Impromptu Sabbatical and Christmas Cookies

Over the past year or so, I have made an effort to post at least once a week. And for the most part, I have been successful.

However, this year’s Christmas season has totally taken over my life. No kidding.

I am talking hosting Christmas parties. Baking Christmas cookies. Wrapping Christmas presents. Even, singing Christmas carols. {Ok, so that last one was totally just in my kitchen, but still…}

And because of my severe Christmas obsession, I have neglected you. And I am sorry.

But today is Christmas and Christmas is all about love, forgiveness, and cheer. Amiright?

So Happy Christmas! I made you cookies!

Christmas cookies

When I was a little girl, I would watch my Mom bake in the kitchen for days during the holiday season. She would make all kinds of Christmas cookies. Ginger cookies for my brother. Chocolate peanut butter for my Dad. But my favorite were her sugar cookies. She would make a big batch just for me. She would roll them out very thin, cut them out into Christmas trees, stars, stockings, and candy canes, and then my brother and I would frost them.

She would make her own icing too. Mom would whip up several bowls and color them red, yellow, green, and white. We would have sprinkles and colored sugars to decorate on top. And the rule in our house was that if you broke the cookie while frosting it, then you had to eat it. You guys can see where this is going, right? By the time my brother and I were done decorating the cookies, we both had tummy aches due to large amounts of “broken” cookies.” We were so clumsy.. *wink wink*

Christmas cookiesThese cookies are known in my family as bird’s nest cookies. My mom says they are my Mama’s{my grandmother’s} mother’s recipe. The same woman that I am named after, so you know they have got to be good. ;) The thing is, these cookies aren’t just for Christmas. You could whip up a batch of these cookies any ol’ day of the year. They have only a few ingredients and are incredible easy to make.

Christmas cookiesOnce you’ve got the dough mixed up, roll about a tablespoon of dough into a circle. Then give it a good egg wash and roll it in crushed pecans. When I do this, I roll out all my dough balls first, and then move on to the egg wash and pecan step. This prevents a big mess to clean up later. I also make sure that my egg wash is good and frothy. I keep a fork handy if I have to whip it up in between cookies.

Christmas cookiesTo make the indentations for the nests, I used a small measuring spoon, but you could use the end of a wooden spoon too. You have to do this a few times while they bake to make them stick.

Christmas cookiesAfter the cookies have cooled for a minute or two , fill them with your favorite jam, jelly, or fruit spread. You can even fill them with Nutella. I choose to fill half of them with Nutella and the other half with the French black raspberry fruit spread above I received for Christmas.

Christmas cookies

From my kitchen to yours, I wish you the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of holidays!

Bird's Nest Cookies

Yield: 1-1/2 dozen

Recipe by Carrie


  • 1/2 cup {1 stick}unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk - save egg white in separate bowl
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar in your stand mixer bowl.
  3. Add slightly beaten egg yolk.
  4. Add flour until dough forms.
  5. Roll into balls and dip into hand beaten egg white {just beat with a fork until frothy} and roll in finely chopped pecans.
  6. Make an indentation in the center and bake for 8 minutes.
  7. Remove and press centers in again and bake another 10 minutes.
  8. Remove them and indent one more time and fill with your favorite jelly.
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Turtle cookies

Turtle Cookies

Last night, the Hubs and I went to go see “The World’s End” with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. We are both pretty big fans of “Hot Fuzz” and “Shaun of the Dead”, {although undoubtedly he is a bigger fan than I} so this was a total no brainer. We decided to go to my favorite movie theatre in town because Terrapin Beer Co. was there hosting a beer tasting for opening night of the film.

We made sure to show up early so that we could see for ourselves what Terrapin Beer Co. had to offer. They are based out of Athens, Georgia and up until now, I had just barely heard of them. But by the time our theatre was being seated, we were huge fans. They had 4 very different types of beer for the tasting: Rye Pale Ale, which is their original, signature taste, the Hopsecutioner IPA, brewed with six different hops, the Tree Hugger, which is more of your amber ale, and my favorite, Pumpkin Fest, their seasonal and perfectly balanced pumpkin ale.

So we ordered our favorite brews, mine with a sweet, brown-sugared rim around the glass, and sat down at our table and lounge chairs….yes, lounge chairs, and happily waited for the movie to start. At one point, one of the ushers came in and announced they would be holding a trivia contest focusing on the Cornetto Trilogy. They had “The World’s End” posters and T-shirts to giveaway and so I told the Hubs I just had to have one. Thanks to his mad trivia skills, he was able to win me both. If you are at all a Simon Pegg fan or into SciFi or enjoy a little British humor, then you must go see “The World’s End”. It is totally worth it.

After the movie, my excitement for Terrapin Beer Co. got me thinking…

You have all heard of turtle brownies, right?

Ooey, gooey brownies filled with nuts and caramel?

Well I decided that to celebrate my new found love for Terrapin Beer Co., a batch or two of Turtle Cookies were in order.Turtle Cookies

Terrapin actually means turtle, so I thought these cookies were only fitting.

Turtle Cookies

So I took my old fashioned recipe for the ordinary chocolate chip cookie and razzle, dazzled it up with chopped pecans, fleur de sel, and my homemade Salted Caramel Sauce.

Turtle Cookies

Turtle Cookies


  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup {2 sticks} butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • Salted Caramel Sauce
  • fleur de sel, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 375° and line your cookie sheet with a silapat or parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In your stand mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium speed.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well until incorporated.
  5. Add vanilla extract and paste.
  6. On low speed, gradually beat in your flour mixture, a little at a time.
  7. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips and your chopped pecans.
  8. Drop rounded tablespoon dollops onto ungreased baking sheet.
  9. Use the additional 1/4 cup of chocolate chips to sprinkle the tops of the cookie dough.
  10. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.
  11. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. When cool, drizzle Salted Caramel Sauce and dust with fleur de sel.
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Turtle Cookies



Chocolate Cherry Macadamia Nut Cookies

I hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day! The hubs and I decided to stay home this year, as neither one of us are particularly fond of crowds. Plus, if we really wanted to see some fireworks, then all we had to do was walk outside our front door. It’s that simple thanks to our small town life!

Ok…I don’t typically vent, but this has become a major pet peeve of mine.

So I took the kiddos to our local theme park last Monday for some roller coaster fun. They are old enough to walk around by themselves, so while they were riding rides, I hung out near the pool reading my latest in my long list of must-reads. At one point, I walked up to the concession stand and bought myself a bottled water and fruit cup. Ok…so here comes my pet peeve. The fruit cup was the size of Mt. Everest! No lie. It was big. HUGE.  For $3.99, I had enough strawberries, cantaloupe, and honey dew melon for not just a snack, but also for my breakfast and snack the next day. Not to mention, the size of the “bite-size” fruit pieces had to be cut into 2-3 smaller pieces before I could even put them in my mouth.

Is it not possible to pay $1.99 for a snack size portion of fruit with bite size pieces? Why is it that we Americans have to have the super-size of everything? Or the need to buy the “extra-value” meal? Almost every time the Hubster and I go out to eat, I am asking for a to-go box. Sometimes I remember to eat the leftovers and sometimes I totally forget…thus wasting food aaaand money. I would rather pay a smaller price for a smaller plate. Truth.

WHEW. Alright, I am done ranting. I feel loads better.  Now onto cookies.


These cookies are the perfect summer snack. They are crunchy and chewy and who doesn’t love chocolate and cherries together. I was in a total chocolate craze when I came up with the idea. And AND these cookies literally took 15 minutes to put together.


I made sure to coarsely chop the cherries and macadamia nuts beforehand to give the cookies some crunch-a-riety.

Yeah. I totally made that word up, but I love it and I’m usin’ it.


I love the idea of tart cherries paired with chocolate.

It gives it a nice contrast from the traditional sweet velvety goodness of the chocolate cookie.


Chocolate Cherry Macadamia Nut Cookies

Yield: 2 1/2-3 dozen

Recipe by Carrie


  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tart cherries, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silapat.
  2. In your stand mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add one egg at a time to the mixture until well combined.
  4. Add vanilla to your butter mixture.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Slowly add your flour mixture to your butter mixture, a little at a time until combined.
  7. Fold in your macadamia nuts and tart cherries.
  8. Drop tablespoon sized cookie drops onto your baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Let cookies cool on a wire rack for several minutes.
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Brown Butter “Snicker”doodles

Brown Butter "Snicker"doodles

Ohmigosh, you guys. I am beyond excited…

Tomorrow kicks off my birthday week!!!! Yes, week!!!

While I truly believe I am 15 in my head, it will actually be my 5th annual 29th birthday this Friday…

And Mr. BNP and I are headed to Florida…

…to go to…

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Epcot…


And! And, since I am a Tampa Bay native, I am also planning to spend time with family and friends…and Winter the dolphin…because. :)

I am completely in love with the Hubster for planning this trip and I promise to take loads of pictures to share with you guys next week.

But for now, let’s talk cookies…

I am obsessed with Snicker doodles. Like, I could eat 5 or 6 cookies, hot, right out of the oven, on any given day, in one sitting…that is how much I love them. At Christmas time, Betty Crocker stocks the shelves of Target with the best Snicker doodle mix I have ever found and so I buy them all up. But by this time in the year, they are hard to find and I have completely run out of my snicker doodle stash.

So last weekend I found myself in desperate need of some snicker doodles. I was going through some definite withdrawal…for serious. I went into the kitchen and instantly started working on my own recipe. I looked like a mad scientist, you guys! Flour in my hair, cinnamon and sugar all over my apron, but in the end, I made these incredible bad boys.

Brown Butter "Snicker"doodles

They are comparatively, just as delicious as Betty Crocker’s in my opinion. And just to add a twist to my cookie, I added a Snickers mini inside the middle. Oh, and I also browned the butter first to give it a nutty flavor. It tied in nicely with the peanuts from the Snickers bar.

Brown Butter "Snicker"doodles

Browning butter is very simple. Slice your butter into tablespoon pieces first, so that your butter melts evenly. Whisk constantly in a medium saucepan on medium high heat for 5-8 minutes. Make sure you take it off the heat once you start to see the light brown specks on the bottom. Transfer it to a different bowl to prevent it from burning.Brown Butter "Snicker"doodles

I cut the Snickers minis in half and then wrapped the dough around the candy bar before dipping it into my cinnamon sugar mixture.

Brown Butter "Snicker"doodles

Make sure you keep your cookies 1-2 inches apart on your cookie sheet. That way they won’t run into each other when they flatten out.

DSC03740_600x400Let your cookies cool for a few minutes before transferring them onto a wire rack to prevent them from breaking.

Brown Butter "Snicker"doodles


Brown Butter “Snicker”doodles

Yield: 2 1/2-3 dozen

Recipe by Carrie


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) browned butter, cooled to room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Bag of mini snickers, cut in half
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line cookie sheets with parchment or silapat.
  2. When browning your butter, slice your sticks of butter into tablespoon sized pieces so that it melts evenly.
  3. You want to whisk your butter continuously in a medium sauce pan on medium-high heat for about 5-8 minutes.
  4. Smell your butter, it should have a nutty aroma. You should be able to see small brown specks on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Immediately remove from heat and transfer into separate bowl to cool and to prevent the butter from browning any further.
  6. In your stand mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy; about 2-3 minutes.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
  8. Add eggs to your butter mixture; one at a time until fully incorporated.
  9. Add your vanilla extract.
  10. Slowly add your flour mixture to your wet ingredients; mix until just combined.
  11. In a small bowl, combine your 4 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.
  12. Using a mini-ice cream scoop, measure out 1 heaping tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball.
  13. Press half of the Snickers min into the middle of your dough and carefully wrap the dough around the candy bar.
  14. Roll back into a ball and into your sugar & cinnamon mixture.
  15. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart on your cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  16. Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes.
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Flourless, Sugarless, Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies


Peanut Butter and I have always had a very intimate relationship. It is with me every morning for breakfast. It makes time for me in my afternoon protein shakes. And it often finds its way into some of my very favorite desserts. Sometimes it even sneaks onto a spoon late into the night. My friend, Peanut Butter, also comes in a variety of delicious flavors: white chocolate, cinnamon raisin swirl, dark chocolate, and even maple. (Thanks to the ever so creative Peanut Butter & Co).

So in honor of National Peanut Butter Day, I have come up with the perfect, guilt-free treat!It really kills three birds with one stone for me. First, I get to continue my relationship with Peanut Butter without feeling guilty the next day. Second, my dieting friends will love me because I brought in a treat that they can actually eat. And third, I finally have cookies to put into my new talking TARDIS cookie jar. It’s a win-win…win!


When you first combine the ingredients, the dough may seem a bit greasy.

Don’t worry. It is just the peanut butter and the lack of flour.


I used a small cookie scoop to form the cookie dough balls and then I used the Picture Perfect Cookie technique that my blogger friend, Jennifer over at Not Your Momma’s Cookie, brilliantly came up with. (By the way, it totally works!)


I also made a batch of my peanut butter cookies loaded with chocolate chips!


Let them cool completely before serving…Oh who am I kidding…I ate 3 or 4 right out of the oven. :)


Flourless, Sugarless, Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe by Carrie


  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup Splenda or other sugar substitute
  • 1 cup reduced fat peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Fleur de Sel
  • Optional: 1/4 cup chocolate chips or chopped peanuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place parchment paper or silapat on a baking sheet and set sheet aside.
  3. Using your stand mixer, blend all ingredients together until just combined.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop, form your dough ball about 1 inch in diameter.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let cookies cool completely.
  6. Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies.
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