nutella and biscoff pocky sticks

I really like my job as a hostess because I get to see so many people in one day. Every shift, I probably see over a thousand people, and talk to all of them.

Yes, my job is technically just to say “good morning/afternoon,” and simply jot down their name and number so I can call them when a table’s ready.  I am supposed to show them to their tables, tell them about the brunch specials, and move on to the next party.

However, I approach it a bit differently.  I like to think that I give a little piece of myself away to every person I meet.

I’m the girl who talked to you about how weird bratwurst is.  You helped me pick up my fallen menus when it got windy, I thanked you.  Your kid kicked me in the shins, and I laughed it off.  A lady spilled her heart out to me as she waited for her table about her recent divorce.

Over winter break, I visited Providence with my mom.  We were exhausted, and decided to have dinner around five in a big empty restaurant.  I will never forget our waitress.  After we placed our orders, she just started talking to us.  She told us how she wanted to go into nursing or criminal justice, she told us about how she and her ex-boyfriend had joint custody of her dog, she talked about her big Portuguese family and showed us her Instagram.  I think many people would have been really annoyed by this, but I will never forget her.

Of course, I’m not going to give my customers my whole life story (I’m not trying to get fired…), but I want to leave an impression on them, figure them out a little bit, scratch the surface. I like to think that one day, when that recent divorcee is old and sitting on a park bench watching her grandchildren play on a tire swing, she’ll remember me, the hostess she talked to for half an hour about her new lifestyle choices.

I don’t know what this has to do with Pocky sticks, I just wanted to talk about it. Enjoy this recipe for jazzed up Pocky sticks!

With love,
Erica

Biscoff Pocky Sticks

Ingredients

Cookie sticks

  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 egg white

Nutella coating

  • 1 cup candy melts
  • 1/4 cup Nutella

Instructions

  1. To make the cookies, beat all of the cookie

    ingredients except for the egg white together in the bowl of an electric

    mixer. 

  2. Beat until a dough forms around the paddle. If the dough is

    too stiff, add a tablespoon or two of water.


  3. Transfer dough to a piece of plastic wrap, pat into a

    disk, and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.


  4. Preheat the oven to 300 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

    Divide the dough into 32 balls (divide into quarters three times).


  5. Roll each ball into a thin stick, about 5-6 inches long. Transfer each stick to the parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with egg white.


  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sticks are golden brown. Cool completely.


  7. To make the coating: Melt the candy melts either in the microwave or a double boiler. Once the candy melts are melted, stir in the Nutella (you can substitute Biscoff for a different flavor!). Pour this mixture into a tall glass.


  8. Once the cookies are cool, dip each cookie stick into the candy melt/Nutella mixture and decorate with sprinkles. If the candy melt mixture is no longer smooth, add a drop of vegetable oil to the mixture until it is a good dipping consistency.


  9. Repeat with the remaining cookie sticks. Refrigerate coated cookie sticks until just before serving. 

 
Enjoy!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

cookie monster cupcakes!

I’m sick and tired of subtweets.

Subtweets are basically the epitome of digital passive-agressiveness… precariously bordering on downright aggressive.  According to Urban Dictionary, “subtweet” is short for “subliminal tweet” which is directly referring to a particular person without mentioning their name — i.e. talking about someone behind their back (but actually directly in their face on Twitter).

Subtweeting happens all the time at my school.  There is a group of people who think they’re awesome that they always have these “witty” observations about everyone else.

Examples:

“Wearing sunglasses and carrying a purse to school. #whodoyouthinkyouare.”

“I feel so awkward for some people #awkward”

“I love it when girls act like they’re still in middle school. It’s so adorable.” (condescending tone)

The funny thing is, sub-tweeting is probably the most middle school move of all.   So what if a 14-year old is concerned with their eye-health, and likes to carry a purse?  So you feel “awkward” for someone… thanks for sharing! I feel awkward for you, spending hours a day thinking of “witty” little things to say about people on Twitter!  I can see that you “love it when girls act like they’re still in middle school” — that’s what you’re doing!  Yay for self-love!

Subtweeting works the exact opposite of how you want it to.  First, subtweeting just makes you uncool. Second, you’re blatantly admitting that whoever you’re subtweeting about has the influence to occupy your mind. 

Can’t we all just relax a little bit?  Let the sunglasses crew
wear their sunglasses, let the awkward people be awkward, and you all
can just go about acting like middle-schoolers and not bother the rest
of us who just want to read our tweets in peace. I think we should all just eat a cookie and relax, even better, a cookie monster cupcake!   I was inspired to make these by a tweet I saw — I would have seen this tweet sooner if it wasn’t for all of the subtweets I had to scroll through!  *sigh*

But alas, I have realized that this blog post is sort of a “subliminal blog post” against all “subliminal tweeters.”  Oh well, before I dig myself deeper into this icky, subliminal hole, let me show you all how to make cookie monster cupcakes! Yay!

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
1 batch of your favorite cupcake recipe
24 small chocolate chip cookies, such as Chips Ahoy.  If you’re feeling ambitious you could even make your own!
48 white candy melts (for the eyes)
48 chocolate chips or brown M&Ms (for the pupils)

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
blue food coloring. 
Prepare the cupcakes, and allow to cool fully. 
In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and confectioner’s sugar until blended and fluffy.  Add the vanilla extract and blue food coloring and beat for five more minutes. 
Fill a piping tip fitted with a star tip with the blue frosting, and pipe onto cupcakes.  Press two candy melts onto each cupcake as the “eyes” and glue on a chocolate chip with frosting as the “pupils.” Cut each chocolate chip cookie in half, and place upright on the cupcake as the mouth.  Enjoy!

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

brownie stuffed chocolate chip cookies

Look at these chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven. So innocent looking, right?
There’s nothing about these cookies that could possibly reinforce your trust issues.

They’re chocolate chip cookies. They look so inviting and comforting sitting next to a tall glass of cold milk.  They’re a little large and lumpy… but a homemade chocolate chip cookie is a homemade chocolate chip cookie. The largeness/lumpiness just enhances their whole “homemade” vibe.  Right? 

WRONG!  These seemingly innocent cookies were all large and lumpy because they were hiding a full on double-fudge brownie on the inside!  You sneaky cookie you!

Let me tell you how these stealthy cookies came about.  I was experimenting with a new brownie recipe, and I screwed up… they tasted pretty good but they were unbelievably skinny, and no one likes skinny brownies.

I was about to chuck messed up batch in the trashcan when I felt a bout of sympathy for those brownies.  It wasn’t their fault that they were too little to cut it in the harsh world of thick cut, chocolate chunk brownies.  They hadn’t done anything wrong… it was my duty to save them.

So with a little help from some homemade cookie dough, those sorry little brownies were saved.  I wrapped each one in a big layer of soft cookie dough, and they were transformed into these huge, amazing mounds of bake-sale-worthy-goodness.

With love,
Erica


Ingredients
1 pan of baked brownies (either homemade or from a mix)
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 oz. chocolate chips

Cut your brownies into 10, 1 inch squares.  Enjoy the leftovers for yourself 😉

To make the chocolate chip cookie dough, beat butter and sugar with a mixer until creamy. Add the eggs, yolk, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and add to the butter mixture until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Let dough chill covered in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Scoop out 1/2 cups of the cookie dough (I told you these are HUGE!).  Place the dough onto the baking sheet. You can only fit six cookies on a standard sized baking sheet — so you will have to make several batches.

Make an indention in each mound of cookie dough and
place a cut brownie in the center. Press the brownie down
and work the remaining dough around the brownie. Shape the dough into a ball.

Once all your cookies are “stuffed” with a brownie, bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes. Return the remaining dough
to the refrigerator until time to bake the second batch. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

s’mores bars

I love online personality tests.

Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.  The ones that tell you what flavor of ice cream you are and which Friday Night Lights character you’re most like.

Making s’mores is a lot like taking one of those online quizzes. I can tell a heck of a lot about you by the way you make your s’mores.  Let me elaborate.

  1. You shove your marshmallow into the fire and burn it to a crisp.  You are a strong believer that marshmallows are one of the few foods that tastes better burnt.  You hate waiting in lines, enjoy Chinese take-out food, and tend to be argumentative.
  2. You think you’ve mastered the s’more technique.  You’re
    Lord of the S’mores.  You might be a dad and/or a camp counselor.  You
    can be found whittling your perfect “s’more stick,” or trying to assist a
    less capable s’more maker with this delicate art.  People may call you a
    “busy-body.”  You enjoy team sports and activities, as long as you’re
    the captain.  You’re secretly a horrible dancer.
  3. You like to sit on the edge of the fire and slowly turn your marshmallow — waiting for that perfect, golden-brown glow.  You play a musical instrument, enjoy crafts, and like long walks on the beach.  You keep an agenda and your socks always match.
  4. You’re a weirdo (and I say that in the best sense of that word.  You do something wacky like catch the marshmallow on fire, and squish it (still ablaze) between the chocolate and graham crackers.  You’re a bit of a badass, but you secretly love to play Scrabble.

See? Didn’t I describe your personality to a T? 😉

Ok, so maybe I should leave online quiz making to the professionals.  But no matter how you toast your marshmallows, the classic s’more will always be an All-American crowd-pleaser. 

Everyone from the varsity baseball team to Carly’s dog walker couldn’t get enough of these s’more bars.  They’re super easy, don’t require an open fire and they don’t burn your tongue.  My favorite way to eat these bad-boys is to pop one in the microwave until the marshmallow puffs up and the chocolate gets all melty.  I close my eyes, and eat it with a spoon.  I can smell the campfire and pine trees of summer already…

How do you roast your marshmallow?

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme
Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
In
a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg
and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker
crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low
speed until combined.
Divide
dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom
of the prepared pan.  Spread the crust with marshmallow creme.  Sprinkle chocolate chips into a single even layer over the creme.  Place
remaining dough in a single layer on top of the fluff.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

From Lovin’ From The Oven

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

insanely easy nutella cookies

Would you believe me if I told you that you could make the fudgiest, butteriest, most delicious chocolate cookies on the planet without beating butter or chopping chocolate in less than 20 minutes?  Probably not. But hopefully by the end of this post, you will.

This morning, I had a cookie catastrophe.  Last night, I got home around 10 from a track meet.  I walked though the door and flopped into bed (I was still in my racing singlet).  I woke up around 11 this morning, and realized that I was meeting my friends Bella and Mimi for lunch at 12!  I threw on my leggings, and quickly slopped on some mascara.  Then I realized that there were no cookies. :0

I met Bella and Mimi at ballet school in seventh grade.  I have tons of great memories with them — gossiping in the locker room, running to Starbucks before barre, and making fun of our ancient Russian instructor behind his back.  We used to play a game to see who could pay attention to him the longest (I always lost).  The three of us haven’t been together in ages — the last time I saw Mimi I was an 8th grader!  This was a really important occasion, and really important occasions call for really good cookies. 

Sadly, I didn’t have time to whip together my famous compost cookies and I couldn’t even pick up a box of Oreos for my Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies!

Thank god for Nutella.

Thanks to that magical, chocolaty spread, these cookies came together in a matter of seconds — no butter left? Used all those chocolate chips? No problem! I didn’t even need to touch my Kitchen Aid.  By the time I finished doing my hair, they were already cooled and ready to eat!

When I came home from lunch, my mom had eaten one of the extra cookies that I left on the counter.  She said that they were out-of-this-world delicious, and one of the best cookies I’ve ever made. 

Everyone should know this recipe — because you never know when the next cookie catastrophe will strike!

With love,
Erica

 Ingredients
1 cup Nutella
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup flour + 1 tablespoon
coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine all
ingredients except for the sea salt in a large bowl until well
combined. Place dough in freezer for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes
roll dough into 1-inch balls, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from
oven and let cool for a few minutes until cookies are set, then very
carefully transfer to a wire rack. Generously sprinkle with sea salt.
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

recipe showdown: reader’s chocolate chip cookies

I haven’t done a recipe showdown in a while, but one of the most interesting parts of Recipe Showdown is receiving your recipes.  Every time I conduct a recipe showdown, I encourage readers like you to challenge the winner with your own, amazing recipe.  Sure enough, I received a lot of feedback on my Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Showdown.  Christi from Burlap and Basil and Little B from Little B Cooks both submitted their own sublime chocolate chip cookie recipes.

My original plan was to first compare Burlap and Basil and Little B’s recipes, and then compare the winner of that showdown to the reigning champion (Jacques Torres).  However, a problem arose… the results were split 50-50 even.

I started out with my family — my mom liked Little B’s, my dad preferred Burlap and Basil.  I then moved onto friends and neighbors.  Again, split down the middle.
So ultimately, the scientific method will force me to make each of these again, and then compare them to the reigning champion. But hey, more cookies were never a bad thing (especially in the name of science).

With love,
Erica

Little B Cooks
Burlap and Basil
Description
“A softer cookie, with a delicious
richness.” These cookies have an unconventional ingredient – vanilla pudding
mix! Little B said that she compared Torres’ recipe with her own and everyone
preferred hers.
It’s the cookie that brings best
friends knocking on your door at 10:30 pm.” She told me in the comments that
all of her friends preferred this over Jacques Torres, the reigning champion.
Tasters’ notes
Good
Not as flavorful
“mmmmmmmmm!”
bland
tollhouse-y
more to appreciate
think
meaty
blondie-like
so soft
slightly airy like a cupcake but with the distinct crumble of a cookie.
The flavor was great as well: sweet but not cloying, with a great distribution of chocolate chips.
More interesting
More flavor
Better texture
More chewy crust
Simple
Crunchy edges
standard
Its texture won me over
crisp exterior and the chewy middle.
chocolate galore! Yum!