Salted Brown Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salted Brown Butter Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies – say that three times fast! These cookies are a unique twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie. Usually I use a semi-sweet chocolate chip, but I saw these extra-large Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips and wanted to try them out (though I think dark chocolate would be even better). The browned butter adds a special richness and delicate sweetness to the cookie, and the sea salt balances the sweetness out. These would be a fantastic addition to a cookie tin for the upcoming holiday season.

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Brown Butter and Sea Salt Rice Krispie Treats

I have always loved Rice Krispie Treats. When we were little, Mom rarely let us have marshmallows in the house (they were saved for special occasions, like campfires), but Grandma would always have a box of cereal and bag of marshmallows ready for my brother and me. This recipe is a grown-up version of the back-of-the-box recipe…but kids will have no aversion to the update!

If you are lacking in the self-control department. you should probably make these for a gathering where there will be many people to share with. They would be great to bring to a summer picnic or pool party. But if it’s a random Monday and you’re not planning on leaving the house, I’d save them for another day…because they are addicting.

Tim and I finished an entire batch in less than a day. You’ve been warned.

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The only true downfall about living in a small town is the lack of a variety of restaurants. Paso Robles has a few fabulous restaurants and the variety is ever-improving, but there is only so much demand and I imagine it will be a while before someone opens a the things big cities have, like a vegan restaurant, mozzarella bar, East-Coast-style deli, or a crêperie….which brings me to the origins of this post. When I was craving crêpes the other morning, I had to make my own. Luckily, they were quick and easy and tasted just as good as the ones I remember eating in Paris.

Besides, Wine Country can be every bit as romantic as Paris!

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Spiked Hot Chocolate

Despite an 80-degree Thanksgiving, it looks like cold weather might be staying for a while here on the Central Coast. It’s been mostly sunny but very brisk and very breezy. And cold here is nothing compared to what I endured for the 3 1/2 years I spent at school in New Jersey, so I try not to complain.

Chilly days and evenings remind me of bundling up for sports games at Drew, my alma mater (so funny to say that, by the way). To gear up for late-season soccer and early-season lacrosse games on The Turf, I would wear leggings and knee socks under my jeans, along with any variation of long sleeve T’s, zip-ups, North Face fleeces, and hats and gloves and scarves. I would bring extra blankets, and a version of this hot chocolate was nearly always in hand.

Without further ado, I bring you one of my favorite “recipes” from college. And by recipe I mean dump it in a travel mug and get ready to cheer on your team. Spiked hot chocolate is basically guaranteed to warm you from the inside out and make sure you have fun at any chilly sports game. Truth.

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Maple-y Pumpkin Loaf

pumpkin loaf

So the last week of October is upon us, and I just realized I have not baked a single pumpkin creation yet! I blame the 80 degree weather…oh, California, how I love thee.

Anyway, in honor of Halloween, and autumn, and my birthday (which is today!) I give you my first pumpkin recipe of the season: Maple-y pumpkin loaf!  I have always been a huge fan of Starbuck’s Pumpkin Loaf, splurging on all those calories once or twice a year. This year, I decided to make my own homemade version, with the addition of maple syrup, a fabulous fall flavor. This loaf is moist and delicious, with a subtle maple flavor. So fall!

Happy Birthday to me!


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Double Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

chocolate cupcake

A couple months ago, I decided I wanted to learn how to make darling cupcakes.  The kind you see in bakeries and cookbooks and wedding magazines and ooh and ahh at, with puffs of swirly frosting and bright sprinkles and adorable toppings.

Well…these don’t have the cutsey looks…as you can see, they look, um, “rustic.”  They actually remind me of my Grandma’s cakes – simple looks, but soo delicious. After all, the taste is really what matters when it comes down to it!  These are two quality recipes.

For my next cupcake endeavor, I will be investing in a pastry bag, and the results will be darling – promise!  (I hope!)  Stay tuned!

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Strawberries and Dumplings

cup ful o'berries

So apparently, I might have a strawberry allergy.  This is a big maybe, but I recently broke out in an extremely itchy rash (I’ll spare you the details), and my dermatoligist asked me if I had been “overindulging” in strawberries.  I said “…Mayyybe…” instead of fully admitting to my fat-kid strawberry behavior.  I’ve bought/consumed about an entire flat’s worth since May.  I love strawberries, and you can not beat fresh summer ones, so yes…maybe I tend to overindulge.  Just a little.

Although I could eat strawberries right out of the carton for hours, sometimes they are fun to bake with, too.  Like in my Strawberry Rhubarb Scones.  And these dumplings, which were quite delicious. Lots of pictures in this post, so click through!

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