Dark Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Rye Bars

Hi friends! It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with you, and for that I apologize. I don’t know about you, but it has been pretty darn stressful around here. There are some days that I just want to hole up with my family and then there are some days that I hate absolutely everyone and I just want to lay in bed and binge an entire season of The Real Housewives of Anywhere Else. That being said, I’m still cooking most days and you can usually find my current creations on my Instagram Story, but actually writing up a recipe and posting it can be more than my brain can handle. I’m sure you all understand. I will try to do better.

One thing I haven’t slacked on is making some kind of treat for the Emergency Room staff who work with The Boy day in and day out. No matter what is going on with me, no matter how I’m feeling, whether I like The Boy that day or not,  I still push myself to make them something every Saturday to say “THANK YOU” for everything they do. It doesn’t matter how you feel politically, if you are an intelligent human being existing in 2020, you know that we are facing a serious health crisis, and these people put themselves on the line every damn day. Some days are worse than others, for sure, but they never know what is going to walk through those doors from one minute to the next. So if I can make them the best damn Dark Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Rye Bars they’ll ever taste, by golly I will!!

You should go make some for someone you want to thank, even if that person is you. Especially if that person is you (Read more…)

Peanut Butter Blondies

And now, a very special episode of Cook Sleep Read:

A good friend recently told me that baking is one of the few things that really gives her some measure of stress relief lately. Following a recipe exactly and creating something delicious gives her days a little more structure; something a lot of us are missing now, what with the whole global pandemic thing. Then she told me that she was considering not baking anymore because there were just too many sweet treats and loaves of bread in her house for her and her husband to consume on their own. But studies have shown that exercising your creative side in some way can help people feel more relaxed and happy in times of stress, so, especially now, it’s important to find a way to keep doing the creative stuff you enjoy. I suggested she might share them with neighbors, pack them up and deliver them to a local hospital, or even freeze them for later, more-structured days, when she has less time to indulge in the baking arts. For me, I’m giving my family some reprieve from my ever-growing mountain of sweets by baking up something yummy and packing it for The Boy to take to work with him in the Emergency Room every weekend. I even package up any extras and leave them at our neighbor’s door for a surprise treat. Sharing home-baked goods is my solution to all the stress of life today. Being in control of something, when we have so little control of so much, is no small thing. So bake someone happy, especially if that someone is yourself!  (Read more… )

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

Life can be… stressful, right? And while I normally wouldn’t advocate eating your feelings, now seems like a good time to break that rule. The world, in the words of The Fresh Prince, “got flipped-turned upside down” recently, and these Peanut Butter-Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats are here to fill a social-distancing sized hole in your diet.  (Read more…)

Super Soft Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

My youngest daughter has  always had a weakness for those brightly frosted, festively sprinkled sugar cookies that they sell at the mega market. You know the ones. There they are, right up at the front of the store, all puffy and fluffy, the frosting and sprinkles reflecting the theme of an upcoming holiday.  I almost bought some for her recently and I stopped myself.  I’m a baker.  Surely I can recreate a sugar cookie! But I’m also inherently lazy.  I mean, I’m always moving, but I don’t want to do more than necessary to get a job done (work smarter, not harder.) I didn’t want to make a dough that had to be chilled, rolled out, and cut out… ugh 😩 so much to do before cookie eating time. So, I took the idea of a frosted sugar cookie and turned it into Super Soft Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars!  Less work, no need to chill or roll or cut, just press the dough into a pan and bake to deliciousness! (Read more…)

Rocky Road Chocolate Shortbread Bars

The Saga of ‘foods Cynthia was kinda “meh” about, but now likes’ continues.  Today’s chapter is all about the lowly marshmallow.  Even as a kid marshmallows never excited me.  I was never really into S’mores, didn’t have a Rice Krispy treat until just recently, and as a child of the South, never ate a Moon Pie, with or without an RC Cola (😱 clutch my pearls!)

The one “food” that finally brought marshmallows a little closer to my mouth (and my heart), is Breyers Rocky Road Ice Cream, which may or may not disappear from my freezer at a rapid rate, on occasion. Dark chocolate ice cream, laced with ribbons of marshmallow, and big pieces of crunchy chocolate covered almonds?!  Oh, heck yes!!  I have tried to recreate the flavor and fun of that treat with these Rocky Road Chocolate Shortbread Bars.  Soft bits of mini marshmallows and crunchy toasted nuts are mixed into rich chocolate and layered over a buttery chocolate shortbread crust for an unforgettable bite.  Sometimes I’m all in with almonds and sometimes I’m nuts about walnuts, but I’m always over the moon about these Rocky Road Chocolate Shortbread Bars! (Read more…)

Pecan Bars with Shortbread Crust

As a Southern girl born in Chattahoochee County, Georgia, I have pecan pie running through my veins.  It’s one of the first desserts I can remember Olga Mae (my Grandma) ever serving me, and it might be my favorite overall flavor combination.  The deep, caramel flavor with a little salt, a lot of sweet, and the crunch of the nuts… it covers all my craves right there!  But, over time, I’ve gotten to where I don’t really want all the gooshy parts of the pie.  You know what I mean.  I don’t want too much of the sweet stuff that surrounds the pecans, I just want all the pecans!  My Pecan Bar recipe has all the best parts of a pecan pie, without an overload of the sticky part of the filling.  It’s got a salty and sweet pecan mixture on top of a tender and buttery shortbread crust, and it’s delicious! (Read more…)