Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pinterest Review - Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies & Coffee Creamer French Toast

Oh, man!

Hopefully I'm not the only one who has been enjoying this beautiful Spring weather lately!

Our days have been filled with walks in the park and family fun since my son got out of pre-school earlier this month. It has been great! We live in Southern Utah on the border of Arizona so it's unusually warm here year-round, but I think it has been especially warm and nice lately. Goodbye, Winter! Don't come back too soon!

So today I have a couple of cool recipes for you all that I discovered on Pinterest recently. The first one is:

Coffee Creamer French Toast

The original recipe can be found here from Today's Creative Blog. I cannot even tell you how happy I was to find this recipe! I have been craving french toast lately even though I have never found or created a recipe that really satisfies me. So today I searched Pinterest looking for any french toast recipe to just get me through dinner tonight. I could not have been happier! 3 ingredients people! Three! Well, actually more if you count the optional cinnamon and use my modifications. But you get the drift.

4 eggs
1/2 cup coffee creamer of your choice
1 loaf french bread
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
butter (optional)

1. Crack eggs into medium bowl and whisk until well blended.
2. Pour in coffee creamer and cinnamon. Mix well.
3. On hot griddle or skillet, melt a small amount of butter. Dip french bread slice into egg mixture covering both sides, then quickly place in buttered area.
4. Let sit on medium to medium-high heat for approx. 1 minute, flip over.
5. Allow to cook for approximately 2 minutes or until golden brown, flip again.
6. Allow first side to finish cooking about 1 minute more or until golden brown.
7. Repeat process with all french bread slices.
8. Serve with syrup, whip cream, fruit toppings, or whatever you enjoy!

Now, the original recipe calls for International Delight's Cinnabon creamer, but any of your favorite creamer flavors will do. That's another thing that makes this recipe so fantastic - you can change the flavor any time with no extra hassle! I can only imagine how this stuff tastes with Pumpkin Spice creamer. Mmm!

The reason I added such detailed instructions about flipping the french toast is because I know for some people making french toast is like rocket science. I know this because I used to be one of those people. My french toast would always turn out soggy in the middle or burnt on one side etc etc. But this is the method I have created for perfect french toast. You see, when you place it on its first side, all that extra mixture is falling down toward the griddle and making it impossible for it to cook evenly. So you have to flip it over relatively quickly to prevent that from happening. By the time the other side is done, there isn't too much mixture left that isn't already cooked, so browning evenly isn't a problem when it's flipped over the second time. It's a science!

My own review of this recipe? I am never parting with it. Ever. It's so easy. 3-5 ingredients. The eggs blend easier with the thick creamer than it does with milk. Not to mention the fact that the french toast turns out sweet, delicious, and lactose free! That's a big one for me since I am lactose intolerant.

So here's our next one:

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this pin a while ago and have been dying to try it since I found it on Pinterest a week or so ago and read the list of ingredients. Yes, even the ingredients make these sound like a mouthful of heaven. This recipe is originally from Six Sister's Stuff blog and can be found here. I love the Six Sister's site! They are the masters of creative cooking and I bow down to them. Plus, they are based right here in Utah! Hooray!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oats (quick or old fashioned)
2 cups milk chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugars until creamy. 
3. Stir in peanut butter, vanilla, and egg until well combined. 
4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt.
5. Fold in oats and chocolate chips and mix until combined.
6. Roll into 1" balls and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

So I didn't change a thing to this recipe. It already sounded so good, I just baked as directed. The only notes that I have for you are to never ever use spreadable margarine for baking cookies. Ever. I truly and honestly believe that the only way your cookies will come out looking and tasting perfect is if you get real unsalted butter. I make a lot of cookies. In my family they call me "The Cookie Queen", and it's because mine always come out looking beautiful and staying soft without crumbling in your hand. And this is my secret. My personal favorite is Tillamook unsalted butter.. Use the real butter people. It's the only way. 

Then soften it the perfect amount. It takes between 30-45 minutes for it to be softened to perfect consistency. If you forget about it and it gets too soft, do not use it anyway. Put it in the fridge until it's right. If you don't have time to soften, do not put it in the microwave. You could jeopardize your whole batch of cookies. Just save yourself the hassle and grate it with a cheese grater instead.. Comes out perfect every time.

The only other note I have about this recipe is that the original says it makes about 2 dozen, but mine made almost 3 dozen. Not that I'm complaining. =)

And these cookies are good! Ridiculously good! They look just like regular chocolate chip cookies, but your friends/family/party guests will be in for a pleasant surprise! Peanut butter-chocolatey goodness and with a yummy oatmeal texture that gives it a little extra something. Loved it, loved it. Another point for the Six Sisters - this one's a keeper!

That's all I've got for you this time, but let me know if you try these out. Tell me what you thought! Give me some suggestions on them, or even suggest a pin for me to review if you've ever wondered if it really works.

Thanks for spending some time with me today!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Churro Cookies Review & Glad to Be Back!

Oh my goodness, the last few weeks have been insane! We have been running around like crazy in this house, but finally things are starting to settle down and I can hopefully update a little bit more often. Summer vacation is starting and we can finally take a little breather.

Like I said, I have been very busy with family responsibilities lately, so I haven't been doing a whole lot for my shop and the sales have really trickled down to almost nothing. I don't really mind, I have needed all the time I can get lately haha! But now that I have some free time I am hoping to make a few more cute, Summery bows. So keep an eye out for that!

As for today, I have a review for you all! As you all know, Cinco de Mayo was just a couple of days ago. Normally our annual tradition is heading over to Taco Bell for dinner, but this time my hubby was working and so I decided to make something instead. But I am a super lazy cook. I don't hate cooking necessarily, but I do hate being stuck in the kitchen for a long time when I could be spending time with my family. Because of this I am a huge fan of Betty Crocker's Helpers. They are so easy and great for when you don't have a ton of time. So I used one I've never tried before on Cinco de Mayo - Crunchy Taco Hamburger Helper. It was one of the best I've had so far! It tastes like tacos, spanish rice, and nachos all mixed into one delicious bowl. Try it out if you are ever in the mood for some easy, delicious Mexican food.

But my review today is not about the dinner, it's about what I made for dessert! I 'like' Pillsbury's page on Facebook because I use their refrigerated doughs and such all the time for dinners (like I said, lazy cook here!) and they periodically post recipes that you can use their products in. The other day they posted one for Churro Cookies from Oh, Bite it! I love churros, and I thought this recipe looked promising so I tried it out. Here is the recipe I used, but you can find the original here.

Churro Cookies

2 pie crusts (made from scratch or packaged)
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, 1/4 cup of sugar, and vanilla until well blended. Spread over one pie crust, then layer the other pie crust on top.
3. With a cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can manage, place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
4. Gently press together all cookie edges with a fork to seal them.
5. Bake in oven for 12 minutes, allow to cool.
6. Mix together 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
7. Brush top of cookies generously with melted butter and immediately dip into cinnamon sugar mixture. Enjoy!

Now, mine is a little bit modified from the original. For starters, I have to admit right here and now that I completely forgot to add the vanilla to the cream cheese mixture. I am super sad that I did because I'm sure it would have been delicious, but in the end I don't think it made too big of a difference. Also, the original calls for 2 Tablespoons of cinnamon. I looked at that and immediately thought that was a ridiculous amount. Even the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon that I used made the sugar a little darker than what I normally use. Another difference is that the original said to butter and coat both sides of the cookie with cinnamon sugar. I thought that was kind of overkill, and so I only did the tops and they were fine. You can do whatever you prefer, though. Oh, and one more thing - be sure to brush one with butter then dip it right into the sugar. Don't try to butter them all before you start dipping them - they won't retain as much sugar and the cinnamon sugar looks prettier that way.

The jury is still out on this one and whether I will be making them again. I personally don't care for pie crust. Never have. I like my pies with a cookie or graham cracker crust. Because of that, I didn't care too much for these cookies but I sort of predicted that from the beginning. My husband, however, could not get enough of them! The batch I made yielded 12 cookies, and I'm pretty sure my husband ate six. But he also loves pie crust, so I guess that's understandable. My 5 year old son loved them as well, but my 1 year old daughter licked the cinnamon sugar off and wouldn't touch the rest haha!

That being said, I think I am interested in making them again using sugar cookie dough. I am sort of worried that they would be way too sweet or even taste more snickerdoodle-y than churro-y, but I might still try it out and let you guys know what happens with that.

Feel free to leave any suggestions or tips in the comments below, and if you tried it then give me your own review! I'd love to know what you thought.

Thanks for stopping by!