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!

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

It seems like fudge and peppermint just kind of go together, right? The plan was to make this fudge to give away at a cookie exchange. That didn’t exactly work out because it was really difficult to get out of the pan. The other fudges that I made that same night had directions to put in foil and spray it. I guess I should have known. But I didn’t, and I wasn’t paying attention.

The fact that it was a layered fudge almost made it possible to separate the two layers and have twice as many pieces. The only problem with that was that the candy canes melted and cooked kind of weird so the bottom layer wasn’t as pretty as the top layer.

That being said, it turned out all right. For someone who isn’t a big fan of peppermint, it was a lot of peppermint. I will definitely be sticking to the other fudge recipes that tried out and had great success with. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge
Source: Around My Family Table

24 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2 cans condensed milk
4 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt
1/2 cup peppermint baking chips
1/2 cup crushed candy canes

Line a 9×9 pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray.

Place chocolate chips, condensed milk, butter, and salt in a heavy bottom pan over medium-low heat and stir until melted.

Pour half of the mixture in the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula or butter knife. Sprinkle on a thick layer of peppermint baking chips.

Gently pour the remaining fudge mixture on top of the peppermint. Spread gently so there is a distinct layer of  peppermint in the middle.

Sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top.

Let fudge cool and then refrigerate to set. Cut into small pieces and store, tightly covered, in the fridge.

White Chocolate Cranberry Fudge

White Chocolate Cranberry Fudge

Another yummy fudge recipe! This one came in a close second to the Nutter Butter fudge. It was smooth and creamy with just a little bit of chewiness with the cranberries. Another one that will most likely make an appearance in our house next Christmas. Enjoy!

White Chocolate Cranberry Fudge
Source: Mom On Timeout

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips, coarsely chop
1 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces dried cranberries

Line a 9×13 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Combine sugar, sour cream, butter, and salt in a heavy saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it reaches soft ball stage (234-240 degrees on a candy thermometer).

Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until fully melted. Stir in the marshmallow creme and vanilla extract until smooth and blended. Stir in the dried cranberries until evenly distributed.

Pour into prepared pan, cool to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator for several hours before cutting into squares. Store in an airtight container.

Nutter Butter Fudge

Nutter Butter Fudge

I will admit that since I have moved away from my childhood home (which was 19 1/2 years ago) I don’t believe that I have made a batch of fudge. Scandalous, I know. We always used to make fudge when I lived at home. To make up for all those years I decided to make three different batches of fudge, so stay tuned for a few more flavors.

I chose to post this one first because it was the first one gone. It was that good. Chunks of Nutter Butter, creamy peanut butter taste. Yum! I think this could be a repeat at our house each Christmas. Enjoy!

Nutter Butter Fudge
Source: Mom On Timeout

3 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup butter
1 – 10 ounce package of Reese’s peanut butter chips, coarsely chopped
1 – 7 ounce jar of marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
15 Nutter Butter cookies, coarsely chopped

Line an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with foil and butter.

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar, milk, and butter to a boil;  stir continuously.

Continue cooking and stirring until it reaches the soft ball stage (about 234-240 degrees on a candy thermometer).

Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter chips until completely melted. Stir in marshmallow creme until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Stir in cookies.

Pour into prepared pan (sprinkle with more peanut butter chips, if desired). Let cool completely. Cut into squares.

Flat Apple Pie

Flat Apple Pie

Wow, it’s been a while. A little over two months to be exact. I really have been cooking, baking, and trying new recipes in the mean time, but we get so busy in November and December that it just gets impossible to try to keep up with everything. I usually use my Winter Break to get caught up on “this kind of stuff”, but this year we spent most of our break hiking down and back up the Grand Canyon. Awesome, awesome, awesome, but doesn’t leave much time for getting any of the extras taken care of.

I’m excited to be back and ready to go! I have at least 10 different recipes just sitting on my computer ready to go. It’s a new year, right! Fresh start, all that new year jazz.

I have lost count of how many apple pies I have made in my lifetime, yet in all those I had yet to make a Flat Apple Pie before last month. I had some extra crust leftover from a single crust pie and decided to go for it.

It was so easy and very tasty! I was a little nervous when it came out of the oven because it looked like it was a bit soupy but it turned out to be all right. I will definitely make this again. Enjoy!


Heading into the oven . . .


. . . and out of the oven!

Flat Apple Pie
Source: Pioneer Woman

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
juice of 1/4 a lemon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 already prepared pie crust (see recipe here)
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, stir together the apples, flour, lemon juice, sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Set aside.

Roll out pie crust into a large circle. Place the circle on a large baking sheet.

Place the apple mixture on the crust, leaving an edge exposed all the way around the crust. Fold the edge of the crust so that it covers 2 to 3 inches of the apple mixture. Dot the tops of the pies with chunks of butter.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the filling is golden and bubbly. If the crust browns too quickly, cover the edges with aluminum foil for the remaining baking time.

Allow to cool slightly, then slice into wedges with a pizza cutter.

Makes one 9 – inch flat apple pie