Oreo Cheesecake Bars

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SUMMER IS HERE!!!!!!!!! (Insert High School Musical). It’s here, and I’m so excited! It hasn’t really hit me yet, though. Has it really been two years? Am I really halfway done? Am I really graduating soon?!?!

I’m still in shock, but I still remain thankful. Thankful for this past year because God has been faithful to me (as always!). I am thankful for my apartment, because a) where would I live and b) they are some of the craziest girls I’ve ever met who are always there to encourage me. I am thankful for J and my family, because who would I be without them, and they’re always the light at the end of a crazy week. I am thankful for brothers and sisters in Christ both at church and AACF because of our brotha and sista-hood, holla~! For reals though, they have been extremely encouraging this past year, caring for me, taking me home, asking me how I’m doing, loving me, playing with me, feeding me, and so on. I am thankful for my home church, for solid teaching and for helping me grow in my walk with Christ. I am thankful for work, and it’s always a blessing to be able to have a job and to have such wonderful coworkers and bosses. I am thankful for old hallmates and high school friends who are always a blast to be around–they’re great. I am thankful for school because it means I have an education. At the end of the day, life is good. I guess the underlying theme is thankfulness, which is something I’ve been trying to remind myself of recently. Because at the end of the day, you have Christ, you have your salvation, and that is always something to be thankful for.

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My friend Aaron (aka musicgoon) recently covered a few hymns with the high school students at church. One of the songs is My Heart is Filled With Thankfulness, and it speaks so much truth about how we always have something to be thankful for because of Christ. I think this part of the song stands out the most:

For every day I have on earth
Is given by the King
So I will give my life my all
To love and follow Him

This is what I should strive for–to live and serve the one and only God. The rest of the lyrics are good too =). You can watch the videos here and download the album for free (called All To Jesus To Receive) here.

It’s funny that I mention Aaron, because the reason why I baked these Oreo cheesecake bars was to test out a recipe for Aaron’s wedding. I have to make 300 bars for the wedding, and I figured it’d probably be a good idea to at least test it out before the big day. This cheesecake is loaded with Oreos–it uses a whole package for 16 bars. Normally I don’t care for the crust in cheesecakes, but I really liked the thick Oreo crust in this one. The cheesecake is creamy, bursting with Oreo chunks, and the nice thing is that it’s not too sweet either. It’s good enough to make for a wedding, if that tells you anything =)!

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Oreo Cheesecake Bars
Makes 16 bars
From Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
23 Oreo cookies
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Line an 8×8 square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, allowing it to hang over two of the sides.

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2. For the Crust: Place the Oreo cookies in a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs. Drizzle the melted butter over the top and pulse until the butter is evenly distributed and the crumbs are moist. They need to be moist to form a firm crust. Pour the crumbs into lined pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes; leave the oven on when done.

3. For the Cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese until smooth; about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar; beat until incorporated. Slowly add the eggs, and beat well after each addition. Mix until it’s completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl; add the sour cream and vanilla. Beat until incorporated.

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4. Fold in the chopped Oreos, and pour the batter over the prepared crust. Bake until the edges are set but the middle still jiggles slightly, about 40 to 50 minutes.

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5. Let the pan cool to room temperature, then cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least three hours before serving. To serve, lift the cheesecake out of the pan using the parchment or foil handles. Slice into bars and serve. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

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Toasted S’more Cookie Bars

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I have news!!

I’ll be going on a short term missions trip to Arizona this summer for a week! It’ll be through a ministry called P2 Missions from the North American Mission Board. Our church will be partnering with a church plant there and hosting a basketball and bible lessons camp to outreach to the kids in the community.

I’ve been to P2 Missions (formerly called PowerPlant) twice as a high schooler, but this time I’ll be going as a counselor! It’s a little weird, partially because I feel like a baby compared to all the other counselors (I’m the youngest!), but I’m pretty excited to see what God has in store for me and the team. It’ll be fun getting to know the other students on the trip, and it’ll definitely be a new experience for me! It’s been two years since I’ve been at PowerPlant, and both trips I’ve gone to have been a huge blessing and learning experience. God is good!

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Like my pastor mentioned to us (Hi Mat!), on missions trip we can get so consumed with the “doing” that we forget another crucial aspect of the trip: prayer. We’re so busy preparing ourselves with things we have to do that we forget to pray. We need to pray not only because we are called to, but also because by praying, we are entrusting the fruits of the missions trip to God, understanding that under all circumstances, God is in control and is sovereign. So with that said, please pray for us!

  • For God’s name to be glorified above all (Ephesians 3:21)
  • For our team to be able to boldly and clearly articulate the Gospel (Colossians 4:3-4)
  • For our team to have strength and team unity as we serve and fellowship
  • For softened hearts and opportunities to share the Gospel
  • For our team to have willing and faithful hearts to serve

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The reason why I mention this is because I wanted to make something for the students at our Friday night meetings. I wanted something that could make enough for a group of 25, and something that wouldn’t take up too many resources. My apartment has a bunch of graham crackers and marshmallows leftover from a beach trip, so I typed in smores bar into foodgawker and came across these. And I am SOOO glad I did.

My favorite part of a s’more is the toasty marshmallow. This cookie bar has toasted marshmallows baked right into it, and it’s soo good. It comes together rather quickly, and it’s packed with chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers, and more marshmallows. The cookie dough base was soft and chewy, and the toasted marshmallows in the dough were the cherry on top. Genius, I say! This is definitely a keeper. I really don’t repeat recipes often, but this one will definitely be repeated in the future. Chocolate chip cookies and s’mores in a bar–what’s not to like?!

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Toasted S’more Cookie Bars
Makes one 9×13 pan
From Carla’s Confections

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
15 large marshmallows, divided
7 graham cracker rectangles, divided
12 oz chocolate chunks (I used chips), reserve 1/4 cup for melting
1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper (for toasting the marshmallows), and line a 9×13 cookie/jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.

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Place 10 of the 15 marshmallows on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the marshmallows start to puff up and get golden brown. I really like marshmallows so I saved about 12 for the dough and one or two for myself =). Be careful when the marshmallows are in the oven–they might burn on the bottom.

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Meanwhile, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. In another bowl, combine the flour and baking soda; slowly add to the butter mixture. Mix to combine.

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In a ziploc bag, break the graham crackers into small chunks (not crumbs). When the marshmallows are toasted, scrape them into the dough and mix to combine (I found it easier to peel off when the marshmallows cooled for a minute or so). Add the chocolate chips, minus the 1/4 cup reserved, and the graham crackers.

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Press the dough into the sprayed foil pan, and press down to evenly spread out in the pan. I found it easier to press the dough into the pan with wet fingers. Sprinkle the remaining graham cracker pieces (I forgot this until toward the end). Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Add the remaining marshmallows on top of the batter, and bake for another 5-10 minutes until golden brown and the marshmallows toasted. Let cool on counter.

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Meanwhile, melt the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate with the oil in 30 second intervals (stirring after each interval) until melted. Drizzle over the top of the cookie bars. Let is set, then cut into bars and enjoy!

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Before!

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After! Just kidding. Not done until the chocolate’s on top.

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There ya go. Done!

Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

P.S. I’ve been wondering why my pictures have been so grainy recently. Turns out shooting with a high ISO = grainy pictures. Whoops! I’m learning as I go, I promise! =)

Red Velvet Cupcakes (Sprinkles Copycat)

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Last week my friends and I had a chance to go to the Color Run! It’s “the happiest 5k,” LITERALLY! It was so much fun. It’s basically a 5k run (more like walk) with different checkpoints that have volunteers ready to get you with dyed cornstarch. You also get these different colored packets of dyed cornstarch that you save for the finish line. At the finish line, there’s a DJ who does a “color blast” and everyone throws up the powder in these packets. It’s crazy to see rainbows of cornstarch in the air, but it’s even cooler to see people get covered with color. The traffic was terrible, though–it took us an hour and a half to get out of the parking lot! But it’s okay, it was definitely an enjoyable day with good company, and I’m glad I got to go. If you’re interested, there are Color Runs all over the place, so look to see when it’ll be in a city near you. It’s a lot of fun, I promise!! =)

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Color Run 2013: We’re Ready!!!IMG_2695

Color Run 2013: Bright Colors for a happy finish!!!

Speaking of color…red velvet cupcakes!!!!!

The first time I made red velvet cupcakes was for J’s birthday two years ago. It was from a boxed cake mix, and the cupcakes actually came out nicely. But…the frosting was terrible! At the time, I didn’t know there was a difference between margarine and butter except for the fact that margarine was definitely cheaper. The frosting was runny, and I tried adding more sugar, but it never stiffened up. It was a disaster! I had to toss the whole thing out =(.

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The red velvets this time around were beautiful, and the frosting was creamy and 100% spreadable! I actually bookmarked this recipe on Cooking Classy (you should definitely check it out; everything I’ve made from that blog has been delicious, like my Angel Food Cupcakes!) a while ago, and I finally got around to it last Friday (Friday are my baking days, remember?). Anyways, these cupcakes are supposed to be a Sprinkles copycat, but considering how I’ve never had a Sprinkles red velvet cupcake, I can’t really say for sure. But my friend who’s had both says it comes pretty close (shoutout to beat the rice!)! Whether or not it’s a copycat, it’s delicious, and the cream cheese frosting tops it off perfectly.

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But here’s the thing…I don’t really understand the whole deal with red velvet cupcakes. They’re loaded with food coloring, and they barely have any chocolate flavor…but they look so cool! There’s just something special about a red velvet cupcake; it makes me feel kinda fancy =). Is that weird? Hehe.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (Sprinkles Copycat)
Makes 15-18 cupcakes
From Cooking Classy

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, firm but not cold
1 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, firm but not cold
6 oz cream cheese, cold
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In another large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy for about 3-4 minutes. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Add the red food coloring and vanilla extract, and mix to combine. Be careful not to splash on yourself. Trust me, the food coloring stains!

In another small bowl, combine the milk and vinegar. Add the milk mixture and the flour mixture to the cupcake mixture (the one with food coloring), alternating in two separate batches and mixing until combined after each addition.

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Divide the batter evenly among paper lined muffin cups, and fill each cup about 2/3 full. Bake in a preheated oven for 18-21 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, cream together the butter and cream cheese until pale and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract, and add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Spread onto cooled red velvet cupcakes. I tried frosting them the same way Sprinkles does…I think Sprinkles looks much better. I tried! A for effort?

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Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

Chocolate Banana Muffins

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As you all probably know, Fridays are my baking days. Baking days are easy when you have a kitchen stocked with butter, sugar, flour, baking pans, etc…but when you’re missing some of the ingredients, your baking options DROP. That’s what happened to me. We only had two sticks of butter, so that meant no cupcakes+frosting. It made room for cookies….but we ran out of granulated sugar. We were low on bread flour, so that meant no pretzels or rolls and whatnot. And yes, the market is literally a 5-10 minute walk, but I really wasn’t in the mood to go out. And when that happens…I scrounge.

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I’m so glad I stumbled across this recipe. The only oils needed were 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, which we had. BUT THE BEST PART IS THIS: the only sweeteners are honey and bananas (and a couple of chocolate chips, but you can just omit those if you really wanted to). Just mash up those overripe bananas sitting on your counter that you know no one will eat and will eventually end up in the trash can and throw them right into the batter along with some honey–those are your sweeteners. No powdered sugar, granulated sugar, brown sugar, nada. No added sugars, and you still get a super moist and delicious muffin. I guess you can say this is probably the healthiest thing I’ve made so far! :)

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Chocolate Banana Muffins
Makes 12 cupcakes
From Tutti Dolci

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
6 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips, divided
(I used regular chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with baking cups.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking power, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the egg, honey, oil, vanilla, banana, and buttermilk (you can use substitute buttermilk with milk and vinegar. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup, then add enough milk to bring it to one cup. Mix, then let stand, and use however much the recipe calls for). Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in 1/4 cup chocolate chips.

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Fill each cup 3/4 full of batter; sprinkle some chocolate chips over the tops of the muffins (I used 4 semi sweet chips per muffin top).

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Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly, then enjoy! The muffins will keep in an airtight container for up to two days, or store in the fridge. I like them better when they’re cold :)

Before:

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After!!

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I spent the longest time in the beginning of this post figuring out how to word stinginess and how it’s often just correlated with money. And it’s true–I am stingy with my money. Particularly with baking, sometimes I don’t like going out to buy another ingredient just because I don’t like spending money. But I think stinginess doesn’t just only apply to money, but also to time, efforts, patience, love, discipline, and ultimately pursuit for Christ likeness and growth in Christ. I always have some excuse ready as to why I don’t do these things…I am such a sinner. And it’s crazy to think about why God would send his son Jesus to die for someone like me. To save my sins? When I lack prayer, quiet time with God, joy, love, and patience? When I don’t trust in the Almighty Creator and fail to recognize His sovereignty? That’s nuts. God loves me, and His unconditional love is all I need. So this “stinginess” factor that I have, it’s gotta go. It’s selfish and definitely not God-honoring. It’s a struggle, but with God by my side, I think I’ll be okay. :)

Until next time (and hopefully soon because midterms are OVER! Err…at least next next week…),

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

Strawberry Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

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Fridays are my baking days. I have one class from 1-2 and no work, so I do what I do best…bake! And because I’m still in the apartment, I have access to Sam’s DSLR, meaning more pictures=more blogging. And I’m going to reiterate this until I get it right–I’m still learning how to edit and take pictures, so bear with me! My photos are inconsistent, but I would still like to share recipes and amateur photos with you readers! Thanks for the support! :)

I had 5 ounces of cream cheese leftover from the cinnamon rolls I made last Monday, so I looked through my bookmarks to find something that would use up the rest of the brick. I bookmarked this recipe a while ago, and I finally got around to trying it! Yes, it was yummy (it was a lot better after it sat in the fridge!!), but the process was a pain. The cheesecake filling was so difficult to stuff inside the cookies, and even after I chilled the dough, it was still hard to work with. In the end, I got the work done, I made tummies happy, and that’s what really matters. :)

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The outside had a nice chocolate flavor that paired well with the cheesecake. The fruit flavor didn’t come out well in the cheesecake, but you could taste the cheesecake flavor. Maybe I’ll add more jam next time. This recipe takes time, and it’s one of those where refrigerating it would make a better cookie. If you’re up for the challenge, I’d say go for it! Then use the extra cream cheese to make the cinnamon rolls! How efficient :)

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Strawberry Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 8 large cookies
Adapted from Buns in My Oven

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
extra sugar for rolling

For the Filling:
5 ounces cream cheese
1/4 powdered sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons strawberry jam

Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Set aside.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Chill the dough for at least 15 minutes so it’ll be easier to work with later.

For the cheesecake filling, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and jam.

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To assemble the cookies, flatten the dough into a disc between your hands. Place a teaspoonful of the filling into the center of the disc, then close the disc around the filling and roll into a ball. Alternatively, what I found easier was flattening the dough into a disc, placing a teaspoonful of the filling in the center, placing another disc on top, closing up the sides, and then rolling it into a ball. Place the dough balls into the fridge for a few minutes to make it easier to roll in the sugar later. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Roll the dough balls in the sugar, and place them onto a lined baking sheets, spacing them an inch apart. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. When they are finished, cool them on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then in the fridge for another 30 minutes. Enjoy! And trust me, they taste better after they stay in the fridge.

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Nice, fat cookies. And note to self, taking photos when the sun is setting = bad lighting. It doesn’t help when you’re in a rush either. Haha.

Now…time to catch up on some unfinished reading for my classes. No baking for me tonight :(. But maybe tomorrow ;)

Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and happy reading, eating, and baking!

Copycat DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

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FIRST OFF, to get this out of the way…I am no good with DSLR cameras. I want to invest in one so I can take better pictures of…everything, I suppose! So for now, I’ll have to stick to using Sam’s. But anyway, I can’t tell when pictures are blurry until they’re actually uploaded onto my computer in a larger size, and I am no good at getting good angles and lighting. So when it comes to foodotogaphy (is that it?), I have a lot to learn! Secondly, I don’t know how to use photoshop (yet!!), so for now, I’m using iPhoto and playing with the settings. But at least I’m trying, right?! I’m learning, I am learninggggggggg.

Now that that’s over with, COOKIES! Apparently, they’re “copycat DoubleTree chocolate chip cookies,” but I’ve never been to Double Tree and I’ve never had their cookies, so I can’t really tell you whether or not this tastes like the real thing (note: Casey Young just ate one and he said it’s close to the real deal. Trust him! I guess heehee). What I can tell you is that this is probably one of the best cookies I’ve ever had. Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and chocolate chips in every bite (no nuts, please!). It has an interesting texture on the outside because it uses ground up oats. I’ve never done it before, but I like it! The recipe also adds two other ingredients that you typically don’t find in chocolate chip cookie recipes–lemon juice and cinnamon. Apparently the lemon juice offsets the sweetness in the cookie. Sam tasted the cinnamon in the first bite, but I think she’s biased because she’s not a fan of cinnamon. Boo. So I guess the final verdict is, a) if you’ve been to DoubleTree Hotel, try this recipe so you can tell me whether or not it’s like the real thing, or b) if you haven’t been to DoubleTree Hotel, just try this recipe because it’s a keeper. IN CONCLUSION (my teachers always said to never end my essays with that. harhar), try this recipe. Thanks ;)

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(aka “Copycat DoubleTree Cookies”)
Makes about 25 large cookies
From Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 eggs
10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 12 because I omitted the nuts)
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the oats in a food processor, and grind until fine.

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Mix in the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. I mixed it in the food processor because I was too lazy to get another bowl out.

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Beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and beat until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well between each addition.

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Mix in the chocolate chips..and lots of it!

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Drop the cookies onto rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. If you want, you can refrigerate the dough for a couple hours for thicker cookies (I was in a rush so I didn’t get the chance to do so).

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Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack, and enjoy!

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For a special treat…

One cookie down,

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Plus a scoop of ice cream,

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And voila!

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Chocolate chip ice cream cookie sandwiches!

Or you can eat it on its own. Your choice!

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Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and happy reading, eating, and baking!

Chocolate Swirl Bread

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I am done with midterms! Hip, hip, hooray!!! And as usual, to celebrate, I’ll blog. Today we have a chocolate swirl bread (insert “ooooohs” and “ahhhs”)–and it is delicious. I followed the recipe exactly and the dough came out to be a little saltier than I would have liked it, so I would probably reduce it to 1 teaspoon next time. I also used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, and the bread was extremely moist and had the right amount of chocolate. Definitely perfect to go with your cup of coffee in the morning!!

Chocolate Swirl Bread
Makes one loaf
Adapted from Recipe Interrupted

Ingredients:

3 cups bread flour, plus a little more for kneading and rolling
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add the warm water and melted butter; mix until incorporated. If ingredients do not form a ball, add in a few more tablespoons of water. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Add in a little flour if the dough is too loose or wet. Place the dough in a buttered mixing bowl, rolling the dough around in it briefly to coat the dough lightly with butter. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise for 2 hours in a warm spot, until about doubled in size.

Mean while, make the chocolate ganache filling. Place the chocolate in a small mixing bowl. Heat the cream just to boiling and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until chocolate is completely melted. Whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth, then whisk in the egg yolk. Allow the ganache to set in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before using.

Once the dough has risen, roll if out to about 13″ x 18″ on a lightly floured surface. Spread the ganache on the dough; leave about a 1/2-inch border. Roll the dough into a log beginning with the long edge. Cut the dough in the middle. Stretch out dough slightly and twist the two lengths of dough together. Place the twisted dough into the loaf pan, tucking the end down towards the bottom of the pan.Brush the exposed surface of the dough with egg white. Bake for 50 minutes (mine was done earlier), or until bread is golden brown. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

P.S. If you head over Recipe Interrupted’s post, there are step by step pictures!
(Photo Credit for my post: Samantha Ho)

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Mmmm. I love bread. As you continue to read my blog, you’ll find that 1) I’m a picky eater, and 2) I love bread. I’m a total carb girl. My favorite part in a dumpling is the outer dough-y skin. My favorite part in a pizza is the crust (I actually sometimes eat everything separately. Toppings, then some of the cheese, then the bread). I love carbs, and that’ll probably all come back to bite me in the butt later on. But for now…bread4life. Actually, wait. Using the words bread and life in the same sentence reminds me of this:

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'” – John 6:35 (ESV)

Desiring God says this: “Jesus is the bread that endures to eternal life. Coming to Jesus and trusting him is what it means to eat the true bread of heaven.” Eating the true bread of heaven means putting our faith in Jesus Christ and believing in the gospel. The gospel is the greatest act of love and the greatest gift one can receive. Jesus sent His son to die on the cross for our inadequacies, our sinfulness. Because of Christ’s work on the cross, we have a new life in Jesus and we will receive eternal life in heaven. It’s mindblowing–who would send his one and ONLY son to die for ME, a sinner unworthy of mercy and grace? Who would love me unconditionally despite all my sinful actions? Who would DIE on the cross to save MY sins, something that he didn’t even do? The answer to all of them: Jesus Christ. He is our Savior, our beloved. He is the bread of life.

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy Reading, Eating, and Baking!

Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate and White Chocolate Chip cookies. What a mouthful…OF DELICIOUSNESS! Hehe.

But seriously–these cookies are da bomb. I added a little almond extract in addition to the vanilla extract…and WOW! The almond really compliments all the flavors in the cookies. These cookies have so many things going on–oatmeal, cranberries, white chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolate. It’s so chunky, but I love it because you get a little bit of something in every bite. As long as there aren’t any nuts (oh, I don’t like nuts by the way. The only whole nuts I’ll eat are peanuts; I’ll eat flavors of other nuts or nuts ground up in macarons or something, but if it’s a whole cashew or pecan or almond etc.–I’ll pass.) in the cookies, I’ll be okay (insert thumbs up emoji here).

This is a short post (partially because I have a loooongggg to-do list this week), I’ll add some more recipes soon. As usual, photography by the wonderful Samantha Ho, who, by the way, was the one who begged me to make these cookies. That is all!

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Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate and White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen
Adapted from All Recipes

Ingredients:

2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375˚F.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, cream together the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the almond and vanilla extracts. Stir in the flour mixture, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the dried cranberries, the  semi-sweet and white chocolate chips.

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Drop by tablespoon dollops onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mats. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

Before & After

OH! One more thing:

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Follow me on Instagram! That is all.

Soli deo Gloria, and happy reading, eating, and baking!

S’mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

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(Photo Credit: Samantha Ho)

I love summer. Even with summer school and work going on, it feels so…free. The warm weather, clear skies, summer fashion trends, and having everyone home for vacation—I love it. I actually spent most of my summer at school because of work and summer school, but the only thing I looked forward to when I got home at the end of the day was baking. Actually, this was when I started baking a lot of the recipes you’ll find here on the blog—I’d go to work/class in the morning, come home at the end of the day, and bake to my heart’s content. Of course, it wasn’t a daily activity (because after all, I am still a student with lots of studying to do…and not a lot of money to spend on ingredients), but it was definitely something I did often. I baked so much during the summer that when I left for a family vacation for two weeks, the utility bill in my apartment went down by $8. Woops.

Anyway, another thing that I really enjoy about summer is the beach. I love how friends get together to catch up and pig out with each other, I love playing beach volleyball and football even though I’m a total loser when it comes to sports, and I love sitting around a bonfire where you can roast marshmallows to make s’mores and cuddle around a warm fire. I’m lucky to be a SoCal girl because the beach is always within an hour away. I can go to the beach pretty much anytime I want…but that was not the case this summer. I spent most of my time hibernating at school. So…because I couldn’t get to that bonfire for that s’more, I brought it to my very own apartment, firepit, wood, and everything. Just kidding—that would have totally been a disaster and I would have been evicted by now if I ever did anything like that.

This is what I did with that s’more—I stuffed it into a thick, rich, and chewy chocolate chip cookie. The results were sooo delicious and a total hit at the office and within the apartment, but with my health…not so much. Eh, once in a while is okay right? I didn’t get a chance to make my own graham crackers like Smells Like Home did, but that would have been pretty cool—I’ll give that a shot next time.

I really recommend you to try this recipe, because this is what you’ll get:

1) hamburger patty-sized  cookie dough balls

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2) giant 5-inch cookies

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3) a delicious, gooey, and chewy mess (look at that marshmallow ready to burst!)

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Okay, enough yapping—here’s the recipe. Just do it, it’ll be worth it. It’ll be like…summertime in your mouth, I suppose :P

S’mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 4 giant cookies
From Smells Like Home

Ingredients:

For the cookie dough (Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies):
2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

For assembly:
1 cookie dough recipe, at room temperature
4 (1.5” x 3” ) graham cracker rectangles, broken into halves (yielding 8 graham cracker squares)
4 large marshmallows, snipped in half lengthwise
1 full-size Hershey’s bar, divided between each of the prospective cookies

For the cookie dough:
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Add in the egg, the egg yolk, and the vanilla just until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat until combined—do not overmix. Don’t worry, the batter will look a little lumpy. Stir in the chocolate chips.

For Assembly:
Preheat the oven to 325˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Lay two graham cracker squares on each baking sheet. Top each cracker with 3-4 pieces of chocolate, then with two marshmallow halves side-by-side, then with another cracker. Take the assembled s’mores and wrap each one between two large spoonfuls of the cookie dough. Use extra dough to wrap around each of the s’mores if necessary.

Bake the cookies for 20-24 minutes, spacing them at least 4 inches apart on the two baking sheets, just until the tops and edges are lightly browned and the edges barely life off the pan with a spatula). Cool the cookies on wire racks for at least 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto wire racks and cool slightly before serving. Enjoy! I enjoyed mine with some milk and warmed them up in the microwave for a few seconds the next day.

Again, I hope you try it out, and if you do, let me know! Until next time,

Soli deo Gloria, and happy reading, eating, and baking!

P.S. I know I’m blogging about the summer during the wintertime. S’mores are good all year round. That is all. And I like the summertime.