Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Cheat)

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I’ve always been a huge fan of anything involving brown butter. Remember this brown butter banana bread recipe? AKA my faavorite banana bread recipe of all time? Ever since I stumbled upon that recipe, I’ve just loved using brown butter in baked goods. It takes the flavour to a whole new level, building so much depth in the flavours and complexion. Plus, you can’t deny that it’s kinda fun to melt all that butter down and watch it foam and go brown.

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These brown butter chocolate chip cookies are just so heavenly. I made them for a bake sale and they sold out ridiculously quick! Almost every person who walked by inquired about the price of the cookies, and some of them even asked us to reserve cookies for them. One person said that he came by after seeing everyone else with the chocolate chip cookies. Not to mention, so many people came back to compliment me on how delicious the cookies were.

Needless to say, this is a recipe that I will be using for many bake sales to come. This one’s a keeper!

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I honestly don’t think these photos do the cookies justice. They’re suuper rich and gooey and full of chocolate and mocha chips, not to mention the nutty, caramel-y goodness of the brown butter! If that’s not a foodgasm, I don’t know what is.

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

Makes 24-26 cookies, depending on size

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups (315g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (345g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (25g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup mocha chocolate chips

Method

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Make the brown butter by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. After a few minutes, the butter will begin to foam, darken to a brown color, and give off a nutty aroma. At this point, remove the saucepan from heat and transfer the brown butter into a bowl. Allow the butter to cool for 5-10 minutes, until cool to touch
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the brown butter and sugars together until well combined
  4. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and greek yogurt until well combined
  5. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips
  7. Chill the dough for 2-3 hours in the fridge, or up to 12-24 hours*
  8. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  9. Allow the dough to thaw for about 20 minutes before rolling into balls and placing them on a baking sheet 2 inches apart
  10. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes

*Alternatively, freeze the cookie dough after you’ve rolled them into balls. When baking them, simply add a minute or two to baking time

 

 

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Ultra-Fluffy Blueberry Yogurt Pancakes (Clean)

I’m in a bit of a dilemma.

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By the time I post this, my mock exams will probably be over, but right now, they haven’t happened yet and I don’t know what to expect. (Yep. Mocks ended today and I’m just posting this now.)

See, I had a week-long break recently, and I spent the whole time watching movies and sleeping because senioritis hit and I just couldn’t be bothered to do anything. Not to mention, I kept reminding myself that mock tests don’t matter, because they just count towards Semester 2 grades and nobody ever sees those. But now, just a night’s sleep away from my first exam, I’m starting to question that philosophy. I’m starting to wonder, what actually matters??

If you think of it in the perspective that everything contributes towards university, then wow – that changes things. When I was in middle school or when I just started high school, upperclassmen would always say “ah, don’t worry, none of that actually matters”. If I ever complained about how much homework I had, upperclassmen would always say, “that doesn’t matter, and that’s nothing in comparison to what’ll come later”. As we get older, we tend to play down the things that happened in the past. I think it’s because, once things are over, we realize how insignificant each thing was because we already know how it turned out.

Let me explain that. Say you have an essay due. It stresses you – of course it does. But once you find out what your grade was, and you did alright, it becomes something of the past. The grades go by and because nothing devastating or life-changing happened, it becomes relatively insignificant. What we don’t understand is that, for the people who are experiencing what we’ve already experienced, it’s all that matters.

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I think I’m starting to understand my thoughts now. I think my point is that all that matters, for anyone, is now. The simple concept of what is happening in the present, or in the recent past/near future. It all matters.

Okay, I’ve finished that thought. Now I’m going back to the concepts about how we learn. Technically speaking, mock exam grades don’t “matter” in terms of university applications, since those have already been sent. But, they do quite accurately predict how you’ll do on your final exams, and are also a good way to refresh what you’ve learned in the past two years of IB.

All those tests you take in middle school are “useless” and “pointless” in terms of college applications, but really, they’re not. The numbers themselves will never be seen, but grades are a representation of what you learn. Thus, if you don’t give a damn in middle school, your grades will tell you that you’re not learning, and you won’t do well in high school or university. If you do well in middle school, you will build the core skills you need to become a good learner and a good student. It all matters. Think about it. The kids who didn’t learn well in middle school usually don’t change much in high school, and the kids who worked hard continued to do so through all their years of education. It matters. It’s not all about grades and university applications and Ivy Leagues, it’s about learning. That’s it.

In conclusion, don’t look back at a younger kid who’s determined to do well and tell him/her that “it won’t matter”, because it does. That determination will grow with them and become a part of their personality, which is a wonderful thing. Each step of life has its significance, but it’s not always shown through numbers and letters and quantity – it just becomes a part of who we are. Everything matters.

Okay so none of that made any sense, but I’ll keep that there because I’ll probably enjoy rereading that when I’m like, 30 years old.

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Well, then. My mock exams are now over so all of that^ is now irrelevant. Now, it’s time to talk about these pancakes! *insert heart-eye emoji here*

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Okay, these pancakes are really special. They’re asiudhjnk ridiculously fluffy!!! I mean, if they weren’t super duper fluffy I wouldn’t have added the word “fluffy” to the title, right? So, I think my point has already been proven.

These pancakes are honestly just a dream. They’re full of that classic pancake flavor. You know the one I’m talking about – the sweet sweet scent of pancakes that just reminds you of fluffy little patties drenched in syrup. That’s the one.

The added yogurt makes them super moist without much oil, and the blueberries are just sweet little blobs of goodness that provide wonderful flavor and happiness 🙂

Because I didn’t manage to finish all of the pancakes in one sitting (despite my best efforts), I stored the leftovers in the fridge or freezer, and they were just as perfect when I heated them up in the microwave. They make the perfect 2-minute breakfasts. Just plop a few on a plate, microwave them, cover in honey and fruit and you’re good to go!

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Ultra-Fluffy Blueberry Yogurt Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (optional)*
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Toppings of your choice (blueberries, honey, maple syrup, yogurt, banana…)

*If you want to eat the pancakes plain, then I’d recommend adding a little sweetener, but if you plan on eating them with maple syrup or honey, then it’s fine to omit as well

Method

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, oil and eggs.
  3. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined
  4. Fold in the blueberries
  5. On Working in batches, scoop 1/3 cup batter for each pancake and cook until bubbles appear on top and underside is nicely browned, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook pancakes on the other side, about 1-2 minutes longer; keep warm in oven.
  6. Serve immediately with maple syrup.
  7. Lightly grease a skillet and heat over medium heat. Add in a 1/3 cup of batter and cook until bubbles appear and the bottom is golden brown. Flip over until cooked. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  8. Serve with your desired toppings!

Pumpkin Banana Spiced Pancakes with Pumpkin Fro-Yo (Clean)

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This one day during September, my inbox began filling up with pumpkin recipes from all the blogs that I follow, and that’s when I realised that I should probably get started on these pumpkin recipes, so today I’m giving you not one, but two pumpkin recipes!

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Here in Beijing, the temperatures are still in the high 20s, so part of this recipe is a Summer-Fall hybrid. Pumpkin Fro-Yo. All the flavours of Fall, but still keeping the temperature cool for Summer. If you’re not really up for cold food, don’t worry! The pancakes are hot and full of cozy spices, and of course, you can (should) top the whole stack off with a warm chocolate drizzle. Chocolate is great. It’s available year-round and it makes everything better.

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Also – did I mention that the frozen yogurt is only 4 ingredients? Yaaay!

Pancakes are my go-to breakfast these days. I like to make a large batch of them over the weekend and keep them in my fridge or freezer. They’re a perfect grab-and-go breakfast, which is essential now that swim training has started. Having breakfast ready everyday is the ultimate time-saver to maximise my much-needed sleep.

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Pumpkin Banana Spiced Pancakes with Pumpkin Fro-Yo 

Ingredients

For the pancakes:

  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

For the frozen yogurt:

  • 1 cup vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Melted chocolate, optional but recommended
Method
  1. For the fro-yo, mix everything together in a large mixing bowl until completely combined
  2. *Churn the mixture in an ice cream maker until it is a smooth and has thickened. Store in freezer.
  3. For the pancakes, in a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon
  4. In another bowl, whisk together the soy milk, vinegar, egg, pumpkin puree, banana, and melted coconut oil
  5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and fold until just combined
  6. Heat a pan over medium-high heat and scoop on 1/4-1/3 cup of batter
  7. Cook until bubbles appear and the sides start to dry before flipping. Cook another minute or so
  8. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  9. To assemble, stack the pancakes and top with a scoop of the fro-yo and a generous drizzle of melted chocolate. Enjoy!

*If you don’t have an ice cream maker, place the bowl in the freezer and stir the mixture every half hour until it reaches desired consistency

Fruity Rainbow Fro-Yo Popsicles (Clean)

Expect lots of ice cream recipes these days, ’cause my freezer it literally full of it right now.

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Also – I figured out a problem to that Photoshop problem. I had a bunch of recipes with unedited photos, but my laptop died and my brother’s laptop doesn’t have Photoshop. My solution – using a 7-day trial. Hell yes.

So instead of working on my college apps and my math IA, I’ll gladly spend these next 6 days editing all the photos I had procrastinated.

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These fruity popsicles are perfect for the killer heat this summer. I haven’t left my house for the past week until today, when I took my dog for a walk. I had only been outside for about 5 minutes before I started sweating and my dog was panting like crazy. Needless to say, it was a short walk. When I got home, the first thing I went to grab was one of these popsicles. I gave my dog her water, which she lapped up, but then she just stared at me longingly as I enjoyed my cold popsicle. Poor puppy.

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Feel free to sub in whatever fruit you want, depending on what you have on hand. Oh, and no – blueberries do not make a blue layer, but you could experiment around with spirulina powder to get a turqoise-colored layer.

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Fruity Rainbow Fro-Yo Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 3 cups greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cherries or raspberries
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1/2 cup chopped kiwi
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon açai powder
  • Honey, to taste

Method

  1. Distribute the yogurt evenly among 5 bowls
  2. In a food processor, blend each fruit separately and set aside. Start off with the lightest colors and gradually use darker ones to avoid washing your food processor/blender every time (pineapple -> kiwi -> cherries/raspberries -> blueberries
  3. Stir the pineapple, kiwi, and cherry/raspberry fruit purees into the bowls of yogurt. For the two distinct layers of purple, stir about a tablespoon of blueberry puree in one, and the rest into the other. Add the açai powder to the yogurt with more blueberry.
  4. Stir in half a teaspoon or so of honey into each bowl, if desired.
  5. Layer the yogurt into popsicle moulds. If your yogurt is runny, it may be easier to freeze the yogurt in between layers
  6. Freeze for 4-6 hours