Samoa Muffins





I used to be a morning person.Samoa Muffins (Ellie's Bites)

I used to get up way before I had to be at work and I would exercise. Yes, exercise, then I would go to work, and I would get to work at least 30 minutes early- before anyone else got there- and I would drink my coffee and read my newspaper (well, I’ll be honest- do my crossword puzzle and read my comics). Then I got married. And I didn’t exercise in the morning any more, but I still woke up really early, and I would make my husband these really creative sandwiches on really interesting breads from places like Panera. And I would still get to work early and do my crossword puzzles and read my comics.

coconut and caramel

Then I had kids. And I stopped exercising, and I stopped making cool sandwiches. And I stopped being a morning person. Because, as it turns out, I can only be a morning person if I go to bed at 9pm and who am I kidding? Now, I no longer do my crossword puzzle or read my comics, and I drink my coffee cold about two hours after I get to work. And I get to work about 30 seconds before I am supposed to be there. Samoa muffins unbaked

And, guys, I’m really tired right now. Because I had to be at work at 7am today, and normally I don’t have to be there until 12. And I have this weird feeling, that although I made it through the day, and I did everything I was supposed to do, I’m not entirely sure I ever woke up! Is that weird?samoa muffins baked

I’m just going to stop talking now and share this recipe. Because it tastes really good and it’s not terrible for you. These  muffins will not make you a morning person if you’re not already one, but they will help to get you through that 10am slump. Or the 4pm slump….samoa muffins with choc and caramel

Samoa Muffins (Yes, like the Girl Scout cookie that is also known as a Caramel Delight)


  • 1 cup of toasted desiccated coconut (*)
  • 1 cup of caramel sauce (**)
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate chips (I realized as I started making these that my husband had pilfered the last of the chocolate chips, so I used the only thing I could find in the house- a Nestle Crunch bar leftover from Halloween. Crushed)
  • 4 TBSP melted butter (cooled)
  • 2 C flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • chocolate coconut drizzle (***)
  1. (*) Toast your coconut. Heat oven to 325f. Spread coconut in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and heat for about 5 minutes, watch closely, until browned.
  2. (**) Make caramel sauce. I used this recipe from The Pioneer Woman and halved it. Or use store bought.
  3. Mix 1/2 cup of coconut with about 1/2-3/4 cup of the caramel. Mix until the coconut is coated and crumbly, almost like a streusel.
  4. Preheat oven to 400f and line a 12 cupcake pan with liners.
  5. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  6. In another bowl, mix together the egg, sugar, milk and vanilla. Add butter and stir
  7. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix until just incorporated. It may be lumpy, that’s ok.
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips and the rest of the toasted coconut.
  9. Scoop the batter evenly into your cupcake tins.
  10. Top with the caramel/coconut mixture and press the crumbs gently into the top of the muffin.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  12. Make chocolate drizzle (***) Mix together 1 tbsp melted coconut oil, 1 tbsp sugar, and 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder. Use a fork to drizzle the chocolate mixture over the muffins.
  13. Drizzle on some of the caramel sauce.
  14. Enjoy!

Please note- these muffins are not a substitution for actual Girl Scout cookies. Please support your local Girl Scouts!

If you like these, you may like:




Ghost Toast (Day 4)

This was a really easy one. Ellie picked it out from Disney Family Fun Cooking With Kids Halloween Treats (sold in the dollar section at Target). After I toasted the bread, she made the entire creation by herself.

You’ll need:

  • 1 slice of bread (toasted)
  • cream cheese
  • decorations (we used Fruit Loops, the original recipe calls for raisins. I was planning on using chocolate chips, but when my husband picked up some coffee from 7-11 for me before he left for work, he also picked up a cup of Fruit Loops as a special treat for the kids. Sad that in my house, Fruit Loops are a special treat, while chocolate chips are almost boring.)

Spread cream cheese on the toast:

Cut out a ghost shape (I couldn’t find my ghost cutter and we were running late, so I actually used the most ghost-like shape from this collection):

Then use decorations to add a face:

So easy!

Yes…. there will be cookies this month, I promise! I actually think I may let Ellie loose with her first decorating bag.

Back To School Apple Pancakes

Not that this is an excuse, but I really live in my own little world. I mean, despite the fact that I have  two kids, a husband, two cats, and a part time job. Usually, I LIKE my little world. It’s quiet…. and clean. Really, the only awful thing about this world of mine is that I tend to miss real world dates. It’s not like I didn’t REMEMBER my really, really good friend’s birthday is on the 23rd. I just didn’t realize that this past Tuesday was the 23rd. Seriously, I bought her a card weeks ago! But if it wasn’t for FaceBook…. well, I am sure (I hope) I would have realized at some point. The saddest thing is- she would NEVER forget someone’s birthday. She is an awesome friend, and an awesome mother… I could go on and on. And at some point in the next week or two, I’ll send her the card I bought. (XOXO)

And along with my inability to remember dates (not dates per se… but actual dates- TODAY’s date), I am also always about 3 steps behind. I’m very new to this blogging thing, and I SHOULD realize while looking around that the majority of the baking blog world is onto Halloween, while I still haven’t done anything for Back-To-School! Let me amend that statement… like my friend’s birthday card, I actually CUT OUT Back-To-School cookies about two weeks ago. They are sitting in the freezer right now, awaiting decoration. So, again, I fall back on pancakes….

Applesauce Pancakes (slightly adapted from

  • 1 1/2c flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 c applesauce
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 egg whites
  • splash of vanilla
  • dash of pumpkin pie or apple pie spice
  • dash of cinnamon
  • red and green gel or paste food coloring
  1. Add all ingredients (except food coloring) into a large bowl and mix until combined.
  2. Put a couple of tablespoons of batter in a small bowl and add a touch of green coloring. Color the rest of the batter red.
  3. Heat a pan and spray with cooking spray. When pan is hot enough to make a drop of water sizzle, use a tablespoon to spoon red batter into the pan. Add a small bit of green to make a stem and a leaf.
  4. When bubbles start to rise to the top of the pancakes and the edges look drier, carefully flip pancake and cook for another minute.
  5. Enjoy!

And, just so you know… I AM planning on finishing those Back-To-School cookies. At some point. And this morning, I cut out some Halloween cookies. I’ll decorate those too…. at some point.

I hope everyone makes it safely through this crazy weather we are expecting this weekend. It’s beautiful out right now, so it’s hard to get into prepare for the worst mode. I’ll be with the rest of the panicking people at Target tomorrow, I guess…..

(I’ve linked this recipe to Wonka Wednesday at Hugs and Cookies, XOXO)

Birthday Pancakes

My baby girl is five today!!! And, yes, she is still my baby girl. *Sigh* Where does the time go?

Use your favorite pancake recipe. If you don’t have one- here’s mine:

(Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens- Kid Favorites Made Healthy)

  • 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice added to 1 cup (less 1/2 tbsp) milk or skim milk and let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
  2. Add egg white, oil, and vanilla to the buttermilk and pour over the dry ingredients.
  3. Mix until incorporated.
  4. For Birthday Pancakes, fold in a few tablespoons of jimmies-sprinkles-whateveryoucallthem.
  5. Drop batter by the tablespoon onto a hot pan lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
  6. When small bubbles rise to the surface, flip the pancakes and cook a minute longer.
  7. Pile three on a plate and top with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips or jimmies-sprinkles-whateveryoucallthem.

Homemade whipped cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  1. Pour cream into the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment.
  2. Whisk on high until soft peaks form.
  3. Add sugar and whisk for a few more seconds.

I was soooo tempted to use my favorite buttercream frosting on the pancakes (after all, how many birthdays does a girl get in a year?) but at the last minute ,I decided to act like the grown-up.

I will be back later to share her birthday cupcakes and pictures from her party, but right now I have to go get ready to go to the Discovery Museum. We’ve got a fun day planned!!!!

I linked this post up to Wonka Wednesdays at Hugs and Cookies XOXO and Show and Tell Saturdays at Be Different Act Normal

Pineapple Cookies and Pina Colada Pancakes

I am so not ready for summer to be over. Normally, I am not a summer person at all. Give me a crisp Fall day- you know the kind. It’s not cold enough for a jacket, but you’ll need a light sweater over your tee-shirt- even though you’ll probably have to take it off and tie it around your waist at some point. So normally, even though I wouldn’t want to rush Summer, I do look forward to Fall.

This year, however…Summer can stay as long as it wants. My baby girl starts KINDERGARDEN this year (I may have mentioned this in the past?).

This panic attack tirade started because I needed to buy her a sunhat for a field trip she was taking with her camp. She won’t normally wear hats, so I haven’t bothered to buy her one in the past. But, since she needed it, I went to find one. I had to go to three different stores before I found sunhats….. the stores are all filled with Fall clothes and school supplies. Seriously. It’s barely the middle of July! What’s the rush?

So I am determined to focus on Summer things right now. Like luaus and pina coladas.

And so you can keep the Summer in your Summer, too- I am going to show you how.

I have made luau cookies several times this summer. They are so much fun to make, and they are not difficult at all. They are mostly 1-2 step cookies, since most of the details are made with wet on wet icing. The pineapple, in particular, has become one of my favorite pieces, mostly because it is big enough to fit words and makes a great centerpiece cookie. (I got this particular cutter at Sur La Table for $1.00)

You will need icing in a “one step consistency”. This is the 10 or 20 second icing (depending on whose blog you are reading) which is thick enough to stand on it’s own and not run off the side of the cookie, but thin enough that it settles and flows and doesn’t show lines when you fill. Divide it into 3 bowls, and tint it yellow/gold, green, and brown. (Keep in mind that you will need more yellow, less green, and only a little brown.)

 Out line your pineapple and let dry for a few minutes. If you are doing several, by the time you outline the last one, the first will be good to go.

Next fill in the body of the pineapple, working with 2-3 at a time. While icing is still very wet, pipe 4 horizontal brown lines. Before that dries, use a toothpick, dragging the point up, down, up, and down to create a zigzag.


Next fill alternating parts of the leaves with green. To keep the definition between the leaves, let this dry for 30-60 minutes. Then fill in the rest of the leaves.



Let this dry several hours, or overnight before adding writing to, or wrapping the cookie.

Now- it’s the weekend. Did you think I didn’t have a pancake recipe?

Pina Colada Pancakes (adapted slightly from this post by A La Graham, which I found on Pinterest)

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • Fresh pineapple cut into chunks or pineapple canned in juice (drained and patted dry)
  • Shredded coconut (I used sweetened because that is what I had on hand)
  1. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. Whisk together wet ingredients and add to dry. Mix until just combined and lumps are broken up.
  3. Heat pan, over med-high heat. When pan is hot, spray with cooking spray and drop batter by the tablespoon onto the pan.
  4. Flip pancakes when bubbles start to rise to the top, and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in another pan, sautee coconut until brown and a little crispy, add pineapple chunks and sautee until pineapple is tender and slightly brown.
  6. Top pancakes with pineapple coconut mixture.

If this wasn’t for the kids, too, I may have added a bit of dark rum to the pineapple/coconut topping and simmered to reduce the rum and burn off a bit of the alcohol. I may have to make this again soon just to try that!

Have a great weekend!

By the way…if you love the flip-flop cookies I got that inspiration from this post by The Sweet Adventures of SugarBelle.

White Chocolate Raspberry Pancakes

I know, I know. I am a page about cookies and I keep posting pancake recipes. But, honestly, pancakes and cookies are so similar. Before I discovered that I love to decorate sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies were my baking “to-bring-to-parties-as-a-hostess-gift” staple. At one point, I tried getting creative by throwing in ingredients other than chocolate chips. Some were successful (blueberry white chocolate chip), some not (fruity cheerios). Since it is so much easier in my hectic, crazy busy life, to find the time- 30 minutes in the morning- to make pancakes, then it is to find the time to mix, chill, roll out, bake, cool, ice, and dry cookies, you get pancakes more often than cookies. After all, we all need to eat breakfast, right?

Since I try to limit added sugar to our regular meals and snacks (going on the assumption that they are going to get plenty of sugar elsewhere) I was happy to find this image on Pinterest.  Here was a way to add a lot of flavor, without adding a lot of chocolate (or cocoa butter – not actual chocolate as my dad, the chocolate snob, would argue). THEN when the pancake cooks, and the chocolate chip melts, the flavor oozes through the berry and turns incredible.

Use your favorite basic pancake recipe, or use mine.

My recipe makes roughly 15 tablespoon sized pancakes and I wanted about 2-3 raspberries in each so I stuffed about 30 raspberries with one white chocolate chip (I used Ghiardellis) and added them to my batter and baked as usual.

For the topping, I made a simple syrup of 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water, boiling until the sugar disappears. Then I added a handful of raspberries, stirring until the berries broke down, then continued to boil until reduced slightly. I placed a tablespoon of white chocolate chips into a freezer bag and microwaved at 50% power in 20 second intervals until melted then snipped of a small piece from the a corner of the bag. I piled 3 pancakes onto  a plate, topped with a teaspoon of syrup, a drizzle of chocolate, and a couple of fresh berries.

They were YUMMY.

Right now, I’ve got some dough chilling in the fridge and some spare time this weekend. I promise that not only will you get some cookies next week, but you will also be getting a tutorial. (YAY!… are you as excited as I am? Probably not….)

Have a great weekend! 🙂

Easy Patriotic Breakfast

My little girl is growing up fast.

The latest sign is our choice of rainy morning TV. We have graduated from Cinderella, Ariel, and Strawberry Shortcake to Troy, Gabriella, and Sharpay. I’m not too sure I’m ready for this. I kind of miss Barbie right now.

Anyway, this is a really easy breakfast, it can be mixed in one bowl, and it’s baked so you don’t need to spend time in front of the stove. Top it with some berries, and you’ve got a Dutch Baby Pancake Flag.

Pancake recipe slightly adapted from “C is for cooking: Recipes from the Street”

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c low fat or skim milk
  • 1/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries (bananas would work too, in place of the strawberries)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, spray a small rectangular pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper
  2. In a medium bowl, crack both eggs, and beat together with the oil and milk.
  3. When blended well, add both flours, sugar, salt , and cinnamon. Mix well (there will be some lumps, I use a hand mixer and I find that that mixes a lot smoother)
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 425 for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, decrease oven temperature to 350 and continue to bake for 5-8 minutes (until pancake has puffed up and is brown on top- the puffing up is cool. If you have young kids, letting them watch through the oven door may distract them from the fact that it takes roughly 20 minutes to make and they don’t see you physically doing anything, therefore, they think you forgot to make them breakfast… or are my kids only that impatient?)
  5. Meanwhile, wash your berries, pat them dry and slice your strawberries (or bananas)
  6. Cut pancake into four small rectangles and top with the fruit putting the blueberries in the top left corner, and alternating stripes of raspberries, and strawberries/bananas.
  7. Enjoy!

If you do have young children, I love this cookbook. Besides the slightly disturbing recipe, “Big Bird’s ABC Chicken Noodle Soup” (think about it….) the book is filled with kid friendly recipes, easy instructions, and trivia. Even some more adventurous recipes are presented by the characters, making them instantly more kid friendly (think “Grover’s African-style peanut butter soup” or “Abbey Cadabby’s magic golden zucchini coins”.

I hope you try this and enjoy it! Please let me know if you do, I’d love your comments and suggestions!

I’ll be back later (yes, two posts in one day!) to show you a quick, easy, patriotic treat using the leftover royal icing from your Fourth of July cookies 🙂

Blueberry Cheesecake Pancakes

So I am thinking of trying a new feature and calling it either “Sometime-food Sundays” or “Sinful Sundays”, where I feature the amazing pancakes that I make for breakfast. We try to eat so well during the week, that I like to make up for it all in one meal 🙂

This past week, we did a spin on traditional blueberry pancakes.

The night before you want to make these, freeze 4 ounces (or half a block) of creamcheese.

You can start with your usual pancake base (this recipe is actually adapted from which called for Bisquick mix… if that is your usual, here’s the original recipe)

Here is the basic recipe I use.

In addition to the basic recipe you will need 2 sheets of graham crackers, the frozen cream cheese, and 1-1.5 cups of fresh blueberries

  1. Crush graham crackers into crumbs
  2. Cut frozen cream cheese into bite size pieces
  3. Add graham cracker crumbs, cream cheese pieces, and a cup of blueberries to the basic batter and cook as usual
  4. Make syrup by pureeing 1/2 c blueberries in a food processor. Pour 1/4c water and 1/4c sugar into a sauce pan and boil until sugar disappears. Add blueberry puree and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until slightly reduced.
  5. Stack pancakes on a plate and top with syrup and some fresh blueberries

Warning, this breakfast will make your kids very sticky and even sweeter than they already are 🙂

I know… this wasn’t cookie related. I PROMISE I have an incredible cookie post coming up (WITH RECIPE!) I just need to wait for icing to dry and pictures to be taken!!!

I hope you try this and I hope you love it! I’d love to hear your opinion… so be sure to leave me a comment! Have a great weekend!

Chocolate Chip/Dulce de Leche Pancakes

Don’t forget, my giveaway is still going on!!!!! I’ll pick a winner tonight. For more info click here.

Ellie and I had a REALLY good day yesterday. We organized the toys in the living room (honestly did we need 12 Barbies with accessories, 9 different Disney Princesses, an Olivia playset, and a whole Strawberry Shortcake village in the living room when we have a finished basement/playroom?) ate leftover fish and veggies (!!!!! yes, both kids!!!!!!) for lunch, and ate a super healthy snack.

Super easy popsicle: puree watermelon, strain out seeds, pour into molds- or, in our case, small tupperware containers-, freeze for an hour, insert lollipop stick, and freeze over night. Run container under warm water to loosen pop, and instant healthy popsicle that taste like the sweet corn syrupy kind!

But, I’m not here today to talk to you about good for you things. Although, by my calculations, what I am about to show you came in under 400 calories (it’s all about portion size!). I’m here to talk to you today about pancakes. Chocolate chip pancakes. With a dulce de leche drizzle. (If you need a recipe for father’s day breakfast in bed… just saying.- Bryan)

I was blog stalking again last night and came across this post on From the Bookshelf: a recipe for homemade Dulce de Leche, which was so incredible easy, that there is no reason not to have this in the house at all times.

I know everyone has a “go-to”pancake recipe, but this is the one that I keep coming back to (mostly because my kids WILL eat them and they freeze well)

Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Kid Favorites Made Healthy

  • 1/2 c all purpose flour, 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have any on hand, this is what I do- in a liquid measuring cup add 1Tbsp white vinegar or lemon juice, and fill to one cup mark with milk- I use n0n-fat. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes- Voila- buttermilk)
  • 2 tsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients
  2. After “buttermilk” has set for 5 minutes,  add the egg, oil, and vanilla right to the measuring cup (this limits dirty dishes 🙂 )
  3. Pour wet ingredients into bowl with dry and mix until just incorporated
  4. Heat a large pan or griddle and spray with cooking spray.
  5. Drop batter by Tablespoon full (see… portion size keeps the calorie count down) onto hot pan (it’s hot enough when you flick water onto the surface and it dances around) and cook on one side until bubbles rise to the surface. Flip and cook about 1 minute more.

I added about 2 Tablespoons of Ghiradelli’s mini semisweet chocolate chips directly to the batter -you don’t need a lot of chocolate to get the flavor. This amount gave me about 5-6 chips per pancake which was just perfect.

Layer three pancakes with about 1tsp of your dulce de leche in between. Melt a Tablespoon of topping in the microwave for 10 seconds and drizzle over the stacked pancakes. Top with a few chips or some rainbow sprinkles.

The plate I used is a small salad plate. You don't need a lot of this. If you're still hungry- have an egg white and some fruit... but we were FULL after eating this!

If you don’t feel like making your own breakfast, and you live near a Max Brenner feel free to go there! Just be prepared to eat your days worth of calories in one meal (NOT saying it wouldn’t be worth it -OMG that place is amazing!) This is what Bryan had for brunch when we went about a year and a half ago:

I still slightly regret the fact that I was pregnant when we were there, and at the time, the goat cheese omelet appealed to me more (nevermind- that omelet was so good, I would order it again in a second!)

So, enjoy.

Question…. do you want to see more recipes and other miscellaneous things, as opposed to just cookies? I love, love, love baking and decorating cookies, and have no immediate plans to stop, but I can’t always make enough to keep you in interesting blog posts and photos. But I DO cook at home most nights, and I love to play around in the kitchen… experimenting with ingredient substitutions and taking pictures as I go along. I also enjoy finding crafts and DIYs and trying them out with Ellie. Just a thought, leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

And don’t forget the giveaway ends tonight! Click here for info. And even if you don’t want to enter, please check out PrayersLoveAndJoplin. These two very talented cookie ladies are still looking for contributions for their online bakesale/auction.

Enjoy your Sunday!