Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

Is your mouth watering yet? This Halloween, I decided to do something a little different and surprise my apartment complex by doing some “reverse trick-or-treating”. Instead of going door to door to ask for candy, I went door to door giving out cookies :) A friend of mine found this recipe on a food blog and gave it to me. I will always accept a baking challenge and the ingredients for these cookies were very intriguing. Essentially, it’s a sugar cookie dough base with apple cider drink powder and a chewy caramel center. Bottom line: its one gosh darn divine cookie. 

My friend Hannah was baking on Halloween night too for her philanthropy and invited me over to bake. She made a wonderful apple lattice pie and around 3 dozen peanut butter cup cookies. Combined with my 4 dozen cookies, we had one full and delicious smelling kitchen. 

These cookies are definitely one of a kind and are beyond anything I’ve ever tasted before. I was thrilled to pass these out on Halloween night and see the looks on everyones face once they took a bite into the cookie :) 

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies 

(Adapted from Scrambled Henfruit

  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 box Spiced Apple Cider Mix (10 packets)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 bag of Werther’s Original Chewy Caramels 

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil. In a large pot, melt butter and add sugar, salt, and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix. Mix well.

Add in eggs one at a time. 

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

Gradually add the flour mixture into the pot and mix well until it forms into a dough. 

Put the dough in the fridge for a while and carefully cut the caramels into half. 

Once the caramels are cut in half, take the dough out of the fridge. Scoop out a tablespoons worth of cookie dough and flatten. 

Press the caramel half into the dough.

Seal the dough around the caramel and roll into a ball. 

Place dough 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 minutes. 

Allow them to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transporting them to a wire rack (the caramel may stick to the bottom of the foil so remove the cookies carefully!). 

Makes around 4 dozen cookies depending on how large you make them and how many caramels you have. Serve hot, if you can, to indulge in the warm and sweet caramel center. When I delivered the cookies, I told everyone to heat the cookies up for 5-10 seconds in the microwave to get the chewy caramel center :) Happy Halloween and enjoy! 

Zucchini Bread

Last week, I got to cross off one of the items that was on my bucket list: meet a famous chef. Paula Deen came to a Barnes and Noble in Glendale to talk about and sign her new cookbook “Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible”. After sitting in traffic for an hour, I finally got to Glendale in time to snag a copy of her new book and wait in line with the other housewives (I was definitely the youngest girl there by choice waiting in line). 

Sadly, Paula Deen didn’t get to talk about her new cookbook because so many people had showed up to the signing and they wanted to get everyone’s copy signed. But I did get to speak to her and shake her hand. I wish I could say that I will never wash my right hand again, but that would be breaking tons of kitchen hygiene rules. I had planned on getting Paula to personalize the cookbook for my mother’s ?? birthday in November but she couldn’t do personalizations. But it turned out to be a phenomenal night :) 

Paula signing her new cookbook. 


My apartment complex held a potluck last Friday and I thought I’d find a recipe from my new cookbook. I was searching for something “fall-like” and came upon the “Breads, Quick Breads, and Biscuits” chapter. Cinnamon Toast Muffins, Walnut Banana Bread, and Streusel Pumpkin Bread were among the many of sweet treats listed, but what caught my eye was the absolutely delicious, yet traditional, Zucchini Bread.

Paula’s recipe is very simple to follow and easy to make. You can even add chocolate chips or nuts to the bread for a sweet or crunchy kick! I decided to stick with the basics and omit the latter. Allow yourself enough time to make this recipe as it takes over an hour to bake. Enjoy, y’all!

Paula Deen’s Zucchini Bread

(from “Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible”) 

  • 1 cup grated zucchini 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with butter. Grate one cup of zucchini.

In a large bowl, whisk together the zucchini, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture just to combine. 

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown, 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes. 

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then pop the bread out of the pan and let cool completely before slicing and serving. 

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Fall is finally here and that means one thing: Pumpkin :) Nothing brings in the fall season quite like the smell of sweet pumpkin and spices. I wanted to make a pumpkin pie for my friends but I wanted to make individual servings instead of one big pie. Using muffin tins, I decided to make mini pumpkin cheesecakes. This way I could also make the crust homemade instead of buying a graham cracker crust at the store.

This recipe requires patience because you have to keep the cheesecakes in the fridge overnight, so keep any pesky friends away when they come out of the oven. Allow at least 3 hours in the fridge! Or keep some pumpkin ice cream (trust me, its divine) in the freezer to hold them over. Or just some extra pumpkin pie on hand. You can never have enough pumpkin pie, right?

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Filling:

  • 2 8 oz. packages of softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 325ºF. In a small bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter.

In another bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time.

Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the lined muffin tins. Bake in the oven for about 5 minutes.

Pour the cream cheese filling into the tins halfway. Don’t use all the batter! Reserve half for the pumpkin layer.

Once each muffin tin is filled with cheesecake filling, add the pumpkin puree and cinnamon to the cheesecake batter. Add the layer of pumpkin filling on top of the cheesecake filling until muffin tin is filled barely to the top.

Bake for 40 minutes. Cool and place in the fridge overnight. Remember, no sneaking. Think of it as a surprise for breakfast in the morning :) Or a late night study snack for all you all-nighters out there.

Look at those layers :)

Peanut Butter S’mores Turnovers

Recipe girl has some fun treats out there and when I saw this recipe I had to make it! It’s all the goodness of a campfire s’more plus peanut butter inside a flaky pastry. Is there anything better? Tucked inside the pastry you have a layer of graham cracker topped with a bar of chocolate with a glob of peanut butter on top. The marshmallow part comes in when you top each pastry off with a swirl of marshmallow creme. Serve these puppies hot because they’re best when they come straight out of the oven! Or straight from the campfire 😉

Peanut Butter S’mores Turnovers 

(Adapted from Recipe Girl

  • 1 box of Puff Pastry 
  • 3 whole graham crackers broken into fourths (honey or cinnamon)
  • 1 bar of Hershey’s milk chocolate (break into 9 small bars) 
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy) 
  • 1 egg whisked with a tablespoon of water (egg wash)
  • 1/2 cup Marshmallow Creme 

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper. Thaw 2 sheets of Puff Pastry. Once thawed, cut each sheet on three folds to make three rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half to make six pieces of pastry. 

Starting with one pastry, put a graham cracker on one side of the pastry. 

Add a chocolate bar on top of the graham cracker.

Scoop a tablespoon of peanut butter on top of the chocolate bar. 

Wet the edges of the pastry and fold over in half. Use a fork to seal the edges together. 

Brush the turnovers with the egg wash and then use a knife to cut small slits into the top of the turnover. 

Bake for 15 minutes until the turnovers are golden and puffy. Let them cool for 5 minutes before putting the marshmallow topping on top. 

Put a generous amount of marshmallow creme into a sandwich bag and microwave for 8 seconds to soften. Snip off a small corner of the bag and drizzle the creme on top. 

Serve warm :) If you cut the turnover in half you can see the layers of the pastry!