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HALFWAY HOMEMADE | Halloween Monster Cookies

Tuesday, September 25

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You know I love baking from scratch.
I also love to save time in a pinch when necessary.
Combine the two and you've got something I call "Halfway Homemade" or "Pretty in a Pinch".

I've used this technique many times throughout the years to create delicious things to eat by combining something store-bought with something homemade. (ex. Salted Caramel Mini Apple Pies, or these Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Oreo Pies, and this Pretty In a Pinch Cake).

It's kind of the same thing as buying pre-packaged pastries or baked items and then making them feel homemade by removing them from their bulky, plastic packaging and placing them in a cute basket lined with a pretty linen napkin. If you're going to a potluck adding a handwritten label to identify the baked goods adds even more charm. I've done this plenty of times.'s example of Halfway Homemade are these monster-sized cookies which I appropriately named "Wickedly Delicious Monster Cookies".

You are essentially taking chocolate chip cookies and elevating them to an entirely new level. They are comprised of store-bought chocolate chip cookies, store-bought frosting in the middle, one side dipped in melted chocolate and sprinkled with crushed cookies. Wicked good my friends.

The finished product looks impressively homemade or even like something you'd find in a made-from-scratch bakery. I love that.

The idea behind these cookies is to gift them during the Halloween season. So I'm also sharing how to package them up to make them frightfully cute too - including the FREE Wickedly Delicious Monster Cookie Tags I made. I used these for our Phantom Pumpkin night but these are also perfect as sweet treats for teachers, co-workers, and friends too.

I shared this idea about 5 years ago and thought I should update the post to include even more straight-forward instructions and additional ideas for simplifying the process. (for instance, substituting the homemade buttercream with store-bought).

So let's get going...

SUPPLIES NEEDED (makes 5 monster cookies)

The Cookies
12 - oversized chocolate chips cookies from the bakery section of your grocery store
       2 for every cookie you want to make PLUS 2 or 3 cookies crumbled
Buttercream frosting from the bakery section of your grocery store
       they sell it already mixed up in tubs - one tub should be enough
1 - 12oz. bag of chocolate chips for melting + dipping - semi sweet or milk chocolate
Wax Paper to cover your work area and cookie sheet PLUS for wrapping finished cookies.
Cookie sheet for transporting cookies to and from freezer
                     make sure it'll actually fit inside your freezer first.

The Packaging
These items can be found at your local craft store but I've included some Amazon links here for those of you who prefer online shopping.

Striped black and white bags
Wax Paper or Parchment paper for wrapping cookies
Ribbon for finishing
Wickedly Delicious Monster Cookie Tags

Cover cookie sheet with wax paper.
Arrange 6 cookies bottom-side up
Spread on buttercream frosting on all 6 cookies - enough so it will show after being sandwiched.
Top each cookie with another cookie.
Freeze for 10-30 minutes.

Melt chocolate chips using double boiler or microwave
Dip one side of frozen cookie into melted chocolate.
Place dipped cookie on wax paper and top with cookie crumbles.
Cool until set - approximately 30 minutes.

Wrap set cookies in parchment paper - secure with tape or twine if necessary.
Slip wrapped cookie into favor bag and fold to close. - tape if you'd like.
Wrap with ribbon.
Print + cut Wickedly Delicious Monster Cookie tags
Tape to bag as a finishing touch.

I hope these simplified instructions inspire you to try them out this year - if you haven't already.
Halloween is right around the corner...let's get freaky my friends!


I thought I coined the term "Halfway Homemade" but then googled it.
There's a cookbook called Halfway Homemade. *eyeroll*
BUT I do have to say most of the things I'm seeing are from 2017, 2018 - sooo...since I used it back in 2013 should I still get the credit? *giggling*

PS - Not a lick of Halloween or fall decor out yet.
Wrapping up a Christmas project for Hershey and THEN the decorating will begin!!
Oh! And Ella wants to be a "goddess" for Halloween this year. I'd better start figuring that out.
Except she has me all pre-occupied with her double-digits birthday party coming up in November. *wink*

LiFE | Summer 2018 (Video)

Thursday, September 20

Summer ends officially on September 22nd.
That's only two days from now and, as usual, my mind is not wanting to bend in that direction.
It's the whole one foot in the boat and one foot on the shore mindset - loving both summer and fall with the added dimension of not being well-versed in letting go or saying goodbye.

Summer was the backdrop for a few milestones for my girls. We celebrated Ema graduating high school, high-fived Clara for being on the UCF Dean's list at the completion of her Junior year, and supported Ella's choice to walk away from gymnastics.

We grew tomatoes, rode scooters in the summer rain, drew sidewalk chalk towns together, walked on the beach, ate cotton candy, lost my sunglasses in the ocean waves, made homemade strawberry shortcake, invited friends over for playdates, enjoyed BFF sleepovers, lavished in pool days, among other fun things.

There was also one thing in particular I'm so happy we made time for this year.
We enjoyed a "Girl's Camping/RVing" experience with my mom at Salt Springs this summer.
In fact, it's one of the very first things we did which helped kick off our summer on the right foot.

Here's a visual diary I created of our time together...
(and mom...if you're reading this...I'm sorry...for that one part in the video). *covering eyes*

So yes, our summer may not have been filled with lush vacations and jet-setting around the world but our days, and more importantly, our hearts, were spilling over with adventure and fun.

They say forever is made up of the perhaps we really can have a "forever summer" because we certainly filled it with a lot of "nows" I will always remember.

With that said...I think it's time for me to do some letting go...

xoxo my sweet friends!!

I rolled my ankle stepping out of the RV on the first day of our camping trip. *laughing*
I fell on the ground and had dirt and grass all over me while Ella and my mom looked on in disbelief. 
I laughed so hard and could NOT believe I had done that while also holding back tears from the pain.
It swelled up immediately and I thought I had broken it. 
I put on a brave face, iced it every day and medicated myself with some Advil.
Thankfully I didn't break it and was still able to enjoy the rest of our time together. did take a solid two months for me to feel comfortable putting full weight on my ankle again.
(which has now exacerbated into lower back + foot pain because of my body overcompensating for it). *eyeroll*
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