The Best Crisp and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies {Gluten-Free!}

These Crisp, Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies truly are the BEST ever, AND they're gluten-free!Lately I’ve been so frazzled. Well, more than usual :)

I’m not sure if it’s the allergies that are slowly waging World War III on my immune system, or perhaps it’s the fact that it’s only April and Sacramento is already reaching temps of 90 degrees. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m gaining weight like crazy (boo) or the fact that I’m about to start a healthy diet for said weight-gain (boo/yay). Either way, I’m totally, madly, hopelessly frazzled.

So there’s that.

I think my brain needs to pack a suitcase, put on a bikini and go on vacation, because seriously processing an actual, meaningful thought at this point is like performing brain surgery. I need an engineering degree just to formulate a proper sentence.

So without further adieu, methinks I’m starting my mental vacay right about now… but not until after I share the recipe for these fabulous peanut butter cookies. These truly are the best-ever in my not-so-humble opinion. They’re soft, chewy and have crisp edges which I find irresistible and necessary for any good peanut butter cookie. They’re packed with sweet-and-salty peanut butter flavor and have the classic cross-hatch pattern on top like any good cookie should. And they’re flourless, netting a fudgier, denser cookie that’s absolutely marvelous and which happens to make them naturally gluten-free.

These Crisp, Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies truly are the BEST ever, AND they're gluten-free!I found this recipe years ago and I can’t even remember where, but I’ve been making it regularly since and had it posted on my blog from years ago but was in desperate need of updating the pictures. Pictures = better. Recipe = ain’t broke, so not fixin’ it. Just pure, unadulterated peanut buttery cookie goodness in every crisp, chewy bite. You won’t regret this simple recipe!

And yes, my mental vacay will consist of cramming these cookies in like hunger-fighting soldiers in one-by-one before my diet starts. Calories clearly don’t count on vacation.

These Crisp, Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies truly are the BEST ever, AND they're gluten-free!

5.0 from 2 reviews
The Best Crisp and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies {Gluten-Free!}
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
These crisp and chewy peanut butter cookies are packed with sweet-and-salty peanut buttery goodness. Naturally flourless and thus gluten-free means these cookies are ultra fudgy and fabulous.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter* (if you prefer a smoother peanut butter cookie, feel free to use 2 cups of creamy peanut butter instead, but I like the texture of crunchy)
  • 1 cup white sugar, plus ⅓ cup for rolling cookies
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or mist them lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butters, 1 cup of the white sugar and brown sugar until blended, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and baking soda until dough is combined; it will be very thick.
  3. Using a Tablespoon-sized cookie dough scoop, portion out rounded Tablespoon-sized balls of dough and drop it into the remaining white sugar; roll around to coat. Place 2" apart on the prepared baking sheets and using a fork, make a cross-hatch pattern in the top to lightly flatten the balls.
  4. Bake for approx. 8-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time, until golden. Do NOT overbake. Immediately remove from the baking sheets and onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store leftovers airtight at room temperature for up to a week.

These Crisp, Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies truly are the BEST ever, AND they're gluten-free!I cannot stress enough how tremendous these cookies are! They’re chewy, fudgy and have those buttery, crisp edges without having even a smidgen of butter in them. I love the subtle crunch from the white sugar on top and I love them especially when they’re warm and topped with ice cream…. but you didn’t hear that diet-friendly suggestion from me :)

If you like this recipe, be sure to Pin It to save to your favorite board for later!

These Crisp, Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies truly are the BEST ever, AND they're gluten-free!Have a sweet day!

xo, Hayley

 

Gluten Free & VEGAN Lemon Poppyseed Cake

This moist and zesty Lemon Poppyseed Cake is vegan and gluten-free, but you wouldn't know it due to its huge, bright flavor and amazing texture.This cake is insanity, y’all.

I know I say everything is ‘insanity.’ Consider me at a loss for spiffy adjectives. I’m spent.

BUT. I can assure you that repeated adjectives aside, this cake rocks. It’s light and tender, has a nice, moist crumb, and packs a seriously divine lemony punch with nutty, crisp poppyseeds swirled throughout. Then it’s topped with this liquid gold lemon glaze that’s ahhhmaaaazing. And? It’s completely gluten-free, dairy free, and vegan.

You’re welcome.

I’m convinced the only thing it’s missing is a pair of wings, because this cake is on another level of heaven and it’s an angel for those who suffer from gluten intolerance or those just looking to avoid gluten and dairy.

This moist and zesty Lemon Poppyseed Cake is vegan and gluten-free, but you wouldn't know it due to its huge, bright flavor and amazing texture.So yeah. This amazing cake. You need it.

Don’t like lemon? (Who are you, you monster.) Feel free to use lime, orange, or even grapefruit to flavor this citrusy cake. But I prefer the sweetness and subtle tartness of lemon and plus, lemon + poppyseeds = BFFs. They told me so. They also told me to tell you that your face called. It’s missing cake.

Get it.

This moist and zesty Lemon Poppyseed Cake is vegan and gluten-free, but you wouldn't know it due to its huge, bright flavor and amazing texture.

Gluten Free & VEGAN Lemon Poppyseed Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
This light and flavorful cake is gluten-free and vegan, but you wouldn't know it with its moist, tender crumb and juicy, lemon flavor!
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg Bob's Red Mill GF Vanilla Cake Mix
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ cup water, at room temperature
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp poppyseeds
  • FOR GLAZE:
  • Juice of one lemon (about ¼ cup)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • About 2 cups powdered sugar (ensure it's gluten-free)
  • Raspberries, lemon slices for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Liberally grease a round 9" cake pan with vegetable-oil cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, applesauce, oil, water, juice and zest and beat with a hand mixer for about 1 minute or until combined. Fold in the poppyseeds. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for approx. 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan before gently turning over onto a wire rack set over wax paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and pourable. You don't want it super thin, like water, but more syrupy and thicker, so adjust with more lemon juice or powdered sugar if needed. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and spread it out to the edges so the entire cake is covered. Serve garnished with raspberries and lemon slices, if desired. Serve immediately or store leftovers airtight at room temperature for up to 1 day.

This moist and zesty Lemon Poppyseed Cake is vegan and gluten-free, but you wouldn't know it due to its huge, bright flavor and amazing texture.This cake gets its base mix from Bob’s Red Mill, the leading manufacturer of gluten-free and dairy-free baking mixes made from only the finest ingredients. This cake is moist, tender and absolutely delicious thanks to this easy-to-use gluten free cake mix and from the zest of those freshly-squeezed lemons. I also love the nutty crunch of the poppyseed!

For more info on Bob’s Red Mill, be sure to check out their website!

This moist and zesty Lemon Poppyseed Cake is vegan and gluten-free, but you wouldn't know it due to its huge, bright flavor and amazing texture.

Have a super sweet Sunday!

xo, Hayley

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge

reesescupfudgeWith Halloween season approaching, there is soon to be an influx of candy in your home.

And if I know the majority of the population (which I do, obviously) I know that you probably won’t have a huge stash of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups lying around unwanted and cold and lonely.

Because let’s face it, everyone likes Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Even I, girl-who-dislikes-most-chocolate, likes Reese’s Cups in moderation. They’re like the Jennifer Lawrence of candy: totally likable by everyone and can do no wrong.

But on the off-chance that you have, say, 24 or so Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups lying around, you could always make this Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge.  Because it’s creamy, soft hunks of fudge that tastes like colossal bricks of Reese’s cups. And in my opinion, you can really do no wrong eating colossal peanut butter cup fudge, am I right?!  And they’re naturally gluten-free!

This fudge recipe is adapted from my dear friend Dorothy who knows her fudge!  She’s notorious for making fudge with a crust, and I loved that this sweet and salty candy fudge had its own peanut butter cup crust lining each and every bite.

So even if Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup stashes make you laugh (because who really has a bunch of uneaten cups lying around?) at least make the attempt to make this fudge.  Unlike gambling, you can actually gamble your stash and DOUBLE your peanut butter cuppiness — I promise it’s worth your wrappers :)

DSC_0280A*adapted from Dorothy’s recipe

5.0 from 1 reviews
Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge
Author: 
Recipe type: Fudge, Candy
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
This thick and creamy fudge tastes like a gigantic homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and only has 4 simple ingredients. I promise it's worth your while to save a couple Reese's cups to make this unforgettable fudge!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 24 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (the normal sized ones), unwrapped and divided
Instructions
  1. Line an 8x8" pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Line the pan with 4 rows of 4 peanut butter cups (for a total of 16 peanut butter cups lining the bottom of the pan). Roughly chop the remaining peanut butter cups and set them aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter and milk chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk over medium-low heat, stirring gently until melted and just about smooth. You don't want to overcook your chocolate or it can seize!
  4. Pour the melted fudge mixture on top of the peanut butter cups in the prepared pan, gently smoothing out the top into an even, flat layer. Immediately top with the remaining chopped peanut butter cups, pressing so gently onto the top of the fudge to allow them to adhere.
  5. Allow the fudge to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to cool, then place in the fridge to set for another hour or two. Allow the fudge to come almost to room temperature before cutting into squares.

DSC_0284APure, unadulterated Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup goodliness. Y’all NEED to stuff your mouthholes with this badass fudge! It’s most definitely not for the peanut butter cup faint of heart :)

Love Chocolate & Peanut Butter? Check out these other Dynamic Duo Treats! 

skinnychocpbmuffinSkinny Chocolate PB Muffins

oreopbpieOreo Peanut Butter Pies 

fudgybrookiesFudgy Peanut Butter Cookie Brookies 

Have a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

Sparkling Italian Creme Sodas with Canada Dry!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AddSparkle #CollectiveBias #Shop 

sparklingsodasWhen I was a little girl, my family would occasionally take me out to dinner at this local spaghetti restaurant.  The food was your standard Ragu-type fare — in other words, nothing remotely “Italian.”  But they did have the best Italian Creme Sodas that I looked forward to ordering every time we dined there.  There was something about the combination of the sparkling water combined with that sweet cherry syrup, the smooth cream and the tower of whipped cream that had Lil Hayley hook, line & sinker.  It was probably because it was sweet, a drink topped with whipped cream, and tasted like I was drinking something glittery and sparkly — as a kid, you want to imagine everything you consume is magical.  And with the carbonation, it felt like I was having some mystical fairy drink.

But unlike Lil Hayley, Big Hayley doesn’t have the same metabolism, so drinking typical Italian Creme Sodas on the regular isn’t necessarily diet-friendly *cries.*  But thankfully, I figured out an ingenious way to make my own homemade and lightened-up Italian Creme Sodas at home using new Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water.

Canada Dry’s new Sparkling Seltzer Water has zero calories, zero sodium and zero caffeine.  The Lemon Lime and Triple Berry waters are unsweetened and flavored naturally, and they taste awesome.  They’re such a refreshing, bubbly beverage that is so much more nutritious than your standard carbonated soda.  It’s water… only better.

DSC_0095aAnd this Sparkling Seltzer Water is the base of these lightened-up Italian Creme Sodas.  Simply combine the Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water, a couple Tablespoons of sugar-free flavored syrup, a splash of creme, and ice!  Top with fat-free whipped cream and a cherry or lime wedge if you’d like, and voila!  You’ll be sipping pretty and adding some serious sparkle to your meal in no time :)

Ready to drink like a sparkly fairy princess?!

DSC_0100A

5.0 from 1 reviews
Sparkling Italian Creme Sodas with Canada Dry!
Author: 
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Refreshing, nearly fat-free and super low-cal, these Sparkling Italian Creme Sodas will add some delicious sparkle to your life!
Ingredients
  • FOR BERRY ITALIAN SODAS:
  • 2 bottles (16.9 fl oz each) Canada Dry Triple Berry Sparkling Seltzer Water
  • 6 Tbsp sugar-free raspberry syrup
  • 2 Tbsp fat-free half & half
  • 10 ice cubes
  • Fat-Free whipped cream
  • Cherries or chopped berries
  • FOR LEMON LIME ITALIAN SODAS:
  • 2 bottles (16.9 fl oz each) Canada Dry Lemon Lime Sparkling Seltzer Water
  • 6 Tbsp lemon juice or low-calorie lemonade
  • 2 Tbsp fat-free half & half
  • 10 ice cubes
  • Fat-Free whipped cream
  • Lime or lemon wedges, optional
Instructions
  1. Distribute 5 ice cubes among two mason jars or cups. Pour 8 ounces of Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water into each glass. Top each glass with THREE (3) Tablespoons of flavored syrup or juice and ONE (1) Tablespoon of fat-free half & half. Do not stir the mixture!
  2. Top each glass with a heavy helping of fat-free whipped cream and garnish with a cherry, chopped berries or lemon/lime wedges. Serve immediately!

DSC_0107AThese Sparkling Italian Creme Sodas could not be simpler to make!  They’re light, super refreshing on a hot day, and such a great pick-me-up treat for kids and adults alike!  The Sparkling Seltzer Water tastes phenomenal and those fruity flavors definitely shine in these drinks.  They aren’t cloyingly sweet; just the right amount hits you with a nice, fruity punch and lots of sparkle.  These will surely become a new family favorite!!

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I found my Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water’s in the Soda/Flavored Water aisle at my local Walmart.  It was super easy to find and sectioned on an endcap.  Right now, you can save 75 cents off any Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water at Walmart stores — just click HERE!.  Or, if you share the page, you can save $1.75… which is worth it so you can stock up on all four flavors: Original, Lemon Lime, Triple Berry & Pomegranate Cherry!!  Just click the picture below to get your coupon!! :)

Canada-Dry-Sparkling-Seltzer-WaterHave a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

 

 

 

Copycat Double Chocolate Cadbury Eggs {Bonus: They’re Gluten-Free!}

cadburyeggssCadbury eggs are a love-it-or-hate-it kinda food.  I get it.

Kinda in the same camp as kale, quinoa, soy milk and the McRib.

(Naturally, all of the above go in my ‘no thank you’ category).

However, I am the weirdo proving that Cadbury eggs can be a gray-area food.  While I like them enough, I am not a milk chocolate fan (I’m defective, I know) so they aren’t a candy I’d regularly stuff my face with or bake with.

But I decided enough is enough and know I hafta please the masses here.  So I decided to make y’all your regular Cadbury eggs but instead of leaving them as is and continuing on with my life, I figured it wouldn’t hurt anyone to dip them in another coating of chocolate — this time being white chocolate.  And of course, sprinkles are a mandatory addition.  Obviously.

DSC_1071aThe result is a double-dipped, double chocolate Cadbury egg that is kinda sorta PHENFREAKINGNOMINAL.  But don’t take my word for it — try it yourself and see what heaven tastes like [hint: it doesn’t taste like kale].

DSC_1066A*Cadbury egg recipe from Instructables — site has photo tutorials if you’re interested

5.0 from 1 reviews
Copycat Double Chocolate Cadbury Eggs
Author: 
Recipe type: Candy
 
Love the taste of seasonal Cadbury eggs but wish they were more chocolate-y? You're not alone. These Double Chocolate Cadbury Eggs will solve that problem!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Yellow liquid food coloring
  • 1 pkg chocolate Candiquik
  • 1 pkg vanilla Candiquik
  • Assorted sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Cream together the corn syrup, butter and vanilla extract. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, and the pinch of salt. until incorporated. The mixture will be REALLY sticky!
  2. Remove about ⅓ of the filling into a separate bowl and stir in the yellow food coloring to make your "yolks." I accidentally added a little more so my yolks are darker, almost orange, but that's okay.
  3. Prepare the chocolate Candiquik according to package directions. Spoon a Tablespoonful or so of the chocolate into an egg-mold, and roll the chocolate around so it coats within the egg cavity. Allow the chocolate egg shells to harden completely.
  4. Take a large disposable pastry piping bag and fill it mostly full with the white filling mixture. You could also use a zip-top bag, seal out the air, and snip off a corner. You do NOT need a tip for this. Repeat with the yolks in another piping or zip-top bag and snip off the end.
  5. Pipe the whites evenly into the open chocolate egg, about ½ way full. Pipe a yolk into the middle. Repeat with remaining chocolate egg shells, but make sure to leave HALF of the egg shells empty as these will come together with the filled ones to create the egg.
  6. Pop the unfilled chocolate egg shells out of the mold very gently. Dip the edges in remaining melted chocolate, then press the egg shell to the filled one to seal them together. Pop them in the freezer to speed up the process.
  7. Once frozen as eggs, gently remove them from the mold. Melt the vanilla Candiquik according to package directions; dip each egg into the vanilla Candiquik, allowing excess to drip off. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and immediately sprinkle with assorted springtime/Easter sprinkles or miniature candies. Allow the white chocolate to set before serving.
  8. **ALTERNATIVE METHODS**
  9. Don't have egg molds? No sweat. Instead of using piping bags, briefly refrigerate the yolks and whites to help firm up. Then, with wet fingers (use water), take a pinch of whites and roll them into a flattened ball in your hand. Take a pinch of yolks, roll into a small ball, and place it inside of the flattened white ball. Roll to enclose the yolks and try to form an egg shape and freeze. Once frozen, dip in chocolate and continue.
  10. Or, use store-bought Cadbury eggs and dip in white chocolate!

DSC_0006AI used THIS egg mold to make mine, but if you notice within the recipe I have also included two ALTERNATE methods in case you don’t have or can’t find an egg mold.  Either way you choose to make them, they’re going to be outstanding and SO delicious — they taste almost identical to the real thing!  Intoxicatingly sweet, sticky, gooey and oh-so delicious.  Plus, the second coat of smooth, sweet white chocolate tastes SO awesome against the rich milk chocolate.  And the sprinkles make them adorable and fun!

*Also, to ensure they’re gluten-free, always check your ingredients!  The products I used were all checked to ensure they were gluten-free but some products you use may not be.

Hope you enjoyed!  Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

Watermelon Dessert Salsa & Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips–Fresh Finds with Save Mart Supermarket

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

dessertsalsaI am a huuuuuuuuuge watermelon geek.  I LOVE THE STUFF.

And in the summertime, I literally eat my weight in the things.  It’s almost embarrassing.

I don’t even care about re-purposing the melon to eat it in different ways.  I’m just all about watermelons being cold out of the fridge, nice and red, and ready to go!

Like those people who take watermelon and make elegant agua frescas or pickle it or make it into a really cool savory salad.. I totally admire you guys.  You’re being all inventive and creative and stuff, whereas I’m sitting here with my face buried in the rind and juice dripping down my chin, barely unable to breathe because I am obsessively shoveling melon flesh in my face.

No wonder I don’t have a boyfriend.

DSC_2325AAnyway, I spotted this Save Mart Supermarket shoppertunity through Collective Bias promoting their Fresh Finds campaign and the star, watermelon!  Save Mart
has incredibly high standards when it comes to their food — they truly live up to their “Fresh Comes First” motto!  I knew that Save Mart wouldn’t really approve of just pictures of me getting all humiliating with a melon, so I took this chance to try to be that person I admire: the innovative watermelon person.  Really, it’s all I ever wanted in life.  And then, after some serious brainpower, this dessert salsa was born!  And it’s basiiiically the bestest watermelon recipe EVER.

DSC_2330ASweet, juicy, tart and with a little bite, this salsa is SO refreshing and light.  It’s the perfect addition to a buffet table, or an awesome, easy (and healthy!) dessert on a busy weeknight.  And the homemade cinnamon sugar pita chips are to-die for!  They are the sweet and spicy extra crunch needed for this succulent salsa!  (And FYI, making ritzy watermelon salsa recipes cause you to use big words like ‘succulent’.)

And what I really love about this recipe is the watermelon is totally the star!  Its juiciness and delicate flavor isn’t overpowered by other ingredients.  Everything is perfectly balanced, sweet, and SO invigorating.  If you think salsa is just tomatoes and jalapenos, you need to have a serious talk with yourself and convert to dessert salsa ASAP.

DSC_2323A

5.0 from 3 reviews
Watermelon Dessert Salsa & Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips--Fresh Finds with Save Mart Supermarket
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
If you think salsas are strictly savory, I have news for you: dessert salsa is totally a thing and it's totally Gretchen Weiners-fetch.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups diced seedless watermelon, diced smaller
  • 1 peach, diced
  • ⅔ cup diced fresh pineapple
  • About ¼ cup red onion, minced
  • About 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp UV Salty Watermelon Vodka (optional)
  • 1 pkg whole wheat pita pockets
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • ½ cup cinnamon sugar
Instructions
  1. First, make your salsa: in a large bowl, combine the diced watermelon, diced peach, diced pineapple, minced onion, and chopped mint leaves. Add the orange juice and the vodka, if desired. Very gently toss the ingredients together to blend.
  2. Refrigerate the salsa for at least 30 minutes to blend the flavors. While the salsa is getting married together all nice-like, make your pita chips!
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut each pita round into 8 triangles, like a pizza. Gently open each triangle piece and cut it down the seam (so one triangle now yields two triangles.. sorry about the math). Place the pita triangles on a lightly greased, foil-lined baking sheet.
  4. Brush each triangle with a little of the oil on both sides. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for approx. 7 minutes. Turn oven off and allow the chips to sit in the still-hot oven for an additional 3 minutes. Remove chips from oven and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
  5. Place the cinnamon sugar in a brown paper bag (like a lunch bag). Fill the bag as much as you can with chips, but make sure there's enough room that you can still fold over to seal the bag. Vigorously shake the bag, allowing the cinnamon sugar to coat the chips. Once shaken, pour the chips into a bowl or platter.
  6. Dish up the salsa and serve!
  7. (This is supposed to be a sweet salsa, but if you find it too sweet, consider adding a little more onion or some peppercorn to balance out the bite. Also, I liked using the watermelon vodka to enhance the flavor and bring in some tartness. If you're serving this around kids, feel free to omit the vodka and just use the OJ).

DSC_2332AI totally love the ease of this salsa and the fact that it’s so fruity and fresh and sweet!  While I’m a spicy food fanatic, I think having a salsa that focuses on the brightness and sweetness of fresh fruit like plump peaches and ripe pineapple, with a cinnamon-sugar coated chip for dipping is such a nice change to the usual jalapeno-laced, cilantro-laden salsas that I love, but that I have quite often.  This was such a fun twist to chips and dip and it was super yummy as a healthy late-night snack.  Likewise, I think I would be head over heels for this salsa to top a hot sopapilla for a super sinful dessert, or even use this salsa on top of something incredibly spicy and smoky, to help balance out the flavors with a little sweetness.

Looking for more fresh cooking ideas featuring Save Mart’s incredible produce and #FreshFinds?  Be sure to connect with them on Facebook
, Twitter
+ Pinterest
.

Now catapult yourself into a dessert salsa coma!

Happy snacking!

xo, Hayley

 

 

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Magic Bars

gfmagicbarA couple days ago, I went to my first therapy appointment for my out-of-control OCD.

Upon providing my counselor insight to my insane way of thinking and doing things, she told me I did a lot of “magical thinking.”  Her words, not mine.  I asked if that term was a medical term and she didn’t answer me, so I’m pretty sure medical school is like Hogwarts.  Next time you go to the doctor, you should chant a spell and see if they react.  If they do, ask them to grant you superpowers or else you’ll rat them out to the media  (or maybe don’t).

‘Magical Thinking’ is what she described as thinking that is relied on things like superstition.  Say, the fact that I have to repeat questions three times, or must apply two sets of deodorant four times per arm.  That feeds into my “magical thinking” that if I just follow the “magic number”, I’ll be okay.

What I didn’t tell her is that she’s probably right.  I’m totally a magical thinker.  How else do you explain things like shooting stars?  Or raccoons?  Or finding the Betsey Johnson skull romper you’ve been coveting for over a year on eBay and you finally get it in your size after a serious bidding war?  (Please don’t say: ‘science’, ‘biology’/’raccoons aren’t magical’, and ‘super good eBayer’).  IT’S MAGIC, PEOPLE.

Anywaaaays, I decided to put my magical thinking to use and make some seriously mystical magic bars .. hellooooo, anyone else seeing this magic theme?!  If you don’t know, magic bars (aka hello dolly bars, aka seven layer bars) are the most wonderful bar in all the land.  Loaded with chocolate, butterscotch, pretzels, nuts, coconut and smothered in sweetened condensed milk, the flavors + textures are out. of. controooollll, y’all.  No wonder it’s one of my favorite bars to make (I have a TON of variations!!)

DSC_2059ABut one thing I noticed was that typical magic bars weren’t transcending all their magic to everyone.  Gluten-Free folks couldn’t enjoy the magic because of one pesky ingredient, and that’s just not gonna fly with my special brand of thinking.  So when Bob’s Red Mill, the Gluten Free Baking Wizards, emailed me about working with their products, I immediately jumped at the chance to create something overtly decadent, supremely sinful and outrageously indulgent for my Celiac and/or gluten-intolerant friends.  This task was super easy to do since Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten Free-labeled mixes are free of any gluten product, making them safe to eat.  Just like your average cake mix, these mixes are packed with flavor and are a cinch to make — just add a couple common ingredients like eggs, butter, oil, and water — and you’re halfway to dessert heaven free of pesky gluten.

Plus, if you’re newer to the GF-baking (like myself), all the different varieties of flour substitutes can be a little daunting.  I love that Bob’s takes the guesswork out of it by creating these convenient packaged mixes so I can spend more time eating and less time worrying about flour substitutions and conversions.

With my new gluten-free cake mix arsenal, I set out to create a gooey, chewy magic bar — and boy, did I succeed.  This is easily one of my favorite magic bars yet!!

So, wizard friends.  You ready to take a bite of this magic??

DSC_2095A

4.5 from 2 reviews
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Magic Bars
Author: 
Recipe type: Bars, Gluten Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Magic Bars that are overloaded with lots of flavor and are gluten-free!!
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg Bob's Red Mill Brownie Mix
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅔ cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pkg refrigerated gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough (or you could prepare your own)
  • 1 cup miniature Reese's cups
  • ¾ cup peanut butter chips
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips
  • 7 oz (1/2 a can) sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9 inch baking pan with foil, extending sides over the edges of the pan. Mist the foil lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the brownie mix, water, eggs, oil and vanilla with a rubber spatula until combined. Press the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 12 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the oven (keeping oven on) and rip the balls of cookie dough to spread evenly over the surface of the par-baked bars. Top evenly with the Reese's cups and both kinds of chips. Drizzle the top evenly with the scmilk.
  4. Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and set. Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting into squares. Store leftovers in the fridge.

DSC_2072AFor anyone worried they’ll be able to taste a difference in texture or flavor, I challenge you to tell me that these weren’t made with all-purpose flour.  They’re so dense and fudgy, gooey and chewy and sinfully chocolate-y.  Plus, the brownie base is topped with soft-baked gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough, creamy sweetened condensed milk, addicting Reese’s mini cups and lots of buttery chocolate + peanut butter chips to really amp up that indulgence.  You will LOVE these bars!

Have a delicious day!

xo, Hayley

 

Galactic Crunch (Star Crunch Copycat)

galacticSo let’s get one thing straight, shall we?

I am completely and utterly a product of convenience.

Growing up, my family rarely made home-cooked meals, and I don’t have fond memories (or well, any memories) of rolling out sugar cookies and baking pies with grandparents.  If we’re being honest, I ate fast-food at least five days a week, and lived exclusively on snack food.

Now, this isn’t a bad thing by any means.  It eventually created my desire to learn how to cook since I got sick of memorizing the McDonald’s menu or having the Carl’s Jr people know my order by heart.  Your mom made homemade lasagna?  That’s fantastic, but did it come with a free toy?  Didn’t think so.  #winning

Anyway, growing up I do have fond memories of staying at my grandma’s heavily-air-conditioned house during the summer while my parents worked.  In between doing flips off of the diving board and watching Scooby Doo on Cartoon Network, I would sneak into the kitchen and into her bottom cupboard where she housed the good stuff: Circus Animal Cookies (sparking this incident), Cosmic Brownies, Twinkies, Nutty Bars, and the like.  I’d grab handfuls of different sweet snack cakes and scurry back into the den where my brother and I played and feasted on sugar.

Since we didn’t do the grocery shopping, I was completely unaware of the amazingness of Star Crunch.  But one day, my grandma dragged us kids along and lo and behold, there it was: the long, rectangular box housing little plastic packages of crunchy caramel krispies coated in creamy milk chocolate.  I was instantly in awe and begged her for a box to try.  Soon after my first bite, it became a favorite.  So making my own was kind of a no-brainer.  I mean, I already recreated many of my childhood favorites.  Star Crunch was inevitable.  It was written in the universe, you could say. I saw it in my stars.  I… will shut up now.  And then when Averie made it, well, it kinda sealed the deal.

DSC_1710A

Now, why am I calling these “Galactic Crunch” rather than “Star Crunch”?  Well, while purchasing the ingredients for this glorious treat, I stumbled upon the Simply Caramel Milky Way candy bars and knew I would make these with those.  Milky Ways + Star Crunch = a pretty galactic dessert, if you ask me.  Thus, this slightly out-of-this-world treat was born.

DSC_1725A

You’ll want to eat these for like, infinity and beyond.

DSC_1723A

Galactic Crunch (Star Crunch Copycat)
Author: 
Recipe type: Treats
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Very similar to the classic Star Crunch snack, but made with Milky Way candy bars for another galactic twist on this delish treat!
Ingredients
  • 5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 (10 oz) bag mini marshmallows
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 small bag Milky Way Simply Caramel snack-sized candy bars
  • 1 pkg Candiquik or chocolate almond bark
  • Sprinkles, if desired
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper and set aside. Meanwhile, unwrap all the Milky Way candies and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt the candies in the microwave on high power for about 30 seconds, then stir. Continue melting the candy bars in increments of 30 seconds, stirring in between to prevent burning, until mostly melted.
  2. Add in the butter and the bag of mini marshmallows and microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir, and microwave for another 30 seconds again until marshmallows are puffy and have melted. Lightly stir the marshmallow and candy bar mixture to combine.
  3. Add the cereal into the bowl and gently stir to coat.
  4. Grease your hands with butter or cooking spray and carefully grab fistfuls of the cereal mixture. Form into compact patties and place the patties onto the prepared baking sheet. If the mixture is too hot, allow it to cool slightly before forming; however, it's best to work quickly before the cereal can set in the bowl. Allow the patties to set for a couple hours at room temperature, or for about 30 minutes in the fridge.
  5. Melt the Candiquik according to package directions. Dip each patty into the chocolate, coating completely. Allow excess chocolate to drip off, then return to the baking sheet. Sprinkle with sprinkles, if you'd like. Eat!!

DSC_1721A

Seriously, my love for Star Crunch knows no bounds.  Since I’m a Krispy Treat fanatic, it has that similar texture and taste of a gooey crispy treat, but with that addition of creamy, salty caramel and that glorious blanket of milky chocolate.  Crispy, crunchy, gooey, chewy.. these crunch snacks will definitely bring back fond memories of hoarding snack cakes in your grandma’s den.  And sprinkles add a fun, modern touch to this classic treat.

Happy Saturday!!

xo, Hayley

 

Oreo Banana Split Bites

bananasplitoreo

 

Notions About Adulthood I Thought Were Cool As a Kid That I Now Know Are Not Cool

Driving. As a kid, you don’t have freedom.  You see adults and cool teenagers driving everywhere, and all you know is you wish you had a license because license = driving = freedom.  And when you ask your parents to take you somewhere and they get all testy and snap, “No, I’m tired of driving!” you think that they MUST be full of it because HOW DO YOU GET TIRED OF FREEDOM?!  However, now I realize that driving does, in fact, suck.  Driving would probably be exponentially improved if A) there was no such thing as gas or charging stations–cars just went; and B) someone else drove me everywhere.

Shopping Sprees. Kids have no concept of money.  The 25 cents a day or $5 a chore you shell out to your kids does not teach them about money in a realistic manner.  Because to them, they just received $5 for doing basically nothing, and they also received $5 from someone who they perceive to have unlimited $5 bills lying around.  When I went shopping with my Mom, say, for back to school clothes, I didn’t pay attention to prices.  I just saw an adult woman purchasing a heap of new attire for me at, for what my feeble child mind perceived to be, no money.  Or like, $5, since that’s all my Mom ever gave me.  Later, when I’d take myself on shopping sprees, I’d be hard-pressed to spend only $5 on heaps of clothes because of, I’m assuming, inflation.  Right?  Right?

Credit Cards. Similar to shopping sprees, I would watch adults purchase things with those little plastic cards.  I came to associate those plastic cards with awesomeness, portals to worlds where people could get anything they want!  I kind of began to resent my family for never giving me one of those cards.  I would only get lame Christmas and Birthday cards, which I’ve tried and failed to use as a form of currency.  As a grown up, I was apprehensive about credit cards and against my better judgment, opened up one.  And now there’s this bill.  This wasn’t part of the whole grown-up experience!  I never saw my parents crunching numbers to make card payments.. I only saw that magical card.  WHAT GIVES.

Not Being Bossed Around.  Kids are the chopped liver of the world, if you think about it.  They get picked on, bossed around, told what to do.. as far as a kid’s concerned, there is no respect from adults.  And you think, I can’t wait to be an adult so I won’t be bossed around anymore!  And old ladies won’t be able to tell me what to do!  And I won’t be in school, so my crusty teacher can’t force me do homework!  Life will be GREAT.  But then, it’s not.  Because you can replace crusty teachers with crusty bosses, bossy adults with crazy, demanding customers, and continually getting picked on by fellow adults.. AND children.  Ew, the first time I got told what to do by someone under 17, I kind of had a mental breakdown.  Like, did that sassy little fifteen year old chick just tell me what to do?  HOW DARE SHE!  

Adults are infinitely cool. Okay, some adults.  I remember worshipping the cool, older teens and young adults at the mall who wore cool clothes, had awesome friends or boyfriends, had sweet hair and tattoos! and piercings! and listened to cool music and drove kickass cars.  Those cool adults could do no wrong!  But now, as an adult, I feel like the biggest dork on the planet.  My younger sister constantly laughs at me for listening to the same music I did in elementary school, and when I find there’s a new person-trend-saying out in the world I don’t know, I feel like SUCH a tool for asking.  It took me like, 458 years to figure out what songs were sung by Justin Bieber, and I still don’t know how to dougie.

DSC_1611AAnyway.  Now that I’m a dorky, bill-paying, road-raging adult, I am trying to hold onto any shred of childhood I can.  A few days ago, I watched Harriet the Spy in its entirety and then YouTubed creepy cartoons I used to watch while simultaneously dunking Oreos into milk.  And then it hit me: banana split Oreos.  And then I realized, driving to get the ingredients, drinking beer while preparing them, and thinking of a cool idea means that being an adult isn’t so bad.

Now if only I could get some kid to pay ME $5.

DSC_1614A

5.0 from 1 reviews
Oreo Banana Split Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Treats
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 30
 
These no-bake treats are a cinch to make and have all your favorite flavors of a banana split in one juicy bite!
Ingredients
  • Neapolitan Golden Oreos
  • Bananas
  • White chocolate bark (Candiquik)
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Sprinkles
  • Maraschino Cherries
  • Sundae Nuts
Instructions
  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Gently twist open the Oreos and leave them open on the baking sheet; set aside.
  2. Melt a couple chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth. While they're melting, slice bananas into coins, about ½" thick -- you don't want them too thick.
  3. Using a toothpick or small spoon, dab a little of the melted chocolate on either side of the banana coin. Gently press the banana onto one of the Oreo halves and carefully resandwich the Oreo together. Repeat with as many bites as you'd like.
  4. Freeze the banana Oreo bites for about 1 hour or until firm. Once frozen, melt the Candiquik according to package directions, until smooth.
  5. Dip the bites into the white chocolate, allowing excess chocolate to drip off. Return to the foil-lined sheet. In a smaller bowl, melt the remaining chocolate chips until smooth. Pour the melted chocolate into a ziploc baggy, seal out the air, and snip off a corner of the baggy. Drizzle the chocolate over the white-chocolate-covered bites.
  6. Immediately sprinkle with sprinkles, sundae nuts, and top with a drained Maraschino cherry, if you'd like. Store in the fridge or freezer, airtight.
  7. **I did not include specific measurements for this recipe because you can make as many or as little as you'd like! It's really up to you. If you decide to make the entire package, this will make approx. 30 bites, save for any broken cookies.**

DSC_1617AThese little bites taste just like a banana split!  I love the fact that Neapolitan Golden Oreos are used, lending that authentic ice cream flavor.  There’s a perfect balance between the vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and banana, and the added crunch on top from the sprinkles and sundae peanuts is true to an actual split!  Your kids will love these easy, no-bake snacks and so will you!  If you can’t find the Neapolitan Golden Oreos, consider substituting regular Golden Oreos, Twist and Shout Golden Oreos, or Berry Burst Oreos for a similar flavor.

Have a delicious day!

xo, Hayley

 

 

Cotton Candy Meringues

cottoncandymeringue

Is it possible to have a pre-mid-life-crisis? Because I think I’m having one.

I am just not really feeling this whole growing-up thing. The idea of working a 9 to 5 Monday through Friday gig literally gives me hives and makes me want to race to the mall for some retail therapy. Even looking at slacks and blazers and modest flats gives me sweaty palms. I meaaaaan.. no!

I would totally love to have my own place with my own cool furniture and kitschy knickknacks, but I have a feeling that paying rent is seriously overrated. And apparently at this time in my life, saving money isn’t as sensible as buying as multiple pairs of galaxy leggings. You smirk, but I literally have four pairs. FOUR. No one needs four pairs of nebulas on my legs, except I do. Like, the need burns deep from within my soul to own every pair of legging possible. I’m hooked.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to buy some sports car or start dating younger guys (as the latter would be illegal), however, I do feel like I am desperately trying to hold onto my frivolous adolescence by buying plastic unicorns that double as sprinkle shakers rather than saving that money towards, say, a currently-non-existent savings account.

At this rate, I’m just kinda hoping I’ll marry rich. Or win the lottery. Or become a housewife. Hey, it could happen. And I am not really feeling that new Lydia chick on RHOC, so I am suggesting myself as a substitute. Just saying.

Anywhooooo, in my attempt to keep my teenage years in my death-clutch, I made some food with flavors reminiscent of childhood: cotton candy! I loved the stuff as a kid and it was a fair-food MUST whenever we’d go. To this day, I’m still enamored with it (similar to how I still feel about The Spice Girls, Barbies, and Mary-Kate and Ashley, aka OBSESSIVE LOVE), but I’m more intrigued with what I can make to taste like cotton candy, too. Meringues were one of those natural progressions — and the perfect base for cotton candy!

DSC_0979AMeringues used to freak me out, as did most French foods because I feel like I’m not nearly fancy enough to say them, much less eat something with a circumflex in the name. Also because they require whipping egg whites “until they’re stiff” which gave me the jitters just wondering if it was stiff enough (that’s what she said — I’m awful).

But just so y’all know, they’re actually quite easy. And you do feel kinda fancy eating them. Until you break out the sprinkly unicorn toy. Then you’re just reminded that you’re a 14 year old stuck in a grown-up’s body and you eat your feelings in Cotton Candy Meringues because of this reminder.

DSC_0975ACotton Candy Meringues *from Jennifer’s Meringue recipe 

1.0 from 1 reviews
Cotton Candy Meringues
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Like getting cotton candy at the circus, minus the weird carnies. These cookies will melt in your mouth!
Ingredients
  • 3 egg whites
  • ½ cup Cotton Candy Spinning Sugar*
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 pkt. Duncan Hines Frosting Creations in Cotton Candy
Instructions
  1. First, I highly suggest putting on an evening gown, elbow-length gloves and setting out your nicest tea settings. Play some Mozart to set the tone. Sh*t's about to get fancy in huuuurrr. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 175 degrees.
  2. Place your egg whites and both sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer. If you're using the stainless steel one, even better! Place the stainless steel mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk constantly, until the mixture has combined and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the bowl from the heat carefully and attach it to your mixer.
  3. Add the cream or tartar and the Cotton Candy packet. Begin whipping the egg whites with the whisk attachment on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  4. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag attached with a star tip. Pipe the meringues onto parchment or silicone-lined baking sheets. Bake the meringues in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes. I know it's a long time, but have some caviar or something to tide you over. Once the meringues are done baking, crack the oven door open (and obviously turn off the heat) so the meringues can cool off in the oven for a bit.
  5. Bring the meringues out to the party and eat them. Edible party guests are always the best kind.
  6. *Note: I used American Candy Company's Spinning Sugar in Blue Raspberry flavor, which I found at World Market (Sur La Table also sells it). Using the cotton candy spinning sugar in place of regular granulated sugar intensifies the cotton candy flavoring and provides a deeper pop of blue color. If you can't find the spinning sugar, feel free to use white sugar entirely.*

 

DSC_0987AIf you’re a lover of all things sweet, cotton candy-y, and pretty, you’ll adore these cookies! Not only are they super duper easy, but they taste just like cotton candy. These meringues would look adorable on a candy buffet for a spring-or-summertime party, or would be equally perfect in gift bags for birthday parties! Plus, you can switch up the flavors of the meringues to suit your mood since there are over 12 Duncan Hines Frosting Creations flavors to choose from! [Hello, someone make me some bubblegum meringues and STAT.] And these meringues are gluten-free!

Cotton candy fuhhreak like me? Enjoy these treats, too:

Sea-Salted Cotton Candy Kettle Corn
Cotton Candy Bars *one of the most popular recipes on my blog ever!
Funfetti Whoopie Pies with Cotton Candy Frosting

DSC_0981AHave a fantastically delicious day!

xo, Hayley

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