Sunday, March 31, 2013

XXL Peanut Butter Cookie with Reese's Pieces

Have you ever wanted an XXL cookie?

To eat up all by yourself share with a loved one? I know I have! Sometimes, a regular cookie just won't do, even a large cookie won't do. Sometimes, you just need an XXL cookie.

This cookie is sure to satisfy your cravings. To be honest, I did share this cookie with my mom. I could have easily eaten the whole thing, albeit with a very full stomach!

Giant cookies just give me happiness that I can't explain. Some things are better fun sized and some things are better giganta-sized. I like my cookies giganta-sized.

As an added bonus, it's super easy to throw together. All it takes is one bowl to mix up the cookie dough. Then you form one giant ball of dough and pop it in the oven.

Am I alone in thinking that the best part of the cookie is the ever so soft middle zone? I'm not? Ok, good! Well, with giant cookies, the middle zone is quadrupled!

Soft cookie, warm cookie, little ball of dough
Happy cookie, yummy cookie, purr...err I may have gotten my lyrics messed up. (Fans of The Big Bang Theory will understand ;) )

You can use different add-ins if you like. You could use m&ms, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, etc. The options are endless! I liked the added dosage of peanut butter from the reese's pieces.

Can you even handle the colossal size of this cookie? It took up half of my cookie sheet!

So go start to make this cookie now, and in a mere 30 minutes, you can be feasting on this delicious, peanut buttery, monster cookie!

XXL Peanut Butter Cookie with Reese's Pieces


  • 2 tbsp butter or margarine, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp beaten egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1/2 cup reese's pieces (or other add-ins measuring a total of 1/2 cup)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add 2 tbsp of a beaten egg, and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Stir in peanut butter, then add flour, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the reese's pieces (or other add-ins). 
  3. Spoon the cookie dough into a large ball on the prepared baking sheet. (Alternatively, you may split the dough into 4 regular sized cookies. Adjust baking time accordingly.)
  4. Bake for 17-19 minutes. Allow the cookie to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. 
 Makes 1 XXL cookie or 4 regular cookies. Recipe adapted from Picky Palate.

Friday, March 29, 2013

S'mores Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Mmm mmm mmm is all I have to say to this.

First, let's think about a delicious, chewy chocolate chip cookie. Instant happiness, no?
Now, let's think of that delicious, chewy cookie topped with marshmallows roasted to perfection and a drizzling of pure chocolate. Instant nirvana!

I was searching for a recipe to use up an almost full bag of mini marshmallows. I came across a lot of S'mores Brownie recipes, which I'm very eager to try but I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand. Eventually, I found this gem of a recipe. I was surprised at just how much I loved them. Be warned: they're slightly addictive!

Begin by making a basic chocolate chip cookie dough and spreading it evenly in a 9x9 pan (I used 11x7 with great results). Bake the bars for about 20 minutes. Then, top them with the mini marshmallows. After setting the oven to broil, return the bars to the oven for 3-5 minutes, or until the marshmallows are perfectly roasted and puffy.

 Ah, those little marshmallows are so cute! If you want to opt for the chocolate drizzle, allow the bars to cool, then drizzle with melted chocolate chips.

These bars are nice and thick with a great texture. I was a little wary about what would happen to the marshmallows after cooling but they were still gooey and delicious, even the next day! They combine the classic chocolate chip cookie and the perfect summer treat - the famed "s'more" - into a delicious and easy to make bar treat. No rolling individual cookies and only one batch - gotta love that!

S'mores Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cup chocolate chips, divided 1 cup + 3/4 cup
  • 2 1/4 cups mini marshmallows


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually, beat in the flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. Fold in 1 cup chocolate chips. 
  3. Press the dough evenly into the pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the bars are light gold. Remove the bars from the oven and set the oven to broil. 
  4. Spread the mini marshmallows evenly over the bars. Broil for about 3-5 minutes, or until the marshmallows are golden brown and toasted. Watch the bars closely at this step; it is very easy for the marshmallows to burn. 
  5. Remove from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely. 
  6. For the chocolate drizzle, melt the remaining 3/4 cup chocolate chips. You may melt them in the microwave in 30 second intervals. Be sure to stir after each time. Chocolate chips melt from the inside out, so they may appear to be less melted than they really are. If you overcook the chocolate chips, try adding a small amount of vegetable oil. After melting the chocolate you may use a baggie with the corner cut off to drizzle it over the bars or simply drizzle using a spoon or knife. (I used a butter knife to drizzle.) Allow the chocolate to set before serving. 
Makes about 16 servings. They stay fresh for 7 days in an airtight container. They didn't last any longer than that in my house! Recipe adapted from Chocolate Moosey

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Cookies

I've heard rumors of crispy peanut butter cookies.

These are not those cookies. Oh no. These cookies are so soft and chewy, packed with pretzel M&Ms and peanut butter flavor. I am definitely #teamchewy when it comes to cookies. If you are too, then you'll definitely enjoy these cookies.

I love baking with peanut butter because it seems to add depth of flavor and give cookies an extra thick, chewy texture. These cookies use even more peanut butter than most peanut butter cookie recipes! They also use more brown sugar than white which lends to a soft, chewy texture.

Leaning Tower of Cookies

After making the fantastic peanut butter cookie dough, I added in about 1 1/2 cups of crushed pretzel M&Ms. Those M&Ms are delicious in a cookie or not, by the way. Sweet and salty bliss.

Have I convinced you yet? These cookies will not disappoint!

Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Cookies


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup pretzel M&Ms


  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed. 
  2. Mix in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. 
  3. On low speed, mix in the baking soda and flour until just combined. 
  4. Crush the pretzel M&Ms into large pieces. (I put the M&Ms in a sealed bag and crushed them gently with a can. Be sure not to over-crush or the candy coating may separate from the pretzel piece.)
  5. Fold in the pretzel M&Ms and chill the dough for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the cookie sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. Drop cookie dough onto cookie sheet and press down slightly. The cookies will not spread much. 
  7. Bake for 8-9 minutes. The cookies may appear underdone. Allow cookies to cool completely. 
Makes about 3 dozen cookies. Cookies stay fresh stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days.

Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Making Box Cupcakes Extraordinary!

Everyone loves a good cupcake. Add in fluffy, pink buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles and we've got a recipe for success.

But sometimes, the recipe for success may be a bit more time consuming than I can manage. In comes the savior, that is, box mixes. I know there is a lot of controversy in the baking world over whether mixes should be used. I used to mainly use mixes until I discovered how much I enjoy baking from scratch. However, sometimes I'm in a time crunch and need to use a mix. Others simply prefer to use mixes. I say, do as you please. :) 

So here's what I do to make extraordinary cupcakes when I use a mix. 

1. I make homemade buttercream frosting to top them. The frosting is so easy and fast to whip up and makes all the difference. It's also fun to pipe the frosting on for a fancier cupcake!
2. I fill the cups up 3/4 of the way with batter rather than 2/3 as the box instructs. 
(I've read about setting the temperature lower for the first few minutes and then bumping it up, but I saw no benefit from this.)
3. Add sprinkles, they make everything better. 

That's it! Three simple tips and those who eat your cupcakes won't have any clue they weren't made from scratch!

One of my reviewers said she is picky about cupcakes but this was really good! Others said the frosting was delicious. They didn't stop after just one. ;)

The above cupcake went sans rainbow sprinkles but I did pipe a cute rose onto it. Piping frosting is seriously easier than I thought. Here's how:

Decorating Cupcakes: 2 Ways

  1. Using a spatula, transfer your frosting to a prepared piping bag with the desired tip. (I used a Wilton 1M open star tip. It came in a very inexpensive kit from A.C. Moore.)
  2. Twist the top of the bag so no frosting squeezes out the top. Make sure the frosting is all the way to the bottom of the bag, ready to come out. 
  3. For the spiral: Start at the outside edge and spiral in and up, applying pressure the whole time. When you get to the end, lift up and stop applying pressure. For the rose: Start in the middle of the cupcake and spiral out, applying pressure the whole time. 
If you're a visual learner, definitely check out some youtube videos. They're really helpful for beginner cupcake decorators like myself. 

And, here's the frosting recipe I used:

Traditional Buttercream Frosting


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional, used to cut sweetness, can also use salted butter and leave out)


  1. Beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. 
  2. Gradually, add in 3 cups of powdered sugar with your mixer on low speed. 
  3. Add in vanilla, salt, and 1 tbsp milk. Beat on medium speed. 
  4. Depending on desired consistency, add in sugar (to stiffen) or milk (to thin). Note that adding more sugar will make it sweeter as well. 
  5. If desired, add in several drops of food coloring and beat well on medium speed. 
 This recipe made enough for me to frost 11 cupcakes. Piping frosting on uses much more frosting than spreading with a knife.

Recipe adapted from Savory Sweet Life

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Soft Gingersnap Molasses Cookies

Sweet little cookies baking in the oven. 

The scent of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg waft through the house. 
Could it get more perfect? Yes. I could have a fireplace to cozy up to as I snack on soft little gingersnap cookies. Can't have it all, I guess. :)

These cookies are a perfect balance of spices, shaped into cute little balls and rolled in sugar. They are so incredibly thick and soft, not hard and crunchy like those store-bought monstrosities. The dough is chilled for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator to ensure they bake up nice and thick.

Look how thick!
 They use only brown sugar which lends to a soft cookie. Molasses and spices give them the classic gingersnap flavor.

I know it's not the right season for these cookies, but really, how can you not make them immediately?

There are a few different variations you can do with these cookies. I tried them plain, with white chocolate, and regular chocolate chips. Reviews were mixed on which was the best. You may just have to try each one for yourself! You could also use butterscotch chips or even a Hershey's kiss. Variety is the spice of life...along with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg ;)

Do yourself a favor. Make these cookies. :)

Soft Gingersnap Molasses Cookies


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or 36 kisses (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a separate large bowl, cream the softened butter for about one minute on medium speed. Add the brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Then, add the molasses, egg, and vanilla. Beat well. 
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixing on low speed. Cover dough and chill for at least four hours in the refrigerator or about one - one and a half hours in the freezer. 
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray. 
  5. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the granulated sugar. Place them about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. 
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are just turning brown. The cookies may appear underdone. Allow to cool for about 2 minutes on the baking sheet. If you are using chips, press 4-6 morsels into the center of each one immediately after removing them from the oven. Optional: Slightly press down on the plain version as they come out of the oven for a more compact, less puffy cookie. (I did this and my cookies were still very thick.)
  7. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
Cookies remain fresh if stored in an airtight container for up to a week. Makes about 3 dozen.

Recipe slightly adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Copycat Lofthouse Frosted Sugar Cookies

It's happened to the best of us. You walk into the grocery store planning to buy only the items on your list. Then suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you spot the trademark pink frosted, soft, delicious and addictive sugar cookies.

Resistance is futile. 
And before you know it, you're walking out of the store with 10 perfect sugar cookies in hand. 

With this recipe, it is possible to devour enjoy these perfect cookies from the comfort of your own home. What makes these cookies so delicious? Is it the buttery flavor? The soft and puffy texture? The thick layer of frosting? The generous amount of sprinkles? Some sort of addictive substance? A combination of all of the above?

I think yes.

So let's get down to business. These cookies have all your typical sugar cookie ingredients with the addition of sour cream to achieve the soft and puffy texture. The dough is chilled to make it easier to work with. They bake for a mere 7 minutes in the oven. Then, you simply cool, frost, sprinkle and enjoy.

I somehow managed to use twice the amount of frosting as the original recipe poster. Oops :) Sorry, I'm not sorry.

My reviewers said the cookie was even better than the Lofthouse cookies but the frosting was a bit too rich/sweet. I think next time, I'll try out a different frosting recipe with less butter or use a bit more salt to cut the sweetness. But believe me, there will be a next time! Enjoy!



  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick), at room temperature
  •  1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 2 tbsp of beaten egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream 


  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tbsp milk or heavy cream 
  • Several drops food coloring
  • Rainbow sprinkles


1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat beater attached, cream the butter and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat at low speed until combined.

2.  Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed. Dough will be a bit “sticky”.  Chill in the refrigerator overnight or at least two hours until firm.

3.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.

4.  With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, until pale golden. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. It's best to work in small batches while keeping the remainder of the dough chilled.

5.  To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and vanilla. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar. Once smooth and creamy, add in heavy cream or milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired spreading consistency is achieved. If desired, add food coloring and beat until combined.

Once cookies have cooled completely, frost and add sprinkles. Allow frosting to set, then store in an air-tight container. Let cookies sit for several hours before serving to allow the flavors to develop. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.