Friday, December 21, 2012

Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies

The baking season has begun! The Holiday season is the one time of the year where baking is really celebrated. Clearly, it is one of my favorite times of the year. I love getting into the Holiday spirit, and making all kinds of goodies. There are few things I love better than baking up a storm in my kitchen, and having the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg permeate throughout my house.  

I felt that cookies were a must. I knew I wanted to feature a peppermint cookie recipe, but it took me a while to find the perfect one. These cookies are amazing! They have the perfect peppermint taste, without giving off an overwhelming flavor. The secret to these cookies is the Candy Cane pudding mix. It is actually a difficult product to find. I had to special order mine, at my local grocery store. Although it may take a little effort to track it down, I highly suggest you do. The cookies are REALLY that good. I feel like they are a nod to the Jello cookies, I featured in last year's holiday post. Hope you enjoy these, and have a blessed Christmas and Holiday season. 
This recipe was adapted from: Mom's Crazy Cooking

You will need:

2-1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 (3.4 oz) package Candy Cane Pudding Mix
3/4 cup yellow, white or vanilla cake mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 package (12 oz) Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips ( you can use white chocolate chips and chopped candy cane if you cannot find these baking chips.
Red food coloring (optional) 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine: flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. 

Add candy cane pudding mix and 3/4 cups of white cake mix.

In a separate bowl whisk eggs and vanilla. Add to main mixture, and blend well. 

Add dry flour mixture in several additions. Mix well between each addition. 

Add a few drops of red food coloring, then stir in 3/4 of bag of peppermint baking chips.

roll dough into one in balls (place on cookie sheet), and flatten with the bottom of a glass.
Top with additional peppermint chips. Bake for 10-12 min.
Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes.




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Homemade Peppermint Patties

It is hard to believe it's that time of year again! This past year has flown by. The holiday season seems to come faster and faster, every year. We all seem to get even busier that we could have ever thought possible. With this time of the year, it seems to get even worse.  Instead of enjoying quality time with our families' we are off scurrying to find the latest gadget, that will make the "perfect gift". Working in retail, I definitely have plenty of stories about holiday gimmicks. Time is said to be one of the most valuable commodities. It is clear, in this day and age, just how very true that statement is. I know that I have no room to talk, with my crazy work schedule and college finals. We all have little things that preoccupy us, from what is really important.

This life is short, and we are all so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives. We must not lose sight of that, through all of our busyness, and hectic schedules. It is important, especially this time of the year, to take time out and cherish everything and everyone we have. We never know how long we have until it is too late. Do not let the little moments slip away.

Here is a recipe that help you take some time out, to just relax and enjoy.

Peppermint Patties:

I love making homemade candies. They are surprisingly very easy to make. I thought it would be festive to make some peppermint patties. They make great gifts, and have an instant wow factor!

You will need:
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (divided) 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
  • pinch of salt
  • 7-10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (you can mix in a little milk chocolate to cut some of the bitterness.)
  • Optional: Mini candy canes for garnish

Adapted from: Gourmet Magazine: Epicurious Recipe

Beat together: powdered sugar, water, corn syrup, and shortening until combined.

Add peppermint extract, and a small pinch of salt.

Lightly knead it (on a work surface) using the remaining 1/4 cups of powdered sugar. Continue
until smooth.
Roll into a cylinder shape,  and cut in half. Cover with plastic wrap
and freeze for 15 minutes, or until firm.

Slice into circles and place on cookie sheet. You can coat the circles with
powdered sugar. I did not, because I live in such a dry climate.

Freeze for several hours or overnight. (This important!
Otherwise you will have the filling melt through the
chocolate when you enrobe the candy)

Optional: Lightly chop candy canes (preferably the
mini kind),  for an added crunch.

Melt chocolate. For a thinner coating (which I recommend) add a little
 shortening or vegetable oil. I'm not gonna lie, I prefer the Barefoot Contessa
chocolate tempering method. (aka: microwaving for 30 second intervals)
Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Once it is seized, there is no going back.
Stir well after each interval

To coat candy:Place each peppermint circle on a fork, and spoon chocolate over circle, until
it is completely covered. Tap off any excess chocolate. Top with a little of the crushed
 candy cane mixture, and allow to dry on a surface lined with wax paper 

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Snickerdoodle Bars

I am not one to repeat myself. I personally love variety, and trying new things, especially when it comes to baking. I realize I have featured snickerdoodles before, but I feel this time, I can make an exception. These bars are that good. I am honestly, not a huge fan of chocolate. I know, I know. I bet you are wondering how could someone with a food blog really dislike chocolate. While I do not actually dislike it, I do prefer to balance it out with other flavors. A lot of it stems back to being allergic to chocolate, as a child. Because of it, I developed a more sophisticated palette. I also developed a bigger sweet tooth(from white chocolate, since it is sweeter than milk and dark chocolate). That being said, I tend to favor blondies over brownies. These bars definitely fit in the blondie category. They are full of brown sugar, which blends perfectly with the cinnamon and nutmeg. They are super sweet, but that is what makes them so good! Try them for yourself, you might like them better than an actual snickerdoodle cookie.

Recipe: adapted from: lovin the oven
Preheat oven to: 350 degrees, and combine 2 tbsp granulated sugar, 2 tsp.
cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg. Set aside.
Beat 1 cup of butter and 2 cups of brown sugar together.

Add 2 eggs, blending between each addition. Add 1 tbsp. of
vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl combine: 1 tsp. cinnamon, 2 2/3 cup flour, 2 tsp.
baking powder,1/4 tsp nutmeg, and a pinch of ground cloves.
Add flour mixture in several additions to the wet mixture. 
Stir in cinnamon chips (optional)

spread into a greased 9x13 inch pan. (Will be sticky)
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top of batter.

bake for 25-30 min. Allow to cool in pan before cutting.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Cookie Dough Truffles

Who doesn't love cookie dough? I mean seriously, it is possibly one of the best creations ever! I have a type of cookie dough that is safe to eat. No really, IT IS. This recipe is contains no eggs, which tends to scare a lot of people away from the beaters, and the empty bowl. I have honestly never been one to stray too far from the dough, when I am whipping up a batch of cookies. For those who choose to stay on the cautious side, these are for you. These truffles taste exactly like the real thing.

They are super easy to make, and the recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. They would make a fabulous gift-giving idea for the holidays. You could even bring them to your Thanksgiving dinner, as a dessert. You may get a few odd glances, at first. Once they try them, they will be glad you brought them instead of the all-too familiar pumpkin pie.

My biggest suggestion is to not try these candies, until they are complete. sampling them when they are still in progress, is very misleading. They do not reach their peak until they have been dipped in chocolate, and have had time to set in the refrigerator. WARNING: They are VERY addicting. You may find yourself with a half-empty tray, before you can even serve them. It's alright, you can always make another batch. Enjoy these little nuggets of flavor, and be prepared to have people ask you for the recipe.

Recipe: Adapted from Taste of Home:

You will need:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1-1/2 pounds dark chocolate candy coating, coarsely chopped
Beat butter and brown sugar together. Add Vanilla, and mix until creamy.

Gradually add flour, and alternate with condensed milk

Beat well. (Dough will be sticky)

Stir in mini chocolate chips

Use a truffle scooper to roll into balls. (Tip: coat hands with flour. This prevents the
dough from sticking)
Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
Microwave chopped chocolate wafers, using 30 second intervals (be careful not to burn it,
or have it come in contact with water) Dip each cookie dough ball into chocolate.
 I found that spooning the chocolate over it, works better.
Refrigerate for another 15 minutes, or until they are set.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

Fall is in the air! The leaves are turning, and the weather is changing. Halloween is almost here! I cannot tell you how much I love having an excuse to bake. I think part of the reason I created this food blog, was to have an excuse to bake. Fall has so many options for the novice to advanced baker. I like to bake recipes that relate to the current month.

 Although my recipe choice seems like it would be a more fitting for July, I thought it would be fun for Halloween. Because of the color, I thought orange creamsicle cookies would be festive. These cookies are eerily similar to an actual creamsicle. It's kind of scary actually, how much they taste like them. The orange extract brings that citrusy taste, while the pudding mix and white chocolate add a creamy feel. They are soft and light. They are everything you could want in a cookie, and more.

For the Cookies you will need: 

1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter (softened) or 1/2 cup margarine (softened)
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 (4 ounce) package vanilla instant pudding mix
1 large egg
0.5 (12 ounce) package white chocolate chips or chopped wafers
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon orange extract or orange oil.
pinch of salt
Recipe adapted from:

Pre-heat oven to 375 F, and combine butter, sugar, & brown sugar

Add pudding mix, egg, and extracts/oil

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, and a pinch of salt
Gradually add flour mixture to original mixture in about 3 intervals. Add
 a few drops of food coloring.

Grate orange zest, and add it to the dough. Be careful not to grate the pit, for it can be very bitter!

Stir in white chocolate. I gave my wafers a semi-rough chop. I
 feel they combine better with the dough.
Roll dough into small-sized balls, and bake for 8-10 minutes.  

Allow to cool slightly


Happy Halloween!