Chewy, Buttery Chocolate Chip Cookies with Walnuts

I’ve baked plenty of cookies on this blog and when I had the craving for some chocolate chip cookies, I was about to whip up my staple White & Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip cookies. The thing with these cookies though? They’re a more cakey consistency, which I love, but sometimes you just want an ooey gooey, chewy cookie… So, I decided to modify my recipe a bit and hoped I would get the cookie that my heart desired. I tried, I succeeded! Now I will share this modified recipe with you.

First, I knew I just wanted one chocolate (semi-sweet chocolate) and I dug out some walnuts from the pantry. Swapping out the baking powder for baking soda was a must for that soft n’ chewy consistency. Then, in my last stitch effort to get it right, I modified the sugar amounts a bit. My original recipe called for equal amounts of white and brown sugar, 1 cup each; however, I figured more brown sugar and less white sugar would definitely create that perfect cookie for me!

A few scribbles in my recipe book and I was ready to get down to cookie business.

The ingredients for 36 cookies:
• 1 cup of butter, softened
• 1 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
• 3/4 cup of white sugar
• 1 tbs. vanilla extract
• 2 eggs
• 3 cups of flour (I used all purpose)
• 1/4 tsp. of salt
• 1 1/2 tsp. of baking soda
• 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1 cup chopped walnuts



In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set the bowl aside.

Cream together the two sugars and your softened butter. I used a standing mixer and had it on low/medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Pour in your vanilla extract and beat in one egg at a time, making sure you do not over beat the eggs.

Add about 1/4 of the dry ingredients into the creamy mixture, then beat until almost incorporated, then repeat with the 1/4 of the dry ingredients and so on. Once you have poured all of the dry ingredients into the creamy batter, stop beating once all of the ingredients are just combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure a consistently combined mixture.

Now put some plastic wrap over the bowl that contains the batter and place into the fridge. This will create a firm dough that will be easy to roll and will keep the dough from flattening in the oven. Keep the dough in the fridge for about an hour, but you can keep them in the fridge overnight as well, if you forget about the dough or get distracted by other things (like I did…. oops).



Alright, the dough is firm and ready to roll! Preheat your oven to 350F.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet or use parchment paper.

I rolled my dough into 1-1.5 inch balls and spaced them about 2 inches apart from one another.

Pop them in the oven for 10 – 11 minutes, you will see that the bottom edges are a lovely golden brown.

Take the cookies out, allow them to cool and you have some delightfully chewy, buttery chocolate chip cookies.

Quora seems to think these are puppy friendly… they’re not.



I believe I may retire my old recipe and stick with this one! I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. 🙂

Food in New York – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

During our time in New York, we ate out… a lot. It’s the thing you do when you’re in New York. There’s an absurd number of eating establishments, it’s amazing to have the luxury of trying something new, but it can also be overwhelming (and expensive). Considering we were in New York for almost two weeks, we obviously didn’t go to spiffy restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day or we would be bankrupt.

I decided to keep track of the food we had and give my opinion of same. Hopefully this will be useful to those heading over to the concrete jungle in the near future. I apologize ahead of time for the lack of photos… ok, there are no photos… just food talk!

Birch Coffee – Chris and I both drank several lattes from Birch Coffee. Seriously one of the best lattes ever. You can taste the quality, reasonably priced and the staff was always genuinely friendly.

Angelo’s Pizza – We actually ordered from this pizza joint twice because it was super close to the apartment and was convenient for the snowy evenings. The first time we ordered a large pizza with half cheese and half everything, which we picked up and took back to the apartment. It was actually pretty good, but it was $20 for the large pizza (pretty steep).
The second experience was one of our last nights there and we didn’t want to go anywhere, so we ordered for delivery. We ordered a garden salad and a half cheese/half pepperoni pizza. It was not nearly as tasty, the pizza was a small pizza for $17. We meant to order the large, but apparently there was a miscommunication. Either way, $17 for a small pizza is outrageous. The salad was just not good. Overall an inconsistent experience.

Fusia Asian Cuisine – Chris had the Pad Thai and I had the Chinese Fried Rice with Chicken. Both of us agreed that the food was bland. It was unfortunate because the service was great, everyone was very friendly and attentive. We ordered the food and it was brought to our table within 3 minutes, which was a tad concerning to begin with. The food was not bad by any means, just not what we were hoping for. We only tried those two items though, I noticed another table ordered soup that smelled incredible and they seemed to enjoy it. I wouldn’t mind trying the place again just to see if the other items on the menu are more promising.

Sojourn – We made reservations at this place for 9:00 p.m. on a Friday night, even with reservations, we stood in a massive crowd in the entrance and bar area for 25 minutes. However, once we were seated, the magic happened. Probably one of the best meals we’ve had in New York.
It’s mostly tapas and small dishes, so we ordered a few things to try together. We ordered the Burrata, Ricotta and Swiss Chard Ravioli and Pesto Gnocchi. First, the Burrata… ooooh, the Burrata… it was delicious. It was served over a roasted tomato, almond pesto and basil oil puree, Chris and I agreed that we would bathe in the puree if given the opportunity. The Ravioli was very flavorful and creamy, I would have eaten the entire plate if Chris didn’t jump in and grab a few bites. The Gnocchi was also very soft, tasty and decadent. Highly recommend this place.

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria – This was our Valentine’s Day brunch spot. We could not have chosen a better place. We started off with some coffee, which was unbelievably good and then we moved on to mimosas. The mimosas clearly included freshly squeezed juice, which made them even tastier! We ordered the bread basket, which came with three different types of bread, jelly, butter and goat’s milk brie, all of which were tasty and fresh.
For my brunch, I got the Eggs Al Forno, which included amazing, fresh eggs and prosciutto. Chris had the Waffles with a fresh fruit compote on top. We were both very impressed with this establishment. Not only was the food, drinks and coffee incredible, but the restaurant was beautiful, rustic and modern and the service was great. I definitely recommend checking this place out!

Tony ‘The Dragon’ Dragonas – Holy delicious Mediterranean food truck! This food truck is always nestled on the same corner (62nd Street and Madison Ave). My boyfriend goes here almost every day for his lunch because it’s ridiculously close to his office and ridiculously good. I got the chicken platter, while my boyfriend has tried everything else. We both agree that anything you select from this truck will blow your mind. The grilled chicken on the platter was seasoned beautifully, grilled perfectly, juicy, tender, everything grilled chicken should be. The rice and veggies that came alone with the platter were top notch as well. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, get all the food from Tony’s.

The Plaza Food Hall – This place is a great spot to hit for lunch, there are several options to choose from and everything looks great! Chris and I tried some flatbread sandwiches from Piada, which were so fresh and tasty! The seating area is very cute as well, rustic bar with a chalk board sort of feel. The best part about the flatbreads was that they had few ingredients, but it didn’t matter because the few ingredients were very high quality, plus you could tell that the flatbread was freshly made. Definitely check out Piada at the Food Hall.
On another day, we gave Ora di Pasta a shot. This place didn’t leave us as dazzled as Piada did. It’s basically a fancier, pricier pasta version of Subway (create your own pasta combination). Neither of us were impressed with our dishes, everything was quite bland and not special.

Red 58 – This place was quite convenient for us because it was on the same block as our apartment. We fell into this place at about 9:30pm on Valentine’s Day. Chris and I already had a lovely brunch, a stroll around the city and come relaxing at the apartment, but then we decided that going somewhere for a few drinks would be great. We walked by the few spiffy looking bars/restaurants on 6th Avenue, but they were completely packed. We were thinking our idea to grab drinks at this time on Valentine’s Day may not happen, when we took a look at Red 58… only a handful of people were in there. At first, this seemed like it could be bad, I mean, the one restaurant in New York that was not packed?! Not to mention, the entire interior is black, red, dark and romantic, I would have assumed it would be the place to be. Either way, our concern for it being almost empty faded away quickly when we realized how nice it will be to actually hear each other speak in a New York restaurant! So, we grabbed a high table in the bar area, grabbed some cocktails and ordered the truffle fries. We ended up staying there for a good 2 – 2.5 hours, just enjoying our drinks, eating some truffle fries and talking sweet nothings. It was great! The drinks were moderately priced (for New York) and the fries were delicious.
We decided to check it out again on a different night, hoping that their entrees would be good too…. eh, not so much. Chris had the Red 58 burger and I had the buffalo chicken salad. Chris described his burger as bland, plus it only had two toppings. My salad was just not good. It was big chicken strips drenched in buffalo sauce on top of a spring salad with a vinaigrette dressing. The vinaigrette dressing just did not work with the buffalo, it was an odd combo. So, this place is nice for drinks and appetizers, but we were not impressed with our entrees.

810 Deli Cafe – This is a nifty little place. Usually a cafe with 100 items on the menu scares me because it just feels complicated and unnecessary. This place proved me wrong. We went here a handful of times because it was priced pretty well, had a big variety of items to choose from and it was all tasty! Everything tasted fresh and we were never disappointed in any of the items we were ordered during our visit.

Fika – Ok, so before anyone brings it up… I’m aware that this place mostly where you go to get the chocolate balls. I know this, but I didn’t get the chocolate balls (I don’t have a good excuse as to why!). I only came here a couple times for croissants and lattes, so this “review” is only based off of those things. First, the latte is very good, not Birch good, but good! The croissants are great, very tasty, flaky and soft, everything a croissant should be. The one thing that kills me about this place is how expensive it is. One morning, Chris and I got small lattes and one croissant each…. $17.00. Rough.

Roberta’s Pizza – So, there’s a story as to why we ventured all the way out to Brooklyn to try the pizza at Roberta’s. When Chris and I lived in Northern California, we discovered a restaurant called Oak & Rye, which is the best pizza either of us have ever had. Chris discovered that one of the chef’s used to work at Roberta’s, but then joined a new team in Los Gatos to cook at Oak & Rye. Considering Roberta’s is essentially the mother of Oak & Rye, we had to try it!
First, once we received our array of pizza’s, it was clear that this was related to Oak & Rye. There’s just a certain look and smell that Oak & Rye always had, Roberta’s was the same deal… basically, we were excited. Now, the only pizza that was the exact same pizza as Oak & Rye, was the Margherita pizza. Every other pizza had it’s own funky name and toppings. We tried the Lamb of God, La Dusseldorf, Speckenwolf, Margherita and Good Girl. They were all very unique and tasty, but… not as good as Oak & Rye. 🙂

Melt Shop – I didn’t discover this place until the second to last day that we were in town and I’m super bummed I didn’t find it earlier! It was reasonably priced, cute place and yummy food. It’s basically a fancy grilled cheese sort of joint. I ordered the maple bacon grilled cheese sandwich and the tomato soup, both were scrum-diddily-umptious! The maple bacon bacon was sweet and paired so nicely with the mix of cheeses in the sandwich. The tomato soup was clearly made in house and was quite tasty. I would have loved to have tried the other items on the menu!

Cafe Oliviero – This was my last meal in New York. I was packing up all of our luggage at the apartment and realized I needed some breakfast, but didn’t want to go out in the cold again! So, I ordered an egg sandwich and a coffee from Cafe Oliviero for delivery. Ten minutes after ordering, they were at the door. Super fast service! The egg sandwich wasn’t bad, but it filled the void in my stomach. The coffee was super hot, which I found surprising for a delivered coffee! Was the coffee great? Not really, but again, it filled a void. This place wasn’t very memorable, so I probably won’t be ordering from here again.

Overall, the New York trip was a success! We had some great food, drinks and coffee. There will be some go-to staples that we will be checking out every time we got to New York (Birch Coffee, Tony’s); however, I cannot wait to try other restaurants! What are some of your favorite places to eat/drink in New York? Restaurant recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

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Neapolitan Cupcakes

I was feeling particularly cupcake deprived, when I realized that the Oven Mitt hasn’t seen cupcakes for a while! I knew the exact cupcakes I wanted to bake too… well, sort of. I’ve had “Neapolitan Cupcakes” in my head for ages, I just wasn’t sure which route I wanted to go with them. Vanilla cupcakes with strawberry filling and chocolate frosting? No, I’ve already made vanilla cupcakes with strawberry filling. Strawberry cupcakes? Chocolate cupcakes? I couldn’t decide, when it finally hit me. I was going to put vanilla and chocolate into one cupcake, with strawberry frosting. This recipe made 12 cupcakes.
Neapolitan Cupcakes

Ingredients for vanilla cupcake portion:
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup butter, softened
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup flour
• 34 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350F

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl, then add the egg and vanilla extract.
Vanilla portion

In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the cream mixture, pour in the milk and beat until smooth.

Now whip up the chocolate batter!

Ingredients for the chocolate cupcake portion:
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 cup flour
• 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into one medium bowl.

One at a time, add the egg, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Beat the batter on medium speed until smooth.

In a small sauce pan, boil the 1/2 cup of water and add the cocoa powder to create a chocolate sauce. Add the chocolate sauce to the cake batter and mix well.

Prepare your cupcake liners in a muffin pan or a regular pan. Pour the vanilla cupcake into the liner about 1/3 of the way, then pour in the chocolate batter another 1/3.
Combine vanilla and chocolate

Bake the cupcakes for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While your cupcakes cool, it’s time to prepare the strawberry frosting!
Slice strawberries

Ingredients for strawberry frosting:
• 1 1/2 cups of sliced strawberries
• 1 cup butter
• 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 3 cups powdered sugar

Beat the strawberries in a blender on high for about a minute or until there’s no more large chunks.

Pour the blended strawberries into a sauce pan, bring them to a boil on medium heat.

While stirring often, continue to heat the strawberries in the sauce pan for about 20-25 minutes. The longer they reduce, the more of a fragrant strawberry taste you will have. The puree will end up being about half the amount that you originally poured in.

Once finished, set the strawberry puree aside to cool.

Sift powdered sugar
On medium/high speed, beat the butter in a mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar and the vanilla extract to the butter until just blended.

Reduced strawberries
Now pour about a teaspoon of the strawberry puree into the frosting mixture, then alternate with another cup of powdered sugar. Repeat until all ingredients are combined. If you desire a stiffer frosting, add more powdered sugar.

Frost your cooled cupcakes and you’re all set! I stored my cupcakes in the fridge to keep the strawberry frosting on point. 🙂
Flower-like

Lemon Bars

I have a thing for lemon. The vibrant color and the sour taste, especially when mixed in with some sweetness… my perfect dessert. You may have guessed this already with my previous lemon recipes, the vanilla cake with lemon curd, the lemon cupcakes with kiwi frosting, I just can’t get enough. I decided to go with a classic, the lemon bar!
Powder sugared up

Ingredients for the crust:
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 2 cups flour
• 1 tsp salt
Preparing the crust

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Mix all of the above ingredients together until well blended.
Crust

Pour the mixture into a 9×13-inch pan and press firmly to line the entire bottom of the pan.

So crumbly
Bake the crust in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool, while you create the lemon topping.
Press

Ingredients for the lemon topping:
• 4 eggs
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1/3 cup flour
• 4 lemons
• Powdered sugar (optional)

Whisk the eggs, sugar and flour together.

Only use the zest of 2 lemons, but squeeze the juice out of all 4 of the lemons.

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

Pour the mixture over the already semi-baked crust and smooth the surface with a spatula.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle some powdered sugar on top. Cut the bars as you like and serve!
So lemony

I put a lid on top of my 9×13-inch pan and left the bars at room temperature. They held up nicely, even after a few days. 🙂

Key Lime Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

It has felt like ages since I last baked some cookies. I have a feeling it’s the Summer heat, who wants to turn their oven on with these high temperatures? Well, the cookies aren’t going to bake themselves, so it has to be done!

If I was going to be baking, they weren’t going to be heavy and chocolatey. I wanted to experiment with a lighter, zestier cookie. Hmm, what do we have here? Some limes hanging out, these will do. What could possibly go well with limes? Hopefully white chocolate because that’s what I had and it sounded like it could be an interesting mix. 🙂
Lime Cookies

Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1 cup white sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 3/4 cup flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• Zest and Juice from 2 limes
• 1 cup of white chocolate chips

Start off by preheating the oven to 350F.

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Add in the eggs, zest and juice. Mix well.
Lime Zest

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.

Slowly add the dry ingredients into the lime mixture, until all is smooth and well blended.
Cookie Mixture

Mix in the white chocolate chips.

I placed my cookie dough in the freezer for about 20 minutes, just to make it easier to roll the dough into little balls.

I rolled the dough into balls and placed them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until you notice the very bottom edges turning light golden brown.

Allow to cool and enjoy!
Cookies in a jar

Mini Cheesecakes

I was brainstorming on some yummy, simple, Summer-friendly desserts, when it hit me… Cheesecake! I’ll be honest, I haven’t always been the biggest cheesecake fan. It confused me, cake should be fluffy and sweet! Not mushy and cheesy! I’ve given it a chance though and it’s been growing on me. It’s especially delicious when it’s made from scratch.

I’d have to say, the crust is my favorite part. I wanted to make sure to create the crust as well, no matter how tempting those little pre-made crusts at the grocery store are. I could’ve just made one full sized cake, but I thought the little mini’s would be more fun and Summer picnic/BBQ ready. This recipe made enough for 4 medium sized ramekins.

Ingredients for the Crust:
• 6 Full sized graham crackers
• 2 tbs sugar
• 3 tbs butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 325F.

If you have a food processor, place the graham crackers into it to create crumbs. Unfortunately, I don’t have one (yet), so I just put them into a Ziploc bag and punched them until they became crumbs. 🙂

Place the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter into a bowl and mix well.
Preparing graham cracker crust
Plop the cracker mixture into the ramekins, about 1/2 way in each. Press the mixture into the ramekins with your fingers, until the majority of the ramekin is “lined” with the cracker crust.
Pressed into ramekins
Place the little ramekins into a pan and put them in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.

Once they’re finished, remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

Ingredients for the Cheesecakes:
• 8oz pack of cream cheese, softened
• 2 tbs of lemon juice
• 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat on medium/high until smooth.
Cheesecake all mixed up
Pour the cheesecake mixture into the completely cooled graham cracker crusts.

Top with your favorite berries and enjoy!
Berries on top!
Just a tip, the ramekins I used came with lids as well. These little cheesecakes are even better when in the fridge for a few days!

White Chocolate Fruit Cups

This is the best time of year for fruit. The berries are leaving that amazing scent in the grocery store and I’m powerless against it! Good thing they’re dirt cheap. I loaded up on a ton of melons and berries, you name it, it’s in my fridge.

I wanted to put together a quick little treat that anyone could easily recreate and enjoy! No need to turn that hot oven on and it’s even a perfect dessert for a 4th of July get together.
Great for 4th of July

All you need is a few ingredients:

• Cup/bowl molds (I found these at Jo-Ann’s Craft Store)
• Chocolate chips, I chose white chocolate
• Your favorite fruits!

Prepare the molds by cleaning them out and drying completely.
Molds
Melt the chocolate chips, using either a double boiler or microwaving in 30 second intervals.
Plop o' chocolate
Plop a good glob of chocolate in the center of the molds and gently press the smaller mold on top. This will spread the chocolate throughout the entire cup/bowl mold. Unless you’re a master of measuring (I certainly am not), you will very likely have excess chocolate spread outside the mold. This isn’t a big deal as it will very easily break off once you remove the chocolate cups/bowls.
Ready for the fridge
Place the mold upside down and put it into the fridge until you notice the plastic becoming frosty. I left mine for about 2 hours, just to give them plenty of time.
As soon as I got the fruit out to cut, I took the molds out of the fridge and into the freezer.
Cut the fruit however you desire.
Easy to pop out
Take the molds out of the freezer and gently remove the top mold layer. The chocolate cup/bowls will pop out easily and you can take this time to break/cut off any excess chocolate on top.
Pack in the fruit!
Put the fruit inside and there you have a pretty, delicious little dessert!
Chocolate fruit cups