What The Fluff?! Cookies

WTF cookies

holy $#%&

What the F#@$ is in these?!

Yep. That’s pretty much the response from everyone who’s tried these cookies. I think that’s pretty accurate considering they have some unusual ingredients. Originally based on a Momofuku Milk Bar recipe (that famous bakery in NYC known for putting weird things like breakfast cereal into their cookies), I changed it up by replacing mini marshmallows with Fluff.

What’s Fluff, you ask?

It’s that gooey, marshmallow-y concoction that got it’s start in Union Square, Somerville (just a stone’s throw from where I now live) almost 100 years ago. In fact, the annual Fluff Festival was this past weekend. Nowadays, most people use it to make fudge or frosting or a Fluffernutter sandwich. Unlike regular marshmallows, Fluff is vegetarian friendly. And when mixed into cookie dough, it bakes up all ooey-gooey-wonderful, resulting in cookies that are both crispy and chewy. And 100% irresistible.

WTF Cookies (aka Cornflake & Fluff Cookies)
1 ½ cups of flour
½ teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup (2 stick) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon of vanilla
3 cups of cornflakes
½ cup of milk chocolate chips
½ cup of peanut butter chips
3/4 of a 7.5 oz jar of Marshmallow Fluff

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat for about 4 minutes, scraping down the side as needed. Add the flour mixture a little at a time until well combined. Beat in the cornflakes a little at a time, and then stir in the chips and the Fluff. Cover and chill the dough for at least 3 hours, or overnight. It’s very important you do not skip this step. The dough needs to firm up before baking.

WTF cookies bowl

stirring in the magic ingredient

Heat your oven to 375º.

Roll golf ball-sized balls of dough and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet a few inches apart. Pay attention to this too, as these cookies spread a lot. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cookies have flattened and the edges are browned. Let cool completely on the baking sheet, and then enjoy.


Midweek Meltdown: Strawberries & Cream Popsicles

strawberries & cream popsicle


Okay, if you’re keeping track, this is technically not ice cream as well, but it is frozen and delicious and a summertime favorite. And it gave me the chance to try out my new super-cool (har-har) Zoku popsicle maker. If you don’t know what that is, then you’re in for a real treat. It’s this magical little invention that freezes popsicles right on your counter in 9 minutes or less. I know! I could hardly believe it myself until I tried it myself, and literally 9 minutes later I was enjoying a strawberries and cream popsicle. Don’t skip the first step – letting the berries sit with the sugar and vanilla makes them soft and juicy. And the Greek yogurt adds some subtle tang, but if that’s not your thing you can use regular yogurt.

Strawberries & Cream Popsicles
1 lb of strawberries, hulled & diced
4 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 cup of Greek vanilla yogurt

Place the strawberries in a bowl along with the sugar and vanilla, and let stand for about 15 minutes until juicy. Place into a blender, add the yogurt and mix until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds (or your properly frozen Zoku machine) and let freeze. Then enjoy.

Midweek Meltdown: Frozen Key Lime Pie

frozen key lime pie

easy as pie

While technically not ice cream, this pie IS frozen, and basically has the same ingredients as ice cream, so I’m qualifying this as a meltdown. And even for people who don’t like pie (this guy) this one is a real treat. I’ll let you in on a little secret too — I’m spilling a lot of them this week — I don’t use regular graham crackers for the crust. I use honey-flavored Teddy Grahams. So, I throw those poor innocent bears into a food processor and pulverize them into little crumbs. If that offends anyone, I’m sorry. But just like the brave limes in this pie, they really do sacrifice their lives for a good cause. As a result, this frozen pie has all the necessary flavors of the perfect summer dessert: zesty, creamy, sweet and, if you leave it out in the sun for too long, melty.

Frozen Key Lime Pie
For the crust:
2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons of butter, melted

For the filling:
6 large egg yolks
1/4 cup of sugar
1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons of lime zest
3/4 cup of lime juice (about 4 to 5 limes)

For the topping:
½ pint of heavy cream
3 tablespoons of sugar
½ teaspoon of vanilla

Heat your oven to 350º.

For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Press into a 10 inch pie dish, making sure the sides and bottom are even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes, and then allow to cool completely.

For the filling, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high until thick, about 5 minutes. On medium speed, add the sweetened condensed milk, lime zest and lime juice. Pour the mixture into the baked pie crust, cover with foil and let freeze overnight.

For the topping, beat the heavy cream on high until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat to combine. Spoon over the top of the pie and allow to freeze several hours. Cut into slices and then eat.

Refresh Your Taste Buds

lemon-lime basil shortbread cookies

(almost) summer stack

Now that the weather is warming up and summer is little more than a hop, skip and a jump away, I’m craving something citrus. And these little crumbly shortbread cookies are definitely cirtus-y — and savory thanks to the addition of fresh basil. That might sound weird but the combo makes for one really refreshing cookie. If you’ve got a food processor, you can make a batch of these in no time at all. Then you can nibble on these while you wait for summer to officially get here.

Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies
1 cup of flour
½ cup of powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
½ teaspoon of lime zest
2 tablespoons of fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, chilled & diced

Heat your oven to 325º.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until large, moist clumps form. Measure tablespoons of dough and roll into balls. Place on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Using the bottom of a glass or measuring cup lightly dusted with powdered sugar, flatten the balls into 2 inch rounds. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the edges are lightly brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

lemon-lime basil shortbread cookies

oh! who did that?

Drink Me, I’m Irish Coffee

Irish coffee milkshake

whiskey & cream

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, folks. Even after a day of drinking you still need to satisfy your sweet tooth, right? This frozen twist on the classic Irish coffee certainly does the trick. Sláinte!

Irish Coffee Milkshake
– 1 cup of coffee ice cream
– 1 cup of milk
– 1 shot of Jameson Irish whiskey
– Small bar of chocolate, for garnish

In a blender, combine the ice cream and milk and blend until smooth, or the consistency you prefer. Add the whiskey and pulse to mix. Poor into a glass and top with grated chocolate. Pop in a straw and enjoy.

Grape Expectations

peanut butter & grape jelly blondies

have a grape day

You might remember that last fall, my cousin Kevin’s wife Wendy and I had an apple bake-off. She made an apple cake, and I made apple oatmeal cookies. The winner … is still up for debate. So rather than spend another year taunting each other, we decided to combine our baking efforts to create one awesome dessert. Our special ingredient this time: grapes! This made sense when we were supposed to visit a grape festival in Naples, New York, but at the last minute we decided not to go. However, we did get some fresh Naples grapes at a local (ie: closer to their house) farm, where we also rode a tractor and ate pumpkin fry cakes and orange & black half-moon cookies. The only hitch: the grapes we got had seeds, but more on that later.

What’s the perfect companion for fresh grapes? Peanut butter of course! Who didn’t love PB&J as a kid? Or as an adult for that matter? If you don’t love PB&J, well, then you won’t like these blondies. They literally taste like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, only in bar form. And if you put them in the fridge to chill — wow! — even better.

Oh, so back to those seeded grapes. You could use boring store-bought grape jelly for these blondies, or go the extra mile and make your own sauce using fresh grapes. Just cook them down with a little grape juice, butter, sugar and lemon juice. As for those pesky seeds? They’ll pop right out of the grapes as they cook, and then you can strain the mixture to easily separate them and some of the tougher skins from the amazingly grape-y sauce you end up with. Really, it’s awesome. So grape-y and flavorful, and not sticky-sweet like jelly. Wendy & I actually stood over the simmering grapes for a bit, picking out the seeds with a small spoon before we smartened up and opted for the much simpler strainer method. But it made for some fun bonding time, which is always grape. I mean, great.

Peanut Butter & Grape Jelly Blondies
For the grape sauce:
– 1 ½ cups of Naples grapes
– 2 tablespoons of sugar
– 2 tablespoons of grape juice
– 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
– 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
– ¼ teaspoon of vanilla
– Pinch of salt

For the blondies:
– ½ cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
– ¼ cup of creamy peanut butter
– 1 cup of brown sugar
– 1 large egg
– 1 ½ teaspoon of vanilla
– 1 ¼ cups of flour
– ¼ teaspoon of salt
– ⅓ cup of creamy peanut butter
– ⅓ cup of grape sauce

To make the grape sauce, put the grapes, sugar, grape juice, butter, lemon juice, vanilla and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, occasionally stirring, until grape skins fall off, the seeds pop out and the liquid thickens. Pour through a mesh strainer into a bowl and discard any remaining skins and seeds. Cover and let chill in the fridge until ready to use.

Heat your oven to 350º.

Line an 8×8 pan (or similar) with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the butter, about 45 seconds. Add ¼ cup of creamy peanut butter and heat for an additional 45 to 60 seconds to soften. Stir together until the mixture is smooth. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Whisk in the egg and vanilla, and then add the flour and salt and stir until just combined. (Do not over-mix.) Pour the batter into the baking dish and lightly smooth out with a spatula.

Top the batter with tablespoon-sized dollops of the remaining creamy peanut butter, and tablespoon-sized dollops of the grape sauce. Using a knife or spatula, marble the peanut butter and grape sauce in a zig-zag pattern, lightly moving back and forth until they’re dispersed across the top of the batter. (Do not over-do it or it will look muddy rather than marbled.)

peanut butter & grape jelly blondies

how grape is that?

Bake for 22 to 27 minutes, or until the edges begin to slightly pull away from the edge of the pan, the center is set and golden, and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for at least 45 minutes before slicing and serving. Drizzle with the remaining grape sauce for more grape flavor.

Bring Home the Bacon (Cookies)

bacon & chocolate peanut butter cookies


How many times you have thought: You know what would make these cookies better? Bacon. Well, now you’re in luck! These cookies are a flavorful trifecta, with peanut butter, chocolate chips and bacon. It’s pretty much everything you could ever hope for in a cookie, and yet so much more. Note that this recipe only makes a dozen, so stash a few away before you put out a plate of them.

Bacon & Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
– 5 slices of bacon
– 1 ¼ cups of flour
– ¼ teaspoon of baking soda
– ¼ teaspoon of baking powder
– ⅛ teaspoon of cinnamon
– Pinch of chili powder
– ¼ teaspoon of salt
– 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
– ½ cup of creamy peanut butter
– ½ cup of sugar
– ½ cup of light brown sugar
– 1 large egg
– 1 teaspoon of vanilla
– ½ cup of roughly chopped peanuts
– ⅓ cup of semisweet chocolate chips

Heat your oven to 350º.

Fry the bacon slices until crisp in a large skillet. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool and then roughly chop. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon grease and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, chili powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and reserved bacon grease on medium-high speed until smooth. Beat in the peanut butter until combined. Next, beat in the sugars until creamy, about 4 minutes, and then add the egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the flour mixture a little a time until just combined, scraping the sides as needed. Stir in the peanuts and all but 2 tablespoons each of the bacon and chocolate chips.

Roll the dough into 12 balls and arrange on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Flatten with your fingers (the cookies will not spread out as they bake) and top each with a few extra pieces of bacon and chocolate chips. Bake until golden, 12 to 14 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through. Let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.