Salted Caramel and Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Cookies

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This time last year: Homemade Peach Cobbler! (2013)

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One of the best parts about having a food blog, is that it constantly forces me to try new recipes!

I grew up making chocolate chip with my mom and younger brother. On summer days we would take over the kitchen, spilling flour everywhere, eating half of the chocolate chips, and eventually ending up with some cookies. It was a wonderful time.

Our classic recipe however, always called for butter, and no cream cheese.

The butter based cookies made for soft, thin, crinkly cookies, which I have always loved! I mean seriously, when has butter ever made a dish taste worse?

However, when I stumbled upon this recipe, the cream cheese had me intrigued and I knew I had to try this spin on the classic recipe!

And I will say- the cream cheese was a huge hit! Cream cheese makes these cookies fluffier and thicker, and slightly less greasy feeling. They were gobbled up far quicker than I would like to admit, and I am confident you will love them!

I hope your family enjoys them as much as we did. Who knows, you may be looking to change your traditional cookie recipe before you know it! 🙂

Happy baking, and come back soon!

Love, a rented kitchen

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Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, softened (use cream cheese in a block or spreadable, don’t use fat-free, light or whipped)
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
  • 2 ¼ cups chocolate chips (I recommend using either half chocolate chips and half chocolate chunks, or substituting the chunks for another variety of chips- white or in my case, salted caramel!)

Directions:

  1. Combine the butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer for five minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Once thoroughly mixed, add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and mix until just combined- about one minute.
  3. Fold in the chocolate and salted caramel chips, evenly incorporating.
  4. Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours. Either cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or go ahead and shape two-inch cookies, flatten, and cover with plastic wrap. (Do not bake warm dough, the cookies will be thinner and flatter.)
  5. Preheat the oven to 350˚F, and lightly grease a baking sheet. Arrange the cookies two-inches apart and bake for eight minutes. Pull the cookies out when the edges have just begin to set- the center will still look quite soft and white, but the cookies firm up significantly while cooling.

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Avery Cooks 
  • Like this recipe? Try these other scrumptious cookie recipes form A Rented Kitchen!:

Food for the Fourth!

Saturday will be here before we know it, and that means the Fourth of July – fireworks, family, friends, starry nights, jeans, bare feet and food. Lots of food.

For all of you out there brainstorming what to bring to your neighborhood potluck, what to cook for your relatives, or how to celebrate this holiday in a more environmentally friendly way by going vegetarian- look no further.

Below I have compiled a list of scrumptious foods perfect for this summer holiday. Check it out, and let me know what you try!

Happy cooking, and an even happier Fourth of July 🙂

With lots of love, Sarah

Appetizers:

Drinks:

 

Entrees and Sides:

Desserts:

Vegetarian Barbeque Baked Beans

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This time last year: Thai Veggie Burger with Peanut Sauce (2014)

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Well, in case you hadn’t noticed from my apparent absence the last several days, it is finals week. Woof.

The last week has been spent with more cups of coffee and paper writing in front of my computer than I would like to admit.

However, there is a God, and finals week is almost over, so I’m Back!

The next few weeks are going to bring you lots of yummy southern summer dishes, so get excited and come back soon!

To kick that summer cooking off, here is a scrumptious baked beans recipe. Also, check the bottom for some other good summer cook-out and potluck worthy dishes in the Notes and Tips section below!

Got a favorite southern/ summer recipe? Leave a comment- I’d love to hear it!

Happy cooking 🙂

Love, a rented kitchen

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Ingredients: 

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons honey (substitute with agave if vegan)
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard
  • 3 cups canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • Optional: Sea salt, to taste*

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the ketchup, barbecue sauce, water, Worcestershire sauce, honey and mustard together.
  3. Bring the liquid to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for five minutes.
  4. Stir the beans into the pot and transfer to a baking dish. Bake uncovered for an hour and twenty minutes, or until the beans are soft.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • I did not add any salt to this dish, I thought it was plenty flavorful enough. However, feel free to season as you desire!
  • Source: Whole Foods Market 
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious dishes from ‘A Rented Kitchen’!:

 

Honey-Roasted Pears With Lavender

pears

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So this dish is delicious. Seriously and dangerously delicious.

I know I say that about a lot of things, which I hold to be true, but THIS! This is good.

There is something really special about this dish. The pairing of the zesty lemon juice with the fragrant herb, and the sweet savory mascarpone cheese- yes please. I promise you will love it.

One additional pro, (I could go on, but I will spare you!), is that this dish is very simple to prepare, but is very elegant in presentation and appearance. Bookmark this one for the next time you have company, and come back tomorrow for one more lavender recipe!

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Lavender Week

Day One- Lavender Hot Chocolate with Homemade Whipped Cream

Day Two- Roasted Yukon Potatoes with Lavender

Day Three- Lemon Lavender Loaf

Day Four- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts and Lavender

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Ingredients

  • ½ Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 large, ripe pears, halved
  • ¼ cup local honey
  • 2 sprigs fresh lavender
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mascarpone cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F, and smooth a thin layer of butter on a 7 x 11 inch baking dish.
  2. Arrange the pears, cut side up, in the baking dish. Drizzle with honey, and then sprinkle the lemon zest and lavender over top.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and spoon the honey from the dish back over the pears. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the pears are soft and golden.
  4. Remove from the oven and top with 1 teaspoon of mascarpone cheese, drizzle the remaining honey in the baking pan, serve warm and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Adapted from: Health
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious dishes from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links below):

 

Lemon Lavender Loaf

Lemon Loaf

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So, apparently there is such a thing as a 1-2-3-4 cake. That was new to this amateur chef, until I made this recipe.

A 1-2-3-4 is a simple cake recipe base that notes 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour, and 4 eggs. From this standard, dozens of cake shave been created, altering additional ingredients such as salt, vanilla, baking soda, and additional flavoring. If you Google search 1-2-3-4 cake, you will be amazed with the results!

So, knowing this cake base comes from a long history of use and love, you can trust that this cake is one delicious recipe.

For those of you unfamiliar with lavender, the pairing of this fragrant flower and lemon blend beautifully, and can lend one to eating too much cake in one sitting. Trust me, I know.

Give it a try, and come back for more delicious Lavender recipes in this week’s Lavender series!

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Day One- Lavender Hot Chocolate with Homemade Whipped Cream

Day Two- Roasted Yukon Potatoes with Lavender

Bon Appetite!

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Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter–room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 generous teaspoon dried lavender buds

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325˚ and grease two large loaf pans. Set aside.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Continue mixing until the mixture has reached a consistency similar to buttercream frosting.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients- flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. In a large measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice.
  5. On low, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternatively to the mixing bowl, beating after each addition. Mix until the ingredients come together, but do not over mix!
  6. Gently fold in the lavender and pour into the loaf pans. Bake for 50 minutes, checking for firmness after 40 minutes (when done, a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean).
  7. Mix the glaze ingredients, and pour over the bread once cooled. Sprinkle with a few lavender buds, slice, eat, and enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Fudge Ripple
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious bread recipes from A Rented Kitchen (Recipe links found below!):