Pillowy Cream Cheesy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I have a project under construction that is in Miami that I needed to visit so I just ‘dragged’ Price and Autumn along with me this past weekend. Friday was a work day for me and the weather was down right crummy, but the weekend was beautiful so the trip was totally worth it.

Since I was working, Price and Autumn hung around the hotel in the morning and then they went to the Miami Children’s Museum in the afternoon. It was so cute to see their pics pop up on my phone while I was taking pics of stone tiles. Let me tell you, it’s a wee bit stressful to have to select pallets of stone tiles when each tile is about $120 each!! Anyway, Price suggests taking kids to the museum, it’s pretty cool.

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After my site review, construction meeting, and nerve wrecking tile selection, the fun began for the weekend!! The weather got better and better so we got to enjoy the pool on Saturday. We took dips in the pool and splashed around with Autumn. And then while she took her afternoon nap in the room I snuck away for some solo lounge time!

I was initially really bummed that we didn’t go to Miami Beach but once we figured out the logics of getting from the hotel Downtown to the beach associated with the hotel (25 mins each way for a cab/1 hr each way on public transportation) and the cost (~$50 round trip for cabs & $15 per chair & umbrella), it was very clear that we made the right decision to stay at the hotel.

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Plus, it gave us a chance to hang out on the hammocks, we couldn’t have done at the beach. I put Autumn in one and at first she was spooked but then she relaxed and settled in. Within just a few minutes her eyes began to flutter so I hopped in a different one and Price brought her to me and we snuggled while she (we) slept for about an hour. Pure bliss I tell you!!

Speaking of bliss… these cookies!

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I’ve been recently making chocolate chip cookies with cream cheese since I had a 1/2 of an 8 oz block left over that was begging for me to use it in something. I was craving chocolate chip cookies and when I went to grab the butter out of the fridge I saw the cream cheese and figure ‘hey, why not!?’ I had made a 1/2 batch of cookies then since I knew I would have inhaled them all so the proportion worked out perfectly. Since then I’ve scaled back up to a full batch of cookies and a full 8 oz block of cream cheese.

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The cream cheese just adds a bit of tang to the cookie, which goes well with the semi sweet chocolate chips. And since you don’t completely mix it in you get some streaks of it in the cookie which changes up the texture, but in a really good way. They are still super soft and not dense so they hold up their fluffy texture well, making them pillowy. I suggest eating them hot from the oven- well that holds true with any cookie, no? But they will last up to 2 days in an air-tight contianer.

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PS- Sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt on the top right before baking and it will knock your socks off.

Pillowy Cream Cheesy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 32 Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
  3. Beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cream cheese and beat until just incorporated, it’s okay if it’s a bit streaky. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Add the chocolate chips.
  4. Drop heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased non-stick baking sheets or onto non-stick baking mats.
  5. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 1 minute; remove to wire racks to cool completely. 
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Cranberry French Toast Casserole

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Our mornings are so rushed with getting up, getting ready, getting Autumn packed up for daycare, Kemper out, and getting our stuff packed up that we often get our breakfasts on the way into work or if there are vendor presentations in the morning I’ll be able to get something like a muffin or some fruit. Those hectic mornings mean that I try to take the time to make a nicer breakfast on the weekends. I still don’t have a lot of time but it’s still great to make a nice scramble, bagel sandwiches, Kodiak Pancakes, or some waffles.

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A new edition to our weekend breakfast options is this breakfast casserole. We immediately fell in love with this Cranberry French Toast Casserole. So did our neighbors! Our neighbors’ son and his family were visiting for the weekend so I knocked on their door and offered them this casserole to make their morning a bit easier. They gave it rave reviews when they returned the casserole dish.

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I saw the Blueberry French Toast on Wendy’s blog called A Day in The Life on The Farm and just knew I had to make it. Wendy shares all about the comings and goings on the 12 acre farm she shares with her husband. She and her husband are both retired police officers and from the city where they worked so that they could have a slower pace of life. Since then they have learned all about tending to a farm, while taking in foreign exchange students. It’s great that Wendy is so active and enjoying her retirment from the police force. She is active with blogging as well as she posts daily about cooking, baking, writing, and about wrestling pigs to give them their shots. Ha!!

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I selected this recipe out of the hundreds of recipes she has posted for this month’s Secret Recipe Club post because it sounded so great and because it was versatile. Wendy made it with blueberries but since they aren’t in season now I went with cranberries. They could easily be made with strawberries, diced pieces of apple, or even bananas.

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 The best part of this french toast casserole is the struesel topping. It’s so yummy and adds a great flavor boost and textural contrast to the bread pudding portion. It would be great with some nuts mixed in as well. Maybe next time!

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This Cranberry French Toast Casserole is the perfect answer your need to slow down mornings. No, it doesn’t take long to prepare. No, it isn’t complicated. But it is exactly what you need to help you take a moment to savor breakfast and your mornings. It’s what the weekend needs.

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Cranberry French Toast Casserole

Makes 6-8 servings

Ingredients

For the Casserole

  • 1 large Baguette (mine weighed 1lb, 1 oz)
  • 2 Cups of fresh cranberries
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 Cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of ground ginger
  • 1 pinch of ground cloves

For the struesel topping

  • 1 Cup flour
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 Tablespoons butter

Process

  1. Cut the bread into 1″ cubes. Place into a very large mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
  3. Pour the mixture of the bread. Gently mix to coat all the bread. Add the cranberries and mix gently again.
  4. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate the casserole overnight.
  5. In the morning, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until puffy and browned on top. Enjoy with some pure maple syrup.

Adapted from A Day in the Life on the Farm

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Check out all the other great Secret Recipe Club posts this month!

And be sure to check out my 2 years of Secret Recipe Club posts!!!!

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Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive.

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Butterfinger Pie

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We are currently in Miami!!!

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I extended a work trip and dragged Price and Autumn along with me. Totally dragged them along. So while I am working today they get to hang around the pool at the hotel. So tough!

Just like this pie… so tough to make. Nope!! Actually, it’s super easy! Plus it’s tough not to eat it all!!

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I made most of this one handed as Autumn was like ‘mom, all the toys you laid out for me are BOR-ING! You should hold me. And I’ll help you out by trying to shove my hands in the containers of Cool Whip!!!’

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So ultimately, she was no help at all. But really super cute when I gave her the empty Cool Whip containers as a distraction.

Thankfully, I was able to whip up the rest of the pie in about 2 minutes and pop it back in the freezer for a bit of a cool down and set up. Perfect!!

Since it is tough to cut this while it’s completely frozen, be sure to take it out of the freezer and into the fridge to thaw a bit. Think of treating it like an ice cream cake.

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I actually intended to post this recipe on Halloween but then I was thinking ‘What if they don’t see this recipe on Friday? What if they eat all their Butterfingers before reading this and knowing about this pie? They need this pie.’ So that is why it’s getting posted now so that you are prepared not to eat all your (your kid’s) extra Halloween candy. And if all else fails, and they won’t let you steal the Butterfinger candies for this pie, you can buy some candies. Oooh, if you plan well you can get them on a steep post Halloween sale on Saturday morning!

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Make the pie. You deserve it.

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Butterfinger Pie

Makes a 9″ deep dish pie

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 1/2 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted

For the Filling & Topping

  • 6 fun/20 fun size Butterfinger Candy Bars
  • 8oz of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2- 8oz containers of Cool Whip, softened
  • Chocolate Sundae Syrup, about 1/4 cup

Process

  1.  To make the crust, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Pour the crumbs into the deep dish pie plate. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Chop of 5 1/2 full size/18 of the fun sized candy bars.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped candy bars and the cream cheese. Mix well.
  4. Gently fold in the Cool Whip until the filling mixture is well blended.
  5. Put a layer of chocolate syrup in the bottom of the pie crust. Pour the filling mixture into the chilled crust. Chop the remaining Butterfinger and then sprinkle the pieces on top. Return to the freezer for at least an hour prior to serving. Defrost in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Keep chilled for up to 3 days.

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My typical view when cooking/baking

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Dear Autumn @ 11 months

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October 2014

Dear Autumn-

Just last week you knocked our socks off by saying ‘yum’ when Dad offered you a piece of apple and then you stood all by yourself for a split second. It was such a mind blowing night. The enthusiastic ‘yum’ was just adorable but you really shocked us when you randomly let go of your grip on Dad. There was a lot of us going “did you just see that? She stood right? I can’t believe it. It was for a split second! She stood right?!?” So much fun.

You are super happy but super clingy now. Some days I don’t think I will get anything done as you are always crawling after me, climbing up me, or just being held. I’m reminding myself how these days are fleeting and to just relax and accept the slower pace of doing laundry, cleaning, or making dinner. It’s all worth it.

Understandably, you were really clingy during a recent cold. In fact you ended up with your first ear infection. So minor that you didn’t need any medication but still sad when we saw you pulling on your ears.

Our tiny Chicken is just as fast as can be. You crawl so fast that we need to be extra careful with closing and securing the baby gates. I stood right behind you as I let you crawl up the stairs and you made it up 3 steps with ease. Trouble! I know that once you are walking you will be record fast as you have such fine motor skills.

We visited Raleigh this past month to see if we could see ourselves living there. It was fun to imagine you running around some of the yards we saw. Oh man, I want us to have space for you to run & play. You did a great job on the flight down but we’re royally annoyed that you had to stay on our laps during the flight back. Such a rough flight! Let’s just hope you do better on our upcoming trip to Miami this weekend. You gotta see the world babe!

The way you laugh when you try to throw your cup full of water out of the tub is the best, even if the mess isnt. You sweet face looking up at us while you take a bottle is the best. And you puffy little cheeks and delicate lips set in stone while you sleep on me is the best.

We love you tons!

Love,

Mom

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10.17-19: Weekend Recap

{Friday night}

leave work at lunch | lunch with Adam & Chris at Society on High | home | pump | get Autumn from daycare | go to Dr’s – still minor ear infection (L), flu shot | home | make Garlic Noodles | Price gets home, packs up, & leaves with Kemper | watch Bones | work on fashion show stuff | watch lots of Triple D | dishes | laundry | pump | bed at 11

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{Saturday}

up at 5 | pump | Autumn up at 5.35 | bottle, breakfast, hang out | Autumn naps from 8.15- 10.00| pump, parenthood, baking, shower | bottle | pack up | leave at 11 | Sweet Meadow Farm for hay and pellets | go to work for fashion show work | home | Autumn has dinner, bath, bed | clean cube wall | make cookies | pump | bed

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{Sunday}

up at 5.00 |  pump | Autumn up at 5.35 | play and hang out | oatmeal for breakfast | nap together | playing around | make Butterfinger Pie| mac and cheese for lunch | leave house at 1pm | Michael’s | traffic | at work to for fashion show work | Price home from weekend away | home from work at 6.15 | Autumn very cranky | Autumn bath, eat dinner, play with new toys, bottle, bed | shower | dishes, laundry, and house clean up | pump | bed

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