Candy Bar Cookies

Costco strikes again, convincing me that stocking 5 lb bags of things in my pantry is how I should be living my life. Is it because everything is large and excessive at Costco and it messes with your perspective? I don’t know but I can say that a 40-pack of sparkling water is a fine idea. A 5 lb bag of candy, in June, without a trick-or-treater in sight and only 2 people living in our household … just stop it. I mean, it’s whatever, I have self control. It’s just like, what are you even doing here, mini Snickers and Milky Ways? Get a life, I don’t need you around every day.

Buuuuut, turns out leftover/excessive candy is pretty incredible folded into peanut butter cookie dough. So, let’s just focus on that.

candy bar cookies on a cooling rack

These start with a basic peanut butter cookie recipe (delicious on it’s own, too), chopped up candy bars stirred in, and topped with a sprinkle of sea salt. The good stuff. Bonjour, guys.

P.S. I used a combo of mini Snickers, Milky Ways, and Baby Ruths and the cookies leaked out a little caramel in baking. I find that 100% acceptable because it caramelizes and gets extra delicious (see pic below). If you don’t like those lacy, caramely edges (huh?), choose candy without caramel.

candy bar cookies on a cooling rack, one with a bite taken out

If you are a cookie hog, like me, and want more, try these Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies!

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Candy Bar Cookies

candy bar cookies on a cooling rack

Chopped up candy bars, folded into peanut butter cookie dough, and topped with sea salt – an easy, dreamy snack and a great use for leftover candy.

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 48 cookies 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 3/4 C crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 stick (1/2 C) salted butter
  • 1 1/4 C light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 T whole milk
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 C all purpose flour
  • 3/4 t baking soda
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 22 mini candy bars, or about 3 full size, chopped (about 1 1/2 C)
  • flaky sea salt, for finishing

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, milk, vanilla, and egg in a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat on medium-high until light and fluffy.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Turn mixer to low speed and gradually add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture, beating until just combined. Add chopped candy bars and continue to mix for just a couple seconds, or stir in by hand. Drop rounded tablespoons (I used a #50 cookie scoop) of dough, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake for 10-11 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, sprinkle with flaky salt, and transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

Notes

I used a combo of mini Snickers, Milky Ways, and Baby Ruths and the cookies leaked out a little caramel in baking. I find that 100% acceptable because it caramelizes and gets extra delicious (see pic below). If you don’t like those lacy, caramely edges (huh?), choose candy without caramel.

Mint Thai Basil Gelato

Cruising into this summery weekend and feeling really good with this Mint Thai Basil Gelato by my side. Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer on the OBX and I am reeeaadddyyy to partyyyy! And by party, I mean work and probably hang out with myself on Memorial Day because Joey is on call for work. But whatever, more gelato for meeee!

2 glasses of Mint Thai Basil Gelato on a board with sprigs of mint and Thai basil around.
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Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies

Well, these little superstars were a big surprise. They were voted Fan Favorite by everyone I know. OK, nobody actually voted or called them that, they just said they were really good. Like, reeeaaalllyy gooooood. Bonus: Because I made a batch for some of Joey’s beer-drinking friends, we also learned they pair incredibly well with beer. I kinda want to change the title of the recipe to Beer Pairing Cookies. Yes?

Speaking of the title, I do want to point out there is no peanut butter, in its true form, in these Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies. The peanut butter is inside the peanut butter pretzels – you know, PeanutButterPretzels? The kind with big salt crystals that come in the big jugs.

peanut butter pretzels in a glass bowl on a white table
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Buttered Popcorn Gelato

3 words: Buttered Popcorn Gelato. Are you in?! Heck yes you are. This is (microwaveable) buttery, slightly salty, popcorn soaked in milk and cream (more milk than cream b/c it’s gelato and we fancy), combined with brown sugar and egg yolks to become the creamiest, richest, borderline fluffy custard that’s then churned away into Popcorn Wonderland. (Disclaimer: this trip to Popcorn Wonderland requires an overnight stay in the fridge. Gotta chill that custard, babe.) If you really want to make this dessert true magic, make the honey-brown sugar-caramel corn to go on top. Real talk though, you are already magic for making gelato… hellooooo. ✨

2 small dish of buttered popcorn gelato with caramel popcorn on top

This recipe is where my ice cream machine met its destiny. It was born for this. I was born for this. And if there is ever a reason to buy an ice cream machine, this is it. Truth: I can’t promise you’ll get the same lush, alluring textural result with any method other than using an ice cream machine. Sorry. The good news is, I’ve been using this one from Cuisinart for 7 years; it only requires the flip of a switch to operate, and it costs less than $70. (*These are a guaranteed gift-giving win. At least 3 people in my life have given or received one, always to great success.)

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate Links!

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Buttered Popcorn Gelato

2 small dishes of buttered popcorn gelato with caramel popcorn on top

The creamiest, most silky-smooth gelato flavored with caramely brown sugar and buttered popcorn (hint: you steep the popcorn in the milk and cream! So Good!)

  • Author: Megan
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes/overnight
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes/overnight
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 C whole milk
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1 bag of microwaveable popcorn w/ butter (I used Pop Secret Movie Theater Butter Popcorn b/c there are no artificial ingredients)
  • 3/4 C brown sugar, divided
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Pop the popcorn in the microwave. Combine the milk and cream in a sauce pan over low heat and add the popcorn. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and discard the popcorn.
  2. Return the milk/cream mixture to the sauce pan and add 1/2 a cup of the brown sugar. Cook, stirring, over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat.
  3. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of the brown sugar with an electric mixer until it is thick and light yellow – about 4 minutes. Add 1/2 a cup of the milk/cream mixture to the egg yolk mixture and stir to combine. Pour this into the sauce pan with the rest of the milk/cream mixture. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for about 8 minutes or until the mixture is thick and when you coat the back of a spoon with it, you can draw a line through it with your finger. Add the vanilla and salt to taste. (The eggs are cooked at this point; it’s ok to taste.)
  4. Strain this mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill at least 6 hours or overnight.
  5. Add the chilled mixture to your ice cream machine and churn for about 30 minutes or according to manufacturer instructions. (Start tasting it after about 25 minutes to check the texture; gelato is naturally a little looser than ice cream but it should be thick and not super runny.)
  6. Chill for another hour or until ready to serve.

Notes

If you want to make the caramel corn garnish shown in the picture: Pop another bag of popcorn in the microwave. Melt 1/4 C of brown sugar and 1T of honey in a large sauce pan over low heat; stir constantly with a rubber spatula until it becomes the consistency of caramel. Add about 1/2 the bag of popcorn and stir to combine. Let cool before touching!

The idea for this recipe came from Yotam Ottolenghi’s gorgeous cookbook, Nopi. Except, I made it faster/easier, made it gelato instead of ice cream (because creamy-silky-smoothness is my jam), and I used brown sugar for more of a caramelly flavor, kinda like caramel corn.

Healthy Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Woot! Sharing some delicious snacky-snacks with you guys today! I feel a little shady calling these “peanut butter” and jelly bars because there is a negligible amount of actual peanut butter and a lot of peanuts, oats, coconut oil, and honey all pulsed together to make a magical crust and crumble topping. Are you picking up what I’m putting down here, though? The oat/honey/coconut oil combo means these are healthier than traditional peanut butter and jelly bars and still duh-lish-us. No added refined sugar… no butter… no flour. You could even make them gluten free if you buy GF oats. It’s spring, you guys, and my bathing suit and I need to be friends by summer, but I still need sweet things for my 3:00 snack attacks. So, here we go: Healthy Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars!

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Healthyish Chocolate Banana Muffins

Woah… you guys… It’s our buddy Chocolate’s first appearance on the blog! A) Welcome, sweet, fragrant, endorphine-producing friend. B) You’re late. I’ve been waiting, like, all morning for chocolate. Yes, I’ve already had breakfast and Joey and I have a lunch date in a few hours, buuuuut, no chance I’m skipping my mid-morning snack, K? And chocolate’s presence is required. These are *Healthyish* Chocolate Banana Muffins though, so, lemme at them for snack, snack #2, dessert, and breakfast tomorrow. Pats on the back, all around.

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