Chewy Toffee Crunch Cookies

It’s beginning to feel like fall around Central Oregon. In the span of two weeks, the kids have gone back to school, the days have gotten noticeably shorter, and it’s been downright chilly in the mornings. This is all extra fine by me. I love fall. Sweaters, roasts, scarves, fireplaces, and steamy lattes. And richer flavors, like toffee. I will pick toffee 100 times over pumpkin spice, I’m just saying.

This week, Shelly over at Cookies and Cups, posted a recipe to her Butter Crunch Cookies, and with autumn rushing back in, I knew I had to make them.

I made the toffee, per the recipe. It’s easy, even if you have to dig out your candy thermometer. You could use a bag of toffee bits, or crush up Skor or Heath bars if you don’t mind a little chocolate. But, if you like to control what goes in your food, making the toffee yourself isn’t a bad option.


Skillet Pizza Rolls

Well what have we here…a dinner recipe? Savory?!?

Yeah. Well, it’s not all buttercream and salted caramel in my world. I mean…it MOSTLY is, but I do have a kid to feed. And that kid loves pizza. Who doesn’t, right?

This recipe, from my go-to gal, Shelly over at Cookies and Cups.

Skillet Pizza Rolls

I used Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese, per the recipe, but you could easily make this much fancier. I was thinking of all kinds of combinations:

  • Caramelized onions and goat cheese
  • Sautéed portabella mushrooms and bleu cheese
  • Roasted red peppers and artichokes
  • Roasted chicken, thinly sliced shallots, and barbecue sauce

The sky’s the limit. Whatever you put on your pizza could easily go inside these rolls.

I bought ready-made dough from the deli, but you could use the kind in a can, or make your own. Next time, I won’t roll it out so thin, because I want to have more of the crust flavor running throughout the roll.

Try it and let me know what you think!

bars · cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

If there is one thing I don’t love about baking, it’s the clean up afterwards. I’ve figured out a system that works for me – basically, filling the sink with hot, soapy water when I start, tossing dirty dishes in while I work, and washing them while whatever I’m baking is in the oven. It’s not brain surgery but it accomplishes my goal of having a clean kitchen by the time whatever I’m making comes out of the oven.

Here’s what I made today. Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

The recipe comes from a new (to me) blog, South Your Mouth.

I love this recipe as much for the outcome – wonderfully classic cookie bars that have a chocolate punch and a chewy texture – as for the relatively small mess they make. I used a hand mixer, one big bowl to mix the ingredients, and lined the pan with foil, so all I had to was was the bowl, the beaters, measuring cups/spoons, and a spatula.

The chewy texture and perfect bar consistency come from using “mostly melted” butter, equal parts brown and white sugars, and..the kicker, self-rising flour. I didn’t have any, so I used her tip of converting AP flour by adding salt and baking powder. Genius.

These cookie bars travel well, keep well, and freeze well. I already stashed half the batch in my freezer for a rainy day. Now that’s thinking ahead.

Cake · Uncategorized

Zucchini Blueberry Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Once upon a time, I had a neighbor who would ring my doorbell, drop armloads of zucchini on my doorstep, and run away before I could get to the door. Sometimes, it's the only way.

This time of year, you might be inundated with your garden's bounty. Tomatoes, peppers, and …zucchini. And you MIGHT be trying to think of ways to sneak zucchini into energy meal between now and Halloween. Well, may I suggest that you take your abundance of healthy squash and make…cake?

Specifically, this cake, by I Am Baker: Zucchini Blueberry Cake with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

This is a lovely, moist, and tender cake. The blueberries add another element of summer fruit. And the frosting. I could wax rhapsodic over this frosting – tangy, smooth, rich, with enough of a zing to compliment the richness of the cake. This is a winner.

My only edit to the recipe is to toss the blueberries in a bit of flour before you fold them into the batter; that will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake while it bakes.

As written, the recipe calls for the cake to be baked in two 8" round pans. I did mine in 3 mini loaf pans so I could give them away as gifts. I halved the frosting recipe since I only frosted the top of the cakes. That was the perfect amount for a lovely, thick slab of frosting on each of the loaves.

This is the perfect summer cake. Believe me.


The Lazy Person’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

I love having counters free of STUFF. I want to see vast expanses of gleaming clean tile in my kitchen whenever possible. Every night before I go to bed, I try my damnedest to clear and clean off my kitchen island and counters. It’s good for my well-being.

I also love baking. And because I want clear counters, I hide my KitchenAid stand mixer in my pantry. This is great for my kitchen aesthetic, but can be a hurdle to when I want to bake. Haul it out, set it up, clean it off, haul it back. It’s not terrible, but sometimes, I just can’t be bothered.

This is where the Salty Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe comes in.

This recipe, which was created by Shelly over at Cookies and Cups, and only appears in her cookbook (see my note below for a link to the cookbook), doesn’t call for a mixer of any kind! You make the dough in a sauce pan and a large bowl, using a wooden spoon. Plus, because you brown the butter in the sauce pan, you don’t have wait for the butter to soften up! I was like, yes. Sign me up. The fact that these cookies are easy to make and impart the nutty, complex flavor of browned butter, and these are my go-to when I want chocolate chip cookies. The finished cookies are crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle, which is just exactly the way I like them.

So, whether you don’t have a mixer, or you’re just too lazy to haul out your stand mixer, I think you should try these.

As a side note: These cookies are the cover recipe for Shelly’s The Cookies & Cups Cookbook recipe book, which is full of delicious treats, great dinner ideas, and some really helpful hints. Plus, Shelly’s writing is delightful. I definitely recommend this book. It’s become a staple in my kitchen!


Super Fudgy Brownies 

My cousin Beth believes that dessert is not worth having if it’s not chocolate. She would LOVE these brownies. 

I more often crave gummi bears than chocolate, but I also love these brownies. They are dense and fudgy, with a layer of frosting you put in while the brownies are still warm, which lets some of the frosting absorb into the brownies. They are next-level chocolate. 

I used to just “jazz up” boxed brownie mixes, but since I discovered this recipe, by Shelly over at Cookies and Cups, those days are behind me. These are just as easy, and you can control what goes into them. Shelly’s recipe doesn’t call for dark chocolate cocoa powder, but that’s what I had, and that’s what made this batch ultra dark. The recipe is so good, even the dark cocoa produces a moist and delicious (and not bitter) brownie. 

Try them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You’ll thank me later. 


Krumkake : A Cookie Fit for a Viking

Five years ago, my friend Ann and I went on an epic Scandinavian adventure. We spent 11 days, travelling across Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. We ended up seeing all kinds of ships on this vacation – the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, the Viking Ship Museum and the Amundsen Museum in Oslo. We even (accidentally) got a free water taxi across the harbor in Oslo.

Ann and I travel well together. We want the same things while travelling, which is to say, a little sight seeing, a great hotel, afternoon naps, and good food. A good dinner while on vacation is a must for me. We always treated ourselves to wine and cocktails and, of course, dessert. The Scandinavians are a dessert-loving people. I respect this. They somehow balance the freshness of their cuisine – fish, salads, vegetables – with delicious pastries and cookies and ice creams. You will not go hungry in Scandinavia.

In memory of our excellent trip, I made krumkake, even though we didn’t actually ever HAVE krumkake while in Scandinavia. Hmm. I’ll have to go back and fix that.

Krumkake (KROOM-ka-kuh) are a Scandinavian cookie that are made of a thin batter and pressed between the plates of an iron, like a waffle, then rolled onto a wooden cone. They’re delicate and light, and perfect for summer get-togethers when you want to serve something pretty and fresh that won’t weigh your guests down. I’ve had them filled with sweetened whipped cream, fruit, ice cream, and one particularly memorable time, a Nutella buttercream. Stop the presses. That was delicious. The cookies themselves are more a pretty vehicle for the filling, but I have to say I find an unfilled cone a delicious accompaniment to an afternoon cup of coffee.

You do need a special iron for this, although I’ve heard a pizzelle press would work well, too. Here’s the recipe I use for my krumkakes:

  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs

Combine the melted butter and the sugar, and mix well. Add the eggs. With a hand mixer, mix until it is pale yellow in color. Add the milk and four, and continue to blend until the mixture is smooth. The batter should flow easily but slowly off the back of a spoon.

You can add some flavors into the batter at this point. Some ideas:

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground almonds

Pour one tablespoon of batter on a heated iron. Adjust the cooking time to get a golden brown cookie; it should take about 2 minutes. When it’s done cooking, remove it from the iron and wrap it immediately around the wooden cone to shape into a cone. Press the seam against your cutting board to seal while it cools.

Once the krumkakes are cooled, add your choice of filling and dust with powdered sugar.

Makes about 20 krumkake.