Homemade Cookie Dough Coffee Syrup


I’ve developed a slight iced coffee addiction this past summer. It’s funny because, a year or two ago, I would’ve never touched the stuff. But over time, I eased into the world of hot coffee, and then splashed right into iced coffee this summer. Now, I don’t even want hot coffee anymore. All I want is ice, ice baby.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

The problem with iced coffee is that it’s a bit more of a pain to make at home. It’s not hard; it’s just not instantly gratifying like hot coffee is because you have to wait hours and hours for it to chill. The only way to instantly curb an iced coffee craving is to go to a coffee shop, which I have been giving into a lot lately.


I’ve taken a liking to the ice cream flavors at Dunkin Donuts, but that stuff is over-priced, and it adds up if you’re buying one every day. Instead, I’ve started planning ahead and making iced coffee ahead of time. Then, to get the fun flavors, I decided to give Homemade Cookie Dough Coffee Syrup a go.

Turns out, it’s the easiest thing on the planet. I bet you’ve got the ingredients on-hand right now. Just whip up a simple syrup and whisk in the identifying flavors of cookie dough (brown sugar, vanilla, and chocolate). That’s all you’ve got to do.

It’s uncanny how much this easy homemade coffee syrup really tastes like chocolate chip cookie dough. When I swirled it into my coffee and took a sip, it felt like I was sitting in a fancy café drinking a $5 coffee. I’m so fancy!

And you can be too.


A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. Pay attention to the directions to stir and reduce heat, or you’ll wind up with a pot of burnt sugar.
  2. This works in hot or iced coffee.
  3. You can buy a cute little olive oil dispenser to store this syrup in. I just used an old bottle.
  4. Homemade Coffee Syrup makes a great gift.
  5. Break this out at a party or get-together, and look the fanciest son-of-a-gun on the block.

Cookie Dough Coffee Syrup
By The Smart Cookie Cook


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract


  1. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk together water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Let boil for one minute then turn heat down to simmer, stirring until boiling recedes. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in cocoa powder until completely dissolved. Whisk in vanilla and let cool completely. Transfer to an air-tight bottle or container. Enjoy with hot or iced coffee.


The Black River Barn – Randolph, NJ

Summer 146

I trekked down to Jersey this past weekend for a whirlwind 24-hour visit to celebrate Sister Cookie’s bridal shower. I arrived the night before the shower with my BF and Mother Cookie. Normally, we would’ve gone to our favorite spot, Mama’s Restaurant, but that was where the shower would take place the next day, so we needed a plan B.

Mother Cookie suggested the Black River Barn in Randolph, NJ. I like to make advised restaurant choices, so I creeped through their menu online before consenting. I only got through the appetizers before I knew we had to go there.


Black River Barn is perched right next to – you guessed it – the Black River. The view is really something, and you can opt to sit outside and eat on their large, tented patio. From the outside, the barn-inspired joint is quaint and welcoming. I thought their cow mascot was too darn cute.


Inside the barn, the place is even more adorable and rustic. It looks like you stepped into an upgraded barn with vaulted wooden ceilings, farm-inspired décor, and a warm atmosphere. I was really excited by the aesthetics alone.


Brownie point number one was earned when they brought out free bread and butter. Y’all know I’m a sucker for that. Brownie point number two was earned when they got the appetizers out in a reasonable amount of time.

Being the potato lover I am, I picked the Loaded Potato Skillet for an appetizer (minus the bacon, of course). Mother Cookie & BF picked out the Pulled Pork Nachos.

I’ve got to admit, even to a vegetarian those Pulled Pork Nachos looked quite impressive when they were brought out. You definitely could make a meal out of them alone. In fact, my BF loved them so much that he said he WOULD get them as his meal the next time we came.


As for the Loaded Potato Skillet, it was killer. Imagine layer upon layer of tender, thick-cut potato slices with a creamy béchamel sauce and gobs of ooey, gooey cheese. I killed half the skillet myself. My only complaint is that it needed more scallions.


For my meal, I selected the Veggie Pizza, which my waitress grossly underestimated size-wise. I only put away half of it, and I was actually disappointed after all the good stuff that led up to it. Don’t get me wrong, it was good pizza that was nice and thin, but it was lackluster. There needed to be more flavor, and more chunks of the breaded eggplant. Perhaps more cheese and a little pesto would do the trick.


My BF got a BBQ Chicken Pizza that he had the same opinion of: good, but not on the same level as the rest of the food.


Mother Cookie got a Crab Cake with Sweet Potato Fries that she quite enjoyed.


I would definitely go back to the Black River Barn, but I think I’ll skip the pizza next time.


Have you ever been there?


Save-the-Date Tear-Off Calendar Cookies


When the subject of favors for Sister Cookie’s bridal shower came up in one of the conversations with the bridal party, I knew it’d just be wrong if the Smart Cookie Cook didn’t make something. The problem was trying to come up with a favor that was perfect, delicious, and meaningful at the same time.

I did a lot of brainstorming, and felt completely lost. As the shower date loomed closer and closer, I felt the pressure rising. It was time to make up my mind. Suddenly, it dawned on me to do something simple but significant: make the wedding date into a cookie.

These Save-the-Date Tear-Off Calendar Cookies are a tasty way to ensure guests don’t stand a chance of forgetting the wedding day. Each tender sugar cookie is slathered with my best, easy buttercream frosting and decorated to look like the little tear-off calendar you would keep on your desk.


The wedding date is featured on the cookie, along with a little red heart you can imagine the bride drew on the calendar. It is such a cute and simple favor, and it received many compliments from the shower guests.

It is a tad time-consuming to decorate these cookies, but they are extremely easy, and you don’t need to be an artist to do them. The sugar cookie recipe itself is very basic, but it’s my favorite because they’re so soft and they melt in your mouth. All you need to decorate them is the buttercream, red frosting, and black frosting.

Bridal showers are stressful and expensive enough, so don’t push yourself over the edge by making something incredibly complicated or shelling out your life savings to a bakery. Anybody can make these cute Save-the-Date Cookies, and everybody will love them.


A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. You can find cute little boxes like the ones I used just by doing a Google search.
  2. Square cookie cutters are actually sort of difficult to find. I wound up buying square fondant cutters that worked just as well.
  3. You’re used to being told to take cookies out of the oven when the start to turn golden around the edges, but that’s not the case with these guys. As soon as they’re puffed and set, you can pull them out.
  4. You can use a royal icing if you prefer, but this buttercream does set up pretty well when chilled.

Save-the-Date Tear-Off Calendar Cookies
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield: About 4 dozen


For the cookies
Cookie Recipe from Foodbeast

  • * 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • * 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • * ½ teaspoon salt
  • * 3 sticks butter, room temperature
  • * 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • * 3 large eggs
  • * 5 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Buttercream Frosting
Frosting Recipe by The Smart Cookie Cook

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. almond extract
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2-3 tbsp. heavy cream

For decorating

  • Square cookie cutter
  • 2 black Wilton Ready-to-Use Icing tubes
  • 1 red Wilton Ready-to-Use Icing tube
  • Wilton round #3 frosting tip


1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. In an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in vanilla until blended. Gradually add flour mixture and beat on low just until incorporated. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Flour dough, rolling pin, and the surface you’re working on. Roll out dough to desired thickness (no thinner than 1/4 inch). Use square cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Place on baking sheet, no more than 8 cookies to a sheet.

5. Bake cookies 5 – 8 minutes until set; they should not be browned at all. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

6. Make the frosting: place butter & 2 cups powdered sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat on low until the sugar starts to incorporate then increase speed to medium until well-combined. Continue, adding 2 cups at a time, until all sugar is incorporated. Add salt, vanilla, almond extract, and cream and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

7. Frost each cookie with an even layer of buttercream. Using the black icing fitted with the tip, write the month across the top of the cookie. Draw a straight thin line beneath it. Under the line and centered on the cookie, write the date number.

8. Use the red frosting fitted with the tip to draw a heart on each cookie.

9. Store in fridge in an air-tight container.


Food Fit for a Bride-to-Be: Chowin’ at the Shower

Summer 145

Sister Cookie’s bridal shower was this weekend, but it wasn’t much of a surprise. She’s a little snoop and basically put all the pieces together ahead of time. Honestly though, I don’t think the surprise factor is that important. What really mattered was that the bride had a great time, and the guests did too.

Of course, none of us could deny that great food was a major plus.

We held the shower at Mama’s Restaurant in Hackettstown, NJ for an obvious reason: it’s Sister Cookie’s favorite restaurant. It’s Mother Cookie and I’s favorite too, and I raved about it many times before. However, I’ve never tried their catered food before, so I was curious to see how they’d do.


Their service was great. The waitresses were extremely helpful and attentive. Food was brought out at a steady pace, and we had a great selection. See the catering meal options here.


Our appetizers of choice were Fried Ravioli and Mini Pizzettes. The ravioli was killer, crispy and stuffed with a fresh, cheesy filling.


The pizzettes were delicious too. They had an assortment of flavors, including vegetarian options for myself.


For our pasta choices, we had Tortellini Alfredo and some meat-laced rigatoni I cannot review because I obviously didn’t try it. The Tortellini Alfredo was on-point. It would’ve been easy for their alfredo to be too rich paired with the tortellinis, but it was the perfect viscosity and texture. The tortellini itself was tender and yummy.

For the entrees, we had a chicken dish and the Eggplant Rollantini. That eggplant is one of my favorite things to order when I eat at Mama’s, but it was a little tough, and possibly under-done.


They hand out an assortment of mini desserts and coffee, including zeppoli with chocolate dip. It was all scrumptious.


Side note: look at this wine my mom’s friend found! It’s too perfect.


Finally, we had this adorable cupcake cake made by a woman named Holly who was recommended by Mother Cookie’s best friend. The presentation was stellar, and the cake was very reasonably priced.



The buttercream frosting was heavenly paired with the tiramisu filling. My only complaint is that the cake itself was a tad dry.


Of course, you know it wouldn’t be right if little ol’ me didn’t make something for the shower, so I made these Tear-Off Calendar Cookies with the wedding date. Recipe coming tomorrow!


All in all, the shower was a success. Now it’s on to the wedding!

French Toasted Donuts

DSC07665Right now you’re asking, “What are you trying to do to me, Smart Cookie?” And although decadence like these French Toasted Donuts might make it seem like I’m trying to torture you, I’m really just doing this out of love.

You’re probably also trying to wrap your mind around the way that this works, so allow me to explain. I took a fluffy cake donut and dredged it in the exact same way you would dredge bread for french toast. Then I fried it up, stuffed it with fresh strawberries, and inundated it with syrup. It’s quite simple, really, but the results are just dreamy.


I was pleasantly surprised at how this wasn’t over-the-top. French-toasting a donut may sound like over-indulgence, but it actually worked out beautifully. It is a slightly richer twist on the breakfast classic you’re used to, intertwining dessert with the most important meal of the day.

Plus, can you argue with the fact that it’s just as easy to make as regular french toast? Of course not. Now, what are you waiting for? Go treat yourself!

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. You can finish these off with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
  2. Don’t like strawberries? Any berry you like will do.
  3. These are a bit fragile to work with, so be gentle. The thicker the donut you buy, the better off you’ll be.
  4. Add vanilla extract to the egg/milk mixture for a little extra flavor.


French Toasted Donuts
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield – 4 servings


  • 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter
  • 4 plain cake donuts
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. milk or cream
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • syrup, optional
  • fresh sliced strawberries, optional


  1. Whisk together eggs and milk. Set aside.
  2. Slice donuts in half like a bagel. Lightly dunk in egg/milk mixture, covering both sides in a light coating. Don’t over do it, or they’ll be soggy.
  3. In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter. Place 2 donuts at a time on the pan and sprinkle with about 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. Cook until golden and flip, sprinkling other side with more cinnamon.
  4. Once both sides are golden brown, transfer to plate and stuff strawberries between the slices. Drizzle with syrup and enjoy.


Smart Cooking Shopping 33: Ice Cream Candy Bars, Chipotle Pasta, & More

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Do you think if I start paying rent, they’ll let me live in the grocery store? Since I find myself there practically every day, it might behoove me to just move in already. That sure would make these Smart Cookie Shopping posts even easier!

It’s that time. We’re grabbing our grocery carts and filling ‘em up with the latest food products. I’ll dish on what’s worth trying, and what you should steer clear of. I’ve got an assortment of goodies this week, so let’s get shopping.

1. Klondike Cookies & Cream Kandy Bars available in the frozen section of most grocery stores

Setting aside the fact that I hate when brands change the first letter of a word to make it cutesy (Kandy? Really?), I thought these were pretty awesome. I expected the bar to be like brick when I bit down because I ate it fresh from the freezer, but the ice cream was the perfect softness, and the fudge inside was gooey. It was also less messy than a regular Klondike bar.


2. Wild Blueberry Vitalicious VitaTops available in the frozen organic section of some grocery stores

I’ve been a big fan of VitaTops for a while, but I haven’t been able to get my hands on many flavors until now. I love how light and fluffy this flavor is, and as is standard with a VitaTop, it’s got 100 calories with fiber and protein.

3. Chocolate Peanut Butter Vitalicious VitaTops available in the frozen organic section of some grocery stores

The chocolate variety is a bit richer and denser, but the salty PB chips do a good job of cutting that. I love that the chips are so plentiful.


4. Knorr Pasta Sides Chipotle Rosaavailable with the pasta and boxed mac and cheeses in most grocery stores

Chipotle is the latest and greatest flavor craze, and I’m not always a big fan. I did, however, find this pasta to be pretty darn good for something that came out of a box. It was very saucy, creamy, and flavorful. Make it with cream if you want it extra rich.


5. Goldfish Flavor Blasted Queso Fiesta available in the snack aisle of most grocery stores

These should just be called “Salty Fiesta” because literally all I could taste was salt.


6. Cape Cod Kettle Corn available in the chip aisle of most grocery stores

Yes, yes, and yes. I downed this bag in two sittings. I love the sweet and saltiness of kettle corn, and this stuff had great crunch. Plus, you can have a whole cup for 40 calories.


7. International Delight Coldstone Founder’s Favorite Brownie Sundae Creamer available in the dairy section of most grocery stores

It’s a brownie sundae in the form of coffee creamer; what more could you want? This stuff is indulgent and delicious, a must-try if you’re a coffee creamer lover.


8. Flatout Fold-It Everything Flatbreads available near the bread in most grocery stores

I cannot fully illustrate my newfound love for these guys. I have tried this flavor and the Rosemary Olive Oil, and I loved both. They are the texture of pita bread with only 100 calories and about 7 grams of protein each. I like to dip them in hummus.


So which of these products have you tried? Which do you want to try now?


Extra-Creamy Hummus + The One Trick You Need For Smooth Hummus


I may be the Smart Cookie Cook, but I’m not always the most logical. I’ve made how many hummus recipes for this site? A gazillion? But in all that chickpea goodness, I haven’t given you guys a classic, original hummus yet.

I know I’m weird, but that’s why you guys like me, right?

My Extra-Creamy Hummus lives up to its name, and I’ve got the one trick you need to make the best, smoothest hummus ever. The key is steaming the chickpeas in the microwave quick before you puree up the hummus. This makes them break down easier and gives you the most velvety texture you can dream of.


I’ve been chowin’ down on a LOT of store-bought hummus lately because the stuff is so good, but man, it’s expensive. I figured I would save a lot of money if I just made my own. It’s not like I can use the lazy excuse either because making hummus is literally easier than going to the store.

All that aside, the most important thing is that this is even more delicious than the hummus in the store.

I make a lot of fun, inventive recipes on this site, but everyone needs a few go-to favorite recipes that they keep on-hand and use again and again. This Extra-Creamy Hummus is one of those recipes. You’ll pull it out for parties, get-togethers, and everyday snacking. However, traditional as it may be, you’ve still got the Smart Cookie trick of steaming the chickpeas to give this hummus a leg up on the competition.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. If you’re making this for a crowd, double the recipe.
  2. If you want to go an extra step for creaminess, shell the chickpeas.
  3. The more oil you add, the smoother this will be.
  4. Serve this with chips, Beanitos, pita bread, veggies, and more.


Extra-Creamy Hummus
By The Smart Cookie Cook


  • 1 16 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 heaping teaspoons minced garlic
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4-6 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. salt


  1. Place chickpeas in a small microwave-safe bowl. Fill ¾ with water and cover with a paper towel. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave 30 seconds more.
  2. Drain chickpeas and transfer to food processor. Puree until smooth then add garlic and 3 tbsp. oil. Pulse until it starts to come together then puree continuously while streaming in the remaining oil.
  3. Add salt and stream in lemon juice while pulsing. If you’d like it smoother, you can add more oil. Taste to decide if it’s tangy enough for your liking. If not, add more lemon juice.
  4. Chill before serving.


3-Ingredient Mini Blueberry Fritters


I don’t know if this even counts as a recipe because it’s so ridiculously easy. What I do know is that I am about to supply you with something very dangerous. The ability to make something this addicting gives you a great power that you must know how to wield properly.

All you need to do is grab a can of Pillsbury Grands Blueberry Biscuits, rip the biscuits into tiny pieces, fry ‘em up in bubbling hot oil, and roll ‘em in powdered sugar. The result is an irresistibly crisp, golden exterior with a fluffy, tender center. They taste like a fatter, blueberry-studded version of funnel cake.


Anyone can make these 3-Ingredient Mini Blueberry Fritters, but no one can resist them. When the smell of them frying starts to waft through the house, something happens to your self control. Before you know it, ten of these golden beauties are gone, and you’re still going in for more.

Forget spending the day in the hot sun at the fair. You can have fried goodness in your own home today. Both kids and adults will marvel over your fried food talents, and only you will know these Mini Blueberry Fritters were only 3 ingredients.


A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. I know your frying instincts tell you to crank up the temperature, but you’ve got to cook these on a lower heat. Otherwise, the outside crisps up in seconds, and the inside is still a doughy mess.
  2. Powdered sugar coating is optional. A vanilla glaze would also work well.
  3. I strategically chose this mini size so they’d cook quickly and evenly.
  4. Although these are still tasty the next day, they do lose their crispness. That’s why I recommend eating them fresh.

3-Ingredient Mini Blueberry Fritters
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Yield – 24 fritters



  1. In a large pot, bring oil to medium-low heat. Wait for it to start bubbling.
  2. Tear each biscuit into 4 equally sized pieces and flatten slightly.
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  3. Drop 8 into the oil at a time. They should sizzle when they hit the oil. If not, take them out and wait for the oil to get hotter.
  4. Cook evenly on each size until the reach a deep golden brown (about 8 min each side). Let the excess oil drip off then place on a plate lined with paper towels to cool slightly.
  5. Pour sugar into a bowl and roll fritters in sugar until evenly coated. Enjoy.


Summery Stove-Top Quinoa w/ Veggies & Herbs


Holy cannoli, my Summery Stove-Top Quinoa w/ Veggies & Herbs was off-the-charts good, but it was so unexpected. I never anticipate for dishes that are a) this fast, b) this easy, and c) this healthy, to taste this freakin’ awesome. I took one forkful then just marveled over the sheer amount of flavor packed in there.

There is magic in simmering a few flavorful ingredients together. You see, as you cook the tomatoes, they release their juices and fuse with the olive oil and shallots. Add some garlic on top of that, robust Italian herbs, and a little parmesan cheese, and the whole thing creates its own light coating of succulent sauce.

This was something so tasty, I assumed I could eat a ton of it. On the contrary, that protein-packed quinoa makes this incredibly filling, so I didn’t need a lot to feel satisfied.


I also got the BF’s seal of approval, which is always exciting when I make something this nutritious. He’s very proud of himself for being well-versed in the world of quinoa now. But can you blame him? Quinoa is tender, tasty, and loaded with nutrients. Adding juicy vegetables like cherry tomatoes and corn only makes it that much better.

You weeknight summer meal isn’t complete without this 30-minute stove-top dream. It’s so flavorful and filling. Serve it up alongside burgers, chicken, or whatever you like.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. You can find the herb paste in the produce section by the fresh herbs. I highly recommend them because they’re delicious and won’t go to waste. Plus, there’s no chopping required.
  2. You can make this same dish with brown rice or multigrain pasta.
  3. If you want even more veggie goodness, add zucchini.


Summery Stove-Top Quinoa w/ Veggies & Herbs
By The Smart Cookie Cook


  • 1 4.8-oz. box Early Choice Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil Quinoa
  • 1 12-oz. bag Bird Eye’s Steamable Sweet Corn
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. Italian Herb Paste (I used Gourmet Garden)
  • 3 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper


  1. Cook quinoa according to box directions. Set aside.
  2. Cook corn according to package directions. Set aside.
  3. Bring 3 tbsp. of oil to medium-low heat in a large pot. Add shallots and tomatoes and saute until tomatoes are tender and begin releasing their juices, about 7 minutes.
  4. Stir in quinoa, corn, garlic, herb paste, cheese, salt, pepper, and remaining olive oil until well combined. Turn off heat and serve.


The Weekender: Cats Will Be Cats

Summer 144

I feel like summer is slipping away much too quickly, and that is particularly depressing this summer because it’s my last “real” summer. What do I mean by that? I mean I’m graduating this December, so there will be no more summers off for me. It’s off to the real world I go.

Well, now that I’m good and depressed, let’s consult the one remedy that will cheer me up again: food! It’s been another wonderful week of eating, and I’m ready to relive every bite with you.

Let’s review, shall we?

  1. Strawberry Lemonade Bars
  2. 30-Minute Caramelized Brussel Sprout Penne Saute
  3. Reese’s Stuffed Mini Cupcakes
  4. 30 Things You Didn’t Know About Smart Cookie
    Smart Cookie11

Several of the recipes you saw this week were created for the benefit I participated in last weekend. I worked with a local restaurant, Seymour’s Diner, to raise money for friends of mine that lost their home in a fire a few months ago. The Smart Cookie bake sale alone raised $300. Of course, I could not have raised even half that without the help of my BF. I tell him all the time he’s the best sous-chef ever, but he’s much more than that.


And I owe a big thanks to everyone who donated delicious treats to sell.
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Now, can we talk about how incredibly odd cats are? I had to take the fur babies to the vet this week, and it was practically like they wanted to go. And yet, all they did was growl and hate life while we were there.


Then, I’ve got this one, who thinks the perfect place to snuggle up is next to my weights. Someone please explain cat logic to me.


And when they’re not sleeping on carriers and weights, they’re sleeping on laptops.


See you on Monday!