Monday, May 19, 2014

Brown butter chocolate chip cookies

Hello Girls! We are having a beautiful Spring here in New England!  This gorgeous bunch of white lilacs came from my parent's yard.  Aren't they pretty?  They smell even better than they look.  I had them in my kitchen but then decided to move them to the deck because the scent was so strong. I'm enjoying them as much out here though.  In the mornings I sit and have a quick cup of coffee before work.  I'll check my email and instagram and see what's going on in the world. Sometimes do a little daydreaming ♥  Mostly about pretend Hollywood boyfriends, trips to Paris, and winning the lottery - not necessarily in that order.
In a few weeks it will be June. How time flies. School will be ending we are going on a little mini vacation to New Hampshire. We also have a friends wedding and I'm going to see Phantom of the Opera with my Mom at the end of the month! I can't wait!  I guess I'll sleep in July ♥  And speaking of July did I mention I'm turning 40 this year?!  I can't even believe it.  How this happened I do not know.  I have many thoughts on this subject that I will share with you later - once I sort them out in my head - for now cookies are helping me cope.  Cookies make everything better, don't you think?
I think I may have quite possibly found the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. I've never made anything with brown butter before.  I have to admit I was skeptical.  How much of a difference could it really make?  Is this extra step really necessary?  Let me tell you - yes it is. This is something you have to try to believe.  I am now frantically searching for recipes that call for brown butter. Thank you Joy the Baker for never letting me down!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
sea salt, to sprinkle on top
First prepare the brown butter:  Place 8 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan. Melt over medium heat, occasionally swirling it in the pan.  The butter will foam, crackle, and pop. Brown bits will form on the bottom of the pan.  Once the bits are amber brown (2-3 minutes) remove the butter from the burner and immediately pour into a small bowl, bits and all.  Allow to cool for 20 minutes. 
In a mixing bowl, beat together the remainder of the butter (8 tablespoons) with the brown sugar until the mixture is very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and molasses.  Add the cooled brown butter and sugar.  Beat for 2 minutes, until smooth.
Add the egg and egg yolk and beat for one more minute.   Add the flour, salt, and baking soda beating on low speed just until everything is incorporated. 
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts until everything is nicely incorporated.  Scoop the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Cover and flatten slightly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
Scoop the dough in 2 tablespoon-sized balls onto a greased (or parchment paper lined) baking sheet at least 2 inches apart.   
Sprinkle the cookies with sea salt ♥
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until they are golden brown.  Allow them to rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a rack to cool. 
You won't believe the difference brown butter makes in these cookies.  It completely changes the flavor! It's very nutty and delicious! 
Combine that with the salty/sweet combo from the sea salt and chocolate chips - I've found my favorite cookie! We are a match made in cookie heaven! : )
But don't worry....I'll share with you! ♥
Wishing you all a lovely day full of daydreams and cookies!  I'm taking these last days of my 30's nice and slow.  I don't want them to end! xo

Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday morning bike ride & a coffee frostie ♥

Good Morning Friends! I'm just back from an early morning bike ride.  It's such a beautiful day that I snapped a few photos along the way to show you. These trees are too gorgeous to keep to myself! ♥
I tossed my bike in the trunk and headed to a local park, about 15 minutes from my house.  The paths here are right along the water. As I was riding I could smell the ocean air and see the ferry boats heading into Boston.  What a beautiful day!

Here is one of the paths I rode.  It's a little rocky, but my legs got a good work out! The pretty trees and ocean views took my mind off it.  LOL!
My husband grew up in this part of town and he's the one who first took me here.  Before my son was born we used to walk miles and miles, just talking and watching the boats.  There are benches along the paths as well, so if you get tired you can stop and take a rest.  We take my son here now for picnics. He loves to watch the boats and throw rocks in the water. 
See those buildings off in the distance?  That's Boston! This is a perfect view for July 4th fireworks! ♥
I hope to be back here a few times a week throughout the summer.  I'm not a huge exercise person (that's for sure!) but somehow bike riding doesn't seem like exercise to me.  It's therapeutic.  I really love it!

Now that I'm home, showered, and all cleaned up I want to share with you a perfect treat for a hot day.  If you a fan of Dunkin Donuts this drink will remind you of their Coffee Coolata, which I am very familiar with : )

I tried this for the first time over the weekend and loved it.  Now I'm hooked.  Just put aside a cup of your morning coffee to cool.  When your ready for an afternoon pick me up - go for it!

(Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker's Coffee Smoothie)

1 cup brewed coffee, cold
1 cup milk
2 heaping tablespoons instant vanilla pudding (I put the remainder of the pudding in a little glass jar for next time)
1-3 teaspoons sugar, depending on how sweet you like your coffee
2 cups of ice cubes
2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup, optional but why not?!

Joy also suggests that you can add a teaspoon of instant coffee (to boost the coffee flavor!) or half a frozen banana to thicken it up even more.  I am definitely going to try that next time. 
Put everything into a blender and blend until smooth! Enjoy! ♥
If you follow me on instagram you'll know that I did some baking this weekend.  Check back soon for a delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe : )  
Have a great day! xo