October 2017 archive

loaded peanut butter cookie bars

One of my favorite things to do around Halloween is to figure out a way to incorporate leftover candy in a baked good. I worry that I’ll run out of ideas for such a specific task, but so far, I love every variation. Last year I made M&M Reese’s sea salt chocolate chip cookies, the year before that we had brown butter blondie dark chocolate brownie candy swirled bars, and this year I’m excited to share these loaded peanut butter cookie bars.

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate and peanut butter is a classic, and always delicious, combination, but looking back at the recipe archives I’m surprised that I haven’t included many peanut butter-chocolate recipes here. I loaded these bars with peanut butter M&Ms, Reese’s cups, and Snicker’s bars, but you can make them your own and add whatever leftover candy you have! Though I stuck with the peanut butter-based chocolates, basically any leftover chocolate candy would work well.

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

When I was developing this recipe I looked high and low for other peanut butter cookie bars, with little success. Maybe I was using the wrong search terms, but it just didn’t seem like the bars I was envisioning were out there or easy to find. I came across lots of no-bake peanut butter bars that tried to emulate the filling in a Reese’s cup, but I knew that I wanted a thick, delicious cookie bar to be the base for chopped up candy, rather than a gooey, powdered sugar-filled filling. These loaded peanut butter cookie bars turned out exactly as I hoped they would. They are soft and chewy and with peanut butter and chocolate in every single bite. They are completely addicting.

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

I’m tempted to buy extra Halloween candy just so I know I will have enough to make these again on November 1st.

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup peanut butter M&M’s
3/4 cup chopped Snickers bars
3/4 cup chopped Reese’s

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour the melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg (make sure the butter isn’t still so hot it will cook the egg). Mix until combined.

Add the peanut butter and mix again until there are no streaks of peanut butter in the batter. Add the flour and mix just until it is combined. Try not to overmix.

Pour all of the candy into the bowl (I save a few M&M’s to add to the top) and gently fold it into the batter with a rubber spatula. Again, you don’t want to mix it too much at this stage or your bars will become less tender.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan and even out the top with your spatula. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. When you test it with a toothpick make sure you aren’t just pulling out peanut butter from the candy, which can look like uncooked batter. Let the bars cool in the pans for about 20 minutes, then lift the parchment paper out of the pan and place the bars on a wire cooling rack to cool completely before cutting them into squares or triangles to serve. If you aren’t serving right away, don’t cut them into pieces (the edges will get dry if they are left out too long). You can store the bars in an airtight container for about 1 week.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see it! Tag me (@hopewoodhouse) on Instagram or leave a comment below so I can follow your baking adventures!

Loaded Peanut Butter Cookie Bars (with Leftover Halloween Candy) | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

pumpkin ginger bourbon punch

I have the perfect fall cocktail for you today: pumpkin ginger bourbon punch. Don’t tell me you are tired of pumpkin yet. Hang with me just a little longer. Pumpkin ginger simple syrup combines with bourbon and ginger beer for a cocktail that basically tastes like fall in a cup.

Pumpkin Ginger Bourbon Punch | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pumpkin Ginger Bourbon Punch | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Yes, I put pumpkin in our cocktails, and I’m not sorry about it. You know my thoughts on pumpkin-flavored items, so this punch should come as no shock. The pumpkin ginger simple syrup that makes this drink so tasty is full of fall spices. The pumpkin flavor is present, but not too strong. You could add this syrup to any cocktail for a great fall flavor.

Pumpkin Ginger Bourbon Punch | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pumpkin Ginger Bourbon Punch | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

I love adding ginger beer to any drink, especially in the colder months. It adds a bit of warmth and spice and makes the punch cozy and comforting. The combination of the pumpkin ginger simple syrup, bourbon, and ginger beer tastes like a Kentucky mule with an autumn twist. It is cinnamony and warm with a touch of pumpkin, a bit of spice, and a little heat from the bourbon. The cinnamon sugar rim is such a fun touch that makes the glasses look like they are sparkling.

Pumpkin Ginger Bourbon Punch | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pumpkin Ginger Bourbon Punch | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pumpkin ginger bourbon punch is perfect for your Halloween parties, Thanksgiving dinner, or your friendsgiving cocktail hour. Make a big batch and serve it in a punch bowl or pitcher for a group, or rim individual glasses with cinnamon sugar for a smaller group. It is like a hug in a glass – so cozy and delicious.

To get the recipe for this pumpkin ginger bourbon punch, head over to Lexi’s blog post. If you make this recipe, I’d love to see it! Tag me (@hopewoodhouse) on Instagram or leave a comment below so I can follow your adventures with these recipes!

link love

You guys! This is the 100th link love post on PTC! Can you believe that?! I can’t. When I saw 100 in the url I actually went back and counted the number of link love posts in the archives because I truly didn’t think it was right. Thank you for following along with me for these 100 link love roundups throughout the years. I hope they bring some fun to your weekend :)

link love 10.27.2017 via

Without further ado, our 100th link love:

I love love love this post on ways to save money. Will and I have our own methods of saving money, but seeing money-saving tips from other people always opens my eyes to great tricks I wouldn’t think about otherwise.

Speaking of money, I’m so late to the game on this, but I was recently introduced to Refinery29’s Money Diaries and find them so interesting! I love that you can see how women with different jobs and salaries spend money in different parts of the country. The project aims to remove the taboo from the topic of salaries. It also encourages people to track their spending in a money diary to help them realize where/how they are spending their money, and hopefully realize how they can save money (going back to the previous link). I find it interesting to see how people spend their money in a week because it really seems like a peek into what they value. Since I was in NYC this week, this recent money diary from a Brooklyn native seemed very relevant.

I have followed Joy the Baker for years now, and am so excited about the new venture she launched in The Bakehouse NOLA. Joy invites guests to join her at her gorgeous Crescent City home for cooking classes, workshops, and events based on different themes (this weekend is a homemade bagel event!). The idea of a well-known blogger welcoming guests (and fans :) ) into her home for a hands-on learning event is so unique and cool! I know it isn’t feasible for many people, but I love the idea!

In our female communities we often discuss self-confidence issues, body-image struggles, and unfair comparison to those we follow on the social media. This article on how to improve body image just by wearing clothing that fits well and makes us feel good is needed in today’s society and trends in fashion. Some days this may be more difficult than others, but shouldn’t we all dress in a way that helps us love ourselves, whether that follows the current trends or not? I think yes.

Lastly, if you still haven’t figured out your Halloween costume for Tuesday, here is a handy list of 25 last-minute costume ideas. I’d love to hear your creative ideas!

Happy weekending, friends!

slow cooker apple cinnamon steel cut oats

I don’t know if I would consider myself a morning person (getting up super early is still a struggle, and I stay up late every night), but I have really started to love the quiet morning hours before the busyness of the day begins. To be honest, “hours” is a bit of an exaggeration, as I usually have 20 minutes to a single hour to myself in the morning before I leave for work, but that is all the more reason to make the most of this brief, peaceful time.

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Some people can skip breakfast and wait until lunch for their first meal of the day. I am not that type of person; I wake up hungry and ready for breakfast the minute I hop out of bed. However, making breakfast is a chore that cuts into the calm morning we all crave, and sometimes it is easier to grab a granola bar or an apple and run out the door than fill up with a nutritional meal. This fall, we are combatting that and bringing back the calm mornings with slow cooker apple cinnamon steel cut oats.

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Steel cut oats typically require soaking and lengthy cooking times when you prepare them on the stove, which make them perfect for a slow cooker. I love this recipe because I can throw all of the ingredients into one bowl, set the cook time on the slow cooker, go to sleep, and wake up to a healthy, hearty, delicious breakfast. My breakfast is literally being prepared for me while I sleep and I feel like an efficiency queen when I come downstairs in the morning to scoop my bowl of apple cinnamon steel cut oats. Easy breakfasts make easy mornings, and some mornings I need all the easy I can get.

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Slow cooker apple cinnamon steel cut oats are filled with cinnamony goodness, but I love adding toppings for an extra crunch in each bite. Apples, toasted nuts, pepitas, maple syrup, all of the fall things! It’s hard to go wrong with oatmeal toppings.

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

To find this easy recipe, head over to Lexi’s blog. If you make your own slow cooker apple cinnamon steel cut oats, tag me on Instagram (@hopehwoodhouse) or leave a comment below! I’d love to see!

Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oats | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Do you have any tricks for making your morning calmer?

chocolate thumbprint cookie spiders with caramel spider webs

We are one week away from Halloween – are you prepared? Is your candy bowl stocked? Is your costume ready? These spooky chocolate thumbprint cookie spiders with caramel spider webs are perfect for Halloween parties.

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Spiders | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Spiders | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Earlier this month I had a vivid dream that I was working late on October 31st and realized at 7pm that, not only was I not home to answer the door and hand out candy, but we also didn’t have a single piece of candy to give to trick-or-treaters. I ran to the store and the candy shelves were completely empty except for a few bags of M&Ms, which, of course, are of no use on Halloween. Needless to say, I woke up and immediately wrote “bags of Halloween candy” on our grocery list, to ensure that my dream did not become reality. If it was acceptable, I would hand out these cookies to everyone who comes to the door (they are too good not to share!), but I’ll stick to parties and potlucks for now.

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Spiders | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Spiders | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Spiders | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

The deep dark chocolate cookies deliver a rich flavor that is satisfying enough to stop at one, but so delicious that you want to go back for another anyway. The soft inside of the cookie contrasts with the crunchy exterior coated in turbinado sugar. In addition to adding a crunch, the coarse sugar makes the cookies sparkle on the serving platter. I brought some of these cookies on a family road trip a few weeks ago and they were gone instantly. My dad declared them the best chocolate cookie he has ever had, and even my mom, who claims to not like chocolate cookies, was asking for her share of the treat. How can you not love a thumbprint as cute as these?

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Spiders | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Spiders | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Spiders | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

The amber caramel spider webs are a fun and totally optional addition, and add a bonus treat to your display. After swirling the liquid caramel around to make spider web shapes, the burnt sugar webs become hardened caramel snacks that pair amazingly with the dark chocolate thumbprint cookies. They make gorgeous, shiny, edible decorations that pop against the almost-black thumbprints and make the dessert even spookier.

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Spiders | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie Spiders | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Homemade hard caramels and dark chocolate cookies – these are the grown-up version of Halloween, and I’m a-okay with that.

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk*
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon sea salt

For assembly (optional)
¼ cup chocolate chips, melted
pretzel sticks (not shown, but another option for spider legs)
Candy eyeballs

*You can use any milk you prefer. I tried skim milk, cream, and plant-based milk and noticed no difference in the cookies.

Caramel Spider Webs
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cold water

To make the chocolate thumbprint cookies
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 10-20 seconds. Add the sugar and beat for another 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, then add four and salt and whisk again. Whisking the cocoa powder first helps you get all clumps out of the powder before it gets mixed with flour. Set aside.

In a small bowl, lightly whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and mix for about 10-20 seconds, until the mixture resembles cottage cheese. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again on medium-speed for about 30-45 seconds, until the mixture is fully incorporated and the texture is uniform.

Add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix on low speed until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on medium speed until fully combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 3 hours).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the chilled dough into 1 ½-tablespoon balls, about the size of a golf ball. I used my medium cookie scoop for this. Roll the dough balls in turbinado sugar and place them a few inches away from each other on your prepared trays. Press your thumb or pointer finger gently into the middle of the balls to slightly flatten and form a small indention in the cookie. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. The cookies should be set and have small cracks on their tops.

Chocolate thumbprint cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. The dough can be frozen for a few weeks. If you want to freeze the dough, scoop it into balls, roll the balls in turbinado sugar, place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and freeze the cookie sheet for 1 hour. After an hour, remove the cookie sheet from the freezer, place the frozen cookie dough balls in a gallon-sized zippered freezer bag and freeze until you want to bake them. They can be baked from frozen, though you may need to add an extra minute or two to the baking time.

To make the caramel spider webs
In a small saucepan, stir the sugar and water together. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture starts to turn amber around the edges, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Gently swirl the pan to even out the color and prevent the sugar from burning in isolated spots. Continue to cook the mixture until the sugar turns medium amber, about 30 more seconds. Once the caramel begins to turn amber it will darken very quickly, so keep an eye on it.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Working quickly, scoop up some caramel with a spoon and drizzle it onto the sheet in the shape of spider webs – I started by making an asterisk then swirled circles and spirals on top of those. I find it easier to do one spider web at a time, rather than all of the asterisks followed by all of the spirals and circles. If your designs are too thin they will be very delicate and may break. Try to make sure they have enough caramel to easily hold their shape. Let the caramel webs cool completely (about 10-20 minutes). When you are ready to serve the cookies, gently remove the caramel webs from the cookie sheets with a metal spatula. If they are difficult to remove, lift the parchment paper and carefully press the web from the bottom, or twist the pan as you would a tray of ice cubes to loosen all of the caramel decorations. The caramel shapes will store in an airtight container for a few days.

To assemble the spiders
Place the melted chocolate in a small zippered bag or a pastry bag. Pipe the chocolate into stripes and zigzags onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Let the chocolate cool completely (this could take a while, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. You can also place them in the fridge to speed up the cooling process. (Note: these chocolate legs are very delicate and are only for decoration. They don’t stay attached to the cookie when you lift one off the plate.) Place the caramel spider webs on your serving plate, place the chocolate legs where you want the spiders to be, and place the cookies (spider bodies) on top. Place a small dab of melted chocolate on each candy eyeball and place the eyeballs on the cookies.

link love

It’s Friday, Friday, and we are weekend ready! Will has been on fall break for the past few days and I am itching to get in on the relaxing, too. This October weekend should bring beautiful weather, and I’m so looking forward to the cool temperatures and seeing the gorgeous falling leaves. The weather has me looking back on our fall fun list to see what fun things we can do this weekend. I hope your plans include relaxing and enjoying this fall weekend, too!

link love 10.20.2017via

To kick things off, let’s sit down with some fun link love from the week:

This ballet rotoscope video is short, but mesmerising.

Have you seen the ads for magnetic eyelash extensions? Thoughts? Would you try them?
They look a little scary, but easier on the eyelashes than regular eyelash extensions. I am skeptical, terrified, and intrigued all at the same time.

I am a long-time reader and lover of the blog Love Taza, and was so excited this week when she revealed her new living room in conjunction with Anthropologie. It is so beautiful! Those pink velvet chairs with the gallery wall and fireplace all make the room look like a dream!

Are you a morning person or a night owl? What about those afternoon hours after lunch?
Those can sometimes be some of my most productive hours, but at other times can be some of the least productive. I enjoy mornings, but I am always looking for ways to be productive at all times of the day. I love these tips for creating a productive afternoon routine, too.

Lastly, have you heard Taylor Swift’s newest song, “Gorgeous“? Of her releases from her new “Reputation” album, I like this one and the last (“Ready for It”), better than “Look What You Made Me Do,” though that may be the intention. In “Gorgeous,” we get a glimpse of the 1989 version of Taylor’s musical style, combined with the familiar topic of Taylor’s crush, and her new, deep bass and electronic background of the new album’s style.

what is your favorite pick-me-up?

What is your favorite pick me up? | www.passthecookies.com

Some days you just need a little boost, or a small treat to get you over that 3 p.m. hump. Do you have a favorite pick-me-up? What about a regular coffee shop order? I have always wanted to be the type of person with a go-to order, or at least have a place I visit so frequently that the staff recognizes me. I go to a small coffee shop a few times a week during my lunch break, sometimes to grab a drink or snack, sometimes just to do some blog work, and finally feel like the baristas know who I am when I walk up to the counter. The dilemma here is that they don’t ask for names for your order, and I pay with cash to get their “cash card” benefits, so they still don’t know my name, haha! Despite not knowing my name, it does feel nice to know that they recognize me and know me a little bit, even if it is just my schedule, habits, and random caffeine orders :)

While I often switch around my coffee shop order, I definitely have a few snacks I reach for consistently (apples, almonds, tea, coffee, and dark chocolate), which sometimes serve as my go-to pick-me-ups for other people too. Throughout the year I like to ask my friends and coworkers for their favorite coffee-shop order, snacks, or treats. Then when I need an easy way to say happy birthday or want to grab a pick-me-up on a hard day, I already know what to get. To really be prepared for any occasion, you can expand this and ask for a favorite candy, favorite food, favorite flower, etc. I have a huge Google Doc with a group of my college friends with all of our contact information and favorite things – I’m talking columns A-ZZ filled with addresses, birthdays and favorite snacks, drinks, patterns, colors, office supply the list goes on and on. This makes it so easy to know when birthdays are coming up, and exactly how to love them best at any time of the year! It is easy to send a “thinking of you” card or gift they will love (I love me some snail mail), and, when the time comes, makes secret Santa so much easier, too! So, what’s your go-to pick-me-up? What goodies should I add to my list?

Pumpkin Bread with Chai Crumble | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

First photo via Pinterest, second photo from my pumpkin bread with chai crumble.

maple caramel sauce

I love homemade caramel. As evidence of that, you can find apple cider caramel, whiskey caramel, salted caramel, and salted caramel pastry cream here on the blog. Every time I make one I exclaim about how much I love it and wonder why I don’t make it more often. There are so many caramel possibilities, and rather than try just one, I want every type to have their time to shine. Today, that type is maple caramel sauce.

Maple Caramel Sauce | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Maple Caramel Sauce | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Maple Caramel Sauce | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

This maple caramel sauce is a slice of fall heaven. The delicious caramel flavor intermingles with pure maple syrup to bring out an amazing sauce for the season. I seriously was eating it by the spoonful. So. Delicious. This is what I imagine would be served with pancakes and coffee on a crisp New England morning, made with maple syrup straight from the tree. Obviously that isn’t how I experienced it in muggy North Carolina, but nevertheless, that’s where my mind went and I chose to go with it. I mean, can you imagine this on pancakes?! Someone in my fall fantasyland got it right.

Maple Caramel Sauce | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Maple Caramel Sauce | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Maple Caramel Sauce | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

I joke, but maple caramel sauce is so versatile. Pour it over ice cream, mix it with some caramel, layer it in a cake, swirl it in brownies, stir it in your coffee, or, you guessed it, serve it with your pancakes ;) I’m excited to share another fun way to use it soon, but until then, cook it up and pour it on everything!

Maple Caramel Sauce
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup heavy cream
¾ teaspoon sea salt

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the maple syrup and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir frequently. This should take 6-10 minutes.

Stir in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, stirring frequently. The butter will bubble as it hits the hot sugar-syrup mixture. Continue to heat for another 2 minutes, stirring a few times.

Pour in the cream and sea salt and cook for another 10-15 minutes, continuing to stir a few times a minute. You can make this as thin or thick as you like, but the caramel is done cooking when it becomes thick and doesn’t slide off of a spoon. If you prefer thinner caramel, reduce the cooking time. I cooked mine for the full 15 minutes and the resulting caramel was deliciously thick.

When the caramel is done, let it cool for a few minutes in the pot before transferring it to a jar. If the sauce thickens too much, reheat it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time.

link love

You guys, I woke up yesterday morning and legitimately thought it was Friday. It was such a rude awakening when I realized it was only Thursday. Needless to say, this week has felt so long. I feel like I have been going in 10 different directions trying to get ready for huge work events, prepping my own travel plans, preparing for guests, and creating blog content, which has led to little sleep and more coffee than usual. On the other hand, finishing so much work has made me feel so productive! I know it isn’t sustainable, but I also have less on my plate next week, so I’m pushing through until I get there.

link love 10.13.2017

via Yossy Arefi

This morning I’m taking a little time to relax and reboot with some link love from the week (and last week, since we missed that. Whoops!). I hope you have a little time to enjoy it too.

This isn’t a new video, but I just recently discovered it and thought it was so funny, and so well done! Those clever marketing people.

My sister sent this satirical article about TJ Maxx to me last week and I seriously couldn’t stop laughing. I think I read the entire article out loud so Will could hear it and laugh along with me. It is so accurate.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? I am definitely more of an introvert, but what if there are more than two ways to think about this scale? What if personality wasn’t thought of as binary, but instead of as multi-faceted? I love this article about the topic and how it manifests in the workplace.

https://www.fastcompany.com/40472520/introvert-or-extrovert-heres-another-way-to-think-about-yourpersonality

Will and I are always looking for cheap date ideas to save money while he is in grad school, but I also love brainstorming great ideas for a girl’s night or friend dates. So many of our friends are in similar positions to us, and it is always helpful to remember different budgets when we make plans together, and sometimes is a fun challenge to see what we can do without spending much (or any) money. I’m taking notes from this post and adding the ideas to my ongoing list.

This article about the gender inequality of emotional labor really resonated with me. Will does a great job of helping get things done around the house, especially when he has breaks from school and I still have to work, but I still sometimes feel the emotional labor from the ongoing checklist in my head. No matter how many times I put it on paper, that emotional labor still lingers. As a society, what do about this?

Lastly, one of my favorite links of the week is from Carly about working smarter, not just harder. Often times I think the phrase “work smarter, not harder” can be taken the wrong way, but I love her point that it’s not about the number of hours you put in; it’s the output of work you generate. On top of that, it isn’t just about the amount of work you generate, it is also about the quality. Her tips are great, and I love the idea of working while your computer has battery life, and taking a break when you need to plug it in. So smart, and so doable.

pumpkin cake with fluffy chocolate frosting

Last week I gave you a roundup of pumpkin recipes out from all over the internet. Today you have one more to add to the list: pumpkin cake with chocolate frosting! I hope you’re not tired of my pumpkin shenanigans yet.

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Last year I made this amazing pumpkin pie cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, and as much as I would love to have that cake all the time, it is a bit time consuming. This year, I wanted to make a simpler version of the pumpkin cake, one that is easy enough to put together in an evening. This one fits the bill perfectly. Filled with spices and topped with fluffy chocolate frosting, this pumpkin cake is amazingly moist and so perfect for fall. It is always a crowd pleaser and a great choice for fall parties, but is still modest enough to have with a weeknight dinner. It can be made ahead of time and saves well.

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

My family makes pumpkin bread with chocolate chips for brunch year-round, so a pumpkin cake with chocolate frosting seemed like a natural next step, but when I served this up to coworkers and friends I was surprised at how many people didn’t think of pumpkin and chocolate as a typical combination. If you haven’t tried pumpkin and chocolate together before, make this cake asap so you can experience the goodness of the two flavors marrying in a delicious dessert. Pumpkin and chocolate forever!

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

The pumpkin puree makes the cake so moist, and the fudgy, fluffy chocolate frosting billows around the cake layers and envelops their fall spices with rich chocolaty sweetness. It is a match made in autumn dessert heaven.

To find the full recipe, head over to Lexi’s blog. The pumpkin cake was based on my pumpkin pie cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

Pumpkin Cake with Chocolate Frosting | Pass the Cookies | www.passthecookies.com

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