Spicy Pumpkin Cookies

Under the light of awareness, the energy of irritation can be transformed into an energy which nourishes.
— Thich Nhat Hahn
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One of the greatest jokes ever played on me was fall in the south. We’re almost halfway through September, and it’s still 90˚. No, not a heat wave, not a nice toasty day to finish off summer – this is just how it will be for at least another month and a half …

But hey, this girl won’t be complaining any longer! Even though it’s hot AF outside, I can’t break out my absurd sweater collection just yet, and a hot cup of tea makes me sweat, at least I’m still working out in leggings + a sports bra, and can bake all of the fall things in my house! No one will stop me!

If you’re new to these little rants, then you must know I love every season. There’s something spectacular about each one, something that just makes me feel so fresh and renewed! But, if I had to pick a favorite child, fall will win every time. The best flavors, the best smells, the best crunchy leaves, the best wardrobe, the best movies, the best baked goods. Must I go on? Don’t get me wrong, give me a bikini and throw me on the beach, I’ll be annoyingly happy. Put on Elf and place a cup of cocoa with mallows in my hand, I’m a giddy child. Throw me into a field of wildflowers in the rain, this spring baby is OH so happy. BUT.The moment I see some leaves changing colors, smell cider on the stove, see the word September, I look and act literally like a gal whose crush just smiled at her.

Yep. That’s it. I’m hardcore crushin’ on autumn, it’s just the best love story of all time. Hell, I mean even my wedding anniversary is at the end of September!

Now that we’re on the same page, lets talk cookies. I’m pretty sure that I have more cookie recipes on this blog than anything else—they’re just so damn versatile and I also fckin love cookie dough, so why wouldn’t I be making them all of the time?

My goal for these cookies was to figure out how to add about as little sugar as possible, how to make them super moist while not loading these up with lots of butter, and to shove as many spices as possible into these lil babies!

Annndddd, I’m pretty sure I’ve accomplished all of it.

Even though there’s only a fraction of the amount of butter in these than my usual chocolate chip cookies and the rest was replaced with pumpkin purée, you honestly cannot tell the difference. I added the smallest amount of coconut sugar as I could, only ¼ cup, which definitely goes a long way. I wanted the true pumpkin flavor to come out, as well as ALL of the spices I threw in here—turmeric and black pepper being the most pleasant surprise of them all!

Ohhhh these are so good, and make the entire house smell like an autumn dream. AUTUMN. DREAM. Yeah, tell me how you’re going to turn that down!?

Okay, I’m done. Go do your thing in the kitchen, fall it up in there, I mean have I ever led you wrong here?!

 

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ingredients

Pumpkin Purée—9 oz, or 1 cup

Butter—2.5 oz, or 5 TBL

Coconut Sugar—1.15 oz, or ¼ cup

Vanilla Extract—2 tsp

Eggs—2

Almond Flour—3.5 oz, or 1 cup

All Purpose Flour—8.5 oz, or 1 ½ cup

Oats—3.5 oz, or 1 cup

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Salt—¾ tsp

Maca Powder—1 tsp

Cinnamon—1 TBL

Nutmeg—1 tsp

Ginger—1 tsp

Black Pepper—½ tsp

Turmeric—½ tsp

Chocolate Chips—6 oz, or 1 cup

Coconut Flakes, unsweetened—1.25 oz, or ½ cup

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the purée, butter and coconut sugar until smooth.

Add in vanilla, mix.

Add in eggs, 1 at a time, mix.

At this point, your dough will be veryrunny, do not worry!

Add together the flours, oats, baking soda, salt and spices in a separate bowl. Mix with your hands to combine.

With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips and coconut flakes.

Cover and refrigerate your dough for at least a few hours, so the dough can stiffen up a bit – as you will notice that it is quite a soft cookie dough!

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Roll your cookies into 2 oz balls, or a heaping tablespoon, and bake for 12 minutes, rotating, 4 minutes.

Allow to cool on a rack slightly, so you won’t burn your tongue like I did!

 

Bon Appétit!

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Whole Wheat Cookies Stuffed with Dulce de Leche

Happy New Year!

How were everyone’s holidays?!

I hope that they full of lots of family, friends, love, excitement—now let’s make 2017 even better than last!

Ohh 2016, you were quite a sassy little thing weren’t you, so moody, yet so wonderful. While there were many ups and downs, full of pounds of butter and sugar and chocolate chips, some loss, lots of growth and gain, quite a few running blisters, a wedding, a move, a new puppy, some really tough moments, followed by many unbelievably beautiful ones…I’d say 2016 is a year that will never be forgotten.

But the obvious question here: are y’all big New Year Resolution people?!

I used to be, always the normal “go to the gym more often,” “eat more whole foods,” “be more positive.” But I’ve slowly strayed away from that and moved more into the self-love: respecting yourself and your body, finding happiness, etc. One huge thing that I learned over the last year was that you can’t always control what happens, but you can control how your react to it, which is how I try and stay most centered.

So there. Voilà. My updated life outlook!

Along with that, baking will always be my most relaxing activity…I mean unless you want to include cuddling on the couch the pup and Roberto an activity…

I want this year to include a lot more wild experiments in the kitchen, whether it’s testing a recipe 500 times, or seeing how huge I can make a cookie and what silly thing I can stuff it with next, or how tall I can stack a cake, who knows—there will be no fear this year!

The first recipe of 2017 is a more simple one, slightly healthy (what’s up, whole wheat flour?!), but also packed full of homemade dulce de leche and dipped in chocolate…so nevermind with the H word.

As you know, I get random cravings, then I need to get into the kitchen and just bake until they are satisfied! Remember the caramel corn? All started with my need to go to an amusement park…sometimes I even surprise myself… Anyways! This recipe was exactly that: I wanted something salty dipped in chocolate, and a pretzel or a chip just wouldn’t do! Then it was something like oh, a cookie? But hmm, I bet it would be great stuffed with caramel, so let’s make dulce de leche! But still, hello, where’s the covered-in-chocolate part?! Right, a cookie, with all sorts of chocolate chips, a gooey inside, dipped in milk chocolate, sprinkled with salt, AND SPRINKLES!

Oh. Whole wheat flour for a slightly different taste, texture and maybe added nutrients?! It is the New Year isn’t it?           

It’s always fun to read my ridiculous thoughts, isn’t it? I did happen to bring a test batch of these cookies (that’s 30 of them…) to a relatively intimate NYE party, and they were all eaten! So, if that’s not proof that these are addicting and delicious, go grab a bottle of Champagne, then you’ll definitely be convinced!

 

ingredients

Butter (room temperature)—12 oz, or 3 sticks

Brown Sugar—12 oz, or 1 ½ C

White Sugar—4 oz, or ½ C

Eggs—3

Vanilla—2 tsp

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Salt—2 tsp

Whole Wheat Flour—17.5 oz, or 3 C

AP Flour—10.25 oz, or 2 C

Chocolate Chips—14 oz, or 2 C

Dulce de Leche—recipe here

Milk Chocolate Chips (melted)—2 cups

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy.

Scrape down the sides of your bowl.

Add in the eggs and vanilla, mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift the flours, baking soda and salt.

With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients.

Add in your chocolate chips.

Mix until all is combined.

Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and allow to chill for at least an hour or two, until it has firmed up a bit.

While the dough is chilling, you can make your dulce de leche sauce—found here! This will take between 2-3 hours, so it’s a great time to get it done!

 

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚F.

By this time, your dough should have firmed up, and your dulce de leche should be finished and cooled.

Make dough balls that are about 1 oz, which is around a tablespoon—this can be eyeballed!

Flatten them out and make them into little “bowls” so that the filling will have a nice place to sit.

Put about a ½ tsp of dulce de leche in the middle.

Take another ball that is the same size, flatten and make another bowl out of it, this will be the top to your filled bottom cookie bowls.

Cover the filling with this second flattened piece, press the edges so that it seals in the dulce de leche, and then gently roll it in your hands so it makes a completely closed cookie dough ball.

This is one!

Do this with the remainder of your cookie dough and filling.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

It will be hard to tell when they are finished baking due to the color of the whole wheat flour, but they should be completely set on the edges and just slightly underbaked in the centers.

Allow to cool completely before dipping them in chocolate!

 

To make the chocolate for dipping, make a double boiler and melt about 2 cups of chocolate chips.

When the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, remove from the heat (make sure to wipe the bottom of the bowl to remove any of the warm water!), and dip each cooled cookie about halfway with chocolate.

Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle with just a little bit of salt and some sprinkles for extra color, crunch and excitement!

Whether or not you allow to chocolate to cool and set entirely…

 

Bon Appétit!

Brown Sugar Sprinkle Cookies

Today’s Date: December 21st.

What I thought the date was: November (basically).

There’s some kind of sorcery going on here because the fact that Christmas is in 4 days completely blows my mind. I swear last week was Thanksgiving, 2 days ago was Roberto’s birthday, tomorrow can’t be Thursday…

I can keep going!

Between lots and lots of work, some afternoon naps, and my marathon training—just to keep in shape while I eat so many croissants at work—I have lost track of time completely. It’s wonderful that my work schedule is so crazy compared to almost anyone else’s (4am start time, random weekdays off, etc.) because it keeps me relatively busy and I absolutely love Trader Joe’s runs at 10am on a Monday, no one is there! Then there’s the flip side, I’m rather tired about 90% of the time I’m not at work, so this whole baking outside of work thing gets tough.

The month of December for KBB has consisted of about 10 failed attempts at a cake that I insisted I make work—the recipe seemed flawless! But alas, I decided that a new cookie recipe was needed, one that almost screams “Katie,” and of course it turned out to be magically delicious (cookies are definitely my strong suit!).

So below you have another game changing, swap-out-the-gingerbread-men-for, sprinkle loaded cookie.

All brown sugar? Check!

Oats for “health?” Check!

Sprinkles galore? Check!

Chocolate on chocolate on chocolate? Check check check!

You’re probably thinking Girl, those oats aren’t doing a damn thing! WELL, listen up, this cookie is so soft, like your teeth just sink right in, it’s an incredible thing, so I wanted to add oats because not only do I love the taste of a toasty oat, but a fun texture piece is brought, too.

And then there’s sprinkles, and chocolate…and if you decided to dip the cookies in chocolate and throw on more sprinkles, it’s just a glittery, wonderful winterland of a cookie you have created!

I did all of the above, and I must say it was the best decision this month. As posted on my Instagram, we had a little work outing where we went to Beautiful Briny Sea and make sprinkle blends! My boss, of course, was doing it for the shop for our peppercorn meringues, but the rest of us spent the hour or two making bags and bags of colorful, crazy little blends to bring home!

My Holiday Sprinkle Mix is featured on these cookies—and yes, this activity was even more fun than you can imagine! I’m thinking this is what I want my adult job to be…

ANYWHO! Back on track…got sprinkle distracted…

After a crazy month of work, being a new(ish) dog mom, still adjusting to life in Atlanta and then, surprise!, it’s Christmas, this recipe is exactly what we all need in our lives.

It’s quite simple, yet will bring ease to anyone’s day, especially if you’re as unprepared for this upcoming weekend as I am!

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ingredients

Butter, room temperature—12 oz, or 3 sticks

Brown Sugar—16 oz, or 2 ¼ C

Vanilla Extract—1 tsp

Eggs—3

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Salt—1 tsp

Flour—26.25 oz, or 5 ¼ C

Oats—3.75 oz, or ¾ C

Chocolate Chips—14 oz, or 2 C

Sprinkles of choice—3-4 TBL

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time.

Once all combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add in the oats.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to your creamed mixture.

Add in your chips and sprinkles.

Either transfer your dough to another bowl or use the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

Scoop out tablespoon sized cookies, or I do 1.5 oz, and place on a baking sheet lined with either parchment, a Silpat, or spray with nonstick spray.

Bake for 14-16 minutes, until the outside edges are just slightly browned and the centers are still very light—makes for a nice soft cookie!

Allow to cool and enjoy!

*Note: If you want to dip them in chocolate—over a double boiler, melt about 1 cup of white chocolate until smooth, dip half in the chocolate and cover in sprinkles before the chocolate firms up!*

 

Bon Appétit!

Homemade Caramel Corn + Nutella Stuffed Cookies

This recipe was brought to you by my weird urge to eat Nutella from a jar…which then turned into me needing something to dip into it, and then I made caramel corn…

So I have been having these strange I want to go to an amusement park feelings lately, which is out of the ordinary because I really dislike them. Growing up, it was always what we would do on our last day of school, the true start to summer, and I went along because why would I want to be the one girl who chickens out?! But honestly, they are everything I can’t stand—the dirtiness, the scary rollercoasters, the huge groups of people, being forced to go on the Tilt-A-Whirl about 10 times even though it makes you sick—you get the picture. Just lately, the thing I have been craving is the smell.

Yes. The smell of an amusement park to me is lots and lots of fried dough, French fries that have been doused in vinegar and then huge bags of kettle corn. There is this one not so great place on the ocean called Palace Playland in Old Orchard Beach, but you always went when you’re in that area, even if you did just come from Funtown/Splashtown (yes, what on point names!). Their pier fries have to be THE best things I have ever had—they come in one of those big paper cones and you just drown them in ketchup and vinegar…gosh I can’t wait to go back to Maine for some of those…

Anyways, let’s get my mind away from fries and onto these cookies. It’s been in the 90’s here in Charleston and all I can think about is how badly I want to stuff my face with some too-greasy fried dough covered in powdered sugar, play a game of skee ball and then lay out on the beach. Sadly, eating fried food is all I can do here—which is kind of the same thing as homemade caramel corn, right?!

The caramel corn is so simple to make, it’s probably the easiest and most straightforward recipe out there. No thermometers to mess with, just simply boiling the ingredients until they are the caramel color you desire, pouring it all over your popcorn and letting the oven do the magic.

Note: you do not have to stuff these cookies with anything, I just think that they make it THAT much more exciting! Also, this caramel corn is insanely yummy as a snack all on its own as well.

Next is the sweetest Nutella cookie you ever did taste. To “tame” it, I used very dark chocolate chunks, upped the salt a bit, and then gave it even more depth by stuffing the cookies with basically caramel-Nutella wrapped sweet+salty popcorn!

It’s a mouthful. Honestly…

The cookie on its own is divine, but adding the filling elements brings it to the next level. Does it help that it is half the size of my face? Absolutely! But really it’s just a fun cookie to have. You all know I am obsessed with everything fruit, especially during the summer when every variety seems to flourish, but I just couldn’t resist giving you all something a little on the bad side!

You all can stuff your faces with watermelon, strawberries, grilled corn on the cob—but I know when you’re craving some of the amusement park/pier food, you’ll be thanking me with this one!

caramel corn ingredients

Natural Popcorn, popped—1.5 oz, or 5 C

Butter—3 oz, or 6 TBL

Brown Sugar—6 oz, or ¾ C

Corn Syrup—2 oz, or 3 TBL

Cream of Tartar—¼ tsp

Salt—1 tsp

 

process

Pop your popcorn and spread the 5 cups on a sheetpan lined with parchment or a Silpat.

Preheat your oven to 200˚ F.

In a medium sized saucepot, combine the butter, sugar, corn syrup, cream of tartar and salt.

Cook the caramel on medium heat, bring to a boil and allow to boil for about 5 minutes.

Drizzle over the popcorn that is spread out on the pan.

With a spatula or wooden spoon, gently “toss” the popcorn and caramel together, making sure to coat each piece.

Place in your preheated oven for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes to insure that the popcorn is all covered with the caramel.

Allow to cool completely until you are ready to stuff the cookies—you will need to chop up the popcorn to do so!

 

cookie ingredients

Butter, room temperature—8 oz, or 2 sticks

Nutella—5.5 oz, or ½ C

Sugar—8 oz, or 1 C

Brown Sugar—8 oz, or 1 C + 2 TBL

Eggs—3

Vanilla—1 tsp

Flour—24 oz, or 5 ½ C

Salt—1 ½ tsp

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Dark Chocolate Chunks—9 oz, or 1 ½ C

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter, Nutella, and both sugars.

Once smooth and fluffy, add in the eggs, one at a time. Add in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.

With the mixer on low, slowly add this dry mixture to the dough.

Add in the chocolate chunks.

Transfer to another bowl and allow to chill for about 30 minutes.

 

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

Take about 2 TBL of cookie dough, roll it into a ball and then flatten into a bowl shape so that you can stuff it.

Put about a ½ tsp of Nutella in the bottom of each little cookie bowl, and then the same amount of chopped caramel corn on top.

Cover with enough cookie dough to completely enclose the Nutella/popcorn filling.

About 8 of these cookies fit comfortably on a sheet tray, as they are very large!

Bake for 15-17 minutes.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool and enjoy!

 

Bon Appétit!

Peanut Butter Carrot Dog Cookies

I am going to just start by saying that this is, by far, the best recipe that I have on this site! I mean, it’s a cookie recipe for two of my furry, four legged best friends—Doc and Jillie!

For any and all of you who follow me on social media, you know that saying that I am obsessed with those two cuties is an understatement! They live with my mom, in Maine, and let me tell you that absence sure does make the heart grow fonder. I am one of those crazy ones who calls my mom to chat with them on the phone, who is always asking for photos, who spends more time with them when I am home visiting than anyone else…

…Roberto just loves that about me!

So, why did I decide to make this recipe right now of all times?! WELL! I was able to go home for a few days this past weekend, and I just couldn’t resist making these. This weekend was jam packed with friends and family, truly nonstop—and so little Doc and Jillie deserved a special treat as well!

What I love about this recipe is that there are only a handful of ingredients in them, and they can all, most likely, be found in your pantry right now. There’s no weird additives, no names you can’t pronounce, just some wholesome, healthy foods to keep your pups happy!

To start, I knew that carrots were a must. These two will whine forever sometimes until they get their carrot snacks—plus it’s super cute to have them do little tricks for them, of course! Also, any way to get some great vegetables into their diets is good with me. Next, a fat, such as peanut butter, is a great alternative to butter any day. Please make sure your pets are not allergic to peanuts/nuts before using any type of nut butters in these cookies!

I have used a combination of oats and whole wheat flour, but if you would rather use an almond meal, or another flour that you know your pets prefer, that is 100% an option. Luckily, the gluten structure is not important in these cookies!

An egg, some milk and/or water will bind these together, and before you know it, you have a great dough!

You may cut these cookies into any shape you would like. I have used a big and a little heart shaped cutter because, well, these two babes have stolen my heart forever! And to make all of you doggie parents out there feel at ease, both Doc and Jillie gobbled these up—and I even taste tested the batch a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t overly sweet as well as had a good texture…they are people-safe, too!

So, to all of my fellow pet infatuated folks out there, give those little ones something to show how much you appreciate them—the ones who will always snuggle, always play, always go for a walk, and always love you—they deserve it!

ingredients

Carrots, shredded—2oz, or ¾ C

Peanut Butter—8 oz, or 1 C

Egg—1

Water—4 oz, or ½ C

Milk—2 oz, or ¼ C

Whole Wheat Flour—12 oz, or 2 C

Oats—1 oz, or ¼ C

 

process

Preheat your oven to 325˚ F.

In the bowl of your mixer, combine the shredded carrots and peanut butter.

Add the egg.

Alternating between the liquid and the dry ingredients, add to the mixer.

Once all is mixed together well, turn out your dough onto a lightly floured work surface.

Roll out the dough until it is about ¼” thick.

Using whatever cutters you would like—I used large and small heart cutters because, well, there’s a big and little doggie receiving these!—cut out cookies until you have no more dough left!

Unlike normal roll out cookie dough, this dough can be rolled and rerolled as many times as needed.

Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, a Silpat or nonstick spray.

Bake for 15 minutes, flip them, and then another 15 minutes, so that they can get nice and toasty on each side.

*Note: if you want them softer or crunchier, the baking time may be adjusted, the 15 minutes is more on the crunchy side!*

Allow to cool and let your sweet little doggies enjoy!

 

Bon(e) Appétit!