August 9, 2014

Bridget's Chocolate Chip Cookies

With all of the fun recipes that I find on Pinterest and in my growing collection of baking books, I usually don't make the same dessert twice! However, I made these chocolate chip cookies for my mom's birthday party, and I have been dying to make them again. They are hands down the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever made! Chocolate chip cookies are so simple, yet tasty, but there are so many different recipes to make them. I love reading this Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies from Handle the Heat! It has pictures of chocolate chip cookies that have been made with different recipe modifications.


So what makes this recipe so great? It uses half brown sugar and half granulated sugar. The recipe also calls for half margarine and half butter. Not to mention the combination of semisweet and milk chocolate chips. Once I figured out how to chill the dough before baking and how long to bake the cookies, every batch was perfect! I have used this recipe to make cookies that are small and large, and depending on how big you make the cookies, the baking time will be slightly different. The best advice I have is to bake the cookies until they look almost, but not quite done, because as the cookies cool, they will continue to harden and you will have the perfect soft cookies. This is definitely going to be my go-to cookie recipe, and I can't wait to make these again to share with friends!

BRIDGET'S CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1.5 tsp. baking soda
1.5 tsp. salt
4 cups flour
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream room temperature butter, margarine brown sugar, and granulated sugar.

Beat in eggs and vanilla.

Gradually add baking soda, salt, and flour.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Refrigerate the dough in two flat discs in plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the chilled dough into balls (about 1.5 tbsp. each). Place the dough about 2 in. apart on parchment lined cookie sheet. Lightly press on each dough ball to slightly flatten into rounded discs.

Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 12 minutes*

*For smaller cookies, 9 to 10 minutes is usually a good bake time, and for larger cookies, 12 minutes will do the trick. Keep your eye on the first batch. The cookies will stay light in color and you want to take them out before the tops of the cookies begin to crack a lot. After 5 minutes, you should be able to pick the cookies up off of the pan without them falling apart, but the insides will still be very soft.

Yields 36 large cookies.



Enjoy!
Bridget



June 28, 2014

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars


I have been very busy since my last post! I moved out of my sophomore year dorm room, went to Costa Rica for a month, went to Florida for a week, and now I am home for the summer!

When my mom told me that she was volunteering at a flapjack fundraiser for her friends going on a mission trip to Thailand, I volunteered to make a dessert for the bake sale at the event.  I have never worked as a waitress, but I also volunteered to help serve pancakes for the fundraiser, and it was a blast! I would consider the morning a success because I didn't drop anything :)


For the bake sale, I made peanut butter and jelly dessert bars. They tasted just like a PB&J sandwich in a crumbly, gooey, dessert bar. The peanut butter layer is full of peanut butter and powdered sugar, and I could eat it plain by the spoonful. These were perfect for the bake sale, and any PB&J fan will be sure to love them!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg

For the Peanut Butter Filling:
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Jelly Filling:
2 cups of jelly or preserves (I used strawberry preserves)

For the Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup rolled oats
6 tbsp. cold butter, cut into cubes

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x13 in. light-colored pan with baking spray.

Make the crust: Combine the flour, sugar, and salt, and put in food processor with butter. Process until crumbs form. Add the egg and process until combined. Take dough out of food processor. Use hands to finish incorporating flour and ingredients so that dough is smooth and mixed well. Press dough into greased pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Put foil over the dough and place pie weights (or beans or another pan) on top of foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove pie weights and foil and bake for 10 more minutes. It is important to keep an eye on the crust because if left in the oven too long, it will start to crack! Mine had a few cracks, but it still turned out okay! Allow crust to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Make the Peanut Butter Filling: Beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread the peanut butter filling over the cooled crust. Put the pan in the refrigerator while you make the crumb topping.

Make the crumb topping: Use a fork to mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar together. Add butter and incorporate until even crumbs form (you can use your hands, a hand mixer, a mixer with a paddle attachment, or two knives to help with this step).

Spread the jelly or preserves on top of the peanut butter filling layer. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top. Use your hands to press the crumb topping down gently before baking for 20 minutes.

Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting.

Adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker

Enjoy!
Bridget


April 24, 2014

Oreo Rice Krispie Treats

Every year my Tri Delta chapter holds a philanthropy softball tournament for the Greek community to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. If you haven't heard the exciting news, Tri Delta has raised $15 million in 3.5 years for the kids at St. Jude. Tri Delta also funded a special teen room at St. Jude for patients, and I couldn't think of a better organization for my sorority to support.

This year, I signed up to bring a dessert to the softball tournament because all of the softball participants deserve a sweet treat after playing their game! These Oreo Rice Krispie Treats were such a hit! And they were super simple to make - even in a dorm room kitchen :) Accompanied with these photos that were taken on my iPhone before I ran out the door for an 8:30 class this morning, this is college dorm room blogging at its finest!



OREO RICE KRISPIE TREATS
6 cups Rice Krispie cereal
10 ounce bag mini marshmallows
16 oreos
3 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups melted white chocolate chips

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add all of the marshmallows and continuously stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.

Crush 10 of the Oreos and combine with the Rice Krispies in a large bowl.

Pour the melted marshmallows into the Rice Krispies and stir until combined. Pour the Rice Krispies into a 9x13 pan that has been greased or sprayed with cooking spray. Press the Rice Krispies into the pan.

Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave. Pour over the Rice Krispies.

Crush the remaining 6 Oreos and sprinkle on top of the warm melted chocolate.

Gently press the Oreo crumbs into the chocolate.

Allow the Rice Krispies to cool before cutting into squares and serving.

Enjoy!

March 31, 2014

Spring Shopping!

This weekend LOFT had a 40% off sale, and I definitely took advantage of the discount to buy a few new spring outfits! I was out looking for a dress to wear to my sorority formal (which I ended up finding at LOFT, but I will post on that in the future!), and I spent at least an hour and half perusing the racks of spring clothes and assembling outfits! I have come to realize that I need to pay more attention to shopping by outfits because otherwise I end up with patterned pants and shirts that don't match anything else in my closet. 

{Pave gem stud earrings} {stripe pleated cotton dress} {petal print tank} {cardigan} {cropped pants}

I am all about mixing and matching, so I fell in love with the Hidden Placket Pocket Cardigan! I wear sweaters with patterned tanks and jeans all the time to class, so I didn't feel too guilty buying this cardigan in coral and navy. The coral matches the coral stripe dress I bought, and the navy I can wear with the white and navy tank or the blue patterned crop pants. I also love sparkly earrings, so I picked out the Pave Gem Stud Earrings in Foggy Blue.

I can't wait to wear one of my new outfits tomorrow. They are all simple, yet classic and put together looks, which is what I love!

Have you done any spring wardrobe shopping yet this year?


March 28, 2014

Easy and cute dorm room decor!

Dorm living has to be one of my least favorite parts of the college experience! I do not like having to store all of my stuff in a tiny, shared bedroom, and I feel like I am never as organized as I want to be because I have very little storage space (or just too much stuff…). Walking down the hall at 3:00am to go to the bathroom is also high up on the list of things I can't stand! However, hopefully, this will be my last year living in the residence halls! Next week I enter the housing lottery with three of my friends to find out if we will be able to live in an apartment on campus next year. Having my own kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room - it all sounds like a dream!


March 22, 2014

When Irish Eyes are Smiling!

It's been a little while since my last post, but for good reason! I spent all of last week in Northern Ireland on a spring break trip with a group of students from my university. We spent most of our trip in Ballycastle and stayed at the Corrymeela center. 
photo: me at Giant's Causeway

Corrymeela is a community that brings groups of people in to learn about embracing difference, healing division and enabling reconciliation. I wish I would have been able to stay in Ireland for more time! My great grandmother was from Ireland, so it has been on my bucket list of places to visit for a while now!

photo: Ballycastle Beach