Friday, April 18, 2008

A very busy Friday

Before heading down the beach for DH's birthday weekend, I had a few things to take care of in the kitchen... because I just had to have foods for all of our friends at the beach. I must have been feeling particularly 'inspired' because I had not one, not two, but three things on my list to make. We'll start with the banana chocolate chip cookies from the blog Annie's Eats. These turned out so great and were really yummy. I followed her recipe exactly because well, frankly, I'm not exactly good with tweaking just yet. These didn't need any changes so it worked out just fine. Here is her recipe:

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temp
1 cup of mashed bananas (about 2 1/2 large bananas) - (I used 2)
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer (I used a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat until well incorporated.

In a bowl, mix the mashed bananas and baking soda. Let sit for 2 minutes. The baking soda will react with the acid in the bananas which will in turn give the cookies their lift and rise.

Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture. Mix together the flour, salt and spices and sift into the butter and banana mixture until just combined.

Fold chocolate chips into the batter. Drop into dollops on baking sheet lined with parchment paper (I just used cooking spray on a cookie sheet). Bake for 11-13 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.

Source: Annie's Eats, originally from Simply Recipes

I just love the way the ooey gooey chocolate looks in this picture above

Next up was oatmeal fudge bars from Blonde Ambition in the Kitchen. I was the most excited about these. The picture on her blog made my mouth water. For the most part, they turned out great. In her blog, you will see that she used a 9x13 pan but the original recipe called for a 10x15 jelly roll pan. I used the jelly roll pan. I think I should have cut the baking time down by a couple mins and checked them. Also, I was a little confused by the 'dollups' on the top of the fudge mixture. I think I did them too big and too far apart. Either way, these tasted really good and I'll definitely make them again. Here is her recipe:

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups Quaker quick cooking oatmeal
2 cups Semi-sweet chocolate chips,
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk (15 oz.)
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional, walnuts or pecans) (I did not use - I meant to actually but forgot)

Preheat oven to 325.
Grease and flour a 10x15 jelly roll pan.
In a large bowl sift together flour, soda and salt. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, beat together softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time and beat until combined. Add vanilla and mix well.
Slowly add the sifted flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in oatmeal.
Gently spread 2/3 crust into bottom of prepared pan. Reserve the rest for topping.
Make the filling:
Over Medium-Low heat, melt together chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons butter, and salt. Stir until smooth. Remove mixture from heat and stir in vanilla and nuts if using.
Evenly pour filling mixture of crust but keeping filling about a 1/4 inch away from side of pan so it does not stick to side while baking. Evenly dollup top of filling with remaining oat mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until topping is light brown and fudge layer set but not solid. Don't overbake these bars or they can become dry. Cool in pan on rack until set. Can chill to set faster. Keep stored in airtight container either room temp or in fridge.

Lastly, I made a very simple Pasta Salad from my friend, Lani's, blog. The recipe is here. The only thing I left out was the artichoke hearts and I added diced celery. It was a perfect, cool snack for the beach.


Anonymous said...

The cookies look great! Glad you enjoyed them. The pasta salad looks delicious too, I love pasta salad :)

Kristina said...

All of the above are a pregnant girl's dream come true! Man was everything fabulous :-)

Anonymous said...

YUM!! I love sweets and pasta salad, your pics look great!