recipe: chocolate covered cherry cookies. [christmas cookie exchange]


welcome to day 8 of #12daysofblogging! if you’re just joining us, you can find out more about the christmas linkup here. today’s prompt is “christmas cookie exchange”. get inspired and spread the christmas spirit! share your link below!

it’s not going to surprise anyone who’s been around here before that i am the MOST excited about today’s post. COOKIES! RECIPES! ALL THE GOOD THINGS! i can’t wait for all the ideas i’m going to get today.

and i know i just talked about cookies on monday, but honestly, what do you people expect from me? variety? of course multiple christmas favorite things are going to be about dessert. only i can’t give you the recipe i talked about on monday. that’s a family secret and if i put it on the internet there would be  consequences. probably a lot of yelling too.

so instead, you get the next best thing: my go-to christmas cookie recipe. i got this recipe from Mister Man’s old roommate, megan. he and megan were living together when we started dating, and i owe her a lot of my happiness today. see, she trained him into how to live with a girl so i never had to, and he is so much better for having been her roommate. she and her husband are still dear friends (although we’re currently trying to find ways to get them to move back to minnesota from upstate new york…) and you can thank her for this deliciousness that i’ve turned into my signature christmas cookie.

chocolate covered cherry cookies -

i highly suggest making a double batch of these cookies, because they disappear very quickly, and you’ll be sad when they’re gone! even my dad, the cookie connoisseur, says that i need to make these every year or else. i have none left in the house and after writing this post i’m contemplating making more.

chocolate covered cherry cookies (makes about 2 dozen for a single batch)

  • 1/2 C. butter
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C. flour
  • 1/2 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 10 oz. jar maraschino cherries (drained, save the juice)


  • 1/2 C. Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 C. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. reserved cherry juice

in a large bowl, cream butter, egg and sugar together. add vanilla extract and mix. add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. the dough will appear a bit crumbly, but will come together once you start to make the balls. roll dough into balls about one inch in diameter and set on baking sheet (they will seem small, but spread out when they bake). make thumbprints in each cookie, and place one cherry into each cookie. spread frosting over the top of the cookie so the cherry is fully hidden. bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes.

for the frosting: melt the chocolate chips with the condensed milk over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. remove from the heat. add the salt and cherry juice. if the frosting starts to thicken or harden, either heat it up briefly, or add another 1/4 tsp. of cherry juice to thin it out.

merry christmas and happy baking!


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it’s not christmas without…


welcome to day 6 of #12daysofblogging! if you’re just joining us, you can find out more about the christmas linkup here. today’s prompt is “it’s not christmas without…”. get inspired and spread the christmas spirit!

for me, it doesn’t feel like christmas is quite here until the santa cookies have been made. santa cookies are a tradition started by my grandma hooley. all the girls in the family, when they’re old enough, get to participate in the making of the traditional santa cookies. and this is an important task, let me tell you that right now.

christmas cookie tradition: homemade santa claus mold cookies.

because santa cookies are only allowed to be eaten on christmas day, at the hooley family christmas gathering. that’s our dessert. no pie or cake or pudding, just santa cookies. and it’s an art form, making these things. mouths must be painted on delicately, sugar must be colored just the right shade of red for cheeks and hats, and the frosting mixed to just the right consistency for the santa man’s beard. so yea, there are years of training that go into making the cookies. that’s not an exaggeration. i’m 26 and still not an expert.

but the real miracle of the whole thing is how many of us manage to get together every year. the cousins are all busy and are somewhat scattered, and yet somehow we manage to find a date that works for 90% of us year after year after miraculous year.

this year is the first year that we didn’t have grandma managing the troops. and we missed her. and for about two seconds, we wondered if santa cookies were going to happen at all. and then we realized, of course they’ll happen, because it’s not christmas without santa cookies, and grandma wouldn’t want us to drop the ball on this. not to mention the general mutiny that would occur if we couldn’t procure santa cookies at the end of christmas dinner.

so we did it. we did it without our fearless leader (although the chief cookie taster aka grandpa was there and did a bang-up job). i’ve finally managed to perfect the recipe for the dough…my dad even said i’ve replicated it as good as he’s ever tasted. there will be enough cookies to go around, and we only spilled one bottle of food coloring all over the kitchen. i think she’d be proud of us.

and really, one bottle of food coloring is such a small price to pay for making sure christmas gets here safely.


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the end of daylight savings means cookies (and a giveaway).

it was light when i woke up on sunday at 6:30am (damn you adulthood!) and i had a whole extra hour in the day to fill. so i obviously made chocolate chip cookies. WITH SEA SALT ON TOP LIKE A PROFESSIONAL.

sprinkling baked goods with sea salt makes me feel like tinkerbell sprinkling her fairy dust all over the place. slightly badass, but also with the best of intentions. it’s just so good, and salty-sweet is always the way to go when you’re looking to fill up your time with baking. because i know we all have that problem…too much time on our hands. you’re welcome.

i have a huge hatred for daylight savings time in the spring. how rude of whoever invented that day to make it darker in the morning. it’s already hard enough to get out of bed, and you had to go and make it darker? which is why i love the end of daylight savings when we fall back. and all of a sudden the sun is up with us, like magic. it can turn a person’s day around when they wake up to the sun, i’m telling you!

so what i’m saying is: the weekend was wonderful. it started with a date with my husband and ended with waking up to the sun in my eyes and cookies baking in the oven, and it doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.

(p.s. the recipe for the cookies is: read the back of the tollhouse chocolate chip bag and follow their directions. then sprinkle some sea salt on top of the cookies before you put them in the oven. the end.)


in other parts of the world, i’m giving away a little gift over at ashten’s place! a housewarming jar to be exact. it’s pretty fabulous if you ask me, it has lots of stuff in it that help make a house (or apartment) start to feel like a home. it’s perfect to give as a gift or to keep for yourself…i would totally keep it for myself.

you can enter here or on ashten’s blog. good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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humpday happy list.

hi guuuuuuys! it’s wednesday! but feels like friday! which is terrible!

but like i said last week, spring is almost here, warmer weather is around the corner (it might get up to 40 degrees this weekend!), and even if it’s not friday, we’re halfway through the week. these are the things keeping me going this week, what are yours? happy humpday!

1) humpday accessory: michael kors wrap watch.

okay, so i will never buy this watch. because i am a crazy frugal person, and most of my nice things are given to me by other people for birthdays and christmas. but gosh do i love looking at pretty things like that. i’m 99% sure that the color of my soul is that green right there. purty.


2) humpday crush: this guy.

i don’t know why, maybe it’s wedding planning nostalgia (does that exist? does it make me insane?), or our first anniversary coming up in a few months, but i have a major crush on this man right here. he’s kind of the best. i got to watch him play hockey last night, and let me tell you, watching your husband score a couple goals will make any girl fall in love all over again. (also, he’s sick with a fever/flu today, so any good thoughts and vitamin c are welcomed in the ‘z’ household.)

mister man

3) humpday treat: trader joe’s coconut cookie thins.

i gave up chocolate for lent. i’ve never done that before, and i never realized how often i eat a little square of it after dinner for a little treat. so i’ve been looking for alternatives for my sweet tooth. these right here are hitting the spot. they taste like a ‘nilla wafer, but with a hint of toasted coconut flavor. also,  i only go to trader joe’s for two things: snacks and frozen foods. they’re usually in the same aisle, and i could walk that aisle for hours. so many unnecessary food items!


4) humpday daydream: maui.

we are headed on a family vacation to maui in a few weeks. i know, i’m so freaking spoiled. but let me just say that this will definitely be our last vacation for a looooong time. our jetsetting will definitely be shelved for a  bit as we househunt and prep for other additions, so we are going enjoy the heck out of this trip! oh my gosh. i cannot wait to get there. with just my family, my main man, my swimsuit and my maternity dress (peh heh heh).


5) humpday breakfast: quick smoothies.

i’ve been making smoothies almost every morning for breakfast the past few weeks. i either make one and have the whole thing for breakfast, or share it with Mister Man and have something else small with it. i’ve even been doing that pinterest-y thing (i love how that is a word now) where i pre-pack the frozen fruit and/or spinach in sandwich bags so they are all ready to go in the morning and i just have to add the yogurt and orange juice.

this morning’s smoothie recipe:

  • 1 C. frozen mangoes and strawberries
  • 1/3 banana, frozen with the other fruit
  • handful of spinach leaves
  • 1/2 C. 0% greek yogurt
  • 1/2-2/3 C. orange juice

add yogurt, fruit, spinach, then orange juice to the blender (the little bullet one that your husband laughed at you for wanting but now uses more than you do). blend up and enjoy!


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snow and cookies.

dang you guys. i think about half the country got just dumped on by snow this weekend! nemo on the east coast, orko here in the midwest. (orko, really? how is that a name for real?) we don’t really react that strongly to snow here in minnesota, no school cancellations, no work closings, although they did close the highway to north dakota. which means that Mister Man has to postpone his work trip there until tuesday. what terrible ridiculously awesome news!! in case you couldn’t tell, i really like having him here, for more than just the fact that he keeps the bed incredibly warm at night.

this weekend, i got to go to an incredibly fun work party, complete with signature company-themed cocktails and karaoke. yea, i have pretty much the best co-workers around. i spent saturday morning cleaning up the house and having a coffee date with myself, which was very therapeutic. then i got to have a long-overdue catch-up with a friend i’ve gone to school with from kindergarten through college. we now live less than a mile from each other and haven’t seen each other since my wedding. yea, i’m a terrible friend to have.

i went grocery shopping for our book club and got home just in time to welcome Mister Man home from his 10 hour drive back from rapid city, south dakota. book club is like fight club, so i can’t talk about it here, but it too was lovely, and we woke up to the grossness that was winter storm orko.

joe is a professional driver, especially in the snow. he drove my car with its broken driver’s side windshield wiper to raising cane’s on sunday morning. four of us made the terrible/wonderful decision to drive through the storm to get us some chicken and cane’s sauce. it’s worth risking life and limb for, trust.



when we finally made it home to the warm apartment, we proceeded to transform into the laziest bumps in the world. i finally made the chocolate-covered strawberry cookies i talked about here. holy crap, these were the weirdest/best/most delicious things ever. they are like fudgey brownie cookies that are super chewy, and tasted like strawberries and chocolate chunks. plus, they’re pink, so…obviously that’s awesome. my goal is to have at least one left to eat on valentine’s day. i’m bringing most of them to work so i don’t eat them in my loneliness when the husband is gone.





make these for valentine’s day. they are pink and delicious and lovely. the recipe is here, i followed it exactly, and i think that this woman is a cookie baking genius. if i lived in baltimore, i would make it my mission to be her friend so i could be the recipient of her leftovers!

hope you all had a fabulous weekend. thank you for all the kind words and support on my post from friday. i never really realized that one of the greatest things about this little blogging adventure is the support you get that you never really even knew you needed. and i had no idea how much i could appreciate people i’ve never met. you are all pretty amazing.

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