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 Rice Krispie Cookies

Who would’ve guessed that a pandemic could inspire so much creativity in the kitchen? Every Saturday, I send The Boy off to work in the emergency room with a treat for the staff. I want to make them something to thank them for all their hard work, but sometimes I just can’t think of what to make. Other times, I just really don’t want to enter the chaos that is my local Mega Market. Luckily, a lack of creative drive and no desire to mask up and venture the Mega Market aisles can sometimes pay off. This was definitely one of those times! My Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Cookie is what some might call a “kitchen sink” cookie: I took what was left at the bottom of a box of Rice Krispies, the last of The Boy’s peanut butter stash (don’t worry hon, it has since been replenished), and half a bag of chocolate chips to make an amazing, crave-worthy cookie. This cookie is so good that The Boy “complained” they everyone at work is bugging him for the recipe.  (Hot tip: The Boy is the last person I’d ask for a recipe. That’s why I’m here.) (Read more…)

My Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

I have a story for you today. A story about a cookie. No, not a cookie. THE cookie 🍪 Cue the lights. [The lights dim.] Thank you.

Before I even started this recipe, I thought to myself: does the InterWeb really need another chocolate chip cookie recipe? Was I bringing anything new to the table? Was there a unique spin or a new flavor combination that I felt the world needed to hear about? Can a chocolate chip cookie even be perfect? Everyone has different taste and texture preferences, so how can I call one chocolate chip cookie perfect? That’s when it hit me, I didn’t need to figure out what the best chocolate chip cookie in the world was. I just needed to make my perfect chocolate chip cookie. The perfect cookie for me and my tastes. See, here’s the thing: The only chocolate chip cookie experiences I’d had as a child were store-bought, and, no offense to cookie manufacturers, I hated them. They were too hard, too crunchy, and too sugary. Thus, I found a goal for my chocolate chip cookie recipe development: I needed to figure out how to make a chocolate chip cookie that I loved, one that was the exact polar opposite of those store-bought cookies. I wanted a crispy edge, but a chewy middle. One that held together when it went for a swim in milk, but fell apart when I took a bite. Not too sweet and just a little bit salty. So, I got to work. And I did it.

Okay, you can turn the lights up again.

Pardon the dramatics, but this is truly My Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie. This is a cookie that I absolutely love and I hope this is a recipe that will intrigue you and make you want to bake some for yourself! Because you really should.

Now seriously, you should turn the lights back up. Reading in the dark is bad for your eyes. Besides, you can’t bake cookies in the dark (Read more…)

Hero Sandwiches (aka Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies)

Hey. Hi. Hello. Starting Week 9 of the lockdown here in New Jersey and I’m (just) holding it together. I’ve been keeping busy in my usual fashion by finding new dishes to cook every day (I get bored eating the same things), watching Survivor from the very beginning (how cute is baby Amber in Season 2?), and thinking about what to bake for The Boy and his hospital (hero) coworkers on Saturdays (also low-key fearful of the revolt if I stopped doing it now 😳). I had a few ideas rolling around in my noggin this week, but at the last minute I pivoted to these Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies. I mean, what‘s better than two crunchy peanut butter cookies hugging a fluffy peanut butter filling? Right. Decision made.

The Boy experienced a little separation anxiety as he watched all of these beautiful cookies get packed up this morning, but after I gave him a calm down cookie and showed him his private home stash he was good to go. So, listen. If you have any spare time, and someone you know needs a calm down cookie, I highly recommend making a few dozen for yourself them. (Read more…)

(p.s. but hey, let’s not just call them heroes, let’s pay them like heroes, yeah?)

Birthday Cake Cookies

In these unprecedented times, we are being constantly bombarded with gentle-voiced reminders of how unprecedented the times truly are. I mean, could times be any more “challenging,” “trying,” or uncertain?” Are we doing enough to “stay connected” despite the “distance between us” as we “stay at home?” The incessant reminders that {insert-car-company-here} is now in the “people business” and are “here for you” is enough to make anyone want to disconnect. Well, guess what? I’m “here for you” too, with a recipe that you can eat “all alone,” and “all by yourself.” Remember the perfectly sized  Confetti Snack Cake we made a few weeks ago? It was just enough Un-Birthday cake for two or three people to enjoy? I have a faster, easier, just as delicious alternative, for when you really, really (really) need some time (and cookies) to yourself. My Birthday Cake Cookies have all the fun and flavor of my confetti cake, in a portable, hoardable, pocket size. Trust me, there’s nothing “challenging,” “trying,” or “uncertain” about these cookies.  (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…)

Maple Butterscotch Cookies

I feel like a recurring theme in this blog, and in my life, is things I hated as a kid that I love now.  Butterscotch is one of those things.  To me butterscotch evokes memories of that etched glass candy bowl that all grandmothers had in their living rooms with hard candies in them.  If you were lucky, your grandmother had lemon drops or Jolly Ranchers.  My Grandma Olga Mae kept plastic wrapped butterscotch candies.  😖  In MIssissippi, plastic wrapped meant the plastic was perma-stuck to the now sticky, overly sweet, weirdly savory tasting candy. Poor eight year old me.  Fast forward many, many (many) years to randomly hearing someone on TV say that the quick cheater caramel I’ve always made with brown sugar, butter, and cream is actually butterscotch?! 🤯  You mean butterscotch isn’t that sickly sweet little sticky disc Olga Mae kept in that bowl for years on end?  So when I saw a bag of Nestlé Butterscotch Morsels, I instantly wanted to try them!  And what better way then to add them to a cookie?  A rich Fall Maple Butterscotch cookie!!  No sticky plastic wrapping required. (Read more…)

Halloween Candy Cookies

When I was a kid, eating my Halloween candy was a science.  I divided my stash into groups: 1. Eat right away, 2. Not as good, eat anyway, and 3. Raisins.  Right?  Sometimes I’d have the wisdom to save one or two “eat right away” candies for the end, like dessert candy.  Not usually.  Sorting and eating usually took place within 12-24 hours max.  On the other hand, my big brother hoarded his candy, doling it out to himself so slowly that he would still have candy left THE NEXT HALLOWEEN 😱.  And he didn’t share.  He gleefully didn’t share 😠.  Anyway, I’m totally over that.  As I’ve matured 😉, I eat less candy and it lasts much longer.  Also, my kids are grown, we don’t get as many kids ringing our bell on Halloween, and I have too much candy leftover at the end of the night.  Enter my Halloween Candy Cookies.  Even the “not as good” candies are given a new and exciting life inside of a cookie!  (Read more…)

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

I may have mentioned before that The Boy LOVES peanut butter.  I don’t know if the word love can fully express his feelings towards peanut butter, but trust me, it’s a full blown thing, as seen in my other peanut butter cookie recipe. I, on the other hand, like peanut butter well enough, but really only crave it occasionally.  A couple times a year I long for white toast, hot out of the toaster, smeared with peanut butter so quickly that it actually becomes a liquid.  Swoon.

A Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie though? That is craveable.  I don’t know if it’s from my Girl Scout Cookie selling days, when I ate my profits in Do-Si-Dos, or from TV commercials enticing me to “Have Another Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie!”  Whatever it is, these cookies really scratch that snack itch.  Peanut Butter Cookies, with just enough oats added to give them a little texture without tasting “oaty”, filled with a fluffy peanut butter filling… 🙇🏻‍♀️ Oh my (Read more…)

Cast Iron Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie™

Sometimes you want a cookie.  Sometimes the thought of making that cookie, using who knows HOW MANY bowls,  SO MANY utensils, creaming things, chilling stuff, scooping (so much scooping), then – oh no they’re too flat, too puffy… AAAHHHH!!! YOU JUST WANT COOKIE IN YOUR MOUTH.

It’s going to be okay.  I’m here to help.  Let’s just stop the madness for a minute.  Let’s just mix everything in a bowl, put it in a pan and bake it.  It will taste just like a cookie, but will look like a slice of pie, because it’s Cast Iron Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie™ (I just made that up, but the trademark symbol is kinda cute, huh?) (Read more…)