Layer Cookie Cake

Everyone that knows me, knows that I have a HUGE sweet tooth.  While I will never turn down pretty much any dessert, my two favorite dessert items are brownies and chocolate chip cookies.  When I saw this recipe from, I knew I had to make it.  I’ve been holding onto it for months, just waiting for Matt and Gray to be gone one weekend.  Not that I am trying to keep it from them — Gray would be excited by it, but Matt would roll his eyes and mumble something about another ‘Barbified’ dessert.

After the boys left for the farm last night, I checked my baking cabinet to make sure I had all the ingredients.  As luck would have it, I did.  So this morning I got up, ran 7 miles, and then quickly headed to the kitchen to start my masterpiece.

layer cookie cake good

It’s beautiful, isn’t it? But I have a confession.  I so desperately wanted to write this post, going on and on about how awesome and tasty this thing was, and let you all believe that I produced another flawless creation.  I could put this picture on Facebook for all my friends to see, and they would click like and make all kinds of wonderful comments……but then I’d be a phony perfect Facebook cook.

The truth is that my perfect creation lasted all of about 10 minutes before it started to collapse under its weight.  In the directions, she said to trim off the edges if they rise too much, making the entire cookie the same height all the way around.  I had a much better idea.  Why not fill that crater with frosting?  After all, if a little bit of frosting is good, then a lot of frosting is even better.  I made a double batch of frosting and got to work assembling after the cookies had cooled.

When I was finished, I stood back to admire my work.  This was going to be delicious.  I couldn’t wait to cut myself a perfect looking slice to not only eat but to also add to my post.  Plus, I’d had a good run this morning.  I was going to grill myself a piece of salmon for dinner.  All the calories would all balance out in the wash.  I was mighty pleased with myself, until I noticed that it was leaning back ever so slightly.  I turned it around to find that the bottom layer was starting to crack.  I quickly snapped the above photo so that I would have proof of my perfect masterpiece.

In a matter of two hours, it has gone from masterpiece to master flop.

layer cookie cake disaster

This photo doesn’t begin to do the flop justice.  I’d like to give you a better angle but I have it propped up against the back splash, and I fear that if I move it away from the support, it will completely cave in — all over the counter.

And so there is a part of me that is disappointed that I don’t have a perfect creation to cut into.  Then there’s this other part of me that can’t help but laugh just a little bit.  After all, her directions were specific, but I thought I knew better.  You’d think I’d learn.

If you’d like to try making this Cookie Layer Cake, just visit for the recipe, and I’d recommend following her directions to a tee.


Brownie Batter Oreos

I have a stack of recipes on my ‘must make’ list, so I typically don’t make something twice — unless I have a special request or it is outstanding.  A couple of weeks ago I had gum graft surgery; it was probably one of the most painful things I’ve ever experienced.  But more than that, I am still limited on what I can eat.  It is killing me!  When I made the first batch of these, I was on mashed potatoes and milkshakes.  I managed to lick some frosting from my fingers, but that was all I got.  Matt and Gray both raved about them AND they are soft, so I made another batch on Saturday.

So yes, I’ve made two batches of these in less than two weeks.  But in my defense, half of the first batch went to a family at church…..and Matt and Gray demolished the rest.  This second batch — I refuse to share them.  Yep, they are really that good.  And I have a partially used box of brownie mix; it would be a sin to waste it.  I might have to make a third batch.

Brownie Batter Oreos

For the cookies:

  • 1 box devil’s food cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.  Sift the cake mix into a large bowl (Be sure to do this — I didn’t the first time, and my cookies had lumps) and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Roll into golf-ball size balls and place on cookie sheet, making sure you leave room for them to spread.  You’ll need to bake them in batches.  Bake for roughly 6 minutes, and then let cool.
For the filling:
  • 3/4 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brownie mix
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups powder sugar
Beat the first 6 ingredients with a hand-held mixer until smooth.  Slowly add in the powder sugar a little bit at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
Frost away.


Brownie Batter Oreos

This recipe came from

Malted Crispy M&M Cookies

There’s a guy at our church that has been the usher for as long as we’ve been attending.  We see him every week, helping folks find a seat.  While we knew his face, we’d never spoken to him until a few months ago when we ran into him along with his granddaughter at Chick-fil-a.  His granddaughter recognized Gray, he recognized us too, and so we chatted.  Now when we see him ushering folks to a seat, we always wave and exchange a few kinds words.

About a month ago, an e-mail went out requesting meal sign ups for a family.  After Matt and I did some digging, we realized it was our usher friend’s wife.  It’s funny really.  We knew him.  We knew her.  We just didn’t realize they went together.   I tried to sign up to take a meal, but all the slots were already spoken for.  So I just showed up at church the following Sunday with food.  I figured if they didn’t need it right then, they could always put it in the freezer for a later date.

Two Sundays ago, I was asking about his wife.  He said while her treatment was going well, she’d been sick a lot, food didn’t really taste good, and she’d lost about 20 pounds.  When my mom was going through treatment for breast cancer, there was one thing that she could always eat — Chicken Barley Soup.  I told him I’d bring a batch the following Sunday.

I did.  I also included a loaf of my homemade bread, and a batch of these — Malted Crispy M&M Cookies.  My mom said sweets didn’t really taste good to her while she was undergoing treatment.  I told her the soup was for her, the bread for both of them, and the cookies were for him.  Cookies, even if for just a moment, always make you feel better.

Below is the recipe I used, courtesy of the  Of course I made a few minor adjustments — I used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour.  I’ve been doing this for a while now with all my cookie recipes.  I just produces a softer and more cake-like cookie.  I also used an entire bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and an entire bag (the large size) of Crispy M&M’s.  I like a little cookie with my chocolate.

Malted Crispy M&M Cookies

1 C Butter Flavor Shortening
1 1/4 C Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 C Malted Milk Powder
2 T Chocolate Syrup
1 t Vanilla
1 Egg
2 C Flour
1 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Salt
1 1/2 C Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 C M&M’s® Crispy – about 2 2.8 oz packages


In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the first 5 ingredients in order. Beat 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat well. In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add this to the ingredients in the mixer.

Add the chocolate chips and mix until just combine. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the M&M’s® Crispy by hand.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet (or use a silicon liner or parchment paper). Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. DO NOT over bake. I recommend checking the cookies at 8 minutes.  They will be lightly golden brown around the edges.  Cool on wire rack.

Crispy Malted M&M Cookies

And of course, I had to test them out on my QC Engineer before passing them along.  He gave them a two thumbs up.

Crispy Malted M&M Cookies Gray Eating

Peanut Butter Haystacks

My Holiday Baking Extravaganza has come to a close — thankfully. I sent Matt off to Greensboro yesterday with this box and two other bags filled with treats.

cookie bags 2015

I cannot begin to tell you how many cookies, cake balls, and candies I made, but I can say that I sent 480 goodies with Matt.  That doesn’t include what all I made to take to gatherings and to give to family and friends.  I’m tired just thinking about it.  Now, I must admit that I started cutting corners toward the end by making things that were much easier and faster.  In fact, I used a box brownie mix to make some chocolate peanut butter chip cookies.  Shhh — please don’t tell anyone; I’ve got a reputation to uphold.

I tried a few new things this year, one of them being these Peanut Butter Haystacks.  Not only had I never made these before, I’d also never tasted one either.  I’m sure you can guess why  — right, no chocolate.  If it’s not chocolate, then I’m simply not interested.  Once my mom said to me, “You know, not everyone likes chocolate as much as you do.”  My response was, “Who.  Who are these people?”  So in honor of those people, I made something non-chocolate.

Peanut Butter Haystacks

  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup salted peanuts
  • 2 cups chow mein noodles

Melt butterscotch chips and peanut butter on top of a double boiler or in a microwave. Stir peanuts and noodles gently into the melted peanut butter mixture. Drop dough by forkfuls onto waxed paper. Allow to set.

peanut butter haystacks

Super quick and easy, and they are pretty tasty too — even though they aren’t chocolate.

Sugar Cone Chocolate Chip Cookies

Someone recently asked me if I ever get tired of brining dessert.  Never!  It is by far the best and most important part of any meal.  But not only do I regularly get asked to bring dessert, I tend to randomly get assigned the task just by where our last name falls.  It’s like fate wants me to always bring dessert.

Friday night was the Agathos Classical School’s family picnic.  Have I mentioned that Gray started a new school this year?  We are absolutely thrilled — and so is he.  I could get off on a tangent but won’t and will instead stay on task.  They assigned dishes based on last name, and we were assigned dessert — lucky me.  Given that it was outside and there would be lots of kids there, I thought cookies would be a good choice.  Of course, I couldn’t bake any old cookie; I had to make something over-the-top fantastic.  (Folks here don’t know me yet, so I need to work on establishing my reputation.)

I searched for something new and found a recipe from Taste of Home that incorporated pieces of sugar cones and sprinkles.  What kid doesn’t go crazy over sprinkles?  I’ve included a link to the original recipe because, of course, I “Barbified” them.

Sugar Cone Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 cups coarsely crushed ice cream sugar cones (about 16)
  • 1 cup sprinkles
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, crushed sugar cones and sprinkles.
  2. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to cool.

Gray eyed them up while I was baking and begged to sample one.

sugar cone cookies with gray

One turned into four.

sugar cone cookies

I too sampled one (or maybe more) and thought they’d be a big hit.  They were.  I was in the first group of folks to go through the food line, and the plate was empty by the time I got to it.




Loaded Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Recently I watched an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate – Chocolate on The Food Network.  In it, Rocco Dispirito went gaga over the Levain Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie, and if you’ve ever had one of their cookies, then you know that they are truly gaga worthy.  But I had to sit there and watch him break apart the cookie — showing how crispy it was on the outside and how gooey it was on the inside — and then devour the entire thing.  What a terrible job he has!

The segment doesn’t even end before I grab my iPad and start searching for copycat recipes.  Of course, I get sidetracked and stumble onto where she has several Levain copycat recipes.  The one that really catches my attention is the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookie recipe.  We all know how much I love peanut butter and chocolate, and so I abandon my original mission and make these instead.  Now I’ve still got to make the others.  Tough life.

I’ve included a link above to Fran’s Copycat Recipe for Levain Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies, because of course I made a few adjustments.  I followed her ingredients list until she got to the peanut butter chips part.  There I changed the semi-sweet to milk chocolate chips and also added a bag of Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups.  Then to top it off, I stuffed a full-size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup inside each ball of dough.  I know.  Don’t say it.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 5/8 cup high-quality cocoa powder
  • 5/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 5/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 small bag Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups
  • 2 packages full-size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.  Beat cold butter until pasty. Add sugars and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla and eggs. Beat just until ingredients are incorporated.  Add dry ingredients and beat just until the flour mixture is incorporated. Add peanut butter chips, milk chocolate chips, and peanut butter cups.  Fold in until evenly distributed.

To assemble, I weigh out 4 ounces of dough.  Flatten half of the dough, place a full-size peanut butter cup on top, then cover with the rest of the dough, making sure it is sealed all the way around.  I’ve done this on several cookie recipes.  To see photos, click here. Place all the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for 1-2 hours.

When ready, bake at 350 degrees for roughly 15 minutes.  Keep an eye on them.  The key is to not over bake the cookies so that you get that gooey, brownie-like center.

levain chocolate pb cup cookie

Something I do is only bake a couple, and then leave the rest of the uncooked cookies in a plastic bag in the freezer.  That way I can bake them one at a time and have a freshly baked cookie in 15 minutes anytime I want!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Truffles

chocolate chip cookie truffles 1

I thought I’d made every combination of cakeball/cookie truffle that was humanly possible, so imagine my surprise when I stumbled across a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Truffles!  Why had I not thought of this?

Now, this is not meant to be an insult to Nestle — after all, I regularly purchase their chocolate chips and baking cocoa, plus I am a huge fan of Kit Kat bars.  But I was actually worried that someone might see me purchase pre-make cookie dough.  I have a reputation to keep, you know.  I buried the cookie dough in my cart under a few items and managed to sneak out of the store with only the clerk knowing my secret.  Whew – reputation saved.  Here’s how I made them.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Truffles

  • 1 16 ounce package chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 3 ounces room temperature cream cheese
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Bake cookies a bit longer than the package directions indicate — you want them to be crispy.  Allow to cool completely.  Break them into pieces and place in a food processor.  Pulse until they resemble a coarse meal.  Add in cream cheese.  Blend until the mixture holds together.  Scoop into 1″ balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Place the sheet in the freezer for about an hour.  Melt the chocolate chips and vegetable shortening in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each, until smooth.  Dip the balls into the melted chocolate using two forks.  Place them on the cookie sheet to set.  Drizzle any remaining chocolate over the top.  If necessary, place them in the refrigerator for a few minutes to get the chocolate to set.  That’s what I had to do — my quality control team was impatiently waiting.

chocolate chip cookie truffles 2