Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
I don't know about you but I've noticed most peanut butter cookies are a little crisp, maybe a little crumbly. They're not all as soft and chewy as you'd like. That's where this recipe comes in. It's got a pleasant peanut butter flavor (not crazy peanut buttery, but definitely present) and they're so soft sometimes they just spontaneously break in half. It's a beautiful sacrifice in the name of chewy cookies.
Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
I made these for Michael's cousin, who needed them for a reception after a memorial service for her father-in-law. Food can be such a comfort item, and it was my pleasure to attempt to share this small bit of comfort to them. These are definitely the sort of cookie that is sure to please the masses and also make you feel happy and warm inside. Really, when has a peanut butter cookie* never not made you feel better?

Exactly.

*(Unless you have a nut allergy. In that case...condolences. Chocolate chip cookies give lots of comfort too. Don't worry!)
Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
Personally, I prefer a cookie with a stronger peanut butter flavor. But I know other people who don't like things to have that strong of flavors (particularly my cousin Chelsea, when she explained why she doesn't love Jeni's salty caramel ice cream...personally I think she's insane but ya know, whatevs.)

But I did love how soft and chewy these were, they stayed that way leftover and it was so nice. If I drsank milk, I think having a plate of these with a glass of milk would be just the ticket!

Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies


Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes approx. 2 dozen cookies.
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter, room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 tsps. vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 tsps. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (kosher or table salt)
  • Optional-sea salt, for sprinkling
Preparation:
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. 
  • Beat in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add in sugars and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed, for about 2 minutes. 
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time. 
  • Stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until almost combined and then use an electric mixer to beat on low speed until just combined. Be sure not to over mix. Cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour, or up to 2 days. If you refrigerate the cookie dough for more than an hour, you may need to let it thaw a little before scooping.
  • When it's time to bake, preheat the oven to 350F degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Using a medium cookie scoop, or about 2 tbsp. of dough, scoop mounds of dough onto the cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between each. Use a fork to make crosshatch marks on top of each cookie, if desired.
  • Bake 11-13 minutes, until the centers are set and the edges are starting to turn golden. Cool on sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  • Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
  • To freeze the cookie dough: prepare as directed but-instead of chilling the dough, shape the cookie dough into balls, then place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Freeze for about an hour, or until solid, then transfer into a freezer safe zip-top bag, squeeze out any excess air, and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake the frozen dough: follow regular baking directions, but add a few extra minutes to the baking time for the frozen cookie dough.
Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
Salt on top of cookies. It's a must, people. If you're not already doing it, I don't know what you're doing with your life. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Something Saturdays (2/18/17)

Hello my friends! How did your Valentine's go?

Michael and I had a nice dinner Saturday night and generally just had fun together, as per usual :). Sunday I just worked and then Michael and I worked on school stuff for him. Then Monday I also worked but when I came home I made chocolate covered strawberries as a surprise for Michael, and he came home and surprised me with roses-d'awwww! Tuesday Michael is always gone all day at school so I ended up spending the day in Chagrin Falls with my friend Jenna-we ate yummy food (Jeni's! FlipSide!) and did some fun walking around and shopping! Wednesday I just ran some errands and got stuff done. But oh Friday was the highlight of the week!! After work, I met up with Michael's dad, stepmom, aunts and uncles, and his cousins Jessica and AJ (and Jessica's boyfriend Joe) at a restaurant near where we live. While we were waiting to order, at one point Jessica and Joe disappeared, then when they returned they had champagne and Jessica was wearing AN ENGAGEMENT RING!!! EEEE!!! So then we had lots and lots of fun celebrating, and took the party to Jessica's parents house after dinner. It was so nice, I was thrilled we were there for it!

This weekend looks to be boring, just work and helping Michael with school stuff. I hope yours is more fun!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Creamy Skillet Macaroni & Cheese {Max Brenner's Copycat}

Creamy Skillet Macaroni & Cheese {Max Brenner's Copycat}
First of all...saying this recipe is a copycat is a smidge misleading. It's not actually a copycat-it's the actual recipe via Max Brenner's website. So it's like super legit. Whenever I would go to Max Brenner's restaurant in NYC, my favorite savory item was their skillet macaroni and cheese. It's creamy and flavorful with a gorgeous, slightly crisp, crust, and there are little bites of tomatoes studded throughout. It's crazy good.
Creamy Skillet Macaroni & Cheese {Max Brenner's Copycat}
I'm having flashbacks to many many wonderful times in NYC back at Max Brenner's restaurant--with the macaroni and cheese today, and that hot chocolate I shared last week (which is the closest hot chocolate I've ever had to their Italian Thick Hot Chocolate, which is my mostest favoritest), my 2 favorite things to order there! It's like I never left. :P
Creamy Skillet Macaroni & Cheese {Max Brenner's Copycat}
The mac and cheese is super creamy and flavorful and there's yummy little bits of tomato in there and the most perfect cheesy crumby-y crust. It's just....the best macaroni and cheese in the world, guys. I'm for serious. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Something Saturdays (2/11/17)

It's Valentine's Day weekend! Are you doing anything fun?? Michael and I are going to dinner at my cousin's restaurant, Savor (they have a free chocolate fountain today!) after I'm done with work so I'm excited!

In case you were wondering, last weekend went pretty great for me! Saturday night Michael and I did a little shopping and then had dinner at a new-ish place called Twenty 20 Taphouse. Michael found his new favorite beer (a chocolate stout), had a delish steak & shrimp dinner, we shared a yummy potato app, and I had a great margherita flatbread. And we loved our waiter. It was super fun. Sunday was the styled shoot with Perfectly Planned and it turned out BEAUTIFULLY!!!! The rest of the week I sort of just fought with my allergies (I'm getting allergy tested on Monday and can't take one of my meds for a week beforehand...apparently I really need that med), worked, got stuff done, and relaxed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Creamy & Rich Gourmet Hot Chocolate

Creamy & Rich Gourmet Hot Chocolate
THIS IS OFFICIALLY MY CURRENT FAVORITE HOT CHOCOLATE RECIPE.

Sound the alarms, this is the best hot chocolate I've had since Max Brenner's Italian Thick Hot Chocolate. Oh mannnn it is GOOD. But like...super decadent and rich and creamy. If that's not your bag-then this isn't for you. That's ok, Michael's just like you, go ahead and make your hot chocolate with a lower ratio of chocolate or even just cocoa powder. That's cool. We can disagree. BUT if you're like me (*cough*smart*cough*) then you're gonna LUUUURVE this.
Creamy & Rich Gourmet Hot Chocolate
Now...this hot chocolate is perfectly perfect on its own BUT it is next level AMAZINGNESS when you add a dollop of homemade whipped cream on top. It makes it creamier and dreamier and even more indulgent. We're not thinking about our waistlines while we drink this. We're just thinking about how warm and happy it makes us feel and how wonderful it is that we live in a world where hot chocolate this fantastic exists.
Creamy & Rich Gourmet Hot Chocolate
LOOK AT THAT WHIPPED CREAM MELTING INTO THE THICK AND CREAMY CHOCOLATEY CHOCOLATEY GOODNESS. I feel like this is the sort of hot chocolate you'd sip at a cafe on the streets of Italy or Paris. You know, where I belong. A beautiful Mediterranean European city with flavorful food. *sigh* If only I spoke Italian, I would have moved there already.
Creamy & Rich Gourmet Hot Chocolate
I worked my family and friends into a tizzy when I posted the above photo on my instagram and facebook. I ended up making this again for my cousin when she visited last week because she gave me the puppy eyes and asked oh so sweetly. Probably unnecessary...I was going to take any excuse to make this luscious drink again. Hey, do you wanna come over and have hot chocolate???

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Something Saturdays (2/4/17)

This post from Savory Simple really helped articulate some of what I've been feeling: "Hopefully, when the history books are written, this chapter about our country will be brief and it will have a happy ending."

Anyway. In other news. Last weekend's working stuff went pretty well but I was tiiiired after the whole thing. Monday I sort of just cooked and relaxed a bit. Tuesday I had a big Perfectly Planned day-we have a styled shoot tomorrow so we met with the linen company, rental company, and dress shop. We also grabbed dinner and then had a networking event with other creatives. It was all super fun! Wednesday my cousin Brianna came over and we made some hot chocolate and hung out. Then I just worked Thursday and Friday and I work today. Blech. And tonight Michael and I are going to work on some of his school stuff.

If you're a fan of Westworld and/or City Slickers you're gonna die over this Funny Or Die video.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Whipped Goat Cheese Dip with Caramelized Onions

Whipped Goat Cheese Dip with Caramelized Onions
Michael and I threw a housewarming party in December, and in addition to some sweets I decided to make a dip for veggies and chips. And I wanted it to be easy to make (I had a lot going on) and super tasty. This recipe ABSOLUTELY fit the bill!
Whipped Goat Cheese Dip with Caramelized Onions
Everyone at the party looooved it and were like "What's in it?? How'd you make it?!" Answer: goat cheese, caramelized onions, and heavy cream. Whipped together with a hand mixer. THE END. Like....it doesn't get much easier. The caramelized onions are the source of all the deeeelicious flavor because caramelized onions are friggin miraculous. The cream is just to thin out the goat cheese so it's not TOO thick, although I'm sort of curious what would happen if you just used milk?
Whipped Goat Cheese Dip with Caramelized Onions
Anyway, the other beautiful thing about making this dip when entertaining is that it tastes even better the day after you make it. So I recommend making it the day before your event. Then the flavors all get to chill out and mingle together longer. Maximum deliciousness. I really really liked this one, def. one of my favorite dips I've ever made. I think you'll all agree!
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