Speculoos Baking Recipes

I’ve been up to no good.

These super gooey cookie butter chocolate bars are indulgent, delicious, and 100% good for you.

Seriously! Chocolate contains antioxidants which has been proven to do good stuff to your body. These cookie butter bars are backed by science, people!

I adapted this from a chocolate peanut butter bar recipe by Dear Crissy. Pretty much all I did was swap out the peanut butter for Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter because I’m not a huge fan of peanut butter desserts. If you’re not familiar with Speculoos, think of it as a yummy, cinnamony ginger cookie. And Trader Joe’s found a way to grind Speculoos up into a delicious, buttery spread.

Yas.

Cookie Butter Chocolate Bars

This is a super easy treat to make just in time for the weekend. Enjoy! And don’t forget to follow me on Bloglovin’ if you are not already.

Cookie Butter Chocolate Bars
Yields 24
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
45 min
BARS
  1. 3/4 cup butter, softened
  2. 1 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1 egg
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 cups all-purpose flour
FROSTING
  1. 1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate pieces
  2. 3 tablespoons butter
  3. 1/4 cup Speculoos Cookie Butter
  4. 1/4 cup hot strong coffee
  5. 1 cup powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil, or lightly grease pan; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat the 3/4 cup butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, vanilla, and salt until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.
  3. Transfer dough to the prepared baking pan spreading evenly (press with hands). Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool on wire rack.
FROSTING
  1. In a small saucepan cook and stir chocolate pieces and the 3 tablespoons butter over low heat until melted and smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in peanut butter and coffee until combined. Stir in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread uncut bars with frosting. Let stand until frosting is set. Cut into bars. Makes 24 bars.
  2. To store: Place bars in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Adapted from Dear Crissy
Adapted from Dear Crissy
Spring Summer Sam http://springsummersam.com/

Banana Peanut Butter Goji Berry Smoothie

I will fondly remember 2015 as the year that I focused on my health and got into shape. I didn’t diet, obsess over my jean size, or stop eating after six. I wanted to be healthy and I made it happen.

I don’t count calories, demonize carbs, or avoid the occasional donut party at work. And yet I’ve still managed to reach my goal weight and become happy with the way I look and feel. Now I have new goals to set for next year and hope to explore strength training and weight lifting for the first time – two things that used to scare me but now seem more in reach.

My 2015 was also the year of the smoothie, and I want to introduce you all to the smoothie I drink in the morning before my hitting the gym. This is my favorite smoothie of all time. I’ve been working out pretty consistently for about seven months now and this smoothie has foods that give me energy (oatmeal) and protein for building muscle.

This Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie has been my savior for mornings when I’m hungry and tempted to grab a muffin or a bagel. It’s lightly sweetened with honey which satisfies my never-ending sweet cravings, and also includes goji berries, a superfood I only discovered this year.

So here is the recipe for my favorite smoothie. It’s the perfect thing to jumpstart your health goals for 2016 – or recover from yesterday’s Christmas feast one step at a time!

Peanut Butter Banana-Goji Berry Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 2 TBS peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 TBS honey
  • handful goji berries
  • granola for topping

Pour the almond milk into your blender, and add in the oatmeal, banana, peanut butter, goji berries and honey. Blend until creamy. Pour into a tall glass and top with a sprinkle of granola, more goji berries and a squeeze of honey.

Protein Workout Smoothie Recipe

Blueberry Pancakes. Just typing those two words sends my taste buds into a frenzy. Pancakes are one of my all time favorite foods. They are infinitely better than waffles, and yes I will argue if you believe otherwise.

I love to cook, but my new healthy lifestyle has really put a damper on my cooking binges. No more late-night chocolate chip cookie experiments, or peach cobblers, or banana bread, or any of the other foods that make this world a better place. I’m committed to eating healthier, but last week I just really wanted pancakes. Like, really really. So I searched Pinterest for a healthy pancake recipe that wouldn’t make me feel guilty, and I found it! And I made it! And it was glorious!

And you can find it here!

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Back in high school, I dedicated an entire summer to perfecting pancakes. That was many, many moons ago but I think I learned some valuable tools that summer. First, always butter the pan in between pancakes. Always. If you don’t, then every pancake made after the first one will come out darker and less flavorful. We want our pancakes to be brown, not black. Butter in between your pancakes!

Don’t flip your pancake until you see bubbles start to erupt near the middle. Those bubbles mean that the batter is getting cooked through, and you want an undercooked center. As a general rule, I usually let my pancakes cook for one minute on the first side, and about two minutes on the other side. Keep your stove at a low temperature so that the pancake does not brown too quickly.

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Ah, lovely isn’t it?

These pancakes are just awesome. I love oats, and the oats in this recipe added a nice hearty texture to these pancakes. They turned out very moist and not overly sweet. I’m surprised that there are only two tablespoons of sugar in this entire recipe – I think I made eight pancakes and ate two of them for breakfast, so I felt good knowing I wasn’t getting a sugar overdose. My boyfriend ate three, so I froze the remaining pancakes in a ziplock bag to enjoy for another day. By the way, did you know that you can freeze these pancakes?! All you have to do it toast them and they’re just as good as the day you made them. Try it!

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I would totally make this recipe again and add different mix-ins like strawberries or dark chocolate chips. I still have a bit of blueberries left over, so I may be making these again this weekend. I hope you all give this recipe a try! Let me know how you like it 🙂

~Thanks so much for reading and don’t forget to follow my blog!

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Guys, I’ve been baaaaaaad. Real bad.

So I’m kind of on a diet (emphasis on ‘kind of’ and less emphasis on ‘diet’), and of course what happens to me when I’m on these ‘diets’? I crave bad food. Namely chocolate, cheesecake, and chocolate cheesecake. You only live once, so I decided to indulge myself on homemade cheesecake.

I didn’t want to bake an entire cheesecake that I would end up eating by myself (something I have done before and will happily do again), so I thought I’d settle and try my to make bite-sized versions of my favorite dairy dessert. Luckily for me, I had almost all of the ingredients for this mini cheesecake recipe already at home, so the universe was pretty much setting me up for this. All I had to do was pick up cream cheese and fresh strawberries.

And this recipe is easy. So easy. You could easily whip these little sweeties up before a party, for Valentine’s Day, or really any day that ends with a ‘Y’.

Have fun.

Ingredients:

  • 8 Graham Crackers
  • 2 Tbs butter, melted
  • 15 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 C white sugar
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract

Strawberry Topping

  • Fresh strawberries (or any berry of your choosing)
  • 2 Tbs white sugar
  • Splash of whisky (optional)

*Makes about eight mini cheesecakes

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 330 degrees.

  • Crumble eight graham crackers into a medium-sized bowl. I used my hands (because it’s fun) but you break them up a blender or food processor as well. The crackers should be finely crumbled.
  • Add two tablespoons of melted butter to the crackers. Mix it up so that all of the crackers are and coated and moist. The mixture should stick together loosely. Add more butter if necessary.
  • Liberally coat a muffin tin with butter or cooking spray. Take some of the graham cracker mix and press it into the bottom and up the sides of the individual cups. After the crusts are formed, firmly press the graham cracker into the tin with your thumb to make sure it is solid and sticks together. This mixture should make between six to eight mini cheesecakes, depending on how thick you make the graham cracker crust.
  • Bake the crusts in the preheated oven for about six-eight minutes.
  • In the meantime, combine the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl and mix together until well blended. The texture should be thick and creamy (and taste delicious).
  • Use a large spoon to carefully ladle the cheesecake mixture into the graham cracker crusts. Fill them until the mixture almost reaches the top of the crust. Smooth out the tops of the cheesecake with the back of the spoon to make the surface even.

EasyMiniCheesecakes

 

  • Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. The tops may brown a little, but keep an eye on the cheesecakes while they are in the oven to avoid overcooking.
  •  Take the cheesecakes out of the oven and refrigerate for 2 hours. After they are cooled, run a knife along the edges of the crusts and they should easily slip out of the tin.

Strawberry Topping

  • Slice off the strawberry leaves and cut the strawberries in half.
  • Toss the strawberries in a sauce pan over low heat and add two tablespoons of sugar.

StrawberryWhiskySauce

 

  • Slowly cook the strawberries down until they are very soft and resemble the consistency of jam, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  • When the strawberries are almost finished, add a splash of whisky to the pan and stir for about 15 seconds.

And you’re done! Let me know how you love these little delights 🙂 Thanks for reading!

MiniCheesecakeRecipe1

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So I’m not trying to say I know the meaning of life but I recently discovered, on Pinterest of course, the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Now, there is literally no one on the planet who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies, and if there are then I don’t want to meet them. My sister is an exception, because she doesn’t like chocolate and I’ve slowly learned to deal with that over the years. But the rest of you, no excuses.

I think the secret to this cookie’s greatness is the fact that you have to refrigerate the dough for about three days before you bake them. Yes, three days. It’s a long wait my friends but good cookies come to those who wait. The texture of these is just superb and they have the perfect balance of crispness and chewiness that you come to expect from the perfect cookie. The dough itself is delicious, but I may be obligated by my local health department to tell you not to eat it.*

Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

*do it anyway

Another secret to these yummy cookies is the size. The recipe emphasizes that the cookies should not be too small, and I completely agree. Small cookies bake quickly and may burn, or even worse, come out *gasp* dry. If you want moist cookies you have to use a tiny bit less than 1/3 cup of dough per cookie. It may look large but it is the perfect size, trust me.

Also, do not skip out on the sea salt. A light sprinkling of sea salt goes a long way on top of these cookies. They really complement the chocolate chips and balance out the sweetness. Salt is essential to baking, and this recipe is no exception.

And finally, use Ghiradelli chocolate chips and nothing else.

Here is the full recipe and instructions which I followed to a T.

Actually, if you know me you know that’s not actually true. I used all-purpose flour for the base of these cookies because that is all I had on hand. I bet using the combination of cake flour and bread flour would make these cookies extra soft and heavenly but if you don’t have any, don’t sweat it. I also do not own a stand mixer so I mixed the dough together using two arms and brute force, but they still turned out great 🙂 Enjoy!

From ForMe-ForYou:

2 cups minus 2 Tbsp. cake flour (8 1/2 oz)*
1 2/3 cups bread flour (8 1/2 oz)*
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. coarse salt, such as kosher
2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups; 10 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups (10 oz.) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (8 oz.) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably about 60% cacao content, such as Ghirardelli
Sea salt or kosher salt for garnishing

Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk well; then set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. (Unless you have a plastic guard that sits around the rim of the bowl, this will make a big mess at first, with flour flying everywhere. I found that carefully holding a dish towel around the top of the bowl helped a lot.) Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. The dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.

Using a standard-size ice cream scoop – mine holds about 3 fluid ounces, or about 1/3 cup – scoop six mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, making sure to space them evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

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