Snickerdoodles

The day I made these cookies was also the day I realized it was time to start enforcing a little privacy from my 4 year old.  Remember the days of taking an uninterrupted shower for longer than five minutes?  I found myself locking the door after my daughter became curious with questions.  Now I’ve become a skilled ninja going from the bathroom to the bedroom after a shower…unlocking and slowly opening the bathroom door, peeking around the corner, tiptoeing across the hall, then diving on the bed while humming the Mission Impossible tune.

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My husband used to buy these cookies by the dozen from the store, and it was always one of those circumstances when I became immediately excited…then frustrated because I knew I’d end up eating half a dozen of them…immediately.  Who could resist the soft, buttery goodness of those cookies topped with the perfect balance of cinnamon and sugar?  I sure couldn’t, and I’m starting to think it may be a super power to avoid these if at all possible.

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These days, it’s me providing our home with these cookies…and my husband is now the one who is grumbling about how much he loves the cookies while he shoves three in his mouth.  Oh, how the tables have turned.

Snickerdoodles (recipe modified from food.com)

2 sticks butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter, shortening, and sugar at medium speed until creamy using electric mixer.  Add eggs and vanilla, continue beating until blended.  In a smaller mixing bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture while continuing to mix at medium speed.  Set cookie dough in refrigerator for 15 minutes.  In a small dish, stir together 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.  Using a cookie scoop to measure out dough, roll dough in cinnamon sugar mixture, then place on baking stone or cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until a light golden color.  Remove from oven, leave cookies on stone or sheet for another 2 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack lined with paper towels (this keeps the cookies from developing indentions from the cooling rack) to cool using a cookie spatula.  Store in airtight container.

Oreo Delight

The original recipe for this particular dessert is my Oreo Trifle that I put together a long time ago.  Since then, it’s been a huge hit…but I also wanted to create an easier recipe using the same ingredients as the trifle, only it’s more like a pie.  So, you could say this is the sister recipe of the original.

oreo brownie pie

This past New Year’s Eve, I whipped up one of these and took it over to my brother’s house for a family gathering to stuff our faces and shoot fireworks.  Neither one of my brothers had tried this particular dessert before, but I knew they would like it because of all the layers of deliciousness going on with it.  After wolfing down his first piece, my oldest brother said, “You really hit a home run with this one,” and went back for another “taste” test.  Shortly after that, my other brother was scraping his plate and mumbling how awesome it was before grabbing another piece.  And to top it all off, my husband later told me, “I think that might be my favorite dessert so far.”  Needless to say, this passed the dude test.  Dude approved.

Oreo Delight Recipe:

1 box dark chocolate brownie mix (plus ingredients to make; oil, eggs and water)

1 package Oreo cookies

1 (3-4 oz.) box instant devil’s food pudding mix

3 cups milk, divided

1 (8 oz.) container whipped topping, thawed

Bake brownies according to package directions in a 9×13 inch baking dish, cool completely.  Whisk pudding mix with 2 cups of milk until combined, place in refrigerator until ready to use.  After brownie has cooled, spoon pudding on top of brownie in an even layer.  With Oreo cookies and remaining 1 cup of milk, dip each cookie in milk, then break into chunks and put on top of pudding layer.  Reserve 2 cookies for topping.  After cookie layer is finished, spread container of whipped topping on top of Oreo layer.  Break up remaining cookies and sprinkle on top of the whipped topping as a garnish.  Let dessert set in fridge for 2-4 hours before serving.  Store in refrigerator.

Lemon Poppyseed Cookies

In all honesty, I’m a little picky when it comes to citrus flavors.  I like lemons, but there are certain lemon desserts and other dishes that I keep at arm’s length… but lemon poppyseed is a combination that I usually give a bear hug.  I catch myself lingering in the bakery at the store when I spot the muffins to see if they have any of these flavor.  Sometimes they do, but most of the time they don’t have the large ones that I’m looking for.  In fact, last time I pooched my lower lip out when I saw there weren’t any and moved on…only to buy ingredients to make my own.

lemon poppyseed

My husband recently told me that he likes flatter cookies that are still soft.  I told him that he’s nuts, because I’m a huge fan of fluffy cookies myself…but after a few batches of making different types of cookies and making them slightly thinner, I can certainly see the appeal (although I still love fluffy cookies).  I did make a boo boo the first time around with these, though.  I got the brilliant idea of dipping the cookie dough in freshly squeezed lemon juice before the sugar, then placing on the baking pan.  Well, the extra juice from the lemon on top of the cookie dough really changed the consistency of the cookies.  They were almost paper thin, and spread out all over the place.  Lesson learned!  The last dozen of the batch, I just rolled them in sugar before baking…and the consistency was just right.  While explaining these to my husband through text message, the best way I could think of to explain to him was that these were like lemon sugar cookies…with a bunch of little black dots.

Lemon Poppyseed Cookies Recipe:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

grated lemon peel (from 2 lemons)

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 eggs

extra sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, using electric mixer.  Add eggs, grated lemon peel and vanilla, continue beating.  In another small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and poppyseeds.  Gradually add to creamed mixture, beating until combined.  Using a cookie scoop to measure out dough, roll in extra sugar.  Place on baking sheet, and baking for 10-12 minutes, or until tops are a very light golden color.  Remove from oven, transfer cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight container.

 

Gingerbread Trifle

Tis the season for trifles…and gingerbread!  What better way to celebrate the holidays by combining these two gems together?  Exactly my thoughts as well.  After making the upside down apple gingerbread cake, I decided to utilize it in a trifle recipe.  My husband and I were just discussing last night how neither one of us really grew up eating gingerbread type desserts.  Last year when I made the soft gingerbread cookies for the first time, I fell hard for them.  Such a warm flavor all rolled in with the moist yumminess of it all.

gingerbread trifle

After making one round of this trifle experimentation, I decided to change a couple of things about the recipe.  Originally, I had double the amount of cream cheese, and only 16 oz. of cool whip.  After using my family as guinea pigs, we all agreed that it needed more of a creamy texture.  So, in place of the extra 8 ounces of cream cheese, I changed it to an extra amount of cool whip.  The caramel sauce added even more moisture to the cake, along with some added flavor.

For the Gingerbread Cake:

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1 cup molasses

1/2 cup applesauce

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.  Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.  In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Blend into the creamed mixture.  Stir in the hot water, pour into greased 9×13 inch cake pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes in oven, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and cake is slightly pulling away from edges of pan.  Cool for 10-15 minutes in pan before turning out onto cooling rack to cool completely before putting together in trifle dish.

For the Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup powdered sugar

24 oz. cool whip

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup caramel sauce, divided (you can use homemade sauce or ice cream topping)

Divide gingerbread cake into three sections, reserving a very small amount of crumbs for topping.  In large bowl using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cinnamon until well blended.  Gradually add cool whip, continue mixing until smooth.  Crumble first section into a trifle bowl, then drizzle with 1/3 cup caramel sauce.  Spoon 1/3 of cream cheese and cool whip mixture on top of cake and caramel sauce.  Repeat layering two more times, then top with a small amount of cream cheese/cool whip mixture, gingerbread cake crumbs, and drizzle with a little bit of caramel sauce.  Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight, store in refrigerator.

Crock Pot Chocolate Candy

With the holidays quickly approaching, this is actually a recipe that I’ve seen floating around in several different places.  And naturally, since it’s floating around in several different places, there are several different recipes for it.  I’ve seen different types of chocolate, different nuts, added coconut, all kinds of stuff.  Well, I kept this batch really simple, and including things that I know my family would love.

crock pot chocolate candy

The original recipe I saw had twice the amount of ingredients, which makes a TON of these little guys.  This is a smaller batch than the original recipe I saw, and it still made over 50 of them…and I made them about the size of a standard cookie.  If you don’t have a crock pot, no need to worry!  You can melt the chocolates in a large, microwaveable bowl in increments of 45 seconds, stirring in between each one until all of the chocolates are melted, then stir in the peanuts and distribute them to wax or parchment paper.  Or, if you even prefer to melt your chocolate on the stove, you can do that as well on low heat, and proceed as usual.  What was so easy about this recipe was being able to walk away from it, not having to stand by the whole time.  So, whichever way you prefer to make it, go for it!

Crock Pot Chocolate Candy Recipe:

1 lb. almond bark white chocolate

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

12 oz. peanut butter chips

16 oz. dry roasted peanuts

Chop up almond bark, and combine all ingredients in crock pot on low.  Cover and cook for one hour, stir mixture.  Stir every 5-10 minutes after first hour until chocolate is melted and peanuts are coated.  Spoon clusters on to wax or parchment paper to set.  Store in airtight container at room temperature (these do not need to be refrigerated, and will actually cause them to have a whitish film if they are stored in the fridge).

Chocolate Truffle Mini Tarts

I love mini tarts…they’re just so cute.  They’re finger sized foods, similar to cookies, but they’re pretty, cute, and delicious.  Did I mention they’re cute?  I’ve had several types of mini tarts over the years, and decided to make some super chocolatey tarts at home.  Just for the heck of it, because that’s just what I do.  Mini tarts are great for parties and other occasions where people can just grab one and go…but in this case, they may come back for seconds…or thirds…

chocolate truffle tarts

If you’re looking for a small chocolate dessert, look no further.  This is a great combination of chocolate cookies and chocolate truffles, all rolled together in one delicious recipe.  I came across a recipe in a holiday dessert catalog, but made a few minor changes to this particular recipe.  During the baking process, my chocolate-loving husband must have asked me three or four times if they were done yet.  I’m looking forward to trying these out on my other chocolate-loving family members.

For the Tarts:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, using electric mixer.  Add egg and vanilla, continue mixing.  Gradually add remaining dry ingredients until mixture is well combined.  Grease a mini muffin pan, and scoop 1 tablespoon of dough into each cavity.  Using a tart press, press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of each cavity.  Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven and press bottom of dough down again in each cavity.  Carefully remove to cooling rack and cool completely.  This batch makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

For the Filling:

12 oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup butter

mini chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles (for garnish)

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan, cook on low/medium heat.  Stir occasionally until chocolate and butter are melted, and mixture is smooth.  Transfer to a bowl to cool for about 20 minutes.  Spoon about 1 tablespoon of mixture into each tart, sprinkle with mini chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles as a garnish.  Place in refrigerator for truffle filling to set.  Store in airtight container.

Upside Down Apple Gingerbread Cake

For Fall recipes, I’m constantly on the lookout for something different that looks delicious.  Although there are still a few more pumpkin recipes I’d like to try out, this was next on the to-do list…and couldn’t wait to give this particular recipe a shot.  I did some research on different recipes concerning gingerbread cakes, and this seemed to be the highest rated recipe for gingerbread cake (after the modifications made by users who had made it before).  The gingerbread cake itself it delicious at any time, but with the apples on top, it’s best while served warm.

upside down apple gingerbread

I did decide that the next time I make this cake though, it’ll either be served just as a gingerbread cake topped with powdered sugar and whipped topping, or even make it as a layered cake with cream cheese frosting.  The mix of spices in this cake are incredible, and the moist fluffiness makes it even better.  The great thing about this cake is that it could even be served as dessert or breakfast!

For the Topping:

2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced into 8 pieces (per apple)

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

Pour melted butter into 10 inch round cake pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar on top, then place apples in a single layer.  Grease sides of pan with cooking spray.

For the Cake:

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 egg

1 cup molasses

1/2 cup applesauce

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.  Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.  In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Blend into the creamed mixture.  Stir in the hot water, pour into prepared pan.  Bake 1 hour in oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Loosen edges with knife, then cool for 10-15 minutes in pan before turning out on plate.  Best served warm!