Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies + 5 Bake Sale Hits For the School Year

chocolatechipcookies-3975chocolatechipcookies-3973

My sister took refuge in baking long before I joined her.  While I retreated from our volatile family life with a book in hand, she baked.  Chocolate chip cookies, dozens at a time, made in our grandmother’s no frills kitchen.  And when my grandmother chirped “chocolate chip cookies again?!”, both a question and a criticism, she remained intent on producing another dozen of warm, gooey, crisp chocolate chip cookies.  Unwavering and focused at just 10 years of age.

Flour, baking soda, salt set aside in a small, banged up metal bowl.  Butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla mixed in a large, partially chipped glass bowl until fluffy, while a timeworn  hand-held mixer rested on a white and gold-speckled Formica countertop.  Ten year old hands eager to the add the chocolate chips and sample the raw dough.

She immersed herself in a simple formula, soothed by nearly the same, pleasing results every time.  Her quiet, almost mechanical process allowed for an escape from our uncertain reality.  Just three years her senior, I admired her peaceful focus from a distance, unable (or unwilling) to fully understand it.  And though I enjoyed every sweet bite, dozens after dozens, I never asked “chocolate chip cookies again?”  Unspoken air and a smile were enough.

Twenty-five years later and I bake for the same reasons she began baking: a refuge from that which we cannot control.  I should thank her.  And yet, once again, unspoken air and a smile seem to be enough.

Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies

A crisp and light chocolate chip cookie with the addition of a nut-free granola makes for a fun twist on a classic combo!

recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

3 cups of bread flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup or 2 sticks, unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 sugar

2 eggs, cold

1 tablespoon of milk (any kind)

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 + 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

1 cup of granola (Your favorite recipe, store-bought or the recipe listed below)

Directions:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Grab a medium bowl and whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it comes together as one.  Add brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat for an additional 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula after each addition.  Add the vanilla.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour and 1 tablespoon of milk.  Do not over mix!  Stir in granola and chocolate chips.  Place dough in an air-tight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375F.  Scoop out a 1/4 cup of cookie dough with your hands and roughly shape it into a ball. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each cookie.  Continue with remaining dough.  Bake until a light golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool completely.  Cookies stored in an air-tight container will last up to 2 days.  I think these cookies are best the day they are made.  Serve with a cold glass of milk.  Enjoy!

Nut-free Granola

recipe adapted from Cookie + Kate’s Healthy Granola

makes about 6 cups

Ingredients:

4 cups old fashion oats

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup millet, rinsed

1/2 wheat germ

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl combine, oats, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, millet and wheat germ.  Add the oil, maple syrup and vanilla.  Stir until every oat is covered in the oil and maple syrup.

Spread granola evenly across prepared baking sheet.  Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  Allow the granola to cool completely, undisturbed,  on the sheet pan.  Break into chunks and store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.  Enjoy!

5 Bake Sale Hits You Should Check Out!

Looking for a gluten-free cookie option for your next bake-sale?  Head to My Gluten-Free Kitchen for a chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe that will win the hearts of all kids.

Brownies are always a hit.  Head to Alexandra’s Kitchen for Fine Cooking’s rich, fudgy brownies recipe.

Cupcakes make people smile.  Head to Sweetest Kitchen for a chocolate cupcakes with fudge frosting recipe that is sure to pull in some fast cash!

Sugar cookie bars with lemon cream cheese frosting.  Just make them.  Head to Two Peas and Their Pod for the recipe.

Check out Baked By Rachel’s snickerdoodle blondie bars.  They are on my must make list!

 

 

 

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe + 5 Cookies for Dad!

_KH10069

2 Letters on Father’s Day

Dad,

Happy Father’s Day. I’m sorry we won’t see you tomorrow. I hope you enjoy the day. The weather forecasts says sunny and 80 degrees; just the kind of day you like. You should take some time for yourself. Go golfing! I know you will miss Papa tomorrow. (I know you miss him everyday.) It’s ok. He misses you,too. After you finish a round of golf, have a cold Budweiser, relax and know that we love you. Now that I have 3 little ones of my own, I get it. I get how hard you tried. I get that it didn’t all work out the way you hoped. I get your choices. I know you did the best you could and I know it wasn’t easy. Thank you for trying everyday. Thank you for those times when you chose patience over anger. Do you remember when I arrived at South Station after leaving Gettysburg College with no real plans? You gave me a hug and said we will sign you up for classes at a local school tomorrow. When I graduated from college, you were first one to snap a picture of me in my cap and gown. On my wedding day, before you walked me down the aisle, you jokingly said “we can head to the airport now, if you don’t want to go through with this.” I know you were trying to make me laugh, and I also know if I said I can’t do this, we would have left for the airport. Each time I called to tell you I was pregnant, and months later, in labor, I could hear tears in your voice. You were proud, excited and scared all at the same time. Proud. Excited. Scared. I get it! I feel this every day with my goosies.

Thanks for all of it Dad.

xo Kel

_KH10011_KH10032

Bubba,

Happy Father’s Day! Six and a half years ago I gave birth to our daughter and you became a father for the first time. You were proud, excited and scared. The first night in the hospital you held her and watched football while I slept. Little did you know you now had a sports watching buddy for life. Yes, I think she will watch football with you when she is teenager. She may tell you she doesn’t like football, but she loves you, so she’ll stick around for a bit before something or someone pulls her away. Enjoy it. Oh and please keep taking her to the daddy/daughter dance for as long as she lets you. She talked about it for days! When she becomes a hormonal teenager, take her out to dinner. She may not talk to you, so just sit with her. Someday, she’ll get you tried.

As much as our girl needs you, so do our two beautiful boys. I don’t quite understand how boys operate, but you do. You get them; I am so grateful one of us does! I’ll look to you for advice when they become teenagers. As teenagers, I am sure they will push you away, but remember they need you.

If you take one thing away from this letter let it be this: we love you. we need you. we appreciate you. I hope you enjoy our beach day tomorrow. When we get home, take some time for yourself. You deserve it. Oh and have a cookie or two or five. I made your favorite.

Love,

Me

Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

recipe barely adapted from Toll House Cookie Recipe

makes 3 dozen

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2  tsp. kosher salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups super melt chocolate chips

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt . Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat butter, sugar, brown sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice.  Add the vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg.

Slowly, beat in flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate the dough in an air-tight container for a few hours or up to a week. You can also bake the dough immediately, but I find the cookies come out better if the dough rests for a few hours.

Scoop the dough into rounded tablespoons and place on your prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. If you want a chewy cookie, allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet , if not, allow the cookies to cool for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will last for several days stored in an air tight container, but you will probably want to eat them right away. So, enjoy warm with a cold glass of milk!_KH10063

 5 Cookie Recipes for Dad

If Dad likes dark chocolate make him Salted Dark Chocolate Truffle Cookies. You’ll find the recipe over at How Sweet It Is. I made these cookies last Christmas and Bubba loved them!

Dad is a coconut lover? No worries. Smitten Kitchen has a recipe for coconut brown butter cookies. Wow, they look amazing! I really need to try this recipe.

Bubba loves cookies, all cookies really. Another favorite cookie of his is Meyer lemon crinkle cookies. Yum! White on Rice Couple has the recipe for you.

Looking for the best oatmeal cookie recipe? I found it on the Pioneer Woman Cooks!

How about a sugar cookie dipped in chocolate? I have the recipe for you.

 

Mini Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches with Sprinkles

_KH10071

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”  – Henry James

I love summer in New England. I can’t imagining spending a summer anywhere else. Long days, cold ocean water,  dinner on the beach, lobster rolls and fried claims. Strawberry and peach picking, after dinner walks,  the Pops 4th of July celebration on the Esplanade,  eating outside in the North End, Red Sox games, cold beer and ice cream, of course. When I saw a recipe by Martha Stewart for mini chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches I had to try it. Bubba and the kids love ice cream. I tried to make them a bit healthier by adding white whole wheat flour, but come on, who am I kidding?

_KH10056I read Joanne Chang’s Flour cookbook a few months ago. I highly recommend it. The recipes are fantastic and she gives great baking tips. One of her baking tips is to beat the sugar and butter for about 6-8 minutes on medium speed. You will know you have creamed the butter and sugar long enough when the mixture goes from yellow and sandy to ivory and fluffy. If you are using brown sugar and butter, the mixture should go from muddy brown to a pale brown.

_KH10065

I love raw cookie dough. I try not to eat it in front of the kids because I don’t want them to eat a raw egg but dam it is hard to control myself when this is staring at me.

kh7

Mini Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches with Sprinkles

slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Makes about 12

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup of white whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup greek yogurt (I used 2%. Full Fat greek yogurt or sour cream will work here as well.)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cups sprinkles or mini chocolate chips or chocolate jimmies aka chocolate sprinkles. It’s a New England thing.

1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 6-8 minutes, scraping down the sides half way through. Add greek yogurt, egg, and vanilla extract. Continue to beat until smooth about 2 minutes.

With the  mixer on the lowest speed,  gradually add flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Drop 1 rounded tablespoon full of dough on cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. You will end up with 25 to 30 cookies.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Pour sprinkles or chocolate chips on a plate. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of  ice cream between 2 cookies and press gently. Roll the sides of each sandwich in sprinkles or chocolate chips. If the ice cream is melting, place sandwiches in freezer until firm enough to roll in sprinkles or chocolate chips. Transfer sandwiches to baking sheets and freeze until firm; about 2-4 hours depending on your freezer. Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap. They can be frozen for up to two weeks. Enjoy!