double chocolate chip cookies

With one week until Halloween, these double chocolate chip cookies are helping me get into the dark, spooky spirit of the holiday.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies |

I have never been that into Halloween and all of the spooky decorations, but I do love seeing all of the little kids, dressed up and so excited about their candy haul. Growing up, Halloween always felt like the first really cold night of the season (looking back now, that is probably just because I wasn’t outside at night for a long period of time until Halloween night, so I didn’t realize that other October nights were cold too). It was also DARK. No matter how early we went out, with the sun setting earlier and earlier by the end of October, the costume-and-candy-filled night was always dark and cold.  While it was so much fun, I was always glad to be inside the warm house at the end of the night, trading candy with my siblings on the bedroom floor.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies |

The goal of these giant chocolaty cookies was to emulate the delicious Levain Bakery cookies my family and I tried while we were in New York a few months ago. They absolutely nail the dense, soft texture and perfect amount of sweetness, and are just as good as the real deal for those of us who aren’t near the Manhattan bakery. Though I stuck with the classic chocolate chips this time, you could also replace some, or all, of the chocolate chips with chopped up leftover Halloween candy (peanut butter M&Ms, Reese’s cups, and Snickers bars would probably be delicious!).

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies |

These double chocolate chip cookies are the perfect deep dark chocolaty cookies for Halloween parties, or for nibbling on as trick-or-treaters diminish your candy bowl throughout the night. The dark color reminds me of the Halloween nights I spent going door to door for candy, and the chocolate pockets are reminiscent of the candy stash I came home with at the end of the night. They are an adult twist on Halloween goodies, and so so much better than the bottom-of-the bowl candy that is left after the kids pick out all of the good treats.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies |

To make giant Levain-sized cookies, use the 2-3 tablespoon measurement for the dough balls. If you don’t want quite the indulgence, use a 1 tablespoon scoop instead. No matter the size or mix-ins, these cookies won’t disappoint for your Halloween (or any other day) treat.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
¾ cup brown sugar, loosely packed
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon espresso or strongly brewed coffee
2 cups chocolate chips

To Make Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cold butter until it clumps together and forms a ball. Add the sugar and brown sugar and mix until combined. Add in the eggs, one at a time and beat until they are both fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract and espresso/coffee. The batter may not be smooth, which is fine. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture. Beat until the flour is almost combined but there are still a few streaks of flour-cocoa mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough into 12 equal sized balls (about 2-3 tablespoons of dough) for large cookies, or 1 tablespoon-sized dough balls for smaller cookies. Refrigerate the dough balls for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the cookies about 4-6 at a time with 2 inches between each dough ball. Bake for 18-20 minutes (or 10-12 minutes for smaller dough balls), or until just set. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before eating or serving.

Adapted from How Sweet It Is

link love

Happy Fall Friday. I am trying to be pumped up for the last day before the weekend starts, but I’m going to need some caffeine before that can fully happen. I am actually really excited for a trip we are taking this weekend, which has been serving as my motivation all week. Do you have big plans? I hear the fall weather is coming back and I am 100% ready to soak it up with hot apple cider in hand.


link love 10.21.2016


To get you through the last of the work week, enjoy a second cup of coffee and some link love on the side.

In all of my high school English classes we had to turn in our MLA-formatted paper outlines before writing the full paper. I haven’t done that in years, and had kind of forgotten about it, until I saw this MLA-formatted outline of Drake’s album. Maybe it is just because I have the memories of making these, but I think it is hilarious.

Last week we talked about the New Balance for J.Crew athletic line that J.Crew just launched. This week, we have something even cuter – Roald Dahl at Mini Boden. It is adorable! My favorites are The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda collections, in that order. I wish some of those clothes came in adult sizes, because I would totally wear some of the dresses and capes. So cute!

Today is the day! The Hamilton documentary airs on PBS tonight! I will be in the car and unable to watch it, but don’t doubt that I will find a way to watch it soon. It is supposedly more about history than the musical, but does have interviews from the broadway cast members as well as important political figures in the U.S. (think Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Paul Ryan, Elizabeth Warren, etc). I love history and have listened to the Hamilton soundtrack too many times to count, so I am excited to see what the documentary has in store.

In a time when we are totally surrounded by social media and comparisons, this post on stating what we like about ourselves is very powerful. Many of us spend more time criticising ourselves than appreciating the traits that make us great. So, what do you like about yourself? Something to think about this weekend.

And at the end of the rambling, a post on how to tell a great story without rambling on and on. Maybe I should keep a printed version of this with me?

Have a wonderful weekend!

pumpkin picking

Halloween is less than two weeks away, and while I haven’t even thought about a costume, I have all the pumpkins I could need.

Pumpkin Picking-1

Pumpkin Picking-3

A few weeks ago Will and I crossed one item off our fall bucket list when we went to a pumpkin patch where we were able to pick the pumpkins we wanted right off the vine! We’re not just talking the regular orange spherical pumpkins either; this field had Cinderella pumpkins, fairytale pumpkins, and pumpkins of all colors, shapes, sizes and textures. We weren’t expecting such a broad selection, which made searching for our perfect pumpkins even more exciting.

Pumpkin Picking-4

The pumpkin patch we visited was kind of geared toward children (but then again, aren’t most pumpkin patches?) and had lots of perks for parents with small kids. They had a miniature hay maze, slides, tractor rides, and lots of other cute activities. One great offering was a hayride that would take you out into the parts of the patch that were farther away, and pick you up if your pumpkin was too heavy to carry back to the entrance. We grossly underestimated how far the entrance was when we picked Will’s massive pumpkin and carried both of our pumpkins all the way back to the grassy parking field. I hadn’t felt so old until the next day when my neck and back were sore from carrying such a heavy gourd.

Pumpkin Picking-6

Pumpkin Picking-7

Most pumpkin patches charge you by the weight of your pumpkin. The patch we went to charges a flat rate to get in, but you can pick whatever size pumpkin you want. Will took this as a challenge to find the largest pumpkin in the patch, and that we did. I ended up getting a large green fairytale pumpkin, which was dense and heavy, but Will’s pumpkin was massive! I wish we had measured it on the scale, but it is at least 50 pounds!

Pumpkin Picking-8

Pumpkin Picking-9

Our pumpkin picking excursion was a success and such a fun date, and our home feels fall ready because of it!

Outfit details | Shirt: J.Crew, skirt: J.Crew Factory (similar here, here, here), Vest: J.Crew Factory (similar here, less expensive here), Boots: Hunter

pumpkin pie oatmeal with maple roasted pecans

Monday, Monday. After a busy, somewhat indulgent weekend, a good breakfast is a necessary way to start the new week. Pumpkin pie oatmeal with maple roasted pecans is filled with nutrients and flavor, with no refined sugars, so you can start your week off on the right fall footing.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Maple Roasted Pecans |

I don’t even want to look at the forecast this week; it is just sad and frustrating. The temperatures were beautiful last week, and now we are back into the 80s for another week before it drops to the 60s. What is this roller coaster weather ride and when can we get off? Luckily our mornings are still cool enough to enjoy a bowl of warm pumpkin pie oatmeal before the day gets going.

These fall mornings are some of my favorite times of the year. I have loved being able to enjoy a warm cup of spicy chai tea with a splash of milk or almond milk, alongside this filling pumpkin pie oatmeal on cool mornings while the sun is still struggling to rise outside.  It feels like I am the only person in the neighborhood awake and the darkness and crisp temperatures make it even more tempting to curl up with something warm and ease my way into the day.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Maple Roasted Pecans |

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Maple Roasted Pecans |

October is absolutely (and obviously) the month of the pumpkin. After weeks of pumpkin desserts and pumpkin breakfast treats, it seems like a good time to add a nutritious option to the pumpkin mix. You can still add your favorite oatmeal toppings to this mixture, but the maple syrup pairs so wonderfully with the pumpkin spices in the oatmeal, and as a natural sweetener, is better for you than the typical brown sugar topping. Then there are the maple roasted pecans – such joy!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Maple Roasted Pecans |

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Maple Roasted Pecans |

I love a little texture and some mix-ins in my oatmeal breakfasts, and while I usually just add plain toasted nuts, roasting them with a maple syrup and cinnamon mixture adds even more of a crunch, and an extra sweet treat to top off an everyday breakfast. They make it exciting to have a healthy breakfast on Monday morning!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Maple Roasted Pecans |

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Maple Roasted Pecans |

Delicious, nutritious, and quick, this oatmeal only takes about 15 minutes to throw together, making it a great breakfast for both weekdays and weekends. You can make the amazingly golden, crunchy, fragrant maple roasted pecans while you wait for the oatmeal to cook, or make larger batch at the beginning of the week and get ready to head out the door while your oatmeal cooks. If you have really impressive preparation skills, you can make a pot of pumpkin pie oatmeal at the beginning of the week and heat up a serving each day, adding milk or almond milk to bring it back to life. It is so easy, so tasty, and still healthy on top of all of that. Yet another reason to love fall.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Maple Roasted Pecans |

Pumpkin Oatmeal with Maple Roasted Pecans
Maple Roasted Pecans
½ cup pecans
1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted
1 tablespoon coconut sugar (can use brown sugar instead)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
heavy pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

Pumpkin Oatmeal
1 cup rolled oats
1 ¾ cups water, milk, or almond milk (plus more for topping, if you want)
¼ cup pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
pinch of salt
2-4 tablespoons maple syrup (plus more for topping, if you want)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the Maple Roasted Pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F line a baking sheet with foil. Toast the pecans on the foil-lined baking sheet for 5 minutes.

While they are baking, add the melted coconut oil, coconut sugar (or brown sugar), maple syrup, salt and cinnamon to a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Remove the pecans from oven and add them directly to the maple syrup mixture. Toss gently to coat all of the nuts evenly, then return to the baking sheet. Bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Don’t try to remove the nuts from the pan until they have had at least a few minutes to cool.

To make the Pumpkin Oatmeal
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water, milk or almond milk to a boil. Milk and almond milk will create creamier oatmeal than water will.

Once boiling, add a pinch of salt and the oats. Swirl the mixture to cover the oats with the liquid, then decrease the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the oats are tender. Stir once while the oatmeal is cooking to ensure that the oats are not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Once the oats are finished cooking, remove the saucepan from the heat and add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir to combine, then taste and add spices and syrup as needed.

Divide oats between serving bowls and top with maple roasted pecans, pepitas, apples, more maple syrup or milk, pumpkin butter, or whatever strikes your fall fancy.

Best when served fresh. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave, or in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm, adding more water or almond milk if the oatmeal is too dry (I always have to add liquid to revive them).

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal with Maple Roasted Pecans | passthecookies.comMaple roasted pecans were inspired by the spiced pecans we love in Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen cookbook.


link love

Happy almost weekend! We’ve almost made it! Will and I are both working on Saturday, which makes the weekend seem a little farther away, but it is still just around the corner. The weather has been so beautiful here all week, and is supposed to continue into the weekend. I hope you can get outside and enjoy it if it is nice where you are too!

link love 10.14.2016
via pinterest

Now on with the link love!

After living in the Netherlands for a semester, and riding a bike EVERYWHERE, I learned to appreciate the safety measures the country had in place for cyclists. In many Dutch towns there are more bikes than cars, and sometimes more bikes than people! Not only do they have bike lanes on every street, they also have bike stop lights at the intersections, to ensure that bikes in each direction had the right of way at one point in the light cycle. Since everyone rides bikes in the Netherlands, it is not surprising that they are ahead of the US on bike safety. This article brings me right back to those Dutch riding days.

This article on social menopause in your twenties is hilarious. I have never been the friend to suggest going out, so maybe I hit this even earlier than others, but even among my friends there is a definite change from most people’s college-selves that I could see developing into social menopause. It is a funny read. 

On a more serious note, Hurricane Matthew came last weekend, and brought lots and lots of rain to North Carolina, on top of our already saturated ground from tropical storm Hermine. The rivers are still swollen and the flooding didn’t peak until mid-week, seriously flooding entire towns. There are many displaced people in our state, and lots who can’t afford to fix the problems caused by flooding in their homes. It is a sad sad scene.

As Hurricane Matthew came ripping up the East Coast last week, evacuations were issued in parts of Florida, and some of the coastal areas of North and South Carolina. During these massive natural disasters, we sometimes wonder why there are always people who don’t heed the warnings and evacuate. Yes, there are the stubborn ones, but some people can’t or aren’t in a position to leave.

Happier news this week included the release of New Balance for J. Crew’s athletic line. I love it. I can’t get over all of those polka dots and the pink leggings! Everything is so cute, as you would expect.

And last, but not least, if you are already preparing for Halloween (you’re ahead of me), these Snapchat filter Halloween costumes/makeup are so great. I love the butterflies, the dog with those classic ears, and the face finder (that one is probably my favorite haha). Let me know if you do one of them!

That concludes our link love for the week. Have a great weekend, lovelies!

fall foliage trips

Two weeks ago I visited a childhood friends in the mountains. It was the beginning of October but the leaves on some of the trees were already starting to change. With the cooler weather that has come this week, I keep looking around and thinking the trees should be more colorful here than they are. The combination of cooler weather and pumpkins everywhere surrounded by green trees makes me long for beautiful fall foliage that we see in photos every year around this time. The beautiful color-filled small towns of New England, pretty stoops and changing leaves in the cities, and orange, yellow and red spotted mountains are all so enticing. Last year I had the chance to be in New York in October and it was as perfect as the pictures look. I would love to take a fall foliage trip and spend time in some of the other beautiful towns and cities known for their fall charm. I have gathered a few places known for their leaf peeping below. Are there any great ones that are missing?

New England
I have seen photos of so many gorgeous places in New England that I would love to visit. From the main cities of Providence, New Haven, and Boston, to the small town main streets and quaint countrysides, all of the colors are incredible. I love seeing the brightly colored photos from these places and imagining that the streets here are filled with that many vibrant hardwood trees. Some great places to start are Stowe and Burlington, Vermont; Providence, Rhode Island; New Haven, Connecticut; and the Berkshires, Massachusetts.

Fall Foliage Trips - New England

Fall Foliage Trips - New England

We couldn’t go through New England fall foliage without singling out Boston. With so many sites to see and so much history, it is always a great place to visit. But, it looks especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves on the trees in the Public Gardens and Boston Commons are changing. Not to mention the fall foliage against the gorgeous buildings at Harvard, along the Charles River and in Cambridge. (more…)

pumpkin pop tarts with brown butter maple frosting

How happy would you be if someone handed you a pumpkin pop tarts with brown butter maple frosting as you were running out the door in the morning? They are the perfect cure for the Mondays.

Pumpkin Pop Tarts with Brown Butter Maple Frosting |

My siblings and I only had pop-tarts on vacation and at our grandparent’s house when we were growing up, so picking out the flavors was always a big deal. Pumpkin pop-tarts didn’t exist at the time; otherwise you better believe we would have picked those every time. We usually brought home s’mores, chocolate fudge, or chocolate chip cookie dough – always iced, of course. Now that I am older pop-tarts never taste as good as I remembered – but homemade pop tarts, on the other hand, are so so delicious, and amazingly easy! (more…)

link love

I am so so excited about the weekend, but keep thinking about all of the people who have been and will be affected by Hurricane Matthew this weekend. While my weekend plans include family, good food, and football (amidst the rain), I am thankful that the hurricane is supposed to veer east, away from the coast. Seeing all of the hurricane prep in Florida reminds me of getting ready for a few large storms that hit North Carolina when I was little. As a kid it was kind of exciting, but now that I am aware of what is happening, it is much more serious and not as exciting. I guess I could say that about a lot of things I thought were exciting as a kid though ;).

link love 10.07.2016

via pinterest

On a lighter note, we are moving on to some link love for the week! Stay safe and dry and enjoy these bits of the internet!

First we have this AMAZING gruyere mac and cheese with caramelized onions that I will absolutely be making this weekend. The recipe is from Molly on the Range, a new (apparently awesome) cookbook by blogger Molly Yeh of My Name is Yeh. In addition to delicious recipes, the cookbook has stories from her life growing up in an Jewish Asian home, going to Juilliard, and now living on a farm in North Dakota. Talk about an interesting story. I can’t wait to pick up a copy!

Did you follow along with the Gilmore Girls craze on Wednesday? Luke’s Diners popped up all over the US (and in some places in Canada), in honor of the 16th anniversary of Gilmore Girls and in preparation for the revival series coming out on Netflix soon.

This article by a food stylist on what it takes to get the best food shot is how I feel when I am putting together recipe posts here. It feels so silly moving props around and stepping back to see foam core barriers is always hilarious to me. Do it for the photo, right? :)

I always think real “what’s-in-my-bag” posts are interesting, a bit of an invasion of privacy, but also really funny. I don’t care much for the staged “what’s-in-my-bag” shots, because we all know there is trash somewhere in there that you aren’t showing next to your matching lipstick, lip liner, lip gloss combo. If I were to do this it would be so embarrassing. I try to clean out my purse before I go on big trips and amidst the important things like keys and money, I always end up with a pile of recycling – receipts, mail, napkins, tons of to-do lists, a broken pair of sunglasses that I hold onto because I can wear them when my hair is down and not draw attention to the fact that they are missing one side, and way more lipstick and chapstick than I could ever need in a week.

I came across this post about building your personal brand this week and thought it was a good, easy, but maybe helpful read to some people. I love Carly from The College Prepster and think she is a great example of a personal brand. Like this article says, we all have a personal brand, even if you don’t realize you do. I think this translates well to job searching, interviewing, even clothing and home style and entertaining!

7 ways to update your home for fall on a budget

I don’t get excited about spring and summer decorations, but when fall and Christmas roll around, I’m totally on board. I love the colors and textures of the season and the cozy feeling of wrapping up in a blanket with a candle burning after I come inside from a crisp evening. Growing up my dad worked from home one day a week, and on those Tuesdays in the fall I always looked forward to the smell of mulling spices and a mug of hot apple cider when I came home from school. Those warm, spiced scents are an integral part of fall to me, and are easy and inexpensive to keep on hand. Below are 7 ways to update your home for fall, without spending a lot of money.

1. Add a vase of birch branches, branches with changing leaves, or branches covered in berries to your coffee table or dining table. You can often get these at Trader Joe’s, Pottery Barn, Michaels, or right outside!

7 ways to update your home for fall | Pass the Cookies

2. Fill a small bowl with mini pumpkins (white, orange, grey, a combo, whatever you like!) or add a few mini pumpkins around your bookshelves and side tables.

7 ways to update your home for fall | Pass the Cookies

7 ways to update your home for fall | Pass the Cookies

3. Swap some of your regular pillows for some fall-colored pillows or more textured pillows. I added burnt orange velvet pillows to the mix on my sofa and the whole room instantly felt more seasonal! It is crazy how color and texture really makes a difference in the room.

7 ways to update your home for fall | Pass the Cookies

4. Add a blanket or a blanket scarf to the sofa and the foot of your bed. I love chunky knit blankets for fall and the texture of a luxe “fur” blanket for really cozy days, but I have also found that in a pinch those fall blanket scarves work well too – and are probably something you already have!

7 ways to update your home for fall | Pass the Cookies

5. Decorate with nature. Fill a large bowl with pinecones and acorns and bring the outdoor fall scenes inside! My mom used to sprinkle cinnamon all over the pinecones, which always made me want to sit next to the decorations :).

6. Add some gold, copper or brass to your coffee table, kitchen or bar cart to bring some warmth to the area. The gold and copper tones mimic the colors of the leaves outside and are an easy way to incorporate fall tones into your kitchen or living area.

7 ways to update your home for fall | Pass the Cookies

7 ways to update your home for fall | Pass the Cookies

7. Burn a candle, essential oil, or some mulling spices and apple cider on the stove. Even if you don’t do anything else to your decor, the whole house will smell like fall and can trick everyone into thinking you made fall updates. For a really inexpensive home scent, keep your orange peels, apple cores (or overripe apples), throw them in a pot of water with cloves, cinnamon sticks and fresh ginger and boil. You can also use a crockpot for this and leave it on low with the top off!

7 ways to update your home for fall | Pass the Cookies

7 ways to update your home for fall | Pass the Cookies

How do you decorate for fall?

sources: 1, 2, 3, 45, 6, 7, 89

pumpkin coffee cake with cinnamon streusel

The weekend may be over, but this pumpkin coffee cake with cinnamon streusel makes every morning feel like the perfect fall day.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with cinnamon streusel |

Last weekend Will and I went to a pick-your-own pumpkin patch nearby (checking that one off the fall bucket list!). It was the ultimate fall activity, and even though we didn’t have quite the ideal crisp autumn weather, all of the pumpkins, hay bales, and decorations made it fell like autumn. It is no secret that I love pumpkin-flavored items, but I have determined this season that there are really only a few that I reach for time and time again. Pumpkin breads are one of them. My go-to snack, hostess gift, brunch contribution, dessert or potluck item in the fall is pumpkin chocolate chip bread, but I have recently been loving the pure pumpkin spice flavors, uninterrupted by chocolate. (more…)

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