Cookies and Bars

Trail Mix Cookies

Trail Mix Cookies recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. Fun cookies to make with kids! These trail mix cookies have raisins, chocolate candies (m&M's), peanuts and oats! The cookies have crisp edges and chewy centers and are simple and easy to make. Requires short time and one bowl to make. Trail mix cookies are good summer camp recipe, school recipe, craft idea to bake with kids. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

There’s a few things I need to get off my chest today. So if you were in need of another inappropriate post about my breasts- here it is. (!!!)

Let me start with a shout out to all the baby mamas out there that manage to nurse their children for extended periods of time. Ladies, how do you do it? Is there some sort of magic cream or ancient metal nipple shields that I need to know about? When the kid starts teething, do you play through the pain? Because over here, it is just NOT HAPPENING.

Nursing

George is 8 months old today (Why?! How?! When?! Didn’t this just happen yesterday?), and although he is still nursing, I can promise you that his days of voyaging on the Maidens of the Milk (my boobs, obviously) are numbered. Teeth, dwindling supply, and a vivacious 2 year old sister that is highly distracting every time George saddles up to the bar (again, my boobs) has got me counting down the days till we’re done.

I know that a lot of moms really love nursing, and I know that it’s a special bonding experience for mama and her baby. Yes, breast milk has all of the vitamins, and it’s so much less expensive, and the convenience of having a vending machine strapped inside your bra is just a ridiculous benefit to pass up. But George and I have bonded. He’s growing and healthy, I’ve got some milk stored in the freezer, and to be honest, I’d probably empty out all of the money in my purse right now if it meant never having to hear the mechanical “whee-woo, whee-woo, whee-woo” of my Medela breast pump ever again. There’s so many wonderful benefits to breastfeeding, but what I’m trying to say is, I think we’re almost done.

Trail Mix CookiesTrail Mix CookiesTrail Mix Cookies

The most selfish gain I’ve had from getting to nurse my babies is the snacks- those extra calories I get to indulge in each day. At our house, there’s never any shortage of snacks, and recently, we added trail mix cookies to the list of favorites. These trail mix cookies are pretty much always my next snack waiting to happen. Peanuts, chocolate candies, raisins, and oats, all stuffed into a delicious cookie dough that bakes up golden and delicious. A combination of my loaded oatmeal cookie dough and candied walnut chocolate chip cookies, these trail mix cookies are packed with all the trail mix fixin’s and are adaptable to include any other toppings you may have a hankering for. Cashews? Yup. Toffee? Sure. Reese’s Pieces? Do ya thang.

Trail Mix CookiesMaking the Cookies

We tried some trail mix cookies while visiting Blackberry Farm a few weeks ago, and I spent my first few days home making test batches of the cookies to get them just right. The dough starts by creaming butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. After adding eggs, vanilla, and a sprinkling of dry ingredients, you dump in all the trail mix goodies you can find. Give the dough a quick chill (or a long one, if you want puffier, chewy cookies), and just try not to eat it all straight from the bowl. It’s that good. These trail mix cookies have crisp edges and chewy centers. If you’re anything like me, you may opt to bake them until they’re golden brown, with little crunchy bits throughout.

Unless you’re an 8 month old on an all-milk diet, you need trail mix cookies in your repertoire. Sweet, salty, or whatever your craving is, these trail mix cookies will satisfy the urge to snack. Give them a try and let me know what you think! There’s loads of other cookie recipes on the cookie recipe page of my site, so give that a check too. Oh, and enjoy this happy little video that I made for you all! Happy Wednesday and cheers to you!

Trail Mix Cookies

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Trail Mix Cookies

With chopped peanuts, raisins, chocolate candy, and oats, these trail mix cookies are sweet, salty, and simple cookies that are sure to please a crowd.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 30

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 21/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 cup candy coated chocolate (like M&Ms)
  • 3/4 cups unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 3/4 cups raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Start on low until incorporated and then increase to medium, beating until smooth, creamy, and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on low just until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. In a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and corn starch. Add the bowl of dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat on low just until the mixture is combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed and add the chocolate, peanuts, and raisins, stirring on low just until combined.
  3. Scoop 3 tablespoon sized balls of dough (I use a large cookie scoop) about 3 inches apart on to a cookie sheet prepared with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. These cookies are large and in charge and they need room on the baking sheet. If the dough is not cool to the touch and slightly firm, place the baking sheet with dough balls in the fridge for about 5-10 minutes to allow the dough to set up- this keeps the cookies from spreading too much. Once ready, place the pan in the oven and bake until the edges and top of the cookie are beginning to turn golden and have set up, about 9 minutes. The centers will still appear underdone. Cool on a cooling rack, or just dive right in and enjoy.

Notes

  • For crunchy, textured cookies, refrigerate for less time and bake a minute or two longer, or until the cookies is golden all over the top. For a chewy, softer cookie, refrigerate the dough for an hour and then bake for recommended length of time.

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Candied Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Candied Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are chewy chocolate chip cookies warmly scented with coriander and other spices and candied walnuts. You can substitute pecans or other nuts here. These make terrific holiday or Christmas chocolate chip cookies and can be made ahead and frozen. Save the extra candied walnut pieces for future baked goods. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com. cookies, cookie recipes, walnuts, candied walnuts, cookies with nuts.

Is it entirely cliche to talk about how fast time flies in the month of December? All year long we wait and wait (and wait) for the Christmas season to roll around and then poof- you carve a turkey and suddenly it’s December. I’m not sure how that much joy and celebrating can squeeze into a one month time frame, but you can bet that I’m going to do my very best to try.

Christmas with Kids

Now that I’m a mom, my M.O. during the month of December is to drum up as much holiday cheer and merriment for my children as possible. For George, my 7 month old, that’s a bit of a stretch, but for my 2 year old Aimee, the wonder of Christmas is alive and well. She counts the ornaments on our tree and drinks her milk out of a Santa mug. She’s captivated by all of the twinkling lights everywhere and  she rocks her red and green pjs like it’s her 9-5. This is the first year it’s magical for her, so I’m determined to make it count. Now is the time to start traditions that she will grow up on, and who knows, maybe even pass on to her kiddos someday. AM I HORMONAL OR IS THAT JUST, LIKE, THE MOST PRECIOUS MOM JOB EVER?

Candied Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are chewy chocolate chip cookies warmly scented with coriander and other spices and candied walnuts. You can substitute pecans or other nuts here. These make terrific holiday or Christmas chocolate chip cookies and can be made ahead and frozen. Save the extra candied walnut pieces for future baked goods. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com. cookies, cookie recipes, walnuts, candied walnuts, cookies with nuts.

Cookie Traditions

Near the top of my list of traditions to pass on to the babies is cookies. Cookie decorating, cookies for Santa, cookies with milk before bedtime, and all the other cookie-related Christmassy things you can think of. In case you haven’t heard, cookies reign supreme over 95% of all other foods throughout the Christmas season, and this time of year just wouldn’t be what it is without a cookie or two.

For that reason and about a million more, I am thrilled to be a part of the #calmandbrightcookienight virtual cookie party being hosted by Natalie and Holly of The Modern Proper. If you haven’t heard of these fabulous ladies, their blog, or their vision for reinventing food and the way we share it with others, then cancel your plans for the evening and plan on spending an hour or two skimming their blog. It’s filled with beautiful words, stunning images, and food that makes your belly growl. Today, the ladies behind The Modern Proper are hosting a virtual cookie exchange with over 30 other food bloggers who will also be sharing cookie recipes!

Candied Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are chewy chocolate chip cookies warmly scented with coriander and other spices and candied walnuts. You can substitute pecans or other nuts here. These make terrific holiday or Christmas chocolate chip cookies and can be made ahead and frozen. Save the extra candied walnut pieces for future baked goods. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com. cookies, cookie recipes, walnuts, candied walnuts, cookies with nuts.

Candied Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m bringing these candied walnut chocolate chip cookies into the mix. They’re lightly spiced with coriander, cinnamon, and all-spice which adds a winter warmth to an already delicious and decadent chocolate chip cookie. This recipe, adapted from Tara O’Brady‘s earth shattering chocolate chip cookie is chewy, buttery, and rich from scattered flecks of dark chocolate, with an added crunchy sweetness that can be attributed to the candied walnuts. To quote the Dos Equis man, “I don’t always eat chocolate chip cookies, but when I do, I add candied walnuts and proceed to eat 12 of them.” True story.

Candied Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are chewy chocolate chip cookies warmly scented with coriander and other spices and candied walnuts. You can substitute pecans or other nuts here. These make terrific holiday or Christmas chocolate chip cookies and can be made ahead and frozen. Save the extra candied walnut pieces for future baked goods. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com. cookies, cookie recipes, walnuts, candied walnuts, cookies with nuts.Making the Cookies

To prepare these candied walnut chocolate chip cookies, we start by making the walnuts, which cook up quickly on the stovetop in a mixture of butter, sugar, and spices. The butter and sugar melt around the chopped nuts, creating a thin sheet of sugary spiced glass around each nut. This keeps the nuts from getting gummy or overly chewy in the cookie, and also adds a sweet little crunch to every bite of cookie. While the nuts cool, the cookie dough is prepared. With a little butter, sugar, flour, and salt, these cookies come together in a bowl with a wooden spoon before the added candied walnuts and chopped dark chocolate take them to the next level. Candied walnut chocolate chip cookies are sweet, spicy, salty, and most certainly Santa worthy.
Candied Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are chewy chocolate chip cookies warmly scented with coriander and other spices and candied walnuts. You can substitute pecans or other nuts here. These make terrific holiday or Christmas chocolate chip cookies and can be made ahead and frozen. Save the extra candied walnut pieces for future baked goods. Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com. cookies, cookie recipes, walnuts, candied walnuts, cookies with nuts.
While these candied walnut chocolate chip cookies taste excellent fresh from the oven, I find they taste best once cooled, or even the following day, as the cookie firms up and the flavors in it seem to keep developing over time. They freeze well in airtight containers, both pre and post baking, which makes these an excellent make-ahead treat. Plus, if you’re not a fan of walnuts, you can easily substitute pecans, pistachios, or another favorite nut, if preferred.
Many thanks to The Modern Proper for hosting this most special cookie party. Please give these candied walnut chocolate chip cookies and try, and then check out the other bloggers who are participating in the #calmandbrightcookienight in the list below! Happy Monday and cheers to you!

Virtual Cookie Party!

Floating Kitchen – Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies http://www.floatingkitchen.net/peppermint-chocolate-thumbprint-cookies/

Brewing Happienss – Mint Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies http://www.brewinghappiness.com/mint-chocolate-gingerbread-cookies-calmandbrightcookienight/

The Vintage Mixer – Ginger Creams with Browned butter Icing http://www.thevintagemixer.com/2016/12/christmas-cookies-ginger-creams/

Wu Haus – Raw Vegan Gingerbread Cookie Sandwiches http://www.wuhaus.com/blog/2016/12/12/raw-vegan-gingerbread-cookie-sandwiches

The Almond Eater – Homemade Almond Biscotti http://thealmondeater.com/2016/12/homemade-almond-biscotti/

Chocolate + Marrow – Brown Butter Gingerbread Madeleines  http://chocolateandmarrow.com/2016/12/12/brown-butter-gingerbread-madeleines-recipe 

Hungry Girl Por Vida – Lemon Pistachio Linzer Cookies https://www.hungrygirlporvida.com/blog/2016/12/12/lemon-pistachio-linzer-cookies/

Honestly YUM – Ricciarelli (Italian Almond Cookies) http://honestlyyum.com/18212/ricciarelli-italian-almond-cookies/

Husbands That Cook – Chocolate Sugar Cookies http://www.husbandsthatcook.com/2016/12/chocolate-sugar-cookies/

The Judy Lab – Sea Salt Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies http://www.thejudylab.com/recipes-blog/sea-salt-chocolate-chocolate-chip-cookies

Gather and Dine – Chocolate Almond Spelt Cookies http://www.gatheranddine.com/chocolate-almond-spelt-cookies/

Betty S Liu– Cardamom Persimmon Cookies with Olive Oil Dark Chocolate Ganache http://bettysliu.com/2016/12/12/cardamom-persimmon-cookies-olive-oil-dark-chocolate-ganache/

Harvest and Honey – Milk & Cookies https://harvestandhoney.com/2016/12/12/milk-cookies/

Bakerita – Chocolate Rugelach (gluten free + refined sugar free) http://www.bakerita.com/chocolate-rugelach-gluten-free/

The Fauxmartha – Snowball cookies http://www.thefauxmartha.com/2016/12/12/snowball-cookies/

The Kitchen Paper – Soft Toffee Cookies http://thekitchenpaper.com/soft-toffee-cookies/

Life Is But A Dish – Chocolate Peppermint Cream Cookies http://www.lifeisbutadish.com/chocolate-peppermint-cream-cookies/

Oh Honey Bakes Pomegranate Pistachio and Almond Biscotti http://ohhoneybakes.com/pomegranate-pistachio-and-lemon-biscotti/

The Brick Kitchen – Coconut Raspberry Wagon Wheels http://www.thebrickkitchen.com/2016/12/coconut-raspberry-wagon-wheels/

Alexandra Cooks – Classic Cream Cheese Cutout Cookies http://www.alexandracooks.com/2016/12/11/classic-cream-cheese-cutout-cookies/

Hello My Dumpling – Ginger Viennese Whirl Cookies with Matcha Passion Fruit Filling http://www.hellomydumpling.com/ginger-viennese-whirl-cookies-matcha-passion-fruit-filling

Snixy Kitchen – Peppermint Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies http://www.snixykitchen.com/2016/12/12/peppermint-chocolate-marshmallow-cookies/

Tending the Table – Almond Macaroons with Satsuma Marmalade https://tendingthetable.com/2016/12/12/almond-macaroons-with-satsuma-marmalade/

Milly’s Kitchen – Grapefruit Fennel Shortbread Cookies http://www.millys-kitchen.com/millys-kitchen/2016/12/12/grapefruit-fennel-shortbread-cookies

PDX Food Love – Chocolate Bourbon Swirl Meringues http://pdxfoodlove.com/chocolate-bourbon-swirl-meringues-for-calmandbrightcookienight/

Lasting Ingredient – Lemon Lime Shortbread http://www.lastingredient.com/2016/12/12/lemon-lime-shortbread/

Heart Beet Kitchen Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies http://heartbeetkitchen.com/2016/recipes/type/dessert/chocolate-peppermint-crinkle-cookies/

Carly Diaz Dark Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread Cookie https://www.carlydiaz.com/blog/2016/12/12/dark-chocolate-pistachio-shortbread-cookies

Cloudy Kitchen – Early Grey Shortbread http://www.cloudykitchen.com/blog/2016/12/11/earl-grey-shortbread

Lena’s Kitchen Blog Shortbread Cookies Three Ways http://www.lenaskitchenblog.com/shortbread-cookies-three-ways/

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Candied Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

These candied walnut chocolate chip cookies are chewy, buttery, and rich, lightly spiced with crunchy candied nuts and flecked with chopped bits of dark chocolate.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 30
  • Category: Cookies

Ingredients

For the candied walnuts

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon all-spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

For the cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chopped into tablespoon sized pieces
  • 11/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 11/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 11/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Fleur de sel or flaked salt, as desired

Instructions

To prepare the candied walnuts

  1. Combine the butter, vanilla, sugar, and spices in a medium, non-stick over medium heat until the butter has melted. Add the nuts and stir regularly using a rubber spatula until the nuts have toasted and the sugar has begun to melt, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and spread out the nuts to cool on a sheet of parchment paper.

To prepare the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat (I use the same skillet used to prepare the nuts). Once barely melted, remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugars to the melted butter and stir until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla, stirring each until combined. In a separate, medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and coriander. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, stirring until almost combined, and then fold in the chocolate.
  3. If your dough is shiny and still somewhat warm, allow to sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up slightly. This will prevent the cookies from spreading too much.
  4. Scoop 1-1/2 tablespoons (I use a medium cookie scoop) rounds of dough approximately 2 inches apart onto a prepared cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven about 10-12 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies have just barely begun to crack. Allow to cool slightly on a cooling rack prior to enjoying. Cookies will keep in an air tight container up to 3-4 days but are best eaten on day of baking.

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Recipe Adapted From: Tara O’Brady

Espresso Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Espresso Caramel Thumbprint Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are simple coffee and chocolate / cocoa flavored cookies rolled in sugar with a pressed thumbprint in them. They are filled with a simple stovetop make ahead instant espresso caramel that firms up and holds its shape. Drizzled with more milk or semisweet chocolate. These are great cookies for cookie party , cookie exchange, and holiday/ Christmas gatherings. Find the recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

So were you prepared for Thanksgiving? Did you pull your stretchy pants and adult bibs out of storage? Did you participate in all of the carb loading and day drinking?

We spent Thanksgiving in Florida this year which means I sucked in my post-dinner turkey gut while laying poolside at my parents’ house in 80 degree weather. Nothing begs for a bikini like 3 days of power eating and a body that hasn’t seen the sun since early august. Gag.

Traveling home is always a breath of fresh air and vacation from my long list of daily responsibilities. My mom graciously steps in as part-time caregiver of my babies, laundry folder, coffee maker, and dish washer, and still manages time to hang out as my BFF. Even just typing it out brings me a sigh of relief. She’s an amazing Superwoman/Mary Poppins gem of a woman and I can’t believe I get to call her mom. Espresso Caramel Thumbprint CookiesWhile my mom is busy doing all of my jobs, I get to play in the kitchen. This setup works well for both parties, as I get a break from mama duties and my family gets to taste test all of the treats I’m working on for the blog. This year, I was scheduled to participate in the #holidaycookieparty2016, a virtual and real life cookie exchange that Rebecca set up for a few fellow bloggers, so my family got to try out these espresso caramel thumbprint cookies. 

 My husband is a huge fan of thumbprint cookies. His mom made the traditional jelly filled thumbprint cookies when he was growing up, so when I told him about the cookie exchange, he immediately called for some thumbprints. These espresso caramel thumbprint cookies are sugar dusted chocolate cookies with an espresso caramel filling and a dark chocolate drizzle. The cookie dough is scented with espresso which really helps that coffee flavor to go the extra mile. The caramel is thick, gooey, and decadent- so much so that you won’t mind having an extra cup or two to drizzle on your apple pie and ice cream leftovers from Thanksgiving.Espresso Caramel Thumbprint CookiesEspresso Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Cookies this beautiful may seem a bit intimidating, but once you have the elements prepared, they’re actually pretty simple to make! This is a great recipe to join your kiddos or other little helpers in to the kitchen to lend a hand. Plus, at a time of year when cookies are king and everyone needs a fun recipe to bring to holiday cocktail parties, you’ll want to have these espresso caramel cookies ready to share.

I hope your Thanksgiving was delicious and joyful, and I also hope you’ll give these espresso caramel cookies a try! Be sure to check out the recipes from the other bloggers participating in the holiday cookie exchange below! Many thanks to Rebecca for hosting this little cookie rodeo, and cheers to you!

Espresso Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

 

Holiday Cookie Exchange 2016

Wife Mama Foodie | Gluten Free Icebox Cookie

Now Forager | Vanilla Bean Marshmallow & Pink Peppercorn Shortbread Cookies

DisplacedHousewife | Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles

Tutti Dolci | Brown Butter Chai Snickerdoodles

The Daley Plate | Romany Creams

Fig & Bleu | Cornmeal & Cherry Shortbreads

Cloudy Kitchen | Anzac Biscuits

The Beach House Kitchen | Double Chocolate Peppermint Sugar Cookies

Vanilla and Bean | Cocoa Nibby Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Chez LaRae | White Rollout Cookies

Husbands That Cook | Apple Cider Snickerdoodles

Rainy Day Bites | Melody Cookies

Bakeritablog | Brown Butter Shortbreads With Dark Chocolate

The Jam Lab | Thandai Shortbread Cookies

Katie Clova | Espresso Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Food Fashion Party | Stuffed Shortbread Cookies

My Kitchen Love | Chocolate Toffee Shortbread

No Crumbs Left | Peanut Butter Blossoms

 

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Espresso Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

These espresso caramel thumbprint cookies are sugar dusted chocolate cookies with an espresso caramel filling and a dark chocolate drizzle.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 11/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sparkling sugar or granulated sugar

For the coffee caramel

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

To assemble cookies

  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate

Instructions

To prepare the cookie dough

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. In a separate small bowl, combine the cream, vanilla, and espresso powder. Stir to combine and continue preparing the dough.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolk and beat to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the cream/vanilla/espresso mixture and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  4. Scoop out 2 teaspoons sized (about 3/4 inch balls) of dough and roll in hands into a ball. Toss the balls in the sugar until well coated and then place them about 2 inches apart on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Using the rounded back of a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, lightly press “thumbprints” in the centers of each ball to create a cratered round of dough. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are set, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and gently pat dough the centers of the puffed dough with the measuring spoon again if needed to maintain a cratered center. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.

To prepare the coffee caramel

  1. Stir to combine the heavy cream and espresso powder in a measuring cup. Set aside
  2. Evenly spread the sugar in the bottom of a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally while the sugar is melting, incorporating all the clumps of sugar. After about 6-7 minutes, the sugar should have evenly melted. Allow to brown to a dark amber color and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the butter chunks and stir until melted and combined. Next, carefully add the heavy cream in a slow stream, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute and then remove from the burner. Stir in the salt and the pour into a heat proof container (I use a mason jar) and allow to cool.

To assemble the cookies

  1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Set aside once melted.
  2. Fill each round of cookie with caramel (about 1/2 teaspoon). Melt caramel in 15 second intervals in the microwave, if needed, in order to get to the best consistency. Allow the caramel to set up slightly before drizzling with the melted chocolate.

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Recipe adapted from: Sunset Magazine

Pecan Toffee Blondies

Pecan Toffee Blondies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple blondie recipe made in a half or quarter sheet pan that serves a crowd. A great make ahead dessert for parties and gifts. Tastes like butter pecan ice cream! These bars are butter and brown sugar blondies, made extra salty with sea salt and chopped pecans. Find the easy recipe for this great fall dessert at thewoodandspoon.com

Happy November to you from Alabama where it’s still hot as fire and we’re all frying eggs on the pavement. The only time nowadays that I don’t sweat like a baby gorilla is if I’m sitting inside or standing in front of an open refrigerator. And don’t judge me, but I do that a lot.

Pecan Toffee Blondies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple blondie recipe made in a half or quarter sheet pan that serves a crowd. A great make ahead dessert for parties and gifts. Tastes like butter pecan ice cream! These bars are butter and brown sugar blondies, made extra salty with sea salt and chopped pecans. Find the easy recipe for this great fall dessert at thewoodandspoon.com

Celebrating Birthdays

Last week, we celebrated my birthday with friends over a  meal of stone crabs and layer cakes. I’ve only cracked crabs one other time in my life, back when Brett and I were dating and I was still trying to prove I was adventurous and fun. I typically don’t like food that requires you to work for it, but the stone crabs turned out to be a blast. Were it not for the bloodied knuckles, broken nails, and overall brute strength that was required for breaking through the shells of those tough little buggers, I probably would have cracked all night long. Plus, there was an abundance of crabs jokes, and even though lice in the nether-regions is not something to laugh about, I found it hysterical. So basically the night was a success.

Birthdays are always a big deal in my book. Even though I relish any moment for a celebration, birthdays somehow take the proverbial (and literal) cake. Any chance to celebrate people that I love with music and laughter and dessert is a winning event, if you ask me.

Pecan Toffee Blondies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple blondie recipe made in a half or quarter sheet pan that serves a crowd. A great make ahead dessert for parties and gifts. Tastes like butter pecan ice cream! These bars are butter and brown sugar blondies, made extra salty with sea salt and chopped pecans. Find the easy recipe for this great fall dessert at thewoodandspoon.com

Pecan Toffee Blondies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple blondie recipe made in a half or quarter sheet pan that serves a crowd. A great make ahead dessert for parties and gifts. Tastes like butter pecan ice cream! These bars are butter and brown sugar blondies, made extra salty with sea salt and chopped pecans. Find the easy recipe for this great fall dessert at thewoodandspoon.com

Pecan Toffee Blondies

These pecan toffee blondies are not a birthday cake. These weren’t even served at my birthday party. But they are good and fall-ish and ridiculous easy to make so let’s dive in, shall we?

The blondie dough is made just the same as your average drop cookie recipe. We start by creaming the butter and brown sugar for a while until it’s light and fluffy. Next comes a few eggs followed by a dusting of flour and salt. Things get real at the end when we bring in our guests of honor: pecans and toffee bits. The sweetness from the brown sugar and toffee is offset perfectly by the pecans and salt and if you really like to get down and dirty, I’d recommend adding an extra sprinkle of each once the dough has been pressed out in the pan.

Pecan Toffee Blondies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple blondie recipe made in a half or quarter sheet pan that serves a crowd. A great make ahead dessert for parties and gifts. Tastes like butter pecan ice cream! These bars are butter and brown sugar blondies, made extra salty with sea salt and chopped pecans. Find the easy recipe for this great fall dessert at thewoodandspoon.com

Pecan toffee blondies are one of those foods that you need in your arsenal of recipes. You can file this recipe under “fall recipes to make for a crowd” or “pecan desserts to go nuts for” or “blondies that really do have more fun.” This is the bar I’d be making every week if it weren’t still Africa hot here in the South. I’d eat them for dessert, or afternoon snacks, or even for breakfast if you swore you wouldn’t judge me. But who am I kidding- they’re worth even that.

Pecan Toffee Blondies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple blondie recipe made in a half or quarter sheet pan that serves a crowd. A great make ahead dessert for parties and gifts. Tastes like butter pecan ice cream! These bars are butter and brown sugar blondies, made extra salty with sea salt and chopped pecans. Find the easy recipe for this great fall dessert at thewoodandspoon.com

These pecan toffee blondies are a cinch to make and are a terrific dessert for any occasion. If you get a chance to try them out, let me know what you think in the comments section below!

Cheers to you!

Pecan Toffee Blondies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple blondie recipe made in a half or quarter sheet pan that serves a crowd. A great make ahead dessert for parties and gifts. Tastes like butter pecan ice cream! These bars are butter and brown sugar blondies, made extra salty with sea salt and chopped pecans. Find the easy recipe for this great fall dessert at thewoodandspoon.com

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Pecan Toffee Blondies

These pecan toffee blondies are a brown sugar blondies speckled with toasty pecans and toffee bits. They make a terrific treat to share and store well in the freezer.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 11/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 11/4 cups pecans, chopped and divided
  • 1 cup toffee bits
  • Kosher salt for sprinkling, if desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a jelly roll pan with baking spray or line with a Silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until each are well incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat on low until just combined. Add 1 cup of pecans and the toffee and stir to combine.
  5. Gently spread the mixture evenly into the bottom of your prepared jelly roll pan. If you don’t have a jelly roll pan, a foil lined 9″x13″ casserole dish can be used as well. Sprinkle the remaining pecans on top. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until the blondies are golden brown on top and no longer jiggly in the center. Allow the blondies to cool completely prior to cutting.

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Recipe Adapted From: Anne Thornton

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies Recipe and Tutorial by The Wood and Spoon Blog By Kate Wood. This is a recipe for almond vanilla sugar cutout cookies that doesn't require chilling the dough. The dough holds its shape for cookie cutters. The frosting isn't like a royal icing- it is a simple glaze made with milk and powdered sugar and flavoring. you can pipe or dip the cookies icing on and then paint with food coloring gel and alcohol. Find the how to on the blog thewoodandspoon.com

Forget the Kardashians. Forget Birkenstocks and ombre hair and cold shoulder shirts. Forget Lebron and matcha and cold brew coffee. Yeah, all of those things might be having a moment… but painted sugar cookies? Well, in my book, they’re really having a moment.

I get a million and one food related questions on any given week, but one of the most frequent items I get asked about are painted sugar cookies. Why? Well, for one, sugar cookies are a crowd pleaser. I’ve literally never heard anyone say, “I don’t like sugar cookies,” and I can tell you that if I did, we wouldn’t be friends. They’re sweet and celebratory, and if you know what you’re doing, they’re fun way to tie desserts into any themed event or party.

Up until a few years ago, I had only been exposed to the two extremes of sugar cookies: a soft, lofthouse style cookie with a thick and creamy butter-based frosting, and a hard, crunchy sugar cookie with tooth-shattering, cloyingly sweet royal icing. Enter painted sugar cookies. These little guys are a soft yet stable sugar cookie that holds its shape in the oven. The icing is pipeable and easy to decorate with but without all the fuss of a royal icing.

Painted Sugar Cookies

If you’re anything like me, trying to pipe a bunch of designs on a cookie is a daunting, time consuming, and ultimately disappointing task. I’ve done it before, and I can say that I won’t be doing it often in the future. Painting the cookies allows me to decorate the cookies and flex my creative muscle without all the mind-numbing tedious work of piping. I love it. 

Once the sugar cookies are iced and dry, you simply mix a small amount of gel food coloring with a clear liquor. I prefer vanilla vodka, but really, you can use any type of clear liquor. (Sidenote: If you would prefer to not use alcohol, you can try clear vanilla extract.) Once your paintbrush is wet with a teeny amount of liquor and food gel, you are free to paint away! I usually just paint solid colors on the cookies, but if you’re super artsy, you can Monet and van Gogh all over that goodness. The world (read: cookie) is your oyster, so go for it. 

For cookie inspiration, you can check out the cookies I’ve made here, here, here, and here.

Let me know how your cookie making goes and be sure to have a blast doing it. Cheers to you!

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies

Items Needed:

Cutout sugar cookies, approximately 30 small-medium, recipe below
Sugar cookie frosting, recipe below
Piping bag fitted with #2 tip
Gel food coloring
Clear liquor (vodka, rum, etc)
Clean, unused paint brushes
 

Directions:

Fill piping bag halfway with sugar cookie frosting. Pipe borders around cookies, being careful to not get too close to the edge. Using a paint brush, “paint” frosting into the center of the cookie, filling in to the outside border. (For a good tutorial on this method, check out the Ina Garten video here) I typically will border and fill 4-5 cookies at a time. Continue this process until all of the cookies are iced. Set aside for 3 hours, or until icing is set and dry. If you’re in a humid climate, you can use a small fan pointed at the cookies to help expedite this process.
Cover your work surface with wax, parchment, or newspaper. Pour 3-4 tablespoons of liquor into a small glass or bowl. Set out a plate or some other type of palette for your gel food color “paints”. Squirt small, 1/8 teaspoon drops of food coloring on your palette. Dip your brush in the liquor and then into the gel food coloring. Notice how the food coloring will thin out and bleed. The more diluted your food coloring is with alcohol, the less vibrant your colors will be. For more saturated tones, use less liquor. You can test out the colors on a paper towel or extra cookie. When you have the desired color, begin to paint! Try to avoid over-saturating your cookie as this can cause the icing to loosen up or become sticky. If your brush becomes too wet, dab it a bit on the paper towel. Once completed, allow your cookies to dry thoroughly before enjoying!
 
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Cutout Sugar Cookies

Perfect every time cutout sugar cookies get the royal treatment with some cute and colorful painted icing! Find the tutorial and buttery recipe here!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 30

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • 11/2 teaspoon princess cake and cookie emulsion (or 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 tsp almond extract)

For the icing

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 36 tablespoons of whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract, vanilla extract, or bakery emulsion

Instructions

For the cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and well combined, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and extract and cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients and stir on low just until combined.
  4. Dump the dough crumbles out on to a lightly floured surface and work together into one ball with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to just over 1/4″ thicken and use a medium sized cookie cutter to cut shapes. If the dough ever gets too soft, refrigerate briefly.
  5. Place shapes on a baking sheet and freeze briefly for about 5 minutes.
  6. Once chilled, bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes and then cool on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool completely prior to icing.

For the icing

  1. Sift or whisk powdered sugar to remove lumps.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of the milk and the extract, whisking until combined. Continue to add milk until it is the right viscosity. You will want thicker frosting for piping. To test viscosity, run your whisk or a knife through the bowl of frosting- your frosting should slowly move back together until you can’t see any trace of the whisk any longer. This process should take about 10 seconds. If the frosting is too thick, it will not pool back together, and if it is too thin, it will pool back together too quickly. The ten second test doesn’t lie. Add more milk for a thinner icing and more powdered sugar if your icing becomes too thin.
  3. Cover tightly in a tupperware or with a wet paper towel if you are not using it immediately, as frosting will dry out and become clumpy. Whisk occasionally and add more milk if it becomes too thick.

Notes

  • Icing will keep in the fridge for up to a week and can easily be colored with gel food coloring.

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Recipe Adapted From: Bake At 350

 

Blueberry Lemon Bars

Blueberry Lemon Bars Recipe by the Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple shortbread crust summer berry fruit bar. The shortbread is lemon zest scented and the blueberry filling is full of more zest and lemon juice. The crumbles on top of buttery and add a crunch to this juicy fruit bar. Make a small or large batch for a crowd. thewoodandspoon.com

Are we ready to close out the summer? Is it really already time?

Saying goodbye to summer feels a lot like saying goodbye to an old friend. Summer is that lively, carefree friend who shows up out of nowhere at your front door, sleeps on your couch and eats all your food, but gives you a load of funny stories and blurry photographs to save as memories. You shared some good moments and probably even got burned a time or two, but at the end of the day, there’s always promise that they’ll come back around again. 

For my family, this summer meant a ton of joyful, big life moments, but was also not without its share of challenging learning experiences. Here’s a few things I learned: 

 

Summer Learning

  • I learned that I could keep two humans alive, surviving on minimal hours of sleep.
  • I learned that hormones are the wild, unbridled beasts of a postpartum body. They were generous enough to treat me to a receding hairline (at 28) and sweat production akin to a linebacker in a snowsuit on the Fourth of July.
  • I learned that my toddler is SMART. Smart enough to learn the ABC’s (thanks preschool!) and smart enough to wait until I leave the room to crawl up on the counter and put her grubby paws in my freshly iced sugar cookies.
  • I learned that I probably don’t have a future in gardening. As it turns out, my green thumb is actually more like gangrene- decrepit, black, and in desperate need of an amputation STAT (sorry, tomatoes). 
Blueberry Lemon Bars Recipe by the Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple shortbread crust summer berry fruit bar. The shortbread is lemon zest scented and the blueberry filling is full of more zest and lemon juice. The crumbles on top of buttery and add a crunch to this juicy fruit bar. Make a small or large batch for a crowd. thewoodandspoon.com
This summer was a series of ups and downs, learning and unlearning. While I’m sad to leave my jean shorts and tank tops behind, I’m excited for the next chapter. Plus, I can keep some of those summer repeats on replay for at least another couple weeks, right? (I’m looking at you, ice cream cones!)
 
Blueberry Lemon Bars Recipe by the Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple shortbread crust summer berry fruit bar. The shortbread is lemon zest scented and the blueberry filling is full of more zest and lemon juice. The crumbles on top of buttery and add a crunch to this juicy fruit bar. Make a small or large batch for a crowd. thewoodandspoon.com

Blueberry Lemon Bars

One thing I did manage to get right this summer? Blueberry lemon bars. 
No other fruit is so quintessentially summer to me than blueberries. With their beautiful purple skins and juicy innards just begging to burst in my oven, I usually can’t keep blueberries in my fridge long enough to test out new recipes. BUT! This summer, I set out to perfect my blueberry lemon bars, and hold the phone because I think I did it.
My goal was to create a good crust to fruit ratio. I wanted the crust to be lightly scented with lemon, and for the bars to easily be sliced into neat squares for serving. After a few trial runs, this is the recipe I nailed down.
Blueberry Lemon Bars Recipe by the Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple shortbread crust summer berry fruit bar. The shortbread is lemon zest scented and the blueberry filling is full of more zest and lemon juice. The crumbles on top of buttery and add a crunch to this juicy fruit bar. Make a small or large batch for a crowd. thewoodandspoon.com

Making the Blueberry Lemon Bars

The crust is a lemon shortbread/sugar cookie hybrid. It also doubles as the crumble sprinkled on top of the bars as well. The filling is simple: berries and sugar, with a sprinkle of a few other ingredients, all tossed together quickly in a bowl. The whole thing bakes up pretty quick in the oven. Bonus: fresh or frozen blueberries can be used for these little pals.
 
BONUS! I’m also including an expanded recipe in the event that you want to make these bad boys for a crowd. The smaller recipe still make more than you’d expect though, so don’t go too crazy right off the bat (actually, go wild, because who cares. I’m not holding you back.)
 
Blueberry Lemon Bars Recipe by the Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple shortbread crust summer berry fruit bar. The shortbread is lemon zest scented and the blueberry filling is full of more zest and lemon juice. The crumbles on top of buttery and add a crunch to this juicy fruit bar. Make a small or large batch for a crowd. thewoodandspoon.com
Blueberry lemon bars should be the cherry on top, the encore, or whatever you want to call it of a delicious and well-lived summer. I hope you share one or two of these before we fall face first into autumn.
 
Cheers to you and have a great week!
 

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Blueberry Lemon Bars

These blueberry lemon bars boast a sweet and salty lemon shortbread crust and crumble, and are filled with juicy blueberries!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 11/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 21/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling

  • 3 cups blueberries
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″ square pan with aluminum foil, covering all sides of the pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and lemon and stir to combine. Scrape the bowl, then add the flour and salt. Stir on low speed until clumps begin to form. Scrape the bowl as needed, continuing to stir only until combined. Pat out 2/3 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the filling and toss gently. Strain any extra juice from the berries and sprinkle them evenly over the crust.
  4. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the blueberries and crust.
  5. Place in the preheated oven and bake until the crumbs on top are golden brown, about 1 hour. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

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Blueberry Lemon Bars for a Crowd

A slightly adapted version, these blueberry lemon bars boast a sweet and salty lemon shortbread crust and crumble, and are filled with juicy blueberries!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 21/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 11/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Zest of two lemons
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the filling

  • 2 pints blueberries
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 11/2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a quarter sheet pan with aluminum foil, covering all sides of the pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and lemon and stir to combine. Scrape the bowl, then add the flour and salt. Stir on low speed until clumps begin to form. Scrape the bowl as needed, continuing to stir only until combined. Pat out 2/3 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the filling and toss gently. Strain off any extra juice the berries produce and sprinkle them evenly over the crust.
  4. Crumble the remaining dough over the top of the blueberries and crust.
  5. Place in the preheated oven and bake until the crumbs on top are golden brown, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

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Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a simple, almost paleo recipe that includes shredded coconut, whole almonds and almond butter, vegan chocolate chips or chunks. This is a great healthy almost clean baking cookie for special diets that you can make. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

This is a public service announcement to all readers of this blog: I am no longer cool. Though I’m not sure when it happened, I can confidently express to you, with little qualm or uncertainty, that I have officially lost the cool factor. 

One could argue here that I never really was cool, and to be honest, this is entirely possible. After all, how cool could my former bench-warming, unibrow-having, choreographed-dancing self actually have been? Regardless, I am 100% positive that I am officially out of the loop.

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

I gauge most of my coolness against my sister. At 15 years old (that makes me 13 years her senior?!?), my sister, Cheney, dances circles around whatever level of awesome I once thought I had. What she lacks in years she makes up for in a kindness, wit, and strong will that suggests her world view and degree of wisdom is not limited by her numerical age.Within the past few months, Cheney has taught me how to use Snapchat, kept me posted on the Tayvin/Caylor ship, explained to me what “shipping” even is, and helped me navigate the murky waters of shoulderless shirts. On top of that, this chick is well versed in Star Wars trivia, knows every lyric to the “Grease” soundtrack, and has a collection of Kate Spade handbags that this mama is jealous of daily. She’s just so cool. 

These days, teenagers are growing up in an age full of vegan, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, and everything-in-between food products. My sister can eat gourmet popcorn and avocado toast with the best of them, and she has definitely taste tested her fair share of kombucha and acai bowls.  Me? I grew up on tub margarine and Yoo-Hoo, and had to Google the spelling of kombucha just a second ago, so that’s pretty much the level I’m at.

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

A few months ago, Cheney came to me professing to have found the best paleo chocolate chip cookies, and I was pretty interested. Not because I’m anywhere close to being a clean eater (I wouldn’t know a good paleo cookie if it sat on my face), but because I strictly adhere to the “No Cookie Left Behind” mantra. So we baked.

The results were surprisingly delicious. My husband, even less educated in the food realm than I, said that they “didn’t taste like a healthy cookie” which is code for “these cookies are awesome!” I’ve since made the paleo chocolate chip cookies for some of my foodie friends and they all had similar responses. 

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

 

The recipe I’m sharing today, coconut almond chocolate cookies, is a spin off of that recipe. You can certainly modify the ingredients slightly to meet your dietary restrictions, but I feel pretty good about eating these bad boys even if they’re not perfectly paleo. The chopped almonds and shredded coconut add an incredible amount of texture to every bite of this sweet and rich chocolate cookie. The coconut oil and unique blend of flours keep these cookies moist and almost cake-like for days after baking, and because the ingredients are less processed than most, I feel pretty good about downing one or two with my morning coffee at breakfast.

To summarize this blog post, I will say the following: I am not cool, my sister is rad, and coconut almond chocolate cookies are pretty much manna from heaven. I’ve got a long way to go in becoming even an ounce as awesome as my worldly little sis, but I’ll work my way there one cookie at a time if I have to. Give these little treats a try and let me know how you like them!

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

PS, can we talk about Aimee’s chubby little arms and knee rolls!? Drool.

 

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Coconut Almond Chocolate Cookies

Coconut almond chocolate cookies are moist cookies that can easily be adapted to meet a range of dietary preferences.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons almond butter
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (use dairy free chips, if desired)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup of almonds, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the coconut oil and sugar on medium speed until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Add the almond butter and beat for another minute. Add the extracts and egg and beat for one minute, scraping the bowl as needed. On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix only until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and almonds.
  4. Scoop out 2 tablespoon sized balls of dough on to a parchment or baking mat lined sheet pan. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies no longer appear wet in the middle. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

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Recipe Adapted From: Texanerin

Lemon Lavender Cookies

Lemon Lavender Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. Just a few ingredients, lemon zest, sugar, and dried culinary lavender is all it takes to make this simple powdered sugar covered cookies. Similar to mexican wedding cookies. Makes tiny mini cookies. Floral and fragrant. Find the recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

I should start this post with a disclaimer: I love my husband.

If you know Brett, take this time to jot a mental list of his lovable, noteworthy qualities– there’s plenty to boast of. If you don’t know my husband, let me give you the CliffsNotes version: he’s hardworking, funny, incredibly personable, and at an age that I jokingly describe as “halfway to 70”, he’s got muscles that laugh at any notion of a “Dad Bod”. My husband is pretty much the tops and I wouldn’t trade him for a million Ryan Reynolds (and that’s a huge deal, am I right, ladies??)

Lemon Lavender Cookies Recipe

With all that being said, Brett and I have a clear understanding that if, in a tragic twist of fate, Brett is no longer my husband, I will re-marry a Frenchman. Unabashedly, I will take our children, move to France, and marry the first God-fearing, chateau-living, beret-wearing Frenchman that I can find. I have no shame in saying this and Brett is fully aware of my intentions, as we have outlined them in a Sheldon Cooper-esque clause of our unspoken relationship agreement.

For years, I have had a love and admiration for French culture. I love the art, the buildings, the delicately perfect desserts, and the flowery sound of the language. I love the way I feel in Paris and my memories from my visits there are some of my favorite that I have. Yes, my mind is made up and it’s settled: If I’m every unfortunate enough to find myself without Brett, I will find myself in France.

Lemon Lavender Cookies Recipe

 

These lemon lavender cookies remind me of my imaginary life in France. Dainty, buttery, little bite-sized chews of lavender scented lemon cookies taste like the air smells in Provence and make me feel like I’m maybe doing something that Julia Child did in her kitchen. The recipe is a variation of my crispy butter pecan cookies, however, without the nuts, these cookies remain soft and chewy. With only 6 ingredients and 10 minutes of bake time, these lemon lavender cookies are a cinch to whip up. These bite-sized cookies taste delicious as a treat to pair with morning coffee, afternoon tea, or an evening glass of bubbly champagne. 

While lemon lavender cookies don’t taste nearly as good as being married to my husband feels, I’ll take 2 or 10 of these cookies as a little bite of France any day of the week. And in the meantime, I’ll settle for French braids, fries, and kisses. 

Lemon Lavender Cookies Recipe

 

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Lemon Lavender Cookies

These lemon lavender cookies are buttery and floral bite-sized cookies that bake up quick and taste delicious!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon culinary lavender
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Additional confectioners sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Put butter into a food processor, mini chopper, or stand mixer and process until smooth. Add sugar and pulse until combined and smooth. Add the zest, lavender, and salt, pulsing to combine. Finally, add the flour and pulse just until flour is barely integrated and dough forms big crumbles.
  3. Scoop 2 teaspoons sized balls of dough (I use a small cookie scoop) out on to a baking sheet covered with parchment or a Silpat. Roll dough in between hands to make small rounds. The dough will be pretty dry, this is normal.
  4. Bake for about 11 minutes or until cookies’ edges set and the bottoms are golden brown. Be careful when handling!
  5. Once cooled, dust or toss cookies in a generous amount of powdered sugar.

Notes

  • These cookies are tiny and are best eaten the day of.
  • Feel free to double the batch! It makes just a few cookies.

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Oatmeal Cookies

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are simple stuffed oatmeal cookies loaded with your choice of ingredients. Chunky oats, chocolate chips. dried fruits like raisins and cranberries, or even candies, toffee, or nuts! These oatmeal cookies are simple to make, buttery, and full of brown sugar goodness. You can freeze as well! Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

There’s something about eating oatmeal cookies that makes me think of breakfast. Maybe it’s years of oatmeal with sliced banana and honey for breakfast or dried fruit and oat topped yogurt snacks, but I tell ya what- oatmeal cookies have got me thinking, “man, this dessert feels pretty healthy.”

Yeah, yeah. I know. Wishful thinking. You can’t blame me for trying.

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are simple stuffed oatmeal cookies loaded with your choice of ingredients. Chunky oats, chocolate chips. dried fruits like raisins and cranberries, or even candies, toffee, or nuts! These oatmeal cookies are simple to make, buttery, and full of brown sugar goodness. You can freeze as well! Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

Oatmeal Cookies

I have yet to come to a firm stance on my oatmeal cookie preference. Thin and crisp? Puffy and cake-like? Buttery, crisp edges with a chewy center? The jury is still out on this one, but one thing I do know is that I like my oatmeal cookies fully loaded. If someone created the cookie equivalent to the everything bagel, I would buy and consume them er’ryday. Dried fruit, chocolate chips, a browned butter drizzle… really, just feel free to have your way with my oatmeal cookie. The more the merrier.

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are simple stuffed oatmeal cookies loaded with your choice of ingredients. Chunky oats, chocolate chips. dried fruits like raisins and cranberries, or even candies, toffee, or nuts! These oatmeal cookies are simple to make, buttery, and full of brown sugar goodness. You can freeze as well! Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

These cookies are a toned down version of my ultimate fantasy, maxed out, loaded oatmeal cookie, mainly because I know my husband would be ultra-grossed out by any cookie with a dried fruit to cookie dough ratio any greater than 1:1, but this oatmeal cookie also boasts a super chewy texture alllllll the way through, and enough of a variety of add-ins that nearly every bite is a bit different. They’re also super adaptable in that you can mix and match your add-ins according to your preferences. Don’t like dried cranberries? No problem- try apricots! Want to pack a nutty punch? Sub in chopped pecans or peanut butter chips! This oatmeal cookie is pretty much your oyster, so do as you please with it.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! If anyone has any extra luck with a certain flavor combo, give me the dirty deets below in the comments!

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are simple stuffed oatmeal cookies loaded with your choice of ingredients. Chunky oats, chocolate chips. dried fruits like raisins and cranberries, or even candies, toffee, or nuts! These oatmeal cookies are simple to make, buttery, and full of brown sugar goodness. You can freeze as well! Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. These are simple stuffed oatmeal cookies loaded with your choice of ingredients. Chunky oats, chocolate chips. dried fruits like raisins and cranberries, or even candies, toffee, or nuts! These oatmeal cookies are simple to make, buttery, and full of brown sugar goodness. You can freeze as well! Find the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com

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Oatmeal Cookies

Chewy oatmeal cookies filled to brim with craisins, toffee bits, and chocolate chips.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 24

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 3/4 cups quick-cook oatmeal
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1 cup toffee bits
  • 11/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream butter, brown sugar, and sugar together until light and smooth, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla, mixing until combined and scraping the bowl as needed.
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cornstarch, baking powder, and oatmeal in a separate bowl.
  5. Add to the butter mixture and stir on low until just barely combined. Do not over-mix.
  6. Fold in the craisins, chocolate chips, and toffee bits until well combined.
  7. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes until firmed up to a play-doh consistency. This will help prevent the cookies from spreading too much.
  8. Using an ice cream scoop, portion out 3 tablespoon mounds of dough on to a heavy-bottomed baking sheet. Keep dough balls at least 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake in the oven for about 12, or until golden brown on the outside and barely set on the inside.
  10. Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Notes

  • This is a highly adaptable recipe. You can sub in your favorite chocolate, nuts, and dried fruit easily.
  • Be sure butter is room temp and not too soft or hard out of the refrigerator.

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Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies

Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a layered dessert made in a sheet pan. A salty pretzel shortbread crust with butter and brown sugar. There is a soft and creamy peanut butter cup filling. The whole thing is topped with a chocolate chip brownie made from melted chocolate bars and chips. Adapted from ina garten's brownie recipe. This serves a crowd and is great for a party barbecue or gathering. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

This past weekend, I traveled to Orlando to visit family one last time before I’m due to crank out this baby. At 33 weeks pregnant, waddling around the airport with a wiggly toddler and a carry-on bag full of snacks, diapers, and a well worn copy of “Goodnight Moon” made me a sight to see. By the time we arrived to the sunshine state, Aimee was covered in Goldfish crumbs and chocolate, I was covered in Aimee’s Goldfish/chocolate drool, and we both were in desperate need of a little personal space.

Winding down the last few weeks of pregnancy is a lot like the last couple weeks of school before summer break. I have a never-ending checklist of things to do, things to buy, things to make, and things to wrap up. Baby items to purchase, baby room decor to hang, and a baby quilt to finish sewing. Recipes to test, blog posts to write, photos to take, and groceries to buy. Start a load of wash, make dinner, go to the grocery store again, and do more wash. Feed toddler, bathe toddler, play with toddler, change toddler’s diaper. Go to work, work out, go pee for the millionth time, and try to remember to shave legs/ bathe/ put on deodorant sometime before my husband comes home.

Never. Ending.

Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownie

Meanwhile, my pregnancy app on my phone keeps saying, “Relax! Put your feet up! Pamper yourself! You’re glowing!”

What? Is that supposed to be a joke? Ain’t nobody got time for that. And if by “glowing”, you mean “sweating like a pig” then OK, yes, you’re right.
 
My hand is tempted to write that being a mom or being pregnant is hard work because those are two incredibly true statements, but really what it boils down to is that being a grown up is tough stuff. People expect things of us, we expect things of ourselves, and with a to-do list longer than the Mississippi River, it’s easy to get bogged down. There’s no pause button, much less a rewind option, and life can sometimes just wear us in ways that affect us from the inside to the out. 
 
If you’re experiencing even a taste of this nowadays, take heart, because you are not alone. If you’re feeling behind on your check list, or even behind on life in general, you are not alone. Life is beautiful, but it’s also hard work and I think that sometimes we need to be okay with being a little bit of a mess. And when things get to feeling out of control, out of order, or out of service, we may just need to stop the grind and go back to what makes us happy for minute.
 
Kinda like these pretzel shortbread peanut butter brownies. Admittedly, these brownies will not help me fold another load of wash or soothe a crying baby or make my to-do list one inch shorter. But baking these buttery, fudgy, little bars of goodness and eating their warm crumbs straight from the pan alongside a big glass of milk feels a lot like a big hug from life. Some days, that’s just what we need.
 Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownie
So let’s break down these bars. We have a pretzel shortbread crust and a peanut butter cup filling, all topped with a dark, rich brownie and an extra sprinkling of chocolate chips. The shortbread is modified from my brown sugar shortbread cookies and the brownies are adapted from Ina Garten’s outrageous brownie recipe. The peanut butter filling tastes a lot like the inside of a Reese’s cup mixed with a little fairy dust and tiny food angels, which I think is pretty much the same thing as being next level delicious. Plus, this recipe makes a substantial batch of pretzel shortbread peanut butter brownies which makes it a shoo-in recipe for parties, a crowd, or even just a quiet weekend at home alone after a really hard week. The whole recipe can be whipped up in a food processor which makes cleanup a whole lot more simple than most other layered desserts.
 
Give pretzel shortbread peanut butter brownies a try and then just give yourself a mental pat on the back. You probably deserve both. 
 Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownie
 
 

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Pretzel Shortbread Peanut Butter Brownies

This bar has three layers that consist of a pretzel shortbread crust, a creamy peanut butter cup filling, and a rich, chocolate brownie on top. They are sweet, salty, decadent, and everything in between.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the pretzel shortbread

  • 4 ounces (about 2 cups) salted pretzel crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter

For the peanut butter filling

  • 3/4 cup of peanut butter (creamy or crunchy is fine)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 11/4 cup confectioners sugar

For the brownie

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 8 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup of mini chocolate chips, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan (15″x10″x1″) with parchment paper and spray the sides with baking spray.
  2. In a double boiler or a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, prep the brownies. Cut up butter and chocolate into small pieces and places these in the bowl, allowing to melt while you prepare the other layers of this bar. Be sure to check in on it every couple minutes or so, stirring as needed. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Keep on the stovetop only as long as the chocolate and butter is continuing to melt.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse pretzel crumbs until they are the consistency of sand. Add the flour, brown sugar, and salt, pulsing briefly to combine. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and pulse the food processor until a dry, crumbly dough comes together. This took about 1 minute of pulsing on my machine.
  4. Pat the dough out into the prepared jelly roll pan and bake in the oven for ten minutes.
  5. While pretzel shortbread is in the oven and the chocolate and butter is melting on the stovetop, combine the peanut butter and milk in the same bowl of your food processor. (It’s not necessary to wash it out yet- hooray!) Whiz in the food processor until smooth and combined. Add the confectioners sugar and pulse until thick, dry clumps come together. This mixture will appear similar to the inside of a peanut butter cup. Set aside in another bowl.
  6. Back in the same food processor bowl, add the eggs, vanilla, and sugar for your brownie layer. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and pulse to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the food processor and mix just until combined. Remove from machine and stir half of the chocolate chips in by hand.
  7. Sprinkle clumps of the peanut butter filling evenly over the top of the shortbread crust. Pour the brownie batter over top of the shortbread and peanut butter clumps and smooth out evenly in the pan. Your pan will be full. Sprinkle the remaining mini chocolate chips over the top of the batter.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, carefully rap the pan on the rack of the oven several times to help air to escape the pan. Continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted to the center comes out with barely moist clumps on it. Do not overbake.
  9. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes and then cool completely in the fridge before slicing.

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