Monday, January 12, 2015

blondies with chocolate chips

I am terrible. I can't believe I've never posted this recipe. Okay, today is the day I share this secret gem with you. I love making chocolate chip cookies but, sometimes, scooping out portions of dough and baking them off sheet-by-sheet gets a little tedious and time-consuming. There is an easier [and just as delicious] solution. They are called chocolate chip blondies. In case you don't know, blondies are like brownies but, well, blonde. Also, they are freakin fabulous. I keep the recipe link on my bookmarks bar for easy access. Sometimes I'll make changes to an original recipe, but these are just perfection. I wouldn't change a thing.. except I double the recipe.

Blondies with Chocolate Chips
Recipe by Taste and Tell
Yields one 9x13in. pan

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted 
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temp.
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 9x13 pan with parchment paper. I spray with cooking spray first to help the parchment stick. Then proceed with two folded pieces of parchment that overextend past the edges of the pan (one lengthwise and one across the width, making a criss-cross). See picture below. I do not add any extra cooking spray or butter. The parchment alone will prevent sticking.
2. In a large bowl, whisk butter and sugars until smooth. Whisk in egg and vanilla. 
3. Add flour and salt and stir gently with a spatula to combine. Mix until just moistened (do not overmix). Fold in chocolate chips.
4. Transfer mixture into parchment-lined pan. Spread the batter out evenly across the surface of the pan.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes until top is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow pan to cool completely. Then use the overhanging parchment to lift out of the pan completely. Place on a cutting board and cut into squares or desired pieces with a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. 

And, today, these blondies got packaged up with bows. Because these blondies are like a gift from God... actually, Taste and Tell Blog. Same thing. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

new haircut // opal wreath collar

I have many things on my To Do List before school starts up again next week. Getting a haircut was my biggest priority. I will preface the rest of my story by stating that I am very particular about my hair. I have had many styling regrets. The actual haircut always feels good at the time and maybe even the week after. But, when I look back on my previous hairstyles, I want to slap myself across the face. Never should have let my mom tease and spray my hair to death. Never should have walked around with a permanent ponytail in my hair for a year. Never should have gotten bangs like Summer Roberts. Sadly, the list goes on and on. I make bad decisions. Mostly, I am just impulsive and have a tendency to choose hairstyles that look good on other people. But, shocker, they did not work for me at all. The worst part is that no one ever told me my hair looked like shit. Assholes.

It is important to understand your hair and what does/doesn't work. So, with that said, I am definitely a long hair [don't care] gal. I had shoulder length hair once in my life and I vowed to never go back. In fact, I refer to that hair era as "the lost year"-- the year I apparently lost my mind along with my long hair.

Anyway, there is a cutoff point when long hair just gets annoying. And, well, I've been annoyed for a couple months now. Unfortunately, because of my insane school and work schedule, I had to put my much needed haircut on the back burner. With the small window of freedom I have left, I knew it was time to remove some of the dead weight-- literally-- for the new year.

I have been going to the same hairdresser (more or less) for the past few years, and she has always given me consistent haircuts in the ballpark of what I actually want. But, eh, I've been open to the idea of a new hairdresser for a while now. I don't dye, highlight, or do anything crazy with my hair. I just need a good cut and styling. Is that so much to ask?

So, after reading a lot of reviews, I found a hair salon nearby. I scheduled the earliest appointment available-- Tuesday. Good thing I was still stalking for something sooner, because an opening became available today. Right when I walked through the doors, the owner was stunned by the necklace I was wearing. At that moment,  I thought: God, I love this place. They get me. Of course, she asked and I told her where I got it. Baublebar, duh.

My hair is fussy, because there is just so much of it. My hairdresser did such an amazing job taking a lot of the weight off but also keeping my ideal length. I definitely walked out of there a happy camper, because she did exactly what I wanted. I really love it! Plus, the new cut happens to look perfect with my Opal Wreath Collar.. because that's what really counts, obviously.

necklace: Baublebar || shirt: Anthropologie

Saturday, January 3, 2015


I thought I would pay homage to my first recipe post of 2014 (oh, those delicious Cranberry Orange Scones..), by making a homemade Cranberry-Orange Jam. I then proceeded to stuff it into cookies. And, let it be known, that is how Jamdoodles were born.

Adapted from Martha Stewart's Snickerdoodle recipe
Yields about 20-24 cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
jam (see my Cranberry-Orange Jam recipe below, or any jam of your preference)
cinnamon sugar (2 Tbsp sugar + 2 tsp ground cinnamon)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Whisk together all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, to butter-sugar mixture at medium speed. Scrape down bowl and paddle with spatula and mix again until well combined.
5. Add dry ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix on stir speed until it there is no more visible "dry". Use spatula to scrape down bowl and paddle and finish mixing until dough looks cohesive.
6. Onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, use a cookie scoop to dish out portions of dough-- I use a rounded 1" scoop. 
7. Make a deep well in each rounded portion of dough. Insert a dollop of jam. Then, carefully seal the dough back up so the jam is enclosed. Round it back out into a rough dough ball form. This takes some technique and practice. You will find a way that works for you.
8. Roll each ball of dough into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place back onto the cookie sheet. Space each portion about 2 inches apart on the sheet.
9. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes. Then the cookies can be transferred to a cooling rack to cool further. 
10. Eat right away or store in an airtight container. For optimal freshness, I would recommend eating within 3 days.

I may be partial to my homemade Cranberry-Orange Jam, but this cookie has the perfect combination of everything-- tart, sweet, spicy, chewy. It's a twist on the traditional snickerdoodle, which I absolutely love. It reminds me of a jelly doughnut in cookie form. Basically, you need these in your life.

Regretfully, I don't stuff my cookies often. However, when I do, they definitely don't disappoint. Remember these gems? And OMG, these.


Cranberry-Orange Jam

1 lb (16 oz.) frozen cranberries
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp fresh orange zest
2 tsp freshly-squeezed orange juice

1. In a saucepan, combine cranberries and sugar. Heat on medium-high, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved.
2. Transfer cranberry mixture to a high-speed blender (I used my Vitamix) and blend on high until berries are completely pulverized.
3. Return mixture to saucepan and place on medium heat. Add orange zest and juice.
4. Stir frequently until jam thickens-- it should coat the back of the spoon without sliding off.
5. Remove from heat, allow to cool to room temperature. If not using right away, transfer to a sanitized jar or airtight container once cooled. Can be stored in the refrigerator for several months.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Okay. So, 2014 wasn't a great blogging year for me. Sorry about that. There were just too many things going on.. and still going on. My blogging has been somewhat restricted to lazy summer days and cold winter nights indoors. Those also happen to be the only times of the year when I get a break from school.

You really haven't missed much in the months of my absence. During the semester, I eat a lot of food that I don't make. After a 1 1/2 years of being in this dental hygiene program with two part-time jobs, I've realized.. I'm really freakin' tired. I'm hoping 2015 means then end of my academic career and a real start to my professional one.

But guys, it's a new year-- 2015. I can't promise the blog will be consistently active since my winter break is almost over. In fact, I may go completely radio silent again until I finish my last semester and officially become a RDH. However, I will continue to share whenever I can. 

Please bear with me. Still, my goal is to give you more than 16 posts this year. 

Happy New Year, lovelies!