Chocolate Surprise Cookies

Risking sounding like a broken record, Scott and I played our weekly game of “What kind of cookie do you want this week?”  His answer is always the same, and I usually end up making something that I want anyway.  So, back to Pinterest for inspiration for something that he will like.

I’m hoping that the upcoming holidays will spark a wealth of new cookie recipes, because I seem to not be able to find anything that sparks my interest in cookie making.  I hope that others have the same problem I do: I look at things that I have pinned and think to myself, “Why on earth would I pin something like that?”

Original Recipe Is Here:

What You Need:

For the centers

¾ cup peanut butter

¾ cup powdered sugar

For the outer cookie

½ cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 stick butter, softened

¼ cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups flour

½ cup cocoa powder

½ tsp baking soda

And Here’s What You Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the peanut butter and the powdered sugar. Form into balls slightly bigger than 1 tsp.  It will make about 30 little balls.  Place the peanut butter balls on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer (or a plate if you have a teeny freezer like I do.
  3. Combine the rest of the ingredients while they are in the freezer
  4. Remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer, and mold the chocolate cookie dough along the outside of the ball until covered.
  5. Slightly flatten the cookies with the bottom of a glass.
  6. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until the tops just start to crack.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

I gave one of the still pretty warm cookies to Scott to try, to which he said that he will tell me what it tasted like once it stopped being as hot as the surface of the sun.  What a jokester.  It wasn’t that hot.  Mostly.  Once they cooled completely, he tried another one.  That prompted a response of “Those don’t suck”, which is Scotty speak for “Dang, those are pretty good!”  At least I think he likes them. They keep disappearing when I look the other way…

These were supposed to be flattened with a sugar-dipped glass, but I thought that I would try them without.  The cookies aren’t super sweet, which is a nice change for a peanut butter cookie.

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes


Update:  So, I had this in the queue to post, just waiting to take pictures of the final result…until I came home from work to find them all gone!  Sorry to say, no pics for this one, so hopefully you can use your imagination!


Carmelitas, Or How I Was Told to Bribe my Coworkers

A few coworkers and I were out to lunch, welcoming a new member of the team. The subject came up that I liked to bake, to which the woman on my left said “You know, you haven’t been baking much at all out of the “Stuff we want Liesl to make” Pinterest board. I think that you don’t really love us any more.” One of my leaders was also at the table and said, “Yeah, your year-end review is coming up. I think you need to show us the love.”

So, I got ‘gently persuaded’ to bake something and bring it in to work. Plus, we’re all facing the end of our fiscal year, so we’re all a little stressed out.

Original recipe is here:

Here’s What You Need
32 caramel squares
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

And Here’s What You Do
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely smooth; set aside to cool slightly.
3. In a bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8×8″ pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
4. Remove pan from oven and evenly layer the chocolate chips over crust then pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel.
5. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.
6. Seriously, don’t try to cut them before they are cool. They will still be a little wobbly when they come out of the oven and will firm up as they cool.

What I Did
I really need to read recipes all the way through before charging blindly ahead (but, hey! Where’s the fun in being prepared?) I thought that one recipe would be enough to cover a 9X13 pan. So, I had to improvise and do another 1/2 recipe to try and cover the 9×13 pan. They turned out ok.


Oh yeah….

However, here it is a week later, and I’m making another pan for Scott. This time, I had all the ingredients that I needed for a full batch, and I can already tell that they are going to turn out better than the last batch did.


The coworkers loved them! I ended up bringing a few home for Scott to take to work, but I don’t think that actually happened. Because really, they are the perfect thing to pick you up after a long hard day at work. Or on a Saturday. Or a Sunday…

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Cookies At Midnight

I got to pick the recipe this week since the hubs wasn’t really craving anything in particular. I picked this one due to the fact that I normally don’t do a chocolate cookie base, and I wanted an excuse to buy Oreos. I know, why buy Oreos when I’m making cookies, but Scott likes the variety. 🙂

Original recipe is here:

What You Need:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

4 ounces coarsely chopped dark or semisweet chocolate

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

12 Oreo cookies, finely-crumbled

And Here’s What You Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (besides the sugar and chocolate) and set aside. Place the butter and the chopped chocolate in a microwavable bowl and melt slowly in the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds or so.
  3. Using a stand mixer, combine the chocolate and butter mixture with the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until combined. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients, and fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Roll the batter into tablespoon-sized balls. Roll in the crumbled Oreos, then place 2 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet. Bake until cookies flatten and surfaces begin to crack, about 12 – 15 minutes. Transfer onto wire racks to completely cool.


These little guys are as dark as midnight. They are probably as close to a dark chocolate cookie that I have gotten to yet. They were very crumbly upon moving to the wire rack, but they did firm up once cooled. They also tasted better once cooled, if you believe that. Normally, I like my cookies freshly warm out of the oven, but I do like these better than their toasty predecessors.


Keep an eye on the chocolate while you are melting it. You can also melt it over a double boiler on the stove top. If you do melt it in the microwave, take the bowl out every 10 seconds or so to check to make sure that it hasn’t burned. If the chocolate still holds its shape, try to break it up with a spoon and stir it into the butter. Chances are, the chocolate will yield and will combine easily.

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love and Cupcakes!

German Chocolate Cookies – The Cookies That Seemed to Take Forever

See, this is what I don’t understand.  A recipe that says it takes 35 minutes from start to finish should take 35 minutes from start to finish.  I worked on this recipe for two hours.  And that was with starting with softened butter.  Unless all the cookie sheets are going into the oven at the same time, there is no way that this recipe could take 35 minutes.  I spent 35 minutes just baking the dang things since I can only fit two cookie sheets in my oven at a time.  Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing the author of the original recipe, I’m just trying to figure out why these recipes always take me at least twice as long to get through.  If anyone has any idea, please let me know!

Original Recipe is here:

What You Need

For the Cookie:

2 sticks butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup sugar

2 tsps vanilla

2 large eggs, beaten

2 ¼ cups flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

Pinch salt

For the Frosting:

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

½ cup butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

And Here’s What You Do

For the Cookie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare your sheets using your favorite method.
  2. Mix together the butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs until combined.  In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Carefully add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix until combined.
  3. Drop by tablespoonful onto the cookie sheets.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

For the Frosting:

  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla.
  2. Stir to combine, then continue to stir until the mixture becomes thickened (this takes about 11 minutes).
  3. Once the mixture thickens, remove it from the heat and stir in the coconut and pecans.  Combine and cool until thick enough to spread on the cookies.


Normally when I make frosted cookies, I always have a ton of frosting left over.  This time, I was not so lucky!  I have five naked cookies cooling on the rack right now.  Granted, I could have scraped some of the excess off the others…

I’m pretty pleased with the way that these turned out.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to make this morning, and was going down the list of recipes that I want to try when I called this one out to Scott.  He seemed pretty keen to the idea, so I jumped at the chance to make him something that he actually asked for.

photo (2)

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies – From my own little brain!

I’m not normally a genius when it comes to developing my own recipe.  When cooking dinner (or any meal for that matter), I really need to have a recipe to follow.  I’m not blessed with the ability to look at what I have in the fridge and whip up a gourmet meal from a can of tomatoes and a piece of cheese. 

That’s what Scott does.  And it baffles me every time.

However, about once a year, I’m struck with an idea that I feel is completely brilliant, and it seems to work out exactly how I imagined it.  What follows is a recipe that got it’s start as about five other recipes, and a lot of intuitive thinking whilst I was in the kitchen.

Original recipe from my own brain.


What You Need

½ cup rolled oats (or old fashioned)

1 cup butter

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup sugar

1 ½ – 2 teaspoons vanilla

1 small box instant chocolate pudding (unprepared)

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

1 ½ tsp powdered peanut butter (optional) – More on this later

1 ½ cups peanut butter chips


And Here’s What You Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Pulse oats in a food processor until fine.  Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, thoroughly mixing after each egg.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, salt & pudding mix.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Carefully stir in the peanut butter chips.
  4. Divide dough out onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet using a cookie scoop.
  5. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the edges have just slightly turned brown.  Remove from the oven and let them sit on the hot sheet for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

 What Have I Done???

I’ve been eyeing powdered peanut butter for a while.  I’ve read about it most often in the Hungry Girl emails as a good way to add the peanut butter flavor without all of the fat and calories.  Turns out, the powdered stuff has only 45 calories per each 2 tsp serving, and about a third of the fat that regular PB has!  And you can add water and make your own low-fat and incredibly yummy peanut butter!  I promise, it doesn’t taste powdery.


I’m not sure that the powdered peanut butter adds that much flavor, but there is a subtle richness to the cookies that might not be there if it were removed.  I’ll have to test that theory.

It is a creation of Bell Plantation.  Visit them here:

I bought it at my local Walmart when I was brave enough to go in last Saturday.  It also comes in chocolate.  I may have to go and get some of that as well.


Scott had a fresh one right off the cookie sheet…I just caught him eating another one…and it’s before dinner…anyway, he said that he really likes how they are not terribly sweet.  He also said they were “pretty good”, and considering that I saw him eat at least five yesterday, I would say that he likes them a lot.

 I think that I might have been picturing them turning out slightly darker.  As it is, they are the color of a lovely glass of chocolate milk.  While still lovely, not the shade I had thought.  But, considering how tasty they are, I don’t think that I will change that much.  Maybe I would get a different result with cocoa powder, but not the same consistency.


 Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Cracker Barrel Chocolate Coke Cake

I will be the first one to admit that I am not a cake person. That being said, every once in a while, I can be persuaded to try a piece. I tried this cake at Cracker Barrel, and I knew that I had to see if I could find the recipe for it.

Original Recipe is here:

What You Need

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup Coca Cola

5 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla


½ cup unsalted butter

3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

9 tbsp Coca Cola

1 tsp vanilla

4 cups confectioners’ sugar


And Here’s What You Do

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a 9×13 baking pan using your favorite meathod. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar and baking soda and Set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 cup butter with 5 tablespoons cocoa and 1 cup Coca Cola. Bring to a boil, whisking together as it melts.

2. Pour the chocolate mixture over the flour mixture and stir until combined. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla, stirring well until combined

3. Pour the batter into the prepared 9×13 pan and bake for 40 minutes (mine was done at 30 minutes).

4. For the topping, sift 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar into a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat melt 1/2 cup butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 9 tablespoons Coca Cola. Whisk together and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour the warm chocolate mixture over the sifted confectioners’ sugar. Whisk together until completely combined.

5. Remove the cake from the oven once it is done and poke with a fork all over the top. Slowly drizzle the warm chocolate frosting over the cake. Allow to cool completely before 2(2)


What I Did

This recipe originally calls for a marshmallow fluff layer between the cake and the frosting. However, this was already turning out to be a pretty sweet cake, so I decided to omit the marshmallow and just go

with the frosting. I don’t think it is lacking anything. And the cake that we had at the restaurant didn’t have the fluff either.


I think my coworkers really needed the chocolate cake today. Maybe it’s due to the fact that it is Monday, and Mondays around the office tend to be pretty hectic. But, it certainly was welcome.

I think the next time I make this cake, I will remove some of the sugar in it.  The cake had a bit of a grainy texture, but perhaps that was just the frosting.  Perhaps I didn’t cook it long enough…In any case, definitely worth another try!

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Bake Sale Part 2 – Reese’s Peanut Butter Brownies

A friend of mine posted a link to these on my Facebook wall, practically begging me to make them for the bake sale.  How can you resist that kind of request?  Truly, there wasn’t much convincing that had to happen.  How can you go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter, especially peanut butter frosting!!

Original Recipe is here:

What You Need

1 ½ cups sugar

¾ cup flour

¾ cup cocoa powder

3 eggs

¾ cup melted butter

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup mini chocolate chips



1 stick of butter (softened)

1 cup peanut butter

2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons of milk


And Here’s What You Do

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Put all brownie ingredients into a bowl and mix until just combined.  Try not to over mix them!  Spread the mix into a greased 9X13 pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

2. While the brownies are baking, prepare the frosting.  Blend all ingredients until fluffy (takes about 4-5 minutes).

3. Cool those brownies completely before frosting!  Carefully spread the frosting over the brownies.  Top with Reese’s Pieces candy and drizzle with melted chocolate.

What I Did

Due to Scott’s amazing foresight, I had a 7 pound bag of chocolate chips at my disposal (yes, 7 pounds.  Sam’s Club is amazing.)  So, the mini chocolate chips didn’t make their way in to the brownies.  But their regular-sized cousins did!  I also used soy milk in the frosting instead of dairy milk.  We’ve pretty much gone off dairy milk at our house.  Since discovering that it was fewer Weight Watchers points than the 2% that Scott likes while having pretty much the same taste, it was an easy decision to make.

I didn’t drizzle with melted chocolate, but I don’t think that they were missing any of the flavors. 


While cutting these up for packaging, one of them ‘accidentally’ broke, so we had to sacrifice it to the Quality Control Gods.  Oh dear!  Oh dear is a good way to put how delicious these turned out!  All glorious chocolate and peaks of peanutty fluff in one delightful package! 


I’ve made these again since the bake sale (this time for Scott to take to work), leaving off the frosting.  For those, I included a heaping tablespoon of marshmallow fluff to make them delightfully gooey.  Apparently, they went over just as well without the frosting as they did with!  I think I may have found a keeper “from scratch” brownie recipe!

And my friend won’t say what he bought, but I know he spent about $20.  I hope he enjoyed the brownies!

Until Next Time,

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes