Monster Blondies

Monster BlondiesRemember that huge, ridiculous M&Ms Surprise Cake I posted last week? It’s long gone.Monster Blondies You know what’s still taking up space in my kitchen? This comically large container of M&Ms. It’s made it through two of those cakes, a batch of cookies and lots of late night snacks, and it’s still kickin’.Monster Blondies Also taking up space in my kitchen? Three different jars of peanut butter. THREE. And they’re all different brands. Just…what? I really need an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all my baking supplies so I’m not compelled to pick up peanut butter every time I see it on sale.Monster Blondies So, what does one do with all that peanut butter and that huge container of M&Ms? Add some oats and make Monster Blondies, of course!Monster Blondies What makes these blondies so…monstrous? Well, they’re a riff on Monster Cookies, a sort of “everything but the kitchen sink” cookie that, at its most basic, contains peanut butter, oats, M&Ms and chocolate chips.Monster BlondiesMonster BlondiesMonster BlondiesMonster BlondiesMonster BlondiesThe original cookies are terrific, but skipping the cookie dough and tossing all those ingredients into blondie batter is absolutely the way to go! The resulting blondies have all the flavors and textures from their namesake recipe, but with an extra thick and chewy peanut butter base.Monster BlondiesMonster BlondiesMonster BlondiesNot only that, but blondies are way easier to make than cookies—this recipe comes together with just one bowl and a silicone spatula! And, of course, they don’t require baking in batches. Monster Blondies are ready to come out of the oven just 40 minutes after you start making the batter!Monster BlondiesOnce the blondies have cooled slice them up and dig in! You’ll love the soft & chewy blondie base, the slight saltiness from the peanut butter, the texture from the oats and crackly candy coating, and tons of chocolate. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the very best kind of mid-week pick-me-up ❤ Monster BlondiesMonster Blondies
makes 16 blondies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup creamy-style peanut butter (not natural-style)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup M&Ms candy

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving some overhang on two sides. Grease with butter. Set aside.

Place butter and peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Melt together in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Transfer to a medium large mixing bowl. Stir in light brown sugar, followed by egg and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Fold in oats, followed by chocolate chips and M&Ms.

Spread the blondie batter in prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes (mine took 28 minutes), or until turning golden at the edges. Let blondies cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Use foil to lift blondies out of pan. Peel off foil and transfer blondies to a cutting board. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice bars. Serve.

Leftover blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days.Monster Blondies

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesI won’t lie to you—I was tempted to take today off of blogging. I made fifteen cakes between last Monday and this Monday. I like making cake, but fifteen is A LOT.

My brain is fried and my feet hurt. I went to bed at midnight last night without protest. That never happens. I slept for almost nine hours (hooray for working from home!) and I’m still basically half-asleep.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesBut I love this little corner of the internet, so I’m here anyway–just taking it easy this week. I’m saying a big “NO” to yeast doughs, frying, and things that require a million step-by-step photos. I’m taking a hard pass on petit fours.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesBut I’m saying yes to tried-and-true cookie recipes.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesYes to oats. (And butter and brown sugar and the tiniest pinch of nutmeg.)Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesChewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesYes to chocolate chips. Yes to dried cherries.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesYes to dough that doesn’t need a chill.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesYes to Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal CookiesYes.Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
makes about 3 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cherries

Place oven racks in center positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Add light brown and granulated sugars and beat until combined. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix in oats, followed by chocolate chips and dried cherries.

Scoop dough in 2 tablespoon increments and drop 2 inches apart on prepared pans (I like to use a medium cookie scoop for this). Bake 6 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and back-to-front. Bake another 4-6 minutes, until golden at the edges. Let cool on pans for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining dough.

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

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Carrot Cake Baked OatmealIt feels like I’m jumping the gun by posting a carrot cake-flavored recipe in the middle of March, just after the third nor’easter in twelve days, but Easter is on the early side this year, so I suppose I’m right on time.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealI get that Carrot Cake is popular around Easter because of the whole Easter Bunny/rabbits + carrots thing but, like, is there ever a bad time for carrot cake?!Carrot Cake Baked OatmealI think not. I could eat it any day, anytime, on a boat/plane/train/any other Seussical place without complaint. Except for the whole general health and well-being and needing bigger pants thing. But if those obstacles weren’t standing in my way, let me tell you, it’d be all carrot cake all the time. That and things made with malted milk powder.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealAs it stands though, I just bought a pair of Levi’s 501s that make me feel like a supermodel and I am trying to eat well (outside of the occasional pie, kolaches, and Oreo-stuffed treats—job hazards, you know). So, I made a little compromise and put all the flavors of carrot cake in a delicious and deliciously easy baked oatmeal that works just as well as a make-ahead weekday breakfast as is does as part of an Easter weekend brunch.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealCarrot Cake Baked OatmealThis Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal comes together quickly and easily, and has huge flavor thanks to warming spices, the classic additions of raisins and chopped pecans, and maple syrup.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealIt bakes up in just half an hour. You could certainly serve it on its own, but I like an extra drizzle of maple syrup, just for kicks. A dollop of yogurt couldn’t hurt either.Carrot Cake Baked OatmealAnother great thing about this breakfast? It’s high in protein, so you won’t be starving two hours after you’ve eaten. Oh, and if you use certified gluten-free oats, it’s gluten-free too 🙂 Yep. This is the sort of everyday indulgence I can get behind.Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal
makes one 9-inch square pan

2/3 cup raisins, optional
1 cup water
2 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free, if needed)
2/3 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts), optional
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk of choice
1 1/2 cups grated carrots

For serving (optional):
pure maple syrup
plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish. Set aside.

Place raisins in a small bowl. Bring water to a boil and pour over raisins. Let sit while you prepare the oatmeal.

When oven is heated. Place oats and chopped pecans on a dry rimmed baking sheet. Let toast in the oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Pour into a medium-large mixing bowl and stir in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Mix in vanilla, maple syrup, melted butter, and milk. Pour over dry mixture and fold together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Fold in carrots. Drain raisins and mix them into the oatmeal.

Transfer oatmeal to prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Bake uncovered for 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cool for a few minutes before serving with a drizzle of maple syrup and/or a dollop of yogurt, if desired. Oatmeal scoops best initially, but may be sliced after it cools.

Leftover baked oatmeal will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat individual portions before serving.

Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & Ginger

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerOn any other day, I would probably go on and on about how how I prefer my chocolate desserts to be all chocolate and my fruit desserts to be just fruit, but for right now, I must say otherwise. And even if I were feeling that way this particular Wednesday, I’d be hard-pressed to get the words out, what with shoveling bites of warm Pear Crisp with Chocolate & Ginger into my face.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerAs far as late-January desserts go, this is about as good as it gets. I mean, when it comes to warm, soft pieces of pear, bits of melty chocolate and crunchy oat topping with two kinds of ginger, what’s not to love?!

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerBeyond being delicious, this crisp is wonderfully easy to make. If you are at all intimidated by making pie from scratch, this is the dessert for you. There’s no finicky dough or chilling or crimping, and definitely no lengthy cooling time. In fact, the whole process of making a crisp takes one hour, as opposed to the three or four (or more!) that it takes to make and cool a fruit pie.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerPear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerTo start, pears are peeled, diced, and tossed with sugar, cornstarch, ground ginger, and lemon.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerChocolate chips are scattered over the top.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerPear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerPear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerThe crisp topping is made from oats, flour, light brown sugar, chopped almonds, and both ground and candied ginger. Oh, and butter.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerPear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerScatter the topping over the fruit, being careful to cover most of the chocolate. This will keep it from overcooking.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerBake the crisp for half an hour and let it cool for ten minutes.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerPear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerPear Crisp with Chocolate & GingerWhile it’s warm, scoop it into bowls and top it with vanilla ice cream. The recipe says this addition is only “if desired,” but I like to think of it as mandatory.Pear Crisp with Chocolate & Ginger

It really should be.Pear Crisp with Chocolate & Ginger

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & Ginger
makes one 8-inch dish, about 6 servings

Filling:
4 medium firm-ripe Bosc pears
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Topping:
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons candied ginger, minced
3 tablespoons chopped raw almonds (optional)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For Serving:
vanilla ice cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch casserole dish with butter. Set aside.

Peel and core pears. Cut them into 1-inch chunks and place in a medium-large mixing bowl. add sugar, cornstarch, ginger, salt, and lemon juice. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and scatter chocolate chips over the top.

Make the topping. In a medium mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, light brown sugar, ground ginger, salt, minced candies ginger, and chopped raw almonds. Stir together with a fork. Add melted butter and stir until everything is saturated and clumps form. Scatter topping onto the pears and chocolate.

Bake 28-30 minutes, until topping is browned and pears are tender. Tent with foil if anything browns too quickly.

Let cool 10 minutes before serving in bowls with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers, reheating before serving.

Pear Crisp with Chocolate & Ginger

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Sometimes I fall in love with an ingredient or a recipe and I just can’t help but blog about it twice in rapid succession.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Exhibit A: that time I posted two layer cakes in a week.
Exhibit B: when I made cinnamon rolls and monkey bread in the same week with the same dough.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}This time (Exhibit C?), I’ve gone a little nuts about old-fashioned oats. I’ve waxed on and on (and on and on and on and on) about how much I love making and eating granola, but even I need a little variety in my repertoire. I mean, who eats their regular everyday breakfast on the weekend?!

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I have lots of weekend breakfasts (or brunches or company breakfasts or holiday breakfasts or whatever you want to call them) in the archives. The one I make most often is a Puff Pancake, but I think that’s about to change because I can’t get enough of these Oatmeal Blender Pancakes.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I’ve made these easy-peasy pancakes four times since I got back from Christmas vacation and I don’t see any end in sight. I mean, what’s not to love about a stack of pancakes that’s completely whole grain, comes together in the blender, uses ingredients you probably already have, is vegan and gluten-free, and is still soft and fluffy?!

Seriously, y’all. I’m in love.Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes 12-14 small pancakes

5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
~1 2/3 cups milk of choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free pancakes)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (I like canola), plus more for cooking

For Serving:
pure maple syrup
butter or vegan margarine
fresh fruit

Place apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Pour in milk of choice until it reaches the 1 2/3 cups mark. Let sit 5 minutes or until curdled.

Combine remaining ingredients in a high-powered blender. Add milk mixture. Blend until smooth, about 40-60 seconds. Scrape down the inside of the blender as necessary. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes; it will thicken slightly.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add batter to the pan in 1/4 cup increments, leaving space between pancakes. Let cook until bubbles form on the surface, about 2 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove to a plate. Repeat process with all remaining batter, adding oil to the pan as necessary.

Divide pancakes among serving plates. Top with butter, maple syrup, and/or fresh fruit. Serve immediately.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}