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



Red Wine, Chocolate and Coconut

When its your birthday, you can have whatever cupcake combinations that you want…


First up, the Nutty Coconut Cupcake!  Have you tried the ice cream flavor at Baskin Robbins?  Its my favorite, so I thought it would make a great cupcake flavor… and it truly did!!  Its a rich coconut, vanilla bean cupcake, filled with coconut filling, topped with vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream and topped with toasted pecans, almonds and coconut!  image

I know that there are some folks out there that are not fans of coconut and I can completely understand.  I actually don’t care for the taste of raw coconut.  For me, it has to be toasted or added to something (like this wonderful filling!) in order to be ‘acceptable’ coconut for me!  I would dare say that this Nutty Coconut Cupcake might be able to make a believer out of the staunchest non coconut eaters out there!


Then there is the Chocolate Blackberry Red Wine cupcake!


A deep chocolate cupcake, filled with a red wine infused chocolate ganache, topped with a blackberry puree Italian Meringue Buttercream, drizzled with a red wine syrup (I used a sweet Shiraz by Jam Jar) and topped with a wine soaked blackberry.  Pure decadence, really… If I do say so myself!


Let me say a word about the wine syrup… it was SO good!  I’d never made wine syrup before, but thought that these cupcakes needed a little more wine flavor infused to be truly called red wine cupcakes!  This definitely did the trick.  It does take a while to make, so a little patience is required for it to reduce enough, but the end result is well worth the wait.  image

I received good reviews from the birthday girl, she said that everyone enjoyed them!  I also completed a good bit of taste testing on these myself and can attest to the fact that they are were quite good!


Anyone in the mood for some some red wine, chocolate and coconut?  🙂



S’more on S’mores Cupcakes

Smores Cupcakes1



Graham crackers….


Need I say more?


S’more on Smore Cupcakes

1 batch of your favorite chocolate cupcakes

1 batch chocolate glaze at room temperature, which should be more of a solid than a glaze at this point.

1 batch marshmallow frosting (7 minute frosting), this is my favorite one

A couple graham crackers


1. Prepare cupcakes as directed

2. Using an apple corer, create a shallow hole in each cupcake for the chocolate glaze filling.

3.  Fill each cupcake with the chocolate glaze

4. Top each cupcake with a generous swirl of the marshmallow frosting.

5. Using the graham crackers, chocolate glaze and marshmallow frosting, create mini s’mores toppers for each of your cupcakes.

6. Admire cupcakes for a few minutes before eating

7. Eat cupcake and relish in the joy of a S’more on S’mores cupcake.



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! 🙂

Cupcakes for a Baby Blessing

A baby blessing should be blessed with beautiful cupcakes…BB2 collage

Cupcakes are appropriate for every occasion and a baby blessing definitely deserves cute cupcakes!  Even though the guest of honor won’t be able to eat the cupcakes, I’m sure that one day he will look back and appreciate the fact that he had lovely cupcakes in honor of his special day!

So, what did we have to celebrate this special occasion…

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with Vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream
PLUS, my first effort at chocolate garnishes!  Little white chocolate crosses dipped in sugar crystals.


Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting


Vanilla Bean Cupcakes filled with a Mixed Berry Cream Filling and Vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream


Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream filled with a Chocolate Ganache


I think that this was a nice assortment of cupcakes!  Check out my new labels, for when I send my baked goods out into the world!  Fancy, right!

BB 3

The recipes are familiar ones, but here are the links to access the recipes so that you can quickly go about making them!

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes