Cinnamon Toast Cookies

Cinnamon Toast.  Man, oh man does this stuff evoke my childhood memories.

Like Jem and Jelly shoes;  Hypercolor and Trapper Keepers.

And by the way, why are those things no longer around?  HELLO?!  They're AMAZING.

Anyway, in my family, we're toast people.  I was raised on toast for breakfast.   

My grandma has this thing where she butters the toast, cuts into into three strips and dips it into hot chocolate.  Buttery, chocolate bread.  Simple.  Perfect.

My other grandma loved to spoil me by buying me sugary cereal to have when I stayed, and obviously that cereal would be Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

And my mom, to top it all, made me cinnamon toast.  Oh, I love that sweet cinnamon smell, and watching the cinnamon-sugar dissolve in all that melted butter.  Mmmmmm.

Toast = Childhood.  Who doesn't like to revisit the best of their childhood?

I know I've been waiting to bake up something that brought back all that comforting goodness.

Ever since I purchased the amazing book, Momofuku Milk Bar, (which, I had to order as soon as I found out, because Milkbar is amazing.  See my post, Bakery Odyssey) and saw her recipes for "crunch", I knew I wanted to create one with Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  A Cinnamon Toast Crunch crunch.  Cute.

This "crunch" has been lying in wait until I could find a perfect cookie home for it.  Finally, I think I found it in a Snickerdoodle.

I put my crunch in a delicious cookie, took that cookie and submerged it in some brown butter and then coated it in a brown sugar-cinnamon mix.  The perfect Cinnamon Toast Cookie.

I'm sharing some serious love with you, because this cookie is all from the heart.

Cinnamon Toast Cookie
Cookie adapted from Top with Cinnamon
makes 20 cookies

- 2 1/2 c. Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
- 1/4 c. milk powder
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

In a medium bowl, add cereal and crush into smaller pieces.  Add the milk powder, brown sugar and salt and toss to cover cereal.  Stir in your melted butter until all your cereal appears to be coated evenly.

Spread cereal mix onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 18-20 minutes (until cereal appears browned).

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before using in your cookies.

- 10 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 Tbsp. corn syrup
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 2 Tbsp. ricotta
- 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 3/4 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 c. Cinnamon Toast Crunch crunch

- 2 sticks salted butter
- 1 c. brown sugar, loosely packed
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon

In a pan, brown butter over medium heat.  At first your butter will melt.  Then it will start to develop the white bits.  As it heats it will sizzle, stir it around.  The butter will foam, and when it does this, stir continuously to prevent butter bits from burning.  It will start to give off a nutty aroma.  Remove from heat when butter bits are a rich brown color.

Once you remove it from the heat stir in your sugar.  Then add in your corn syrup and vanilla.  Stir completely, but your butter will not fully incorporate with all the sugar.  Add sugar mix to the bowl of a stand mixer.  Let it cool completely.

Using a paddle attachment, beat in the egg and egg yolk to the cooled butter mixture.  Beat in ricotta and cornstarch, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed.  Beat until butter mixture is creamy.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.  Slowly add this to your butter mixture.  Mix until just combined.  Scrape down the bowl and add 2 cups of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch crunch.  Mix on low until crunch is just incorporated.

On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, scoop out all of your dough. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Place chilled dough 2 inches apart and bake for 12 minutes.  Remove and cool on sheet for 7 minutes.

While those are baking prepare your topping.  Brown your 2 sticks of salted butter; this can be optional, just melt it if you prefer, and pour butter into container large enough and wide enough to dunk your cookie.  In a separate, small bowl combine your brown sugar and cinnamon.

Once cookies have "cooled", using a fork, dunk your cookies in the butter, lightly shake to remove any excess and then place into brown sugar.  Use your fork to ensure even coating of the sugar.  Set cookies on a cooling rack.

Then enjoy!!  These may take some time, but they are worth it, especially if you *heart* Cinnamon Toast like I do!
And HEY!  To all my Google Connect Friends!  Today, is the last day for Google Connect.  Please, if you aren't already, "Like" Cookie Crazed Mama on Facebook or follow me through email, which you will see on the right hand side of my blog.  I don't want you to miss out on all this goodness!

Reese Cup Pie

I love baking challenges.  I like making things that take time... when I have the time.  I like having "weird" and unique ingredients hanging out in my pantry.  That's me.

Now, it has taken me a little while to realize not everyone is like this.  A lot of people want something they can make that doesn't take up a lot of time, doesn't use a whole lot of ingredients, and doesn't cost a bunch of money.  And, I totally get it.

This is my hobby.  I don't splurge on shoes and purses.  I splurge on ingredients.

Nothing made it more apparent that people want delicious and easy than when my Butterfinger Pie became quite popular on Pinterest.

Have you heard of Pinterest?

Oh my.  I'm so very addicted.

Basically, it's one spot to collect all the things you love on the internet.  Recipes.  Projects.  Quotes.  Etc.

Organizing all the things you love?  It's a dream come true.  And, it helps this lady get some attention.  Sweeeeeeet!  Just like my pie.

Here is my pie - completely inspired by the easy pie that became a huge hit thanks to Pinterest.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Cookie Mama's Notes
* I bought the Oreo pre-made crust.
* The peanut butter bottom is totally optional and makes this pie even easier if you decide to skip it!
* I had Chocolate Fudge pudding on hand, use just Chocolate if you want.
* It's funny, I thought I'd see what happened when I made the pudding with heavy cream...frosting is what happens.  That stuff was thick!  It was hilarious and delicious, but use milk.  Cold milk.
* I found the Reese Peanut Butter topping with the other ice cream toppings.  This stuff is AMAZING.
* Seriously, cut this pie frozen or you'll have a mess.  A delicious mess, but a mess nonetheless.

Reese Cup Pie

- Pre-made Chocolate Crust
- 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
- 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 box Chocolate Fudge pudding, 3.9 oz.
- 1 1/2 c. whole milk, cold
- 8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed
- 8 oz. package Reese Cup Minis, divided
- Reese Peanut Butter Topping

In a small bowl, use a hand mixer to combine peanut butter, powdered sugar and salt until creamy.  Use an offset spatula and spread over the bottom of crust.

In a large bowl add pudding mix and milk.  Mix on medium-high speed for 2 minutes.  Let sit for another couple of minutes.  In the meantime, chop a 2/3 of your Mini Reese Cups package.

Fold in 8 oz. container of Cool Whip with chocolate pudding.  Fold in chopped Reese Cups.  Pour over pie crust.  Place in the freezer for 4-6 hours or overnight.

Before serving, drizzle with Reese Peanut Butter topping and remaining Mini Reese Cups.  Cut frozen!  Can be eaten frozen or you can place it in the fridge to let it will obviously have a creamier, pudding-like texture, and that's how I like it!

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Chocolate Covered Cherry Whoopie Pies

Girls, let's chat.

Today I was super excited.  I was going to pamper myself.  Ever get a day like this?  They're few and far between, non?

Well, I decided I was going to go get lash extensions.  Last minute.  I cancelled my hair appointment and made this one.

I was giddy!  I was going to have the long, beautiful lashes that genetics denied me.  And then I got there and the lady started talking.....

Don't get them wet for two days.  Don't sleep on your side.  Lasts 10-13 days.  Heavy.  Uncomfortable.  Permanent lash damage.  Blah.  Blah.  Blah....

You can have all this for $175.  Oh, and retouch will be $75.

Gee.  Let me think.

Frantically, I called my salon to get my hair appointment back.  It's been filled.

So here I am, with a wild, frizzy mop upon my lash-less head; feeling slightly less glamourous than expected.

But you know what never lets me down?  Chocolate.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Whoopie Pies
adapted from Making Whoopies

- 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 c. light brown sugar, packed
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. cocoa powder
- 1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until mixture is light and fluffy.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together baking soda, salt, flour, and cocoa powder.  With mixer on low, slowly alternate adding flour mix and buttermilk; beginning and ending with flour.  Combine well after each addition.

Scoop, spoon, or pipe onto prepared cookie sheets.  I use a #30 scoop.  This makes 24 shells- 12 pies.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, (longer for bigger whoopies) the cakes should be firm, but spring back on top.

Let cool completely on wire racks before filling.

Maraschino Cherry Filling

- 1/2 c. shortening
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
- 4 c. powdered sugar
- 4 Tbsp. maraschino cherry juice (out of the jar of cherries)
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 2-3 drops pink food coloring (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. chopped maraschino cherries

In the bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and shortening.  On low speed, add 4 cups of the powdered sugar and 1/4 tsp salt, increase speed and beat until combined.

On low, add maraschino cherry juice, almond extract, and food coloring.  Beat until combined and creamy.  Scrape down the sides of bowl.  Add chopped cherries and mix in on low.  Gradually increase speed.  Beat until light and fluffy.

Pipe or scoop filling onto one whoopie shell.  Top with another shell.

Melt 8 oz. chocolate candy coating in microwave (30 sec. intervals on lower power) or in double broiler.

Drop a tablespoon of coating on top of shell, use an offset spatula to evenly cover top.  Decorate as desired!

Enjoy alone or share with others!

Find this recipe and other great treats and crafts on Six Sisters' Stuff Pin It

Cinnamon Rolls with Amazing Frosting

I love cinnamon rolls.  Do you love them?

I mean, in life, one of the best things is eating the gooey, warm, cinnamony-sweet center out of a cinnamon roll.

And the heavenly smell as you bake them...Warm cinnamon and yeast.  Drool.

As much as I love them, I rarely eat them.  

Have you ever seen those Pillsbury Orange Rolls?  They are AMAZING.  But I could eat the whole canister.  And that is why I don't buy them...any of them.

The Devil

And it's probably a good thing I'm afraid of yeast, because then I would be tempted to make them regularly.  Yeast and the fear of my dough not rising is too much stress for me to deal with in the early morning hours.

So that is why this recipe is so dangerous.  

# 1.  It claims to be a clone of Cinnabon.
# 2.  The dough can be made in a bread maker.'ll be finding me in a cinnamon-sugar coma; my thighs begging for mercy.

Mmm.  That warm, gooey center.  Heaven.

Cinnamon Rolls with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Allrecipes

Cookie Mama's Notes:
* I warmed the milk on the beverage cycle of our microwave.  No temp. testing, I just made sure it didn't boil.
* Go here to see how I bring eggs to room temperature fairly quickly.
* Bread machine yeast will say Bread Machine on it.
* If you can, keep your eye on the dough once it's combined into a ball, just to give you an idea of what a "doubled in size" should look like.
* The original recipe has the butter in the filling softened-not melted, and you can spread it over the surface.  I'm used to melting for filling and I did it before noticing the difference.
* I cut off the little ends that stick out from the dough roll.
* Grease your pan with butter or use non-stick cooking spray.
* The original recipe bakes at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  The comments suggested 350 for 20 minutes and that's what we did! 
* Having a stand mixer is not necessary for the frosting; a hand mixer works great too! 

- 1 c. warm milk (110 degrees)
- 2 eggs, room temperature, lightly whisked
- 1/3 c. margarine, melted
- 4 1/2 c. bread flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp. bread machine yeast

- 1c. brown sugar, packed
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 1/3 c. salted butter, melted

Place the dough ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer*.  Select the dough cycle; press Start.
*Our's says to add wet ingredients first, combine dry ingredients-except for yeast-add on top of wet ingredients, then sprinkle with yeast.

After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover* and let rest for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
* I cover my dough with a clean, dry kitchen towel.

Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle.  Pour melted butter over dough and brush evenly over surface.  Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar/cinnamon mix.  Use your hands as needed!  Roll the dough (length side) evenly and tightly.  Cut into 12 rolls.

Place rolls in a greased 9x13 pan.  Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, 30 minutes - 1 hour.  

Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Bake rolls 20 minutes.  Start making frosting.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
adapted from Not So Humble Pie

- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 c. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 c. heavy cream, cold

In a bowl of stand mixer beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth, fluffy and light.

In a separate bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form.  Add to your cream cheese mix.  Beat quickly to incorporate completely, but do not over beat!  Your frosting won't be as fluffy!

Spread half over warm rolls.  Dollop a little extra on before serving.  Serious delicious eats!!!

Stop by Creations by Kara to check out my rolls and other delicious treats and amazing projects!

Chocolate Raspberry Cookie Bars

I'm on a roll with the Valentines Day theme!  And, I'd recommend catching the start of it with my Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip...

I have to tell you I was inspired to make these when I saw the Chocolate Cookie Dough base over at Gingerbread Bagels website.  Even her pink frosting inspired my idea to come up with something a little more Valentines-ey.  You know?

Because some lucky ladies get Chocolate Covered Strawberries and such.  Whatever.

And, restaurants seem to have their obligatory Valentines dessert... Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberry Coulis or something.  You get it.  I get it.  Chocolate and Red Fruit.

I went with Raspberries.  The weird thing is I'm not even a fan of raspberries.  Mostly because I'm annoyed that restaurants assume I want them with my chocolate dessert.

It makes my plate sooooo pretty, yes, but as a chocolate lover I say just give me my chocolate.  You keep your fruit.


But, since I was obviously mentally prepared to enjoy a Chocolate-Raspberry dessert - these are perfectly divine.

Chocolate Raspberry Cookie Bars
adapted from Gingerbread Bagels 

Cookie Mama's Notes:
* Make your raspberry sauce first.  This way it can cool while you make and bake the cookie base.
* Other than bananas, I recommend organic fresh fruit.  I tend to get what I can find on sale, and I was in luck with the raspberries this week!
* You can use regular unsweetened cocoa powder if you don't have dutch-processed. I buy this
at Meijer's.
* Espresso powder is optional.  Use Starbuck's Via, Italian Roast if you can't find espresso powder or omit it all together!
* I find wetting my hands is the easiest way to push dough evenly into your pan.
* I baked my cookie base for 18 minutes.

- 2 c. all purpose flour
- 3/4 c. dutch-processed cocoa
- 1/2 Tbsp. espresso powder
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, (3/4 cup)
- 1 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

*Before you start the bars, I recommend you scroll down and prepare your raspberry sauce for the buttercream first.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Sift flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars at medium speed until light and fluffy, approx. 6 min.  Scrape down the bowl.  Add eggs one at a time, combining well after each addition at medium speed.  Add vanilla and combine well.

With mixer on low speed, slowly add dry ingredients.  Stir until flour is incorporated, do not over mix.

Press cookie dough into pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely on wire rack before adding buttercream.

Raspberry Buttercream
adapted from A Farmgirl Dabbles

- 12 oz. raspberries, fresh or frozen

In a medium saucepan cook raspberries over medium heat, stirring and mashing constantly until the raspberries are broken down and all you have is seeds and some pulp.  Strain sauce into a bowl to remove seeds and pulp, pour raspberry sauce back into pot.

Simmer sauce until it reduces/thickens until you have a 1/4 c.  Set aside and cool completely, otherwise your butter will melt or curdle.

- 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 c. raspberry sauce
- 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, fresh squeezed
- 3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- pinch salt
- 3 Tbsp. heavy cream or milk (use less or none depending on how you like the texture)
- sprinkles (optional)

In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter with paddle attachment on medium-high speed.  Add 2 c. powdered sugar, and mix until fluffy.  With mixer on low, add the 1/4 c. reduced raspberry sauce, lemon juice and salt.  Increase speed and beat on high until smooth.  Scrape down bowl, add remaining 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar, mix until smooth.  Scrape down bowl, mix on low, add milk or cream if you want a creamier consistency, beat on high until creamy.

Using an offset spatula, spread raspberry buttercream evenly over cooled bars.  Add sprinkles if desired.


Brown Butter Banana Muffins (with loads of other good stuff)

This is one of my favorite recipes.  And I am shocked.  Yes, shocked, that I haven't shared these before.

I make these regularly.  They are kind of like my breakfast staple next to scones.  In my house, my husband runs the pancake and waffle duty and I get the scone and muffin category.  A match made in sugary-breakfast heaven.

Now, I'm going to tell you that these are super easy.  But I pretty much say that whenever I don't have to use my KitchenAid Mixer.  And apart from browning the butter, I would say quick too.

So these are easy, quick, and of course, delicious.  Duh.  Why would I keep making them if it were otherwise?

You may be wondering why I've decided to call them "Kicked-Up" versus what they are really called- Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins.

Besides being a mouthful, the word "espresso" really freaks people out.  Personally, that's why I got turned on to them.  I'm also what you might call a coffee addict.

Yes.  Yes it does.
Image courtesy Etsy

Honestly, I don't detect the espresso.  And since not everyone jones' for coffee like I do, I just leave that part out, and let them wonder why their heart is racing later.  Kidding.  Totally kidding.

Brown Butter Banana Muffins
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

Cookie Mama's Notes:

* You are going to need some ripe/overly ripe bananas; the kind I think might give my neighbor nightmares.  Like this:

Image courtesy of Chez Beeper Bebe

* Browning your butter is totally optional.  If you are crunched for time then don't worry about it.
* Mash bananas with a fork or pastry blender, whatever you have handy.
* I use this espresso powder, if you don't have it or can't find it, try Starbuck Via, Italian Roast which is more widely available.  Or you could leave it out, but I say "Boo!" to that! :)
* I like darker chocolate, use whatever kind of chocolate chip you like!  And if you don't or can't find cinnamon chips, just do all chocolate.
* You can make this recipe your own by making changes yourself.  The original recipe doesn't call for browned butter, vanilla, cinnamon, or cinnamon chips.  So have fun with it!
* Always do the toothpick test!  Mine are done at 19 minutes, the book says 20-25, their's also makes 12 muffins, not 18.  Bigger muffins=longer baking time.

- 1 1/2 c. mashed bananas, very ripe-about 4 medium sized
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted and browned
- 1/4 c. whole milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. espresso powder, heaping
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 c. cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tins with cupcake liners or spray with a non-stick cooking spray.  My recipe makes 18 muffins.

In a light bottomed pan/skillet, brown butter over medium heat.  Butter will melt, fizzle and bubble.  Stir until you get a "nutty" aroma and butter particles start to brown.  Get them as dark as possible without burning.  Transfer brown butter to a tempered bowl, and let cool.  You can speed this up by placing in the fridge.

In a medium bowl, stir together mashed bananas, sugars, cooled butter, milk, vanilla, and egg.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, espresso powder, and cinnamon.  Make a well/hole in the dry mix and add wet ingredients to the mix.  Fold until you no longer see flour pieces.  Stir in chocolate and cinnamon chips.

Fill each cup 3/4 of the way full, or use your #16 cookie scoop.  Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Cool on wire racks.  Enjoy one while it's still warm!