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guest post! chocolate chip cookies & pumpkin bread from ‘meow or never’

19 May

So today I’m devoting myself to the books again… Well, I mean, kind of. My presence on Twitter begs to differ. At any rate, I’m handing the blog over to the lovely Katey & Sara… we’re pretty much the same people in different states (actually, I guess Sara and I run exact opposite schedules :) ). They’re sharing some of their delicious recipes with us today! And I’m pretty sure we need to hang out when I get back to Seattle… Just sayin’. :)

Hello! This is Katey and Sara, and we’re excited to be guest posting today! Just a little bit of background on us: We’re sophomores at the University of Washington who enjoy taking long walks, baking, and tanning (especially since the sun has finally come out!). We started our blog “Meow or Never” to document our adventures before Sara returns to California and are striving to fit everything in in these last 3 weeks. Some of our past outings have been going to Pike Place Market, Greenlake and Fremont, all of which typically center around food (we’re big fans of finding new cafes and having picnics). We also frequently start off our Sunday adventures with yoga and Starbucks, which make the perfect recipe for a great day, in our opinion. In order to fund our adventures, we’ve taken our talent for turning flour+sugar+eggs into deliciousness, selling batches of cookies/bars/breads to our friends or anyone in need of some baked goods. Today we want to share some of our favorite recipes.

The first is for our chocolate chip cookies, which are always a hit with customers.
• 2 sticks unsalted butter
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
• 1 3/4 cups + 7 tbsp. of flour (we know, it’s strange)
• 3/4 tsp. baking powder
• 1/3 tsp. of baking soda (just eyeball this)
• generous 1/4 tsp. of salt
• however many chocolate chips you desire! (or any add-in of your choice! we have made this dough with M&Ms, and also did a white chocolate chip-macadamia nut recipe, both of which rocked)
-Preheat your oven to the temperature specified on your chocolate chip bag (we think we usually set ours at 350-375)
-In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together. Then add the egg and vanilla and beat till very well blended.
-Mix together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Gently add in half of the dry mixture into the wet, combine and add the second half. (If you are like us and lack bowls, counter space and patience, feel free to just add each dry ingredient directly into the butter&sugar. We promise they will still come out!) Just be careful not to overmix.
– Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes depending on your oven (we recommend checking and timing your first batch). Remember to let the sheets stand for a few minutes after you take them from the oven so they don’t lose their shape.


One of our favorite flavors is pumpkin (we are slightly obsessed with the pumpkin spice latte during the holiday season) and if you are like us and need a pumpkin fix during the off-season, here is a wonderful recipe for pumpkin bread:
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup canned pumpkin
• 1/2 cup of oil
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups of flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. of salt, nutmeg, cinnamon (each)
• 1/4 tsp. ginger
• 1/4 water
Optional: 1 cup of raisins & 1/2 cup chopped nuts (or pretty much whatever you want)
– Combine sugars, pumpkin, oil and eggs. Beat until well blended.
– Sift together flour, soda, salt, spices. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
– Stir in water, and add-ins if desired.
– Spoon into well oiled 9x5x3 loaf pan
– Bake at 350 degrees for 65-75 minutes or until done when tested. Turn out on rack to cool.

We hope that everyone is having an awesome week and spring! And we urge you to try these recipes, enjoy them, and have some fun adventures of your own! We especially want to thank Nicole for letting us be a part of her adorable blog, she’s such a sweetheart and so great to work with!

polka dot dreams [more chocolate chip cookies]

23 Apr

**Firstly**: I am a MORON and forgot to link to Jenn’s amazing site, so if you enjoyed the cake she posted for me please check it out! :)

I’m not going to beat around the bush: Yesterday sucked. I can’t really pinpoint what it was, but I was in a funk all day, despite the fact that I had no school (Jesuit education, what whaaat). Today has been a little low-key but better. But when I went to choose a recipe to share today, I decided to pick something that always makes me happy: polka dots.

And cookies. Polka dots in cookies?

My psych research group had to have a meeting and chose to center it around pizza… in typical fashion, I brought some cookies. I had requests for “M&M cookies” and “underbaked” cookies so I went with a nice, chewy chocolate-chip cookie and underbaked them a little bit extra.

It’s actually a recipe I’ve made before, but this time I’m going to actually type out the recipe. It’s a nice, simple recipe with a boatload of vanilla that I think really enhances the flavor. It’s also fabulously easy to make without a hand mixer since the butter is melted and there’s no creaming involved (though that is a nice workout…). This means I can whip it up in my dorm room in no time flat.

I’d imagine that this would lend itself well to holiday-themed M&Ms, like Easter M&Ms, perhaps? Or you can make it with plain old chocolate chips and it will still be delicious.

This recipe has actually made its way around the blogosphere many times. I mean, it’s basically famous: “BEST Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.” While I’m not 100% sure it’s my absolute favorite (I rather liked some of the dark-chocolate+ sea-salt variations I’ve tried) it’s definitely one I’ll make again as an easy, reliable recipe.

And there’s nothing that can put a smile on my face quite like ridiculously colorful cookies….

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate-Chip POLKA DOT Cookies
From Allrecipes
Makes 3 dozen if you’re me and you make smallish cookies, 1.5 dozen if you’re Allrecipes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 5?-oz bag M&Ms, + 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or 2 cups chocolate chips)
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in 10-15 second increments, mixing well between each until fully melted. Stir in sugar and vanilla until well mixed. Add egg and egg yolk and mix until creamy. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients, then add them to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in M&M’s and chocolate chips, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (not strictly necessary, but I like to do it).
Preheat oven to ***325*** degrees (not 350!) and lightly grease a cookie sheet. Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges are just slightly brown (time will depend a lot on the size of your cookies!) Let cool for a minute or two before removing to cooling rack/plate.
Share with your favorite partners in crime and bask in the colorful sugariness when the world feels a little dreary.
What cheers you up when you’re in a funk?

how [not] to prepare for a new quarter. [more choc. chip cookies!]

27 Mar

1) Have a crazy, awesome, hectic break during which you INCREASE your sleep debt rather than negating it.

2) Wake up at the crack of dawn (5:30 AM) to get on a 7:00 AM flight back to school… then promptly after arriving take a glorious 2 hour nap.

3) Actually unpack all of your clothes within a few hours of arriving, for once. However, this must be done at the expense of actually dealing with all the papers left over from last quarter.

4) Neglect to order your books for your classes until the night before they start, then continue procrastinating by getting distracted and pre-ordering Mama Pea’s cookbook instead… because you baked dough balls to convince your mom that it was a worthy investment.

This is a true story. How to win friends and influence people, and get your mom to buy you cookbooks: DOUGH. BALLS. Sorry for the bad pics though… I have better ones but they’ll have to wait.

My mom said if I baked these for any boy he’d probably propose… may have to use that someday, but not just yet…

5) Read blogs instead of looking up the locations of your classes. Oh, and then remember the rather insane classes you’re taking: Bio (with a lab), Chem (with a lab), Neuropsychology (which is supposed to be hard), and Honors Ethics (a.k.a. lots of dense reading). What is this “social life” you speak of?

6) Most importantly… Only get 4 hours of sleep two nights before starting your quarter. Why? Because you had to bake cookies to bring back. That’s why.

I’ve told you before about my quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. And the fact that chocolate chip cookie dough is kind of the best ever… and that baking chocolate chip cookies is a great excuse to consume copious quantities of that delightful concoction.

So I decided to whip out my hand mixer for one last batch of cookies before I went home, at the expense of a shower and a good night’s sleep (I have such good priorities!)

This one came from Joy the Baker. I love love love her blog… She makes the most delicious-looking things and is always so funny and adorable! She did some posts on the great chocolate chip cookie debate and I had this particular recipe bookmarked (along with 300+ other chocolate chip cookie recipes… I have a problem, I know). It was pretty straightforward so I decided to give it a go.

Verdict? Delicious. Not anything particularly earth-shattering or special, but really quite good and easy to boot. I should have underbaked a bit more so they’d be a little softer, but they were still delightful. I did have to use some white chocolate chips because I ran out of the regular ones and I had an open bag… yay for resourcefulness. :)

Chocolate Chip Cookies a la Joy the Baker
Makes about 30 smaller cookies.
adapted from here.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
~ 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips of choice

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until well combined and slightly fluffy (but don’t mix TOO much). Add in egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add dry to wet and stir until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Let chill for 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet. Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheet, and bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges are JUST slightly browned (overbaking makes harder, tougher cookies that are still delicious, but not QUITE what I wanted!)

Pack ’em up and share them with friends in your dorm room. Or anyone who appreciates a good chocolate chip cookie.

How do you prepare for new quarters/school years/etc?

Do you prefer cookie dough or cookies? I like dough allll the way :)

ballsy.

20 Mar

So I wrote a little bit ago about how I made dough balls in lieu of studying for finals.

Then I did it again so I could share some with the lovely Alex when she and I met up a week ago… But this time, I used some Dark Chocolate Dreams & cocoa powder to make CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER DOUGH BALLS (I know, intense, right?!)

The dough was deeeelicious, though extremely crumbly before I added water…

And then I think I added too much, because they didn’t quite stick together as well as I wanted. But I think my peanut butter was again kind of dry, so maybe adding oil would have been better.

At any rate, here’s the recipe… It’s mostly the same as Mama Pea’s but with a few minor tweaks. :)

Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Dough Balls
adapted slightly from Mama Pea

1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2-4 tablespoons water (if necessary)

In a large bowl, cream together peanut butter, margarine, and sugars until fluffy. Add in vanilla extract and cocoa powder and mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add dry to wet in 2-3 batches, mixing until well combined each time. If your dough is still VERY dry and crumbly (like mine was, see above!) add in water or oil by the tablespoon until it starts to hold together (I added a little too much, actually). Fold in chocolate and peanut butter chips, and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet. Once the dough has chilled, roll about tablespoon-sized balls of dough and place on cookie sheet without flattening. Bake for 8-11 minutes (depending on size); this is the tricky part, because they won’t look particularly cooked but that’s what makes them delicious!

Let cool on cookie sheet then dig in.

Dough balls also made an appearance at sushi night. I told my friend who hosted the dinner that I’d bring cookies, and that she should pretend to be surprised. Unfortunately I only snapped one picture of the dough balls, but here they are:

They were delicious, not as sweet as Mama Pea’s version, but still really good. I may try tweaking them a bit, but this time I just used this recipe.

Have you ever made dough balls? Because if not you really should. They’re amazing.

why i’m the best manager ever.

26 Feb

So I’ve told you about my tricycle-riding job a couple times… In reality, a lot of times I’m in the “managerial” role, so I send my minions out on runs to deliver food and don’t actually do it myself. I already feel kind of bad ordering people to go out and exert themselves in the cold while I’m warm inside (though stressing about sending people every which way and dealing with a million orders), but last night was particularly bad. There’ve been rumors flying all week about snow falling in the bay area… Haven’t seen any yet, but boy is it COLD outside!

So I felt even worse, sending all my friends out into the frigid airs to deliver greasy food.

So I baked them cookies. I had about an hour between when I got back to my dorm from shopping and when I had to leave for work, so I went with an old standby… the chocolate chip cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. (I also made them here… which directs you to the recipe :) ).

In other news, despite the cold air we have some delightfully summery berries…

I bought a pint of blueberries for $2 and they were delicious. Well, are delicious… I haven’t eaten them all yet. But I bought them about an hour ago and they’re half gone soooo I don’t see them lasting much longer. ;)

Now I’m off to bake cornbread and cookies for a potluck! I’ll be back later with some fun recipes.

houseguest.

20 Feb

I like to think I’m a polite houseguest. At least mostly. But should you ever decide to invite me over, be warned:

I will probably drink all your coffee.

And look through your pantry. And sample a little of everything.

So it turns out these are the most delicious thing ever…

And eat all your fruit & carrots (obviously).

And take 1 million photographs… Get used to the shutter-clicking noise.

Poor Luna…

may finish off your sugar…

And make a mess in your kitchen.

(But I promise to clean it!)

And I will make my bed…

Oh, and I’ll bake you cookies. I promise!

(There, did that convince you?)

These family friends know me very well for my cookies… They’re part of an ever-growing fan club. That might be the only reason they invite me over. That and my sparkling wit and intelligent conversation. But mostly my cookies. I try a different recipe almost every time I’m here (because I love to try millions of chocolate chip cookie recipes!) and this *may* be my new favorite. It is 100% Rafael-approved (he’s my cookie fanatic in this house).

Here’s the recipe…

Alice’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Half-batch made 24; adapted very slightly from here… aka I made it the lame-way without the fancy salt, but I’m sure the “right” way is even better!

1 cup (2 sticks)  unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2+ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 360 degrees, and lightly grease two cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until very light and creamy (see original site for pictures!). This may take over 5 minutes. You want it to get really light! Then beat in vanilla and eggs for about 2 more minutes. Add in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and mix until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll into 1-2 tablespoon sized balls and bake for 11-13 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool for 1-2 minutes on cookie sheet then move to cooling rack. Share and enjoy!

So, whaddaya say? Anybody want a houseguest? ;)

giving back [with cookies! & recipes!]

17 Feb

I told you in my self-love post that one of my favorite things to do to feel good about myself is find ways to give back to the community, or generally make people smile. When I can, I like to make this coincide with my love of all things food.

Enter CHAM. Cham is the “Community Homeless Alliance Ministry” that puts on a church service for homeless people in my area every Sunday, then provides them with a hot meal afterwards. We help out by buying some of the food, doing some of the cooking, and doing most of the serving and clean-up.

Plates of food

It’s an incredibly rewarding experience all on its own, but this week I decided to share a little extra V-Day love… So, obviously, I baked them cookies.

There were three kinds… (Yes, I baked ~75 cookies in my dingy dorm kitchen. I’m dedicated. And/or insane.)

1) My signature Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip CookiesRecipe here.

Um, not to toot my own horn (especially since the recipe isn’t mine!) but these are perfect in every way. I love them. You should, too.

2) Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (recipe from here).

These are wonderful…  The first time I made them I cut back on the oil and I think they were a little flat… This time I used Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer instead of the tapioca flour and the full amount of oil, and the dough was kind of grossly oily but they were easy and delicious! Everyone loved them… They didn’t have *quite* the crisp edges of their buttery counterparts but were an easy dorm-baked-good.

3) Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (adapted from here)

These were a little too sweet for me even with my modifications but super easy and the texture was nice and chewy! Here’s the modified recipe I made…

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Makes about 24

3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 scant teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins, plumped and patted dry
1-2 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly spray two cookie sheets.

In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In a separate medium bowl, mix oil and sugars until thoroughly combined. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in oats and raisins. If the dough is still too dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time.

Scoop by half-tablespoon onto prepared cookie sheets and bake for about 10 minutes, or until edges are just lightly browned (less for a softer cookie, more for a crunchier cookie). Let cool on sheet for about 10 minutes so they don’t crumble. Share and enjoy!

Yes, they were all vegan… I was taking part in vegan week after all! (Which I never recapped, but I think I want to do a more thorough version involving actually COOKING in a few weeks so we’ll see!)

I’m vegan and I’m DELICIOUS

I love to bake, and seeing my baked goods make other people happy is 90% of the reason for that. Knowing that I managed to give these cookies to people who probably weren’t going to have home-baked goods in the near future made me feel allll warm and fuzzy inside. I don’t know if I can feasibly do that every week, but it’s definitely fun once in awhile!

What is your favorite way to volunteer?