Chocoholic Brownies: How To

Dear Reader,

I have something to announce. I am a….. chocoholic. If you don’t know what a chocoholic is, it is

  1. a person who is addicted to or excessively fond of chocolate. (also known as me)

Anyways, most chocoholics know the number one rule from Chocoholic 101 (made by me and Google) which states that to be a chocoholic you must have an obsession over brownies. I’m not talking about regular brownies either. I mean super fudgy, chocolaty, and rich brownies. And since I’m a proud chocoholic, I have a recipe for these exact brownies engraved in my mind, heart and stomach.

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As usual, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit before making your batter. Additionally, line your pan with parchment paper or grease with vegetable oil. To begin the batter, combine the melted butter, oil, and both sugars. I always use vegetable oil in all of my recipes because olive oil has too strong of a taste and typically will change the taste of the bake.

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Then, add the vanilla, salt, and eggs until thoroughly combined. Even if you’re not much of a salt lover, salt is always essential in baking as it brings out the sweetness of the sugars and other ingredients. So, even if a little salt does not seem so important, ALWAYS add it in.

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In the same bowl, sift in the cocoa powder and flour. I can not stress the importantce of good quality cocoa powder enough. It makes a HUGE difference. So, if you can, definitely go for the better cocoa powder. Continueing on, make sure to fold this in until just combined. Be sure not to overmix as that will take out the air that has been created through the folding. Also, if you haven’t noticed yet, this is a one bowl recipe.

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Now, fold in almost all of the chocolate chips or chunks. Set aside some to top it off. I prefer bittersweet chocolate in this recipe to balance out the sweetness of the actual brownies.

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Finally, pour the batter into your pan and top with the remaining chocolate chunks or chips.

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Once done, just pop it in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

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I do suggest waiting till these have cooled to room temperature to cut and eat it. However, I’ll completely understand if you want to eat this right out of the oven!

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Ingredients:
-1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
-1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
-Heaping 1/2 Cup light brown sugar
-Heaping 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
-2 large eggs, room temperature
-2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
-1/2 cup all purpose flour
-1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 Teaspoon salt
-1 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
Prep: 15 minutes
Overall Time: 55 minutes
Makes 9 servings

Directions:

Step One: Prep
Grease one 9" square pan with vegetable oil or line with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Step Two: Combine
Combine the oil, sugars, and melted butter. Add the vanilla, salt, and eggs until thoroughly combined.

Step Three: Fold
In the same bowl, sift in the cocoa powder and flour. Fold in until just combined. Fold in almost all of the chocolate chips or chunks.

Step Four: Pour
Pour batter into prepared pan. Top with remaining chocolate chips or chunks.

Step Five: Bake
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

 


Banana Bread: How To

Dear Readers,

I live with a bunch of monkeys otherwise known as my family. You think I’m joking? We go through around seven bunches of bananas a week. The people at the grocery store recognize us because we go in so often to buy bananas. (No Exaggerations) Despite our extreme love for bananas, sometimes we’ll have a few that have gone too ripe. At this point, you know it’s time to break out the banana bread. For this, I absolutely love banana bread because you can basically make it whenever you feel. I mean you can freeze bananas for a looooooong time before they’ll go bad. So, whenever you want banana bread, all you really have to do is just thaw out those overripe bananas! Isn’t that amazing?

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Like you’d expect, you’re gonna start off by mashing the bananas. Now, when I do this I love to leave it chunky so that the banana bread has chunks of bananas and a different kind of texture in it but if you don’t like this then feel free to mash your bananas until it’s more liquidy.

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Next, whisk all the dry ingredients together and set this mixture aside. Now, whisk the rest of the ingredients together with the mashed bananas. After thoroughly combined, fold in the dry ingredients. It’s super important to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients to create some air and keep the air that was made.

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If you’d like, feel free to add any nuts, chocolate chips, and other toppings. Before pouring the batter into your pan, be sure to butter and flour your loaf pan. The reason for this is that the coating of flour will make sure that the fat of the butter does not disappear into the batter. Finally, bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 65 to 75 minutes.

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This bread is super easy to store, all you have to do is wrap it and refrigerate. It can be refrigerated for up to 6 days.

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If I haven’t turned into a monkey yet because of this delicious banana bread, trust me you soon will be one.

Love, Keana Gindlesperger

Ingredients:
-3 to 4 very ripe bananas (Very Spotted or Black)
-1/2 cup or 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted and cooled
-2 large eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Overall Time: 75-85 minutes
Makes 10 slices or 1 loaf

Directions:

Step One: Prep
Butter and flour one loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Step Two: Dry Ingredients
Whisk together flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and flour together and set aside.

Step Three: Wet Ingredients
Mash bananas into a paste. Whisk the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla into bananas into fully combined.

Step Four: Fold
Fold dry ingredients together with the wet ingredients until the batter is lump free.

Step Five: Bake
Bake for 65-75 minutes.

 

 


Peanut Butter Blossoms: How To

Dear Reader,

So I know I’ve been on a little bit of cookie craze lately but I swear this is the last cookie recipe. For a while at least. Or just a couple days.

Anyways, I’m not that big of a fan of peanut butter but with Hershey’s milk chocolate mixed in, I could be a fan of anything. Also, these cookies are just completely adorable with their ‘cherry on top’ look. It’s like a fashion show for cookies and they’re the headliner!

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Before I get to carried away though, like many of my other recipes, this one has a story. Similar to my earthquake cookies, this is another passed down recipe but I gave it a couple changes. So originally I got this from my great aunt but I wasn’t a huge fan of it because it used all types of weird things that were unneeded. I was also pretty skeptical for peanut butter isn’t my favorite product especially in desserts but I managed to love it with a couple tweaks and additions. First, I toned down the sugar level. I’m not one for overly sweet treats and neither is most of my family. Then, I rolled it in sugar. Weird right? Considering I just said that I decreased the sugar. Nonetheless, I found that rolling it in sugar gave it a delectable outer crust that nobody can resist and it didn’t make the cookies overly sweet. Lastly, I changed a couple ingredients. The main ingredient that I changed was the cake flour that my aunt used because the cookies don’t have a high amount of sugar in them so I found it pretty useless. Additionally, cake flour helps cakes rise and become fluffier but the cookies still turn out very fluffy and light without it. Now instead of cake flour, I use all-purpose flour (my go to). However, more recently I found that replacing around 25% of the regular flour in most recipes with coconut flour adds a certain amount of sweetness and just makes most recipes 10 times better. Using coconut flour also allows me to take away some sugar from the recipe. After all these changes, I ended up with the ultimate peanut butter blossom cookie.

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To start them off, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, in a medium sized bowl sift together the salt, flour, and baking soda. You can set aside that mixture.

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With an electric mixer or your muscles of steel (thank you spinach) cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.

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This should take about 3 minutes. Afterward, add in the egg, milk, and vanilla. Once fully combined, slowly add in the flour mixture. It’s important to add in the flour mixture in parts to avoid the infamous flour cloud.

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If your dough is too soft, refrigerate for one hour before rolling.

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Before baking, roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls and roll in granulated sugar. Space them two inches apart on a greased or lined cookie sheet. Bake for 7 minutes. Then, insert the Hershey kisses into each cookie. Bake for 3 minutes.

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Then you’ll have delicious peanut butter blossoms that even a peanut butter hater couldn’t hate.

Love, Keana Gindlesperger

Ingredients:
-1 Large Egg
-1 Tablespoon Whole Milk
-1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
-3 Dozen Hershey's Kisses
-1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
-1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
-1/2 Teaspoon Salt
-1 Stick Butter (8 Tablespoons), room temperature
-1/2 Cup Smooth Peanut Butter
-1/2 Cup Granulateed Sugar
-1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Overall Time: 25 Minutes
Makes 3 Dozen Cookies

Directions:

Step One: Prep
Grease three cookie sheets with vegetable oil or line with wax paper.Preheat oven to 375 degrees farenheit.

Step Two: Sift
Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.

Step Three: Combine
Cream together butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Add in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Add in the flour mixture in 3 parts. If dough is soft, refrigerate for one hour.

Step Four: Roll
Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls. Roll in granulated sugar.

Step Four: Place 
Place dough balls two inches apart from each other.

Step Five: Bake
Bake for 7 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from oven and press a Hershey kiss into each cookie till they slightly crack. Bake for 3 minutes or until golden brown. 

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Earthquake Cookies: How To

Dear Reader,

I’ve never experienced an earthquake and I don’t really want to. However, to ward off the spirits who might want to give me that experience, I decided to make my own earthquake. Don’t worry! I’m talking about earthquake cookies. If you don’t know what earthquake cookies are, they are a delicious fudgy cake kinda cookie. So if you can’t decide between cake or cookies these are definitely what you wanna make.

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I like to call this my most popular recipe based on my friends and family’s reviews. but that may be because it’s the recipe I’ve known the longest and been the best at making time and time again. Though I can’t take all the credit for I actually got the recipe from my grandma. Every year during the holiday season my grandma makes these and sends them to my family. I swear she’d send us a boatload of them but they’d only last a couple of days. Anyways, my sister and I loved the cookies so much that when we visited my grandma, the only thing we really looking forward to was making earthquake cookies. From there, we were sent home with the recipe and never stopped making it.

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A major reason we never stopped making it was because it is so easy to bake. I have to say though I prefer to make everything from scratch because it really gives me a sense of accomplishment. In a way, these are from scratch because we don’t rely on the box mix but I still use the box mix because it turns out the same as using cocoa, flour, and the works. I also like to use the box mix as it really saves me some time.

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Now, to start off the dough, you’re going to cream together your butter and cream cheese until smooth. This should take around 3 minutes if your ingredients are at room temperature. If you’d like these cookies to be on the more cakier side, leave out half the butter. Next, beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

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Then, beat in the cake mix. I like to beat in the cake mix in two portions to prevent a cloud of cake mix.

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Before rolling these out, cover and refrigerate the batter for around 2 hours. If you’re in a rush just cover and freeze it for 30 minutes.

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Like most recipes, you have to preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, roll the dough into table spoon sized balls and cover them in confectioners sugar (otherwise known as icing sugar). Place them two inches apart from each other. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes.

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Just a warning, this recipe makes 2 dozen cookies but I suggest making more because they’ll be gone within hours.

Love, Keana Gindlesperger

Ingredients:
-15oz Devil's Food Cake Mix
-1 8oz Brick Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
-1/2 Cup (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
-1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
-1 Egg
-Confectioners Sugar (Icing Sugar)

 

Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Overall Time: 22 Minutes
Makes 2 Dozen Cookies

Directions:

Step One: Prep
Grease two cookie sheets with vegetable oil or line with wax paper.

Step Two: Beat It
Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Around 3 minutes. Beat inegg. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in cake mix.

Step Three: Rolling
Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls. Roll in confectioners sugar.

Step Four: Place
Place dough balls two inches apart from each other.

Step Five: Baking
Bake for 10-12 minutes.

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies: How To

Dear Readers,

Everybody and I mean everybody loves chocolate chip cookies. Especially when they’re gooey on the inside yet crispy on the outside. So gooey that when you break it apart the chocolate is just melting out. Lucky for you, I happen to have a super simple and easy recipe for these amazing cookies. However, it did come at a price. That price being a partially ruined kitchen from constantly remaking them until they came out looking like perfection. You wont have to go through that though because I did for you. I’m just kidding! Or am I?

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So before I start my cookies, I always prep. In this case, prep will consist of preheating the oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit and lining cookie sheets with parchment paper. I prefer parchment paper to oil as I find that the cookies stick to the oiled pan.

To actually start off the dough, I whisk the dry ingredients together. I do this to guarantee that everything is thoroughly combined and to make sure that there aren’t any chunks of flour or baking powder. Next, I beat together the butter and sugars. Since we want the mixture of butter and sugars to be creamy, the butter should be at room temperature. To check if your butter is at room temperature, press your finger into the stick of the butter. If your finger easily makes an indent, then you’re good to go. After the butter and sugars are completely combined, slowly add the egg in.

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Once everything is completely mixed, add in the dry ingredients. I find that adding in the dry ingredients in three parts makes it a lot easier for the dough to come together. Now to finish off the dough, just fold in the chocolate chips.

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Like many cookie recipes, I roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls, placing them 1 inch apart on my cookie sheet. Unfortunately for me, I only had precut pieces of parchment paper which did not fit my entire cookie sheet. So, I had to use more cookie sheets than needed. Hopefully, you won’t do what I did.

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Anyways, when all my dough is rolled into balls, I bake them for 10 – 12 minutes.

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The best time to eat these cookies is when they’ve slightly cooled down but are still warm and fresh or if you’re really eager you could take a gander at eating them right out of the oven. Trust me though, the latter isn’t typically the smartest move but sometimes its just too hard to resist.

Love, Keana Gindlesperger

Ingredients: 
-1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
-1/2 Cup and 2 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
-1/2 Cup and 2 Tablespoons Room Temperature Unsalted Butter
-1/4 Tsp Salt
-1 Room Temperature Egg
-3 Tbsp Cane Sugar
-1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
-1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
-1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
-1 Cup and 7 Tbsp Flour
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Overall Time: 25-27 Minutes
Makes 18 Cookies

Directions:

Step One: Preheat
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit or 176 Degrees Celsius.

Step Two: Combination 
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the baking powder, baking soda, and flour. Then, in the stand mixer beat together the butter and sugars on medium for 3 minutes or until thoroughly combined. Once completely combined slowly add the egg in.

Step Three: Making the Dough
Add in the flour combination to the mixture. You should end up with a dough that you can touch without it sticking to your finger. To make it chocolate chip cookies fold in the semi sweet chocolate chips.

Step Four: Panning it Out
On any sized cookie sheet roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls and place them one inch from each other. Remember to put oil or parchment paper on your sheet so you can easily take the cookies off the pan.

Step Five: Baking
Bake the cookies for 10 - 12 minutes.

 

 

 


Homemade Customizable Ice Cream: How To

I scream! You scream! We all scream for ice cream!

Dear Readers,
A family favorite summer treat (and my favorite treat) is ice cream and now you can make it at home without any churners. Despite constantly making my own sweets and treats it never occurred to me to make my own ice cream. I finally decided to make ice cream at home after creating an imitation of the Starbucks Cold Brew Malt which required coffee and vanilla bean ice cream. However, when I was making this I bought the ice cream. Although I made this at home, I still felt as though I didn’t really make it because it wasn’t completely from scratch. So, after countless videos and recipes, I ended up with my own altered vanilla ice cream recipe which I realized could be completely customized.
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Okay, like any cream based dessert you’re gonna need your cream. In this case, I’ll be using heavy whipping cream and whole milk. I decided to include heavy whipping cream to make it thicker and airier. To make it vanilla ice cream just add in some vanilla extract. Now, you’ve got your base. You could keep it and keep it as is and skip to whipping and freezing it or you could customize it.

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I personally love Oreos and mint so I decided to go with mint chocolate chip ice cream and Oreo ice cream. I just mixed some Oreos into one-half of the base. For the other half of the base, I used peppermint extract and green food coloring to get the typical mint green color.

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Here comes the best part of the recipe. You don’t need a churner! All you need to do is whip your mixture until air bubbles form and it has become thicker. Then, wrap the bowls in saran wrap.

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Finally, just throw it in the freezer and you’re done!

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Feel free to customize the base recipe to your liking and throw on any topping you desire.

Love, Keana Gindlesperger

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Overall Time: 5 Hours

Servings: 8


Base Ingredients:
Oreo Ice Cream Ingredients: Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Ingredients:
– 2 Cups Whole Milk
– 2 Cups Heavy Cream
– 2/3 Cup Cane Sugar
– 1/4 Tsp Salt
– 1 Cup Chopped Oreos
– 2/3 Cup Crushed Oreos
– 1 Cup Chopped Milk Chocolate
– 1/2 Tsp Peppermint Extract
– Green Food Coloring
Directions:
Step One: Prep
Freeze an empty freezer safe pan or bowl for more than 2 hours. If you're making multiple ice cream flavors, be sure to freeze one bowl or pan for each flavor.

Step Two: Combine & Separate
In a large bowl mix together all the base ingredients. Split up the base ingredients evenly between two bowls. In one frozen bowl, stir in the crushed Oreos. In the other frozen bowl, mix in the peppermint extract and green food coloring. Put as much coloring as needed until you see your desired color.

Step Three: Whip It (Whip It Real Good!)
Using a handheld or stand mixer, whip together each combination separately for 3-4 minutes. It should end up as thick and creamy as tomato soup.
 
Step Four: Wrap & Freeze
Use saran wrap to cover each bowl. The saran wrap should touch the liquid base. If the saran wrap is not touching the liquid, a film will develop. Then, put the bowls into the freezer for 1 hour.

Step Five: Stir & Freeze Again 
After 1 hour the ice cream bases will be chunkier. At this point, the chopped milk chocolate should be stirred into the mint ice cream and vice-versa with the chopped Oreos for the Oreo ice cream. Lastly, place the bowls back into the freezer for 4 or more hours.