Chocolate Dipped Orange Shortbread Cookies

Orange Chocolate Shortbread I have a quick little recipe for you on this Saturday afternoon. You could make these in no time at all and enjoy them with a cup of coffee or tea.  These chocolate dipped orange shortbread cookies are simple to whip up, use minimal ingredients, and taste delicious.  This is also a good recipe if you’re needing to use up the bottom of the jar of orange marmalade.  I think this recipe would be fun to try with other jams or jelly – raspberry, strawberry, etc.  Maybe not grape, though? 

Chocolate Orange Shortbread
All I did was cream butter, sugar, orange marmalade and vanilla together, then mix in flour, cornstarch and salt.  The dough is rolled into a log, chilled for a bit, then sliced and baked.  I dipped these cookies in melted semisweet chocolate chips with a touch of coconut oil.  You could also use white or milk chocolate. 

Have a great Saturday!
Chocolate Orange Shortbread3 Chocolate Dipped Orange Shortbread Cookies

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melted semisweet chocolate, for dipping (I used chocolate chips + a teaspoon of coconut oil)

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch and salt.  In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy.  Beat in sugar, orange marmalade and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in dry ingredients  until just combined.  Form dough into about a 12-inch log, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill in the refrigerator or freezer until completely cold, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat oven to 300 degrees F. 

Slice the log into 1/8-inch thick slices; place on cookie sheets, spacing about an inch apart.  Bake 10 minutes or until cookies are light golden brown.  Turn oven off.  Flip cookies, return to oven and allow to sit for an additional 10 minutes.  Transfer shortbread to a wire rack to cool.

Dip cookies in as much melted chocolate as you desire.

Peanut Butter Protein Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Protein Banana Bread3 There’s been a lack of sweets (and lack of posts) around here, I know.  I think I’ve been busy enjoying the spring weather and trying to get out and about as much as possible.  I don’t really want to be on my computer typing up recipes and editing pictures when I could be enjoying the sunshine.  (It’s supposed to be 77 here today!) As far as the lack of sweets, I go through periods where I’m not craving anything specific, so I end up not baking anything.  Recently, I’ve been more interested in creating lighter baked goods with healthy ingredients.

Peanut Butter Protein Banana Bread 
I’ve been playing around with using protein powder in cookies and breads.  I thought this protein banana bread turned out well.  It’s flavored with mashed bananas, natural peanut butter, oatmeal, whole wheat flour, vanilla protein powder, a little brown sugar and chocolate chunks.  You gotta add the chocolate! 

Peanut Butter Protein Banana Bread3 (1)

I topped the bread with more chocolate chunks, banana chips and chopped peanuts.  I love those banana chips.  I could most definitely eat them like potato chips.  I know I used some brown sugar in this recipe (along with molasses) which isn’t necessarily healthy, but I’m not a fan of using artificial sweeteners.  They taste weird.  Like, if something has artificial sweetener in it, I can taste it immediately.  Bleh.

Peanut Butter Protein Banana Bread2 Peanut Butter Protein Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large ripe bananas, pureed or mashed
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
2 large eggs
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Blend oats in a food processor until finely ground.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt; whisk in oats.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together banana, water, brown sugar, molasses, eggs peanut butter and protein powder until well combined and smooth.  Whisk in dry ingredients until just combined.  Stir in chocolate until combined.

Spread batter into prepared pan.  Top with additional chocolate chunks, banana chips and peanuts, if desired.  Bake 40-45 minutes, or until well risen, golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into bread comes out with moist crumbs attached.  Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 1 loaf

The Best Chewy Brownies

Brownies2 I don’t know if brownies are the most Easter-appropriate dessert.  I do know they’re every day-dessert appropriate.  I got to spend the day with my niece, Maddy, today and play and dye Easter eggs.  Today is her 5th birthday and to honor her I’m posting my very best brownie recipe, since brownies are her absolute favorite dessert.  She informed me she was having brownies for her birthday dinner tonight.  That’s my niece!

I baked this Pistachio Pudding Peep cake and brought it down to my family’s Easter/Birthday Pachanga.  I used this recipe from Pinterest and probably spent an hour on it.  Haha.  Not a lot of effort went into it.  Hopefully it tastes good! 
IMG_20150402_145004 I personally love Peeps.  Doesn’t this Peep skillet smores looks amazing?  I think that’s such a fun idea for Easter dessert.  I wish I had thought of that!

Anyway, back to the brownies.  BEST brownies I’ve ever made right here, folks.  I will definitely be making these again.  I think it’s important to use good quality cocoa powder for this brownie recipe, since you’re using that instead of chocolate.  The only solid chocolate you’ll be using is the chocolate chips.  Which makes this a great recipe to have when you’re needing an emergency late night brownie.  That happens to me every week. 
What’s a little special about this recipe is you cook the sugar, cocoa powder and butter in a saucepan before you mix everything all together.  This helps dissolve the sugar and cocoa powder.  I love how crackly the tops of these get.  I topped the brownies with chocolate chips, pecans and caramel sauce.  Happy Easter, everyone!
Brownies The Best Chewy Brownies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4  cup oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips + additional for topping
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted + additional for topping

Melt butter, cocoa powder, sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking frequently until mixture comes to a boil.  Remove pan from heat and cool 5 minutes.

Add chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl, along with oil, cornstarch, corn syrup, baking soda baking powder, salt and eggs, and mix until well combined - about 3 minutes.  Whisk in flour, chocolate chips and pecans until just combined.  Spread batter into a greased 8x8-inch pan.  Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips and pecans, if desired.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until set.  Cool on a wire rack.  Drizzle with caramel sauce, if desired.

Makes 9 big brownies