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Your Tray or Mine Recipe of the Day: Chocolate Crinkles

18 Dec
Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

Can you spot the Chocolate Crinkle cookie on the cover of our cookbook?

ORIGINALLY POSTED DECEMBER 15, 2011

This recipe is an original to our cookie trays and I like it because it makes a lot of cookies, so it’s not a cookie that you have to ration one per tray or anything like that. You can be generous when you give them out.

I also think these are such pretty cookies, like snowflakes, which is funny for a chocolate based cookie.

They’re easy to make but you do need to make sure you make the batter ahead of time and chill it, so take that into account when you’re doing your planning.

CHOCOLATE CRINKLES

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 sq. unsweetened chocolate (4 oz.) melted

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar

Chocolate Crinkles on baking sheet

Chocolate Crinkles fresh out of the oven

DIRECTIONS

Mix oil, chocolate and granulated sugar.

Blend in one egg at a time until well mixed.

Add vanilla.

Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting (I really just measure. I’m not sure what either of those methods are, although it says See p. 5 to find out what the dipping method is.)

Stir flour, baking powder and salt into oil mixture.

Chill several hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into confectioner’s sugar BEFORE rolling into balls. Roll in sugar, shape into balls. (This is how you get the snowflake look when they bake.)

Place about 2″ apart on greased baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes. Do not overbake. Makes about six dozen cookies.

Three tiered cookie rack with crinkles

This recipe is the whole reason why I wanted this three tiered cooling rack this year. It makes a ton of cookies!

Baking with the kids

Many hands make light work. Messy work, but light work. Powdered sugar everywhere!

Pumpkin Palooza Recipe of the Day: Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

22 Nov

This new recipe got all thumbs up this weekend!

ORIGINALLY POSTED NOVEMBER 13, 2011

This weekend I tried a new recipe that came across my virtual “desk” last week. The recipe was from Babble’s Family Kitchen blog that I follow on Facebook. The recipe, for Pumpkin Swirl Brownies, reminded me of a recipe my college roommate used to make for Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies, and it’s made basically the same way except using pumpkin instead of peanut butter.

I must say, I am not the neatest dessert-cutter. All my squares are all different sizes, but really they’re all going to the same place, right? These Pumpkin Swirl Brownies were really, really delicious! The recipe was very easy. Try it and see what you think! Here it is, as I found it on Babble last week. Apparently, the person who posted it had seen it on several other blogs as well.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup butter
6 oz (6 squares) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or 1 cup chocolate chips)  I used the chocolate chips.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin  (I used one 15 oz can of Libby’s canned pumpkin.)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (It says Nutmeg is optional, but I did use it.)

DIRECTIONS

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter an 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch baking pan. (I used 11×7 but would use 9×13 next time. They were super-thick.)

2) In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over medium-low heat, stirring until smooth.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

4) In a large bowl, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla for a few minutes, until fluffy; beat in the flour just until combined.

5) Divide the batter between two medium bowls (about 1 and 1/2 cups of batter per bowl) and stir the chocolate mixture into one bowl. Stir the pumpkin, oil, cinnamon and nutmeg into the other bowl.

6) Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan, smooth the top and gently spread with half the pumpkin batter.

Here’s how it looks when you drop the large spoonfuls of batter on top of the two layers, before you swirl.

7) Drop large spoonfuls of chocolate and pumpkin batter on top, then gently swirl the two batters with the tip of a knife (just a table knife, so you don’t scrape the bottom of the pan with a sharp tip) to create a marbled effect.

And here’s how it looks after you do the marbling effect with your butter knife.

8) Bake for 40-45 minutes, until just set. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Makes 16 brownies.

My new favorite pan with my forever favorite recipe

25 Apr
These granola bars were the best ones I'd ever made, thanks to my new pan.

These granola bars were the best ones I’d ever made, thanks to my new pan.

Good morning!

It’s been a very long time since I did a blog post! An entire month! I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long between posts before, but it’s just been a very busy time here. We have had some work being done in the house since February, regular work, school and activities going on, and even a little computer virus thrown in there on my work computer for good measure.

Through it all, we’ve been plugging along and I even had the opportunity to finally try out a new pan that I’d received after my January virtual Pampered Chef party. It was my last tool that I had yet to open, and when I finally did, I fell in love. Again. Pampered Chef is just the best.

The new pan is their Brownie Pan, and it’s one I’d always thought about getting but never had. I’d heard that there were so many things you could do with it. With 12 spots, it creates 12 corner piece brownies, but it also can create anything you’d like portioned out into individual portions from Shepherd’s Pie, to muffins, to lasagna, to really anything at all. No matter what I’m making, I always love the corner pieces and even my mom will save them for me when she bakes, so this pan really appealed to me.

I loved the perfect portioning, and I loved that every piece was a corner piece.

I loved the perfect portioning, and I loved that every piece was a corner piece.

For my first time I decided to try one of our favorite recipes I’ve been making as an after school snack for years: homemade granola bars. I had originally posted it here in 2012 but I hadn’t made them in a little while. I knew the kids would be excited and as soon as they walked in the door, they’d know what was on tap for snack. I chose to make the chocolate version, which always gets rave reviews.

The granola bars were even more of a hit than usual! They came out evenly portioned and evenly cooked, and by far were the best I’d ever made. They were also gluten free because I used gluten free oats. I promised that I’d make a double batch the next time, which is going to be sooner than later, for sure. Normally I like to make enough to have leftovers for lunchbag snacks, but these went so quickly, they didn’t seem to last very long at all.

You can order the pan here through my consultant Marcia’s website if you’d like to give it a try! I’d love to know if you already have the pan and if so, you can write your favorite thing to bake in it, other than brownies, in the comment section below.

Have a great week!

 

 

In honor of Pi Day: Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

13 Mar
Life-changing, indeed!

Life-changing, indeed!

ORIGINALLY POSTED MARCH 13, 2015

March 14, 2015 is National Pi Day!

No, silly, not PIE day, PI Day!!

You know,”Pi: the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, approximately 3.14159, an infinite number which has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern.” (For more information like this about Pi, Pi Day and related celebrations, click on the link above!)

Pi Day also falls on the same day as Albert Einstein’s birthday. How great is that?!

Pi Day does have some similar qualities to Pie Day though (and if there isn’t actually a Pie Day, there should be), in that many people like to encourage the eating of pie of any kind to help with the celebrating of the mathematical concept!

To that end, my oldest daughter’s Algebra class will be celebrating Pi Day tomorrow with some sweet treats during class, so I said I’d send in a pie for them to use as part of their Pi Party. I had a single crust in the freezer and just enough ingredients to make the newest pie that I’ve fallen in love with this winter: a chocolate chip cookie pie.

This pie recipe was sent to me by a friend during the first blizzard we had in January as one of 23 different Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes to try out. The list claims to be a life-changing experience. If this pie recipe is any indication, I’d say they’re right!

This is a really quick pie to put together. Few ingredients, few steps. You don’t need to pre-bake your crust and the cook time is about an hour give or take, depending on your oven. The recipe is found on the Love from the Oven blog, and she has credited the original recipe to Nestle.

Obviously I did not make the Pi Day pie and then eat it myself, so my photos here are from the second blizzard of 2015, when I made this pie for dessert one night. It was a keeper for sure, and that’s the only sad thing about sending away a pie for Pi Day….we got to smell it baking, but didn’t get to eat it!

Quick, easy and perfect for Pi Day 2015!

Quick, easy and perfect for Pi Day 2015!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie Recipe from Nestle
Preheat oven to 325

1 unbaked pie crust, homemade or store bought
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter softened (1 and 1/2 sticks)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup pecans or walnuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Beat eggs in a large mixer until foamy.

Now add in flour and sugars. Beat until well blended. Beat in the softened butter.

Stir in your chocolate chips and nuts.

Stir and pour into unbaked pie crust.

Bake at 325 for  50-55 minutes. Let cool before eating.

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream (optional).

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Muffins

9 Dec
I was temporarily lost without one of the staples in my menu: muffins.

I was temporarily lost without one of the staples in my menu: muffins.

Muffins.

If you are a long-time reader of The Whole Bag of Chips, you know how much I love a good homemade muffin. I like the versatility of being able to serve them after school, for breakfast, for a lunchbox item or for a late night snack.

Going with a gluten free menu for my youngest just before Thanksgiving has led me on a search for all kinds of staples and pantry items as well as for some good recipes to try. The staples and pantry items were immediate needs, as were items for each meal. One Sunday morning rolled around, and I realized my go-to plan for Sunday morning breakfast might be in jeopardy if I couldn’t make muffins.

This ended up being a lifesaver for one of our Sunday mornings

This ended up being a lifesaver for one of our Sunday mornings

Luckily, I’d visited our local Trader Joe’s earlier that week and picked up two bags of an all-purpose flour. I had grabbed two because I don’t often get to Trader Joe’s, and because I am learning quickly that there’s often only enough for one batch of something when it comes to buying gluten free items.

I noticed that the back of this package of flour contained several recipes, and one of them was for an apple cinnamon muffin. I was thrilled. Muffins are a staple here, and I hadn’t yet thought about what to do about that for Alex. When Sunday morning rolled around, I remembered the flour and the recipe on the back side.

As I examined the recipe at home in my kitchen, I was very excited to read that the recipe could be used as written, to make the apple cinnamon muffins, or it could be used as a basic muffin recipe if you took out the cinnamon and you could put in whatever you wanted.

Well of course….she requested that I put in chocolate chips. A girl after my own heart.

The recipe was easy to follow. I had two snack cups of natural applesauce here that I used, which was lucky because I hadn’t planned ahead for this, so I was glad I had it on hand at home already. I used canola oil instead of sunflower oil and skim milk. The recipe was quick and easy to follow and I was able to make 18 muffins, so she ate a few that morning and then I froze the rest. Now, a couple of weeks later, there are only three left, and I’m already thinking of what recipe to make next. I am thinking of using some of our frozen blueberries that we picked in August to make some homemade blueberry muffins.

I was so happy to see this recipe on the back of this package of flour from Trader Joe's.

I was so happy to see this recipe on the back of this package of flour from Trader Joe’s.

This flour was $7.99 a pack, and the muffin recipe used about 3/4 of the pack, so I was glad that I had more than one. I will finish it off and start my next package of flour when I make my next batch of muffins. There was also a pancake recipe on here, but as you saw last Wednesday, we were happy with our Bisquick gluten free pancakes, so for now I’m sticking with that.

If you haven’t found a muffin recipe you like yet, and you’re searching for gluten free, I encourage you to try this one. It did not require anything unusual and the muffins were tasty. All three kids eventually got to have them, and they all gave them a thumbs up each time.

If you have any other good muffin recipes to try that don’t require a ton of unusual ingredients, I’d love to hear about them!

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Muffins from Family Food on the Table

18 Nov
The combination of ingredients was what piqued my interest in this recipe.

The combination of ingredients was what piqued my interest in this recipe.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t get off my pumpkin kick until after Thanksgiving. I’m still all about pumpkin for a few more weeks, at least.

I’m finding that this school year, due to our scattered after school schedules, I’m doing a great deal more driving than I am baking in the afternoons and evenings. Whereas I used to be able to do a quick after school baked snack at the end of my work day, this year I can only do that a couple of times a week, if I’m lucky. This means that I haven’t had a lot of new and exciting recipes to try out and to share, and for that, I apologize!

On Monday however, a recipe came across my virtual desk and it definitely piqued my interest. I actually had to read the title a couple of times to make sure I was reading it correctly, as I wasn’t sure I’d seen this combination of ingredients in the past. It’s not that it was anything crazy, it’s just that it wasn’t something I think I’d paired together in the past.

It meant that I just had to try it, just to see how it was.

 

Batter looked good, that's always a good sign!

Batter looked good, that’s always a good sign!

The recipe was for Peanut Butter Pumpkin Muffins, and it was from Family Food on the Table and it said chocolate chips were optional. To me, chocolate chips are almost never optional, but I liked all of the ingredients that were listed and I had them all, except for the white-wheat flour. I had white, I had wheat. I did not have white-wheat, so I decided to try using half white and half wheat instead. Otherwise, the recipe seemed perfect for an after school snack/late night snack/breakfast for our whole family; well at least for almost all of them. I forgot that one of them doesn’t like very much with peanut butter. She ended up having something else for her snack instead.

These came together quickly and easily. The prep time was estimated to be about ten minutes, and that was pretty on-target. The cook time was 18-22 minutes. A few of mine were a little soft on top, and probably could’ve cooked a little longer than the 18 that I did, but everyone was starving by the time I finished working and started baking, and everyone gets home so early now that I rushed them out, not checking each one as thoroughly as I should have.

However, despite my feeling a bit rushed, these muffins were delicious! They were hearty and healthy and deemed a keeper by all but my one non-peanut butter lover. I also noticed that there were several options listed at the end, including the option to substitute various types of nut butters such as almond butter to keep them peanut free. It also said that they were tasty with a little extra spread of peanut butter on them when eaten. One of my daughters did that, and she did say they were delicious that way too!

So if you’re as curious as I am as to the combination of peanut better and pumpkin and chocolate chips, I suggest you give these tasty muffins a try! Head on over to Family Food on the Table and check out this recipe and all their others too! Or maybe, you eat pumpkin, peanut butter and chocolate chips together all the time, and in that case, you most definitely want to head on over and check this recipe out!

Enjoy and have a great rest of your week!

#crosscountryadventure2015: What we’re eating and how we’re cooking it

21 Jul

20150711_192859Traveling in an RV is ultra-convenient for eating in because you have everything you need right at your fingertips, as long as you’ve stocked it beforehand with all of the things you use on a day-to-day basis. Over the three months before we took our trip, I kept a specific list of kitchen supplies we’d need to make any meals we cooked in the camper go off without a hitch. We made sure we had our go-to pots and pans, cast iron skillets, a toaster, and our counter-top griddle, which can be used inside or out. With those items, the needed utensils like spatulas, whisks, wooden spoons, and serving utensils, we were in good shape and able to make most of our favorites. We had a full kitchen setup, including a stove-top, oven, and microwave; just in a smaller space. We could do whatever we needed to do.

20150707_173725
20150630_103212Although we have eaten out a number of times over the three weeks, we make an effort to eat in if there is nothing special going on, or if we’re not in any unusual place where we’d want to try out a local eatery or food item. Our goal was to not have to eat out every single meal, every single day and we are doing a good job of keeping to that goal. We can even eat out of the camper at a rest stop on driving days, although we alternate between doing that and grabbing something to go, depending on what we have in stock in the camper. We also try very hard to utilize all our leftovers, whether we have cooked them ourselves or eaten out and taken something home. Our very first night’s meal back at Pohick Campground in Va., was leftovers that we’d taken right out of our fridge at home and taken with us so we’d be prepared that first night with something to eat.
20150720_201702This post contains some photos I’ve taken along the way, and a modified version of my usual “Two weeks of meals” post that I often do for you when we’re home. These meals were either cooked indoors or if we had outdoor cooking facilities, on a campfire.

20150422_193326
Dinners we’ve enjoyed:
Pulled pork sandwiches, with tomato/cucumber salad
Macaroni and Meatballs
Tacos and quesadillas
Hamburgers, hot dogs (see my previous post about our BBQ bacon, cheddar, turkey burgers) and Caesar Salad
Chicken breast with BBQ, bacon, tomato and cheddar with sautéed vegetables
Grilled cheese with soup
Chicken Parmesan and pasta

20150707_171330

20150712_095837Breakfasts we’ve enjoyed:
Eggs and bagels or English muffins (grilled or toasted)
Pancakes (plain, chocolate chip, banana)
French toast
Cereal, instant oatmeal, grits
Yogurt and fruit
Sides of ham, bacon, sausage

20150712_100644