Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

I love Saturdays.  I especially love beautiful Saturdays when I can get out for a nice long run.  This morning did not disappoint.  I slept in a bit (until 7am!!) and when I got up, it was still a bit chilly at 41 degrees.  But, the sun was out and the birds were chirping and by the time I headed out the door, it was close to 50 degrees.  Fabulous!  I do love the peace and solitude of running in the dark but I also enjoy my Saturday mornings when the world is awake and people are out walking their dogs, walking their driveway in robes and slippers to grab the morning paper, or sitting on their porches drinking their first or third cup of coffee.  I love running.

I also love brownies.  It’s true.  And when I found this recipe for brownies made with pumpkin, it was like I hit the jackpot!  Pumpkin isn’t just for Fall and the holidays, you know. Pumpkin is full of vitamin A and can take the place of some fat in many of your baking recipes.  If you can make a brownie that’s delicious, light, and pumpkin-y, why would you choose not to?  Well, I opted TO make them and …. okay, I ate three.  I’m not ashamed.  They were light, speckled with chocolate, and oh so delicious. Om nom nom!!!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line an 11×17 baking pan with parchment paper or spray with non-stick cooking spray with flour.

2. In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, egg, egg whites and oil until smooth. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour through brown sugar) until combined. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting. (This allows the brownies to set.)

5. Gobble them up!


Recipe courtesy of Six Sisters Stuff

Chips Oh Boy! Cookies

Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies? Well, my uncle but I think he may be the only person. Seriously, I’m not sure what his problem is but for some reason, he doesn’t like chocolate. Crazy! Anyway, I’m a Toll House girl, myself. As a person, I love the flavor of the Toll House recipe … as a baker, I love the bar cookie recipe because, honestly, making regular chocolate chip cookies can take some time. But, sometimes it’s worth it to make a traditional chocolate chip cookie – like when you’re having a bonding moment with a family member or friend, you need to do something to occupy some time while you’re impatiently waiting for something else, or you find a new recipe that promises to be both delicious and light (for a cookie)! So, as soon as I saw this cookie recipe, I knew I was going to have to make some traditional cookies. I know, I know…my poor family…they have to put up with so much! 😉

The recipe comes from my new cookbook, The New Abs Diet and promises a delicious cookie with only 150 calories each! I wondered if I could make it have less calories and sugar and have it still be delicious so I opted for some substitutions in the recipe. I used Domino Light sugar and brown sugar and I substituted an egg white for one of the eggs. The result? YUM! And, 18 calories less per cookie! That’s a win in my book! This recipe calls for chopped walnuts which, in my opinion, should be optional. Normally, I don’t like any kind of nut in a cookie unless it’s peanut butter cookies made with chunky peanut butter and chopped nuts (mmmm……) but I decided to try it in these cookies just to see. It calls for dark chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet or milk chocolate so I thought maybe the nuts would add an interesting depth and flavor to the cookie. It really does! These cookies are spectacular – even with the walnuts! Of course, I’m pretty sure they’d still be spectacular without the walnuts but, trust me, you should try it with. Decadent dark chocolate and chopped walnuts together in a sinfully delicious cookie – YUM! I’ve already had 3! Oh wait…maybe I shouldn’t have told you that.

Chips Oh Boy! cookies

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar (or 6 tablespoons Domino Light blend)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (or 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Domino Brown Sugar blend)
2 eggs (I used one egg, 1 egg white)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat baking sheets with cooking spray.

2. Mix the flours, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

3. Beat the butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in the applesauce and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and the walnuts.

4. Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 36 cookies

Per cookie (original recipe): 150 calories; 2g Protein; 22g Carbohydrates; 7g Fat (3.5g saturated); 85mg Sodium; 1g Fiber

Per cookie (altered recipe): 132 calories; 2g Protein; 16.5g Carbohydrates; 7g Fat (2.6g saturated); 85mg Sodium; 1g Fiber

Chocolate-Oatmeal Carmelitas

I’m a cookbook junkie. There, I said it. That’s the first step towards recovery, right? But, I think I may be too far gone to rehabilitate. We are having a gift and book fair at work right now and, generally, where there are books, there are cookbooks and this book fair did not disappoint. Yes, I browsed and yes, I purchased. 2 of them! I wanted more!! It’s promising that I limited myself to only 2, right? I could have bought them ALL! Anyway, the good news is I have new recipes to try and that means YOU’LL get new recipes to try. One of the cookbooks is a crock pot cookbook and you know how much I love convenience, especially on a weekday. OMG, I am so excited about these new recipes!!! (insert vision of Kermit wildly swinging his arms around to describe how EXCITED I am!!!)

But, this post is not about cookbooks. It’s about a bake sale. No really, we’re having a bake sale at work tomorrow – I know! So many exciting things happening at my place of employment!! – and the proceeds benefit the American Heart Association. It’s our final bake sale before the Heart Walk on Saturday. So, even though I had a tough workout at class tonight and I’ve been up a loooooong time already, you know I had to contribute – especially once I found a recipe for Chocolate-Oatmeal Carmelitas, courtesy of Food and Wine magazine. (did I mention I’m also a cooking magazine junkie? *sigh* I have a problem.) The ABSOLUTE BEST part about this recipe is the fact that it has to sit overnight before cutting the carmelitas into bars. That means, once the pan comes out of the oven, I’m going to bed! Anyway, that’s not important – well, to me it is but we’re not talking about me. We’re talking about chocolate chips, oatmeal, pecans, caramel all combined into one fabulous dessert concoction. Oh, did I mention the butter? Yes. Butter. Lots of it. The whole thing is decadence in a 9×13 pan. Yes, I know I tout healthy eating. No, these cannot be lumped into the “healthy treat” category. So what? Sometimes, a girl just wants a chewy oatmeal bar jam packed with gooey caramel, chocolate chips, and pecans. So sue me. You know you want one too. 🙂

Chocolate-Oatmeal Carmelitas
makes 24 bars

3 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
one 16-ounce jar dulce de leche (1 1/2 cups); see Note
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk 3 cups of the flour with the baking soda and salt. Add the butter, oats and brown sugar and mix until combined. In a small bowl, mix the dulce de leche with the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour.

2. Pat half of the oat mixture into the baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Scatter half of the chocolate chips and pecans over the crust. Dollop half of the dulce de leche mixture on top. Crumble the remaining oat mixture evenly into the pan. Cover with the remaining chocolate chips, pecans and dulce de leche. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the edges are set. Let stand uncovered at room temperature overnight. Cut the carmelitas into bars and serve.

NOTE: Dulce de leche, the Latin caramel sauce, is available at most supermarkets and specialty food shops.

MAKE AHEAD: Once cooled, the carmelitas can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.