Dessert

Chewy Blueberry Cookies Two Ways

cookie exchange cookie recipe

 

C is for <chewy blueberry> cookie that’s good enough for me! Well, they’re actually good enough for not just me, but to share with the internet world as well! I set out on a cookie journey experiment to come up with a sweet, chewy, but not flimsy cookie dough recipe that would remind me of summer, and man did this do the trick. These cookies use a combination of sugars, and an additional egg yolk to keep them moist & chewy and obviously divine. Basically, I’ve come up with jacked up versions of white chocolate chip macadamia nut and lemon tea cookies with my new secret ingredient…dried blueberries.

dried blueberry cookies

I’ve been addicted to cookies and a non-discriminatory dried fruit consumer for years, but never thought of combining the two (aside from that traditional oatmeal raisin, which I don’t actually ever make). You heard it here first, friends. Dey goooood. They’re smaller and sweeter and more flavorful than your average raisin, and have an added tartness that pairs them well with a sweet cookie. Plus they’re chewy, and the cookies are chewy, and blueberries are summer and raisins are fall, and it all just makes sense.

Ingredients:
-2 cups all purpose flour
-½ t baking soda
-½ t salt
-1 cup butter, unsalted (2 sticks) room temperature
-1 cup light brown sugar
-½ cup granulated sugar
-1 egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
-1 T vanilla extract
-1 ½ cups of dried blueberries
-½ a bar of good quality white chocolate
-a few handfulls of macadamia nuts
-1 lemon
-1:1:1 ratio of brown sugar to flour to butter, optional (2T each)

how to pack brown sugar

Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter and two sugars until fully combined and airy. Add in the eggs (save the white for breakfast later?), and vanilla, and mix until just combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add this dry mix into the wet mix until fully incorporated – don’t over mix, ever! Next, stir in all of tbe blueberries.

blueberry cookie dough

Here’s where things get interesting. I separated the dough into two, because I wanted to experiment with the same base cookie but two different recipes. Originally, I thought one would fail and one would be succesful, but as it turns out lady luck was on my side and they were both delicious! Feel free to follow the recipe out for both cookies by separating the dough, or just pick one flavor and go with it! Be sure to double the add-ins if you aren’t separating the dough, so that the flavor combination is just right.

white chocolate chip macadamia nut blueberry cookies

For the macadamia nut cookies – chop up the chocolate and nuts and add them to the cookie dough base. Using a spoon or mini ice cream scoop, drop the dough onto a parchement lined cookie sheet (about 1 ½ T of dough) with some space in between so they can spread out. Bake for 12-14 minutes, then cool.

cookie dough balls edible

ice cream scoop cookie dough

chewy cookie recipe

white chocolate chip blueberry macadamia cookies

For the blueberry lemon “cobbler” cookies (the fan favorite) – add in the juice of lemon, and stir. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. This is important. I didn’t do this the first time, and the added liquid from the lemon made them spread so much thinner than I had expected! They will be thin regardless of cooling time – and still so so so so perfectly chewy – but the refridgeration helps keep them at just the right texture. While they are baking, mix together that “optional” 1:1:1 combination until it looks like crumb cake topping, and at the 8 minute mark, sprinkle it on top of each cookie. It doesn’t look perfectly like a crumble when they are done baking, but that added buttery-sugar mix is divine. I also sprinkled on some coarse sugar for texture. In total, these cookies bake for about 10-13 minutes.

blueberry cobbler cookies

Both versions were delicious, and so easy to make. The key here is to find a base dough recipe with a flavor and texture that you like – that is also sturdy enough to handle hefty add-ins or a little extra liquid – and experiment! This was the first time I made this base recipe and definitely not my last. What combinations should I try next? Let me know in the comments below, or by commenting on our Instagram @whattodowithlemons!

blueberry lemon cobbler cookies

Brownie Batter Hummus

Dessert Hummus

 

May, what a whirlwind.  I traveled out of the country, I traveled accross the country, and I was sick – more than sick…ill – for about three weeks.  And considering my diet consisted mostly of saltines and white toast and my energy level was 0, I didn’t have many interesting things to share with you all! Consider this bowl of chocolatey goodness our little celebration – I’m back!

Healthy Chocolate Dessert Fruit Dip

 

There are a ton of recipes out there for cookie dough hummus, and let me tell you, they don’t disappoint.  And as much as I love that raw-dough taste, I’m a sucker for brownie batter.  I’ve definitely made brownies just so that I could lick the spoon, and I know I’m not alone in that indulgence.  This brownie batter hummus is the least time consuming recipe that I’ve ever made, and is so ridiculously delectably delicious (and nutritious!) that I think it’s going to be a part of my weekly grocery haul.

Chickpea Dip for Dessert

Ingredients:

-1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

-½ cup water

-2T sugar, or more to taste  (I used 1T sugar and 1T coconut nectar, but agave would work too!)

-5T unsweetened cocoa powder

-2t vanilla extract

-chocolate chips, nuts, or any other mix-ins

 

Instructions:

Put all of the ingredients – except the mix-ins – in a food processor, or high powered blender, and blend until smooth – about 2 minutes.  Fold in the mix-ins, and eat!

Healthy Chocolate Chickpea Dessert

“S” for sharable superfood snack…but I’m probably not sharing…

 

Chickpea Brownie Dip

I let mine chill for a few hours in the fridge to let the flavors come together – it took every bone in my body – but you don’t have to!  This dip is good on fruit, bagels, toast, yogurt, ice cream…you name it.  I’d love to pair it with some cinnamon sugar crispy pita chips for that mexican-spiced hot chocolate flavor, or even add some marshmallows and dip in good ol’ grahams!

 

 

Classic Gooey Lemon Squares

     Lemon Squares for Easter Spring is here, and here at WTDWLemons we are excited.  This week, I’m sharing an appropriately lemony inspired recipe that will brighten up your palet and have you smiling for spring.  (Insert something whitty about lemons and the blog title, here.)

What to do with Lemon Juice

I’ve been making these bars for years, and I have no idea where I got the recipe from.  It’s possible I made it up, it’s possible that I did not.  I do know that the extra lemon juice and vanilla were personalizations, but as for the rest of the recipe…we can all just thank the dessert gods for this one.

Classic Lemon Bar Recipe

In any case, these squares are classic, and a necessity to any springtime celebration.  In the words of my Dad, these bars don’t stand a chance when it’s time for dessert.  Make these, eat them all, make them again, and maybe share.

 

Ingredients:

For the base:

-1 cup flour

-¼ cup powdered sugar

-½ cup (one stick) butter

-1t vanilla extract

For the lemon custard:

-1 cup sugar

-4 T fresh squeezed lemon juice

-2 eggs

-½ t baking powder

-¼ t salt

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.  To make this recipe, we will start with the base.  Cream together the flour, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until well blended.  Gradually add in the flour until you have a sticky, cookie-like batter.  Using a greased spoon or floured hands, gently press the batter into the lined pan until you have a thin, even layer.  Bake for 10-12 minutes – don’t worry about underbaking here, as we will be adding the lemony goodness and baking again!  Warning: This is not the easiest thing to do.  The base layer for these bars is thin by design, so there isn’t much batter to go spread around.  If you’d like a thicker base, simply double the ingredients and follow the same instructions.  In any case, it will be hard to spread – keep some extra flour on the side to coat your hands while working.

Cutting Lemon squares

After the base has cooked and while it is cooling, we’ll make the lemon layer.  Add all of the custard ingredients to a bowl, and mix until frothy and light in color and texture.  I used my stand mixer for both portions of this recipe, but a hand mixer will do just fine.  Pour the lemon mixture over the slightly cooled base, and bake the squares for another 18-22 minutes.  I’m a chronic underbaker by choice, and opt for colser to the 18 minute mark.  You’ll notice that the top layer will puff up a bit and brown in the oven – don’t panic! The brown color is coming from the caramelization of the sugar and lemon juice, and the poof will de-poof.

Classic Lemon Square Recipe

Allow the bars to fully cool; before cutting – I even throw mine in the fridge for an hour or two.  They are sticky, but it is so worth it.

Best Lemon Bar Recipe

Kitchen Sink King Cake for Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras King Cake

Happy Mardi Gras, Friends!!! There is nothing we love more at What to do with Lemons than fun – and tasty – traditions, and Mardi Gras has been something we’ve celebrated together for years.  One of our good friends would get a king cake delivered to her dorm room every year to celebrate the season – we’d all get a good laugh in about how much she’d wished she didn’t get the apple kind, and then all indulge in this sweet treat in hopes of finding the baby for good luck.  As you can imagine, the cake never lasted very long in her dorm room, but the fun of it all became one of our favorite memories.  There are a “few” other religious aspects to this tradition, but for us girls it was all about that cake. And the luck!
 

Cinnamon Roll Cake

had to keep the tradition alive, so I set out to make this EASY recipe – all you need are a few standard ingredients, and you’ve got yourself one delicious treat.  Think giant gooey cinnamon roll here…yes.

Cream Cheese Frosting Pecan Cinnamon Roll Ring

Ingredients:

-refrigerated not sweet dough – I used pizza crust

-butter

-brown sugar

-cinnamon

-vanilla

-candied pecans

-cream cheese

-sprinkles – purple, gold, green

 

Instructions:

Preheat your oven according to the dough package instructions.  Using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough out on parchment paper into a big square.

Pizza Dough Sweet Roll

Mix 1 cup brown sugar and 1-2T cinnamon in a bowl.  Brush the entire dough surface with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar – you may/may not use all of it, and that’s ok! Use your own discretion.  Chop up the pecans, and evenly top the sugar mixture with the nuts.  Using the parchment to help lift the dough, roll it up in cinnamon roll style, and pinch the seam shut.

Pecan Cinnamon Roll Cake.IMG_2693

Next, transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, and shape the dough into a circle.  Brush the outside of the dough with more melted butter, and bake in the oven according to the time on the dough package, about 8-12 minutes.

Pecan Brown Sugar Cinnamon Roll

While the dough cooks/cools, heat 1 package of cream cheese in the microwave until easily mixable – I did this in 30 second intervals.  Add a heaping quarter cup of white sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract and stir.  Spread the frosting onto the outside of the cake, and decorate in traditional Mardi Gras sprinkles.  Then EAT…don’t forget that.  It is Fat Tuesday after all…

Fat Tuesday Recipe

I called it the kitchen sink recipe, because I used stuff I (mostly) already had.  Aside from the dough, I almost always have everything else.  So, I threw it all together and was actually pretty surprised as to how well it turned out! Sweet, sturdy but not soggy, and perfect for the celebration.  OK, maybe not perfect.  I didn’t have a baby, but I did have a mini wrestler figurine, so he was our lucky trinket for the year. *Note – if you’re participating in the hidden baby aspect of this recipe, cut a small slit in the COOKED cake, and place the baby in after you’ve already COOLED the cake but before you’ve frosted it…don’t cook the baby.

Baby King Cake Recipe

I made this recipe in about 40 minutes total, before jumping on a plane to meet up with some friends last week…you have no excuse not to try it.  I’d eat it for breakfast or dessert, and it’s definitely bead worthy, if you catch my drift.  How’d you celebrate Mardi Gras this year? Let us know @whattodowithlemons on Instagram!!

Perfect Fudge Brownies

Heart Brownies for Valentine's

I started making these brownies about 4 years ago, for one of my best friend’s 21st birthdays – in fact, they’re still called “Ashley’s 21st Brownies” in my recipe book!  Shout-out to Ashely, our fellow blogger and fashionista, featured in our Constellation Tights Post – follower her blog, AUGoldStandard, she is incredible.  Ok, back to the brownies.  They are the chocolate-iest, densest, fudgiest, most delicious perfect brownies I have ever had.  Ever.  And I’ve had my fair share of brownies.  If you like cake-like airy, light, artificially tasting brownies, well then these just aren’t for you.  These brownies are everything. And they are the only recipe you’ll need to celebrate Chocoholic’s Anonymous Day.  I mean Valentine’s. Whatever.

Chocolate Chip Brownies Recipe

 

Ingredients:

-1 ¼ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
-1 ¼ cups sugar
-¾ cup plus 2T cocoa powder, unsweetened
-¼ t salt
-1T vanilla extract
-2 large eggs
-½ cup flour
-half of a bag of mini-chocolate chips, semi-sweet

Fudge Brownie Ingredients

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350. In a glass bowl, combine butter, sugar,  salt, and cocoa powder. Heat over a double boiler, stirring until ingredients have melted together but are still slightly gritty. Remove from heat, and let the chocolate mixture cool. When the batter is still warm – but not hot enough to cook your eggs – add the vanilla, and mix until just combined. Add each egg one at a time, and stir until the eggs are incorporated – don’t over mix! Next, add in the flour, and once again, stir to combine. This last step shouldn’t take you more than 30-40 stirs. We want to keep these brownies dense and fudgy! Add in the chocolate chips, and stir until the chips are sprinkled throughout. “Pour” this thick batter into a parchment lined 8×8 pan, and spread it around with a spatula until you have even thickness. Bake for 20-25 minutes – it’s ok to keep them slightly under-cooked. Less stirring + less cook time = PERFECTION. There isn’t much flour in this recipe – these are not cake-y – so there won’t be much batter left on the spatula…but the batter will stick to a wooden spoon, just FYI.  Taste testing is important.

Fudge Brownie Batter Homemade

Remember when I said these brownies are thick and fudgy?  Well that means they need to be cooled before you cut them, or else they’ll just get stuck to your knife, and you’ll end up with less squares for sharing and more scraps for snacking…not like that’s a bad thing…

Fudge Brownies No Mixer

 

I usually cut my brownies into squares, but you can use most cookie cutters to make shapes in your brownies – I’d avoid anything with thin/delicate areas, as they will break off and you’ll end up with a headless brontosaurus, not like I tried that or anything.

Brownie Heart

This time I used heart cookie cutters – it is Valentine’s Day after all!I I allso melted up some white chocolate chips and decorated a few brownies, just for some added color and fun.

Valentine's Day Dessert

Do you also remember when I told you to make the blondies that week?  Yea, welll, this time I’m “suggesting” that you make these right now, and I mean right now, like…ASAP.  And, if your Valentine’s Day plans are anything like mine…sharing is optional.

 

Jumbo Frosted Animal Cookies

home made frosted circus animal cookies

Remember those awesome little Circus Animal Cookies many of us used to eat as kids? I loved them. For me, their appeal was more about the aesthetic quality: bright happy colors and adorable animal shapes… what’s not to love? Eating them always felt like a mini party!

This week I decided to recreate this classic treat in jumbo size, using some cute animal shaped cookie cutters that I have been meaning to put to use. While my party animals are not all exactly “circus” animals, they still put a big smile on my face, and that’s really the best part!

Frosting Cookies with Candy Melts

You could use any plain sugar or shortbread cookie recipe to make these yourself. The plainer the better, I think, since the candy coating will ultimately steal the show! I’ve shared the recipe I used below.

cut out animal cookie shapes
You will need:

For the dough:
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
– 1 egg
– 1 tbsp vanilla
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 3 cups flour

For the decoration:
– some cookie cutters in animal shapes
– candy melts in white and pink
– rainbow nonpareil sprinkles

shortbread animal cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. First, cream together the butter and sugar. Then stir in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the baking powder and flour until a homogenous dough forms, divide into 3 balls, then chill the dough for at least an hour.

Using a little extra flour for sprinkling, roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out the animal shapes. Place your party animals on a parchment lined baking sheet about an inch apart (they won’t spread much). Bake for 15-18 minutes or until browned along the edges.

cover cookies with melting chocolate

For the frosting: set up a double boiler by filling a medium sized pot with water about half way, then placing a bowl of slightly larger size on top. (If you have a bowl with handles it will work particularly well here.) Heat the water on medium and fill the bowl with one color of the candy melts. Stir until smooth and melted through, then turn the heat down to low.

Dip each cookie face down into the coating, then gently lift out and place onto a sheet of wax paper or a wire rack. This part can be a little tricky, so its nice to keep a spoon on hand to help cover any missed spots. Don’t worry about them looking perfect, a generous helping of sprinkles with cover any imperfections! After you’ve frosted about half your batch of cookies, wash out the bowl and continue coating cookies with the other color. The coating sets pretty quickly, so don’t forget to pause after every few cookies and sprinkle with nonpareils!

pink and white frosted animal cookies DIY
Aren’t these guys so festive and fun? The pink piggies are my favorite. I think they would make a really great Birthday surprise for someone, or you could customize with other shapes or colors.

It’s a lot of fun to try to recreate your favorite classics at home. Sometimes the homemade version turns out even better (and usually healthier). Are there any other classic snacks or treats you would like to see us DIY on What to do with Lemons? Let us know! We would love to hear from you!

Dark Chocolate Almond Biscotti with Walnuts

photo 2

Italy is to biscotti and espresso as England is to scones and high tea, and as America is to fries and vanilla milkshakes.  The pairings are deep rooted in heritage, tradition, and respect – they are like history and sentiment in edible form, and they are delicious.  Luckily for me, my dad appreciates nothing more than those exact things – Birthday Biscotti it is!  These italian twice-baked cookies are crunchy-crispy, semi-soft centered, and chocolate-y, and inspired by my dad’s favorite flavors.

 

photo 3

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ heaping cup of dark cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 2t instant espresso powder (you can omit, but you won’t taste it – it boosts the chocolate flavor!)
  • 1t baking powder
  • 1t salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter (unsalted)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs, whole
  • 3t almond extract
  • 2t vanilla extract

Extras

  • ½ cup of dry roasted, unsalted almonds
  • ½ cup of raw walnuts
  • OR 1 cup of any nut, dried fruit, or chocolate chip combination that you’d like

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Measure out all of your dry ingredients, whisk them together, and set aside.  When measuring flour, I use a sort of fluffing technique – there’s no need to bring out a sieve.  Using a spoon, fluff up the flour before sprinkling it into the measuring cup, and when you’ve got a heaping pile of aerated flour in the cup, level it off with the back of the spoon.  This method of flour measuring is one of the most useful I’ve learned to date.  Ever follow a recipe completely, but your cookies still turn out too dry, or your brownies are cake-y, or your pie crust just crumbles?  Just remember that you can always add an ingredient, but un-adding one requires a complete recipe re-work.  I once added too much flour to a recipe – I know, what was I thinking – and my double dark chocolate chip cookie recipe turned into a tin full of rocks.  Literal, rocks.  People were simultaneously “enjoying” the cookies and making dentist appointments because their teeth chipped.  Horrible.  Don’t add too much flour.

Now that that’s settled, on to the wet ingredients.  Using a mixer and a separate bowl, beat your sugar and butter together until they are creamy.  Not grainy, creamy.  If your mixture still looks ricey, keep beating.  The butter is already butter, so there’s no need to worry about overworking your dairy.  Next add in both eggs, and the extracts.  Note to the reader: Whenever I give a measurement for an extract, I almost always add a spill more and I rarely leave out the vanilla.  Like the espresso, vanilla is a flavor enhancer, and really rounds out any baked good.  Because your butter sugar mixture was so well incorporated, mixing in the eggs and extract should be pretty easy.  Once your all blended, begin mixing in the dry ingredients a little at a time, until incorporated, chop up the add-ins and fold them in until evenly distributed.  You also want to be sure to not over-mix at this stage in a baking recipe unless specified.  I think there is a science behind it involving gluten or something, but all I know is that mixing my brownies 25 turns of the bowl gets me not-good-chewy chocolate things, and that 20 turns gets me of the best things I’ve ever created (you’ll have to wait for December for that one, but it will be worth it).

photo 5

When you’re all mixed, divide your dough into to sections, and with floured hands, form two biscotti loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet, 2 or more inches apart.  There’s no perfect width or length for these cookies – make them the shape you want to eat them, just know that they’ll expand a bit when baking.  Bake the biscotti for 30 minutes or until set.  Leave the tray to cool for 15 minutes, then using a serrated knife, gently cut your biscotti into sections, lay back on the tray, and bake for another 8 minutes.  These treats aren’t too sweet, and are the perfect texture to eat alone or to enjoy with coffee, tea, or milk.  Be sure to store your biscotti in an air-tight container, that is, if they last longer than the hour they take to make.