Gluten-Free Zucchini Almond Butter Brownies – AKA ‘Frownies’

These brownies are made with almond butter and zucchini for a healthy, delicious treat or snack. I've adapted the recipe from Kristin Cavallari's True Roots cookbook. These easy brownie are grain-free, dairy-free, and use honey instead of refined sugar. Top with a sprinkle of dark chocolate mini chips and a dash of sea salt. Our whole family loves them - kids included - and they are gobbled up in a day! Dubbed 'frownies' by my two year old, these healthy-for-you brownies will most certainly make you SMILE!

Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice Cake

Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice Cake

I made this to celebrate my daughter Claire's second birthday - she really is sugar and spice and everything nice, so I dubbed this layer cake the 'Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice Cake'. Also, Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Maple Cream Cheese and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting isn't as catchy. This cake is so deliciously spiced, soft, and tender. I pair it with a maple cream cheese frosting between the layers, and a classic vanilla buttercream to top it off. It was the perfect fall dessert fit for a celebration.

Best Ever Blueberry Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

Best Ever Blueberry Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

When I was working on a cake for my husband's birthday, I wanted a cake that was full of blueberry goodness. I love a traditional blueberry cake - golden cake with blueberries throughout - but wanted something different. After a little experimentation, I got it right with this! Luscious, light and full of blueberry flavor, with layers of fresh blueberry compote and just-sweet-enough-cream cheese buttercream frosting. I'm not much of a blueberry fan, and even I couldn't get enough of this cake!

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies (& My Baking Secrets!)

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies (& My Baking Secrets!)

There are a few things in life I consider myself an expert in. One is all of the Real Housewives story lines. Another is chocolate chip cookies. I'm a bit of a connoisseur. I've always been looking for the best, the most perfect, the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. The perfect chocolate chip cookie has to have the perfect thickness, soft but not under baked, dense but not cakey, golden brown edges, glorious chunks of chocolate throughout and oats to make them a little more chewy. Something straight out of a bakery case that could put you back $3 but you wouldn't even be mad about it because it's just that good.

 

I've been working on these babies for years and I've finally got it just right. Today I'm sharing with you the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe and my best baking secrets. I hope you try them and let me know how they turned out!

Secret #1 Use all dark brown sugar in lieu of white or light brown sugar. Dark brown sugar has more molasses, and a richer flavor. They add incredible depth to the cookies, more than white sugar ever could.

Secret #2 Add corn starch. Cornstarch makes the cookies chewy and soft when mixed with flour. It is also a thickening agent, which keeps your cookies from spreading and falling flat during baking. We like 'em thick and chunky around here. Add the cornstarch.

Secret #3 Use softened butter. I warm my butter until it's just shy of being melted, then cream together with the sugar. This ensures that the butter gets thoroughly incorporated. Combine the butter mixture with your dry mixture after.

Secret #4 Let your dough chill before baking. This recipe produces dough that's a bit soft. If you don't let it chill in the fridge before baking, it will spread too quickly and produce a thin, flat cookie. I usually chill my dough for about 2 hours, but you can chill for as long as 12. If you decide to chill overnight, let the dough sit out on the counter for easier scooping before you put it on the trays.

Secret #5 Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Parchment paper makes your cookies bake evenly and slide right off when done baking. Silicone baking sheets work great, too, and cut down on waste. I love these ones from Amazon which also make a great gift for someone who loves to bake.

Secret #6 Always use oats. I'll never go back to making cookies without oats. It adds structure and chewiness to your cookies that you just can't get any other way. I promise they won't taste too healthy, but extra indulgent and delicious.

Secret #7 Form dough into balls on baking sheet. This makes it so that they spread evenly and creates a thick cookie. I use an ice cream scoop to make sure my cookies are uniform in size, then roll the scoops into balls before placing on the baking sheets. Only cook 6 at a time to give them plenty of room on the sheet.

I hope you try this recipe and love these cookies as much as me and my family do! Let me know if you try them, and what your signature recipe is - do you have a go-to that you consider yourself an expert at making? I want to know!