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  1. Thursday, May 11

    Fudgy Thumprint Chocolate Chip Cookies + A Fair Trade Mother’s Day

    Guess what? I have another fun Mother’s Day post for you, complete with an easy, delicious recipe and an equally delicious giveaway!

    Recipe for Easy Fudgy Thumbprint Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    Each year I create a post in conjunction with Fair Trade USA to celebrate Mother’s Day and this year is no exception! As usual they sent me a box of goodies (which we will be giving away to one of you lucky people in just a moment) to inspire a Mother’s Day baking project.

    Recipe for Easy Fudgy Thumbprint Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    This month has been super busy and as Mother’s Day has approached I haven’t had a lot of time to bake. Normally when Fair Trade sends me a box of goodies they include a baking mix from Immaculate Baking Company. I haven’t ever used the mixes in my posts because I normally create my Fair Trade recipes from scratch. This time, however, I decided to embrace the ease of the cookie mix, adding a fun twist to make it special.

    First off, the Immaculate Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix is so, so, so good. Whether or not you add my fudgy thumbprint you’ll be happy with this mix. But the fudgy addition really takes these cookies over the top. Today’s recipe kind of had a longer journey than most of my recipes. First I tried to make cookie cups with a fudgy center but it just didn’t work practically or visually, but they tasted amazing. So then I tried stuffing the cookies, which worked pretty well but not exactly what I envisioned. So then I tried a thumbprint and it worked! The fudgy “button” goes so beautifully with these cookies and you will love them, especially since it’s so easy to throw this dessert together! How Fair Trade Helps Women

    The most wonderful part of this recipe is that using Fair Trade ingredients means you can celebrate strong women and mothers throughout the world by supporting their livelihood. I’ve read so many stories about how Fair Trade helps women in so many countries and I love it when I can incorporate as many fair trade ingredients as possible into my recipes. The infographic above is a great summary of why Fair Trade is so cool! For today’s recipe I used the Immaculate Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix as well as Guittard’s Extra Dark Chocolate Chips, so it’s a Fair Trade double whammy! The recipe is below…but first…

    Fair Trade Goodies Giveaway!The giveaway! Fair Trade will send one of you lucky people the same gift box I received, which includes product from the following companies:

    To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is a leave a comment on this post before Midnight PT on 3/25/17! That’s it! Easy peasy…as easy as today’s recipe, which I will give to you now! The randomly-selected winner of this giveaway was Comment #24 Michele. Congratulations, Michele!

    Recipe for Easy Fudgy Thumbprint Chocolate Chip Cookies from @janemaynard

    Fudgy Thumbprint Chocolate Chip Cookies
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    A fair trade-friendly recipe that is easy and delicious!
    Author:
    Serves: 22 cookies
    Ingredients
    • 1 Immaculate Baking Company Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
    • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (Guittard is my favorite and they are Fair Trade!)
    • ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
    • Pinch salt
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (or 350º for a dark non-stick pan).
    2. Follow directions to mix the dough for the cookie mix.
    3. Once dough is mixed, put chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and salt in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high in the microwave for 45 seconds, then stir until all chocolate has melted.
    4. Let chocolate mix cool for a few minutes. While the chocolate is cooling, create 1-tablespoon rounded cookie dough balls. With your thumb press a well in the center of each cookie dough ball, then place ½ teaspoon blobs of the chocolate fudgy filling in the center. If the chocolate is sticking to your fingers a lot, just get your fingers a little bit wet with water. Keep in mind, the shape of the chocolate will look how it looks after baking as it did before, so if you want the chocolate nice and smooth, smooth it out before baking!
    5. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Let cool before eating.

     


  2. Wednesday, May 4

    Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies + FairHer, Celebrating the Women of Fair Trade (+ a Giveaway!)

    Mother’s Day is just around the corner, which means two things for me. First, I am planning on not cooking this Sunday, or even parenting much at all (that’s how I like my Mother’s Day, nice and lazy). Second, I’m teaming up with Fair Trade USA once again to celebrate the amazing women farmers of fair trade! I think this might be my 4th Fair Trade Mother’s Day recipe and giveaway…I’ve lost track! Anyway, since it’s not Mother’s Day quite yet, I am still in the kitchen and today I’ve cooked up a batch of double chocolate coconut cookies that I am certain you will love.

    Recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHerRecipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer

    But before we get to the recipe we need to meet a farmer. And do a giveaway, which includes tons of awesome fair trade goodies. Let’s go!

    This year Fair Trade is focusing on the women of fair trade through their #FairHer campaign. Like ONE, another non-profit organization I work with frequently, Fair Trade recognizes how important it is to help women in order to tackle poverty. In fact, you can’t tackle poverty without focusing on women. And the work Fair Trade does empowers women in many ways, especially given that women produce more than 50% of the world’s food (ummmm…btw…they only own 2% of the land).

    Fair Trade USA #FairHer - Fair Trade is Good for Women

    To make this all a little more real, I’d like you to meet one of those women farmers, Virginia Jimenez, a sugar cane farmer & member of the CORA Cooperative, a Fair Trade Certified organic sugar producer in Paraguay. Gimenez has been involved with sugar cane all her life, as both her father and late husband were sugar cane producers. Her late husband, Mario Miranda, joined CORA in 2010 and died a year later. Gimenez, a mother of four, has taken over as the CORA-affiliated producer.

    Virginia Jimenez, Fair Trade Farmer with CORA in Paraguay | Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies | This Week for Dinner

    Here are a few of Virginia’s thoughts: “For us, the access to machinery that CORA provides is key for our annual production [note: according to CORA, they are able to lend the use of machinery at low or no cost by using some of the Fair Trade premium fund]. I also like the ideals behind CORA. Their strict rules are good for our society. For example, the controls regarding the use of child labor is very good. The safety workshops have also been great help. And the idea of producing organic sugar cane without chemicals is very important. My husband believed strongly in this. If we were able to increase our earnings, whether from sales or from the premium fund, I would like to see our health services improved. We do not have medical attention here on a daily basis. If a poisonous snake bites someone, we have to go really far.”

    So, keep an eye out for that fair trade symbol on the food you buy. It’s helping wonderful women like Virginia. A sincere thank you to Virginia for sharing her story and thoughts with us!

    FairHer Giveaway, a collection of awesome Fair Trade Certified Goodies from @janemaynard

    I mentioned a giveaway, didn’t I? Fair Trade USA sent me a package of goodies to provide inspiration for today’s recipe, and one of you lucky people will receive the same package! It just might be their best one yet. Click here to read about all of the products included!

    Here’s how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT 5/11/16):

    I think it’s time to get cooking with all these yummy fair trade ingredients!

    Recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer | Sliced coconut and Guittard baking wafersRecipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer | Guittard baking wafers and Lake Champlain Cocoa

    Today’s cookies may not be fancy but they are pretty much perfect. Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, these chocolate cookies are filled with dark chocolate and coconut, one of my favorite flavor combinations. And there are so many ingredients in these cookies that can go fair trade, from the sugar to the vanilla to the chocolate! For this batch I used Guittard’s organic semisweet chocolate baking wafers, which are my favorite chocolate chips to use in any cookie recipe. I also used Lake Champlain’s organic unsweetened cocoa, another fabulous chocolate source that I can’t get enough of.

    Recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer | Cookie DougRecipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer | Cookies on the Tray

    Enjoy! And Happy Mother’s Day!

    Recipe for Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, using Fair Trade certified ingredients to support women farmers, by @janemaynard #FairHer

    Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Serves: 3 dozen
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 1½ cup brown sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • Generous ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
    • 1¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 1 cup unsweetened coconut (I love wide sliced)
    • 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips (I love Guittard's baking wafers)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
    2. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix together the butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for approximately 5 minutes. (Yes, 5 MINUTES...you want it to mix for a long time.)
    3. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on medium speed for another 2-3 minutes.
    4. Place a sifter over the bowl and add the salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour and cocoa powder to the sifter, then sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix on low until just mixed.
    5. Add coconut and chocolate chips and mix with a large spoon until evenly distributed.
    6. Place dough in 2-tablespoon dough balls on a cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between each cookie.
    7. Bake for about 12-14 minutes. The cookies shouldn't look wet beneath the surface (if that makes sense).
    8. When you take them out of the oven, drop the pan flat onto the counter or stovetop to force the cookies to settle.
    9. Let cool a few minutes before eating. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Dough balls can also be frozen and cookies cooked from a frozen state, you just may need to add 1 or 2 minutes to the cook time.

     


  3. Tuesday, July 7

    I’m About to Give You the Best Oatmeal Cookie Recipe Ever. Are You Ready?

    jody's perfect oatmeal cookies, chock-full of chocolate chips and M&Ms, from @janemaynard

    Brace yourselves. Today I am giving you the best oatmeal cookie recipe ever. Well, the best chocolate chip M&M oatmeal cookie recipe ever. No, really. I haven’t met a cookie this addictive in quite some time. I even made myself sick to my stomach a few weeks ago eating too many, like a 6-year-old the day after Halloween. Not one of my finer moments. But I digress…

    jody's perfect oatmeal cookies, chock-full of chocolate chips and M&Ms, from @janemaynard

    Back to the cookies. These cookies are delicious, with wonderful flavor and texture. Additionally, these cookies are made with oil instead of butter. The original recipe says you can use coconut oil or olive oil. I have made them with half olive oil half coconut oil, and I’ve also made them with just coconut oil. I prefer the 100% coconut oil version. If you decide to use olive oil, I would recommend regular olive oil instead of extra virgin as extra virgin olive oil has more olive flavor.

    jody's perfect oatmeal cookies, chock-full of chocolate chips and M&Ms, from @janemaynard

    Okay, so, the recipe. I begged this recipe off of my girls’ piano teacher, Jody. She has no idea where she got it from, so we just call them Jody’s Oatmeal Cookies. If I ever track down the source, I’ll be sure to let you know! For now Jody gets credit for bringing these beauties into our lives.

    jody's perfect oatmeal cookies, chock-full of chocolate chips and M&Ms, from @janemaynard

    Jody's Oatmeal Cookies
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    These Chocolate Chip M&M Oatmeal Cookies are some of the most addictive cookies I've ever eaten. You've been warned.
    Author:
    Serves: 3 dozen
    Ingredients
    • 2½ cups old fashioned oats
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • ½ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup melted coconut oil (if your coconut oil is already liquid at room temp, you're all set. if it is solid, a few seconds in the microwave will melt it enough)
    • 2 large eggs
    • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • ¾ cups chocolate chips
    • 1¼ cups plain M&Ms
    • (I supposed you could do 2 cups of raisins instead of chocolate chips and M&Ms, but I'm a chocolate girl. If you go with raisins, add ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to the dough)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
    2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Add the salt and baking soda and stir well. Add the oats, flour and both sugars and mix well until all ingredients are fully incorporated together. The dough might be crumbly. (Add a teeny bit of oil of needed - I have not ever added any extra oil myself). Alternatively you can mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chips and M&Ms in a large bowl all at once, but I find adding the ingredients in the order listed above makes it easier to mix the ingredients together evenly.
    3. Mix in the chocolate chips and M&Ms.
    4. Form cookie dough balls about 2 tablespoons in size and place on cookie sheet. The dough is tricky to work with, just be patient! Use your hands to really squeeze the dough into a ball. You may have to tuck the M&Ms and chocolate chips inside and underneath the cookie to get it to hold together on the tray.
    5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies begin to lightly brown on top but don't overcook.
    6. Cook all the dough into cookies as the cookie dough balls don't hold together well for freezing and dough is easier to work with when it is just made. Store baked cookies in an airtight container.
    Notes
    The original recipe says you can use coconut oil or olive oil. I have made them with half olive oil half coconut oil, and I've also made them with just coconut oil. I prefer the 100% coconut oil version. If you decide to use olive oil, I would recommend regular olive oil instead of extra virgin as extra virgin olive oil has more olive flavor.

     


  4. Wednesday, December 3

    Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Shortbread + A Very Merry Giveaway!

    The giveaway in this post is now closed, but keep reading to find out about some really cute Christmas dishes and to get the shortbread recipe!

    This post is sponsored by Q Squared NYC. As always, all opinions are 100% my own, including the opinion that these cookies are awesome.

    I am so happy it’s the holiday season! Well, I mean, now I am, after my annual early-December freak out last night over the stress that this month brings (my busiest work month, two birthdays and Christmas all wrapped up into one not-so-calm package). But now, with the freak out officially behind me, I am ready to dive into present wrapping and cookie baking!

    chocolate-dipped peppermint shortbread from @janemaynard

    I started the whole holiday baking shebang with these chocolate-dipped peppermint shortbread cookies. I’m a sucker for shortbread. No, really, I kind of can’t control myself around the stuff. I decided to give my favorite shortbread recipe a holiday twist by incorporating chocolate and peppermint. The twist worked beautifully. And now there are about 30 ridiculously-adorable and delicious cookies taunting me in my kitchen.

    chocolate-dipped peppermint shortbread from @janemaynard

    These cookies are peppermint perfection. Even though there is peppermint in every element of the cookie, the peppermint flavor is not overpowering. The shortbread, which has just a hint of peppermint, is then dipped in high-quality dark chocolate, also sporting that peppermint hint. Top it all off with crunchy peppermint pieces and you’ve got yourself a COOKIE, filled with flavors and textures that work together oh so nicely. And they look crazy cute!

    chocolate-dipped peppermint shortbread from @janemaynard

    In addition to these lovely cookies, I have some lovely dishes to share with you today, too! You all know how much I love Q Squared. Well, I love them even more now that their holiday dishes are out! When I put in my order for the Winter’s Eve collection, I knew the dishes would be cute but I was not prepared for how much I would love them once I saw the dishes in person. Serious love, people.

    q squared winter's eve collection from @janemaynardq squared winter's eve collection from @janemaynardToday we are giving away a complete set of the Winter’s Eve collection from Q Squared! One randomly-selected winner will receive 1 large platter, 1 serving bowl, 6 dinner plates, 6 tapas plates and 1 coaster set. To enter, please do the following by midnight PT on Tuesday December 9, 2014 (prize must be shipped to a US address):

    • Leave a comment on this post! Easy Peasy!
    • Bonus entry: Like me on Instagram! (You need to leave a separate comment telling us you liked! If you previously liked, it still counts but be sure to leave the extra comment!)
    • Bonus entry: Like Q Squared on Instagram! (You need to leave a separate comment telling us you liked! If you previously liked, it still counts but be sure to leave the extra comment!)
    • Bonus entry: Like This Week for Dinner on Facebook! (You need to leave a separate comment telling us you liked! If you previously liked, it still counts but be sure to leave the extra comment!)
    • Bonus entry: Like Q Squared on Facebook! (You need to leave a separate comment telling us you liked! If you previously liked, it still counts but be sure to leave the extra comment!)

    Good luck with the giveaway – I wish you could all win!

    And now for the recipe!

    Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Shortbread
     
    Delicious chocolate-dipped shortbread with just the right amount of peppermint.
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Serves: 25-30
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • Pinch kosher salt
    • ¾ teaspoon peppermint extract, divided into ½ and ¼ teaspoons
    • 1 cup high-quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • ¼ cup broken peppermint pieces
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
    2. Cream butter, brown sugar and ½ teaspoon peppermint extract together on medium-high speed in a stand mixer for about 3 minutes with the paddle attachment. Scrape down bowl.
    3. Add 1½ cups of the flour and a pinch of salt. Beat with paddle attachment on medium speed until fully incorporated.
    4. Set aside the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook.
    5. Add the rest of the flour (3/4 cup) and mix on medium-low speed with the dough hook, kneading the dough in the mixer for about 5 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.
    6. Roll dough out on a floured surface to about ½-inch thick. Using a ~2-inch sized cookie cutter, cut cookies and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Prick the tops of the cookies with a fork.
    7. Form leftover dough into a ball and roll back out to ½-inch thick and repeat process until you've cut all the dough into cookies.
    8. Bake for 15-25 minutes, until bottoms of cookies are light golden brown. (The time will vary depending on how thick you actually rolled out the dough. The thinner the cookie, the less cook time.)
    9. When cookies have cooled completely, in a small microwave-safe bowl cook chocolate chips and coconut oil on high for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir well until all chocolate has melted.
    10. Add ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract and stir well.
    11. Dip each cookie partially into the chocolate then set on a cooling rack to let chocolate harden. Sprinkle with peppermint pieces immediately after dipping cookie.
    12. Place cookies in fridge to harden the chocolate, around 30-60 minutes. When the cookies return to room temperature, the chocolate will soften a smidge. The chocolate will be hard enough so that the cookies will be pretty and stackable (for packaging and giving!) but just soft enough that it's easy to bite through when eating the cookie. Store extras in the fridge.
    13. You will have extra melted chocolate. I like to have extra so it's easier for dipping. Just pour it over a bowl of ice cream or spread it on a silicone baking mat, sprinkle with peppermint pieces and put in the fridge for a quick peppermint bark. You need to put that chocolate to use!

     Comment #4 ellen patton was the winner of this giveaway. Congratulations, Ellen!


  5. Wednesday, February 5

    Chocolate Cream Cheese Cut-Out Sandwich Cookies

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s time to break out the cookie cutters!

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    Anna and I decided to make some cute heart sandwich cookies yesterday to deliver to the neighbors. We used my favorite recipe for chocolate cut-out cookies (SOOOO good) and my other favorite recipe for cream cheese frosting, combined into one delicious sandwich of goodness. You can, of course, make these any time of year with different shapes and we do!

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynardchocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    A quick rundown of how we made the shapes for the sandwiches and why this is a great way to decorate cookies with kids. If you want to make them exactly how I did, you’ll need 3 heart-shaped cookie cutters that are different sizes but the same shape. Using the largest cutter, cut an even number of cookies. In half of those cookies make holes with the next smaller cookie cutter. Plan it so you end up with an even number of the middle-sized cookies, too. Then take the smallest cookie cutter and cut out holes in half of the middle-sized cookies. Get what’s happening? In the end you will have two different sizes of peek-a-boo sandwiches and a bunch of tiny, super cute chocolate cookies. You can of course still do this with just two heart cookie cutters, you’ll just have one size of the peek-a-boo sandwich cookies.

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    I really liked having the two sizes of sandwiches along with the tiny cookies because it looked really cute on the plates for the neighbors.

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    Once the cookies are all baked and cooled, spread frosting onto the rough side of a cookie with no hole and top with a cookie that does have a hole, then fill the exposed frosting center with pretty sprinkles or colored sugar. This ended up being a really great way to decorate cookies with kids. It’s super easy for them to fill the holes with sprinkles and Anna had such a fun time with it. The other nice thing about making these cookies with Anna was that she was able to spread frosting on the cookies and it didn’t have to be a perfect spreading job because the frosting gets sandwiched inside the cookie and then covered with sprinkles. The project ended up being empowering for her because she could make a sandwich cookie from start to finish without any help and they looked just like mine, well, with maybe a few more sprinkles. 😉

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    Without further ado, chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies!

    Rolled Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
    • ⅛ teaspoon salt
    • ¾ cup butter, softened
    • 1¼ cups white sugar
    • 1 egg
    Instructions
    1. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth – this will take several minutes. Beat in the egg and mix well. On low, beat in the sifted ingredients and mix until you can’t see any white flour.
    2. Divide the dough into two and form into round balls. Place each ball on a large pieces of plastic wrap then press the dough out into a dish, about ½″ thick. Refrigerate for about an hour. You can refrigerate longer than that, but you’ll need to let it soften up a bit before you’ll be able to roll it out. It is important to refrigerate it so that the dough is workable, otherwise it’s too sticky, but the original recipe said to refrigerate for 2 hours and whenever I do that the dough is just too hard to work with.
    3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). On a surface that has been floured pretty heavily, roll out the dough to ⅛ inch thickness. When I do sandwich cookies I go pretty think when rolling it out so that when you bite the cookies later they aren’t too heavy on the cookie. You’ll definitely need to flour the rolling pin and make sure you keep the surface below the dough floured to avoid sticking. Even after refrigeration, the dough is prone to sticking.
    4. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies on cookie sheet – I like to line mine with a Silpat. The original recipe says to place them 1½ inches apart, but the cookies do not spread that much, you can definitely get them closer together, about ½ inch apart.
    5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven (mine are always done at 8 minutes). Cool cookies on a baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully remove them with a spatula to cool on a wire rack completely.

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out cookies from @janemaynard
    Cream Cheese Frosting
     
    Prep time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • ¾ cup butter, softened
    • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3½ – 4 cups powdered sugar
    Instructions
    1. Cream the butter and cream cheese with a hand blender or in a stand mixer until smooth. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed until frosting is smooth. Add powdered sugar until you get the consistency you want, somewhere around 3½ to 4 cups. (Whenever you add powdered sugar, be sure to start on low and then work the speed up so you don’t blow powdered sugar all over the kitchen. I may or may not have done this many times before. I plead the fifth.)

    chocolate cream cheese cut-out sandwich cookies from @janemaynard


  6. Wednesday, January 15

    Two Sweet Treats

    In December I had the chance to write a few pieces for the ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas website. And then, once Christmas was over, the posts were gone! Two of the posts had some mighty fine recipes, so I just added them to the Babble website so they can still be accessible.

    polar express hot chocolate from @janemaynard

    The first, hot cocoa as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars. You know, like in The Polar Express. The dreamy, wonderful hot cocoa we all imagined as kids!

    lemon cream cheese sandwich cookies from @janemaynard

    The second is a super simple cookie recipe that is SO GOOD. You definitely want to add this one to your recipe box – Lemon Cream Cheese Cookie Sandwiches!

    Double yum!


  7. Thursday, December 12

    Chocolate Mint M&M Cookies {and a KitchenAid Stand Mixer Giveaway!}

    This giveaway is now closed, but keep reading because the cookie recipe is FABULOUS. Also, the winner is announced at the end!

    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com

    Today marks the end of Gifts & Giveaways. I know, I’m sad, too. But we are ending this little shindig with a bang. But before we get to that…

    When I was growing up, my family was a bit obsessed with mint M&Ms. I remember my mom would spot them at the store at the beginning of the holiday season and would snag them as fast as she could. (Fun fact: I grew up on a hill overlooking the town where M&Ms are made and it smelled like chocolate in the early mornings. Also, mint M&Ms are not made in that factory but in a different place because the mint flavor basically takes over anything it touches – I hope you all appreciate those high-maintenance M&Ms!)

    chocolate mint M&M cookies from @janemaynard

    Now that I’m a grown up, whenever I see mint M&Ms at the store my instinct is to start hoarding. My common sense, however, reins my instinct in and keeps me from spending all my money on those little minty treats. Thank goodness for practical, boring common sense. But I do still buy a few bags every year and enjoy them immensely!

    KitchenAid Candy Apple Red Artisan Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl Giveaway from @janemaynard

    I’m going to switch topics completely for a minute but I promise it will all come together. Meet Candy. She’s my new Candy Apple Red KitchenAid® Artisan® Design Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl. Her name is kind of a mouthful that’s why we call her Candy for short. I love her because she’s GORGEOUS. Yes, I am that shallow. I mean, that GLASS BOWL. And that SHINY RED PAINT JOB. I could stare at her all day.

    I have a white professional series KitchenAid mixer that Nate gave to me years ago. Old trusty is still around but has been relegated to the shelf in the garage in favor of the younger, hotter model. I told you I was shallow. But I do love how Candy works, too. She’s much quieter and, oh, that glass bowl.

    KitchenAid Candy Apple Red Artisan Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl Giveaway from @janemaynard

    Back to M&Ms (are you experiencing blog whiplash yet?). I really wanted to make chocolate cookies this week with mint M&Ms. Most chocolate cookies fall a little flat and I wanted something that could stand up to the M&Ms, both in shape and flavor. Then my friend Irvin shared his recipe for Chocolate Crackle Cookies last week and I knew it was the cookie recipe I had been looking for all my life. Well, all my week, at least.

    chocolate mint m&m cookies from @janemaynard

    I was right. These chocolate mint M&M cookies are PERFECT. Truly. They have wonderful texture, with a nice crispy outside and a rich, chocolatey interior. The mint from the M&Ms is not overpowering and gives you a fresh pop of flavor. These cookies are perfect for giving as gifts during the holidays, that is if you can stop yourself from eating them all yourself! (Recipe is at the bottom of this post.)

    chocolate mint m&m cookies from @janemaynard

    Wouldn’t you like to make those cookies in a candy apple red artisan stand mixer with a glass bowl? I mean, the way the chocolate mixes with the butter, it just looks so pretty through that glass!

    GIVEAWAY TIME!

    One of you unbelievably lucky people is going to win a Candy Apple Red KitchenAid® Artisan® Design Series 5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Glass Bowl (retail value $399.99), just like mine! WOOHOO!

    Here is how to enter the giveaway (comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Wednesday, 12/18/13. Prize must be shipped to a U.S. address):

    Good luck and happy mixing!

    The randomly-selected winner was comment #168 Itzia – one of her bonus entries got her the prize, but her original comment was, “I love anything with mint. Yum!” Well, Itzia will love these cookies AND her beautiful new mixer! Congrats!

    chocolate mint m&m cookies from @janemaynard

    Chocolate Mint M&M Cookies
     
    I slightly adapted this recipe from Irvin Lin at Eat the Love. Irvin’s original Chocolate Crackle Cookie Recipe is wonderful, with a great technique for making the powdered sugar coating especially white and pretty. The ingredients for the cookie base are exactly like Irvin’s recipe, but I change up the technique a bit for my M&M purposes.
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
    • ½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1½ cups lightly packed brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
    • ½ cup cocoa powder
    • ¼ cup milk
    • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 9.9-ounce package mint M&Ms
    • Granulate sugar for coating cookies (about ½ cup)
    Instructions
    1. If you are using a block of bittersweet chocolate, roughly chop it. I used Guittard’s bittersweet chocolate chips (63% cacao). Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each 30 seconds, until chocolate is melted. Set aside.
    2. Cream butter, sugar, baking powder and salt in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat until ingredients are of a paste consistency. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each egg. Beat in the vanilla. Add melted chocolate and beat until just mixed but thoroughly combined.
    3. Sift cocoa powder over dough then beat until mixed. Add milk and beat until mixed. Add the flour and beat until just mixed but fully incorporated.
    4. Stir in M&Ms by hand with a strong spoon. Place a piece of waxed or parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Form cookie dough balls (with your hands or a scoop – I used my medium-sized scoop, which is about 2 tablespoons). Place cookie dough balls on the prepared cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hour. At this point you can either bake the cookies or store the dough until later (for storing, place the cookie dough balls in a large ziploc bag and store in the fridge or freezer).
    5. Preheat oven to 350˚F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Roll cookie dough balls in granulated sugar, coating well. Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 13 minutes, until cookies are just set and are starting to “crackle.” Cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes then finish cooling on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.
    6. Makes about 40 cookies.

    Big thank you to KitchenAid for hosting this giveaway! I received a mixer from KitchenAid but all opinions are 100% my own.


  8. Tuesday, May 21

    Salted Brown Butter Cookies and The Yummy Mummy Kitchen Cookbook

    Last Christmas a friend gave us some Brown Butter Cookie Company cookies.  Nate and I were both smitten at first bite. Nate is not easily smitten by food. If Nate has a hard time resisting a food, then you know it’s good. The cookies were rich and buttery with a hint of saltiness that was just the right amount. The cookies are also a little expensive and hard to get (they sold out online last Christmas!), so I savored every crumb not knowing when the next box would enter my life.

    brown butter cookie company recipe

    Have you seen the blog Yummy Mummy Kitchen? It’s beautiful and Marina, the blogger, is lovely. I connected with her when I was editing Daily Buzz Moms. (I also connected with her when I discovered that she is good friends with the Strong family, whom I’ve written about before. These are good people, folks. Salt of the earth.) Marina recently published her first book, The Yummy Mummy Kitchen. Marina kindly sent me a copy. Before we get back to the cookies, the book is beautiful. The day I got it I curled up in bed and looked through every page of the book. It transports you to her life in Santa Barbara and the recipes are inspiring. Bravo, Marina! Job well done!

    the yummy mummy kitchen book

    So, as I was thumbing through the book, I immediately noticed a picture of some brown cookies that looked a lot like the Brown Butter Cookie Company cookies. Sure enough, Marina’s intro was all about how much she loves those cookies and how she had to figure out how to make them. I couldn’t believe that recipe literally fell into my lap. Oh, happy day!

    I don’t know how many times I’ve made the brown butter cookies since getting the book. We probably shouldn’t keep track. But they are amazing and completely hit the spot. Buttery with a beautiful crumb, you’re going to become just as addicted as I am. My apologies.

    salted brown butter cookies2 web

    Salted Brown Butter Cookies and The Yummy Mummy Kitchen Cookbook
     
    From The Yummy Mummy Kitchen with a few of my notes
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • ¾ cup unsalted butter (Jane note: I’ve used salted butter every time and the cookies are still wonderful, not too salty)
    • ½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour (*see comment #35 below for detail, but when you measure the flour, scoop the cup in and level with a knife, do not lightly spoon the flour into the cup)
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • Coarse-flake sea salt for sprinkling
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
    2. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until it starts to brown. When the butter has browned and is ready, the foam will have subsided and it will have turned a nutty color. Watch closely so as not to burn the butter. (Jane note: Stir regularly throughout the browning process. The butter will start to foam up, back off on the foam a bit, then foam up a lot. Just keep cooking and stirring. After about 10 minutes the foam will start to subside. You’ll still have a bit of foam, but you’ll at least be able to see what color the butter is. It should be browned and you will be able to smell the nuttiness of the butter. At this point remove from the heat.)
    3. Pour the browned butter into a medium bowl and stir in the brown sugar and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together. With a spoon, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined and uniform in color.
    4. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto the cookie sheet. Marina’s recipe says it yields 13 cookies. I literally do 1 tablespoon per cookie and end up with 18-20 cookies every time. Sprinkle with sea salt and lightly press it into the top of the cookies. Bake for 12 minutes.

    browned butter

    brown butter cookies | thisweekfordinner.com

    To purchase Marina’s book, click here. There are tons more recipes where this came from!


  9. Friday, April 12

    Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Hey everybody. I’ve been a little MIA this week. Cate has Spring Break so we’ve been partying! The state of my house can attest to this. Anyway, life took priority over cooking and blogging, which is the way it’s supposed to be, right?

    In my never-ending quest to find perfect chocolate chip cookie recipes, I discovered a serious gem of a recipe this week. My blogging friend Alice was claiming to have the best chocolate chip cookie recipe EVER. Of course I had to test out the claim. She might be right. For reals. These cookies are unbelievably good and are the exact texture I love in a cookie. You can find Alice’s original recipe here. When I make the recipe I do make a few tweaks, which I included below. Make these cookies this weekend. (Yes, I’m getting bossy again. Sometime I have to.)

    Alice's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies
     
    This is the only chocolate chip cookie recipe you need.
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 1½ cups packed brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • ½ teaspoon smallish-mediumish coarse sea salt (Jane notes: I reduced the salt amount a bit, Alice’s amount was really tasty, but I think a little less offers a bit more subtlety, but you still get the salty punch from the larger crystals; Also, when I am out of sea salt I use kosher salt with good results, but the sea salt texture does make them more special)
    • - 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • - 1½ teaspoons baking powder
    • - 2¾ cup all-purpose flour
    • - 2¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (Jane note: I increased the amount of chocolate chips)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Jane note: I decreased the temperature a bit from Alice’s suggestion based on my oven and how the cookies were cooking.)
    2. Cream butter and both sugars for 3-5 minutes at medium to medium-high speed, until very light in color. Scrape down the bowl and add eggs and vanilla. Beat for 2-3 more minutes. Add all dry ingredients (except chocolate) and mix until just mixed. Pour in chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed.
    3. Form cookie balls about 2 tablespoons in size (I used my medium scoop) and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and tops are starting to brown a bit.
    4. Remove from oven. Jane note: when you take the pan out of the oven, drop it straight down, flat onto the counter to force the cookies to suddenly settle. This makes for good texture and a handsome-looking cookie. Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, then slide the parchment paper/Silpat to a non-pourous surface to complete cooling.
    5. Recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.

     


  10. Wednesday, September 5

    Crispy Crunch Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Okay, so there’s a bakery-cafe called Le Boulanger in my town that has these chocolate chip cookies filled with crisped rice. The cookies are darn good and have a great texture. You may recall last spring I was experimenting with crisped rice in cookies, but I wasn’t very happy with the result. I’m here today to proclaim that I have cracked the crispy code!

    When my sister-in-law was first telling me about the Milk Bar cookies and mentioned that they had cornflakes in them, I started asking all kinds of questions with the crisped rice cookies in mind. Sure enough, the cereal was baked in butter and sugar before being put in the dough. I couldn’t wait to get home and try making the corn flake crunch with crisped rice and trying them in cookies. I had a sneaking suspicion this was just the little trick I needed to get it right.

    I was right – it was just the trick I was looking for! My sister and I agree hands down that the crisped rice in these cookies has great texture, nothing like that first batch I tried. Also, I used my Perfect Cookie recipe instead of the NY Times cookie recipe, which also greatly helped with the outcome.

    The end result? A seriously awesome cookie that pretty much comes out perfectly every time. They’re chewy, they’re crispy, they’re buttery, they’re chocolatey…they’re pretty much heaven.

    You’re welcome.

    Crispy Crunch Chocolate Chip Cookies
     
    From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 6 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 cup flour
    • 2¼ cups oats
    • 1½ cups crispy crunch
    • 1 package (10-12 oz) MINI semi-sweet chocolate chips (the mini chips help with distribution and texture)
    Instructions
    1. Cream butter and sugars at medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and beat at medium-high speed for 5-7 minutes. Beat in vanilla, baking soda, and salt just until mixed. Add flour and mix at low speed until just blended. Stir in oats, crispy crunch and chocolate chips.
    2. Make cookie balls (appx 2 tablespoons in size) and arrange on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Pat cookies down flat-ish, cover with plastic wrap and freeze or refrigerated for at least one hour.
    3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    4. Bake cookies ~14 minutes, rotating the pan at the 7 minute mark. Cookies should be brown on the edges and starting to brown in the center when you take them out. Let sit on pan a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack…or eating! They are good warm but these cookies are also excellent cold, which is saying a lot coming from the fresh-baked-warm-cookie addict that I am.
    5. Freeze or refrigerate remaining dough that doesn’t get cooked.