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Crunch Time Cookies

23 April, 2013
It may be hard to believe, but at one point in time I was part of a book club. As goes with many “book clubs”, we became more of an “eating club”, and then some members began working on the weekends while others took up jogging! Needless to say, we no longer read the same book as a club (and to say that we all ever did would be a stretch), however we remain great friends.
Crunch Time Cookies
At one particular gathering, my friend Jeannie was expressing her excitement over her latest detective book where a cat helps solve the crime (crazy-sounding, right?), when my friend Jennifer and I began laughing at her. We’re snarky like that–the whole club. She said to us, “Well, you two read those culinary mysteries where Goldy Bear, the caterer, always happens to witness a crime and then goes on to solve it!” We fell off our chairs, cracking up. She was right.
Crunch Time Cookie Recipe.
But let me just say, the only reason I was even reading such a strange thing as a culinary mystery and purchasing them at full price was at the suggestion of my dear friend, Jennifer. She majored in English Lit in college and has called more trends than I can even begin to name, and it was she who slipped me my first copy of a Diane Mott Davidson novel. I figured, if it was good enough for her, it was good enough for me. I didn’t even question it!
Crunch Time Cookie.
I will say, it has been a long while since I have enjoyed one of those books, and I just might have to pick one up again soon. Truth is, they were darn good and full of wonderful recipes, even if they were slightly predictable. On one occasion, Jen and I whipped up a “Diane Mott Davidson” meal and it was fabulous, even if the power did go out!
These particular cookies are from the book “Crunch Time” and are chock full of oatmeal, toasted pecans, toffee bits, and chocolate chips.
Crunch Time Cookies {My Sugar Coated Life}
I recommend making them on the larger side and I think they are perfect for serving at a picnic or barbecue. I want to warn you that they are so delicious that they will disappear rather quickly. You don’t need to call Goldy Bear or the crime-solving cat. Unless people start slipping them into their purses.
Crunch Time Cookie My Sugar Coated Life
You may also want to savor the cookies while quietly curled up with your favorite culinary mystery.
Or perhaps a cat detective book, if you’re so inclined.
Crunch Time Cookie Dough

Crunch Time Cookies


1/2 cup pecan halves

1 cup butter, softened

4 oz cream cheese

1 3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup toffee bits


Preheat oven to 400 F. Arrange pecan halves on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Toast for 7-8 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

In a stand mixer, combine the butter and cream cheese and whip until light and fluffy. Add the brown sugar and continue to beat until lighter in color.

Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

To this mixture, add the salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat until well combined.

Gently stir in the flour.

Next, finely chop the pecans. Add them to the dough along with the oats, chocolate chips, and toffee bits.

Make sure that the ingredients are well combined and chill the dough for at least 2-3 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 F.

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop, measure out 3 tablespoon-size balls and place on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet. You will be able to fit about 5 cookies per sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cookies will appear underdone in the middle.

Cool on cookie sheets before moving to cooling rack. Enjoy!

Adapted from Diane Mott Davidson


Be honest–how many of you had a melt down and went on a major spree all over town, looking for your favorite treats, when we received the worst news last year? Could it be for real? Hostess gone forever? And why, oh why, right before the holidays?

Hostess treats weren’t even a staple in my home and suddenly I needed Twinkies, couldn’t live without HoHos, and had to have one…last…Sno Ball.


It was too late. I never did locate my beloved Sno Balls, so I’ve been stuck with the precious image circulating in my brain, begging me to attempt to replicate something similar. I will say that what I have created isn’t exactly the same. I mean, my kitchen just isn’t stocked with the preservatives necessary to make them completely Hostess-worthy.


The recipe is quite simple. Instead of making them into the traditional shape and injecting filling and whatnot, I decided on a whoopie pie. Because first off, let’s face it, “whoopie” is a fun and funny word to say. Second, and the real reason, whoopie pies are much easier to make.


I’m going to tell you a very sad, but very true story. Once a Hostess delivery truck almost bumped into my car. It wouldn’t have been anything serious, but at the time I panicked at almost being hit. Then a sadness came over me due to the fact that I had lost my one opportunity at the possibility of being supplied with prepackaged baked goods for life. Yes, I am aware of the fact that I am extremely lame. The End.


So until we meet again with our little friends wrapped in the clear cellophane, I hope that these Sno Ball Whoopie Pies will comfort you.


Fauxstess Sno Ball Whoopie Pies



2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sour cream


1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

7 oz jar Marshmallow Creme

1 cup coconut

food coloring of your choice



Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda in a bowl.

In a mixer, beat the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add the flour mixture and sour cream to the mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Drop tablespoon-sized balls onto parchment lined cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.


In a mixer, beat the softened butter until pale. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and whip for 2-3 minutes. With a spatula, gently fold in the Marshmallow Creme. Chill in the refrigerator for at least a 1/2 hour.


Make colored coconut by adding desired food coloring to 1 cup of coconut in a zip lock bag and mixing. If the coconut isn't especially moist, add about 1/4 teaspoon of water to help distribute the food coloring. I also pulsed the coconut in the food processor, but this isn't completely necessary. Pour onto a plate.

Pipe frosting onto half of the pies and top with the remaining pies. Gently smoosh down on them and roll the exposed frosted edges in the coconut.

Refrigerate in a covered container.

Makes about 14 Sno Ball Whoopie Pies.

adapted from Epicurious


My grandma was a wonderful baker and always made the most delicious frosted orange cookies around the holidays. Fortunately, she had written down the recipe and our family has been able to enjoy them even though she is no longer with us.

Lemon Cookies

I had forgotten about them, but at my Aunt and Uncle’s house last Christmas, my son came out of the kitchen with a handful of orange cookies that my aunt had made. He told me that he just couldn’t stop eating them because they were so good. At that point, I knew I had better get the recipe. After all, they are SO good–more like addicting.

Old Fashioned Lemon Cookies

I was going to make these cookies and share the recipe with you, however I didn’t have a single orange in the house. But I did have some lemons! And when life literally hands me lemons, I’m not one to make lemonade. I’m a baker; I bake them into lemon bars, lemon cake and this time, lemon cookies.

These have a light, cakey cookie base freckled with lemon zest and are topped with a slightly tart lemon frosting. What says “Spring” more than that?

Frosted Lemon Cookies

I have a feeling that my grandma would have loved this update on an old classic–I hope you do, too!

Old Fashioned Frosted Lemon Cookies

Old Fashioned Lemon Cookies


1 1/2 cups brown sugar

3/4 cup shortening

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 cup sour milk (made by adding 1 tsp lemon juice and letting sit for 15 minutes)

1 teaspoon soda

3 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1 teaspoon vanilla


2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons butter, softened

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon rind, grated

1/4 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or Silpats would work fine).

Add lemon rind, vanilla and baking soda to the sour milk.

In a medium size bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream brown sugar, shortening, and butter. Add eggs and beat until fluffy.

Add the wet and dry ingredients to the beaten mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Drop by tablespoons onto cookie sheets and bake for 8 minutes.

While the first pan is in the oven, make the frosting.

Combine the powdered sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Add in the lemon rind and vanilla.

*Note from my grandma, Judith:

"If you spread the icing on the cookies while they are slightly warm, it will spread easier and look a little neater."

Makes 4 dozen.

S’mOreo Bars

25 March, 2013


Marshmallow and chocolate is one of my favorite combinations. In fact, I get nervous right around this time of year because I adore those little Russell Stover chocolate covered marshmallows in whatever-holiday-it-is shapes, and there is a long stretch between Easter and Halloween. Is anyone with me in thinking that they really should consider a Fourth of July line of candy?

While I’m on the subject of chocolate, marshmallow, and Easter, I’m going to let you in on a delicious, yet dirty little secret that has become my very favorite treat throughout the Spring. This may sound slightly grotesque to some, but I take a yellow Peep bunny (specifically), remove the head, and put a Cadbury Mini Egg on each sticky part…then consume the crunchy, chocolaty, marshmallowy delight! I know, it’s gross. But so good!

Alrighty then, now onto a treat you can enjoy no matter what the season. My family instantly fell in love with s’mores bars, and I especially liked them for their soft and chewy crust versus the hard cookie used for traditional s’mores. Needless to say, we’ve fallen in love with s’mores bars over and over and over again!


However, my husband is quite the chocolate fanatic to the point that he orders his chocolate sundaes with chocolate ice cream, hot fudge sauce, and chocolate whipped cream if they have it. I had come across an idea for “S’mOreos”- replacing the graham cracker with an Oreo-and couldn’t believe that he hadn’t ever thought of that on a campout before. Then a lightbulb went off in my head: I could make them in a pan, just like our beloved S’mores Bars!

The “cookie” part contains both cocoa powder and an entire package of Oreos (minus the mandatory cookies that find their way into your mouth), which makes them extremely rich and decadent.



Follow that up with two jars of Marshmallow Creme. You could get away with one, but not in my household.


This does cause a lot of “oozing” after the bars are cut, but who cares? Layer three giant Hershey bars on top of that, and more of that delicious cookie dough and you’ve got yourself some S’mOreo Bars!


S’mOreo Bars


1 cup butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teapoon salt

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 package Oreo cookies, crushed in a food processor or by hand

2 jars of Marshmallow Creme

3 XL (4.4 oz) Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9"X13" baking pan with the butter wrappers. (A little tip I learned from my friend, Jennifer!)

Melt butter in the microwave. In a mixer with paddle attachment, combine melted butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Next, add the cocoa powder and salt, followed by the flour.

Finally add the Oreos and stir until just combined.

Spread half of the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Next, spread the Marshmallow Creme on top, followed by the three chocolate bars.

Top with remaining chocolate cookie mixture, smoothing out the top as much as possible.

Bake for 22-25 minutes. As tempting as they are to eat immediately, they really are a big mess to cut into right away. Let them cool at room temperature for at least an hour, and then ENJOY!

Cookie base adapted from a recipe by Cannella Vita