Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies sallysbakingaddiction.com_

I don’t know about you, but I love my cookies to be soft and thick. None of this crispy, break-into-a-million-crumbs-as-soon-as-you-bite-into-it stuff.

So you can imagine how bummed I was when my family’s go-to recipe started turning out, well, flat and crispy. My mom has always used the Original Tollhouse recipe, the one you find on the back of the bags of chocolate chips. She seriously has a recipe card that says “Tollhouse Cookies,” not chocolate chip cookies. I remember my brother and I helping Mom make cookies at Christmas, scooping the dough onto baking sheets, sticking M&M’s onto dollops of dough (we used the same Tollhouse dough to make M&M cookies, just minus the choc chips). Good times…and good cookies!

But for some reason, about 8-10 years ago, the cookies started falling flat, and would be really crispy. We don’t know if it was a new oven, different cookie sheets, some small change in the manufacture of one of the ingredient’s we’d always used??? No matter what we did, the cookies would just kinda collapse as they cooled. We lived with it for a few years, but as I started to bake, I was determined to find a way to fix the flat, crispy cookie problem. I asked friends with many more years of baking experience for advice, made small adjustments (like adding more flour – yuck) to the original recipe, tried new recipes – all to no avail.

This past Christmas, with the help of the glorious Pinterest, I found a fantastic recipe! The cookies are soft, thick, and a bit chewy – just the way I like them! My new go-to Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I love her post, not only for the great recipe, but because she has so much useful information about what affects the texture of the cookie. It’s not, “do this because I say so.” She explains the reason behind the different ingredients and techniques. I also love that I don’t have to pull out the electric mixer to make these!

Don't these just look so good?!

Don’t these just look so good?!

My tip: I suggest just letting the dough chill for the 2 hours, and then bake them. When I let them chill over night, the dough was really hard and took a while to thaw enough for me to scoop it out to form the balls.

Also, you don’t have to use chocolate chunks. I just use regular chocolate chips (I like milk chocolate, or a combo of milk and semi-sweet). I’ve even used the dough to make M&M cookies.

I have made this recipe multiple times and they’ve turned out fantastic every time. Even my mom had made them! I’ve started making them in double batches because these cookies don’t hang around for long.

If you love your cookies soft and thick, I highly suggest trying this recipe! If you do, let me know how it turns out. As always, I’d love to hear from you!

New Pattern Book!

I’m so excited to try out some of these adorable patterns from the new book I just bought a few days ago, Knitted Wild Animals by Sarah Keen! They are so stinking cute!

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I especially love the monkey, moose, hippo, zebra, koala, and penguin. I already have plans for new homes for some of these cuties!

Knit Elephant

Well, the granny hexagon blanket is all finished, but I haven’t yet figured out what my next project is going to be. So today I will share with you one of my favorite knitting projects. It is a little stuffed elephant named Elijah, an original pattern by Ysolda that I came across a few years ago. It is one of the very few patterns I have actually pried open my wallet and paid for, but it is so worth it! I think I originally found the pattern on Etsy, but its been a while so I’m not sure.

https://yarnoverandbake.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/1bc22-elijahfinished3.jpg
Image courtesy of ysolda.com

I can’t tell you how much I love this pattern. I’ve made it five or six times at least – for friends that love elephants, and as gifts for brand new babies. Everyone just gushes over this little cutie. It’s just the right size for the little ones and is pretty sturdy too, so he’ll stand up to hugs and squishes as the little ones get older.

Knit ElephantMy new niece with her elephant and blankie made by her auntie.

And he really isn’t difficult to make. You need to know how to use double pointed needles, how to pick up and knit, and how to make 1 left/right. Those are the most complicated techniques used in this pattern. And now-a-days you can always just google something if you aren’t sure how to do it.

If you’re looking for a cute stuffed animal to make as a gift or even to keep for yourself, I hope you give this guy a try! As always, if you give this project a shot, or if you have your own go-to pattern that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you!

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Finished Granny Hexagon Baby Blanket

001 (3)

Hey all, sorry its taken me a little while to show you my finished blanket. I’ve been busy reading outside in the warm sunshine that has finally arrived here in northwest Ohio and watching play-off hockey.  There has also been a little hemming and hawing over the edging.

And some dilly-dallying over weaving in ends…it’s like gardening, I love starting flowers from seeds, planting new flowers and shrubs, even digging out new beds or old monsters of bushes that are over-grown, but those little necessary and tedious things like weeding, I hate and put off as long as humanly possible.

Which is why you should applaud me for spending about 4 hours weeding yesterday afternoon. 4 hours I could very easily have spent reading while soaking up the sun. 4 hours which have left me somewhat sore today. But its a good kind of sore, reminding me that I accomplished something yesterday – just as long as its gone by the time I go to work tomorrow, that is.

But I digress. You want to know about the blanket.  As I said before, I was a bit slow about weaving in the remaining tails – thankfully, I wove in most of the tails other than those at the center of each hexagon as I went. Then I took a few days to decide how I wanted to do the boarder.

I started off with a round of sc in white along the edge of the blanket (this on top of the sc that was already around each hexagon from the joining), which essentially gave me 2 rounds of sc edging.  These 2 rounds were roughly the same width as the join between the hexagons, and looked nice. I could have left off right there and been fine.

But I ended up deciding that I wanted a wider boarder with a bit more visual interest. Rather than using an intricate stitch with the white yarn, I drew inspiration from some boarders I’ve seen on Pinterest. I did a round of sc in the medium shade of pink that I used for some of the hexagons, followed by another round of sc in white, with increases in the peaks/corners and decreases in the valleys as you would do in a chevron pattern.

002 (3)

I love the way the boarder turned out!  I love the way the whole blanket turned out! Pretty great looking considering I bought the yarn with no idea what I was going to use it for.

003 (3)

Can’t wait until the new babies in the family get to use it!

And speaking of babies: Happy Mother’s Day to all you mommies out there!

Layered Triple Peanut Butter Krispie Treats with Peanut Butter Ganache

pb krispie treats

Today I am sharing with you one of my favorite recipes I’ve found on Pinterest. Filled with peanut butter and chocolatey goodness, you can’t go wrong! Seriously, one of my favorite desserts to make. Great for girls’ night, game night, parties – everyone loves when I show up with a pan of these rice krispies. Even better, they can easily be made gluten free by using g-free Rice Krispies for my good friend, Joy, who shares my love of peanut butter and chocolate, but unfortunately has celiac disease. Her gluten allergy prevents her from enjoying all the breads and cookies I love to bake, so I make up for it with these heavenly treats.

The first time I ever made these, my friend Suni and I had decided we didn’t feel like going out and had decided to have a movie night at her place instead. I had made the krispie treats as a test batch before I used the gluten-free rice krispies to take to a party at work., and they were sitting at my house, so I suggested we stop by to grab them when we went out to rent a movie. Suni’s sister’s car was in the shop though, so we had to pick her up from work before we started movie night.

So there were Suni and I sitting in the parking lot at Rite Aid around 9:30 at night, waiting for her sister to get off work, devouring this pan of rice krispie treats. And when I say devour, I mean like a third of the pan. Let me tell you, we got a few weird looks from last minute customers walking by the car. But they were sooooo gooooood!

The original recipe can be found over at Liv Life. I did make some tweaks to the 2nd layer (peanut butter fudge), however. I found that the amount of fudge the original recipe makes barely covers the first layer of rice krispies, so I increased it by 50%.

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 – 2.5 cups powdered sugar

Prepare the fudge per the instructions in the original recipe, using the adjusted amounts of ingredients.

I will warn you, I have found that some peanut butters do not work in the fudge layer: as you add the powdered sugar, the fudge starts to separate into an oil and really gross-looking goop. I think it must have something to do with the fat content of the peanut butter, but I’m not sure. Jiff and Meijer (a regional store) brand are 2 that just don’t work – I’ve had to throw out a couple batches of fudge because of it. Unfortunately, since I’m not 100% what causes some peanut butter to separate, I can’t give you any insight on what to look for when buying it. Once you find one that works, stick with it! I made notes right on the recipe I printed off of what not to buy and what is ok, that way next time I make it I don’t have to try to remember.

Also, if you are making this gluten-free for someone who has an allergy or sensitivity, use the smallest Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that come individually wrapped – I’m told that the mini ones that come in one big package without the foil wrapping can sometimes be cross-contaminated depending on what else is made at that plant. I just cut the cups into quarters to make them smaller to fit in the fudge layer better – a little more work but well worth it if it keeps my friend from getting sick.

One other note: I don’t like to use the microwave for baking. I find its easier to control and keep an eye on things when I use the stove. So the fudge layer is made in a saucepan on the stove, and the ganache is melted together in my make-shift double boiler – a pyrex bowl nestled over top a pan of boiling water (just make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl and be careful of steam).

Ok sorry, one more note: keep the finished treats in the fridge until ready to serve as the chocolate ganache can get a bit soft and make a mess when eating.

pb ganache

Just look at that chocolatey peanut butter deliciousness! Yum!

As always, I’d love to hear from you. If you try this out, let me know what you think!

Joining Granny Hexagons

I’ve only made one granny square blanket before, and it was one of my first crochet projects years ago. I didn’t particularly like the slip stitch method it used to join the squares because it created a raised ridge between the squares that was a bit rough/firm.

As a result, I scoured the internet looking for a different method to join my granny hexagons that would lay nice and smooth. I did find one that was just what I was looking for over on Ravelry. It looks nice and simple, and provides a smooth transition from one hex to the next. However, for each stitch, you have to drop the loop on your hook, insert the hook into the stitch you’re joining to and pick up the dropped loop – something I didn’t have the patience for. I wanted to keep a nice flow going as I worked, rather than stopping to drop a loop and then again to pick it back up.

So after some more scouring of the internet, I ended up combining a couple different methods. And oddly enough, it does leave a little bit of a ridge, but I love it! It adds some visual interest, almost like braiding, rather than the more simple version above.

You will be working single crochet around the hexagons, but as you join to a hexagon that already has been edged in sc, you will slip stitch into a sc of the “finished” hex before making each sc along the “new” hexagon being added. It sounds much more complicated than it is, I promise.

The first hexagons to be joined are those that lie along one of the edges of your blanket where a corner points out.

blanket arrow

Step 1: Sc around the first (blue hexagon). Starting in a corner, slip stitch to join new yarn, ch 1, sc in corner space, *sc into each of the 8 dc across, (sc, ch 1, sc) into the corner ch-2 spaces, repeat from * around, joining with slip stitch to ch 1. (1 sc into each of the dc and 1 sc from each corner yields 10 sc per side). Cut yarn, weave in tail.

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Step 2: Starting in a corner ch-2 space, sc around hexagon 2 (pink) as in hexagon 1 up to the corner where the join with hex 1 will start.( I generally sc around 2 or 3 sides before I start to join to another hexagon) Sc, ch 1 in corner ch-2 space. Insert hook into corner ch-2 space of first hexagon, yarn over and draw up loop through both the ch-2 space and through the loop on hook. Sc into ch-2 space of second (pink) hexagon. Hexagons are now joined at the corner.

corner arrows

draw up loop

draw through loop on hook

sc into new hex corner

Step 3: Insert hook into 1st sc along side of first (blue) hexagon (arrow 1 in pic), yarn over and draw up a loop through the sc and pull through loop on hook as above in joining the corners. Sc into next sc (arrow 2) on second (pink) hexagon. Repeat 7 more times (arrows 3, 4, 5, 6, etc).

join side

Step 4: Insert hook into next st on first hex, draw up loop through both sc and loop on hook, sc into corner ch-2 space of second (pink) hexagon, ch 1, insert hook into corner ch-2 space of first (blue) hex and draw up loop through corner and through loop on hook, sc into corner ch-2 of second hex. The first 2 hexagons are joined. Continue sc around second hexagon, (sc, ch 1, sc) in the corners, and join with slip st to beginning ch 1.

corner set up

corner draw up loop

sc into corner

012

Continue attaching new hexagons in this manner until the first row is complete.

The next row will be joined one hexagon at a time to the first row, starting at the right side. So in the photo, the yellow hexagon was the first of the second row added on. This is because you crochet counterclockwise around, so you will join the yellow to the purple, then to the blue as you go. The process of joining them is the same, except you will be joining 2 or 3 sides of the “new” hexagon to the work, instead of just 1. The only new technique is to join to a corner where 2 hexagons already meet. I did not take photos while joining the second row, but I do have them for the last row of my blanket.

row 2

Sc around the first hexagon of the next row to be added up to a corner ch-2 space (I sc 2 sides to start), sc, ch1 into corner ch-2 space of new hex. Join to hexagon at right edge of blanket as before by inserting hook into ch-2 space and drawing up a loop through both the ch-2 space and loop on hook. Join the sides as before up to the corner where 3 hexagons meet. Sc, ch1 into corner of new hexagon.

join 3 corners 1

Insert hook into corner ch-2 space of the “right” hexagon of previous row, draw up a loop through both ch-2 space and loop on hook. Now, rather than sc into new hexagon as before, insert hook into corner ch-2 space of the “left” hexagon of previous row, draw up loop through ch-2 space and loop on hook, and then sc into corner ch-2 of new hexagon.

join 3 corners 2

Join across sides of new hexagon and “left” hexagon as before, then sc around the remaining sides of the new hexagon.

first hex row 2

The rest of the hexagons in this row will be joined in the same manner, but will be joined along 3 sides, and have 2 corners that meet with 2 other hexagons.

The even rows are 1 hexagon shorter than the first row. The first hexagon added in all the odd rows will only join along one edge to the previous row. This is due to the staggering of the hexagons.

number of joins

Whew! That was a long post, but I hope all the pictures and explanations were worth it and made everything crystal clear. And I promise, it really is pretty easy once you do it a couple times. As always, if you have any questions, please let me know!

Half Hexagons for Granny Hexagon Baby Blanket

Half Hex
Hey all, I promised you I would post a tutorial on how to make those half hexagons to fill in the sides of the Granny Hexagon Baby Blanket I’m currently working on, and here it is!

You will start the half hex as you do the full hex, with a magic circle.

Magic Circle

Round 1: Ch 2 (counting as 1dc), 1dc into the ring, *ch 2, 2dc into the ring* twice. There will be a total of 3 clusters of 2 dc in the ring. Pull the yarn tail to close the circle.

Magic Circle ch 2

Half Hex round 1

Round 2: Ch 3, turn. dc into last dc of round 1, dc into next dc, (dc, ch 2, dc) into corner ch-2 space, 1 dc into each of the next 2 dc, (dc, ch 2, dc) into corner ch-2 space, dc in next dc, 2 dc into top of ch 3 – 12 dc total.

Half Hex arrows

Half Hex arrows

Half Hex round 2

Round 3: Ch 3, turn. dc into last dc of round 2, dc into next 3 dc, (dc, ch 2, dc) into corner ch-2 space, 1dc in each of next 4 dc, (dc, ch 2, dc) into corner ch-2 space, dc into next 3 dc, 2 dc into top of ch 3 – 18 dc.

Half Hex round 3

Round 4: Ch 3, turn. dc into last dc of round 3, dc into next 5 dc, (dc, ch 2, dc) into corner ch-2 space, 1 dc into each of next 6 dc, (dc, ch 2, dc) into corner ch-2 space, dc into next 5 dc, 2 dc into top of ch 3 – 24 dc. Cut yarn leaving 3-inch tail to be woven in.

Half Hex

Your half hexagon is finished!

Note: the tutorial I linked to in my first post on how to make the full hexagon does 5 rounds, for a total of 10 dc along each side. For my blanket, I only did 4 rounds for a total of 8 dc on each side.

This is my first tutorial, so if anything is unclear or you have any questions, please let me know!