HERSHEY’S KISSES Stuffed Pretzel Chip Cookies

I’ve been on a baking spree lately. Seriously, it seems like all I think about all day is baking. And running. When I’m going to bake or run next. I think I may have a baking addiction? Or a brunning addiction? (Baking+Running)

That’s why when Influenster sent me a J’Adore Vox Box, featuring a HUGE family-sized package of HERSHEY’S KISSES, I knew I had to bake with them. I mean, after I opened the bag and devoured a few for  breakfast before a run a sensible dessert, I realized I should probably bake with at least some of them. So I did what any blogger would do – I made a Pinterest board for inspiration – and then decided just to pretty much make up a recipe. And thankfully, they came out.  They came out beautifully!

kisses

NOM NOM

Looking for a pretty easy recipe that’s a fun surprise (hey, you don’t know the KISSES are there until you take a bite!)? Or simply want an excuse to buy a lot of HERSHEY’S KISSES? In any case, enjoy!

HERSHEY's KISSES Stuffed Pretzel Chip Cookies - i crashed the web

HERSHEY’S KISSES Stuffed Pretzel Chip Cookies

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract
  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 c. uncooked old fashioned oats
  • 1 c. Special K cereal (optional, but I love the extra crunch)
  • 1 c. crushed pretzels
  • 1 c. chocolate chips or chunks or whatever chocolate you have on hand
  • 1 bag HERSHEY’S KISSES, unwrapped (I used about 30 .. or about less than half of my family sized bag)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix Special K, oats, crushed pretzels and chocolate chips. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter, vanilla and sugars until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg is added.
  5. Slowly stir in flour mixture, mixing well.
  6. Stir in oat-cereal-pretzel-chocolate mixture and combine with batter, mixing with a wooden spoon until well blended.
  7. Refrigerate dough for about 30 minutes, until chilled. This helps the batter from spreading.
  8. When dough is ready, make about tablespoon sized balls and flatten them with your hand. Gently press Kisses in middle of flattened dough, and wrap dough around it so all you see is a cookie blob (yes, scientific term) and no chocolate is showing. Place dough-covered Kisses on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  9. Bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes.
beautiful!

beautiful!

Some thoughts on this recipe:

  • I LOVE chocolate covered pretzels, and crunch in my cookies, which is why I added the pretzels. You could likely leave them out.
  • I bet this would be just as good with some other fun flavors of KISSES – I haven’t baked with the caramel ones but I imagine those would be AMAZING.
  • I had a few of the mini KISSES on hand and I decided to make some smaller cookies. Just so I could eat 2-3 at a time without REALLY eating 2-3 cookies, right?

DISCLOSURE: I received this giant family size package of HERSHEY KISSES (and some other cool products in the J’Adore Vox Box) products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. If by testing them they wanted me to eat or bake with them, then they succeeded. But I think it was a win-win, don’t you agree?

Questions for you:

  • How much do you bake? Lately it’s been 1-2x a week. I know, I have a problem. At least my running is closer to 5-6 days a week 🙂 It’s when they switch that I’ll get worried.
  • Are you a sweet/salty fan? Yup! Which is why I love pretzel M&Ms, chocolate covered pretzels, peanut M&Ms, etc.
  • What’s your go-to baking recipe? I used to be a cupcake baker – but it seems that I’ve gotten myself into a cookie-baking frenzy.
  • Is it Friday yet? Sadly, no. But Happy Hump Day!

It’s Almost March?

I get it. February is a short month. But, how the heck is it almost March? To be honest, I’m okay with February being done with – I am looking forward to a new month – and hopefully a new start. AND this weekend was definitely a step in the right direction – filled with a few days of my favorite things: running, baking, watching movies, and some of my favorite food. I really can’t complain. Hope your weekend was just as fabulous!

Friday night started with dinner at one of my favorite restaurants – The Flaming Ice Cube. It’s a vegan restaurant right near where B and I used to live. Even though we don’t live practically above it anymore, it’s well worth the walk.

My standard from the Flaming Ice Cube - Kalebouli Hummus Wrap!

My standard from the Flaming Ice Cube – Kalebouli Hummus Wrap!

Then, we caught a movie – the LEGO movie! I actually really enjoyed it. Have you seen it yet? I don’t know why – but lately I have started loving children’s movies. First, Frozen, now the Lego movie. Then, I can’t wait to see the new Muppet movie.

Saturday started with a 9 mile run with B and his sister. As much as I don’t like waking up early on the weekends, it was nice to be showered and ready for the day before noon! After our run, B and I decided to spend some time in Ohio City- first with lunch at the Souper Market, then some treats and shopping at the West Side Market, and finally coffee at Pour.

Sunny Saturday

Sunny Saturday

Latte from Pour

Latte from Pour

Oh yeah. And that awesomeness was all before 1 p.m. on Saturday. And what about the rest of the weekend?

Also included getting my nails done. 

manicure

I’m feeling the bright colors of spring. Even though it’s going to be single digit temps again this week…

Finding some deals on my favorite holiday beer – 12 Dogs of Christmas – and enjoying it, yes even two months past Christmas.

12 dogs of christmas

And then getting some pizza from Angelo’s.

(photo from Angelo's website but this is pretty much what our pizza looked like)

(photo from Angelo’s website but this is pretty much what our pizza looked like)

And some Sunday night baking while watching the finale of Downton Abbey.

Hershey Kiss stuffed cookie. Recipe coming soon :)

Hershey Kiss stuffed cookie. Recipe coming soon 🙂

See, not too bad a weekend, huh? How was yours?

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like seeing kids’ movies? Have you seen Frozen or the LEGO movie?
  • Clevelanders – did you go to JBB? I heard it was a blast, like always.
  • Get in any miles outside this weekend?
  • Do you enjoy Christmas-y beers? What about in February?
  • Favorite month of the year? Least favorite?

Thinking of All That’s Good … A Pretty Good Weekend

I know it’s a few days late, but I feel compelled to share a weekend wrap up post. It’s been a while since I’ve shared one, and frankly – I had a pretty good weekend.

I feel like I haven’t been posting as much … but the last few weeks have been pretty rough. My grandmother just passed away, and I still haven’t gotten used to the fact that I can’t just call her up a few times a week. My dog had to be put to sleep on Monday, and I don’t want to think about what it will be like when I return home next week and she’s not there. Yes, this is sounding like another one of those “I don’t usually post about this not-so-happy stuff” posts – which is why I’m turning it into a more positive one. Despite being emotional (THANK YOU to all that are putting up with me), I’m thinking about the positives … and remembering and writing down the goodness helps. So here are 5 good things from my pretty good weekend.

1. Friday night B made sure I had a pretty awesome Valentine’s Day, including flowers, chocolate and a homemade steak dinner. I have to admit, I’m a pretty lucky gal.

B made me steak with mushrooms, avocado and salad.

B made me steak with mushrooms, avocado and salad.

Local chocolates! From Chocolate 76

Local chocolates! From Chocolate 76 and yes they are half eaten. Sorry 🙂

2. Saturday morning we ran outside! We ran outside! We ran outside! Can you tell how excited I am? It was cold, snowy, and really NOT enjoyable – but I LOVED not having to be indoors.

12 miles

3. I did my first double digit run in forever – and ended with the first race of 2014, the Chili Bowl 5k.  9 snowy miles + 5k on Saturday = happiness

Tired but happy the 12 miles are done.

Tired but happy the 12 miles are done. Not pictured — Doritos, beer AND veggie chili that we got after the race!

4. We celebrated AGAIN on Saturday night with some fancy drinks at Society Lounge AND a delicious seafood dinner at Blue Point Grille.

Drinks @ Society Lounge

Drinks @ Society Lounge

Dinner at Blue Point! Not pictured: Creme Brulee.

Dinner at Blue Point! Not pictured: Creme Brulee.

5. Sunday was my niece’s birthday and I got to see her TWICE this weekend. She and her brother came over on Saturday afternoon to see our apartment for the first time and Sunday we celebrated her 6th birthday at B’s parents’ house.  Lasagna + cake + ice cream + seeing her open her gifts = great way to end the weekend.

A throwback photo - Sofia and I were twin!

A throwback photo from 2010 – Sofia and I were twins (unintentionally)!

I remember when she was born!

I remember when she was born!

 

Some questions for you:

  • Have you gotten in any outdoor workouts?
  • What are 5 good things about your past week?
  • We’re halfway through the week! What are you doing this weekend? I’m excited to hopefully get in ANOTHER outdoor run and enjoy the warmer temps!
  • Honestly, I’m not usually a sad person. How do you cope when sad things happen? Baking and running. Plus, writing about them helps. As does writing about and talking about all of the good things in my life 🙂 Thanks for putting up with me!
  • What did you do for Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day? Do you like chocolates?

A Chocaholic’s Dream … Double (or triple) Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My grandmother passed away last week. I know – it’s not quite the opening you expected in a blog post about chocolate cookies. But let me explain.

My grandma was a chocaholic. For as long as I can remember, she always loved chocolate. Mallomars were actually her favorite cookie; I’ve heard countless stories about how the local grocery store where my dad grew up in the Bronx called her the “Mallomar lady.” My parents would buy boxes and boxes of Mallomars and wrap them to give her as holiday gifts. To be honest, I never really liked Mallomars. And I’m certainly not a chocaholic – as you may have noticed, I hardly ever make something that’s chocolate based. And when I do, it’s often for B or other friends and family. And during the holidays, I always made sure to include something chocolate when baking, because I knew that would be what my grandma would like best. In fact, I even brought her some Rolo Stuffed Peanut Butter Brownies this year before Christmas when I visited her with my dad.

(image via npr)

I’ve been somewhat of a funk since she passed away. I know, it’s normal – and I know, I don’t usually post about stuff like this on here. But I tend to look back on old blog posts as some sort of a diary and I want to remember this time. In fact, it feels good to remember her here and to think about her love of chocolate. Anyway, in case you haven’t noticed, there are two main ways I deal with stress/anxiety/etc. in my life – running and baking. So I’ve been doing a lot of both this past week. And one of the recipes I made, I made in honor of my grandma. Because I know she would have LOVED these cookies.

My grandma, B and me on our wedding

My grandma, B and me on our wedding

Got a chocolate lover in your family? Or maybe you have the chocaholic gene in your family? (My dad got it too!) Then you’ll love these cookies. They’re soft, chocolatey and well – pretty much everything a chocolate cookie should be.

triple chocolate chunk cookies icrashedtheweb

Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. semi-sweetened chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. semi or milk chocolate chunks (I used mini Hershey kisses, chopped up)
  • OPTIONAL – for the extra chocaholic: 1/2 c. your favorite M&Ms (I used some peanut M&Ms in some, but didn’t photograph those)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa and baking soda.
  3. Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl of a stand mixer. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  4. Slowly add in flour mixture, about 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips, chunks and M&Ms (optional, but without the M&Ms they’re only double chocolate chunk cookies:)).
  6. Allow dough to chill in refrigerator for 30 min to 1 hour.
  7. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  8. BAKE for approximately 10 minutes, until cookies are puffy. Cookies will be a little bit cracked on top but still soft.
  9. Cool on wire racks.
  10. Share with our favorite chocaholic or enjoy yourself!
double chocolate chunk cookies - i crashed the web

These are technically double chocolate chunk cookies since you can’t see the peanut M&M ones. I dare you to wait for them to cool!

triple chocolate chunk cookies with milk - i crashed the web

Surprise! They go well with milk.

And because this wasn’t the happiest blog post, I leave you with a famous/fun Mallomar reference. My grandma wasn’t the only one with Mallomar addiction 🙂 (and this is from the Sopranos – so it’s obviously got some language that’s NSFW)

Cereal Peanut M&M Cookies (and they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day!)

I’m a big fan of cookies that feature everything. That’s right – I said it – everything. I love compost cookies, monster cookies, an all those cookies that tend to be stuffed with pretty much everything in your pantry.

These aren’t quite everything-in-your pantry cookies, but they’re close. They feature Special K, granola, oatmeal, coconut, peanut m&ms … and more. Which is why I’m calling them Cereal Peanut M&M Cookies. And because breakfast cookies sounds too healthy. These are based one of my favorite recipes – Special K cookies – but have a few extra ingredients.

cereal peanut M&M cookies for valentine's day - i crashed the web

Cereal Peanut M&M Cookies

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 c. uncooked old fashioned oats
  • 1 c. granola (try homemade granola or even your favorite store-bought – this time I used TJ’s vanilla granola)
  • 2 c Special K cereal
  • 3/4 c unsweetened coconut
  • 1 c peanut M&Ms
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips

Here’s what you do:

  1. Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix Special K, oats, granola, coconut , M&Ms and chocolate chips. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugars until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg is added.
  5. Stir in flour mixture slowly, mixing well.
  6. Stir in oat mixture and mix with wooden spoon until well blended.
  7. Make tablespoon sized scoops on greased baking sheets.
  8. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes.
batter for cereal cookies ... look at that granola and those m&ms!

batter for cereal cookies … look at that granola and those m&ms!

peanut M&M cereal cookies for valentine's day

Want to make them extra special for an upcoming holiday? Add colored sprinkles and M&Ms. For example, I used the Valentine’s special M&Ms and added some red sugar crystals to the dough before baking and POOF! They’re perfect for Valentine’s Day – which is ONE WEEK AWAY!

peanut M&M cereal cookies for valentine's day

Some Miles and Getting Lucky in ChiTown

It feels like only yesterday I had made my 2013 running resolution, which was to run 1,000 miles in the year. Little did I know that I’d more than surpass that goal and get to 1,500 miles for the year and a new-found faith in my ability to run.

So, this year my goal is to run at least 3 half marathons and run at least 2,014 km. I don’t think I can get to 2,014 miles in 2014, but 2014 km? It’s worth a try! I’m tracking my mileage again, and sharing on a monthly basis (or as often as I remember) – so for those of you who only read this blog for the recipes you may as well stop reading right now. No lentil kale recipes or stuffed cupcakes in this post (which as I type that I realize how much of a contradiction I am … super sugary desserts and oh so healthy veggies? Yup… that’s my life!) – just miles.

January mileage update:

The good: I ran with friends twice this month! May not sound like a feat, but I don’t run with people (besides B or his sister) too often. But I did find two lovely ladies to run outside with me two mornings when it was not negative digits and it was SO nice to have company and some people to keep me moving and my pace up.

The not-so-good: January was not-so-good in terms of weather for running – a lot of super cold days (like negative digits) followed by super snowy days meaning icy roads and a not-so-excited Melissa to run outside in the morning. So, most of my runs were done on the treadmill, including my longest treadmill run ever – 9 miles.

january miles

Total=145.7 – which is MORE than January 2013 so I’m on the right track!

Half Marathon Update.

Anyway, I’m not only on my way to 2,014 km — but also to 3 half marathons. That’s right – I signed up for my first half marathon of 2014, a race in Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day! Should be fun, right?

getlucky

The long training runs in the cold and ice are going to be the death of me, I know it … but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

And I leave you with the song that really just makes my runs that much better. I don’t know why – but I find this song super motivational for my runs.

Some questions for you:

  • Hey runners – how do you keep yourselves entertained while doing long runs on a treadmill? How do you make it so boredom doesn’t kill you? Any TV shows/music/podcasts you can recommend to make a 1+ hour long run that much better? Please? 🙂
  • What songs are you jamming to right now?
  • Any new races scheduled?
  • How are you doing on your 2014 resolutions or goals?

Tiny Beers, Big Game and Year of the Horse

Wow – January flew by, didn’t it? My birthday month came and went and I’m another year older and another year closer to having to change my bio because I’ll no longer being a “20-something blogger.”

How was your weekend? Mine was definitely fun and proof that there’s always something to do in Cleveland in the winter.

It started out Friday night at the Cleveland Winter Beerfest. B and I went with several of his coworkers and the night included quite a few beer tastings, dancing and other shenanigans. Definitely a fun event and it was awesome to see the new convention center so full! The night ended at what’s becoming one of our favorite local spots, Parnell’s.

tiny beers!

tiny beers!

Beerfest!

Saturday started out somewhat slowly. We had done the weekend’s “long” run on Friday so we took the day off (yes, be proud of me) but eventually made it out of the apartment for a trip to the West Side Market to pick up this week’s groceries, a visit to Rising Star for some much needed caffeine, some baking (Ground Hog Day Cookies!) and then a succulent Chinese dinner with B’s friend from high school. B’s friend Joe moved abroad after graduating college, teaching English in Asia. It was in Taiwan that he met his wife, Ariel, and the couple now lives in Cleveland! We hit up one of our favorite Chinese food restaurants to enjoy some dinner in honor of the Chinese New Year!  Ariel ordered a great selection for us, and we had waaay too much good food.

Love my Rising Star almond milk lattes

Love my Rising Star almond milk lattes

groundhog day cookies

groundhog day cookies

The "After" picture from our Chinese feast

The “After” picture from our Chinese feast. There was tofu, fish, beef, veggies, soup, chicken and noodles.

Sunday included an easy workout (3.5 slow miles and then 25 minutes on the elliptical while watching Bones!), some cleaning, and then enjoying the Super Bowl with some friends while staying downtown. Not a terribly exciting game … or too many exciting ads, but I enjoyed the halftime show AND the online action. This year was definitely a year when most brands took time to tweet (still TBD how successful it was) during the game and even respond to one another and other ads.

A few of my favorite ads that I didn’t watch ahead of time (Cheerios and Budweiser ads were definitely awe-worthy, but I watched them in advance):

They even had a great online pay off- if you tweeted at @Radioshack during the evening you could win one of a few 80s-themed prizes that were announced during the evening on the microsite. It’s nice when an ad doesn’t just stand alone 🙂

I’m a sucker for anything with the Muppets.

I’ve been hearing Squarespace ads for a while now on podcasts and it was nice to see them playing with the big boys. And it was definitely a memorable ad for me.

Favorite tweets:

And Tide was allllllll over the Twitterverse (and Vineverse?) last night. They commented on almost every ad. It was fun to see them being so nimble, but they went overboard in my opinion. I think 3-5 tweets would’ve been enough. Here’s one of my favorites

Some questions for you:

  • What were your favorite Super Bowl ads? Who were you cheering for?
  • Are you ready for spring? The groundhog says 6 more weeks of winter … but I’m ready for the warm weather, thawed ground and running outside! No brainer.
  • What year (in the Chinese New Year) are you? I don’t know. I thought I was an ox. Then I thought I was a rat. Now I think I’m an ox again. Clearly I have multiple-personality disorder. 
  • What’s your favorite type of beer? I like sweet, light beers. And non-hoppy IPAs. So Bell’s Two Hearted – or any sweet wintry OR summer beer. 
  • Favorite tweets? Least favorite? I wasn’t a fan of the JC Penney stunt. I thought the Tweeting with Mittens concept was a little bit of a stretch and poorly executed. It did get everybody talking (and quite a few brands responding to their “drunken” tweets) but it just made me groan.