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Candy Cane Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt


A year ago, this week, I was about to have my first child and I made a version of these cookies.  Literally, the post date on that post is December 13, 2010. WHAAAT? Fast forward 365 days, sleepless night, first steps, tears, kisses, and a million other things, and here I am again, making and eating these cookies.  I am pretty sentimental, but I didn’t plan this.  Promise.


This year I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  In theory you were to make three dozen cookies that is either your own original recipe, or a twist on an original or other recipe, and then send them to three different food bloggers that you were paired up with.  In theory, you were to then get three different dozen cookies in the mail.  I received two batches of cookies, one from  Lisa from the Splattered Apron, and the other was from Joelen from What’s Cookin, Chicago?  They were delicious! I felt like I was back in college getting care packages form my mom.  I still have tons left, and we’ve been eating them every day!  Thank you so much ladies!  However, I only received two, and am bummed that I did not receive all three!

I sent cookies to these wonderful bloggers:  Natalie from Oven Love, Sarah from Daily Nibbles, and Phyl from Of Cabbages and Kings.  I hope you guys enjoyed your cookies!!

But anyway, those were the precepts for the cookie swap, so I whipped these babies up because they are the perfect combination of salty and sweet, and they have a little bit of holiday cheer.

And I’m not talking booze.  I wish I was talking booze.  Not really.  Because then I’d be at home eating 5 of these and then suddenly I am not longer a fun mom who is on a sugar high, I am an irresponsible adult.  But seriously, y’all.  I’m talking candy canes!


I put these into a food processor and in ten seconds they were done.  Ok. Let’s be real.  I first put them in a double zip lock baggy, and then I used a small hammer to crush them.  I then rolled them with a rolling pin. And broke a sweat.


And I made hearts and Instagrammed them and acted very domestic like rolling candy canes was something I always do this time of year.

Yeah. Right.

And then my dear sweet husbands says to me, “Why didn’t you just use the food processor?”

And so we find ourselves staring blankly at one another waiting to see who will laugh at me first.

Welcome to our home.

And a Merry Christmas to you!

Candy Cane Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

A delicious twist on the classic cookie. Recipe adapted from the Nestle Toll House bag.


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature or slightly melted)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups Nestle Toll House Milk Chocolate Chocolate Chips

1-2 boxes crushed candy canes (depending on how much candy cane you want present in your cookie)

sea salt for sprinkling when cookies are out of the oven


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap candy canes and place them in food processor until they are crushed, but not powder. Set aside. In mixing bowl with whisk attachment, combine sugars, butter, and eggs. Add in baking soda, salt, and vanilla extract. Add flour in small doses, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl so it’s well-combined. Turn mixer off and stir in milk chocolate chips with wooden spoon. Add candy cane sprinkles and fold into dough, just as you did with the chocolate chips. Use two spoons or a small cookie dough scoop to place on a cookie sheet, leaving enough room between each cookie so that they made spread out. You may want to use parchment paper on the cookies sheet, but you don’t have to. It’s just easier to scrape off with the spatula, and a bit neater. Bakes for 9-11 minutes. As soon as the cookies are out of the oven, sprinkle them with sea salt, just enough to have a light dusting. The sea salt should only be a light dusting, not a coating or sprinkles like a decoration, otherwise they will be too salty. Cool the cookies on cooling racks, and the salt will stick as it cools. Eat slightly warm with milk, or the next day, any time and any way that you would like.

Pear and Pepper Latte


Its gloomy here, and while I usually love that type of weather, it feels a bit too cold for my taste.  Holidays are a weird time of year, they conjure up so many different emotions and yet I don’t think that we are all honest about how they make us feel.  Let’s get real here for a minute.  Families can be messy.  Holidays can be stressful.  There can be pressure, hurt, fears, and insecurities.  We want to give perfect gifts, be the perfect hostess, make the perfect turkey, and all for what?

Don’t get me wrong, I get trapped here too, and frankly I’m in the thick of it.  My husband and I have been married for three years, and this is the first year of the holidays with our son.  Last year he was a week old at Christmas, and I hardly remember what that day was like.  And so I find myself this year longing to make our own traditions and am hopeful for what these next few months bring.

Oh, and I’m always crying. Not really, always, but enough to mention it.  Because Chip is turning ONE next month and I can’t figure out where this year went.  Because  I realized that when I was in high school, college, and grad school, there was always a deadline of finals, of the quarter system that signaled the ending of a season and the beginning of a new one.


And even when I was an editor of a magazine we existed and thrived on deadlines.  My time spent in the marketing field was the same: seasons, sales goals, and social media campaigns.  Now, I am in a world that is so far from these deadlines, that I find that I am stopping dead in my tracks.

Because my world now is no longer defined by these types of deadlines.  It’s by first steps, finger foods, sleeping through the night, a new tooth, a smile, a tear, play dates, holidays, birthdays, and

growing up.

These deadlines are much less stressful, yet they take a whole different toll on your heart.  These deadlines cause my heart to grow fuller, my joy to be more infinite and for the first time to feel like I am really, actually living.


Don’t get me wrong, there are hard days and there are rough days and even harder nights.  But even the hard times are the best times, and as this year is quickly ending and the holidays are so very fast approaching, I am choked up, trying to take it all in, and doing my best to find the right words to put what it’s like to watch someone grow up.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

And I’ve taken up yoga for this very purpose.

And I take breaks in the day and make things like a Pear and Pepper Latte.  I just sit, and I reflect, and I Thank, and I marvel.

I treat myself so that I am rested.  I get rid of distractions.

And I relish in not being too busy.

Because deadlines can pass directly over our heads and in the world of words, marketing, money, and finance, we can always make new ones.  But in this life, the life that involves our loved ones, people, humanity, we can’t make new deadlines.

When they pass, they pass.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Sip. Enjoy. Reflect. Repeat.

Pear and Pepper Latte

Yield: half a dozen cups of coffee

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15

Total Time: 20 minutes (only the first time)

By latte, I mean cafe au lait. I like coffee better, but just substitute espresso if you’d like a true latte. And this is a Bonnie the Baker original.


A pot of your favorite coffee, brewed
1/2 ripe pear
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3-10 white and black pepper kernels
milk if you so desire
1 loose leaf tea infuser


Brew your favor pot of coffee

While brewing, or perhaps right before depending on how fresh you like to pour your joe, slice the 1/2 pear (remove seeds) and place in a small saucepan with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and let boil for about 5-10 minutes, allowing syrup to thicken and sugar to dissolve completely. (If you want extreme pear flavor, then use a whole pear in this same sugar water ratio.)

Remove from heat.

Place pepper kernels into tea infuser. I like mine super peppery because I love that kid of stuff. But I would start small and increase for strength, you don’t want to be overcome with the pepper flavor if you are unsure about it.

Pour coffee into favorite mug, and scoop as many tablespoons of pear syrup into mug while coffee is still hot, and stir. The more Place tea infuser with pepper kernels into hot coffee and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Again, start small here, you can always steep more for a stronger pepper flavor. Remove tea infuser, add milk or cream as usual.

Put left over syrup into a mason jar or left over peach jar (pictured) and then store at room rep for up to two weeks. If you go to re-use and it’s become hard, use a double broiler to heat it up again.


Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Lasagna


I’m sitting here, feeling a bit under the weather.  I’m drinking tea, watching a film on Netflix, and life is good.  And that’s how fall is.  There are pumpkins, and hopes for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which of course means cold weather, warm treats, and perhaps a bit more vulnerability on our part.

Baby is in bed because it’s not even seven, so daylight savings or not, we are learning this new routine.  I’m insisting on it. MUAHAHAHAHA!

And I feel like I need to be rescued from myself right now because I am having an insane thought to go running this morning.  As in, when it’s cold and I haven’t eaten anything.  That’s insane right?

I’ll tell you what’s really insane:  I have a bad habit of making centerpieces for holidays out of fruits and herbs solely so that after the event is over I can chop up the fruit and the herbs and put them in a bath.  Fill it with bubbles.  Fill my glass with wine. And relax.

And while I wouldn’t not suggest putting this lasagna in a bath, I do suggest making it this Thanksgiving for those of you who want a Turkey alternative.  And, I didn’t use all of the sage in my package, so that will probably make it into a bubble bath.

This recipe is lightly adapted from my dear friend, Julia Mestas.  She thought of this recipe, and I love her for it.  Visit her blog!

P.S. This is a very quick version.  As in, I didn’t have all the ingredients the original recipe called for and it was still delicious.  However, Julia’s version is a lot more technical, and more true to a real lasagna.

Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Lasagna


2 cans organic pureed pumpkin
1 15 ounce bag butternut squash cubes (I got these from Trader Joes. Or you could just roast your own butternut squash as well, which will be about 3 cups worth)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sage leaves, chopped finely, divided
1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped roughly
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1tablespoon cinnamon
1 package “no boil” lasagna noodles
24 ounces ricotta cheese
3 cups grated mozzarella cheese


Toss Butternut Squash cubes, olive oil, half of the sage, and salt and pepper on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place in pre-heated 400F degree oven for about 30 minutes, using a spatula to rotate cubes half way through.

In the meantime, mix basil, the rest of the sage, ricotta and mozzarella in a large bowl, using hands, until combined.

Remove butternut squash from oven when done. Reduce oven to 350F degrees.

Pour a thin layer of pumping puree at the bottom of a large ceramic pan (regular pan, glass pan, whatevs). Just enough to thinly cover the bottom. Place noodles strategically on top so that the pumpkin is covered. If the canoodles overlap, that’s fine, but only one layer is needed. Then place another thin pumpkin lair on top of noodles, followed by a thin layer of ricotta.mozzarella mixture, followed by several of the butternut squash cubes, and finally, another layer of noodles.

Repeat these steps until you run out of fillings. Finish with a layer of noodles, spread the remaining pumpkin puree, and then sprinkle with some mozzarella.

Bake for about 45 minutes in 350F degree oven or until cheese on top is bubbling.


Your Favorite City’s Cookies and a Change to Support Breast Cancer Research


My family has done lots of traveling, and I’ve seen almost every state in the U.S.  I have a love affair with the mountains and the oceans, each my favorite scenery when placed in front of it, but I also love wide open spaces, rolling hills, and the great plains.  I’m not too much of a city girl, and suburban life is all I’ve ever known.  I’d like to live in the country, but  people give me energy and I know that after a few weeks I’d be aching to be in the midst of community.

But, of all the places I’ve been, it’s San Francisco that I love.  I honestly have no idea why.  I don’t like the city, but I like Silicon Valley.  Its a small, suburban city with lots of businesses, the technology capitol it seems, but also, and honestly, nothing too special.  But here’s the deal.  As I grow older (ahem) I begin to like places and scenery and scenes and people and culture much more because of  who I’m with and less because of what I’m doing.

And it turns out we’ve been to Cupertino many times on business trips for my husband’s job, have  dear friends that live close to the city, and this time last year I was on partial bed rest at 32 weeks pregnant and my husband and I spent 3 weeks up in the area.  I went sight seeing all day, read book after book while sipping mayan hot coco and coffee, went shopping, got manicures, and really and truly enjoyed life.  Husband was at work all day, so at night we had date nights, split cupcakes, went on trips during the weekends, and visited our favorite food places.  All while living out of a hotel.

And it was glorious.

During that three weeks I truly bonded with Chip, the baby inside me, and I look back at that time as so very precious. I know it was a gift given to us; I spent all day talking to him and thinking of him and just resting, in preparation for him to be here.  I’ll never forget those weeks and that city, holds a piece of my heart.  I guess, you could say, I left my heart in San Francisco.

Ok! ok, super cheesy right?  So let’s move on to other great things about that city, including, these cookies!

Do you know my friend Stephanie from Desserts for Breakfast?  Well this cookie recipe is her’s, and it’s originally called “Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies.”  But I changed the name because this is my blog and I’m the boss of here.

So Stephanie.  Another good thing about San Fran.  And Standford. Ici Ice Cream. Good Coffee. Winchester Mystery House. Zachary’s Pizza. Apple. Santana Row. The Mystery Spot. Rain. Clouds. Fog. The Golden Gate Bridge. Crab Chowder in a bread bowl. Hills. and Chocolate.


Good ol’ Ghiradelli Chocolate is in this fine city, and so I took a few raspberry chocolate squares, good coffee grounds, and then coconut for good measure and made these San Francisco cookies. And of course, while they were still hot, sprinkled them with sea salt.

And then I ate 7 for lunch because I have no self control.

And generally out of good cities and places comes good people who fight for good causes.  And Stephanie is doing just this.  She’s a wonderful photographer and is selling cards made of her beautiful photos to help support Breast Cancer research. All the proceeds from these card sales go to help fund Breast Cancer Research.

So let’s make a deal here.  Grab any sweets you have lying around in your pantry and make these cookies.  The recipe supports up to four cups of mix-ins, so don’t be shy.  But let’s be intentional.  Make a combination that reminds you of someone or something, some place in time, that goes well beyond the ingredients of a cookie.

And while you’re at it, head on over to Stephanie’s etsy shop and think about supporting Breast Cancer Research and purchase a pack of her cards.  Because, really, we all have favorite places, memories, and cities.  But it’s the people that make these things special. And some of these people need our help. They are hurting and wait for a cure.

 And if we don’t fight for them who will?

(Recipe adapted from Desserts for Breakfast, Everything but the Kitchen Sink Cookies)

Your Favorite City’s Cookies


2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons finely ground coffee ( I like the coffee flavor strong. The originally recipe was only 2 teaspoons, so adjust according to your liking)

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 eggs

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

up to 4 cups of mix-ins of your choice!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking power, salt, and coffee and set aside. Using a stand mixer, mix the butter until light. Gradually add all the sugars until it’s light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, followed by the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Make sure to mix well after each addition. Mix in flour, little by little, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once well combined, fold in the mix-ins that you’ve chosen.

Use a small ice cream scoop or just spoons, to scoop the cookies on to the cookie sheet. These are thin cookies, so they will spread out, so make sure to leave room. I did 6 cookies per sheet.

Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, or until edges are one step above golden brown. Once removed from oven, if you’ve chosen sea salt, sprinkle on top while still warm. Allow to cool on pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Repeat until all dough is used, and enjoy!