Cookies I’m Drooling Over

Finals/ pre-finals week this year is kicking/ kicked my butt. It really snuck up on me (Also Google is telling me “snuck” isn’t a word – am I that tired?). Normally I am up to my eyes in cookie dough by now!

I did make a batch of cookie dough bites for a party last weekend. The consistency turned out a little different – but they were still damn good. Guys, I actually baked them this time. And they were very well received (also, I think beer makes cookies go down even easier, but that’s a story for another day).

I plan to launch into full baking mode when I head home for break. In the meantime, I thought I’d compile a list of cookie recipes that I’ve been drooling over lately. Be warned, you may get extremely hungry by the end of this post.

1. Flourless Chocolate Coconut Drops via Shutterbean

I’ve been on an intense coconut and chocolate kick lately. And by that I mean I finished off a batch of this chocolate coconut granola in maybe three days.

2. Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies via Tartelette

These are so cute looking! And a little challenging looking. Definitely going to be giving them a shot, though.

3. Gooey Butter Cookies via See You In The Morning

Apparently they taste like “baked cream cheese frosting.” I’ll leave it at that.

4. Peanut Butter, Pretzel, and Brownie Thumbprint Cookies from Top With Cinnamon

And these are a few of my favorite thiiiiings.

5. Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookies via Eat, Live, Run

New twist on an old favorite. Especially awesome for the cookie butter obsessed (not that we are here, or anything crazy like that). Also I love all of Jenna’s baked goods!

6. Molasses Triple Chocolate Cookies via Averie Cooks

I’ve it before and I’ll say it again – Molasses is the most underrated sweetener.

7. Pumpkin Gingerdoodles via Culinary Concoctions

I literally laughed out loud when I first saw this because the idea of combining two types of cookies this way had never crossed my mind. I’m betting the result is brilliant.

8. Pomegranate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies via Two Peas and their Pod

These made the list because 1) I recently rekindled my love affair with white chocolate, and 2) I finally learn how to de-pomegranate a pomegranate.

Happy Christmas Baking!

**In case it’s not obvious enough, none of these pictures are mine! They were taken by the far more talented bloggers who posted the recipes originally. Click the recipe name to go to the recipe itself by the original poster!

GUEST POST: Cookie Butter Fudge

Hey! Kyle here. Devoted readers of this blog will know me as Dana’s frequently mentioned boyfriend. She’s a name-dropper, that one. Besides, I’ve already met both of you. Anyway, I’ve been saying pretty much since Dana and I met last year that I would contribute a guest post to Anything But Ranch, and in the interest of not making myself a liar, here we are.

Recently, I realized that A) I had not yet attempted to make cookie butter fudge and B) I, somewhat atypically, already had every ingredient of a new recipe on hand. I was seconds away from excitedly texting Dana when I was struck by the idea to make it as a surprise for her. While she and I often cook together and for one another, the lion’s share of the sweets go from her kitchen straight into my face. I thought it might be nice for her to come over after a long day of mastering witchcraft (trust me, I’ve seen her differential equations textbook and that is exactly what she is doing) and enjoy a little reward. You know, besides getting to spend time with me.

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Anyway, in terms of deliciousness to effort ratio, this fudge was off the charts. You don’t need any fancy gadgets or esoteric ingredients. Hell, you barely need a functional kitchen, or much skill therein. Boiling milk can be messy if you heat it too quickly and/or take your eyes off of it for a while, but you could even cut that step out if you have a can of sweetened condensed milk lying around.

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I didn’t, so I boiled milk and sugar in a small saucepan. Since I used 2 percent rather than whole, I added a bit of butter to replace the lost fat. This is fudge, people. Dana works magic with her crazy hippie voodoo, and I almost always love the results, but some foods just weren’t meant to be healthy. In a similar spirit, I added the optional cup of chocolate chips, though I went with white chocolate based on personal preference and what I had in the pantry.

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From there, it was a simple matter of combining the newly condensed milk with cookie butter and vanilla. I poured the mixture into a small, greased baking dish, drizzled melted chips on top, sprinkled in the secret ingredient and put it in the fridge to set. Half an hour later, voila!

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Obviously, I was too excited to take a picture before I cut a piece out for myself, but I was right to be. First time making fudge: definitely a success. First time posting: Also yes.

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

When I was a kid I was all about chocolate chip pancakes. Nothing beat stumbling out my room half awake on a Saturday morning to the smell on pancakes.

As we got older, my sister mastered the art of pancakes. It’s funny because even then I was the food obsessed one, but I could never seem to get pancakes to turn out well.

Since I moved out on my own, I’ve still avoided making pancakes. The whole flipping thing- getting the time right and not making a mess out of the thing you’re flipping- was always just a little much. But I decided to give it another shot, and I am so glad I did.

I found this recipe via foodgawker a month or so ago. The first time through Kyle and I made them together (he flipped). Yesterday morning, I successfully made them on my own! Not only is this recipe vegan, but it’s pretty much fat free and the base is whole wheat flour. It also uses almond meal (which is great since I’m still working through the almond meal I bought months ago).

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
(adapted from this recipe)
1 c whole wheat flour
2 tbsp almond meal
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 c apple sauce
1/2 c almond milk
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
lemon juice

1. Combine flour, almond meal, and cornstarch in a small bowl
2. Combine apple sauce, almond milk, and molasses in a medium bowl.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth.
4. Mix in cinnamon and vanilla.
5. Add baking soda with lemon juice (the lemon juice makes the soda fizz)
6. Cook desired sized pancakes on an oiled skillet over medium heat

Cinnamon Apple Topping
-2 small apples, diced
-cinnamon
-1-2 tbsp brown sugar
-1 tsp coconut oil

1. Add coconut oil to a small pan, heat over low-medium heat
2. When the oil has melted, and the apples to the small along with a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon
3. Cook apples until soft, lower heat and add sugar. Leave on the burner for 2-3 minutes.
4. Pour over pancakes

Why Hello November

It’s cool that you’re here- I mean, veg head or not I love thanksgiving. But hot damn did you sneak up on me. All through October I was convinced you’d never get here.

November means soup and chili and tea. And while I hate the cold, I do love comfort food and fuzzy blankets (I’m also more at peace with it this year since I’m not living in an attic/ remodeled porch. Oh, college).

Normally when I go this long without posting it’s because I’m not taking enough pictures of what I’m cooking. I have been taking pictures- but I keep documenting the mediocre recipes instead of the freaking awesome ones. So in an effort to keep my blog from feeling too neglected, here are some delicious things that have been concocted in my kitchen recently.

*Pictures do not belong to me. Click on them to check out the original recipe!

If you’re trying anything at home and have a question, please feel free to ask! Nothing makes me happier then answering cooking questions! (Except maybe eating cookie dough bites, but I digress).

1. Garlicky Baked Butternut Squash from Oh She GlowsI recently rediscovered the wonders of butternut squash. It’s super cheap and kind of hard to really mess up. The hardest part is chopping it up (which is really only hard because I have sh*tty knives). This recipe was so good I was eating it cold from the refrigeration as a late night snack.

2. Balsamic Reduction

There’s no real pretty picture for this one (vinegar is vinegar, let’s be real). Picture aside though, it is by and far my favorite sauce to have on hand. My favorite thing to put it on is rice. And it takes five minutes and two ingredients to make. I learned how here.

3. Vegan 3-Bean Chili from Eating for England

I’m not sure what else to say about this except that is is insanely delicious. I ramped up the spices a little, and used white beans instead of kidney beans. Definitely the most filling and satisfying veggie chili I’ve ever had/made. Approved by two meat eaters as well!

5. Baked Apple Oatmeal from Yummy Mummy Kitchen

I bought a few two many apples on my last shopping trip, so I decided to rekindle my love affair with baked oatmeal. My apples were kind of small, so instead of baking the oatmeal in the apples I went with the 8×8 baking dish method. I used a mixture of molasses and honey instead of maple syrup. The flavor of the molasses worked so well with the apples! It’s such an underrated sweetener.

5. Reese’s Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cups from Chocolate Covered Katie

I am absolutely addicted to this. Both the pumpkin version above, and the more traditional ones. Something just feels better about eating chocolate made from three ingredients you put together yourself (which also means you can eat more of it, right??). But seriously, these take no time to make and are the perfect anytime treat!

Cookie Dough Bites (because that’s all you want anyway)

I got started with these the same way I got started with the peanut butter cookies. Fancy smancy baked goods are great, don’t get me wrong, but nothing beats a good chocolate chip cookie.

Late one night I was browsing through articles on The Kitchn (I’ve probably said this before, but check out this site- they literally have articles are everything kitchen/cooking/baking) and I came across their All-Time Favorite: 9 Scrumptious Chocolate Chip CookiesMy obsession fondness for whole wheat things drew me to Joy the Bakers Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

 

I swear to God this looked better on my camera…

I followed Joy’s recipe pretty much to the T. Changes included a flax egg, and a peanut butter swirl to about a third of the dough.

The very best part of this recipe was christening my birthday present Kyle (seriously, how well does he know me?). It works beautifully. I thought it was interesting that instead of the mixer moving around (like in a Kitchen Aide) the bowl is on a track and the momentum of the beaters moves it around that track. Cool, huh? (kitchengadgetgeek)

Cookie dough! So. Friggin’ Good.

This recipe is designed so that the dough is frozen in balls and then baked at 350 degrees whenever you feel like it.

But after tasting it at room temperature, I figured I should give it a try while frozen (What if they taste totally different – only one way to find out!). And then I realized… I replaced the egg, so why bake them at all.

So I didn’t. And if you use a flax (or chia!) egg, I think you should eat them raw too. Only one thing beats a warm chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven- raw cookie dough!

 

 

Peanut Butter Cookie Sammitches

Sometime last week it occurred to me that I couldn’t remember the last time I made a batch of normal cookies. I mean, sure I made breakfast cookies a few weeks ago, and I made a few different batches during the Pantry Project but that was a while ago. And I really don’t know when I last made peanut butter cookies.

In high school, I went through a stage where I made peanut butter cookies every other week. I’m not sure why I was so obsessed with them (maybe just because they were mad delicious). I really need to write that recipe down the next time I visit my parents… I mostly remember tgis particular recipe didn’t call for flour so I was mystified that the cookies turned out like, well cookies, the first time I made them.

Since I didn’t have that recipe, I settled on one that I pinned a while ago. I also found a container of funfetti chocolate frosting in my cabinet (ie. chocolate frosting with sprinkles in a container attached to the lid), so I figured sandwich cookies were in order.

Being that I’m perpetually on a health/vegan kick, I was super excited to find a recipe I pinned months ago for Soft Whole Wheat Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies.

The first substitution I made of course was the one to make them non-vegan. Oh well. I love honey and I didn’t have maple syrup (maybe I should have tried molasses? Next time.). And since I do love honey I replaced 2/3 the maple syrup with it, and the the last third with sugar. I ended up using about a 1/4 c of white flour instead of all whole wheat (I didn’t want them to be mad dense). The flax seed is pictured because I assumed an egg replacer was required (I even went and made it….then reread the recipe).

Note my awkward almond-coconut milk. Weirdest milk product I’ve ever bought- it wasn’t bad, just kind of strange. The peanut butter did a solid job masking its semi-strange taste.

You can also see the doodle on my bedroom door if you look closely :p (yes, my bedroom is attached to my kitchen and it makes mornings SO much better).

Tasty dough! With sprinkles from the funfetti icing. I think I was procrastinating when making these, so I conveniently forced myself to be productive while the dough chillled (Also- knowing fresh baked cookies are in your immediate future made doing work way easier).

Divided, pressed, sugar and salt sprinkled dough. The press/sugar/salt part was really fun. Seriously, I usually hate putting-dough-on-cookie-sheet part, but not this time. Not sure why this picture is so orange (I tried taking it several times – no dice).

Hot, fresh cookies! sans icing.

 I kind of love how this picture turned out. And they tasted as good as they look here! By themselves, I don’t think they were quite sweet as I normally like my cookies. However, the low level of sweetness allowed them to balance the extreme sweetness of the icing extremely well.

And now I still have half a container of chocolate icing in my fridge. There may be cupcakes in my future…

Life changing, sugar coma inducing, Cookie Butter Funfetti Bars

I love baking for other people. Nothing beats the look on someone’s face when they bite into something you crafted with them in mind.

When I first saw this recipe for Averie’s Cookie Butter Funfetti Bars, I immediately thought of Kyle. He probably loves cookie butter more than me (which is impressive). When his birthday came around a little over month later, I knew exactly what I wanted to make for him.

Ok, so why is this important now? Well, it turns out they were really, really, good. And by that I mean, so good Kyle decided that we needed to whip up another batch. So for the second weekend in a row, instead of going to the bar on Saturday night, we partied in the kitchen (funfetti = party, right?). 

We left out the coconut (Kyle hates the texture) and I found toffee bits in my cabinet to add in its place. Averie’s recipe also calls for butterscotch chips (not peanut butter). When we were checking out I realized I’d grabbed the wrong bag (after telling Kyle he grabbed the wrong one – whoops!).  So we added a peanut butter twist to the bars as well.

We mixed up the cake mix, egg, and butter. I got it all over my clothes, unsurprisingly. Then I spread it as evenly as possible over a very greased, foil cover pan (spreading cookie dough is definitely easier said than done, for the record). Next I sprinkled the dough with chips.

Meanwhile, Kyle combined the sweetened condensed milk and cookie butter. This stuff on its on is disgusting delicious.

Then he poured the mixture over the chips. We put in the oven for 26 minutes (according the recipe’s recommended time for gooey bars). And after a very long almost have hour later, our creation was done!

These were designed for the people with insane sweet tooths (like us!). They’re kind of like  Netflix (I usually say crack here but I can vouch first hand for how addicting Netflix is).

And what better way to get into the Fall spirit then with a sugar coma! Now I just need to start baking with pumpkin and candy corn.