Well Dined


Boozy Butterscotch Chocolate Cookies

Well Dined | Boozy Butterscotch Chocolate Cookies

In my last post, I talked about my February assignment for Secret Recipe Club - Jessie Weaver, The Vanderbilt Wife.  I decided to make the Honey Parmesan Pork from her blog, but also really wanted to make the Boozy Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies... so I did!

Well Dined | Boozy Butterscotch Chocolate Cookies

The cookies were actually really easy to make - just melt chocolate chips and butter together (it will be a thicker mixture); then add to a beaten mixture of brown sugar, eggs, butterscotch schnapps, and vanilla; then add flour, baking powder, and salt.  Let the mixture sit to firm up, then scoop onto baking sheets.

Well Dined | Boozy Butterscotch Chocolate Cookies

Bake for 10-15 minutes, and you're done!  I thought these tasted fudgey like brownies, and they were a big hit at my game night.


Vegan Holiday Cookies

Well Dined | Vegan Holiday Cookies

My dear friend Keerin and I had a wonderful cookie making night.  We each chose a couple of recipes to make and then divided up our creations to give to friends.  Here's the thing, though, Keerin is vegan.  So we made all of our cookies with no dairy or egg!  (Except for those Hershey kisses, which she didn't mind but you can leave off.)  And you know what?  I couldn't even tell that they were vegan - they weren't lacking in anything!

Well Dined | Vegan Holiday Cookies

The recipes that I chose were a Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodle and Molasses Spelt Cookies with Candied Ginger.

Keerin chose Russian Tea Cakes, Oatmeal Thumb Prints, and Peanut Butter Blossoms.

Whichever you choose to make, you won't be disappointed!


Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Well Dined | Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

A little bit sweet, a little bit savory, a little bit herby and cheesy - this yummy dish looks gorgeous and tastes amazing, plus it is low carb!  Both the husband and I loved it, which is sometimes difficult to achieve.  So I call this one a winner!

Well Dined | Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Start by roasting some squash halves (keep in mind that the full recipe uses 2 whole squashes, even though I only show 1).

Well Dined | Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Meanwhile, make the filling by sauteing onion, celery, garlic, and herbs; browning crumbled sausage; and then adding apple.


Caramelized Onion and Burrata Pizza

Well Dined | Caramelized Onion and Burrata Pizza

I love homemade pizza, you know this.  And I really love burrata on homemade pizza - it is so creamy and gooey and just heavenly.  It's great with tomatoes in the summer, but when paired with caramelized onions it becomes this luscious and sophisticated fall combination.

Well Dined | Caramelized Onion and Burrata Pizza

The onions are caramelized slowly with butter (this takes time and patience), and finished with balsamic vinegar.  They are piled on pizza dough and topped with torn burrata, no sauce needed.

Well Dined | Caramelized Onion and Burrata Pizza

Then it is baked and topped with fresh basil.  Oh. My. Gosh.  It is just so good - rich and creamy and perfect.

Well Dined | Caramelized Onion and Burrata Pizza

My thanks to Melissa from Smells Like Brownies, for suggesting that we make this and for teaching me to stop rolling my pizza dough out so dang thin!


Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes

Well Dined | Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes (a long time ago) for the bridal shower of a vegan friend of mine.  Please ignore how terrible I am at frosting - this was literally my first time using my piping set.  I got the recipe from Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) who said it was a delicious cake recipe, even for non-vegans.  And you know what?  She was right!  These cupcakes are moist and decadent and very chocolatey - and don't taste at all like avocado!  They are also incredibly easy to make.

The original post included a lemon and avocado frosting that I was not a fan of, so I ended up using Duncan Hines chocolate frosting in the tub (which just happens to be vegan).  You can use whatever frosting you prefer.

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes
adapted from Joy the Baker
makes 36 cupcakes

3 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used avocado oil)
1/2 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 medium avocado
2 cups water
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake wrappers into 3 muffin tins.

Sift together all of the dry ingredients except the sugar.

Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl, including the super mashed avocado (you really don't want any chunks).

Add sugar into the wet mix and stir.

Mix the wet with the dry all at once, and beat with a whisk (by hand) until smooth.

Scoop batter into muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.

One Year Ago - Pasta with Sausage and Peppers
Two Years Ago - butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese
Three Years Ago - Lemon Blackberry Ricotta Muffins
Four Years Ago - CSA Week 16


SRC – S’mores Cookies from Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Well Dined | S'mores Cookies

It's time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal! This month I was assigned Amy's Cooking adventures, a blog that I recognize from my other blog circle - Food 'n Flix.  As I was looking into Amy's blog in more depth and reading her bio, I started to feel like I knew her.  I, too, came to cooking later in life.  I, too, have a masters but chose to stay at home (as a homemaker for now and hopefully a mother soon).  I, too, am an avid reader (and a huge geek/nerd in general).  I love that Amy posts a list of what she has been reading, and I love the books on those lists, too!  Her writing is very open and conversational and makes you feel like you are an old friend - what a treat!

I was really tempted to go with these Pesto Mozzarella Burgers on Tomato Basil Buns, maybe paired with a Roasted Blueberry Basil Margarita.  But then I saw that she had a ton of s'mores based recipes!  I love s'mores so much!  Would I go with s'mores brownies, cupcakes, or a frappuccino?  So many choices!  I eventually settled on cookies, but Amy has not 1, not 2, but 3 s'mores cookie recipes.  I decided to go with the 3rd and most recent recipe, because Amy said it's the best one and I trust her judgement.

Well Dined | S'mores Cookies

They are a chocolate base with chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and graham cracker bits - and they really taste like s'mores!  You can store them in an airtight container, but I liked them best the first day, when the graham crackers were still crunchy.

Well Dined | S'mores Cookies

They also have a secret ingredient - chocolate pudding mix!  I've used pudding mix in cakes and ice cream before, but hadn't thought about it for cookies - what a great idea!  They came out really fudgy and moist.  I really didn't make any changes at all to this recipe, it's perfect!


Seeded Peasant Bread

Well Dined | Seeded Peasant Bread

I have been trying to make bread for years.  I have tried so many different recipes, and never been happy with any of them.  Until Melissa introduced to to this recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen, that is.  It's so ridiculously easy - there's no kneading, just mixing and rising - and the texture is amazing.  I'm seriously obsessed with it.

Well Dined | Seeded Peasant Bread

First step - activate yeast.  And while that is happening, stir together flour, spelt flour, salt, and seeds.  Melissa uses 1 tbsp each of quinoa, flax, chia, and millet - I don't like flax seeds very much, so I use 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp each quinoa, chia, and millet.

Well Dined | Seeded Peasant Bread

Then you mix the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and THAT'S IT (at least as far as mixing goes).  It's so stupidly easy.  Let it rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.


Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well Dined | Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I asked Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) to help me become a better baker, I specifically asked to do these cookies.  If you have ever stayed at a Doubletree Hotel, then you know the joy of being handed one of these giant cookies when you check in.  It's probably one of the most searched for cookie recipes, and it has some secret ingredients that I wouldn't have guessed.

Well Dined | Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, let's get started!  The first step is to mix the dry ingredients, which include finely ground dry oats.  This is one of the secret ingredients that makes these cookies so good - it makes the texture so lovely.  There's also a bit of cinnamon in there, yum.

Next, cream butter with both granulated and brown sugar, vanilla, and the next secret ingredient - lemon juice.  I would never have guessed to use lemon juice in a chocolate chip cookie, but it keeps them tender.

Well Dined | Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mix the dry into the wet, then stir in chocolate chips and toasted chopped walnuts.  The original recipe didn't call for toasting the walnuts, but I think it makes the texture nicer and brings out the nutty flavor.


Salty Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

Well Dined | Salty Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

I have said it before and I will say it again - I am not much of a baker.  I feel much more comfortable with the flow of cooking, than the rigidity of baking.  But I want to get better, and a large part of that is experience.  So my friend Melissa, an excellent baker and author of Smells Like Brownies, is helping me learn.

Well Dined | Salty Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

We decided to start with some peanut butter swirl brownies, with the knowledge that we wanted there to be plenty of saltiness to contrast the sweetness.  So we made sure that the peanut butter layer was salted, then finished the brownies with flaky sea salt - yum.


Food ‘n Flix: Butter

Well Dined | Food 'n Flix: Butter

I finally got my act together in time to post for Food 'n Flix, ha!  I really need to work on that!  Anyway, this month's movie is Butter - hosted by Cheap Ethnic Eats.  This hilarious movie is about wealth, race, privilege, power, family, small town America, and (of course) butter.  I'd seen it before, and enjoyed it so much that I didn't mind renting it again just to look for food references.  Which, by the way, are few and far between other than the ubiquitous butter.

Well Dined | Country Apple Dumplings

So what was I going to make that would feature butter?  I came up with a few ideas, but I kept circling back to these apple dumplings (even though I'd posted about them before).  They really are perfect for this movie, though - a little bit redneck, totally unhealthy, and drenched in butter.

Well Dined | Country Apple Dumplings

The dumplings are actually really easy to make.  I like them best when they are fresh and the sugar on top is still crunchy, so I tend to make half a recipe one day and the other half the next day - which is why you will only see 4 dumplings in the photos.  Start by peeling and coring an apple, then cutting into 8 slices.