Categories
Cookies Dessert

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

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.

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.

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies
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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.

Categories
Cookies Dessert

Baking Mom’s cookies makes me a chip off the old block

Sometimes all you want is a classic, delicious chocolate chip cookie, just like Mom used to make.

Every time it was our family’s turn to bring snacks for any event—youth group, school functions, you name it—my friends would immediately ask, “Is your mom going to make cookies?”

When my sister or I would announce that we needed to bring something yummy to share, Mom didn’t need to ask us what we wanted her to whip up. The default was her chocolate chip cookies, and we rarely brought any home at the end of the evening.

She would sometimes shake her head in disbelief when people would ask for her secret recipe, saying she just got it off the back of a bag of chocolate chips at some point, but though she’ll probably still deny it, there was always something special about those cookies.

Last week, I needed to make cookies for an event, and rather than do my normal thing and try out a new recipe, I pulled out my recipe box and decided to make Mom’s chocolate chip cookies.

As in the days of my childhood, they were the first cookies to disappear from the snack table.

I don’t have an official source for you for these cookies other than to say that the recipe once appeared on a chocolate chip bag somewhere, but if I know my mother as well as I think I do, I’m guessing the vanilla was doubled at some point in its history.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes all you want is a classic, delicious chocolate chip cookie, just like Mom used to make.
Course Dessert
Keyword chocolate chips, cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375.
  • Beat together the shortening, sugars, vanilla, water and eggs until well combined. Beat the flour, baking soda and salt into the mix, and then mix in the chocolate chips.
  • Drop by the spoonful about two inches apart on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for eight to 10 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned. Let them cool for a bit and then transfer them to a sealed container while still a little warm to keep them a little chewier.

There’s nothing Earth-shattering about these cookies, but they are definitely one of the tastes of my childhood. It’s funny that those cookies were the background for so many of my favorite memories growing up—spending time with friends in the church fellowship hall, dipping them in milk with my sister, sharing them with classmates between taking final exams in high school.

It was nice to share a batch with some of my adult friends, too. It’s amazing how relationships can form around something as simple as a chocolate chip cookie.

This piece first appeared in print on June 28, 2018.

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

No-bake pie is better chocolate than never

A small piece is the perfect serving size for this rich, chocolaty pie.

We recently had a get-together with my mom’s side of the family. As always, we had an amazing spread of way too much food and had lots of fun catching up.

I volunteered to bring a few pies for dessert, and my family is used to being guinea pigs when it comes to me trying out new recipes.

One of the pies I made was this week’s recipe—a no-bake chocolate truffle pie that was super easy to make. When I pulled it out of my Tupperware container, my cousin’s little girl gasped and immediately grabbed me around my middle.

She could barely wait to finish her lunch before diving into a piece of pie. If you’re wondering, Miss Avery gave it two thumbs up.

I found this recipe on the website “Kitch Me.” You can find it at http://www.kitchme.com/recipes/no-bake-chocolate-truffle-pie-5-ingredients. I added ingredients to make a homemade whipped cream to top it and used a graham cracker crust instead of the chocolate crust the recipe called for.

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No-Bake Chocolate Truffle Pie

A small piece is the perfect serving size for this rich, chocolaty pie.
Course Dessert
Keyword chocolate chips, graham cracker crust, no bake, truffle, whipped cream

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream divided
  • 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 9- inch pre-made graham cracker or chocolate cookie crumb pie crust
  • about 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  • Combine the chocolate chips (save a few to decorate the top of the pie, if you like) and 3/4 cup cream to a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each time, until the mixture is smooth.
  • Set it aside and let the chocolate cool to room temperature.
  • Once the mixture is cooled, mix in the sugar and vanilla.
  • In another bowl, whip another 3/4 cup of cream until stiff peaks form, and then beat in the chocolate, a little at a time, until it’s all fully combined.
  • Spread the filling out evenly into the pie crust and refrigerate at least eight hours. Before serving, whip the remaining cream, one tablespoon powdered sugar and one teaspoon vanilla together until stiff peaks form. If the cream is not sweet enough, whip in a bit more sugar until it’s where you like it.
  • Top the pie with the whipped cream and some chocolate chips or chocolate shavings.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers.

Several people who taste tested this pie for me said they really liked the dark chocolate flavor and were surprised when I said it was made with only semi-sweet chocolate. Letting it set overnight really developed a deep flavor.

I’d also suggest cutting this into smaller pieces, because it’s a very rich flavor, and it’s tough to eat a big piece in one sitting.

I’m guessing I’ll need to work this recipe into my regular rotation—at least when bringing pie to my little cousin. The pie was delicious, but the big hug really made it worth it.

This piece first appeared in print on April 26, 2018.

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.