Thursday, May 26, 2011

Crumbs Bake Shop

Crumbs Bake Shop is known to have some of the best cupcakes with a mouthwatering variety of flavors. They make delicious cookies, too!

On my most recent visit, I tried the chocolate dipped chocolate chip cookie. YUM!!! The cookie itself was thick, chewy, and full of chocolate chunks. It was just the right balance of butter, sugar, and chocolate. The half dipped in chocolate was extra tasty since the chocolate coating did not overpower the cookie.
At $3.75 per cookie, the cookie prices are a bit on the high side, but it is definitely worth it for an occasional treat.
For more information and location details, visit

Crumbs Bake Shop on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Bars

These addictive treats are really easy to make. I needed them for a birthday party in the middle of the week, which as you know is always crazy. They were a hit, and everyone thought they were really hard to make. The brownie mixture will be very thick, but when mixed with the peanut butter cream, it is perfect.

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 package brownie mix (for a 13x9 pan)
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9 pan with cooking spray.
Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter. Set aside.
Stir together brownie mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and water.
Spoon brownie mixture into baking pan and spread as much as possible. Pour in peanut butter milk mixture and swirl into the brownie mixture.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.
Yields 32 servings.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Banana Whoopie Pies with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

I was very excited to try this recipe from Taste of Home when I came across it on Fake Ginger. As you know from my many banana cookies and peanut butter cookie recipes, I love bananas and peanut butter! I will say that I sometimes hesitate with desserts like this, though, because of the extra step of making the filling. I like to bake cookies and be relaxing shortly thereafter on the sofa with a glass of milk and my warm creation. (I can relax because I cleaned the kitchen while the cookies were baking instead of making the filling/frosting; I can't relax without a clean kitchen.) The filling was very easy, though, and worth the extra step. I will be making these again. I enjoyed the soft texture and banana flavor and how it worked with the gooey peanut butter filling.

A couple of recipe notes... I rarely have buttermilk in my fridge, so I used low-fat milk instead without any problems. Also, the recipe makes A LOT of filling. Even if you halve the filling recipe, you will have plenty. I added some extra confectioner's sugar to sweeten it up and balance out the strong peanut butter taste.

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the Filling-
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, combine banana and buttermilk. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with banana mixture.
Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until set. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
For filling, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and butter until fluffy. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread filling on the bottoms of half of the cookies, about 1 tablespoon on each; top with remaining cookies. Store in the refrigerator.

Yields 18 sandwiches.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Milano Melt Cookies

I love the Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies! Really, who doesn't? They're cruchy, chocolatey, and deliciously simple. Part of my love affair with Milanos is phsychological. They were the cookie of choice for my grandmother. Whenever I went to her house, I would only eat macaroni and cheese (she somehow made it stay perfectly creamy every time), "hot cheese" (an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich), M&Ms from her giant candy jar decorating the counter (she always had the seasonal colors), and Milanos. The chocolatey scent of a freshly opened Milano package takes me back there immediately.

Now, to the new Milano Melts! I tried both the chocolate cookie and traditional cookie version with dark chocolate creme. Both kinds reveal a creamy, decadent dark chocolate filling upon the first bite. (Warning- napkin may be required for all of the gooey goodness.) If you have ever wished for more chocolate in your Milano, this cookie is for you. The outer cookie maintains that great subtle flavor and crunch. One drawback is their size (about half that of a regular Milano). The filled Milanos are delcious, but I won't be replacing my traditional Milanos anytime soon. Why mess with a classic?

I purchased each package (about 15 cookies) on sale for $2.00 each. Otherwise they are normally about $2.79 per package.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Butterscotch Cashew Bars

These chewy bars have just the right mixture of sweet and salty with the butterscotch chips and the cashews. The dough will have a consistency a little thicker than brownie batter and may require a little extra flour. Make sure you let the bars cool since the room temperature bars tasted much better than the warmer ones.

3 Tbsp margarine
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup cashew pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.
Cream together margarine and sugar. Stir in egg. Add flour, baking powder, and salt and mix.
Stir in butterscotch chips and cashew pieces. Spread mixture into loaf pan.
Bake for 18 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing into bars.
Yields 8 bars.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fairytale Brownies

Happy belated Mother's Day! If you did not get enough pampering yesterday, make up for it by ordering yourself a treat. Fairytale Brownies has excellent brownies, but they also bake great cookies! In my most recent brownie order, I gave their cookies a try. They make four flavors, and I would declare each one my new favorite after the first bite. 
Toffee Chocolate Chip- This was my favorite (I think!). With big toffee pieces that added a crunchy texture to a soft and chewy cookie, it was hard to stop after just one cookie. The toffee also added a bit of saltiness to balance out the sweet.
Coconut Walnut- Normally the most chocolate I like with coconut is the chocolate drizzle on top of a macaroon, so how much I liked this cookie surprised me. The walnuts were a nice addition to this very chewy cookie.
Caramel Pecan- I have never had a cookie with such large (about double the size of the average chocolate chip) caramel bits, and they were delicious and chewy. If anyone knows how to get this into a cookie I can bake at home, please let me know! My only complaint was that the pecan pieces were a bit large.
Double Chocolate- No surprise here. This extremely chocolatey cookie had a brownie-like texture that would greatly satisfy any chocolate craving.
One dozen cookies is $22.95 plus shipping. Visit for more details and to place you own order.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Great Dane Baking Company

This bakery has been hiding in plain sight from me for almost five years! Just across the street from my favorite pizza place, I am always too stuffed to consider looking for dessert. This time I went BEFORE the pizza, and I am so glad I did!

Great Dane specializes in beautiful and elaborate cakes, but they have a huge variety of brownies, cookies, breads, and other confections.

I tried the chocolate chip, double chocolate, M&M, and peanut butter cookies as well as a cute decorated sugar cookie. I couldn't pass up the chocolate dipped brownie decorated with the Cookie Monster! All items were delicious! The cookies were soft, chewy, and buttery, and the brownie was super rich. The double chocolate cookie was the best of the cookies and greatly satisfied my chocolate craving. The peanut butter cookie had a few too many peanuts for me. I was concerned that the decorated sugar cookie would look a lot better than it tasted, but that was not the case. It was lovely to look at and eat!
Standard cookies are 75 cents each. The larger decorated cookies are on average $4.00 a piece. The Cookie Monster brownie was $4.95.

Great Dane Baking Company has two locations: 6855 Warner Avenue in Huntington Beach and 11196 Los Alimitos Boulevard in Los Alimitos. Visit for directions and more details.

Great Dane Baking Company on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 2, 2011

Double Chip Walnut Cookies

I was hungry for a more classic cookie today and whipped up a batch of buttery, chewy cookies with semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and walnuts. These cookies spread a little more than I wanted to, so next time I will add an extra quarter cup of flour. Very buttery with lots of chocolate chips and crunchy walnuts, they disappear fast!

1 cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup walnuts

In a small bowl whisk flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugars until fluffy. Add in vanilla and eggs.
Gradually add in the flour mixture. Stir in chips and nuts. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 and prepare baking sheets.
Drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheets. Bake 12 minutes until light golden brown.
Yields 18 cookies.