S’mores Bars

Hi Friends! I hope this week is gently easing you into a nice long weekend filled with people you love and these s’mores bars.

easy s'mores bars recipe

Somehow three-day weekends always sneak up on me, but this one has me super excited for my niece’s first birthday and the BABY Jordans she may or may not be sporting by the end of the day. (Seriously, I’m obsessed with them.) We’ll also take a hike and a picnic where my husband proposed to me, and I’ll carefully pack these little bars in wax paper for the journey.

coffee s'mores bars

This is not a new thing to the internet, but it’s new to me, and I hope it is to you as well. This recipe is very …keep reading

Salted Chocolate Shortbread with Peppermint/Pistachios/Coconut

Chocolate dipped shortbread

It’s “A pair of Hop-a-long boots and a pistol that shoots/ Is the wish of Bonny and Ben/ Dolls that will talk and go for a walk/ Is the hope of Janice and Jenn!” …was my response to my coworker’s question, “who even knows those lyrics anyway?!”

I was then affectionately (I hope) deemed a Christmas nerd who probably has elf ears ready to wear at a moment’s notice :)  While I don’t have elf ears, I do have the banisters wrapped in holly garlands, a centerpiece of gold pinecones and nutcrackers, and seasonal soap, of course.

What can I say? I love the Christmas season. I often feel just as excited as Buddy the Elf. All the decorations, the music, the family time, the movies, and obviously the COOKIES. Oh! Remember these Spiced Molasses Cookies?! Or the Chocolate Walnut Sandwich Cookies with a Salted Caramel Filling? YES. Make them all.

Christmas shortbread cookies

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Triple Ginger Cookies

This post was going to be all about the mouth-watering jalapeño-watermelon gazpacho I made last week, but that recipe now feels two months too late. At last, it’s autumn….even if it doesn’t quite feel like it yet.

ginger snaps

I’ve been helping with the harvest on a vineyard for the past week and a half, and while it can be blazing hot out in the field, once you pass midday, a cool wind starts up, and the handful of leaves already changing color makes you eager for the coming months.

Autumn means so many beautiful things – amber-colored leaves that shatter under your footsteps, a cool breeze that demands retrieval of one of those scarves you’ve pushed to the back of your closet, switching your coffee order from iced back to hot, and – possibly most importantly – turning on your oven without sweating bullets.  And hey, you may have to slowly dig out your sweaters, but you still get to wear your sunnies!

What to whip up to celebrate the changing of the seasons?

Triple ginger cookies

Enter: Triple Ginger Cookies.

These cookies felt a little premature given that I had to

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Almond Cardamom Biscotti

Almond Biscotti

So I’m kind of excited about my pastry apprenticeship :D  Sunrise to sunset, I’m working in a restaurant kitchen baking up a storm twice a week. It’s basically divine torture – the kitchen smells heavenly all the livelong day, buuuuut I’m actively trying not to gain a hundred pounds. I’ve been learning a lot from some really fun people, oh and I get to wear yoga pants to work. It’s glorious. So far I’ve made cinnamon sticky buns, mini pretzel baguettes, buttermilk biscuits, chocolate chip pretzel cookies, oatmeal butterscotch cookies, apple chips, cranberry orange muffins, and orange anise biscotti with a dark chocolate drizzle.

DC Snow Day

It’s been a while since I’ve made biscotti (the last being these lovelies), and I was inspired by the ones I made at the restaurant last week. So on our DC snow* day, I whipped up these Alm ond Cardamom Biscotti. I was a little gun-shy with the cardamom because it’s such a strong spice, but it was the perfect addition to make these almond Italian cookies really sing. In addition to the cardamom, they also have cinnamon, chopped almonds, and almond extract. The dough from this recipe was a lot stickier than the rolled and shaped ones I made at the restaurant, but they still turned out great. The cookie logs spread a lot when you cook them, but I just look at it as a bigger cookie to love. They’re delicate, delightful, and the perfect partner for your coffee or tea this week.

Cardamom Biscotti

*side note re: snow day – I’m not built for cold weather. The combination of my Californian and red-headed blood make me a particular weakling when it comes to freezing temperatures and cutting wind…how many is too many selfies of me in which you can only see my eyes, because I need to make my fam out in California feel bad for me?…

Bundled up

Here’s what I did: Get the recipe! (and a #reallife moment)

Pancakes, Chocolate Cake, and Biscuits, oh my!


Coming to you live from a humid back porch in Florida, I have a few of my favorite old blog recipes for you! Since I’m always making one new recipe a week, I rarely remake recipes, so this week provided the perfect opportunity for me to revisit some for my family’s sake….They always look at my blog from afar, so it’s not often that they get to sample my cooking these days. Like these guys – Gpa and mi hermano :)
Gpa and hermano

I did manage to make two new recipes this week: Butter Pecan Cookies and Joy the Baker’s Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies. They were a welcome addition to my Christmas cookie line-up for both my family and for Santa – particularly because they come with an ice-cold glass of homemade eggnog (made with four different liquors ;)

I made my famous Buttermilk Pancakes for our annual Christmas Eve pancake decorating contest. We used to use a boxed mix for the pancakes and we also used to go with basic designs that took maybe ten minutes to put together, tops. Needless to say, we’ve upped our game significantly…

I also revisited the divine Double Coffee Chocolate Cake recipe for a Christmas dessert show-stopper! This cake is incredibly, seriously, insanely moist and the frosting makes it extra decadent. Hey, why not? It’s Christmas.

And last, but certainly not least, I whipped up these wonderfully flakey and delicate biscuits for a big family breakfast this mornin! Because guess what!…I got biscuit cutters for Christmas. Woohoo! :D

Enjoy these quality blog throw-backs! We sure did.

French phrase for fun:
J’ai fait du kayak avec les lamantins cette semaine!
I went kayaking with manatees this week!

P.S.- this is a real Christmas decoration in Florida. ‘Merica!


Chocolate Walnut Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with a Salted Caramel Filling


Yes. You read that right. These cookies are outrageous. I’m gonna warn you up front – they just won “Most Addictive” in my office cookie competition…oh, I mean swap.

And there’s only a tiny amount of butter ;)

Hey, why not?! It’s Christmas! Let’s just go for it, shall we? You can skip out on something else later, but these cookies should not be passed up. They should also be the star of your Christmas cookie production line this coming week. I am a little biased though, because I happen to (correctly) believe that salted caramel is the stuff of gods – you could put it atop practically anything and it would sing with that heavenly sweet and salty river of flavor that rushes over your taste buds making your heart skip two beats and your knees weak.

…did I go too far? What can I say? It’s cookies like these that make me really really love running.

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Cherry Cocoa Truffles

Cocoa Date Truffles

Let’s impress your friends and family this Christmas season! I think it’s really nice this time of year to bring homemade treats to a friend and have them sittin’ pretty in a bowl in your office or at home. I magically just happen to have a fantastic recipe for just such an occasion ;)

Vegan truffles

This time of year is tricky to please everyone you know – especially now that it seems every other person you know is gluten-free or vegan, and of course there’s the “watching-my-holiday-waistline” ones who shy away from my decadent desserts…come on! Why not?! It’s CHRISTMAS! (Don’ worry, those recipes are still to come, like these perfect Christmas cookies :) But… …Don’t stop now! Keep reading.

Spiced Molasses Cookies


It’s the time of cookies and decorating trees and thousands of Santas flooding the streets. I’m sure I mentioned this, but this is when my cartoon self comes out in full force :) So many things make me happy….a few examples: the fluffiest hat you’ve EVER seen, cutting snowflakes with Caitlyn (fyi, “cheating” with patterns you find online is really the way to go if you don’t want your flake to look like the, “aaaaall the snowflakes are beautiful, Katie!”), the smell of Christmas trees, and ridiculous Christmas decorations (stay tuned later in the post for all the photographic evidence).

**NOTE: If you think I’m crazy in my oh-so-excited state (hint, usually accompanied by a “Eeeeeeeeeeeee!”), just laugh, give me a hug, and tell me I’m cute.


The roomies and I went up to New York City for Santacon! Literally thousands of Santas and elves flooding the streets. Shenaniganry cannot not ensue. That’s right, double negative. (I needed to make sure you read that sentence.) This epic event began with an early morning party including a veritable mountain of bagels, mimosas, and coffee (Bailey’s optional). And because a girl always wants to bring something to contribute to the party, I brought these delightfully chewy, spiced molasses cookies…although they didn’t make it out of their hiding place in the kitchen and into the party, but they’re so yummy, I guess I can’t really blame Santa.

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Brown Sugar Cookies

Someone asked me this week what my go-to comfort food is, and I feel like if I sat down to run through a list of all of the wonderful foods that make me happy, I might come up with a list including: baked pasta, divine cheese fries, my Mom’s summer fruit cobbler, or the strawberry ice cream I make with my Granddaddy. But you know the first thing that immediately popped into my head?…Grits! Now, obviously this post isn’t about a big bowl of delicious grits that I made, but I want to make sure that they get a good plug from me. Grits are hot, salty, and luxuriously creamy – I just love them. It must be the Southern roots in my family, and the fact that I grew up with them. So there are three take-aways from this:

  1. Grits are delicious.
  2. If you’ve never had grits, you need to try some stat (preferably from a good southern restaurant or a fabulous church lady).
  3. They really make me think of my childhood.

And that’s what brings us to these lovely treats you see here!

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Chocolate Fudge White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Occasionally (albeit rarely) I have a day where I just need to run something out. Maybe for you it’s blasting music or crafting pj pants or paintballing (even though you may not have medical insurance)…hopefully it doesn’t come to punching a wall, but you get the idea. Well here’s a handy suggestion next time this day hits you in the face…BAKE IT OUT, BABY. Turn on some tunes, and just bake. Zone out, eat several spoonfuls of cookie dough, then look at this FANTASTIC website (click here, now!) while you’re waiting for your yummy goodness to emerge from the oven, and then enjoy the chocolately, fudgey, creamy, nutty cookies you just made!

These little gems you see here are Chocolate Fudge White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies!!! I adapted the recipe from Joy the Baker’s cookbook, and they were pretty frickin goooood, you might even say soul-curing :)

**French phrase for fun…

“And now I say unto you in the words of my uncle…ALLER CUISINE!”