Cranberry Bliss Cookies

‘Tis the season for cool mornings, warm coffee, and one of my other winter favorites — Cranberry Bliss season at Starbucks!

If any of you have ever tried their heavenly cranberry bliss bars laced with white chocolate and cranberries, you know the reason why these treats fly off the pastry shelves each day. So for my fall baking season this year, I decided to experiment and try translating this favorite into a cookie. Hence the name, “Cranberry Bliss Cookies”!

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Caramel Pear Cookies

Last week some of my good friends brought me over a huge back of freshly-picked pears and apples. And as I was trying to plan how to put them to use over the next week, the idea of caramel pears came to mind. And then better — caramel pear cookies!

I’m always looking for an excuse to pick up a bag of those adorable little caramel bits at the grocery store, so was more than happy to give the recipe idea a try. Went with a cinnamon-y dough, and then just finely diced the pear so that there could be some nice little fruit chunks in there. And oh my goodness. They turned out A-MAZING. Seriously, I was expecting them to be tasty, but they were go-back-for-seconds-and-thirds-and-(ok-admit-it)-fourths crazy good. I actually ended up making two batches of them last weekend, so took them to share with friends and family and neighbors, and everyone gave them rave reviews.

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Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes

Earlier this week, I hosted a little birthday gathering for a beautiful friend who recently moved to England but is back home (yay for us!) for a few weeks. And when I asked her what might “happen” to be one of her favorite desserts, she responded that she always loves cheesecakes, but then also really loves peanut butter and chocolate. So I decided to bring together the best of both worlds and make these Reese’s mini cheesecakes!

It was also a chance to use a new little kitchen purchase that I finally caved in to buy – this mini cheesecake pan. Sure, you can make little cheesecakes in mini baking cups, but I had long admired the sleek vertical lines of this pan, so may have squealed in delight just a tad when I finally purchased one of my own.

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Easy Butterfinger Brownie Trifles

This past Saturday night was one I always look forward to each month — book club!

Our pick of the month was a bit of fan fiction indulgence for all of us “Pride & Prejudice” groupies. Our beloved Elizabeth and Darcy were swept up in a (gasp!) murder mystery in PD James’ recent release, “Death at Pemberly”. Who would have guessed?!? While the majority of the group ended up giving it less than raving reviews, it was definitely a fun idea for a summer read. AND to celebrate, I decided to go a tad English (although I don’t know if these totally count) and bring my version of an English trifle to share — these adorable Easy Butterfinger Brownie Trifles!

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Dark Chocolate Drizzled Mints

One of my favorite Christmas traditions seems to be playing with Altoid tins. They’re ridiculously cute, super-versatile, and can be home to all sorts of crafty-ness or delicious gifts!! (They can also be used on your wall to create a sweet Advent calendar, such as this or this!)

I’ve included some of my previous Altoid tin creations below. But for this year, decided to use the actual mints for the gift, and just kick them up a notch! Ha…not sure if this even qualifies as a “recipe”, but they were super-fun, and super-easy. When paired with a favorite minty chapstick, this can turn into a great little “kit” for girlfriends!! (Or…yes of course…any guys who are pro-minty-chapstick. :-))

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S’mores Pops

So…I seem to have this love of food on “sticks”. :)

It all began with, of course, sugary lollipops and popsicles as a kiddo. Then over the years progressed to delicious little hors d’oeuvres (and especially cheeses) on toothpicks. Then over the last few years, have adored and enjoyed trying Bakerella’s trend of cupcakes on a stick (“cupcake pops”).

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Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

Yes, you read correctly. Three favorite words, all combined into one fabulous dessert. :)

I made my first batch of these this weekend to bring along to a “Tribute To Beers From Around The World” party, hosted by two friends who know more about the subject than just about anyone I know. :) Since I’ve never been a huge fan of beer – would prefer a glass of wine any day – I was all for the option of bringing a beer-themed food to contribute instead! Thought about of course bringing some beer bread, or doing a beer-cheese fondue…but I’d had a craving for cupcakes all week. So did a bit of searching, and sure enough – was stoked to find a number of recipes out there for this chocolate + Guinness combination! After reading lots of reviews, ended up going with this specific recipe from a blogger I love.

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