Reese’s Stuffed Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

 

Boo! Today is Halloween!!

And I’m not trick or treating. Waaaaaah.

It seems like people have some construed ideas about trick or treating. Apparently, the older you get, the more socially-unacceptable it is to go trick or treating. With today being Halloween and politic-season rearing its ugly head, I figured I’d defend my argument against No-Adults-Allowed Trick or Treating, or NAA TOT.

First of all, people have this weird idea that because you’re an adult, you can somehow buy your own candy. Um, whatever happened to that little thing called “being neighborly”? If your neighbor came over desperate for a cup of sugar for her coffee, you wouldn’t turn your nose up and be like, “aren’t you a little too old to be asking for sugar? Buy your own.” So how is it any different from candy?

Also, going off on that same idea, people assume we can buy our own candy because we have money. Kids don’t have bills. In fact, they don’t really have any responsibilities except to do their homework which, let’s face it, is probably done by parents anyways. So basically we’re rewarding bill-free, responsibility-less children with sugar when really, the adults should be rewarded with chocolate for A) putting up with children, and B) having to pay bills and therefore, not buy candy.

And okay, don’t you ever want to punch people when they tell you to “get in the Christmas spirit!” during Christmas-season? And you’re like THIS IS MY CHRISTMAS SPIRIT YOU FREAK!! So why are adults being penalized just for being adults when they’re in costume, celebrating Halloween? I mean, I’m dressed in costume and as spirited as you can get–and you’re not giving me candy because I’m an adult? Ruuuuude.

So this Halloween, vote against NAA TOT, or No-Adults-Allowed Trick or Treating. If you’re paying a bill, wearing a costume (or even just a wig), and are desperate for candy that was not purchased by you, I say go trick or treating. And if naysayers balk at your age, egg their house. Just kidding about the last part. Maybe instead start screaming about how trick or treating is a conspiracy against adults. I bet you they’ll give you a Snickers bar to shut up.

Oh. And if you’ve ever run into the crazy problem when you have leftover Halloween candy lying around and need some inventive way to repurpose chocolate bars, look no further. These cookies do the trick just fine! Meet Reese’s Stuffed Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies. They’re chocolate chip pudding cookies (obvi) stuffed with whole Reese’s peanut butter cups. Um, you’re friggin’ welcome.

The best part is this recipe can be adapted to nearly any chocolate candy you want to stuff ’em with. Snickers? Go for it. 100 Grand? Do it. Milky Way? Be my guest.

Oh and BTW, there are no rules about adults eating cookies, so feel free to stuff your face.

HAYLEY 2012!!

Reese’s Stuffed Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies *adapted from Picky Palate’s idea and Two Peas and Their Pod’s Vanilla Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe 

1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding mix
2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 & 1/2 cups miniature chocolate chips
About 12-14 Reese’s peanut butter cups, unwrapped
Optional: other candy bars like 100 Grand, Snickers, Milky Way, Kit Kat, Krackle, Almond Joy, etc.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone liners or spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy. Add the eggs, vanilla + pudding mix to combine. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda + salt; gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in the miniature chocolate chips.
3. Drop a rounded Tablespoonful of dough on your baking sheet; gently press a Reese’s cup (or candy bar of your choice) on top of the dough. Top with another rounded Tablespoonful of dough and seal the dough balls together around the candy bar. Repeat, leaving a 2-3″ space between cookie dough balls (they’ll spread slightly).
4. Bake for approx. 12-14 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even baking, or until golden and set in center. Cool on sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to racks to cool completely. Store leftovers airtight, up to 4 days.

I only had 100 Grand and Reese’s cups on hand, so I used a mixture of the two. Of course, my favorite were the Reese’s cups–the unexpected flavor of peanut butter in the gooey center of these fluffy, chewy chocolate chip cookies was phenom!! I can only imagine using Snickers or Almond Joys would be a fun + delicious twist as well!

Happy Halloween!! Have a fun and safe trick or treating experience!!

xo, Hayley

 

Twix Brownies

 

Sometimes I find shopping for kitchen gadgets to be an overwhelming task.

Gone are the days where you simply shop for 13×9 inch pans, rubber spatulas and foil.

Here are the days where there’s a novelty pan for um, everything, and gourmet mixes for everything and gadgets for… shaping meatloaf. Isn’t that the point? That it’s a loaf? Apparently I’m a moron.

Anyway, since my family is one dessert plate away from calling Hoarders on me, I can’t go shopping for any more novelty pans, appetizer forks, or paper straws. Though it’s certainly tempting. Waffle stick pan? Um, why is that not in my life? Egg sandwich pan? Hello, McDonald’s McMuffins are my jam, gurl.

And now they make brownie pans which is totally confusing. I mean, brownies are one of those easy, no-brainer kinda desserts. You don’t need bells and whistles to make them amazing, and you certainly don’t need a special pan.

Brownie pans won’t make your brownies any better than using a 13×9 inch baking pan, just like owning a Louis Vuitton handbag won’t make you the next Real Housewife. It just doesn’t happen like that. Thanks, life.

So I wanted to make a delicious brownie to prove to all those novelty pans and gizmos that I don’t need you and that I’m better off without you in my life. You hear that, waffle stick pan? I’M BETTER OFF. Also because I’m deathly afraid my family will call Hoarders. Don’t you dare take my food props or I’ll stab your eye with an miniature fork!!

I found this recipe for Twix Brownies over at Jasey’s Crazy Daisy and knew I had to try them. They have every element of a Twix bar except in a fudgy, gooey brownie form. The buttery shortbread crust. The dense, chocolate-y brownie. The oozing, rich caramel. And the delicious chocolate shell. It was heavenly… and it was happening… in a 13×9 inch pan.

Yeah. I think we’re better off.

Twix Brownies *adapted from Jasey’s Twix Brownies recipe 

For the Shortbread Crust:

1 (12 oz) pkg shortbread cookies, finely ground
6 Tbsp melted butter

For the Brownies:

1 box brownie mix, plus ingredients on back of box
1/4 cup hot fudge sundae topping

For the Caramel Layer:

1 (14 oz) bag Kraft caramels, unwrapped (or use caramel bits–much easier)
2 Tbsp water or heavy cream

For the Chocolate:

1/2 pkg milk chocolate almond bark or Candiquik

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Lightly mist with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the shortbread cookie crumbs with the melted butter until fully combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the foil-lined pan to form your crust. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, prepare your brownie mix according to package directions. Stir in 1/4 cup hot fudge sauce to the brownie batter (this makes for a super yummy brownie, but omit it if you’d like). Pour the brownie batter on top of the crust and spread to even out. Bake the brownies for approx. 25-29 minutes, or as directed on the back of the box. A toothpick inserted near the center should come out mostly clean or with light crumbs. Cool completely in the pan.
4. Melt your caramels and water or cream in a microwave-safe bowl for one minute. Stir, then heat for additional 30 seconds-increments, stir, then heat again until melted. Once smooth, pour onto the cooled brownies and spread gently to even the layer. Pop those in the fridge for about 15 minutes to set while you melt your almond bark.
5. Spread the melted chocolate Candiquik/bark over the caramel layer in an even layer. Allow the brownie bars to set in the fridge or freezer, about 20 minutes, or until hardened. Cut into squares and serve!

Holy moly, guys. These are some of the most delicious brownies I’ve ever made! If you’ve never heard of the hot fudge + brownie mix tip, you need to adopt it into your everyday brownies. It makes them SO fudgy and extra delicious.. perfect for these decadent candy bar brownies. The shortbread crust has a perfect sweet yet salty crumb which compliments the buttery caramel sauce sitting pretty on the dense, fudgy brownies. And I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a smooth chocolate shell. These brownies will be your new favorite!

Enjoy!!

xo, Hayley

 

Sugar Cookie-Covered Oreos

 

Some Guilty Pleasures…

Betsey Johnson. Obvi.

Hamburger Helper. Scrunch your nose all ya want, but I friggin’ love the saucy boxed stuff.

French fries. They can do no wrong.

Ridiculously fake-long eyelashes. Love ’em.

Wearing cologne.

Nonfat iced chai tea lattes at Starbucks. The $4 somehow makes them taste better. Or not.

Doughnuts because duh.

Peplum-anything.

Real Housewives. I love my California girls, OC & Beverly Hills.

Sprinkles. Tons of them. All day, everyday. I. love. sprinkles.

So when I got the crazy idea to wrap sugar cookies around Oreos, I knew those aforementioned sugar cookies would be positively smothered in rainbow sprinkles. Is there any other way to eat sugar cookies? (I think not).

These Sugar Cookie-Covered Oreos are a fun surprise snack. Buttery sugar cookie dough is wrapped around both Golden and regular Oreos, then rolled in sprinkles and baked until golden. The result is a crispy, chewy, sprinkle-filled cup that’s as sweet to eat as it is to look at.

So eat up, sweetie.

Sugar Cookie-Covered Oreos

1 pkg refrigerated sugar cookie dough, room temperature (can use homemade, I used store-bought because it was easy)
12 Oreos (I used 6 Golden and 6 Double-Stuffed)
Rainbow non-pareils

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners for easy removal. Set aside. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, pour some of the rainbow sprinkles.
2. Using your palms, flatten out one square of cookie dough into a flat disk. Place a cookie on top of the dough and sandwich between another flattened disk of dough. Seal the dough edges together around the Oreo to enclose it completely. Roll the stuffed cookie into the rainbow sprinkles and place in the muffin liner.
3. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until the edges are light golden and the center appears set. Allow them to cool completely before removing the liners and eating. Best kept at room temperature, airtight, up to 2 days.

These cookie cups are super easy to make and taste delicious! The perfect sprinkle overdose in every bite :)

Enjoy!!

xo, Hayley

Oatmeal Scotchie Pecan Pookies

 

I guess you could say I have the unquenchable thirst to stuff desserts into other desserts.

I like to stuff.

I like stuffing.

I’m a stuffy kinda person.

You know.

I don’t have a clever story for you today because A) I procrastinated, and B) I spent the evening eating my weight in pizza, watching really bad TV, and carving pumpkins with my sister.

It was my first ever pumpkin carving (I don’t know why) and it was SO much fun!! Except for the gutting. Now I know what it’d feel like to be a zombie, hands all dirty from getting into entrails.

TMI? Sorry.

So anywho, I made these awesometastic pies. And cookies. Actually, they’re called Pookies, if you wanna get fancy. Like Brangelina.

I initially made these last weekend and they flopped. I used a larger pecan pie and they all stuck to the insides of my ramekins, rendering them big, pookie messes. Dorothy managed to get a salvaged pookie and insisted I make them again, so I did.. and this time, I made ’em right. I did it for you, Dorothy. That’s love.

If you love cookies and pie and ever thought why can’t I have both? then now is your chance. Pookie, scientifically-speaking, is a cookie covered pie. And this one features miniature pecan pies covered in my favorite oatmeal scotchie cookie dough. I can’t stress enough how delicious these concoctions are, so either trust me (which you totes should) or make them yourself (I’d prefer you did the latter, but trust is cool too).

Oatmeal Scotchie Pecan Pookies *inspired by CakeSpy

1 pkg refrigerated Oatmeal Scotchie cookie dough, room temperature
1 pkg (about 6) miniature pecan pie tartlets (mini muffin-sized)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally–and I mean it–grease 6 cavities in a regular-sized muffin tin. Set aside.
2. Taking two cookie dough cubes, gently pat them into a flat plane with your palm. Carefully wrap the dough around the bottom of a tartlet. Take another two cookie dough cubes, pat them flat, and carefully wrap it around the top of the tartlet, covering it completely with the dough.
3. Press the dough-covered pies in the muffin tins. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and set in the center. Cool about 5-10 minutes in the pan before gently running a knife along the edge to loosen and remove. Cool completely on wire racks.
**Note: For easier removal, you can line your pans with paper liners. I did, and found it much easier to remove.
This recipe is easily doubled!**

Here’s a quick flavor breakdown for ya: the gooey pecan pie center gets super tender and melty inside of these cookie cups, making it a nice little treat. And the butterscotch chips + the pecan mixture is a nice, spicy and sweet twist to classic pecan pie. Plus, who can resist cookies and pie in one sweet bite? Totally outrageous, yes. Totally delicious, definitely.

Enjoy! Happy Saturday!

xo, Hayley

The Friday Roundup & an Online BlogCon Thank You + Review!!

Happy Friday, friends!!

I’m super stoked it’s Friday :) I got lucky this week and had a three-day workweek, so I’m savoring my double three-day weekend.. starting tomorrow!

This week was really busy. Between my blogging, baking, and life, there was Online BlogCon. If you didn’t attend, you really missed out. It’s been so fun getting to know fellow passionate bloggers out there in this crazy, cupcake-filled world, and there was tons of information and tips, from photography to recipe development to blog/life balance. I can’t wait for BlogCon ’13!

And of course, there was baking. Crazy baking.

I popcorned your cupcakes.

I blondied your brownies.

I candied your.. candy.

I cookied your pie and pied your cake.

And I white chocolified your cookies.

I suppose you could say I like to stuff stuff.

And now, friends, some BlogLand Loves.

Pumpkin Spice Fudge with Marshmallow Swirl from The Farm Girl Recipes
Blackberry Praline Crumble from Something Swanky
Brown Sugar Cheese Danish from Chocolate, Chocolate & More
Soft-Baked Ginger Cookies with Pumpkin Pie Dip from A Kitchen Addiction
Chocolate Euphoria Cookie Bars from Crumbs and Chaos
Pumpkin Pie PopTart Pops from Pint Sized Baker

I guess I’m on a pumpkin kick :)

1. This week, I went on a search for my favorite red flannel shirt. Which was GONE. I’m devastated. It’s my favorite flannel of all time, and now it’s MIA. I’m in mourning.

2. Also, this week a mysterious dime-sized dent appeared in the seam of my trunk. WTF! My car is only a few months old, this stuff can’t happen! After losing it, crying, and drinking, I finally realized it’s probably easily fixable by someone with superhuman-strength thumbs. I’m now waiting for someone like that to come along and pop it out (as opposed to paying a hellacious $150 for someone else to do it–eek!)

3. I have been pigging out like craaaaazy. Is there such a thing as non-pregnant cravings? Because I have them all the time. On Saturday, I kid you not–I had donuts and Moscato for dinner. Forrealsies. And I’ve been literally having dreams about French fries.

4. It’s finally fall weather here (yay!) so I’ve been snugging up in sweaters and sweatpants and snuggling up under blankies. I’m so excited!!

5. Also, Halloween is next week (can you believe it? Where did 2012 go, peeps?) and I’m actually kinda excited. I still don’t know if I want to trick-or-treat (be quiet, naysayers) or just hang out at home passing out candy and watching Halloween. Either way, I’m just excited for the plethora of candy. Almond Joys, come to mama.

6. Thank god I actually like my real job, but I can definitely attest to having jobs that have made me feel like this. And this is going to be my new weight-loss plan. Also guilty of this. And omg, sorry T-Swift, but YES.

7. As I mentioned earlier, this week was Online BlogCon. It was the brainchild between Ashton and Dorothy, and it was a tremendous success!! They worked SO hard and SO tirelessly to create a seamless, fun and interactive blogging experience entirely online so novice, seasoned and aspiring bloggers could get together, break the ice, and learn together in one fun environment!

Between the adorably designed site from Sweet Bellaroos to the incredible wealth of information from esteemed bloggers I seriously admire to the AMAZING Facebook group which had me meeting tons of amazing women from around the world, Online BlogCon was a total one-of-a-kind experience. Dorothy & Ashton (as well as their fabulous guest speakers!) ensured each post was tailored expertly to the topic at hand, organized beautifully, and offered valuable insight to topics that matter to me as a blogger. To be honest, I kind of wondered if I would learn anything I didn’t already know since many times, there seems to be the same information repeated all over the web, but I was shocked to learn really awesome things to help me as a blogger on a personal and professional level. And the experience of meeting so many kickass people was totally worth it in itself!

So, Thank you to the Speakers Jessica from How Sweet It Is, Christi from Love From The Oven, Shelly from Cookies & Cups, Camille from Six Sisters’ Stuff, Nikki from Chef in Training, Lexie from voiceBoks, Jamielyn from I Heart Nap TimeKristyn from Lil’ LunaStephanie from Somewhat Simple & Joan from Chocolate, Chocolate & More (for being an awesome Facebook affiliate!! :))

Thank you to the sponsors SilpatSimply Sweet CreationsKitchen Meets GirlMy MemoriesVint PrintSix Sisters StuffHello Love Designs and Hello Love TooKitchen KneadsNaptime Creations,  Pearlsand PetalsPrimulaWilliam Bounds. Together, all of you made Online BlogCon such a fun, unique and SUCCESSFUL conference!! And especially thanks to our fantabulous, supermagical creators, Dorothy and Ashton, for creating and putting so much love & effort into this awesome idea, and asking me to be an affiliate. You two are the bees knees! <3 <3 Congrats–you should be proud of yourselves!!

Have a fantabulous weekend!!

xo, Hayley

Triple White Chocolate Cookies

 

Dear Red Flannel Shirt,

The world may never know why you up and disappeared into thin air from the safe, loving home of my closet, but I am demanding some friggin’ answers. A few days ago, I was so excited with the chilly weather that I wanted to celebrate by wearing you. I woke up and flicked through my color-coded closet to the red shirts and eagerly anticipated my fingers touching your soft, worn-in flannel material–so familiar and comforting during the frigid fall air.

However, instead, I was greeted with an empty hanger. Blast, I thought, figuring my sister snatched you. I stomped over to her bedroom and checked among the sea of littered clothing, only to find carcasses of discarded shirts, jeans, and skirts.. but not you.

I checked in the laundry which was silly, seeing as I haven’t worn you all year. I checked in the out-of-season bins and found chunky sweaters, peacoats and a cape, but not you. I checked on the coat-racks in the garage, in the weird catch-all storage bin in my room, and even underneath my bed… only to be greeted with the screaming silence of your absence.

Red flannel, red flannel, wherefore art thou, red flannel? I misseth the way you feel on my skin. 

You know I love EVERY piece of clothing I own (duh, why else would I shell out precious cash for it?), but, much like how I have a theory that secretly parents have a favorite kid (don’t lie to yourself; admit it), I have favorite things in my closet. I love everything, but I like a few pieces. You know, like family. You’re obligated to love some, but you don’t have to like them necessarily. Anyway, you were the only flannel I both liked and loved. You were the first one I bought when they started being trendy. My mom called me a lumberjack but I defended your stylish checks. I just freaking love you.

But now you’re gone. Lost in some sea of mystery and I’m left in my own ocean of despair. No other flannel does it for me like you do. My family has tried to gently suggest maybe I donated or lost you. Um, you wouldn’t donate your kid to the orphanage, would you? Well, maybe you would.. and if so.. maybe I don’t want to know. But anyway, I wouldn’t just lose my favorite shirt. That’s like, morally wrong.

Please. Come home to me. I miss you, darling.

In the meantime, know that I’ve been engorging myself with cookies. It’s the least I can do until you decide to show up and make my life whole again.

Is anyone else stupidly tempted by the Halloween candy aisle? Seriously now.. so much sugar in one convenient aisle? Totally rad. And I just so happened to be tempted by the white chocolate stuff–this time, Kit Kats and Peanut Butter Cups–and I thought, why not stuff it into one portable, white chocolate-insanity cookie?

So I did.

Wham bam. Eat me.

Triple White Chocolate Cookies

1 box vanilla cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate Kit Kats
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate Reese’s cups
Sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with silicone liners. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, oil and vanilla bean paste with a rubber spatula until combined. Stir in the chips, Kit Kats and Reese’s cups until blended. Drop Tablespoons of dough about 1″ apart on the cookie sheets. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
3. Bake for approx. 9-11 minutes, rotating pans halfway through bake time, until set. Remove from oven and cool on the sheets about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
4. Store cookies airtight for about 3-4 days.

Since white chocolate is notorious for being sinfully sweet, I loved the addition of sea salt on top. It brought out the saltiness from the peanut butter cups and balanced the sweetness of the vanilla bean paste and white chips. These cookies were so delicious and chewy! You’ll love them.

Also.. do you know where my shirt is? WAAAAH.

xo, Hayley

Capookie

I don’t really need to tell you about how SOFREAKINGEXCITED I am that summer is over. Seriously, let me count the ways:

No more exposed feet.
No more sweating profusely.
Now socially acceptable to wear sweaters, boots and scarves.
Better food.
The holidays!!
And did I mention better food?

Summer makes me self-conscious. I can’t stuff my face with ooey, gooey comfort food when it’s sweltering outside. It’d be like eating naked. Just… not okay, folks.

But when it’s blustery out and you’re bundled up inside, your natural instinct it to warm up and eat. Summer denies my love of eating and therefore, I hate that blasted season. Any reason I can have to eat, I will. And if that food is rich and comforting, even better.

Therefore, holiday food is one of my favorites. Comforting, rich, soul-warming, and totally filling–it’s perfect. Turkey, cranberries, stuffing, PIE… it’s all good in the hood, babycakes. Pass me fourths.

And somehow, some brilliant soul in the world looked at their smorgasbord dinner table and thought this food table would be better if that turkey were stuffed with chicken that had been stuffed with duck. Because I’m a genius. And thus, turducken was born.

While I’ve never had it, the idea intrigues me. All the different savory flavors and textures sounds like a completely indulgent experience. So I thought that turducken needed to be sweetified. All that salt needed an over-the-top, ridiculously decadent sweet version. Introducing: Capookie. 

Capookie is a delightful combination of pie, cookie, and cake. With frosting and sprinkles, because hello, we’re indulging here. Don’t mind if I do.

Capookie. I love you.

Capookie *inspired by CakeSpy’s Cookie Cake Pie, in her book Sweet Treats in a Sugar-Filled Life

1 pkg refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough, room temperature
1/2 batch chocolate fudge cake batter (homemade, or from a mix)
1 pkg refrigerated pie crusts
1 can chocolate frosting
Sprinkles

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 9″ pie plate with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Gently roll out one sheet of pie dough and line the greased pie plate with it. Meanwhile, flatten the cookie dough into a single layer to fit the bottom of the pie crust. It should be about 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick; if you have to, rip off extra dough to make cupcakes (see Note below). You will probably have extra dough, fyi.
3. Next, take your cake batter and pour it on top of the cookie dough layer, filling about 2/3 full. You want to keep in mind the cake will rise–so don’t fill it to the top completely. You’ll likely have leftover batter, so use it to make cupcakes (again, see Note).
4. Place the pie monster on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Using a pie shield or foil, gently cover the edges of the pie to prevent them from baking too quickly.
5. Bake the capookie for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, discard the foil, and return to the oven for another 15-25 minutes or until the  top is set and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean. Start checking your capookie at the 30-minute mark for doneness, as different types of cake mix may alter the baking time.
6. Allow the capookie to cool completely before frosting generously with chocolate icing. Sprinkle with your rainbow jimmies. Serve in wedges and store leftovers airtight at room temperature, up to a day.
**Note: since you’re going to have extra batter, dough, and pie crusts, make some cupcakes! Liberally grease a couple muffin cavities, line ’em with circles of pie crust (cut it out with a cup), then gently press in cookie dough and a scoop of batter. Bake for about 15 minutes or until cake is set.**

Capookie is an outrageous extravagance, yes, but definitely something your tastebuds should experience in this lifetime. The combination of the buttery, flaky pie crust paired with the chocolate-studded, brown-sugary cookie dough mixed with the fluffy, moist layers of fudgy cake and icing make for a total taste overload. May I suggest serving this calorie bomb at Thanksgiving or a future holiday party? Everyone will love you and during this time, that equals more presents. You’re welcome.

Enjoy!

xo, Hayley

Take 5 Bites

Let’s talk texting.

I have a love-hate relationship with texting. Sure, it’s convenient sometimes when calling someone is not possible, but most of the time, I really hate typing everything and I REALLY hate when things are misinterpreted.

Like sarcasm, which dies a miserable death during texting.

Or everything’s-okay-isms, which are annihilated by a few choice words or lack of emoticons.

Like “k.” If I ever send just “k”, you better bunker down with protection because I am hating your guts. “k” is the equivalent of you  are the worst person known to man right now and I hate your face, so here’s a friggin letter as a response since even typing the ‘o'; requires more care than I would like to give. If Jessie sends me ‘k’, I automatically start bawling, open up a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and expect the worst. Though usually, he’s just busy and it means nothing but actually “okay” (weird).

Or lack of punctuation. Sometimes, texts can be read as so… hostile, even when they’re not. I feel like “What do you want for dinner” can be easily perked up by a stupid smiley or at least two question marks. Because one question mark makes it sound so… bitchy. Two perks that question right up. This also works well with “Yes, I would love to go to Disneyland!!”, “Call me :)” and “Mom, can I please bid on that Betsey dress??”

And I don’t know about you, but if you must call someone and the call goes straight to voicemail, it’s basically like purgatory. Your superimportantomg message is left in some nook of cyberspace being represented by a non-threatening envelope on their screen which they may or may not ignore.

I always freak out when I can’t reach Jessie because god forbid he’s actually busy in the day when I have a superimportantomg message to give him. Or to say hi in my baby voice.

Also, Jessie never checks his voicemails which is silly. So basically, if I were on my last dying breath and he didn’t answer, there’s no way I could leave him a voicemail since he’d never check it. And assuming I was bleeding out because I’d lost my thumbs in a tragic accident, then I couldn’t send a one-last text to him, either. Hey, stranger things have happened.

Anyway, I generally ponder these things while I’m eating. Eating consoles my soul when I’m too angry to text someone, just received a dreaded “k” text, or am currently in girlfriend purgatory, aka, the voicemail box message.

And when that trifecta of sucky happened a couple days ago, thankfully I had some of these Take 5 Bites to console myself with.

You probably will think I’m cray-cray, but I’ve never had a Take 5 bar before I made these bites. I was so intrigued by them on the Halloween candy aisle that I snatched up a bag and fell in love. I knew I had to make my own, and when I found THIS recipe at Sweet Little Bluebird, it was settled.

Make them. K?

Take 5 Bites *adapted from Sweet Little Bluebird’s Take 5 Copycat Recipe 

1 bag butter snaps pretzels (the square grids)
1 bag Rolos, unwrapped
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 pkg chocolate Candiquik or milk chocolate bark

1. First, make your PB filling. In a medium bowl, beat together the butter + peanut butter until fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar until creamed and well blended. Set aside.
2. Next, preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place the pretzels in an even layer on the foil (remove any broken pieces).
3. Top each pretzel with a Rolo. Place the pretzels carefully in the oven, no more than 5 minutes (really watch them–you want the Rolos to just start to melt and look shiny and soft on top, but still have their shape). Remove from the oven + turn off the heat.
4. Immediately top each par-melted Rolo with a pinch of peanuts. Then, using your fingers, gently form a square-shaped disk of peanut butter filling and very carefully press to adhere to the peanut-topped Rolos. Once all the candies have been covered, pop them in the freezer to set for about 15 minutes.
5. Prepare your candy bark according to package directions. Dip the candies in the chocolate, coating completely, allowing excess to drip off. Place on the foil-lined baking sheet. Allow the chocolate to set before serving. Store these bad boys in a ziploc, at room temperature.
**Note: This recipe makes about 50 or so, but it’s easily doubled or halved if needed.**

Who knew making a Take 5 would be so easy?! (and delicious!) The pretzels and peanuts provide a nice texture against the smooth caramel and creamy peanut butter. I love the contrast in flavors + textures, from sweet to salty, rich to creamy, and crunchy to smooth. These are totally delicious and taste identical to the original!

I hope you enjoy!!

xo, Hayley

 

Blondie-Covered Brownies

 

 

When I was younger, for a fleeting moment, I desperately wanted a twin.

It may have stemmed from my absurd fascination with Mary-Kate and Ashley, but we won’t go into how I was grossly obsessed with them, wore their clothes, sang their songs, and hung up pictures of them on my walls.

I’ve already said too much.

Anyway, I wanted a twin because the Lindsay Lohan version of The Parent Trap had just come out and I thought it’d be sototallyrad to have a twin to get into twinsie shenanigans with, like swapping identities to trick our dumb parents who supposedly wouldn’t tell the difference. And also, I had this notion that twins had the same thoughts and personalities, so inevitably if I hated some meanie girl on the playground, my twin would, too, and we could plot revenge tactics together using Twin ESP.

However, when I got older, I was kind of glad I didn’t have a twin. I like just being me. And plus, if there were two of me, it’d be kind of scary. It would truly be a situation of “too much sexy.” I don’t want to make others jealous.

Instead, I’m just fine with having an alter-ego. Like Bruce Wayne. Or Beyonce. Just call me Sasha Fierce, Batman.

Did you know brownies have an alter-ego, too? If you thought lil ol’ brownie was alone in this world full of bars, think again. This all-American sweetheart has a sexy sister you have to meet: blondie. And if you haven’t, you need to get with the world. We’re in 2012 now. Internet is like air, but you pay for it. Also, brownies aren’t just brown anymore. Or chocolate-y. They have a sweet, sassy brown-sugary side too (one I actually prefer over their ever-popular brownie sister).

Usually, this cruel world makes you choose brownies or blondies. I decided that, with modern times comes modern invention. Enter the Blondie-Covered Brownies. If you ever wanted to punch someone who said “you can’t have your cake and eat it, too!” in a snobby voice, this is your metaphorical left hook.

Wham bam. Brownie and blondie.

Welcome to 2012.

Blondie-Covered Brownies *inspired by CakeSpy’s recipe 

For the Brownies:

3 sticks butter, melted
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 & 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

For the Blondies:

2/3 cup butter, melted
2 cups brown sugar (light or dark)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. First, prepare your brownie layer. In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour + salt with a whisk; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter + sugar until combined yet gritty. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Gradually add the cocoa mixture, slowly incorporating into the batter, until batter is smooth. Pour into the prepared pan in an even layer.
3. Bake the brownie layer for 20 minutes. While it’s baking, prepare your blondies.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder + salt; set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter + brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture until incorporated. Batter will be very thick.
5. Remove the brownies from the oven at the 20-minute mark. Adjust your oven temp to 350 degrees F. Brownies will just barely be set, so be careful. Using a ladle, spoon the blondie batter on top of the brownie layer. Try to cover it as completely as possible. It’s okay if a little peeks out, but generally you want it on there pretty even. Don’t spread too much; the brownie layer underneath isn’t set enough.
6. Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out mostly clean. Cool the bars a little, then pop ’em in the fridge for about an hour to set completely. Store these pups airtight, at room temperature, up to 3 days.

Holy molycakes. These bars are AHHHHWESOME. Yeah, you read it right–over four sticks of butter in these bad boys, but they’re oh-so worth the extra steps (and calories) to make ’em. The brownie layer is so dense and fudgy–perfectly chocolatey. And the blondie layer is sweet and slightly salty. Together, the brown sugar paired against the cocoa is to-die for. I especially liked them warm :)

Enjoy these bad boys!

xo, Hayley

Peanut Butter Apple Crumb Muffins

 

Happy National Apple Day!

I hope you all are going to celebrate by eating copious amounts of apples. Or maybe just watch football all day. Or do something productive, like fold hand towels. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you’ve got apples on the mind. After all, it is a national holiday.

That’d be like not thinking about Christmas on Christmas. Blasphemy.

Anyway, after discovering this website (which gives you the lowdown on everything from National Lobster Bisque Day to National Indian Pudding Day [whatever that may be]), my family and I got a little bit excited discovering our birthday holidays.

My sister was quite disappointed to have been born on National Bittersweet Chocolate Day and was jealous I was born on National Peanut Butter Day. I shared a giggle that my grandma was born on National Hot Buttered Rum Day. Or that our dog, Oreo, was born on Wienerschnitzel Day (another reason to eat five pretzel dogs).

Anyway, when CrunckPak sent me a bunch of (awesome!!) apples, my first thoughts were “snacks!!” and practically had to fight off my family from stealing all my apples. But after day 2, I decided I wanted to bake something with all the gorgeous apples! Muffins came to mind, and when I saw Jocelyn’s recipe for Biscoff Apple Muffins, I knew I wanted to do a peanut butter version.

Like an homage to my birthday or something.

After all, it is a national holiday :)

Peanut Butter Apple Crumb Muffins *adapted from Jocelyn’s Biscoff Apple Muffins recipe 

For Muffins:

1/3 cup quick oats
1 & 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used low-fat)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup chopped and peeled apples (I used gala, but Granny Smith works too)

For Topping:

3/4 cup oats
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup cold butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with about 15-16 muffin cups. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add all the wet ingredients except for the apples, and beat to combine. Stir in the apples by hand.
3. Portion the muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups, about 2/3 full. Meanwhile, in a separate medium bowl, combine the topping ingredients and cut the butter into the topping using forks or a pastry blender until it forms coarse crumbs. Top the muffin batter with a generous heap of the crumb topping.
4. Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes, checking at the 20 minute mark, until golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely. Store airtight.

Apples and fall go hand in hand, and I loved these apple muffins. The peanut butter flavor isn’t too overwhelming but lends a nice nutty kick to these moist muffins. And anything topped with a brown sugary streusel topping is perfect in my book. Plus, using CrunchPak apples were so simple–they’re precut, so it made slicing off the peels and chopping them a breeze. Plus, the ones I didn’t bake with I snacked on–win-win, methinks.

Happy Apple Day!!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion of CrunchPak and was generously provided with CrunchPak samples for free. All opinions are 100% my own. 

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