Desserts, Pies, Recipes

Mandarin Pie #CookoutWeek

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips… this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. 

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

I’ve always been a fan of fruit and chocolate. Separately or together, this combination is pretty great. I can hardly think of a single fruit that doesn’t taste good with a bit of chocolate. Can you? Oranges and chocolate is one of my favorite combos. I love it in these cookies and these muffins, so it should come as no surprise that I also love it in pie form!

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

The first time I tried this pie was a pretty bad night. Maybe “pretty bad” is a bit of an exaggeration, but over Christmas, both Ben and I got pinkeye. It was pretty much the worst. We were visiting my parents in beautiful Bluffton, South Carolina when the dreaded infection struck. My eyes looked awful and vacation went from relaxing to constant laundry, handwashing, and disinfecting. I blame the baby. Haha. 🙂 Maybe I’m still exaggerating about how bad it was, but I wouldn’t wish pinkeye on anyone! The only highlight of the evening I spent at urgent care was this dessert that I got to enjoy afterwards. This pie was graciously shared with our family by my parents’ friends. We each got a slice and I was so sad it was all gone. I couldn’t stop thinking about it! Eventually I got the recipe and the rest is history! I forsee a LOT of mandarin pie in my future!

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

The goodness of this pie starts off with an Oreo crust. The original recipe suggested a chocolate crust, but I amped it up a bit with some Oreos (or fauxreos, as Ben calls them because in baking, I tend to use the store brand). The crust is then filled with a glorious mixture of cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, and sour cream. It’s light and sweet and almost cheesecake-y in texture. Utterly amazing! Fold in some mandarin oranges, spoon into crust, and top with mini chocolate chips and a few decorative mandarin oranges and there you have it! Every bite is filled with chocolatey orange goodness. Since this pie doesn’t require any baking, it’s perfect for summer. This would be a great pie to bring to a cookout, as long as it could be kept cold until serving. Wherever you enjoy this pie, be sure to share it with those you love. 🙂 ❤

I hope you’ve enjoyed all the recipes I’ve shared for #CookoutWeek. Don’t forget to enter the #CookoutWeek 2017 giveaway, happening NOW! Lots of great prizes and an easy entry!

Check out some other delicious cookout recipes shared today for #CookoutWeek here!

Tell me: what’s your favorite no-bake dessert for cookouts?

two years ago: Iced Coconut Mocha
three years ago: Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars
four years ago: Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake
five years ago: BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad
six years ago: Lemony Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Mandarin Pie

  • Servings: 8
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from my mom’s friend Karen – addition of the Oreo crust by yours truly


for Oreo crust (can also substitute your favorite chocolate crust or a storebought one)

  • 25 Oreos
  • 5 tablespoons butter

for pie

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchâtel)
  • 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed
  • 1 – 15 ounce can mandarin oranges, divided
  • 1 ounce semi sweet chocolate OR a handful of mini chocolate chips


Begin by preparing crust. Crush Oreos in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl. Then melt butter and drizzle into Oreo crumbs. Use a fork to combine, then press into a 9 inch pie pan. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

To prepare pie filling, beat cream cheese in a stand mixer until fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, and sour cream. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.

Transfer half of the pie filling to crust, then top with most of the mandarin oranges. Reserve eight oranges for the pie topping. Cover with remaining filling. Depending on how deep the pie pan is, you may have a little leftover. Top pie with mandarin oranges and mini chocolate chips.

Instead of mini chocolate chips, you can also melt 1 ounce of semi sweet chocolate (a baking square if possible) and drizzle over the pie. Either way tastes great!

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before slicing. Best enjoyed the same day, especially for presentation, but leftovers are also good for ~48 hours.

I haven’t made this, but I think this pie filling would also be amazing as parfaits: Oreo crumbs, pie filling, mandarin oranges, chocolate chips, and repeat. Yum!

30 Before 30, Cookies, Desserts, Recipes

Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Guys, I gotta get going on my 30 before 30 list! My 20s are creeping away and this list isn’t getting any shorter. Yikes! But I must admit that it makes me feel pretty good when people who don’t know me at my university think I’m a student even though I’m a faculty librarian, and that one of my coworkers thought I was about 25 until I told her I was 29. Woohoo! But anyways. 30 before 30. Cookies. Let’s get to the point here. 🙂

Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies |

I put sandwich cookies as one of my 30 before 30 goals because I can sometimes be a lazy baker. I love baking, don’t get me wrong. But it’s the extra steps in recipes that I often avoid. [The steps sometimes and the entire recipe itself at other times. Just depends!] Chilling the dough, making a glaze, making brown butter, etc. Sometimes those steps just seem a bit nonsensical especially when they’re coming from food bloggers who come across as a little too authoritative and bossy. [Yup, I said it. I hope I don’t sound that way to any of you!] There’s nothing that irks me more than extra steps that aren’t always necessary. I know that sometimes they are, but do you know what I mean? Let’s discuss, and I’ll try not to rant. I often skip glazes for muffins/quick breads because they really aren’t necessary and because we can’t eat the recipe fast enough so the glaze gets a bit yucky. And it seems like every single cookie recipe nowadays in the blog world asks you to chill the dough for 2 hours or overnight. Who has time for that? Not me! A quick 30 minute trip to the fridge works, but if you aren’t at home baking all day most people don’t have time for that on a weeknight when you just want some cookies!! And brown butter. Don’t get me started. Like salted desserts, it’s just a trend. A trend that I hate. Ehhh, maybe it takes the taste of butter up a notch but I’m not a big fan. For me, in the blog world, these steps amplify my annoyance when bloggers rail against the lazy [hello!] who want to skip the steps and thus [to the blogger] will ruin the recipe. Not true, my friends! The cookies may not be as soft, the bread may not be as sweet, the butter flavor may not be as nutty. But what you make will still be good. </endrant>

Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies |

But whatev. People are entitled to their passions. Some things about the “professional” food bloggers just tick me off! [And I can go on, but I’ll stop now. I’m sure they’re nice people in real life!] Sandwich cookies. I’m getting a bit ADD today, obviously. Sandwich cookies sound good in theory but I’m often too lazy to make them. When I put them on my list, I envisioned making homemade Oreos or some kind of chocolate peanut butter goodness. When I saw these Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies, I knew I had to try them. And I’m so glad I did, even if they were a ton of work.

Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies |

Go back and reread that paragraph about my complaints against baking and bloggers who say you have to do xyz or your recipe will be ruined!!! Oh so dramatic. This recipe, ironically, is finicky. The peanut butter cookies aren’t your traditional easy recipe. They’re crumbly and have almost a shortbread texture. But they are super peanut buttery which totally makes up for the crumbly mess of dough you’ll have, and the fact that you have to bake them one sheet at a time because putting them on the bottom rack of the oven will burn them faster than you can say peanut butter. Ha. It’s true! If you want, you can skip this peanut butter cookie recipe and use your favorite. Just make them smaller than usual because mini sandwich cookies are so cute and pop-able.

Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies |

Those shortbread-y peanut butter cookies are filled with a divine homemade dulce de leche!! Alas, it is a bit finicky too, but just time-wise. All you have to do is cook sweetened condensed milk in a double boiler [mine is homemade], stirring occasionally for an hour to two hours. It’s easy enough to do when you’re home reading or watching tv or doing whatever else, so long as you can head to the kitchen every 15 minutes or so to stir it up. I know there are lots of ways to make dulce de leche [here’s a summary] but this is the only one I’ve tried. Making it in the can scares me. No matter how you make it, the resulting sweet, syrupy, caramely filling is the perfect center for crunchy peanut butter cookies. They look impressive and taste amazing. I’m sure they’ll be a bit at your next party!

three years ago: Chorizo and Potato Tacos
four years ago: Mango Chicken Curry

Dulce de Leche Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

  • Servings: 30 cookie sandwiches
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from Jun-blog


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk [14 ounce can]


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together with a wooden spoon. A mixer can also be used. Then add egg, peanut butter, and vanilla and vigorously mix together until well combined. Add the flour mixture in 1/4 cup increments until combined. Dough will be crumbly and should just hold together.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on a ungreased and cool cookie sheet. Flatten each ball with a fork: first in one direction, then the perpendicular direction to form a crisscross pattern.

Bake one cookie sheet at a time for 10-12 minutes or until just golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool. Allow the cookie sheet to cool to the touch before adding more cookie dough to it. Keep dough refrigerated between batches. Dough should yield approximately 60 small one inch cookies.

While cookies are baking, prepare dulce de leche. Pour sweetened condensed milk into the bowl of a double boiler. I used a homemade one. Basically, you’ll need a large metal or glass bowl that can sit on top of a pot of simmering water without touching the water. This bowl should seal the pot so no steam escapes, because the steam is what causes the cooking effect. For more details, see this tutorial. After sweetened condensed milk is in the bowl, heat double boiler to a simmer and cook for 1-2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so. The longer the milk cooks, the thicker it gets as it caramelizes. The milk turns to dulce de leche as it gets to be a darker, golden brown color. The original recipe says to only cook for an hour but mine was nowhere near done by then. It took a good two hours. Cover and refrigerate dulce de leche until completely cooled–I just refrigerated this overnight. A good test for telling when dulce de leche is done is to stick a small plate in the freezer after about an hour of cooking. Remove plate from freezer. Carefully spoon a teaspoon of dulce de leche onto the cold plate and then return to freezer. In five minutes, check the consistency of the dulce de leche. If it’s what you like, great! If not, keep cookin’.

When cookies and dulce de leche are completely cooled, match cookies up by size. Spoon just under a tablespoon of dulce de leche on the flat part of one cookie, then cover with another cookie. Place on a single layer on a serving plate or cookie sheet and refrigerate until set. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.