Brown Sugar Cookies

I’m leaving on a jet plane.

4 planes to be exact.

And yes, I am having a panic attack as I write this.

I hate flying. But it’s kind of essential when you are going overseas. Italy, to be exact.

I leave on Saturday. And I’ll be gone for 11 days.

Will you miss me? I sure hope so. I’d like to think we’ve created SOME sort of relationship through food.

Can I let you in on a little secret? OK..maybe 2.

I love you.

I will miss you.

I’ll miss writing to you, and I’ll miss sharing things with you while I’m gone.

OK…maybe that was 4 things.

But while you’re home (hopefully baking something) just think of me freaking out by being on planes.

Again…4 of them.

Stupid connecting flights.

But do you have $1123759 to fly non-stop to Italy? Right. Me either. So I’ll suck it up.

And probably get medicated. Or drunk. Or both.

I always have morbid thoughts that the planes are going to crash. It’s true. That’s all I think about. So DeeWally will need some help to get through these flights.

But I’m going to ITALY. So I really can’t complain much.

What am I looking forward to?

STUFFING. MY. FACE.

Anything that even LOOKS edible, I’m eating it.

These 50 pounds that I’ve lost? Yeah. Sorry about that, self. I’ll get back on track when I come home.

I mean, of course there is the scenery, the sites, the sounds, the experiences. But there is also pasta. And wine. And cheese. And meat. And desserts. And gelato. GELATO.

Lord help me.

So while I get ready to leave for Italy (a place I love without ever visiting before), I would like to share with you something I love (and something I’ve already experienced).

If you’ve been reading lately, you’re well aware of my love for brown sugar. Do you think there is brown sugar in Italy? I sure hope so.

I love the smell, the color, the texture, the taste and how it just makes everything so moist and chewy and flavorful.

Brown Sugar Cookies.

Yes Yes Yes.

Every recipe should start like this. Just sayin…

I saw these cookies and it’s like they were created especially for me. I even think my eyes bulged out of their sockets when I saw the recipe. I even looked behind me to make sure no one was playing a trick on me. Making sure that no one was messing with my computer and invented this fake recipe just to see me squirm.

Paranoid much, Deanna?

This recipe also serves as an excuse to buy more brown sugar. Tehe.

There is also ground cinnamon and ground ginger in this cookie too.

What the what?

It’s not a spicy cookie in the least. They’re in the cookie to give it some warmth and to just bring it all together. Want to leave them out? Sure. But they really do add some nice depth to the cookie. Just that little something extra that makes people go “Hmm..what’s in there?”

I love these cookies. I truly do.

And as soon as I ate one, I immediately had a thought. A great thought.

Ice cream sandwich cookies.

They’d be perfect! Sandwich some ice cream (or gelato) between these suckers and I can only imagine the euphoria that will happen with your taste buds.

I’m kinda mad I didn’t have any ice cream in the house when I made these. Sort of regretting that now. But I hope you have ice cream and make sammies! (Let me know how they are!)

These cookies are the best going away gift I could ever think of. I hope you love them as I much as I do.

And don’t worry. I’ll be back before you know it.

And probably 15 pounds heavier.

Arrivederci!!

BROWN SUGAR COOKIES

Recipe by Joy the Baker

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.  Set aside.

Place butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.  Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat on medium speed for one minute more.

Add the dry ingredients, all at once, to the butter and sugar mixture.  Beat on low speed until the dough begins to come together  and the flour disappears.  Stop the mixer and finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula.  Once all the flour is thoroughly mixed in, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Place a rack in the center and upper third of the over and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Dollop tablespoons size balls of dough onto the baking sheet.  Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges.  Cool on the pan for 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Red Velvet Cookies

These cookies started out as cupcakes.

It’s true.

And then shiz got complicated.

You see, it’s fall. Fall usually brings cooler weather. No more hot, sticky, humid weather.

But Mother Nature likes to make us think we’re going crazy.

For the past week and a half it’s been in the upper 70’s and low 80’s and it’s hot, sticky and humid. And on top of that, we don’t have our air conditioner on in our house because we’re crazy and thought “Hey! It’s fall…we don’t need our air conditioner!”

BREAKING: We need our air conditioner. In the worst way.

It’s just so yucky and uncomfortable in our house.

So living in a hot, humid, sticky house on its own is not ideal. Throw baking into said hot, humid, sticky house and what you have is Sweat-a-thon 2011.

I can’t even turn the oven on without instantly sweating. Instead of putting butter in the microwave to soften, I can literally leave it on the counter, and BAM! 5 seconds later, it’s soft.

The other night, I was baking and sweat was literally dripping down my back. But I still do it. Because I love you. And everyone deserves cookies. No matter what the temperature is.

So yeah, these Red Velvet Cookies that were really supposed to be Red Velvet Cupcakes. You may remember my Red Velvet Cupcakes and that amazing, glorious Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Icing. No? You don’t remember. Well, first shame on you. Second, just scroll down and read that post.

I was making those Red Velvet’s for a birthday party. An 80’s themed birthday party to be exact. Oh Yes. TUBULAR!!!

And yes, my costume was rad, and yes my brother was the most creepy person at the party.

Want proof?

Me:

My Brother:

Yeah. Kevin’s face pretty much sums all that up.

Anyway…

The birthday girl loves Red Velvet Cupcakes, so I thought “Light bulb! I’ll make those for her party!”

However, making an icing in these conditions just wouldn’t work. I knew with all this humidity that the icing would take forever to set and it just wouldn’t work. And I was not interested to find out if the cupcakes themselves would work or not. I figured, you know what? Let’s just move on from that idea. It just won’t work. And I didn’t feel like spending extra time in my sauna-kitchen trying to figure out how to make it work.

But I knew she LOVED Red Velvet. So I thought like Winnie The Pooh.

Think, think, think. (Oh, and you have to picture me doing the Winnie The Pooh thinking pose in order for this to work.)

Got it!

Red Velvet Cookies.

Thanks Pooh Bear.

The thing that was great about this recipe was that I didn’t need to go to the store and buy any ingredients. I had everything at home. Cowabunga!! (Ninja Turtles. You know it.)

These cookies are just like Red Velvet cupcakes except they don’t have buttermilk or vinegar in them. But the taste? Oh man. It’s seriously just like biting into a Rev Velvet Cupcake.

The subtle sweetness from the cocoa powder and the reddish tint from the coloring…it was just perfect.

And they were moist and chewy! LOVE!!

Red dough balls. Tehehe. They make me giggle.

The only change I think I will make for the next time I make these (because I TOTALLY am) will be substituting regular chocolate chips with white chocolate chips. I think the white chocolate will add a nice splash of color (sort of resembling cream cheese icing) and for another layer of sweetness.

I’m secretly glad it was so disgusting in our house that I didn’t make the cupcakes because then I wouldn’t have made these. And a life without Red Velvet Cookies is a life like no air conditioning. Both are just crucial to my well being. And life just simply wouldn’t be complete without them.

RED VELVET COOKIES

Recipe by How Sweet It Is

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon red food coloring

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream butter and sugars together until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and combine until smooth. Beat in red food coloring. Stir in cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of dough and set on baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

Funfetti.

Everyone knows it. Everyone loves it.

I grew up having this cake. I’m sure you guys did as well. And I’m sure you grew up making it from the box cake mix. Hell, I always grew up on the box cake mix.

And honestly, what’s not to love about box cakes? Simply add eggs and oil and in about 30 minutes, you have a cake. No flour all over the kitchen, no measuring cups overtaking your (lack of) counter tops, no blood, sweat and tears.

But really…where’s the fun in that?

When I was younger, my mom would always make a cake for my birthday. And I always wanted simple chocolate cake with vanilla icing or a funfetti cake with vanilla icing. Simple. Perfect. Lovely.

Sorry for the pun, but there is just something so fun about funfetti cakes.

Want in on a little earth shattering news?

Listen up closely folks.

Funfetti is simply a vanilla cake with sprinkles in the batter.

Holy shiz.

And speaking of fun. How crazy cute and fun are sprinkles? (Not jimmies. Ew, can’t stand that)

All different colors and shapes and sizes. So adorable. Throw them in a cake and watch them just dot the batter with all different colors. So. Cute. Fun.

Me and my mom love sprinkles. When we get ice cream, we ALWAYS ask for extra sprinkles. We used to have the ice cream people put sprinkles in the bottom of the cup before adding the ice cream, and then we would have them add more to the top. Pretty much a sprinkle sandwich with ice cream in the middle.

Now, we just order a small cup with sprinkles and add them on our own. (Or just eat sprinkles as a snack…)

So adding sprinkles to any kind of baked good gets a thumbs up from me.

And while cake is fun and yummy, you know how I love me some cupcakes.

I haven’t made cupcakes in a while because I’ve totally and completely fallen in love with cookies and simply CANNOT stop making them.

But for this post, I present thee with cupcakes.

I’m sure you guys are glad for a cookie break.

Don’t count on it lasting though. You’ve been warned. I mean, I didn’t just cake cookies this morning. I swear…

Do you think there are too many sprinkles in there? Whatevs.

Uhh…also just ignore that blob of flour that wasn’t mix in properly -___-

Just look at those sprinkles throughout the batter. Cuteness overload.

Oh, and if anyone can tell me how to prevent my cupcake wrappers from folding in like that, I am completely and openly available for suggestions. I will also be your best friend forever.

Prize of the century. No biggie.

More sprinkles on top. Life lesson: there is NEVER a thing as too many sprinkles.

TA-DA!! CUTEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

I don’t know if it’s just me, you know how sprinkles have that cake batter taste? Well, because there are so many in here, the cupcakes taste like cake batter. Cooked cake batter. Totally safe. Vanilla cake batter. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Oh, and this vanilla buttercream? Yeah, it’s pretty much the bees knees. It’s my go-to recipe whenever I need vanilla buttercream. It’s light and fluffy and the perfect amount of sweetness. Trust me. Try and it you will be instantly hooked.

Funfetti cake is nostalgic for me. It reminds me of when I was a kid. It reminds me of my birthday cakes that my mom would make for me. It also reminds me of sneaking tiny slices of left over cake day by day until there was none left and no one else to blame for it other than me.

Go ahead. Sneak a cupcake. Or 2.

I won’t tell.

HOMEMADE FUNFETTI CUPCAKES

Recipe by How Sweet It Is

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 whole eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup assorted brightly colored sprinkles + more for top of frosting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add the milk. Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients. Fold in assorted sprinkles.

Pour into cupcake tins and fill 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool, then frost.

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM

Recipe by Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.

Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Can you call these cookies?

Yes, right?

I know…they’re not “baked” per say, but they’re still in the round cookie shape.

So yes. I can call these cookies.

Glad we got that out of the way.

I’m lazy. And broke. Lazy broke.

I’m lazy because well, hi. I just am sometimes. And I’m broke because I’m leaving for Italy in 9 days. Ever plan a trip for 11 days and realize “OH MY GOD. I HAVE NO CLOTHES”?

Welcome to my life for the past 2 weeks. Running around, spending money I don’t have, freaking out, panicking, I’m sure crying can be thrown in there too.

Packing is S-T-R-E-S-S-F-U-L.

Especially when you can only bring 1 suitcase and 1 carry-on. And did I mention the part about not having any clothes? I literally don’t have a wardrobe. That’s a minor problem.

I never thought packing for a trip could make me go crazy. I lost my marbles. It shouldn’t be this difficult. So many rules and restrictions. Don’t restrict me! Cannot. Handle. It.

I was in Marshalls this weekend and I couldn’t find ANYTHING. Nothing, zip, nada. And I was freaking out. I was on the verge of crying and hysterically laughing at the same time because I just couldn’t control my emotions. They were coming out and I couldn’t stop them.

I quickly left the clothes section and went to the part of the store that I knew would calm me: The kitchen section.

Once I was surrounded by baking sheets and pans and measuring cups I felt instantly calm. I was in my comfort zone. I picked up an ice cream scooper and these adorable little maple leaf sprinkles (in fall colors!). Capital Cuteness.

I then continued to walk back into the clothes section. I ended up in the sock section.

In the sock section with an ice cream scooper and sprinkles.

People may have thought I was crazy. No one else does this? Whatevs.

Needless to say, I didn’t find anything beneficial to my clothing needs. But that was OK. Because holding that scooper and sprinkles, I was fine. Calm.

Then when we left, I left the scooper and sprinkles in the store. In the sock section. It will do some other girl good when they have nothing to pack.

Pay It Forward.

My Aunt got mad at me when I didn’t buy them. But I didn’t need to. I just needed to hold them. Have I been spending too much time in the kitchen? Probably. But you know what? In the kitchen is where I feel happiest and calm. I know what I’m doing when I’m in there. It’s my comfort zone. It’s my home. I’m happy there, and I just needed some jolt of that to keep me from freaking. And if that scooper and sprinkles is what did that for me, then so be it.

Creepy or not creepy.

Creepy.

I still had all this anxiety over this trip the other night. I needed to channel my nerves and anxiety somewhere. I could have ran on the treadmill. HA! Lazy.

So I made cookies. Duh.

I couldn’t really handle a legit cookie recipe. I needed something quick. I just needed to do a little baking to ease the brain. And I didn’t want to use my brain.

Insert No Bake Cookies.

These little puppies come together in basically 10 minutes. And everything is made in a pot on the stove. Cha.

Here’s the dealio. Put butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. This reminds me of making caramel. And I’m a HUGE fan of that, so…right on!

Once that is done boiling for a minute, stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract. Then add the oats.

Spoon onto a baking sheet and let cool. Once they’re set…time to eat!!

And as long as that took you to read, was how long the recipe took to make.

Just what I needed. A quick, yummy fix that wasn’t complicated or time consuming.

FIT. THE. BILL.

And because of the caramel-y type flavor you get from boiling the sugar and butter, these cookies remind me of big pieces of candy. Perfect little fix to keep in your desk drawer at work when you’re sweet tooth hits and you need something to munch on.

Uncomplicated.

Man, that must be nice.

NO BAKE CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL COOKIES

Recipe by Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:

½ cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats

Directions:

1. Add the first four ingredients (through the cocoa powder) to a 4-quart saucepan.

2. Bring to a rolling boil and let boil for 1 minute.

3. Remove from heat.

4. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth, then stir in the oats.

5. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto wax paper-lined baking sheets.

6. Let cool until set.

Chocolate Overload Cookies

Everyone loves a good underdog story.

Me? I like any dog story.

But there is nothing greater than something which was destined to fail, rise up and become champion.

The 1995 Stanley Cup Finals. New Jersey Devils vs. Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings were STACKED. The Devils? Yeah, not so much. The Devils were supposed to lose 3 straight and then just forfeit Game 4 because they were going to get beat so bad. So what did the underdogs do? Oh nothing. Just swept the Red Wings in 4 games to win the Stanley Cup.

Super Bowl 42. New England Patriots vs. New York Giants. The Giants were facing an 18-0 team looking for the first undefeated season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins. The Giants had just played the Patriots in their last regular season game and lost. It was a close game, but the G-Men still came up short. Going into the Super Bowl, the Patriots were the favorites. So what did the underdogs do? Oh nothing. Just came from behind in the fourth quarter with the help of David Tyree making a one-handed-helmet catch for the ages. And the lob to Plaxico for the game winning touchdown? Beautiful.

So what did we learn from these two stories? Never count the underdogs out.

I learned this lesson last week.

I have a HUGE pile of recipes that I’ve had printed out because I’ve wanted to try them. The stack is getting bigger and bigger and I’ve been working my way through it. I’m trying to get through those recipes before I try other things. We’ll see how that goes..

So anyway, I was looking through these recipes and saw this innocent looking chocolate cookie recipe. I kept putting it off because it honestly didn’t seem like anything too special. “Oh, I’ll get to it.”

Well I finally decided to make it one night because it seemed easy enough and I had all the ingredients, so I figured why not. It’ll just be something easy to make to pass the time.

I honestly should have known better. Really. But I wasn’t thinking.

These were the little cookies that could.

I brought them into work the next day and everyone LOVED them! I’m always bringing in things that I bake and my one co-worker said that these cookies were her favorite.

And really…how could they not be good? They had one whole cup of my favorite ingredients to bake with. Brown Sugar.

Brown sugar. Can’t say enough about it. It adds depth, and chewiness and just such a great flavor that cannot be beat.

I should have known.

And white chocolate chips! I love white chocolate. And I don’t want to hear the argument that it’s not really chocolate. Shhh. I don’t hear you. I love it. And that is final.

The sweetness of the white chocolate just goes perfectly with the richness of the chocolate cookie. It was perfect.

And you might be thinking “Oh man…that just sounds too rich and sweet.”

Nope.

The unsweetened cocoa powder gives the cookie a great chocolate flavor but doesn’t add a lot of sweetness. So adding two kinds of chocolate chips works perfectly and gives the cookie the sweetness that it needs without going overboard.

Everything just worked so well.

Never judge a book by its cover.

Lesson. Learned.

Oh! And if you’re in a crunch and need a lot of cookies on short notice, make these. The recipe makes 4 dozen cookies! I pretty much had cookies scattered all over New Jersey the next day.

New Jersey was very happy that day.

I have no idea who did that…

Chocolate Overload Cookies. The underdog that rose up and smacked me in the face for doubting it.

The cookie that can now lay claim to being one of the top dogs in my little cookie conquest.

The cookie, that if you need a chocolate fix, is a top contender.

NEVER doubt the underdog.

CHOCOLATE OVERLOAD COOKIES

Recipe by Recipe Girl

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate chips
1 (11.5 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chunks

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla; beat well.

3. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Blend into creamed mixture just until combined. Stir in chips.

4. Drop by Tablespoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until slightly set. Do not overbake- cookies will be soft, and will puff while baking and flatten while cooling. Cool slightly and then remove from cookie sheet to rack.