Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

You guys, I have some big news: I finally got the KitchenAid stand mixer I’ve been dreaming of for years! So naturally, I had to put it to use right away, and what better way to do that than to whip up a batch of big, cake-y and super-indulgent Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies (as requested by Harrison)?

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Whether it’s all thanks to my new mixer or not, this recipe ended up being surprisingly simple to pull off, and it made nearly 20 thick, rich and delightfully peanut buttery cookies that I ate way too many of. (No shame.)

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Because they’re pretty dense and cake-y, they’re best right out of the oven or within a day of baking, which keeps them from tasting a little dry. And even though you’re going to want to eat the entire batch at once, their flavor is so intense and delicious that one (or two!) at a time is more than enough.

Check out the recipe below, then bake these up for your first fall get-together. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

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Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Yield: 15-18 cookies (Recipe via The Baker Upstairs)

1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups coarsely chopped peanut butter cups

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment.

2. In small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, then set aside.

3. In large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar until well combined. Add egg, vanilla and milk, and mix until combined.

4. Add dry ingredients and mix to form a thick dough. (If the dough is very dry and crumbly, add an extra tablespoon or so of milk to help it come together.) Gently fold in peanut butter cups, reserving about 1/4 cup.

5. Scoop large spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle with remaining peanut butter cups.

6. Bake 12-14 minutes, being careful not to over bake. Let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack.

Macarons + Makeup

Last night was a dream come true for me: Not only did I get to learn how to make macarons (one of my favorite sweet treats in existence!), but I also got to do it while celebrating a ton of amazing beauty products carried by QVC. I’m talking tarte eyeshadow palettes, philosophy lip glosses, Laura Geller blushes and bareMinerals lip colors, just to name a few.

And let’s not forget about the macarons. The class, which took place at the Manhattan Sur La Table and was led by the amazing Chef Cameca Bacchus, was super informative (I never knew there was so much to learn about egg whites!) and really hands on. So yes, that means I played a part in making every single one of the delicious macarons I took home + indulged in last night and this morning.

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I’m not 100 percent confident I could make macarons by myself at home (at least not the first couple of times), but it doesn’t mean I’m not going to give it a shot! Another thing I can’t wait to try out? All of the amazing beauty products I got to take home after the macaron-making class!

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Have you ever made your own macarons? If so, what’s your best tip for churning out the cutest + sweetest treats possible?

Friday Four

Hello, Friday! I’ve got a busy weekend ahead (and not the running around town doing fun things with friends kind of busy), so it’s going to be mostly work, and just a little play for me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t look forward to the chance to sleep in a bit and head to a nice brunch on Sunday, right?

But (as always), before the weekend begins, I’m ready to share everything I want to eat, wear, live with and visit this week:

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Clockwise from top left: Cookie dough cupcakes; leather tote; pom pom pouf; and Ladurée New York.

Eat: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes (recipe via Sally’s Baking Addition)

How could I not love a recipe that combines two of my favorite sweet treats: cupcakes and cookie dough?

Wear: Leather tote by Rebecca Minkoff

Once again, I’m on the hunt for a professional-chic tote to carry with me to work, and this great bag from Rebecca Minkoff is definitely on my radar. The best part: It’s on sale now at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

Live With: Pom pom pouf by West Elm

I’ve been thinking about getting an ottoman or other little piece of furniture for our living room for a while now—a thought that was definitely cemented the second I saw these adorable pom pom poufs. I’ll take one in each color, please!

Visit: Ladurée New York, 864 Madison Ave. (photo via Flickr)

My mom’s coming to town next weekend, and I’m trying to think of some fun things to do and cute places to take her. One spot I’ve been wanting to hit: macaroon heaven Ladurée. I can practically taste the sweets now …

What are you loving this week?

12 Homemade Ice Cream Recipes to Beat the Heat

My love for sweets isn’t very discriminating. Cakes, cookies, brownies, doughnuts, macaroons: You put them in front of me and I’ll totally devour them. However, there’s one sweet treat that I typically don’t go crazy for: ice cream (milkshakes are a whole other story …)—unless it’s homemade ice cream, of course. To me, there’s just something undeniably amazing and indulgent about a sweet, creamy batch of homemade ice cream on a hot summer night. And though I love basic flavors like chocolate, strawberry and peach (my favorite!), it’s also fun to play around with more creative (and even more delicious) flavors, too. That’s why I’ve rounded up 12 super-sweet and sure-to-cool-you-off homemade ice cream recipes to try out this summer:

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Clockwise from top left:Honey Ricotta Ice Cream from Wonky Wonderful; S’mores Ice Cream from The Gunny Sack; Caramel Pecan Chocolate Ripple Ice Cream from Kitchen Simplicity; Oatmeal Cookie Chunk Ice Cream from Dinner or Dessert; Bacon Ice Cream from Bacon Wiki; and Brown Butter Maple Nut Ice Cream from Country Living.

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Clockwise from top left: Creme Brulee Ice Cream from CompleteRecipes.com; Key Lime Pie Ice Cream from MyRecipes; Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream (photo via Creature Comforts); Snickers Ice Cream from Lauren’s Latest; Hazelnut Praline Ice Cream from The Sugar Hit; and Lemon Meringue Ice Cream from Sifting Focus.

You guys, these all look so delicious that I hardly know where to start with picking my favorites. I really love rich, indulgent flavors, so the Brown Butter Maple Nut, Bacon, Peanut Butter Cup and Snickers recipes all sound amazing. But I also love a lighter, more savory flavor come summer, so the Lemon Meringue, Honey Ricotta and Key Lime Pie versions might be a good place to start, too. If I had to pick a favorite though, I think that Hazelnut Praline recipe is definitely taking home the prize.

Do you make your own ice cream for summertime? If so, what’s your favorite flavor to whip up?

Festive (and Delicious!) Fourth of July Recipes

With July 4th just days away, I’m sure many of you have already made your plans for the summer holiday. And whether they include a casual cookout, a poolside party or an upscale soiree, one thing is guaranteed: Food will definitely be part of the festivities. So in case you haven’t already planned your entire menu (or were asked to bring over a dish last minute), I’ve rounded up 12 side dishes, appetizers, main courses and desserts that would be perfect for any Fourth of July get together:

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Clockwise from top left: Grilled Corn with Bacon Butter and Cotija Cheese from How Sweet It Is; Quinoa and Berry Salad from Yummy Mummy Kitchen; Grilled Blackberry, Strawberry, Basil and Brie Pizza Crisps from Half Baked Harvest; and Watermelon, Avocado and Mint Salad from Foolproof Living.

You may remember that I tried this corn out myself last year for my birthday (refresher: It was AWESOME), but it bears repeating that it’s a recipe definitely worth making. If you’re looking for something a wee bit healthier to start the meal, try one of those pretty salads (the watermelon, avocado and mint looks especially delicious), or make an indulgent (though still pretty healthy) treat with those berry and Brie pizza crisps.

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Clockwise from top left: Grilled Shrimp with Cilantro, Lime and Peanuts from Martha Stewart; Roasted Tomato and Pesto Burgers from Confections of a Foodie Bride; BBQ Buffalo Chicken Wings from Susannah’s Kitchen; and Hawaiian Hot Dogs with Mango Salsa from Damn Delicious.

No July 4th party is complete without a little grilling action, but that doesn’t have to be limited to burgers (though who could resist those roasted tomato and pesto creations?). Shake things up with tangy grilled shrimp or out-of-the-box hot dogs, or keep things simple and smoky with some grilled buffalo wings.

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Clockwise from top left: Sprinkle + Ombre Cake from Brit + Co.; American Flag Doughnuts from The First Year; Strawberry, Lime and Basil Shortcakes from The Artful Desperado; and Blue Velvet Cupcakes from Sprinkle Bakes.

Dessert is always my favorite part of the meal, no matter the holiday, and with desserts this cute, it will be everyone else’s favorite part, too. Take some time to whip up a beautiful sprinkled + ombre cake or go super patriotic with those adorable American flag doughnuts. If simple is what you’re seeking, you can’t go wrong with blue velvet cupcakes, though a fun twist on a classic recipe—like that Strawberry, Lime and Basil Shortcake—would be sure to impress, too.

What dishes will you be making for your Fourth of July celebration?

Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Harrison likes to do this thing where he pretends to hate sweets, but completely devours them almost anytime I bake something up. So I wasn’t terribly surprised on Saturday evening when we had company over and he asked me to make a dessert for the occasion, specifically requesting these Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownies. I don’t know whether to be happy that he did (because they’re unbelievably delicious) or angry that he did (because they’re unbelievable addictive), but either way, I’m so glad I decided to make them.

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For this batch, I used milk chocolate brownie mix, which made for super-sweet (though deliciously peanut buttery) brownies. And though there’s nothing wrong with that, I’d definitely love to make something a little richer and fudgier next time, as well as bake it in the right-sized pan so the brownies are a little thicker (I only had a 13 x 9, so the brownies ended up thinner than I would have liked, almost like brownie bars instead). But honestly, no matter how you spin it, this is one tasty dessert that anyone with even the slightest bit of a sweet tooth will absolutely devour. Check out the recipe below.

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Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Yield: 1 dozen (recipe via Center Cut Cook)

1 batch of your favorite brownies, made in an 8×8 or 9×9-inch pan

14 snack-size Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate syrup, if desired

1. Line pan with foil both horizontally and vertically, then spray with cooking oil. Bake brownies according to package directions.

2. About 3-5 minutes before brownies are done baking, remove from oven and place around 9 unwrapped peanut butter cups, face down, on top of brownies. Gently press peanut butter cups into brownies.

3. Return pan to oven and bake for remaining 3-5 minutes.

4. Remove brownies from oven, then use a spatula to spread melted chocolate over brownies like frosting. (Note: The peanut butter won’t spread, so don’t worry about getting that to smooth over the brownies.)

5. Allow brownies to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature, then 1 hour in the refrigerator.

6. Chop remaining peanut butter cups into small pieces, then sprinkle over top of brownies. Cut into squares, drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired and serve.

Friday Four

Blame it on the fact that not posting for the first two days of the week completely threw off my sense of time, but today just does not feel like Friday. But considering how exhausted I am from the crazy week (and seeing as there’s so much more work to do this weekend), I couldn’t be more thankful that I have a few days of semi-rest and relaxation ahead of me.

I’m sure we’ll spend a lot of time exploring our new neighborhood and checking out a few cool spots, and who knows, maybe we’ll do Sunday brunch in the park, too. Whatever we do, I’m just excited to spend some time with my two boys in our big new city!

But before I get into the weekend mindset, it’s time to share everything I’m loving this week:

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Clockwise from top left: Homemade doughnuts; tiered makeup stand; yellow dress; and chicken and waffles.

Eat: Baked Nutella Doughnuts with Nutella Glaze (via Cooking Classy)

Did you know that today is the best holiday ever (aka National Doughnut Day)?! I haven’t quite figured out how I’m going to celebrate, but the idea of baking up these indulgent Nutella doughnuts doesn’t sound too shabby.

Live With: DIY tiered makeup stand (via P.S. – I Made This)

In no way am I a crafting genius, but even if I were completely incompetent in the DIY area, I think I could still make this easy project look amazing!

Wear: Yellow dress from the Honor Resort 2015 Collection (image via Style.com)

I’m telling you: I just cannot get the thought of bright summer colors out of my head. And even though this dress is technically a Resort ’15 piece, it doesn’t mean I can’t want to wear it right this second.

Eat: Melba’s, 300 W 114th St., New York

One of the best things about our new place: We live right next to blocks full of amazing restaurants. And because we can’t waste our first weekend without visiting at least one of them, I’ve put in a special request to check out a comfort food spot called Melba’s that I’ve been wanting to visit since the last time I lived in NYC. I can practically hear the Southern Fried Chicken & Eggnog Waffles calling my name.

What are you loving this week?