Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Crumbl Cookies review #18 - Molten Lava, Teddy Grahams, White Chip and Limeade

Crumbl Cookies review #18 - May 16, 2022: Molten Lava, Teddy Grahams, White Chip and Limeade

Note: I wrote this and the next post before the events of Uvalde. My heart grieves for the children, the teachers and their families. I don't know what else to say. Talking about cookies seems frivolous. I don't know what to say or do anymore. I really don't. Tomorrow I will be back at it, with consumer activism, donating to causes I believe in and urging people to vote. Today I grieve.
I might have done the unthinkable and hit the Crumbl wall. As in, it got to be a little too much sugar for me and I might need a break from Crumbl. I know, I gasped too.
L to R: Peanut Butter, White Chip, Molten Lava, Teddy Grahams

It's probably no wonder though since I've been breaking my "only 2 flavors a week" creed and going for the 4 pack. Or in this case, 5 cookies, this particular week. Although my excuse this week was I was still visiting my sister and my niece, my mom had come down and we were meeting my niece's boyfriend for dinner. So 5 of us for the after-dinner dessert meant 5 cookies, right? Right? Although, I admit, I was probably the only one who tried 3 of the 5 cookies right after dinner. We were all full from dinner, myself included, but I was the only one undaunted and still ate pieces from 3 cookies.
Molten Lava that wasn't so molten

The first piece was from the Molten Lava. I'm a fan of molten chocolate cake so I had high hopes for this cookie, despite my finding most of Crumbl's chocolate cookies a little too rich. This was good and didn't have any weird taste or flavor like their Triple Chocolate. But this was also disappointing because it did not live up to its Molten Lava name.
Sad to say, it didn't have any lava, molten or otherwise. The lighting isn't the best in the picture below but even if you stare and stare at it, you're not going to find much, if any, lava. My guess is they either put in so little that it baked into the cookie itself or they forgot it altogether and all I got was a chocolate cookie. Flavor and texture were good but definitely not as advertised. Disappointed, especially as I've seen other people's cookies (online) that had the actual molten lava in it. #firstworldproblems

Second in the line up was the Teddy Grahams. I had some misgivings about this one because of the honey drizzle since I don't like honey. I know I could've asked them to leave off the drizzle but since, technically, I wasn't going to be the only one eating these, I thought I'd stick to the cookie as it was supposed to be and try it that way. 
Teddy Grahams

That turned out to be a bad decision. I liked the cookie base as it was soft and Crumbl-good in terms of flavor and texture. But the frosting was too much and too sweet, made worse by the honey drizzle. I wouldn't get this one again.
And if I did, I would skip the honey on top and scrape off half the frosting before eating it.

White Chip
So then you'd think I'd like the white chip better because it was unfrosted. It was good but at this point, I think I'd just had too much sugar and was just too full. White chip cookies without macadamias are too sweet for my taste buds. Or at least this one was. Good cookie but it would've been better with toasted macadamias to offset some of the sweetness from the white chocolate.


The surprise winner for all of us turned out to be the limeade. I still don't like the random slice of lime (or lemon or any other citrus) on their frosted cookies. I ate the piece without the lime on it. The cookie was soft, almost fragile, but quite good. The lime wasn't that tart but it wasn't as sweet as the frosting on the teddy grahams so I liked it. Loved the cookie. My niece and her boyfriend also picked this one as their favorite of the 5. It also probably helped that I didn't even try the Limeade until the next day when I wasn't quite so stuffed from dinner and 3 pieces from 3 cookies.
Peanut Butter

I got the peanut butter for my niece's boyfriend as peanut butter is his favorite but I didn't try it since peanut butter is not my favorite. I assume this was good, especially if you're a peanut butter lover but turns out he liked the Limeade best.

Overall, I think it was a decent week but I will be skipping next week's (or this week, depending on when I post this) for a couple of reasons, one of which is I need time to process all this sugar out of my system. For posterity, cookies for the week of May 23 that I am skipping (really): Kentucky Butter Cake, Nilla Bean Cupcake, Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip, Berry Crunch and Caramel Coconut Fudge.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Oprah's Favorite Brownies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
5 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and cocoa powder; set aside.
  3. In the top half of a double boiler set over hot water, melt chocolate and butter, whisking until completely melted and smooth. 
  4. Remove from heat and add granulated sugar and brown sugar, whisking until combined. Whisk in 3 of the eggs until combined then the remaining two eggs with the vanilla until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Add chocolate mixture to flour mixture and fold together with a rubber spatula until a batter forms. Do not whisk or use an electric mixer. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Do not overbake. Cool completely before cutting and serving.
I don't know if these are truly Oprah's favorite brownies and that's not why I tried out the recipe anyway but that's what they're called on Something Swanky's blog so that's what we'll go with.
I've been making care package after care package with my go-to brownie recipe and whenever I hear back from a military service member who received the package(s), he or she always specifically mentions the brownies (no matter what else is in the box). I normally wouldn't mess with what works but I'm running out of unsweetened chocolate and they're getting cost prohibitive to order, even in bulk so I thought I'd try this recipe which relies on chocolate chips and cocoa powder.
I'm also trying to use up a Costco-sized container of Nutella so I added in some Nutella swirls for added flavor, texture and decadence. The batter itself is thick but for easier swirling, warm up the Nutella in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to make it a little more liquid. Spread the brownie batter evenly in the pan then dollop the warm Nutella over the top and swirl away.
I thought these turned out pretty well. They're rich and fudgy like a good brownie should be. They don't displace my favorite brownie recipe though but will do in a pinch if I'm short on unsweetened chocolate.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Crumbl Cookies review #17 - Salted Caramel Cheesecake, Pecan Pie and Pina Colada

Crumbl Cookies review #17: Salted Caramel Cheesecake, Pecan Pie and Pina Colada, May 10 and 14, 2022
It was a 4-pack week again this past week but only because I was visiting my sister and my niece, ergo, more people to share with so I "needed" to get more cookies to try.
The lineup for the week of May 9, 2022

Although, in truth, I only wanted the Salted Caramel Cheesecake and the Pecan Pie. We got the Peanut Butter Bar for my niece's boyfriend and the milk chocolate chip was for her.
Not that we didn't split the other two cookies because we did. Which was just as well so I could keep my Crumbl cookie eating under (a little) control.
I was a little leery of the cheesecake cookie because I'm not a fan of cheesecake. I don't like the tang of cream cheese and the calories aren't often worth it. But, as with some Crumbl cookies, they can change my mind.
Salted Caramel Cheesecake
Case in point, I thought the Salted Caramel Cheesecake was excellent. I loved the cookie base; it was perfectly baked and nicely chewy but still soft without being mushy. The cheesecake topping was lighter than the typical cheesecake filling and didn't have as much "tang" or sourness to it. The salted caramel drizzle was good although, as a caramel fan, I wouldn't have minded if it had been used to flavor the topping a bit rather than just drizzled over the top. But, still, it made for a pretty and tasty cookie. I know cheesecake is supposed to be served chilled but I liked this all the more because it was served warm.

Pecan Pie

Now, let's talk Pecan Pie. This cookie was also amazing. At the risk of sounding immodest, it was like a larger, softer version of the Butter Pecan Tartlets I traditionally make around Thanksgiving as a family favorite dessert. This was delicious. I loved the cookie base and the filling really tasted almost exactly the same as from my tartlet recipe.
The only thing that might make it a bit better is for them to toast the pecans for the added crunch and flavor. Otherwise, I hope they bring this back in the fall as a 4-pack of these would make a great addition for the Thanksgiving table if I'm too lazy or busy to make the tartlets.
You'll notice the Pina Colada cookie wasn't part of the original 4-pack we got. That's because I went back yesterday (Saturday) to get it. I wasn't planning on it because I was supposed to stick to 2 flavors a week but since I shared the Salted Caramel Cheesecake and the Pecan Pie with my sister and my niece, thereby technically eating less than 2 cookies this week, I went back for the Pina Colada.
Pina Colada

I got this one mostly out of curiosity. I'd read such mixed reviews online about it. Some people hated it, thought it tasted "chemical", that you couldn't taste the pineapple, and that it was mostly a coconut cookie. Other people loved it, said it was their favorite cookie, loved the coconut and so on. The only common feedback both groups shared was a general agreement that it was "too sweet".
Okay, given the disparty in opinions, I had to judge it for myself. I'm not normally a fan of fruit cookies. I love pineapple but prefer it in its base state of just as a fruit to be eaten as is, not mixed into other things. Once I got this, I tried a bite chilled and a bite at room temperature. I prefer room temperature.
I do have to agree with the reviews that this is one sweet cookie. I couldn't really taste the pineapple either and even the coconut was subdued under the sugar. I liked the texture of the cookie though. I didn't think it had a chemical taste but I also dumped the maraschino cherry as soon as I got the cookie home. They need to cut back the sugar in the frosting to save this cookie. I didn't think it was horrible but I wouldn't get it again when it comes back around. I'm glad I tried it though so I could see for myself.
Milk Chocolate Chip

Peanut Butter Bar

I can't review the Peanut Butter Bar since I didn't eat it. But my niece said her boyfriend liked it, that the cookie was soft and she (a peanut butter fan) would've preferred the cookie without the fudge frosting as she liked just the peanut butter cookie.

So that's last week's wrap up. Looking forward to the announcement of this coming week's cookies at 5 pm PST tonight. Because that's how obsessions are....

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Crumbl Cookies review #16 - Hazelnut Mudslide

Crumbl Cookies review #16 - Hazelnut Mudslide, May 7, 2022
Confessions of a Crumbl Addict: yeah, that's my dramatic way of saying I did pay a second visit back to Crumbl last week in time to get the Hazelnut Mudslide. 
Full responsibility goes to the person online who compared the Hazelnut Mudslide to a Ferrero Rocher. How could you do that to me? Okay, fine, I'm actually the one who drove to Crumbl, ordered the cookie and ate it. So I guess full responsibility is mine. But still, you damn enablers, lol.
I am surprisingly not a big fan of Crumbl's chocolate cookies with the rare exception of the Chocolate ft Oreo. Either the chocolate doesn't taste like anything special, i.e. I could make it myself like with the Triple Chocolate or it's a little too rich like the Peanut Butter Buckeye. So I was pleasantly surprised that I did like the chocolate cookie base of the Hazelnut Mudslide. Even more surprisingly, I liked the hazelnuts on the cookie. Since they were on the outside, the nuts retained their crunch (if you bake nuts inside the cookie, they steam and soften). And okay, it didn't hurt that there was a flood of nutella on top of the cookie.
When warm, the cookie was a little too fragile to eat. Chocolate sets when it cools so I ended up liking this cookie better at room temperature. Not chilled as the coldness of the cookie loses some of its flavor to my taste buds but at room temp, it had the perfect fudgy texture and the full flavor of both the chocolate and the Nutella. I liked this cookie and I'd probably get it again if there were no other flavors I wanted to try that week. Not sure I'd quite say it was a Ferrero Rocher but it's still a good cookie.


Sunday, May 8, 2022

Pork Tenderloin with Honey Garlic Sauce

2 pork tenderloins, 1 pound each (I used 3 thick cut pork chops)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
  1. Set instant pot to saute setting and let heat. Add olive oil.
  2. In a small bowl, combine garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over pork tenderloins.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together cider vinegar, soy sauce and honey; set aside.
  4. Add pork to instant pot and sear until golden all over. When pork is almost seared, push to the side, add garlic and cook until golden. Pour sauce over pork, turning pork to coat with sauce. Cover with lid and set in sealing position. Set for 20 minutes on manual setting. Let natural release for 10-15 minutes then release remaining pressure.
  5. Transfer pork to serving platter, cover loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes. Put instant pot back on saute setting.
  6. Meanwhile, transfer 1/4 cup of the sauce and whisk in 2 tablespoons cornstarch to make a slurry. Add slurry back to sauce in instant pot and stir until thickened and bubbling, 3-4 minutes. Add back in pork tenderloins and coat completely with sauce. Serve warm.
You know I like to throw in a random "real food" recipe onto my blog once in awhile to keep y'all guessing "does she really only eat sugar?" "can she actually cook?" Maybe, sometimes, it depends.
Of course, cooking not being my forte, I felt free to completely disregard the original title of this recipe and used thick cut pork chops instead. Because I had three leftover from the Costco pack I bought weeks ago and something had to be done with them. I also completely disregarded the original directions to bake these in the oven and instead, I seared them in my instant pot then instant pot'd them for 20 minutes. Oh and I also doubled the rub recipe because I needed to use my Penzey's spices at a faster clip. In other words, the only thing I stayed faithful to in this recipe is I used pork, lol.
Despite all that, these turned out pretty well. Nice flavor and the 20 minutes in the instant pot ensured these thick cut pork chops were chewy but tender without giving my jaws a workout to eat. It's the kind of dish I wish I had rice to eat it with so it could sop up the delicious sauce but alas, I ran out of rice a couple of months ago and haven't replenished my supply so I inadvertently went high protein/low carb on this one. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Crumbl Cookies review #15: Pink Velvet and Lemon Glazed

Crumbl Cookies review #15: Pink Velvet and Lemon Glaze - May 2, 2022
Back in the groove of my weekly Crumbl visit. I gave last week a pass because I wasn't interested in any of the flavors. I might not have been the only one as, for the first time since my store opened (that I'm aware of), it looks like they had plenty of last week's flavors on offer (2nd column from the left, top to bottom: classic oatmeal, brownie batter, peanut M&Ms and confetti cake). Of course, I don't normally go on a Monday either so maybe that's not unusual to have all of them still available. I've gone twice on a Monday before this and they had one or two of the prior week's flavors available but not all of them. Until this week.
In any case, still not interested in last week's flavors so I homed in on my choices for this week: pink velvet and lemon glaze. I have no idea what "pink velvet" is as I've never had it before. I'm not sure what flavor it's supposed to be. You know how red velvet is like chocolate? Pink velvet is not chocolate based. In fact, it seemed like a vanilla sugar cookie colored a pretty pink.
That said, I loved this cookie. It was baked to perfection, not too underbaked and mushy, even when warm, and not overbaked and dry. It was a bit like a thick, soft shortbread which is a little bit of an oxymoron since shortbread is supposed to be more crisp in texture. 
But I can't describe it any other way. It wasn't a super soft, fragile-cakey cookie like some Crumbl cookies are but it was firm enough to hold up the cream cheese frosting. Against all odds, I do like Crumbl's cream cheese frosting, as long as it's not too heavy or too thickly piled on, because it isn't tangy like a typical cream cheese frosting. And no, I don't want to know how much sugar that takes. I enjoyed the pink velvet so much that I ate all of it that same day. It was good warm, it was good at room temperature. I normally pace myself and eat half a cookie flavor a day but, yup, I ate the whole cookie that day. Granted, it was over three separate sitdowns with it but the whole cookie was consumed and enjoyed.

Which, of course, meant the Lemon Glaze had to wait. I did have a bite of the lemon glaze in the car of the Crumbl parking lot (what? who doesn't do that?) and, while the glaze made eating the cookie a little messy, it was worth the mess. It was excellent warm and the lemon flavor was on point. I'm so glad they did this as a glazed cookie and not a frosted one. I've enjoyed their glazed cookies tremendously so far.

If I had one suggestion for improvement, it would be to skip the slice of lemon and sprinkle it with sugared lemon zest bits instead. The lemon slice was just weird. The slice I got was too skinny to treat as a lemon wedge to squeeze over the cookie and having the lemon slice sit overnight over the glazed cookie just made a wet patch over that part of the cookie. Not great. But still, I also loved this cookie. When warm, the cookie is soft, gooey goodness. At room temperature, it was a nicely chewy cookie, of a texture I prefer in my cookies: dense, soft and chewy. The lemon flavor of the cookie was also perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the glaze.
I'd definitely get either or both of these cookies again.