Pistachio & Cranberry Cookies

You probably have figured out that I don’t bake that often, but when I do, I like to make something special.  I am not the best at following directions, which is why I tend to stick with cooking and winging my own thing.  I have been trying to bake a little bit more which has been so fun!  In trying to find the perfect recipe for the cookie swap last month, I stumbled upon this adorable semi-homemade recipe from one of my favorite blogs, The Girl Who Ate Everything.  I ended up choosing the Peppermint Pattie Cookies for the cookie swap, but still HAD to make these! Continue reading

Peppermint Pattie Cookies

 

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It’s Cookie Swap Time!!!

This is the third year I’ve participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and I just love it.  Here’s how it works:  I whip up a huge batch of cookies and send a dozen to three different bloggers that I am assigned to.  My favorite part about it all… three different bloggers send ME a dozen cookies each!  It’s such a fun way to try new recipes and share with friends in the holiday spirit.  As if three dozen cookies isn’t enough, the best thing about the swap is that we raise money for an awesome cause, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.   How awesome is that?

This cookie recipe is screaming to be made for this holiday season.   Continue reading

-Marshmallow Crispy- Oreo Rice Krispy Treats, SRC March

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For my first post back in over two weeks, I thought I might as well start off with a bang.  Or, you know… what I like to call a cannibalistic treat.  I’m going to try hard to only use one Hannibal Lecter quote in here.

I do wish we could chat longer, but... I'm having an old friend for dinner.

I do wish we could chat longer, but… I’m having an old friend for dinner.

Obviously I’m not in the business of cooking up people.  I’m talking about some delicious Krispy-on-Krispy action here.

Did anyone get a chance to go out and try the new Oreos yet?!  I hope you did, because they are so darn hard to find!  Oreo came out with a ridiculous line of special edition (so rude… just like the Disney Vault… now they’re GONE!) flavors:  Cookie Dough, Lemon, and MARSHMALLOW CRISPY.  They are amazing!  I have only tried the flavors with vanilla cookie- since Dave doesn’t like regular Oreos (WTF, right?!!) and they are bomb.com.  <List of the top Oreo Flavors!>

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Besides eating an entire sleeve of these babies this month… I bought another package to do something special.  Yes, remember where I”m going with this?  Something cannibalistic.  I had to try to make Marshmallow Crispy Oreo Rice Krispy Treats.  WOW.

You might wonder why the sudden sweet tooth?!  The inspiration for this outrageous dessert came from my awesome Secret Recipe Club partner, Katrina from the blog Baking and Boys.  Katrina does it all- she is a wife and a mother of FOUR boys… she cooks amazing food and even bakes (I could NEVER! So Impressed).

Secret Recipe Club

Forget what my Secret Recipe Club is?  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!  This month was so difficult since Katrina is so creative!  I had to pick her Oreo-Krispy-M&M mashup.  It just sounded too good to be true.

Krispy Oreo Rice Krispy Treats

Ingredients:

6 cups Rice Krispy Cereal

3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

1 (10oz) bag Mini Marshmallows

15 Marshmallow Crispy Oreos

1/2 cup spring M&Ms 

Directions:

1.  Cover a 9×13 baking dish with foil, hanging over the edges and prepare with cooking spray.  Set aside.

2.  Chop the Oreos.  Combine oreos and cereal in a large bowl.  Set aside.

3.  In a non-stick saucepan, melt the butter, then add the marshmallows.  Stir over low heat until marshmallows have melted and are combined with the butter.  Dump the marshmallow mixture over the cereal and stir quickly with a sturdy rubber spatula or wooden spoon.  Add M&Ms.  

4.  Dump the Krispy mixture into the foil-lined baking dish and either use your hands or a potato masher to spread and smooth out.  Let sit for an hour, then remove using the foil, peel off the foil, and cut into squares.  Enjoy!

Recipe <seasonally> adapted from:  Baking and Boys!

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YUM!  I had wayyyy too many of these!  They are awesome!  I never had Krispy Treats with oreos AND M&Ms… the opportunities are endless!  I am dying to try to make these with the Peppermint Oreos when they are in season like Katrina made- yum!

Take a second to check out the rest of the bloggers in my group… these recipes sound awesome this month!

Roasted Pineapple with Honey & Cashews

It has been so ridiculously cold this winter, I cannot stand it!  It’s Wednesday night and all anyone can talk about is the upcoming snow storm we’re expecting.  It’s supposed to last all night and into tomorrow, ending in the evening on Thursday.  I’m just over it!  It’s all over the news, twitter and facebook… shut up people!  Let’s talk about how the Phillies started Spring Training today!!

Snoop can show you exactly how I feel!

Snoop can show you exactly how I feel!

All I keep thinking about is how badly I wish I had another pineapple to make this dessert again.  But I don’t have one… and it’s already snowing.  BOO!

Stelly loves the snow!  The doggies are so excited.

Stelly loves the snow! The doggies are so excited.

Roasted Pineapple with Honey & Cashews

Ingredients:

1/2 cup packed Dark Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Orange Juice (I used Trader Joe’s fresh Tangerine Juice)

3 Tablespoons Honey

1 ripe Pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges

1/4 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt

1/3 cup Raw Cashews, coarsely chopped

2 Tablespoons torn Fresh Mint Leaves

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.*  Stir the brown sugar, OJ, and honey in a large bowl until sugar dissolves.  Add pineapple and carefully toss to coat in the mixture.  Let marinate, tossing occasionally for about 10 minutes.  Place pineapple on the prepared sheet and reserve the marinade.

2.  Roast the pineapple for 15 minutes.  Turn, brush with marinade, and roast until tender and caramelized (10-15 minutes longer)  Drizzle remaining marinade over the pineapple and let cool slightly.

3.  Divide pinapple among bowls (Dave and I ate the entire thing ourselves!!).  Spoon greek yogurt alongside.  Garnish with cashews and mint.  

Slighty adapted from:  Bon Appetit

*Make sure to line the entire pan!  The marinade is very liquidy and mine leaked all over the pan- it was a tough one to scrub off when I was finished.

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pineapple

What’s so funny about this recipe is that I originally posted the Bon Appetit version on my facebook so I would remember to try it!  Dave’s Mom thought it was mine and re-posted on her own wall showing me off!  I was happy to have all the love but that was enough inspiration for me to make it myself.  It’s probably the best dessert I’ve ever had.  After the Banana Cream Pie at Chef Vola’s.  

The original recipe uses pistachios, but Dave loves cashews and I had ’em so i used those instead.  Also, you can swap out the greek yogurt for some creme fraiche if you’re feeling fancy.  Whatever you do- don’t skimp out on the fresh mint.  Seriously.  It’s like a dollar at the grocery store and you can use the rest in tea and in recipes like this (I made it last week and holy moly it’s amazing).  While every single part of this dessert has its own perks… the mint… oh my gosh…. the mint.  It just makes this dish.  I don’t know why but it just does and it’s SO GOOD.

Anyway, this is a super easy dessert that will seriously impress people, so give it a try.  I can’t wait to make it again!

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread : Feb SRC

I’m hoping you’re reading the title of this post and having the same reaction I did… WHATTTTT?!??!!  When I read about this recipe on my SRC partner’s blog… I was just amazed.  I don’t think I can personally ever be so creative.  What an awesome recipe.  Whoa.  I just had to try it.

After a month off, I’m back on with the Secret Recipe Club.  For those of you who haven’t checked it out before, please do!  The Secret Recipe Club (or the SRC) has been a really fun way to encourage me to try new recipes and connect with new bloggers.  Each month, everyone in the club gets an assignment to check out another blogger’s page.  We then pick ANY of their existing recipes and make them ourselves!  Then, on reveal day (today), we all post about our findings and experiences.  I have made some of my favorite recipes EVER from some of my paired blogs (check out THIS one… omg).

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with the blog:  Easily Good Eats.  It was so hard to pick just one recipe to make from this blog.  Like I said- she is so creative!  There are so many interesting recipes from different cuisines and countries around the world.  Very impressive.  I was automatically drawn to this recipe once I saw the word “Caramelized”…. I was practically drooling (as I am sure you are now too!)…  I won’t waste any more time, here is what I made:

it's as good as it looks.

it’s as good as it looks.

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread

Makes:  1 Loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup Flour
½ cup Sugar, divided into 1/4’s 
1½ cups Carrots, peeled and grated
½ cup Unsalted Butter (1 stick)
2 Eggs, large
just under 1/4 cup Milk (I used 2%)
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
1½ teaspoons Baking Powder
 
Directions
  1. Prepare a loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Add ¼ cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon of water to a saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook on high heat until the sugar turns dark red. It will happen- I promise.  (I used a rubber spatula) Stir and don’t let it burn!
  3. Add carrots and butter.  Cook over low heat until the carrots becomes soft. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Puree the mixture (optional). Let the mixture cool completely.  *Optional to puree the mixture in a food processor- I did not*
  4. In a bowl beat ¼ cup sugar and eggs until the sugar dissolves. Add to the carrot mixture together with milk and mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture.  Don’t overmix.
  6. Pour the batter into loaf pan and bake at 350°F until done, about 30-40 minutes. A skewer inserted in the middle of the cake should come out clean.

Recipe slightly adapted from: Butterscotch (Caramelized) Carrot Cake

At first, this recipe was a little more labor-intensive than what I’m used to.  First of all, I don’t really bake that much.  I also rolled my eyes when I saw how much carrot I’d have to grate.  But then I remembered, OMG, I have a food processor!  I finally was able to use our engagement gift from Dave’s parents in a new way- the grating tool!  Once I got it set up and peeled my carrots, it took literally 45 seconds.  It was the easiest thing ever, I totally recommend doing this- it will save you so much time!  Once the carrots were grated, the rest was simple.  Cook up the sugar, add the butter, carrots, and make the bread.

Lots of shredded carrots!  Thank goodness for our new food processor :)

Lots of shredded carrots! Thank goodness for our new food processor 🙂

If you were curious about what caramelizing carrots looked like...

If you were curious about what caramelizing carrots looked like…

Here is the batter with the wet ingredients and carrots

Here is the batter with the wet ingredients and carrots

I should also tell you that you should make DOUBLE this recipe.  You’re going to want to eat the whole loaf yourself, but also share one- it is one hell of an impressive recipe… show off your skills!  Next time, I’m going to double AND make a little bit of cream cheese glaze to drizzle overtop.

Finished product!  YUM!

Finished product! YUM!

Now that I’ve probably made you hungry for something sweet…

check out some of the other blogger’s recipes from this month’s SRC!

Chai Tea Eggnog Cookies & 2013 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Oh hey bloggy friends!  It’s been too long, hasn’t it?

The holiday season is the perfect time to make happy food.  It’s a time to momentarily forget our diets, stop counting the calories, and just sit back and enjoy some yummy comfort food.  For me- that kind of food is dessert!  And my favorite dessert has to be cookies 🙂

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This is the second year I’ve participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and I cannot wait to tell you about the delicious cookies I made!  Here’s how it works:  I whip up a huge batch of cookies and send a dozen to three different bloggers that I am assigned to.  The best part… three different bloggers send ME a dozen cookies each!  It’s such a fun way to try new recipes and share with friends in the holiday spirit.

Today, I’m going to share the recipe I made with you.  I have been dying to try this creative semi-homemade recipe from Southern Living for a few years now.  I left out the glaze topping in the hopes that they would be better for shipping to my FB Cookie Swap friends… and they turned out so fabulous!  I know it sounds a little strange at first, but the flavors are amazing.  The eggnog keeps the cookies unbelievably moist.  These are the perfect addition to your holiday cookies repertoire!

Chai Tea Eggnog Cookies

Ingredients:

1 Chai Tea Bag

1 package Sugar Cookie Mix (Betty Crocker)

1/2 cup Melted Butter (one stick)

1 large Egg

2 Tablespoons Eggnog

Cinnamon Sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350. 

2.  Remove tea leaves from bag- discard bag.  Mix tea leaves, cookie mix, butter, egg, and the 2 Tablespoons of eggnog until well blended.  

3.  Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheets.  Flatten dough with the bottom of a glass dipped in cinnamon sugar.

4.  Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned.  Remove and cool on a wire rack.  ENJOY!

Original Recipe from:  Southern Living

I am LOVING the Kerrygold butter I've been using this winter... so creamy!

I am LOVING the Kerrygold butter I’ve been using this winter… so creamy!

I got to make a huge batch- had to make FOUR dozen... three for the swap and one for us :)

I got to make a huge batch- had to make FOUR dozen… three for the swap and one for us 🙂

Flattening the cookies and adding some crunchy cinnamon sugar

Flattening the cookies and adding some crunchy cinnamon sugar

All done!

All done!

I love the flecks of Chai Tea that you can see throughout the cookies.  They are crunchy on the edges and nice and chewy in the middle.

I love the flecks of Chai Tea that you can see throughout the cookies. They are crunchy on the edges and nice and chewy in the middle.

Snickerdoodles and Nov SRC Reveal

I couldn’t think of a better way to get back into my blogging routine than an amazing Secret Recipe Club Reveal!  The Secret Recipe Club is a really cool group I joined last winter.  Every month, we are assigned a new blogger.  This month, I was paired up a blog called The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch.  We get to pick ANY recipe that blogger has written about and cook it up ourselves.  We can make adjustments according to our tastes too.  All of the bloggers post their results on the same day and we all get to see who had who and more importantly, what delicious dishes were made!

Secret Recipe Club

You’re probably going to laugh at me when I tell you that until today, I have never made Snickerdoodles!  Aren’t they one of the most basic cookies out there?  I was so excited when I saw the recipe for these perfect-for-fall classic cinnamon cookies on Honey B’s blog.  I made the cookies on Friday night and let me tell you, we only have THREE left!  They were a huge hit, YUM!

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Snickerdoodles

Makes:  18 large cookies or 30 small cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 cup White Sugar
2/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, softened (1 stick)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 large Egg
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour (about 6.75 ounces) <– weigh your flour to make sure you have the correct amount!
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup White Sugar
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and salt, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat just until combined. Shape dough into 30 balls.

Combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small shallow dish. Roll balls in sugar mixture, and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until tops crack. Cool on pans 1 minute. Remove from pans; cool on a wire rack.

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Grumpy’s Honeybunch

Still in love with my purple faux-silpat!

Still in love with my purple faux-silpat!

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So… if you haven’t noticed… I really don’t bake a lot.  So i wasn’t surprised when I thought I completely botched this recipe.  I started whipping up these cookies and when I went to roll them… they were SO wet.  They were sticky and were not cooperating at all.  I might have messed it up, but when it was all said and done, the cookies came out PERFECT.  If this happens to you, don’t panic!  Just do the best you can with the balls and cook them anyway, they will probably turn out fine… I mean really… what could be bad?!

These cookies are awesome and have already been requested again!

Before you head into your own kitchen to try out the Snickerdoodles, check out all of the other recipes that have been revealed today!  I can’t wait to read them all 🙂