I Can’t Bake-Off: Signature Biscuit

Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Here’s my next bit of evidence for why I can’t go on The Great British Bake-Off. Of course, if you weren’t convinced by my chocolate celebration cake, I don’t know what else I could tell you.

If you made it through cake week on the first season of Bake-Off, your next challenge was to make your signature biscuit. Of course, being American, I’m much more of a cookie person, and my Giant Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies are definitely my favorite, but there are tons of others that I really love. Somehow, I didn’t think any of those would meet the criteria.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Then I remembered my Classic Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies from an Alton Brown recipe. Their crunchy so seemed more biscuit like, and my love of peanut butter is definitely a defining factor in my life, so if I was going to present something to Paul and Mary, it would probably be these.

This is one of the more popular recipes on my site, so hit that link to get the recipe, as I haven’t changed a thing. The only variation is in how long you bake them for. The longer you bake them, the crunchier they’ll be, but don’t let them get too brown because then they verge on burnt.

I stand behind these cookies. Or biscuits. Whatever. But doubtless, Paul and Mary would find flaws. They have a nice crunch and are not overly sweet. They deliver on the peanut butter flavor, and I can’t seem to stop eating them. However, my cookies always come out with some variation in size, shape, and color. I’m not a professional baker, and I never will be.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

If you’re looking for a simple, classic peanut butter cookie, give these a go. They’ll get you through to the technical without any disasters.

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Thanksgiving has come and gone, even on an expat timetable. I think we hit it out of the park yet again. I’ll never not make turkey meatloaf. It’s just too good. Well, perhaps the pie didn’t go to well. In case you’re wondering, you can’t substitute custard powder for pudding mix. But we were all so delightfully full from dinner, I almost forgot about dessert. I never thought I’d write those words. 

With turkey day officially put to bed, we’re free to talk about all things Christmas without any awkwardness. We’re going to buy our tree next weekend because my husband is still very much the excited child when it comes to Christmas decorations. I’m a bit nervous about keeping a live tree healthy for that long, but we’ll just have to take extra care. It’s the shopping I’m most worried about though. I’m a terrible gift buyer. I just want to get everyone a book.

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You know my favorite thing about any holiday is the food, and the best thing about Christmas is cookies. They don’t really have a Christmas cookie tradition here in the UK, and I think they’re definitely missing out. I think you should add these White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies to your holiday baking list year. They’re not only seasonally appropriate with their burst of red and white, but they also happen to be irresistibly delicious.

There’s no secrets or tricks to this cookie. They’re pretty standard in terms of method. They raise the bar on a more traditional oatmeal cookie, though. Dried cranberries are vastly superior to raisins, and though I’m normally not a white chocolate lover, the sweetness balances the tartness from the cranberries perfectly in this recipe. Make sure you’re using rolled oats and not instant porridge or oatmeal, otherwise you won’t bet the proper chewiness from your oats.

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Let’s bake all the things this year, friends, starting with White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies. Keep it festive. Keep it awesome.

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 13 minutes

Yield: 32 cookies

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies definitely deserve a place on your holiday baking list.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 4 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 100 grams white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl add flour, baking powder, salt, and oats. Gently whisk to combine.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, use an electrical mixer to beat together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until creamy. Then beat in the egg and vanilla until combined.
  4. With your mixer on it's lowest speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients until combined. Finally, mix in the dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.
  5. I use a cookie scoop to scoop out walnut-size balls of cookie dough onto my baking sheets, leaving a couple of inches in between for the cookies to spread. I had enough dough for four batches of eight cookies.
  6. Bake your cookies for about 13 minutes or until they start to lightly brown around the edges. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Store in an air tight container if you can stop your family from eating them all.
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Awesome in July

Awesome in July

It’s been a blissfully quiet month. We’ve been sticking close to home, dodging the rain, and eating a lot of burgers. The best burger this month that I didn’t make myself was for sure from DogHouse in Merchant City. We’ve been continuing on with our Marvel film festival now that the World Cup is finally over, and I finally saw Black Panther. I absolutely loved it. Thor: Ragnorak was also really fun. Captain America: The Winter Soldier had the best fight choreography.

I also managed to finish three books this month; The Piano Lesson by August Wilson, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Between the World and Me was definitely my favorite of the three. 

I have a powerful need to try out this Baked Honey Hot Chicken Sandwich

I’d never heard of Smith Island Cake before, but I’m certain I need to eat it.

Also please hook me up with a bucket of Cinnamon Harissa Caramel Corn.

Classic Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Your favorite recipes this month were Classic Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies, Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels, and Peanut Butter Fudge. These are the best of the best, friends.

August means back to school and back to insanity. I’m reveling in the peace and quiet while I still can. Make it awesome, kids.

28 Awesome Recipes to Eat Outside

28 Awesome Recipes to Eat Outside

28 Awesome Recipes to Eat Outside

The time has come for dining al fresco. For picnics, potlucks, backyard barbecues, cookouts at the beach, and all other kitchen free eating. Today I’ve got a round up for you of recipes that you can cook or prep ahead. These are all things that are easily transportable and either don’t need to be refrigerated or could fit in a small cooler. The next time you’re invited to a party, you won’t be at a loss for what to bring. It’s gonna be awesome.

Starters, Snacks & Sides

Everybody wants something to snack on while their waiting for the main meal to come off the grill. And of course, a hot dog on a plate all by itself is just sad. Here are some things to get you started, fill out that epic cheese plate, or accompany your burgers and dogs.

Dill Potato Salad | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Easy Peanut Butter Hummus – serve with veggies or chips to keep people from lurking around the grill

Fancy Pants Sauage Rolls – These are great hot or cold, so pack them in your picnic for sure

Southwest Pasta Salad – Mayo-free and full of flavor

Blue Cheese Crackers – That’s right, you made your own crackers

Picnic Cheese Plate – Be a hero and bring a simple, affordable, and totally delicious cheese plate for the gang

Dill Potato Salad – This is potato salad with a dash of elegance

Loaded Baked Potato Salad – This is that trashed up potato salad that you’ve been dreaming of

Homemade Oat Cakes – Another option to serve with some really great cheese

On the Grill

Because we’ve all decided that frozen burgers are the worst, I want to make it easy for you to always have the best burgers. Make your patties ahead of time, pack them on ice, and throw them on the grill when you’re ready.

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Stuffed Burgers | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Jalapeno Cream Cheese-Stuffed Burgers – A burger with a spicy surprise

Cuban Burger – Add pickles if you’re into that because they really should be there

Spicy Southwest Burgers – You won’t be able to keep your hands off them

Basic Burgers – My tips for making awesome burgers with whatever’s in your kitchen

Sweet Treats

So this section is the longest because, let’s face it, I’m gonna ask to bring dessert. But you have to plan properly if you want people to eat something delicious instead of sad and melty. All these recipes are very easy to transport and serve outside and don’t need to be refrigerated.

White Chocolate Raspberry Blondies | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Classic Crunchy Peanut Butter Cookies

White Chocolate Chip Brownies

White Chocolate Raspberry Blondies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kahlua Brownies

White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Nut Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Blossoms

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lofthouse Cookie Bars

Giant Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mexican Brownies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

S’mores Brownies

Go eat outside while you can, kids!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m constantly waffling back and forth about whether or not to continue with this blog. It never became successful, and I understand why. My photos are fine but not extraordinary, and the food I like doesn’t fit in with what’s popular. I’ve learned to accept that I won’t ever be a professional blogger. It’s not even close to my biggest failure. But I do keep asking myself, what’s the point? You’re probably sick of hearing about it. 

I recently got some encouragement to continue blogging from one of my all time favorite bloggers. This is someone who’s work I’ve admired since I first discovered food and baking blogs back in 2011. The fact that she even knows my blog exists is a certain level of success. It absolutely gave me a huge hit of encouragement to continue being myself and putting it out there.

So now that that decision is made, I’ve got a new problem. I’ve suddenly got the urge to completely redesign my site and give it a fresh new look. This could get messy. Stick with me, friends.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

While we work through our midlife blogging crisis, let’s eat cookies. But not just plain old chocolate chip cookies, but really tasty chocolate chip cookies with a totally awesome surprise in the center, a mini peanut butter cup. Apparently this was a complete revelation in Glasgow because I brought these to school for an event I was hosting, and I got compliments for a week. I thought they seemed pretty basic, but non-bakers seem to find them quite impressive.

They’re super simple to make. The firs time I made them, I had two friends in my kitchen, so they don’t even require all your attention. You can put your friends to work unwrapping the peanut butter cups. Just make sure they don’t eat all of them before you actually put them into your cookies. And how do we get those peanut butter cups into the cookies, you ask? Simply press one into each cookie as soon as they come out of the oven. Your cookies will continue to bake and set up for a few minutes after they come out of the oven, and once they’re cool, they will have set up perfectly.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

It may be a bit untidy around here for a while, but it’s gonna be delicious. Have a cookie and just relax. Everything’s gonna be awesome.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Blossoms
Yields 24
Beautiful chocolate chip cookies surrounding a peanut butter cup are so delicious and so impressive.
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Prep Time
20 hr
Cook Time
13 hr
Prep Time
20 hr
Cook Time
13 hr
Ingredients
  1. 8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 2-1/4 cup all purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 12 ounces chocolate chips
  10. 24 mini peanut butter cups
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and fish out your muffin pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and both kinds of sugar together with an electric mixer until combined and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix on the lowest speed until just combined.
  5. Add chocolate chips and mix briefly to incorporate them into your dough.
  6. Use a medium scoop to fill each muffin cup about a third full. You want there to be enough to cover the bottom of each muffin cup, but the dough will spread and rise a bit as it bakes.
  7. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the cookies just start to turn golden on top. They will still be a bit soft inside, but they'll firm up as they cool.
  8. As soon as your cookies come out of the oven, press a peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie. Allow them to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan before removing to a rack to cool completely. Get on with your second batch if you don't have another muffin pan.
  9. If you have any leftover cookie dough, obviously you can just make cookies with them.
Adapted from Circle of Friends Cookbook - 25 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/



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