White Chocolate Cranberry Almond Cookies

I love baking cookies during the holidays.  I make my traditional sugar cookies recipe that I have been making since I was a little girl.  We add in the some Ginger Molasses Cookies.  Sometimes I like to add in Pretzel M&M Hugs

This year I experimented with some of my favorite ingredients- Almonds, Cranberries, and White Chocolate.  It was a win in the kitchen.

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1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 t  vanilla extract (I used Mexican Vanilla)
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 t baking soda
½ t salt
2 cups white chocolate morsels
1 cup sliced almonds
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries
8 oz  melting white chocolate (for drizzle)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.  
Using your mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  
Then add flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix well.  Now stir in almonds, 1 1/2 cup of white chocolate morsels, and 1 cup of dried cranberries.  
Drop rounded spoonfuls of dough, 1 1/2 inches apart, onto baking sheets.  Then take the extra white chocolate morsels and dried cranberries and add a few pieces on top to each cookie.  This will make your cookies have a great look of fullness of pieces.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes and remove to wire racks to cool completely.  
Melt the melting while chocolate and drizzle over the cookies.  

Thanksgiving Pie– No More Choices

Every year we plan out our Thanksgiving menus.  Turkey, Sides, Appetizers, Beverages, and Desserts!  Oh the desserts!  We are traditional and make Pumpkin and Pecan Pies.  I have thrown in a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (YUM!).

When I hit the dessert table, I usually take a little bit of everything.  (It’s the right thing to do!)  But what if two of your favorites were combined.  Like Pumpkin Pie married Pecan Pie!!

Well, it happened the other night in my kitchen.  A few years ago, Southern Living introduced this little union.  And we all lived happily ever after! You need to plan to make this pie the night before serving.  It is better when it has time to completely cool and flavors will pop.  I have made a few adjustments to the recipe and it is perfection.

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Preheat oven to 350°. Sprinkle work surface with powdered sugar. Roll out piecrust, and place on prepared surface. Sprinkle piecrust with chopped pecans. Place wax paper over piecrust and pecans, and lightly roll pecans into crust. Fit piecrust, pecan side up, in a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate; fold edges under, and crimp.

Mix together pumpkin  and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl until smooth and well mixed; pour into prepared piecrust.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.  Remove and shield edges with aluminum foil or crust protector.  This will keep your crust from burning.  Then bake an additional 25 minutes.

While pie is baking, you will create your pecan streusel topping.  This will create the pecan pie element to your pie.

For Pecan Streusel:
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
Mix all the pecan toppings together until well blended.After pie has baked 45 minutes,  gently top pie with Pecan Streusel Topping. Reduce oven temperature to 325°,  and bake 10 minutes. This will allow streusel to golden a bit. Then cover pie with aluminum foil.   Cool completely on a wire rack at least 3 hours.  Once cooled, place in refrigerator over night.  This will allow all the flavors to go crazy.
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Halloween Candy Turned Cookies

Halloween night was a success in this house.  When you have a ‘tween that is able to fill a complete king-size pillow case with candy, you have a lot of sweets on your hands.  Of course we believe in the Halloween Parent Tax.  Children pay their parents 10% of the candy.  This teaches true life skills.

So what are we going to do with all this candy?  This year we chopped up some of our favorite chocolate bars and made cookies.  And wow!!  The boys are wanting cookies instead of the multiple packages of candy.  It is a win!

We chopped up Snickers, Twix Bars, Kit-Kats, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  And then added in M&Ms for topping.  And it is a game when we bite into our yummy cookies- what candy did I just eat!

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Halloween Candy Turned Cookies

3  cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 oz cream cheese

1 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups of chopped chocolate candy (Kit-Kat, Snickers, Reese’s Cups, Hershey bars, Twix)

½ cup m & m’s for the top

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Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together butter, cream cheese, brown sugar and white sugar.  Mix in egg and vanilla extract.  Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients until flour is fully mixed.

Fold in chocolate candy.  Using a mini cookie scoop, scoop out dough balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheet.

Press a few m&m’s gently into the dough ball. Bake for 11-13 minutes. You want them to have a golden brown edge.  If they don’t look quit done, it’s okay.  Remove cookies from oven and let cookies sit on the pan for about 2-3 minutes.  Place cookies on a cooling rack to finish cooling.  Store in airtight container.

Serve with milk and enjoy!

Looking Forward,

Amanda

First Week of School Cookies

Well, we have almost made it through our first week of middle school.  Eeeekkkk!  How did he get so big?  Each year, we make cookies for the first week of school.  It is a welcomed treat after the first day of school.  Nothing says welcome home like warm cookies and cold milk.  This gives me time to talk about his day and hear about all his adventures.  Also, my kid likes to bring his lunch.  He enjoys having his first week of school cookies in his lunch box.

This year we tried to cram all his favorites into one cookie.  Chocolate chips, M&Ms, peanut butter, and oatmeal made these cookies extra yummy.  Simple and tasted amazing.

Here’s to a great school year and lots of singing and dancing in the kitchen!

Looking Forward,
Amanda

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First Day of School Cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 t vanilla extract
1 whole egg
¾ cup all purpose flour
¼ t salt
1 t baking soda
1½ cups old fashioned oats
1 cup M & M’s
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Then add in peanut butter.   Add in vanilla and egg. Mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the batter.  Mix for a little less than a minute. Do not over mix.  Fold in old fashioned oats, M & M’s and chocolate chips.

Make teaspoons of dough and place on prepared cookie sheets.  I prepare my cookie sheets with parchment paper.   Bake cookies for 11ish minutes or until lightly golden brown and firm on the edges.  Remove from the oven and let set for 3-4 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Once completely cooked, keep cookies in an airtight container.  Cookies  (if not all eaten) will last up to a week.

 

 

Heart Shaped Cupcakes

The day of LOVE is here.  This is a super easy treat to whip up for your little sweeties.  We even cheated and used a cake mix and pre-made icing.  And guess what, it was still yummy!

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Pick your favorite cake mix- I used Pillsbury Devil’s Food Cake
Pick your favorite icing- I used Pillsbury Cream Cheese Icing
Cupcake Liners
Glass marbles
Sprinkles for decorations

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Make cupcakes according to recipe directions. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Spoon batter into liners.  Fill cupcakes only 1/2 full.  If the liner is too full, you will not end up with heart shapes.
After filling the liners, place a marble between the liner and the pan. You will see the cupcake take the shape of a heart.
Bake cupcakes according to recipe directions. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Add your own flair with sprinkles.

You Have Everything You Need Chocolate Chip Cookies

It was a rainy Monday and Whitaker realized we were out of cookies.  In a house of boys, running out of cookies is a bad thing.  Whitaker is a problem solver and quickly declared, “Mommy, we can just make some cookies.”  I had several other ideas on my to-do list for the afternoon.  But I was quickly reminded that checking off boxes on my list could wait, I need to make cookies with Whitaker.

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He loves using the mixer.

This chocolate chip cookie recipe is so easy and you will probably have everything you need to create them right in your kitchen.  It is a great recipe to have a young chef to help you with because the measurements are easy and they love scooping the cookie dough on to the cookie sheet.

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Simple Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
3 cup quick oats
2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a mixer, stir together, butter, brown sugar, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Then add flour and baking soda. Add oats and stir until well combine. Lastly, add in chocolate chips.  Mix all well.
Scoop into 1″ balls & place on greased cookie sheet or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Add additional chocolate chips on top of scooped cookies.  (This makes your cookies look even better after they are baked.)
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges start to turn a light golden brown.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Every Where

We are right on the edge.  Pumpkins are every where.  We are carving them, decorating them, cooking them, and drinking them if you have an addiction to PSL like I do.  There are several items that scream “Fall is here and I’m wearing my favorite boots and sweaters every day.”

Wanted to share a few of my favorite pumpkin creations.  All of these goodies are perfect to surprise neighbors or coworkers.  Enjoy the cool air and the wonderful smells of fall.
-Amanda

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Just Stop It- Pumpkin Oat Filled  Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Toffee Pumpkin Cookies

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Pumpkin Pie

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Pumpkin Bread