Todd and I drove to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina this weekend to visit family and enjoy a little hiking. In South Carolina the leaves are just beginning to turn, but that transformation is well underway just a bit north.
We hiked on beautiful paths...
...and through lovely valleys in the shadow of the mountains.
We saw lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and waterfalls.
Huge trees - virgin hardwoods!
Smaller ones, too.
We enjoyed the sights...
...while staying clear of some less-than-friendly locals!
Todd's dog Borga came with us. She can be a real pain to take on trips, because she's high-strung to the extreme. She always cries en route to our destinations and then once there, too, if kept in the crate. However, she usually calms down after a nice walk, and she always like to pose in our pictures.
We had clear days and beautiful nights.
It was a great trip!
We've been really, really busy lately, and I've only had time for one Halloween baked item: a cookie cake baked in a 9" cake pan. Now, if you grew up in the midwest, or at least in central Indiana, you knew the Original Cookie Co. in the Greenwood Park Mall. The OCC always had these amazing gigantic cookie cakes that I'd salivate over. I never bought one, but had slices at the occasional birthday party. With ice cream or without, the giant cookie cake never failed to satisfy. The center was soft. The outside edge was crisp. The frosting was tooth-achingly sweet. What's not to love? Learning that I could make my own at home was proof that knowledge in the wrong hands can be very dangerous indeed!
Not very spooky? Perhaps you didn't notice the terrifying Halloween funfetti sprinkles I used!
It was so easy to make. I used this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction, just changing up the sprinkles.
I piped buttercream frosting around the edge and in the center.
It was really, really good - soft in the middle, crispy on the outside edge, just like the OCC, but fresher and, dare I say, tastier? I recently made a batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and learned that they, too, have a giant cookie cake version. I think I know what my next post-holiday baking project is going to be!
Have a great week!