Caramelized Onion Eggplant Fontina Bites with Optional Balsamic Drizzle

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One thing I’m darn good at as The Smart Cookie Cook is making food that seems fancy and time-consuming but is actually simple and doable, like these Caramelized Onion Eggplant Fontina Bites with Optional Balsamic Drizzle. They already SOUND fancy, right? Then you look at them and think they belong in a 5-star restaurant.

But don’t be fooled; these Caramelized Onion Eggplant Fontina Bites are actually a spin-off of my extremely popular Caprese Bites. Those crowd-pleasing cuties couldn’t be much easier, and I couldn’t resist playing with that idea to create different flavor profiles.

I believe that caramelized onions are the rainbow sprinkles of savory toppings. They make everything better! Even people who don’t like onions can’t resist those succulent little devils because they’re so sweet and flavorful.

Then we’ve got one of meltiest cheeses, Fontina, acting as a bed for these toppings, oozing like lava as soon as you bite in. Don’t even try to talk to me while I’m eating these because a) I’m too busy processing three of my favorite things at once, and b) my mouth is full because I’ll insist on taking these on in one single bite.

What can I say, I like a challenge.

Go wow the world with these Caramelized Onion Eggplant Fontina Bites. I encourage you to act exceptionally dramatic and tired when you set them on the table, like you’ve been slaving away over them.

They’ll totally buy it.

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A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. You can definitely make your own breaded eggplant for this if you’re feeling motivated.
  2. For a pop of freshness, try a few sprinkles of fresh basil.
  3. Other great cheese to try would be fresh mozzarella or gruyere. Pick something that’s mild and melts well.
  4. These stay delicious even as they cool and come to room temperature, so they’re a great appetizer for setting out at a party.
  5. Because balsamic vinegar is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing, I suggest doing one of two things: you can only drizzle half the bites with it, or leave it out, off to the side for people to put on their own bites.
  6. You will need to flour your surface to roll out this dough, or it is way too sticky to work with.
  7. Caramelizing onions requires patience. To achieve caramelization, you need a low heat, which means a longer cook time. Stay with it, and stir occasionally to create the perfect onions.

Caramelized Onion Eggplant Fontina Bites with Optional Balsamic Drizzle
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield – about 4 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion + 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter
  • 1 box Dominex breaded eggplant
  • 2 cans store-bought crescent roll dough (store brand is fine)
  • 8 oz. Fontina cheese, cubed into ¼-inch pieces
  • Balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. The onions will start to sizzle and turn golden. Occasional stirring will allow them to brown evenly. Once they’re tender, reduced in volume, and a rich brown color, they’re ready. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bake eggplant in oven according to box directions. Chop cooked eggplant into small pieces. Set aside.
  3. Spray two mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  4. Flour your working surface. Separate crescent dough according to perforated lines then flour the top of each piece of dough as well. Roll dough as thin as you can without tearing, then slice each section into three smaller sections.
  5. Place a piece of dough in each tin and gently mold to the shape of the tin. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 6 minutes then place a piece of cheese in each, pressing down into the dough. Return to oven for another 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and crust is golden.
  6. Use a knife to work around the edge of each bite and gently remove from pan. Sprinkle each bite with a generous bit of finished onions and eggplant. Drizzle a light bit of balsamic vinegar over top, if desired. Serve immediately.

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Soft Fresh Blueberry Cookies

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These Soft Fresh Blueberry Cookies are the result of a reader’s request for a soft and light cookie made with fresh blueberries. She liked the recipe she had, but wished the texture wasn’t so hard, and asked for a solution to this. I can’t say I blame her because I’m a soft cookie fan myself. That’s the only way to go, if you ask me.

When you guys come to me with a challenge, I’ll tackle just about anything. I love problem-solving, a trait I likely get from my father. I’ll work on something until I get it. When I started brainstorming this recipe, I wondered what should be tinkered with, and then realized I really already had an exceptional soft cookie recipe that would lend itself well to the flavor of fresh blueberries.

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I can’t say for certain if the reader who requested this recipe fix will be satisfied with this, but I can’t imagine how anyone wouldn’t be. These cookies are wonderfully tender and soft, melting in your mouth effortlessly. Plus, they’re packed with extra blueberries for a pop of fresh, tangy flavor in every bite. It doesn’t hurt that they’re a simple cookie with a short ingredient list.

Aren’t those always the best recipes, though?

These blue-speckled beauties are just right in every way. They’re the kind you’ll eat a dozen of in one sitting without thinking twice. Then give it another hour or so, and you’re back for more. But they’re packed with fruit, so it’s okay to eat a ton, right?

Tell me what recipe you’d like me to tackle next! What can I fix for you?

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. The longer you chill the dough, the more flavor it gets. But that said, when we’re talking about fresh fruit as a mix-in, I don’t recommend letting it chill longer than a day since we want the fruit as fresh as possible.
  2. Over-baking is the enemy of a soft cookie. Always take your cookies out of the oven just a moment before you actually think they’re finished; that’s usually when they’re baked just right!
  3. The less mixing the better. It keeps the cookie texture softer. Plus, once you’ve added the berries, you definitely don’t want to overmix and burst the berries.
  4. Once baked, you can freeze these in an air-tight container for up to 3 months. Just thaw and enjoy.

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Brown Butter Blueberry Cookies with Vanilla Glaze
Adapted from Foodbeast

Yield – about 4 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks butter (1 1/2 cups), room temperature
  • 4 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1.5 pints fresh blueberries

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in vanilla until blended.

3. Gradually add flour mixture and beat on low just until incorporated.  Gently stir in the blueberries until evenly distributed, being careful not to break them. Cover and chill at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.

4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Place balls on parchment paper-lined trays, 6-8 cookies per tray depending on the size.  Bake cookies 10-12 minutes until set, checking after 5 minutes. They should be set and puffed, and just slightly golden around the very edge. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy and store in an air-tight container.

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Glazed Lemon Zucchini & Summer Squash Bread

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My first memory of zucchini bread is of when I was a kid living in my old neighboor, and the kind old lady across the street brought me some. Naturally, you don’t tell a kid there’s zucchini in their bread, so I was none the wiser, thinking I was eating some vegetable-less treat. But my neighbor told me about the secret squash after I devoured it, and it was the first time I realized vegetables in dessert might actually be okay.

That memory has never left me.

Nowadays, I love squash in all forms, so it’s surprising that this Glazed Lemon Zucchini & Summer Squash Bread is the first squash-based dessert I’ve ever made. Even since that childhood memory, I haven’t eaten much zucchini bread – simply from lack of opportunity. That’s why I took matters into my own hands to make this.

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I was surprised at how simple this was. Grating the squash is the most annoying part of this, but even that isn’t bad. I really liked switching up what’s expected and using summer squash in here too. The lemon flavor was subtle but so refreshing. It’s the ultimate complement to the squash: two bright, refreshing ingredients coming together with incomparable summertime flavor.

Of course, my favorite part of this Glazed Lemon Zucchini & Summer Squash Bread was the rich and lemony glaze. The bread’s good enough to stand on its own, but why not add this silky topping to make it shine even more?

But perhaps you’ve wondered why one should even put squash in bread in the first place. It’s the same reason you put carrots in cake: it creates unbelievable moistness for the texture like nothing else you’ve ever had. Plus, it builds layers of flavor into our bread. That’s a good enough reason for me.

Before summer closes, get yourself some fresh squash and lemons so you can enjoy this comforting, rich Glazed Lemon Zucchini & Summer Squash Bread. Slice it thick and let it make you feel like a kid again.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1.  Breads like this do take a while to bake, so be patient.
  2. If you put the glaze on the bread while it’s hot, it’s likely to not set up right, even when cooled. You may have some separation.
  3. Add poppy seeds to the mix for a little crunch.
  4. This is a great treat to freeze and enjoy year-round.

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Glazed Lemon Zucchini & Summer Squash Bread
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 medium lemons)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini (packed and undrained)
  • 3/4 cup shredded summer squash (packed and undrained)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 

For the glaze

  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest, mixing with your fingertips until fragrant. Add the egg, vegetable oil and vanilla and whisk to combine. Stir in zucchini.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake 55 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove pan to wire rack and cool in pan for about 10 minutes before turning out onto the wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Once bread is cooled, prepare the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, lemon juice, cream and vanilla. Drizzle the glaze over the bread. Store in an air-tight container.

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The Weekender: Birthday Recap

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

 

I celebrated my 22nd birthday this weekend, and I can’t wait to recap it with you! But first, let’s talk about the food. What did we make this week?

  1. Buffalo “Chicken” WrapsDSC02625
  2. Milky Way Ganache Brownies with Oreo CrumbleDSC02666
  3. 20 Cheesy Recipes for Cheese LoversCollages
  4. Individual Oven-Roasted Squash & Tomato Mozzarella Bakes
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My whole family blew into town to celebrate my birthday with me, and I couldn’t have been any happier.

I started the day by teaching Les Mills BODYSTEP at Powerhouse Gym Utica, and my gym family made it an incredible class. My friends surprised me with donuts, balloons, and a giant Birthday Hello Kitty.

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They brought amazing energy. We started the day on a very high note.

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The best part was that Mother Cookie FINALLY took my class! I was so proud of her, and my members were very excited to have her as a guest in class. She did awesome.

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One of my good friends and gym members got me this too-cute Hello Kitty hamper. Now maybe I won’t throw all my dirty clothes on the floor!

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In addition to that HK household item, another friend of mine got me this mini HK frying pan. How cute!

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Of course, as a gift to myself, I bought this pretty new nose ring. I didn’t have any gold ones, and I love the little embellishment on it.

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I know you’re dying to hear about the cake. It was too-die-for: a white cake with chocolate mousse frosting and chocolate ganache from Cafe Canole in New Hartford. It was moist, dreamy, and super chocolaty. Check back this week for a review of my birthday dinner too!

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We can’t forget another special birthday that took place this week: my babies turned 3! I spoiled them well, don’t worry.

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How was your week? What did you eat?

Individual Oven-Roasted Squash & Tomato Mozzarella Bakes

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Layers of a variety of vibrant colors, buried by a sheet of stark white – is it a work of art?

Arguably, perhaps, but it’s edible art for sure. These are my Individual Oven-Roasted Summer Squash & Tomato Mozzarella Bakes. They’re gorgeous, but quite simple: fresh summer squash, zucchini, tomato, and onion layered and oven roasted with garlic and olive oil, then tucked beneath melty fresh mozzarella cheese. It requires very little effort on your part but yields a beautiful presentation.

The caramelized flavor that lends itself to oven-roasted veggies is like no other. And yet, it’s one of the easiest, hands-off cooking methods of all. With these Individual Oven-Roasted Summer Squash & Tomato Bakes, we combine that deep flavor with the indulgence of a gooey cheese topping for a dish that’s fresh, simple, and pretty too.

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Isn’t it funny how food can make you feel like an artist? Much like painting, we chefs all have different styles and degrees of expertise. Home cooks like you and me can make something equally as aesthetically pleasing as anything you’d find in a restaurant, plus we know it’ll taste amazing. This is a wow-factor dish without the wow-factor work.

So go turn on the oven, Picasso, and get cooking.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. You do have to be patient with baking time if you want the veggies good and tender. However, if you prefer them to have that little bit of bite, I recommend cooking them for about 8-10 minutes less.
  2. You could make this fall-inspired as well: use butternut squash and zucchini instead, and try Muenster cheese on top.
  3. For a little crunch, try a sprinkle of breadcrumbs.
  4. These reheat beautifully, so make an extra or two to enjoy for lunch the next day.
  5. The thinner you slice your veggies, the faster they’ll cook.

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Individual Oven-Roasted Summer Squash & Tomato Mozzarella Bakes
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield – 4 bakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium summer squashes, sliced into thin coins
  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced into thin coins
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 10 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced thin

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Arranged sliced zucchini, summer squash, tomato, and onion in rows in small ramekins, packing neatly to fill each one. Drizzle each ramekin with olive oil then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden and tender. Cover each ramekin with parmesan and slices of mozzarella and return to oven for another 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let sit for 5 minutes then enjoy. 

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20 Cheesy Recipes for Cheese Lovers

Collages

Cheese lovers, today is your lucky day; I’ve got the ultimate collection of Cheesy Recipes for Cheese Lovers. No matter what you’re craving, I’ve got it all – from mac and cheese to eggplant parmesan. If you can put cheese on it, it’s on this list.

We cheese lovers must unite over our love for all things cheese. I’m an excruciatingly picky eater, but there’s usually a really easy fix: put cheese on it. Everything’s better with a little bit of melty goodness: veggies, pizza, etc. If you’re the type who takes the cheese off of pizza, then this is not the post for you.

But if you’re the type to request extra cheese, then stay right here.

Put on a bib to prepare for the droolfest that’s coming: 20 Cheesy Recipes for Cheese Lovers.

1. Extra Creamy 4-Cheese Stovetop Mac & Cheese – classic and cheesetastic

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2. Triple Cheese Pesto Grilled Cheese – oozing with three kinds of cheese

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3. Eggplant Parmigiana – more cheese than eggplant

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4. Loaded Tater Tot Pizza – A pepper jack cheese sauce PLUS cheddar cheese on top

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5. Vodka Blush Pizza – Can you see the pizza under all that cheese?

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6. Double Cheese Bombs – pockets of cheese

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7. Double Cheese Guacamole Grilled Cheese – A waterfall of cheese

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8. Baked Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese – Three kinds of cheese in a decadent, gooey sauce

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9. Onion Ring-Topped Mac & Cheese Muffins – Muffins made of cheese

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10. Gluten Free Italian Mac & Cheese – gluten-free cheesy goodness

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11. 3-Cheese Bacon Party Bread – Bread tucked in by a blanket of cheese

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12. Fried Mozzarella Bites – Fried cheese

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13. Open-Face Eggplant Parm Sandwiches – because the cheese should be thicker than the bread

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14. Mac & Cheese Garlic Bread – All the cheese you could want piled ontop of garlic bread

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15. Eggplant Parm Fries – Infinite cheese strings

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16. Grilled Cheese Bites – Bite-sized cheesiness

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17. Fried Mac & Cheese – a dream come true

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18. Loaded Cheese Fries Grilled Cheese – Two cheesy foods in one

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19. Party Bread – One of my most popular cheesy recipes

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20. Jalapeno Popper Party Bread – Cheesiness with a kick

DSC00352Cheese lovers, what’s your favorite cheesy recipe?

 

Milky Way Ganache Brownie Bites w/ Oreo Crumbles

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These Milky Way Ganache Brownie Bites with Oreo Crumble are a perfect example of how, no matter how many killer recipes I come up with, there are some I always keep coming back to. Even after four years, I have a handful of recipes that are the best of the best, and I’ll never tire of them. In fact, I’ll find myself looking for excuses to make them again, or trying to find a new spin on them so I can re-share them with you.

My Milky Way Ganache is one of my favorite and most popular recipes I’ve ever made, and it honestly drives me crazy because it’s two ingredients. That’s barely a recipe! And yet, it’s so incredible. I had that idea long time ago, that if you can make regular chocolate and cream into ganache, then why not use my favorite candy in place of straight chocolate? The results were amazing, and I never got over my love for that ganache.

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So when I got hit with one of my cravings for it, I dreamt up these ridiculously decadent Milky Way Ganache Brownie Bites with Oreo Crumble as my justification for making some. All in all, we’re talking four ingredients for these treats – seven if you count the eggs, water, and oil for the brownie mix. If you could make a bite-sized dessert filled with a pool of Milky Way bliss this easily, then why wouldn’t you?

There’s so much gooiness, so much fudginess, so much goodness! I’m overwhelmed just thinking about it. And sadly, I cannot calm myself with one of these Milky Way Ganache Brownie Bites with Oreo Crumble because they are all gone. My co-workers had them demolished by 9 a.m.

This is a perfect chance for you to experience one of my classic recipes you may have missed. And if you’ve been around the Smart Cookie scene long enough to have tried it already, then now you’ve got a new excuse to make it again.

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A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Want to serve these brownies with the filling still warm and melty? Make the brownie bites and crumble the Oreos ahead of time. Then, when you’re just about ready to serve them, make the ganache and fill the brownies.
  2. I recently tried Betty Crocker’s Extra Dark and Fudgy Brownie Mix, and I am in love. I’m not a dark chocolate person; that’s not what this is. It’s just got a deeper, richer flavor. Good luck resisting licking the spatula after you make it.
  3. The key to making this ganache is constantly stirring it while the Milky Ways melt, and staying patient. It takes a few minutes, but it WILL smooth out.
  4. You must make the indentations in the bites when they’re fresh out of the oven because they’re still warm and malleable then.

Milky Way Ganache Brownie Bites with Oreo Crumble
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield – about 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 box brownie mix (I recommend Betty Crocker Extra Dark & Fudgy)
  • 11.5-oz. bag fun-size Milky Ways, chopped
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 6 Oreo cookies, crushed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Prepare brownie batter according to box directions. Fill muffin tins ¾-full with batter. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centermost brownie comes out with just a bit of crumbs. Immediately after removing from the brownies from the oven, use something thick and circular with about a 1-inch diameter to make deep indentations in the center of each brownie. I used the bottom of an ice cream scoop. You can even use your thumb; just make sure you wrap your thumb in foil to protect it from the heat.
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  3. Let cool for 10 minutes before gently working a knife around the edges of the brownies and removing from pan. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, Place the chopped Milky Ways and cream in a medium saucepan. Over medium-low heat, melt the mixture together by stirring constantly. As it starts to smooth out, you can switch to a wire whisk. The mixture should be completely melted and smooth. Stay at a lower heat and make sure to keep stirring to avoid burning.
  5. Spoon mixture into each brownie, filling as far as you can without it spilling over. Immediately sprinkle Oreos over top. I recommend letting them set for a bit to make them easier to eat, or dive right in, if you prefer. Enjoy.

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Meatless Loaded Buffalo “Chicken” Wraps

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Not everyone understands how it’s possible for a vegetarian to not miss meat, but with recipes like these Meatless Loaded Buffalo “Chicken” Wraps, it’s pretty simple. I know how to make food that’s so satisfying, I never feel like I’m “missing” anything. And I’ve got the best support possible for my vegetarian recipes: a meat eater who could not get enough of these wraps.

My boyfriend loves buffalo wings, and most meat in general. But when he told me he was craving a wrap, I didn’t want to play it safe. I wanted to make something so good, we’d both love it. I immediately thought of the new Morningstar Farms Wings I’ve been enjoying lately, and dreamt of an over-stuffed buffalo chicken wrap with all the fixings.

These are semi-homemade, so you get the flavor and freshness you only find in a homemade touch, while getting these ease of help from the grocery store. We don’t have to worry about the wings; we just cook them up crispy, and they’re already kicking and zesty. Then we pile everything into the wrap, and it’s all that poor wrap can do to hold on for dear life and keep it together.

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Fresh lettuce, corn, diced tomatoes, fried onions, and two kinds of cheese all join the party. You get a medley of contrasting but well-paired flavors and textures that make this wrap so exceptional. It treats your taste buds and your mind so well, like pampering for your senses.

My meat-eating boyfriend absolutely inhaled his wrap, as did I. In fact, he had half of his gone before I could even sit down. With Meatless Loaded Buffalo “Chicken” Wraps this killer, it’s no wonder we don’t mind missing out on meat.

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A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. There is no end to what you can add to these wraps: sour cream, blue cheese, tortilla crisps, jalapeños, and more.
  2. I highly recommend Tumaro’s Skip the Sandwich Wraps. They’re delicious, and you get a gigantic one for 80 calories and 7 grams of protein.
  3. You can cook the wings in the microwave only, but I like popping them in the oven to get that crunch.

Meatless Loaded Buffalo “Chicken” Wraps
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield – 2 wraps

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Two 10″ wraps, like Tumaro’s
  • 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese, broken into pieces
  • 2 slices pepper jack cheese, broken into pieces
  • 12 MorningStar Farms Buffalo Wings
  • 1 generous cup chopped fresh Romaine lettuce
  • 1/3 cup diced tomato
  • 1/4 cup diced green chiles
  • 1/3 cup cooked sweet corn

Directions:

  1. In a small skillet, bring the oil to medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally until golden and tender. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Place Wings on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 40 seconds. Flip wings and turn plate and cook for another 30 seconds.
  4. Arrange wings on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown, flipping halfway through. Remove from oven when finished.
  5. Meanwhile, lay half the cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese on each tortilla. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to melt the cheese.
  6. Lay a generous amount of lettuce towards one side of each wrap. Sprinkle on tomatoes, chiles, onions, and corn. Place 6 cooked wings in a single layer on each.
  7. Fold the wrap in from the side closest to the filling, then tuck both ends in. Roll towards the open side, keeping it tight and compact.
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  9. Enjoy.

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The Weekender: Burgers, Fluff, & Bites

Two Bite Peanut Butter S'moresHello, Sunday! I’m savoring these summer weekends big time, especially because I know in the back of my head that they’re starting to dwindle. I’m not happy that summer has gone so fast, but at least I have Pumpkin Season to look forward to.

Sorry, I don’t mean to freak you out if you’re not quite ready for fall. But like it or not, it’s on its way. That’s why I’m enjoying the glories of summer while I can, including the seasonal cuisine. We got to celebrate National S’mores Day this week. In case you missed it – or any other eats, for that matter – let’s take a look back:

  1. Two-Bite Peanut Butter S’mores
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  2. Smart Cookie Shopping 58
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  3. Lemon Strawberry Donut Trifle
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  4. Peanut Butter Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites
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I didn’t realize what a chocolate-peanut-butter-palooza we had this week until just now, but that certainly isn’t a bad thing! Next week, I’ve got some bright and healthy plans. Plus, you know we’ll sneak a treat in there too.

What I’d really like to do in the future is try to recreate this Black Bean Veggie Burger Wrap from Swifty’s Bar in Utica. I get this every time I go there because it’s just that good! It’s got a homemade black bean burger, tons of cheese, fried peppers and onions, tomato, and guacamole.

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Veggie burgers are a large part of my diet since they’re convenient and delicious. For a quick dinner at home after work, I like to fry one up with fresh greens, crunch tortilla strips, cheese, and sweet potato. I switch up the mix-ins to keep it exciting.

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On Instagram, I follow a lot of corgi accounts (because they’re adorable), and corgi owners like to brag about their corgis’ bodacious rumps. Well, it turns out Mr. Poe can compete with the big dogs too. Look at that rump! He is proud!

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Wanna stay in touch? Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

What did you eat this week??

 

Peanut Butter Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites

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One of the great perks of being a food blogger is that, when I have a craving, I’ve always got an excuse to make what I want – these Peanut Butter Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites being the perfect example.

“Oh, sorry, I’ve got to blog something, so I guess I’ll just HAVE to make those cookies I’m craving; what a shame!”

Food blogging lets me justify pretty much any cooking endeavor, no matter how frivolous. The truth is, I’ve been craving chocolate chips cookies for weeks, so I finally decided to make some, and find that Smart Cookie spin so I could share it with you. My Peanut Butter Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites were a very satisfying result.

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These babies are chewy, buttery, and you can eat ‘em in just one or two bites. But the best part is the  surprise in the middle: a pocket of peanut butter filling. It’s a simple combo we love, and always have loved, together in the perfect snack.

There’s no doubt that these Peanut Butter Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites are made for dunking in milk then popping ‘em into your mouth, but you may be wondering, “What’s MY excuse for making these?” You may not be a blogger, sure, but you do deserve a pick-me-up. What better way to treat yourself than these poppable delights?

In fact, no excuses necessary here. Make ‘em because you want ‘em, period.

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A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. If you want soft cookies, you’ve got to be careful not to overbake. You’ll come to find that cookies are usually already done a minute or two before you think you should take them out.
  2. Customize the chocolate chips with whatever you like: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, etc.
  3. Don’t forget to spray the trays! You want to make sure the cookies come out clean.
  4. Split your work in half. Make the dough and filling one day then cover and refrigerate both. The next day, assemble and bake!
  5. If you DO choose to chill the dough before baking, it will take a few additional minutes to bake.

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Peanut Butter Surprise Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield – 4 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp. all-purpose four
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two mini muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together peanut butter and powdered sugar until evenly combined. It should be the texture of play-doh. If it seems too sticky, add a bit more powdered sugar. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until fluffy. Mix in the egg and vanilla until evenly combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Fold flour mixture into wet mixture in thirds, stirring well in between. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Take scant teaspoon’s of dough and press into the bottom of each muffin tin.
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  7. Grab a scant teaspoon of peanut butter filling, roll into a rough ball, and place on top of dough. Cover with another piece of dough, about a scant teaspoon’s worth, completely covering the filling and pressing down lightly.
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  8. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until puffed and set, and just beginning to turn golden. Let cool completely before removing from trays. Store in an air-tight container.

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