Posts tagged cookies

whole wheat pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

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with six foot snow drifts mounting outside my door and about a 36” cover of snow everywhere else in sight, there were few things i wanted to do during this blizzard other than eat grilled cheese and tomato soup.

http://distilleryimage5.s3.amazonaws.com/79a63bf272f611e2b6fe22000a9f12db_7.jpg

…ask and you shall receive.

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(that little mirror over on the right side of the picture is my car. awesome.)

anyway, i was glued to my couch working from home all day friday and saturday, but once saturday night came around, i was going a little stir crazy. first on my list was whole wheat banana-pumpkin muffins for breakfasts this week. before i started to put everything away, though, i realized i had 1/4 a can of pumpkin hanging around, all my baking goodies out and nowhere to go. so… i made some healthy whole wheat pumpkin dark chocolate chip cookies. in the entire batch, there is less than 1/2 a cup of sugar, whole wheat flour and rolled oats, pumpkin puree, no oil or butter.

unlike 99% of my recipes, i didn’t take step-by-step photos of this one because - to be honest - i didn’t have high hopes! this summer, i was tasked with making oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for my friend adam and i tried 3-4 times before getting them right. when trying to healthify cookies, i sometimes lose my mojo.

to my surprise, they turned out fantastic and i couldn’t help but share them. you get some finished product pictures instead of step-by-step, but i’ll walk you through the process anyway.

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1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c. rolled oats

3/4 c. whole wheat flour

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

1/3 c. dark chocolate chips

tips & things to do/know before you get started:

-preheat your oven to 350 degrees

-this recipe makes appx. 16 decent-sized cookies

-because there’s no butter/oil, they won’t rise/spread like “normal” cookies, so feel free to put them closer to one another on the baking sheet, but also flatten them out a bit so you don’t wind up with thick cookie puffs

okay now that that’s all settled, let’s get baking!

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in a small bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients (pumpkin, vanilla, eggs) and set aside.

in a larger bowl, stir together the dry ingredients, aside from the chocolate chips. once everything is well-mixed, pour the wet ingredients into the dry. the dough will be fairly dry - don’t worry about it. mix in the chocolate chips and make sure they’re evenly-distributed throughout the dough.

line your baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it. roll the cookie dough into balls, flatten them slightly and place them on the cookie sheet. (note: since my dough seemed a little dry, i made sure to knead slightly with my hands to make sure all the flour/dry ingredients were mixed in).

pop them into the 350-degree oven for 13-15 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your cookies.

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delicious :) enjoy!

xxoo,

eliz

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chocolate peanut butter cookies

as i mentioned before, my grandma is on the mend and i wanted to send her diabetic-self a sugar-free treat. yes, i understand that processed peanut butter has sugar in it, but a little bit is okay for her and i know that she loves peanut butter. these are definitely way different from last month’s lightened up peanut butter chocolate chip cookies which are a little dryer, smaller, filled with oats, chocolate chips and crunch peanut butter.

i originally was planning to just make regular peanut butter cookies but when my unsweetened cocoa powder fell from the sky (read: a high shelf in my cabinet), i figured it was a sign to add that to the mix.

half this batch was already devoured by my coworkers and the other half is en route to connecticut to brighten up nona’s day. thank you, USPS, for being my carrier pigeon.

nonas are the best, don’t you think? i have so many great memories of weekends and school vacations at my grandparents’ house. while i can credit my papa with my love of sports (or at least the red sox), my nona and i share lots of our memories in the kitchen. whether we were making applesauce, borekas, monkey cookies or shake-n-bake chicken, the most important ingredient was always lots of love. (cheesy but true).

if you know my nona, are friends with her on facebook (yes, she is on facebook) or are related to her, you know how selfless and sweet she is. i’m proud to be her granddaughter every day and hope that i can one day take care of my family as well as she has taken care of hers.

hope you’re back to your old self soon, naners!

1/4 cup butter (room temperature)

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 egg

2 Tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup Splenda or granulated sugar

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

[this recipe yields a little more than two dozen cookies]

before you get going, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

with an electric  mixer, beat together the peanut butter and butter until smooth.

add the egg, honey and vanilla. mix again.

add the sugar or splenda and beat until it’s well-incorporated.

add the flour, baking soda and cocoa powder and mix until everything is blended.

i then used a soup spoon to measure out each cookie and then rolled it in my hands to make a ball.

then take a fork and gently press down to flatten and indent the cookies in a criss-cross pattern.

pop them in the 350-degree oven for 8-10 minutes until risen and firm. let them cool on a wire rack before serving!

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

xxoo,

lilbit (as my nona calls me)

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chocolate crinkle cookies [& congrats, comak!]

how’s that title for alliteration?!

when i was in louisville in december for the field hockey national championship, i think i ate panera at least once a day for six days straight. it was within walking distance of our hotel and such an easy lunch option. well, i fell in love with one of the treats in the dessert case on my first trip - the oversized, chocolatey, delicious peppermint crinkle cookie and from then on, i would only get soup for lunch so i’d have enough meal money left over for dessert. through the whole trip, i never got sick of them and was already looking forward to winter 2011 so i could have the tasty treat again.

i thought panera had created this cookie, different from any one i had ever seen before. but lo and behold, months later, i was poking around the hershey’s website and found their “classic recipe” for crinkle cookies! the powdery white sugar, interrupted by dark chocolate cracks into the gooey cookie. could it be? crinkle cookies were a thing?

i was excited and knew i had to make them as soon as i had somewhere to go. if i kept these around my apartment, i’d eat them ALL and they weren’t even safe sitting on my desk. i wanted to make them so badly, but needed an invitation first. enter: my fantastic friend comak…

comak is one of the hardest-working people i know. it’s kind of funny because although we went to school together, we weren’t super close in college. i think we had one class together, ever, and we sat all the way across the room from one another. we stayed in touch after graduation, though, and i talk to her now more than people i lived with during my four years at school! she’s got a great head on her shoulders, knows what she wants and is a great listener.

we aren’t even three years out of college and she is already checking goals off her professional bucket list. and these are some pretty lofty goals, at that. but when i think about how she’s accomplished all that she has, a scene from HBO’s 24/7: penguins/capitals road to the winter classic immediately comes to mind.

pascal dupuis (or as i affectionately call him, pascal unibrow), a winger for the pens, is driving to the rink when asked about captain sidney crosby. he says that sid is a special kind of player and person because not only does he do everything right, but he does it the right way.

that’s how i feel about comak’s accomplishments and why i believe she’s going places so quickly. i couldn’t be happier for her or more proud of her. for those of you that are wondering, she is going to be the washington nationals beat writer for the washington times. so cool, right?!

anyways, her family threw her a combined 25th birthday/going away party on saturday and i knew this was the perfect place to share these crinkle cookies.

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder

appx. 1/3 cup powdered sugar

[this recipe yields about two dozen cookies]

in a large mixing bowl, combine the granulated sugar and oil, then add the eggs and vanilla. it’ll sort of resemble apple sauce, in my opinion.

in a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. gradually add the contents of this smaller bowl to the larger one, mixing well between each batch.

add the cocoa powder and mix until the dough is all chocolatey and brown. it’ll seem like a thick brownie batter.

cover and refrigerate until the dough is firm. the original recipe suggested six hours in the fridge - i had significantly less time than that, thanks to my own procrastination, so in a pinch i put the dough in the freezer for 45 minutes and the fridge for 30. it worked out just fine.)

while the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

 

scoop the dough out with a soup spoon and roll into 1” balls. toss them around in the powdered sugar (seen above in my personalized JUNGLE bowl purchased by dad at the farmer’s market in LA).

place them a couple of inches apart on the baking sheet and put in the 350-degree oven for 12-14 minutes until the cookies are cracked on top and firm when gently pressed.

let them cool for a few minutes before removing them from the sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

so good luck, comak - i know you’re going to do wonderful things.

xxoo,

eliz

ps - click here for a printable version of the recipe!

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not-so-bad-for-you peanut butter chocolate chip cookies

see this is what i love about baking, cooking and my food blog. i whipped these cookies up on thursday night to bring in for an office treat on friday. i then saw on facebook that my buddy mark had been having the worst day (read: wallet and phone were stolen and the only “light” at the end of the tunnel was a trip to lowell of all places for a hockey game).

hoping he didn’t have a peanut allergy, i grabbed a bunch of cookies (threw in some thin mints and tag-alongs for good measure), made a little feel better gift package and within five minutes, was off to work the hockey game and hopefully bring at least one good thing to his day. see what i mean? homemade treats, brunches and dinner parties make people smile and i like making people smile.

fast forward to wednesday, as i share this recipe with you: classic peanut butter cookie-lovers, beware. these are not gooey, salty, sweet peanut butter cookies with the fork prints in them. that’s for another time. for this batch, i wanted to make a little bit of a healthier alternative by using whole wheat and rolled oats, using natural peanut butter and sweetening with honey rather than loads of white sugar.

2/3 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cup natural, chunky peanut butter

1/4 cup honey

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup chocolate chips (i chose mini)

[these ingredients yield just under 2 dozen cookies]

 

in a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, oats, salt, baking soda) and set aside.

in a larger mixing bowl, combine everything else besides the chocolate chips (peanut butter, honey, egg, vanilla, brown sugar). mix until everything is combined.

in 1/2 cup batches, slowly add the ingredients from the dry bowl and mix in between each shift.

mix in the chocolate chips until they’re evenly distributed throughout the dough. i went with mini chips a) because i had them on hand and b) since the cookies are pretty small (two-bite cookies, if you will), so i thought the mini chips fit in with the texture and size better.

let the dough chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes and preheat oven to 375 degrees. also, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

form the chilled dough into small, 1-2 inch dough balls, but while you’re rolling them, knead them in your hand a bit to make sure they stick together and don’t completely crumble. i would suggest even flattening them into a disc and then rolling them into the ball. keep all the oats, peanuts and chocolate chips holding on!

bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes until they’re golden brown on top. right when you take them out, flatten the top with a fork or a spatula and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack.

make sure you don’t over-bake because honey goes from perfect to burnt pretty quickly!

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

go whip up a batch and hand them out to brighten up someone’s otherwise crappy day :)

xxoo,

eliz

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valentine’s day sugar cookies

growing up, my parents made sure that valentine’s day was special. hand-picked cards from my dad, treats and presents from my mom and constant reminders that the day is to tell the people you love how much you love them always made me love february 14. as time goes on, i feel like people get increasingly bitter about cupid’s holiday. unreal expectations, loneliness or pity parties have no place on my valentine’s day!

just as the quote i posted earlier from love actually, i think it’s important to remember that valentine’s day doesn’t have to be strictly reserved for romantic love. and while i think it’s important to make people feel loved on valentine’s day, know they’re appreciated on thanksgiving or special on their birthday, don’t forget to do these things every day.

in addition to valentine’s brunch with my friends yesterday, a BRIGHT PINK manicure and pedicure yesterday and wearing pink and red today, i wanted to spread some valentine cheer with cookies. obviously. i took the same sugar cookie recipe i used when i made holiday stars and candy canes in december, but took a different approach to the decorating. i must say that they took a while to chill, roll out, bake, decorate and cool. and i did whine a bunch in between each frosting shift… but in the end, i think they’re bright, fun and a sweet treat for the day.

1/2 batch sugar cookie recipe

2 cups powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon meringue powder

2 Tablespoons water

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

food coloring

sprinkles (optional)

make the sugar cookies, according to the recipe. roll the dough out and use heart-shaped cookie cutters to shape them.  let them cool completely on a wire cooling rack before you attempt to frost them.

while the cookies are cooling, get started on the icing. mix together the powdered sugar, meringue powder, water and almond extract using an electric mixer for five or so minutes until it thickens up.

divide the icing into separate cups or bowls based on how many different colors you plan to use. add food coloring to each and load up your piping bag.

carefully outline the shape of your cookie before flooding inside the outline. repeat for each color you’re decorating with.

originally i was planning to do 4-5 colors and making them look like necco conversation hearts, but after cleaning the piping bag and going through each step, watching the clock near midnight, i got far less ambitious.

if you want to do a glaze to go under some festive pink, red or heart-shaped sprinkles, take any remaining white frosting and add another 1-2 Tablespoons of water. whisk until it’s runny and more of a glaze.

dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze and then flip them upright to dry on the cooling rack. while they’re still wet, sprinkle the glittery stuff on top.

let the cookies dry overnight before packaging. as i was advised… you’ll think they’re dry before then. they’re not.

spread the love! happy valentine’s day, everyone :)

xxoo,

eliz

ps: click here for a printable version of the recipe(s)!

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black & white cookies (or half moons, same difference)

before you read this recipe, familiarize yourself with the seinfeld episode that tells you to “LOOK TO THE COOKIE!" it’s one of my two favorite episodes of the whole series (topped only by the alternate side episode made famous by “these pretzels are makin’ me thirsty” and made me laugh even more with, “who put cookies in his mouth? you’re not supposed to do that.”) so there’s the back story to what made me feel like making black and white cookies - recently seeing this episode of seinfeld.

what makes it even more appropriate of a choice to post today is that i spent the day in manhattan yesterday and black and white cookies always remind me of new york bakeries and delis. in researching a basic recipe, i learned that the reason they’re so light and cakey is that cake is what they are born from!

at the end of the day, bakers would take excess cake batter they had on hand and rather than tossing it, they’d add a little extra flour to give it some hold and behold: a light, cakey cookie.

i must admit, though, while i got rave reviews (especially to the request for an all white cookie by my coworker scott), when my friend matt asked me, “okay what makes these cookies healthy?” i didn’t have too much to say. i feel like black and white cookies are very near and dear to a lot of people’s hearts and they’re quite judgmental and particular about the classic cookie. since it was my first time making them, i didn’t want to tweak too much, for fear of disastrous results.

i will tell you this: the actual cookies themselves (not the frosting) aren’t too high in sugar and the frosting is just made of sugar and water - no fat. i hope that’s some consolation. in fact, i just calculated out the nutrition information and for a really decent-sized cookie (this recipe made about 30), it’s 120 calories and 3 grams of fat. that’s not too bad. so don’t feel guilty, just make a batch, share with everyone at work and eat them while you’re watching seinfeld.

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature

2 eggs

3/4 cup skim milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon lemon extract

1 1/4 cup cake flour

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder (not pictured - i’ll tell you why in a sec)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup water

2 Tablespoons dark chocolate chips

1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

once you’re done with the collecting, time to start doing!

first, prep your oven by heating it to 375 degrees. also, line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

in a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and (room temperature) butter. mix with an electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy. then, add the eggs, milk, vanilla and lemon extracts. mix that until it’s smooth and well-combined. then set it aside.

see that bowl in the background of the picture? that’s your dry ingredient bowl. whisk or sift together both types of flour, salt and baking powder. make sure it’s well mixed and then you’re going to dump that (in three or so batches) into the butter, sugar, etc bowl, mixing well in between each shift.

back to why the baking powder was not pictured. so here’s a habit i have… i don’t like to just print recipes off line when i’m working with them. i take a large piece of scrap paper and write everything out by hand. maybe it seems more authentic? i don’t know.

i bring my list to the grocery store with me, stash it in my planner until i get cooking and then take notes and scribble on it when i tweak ingredients and measurements. it usually gets covered in butter or batter and other messy things and then i toss it once i post my recipe online. it’s weird, it’s more work, but it works for me.

long story short, in my writing of ingredients, that got lost in transcription (get it? like translation…). luckily i have it readily available in my cupboard, so it was no crisis. it just didn’t make it to class pictures.

once you mix those together, the result should be a batterdough - not quite as runny as a cake batter, not as thick or tough as a cookie dough. catch my drift? great.

drop them onto your baking sheet and leave about two inches in between each dough ball. i’d say you want soup-spoon-sized mounds, for “normal” cookies, but black and white cookies tend to be HUGE, so you can also make them bigger if you like.

pop them in your 375 degree, preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. you want them to be cooked through but still pretty light. the darker the edges, the harder they’ll be to cover up with the icing.

as soon as they’re done, remove them from the pan so they stop cooking. they should slide right off without even needing a spatula, really! put them on a wire cooling rack to cool completely and once they’re cool enough, you can flip them over so the darker, flat side that was on the pan is facing up. this is actually the side you’ll be frosting! that’s why black and white cookies are so light and rounded on the unfrosted, bottom side.

make sure you’ve got wax paper or paper towels under the racks. not too important while they’re cooling, but once you get to icing, they’ll be drippy and that makes it far easier to clean up the mess.

while your cookies are cooling, you can get started on the very quick frosting.

put the confectioners’ sugar in a metal, heat safe bowl. you’re going to use this as the top of a double boiler later, so plan accordingly.

bring a little bit of water to a boil and then scoop out 1/3 cup and pour it over the sugar. whisk together until it’s smooth and seems like the consistency is “spreadable.”

with a butter knife or spatula (i used the former), take your white frosting and frost half the cookies. i wasn’t happy with the thickness and transparency of my frosting (picture on the left), so i let them dry and went on for round two. i was much happier with the result after that (picture on the right). you’ll be able to tell for yourself based on your frosting thickness and how it looks once you’re doing yours.

 

take all that’s left of your frosting and put it on top of a pot of simmering water to make a double boiler. add the chocolate chips and corn syrup and whisk until they’re melted and smooth. as you can see from the picture on the top right above, that chocolate addition does not make a black frosting. it makes a very light brown frosting. this is where the cocoa powder comes in! add that, one tablespoon at a time, until you get the color you’re looking for.

it’s totally fine to add the unsweetened cocoa, since the whole bowl is essentially sugar. trust me when i say it won’t be bitter at all. in fact, i loved the frosting and i’m not usually one for sweet frosting! it reminded me of the stuff that comes with dunkaroos and i’m a sucker for second grade throwbacks.

since this frosting is thicker than the plain white, i thought it was much easier to use. go ahead and frost the naked half of the cookies and let them dry for a considerable amount of time before you package them up.

one thing to note before i show you the finished product. i think it’s only fitting that i made these cookies because i feel like i’ve been on a back to basics/black and white kick lately. (see: my favorite black and white scarf (so LA, courtesy of mandy), my new black and white iphone cover (thanks, sephora!) and my life-changing black and white vera bradley planner (you can witness my love for it here).

if you don’t believe me, look at the evidence:

it just made sense to bake some cookies that went well with all of my favorite, can’t-live-without accessories :)

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

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#cookies

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#seinfeld

#black and white

carrot cake cookies

imagine all the spice-filled, texture-rich, totally unique deliciousness of carrot cake. now take that big hunk of cake and imagine it crammed all into a cookie! a totally-not-really-that-bad-for-you cookie. well, dream no more, my friends. i’ve created a carrot cake cookie that’s pretty healthy (it’s a relative term), less than 90 calories and completely satisfying.

the other day, caroline over at run cahill run mixed up some carrot cake oatmeal for breakfast. it looked delicious, but i figured my lovely readers might not totally be on board with it. also, it’d be mighty hard for me to share a bowl of oatmeal with everyone at my office.

so, i looked up some recipes for carrot cake cookies - i figured they’d keep longer than cupcakes and i wouldn’t have to worry about storing them in the fridge because of some decadent cream cheese frosting on top. i toned down some of the butter and sugar, bulked up the amount of carrots, threw in walnuts for some crunch and lo and behold - so much flavor in each notreallythatbadforyou cookie!

the best part about these cookies? i realized i had everything i needed for them on hand already! also, feel free to substitute Splenda for the sugar/brown sugar, which i would probably do if i was back home.

1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 stick butter, room temperature

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant oatmeal!)

1 cup finely shredded carrots (12-15 baby carrots or 2 large carrots)

1/2 cup raisins

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

when you’re done with the collecting, let’s move onto the doing!

to make everything go smoother once you start cooking, grate your carrots and chop the walnuts now. set them aside.

in a large bowl, mix together both the sugars and the room temperature butter with an electric mixer. after 3-4 minutes, or when the mixture is light and fluffy, add the egg and vanilla extract. mix until it’s blended and set aside.

in a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. mix it together until everything is well-distributed throughout the powder.

 

slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix it until everything is blended. i put the mixture in about 1/3 cup at a time, so it took three shifts to get all the flour into the bowl.

once it’s all mixed together, pour the carrots, raisins, oats and walnuts in. mix everything together until every spoonful of the batter has at least a little of all the goodies!

now, let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour. while it’s hanging out in there, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and either line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. i’m fresh out of parchment paper (note to self: buy parchment paper.), so i went the nonstick route.

after the dough has chilled, spoon the dough onto the baking sheets with at least an inch or so between the drops. bake in the preheated, 350-degree oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies start to darken around the edges.

let them cool on a wire rack and enjoy the smell that wafts through your kitchen! you can eat them plain (trust me, there’s enough flavor in there for the cookie to hold its own), or decorate with some cinnamon for garnish.

if you can’t imagine the thought of carrot cake sans cream cheese frosting, you could whip up a quick cream cheese frosting (i made some on my halloween pumpkin cupcakes) or you could buy a sweet cream cheese like honey nut (don’t knock it til ya try it. it’s amazing!) and make little sandwiches out of the cookies. in the interest of saving calories, i kept it plain and didn’t feel like i was missing anything at all!

click here for a printable version of the recipe!

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