brown sugar chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

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Things teachers get excited about:

  • Abandoned, slightly used 3-ring binders
  • Tape
  • Stolen Questionably obtained beakers and graduated cylinders
  • Filing cabinets
  • Tape

Through the course of my preparations for my first year of teaching, I’ve learned many things. The most important of all my newly developed skills is the ability to forage for supplies. As in, if you are walking down the hall and see something semi-usable that does not seem to have a current owner, you grab it. Then you hide it. Because somehow, somewhere down the line, you’ll need it.

My most recent acquisitions include the aforementioned binder, some scissors, a stack of old National Geographic magazines, and 4-5 previously used (but only 25% filled) notebooks. Don’t ask me where I hid them. I’ll never tell.

I currently have my eye on some hanging wall pocket folders, but that heist is going to require some premeditation, strategizing, and possibly a wig.

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Definitely a wig.

After a long day in the Blackboard Jungle, sometimes cookies are a non-negotiable necessity. You try to talk yourself out of it. You eyeball the carrots in your fridge and contemplate what your life would be like if you were the kind of person that could find those a satisfactory alternative. You look wistfully at your skinny jeans, banished to the Shame Corner in your closet. You spy, with your little eye, your yoga pants, so friendly and stretchy, ask the Muffin Top Gods for forgiveness, and reach for the measuring cup.

You solemnly do ab workouts the entire time the cookies are in the oven.

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These are chewy and delicious and the chocolate chips add a little extra punch of sweetness. You could also add nuts, or, if you have no shred of decency and morals whatsoever, throw some raisins in.

Recipe for Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a cookie sheet (or line with parchment paper) and set aside.

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in thirds, combining after every addition.

Add oats and chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Drop cookie dough by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet, approximately 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until edges are golden-brown.

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salty brown butter nutella-stuffed chocolate chip cookie bars

DSC_1681I spent 5 minutes trying to think of a shorter name for these bars (and, consequently, for this blog post). At the end, I couldn’t bring myself to leave anything out, and I decided that these bars are worthy of a 53-letter name. (Yes, I counted.) (No, I did not count carefully, so it might not actually be 53.)

These little monsters are going to become a regular occurrence in my life (jk Mom, never again) because they are THAT GOOD. I know this, because most of them were gone in about 12 minutes. And there were only two of us.

DSC_1665The first bit of magic is the browned butter. If you melt butter and let it stay on the heat for a little while, it starts to take on this beautiful amber-brown color, and suddenly the whole apartment is filled with this crazy, nutty smell that signals the imminent arrival of something delicious. You do have to babysit the butter though, because it will go from brown to burnt very quickly, and then it’s no good.

DSC_1671Once the browned-butter cookie dough is made, half of it is pressed into the pan, and that’s when good decision-making and rational thought go out the window. Because that’s when the whole thing gets covered in Nutella. Then the rest of the cookie dough gets pressed on top of the Nutella layer, sprinkled with sea salt, and baked. The salt on top is a perfect balance for the sugar-overload going on underneath it. You won’t be sorry.

Whatever you do, don’t do this while you wait for your cookie bars to bake…

DSC_1678Unless you are in the thick of final projects and papers, and in that case, you deserve a treat while you wait for your other treat to bake.

At least you worked it off by going to the gym exactly zero times in the past 2 weeks!

DSC_1679As you can see, a lot of my chocolate chips ended up melting into the cookie dough, rather than retaining their chippy integrity. This happened because the dough was still a little warm after the addition of the browned butter, causing the chips to start to melt on contact. This can be easily fixed by letting the dough cool for a little bit before throwing the chocolate chips in. The only reason I point this out is because the chips that didn’t melt into the dough re-hardened when the bars cooled, which added a nice little crunch to the otherwise soft and gooey texture.

Even if all your chips melt, this is still going to be the best thing you’ve ever tasted.

DSC_1691Salty Brown Butter Nutella-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white (granulated) sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Nutella
  • Sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 325°, and grease an 8″x8″ or 9″x9″ baking pan.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and continue cooking until amber flecks begin to appear, and butter takes on a rich, brown color. Remove from heat and transfer browned butter to a large mixing bowl.

Combine the browned butter with the brown sugar and white sugar. Cream the mixture using an electric hand (or stand) mixer until pale and smooth.

Add eggs and vanilla, and combine thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, and combine thoroughly (either using the mixer or by hand).

Allow the mixture to cool completely, then add the chocolate chips.

Press half of the cookie dough into the greased pan. Spread a layer of Nutella (the amount is up to you!) evenly over the cookie dough.

Press the remaining cookie dough on top of the Nutella layer, then sprinkle with sea salt. (Again, the amount here is up to you, but I recommend not being too shy about it!)

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean (except for a possible Nutella smear!). Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

happy birthday mom!

This past Thursday was my mom’s birthday, so I was going back and forth trying to decide upon which dessert to unleash my oven mitts. My decision was made a lot easier when my mom requested chocolate chip cookies with walnuts. So then it was settled. Such is the power of a birthday girl.

Honestly, I don’t think you can call something a “birthday dessert” unless it can be sliced. Cakes, of course, fit this criterion. Pies and tarts are fair game too. Regardless,  requests trump rules, and that is how the birthday chocolate chip walnut cookies were born.

Like any other baker, I’ve searched long and hard for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’ve looked all over the internet, I’ve looked on the back of the chocolate chip bag, and I’ve stood in Borders and browsed through cookbooks, all to find a cookie that’s not too salty, not too sweet, not too chewy, not too crispy. Not too picky, right?

This is my favorite recipe so far. Like so many other delicious recipes, it comes from Deb at Smitten Kitchen. My only modifications were to slightly decrease the amount of chocolate chips, and to add walnuts. Other than that, I’m not messing with it. “If it ain’t broke” and all that.

For the recipe, head on over to Smitten Kitchen