Thin and Crispy-Chewy Oatmeal Toffee Cookies…………….

It’s overcast and cool today. A great day for baking, don’t ya think? To me, any day is a good day for baking. Especially cookies.

Last week I made some thin and crispy oatmeal cookies. Those were very good.  I was going to post the recipe for those, but then this morning, I made a different version. Super good. They have crunchy, sweet little heath bits. Did you just gasp? Cuz I think I heard you! OMG, these are gooooooooooood. They are sitting on my kitchen counter and I am trying hard to not eat them. I had one. Ok, that’s a lie. I ate two. That’s it for today. Maybe tomorrow I can have another one. I may have to go to sleep early so it will hurry up and be tomorrow.

I’m on a thin and crispy cookie kick lately. I have a few more recipes coming your way soon. You will love these and they are super quick and easy. If you like thin, crispy yet chewy, buttery cookies, then these are for you!

Thin and Crispy-Chewy Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup old fashioned or quick oats
1/2 cup Heath Toffee Bits (with or without chocolate)

Heat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix together the butter and sugars until fluffy….about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mx until combined. Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Don’t over mix. Stir in the oats and toffee bits.

Drop a generous Tablespoon  of dough, about 3 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 13-14 minutes, just until they are lightly browned. A bit longer if you want it really crispy.

Allow to cool completely, on the baking sheet. They will get crispier as they set. But they will still be a bit chewy too. M-mmm-mm.

 

O-my-gosh-a-rita………………….

OMG. Ya’ll know how I love a good margarita or 3. I am on this serious margarita kick and I dunno where it came from all of a sudden. I mean, I have always liked them but hadn’t had em in years and blammo…..I want  them all the time now! Holy crap!

My friend Jose gave me a very nice bottle of tequila for my birthday back in December. I remember thinking oh nice…I will be able to enjoy this for a year or two. Wellllllll, not so much. There’s hardly any left and I’m sure it must have just evaporated in the cupboard. Yep. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

A friend and I recently enjoyed some blackberry margaritas at a local Mexican restaurant. They were amazing and well, I like anything blackberry. I noticed they use the blackberry flavored syrup. Well I bought some fresh plump blackberries and just mooshed em up. Worked great. Who needs all that high fructose corn syrup stuffs anyway!

Ohhhhhhhhh I am so happy right now. I may have a slight little buzz from the margarita, but who cares! These are so delicious and refreshing! I’ve made peach, watermelon, strawberry….but I think these are my favorite fruit maggies. Bottoms up folks!

Blackberry Margaritas

Makes 2 margaritas (2 people or 1 thirsty one)

4 oz good tequila
2 oz margarita mix (a good store bought mix or home-made**)
4 fresh blackberries (frozen works too) smooshed up

Sugar-Salt rim mixture: mix together 1 part sugar to 2 parts salt.

Dip the rim of your glass into the smooshed blackberry mixture….just enough to dampen the rim. Dip it into the salt-sugar mixture. Place it in the freezer for just 5 minutes so the sugar/salt can set up.

In a shaker, with just a bit of ice, add the tequila and the mix.  Shake, shake, shake. Pour into a glass filled to the rim with ice.  Add a dollop of smooshed blackberry and mix. Throw in a couple of berries and sit back and relax.

Note: Don’t ever mix your drinks in the shaker with a bunch of ice. You will water down your drink too much. Just shake it with a bit of ice and then pour into a glass filled with ice. That’s much better.

** Homemade margarita mix:

8 oz (1 cup) fresh lime juice
8 oz (1 cup) simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar, that has been heated until sugar dissolves)
if you don’t want to bother with the simple syrup, you can just mix equal parts sugar and water together and wait for the sugar to dissolve
4 oz (1/2 cup) triple sec or Cointreau (both are an orange liquor)

Just shake everything together well. Store in the refrigerator.

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes…………

This is one of my most requested cupcakes. Everyone loves these. I love making these because they are so pretty and they make people happy. When you bite into one, it is kind of like biting into a snickerdoodle cookie with that sugary cinnamon crisp. Then, as if that isn’t good enough, covering that crisp is this wonderful creamy vanilla frosting. This is a sweet, decadent cupcake

I start with my “go to” yellow/vanilla cake recipe. It’s really good and moist. Now, I have  used a boxed cake mix for this cupcake and it works great. In general, I really dislike that funny, overly processed chemical taste that boxed mixes have. So, if I do use a boxed mix, I doctor the hell out of it.
I’ve had many people tell me and I have read on-line that people seem to prefer a boxed mix when it comes to yellow (vanilla) or white cake. Hmmmm. I dunno…..I just don’t know. Personally, 99% of the time I will make it from scratch, but in a pinch, I’m not opposed to using the boxed mix. I must say, a boxed yellow or white cake mix does produce a fluffier cake. I have made this snickerdoodle cake both ways. Both are good. But I will always prefer a cake made from scratch. I’m including the recipe for both here. Guess you’ll have to make 2 batches and decide for yourself which you like better!

I will blog all about cake mixes vs. cakes made from scratch, later this week. You won’t want to miss that, because it really is interesting.

 

           

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Makes 22-24 cupcakes

Using cake mix:

1 box of Betty Crocker yellow cake mix (ignore directions on the box)
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cup Cream Soda soft drink
2 tsp vanilla extract

Cinnamon sugar mixture: 1 tsp cinnamon mixed with 3 tblsp sugar (add more cinnamon if you like it more intense)

Heat oven to 350. Line a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the dry mix, oil, eggs, soda and vanilla. Don’t overmix.

** Once everything is thoroughly combined, fill each cup in the muffin pan with batter, about half full. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon/sugar mixture on top of the batter of each cup. Carefully add more batter to each cup, leaving about 1/2″ from the top. Sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on the tops of each cup. Bake for 14-16 minutes, depending on your oven. Allow to completely cool before frosting.

My Basic Yellow Cake Mix

(makes 24 cupcakes)

2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2  1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream

Cinnamon sugar mixture: 1 tsp cinnamon mixed with 3 tblsp sugar (add more cinnamon if you like it more intense)

Heat oven to 360. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter with the cup of water. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and baking powder.  Add the melted butter and water. Whisk until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the sour cream until everything is well blended.

** Once everything is thoroughly combined, fill each cup in the muffin pan with batter, about half full. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon/sugar mixture on top of the batter of each cup. Carefully add more batter to each cup, leaving about 1/2″ from the top. Sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on the tops of each cup. Bake for 14-16 minutes, depending on your oven. Allow to completely cool before frosting.

Frosting
1 block of softened cream cheese
1 stick of softened butter
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups of powdered sugar

Whip together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar. Whip until smooth and creamy. If it’s too thick, add a few drops of milk. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.

Once cupcakes are frosted, sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on top.

Chimichurri Chicken…………………….

Have you ever had chimichurri sauce? It’s so good. It’s kinda like a pesto. The main ingredients are usually oregano, parsley, garlic, olive oil, vinegar. It’s slightly tangy and just full of flavor. You can make your own easily, but you can buy it pretty much everywhere. I do usually make my own, but this time I bought some at a local farmer’s market. You can use this on chicken, beef, fish, potatoes, with some cheese on a cracker….so many ways. I’ve even made a pasta salad with it.

My favorite way to have it is on thinly sliced steak. You just drizzle some on the slices and it’s delicious. But it’s so delicious on chicken thighs. This is the easiest dish ever. It’s pretty much only two ingredients if you use a purchased chimichurri.

I have included my recipe for chimichurri, even though I did use a ready made one for this dish. 🙂

      

Chimi-Chicken

Chicken thighs
Salt and Pepper
Chimichurri Sauce

Heat oven to 425.
Salt and pepper your chicken thighs, both on the top and bottom. Place them on a baking sheet. Bake them for about 20 minutes. Spoon some chimichurri sauce on the thighs. Continue baking for another 25-35 minutes, or until the thighs are done. Mine take 45 minutes in my oven. Spoon a bit more sauce over the chicken when serving.

See!!! How easy is that?! Great dish to serve with potatoes or rice.

Chimichurri Sauce

1  cup fresh parsley (flat leaf or curly)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 Tblsp minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh oregano or 1 Tblsp dry oregano
1/4 cup red wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
1 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 – 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Place the parsley, cilantro, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and red pepper flakes in a food processor. Pulse it a few times until everything is pretty much minced. Add the oil, vinegar/lemon juice.

At this point, taste it. It should be slightly tangy and a bit salty. I like mine spicy, so I always add extra red pepper. Place it in a jar and allow the flavors to meld for at least an hour or two.
The sauce will keep in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks.