Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies, Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting, & Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars!


Well, I guess there is a reason I was voted by my St. Norbert College social independent group, CC Hams, as “World’s Biggest Procrastinator” my senior year.  Ha! I have been meaning to get these recipes out to you for days, actually weeks now, but have been busy with work events or actual baking and Ball-making on the nights that I don’t have an event.  But better late than never…right!?

Ok, first things first..these Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies.  They were all the rage on the internet and social media sites, the NY Times and recipe critics from all over about 2 or so years ago.  When this recipe first came out from an Instagram celeb by the name of  Alison Roman I read the recipe, looked at the beautiful and unique pictures of these shortbread cookies with crystalized sugar edges, and knew that I had to see what all the buzz was about.  I will say with enthusiasm that these cookies went over like gangbusters!  They are a very different take on shortbread cookies and chocolate chip cookies… and pretty brilliant.  You make the dough ahead of time and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.  There is no egg in the dough but an egg wash that gets brushed on the 2 dough logs and then rolled in Demarara sugar, and then you slice the logs, top with a sprinkle of sea salt and bake — and the result is delicous!!  I didn’t make them for the Bears until just a couple weeks ago… and my Bears insider scoop didn’t give me much feedback other than a text that said “Great job on the treats today – everything was outstanding”. I sent these cookies instead of my standard Double Chocolate Chip Sea Salt cookies that they get every week, and so I responded ” Oh, great! Did they like the chocolate chip shortbread cookies?” and his response was “Yep.”  And that was all I got.  Haha! HOWEVER, my co-workers RAVED and I mean, raved about these cookies.   I made them for a client meeting later that week and the clients asked where they could purchase them.  Trust me if you are contemplating making them… they are terrific!!  I like them for the ease and do-ahead style of  dough.  You actually HAVE to do these ahead of time, so it’s great for someone with a busy schedule like myself to be able to grab dough from the fridge or freezer and just slice and bake.  Please try them!  And if the dough is a little on the crumbly side when you slice them, just use your hands and smush the cookies back together, they’ll bake themselves back together in the end.  Here is the recipe from Bon Apetite, and Alison is a contributor to their magazine: Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies


I sent the cookies along with Chocolate Cupcakes with a Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting… and my brother said they were “awesome”.  But I personally didn’t like this chocolate cake recipe.  I don’t know why I decided to deviate from my go-to “Hershey’s Chocolate Cake” recipe on the back of their cocoa box… but I did.  And I was mad at myself for doing so because I found this chocolate cake to be a little on the dry side and not as sweet as Hershey’s, probably because it calls for hot coffee instead of plain hot water.  You can decide for yourself, but I personally will go back to Hershey’s the next time I make chocolate cupcakes.  But the caramel frosting is really, really good and I was happy with it and it made up for any issues I had with the cake part.  So here are those recipes from My Cake and she has some other great cake recipes and frosting techniques you can learn from as well:
Classic Chocolate Cake

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

And then this Thursday Treat Day, I sent “Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars”…and they were a hit!  I have sent them in the past to the Bears and they have always been very well received.  You have to like cheesecake and graham cracker crust in order to fall in love with these… and of course caramel.  But they come together easily and yield a generous batch since they are baked in a 9×13 pan.  I always make my caramel from boiling sweetened condensed milk in the can for a  few hours.  It’s the best!  I blogged about this cheesecake bar recipe and caramel in can last year so here is the link to that:

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars


Ok, it’s Sunday night and just about game time now, so I’ve got my glass of wine poured, my Bears gear on, and am ready to cheer my face off in front of my t.v. for our beloved BEARS.

I’ve got bananas ripening on the counter so thinking something new in the banana genre for next week’s Thursday Treat Day… I’ll  let you know asap!

Ok, thank you so much for reading my blog and GO BEARS!!!



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2018 will mark my 7th Season making treats and baking for the Chicago Bears. You might be thinking, how does one land that gig? Well, let me tell you. It’s riveting… My younger brother, Danny, works full-time for the Bears. Our entire family have been life-long Bears fans, btw. Back in the summer of 2012, he came to me and said, “Hey, we need someone to make treats for the team. Do you think you can do it? Because my boss said, Dan, you’ve got all those sisters, can’t one of them bake? So, I volunteered you.” My first response was, “YES, but I don’t know how to bake”. I mean, up until that point, the only things I remember ever baking were 1) S’mores Bars back in the 80’s off a recipe on the back of the Golden Grahams cereal box. Come to think of it now, I don’t even think those things went into the oven – so technically that wasn’t baking. And 2) Good old Nestle Toll House cookies – which NEVER turned out the same each time I baked them and it drove me nuts and got me to HATE baking for that very reason. I was always in love with cooking, though. I was the gal who threw dinner parties often and provided an obnoxious array of hors d’oeuvres and wine – that’s more my thing. Side note: I learned the hard way that baking and wine don’t mix. Ha! However, I was honored and excited to have been asked to step up to the plate for this little baking / treat-making gig, for THE CHICAGO BEARS, no less. So my answer was an enthusiastic, YES! I figured I still had a month before the first regular season game, which is when the “treat days” begin – every Thursday during the regular season (not preseason). So, I hit the streets in search of good recipes and then got to work test-baking in the kitchen for the rest of that summer. As I became more internet savvy, I started following lots of baking bloggers and watching video tutorials. I would go to parties and if I tasted something that I thought was exceptional, I would never hesitate to ask for the recipe. Baking for the Bears is always in the back of my mind when eating desserts. I now have an arsenal of treat recipes worthy of offering at a bake shop, if I do say so myself;) . I started getting requests for my pound cake, outside of Baking for the Bears, and my Double Chocolate Chip Sea Salt cookies have been quoted as “The best cookies in the world” by a well-known player, as well as friends, family and neighbors. One of the first things I did was perfect a cookie of my own that comes out pretty consistently crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside. I no longer rely on the old Toll-House recipe. It’s the one thing I never get tired of baking. The guys get them every week. With that said, this season, I plan to blog my recipes each week, and share with you whatever it is I am making for the Bears. I’ll also give you tried & true feedback on what worked, what didn’t, and any fun comments that the players, staff, friends & co-workers might have regarding the treat of the week. My office colleagues love it when football season rolls around, because I typically find new recipes and test-bake on Sundays to bring in on Mondays for critical reviews. From there, I decide if they are Bear-worthy for Thursday Treat Days at Halas Hall. I hope you will check in periodically and enjoy my blog. I’m super excited for the 2018 Bears football season both on the field and in the kitchen! GO BEARS! This is gonna be a good season… I can feel it!

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