Saturday, March 30, 2013

Frozen Cookie Dough Wrapped Banana Pops


If I wasn't in such a rush today, I would tell you all about this little photo session I had with my grandson last week, and how trying that fifteen minutes was for both of us.

I would tell you  how he "fell down" in a pile of soot and ashes and dirt before I even snapped the first picture, and how deep in my heart, I feel like this may have been a cold and calculated move on his part, to throw the whole session into a downward spiral.  (Three year olds can be very shrewd and crafty, in case you didn't know.)

And I'd tell you how I had to chase him around the yard and beg him to look at the camera while he mocked me with his callous attitude and icy stare.

See his face?  He is scorning his grandmother.
And when he tossed my Nikon D700 to the ground after I set it down momentarily in his little rocking chair, I really started to question his actions.

I told him he better examine his three year old heart.

But all that is just hopping down a bunny trail and I am pressed for time.  And you're just here for the pops, right?  

So last week it was quinoa.  This week it's cookie dough on a stick.  

Because sometimes I am quinoa, and sometimes I am cookie dough a stick.

And it may be a little bit odd that one instagram photo could inspire a recipe, but it did.  One of my instagram friends posted a photo of cookie dough on a stick and my brain just wouldn't let it go, so I let it mull and this is what happened.

These are fun and good.  I think you will like them.  You may even love them.  I did.  Read the notes.

PS.  I had something happy happen to me.  You can read about it here.  Thank you Just a Pinch!:)

PPS.  Have a wonderful Easter.  And remember the reason for it.

My notes:

-I used two different kinds of cookie dough.  Chocolate chip cookie dough is just classic to me and what I think of when I think of raw cookie dough.  However, peanut butter and bananas and chocolate?  Also classic.  

-You could use your favorite raw cookie dough recipes for this, but these are what I came up with and they worked well.  The peanut butter dough made less than the chocolate chip dough.  I got 6 pops from the peanut butter, and 10 from the cookie dough.

-I like to freeze everything in my deep freeze during the assembly process, but I like to store them in my refrigerator freezer because I have the temperature set to where things that are supposed to be soft like ice cream, do not freeze rock hard.  There is nothing worse than rock hard ice cream.  The cookie dough and banana were on the soft side of frozen and it was quite an awesome experience.

-Mixing the milk chocolate chips with coconut oil will result in a thin, crackly layer of chocolate coating which is WONDERFUL, much like you would find on a Nestle ice cream bar in the store.  It will pretty much harden immediately after you dip it.  This is just basically homemade magic shell.  I found it best to just hold the banana over the bowl and spoon the chocolate over it, letting the excess drip off.

-Now, for the life of me, I cannot remember if I ran out of chocolate and had to melt some more to get through all of my bananas.  It seems like I did but I am just not sure.  So, just have some extra chocolate chips and coconut oil on stand by in case you do run out.  Just half the ingredients and that should get you through. 

-If sprinkling with peanuts, do it immediately after they are coated in chocolate, because, like I said, the chocolate hardens immediately.

-Molding the cookie dough around the frozen banana was not as difficult as I thought it would be.  In fact, it was pretty easy.  Just take your time and if the dough starts to build up on your hand, wash it and slightly moisten your hand.  You also might try spraying your hands with nonstick spray.

-Colorful sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, etc., could be used in place of the chopped peanuts.

Frozen Cookie Dough Wrapped Banana Pops

8 medium firm but ripe bananas
16 wooden Popsicle sticks

For the peanut butter cookie dough:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon whole milk

For the chocolate chip cookie dough:

3/4 cups butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

For the coating:

2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut oil
Chopped peanuts for coating the outside

Cut bananas in half horizontally and carefully insert a wooden popsicle stick into each one, then place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm.

To make the peanut butter cookie dough:  Cream the butter, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract on medium speed.  Beat in the flour and salt and milk until mixed, and 1 tablespoon of milk to make the dough soft.  (The milk can be adjusted if you think the dough is soft enough or if you think it is too hard.)  Set aside at room temperature.

To make the chocolate chip cookie dough:  Beat the butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla extract on medium speed.  Beat in the flour and salt and enough milk to make a soft cookie dough consistency. (If you don’t use all the milk, it’s okay.)  Stir in the chocolate chips (however much you think).  Set aside at room temperature.

When the bananas are frozen, press a small amount of cookie dough around each banana using clean, slightly moist hands.  Remove only a couple of bananas at a time from the freezer because they will start to soften.  If hands get sticky, take a break, wash them, then start over with slightly moist hands.  Just press a thin (but not too thin!) layer of cookie dough around the banana.  Place back on baking tray and freeze until firm.

To make the coating:  Place the milk chocolate chips and coconut oil in a glass or metal bowl that has been placed over gently simmering water (or use a double boiler).  Stir until melted and smooth.  Spoon the chocolate over each frozen banana, letting the excess drip off, then place back on the baking sheet.  If desired, sprinkle with chopped peanuts immediately after coating in chocolate.  The chocolate should harden quickly because the bananas are frozen, but place in the freezer if they don’t.  Obviously, store these in the freezer.

I got 6 peanut butter cookie dough bananas and 10 chocolate chip bananas out of my batches of cookie dough, but results will vary according to how much cookie dough is used on each banana.

Tip:  During the assembly process, I like to place everything in my deep freeze with freezes it very hard.  For storage though, I like to keep them in my refrigerator freezer, which is set to a higher temperature so things like ice cream will be frozen but not rock hard.  These are best when they are a little soft. Still frozen, but a little soft.

This is a little stinker.

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Quinoa with Broccoli, Toasted Almonds, and Browned Butter

I did it.  I got all brave and I finally opened the package of quinoa I had had in my pantry for a month.  Now, I was expecting it to have the texture of little pieces of wood or something, but the texture was quite pleasing.  Nothing off-putting about it at all.  The taste was good too.  (Not cookie dough-on-a-stick good, but really good for a grain.)  In fact, I normally cook with brown rice and just for the record, quinoa kicks brown rice's butt.


And it was so fast compared to brown rice too.  Just 12 minutes.  And not sticky at all. And my sources say it's extremely healthy.  As in, not just a little bit healthy, but extreeeeeemely healthy.  Something about complete proteins or something.  I don't know.  Look it up.

I struggle with side dishes.  Side dishes are the thorn in my...side.  It's like I get side dish amnesia when I'm cooking dinner and I just don't know what to put with my main dish.  I threw this together in no time flat and it was good, really good.  I'm calling this a side dish, but I did, in fact, eat this for lunch one day, so really it could be anything you want it to be.

 Here are my notes:

-Basically, this is just more of an idea and less of a recipe.  Add what you want, how much you want.

-I used frozen broccoli because that is what I had, but I feel like roasted, fresh broccoli would have been better.  You do it, kay?

-Don't forget the salt.  It just needs salt.

Quinoa with Broccoli, Toasted Almonds, and Browned Butter

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions
1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli heads, cooked according to package directions
1/3 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds
3 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Place the quinoa, broccoli, and almonds in a large bowl and toss.  Melt the butter in a small skillet and cook over medium to high heat until butter is foamy and golden brown and nutty smelling, about 3-4 minutes, swirling butter in pan several times.  Pour over the quinoa and toss to evenly coat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Soft and Chewy Biscoff Sandwich Cookies

So I have been doing a much better job at staying off of social media and focusing on family and friends and being an all-around more productive member of society.

Until about 10 PM at night.  At 10 PM when my hubby is fast asleep, I can be found with the covers pulled all the way over my head and my iPhone in hand, pinning everything from how to make super-size industrial strength bubbles, to the three-day Military diet, to how to make "to-go" mason jar cups with straw inserts.

Those mason jars look a little tricky, but I totally feel like I can do it at some point.

I even pinned a rather long list of practical jokes and pranks because they were just *so* hilarious, and you never know when I will have to teach some person in my life the valuable lesson of not messing with me by removing all the filling out of a Krispy Kreme donut and replacing it with mayonnaise. 

Thanks, Pinterest, for that.

I even have the recipe to make moon sand and the instructions on how to create a chair made of wooden pallets.  In fact, I am pretty positive I can create an entire living room full of furniture by only using wooden pallets.

Who knew they were so versatile?

I've been pinning so much that I now have an acute case of NUCPA.  (Nighttime Under Covers Pinners Arms.  Holding my phone up over my face with the weight of four blankets resting on my arms really starts to hurt after about 45 minutes.  What can I say, I hate to be cold at night.)

And what about those secret pin boards, huh?  Were those a great idea or what?

I bet your wondering what are on mine.

Shhhh.  It's a secret.

But this recipe is not a secret.  I want to share it with the world and with Pinterest.  Five ingredients.  Five.  Maybe five minutes prep time.  These simple, from-scratch cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, with the fantastic flavor of one of America's favorite imports...Biscoff.  I really think you will like them.  
PS.  I am working on installing a hovering Pinterest button on my images so that when you want to pin a recipe, you won't pull up the whole page of images, just the one you want, but it's going to take me a little while longer.  Like maybe a month or something.  It's complicated. 

Here are my notes:

-No, these cookies don't have eggs.  I promise they work though.  I've made them several times.  The outside is crispy and the inside is chewy.  I'm keeping the ingredients simple and few in this cookie.

-These bake a little longer than regular cookies.  I baked mine for about 18 minutes.  Don't over bake, though.  They should be set in the middle and golden brown around the edges.

-These cookies are puffy and rounded.  They don't spread much.  I use a 1 tablespoon measure cookie scoop leveled off by swiping on the side of the bowl so each cookie is pretty much the same size.

-They are very similar to my Chocolate Chip Cheesecake cookies from my early blogging years.

-Just a thin layer of Biscoff is required in the middle.  Or a thick layer.  Whichever.


Soft and Chewy Biscoff Sandwich Cookies

1 package (8-ounces) cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup Biscoff spread plus more for filling

1 cup all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and Biscoff together until creamy.  Add flour and mix until dough forms
  2. Using a small cookie scoop (1 tablespoon measure), drop rounded mounds of dough onto a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until edges are light golden brown and centers are set.  Let cool for 2 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Spread 1/2 of the cookies with a thin layer of Biscoff and place the remaining cookies on top to form a sandwich.  14-16 cookies. 

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