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 🙂

cookieswaplogo2013

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.

Salted Caramel Pecan Bars

OMG.  Salted Caramel is my new favorite thing.  It is so good.  I have always been a big fan of the sweet-salty combination, I’m very happy it’s grown in popularity over the past few years.

Where I work is doing a week-long fundraiser to raise money for MS.  One of our big events is a bake sale where all of our staff brings in homemade (or store bought if they’re lazy!) treats that we sell to our members for donations to the charity.

Now that I’m doing this blog, there was a lot of pressure to make something interesting!  After throwing around some ideas and searching in my database of hundreds of saved recipes, I came across this Southern Living reinvented classic and decided this was “the one”.  And oh… believe me… it is… THE ONE.  YUM!!!!!

Salted Caramel-Pecan Bars

Recipe from:  Southern Living, Dec 2010

Total Time:  1 Hour

Ingredients:

1 cup Chopped Pecans

12 Low-Fat Honey Graham Crackers, whole

1 cup Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed

3/4 cup Butter

2 Tablespoons Whipping Cream

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350°. Bake the pecans on a foil-lined baking sheet for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Be careful, I almost completely burnt mine (they still tasted wonderful).

2.  Line a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan (I only had a 9×13 baking dish) with aluminum foil; spray the foil (Allow foil to go over edge 2 inches or so, you’ll need it later). Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in prepared pan, slightly overlapping edges.

3.  Combine sugar, butter, and cream in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and toasted pecans. Pour butter mixture over crackers, spreading to coat.

4.  Bake at 350° for 10 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

5.  Immediately sprinkle with kosher salt, and slide foil from pan onto a wire rack. *This will be VERY hot.  Be careful and use the foil, folding it to contain the bars and keep their shape.*  Let cool for 30 minutes, at least.  Break or cut and serve.

Pot ‘o’ Gold!!

Pre-Baking Post-Pouring step

I let mine sit overnight just out of lack of time, and then cut them the next morning.  They were really sticky but they cut into nice little squares.

For our bake sale, I wrapped two together into plastic wrap… put them all into a big bag and into the refrigerator.  This kept them nice and cool, which was definitely needed since it’s been so hot lately!

They were a big hit, and not to mention every one of my typical taste testers approved it too!

Next time, I’d like to make more of the sauce.  I think that part could have been a little thicker.  Otherwise, they were fabulous.  I loved the salt ontop.  What a great non-chocolate dessert!