double coffee chocolate chip blondies

These blondies. I can’t get over them.  They’re currently sitting on my counter and it’s taking all my willpower not to grab one every time I walk by them.  Which is a lot.  As soon as I saw this recipe, I knew I *had* to make it…but with a few additions of my own, of course.

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thin ‘n chewy gingersnaps

The holidays definitely snuck up on me this year.  As they do every year, but still.  I perpetually procrastinate decorating the house, buying presents and really getting into the Christmas spirit until about halfway though the month and then scramble at the last minute to get everything done.  Every year I keep telling myself to start earlier, make more lists and manage my time better but old habits die hard.

We are flying back to Illinois for Christmas so we decided to forgo some of our usual traditions, which has eased the holiday stress just a bit.  Instead of chopping down our own tree in the wilderness of Tahoe, we put up a light-up twig tree from Target.  There are no stockings, no ornaments, and no lights on the house which, at times, I feel slight pangs of guilt about.  However, it’s actually a win-win because I’m not playing hide-and-seek with ornaments that my 2 year old would definitely hide and he still LOVES the lights on his twig tree.  So as long as he’s happy, he won’t know the difference.  This year.

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tahini-espresso chocolate chip cookies {with sesame smoked sea-salt}

At the end of every day, I feel like I deserve a treat.  I mean, I know I am home with my toddler all day so how hard could daily life really be?  But I am at home with my toddler alllll day.  Though I love my little man to the moon and back, he is like the Energizer bunny- always going, and going and going…

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So after dinner has been served, dishes have been done and kitchen has been wiped down, I turn the oven back on because the day is never really over until I’ve had my cookie for dessert.  I’ve gotten in the habit of freezing a freshly-made batch of cookie dough so that I won’t eat half the cookies throughout the day.  It’s the perfect solution curb my mindless snacking and allows me to really savor the one cookie I’ve baked for myself after dinner.  Because it really is a treat.

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This cookie dough is special.  It’s not gluten-free.  Nor is it vegan.  And I definitely wouldn’t consider them a health food.  But sometimes a special chocolate chip cookie is just what we need to put a period on the end of the day.  I’ve made this recipe numerous times and have fallen in love with the addition of tahini in the batter because it creates a subtle depth of flavor even though the tahini itself isn’t really that pronounced.  This time there was a higher chocolate-to-dough ratio so they were super gooey, almost falling apart when taking a bite.  Feel free to use less chocolate if desired.  Just because, I also threw in some espresso powder since coffee is never a bad addition with chocolate.  Finally, I whipped up sesame smoked sea salt to top the cookies, as one does. (say that three times fast).

All I gotta say is…make these cookies.


tahini-espresso chocolate chip cookies {with sesame smoked sea-salt}

A tahini chocolate chip cookie spiked with espresso powder and topped with sesame smoked sea salt.  The very best treat to end your day!

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 1 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 cup + 2 tbs whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbs espresso powder
  • 1 ¾ cup chopped dark chocolate

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, tahini and cane sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.  Add in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and continuing mixing on medium for another five minutes.

In another large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder together to combine.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low until just combined.  Toss in the chopped chocolate and stir them into the mixture by hand with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and using a cookie scoop, scoop out dough balls and place them on the sheet.  Wrap the baking sheet in plastic wrap and place in freezer for at least 12 hours.  This step is important because it allows the gluten in the flour to relax, giving way to a more tender and chewy cookie.

At this point, you can bake 1 or bake them all.  I love storing cookie dough in the freezer to have on hand when the craving strikes.  Plus, not having a jar of chocolate chip cookies on the counter to snack on which to snack freely helps with self control.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  space cookies at least 3” apart to allow for them to spread.  Bake for 13-16 minutes, until just golden around the edges.  Even though they may look underbaked, this is actually perfect.  Sprinkle with the smoked sea salt/sesame mixture and allow to cool for at least 10-20 minutes before eating.

sesame smoked sea salt

  • 1 tbs smoked sea salt
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds

In a spice grinder, add smoked sea salt and sesame seeds and pulse until combined.  You don’t want to pulverize the mixture, just coarsely chopped enough so that it’s fully mixed together.

 

 

 

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt (without an ice-cream maker)

It’s finally summer and my favorite time of year- berry season!  Give me all the berries…strawberries, raspberries, cherries and blackberries.  It brings a smile to my face when the little fruit stands on the side of the road that have been shuttered for nine months are now brimming with fresh fruit.  There is SUCH a difference in flavor between store-bought berries and local, freshly-picked berries. No comparison, really.

We recently had family in town from Illinois and it was such a pleasure to share this unique California experience with them.  There we all stood with our cartons of berries, devouring them in the gravel parking space with juice dripping down our chin.  Messy, but the best.  So, with our house constantly full of summer fruit, I decided to find another way to use them instead of eating them straight from the refrigerator.  And since it’s going to be over 100 degrees every day this week (!!), let’s do some homemade froyo!

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