Kitchen Sink Cookies

It’s been a whiiile, right?! Long time no blog. I’ve missed you. But also, I’ve been wicked busy. I know I always say that after long periods of silence, but guys, this time I really mean it.

Also, I had a big life change. And immediately after it happened I wasn’t sure how to speak about it, or how to not speak about it. I don’t want to air my dirty laundry for the world to see (or anyone else’s, for that matter!) and I didn’t want what I was going through to unintentionally color whatever I was writing at the time. It felt really important to give myself a month to not worry about that.

But I am BACK baby and ready to rumble. And it’s funny – the recipe I’m sharing today (my own creation!) is kind of the perfect thing to eat when you’ve had a bad day. It’s, in my humble opinion, the perfect cookie. A perfect blend of sweet and salty. The cookie is flat, which is far superior to the domed shape, and kind of toasty. They’re ooey-gooey and crunchy. I give you… my kitchen sink cookies.

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Yeah, so. Inside these bad boys is chocolate chunks, butterscotch chips, mini pretzels, and mini marshmallows. I mean. It doesn’t get better. Also, full disclosure, the dough is 10000% better than the baked cookie…but I say that about every cookie dough.

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Kitchen Sink Cookies

ingredients:

500g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp flaked sea salt

225g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature

220g light brown sugar

220g granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup crushed chocolate*

1 cup crushed pretzels*

1/2 cup butterscotch chips*

1 cup mini marshmallows*

*more or less, depending on personal preference.

directions:

mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a mixing bowl. set aside.

in a separate bowl, add sugars and butter and beat together until smooth and fluffy. add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until well combined. mix in the vanilla.

add the flour mixture to the batter gradually and mix until just combined. add the chocolate, pretzels, marshmallows, and butterscotch chips and mix until evenly distributed. chill the dough for 24 hours and try to eat as little of it as possible.

preheat oven to 325 F. scoop dough into uniform balls and place on a cookie sheet. bake for about 17 minutes. allow to cool just slightly, but enjoy while still warm and gooey.

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DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

I sometimes get a bad rap in my family as the one with expensive taste. Sorry for knowing what I like, amiright?! I often get comments like “when your father and I were your age, we got our furniture from the trash on the street!” Cool, enjoy your bedbugs, peasants! (jk)

But also I like to set the record straight every now and then and showcase how I use creativity to get the look I want while still being frugal.

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Since I was hosting Christmas this year, with my own real tree and everything, I knew I needed to decorate it accordingly. Luckily I had all the lights I needed, I was able to use gift cards to buy the stand and the star on top, and instead of buying a tree skirt that I didn’t love I just used a white blanket. When it came to ornaments, I decided that rush buying a bunch of ornaments that I didn’t love would just be a waste of money. I choose to accumulate them slowly, with each ornament having meaning to my life and being something I truly love.

But because I couldn’t just have an ornament-less tree, I decided to make some! It was so easy, a lot like baking sugar cookies (just less tedious) and SO cost effective. The whole project probably cost me…$2?! I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up a pack of white acorns and clear spherical ornaments for future projects that I also added to the tree, but since those were 70% off, they cost under $5. So, you guys, I decorated my tree for $7.

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Here’s what you do!

DIY Cornstarch Clay Ornaments

ingredients/materials:

1 cup baking soda

1/2 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup water

ornament hooks

optional: acrylic paint, tree branches, lace, other materials for imprinting

directions:

combine all ingredients in a saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. stir constantly until a thick paste forms, so that it almost forms a ball by itself.

scrape the paste out onto a piece of parchment paper and form a ball (be careful, it will be hot!) let it rest and cool until luke-warm & comfortable enough to touch.

roll the dough out with a rolling pin, use cookie cutters to cut out your shapes, and set them on a cookie sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper.

use a straw (preferably paper/cardboard so you can just trash it when you’re done) to punch out the ornament hook holes.

*if you want to imprint some branches/patterns on the ornaments, now is the time!

preheat oven to 175 F, and bake the ornaments for 1 hour, flipping them halfway through!

*once baked and cooled, you can paint on them if you choose!

add ornament hooks and hang on your tree!

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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

No-Bake “Berry” Chocolatey Granola Bars

Hurricane Florence made landfall here in the Carolina’s on Friday, so for the whole week the entire eastern part of the state seemed to have been prepping for the oncoming storm. I was admittedly pretty bad about it. I didn’t purchase any water or candles, I barely remembered to take my balcony furniture inside, and I literally don’t even have a single band-aid in this apartment let alone a whole emergency first-aid kit. I think everyone close to me kind of anticipated this behavior, since my best friend, my boyfriend, my dad, and my sister all texted me saying that I needed to at least go to the grocery store so that I had some food. I’m super lucky that the storm was pretty gentle on Raleigh, and my heart is with everyone on the coast who had a VERY different experience than me.

Anyway, I did go to the grocery store and picked up the ingredients to make these granola bars for the weekend. In the case I did end up losing power, I would be able to just snack on these without worrying about using the refrigerator or oven (although I do think these are best refrigerated since the coconut oil will make them sort of melty otherwise). As far as granola bars go, these are pretty clean and can even be Whole30 approved if you omit the chocolate drizzle. And honestly, they just sounded a lot better than canned spaghetti, bread, and milk. Bleugh.

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No-Bake Berry Granola Bars

ingredients:

6-7 medjool dates soaked in very hot water until softened (2 mins), then drained

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup raw pecans

1 cup raw cashews

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup unsweetened dried blueberries

1/2 cup unsweetened dried cherries

1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup + 1 tbsp organic coconut oil refined, melted

1/4 cup cashew butter, melted

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

 

directions:

Place the soaked dates into a food processor and pulse until a paste forms.

Add all the nuts to the food processor and pulse with the date paste for a few seconds, until broken up into smaller pieces but not entirely pulverized. You want chunks!

Transfer nuts/dates to a large mixing bowl (like in the picture above) and mix in coconut flakes, fruit, salt, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the 1/4th cup of coconut oil and the cashew butter until it’s smooth and well combined. Pour this into nut/fruit bowl and mix until everything is evenly coated.

Line a pan with parchment paper, and then transfer all ingredients to the pan. Using your hands, press down so that the bars are packed and evenly distributed in the pan.

Freeze for 1 hour. Once hardened, remove from freezer/pan and cut the bars into rectangles.

In a microwavable bowl, place the tablespoon of coconut oil and the chocolate morsels. Microwave for a few rounds, each round only lasting about 5 seconds. Stir in between rounds, so that the chocolate doesn’t burn and so that when everything is finally melted it’s silky and easily falls off the spoon in tendrils.

Drizzle chocolate over bars. Place bars back in fridge so chocolate can harden, and then enjoy as you please!

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So yummy.

Since the storm ended up being pretty tame here in Raleigh (just a bunch of wind and rain for me), I’ve mostly enjoyed a weekend of watching Gilmore Girls, finishing some decorating projects, listening to rainy day playlists on Spotify, taking rose-petal bubble baths, dog earring some cookbooks, and studying. So luxurious! I’ve been sick so I’m just trying to be nice to myself. I sort of wish every weekend was like this, except I do kind of miss going outside and exploring my new ‘hood. Oh well, next weekend!

Stay safe, friends!