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Chocolate & Cherry Oatmeal Espresso Cookies

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I wasn’t lying when I said that we make oatmeal cookies all the time. They serve as a great base for many different flavors and can be customized with consistent results. They take less than 15 minutes from bowl to mouth (if you don’t mind burning your tongue) and only dirty one bowl.

This particular flavor combination was inspired by a vacation we took to Seattle. I had heard a lot about Macrina Bakery and we loaded up on baked goods while we were there. We managed to keep ourselves from eating all of the cookies and brought back a Rick’s Apricot Chocolate Espresso cookie. I substituted apricots with dried cherries here and used ground espresso powder.

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Double Chocolate and Espresso Cookies

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You know something’s a success when people ask for the recipe after eating it.

I was a little doubtful while scooping these cookies out onto the baking sheet. The batter didn’t look like any cookie dough I had ever seen because it was pretty loose and some even lost their shape when they hit the pan.

I was still worried after they were done baking and I chomped on one while still warm from the oven. It just tasted o~kay.

But, I let them sit overnight and by the next day they had somehow changed. The flavors had mingled together and become stronger. The texture on the outside had become crunchier and the inside more fudgy, like a brownie. In fact, these taste like a delicious brownie-cookie hybrid, and they even double as a caffeine pick-me-up because of the chocolate covered espresso beans.

Everyone that tried these cookies became an immediate convert, even those that don’t like coffee (read: my mom).

Even though a little more work goes into these to melt the chocolate, there are only 2 tablespoons of butter in the entire recipe. Can you believe it? I think I’m going to try coating these with sugar next and see if they can replace my traditional Milk Chocolate Espresso Cookies at Christmas time. If you’re one of those that doesn’t like crunchy things like nuts or candy in your cookies (like my fiance), then you can replace the chocolate covered espresso beans with a strong espresso powder.

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Mini Blueberry Cheesecakes with Trefoils™ Cookie Crust

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The baking with Girl Scout Cookies® saga continues! Trefoils™ are sometimes seen as the plain, boring cookies that you always have extra boxes of after a booth sale. My sister had an extra box of Trefoils™ from last year and gave them to me on the condition that I bake something with them. Also, did you know that February 8th is National Girl Scout Cookie Day?

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I was a little burned out on chocolate, as crazy as that may sound, so I wanted to make something for my office for Valentine’s Day that was decadent, but lighter. I made my Mini Blackberry Cheesecakes recipe and replaced the blackberries with blueberries. I also replaced the vanilla wafer cookies with the buttery, fragrant Trefoils™ and added some almonds in too (omitting the almond extract in the original).

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It was easy to convince my office-mates to try these treats. The fruit on top makes it “healthy”; they’re bite-sized; they have Girl Scout Cookies® in them, which makes them “limited edition”. The crust on these are delicious and it goes well with the tanginess of the cheesecake and the tart berries.

Feel free to sub your favorite fruit on top or replace the cookies with what you have on hand. I had some extra filling and crust and swirled in some chocolate chips and crunchy cookie butter for a rich Valentine’s treat.

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Pistachio, Cranberry, and Crystallized Ginger Cookies & Bread

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Even though I was making 4 types of Christmas cookies, my office wouldn’t get to try any of them, so I whipped these up on a weeknight after seeing them on my friend Olga’s blog. I decided to make the pistachio cookies more festive by adding some red dried cranberries and some zingy crystallized ginger. I thought I was pretty clever turning these into Christmas-colored cookies.

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Sometimes I think that chocolate is often used as a crutch in baking. It takes a really good hand to be able to make something delicious without chocolate in it that everyone will enjoy. These cookies had a firm yet delicate crumb and were extremely flavorful. I like that each bite had a bit of something else in it, an element of surprise, but some people don’t like that.

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While these cookies were baking, I realized I had some chopped pistachios, cranberries, and ginger left over. I combined these with some leftover chopped hazelnuts from my homemade nutella and thought they’d make a delicious topping for one of my favorite things to make – pumpkin bread (or muffins). I scooped the bread batter into these odd shaped Panibois Baking Molds and hoped for the best, checking them often since they held varying sizes of batter. I couldn’t taste them after they baked (obviously), but I wrapped them up in cute snowflake cello-wrap and tied them with twine. I gave some to my family and some to co-workers. I’d like to think this is a more tasty version of a fruitcake, but pumpkin!

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Oatmeal Cookies

I find it hard to believe that I haven’t posted about these Oatmeal Cookies yet. We make these cookies so often that I’ve almost memorized the recipe. I say almost because I don’t usually make these, my boyfriend does. He’s much more of a cookie/pie guy and not so much in to tarts and cupcakes.

This recipe is very flexible. The traditional recipe calls for 1 cup of raisins, but we usually sub them for more interesting ingredients. You could try other dried fruit, chocolate, peanut butter, or nuts. Our go-to is half peanut butter chips and half mini-chocolate chips.

These are best right out of the oven, but last several days if covered.

I accidentally forgot the “additional” 6 tablespoons butter mentioned in the recipe below– that’s almost half the butter and these cookies still tasted great! Because of the lack of extra butter, it did make 19 cookies instead of 24 (I was doing a half recipe).

Tagalongs® Cupcakes & 100 Years of Girl Scouts

This year is the 100-year celebration of lots of things, including Girl Scouts! I’ve been a Girl Scout for over 20 years and one of the best things about Girl Scouting is Girl Scout Cookies! Selling cookies teaches about budgeting, setting goals, and managing money. Another great thing about Girl Scout Cookies is that we get to buy them! They’re only available for for a short time during the year, which makes them test all the more better once you finally get your hands on them. My favorite are Samoas, followed closely by Thin Mints, but it seems that everyone else’s favorites are Tagalongs!

My sister’s Girl Scout troop was having a mini-celebration in honor of the 100 Year Celebration in March so I took these popular cookies and brought them over as a special treat for them. My sister’s troop (except for her) are all seniors in high school, so this will be their last year as “Girl Scouts”.  After they graduate high school, if they choose to remain in Girl Scouts, it will be as “Adult Girl Scouts”, not as participants. They loved these cupcakes and made their own “100-year” decorations.


This recipe has been deemed a "hit at home" and is one of the tastiest recipes on Hapa-tite!

Totoro Cookies

Last May, I saw a post by Anna the Red about making your own cookie cutters. Using this as inspiration, I bought a circle cookie cutter and tried to make my own totoro cookie cutter. It seemed to work okay, though my cookie dough was not the best. I just used store bought sugar cookie dough and mixed cocoa powder into some and matcha powder into others to make several different colored totoros, but I think the store dough is very greasy so the shapes spread and didn’t stay firm.

The occasion was my sister’s graduation from junior college (she’s now almost done with undergraduate, soon to start graduate school) — she’s as much of a totoro fan as I am! Another thing I didn’t take into consideration was the weather. I decorated these cookies with chocolate, but the hot May sun melted the totoros against the box and they ended up being all melted blobs.

 

Thin Mint Cupcakes

This year, I’ll have been a Girl Scout for 20 years. After all those years of eating, selling, and buying Girl Scout cookies, I’ve never thought to bake with them. The most I’ve ever done is pop some thin mints into the freezer. I saw a lot of recipes for Thin Mint, Samoa, and Tagalong-inspired recipes on Pinterest and decided I was going to do something creative this year. I can’t usually wait long enough to save a whole box for baking, but this time I bought extra and forced myself to wait to make something special with them.

We had a celebration at work for someone’s promotion so we surprised him with some treats. I made the little “Congrats!” flag the same way I did on the mini whoopie pies, a toothpick and decorative washi tape.

I used a cake recipe (found through Pinterest) I baked Peppermint Mocha cupcakes with in December that everyone declared “the best cupcakes ever.” I then combined two other recipes for the ganache and frosting. Another great discovery I’ve made is that the perfect vessel for cupcake duo transport is a tea box! I’ve used this method multiple times to give friends and family two cupcakes and it works like a charm.

Funfetti Cookies & Pinterest

I used to have a feature on here called “Show and Tell” where I would share a few of my favorite things found on the internet that  caught my eye. After a few installments, I found out about Pinterest. It basically accomplishes the same thing as my feature was and it’s a one-stop-shop to ‘pin’ things that inspire you, or to remind you to make those recipes that you see floating around the internet. The great thing about it is that you can share or ‘re-pin’ things on it very easily and it always keeps a main picture and original source link.

I introduced my sister to Pinterest and she found about about these Funfetti cookies and shared them with me! Before meeting up with my sister for an event we put on together for local Girl Scouts, I made these as a surprise treat for her.

These cookies use funfetti cake mix, but you also have to add flour, eggs, butter, and… wait! It sounds like I’m making cookies from scratch? The amount of work needed for these cookies and the fact that they only use part of a box of cake mix makes me think that I won’t make them again. They do have that nostalgic “kid’s birthday party” taste, but they are a tad flat. The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but I think it would be worth it to double the recipe just to use up the full box of cake mix.

Regardless, my sister was happy and so was my office since they got to eat the leftovers. I ate quite a few myself, so I can’t complain too much!  For the source of inspiration and recipe, visit Lovin’ From the Oven.

Holiday Cookies

This year I made cookies with my boyfriend for Christmas. I gave them to my co-workers and Grandparents for gifts. We chose the recipes from the 2008 Holiday Cookie Guide (Washington Post) and used our brand-new oven in our apartment! It was definetely difficult to make the cookies since our kitchen is starting from scratch (ingredients, tools, etc). Here are the results!
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Pictures and Recipes on the next page.

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