The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014 – Chocolate and Peanut Butter Globs

It’s my second year as a participant in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!!  As with last year, it was so fun to receive cookies in the mail from other food bloggers!  It was really hard to decide what to make this year. Last year I made the Brown Sugar Cookies with Chocolate Pecans and Sea Salt which were really good.  After much deliberation I decided to make…

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Globs!

Chocolate Glob Main

Yes, Globs!   Funny thing is that they actually look like, well Globs of chocolate, but they taste really amazing.  Okay, so what exactly does ‘amazing’ mean in terms of globs.  They taste like a rich brownie like cookie, with just the right amount of chewy moistness that I like in a good brownie.  They are filled to the brim with whole walnuts, pecans, peanut butter chips and chocolate chips.

Chocolate Globs 1

There is only a touch of flour holding these cookies together, just a touch!

Chocolate Globs 4

Usually I go for the pretty stuff when it comes to baking. I love to make beautifully decorated cakes and cupcakes, fancy decorated sugar cookies, that’s generally my thing.  But this cookie, this glob changed my mind.  After I tested them for the first time to see if they were worthy to send to my fellow food bloggers, I knew that I had found the right one!  It may not be the prettiest, but it truly tastes beautiful!  I hope that the people I sent them to enjoyed the globs, I know that I really enjoyed eating making them!  My mom even loved these cookies and she’s not even a big chocolate lover (gasp)!

Chocolate Glob Collage 2

If you are a food blogger I hope you will consider participating next year.  Together we helped to raise a lot of money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. This is truly baking for a good cause!  Thanks to Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen for organizing this effort!

A great benefit of this is receiving cookies for some talented food bloggers!  Check out the cookies I received cookies from Big Flavors Tiny Kitchen, Healthy Nibbles and Bits and Cheap Recipe Blog.

collage cookies received

 Happy Holidays… Enjoy the Globs! 

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Globs*

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips, divided
2 oz. dark chocolate chips (60% + cacao)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole walnuts
1 cup whole pecan halves
⅔ cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

Place the butter, 6 oz. of semi sweet chocolate chips and the 2 oz dark chocolate in a glass bowl. Place the bowl in microwave and heat in 30 second intervals until chocolate begins melting, then stir to continue the melting process.  Once fully melted, allow to cool in for 10-15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, whisk to combine.

In another bowl, add the remaining 6 oz. chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, peanut butter chips and 1 tablespoon of flour mixture.  Stir to coat everything with the flour.

In the mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar until the mixture lightens in color and thickens a bit.

Reduce the speed and add the cooled chocolate, mix until combined, then add in the remaining flour mixture, fold until combined.  Finally, add in the nuts, chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Use a cookie scoop or two spoons, and drop rounded mounds of the cookie dough, about 1 inch apart on the parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for about 12-15 minutes depending on the size of your globs.

* Recipe slightly adapted from Ina Garten



Brown Sugar Cookies with Chocolate, Pecans and Sea Salt ~ #fbcookieswap 2013

How can you go wrong with chocolate, toasted pecans, brown sugar and a little sea salt!

Brown Sugar Chocolate 2

Having followed the previous year of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, this year as a new food blogger (YAY!) I was so excited to finally be able to take part in it this year’s festivities!  As soon as I saw the notice from Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen, I signed up and began thinking about ideas for a cookie to send to my assigned matches. Even though I am always thinking about food and have fifty million recipes pinned on Pinterest and bookmarked in my (way too many) cookbooks it still took a while for me to finally decide on a recipe for the cookie swap.Brown Sugar Cookie 8

This cookie is actually inspired by two different recipes, the cookie base is a slight adaptation of Bake at 350’s brown sugar and spice cookie, minus the spice and the topping is from the Leite’s Culinaria’s toffee cookie with dark chocolate glaze.  I decided to go with Bake at 350’s brown sugar cookie recipe because she has never let me down when it comes to sugar cookies and Leite’s Culinaria is always a favorite ‘go to’ spot for recipe inspiration!Brown Sugar Cookies 1

This was a very easy recipe to put together and I think it made for a really pretty little cookie.  I used a 2 inch scalloped cutter to fancy the cookie up a bit and I splurged on some ‘good chocolate’… only the best for my cookie swap matches!!  I think that what I liked most about this recipe is the addition of salt to the very rich chocolate and sweet brown sugar.  They are all simple ingredients, but come together nicely to make a very good cookie.  These 2 inch cookies are really a two bite cookie, so the danger is that you can/will eat more than you plan to because the are so cute and small and seemingly innocent looking… I just want to put that warning out before you decide to make them, it happened to me!

Brown Sugar Cookie collage2

Although I received the benefit of getting three packages of cookies from three amazing food bloggers, the real purpose of the of Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap was to raise money for an important cause.  This years efforts raised over $13,000 for Cookies for Kids Cancer!! Check out the power of cookie baking!!  If you would like to be a part of next year’s Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, sign up here to receive notifications for next year.

Brown Sugar Chocolate 4

Brown Sugar Cookie collage 1


Once I finished the cookies I had to get them ready to send out to my matches.  I decided to use some pretty sparkly paper and a lovely printable chalkboard Christmas labels from Lia Griffith for my cookie mailing.  If you don’t already have food gift labels definitely check these out, they are so cute!  I am SO very bad about mailing things, so the fact that I got my cookies packed and in the mail to my matches on time is truly a Christmas miracle.  It did take two days and a couple visits to the post office, but I eventually got them out and from what I understand they made it safely to their final destinations.

Being a new food blogger this was also a really great way to ‘meet’ other food bloggers.  I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s cookie creations at the round up and to exploring all the wonderful blogs represented in the group!

I’ll admit that I was like a big kid every time I drove up to my house and saw a package with cookies waiting for me!  My very first package of cookies were from Bree.  She has a wonderful blog called, Sugar and Grace…  Isn’t that a great name for a blog!  After I received the delicious angel wings from Bree, I sent her an email to thank her for such a great start to my first Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap experience.  I’ll freely admit that I personally ate all of the cookies she sent to me, they went everywhere with me. I mean she sent them to me in such a perfect little travel bag so I just took them with me in the car to run errands, to work on my commute to the office (they tasted really good with my morning coffee!), the movies… 🙂  Yep, so that’s how I ended up eating them all!

collage_20131205180929879_20131208214827245Next, I received this adorable little box of macadamia cookies from Heather of Heather Likes Food!!  I honestly don’t remember including my ‘love of macadamia nuts’ on the form when I signed up for the cookie swap, but somehow she knew… she knew how much I love macadamia nuts and sent them to me!  These were so good!  There may or may not be any cookies left in that box, but thankfully only the box and I know!  I did share a couple of the cookies with my fiance, well maybe just one actually, but at least I didn’t eat the entire box of cookies myself this time.


And last, but definitely not least I received the yummy chocolate peppermint cookies from Emily at Everyday Mom.  I ate one and I wish I could say that I got to enjoy more of them, but chocolate peppermint is one of my fiance’s favorite combinations so my Sweetie decided that these were his cookies and finished them all off before I had a chance to eat any more…  he did said that they were really, really good and that he enjoyed them very much!!  I guess I’ll have to get the recipe and make myself some more!


This was such a great experience!  Be sure to check out the round up which will be posted on Love and Olive Oil and The Little Kitchen blogs.  I can’t wait to see what everyone made!

Brown Sugar Cookies with Chocolate, Pecans and Sea Salt
Makes about 4 dozen, 2 inch cookies 
Brown Sugar Cookie 3

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
2 sticks salted butter, cold cut into chunks
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted 
Sea Salt flakes, like from a from grinder

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Whisk the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
  • Cream the sugars and butter together. Add the egg and extract and mix until well combined.
  • Add the flour mixture in three parts and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl.
  • The dough will be thick, pull out half of the dough and knead to combine, do the same with the remaining dough and set aside.
  • On a floured surface, roll out the first half of the dough to about 1/4″ thick.  Using a 2 inch scalloped edge round cutter, cut into shapes.
  • Place the first set of cut outs on a parchment lined baking sheets and place in freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Complete the same process using the second half of the dough.
  • Bake cookies for 9-12 minutes, depending on the size of your cutter. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  • While cookies are cooling, set up a double boiler and melt the chocolate over the simmering water.
  • When cookies are cool, add a dollop of chocolate to the center of the cookie and using a small spoon spread the chocolate spread out almost to the edge of the cookie.
  • While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle lightly with the chopped toasted pecans and a few grains of sea salt. Let the chocolate set.
  • Share cookies and make new friends! 🙂

Special Order – Housewarming Sugar Cookies

Home is where the heart is!image

I was asked sometime ago to make some cookies for a housewarming party. I wanted to do something a creative but with meaning and that is how these ‘Home is where the heart is’ sugar cookies came to be.  I have always loved that saying and thought that it would translate well in sugar cookie form.


I did a test batch of these cookies a couple weeks ago.  In the test batch the heart in the center was really small, too small… there was barely any heart in those homes!  Although they looked okay, I wanted the heart to really stand out.   I think that the homes with lots of warmth and laughter on the inside are filled with lots of people with big hearts on the inside.  So for this batch of cookies I made the hearts big… with a little sparkle!


I like sparkle.  I think that a little sparkle can completely transform the look of something.  Yes, the cookies with just the plain heart looks okay, but doesn’t the addition of sparkle just take it to a whole other level?  Of course it does!!  Now I will say that it is possible to go a little overboard with the sparkle, but I think that these cookies represents appropriate use of sparkle.  Do the sparkle police out there agree?  image

When I made the wedding cookies and even the bridal shower cookies earlier this year I individually bagged each cookie.  For these I decided to present them on a tray and wrap the entire tray in cellophane. I happen to have a bow leftover from the holidays that worked perfectly.  Finally, the ‘ENJOY’ tag sent just the right message!  I think that presentation is everything, well that and taste, so I wanted the presentation to serve as a beautiful precursor to the goodness to come.



I am still new to sugar cookie decorating, but am definitely working to perfect this craft!  Instead of using royal icing I decorate my cookies with a confectioner sugar mixture.  I imagine that it works the same as the royal icing, it hardens nicely (but not hard as a rock!) so that you can build designs.  Like royal icing you can control the thickness of the glaze in order to do your outlining and then fill. I am certainly no artist so I strategically come up with designs that are within my comfort zone. Maybe if I continue to practice my artistic skills will improve and I can stretch out a bit on some of my future designs!

Below are a couple of the other designs I’ve done.  The pink ones were for the fundraising bake sale at my job and the blue ones were for one of my co-workers children.  Practice makes perfect!image

I hope that the people at the housewarming enjoyed the cookies!

Now, on to the next baking project… A WEDDING CAKE!!!  Stay tuned! 🙂 

Special Order ~ Bridal Shower Sugar Cookies

I like a challenge every now and then… 

Sugar Cookie bordered

Especially in the kitchen!  So when a co-worker that tasted some of my holiday sugar cookies, asked me if I could make some cookies for a bridal shower she was hosting in May, I was both excited and honored.  That is until I received an email with pictures of some ‘inspiration cookies‘ on Pinterest which looked like an accomplished artist had decided to create their masterpiece on a wedding gown shaped cookie!!  I quickly emailed my co-worker to tell her that I could make the cookies, but that I was not an accomplished artist and that I would still  love the opportunity to come up with a couple samples to show her what I could do… with no pressure to use them if my work was not up to par.  She assured me that the pictures were only for inspiration and that she would be happy with whatever I came up with, but after seeing the pictures… I knew I had to come correct!  So, I fully immersed myself in preparations to make beautiful cookies.

Of course I had to make a trip to my favorite local baking supply store , the Cake & Wedding Cottage, to get a couple cute cookie cutters…  love this store!

Sugar Cookie Cutters

I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe which, without fail produces perfect sugar cookies!

Sugar Cookies Unadorned

I know a lot of people use royal icing or the meringue powder to decorate sugar cookies, but I personally don’t care for the way that it tastes.  Plus it hardens way too much and I think it takes away from the goodness of the cookies.  This confectioner sugar icing I used hardens nicely, but when you bite into the cookie (yes, I tested several to make sure), the icing is firm, but not hard.  It will definitely stand up to whatever type of decorating or special packaging you might need to do.

Sugar Cookies Iced

So, without further ado, here are my little lovelies!

Sugar Cookies ALL

Sugar Cookie collage

I was so pleased with how they turned out and even better my co-worker liked them!  She actually said, “these are amazing!!!”   So, I now have my first official order for sugar cookies…  I will be making three dozen cookies for the bridal shower!  Yay!

Perfect Sugar Cookies
Recipe inspired by Bake at 350

3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
2 sticks salted butter, cold and cut into small pieces.
1 egg
3/4 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon real almond extract

  • In a separate bowl combine flour and baking powder and whisk well. Cream butter and sugar together in bowl of stand mixer. Add egg, vanilla and almond extracts. Add flour mixture in three stages and mix until combined, but know that the mixture will still be quite crumbly.
  • Place one sheet of wax paper on the counter and dump the dough out of the mixer. You will have to knead it a bit to help it come together.
  • Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch thick. Cut into the shapes and place cut shapes on baking sheet and place in the freezer for 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from freezer and bake for 10-12 minutes. Be sure not to overcook, you don’t want crispy brown edges!
  • Let cool for a few minutes on the cutting board and then place the cookies on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Sugar Cookie Icing
Inspired by I Am Baker

2 cup confectioner sugar
2.5 – 3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
lemon juice (2-3 drops)
1/4 teaspoon clear extract, like almond extract (optional)

  • Whisk together ingredients until smooth.
  • For the first glaze you will need a thicker consistency for outlining, so the above proportions will work.
  • For the flooding, you will need to add another tablespoon of milk to thin the mixture for flooding.


Sugar cookies 2a

  • I let the sugar cookies dry with the first coat (white coat) for about 3 hours.
  • If you want a true white base DO NOT use regular vanilla extract in your icing because it will tint the icing.  Use clear vanilla extract or something other clear flavoring (lemon, almond, orange).
  • If you are going to color your icing, use vanilla until your hearts content.
  • To apply sprinkles, lightly coat the area when you want to place the sprinkles with very thin later of the diluted glaze, sprinkle well with sprinkles and shake off the excess.
  • Use wax paper under your cookies when applying sprinkles so that you can easily recycle the sprinkles and to use again.
  • When drying the icing do not put them in a container, just let them dry out in the open.
  • After cookies are finished, store them in an airtight container and layer them with wax paper in between.