chewy chocolate toffee cookies

I just don’t feel like there is enough time in the day.  Mornings quickly are turning to evenings which are succumbing to earlier and earlier bedtimes because I seemingly can not keep my eyes open long after 930pm, that is, unless you offer me popcorn and another episode of Downton…but even then, I sometimes struggle to say ‘yes’ and before the final credit has drifted across the screen and the final notes of the theme song have reached my ears, I am up the stairs, buried under the covers, awaiting sleep…

 I finally just sat down for the evening, it’s going on 9… I spent a fairly normal day at the hospital, where I walked in and the fire alarms were going off and yet, everyone was going about their normal business…which is pretty par for the course in terms of fire alarm conduct.  It always worries newbies and students … coming out of their tiny conference room wondering if they should be darting to an exit somewhere.  I am curious if there is a different/louder/ominous alarm when there is a fire in which we do actually need to evacuate the hospital.  I pray we never have to learn this.

Traffic to and from work was not shabby, however the potholes created by this winter weather may swallow my car if the city of Cleveland doesn’t take action soon…and I spilled coffee on my car seat  - turns out my down parka is a suitable rag and warm winter coat.  Another reason why I only wear dark colors…I am a walking disaster.  I threw together a chicken mexican casserole that did not contain a cream of something soup and put to use leftovers that otherwise would have found themselves in the trash tomorrow morning…which reminds me, tomorrow is trash day.  As the casserole was bubbling over in the oven and the sharp cheddar cheese was browning to a lovely golden hue, I ran.  Three miles.  Nothing crazy, nothing fast.  But something.  Squeezed in.  That is what it has become lately.  Squeezed.  Scrunched.  Smooshed.  The fix to this – morning workouts.  Hahahahaha…I have tried.  I have turned off alarm clocks.  Alarm clocks in different rooms that required me to stumble out of my bedroom, the goal – wake my ass up.  Laughable.  I stumble back to bed and over sleep and just run while dinner is cooking or forgo a proper dinner and insert the go-to egg sandwich or bowl of popcorn.

It is well into the evening, dinner and shower are checked off the list, dishes may be done or I am putting those off until the following day because I can still see the counter and well, that means I still have spoons and a drinking glass or two, however just last week I caught a certain someone drinking out of the creamer cup (the one with the spout)…sadly, he wasn’t using the spout.

It is dark outside and has been since I left work at 4:30-5 and now is the time that I have to tinker around in the kitchen and here, my own small corner of the Internet…but the light is gone.  And I haven’t learned how to properly take pictures in my house with artificial light.  I know there are bells and whistles to make this easier, however I am stubborn and well, I just like my natural light and you wanna know what is so crazy?  I adore winter light, however I experience so little of it nowadays.  She describes it just perfectly.  A dish that in the summer and fall I could whip up and snap pics from start to finish in one evening during the week…takes me well, all week or something I can only accomplish on the weekends.

Winter just takes a whole new schedule that I never ever plan for and never organize until about Valentine’s Day … just when the days begin to become noticeably longer and the light reaches further into the evenings.  Just about the same time, energy begins to seep back into my bones and I begin to feel more like a human and less like a sloth in full hibernation.

Some nights though…some nights I get everything in plus a batch of cookies.  And I am satisfied with iPhone pics of the process…filters make a world of difference and with few other options, it just has to be OK.  In all honesty, it took me 2+ nights to bake them all off…because once it hits 9:30pm, I shouldn’t have the oven on, because I can’t keep my eyes open and I don’t respond to fire alarms.  I don’t like to live life so close to the edge.

I used leftover toffee that, well, didn’t exactly work out.  Don’t ask…Just know, you can’t win them all…but screwed up/leftover toffee or peanut brittle works wonders when stirred into cookies and brownies.  A change in expectations…that is all.  Don’t have screwed up toffee because you are a freaking rock star and you would never seemingly waste 2+ pounds of butter before succumbing to the fact that perhaps your mother’s stove just isn’t suited for candy making…well you will need to crush a few Heath bars.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

chewy chocolate toffee
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups + 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ Cup Dutch Process Cocoa Powder (I have also used Special Dark blend)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 + ½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, loosely packed
  • 1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Crushed Toffee bits
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Scrape down the bowl with rubber spatula.
  3. Reduce speed of mixer to low, and slowly add dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits.
  5. Refrigerate dough for about one hour to firm up dough.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. Shape dough into 1 to 1+1/4 inch round balls and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

 

peanut butter chocolate chip banana bread

AHHH!!!!
I have done gone and did it again.

 

ok, ok, ok…the improper English and the horrid grammar is pretty par for me and my blog.  Or is it my blog and I?  I don’t know.  I have never known.  No matter the amount of teaching done by countless English teachers in my education or the hours spent banging my head against the kitchen table studying grammar, very little if any ( and I stress the words any and little) actually sank in and can be recalled.

Trust me, I have tried.  Like, really tried.  I like proper grammar…or, I like the idea of proper grammar…because I wouldn’t recognize it in broad daylight, that I know for sure, yo.

But besides absolutely bad grammar and the improper use of verbs and the creating of new words…
I have made banana bread…again.
I tried eating and thus, adoring banana bread…again.
I took one bite (that was heavily/heavenly slathered with peanut butter) and I simply could not muster another…again.


I left it on my favorite green saucer, wishing it were pumpkin bread or cranberry walnut, or pistachio pound…really anything besides banana.
It was Saturday morning, coffee was brewing, Jeff Corwin was on TV chasing sting rays in the Caribbean (I don’t have Cable), there was a definite chill in the air…
All fine scenarios in which to enjoy freshly baked bread…
I so wanted to like it.
But I just couldn’t.
I had oatmeal with cranberries and maple syrup instead.  It was ok.

However, don’t go thinking this banana bread isn’t the bomb diggity, because while I didn’t enjoy it, it was devoured one thick slice after another all weekend long and come Sunday evening, as the last light of the weekend was starting to dim… one lonely chocolate chipped studded slice remained.

So, I suppose this bread would be considered a victory in the kitchen…just a failure of my taste buds and olfactory senses.  Why does it have to smell so banana-ey

Like I have mentioned here before…I like bananas.  Just not banana things.

And bananas slathered in peanut butter = the best after school/work snack ever.  So it only makes sense that peanut butter should/would end up in a loaf of banana bread from time to time…And then why leave out chocolate in this shindig of a banana party… (I even tried digging just chocolate chips out of the bread, leaving empty chocolate coated craters behind – I am that person, I can not be trusted - and they even tasted like bananas…ACK!)

So…next up…well, there is this  coconut rum browned butter banana bread in the oven as I type…Not sure why there are sooo many bananas in my freezer….
Can’t say I never gave banana bread a chance…

5.0 from 1 reviews

peanut butter chocolate chip banana bread
 
Makes one loaf – using an 9 x 5 inch loaf pan
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk, well shaken
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a loaf pan (9x5in) with parchment paper or butter all sides, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, peanut butter, both sugars, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients. Fold together, scraping the bottom of the bowl to pop any pockets of flour.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips. Be careful not to over mix.
  6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top of batter. Place in preheated oven and bake until golden brown and a toothpick, when inserted to middle, comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging to toothpick – about 60 to 75 minutes. (if top begins to darken beyond golden, tent with tinfoil).
  7. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.
  8. Store at room temperature wrapped in plastic wrap.

Recipe Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

 

Cherry Chocolate Banana Bread

I don’t like banana things.  I like bananas…I take that back, I love actual, real life, peel and eat, yellow … and let’s be clear on the yellow…darkish yellow, not the new yellow that leads one to believe it was green just moments ago… they must be, ya know, perfectly ripe bananas.  I just detest banana things.  What does banana things include?  I am so very glad you asked…you didn’t?  Oh! Well…too bad.

Banana chips or dried bananas – ya know, those thin slices of hardened fruit (errr dried) that are found primarily in trail mixes that inevitably result in the almonds, walnuts, cranberries, raisins, M&M’s (or chocolate buttons if you aren’t careful), and heaven knows what else they have thought to cram into trail mixes these days, taste like bananas.  Gross.  Gawdawful.

 

Banana flavored Runts (or any banana ‘flavored’ candy).  Who eats this stuff?  It doesn’t even remotely taste like a banana.  Have the creators of the infamous banana ‘flavor’ actually consumed a banana in their life?  I think not.  Banana flavored Laffy Taffy – NO!  1)  It doesn’t taste like bananas and 2) Laffy Taffy never fails to numb my lips, resulting in me drooling on myself.  Fact.

Banana Splits.  Bananas DO NOT belong in my ice cream.  Brownies, cookies, nuts, cherries, strawberries…yes, go right ahead – join the ice cream party…but bananas, please stay at home, you are not welcome.  And speaking of ice cream, banana flavored popsicles…who enjoys these so-called treats?  Probably you…and I have now offended you, but I can’t be sorry because it is disgusting.

 

 

And have you seen on Pinterest these two ingredient banana cookies and banana frozen ‘yogurt’ or would it be ice cream?  First, these are labeled as ‘healthy’…well, yes, bananas are healthy, or healthier than say a bag of potato chips or Oreos, however – they are chock full of sugar and eating a tray of banana cookies – which is inevitably what will happen when something is labeled healthy and is also a cookie…you will undoubtedly eat a dozen of them and still crave the damn chocolate chip cookie that you were trying to avoid in the first place, which would have been a wiser choice (because you would have only eaten 1, ha!) plus, it wouldn’t have tasted like a banana.  Which leads me to the second point…why would you want a banana flavored cookie…just eat a banana or a cookie.  No need to mash the two together.   ACK!

Banana bread/muffins/cakes/pancakes/waffles….No where near my cup of tea (or coffee – we are talking about me here…).  Banana nut muffins are my morning nemesis.  Mark this down…it is THE ONE sweet good that I will turn down given the chance ( not counting the banana cookies mentioned above)….  How come when heat is applied to a banana, all of its heavenly goodness is removed?  Banana foster – no, just give me the pound cake and butter/sugar/caramel goodness and perhaps swap the bananas for peaches or apples.  Or plums.  Why bananas?  Peach foster, please.

There are slight exceptions to the rule…a plain old banana can be fancied up with a dollop of peanut butter or sliced and covered in chocolate hard shell sauce and frozen.  And I think the chocolate bit needs emphasized…the bananas must be sliced and never placed whole on a stick, frozen, and dipped in chocolate, and then eaten in public.  No one, and I mean NO ONE can pull off eating a chocolate covered banana on a stick in public.  NO ONE!  Maybe my head is in the gutter…it normally is…but come on!

Get the point?  I greatly dislike bananas unless it is just a banana…so why do I continue to bake banana bread?  Because I am bonkers and think that if I stuff more things into banana bread that I will actually enjoy it (next up, peanut butter banana bread?!?)…and honestly, this chocolate banana bread came pretty damn close and so did this chocolate banana zucchini bread…I think the common link here is the chocolate.

This go around, I stuffed cherries, chocolate (that was sea salted), and walnuts along side the bananas…Think Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, but with the addition of banana and well, bread.  I don’t know.  But I do know my older brother would have eaten the whole loaf given the chance, since cherry cordial ice cream is his favorite and he actually likes bananas in his ice cream or he likes bananas in his bread.  What?!?  All I know, he eats what I bake and well he didn’t get any….but he would have liked it.  Those that were lucky enough to have this stuffed into their bags as they were leaving my house ( you don’t leave without a doggy bag made from my freezer) texted me as they arrived home, that the this bread was delicious and the chocolate made it nice and rich.

I’ll have to take their word for it.

Cherry Chocolate Banana Bread
 
makes 1 loaf (9×5)
Ingredients
  • 1+1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Cup Quick Cooking Oats
  • ¾ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¾ Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¾ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 Eggs
  • ⅓ Cup 2% Greek Yogurt
  • ½ Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted and cooled
  • 1 Cup Mashed Bananas (about 3 overly ripe bananas)
  • ½ Teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 1 Cup Pitted Cherries
  • ½ Cup Toasted Walnuts (or pecans), roughly chopped
  • 4 ounce dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped (or about ½ cup chocolate chips)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in the middle of the oven. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside. (i also use parchment paper and let a little bit hang over the edges for easy removal)
  2. In a small bowl, toss together cherries and almond extract. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl using a wooden spoon, mix together melted butter and bananas. Blend in eggs and yogurt. Mix until everything is well combined.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Fold in cherries (with any juice in bowl), toasted walnuts, and chocolate to batter.
  7. Pour batter (it’ll be thick, so I use the term ‘pour’, lightly) into prepared loaf pan and place in preheated oven and bake until toothpick, when inserted near the middle comes out nearly clean with a few crumbs attached – about 50-60 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool on rack for about 20 minutes before inverting on wire rack and letting cool completely.

 

 

Chocolate Pistachio Coconut Cookies

And here we go again.  I haven’t posted much in the month of January.  I blame Disney and Tim Riggins.

Ok, fine, just Tim Riggins.

I am not bragging, but I just finished the entire series of Friday Night Lights (thank you Netflix) in 1 week…and I am rounding up to 7 days, because it may have been closer to 6.  5 years of TV in a week.  Yikes.

For one week, I worked, ran, and watched FNL (friday night lights).  In that order.  I watched fake football instead of the real games.  I missed the entire Australian Open.  Congrats, Djokovic.  News?  You mean the world was still spinning this past week?  World news doesn’t really make it all the way to the make believe town of Dillon, Texas.  Sorry.

I am pretty sure I went to work last Monday with a Texas drawl from my weekend binder.  I said y’all at least twice.  And I fell in LOVE with  Connie Britton’s hair.  Seriously.

And oh, did you know that 3/4th of the cast from FNL (I just acronymed a TV show…sigh) has been on Grey’s Anatomy?  Coach Taylor was part of the bomb squad and was blown to smitherings.  Landry had a disfigured face and ended up dying on the table, whomp whomp..  Jess had a brain tumor and Dr McDreamy saved her life.  Smash is now a lowly intern.  And Saracan was a soldier who opted to have his leg amputated.  I am just hoping and a wishing that Tim Riggins will wander onto the set…

 

I was able to whip up a batch of cookies during this period of time – mainly because I promised/owed a co-worker cookies and I couldn’t procrastinate any longer – Texas football or no Texas football…cookies full of pistachios and coconut needed to be pumped out of my kitchen.  Good thing I can see the TV from my kitchen :)

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Chocolate Pistachio Coconut Cookies
 
makes about 3 dozen
Ingredients
  • 2+1/4 Cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 Box (3.4 ounce) Pistachio Pudding (not the sugar free version)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
  • ½ Cup Pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
  4. Beat in pistachio pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  5. With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  6. Fold in coconut, chocolate chips, and chopped pistachios.
  7. Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheet (parchment paper lined or UNgreased) and bake for 8-10 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

 

Post Disney Funk and Carmelitas

The week following a vacation is generally just a melancholic blur of work and laundry and grocery shopping and laundry and healthier eating and memories of warmth and sunshine.  This goes for vacations lasting the usual 7 days or those extending towards two weeks and/or particularly those cut short at 3 or 4 days, the so-called long weekends.

This week was that week.  Where nothing truly gets done, but one in which I feel exhausted and sleep deprived and a tad bloated and all sorts of hungry…hungry for butter and sugar and ice cream.  Not carrot sticks and tuna salad.  Ugh…so easy to fall out of a good habit and quite the struggle to jump back in.

Disney was great.  The race was great.  The weather was great.  The food was great.  The company was great.  And the ears…I became slightly obsessed.

Proof.

I look good as Mickey.

… 

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