Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeBrown Butter.

Chocolate Chip.

Cookie Cake.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeTake it from someone who has made three of these cakes since Saturday—this stuff is dangerous.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeBrown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeBrown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeIt’s basically one huge chocolate chip cookie that’s been amped up with brown butter. Oh, and the brown butter is melted rather than chilled and softened, so this is a no-waiting, no-mixer recipe. And there’s tons of deep caramel flavor from dark brown sugar. And chocolate chips.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeIt’s dangerous, I tell you.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeDid I mention the Chocolate Buttercream? It’s pretty important—I consider it one of the two things that makes this dessert a cake instead of just a gigantic cookie (the other is that it’s baked in a cake pan). This frosting is everything. Seriously. It’s sweet, buttery, and intensely chocolaty, but also almost ethereally light and fluffy. And easy. And difficult to stop eating with a spoon once you’ve finished using it for decoration 😬

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie CakeSo basically what I’m saying is that you absolutely should make this Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake, but don’t attempt it alone. You’ll need someone to keep you from eating the whole thing.

Luckily for all of us, it’s always more fun to share dessert.Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes 1 9-inch round cake

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For decoration:
Chocolate Buttercream (recipe below)
rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl.

Whisk dark brown sugar into the brown butter, followed by egg and yolk and vanilla. Stir in flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Fold in chocolate chips. Transfer dough to prepared pan and spread into one even layer. Bake 20-22 minutes, until the top no longer appears shiny.

Let cookie cake cool completely in the pan on a rack. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan before inverting the cake onto the rack. Revert onto a serving plate. Decorate with Chocolate Buttercream and sprinkles as desired.

Decorated cake will keep at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Chocolate Buttercream
makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
6 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
3 tablespoons heavy cream

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy.

Load into a piping bag fitted with a tip (I used a star tip here), or spread with an offset icing knife.

Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Pumpkin Oat MuffinsIt’s finally cooling down and beginning to feel like fall, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m pretty sure I did a literal jump for joy when I broke out my long sleeved shirts this past weekend, and another when I made hot coffee for the first time since April. I love this time of year.

Pumpkin Oat MuffinsOf course, food is half the reason I love fall (the other half is sweaters). I can’t wait to go apple picking, bake pies, and put cranberries in everything. But, of course, pumpkin is the real star of the show right now, and these muffins showcase it beautifully.

These Pumpkin Oat Muffins are the perfect breakfast or snack this time of year. They’re chock full of pumpkin and spices, with a tender crumb and a little extra texture from old-fashioned oats. Chocolate chips bring them over the top!

Pumpkin Oat MuffinsI’m not usually one to have chocolate with breakfast, but I’m making an exception for these. The muffins themselves are lower in sugar than most–the sweet chocolate evens out the flavor and plays beautifully off the pumpkin pie spice. If you don’t want to use chocolate chips, I highly recommend swapping them for an equal volume of toasted chopped pecans.

Pumpkin Oat MuffinsMy favorite thing about this recipe? It’s super easy. It comes together in minutes, and there’s no mixer required! All you’ll need here is a whisk and a silicone spatula. In fact, using a mixer would make these muffins tough. By using some elbow grease and limiting the number of stirs to 20 or less, the gluten in the flour doesn’t develop, leaving us with soft, tender muffins.

But enough shop talk. Put these Pumpkin Oat Muffins on your to-make list this season! Have one or two with your morning coffee, and get your days started right!Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Pumpkin Oat Muffins
makes 16 standard muffins

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 12 cup standard muffin tin, or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Stir in light brown and granulated sugars, followed by oil, pumpkin purée, and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients, and whisk no more than 15-20 times to combine. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in oats and chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat baking process with remaining batter, filling any unused muffins cups halfway with water to prevent the pan from warping.

Muffins will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

Note:

If you don’t have buttermilk, you may use a combination of regular milk and vinegar. Put one teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, and then fill with milk to the 1/3 cup mark. Let sit five minutes before using as written. Do not use skim or fat-free milk.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip CookiesA couple of months ago, my boss went on a weeklong health retreat. When she came back, she was totally crazy about some crisp-chewy gluten-free chocolate chip cookies she had while she was away, going so far as to bring a bag home with her. She insisted I try one before asking if I could replicate them. I agreed to try, but with some major reservations.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip CookiesMaking cookies without gluten meant I had to basically start from square one. You see, gluten-free baking is a lot different from standard baking. In recipe after recipe, I rely on the structural and textural qualities of regular all-purpose flour to keep my cookies soft and chewy. Gluten, a protein found in wheat (and a few other grains), is activated when the flour meets the wet ingredients. It develops as the dough mixes and allows cookies to bake up super chewy. Without it, I was lost.

I looked around online for the recipe from the retreat itself, but came up empty. I also checked a couple of well-regarded gluten-free baking blogs to see if they had anything that might be similar to those cookies, but I had no such luck. I finally went to the source, looking at the list of ingredients on the side of the bag and going from there. With that list and my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, I set out to recreate those cookies, figuring it would take two or three solid tries.

It took two months and ten batches. Oy.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip CookiesGluten-Free Chocolate Chip CookiesBut here they are, my Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. They’re not exact replicas of the cookies my boss brought home (they’re definitely not crisp), but they are damn good. The base of these cookies is a combination of a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend, almond meal, a touch of ground chia seed, and a little bit of leavener. Together with the wet ingredients, this combination bakes up into soft, tender cookies.

Since these cookies don’t have any gluten, they are not as chewy or puffy as the others you see on this site. I tried adding different quantities of almond meal and adjusting the leaveners in an attempt to get a chewier texture and a puffy shape, but those attempts resulted in cookies that puffed but didn’t spread, and were so crumbly that they practically disintegrated after one bite! My Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies are a little on the thinner side, but the tender texture and hint of caramel-almond flavor more than make up for it.

I don’t know that I’ll ever fully understand gluten-free baking, but I am really happy with this recipe. My boss and her teenage son both loved these cookies, so I must be doing something right.
Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes about 30 cookies

1 3/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
3/4 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons ground chia (or ground flaxseed)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup turbinado sugar (or sucanat)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together gluten-free all-purpose flour, almond meal, ground chia, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add turbinado sugar and maple syrup, and mix to combine. Beat in egg and egg yolk, followed by vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing to combine completely. Mix in chocolate chips. Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours, or up to three days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments (I use a medium cookie scoop), roll them into balls, and set them at least three inches apart on prepared pans. Use the heel of your hand to flatten them slightly. Bake cookies 8-10 minutes, until golden at the edges. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Bars

Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip BarsOne of these days, I’m going to get some sleep. I’ve been up before the sun for the last three days to do volunteer work, and in addition to my work schedule and attempt to have a social life, it’s made me into a little bit of a zombie (the good kind, who can’t put sentences together but has cookies).

They say that if you want something done, you should ask a busy person. In my experience, this is absolutely true. I do well when I have an extensive to-do list, but once I get on a roll, I have a hard time saying “no.” When you work 12-16 hours everyday, what’s the harm in adding an extra cake order or volunteering to do service at 6:30am, even though you haven’t gotten a full eight hours of sleep in a month? The days and weeks run together, and suddenly you can’t remember the last time you took a full day off.

Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip BarsI have reached this point, and with nothing that I have to do this weekend (yet), I am really hoping to spend Saturday and Sunday eating takeout and watching Netflix. Will this actually happen? Who knows. But it’s giving me something to dream about while I skitter around Brooklyn checking things off my to-do list.

When I am super busy, I have to find ways to keep my energy up without consuming too much caffeine. I stick to two large coffees per day–if I have more than that, it will be impossible for me to sleep at night. Instead, I try to eat a lot of nutrient-dense foods throughout the day. Lately, it’s been a lot of huge green smoothies and small, high-protein meals. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been baking and eating treats–it’s my job, after all.

Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip BarsThese Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Bars are my new favorite thing. They’re soft and chewy, like a combination between a blondie and a muffin, with a pronounced banana flavor and chocolate in every bite! And they’re just the slightest bit healthier than your average cookie. These bars are made with white whole wheat flour and old-fashioned oats, so they’re completely whole grain. I also cut the sugar in this recipe, but rest assured that they still taste like dessert!

Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Bars are a wonderful way to end the day (I highly recommend having one warm with vanilla ice cream), but they’re also great for tucking into school lunches or carrying with you for a snack while you’re on the go. Just because you’re super busy doesn’t mean you can’t take two minutes to treat yourself, right?!

Looking for more whole grain recipes? Check out these Whole Grain Cranberry-Orange Snack Bars and Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Bars
makes one 9-inch pan, about 16 bars

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 very ripe medium banana, mashed
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch square pan, line it with parchment, and butter it again. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together white whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in dark brown sugar, followed by banana, egg yolk, and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture until completely combined. Beat in oats followed by chocolate chips.
Spread batter in prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Place the full pan on a rack and let cool completely. Chill bars for 30-60 minutes before slicing.

Bars will keep covered at room temperature for up to five days.

Magic Blondies

 Today’s the day! In just a few hours, I’m going to pile into a car with three of my girlfriends and set off for a rustic island off the coast of Maine! I can’t wait.

We won’t reach our destination until tomorrow evening though. It’s a ten hour drive from Brooklyn, so we’re stopping overnight in Connecticut and saving the long-haul for Saturday. We’ll spend those hours planning our grocery list and listening to music, getting psyched up for our week off. And of course, since ten hours is a looooong drive, we’ll have snacks. I’m bringing these Magic Blondies. 

What makes these blondies so magical? Well, if you’ve ever had Magic Bars (aka 7 Layer Bars or Hello Dollies), you know the amazing things that happen when you bake a combination of sweetened condensed milk, shredded coconut, pecans, butterscotch chips, and chocolate chips over a graham cracker crust. The sweetened condensed milk caramelizes, the coconut and pecans get toasty, and the butterscotch and chocolate chips get super soft. The gooey combination is insanely good over buttery graham cracker crust! 

But graham cracker crust is crumbly, and therefore not great for road tripping. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend ten hours picking crumbs out of upholstery! That’s where the blondie part comes in! I swapped the traditional graham cracker crust for my favorite blondie base before pouring over the sweetened condensed milk and all the toppings. Everything bakes into the batter, leaving you with a soft, brown sugary blondie topped with a layer of gooey, melty, nutty magic!

These Magic Blondies are perfect for picnics, cookouts, and obviously, road trips! Wherever you take them, they’re sure to be, well, magical 😊

What are you doing this weekend? 

 Magic Blondies
makes one 9×9″ pan,* about 16 blondies 

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish. Line with parchment, leaving a little overhang on the sides for easy removal from the pan. Butter the parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and light brown sugar. Stir in the egg and vanilla, followed by flour and salt. Transfer batter to the prepared baking dish.

Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over the top of the blondie batter. Top with shredded coconut, followed by pecans, butterscotch chips, and chocolate chips. With a clean hand, press down lightly to get toppings to slightly adhere to the sweetened condensed milk.

Tap pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake for 30 minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Blondies are done when the sweetened condensed milk layer just barely jiggles when the pan is jostled.

Let blondies cool completely in the pan. Use the parchment to lift them out of the pan. Slice into 16 squares. Serve room temperature or cold.

Magic Blondies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Note:

An 8×8″ pan may be used.