Back on the Bike and Blondies

On national running day, I should probably be sharing stories of a fantastic morning run, but Wednesdays is typically my day off.  If you’re looking for a running post, this one about my running history is one of my faves!  Instead…I am going with biking and a blondie recipe.  A fair second choice, I promise : )

 

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Yesterday morning, I was up and back on my road bike for the second time this year.  Typically I swim on Tuesdays, but I have been getting into the pool a lot (for me anyways), and I am fairly certain that the lake will be freezing and I will panic and no amount of practice can help at this point.

 

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I know…not my usual positive attitude, but considering yesterday morning’s bike wear, it’s fairly realistic to think that this is going to be my coldest triathlon yet!

 

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My ride on the other hand gave me the pre race confidence boost that I needed.  I rode 15 miles around the path in an hour.  I felt much more confident on my bike and had less wrist discomfort.  Plus, I felt super speedy on my road bike even with a head wind.  The only bad news is that my bike computer is broken (or needs a new battery), so I need to fix that stat!

 

After my bike ride, it was off to work for Treat Day…

 

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Like I mentioned with these brownies, I decided on recipes based on what I had in the house.  In the pantry, I found a bag of Reese’s peanut butter chips just waiting to be used!  Or eaten by the BOY…

 

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Peanut butter blondies with peanut butter chips sounded perfect!

 

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This recipe make a thick peanut butter dough enhanced by the creamy chips.

 

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I baked the blondies as recommended.  Then pulled them out, sprinkled them with chocolate chips, and returned them to the oven for 3 minutes. 

 

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When they came back out, I used a spatula to spread out the chocolate chips for a gooey chocolate frosted layer.

 

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Yea…I said it…the only thing better than peanut butter blondies is peanut butter blondies covered in chocolate!

 

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Yum!  The perfect dessert for after your daily bike ride or run!

Or to take to the office where they disappeared within minutes!

 

 

Ya’ll gave me some awesome brownie recipes, so I have to ask…

What is your favorite blondie recipe?  Did you run today???

 

 

Peanut Butter Blondies

From About.com

 

Ingredients

6 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup peanut butter morsels

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

 

Directions

Grease and flour an 8- or9- inch square baking pan. Heat oven to 350°.

In a mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat melted butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Slowly beat in flour, soda, and baking powder. Stir in peanut butter chips.

Spread/pat evenly in the baking pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until set.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips, and return to the oven for 3 more minutes.

Using a spatula, spread the chocolate over the blondies until covered.

Let cool or eat warm and gooey!

Store in an airtight container or freeze.

This Week in Treats

Sunday was another grey day perfect for staying in.  I counted walking around the mall as my morning workout and quickly got comfortable upon returning home.  This is a bit of a transition week for me.  Last week was my last week of full time, but my new summer schedule doesn’t start until next week.  Yesterday, I did some orientation at a different clinic before working my full Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday schedules.  It’s only fitting for my last Tuesday of work that it is my turn for Treat Day!

 

In the past,  I have covered the table with dips and desserts.  This time I went a little more low key and since the BOY and I decided to be too lazy to go to the grocery store on Sunday, I got started baking with what I had available in the house.

 

First up…brownies!

 

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I found a box of Thin Mints in the freezer and always keep Baker’s chocolate on hand.  I followed the brownie recipe on the package, which is rich and tasty.

 

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I poured half of the batter into a greased 8 inch square pan.  Then layered on my somewhat frozen cookies, and dumped the rest of the batter over the top.

 

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I baked up up the brownies per the directions and then let them cool while I worked on some of my other sweets!

 

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Although the brownies smelled wonderful, they looked a little boring.

 

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Which was nothing that white chocolate drizzle couldn’t fix!

 

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After an afternoon in the kitchen, I was happy to retreat to the couch to catch up on this season of So You Think You Can Dance!  I missed last summer, and was laughing and crying my way though the auditions.  I swear I saw like 30 people who could win the entire show!

 

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You know how I love to taste test my baking, so I packed everything away for Treat Day and made sure to get up early Monday morning for a post baking day run!

 

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What is your favorite from scratch brownie recipe???

Link ‘em up!!!

 

 

Baker’s One Bowl Thin Mint Brownies

From Baker’s Chocolate

 

Ingredients

1pkg.  (4 oz.) BAKER’S Unsweetened Chocolate

3/4 cup  butter or margarine

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup flour

1 sleeve (16 cookies) Thin Mints (plus more for garnish if desired)

2 squares of BAKER’S white chocolate (optional)

 

 

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F.

Spray an 8×8 inch pan with cooking spray.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour; mix well.

Pour half of the batter into prepared pan.  Place cookies in single layer over batter.  Cover with remaining batter spreading evenly over the cookies.

Bake 30 to 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool completely.

Melt white chocolate and drizzle over brownies.  Sprinkle with crushed Thin Mints if desired. 

Serve warm or cold!

 

*NOTE: You could follow a similar process using a box mix if you prefer.

 

What else can you do with Thin Mints???

Thin Mint Brownies

Thin Mint Fudge

Thin Mint Truffles

Thin Mint Bark

Tuesday Treats

So I didn’t mention this yet, but today was my TREAT DAY!

The timing couldn’t get any better with this weekend’s Bake-a-Thon.  I had plenty of cookies, but wanted a few other snacks to round out my spread.

 

I stared with a few old favorites…

 

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Garlic Hummus

 

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

 

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Spinach Dip

 

And tried a new White Bean Dip

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This recipe didn’t turn out as good as I had expected.  It was a little watery.  So I added in a few pinto beans, some garlic, and dill.  I’m not so sure about it, but we shall see. 

 

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Upon further inspection, it seems that I thought the recipe called for 2 cups not 2 cans of white beans. Oops!  The recipe looks promising, so I am sharing it as written (although these pictures don’t do it any justice).  I will definitely give it another try, and see what my coworkers think of my mish mash version.

 

 

White Bean Dip

From EveryDay Food April 2010

 

Ingredients

    2 cans (15.5 ounces each) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

    1 to 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

    1/4 cup water

    2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

    Coarse salt and ground pepper

     

    Directions

      In a food processor, combine 2 cans (15.5 ounces each) rinsed and drained, 3 tablespoons 1 to 2 tablespoons and cup water. Process until smooth, adding more water if necessary. Add 2 teaspoons finely chopped and pulse until combined. Season with and Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with a little oil.

       

      But Wait…There’s More!

      The BOY and I loved this Pumpkin Dip when I made it this fall, so I was excited to make it again.  Except this time, I spiced it up with the seasonal pumpkin pudding…sooo good!

       

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      I served it with graham and animal crackers.  Here is the recipe

       

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      Along with this unbelievably sweet and rich Peanut Butter Cookie Dip.  I have been wanting to make Sugar Cookie Dip from Little Bitty BakesBut, the store was sold out of sugar cookie mix…twice!

       

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      So I decided to go with peanut butter instead!

       

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      All I can say is…good decision!  This recipe takes just a few minutes, and only includes three four ingredients.

       

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      I added in some chocolate chips!

       

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      Peanut Butter Cookie Dip

      Adapted from Little Bitty Bakes

       

      Ingredients

      3 cups (1 package) peanut butter cookie mix

      2 cups plain Greek yogurt

      1 cup Cool Whip

      1 cup chocolate chips

       

      Directions

      In a large mixing bowl, stir the cookie mix, yogurt, and Cool Whip with a wire whisk until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.

      Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until serving.

       

      Warning: Add this to your addictingly good list!

       

      Yes….There’s More

       

      For a healthier option, I made a batch of my favorite Date and Fig Bars with extra coconut.

       

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      They make the perfect 4:00pm afternoon snack, which I look forward to each day.

       

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      The full recipe is HERE, but you can add up to a cup of coconut.

       

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      And, Just When You Think You Can’t Eat Any More…

       

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      You’ll just have to be patient for the rest of these recipes!

      A TREAT DAY Recap

      There has been a lot of talk about TREAT DAY over these past two weeks, but a little bit like my life, the posts have been scattered.  I thought it would be fun to pull all of these incredible recipes together on one page.  And just in case you have no idea what treat day is, I can explain.  I work at a fantastic office where every Tuesday, we take turns bringing in treats.  This means, two times a year, it is my turn to bring in snacks for everyone.  It can be whatever you want, but I tend to stick with dips and desserts. I use it as an excuse to try some new recipes and play in my kitchen.  Here is the list of this month’s treat day recipes, which also happen to be some of my summer favorites!

       

      Garlic Hummus

       

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      Fruit Salsa

       

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      Wendi’s Zesty Black Eyed Pea Salad

       

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      Ramen Coleslaw

       

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      Cake Batter Fudge

       

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      Trail Mix Krispy Treats

       

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      Caramel, White Chocolate, and Pecan Cookie Brittle

       

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      Maple Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

       

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      Since most of these simple recipes don’t require the oven or a lot of your time, they are perfect for a mid-week 4th of July celebration!  Hint Hint!

      You Can Never Have Enough Oatmeal Cookies

      I have one last TREAT DAY recipe for you…

      AND it’s a cookie! 

      Because let’s be honest, you can never have too many oatmeal cookies.

       

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      I had some soft butter, a desire to bake, and this amazing cookbook full of cookie recipes!

       

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      Which is just the right combination for Maple Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies!  What I liked about this recipe was that it used maple syrup for some added flavor.  Not to mention that it is chock full of oats and cranberries.  I thought about adding in some white chocolate chips or raisins, but wanted to try the original recipe for this first go round.

       

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      The recipe makes some big cookies!

       

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      And they baked up round, chewy soft, and delicious!

       

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      I had my taste tester (the BOY) try one, and he gave them rave reviews.

       

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      Oatmeal cookies are his absolute favorite!

       

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      There are so many recipes for oatmeal cookies out there, but one can never have enough variations of this classic cookie!

       

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      I highly recommend adding this one into your rotation!

       

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      Enjoy!!!

       

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      Maple Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

      From Big Fat Cookies by Elinor Klivans

       

      Ingredients

      1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
      1/2 tsp baking soda
      1/4 tsp salt
      2 tsp ground cinnamon
      1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
      1 cup packed light brown sugar
      1/2 cup granulated sugar
      2 large eggs
      1/2 cup maple syrup
      2 tsp vanilla extract
      1 3/4 cups oatmeal (not quick-cooking)
      1 1/2 cup dried cranberries

       

      Directions
      Preheat oven to 350 F

      Prepare baking sheets by lining with silpats or parchment paper. Set aside.

      Whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

      In a large bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar at medium speed until well incorporated. On low speed, add eggs, maple syrup and vanilla. Blend for an additional one minute, or until well mixed. Add flour and mix to incorporate. Add oatmeal and cranberries, stirring until well distributed into the batter.

      Using a spoon or ice cream scoop (I used a 1/4 measuring cup), scoop mounds of dough approximately 2 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake cookies 1 sheet at a time for approximately 18-20 minutes. Cookies are done when edges are browned and tops are firm.

      Place pan of cookies onto a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Then, using a large spatula, transfer cookies directly to the rack to finish cooling.

      Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

      Crunchy Cookies Part III

      I have been on a bit of a cookie kick lately!

       

      After much success making cookie brittle, I was convinced it would be perfect for my TREAT DAY.  Plus, who wouldn’t want to save time by making one large sheet of cookies instead of scooping out individual ones after spending hours in the kitchen.

       

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      I had intentions of making these exact cookies, however, I had some leftover caramel chips, and so last minute, I decided use caramel chips, white chocolate chips, and pecans.

       

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      My mouth is watering just thinking about this incredible combination!

       

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      I baked one large sheet of delicious dough making sure the edges were browned and crispy.

       

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      Let everything cool completely (at least 10 minutes) before breaking it into sweet edible chunks.

       

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      One of my favorite things about this recipe (besides how creative you can get with it) is that while the outer pieces are crisp and crunchy, the inner cookies are slightly softer and chewy.  It is the best of all cookie worlds!

       

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      This mixture of add ins (caramel, white chocolate, and pecans) combines sweet with a bit of salty, and the pecans add a definite crunch!  It is quite possibly the perfect combination!!!  Especially the pecans which taste candy-coated!

       

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      These cookies were a huge hit with my coworkers, and I have to remember to send out the recipe to everyone today!

       

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      More Crunchy Cookie Recipes:

      Crunchy Cookies

      Crunchy Cookies Part II

       

       

      Caramel, White Chocolate, and Pecan Cookie Brittle

      Recipe adapted from Toffee Cookie Brittle in Big Fat Cookies by Elinor Klivans

      Ingredients:

      • 1 1/2 cups flour

      • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

      • 1/2 teaspoon salt

      • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

      • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

      • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

      • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips and 1/2 cup caramel chips

      • 3/4 cups pecans, broken into large pieces

       

      Directions:

      -Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

      -In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

      -In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown and granulated sugars and vanilla extract until smooth, about 30 seconds. Using a large spoon, slowly add the flour mixture and stir just until incorporated. The dough should appear to be smooth. Stir in the chocolate, caramel, and pecans.

      -Spoon the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch of empty space on all sides. Use the palms of your hands to pat the dough into an even layer about 1/2 inch thick and 13 by 9 inches. The dough should be patted out slightly thinner at the edges.

      -Bake the brittle until it turns golden and the edges turn light brown, about 19 minutes. The brittle may be fairly soft when warm but will crisp as it cools. Let the brittle cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes.

      -Using a large metal spatula to guide it, slide the large cookie onto a wire rack to cool completely. Don’t worry if the cookie breaks; it will be broken into irregular pieces, anyway. Break the cooled cookie into 2- to 3-inch pieces. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

      Cake Batter Fudge

      You know you have made a good recipe when you are cleaning up in the kitchen and the BOY is texting you from the other room requesting more cake batter fudge!!!  I had to tell him ‘no’ so that there would be enough for TREAT DAY, but I did promise to make another batch this weekend for my girl’s night in the city!

       

      Just in case you thought cake batter recipes couldn’t get any better, let me introduce you to Cake Batter Fudge from girl meets life!

       

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      This fudge is so rich and tasty, you will never know that it began with a cake mix.

       

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      It only takes 2 hours for this fudge to set.

       

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      Leaving you plenty of time to lick the bowl clean!

       

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      There isn’t much not to like about this sweet treat!

       

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      It tastes exactly like cake batter (which everyone loves), and the sprinkles add just the right texture.  Although I have seen the recipe with white chocolate chips added as well, which might we worth trying.

       

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      I had to hide the container of fudge in the back of the fridge before the BOY got his sticky fingers on it.

       

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      Luckily, batch number 2 is setting in the refrigerator as we speak!

       

       

      Cake Batter Fudge

      From girl meets life

       

      Ingredients

      2 cups yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)

      2 cups powdered sugar

      1 stick butter

      1/4 cup milk

      1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles

       

      Directions: Place cake mix and powdered sugar in a large bowl and combine. Pour in the milk, top with stick of butter, and microwave for 2 minutes. Immediately begin mixing everything together – the butter may not be fully melted but will as you continue mixing. Lastly, mix in the rainbow sprinkles, then pour fudge into a greased cake pan. Chill for at least 2 hours before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.

       

       

      Other Cake Batter Faves…

      Cake Batter Bark

      Cake Batter Blondies

      Cake Batter Puppy Chow

      Cake Batter Truffles

      Chocolate Cake Batter Popcorn

       

       

       

      What is your favorite cake batter recipe???