Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays ~ Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies


Merry Christmas Eve!  Celebrate with some of my signature Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies filled with peppermint.  I used all milk chocolate chips, added peppermint extract, and pressed crushed candy canes into the dough.  The candy canes melt into the dough but keep their great crunchy texture.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (3/4 cup), melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
2 cups + 2 T all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2 cups Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips (1 package)
candy canes, crushed into small pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Melt the butter and set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Add cooled butter to large stand mixer. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and cream until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and peppermint extract and beat until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Reduce the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture, and mix just until combined. Turn the mixer off and stir in the chocolate chips.

Use a 2 oz. cookie scoop and place rounded dough 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. You can also use your hands and roll 2 T cookie dough into balls. The dough is smooth and not sticky at all.  Press some of the crushed candy cane pieces into the top and sides of dough.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until edges are lightly brown and centers are still soft and puffy. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely or serve warm. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peppermint Brownie Truffles


Let me introduce you to my new favorite truffles...these little fudge peppermint brownie bites are dipped in milk or white chocolate and garnished with crushed peppermint candy canes.  It's not too late to add these sweet treats to your Christmas and New Year's dessert trays.  Or pack them up in a cute little tin box and surprise your neighbors and friends.


Peppermint Brownie Truffles
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Ingredients:

1 box brownie mix plus ingredients to make, per package instructions
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 cup chocolate fudge frosting
Wilton white or milk chocolate melts or Almond Bark
Crushed peppermint candy canes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. 

Mix brownie batter per package instructions.  Pour into prepared pan and bake per package instructions.  Let cool completely.  Use a fork to break up the baked brownies.

In a large bowl, use a large spoon to mix together the brownies, peppermint extract, and frosting.  You can refrigerate the mixture to make forming the brownie balls easier.  Form brownie truffles (2 tsp) and place on wax paper lined sheet tray.  Place in freezer for at least 1 hour to set up.

Melt chocolate melts or almond bark in microwave safe bowl.  Dip each brownie truffle in melted chocolate, use a spoon to remove, place back on sheet tray, and garnish with crushed candy canes right away (chocolate firms up quickly on the frozen brownies).

Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie~Double Stuf Oreo~Brownie Bars


These sweet treats are very decadent and perfect for the holidays.  The bottom layer is homemade cookie dough, then a layer of Double Stuf Oreos with caramel drizzled on top, which is topped with boxed brownie batter.  I found this recipe over at Betcha Can't Eat Just One, which is the perfect title for Katie's blog.

I made these as a "Thank You!" for my husband's  friend's wife who stood in line at 5:00am on black Friday to purchase a new electric smoker for our patio. Thanks again Dee!

Cookie Dough Layer:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 T pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, line with parchment paper leaving an overhang, and spray parchment paper with cooking spray. (You can never be too careful).

In a large stand mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated.  Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix just until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the cookie dough in an even layer by pressing into the bottom of prepared pan.

Oreo Cookie Layer:

1 package Double Stuf Oreo cookies
1/2 cup caramel sauce (I used Hershey's), or dulce du leche

Place the Oreos in a single layer over cookie dough.  Drizzle with caramel sauce or dulce du leche sauce.

Brownie Layer:

1 Box family size Brownie mix, plus ingredients to make (oil, eggs, water)

Follow directions on box to prepare brownie batter.  Spread on top of Oreo cookie layer in an even layer using spatula.

Bake for 45-50 minutes.  The brownies should look slightly gooey in the middle and will set up when cooling.  Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes.  Remove from pan by lifting the parchment paper out and cut into bars.  Enjoy! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Orange Julius Copycat Shake


When I found this recipe for Orange Julius on Tried and Tasty, I knew I had to make it.  I grew up drinking these shakes as a special treat at the mall.  It tastes just like the original and brought back some great memories.

Ingredients:

1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup ice cubes

Add all ingredients to blender and blend well.  Serves 2.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chocolate Chip Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Skillet Cookie


I found another way to use my favorite 10 inch cast iron skillet.  This big cookie gets crispy around the edges and stays nice and gooey in the middle.  Serve it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce and your sweet tooth will be satisfied.  Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
10 mini Reese's peanut butter cups, cut into quarters
5 mini Reese's peanut butter cups, cut in half (for top)
caramel sauce, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil a 10 inch skillet.

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

In a large stand mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Add the 10 quartered peanut butter cups and carefully fold into dough.

Press dough into the bottom of prepared skillet.  Press the remaining halved 5 peanut butter cups into top of dough.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until edges are brown and top is golden.  Be careful not to over bake as it will continue to bake in the skillet.  Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Cut into wedges and drizzle with caramel sauce.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Lemon Angel Hair Pasta with Grilled Shrimp



This is a simple and healthy whole grain pasta dish with lots of flavor.  We always have flash frozen shrimp in the freezer for an easy weeknight meal.

Ingredients:

1 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
2 T blackening spice rub (or your favorite spice rub)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 lb whole grain angel hair pasta, cooked al delte
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (plus more if needed)
1 1/2 lemons, zest and juice
kosher salt
black pepper
pinch red pepper flakes
grated parmesan cheese, for garnish
green onions, for garnish

Toss shrimp with blackening spice rub.  Grill on indoor grill pan on both sides until cooked through.  Remove to plate, squeeze juice from 1/2 lemon, and cover with foil.

Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente.  Drain and set aside.

In a large deep skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil.  Add the onions, mushrooms, and garlic and saute until onion is translucent.  Add the chicken broth, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and simmer for 10 minutes until reduced slightly.  Add the cooked pasta and toss well to coat.  Add more chicken broth if needed and cook pasta in sauce for a few more minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

Plate up the pasta and top with grilled shrimp.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and green onions.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cocktail Friday ~ Red Solo Cup Margarita


Do you ever watch CMT music videos?  Toby Keith has a new song out called "Red Solo Cup" that has been playing over and over.  It annoyed me at first, then after hearing it several times, I noticed I was singing along to it.  Then I sat down and watched the video one day.  It was so funny and stupid at the same time.  So if you want to see the video, send your kids out of the room and watch it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKZqGJONH68

This is the perfect margarita for a big 16 ounce Red Solo Cup, and you only need one!  We love margaritas and always visit Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville during our travels to Cancun, Caribbean, and New Orleans.  My hubby blended these up while we snacked on Thanksgiving appetizers.  Drink with caution!

Ingredients:

1 - 12 oz frozen Limeade concentrate
1/2 bottle Corona beer
Juice of 1 lime
12 oz Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila (use Limeade can)
Ice

In a blender, add the Limeade, Corona, lime juice, and tequila.  Add enough ice to fill blender.  Blend well and serve in Red Solo Cup.  Garnish with lime slices and margarita salt.

Makes 4 servings


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