Happiness Project#77: Cookie Dough Milkshake!

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It’s time, my friends. Time to take a piece of my heart and run with it. I’m a strong advocate of helping those less fortunate than I. Particularly those who face circumstances that no one should ever have to face. Circumstances that become a battle for ones own life. Neuroblastoma. DIPG. Leukemia. Three pediatric cancers that effect the lives of those most precious, those most fragile: our children. Diseases that force the youngest of souls to loose so much, too much, of their own childhoods.

So in following my heart, and my desire to help where I’m most able, I recently created a community outreach project, Cheer Bear Mail, on Facebook. Where, with the help of my immediate community, I create Cheer Bear Mail packages for these children fighting pediatric cancer. Personalized packages including handwritten cards, books and toys, gathered together in one big bundle, to shower these brave young warriors with love, encouragement and a little bit of cheer. Because these children, who’s lives are riddled with pain, needles and hospital rooms, deserve all of this, and so much more.

If you’d like to join my Cheer Bear Mail project, by helping support children and their families effected by pediatric cancer, please visit my official page on Facebook!

So I guess you’re curious as to why this lovely milkshake has anything to do with Cheer Bear Mail? This yummy cookie dough milkshake was created specifically with a child’s spirit in mind. Because milkshakes remind me of summer. And the summer reminds me of children. Joyfully running though wet blades of grass. Gleefully kicking up sandy footprints. Begging for that one last Popsicle. Or THIS milkshake.

Here’s what you start with:

Chilled roll of chocolate chip cookie dough

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

3 cups of your favorite vanilla ice cream

1 cup of whole milk

Firstly, you’ll need to create the chocolate chip dough bits. Using whatever favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipe that you prefer, create the cookie dough, and then tightly wrap up that cookie dough, to be placed in the freezer for at least one hour.

Once your cookie dough is very chilled, remove from the fridge, and with a small knife (or your fingers), roll up tiny sections of the dough, into quarter inch balls. Now depending on how many milkshakes you’d like to serve, you’ll only be using around a quarter of the whole cookie dough (to create 18-24 mini milkshake balls). With the remainder of that dough, you can easily rewrap it into a log, and freeze for another day.

Place the quarter inch balls on a cookie sheet, and freeze for at least 20 minutes.

Now to the milkshake.

In a blender, add in the sugar, vanilla ice cream and milk. Blend on low speed until fully mixed, and a bit frothy.

In 2 to 3 chilled glasses, pour in the milkshake. Followed by gently stirring in 3 to 4 of the chilled cookie dough balls. And serve, with spoon or straw. Or freeze for an additional 20 minutes for a thicker texture!

It’s a milkshake, after all. It’s supposed to be thick, creamy and wonderfully decadent!

From my heart to yours, may you, too, relive a piece of your own childhood, with this tasty cookie dough milkshake. That’s the beauty of living, right?

 

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Happiness Project #40: Cookie Batter Waffles!

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Every month, for one glorious week, I travel 3 hours south, to where my sister & 3 nephews live. And even though I’ve been taking Ari with me, for a good 5 months now, it’s always a little bit like opening a huge, musical present on Christmas morning, filled to the brim with bubbles, legos, splashing, laughter and warm, giggly hugs! I am incredibly lucky enough to have one of those (somewhat rare) very close & loving relationships with both of my sisters, even though my oldest sister doesn’t live in the same area as the majority of my immediate family does. And now that I am finally FREE from so many of my previous health challenges (which prevented me from traveling), I am always incredibly excited about my special “Sister Adventure” trips! So is my (now) 17mo Daughter! Who ADORES her three VERY affectionate & loving cousins. ADORES them! Like no other! Cousin time that she doesn’t really have with any of my closest relatives (here in the Bay Area). Though, considering how much of an introvert I still am (in combination with my daily battle with PPD, anxiety and Menopause, yes, I did say Menopause at 36 years old), I’m fairly convinced that some of this “isolation” is partly my fault. Hence, our monthly trips south. With my oldest sister, I feel SAFE, which is a VERY important thing to me, especially since becoming a Mom.

Anyhow, every time my Daughter & I stay with my sister, I’ve been hell bent on either cooking a Dinner Dish or baking up a Dessert for her family, as a Thank You, for being such an important part of our lives, no matter how often my sister tells me that it’s not necessary *wink* So last week’s special treat, from me to my sister’s family, was Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Waffles for Dinner! Yes, for Dinner! Because who doesn’t want breakfast for dinner?? And let me tell you, you haven’t lived until you’ve had Cookie Dough Waffles! Seriously! You may never look at a Waffle in the same way ever again, after this. I don’t. So here you go, my friends! Breakfast for Dinner =)

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch of kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar, light or dark

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 eggs

1/2 tablespoon vanilla

3 tablespoons whole milk

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Gather up all of your cookie dough ingredients, as well as your trusty waffle iron. My sadly neglected Cuisinart Waffle Maker has been sitting unused behind my coffee machine, for nearly a good year now. I’m quite convinced that if this pretty, little machine could talk, it would have been scolding me one minute yet joyfully singing out it’s freedom the next.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, stir to mix. Set aside.

In a stand mixer (or by hand held mixer), beat together the melted butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar, for 2-3 minutes, until throughly combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed with the vanilla. Drop your mixer speed down to low and add in the flour mixture, until just blended. Stir in up to 3 tablespoons of milk to create a silky, liquid-like dough texture, instead of a traditionally thick cookie dough batter. A liquid-like batter is essential for creating a good waffle dough. Lastly, but most importantly (because, well, it’s chocolate), stir in those chocolate chips.

Once your waffle machine is prepped and ready, drop about a cup full of the cookie dough into each waffle segment and let bake for 4-5 minutes. If you’re not sure if your waffle maker is made with a non-stick iron, then lightly spray each segment with butter, before adding any cookie dough to it. Your waffles will be ready for consumption when the edges are lightly browned and the waffle is slightly springy to the touch. Oh, and when your entire house begins to smell just like a cookie! That’s the WHOLE idea, right? Right.

Best thing about these waffles? They taste just like the actual cookie so you don’t even need to add any topping to them. Unless you REALLY want butter, syrup and powdered sugar. They’re your waffles, after all! Though a scoop of Vanilla Ice-Cream might be fun, too. Just because.

Happiness Project #30: S’mores Cookie Sliders!

IMG_5772In two short days, my baby girl will be 9 months old! And although I’m fiercely excited about all of her developments (just yesterday, she tried repeatedly to pull herself over her baby gate! On top of the fact that she’s now standing, waving, high five-ing everyone she sees and has FOUR teeth already!), it’s still very bittersweet to me as well. At nearly nine months already, her babyhood is fast coming to an end, and because she is my only child (unless we’re able to adopt one day), I can’t help but want to slow it all down. Wishful thinking, I know, but prevalent, none-the-less. *sigh* Oh, the beautiful, happy joys of babyhood! What a wonderous thing to witness!

Mommyhood aside, a couple of months back, one of my cousins pinned a drool-worthy S’mores dessert on Pinterest (Oh, Pinterest!) and ever since then, I’ve been dying to create my own modernized party version of it! Hence these perfectly messy cookie sliders! The best part about this new recipe though, besides it’s triple chocolate yumminess? It’s quite easy to assemble as well as very family friendly! AND there’s NO baking required! You just have to be rather quick at multitasking! Seriously quick! Or else and better yet, this is one of those rare assembly recipes that the whole family can help out with! So grab a family member or two, throw on some holiday music and get messy with this delicious S’mores treat! Ready?

First up: the cookie dough truffles! You’ll need…

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 oz bag of chocolate candy melts

In a small bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk and set aside. In a 2nd bowl, on a stand mixer (or by hand), cream the butter, granulated sugar and peanut butter for 2-3 minutes until well mixed. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until also well combined. Now add the flour mixture, in the 1st bowl, to the wet mixture and mix gently, at your mixers lowest speed, until throughly mixed. At this point, the dough might be a bit too wet to handle so pop the bowl in the fridge until the dough is stiff enough to roll easily. By hand, roll up the dough into 1-1/2 inch balls. I always recommend rolling your dough by hand verses by a cookie scoop because with the hand rolling technique, it’s easier to create a firmer, more perfectly circular ball. Try it out to see (and feel) the difference! 🙂 *This cookie recipe will make up to 20 dough balls.*

Next, line a baking sheet with either a Silpat mat or parchment paper and fill up the entire baking sheet with evenly spaced chocolate dough balls. Place the baking sheet with the chocolate dough balls in the freezer for 20-30 minutes to chill.

While your dough balls are chilling, this is the perfect time to set up your graham cracker/marshmallow assembly station. You’ll need…

1 box of Graham Crackers *gently cut or break each full sized graham cracker in half. *You will need up to 20 graham cracker halves.*

1 bag of large marshmallows

On a large microwavable plate, place 1 marshmallow on top of each halved graham cracker. Set them all aside.

2-3 minutes before you’re ready to take the chilled chocolate dough balls out of the  freezer, empty the entire 12 oz package of chocolate candy melts into a medium sized microwavable bowl. Heat up the candy melts, in three to four 20 second intervals until the chocolate candy is completely melted and smooth. Set aside.

Ready to take out those chilled cookie balls? Please do! Before you start dipping away though, you’ll need to soften the marshmallows you’ve assembled on their graham crackers. Softening them will create the cushion (or slight indentation) that the dipped cookie balls will sit on.

Depending on the strength of your microwave, warm up each marshmallow until they are ever so slightly softened (my microwave was set at 14 seconds). Just enough so that you can gently press your finger down into the center of each marshmallow to create a slight cushion (or indentation).

Now, the messy part! With a large slotted spoon, dip a cookie ball into the melted chocolate until the ball is throughly coated. *Oh, and just in case I didn’t mention it before, you might want to wear an apron for this! This can get very messy!* With the tip of the spoon, gently tap off the excess dipping chocolate (if you want a smoother cookie texture). Gently and carefully, transfer the coated cookie onto the cushioned marshmallow. Repeat for the rest of the cookie dough balls. Once all of your S’mores Cookie Sliders are fully assembled, stick them, covered, in the fridge until serving.

See? What did I tell you? Fun AND easy! A perfect treat for all of those holiday family gatherings! So get to it and get messy! Nom! Nom!

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