Monster Cookies

Monster Cookies

Folks, I just threw a heckuva party.

Adam Sandler wasn’t kidding when he called Chanukah “eight crazy nights.” And last night, I had all of our relatives (and believe me, there are a ton of them) over for our annual family party. And it was so much fun. But I think I’m going to be recovering for at least a week.

For one thing, children were literally pouring out of every floorboard in my house. When did I get so lucky? I have my own brood, and then some super-delightful nieces and nephews, cousins…they’re everywhere. And all but one range in age between 7 and 2. At one point, I actually saw a latke plastered to the ceiling. Kids in college don’t get this wild.

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Linzer Cookie Bars

Linzer Cookie Bars

Do you ever wake up with a crick in your neck?

I never used to. I honestly never felt much pain at all in my now squandered youth. But these days, this persistent and quite literal pain in my neck just pops up most mornings and reminds me of my mortality. If I try to stretch it out or massage it, people just look at me funny. And since my mornings start with tons of students, it’s better to leave well enough alone.

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M & M Cookies

M & M Cookies

Some things kind of sneak up on you. Like gray hairs. Boy, did I get upset the first time I saw an entirely white hair sticking up out of my head. And you know, those babies don’t have the same texture as your real hair. They’re wiry and stand tall, holding a giant sign that shrieks, “Look at me! Time is winning! Gravity is losing! You’re older!”

Speaking of older, my kids getting older is also one of those parts of my life that is creeping up on me against my will. The other day I was shocked to look at my tall, lanky son. He was the size of a loaf of bread, like, yesterday. He weighed 6 pounds! What happened? His growing resemblance to my husband is kind of startling.

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Peanut Butter (Reduced) Sugar Cookie Bars

Peanut Butter (Reduced) Sugar Cookie Bars

A few months ago, a reader wrote in to ask if I ever make recipes that are lower in sugar. To be honest, I typically don’t. My dessert approach is extreme, but to clarify, my lifestyle doesn’t reflect what I do on this site.

I love dessert. And so when I enjoy it, which is every day, I enjoy it at its best. But I also do so in moderation. Every recipe on this site gets tested by yours truly, but after those initial bites, the rest goes to other people. Sometimes I eat quite a bit more than a few bites, or something is just too amazing to give away. But I also temper that with lean proteins, veggies, and a daily and extremely rigorous exercise schedule.

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Snowballs

Snowballs

Now that the holiday season is officially underway, I feel it only right to tell you that I don’t celebrate Christmas. In case Passover Week last year didn’t tip you off or anything.

But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying all this season has to offer. When I was a teenager, I’d hire myself out as a carol singer, and I still love those songs. In my childhood, I sang in the chorus of The Nutcracker every year, another beloved holiday season memory. And I have never, ever turned down a holiday cookie.

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Black And White Cookie Dough Fudge Bars

Black and White Cookie Dough Fudge Bars

I’m about to go on a little rant here. Y’all ready?

I have very strong feelings about food safety. A few years ago, Nestle released a batch of tainted cookie dough and a few people ate it raw. One woman died. And Nestle closed their plant to clean it and disinfect it, but the bottom line is, somebody made a huge mistake.

The same thing has happened with bags of salad mix. I mean, really. Tainted spinach? And peanut butter. How did salmonella get into peanut butter? And of course, eggs and raw meats are always an issue.

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Cookies And Cream Cookie Cake

Cookies and Cream Cookie Cake

After doing this baking blogging thing for a little while now, I’ve noticed something about people and their cravings.

As a whole, people like chocolate more than fruit. They especially like peanut butter with chocolate more than fruit, and I agree on that point a bazillion percent. While opinions differ in regards to many cookies, most people can’t resist a really good chocolate chip cookie.

And even fewer people will turn their noses up at anything with cookies and cream. In fact, whenever I make anything that involves Oreos, I have to hide in a corner while a stampede (comprised in part by people I don’t know that well, if at all) grabs at what I’ve done and totally eliminates its existence.

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Chocolate Caramel Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Chocolate Caramel Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Last week, my daughters went to the pumpkin patch with their preschool. Yep, while I was working crazy hours to finish grading papers for first quarter, they were wandering around a farm, gazing at chickens and goats and picking pumpkins. Oh, to be four years old again.

When my eldest daughter got home, she shoved her pumpkin at me and said in her serious little-girl way, “My teacher says you have to make soup.”

I took the pumpkin, sighed (this is an annual struggle as I literally cook the fruits of my childrens’ labor), and said, “How about cookies?”

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Cookies And Cream…Cookies!

Cookies and Cream…Cookies!

Yesterday, I was humming to myself while making ganache when the phone rang. It was my mom. Here’s how the conversation went:

Mom: How are you?

Me: Great! I’m making ganache.

Mom: Why?

Me: For a pie.

Mom: Oh. What’s the pie for?

Me: I’m a baking blogger. I bake stuff.

Mom: Right.

It’s a pretty frequent conversation that we have. My mom, a talented and fantastically strong woman, is not a baker. She sees it as a practical necessity at times, but otherwise, she never just bakes because it’s fun, whereas I bake all the time because I love thinking of dessert ideas and seeing where they go. That’s usually the primary reason I hop into the kitchen to create things.

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Pumpkin Spice Dipped Oreos

Pumpkin Spice Dipped Oreos

Oops. I did it again.

Yes, just like that noteworthy song, here’s another hit for you! Because who can ever say no to a dipped Oreo? I can’t. You shouldn’t, either.

Especially when the Oreo in question is the limited edition Pumpkin Spice flavor. And I put a cute little candy pumpkin on top! Sorry, but the cuteness factor here is getting to me. I can’t resist my own creation.

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