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Toffee Chocolate Pretzel Cookies by Brohgan Dieker

These Toffee Chocolate Pretzel Cookies are the perfect thing to satisfy that sweet/salty craving. It's my favorite cookie recipe. After the recipe mysteriously disappeared off the internet, I was able to recreate it! I am so excited to share it with you! Cookies were one of the first things I was allowed to bake in the kitchen all on my own.

(My mother was just reminiscing the other day about a batch of cookies some friends and I made in late elementary school. The amounts of sugar and salt called for in the recipe were switched.)

I imagine that for some people baking cookies is a way to express love, and maybe I am like that. Often I select a cookie recipe because I have a specific person in mind who I think would enjoy it.

But the act off baking is for me. Baking cookies is how I  mark special days on the calendar and prepare for holidays.  A little ritual to embrace whatever needs celebrating in life and make the day a little bit sweeter.

It doesn't really feel like a special day until the house smells like vanilla, sugar, and butter, does it?

I push the resulting cookies into the hands of the people I love, but the act of baking is mostly selfish because I lose myself in it.

I just love that smell. Once I take off my rings and get over the initial ick factor, digging my hands into dough to form balls makes me feel more youthful and alive. I relax into the rhythm of spacing rolls of dough and trading out for the cookie sheet as soon as the timer goes off.

Somewhere between the nerdy science of baking and the creative outlet of flavor is my happy place.

But, as much as I appreciate all the little joys found in baking cookies, I hold them in moderation. They are reserved for special days and holidays. There is too much of a good thing.

While often I bake certain cookie dough recipes with other people in mind, these cookies are all about me. Sweet and salty combos are my favorite!  I do share, of course, but the act of baking and the final product is all Brohgan. Thankfully, other people are willing to enjoy the things I like with me!

I first tried a chocolate, toffee, pretzel cookie at a favorite deli lunch counter located on my town's main downtown street. I sniffed out these cookies through their plastic packaging before I saw them! I ate the cookie before my meal (of course!), and I was already googling chocolate toffee pretzel cookie recipes on my phone before I finished my lunch. I found the PERFECT recipe! It tasted exactly like the cookies from the deli. As a fan of sweet and salty snacks, it quickly became my favorite cookie recipe. I even looked it up online before a Christmas cookie exchange this last December and took honorable mention in a contest out of about 40 cookies!

BUT THE RECIPE DISAPPEARED! It was nowhere to be found on their internet! The blog that originally published it allowed the url to expire, and extensive searching led nowhere.

I had no choice to recreate the recipe, and I am so excited to share it with you!

Lesson learned: if you like a recipe on the internet enough to make it more than once, write it down!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (12-oz.) packages semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 (8-oz.) package of Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Baking Bits (or substitute 2 full sized toffee chocolate full size candy bars, crushed)
  • 2 cups coarsely crushed pretzel sticks
  • Parchment paper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Add eggs and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, beating until blended.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended. Beat in chocolate chips, heath bar pieces, and crushed pretzel sticks just until combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 350° for 10 to 14 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. After taking the pan out of the oven, immediately move cookies to wire racks to cool.

Toffee Chocolate Pretzel Cookies

These Toffee Chocolate Pretzel Cookies are the perfect thing to satisfy that sweet/salty craving. It’s my favorite cookie recipe. After the recipe mysteriously disappeared off the internet, I was able to recreate it! I am so excited to share it with you!

  • 3/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 12-oz. packages semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 8-oz. package of Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Baking Bits (or substitute 2 full sized toffee chocolate full size candy bars, crushed)
  • 2 cups coarsely crushed pretzel sticks
  • Parchment paper (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Add eggs and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, beating until blended.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended. Beat in chocolate chips, heath bar pieces, and crushed pretzel sticks just until combined. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 350° for 10 to 14 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. After taking the pan out of the oven, immediately move cookies to wire racks to cool.

These Toffee Chocolate Pretzel Cookies are the perfect thing to satisfy that sweet/salty craving. It's my favorite cookie recipe. After the recipe mysteriously disappeared off the internet, I was able to recreate it! I am so excited to share it with you!

Christmas Breakfast Casserole by Brohgan Dieker

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Festive, sturdy breakfast casserole, with eggs, sausage, and cheese, is delicious enough to save for a special holiday, but this practical recipe is also perfect for weeknight meals too!  Make ahead and refrigerate overnight so that the flavors meld -- it's a little bit of Christmas that can be savored all year long! I didn't plan on baking this and photographing this in the middle of the night, honestly.  Last week, when I promised to share the recipe in which I used all the leftover sandwich crust from our tea party, I did not imagine my pajamaed self tip-toeing around the kitchen, silently, desperately cooking in the middle of the night.  Oh, parenthood.

IMG_1195 So don't mind my dark pictures here.  Just get a chuckle at imagining me fumbling around trying to take the time to photograph this before gulping it down.

IMG_1197 I feel like I've been hungry since the day before the baby was born.  The other night, when a sleepy meltdown monopolized the evening and overtook dinner, I was starving.

I was so glad that I had this casserole in the fridge ready to just pop into the oven!

IMG_1196 Because who says that you can't enjoy breakfast for dinner?

IMG_1194 Seriously, who?  I need a name?  Because I'm pretty sure that person is Bizzaro Brohgan.

(Don't worry, I'm using the term "bizzaro" correctly.  I looked it up.)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Note: I've had this recipe on my Pinterest board for ages. I think it originally came from a forum about favorite holiday recipes?  I don't have the link to the forum, but here is the jpg for the original recipe:

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Thank you, Sherry McClure, whoever you are!

Festive, sturdy breakfast casserole, with eggs, sausage, and cheese, is delicious enough to save for a special holiday, but this practical recipe is also perfect for weeknight meals too! Make ahead and refrigerate overnight so that the flavors meld -- it's a little bit of Christmas that can be savored all year long!

Christmas Breakfast Casserole

Festive, sturdy breakfast casserole, with eggs, sausage, and cheese, is delicious enough to save for a special holiday, but this practical recipe is also perfect for weeknight meals too! Make ahead and refrigerate overnight so that the flavors meld — it’s a little bit of Christmas that can be savored all year long!

  • 6 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 c grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 slices of bread (cubed (if you have leftover crust for some reason, like I did, you basically need enough to fill the casserole dish))
  • 1 lb sausage (browned and drained (I recommend turkey sausage.))
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 c milk
  • butter flavored cooking spray
  1. Mix all the ingredients and put into a well-buttered baking dish (I used spray to save calories!).

  2. Let set 12 hours in refrigerator.

  3. Bake for 45 minutes at 350. 

  4. Whether it’s Christmas morning brunch or the middle of the night in summer, serve and enjoy!

Don’t use multigrain bread or bread with seeds that doesn’t have a soft texture. I did that once, and the change in texture isn’t something that I would recommend. I’m normally willing to sacrifice in the name of health, but this just wasn’t worth it. White bread or soft wheat bread is best.

Savory Potato Pancakes by Brohgan Dieker

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Diekers! I hope your holiday was as wonderful as ours! So, leftovers.

And after all that feasting, how could you ever even think of food again?

But alas, there are leftovers.

Take a break, and use the leftovers creatively.

Leftover mashed potatoes are not considered to be a problem at my house.  Honestly, they never last long enough.

But I have been known to "accidentally" make excess mashed potatoes, just for the excuse to have potato pancakes later that week. I love potato pancakes -- they are my ultimate comfort food, and I normally only make them a couple of times a year.

Something about crispy potato texture with that homemade flavor built in.

Start with those leftover mashed potatoes.  If you're anything like me, they're already full of some sinful holiday combination of butter, cheese, garlic, salt, milk, or cream.  The potatoes I used were garlic butter potatoes with extra garlic.

 

(Excuse my lumps.  My beloved Kitchen-Aid was being used for a fundraiser, so we considered the lumps in the potatoes to be an act of charity.  Apparently I do not have the patience to hand mash perfectly smooth potatoes.)

Swoon.

You might want to consider kicking up the flavor of your favorite potato recipe a little, because next you are going to add 1/3 cup of plain breadcrumbs (or panko), which will significantly dull the flavor.

 

 

Combine these two items by pushing the back of a spoon against the side of the mixing bowl.

Prep a griddle with a generous drizzle of olive oil.  Turn burner to medium-high heat.

Use your hands to shape potato mixture into patties less than 1 inch thick.  Size will depend on stickiness of your mashed potato recipe.

Immediately after pancakes are laid on the griddle, pull out ingredients to start eggs.  Add 4 eggs and 1 tbsp butter to a sauce pan, and set to medium heat. Break yolks and mix thoroughly.

I tend to ignore the eggs until after the butter is mostly melted, only stirring occasionally.

Once pancakes are golden brown, flip.  I had enough potatoes for 8 pancakes.

After butter has melted, mix eggs constantly.  If the pancakes are demanding your attention, temporarily remove from heat.  If eggs start to cook too quickly, lift off pot from the burner.  For more details about these eggs, check out Gordon Ramsey's video.

Pancakes and eggs should be done cooking close to the same time.  If pancakes are done before the eggs, turn off burner and leave on griddle until eggs are cooked.

These are all gone now, but just looking at the pictures is making me hungry all over again!

Feel free to drizzle with your favorite hot sauce or ketchup.

Savory Potato Pancakes

A terrific recipe for the morning after Thanksgiving, these savory pancakes are quick and filling. They're wonderful when paired with gourmet scrambled eggs!

Potato Pancakes:

  • 2 C Mashed Potatoes (seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste)
  • 2/3 C Plain Bread Crumbs
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil

Gourmet Scrambled Eggs:

  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  1. Combine mashed potatoes and bread crumbs in a bowl until evenly mixed.
  2. Drizzle olive oil on griddle (or skillet) and set to a medium high heat.
  3. Form breadcrumb/potato mixture into pancakes using hands.  Add additional bread crumbs if needed.
  4. Lay pancakes on griddle allowing at least 1 inch of space between pancakes. Flip occasionally, and fry until golden brown on both sides.  This process takes around 4 minutes per batch.
  5. Immediately after the first pancakes are laid on the griddle, crack eggs into a small sauce pan and add butter.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally at first, and then constantly after butter melts.  (If pancakes need to be flipped, eggs can be removed from heat and temporarily set on another burner. Begin stirring again once pancakes have been attended to.)  Once eggs are finished cooking, immediately remove from heat.
  6. After last pancakes are golden brown, remove from heat and enjoy!