Cookies and Cream Blondies

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I saw these, and waited. I waited for an opportunity to make them for others. Sometimes a recipe appears on my blog-roll that I want to make in order to share with other people…because I think it will be that good. Oh, and easy enough that I won’t arrive with store bought two-bite brownies.

My sister-in-law and her family were in town from Hong Kong and we were having a small get together. I claimed dessert.  Oh baby. These blondies were everything I hoped for…I mean…it’s a cookie…made with pieces of cookie. Need I say more?

Go make them. Call me.

 Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar, packed
¼ cup white sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaping cup chopped Oreos
¼ to ½ cup white chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line an 8×8 baking pan with greased parchment paper, in order to easily remove bars.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), cream the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  4. With the beaters/mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in two steps. Do not over mix.
  5. Fold in the white chocolate chips and ¾ cup of the chopped Oreos.
  6. You’re now ready to bake! Transfer the dough to the baking pan and press into an even layer. The original poster suggested slightly damp fingertips; it worked like a charm to prevent sticking!
  7. Bake the beauties for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick finds a few moist crumbs after insertion.
  8. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan before removing. Simply torture.

Source:
Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

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Spinach Almond Pesto

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When we think of pesto, our mind wanders to the traditional Genovese pesto with pine nuts, basil, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese.  One of the reasons why I like pesto is because you don’t have to stick to that script. Pesto, really, just refers to the way it was originally prepared – in a mortar and pestle. I stumbled across this recipe using spinach and almonds and was instantly intrigued. It’s not always easy to produce a large yield of pesto sauce unless it is peak basil season…and have more landscaping area than a balcony can provide. Secondly, I like to save a few bucks, and pine nuts…well…they cost many bucks.

I loved this version.

Keep a jar in your fridge to add to pastas, wraps, pizzas, sandwiches, salad dressings…the list goes on, for a quick way to add flavour to your meals this summer.

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Served with pasta and fresh grape tomatoes

Ingredients 
1 oz parmesan cheese (or other hard cheese)
1 oz raw almonds (unsalted, unroasted)
2 oz fresh spinach (approximately 2-3 cups loosely packed)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
a pinch chili pepper (or any source of heat you like, we used hot peppers from the garden)
1 small clove of garlic
handful of fresh basil leaves
¼  to 1/3 cup olive oil
Instructions

  1. Combine parmesan and almonds in food processor and grind until fine. This will take a few minutes. Compare it to coffee grounds or bread crumbs
  2. Add spinach, basil, garlic, salt, pepper, and chili peppers and process until spinach is ground as well. Scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed
  3. With the processor running, add olive oil until desired consistency is reached. We didn’t use much more than ¼ cup

Source:
Adapted slightly from: The Italian Dish