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

Chocolate Chia Almond Granola – SRC August

granola

Can you believe this is my second chocolate recipe in a row?!  This treat comes to you today as this month’s Secret Recipe Club pick.  The Secret Recipe Club is the awesome blogging group I’m in, let me tell you all about it!  Each month, a group of bloggers is assigned another blogger to try out one of their recipes.  We can pick whatever we want too!  On the same day, we all post about our recipes and get to see and try a ton of new things.

Secret Recipe Club

This month, I was paired with My Hobbie Lobbie, who is a wonderful blogger who bakes, cooks yummy food, and even does crafts.  I don’t know how she has time to do everything!  After going through a ton of her recipes, I found myself CRAVING her Nutty Chocolate Granola.  I just had to have it.  I changed it around to match what I already had in our pantry, and it was delish.  I can’t wait to share with my friends from my new job! (YES, I got a new job!!!  AHHHHH!  I am so super excited, had to throw that in there)

Chocolate Chia Almond Granola

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Cocoa Powder

2 1/2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats

1 cup Raw Slivered Almonds

1/2 cup Raw Sunflower Seeds

1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds

1/3 cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Cardamom

1 Tablespoon Honey

1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt

2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, until completely combined.

2. Spread the mix onto a foil lined, cooking-spray coated baking sheet.

3. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, stirring/flipping the granola every 15.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Adapted from:  Nutty Chocolate Granola

Ready to stir!

Ready to stir!

Granola is stirred and ready to bake

Granola is stirred and ready to bake

Halfway done

Halfway done

The finished product... yum!

The finished product… yum!

This granola was a fabulous snack for after dinner, but it would be amazing as a topping to cereal, yogurt, ice cream, or berries and whipped cream!  I could not believe how easy it was to make my own granola, I am excited to do it again and try new varieties too.

Click below to see all of the other recipes that were made this month in the SRC!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

“light” Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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I am super excited to share this recipe with you- NOT just because it’s amazing and delicious and awesome.  But mostly because this is the first recipe that I was able to use my brand spankin’ new KITCHENAID STAND MIXER!!!  Can you believe I got it already?!  What an unbelievable gift from our wonderful family friend Cheryl.  I finally picked a first recipe for it, and it was awesome.  YAY!

Now, it’s time to share this super sweet but “light” zucchini bread recipe!  If you cut the bread into 16 slices, each slice should only cost you about 160 calories.  It’s delish!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Sugar 
  • 3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 cup Unsweetened, All-Natural Apple Sauce
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Zucchini (about 1 medium) 
  • 1/2 cup Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Place the sugar, eggs, and vegetable oil in a large bowl.  Beat with a mixer on low until well blended.  Add applesauce and continue to stir on low until it is well combined.
  2. Lightly spoon the flour into measuring cups, leveling with a knife.  In a separate bowl, combine the measured flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and stir well with a whisk.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, beating just until moist.  With a rubber scraper or wooden spoon, stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.  
  3. Put the batter into a 9×5 inch loaf pan prepared with cooking spray.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until it passes the toothpick test.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from pan to cool completely before slicing.  

Recipe slightly adapted from:  Cooking Light, 2004

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You might also like some of these other quick breads I’ve made!  Check them out…

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread

Caramelized Carrot Cake Bread

Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread

Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Bread

5-Minute Banana Bread

5-Minute Banana Bread

 

Chocolate-Banana Cream Poke Cake

Where have I been?  Oh, I’m sorry… I’ve neglected you because I have to work off all of the calories I’ve consumed over the past weekend!  Dave, Stella, and I joined my parents “Down the Shore (see post here)” to celebrate my Dad’s birthday.

I had to show off this AMAZING pic we got of Miss Stella at the beach from this trip :)

I had to show off this AMAZING pic we got of Miss Stella at the beach from this trip 🙂

We dined at one of our favorite restaurants, Chef Vola’s… eating LARGE portions of delicious home-cooked Italian food and even better desserts.

Although we ordered a slice and devoured Chef Vola’s’  famous Banana Cream Pie, I wanted to make a birthday cake for my Dad in honor of his favorite flavor combination:  Chocolate & Banana.

I feel like most people hate on Bananas and Banana flavored things.  I’ve never understood why?  I love it, and it is by far my Dad’s favorite thing ever.

After pinning and saving several poke cake recipes all over the internet, I though this was a great chance to try one out.  The best part about these cakes is that they’re very easy- they’re just doctored up cakes!

Chocolate-Banana Cream Poke Cake

Ingredients:

1 Box Golden Butter Cake Mix (or other yellow… whatever!)

Ingredients to make cake (3 eggs, 7 TBSP butter, water)

1 pkg Banana Sugar Free Fat Free Pudding Mix

1 pkg Chocolate Sugar Free Fat Free Pudding Mix (i used Chocolate Fudge mmm)

Ingredients to make puddings (2 cups Milk per packet, so 4 total!)

1 tub Cool Whip (light)

1 cup Crushed Nilla Wafers

Directions:

1.  Bake cake according to directions on the box.  Meanwhile, prepare the puddings.  Let the puddings rest for 5 minutes, they will thicken up right away.

2.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then take the handle of a wooden spoon and poke holes through to the bottom all over the cake.

3.  Spread the banana pudding over the cake making sure to get into the holes.  Take the wooden spoon again and poke a few more holes ontop of the banana pudding.  Spread the chocolate pudding over the banana, spreading evenly over the cake.

4.  Now, spread the Cool Whip over the puddings and cake.  Finish the cake by sprinkling lots of crushed Nilla Wafers on top.  

I want to recommend putting some sliced or chopped up banana in the pudding layer too!  But like I said, this is for my Dad and I didn’t want to “ruin” the dessert with fruit (haha).

We all loved this cake, it was perfectly moist and wasn’t too overly banana either.  I can’t wait to try out other poke cake recipes!  What should be next?!

They don't call it a poke cake for nothin'!

They don’t call it a poke cake for nothin’!

Yummy...

Yummy…

Banana first

Banana first

Then chocolate, mmm!

Then chocolate, mmm!

The finished product!

The finished product!

Hooray for Birthday Cake Cross-Sectionals!

Hooray for Birthday Cake Cross-Sectionals!

I rarely make desserts but when I do, I make it count!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bakes

Coffee & Chocolate Krispies

Coffee & Chocolate Krispies

Apple-Toffee Blondies w/ Brown Sugar Frosting

Apple-Toffee Blondies w/ Brown Sugar Frosting

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Croissants

o.m.g.  Have you ever tried TJ’s Chocolate Croissants?  If you haven’t… go out and buy them now.  Then we can talk.

Dave and I have discovered a new favorite breakfast in bed item.  These croissants are NOT healthy.  But they are delicious.  Delicious enough for you to forget about how bad they are for you.  Sometimes you need a treat like that!

We love eating these bad boys on Sunday mornings after we sleep in.  They are perfect for the occasion because all you do is take them out of the freezer and let them sit on a baking sheet overnight.  Then, when you’re ready to eat them, you bake them in the oven for under an hour.  You don’t even need to do anything!

It’s amazing how much they rise overnight.  So cool.

They are hot and gooey on the inside and crispy crunchy flaky on the outside.  YUMMY!

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When you wake up to a face like this, it's hard to get out of bed in the morning!!

When you wake up to a face like this, it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning!!

Coffee & Chocolate Marshmallow Krispies

Being the coffee addict that I am… when I came across this grown-up Rice Krispy Treat recipe on Shutterbean, I couldn’t turn away.  Rice Krispy treats with coffee AND chocolate?  Yes please!

I’m pretty sure it was the allure of this fab dessert recipe that was the final push to send me grocery shopping this weekend.  SO glad I did.  Except that it took, like… 2 hours.  Ugh!  Anyways… enjoy this awesome recipe!

Coffee & Chocolate Marshmallow Krispies

Recipe adapted from:  Shutterbean

Ingredients:

1 stick Salted Butter

2 bags Mini Marshmallows (10 oz)

5 cups Rice Krispies Cereal

1/2 cup Slivered Almonds

1/2 cup Dried Cranberries

2 teaspoons Ground Coffee (not instant)

1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1.  Line a square baking dish with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.  Melt the butter over med-low heat in a large pot or dutch oven.  Add 1 1/3 bags of marshmallows once the butter is melted and stir occasionally until the mallows are melted and smoothed out.

2.  Using a wet spatula, fold in the rice cereal.  Add almonds, cranberries, ground coffee, chocolate chips, and marshmallows and fold quickly to distribute. 

3.  Spoon mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Wet your hands and press the treats into the pan into an even layer.  Now, let cool completely (be patient) and cut into squares.

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These were soooo tasty!  My first recommendation is to definitely let them cool all the way, as it will make it so much easier to cut.  NEXT, You should actually turn the heat OFF of the pot once you’re going to mix everything after the cereal in.  It will keep the chocolate chips and extra marshies together and melt less.  (I did not do this… still delish but not as pretty).

These Krispies were really fun and so easy to make.  It took less than 10 minutes for the entire thing to be made, cleaned up, and put into the refrigerator to cool.  The hardest part is the waiting!  I’m thinking Fruity Pebbles & White Choc chips next?!????

Check out these other yummmmyyyy desserts…

Apricot & White Chocolate M&M Cookies

Apricot & White Chocolate M&M Cookies

Salted Caramel Pecan Bars

Salted Caramel Pecan Bars

Apple-Toffee Blondies w/ Brown Sugar Frosting

Apple-Toffee Blondies w/ Brown Sugar Frosting

 

Dark Chocolate Cherry-Berry Oatmeal Cookies

This Holiday Season, I participated in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!  The Cookie Swap is a seriously delicious Food Blogger’s version of Pen Pals.  I cooked up 3 dozen cookies, sent them out to 3 different food bloggers, and 3 other food bloggers sent me cookies!!

As if getting 3-dozen cookies isn’t reason enough to participate, the Cookie Swap raises money for the charity “Cookies for Kids’ Cancer” which OXO (the company that makes my absolute favorite coffee to-go mug ever btw) will match up to $100,000!  I loved hearing this so I was signed up right away!

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The cookies I baked up were based on this yummy Heart-Healthy recipe from Cooking Light.  The funny thing about baking these cookies were that I totally forgot I had to make THREE dozen for the swap, not TWO.  I baked JUST over 3 dozen, so instead of having a leftover 15-ish cookies… I only had 4!  I guess it was for the best though, because these cookies are really really good… I would have eaten too many 🙂

Dark Chocolate Cherry-Berry Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/3 cup) 
  • 1.5 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1/3 cup) 
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten 
  • 1/2 bag dark chocolate chips
  • cooking spray 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spoon flours into dry measuring cups and level. Combine flours and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; add brown sugar, stirring until smooth. It will completely combine well with only a small layer of melted butter ontop.  
  4. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.  Add cherries and cranberries, vanilla, and egg; beat until combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop dough by Tablespoonfulls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or silpat.
  6. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes or until almost firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
Whisk your dry ingredients to mix the flours and the oats together

Whisk your dry ingredients to mix the flours and the oats together

I loved the combination of the sweet cherries and the sour cranberries with dark chocolate

I loved the combination of the sweet cherries and the sour cranberries with dark chocolate

You can see how crumbly these are!

You can see how crumbly these are!

Stelly is a kitchen pup!  She waited patiently with me while the cookies baked in the oven.

Stelly is a kitchen pup! She waited patiently with me while the cookies baked in the oven.

Yummmmm!  I LOVE my Silpat.  If you don't have any, pick two sheets up ASAP!  Nothing sticks to them.  The best.

Yummmmm! I LOVE my Silpat. If you don’t have any, pick two sheets up ASAP! Nothing sticks to them. The best.

A few notes I have to share with you… these cookies might be on the healthier side, but they are REALLY tasty!  I found the batter to be very crumbly, to the point where I had trouble at times making the cookies into scoops to drop.  I was worried they would fall apart, but they DO NOT.  So, it’s okay if yours turn out a little crumbly!  Also, I did try a few cookies where I rolled them into a ball (when they were super-fally-aparty) and they did not turn out as pretty as the drop.

I will certainly whip these up again, next time making more leftovers for us 🙂

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

The cookies I received for the swap were so yummy!  I wanted to give these awesome bloggers a little shout-out because their cookies really made my day.

I would have loved to say I had a picture of these really interesting Vanilla Cardamom Cookies but between myself and all of our moving crew/family ate them all!  They were so good!  I never would have thought to put Cardamom (do I even have Cardamom??  Probably  not!) into crisp vanilla cookies, but I’m glad Molly did!  You can find more of her recipes and blog posts on Bytes and Bites.  Good luck on your finals, Molly!

White Chocolate Chunkies were from Katheryn @ The Baker’s Sheet.  How cute is her blog name?  She has plenty of other recipes on her blog that I’m dying to try (especially those Pumpkin Bars!)

*Unfortunately (or luckily for my diet, I can’t decide which), I only received two of my three batches of cookies for the swap so far! *