Nutty White Chocolate Cherry Cookies


It’s Leftovers Club Day! This month I was paired with Sandra from Meadows Cooks. I decided to stick with what I know and make her some awesome cookies. I know that everyone is looking for healthy recipes this month, but I just couldn’t help myself. If it helps, white chocolate isn’t actually chocolate. No? Whatever. Use your cheat day to indulge.

IMG_6358Recipe: Nutty White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Makes 2 1/2 dozen

What You Need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup macademia nuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 oz dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

What To Do:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 300  F.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, salt, and baking soda.

3. Add in the butter, vanilla, and eggs until evenly incorporated.

4. Gently fold in the nuts, cherries, and white chocolate chips.

5. Drop dough by the rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased baking sheet.

6. Bake for 15 minutes.

leftovers-logo1Want to see what all my friends made? Follow the links below! Happy Thursday!

Cranberry Almond Shortbread Tartlets – Meadows Cooks

Spiced Pecans – Lacey L Moody

Mud Pie Stuffed Oreo Brownie Cupcakes – Frugal Foodie Mama

Strawberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies – Cooking with Milton

Banana Bread – Recipe for Random

The Best Dang Granola Bars Ever – Sugar Dish Me

Honey Ginger Candied Grapefruit Peels – Pinch and Swirl

Blood Orange Rosemary Olive Oil Bread – Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

Meyer Lemon Macarons – Joanne Eats Well With Others

Homemade Sriracha – Mind Over Batter

Roasted Banana Muffins – Cooking in Stilettos

Chocolate, Banana, and Buttermilk Muffins – Omeletta

Maple-Buttermilk Muffins – Low-Acid Kitchen

Pecan Bars – Food Ramblings

Spicy Cracked Pepper and Romano Cheese Crackers – Live Bake Love

Homemade Cinnamon Granola – Take A Bite Out of Boca

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Hojaldre (and a 2013 Recap!)

2013 is coming to a close tonight. Can you believe it? Although my year started out rough, this has probably been one of the best years of my life. I have gotten to do so many things: interview film stars, go to some great concerts, make some incredible new friends and eat some incredible food. If you follow me on Instagram, you know about most of these great moments. Here’s a quick look at some in case you missed them.

945477_4667262729328_1818480560_nIn April of this year, I did press coverage of the Dallas International Film Festival. It was probably the best two weeks of my life. I watched dozens of movies (for free!) and got to interview some outstanding talent. Above is my favorite picture from the festival that another writer took. The woman I am talking to is actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead. She’s laughing because I am telling her my 9 year old godson will only watch one of her movies with the commentary on.

1000218_10200705848358372_1886857620_n I was actually lucky enough to meet a ton of people over the course of this year. Two of my favorite encounters were with The Hangover star Ken Jeong when I went to New York this summer, and Jerry Springer in early November.

IMG_2961 IMG_2992This year has also been all about foodie adventures. The best meal I have had this year was at a place called Whiskey Cake. The first picture is of the amazing soup and sandwich I had there, before splitting their namesake whiskey cake and almost crying because of how delicious it was. The second picture is from a few weeks ago when my roommate and I almost got into a car accident because I screamed when we passed the Ben & Jerry’s store. She immediately whipped the car around so that I could try the Anchorman flavor that I could not find at the grocery store.

leftovers-logo1A big part of my year food-wise was joining The Leftovers Club. The club is a monthly nationwide food exchange. Each month I am paired up with yet another incredible cook and we exchange baked goods and other random creations through the mail. Although some of my inventions haven’t been that great, the best part about it is getting to meet (if only virtually) some amazing people that inspire me to be a better chef and a better person. Most of the other members are older. They have husbands and beautiful children and spend their days making some of the most delicious things I have ever tasted. Yet somehow, they all take time out to talk to me. They ask me about Chase, they send me tips when I can’t figure out a recipe, and they make me laugh on days when nothing in or out of the kitchen is going right. If you want to check out the blogs of some of the fantastic people I have gotten to know this year, here are some of their blogs.

Bakeaholic Mama

Frugal Foodie Mama

A Zesty Bite

Healthy Delicious

Notes From A Messy Kitchen

Savory Simple

Sugar Dish Me

Pineapple & Coconut
1377040_10200572242658313_487514687_nOne of the most significant things that happened this year is when my Chocolate Covered Espresso Cookies I made for The Leftovers Club got published in the November issue of All You Magazine. If I have to be completely honest, I only entered because the prize was free Ben & Jerry’s stuff. So when a swag bag full of ice cream coupons came in the mail, I was in heaven. Then 7 months later, my mom was reading All You on her tablet when my face popped up. One of the things on my bucket list was to get something I wrote or photographed published, so it was a super huge deal.


There were so many things that happened this year that it would bore you to death to look at pictures of them all. At 23 years old, I learned to ride a bike. I bought my first car. I signed the lease to my first apartment. I went to some incredible concerts, spent tons of hours in a movie theatre, and laughed so hard that at times my ribs were sore for weeks. That last part is thanks in part to the new friends I met this year, one of which is the reason the recipe below exists.


Last month, one of my closest friends (and the person who gave me this on Christmas, if you’re keeping track) walked into work and asked me a simple question “Jalapenos or no jalapenos?” I had no idea what I was in for so I replied with, “Either.” “Jalapenos it is, then.” When I returned to my station something was wrapped in a napkin and taped shut. When I opened it, I saw this weird pastry looking thing, but it definitely smelled like meat. Having no idea what was to come, I bit it. It was one of the most delicious (and one of the spiciest) things I have ever put in my mouth. I instantly texted my friend, asking what this magic snack was called and where he had gotten it. The pastry is called hojaldre, and the response to the second part is that he made it with his dad. Yes. All the yes.


One of the favorite memories of the entire year didn’t include celebrities. It didn’t include concert-going (unless you include me dancing to the BeeGees in a kitchen as a show), and it didn’t include getting dressed up for yet another adventure. It was me in my sweatpants learning how to make hojaldre from a father and son that I feel so lucky to know. Therefore, my last post of the year will be teaching you this recipe that means so much to me.


Recipe: Hojaldre

Makes 12 pastries

What You Need:

  • 1 & 1/2 packages Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
  • flour for dusting, rolling dough
  • 9 oz. deli-style ham
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/4 cup jalapenos, canned, diced, and drained
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded


    What To Do:

    1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.

    2. Empty the cheese into a large bowl and mix with two tablespoons flour. Empty the deli meat onto a large cutting board and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

    3. Remove a pastry sheet from the box and generously flour both sides. Carefully unfold the sheet so it is completely flat and flour each side again. Set aside. Repeat this process with the other two sheets.

    4. Take one sheet and roll the dough out until it is thin and roughly the dimensions of the baking sheet you are using. Using a sharp knife, cut off any dough that does not lay completely flat on the tray.

    5. Crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Using a pastry brush, or a paintbrush if you are getting classy like we were, line the edges of the dough with egg. This will serve as an adhesive for the nest layer.

    6. Sprinkle 1/2 the cheese in the space between the egg border. Top with half the ham, making sure to evenly distribute it. Top with half the jalapenos.

    7. Sprinkle 1/3 of the sugar onto the ham and cheese layer. Set baking dish aside.

    ** When adding the next layer, it is easiest to gently fold it accordion-style and then lift it onto the bottom layer before unfolding. This makes it more difficult for it to break when you are laying it down**

    8. Repeat steps 4 – 7 , pressing the edges of your new layer to the bottom in order to seal the dough.

    9. Place your final pastry sheet onto the top, once again carefully sealing the edges. Brush the entire surface with egg. Generously sprinkle with the remaining sugar.

    10. Bake for 40 minutes. Let the pastry cool (it has been so cold out in Texas that we took it outside) completely before you attempt to cut it.

    11. Use a pizza cutter to cut the pastry into thirds longways. Turn the pan and slice these into fourths (to make 12).

    12. While I enjoy eating hojaldre right out of the fridge because I am impatient, you can warm yours for 35 seconds in the microwave if you want a warmer snack.

    13. Store leftovers in an airtight container and place in the fridge.

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Double Chocolate Peanut Butter & Peppermint Cookies


I am so excited for Christmas this year. I am pretty sure I bought more presents than I ever have before. There is something so special to me about the thought that goes behind selecting gifts for people. The present doesn’t even have to cost any money. It isn’t about what you get, it’s about spending the holidays with the people who matter. This year I have encountered so many new people who are already so incredibly important to me, especially friends I made at the job I started over the summer. While several of them and I are exchanging actual gifts, I am working hard to develop some holiday-themed snacks to share with the rest my newfound crew.


Anyone who is close to me will tell you how much I love couponing. My favorite source is Ibotta, a free app that pays you back when you buy a specific product. I discovered through the app that Jif now makes spreadable chocolate- peanut butter hybrids and immediately stopped what I was doing to go purchase all of them. The whipped peanut butter and peppermint one is insanely good and is the icing on these chocolate delights.


Double Chocolate Peanut Butter & Peppermint Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

What You Need:

  • 2 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint
  • 1/2 cup Jif Whipped Peanut Butter and Peppermint Chocolate Spread


What To Do:

1. Mix the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl.

2. Add in all other ingredients except for the peppermint and the Jif.

3. Sprinkle in half of the crushed peppermint and mix until fully combined.

4. Refridgerate dough for at least one hour.

5. Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

6. Scoop dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet by the heaping teaspoon.

7. Gently flatten the dough by pressing it lightly with your fingers.

8. Bake for seven minutes.

9. Let cool completely.

10. Spread a generous spoonful of the chocolate spread onto each cookie until it creates an even coating. Top each cookie with the remaining peppermint pieces.

11. Refrigerate the cookies until you are ready to eat them. The icing will never fully harden, so be careful when storing the cookies in containers.


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Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies


Remember that one time I forgot that Leftovers Club posts were due? I have no idea how this week snuck up on me. It has been a busy few weeks I suppose. Anyway, after attempting several recipes to no avail, I came up with these cookies. They are soft and fluffy chocolate chip cookies stuffed with mini marshmallows. I had to make several batches before I just got them right, but even the wonky ones where the marshmallow evaporated in the oven still tasted amazing.

IMG_6270Recipe: Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

Makes 14 cookies

What You Need:

  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows, frozen
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsaltd butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

What To Do:

1. Mix together the melted butter, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl or electric mixer.

2. Add in all other ingredients except for the marshmallows.

3. Chill dough in the fridge for at least an hour.

4. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

5. Flatten one tablespoon of the dough onto a flat surface. Place 3 to 4 mini marshmallows on top of the dough and then cover them with another tablespoon of dough. Shape into a ball and place onto a greased cookie sheet.

6. Place entire cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. (Here’s Why: If you do not chill the dough balls, the edges will brown too much and the bottoms will darken. I learned from experience. Also, if the marshmallows are not completely cold, they evaporate into the dough when baking!)

7. Bake for 12 minutes.

8. Let the cookies cool for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

leftovers-logo1Here’s links to all my friends fabulous posts this month:

Peppermint Patty Cookies – Food Ramblings

Rosemary Roasted Almonds –  In the Loop

Salt-N-Pepper Cookies – Joanne Eats Well With Others

Ginger Granola with Red Quinoa – The Low-Acid Kitchen

English Toffee – Omeletta

Caramel Apple Cookies – Live, Bake, Love

Pumpkin Swirl Raisin Bread – Mind Over Batter

Candy Cane Kiss Cups – Sugar Dish Me

Oatmeal in a Little Black Dress – Pinch & Swirl

Rum-Soaked Chocolate Chip Cookies – Cooking in Stilettos

Orange Marshmallows – The Spiced Life

Pumpkin Rugalach – Take A Bite Out Of Boca

Orange-Bourbon Cranberry Sauce Brownies – Notes From A Messy Kitchen

Andes Peppermint Bark – Lacey Moody

German Burnt Sugar Almonds – Souffle Bombay






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White Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

IMG_6104I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving full of family, fun, and food! I love Thanksgiving because my whole family gets together. We eat, watch the football game, then attempt to recreate it outside. We then make sandwiches with the leftover turkey and have dessert. It is truly a day full of eating. Then a few of the women in my family go get our exercise by heading out to the Black Friday sale. If you have never been to the midnight event, it is truly crazy. We bring walkie talkies so we can let someone know when we have been separated and if we have seen anything crazy we would like to share. Ex. Last year we witnessed a boy in his late teens crying as he cradled a Easy Bake Oven. Anyway, since the majority of our Christmas shopping is done this early morning, I feel quite festive and made these. They’re so simple, but look fancy (and are delicious!)


Recipe: White Chocolate Dipped Peppermint Sandwich Cookies

What You Need:

  • 1 package sandwich cookies (I used Mega Stuffed Oreos)
  • 12 oz. white chocolate Almond Bark
  • 1/4 cup crushed peppermint (I used Peppermint Pigsy Dust from World Market)

    What To Do:

    1. Melt almond bark in a microwave safe bowl in 90 second increments, stirring after each one. Do this until chocolate is completely smooth.

    2. Carefully roll each cookie in the melted chocolate until it is totally covered. If any places get uncovered when you lift them, you can use the back of a spatula to recover the holes.

    3. Place each cookie onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

    4. Sprinkle peppermint evenly onto the top of each cookie.

    5. Refrigerate cookies for 1 hour, or until the white chocolate is solid.

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Almond Joyful Cupcakes

IMG_6211Wednesdays have officially become movie night. Movie night started after I was obsessively talking about my love for actor Paul Dano to my friend Jason, who may quite possibly love film even more than I do. When he asked what I thought of Dano in There Will Be Blood and I mentioned that I hadn’t seen it, a beautiful weekly tradition was born. Wednesday nights I go to Jason’s apartment and we gather his other roommates to have “Family Dinner”, watch a movie I have never seen, and bake something. I really, really wanted to make these cupcakes for them last week, and then found out they all hate Almond Joys. It was devastating. (Luckily, they all enjoyed the s’mores cupcakes I brought instead.) Hopefully you love Almond Joys more than the boys do, because I really wanted to share this easy recipe with you today.

IMG_6215Recipe: Almond Joyful Cupcakes

Makes 20 cupcakes

What You Need:

  • 1 box Golden Vanilla cake mix
  • 1 tub Betty Crocker Almond Joy frosting
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut


What To Do:

1. Mix your cake mix according to the packaging.

2. Add in coconut extract.

3. Bake. (Mine took 18 minutes).

4. After letting the cupcakes cool, Spread a thick layer of frosting onto eack cupcake and sprinkle coconut on top.

5. Refridgerate for 30 minutes before eating so that the coconut can firmly stick to each cupcake.

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Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Cranberry Filling


If you are following me on Instagram, you know that last month I visited the Texas Veggie Fair for the first time and spent the entire day with my mouth full of vegan cupcakes. While I definitely am not vegan, I loved finding soft and delicious baked goods that contained no eggs or milk. I immedaitely came home and started researching how to make my own. I even started off small and made these Vegan Sweet Potato Cranberry Cookies. What? You’ve got to keep it festive! That’s why these cupcakes have homemade cranberry sauce in the middle. You’re welcome.


I love how unassuming the cupcakes look when they come out of the oven. Besides some teeny dark red spots, they just look like standard chocolate cupcakes. The bite into fruit is a total surprise. The cranberry tastes amazing with the moist cake, too. I am definitely making these again for Thanksgiving.

IMG_6141Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes with Cranberry Filling

What You Need for the Filling:

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

What to Do:

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar and lemon juice.

2. Add in the cranberries and cinnamon, stirring frequently, until the berries begin to make a popping noise and begin to become sauce like.

3. Remove from the heat and set aside.

What You Need for the Vegan Cupcakes:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sdugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2. In a mixer or large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. Add in the coffee, vanilla, and olive oil until well combined.

4. Fill up cupcake liners 1/3 of the way with the chocolate batter. Top each of these with a heaping teaspoon of cranberry filling. Use the remainder of the batter to cover the cranberry completely. Do this until all the batter is gone.

5. Bake for 18 minutes.

6. Let cool and then frost with chocolate icing. (Confession time: I used pre-packaged chocolate icing because I was running out of time. I originally planned to use a cranberry buttercream, but it was a disaster.)

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