AKA Swedish Chocolate Balls…my Swedish friend, Malena, turned me onto these. A super simple, delicious, no-bake treat that every Swede knows about. They are SO addicting! You can roll them in all kinds of delicious toppings like coconut, powdered sugar, or sprinkles. I think the yummiest topping is Swedish pearl sugar. You can get it at IKEA.


4 cups regular rolled oats
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons strong coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
Salt to taste
Toppings: coconut flakes, sprinkles, crushed peppermint candy, pearl sugar, powdered sugar, cocoa powder


  1. Mix the oats, sugar, and cocoa together in a bowl. Add the butter, and use your hands to mix the ingredients together to make a thick dough. Mix in the coffee, vanilla, and chocolate until thoroughly blended. Taste the dough and add a little salt if needed.
  2. Pinch off small amounts of dough and roll between your hands to make small balls, about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Roll the balls in toppings of your choice. Balls are ready to eat, or may be refrigerated for a couple hours to make them more firm.

Makes about 48 balls.


Zack came up with this soup one evening during a “let’s clean out the fridge to make dinner” night.  This soup is very flavorful, and easy to make.


1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch of red chili flakes
4 carrots cut in 1/2″ cubes
2 leeks sliced thinly
1 head celery (5 stalks + leaves and stuff in center) sliced in 1/2″ thick pieces
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
1/3 cup chopped basil
1/2 onion diced in 1/2″ pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
6 cups veggie broth (we like Rapunzel brand bullion cubes)
15 oz can diced tomatoes
4 oz orecchiette pasta
salt to taste


  1. Prep all the veggies and herbs. Split the herbs in two equal piles.
  2. Put a large heavy pot over high heat, add oil, black pepper and chili flakes.
  3. Once the oil is hot, add the carrots, leeks, celery and one of the two piles of herbs.
  4. Keep the heat on high and cook veggies until the bottom of the pot is nicely covered in fond (browned bits).
  5. Remove the veggies into a bowl on the side.
  6. Reduce the heat and cook the onions and garlic until they are limp and brown (they will pick up some of the fond).
  7. Add some of the broth, and scrape up all the fond from the bottom of the pot. The broth should now be a rich brown, and the bottom of the pot clean.
  8. Add the remaning broth and can of tomatoes.
  9. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  10. Add salt as you like (probably 1/4-1/2t, but it depends on the bullion and tomatoes).
  11. Add the pasta and remaining herbs and simmer for another 15 minutes until the pasta is cooked through.
  12. Serve with parmesan cheese, oyster crackers, or whatever you like in this delicious and hearty soup!

These were a hit in the staff room at my school. I know they’re good when people say, “You could SELL these!”. Yes!!!

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup quick oats
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
14 ozs caramels (unwrapped about 48)
pinch of coarse salt
1 cups dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
1 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine butter and sugar in mixer until combined. Add flour, oats, salt, and baking soda. Beat at medium speed until combined and crumbly, about 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of crumb mixture.
3. Press remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch greased pan. Bake for 10 min.
4. Combine milk and caramels in a saucepan. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is creamy.
5. Sprinkle partially baked crust with chocolate chips and pecans.
6. Pour caramel mixture evenly over the chocolate and pecans. Sprinkle with a small amount of coarse kosher salt.
7. Sprinkle evenly with reserved crumb mixture.
8. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until caramel is bubbly around the edges.
9. Cool completely (This is the most difficult part of the recipe.)
10.Cut into bars.

Serves 60
Adapted from “Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars” on

A more sophisticated, grown up version. Don’t skimp on the salt!


2 cups powdered sugar
Heaping 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 T peppermint extract or flavoring (oil based)*
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 T light corn syrup
1-2 T water
2, 4oz bars of Ghirardelli 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate bars (or similar)
* If you use alcohol based peppermint extract, increase oil to 1 T


1. In an electric mixer, combine powdered sugar and kosher salt.

2. Add peppermint extract, corn syrup, and oil (if using). Beat together on medium speed. If needed, add the water a bit at a time until the mixture becomes a malleable dough.

3. Pinch off half inch chunks of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball between your palms and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze patties for 20 minutes.

4. About 3 minutes before removing the patties from the freezer, break the chocolate bars into pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high power for 1 minute. Stir with a fork and microwave for 1 minute more. Stir again and microwave for 30 to 60 seconds longer, until the chocolate is completely melted and very shiny. If you keep the temperature of the chocolate below 90 degrees, it will remain tempered. If it ever gets too hot, your patties will harden with white streaks on them and may have a slightly waxy texture, but still taste great. Click here for some good, basic info about tempering chocolate.

5. Remove a few mints from the freezer at a time. Working with two forks, toss one patty into the chocolate and roll it around to completely coat it with a thin layer of chocolate. Using the forks, transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. When the chocolate begins to stiffen, return it to the microwave for 30 seconds. Continue working until all the mints are coated.

6. Leave the patties at room temperature for 2 hours or until firm.

Makes about 32 patties -these will keep for two weeks in an airtight container or longer in the freezer.


When the temperature drops, who doesn’t need to eat more flour and butter? These are the perfect blend of spicy, sweet, salty goodness. Zack says they are like a meal!


2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp ginger powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped crystalized ginger
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/4 cup full flavor molasses (dark)
1/2 cup turbinado sugar


1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the frst six ingredients. Stir in crystalized ginger.

2. Beat butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses and beat until blended. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Cover bowl and chill dough for 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease cookie sheet with oil or butter.

4. Pour turbinado sugar into a small bowl. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Dip top of ball into sugar and place on cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.

5. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until top looks cracked but is still soft to the touch. Leave on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes 3 dozen.

Peanut Sauce



My friend Dorina shared this with me. It has all the crack like qualities a good peanut sauce should…salty, sweet, sour, spicy. Can’t. Stop. Inhaling. It.

4 T Kecap Manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
3 T rice vinegar
1 T + 1 tsp light brown sugar
1/3 c chunky, natural peanut butter
1 T grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sambal ulek (chili paste)
2 tsp soy sauce

Whisk all of the ingredients together. Depending on the consistency of your peanut butter, you may want to thin your sauce with a bit of water.

Consume with your favorite peanut sauce vehicle.

Makes about 1 cup.

I was looking high and low for a really peanut buttery cookie. The peanut butter cookies I’ve made in the past made me want more peanutty goodness. I have found a very, very, peanut buttery cookie! It’s a little more work than a drop cookie, but it’s well worth the extra effort!

Cookie Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter

Peanut Butter Filling Ingredients

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Toast oats by melting 4 Tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Add oats and stir until toasted, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a mixer combine 1/2 cup butter, granulated and brown sugar. Beat using a paddle attachment until combined. Mix in peanut butter.

3. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. On low speed combine oats and flour mixture with the butter mixture. Mix until combined. Be careful not to over mix this delicate dough.

4. Place dough on the parchment paper. Cover with a second piece of parchment paper and roll dough until 1/4 inch thick. Try to keep it in a rectangle shape.

5. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While dough is chilling you can make the filling mixture by combining all 5 ingredients and beating until smooth.

6. Once dough has chilled remove top parchment paper and cut into shapes. I have done this two ways. One way is to use a round cookie cutter. I found that it is easier (and you don’t have to keep manipulating the dough) if you make squares or rectangles by cutting the dough with a pizza wheel. These are rich cookies, so I try to make them small.

7. Place cookies on a cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes until golden. Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Let cool completely.

8. Spread the filling on one side of a cookie and place another cookie on top. Enjoy these delicious treats with a cold glass of milk!

Adapted from a Martha Stewart Recipe

So allegedly my next post was going to be something savory and here I am posting deliciously evil baked goods again. I needed to make eggless cupcakes for a family gathering and a vegan recipe fit the bill. I didn’t care about the vegan part so I subbed regular milk for the soy milk, reduced the oil, and increased the salt. Om nom nom…


1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


3 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar (8 oz.)
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch or two of salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with 12 foil liners.

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the milk, vinegar, sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. In another bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, pausing two or three times to stir, and keep stirring until all the large lumps are gone.

3. Pour the batter into the cupcake liners until they are about two-thirds full. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

4. When cool, beat the frosting ingredients together until smooth and spread on the cupcakes.

Makes 12 cupcakes. Adapted from “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World,” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

Sugar Cookies


I first tried these at Emily’s house and thought they were awesome! The recipe is from our Aunt Bobbi. I think it’s a long time favorite in lots of families. I’ve tweaked the flavors a bit. Try them!


1 cup salted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar for decoration


1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Blend into creamed mixture. Cover and chill for at least two hours.

2.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Divide dough into two parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece of dough out to 3/16 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Gather scraps and roll again as needed. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle cookies with plain or colored granulated sugar. Repeat with remaining piece of dough.

3. Bake for 7-8 minutes in the preheated oven, until very lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen, depending on size

A few years ago, Jen and I were obsessed with finding a good, basic vanilla cake recipe. For some reason, they all kept tasting like corn and we gave up. My friend Kelly made these on a whim and they have been my go-to recipe ever since. No corn taste here, just vanilla! Perfect cupcake for kids and adults alike.


  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, not self-rising
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted, room temp butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
  2. In a large, 4-cup measuring cup, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients in 3 parts, scraping down sides of bowl before each addition; beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 17 to 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat process with remaining batter. Once cupcakes have cooled, frost with buttercream frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Serve at room temperature.

Adapted from Martha Stewart. Makes about 30 cupcakes.