Wedding Sugar Cookies

Wedding Sugar Cookies

Bridal shower cookies! These were so fun to make!

I checked around a bit to get an idea of the different cookie designs that are out there for bridal showers. Writing on cookies is always a bit challenging but I think they turned out pretty decent. I know the person who I made them for was happy about them and that’s all that really matters, right? Enjoy!

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

I think I had enough peppermint this holiday season to last me for the whole year! Seeing as how I’m not the biggest fan of peppermint there was little chance that I was going to go crazy eating these before I got them to the fundraiser they were meant for. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I chose them. Hmmmm . . .

One word of warning before you make them. I couldn’t find the peppermint baking chips anywhere. I mean, no where. As in not one single store. I ended up improvising and just crushing up candy canes. They worked pretty well, but one thing I found out was that if the candy cane in the cookie was close to the edge it baked out really crispy and almost clear like. And it make the cookies turn into really weird shapes. There were enough normal shapes that it worked out fine. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Source: Mom on Timeout

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips, plus more for sprinkling on top

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream sugars and butter together until light and fluffy. Add in egg, vanilla, and water and beat until well blended. Gradually stir in dry ingredients. Fold in baking chips.

Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease. Scoop out rounded tablespoons of cookie dough onto prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 7-8 minutes or until they are set. Do not over bake. Remove from oven, sprinkle with additional Andes chips if desired, and let cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Garlic Ham and Potatoes

Garlic Ham and Potatoes

I know you might be thinking that there have been a lot of sweets on here lately, and you’d be right. With all of the holidays and birthdays happening around here this time of year seems to be one big sugar fest. I guess you can think of this recipe as protesting the sugar overload.

As far as main dishes go, this wasn’t too bad. In fact, we’ve already had it a few times so that should tell you something. I would recommend only using ham though. Don’t let your husband add in the leftover prosciutto. Besides that, enjoy!

Garlic Ham and Potatoes
Source: Taste of Home

8 small red potatoes
1 tablespoon canola oil
16 ounces of broccoli, cut
1 cup cooked ham, cubed
1 envelope herb with garlic soup mix

In a large skillet, cook potatoes in oil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in the broccoli, ham, and dry soup mix. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Makes about 4 servings

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

Oh my!! This was one of my yummiest indulgences for the holiday season. It’s a good thing that I got them out of the house quickly because there would have been a problem with any calorie counting had they remained much longer than they did.

I actually ended up making two batches just a few weeks apart. For the first batch I followed the directions (mostly) and found that it had a step in it that I didn’t need. You see, I had already gotten the caramel to the gooey caramel stage while on the stove. When I then poured it over the pretzels and put it in the oven, I thought, “Hmmm, is this really necessary? Well, it’s what the directions say.” Ever the follower of the rules (and directions) I went forward with it against my better judgement. When I pulled the pan out after the allotted time I realized that the time in the oven had undone what I had done to get the caramel to the gooey caramel texture. Don’t get me wrong, it was still tasty and very addictive but it had a different consistency than I was looking for. I wanted the caramel that pulled apart and left gooey strings. This version snapped apart, almost like an Almond Roca, and it had a very similar taste to Almond Roca. I considered it a failure and brought it in to work to share with others who hopefully wouldn’t know the difference of what it was and what it was supposed to be. Many raved over it so I told them that I would try to make it how it was “supposed to be” and bring it in sometime soon.

Just a few weeks later I had my opportunity. This time I got the caramel to the gooey stage on the stove, poured it over the pretzels, put on the chocolate chips, barely stuck it in the oven (like a only a minute or so) and then spread the chocolate over the top. I declared it a success because it had the consistency I was looking for, gooey caramel strings with a hard chocolate layer on top and a crisp pretzel layer below. I took it into work so it could be sampled as it was “supposed to be”. It was funny because some liked it the first way and some liked it the second. I guess you never can win everyone over at once, huh.

I personally would recommend doing it either way. How can you go wrong with chocolate, caramel, and pretzels? Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark
Source: Adapted from Jamie Cooks It Up

8 ounces of pretzel sticks (that’s about 1/2 of a normal 16 oz. bag – sticks, not rods – could also use mini twists)
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
12 ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. (You may not need the oven if you use method 2 – see below.)

Line an 11 x 17 inch baking sheet with foil.

Spread the pan with the pretzel sticks (or twists). Try to cover most of the foil with the pretzels.

Method 1: In a saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar. Bring it to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until blended together. Keep the heat at medium while it is at a rolling boil and stop stirring. Let it boil for 3 minutes.

Immediately pour the hot caramel over the pretzels. Bake it in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pan.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Wait 2-3 minutes for the chocolate chips to begin to melt. Spread the melted chocolate over the top with a flat spatula or a knife. Sprinkle crushed sea salt over the top of the chocolate.

Allow to set up for several hours. It will harden on the counter or in the fridge. Cut or break into chunks for serving.

Method 2: In a saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar. Bring it to a boil over medium/medium high heat, stirring occasionally until blended together. Keep the heat at that temperature and let it boil for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it sit. It will thicken to gooey caramel within about 5 to 10 minutes of sitting.

After it thickens, pour the mixture over the pretzels. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Wait 2-3 minutes for the chocolate chips to melt. (If they don’t melt well, you can put the pan in the warm oven for a minute. Don’t put it in longer than that or you will undo your gooey caramel process.)

Spread the melted chocolate over the top with a flat spatula or a knife. Sprinkle crushed sea salt over the top of the chocolate.
Allow to set up for several hours. It will harden on the counter or in the fridge. Cut or break into chunks for serving.

Birthday Cupcake Cookies

Birthday Cupcake Cookies

The boy decided that this year he wanted to take “cupcakes” in for his birthday treat but he wanted them to actually be cookies. We compromised and made half the class a “birthday cupcake” and the other half a birthday present. (The planes are a part of a favor gift for his actual birthday party so those are just some extra eye candy for you.)

They were fun to make. I only have so many squeeze bottles so it got interesting trying to find different color combinations for each one so that it was somewhat unique. There were a few repeats but I think the birthday boy was happy with them and there were smiles all around. Enjoy!

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

I baked this cake quite a long time ago but I still have memories of it being a delicious, moist, dense cake. I just got back from a run and I really want a piece as I sit and reminisce about it. It had great flavor! As I said, and you can see, it was very dense but also moist from the apples and applesauce. The nut topping gave the crunch you are looking for to tie it all together. This was a great cake!

It’s really too bad that I can’t remember the site where I found the recipe and I seem to have not bookmarked it like I usually do. What’s up with that? This is the second recipe that I’ve gone to write about and I can’t seem to remember where I found the recipe. I’ll just have to use the excuse that life is moving along too fast and something has to give. I really am going to search for this recipe though because it is worth it and I’ll definitely be making it again! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Oatmeal

Pumpkin Oatmeal

We love oatmeal!! We have it for breakfast at least two times a week, sometimes three. I decided that I would switch things up and look for a new oatmeal recipe to try using some seasonal flavors.

I have to admit that it didn’t get rave reviews at my house. It smelled great, but the taste was kind of blah. We managed to muscle it down but even my husband who will pretty much eat anything said he wouldn’t mind if I didn’t make it again.

I guess it’s a good thing that I can’t seem to remember where I found the recipe for it since I won’t be needing it again! It’s just as well. There are many other varieties of oatmeal to try before all is said and done. Enjoy!