Tag Archives: cookies

What music do mummies listen too?

Wrap Music.

This Halloween joke was brought to you by Brent J. from Upper Arlington, Ohio

Thanks Brent!

I apologize for my blog infrequency but you know I’m not one to miss a holiday so it’s only fitting that I bring it back for one of my favorites.

I love Halloween. I would say it’s my favorite holiday but I say that about every holiday so I doubt you would believe me if I did.

Halloween is totally my favorite holiday.

I’m the kind of girl who gets into the spirit by making an entire batch of chocolate covered pretzels 7 days ago only to find out that Halloween was not for another week.

royal icing, sugar cookies, halloween, iced ghost sugar cookies, halloween dessert, cookies, sugar cookies, goblin cookies, halloween treats

Speaking of spirits.

Why do ghosts make good cheerleaders?

Because they have a lot of spirit.

royal icing, sugar cookies, halloween, iced ghost sugar cookies, halloween dessert, cookies, sugar cookies, goblin cookies, halloween treats

I found these googlie eyes a few weeks back and couldn’t get the idea of googlie-eyed ghosts out of my head ever since.

royal icing, sugar cookies, halloween, iced ghost sugar cookies, halloween dessert, cookies, sugar cookies, goblin cookies, halloween treats

If you were ever wondering where I get ideas for things to make, the above statement about sums it up. There’s really no planning involved. An idea comes out of nearly nowhere and once it’s in my head I can’t get rid of it until the sugar cookie dough has set, the royal icing has been mixed and the googlie eyes placed. It’s a blessing and a curse really.

royal icing, sugar cookies, halloween, iced ghost sugar cookies, halloween dessert, cookies, sugar cookies, goblin cookies, halloween treats

I won’t get into the recipes as I broke them down in this post, but just know that if you want a soft and chewy royally-iced goblin, you are going to need a few hours of outlining time.

royal icing, sugar cookies, halloween, iced ghost sugar cookies, halloween dessert, cookies, sugar cookies, goblin cookies, halloween treats

And outlining time takes away from what the heck are we going to dress up as this year time so I’m off to figure that out.

What do you call a ghost’s mother and father?


Long time no talk

Hey there! Where have you been? Feels like we haven’t had a one-sided conversation in forever.

My bad. Truth is I’ve actually been busy. Really, truly, contributing to society again busy.

That’s right the sabbatical has ended. The summer of Sarah has come to a close. But what a summer it was! Beach time, dog walks, mid-day recipe posts, more dog walks, mid-day workouts, another dog walk. But it wasn’t all sunshine and summertime. The frustration, boredom and self-doubt that comes with re-starting your career in a place you know nearly no one can really wear on you.

sunset, florida, sky, palm trees

Nonetheless, I’m very excited to get back to seeing if the parts of my brain that have been resting all summer still work. So far so good. Brain cells seem to be multiplying and I feel like I need a nap by 3:00 everyday.

I ask that you bear with me as I remember how to live the 8-5 life again and somehow fit in workouts and meals along the way. And dog walks. Poor Finn might be the only one not thrilled with the new adventure.

So I’ll leave you with a photo dump from the past few weeks, including a visit from two of my best friends and a bunch of pictures of Finn looking guilty.

beachhouse restaurant, anna marie island, girls weekend, beach, sunset, sky, dinner

sunset, florida, sky, palm trees


finn, greater swiss mountain dog, swissy, puppy, dog,

Oh and just for good measure, here are a few fun fall recipes from last year to tide you over until I actually make something worth sharing again.

pumpkin bread streusel topping

Pumpkin Bread

spooky pumpkin toffee chocolate chip cookies simply social blog

Pumpkin Toffee Cookies

Have a great week!




Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie (one week late) Day!

Did you know that last Thursday was National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day?

Yeah me neither.

But a funny thing happens to a girl when she realizes she missed one of the most important cookie days of the year. She can’t stop thinking about chocolate chip cookies for an entire week afterwards. She also starts to speak in third person. Life’s a mess when such important dates are forgotten.

So I’m a week late and I may or may not have eaten cookie dough for dinner last night, but I’ve got a pretty solid cookie recipe to share with you today. Not too soft, not too crispy and very addictive.

national chocolate chip cookie day, chocolate chip cookie recipe, soft and chewy cookies, recipes, baking, cookies, vanilla pudding cookies

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt together. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars together. Add vanilla pudding mix and blend. Add eggs and vanilla and cream together. Add dry ingredients into wet. Add chocolate chips.

Using a baking mat, roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls. The vanilla pudding mix keeps these from spreading so don’t worry about the dough being soft.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden. I kept mine in for closer to 14 because I like the edges a little more done.

national chocolate chip cookie day, chocolate chip cookie recipe, soft and chewy cookies, recipes, baking, cookies, vanilla pudding cookies

national chocolate chip cookie day, chocolate chip cookie recipe, soft and chewy cookies, recipes, baking, cookies, vanilla pudding cookies

Have a great holiday weekend!



Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Growing up, we were a birthday cake kind of family. Vanilla, chocolate, funfetti or according to my sister, only grocery store cake and nothing else, whenever your birthday came around, you were the deciding factor as to the dessert on your special day. Yes over the years there were clown cones and cupcakes, pies and ice cream, but cookie cakes never seem to make the rotation until my nephews came along a several years ago.

Birthdays are big in my family so when Matt’s birthday approached a few years ago I remember asking him what kind of cake he wanted me to make in celebration. I threw out a bunch of flavor options but none seemed to hit the mark. I think he was worried he’d offend me when he cautiously told me he wasn’t really a birthday cake kind of guy.

Say what?

He wasn’t a birthday cake kind of guy because growing up in his family they celebrated with cookie cake. So ever since then, I’ve been adding cookie cake to my birthday and in this case casual Sunday dinner rotation.

chocolate chip cookie cake, baking, cookie cake, birthday cake, cookies


Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake adapted from Brown Eyed Baker 

2 1/4 C flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and line pan with parchment paper. I used a 9 inch cake pan but this makes a very thick cake so you can use a 9×13 or jelly roll pan if you want a thinner cake.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, whip melted butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients into wet until just combined. Add chocolate chips.

Press dough into pan and bake for 20 minutes (9 inch pan) or until edges are golden.

chocolate chip cookie cake, baking, cookie cake, birthday cake, cookies

Slice and serve.

chocolate chip cookie cake, baking, cookie cake, birthday cake, cookies

A Halloween Hangover

Happy day after Halloween to you all! If you have children, I hope you didn’t steal too much of their candy last night “for the sake of their health.” For those of you that did, I suggest a supervised withdrawal action plan that involves adding a Snickers bar to each meal to avoid crashes throughout the day. We’re in this together folks.

I realize November 1 often (OK, always) comes the day after Halloween but it’s especially jarring this year as I suddenly feel like I have to toss my candy corn (in more ways than one) and start thinking about turkeys already.

Halloween is becoming one of my favorite seasons of the year and I’m not ready for it to be over yet. I realize for some it’s just a day but if you don’t think it’s a season, just try to go into Target mid-August and NOT buy a bag of candy corn.  

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Halloween as a child, too. That probably has something to do with it. If you were scared by say a creepy BOZO wanna-be at a very young age you might have a different opinion. But for me Halloween was a day when my creepy, dark and damp childhood basement finally found use as a fun haunted house for our neighborhood friends. A day when I entered a costume contest as a bag of jelly beans only to realize I couldn’t use the bathroom or sit down until the voting closed that afternoon. And a day when my older sister actually agreed to share with me likely only because she hated my favorite kinds of candy.

OK fine. I‘ll trade you two Reeses for two, two-packs of Starbursts.

Deal! (opens Starburst packages and of course finds two yellows in each pack)

No fair! Do you take returns? 

There was a brief hiatus on Halloween in high school when sports took over most of our lives, but college brought it back with an onslaught of themed parties and exchanges. Golf pros. Tennis hoes. You get the idea. 

So that brings us to the present day and for the first time in a long time I’m going to credit Facebook for helping renew my love of something. Previously, on a post-Halloween morning, my newsfeed was filled with enough “sexy” versions of career paths to fill a job fair. I’m happy to report that over the last few years those photos are increasingly being replaced with cute babies and toddlers dressed as monkeys.

boy costume halloween simply social blog

I don’t think I’m alone in my love for Facebook’s costume extravaganza. After all, Halloween is a time where creativity is celebrated. Homemade costumes are awesome, nostalgic ones even better and you get a king size Butterfinger for those costumes that don’t make any sense until you really think about it. Like this one. or this one. Pop-culture references are fun but don’t seem to mean as much after the hype has gone away. And I’m not just saying that because my Supermarket Sweep couples costume lost out to a now-forgotten Eastbound and Down star at the 2nd Annual Bensko Halloween Bash.

halloween costume double dare supermarket sweep simply social blog

I don’t yet have a child to dress up as a monkey but this year I managed to go against everything I stand for in terms of dressing up your pet for a chance to catch Finn in the homemade moose antlers I made him. He was an elusive moose, that Finn.

greater swiss mountain dog moose antler costume

I thought it was fitting because he is awkwardly tall and clumsy. He chewed them off approximately 5 seconds after this photo was taken, but as of this morning, Finn the Moose has more likes on Facebook than a marathon finisher. And with a lot less effort!

It’s not just the costumes that make me love Halloween. It’s the chance to celebrate. The chance to build a sense of community through a shared interest. The chance to share food and treats with people you care about. The connection it brings to friends, family and complete strangers as people who may not otherwise interact share funny stories, compliments and lighthearted jokes.

It’s also an excuse for me to bake something. I ran out of time to do my traditional treat bags this year but I did manage to get a batch of thumbprint cookies out the door in time for work. So to wrap up the longest Halloween post ever, here’s a recipe for holiday thumbprint cookies adapted from this recipe.

orange and black halloween thumbprint cookies, simply social blog

Halloween Thumbprint Cookies

  • ½ C unsalted butter
  • ½ C sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 TBL pure vanilla extract
  • 2½ C all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Holiday colored sprinkles
  • Orange is the new black candy melts

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a stand mixer, mix butter and sugar until creamy. Add one egg at a time. Add vanilla.

Mix dry ingredients into wet until combined. Refrigerate dough for an hour.

Fill a small glass bowl with sprinkles. Line jelly roll pan with silpat.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop a teaspoon-sized piece of dough and roll it into a ball. Roll dough in sprinkles. Place dough onto baking mat and press center down with the back of a 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon. (tip: use non-stick spray on spoon if it gets sticky)

Place cookies in oven for 10 minutes. Remove just before they are done and place candy melt in center. Let cook for 1-2 more minutes until candy melts start to glisten.

Let cool on pan and then wire rack. Take a photo while it’s pouring outside and there’s no natural light to add a spooky orange Halloween vibe to your cookies.

halloween thumbprint cookies, simply social blog

If you’re wondering what I wore this year, we didn’t have any parties but my Yoga studio was encouraging costumes and I am not one to show up unprepared so I wore bears (bear ears) to my yoga class. If you don’t get it with that clue, see below.

Yogi Bear halloween costume

Part Yogi part Bear. Just missing the pic-a-nic basket!

I hope you had a fun-filled holiday. Here’s to the next one, which is right around the corner!

Spooky Pumpkin Toffee Cookies

Pumpkin season is in full swing folks. And while I’m not exactly down with the PSL craze, I do love to put pumpkin into just about everything else from October through oh let’s just say February. If I’m baking you something during this time frame, it’s likely to include pumpkin. Sorry I’m not sorry.

I made this batch of pumpkin cookies for my girlfriend’s birthday last week. I knew she liked pumpkin and I figured she liked toffee but after I posted the picture on Instagram, my assumptions were confirmed.

pumpkin toffee chocolate chip cookies instagram simply social blog

Birthday baking. #Nailedit.

These cookies originally started out as an adaptation of this recipe from trusted recipe blog, Two Peas and their Pod, but like my other attempts at any cookie with pumpkin, they rose up like fluffy little clouds in a summer sky. Ah summer, wish you were here. Seriously though. Warm up Chicago!

As I watched these cookies bake, I noticed them fluffing up like crazy. Maybe it was because I didn’t quite have enough toffee to weigh them down (I ran out at 1/2 cup and added spooky chocolate chips to make up for it) or that pumpkin cookies and I just won’t have the same crispy and flat relationship that my other cookies and I have together, but they looked nothing like the original recipe.

It was at that point that I decided to scrap the salted caramel glaze and serve these gems on their own. They might be cuffins in terms of shape and fluff quotient, but they were tasty cuffins. So tasty that I made another batch for work again this week. And just like the movie they were Gone in 60 Seconds. Ok 60 minutes but close enough.

spooky pumpkin toffee chocolate chip cookies simply social blog

Pumpkin Toffee Cookies with Spooky Chocolate Chips

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground all-spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C unsalted butter
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C canned pumpkin (I use Libby’s 100% pumpkin)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C Heath Toffee Bits (I used 1/2 C heath bits and 1 C spooky chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, powder, spices and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, blend butter and sugar until creamy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla, mixing between each ingredient. Once combined, slowly add dry ingredients to wet. Add in your choice of toffee or chocolate chips.

This makes a very sticky dough, so I suggest using a cookie scoop and spraying it with non-stick spray every 3 or 4 scoops. Trust me, you will be less inclined to throw the cookie dough at your counter or fridge because it just won’t release from the scoop.

These cooked up well (fluffy and soft) on my silpat and in a jelly roll pan. I don’t know why but I love my jelly roll pan for cookies. It’s just my thang. 

Bake for 15 minutes or until edges slightly brown. Note: these cookies won’t get crispy so they may look soft but are done after about 15 minutes.

Let cool in pan and then on wire rack.

Let your dog photobomb them again like he does every other baked good you make. Kid loves pumpkin, too!

pumpkin toffee chocolate chip cookies, simply social blog, swiss mountain dog photobomb

Looks like it’s going to be a perfect weekend for baking something with pumpkin. Everybody’s doing it.

Have a great day.

Trial and Error, Peanut Butter and Chocolate

Do you ever have those weekends where you have one million errands to run, few commitments to get in the way of them and then it’s Sunday night and your checklist only has one thing crossed off? Yeah, me too.

It’s not often that I go into a weekend without it being entirely booked. I spend a lot of them visiting friends and family, celebrating birthdays, babies and brides. And believe it or not it’s typically these booked weekends in which I’m most productive. Anyone else work best like that?

Bueller? Bueller?

Large open time frames and I are not friends. If given an open time frame on a Saturday in, oh let’s just say Target, I tend to comb every aisle, stopping often to stare and random items that I would never have noticed on a normal trip. This stop is usually followed by an internal dialogue that goes something like this:

Huh, I didn’t know Target sold floral patterned microfiber cloths?

Those are pretty. I like the colors. I wish I had a yard with flowers like that.

I do need to dust. Man, my place is dusty.

Ok, I’ll just put these in my cart and think about it for the rest of the trip.

Maybe I should buy some furniture polish to go with my new flower microfiber cloths?

Oh Target, you got me again.

Now where I fail in terms of loads of free time, I make up in efficiency when a last-minute project is on the line. You may be thinking:

But Sarah, if you gave yourself more time you wouldn’t have to ice elephant cookies at midnight or fluff pom pons 15 minutes before guests arrive, or attempt an intricate chalk drawing the morning of a wedding.

And you would be right. But then I’d probably say,

Psshhh! What’s the fun in that?

The moral of the story is while I had a lot of projects penciled in for this weekend, I have little to show for it. My frames are still sitting on their corresponding bookshelves, my “spring” wreath is in pieces and my herb pots are still sitting on my balcony, waiting for soil, seed and water.

I won’t tell you that all I did this weekend was nap. I’m not a napper. Not one of those who can come home, yawn and say, Oh I think I’ll take a nap now. I’m what they may call an accidental napper. And I don’t mean in terms of narcolepsy, but rather that if I do manage to actually sit down on a Saturday after a very warm 12 miler and the current episode of House Hunters isn’t engaging enough for me, I may fall asleep. And accidentally nap I did.

greater swiss mountain dog simply social blog

They say dogs can sense your mood. I’d have to agree.

And then I made cookies. For the second time in three days. My girlfriend had baked the most delicious gluten free cookies a few weeks prior at Ravinia and I’d been thinking about them ever since. This may or may not be because I ate the whole bag halfway between Darius singing “Wagon Wheel” and “Alright.” Alright is right. I have a cookie problem.

Anywho, I had a girl’s dinner last week and wanted to bring something to contribute. That and I knew if I made them and kept them in my house I’d have a Ravinia binge fest all over again. In hindsight attempting these cookies at 10:30 on a Tuesday night was probably the first indication that they might not turn out very well, but when I got halfway through the recipe only to find that I had but 1/4 cup left of the oats I buy in bulk on the regular, I was nearly defeated. And so I improvised leaving me with cookies that were tasty, but flat and ugly.

flourless gluten free chocolate chip peanut butter cookies simply social blog

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup of peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups of GF oats
  • 6 ounces of chocolate chips 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, sugar and brown sugar untill creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and baking soda and mix well. Combine peanut butter. Then add oats. Ah here’s where I ran into trouble. Add oats. Not 1 package brown sugar oatmeal, 1 package raw oatmeal with flaxseed and your remaining 1/4 cup of old-fashioned oats. Add regular amount of oats and your cookies probably won’t be flat like mine. Then mix in chocolate chips and bake for about 10-11 minutes.
flourless chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookies simply social blog

The good news is the cookies tasted great. The bad is that I am competitive so come Saturday morning I felt the need to make them again. This time I used a slightly different recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod via Tasty Kitchen. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good cookie photo.

flourless chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookie simply social blog

Flourless Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2/3 C Old Fashioned Oats (or gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 C Peanut Butter
  • 2/3 C Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2/3 C Chocolate Chips

This time I was a bit more bright-eyed (remember I napped) and followed the recipe accurately. Mix brown sugar, vanilla and peanut butter until creamy. Add eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl mix baking soda and oats. Mix dry ingredients into wet until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, spoon 1-2 inch rounds onto non-stick baking mat. Bake for 9-12 minutes (11 for my oven) at 350. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes before moving to cooling rack.

flourless chocolate chip peanut butter oatmeal cookies simply social blog

What I learned: Butter adds flavor but proper amount of dry ingredients adds fluffiness and height to a cookie. And either way, a bag full of your friends cookies are always going to taste better than the ones you make yourself. And so I delivered both versions of the cookies to my friends, both flat and fluffy (the cookies not the friends), with the hope that they would enjoy them more than I did.

And if you’re thinking oh, nice weekend Sarah. All you did was run, bake and nap. Rough life. Here’s the part of the blog where I justify why I didn’t get any projects done by sharing photo recaps of my weekend activities. Ready, go.

On Friday I got to spend time with one of my favorite girls, Ella.


We had 3-day passes to the Windy City Smokeout so much of the weekend was spent eating BBQ and listening to live country just steps from Michigan Avenue and Nordstrom. For a girl who loves all of these things equally, it was pretty awesome.

windy city smokeout chicago

Amongst the plethora of things going on in the city this weekend like the Taste of Chicago, Cubs/Cards and various fests, was the annual kick-off to the Race to Mackinaw. I caught a glimpse on my run Saturday morning, along with one million others on the lake path.

race to mackinaw

And so wraps another summer weekend in the city. I wasn’t able to check very many things off my to-do list, but this post has made me realize that the time I spent with friends and family is well worth the project procrastination. It was a beautiful weekend to be in Chicago. And I’m glad I got to experience it sans one short nap.

What did you do this weekend? 

Have you ever experienced a baking flop? 

I hope you have a great week!