Black & Tans

Well here it is: the black and tan. The peanut butter lover's response to a black & white cookie.

When I asked Ross what I should make this week he said, "something with chocolate and peanut butter" (shocking, I know). These make a perfect summer time peanut butter & chocolate treat because they're pretty light (considering the other pb&c recipes I came across) and they're mini!

The cookie part is really easy to make. The recipe comes together super quick. The time consuming part is putting the icing on these, but I actually found that to be rather fun.

Just a few notes about the recipe:
  • It says that it makes 5 dozen. There is no way you're getting 5 dozen cookies out of this unless you make them the size of quarters, in which case they would be impossible to frost! I got 3 dozen cookies and they were about 2 inches each.
  • Do not underbake these. They will be impossible to frost if you do.
  • The peanut butter icing is pretty darn sweet as it is. I added a little more pb and took away a little of the sugar.
Adapted from Epicurious

For the cookies
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg

For peanut butter frosting
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup half and half

For chocolate frosting
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa such as Periginotti
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup half and half


Make cookies:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mixing just until smooth.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter 1 inch apart onto baking sheets. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed, edges are pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Make peanut butter frosting:
Mix peanut butter and butter together with a hand mixer. Gradually blend in the sugar and half and half. Blend until fluffy and light. Can be prepared a day or two in advance, tightly wrapped, and refrigerated. Allow to come to room temperature before using.

Make chocolate frosting:
Mix cocoa and butter together with a hand mixer. Gradually blend in the sugar and half and half. Blend until fluffy and light. Can be prepared a day or two in advance, tightly wrapped, and refrigerated. Allow to come to room temperature before using.

Frost cookies:
With offset spatula, spread peanut butter frosting over half of flat side of each cookie. Starting with cookies you iced first, spread chocolate frosting over other half.

Oreo Cookie Cookies

What's better than a cookie? A cookie with a cookie inside of it!

That's right, these cookies actually have cookies as an ingredient! These definitely are up in the ranks as one of my all time favorite cookies, ever.

I used a recipe called Best, Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from All Recipes. Any time the name of a dessert has over 10 syllables it has to be good, right? They have over 3000 reviews so I've been dying to try them. But of course I couldn't leave good enough alone, so I threw in a bunch of crushed up oreos (double stuff, of course). This might be the best idea I've ever had.

The cookie recipe itself comes together really easily. It's very similar to Alton Brown's "Chewy" (my previously declared favorite cookie) but with AP flour instead of bread flour and A LOT less butter. And let me warn you right now, the cookie dough is to die for! I'm not usually one for eating raw cookie dough out of the bowl; I prefer the finished product. But with this dough I could not keep away!

As usual, I sent these to work with the hubby. At 11:00 AM he informed me that there were only 2 left! Let that, and the mouth watering pictures, speak for itself!

Recipe - Makes 20 - 30 cookies*
Adapted from AllRecipes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 20 oreos, crushed
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.
  4. Add in the crushed oreos. Beat on low speed for just a few seconds to break up the oreos in the dough.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.*
  6. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.**
* I got 30 cookies but I made mine a lot smaller. I scooped by rounded tablespoons. 1/4 cup seemed way too big.
** I baked them for 14 minutes and they were perfect. Chewy, but not underbaked.

Blueberry Crumb Cake

This is a serious crumb cake. No itty bitty crumbs here. The crumbs are not merely a topping for a cake, but a big part of the cake itself. The crumbs take up about half the height of the cake. They are massive and delicious!

I first saw this recipe on SmittenKitchen about a year ago and I do not know why I waited so long to make this! When I saw blueberries on sale at the store I knew exactly what I was going to make. Well actually, that's not true I suppose. I debated between this and To-Die-For-Blueberry Muffins. I've been wanted to those muffins for a long time now because they have 3000+ reviews and well... with a name like that they HAVE to be good...right?

But I digress...back to the crumb cake. The orginal recipe calls for rhubarb, but I'm not a huge fan so I replaced the rhubarb with blueberries, cut the sugar a down bit, and added the zest of 1 lemon. I'm pretty sure this recipe would be great with any (or no) fruit. Just make sure to adjust the sugar content accordingly. (I'm thinking cranberries with a little bit of orange zest for the next round)

The recipe comes together pretty easily. Some people on SmittenKitchen said they had problems with the crumbs being too floury but mine came together fine. I did use cake flour, not AP flour, like the original recipe calls for. You'll end up with 3 dirty bowls to clean, but it's well worth it. Make this!

Adapted from SmittenKitchen

Butter for greasing pan

For the blueberry filling:
1/2 pound blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
zest of 1 lemon

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups cake flour

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. For filling, toss blueberries with sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest. Set aside.

2. To make crumbs in a large bowl, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside.

3. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.

4. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon blueberries over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over blueberries; it does not have to be even.

5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Black Bean & Corn Salad

I first made this about 1.5 years ago when we were having a "no carb BBQ" a couple months before our wedding and I needed some healthier side dishes. Since then, literally every time we have friends over and I'm trying to decide what to make Ross always says, "Why don't you make the black bean and corn salad?" I don't know whether to be insulted or glad that his favorite thing ever comes from dumping a few canned ingredients and some spices in a bowl.

It's pretty much just black and beans and corn. It gets a little zing from a balsamic vinegar sauce that it marinades in, as well as some chili powder, cumin, and cilantro. It's really good as is but if you want to add a little more I'm thinking diced red pepper, avocado, or even tomato. A splash of lime probably wouldn't hurt either.

Black Bean & Corn Salad (From
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (8.75 ounce) can sweet corn, drained
  1. In a small bowl, mix together balsamic vinegar, oil, salt, sugar, black pepper, cumin, and chili powder.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together black beans and corn. Toss with vinegar and oil dressing, and garnish with cilantro. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.

THE Baked Brownie

Guess what? You can stop searching. THIS is the only brownie recipe you'll need. I've been on a search for the perfect brownie recipe (let's face it...who isn't?) and after 3 recipes my search has ended. I don't even remember the other 2 recipes I tried, but it doesn't matter because this is officially my go to recipe. Usually I'd to want to try all the other brownie recipes out there anyway, you know... just in case, but I can promise you I will not be straying from this one.

It comes from the cookbook, Baked, which I've heard nothing but good things about. And even though I don't actually own the book yet I have a sneaking suspicion that it may be in the box that Ross brought upstairs and neglected to mention anything about. (I do have a birthday coming up in a few weeks).

I made these and sent them to work with the Ross at about 1:00 on Friday. He texted me at 3:00 to tell me they were all gone. He works in an office of 10 people.

They are absolutely perfect. They are fudgey and crumbly and have a perfect crackly top. They are really easy to make. The recipe calls for cocoa powder and melted chocolate. It also adds instant espresso powder that gives the brownies a real depth of flavor (but they don't taste like coffee at all). I don't know what else to say. Make these! They're perfect!

Yield: 24 brownies
from Baked New Frontiers in Baking


  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 11 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 8 ounces butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray the sides and bottom of 9×13 baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder together.
  3. Put the chocolate, butter and instant coffee in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined; then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
  4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
  5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then cut them into squares and serve.

Cheesecake Lolipops

I don't have too much to say about these except MAKE THEM! These have been on my "to make" list for a long time and as soon as I tasted one I wanted to kick myself for not making them sooner. I took them to a 4th of July BBQ this weekend and they were a huge hit with everyone.

It's cheesecake, chocolate, and festive sprinkles on a stick... what more can you ask for? Plus, it's bite-size so it doesn't have calories, right? Just like broken cookies (the calories fall out when the cookie breaks), your birthday cake (everyone knows food doesn't have calories on your birthday), and raw cookie dough.

These were a little time consuming because you need to cook the cheesecake, chill the cheesecake for a few hours, scoop the cheesecake into balls, freeze those for a an hour or so, and then (finally) you can dip and decorate! The recipe comes from a book called Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey which is AMAZING! The pictures are incredible and I seriously want to make about 98% of the recipes on the book.

A couple notes about the recipe.
  1. My cheesecake took much longer than the recipe stated. The recipe stated 35 - 45 minutes, but mine took almost 70. (It could just be my oven though)
  2. The recipe called for 5 (yes, FIVE!) blocks of cream cheese but I used about 4 1/2. I know, I know when you're using 5 blocks of cream cheese what's another few ounces gonna do? But I like my cheesecake a little more on the dry, cakey side and less on the uber creamy side. I just don't like feeling like I'm biting into a huge block of cream cheese (to which my husband replied "mmmmmm...I do")
  3. I added an extra 1/4 cup of flour. Again, made it a little cakier.
  4. The recipe calls for scooping out 2 oz balls of cheesecake to get about 30 - 40 pops. I made mine a little smaller. I used a cookie scoop that is 1.5 TBS (which is plenty big because these are really rich). I ended up with about 60 lolipops.
  5. The cheesecake can be really sticky. It's easiest to roll them into balls if your hands are a little wet so the cheesecake doesn't stick to your hands.

Cheesecake Pops
Makes 30 – 40 Pops


  • 5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Boiling water as needed
  • Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks
  • 1 pound chocolate
  • Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, sprinkles, graham cracker crumbs, etc. (Optional)


  1. Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Set some water to boil.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. If using a mixer, mix on low speed. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and cream.
  3. Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan), and pour the batter into the cake pan. Place the pan in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes.
  4. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
  5. When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 – 2 hours.
  6. When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, melt the chocolate.
  7. Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate. If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations. You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc.) Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate and shortening (or confectionary chocolate pieces) as needed.
  8. Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.