Tag Archives: cookie butter

Cookie Butter Swirl Cinnamon Pound Cake

There are two types of vacationers in this world:

There are the people who ship themselves off to sunny tropical islands like Hawaii or the Caribbean and return as refreshed as a spring pixie…

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And then there’s me.

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My Air Walk sneakers dragged their dirty, sorry-faced soles across American soil once again at around 9 PM last night, when our plane finally landed after a grueling 11-hour stint from Asia.  If you happen to live in my part of the hemisphere and felt the  earth tremble beneath your slippers 18 hours ago, that was probably just my knees giving way beneath me as I staggered off board, luggage clunking mercilessly into the passengers behind me. Somehow, during my last 48 hours in Taiwan, I had devolved into that zombie girl everyone fears is lurking on their flight home–with a sore throat, throbbing head, and a fever to boot, I was a walking contagion apocalypse waiting to bite someone’s head off and hurl it at the next passing aircraft. Yum. Continue reading

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes

Cookie Butter Pancakes–And, the Big News……

I can’t believe I’ve waited 8 months to type this.

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I have a Master’s degree in English Literature.

And I passed my qualifying exams.

And while I’m standing here writing “me, me, me,” what I really mean is: thank you, you, you.

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To all who have been a part of my life for the past 8 months: English may be my specialty, but right now words cannot express how absolutely indebted I am to each and every one of you for your support, your encouragement, and your faith in me through this incredibly intense time. Up until 3 minutes before the start of my exam, I was still receiving your amazing, inspiring messages of cheer and kick-butt-attitude, and they carried me through those quals like the eagles flew Gandalf. Well, perhaps not quite so gracefully–but then again, who can compare to Gandalf? If he had a PhD, it would be in Awesome, and I’m not sure I’m there just yet, even if I’m definitely somewhere further along than I was two days ago.

I even copied all of your messages onto a little Inspiration Page so I could carry your thoughts around with me on Friday:

Quals exam good luck notes

Quick note: If my thoughts feel a bit heavy-handed for a while, it’s because a) I was writing at 4 AM and b) writing is my catharsis–I promise it’ll have an positive ending! :)

As I mentioned before, I’ve waited nearly 8 months for the moment when I would be able to look back safely from the other side of quals and type my thoughts, my feelings, my story. Relief, wild celebration, euphoria seeping in at every pore–I was expecting all of these things, and I will be completely honest with you. All I want to do at this moment is lie down in my jammies, put on “Everything is Awesome”, and stare at the ceiling so long that dust accumulates in a little mound on the very tip of my nose.

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Don’t get me wrong–everything is pretty much awesome from this side of the exam. It feels like forever since I have woken up to a bright, sunny morning and thought–well, just thought! Some days during my study regimen, I would go hours without so much as glancing up at the outside world. And it’s definitely been a long time since I watched a movie without the suffocating Guilt of A Thousand Scholars squashing the breath out of me. On Friday night, my friends and I celebrated by watching The Lego Movie and grabbing a V-day dinner at the food court :) which was awesome but probably about as much as my steamrolled psyche and body could handle. By 10 PM I bailed on after-dinner festivities and ice cream, stumbled into my apartment, and then did the very last thing I would ever, ever have expected myself to do:

I threw myself onto my bed and started crying.

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I have been warned by many older graduate students in the past that tears and anticlimax are pretty standard following what is considered the most grueling exam of any PhD hopeful’s lifetime. Until that moment, though,when I closed the door behind me and found myself alone for the first time since I had finished, I didn’t know how exhausted I was–that I have been and am–after so much celebrating and extroverting.

Imagine struggling your way through an ocean of over 100 literary texts in about the same amount of time it takes for a woman to gestate, and then suddenly, just like that–someone sits you down and tells you you’re done. It’s like the concept of a birthday: the world tells you that you are older, but you don’t feel any more twenty-four than you felt yesterday. In fact, you probably won’t begin to really feel 24 until somebody comes by and wants to tell you you’re 25. Even now, writing this entry 48 hours later, I certainly don’t feel done. My appetite is still swinging, my sleep is still way off, I’m still (erk) working really hard, and I still want to crawl into my hidey hole. All the things I had accomplished, all the criticism I had slaved over and all of the readings I had turned into the nexus of my life, all of the interpretations I hadn’t had time in a scant 2 hours to demonstrate I had acquired: the doneness of it all felt surreal And then, in the quiet of my apartment, which I felt like I was seeing–really seeing–for the first time since I had moved in, the doubts and replays began creeping in.

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As with any comprehensive exam, there were undoubtedly high and low points. On the one hand, it confirmed for me that my weakest areas were in the overall contextualization of my historical lists,  which have never come naturally for me. I will be completely honest: even after spending a grueling 12 or 14 hours a day poring over these books and my notes, I’m not sure if any amount of studying could have cultivated my thinking in a way that rigorously engages scholarly discussion in the way that our profession expects. As someone who came in with a minimalist training (not only was I in love with children’s literature, a markedly non-canonical field–I also had no conception until very recently what academia as a path even entailed), I have always felt (or, at least, feel that I feel) much more out of place here than many of my peers do. This isn’t an excuse. It’s simply something that I wanted to do because I loved the challenge and wanted the chance to prove to myself that I could do it. I love to create, to teach, and to share. These are my passions, and being told that I needed to seriously consider where I saw myself headed in the profession really brought my meandering, I’ll-deal-with-it-when-I-get-there mentality to a screeching halt. Already wearied by a Herculean effort of endurance and sheer willpower, I suddenly couldn’t see where the past 8 months had brought me.

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I made myself stop, think, and write. Normally, I am not huge on ‘sharing feelz’ with even my closest friends and family, but there’s something incredibly refreshing about writing this and sharing it with a group of readers who have always known me as something much more than ‘just a researcher.’ On the other hand, I received affirmation of my knowledge on the field with which I am passionately in love and would happily devote my life to expanding: children’s literature. I had done fairly well on that portion of the exam and never once felt at a loss to talk about my ideas–how could I, when I loved every single text? I was assured that all of my reading and work had shone through, because I was able to recall specific moments and details to expand my ideas. And I also left the room without a doubt that every one of my professors believed in, and fully supported, what has been my biggest redemption and passion in my graduate school career so far: teaching. You have shown today that you can be–and having seen you in the classroom, we know you ARE–an amazing teacher. Truly. Amazing. 

I said I’d like to end on a positive note. And here it comes…

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If this exam has taught me two things–and believe me, it has taught me MANY things–they are these:

1. It is ultimately up to me to decide what I want to do. I am responsible to nobody but myself for my passions and my dreams in life. I hope you and I return to this thought in a day, a month, a year, a decade, to think about how we have made the most of every day, without the fear that we have been ‘shuffled into it’ by somebody else’s wants for you. You only live once, and it is not worth sacrificing that for a fleeting expectation, no matter how pressing that expectation may feel in the moment.

2. Family, friends, and everyone in between–cherish them. The toughest times bring the dearest supporters, companions, and–most of all–loved ones that we need to thank, most of all during the difficult periods in our lives, but also each and every day. I may be dead beat, but things will recover…and thankfully, I have friends & family to help me through that! My post-exam calendar is most definitely full  ;)

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So! If this turned out to be a much more reflective post than I had ever imagined it could be 8 months ago–apologies! You have no idea (or perhaps you do?) how amazing it felt just being able to type that out (writing really is a balm for the soul) and to know that I am already my own harshest critic, one who has the unconditional support of so many inspiring friends, family, and readers who keep my gas tank full. And in spite of all I have said here, with all of your amazing love, I am so utterly, completely, and bewilderingly grateful to be done. Finally, done.

So THANK YOU! As a token of my appreciation, I shared these beautiful bite-sized babies with a friend while I was still in the thick of exam studying. I also planned on drawing out this long, mouthwatering description of these Cookie Butter Pancakes that have probably left you cursing at your screen and the pixels that refuse to materialize into actual, fluffy hot hotcakes on your desk at this very moment. Well, I won’t, because if you would just stand up and head to your stove right this minute, you can have your (hot)cake and your cookie butter and eat them and share it with a loved one: so thank you, with my favorite fluffy, cinnamony-packed pancake recipe in the whole world. 

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Now, on that happy note I promised, I’m off at 4 AM (yikes!) to finish writing up my list of 100 Things I Will Do Now That I’ve Earned My Master’s Degree ;) High on the priority list is hosting a Disney movie marathon night, visiting Ghirardelli Square, and eating chocolate-dipped waffle cones with a double scoop of ice cream from the Main Street ice cream parlor at Disneyland. Any suggestions? 

For now, over and out <3

Yippee!!!!!!!

Ala

Cookie Butter Pancakes

Recipe slightly adapted from Table for Two (guest post at Rachel Cooks)

Get them while they’re hot! Simple to whip up and a delight to serve, these incredibly fluffy and cinnamon-packed pancake bites are the perfect way for you to remind somebody dear to you that you love them. They are infused with a remarkable cookie butter flavor that goes perfect with homemade jam, fresh fruit, syrup, or even more melted cookie butter on top!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cookie butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used vanilla soy milk; you may substitute 2% or other dairy milk)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together cookie butter, egg, sugar, and melted butter.
  2. Add milk and whisk in until combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients and gently mix in until just incorporated.
  4. Place a saucepan over medium heat. Pour a small amount of oil or melted butter to coat the bottom of the pan.
  5. Using a tablespoon or other spoon, pour small dollops of batter onto the hot saucepan. Cook them on one side until bubbles begin to appear in the batter; this indicates that they are ready to be flipped. Continue cooking pancakes on other side until golden brown, about an additional 45-60 seconds. (Note: you may also make regular-sized 8-inch pancakes, but note that your cooking time will be longer for larger pancakes.)
  6. Serve pancake bites with fresh fruit, melted cookie butter, or syrup.
© Wallflour Girl. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use without prior permission. If you would like to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

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Crunchy Cookie Butter Espresso Granola

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If life milestones were potluck dishes, moving would be a crusty dry loaf of fruitcake. I’m sure somebody out there appreciates fruitcake, and likewise I’m sure somebody loves the nonstop hubbub of moving residences. That person is not me. Especially not Studying Me, which tolerates everything at a 50% lower threshold than Normal, Socialized Me.

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In case you missed it previously, here’s the rundown: Studying Me is extremely grateful to her parents, who basically magicked her entire store of belongings into her new apartment this weekend while she guiltily (I mean, really guiltily) shuffled her feet and finished speed-reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Studying Me also LOVES the new place, which has a kitchen that takes up 40% of the apartment and contains 75% of all my belongings. But Studying Me is currently typing this blog post on an unhappy stomach full of emoteating (read: emotionally-induced eating) because apparently she doesn’t cope well with stress, separation, and studying all in one fell swoop. So it’s been 12 whole hours and I’m short half a jar of peanut butter already.

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Three hours after leaving, my mom called and asked me how I was doing, and if I was making brownies already. I was not. I was too busy emoteating, writing this post, and wishing really hard for this granola to pop out of my screen a la Willy Wonka’s Television Chocolate Room to make the damn brownies. #yeahwhatjusthappened

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Studying Me and Normal Me both love this brand new, bold King of Crunchiness cookie butter and espresso-flavored granola I invented in my pre-move procrastination. It is insanely crunchy, coffee-y, cookie-y. It is also based on–and probably rivals–the Honey Bunches of Oats Copy-Better Recipe that all of you loved and repinned like mad last year. It’s the perfect breakfast-on-the-go food in a smokier, sexier, adult-ier kind of way. Not that I know anything about what being adult-ier entails, since I am currently sitting on the floor of my next-to-bare apartment floor and lolling next to my laptop with as much motivation to do anything as a tranquilized rhinoceros might have.

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You can use your imagination to figure out what that even means. Or you could put your time to better use and print this awesome recipe, make it, and send it to

Yours truly, and slightly deranged, but surely in her right mind taste buds,

Ala

P.S. If you’ve noticed an onslaught of “Start the New Year Right” and Skinny Recipes for 2014! collections on your news feed lately: Never fear, I’m ready to ruin that for all of you with some fabulously buttered-up sweets in my next few posts. Cheerios!

Crunchy Cookie Butter Espresso Granola
Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup almonds or preferred nut, chopped
  • 1/3 cup black sesame seeds (optional)
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup maple or pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup cookie butter (homemade or store-bought)
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan (or whatever large size baking pan you have available–enough to fit 3 1/2 cups of oats in an even layer no more than two inches thick). Pour oats, chopped nuts, and black sesame seeds (if you have them) into prepared pan.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat brown sugar and brewed coffee until it just begins to boil. Turn off heat, then stir in oil, syrup, cookie butter, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pour over oats mixture and stir until all of the oats are evenly coated. Pat oats evenly into bottom of pan so that the layer is no more than two inches thick. (This will help your granola achieve optimal crispiness!)
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes (stirring every 15 minutes), or until toasted and a dark golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan before crumbling. Store in an airtight container.

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Chewy Brown Sugar Cookie Butter Graham Cracker Cookies

Recently, I took a two-week long trip back to school. It involved meetings with professors, tete-a-tetes with friends I hadn’t seen since the end of last term, and lots of sleepless nights. Maybe in CAPITAL LETTERS.

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It was a wild, tiring, crazy trip, but the amazing thing about having so many friends is the incredible support they provide. Sometimes I seriously think they could put Wonderbra out of business…and at other times, I’m tempted to give in to the overwhelming desire for us all to just quit grad school together and start our own company called WonderBrowse, the book fanatic’s haven and bookshop. Serving up double-D-good lit and baked goods (because you know we’ve got to worm those in there somehow) since the 300th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, 1st ed. (yes, that’s 1813!).

And the Queen of Digression strikes again.

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Of course, I’ve never been one to stay in one place for long twiddling my fingers–I am most definitely a work-hard, play-hard kind of gal. And, well, thanks to my very good friends, this trip witnessed the epic collision of playing and working.

For example:

Ellen and Alethia Studying at Disneyland Space Mountain

Reading Out of This Galaxy: Two English grad students poring over an epistemological novel on Space Mountain, Disneyland. Please note that the upside-down-ness of the book does not affect our ability to comprehend it–in fact, it actually augments our appreciation for the novel’s epistemological crisis. We even donned our hipster glasses.

STUDYING AT DISNEYLAND: One of my favorite parts about studying at Disneyland was that you get to sit in one spot for the entire day and watch the world of Disneyland whirl around you. Think about it–how many of us charge into Disneyland at 8 AM, hit up a Space Mountain fast pass first thing (the only way to do it), and then run clear across the park to Adventureland so you can make your way around the park clockwise and avoid most of the traffic that starts at Tomorrowland? (Yes, according to Chris Strodder, the author of the Disneyland Encyclopedia, most people do go through Disneyland counter-clockwise!)

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Outside the Lines: We stayed at the fountain in Disney’s California Adventures reading for nearly four hours. During that time, we were winked and waved at by dozens of performers who kept coming back to the spot–one friendly worker even came over to inquire about what we were studying! A perfect moment in time and place.

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SURPRISE, SURPRISE!: I also flew down to surprise my good friend for his birthday, which basically meant I spent the entire lead-up to the trip squirming like a ticklish inchworm because I couldn’t announce my visit to the world via social media, and I love plaguing my entire f-list with that sort of thing (speaking of which, you should check out Wallflour Girl’s new Facebook page!). But despite my near-implosion from secret-keeping, we ended up with a great surprise and, what’s more, a great homemade vegan chocolate raspberry cake that nearly melted because I lit the candles wayyy too early before my friend walked in the door:

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A Sweet Surprise: Despite not having my own oven for the full two weeks, I was still able to get my bake on at least four times during the trip, including for my friend’s favorite dee-lish chocolate birthday cake!

CAMERAS, SUN, INACTION! Did I mention the day I spent with a friend reading at the beach and getting massages afterwards? We even stopped by an adorable place called Lenny’s Diner on our way back to his place for the night, and had the most amazing matzo ball soup.

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Literary theory and beach bums.

Before I left for my trip, though, I made sure to step into my kitchen and whip up a batch of perfectly transportable, perfectly storable sweet treats for all of my hosts. These were probably the most popular cookies I have ever baked and distributed among my unsuspecting guinea p–I mean, my friends. And the best part is, it’s an original recipe!

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The keys to a perfectly chewy cookie in this recipe are:

1. Cornstarch: Believe it or not, the addition of this strange ingredient prevents cookies from getting too crumbly or dry.

2. Underbaking: Allowing cookies to finish baking on the cookie sheet on the stovetop rather than in the oven keeps them nice & chewy!

3. Brown sugar and extra cookie butter: Using LOTS of brown sugar gives these cookies a great, soft caramelized texture and taste, while swirling in an extra generous dollop of cookie butter before baking keeps them gooey and chewy. You might even fold an extra spoonful of cookie butter into each cookie dough ball before baking, like I did with my Best Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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Whether you’re embarking on a long voyage like a Senior Wilderness Explorer (there is, by the way, a really fun story that I will save for next time’s post!) or simply looking for a simple way to leave your friends more impressed than an 18th-century English navy sailor, these perfectly chewy cookies are it. Print this!

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Off to rest up–these two weeks really did take a toll on me. Whew! See you on the flip side of lucidity!

Ala

Have you checked out my Pinterest and Facebook pages yet? <3

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Chewy Brown Sugar Cookie Butter Graham Cracker Cookies
Adapted from my Best Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookies and Best Chewy Biscoff Chocolate Chip Blondies recipes–check them out!
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup cookie butter
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash of nutmeg
  • extra 1/3 c. cookie butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup graham crackers, roughly chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, 1 1/4 cup cookie butter, and both sugars.
  3. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, until well combined.
  4. Add dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg). Stir into wet ingredients until just incorporated to avoid dry or stiff cookies. Note: Your dough will be very crumbly at this point. Just keep working with it! If you have trouble holding it together, add a bit of margarine or butter in teaspoons until the dough comes together, but avoid adding too much or the taste of the recipe will change.
  5. Gently fold in melted 1/3 cup cookie butter and chopped graham crackers. You’ll want to swirl gently in order to keep nice cookie butter ribbons in your cookie dough.
  6. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place them, evenly spaced, on prepared cookie sheet.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until edges are set but centers are still nice, fluffy, and slightly gooey. Remove sheet from oven and place on stovetop so that the cookies continue to cook on baking pan for at least another 10 minutes. This last step is important, and will ensure that your cookies are both fully cooked and chewy!

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

Best Chewy Biscoff (Cookie Butter) Chocolate Chip Blondies

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(Did you know: this is the 100th blog post to appear on Wallflourgirl–thanks to all my readers for helping make this possible!)

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With love from,

Ala

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Have you seen my Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe? It uses a similar dough and is the perfect cookie version of this recipe.
Best Chewy Biscoff (Cookie Butter) Chocolate Chip Blondies
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 heaping cup cookie butter (What is cookie butter?)
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and cookie butter spread. Add sugar and continue creaming until light & fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  3. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon (optional), and salt. Mix until just incorporated. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spread batter evenly into prepared baking pan.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven’s temperature. You will want to remove them from the oven while they still look soft and slightly underbaked–place baking pan on top of oven and allow blondies to cool. They will continue baking in the pan for that great, perfect chewy factor.
 

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars, Cookies

Peanut Butter & Cookie Butter Fudge Truffle Brownies

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Think this recipe name is a mouthful?

Wait until you actually EAT one of these. Talk about one mouthful after another…and another…

So here’s a gif, since gifs need no words. (Note: I’ve noticed that the gif takes some time to load, so it may appear slow the first time you watch it–but just wait for the second loop, it should play just fine after that!)

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Please. Don’t speak. Just print and share this recipe, pronto, kay?

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These are insanely fudgy brownies. So. Fudgin’. Good.

Dump in peanut butter buckeye-style truffles, melted cookie butter swirls, a whole load of chocolate chips, annnnd…

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Seriously, do I need to come over to your kitchen with a spatula and tell you to pin these, print these, share these with all of your friends and enemies?

Because I will.

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You have been warned.

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So FUDGIN’ good. Gifs do not lie, and neither do my taste buds. Go shove one (or two, or an entire pan of these) into your mouth right now.

Don’t forget to print, pin, and share away!

Ala

Tuesday Talent Show Link Party at Chef in Training! It is held weekly and has some amazing link ups!

Peanut Butter & Cookie Butter Fudge Truffle Cookies
Adapted from Bakergirl
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (you may substitute cookie butter)
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter or margarine
  •  2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon water (or you may substitute an equal amount of coffee or Kahlua)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/2 cup cookie butter

Directions:

  1. Start by making your delicious peanut butter (OR cookie butter) truffles: Combine 1/2 cup peanut butter or cookie butter and confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1/2-inch-sized balls and place them separately on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Place in freezer for at least half an hour before baking, or until firm.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. (Alternatively, you may brown the butter by placing it in a saucepan over medium-low heat and allowing it to cook until it turns an amber brown, goldenish color. Just be careful to remove it from the heat when it reaches this stage–otherwise it will burn! Browning butter adds a wonderful nutty aromatic flavor to baked goods, and I highly recommend it.
  4. Pour cooled butter into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and cocoa powder; beat well until completely smooth. (The mixture should not be gritty at all.) Add salt, water (or coffee, or Kahlua–YUM), and vanilla, and mix until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add flour and mix in until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Press in frozen peanut butter (or cookie butter) truffle balls.
  6. Place 1/2 cup cookie butter into a microwave-safe bowl and heat for about 15 seconds, or until melted. Drop by dollops into brownie batter and swirl a knife through to create a marble pattern.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out pretty much clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan before cutting brownies into squares.
  8. Serve, and fudgin’ enjoy!

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

Cookie Butter Snickerdoodle Thumbprints

For those of you who have been following my recent “adventures” (or lack thereof), you’ll know that I’ve been dabbling in the cool–and more than a little creepy–world of marketing.

The first thing I learned was to frontload important things. For example: I’m considering making a Facebook page for my blog and need your feedback!

So if you could take the 10 seconds it takes to click a few buttons for my “What would you like to see on my blog/Facebook page” poll at the bottom of this entry (right before the recipe for these deliciously unique cookies), I would really, really appreciate it.

THANK YOU!

Moving on…

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Most of you are probably aware that every make you move on the internet is more closely tracked, watched, and targeted than the white whale from Moby Dick. You’re not in the Stone Age if you don’t use technology–you’re in the Stone Age if you think that privacy actually exists on the internet.

For instance: You know those mass emails you get from department stores or other businesses with the annoying tagline, “Click here if images do not display”? Now, if you are like me, I used to think this was just another weird mystery from the dark nebula of Internet Enigmas that I never managed to figure out.

Not so.

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I don’t know all the specific details, and I’m sure you can Google this yourself, but apparently many email tracking programs require a pixel to be fired before they can gather your location and other information. So the instant you click that innocuous-looking little link, a pixel will fire from your specific address, allowing the tracker to log what device you’re using, your global coordinates, and a whole slew of other stuff about you that you didn’t even know you were doling out.

So….is it restraining order time or what?

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(On my kitchen table: The Adventures of Caleb Williams, by William Godwin, father of Mary Shelley and husband of Mary Wollstonecraft. This novel is considered one of the first modern mystery novels.)

The bad news is that there isn’t much you can do about it, except be more wary when you click to random links from emails and stuff. It’s similar to that annoying function Facebook now uses to show other people when you’ve read their messages. I mean, what if I just want to sit there and ponder my response without somebody messaging me 5 seconds later to say, “So I saw that you saw my post–well?”

 The good news is that you can use the very technology marketing companies use to track and stalk other people. Er, I don’t condone this technology. At all. No sirree.

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Anyway, this is one of the many things I’m doing these days besides studying and productibaking. Right now, I believe I’m something like four books ahead of my baking.

Oops. Or do I mean yay?

The lucky thing is that when I do bake these days, all of my baked goods turn out, really, really good and really, really special–like these most amazing COOKIE BUTTER SNICKERDOODLE THUMBPRINTS.

Because let’s be honest: What goes better with cinnamon sugar cookies than cinnamony crushed ginger cookies, stuffed with more cookie butter, and topped with even more cookie butter?

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Yeah. That’s what I thought.

Enjoy the recipe below–and please don’t forget to take this quick poll about what you’d like to see on my Facebook page!

 

Sweet 2 Eat Baking Sweet and Savoury Sunday Your Creative Timeout Linky Party Button

Cookie Butter Snickerdoodle Thumbprints
Note: Oops! I made an error the first time ’round and accidentally posted another recipe I had used. While that one’s also great, this is the one I actually used for these unique cookies. Enjoy!
Original Recipe from gimmesomeoven–yum!
Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup cookie butter (creamy or crunchy–whichever you have on hand)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • For rolling: 1/2 cup white sugar, 3-4 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together 1/2 cup margarine, 3/4 cup cookie butter, 1/3 cup white sugar, and 1/3 cup brown sugar until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes). Beat in egg and vanilla, then add in dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) and stir until just combined.
  3. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup white sugar and 3-4 tablespoons cinnamon (more or less according to your own preference–I like more!). Roll dough into 1-inch balls and roll in cinnamon-sugar until generously coated. Place balls about 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. (Note: The cookies won’t spread much, so you can place them closer together if you want to fit more cookies on one tray.)
  4. Bake cookies in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately press the back of a spoon lightly into the top of each cookie so that it becomes flat. Spoon approximately 2-3 teaspoons of cookie butter onto the top of each indented cookie. If you’re hankering for another topping (and I’m not sure why you would be, but just in case), you can spoon basically any other type of nut butter or chocolate on top of each cookie.
  5. While you’re waiting for them to cool, don’t forget to take my quick poll above. Thanks, and enjoy!
 

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

Best Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookies

BEST. BISCOFF. CHOCOCHIPCOOKIE. Trustmeyouwannamakethis.

I rarely ever use the appellation “best.” It’s such an absolute superlative! Unless you’re Chris Pine, you probably don’t run around saying you are the world’s best-looking man.

So let me tell you now: You don’t have the world’s best chocolate chip cookie recipe unless you are eating a Best Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookie. This cookie, in fact. But I’ll return to that in a minute.

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For those of you who have followed this blog recently, you’ll know that June has been a craaaazy month. In addition to finishing grading all of my students’ exams and moving all of my things out of my apartment, I’m in the semi-stressful process of revving up for the Part I qualifying exams in my grad program.

As a result, I’ve begun a regimen known as Productibaking. (You can follow my progress and learn fun things about each work I finish on my new Productibaking for Part One’s page!)

And guess what? It’s actually working!

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(On My Kitchen Table: Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen; Book #2 Romanticism Reading List)

And I’m pretty happy about it, just like this flower. See?

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My study schedule still needs massive work–but in the meantime, I’m enjoying the benefits of productibaking very much….

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These cookies really are the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted, made, or otherwise encountered, ever. They are even possibly my favorite cookie of all time. Why?

Cookie butter in dough = softly spiced

Brown sugar = perfectly soft & chewy

Cookie butter squished in the middle = gooey burst of flavor

Smidgen underbaked = stays chewy

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I’m sure even Chris Pine would have to agree that these are the BEST. All my friends and family certainly do!

It’s back to the writing/studying board for the next few months, but I will continue updating on my productibaking progress for the Part One’s and eking by on my existence as a graduate student. Wish me luck!

Best Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookies 10--061913

Ala

Sweet 2 Eat Baking

Tuesday Talent Show Link Party at Chef in Training! It is held weekly and has some amazing link ups!

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Best Biscoff Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Chef in Training
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups cookie butter or Biscoff spread, divided
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and 3/4 cup of Biscoff spread. Mix in sugars and continue creaming until light & fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just incorporated. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Roll dough into one-inch diameter balls. Scoop a generous teaspoon-ful of Biscoff spread on top of a ball, then squish a second dough ball on top to form one large cookie dough ball. Roll the large dough ball again until it is round and the Biscoff spread is enclosed. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart and repeat until you’ve finished your dough. (Note: These sizes make generously-portioned cookies–for smaller cookies, decrease size and baking time as desired).
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 9-12 minutes, until lightly golden on top but still pale & slightly gooey looking on top. Remove from oven and let cookies continue to bake on hot baking sheet for at least 10 minutes before removing.
 

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cookies

Gooey Cookie Butter Brown Sugar Bars

Cookie butter. Alternate names: Biscoff spread, Speculoos.

These bars–all of the above, plus nectar of the gods.

Did I get the magic words in there anywhere?

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If you’re like me, you’ll want to grab a jar and just jam your really grown-up Minnie Mouse spoon right in–

Gooey Cookie Butter Bars gif

Ohhh yeah.

If this sounds like something you have done would do, you won’t want to miss these heavenly, gooey, cinnamony cookie butter bars!

Plus, they’ll give you a really amazing excuse to spoon out mouthfuls of cookie butter while you’re waiting for the bars to finish baking. I know my jar is almost gone, and the recipe only calls for a little over half a cup…

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On the other hand, if you’d like to agonize over nutritional labels and keep your body in bikini ship-shape in time for summer–skip out on these. Be my guest. Really. Because that means more, more, and more for me.

Oh, who are we kidding? These are awesome. You HAVE to try them!

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If you’re really set on avoiding these, I’ll be nice. I won’t tell you about the thick, perfectly proportioned spiced graham cracker crust, and I certainly won’t tell you about the melt-in-your-mouth, warm gooey layer of cookie butter molasses-style brown sugar that you’re sure to love.

Aren’t I just the nicest?

You can probably see why having an entire trayful of these bad boys sitting on my kitchen counter can be an eensy, weensy, HUGE problem.

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So check out the recipe. You DO have a jar of cookie butter sitting in your pantry, don’t you? Why, you DO? (Or if you don’t–you WILL in about 10 minutes, right?)

While I leave to Google the definition of “addiction,” why don’t you take another look at these drool-worthy bars?

And if you don’t see me back again in a while–er, don’t look in the kitchen. You might find a strange girl standing there with a Minnie Mouse spoon in one hand and an empty jar of cookie butter in the other…and that’s just awkward.

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Guess you might want to check your kitchen after all. And while you’re there, why not make these FANTASTIC cookie butter addict bars?

Gooey Cookie Butter Brown Sugar Bars
Cookie butter filling adapted from Handle the Heat
Ingredients:
For graham cracker crust:
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (approximately 16 sheets, crushed)
  • 10 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For cookie butter brown sugar filling:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cookie butter spread

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking pan and set aside.
  2. To make crust: Combine all crust ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Press evenly and lightly into greased baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden. Set aside to cool while making filling.
  3. To make filling: Combine filling ingredients until completely smooth. Pour over slightly cooled crust and bake for approximately 30 minutes, until the center has just set. Remove from oven and allow to cool, then cut into bars and cool completely on a wire rack.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars

Crunchy Cookie Butter Granola (and Ala’s Breakfast Breakdown of People in Your Day-to-Day Life)

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I’ll confess. I’ve been reading Victorian novels lately.

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This got me thinking about angst muffins (who I’ll explain in a second–hold onto your corsets, lady-folks, and top hats, gentlemen), which got me in turn thinking about pastries. Food. Hunger. Uneaten dinner. Growl.

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A few years ago, I stumbled across Sarah’s Snack Theory, a brilliant synthesis of three male character types that you’re likely to like, hate, or just go outright epileptic over when you meet him in the literature of your choice. Then, as if I didn’t like the girl enough already, she goes on and likens them to different types of food:

angst muffins (your brooding woe-in-soul harborers),

sandwiches (reliable boy-next-door types), and

pastries (your variegated wild cards).

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Since that glorious moment of serendipitous blog surfing, various groups of my friends and I have entertained (mostly facetious) conversations about the cuisine archetypes we’re likely to meet in life. We frequently assign code categories to mutual acquaintances, thus if you heard:

“Oh my gosh, did you see how much of a meringue ____ was being today?”

–you’ll know I mean that this person is really nice to look at but is mostly just full of air, with very little substance and a lot fluffiness for brains.

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or

“I just woke up to the most AMAZING crepe this morning”

which could mean a LOT of things, including the possibility that you got lucky last night with somebody who’s the perfect balance of sweet and satisfying without being overbearing, and then you woke up and realized it wasn’t just a dream. And maybe he/she made you delicious crepes for breakfast, too. Who knows.

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Are you loving this system as much as I am yet?

As a gentle segue into this beautiful gossip-monger’s paradise, and before I run out of words in this post, I’m going to introduce you to Ala’s Breakfast Breakdown of People in Your Day-to-Day Life.

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The great thing about this scale is that you can basically apply it to the people in whatever place you currently frequent most–whether that’s a school, office, home, Disneyland, madhouse, wherever. You can talk about them, to their faces, without them ever even knowing it.

So, without further ado: the breakfast types you’ll meet in your day-to-day life.

(All of the following examples are derived from Disney movies and literary works–I mean, food, lit, and Disney. You didn’t actually expect serious stuff from this blog, did you?)

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#1: The English muffin

Pros: Reliable, solid, and meticulously trimmed, the English Muffin type is your go-to when you have a logical problem that needs to be solved. They make great coworkers and study buddies.

Cons: While dependable, this muffin type is not exactly brimming with surprises. They are commonly perceived as being flat all around, bland when taken alone, and just, well, there. Not necessarily your first choice for a feet-sweeping, swoon-inducing romantic interest. Maybe not even your tenth, for that matter.

How English Muffins Score: They’re might not always seem like the most terribly exciting people in the world, but don’t pass up the opportunity to get to know them, either. If you bring your own sweet addition (like a little bit of jam!), you might find that they’re more than willing to open up and take it in stride, adding a nice flair to an otherwise really solid personality. They’re not boring–they just like their data and logic a lot, and tend to come off reserved or taciturn, but you’ll never be at loss for a shoulder to lean on with an English Muffin around.

Examples: Eve from Wall-E, Violet from The Incredibles, Mr. Knightley from Emma

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#2: The Donut

Pros: They’re sweet. Plain and simple. These are the people who send you care packages for no reason at all, make you little collages of every single memory you’ve had together since before you were aware you knew each other, and basically brighten up your day even if it’s 5 AM and you haven’t had your kick of caffeine yet.

Cons: You’re not really sure what’s going on here all the time. It’s sort of like the idea of having dessert for breakfast–why is there sweetness here, and how do these people always manage to have as much energy no matter what time of day it is? Sometimes you might suspect them of being falsely saccharine sweet or secretly raiding the drug cartel’s latest shipment, because there’s no way in holy hummus they can be so happy. All. The. Time. Plus, you’re not sure how much substance there is behind all the sugary overload here–their energy can come off as a bit of airheadedness.

How Donuts Score: You really can’t hate ‘em. You could, but nobody’s going to give you brownie points for doing it because it’s sort of like trying to hate a Labrador Retriever puppy. At the same time, donut types don’t always feel at ease in overly formal situations, and they get a lot of flack for being filled with a lot of empty nothing. If you give them a chance, though, you’ll find that they’re sweet and true to the very core. Don’t judge donuts too quickly as a group, either: even though the stereotypical donut is just light fluff, there are plenty of heftier deep thinkers–more apple fritter types, if you will–out there, too.

Examples: Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh, Rapunzel from Tangled, Kitty from Pride and Prejudice, Tohru from Fruits Basket (manga)

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#3: The Crepe

Pros: They’re generally people people, meaning they’re bold yet classy in their interactions with others. They come in savory and sweet flavors, which means you’ll also get a nice mix with this group. Crepes tend to be leader or teacher-types with a soft but delicate exterior, making them easy to get to know, and maybe even befriend.

Cons: As much as they love working with people from all stripes and strides of life, their hyperawareness of others’ feelings can make them quick to take things personally, too. Crepes can be very sensitive and often feel the scorch coming on more acutely than other breakfast types do, even if they don’t show it, so others often feel they have to tiptoe around crepe types (or else risk waterworks). They sometimes withdraw behind professional masks as well, making their more complex interiority a bit difficult to access at a friend level.

How Crepes Score: They’re all-around dandy people who are pleasant to be around. As long as you don’t treat them ungratefully and work a bit to get past their professional or sensitive demeanor, you’ll be sure to find a charismatic and trustworthy friend.

Examples: Jane from Pride and Prejudice, John Wemmick from Great Expectations, Pacha from Emperor’s New Groove

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4. The Cup o’ Joe

Pros: Okay, so coffee technically isn’t a breakfast food…but that doesn’t keep an obscene demographic from treating it as such. Cup o’ Joe types are mysterious, thoughtful, and extremely firm in their morals, which also makes them ridiculously intriguing individuals that everyone seems to want to know. And if you do know them, they are extremely caring and supportive in their own way, keeping you fueled through a bad day or year like an amazing metaphorical caffeine kick.

Cons: As with the entire coffee-for-breakfast idea, there’s something inherently unsatisfying about the cuppa’s. Their terseness came cause them to come off as standoffish or downright rude, and

How Cup o’ Joes Score: Brooding, rich, smoky, and frequently accompanied by a smoldering expression, cup o’ Joe’s are more likely to make an appearance in Victorian novels than in daily life. However, if you are (or find yourself lucky enough to meet) a coffee type, stick with it–even if you don’t dig it at first, you might find yourself becoming addicted pretty quick! Plus, they’re morally impeccable and deeply caring people, meaning despite the unfathomable exterior, you’ll never have to doubt the integrity of a cuppa–assuming you get to know one.

Examples: John Thornton from North and South, Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast

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Build-It-Yourself: THE PARFAIT

Ahh….and here we’ve reached the end. I’ve by no means covered all my bases, but here’s where you come in! Parfaits are layered, complex breakfasts that come in all textures, flavors, and combinations. The best part is, you can build your own with whatever you have on hand! So now, instead of actually explaining the parfait (for which you can find an amazing cookie butter granola recipe below!), I’m going to let you build your own parfait (so to speak) and leave you with this question:

Where do you fall on my Breakfast Breakdown? Or, what breakfast food that I haven’t included here best represents you (and why)?

I can’t wait to hear all of your responses! I hope you enjoyed this scale, because I had fun reading it!

(I am, by the way, a crepe-donut ;) in case you were curious)

Ala

Crunchy Cookie Butter Granola
Ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup cookie butter  (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup nuts of your choice, chopped
  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup toasted black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips or raisins (or both!)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine honey, cookie butter, cinnamon, and vanilla. Heat for 20 seconds. Set aside.
  2. Line a large pan (I used 9×13) with lightly-greased foil. In the lined pan, combine chopped nuts, oats, and sesame seeds. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and stir to combine, making sure that all of the dry ingredients get covered.
  3. Bake granola in preheated oven for 15 minutes, then stir and heat for an additional 10-15 minutes, until granola is fairly crunchy and golden brown. (Don’t worry if it’s not entirely clumped–it’ll clump during the cooling process!) Stir in chocolate chips or raisins. Set aside to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Breakfast & Brunch, Snacks