Sunday, September 22, 2019

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins

Lightly sweetened and made with 100% whole grain, these Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins are scrumptious.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Muffins


¼ cup butter, melted [half a stick]*
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2¼ cups diced apples**
    OR 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
    OR 1¼ cups apples + ½ cup applesauce
½ cup whole milk

1 cup quick cook oatmeal
1½ cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray muffin tins*** with nonstick cooking spray or grease as desired.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir in apples (and/or applesauce) and milk.

Mix together oatmeal, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.

Add dry ingredients to apple mixture. Fold together just until dry ingredients are mixed in. Don't over mix.

Spoon batter into prepared tins, filling tins ¾ full.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.****


*As always, I recommend Land O' Lakes butter. And not just because the milk from our farm goes to Land O'Lakes. Land O'Lakes truly makes the best-tasting butter, which makes baked goods taste better.

**I leave the peels on the apples when I dice them. Less work, plus more fiber.

***I use my Grandma Jeanie's vintage Comet muffin tins. I suspect these tins make smaller muffins than modern muffin tins. This recipe makes 18 vintage-size muffins.

****Muffins made with fresh, diced apples will bake faster than muffins made with applesauce.

When the bees out-pollinate themselves. And it rains all summer long. So you have more apples than you know what to do with. And the apples are as big as your hand. You pull out all the apple recipes you have. This apple muffin recipe has been a favorite for many years now.

If you like these muffins, you might also like these Apple Cinnamon Toaster Pancakes.

Enjoy, friends!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Dan's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Dan's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes approximately 48 cookies


1½ cups Land O Lakes® Butter [3 sticks]
1¼ white sugar
1¼ firmly packed brown sugar (I use dark brown sugar.)
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon lemon juice

4¼ cups all purpose flour [510 grams]
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups chocolate chips [18 ounces] (I use semi-sweet or milk chocolate or a combination.)


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla and lemon juice.

Stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together. With mixer running, add flour mixture to butter mixture, about a half cup at a time. Mix just until flour is fully incorporated. Add chocolate chips and mix briefly.

Drop by heaping tablespoons (#40 scoop), 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are puffed up and just starting to brown around the edges. They will flatten into chewy cookies as they cool.

Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Serve with a big glass of milk.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars: Mix ingredients as if making cookies. Spray half sheet baking pan (11 x 16) with cooking spray. Press dough into prepared pan using butter wrapper. Bake at 375°F for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and cut into bars. Serve with a big glass of milk.

The Story Behind the Recipe

One day, after I finished making a batch of my most-loved Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies, Dan asked me, “Can you make plain chocolate chip cookies? Like, with no nuts or anything like that?”

I didn’t have a tried-and-true recipe for plain chocolate chip cookies.

I thought for half a second about doing an internet search. But the idea of sifting through thousands of versions of chocolate chip cookies didn't appeal to me. (Out of curiosity, I just did a Google search for “chocolate chip cookies.” It yielded over 20 million results.)

But I know a baking guru who's far better than the internet. And she happens to be a dear friend.

I sent a quick message to Becky.

Until recently, Becky was the director of the Land O’Lakes Test Kitchen. I know the folks in the Test Kitchen test and tolerance test and test again each recipe before it becomes part of the Land O’Lakes recipe collection. I knew that if anyone could recommend the best "plain" chocolate chip cookie recipe, it was Becky.

Becky and I together in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen a couple years ago.

Becky recommended two recipes from the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen: Chewy Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies and Five Star Chocolate Chip Cookies.

The recipes are essentially the same. The only difference is the size of the final cookie. I gave the recipe a try and baked the smaller-sized cookies. Dan – and the rest of my family – loved them instantly.

I agreed with my family. But I thought, "I can make these better."

Better. This a common theme for both my life and our farm.  Our farm motto is: "Better for our cows, better for our land, better for our family, and better for our community." I'm always asking, "How can I make this better?"

So I did. Borrowing the concept from my own favorite chocolate chip cookies, I added extra chocolate chips, a pinch of cinnamon, and a dash of lemon juice. You can’t taste the cinnamon and lemon, they just add dimension to the flavor profile – much the same way good tea and fine chocolate have nuances of flavor above and below the main flavor notes.

I shared the "better" cookies with my friend, Summer, and she said, “There's something special in these, isn’t there.”

"Yeah, there is," I grinned. "Butter!"

Then I let her in on my secret. There’s no point in keeping a good recipe a secret.

Here's the best part about these cookies, though. I've made this recipe with too much flour, too much sugar,  milk chocolate chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, without the cinnamon and lemon juice, with dark brown sugar and light brown sugar... No matter the mistakes or variations, these cookies are delicious.

I was telling Becky one day about how forgiving this cookie recipe is. She said, "That's the sign of a good recipe. And that's why we do tolerance testing – to find the best recipes that turn out every time."

Dan's Chocolate Chip Cookies – as we now refer to them – really are some of the best cookies ever.

I am a Land O'Lakes Cooperative member-owner. I received compensation from Land O'Lakes for this post. All opinions are my own.