12 Days of Recipes {Day 2}

Here is the first cookie recipe in my 12 Days of Recipes series.


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And it is a keeper!  The creamy butterscotch blends beautifully with the salted pretzels.




And pudding makes everything better.




I baked up a storm this weekend and have everything hiding in my freezer to pass along to friends this holiday season.




As usual, I spent today making food and getting prepped for the week ahead.  I took all of your suggestions from last weekend’s post when planning this week and definitely kept things simple.




But I will have some great new Crockpot recipes for you in the mix!

BTW, I am SO HAPPY that you guys are as excited about this recipe blitz as I am!

Or maybe I’m just happy because I made it to yoga this morning : )



Meal Planning 12/16/13

Monday: Crockpot Butter Chicken


Tuesday: Premade Turkey Burgers


Wednesday: Cajun Jambalaya


Thursday: The BOY’s Making Dinner


Friday: TBD



Butterscotch Pudding Cookies

From Sugar n’ Spice Gals



1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup. quick oats

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 (3.4oz.) box instant butterscotch pudding

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup crushed pretzels



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugars and butter.  Add the eggs, vanilla and beat till light and fluffy.

Mix in the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and pudding until thoroughly combined, try not to overmix.  Stir in the butterscotch chips and crushed pretzels.

Roll into about 1 inch balls and drop on your cookie sheet*.  Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and store in a sealed container.


*Note: I recommend silpats for easy clean up!

Have Leftover Pretzels? Love Cookie Dough?

I do!  I do!




And since a friend found me a whole bag of circular pretzels, I don’t need them for hugs and kisses candies.  I knew that I had seen a few pretzel sandwich recipes around the holidays and this one definitely caught my eye.  Complete with cookie dough and sprinkles…how could it not?




So yesterday afternoon, I woke up from my nap at 2pm, just as the snow started to fall.  Instead of using my big mixer, I went with the handheld one for easy clean up.




The ‘dough’ was super fluffy!  Eggless cookie dough = PURE danger!




I think I made my sandwiches a little heavy on the filling, but like I said, I really do love me some cookie dough!



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I put all of my sandwiches in the freezer, licked the leftovers straight from the bowl, and went upstairs to get ready for the night.




A little over 30 minutes later, I got to the fun and colorful portion!





I melted some white and dark chocolate and used an assortment of decorations including sprinkles, chocolate chips, and Andes peppermint chips.


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All of the pretzels turned out so bright and adorable!




And they taste unbelievably sweet with the creamy cookie dough center and a crunchy pretzel ‘crust’.




With the outdoors looking so bleak…




It’s fun to have some bright colors in the house.



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Looking for More Cookie Dough Recipes to Love?!


Vegan Cookie Dough Balls

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

Peanut Butter Cookie Dip

Monster Cookie Dough Dip *The Girl Who Age Everything

Cookie Dough Nut Butter *Oh She Glows!



Cookie Dough Pretzel Bites

From Two Peas and Their Pod



For the cookie dough:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup all-purpose Gold Medal flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips


2 cups milk chocolate chips

Sprinkles, if desired



1. To make the cookie dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Slowly add milk and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in the mini chocolate chips. Roll the cookie dough into little balls, about a teaspoon each. Sandwich between two pretzels and put on a plate or cookie sheet. Freeze the pretzel bites for 30 minutes.

2. Melt the chocolate chips, using the microwave (30 second intervals) or a double boiler. Dip half of each pretzel sandwich into the chocolate. Sprinkle pretzel bites with sprinkles, if using. Return the tray to the freezer and chill until the chocolate sets. Store the Cookie Dough Pretzel Bites in the refrigerator until serving time



Do you like Cookie Dough?  What is your favorite recipe?


I love cookie dough and will never forget calling my mom in college to ask for the cookie dough recipe on the back of the nestle package.  My roommates and I  had no chocolate chips and needed a cookie dough fix!

Where For Out Thou Circular Pretzels?

Is it wrong for me to tease you with pictures like this?





If the answer is yes, then I sincerely apologize!  I had a fantastic first day in Florida.  I spent some quality time catching up with my aunt and my grandpa!  I took a dip in the pool, briefly trying out my new goggles and then came back inside to read, actually finishing my book.




All in all, it was a pretty great day!  Along with reading, resting, and eating at the deli, I lugged my laptop down here so that I can catch up on emails (I’ve been awful recently) and some blogging.  Not at the expense of my vitamin D needs, of course, but I thought I would have some free time at night to catch you up on all my holiday baking.

Which brings me to this very important question…


Where Have All the Circular Pretzels Gone?


I searched near and far, high and low, this store and that store, plus another store and could not find circular pretzels for this year’s holiday chocolates.  I’m sure had I planned in advance I could have ordered some online, but since I found them so easily last year, I didn’t think twice.  I had some help from my mom in locating a non-buttered square pretzel, which was a successful stand in.




Afterwards, I found football shaped pretzels that would have be fun.  Maybe next time!




I spent an episode of Grey’s Anatomy unwrapping Hershey kisses.  I love variety when it comes to these festive sweets which means mixing different kisses and M&M flavors.  This year’s kisses included milk chocolate, dark chocolate, hugs, and white chocolate peppermint (these are the BEST!).  The Grey’s drama continued and my wrapper pile just kept growing!




When my show was over, I took my bowl of kisses into the kitchen.


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Then got to work…quick hands mean action shots are hard to get.






This year’s M&M flavors included…




Plain (what was left after the BOY discovered them), mint, white chocolate peppermint, and coconut!




I mix and matched all of the kisses with all of the M&M’s for some fun flavors and colorful candies!








It is a-okay if your mouth is watering right now because this simple recipe is BIG on taste!




I loaded up my chocolate pretzels with some holiday bark to share with my coworkers.  It’s amazing how simple these are to make yet wherever I bring them, EVERYONE loves them!






I ended up with plenty of candy to share.  After making the bags for my coworkers, I added some to my already full holiday tins.




And of course brought a bag down here with me to Florida!

But the big question remains…how many will be left when I return home. The BOY has already asked which containers ‘hiding’ in the freezer are on and off limits?  And he has snuck into his parent’s tin of cookies TWICE!




At least we know if a big snow storm hits, he’ll have plenty to eat!



Chocolate Circle Rings Squares



Circle or square pretzels (in a pinch, the regular shape will work too!)

Hershey’s kisses

M&M’s (get creative with your flavor combinations)



Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place pretzels on baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Unwrap kisses and place them on top of pretzels.

Bake for 4-5 minutes until chocolate is soft. Look for chocolate to start to ‘sweat’ and if you are not sure, try a tester M&M.  The ugly ones are perfect for snacks and samples!  (***NOTE: Milk chocolate will take longer to melt while white chocolate will melt quickly).

Remove from oven and immediately place an M&M on top of the chocolate pushing it down. Refrigerate until set.

Store in airtight container in the fridge of the freezer.



Other Varieties…


Turtle Pretzels





Candy Corn Hugs with Pumpkin Kisses



Sweet New Year!

Wow, I can’t thank ya’ll enough for your kind words and encouragement after yesterday’s post!  I am quickly moving past this incident because I have way too many good recipes to share, and let’s be honest…I always having something to say.  But, I really do appreciate you reading my post and taking the time to comment.  One of the best things about blogging for me is that writing helps me think about and work through my feelings.  It also helps me keep things in perspective!  This perspective, combined with the joy I feel every day working with kids and teaching them new skills, helps me keep my priorities straight.  And today…my priority is sharing with you 2 overdue sweet recipes that I made for our holiday celebration at the beginning of the week.


The first one I discovered on one of the best dessert blogs out there, Cookies & Cups.  I was really hoping to find an apple recipe to serve Monday night, and these Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars looked perfect!  The original recipe comes from Paula Deen, which is usually a good thing!


I did change one little piece of the recipe, the crust!




Instead of using a pastry crust, I made a pretzel crust for my bottom layer.




It added a salty touch, which was delish!


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I had some assistance in the kitchen.  The BOY was on hand to core the apples, cover them in cinnamon/sugar, and take some photos while my hands were dirty.


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He also made the streusel topping, so I definitely owe him a shout out on the blog.  He took a few more pictures while I quickly assembled the bars and placed them in the oven.






Just an FYI…I baked the bars 30 minutes before the center was set.




I drizzled caramel ice cream sauce across the top of the bars and then refrigerated them for a few hours before heading off to my parents for dinner.



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It was hard not to dig right in immediately!  Especially since I tried the pretzel crust, I was curious to see how it all turned out.  But the bars needed time to set, and I had another recipe to work on (that recipe is coming up tomorrow).




Confession…I did cut the bars Monday afternoon and my mom, brother, and I snuck a few bites for a taste test.




We officially served the bars Monday night, and they were a huge hit!




I mean…what’s not to love???





I know I’m a little late, but wishing everyone a sweet new year!




Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Inspired by Cookies & Cup and adapted from Paula Deen



2 cups crushed pretzels

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel topping, recipe follows

1/2 cup caramel topping



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine pretzels, 1/2 cup sugar, and melted butter.  Stir until well combined. Press evenly into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 1/2 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Streusel topping. Bake 30 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.  BTW, this is the hardest part!


Streusel Topping:

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients.