe next time we get together I can earn some victories with the board games in addition to the kitchen.

This piece first appeared in print on June 13, 2019.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.

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