Tag Archives: monthly munchies

Peanut Butter, Pretzel & Toffee Bonbons

WHAT IS MONTHLY MUNCHIES? Each month, I take cookies or other goodies to my office staff meeting. They all get to enjoy some homemade treats and I get to use them as my guinea pigs to try out new recipes. I’ve been doing this every month since May, 2005.

Since the holiday season is sneaking screaming up on us, I thought I’d bring some slightly more indulgent than usual treats to the office. We hadn’t had a staff meeting for the past two months due to other events going on in the office, so I knew everyone was jonesing for some sweets.

When I saw this Peanut Butter, Pretzel & Toffee Bonbons recipe show up in my feed reader, I knew I had to make them – and staff meeting was the perfect time to try them out. The recipe originator, Mel, did a beautiful job with the recipe on her site, so I’m not going to repeat it. You can get the recipe here.

The filling for these was quick and simple to make and would be easy to customize with add-ins of your choice. Mel says she crushed up the pretzels – I was too lazy for that, so I just used my food processor. Took me an entire bag of pretzel sticks to get 2 cups of crumbs, but it worked out perfectly. The end result was a nicely smooth peanut butter mixture, just waiting for the toffee bits to be mixed in.

I dipped half of the bonbons in dark chocolate and half in milk, so that everyone in the office could have their favorite. By the way – I’ve never understood why everyone wants to add butter or shortening to chocolate in these types of recipes – all that does is make it softer. I tempered my chocolate, but even if I didn’t, I think it tastes better and just performs better without the additions. If you’re a butter/shortening adder – tell me why? What does it do for you? Am I totally missing the boat here?

In any case, dipping is where my skills totally fall down. I’m a *terrible* dipper. My little balls kept falling into the chocolate, getting totally loaded with more chocolate. Trying to them off the fork, I ended up with ugly marks in the coating, etc. Thank goodness I had some finely chopped peanuts to sprinkle over the top! Made everything look all pretty again.

I portioned mine with a very small truffle scoop, so I got TONS of bonbons out of this. Next time, I would halve this recipe, but if you need a recipe for a crowd, this is it! Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time for the dippin’.

These were a huge hit at my office. One person thought they were too sweet, but pretty much everyone else raved. Not a single one came back home with me at the end of the day.

Thanks, Mel! You made me look like a star.

Almond Tea Cakes

WHAT IS MONTHLY MUNCHIES?Each month, I take cookies or other goodies to my office staff meeting. They all get to enjoy some homemade treats and I get to use them as my guinea pigs to try out new recipes. I’ve been doing this for over 4 years now.Also see this month’s second Monthly Munchies recipe – Buttermilk Babycakes.

This is another take on the Swedish Visiting Cake from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, From My Home to Yours. It really is a perfect recipe – quick, easy, delicious and very customizable.

This time, I did the recipe straight out of the book (well, adapted just a little), but baked them as mini-cupcakes. Topped with a couple of slivered almonds and sprinkled with raw sugar, they became fancy little almond tea cakes.

If you haven’t tried this recipe yet – please do. It’s the kind of recipe that should be in every go-to file!

Buttermilk Babycakes

WHAT IS MONTHLY MUNCHIES?Each month, I take cookies or other goodies to my office staff meeting. They all get to enjoy some homemade treats and I get to use them as my guinea pigs to try out new recipes. I’ve been doing this for over 4 years now.Also see this month’s second Monthly Munchies recipe – Almond Tea Cakes.

These babycakes are a bit like a little girl who’s grown up and is getting ready for her first prom – sweet, simple and soft, but all dressed up and looking glamorous!

When I ran across this recipe a couple of months ago, it really stuck in my mind. It is such a simple recipe, but for some reason, it just really appealed to me. I could almost taste the cookies and couldn’t wait for an opportunity to try them.

So when it was time again for Monthly Munchies, it was a natural choice. I wanted to dress things up this month a little, though, so instead of doing these as cookies, I did them as bars and used a cutter to make pretty shapes. The texture is much more cakey than cookie-like, so it worked out perfectly.

This was done in a 9×13 pan, and they rose a little taller than I expected. Next time I would use a larger pan to get a little bit smaller babycakes. So choose your pan depending on how big you’d like them to be.

This recipe didn’t disappoint. They are delicious and soft, with that trademark buttermilk flavor. Cutting them into pretty shapes before drizzling allows the glaze to drip appetizingly down the sides. Everyone commented on it, so do take the extra few minutes to give them that special touch.


Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

WHAT IS MONTHLY MUNCHIES? Each month, I take cookies or other goodies to my office staff meeting. They all get to enjoy some homemade treats and I get to use them as my guinea pigs to try out new recipes. I’ve been doing this for about 4 years now.

Also see this month’s second Monthly Munchies recipe – Carrot Cupcakes w/ Orange Cream Cheese Icing.

Our April staff meeting was last Thursday, and as usual, I brought some goodies to keep everyone sweet and sugared up, to keep that meeting moving along. Both of the goodies this month were special requests from coworkers. One asked for “regular old chocolate chip cookies,” so that was an easy one!

This is my go-to chocolate chunk cookie recipe which is, so far, universally loved. This time was no exception. At my house, we almost always prefer soft, chewy cookies, and this recipe definitely falls into that category. If you like yours less soft, try swapping the amounts of the brown and white sugars, bake them a little bit longer, and take them off the baking sheet after about 5 minutes to finish cooling on a rack.

I always use chocolate chunks because I like the way they look better, plus you get bigger chunks of chocolate in each bite, but you could definitely use the same amount of regular chips.


Monthly Munchies – Cherry Chocolate & Masa Spritz Cookies

basket of cookies

It’s time for Monthly Munchies again! Today is staff meeting day at my office, so I’ve once again brought a basket full of goodies to keep everyone feeling sweet.

This month’s selections both went together very quickly and easily. Of the two, I surprisingly like the Masa Spritz cookies better. I really thought I’d love the Cherry Chocolate cookies, but although quite good, they just weren’t as “wow” as I thought they’d be, and the Masa Spritz cookies are so light, buttery and addictive, I could see myself eating an entire pan full in one sitting. So they’re my favorite this month.

The Cherry Chocolate cookies come from an Epicurious.com recipe, which I followed exactly. The only thing I did differently was to use a one tablespoon cookie scoop instead of the 2 tbsp size they recommend, so I got about double the amount of the original recipe. These are rich and chocolatey, but I think that the milk chocolate (and I used some good chocolate – E. Guittard couverature milk chocolate) flavor is just lost. You really can’t taste it at all, even when you bite right into a chunk of it. So if I did these again, I’d probably swap out for semi-sweet instead and just let them be the rich chocolate cookies they are.

The Masa Spritz cookies were inspired by the French Cornmeal cookies recently seen on the Cooking Books blog. But I wanted to see if the fussiness of the original recipe (switching utensils mid-mix, etc.) was really necessary or if I could get a good result with a simpler method. I also rounded out the measurements when I doubled them, rather than adding the odd teaspoons and such that the original recipe had. And finally, since I was already messing with the recipe, I messed with it some more and used cake flour instead of AP, and I was out of regular cornmeal, so used masa harina (corn flour used for tortillas and such) instead. Whew! Fortunately, it all worked out wonderfully.

I don’t know if the end result is anything at all like the originals, but these are light, delicious and easy to make. I used a cookie press, but you could certainly use a piping bag, a cookie scoop or just a spoon. Heck, you could just pinch off little bits and roll ‘em in your hands. The dough is easy to work with, not sticky and you just need to get it onto the cookie sheet and into the oven! I’d love to try these again using lime zest instead of lemon.

Let me know if you try these and how they go for you. Enjoy!


Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software (using my actual yield of 4 dozen)

Calories: 88
Fat: 6g, Sat Fat: 3g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 6g
Protein: 1g


Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 34
Fat: 2g, Sat Fat: 1g
Fiber: 0g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 0g

Masa on FoodistaMasa

Chewy Amaretti Cookies & Samoas Bars

amaretti cookiesSince I recently lost some weight, I often get asked, “How do you bake like that and still stay skinny?”

Well, I think I’m still pretty far from skinny. But the secret to not eating all the cookies or whatever is to spread it around! So, I bring goodies to the monthly staff meeting at work. That way, I eat a couple myself (just to test, of course) and give the rest away. Voila! Temptation averted.

As many of those who like to cook do, I have stacks and stacks of recipes I’d like to try. I expect that if I made 2 or 3 of them every day for the rest of my life, I’d still never get through them all. And the stacks grow every day.

Establishing this routine has given me a venue to try a couple or 3 new recipes every month. All of my coworkers know they are my guinea pigs and that I usually haven’t tried the recipes I bring, prior to that time. Occasionally, one is a complete failure. Some recipes are more popular than others. Interesting trends in eating habits are revealed. For instance, I always have more leftover cookies at the end of the day in January than any other time. Hmm, I can’t imagine why…

I have a lovely little spreadsheet to keep track of what recipes I’ve already done, but now that I have this little online spot just for me, I can share pictures and details of the recipes I try each month. Hence, Monthly Munchies is born! Care to play along?

Our staff meeting is usually held on the second Thursday of every month. So I’ll be posting that Thursday or the day after, each month, about the recipes that I make. If you’d like to do some Monthly Munchies, just send me the link to your posts and I’ll add ‘em in.

On to this month’s selections!


Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 12
Fat: 0g, Sat Fat: 0g
Fiber: 0g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 0g


Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 171
Fat: 9g, Sat Fat: 7g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 11g
Protein: 2g

Amaretti on FoodistaAmaretti
Girl Scout Samoa Chew Bars on FoodistaGirl Scout Samoa Chew Bars