I will refer to these cookies from now on as the quarter-pounder cookies. It's a dangerous thing for cookies this good to even exist. Not that I ever think twice about eating a quarter-pound burger. I'm a bring on the half-pounder kind of girl. That's not really a good thing, but hey, what can ya do? I like food. However, a quarter-pounder cookie? I'm in heaven, but to be honest even I found it difficult to eat a whole one of these. I don't think I have ever had a problem eating a whole cookie in my entire life. Again, this is not really a good thing. Maybe with these it's because their presence alone is overwhelming.

I wrote a few days ago about my love for giant muffins and cupcakes...well, here's a shocker: cookies also fall into that category. Chocoholics, you must make these now. I have a feeling these are going to be my new go-to cookie recipe. I won't even begin to list the reasons having a go-to cookie this large is a terrible, terrible thing–that's pretty self-explanatory. I can only imagine how good these would be heated up and served with vanilla ice cream. Is it acceptable to start making all cookies four ounces?

Giant Double Chocolate Cookies
Recipe from Annie's Eats
Yield: 12 very large cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1¼ cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup dark cocoa powder
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Mix in the cocoa powder until well blended.  Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl and mix on low speed just until incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.  Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead briefly by hand to be sure the ingredients are well combined.
Divide the dough into 4 ounce portions (or divide into 12 equal pieces).  Roll each portion of dough into a ball and flatten just slightly into a disc.  Place on the prepared baking sheets, a few inches apart.  Bake 16-20 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I doubt I will ever stop trying new blueberry muffin recipes. I'm on an eternal search for a recipe that makes blueberry muffins like the ones you can find at coffee shops and bakeries. Sadly, the recipes I've tried have never compared. They're great, but I want the big honkin', this will keep me full for hours muffin. I'm sure it helps that bakeries make their muffins twice the normal size. Same thing with Costco cupcakes and muffins. Is there a reason they make them as large as a small child's head? No. Do we appreciate that they make 4,000 calorie cupcakes and muffins? Yes.

Ok, ok. 4,000 may be a bit of an exaggeration.

But I found something the other day that might shed some light on how bakeries do it. It's called a crown pan, and it creates those giant muffin tops (in more ways than one) that bakery muffins are marked by. I may be a little behind in learning this is the trick, but I think I will make this my next baking purchase. Has anyone ever tried this kind of pan? 

All of that may seem like I'm inferring that these muffins aren't great, or that I wasn't completely satisfied with them. That is definitely not the case.  I really liked these. The lemon zest in the batter and the sugar sprinkled on top are what really set these apart from some of the more standard recipes. They are very light and not surprisingly didn't last long in my house. Until I find my dream muffin, looks like I'll stick with these. I'm ok with that, but if anyone has a great blueberry muffin recipe feel free to share!

Blueberry Muffins
Recipe from: The Guy Who Cooks


2 eggs
1 cups + 2 Tbsp white granulated sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract/emulsion (or 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (all stems removed)


1.) Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and grease muffin pan or line with 12 muffins cups.
2.) In a separate side bowl mix the flour, salt, and baking soda.
3.)  In your mixing bowl beat the eggs and sugar until evenly combined, about 1 minute. Continue beating and slowly pour in the melted butter and mix until well combined.
4.) Add in extracts and mix until evenly combined.
5.) Add the flour, salt and baking soda mixture alternatively with the sour cream (or yogurt) and mix until just combined (a few dry specs of flour is ok).
6.)  With a spatula fold in blueberries.
7.) Pour batter into muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
8.) With five minutes left, sprinkle the sparkling sugar on the tops of the muffins and bake for another 5 minutes (so that means a 20 minute bake time in total).
9.)  Take out of oven and allow to cool in the muffin pan for five minutes.  Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
10.) Enjoy! (note: as with most baked goods, these are even better the next day)

It's snowing here today...actually, let me correct myself. Last night it snowed, today everything has turned into ice. All classes before 11 a.m. were canceled this morning, but I had one at 11 that I couldn't miss. Unfortunately grace is not something I possess in any significant quantity, so I really shouldn't go outside in conditions like this. I didn't factor in the ice when I opened my front door, so proceeded to fall down all of the front steps and tumble over the side of the steps into the bushes. Just one of those days I guess!

But the cold made me think of these delicious hot chocolate sticks I made around Christmas. I never posted them because time slipped away and they are pictured next to a "ho ho ho" mug. With this weather I've decided these are a necessary (and easy) thing to have around. Once they're finished you just heat up a glass of milk and stir them right in. Voila! Rich, velvety hot chocolate in seconds. My brother preferred to eat them plain (he didn't understand why I had taken perfectly good fudge and deemed it "Hot Chocolate on a Stick"). Truthfully it is fudge on a stick. I'll take it either way.

Hot Chocolate on a Stick
Recipe from What's Megan Making (originally from King Arthur Flour)

½ cup heavy cream
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (1 1/4 cups)
3 cups (18 oz) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chopped chocolate bars or chips)
3/4 cup (4 oz) unsweetened baking chocolate
wooden sticks

Line an 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper. Heat the cream and condensed milk over low heat until steaming. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate; allow it to gently melt. After about 10 minutes, return the chocolate mixture to low heat to completely melt the chocolate. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is thick and shiny. At this point you could ddd a few drops of flavoring oil (such as hazelnut, coffee, or vanilla). Pour the chocolate mixture into the pan; shake the pan gently to level. Sprinkle with cocoa, if desired. Set aside overnight to slowly harden.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan and turn out onto a clean cutting surface. Slice into 1 ¼" cubes (or size desired for serving). Heat a knife in hot water and wipe dry before each cut, for smoothest cuts. Stick a wooden stick into the center of each block. Roll in cocoa or crushed peppermint candy, if desired. Wrap in waxed paper, parchment, or plastic wrap to store.  (I'm storing mine in a tupperware in the freezer, with layers separated by waxed paper)  These will keep at room temperature 3-4 days, in the fridge about 10 days, in the freezer up to 30 days.

Yield: about 3 dozen blocks.


I have a confession to make. 

I have never once made a New Year's resolution. Why? Well, there are a few reasons. One is that I know I would break it if I had one. For example, let's say I made the logical resolution to eat healthier. For most people that would entail less desserts, and that means I really couldn't do it. I will say that I plan on eating more fruits and veggies in addition to desserts, but who doesn't have that goal?

Thankfully, I get myself over to the gym to work off all the sweets I consume. Between my two favorite classes, cycling and boot camp, I burn enough calories that I feel I always deserve to eat whatever my heart desires. The problem is that I feel this way even when I don't work out. Hard day? You deserve cake. Bad test? You deserve a bigger slice of cake. Great test? Go ahead and eat the whole cake. 

Don't get me wrong, I commend everyone who has pledged to get healthier in 2011. I'm all for feeling great about yourself and your body! But for all of you who haven't sworn off sweets these brownies will make you glad you have chosen to keep chocolate in your life. For the rest of you, bookmark this recipe, it's a keeper. 

I'm used to thick, chewy brownies, which these are not.  These are light, almost airy, but they are incredibly moist. I wish I knew the science of food a bit better so I could figure out what makes them this way. I'm sure Alton Brown would be able to tell me. I served them warm with ice cream, but they are still amazing when cooled. The mint chips give the brownies a Thin Mint flavor that I love.  I have family members who don't like mint (?!), so I may try some variations in the future. Happy New Year everyone, here's to a great 2011!

Mint Chocolate Brownies 

Recipe from My Baking Addiction  , adapted from: GoodLife {eats}

12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup dark cocoa powder {I used Hershey’s Special Dark}
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dark chocolate mint chips; divided use

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment and spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
2. Set a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and warm the butter until melted. Add the granulated sugar and stir well. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder.
3. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and vanilla. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl and whisk in with the eggs and vanilla until well combined. Gently stir in the flour and salt; do not beat or over mix. Fold in 3/4 cup of mint chocolate chips.
4. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth top with an offset spatula. Evenly distribute the remaining 1/4 of mint chocolate chips across the top of the brownies.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes. Take care not to over bake. Cool completely.