Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies

If you know me at all, you should know that when it comes to cookies, I can't leave well enough alone. I have this habit of saying to myself "what else could I could put into this cookie to make it even more over the top"? My best examples: Oreo Cookie Cookies & Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies. Today, I decided to go with butterfingers.

I've been itching to throw butterfingers into a cookie recipe for a while and when I saw this peanut butter cookie, it looked absolutely perfect to me. I was a little skeptical about the recipe because it has a whole tablespoon of baking powder, but it was a David Lebovitz recipe so I decided to trust the man and forge ahead. In the end, I had mixed reactions to this cookie. It was thick and chewy and didn't spread too much which is what I look for in a peanut butter cookie, but I definitely thought it had a bit of a strange aftertaste to it. At first I thought maybe the cookie was too sweet (you know, since I added a bunch of candy to an already sweet dough), but then I thought maybe the aftertaste was coming from the baking powder. It could be too much baking powder, it could be that I need new baking powder, or it could've just been in my head (after all my husband loved these cookies and had no problems scarfing them down). Whatever the case may be, I'm not quite done experimenting with this cookie recipe. I think it has the potential to be a great peanut butter cookie. Next time, I'll skip the butterfingers and bring the baking powder down to a teaspoon.

Peanut Butter Butterfinger cookies:
Source: Adapted from
The Busty Baker, originally from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz
Makes: About 30 Cookies


  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 fun size butterfinger bars, chopped
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugars, and peanut butter just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix just until the dough comes together. Add in the butterfinger and mix together.
  3. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Remove the dough from refrigerator and let it come to room temperature.
  4. With racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, preheat to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
  5. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon place cookie dough on prepared cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Using the back tines of a fork, make a crosshatch pattern on each cookie, flattening it slightly.
  6. Bake, rotating sheets halfway, until cookies begin to brown at the edges but centers still look slightly uncooked, 9 to 10 minutes. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Spicy Sweet Potato Hash

I absolutely love breakfast foods, but I hardly ever make them. My standard breakfast consists of a bowl of Special K or Multi-grain cheerios. Occasionally, I'll make a bowl of oatmeal, but on most mornings I can't be bothered to put a bowl in the microwave (No judging). So when I had the brilliant idea to make breakfast for dinner last night, I was very excited to try some breakfast recipes that have been lingering in my mind. I made this spicy sweet potato hash and a smoked salmon frittata (recipe coming soon).

This hash was absolutely delicious. It's healthy and flavorful and pretty easy to throw together. It has sweet potatoes, onions, and red peppers. It did involve a lot of chopping, but that can all be done ahead of time. And of course you can chop the pieces to be a bit larger, which will save some time. I, however, have this crazy idea that things taste better when they're chopped smaller (remember, no judging). This, of course, makes making salad a very labor intensive process for me. My salads are exclusively chopped: chopped greek salad, chopped cobb salad, chopped chicken ceasar salad... you get the idea. The bottom line is, whatever size you chop your potatoes, this will still be amazing.

* Note: I read a bunch of different recipes for hashes and some of them had you boil the potato pieces in some water for about 3 - 4 minutes before you put them in the pan with the onions and peppers to make sure they were cooked all the way. I decided to do that, but ultimately came to the conclusion that if you chop your potatoes as small as I did, it's unnecessary. If your pieces are larger, go ahead and boil them first to make sure they are cooked all the way through, but they only need a couple minutes. They should be slightly tender but still hold their shape.

Spicy Sweet Potato Hash
  • 1 tbls vegetable oil
  • 2 - 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped* (See note above)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (add more if you want, I have a low spice tolerance)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  1. Pour the oil into a large skillet and place over high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, lower the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender and some are browned. The potatoes will begin to stick as they cook. Just continue to turn with a spatula.

Pretzel Cookies with Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chips

It seems like the culinary world has been slightly obsessed with the salty/sweet combination lately. I keep seeing salted caramel desserts and fleur de sel sprinkled on top of various desserts. I for one, am completely for this. Once I made the infamous NY Times chocolate chip cookie recipe with sea salt sprinkled on top, I was hooked. So when I had a bunch of left over pretzel salt from making soft pretzels, I knew exactly what I would do with it.

These cookies were awesome. I loved what the pretzels added to the cookie. They stayed nice and crispy, which was a great contrast to the chewy cookie. And of course you can't go wrong with milk chocolate chips and peanut butter chips.

I absolutely loved the combination of pretzel, milk chocolate, and peanut butter and I would make these again in a second. The only change I might make next time is to the base cookie recipe. I strayed from my normal recipe because I wanted to find a recipe that made less cookies (strange, I know). This recipe was good, but if you have a favorite cookie recipe feel free to use that instead.

Another note about these cookies is that they did not spread very much for me. The first batch barely spread at all, so I smushed down the second batch a little before putting them in the oven.

Recipe: Chocolate & Peanut Butter Chip Pretzel Cookies
Makes 24 cookies
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup broken up pretzel pieces
  • Preztel Salt or Sea Salt


  1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a larger bowl, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). On low speed, slowly add the beaten egg and vanilla extract. Beat to combine, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no more streaks of flour. Stir in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and preztels. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out well rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Leave about 2 inches between each ball. Bake for 10 minutes. If you prefer crispier cookies increase the baking time by 1-2 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing.

Chickpea Salad

This has become pretty much my favorite thing ever this summer. I love making it at the beginning of the week and having it to snack on when I get hungry. The chickpeas provide plenty of protein and the olives and feta give it a delicious saltiness.

This salad is really easy to make with whatever you have on hand. I had sun-dried tomatoes that I needed to use up but I think it would also be great with slow roasted cherry tomatoes. Some toasted pine nuts would also make a great addition.

Chickpea Salad
  • 1 can of chickpeas (about 15 oz), rinsed and drained
  • 1 can of artichokes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of feta (I used reduced fat), diced
  • 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbls basil, chopped
  • 1 - 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbls red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbls lemon juice, optional (just add a little vinegar if you don't have lemon)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir together. Add salt & pepper to taste. Refrigerate and serve cold or at room temperature.

Butterfly Cupcakes

I saw these cupcakes in this book, Hello Cupcake, a while back but never really had an occasion to make them.... until last Friday that is. My friend was having a party to celebrate Arts Fest that happens every summer in State College. I asked what I could bring and she said "an artsy dessert." Done!

Overall these cupcakes took a little bit of work, but they weren't hard, and they were a lot of fun to make. When I brought these to the party, everyone was really impressed and couldn't believe that I had actually made these.

Here's a rundown of the steps to make the wings:
  1. Get/make a stencil of a butterfly wing to use as your template. I just freehanded mine with the brush tool in Photoshop, then made a word document with 6 sets of wings on 1 page. (See below)
  2. Lay down your template, and put wax paper over it.
  3. Melt the dark cocoa candy melts. I melted them in a bowl then poured the melted chocolate into a squeeze bottle. I found the squeeze bottle was much easier to use when outlining the wing, and making antenna.
  4. Place about 1/2 cup of colored candy melts in a plastic bag. Microwave in 10 second intervals, unsealed, massaging the candy melts in between, until the candy is completely melted and no lumps remain. Press out the excess air in the bag and seal. Push the mixture down to one corner of the bag and snip off a very small corner.
  5. Trace the outline of the wing template with the dark cocoa melted candy. Do the wings one at a time otherwise it will be too set to swirl by the time you have outlined two wings.
  6. Use the bag of colored candy melts to fill in the outline. Be generous, so that it will spread all the way to the sides.
  7. Use a toothpick/chopstick to spread the colored candy to meet the outline.
  8. Use a tooth pick to swirl the edges together slightly to form a pattern.
  9. Sprinkle the top and bottom of each wing with a few white nonpareils.
  10. Repeat this process until you have enough wings. I suggest making a few extra of each color, just in case.
  11. Make antennas. Again, I just freehanded a template.

Note: You may need to remelt the candy a few times during this process. To do this, just pop it back in the microwave for 10 seconds.

Once you are finished making the wings, let them harden. I actually put mine in the fridge for a couple hours because it was HOT out that day! You can definitely make the wings a few days ahead of time if you want.

Once the wings have hardened, frost some cupcakes. Place the wings into the cupcakes leaving about 1/8th of an inch in between them. Use melted chocolate (again in a squeeze is probably easiest) to draw a body to connect the wings. Place the antenna in the cupcake.

I had a heck of a time getting the antenna into the cupcakes without breaking. Again, I blame the humidity. I actually ended up breaking about 10 antenna so make plenty extra. I found that placing the antenna in the freezer helped their stability.

Now, if you've seen these cupcakes before, you'll probably notice that mine look a little flat. That's because it was super hot and humid the day I decided to make these. I tired to get the butterfly to form a V and look a little more 3d but it just wasn't happening so I gave up and settled for flat butterflies. Pretty, flat butterflies.

If you want to see some more butterfly cupcakes and another tutorial check out Annies-Eats. Her tutorial is great and inspired me to try it on my own!

Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Summer Vegetables

This summer, in an effort to eat healthier I've gotten in the habit of making side salads like this to have around the house. I'll make way more than I need, serve some of it as a side dish for dinner, then put the leftovers in the fridge. Salads like this are great cold and I love having them around any time I want something to munch on between meals. It's a lot easier to avoid junk food when you open the fridge and have a healthy, colorful, ready made snack staring you in the face.

(All the grilled veggies, chopped up and ready to get mixed into the couscous)

One great thing about this recipe is that it made me realize that I actually like peppers! I always thought I didn't care for peppers, but it turns out I just don't like green peppers or raw peppers. Marinated and grilled red/orange/yellow peppers are a completely different story! As a matter of fact, a lot of the peppers went straight from the grill to my mouth!

This is a Bobby Flay recipe that I found on It has great reviews all around and is incredibly adaptable. It's a perfect summer recipe with all those veggies, and it would make a great veggie drawer clean out recipe if you have vegetables that you need to use up before they go bad. I ended up changing it up quite a bit. Here are my notes on the recipe:

  1. I ended up using almost the same amount of veggies as the original recipe, but much less couscous. The recipe calls for 1 pound of couscous and I ended up using about 6.3 oz because that was the only package of israeli couscous I could find. I think it works great better with a higher veggie to grain ratio. The directions for cooking the couscous in the recipe were pretty vague, so just use as much couscous as you want, just follow the directions on the package.
  2. Instead of using water to cook the couscous, use vegetable stock or chicken broth to give it more flavor. I needed about 2 cups of liquid so I used 1 can of chicken broth and a little bit of water to get to 2 cups.
  3. I added feta cheese because... well... feta makes everything feta.
  4. The original recipe calls for asparagus which I'm not really a fan of so I left it out and added an extra pepper instead.
  5. And finally, I'm a complete idiot and somehow managed to forget to add the fresh herbs to the couscous. It's suppose to have basil and parsley in it, which I'm sure would have made the salad even better, but it was still great without it.
Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad with Grilled Summer Vegetables
Recipe: Adapted from

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 green zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 yellow zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, quartered and seeded
  • 1 orange bell pepper, quartered and seeded
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, quartered and seeded
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, chopped
  • 2 tbls basil chiffonade (stack leaves, roll in a cigar shape and cut crosswise into thin strips)
  • 2 tbls cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package Israeli couscous, prepared according to package directions (See Recipe Notes above)
  • Chicken broth or vegetable stock
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and garlic, slowly add the olive oil and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 the marinade over the vegetables and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the grill. Remove the vegetables from the marinade and grill the vegetables until just cooked through.
  3. Cut the zucchini and peppers into 1/2-inch pieces, cut the tomatoes in half. Set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, add the couscous and toast until lightly golden brown. Cover the couscous with the hot stock/hot water and bring to a boil, cook until al dente and drain well. Place in a large serving bowl, add the grilled vegetables, feta, and herbs and toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Serve at room temperature