Zucchini-Oat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I will make almost any excuse to whip up a batch of cookies. I love to make “cheer-you-up” cookies, “thank you” cookies, and the ever-popular “I should be studying” cookies. So it really was not a surprise that I thought of the wonderful idea of making a big batch of cookies to bring a presentation I was giving this week. There was just one snafu regarding my masterful plan…

I was lecturing on the obesity epidemic.

Yes, I was planning on serving cookies to my audience and then speaking to them about the causes, issues, and potential interventions for obesity in the United States and worldwide. Not exactly the most appetite-inducing speech, and one more akin to a small bag of mixed nuts or an apple than cookies. But with my passion for cookie-making overriding my rational brain, I told myself that I would find a healthier cookie recipe. And thanks to the creatively over at Nestlé, I found my cookie inspiration.

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Zucchini-oat dark chocolate chip cookies. It’s a mouthful to say and the cookies themselves turned out to be a nutritious mouthful of yum . The texture is soft inside because of the zucchini, but crisp on the outside and oh-so chocolatey. I cut out some of the flour by making flour from rolled oats, and the sugar and butter are greatly reduced compared to the typical chocolate chip cookie recipe. Add a healthy dose of nutrients from the almonds and antioxidants from the dark chocolate chips, and I must say these cookies actually pack quite a nutritional punch in a small and delicious package.

Turns out the cookie was a crowd-pleaser, and the perfect accompaniment to my presentation. No excuses needed for whipping up a batch of zucchini-oat dark chocolate chip cookies!

Zucchini-Oat Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from the Nestlé recipe)

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup oat flour (made from rolled oats in blender)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
  • 1 2/3 cups (10 oz. package) of dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. For oat flour: place about 1 cup of rolled oats into a blender. Blend until oats resemble flour.
  3. Combine both flours, cinnamon, and baking soda into a bowl.
  4. In separate bowl, beat together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add zucchini, and then slowly add dry mixture. Stir in oats, nuts, and dark chocolate chips.
  5. Place teaspoon-sized cookie dough onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Leave 2 inches between each cookie.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes (I baked the cookies for 11-12 minutes)
  7. Remove from oven and cool cookies on baking sheets for a few minutes. Place cookies on a plate or wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Store in container at room temperature.
  9. Enjoy!

Easter Egg Cookies

Happy Easter Everyone!IMG_4285As you can see I have been having a marvelous time today coloring beautiful Easter eggs with my boyfriend and his family. (I can only take credit for the polka dot egg…I know, I know, my craft skills are not particularly Pinterest-worthy).

BUT I can bake cookies!

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Aren’t they cute?

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Let’s get a little closer shall we?

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The inspiration from the recipe is from Marla Meridith over at Family Fresh Cooking. Her recipe is gluten-free, but I decided to make mine with all-purpose flour. I also chilled the dough for a couple of hours before baking. These cookies are dense and filled with chocolate and so adorably perfect for your Easter weekend!

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Easter Egg Cookies (inspired by a recipe from Family Fresh Cooking)

makes about 20 cookies

IngredientsIMG_4282

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package Cadbury Mini Eggs

Directions

  1. Mix together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and the vanilla extract and continue blending. Beat ingredients until light and fluffy.
  3. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl of butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until mixed together. Gather the dough into a ball, cover in Saran wrap, and chill dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a spoon-full of chilled dough and roll in into a ball. Press dough onto a baking sheet. Leave a few inches between balls of cookie dough. Bake cookies in the oven for 10 minutes.
  5. As soon as you remove cookies from the oven, press 2-4 Cadbury Mini Eggs (depending on how many will fit) in the center of the freshly baked cookies. Allow the cookies to cool before removing them from the baking sheet.

PB2 Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I have a cookie infatuation.

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Cookies are a beautiful thing. As handheld, portion-controlled bites of satisfying baked goodness, cookies can actually be good for you when you combine a healthy recipe with a little self control. Okay, when they look like this it takes a lot of self control. Anyways….I went crazy in the cookie department recently, making my oh-so-popular Cake Batter Sugar Cookies in addition to a new recipe. Allow me to introduce to you the PB2 Chocolate Chip Cookie:

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PB2 is the new healthy take on peanut butter. Peanut butter can be good for you, if you choose not to eat half a jar in one sitting. For those of you like me who have a hard time taking the spoon out of the peanut butter jar, you have to try PB2. The makers of PB2 take peanuts and press them, removing 85% of the fat and oil. What you get is a jar of powder that with the addition of water turns into peanut butter for only 45 calories per 2 tablespoons! PB2 may not taste like your typical Jif of Skippy brand peanut butter, but it is not a bad way to get a peanut butter fix. Also, PB2 works wonderfully in baking, specifically in this recipe. Give it a try!

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PB2 Chocolate Cookies (Makes 12-18 cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of PB2 chocolate peanut butter
  • 1 package Hershey’s chocolate chips (or chocolate eggs-I was making this batch right after Easter Sunday)

Directions:

Preheat over to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, combine flour, soda, and salt. In another bowl, cream the butter ans sugar. Next, beat in the egg and vanilla until creamy.  Add the flour mix from the other bowl and blend.  Then add the PB2.  Mix well.  Next, stir in the chocolate chips.  Drop rounded cookie dough onto your baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.  Let your cookies cool and then store them in a container with a lid.

Fudge Thumbprint Cookies

Happy President’s Day! I, for one, am celebrating President’s Day by recuperating from the chocolate-overload I gave myself over the course of the last week. I never thought I could eat too much chocolate, but I found out like most normal people I have a limit. Right now just thinking about milk chocolate is making me crave something with a savory flavor.

Despite the fact I cannot eat any more chocolate (I anticipate this feeling will last maybe a day), I wanted to share with you one of the recipes that contributed to my chocolate feasting and one recipe worth making.

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I love cookies and I think thumbprint cookies are particularly fun to make. Probably because I like taking cookie dough and experimenting with it, and thumbprint cookies allow me to do just that! Typically, the thumbprint cookie is a plain cookie with some sort of fruit jam in the center where your “thumbprint crater” is made before baking. Now, I like fruit jam as much as the next person. But you know what I like more? Chocolate fudge. So to me, it made sense to fill the crater in my cookie dough with some chocolate and it turned out to be delicious! The fudge made the cookie rich without being overpowering, and the batch did not even last a full work day when I brought it to the office (always a good sign in my book).

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Fudge Thumbprint Cookies (Makes 1 1/2 dozen medium-sized cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • Chocolate fudge (homemade, store-bought, whatever you’ve got!)

Directions:

In a bowl, cream butter until fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add sugar and cream until smooth for a couple more minutes. Next, add vanilla extract and egg. Mix on low speed until smooth and scrape down the sides occasionally. Add flour one cup at a time and mix until dough comes together.

Wrap your delicious cookie dough in plastic wrap and sit impatiently while the dough chills in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take dough out about 15-20 minutes before you want to work with it. Pull off pieces of cookie dough (or use a tablespoon to scoop the cookie dough) and roll the dough into a ball. Place on a baking sheet and with your thumb, press into the center of the cookie dough ball, creating a crater. In this crater, put a piece of delicious chocolate fudge. Repeat until all the dough or fudge has been used up. Bake cookies for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.