Salted Caramel Pretzel Thumb Print Cookies


I’ve spent a great deal of time in the kitchen over the past week…and it has been wonderful. Every year, I have my Christmas favorites, but I love to add new recipes to the mix as well. This year I wanted to add a salted caramel recipe. I found a great recipe from Cooking Classy and made some adaptions to make these Salted Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies. Perhaps not the shortest name for a cookie…but I promise they are super delicious!

Salted Caramel Pretzel Thumbprint Cookies

Makes: 2 dozen

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 large egg, yolk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tbsp buttermilk

1 1/4 cups finely chopped pretzels

15 caramels

2 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream

Coarse sea salt

3 oz chopped milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate

1 teaspoon oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high spread until slightly pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg yolk (set egg white aside in a bowl in refrigerator) and vanilla extract. Blend in buttermilk. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Shape dough into a ball and drop onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten dough into a 6-inch disk then wrap with plastic wrap and chill 45 minutes, until slightly firm.

Place finely chopped pretzels in a bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch balls  then working with one at a time, firmly roll dough into chopped pretzels. Transfer to parchment paper lined baking sheets and make a deep indentation with thumb in the center of each dough ball. Bake in preheated oven until set, about 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from oven then using the bottom of a rounded teaspoon, gently press down on existing indentation (to create more space for caramel). Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Place caramels and cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat mixture in microwave on HIGH power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Spoon caramel into indentation in cookies and sprinkle tops with a small pinch of sea salt.

Place chocolate and oil into a separate microwave safe mixing bowl. Heat mixture on 50% power in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until melted and smooth. Pour into a piping bag or ziplog bag and cut tip of corner. Drizzle over cookies. Allow to set then store in an airtight container.



Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies


I am not sure if I have ever mentioned it before, but  Mint Chocolate Chip isone of my all time favorite ice cream flavors. I have loved it ever since I was a little girl.

Now, if you were to take that ice cream and turn it into a cookie…you would have these delightful little green bites of goodness. They are crisp and cool and so so yummy. Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day…if you need a green dessert idea.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Little Dairy on the Prairie 

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. shortening
1½ c. sugar
2 eggs
1½ tsp. peppermint extract
a few drops of green food coloring (You can use as much or as little as you would like, depending on color)
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tarter
¼ tsp. salt
6 oz. Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips
6 oz. Nestle Winter Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels – (You can use semi-sweet chocolate chips if you don’t have the mint ones)

Cream butter, shortening and sugar for about three minutes. It should be fluffy. Add eggs, green food coloring and peppermint extract. Cream for another 2-3 minutes. Measure dry ingredients in a separate bowl or sifter. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Mix until combined. Add mint and chocolate chips. Gently stir to until incorporated.

Drop cookies using a 2 Tablespoon size cookie scoop. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Watch for the cookies to begin cracking. Let cool on baking sheet for a few minutes. Transfer to cookie rack and finish cooling.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

My sister in law, Karen, sent me this recipe a few days ago. She knows us well…chocolate and peanut butter. We took these bars to a picnic on Sunday evening…and they are a perfect picnic dessert!

These bars are made with a cake mix but taste like a delicious peanut butter cookie, covered with a layer of chocolate.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

from Bake or Break

For the crust:
1 package yellow cake mix
1 & 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
8  tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
For the filling:
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°.

Using an electric mixer on low speed, combine cake mix, peanut butter, butter, and eggs. Batter will be thick.

Set aside about 1 & 1/2 cups of crust mixture. Press remaining crust mixture into bottom and partially up the sides of an ungreased 9″x 13″ baking pan.

To make the filling, place chocolate chips and condensed milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 1 minute. Stir mixture until chocolate chips melt and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Pour filling over crust in pan and spread evenly. Crumble reserved crust mixture over top of filling. (Mine did not crumble, it was more of a drop, this due to the differences in cake mixes).

Bake 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely in pan before serving.

Chocolate Zucchini Bunt Cake With Chocolate Glaze

Chocolate Zucchini Bunt Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Bunt Cake 2

The summer is coming to a close, but we still have an abundance of zucchini. So you know what that means?

Zucchini Cake.

This has to be the best recipe I have come across, it is so so moist. Pairing it with a simple glaze lets the cake stand for itself. Hey – it is a good way to eat your cake, and your veggies too!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Adapted from Parsley, Sage & Sweet

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces)  unsweetened apple sauce

1 2/3 cups (12 ounces) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1/2 cup (4 ounces) Greek yogurt

2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) Flour

3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounce) Dutch-process cocoa

2 1/2 to 3 cups shredded zucchini (about one 10-inch zucchini –  12 ounces)

1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a bunt pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, applesauce, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until each is incorporated.

Stir in yogurt alternately with the flour, starting and ending with the flour. Stir in the cocoa and mix until smooth. Finally, fold in the zucchini and 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 40 – 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack.

For the Glaze

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water, combine chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla.

Spread warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.

Chocolate Covered Banana Bites

Chocolate Covered Banana Bites

Summer is officially over. (So are my 20’s, but that is a post for another day).

I’m going to be completely honest, I have never been so ready for fall. For whatever reason, this summer was *so so* crazy. We were all over the place in 1,000 different directions and I’m just ready for the structure of fall. (I’m just a little type A). I’m also ready and excited to be working less, spending more time with my kiddos and photographing more…hopefully blogging more as well. Good.Bye.Summer.

Tomorrow is the first day of school for Springfield, so I thought I would post a back to school snack that kids would be happy to come home to.

Chocolate Covered Banana Bites

makes 7 bites 

1 large banana

2 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoons vanilla

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

Slice banana into about 14 pieces. Spread peanut butter on one side of a banana slice and sandwich in between two slices.  Sit on wax paper and place in freezer for 30 minutes. While bananas are in the freezer, prepare chocolate. In a double boiler combine chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla. Drizzle chocolate over banana bites, then place back in the freezer. Before serving remove from freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. Enjoy!


Chocolate Cupcakes & Peanut Butter Buttercream

I made these cupcakes to celebrate a good friend’s birthday today, and try and lovingly persuade him and his wonderful wife to buy a house within yelling distance of ours…I thought I would try and sweeten the deal. I am not really sure if it worked or not, but I am really happy they got to close on their house today! Congrats Aaron & Lindsay!
Chocolate Cupcakes
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup oil
2 cups hot water
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 24 (or 12 jumbo cups) muffin cups with liners. Mix ingredients with an electric mixer in a bowl until you get a thin batter. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Peanut Butter Buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
3-4 tablespoons milk
In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes are pretty popular right now. There are lots of different versions and variations depending on which website or blog you visit. My mom made some a couple of months back and they were delicious! I guess I could add one more version right? My favorite part (besides the oreo cookie baked into the cake) is the oreo cream added to the frosting…they were just setting there so I thought to myself why not?

Chocolate Cupcakes
1 package double stuff oreos
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup oil
2 cups hot water
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 24 muffin cups with liners. Drop one double stuff into the bottom of each paper liner.  Mix ingredients with an electric mixer in a bowl until you get a thin batter. Pour batter over oreos into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cookies & Cream Frosting
2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup shortening, at room temperature
1/2 cup marshmallow creme
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 lbs. powdered sugar
4 tablespoons very cold milk
1 cup Oreo cookies crushed (creams removed and set aside for frosting)Cream butter and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add salt and vanilla extract. Begin sifting in the powdered sugar in slowly, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Stir in oreo creams (set aside from cookies) until combined. Begin adding milk slowly, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved. Fold in marshmallow creme and crushed Oreo cookies. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired. Garnish with crushed oreos or mini oreos.