Mystery Dish: Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies

Fudgy chocolate cookies made with greek yogurt! They’re strangely amazing!🙂

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies | thepajamachef.com

Happy Mystery Dish Day! I know it’s Black Friday, but I refuse to brave the crowds and face American consumerism head-on. No material item is worth that craziness. Ugh, I’m not a crowds person at all. Just give me a good book, some tea, and a yummy snack like popcorn or cookies and I’m happy. And these cookies are AWESOME. They’re the perfect book-reading, movie-watching, game-playing companion. Super rich and chocolately with lots of tart cranberries and mini chocolate chips mixed in.

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies | thepajamachef.com

These Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies were a fun way to use up some ingredients that were selected by our hostess, Rebecca from Living Better Together. She asked us to make something amazing with at least three of the following ingredients: Hazelnuts, Pork Belly, Dark Chocolate, Cranberries, Bourbon, Red Potatoes, Pimento Cheese, Ginger, Yogurt, French Bread, Buckwheat, and Rice Krispies. I honestly don’t remember how I came up with the idea of making greek yogurt cookies, but a little googling later I realized they were actually a thing!

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies | thepajamachef.com

One fun element about them besides how awesome they taste is that they’re also made with no butter or oil… perfect for those times when you don’t have any on hand but want a cookie or when you’re trying to eat a lil healthier. Like after Thanksgiving, haha. I hope you had a great day celebrating with family and friends, btw!

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies | thepajamachef.com

I’m not going to lie–these cookies don’t have that soft and chewy texture of most addictive cookies. These cookies are soft and puffy, not quite muffin tops but close. What they lack in chewiness they make up for in flavor. I used both dark chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate in them [dark chocolate cocoa powder and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips], but you could certainly mix and match based on your tastes. I hope you enjoy them, and be sure to check out what my friends made for you too!

one year ago: Harvest Pear Crisp with Crystallized Ginger
two years ago: Teriyaki Meatball Bowls
three years ago: Thai Peanut Ginger Wings
four years ago: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce 

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies

  • Servings: 36
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Give Recipe

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8-12 ounces plain greek yogurt [I used nonfat but 2% or whole milk yogurt is also great]
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder [like Hershey’s Special Dark]
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a large bowl, whisk egg, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 8 ounces plain greek yogurt together. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, adding up to another 4 ounces of greek yogurt if necessary if it’s too thick to stir. I used another 2 ounces but 4 seemed like too much. Fold in almost all of the chocolate chips and cranberries, reserving a few tablespoons to press on the top before baking.

Scoop cookie dough out [it will be thick] with a cookie dough scoop or two spoons. Place about 1-2 inches apart on baking sheets. They don’t spread so you can put them fairly close together. Since dough is so thick, it’s easiest to use multiple pans and scoop it all out at once. Afterwards, press down on tops of dough balls gently with a spoon, then dot with a few cranberries or chocolate chips.

Bake for 10 minutes, then cool on baking sheets a few minutes before cooling on a wire rack. Sprinkle with sea salt while hot if desired.

 

See what other Mystery Dish gals made this month:

Gluten Free Chocolate Bourbon Hazelnut Cake from Living Better Together

Turtle Krispies Treats from I Dig Pinterest

Dark Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cookies from The Pajama Chef

Chewy Chocolate Hazelnut Granola Bars from I Want Crazy

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut English Toffee from Flavor the Moments

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cranberry Buttercrunch from Inspiration Kitchen

Skinny Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Hazelnut Fudge from Joyful Healthy Eats

Cranberry Hazelnut Crepe Cake from Blahnik Baker

Dark Chocolate Gingerbread Rice Krispie Treats from The Smart Cookie Cook

Mini Eggnog Cheesecakes with Hazelnut Cookie Crust from The Well Floured Kitchen

Salted Hazelnut Scotcheroos from Yummy Healthy Easy

Cranberry Mint Relish + What To Do With All That Mint

A refreshing take on a traditional cranberry relish!

Cranberry Mint Relish + Ideas for Preserving Fresh Mint | thepajamachef.com

My favorite part of any holiday meal is the cranberry sauce. I’m picky about it though–it can’t be canned, and it can’t have nuts. I used to be a purist and only liked the traditional cranberry orange relish. But these gingered cranberry-apricot sauce and cranberry-pineapple sauce have opened up the doors for some experimentation. So this weekend, when I had a bag of cranberries in one hand and a ginormously huge mint plant in the other that had to be used up before the weather goes whacko this week, I thought, what the heck, and threw some mint in the mix. And you know what? It was pretty awesome. Adding mint to traditional cranberry relish seems pretty novel [but I’m sure others have done it] and it lends a little pop to this sweet-tart side dish. You should totally try it this fall! And it only takes a few minutes to make so you’ve got nothing to lose.🙂

Cranberry Mint Relish + Ideas for Preserving Fresh Mint | thepajamachef.comAs for all the rest of that mint plant… quite a bit went into that jar of mint sugar on the left and those jars of mint extract on the right. There are tons of tutorials online for both delicacies, but I just layered fresh mint with sugar in one jar and have been shaking it once a day since Sunday. In about a week it’s supposed to be ready to enjoy. I can’t wait! And to make the mint extract I added vodka [eeeekkkkk] to mint that had been gently mashed in a mason jar. There’s a technical term for “mashed” but it’s escaping me at the moment.🙂 Easy easy! My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I told him I needed some cheap alcohol for cooking. Hahaha. COOKING not drinking, haha don’t worry. That’s how you do things in homemade-everything-land. We’ll see how they turn out. I’ll have to give you guys an update, k? In the meantime, this cranberry mint relish is FAB so don’t wait til Thanksgiving to enjoy. I can’t wait to taste it on turkey!

one year ago: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Sauce
two years ago: Carnitas
three years ago: Best Pancakes Ever
four years ago: Pumpkin French Toast Sandwich

Cranberry Mint Relish

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 5 minutes
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Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed and dried
  • 1 orange, scrubbed clean and cut into eighths
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

Place cranberries, orange, mint, and 1/4 cup sugar in food processor. Pulse until processed to desired consistency. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to set flavors.

SRC: Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

These sweet muffins swirled with cranberry compote and a delicious cream cheese center are the perfect afternoon snack!

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

Welcome to November’s Secret Recipe Club! This month I was assigned to Maxine’s blog, Why I Am Not Skinny. Maxine is a South African expat living in Brussels… two great places! I’ve been to South Africa for a few days when I was in Lesotho for part of a summer in college, and I would absolutely love to go back. On her blog, Maxine shares so many delicious recipes and restaurant recommendations. If/when I go to Brussels I will have to check out her blog again! Though I really wanted to make her Pea and Mint Risotto or Pumpkin Fritters, I settled on these Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins because I wanted a sweet treat.🙂

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins | thepajamachef.com #secretrecipeclub

I also kind of wanted to make these as a sort of redemption for Maxine, because her muffins didn’t come out quite as well as BBC’s picture. And I am SO glad I did. They were tangy and creamy and all sorts of deliciousness. Though they weren’t quite as simple as most muffins are–you have to make the cranberry compote and the cream cheese filling, they are well worth it. Next time [and there WILL be a next time] I think I’ll skip mashing the cranberries so as to have bigger chunks in the muffins, and I might reduce the temperature for baking down to 325 or 350 so they don’t brown quite as quickly. Some of my unpictured muffins definitely got a little dark. Maxine, I hope my muffins live up to your expectations! Thanks for a great recipe!🙂

one year ago: Pumpkin Graham Muffins
two years ago: Pollo alla Poggia Alloro
three years ago: Homemade Maple and Brown Sugar Almond Butter
four years ago: Pumpkin Soup and Homemade Croutons

Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 30 minutes
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from Why I Am Not Skinny

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams/3.5 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 250 grams sugar/1 cup + 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 175 grams/6 ounces fresh cranberries [frozen can also be used, just add a splash of water or apple cider to help liquify]
  • 200 grams/26 tablespoons flour – UPDATED: I used this calculator to come up with this. When I made the recipe I used my kitchen scale and didn’t measure in tablespoons… I think the previous measurement I had here was wrong. So sorry about that!
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 ml canola oil [this is just between 1/4 and 1/3 cup]
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease well with cooking spray.

Beat together cream cheese with 2 tablespoons sugar. Place in refrigerator to chill until ready to use.

In a small saucepan, combine another 2 tablespoons sugar with 6 ounces fresh cranberries. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop. Then mash gently with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together flour and baking powder. In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, vanilla, and almond extract. Fold in wet ingredients into the dry, then fold in cranberries. Do not overmix or else the batter will bleed.

Scoop batter–it will be thick–into prepared pan, about 1/2 to 2/3 way full. Do not overfill. Use a spoon to scoop a ball of cream cheese mixture into batter, pressing down gently. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

Notes:
Some of my muffins spilled over the top of the muffin cups because I filled them too full, so don’t make that mistake.

Also, you may want to skip mashing the cranberries so the batter bleeds less.

Do not overbake–cheese may still seem a bit soft. If muffins are browning too much, cover with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking or reduce heat to 325 degrees F.

Be sure to check out all the other fun recipes made this week for the Secret Recipe Club below!

 

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars are an easy no-bake afternoon snack or lunch box addition. Plus, they last nearly a month in the fridge and even longer in the freezer, so make a batch today and be set for awhile if you can restrain yourself.🙂

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

I am so excited about these chewy granola bars, you guys! They are simply the best. I’ve shared other granola bar recipes on my blog before, but these take the cake. Literally. I think I’d have one before I had a piece of cake, if only because they are healthy AND chocolately at the same time. Win win, I say!

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

In the past, homemade chewy granola bars just haven’t cut it for me because they’ve included ingredients I want to avoid on a normal basis [corn syrup] or because they’ve been so full of liquid sweeteners like honey or maple syrup that they’ve just been sticky and hard to eat on the go. So one day I was thinking about what could make chewy granola bars better [I’m in the car alot… this is what I do when I’m not paying attention to my book on CD–ha!] and it dawned on me. Coconut oil! Duh. Everyone’s favorite trendy all-purpose health/beauty/cooking product of choice these days.  So I gave it a whirl and was SO pleased with the results. These granola bars hold together well, are easy to cut, and just taste amazing. For those who are curious… they don’t really taste much like coconut, for better or worse–it’s just a hint, and it’s almost more the smell than anything.

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

When you make them–note that I said “when,” not “if”–be sure to follow the instructions to a T in regard to boiling the honey, brown sugar, and salt. It’s similar to making candy in that you need the mixture to come to a boil so that it gets to the soft ball stage to set. Then you just mix everything up, add your mix-ins, and spread it in the pan. Simple! For this batch, my mix-ins were chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chunks. There’s just something about dark chocolate chunks that makes everything better, righttt?! It practically goes without saying, but you can obviously use whatever dried fruit or nuts or chocolate suits your fancy. I think I might make a batch this weekend and have some white chocolate chips burning a hole in my pantry!🙂

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

When you take these yummy chewy granola bars to work or your kids take them to school, I guarantee that they’ll be the talk of the lunchroom. They look pretty similar to the storebought kind, but just have a homemade appeal that will make people super jealous. Ben’s even shared some with his colleagues to spread the love… the granola bar love, that is! Enjoy, friends! Happy Friday!🙂

one year ago: Oreo Popcorn
two years ago: Cilantro Lime Hummus
three years ago: Tangy Chicken Pasta

Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars

  • Servings: 24
  • Time: 2hr 15mins
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[adapted slightly from Money Saving Mom]
Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars | thepajamachef.com

  • 2 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed [or wheat germ, wheat bran, or more rolled oats]
  • 1/2 cup mix-ins of your choice [I used 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts–you can use dried fruit, nuts, coconut, etc.]
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Directions:

Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil or wax paper, and grease well with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together cereal, oats, flaxseed, and mix-ins. In a saucepan, stir together honey, brown sugar, and salt. Turn heat onto medium-low, then stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 60 seconds, then remove from heat and gently mix in coconut oil and peanut butter [be careful of splashes!]. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon. Pour wet ingredients over the dry and mix to combine.

Press mixture into prepared pan, then evenly distribute chocolate chunks over top. If you mix the chocolate in, it will melt. Press into granola mixture with a spatula then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to set. Cut into bars and wrap in aluminum foil or wax paper for easy transport. Granola bars freeze well and stay fresh in the refrigerator.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Kale Quinoa Salad

When I was asked to cater the bridal shower, I was told that the bride loooved kale and quinoa. This salad was the direct inspiration of that. Well, and of Smitten Kitchen. Ha. But anyways, this kale quinoa salad is just SO good, you guys. It’s so fresh and delightful, I could seriously eat it for breakfast and be happy. With a fried egg on top? Oh goodness, I think I’m going to try that really soon.

Kale Quinoa Salad | thepajamachef.com

Like any kale or quinoa salad, the sky’s the limit on mix ins. I just used some basic, affordable pantry staples: dried cranberries, almonds, and feta, but feel free to adjust based on your preferences. I’m a huge pistachio fan myself and think think that would be yummy. Oh, and don’t skip the dressing! Sometimes I just wanna do a basic olive oil rub on kale or quinoa but taking a couple minutes to mix up this vinaigrette-eqse dressing is totally worth it. Enjoy!

Kale Quinoa Salad | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Mexican Rice
two years ago: Black Bean Wraps

Kale Quinoa Salad [adapted from Smitten Kitchen]
click to print

Ingredients:

for salad

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 8 ounces kale, stems removed and thinly chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries [or cherries]
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

for dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, as desired

Directions:

In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, kale, cranberries, and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: olive oil, viengar,lemon juice, mustard, honey, and dill. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to set. Top with almonds and feta just before eating.

Time: 40 minutes [10 minutes active].
Yield: 6-8 servings.