The baker is baaaaaack in the kitchen! Like, really back this time, guys. Oh, it feels good. I’ve missed you!
Blogging is something that I LOVE. But I really didn’t realize how much I loved it, and even more so how much I needed it, until I stopped doing it. Food takes up a very large chunk of my heart and when I was away from this little creative outlet for awhile, I honestly wasn’t as happy. There was something missing. And this was it.
So should we talk life for a quick second? Let’s get up to speed on things. I quit my job as a chocolate-maker to stay at home with the cutest baby in the whole wide world, Sophia June. We’re gearing up for a really big move this summer (details to come!!) and I’m soooooooo excited. I’ve been plowing through my cookbook collection & am trying to be more intentional about actually cooking out of them instead of just staring at the pretty pictures & then setting them back on the shelf. I’m still absolutely OBSESSED with Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking; literally every recipe I’ve tried is absolute magic. I’ve also been going through The First Mess & Love and Lemons cookbooks…maybe I should do a post for you guys all about my cookbook adventures?! I think so.
Coming back to blogging, I spent a LOT of time debating about what I wanted my focus to be, if I wanted a focus, or if I just wanted to kinda make whatever I want. I feel like there’s so much pressure to have a defined niche these days and that stresses me out! I genuinely enjoy all kinds of food. But what I discovered (and really what I’ve known all along) is that what I love creating and photographing and giving the very most are baked goods. Though I truly value a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet, making decadent treats is just something that brings me joy! So I’ll continue my escapades as the sugar aficionado, with occasional recipes diverting from that theme as the feeling strikes 🙂 Are we good with that?
So. Let’s talk cookies! I created an animal cookie cookie recipe a year-ish ago and while it was good, I didn’t feel like it was my best work and definitely felt like I could make it better. I wanted them to have better flavor, not be as dense, a little softer…there were several improvements I was looking to make.
And I did!
Introducing: animal cookie cookies 2.0. Chewier, softer, moister, & tastier.
The main changes were adding an extra egg and reducing the flour for moisture, changing the baking powder/baking soda ratios, and adding a tish smidgin of almond extract for oomph (it just pairs so well with white chocolate, you know?) Plus there’s cream cheese in the dough which makes for a really soft bite and added richness. And of course, there’s chopped frosted animal cookies!! Who DOESN’T love these things?! (Well, actually, my husband doesn’t. But I think he’s the only one.) Seriously, putting cookies inside of cookies is one of the greatest ideas I’ve ever had 😉 They are just so fun and colorful and delicious!
Anyway, thanks for still being here, friends. You’re the best. I’ll be back next week with another recipe that I’m suuuper excited to share – think blondies + peanut butter + cadbury mini eggs…
- ¾ c unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- ¼ c full-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- ¾ c sugar
- ½ c light brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 t vanilla
- ¼ t almond extract
- 2½ c all-purpose flour, spoon & leveled
- ¾ t fine sea salt
- 1 t baking soda
- ½ t baking powder
- 1 t cornstarch
- 1 T nonpareil sprinkles
- 1 c frosted animal cookies, roughly chopped
- 1 c white chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine butter, cream cheese, and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer with a cookie paddle attachment. Beat until light & fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla and almond extract, and beat until well incorporated.
- Add the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cornstarch, and sprinkles into the bowl. Mix until combined.
- Lastly, add in the chopped animal cookies and white chocolate chips, and mix until evenly distributed throughout the dough.
- Roll into balls or scoop with a cookie scoop and place on a baking sheet lined with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until just baked through. Don't overbake!!! You don't want these cookies to be golden brown - you want them to be just barely done. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.