To White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies (Island Cookies)

So it came to my realization when my friend’s fiancé said that one of his favorite cookies was white chocolate macadamia nut that I had never made them before – what’s up with that?? So when I went to the store to get ingredients for something else that I was making and saw the macadamia nuts in the aisle I decided to pick some up so that the next time I made cookies I would have the proper ingredients.

Recipe: Adapted from Suzy Bakes

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream (didn’t have heavy cream so just used milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1  cup macadamia nuts
1 12-ounce bag white chocolate chips

Directions:
Baking Temperature: 350 degrees
Baking Time: 10-12 minutes (for my over it was closer to the 10 minute range – 12 min they got a little too dark and lost their chewiness)
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Add the egg, cream, and vanilla, and beat well.
Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Stir in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Now they turned out delicious – but I feel that they weren’t 100% what I would’ve liked them to be. They were quite thin – and she said that she liked extra chips in hers – but these seemed almost too overloaded with white choc. chips and not enough macadamia nuts. So for the next time that I make these cookies I plan on adding baking powder – may give a little rise to the dough or even trying instant pudding (my sister always uses pudding in her chocolate chip cookies which makes them soft and plump). Nothing wrong with thin cookies – but these were really thin – thankfully they tasted great.

Turns out that white chocolate is one of my housemates favorite types of chocolate so he was very ecstatic when he was able to have fresh, hot out of the over cookies. The fiancé approved of the cookies (we discussed the thin-ness of them) and others that were at the tailgate that I took them to liked them as well!

Another cookie success story.

To Banana Bread Muffins

I absolutely love bananas – people say I am like a monkey since I eat at least one a day – weather in my cereal, in a smoothie, straight up, in banana bread – I mean there are just so many great ways to use bananas. When I moved into Greenhouse there were bunches – and yes I mean bunches of bananas in the freezer. What better way to make freezer room than to bake up the bananas in banana bread? Seemed like a great idea to me. So in addition to my French Toast Bake experience I also whipped up some banana bread – extremely easy to prep – just takes a while in the over to bake a quick bread loaf – the solution – making banana bread muffins – reduces the cooking by like a 1/3 – that’s my kind of results – and if you haven’t realized yet I do have a slight obsession with everything mini – cupcake tins are my companion!

Anywho – I made the banana bread and not until someone asked me what the time was on the microwave did I realize that I forgot to add the softened butter to the recipe – whoops. They still tasted great – they just stuck a bit to the wrappers – so I am assuming if you didn’t use wrappers you would be ok as long as sprayed your tins.

So here it is, the recipe that is…

Ingredients:
Wet Ingredients:
1/2 stick (4-5 tablespoons) butter, softened
2 eggs
2 or 3 very ripe bananas
1 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
2/3 cup sugar
Use a potato masher, fork, or spoon to squish the banana and mix the ingredients together. It is alright for there to be small (1 centimeter) chunks of banana in the batter, but you want most of the banana to be reduced to mush.
Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Directions:
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until the ingredients are blended together.
Stir in add-ins here. I did chocolate chips – chocolate has a tendency to make everything better. Other options – nuts, raisins, craisins, etc. you know the deal.
Pour the dough into greased baking pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Small loaves take around 30 minutes, a normal-sized loaf takes around 50 minutes. Muffins took about 15 – 20 minutes pending on the final texture that you want!
Remove from the oven. This bread is great warm, but it is excellent cold too.
After they have cooled for 5 or 10 minutes the loaves can be removed from the pan to cool.
Set up for others to gobble up – and they will be gobbled up!

Cheers

n

To Mixed Berry French Toast Bake

Living in a Co-op we (the housemembers) are all responsible for cooking one meal a week with a fellow housemate. Last week I jumped on board for brunch (nothing beats a great brunch to start off a good Sunday). I decided I would try the French Toast Bake that my dad had found this summer. I knew it tasted great so was pretty sure I could try my hand at it. After getting my parental units to email me the recipe I set off to the store to get the necessary ingredients. This recipe is extremely easy and the end product is delicious – the one thing to take note of is that you have to prep it the night before so that it can soak. I am not a huge fan of French toast – usually people make it taste to egg-y (and I do like eggs hmmm), but I love this dish – definitely not to egg-y.

Ingredients:

1 loaf (1 pound) French bread, cubed
6 egg whites (I used liquid egg whites – that way you don’t have to worry about using all those egg whites for something else)
3 eggs
1-3/4 cups milk (next time I am gonna try soy milk)
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon (add a little more if you are a cinnamon lover like me)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (Mexican vanilla extract is the best – you can find it at your local azienda)
¼ tsp. salt
1 package (12 oz.) frozen mixed berries (I think I may try a different fruit next time – maybe peaches)
2 tbsp. cold butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Directions:

Place bread cubes in a 9×13 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the egg whites, eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt and pour over the bread. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Thirty minutes before baking, remove the berries from the freezer and set aside. Also remove the baking dish from the refrigerator. Bake covered (foil)  at 350 for 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, cut butter into brown sugar until crumbly. Sprinkle berries and brown sugar mixture over the French Toast. Bake, uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Serve with the rest of your brunch spread or solo – your family and friends will love you for it. One picture is of the Mixed Berry French Toast Bake and the other is of our Brunch Table on the porch all set up!

Cheers

n