The First Day of Christmas Cookies: Orange Ricotta Chocolate Chip Pillows

Ahh, the holidays are now upon us. And in our household, nothing is more holidayish than the smell of cookies baking in the oven. We do have our traditional favorites that make an appearance year after year. They are always welcomed with outstretched hands and open mouths. But we also like to try out new cookies to keep things exciting and see if any will become new traditionals.

This year, we start the holiday baking extravaganza with a new recipe. These Orange Ricotta Chocolate Chip Pillows are soft, cake-like and have those special flavors that remind us of the holidays.

Ricotta is an impressive ingredient to bake with. It give your cakes and cookies a moist lift and adds a subtle creamy flavor profile that can’t be mimicked by any other ingredient.

Orange and chocolate are like yin and yang.. seriously one of my absolute favorite combinations. 

These cookies are finished with a sweet orange glaze for next-level worthiness. The cookies, themselves, aren’t too sweet, so the glaze really finishes them off nicely.

These cookies are a quick throw-together and can be ready before last minute holiday company arrive. Try them out and post your comments below. I’d love to hear how yours came out!

Orange Ricotta Chocolate Chip Pillows

(Makes 18 cookies)

2 c AP flour

1 1/2 t baking powder

1/4 t salt

3/4 c granulated sugar

6 T unsalted butter, room temperature

Zest from 1 orange

1 egg, large

1 c ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)

2 t vanilla extract

3/4 c chocolate chips

Sweet Orange Glaze

1 c powdered sugar

2 T orange juice

Zest of 1/2 orange

Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F. 

Whisk flour and baking soda together in a bowl. Set aside. Cream butter, sugar and salt until well incorporated. Add egg, vanilla and zest. Mix again until blended together. Add ricotta and mix to combine.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips. Using a 1.5T cookie scoop, scoop out the dough and place them about 2″ apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake these cookies for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly Browning and the top of the cookie is no longer wet.

Let the cookies cool on a wire cooling tray while you make your glaze by combining all ingredients in a bowl until smooth and thick. Dip the tops of the cooled cookies into the glaze and let sit on a cooling rack until the glaze is set.

These cookies didn’t last more than a few hours in my house, but they will keep in the fridge, in an airtight container, for about 4 days.

Happy Holidays!

Sweetly ❤ Yours,


*Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Classy

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies (Nut-Free)

So, it’s the last day of summer vacation and there is a slight buzz of excitement for the new school year ahead. But there’s also a bittersweet note in the air as I know this will be the last full day with my lovely son and daughter until weekends and the holidays. As much as they love driving me nuts during the summer, I do love having them with me all day for a couple of months and miss them terribly when school begins.

So as a little gift to them, I decided I’d bake them some wholesome cookies to start the school year. This way, when they sit down to eat their snack or lunch, they’ll get a little kiss and hug from me in the form of a delicious, chewy homemade-by-mom cookie. 😍

This cookie is a basic oatmeal cookie but it’s got some yummy surprises in them. Preparation is simple and requires just two bowls. There’s the option to grind the oats a little to break it up a bit more, which would call for a food processor. Otherwise, a couple of bowls, a quick stir and scoop, bake for about 12 minutes and you’re done!

If you’re looking for an easy, great-textured oatmeal cookie, this is your recipe. It’s the perfect back to school cookie for those with nut allergies or those classrooms that require nut-free foods, since there are no nuts in them.


  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 3/4 t nutmeg
  • 1 t vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted & room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1/3 c brown (light or dark) sugar
  • 1 c candy coated chocolate (like M&Ms)
  • 1 c raw, unsalted, shelled pumpkin seeds

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

If you choose to, pulse the oats in a food processor about 5 or 6 times to break down the oats a bit to better incorporate into the dough. If you want a bolder-textured cookie, then you may omit this step.

Place the oats and flour together in a bowl with the baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Mix to combine.

In a separate bowl mix the butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla, and salt until completely combined. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into it. Slowly incorporate the wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the pumpkin seeds and mini M&Ms. 

Scoop 2 T balls of dough onto your prepared cookie sheet. Make sure you leave about 2″ between each cookie so they may spread without baking into each other. Bake in your preheated oven for about 12-13 minutes, or until just browned around the edge.

Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transfering them to an airtight container, where they can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days.

Sweetly ❤ Yours,


Express Recipe: Vegan Morning Muffins (V)


There aren’t many things quite as good as a warm muffin and a steamy, hot mug of coffee or tea to start your day.

I’ve got a quick, throw-together kind of recipe for you that comes together in under an hour, which makes it ideal for both weekends and weekdays! And it’s vegan, to boot, so you won’t be needing and butter, eggs or dairy.

These muffins are fluffy and full of moisture. You may need to double your batch, because if your family is anything like mine, they’ll be gone in a heartbeat!

I’ve used almond milk, here, but feel free to use any plant based milk of your choosing. If you don’t mind these muffins not being vegan, regular cow’s milk works as well.

I had a beautiful bunch of blueberries, which I used in this recipe. But, if blueberries aren’t your thing, this is fantastic with other fruit as well as chocolate chips or nuts..! 

Start your morning off right with these delicious studded beauties.😊

Vegan Morning Muffins

2 cups AP flour

2 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 c plant-based milk (or nut milk or cow’s milk. I used almond milk, here)

1 t vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

1/2 c + 2 T granulated sugar

6 T canola oil

1 1/2 t vanilla extract


Zest of 1/2 lemon & 1 1/2 c blueberries, rinsed and picked through


1 c chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Insert muffin liners into a 12-muffin tin. 

Mix milk and vinegar in a bowl and let sit, to create homemade buttermilk.

In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and baking soda together.

In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, oil, salt and vanilla until well incorporated. Pour in the milk mixture and whisk together.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and combine with a wooden spoon until just incorporated, without overmixing.

Fold in your add-ins. Scoop into muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes. Muffins will be done when a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Let the muffins cool slightly on your counter and enjoy!

Sweetly ❤ Yours,


Double Chocolate Cookies (V, GF, DF)


A lot of people these days are becoming more and more aware of the foods they put into their bodies. This greater awareness leads to healthier cooking and baking, and much more inventive uses of healthy ingredients. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t want to sacrifice flavor for a healthier diet, if I can help it. After all, better taste keeps us going back for more and I want my healthy diet to last. Wouldn’t you?

Well, here is an absolutely incredible recipe that looks and tastes like the most decadent chocolate cookie you’ve ever had. The chew factor is spot on and each cookie is so rich and chocolaty, you’ll hit all your sweet cravings in just one bite! Read more

Espresso Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

IMG_6810 Closeup Cupcake

I am so excited that I get to showcase my pumpkin pie spice, that I posted a few weeks back, yet again in this recipe. Pumpkin is a great flavor by itself, but when paired with certain other flavors, it really shines. Read more

Caramel Espresso Chocolate Cooked Frosting

IMG_6832 Cooled Frosting Base

There aren’t many words I can use to describe this frosting. It tastes like a cooked flour frosting, but it’s not. It’s full of espresso and chocolate flavor, but since it’s cooked it takes on a deep, caramelized flavor as well. Read more

Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter Truffles (V, GF, Dairy-Free)

IMG_6784 Closeup of Truffle with Background

Hello, friends! Last week, I posted a Basics recipe for a much loved spice that reigns supreme during this season – Pumpkin Pie Spice. While it contains no pumpkin whatsoever, its flavors enhance pumpkin and other members of the squash family so well, it’s used quite often in Fall baking.  Read more

Basics: Pumpkin Pie Spice

IMG_6755 Mound of Spices on Table

Hello everyone!

I know it’s been a long while since my last post, but life, as I’m sure you well know, can be unpredictable and take you on quite a roller coaster ride, as it has done for me the past few months.

But I’m happy to report that I am back and more excited than ever to share even more recipes for delicious, lip-smacking treats especially as we are headed into the holiday season! Read more

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (V)

IMG_5154 Bitten Chocolate Bite in Hand

Sometimes you need a quick fix. Sometimes you don’t want to turn on the oven or get your Kitchenaid mixer going. Sometimes you don’t want to let your fridge-cold butter come to room temperature. Sometimes… baking is not the only way to dessert.  Read more

Warm Spiced Gingerbread Cake (V)

IMG_5094 Cake in Hand

The minute the Thanksgiving dessert plates go into the sink, Christmas goodies are on our minds. And at my house, that means lots and lots of Christmas baking. Cookies and traditional cakes such as gingerbread are made nearly daily, in the month of December, to satiate our appetite for all things Merry and Bright! Read more