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Recipes Ideas

Seven-Layer Cookie Cookies – Bake at 350°

Seven-Layer Cookie Cookies

We are big fans of the 7-layer cookie around here. I make the classic often. I’ve also dipped them, made 7-layer cookie ice cream, and made a few different varieties.

Jack loves a 7-layer cookie. I wanted to send a care package to him as soon as we got home from dropping him off for sophomore year, but I wondered how the traditional bars would hold up to the still hot temperature in transit.

Seven-Layer Cookie Cookies ♥ your favorite 7-layer bars in cookie form

So, I decided to try a cookie version of a 7-layer cookie. That sounds weird, but you know what I mean, right? I used this recipe (my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe) as the basic base of the cookie. Yes, it’s the one that chills in the fridge for 36 hours before baking. Yes, it’s totally worth the weight.

I added the traditional chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, and pecans to the dough. For the chocolate chips, I used mainly Nestle semisweet because that’s what I use in my traditional 7-layer cookies. I also added in some premium semisweet chips AND some semisweet wafers for those big chunks of chocolate.

To incorporate the other two ingredients, sweetened condensed milk and graham crackers, I made a glaze and crumbled the grahams on top. I also added a bit of fleur de sel.

(If you’re counting…that’s only 6 layers. The bars count butter as a layer. Trust me, these have butter.)

Seven-Layer Cookie Cookies ♥ your favorite 7-layer bars in cookie form

The dough is THICK and it’s quite a workout stirring in all of those mix-ins. I divide the dough in half, then add half of the mix-ins to each bowl. Less of an arm workout that way.

Seven-Layer Cookie Cookies ♥ your favorite 7-layer bars in cookie form

Once the cookies are baked and cooled, place them back on rimmed cookie sheets. Drizzle the glaze over. Sprinkle on crushed grahams and a bit of sea salt. The glaze sets up nicely for stacking, packaging…and care packages.

Seven-Layer Cookie Cookies
{makes 40-48 large cookies}

17 ounces cake flour
17 ounces bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
20 ounces light brown sugar
16 ounces granulated sugar
4 eggs
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds semisweet chocolate chips, chunks, wafers, or combination
1 pound combination of butterscotch chips, sweetened shredded coconut, and chopped pecans

for the glaze/topping:
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
crushed graham crackers
fleur de sel

Sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a LARGE bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla.

In low speed, add in half of the flour, mixing just until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour. Stir in the mixins. (This is easier if you divide the dough into two bowls, mix half into each one, then put back into the big bowl.)

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 36 hours. (Alternately, scoop the dough into 3-ounce portions, then chill.)

After 36 hours, preheat oven to 350. Line two cookie sheets with parchment. Scoop the dough onto the cookie sheets anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 ounces (I usually go with 3), but stick to one size per sheet for even baking. (I found it easier to loosen the dough with a spoon, then scoop it with a cookie scoop.)

Sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Bake for 16-19 minutes, depending on size. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the centers are set (but still soft). Let rest on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once cool, place in a single layer on rimmed cookie sheets. Make the glaze: whisk the powdered sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, water, and vanilla together until smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cookies. Immediately sprinkle with crushed graham crackers and fleur de sel. Let the icing set for about 30 minutes before stacking or packaging.

Seven-Layer Cookie Cookies ♥ your favorite 7-layer bars in cookie form

This sounds like sacrilege, but Mr. E and Jack both said they might like these MORE than the traditional bars. What?!? Are you up for trying them?

Recipes Ideas

Mocha Cannoli – Bake at 350°

Chocolate-Dipped Mocha Cannoli

For some reason, as I typed that title, I started singing it to the tune of Copacabana a la Barry Manilow.
“Mocha, Mocha Cannooooooo-liiiii” 

GUYS. Seriously. I cannot handle the ruffles, the chocolate, the crunch. These chocolate-dipped mocha cannoli are everything you want in a dessert all rolled up in one sweet little package.

cannoli shells

And here’s the kicker…they look fancy enough for a dinner party, but because we’re using pre-made shells, they’re easily whipped up for a weeknight dinner.

To my Italian friends, no…these are not traditional, BUT the filling is made with ricotta, not cream cheese. Also, there’s a good bit of orange zest in there for brightness and as a nod to the dried fruit in the traditional filling.

Chocolate-Dipped Mocha Cannoli

That chocolate shell is NO JOKE. The cannoli shells are coated inside AND outside. Oh yeah.

Chocolate-Dipped Mocha Cannoli ♥ for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends

I’m sharing the recipe and all of the details over on The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends

Now, back to the singing…
“Her name was Mocha, she was a cannolo…
…with ruffled filling in her shell and chocolate crunchies out to there…”

Recipes Ideas

Seven Pumpkin Recipes to Make This October

Baking + Pumpkin + October = the most magical time of the year. Just typing that sentence made my heart race a little bit.

Guys, here are 7 pumpkin recipes to usher in October (click the title to go to the recipe):

1. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

pumpkin chocolate chip bars, the ultimate fall treat! ♥

This is maybe my favorite pumpkin recipe ever. I make it EVERY year, usually a few batches, without fail. (Also, look at little kiddo in the recipe post! How was this only 6 years ago?)

2. Pumpkin Cream Cheese
pumpkin cream cheese ... a must-make for fall
Don’t even THINK about eating a bagel between now and Thanksgiving without this cream cheese. It is, as Frechie in Grease would say, “divoon.”

3. Spiced Pumpkin Cut-Out Cookies
Spiced Pumpkin Decorated Cookies
Yes, you read that right. Not pumpkin spice, spiced pumpkin. There’s actually pumpkin in the mix. I made these for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends. They’re as delicious as they are pretty.

4. Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal with Greek Yogurt Ghosts
baked pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal sweetened with coconut sugar and topped with greek yogurt ghosts
These guys just make me so happy. The toasty, warm flavor is boosted here by using coconut sugar. Have you tried it? It’s lovely. Also, pumpkin + chocolate for breakfast is a winner any day of the week!

5. Pumpkin Beer Bread
pumpkin beer bread
No pumpkin baking list is complete without a pumpkin bread. I bring you – pumpkin BEER bread. Ah, yes. So quick and easy…this could be on your dinner table tonight. No kneading, no rising.

6. Spiced Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Pumpkin Cream Filling
Spiced Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Pumpkin Cream Filling ♥
I know these were just on the blog, but they deserve a spot in the round-up. Y’all. That spiced chocolate cookie is AMAZING. Paired with the pumpkin filling, it’s out of this world. Perfect for sharing.

7. Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
pumpkin cheesecake brownies
Last but not least, these decadent, you-must-make-them brownies. Seriously fudgy, seriously creamy, seriously delicious. (My stomach just started growling.)

What are you guys making this October? Please tell me that it involves pumpkin!

Recipes Ideas

Houston Astros Decorated Cookies – Bake at 350°

Houston Astros Decorated Cookies: Bregman Stare, Hugs for Homers, I Literally Love Justin Verlander, Springer Dinger, Astros Rainbow Jersey

Well, our house is ready for the 2018 ALCS…if by ready you mean, have a stash of 3 dozen Astros-themed cookies.

You might have to be an Astros fan to “get” some of these cookies. I’ll talk you through the colors and shapes used for them, though.

Houston Astros Cookies ♥
Houston Astros Cookies ♥ : Bregman Stare, Dugout Stare

I grew up with the Astros. We watched them at the Astrodome and cheered for Jose Cruuuuuuuuuuuz! When I was a teenager, I distinctly remember one day when I was lifeguarding when the girl who checked IDs at the gate came into work and said, “the Astros just signed the CUTEST player.” That player was Craig Biggio. ♥ (Side note: last month, I introduced myself to Craig in the Chicago airport baggage claim. Total dork fangirl moment. Someday I will be cool. No, I won’t.)

Houston Astros Cookies ♥

Then, the Astros flirted with a change in color…what were they thinking…but it was the time of Lance Berkman (Big Puma/Elvis), Roy Oswalt, and yes, Biggio, so we forgave them.

In case you missed it, the Astros WON THE WORLD SERIES last year and are about to compete in the ALCS. (Y’all this is the most sporty talk I’ve ever done.) You know how this goes…we needed cookies.

Houston Astros Cookies ♥ : Justin Verlander

One thing about this team is that they are SO FUN to watch. There’s a joy there that is palpable. Maybe it’s because I’m an Astros fan, but other teams seem…mean. Sorry, I said it. I never said I was unbiased.

Here are the colors I used for the cookies:

  • orange: Chefmaster Sunset Orange + Americolor Electric Orange
  • blue: Americolor Royal Blue + Chefmaster Navy
  • white: Americolor Bright White
  • yellow: Americolor Egg Yellow

For the cookies, I used my go-to, never-fail, perfect-every-time cut-out cookie recipe. I cut these 3/8″ thick. For the royal icing, I used my go-to royal icing recipe.

Houston Astros Cookies ♥ : alex bregman

I was most excited to make this “Bregman Stare” cookie. It’s also known as the “Dugout Stare.” Google it…or just watch after Bregman homers in the next game. For the shape, I used Sweet Sugarbelle’s Horseshoe cutter. I used a paring knife to make the bottom look a little more like a banner.

If someone were to go through my google history right now, it would look like this:

  • “alex bregman eye color”
  • “are alex bregman’s eyes blue or green”
  • “what color are alex bregmen’s eyes”

You know what? Google DOES NOT have this answer! I couldn’t tell from photos and felt very creepy zooming in on every one of his headshots. Sooo…I made them turquoise. 

Houston Astros Cookies ♥ : I Literally Love Justin Verlander, Jose Altuve quote

This cookie may seem like it’s all about Justin Verlander (Hi, Kate!), but it’s a quote by the forever fan favorite, Jose Altuve.

Houston Astros Cookies ♥ : George Springer

GEORGIE! I hope George Springer doesn’t mind that I call him Georgie. George, you can call me Bridgie anytime. No Astros cookie set (or playoff game) is complete without a Springer Dinger.

Houston Astros Cookies ♥ : Tony Kemp, Hugs for Homers

And Tony Kemp’s Hugs for Homers!!! Y’all, it’s the cutest ever!

Houston Astros Cookies ♥

The cookies with the H’s and the raised blue stars are double-deckers. You know that that means – two cookies in one! More info on making double-decker cookies here.

Houston Astros Cookies ♥ : Kalas + Blummer + Julia

Oh! And I made a few cookies to commemorate our awesome local announcers: Todd Kalas, Jeff Blum, and Julia Morales. I really wish they were able to call the playoff games, too. They’re awesome.

Houston Astros Decorated Cookies: Bregman Stare, Hugs for Homers, I Literally Love Justin Verlander, Springer Dinger, Astros Rainbow Jersey

There are so many more Astros cookies I want to make: Woo!, Never Settle, Orbit (!!!)…and cookies for ALL of the players. We love these guys.

Ok, AJ Hinch and the boys…go get those Red Sox! GO ASTROS! 

Houston Astros Cookies ♥ : Hugs for Homers

Recipes Ideas

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal – Bake at 350°

baked pumpkin oatmeal

There’s no doubt about it. You NEED this breakfast recipe in your fall pumpkin breakfast repertoire. Do you have a fall pumpkin breakfast repertoire? 

First off, this recipe contains pumpkin. Should I go on? That’s enough of a sell for me in October and November. OK…second, it silences oatmeal haters. I’m serious. This baked oatmeal looks like a sheet cake. There’s no arguing. Third, it can be topped off any number of ways. I like Greek yogurt and a little cinnamon sugar, but add bananas or pecans…or chocolate chips! I won’t even tell if you add whipped cream.

I should add that this is really, really easy to put together. It’s also perfect for leftovers, so make it once and you have breakfast for a couple of days. Win-win.

baked pumpkin oatmeal

I’m sharing the recipe over on The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends. Here’s a quote from someone who has already made it, “Bridget, I made this and it was good cold, warm and with or without yogurt and/or fruit. It really was so simple to make and very yumolla!” Thanks, KJ! See, I told you that you need it!

Go get the recipe! Go pumpkin! 

Recipes Ideas

Homemade Butterfingers – Bake at 350°

Homemade Butterfingers ♥ for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends

You will NOT believe how easy these are to make! I kid you not. Do they taste like the real thing? YES! Mr. E said he liked them more than actual Butterfingers!

Homemade Butterfingers ♥ for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends

Not only are you making a traditional Halloween candy, mini Butterfingers, but you’re using a Halloween candy to do so…candy corn! Psst…Thursday will be an excellent time to stock up on half-price candy corn.

how to make Homemade Butterfingers ♥

There are many melted candy corn-peanut butter versions of homemade Butterfingers on the internets. What they lack, though, is the crunch. This recipe has a couple of ingredients that add in that crunch.

dipping homemade butterfingers in chocolate

Oh, and the process of making them is actually easy and fun! Hello, chocolate dip. Can everything be dipped in chocolate, please? Is that too much to ask?

Recipes Ideas

Change Your Altitude Mountain Cookies Inspired by Pier Giorgio Frassati

Change Your Altitude, Verso l'alto Mountain decorated Cookies Inspired by Pier Giorgio Frassati

Well, that post title was a mouthful. Actually, that is the edited down version, believe it or not.

Change Your Altitude Mountain Cookies

A. I wanted to show you this cookie set, and
B. tell you how I made a mountain range cookie from a Christmas tree cookie cutter.

The cookies were made for a college student (NOT JACK, although, I did send him just a few…why do I feel like I need to justify sending my child care packages???) who attended Frassati Catholic High School with Jack and is now off at college in the mountains of Colorado. He’s an adventure-loving kid and a hiker…so I thought these cookies were perfect.

Verso l'alto Mountain Cookies Inspired by Pier Giorgio Frassati

I’ve made Pier Giorgio Frassati cookies before, you can see them and read more about Frassati in this post. Pier Giorgio was a mountain climber and is known for the saying, “Verso l’alto,” or “to the heights.”

Change Your Altitude Mountain Cookies

The mountains and “change your altitude” cookies were inspired by this sticker from Brass & Mint Co. Such a perfect quote!

To make the mountain ranges, I used Sweet Sugarbelle’s Christmas tree multi-cutter. I love Sugarbelle’s multi-cutters and have several. Remember the College Hints Cookies?

how to make mountain cookies with Christmas tree cookie cutter

I cut out the cookies as usual, then used the bottom of the cutter to make some of the mountains a bit shorter than the others. Then, I used the side of the cutter to lop off just a bit of the sides to make them fit together more easily.

A trick to piecing together cookies is to freeze the put-together shapes for 5-10 minutes before baking. I always do this, whether pieced together or not, but if you don’t, this is a good time to start.

Oh! Here’s my go-to cut-out cookie recipe. I rolled these to 3/8″. You’ll also need royal icing. You can use any colors you’d like.

Change Your Altitude Mountain Decorated Cookies Inspired by Pier Giorgio Frassati

Here are the colors I used:
Once your cookies are baked, it’s time to decorate!

mountain cookie tutorial

Use a #3 tip to outline the mountains. I like this bigger tip so that the outline will show.

Thin the royal icing with water, a bit at a time, until it is the consistency of thick glue. A ribbon of icing dropped back onto itself will disappear in a count of “one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two” (or three). Cover with a damp dish towel and let sit for a few minutes. Stir gently with a silicone spatula and pour into squeeze bottles.

mountain cookie tutorial

Fill in the snow outline first. Use a toothpick to guide to edges and pop any large air bubbles. Then, fill in the bulk of the mountains.

Let the cookies dry uncovered overnight or for 6-8 hours.

Change Your Altitude, Verso l'alto Mountain Cookies Inspired by Pier Giorgio Frassati

I love, love, love the messaging here for someone starting college or a new job…or you know, climbing a mountain. (Obviously, they’d be perfect to celebrate Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.) ♥

Recipes Ideas

Dad’s Upside-Down Pecan-Apple Pie – Bake at 350°

Dad's Upside-Down Pecan-Apple Pie

This pie comes with a story. Family stories are my favorite. I love reliving ours and hearing other families’ stories. Aren’t they always THE BEST? (I wonder what stories Jack will tell his kids about us someday? Hmmm…)

Dad's Upside-Down Pecan-Apple Pie

This one involves my mom and dad when they were newly married. My mom set out to bake a pie. It didn’t go well. While she was in the backyard pouting, my dad whipped up a pie. This one. Funnily enough, my mom was none too pleased that SHE failed, yet her new husband had made a fabulous pie. (I’m sure she got over it once she had a bite or two.)

I’m not even sure that my mom EVER made this particular pie, although she was known in our neighborhood as an excellent baker and cook. My only memories of this pie are of my dad making it. As you might guess, I have a really cool dad. ♥

Dad's Upside-Down Pecan-Apple Pie

Me. E mentioned last week that apple pie is tied with cherry as his favorite. (And I think there was a small comment about not remembering the last time he’d had a “regular” apple pie.) I usually make this cranberry apple pie at Thanksgiving, but I decided to bake up my dad’s apple pie for him this week. Just like the title suggests, The top of the pie is baked on the bottom and flipped once baked.

The brown sugar-pecan top makes this pie so special. Maybe every pie should have a brown-sugar pecan crust. I love this filling on this one as well because it’s not overly cinnamon-y. It has just the right amount.

For the crust, you can use your favorite double-crust recipe or even store-bought. I tried a new food processor crust for this one. It tastes great but was a bit difficult to work with, so I’m not going to share it here just yet. If you’re looking for a stellar crust, I love this one.

Start by combining softened butter and brown sugar. Cover the bottom of a glass pie pan with the mixture and top with pecan halves.

Place one pie crust over the pecans. Brush with a thin layer of egg white. (This helps prevent the juice from leaking through.)

granny smith apples in bowl

Next up are the apples. I recommend Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or a combination.

apple peeler, corer, slicer

Peel, core, and slices the apples. Do you have one of these apple peelers? It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools!

Dad's Upside-Down Pecan-Apple Pie

Toss the apples with lemon juice, then with some brown sugar, flour, and spices. Pile into the pie pan.

Top with the second crust and bake.

Dad's Upside-Down Pecan-Apple Pie

Dad's Upside-Down Pecan-Apple Pie

Once the pie is baked, remove from the oven and let the brown sugar on the bottom stop bubbling. (Here’s where that glass pie pan comes in handy.) Place your pie plate upside down onto the pie. Invert the pie, carefully lifting the pan to remove. Voila! Upside-down pie!

Dad's Upside-Down Pecan-Apple Pie

Let the pie cool a bit before serving. It is best served warm with a (non-negotiable) scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top.

Dad’s Upside-Down Pecan-Apple Pie

4 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup pecan halves
unbaked double pie crust (store-bought or homemade)
1 egg white, whisked
6 cups cored, peeled, and thinly sliced Granny Smith or Pink Lady Apples
juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 450. Place oven rack on lower 1/3 of the oven.

Use fingers to combine the softened butter and brown sugar. Place on the bottom of a 9 or 10″ glass pie pan. Top with pecan halves, pressing face down into the sugar. Cover with one of the pie crusts. Brush the crust lightly with the whisked egg white.

Toss the apple slices with the lemon juice. In a large bowl, stir together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Pour the apples in and toss. Pour the apples into the pie pan.

Top with the remaining crust. Press the edges together and crimp edges; prick the top with a paring knife a few times. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450, the lower the heat to 350 and bake for 40 minutes more, until the apples are easily pierced with a paring knife.

Remove from the oven and let cool until the brown sugar on the bottom has stopped bubbling, about 5 minutes. Place a pie plate upside-down over the pie. Invert the pie and carefully lift off the pie pan. Let the pie cool for a bit and serve warm with ice cream.

Store at room temperature, covered with foil. Reheat slices in the microwave before serving, about 12 seconds is all it takes.

Dad's Upside-Down Pecan-Apple Pie

Let’s hear your family pie stories!

Recipes Ideas

EASY(!) Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns

Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns

For the last several years, I’ve made batches of these. Why I’ve never posted them on the blog is a mystery. There’s a high probability that it’s because we eat them all before I have a chance to take photos.

These little chocolate peanut butter acorns are SO EASY. Yes, they’re so easy that it warranted capitalization.

how to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns

Here’s what you need: 

  • Hershey’s Kisses
  • Mini Nutter Butter Cookies
  • Mini Chocolate Chips
  • Chocolate Melting Wafers*

*the melting wafers aren’t 100% necessary. I normally just melt chocolate chips for that part, but was shipping these and wanted them a bit sturdier. Either works just fine. 

Unwrap the Kisses. Try to refrain from eating them. I usually buy the family-size bag.

Separate the cookies. Some of the cookies will have no filling, some will have all of the filling, some will have a bit. It’s all good. Leave as is. 

[NOTE: I’ve found bags of Nutter Butter Minis at Target, but my grocery store only sells them in the lunchbox-size cookie variety pack. My sister got bags of them at a convenience store. They’re worth the hunt.]

how to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns

Melt the chocolate melting wafers or extra chocolate chips (you don’t need a lot) in the microwave in 30-second intervals at 30% power. Stir after each interval, heating until melted. 

how to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns

how to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns

Dip the flat side of each Kiss into the melted chocolate. Press on a Nutter Butter cookie, flat side down. 

how to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns

Dip the bottom of a mini chocolate chip into the melted chocolate and press onto the top. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns

Place the acorns onto a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet. Once all of the acorns are assembled, place in the refrigerator to set up. (You can skip the fridge if you used the melting wafers.)

Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator…they’re fine either way. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns

Using the family-size bag of Hershey’s, you’ll get about 80 acorns (minus the ones you test while making). 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorns

Make these for the kids’ table! Make them for the grown-ups’ table! Make them for your neighbors! Hoard them for yourself! Just make them! 

Recipes Ideas

How to Make Homemade Panko Breadcrumbs

How to Make Homemade Panko Breadcrumbs

What in the world did we do before panko breadcrumbs? I’m obsessed. They’re so light, so airy, so crunchy…regular breadcrumbs are dead to me. (That was a little dramatic; I’m sorry.)

How to Make Homemade Panko Breadcrumbs

Did you know that you can make panko at home? You literally need one (!) ingredient.

Homemade Panko Breadcrumbs ♥ for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends

Over on The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends, I’ll show you two methods for making them at home. Yay! I’m actually using them to make salmon burgers tonight, but in the post, I share some other great recipes for using panko. Go see!