Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chocolate Cherry Almond Butter Breakfast Cookies

chocolate cherry almond butter breakfast cookies ... made with whole wheat and whole grains
School breakfasts. I always start the year so strong. Pancakes? You got 'em! Breakfast tacos? No problemo.

Two and half weeks in, breakfast looks a whole lot like a banana, yogurt, and a granola bar.

chocolate cherry almond butter breakfast cookies ... made with whole wheat and whole grains
Enter the breakfast cookie. Chock full of oats, whole wheat flour, nut butter, and, yes, chocolate. These will get you through a breakfast rut. Perfect on those morning when clothes need to be ironed, lunches packed, and permission slips signed...all before 7am. Pair one of these with a banana and head out the door.

chocolate cherry almond butter breakfast cookies ... made with whole wheat and whole grains
Moms, if you're like me, some days I'm in and out of my car ALL day. These are the days I'm tempted by drive-through waffle fries and the jumbo cup of froyo (with cookie dough topping, thank you very much). As a matter of fact, I'd gotten into the habit of stopping in the frozen yogurt shop before almost every volunteer meeting at school. This may explain my dedication to volunteerism. 

Lately, I've been trying to pack a lunch with me. A bottle of water, fruit and a breakfast cookie is just the thing for eating on the run. (Those waffle fries and froyo won't be calling your name quite so loudly.)

chocolate cherry almond butter breakfast cookies ... made with whole wheat and whole grains
chocolate cherry almond butter breakfast cookies ... made with whole wheat and whole grains
For the almond butter, I used Justin's Vanilla Almond Butter. You don't have to use this one; it is pricey. It is also pure and utter heaven. I could eat the entire jar in one sitting.

chocolate cherry almond butter breakfast cookies ... made with whole wheat and whole grains
Here's the flour I use, white whole wheat. It's not heavy like traditional whole wheat. (If you want to learn more about it, I wrote a post on The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends all about wheat flours.)

chocolate cherry almond butter breakfast cookies ... made with whole wheat and whole grains
You could leave the cherries out, but they add a tart chewy element that complements the chocolate and almond so nicely. So, I changed my mind...you can't leave the cherries out. (Was that bossy?)

chocolate cherry almond butter breakfast cookies ... made with whole wheat and whole grains
These make big, substantial cookies...1/4 cup scoop of dough. I recently added a 1/4 cup cookie scoop to my collection and I love it!

Hints:  Once cooled, heat the cookies in the microwave for 10 seconds or so if you want melty chocolate. If you have a small family like we do, bake these, freeze some, then let defrost on the counter overnight.

chocolate cherry almond butter breakfast cookies ... made with whole wheat and whole grains
print recipe photo printrecipe.jpg
Chocolate Cherry Almond Butter Breakfast Cookies
{makes about 28 cookies}

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
3 eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 & 1/2 cups almond butter
4 cups oats (old fashioned or quick, or combination)
1 cup white whole wheat flour, King Arthur brand (all-purpose is fine)
1/3 cup finely chopped blanched slivered almonds
1 & 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cherries

Melt the butter over low heat and set aside.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, vanilla, corn syrup, baking soda and salt.  Whisk in the melted butter.
Add the almond butter, oats, flour, and almonds; stir until combined.  Stir in the chips and cherries until evenly distributed.  (This will give your arm a workout.)

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

Drop the dough by 1/4-cupfuls onto the parchment-lined sheets.  Flatten slightly with your fingers.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Let cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then cool completely on a cooling rack.

{Based on a recipe for classic Monster Cookies from The King Arthur Cookie Companion.}

chocolate cherry almond butter breakfast cookies ... made with whole wheat and whole grains
Breakfast Cookies...they're a good thing.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sweet on Trader Joe's Saturday: Salted Caramel Coconut Cookies

Trader Joe's salted caramel coconut cookies review
I love when Trader Joe's displays new items on an endcap. Mr. E and I were at TJ's last week buying pizza supplies and as we walked by the endcap, one of these ended up in our basket. We didn't even have to stop. That's the thing about Trader Joe's...I don't stand in the aisle debating over something like I do in the grocery store. If it looks interesting, it comes home with me.

Trader Joe's salted caramel coconut cookies review
Trader Joe's Salted Caramel Coconut Cookies. Well, I lost the receipt, but I would guess they're around $3.00 a box for 7 ounces. The box describes them as "chewy coconut macaroon cookies with a salted caramel center."

Salted Caramel Coconut Cookies 1 photo salted caramel coconut cookies 3 of 4.jpg
Trader Joe's salted caramel coconut cookies review
A mom's (my) take: I don't taste much salted caramel here and THAT'S OK because these are fabulous. Addictive, soft, sweet, chewy, perfect little coconut macaroon nuggets. While the salted caramel doesn't add a huge flavor component...and I ate 4 to be sure...it does add to the texture, making these even softer and more luscious than they'd be without it.
Overall rating: 5 of 5 stars

A teenager's (Jack's) take: These are pretty good overall! Nice, rich coconut flavor with the macaroon... the only thing I would say bad about them is that the salted caramel flavor is not very evident, almost none at all. But if you'd be satisfied with just coconut, then go for it.
Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Trader Joe's salted caramel coconut cookies review
Trader Joe's Salted Caramel Coconut Cookies: more coconut than caramel

[note: We have no affiliation with Trader Joe's. I'm sure they have never read this blog and have no idea who we are. Hey, we like being incognito, although we never wear sunglasses indoors. ;)]

Read all of our reviews of Trader Joe's treats and sweets here

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Homemade KitKat® Bites

When I set out to attempt a homemade version of KitKat® bars, I had no idea that it would be one of the most difficult recipes I've ever tried to create. (It was a tough job taste-testing all of that chocolate.)

homemade kitkat bites
*this post is sponsored by Imperial Sugar

There are lots of copycat versions floating around out there. It was the wafer part that was giving me issues. Some recipes use crackers...and I tried my own versions...with two different crackers, only to be disappointed. Crackers and chocolate are good, but they're no KitKats.

Homemade KitKat® bites
I've dipped those filled wafer cookies in chocolate before, good, but again, not KitKats.

I found wafer sheets on Amazon. I'm sure they would have worked really well, but they're expensive and available almost exclusively online.

Homemade KitKat® bites
Then, I stumbled upon the wafer-y goodness of the cake ice cream cone. Ding, ding, ding!!! 
The perfect wafer consistency!

Homemade KitKat® bites ... made with a secret ingredient!
I tried a few versions with the cones, finally settling on this one made in a mini muffin tin. Do they look like a KitKat® bar? No. But, they are the closest rendition of one I've tasted. And I've been doing lots and lots and lots of tasting.

Homemade KitKat® bites
Instead of crushing the ice cream cones, you'll actually chop off the bottom. (This is easiest to do if you break off the hollow part with your hands, then trim the flat part of the cone.)

Homemade KitKat® bites
The grid of the cone bottom is then filled with chocolate cream and placed in a chocolate coated muffin tin.

Homemade KitKat® bites
The whole thing gets topped off with even more chocolate.

Homemade KitKat® bites! I'm sharing the recipe over on Imperial Sugar today!

Homemade KitKat® bites
*KitKat® is a registered trademark of Nestle and a product of The Hershey Company.


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