Chocolate Chip Espresso Bars

It is hard to believe what one can accomplish in between working a full time job and going out of town for a wedding in just two short months. I have never had a real interest in interior design but I suppose all you had to do was give me a house that is MINE (well, the banks’ for now) and someone better put a hold on my bank account stat because all my prior ridiculous frugality has gone out the window of the last rental home we will hopefully ever need.

I have certainly painted before so hooking up the family room, and first guest bedroom were easy as pie.  We saved the smallest room for last and just thought that the asinine black molding the room had would magically turn white if we painted it hard enough.  No such luck, and we weren’t feeling the whole sanding thing for hours on end.  Goodbye black molding (next will be that fan and the popcorn ceiling).

So I had to tell you all of this just to say that I needed a baking break on Sunday and made Espresso Bars.  They were a long time coming and a nice change from the typical chocolate chip cookie (though why we’d need a change from those I wouldn’t know).  I got the recipe from this website but I ignored the instant coffee part (who has instant coffee around?) and actually made a short espresso.  I knew it would create a more liquid batter and I was okay with that.  These are very buttery and moist and the ends were more of a shortbread texture (no eggs make it nice and crumbly).  I liked them, but if I ever make these again, I think I’ll subtract just a tablespoon of butter to make up for the extra liquid (this recipe could stand to have less fat, the cookie is a touch greasy).  Also, totally use these instead of chips:

And all of the sudden I feel like a pastry chef.  But I am giving you the recipe how it is because I haven’t tested it with my adaptation ideas (other than the actual espresso).  If you are looking for something that resembles a moist chocolate chip cookie bar, use the espresso, or else it’ll be more dry and crumbly.  Your choice.

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I made Cookie Dough Cheesecake.

I feel fonder than I expected of my new kitchen.  While it’s smaller in square footage than my old kitchen and not as cool and trendy, it has AT LEAST twice the storage and many efficient drawers and pull out fixtures that help keep me organized and me being organized = happy and emotionally stable Raychel.

The white appliances don’t even bother me; they’re actually better than my rental’s bottom of the line GE stainless steel crap.  The new fridge we were forced to buy doesn’t hurt either- sometimes I open it just to stare into the sparkling clean 25 cubic foot abyss.

It has been too long since I made magic with an oven.   So I decided to pick an outrageous recipe to make for my LifeGroup meeting tonight (there are many foodies that will eat everything and conveniently prevent me from consuming every crumb before it is even cut).  I made a fantastic decision.

New photo background because I am still in awe of the fact that I have a pool.  I KNOW that you want this recipe, so here it is.  Make it for someone you need to cheer up, fatten up, impress, entertain, or for JUST YOURSELF this weekend.

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Consolation cookies

I wish somehow that weekends weren’t so fattening, but then why eat so well during the week and work out and put in all that effort to not be able to enjoy one’s self?  I’d probably be miserable and I generally thrive in this happy medium which is eating healthy and feeling good during the week, working out 5 times per week, and not feeling guilty for my sugary indiscretions on the weekend.

I think we all deserve it.

Our Sunday was spent at the dog park and then my husband turned into a couch bound stupor with eyes glued to the television.  Since the Patriots were playing and I had already spent 3 hours on ONTD, I gave my eyes a rest and did this

Then because football games last FOREVER, I decided to make cookies (BROWN BUTTER Oatmeal cookies!).  I am relieved that the “celebratory cookies” quickly turned into consolation cookies once the Patriots took the rough loss.  I always secretly wish they don’t make the playoffs because a. I’m evil and b. I want to have FUN during the Superbowl, not be stressed out over my husband’s fragile feelings over football.  FOOTBALL.  I mean I can appreciate the sport and the camaraderie (really the beer and wings though) that comes along with it, but it’s not that serious, people are just getting paid millions of dollars to throw a flipping ball.  Back to more important things.

Brown butter is so delicious and a staple over on Jessica’s How Sweet Eats (<- recipe), however I couldn’t really taste a difference in these Oatmeal Cookies when comparing it to a recipe using room temperature sticks of butter.  These are good though, they don’t spread much so you might want to press them down after scooping them onto the sheet, but personally I liked the gooey result of these cookies being so tall and fat.  They aren’t too sweet and decadent which makes them a perfect weekday treat when craving chocolate – because let’s face it I always do.  Please note in considering the calories – my batch made 23 smaller cookies, damage is for one cookie, which is really annoying because they are TINY!

Damage: 151 calories/20g carbs/8g fat/2g protein/1g fiber/12g sugar

PS: I still maintain it is better to have one tiny cookie than  a few gross diet cookies with fake sugar/chemicals galore. =)  Also, sorry to you Patriots and Falcons fans, ideally I would have made cookies for all of you.

Halloween leftovers

I did something very profound today.

I made cookies without making a mess AT ALL.  My man accomplished the great feat of deep cleaning our kitchen last night (and that is a GREAT feat considering I’m the cook and create a disaster zone 3-4 times a week).  I knew if he came home to a mess he’d want to kick my butt all the way to the north pole.  It took me double the time to make cookies but I was successful…. layering the counter tops with towels helped.  Why haven’t I thought of that before?

I didn’t want to finish off all of the Halloween candy I accumulated from November 1st sales, so I did something very smart and chopped them up and put them into cookies that I will probably eat twice as fast.  All I need to do is have willpower for ONE DAY until my parents and brother come into town because after that the treats will be gone.  The way I show my love is through food and both my husband and my family understand and joyously accept this 100%.

All I had left in my stockpile were mini 3 Musketeers, mini dark chocolate Milky Ways, and fun sized Twix (my favorite!).  It turned out to be a great combination.  No special recipe to be found here, just chop ’em up as small or chunky as you’d like, and throw them into your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe in lieu of the chips.  I use this one as a base- clearly it is the best because it calls for 2 sticks of butter (I tried the oreo part once and it is terribly sinful. By terribly I mean exquisitely).

The BEST part is when the caramel oozes out and adds a touch of crispiness to the soft and gooey cookie

While we are on the topic of fattening things, I wanted to share just how excited I am to be running again.  I’ve hit PR’s every time I set out to run (which doesn’t say a LOT since I am essentially starting from scratch again, but it is still very motivating)!  My most recent is 4.17 miles in 40 minutes which not only is the longest I have run continuously, but also the fastest steady pace.  I’ve shaved 1 minute off my pace in just two weeks.  I’m getting suspicious sciatic pain in my left glute muscle (and still have knee pain) but I am stretching and icing and praying that my muscles and joints stay healthy.  I have my sights set on a half marathon for early next year (definitely a big deal for me).

Anyone joining me on being a fairly new runner?  Are you following a specific plan?  I have been running on and off for a year now between “injuries” but I am trying to stay on track, be more responsible and actually increase mileage now to achieve a half marathon finish.  I might start tracking my mileage on here, but I’m not sure yet.  I’m doing timed runs on Tuesdays, interval runs on Thursdays, and distance runs on Saturdays.

Are you still trying to get rid of Halloween candy?  Did you get any in the first place?

There are no calories in these cookie dough stuffed chocolate cookies.

I am really glad that nobody has a secret camera in my home office… it would be pretty embarrassing for them to see how much I jam out when I’m doing work (ironically enough when I am distracting myself I turn el seriouso).  Today I am blessing my dog with “Ja Rule Radio” on Pandora, and between that and having these cookies waiting for me I think I am out of control with my excitement right now.  One time my husband snuck into the house when I wasn’t expecting him and caught me so off guard that I screamed so loud Shaeley had diarrhea on the floor.  I know that you wish you had my life so bad.  Except for when you want to be skinny but you can’t stop your hands from tricking you into baking delicious treats every week.

Make sure you make extra “cookie dough” for this recipe, because it has no eggs and therefore creates more reason to lick the bowl with reckless abandon. Luckily for me I ate half of the unsafe chocolate cookie dough and had lots of stuffing left over that didn’t make it into the cookies.

NOM!

I used this recipe with no substitutions.  It’s really hard to actually wrap the chocolate cookie dough around the stuffing, so I applaud the original poster on making theirs look so neat and tidy.  I am not a neat and tidy person.  Don’t want to know the nutrtition facts for this cookie?  I am warning you right now; DO NOT click the read more link.

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