Saturday, January 19, 2013

Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

Getting back in the swing of things.

I told you I wanted to get back to baking and blogging so here I am with another post.  I planned to take these little gems to work this past Monday, but alas I have a baby that attends day care which means he gets sick...a lot. I took Noble to the pediatrician Monday to find out he had an ear infection.  Poor little guy.  He also happened to bring me home a cold.  I am not certain that he was the carrier, but I am think it is safe to assume.    Noble and I are feeling much better now, but needless to say these blondies never made it into work.  Zack was able to take half to his work and then I ate a few too many at home.   They are really simple to make and very delicious.  The original recipe used Rolo's, but I thought it would be fun to use Peanut Butter M&M's and they turned out great.

Peanut Butter M&M Blondies
recipe ever so slightly adapted from Two Peas and their Pod

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar1/2 cup creamy peanut butter2 large eggs1 teaspoon vanilla extract2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt1 11.4 ounce package Peanut Butter M&M's

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch pan and set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from the heat, and stir in the peanut butter, until creamy and combined. Set mixture aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add the eggs, one at a time, to the peanut butter mixture, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared dry ingredients, and stir until batter is smooth. Stir in the M&M's.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading the batter evenly to the edges of the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden and the edges are slightly browned. Remove blondies from oven and place them on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, cut into squares and serve.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Clean out Your Freezer Coconut Chip Cookies

It has been way too long.

I have been a way much too long, much longer than I ever anticipated.  So much has happened since my last post so I shall fill you in.

My last post was October 2nd, at that point I was packing up my house and taking care of my newborn son to get ready for our big move.  Of course our move plans were not as smooth as they could have been.  On October 26th we officially moved out of our townhouse in Alexandria, VA and began the almost two month process of being homeless.  We had plans to stay in a hotel in Old Town that weekend, but fearing Hurricane Sandy, I drove with my 10 week old son, Noble. to my in-laws in West Virginia while Zack drove to training for his new job.

Zack, Noble, and I were planning to meet in Alexandria the following weekend, but alas West Virginia was hit with a blizzard and Noble and I were trapped with my in-laws with no power.  Lucky for us they had a gas stove so the house stayed plenty warm.  We were some of the luckier people in their town as we were only out of power for two days.  Zack's sister was not so lucky and was without power for a week.  This was over Halloween, so trick-or-treating and parties were cancelled, but I still dressed up Noble in his dragon costume and he did not mind one bit.  Noble and I had fun with Zack's family.  They really loved having us around...more so Noble, but I did not mind.  It was a long two weeks without Zack though.  He missed us and we really missed him.  We met up with him in Alexandria after two weeks and it was a wonderful weekend of family time.  It was extremely hard to say goodbye at the end of the weekend and head back to WV with Noble while Zack went back to his training.  So Noble and I returned to WV for one more week with Zack's family.  I am pretty sure they would have let us move in if I asked.  They are so in love with Noble and for that I am grateful.  The following Thursday, Noble and I drove back to DC to stay with my sister for the night. My brother flew up that night to help us drive our cars down to Georgia the next day.  I am pretty sure it was the first time my brother, sister, and I were all under the same room since my sister was in high school.  Perhaps when she was in college over a break, but either way it had been a long time.

The next morning we said goodbye to my sister.  Noble, my brother, and I then drove to meet up with Zack who finished training.  That afternoon the four of us began the long drive from DC to Georgia.  We were planning to split it up into two days of driving, but Noble was doing great so we pushed through and did it in the one day.  This led us to the next part of being homeless where Zack, Noble, and I lived for four weeks at my parents house.  We could not be more grateful to them for giving us a place to stay while we waited on our house to be complete.  We thought it would be a week or two at their house so when it turned into four we were frustrated, tired of loving out of a suit case, and extremely ready to be in our own house.  Thankfully they were willing to put up with us a little longer.  We closed on our house December 14th, spent an entire week in the house trying to unpack and settle in before we drove back to WV for Christmas.  We were only going to have four days back at the house after Christmas before I returned to work from maternity leave.  We had great plans to get the house settled, but I had to come down with the worst cast of the flu topped with a sinus infection and ear infection.  Talk about a way to wrap up maternity leave.  Luckily Zack and Noble did not catch it from me and that brings us to today.  Hopefully I will now be able to find the time to get back to blogging because I definitely miss it.

As for these cookies, I made them the week before we moved out of our old house.  I was trying to clean out the freezer and found several packages of half-used baking chips and other things.  This cookie is a combination of coconut, miniature chocolate chips and white chocolate chips.  They were really just thrown together but ended up being fabulous and will be made again.

Clean out Your Freezer Coconut Chip Cookies
recipe from Baked Perfection

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon salt
1 3.4 ounce package vanilla instant Jell-O Pudding (not prepared)1 dash of cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup miniature chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, package of vanilla pudding mix, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chips and coconut. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Recipe makes between 4 and 5 dozen cookies.