German Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies (and Cookie Contest Updates!)

Today was a most exciting day! Last week, I found out that my recipe for S’mores Rice Krispie Squares made it to the final round of the Dallas Morning News Holiday Cookie Contest! Today, all the finalists brought our cookies to Central Market to be taste-tested by the judges.

I didn’t end up winning, but I still had an incredible, sugar-filled time. First, I was very honored to be a finalist alongside all of the cookie hall-of-famers in attendance.

Secondly, no cookie competition is complete without samples, and boy, did this one deliver. Check it out:

My rookie status definitely revealed itself when sampling time came around. While the repeat finalists were armed with tupperware and their running shoes to collect as many cookies as possible, I didn’t even have a napkin in my hand, and so started piling cookies directly onto my . . . hand. Whoops.

Luckily, about five cookies in, I spied a stack of paper napkins, and started filling those up. I finally found an empty plate, and, later, a plastic takeaway box from Central Market. Crazy times. Suffice it to say, I don’t think I’ll need to make/eat any more cookies for approximately two months. Except, really, I shouldn’t kid myself. All the finalists also (very kindly) shared their recipes, and I am super excited to try them out and hopefully adapt some for my blog!

Finally, the lovely contest organizers held a raffle, and I won this book that I was totally eyeing:

I may or may not have squealed and jumped up in a rather unbecoming manner when I found out. Get excited, because this signifies many fun cocktail recipes in your future. Thanks to Dallas Morning News and Central Market for this fantastic opportunity! Thanks also to the lovely Alexa for telling me about the contest in the first place.

Today’s cookie recipe is one that I submitted to the contest in the “Decadent” category.
Even though they didn’t make the finals, I still think they’re pretty bangin’. Can I use that word to describe cookies? I think yes.

These are a spin on the traditional German Chocolate Cake. Truthfully, I’ve never been much of a German Chocolate Cake fan. I always wondered why the inventors put in pecans and coconut instead of . . . well, more chocolate. But, after eating the incredible four-layer cake – one of which was German chocolate – that my sister got for my birthday, I started changing my tune.

I got the idea for a thumbprint cookie from one of my absolute favorite cookie recipes: Martha Stewart’s Coconut Thumbprint Cookies with Salted Caramel (ahhh salted caramel!!!). I adapted the recipe to make a chocolate thumbprint cookie rolled in coconut flakes, filled with the evaporated milk frosting, and topped with pecans.

The baked coconut adds an amazing texture to these cookies, and I am (surprisingly) a big fan of the filling as well. These are a definite winner in my book/stomach. Happy Friday! Off to eat more cookies!

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Cinnamon-Glazed Pecans and Two Cookie Recipes

Happy Halloween, lovely people!

Have I told you about my sister? I think I’ve let you in on some fun tidbits . . . like how I’m living with her this year, that she owns awesome kitchen gadgets (hellooo food processor), and that I learned all my baking skills from her. Though she’s a lot more organized in the kitchen, believe me. Somehow I missed that tutorial?

But the most important point about her today is that she loves holidays just as much as I do! Which is pretty ridiculous, considering my insane level of holiday cheer (I’m SO excited to break out my Little Miss Christmas shirt!). As lovers of the holidays, one of our favorite things to do is spread the holiday spirit through treat bags.

Why yes, I do actually own this sign. What can I say? I’m a festive person!

This has led to some pretty crazy baking (mis)adventures for us. One time, a day of testing molten lava cakes led to a sugar high for me, followed by a massive headache, resulting in my sister basically force-feeding me dumplings to stabilize my blood sugar as I tried to simply wallow on the couch. True. story. By the way, that was literally the first time I realized that consuming too much sugar could produce such a terrible result. Before that point, I thought people were weak when they talked about getting “sick” from too much candy. Yeah, point taken.

In celebration of Halloween, she decided to make treat bags for her co-workers! And by that I mean, we made treat bags for her co-workers. I may also have eaten some of the cookies (and I also tested the pecans just for quality purposes). However, that’s really not the point.

The point is, treat bags are delicious, sorta nutritious, and totally brighten the days of the recipients! Especially if they are bestowed with cute little treat tags tied on with ribbon. The treat tag pictures, by the way, are most definitely not my work. Way too profesh (from here). These are super adaptable for all seasons/holidays as well.

For the bags, we decided to make the cinnamon-glazed pecans that my best friend Hannah and I tested out this past weekend! If you’re buying these from a vendor/store, stop it right now. As Hannah put it, “Man, we’ve been getting ripped off for years!” Because these pecans are quite easy to make at home. Though we tried out a recipe using brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice, I would actually recommend just using brown sugar and cinnamon. Hannah tried this simpler version at home and gave it mad props.

We also made two kinds of cookies. One cookie is based off these award-winning chocolate chip cookies that I adapted in my very first post. These are, as I said, my very favorite chocolate chip cookies – so ridiculous soft and melty! For the second, we tried out these amazing Peanut Butter Cup Pudding Cookies. There’s really no going wrong with chocolate and peanut butter, and these were just about perfect. Simply based on my own tastes, I’ve slightly increased the pudding amount in my version below (more chocolate always), and changed up the ratio of white to brown sugar.

What are you waiting for? Make treats, eat treats, trick or treat . . . whatever you do, I wish you a safe and happy Halloween!

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