White Chocolate Biscoff Blondies

I have deemed this recipe the most amazing thing I have ever baked.
And it only takes ten minutes to prepare.
So easy.
Soooo dangerous.

Originally when I saw the recipe, I thought, "oh, only a half stick of butter. That's not so bad!"
But then I realized the recipe only makes 12 blondies.
And I ate them all in one sitting.
So.... bad.

But soooo good.

The recipe also incorporates my new favorite obsession: cookie butter. (Or biscoff spread, whatever you want to call it.) You can find it at Trader Joe's, and it is like the crispy, salty/sweet awesome version of Nutella. But Biscoff cookie flavored. And the "crunchy" version has actual pieces of Biscoff cookies in it. Mmmmmmm.

I think Cookie Butter is an obsession that is currently taking Pinterest recipes by storm, since every girl I know seems to already own/eat this stuff from a jar with a spoon. (I'm looking at you, Elizabeth.)

In fact, when Tanner stopped by Trader Joes to pick me up a jar, he asked where to find it and the cashier said, "oh, yeah. Girlfriend sent you, huh?"
They must get that a lot.

But I digress. I know you want to delve into the awesomeness and eat a whole plate for yourself, so here it is! (I treated myself after 10pm, I might add... totally worth it.)

{white chocolate biscoff blondies}

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup Biscoff Spread/Cookie Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking pan with tin foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Place butter in a microwaveable bowl and microwave until butter is melted (about 30 seconds). Add the 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips to the butter, and stir until smooth. Reheat if necessary to melt the white chocolate chips.

Place flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Stir in butter/chocolate mixture, the 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, eggs, and biscoff spread. Stir until combined.

Transfer to prepared baking dish, spreading evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Here is my obligatory warning about baking times: I have an overly hot oven, so I set my timer for 20 minutes. At 17 minutes the edges were turning golden brown, so I pulled the blondies out. They were crispy around the outside and perfectly soft and spongy on the inside. If you like your blondies softer, lessen your baking time. If you like them crisp and crunchy (more like a cookie) then bake them longer. If you have a temperamental oven like I do, keep a close eye on the edges and take them out when they're golden brown.

Cut into squares and serve warm or chilled. Try not to eat them all at once. (I dare you.) YUM!

Gingersnap Cookies

Gingerbread cookies are Santa's favorite cookies. And mine, too. I never seem to remember how much I love them until this time of year rolls around and I get a craving for them... something about the spicy bite of cloves and ginger, the sweetness of the cinnamon and the bitterness of the molasses is what does me in completely.

Sometimes inspiration hits at odd moments. I was craving gingersnaps at 10 pm, so that's when I made them. Fortunately, this recipe is very quick and easy; I was putting the second batch of cookies in the oven at the same time that I was polishing off the first batch. Then I realized that snacking on gingersnaps is not like snacking on popcorn, and perhaps I should not have six of them at a time.

{gingersnap cookies}


3/4 cup butter (room temp)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Garnish: 1 cup white sugar

...aaaaand Santa's little helper. :)

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown/white sugars together until light and fluffy. Since Tanner likes using power tools, I gave him our hand mixer and told him to have at it.

Once creamy, slowly add in the egg, vanilla, and molasses.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Add the dry mixture to the butter mixture and mix.

Chill the mixture in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out small balls of cookie dough and roll in white sugar to coat. Place cookies on cookie sheet and flatten with your hand or the bottom of a jar. (I like imperfect cookies, so mine weren't very symmetrical.)

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until dry and firm on top. The longer they bake, the crisper the gingersnap will be. I have an overly manic oven and a taste for soft-centered cookies, so I only baked mine for 11 minutes. Warm, spicy goodness.

Tanner kept trying to sneak cookies when I wasn't looking, so I made him stand still to take some photos. This didn't go over very well. In fact, the conversation went something like this:

Me: "Ok, take a step back. A little further. Now hold the cookie out into the light. More to the left. No, don't eat the cookie. More to the left. A little more. Ok, hold it right there... no, you can't eat the cookie. Tanner. Leave the cookie alone. You're supposed to hold it still so I can take a picture. Don't eat the cookie! TANNER, STOP EATING THE COOKIE."

Verdict? Delicious.

Homemade Hot Cocoa

I love the holiday season. And I'm not talking "love" like the cliche "Christmas is my favorite holiday" drivel. No, I'm talking love like everything-about-the-holidays-makes-me-mushy-inside love. As in, I love the things that most people just hate about the holidays. 

- I love the gaudy, ostentatious holiday decorations that show up in the big department stores every year (it makes me feel like I live in a Christmas movie set in New York)
- I love the cheesy Christmas songs on the radio that start the day after Thanksgiving (yes, I'm that person)
- I love watching holiday movies over and over (I never get tired of The Santa Clause and While You Were Sleeping)
- I love seeing Santa Claus at the mall in his giant North Pole house with a huge line of kids all waiting to start screaming the second they sit in his lap.
- I love untangling Christmas lights and dragging out the boxes of Christmas decorations and I love leaving my tree up until mid-January... or late January... or March.
- I love the cold dump of snow and everyone bundled up running around doing their Christmas shopping last-minute.
- I love driving around town looking at the overblown Christmas lights and those horrific lawn decorations that seem to show up in every neighborhood.
- I love Christmas carolers and hand bell choirs.
- I love that jittery, excited feeling that has been with me since I was very small and still thought that a big jolly man in a red suit was going to magically leave me presents on Christmas Eve. Sometimes I still believe that.
- I love the overstuffed church pews on Christmas Eve.
- I love the foods that are somehow only acceptable once a year. Pumpkin pie, peppermint ice cream, cranberry sauce, baked yams, egg nog, gingerbread.
- and I love hot cocoa, even if every, every, every time I drink it, it scorches my tongue and I can't taste anything after the first sip.

After spending a long weekend at the mall people-watching (like a crazy person... who goes to the mall on purpose this time of year not to shop, except me?) I decided I needed to round-out my dose of Christmas cheer with a warm, chocolaty beverage.

{hot cocoa}


1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup chocolate chips
3 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon, to taste

Mix the cocoa powder and sugar together in a small pot. Add milk and chocolate chips and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate chips have melted and consistency thickens slightly. Add vanilla and serve. I sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top of mine.

Makes three-four servings.

True to form, I burnt my tongue the first sip I took, but somehow managed to enjoy the rich, chocolate taste to the last drop. Delicious.

Crockpot Barbeque Chicken

The other day Tanner and I were wandering through Target. We were in there to purchase one item and, of course (as is the way with Target), ended up buying waaaay more than that. At one point we found ourselves in the kitchen section and I started mooning over the crockpots.

I've wanted a crockpot for a while, because it seems to solve a very important problem for me: I like eating good food, but I hardly ever have 8465762 hours to cook it. There's something brilliantly simple about putting a bunch of ingredients in a crockpot at breakfast, letting it sit until dinner on low heat, and having a delightful meal with hardly any effort. Yes, please?

Plus, now that the cold, rainy days are fully upon us in Portland, all I want to do is wear chunky sweaters, wool stockings and knee-high boots, drink tea and slurp warm chicken noodle soup.

Thus, while looking lovingly once more at crockpots, I told Tanner we needed to get one. We had been thinking about it for a while, right? But he said, no, no, I'll call my mom first and we can figure out which size and brand is best and yadda yadda yadda. So I sighed and said, okay, okay, you're right. I'm never one to argue with good pre-planning and thorough research.

So we went home with our modestly full truck of Target goodies (minus crockpot) and as I was putting away the groceries Tanner said, oh wait, I have to clean out the rest of the trunk, and suddenly appeared back at the doorway with a crockpot in his arms.

I was shocked, because I was still thinking how in the hell did you buy that at Target without me noticing? until I realized that he bought it weeks ago and had been saving it for Christmas. He said he had been calling his family and friends to figure out exactly which one to get and he had finally settled on the 5 quart Crockpot brand.

Of course, now I'm feeling horrible because I just ruined his Christmas surprise, but Tanner said he had always thought it weird to give kitchen appliances for presents (I am baffled by this -- I think kitchen appliances make superb gifts. I still adore the Ninja blender he got me last year for smoothie-making) and so he decided after our Target run to give it to me early.

My guilt about ruining the surprise quickly turned into: now we can have an extra two months of crockpot meals! Yay! And double-bonus: Tanner is excited about cooking, too. This is a win, people. In fact, he found a recipe, bought ingredients of his own accord, and concocted a perfect batch of barbecue chicken without my assistance.

I came home from work the very next day and the whole house smelled like wonderfulness. A boyfriend who has dinner waiting for me on the table? This is the best Christmas present ever.

{crockpot barbeque chicken}


4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 whole chopped onion (we used our Ninja blender to dice it)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sweet basil
pinch thyme

Combine all ingredients over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred chicken and return to pot before serving.

Tanner also discovered crockpot liners, which makes cleanup as easy as the whole process.
Now we're on the hunt for good crockpot recipes... anyone have some favorites??