Just When You Thought You Couldn’t Love Chocolate More – A Recipe for Twin Chocolate Delights Cookies!

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I made the closest men in my life (my boyfriend, my brother, and my dad) very happy this past week.  I didn’t buy them presents.  Or give them money.  No, I baked and gave them cookies.  Double chocolate ones.  6 dozen of them on a total of 5 pans.  And it’s unanimous: out of all the recipes I’ve tried so far, this is their favourite cookie of all-time.  And I have to say, I freakin’ love these cookies myself.  They are heavenly.  But their love of chocolate borders on obsession (or addiction; it’s really almost the same thing in this context) baffles me.  I enjoy chocolate as much as the next person, but their addiction to chocolate is just on a whole other level.  I watch guys eat chocolate and it’s like they’re eating their last meal on earth.  My brother will excitedly chant, “chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!” when I simply mention something about chocolate.  And I once scolded my boyfriend for eating too many chocolate chip pancakes because he wouldn’t stop moaning and groaning about how full he was from his chocolate chip pancake breakfast.  “Well why did you eat so many?!  Why didn’t you just stop at two??”  “They were so good…”  Cue deadpan expression.

Anyway, I made brown sugar shortbread over the holidays and while I will admit that they were just so-so (it needed a little finesse and a part 2 experiment), I ate my share while the boys just sniffed at them.  Sigh.  “Fine,” I said.  “I’ll make you guys double chocolate cookies next time.  Sound good?”  Eager bobblehead nods.

Boys.

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You don’t have to be a crazy chocolate addict to love these cookies though.  These epitomize cookie perfection in so many ways: they’re crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, the cracking on the outside is beautiful, the recipe doesn’t require a mixer, you can easily substitute the chocolate chips for other mix-ins such as chopped nuts, candies, or dried fruit, the recipe yields a very generous amount making them a perfect option for parties and cookie swaps, they freeze well, and they’re a cinch to make.  And did I mention they’re double chocolate and fudgy as heck?  WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?!  I thank another one of my beloved Joanne Fluke Hannah Swensen foodie murder mysteries for this amazing cookie recipe, courtesy of Blueberry Muffin Murder, the 3rd book from the series.

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Recipe for Twin Chocolate Delights (yields approx. 6 dozen/72 medium-sized cookies)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (no need to sift)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (*Deb’s Note: I didn’t use nuts so I simply substituted with extra chocolate chips)
  • 2 cups chocolate chips

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Directions

  • Line several baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. (The dough needs to chill in the fridge so there’s no preheating of the oven at this point).
  • Melt butter in large microwave-safe bowl.  Add the sugar and mix. (*Deb’s Note: I just used a spatula for this step as well as for the rest of the recipe).
  • Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and vanilla and stir until smooth.
  • Add the beaten eggs and stir thoroughly.
  • Mix in the flour, nuts (if you’re using them), and chocolate chips (*Deb’s Note: using the spatula, I gently folded the flour in until it was incorporated.  Then I used my hands (freshly washed hands!) to mix in the chocolate chips.)
  • Cover bowl with a piece of plastic wrap; chill cookie dough in refrigerator for about 30 minutes (*Deb’s Note: I added this step because the dough was still a bit too gummy to handle)
  • Place rounded teaspoons of dough on baking sheets, 12 to a standard sheet (*Deb’s Note: I used my hands to grab mounds of dough, gently shaping them into small rounds.  As well, I fit 15 on the first 4 pans and 12 on the last one.)
  • Heat oven to 350°F.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely (*Deb’s Note: this allows you to use the same pans for multiple rounds of cookies.  Two pans are enough.  I know because that’s what I did – I don’t actually have 5 baking pans at home!  While the first pan is in the oven, you work on shaping the dough balls for the 2nd pan.  When the first pan comes out and the 2nd goes in, there’s enough time between taking the cookies off the pan and re-filling with another batch for the pan to cool down enough to not cause your raw dough to start melting/spreading.)

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Recipe adapted from Joanne Fluke’s Blueberry Muffin Murder.  New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2002.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on pages 136-137.

Tea Time Magazine & Delicious Cookie Recipes – Soft & Chewy Malted Chocolate Chunk Cookies!

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It’s time for a brand new spankin’ cookie recipe on Ate by Ate and this one is TOTAL keeper!  Trust me when I say that once you make these cookies, you may never want to use another cookie base ever again.  They’re moist, they’re chewy, they’re chocolatey, they’re adorable, they’re super easy to make, and they are the perfect cookies for picnics, kid lunches, care packages and gifts, and tea parties!  I’ve made two other variations of these cookies since I made the original ones here and I’ve been daydreaming of endless other combinations to try out for my next batch.  These cookies are made extra awesome because of one very special ingredient: Maltesers!  YES, Maltesers, the awesome crunchy chocolate malt balls in the iconic red packaging that we all know and love.  I’ve loved Maltesers since I was a little girl and I remember them being one of my favourite treats growing up.  Not only did/do I love the crunchy, melt-in-your-mouth interior and chocolate creaminess but in a weird way they give me this throwback connection to my mum eating these same morsels when she was a little girl.

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So, where did I get this fantabulous recipe?  From the May/June 2012 issue of Tea Time magazine!  Let it be known that I absolutely adore Tea Time magazine to itty bitty pieces and have been loving them for over a year now.  It’s strange how I never knew about or noticed Tea Time magazine until early last year.  As an avid magazine reader, you’d think that I’d at least be familiar with the publication having spent so much time in the magazine aisles all these years but nope, it wasn’t until last February that I stumbled on it at Shoppers Drug Mart.  And I’ve been smitten ever since buying every single issue thereafter and every single available back issue on the Hoffman Media website.

Tea Time magazine is all sorts of wonderful and a must-have and must-read for all tea lovers.  Amazing and informative tea articles, a plethora of teatime recipes, beautiful photos, and the most delicious stories and features on tea shops and afternoon tea venues from around the world.  It makes my heart flutter just talking about it.  My only wish?  That the magazine came out monthly!  It’s a bi-monthly publication so you can totally understand my impatient writhing while I wait for the next issue to come out (which, since we’re on the topic, comes out later this month for July and August!).  Here’s the recipe, everyone, enjoy it!

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Recipe for Malted Chocolate Chunk Cookies (yields approx. 3 dozen small cookies)

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunk morsels
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped malted-milk ball

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Directions

  • Heat oven to 375°F (*Deb’s Note: because my oven runs hot, I lowered mine to 350°F).
  • Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt, whisking well.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars, stirring until creamy (*Deb’s Note: I used a handheld mixer to mix  the butter and sugars together; my arm muscles aren’t strong enough to just stir!).  Add vanilla and egg, stirring until incorporated (*Deb’s Note: again, I used my mixer)
  • Add flour mixture to butter mixture, stirring until well mixed (*Deb’s Note: I used my mixer to mix just until blended; do not over mix!)
  • Add chocolate chips/chunks and malted-milk balls, stirring well (*Deb’s Note: I actually just use my hands to incorporate everything)
  • Using a levered 1-teaspoon scoop, drop dough onto prepared baking sheets (*Deb’s Note: I don’t use a scoop for mine, I use my hands to grab chunks of dough, shaping them and patting them down just slightly so everything sticks together)
  • Bake until light golden brown, 6 to 7 minutes (*Deb’s Note: mine take 6 minutes).  Cool completely on wire racks.  Store in airtight containers.

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There’s No Such Thing As Too Many Cookies – Almond Kisses Cookie Bliss From Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen Mystery Series

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Almonds and chocolate and sprinkles, oh my!  I had myself a fun and relaxing cookie baking and decorating party recently (if you consider running back and forth from the oven to the kitchen table with 4 baking sheets of cookies relaxing!), testing out a recipe for Almond Kisses from Joanne Fluke’s Lemon Meringue Pie Murder from the Hannah Swensen foodie murder mystery series (if you don’t know about these books and how much I love this series, you need to jump on the bandwagon, PRONTO!).

I love baking out of these books so much and it had been awhile since the last time I tried out something new from one of them so I jumped on the opportunity one Saturday morning to make these amazing almond cookies.  The original recipe uses Hershey’s Kisses for the cookie middles but unfortunately, I didn’t have any of my favourite cookies ‘n cream ones or the yummy milk and white chocolate swirly ones so I settled on testing out the base almond cookie recipe first and jazzing up a batch with chocolate chips mixed in and another batch dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with sprinkles!

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I had the best time making these cookies and they turned out perfect!  And oh  my goodness they taste fantastically delicious.  Trust me when I say that they test the most delicious straight out of the oven.  I know you have to let them cool to dip them in chocolate if you want to follow my lead, but I really just mean within the first day or so.  They taste totally fine even a week after (providing you store them in a sealed container of course), but to really get the full food orgasmic effect, you need to taste them soon after they’re baked because they are just divine.  Like marzipan on cloud nine.  This is the type of recipe that can spawn 10 others simply because it’s so simple and versatile.  You can mix in chocolate chips (regular, white, butterscotch, whatever you like!), small sprinkles and shredded coconut, dip them in melted chocolate, or glaze them.  Or just leave them plain.

I was beaming with pride looking at all my cookies when I had the most bizarre and ridiculous exchange with my dad though.  Me: *wearing oven mitts, beaming* “Look how cute these cookies turned out!  They’re sooo good!”  Dad: “You didn’t make enough cookies.”  Me: “What do you mean I didn’t make enough cookies?!  I made 54!  Well, 52.  Dan and I just ate one each.”  Dad: “Yeah, but you’re giving away two dozen.”  Me: “Which leaves us with 28 still!”  Dad: “Exactly.  That’s not enough.”

I was so offended.  Hmph.  IT’S NOT MY FAULT THEY’RE SO YUMMY THEY DISAPPEAR LIKE CRAZY!

Anyway.

This is a must-try recipe, everyone, enjoy!

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Recipe for Almond Kisses (yields approx. 4 dozen small cookies)

Ingredients (*Deb’s Note: the recipe below was actually cut in half.  The original recipe uses double the amounts)

  • 3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (*Deb’s Note: if you prefer to follow the original recipe’s ingredient list, substitute the brown sugar with 1 tablespoon molasses and increase the granulated sugar to 1 cup.  If you wish to follow the original recipe in its entirety, double the ingredients.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups flour
  • your choice of add-in should you wish to use it!

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Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°F (*Deb’s Note: because my oven runs hot, I lowered mine to 325°F).  
  • Melt butter in microwave in mixing bowl.  Add sugars, vanilla extract and almond extract (Deb’s Note: if you are not using brown sugar and instead using molasses (see note in ingredient list), add the molasses after the adding the almond extract); mix with electric mixer until blended.  Add baking soda, baking powder and salt; mix well.  Add ground almonds; mix well.
  • Pour in beaten egg; mix until blended.  Add flour, 1 cup at a time; mix until just blended after each addition.  (Do not over mix).  (*Deb’s Note: If you are using add-ins like chocolate chips, add them after adding and mixing in the flour.  Mix them in gently with your hands so you’re not overworking the dough.)
  • Chill cookie dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Roll dough into small, walnut-sized balls.  Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 15 dough balls to a sheet.  Flatten dough balls slightly using the palm of your hand.  Use the tines on a fork to make an indentation if you wish to jazz up the tops.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes (Deb’s Note: I baked mine for 8 minutes).  Cool on baking sheets for several minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Proceed to stuff your face with delicious fresh baked cookies.  Go the extra step and decorate using melted chocolate and sprinkles – like me!  Rinse and repeat.

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Recipe adapted from Joanne Fluke’s Lemon Meringue Pie Murder.  New York: Kensington Publishing Corporation, 2003.  Photographs taken by me.  The recipe can be found on page 55.

The 2nd Time’s the Charm – Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies & Holiday Cookie Baking Fun

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I have eaten an absurd amount of cookies this past week.  One of my vendors gave me a gorgeous jar stuffed with 6 different kinds of homemade cookies (chocolate crackles, shortbread, cranberry biscotti, Italian walnut cookies, iced snowflake sugar cookies and adorable chocolate chip minis) last Wednesday, one of my coworkers happily fed me a smiling gingerbread man shortbread sandwich cookie filled with cream cheese candy cane frosting for dessert during lunch today, and I have eaten at least half a dozen of my own cookies between Sunday afternoon and today.  I’m surprised I haven’t turned INTO a cookie!

The smell of cookies is just intoxicating though and truly one of the happiest, yummiest things to have in your home.  Cookies have always given me a run for my money since I started to seriously bake in 2011 (as you will soon read below), working out only half the time and either burning or tasting blah the other half.  But I love cookies to pieces (eating, baking, photographing and scrapbooking about them) and there’s nothing like the sound of cracking eggs and a whirring mixer, the smell of chocolate, the feeling of cookie dough delicious enough to eat all on its own between your hands and the feeling of mastering a cookie recipe and being rewarded with fresh cookies that are perfect and tasty to boot!

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We are knee-deep into the holiday baking blitz and this is the first of hopefully a handful of new recipes that I’ll be posting in the next little while.  What I have for all of you today: CHOCOLATE SNICKERDOODLES!  A classic cookie (snickerdoodle = cinnamon sugar cookie) made that more more awesome with the addition of chocolate!  While the recipe isn’t exactly brand new (it’s from Food & Wine’s November 2011 issue), it’s a recipe that definitely deserves to be kept in the holiday cookie recipe vault.  It’s gorgeous, it’s delicious and best of all, it uses the most basic of ingredients.  No need to schlep out into the snow to pick up some hard-to-find, expensive ingredient that you’ll only end up using once.  I was so grateful for this when the cookies didn’t work out for me the first time 2 weekends ago.

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I don’t know what it is about my oven.  I can bake cake.  I can bake quick breads.  I can bake muffins and bars and squares without so much as a lick of trouble.  But cookies?  It’s like my oven has a freakin’ mind of its own.  Half the time my cookies work and half the time they don’t and I’m constantly having to course correct as I go.  Which in and of itself is fine!  Baking and cooking are learning experiences and you won’t become a better baker or cook unless you flub up and learn from your mistakes.

But!  It’s so frustrating for me when it doesn’t work because I don’t get to bake all the time.  The whole point is for me to take photos and share recipes that I’ve tried with you all and to post about them, which completely eliminates workdays and weeknights and weekend nights (too dark to take photos).  Add to that the days when I’m out and about gathering content for Ate by Ate and not actually at home.  So my window of time is limited and when a recipe doesn’t work, I have to wait a whole week just to be able to try it out again.  Which I did for this one because I refused to admit defeat and I refused to believe that the recipe was bad.

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What happened the first time was that the bottoms of the cookies burned.  To a crisp.  Black as hockey pucks burnt.  My mom had to frantically shut the oven off earlier than the stated bake time so smoke wouldn’t start billowing out for real.  And I stood there looking at them completely befuddled because I had followed the recipe to a tee.  My heart sunk.  I had promised my dad and brother chocolate cookies and now I had to tell them that they had burned and that they’d have to wait a week before I could try again.  We sadly chucked them all in the green bin garbage and while I sat at the dinner table fuming, I thought about how I was going to change the recipe to make it work: lower the temperature, decrease bake time, and double pan my baking sheet.

The result one week later?  PERFECT Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies!  Score one for team Cookie Bitch.

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Recipe for Chocolate Snickerdoodles (taken from November 2011 issue of Food & Wine magazine)

Makes 36 small cookies or 24 medium cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons), softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided (*Deb’s Note: you really don’t need this much, 1-1/4 cups is enough)
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted, cooled (*Deb’s Note: I didn’t have unsweetened so I just used Baker’s Bittersweet)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

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Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (*Deb’s Note: to make this recipe work for me, I lowered it to 375°F the first time since I knew my oven ran hot.  When that still didn’t work, I lowered it to 350°F for the 2nd time)
  • In a bowl, sift the flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  • In another bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with 1 cup of the sugar until creamy (*Deb’s Note: seriously, beat the heck out of it.  Don’t stop beating until it’s literally almost white).  Add the melted chocolate and the egg and beat until smooth.  (*Deb’s Note: because it’s winter and it’s cold, I found it was better to melt the chocolate after creaming the butter and sugar and just stirring until slightly cooled.  I melted it before creaming the butter and sugar the first time and by the time I was ready to use it, it had hardened again).  Beat in the dry ingredients until incorporated.
  • In a shallow bowl, mix the remaining sugar with the cinnamon.  Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar.  Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets and flatten to 2-inch rounds (*Deb’s Note: I did this the first time and didn’t like the way they turned out so what I did the 2nd time was roll them into balls, place them on the baking sheet, flatten them with my palm, THEN dip one side in the cinnamon sugar, placing them back on the baking sheets with the sugar side facing up.  I found that rolling them and then flattening them removed some of the sugar as it stuck to my palm and just made a mess out of the baking sheets)
  • Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and cracked (*Deb’s Note: I decreased the bake time for mine by a lot.  Mine were perfect and done in 8 minutes).  Transfer to racks and let cool.

Banana Buttons and Baking With Love – Squeaking Out the Last Layout for National Scrapbooking Month

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Scrapbooking materials used: powder blue, sky blue, pale yellow, buttercup yellow, cappuccino, and chocolate brown cardstock (Recollections); blue and brown patterned paper and green, brown, pale blue and pink circles patterned paper (Choco Mod scrap pad kit and stack by Stemma); baking stickers and embellishments (Jolee’s); chocolate chip cookie embellishments (handmade); sparkly banana button (De Serres art store); medium scallop circle paper punch (ek success); medium and small scalloped edge decorative scissors (Provo Craft); black fine point Sharpie pen.

Crazy for Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies! Apron Stickers & The Cookie Scrapbook Project Continued

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The cookie and baking scrapbook project continues on!  I posted my very first cookie scrapbook layout for the project earlier in the month to kickstart the actual scrapbooking process, and I’m here now with layout number two!  This is a two-page layout of the famous cranberry dark and white chocolate chip cookies I posted HERE, and I refer to them as being famous not because I think they’re actually famous among other people (although I’d like to think that one day they will be), but because the recipe for them snowballed into a gazillion other spin-off recipes I created afterward using different ingredients.  This recipe kickstarted so many cookie brainstorming sessions over the last 6 months.  They are genuinely some of my favourite cookies ever, so for that, I thank Food & Wine magazine a thousand times over for providing this recipe in their November 2011 issue. 

I am having SO much fun with this project.  Aside from having some key components to every layout, I have total creative freedom to go as colour and sticker crazy as I want.  Since the cookies themselves don’t always have colourful aspects to them, I don’t feel like I have to compete with an already busy colour scheme.  I can bring the photos to life by using colour schemes and patterns that I put together myself and that’s been the funnest part of the whole thing.  Each and every single layout has its own story, it’s own identity, and it’s own place in the album and project and by replicating certain aesthetics on each layout, I’m able to keep things coherent throughout the entire project.  

Scrapbooking workspace in action!

I’m keeping the project simple by limiting layouts to two pages each (every time you flip a page in the scrapbook album, you’ll be presented with a new layout and story!) and I’m also writing out the recipes and pasting them on the layouts.  I think it makes the scrapbook feel a little more like a miniature cookbook in a way as opposed to just photos jumbled together, and it makes it look and feel a little more personal since I’m handwriting them.  I’m keeping things consistent between layouts by writing out the recipes and tacking them on as “sidebars”, so to speak, anchoring and bringing the whole thing together.

I was so super excited to use my epoxy baking and sweets stickers for this one, especially since the colours were so rich and vibrant.  And the aprons!  CUTE AS A BUTTON!  Green, pink, and red is such a fabulous colour scheme and I went wild with the use of patterned paper, using some of the goodies I showed you all in THIS post.  I used green, two shades of pink, and red as primary colours, cappuccino and chocolate brown as secondary colours to balance out the brights, and a big expanse of solid white where I wrote out the recipe to absorb and counteract the busyness in the patterns.

Check out the Cookie & Baking Scrapbook Project from its beginnings by visiting these posts!

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Scrapbooking materials used: Bubblegum pink and pale pink cardstock (Recollections); green, pink, and red paisley patterned paper (“Green Paisley”, Divinely Sweet collection by Bazzill Basics Paper); red and turquoise floral patterned paper (“Sweet Daisy Cream”, Divinely Sweet collection by Bazzill Basics Paper); olive green floral patterned paper (“Placemat”, Let’s Eat collection by TPC Studio); lime green and pink leaf and butterfly patterned paper (Lime Garden by K & Company); chocolate chip and chocolate sandwich cookie embellishments (handmade); epoxy apron, sweets, and baking stickers (Sticko); scalloped decorative edge scissors (Provo Craft); black fine point pen (Sharpie).

May is National Scrapbooking Month! Filling Up the “Cookie Jar” For the New Cookie & Baking Scrapbook Project

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Scrapbook materials used: Goldenrod, emerald green, and lavender cardstock (Recollections); blue “party” patterned paper and violet star patterned paper (“Celebration” scrap pad kit and stack by Stemma); cookie embellishments (handmade using cappuccino, chocolate brown, and terra cotta cardstock, Recollections); medium scallop circle paper punch (ek success); small and medium scalloped decorative scissors (Provo Craft).