Baking

Christmas Cookie Ideas

Are you guys baking for Christmas yet? I love baking cookies around Christmas-time. Cookies are fun to make and also easy to give away! This post is filled with some of my favorite cookie (and bar) recipes that you can enjoy this holiday season!

First Up- I’ve made three different bars this year that are all quite possibly the best things that I have ever made. I am so excited to make these tasty bars again!

Gooey Nutella Bars!

I brought these to a Fourth of July Party and everyone loved them! I loved them too- they were sooo gooey and delicious.

 Gooey Peanut Butter Reece’s Bars

Another Gooey Bar! Oh it’s so good. I absolutely love Recces!

 S’mores Bars

While I know I sound like a broken record, here these bars were amazing!

I honestly cannot choose my favorite between these three bars- and blogging about them now is making me excited to go home and do some baking! I’m thinking I’m going to make at least one of these bars, surgery some zucchini or pumpkin bread, and a new cookie recipe (I already have one in mind :).

Speaking of cookies…. :) Here are a few of my favorite cookie recipes:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I absolutely loved these cookies! They’re big, soft, and fluffy, and I love the sweet and salty combination. Make them! :)

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I will confess that I will always choose chocolate over oatmeal raisin, but maybe not with these cookies! I made these for a teacher who really likes oatmeal raisin cookies, and I couldn’t believe how much I loved these! They’re so soft and have a great texture. Love them!

There are so many recipes I could post on this post, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you too much! Check out my Recipe Page to see all my bars, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and other desserts!

Do you have any desserts that you have to make every year around Christmas time?

 

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Fall Recipe Round-Up

Oh my goodness! I have not written in forever. I do have a pretty good excuse- I have started my freshmen year of college and things have been incredibly hectic. Really good, dysentery but busy at the same time. Because I don’t have access to a kitchen here at school, cystitis you probably won’t see many new recipes for a while (although you just wait for Thanksgiving and Christmas! :) However, read I will try to post every once in a while…I have some ideas about posts that I’m really excited about! Some of these ideas include:

-Care Package ideas

-Dorm room (and home) craft projects and decorating ideas

-Restaurant reviews (I’m excited for this one!)

-General posts about my college experience

I will hopefully get to those posts soon (once mid-terms are over..gah!) but for now, I’ll leave you with a list of some of my favorite fall recipes. I can’t believe that it’s already October! Where has this year gone?

Pumpkin Recipes:

-Pumpkin recipes are some of my all-time favorites! Here are some great ideas now that you might start finding lots of pumpkin in the grocery store.

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Donut Holes -this is one of my favorites

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Pumpkin Deliciousness Cake

Dinner- Ok so some of you might not be ready for all the pumpkin recipes yet…so here are some wonderful, comforting dinner ideas for those of you who are already experiencing cold weather :)

Mini Corn Dog Muffins– easy and portable! I could see these being really handy if you’re at a sports game.

Southern Corn Bread – make this along with your favorite chili

Swedish Meatballs – So. Good.

Taco Pasta

Non-Pumpkin Desserts:

Heaven in a Cinnamon Roll – well really, this is breakfast ;)

Dreamy Apple Pie – go apple picking and then make this!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Even though I’m a huge chocolate lover, these cookies are one of my favorites.

Do you guys have any great recipes you’re excited to make this fall?

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Zucchini Bread

A few days ago I posted my review of Brown Cow Cream Top Greek Yogurt (speaking of which, this site go over and enter to win the giveaway!). I knew I wanted to make some sort of quick-bread with the plain Greek Yogurt and decided on Zucchini bread. I had never even tasted Zucchini bread before, but I had a feeling I would love it. And I was right! Not only did I really like this bread, prothesis but my entire family did, too- we finished off pretty much the entire loaf the day I made it.

Because our oven is broken, I went over to my neighbors and made this at their house. While it was baking I watched the Olympics- I have absolutely loved watching them this past week. My favorite sports are gymnastics, swimming, and sprinting. I also love the equestrian events, but I haven’t seen any being aired! What are your favorite Olympic games to watch?

So anyway, back to this bread. My middle sister was worried because it had zucchini in it, but this doesn’t taste remotely healthy! It’s sweet, not dry, and the outside is nice and crisp. I love eating it heated with butter on it. I think this bread, as with most quick breads, gets better overnight, but I wouldn’t know since we ate it all ;)

I liked this bread enough that I am going to make it again tomorrow! I would definitely recommend it.

And finally, get on over to this post to win some delicious yogurt! The giveaway is open until August 18th.

Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

1 pound zucchini (you’ll end up with about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of zucchini once it has been shredded and wrung through a towel to rid of excess liquid)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used Brown Cow Plain Greek Yogurt)
1 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease the loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. Chop the very ends off the zucchini and finely shred it, peel and all. Place the shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel, wrap the towel, and wring the ends to squeeze out all the excess water. You should have about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of dry zucchini. Set the zucchini aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk the sugar, yogurt, eggs, sour cream, apple sauce, and butter until combined.
  4. Gently fold the yogurt mixture and zucchini into the flour mixture, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to fold the ingredients together until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
  5. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 45-55 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes then turn out into wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour. Store well-covered for up to three days.
Very slightly adapted from Mels Kitchen Cafe :)
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Gooey Nutella Bars

You know it’s a good day when you have apple pie and ice cream for breakfast and then go shopping for butter, ophthalmologist eggs, viagra cake mix, decease and cream cheese ;)

Our oven has been broken for the past couple of months, which is why I’ve been making mostly no-bake recipes lately, but this week out neighbors are out of town and offered me the use of their oven. Woohoo! So yesterday I headed over there to bake these delicious gooey nutella bars in their fully-functioning oven.

The original recipe for these bars calls for Biscoff instead of Nutella. Have you had Biscoff yet? I’ve only heard great things about it but haven’t been able to find it in our store. After making these bars I found out from my parents that our Kroger keeps the Biscoff by the bread, instead of by the peanut butter and Nutella. What the heck? That does not make sense! But at least now I know where it is and can buy it next time I go to the store. But I certainly don’t regret making these bars with Nutella- they are incredible! I brought them to a 4th of July get-together and everyone was raving about them- I love it when that happens :)

These bars do require a little bit of planning- they take 40-50 minutes to bake and then need to cool completely before serving them- but it’s worth it! They’re sweet, gooey, and nutella-ey.

Penny really wanted to try them, too! She is such a trouble-maker ;)

Gooey Nutella Bars 

Ingredients

For the Cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted

Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup Biscoff Spread OR Nutella
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter, melted
16 ounces confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting on top

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, 1 egg, and stick of butter with an electric mixer until the dough comes together. You may need to use your hand to mix it up completely. Press the dough into the bottom of a lightly greased 13×9 inch pan.
  3. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese and nutella until smooth in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat until combined. Add the powedered sugar and continue mixing until the filling is smooth. Spread the Nutella filling over the cake layer and bake for 40-50 minutes. It’s a little hard to tell when the bars are done because you want the center to be gooey. After 40 minutes, the center of my bars wasn’t set at all, so I left it in for another 10 minutes and it was perfect.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Live Love Pasta :)

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Truffles

The other night, buy my parents, ambulance 14 year old sister (Celina), and I watched When Harry Met Sally (love that movie!).

During the movie, my mom and I were getting such a kick making Hugh Grant jokes.

“Hey, Hugh. How Hugh doing Hugh?”

Hahahaha because Hugh sounds like you?!

We thought we were really funny.

After the movie was over, it was late. My mom said to Celina, “Bedtime, it’s after midnight. You’re a Republican!”

We all stared at her. Ummm what?

And then we slowly realized that she had said, “Bedtime, it’s after midnight, you’re a pumpkin!”

But Celina and I were already cracking up. I had to tell facebook about the conversation (of course) and we were hysterically laughing and typing incoherant things. And since I was the only one logged in to facebook, it looks like I commented on my own status 20 times.

Here are some gems from that conversation:

Mom: I wasn’t TRYING to say “pumpkin,” I DID say “pumpkin.”

Me: Hugh said republican!  <-Get it!? ;)

Mom: After midnight hugh turn into a Republican. Documented scientific fact.

Me: Now Celina’s saying “snatus” whatever that is

Then another person commented saying “I may be sleep deprived too but that is sooo funny!!”

Me: you have no idea the encouragment that gave us! Que hysterical laughter

Me: hahhaaa not que, cue! <-is that even real?

Me: I used to be smart once. That’s all I have to say.

Me: Celina just unliked this post just so she could like it again. HAHAHhahahahahaahahahahaha

Now that I’ve already wasted part of your day relating this (hysterical) story, I’ll make it up to you by giving you the recipe for these truffles. I’m not crazy about these photos, but I wanted to share them because they tasted pretty yummy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel Truffles

Ingredients:

3 cups pretzel pieces
1 cup creamy peanut butter
8 oz cream cheese
2 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
1/2 to 1 cup of mini chocolate chips
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1 package of chocolate bark

Directions:

  1. Crush up the pretzels in a ziplock bag in to very small pieces.
  2. Cream together the peanut butter, cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and brown sugar. Add the pretzel pieces and mini chocolate chips to the mixture and mix thoroughly.
  3. Using a small cookie scoop, shape the peanut butter mixture into small balls. Place the balls on a wax-lined cookie sheet. After you’ve finished with all the mixture, place the balls into the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes (or more).
  4. When you’re ready to dip the truffles, microwave the chocolate bark until it’s completely smooth.
  5. One at a time, dip the peanut butter balls into the melted chocolate and use a spoon to make sure it’s all covered. Repeat with all of the balls.
  6. Return the truffles to the refrigerator and chill again until the chocolate is hard (if you use chocolate bark to cover them, it should only take a couple of minutes).
  7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

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