Samoas Magic Bar Pie

Samoas Magic Bar PieWhen I was in Girl Scouts, our troop leader totally didn’t do anything cool. Other troops were raising money to go to Disneyland, or sleepovers at the zoo, or other cool things.

We went camping. Once. It was lame because two girls kicked me out of their tent.

We went to a safety school. We learned not to walk in front of cars. All it made me do was want to walk in front of a car.

And the rest of the time, we spent in a cold, empty classroom at my elementary school. All the girls knew each other super well, so they clamored together. I was just kinda the outcast brownie, the one who never had all her patches sewn on, the one who didn’t get along with the other girls, and the one who longed for sleepovers at the zoo while secretly hating our troop leader for being a loser who totally dropped the ball on this life-building girl-power skills thing.

But I didn’t need the girls there. I had cookies, obvi. The cookies were pretty much the only redeeming factor of putting up with all those shenanigans because the second it was cookie season, I was alllll about the Samoas. To me, the Samoas are pretty much the perfect cookie. Crunchy shortbread, creamy caramel, sweet toasted coconut and that perfect drizzle of chocolate… it’s pretty much one heavenly, perfect little bite. And I know I’m not the only Samoa-freak out there… there’s hoards of ya, and this is our time to unite and REJOICE over the invention of this fabtastic pie.

DSC_0354AYou know magic bars? This is that… in pie form. It’s chewy, gooey and positively luscious. It tastes of Samoas, thanks to the classic components swirled in every bite: actual Samoa cookies, coconut, bits of caramel, chocolate chips, Rolos, and the whole thing is smothered in sweetened condensed milk (aka the nectar of the Gods). Then it’s baked until golden and bubbly and served up to Samoa-lovers everywhere. You’re welcome.

DSC_0372AOkay. Enough chit-chat. We need to dig in. This caramel is bananas. Or rather, s-a-m-o-a-s. I’ll stop.

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Samoas Magic Bar Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Pie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Samoa-cookie lovers everywhere, rejoice! This chewy, gooey, outrageous pie tastes just like a giant Samoa cookie, in a fun twist between magic bars and pie!
Ingredients
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust, room temperature
  • 1 pkg (24 count) refrigerated chocolate chip cookies, room temperature
  • 1 pkg (about 20) Samoas cookies, roughly chopped (if you can't find Samoas or don't want to chop up a box, Keebler makes a similar cookie sold at most supermarkets)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 pkg Kraft caramels, unwrapped and cut in half
  • ½ cup Rolos, unwrapped and chopped
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9" pie plate with cooking spray. Roll out the pie crust to fit into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Crimp the edges of the pie crust if you'd like.
  2. Using your hands, press the cookie dough into a plane of dough and press into the bottom of the pie crust; it'll be super thick. Top evenly with chopped Samoas cookies, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, caramels and chopped Rolos. Drizzle evenly with the sweetened condensed milk. Cover the edges of the pie crusts with a pie shield.
  3. Bake for approx. 30-35 minutes or until the center is golden brown and bubbly, but appears set. If it slightly jiggles, that's okay, but it shouldn't be sloshing around. Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting into squares. Serve with ice cream or more caramel, if desired.

DSC_0381AGooooooooey. So very gooey!

DSC_0388ATo be honest, I added the chocolate chip cookie dough into the bottom layer for a couple reasons. 1) for substance. It helps create a nice, thick, gooey cookie base for this pie. 2) because I needed to use up some refrigerated dough I had in my fridge (oops). And 3) because it’s freaking delicious – why are you questioning my decision? :)

Samoas Magic Bar PieHave a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

XXL Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chunk Cookies

XXLBrownButterCookiesWhen I was younger, I really wanted to open a bakery.

I thought selling cupcakes, cookies, super fudgy brownies and cakes would be so fun. Whipping up fresh buttercream, adorning each cake with cute sprinkles, packaging up fresh-baked cookies… it all sounded so blissful… until I realized how HARD owning a business is.

First of all, hiring employees. I was always a stellar employee at every job I’ve held, but trying to interview the mass public to find people to entrust with my business? Oh hell to the no. Could not do it.

Second, the hours! I would have zero me-time, and I’m someone who needs adequate me-time. I’d constantly be in the bakery at 2am baking cupcakes and frosting cakes and likely wouldn’t leave until late at night when I’d have to restart the whole process. Nope nope nope. That’s like, two hours of me-time a day and it would take about 4 days before I would commit myself.

And third, the work-related issues… like gaining ALL THE WEIGHT from eating ALL THE COOKIES. Especially cookies like these ones, because I could not stop eating these when I made them. Holy mother of pearl, peeps. These are out of control. And if they would be any indication of my bakery, I would weigh 34587634 pounds and would have no customers… because I would eat every product.

So yeah, owning a bakery is not in the cards. But baking bakery-style cookies? Totally doable. I don’t even need to hire anyone to do my bidding because I’ll gladly eat every last crumb of these bad boys.

DSC_0259AThe best thing about bakery cookies are their size! Bakery cookies aren’t your standard wimpy cookies – they’re easily double the standard cookie size for maximum cookieage. BTW, ‘cookieage’ is totally a word. Bakery cookies are also jam-packed with flavor and texture, creating a heavenly eating experience that makes you want more. These cookies boast both mega-flavor and uber-texture, thanks to five very important, super crucial components that make these cookies over-the-top, outta-the-field AMAZING. Those components include…

Brown Butter. Brown butter takes these to the next level of awesomeness. My standard cookie recipe features 3/4 cup of butter, but this recipe has 1 full cup of butter – 1/2 of which is browned. Brown butter simply means that you cook the butter down in a saucepan until its a nice, deep amber color with flecks of brown bits on the bottom. Those brown bits impart SO much flavor, it’s crazy. The result is an added richness and nuttiness that’s positively irresistible.

Vanilla Bean Paste. One of my favorite ingredients, vanilla bean paste elevates any dish it touches. Vanilla bean paste is stronger than extract since it’s more concentrated and comes out thick like caramel sauce. It has flecks of vanilla beans in it, lending the cookies a ton of rich vanilla flavor and wonderful flecks of bean throughout the dough.

DSC_0271AChocolate Chunks. Because chocolate chips are for losers. Kidding! But chocolate chunks really set these apart from your standard chocolate chip cookie. The chunks add great texture and cover more surface area of the cookie, giving a melty burst of chocolate in every bite! I love using Nestle’s Chocolate Chunks or Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chunks which are both roughly chopped semi-sweet chocolate. Semi-sweet is recommended in this recipe, but milk could easily be used.

Sea Salt. It adds a great finishing touch on each cookie with those sexy, salty crystals on top. The coarse salt really off-sets the sweetness of the chocolate and vanilla bean.

Last but not least? Espresso Powder. Yes, espresso! These cookies do not taste like coffee, nor do they taste like mocha. If you want that, simply add more espresso powder to the batter. Espresso powder functions as another element to deepen the flavor, adding more richness to the chocolate and heightening that flavor of the brown butter, chocolate chunks and vanilla bean. A little goes a long way which prevents the cookie from A) tasting like coffee; and B) being undetectable but still present in the dough. If you want to omit this, you totally can – but I highly, *highly* recommend adding a little smidge in.

DSC_0253ADoesn’t it sound like I should open a bakery? If these cookies were involved, I probably would. They’re kinda-sorta life-changing. Promise.

Now who wants to work for me?

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5.0 from 2 reviews
XXL Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Thick, chewy and XXL chocolate chunk cookies are special in many ways, thanks to the use of espresso powder, vanilla bean paste, brown butter and sea salt. The chocolate chunks elevates these cookies from a classic to a modern, delectable twist.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided (make sure you're using REAL butter, not butter spread or margarine)
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks
  • Sea salt, for garnish/sprinkling
Instructions
  1. First, make your brown butter. In a small saucepan, melt ONE (1) stick of butter over medium-low heat. The butter will eventually melt, then start to bubble, pop and foam up, turning frothy. This is normal. Cook low and slow for about 5-7 minutes, swirling the butter around the pan occasionally, until the butter is amber in color and fragrant, almost nutty. Do NOT burn the butter! Once butter has browned and is amber and fragrant, remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl to cool, about 20 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar with the paddle attachment for approx. 2 minutes, until creamy and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla bean paste to combine. Add in the salt, espresso powder, baking soda and cornstarch, and beat to combine. Add in HALF of the flour, beating to combine. Stream in HALF of the browned butter. Add the remaining flour, beating to combine, then stream in the remaining browned butter, adding in all the bits at the bottom. Once dough comes together, stir in the chocolate chunks.
  3. Refrigerate the dough for AT LEAST 2 hours, but I recommend refrigerating for 4 hours to overnight. This step is MANDATORY as the dough will spread significantly if it does not sufficiently chill. The dough needs to be super duper cold before baking, so I really stress chilling for at least four hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment sprayed with cooking spray. Drop ¼-cup rounded mounds of cookie dough onto the baking sheets, keeping about 2-3" apart. Sprinkle the tops with sea salt as desired.
  5. Bake for approx. 10-13 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even cooking. Cookies may appear slightly under-done; this is normal and they will continue to firm up as they cool. If desired, add a couple more chocolate chunks on top of the freshly baked cookies for a prettier appearance. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets before serving. Store leftovers airtight at room temperature for up to a week.

DSC_0268AThese cookies *do* require a chilling time of a recommended 4 hours. I know, I know – major suckage. BUT I promise you that the results are MORE than worth it. Seriously – these may be one of the best cookies I’ve ever eaten. Swearsies. They are SO soft, chewy and moist, bursting with rich chocolate, sprinkles of sea salt, and are packed with amazing flavor from the nutty browned butter and sweet vanilla bean. They are positively INCREDIBLE and I know you’ll love them!

Chocolate Chunk CookiesHave a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

Bacon Shortbread Cookies {3 Ingredients!}

BaconShortbreadCookiesI’m gonna keep this short and sweet, just like today’s recipe.

And honnnney – today’s recipe is the bees knees. It’s bacon-wrapped cookies, people. And it’s pretty darn phenomenal if I do say so myself.

This recipe (which I struggle to deem a ‘recipe’) isn’t really one at all. It was adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s famous Bacon-Wrapped Crackers which I have had and yes, they are as divine as they sound.

Basically, the recipe consists of this: sprinkle club crackers with brown sugar. Wrap coated crackers in bacon. Bake low and slow for a couple hours. Consume gleefully. See? Easy.

This recipe is the same thing, minus the club crackers and adding shortbread cookies… because everything is vastly improved when cookies are involved. These poppable, bite-sized treats are sweet, salty, crunchy and buttery and absolutely perfect for dessert, breakfast, snacks, gifts, or mid-day pick-me-ups on a Sunday. Or you know, perfect all the time.

DSC_0191AASo if you’re craving something absolutely outrageous and smothered in bacon, this is your dessert.

Now if you don’t mind me, I have a batch of cookies I need to attend to.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Bacon Shortbread Cookies {3 Ingredients!}
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Buttery, sweet and salty, these crunchy shortbread cookies are wrapped with bacon and are perfect for get-togethers or random afternoons when you're jonesing for some bacon.
Ingredients
  • 2 pkgs (24 count) Pepperidge Farm Shortbread Cookies (or your favorite shortbread cookies)
  • 1 (12 oz) pkg. bacon, cut in half horizontally
  • Brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a metal cooling rack on top. Mist the cooling rack with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Working carefully, sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of brown sugar onto each shortbread cookie, and wrap the cookie with the bacon piece. Place the cookies onto the wire rack and repeat with remaining cookies.
  3. Bake for approx. 60-90 minutes or until the cookies smell fragrant and the bacon appears done. Cookies will be a darker colored brown and that's okay as long as they don't appear burnt. Cookies also may appear to crack slightly; this is normal.
  4. Cool cookies completely before serving.

DSC_0197AWhat I love about these cookies (besides being wrapped in bacon)? Their simplicity! It’s just so easy to whip them up for an impressive and addictive dessert or snack. As the bacon cooks, the grease soaks into the crisp shortbread cookies, absorbing all that lovely flavor. They are just so. stinkin’. delicious and I can’t recommend you making them enough!

Want more bacon desserts? Check out my other tasty treats!

baconcrackMaple Bacon Caramel Crack – one of my most popular recipes!

maplebaconwhoopieMaple Bacon Cinnamon Roll Whoopie Pies – a fun twist on whoopie pies!

maplebaconpoundMaple Bacon Pancake Pound Cake – a delicious alternative to classic pound cake!

Have a delicious day!

xo, Hayley

 

Ultra Soft & Chewy White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chip Macadamia CookiesMacadamia Nut cookies are one of my favorite cookies ever, but I often forget about them.

It’s not like they’re boring or hard to make or anything; it’s just that I never really see them anywhere and that needs to change immediately, methinks.

Many years ago, we lived near this really old, dilapidated mall called Sunrise Mall. It was super ghetto and all the good stores started to abandon Sunrise in favor for the new, better mall a couple miles away, so Sunrise would get weird stores there like “Bob’s Antiques” where it’d be a bunch of overpriced crap, or “Suzie’s Gifts” with like, cheap junk you’d never give anyone.

DSC_0219ABut despite Sunrise’s shopping selection downfalls, they did have a Mrs. Fields cookies and I always made a point to grab a hot and fresh one any time I ended up at Sunrise. The buttery, crispy edges, the soft and chewy middles, and the smattering of crunchy macadamia nuts and rich white chips were just heaven on earth… despite the fact that I was in a crumbling mall surrounded by screaming children and derelicts.

Our new, flashy mall is great, but it lacks a Mrs. Fields. Instead, they have “Famous Cookie Maker” (no, seriously, that’s what it’s called) and I don’t trust their outright ambiguity. It’s like, if you’re so famous, why do you have the most craptastic name ever? But I digress.

DSC_0223AAnywho. My recipe for white chocolate macadamia nut cookies is, quite simply, up there with Mrs. Fields delightful version. It’s soft, chewy, with crisp edges and is packed with delicious macadamia nuts and white chips. And you don’t need to drive to the bad side of town in the dingy mall to get them.

Score!!

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*adapted from my Soft and Chewy Cranberry White Chip Cookies recipe

Ultra Soft & Chewy White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Buttery, tender cookies filled with crunchy macadamia nuts and sweet white chocolate chips! These will soon become a fast favorite for their ease of preparation and fantastic flavor!
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar (I like using dark, but light works too)
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts (I always use Diamond of California!)
  • ⅔ cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar with the paddle attachment for about 2 minutes, or until blended. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Add in the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt until a soft dough forms, then stir in the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips.
  2. Chill the dough for AT LEAST 1 hour until firm. I like chilling mine for a minimum of 2 hours for best results; you could even chill overnight. Chilling is MANDATORY as it prevents the cookie dough from spreading and helps resolidify the butter for chewy, soft cookies.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper that's been misted with cooking spray. Drop heaping, rounded Tablespoonfuls of dough onto each cookie sheet, leaving about 2" apart. Bake for approx. 8-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even cooking. Cookies may appear underdone, but they'll continue to cook as they set up. Do NOT overbake.
  4. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets before serving. You may top each cookie with additional white chocolate chips for a pretty appearance after removing from the oven, if you'd like.

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DSC_0245AFreakin’ delicious, y’all. A classic, unforgettable cookie that tastes like it’s made in a bakery. Can’t beat that!

Have a delicious day!

xo, Hayley

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Footballs

PB Cookie Dough FootballsOkay, let’s get real. I don’t watch football.

I know, I know. Shocker of the Year. But it just doesn’t interest me, ya know? It isn’t necessarily because football doesn’t interest me; it’s mostly because A) I have other things I could be doing than watching grown men tackle one another; and B) the commentators.

You know, the men who have to narrate every. single. play, every single breath a player takes, every itch they scratch, every thought they think… it’s just so distracting and annoying and completely unnecessary? I dunno, but it totally grinds my gears.

I think it’s because I have a deep-rooted psychological issue with watching TV with others. It all started when I was in elementary school and invited some classmates over to play. Inevitably Barbies got boring, so we turned on cartoons while we ate animal cookies and wasted our childhood brains away. But one classmate in particular — let’s call her Annoying Girl — had a habit of talking during the show. She had to repeat whatever the character just said. She had to narrate whatever the character just did. And she had to ask questions upon questions upon questions of inane subject matter so she could attempt to follow along with the mind-blowing plot of Scooby Doo, Where Are You?. Like, it’s Scooby effing Doo. The monster is always some senile old person. Get the net, homegirl.

But no. Annoying Girl continued her narration of every single grueling play-by-play as if we were deaf and blind and completely, woefully uninformed as to what we were watching.

In later years, I would date a boy whose mom did the same thing. Also, she had this really high-pitched laugh that I swore made the walls shake. Watching America’s Funniest Home Videos was like a death sentence since you never knew what toddler-falling-over video would send the house to crumbles.

And after that, I had a friend who would occasionally watch movies with me… or as much of a movie as you could watch from behind a cell phone screen. Every so often she’d glance up from her Facebook feed to check out the movie, then ask some obvious question that would be answered had she not been playing Farmville. Look, if Farmville is preferable company, then by all means, there’s the door, dude. I can watch my movie solo without fielding questions with someone who contracts a rash if they aren’t touching their phone 24/7.

So anyway, when it comes to narrating shows, answering and asking questions during shows, and generally watching shows with people other than my immediate family (who knows to shut their traps until commercial breaks), I’m not a fan. Unless you’re bringing enough spinach and artichoke dip that I can adequately bury my face in until half-time, I’m not interested in a TV party.

DSC_0803AHowever, I am interested in TV party-related foods, which are always delicious. Dips, fruit and veggie trays, cheese and meat, foot-long sandwiches, and lots of desserts, SuperBowl food is the bomb. And after building mini salami and cheddar cracker sammies all day long, everyone’s bound to crave something sweet to offset all the buffalo wing sauce and melty cheese. Enter these Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Footballs! Not only are they a cinch to make, they taste great — because who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate!? And they have that irresistible sweet-and-salty element everyone loves.

The best part? Everyone will be too busy stuffing their faces with them, which means uninterrupted TV for me :)

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Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Footballs
Author: 
Recipe type: Treats
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 64
 
Filled with smooth and delicious egg-free peanut butter cookie dough, these Cookie Dough Footballs are sure to be a winner at any football party!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 sleeves (about 64 crackers) butter-flavored crackers (I used Townhouse)
  • 1 pkg. Chocolate CandiQuik
  • 2 squares Vanilla CandiQuik
Instructions
  1. First, prepare your cookie dough filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar & white sugar with the paddle attachment until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla and milk and beat to combine. Lastly, add in the flour until a soft dough has formed.
  2. Line two baking sheets with foil and spread the crackers in an even layer among both sheets. Using a teaspoon measuring spoon, spoon the cookie dough in a log-shape onto one of the crackers; gently top with another cracker, creating a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough and crackers until all crackers are made into sandwiches.
  3. Briefly allow the sandwiches to set in the freezer, for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the Chocolate CandiQuik according to package directions or until smooth and melted. Dip each sandwich into the Chocolate CandiQuik, allowing the excess to drip off of the fork. Return to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining sandwiches. Once the chocolate has set, melt the Vanilla CandiQuik. Place the Vanilla CQ in a baggy, seal out the air and snip off a corner. Pipe stitching onto each football, then allow the stitching to set.
  4. Store leftovers airtight in the freezer and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

DSC_0815AButtery, crunchy, sweet and salty, these football sandwiches are perfect for the Big Game! The cookie dough is so sweet and creamy and tastes almost like the filling of a Reese’s PB cup! Combined with the milky-sweet chocolate and the crunchy crackers, these treats are a real winner. Don’t like peanut butter cookie dough? No problem! Feel free to use chocolate chip cookie dough (just use miniature chips to help make the sandwiches), sugar cookie dough, oatmeal cookie dough, or even chocolate cookie dough.

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

Avalanche Cookie Clusters

Avalanche Cookie ClustersWhen I was in high school, one of the coolest things to do was to visit Downtown Sacramento.

Now mind you, I am a kid from the suburbs, about 20 minutes away from Downtown. But seeing as the most exciting thing in my town was the halfway abandoned Yogurt Delite, Downtown seemed so cool and exotic and hip and different to a 15-year old.

For one, Downtown had a mall which was just as crappy as our mall, but better because it was Downtown. And it had a gargantuan Forever 21 in it which was sofreakinawesome because ours only had a Wet Seal and everyone knows Forever 21 > Wet Seal, amirite?

Second, Downtown was connected to Old Town, which is exactly what you think of when you think of a once-small mining town. Cute, quaint old buildings and cobblestone streets with wooden sidewalks and horse-drawn carriages clopping around. Old Town had some quirky shops that my friends and I loved to explore in, but mostly, we enjoyed hitting up the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory down there.

My mom would send me on my day-long jaunt to Downtown with $20 to spend on lunch, but little did she know that most of that money went to things at Forever 21 and of course, chocolates from Rocky Mountain. If you’ve never been to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory before, it’s pretty much the most heavenly place on earth, with floor-to-ceiling displays of chocolate truffles, candies, confections and more, and more often than not, they’re stirring up a fresh batch of caramel and dipping everything under the sun right in front of your wee beady eyes.

In other words, a hungry teenager’s dream come true.

One of my favorite things to get were the caramel apples (hello, best treat evah) and their Avalanche Bars. The Avalanche Bars are probably what Rocky Mountain’s most known for, and for good reason. If ya don’t know, Avalanche Bars are basically white chocolate and peanut butter mixed together with rice krispy cereal and marshmallows, then studded with chocolate chips. Prettttttty genius, with the whole sweet-salty-crunchy-gooey factors happening at once. And did I mention it was a hungry teenager’s dream come true?

But since my days of dwelling Downtown are long over (and since I’ve grown up and realized Downtown isn’t that cool after all, parking sucks, and is that homeless person flashing everyone?), it’s been quite some time since I’ve had an Avalanche Bar. But since I saw Shelly post her version of Avalanche Cookies, I knew I had to recreate this childhood treat at home… with my rebellious spin, duh.

DSC_0402AEnter pie crust. Yeah, pie crust. Homie play. Homie play like that. Pie crust offers a delightful, unexpected crunch to these clusters and a bit of a doughy, cookie feel. It’s hard to explain but easy to eat 10 of these incredible cookie clusters, also inspired by the mil-dollar Pillsbury Bake-Off winner’s recipe which includes bits of baked pie crust in her cookies, too.

Genius? Hell yes it is. And ohmigawd, did I mention a DREAM COME TRUE?!

DSC_0405ASeriously. Can’t stop, won’t stop — and you shouldn’t either. Make these NOW! Live the dream!!

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5.0 from 3 reviews
Avalanche Cookie Clusters
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies, Treats
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
Irresistible, incredible and outrageously delicious, these addictive Avalanche Cookie Clusters are inspired by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory's delectable Avalanche Bars! You and your family will love the unexpected twist of pie crust bits in these fabulous cluster cookies!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 & ½ cups miniature marshmallows
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 pkg Vanilla CandiQuik
  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
Instructions
  1. First, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner or with parchment paper. Mist parchment (if using) with cooking spray. Place the pie crust on the baking sheet and, using a sharp knife or a pizza wheel, cut the pie crust into thin strips, then cut crosswise to make small, bite-sized squares. Separate the squares so that they don't touch as much, and bake for approx. 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.
  2. In a large bowl, melt the CandiQuik according to package directions or until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter until blended. Working quickly, add in the cereal, marshmallows and pie crust pieces and toss gently to coat completely.
  3. Working fast, drop heaping ¼ cup-sized clusters of the mixture onto foil-or silicone-lined baking sheets. Because of the CandiQuik, the mixture could harden so it's key to work as fast as possible! Allow the clusters to set before serving. Store leftovers airtight, at room temperature, for up to a week.

DSC_0408AButtery, creamy, crunchy, gooey, crispy, salty and oh-so-decadent, these are THE BOMB. Easily my new favorite cookie-candy hybrid and I guarantee they’ll be yours, too!

*Tip: for chocolate-lovers, feel free to sprinkle each cluster with some miniature chocolate chips before they set for a little chocolate kick!*

Have a fabulous day!!

xo, Hayley

Peanut Brittle Cupcakes

Peanut Brittle CupcakesPeanut brittle is one of those candies that I totally love but often overlook. One, because it isn’t sold in many stores, and two, because it isn’t as common as your average M&M’s or Skittles.

But when I am around it? Lawd have mercy, homedog. I’m scarfing it down like it’s my day job. It’s just so addictive!

Since I still have an enormous fear of candy thermometers (seriously, I do not have time for high-maintenance candy!) I haven’t actually made my own peanut brittle at home. If we’re being honest, I find it easier to just stock up at See’s Candies and get it for $6/box than stress over a pot of boiling caramel. Not my idea of a good time. Eating the peanut brittle, however, is a great time.

So while I haven’t mastered the brittle itself, I have mastered these scrumptious cupcakes! I have to admit, the peanut brittle flavor is spot-on. If you could somehow bottle it up and drink that delectable peanut butter caramel flavor, it would be the best beverage evah. But for now, you’ll have to settle with eating your cupcake and your peanut brittle, too. These are the best!

DSC_0316ASkip the candy thermom mama drama and buy yourself a box of brittle… and the ingredients for these cupcakes. You’ll be glad you did!

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Peanut Brittle Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Peanutty and caramel, these Peanut Brittle Cupcakes taste like the addictive candy without the fuss of making it. Top with your favorite homemade or store-bought brittle for the perfect, tasty garnish.
Ingredients
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅓ cup caramel flavored syrup (NOT sundae sauce, but the kind you can use to flavor your coffee, like by Torani)
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter (I like Jif!)
  • FOR FROSTING:
  • 1 & ½ sticks butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup caramel flavored syrup
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk, if needed
  • About 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Peanut Brittle, prepared or your favorite homemade recipe, broken into shards
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two standard muffin tins with about 16 paper liners; set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, oil, eggs, water, caramel syrup and peanut butter together with a handheld electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until blended. Distribute batter evenly among the cupcake tins, filling about ¾" full.
  2. Bake for approximately 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with light crumbs. Cool the cupcakes completely while you prepare the frosting.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter, vanilla and caramel syrup with the paddle attachment until creamy and blended. Gradually add the powdered sugar, about one cup at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy. Add the milk if frosting is too thick.
  4. Spoon the frosting into a disposable piping bag attached with a large open star tip. Pipe the frosting high onto the cooled cupcakes, then garnish with a couple of shards of peanut brittle. Top with caramel sundae syrup if you'd like! Serve immediately.

DSC_0324AThese are FABULOUS! They’re a must-try. If you haven’t had caramel + peanut butter before, you must give this insanely-delicious combination a go. It’s a total winner and is what makes the flavor in these delectable Peanut Brittle Cupcakes so spot-on!

Have a fantastic day!

xo, Hayley

Super Simple 2-Ingredient Turtles

2 Ingredient TurtlesYou guuuuyyyyyysssss. These turtles. I can’t even.

Most recipes on the interwebs feature three or four-ingredient turtles, and that’s totally cool. But if you’re like me, you kinda sorta get a little pissy whenever you have to rinse out a sticky caramel pot or when you have to pry hardened chocolate off of a spoon. Like seriously, I would love to have a live-in permanent dishwasher. It would be AWESOME, and I would pay them entirely in treats.

But since I haven’t made it yet (at least to the caliber of hiring staff), I’ll have to settle with cutting out the middle man by using Rolo candies instead of your traditional caramel squares and melting chocolate. Rolos take the guess-work and fuss out of making homemade candy since you simply upwrap them and melt them for a delightful treat! No sticky bowls, no frustrated dishwashers. Easy-peasy, yo.

DSC_0143AAnd if you’re feeling extra fancy, you can always roll these poppable, addictive treats in sprinkles like I did for a festive touch. These really could not be simpler to make and hellooooo, no dishes equals a happy Hayley.

(Oh, and if you’re lookin’ for work, I *do* have a sink full of dishes at the moment soo… inquire within) :)

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Super Simple 2-Ingredient Turtles
Author: 
Recipe type: Candy
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
These two-ingredient turtles are the EASIEST candies you'll ever make! Roll the melted chocolate edges in sprinkles for a festive touch that looks great any time of year.
Ingredients
  • Rolos, unwrapped
  • Pecan Halves (I like using Diamond of California Shelled Pecans)
  • Sprinkles, if desired
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil and preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Place a pecan half down on the prepared baking sheet and very gently top it with an unwrapped Rolo candy. The pecan halves can be a little teeter-tottery, but try to balance them or choose flatter pecans as best as you can. There's no right or wrong way!
  2. Once the pecans have been topped with the Rolos, very carefully place the pan in the oven for about 2-3 minutes or until the Rolo candies are shiny but not melted. Remove from the oven and gently press another pecan half on top of each Rolo, sandwiching them slightly. Allow the turtles to cool for about 10 minutes before rolling the sides in sprinkles if you'd like. Otherwise, allow the turtles to set completely before serving or packaging. This recipe can make as many or as few turtles as you'd like.

DSC_0139AI love the spirited touch of the Christmas-colored sprinkles rolled around each candy; it makes them look more special and like you spent all day making these fabulous turtle candies! No one will guess they are just two simple, everyday ingredients and these make fantastic gifts for friends and family!

Have a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

 

Peppermint Crunch Pretzels

Peppermint Crunch PretzelsYou guys.

These pretzels are everything. And I know I throw around “everything” a lot, but duuude. These are forrealsies ev.er.y.thing.

DSC_1559AI, for one, am a huuuuuge peppermint fiend. The second Target breaks out the Peppermint Kisses, I’m buying five bags and polishing them off like it’s my day job.

And while cleaning out all the peppermint goodies at Target, I happened upon a bag of peppermint pretzels. But unfortunately, those pretzels are a huuuuuge letdown, much like glitter nail polish and this season of American Horror Story. They claim they’re peppermint pretzels, but there only minimally dusted with a vaguely-minty peppermint powder. Low blow, bro. Where’s my peppermint?!

DSC_1557AThese pretzels, however, are not chintzy with the peppermint. They’re loaded with the stuff: both peppermint chips and crushed candy canes. And they’re double-coated in chocolate for an extra special treat. Plus, the sweet-and-salty flavor combo is just out of control, people. Just don’t be mad at me when you polish off an entire batch before the opening credits begin rolling for the latest Freak Show episode [which, by the way, I’m still so bitter that Twisty’s gone!]

Now who’s ready for the best snack ever?!

DSC_1562A

5.0 from 1 reviews
Peppermint Crunch Pretzels
Author: 
Recipe type: Treats
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Sweet and salty, these Peppermint Crunch Pretzels are heavy on the peppermint and deliciousness! Topped with peppermint chips and crushed candy cane, and coated in two types of chocolate, they are as addictive as they are scrumptious!
Ingredients
  • 1 bag Pretzel Thins (regular flavor)
  • 1 pkg Chocolate CandiQuik
  • ¼ pkg Vanilla CandiQuik
  • 1 & ½ cups Andes Peppermint Chips
  • 1 cup crushed candy cane pieces
Instructions
  1. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone liner and set aside. Melt the Chocolate CandiQuik according to package directions, or until smooth & melted.
  2. Dip each pretzel thin into the chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Return the pretzel to the baking sheet and repeat with remaining pretzels. Allow the chocolate to set.
  3. Once the chocolate shell has set, melt the Vanilla CandiQuik according to package directions, or until smooth & melted. Once melted, pour the mixture into a squeeze bottle or a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped off. Pipe the white chocolate liberally all over the pretzels. Immediately sprinkle with the peppermint chips and crushed candy canes.
  4. Allow the pretzels to set before breaking apart (if needed) and serving. Store leftovers airtight.

DSC_1564AIf you’re more of a creme de menthe fan, these would be equally badass with regular Andes Mint Chips and a melty green drizzle instead… but I just love the red pop of color and the buttery, minty flavor of peppermint with the pretzels. So divine!

Have a sweet Sunday!

xo, Hayley

Love Peppermint? Check out these other super-fresh recipes! 

PeppermintBarkCupsPeppermint Bark Cheesecake Cookie Cups

peppermint7layer Peppermint Seven Layer Bars

whitechocpeppermintWhite Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Peppermint Bark Nilla Bites & Turtle Ritzwiches: Host A Cookie Swap with Nabisco!

Cookie ExchangeHoliday season is officially HERE and with all the craziness, it’s easy to let it slip by you without even realizing it!

One day you’re having a work party, the next your kid’s class is putting on a craft fair. Then there’s that make-your-own-kahlua event on Saturday, a cookie exchange on Sunday, and by the time you blink, it’s Christmas. I feel your pain. And when it comes to cookie exchanges, it’s easy to get a little flustered. What if someone else brings what you are? What should you even make? Do you even have time to bake something?! But before you get your mistletoe in a bunch, hear me out!

The friendly folks at NABISCO and I have teamed up to ease your cookie swap qualms with these fantastic, EASY recipes featuring two of their most popular products: Nilla Wafers and Ritz Crackers! Because these are SO simple to whip up, no one will know that the most difficult part of these recipes was preheating the oven :) And because the ingredients are easy-peasy, you can make as many or as little as you need to — though I definitely err on the side of caution myself and always make a full batch (that, and I’m notorious for snacking while baking!)

Peppermint Bark BitesFirst up: Peppermint Bark Nilla Bites! Nilla Wafers are so delicious on their own, but when sandwiched around a peppermint bark candy, they become simply irresistible! The vanilla and peppermint are such a winning flavor duo, and then I went and coated everything in a luscious white-and-milk chocolate marbled mixture for a little flair and added scrumptiousness.

Turtle RitzwichesAnd last but not least, Turtle Ritzwiches! These taste just like turtle candies but without all the fuss. The secret? Chocolate-caramel candies nestled in between two buttery Ritz crackers, smothered with chocolate and then garnished with a single pecan and a drizzle of caramel. No need to break out the candy thermometer for this one (thank goodness, because candy thermometers frighten me deeply).

I LOVE that no one will know my holiday cookie shortcuts when I bring a heaping platter of these scrumptious cookie options! Using NABISCO products as the base for your recipes will not only be an awesome time-saver, but you know they’ll taste delicious since they start with NABISCO favorites like Honey Maid, Oreo, Ritz, Nilla Wafers, and many more!

So… are you ready to impress Santa with these treats or what?!

Peppermint Bark Nilla Bites & Turtle Ritzwiches: Host A Cookie Swap with Nabisco!
Recipe Type: Cookies
Author: Hayley Parker, The Domestic Rebel
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Sweet and minty Peppermint Bark Nilla Bites and rich and gooey Turtle Ritzwiches make for easy and impressive holiday cookie exchange options. Simply melt candies in between each NABISCO cookie or cracker, coat in chocolate, garnish, and voila! The hardest part is trying not to eat them all yourself!
Ingredients

  • FOR TURTLE RITZWICHES:
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Chocolate Caramel Candies (like Rolos)
  • Pecan Halves
  • Chocolate Bark (like CandiQuik)
  • Caramel Sauce
  • FOR PEPPERMINT BARK NILLA BITES:
  • Nilla Wafers
  • Peppermint Bark Candies (like Dove Simple Pleasures)
  • Vanilla Chocolate Bark (like CandiQuik)
  • Crushed Candy Canes
Instructions

  1. FOR TURTLE RITZWICHES:
  2. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner while you preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Lay out a single layer of Ritz Crackers. Top each Ritz Cracker with a single, unwrapped chocolate-caramel candy.
  3. Bake the crackers for approx. 3-4 minutes or until the candies are shiny and glossy. Immediately top each candy with another Ritz Cracker. Allow them to cool completely. Once cooled, dip them into the melted chocolate CandiQuik. Top each cookie with a single pecan half and drizzle with caramel sauce. Serve!
  4. FOR PEPPERMINT BARK NILLA BITES:
  5. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner. Lay the Nilla Wafers evenly in a single layer onto the sheet, flat side UP. Top each Nilla Wafer with a single, unwrapped peppermint bark candy.
  6. Bake the cookies for approx. 3-4 minutes or until the tops are shiny and glossy. Remove from the oven and immediately top with another Nilla Wafer, rounded side UP. Gently press down to adhere. Allow the cookies to cool completely.
  7. Dip the cooled cookies into the Vanilla CandiQuik, covering them completely. If the chocolate from the inside of the Nilla Wafer cookies seeps into the vanilla CandiQuik, all the better for a swirled, marbled pattern. Place the chocolate-dipped cookies back onto the sheet and immediately sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Serve!
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DSC_1350AThese fantastic cookies could not be simpler to make! As you may have noticed, there are no measurements on any of these recipes so you can choose to make as many or as little as you’d like! Easy, affordable, and oh-so-scrumptious, I guarantee these will fly off the cookie banquet table in no time!

For more awesome holiday baking and savory recipes, be sure to visit NABISCO’s Pinterest boards which feature easy and delicious holiday goodies featuring your favorite NABISCO brand products! (My favorite is, of course, the Holiday Cookie Swap Board, but there are other scrumptious boards too!). While there, you can also enter the NABISCO Holiday Sweepstakes for your chance to win $10,000! One prize will be awarded every week between 12/1 and 12/30, so you have plenty of chances to win by pinning your holiday party ideas to NABISCO! Just visit their PINTEREST page for more info!

You can also follow #NabiscoHolidayParties for more great ideas! :)

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, I was generously provided with NABISCO products free of charge to create recipes for this campaign. As always, all opinions and views expressed are 100% my own.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of NABISCO. The opinions and text are all mine.

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