Category Archives: Baked goods

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip CookiesHappy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. Did you do anything fun? Robert and I had a few adventures, but my favorite was a three-hour long intro to pottery class we took Saturday night. Um, did you know that using a potter’s wheel (is that even what it’s called?) is super hard? It took us a while to get the hang of it and learn how to keep the clay from flying off. It was so fun to get our hands dirty and pick up a new skill. We’re still total beginners, but Robert was quite good at it! We’re lucky that the place we went to is within walking distance to our house so we could definitely go again.

Okay….cookie time!!! What better way to start off the week, right? Now, if I’m posting a pumpkin recipe on here then you know it has to be great. There are approximately 10 billion pumpkin recipes floating around out there (not to mention the 10 billion pumpkin products currently available at Trader Joe’s) that I wouldn’t bother adding another one unless it was really, truly superb. And these are!

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip CookiesLike most pumpkin-based goods they’re a cakier confection and I love them for it. I’m a huge fan of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and these are a seasonal version of my favorite recipe.

I especially love sticking these in the freezer once they’ve cooled and snacking on them straight from there. The cookies become extra chewy and the chocolate chips have just the right amount of bite. You just can’t beat it. I highly recommend keeping a batch of these on hand to satisfy your pumpkin cravings for as long as they last. If that’s until springtime I certainly won’t judge you for it!

Pumpkin Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until combined.

In a separate bowl, add flours, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and whisk to combine.

Add dry ingredient mixture to pumpkin mixture in two to three batches and mix until all ingredients are combined. Add oats and chocolate chips and mix until combined.

Drop cookie dough by the heaping tablespoon onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake cookies 12 to 15 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes and remove to wire racks to finish cooling.

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Chocolate Chip Banana MuffinsToday is a BIG day in the Fowler household.

Mr. Remy The Goldendoodle Fowler (yes, he changed his last name too) turns 7 years old. That’s crazy! Somehow, I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the fact that he’s 7. It just sounds so much older to me. And this year I feel more nostalgic than most. Remy is my best buddy. We’ve been through so much together. This little-big man brings so much joy into our lives. He’s the goofiest, snuggliest beast there ever was. You can’t watch him for more than a few seconds without laughing. One of my favorite things in the entire world is taking Remy for walks. Our daily hour-long trek is easily a highlight of most days. Remy has taught me so much about myself, too. Above all, I’ve learned that one of my best qualities is my ability to nurture the people (and dogs) I love most. Few things bring me more joy than caring for them and watching them thrive (even if they occasionally eat tissues, paper towels, and napkins). So here’s to Remy, my silly furry pup that I absolutely cannot imagine my life without. Thank you for making life so much fuller and happier because you’re in it. I love you so much.
The day I brought him home & now
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Oh yeah, today happens to be my birthday, too! The big 3-0! (Cue minor freakout). A new decade is a serious milestone and I think it will take me some time to wrap my mind around it. But what a year I’ve had and I’m beyond excited for the year ahead. Robert and I plan to celebrate with a date night tonight. We’re flying to New York tomorrow where we’ll see my family and he’s surprising me with a bunch of activities Friday and Saturday (no idea what he has up his sleeve!) Saturday night we’re going to a wedding. Happily, we’ll be in town to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday with my family, too.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m getting older, but lately I’ve been on the hunt for recipes to end all recipes. By that I mean building up a repertoire of go-to recipes that are the best of the best. As much as I love experimenting with foods, I also love having an arsenal I can dig into whether we’re hosting a party or I’m bringing something to someone else’s table. Well, these chocolate chip banana bread muffins hit the jackpot for me. I’ve made them several times over the past few weeks (our freezer is stockpiled with them) and they really are the best I’ve ever had. They’re easy to make, light and fluffy, and the perfect balance of banana and chocolate flavor. You can use this recipe to bake muffins or traditional loaves (I’ve made both). They’re also extremely versatile–Robert eats them for breakfast and I love cutting up one or two for dessert.

While I’m sure I’ll down plenty of ice cream and cake over the next few days, I’m happy to kick off the birthday celebrations today with these muffins. Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Muffins

Makes 24 muffins, 12 muffins and 1 loaf, or 2 loaves

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp milk
  • 3 overripe bananas
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, plus extra for sprinkling on top

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350. In the bowl of a stand or electric mixer, whip together butter and sugar, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, cinnamon, milk, and bananas. Mix until completely combined. The batter will appear curdled, but it’s okay. Add the whole wheat flower, mix slowly until combined. Add the all-purpose flour and baking soda, mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into greased muffin tins (or use cups) or greased loaf pan. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips on top. Bake muffins for 15 to 25 minutes and loaves for 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool 15 to 30 minutes before removing from pans.

Cookies & Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies & Cream Chocolate Chip CookiesWell hello there, Monday! I hope you all had a fab weekend. Today is especially non-Monday like for me thanks to the holiday just around the corner and something really fun happening around here. If all goes according to plan we’re having a backsplash installed today!!! Our kitchen is great, but kind of basic so a backsplash will hopefully make a big improvement. We decided to go with a tile that’s a little unique so I can’t wait to see how it will look. More to come soon, that’s for sure : )

Cookies & Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you remember how on Friday I jokingly mentioned I don’t have a schedule for posting recipes? Well that’s true, for the most part. It’s more like a mental list of what’s ready to be blogged when. I had something totally different in mind for today, but the moment I bit into these cookies yesterday afternoon all of that went out the window. I knew I couldn’t wait another second to share these with you.

Cookies & Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies

First of all, they’re absolute delicious – my ideal combination of slightly crisp around the edges and chewy in the middle. They’re a cinch to make. And with cookie-baking season in full swing I wanted to make sure you had a chance to add these to your list before those holiday parties wind down.

I baked with Candy Cane Joe Joe’s from Trader Joe’s, which I also used in these peppermint cookie brownies. If you can get your paws on those Joe Joe’s then definitely do. But I can guarantee good ol’ Oreos will totally do the trick. In other words, this recipe carries over no matter what time of the year it may be. Come to think of it don’t they make those pastel colored Oreos around Eastertime? Bingo! It’s like that skirt you can effortlessly transition from one season to the next. Except way better.

DSCN3120

Cookies & Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 18 chocolate cream-filled sandwich cookies (I used Candy Cane Joe Joe’s, which are peppermint flavored, but any kind will do)
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place chocolate cream-filled chocolate cookies in a freezer bag. Use a mallet or heavy spoon to crush them. Don’t pulverize them too much. Make sure there are still some chunks of cookie remaining. Set bag aside.

In a bowl add flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine

In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a handheld electric mixer, cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla extract. Add flour mixture in several additions, mixing after each one. Add chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed throughout. Stir in crushed cookies. Scoop dough onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheet by the heaping tablespoonful. Bake 10-12 minutes until edges slightly brown. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, transfer to cooling rack.

Life Lately

Happy Friday! I hope you had a great week and are looking forward to a fun and relaxing weekend. I sure am! As always, there’s lots going on here so I thought I’d take a break from regularly scheduled recipe posting (who am I kidding? there’s no schedule) and catch you up on a few fun things:

1. Wedding Photos!

We got our wedding photos last weekend!! Looking through our photos for the first time and reliving our happiest day is something I’ll always remember. We recently got a new TV and somehow Robert figured out how to view the images on the big, fancy hi-def screen. So we got cozy on the couch and scrolled in total comfort and joy. Every time I look through them I find a new gem I hadn’t noticed before or discover another favorite. I plan to share more with you early next year, but for now a sneak peak at my current fave:

2. Pure Barre

A few weeks ago I found myself in a Pure Barre class. I was actually on my way to yoga and decided, on a whim, to try Pure Barre. I’m the least spontaneous person on the planet so I surprised even myself with this move. At first, I liked it. A few days later I went again and liked it more. By the third class I was falling in love. Pure Barre and I are officially dating. We see each other 3 to 4 times per week. It took me a few classes  to figure out how exactly to do the moves (and I’m still learning). For instance, when your leg lifts up behind you, you’re not actually moving your leg, but activating muscles deep in your glutes. Your leg is along for the ride. I love that it creates both a physical and mental challenge. You know how much I adore yoga, but I needed something new lately. The hour flies by and I can’t believe it’s over. I always leave class feeling great–in a way I haven’t experienced with any activity before. I feel like I worked my body really hard, but I’m totally energized, alert, and ready to tackle the rest of my day.

3. These Peppermint Cookie Brownies

Peppermint Cookie Brownies

There’s only one time of year when I think putting cookies IN brownies is a totally genius thing to do and fortunately that time is right now. WOW! Fantastic brownie recipe + crushed Candy Cane Joe Joe’s (find them at Trader Joe’s) = the most delicious brownie I’ve ever had. Plus, it only dirties one pot. That’s huge! Sometimes I avoid baking because I don’t want to deal with the dishes afterward (true story), but with this recipe there’s no excuse. I’ll probably be making another batch later today. Find the recipe at What’s Gaby Cooking. The only change I made is adding about 2 to 3 extra crushed cookies on the top before baking for a visual clue of what’s inside.

Orange Cranberry Bread

Orange Cranberry Bread ABalancedLifeCooks.com

Excuse me while I have a little love affair with carbs lately. I just can’t get enough. All I want to do is hang out in the kitchen and bake yummy confections all day. Good thing the season is upon us where that’s a totally normal and acceptable thing to do. And thank goodness for a husband who brings most of it to work so I don’t eat it all on my own.

This little number is pretty spectacular if I do say so myself. It’s a winterized version of my favorite lemon blueberry bread that I made all summer long. Except in place of lemon zest we’ve got orange zest and instead of summery blueberries there are tart and juicy cranberries. I’m always at a loss when it comes to updating my wardrobe for the seasons, but food? Food I can do.

Orange Cranberry Bread. ABalancedLifeCooks.com

As I bit into the first piece of this fluffy bread all I could think is how perfect it would be for Thanksgiving morning or Christmas morning when you’re still in your jammies. Although it tasted pretty darn great at 8pm on a Monday evening, too. Something this good can do no wrong.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I’m so thankful for you. Thank you for visiting this little ol’ blog post after post and thanks to the new readers who’ve started following along this year. Cooking and sharing my recipes with you is one of my favorite things in the whole world and I’m so grateful you’re along on this journey with me. There’s so much more goodness to come.

Cranberry Orange Bread. ABalancedLifeCooks.com

Orange Cranberry Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (8 oz) bag fresh cranberries
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a bowl, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add cranberries and orange zest. Zest the orange directly over the bowl, if possible, to get the oils from the skin too.

With an electric mixer (stand mixer or handheld), cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the yogurt. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake 55-65 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Let loaf cool slightly in the pan before inverting onto a cooling rack.

Adapted from PBS Food

*Note: In previous trials of this recipe I substituted 1 cup whole wheat flour for one of the cups of flour and it made the bread too dense and dry. It’s much better to stick with 2 cups all-purpose flour.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt CakeHoly moly, can you believe it’s Thanksgiving week? I’m not sure it’ll actually hit me until I’m sitting down to a plate filled with turkey and as many sides as I can manage to drench in gravy. This year, Robert and I are doing something a little different. We’re staying right here in our home in Chicago. As much as we’d love to be with our families in Kansas City (his) or Vermont (mine), we’re looking forward to four straight days of cozy and calm. We’re going to cook our very own feast (my first time cooking Thanksgiving and a whole turkey) and our friend Jenni will join us for Turkey Day.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

As we head into this holiday season, there’s something I should confess. Pie is great and all, but dessert isn’t truly dessert to me unless chocolate is involved. (I am my mother’s daughter through and through). If you’re sending out a virtual amen on the dessert-must-contain-chocolate point then this is a fantastic cake even the most die-hard pie fanatics will adore. It’s rich without being too decadent. It’s a perfect way to wrap up a perfectly satisfying meal as you head dreamily into your food-induced coma. Sweet dreams, indeed. Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt CakeChocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Makes 1 Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 4 oz sour cream (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease or butter a bundt pan and set aside

In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine

In a small bowl, mix together milk and sour cream.

In a mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla. With the mixer speed on low, alternate between adding the flour mixture and milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 50-60 minutes, until tester comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and invert cake. Once cake has cooled, dust with powdered sugar.

Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Whole Wheat ABC Bread

Whole Wheat ABC (Apple, Banana, Carrot) Bread. ABalancedLifeCooks.comThere are some recipes I cook, nail, and share with you as soon as I can. Other times I work at a recipe week after week until I get it just right. This is one of those recipes. It’s been awesome since the very first time I made it, but I’ve been working to create a healthier version while still keeping it absolutely delicious.

And you know what? This final recipe, which uses plain yogurt and very little oil happened to be better than all of the others. The flavors of the whole ingredients (especially the apples and bananas) are more apparent and it’s the moistest (ewwwwwww hate.that.word) banana bread I’ve ever sunk my teeth into.

Naming this light, yet hearty breakfasty bread was no easy task. It’s made with whole wheat flour, apples, bananas, carrots – hence Whole Wheat ABC Bread. Another contender: 1-2-3 bread since it contains 1 apple, 2 carrots, and 3 mashed bananas.

Whatever you like to call it, it’s quickly becoming this year’s version of my apple cake since I’ve been making it nearly every week. Now that I’ve nailed down a recipe that delivers the healthiest and the yummiest results there’s no signs of stopping now!

Whole Wheat ABC (Apple Banana Carrot) Bread. ABalancedLifeCooks.com.

Whole Wheat ABC Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe banana
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground numeg
  • 1 apple (any kind) peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preparation 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand-held mixer, mash the bananas. Add the sugar, canola oil, yogurt, eggs, and grated carrots. Mix to combine. Remove bowl from electric mixer.

In a separate bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix with a spoon or spatula until combined. Add chopped apple and chopped walnuts. Mix until distributed evenly throughout.

Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Add batter. Bake 65-75 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.