Browned Butter Heath Bar Cookies with Toasted Pecans for Lauren

Brown Butter Heath Bar Cookies

I seldom struggle for words to say; I probably struggle more with being quiet. But today is different. I have the words but I know in the saying of them or even the thinking of them that the news I received Monday is still too raw and a flood of tears will start to wash down my face. Still, say them I must. My daughter has cancer. My baby daughter; my little girl. I don’t care if she is 29, she is MY baby and this news has sent me reeling like no other. Too young to even require a mammogram, she is the youngest breast cancer case ever seen by her primary physician; Dr. Fahey. Somehow I’m glad Dr. Fahey is still in the picture; she has been Lauren’s doctor since we moved to Denver 27 years ago and I take some comfort in that relationship but still; how could this be?

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Lauren and her baby, my granddog Charlotte

This blog took flight many years ago; I simply wanted a place to put my favorite recipes; an easy resource for myself, family and friends. Lauren was only 11 years old then and I’m sure my talk of Internet and websites was boring to both of my children but I’m hoping one day they will both appreciate how much of this body of work is a history that weaves throughout our family. Recipes that I made for them when they were little. Cakes I did for birthdays and special occasions; even cocktails we’ve shared. Though I have very occasionally taken the liberty of sharing a snippet of my life, I’ve never considered it my place to step up onto a soap box and wax poetic about events of the day, political, social or even personal. And I promise I won’t be making that an everyday occurrence now.

laurenThings will change however, something of this magnitude can not be ignored or taken lightly and so today, I made these cookies for that little girl of mine. I will probably share some of the journey we are embarking on; and it is a we; she may have moments of unspeakable fear but she is not alone. We have had our moments, Lauren and I. While close throughout high school when most girls her age were going through a rebellious stage, Lauren delayed that stage and her fierce need for independence has seen her occasionally break ties with me and break my heart as well. But there are some truths that will never change. That book I read to Emily and Lauren as little girls titled ‘I Will Love You Forever’ was such a favorite and I don’t think I ever read that book without tears of recognition of that mother’s love. I told them then and I’m not ashamed to admit it today; I am that mother with the ladder under the window. I will love her forever, like her for always, as long as she’s living, my baby she’ll be.

I’ve been in conversation with folks from the Cancer Treatment Centers of America about doing a regular post with recipes they provide to me. I met a wonderful group of them last year during Denver’s annual Susan G. Komen race and I was even won over to kale with this recipe for pesto. At the time, the idea of putting some of their recipes on this site seemed a combination of goodwill gesture combined with great food that anyone would enjoy. Now it has an even greater purpose and that is you Lauren. I love that you are otherwise so healthy and strong and I know that is going to help you win this fight and I’m hoping that these recipes I share for you and with you make a difference even if in some small way. I applaud your independence but this is the truth; I plan to be there for you, with you, with or without that ladder. Pink is my new favorite color.

Brown Butter Heath Bar Cookies

I can think of nothing I loved making more for my kids when they were little than homemade cookies. Even though Heath Bars have long been a favorite of mine, I know that this cookie is one Lauren would love too; as long as I made half without nuts of course! Rich with both granulated and brown sugars  and chunks of Heath Bar and milk chocolate in every bite, they are the epitome of comfort food. Making these today was a salve for me, I escaped to those days long ago when the house was filled with kids and homework and the noise of a family. I made these today for my little girl. I love you Lauren and I will forever.

Brown Butter Heath Bar Cookies

Browned Butter Heath Bar Cookies with Toasted Pecans

Creative Culinary
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 -5


  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, browned
  • ¾ cup white granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups Heath Bits with Milk Chocolate
  • ½ cup chopped pecans toasted and cooled


To Make Brown Butter:

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; stirring constantly. Watch carefully; the butter will foam and the solids under the foam will start to brown after 6-8 minutes,
  • Remove from heat immediately when the butter begins to turn brown.
  • Pour the butter into a shallow dish and chill until it becomes solid; about one half hour.

To Make the Cookies:

  • Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
  • In a separate bowl combine the Heath Bar pieces and the toasted pecans; set aside.
  • Beat together the butter and both sugars; add vanilla and beat to combine.
  • Beat in eggs one at a time.
  • Add the flour mixture, a third at a time and beat until combined.
  • Add the Heath Bar mixture and continue beating until combined with the dough.
  • Chill cookie dough for at least 30 minutes (I actually form all of the cookies at this stage, refrigerating half for baking and freezing half for baking later).
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Form cookies into balls approximately 1 inch in diameter and put approximately a dozen cookies on each sheet; spaced 3 inches apart.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until just starting to brown.
  • Remove from oven; let sit for a minute or two before transferring cookies to a wire cooling rack.


Heath Bar toffee bits are typically available in the baking section at your local grocery store; they come with or without a milk chocolate coating. I like the milk chocolate in this recipe but use the others if you prefer.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


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  1. This is only my second time to your site (I made your lemon cheesecake – it really is the best) and I found this post. I know cancer, though never had it myself. I lost my mom to uterine cancer when I was 6 (in 1968), lost my father 8 years later to stomach/lung/brain cancer, lost both of my uncles to cancer (mom’s brothers and one of which was not quite 6 years old when he died of brain cancer; the other uncle had spinal cancer) and I lost my best friend of 27 years to brain/lung cancer. I hate cancer with every fiber of my being and I am rooting for you and your daughter to beat this hideous monster. Take him down!!!!

    1. Thank you so much Michele…that is sure the plan! I was just the opposite of your experience having only known people from a distance that had cancer and even then none the age of my daughter. I still have moments of not believing this has happened but I push those aside and arm myself to help her fight it with everything we’ve got.

      On another note…glad you loved the cheesecake too; it’s our absolute favorite!

  2. I too am at a loss for words. I can not even fathom your heartache right now. As a mother, I know the fierce need to protect our babies no matter the age. Sending you big hugs, love, light and strong healing energy you and your daughters way.

    1. Thank you Kelley; I have yet to move to a place of complete acceptance; I imagine sitting with her tomorrow through her first chemo treatment will force that upon me. Trying to be strong for her and she is doing the same for me; I’m sure we’ll make it but do hope the time flies.

  3. Lauren is so beautiful and as a mother I share all the emotions you expressed here and will keep you and Lauren in my thoughts. I’ve witnessed the battle against cancer in my family and it is one that requires strength, endurance, and lots of love and support. I hope to hear good news about Lauren soon.

  4. Barbara & Lauren, Winning is an attitude. It is a state of preparedness that courses through your body, settles into every muscle, fiber and ligament then runs rampant through your subconscious. It is an attitude that your competitor should recognize in your eyes, it’s the belief that once you step up to the starting line, everyone else is competing for 2nd place. I have never battled cancer but I know what it takes to win a tough fight. The Malik’s will keep your family in our prayers and will pray for Lauren’s ultimate victory. The race is for 2nd place; first place has already been decided.

  5. Hugs to you both. Love will get you through this. I’ll make the cookies as a way of sending positive energy to you and your daughter.

    1. Aw, what a sweet gesture, thank you so much…and really good cookies too so hope you enjoy them as much as we have.

  6. Barb,
    My heart goes out to you and to your daughter. My thoughts and prayers are with you and I am here to support you with information, resources, you name – whatever you need.

  7. I’m so sorry, Barb. 🙁 I don’t have kids, but I can just imagine how hard it must be to know your little girl is going through this. She’s lucky to have you in her corner, to help her and support her through the tough days ahead. Sending you both love and hugs.

  8. Oh, Barb…I am so sorry that both you and Lauren are going through this. No parent should have to watch their child go through something like this. But this is what I know…if Lauren has even a fraction of your strength and get-down-to-it spirit, she will fight like no other.

    You are both in my thoughts and I am sending you a million hugs from here.

  9. I am so sorry, so young, so hard. We live in a society where cancer is way too common. . .makes me so sad. I totally believe the food we eat today is positioning us and way too many toxins around us. Stay strong!

  10. Barb, my heart breaks for you and for Lauren. Such terrible news can never come at a good time or a good age but to be so young almost makes it that much more devastating. Reading this post brings tears to my eyes and I wish that I could jump in my car and come squeeze you. I wish there were something I could do to take even a fraction of your pain away. Both you and Lauren will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  11. B, your cookie recipe post today is such a beautiful expression of a mother’s love and affection for her daughters. Your daughter Lauren is absolutely beautiful and I just know that her heart is even more so—especially coming from you. You are such a kind soul, B. When I first logged onto Twitter on Monday, your tweet sharing the news of the “C” word was the first I saw. My heart dropped, my body went limp, my throat tightened and tears immediately filled my eyes…knowing that my sweet new friend was hurting so badly. I am still reeling from the news because Lauren is only 29 and cannot even fathom how you feel as her mom. But, you are a strong woman. And, I know you will both overcome this battle. With all of your friends surrounding you, and all of their prayers providing added strength, you will be even stronger. Please know that you can reach out at any time. I am here for you always, my friend. Sending much love to you, Lauren and your family. xoxo ~Stacy

  12. Oh Barb, I wish we were neighbors so I could come and give you a hug. This beautiful heartbreaking post has me all choked up. I think of my babies, still very much babies, and the thought of them going through anything so horrible terrifies me. Yet I know that as life so often does, it will no doubt throw us curve balls along the way. Here’s to the moms who keep those ladders under the window, and here’s to the love of friends and family that sustain us through hard times. XO

  13. I am so, so sorry to hear of you sweet baby girl’s diagnosis. I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers with hopes for her full and speedy recovery. Your daughter is blessed to have you as her mom Barb! Together you will both come through this difficult time even stronger than you were before.

  14. I’m so sorry that Lauren has been diagnosed with breast cancer. I can understand how frightened she must be and how this news has stunned you, Lauren and her sister. I am praying for her and for you all Barb. You have raised a beautiful, strong and independent young woman who I know will face this fight head on and be very stubborn in seeing that she beats this. She has a very supportive mother and sister who will be there to push her on when she feels that she can’t and countless other people she doesn’t even know who are in her corner praying for her. God bless you all through the weeks and months to come.

  15. Oh dear Barb. I just randomly checked FB posts and saw yours and followed it here. I’m absolutely heartbroken to read this post (as tears stream down my face) and hear about Lauren’s recent diagnosis. Sending much love, thoughts and prayers your way. xoxo Laura

  16. Oh my gosh, Barb. Praying like crazy for Lauren and for you. I’m 29. I can’t even imagine. Sending you big hugs and tons of prayers. xo

    Please let us know if we can do anything.

  17. I’m so sorry to hear of Lauren’s diagnosis of breast cancer – those are words no one ever wants to hear (I know – as I have also heard those words) – Please let me know if you want any resources/information as I have lots of places I can point you and/or Lauren to – I was a volunteer with Y-Me (before they went belly up) and with ABCD (who is picking up the hotline abandoned by Y-Me) so I know a lot about the various types of breast cancer, treatment options etc – since I went through training with Y-Me.

    Sending both you and Lauren some great big hugs (((((((Barb))))))) (((((((Lauren)))))))
    and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email (or phone if you’d like) to talk

    You will both be in my thoughts and prayers

  18. I’m thinking of you and Lauren and sending healing wishes, Barb. You’re a great mother and your baby will benefit from that fierce love and sense of protection. We’re all with you on this.

  19. Oh Barbara, I am so sorry to hear about your daughter, 29 yrs old is too young. I understand and know your emotions and pain all too well. My Mother and my sister and survivors of breast cancer, miraculously, and every day is a gift. I will hold you and Lauren in my thoughts and prayers, you are strong and will be a rock for Lauren. I hope they detected it early and that treatment is swift and successful. Please know that I am thinking of both of you!

  20. Beautifully spoken, Barb. I am praying hard for Lauren and for all of you. She is lucky to have such a great support system with her family. I know she will get through this and that her strength and fierceness to win this battle will inspire others. Love you all.

  21. I’m so sorry to hear this. My heart goes out to you and Lauren. My husband is recovering from treatment for Hodgkins lymphoma and let me tell you, cancer is a great big mofo. It doesn’t care how old you are or aren’t, whether you had other plans, did all of the right things or none of them. But you CAN kick its ass, and my sincere wish for you and your daughter is that you kick it with gusto. I will be thinking of you both.

  22. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear this! Lauren — and you — have a challenge ahead, and I hope it’s a successful one, and as comfortable as it can be. There are some amazing treatments these days, but of course this is still scary (at least I’d find it so). Best of luck, and you’ll both be in my thoughts.

  23. My gosh. This was just on the news last night. It sounds like you are already being strong but if you need help I live in Denver. Feel free to look me up. I am good at lifting boxes. “My baby she’ll be”….that was my favorite book, too.

  24. Thinking of you and Lauren today. I am sure you would take this diagnosis in her place if you could. That is how a mother feels. I am glad she has your support and love. Will talk soon. Holly

  25. Dearest Barb,

    I cannot tell you how sorry I am and I can’t begin to imagine how you feel. As Lana said, you and your daughter aren’t in this alone… your “virtual” family is here .. when you need to talk, we’ll be here to listen and even though we can’t give you hugs IRL we will be sending them anyway.
    Oh, and to cancer… well, you all are bringing your “A” game.. I don’t think it has any idea WHO it is messing with!

  26. Hello, Obviously the room has stopped spinning on you, and you are able to take a coherent breath, I am sorry to hear such news, your daughter, and you have had to experience such a tramatic shock! My son at the age of 20 was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer, and like any mother I examined every aspect of his life to see what I had done to cause it, I had done nothing, just the opposit, none the less he had cancer. Fear was the worst, it could creep into my thoughts like a black fog, there are times I have no idea how I got home after his treatments. Secondly, the lack of control I had in his treatment and recovery, and recover he did, he had a team of amzing careing nurses and doctors. I am so thankful to hear she has a physicain that she can trust and is in tune with, but here is the purpose of my email, Her primary care physican is just that, the foundation to her health care, make sure she sees every specialist that is nessicary to heal and conquor this beast, never let a report or question lie, push, push, push! her life will depend on it. Question and research everything, it doesn’t sound as though you are a godzilla mom, but knowing how and why something is being done will give you both a security and the faith you will need to proceed though this journey. Please know there is nothing wrong with the momentary thoughts of “Why Me”, or “I Can’t Do This Anymore”, as long as they are momentary, team support here is crucial! but the thing to remember is they are momentary, and tomorrow the battle will begin again and you will conquor!!
    I wish you the very best of luck and care, plus a boat load of faith, you have my eamil, contact me when ever to vent or cry, but please let me know of the rejoyous!
    Pink though and though, Kimberly

    1. Kimberly…thank you for such a thoughtful message and sharing that you have gone down a similar path with your young son. Lauren certainly does have a team she is working with now and a plan is in action. I will be sure to come back and get your contact info in that moment that I need to converse with someone who has gone through something similar with their own child; thank you so very much. Barb

  27. Barb, my heart goes out to you now and always. I wish you both strength and grace and courage for the battle in the months ahead. I know that you will be a wonderful support for her and hope that you can rely on friends for the comfort that you need to get through this time. I am here for you if you need anything. You are such a generous and loving soul, I only hope that you can feel the love and support going out to you at your time of need.

  28. Oh Barb – my heart and prayers are with you and your beautiful daughter. A mother’s love can move mountains and work miracles, and I know that it will be such a source of strength and comfort as you win this battle together! My hugs and thoughts are with you. xx

  29. omg Barb – am sitting here early this morning reading this, gasped and the tears flow; from one mother to another, i can only imagine the emotions you feel. prayers for you and for Lauren – i know you’re both strong women and i know you will both walk the path together, sometimes one leading the other yet in tandem. am sending my fighting spirit your way – (((hugs))) to you my friend

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