Category Archives: Cookies

Double Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

double chocolate macadamia nut cookies 2

After college I used to go to my parent’s house every Sunday to do my laundry. It wasn’t that I didn’t have laundry at my apartment, I was just terrified beyond belief of the laundry room beneath my apartment. When my roommate and I moved in, we looked at the dark dungeon of a laundry room and both gave it a definitive “no thanks.” I only used it a few times, and always in the middle of the day, and on my final trip I had a perfectly pleasant conversation with a man who had just moved in…which seems harmless enough looking back, but at the time I was convinced he was going to kidnap me. Yes, my mind is a weird place.

Anyway, my laundry room fear led to several cozy Sundays at my parent’s place. My sister would usually come over too, and we’d fight, as sisters do, over who got to put the first load in. While waiting for our laundry, we’d sometimes watch Grey’s Anatomy on the DVR, but usually we’d make cookies for my dad. Sure, my mom enjoys cookies (as long as they have “nothing weird” in them like peanut butter…crazy lady), but my dad is the one who really treasures baked goods. Now that my sister and I both live in places with in-unit laundry, our weekend baking adventures happen less often than my dad would like. When we do go to my parents place, my dad will inevitably come upstairs and say, “Are my girls baking me cookies? I haven’t had fresh cookies in so long…” Guilt.

A few weeks ago, this same scenario played out, but then my dad reached for a package of store-bought cookies. STORE BOUGHT! That’s what he’s succumbed to? I felt ashamed. It only got worse when he said, “Katie, give these a try. They’re really good.” Oh ARE they…We’ll see about that.

They were good. I hated them for it, but they were really good…disturbingly good, and of course full of the scary ingredients that come in store-bought cookies.

With my dad’s birthday coming up this Thursday, I decided to make him a batch of cookies that would at least keep him away from the store-bought variety for a few days. For this birthday treat, I put my own spin on those boxed white chocolate macadamia cookies he talked up so much. I wish I could say this “spin” was purely out of artistic inspiration, but in the same fashion that my sister and I usually make cookies at my parent’s place, I just went with what I had in my cupboards and made it work.
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Apple Cider Snickerdoodles

apple cider snickerdoodles

Let’s be real about our fall flavor preferences. You may have realized I’m partial to pumpkin, but while that’s something I love year-round, I’m a bit more subtle about it until fall comes around and it’s acceptable to scream it from the rooftops. Apples, on the other hand, really only get my attention in the Fall. Outside of autumn, if the apples aren’t honeycrisps and/or baked and covered with sugar, I’m not really interested.

My apple affection surfaces the most when it’s apple orchard time. This weekend, for example, I went with my family, including my socuteicouldjustdie little nephews, to an orchard where we ate apple cinnamon donuts, got lost in a corn maze, picked pumpkins, rode on a wagon around the rows of fruit, and then browsed for apple goodies in the store. After I picked up my honeycrisps, I walked by a table marked “Ciderdoodles” and covered in containers of fluffy, spiced cookies. Fall-spiced snickerdoodles?! Inspiration led me to buy apple cider for some ciderdoodle experimentation.

Why didn’t I just buy the pre-made ciderdoodles, you ask? First, that’s for quitters. Second, pre-packaged cookies are usually full of hydrogenated oils and preservatives. I’ll take my cookies natural, thanks. Full fat, buttery, covered in sugar, but natural gosh darn it.
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Peanut Butter Drenched Ice Cream Sandwiches

chocolate peanut butter ice cream sandwiches with peanut butter drizzle

Some people can fall right into vacation mode. They simply finish up work, walk out the door and haven’t a care in the world.

I’m not one of those people. Not even close.

Since the 4th of July fell on a Wednesday this year, I went crazy and took a 5-day weekend. Look out for this girl, I know. The boy and I decided to spend the vacation at his dad’s place in Wisconsin. It’s secluded within a bunch of tree-covered bluffs, has a creek the weaves throughout the property, and it’s also one of the few places where my phone absolutely refuses to work. So, to summarize, it’s pretty great.

On our first day of vacation, Wisconsin set a heat record (brace yourselves, here I go complaining about heat again), so, with the exception of an hour sitting in the creek with a beer in my hand, the outdoors was off-limits. No structure and no outdoors? My thumbs started to twiddle, my toes started dancing up, down, around…I needed to do something to settle into vacation mode. Naturally, this “something” became a baking project. I’m so predictable.
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Choose Your Own Adventure: Almond Butter Cookies

Almond butter cookie 2

Hey fellow kids of the 90s – remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books? You’d get a few chapters in, start caring about the story, and then WHAM you need to make a decision that would completely color the remainder of your book experience, or end the book quickly by killing you. I actually kind of hated those books because, well, I hate decisions. What’s wrong with normal books where you get passively lost in a story instead of having to choose the story yourself?

These wishy-washy books came to the front of my mind recently when a weekend-long baking mission left me with choices…too many choices. I knew I wanted to make almond butter cookies, because almond butter is one of those things that I could eat any time of day, in any situation: scooped right out of the jar, melted in oatmeal, slathered on an apple, grilled in a sandwich with nutella, mixed into in a smoothie, etc…the point is that I really don’t care, as long as I get to eat it. Due to my versatile almond butter love, I couldn’t decide what kind of cookie to make. I imagined soft oatmeal cookies made with brown butter, but from there I could not commit to one direction.

I ended up going through three different cookie “Adventures,” if you will (and I think you will), which means that this post is a three-fer…yes, three recipes in one post, so you get to choose your own adventure! …and I get to make three different cookie variations instead of picking just one. Everyone wins!

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Dirty Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream

Dirt Cake Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream Top

Anyone who’s talked to me about desserts, so pretty much anyone who’s ever met me, knows one thing for certain: this girl loves dirt cake. And yes, I’m talking about the dirt cake you remember from your childhood: thick, smooth chocolate pudding laced with chunks and crumbs of Oreos, often served up in a bucket with a shovel. Of course, a dessert this refined should be saved for special occasions only, so my brother, sister and I look forward to our birthday buckets all year. It’s a family thing, this dirt cake fascination. It’s in my blood, like freckles and sarcasm. I just can’t help it.

Naturally, with my sister’s birthday happening this weekend, I anticipated my dirt cake experience all last week. In all my dirt cake daydreaming, I got to thinking…what would happen if I stuffed dirt cake in a cupcake, and then topped it with some absurdly delicious Nutella buttercream frosting? Inspiration had hit, and there was no going back.

Stop looking at me like that. I know it’s over the top, but before you judge me, here’s a little preview…

Dirt Cupcakes with Nutella Buttercream Bite 2

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Guilty Pleasures and Cookie Wars

Triple dark chocolate avocado mint cookies

Let’s talk guilty pleasures, and for once, this isn’t about food (yet). Okay, I’ll just say it: I have a problem with reality TV. “A problem” in the addictive sense, that is. For instance, I jokingly started watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians when nothing else was on, and at some point my viewing crossed a line to…well, needing to actually keep up with the Kardashians. Trash TV like this puts me in a trance that I can’t fully explain…a calm, brain-dead trance, that keeps me coming back for more.

Naturally, this trance expands to food-centered reality TV as well, and my latest “problem” is Cupcake Wars. Here’s the gist: Four bakers compete to have their cupcakes displayed at a grand event (fashion show, broadway opening, hollywood party, etc.), and that event becomes the theme of the competition. The themes come with crazy ingredients too, like vegetables, spices and absinthe (that was just one time, but it made an impression on me), that the bakers need to transform into delicious cupcakes. Food blogger Baker Bettie decided to do her own spin-off of the TV contest, and with COOKIES, no less. I’m much better-versed in cookie experimentation than with cupcakes, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to try something risky and adventurous, and feel like I was actually IN Cupcake Wars. How cool, right? Of course, there would be no actual cupcakes, stressful time crunch, or $10,000 prize, but hey, bring it.

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Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies, A Love Story

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies Cookies

Like most forms of love, my love for carrot cake is complicated, because I don’t even really understand it. As a vegetable, I kind of hate carrots, and as far as desserts go, I’m usually a chocolate girl, but there’s just something about carrot cake that gets me. I thank my good friend and former roommate, who I will annoyingly refer to as “The Bride” in the remainder of this post, for introducing me to my carrot cake love. When carrot cake day rolled around in our college cafeteria freshman year, she insisted that I try it. Being the way I am, I had of course thought that putting carrots in cake was for the birds, or at least people who like carrots. When I begrudgingly loaded up my fork and gave it a go, I knew I’d found a new dessert love outside of the chocolate realm. Yes, that’s right people, I’m a dessert polygamist. Deal with it.

Anyway, for this friend of mine, The Bride, carrot cake is nothing short of food crack. When she sees it, she needs it, regardless of time, place, or level of hunger. Her mom makes an amazing traditional carrot cake: fluffy, layered, and bursting with buttery, thick cream cheese frosting. It will knock your socks off and put you in a food coma. So, naturally, when The Bride’s bridal shower approached, I knew I needed to invite our mutual love, carrot cake. Since the festivities began midday, I didn’t want to make a huge, intimidating cake, so I decided to go the cookie route…well, the double cookie sandwich with thick cream cheese frosting squeezing out the sides route, but still, it seemed like a lighter option.

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