It’s happened several times since that day I decided to bake my way out of self-pity. Things happen, or they don’t, and suddenly I’m swimming in thoughts of doubt and self-loathing. Such a completely unnecessary and useless place to be. Rather than take residence in that spot I reach for the butter. The process is for me – the creaming of sugars, stirring in of eggs and flour, and the folding in of chocolate – but the cookies are not.


Somewhere in that process of taking raw ingredients and combining them in a way that after they meet a hot oven they come out smelling sweetly intoxicating, I forget what got me here in the first place and I am content to have created. I am eager to share and better for the smiles that result from that sharing.

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I’ve called it Random Acts of Cookies. I wrote about it before and the response from all of you was so encouraging that I wanted to keep the sweet movement going. And today, along with the help of some very dear friends, I’ve come bringing some tools to entice you to bake with us and share with others.

Sally J Shim of Shim + Sons and her partner Joke Vande Gaer of Tokketok have created stunning gift tags and recipe cards for us. Also, if you head over to their collaborative site, SHIMTOKK you’ll find more fun downloads and ideas on how to package your cookies to give. Pretty great, right?! I couldn’t be more honored and happy to have these ladies a part of our movement.

Crazy big thanks to Sally and Joke for their incredible talents and for their willingness to work with me on this. Also, to you for encouraging me to continue with the movement. Thank you.

Now, let’s bake and share.


6252442013_4e34ef2693_bI may have added more chocolate to this batch. I’m okay with it if you are.

Click on the links below to download for yourself. The first is the recipe card and the other are tags you can use to package your cookies. Also, I’d LOVE for you to share your Random Acts of Cookies stories. Join me on Facebook and tell us all!


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Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

I requested chocolate chip cookies often as a child and often my mom would respond to such a request with perfectly crisp and toffee-like cookies. On occasion she would skip the scoops and dump the dough straight into a pan and opt for bars in place of cookies. I didn’t mind one bit. I took this idea and tweaked it slightly – more brown sugar for even more toffee flavor, cream cheese for a subtle tang, and espresso powder to make that chocolate really pop.

1 stick (4 oz) butter, soft

½ cup (4 oz) cream cheese

1/2 cup white sugar (4 oz )

1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed (12 oz )

2  eggs

2 tsp vanilla (1/4 oz)

3 1/2 cup All Purpose flour (1 lb. )

1 1/2 tsp Baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

12 oz chocolate, chopped or 1 bag chocolate chips (bittersweet, if you can find them).

Spray a 10” square cake pan with pan spray. Line the bottom with parchment then spray again.

Pre-heat the oven to 350*F

Cream the butter, cream cheese, and the sugars until very light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes on medium high. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at time. Make sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Combine the flour, soda, powder, and salt in another bowl. With a whisk to combine. With the machine on low, slowly add the flour. Mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix. When the flour is just about combined add the chocolate. Turn off the machine and finish mixing by hand to prevent over-mixing.

Bake at 350* for 35-40 minutes, until the center is just set and the edges are deep golden.

Let cool in the pan.

77 Responses to “Random Acts of Cookies – revisited”

  1. joey

    It’s almost midnight here and that oozing chocolate is calling to me…I may commit a random act of cookies right now! This is such a brilliant idea!!!

  2. Maia

    That photo of the cut-into-bars with chocolate oozing everywhere made me gasp out loud! And your boy is too cute.

    It was very sweet & generous of your blogger friends to create such adorable graphic designs!

    Things can get pretty tense at work, so earlier last week, I brought red velvet cupcakes. I’d like to think they helped take the edge off. 🙂 I actually blogged about it earlier this week:

  3. Zoe

    oh my, i’ve been looking for a recipe like this for ages, where the chocolate is seeping out like that. thanks for posting.
    the little tags are really cute too.

  4. Emme @Food Samba

    Wow! I am having a major mouth-watering moment! That oozey, ooey-gooey chocolate picture is insane! I have been wanting to bake cookies all weekend and my daughter has been begging to bake cookies with me. This might just be the recipe we bake tonight! Amazing!

  5. Allie

    Thank you for sharing this idea! I’ve been thinking about something similar for a long time. Reading your post and seeing the labels inspire me to finally try it.

  6. Jinger

    What a beautiful sentiment! I want to get started right away, but I’d need to make friends with my neighbors first!

  7. Michelle

    I recently had to have some pretty serious dental work done. It was rough and extremely painful. When my dentist heard that we did not have insurance he quietly and politely didn’t charge me for the work he did. Today, I baked off two different flavors of short bread and brought to the dentist office as a random act of cookie, a thank you cookie.

  8. Spinning Cook

    Great photographic moments, seriously. Not just your cookie “model” but the melty gooey oven-freshness in the natural light. Bummed that my day job has me doing my blog photos at night – no fair! Great work Ashley!

  9. Stacy

    I have a bunch of people to thank for volunteering at school and these look like just the ticket, or rather, cookie! Amazing how a bunch of grown women will drool over chocolate. 🙂 Thanks for posting!

  10. The Cilantropist

    I am loving these gift tags and recipe cards and I will definitely be using them to share my ‘random acts of cookies’ with friends! <3 Now, just to decide what cookies to make…

    ps. you are killing me with this oozing chocolate.

  11. Jo

    Oh wow… that looks phenomenal. I have GOT to try this recipe one day. My little boy will just about go nuts!! 🙂

  12. Linda

    I and just saw your commercial for Finish and I looked up your blog. Am I glad I did! Great idea not so random and great recipe. Thank you! I’ll be back.

  13. Jamie

    These look amazing!! One question though, when do you add the espresso powder? With the flour mixture?

  14. sara

    the download! brilliant! I love how this brings both you and the ones you share with joy, so special. Regretfully, I feel wrapped up in my own responsibility for the next two weeks but I’ve started a list (inspired by your project) of nice gestures that have popped in my head that I’d like to follow through and do (ex. drop off a quinoa salad + recipe to a friend who said she can’t figure out how to cook quinoa, volunteer to write the CSA newsletter as the girls who run it do not like doing it) – they may not be cookies per se, but your intention of giving it inspiring, and I want to be on board!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Sara – I’m right there with you. A list is such a great idea. I’ve thought about working this concept into our schooling too. I need something to hold me accountable and I want to instill this idea into my children. They learn by example so I need to get it together. 🙂

  15. KathyG in WA

    Love the snapshot of your cookie monster, esp the chocolate-dipped nose. The recipe looks great and I am going to make them this afternoon. Thank you!! 😀

  16. Alicia

    Those look amazing. Think of that with a tall glass of raw milk! And a sprinkle of salt. I’m a fellow Seattleite and found your blog through a friend and love it! I look forward to more and added it to my reader. And if you know anyone in Seattle who wants raw milk, I am just getting a drop point started (as a volunteer) at my house in Ravenna. We could use a couple more people to join.

    Think I’ll go heavy on the chocolate chips too…

  17. araina

    I love the way this recipe look ! I love the oozing chocolate. I am so allergic to chocolate but its pretty much all my kids love so I give in. What can I say, I am a mom!

  18. caryn

    the world really would be a better place if there were more random acts of cookies! the overload of chocolate you’ve suggested prompted me to add a good handful or two more of chocolate chips to today’s batch… and the perfect recipient was a sweet chocolate loving friend who just had her fourth baby girl. it’s her secret stash of chocolate chip cookies for her bedside table that she doesn’t have to share with anyone else in the house. thanks for reminding us to share the love, ashley!

  19. Marge at A Sweet and Savory Life

    Your photos are incredible– I have to go out and bake your oozing chocolate goodness this weekend! I also love the idea of this post, which is near and dear to my heart (as are cookies), because of , an organization founded by my good friend Gretchen when her 2-year old son was diagnosed. Cookies can accomplish great things, both large and small– including funding cures for kids’ cancers.

  20. Charity O

    Nom Nom! These are in the oven now! I’m off sugar… But taking them to a ladies cook n’ book group! One friend just passed the bar exam. So we are going to pass the (cookie) bar!

  21. Diana

    couldn’t get these out of my mind after seeing the pictures so I HAD to make them today. super yummy but not as pretty as yours. I had a hard time spreading the batter in the pan so the top ended up looking rough and jagged. Any tips on how to get a smooth top?

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Diana – A couple ideas. Spray an offset spatula with non-stick spray and use that to flatten or cut a piece of parchment to fit the top of your pan, lightly spray the parchment, place on top of the batter then carefully press in batter to form an even surface. I hope that helps!

  22. Diana

    Thanks, Ashley! Will try your suggestions for the next round. In the meantime, my husband and I have finished half the pan already =P I guess that’s what happens when you’re snowed in!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Diana – Glad you liked them! I managed to eat a batch of cookies, nearly an entire quiche, a homemade loaf of bread, and more cookies. So you are not alone in your snowed in eating habits. 🙂

  23. HTK

    This is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe in the world, bar none- the flavours are perfectly balanced and the texture is so comforting, so seductive. Thank you so much for sharing this Ashley!

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  25. pia

    this recipe looks fabulous! and i love sally’s works. unfortunately, i am not able to download the pdf file. i was wondering if you can help! these are perfect for christmas.

  26. Lisa

    Love your tags! I can’t get it to download. Is there anyway you get send me the file?

    Thanks so much!


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