Category: Dessert

Watermelon Cupcakes

wpid-wp-1432487724501.jpeg

It’s safe to say I have a lot of obsessions things I’m really into – donuts, flamingos, buttercream frosting, watermelon, the Giant Squid, vintage anything, shoes, matching my boys to each other and also to me, hair dye, thrift stores. I know what I like. And apparently, it’s a bunch of weird and varied things, and I realize that now as I’m typing it out.

Welp, today, we are going to talk watermelons. They are such a fun fruit. I love their colors. I love their sweetness. I love how I can eat a whole melon for a meal and feel super full. I love how they smell. It might just be the raddest mainstream fruit.

You you what else is rad? Mixing watermelons and cupcakes together.

wpid-wp-1432487742499.jpeg

Oh, yes, boy.

I’ve made watermelon cupcakes before. From a box. They were really yummy and tasted like Jolly Ranchers (which totally make you feel like you’re teeth are being ripped out, one by one, but also it’s totally worth it). But today, I wanted to try another version, one that used real watermelon in the recipe. I also used LorAnn watermelon oil (I found mine on Amazon) to pony up the watermelon flavor. Watermelon Jell-O might also work.

wpid-wp-1432487732747.jpeg

These cupcakes came out incredibly tender, full of watermelon flavor, and adorable. They would be a perfect addition for a Memorial Day or Fourth of July party. Or for a simple Summer day.

wpid-wp-1432487737336.jpeg

I used a white cake mix for this recipe because I happened to have one on hand (I keep a few stocked, when I see them on $1 sales at the grocery store), but your favorite standard homemade white cake mix recipe would work well here. If you have a few minutes to spare, sift your cake mix prior to adding the other ingredients. l almost always sift dry ingredients when baking, and especially with boxed mixes. I do this, because I find that if I don’t, the batter is terribly lumpy, and the lumps show up in the finished product. Sifting also makes for an incredibly tender crumb, once baked.

wpid-wp-1432487740178.jpeg

Watermelon Cupcakes

Recipe adapted from: Mix and Match Mama
Makes: 24 standard cupcakes or 12 standard + 24 mini cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 box of white cake mix
1 1/4 C pureed watermelon, divided
1/2 C oil (vegetable or canola)
4 egg whites (or 12 T liquid egg whites)
1/2 dram LorAnn watermelon oil
*a few drops of pink or red food coloring is optional. if you choose not to use this, as I have, your cupcakes will turn out peachy colored.*
Preheat your oven to 350F. Line your cupcake tins and set aside.
Puree your watermelon. Set aside.
Sift your cake mix into a medium or large bowl. Add one cup of watermelon puree, oil (I used canola), egg whites, and LorAnn watermelon oil. Mix until just combined. If you are using food coloring, add it now. Be careful not to overmix.
Pour batter into your prepared cupcake tins and bake for 18 – 21 minutes. Mine took 18 and I rotated the pans halfway through. Cool for 10 minutes and then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
2 C powdered sugar
remaining watermelon puree (1/4 C)
1/2 dram LorAnn watermelon oil
Few drops of pink food coloring
Sprinkles, optional (I found watermelon colored and flavored sprinkles at Publix)
While the cupcakes are cooling, beat butter, remaining watermelon puree, LorAnn watermelon oil, and powdered sugar until combined. Add more watermelon puree or more sugar, if the icing is too thick or too thin, respectively (I actually needed quite a bit more powdered sugar). Beat in food coloring. Frost and decorate your cooled cupcakes.
Store in refrigerator.
Enjoy!
Kristin
Happy Memorial Day! Please remember to thank a Vet or current Military Serviceman or Woman. These incredible, brave souls are such a big reason we enjoy our freedom.

S’mores Macarons

Y’all. I heard it was S’mores Week. If it were up to me, I’d have it be S’mores Day, errday, all day. I love s’mores. You know what else I heard? That Macaron Day is coming up. I don’t know who made these holidays up, or if I am even correct on the dates, but I like them. And, I’ve got a really fun recipe that incorporates both of these super awesome holidays.

wpid-wp-1432084115741.jpeg

S’MORES MACARONS, PEOPLE

S’mores Macarons. Yup. If you haven’t yet (I say “yet” in assumption that you’ll one day try them…because you should) tried then, they are a French meringue made with ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites. They are filled and are characterized by their bottom ruffle (how cute!), called a “foot”.

wpid-wp-1432084095008.jpeg

Glorious Feet

They are crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. And they are wonderful. Extraordinary. Beautiful. And wonderful.

wpid-wp-1432084098450.jpeg

The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination. I thought it would be fun to make a s’mores version of these. For me, s’mores are quintessential to Summer (I also think they are quintessential to Winter). There is something so familiar, so lovely about s’mores.

wpid-wp-1432084102930.jpeg

I also made a few without the graham cracker component, to be deemed appropriate for those who do without gluten.

These were delightfully crispy, but chewy, deliciously chocolately, filled with a fluffy, marshmallowy, vanilla filling, and for those with it, dusted with crunchy, buttery graham cracker crumbs. Please don’t feel scared to try these. They have a lot of steps, but it will be worth it.

wpid-wp-1432084106445.jpeg

S’mores Macarons

For the macarons:

2 C powdered sugar

1 C almond flour or almond meal

3 T unsweetened cocoa powder (dark cocoa would be delicious, too!)

1/4 t fine salt

3 large egg whites, room temperature

Pinch cream of tartar

3 T granulated sugar

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. You can also prepare a pastry bag with a tip, but I simply cut the end off.

Place the powdered sugar, almond flour/meal, cocoa powder, and salt in a food processor and pulse several times. Then process until fine and combined, about 30 seconds. Sift through a flour sifter into a large bowl to remove any lumps. Set aside.

For the meringue component, place the egg whites in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a handheld mixer). Beat on medium speed until opaque and foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar, put mixer on medium high, and beat until the egg whites are white, about 1 minute. While continuing to beat, slowly add the granulated sugar, until it is combined, the peaks are stiff, and the whites are shiny, about 1 minute more. Make sure you don’t over whip. Put the meringue to a large bowl.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry mixture into the egg whites in four batches until the dry ingredients are just combined. The meringue will lost some of its airy-ness. With the final addition, stop folding when there are no traces of egg whites and the mixture looks like cake batter. Make sure you do not over mix.

Transfer the batter to the pastry bag. Pipe out 1-1/4-inch rounds about 1 inch apart onto the baking sheets, about 25 per sheet. Bang your baking sheet on your counter tops. This will remove cracking from the macaron tops, and instead add the crack (or foot) to the base. Let the rounds sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to dry the tops and ensure even cooking.

Preheat the oven to 350F and move a rack to the middle. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time for 7 minutes. Rotate the sheet and cook for 7 minutes more. Cool completely.

For the marshmallow frosting:

** I halved this recipe and still had plenty leftover**

1 1/2 C granulated sugar

1/4 t cream of tartar or 1 T white corn syrup (I used cream of tartar)

1/8 t salt

1/3 C water

2 egg whites

1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract

Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water. Make sure that the boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. This will cause your frosting to be grainy. Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Beat in vanilla. Transfer frosting to a pastry bag.

wpid-wp-1432084121594.jpeg

To assemble:

Pair macarons of similar size. Snip off the end of your pastry bag. Squeeze about a teaspoon of frosting onto one macaron shell (the flat side), and top with another half. Press gently. The filling should just come to the edges of the macaron. Pour graham cracker crumbs (about 1/2 C) into a bowl. Roll the macarons into the crumbs. They will stick to the frosting. Cover and refrigerate. These taste better once they’ve been refrigerated. It will help the frosting settle and make the inside portion chewier. These freeze quite well (up to a month). You can even fill them before freezing.

Enjoy!

These would be wonderful to make this Memorial Day weekend, also rounding out S’mores Week. Don’t forget what this weekend is about – we are remembering those who have died in our great Military. THANK YOU to those who have served…past, present, and future. I am forever grateful for your bravery.

Kristin

Favorite Things Week – VPK School Lunch (and Chocolate Cake!)

This is my big boy’s last week of VPK. Sniff. I don’t know where the time has gone. I literally only blinked, and his entirely VPK year has come and gone. To help him celebrate his last three days of school, I decided to pack some of his favorite things.

For tomorrow:

wpid-wp-1431989857236.jpeg

I packed a PB&J. This kid loves his PB&J’s. I also packed corn (his favorite vegetable), a yogurt squeeze (he always wants one), and a teeny slice of super sprinkled homemade chocolate cake for dessert.

Speaking of chocolate cake…

wpid-wp-1431996059395.jpeg

…oh, yes boy.

Today was my last Mommy church group meeting for this school year, and I made a one-bowl frosted chocolate cake to take with me. I made sure to save some for my boys. They always ask me to save them special treats when I make them for get-togethers.

wpid-wp-1431996063048.jpeg

I’ve used this recipe a dozen times before. It’s very quick to throw together. I almost always have the ingredients, as well.

wpid-wp-1431996065890.jpeg

Who could resist such an easy recipe?

wpid-wp-1431996068578.jpeg

It’s fudgy, not-too-rich, chocolatey, and super moist.

wpid-wp-1431996071463.jpeg

I covered it with a ton of fun sprinkles.

Do it.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

recipe adapted from: Six Sister’s Stuff

2 C AP flour
2 C sugar
1/2 C baking cocoa (I used 1/4 C of dark chocolate cocoa, 1/4 C regular)
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 C vegetable or canola oil
1 C buttermilk (you can easily make your own with milk and vinegar)
2 eggs
1 C hot water

Frosting:

1/2 C butter, softened
1/4 C milk
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
3 T cocoa powder (I used a mix of dark and regular, again)
3 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13″ pan.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix in the oil, buttermilk, and eggs. Pour in the water and mix well. It will be runny and that is okay.

Pour batter into pan. Bake for 33-38 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Mine was done at 35 minutes.

Once completely cooled, frost.

To make frosting, mix all the ingredients together. Add more powdered sugar or milk, as needed.

I hope you enjoy it!

Kristin

You DONUT want to miss this VPK School Lunch!

Tomorrow marks the first day back to school from Spring Break (cue crying/sniffling/and-also-joyful-whoops). We had a great break – we visited family several hours away, my oldest BFF came up from Miami for an awesome visit, our playgroup went on a train ride and took our kids to a fancy breakfast which was a disaster (but my cheese grits and fried green tomatoes were worth it), we went to a concert in the park, we ate overpriced froyo, and we got sick. All of us. My boys had fevers and one had a horrible ear infection. I lost my voice (happiest day of their little lives). But we survived. And to simultaneously celebrate the first day back in school and mourn the loss of Spring Break, I made a fun donut lunch.

wpid-photogrid_1427150045055.jpg

I made a donut (doughnut, also being a perfectly acceptable way of spelling it) shaped PB & berry cream cheese sandwich. I cut the large circle shape using a mug and the little hole using a medicine cup (which I had readily available). I used a teeny bit of red spray, and then a teeny bit of pink sparkly icing to keep the confetti sprinkles from falling off. I also packed gold raisins (as my Biggie calls them), a date, grapes, pineapple, goldfish crackers, and a teeny homemade donut for dessert.

I made the donuts last week.

wpid-photogrid_1427150110021.jpg

These little suckers are SO good. I have made them many times before and they are always a hit.

Here is the recipe:

http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2012/04/mini-devils-food-donuts/

And for the icing:

2 C powdered sugar

2 T milk (I used cashew milk)

1 t vanilla (optional)

1 t almond extract (optional)

food coloring, if desired

sprinkles, if desired (and why wouldn’t they be)

Mix the first five ingredients together. Frost the cooled donuts and decorate with sprinkles.

Get it girl. Or boy.

Kristin

(late) Valentine’s Desserts

Last week was full of Valentine’s activities and special treats. I was so busy, that I wasn’t able to get the dessert recipes up, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me, right? You can make these any time. So get on it. Or tuck these away for Valentine’s Day next year….it never hurts to be prepared!

First up, Dark Red Velvet Cookies. Oh yes, boy.

wpid-20150210_171923.jpg

These were chewy and cocoa-y, and filled with milky, melty chocolate.

wpid-20150210_171953.jpg

Such a fun treat for the lunchboxes!

Dark Red Velvet Cookies

Recipe adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction, Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

1.5 C + 1 T AP flour

1/4 C dark cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)

1 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/2 C unsalted butter, softened

3/4 C brown sugar

1/4 C granulated sugar

1 egg, at room temperature

1 T milk

2 t vanilla extract

1.5 T red food coloring

1 c milk chocolate chips

Toss together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter, in another bowl, on high speed until creamy. On medium speed, add the sugars and beat until combined. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Once mixed, add the food coloring and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Slowly beat until a very soft dough is formed. Beat in more food coloring if you’d like the dough to be redder. On low speed, beat in the chocolate chips. The dough will be sticky.

Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour (up to several days). Thaw, as needed, before baking.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Scoop the dough and roll into balls. Bake each batch for 10-11 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Switching directions to gluten and dairy free –

wpid-20150212_162112-1.jpg

I’ve made these GF DF peanut butter cookies many times. They always come out perfectly.

wpid-20150212_162141_hdr.jpg

They have all the ingredients needed to make for an old-fashioned peanut butter cookie feel.

I also added raspberry jam to a few:

wpid-20150212_162212_hdr.jpg

I love how these came out. The jam added a chewy goodness to them. I can’t even. Actually I could. And I did.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/gluten-free-peanut-butter-cookies

And lastly, but still gluten and dairy free – Chocolate Torte!

wpid-20150212_162404_hdr.jpg

This thing is a showstopper. It’s super glossy in the picture, because I had just poured my cashew milk ganache on top.

Yes. Cashew milk ganache. And it’s ridonkulously easy.

wpid-20150212_162429_hdr.jpg

Look at that freshy.

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Torte

Recipe adapted from: King Arthur Flour, Flourless Chocolate Cake

1 C semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 C (8 T) unsalted butter

3/4 C granulated sugar

1/4 t salt

1 t vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan. Fit a piece of parchment paper in the bottom. Grease that as well. 

Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the butter is melted and the chips are soft. Stir until the chips melt, reheating briefly if necessary (you can use a double-boiler if preferred). Transfer the melted chocolate/butter to a mixing bowl.

Stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add the eggs, beating briefly until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, and mix just to combine.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 25 minutes; the top will have formed a thin crust.

Remove it from the oven, and cool it in the pan for 5 minutes.

Loosen the edges of the pan with a table knife and turn it out onto a serving plate. The top will now be on the bottom; that’s fine. Also, the edges will crumble a bit, which is also fine. Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze: Combine one cup of semi sweet chocolate with one half cup of non-dairy milk (or cream, if you want dairy) in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the milk is very hot, but not simmering. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is completely smooth.

*I have used both cashew and coconut milks for this and they both turn out beautifully.*

Spoon the glaze over the cake, spreading it to drip over the sides a bit. Allow the glaze to set for several hours before serving the cake.

EAT.

Enjoy these sweet treats!

Kristin

Half Whole Wheat Banana Cake Muffins

Have you ever heard of something that is half whole wheat? And that is both cake and a muffin at the same time? Me neither. Until now. These are so good, they’ll knock your socks off! I was inspired to make these for two reasons – 1) I had two completely brown, sad, and huge bananas on my counter (they were so pitiful and self-loathing, that they wouldn’t even hang on my banana hanger anymore), and 2) my oldest son had a craving for banana cake after a classmate brought some in his school lunchbox and who am I to mess with his cake-filled dreams.

 wpid-20150208_173132.jpg

These came out so moist and soft, and with a tender crumb, just like cake should be (unless it’s wedding cake. I adore and crave a dense wedding cake.). I used both whole wheat flour and cake flour. I love when healthy and delicious collide.

wpid-20150208_173123.jpg

They are full of cozy, homey banana flavor and spiced with warm cinnamon.

wpid-20150208_173059.jpg

If given the opportunity, I would have eaten the whole pan.

Fortunately enough for me and my waistline, I was not afforded that opportunity.

wpid-20150208_173018.jpg

I also made a few mini muffins, perfect for little hands.

I hope you make these sweet little things and find them to be as easy and delicious as I did.

Half Whole Wheat Banana Cake Muffins

Recipe makes 12 standard muffins, 12 mini muffins, and a little extra for a tasting (I used a mini spring form)

Recipe adapted from: “Banana Upside Down Mini Muffins”, Weelicious Lunches

2 large ripe bananas (or about 3 medium)

3/4 C buttermilk (I made mine with cashew milk and vinegar)

1 large egg

3 T oil (I used peanut, you can use canola, vegetable, or coconut)

1 t vanilla

1 C whole wheat flour

1 C cake flour

1/3 C packed brown sugar

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

Preheat the oven to 375F. Place cupcake wrappers in a cupcake tin.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Add the buttermilk, egg, oil, and vanilla, and whisk together.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until just combined.

Pour into the cupcake wrappers, about 3/4 full.

Bake for 12 minutes. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before removing them from the tins.

These are truly bananas! Try them.

Kristin

Sweet Week

I was a Baking Fool this past weekend (it’s an official title, of sorts). I needed some new lunchbox treats. That’s always a fun time for me, finding something new to bake. I chose two recipes that I’d had tucked away for some time – Fairy Bites (tiny, little, sprinkle-y shortbread squares) and Campfire Cookies (all the yummy components of s’mores).

 wpid-20150118_132107_hdr_20150121115721366.jpg

I’ve had these on my radar for a while and I was happy to finally be able to make them. They were so simple and easy to make and came out so cute.

wpid-20150118_132029_hdr.jpg

Lightly almond and super buttery, these cookies are sure to please almost everyone (as long as “everyone” likes lightly almond and super buttery and cookies, and if you don’t, I’m not sure I want to know you)!

wpid-20150118_132043_hdr.jpg

They are so adorably tiny, which makes them perfect for little hands. Or big hands, like mine. Either one.

wpid-20150118_132051_hdr.jpg

I probably definitely should have added more sprinkles.

wpid-20150118_132057_hdr.jpg

But, I am still very happy with the way they came out.  These are great lunchbox treats and would be so precious at a little tea party (which my boys would straight up annihilate, so I’ll be sticking with serving these in lunchboxes for them and eating directly from the cookie jar for me).

http://pinkpiccadillypastries.blogspot.com/2014/02/fairy-bites.html

Needing something with chocolate??

Me too. Always.

wpid-20150119_125315_hdr.jpg

I had also been wanting to make these Campfire Cookies for a long time. I LOVE s’mores. We have a life-long love affair, me and s’mores. And when the opportunity arises to eat them deconstructed or reconstructed, I’m in.

wpid-20150119_125221_hdr.jpg

These hearty cookies are made with both flour and graham cracker crumbs.

wpid-20150119_125250_hdr.jpg

They are chock full of Hershey’s milk chocolate and mini marshmallows.

wpid-20150119_125327_hdr.jpg

They were so ooey and gooey and melty, fresh out of the oven.

wpid-20150119_125336_hdr.jpg

I highly recommend these.

http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dessert/gooey-smores-cookies.html#_a5y_p=1384098

And continuing with the “sweet” theme, for Tuesday’s lunch…

wpid-photogrid_1421716890838.jpg

I packed a heart-shaped ham, cheese, and mayo sandwich, colby jack cheese, assorted raisins (LOVE Trader Joe’s raisins), strawberries, blueberries, and one Campfire Cookie.

Enjoy!

Pretty on the Outside

Upon reading this title, you may think this post has to do with something deep, profound, even. And I can get like that. I’m a deep thinker, that’s for sure. But this isn’t about anything like that. It’s about food. That’s pretty. On the outside. And not so much on the inside. Well, technically, the inside was pretty, too, but it didn’t taste pretty. The only way “pretty” can be used to describe this dessert was “pretty bad”, to be honest. So bad, that I am not even going to share the recipe with you. But I love how it looked, so I am going to share that. Just the looks. The pretty outside.

wpid-20150110_131156_hdr-1-1.jpg

Before this, I had never made a jelly-roll cake before. I had always wanted to. And it was a fun one to make. I am going to keep making them until I get one right. You know, for the sake of research. So, stayed tuned for that. “That” being future successful jelly-roll cakes (fingers crossed).

wpid-20150110_131204_hdr.jpg

See how pretty this came out? Such a tragedy about the taste. Despite following this particular recipe exactly, it came out very eggy. Not in a good way. There is a time and a place for eggs, and a beautiful jelly-roll cake is not one of those times, despite what you may have heard. Or not heard, in this cake (my fingers wanted to type “cake” and not “case”, and so how can I deny them that? leaving it.).

wpid-20150110_131211_hdr.jpg

Luckily, I had made it to take to a girls’ night in and it was eaten by friends, very polite friends, who told me it was good even if it did taste eggy. Bless. Bless them. Bless me. Bless my egg roll. And bless my kids, who thought it was great (but, also, my two year old licks floors and chair seats, so his tastes can’t really be complimented).

wpid-20150110_190850.jpg

So, see? Not everything that looks like a pretty little package on the outside has a matching inside. That’s as deep as I can go with this.

Not everyone is ready for this jelly.

Kristin

Cookies for Santa (and Mrs. Claus!)

Christmas is almost here! Do you know what you’ll be putting out for Santa to enjoy? I’ve got two very easy recipe for you, should you need them (and don’t we all need extra cookies recipes in our repertoire?).

wpid-photogrid_1419284831531.jpg

The first cookie could not be any easier! I’m sure you’ve tried these at least once in your life. They are no-bake chocolate, oatmeal, and peanut butter cookies. The best of everything!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

2 C sugar

4 T cocoa (using dark cocoa really changes the flavor and makes them so decadent!)

1/2 C butter (1 stick)

1/2 C milk (I used coconut milk)

1 C peanut butter

1 T vanilla

3 C oatmeal

Bring sugar, cocoa, butter, and milk to a boil. Let it boil for about 1 minute. Add peanut butter, vanilla, and oatmeal. Drop spoonfuls onto a prepared sheet pan (waxed paper or Silpat). Let them cool and harden (you can do this in the refrigerator).

wpid-photogrid_1419283914027.jpg

They are as equally good freshly plopped onto the pan…

wpid-photogrid_1419284030975.jpg

…as they are from the refrigerator or freezer.

The second cookie is not as easy, because it is a baked cookie, but is equally delicious and completely customizable.

wpid-photogrid_1419284334700.jpg

They are a basic brown sugar cookie with chocolate chips, M&M’s, and sprinkles. All in Christmas colors! I think Santa will be back for seconds (if you ask me, and I would know, wink wink).

Santa’s Chocolate Chip, M&M’s, and Sprinkle Cookies

Recipe adapted from: “Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie”, www.dinnersdishesanddesserts.com

3/4 C softened butter

3/4 C brown sugar

1/4 C sugar

1 egg

2 t vanilla

1 T vanilla bean paste

2 C flour

2 t cornstarch

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

1 C chocolate chips

3/4 C M&M’s (I picked out the red and green ones)

1/4 C sprinkles (I used Christmas colors)

Cream butter and both sugars together, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and vanilla bean paste. Add flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, M&M’s, and sprinkles.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes. I covered it, and left it in the fridge overnight. I had to let it thaw a bit before baking. Chilling the dough makes for a thicker cookie.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Scoop out dough. I rolled mine into balls. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool on the sheet pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

wpid-photogrid_1419284509666.jpg

These were just a really fun take on the classic chocolate chip cookie, which goes over well with almost everyone I know. And to be honest, I’m not sure I want to know you if a chocolate chip cookie doesn’t go over well with you. #nooffense #moreforme

wpid-photogrid_1419284440117.jpg

My boys loved helping with these, especially knowing that “Santa” would be enjoying them (and indeed SHE will). They dumped in all the chocolate and sprinkles.

Enjoy! Only a few days left to get your baking on!

Kristin (aka Mrs. Claus, aka Cookie Queen)

Christmas Sugar Cookies (and decorating with my boys!)

I made sugar cookies with my boys yesterday. They’re finally at the age where they can do it “properly” and enjoy it. Did I say “they”? I meant that my four and a half year old can do that. My two year old ate every sprinkle that crossed his path. And that was a lot of sprinkles. Enough to dye his mouth green for the duration of the day.

wpid-20141213_121753.jpg

I only needed about 30 cookies for my church group ladies and this recipe made more than that. I gave each boy their own little sheet of dough, pan, and apron, and set up the cookie cutters and sprinkles.

wpid-20141213_122200.jpg

Bigs sort of had an accident with the green sugar. Instead of opening the sprinkle cap, he unscrewed and dumped. Oops.

wpid-20141213_122832.jpg

I think he’d call this a “happy” accident. It all worked out. They had so much fun and their little cookies were so cute.

wpid-20141213_130448_20141213192247982.jpg

They enjoyed eating them with big glasses of (coconut) milk.

While their cookies were baking, I got to work on mine.

wpid-img_20141213_215653.jpg

I wanted to do simple cookies this year. I used a star, Christmas tree, and sleigh cutters, and made thumbprints.

wpid-20141213_130637.jpg

I decorated them using my gold and silver sugars…

wpid-20141213_130706_hdr.jpg

…green sugars, and Christmas colored nonpareils.

wpid-20141213_131533_hdr.jpg

I have no idea what this thumbprint cookie is all about. I just went with it. If you squint, it could be a wreath-like thing.

Whatever, it’s a cookie.

wpid-20141213_161556_hdr.jpg

I love the way they came out! And, as equally important, they were delicious! I think my church gals will really enjoy them.

wpid-20141213_161612_hdr.jpg

These cookies are sturdy, but not overly-crunchy, and filled with vanilla and almond flavors. I added vanilla bean paste to amp up the vanilla flavor. I love seeing black speckles of vanilla beans in desserts.

wpid-20141213_161642_hdr-1.jpg

To me, they taste of Christmas!

Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies

Adapted from: Perfect Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs, lovegrowswild.com

  • 1 C unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¼ C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ t vanilla extract
  • 1 T vanilla bean paste
  • ½ t almond extract
  • 3 C of flour
  • 1½ t baking powder
  • ¼ t salt
  • colored sugars and nonpareils
  • cookie icing, if desired
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, and vanilla bean paste and mix until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
  3. Roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper and place on a baking sheet in the refrigerator. Chill for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. Cut dough into shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to a baking sheet. I prepared my baking sheets with parchment paper. Sprinkle with colored sugars and nonpareils and bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 40-50 cookies, depending on your cutter size.

Enjoy!

Kristin