Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate PuddingI’m usually not the sort of blogger who labels her own recipes as “the best ever,” but y’all…this Chocolate Pudding might be the best ever. At the very least, it’s the best I’ve ever had.Chocolate PuddingOf course, until a few years ago, I’m pretty sure that the closest I’d ever come to eating pudding made from scratch was my mom making Jell-o Cook & Serve vanilla pudding on an occasional weekend night. I’m not complaining though—she served it in a set of rarely-used champagne coupes, so it felt very fancy for something we ate on the couch in front of the TV.Chocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingThis pudding though? It doesn’t need any elegant glassware to feel luxurious. It’s made with both cocoa and chopped bittersweet chocolate, giving the finished pudding a bold, in-your-face flavor. I cut the added sugar way down too, so there’s no cloying sweetness to distract from the intensity of the chocolate. Chocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingI can guarantee you that there is no boxed mix on the market that makes a chocolate pudding that’s anywhere near this chocolaty.Chocolate PuddingThis Chocolate Pudding is super thick, too. I mean, your average store bought pudding cup can’t hold a spoon straight up like that, now can it?!Chocolate PuddingAnother thing I love about this recipe is that it takes all of twenty minutes from the time I start measuring out ingredients to the time I put the pudding in the refrigerator to chill. This makes it perfect for a lazy night in or for a game night or cookout. I even think you could deck the individual servings out with whipped cream and shaved chocolate and serve them at a dinner party.Chocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingMy Chocolate Pudding stays good for a few days in the fridge, so it’s a great make ahead option too. If you can resist the temptation to take a cold, creamy bite, that is.Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding
makes 4 servings

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

For Serving:
whipped cream
chocolate shavings

In a medium-large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk the milk into the dry ingredients. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Continue to whisk until the mixture boils for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low.

Whisk egg yolks with a fork. Remove 1/3 of the warm chocolate mixture from the pot. Whisking constantly, slowly pour chocolate mixture into the egg yolks until completely combined. Add egg yolk mixture to the pot and turn heat back up to medium-high. Continue to whisk until mixture boils for 1 minute. Remove pot from heat. Whisk in vanilla, followed by chopped chocolate and butter.

Push pudding through a fine mesh sieve. Divide pudding among 4 small bowls (I used 4-ounce jars). Press plastic wrap to the surface of each bowl of pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or until cold.

When ready to serve, remove plastic wrap. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired. Pudding will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Chocolate Pudding

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

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesIf you scroll back through my Instagram to before October 21, 2015, you’re going to find a string of mediocre photos of A LOT of baked goods. In an effort to learn as much as I could about baking, I posted a new baked good almost every single day for a full year before I began blogging.

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesThere were a few repeats and many variations (so. many. scones.), but I feel like that year was crucial to my development into the baker I was when I first hit publish. At the time, I felt most confident about my cookie baking skills and had just formulated my beloved Cream Cheese Pie Dough.

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesIn turn, all the recipes and photos I’ve posted since that first day as a blogger have helped me evolve into the baker I am right now. These days, I’m very excited about yeast doughs and non-traditional layer cakes, and thinking very hard about adding to the doughnut section of my Recipe Index.

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesOreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesOreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesOreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesThat’s all well and good, but sometimes I can’t decide what to blog about or I’m testing a recipe that’s more complicated than I anticipated. Those are the moments when I am very glad I have that year of photos to serve as inspiration and remind me of what I was really excited to bake when I was just getting started, before I learned new skills and started complicating things.

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesOreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesOreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesI rarely look at that old section of my Instagram these days, but it’s full of simple, solid recipes that I was once totally jazzed about. Luckily, I was smart enough to write down almost all of them (even the ones that didn’t work) so that Future Me would know where to start when I revisited them.

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesOreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesLet’s all give a quick shout-out to Past Me for filing away the recipe for these Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies. The version I posted to Insta three years ago was damn good, but with all the experience I’ve gained, it’s even better now. I didn’t even know it was possible to improve upon the combination of peanut butter and Oreos!

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesThis easy, no-mixer recipe comes together in under an hour and is far more than the sum of its parts. The peanut butter blondie base is soft, chewy, and studded with melty mini chocolate chips. Oh, and it’s stuffed with a layer of Oreo cookies. I’m totally obsessed with the cross-sections of cookie on the sides of every blondie ❤

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter BlondiesYeah, I was pretty psyched about these when I posted them to Instagram on April 2, 2015, and I’m still pretty excited about them on February 16, 2018. I hope you are, too.Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies

Oreo-Stuffed Peanut Butter Blondies
makes 16 blondies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
16 Oreo cookies

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 and granulated sugars, followed by egg and yolk and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Fold in mini chocolate chips.

Spread half the blondie batter in prepared pan. Arrange Oreos in an even layer over the top. Carefully spread remaining batter over the top. Bake 25-30 minutes (mine took 27 minutes), or until golden at the edges. Center may look a bit underdone. 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.

10 Minute Stovetop Granola

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaIf you’ve been around here awhile, you know I’m a bit of a granola junkie. I eat the stuff almost everyday. I have five recipes in the archives and another twenty that haven’t been posted. Heck, I even have a recipe for Granola Cookies! What I’m saying is that if you’re into granola, you’ve come to the right corner of the internet.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaAll the recipes in the archives are made the traditional way—baked at a relatively low temperature with frequent stirring to prevent burning. Each variation makes enough for three weeks worth of breakfasts. Yes, granola is a great thing to prep-ahead and have stashed in your cabinet on busy mornings.

But there are times when I am out of town for a week, or that I am working on a breakfast recipe for an extended period, or even that I just don’t have time for breakfast at home. And, very occasionally, I come up with a flavor combination that simply doesn’t work (Orange-Pistachio comes to mind), and then I’m stuck eating subpar breakfasts for three weeks so that I don’t waste food…10 Minute Stovetop Granola

…until recently, that is.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaI started making granola on the stovetop this past October and I totally love it. Not only does it take just a quarter of the usual cook time, but it makes a smaller batch! This means that I don’t have to worry about it turning stale in a few weeks or just growing tired of the flavor combination—it’s gone long before that happens.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaToday’s granola recipe was made as most of mine are: as a way to use up odds and ends from my mix-in cabinets. There are oats of course, but the rest is just based on ratios.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaFor two cups of oats, I add in one cup of chopped nuts and seeds (pecans, pepitas and sunflower seeds, in this case). Those get toasted in a dry skillet until they are fragrant and the seeds are starting to pop.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaNext come three tablespoons of oil (I used coconut) and six tablespoons of sweetener. I went for maple syrup and dark brown sugar for this batch, but if you don’t like the idea of straight-up sugar in your breakfast, you may sub coconut sugar or use all maple. Don’t forget to add some salt for balance.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaCook the granola a few minutes more before removing it from the heat and adding in some dried fruit. I went with dates—I impulse-bought a huge bag of them on a recent trip to Costco and now I’m throwing them in everything. If dried fruit isn’t for you, leave the granola as-is.

10 Minute Stovetop Granola10 Minute Stovetop GranolaSpread the granola out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let it cool. If you’re the type of person who adds chocolate chips to granola, this is the time.

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaPile your finished granola into a jar. Who knew oats, nuts, and seeds could look so pretty?!

10 Minute Stovetop GranolaThis Stovetop Granola doesn’t cluster much, but that can be remedied by using a thicker sweetener like honey or brown rice syrup. Real cluster enthusiasts might want to add an extra tablespoon or two, just in case.

I, however, don’t mind clusterless granola. Paired with some plain yogurt and a full French press…well, I have no complaints at all.10 Minute Stovetop Granola

10 Minute Stovetop Granola
makes about 1 quart

2 cups old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free granola)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup raw pepitas
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup chopped dates (I used deglet noor)

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add oats, pecans, pepitas, and sunflower seeds. Cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant and toasted (about 4-5 minutes). Do not burn.

Remove pan from heat. Add coconut oil and allow to melt. Stir to coat the oat mixture. Stir in dark brown sugar, maple syrup, and salt. Return pan to medium heat and cook/stir for 2-3 additional minutes, until sweeteners are incorporated. Remove granola from heat. Stir in chopped dates.

Transfer mixture to parchment-lined pan and allow to cool.

Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three weeks.

10 Minute Stovetop Granola