samoa cookie bars

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Saturday morning a strange thing happened – someone knocked on the door.

This might not seem that strange to you, however, we live in a pretty quiet area and we know approximately zero people so we basically never get visitors. Like, ever.

And when we do, we follow a strict protocol involvng things like muting the TV and waiting for the person to leave.  This time, however, our front door was wide open and we were sitting in the living room (which is where the front door leads into) so I wasn’t confident that the whole “muting the TV” thing would work.

Unless we could also convince them that we were statues…

FH told me to “handle it” so I got up to assess the situation and there she was – standing no more than three feet tall, quite possibly the smallest Girl Scout I had ever seen.  Normally I am a firm believer of the “stranger danger” motto, but she was pretty small so I was pretty sure I could take her if things went south.

She mumbled something shyly about cookies and I assumed that in this case “handle it” meant to find any cash I had on hand and throw it at her in exchange for cookies, so I yelled for FH to get his wallet. If FH’s “handle it” meant for me to tell her to go away he was sadly mistaken, because who can say no to a little girl? No one.  Well maybe this guy could, but I don’t have any Knuckle Blasters so that’s not even an option.

Even if I could say “no” to a small child, I definitely couldn’t say no to cookies, especially since for the other 11 months out of the year I listen to FH go on and on about how much he loves samoas and how delicious they are. So I quickly purchased a box of Samoas from her and ran back inside, closing the door behind us to prevent any future incidents.

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FH hurried into the kitchen and ripped into them, took a bite, and… groaned?

It wasn’t the usual “these are so good” sound that you might hear when you eat your favorite cookie. It was a more whiny tone filled with dismay and dissatisfaction.

I asked him what was wrong, hoping for something cool like finding a finger or a dead bug or something like you hear about in those news stories. But, no. Nothing so exciting.

His “problem” was that just last week I made these samoa bars for him and apparently the flavor was still fresh in his mind and now he real samoa cookies, the ones that inspired the very bars that I made because he loved the cookies so much, are now “ruined” for him.

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His word, not mine.

I will admit that these bars are bit more “grown up” than their ancestors. Rather than just being a vessel to carry the caramel, this cookie layer is thicker than that of the original samoa with a bit more crunch and a more intense vanilla flavor. Meanwhile, the caramel layer is a bit more complex with a hint of saltiness, and the dark chocolate gives the perfect bit of bitter-sweet to compliment the sweet caramel and cookie.

Oh yes, and don’t let me forget the ground unicorns and cocaine, but those ingredients are optional.

So at the risk of ruining the legendary Girl Scout cookies for someone you love…

And at the risk of putting thousands of young girls out of business…

Give these bars a try.


Ground unicorns and cocaine optional.

samoa bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: One 9-by-13 pan


    For the cookie layer
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • For the caramel layer
  • 3.5 cups shredded coconut
  • 2 11-oz packages caramel bits
  • 3 Tablespoons whole milk or cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the chocolate drizzle
  • 6 oz dark chocolate (I used the Ghiradelli melting wafers)


    For the cookies:
  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and milk. Add flour and mix on low until just incorporated. It will be on the dry side.
  3. Pour out onto parchment paper and form into general rectangle shape. Roll close to 9 x 13” and transfer into 9 x 13 baking pan. Press into bottom of pan until it reaches the edges, leaving a slight lip on the edges.
  4. Poke holes in shortbread with a fork and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Cool completely in pan before topping.
  5. For the coconut/caramel layer:
  6. Toast the coconut by placing on a parchment-lined baking sheet and baking at 300F for about 15 minutes, stirring often to avoid burning. Coconut is done when it is a golden-brown color. Set aside to cool.
  7. Melt the caramel bits with the milk and salt per package directions, until smooth. Once metled, stir in the vanilla extract and the coconut.
  8. Pour onto the cookie layer, spreading into an even layer with a spatula and pressing down with your hands.
  9. For the chocolate layer:
  10. Melt chocolate at 50% power in the microwave starting for 1 minute, then continuing in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Drizzle over coconut layer and allow to cool completely. Once hardened, cut the cookies into bars and store at room temperature in an airtight container.

[ shorbread adapted from here]


soft pumpkin cookies

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It’s Friday, so let’s keep this short and sweet, shall we?

These soft, cakey pumpkin cookies really don’t need a story or explanation… then again, they didn’t need any icing either, but I gave it to them anyway because… why not?  Look how pretty they are with their adorable little icing stripes.

To recap:



Filled with pumpkin.

Covered in icing. (Optional, but way prettier)

If you’re still dying to read words, you can see words from me and many other talented bloggers over at A Periodic Table’s “Just One Question” project!

soft pumpkin cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: appx 20 cookies


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter,softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Continue beating to incorporate, another minute or so.
  4. Add flour mixture and beat just to combine.
  5. Drop tablespoon-sized cookies onto baking sheet, slightly flattening the top, and bake until set and edges begin to turn golden; about 12 minutes


If you would like to ice these cookies, I used my usual cinnamon-bun icing - Just take about a cup of powdered sugar and add a bit of vanilla extract (maybe 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, depending on your personal preference), and just enough milk to thin it to the consistency of your liking (1 to 2 tablespoons of milk should do the trick) If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add more milk. TADAA!

mini chocolate chip cookie cups

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These tasty bite-sized treats take your ordinary chocolate chip cookie and turn it into a deep, chewy, cookie cup.  Plus, they’re perfectly bite-sized (hello, portion control!).  In case you, like me, are unable to eat just a bite of a giant cookie.  Or a regular-sized cookie.  Or, of anything…


Yes, that’s me texting the BF …  Self control, I have none.

So yes, the beauty with these is that you don’t have to try to limit yourself to just a bite.  Instead, just to one cookie… or maybe two.  You can always stuff the rest in the freezer for convenient snacks for the future you.

I also took the opportunity to stuff a bunch of chocolate into the middles of them to make them like little molten-chocolate-stuffed cookies once you reheat them in the microwave… which is totally normal.  Because, everyone reheats their cookies before they eat them, right?

Although the BF seemed to think it was “too much” chocolate, as if that’s a thing!

I borrowed this recipe from Shannon over at A Periodic Table, you can get the recipe there or you can see it below :)

mini chocolate chip cookie cups

Yield: 24 cookie cups


  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips*


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375?F; lightly grease the cups of a mini-muffin pan
  2. 2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the sugars and butter together until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape down the bowl and add vanilla and continue beating 30 more seconds until incorporated.
  4. 3. Add the flour mixture in 2 parts, beating on low just until incorporated. Gently fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.* Place dough in refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes.
  5. 4. Once chilled, remove dough from refrigerator and form into 1-inch balls. Place a dough ball in the muffin tin, pressing down to flatten the tops. Continue with the rest of the dough until each muffin tin has dough in it.
  6. 5. Bake for maybe 7-12 minutes, checking them at the 7 minute mark for doneness. Let the cookies cool in the muffin tin on a metal rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack to continue cooling. If you have any issues getting them out you can wedge a thin knife or spatula between the cookie and the tin to loosen it.


* Alternatively, you can press a large chocolate chip or a couple of them into the middle of each cookie dough ball once it is in the muffin tin

[ Recipe from A Periodic Table ]

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cookies & cream krispies

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We are no strangers to rice krispy treats in this house, they are one of the BF’s favorite foods.  Especially when he gets to use cocoa krispies for them.

These bars were basically made for us, combining his love of rice krispy treats and my deep love of Oreos unite to create an amazing cookie-filled krispy treat.  BF made them all by himself (well, with the help of my owl apron), and they were delicious.

aaron cocoa krispy treats

I noticed that (possibly due to Oreo cookie magic?) they stay fresh way longer than regular krispy treats.  We kept eating them all week long.  After they were gone, I may or may not have sniffed the container.

They’re that good.

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Cookies & Cream Krispies

Printable Recipe

  • 1 (10.5 ounce) bag of mini marshmallows
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups Cocoa Krispies (could use regular crisp rice cereal, if desired)
  • 3 cups Oreos, coarsely chopped

1.  Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with saran wrap, then grease with butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

2.  Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat.  Once melted, add the marshmallows and stir with a silicone spatula until melted.

*Alternatively, you can melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave, then add marshmallows and microwave until melted, stirring every 30 seconds or so.

3.  Add cocoa krispies and chopped cookies to marshmallow mixtures and stir until well-mixed.  You are going to need all of your arm muscles for this, so I hope you’ve been working out!

4.  Press mixture into prepared 9 x 13-inch pan and set aside to cool and firm up, about an hour or two.  (Or about 30 minutes in the fridge).  Once cooled, cut into bars and enjoy!  They will keep for about a week in an airtight container at room temperature.




strawberry and cream cookies

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So, clearly I’ve been on a bit of a strawberry kick lately.  I made my strawberry shortcake ice cream, this strawberry tart (recipe yet to come) for mother’s day, and these glorious things: strawberries and cream cookies.

Yes, they are as magical as they sound.

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These soft, pillowy cookies are filled with dried strawberries and white chocolate chips, these are guaranteed to please.  I’m not normally big on white chocolate, but I forgot to check for yogurt chips at the store, which would work just as well.  The white chocolate chips lend more of a “cream” flavor to these cookies though, and I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

The only thing that I regret is not putting more strawberries in, but unfortunately I lost more than anticipated in my, ahem, “quality control” phase.  I also would leave the strawberry chunks larger for the next batch.  I have rectified the issue of the missing strawberries in the recipe below, which should have enough strawberries to satisfy even the biggest of cravings.

I found my dried strawberries at Trader Joes.  You will need at least two bags, one for the cookies and one for yourself.

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Strawberry & Cream Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen small cookies

Printable Recipe

  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • ¾ cup brown sugar

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 1 large egg, room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¾ to 1 cup dried strawberries*, chopped

  • ½ cup white chocolate or yogurt chips

Make the dough:

1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.

2.  In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth.  Scrape down the bowl and add the white and brown sugars, cream together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed.  Add the egg and vanilla to the butter and beat until combined.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and continue beating about one minute more.

down the sides as needed..

3.  Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and pulse on low just until incorporated, being careful not to overmix.  Stir in chopped strawberries* and white chocolate chips.

*You could also reserve some of the chopped strawberries to press into the cookie tops once scooped to ensure even distribution.

4. 2 options here:

- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the surface of the dough, and chill for 1 – 2 hours.  Scoop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and bake following directions below.

- Scoop cookie dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet that will fit into your freezer, gently flatten the tops of the cookies and cover with plastic wrap.  Freeze for 1 to 2 hours and either bake (on a new, room-temperature, parchment-lined baking sheet) according to directions below or transfer to a freezer-safe bag for longer storage.

To bake:

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.

2.  Bake chilled cookie dough 8 minutes (refrigerated) to 11 minutes (frozen), until the cookies are puffed and the edges are just golden.

3.  Remove from oven and let cookies cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

*Baked cookies can be stored up to 10 days in an airtight container.


[ Cookie base recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction ]



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