Saturday, December 27, 2014

Peppermint Crunch Brownie Bites

After making these for a cookie exchange at Tim's office, I had leftover peppermints. I love a quick and easy dessert.  To save even more time, you could (and yes I did) use a boxed brownie mix. 

Peppermint Crunch Brownie Bites

Yield: 48 brownie bites
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
Chocolate brownie bites dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with candy cane pieces. These mini treats are perfect for gift giving or for serving at holiday parties.


1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 large eggs
3/4 cup cocoa (I used dutch processed)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups white chocolate chips
10 large candy canes, crushed


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray mini muffin pan with non stick cooking spray or line with paper cups. Set aside.
2. Place butter in medium saucepan on the stove. Heat over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, vanilla, and peppermint extract. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with spoon after each addition. Add cocoa; stir until well blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt; stir until combined.
3. Fill each muffin cup slightly more than halfway full. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of a brownie bite. Allow the brownie bites to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the muffin tin.
4. While the brownie bites are cooling, melt white chocolate in the microwave, in a microwave safe bowl, or by using a double-boiler. Dip the tops of the brownie bites in the white chocolate. Set on a wire cooling wrack and sprinkle with crushed candy canes. Continue until all of the brownie bites are dipped and sprinkled. Let white chocolate harden before serving.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Peppermint Meltaways

Tim's participates in a cookie exchange at his office during the holiday season.  Why not make something with one of his favorite flavors?  Tim loves all things peppermint.  Me, not so much.  I can take or leave mint flavored desserts. These are the perfect treat to enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate or tea.

Peppermint Meltaways
Adapted from The Cooking Channel
1 cup powdered sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 tablespoons of milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely crushed peppermint candies or candy canes
24 chocolate teardrop candies (I like using Hershey's Kisses)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and the butter and mix until light and fluffy. Add the peppermint extract, milk and mix to combine. Next, slowly add the flour and salt, mixing until just combined.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the peppermint candies.

Roll the dough into twenty-four 1 1/2-inch balls. Insert 1 chocolate morsel into each ball and re-roll to ensure that the cookie dough encases the chocolate. Next, transfer to the bowl with the powdered sugar and crushed candies rolling each to coat.

Place the balls on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them about 1-inch apart. Bake until they start to turn golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Remove and transfer to wire cooling rack. Cool until they are just cool enough to handle, 5 minutes. Return the cookies to the bowl with the powdered sugar and crushed candies and toss gently until each cookie is coated.

Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Holiday Vanilla Pudding Cake Cookies - SRC

As a bonus this month, the Secret Recipe Club is having a cookie carnival!  Nice!  Who doesn't need a few more cookie recipes to add to their holiday baking list?  Nothing says the holidays for me like baking cookies. One of my earliest baking memories is baking Spritz cookies with my Mom, green Christmas trees with red sprinkles.  Today I still use the cookie press from my childhood.  What's your favorite Christmas baking memory?

For this special Cookie Carnival, I was assigned Mom's Test Kitchen. The blogger behind this great blog is Jaime.  A little bit about Jaime, she says, I’m a child of God (who requires ALOT of forgiveness),wife to an automotive genius, momma to a Princess that changed my life
daughter to some pretty alright parents."  You can read more about her story here!  You'll find lots of great recipes on her blog as well, drop by and check it out, you won't be sorry!!!

I did a quick search and immediately found my choice for the Cookie Carnival, Holiday Vanilla Pudding Cake Cookies.  What I loved most about these cookies is how easy they are.  My dream is to write a cookbook of nothing but easy recipes, you know when you need that quick dessert for company that's dropping by at the last minute or that quick dinner when you just don't feel like cooking?  Maybe someday!  These cookies are perfect for last minute treats for the office or how about cookies for Santa?  This recipe would be great to make with the kiddos!

Holiday Vanilla Pudding Cake Cookies
Recipe Courtesy of Mom's Test Kitchen
1 box (16.25 ounces) white cake mix
1 box (3.5 ounces) vanilla instant pudding & pie mix
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
red & green decorating sugars

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, dry vanilla pudding, eggs, butter and milk – it will be VERY thick
  3. In a small bowl, combine equal amounts of the red & green sugars. You can also do two separate bowls of each color & make all red or all green cookies. Or do a little of each & go for a tye-die look :)
  4. Scoop the dough into tablespoon sized balls. Roll the dough in the decorating sugars, being sure to fully coat the dough. Place the coated dough on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are set.
  6. Cool for just a minute or two on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Sunday, December 7, 2014

    Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - Secret Recipe Club

    It's Secret Recipe Club  time and this is a bittersweet post for me.  Ever since starting in SRC in May 2011, I've been a member of group B.  Our leader was looking to move a few bloggers around and I volunteered.  No SRC for me in January, Group B is taking January off.  Beginning in February, I will be a member of SRC Group C.   I wanted to say a big thanks to our SRC B leader, Camilla.  She works tirelessly to make sure we all have our assignments and there are no orphans each month.  Thanks, Camilla for all you do!

    Now on to the real focus of this post, my assigned blogger and chosen recipe!  This month I was assigned,  Pale Yellow.  Tracy says she an "Informal science educator/curriculum specialist,science teacher by day, baking blogger by night, former Michigander, current Rockaway Girl".  She has two pet turtles, how fun it that?  Even more fun, her former coworkers, with whom she had shared all of her delicious baked goods, bought her a Kitchen Aid mixed.  Wow, those must have been the best baked goodies!!! 

    Speaking of baked goodies, Tracy's Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies caught my eye.   I am obsessed with brown butter!  Brown butter adds such a depth of flavor to recipes, sweet or savory.  Brown butter is easy to prepare.  Just don't look away, the butter can quickly go from delicious brown to burned.

    These could be my new favorite bar cookie recipe.  As usual, I sent them to Tim's office.  I could have eaten the whole pan. 

    Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
    Recipe Courtesy of Pale Yellow
    Yield – 20 bars
    3/4 cup unsalted butter
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 egg
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 teaspoons cornstarch
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 cups flour
    10 ounces dark chocolate chips
    fancy sea salt for sprinkling
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and generously grease a 9 x 13” pan.  Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.  Grease the paper as well.
    2. Add the butter to a medium saucepan and heat until browned.  The butter will smell nutty; stir the whole time.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
    3. Whisk the sugars into the butter and then whisk in the egg and vanilla.
    4. Stir in the cornstarch, soda, and salt.  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
    5. Press the dough evenly on the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with sea salt.
    6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top begins to brown.
    7. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

    Monday, December 1, 2014

    Sparkling White Cranberry Sangria

    We celebrated Thanksgiving in Palm Springs with my son and his girlfriend, Lily.  Palm Springs temperatures in the upper 70's and low 80's were  perfect for this beautiful glass of sangria.

    We couldn't find plain white cranberry juice, so we chose to go with White Peach Cranberry juice.
    The combination was perfect for this cocktail.  The sweetness of the peach made up for the 1/4 of sugar we didn't bring along.  Lily brought along some cinnamon sticks to add to the sangria.  They added a nice hint of spice that paired beautifully with the other flavors in the sangria.

     I may will not be waiting for summer to try this cocktail again.

    Sparkling White Cranberry Sangria
    Adapted from The Kitchen

    Serves 6 to 8

    1 cup rum, like Selvarey or another high-quality white rum
    1 cup diced red apple
    1 cup diced green apple
    1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
    1 bottle Chardonnay, un-oaked or lightly oaked, chilled
    1 cup white peach cranberry juice, chilled
    Cinnamon Sticks
    2 cups club soda, chilled
    Lemon twist for garnish
    In a large pitcher, combine the sugar and rum and stir to dissolve. Add the apples, cranberries, Chardonnay, and white cranberry juice. Refrigerate overnight.
    When ready to serve, add the club soda and stir to combine. Pour into ice filled glasses and scoop in some of the fruit. Top each glass with a lemon twist.