1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium bananas, mashed (1 1/3 cups)
1/3 cup avocado oil
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1 LARGE egg
1 cup mini chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grease or line muffin tin with papers.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a LARGE bowl.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the mashed bananas, oil, vanilla and egg until well blended.
  • Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients JUST until combined.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Fill muffins 3/4 full.

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon QUALITY cinnamon
1/4 cup COLD butter, cubed

  • Whisk together the sugar, flour and cinnamon.
  • Cut in butter pieces until crumbly.
  • Top filled muffins with streusel.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean and centers are cooked.
  • Cool 5-10 minutes on wire rack.
  • Best served warm.


2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, cubed
6 tablespoons WHOLE milk
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 cup JIF peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon PURE almond extract
3 cups quick cooking oats
10 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained WELL and chopped FINE

  • In a large mixing bowl add the quick cooking oats and cherry pieces. Set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, butter, milk and baking cocoa.
  • Over a medium heat melt butter and bring mixture to a boil,cooking and stirring continuously for 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Stir in peanut butter and extracts, stirring until combined well.
  • Pour mixture over oat mixture and mix until oatmeal is well coated.
  • Drop the mixture tablespoons onto wax paper lined cookie sheets.
  • Chill until set.
  • Store in airtight containers.



Adapted from Like Mother Like Daughter

Sweet and salty, loaded with gooey caramel, chocolate chips and pretzels to make THE PERFECT cookie!

1 cup UNSALTED butter, COLD
1 cup PACKED dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 LARGE eggs
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped pretzels
1/2 bag Kraft caramel balls (2 balls per cookie)
1 tablespoon flaky sea salt

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Line cookie sheet with parchment or silpat.
  • Cut your butter into slices.
  • Add butter slices to a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beating until it starts to smooth and get creamy. 
  • Add in sugars and beat for 1-2 minutes more until smooth and well combined.
  • Add in the eggs and vanilla extract beating JUST until incorporated.
Sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
  • Add the flour mixture, beating on low speed until the wet and dry ingredients are combined.

  • Fold the chocolate chips and pretzel pieces into the dough.
  • Scoop dough by the tablespoon.
  • Press the dough flat and place 2 caramel balls in the middle.
  • Roll the cookie dough around the caramel.

  • Bake 8-12 minutes, or until the cookie top and bottom are golden.
  • Sprinkle the tops of the cookies immediately with coarse sea salt.

  • Allow the cookies to rest on the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. 

  • Store cookies in an airtight container, or ziplock bag for 3 to 4 days.

NOTES: Add 1 tablespoon at a time more of flour if dough is too wet and sticky.


When I was a kid we went to The Smoke House restaurant in Toluca Lake, California for all the special celebration occasions – graduations, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries for their Prime Rib. As a young adult in college my friends and I would go for the bands and the bar. BUT, always we went for the garlic bread! It was THE most unbelievable garlic bread. To this day it makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I’ve been experimenting for years with a copycat recipe. I have finally perfected it (at least according to my memory of it since we have long since moved away) and then my brother sends me a link order it directly from them.

It had this distinctive neon orange color (which in hindsight probably wasn’t all that good for us). I used to be able to buy the cheese powder in a loose package at a mom and pop grocery store years later in Michigan, but then we moved yet again. The closet I’ve come to finding it recently is ordering it from

I now prefer the non-orange powder from King Arthur that is a sharp Vermont cheddar so there is a healthier alternative 🙂


1 Loaf French Sourdough bread
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
1/4 cup Cheese Powder (your choice of color)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup FINELY grated Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a small saucepan, slowly melt butter with minced garlic.
  • Once melted, remove from heat and rest several hours to infuse the garlic into the butter.
  • Slice bread in half lengthwise.
  • Brush all the garlic butter over both halves of bread.
  • Mix together the Parmesan cheese, paprika and cheese powder.
  • Sprinkle all over both halves of bread.
  • Bake 8 minutes.
  • Increase heat to broil.
  • Broil 30 seconds at a time until you get your desired doneness. Watch it closely to prevent burning!
  • ENJOY!


Do you love a good snickerdoodle? What could be better than a warm cookie? Warm bread of course!

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons QUALITY cinnamon (see notes)
1 bag Hershey’s cinnamon chips (see notes)
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 LARGE eggs
1 tablespoon PURE vanilla
3/4 cup sour cream

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grease 3 loaf pans.
  • Sift together the flour baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  • Fold in cinnamon chips and Set aside.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar.
  • Add eggs, blending until fluffy and uniform in color.
  • Mix in vanilla and sour cream.
  • Gradually add in the dry ingredients.
  • Distribute evenly amongst the loaf pans.
  • Bake 45-50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.


  • This recipe easily transforms into a seasonal taste by using apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice in combination with the cinnamon.
  • You can also substitute the cinnamon chips for butterscotch chips.



Bursting with blueberries and the perfect balance of flavors with the crispy almonds. Make this easy coffee cake recipe for any occasion!

2 cups granulated sugar
3 LARGE eggs, room temperature
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon PURE almond paste
1 tablespoon PURE vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) FROZEN small WILD blueberries, thawed and drained WELL
1/2-1 cup sliced almonds

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Spray a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • Beat sugar and eggs for 5 minutes with a mixer on medium. The volume of mixture will increase by almost half and will be thickened and light in color.
  • Add butter and extracts, beating 2 more minutes.
  • Gradually add flour and beat until just combined.
  • FOLD in blueberries with a spatula.
  • Pour and smooth batter into prepared pan.
  • Sprinkle almonds on top.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool COMPLETELY before serving, or the cake will crack.
  • Use a serrated knife to cut the cake.

NOTE: The cake freezes really well. Wrap individual pieces (so you can snack as desired) in plastic wrap and then place in a resealable freezer bag. Allow thawing for 10-15 minutes on the counter before eating.


I found this recipe in one of the old antique recipe boxes I’ve collected. They had labeled it Molasses Cookies, but after I made them changing the name to “SNAPS” worked better because they were so crispy. I added extra ginger and cloves to make them spicier. When these are baking all you can think of is gingerbread houses and smile.

3/4 cup Crisco
1 cup extra fine sugar
1 LARGE egg
2 cups flour
2 1/2-3 teaspoons QUALITY cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 1/2-2 teaspoons ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons warm water
1/3 cup molasses
2-3 teaspoons FRESH grated ginger
3/4 cup sanding sugar

  • Cream together the Crisco and sugar until fluffy.
  • Add egg, scraping down bowl and blending well.
  • Sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger and ground cloves in a separate bowl.
  • Set aside.
  • Dissolve baking soda in warm water.
  • Add baking soda mixture to shortening mixture, blending well.
  • Alternately add the flour mixture, molasses and FRESH grated ginger.
  • Cover with saran and chill 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Add small shallow bowl
  • Roll 1 tablespoon at a time into balls.
  • Roll each balls in the sanding sugar and place on greased baking sheets 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes until dry around edges.
  • Let cool on baking sheet until set before transferring to cooling rack.
  • Store in airtight container at room temperature – which makes them a GREAT cookie jar cookie.

NOTE: Be sure to roll into tight balls of dough. They will cook perfectly round and look professionally done 😀



187 grams cake flour-sifted (1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tablespoons) before sifting
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups small cranberries (fresh or thawed) SEE NOTES
140 grams (5 oz.) white chocolate, grated fine
1 tablespoon flour
115 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter-softened at room temperature
300 grams sugar ( 1 and 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
3 LARGE eggs
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons browned butter

  • Preheat convection oven to 325°.
  • Butter and flour 9 x 5 x 3 loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  • Combine cake flour, baking powder and salt and sift it three times, set aside.
  • In a small sauce pan over medium heat salted butter until it’s nice amber color, remove the foam and set aside to cool.
  • Whisk the egg with vanilla extract and set aside.
  • Cream the unsalted butter on medium speed until it’s creamy.
  • Slowly add sugar and continue beating until it’s creamy.
  • Add heavy cream and mascarpone, beating on medium speed JUST until combined.
  • Lower speed and gradually add dry ingredients alternately with the eggs.
  • Toss cranberries with flour and finely grated white chocolate.
  • Fold chocolate cranberry mixture into the batter.
  • Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan, smooth the top.
  • Gently tap the pan on countertop to remove the air bubbles.
  • With a butter knife draw a line down the center of the pound cake.
  • Pour browned butter into the line.
  • Loosely tent pan with foil and bake 30 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake another 30 minutes until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. If you don’t have convection air oven, baking time will probably take longer.
  • Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove it from the pan and COMPLETELY cool on the rack before icing.

56 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter-softened
112 grams (4 ounces) cream cheese-softened
1 1/2 + cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
handful dried cranberries
2 tablespoons QUALITY rum or alcohol of choice

  • While cake is chilling soak cranberries in a quality rum.
  • Drain cranberries well.
  • Cream together softened butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  • Slowly powdered sugar and beat until smooth,.
  • Add vanilla extract.
  • Spread on top of the cake.
  • Sprinkle cranberries randomly on cake.
  • Chill cake until the icing is set.


  • If you don’t have convection air oven raise the temperature to 350° and you will have to rotate the pan half way through the baking time.
  • Using smaller cranberries gives you a better disbursement throughout the cake.
  • If you are using frozen cranberries, thaw them first, rinse with cold water until the water is clear, drain the cranberries and dry well.
  • Small WILD blueberries substitute wonderfully!


OAT NUT CARAMEL BARS aka CARMELITAS adapted from Donuts 2 Crumpets

OMG these are the BEST cookie bars EVER! It has layers of buttery oats, rich chocolate and creamy caramel which make them a SUPER delicious gooey treat.

Prep Time 25 mins Cook Time 25 mins Total Time 50 mins

2 (11 ounce) bags Kraft caramel bits
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, melted
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup FINELY chopped walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Melt the caramel bits and whipping cream together in a large saucepan over medium heat until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl mix the oats, brown sugar, flour and baking soda until combined well.
  • Stir in the meted butter until you have a crumbly mixture.
  • Put half the oat mixture in a greased 9×13 pan.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips and walnuts over the baked base.
  • Drizzle the caramel over the chocolate chips (they will be swimming in it.)
  • Crumble up the remaining oat mixture into small chunks and gently cover the caramel in as even a layer as possible.
  • Bake 15 minutes more.
  • Let cool at least 4 hours!


  • Let cool for at least 4 hours on a wire rack, but the longer the better, over night is best. Eating it any earlier results in a gooey mess, not bars!
  • At holiday time I use disposable pans that can be easily cut away from the cooled bars for quicker assembly of dessert plates.

When I cut off the edges I mush all the leftovers together and roll it into balls that I then coat with chocolate for a little extra treat.


1 cup JIF creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips* see note
1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)
Sprinkles (optional)

  • Cream together the butter and peanut butter.
  • Add powdered sugar, beating until fully combined.
  • Refrigerate mixture 15-20 minutes to firm up.
  • Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet.
  • Cover and return to fridge or even the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Melt together the chocolate chips and coconut oil until smooth.
  • Coat each peanut butter ball in the chocolate and place on wax paper to harden.
  • If using sprinkles, be sure to add them while the chocolate is wet enough for them to stick.
  • Keep refrigerated.

NOTE: IF available, almond bark is a much simpler way to coat these. You also do NOT need the coconut oil if using the almond bark.


While this recipe is my traditional “COOKIES & CREAM” recipe, you can make any flavor you want – just change out the sandwich cookie flavors.

I have these awesome Sweet Lime Hatch Chile cookies that I’ve only ever found in Texas at HEB. A friend sent me several boxes this year as a wonderful gift so I decided to make this wonderful no bake cheesecake with some of them.

36 chocolate sandwich cookies
5 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup sugar
1 tablespoon PURE vanilla extract
1 cup milk, warm
1 tablespoon gelatin

  • Separate the cream from the cookies into 2 different bowls.
  • Place the cookies into a plastic bag and crush them into fine crumbs with a rolling pin. Set aside ½ cup of the crumbs for later.
  • Pour the cookie crumbs into a bowl and combine with the melted butter, mixing until the texture is like slightly wet sand.
  • Press the cookie crumbs in an even layer into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside.
  • In a medium pot over low heat, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, the cream from the cookies, and vanilla extract, stirring until there are no lumps.
  • In a measuring cup, mix the milk with the gelatin until dissolved.
  • Pour the milk into the cream cheese mixture, whisking constantly until the mixture starts to bubble slightly. Remove from heat.
  • Pour the mixture over the cookie crust in the springform pan. Using a spatula or a spoon, smooth the top.
  • Sift the saved cookie crumbs on top of the cheesecake in an even layer, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  • Unclasp the ring of the spring form pan, slice, then serve!
  • Enjoy!


Some of the best recipes of the Christmas season are those that double as gifts, like this homemade cranberry infused vodka.


1 cup FRESH cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 large strip of orange peel
2 cups QUALITY vodka (Absolut is best)

  • Place the cranberries, sugar and pineapple juice in a medium saucepan over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved, the cranberries pop and the pineapple juice is absorbed. 
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool. 
  • Transfer the mixture into a large mason jar.
  • Place the orange peel in the mason jar, and pour the vodka over top.
  • Screw the lid on tightly and set the jar on a counter at room temperature for at least 3 days, and up to a month.
  • Shake once a day.
  • Strain into a decorative bottle, tie with festive ribbon and gift with a cocktail recipe in which to use it.