Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Shortbread

If you want a down home, Auntie Anne homemade, comfy, cosy recipe this is it! It’s easy, has a ton of butter (which in my opinion makes it a bad arse recipe), and will impress any audience.

So I am a passionate about education, especially providing struggling readers intensive reading intervention. With that said, I also love bringing bake goods to school on Monday morning, to revitalize the staff before the week actually begins. I kinda dig setting a Tupperware container filled with some fun baked good on one of the tables in the staff room only to hear such happiness as the various staff members dive in well before school starts. My baker’s heart swells.

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Shortbread (recipe care of Julie Hasson)

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 salt, 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature), 1 egg yolk, 2 tsp vanilla, 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts. granulated sugar (for rolling)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. In a large bowl, using electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop dough into balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place sugared cookies on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Using the heel of your hand, press down lightly on top o each cookie, flattening into a disk. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfectly flat; this adds to their rustic appearance. Bake in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes or until light golden brown and firm to the touch. Let cool on pans on rack.

Lemon Buttermilk Scones

So PDiddy (a nickname for my husband, Paul) loves to make his coffee runs on Sundays to a yummy restaurant and bakery called Jeannine’s. If you’re in the Santa Barbara area, definitely go there for breakfast or get a cake from them (my dear friend, Michelle get’s their Texas chocolate cake for her birthday every year). Crazy delicious!

Anyhoo, a few months ago Paul brought home his double latte along with a couple of Jeannine’s lemon scones. I immediately fell in love. They were the perfect scone texture with a beautifully sweet, yet tart, glaze on top. It was my goal in life to replicate them.

So a few months ago I had all my ingredients ready to go, music playing, and the oven preheating. Now scones are not hard to make, so I went in a bit too confidently. Well, far too confidently. When I was rolling out the dough, I was so surprised how dry it was. Um, yeah. I forgot to put in the buttermilk. Oops!

I’m not gonna lie to you, the dough was insanely wet and difficult to cut. In my attempt to shape the scones into triangles on the cookie sheet, I gave up and decided to just create drop scones.

So this was my second attempt. They turned out fabulously! Such a lovely, lemony flavor. Mine were a touch doughy, but I’d rather have that than scones that are too dry.

Now the Jo Cooks site has it’s own glaze, but I found this other glaze that sounded decadently delicious because it included melted butter. And butter just makes everything better. Have fun and enjoy!

Lemon Buttermilk Scones (recipes care of jocooks.com)

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/3 cup sugar granulated, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoon lemon zest from about 2 lemons, 1 egg yolk, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoon butter unsalted

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Whisk to combine everything. In a small bowl whisk the egg yolk, buttermilk and vanilla extract together. Add the butter to the flour bowl, and using a pastry blender, cut in the butter to make small pea sized pieces. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the dough pulls together. Lightly flour a work surface and dust your hands with flour. Transfer the dough to the work surface and knead it gently about 5 time. Shape the dough into a ball, then flatten it into a disk that’s about 3/4 of an inch thick and about 8 inches in diameter. Cut the disk into 8 wedges of equal size. Place the wedges onto a baking sheet. Bake them for about 20 minutes or until golden. Transfer the scones to a cooling rack.

Glaze (recipe care of allrecipes.com)

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, ⅓ cup butter (melted), 2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons water (or as needed)

DIRECTIONS: While scones are cooling, stir confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, 2 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth. Stir water into sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is easily drizzled. Drizzle glaze over warm scones.

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

A few years ago I went through a phase when I was obsessed with buttermilk biscuits. Oh who am I kidding? I’m still obsessed with them.

I have posted this recipe multiple times, but it’s one of my favorites. And so easy! Only six ingredients.

I gotta give myself some props today. I think this was my best batch yet! I actually read the recipe correctly (if you know me, you know I never pay attention when I read recipes). I also made a real effort not to overwork the dough and it paid off. They were light, fluffy, and you could actually see the buttery layers. Yay!

We enjoyed them this morning, right out of the oven. When we cut them open a puff of steam escaped, and the heat of the biscuit melted the butter beautifully. We topped it off with my dear friend, Kristi Lou’s strawberry jelly. It was a work of art.

Oh one thing, I didn’t read the recipe closely enough to notice the optional honey topping (damn!) but I would totally include that next time. Sounds fabulous!

Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits (recipe care of sallysbakingaddiction.com)

INGREDIENTS: 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (plus extra for hands and work surface), 2 Tablespoons aluminum free baking powder (yes, Tablespoons), 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter (cubed and very cold), 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (270ml) cold buttermilk (divided), 2 teaspoons honey

optional honey butter topping: 2 Tablespoons melted butter mixed with 1 Tablespoon honey

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Place the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl or in a large food processor. Whisk or pulse until combined. Add the cubed butter and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or by pulsing several times in the processor. Cut/pulse until coarse crumbs form. See photo above for a visual. If you used a food processor, pour the mixture into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour 1 cup (240ml) buttermilk and drizzle honey on top. Fold everything together with a large spoon or rubber spatula until it begins to come together. Do not overwork the dough. The dough will be shaggy and crumbly with some wet spots. See photo above for a visual. Pour the dough and any dough crumbles onto a floured work surface and gently bring together with generously floured hands. The dough will become sticky as you bring it together. Have extra flour nearby and use it often to flour your hands and work surface in this step. Using floured hands or a floured rolling pin, flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle as best you can. Fold one side into the center, then the other side. Turn the dough horizontally. Gently flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle again. Repeat the folding again. Turn the dough horizontally one more time. Gently flatten into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle. Repeat the folding one last time. Flatten into the final 3/4 inch thick rectangle. Cut into 2.75 or 3-inch circles with a biscuit cutter. (Tip: Do not twist the biscuit cutter when pressing down into the dough– this seals off the edges of the biscuit which prevents them from fully rising.) Re-roll scraps until all the dough is used. You should have about 8-10 biscuits. Arrange in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (see note) or close together on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make sure the biscuits are touching. Brush the tops with remaining buttermilk. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven, brush warm tops with optional honey butter, and enjoy warm. Cover leftovers tightly and store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Glazed Old Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnut Bundt Cake

Oh holy hell! I am getting absent minded in my old age. A couple of weeks ago I tried making what I thought would be fabulous lemon scones but totally spaced adding the much needed milk. Today I forgot to add the vanilla to this cake. Seriously, pay attention Anne!

Even with the mistake, this cake is delicious. Amazing consistency, very pretty, moist, and delicious. It’s the perfect addition to any brunch.

I chose this recipe because it reminded me of our family’s tradition of going to church on Sunday mornings followed by Dad’s very important trip to Winchell’s to get everyone donuts. He, of course, would come home with two dozens when there were only seven of us. But then again the seven included one adult man, one adult woman, 4 growing boys, and one growing tomboy. Ya’d think there woulda been left overs, but nope! Anyway, this recipe reminded me of those chaotic, love filled Sunday mornings and the flavors did not disappoint.

Don’t get intimidated by the “oat flour.” All you have to do is grind up oats (I used old fashioned rolled oats). This is a really easy cake to make. You’ll dig it!

Glazed Old Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnut Bundt Cake (recipe care of theviewfromgreatisland.com)

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 and 1/2 cups oat flour, 1 and 1/2 cups sugar, 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 3/4 cups buttermilk, 3/4 cup vegetable oil, 3 large eggs (at room temperature), 2 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a bundt pan by carefully buttering the entire surface, and then dusting with flour. Shake off excess flour. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined, don’t over mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Set the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake and once it is safely out of the pan, gently flip it back over so that the rough edge is facing up. Let cool completely. To make the glaze, whisk the sugar with just enough water to make a smooth pourable glaze. When you lift the spoon and let the glaze drip down the ‘squiggles’ should disappear instantly. I used almost but not quite all of the water. If you like you can flavor your glaze with vanilla extract, but add that before adding the water. When the cake is cool, brush the glaze liberally all over, concentrating on those gorgeous cracks along the top. Work quickly, and go over the cake more than once if you need to. The glaze will harden as it sits.

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup

So as y’all know, I am honest to a fault with my cooking experiences. This morning I made what seemed like a lovely lemon scone, however I messed the entire thing up by accidentally eliminating the milk. Oops! Needless to say, it was a disaster.

Rather than dwell on my ridiculously absent minded mistake, I thought I’d write about this wonderful soup that I’ve made many times yet never shared until now.

I was told by some of the most discriminating pallets (my niece and sister-in-law) that this was the best soup they’ve ever had.

This is an incredibly easy recipe to create and will make your audience call for more. Seriously, one night I had my bro and family plus my dad over for dinner, and you would’ve thought I served them a Michelin Star meal.

I add fresh spinach, letting it wilt into the soup, to add a bit of freshness and a healthy aspect. I also let it simmer for a good long while so that the flavors have time to get all cozy together.

The toppings (sometimes the best part)… fresh avocado, queso fresco, and freshly home made tortilla chips.

Total crowd pleaser. Enjoy!

Salsa Verde Chicken Soup (recipe care of realsimple.com)

INGREDIENTS: 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1 pound boneless (skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-in. pieces) 1 cup chopped white onion (from 1 onion), 3 cups unsalted chicken broth, 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added pinto beans (drained and rinsed), 1 15-oz. can white hominy (drained and rinsed), 1 cup jarred salsa verde, ½ chopped fresh cilantro (divided), 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from 1 lime), 1 avocado (chopped), crushed tortilla chips (for serving (optional))

DIRECTIONS: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add chicken and onion; cook, stirring often, until chicken is cooked through, beginning to brown slightly, and juices have mostly evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in broth, beans, hominy, and salsa verde. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium and cook until hot, about 5 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup chopped cilantro and lime juice. Serve in bowls topped with avocado, remaining ¼ cup cilantro, and, if desired, tortilla chips.

Chocolate Banana Muffins

Man I’m married to the best man/partner in crime/grocery runner ever! Paul headed out for his morning latte and I, not surprisingly at all, asked him to pick up flour and brown sugar because of course I forgot to get them yesterday. He returned, quite proudly, with King Arthur’s all purpose flour and golden brown sugar. Then of I forgot that I needed turbinado sugar, so off he went again. He is so patient with me! I was impressed and very grateful because I had no intention of getting out of my pjs to go to the store.

This week we had a couple of overripe bananas left over so I started researching banana baked goods. A ton of recipes popped up, but I was dismayed with the suggestion of coconut sugar, whole wheat flour, and almond milk.

Now I respect anyone’s right to bake any way they’d like to bake. I’m an equal rights baker and food enjoyer. However when it comes to my baking style I want the full fat, gluten, and old school ingredients. It all goes straight to my thighs, hips, and arse but I’m happy!

Once I found this recipe, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for… simple, easy, delicious. The blog did have a few links that would take you to other “healthy” recipes, but I ignored those altogether.

This recipe called for regular sized muffins but I decided to downsize them, and I’m really glad I did. They’re rich, chocolatey, and banana-ish. The mini muffin was the perfect sized treat. Plus this gave me way more muffins to take to school and make the staff super happy.

Give these a go. You’ll love them!

Chocolate Banana Muffins (recipe care of acouplecooks.com)

INGREDIENTS: 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas or 3 medium bananas), ½ cup unsalted butter (or coconut oil, for vegan), ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 large egg (or flax egg, for vegan), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, Turbinado sugar (for sprinkling)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place muffin liners in a muffin tin. Mash the bananas in the bottom of a large bowl, enough for 1 cup. Melt the butter, then whisk it into the bananas along with the brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, Dutch-process cocoa powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Add to the bowl with the bananas and stir together with a spoon until a sticky dough forms. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar (or lightly with brown sugar). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for a few minutes in the muffin tin, then move to a cooling rack to cool to room temperature before serving.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well, these are an interesting cookie. With that said they’re crazy delicious (and crazy rich)! But definitely interesting.

The recipe is super easy to follow and doesn’t take long at all (even with the 30 minute chill time and complete clean up). What’s kinda strange is there isn’t a lot of dough. I know that sounds like I’m losing it, but it’s true.

Paul likes milk chocolate chips so I grabbed a bag at the store not realizing they were larger than regular chocolate chips. They were somewhere between a regular chip and a Hershey’s Kiss. Even so, with or without the abnormally large chocolate chips, I don’t think there would be enough dough to hold everything together.

I added half a cup of chopped salted peanuts (just for fun and yummy crunch) and by the time I had set all of my dollops of dough on the cookie sheet, I still had about half a cup of chips and nuts left in the bowl.

They are definitely worth the very minimal effort, but I would double the recipe except for the amount of chocolate chips. I also highly recommend adding the peanuts. I think everything would be held together perfectly with the extra dough.

Anyone who loves the magnificent marriage of chocolate and peanut butter will love these cookies!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe care of crazyforcrust.com)

INGREDIENTS: ½ cup unsalted butter melted, ½ cup creamy peanut butter, ¼ cup granulated sugar, ⅔ cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 large egg, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 ¼ cups chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS: Mix or stir butter with peanut butter until smooth. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar and mix until creamy. Beat in vanilla, egg, baking soda, and salt. Mix in flour slowly until cookie dough forms. Stir in chocolate chips. Scoop 2 tablespoon sized cookie dough balls onto cookie sheets covered with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Chill 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Press cookie dough balls flat with the tines of a fork. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes, or until slightly brown on the bottom and the top just loses the wet cookie dough look. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to one month.

Smoked Gouda & Pepper Cheese Puffs

So I was ready for this to be an epic fail, but shockingly these little puffs turned out great! Huge crowd pleaser!

I’ve never made anything like this before and the recipe seemed very odd to me. Needless to say I was skeptical. But they sounded intriguing and well, delicious. So I gave it a go.

The recipe is on point in every way. Your arms are gonna get a good workout from stirring the dough after the addition of each egg. Don’t be surprised and/or give up faith when the dough begins to have the consistency of playdough. It is kinda weird. But eventually the dough will come together and will be pipeable (yep, I just made that word up).

These are light, cheesy, and savory. They’re best served warm but they’re still tasty at room temperature. Perfect as a side treat for a warm and cozy soup. Enjoy!

Smoked Gouda & Pepper Cheese Puffs (recipe care of Real Simple)

INGREDIENTS: 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (plus more for garnish), ¾ cup (1½ sticks) salted butter (cut into pieces), ½ teaspoon kosher salt, 4 ounces smoked Gouda cheese (grated) (about 1 cup packed), 5 large eggs, flaky sea salt (for garnish)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and pepper in a medium bowl. Combine 1½ cups water, butter, and kosher salt in a large saucepan; cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until mixture just comes to a boil. Add flour mixture to saucepan all at once. Stir quickly using a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms and dough pulls away from sides of pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until mostly melted and smooth, about 1 minute. Add eggs 1 at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition, until smooth. (Batter will appear lumpy after each egg but will smooth out as you stir.) Transfer dough to a large zip-top bag with a ½-inch tip of 1 corner cut off (or a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip). Pipe 1 ½-inch mounds, spaced at least 1 inch apart, onto prepared baking sheets (about 24 per baking sheet). Flatten any pointy tips with your fingertip. Top with flaky sea salt and more pepper. Transfer any remaining batter in bag to refrigerator. Bake until puffed and golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Repeat with any remaining dough, reusing parchment paper on slightly cooled baking sheet. Keep warm in a 200°F oven. Cheese puffs can be made up to 3 hours ahead; reheat in a 225°F oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper until hot, about 15 minutes.

Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake

Okay you know that saying, “The more the merrier?” Well, I wholeheartedly believe in that saying when it comes to cake streusels, toppings, and frostings. I often double the topping recipes for coffeecakes and muffins. Sorry, not sorry (as my wonderful cousin, JR, would say). Sometimes ya just need an overloaded baked good.

This is my go-to New Years morning coffeecake. It’s a great recipe, serves a ton, and is crazy delicious. We just eat it straight out of the pan (we’re not proud), but you can display it beautifully for guests and smother (and I do mean smother, again sorry, not sorry) it with softened, salted butter. It also has an awesome amount of filling and streusel topping. No doubling on this one.

Plus it creates a warm and lovely cinnamon smell throughout the house.

Now, I’m not gonna lie (I am incriminatingly honest on this blog). This winter break could not have been a lazier time for me. Santa Barbara rarely has rainy, have to stay inside, cozy weather but this last week we made up for it. We got 6 1/2 inches of rain which is desperately needed and allows me to slip back into my Seattle days of wrapping up in a blanket in house pants with the Christmas tree lit while watching TV for hours. I told you I was lazy!

The reason I mention my complete apathy is because this coffeecake almost didn’t happen. This is just how lazy I am… My best friend, Maddy, was coming over on Thursday evening for a visit. I knew she was going to the store first, so as I was watching Friends for the umpteenth time, I asked her to get me greek yogurt and whole milk. She asked, “What kind and non-fat, 2%, whole?” My immediate response was, “Oh I want the fat!” So my wonderful friend, picked up the two ingredients I didn’t have because I couldn’t peel my arse off the couch. Thank you Maddy!

By the way, I could not be more proud of myself! At midnight last night (we were already well tucked into bed) I sprang from the bed, ran to the kitchen, and took the butter out to soften. I NEVER remember to do that. None of the other ingredients that are supposed to be at “room temperature” were. But hey, at least I remembered the butter!

2021 was a rough year for me and for many. But 2022 is gonna be AMAZING with so many wonderful possibilities. May you all have a very happy start to this year and let it bring you love, health, and happiness!

Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake (recipe care of kingarthurflour.com)

INGREDIENTS:

Topping: 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt (if you use unsalted butter), 1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 6 tablespoons butter (melted)

Filling: 1 cup dark brown sugar or light brown sugar (packed), 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa (Dutch-process or natural)

Cake: 12 tablespoons butter (at room temperature), 1 teaspoon salt (1 1/4 teaspoons if you use unsalted butter), 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/3 cup light brown sugar or dark brown sugar (packed), 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3 large eggs (at room temperature), 3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (at room temperature), 1 1/4 cups milk (anything from skim to whole, at room temperature), 3 3/4 cups (450g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan, or two 9″ round cake pans. Make the topping by whisking together the sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter, stirring until well combined. Set the topping aside. Make the filling by mixing together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. Note that the cocoa powder is used strictly for color, not flavor; leave it out if you like. Set it aside. To make the cake, in a large bowl, beat together the butter, salt, sugars, baking powder, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream or yogurt and milk till well combined. You don’t need to whisk out all the lumps. Add the flour to the butter mixture alternately with the milk/sour cream mixture, beating gently to combine. Pour/spread half the batter (a scant 3 cups) into the prepared pan(s), spreading all the way to the edges. If you’re using two 9″ round pans, spread 1 1/3 cups batter in each pan. Sprinkle the filling evenly on the batter. Spread the remaining batter atop the filling. Use a table knife to gently swirl the filling into the batter, as though you were making a marble cake. Don’t combine filling and batter thoroughly; just swirl the filling through the batter. Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan. Bake the cake until it’s a dark golden brown around the edges; medium-golden with no light patches showing on top, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes for the 9″ x 13″ pan, 50 to 55 minutes for the 9″ round pans. When pressed gently in the middle, the cake should spring back. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve cake right from the pan.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Brownies

Oh man! This poor recipe didn’t stand a chance against my scatterbrained/absentmindedness/disorganized self. If ya can’t tell by my previous statement, I was not prepared this morning.

So usually our weekly routine is to grocery shopping on Saturday mornings after I go to yoga. Yesterday we weren’t able to hit the store so I ever so smugly and quite proudly told Paul that when he made his coffee run this morning, I needed him to get a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (mainly because we ate about 3/4 of the bag throughout the week for dessert, don’t judge me). I was even amazed with myself because as soon as I got up I remembered to take out the cream cheese to soften. Oh the over-confidence!

Of course, Paul pulled through with his latte, breakfast sandwich, and chocolate chips. Once I started following the recipe I figured out that I didn’t buy enough dark chocolate (damn 6 oz. package) so I just tossed in the 1/4 cup left of our dessert chocolate chips from the week prior. I then realized we needed 5 eggs. 5 eggs! Holy crap! Oh, and I only had half a cup of brown sugar, not a full cup. So Paul stepped up once again and headed off to the store. While he was gone, I also realized I didn’t have enough cocoa powder. I didn’t have the heart to text him so I just threw in what I had.

The fact that I was this completely unprepared speaks volumes to the strength of this recipe. It actually turned out great! Rich, decadent, and delicious! Perfect holiday treat, even for the non-sweet believers. Happy holidays!!!

Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Brownies (recipe care of bhg.com)

INGREDIENTS: 1 cup butter (two 4-oz. sticks), 7 ounces dark chocolate (chopped), 1 cup packed light brown sugar, ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon hazelnut extract or vanilla, 5 eggs, 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, ¼ cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process), 1 eight ounce package cream cheese (at room temperature), ½ cup chocolate-hazelnut spread, 1 cup roasted salted hazelnuts (chopped), ¼ cup dark chocolate chips or chunks

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 13×9-inch baking pan. In a large bowl combine butter and chocolate. Microwave until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Whisk sugars, 1 tsp. salt, and the hazelnut extract into chocolate mixture. Slowly whisk in four of the eggs until just incorporated. Sift together 1 cup of the flour and the cocoa powder; add to melted chocolate mixture. Gently stir until just incorporated. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. In a medium bowl whisk together the remaining egg and 1 Tbsp. flour. Stir in cream cheese and chocolate-hazelnut spread until smooth and uniform. Drop spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture on batter. Using a skewer or the tip of a knife, swirl mixtures together. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until slightly puffed, corners have darkened, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few fudgy crumbs and no wet batter. Cool completely. Makes 24 brownies.