Back when I just had one kid who liked to sleep a lot I posted on a food message board. I learned a ton from them in my early days of cooking and some of our favorite recipes were given to me by those girls. There were many debates about the best chocolate chip cookie recipe and the winner was always these guys, what they call BBFCCCC.

I finally got the opportunity to try the recipe this week since, you know, husband is on a diet and he doesn’t like cookies. We’ll come back to that.

The cookies were so simple. I appreciate any recipe that calls for you to melt butter because I rarely think far enough ahead to soften butter. I had them mixed and in the oven within 10 minutes.

I now see why they always won the great chocolate chip cookie debates. They are as perfect as chocolate chip cookies can get. You can’t tell from the picture but they really are huge. Bigger than my palm by quite a bit. They’re soft but the edges are still a little crisp. I didn’t have any semisweet chips so I did a mixture of dark and white which was awesome. I cannot wait to make them again.

The cookies were all gone within 24 hours. Yeah, so much for husband not liking cookies. And for the diet.

Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
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I’ve had cinnamon swirl bread stuck in my head for weeks. I can’t tell you the last time I said some so I’m not sure why I was struck with the sudden need to make a loaf but I’m so glad I did.

This bread is perfection. The husband is on a diet but he’s been saving his calories to have a piece each day. The inside is soft and the crust is just crisp enough. Cinnamon, brown sugar, raisins – it’s a new favorite in this house. And bonus points for being bread machine friendly!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
For the filling:
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins
Instructions
  1. In bread machine pan, place the first eight ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons water or flour if needed).
  2. When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 10-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Brush with butter. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins; sprinkle over dough. Roll up tightly jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Pinch seams and ends to seal. Place seam side down in greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Cover with foil; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until golden brown. Remove form pan to wire racks to cool completely.
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HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!

I made 6, yes 6, king cakes this year. They were all hideous. I’m pretty sure I just wasn’t supposed to make them.

I wanted to make beautiful braided king cakes with bright sprinkles and then stand back and ooh and aah over how amazing I am (ha!). I started looking for king cake babies shortly after the new year. I mean, I’d assume the city that gave us Mardi Gras (true story) would be well stocked with babies. Nope. Hobby Lobby has had their Mardi Gras stuff out since before Thanksgiving but no babies.

I should’ve taken that as a sign and just given up on my king cake hopes.

So I wandered into a Mardi Gras warehouse one day where I finally found these freaky gold babies. And ended up with 30 of them. Because they wouldn’t just sell me one baby.

From there, everything else went wrong. My dough was sticky. They rose too much. The filling oozed out. The glaze didn’t stick because I was rushed and put it on right out of the oven. Or all of the above, like the one up top.

Next year! Next year I will make a beautiful king cake. I promise.

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Happy Joe Cain Day to everyone around here! Happy Valentine’s Day to the rest of you!

I know a lot of people hate Valentine’s Day but I actually kind of love it. Not because it’s a day of love blah blah blah but because it’s an excuse to put hearts on everything and I heart hearts. I really didn’t want to do too much for V-Day (Hello lazy!) but I did want to use these cupcake wrappers and the sprinkles that I snatched up as soon as Target put their Valentine’s stuff out. So I decided on plain vanilla cupcakes and some cinnamon buttercream for a little spice.

The cupcakes were amazing. The cake was so soft and delicious, and the cinnamon buttercream is my favorite. I wish someone had told me how life changing cinnamon buttercream is. I’m already thinking about the next cake I’ll pair with it.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream
Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour not self-rising
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the buttercream:
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
To make the cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
  2. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter.
To make the buttercream:
  1. Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar a 1/2 cup at a time until completely incorporated, adding up to 4 tablespoons of milk when the icing gets to thick. Add vanilla and cinnamon and beat until just combined.
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Mardi Gras is by far my favorite holiday. Every year I force my husband and friends to go downtown with me and stand in the cold and rain (because it rains on us every time, without fail) for the parades. I just love it!

So with Mardi Gras less than a week away it was time for me to make some cookies! I found a Mardi Gras mask cutter recently and was so excited to use it. I used the same recipe I have been using with lemon extract instead of the almond and royal icing to decorate. Plus lots of Mardi Gras colored sprinkles that I bought for king cakes!

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