The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t believe I’m over stating it when I say these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever.

I affectionately call these “Tessa’s cookies” because the recipe comes from a former coworker named Tessa. She brought these to a work potluck once and then she was required to bring them to every following potluck. And then she gave me the recipe and I’m hooked.

They are the perfect mix of salty and sweet, jam-packed with chocolate chips. Plus they are firm around the edges and then soft and gooey in the middle. What more could you ask for from a chocolate chip cookie?

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I’m not even going to give you the ingredient list for a single batch. No. I’m just going to double it outright. This makes a little more than 4 dozen cookies.

Ingredients:
2/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup shortening (Crisco sticks)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 scant teaspoons salt
A little over 4 cups of chocolate chips
Coarse Kosher salt

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Waiting for the butter to soften is the hardest part of this recipe. I usually cut it into smaller pieces and let it sit on my counter for awhile.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is warming up, cream together the butter, shortening, sugars, vanilla and egg until fluffy.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt (not the course salt).

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Add sifted dry ingredients and mix until combined. I do them in shifts. A couple spoonfuls at a time.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

 

Then you are going to need to fold in the chocolate chips. Do this by hand with a spatula and not with your mixer.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

I bought the industrial sized back of chocolate chips from Costco. It was worth it.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Spread the chocolate chips throughout the mixture until all combine.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

I use a tablespoon scoop so all the cookies are roughly the same shape and size.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Drop onto a greased sheet or nonstick foil. Do them all at once. I end up with four pans worth. You aren’t going to remove the cookies from the pans until they set up.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Sprinkle with the coarse salt. Then bake for 6-10 minutes. I’ve found the perfect time for me is 8 minutes.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Craftingandcooking.wordpress.com

Leave the cookies on the pan until they cool down! They set up on the pan and become firm yet soft.

Raspberry Hug, Pretzel and an M

Doing a twist on this recipe for Valentine’s Day.

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Hershey’s released a raspberry hug for the holiday and I happen to love raspberry. This is such a simple recipe, and it lasts a while.

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Ingredients: raspberry hugs, Valentine’s Day M&Ms and the Snaps Pretzels in the waffle pattern (or pretzel Os if you can find those)

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Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. On a baking sheet, layout a bunch of pretzels.

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Unwrap the hugs and place them on top of the pretzels. I think I had six hugs left from the bag and used the rest.

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Stick the baking sheet into the oven. These seem to have a lower melting point than the peppermint and regular Kisses. So at 3 minutes, look at them. These were at 4 minutes and it’s almost too melted.

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Quickly, put an M on each of the hugs/pretzels. Stick them in the fridge for a bit, so make sure they cool stay in their right form. Then enjoy!

 

Baked Mozzarella Sticks

Please tell me I’m not the only person who sees mozzarella sticks on a menu and considers eating a plate or basket full of them for their main meal. It’s pretty simple to make some of your own with the help of good ol’ string cheese.

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I’ve used string cheese before to add cheese to a meal, like with the pizza crescent rolls. A nice melty cheese.

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Start by chopping up a bunch of mozzarella sticks in half. Take the sticks and put them into the freezer. I left them in there for a few hours. This helps keep the cheese from becoming a big cheese puddle.

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I took bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and a packet of Italian salad dressing mix and stirred it all together. I would play with this mixture until you find the right breading combo. This ended up a bit on the salty side. I’d probably cut the dressing mix and the cheese down and add more breading.

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Set up your station. One bowl needs some flour. The second bowl needs at least one beaten egg, depending on how many mozzarella sticks you will be making, you may need one more. Third bowl is your breading. And then you need your baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees before you pull the string cheese out of the freezer.

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Coat the stick with flour.

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Then coat it in the egg.

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Then cover it with breading.

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Lay all your sticks out on the baking sheet. My sticks were really frozen. So I ended up baking them for 10 minutes, then flipping them and baking them for another 4 minutes. But if yours aren’t that frozen, they may only need 10 minutess total. You’ll need to watch them.

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There we go. Nicely browned mozzarella sticks! Not too melty. Serve with some marinara sauce.

Lazy Cake Cookies

I tried this recipe on a whim. My sweet tooth got the best of me one night. But I actually wasn’t sure if this would work. It seemed way too simple… but maybe that’s why it ended up working so well.

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I really have to thank I’m a Lazy Mom for this great little recipe. I actually think it’s easier and faster than the Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Cup. Plus, there’s more than one cookie here.

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Ingredients:
– one box of cake mix (I used a white cake)
– two beaten eggs
– 5 tablespoons butter, melted
– Chocolate chips (I used a 10 oz. bag of dark chocolate chips, but they are larger than semisweet)

That’s it. I have these ingredients in my pantry and fridge all the time!

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the beaten eggs, cake mix and melted butter.

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Stir in the chips.

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Grease a 9×13 pan and spread the batter out as best you can. My batter didn’t reach the edges, or spread that easily. I decided to just go with it. Put the pan into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

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Voila! Really simple and quick cookie bars. Takes half an hour total. How great is that?

 

Black Bean Brownies

I’ve been intrigued with that whole idea of hiding healthy veggies and other items within foods that you like. Pureed squash or carrots in mac and cheese and things like that. I read this article all about black beans. There was a recipe for brownies included. I had all the ingredients except for the black beans. A quick trip to the store and I have brownies from scratch.

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I think the recipe needs just a slight tweaking or I need a new bottle of vegetable oil, since I could taste the oil in the baked brownies. After second thought (and more brownies) I just greased the corner of the baking dish too much and got an extra dose of vegetable oil. These were pretty chocolatey and had a rich, fudgey texture.

Black Bean Brownies 1

Ingredients:
3/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips, divided
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

You will also need a blender or food processor.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Stick the black beans and the 1/2 cup of vegetable oil into the blender and puree. I had a hard time with this in the blender because there wasn’t enough liquid with the beans. I mashed them a bit with a spoon before moving on to the next step.

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Add the eggs, cocoa, sugar and vanilla and then blend again. Melt half the chocolate chips and then add that to the mixture.

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Put in the flour, salt and baking powder and pulse it a couple of times just to incorporate the dry ingredients.

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The mixture should be a pudding texture.

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Pour the brownie batter into an 8×8 pan that’s greased or sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate chips on the top. Bake for 20 minutes. Check that the brownies are baked by sticking a knife into the middle and making sure it comes out clean.

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Yum. If you like a moist, fudge brownie this is great. Plus it’s filled with fiber!

Have you tried putting black beans or any other sorts of pureed vegetables into your baked goods or other meals?

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Frozen yogurt bites

Who hasn’t seen this pin floating around their Pinterest pages?

The frozen yogurt bites have been on my radar for a long time. I don’t know why I keep doing frozen things, since the temperatures are freezing outside, but I had to do this one, especially since I’ve declared it Make That Pin week.

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All you need is yogurt (I used vanilla Greek yogurt left over from yesterday’s recipe), a quart baggie and a sheet pan with aluminum foil.

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I started by filling the quart bag with four heaping tablespoons of yogurt.

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Then you start piping dots on to the sheet pan.

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Freeze the dots for at least two hours.

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They’re super yummy. Pop one in your mouth and it’s pretty satisfying. You could probably use these as a topping for other yogurt or ice cream. Eating by themselves are also good. They will start to melt pretty quickly! So I pulled them off the baking sheet, put them in a tuperware and put them back into the freezer.

Frozen Banana Bites

It’s Make That Pin week here at Crafting and Cooking! I’m making all those pins which I’ve put off for so long.

I don’t know why I’m doing frozen things when it’s so cold outside. But I am! This pin has been floating around Pinterest for awhile. The little banana sandwiches look so cute! Well… my attempt is sort of bordering on a Pin fail. It still tastes good, but…

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Most of them fell apart. You’ll see later on.

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It’s another three ingredient recipe: Five bananas, peanut butter and vanilla Greek yogurt.

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Mash one banana.

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Mix in 1/4 cup of the yogurt and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Now you can stop the recipe right here. I could have just eaten the bowl by itself. Now here’s where I think I started going wrong with this recipe. I think maybe cut the yogurt a little bit or up the banana or peanut butter. It’ll stabilize this mixture a bit more.

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Chop up the other four bananas. About half an inch slices. Or thinner. Thinner might be better so you don’t have filling squirting out. I could have used this banana slicer. Just kidding! Have you seen this before? The comments are absolutely hilarious.

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I used  a gallon bag as a piping bag. This is me trying to take a photo of me using the piping bag. As you can see, I was making a mess.

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I start putting the banana slice toppers on top and… the filling starts pouring out the middle and the toppers start sliding off. Boo. I put them into the freezer for two hours.

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I pull the pan out after two hours and I find this. Sigh. Only a couple stayed as sandwiches. But they were still tasty. I removed them from the freeze and put them in tuperware. I also put them in the fridge… I have a hard time chewing frozen things, so we’ll see how they hold up in the fridge too. (Overnight, this turned to brown mush. So leave them frozen!)