Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

dsc_1704-1OK you will not see me baking such treats often. But hey its the holidays! And then what do you do when they come and tell you so excitedly ‘ Mom, you have got to make this cookie – can you guess what is in it? ‘ Hmm…let’s see chocolate chips? ‘ ‘ yes of course, but then what else?’  Me thinks ‘Nuts maybe?’  ‘No mom, you are going in the right direction’ ‘ OK OK why don’t you just tell me?’  ‘Mom, this is insane – there is an Oreo cookie stuffed inside a chocolate chip cookie!, what an awesome creation, isn’t it?, you’ve got to make it for Christmas!’

Oh God, yeah truly awesome calories that’s for sure.! Anyways those cute eyes flickering with so much excitement made me give in. In case you are wondering, that wasn’t my 10 yr old daughter but my 16 year old son! One of his high schooler friends had evidently made one of these cookies and shared with him and his friends.

dsc_1702-1So along with my Christmas Cake baking, which I have been planning to bake this year , we went about baking these ‘ginormouslyamazing’ cookies 🙂 Of course, both of them helped which was great!

So I got the recipe from Tablespoon.com and we baked a couple dozen of these cookies in less than 2 hours. The recipe for the dough was perfect and we carefully placed a cookie dough layer on top and bottom of each oreo cookie and sealed the edges to result in cute, fat cookie dough lumps that baked to become these gigantic stuffed cookies.  For once a year, they are alright to have I guess plus they will be sharing the love with their neighborhood friends so technically my kids will only be eating a couple of these 🙂

Btw the cute small plates in the pics are what my daughter got for me from her class auction! So sweet of her isn’t it? Another reason I guess why I give in to their occasional demand for not-so-healthy treats 🙂 See the 2 hands dunking the cookies in the milk. Aww..I wish my babies weren’t growing up so fast!

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dsc_1705-1For the recipe, please click link below : 

http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/oreo-stuffed-chocolate-chip-cookies/0a222ab7-125d-4310-9a3d-d737e14a4d48

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Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies (Peanut Butter Jelly cookies)


Peanut butter jelly cookies
Last time I asked my husband to get peanut butter for the kids snacks, he got a giant jar of it. Which of course the kids were only too happy about.  But that instantly got me thinking about utilizing this peanut butter into other recipes!  I had also been wanting to bake healthy recipes and had purchased whole wheat pastry flour recently. And so the idea of making peanut butter cookies came to mind. I looked up some recipes but came across this wonderful and healthy recipe from ‘The American Vegetarian Cookbook’ by Marilyn Diamond. This book was a gift to me by my newest friend Debbie who has been ‘Godsend’ soul to me to boost my morale and offer so much support. More about Debbie later. For now let’s go back to the cookies!

This recipe uses healthy whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour and maple syrup instead of sugar for sweetness. So today evening when I had some free time, I decided to try this recipe. I made some changes to her recipe since I wanted to use regular butter instead of margarine and did not want to add almonds additionally. Wanted to stick to only peanuts to keep this ‘peanutty perfect’.

I didn’t add jelly to the whole batch.  So we had a mix of plain peanut butter cookies and PBJ cookies. The kids loved both of them!  The plain ones were a little less sweet than regular cookies they said but they definitely loved it!  They said they loved the texture – crumbly and melt-in-the-mouth kind! Isn’t that wonderful? When you give them no sugar and they say they love it! What more can a mom ask for 🙂

These also seem like perfect to bake and share for the holiday season – Make a large batch for your family and for your friends!

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies (Peanut Butter Jelly cookies)

  • Servings: Makes about 18 cookies
  • Time: about 30 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

1/2 cup organic creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

strawberry preserves as needed for PBJ cookies

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 375 deg F (or 180 deg C).

In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix with a fork to blend well. To that add the melted butter, maple syrup, peanut butter and the vanilla extract.  Using a large spoon or your hands knead into a smooth dough.

In a large tray, arrange small ping pong ball size balls of dough. Using a fork, press the dough ball to flatten it.

To make PBJ cookies, flatten and make a deep indent in the center of the dough ball using your fingers. Place about 1/4 tsp of jelly into the indent.

Bake cookies at 375 Deg F (180 deg C) for between 12-15 minutes or until the base is slightly browned. They may still seem soft on top but will harden on cooling. Let cool for 10 minutes on cooling rack before serving.

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PBJ cookies

 

Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Cake


dsc_0890The three months of summer just breezed by! I had been on a sabbatical from work yet I don’t know how the months flew by! I spent 5 weeks in India so that explains partly why I felt the time go by so fast.  I spent half the time in kerala undergoing Ayurvedic treatment for my RA and the rest of the time in Mumbai pampered by my family.  Gosh, I really needed that! And now I am back to face reality and work 🙁

Anyways, last week of August was wonderful since it was both my birthday and my daughter’s. I always try to make a special cake for my kids’ birthdays and so was wondering what cake to bake this year. Plus this one was special – my baby girl was turning 10! Before leaving for India I had promised the kids that I would make home made ice cream for them but somehow never got around to it. Hence now an idea came to mind. How about an ice cream cake? And after that,  it was easy to decide the flavors – what better than chocolate cake and strawberry ice cream? After all my daughter loves both – she eats strawberries all year round! And she can never have enough of chocolate! My son helped to make this surprise wonderful cake for her!

Chocolate strawberry ice cream cakeI didn’t waste any time looking for recipes – I decided to bake the chocolate cake using my vegan chocolate cake recipe. And then I made the ice cream base using whipping cream and real strawberries!  The Birthday girl was floored and so were the rest of the neighborhood kiddo gang whom we invited for an impromptu pizza and cake celebration.  Yummy Yum!

Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

  • Servings: Makes about 10-12 servings
  • Time: about 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

For the chocolate Cake:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup beet puree or apple sauce (or 1/4 cup whole milk)

For the ice cream layer:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 can evaporating milk
  • 1/2 cup condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp strawberry preserves or jam
  • 1/2 cup strawberry finely chopped (optional)

Method:

Pre heat oven to 350 deg F(180 deg C). Prepare a loaf pan by greasing and dusting lightly with flour.

Mix all the dry ingredients-flours, baking soda,salt,cocoa and sugar in a parchment paper/tray.

In a large mixing bowl add the water, oil,vinegar and vanilla. Add the above dry ingredients to this and mix using an electric mixer(or a stand mixer).  Add the beet puree or apple sauce or milk. Mix till well blended and you get a smooth mixture.

Pour into a loaf pan. Bake at 350deg F (or 180 deg C) for about 20-25 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and let cool.

Once cooled , take the cake out from the pan and cut into two layers horizontally carefully using a sharp serrated knife. Keep aside.

Take a large mixing bowl (or use a stand mixer) and whip the whipping cream, evaporating milk and condensed milk together until creamy. Add the strawberry preserves and the chopped strawberries and mix well.

Now to assemble the cake, take a loaf pan and place a large piece of plastic wrap on it such that there is enough overhang on both sides. Now place one piece of cake on the bottom. Then add half the whipped ice cream mixture. Place the second cake layer on top and add the rest of the ice cream mixture on top. Cover the pan with the plastic wrap that was hanging outside. cover tightly and place cake in the freezer to set for 6-8 hours.

Remove cake from freezer about 30-45 minutes before serving. Place pan on a pan with hot water to get it out quickly. Turn ice cream cake onto serving tray and cut into slices to serve.

Chocolate Strawberry ice cream cake

 

Blueberry Banana Muffins (Blueberry Banana Bread)


DSC_0381Banana Bread is a favorite in my house. I must make it at least once a month. Actually whenever I have over ripe bananas.  Most of the time I substitute some part of the flour with whole wheat flour. And then lots of walnuts and dried fruits also go in. Hence I like to make it often since it’s a perfect snack/treat for the kids anytime of the day!

I have posted the recipe before for Banana Nut bread.  That is a recipe I have been making for the last 10 years! This time as I was making it I realized that I had run out of walnuts. I scratched my brain for what I could use instead of walnuts and for some reason, blueberries popped into my head! Maybe because it is blueberry season! So blueberries it was going to be! I also decided to make them in the muffin pan so that we could have cute looking Blueberry banana muffins 🙂

DSC_0385Blueberries are not only delicious but are also a superfood since they are packed by nutrients – they are low in calories and have high antioxidant properties as well as are rich in Vitamin C ,Vitamin K and manganese. They can prevent DNA damage and have anti-aging as well as anti-diabetic effects.

So enjoy these yummy and healthy treats guilt-free! Make sure you have a lot of fresh blueberries along with the muffins though since raw berries will have the maximum benefits.

Linking to Throwback Thursday this week. Also linking to Fiesta Friday.

Blueberry Banana Muffins/Bread

  • Servings: About 12-14 muffins
  • Time: About 60 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • All purpose flour 1 1/2  cup (I usually replace 1/2 cup of flour with whole wheat flour)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter(cake butter), softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe medium size bananas (ripe and soft bananas work best)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp lime/lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 350 deg F(180 deg C).  Grease a muffin pan with butter and then place muffin liners in them. Alternately, you can also use a loaf pan greasing it with butter and dusting with flour.

Take a bowl or a plate and mix the flours, baking powder and baking soda well. Keep aside.

Mix the butter and sugar well using a stand mixer or a hand mixer. Slowly add one egg at a time and again keep mixing.  Then add the bananas and again mix till the bananas are nicely mashed and blended with the butter mixture. Then add the milk and the lime juice. Now slowly add the flour mix 1/2 a cup at a time and keep mixing.  Add the vanilla extract and mix again.

Lastly, in a small bowl, mix the blueberries with the 1 tbsp flour and then add them to the batter and mix by hand slowly. Now pour the mixture into the prepared muffin pan and bake in the oven at 350 deg F for about 30-40 minutes. Keep checking after about 25 minutes (since oven times vary depending on the type of pan used etc.) When a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, then you know its done. at this point, even the sides and top of the cake should look nice dark brown.

After taking the muffins out of the oven, let cool for about 5 minutes before getting them out.  Serve with fresh blueberries!

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Banana and blueberry bread

Chocolate Love Cake (Vegan Chocolate Cake with a berry filling)

Healthy Chocolate Cake (Vegan)February brings mixed emotions in me. One one hand it brings us a lot of snow storms but on the other hand it also is so romantic because of Valentine’s day. Our wedding anniversary also falls close to V day so for me Feb says ROMANCE in capital letters 🙂 And so once again I got my twin heart shaped cake pans out from the pantry. Since I have been on a dairy free diet for the last 4 months in an effort to reduce my RA flares, I thought of going completely dairy free i.e. no eggs too and so decided to bake a vegan cake. I had also been meaning to bake this Sri Lankan ‘Love’ cake that I had pinned several weeks ago when I was browsing and collecting interesting Sri Lankan recipes. When I had first seen this recipe, owing to its name, I had mentally pinned it to bake it for our ‘Anniv cum V- day’ celebration.  How perfect – love cake for Valentine’s, isn’t it? This cake looked so good with the richness of cashew nuts. Yes, it is indeed called as the ‘love cake’ 🙂

DSC_0874Anyways now since I was going the vegan route, I decided to skip the original recipe which is heavy on eggs but decided to still add cashew nuts to my cake. And further in my quest for really making this a healthful cake I also added another of my favorite (and secret) healthy ingredient …yeah you got it …beet puree! 🙂 I had made Beet Red Velvet Cup Cakes once before so I was confident that it would be all good! And I wasn’t wrong. I also replaced part of the flour with whole wheat flour. But I also wanted to make this a really decadent cake with minimal frosting and so made a cherry and strawberry filling. A decoration with fresh fruits sealed the healthful deal.

DSC_1419Pleased to report that hubby and the kids were bowled over by both the beauty and the decadence of this vegan beauty. See, it’s possible to make a healthy cake and eat devour it too 🙂 Happy Valentine’s day to you and ‘yours only’. Much Love to you all!

DSC_1430I am bringing this healthy and delicious ‘Chocolate Love Cake’ (yes I think ‘love cake is a perfect way to describe this beauty) this week to Throwback Thursdays as well as Fiesta Friday.  Lily at the Littlesweetbaker  and Julianna from Foodie on Board are co-hosting FF this week. What fun!

Chocolate Love Cake (Vegan Chocolate Cake with a berry filling)

  • Servings: Makes about 8-10 servings
  • Time: about 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Adapted from the Basic Vegan cake recipe from Sweetlittlebluebird

Ingredients:

For the chocolate Cake:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
5 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup beet puree (beets cooked and then pureed with very little water to get a thick puree)
1/4 cup cashew nut (powdered in a food processor)

For the berry filling:

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp sugar

1 cup mixed frozen or fresh cherries and strawberries

1 tsp cornstarch

2 tbsp water

For the frosting:

6 oz bar, semi sweet baking chocolate (vegan), chopped into pieces

1/2 cup soy whipping cream / soy creamer

Method:

Pre heat oven to 350 deg F(180 deg C). Mix all the dry ingredients-flours, baking soda,salt,cocoa and sugar in a parchment paper/tray.

In a large mixing bowl add the water, oil,vinegar and vanilla. Add the above dry ingredients to this and mix using an electric mixer.  Add the beet puree and the cashew nut powder. Mix till well blended and you get a smooth mixture.

Pour into 2 greased heart shaped pans. Bake at 350deg F (or 180 deg C) for about 20 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and let cool.

For the filling:

In a small pot, add the water,sugar and the berries and heat on low to medium heat until the berries are all mashed through. Mix the corn starch in the 2 tbsp water to form a slurry and pour into the berry mixture and stir quickly to form a jelly like texture. Put the heat off and keep aside to cool.

For the frosting:

In a microwave safe bowl, add the soy creamer and heat in microwave for about 30 seconds. Add the chocolate shavings/pieces and stir to completely melt the chocolate. Heat further(20-30 seconds more) if needed. You will get a chocolate ganache. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Assembling the cake:

First arrange one of the heart shaped pieces on the cake tray. Top with the berry filling.  Top with the second cake. Frost with the chocolate ganache. Decorate with fresh fruits.

Notes:

Oven times may vary depending upon pan used. So keep checking early on to see doneness of cakes. If you overcook cake, cakes will dry and will not be moist. You can brush cakes with a simple sugar syrup after they are baked to make them extra moist.

 

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