Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Who wants cookies for breakfast? I do, I do!

My husband loves this certain brand of cookie called “Healthy Bites” that look like little oatmeal cookies. He eats them crumbled up on just about everything; ice cream, yogurt, etc. At about $6 for 12 small cookies, they are also pretty expensive! These Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies are budget friendly and totally customizable. I made them with raisins and pecans, so they tasted like a mix of banana bread and oatmeal cookies.  They would also be great with chocolate chips, dried cranberries, walnuts… totally up to you! Since they are dairy-free, flour-free and no added sugar, they are 100% perfect to have with breakfast.

 

Ingredients (Makes 12 cookies):
2 very ripe bananas (lots of brown spots, like the ones used for banana bread)
1 cup old fashioned oats
¼ cup raisins
¼ chopped pecans
1 tsp. cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas with fork until smooth. Fold in oats, raisins, pecans and cinnamon until evenly distributed. Spoon into 12 equal sized cookies on a cookie sheet and bake 12 minutes. Let sit on cookie sheet for 5 minutes to set before transferring onto cooling rack. Enjoy!

Anginetti Cookies

anginetti-cookiesAnginetti Cookies (or Italian Lemon Drop Cookies), are a very popular holiday cookie in my native New York, but less known in other parts of the country. Like a lot of Italian cookies, they aren’t overly sweet, and they are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea. They are lemon-y, a little crumbly, and without a doubt, one of my favorites!

 

 

anginetti-cookies-2Ingredients (makes 24 cookies):
Cookies:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon (approx. 2 tsp.)
3 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder

anginetti-cookies-3Icing:
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Juice from ½ lemon (approx. 1 tbsp.)
3-4 tbsp. warm water

 

anginetti-cookies-4To make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest. Add eggs, one at a time and beat for one minute until fluffy. Stir in flour and baking soda and mix well to fully incorporate. Roll cookie dough into 1” rounds and place on baking sheet 2 inches apart. Bake approximately 18 minutes until starting to turn golden around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before icing.

To make the icing: Melt butter in a microwave soft bowl. Wisk in sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and 3 tbsp. warm water. Microwave icing for 10-15 seconds. Add additional tbsp. warm water only if needed to brush on to cookies. Top with sprinkles if desired and transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Scones

apple-cinnamon-sconesI made Blueberry Scones a few weeks ago that were so popular in my house, they got a cool weather inspired make over, just in time for autumn. Fresh blueberries were traded for apples and cinnamon, and it got me thinking about all the fun ingredients that could be folded into these breakfast treats. I added a little extra cream to the batter to adjust for apples being a little drier than blueberries, and kept an eye on the cooking time during the last few minutes, otherwise it was the same easy-breezy recipe, ready to enjoy with a cup of coffee in under 30 minutes. How fun would it be to make Apple Cinnamon Scones after a day of apple picking? Count me in!

apple-cinnamon-scones-2Ingredients (makes 4 scones):
1 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch salt
3 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
½ cup heavy cream, plus more for adding decorating sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 cup apple, peeled and diced
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. decorating or sanding sugar

apple-cinnamon-scones-3Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients with cold butter, and work mixture with fingers until the texture of wet sand. Whisk together egg, cream and vanilla and add to dry ingredients. Mixed diced apple with cinnamon, fold into dough and transfer dough to a floured surface. These were made with a sweet apple, so if using a more sour apple, like a Granny Smith, I might add a little sugar to the apples before folding into the dough. Work into 4 inch circle, cut into 4ths and transfer scones to a baking stone or cookie sheet lined with parchment, spaced about 1 inch apart. Brush top with remaining cream and sprinkle with decorating sugar. Bake 20-22 minutes until golden. Enjoy!

Blueberry Scones

Blueberry Scones 3Saturday mornings are pretty relaxed in my house. Waking up without an alarm, and taking a nice long walk before coming home for a casual breakfast and cappuccinos from our new espresso maker. I haven’t learned how to use the new espresso maker yet, so I even have a cute barista (darling husband) to make my cup of Joe. These Blueberry Scones are perfect for our weekend breakfast. They take less than 5 minutes to whisk together and taste best fresh out of the oven. Paired with a hot cup of coffee or tea, and you have a breakfast that’s better than any coffee shop and a small fraction of the price too.

Side note – I love decorating sugar. Those big delicious sugar crystals give any mildly sweet pastry a little extra oomph. Many years ago, I worked in a coffee shop. One of the bakers would set aside a blueberry or chocolate chip muffin for me, always with extra sugar on top! I guess somethings never change, because I added just-a-pinch of extra sugar to one of the scones for me.

Blueberry Scones 2Ingredients (makes 4 scones):
1 ¼ cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch salt
3 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg
⅓ cup heavy cream, plus 1 tbsp. for adding decorating sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
¾ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 tbsp. decorating or sanding sugar

Blueberry SconesPreheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients with cold butter, and work mixture with fingers until the texture of wet sand. Whisk together egg, cream and vanilla and add to dry ingredients. Fold in blueberries and transfer dough to a floured surface. Work into 4 inch circle, cut into 4ths and transfer scones to a baking stone or cookie sheet lined with parchment, spaced about 1 inch apart. Brush top with remaining cream and sprinkle with decorating sugar. Bake 20-22 minutes until golden; if using frozen blueberries they will take a few minutes more. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal BarsI was planning to bring some goodies over to a friend that was just coming home from the hospital with her new baby boy. These chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars are like a blend between a chewy cookie and a granola bar. They are a bit more substantial than a cookie or a brownie, and we all know that with a newborn, sometimes you only have a chance to grab a quick bite. These are perfect for one-handed, on-the-run snacking, and since they have a whole bunch of peanut butter, they are extra delicious.

 

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars 2Ingredients:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ cups peanut butter
1 tbsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp salt
4 cups old fashioned oats
1 ½ cups chocolate chips

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars 4Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 13×9 inch brownie pan with parchment paper. Using a paddle attachment, cream together softened butter, brown sugar and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add eggs to bowl, and continue mixing on medium speed for 30 seconds before adding the peanut butter, vanilla, baking soda and salt. Once combined, fold in oatmeal and chocolate chips, and spread into lined brownie pan. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and let cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing.  Cool completely and cut into 24 squares.
Enjoy!

Chocolate Swirl Banana Walnut Bread

Chocolate Swirl Banana Walnut BreadBanana bread is one of those foods that can be eaten any time of the day. Dessert… sure! Breakfast… why not?  This classic recipe gets a sweet upgrade with the addition of a rich, velvety, chocolate swirl.  A good banana bread recipe really lets the bananas shine; there is only ¼ cup of sugar added, so most of the sweetness comes from the over-ripe bananas.  The key to making banana bread is to use bananas that are more brown on the outside than not, they are much sweeter and more mash-able than less ripe bananas. I like walnuts in my banana bread, but that can be easily substituted for any kind of chopped nuts, raisins, chocolate or even peanut butter chips.

Chocolate Swirl Banana Walnut Bread 2Ingredients:
3 over-ripe bananas
3 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
¼ cup brown sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten
200 grams all-purpose flour (approximately 1½ cups)
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 4×8 loaf pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mash over-ripe bananas with a fork until smooth. Stir in melted butter, baking soda, salt, sugar, vanilla and beaten egg until well combined. Fold in flour and walnuts with a stiff spatula, until walnuts are evenly distributed.

Chocolate Swirl Banana Walnut Bread 3In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate chips for 20 second increments, stirring in between, until fully melted.  Add 1 cup of banana batter to the bowl of melted chocolate, mixing thoroughly. Add half of the plain batter to the prepared loaf pan, then half of the chocolate batter, running a fork through the pan to lightly swirl the two together. Repeat with the second half of plain and chocolate batter, and bake for 45-55 minutes at 350 degrees, until toothpick tested in center comes out clean. Transfer from pan to cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.
Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut TrufflesIf you are receiving a gift from me, there is a good chance it will be edible.   These truffles are chocolate-y, Nutella-y and perfect with a cup of coffee or a glass of red wine.  That’s my kind of treat!  I learned how to make these at a bakeshop in Austin called Make it Sweet.  They have all kinds of dessert classes, and they are so much fun.  Once you have the concept down, the ideas are really endless.  All you need for ganache is 2 parts of chocolate to 1 part cream.  Feel free to change it up!   Like peanut butter instead of Nutella?  Use that.  Think the chopped hazelnuts would be good mixed into the ganache?  I do too.  Pick your favorites and make a sweet surprise for a friend’s birthday or Valentine’s Day.

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles 2Ingredients (makes approximately 35 tablespoon sized truffles):
For the ganache:
1 lb. dark chocolate, small pieces or chopped
1 cup Nutella
1 cup cream

For coating:
¼ lb. hazelnuts, chopped into small pieces

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles 3Place chocolate and Nutella in heatproof bowl.  In a small saucepan, bring cream barely to a boil, then pour over chocolate and Nutella.  Let stand 2 minutes before mixing (this is important!), then mix to fully incorporate with a small spatula, making sure all chocolate pieces are melted and ganache is smooth.  Letting the mixture sit a few minutes will help melt the chocolate more evenly.  Put ganache in refrigerator for approximately 3 hours, until firm enough to roll.  Using your hands, roll truffles into rounds and dip in chopped hazelnuts to coat.

Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Homemade Fudge

Fudge 2I recently made a combo of these two recipes with my Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge, but I made them on a larger scale for a holiday party, and was getting tons of questions about the recipes individually. So, without further ado, here are the recipes for Dark Chocolate Fudge and Peanut Butter Fudge. These are the basic recipes, but make them with your favorites and add chopped nuts, sprinkles, marshmallows, coconut, or swirl them together for my favorite combo!

 

 

Making fudge traditionally can be a bit of a daunting task, involving precise temperatures, candy thermometers, and a bit of culinary finesse. These recipes are only a few ingredients and can be prepped in less than 5 minutes (plus time to set). It’s no wonder why these easy recipes are my go-to for quick and easy desserts and holiday gifts!

Dark Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients:
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
14 oz. can condensed milk
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:
12 oz. white chocolate chips
14 oz. can condensed milk
⅔ cup peanut butter
Pinch sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Fudge 1For both recipes, place ingredients except for vanilla in microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 20 second increments, until chips are melted and no lumps remain, stirring in between each heating. Stir in vanilla and spread into cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Add toppings and let set in refrigerator, about one hour for dark chocolate fudge, a bit longer for fudge made with white chocolate. Once set, cut into squares and store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Bark 4There are fewer treats that taste more like Christmas than peppermint bark! Dark chocolate is layered with peppermint-spiked white chocolate and topped with crunchy candy canes. The best holiday gifts are made of chocolate and this is no exception. The best part – it’s so easy! The chocolate can be melted using a double boiler on the stove top, but I like to pop it right in the microwave. The key to melting chocolate in the microwave is to use medium power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between to make sure it doesn’t get overheated.

 

Peppermint Bark 3This recipe takes all of 10 minutes (plus time for the chocolate to set) and is a majorly impressive holiday dessert. Williams-Sonoma sells this stuff for $28.95/lb., but you don’t have to tell anyone you didn’t spend that much!

Ingredients:
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. canola oil
12 oz. good white chocolate
1 tsp. peppermint extract
4 candy canes, crushed

Peppermint Bark 1Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a microwave safe bowl, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and canola oil for 30 second intervals until smooth. Using a spatula, spread melted chocolate in an even layer on lined cookie sheet. Place in refrigerator for 5 minutes to partially set while prepping the white chocolate. Melt white chocolate in microwave, also stirring every 30 seconds. When smooth, stir in peppermint extract and pour in an even layer, carefully smoothing white chocolate to edges of dark layer. Top with crushed candy cane pieces and let set in refrigerator until completely hardened, approximately 1-2 hours.

Peppermint Bark 5Break into pieces and enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter FudgeIs there a better combination than chocolate and peanut butter? I don’t think so. One of my favorite treats to make during the holidays is fudge. This recipe is extremely easy, takes less than 5 minutes to prepare, but tastes like you’ve been slaving away for hours. Your friends and family will be impressed!

Ingredients:
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk, divided equally
6 oz. dark chocolate chips
6 oz. white chocolate chips
⅓ cup peanut butter
Pinch salt
1 tsp. vanilla (divided ½ tsp. in each)

In microwave safe bowls, put half condensed milk and dark chocolate in one bowl and the other half condensed milk, white chocolate and peanut butter in a second bowl. Put a pinch of salt in each bowl. Microwave for 20 second increments, until chips are melted and no lumps remain, stirring each time. Stir 1/2 tsp. vanilla in each bowl and spread into 9×9 container lined with parchment paper, using a toothpick to make swirls in top.  Let set in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then cut into pieces and store at room temperature.

It doesn’t get any easier than that. This recipe can easily be changed to make all chocolate or all peanut butter fudge. Play around with different ingredients like walnuts, pecans, marshmallows, sprinkles… The options are endless!

Enjoy!