Tag Archives: dessert

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies

I’m obsessed with Pinterest.  I look at it for an hour each day during my lunch break (when I really should be walking around the city for exercise).  I use my phone to look at it every morning and every evening on the train to/from work.  I look at it at night (because I didn’t ruin my eyesight enough staring at the computer for 9 daylight hours already).  I look at it when I wake up at 4am because I can’t sleep (thanks to violent scenes from Sons of Anarchy and a preview of the horror movie Sinister).  And as if I don’t already have a stack of recipes that I still have yet to make, I just keep adding more recipes that I find on Pinterest.  These Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies are one of those glorious finds that had me at hello and call my name each and every time I see them.  Salty and sweet?  Umm…okay!

Milk chocolate chip and peanut butter chips are mixed into cookie dough with broken pieces of pretzels and baked to salty and sweet perfection.  These cookies were easy to make and could be made with any variety of chips.  I took the whole batch to the office (since I can’t trust myself to have cookies in the house) and they were a big hit.  A couple people in my department kept coming over for one more, and one more, and two more.  And the next day after the cookies were all gone, they still wanted more.  So I guess I’ll have to make them again.  Oh, darn.

The ingredients:

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a larger bowl, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes).

On low speed, slowly add the beaten egg and vanilla extract.  Beat to combine, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no more streaks of flour.

Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and preztels.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Scoop out well rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and sprinkle with sea salt (optional).  Bake for 10 minutes.   Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing.

Additions:  None


  • Sea salt

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Sugar Cooking Blog

Pecan-Chocolate Chip Snack Cake

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean that you can’t have dessert.  I’ve always loved to bake so I generally always have baking basics on hand like flour, sugar, brown sugar, and baking soda.  Since I have a sweet tooth that sometimes sneaks up on me like a sneeze, I need to have the ability to whip up a bowl of cookie dough at any given time.  Having these ingredients on hand also helps out when I’m on a budget and trying to keep my grocery list to a minimum.  I’ve had this recipe for Pecan-Chocolate Chip Snack Cake tucked away for over ten years and keep passing it by.  The small, unassuming recipe was taped to the corner of a page with a large vibrant picture and recipe for banana cream pie which always drew my gaze, leaving this snack cake to disappear under my very eyes.  But after finally taking a good look at this recipe, I realized I had every single ingredient, chocolate chips and pecans included, in my cabinet.  And what’s even better – there isn’t a lick of butter or oil in sight keeping the calories on this dessert very, very low.

Beaten egg whites and brown sugar are mixed with dry ingredients, helping to create a smooth batter which is then mixed with chocolate chips and chopped pecans.  The result is more like a light (in texture, not flavor) chocolate chip bar cookie than a snack cake and I’m not sure if I made it wrong or if that is how it’s supposed to be.  Regardless, I think I’d take a bar cookie over a piece of cake any day so I’m not complaining.  And the fact that the flavor of a chocolate chip cookie can be replicated so near-perfectly without one bit of butter just makes this dessert even better.  Now I know that next time that cookie craving sneaks up on me, this will be the quiet, unassuming recipe I’ll remember to reach for.

The ingredients:

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Set aside.

Beat brown sugar, vanilla, and egg whites in a large bowl with a mixer at high speed for 1 minute.

Add flour mixture, beating just until combined.

Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.

Spread batter into an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake bars in a 350°F oven for 18 minutes or until golden and crusty on top.  Cool in pan 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Fresh Cherry Galette

After being in Connecticut two weekends ago, I was happy as a clam to wake up in my own bed this past Saturday morning with nothing to wake me up but my own internal clock.  I made coffee and spent some serious time cooking, cleaning and organizing my place.  After sitting down and getting sucked into movies like Singles and 28 Days, I found myself realizing at 6pm that I hadn’t stepped one foot outside.  I got myself together and went to Target, which made me aware of two startling things:

  1. It was nice enough to drive with the windows down for once
  2. I sometimes walk around this world as if my head was not attached to my body

For example, I went to Target with no other reason than to look at food processors.  I left Target with a cast-iron skillet, white pepper, 100% pure maple syrup, and soy sauce.  Really?  I didn’t even remember to look at the food processors.  This is what happens to me when I have nothing to do.  I lose my mind.  Shaking my head at my absentmindedness, I proceeded to have a glass of wine with a piece of this Fresh Cherry Galette for dinner.  This is what my Saturdays have come do.  Shopping for kitchen products and eating dessert for dinner.  My how times have changed.

Fresh cherries are tossed with sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, folded into a pie crust and baked until golden brown.  The cherries become soft and sweet, but not too sweet making this a lovely, light summertime dessert, or meal, whatever.  I ended up spending my evening watching sci-fi movies in the dark and decided sometimes you just need a day with nowhere to be, no obligations, to do whatever you want.  I love days like that.

The ingredients:

To pit the cherries, use a sturdy straw or the end of a chopstick to poke into the top of the cherry.  Twist and push gently until the seed pops out the bottom of the cherry.  Use gloves to prevent staining your fingers or use a storage bag which will work double duty to catch the seeds.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.  Unroll pie dough.  Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, stirring with a whisk.  Sprinkle cornstarch mixture over dough, leaving a 2-inch border.

Combine the cherries, remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, rind, and juice; toss well to coat.

Arrange cherry mixture over dough, leaving a 2-inch border.

Fold dough border over cherries, pressing gently to seal (dough will only partially cover cherries).

Brush edges of dough with milk.  Sprinkle sugar over cherries and edges of dough.

Bake in a 400°F oven for 25 minutes or until dough is browned and juices are bubbly.  Remove from oven; cool on pan at least 20 minutes before serving.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None


  • Granulated sugar for turbinado sugar
  • Bing cherries

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Blackberry-Peach Crisp

Have you had blackberries or peaches yet this summer?  I hope so!  Have you baked them with some brown sugar and oats?  Do that next!  For someone like me who has a very prominent sweet tooth, it’s important that I find desserts that satisfy those cravings without making me feel rotten afterward.  My mom used to make apple crisp all the time when I was younger and, as a result, I love a good fruit crisp – especially the “crisp” part.  I mean, flour, sugar, oatmeal, butter, how can you go wrong?  When I came across this recipe for Blackberry-Peach Crisp, I was a little worried that the topping wouldn’t be as sweet and decadent tasting as the good old-fashioned crisps of days past but this dessert did not disappoint.

Fresh blackberries and peaches are mixed with nothing more than fresh orange juice (I used clementine juice!) and vanilla, allowing their natural sweetness to shine through.  The fruit mixture is placed in individual ramekins and topped with a gooey coating of whole-wheat flour, oats, brown sugar, canola oil, and honey which melts together to form a crunchy topping.  The fruit gets perfectly soft and bubbly as it cooks and is delightfully mildly sweet.  This crumb mixture, which is spiced up with cinnamon and nutmeg, isn’t loaded with flour, thank goodness, but instead has a consistancy closer to granola which makes my toes curl.  And because this dessert is baked in ramekins, portion control is easy to maintain (only 159 calories a serving!).  I could easily make a batch of this crumb topping and eat it with nothing but a spoon and a smile.  And maybe some ice cream.  I’ll keep this recipe close by to use later in the fall with apples and pears.  My mouth waters just thinking about it.

If you like this, also check out Blueberry-Peach Cobbler.

The ingredients:

Combine berries, peaches, juice and vanilla in a bowl and mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine whole-wheat flour, oats, brown sugar, canola oil, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg with hands until moist and crumbly.

Spoon fruit mixture into four 4-oz ramekins coated with cooking spray.  Scatter crumb mixture evenly over the top of each.

Bake in a 375°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until fruit bubbles and top is golden brown.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Self Magazine

Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake

When I was coming back from a trip to Chicago a few weeks ago, I picked up Food Network Magazine in the airport and was very excited to find a little booklet tucked inside of 50 different kinds of milkshakes. Umm…whaaaaaa? Yes, please and thank you! So I settled in my airplane seat and read every single word of every single milkshake trying to decide which one I wanted to try first. Milkshakes seem so decadent that they only time I might allow myself the guilty pleasure is once in year in March when McDonald’s offers the Shamrock Shake. With ice cream being on sale now in grocery stores, a milkshake seemed like a perfect dessert to make when it’s oh-so hot outside. This Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake did not disappoint!

Marshmallows are toasted until golden brown (or jet black if you prefer) in the broiler and blended with vanilla ice cream and milk. Using light ice cream or frozen yogurt and reduced-fat or non-fat milk will help keep calories at bay so you won’t have to feel so guilty while you slurp this creamy dessert. I can’t really explain to you just how good this milkshake is. I just can’t. There are no words. All I can say is…try it. I can’t think of a better way to cool off from the summer heat than an ice cold milkshake like this one.

Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake (makes 1 large or 2 small milkshakes)

(From Food Network Magazine)

8 marshmallows

1 pint vanilla ice cream

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

Broil marshmallows on foil, turning, until browned. Blend 1 pint vanilla ice cream, milk, vanilla, pinch of salt and 6 toasted marshmallows. Top with remaining marshmallows.

The ingredients:

Broil 8 marshmallows until desired brownness on one side and carefully flip over to brown the other side. (I broiled mine 1 1/2 minutes on the first side and 45-50 seconds on the opposite side.)

Blend vanilla ice cream, milk, vanilla extract and 6 toasted marshmallows in a blender until smooth.

Top with remaining 2 toasted marshmallows.

Additions: None

Omissions: None


  • Light ice cream
  • Non-fat milk

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Food Network Magazine

Funfetti Cookies

I work for a company that likes to show employee appreciation by celebrating certain sports events so from time to time, the company will buy us lunch and we get to wear our favorite sports apparel.  Not long ago, we celebrated MLB opening day and shortly thereafter celebrated the NHL and NBA playoffs.  Because they happened about a week apart, the powers that be decided not to have a second lunch but to surprise us with a sundae bar with tons of ice cream and all kinds of fun toppings.  Since then, each time I go into the kitchen cabinet for a bowl or plate at lunch, I see a little plastic container holding the leftover rainbow sprinkles from that ice cream party.  I finally asked one day if I could take them home so I could make Funfetti Cookies which I would share with people at work.  The answer was “Um…cookies?!  YES!!”

The result are these colorful, chewy, perfect little cookies.  A basic sugar cookie dough with both vanilla and almond highlights is made fantastic with the addition of both rainbow sprinkles and nonpareils.  These cookies didn’t last long at the office and it was everything I could do to keep my paws off of them before I set them out for everyone to enjoy.  You don’t have to be a kid to like funfetti, ask my co-workers.  It looks like I’m going to have to make these again. 

And again. 

And again. 

Good thing there are more sprinkles left.


The ingredients: 

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add the vanilla, almond extract, and egg.  Beat until well combined.

In a separate bowl, sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. 

Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and continue on low speed until it’s all added and combined.  (The dough will be thick).

Mix in the sprinkles until just combined.

Roll the dough into equal sized balls and place on a cookie sheet.  

Bake for 12 minutes in a 375ºF oven.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  TastyKitchen.com

Sweet Raspberry Dip

I’ve been going a little crazy lately in the produce department of my grocery store because as the weather gets warmer, the fruits seem to be getting brighter and more colorful and they all call my name. I swear I don’t know which direction to go to first and end up spinning around in circles as I decide on peaches vs. nectarines, grapes vs. cherries, blueberries vs. blackberries, or apricots vs. plums. The problem with not being able to decide is that I end up buying a little of everything and I’m left with more fruit than I know what to do with. Generally, I whip up a big batch of mixed fruit salad but sometimes when friends come over I want to make something a little less ordinary.

Sweet Raspberry Dip is a creamy, light fruit dip perfect for dipping summer stone fruit or other seasonal gems. Fresh raspberries are mashed with sugar and blended with plain Greek yogurt to make a dip similar in taste to raspberry yogurt except fresher and brighter. Serve with slices of mango, peaches, apricots, or plums or use strawberries or cherries to dunk. Use thawed frozen raspberries in the fall or winter and serve with autumn fruit like apples or pears. If you’re craving something sweet but are trying to stay healthy, this is one fruity appetizer or dessert where you won’t feel guilty if you eat too much.

Speaking of SWEET, today is my sweet, sweet sister Katie’s birthday!  She’s 12 years younger than me and one of my best friends.  I wish I could’ve made some cookies or cake for her but she is in Texas so that means it would have all ended up in MY belly and on MY thighs!  Maybe next week when I see her in Chicago, we’ll make something sweet that we can share with you! 🙂

The ingredients:

In a small bowl, mash the raspberries with the sugar.

Stir in the yogurt.

Serve with your favorite fruit.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Like It


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