Category Archives: Healthy Food

Soft Cut Out Gluten Free Sugar Cookies


Cookie week may be over, but I have a few more recipes that are too perfect for the holidays that I HAD to reshare. I’ll admit, getting a cookie to be absolutely perfect can be frustrating, especially when working with non-traditional flours, but if anyone can do it, it’s this ambitious chick (aka me.) That’s the attitude I like to have about most things anyway, but even more so when it comes to cookies. Heh.

Two years ago after several attempts and different flour ratios, I perfected these glorious gluten free sugar cookies that hold their shape perfectly when baked and taste just like the real deal sugar cookie you know and love. Many AK readers love my paleo-friendly, gluten free or dairy free recipes and continue to request more of them; so I knew I needed to make a SOFT CUT OUT SUGAR COOKIE that was not only gluten free, grain free and paleo-friendly, but also easily dairy free.

Use your favorite cookie cutters, decorate to your hearts desire (the best activity with kiddos) and enjoy!

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decorated soft gluten free sugar cookies on parchment paper

Ingredients in gluten free sugar cookies

These gluten free sugar cookies are based on my soft almond flour sugar cookies, except with a few modifications to make sure they could be rolled out and still keep their shape upon baking. Of course, they’re much better for you than traditional sugar cookies thanks to a few simple ingredient swaps:

  • Almond flour and coconut flour: Almond flour and coconut flour are both gluten-free flours that happen to be grain free, lower in carbohydrates and higher in fiber compared to regular flour. Plus these two flours also have a nice sweetness to them, meaning we don’t have to use as much sweetener. I recommend using fine blanched almond flour in baking because it bakes up perfectly and has a texture similar to regular flour.
  • Butter: I chose to use butter in this recipe to keep the buttery notes of traditional sugar cookies, however, you are more than welcome to use coconut oil or vegan butter for a dairy free option. I have included substitution notes in the recipe below.
  • Eggs: Make sure your eggs are at room temperature when you make this recipe. I like to do this by running them under warm water for 1 minute. I haven’t yet tried a vegan substitute but let me know if you do!
  • Sweetener: Because these are sugar cookies, I wanted to use real-deal sugar. The entire recipe only calls for 1/2 cup of organic cane sugar, but you can also feel free to sub coconut sugar, although the cookies may come out softer. I also use honey in the recipe to keep a nice soft texture to the cookies plus add additional sweetness. Don’t skip it!
  • Vanilla + almond extract: every good sugar cookie should call for almond extract. It just adds an irresistible sweet cookie flavor. We’re also using vanilla extract for a lovely hint of pure vanilla.
  • For decorating: I love to use an easy vanilla buttercream made with butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Seasonal sprinkles are the perfect touch to make the cookies festive and fun! You can also use these sprinkles that are dye-free, gluten free and vegan — they’re super cute and I’m a huge fan.

Tony decided to help me test these out one Saturday night, and we had such a fun time laughing, playing Christmas music, frosting and decorating them. Highly recommend it if you’re looking for a date night in activity.

gluten free cut out sugar cookie dough rolled out and being cut into shapes

Can I use all purpose flour?

Unfortunately, no, I cannot recommend a substitution for the flour mixture in these healthy sugar cookies as the texture will change drastically.

Make these sugar cookies your own

These gluten free cut out sugar cookies are so good, easy to make, and easy to customize!

  • Make them dairy free. Feel free to use 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or 1/2 cup melted vegan butter in the dough. Then just use vegan butter in the frosting as well.
  • Make them paleo-friendly. Use coconut oil as well as coconut sugar in the dough instead of regular sugar. Note that the dough may come out softer and darker than intended. To decorate you can make the frosting with my paleo powdered sugar, or use a paleo-friendly frosting like Simple Mills.
  • Try a chocolate version. If you’re looking for a chocolate version, try my Gluten Free Almond Flour Chocolate Sugar Cookies!

However you do it, you’re going to LOVE these sugar cookies! I can’t wait to see you make them.

grain free cut out sugar cookies on a baking sheet before baking

How to make the best grain free sugar cookies

  1. Mix the wet ingredients. Start by whisking together all of the wet ingredients until well combined.
  2. Add the dry. Mix in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until your gluten free sugar cookie dough forms. No stand mixer necessary!
  3. Divide & chill. Divide the dough into two discs and wrap them well with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours, or 30-45 minutes in the freezer.
  4. Roll & cut. Take out one of the dough balls, place it between two large sheets of parchment paper, and roll it out with a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut the sugar cookies into fun shapes and transfer them to a prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake & cool. Bake your sugar cookies until they’re just slightly golden brown on the edges, then let them cool on a cooling rack while you make the frosting. Repeat with your remaining dough!
  6. Frost & enjoy. Beat together the buttercream frosting, then frost your cooled cookies, add decorations and enjoy!

decorated healthy soft cut out sugar cookies made with almond flour

Tips for making soft cut out sugar cookies

  • Pack your almond flour. I like to pack my almond flour just like I would with brown sugar. It makes all the difference! No need to pack the coconut flour though.
  • Chill the dough for at least 1 hour. Store the dough in the fridge for at least 1 hour, but preferably 2 hours or more. It makes the dough MUCH easier to work with, plus it helps the cookies to hold their shape.
  • Roll with parchment paper. I recommend rolling the dough between sheets of parchment paper to prevent the dough from sticking to your surface. Add coconut flour to the parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  • Flour your rolling pin. Make sure your rolling pin is well floured with coconut flour, otherwise, the dough is likely to stick to the rolling pin.
  • Roll dough 1/4th inch thick. Yes, we want a thicker dough so that the cut out cookies can actually be cut out. Plus, the thicker dough really allows the cookies to keep their soft middle texture, yet still have crispy edges.
  • Cool before frosting. Be sure that your sugar cookies are completely cooled before frosting them so that the frosting doesn’t soak into the cookie.

Can I make them into drop cookies?

Sure! If you don’t want to roll these cookies out and cut them into shapes, feel free to make regular gluten free sugar cookies by scooping the dough with a cookie scoop, rolling it into a bowl and adding it to your baking sheet. You’ll want to flatten the dough a bit with your palm before baking so that they end up like round cookies.

Make them ahead of time

You can actually make the dough the night before, store it in the fridge overnight, and make the cut out sugar cookies the next day!

two gluten free sugar cookies next to a cup of hot chocolate

Storing tips

  • In the fridge: store these gluten free and grain free sugar cookies in an airtight container at room temp for up to 5 days.
  • In the freezer: you can actually freeze the entire sugar cookie dough ball, the dough after cutting out shapes, or the baked cookies! Check out my full tutorial here to learn exactly how to freeze them.

More cookie recipes you’ll love

Get all of my delicious cookie recipes here!

If you make these gluten free sugar cookies, please leave a comment and rate the recipe. I appreciate your feedback and know the AK community does too! Thank you — xo!

Soft Cut Out Sugar Cookies (gluten free, grain free, paleo friendly)

soft cut out sugar cookies decorated on a baking sheet

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Gluten free cut out sugar cookies made with almond flour for a healthier version! This delicious, easy gluten free sugar cookie recipe is paleo-friendly, easily dairy free and perfect to make during the holiday season. Everyone loves these soft sugar cookies with tender middles.

Ingredients

  • Wet ingredients:
  • ½
    cup
    butter, melted*
  • ½
    cup
    organic cane sugar**
  • 2
    tablespoons
    honey
  • 2
    eggs, at room temperature
  • 2
    teaspoons
    vanilla extract
  • 1/4
    teaspoon
    almond extract
  • Dry ingredients:
  • 3
    cups
    packed fine blanched almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2
    cup
    coconut flour (do not pack), plus more for rolling out the dough
  • 1/4
    teaspoon
    baking soda
  • 1/4
    teaspoon
    salt
  • For the vanilla buttercream:
  • ½
    cup
    butter, at room temperature (optional to use vegan butter stick)
  • 1
    cup
    powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2
    teaspoons
    vanilla extract
  • To decorate cookies:
  • Sprinkles of choice

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the melted butter, sugar, honey, eggs, vanilla and almond extract; whisk until well combined and smooth.

  2. Next, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients: almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon (not a whisk) until dough comes together.

  3. Divide dough into two balls or discs and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (preferably 2) or 30-45 minutes in the freezer. Also optional to chill overnight if you want to save time.

  4. Once ready to bake: preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

  5. Take one of the dough balls (leaving the other in the fridge, as you’ll need to work in batches) and place it on a large sheet of parchment paper that’s been dusted with a good amount of coconut flour. Add another large sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough ball and then begin to roll out into a large rectangle until the dough is about 1/4th inch thick. The dough is soft, so you need to work quickly so that it doesn’t warm up too much! This is also the best method to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin. Use your favorite cookie cutters to cut the dough into shapes, then use a spatula to help you transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet.

  6. Bake cookies for 9-13 minutes or until just slightly golden brown on the edges. If you want slightly crispier cookies along the edges, just bake for a minute or two longer. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Makes roughly 30 sugar cookies, depending on the size of your cutouts.

  7. For the vanilla buttercream: Beat butter, powdered sugar and vanilla on high until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Frost each cookie, then decorate however your heart desires!

  8. Cookies will stay good for up to 5 days at room temperature if kept in an airtight container. Cookies can also be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

Cookies will stay good for up to 5 days at room temperature if covered well, or they can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container.

*To make sugar cookies dairy free: use 1/2 melted coconut oil or 1/2 cup melted vegan butter in the dough. You’ll also need to use vegan butter in the frosting.

**Instead of sugar, you can use coconut sugar, but the dough may come out softer than intended and also much darker. I recommend sticking with regular sugar.

Feel free to use my paleo powdered sugar recipe in the frosting. Or you can use a dairy free/paleo-friendly frosting such as Simple Mills.

Nutrition

Servings: 30 cookies

Serving size: 1 cookies (with icing)

Calories: 163kcal

Fat: 12.2g

Saturated fat: 4.3g

Carbohydrates: 12.1g

Fiber: 2g

Sugar: 8.6g

Protein: 3.1g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

This post was originally published on December 2, 2019, republished on December 15, 2021, and republished on December 8th, 2022.



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Peppermint Freezer Fudge – Fit Foodie Finds


This peppermint freezer fudge is the perfect holiday treat. It is made with coconut oil, almond butter, peppermint candies, and other simple ingredients. It’s the perfect holiday dessert.

Stacked fudge pieces.

Easy Peppermint Freezer Fudge

When you are in the holiday spirit you crave all the holiday flavors. This peppermint freezer fudge is an easy dessert to whip up and keep in your freezer. You can store it in your freezer as a quick dessert or for a holiday party.

Why you’ll love it!

Reasons why you’ll love it.

It’s a simple holiday dessert.

You can whip it together in no time.

The peppermint and chocolate are a delicious combo.

Ingredients in a bowl.

Featured Ingredients

  • Coconut oil- coconut oil is the ingredient that allows this freezer fudge to freeze quickly. It does give the fudge a hint of coconut taste. Do not try to substitute this ingredient.
  • Almond butter– almond butter gives the fudge body and adds a ton of protein! You can’t even tell that the fudge has almond butter in it. Be sure to buy drippy almond butter, if the almond butter is too stiff it won’t mix well.
  • Peppermint extract– a little goes a long way for peppermint extract.
  • Candy canes– candy canes or peppermints on top of this peppermint freezer fudge make it festive and give the freezer fudge a nice crunch.

Cookie Dough Freezer Fudge.

Easy Ingredient Swaps

Make any of the following easy ingredients swaps 1:1 in your peppermint freezer fudge. Don’t have almond butter on hand? We got you. Want to use another sweetener? Go for it!

  • All natural, drippy almond butter –> any drippy nut butter like peanut butter or cashew butter
  • Maple syrup –> honey
  • Chocolate chips –> chocolate chunks

What Can’t You Swap?

  • All natural, drippy nut butter: while you can use any drippy nut butter interchangeably, we DO NOT recommend using any spreadable nut butter that isn’t drippy.
  • Coconut oil: we DO NOT recommend swapping out coconut oil for another oil like olive oil or canola oil. Not only would this significantly change the flavor of this freezer fudge, but other oils also do not solidify like coconut oil does when frozen.
Melted freezer fudge in a bowl.

Simple Instructions

Make sure to scroll all the way down to the recipe card to get the full ingredient list and written recipe.

  1. Prep the cake pan. First, line a square cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix Ingredients. Add all of the ingredients together, except for the chocolate and peppermints, in a large mixing bowl. Be sure the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Melt the chocolate. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or over the stovetop. Just be sure to watch the chocolate so it doesn’t burn. Add the chocolate to the other ingredients and mix.
  4. Add the peppermints. Pour the mixture into a lined square pan and smooth the mixture out. Add the crusted peppermints to the top of the fudge.
  5. Freeze the fudge. Cover the fudge and freeze it for 2-4 hours or until frozen.

don’t skip the parchment paper

DON’T SKIP THE PARCHMENT: you’ll be able to easily lift the frozen fudge out of your square cake pan because of the parchment paper! If you skip the parchment, it will be difficult to remove the frozen fudge from the pan.

Freezer fudge with peppermints on top.
Freezer fudge pieces.

Top Tips

Use creamy and drippy almond butter. Be sure to buy drippy almond butter. We love the Good and Gather almond butter or the almond butter from Trader Joes.

Add a little extract at a time. If you would like your freezer fudge to have more peppermint flavor, be sure to add only a little extract at a time. Extracts can be very potent.

Be sure it’s stored in an air-tight container. If you place your freezer fudge in the freezer without sealing it or storing it in an air-tight container it can become freezer burn, causing it to taste like what’s in your freezer or have a strange texture.

Storage

Because this peppermint freezer fudge has coconut oil and drippy nut butter in it, it will melt at room temperature. Because of this, we recommend storing your freezer fudge in the (you guessed it!) freezer.

Pro tip: once your pan of peppermint freezer fudge has completely frozen, cut into slices or break it into chunks and store it in an air-tight container in the freezer.

Freezer fudge pieces with white chocolate and peppermint on top.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup drippy all-natural almond butter*
  • cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • cup melted coconut oil + 1 teaspoon divided
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • cup chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ¼ cup chopped peppermints or candy canes

Tips & Notes

  • Drippy almond butter is very important! If you don’t use drippy almond butter you may need to add extra coconut oil to the freezer fudge.

Nutrition facts

Calories: 223kcal Carbohydrates: 12g Protein: 5g Fat: 19g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 7g





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Death by Chocolate Peppermint Cookies


You know I couldn’t resist sharing one of my favorite Christmas cookies before the holiday gets here. I made these death by chocolate peppermint cookies a few years ago and they quickly became one of the most popular holiday cookies on AK.

They’re packing double (or triple) chocolate with a perfectly chewy chocolate cookie, chocolate chips and a dark & white chocolate topping. Should I say chocolate again?

These chocolate peppermint cookies are perfect for making with kiddos as a fun project and a guaranteed to impress family and friends!

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chocolate peppermint cookies with peppermint candies

Ingredients you’ll need

These chocolate peppermint cookies are loaded with chocolate chips, infused with peppermint extract, baked and then dipped in dark chocolate. Finally, they get drizzled with white chocolate and coated with crunchy crushed peppermint candies. SO GOOD. Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

  • Flour: We’re using good old all purpose flour to make these double chocolate peppermint cookies.
  • Cocoa powder: I recommend using a high-quality, unsweetened cocoa powder for the best flavor. I like to use Ghirardelli.
  • Baking staples: you’ll need some salt and baking soda to help the cookies bake properly.
  • Sugars: you’ll need both brown sugar and granulated sugar to give these cookies the perfect sweetness.
  • Eggs: we’re using one egg and one egg yolk (yes, the yolk only) for a delicious texture.
  • Butter: because butter makes every cookie amazing! And gives them the right amount of moisture.
  • Extracts: you’ll need both vanilla extract and peppermint extract for that delicious peppermint flavor.
  • Delicious add-ins: I love adding dark chocolate chips to the batter for a double chocolate peppermint cookie. You’ll also need some white chocolate chips, a little coconut oil and crushed peppermint candies (or candy canes) for that gorgeous topping!

Optional ingredient swaps

I always recommend sticking with the recipe ingredients as much as possible, but here are a few swaps that should work well:

  • Feel free to use vegan butter if you’d like to keep these dairy free. Remember to also use dairy free chocolate chips.
  • Instead of cocoa powder, you can also use cacao powder.
  • I haven’t tested these with a flax egg, but I think it could work just fine!

chocolate peppermint cookies drizzled in white chocolate next to peppermint candies

Can I make these chocolate peppermint cookies gluten free?

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend a gluten free substitute for these cookies, but my best guess would be to use a 1:1 GF all purpose flour. Good news: I have tons of gluten free cookies on my site! Check them all out here.

Get fancy: add a mocha twist

If you want chocolate peppermint mocha cookies (yum) simply add 2 teaspoons espresso powder or 1 tablespoon instant coffee with your dry ingredients! The coffee flavor brings out that wonderful chocolate even more.

peppermint chocolate cookie drizzled in white chocolate with a bite taken out

Make perfect double chocolate peppermint cookies

  1. Prep your oven. Set your oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the dry. Add all of your dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk them together.
  3. Mix the wet. Use an electric mixer and beat together the butter and sugars. Then add the extracts and eggs until smooth.
  4. Make your dough. Slowly add the flour mixture to the electric mixer and mix everything just until your cookie dough forms. Carefully fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Baking time. Use a cookie scoop and roll together about 2 tablespoons of dough. Place them on your baking sheet 2 inches apart and bake!
  6. Dunk, drizzle & enjoy. While your cookies are cooling, melt some dark chocolate over the stove or in a microwave-safe bowl. Dip each cookie halfway in the chocolate, and then add your crushed candies. Do the same for the white chocolate but drizzle it on top with a spoon. Then enjoy the perfect Christmas cookies!

two double chocolate peppermint cookies in a stack with a bite taken out

Can I make them without an electric mixer?

Yes! Feel free to mix the wet ingredients together by hand, slowly add the dry ingredients in, and mix again until they’re well incorporated. A great arm workout!

How to store chocolate peppermint cookies

Feel free to store these cookies in an airtight container at room temp for up to 5 days. Perfect for sharing over the holidays!

stack of chocolate peppermint cookies dipped in chocolate

Freezing tips

These chocolate peppermint cookies are freezer-friendly! There are two ways to do so:

  1. Freeze the dough. To freeze the dough, simply roll it into individual balls and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes. Once the cookie dough balls firm up, transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, simply bake the peppermint chocolate cookies as directed. You’ll likely just need to add a few extra minutes of baking time!
  2. Freeze the baked cookies. You can also freeze your baked cookies for later. Wait for them to cool completely, then transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container lined with wax or parchment paper. I like to place them in a single layer to avoid any cookies breaking. Cookies will keep well for up to 2 months. Once ready to eat, simply thaw out at room temperature and enjoy. You can freeze them with or without the toppings.

More cookie recipes you’ll love

Get all of my cookie recipes here!

I hope you love these death by chocolate peppermint cookies! If you make them be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!

Death by Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

two chocolate peppermint cookies in a stack with a bite taken out

Gorgeous chocolate peppermint cookies dipped in dark chocolate, sprinkled with crushed peppermint candies, and drizzled with white chocolate. These double chocolate peppermint cookies are truly a “death by chocolate” cookie. Perfect for holiday baking and cookie exchanges!

Ingredients

  • Dry ingredients:
  • 2
    cups
    all-purpose flour
  • 1/2
    cup
    unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1
    teaspoon
    baking soda
  • 1/2
    teaspoon
    salt
  • Optional if you want mocha peppermint cookies: 2 teaspoons espresso powder or 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • Wet ingredients:
  • 1
    cup
    unsalted butter, softened
  • 1
    cup
    packed brown sugar
  • ½
    cup
    granulated sugar
  • 1
    teaspoon
    vanilla extract
  • 1/2
    teaspoon
    peppermint extract
  • 1
    large egg
  • 1
    egg yolk
  • Mix ins:
  • ¾
    cup
    dark chocolate chips (can also use semi-sweet)
  • For the coating:
  • 1 ½
    cups
    dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2
    cup
    white chocolate chips + 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • ½
    cup
    crushed peppermint candies (or a few crushed candy canes will also work)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Also stir in espresso powder (or instant coffee) if you want to make these peppermint mocha cookies.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.

  4. Add in vanilla extract, peppermint extract, egg and egg yolk; beat again until well combined smooth and creamy; about 30 seconds longer. 

  5. Add in dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined and the dough forms. Fold in ¾ cup chocolate chips.

  6. Use a cookie scoop to grab about 2 tablespoonful of dough, then roll dough balls and place on cookie sheet, leaving at least 2 inches apart from one another. Flatten with the palm of your hand. 

  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges begins to set and crackle. Remove and allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat with remaining dough.

  8. Once cookies have completely cooled, they are ready for dipping! Place chocolate chips in a small pot and place over low heat, stirring until chocolate is melted and smooth. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave by placing the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted. Once ready, dip cookies halfway in chocolate then place them back on cooling rack or onto wax paper or parchment paper to avoid a mess. Sprinkle chocolate with crushed peppermint candies.

  9. Next melt the white chocolate and coconut oil the same way you did the chocolate in the previous step. Use a small spoon to drizzle the white chocolate all over the cookies diagonally. It doesn’t have to be perfect and should be festive and fun!

  10. Place cookies back on cooling rack or wax paper and allow the chocolate to harden completely. Makes 22-24 cookies.

Recipe Notes

Check out the full post for tips on freezing cookie dough and baked cookies!

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen Photography by: Yoga of Cooking

This post was originally published on December 3rd, 2018, republished on December 23rd, 2020, and republished on December 7th, 2022.



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Welcome to the AK Cookie Party


Cookie season is here and we’re swapping the Dinner Party for the AK COOKIE PARTY! It will still be a fun month-long series where we inspire you to cook a recipe with us, except this week it’s all about one of my favorite cookies. What better way to celebrate the holidays than to do it alongside the AK team and hundreds of other foodies?!

IMPORTANT: please scroll down and read below for all of the deets on this month’s recipe, key dates for the month, how to enter the giveaway, and our charity of the month!

If you haven’t yet, enter your name & email below to get Cookie Party updates throughout the month and to be the first in line to see next month’s recipe.

gingerbread oatmeal cream pie with a bite taken out

December’s Cookie Party recipe

We’re SO excited to share the recipe of our AK Cookie Party series: Incredible Gingerbread Oatmeal Cream Pies! It’s the ultimate holiday cookie recipe for parties, cookie swaps, and anytime you want a sweet treat.

We have many different ways that you can customize these gingerbread oatmeal cream pies to truly make them your own. Check them out below and, of course, read through the recipe blog post itself for all of the tips you’ll need.

  • Can I make them dairy free? Yes! Simply use vegan butter in the dough and in the cream pie filling.
  • Can I make them gluten free? I haven’t tested a gluten free version of these cookies, so I cannot recommend a substitute but a gluten free all purpose flour may work. Let me know if you do in the comments!
  • How about vegan? A reader commented that a flax egg worked in the gingerbread oatmeal cookies, so feel free to give that a try! Then be sure to use vegan butter to keep the cookie sandwiches vegan.

Here’s how the Cookie Party works

  1. The recipe: on the first Wednesday of each month we’ll share a reader favorite Ambitious Kitchen recipe to make that month. You have the entire month to make the recipe!
  2. The giveaway: When you make the recipe (anytime during the month!) you have two different ways to enter to win a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. We’ll randomly select a winner at the end of the month. See below for the two ways to share! USA & Canada only.

Two ways to enter the giveaway

When you make the recipe, there are two different ways to share your creation with us in order to enter to win the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer (U.S. & Canada only):

1. On the blog: leave a comment and rate the recipe here with the hashtag #AKCookieParty, plus your name and email (so we know you made it!) Scroll all the way past the recipe itself in the blog to where it says “Leave a comment & a rating.” Boom!

OR

2. On social media: Share a photo of your recipe creation on social via Instagram (stories or in-feed), TikTok, or in our Facebook Group by tagging @ambitiouskitchen and adding the hashtag #AKCookieParty. *Please note for Instagram your profile must be public so that we can see your posts.

gingerbread oatmeal cream pies

Key dates

  • Wednesday, December 7th: December’s recipe is here! On this date, you can start baking & sharing your recipe photos on social and on the blog.
  • Sunday, January 1st: the last day to submit your recipe photos on social and on the blog.
  • Monday, January 2nd: giveaway winner selected, notified via email, and shared on social.
  • Wednesday, January 4th: January’s Dinner Party recipe announced!

Let’s give back

Each month we’ll pick a new organization where we’ll donate funds as a way to spread the love and do some good. This month we’ll be donating to The Love Fridge — a Chicago-based organization that provides 24/7 access to food in neighborhoods facing food insecurity. Neighbors can donate and take what they need, whenever they need it.

If you’d like to join us in supporting The Love Fridge, learn more and donate here!

Join the party

Ready to join the party and get baking? If you haven’t yet, enter your email below and we’ll send you the recipe as soon as it drops at the beginning of each month, reminders about the giveaway, announce the winners, and more. Let’s do this!

Past Dinner Parties





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Fit Foodie Cooking Club – December 2022


Welcome to December 2022’s edition of Fit Foodie Cooking Club — our famous peanut butter kiss cookies! You’ll absolutely love these holiday cookies.

Peanut butter kiss cookies on a plate.

What is Fit Foodie Cooking Club?

The Fit Foodie Cooking Club is a monthly cooking challenge to get you in the kitchen cooking from scratch!

We thought there was no better way to bring our virtual community together than to all make the same recipe each month to celebrate real food.

oatmeal in bowls

Join the Club!

Fit Foodie Cooking Club

Be the first to know about the recipe of the month + get other Fit Foodie Cooking Club announcements right to your inbox!

Subscribe

December 2022 – The Details

Read the below details VERY carefully as we want to make sure your entry counts! If you have questions, please leave them in the comments of this post.

Recipe of the Month: Peanut butter kiss cookies

Holiday baking is in full swing, and we’re so excited about these perfect peanut butter kiss cookies! They’re perfectly chewy with just the right amount of chocolate from a Hershey’s kiss on the top.

Why you’ll love ’em!

Classic holiday cookie recipe!

Option to make dough ahead of time, and freeze for later.

Use whatever variety of Hershey’s kisses you prefer! These cookies would be amazing with peppermint, dark chocolate or white chocolate kisses.

Peanut butter kiss cookies on a baking sheet.

All About Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Ingredients You’ll Need

Dry Ingredients 

  • All-purpose flour 
  • Baking powder
  • Kosher salt 

Wet Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter softened
  • Light brown sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-natural drippy peanut butter
  • Egg 
  • Milk

Toppings

  • Granulated sugar
  • Hershey’s Kisses 
  • Drizzled white chocolate almond bark
Peanut butter kiss cookies on a baking sheet.

a few tips

Drippy peanut butter vs. non-drippy: If you use peanut butter that is similar to the original Skippy or Jiff, then start with 1 cup of peanut butter and go up from there. You will likely need less peanut butter than if you are using drippy peanut butter. 

Don’t skip the milk: The milk is added to hydrate the flour so that the cookies don’t fall apart after baking. 

Choose your favorite Hershey’s kiss: Feel free to use dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mint chocolate kisses or whatever variety you prefer!

Skip the sugar rolling if you’d like: Rolling the cookie dough ball in granulated sugar is a traditional step when making a peanut butter blossom, feel free to skip it if you don’t want added sugar. 

Peanut butter kiss cookies on a plate.

How to Enter

Now that you know how to make the recipe, it’s time to submit your creation!

  1. Go to the Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies blog post.
  2. Make the recipe and snap a photo of it.
  3. Leave a comment on the Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies blog post with a photo of your creation letting people know how it went. We’d love a star rating, but it’s not required. Make sure to leave your name and email in the comment form because this is how we’ll contact the winners!

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Join in on the Fit Foodie Facebook fun and become a member of our FREE Facebook Group. The Fit Foodie Cooking Club group on Facebook is a way to share your cooking creations and make new like-minded friends online.

Peanut butter kiss cookies on a plate.

Important Dates

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 – the first day you are eligible to submit an entry.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022 – the last day to submit your photo and comment.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022 – the winners will be randomly selected and announced in this blog post and on social media.

The Prize

2 participants will each win a $100 lululemon gift card. The selection will be random and based on comments that are received between December 6 and December 27, 2022.

Winners will be announced on the last Wednesday of the month (December 28, 2022) via social media and blog post.

Charity of the Month

Each month we choose a charity to support. This month we supporting People Serving People. Families are fighting homelessness all over the world. This month we chose a Minnesota non-profit to support a non-profit fighting homelessness in our very cold state of Minnesota.

People Serving People works to keep families together while experiencing homelessness. Every family deserves a roof over their head, People Serving People works around the clock to find families shelter.

We’ll be doubling the match from our giveaway winners to donate $400 to People Serving People.

DONATE

We would love for you to support our monthly charity and donate what you can.

If you feel so inclined, donate to People Serving People on your own.



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Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies – Fit Foodie Finds


It’s the most wonderful time of the year to make peanut butter kiss cookies! These peanut butter cookies are rolled in sugar, and topped with a chocolate kiss.

Peanut butter kiss cookies on a plate.

Favorite Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Holiday baking is in full swing, and we’re so excited about these perfect peanut butter kiss cookies! They’re perfectly chewy with just the right amount of chocolate from a Hershey’s kiss on the top.

Why you’ll love ’em!

Classic holiday cookie recipe!

Option to make dough ahead of time, and freeze for later.

Use whatever variety of Hershey’s kisses you prefer! These cookies would be amazing with peppermint, dark chocolate or white chocolate kisses.

Peanut butter kiss cookies dough in a bowl.

Featured Ingredients

Dry Ingredients 

  • All-purpose flour 
  • Baking powder
  • Kosher salt 

Wet Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter softened
  • Light brown sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • All-natural drippy peanut butter
  • Egg 
  • Milk

Toppings

  • Granulated sugar
  • Hershey’s Kisses 
  • Drizzled white chocolate almond bark

Recommended Kitchen Tools

Peanut butter kiss cookie dough on a baking sheet rolled in sugar.

How to Make Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Preheat & prep

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Combine Dry Ingredients

Add the flour, baking soda and salt to a bowl and whisk together until combined. Set aside.

Combine wet ingredients

Add the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract to a mixing bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium/high speed until light and fluffy.

Add the peanut butter to the bowl and mix until combined and then crack the egg into the bowl and mix until the egg is just combined. 

Add dry to wet ingredients

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until the dry ingredients are completely combined, then add the milk and mix again. 

Roll cookie dough balls

Place the granulated sugar into a separate bowl and then use a tablespoon or tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop out a cookie dough ball into your hands.

Roll the cookie dough between your hands until it forms a ball. Then, roll the cookie dough ball into the granulated sugar until coated and place it on the lined baking sheet. 

Bake Cookies

Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake the cookies for 9-11 minutes or until the tops of the cookies begin to crack. 

Add Kisses

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cookies rest for 1 minute and then carefully place a chocolate kiss into the middle of each cookie. Use a spatula to carefully remove each cookie and place it on a cooling rack. 

Enjoy!

Feel free to drizzle the peanut butter kiss cookies with melted white chocolate almond bark.

Let the cookies cool completely before eating or storing them in an airtight container. 

Enjoy!

Peanut butter kiss cookies on a baking sheet.

Top Tips

Drippy peanut butter vs. non-drippy: If you use peanut butter that is similar to the original Skippy or Jiff, then start with 1 cup of peanut butter and go up from there. You will likely need less peanut butter than if you are using drippy peanut butter. 

Don’t skip the milk: The milk is added to hydrate the flour so that the cookies don’t fall apart after baking. 

Choose your favorite Hershey’s kiss: Feel free to use dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mint chocolate kisses or whatever variety you prefer!

Skip the sugar rolling if you’d like: Rolling the cookie dough ball in granulated sugar is a traditional step when making a peanut butter blossom, feel free to skip it if you don’t want added sugar. 

Peanut butter kiss cookies on a plate.

Storage

Let cookies cool completely. Then, transfer them into an airtight container or gallon-size bag and store in a cool, dark place for up to 5 days.

Can I freeze peanut butter kiss cookies?

You have two options when it comes to freezing this cookie recipe.

Dough > Wrap dough in plastic wrap and then place in a freezer-safe gallon-size bag. Remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to 3 months.

Cookies > Let cookies cool completely and then transfer into a freezer-safe gallon-size bag. Remove as much air as possible and freeze for up to 3 months.

Peanut butter kiss cookies on a plate.



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The Best Grain Free Snickerdoodles


I’m laying on our couch watching Tony eat a huge plate my vegan tofu nachos. The best part is that he has no idea that I made them with a healthy cheese sauce made from nuts, or that the ‘meat’ is actually tofu. This is exactly why I love doing what I do: helping people eat healthier and more nutritious without sacrificing taste.

And sometimes you need a cookie that’s the best of both worlds: both sweet and a little more nutritious.

I’d like you to meet my gorgeous fat little grain free snickerdoodles. They’re soft, dairy free, have chewy centers & crispy edges, and are basically THE MOST ADDICTING COOKIE RECIPE EVER! They make your house smell like a delicious cinnamon sugar cookie candle from Bath and Body Works. Trust me, Santa will not be disappointed.

These healthy snickerdoodles are based on my favorite gluten free sugar cookie recipe and come together in ONE BOWL. That’s right, you’ll have one of these snickerdoodles in your belly in less than 20 minutes.

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grain free snickerdoodles in a stack on a plate

Ingredients you’ll need

This easy gluten-free snickerdoodle recipe is naturally sweetened but the cookies taste like the real deal snickerdoodles you know and love. Dairy-free and paleo-friendly, too! Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

  • Flours: we’re using a mix of almond flour and coconut flour to keep these snickerdoodles gluten free & grain free.
  • Spices: you’ll add good old cinnamon to perfectly spice these gluten free snickerdoodles.
  • Sweeteners: we’re naturally sweetening these snickerdoodles with a bit of pure maple syrup and coconut sugar.
  • Wet ingredients: you’ll also need coconut oil and an egg to give these grain free snickerdoodles the perfect amount of moisture.
  • Baking staples: don’t forget to add vanilla, baking soda, cream of tartar (which makes the cookies taste like snickerdoodles) and a pinch of salt to help them bake up properly!
  • For rolling: I love rolling the dough in a little organic cane sugar + cinnamon to give the snickerdoodles a pretty, festive look.

rolling gluten free snickerdoodle cookie dough balls in sugar

Using cream of tartar in snickerdoodles

I know it seems like a strange ingredient, but cream of tartar is something that differentiates snickerdoodles from all other cookies. It gives snickerdoodles an amazing, soft texture because it prevents the sugar from crystallizing, and it reacts with the baking soda to make them puffy and delicious. Cream of tartar also has a very slight acidic flavor that pairs with the sugar and that you’ll find in traditional snickerdoodles.

unbaked grain free snickerdoodles on a baking sheet

Easy ingredient swaps

Missing a few things or want to customize these gluten free snickerdoodles? Here’s what I recommend:

  • For the coconut oil: feel free to use melted butter. I personally LOVE using melted salted butter in these.
  • For the coconut sugar: the coconut sugar keeps the snickerdoodles paleo, but you can also use regular sugar if you prefer!
  • For the maple syrup: feel free to use honey instead, or just add another tablespoon or two of sugar.

gluten free snickerdoodles on a wire rack

Can I use all purpose flour?

Unfortunately, no, I would not recommend using all purpose flour in these grain free snickerdoodles. If you’re looking to use all purpose flour, try one of these cookies instead:

Can I make them vegan?

I haven’t tested this recipe using an egg replacer, but I’ve seen in the comments that other readers have used a flax egg with success! Let me know if you try it.

paleo snickerdoodles in a stack on a plate

Tips & tricks for the best gluten free snickerdoodles

  • Use room temperature ingredients. Use a room temp egg and cooled coconut oil so that your wet ingredients don’t coagulate. You can simply place your egg in warm water for 3-5 minutes and wait for your coconut oil to become room temp after melting it.
  • Let your dough rest. After you’ve mixed your wet & dry ingredients together let your dough sit for about 5 minutes to let it thicken up.
  • Flatten the cookie dough balls so that they’re about 1/4 inch thick after placing them on your cookie sheet. Because these are grain & gluten free snickerdoodles, they won’t spread as much as regular ones.
  • Bake until barely golden brown. They’re delicious slightly underbaked and we don’t want dry snickerdoodles!

grain free snickerdoodles on parchment paper with cinnamon sticks

How to freeze grain free snickerdoodles

Good news: these grain & gluten free snickerdoodles are freezer-friendly! There are two ways to do it:

  1. Freeze the dough: roll the snickerdoodle cookie dough into balls and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes. Once the cookie dough balls firm up, you can transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container. Cookie dough will keep well for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, simply bake the cookies as directed. You may just need a few extra minutes of baking time.
  2. Freeze already baked grain free snickerdoodles: wait for the snickerdoodles to cool completely, then transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container lined with wax or parchment paper. I like to place them in a single layer to avoid any cookies breaking. Cookies will keep well for up to 2 months. Once ready to eat, simply thaw out at room temperature and enjoy.

gluten free snickerdoodles on parchment paper with a bite taken out

More cookie recipes you’ll love

Get all of my cookie recipes here!

I hope you love these easy grain free snickerdoodles! If you make them be sure to leave a comment & a rating so I know how you liked them. Enjoy, xo!

Grain Free Snickerdoodles

gluten free snickerdoodles on parchment paper with a bite taken out

The softest grain free snickerdoodles with hints of warm cinnamon and sugar in every bite. These easy, grain and gluten free snickerdoodles are paleo-friendly, too, and made with a mix of almond flour and coconut flour. This will be your new go-to healthy snickerdoodle recipe! 

Ingredients

  • Wet ingredients:
  • ¼
    cup
    melted and cooled coconut oil or melted butter
  • 1/3
    cup
    coconut sugar (or regular sugar)
  • 1
    tablespoon
    pure maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1
    egg, at room temperature
  • 1
    teaspoon
    vanilla extract
  • Dry ingredients:
  • 1 ½
    cups
    packed fine blanched almond flour
  • 1
    tablespoon
    coconut flour
  • 1
    teaspoon
    cinnamon
  • 1/2
    teaspoon
    baking soda
  • ¼
    teaspoon
    cream of tartar
  • 1/4
    teaspoon
    salt
  • For rolling:
  • 1/4
    cup
    organic cane sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1
    teaspoon
    cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. In a medium bowl, add in melted coconut oil or melted butter, sugar, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla. Mix until well combined, smooth and creamy.

  3. Next add in almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Mix until a dough forms. Allow dough to sit for 5 minutes to thicken up while you make the cinnamon sugar mixture.

  4. While dough is sitting, mix together cane sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

  5. Use your hands to roll dough into 10 golf-sized balls, then roll each dough ball into cinnamon-sugar mixture until coated completely. Place each dough ball on prepared cookie sheet then flatten each with the palm of your hand so that they are about 1/4th inch thick.

  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack and allow cookies to cool completely. Makes 10 cookies.

Recipe Notes

See the blog post for tips, tricks, ingredient swaps, and cookie freezing instructions.

Nutrition

Servings: 10 cookies

Serving size: 1 snickerdoodle

Calories: 201kcal

Fat: 14.3g

Saturated fat: 5.4g

Carbohydrates: 17.1g

Fiber: 2.3g

Sugar: 13.3g

Protein: 4.3g

Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

This post was originally published on December 5th, 2017, republished on December 16th, 2020, and republished on December 5th, 2022.



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The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


Let’s flash back to around 2012 when I was off trying to perfect the absolute best chocolate chip cookie. I was living in Washington D.C. at the time and my entire world outside of work included baking my heart out. It took me months and months to find an accurate and delicious ratio between butter (it had to be browned), brown sugar (a higher ratio than white sugar) and of course, chocolate (two types of chips!)

I was tired of making homemade chocolate chip cookies that were overly crispy and flat, like the Tollhouse version that’s boring as hell. What I wanted was a chewy in the middle, delectable, melt-in-your-mouth center that sent me to heaven in just one bite. However, I also desired a slightly crispy edge that would hold together well upon dunking into a big glass of milk. You feel me? Cookie perfection ain’t easy, people.

Well, it’s been over 10 years since I created these brown butter chocolate chip cookies, and they’re still #1 on the internet and in everyone’s hearts. They’re truly my forever favorite, especially if you want to get a little wild and stuff them with nutella.

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Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies on a baking sheet

The BEST cookies you’ll ever eat

These brown butter chocolate chip cookies aren’t just epic, but also life-changing. Several of my friends have baked them time and time again, only to tell me that they’ll never make another chocolate chip cookie recipe simply because this one is the best. If you look back through the old post, you’ll see that these cookies receive rave reviews. So basically what I’m saying is that I know you’ll love my go-to chocolate chip cookie too.

The magic of brown butter

The key ingredient here is, of course, brown butter! If you’ve never browned butter before you should know that it’s so easy and makes everything SO much more delicious. Get all of my tips & tricks for browning butter here, and check out all of my recipes using brown butter here! Get ready to fall in love.

Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies on a baking sheet with a bit taken out

Let’s talk ingredients

What makes these brown butter chocolate chip cookies so special? There are a few key ingredient ratios that truly make them one-of-a-kind. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flour: this recipe uses good old all purpose flour to get the perfect texture. I do NOT recommend swapping flours here.
  • Brown butter: the brown butter is what really makes them so unique. The flavor profile is nutty, sweet, toasty and reminiscent of a caramel hazelnut flavor.
  • Sugar: instead of doing a half-and-half ratio of regular granulated white sugar and brown sugar, I do mostly brown sugar and only a bit of white sugar. The brown sugar helps to keep the cookies softer and chewier in the middle, yet still allows for crispy, delicious edges. Normally I choose dark brown sugar because it has a tiny bit more molasses in the flavoring, which again, helps to achieve an out-of-this-world cookie. Don’t worry though, light brown sugar also works.
  • Egg + egg yolk: this recipe calls for 1 egg + an additional 1 egg yolk, which makes all the difference in creating a rich texture and the perfect consistency. Just trust me.
  • Greek yogurt: it sounds crazy, but a tiny bit of yogurt helps activate the baking soda so you get moist, lovely dough and amazing, crinkly tops. If you’re out of greek yogurt, try sour cream.
  • Chocolate chips: another thing that makes this recipe unique is the TWO types of chocolate chips, milk chocolate and semi-sweet. It really just creates more flavor profiles. If you like dark chocolate, then you can do that and semi-sweet. Totally up to you.
  • Baking staples: of course, don’t forget the baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract. Learn how to make your own vanilla here! I also like to sprinkle the cookies with fancy sea salt after baking.

Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies in a stack

Can I make them gluten free?

Unfortunately, I cannot recommend a good gluten free substitute that will yield the same amazing cookies. Feel free to try out any of my gluten free cookies here.

Tips for making perfect brown butter chocolate chip cookies

With these simple tips & tricks you’ll make the absolute best cookies every time:

  • Do not use substitutes. Unless I provide swaps (like sour cream for the greek yogurt) do not substitute other ingredients as the cookies will not turn out the same.
  • Use room temp ingredients. After browning your butter, make sure it’s cool enough to touch before adding it to your dough. I usually set it aside to cool for 10-15 minutes before making the recipe. Also, be sure to scrape every bit of brown butter from your pan. You’ll want to make sure your eggs are at room temp, too, so they don’t coagulate with the butter. Simply run the eggs under warm water for about a minute or place them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.
  • Measure your flour correctly. Do you know the best way to measure flour without a scale? Get my tips & tricks in this video!
  • Chill the dough. Yes, this recipe requires you to chill the dough, but I promise it’s worth it. Chilling cookie dough allows the cookies to create a smooth caramel flavor, with crispy brown edges, a chewy interior and crackly tops. This happens because the fat in the recipe (butter) is solid and the sugar also absorbs some of it. Trust me, it’s a game-changer.

Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies in a stack

How to freeze cookie dough

Freezing cookie dough is wonderful because it allows you to prep ahead when you have guests or are throwing a party. I LOVE freezing extra cookie dough because that way I can pop them in the oven whenever I want and it’s great when you want to bring something to a party or to a loved one’s house, but don’t feel like having a baking extravaganza. Here’s how to do it.

  1. After the dough is done chilling in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, roll the cookie dough into balls and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes. This is known as a flash freeze.
  2. Once the cookie dough balls firm up, you can transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container. Cookie dough will keep well for up to 3 months.
  3. When ready to bake, simply bake cookies as directed in the recipe. You’ll likely just need to add a few extra minutes of baking time!

Watch me make brown butter chocolate chip cookies

Freeze baked cookies for later

If you want to freeze the already baked cookies for later, simply wait for them to cool completely, then transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container lined with wax or parchment paper. I like to place them in a single layer to avoid any cookies breaking. Cookies will keep well for up to 2 months. Once ready to eat, simply thaw out at room temperature and enjoy.

More cookie recipes you’ll love

Get all of my cookie recipes here!

I hope you enjoy these brown butter chocolate chip cookies as much as I love baking them. If you make them be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked them! Enjoy, xo!

The Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies You’ll Ever Eat

Best Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies on a baking sheet

Prep Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes

World famous brown butter chocolate chip cookies made with dark brown sugar, two types of chocolate chips and a sprinkle of sea salt. These epic cookies are perfectly crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle, and are, in fact, the BEST cookies you will ever eat.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4
    cup
    all-purpose flour
  • 1
    teaspoon
    baking soda
  • 1/2
    teaspoon
    salt
  • 1
    cup
    unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2
    cups
    packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4
    cup
    granulated sugar
  • 1
    large egg + 1 additional egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1
    tablespoon
    vanilla extract
  • 1
    tablespoon
    plain greek yogurt
  • 3/4
    cup
    semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4
    cup
    milk chocolate chips (or sub dark chocolate chips)
  • Maldon sea salt, for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  1. First, brown your butter: add butter to a large saucepan and place over medium heat. The butter will begin to crackle, and then eventually foam. Make sure you whisk constantly during this process. After a couple of minutes, the butter will begin to brown and turn a nice golden amber color on the bottom of the saucepan. Continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to brown and give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a medium bowl to prevent burning. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes or until cool enough to touch.

  2. With an electric mixer, mix the brown butter and sugars until well combined, about 1 minute. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and yogurt until combined. 

  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat on low-speed just until combined. Add both chocolate chips and mix on low speed until just incorporated into the dough.

  4. Chill your dough for 2 hours in the refrigerator, or up to 12-24 hours. Do not try to speed up this process. The dough needs to chill in order to be perfect.

  5. Helpful tip: If you want to make it easier to bake the cookies, I suggest rolling them into balls BEFORE chilling the dough. That way you can simply place them on the prepared baking sheet and bake! Up to you. I usually put my dough in the fridge for 10 minutes, then I take it out roll them into balls, place on a plate or baking sheet and place in the fridge for another hour or two.

  6. Once dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You might need to take out the dough and thaw it out a bit before measuring the dough if it is super hard and you did not already roll the cookie dough into balls. This should take about 20 minutes. Once ready to bake, measure 2 heaping tablespoons of the dough or use a medium cookie scoop. It doesn’t have to be perfectly rolled. Place dough balls on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

  7. Bake the cookies 9-11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. They will look a bit underdone in the middle, but will continue to cook once out of the oven.

  8. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes to allow them to set up, then sprinkle each cookie with sea salt. Remove the cooled cookies from the baking sheets and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 24-36 cookies.

Recipe Notes

See the full post for tips, tricks, freezing instructions, and more!

Recipe by Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen| Photography by Sarah Fennel

This post was originally published on October 19th, 2016, republished on November 30th, 2019, and republished on December 4th, 2022.



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Bacon Wrapped Shrimp – Fit Foodie Finds


Looking for the perfect appetizer for your next get together? This bacon wrapped shrimp is it! They’re incredibly juicy, smokey, savory, and super easy to make.

Bacon wrapped shrimp on a platter.

Perfect Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Picture this: juicy shrimp marinated in a zesty, lemony, garlic, and honey mustard sauce wrapped in deliciously crispy, smokey bacon. I don’t know about you, but I am already drooling.

What we love about this easy bacon wrapped shrimp is that it takes minimal prep and needs only 20 minutes to cook. It’s great for meal prep or as a simple party appetizer that’ll please any crowd!

Shrimp marinade ingredients in a bowl.

What You Need for Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

This bacon-wrapped shrimp recipe uses simple ingredients you’ll likely already find sitting in your pantry, making for an easy appetizer that’ll provide the PERFECT balance of flavor.

  • Shrimp: you’ll need 14 extra jumbo raw shrimp, tail on, peeled, and de-veined to make this easy recipe!
  • Bacon: you’ll want thin-cut bacon for this recipe to help ensure the bacon can be easily wrapped around the shrimp.
  • Ground pepper: freshly cracked pepper adds the perfect final touch to your tasty bacon-wrapped shrimp.

shrimp tips!

When you’re shopping for fresh shrimp at the grocery store, look for peeled and deveined shrimp. The deveining and peeling process is tedious, so this will save you time and frustration!

Can you use frozen shrimp? YES! But make sure it’s thawed before you make this recipe.

Can you use cooked shrimp? We don’t recommend using already cooked shrimp for this recipe.

Raw shrimp in a bowl with a marinade.

The BEST Shrimp Marinade

If you have our homemade shrimp marinade on hand, you’re more than welcome to use that. Otherwise, here’s the blend we used in this recipe:

  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Mustard
  • Honey
  • Salt
  • Chili powder
  • Red pepper lakes
  • Paprika

Why Cook Bacon First?

It’s important to cook your bacon slices first because shrimp and bacon have different cooking times. Shrimp takes about 8-10 minutes to cook to perfection in the oven, while bacon takes 15 to 20 minutes.

That’s why in our recipe, we cook the bacon a bit first before wrapping it with the shrimp. Otherwise, you’d have rubbery, overcooked shrimp or floppy, undercooked bacon, depending on your choice of cooking time.

Bacon wrapped shrimp on a baking sheet.

How to Make Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

MARINADE SHRIMP

Place ingredients for the shrimp marinade in a large mixing bowl and whisk until combined.

Next, add your shrimp to the bowl and toss until completely coated. Allow the shrimp to sit in the marinade for at least 20 minutes.

COOK BACON

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a wire rack over a tin foil-lined baking sheet and place the bacon halves, untouching, on top.

Place in the oven and bake for 6 minutes. Then, flip your bacon and cook for another 6 minutes.

LET BACON REST

Remove your bacon from the oven and allow it to rest until they’re cool enough to touch, about 5 minutes.

WRAP BACON

Next, place a jumbo shrimp at the end of a piece of bacon and carefully roll the shrimp so that the bacon starts to wrap around it. Make sure you wrap it tightly!

Then, use a toothpick to secure the shrimp and bacon together. Repeat until all your shrimp is wrapped in the bacon. Discard any excess shrimp marinade.

BAKE SHRIMP

Line up your bacon wrapped shrimp on the wire rack and place it back in the oven to bake for 5 minutes. Then flip your shrimp and bake for an additional 4-5 minutes.
Remove the shrimp from the oven and grind with freshly cracked pepper. Enjoy your bacon shrimp!

Bacon wrapped shrimp on a baking sheet.

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Our #1 Tip

So, how do you get crispy bacon on the outside but super tender shrimp on the inside? Our #1 tip is a metal baking rack!

Placing the shrimp on top of a rack allows the bacon grease to drip off the shrimp and onto the bottom of the baking sheet. Otherwise, the bacon would have difficulty crisping up if the shrimp sat in the grease.

First, line your baking sheet with tin foil (for easy cleanup), then place a metal baking rack on top!

Make-Ahead Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Make your bacon wrapped shrimp ahead of time by prepping everything through step 4, and then store your partially prepared bacon wrapped shrimp in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Then, all you need to do is the last step right before serving your yummy shrimp: bake for 5 minutes at 425ºF, flip, bake for another 4-5 minutes and then remove the shrimp from the oven. 

Storage

To store your shrimp, let the bacon wrapped shrimp cool completely. Then, transfer to an airtight container and seal. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days.

We do not recommend reheating your shrimp as the texture will become rubbery and undesirable.

Bacon wrapped shrimp on a serving platter.
Bacon wrapped shrimp.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

These bacon wrapped shrimp are incredibly juicy, smokey, savory, and super easy to make. A perfect appetizer!

Prep:30 minutes

Cook:15 minutes

Total:45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 14 extra jumbo raw shrimp tail on, peeled and deveined
  • 14 pieces of thin raw bacon, cut in half
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions 

  • Place the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, mustard, honey, salt, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and paprika into a large mixing bowl and whisk the ingredients together until they are combined. Add the shrimp to the bowl and toss until the shrimp are coated in the marinade. Let the shrimp sit in the marinade for 20 minutes.

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF and place a wire rack on top of a tin foil-lined baking sheet. Place the bacon halves on the wire rack so they are not touching, and then bake at 425ºF for 6 minutes. Next, flip the bacon to the other side, and bake for another 6 minutes.

  • Remove the bacon from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes.

  • Then place a jumbo shrimp at the end of a piece of bacon and carefully roll the shrimp tightly inside the bacon. Use a toothpick to secure the shrimp and bacon together. Repeat until all the shrimp is wrapped in the bacon. Discard any excess shrimp marinade.

  • Line the bacon wrapped shrimp up on the wire rack and place the rack back into the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, flip, and bake for another 4-5 minutes. Then remove the shrimp from the oven.

  • Grind freshly cracked pepper over the bacon wrapped shrimp and enjoy.

Tips & Notes

  • If you can’t find XL jumbo shrimp, you can use any size, but be mindful that smaller shrimp need less time to bake. Cook the bacon a few minutes longer if you have smaller shrimp.

Nutrition facts

Calories: 75kcal Carbohydrates: 2g Protein: 6g Fat: 5g Fiber: 0.3g Sugar: 1g



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The Best Snacks for Breastfeeding


I get tons of questions about what snacks are good for breastfeeding moms and how mamas can help boost their supply. While I’m not a lactation consultant, I do have tons of amazing homemade snack recipes that I’ve been eating while breastfeeding that have made a big difference for me during all 3 of my breastfeeding journeys!

I put together some delicious, super nourishing homemade breastfeeding snacks that are not only filled with ingredients that may help boost breast milk supply but are also packed with protein, fiber and healthy fats that are so essential for mamas while breastfeeding. I’ve included my favorite packaged snacks as well, plus some nursing products that have been so helpful for me.

Check them out below and pass them along to the breastfeeding mamas in your life!

monique breastfeeding baby sidney

Ingredients that boost milk supply & nourish mamas

Lactogenic foods are ones that may help increase milk supply due to their phytoestrogens and other nutrients. Plus, these foods are filled with healthy fats and protein to keep mamas nourished while they breastfeed! Here are some easy ones to add to your diet and use in simple snacks:

  • Oats: oats and other whole grains contain iron which is known to have a positive effect on breast milk supply. 
  • Flaxseed meal: flaxseeds contain phytoestrogens that can help boost breast milk production.
  • Brewer’s yeast: this nutritional supplement is high in complex b vitamins, protein and selenium, which are all nutrients new moms need. Not all brewer’s yeast varieties are gluten free, so double check the label when you buy! The brand I linked is gluten free.
  • Chickpeas: these little legumes are not only high in protein, but also have plant estrogens may help boost supply.
  • Almonds:raw almonds are packed with healthy fats & protein to keep you satisfied and potentially increase breast milk supply.
  • Ginger root: fresh ginger is not only the perfect tummy soother, but it also can have a positive effect on breast milk production.
  • Leafy greens: kale, spinach, broccoli and other dark leafy greens and packed with calcium, nutrients and phytoestrogens that might help boost supply.
  • Protein: in general, eating plenty of lean proteins like chicken, eggs, seafood and nuts is a great way to boost supply and keep you feeling full.

See below for a mix of my favorite homemade and packaged breastfeeding snacks that I’ve been loving the past year while breastfeeding Sidney and now Viggo. They’re all filled with a mix of the above ingredients that might help boost milk supply and make the perfect treats and snacks to gift the new mamas in your life. Enjoy, xo!

chia banana bread energy bites drizzled with chocolate

Energy bites

Chia Banana Bread Energy Bites

5-minute Protein Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Salted Caramel Coconut Cashew Energy Bites

Honey Cinnamon Almond Butter Energy Bites

Salted Date Brownie Energy Bites

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookie Energy Bites with Chia + Cacao Nibs

stack of healthy chocolate quinoa crunch bars

Energy Bars

Salted Dark Chocolate Pistachio Quinoa Crunch Bars

Vegan No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

No Bake Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Sea Salt Cashew Butter Chocolate Protein Bars

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars

nut and seed granola in a bowl with yogurt and raspberries

Granola

Superwoman Nut & Seed Granola

Homemade Chunky Healthy Granola Recipe (vegan & gluten free!)

5-Ingredient Chia & Peanut Butter Granola

Healthy Superfood Coconut Oil Granola with Chia & Flax

two green smoothies topped with chia seeds

Smoothies

Immune Boosting Wellness Smoothie

Ridiculously Good Wild Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

Salted Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Shake

Get Your Greens in Smoothie (the best green smoothie!)

chickpea muffin with a bite taken out

Nutritious muffins & oatmeal cups

Fluffy Flourless Peanut Butter Chickpea Muffins

The Best Healthy Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins (gluten free!)

Peanut Butter Banana Baked Oatmeal Cups

Blender Double Chocolate Spinach Muffins

Flax Almond Meal Banana Muffins with Dark Chocolate (gluten free, paleo!)

Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cups

Almond Butter Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal Cups

Vegan Paleo Banana Muffins with Chocolate Chips

Grandma’s Healthy Bran Muffins

Power Flax Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Muffins

almond flour banana bread sliced on parchment paper

Delicious breads

Nourishing Almond Flour Banana Bread

Healthy Honey Flax Tahini Banana Bread

Good Morning Almond Flour Blueberry Muffin Bread

the best lactation cookies on parchment paper

Cookies & treats

The Best Lactation Cookies (for nursing mamas!)

Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan & gluten free!)

Nutrition-Rich Omega 3 Blueberry Breakfast Cookies (gluten free + vegan!)

monique breastfeeding sidney

My fav packaged snacks for breastfeeding

Majka Chocolate Lactation Bites: I’m always snacking on these lactation bites and they’ve been great for boosting my milk supply! Follow the link or use the code ‘ambitious’ for 10% off.

Boobie Brands Lactation Bars: my latest obsession! These hearty bars are packed with nutrients perfect for boosting milk supply.

Nut & Seed Trail Mix: all of the delicious, healthy fats from almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars: love the blueberry flavor! These are packed with lots of whole grains.

GoMacro Bars: all of their flavors are amazing but I especially love the oatmeal chocolate chip.

Wild Friends Nut Butter Packets: amazing on bagels, fruits and on the go to get a boost of healthy fats. Use the code ‘AMBITIOUS15’ for 15% off!

Lesser Evil Mini Popcorn Bags: just a fun, delicious snack I like to have on hand!

The New Primal Meat Sticks: getting enough protein is super important while breastfeeding, and these meat sticks are perfect with 8g of protein.

Solely Fruit Jerky: absolutely love having these fruit jerky strips on hand for a little sweet snack.

GoHydrate Hydration Packets: staying hydrated is essential while breastfeeding! Mamas lose tons of water while feeding our little ones, which is why I’m always stocked up on these GoHydrate packets. Plus, the flavors are amazing (omg CHERRY LIME). Use the code ‘AMBITIOUS’ for 15% off any order!

monique breastfeeding sidney

Some of my go-to breastfeeding products

  • Nursing Bra: Bakers best friend. Holds the pump in place without having to use my hands. And yes, I bake all the time with them on. For both nursing + pumping.
  • Nursing tank: I recently got these nursing tanks and really love them. So simple to use and have a built in bra. Heck yes. Great for throwing a cardigan over!
  • Haaka: This is primarily what I’ve been using to catch my milk. Every time I nurse I put it on the other side and it is a game changer. Every day I’m able to catch anywhere from 4-6 oz of milk without PUMPING! Yahoo!
  • My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow: I’m obsessed with this thing. I honestly do not know what I’d do without it!!

Head over to the Ambitious Kitchen shop to see everything including my pregnancy go-to’s, postpartum must-haves, and favorite items for baby.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out our baby registrypregnancy books I’m reading and other Ambitious Mama posts.

What are your go-to snacks while breastfeeding? Let me know in the comments!



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