Thin & Crispy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mint and chocolate are one of my favourite flavour combinations. That, or peanut butter and chocolate. In my book, the mintier the merrier! These mint chocolate chip cookies definitely live up to their name, due to mint-infused butter AND peppermint extract, and tons of chocolate in every bite. It could be the winning cookie for Mothers Day 🙂

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ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Thin and crispy mint chocolate chip cookies

 

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Thin and crispy mint chocolate chip cookies

I made these the other week, in preparation for one of our climbing competitions on Vancouver Island. They’re easy to pack, and are the perfect size to nibble on between climbs. We both ended up nabbing first place in our age category, so perhaps they can be called Winning Mint Chocolate Chip cookies 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Thin and crispy mint chocolate chip cookies

I’ve made treats with mint before, but I usually stick to peppermint extract and not fresh mint. So when I saw a version of these cookies floating around online, I became intrigued with the idea of infusing mint into the butter. Would it make the mint flavour stronger? It definitely makes the kitchen smell fantastic, as it simmers away, so I count that as a win.

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If there’s a downside to this recipe, it’s only that you need to give the cookie dough some time to hang out in the fridge, at least an hour. So if you’re in need of a cookie ASAP, this is probably not the recipe for you.

BUT, if you’re able to plan ahead a bit, give this one a whirl. I let the cookie dough rest in the fridge overnight, and then baked them the next day when I had some free time. Because we don’t make cookies very often, I don’t mind waiting for a treat like this!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Thin and crispy mint chocolate chip cookies

These cookies are thin and crispy, but are oh-so minty and chocolatey. They freeze really well and somehow taste even better, straight from the freezer.

Given their size, I think they’d also make fantastic ice cream sandwiches! And seeing as the weather is almost warm enough (we finally took the winter flannel sheets off our bed this week), I’m thinking another batch of these might be in order 😉

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Thin & Crispy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Adapted from My Name is Yeh.
Ingredients
  • 115 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup firmly packed fresh mint, roughly chopped *
  • 100 g (1/2 cup, packed) dark brown sugar
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 75 g (0.6 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 115 g (0.9 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 90 g (1/2 cup) dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, add the butter and mint and melt over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. The butter will start to foam up and turn slightly brown. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes. The butter should still be warm and not returned to its solid state. Strain out the mint using a fine-mesh strainer, and set aside the mint-infused butter. *
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla and peppermint extract and beat for another minute.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, baking soda and sea salt). Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to incorporate. Add the chocolate chips and mix to combine.
  4. Place the bowl in the fridge for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
  5. When read to bake, pre-heat the oven to 350 F and line baking trays with parchment paper. Place tablespoon-sized balls of dough on the pan, spaced at least 5 to 7 cm apart and sprinkle each with a bit of flaky sea salt, if you'd like. The cookies will spread when baking.
  6. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. If you like your cookies on the soft side, stick closer to 10 minutes. The cookies will continue to cook slightly, even once you remove them from the oven.
  7. Cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes, then remove and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes
* If you don't want to strain out the mint, chop the mint very fine before adding it to the butter. There's no need to strain the mint afterwards, and the texture of the cookies doesn't change (you'll just see flecks of green dotted throughout the cookies). This version might taste even mintier!
** These cookies freeze very well.

Enjoy these Thin & Crispy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

What’s that? You think it’s been a long time since I posted a bread recipe, and you’ve been dreaming of finding that perfect homemade 100% whole wheat sandwich bread recipe? Yup, I could sense your needs and cravings, and I’m here to help!

Actually, I’ve been flipping between making our marbled rye loaf and this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread for the last few months. Each holds a special place in my tummy, but this whole wheat sandwich bread is always a personal favourite. It was one of the first types of bread I started making years ago, and once I figured out a few key steps, it never fails to disappoint. It’s slightly sweet and not at all dry or stodgy, like some whole wheat breads can be. It freezes well and toasts up like a dream. What more could you ask for?

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If you feel like you’re unsure about diving into a 100% whole wheat loaf, start with a 50-50 mix of whole wheat and white, unbleached bread flour, then keep pushing up the whole wheat content until you find a loaf you love.

This recipe makes 1 loaf and uses 400 g of flour. So, start with 200 g of whole wheat and 200 g of white. I’ve found a nice middle-of-the-road whole wheat bread will use 300 g of whole wheat and 100 g of unbleached bread flour.

A few tips for making a 100% whole wheat sandwich bread:

  1. Whole wheat flour can soak up a tonne of liquid. When you initially start kneading this dough, you will think it is too wet and sticky, and will really want to add more flour. DON’T! I’ve done it before, and the result is not pretty. Give the dough time to rest and absorb all the liquid.
  2. In order to make whole wheat bread nice and soft, you need to knead the bread for a long time OR you can use a bit of a cheats method. Have you ever heard of the stretch-and-fold method of kneading? If not, keep reading!
  3. Give the dough time to rise. Sometimes I find I have to wait longer to see the dough dome over the top of the pan. This is okay! Patience yields fantastic bread.

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The Stretch-and-Fold Method:

No, we’re not talking about your daily yoga routine (although, it would be a good name)! This is a way of coaxing the bread to develop more gluten and structure, without needing a lot of kneading time (haha). It’s also a great way to deal with dough that’s on the wet, sticky side.

Basically, you start with a round ball of (probably sticky) dough on the counter. Use wet or oiled hands to gently stretch one side of the dough out, then fold it back over the dough. Do the same with all four sides (think north, south, east, west). After you’ve stretched and folded each side of the dough, turn it over and tuck it into a nice little ball. Cover it with a bowl and leave it sit for 10 minutes.

You’re going to do the stretch-and-fold a total of 4 times, waiting 10 minutes in between. So this process will take you 30 minutes. Each time you finish a stretch-and-fold, the dough should feel much more elastic and less sticky. By the end, you’ll have a nice, soft ball of dough!

If you’d like to see this in action, check out this little video from the bread-master, himself.

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Timing options for baking your whole wheat bread:

  1. Bake it the same day: Shape it into a log shape, and place it into a parchment-lined loaf pan. Leave it in a warm place to rise until the dough domes over the top of the pan by about 2 cm (1 inch). Then, bake away.
  2. Leave it overnight, and bake the next day: Shape the dough and place it into the parchment-lined loaf pan, but then cover it with plastic and put it in the fridge overnight. Then, bake in the morning.
  3. Leave it for a few days before baking: You can leave the dough in the fridge for up to 4 days, unshaped in a tighly-sealed bowl. Whenever you want to bake the bread, give yourself a few hours, for the dough to warm up, be shaped and rise. Then, bake away.

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If you’re looking to boost the nutrients of your morning toast or your daily sandwich, give this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread a try. You might be pleasantly surprised!

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) water
  • 140 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) milk
  • 7 g (1 pkg) instant yeast
  • 400 g whole wheat flour
  • 35 g brown sugar
  • 45 g vegetable oil
  • 5 g salt
Instructions
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the milk and water for about 35 seconds, to make it lukewarm. Stir in the yeast and leave it sit for 5 minutes to bubble up while you're measuring the other ingredients.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, vegetable oil and salt. Pour in the yeast liquid and use the dough hook attachment to mix the bread until the dough just starts to combine, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer and leave the bread sit for 5 minutes, to start to absorb all the liquid.
  3. Knead the dough with the dough hook, on low speed, for 6 to 7 minutes. The dough should be soft and sticky.
  4. Increase the speed to medium and knead for another 4 minutes. If the dough is extremely sticky, add more flour, 1 tbsp at a time, but otherwise, the dough will be slightly sticky.
  5. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured or oiled counter top. Complete 1 round of stretch-and-fold, tuck the dough into a ball and cover it with a bowl for 10 minutes. Repeat the stretch-and-fold (with 10 minute wait) another 3 times. So you will do the stretch-and-fold a total of 4 times, over the course of 30 minutes.
Bread baking times
  1. If you want to bake the bread immediately, roll the dough into a log shape and place into a parchment-lined 8-inch loaf pan. Leave to rise in a draft-free location until the dough just domes over the edge of the pan (30 to 60 minutes).
  2. If you want to bake the bread the next morning, roll the dough into a log shape and place into the parchment-lined pan. Cover with plastic and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, allow the bread to warm up while you pre-heat the oven.
  3. If you want to wait a few days before baking the bread, leave the dough unshaped in a tightly-sealed bowl, for up to 4 days. On the day of baking, remove the dough from the fridge at least 2 hours before baking. Allow the dough to come up to room temperature before shaping and placing into the pan.
  4. In all cases, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. When finished, the loaf should be nicely browned on top and sound slightly hollow, when tapped on the bottom.

Enjoy this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread!

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Simple Herb-Marinated Beans

How was your Easter? Did you eat yourself into a frenzy? We came precariously close 🙂 As such, this pot of simple, herb-marinated beans is definitely needed this week. It’s light and fresh (because spring is trying to appear), full of protein (to keep you away from all the leftover chocolate) and it lasts all week in the fridge (making your lunch or dinner choices so much easier).

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I was working from home one day last week and didn’t have any leftovers to eat up for lunch, which sent me on a minor food-hunt around the apartment. Aside from some herbs and tomatoes, the fridge was looking fairly bare. But a quick nose around the pantry turned up a few cans of beans, and some shallots. From that, this bowl of really tasty herb-marinated beans was born, just in time for lunch!

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I started with one can of butter beans (those gigantic ones) and decided it wasn’t going to be enough, so tossed in a can of cannellini beans as well. I love how big and meaty these beans are, and this salad makes a great base for many additions. Cucumber or peppers would be great, or even thinly sliced mushrooms. Just don’t skimp on the herbs. Everything is marinated in a fragrant herby vinaigrette which, when piled on a piece of toasted bread, makes for a perfect lunch.

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The beans have been sitting in our fridge for the last 4 or 5 days and everyday, they always seem to taste just a little bit better. That’s what I love about salads like this – they’re easy to make and last more than an hour in the fridge.

We’ve eaten them on toasted bread, on their own as a salad, and even tossed in with roasted veggies for a tasty kick. I love it when an almost-empty fridge surprises me like this 🙂

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Simple Herb-Marinated Beans
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These healthy herb-marinated beans are easy to make, full of protein, and bursting with flavour.
Ingredients
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 cans of beans (398 mL each), drained and thoroughly rinsed (I used butter beans and cannellini)
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup finely chopped herbs (I used cilantro and mint)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix the chopped shallot, fresh ginger, dried red chili flakes and white wine vinegar. Leave it to sit for 5 minutes while you are prepping the rest of the salad.
  2. Place the beans, tomatoes and herbs in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and toss to combine.
  3. Add the shallot mixture to the beans and mix thoroughly.
  4. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, to allow the flavours to meld.
  5. Serve as a side salad, or on top of toast or bread.
Notes
In a tightly-sealed container, this salad will last in the fridge up to one week.

Enjoy these simple herb-marinated beans!

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Double Chocolate Chili Muffins

On the weekends, Jonty is my resident muffin-man. It’s his one baking luxury of the week – he loves to bake them, and I love to eat them, so it’s a win-win situation, really. Around mid-week, he asks if I have any requests; often, it’s a slight modification to the previous weeks muffins. For the past month or so, he’s been making tweaks to these double chocolate chili muffins, and I think he’s mastered them! They’ve got a sky-high muffin top, are studded with big chocolate chunks, and have the perfect warming heat at the end of your bite.

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Now, before we scare you off with the name, just know that these chocolate chili muffins can be made to tailor to your spice tolerance completely.

  1. If you really like chocolate and love a bit of kick to your food: Follow the recipe as stated.
  2. If you really like chocolate but have uber-sensitive taste buds: Leave out the chilis completely.
  3. If you really like chocolate, but you’re not sure how awesome the chocolate + chili combo is: Start with fewer chilies, one say.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Double chocolate chili muffins

What I love about these muffins is that you just taste a simple chocolate muffin in your first bite. Maybe you’ve hit a jack-pot chocolate chunk, and you’re in chocolate heaven. Then you wonder what that other subtle flavour is? So you have another bite, then you get a lovely warmth on the back of your tongue – that’s the little chili kick at the end. It’s really a great combination of flavours!

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Jonty still follows his basic muffin ratio quantity and I think this is a great base for any chocolate chunk muffin:

1 part egg : 1 part sugar : 2 parts liquid : 2 parts flour : 1 part butter : 1 part add-ins

For anyone not aware of how these ratios work, we’ve talked about it before (here and here and here), but essentially it really makes for an easy way to bake and to scale recipes. The only caveat is, you need a kitchen scale. And if you don’t have one already, and love to bake, you really should invest in one! You can pick up a decent one for less than $25.

The ratio recipes will usually start with the weight of a large egg, which will be around 50 g. For this recipe, we’re using 2 eggs, which usually comes out to 100 g. All the other ingredients scale from there.

So for 100 g of eggs, you’ll need 100 g of sugar, 200 g of milk, 200 g of flour… You’re catching my drift? It’s math, but it’s easy math. Honest!

It doesn’t take long to figure out how awesome it is to bake from a recipe using weight measurements versus measuring cups. In most cases, you only need one bowl – and when you don’t have a dishwasher, less time in the sink is always a good thing. The other benefit to baking with ratios is that it makes for scaling recipes up or down, a breeze!

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So, if you don’t have one, go out and purchase your first kitchen scale, then make these muffins as a reward for being such a smart baker.

From taste-testing experience, these muffins are fantastic with your morning/afternoon coffee or tea and taste excellent on their or with a dollop of raspberry jam 🙂

Double Chocolate Chili Muffins
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 100 g (2 large) eggs
  • 200 g milk
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g cake and pastry flour
  • 50 g dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 100 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 100 g (1 medium) ripe banana
  • 2 - 3 red thai chilis, chopped (optional, depending on heat sensitivity)
  • 100 g dark chocolate chunks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 7 g baking powder
  • 7 g baking soda
  • chopped walnuts, for the topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Measure out all your ingredients before-hand. Melt the butter and leave it to cool slightly.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, or stand-mixer bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until frothy. Add in the sugar and vanilla and whisk on high speed, until the mixture is foamy, about 1 minute.
  4. While the mixer is running, slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until just combined. Scrape down the sides, as needed.
  5. Add the melted butter and whisk on high speed until completely incorporated. When fully incorporated, the mixture should look very fluffy and almost like a well-aerated cake batter. This should take about a minute on high speed.
  6. Add the ripe banana and whisk on high speed until combined. Finally, add the chilis and chocolate chunks and stir to incorporate.
  7. Place the batter in the fridge overnight to bake in the morning. If you want to bake these right away, still place the batter in the fridge while the oven is pre-heating.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and line a standard muffin tin with 6 muffin cups. Equally divide the batter into the 6 muffin cups. You want to aim to over-fill the cups. It's okay - they won't spill over too much! If desired, sprinkle the tops with chopped walnuts.
  9. Bake at 400 F for 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 F and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The muffins are done when a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
  10. As soon as the muffins come out of the oven, run a knife between the top of the tray and the base of the muffin top, to prevent them from sticking when you remove them from the pan. Leave the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

 Enjoy these Double Chocolate Chili Muffins!

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One-Pot Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken

Have you ever had an idea for something you want to eat, and it comes together exactly as you hoped it would? This Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken dish was that meal. Quite often, we start talking about our “weekend food” early in the week (like, Tuesday morning 😉 ). If we can, we try to cook something new on the weekends, because it can often take longer to make than a standard weeknight meal and we have more time.

I made a batch of my slider buns the previous weekend, so the plan was to do pair those with something. Our first thought was pulled pork (because we love it), but then I saw a few recipes float by online that used tantalizing words like Vietnamese and lemongrass and slow-cooked.

So my brain took those words and ran in a completely different direction and came up with: chicken breast, poached in a Thai broth, shredded and tossed in a spicy peanut sauce.

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ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | One-pot Thai peanut shredded chicken

Have you ever used the poaching method to cook anything other than eggs? We’ve poached fish before, but nothing else. I must say, this method was the main reason this meal came together so quickly, it’s fast and easy, and keeps the meat juicy and flavourful.

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As a bonus, I found this was so quick to make that it could easily be moved into the weeknight meal category… and it only uses one pot… and you get super tasty leftovers…

What’s not to love!

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | One-pot Thai peanut shredded chicken

We ate this Thai peanut shredded chicken piled high on the slider buns, topped with slices of fresh, juicy pineapple. It was a match made in Saturday-night food heaven.

I bet it would be equally fantastic in a taco or alongside a crunchy salad, or simply straight from the pan. This wild-card recipe is definitely going to be added to our weeknight rotation!

One-Pot Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 500 g boneless skinless chicken breast, or 750 g bone-in chicken breast / thighs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • 2 to 4 Thai red chilis (depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (bottom ⅓ thinly sliced, middle ⅓ chopped into large pieces, upper ⅓ discarded)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 - 3 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 lime, zest + juice
  • 1 handful cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil, or neutral oil
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, saute the garlic, ginger, lemongrass slices and red Thai chilis in peanut oil until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken broth, chicken pieces and lemongrass chunks. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and poach the chicken until the meat is cooked, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken and place it on a plate to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, shred the meat with 2 forks.
  4. Skim off any fat from the chicken broth and return the pot (with broth) back to the stove top. Add the peanut butter and soy sauce and whisk to combine. Over medium-low heat, allow the mixture to reduce and thicken. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and zest and chopped cilantro.
  5. Add in the shredded chicken and stir to combine. Once the chicken is warmed through, it's ready to serve.

Enjoy this One-Pot Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken!

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