Oreo Cream Cheese Cookies


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1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips
2 cups Oreo crumbles

Preheat oven to 375, line a cookie sheet with parchment. I have found that parchment keeps the cookies from spreading too much, as they tend to do on a greased pan or a silpat.

In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, cream together butter and cream cheese until thoroughly combined.

Add sugar and vanilla, mix well.

Add flour one cup at a time and mix on low just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

Pour Oreo crumbles into a bowl. Scoop dough out and roll into roughly 1.5″ balls, then roll in cookie crumbles, coating thoroughly. Be sure to cover the dough balls really well in crumbs, as this is what holds the cookie together while baking. Space cookies about 1-2″ apart on sheet. Bake on center rack about 14-15 minutes and allow to cool on sheet several minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

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Holiday Cut-Out Cookies


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Makes 80 cookies (depending on the cookie cutter size; you can halve or quarter the recipe)

 

1 1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white
Finely chopped walnuts or sliced almonds (optional)
Sanding sugar (optional)
Dried citron or candied cherries, finely chopped (optional)

 

1. A day before baking the cookies: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or by hand, in a bowl with a wooden spoon), cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one by one, mixing after each addition, then the vanilla. Gradually work in the flour until a dough forms. Wrap the dough in waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

 

2. Heat the oven to 350° F. Whisk together the egg white and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Cut the dough into quarters and keep three-quarters cold while working with the first quarter.

 

3. Generously flour your work surface. Lay down the dough. Flour again. Roll the dough into a large circle, about 1/8-inch thick — and no thicker! Use cookie cutters to cut into shapes. It helps to dip the cutters into flour between every 2 cookies; this will prevent sticking. Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Brush with the egg wash and decorate with chopped nuts, sanding sugar, or diced citron — whatever you like!

 

4. Bake the cookies until they are lightly browned on the edges, 8 to 10 minutes — I like to turn the baking sheet 180 degrees after 5 minutes to help them bake evenly. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely. (Repeat with the rest of the dough.) Place the cookies in a tin or storage container with a tight lid and let age 1 to 2 weeks to bring out the flavor. (I have eaten them at Easter, 4 months later, and they were still delicious.)

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Make strawberry shortcake in a jar


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Avoid the muss and fuss all together and pack your treats in sturdy glass jars? Not only are they fun for eating, they are splendidly easy to tote. Just put them together, screw a lid atop, and serve withing 2-3 hours.

A simple box cake is crumbled into jars and topped with a mixture of frosting and whipping cream, which protects the cake from too much seepage from the strawberries. A simple, splendid way to enjoy summer.

Strawberry Shortcake in a Jar

  • 1 boxed Yellow Cake Mix, baked according to package directions
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • 1 (8 ounce) whipped topping
  • 1 quart fresh strawberries mixed with 1/4 cup sugar

Crumble the yellow cake mix into large chunks. Press a small amount of the crumbled cake mix into the bottom of four small canning jars.  In a small bowl, mix together the frosting and whipped topping. Spoon a small amount on top of the cake layer. Spoon a few strawberries on top of the frosting layer, add another layer of cake, frosting, and strawberries.

Top each jar with a lid and ring. Store in the fridge up to 12 hours before serving.

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Gone Bananas: 7 Ways to Transform Those Brown Ones on Your Counter


 

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In the life of a banana, the time between “perfectly ripe” and “overripe” can be but a fleeting moment. That’s why God invented banana bread. But that’s just the beginning! Transform your past-prime fruit into first-rate muffins, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, waffles, and more.

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Banana-Chocolate Bread

Chocolate chunks add a touch of luxury to the workaday loaf. We like the variety of sizes we get from chopping: Tiny bits of chocolate flavor the bread beautifully, while larger ones provide big hits of deliciousness.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups mashed overripe bananas (3 to 4)
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Cook‘s Note

Store tightly wrapped in plastic, up to 3 days, or freeze, up to 3 months.

Chopped or Chips?
For this loaf, we like the variety of sizes we get from chopping. Tiny bits of chocolate flavor the bread beautifully, while larger ones provide big hits of deliciousness.

Kitchen Tip
If your bananas aren’t quite ripe enough, put them in a 300-degree oven, unpeeled, for 15 minutes to soften.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down bowl as needed.

3. Beat in bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture and chocolate on medium. Pour batter into pan. Bake until a skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

4. Let bread cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

 

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Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

 In one batch of hearty cookies, find the flavors of two bakery classics: chocolate chip cookies and banana bread. Chopped walnuts and rolled oats add texture and more layers of taste.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into 1/4-inch chunks
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (about 2 ounces), toasted

Cook’s Note

Use a ripe banana, which has more concentrated flavor than an unripe one.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together flours, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and vanilla; mix until combined. Mix in banana. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in oats, chocolate chunks, and walnuts.

2. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 12 to 13 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers up to 2 days.

 

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Zucchini, Banana, and Flaxseed Muffins

Shredded zucchini, ripe banana, and ground flaxseed dial up the nutrition factor in these moist muffins.

Nonstick cooking spray
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 cup lightly packed light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (from 1 large zucchini)
1/3 cup mashed ripe banana (from 1 large banana)
3/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cook‘s Note

Fresh zucchini and ripe banana add moisture to these muffins, ensuring they are soft and tender but low in fat.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 12 standard muffin cups with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, flaxseed, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add zucchini and banana and stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla. Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until combined (do not overmix).

2. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let muffins cool completely in pan on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.

 

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Banana Whoopie Pies

 These golden-edged banana cookies stuffed with cream-cheese frosting unite two favorites — whoopie pie and moist banana cake — in an immensely satisfying revival.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
1/2 cup sour cream
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners‘ sugar, plus more for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.

2. Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.

3. Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1 1/2 inches apart.

4. Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool. (Unfilled cookies can be stored for up to 1 day.)

5. Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

6. Pipe or spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve immediately.

 

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Healthy Morning Muffins

Banana shares the spotlight with carrots, raisins, and oats in these hearty, low-fat muffins.

Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup skim milk
4 medium carrots, shredded
1 medium ripe banana, mashed

Cook’s Note

To store, keep in an airtight container up to 3 days.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt until there are no lumps. Stir in oats and raisins. Add oil, egg, milk, carrots, and banana and stir until blended.

2. Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. Serve muffins warm or at room temperature.

 

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Banana Cupcakes with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting

 For a handheld treat that takes the cake, try these cute confections — they combine the flavor of classic banana bread with a creamy spiced frosting.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 ripe bananas), plus 1 whole banana, for garnish (optional)
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Honey-Cinnamon Frosting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2. Make a well in center of flour mixture. In well, mix together butter, mashed bananas, eggs, and vanilla. Stir to incorporate flour mixture (do not overmix). Dividing evenly, spoon batter into muffin cups.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Spread tops with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting. Just before serving, peel and slice banana into rounds, and place one on each cupcake, if desired.

 

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Banana-Raisin Bread Pudding

Custardy, comforting bread pudding gets an added dose of sweetness from chunks of banana.

Butter, room temperature, for baking dish
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 cups whole milk
12 ounces challah bread, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
3 bananas, sliced 1 inch think on the diagonal
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack set in lower third. Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, salt, and 1/2 cup sugar until combined; whisk in milk. Add bread, bananas, and raisins; toss gently to combine. Set aside to let bread absorb liquid, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish; sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of bread pudding comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

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Caramel Crunch Blondies


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Yield: 24 blondies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups chopped Crunch Bars (about 18 minis), divided
  • 15 caramel squares (such as Kraft), unwrapped and quartered

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Cream brown sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Add baking powder, salt, and flour and mix.
  3. Stir in 1 cup of the chopped Crunch Bars and all of the quartered caramel squares.
  4. Press into prepared pan (dough is sticky, spray your hands with cooking spray to avoid it sticking to your hands). Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of chopped Crunch bars over the top and press lightly to make them stick to the surface.
  5. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. (Be careful not to overcook – the center will still be jiggly when you take these out of the oven and they will finish cooking and firming up as they cool.) Cool completely before slicing into squares.

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