Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodles

pumpkin-snickerdoodlesLast weekend my friend called to borrow some cream of tartar.  Cream of tartar screams one thing to me: Snickerdoodles.  This call, of course got me thinking about snickerdoodles for the next few days, but I never got around to making them.  Then as I was looking for a recipe for No Bake Pumpkin Cookies I stumbled on a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodles on Mom on Timeout.  I, being the pumpkin lover that I am, liked the sound of that and since the universe seemed screaming at me that I needed to make them, I did.  And then I made them again the next day. 🙂

AnneOpinion

Snickerdoodles are a simple cookie with a little tang from the cream of tartar and cinnamon sugar on the outside.  These snickerdoodles stay true to the original.  They are simple with that classic snickerdoodle tang, but the added bonus is that they have a mild pumpkin flavor. The pumpkin is very present, but doesn’t try to take over the cookie. Slightly chewy and a bit puffy, I love these cookies!  They immediately became a fall favorite around here.

I didn’t change anything about the recipe from Trish over at Mom on Timeout.  She gets two thumbs up on this one.

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Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
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Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
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Ingredients
Sugar Mix
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter, shortening and sugar together. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture, stirring until well combined. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine sugar, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon in a small bowl. Remove dough and form into small, 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar mixture and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove and let cool on sheet for two minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
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Applesauce Oat Muffins

apple-oatmeal-muffinsSo, I know that I’ve referred you to recipes from Mel’s Kitchen Café a few times now and I tried really hard not to do it again. I wanted to include an apple muffin recipe for my healthy muffin week and I gave a couple recipes that I found on Pinterest a go and they were not good!  I guess I should have had a clue when the recipe said I could use flour or smelt that it was a little more hard core than I like.  Needless to say, I had to go back to my standby because nothing could beat it.  Why, you may ask?  Let me explain…No, there is too much.  Let me sum up.

AnneOpinion

These muffin are simple, sweet and chewy.  They only have 1/3 Cup of sugar in the recipe, which makes 12 muffins.  That is a really small amount in case you were wondering!

They are soo simple to make.  No peeling, slicing or dicing here.  Just pour, measure and dump.

They are fine plain, but we really like them with dried fruit, in particular cran-blueberries.  They are big and plump and add just the right burst of flavor.

One suggestion that Mel had was to send them in school lunches in place of a sandwich.  I love that idea!  I’m always looking for new things that I could send and these are so healthy I wouldn’t feel a moments guilt about putting a muffin in the kiddos’ lunch.  They also freeze great so make a double batch and save some in the freezer for those morning when you’re out of bread and need a lunch time alternative. (does that just happen to me?)

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Applesauce Oat Muffins
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Applesauce Oat Muffins
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin cups liners or grease the muffin cups. Set aside.. In a medium bowl, stir together the oatmeal, applesauce, milk, egg, vanilla, butter and sugar. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt (and dried fruit if using). Make a well in the center and pour in the applesauce mixture. Stir until just combined (don't overmix or the muffins will be dense and dry). Distribute the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't over bake or the muffins will be dry. Remove the muffins to a rack to cool completely. Eat immediately or freeze for later enjoyment.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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Morning Glory Muffins

Carrot-cake-muffinsWe’re going to be talking muffins this week.  With school starting and everyone being more “on the go,” I need to have some things on hand that are healthy and that everyone likes.  Those two things are the requirements for all three of the muffin recipes that I’ll be sharing this week.  My oldest is attending a church class at 6:00am before school and I am not getting up and making him a hot breakfast every day (sorry honey!), but I want to make sure that what he is eating is healthy, filling and most importantly, portable.  My solution has been muffins and so far they are being met with great applause.

AnneOpinion

If you’ve never had a Morning Glory muffin, they are kind of like a carrot cake in muffin form.  They’re very nutritious with carrots, apple, nuts and coconut.

These muffins are great right away, but even better the next day or after freezing.  The flavors get the chance to meld together and really complement each other.

I like to use coconut oil in these, but if that’s not your thing, melted butter or canola oil also work well.

If I’m making these for a brunch or a morning meeting, I put a dollop of frosting on them.  If they’re for my family, I just leave them plain.  They are bursting with so many flavors on their own I don’t feel like they need it and that would undermine the “healthy and nutritious” goal that I have for them.  With the nuts, and the coconut and the cinnamon and the orange, you don’t really need more; but if you add the frosting it’s like you’re eating a really good carrot cake for breakfast and nobody complains about cake for breakfast!

I love the little bit of orange that I added into these.  It’s a wonderful surprise background flavor that adds a fresh taste to the muffin. If you have any fans of carrot cake or spice cake around, you need to give this recipe a try!

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Morning Glory Muffins
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Morning Glory Muffins
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
Muffin Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease or place paper liners in 18 muffin cups. Toast pecans for 5-7 minutes. Let cool and chop. Toast coconut for 3-4 minutes; let cool. Peel and finely grate carrots and apple and set aside. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, oil, orange juice and vanilla. Add carrots and apple and fold together. Add flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, orange zest, pecans, and coconut and mix together until just moistened. Evenly divided batter between muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire wrack. Let cool completely. Eat, freeze or frost. Whatever you do, they're going to be good!!
Frosting instructions
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add a dollop to each muffin.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion adapted from Joy of Baking

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Firecracker Chocolate Cookie Cups

firecracker-cookiesLast fall I was thrilled to hear about my cousin Kristen winning a prize for her Firecracker Chocolate Cookie Cups at the San Diego County Fair.  I was even more excited when she got to share her recipe on television in Kansas City!  I thought that I would have to wait until next July to make them because Trader Joe’s normally only carries the Firecracker chocolate bar for the Fourth, but when I went into my local store last week they said that they had just gotten another shipment in.  Score!!  I apologize to those of you without a Trader Joe’s close by.  Maybe you could have a friend or relative mail you one?  You can promise to share with them a really good recipe in exchange. 😉

Anne Opinion

If you’ve never had a Fireworks Bar before you are in for a treat!  Trader Joe’s describes the bar this way, “Trader Joe’s Fireworks Bar is crafted for us by a stateside chocolatier known for adding intriguing flavors to high quality chocolate. Here, they start with smooth, rich dark chocolate—always a good beginning. And then come the fireworks, in the form of popping candy. You remember the stuff; it “sparkles” on your tongue, tingling and tantalizing with every bite.  But that’s just the beginning. The bar is also spiced a bit, with chipotle and pasilla chiles, a touch of sea salt, and a dash of cayenne pepper. It’s not hot hot, but it’ll definitely give you a warm feeling inside. Just like fireworks.”

I love the way they describe their food.  I know it’s dumb, but I always get excited when I see the Fearless Flyer (Trader Joe’s grocery ad) because every description makes me want to try their food right now.

Now that we’re done with my unsponsored crush on Trader Joe’s, lets talk about the cookies.  This is a very hearty cookie.  It not only has ground oatmeal, but it also has 1 1/2 cups of walnuts that you grind up very fine.  Having both of these ingredients gives these cookies a nice solid shape with a chewy texture and a wonderful nutty flavor.

In addition to the Fireworks chocolate you also use a Symphony bar with toffee that is in the cookie.  This bar needs to be chopped up so you get lots of it’s goodness in every cookie.  Tip: make sure and freeze it for at least 30 minutes.  This will make it easier to chop into pieces.

This cookie is so fun to eat!  The pop and fizzle in your mouth as you chew is truly a one of a kind experience.  Thanks for sharing the recipe Kristen!!

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Firecracker Chocolate Cookie Cups
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Firecracker Chocolate Cookie Cups
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend butter with sugars for two minutes to incorporate air, then eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl, combine salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour, oatmeal and walnuts. Slowly add to butter mixture, mixing well in between. Stir in the chopped up Symphony Bar. Chill dough for 1 hour minimum. Roll cookie dough into 1 inch round balls (just smaller than a golf ball). Press thumb in center to create deep indentation. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Add square of Fireworks chocolate into indentation and let sit additional 5 minutes. Delicious served warm or chilled.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion Recipe by Kristen Sowell

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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries

grahamcracker-pancakes In case you’ve missed a general pattern around here, I love anything with graham crackers. S’more Cookies, Peanut Butter Smuggies, and Kitchen Sink Pies are just a few examples. When I found this recipe on bitememore.com for Graham Cracker Pancakes with Cheesecake and Glazed Blueberries, I said “Sign me up!” These are a must try. Unfortunately I ended up with some mixed feeling about them.

AnneOpinion

grahamcracker-pancakes2Let’s start with the graham cracker pancakes. These showed such promise. They had graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. I thought they would knock it out of the park. They didn’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, they were good, but regular pancakes are good too and the don’t take nearly the effort or the amount of ingredients. Everyone liked them and ate all of them, but on one went crazy for them. Do what you will with that information.

The cheesecake topping was really good. I thinned it out by putting in more cool whip than was originally called for. When I ate it on the pancakes I felt like it overtook the whole thing. I ended up spreading it on very thin and it was perfect. It was a delicious filling and would work well as a frosting. I’m keeping this recipe tucked away to use on a cake or cupcakes in the future. It would be perfect with pumpkin cupcakes, or pumpkin bread, or gingerbread…you get the idea.

I’ve saved the best for last…the glazed fruit. The original recipe called for using blueberries.  I’ve been buying raspberries like crazy this year (yeah for low prices!!) and so I had raspberries on hand. I love that the fruit is not cooked for this glaze. You simply make a lemon syrup and then toss the berries in it. The syrup gives them a wonderful sweet tang that would pair well on any breakfast or dessert that berries would be appropriate for.

So there you have it. The pancakes may not have been all that I was hoping that they would be, but the cheesecake and berries (great surprise!) made up for it.

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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries
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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries
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Ingredients
Graham Cracker Pancakes
Cheesecake Topping
Raspberries
Servings:
Instructions
  1. For the pancakes, in a large mixing bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, whole milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Gently stir egg mixture into the dry ingredients do not over mix, lumps are okay. Over medium heat, pour batter onto a hot griddle. Cook until bubbles form, flip pancake and continue to cook until done. Serve with cheesecake topping and glazed raspberries. To make the cheesecake topping, beat cream cheese on medium speed with a handmixer until soft and fluffy. Add brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon continue to beat at medium speed until well combined. On low speed, add Cool Whip just until combined. To make the glazed raspberries stir powdered sugar, water and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until mixture boils vigorously, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in berries.
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Homemade Corndogs

corn-dogsJust after I posted about making homemade ketchup (the best!) and I talked about my boys devouring it with corndogs (the frozen kind), my friend Kristy sent me a link to Chef in Training and her recipe for homemade corndogs.  She suggested I should try them.

I have to admit that I was a little bit leery at first.  You see, I tried making homemade corn dogs about 5 years ago and it wasn’t a good experience.  The batter wouldn’t stick to the hot dog.  I have visions of a giant mess with batter all over the counter, flour everywhere and corn dogs with hardly any breading on the outside.  I wasn’t sure that I wanted to try them again but I decided to face my fear and give this recipe a shot.  I read through some reviews on allrecipes.com to see if there were some tips on how to make the batter stick.  I found some helpful things and this time making corndogs was a much better experience.

AnneOpinion

My main concern was having the batter stick to the corndog.  I did two things to help this.  First, I made the batter and then put it in the refrigerator for an hour to chill.  The second thing that I did was to pat each of the hot dogs completely dry with a paper towel.  I was very pleased to find that these tips worked!  I had no problem with having the cornbread batter stick to my hot dog. Whoo-whoo!

The other tip I learned is to pour the batter into a tall slender glass and then dip the hot dogs  (on their sticks) into it.  This is the most effective way to have the coating even over the whole hot dog.

I chose to use honey instead of sugar because I like the flavor that the honey brings to the breading, but sugar would also work just fine.  I also used half regular milk/half buttermilk. This is not necessary but I liked how thick the buttermilk made the batter. Regular milk would work for the whole thing.

These corn dogs were very good and the coating with nice and thick, but not too thick.  The only complaint that I had was that the outside stayed softer than I wanted.  I like it when there is a “shell” or crust on the outside.  This didn’t have that.  Beyond that texture complaint, everything about it was great.  We really liked the flavor.  I think that if you follow the tips that I gave, you can enjoy homemade corndogs too, which my son kept trying to call “nutritious and delicious.”  I told him “you got it half right!” 😉

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Homemade Corndogs
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Homemade Corndogs
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder. Add milk, honey and egg to the bowl and whisk well. Place the batter in the refrigerator for an hour to chill. Fifteen minutes before your hour is up, heat oil in a large pot on stovetop until it reaches 350 degrees F. While oil is heating, pat hot dogs dry with a paper towel and insert wooden skewers into hot dogs. Pour batter into a tall slender cup. Dip a skewered hot dog into batter until completely covered. Cooking 2-3 corn dogs at a time, cook in oil until golden brown in color, about 3 minutes. Set on paper towels once cooked to drain off any excess oil.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion adapted from Chef in Training and Allrecipes

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Churro Mini Muffins

churro-muffinsI had a thought last week.  It was a simple thought really.  I thought that I should do a recipe this week for Cinco de Mayo next Tuesday.  It’s big here in Arizona and I think that it might actually be against the law to not eat Mexican food on that day. Just kidding, but in all seriousness, I love holidays that I can center my food around.

I decided that instead of a salsa or dinner recipe, like enchiladas, I wanted to do something for breakfast.  We are huge fans of churros around our house so I thought that a muffin that tasted like a churro would be perfect.  After doing a brief search on Pinterest I found a recipe for Mexican Honey Puffs on Blackjack Bakehouse that looked like they would be exactly what I wanted.  Better yet, the recipe was reposted on 4 other blogs!  Normally I see this as a sign that the recipe is going to be good.  So I got to the grocery store and picked up my club soda (the only ingredient I didn’t have on hand) and got to making my Honey Puffs.  And they were….ok.  The outside was great.  It had a nice crisp shell that the cinnamon sugar clung to, but on the inside, I was not a fan of the texture and it tasted eggy.  I haven’t made anything that tasted that eggy since I received my lifetime ban from making lemon bars from scratch when I was 12 years old.  (After trying the recipe a half a dozen times, my mom forbid me from ever trying again; and I haven’t)  So back to the puffs, I had a couple of ideas on how to make them not taste like a cinnamon covered egg biscuit, but after two more tries, I still was not impressed with the results.

Then inspiration hit me, and when I say inspiration I really do mean that I had said a prayer for help and it came.  I remembered a simple muffin recipe that my friend Amy gave to me many moons ago.  It is a plain muffin that you can add whatever fruit or spices that you want to it.  I decided to combine the two recipes and miracle of miracles, I love the results.  I’m so excited to be able to share with you a recipe that my family and I love and not just tell you about one that didn’t work out.

AnneOpinion

You read the temperature right.  These babies bake at 475 degrees.  You need the temperature that high to get the outside to the right crispness.  The club soda is in the recipe because it also helps the outside get that light, crisp crust that we are looking for.

I wouldn’t make these as full size muffins.  That would throw off the ratio of cinnamon sugar to muffin.  You have been warned.

The original recipe had you dip the muffins into the cinnamon sugar right away and it stuck to the muffin marvelously.  Unfortunately, with my new recipe, I did not have this result.  The muffin had a little bit stick to it, but not a coating, like a churro would have.  That’s when I decided to bring in the melted butter.  My Paula Deen training has taught me that anything can be made better by adding a stick of butter or cup of mayo, or in this case melted butter. 🙂 By quickly covering the muffin in the butter, it then has a thick coat of cinnamon sugar when it comes out of the mixture.  Perfection!

These muffins would be great for breakfast or for dessert, or as an office treat to share, but only if you want everyone talking about what an amazing baker you are!

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Churro Mini Muffins
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Servings
20-24 mini muffins
Servings
20-24 mini muffins
Churro Mini Muffins
Print Recipe
Servings
20-24 mini muffins
Servings
20-24 mini muffins
Ingredients
Servings: mini muffins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Grease a 24 cup min muffin tray. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and 1/3 cup of sugar. Add oil, egg, and club soda water to the mixture and whisk just until combined (it's ok for there to be lumps). Fill muffin cups to 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes. Let muffins cool for 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven. Melt butter in a bowl the size of a cereal bowl. Combine second 1/3 cup of sugar with cinnamon in a paper bag or gallon sized Ziploc bag. After 5 minutes is over, dip each muffin quickly in butter and place in cinnamon sugar. After half or all of the muffin are in the cinnamon sugar, seal the bag and shake it so that all muffins are coated in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on a cooling rack to finish cooling. Serve with honey, if desired.
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The Chocolate Chip Cookie

chocolate-chip-cookieMy poor family.  Normally I make cookies at least once or twice a week, not because I’m a super cool nice mom but because I love cookies and that’s how often I want to have them.  As you can tell from my 10 Diets Foods I Need post and my Brownie Batter Oatmeal post I have been working on trying to lose weight (making cookies so often may or may not have contributed to the problem) and so to keep temptation away I haven’t made cookies for a couple of months.  This last week I decided to briefly end the moratorium on cookies and make some to take to my kids teachers.  It was parent/teacher conferences and I know that the teachers appreciate sustenance as they stay at school all day and into the evening, and I appreciate any excuse to be able to make cookies and get them out of my house quickly.

I ran across this recipe for Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies on The Merchant Baker and wanted to try them right away.  I have always had a weakness for all things made with malt. Is there a greater joy in life then biting into a Whopper and then sucking on it until the middle has completely disintegrated or ordering a chocolate malt and getting that tiny pocket of powder that didn’t get mixed all the way in and having it fizzle away in your mouth?  No?  Just me? Well, even if it is just me, I still think that you’ll like these cookies.  Here’s why.

AnneOpinion

I loved these cookies.  They had a perfect hard on the outside, chewy on the inside consistency that I look for in a good chocolate chip cookie.

They were thick and originally they didn’t spread out very much, they more just puffed up.  I decided to fix this by dipping the bottom of a glass into sugar and using it to flatten each of the cookie balls before baking.  This gave me a thick, flat cookie like I was looking for.

I  loved the taste of this cookie dough.  I ate way too much of it.  It had the perfect balance of chocolate and malt that I was looking for.  Unfortunately this did not carry through after baking.  Something happened that made the malt flavor nonexistent.  I looked through several other recipes online and saw that most had used more malt.  I then tried a batch with double the amount of malt; the flavor was still lost.  I then tripled the amount; same thing.  I have concluded, for now, that it is very hard to get a true malt flavor into a chocolate chip cookie.  My husband and neighbor both felt the same way I did.  Even after being told that the cookies had malt, neither of them could detect the flavor.  If anyone has a recipe that really does taste just like a chocolate malt, please share!  I’d love to try it.

That being said, I do love these cookies and after upping the amount of malt and not finding the results any better, I have decided that it’s best to just leave it the same as the original recipe.  I believe that the malt does add a nice texture to these chewy chocolate chip cookies even if it doesn’t provide a “malt” flavor.

I appreciated the mild chocolate flavor that the 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder added.  It gave it a nice hint of chocolate with out making it a chocolate cookie.

I thought that using the 2/3 milk chocolate chips to 1/3 semi sweet chips was perfect. I also used Ghiradelli chips.

Would I/will I make these cookies again? Yes!  Would I call them a “Malt Chocolate Chip Cookie?”  No.  I will just make them as really good chocolate chip cookies and leave people to wonder what is giving them that awesome texture and nice chew.  Malt, it’s my new secret ingredient.  Shhh!

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Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
45-50 medium cookies
Servings
45-50 medium cookies
Malted Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
45-50 medium cookies
Servings
45-50 medium cookies
Ingredients
Servings: medium cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and beat until incorporated. Add flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix together slowly until dough is formed. Add both kinds of chocolate chips and stir in with lowest mixer speed or by hand. 5.Gradually add flour mixture, using lowest speed on mixer or stirring in by hand. Scoop cookie dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. I used a medium sized cookie scoop. Place glass with a flat bottom into the bowl of sugar and use it to flatten one of the cookies. Repeat for each cookie making sure to dip into the sugar between each flattening. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes and then transfer to cooling racks. After cooling completely, store in an airtight container.
Recipe Notes

 The Merchant Baker slightly adapted by AnneOpinion

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