Wheat Germ Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I realize that this is going to be a bold statement, so you might want to sit down. This is my ALL-TIME favorite cookie. I even posted this recipe twice on my old blog, because it went through quite a few iterations to reach Peak Cookie. It’s inspired by a favorite cookie from Specialty’s in SF that my friend and I used to get all the time during work breaks/after work/whenever we could. This recipe seems fairly close but is even better, if I do say so myself. I added a lot of healthy bits and bobs, so you could probably eat them for breakfast—not that I’ve ever done that*.

*Disclaimer: I may or may not have eaten these for breakfast.

  • 3/4 cup old fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • (Makes approximately 30 cookies)

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease cookie sheets or line with baking paper.

Mix oats, flour and almond meal, in a medium bowl. Add baking soda, salt, cinnamon and whisk until mixed in. Whisk in wheat germ and flax. Chop coconut and pecans very finely in small food processor (or old school with a good knife) and mix into the flour mixture.

Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. Add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill the dough in a refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The dough should be semi-firm before proceeding with next step.

Use a cookie scoop to scoop out dough and arrange, at least 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies, until firm around the edges and barely golden on top, about 9 minutes. Cool the cookies for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

NOTE: I think the cookies actually taste the best the next day. Also, the dough can be prepared in advance and kept in the refrigerator, tightly covered for up to a week.

-CK 1.0

Best Banana Bread

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Toasted Banana bread may or may not be one of the best, most perfect foods there is. Especially when your mom made it and sends it with you for you big move. Being able to crack this open and eat this really made me feel at home during the big adjustment. We, as a family, have tried many banana bread recipes over the years—but this one by Tyler Florence is the whole family’s favorite. It has killer flavor and the texture is what dreams are made of: moist deluxe on the inside and a bit crispy on the edges. And bonus—when you toast this delicious bread and add a little butter, it puts it way over to top to magical perfection.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas (I like two of them to be frozen and thawed)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together for a good 3 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated; no need to overly blend. Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Don’t get nervous if the banana bread develops a crack down the center of the loaf; that’s no mistake, it’s typical. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy the smell, toast the bread, and thank your lucky stars you get to eat this glorious treat.

Betsy’s 1, 2, 3 English Toffee

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You can’t tell me that the holidays are done! It’s not truly over until you are passed out in a sugar induced coma on New Year’s Day. (I know we were healthy yesterday, but that earns us the right to be gluttons for another few days, right?) Well, we here at Two Carolines have got your back. This toffee recipe is super easy and ever since my rad friend Betsy taught my roommates and I this recipe years ago in San Francisco, it’s been my go-to! She was kind enough to offer to share it with all of you, as well! Lucky us, right? So, without further ado, here is Rad Betsy with her perfect 1, 2, 3 Toffee recipe…

I’m so happy to share my family’s homemade english toffee recipe!  For as long as I can remember, this toffee has been a staple of the holiday season in my house.  My grandmother use to make it during the holidays, my mom still makes it during the holidays to gift to friends and neighbors and now I do the same.  It’s always a hit, has a big wow factor and couldn’t be easier to make.

The method we use is the “1, 2, 3 recipe.”
1 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks salted butter
3 tablespoons water
Put all ingredients in your biggest, heavy-dutiest frying pan on HIGH.  Before you do this make sure you have an 8 or 9 inch metal cake pan right next to you.
Cook on high stirring CONSTANTLY with a wooden spoon.  You’ll watch it change from a melted butter looking mixture to a more creamy looking mixture and before you know it, it’ll start turning light brown.  Literally stir, stir, stir, stir until it’s basically the color of a brown paper bag (that’s how my mom and grandma always described it…no candy thermometers involved!).  While still stirring the boiling hot mixture, pour it into your cake pan and you’re done!  It will literally be just starting to smoke when you quickly dump it carefully into your cake pan.
I usually take my frying pan directly to the sink and turn hot water on it right away and I use my spoon to scrape out any remaining toffee.
Let the toffee cool in the pan for apx. 10-15 minutes or until you can sprinkle chocolate chips on it without them sinking right in (about 10 minutes).  The remaining heat from the toffee will melt them within a couple of minutes.  Once melted, smooth them over the top with the back of a spoon.  Traditionally, I top them with finely chopped walnuts but you can experiment with whatever you like (fleur de sel for your non-nut friends is delicious)!
Once completely cooled and chocolate is set, turn it out on a big sheet of foil.  I then gently bang/tap it into pieces with a mallet or my knife sharpening tool from my knife block…whatever works.
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Added bonus is the nuts that remain on the foil make the BEST ice cream topping.  Nuts with little shards of toffee and chocolate = heaven.
So that’s the official Taylor/Heywood/Santos family recipe!  It can take a tiny bit of practice.  If you cook it too long, you’ll know it b/c it’ll have a slightly bitter taste.  If you cook it too little, it may be a bit chewy.  You’ll get it though!  It’s really quite an easy process.  I have two cake pans and I’ll usually do two batches late in the evening…get them all ready and then in the morning they are perfectly ready to prep and package up for friends and neighbors.
Happy holidays!

Supergood Superfood Breakfast Bowl

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Does anyone else in the room feel like they need a bit of a detox this time of year with all the delicious and rich foods around? Or at least a fighting chance to start the day right in the morning? I clearly have a penchant for breakfast foods and grains, so I’m sharing another recipe that I make often. I am the type to get hungry every two hours, but this breakfast keeps me full all morning and—bonus—zero guilt!

This recipe is for one bowl, so obviously scale up as needed.

Start with:
1/4 cup pearl barley (or steel cut oats, but they don’t have those in Berlin)
1 tablespoon quinoa (red, white, black—whichever you prefer)
1 1/2 cup boiling water

Cook for about 15 minutes on the lowest heat until water is almost absorbed and grains are getting soft.

Add:
3-4 dates, chopped
3-4 dried apricots, chopped
1/2 tablespoon chia seed
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
1 tablespoon golden raisins
1 tablespoon slivered or sliced almonds
dash cinnamon
smaller dash nutmeg
splash of maple syrup
(I just throw these in willy-nilly, but I’m trying to use measurements for recipe purposes, so feel free to play with proportions and ingredients)

Cook together another 5 minutes or so until desired consistency. Top with toasted coconut chips and a large helping of feeling REAL good about yourself.