Thursday, May 30, 2013

May Obsessions.

Making homemade cinnamon rolls with my dad. 

Every trip home always results in baking some new buttery, sugary carb with my dad, whether it's pink-glazed old-fashioned cake doughnuts or homemade banana monkey bread muffins. This time, it was giant cinnamon rolls made from homemade yeasty dough with specks of nutmeg wrapped around a ribbon of butter, sugar, and cinnamon. I mean... does it get better than that?     

Just look at how thick and fluffy they are! 

Breaking teaspoons.

Maybe this week I dropped my favorite heart-shaped teaspoon down the sink... and then accidently turned on the garbage disposal. Maybe pink plastic shrapnel flew everywhere. Maybe I blamed it on my boyfriend. With me? Totally possible.  

Maybe I made it up to myself by ordering a new set of teaspoons... and these colorful flower-shaped teaspoons + an adorable new coffee cup I'm absolutely obsessed with. 

The Mortal Instruments. 

Between the movie coming out this summer and spending hours lost in each book, I am completely obsessed. These are the best books I've read since Harry Potter... and I'm only on the third one!

My summer Pinterest board. 

Because it's here! Let's get inspired and eat s'mores.

This new canvas print I could just stare at all day.

I found this super-pink print at Target and it's had a permanent spot on my desk ever since.   

Counting the days down til The Originals. 

A spin-off of The Vampire Diaries? In New Orleans? Totally focused on The Originals? I can't handle it. I need this/more Klaus in my life as soon as possible.

Great Gatsby fashion. 

I have fallen in love. Because yes... I finally saw The Great Gatsby and am now convinced more than ever that I was born into the wrong era. The dresses! The glitter! The music! The Leo! My life is in desperate need of more sparkle and champagne.

And this shirt. No big deal.

Happy end of May! What were you into this month? 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Triple Chocolate Chip Cake Batter Cookies { + Snowcaps!}.

I keep telling myself I'm going to start living this life right. In the moment. Totally inspired. Doing what I love. Chasing the day with a cinnamon roll in each hand and a pocketful of sunshine.  

I'm still thinking about pumpkin spice muffins, peppermint dreams, and pink heart-shaped sugar cookies. Somehow life has gotten away from me. Wasn't it just January? No way it's already summertime. Didn't I just blow out the candles on my birthday king's cake?  

Real life is a whole lot less sun-filled pockets. It's work. Work like... heaps of laundry, paying our phone bills, saying I'm going to go to the gym, five AM wake-up calls, and running out of coffee creamer, always. You know. Really real life.

Oh man. I'm 26... and my life has already become a list of things I'll get to someday.

Can I tell you my favorite part of the day? It's the twenty-five minute scenic, lazy, coffee-fueled/still-waking-up drive to work... where I spend every blissful moment daydreaming up an alternate life/what I would do if I didn't have to work that day. I would spend hours lost in a book, curled up in the corner of some coffee shop with an endless fountain of sugary iced coffee. I would work out. That's real. Let's definitely do that.

I would go on a nature walk. I would buy a plane ticket to Paris.. or explore a corner of town (let there be bakeries!). I would finally see The Great Gatsby. I would I would bake cookies with cake mix and three kinds of chocolate chips. Or something sugary baked in a mini loaf pan. Maybe I'd figure out how to bake madeleines... and then dip them in chocolate because live life.

Can we cross some things off together?  Let's grow and learn and adventure a little this summer.

There's so much living to be done in this world. Let's take back our lives and start living them. 

And let it all start with that lavender manicure I've been daydreaming about. 

And doughnuts.... there just needs to be doughnuts.

Let's stop making lists and pinboards and daydreams and just jump into it already.

Let's also jump into triple chocolate chip cookies... because these fluffy chocolate clouds are made of dreams.   

Dreams, Snowcaps, and chocolate cake batter. I can't even.

Light and fluffy as chocolate cake and as chewy and rich as a triple chocolate chip cookie. They taste like a cakier version of my triple fudge Oreo crunch cookies.  

Because cake mix!

For the triple chips I used white chocolate chips + Snowcaps + milk chocolate Hershey's baking melts. I used those chocolate discs to make the perfect, chocolatey layers in my brown butter bourbon chocolate chip cookies... and I am completely obsessed.

Just look at those cakey centers! I love all the sprinkles that end up in the dough. It's so festive and makes me want to celebrate... well, anything.  

A tip: 1/2 cup of Snowcaps = 1 (3.1 ounce) box. Maybe if I'd known this I wouldn't have so many movie theater candy boxes lying around...

I totally would.

Live life: put Snowcaps in your cookies, see The Great Gatsby, and hold me accountable! Let's make this summer count.

Triple Chocolate Cake Batter Cookies {With Snowcaps!}

Printable Recipe

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chocolate boxed cake mix (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Triple Chocolate Fudge)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used Hershey's Milk Chocolate Baking Melts)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup Snowcaps candy (1 3.1 ounce box)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, chocolate cake mix, cocoa, and baking soda. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the softened butter, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Mix in the eggs one at a time and the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and Snowcaps.

Chill the dough for at least 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Scoop chilled dough into rounded tablespoons using a cookie scoop and place on a lightly greased or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Keep remaining dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake with. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes. The centers will still appear soft, but the cookies will set as they cool. 

Allow cookies to cool on baking mat for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Brown Butter White Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies.

Two things. 

1. It's time to fall in love {again} with oatmeal cookies. 

2. This is my last post involving brown butter. I have a new love... and it's coming soon.

Something about summer makes me crave oatmeal cookies. I know it's still spring, but I've already baked with marshmallow Peeps and pastel-colored chocolates so I feel like it's time we just jump right into this summer thing. I'm looking ahead to hours of True Blood, hot days in flow, short dresses, grilled pizzas, baked sugar cookie peaches, and just about as many kettlecorn dinners/strawberry margaritas as I can get away with. Starting... now. 

And oatmeal cookies. Because I may have finally found the perfect one.

These are the best oatmeal cookies I have ever made because they're so unlike traditional oatmeal cookies. No flat cookies, chocolate chips, or raisins here. Just crispy edges, thick, chewy centers, that rich brown butter flavor, extra-large chunks of sweet, melty white chocolate, and a sprinkle of sugary salt.

For these cookies I shattered two Ghiradelli white chocolate baking bars into perfect, fat cookie-baking chunks. Real chunks of white chocolate are just infinitely better than vanilla-flavored chips... and so is breaking chocolate against your countertop on a particularly stressful day. 

Puppies help too.

I talked about brown butter + dark brown sugar + oatmeal when I made s'mores oatmeal cookie cups... and it definitely involved the words "a meant-to-be situation." And it truly is. The nutty brown butter gives the oatmeal a deep, rich flavor... like toffee and caramel and butter and buttermilk pancakes. All together. All in your cookie. 

Real quick: let's talk about sugar. 

Have you ever had a salted caramel mocha from Starbucks? It's a fall thing. They sprinkle crunchy-sweet turbinado sugar and chunky bits of sea salt on top of their caramel and whipped cream. It's perfect and it's dreamy and this is that. On a cookie. 

Just sprinkle it on! The salt helps balance the sweetness from the rich white chocolate and the sugar adds a light, sweet crunch to an otherwise soft, chewy cookie.

Sugar + salt. Just another simple thing that makes these cookies absolutely irresistible/something to fall in love with.

And... brown butter: it's a wrap! Now is the time for new things (and an oatmeal cookie or two). Let's make it happen.  

Brown Butter White Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons granulated or coarse sugar + 1 tablespoon sea salt for sprinkling 

Prep. Line two baking sheets with a baking mat or spray with baking spray; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together the 2 tablespoon sugar and 1 tablespoon sea salt for sprinkling on your cookies.

Brown. First, brown the butter by melting it in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. The butter will begin to bubble and (after about 7-8 minutes) will foam and then quickly after, turn a golden brown with amber specks (for more information on how to brown butter click here). Immediately remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Place in the refrigerator until cool to the touch

Mix. In a large bowl, whisk the oats, flour, baking soda and salt together. 

In the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cooled brown butter and vanilla extract on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the granulated sugar and dark brown sugar and beat until combined. 

Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in the eggs one at a time. Gradually add the oat mixture. Stir in the white chocolate chunks. 

Bake. Scoop dough 2 tablespoons at a time onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with a pinch of sugar-salt mixture, then bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Cookies should be golden around the edges, but appear under-done in the centers (they'll set as they cool).

Remove from oven and let cookies cool 2 minutes on sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Source: Barely adapted from Shauna Sever's Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies, as found in her book Pure Vanilla