Cherry Chocolate Kisses

The peanut butter blossoms are the cookies I always thought of when using chocolate kisses. It was only a couple of weeks ago I spotted this recipe on Pinterest and realized this would be so much better (and prettier) for my Christmas cookie boxes. The idea of a cherry flavored cookie with a little bit of chocolate on top sounded very new and exciting to me. It led me to look up even more variations of this type of cookie, but I ultimately decided on trying this one and saving the others for another time.

They were very simple to make. I made the mistake of putting them down on parchment paper instead of just the cookie sheet when the recipe clearly said “ungreased cookie sheet”. This caused my cookies to spread out a little more than they should have, but they still looked very nice, especially when they were all in a big pile of chocolatey cherry goodness. I had to give one a try before sticking them in the freezer. If you like maraschino cherries and you like chocolate, this is such a good combo. You can roll them in red colored sugar instead of regular granulated white sugar to make them look even more festive!

Rating 5/5

 

Cherry Chocolate Kisses

Oven Temp: 350°F

Cooking Time: 10-12 minutes

 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1/8 tsp salt

2 tsp maraschino cherry liquid

1/4 tsp almond extract

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries

white sugar for rolling

48 chocolate kisses, unwrapped

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and salt; combine. Beat in cherry juice and almond extract, scraping the sides of the bowl.

Slowly beat in flour until just combined. Stir in chopped cherries. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Using a cookie scoop or spoon, shape dough into 1-inch balls, rolling them in white granulated sugar to coat. Place each ball of dough about 2-inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with the bottom of a drinking glass.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie while they are still hot. Transfer to wire rack and allow to cool and chocolate to set overnight (or place them in the freezer for about 20 minutes to speed up the hardening of the chocolate). Store in an airtight container.

Found the recipe here.

Enjoy.

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Chocolate Peppermint Waffle Cookies

This past month has been all about cleaning out the garage and boxing up most of my grandmother’s things to donate. While I set aside those few, very dear keepsakes I wanted to keep of hers, she has a lot of junk left. My grandmother grew up during the Great Depression and could never get rid of anything she owned. That is just how she was. I’ve come across a ton of bakeware – very old, useful bakeware. One of the most exciting things I came across was a waffle maker! I’ve always wanted one, but it was never a priority for me when spending money.

Other than making waffles, I always thought it would be neat to make cookies in a waffle maker. Use a good enough cookie recipe that doesn’t burn easily or melt all over, you can get some pretty cookies with the waffle pattern. I used this recipe that I found here to make these chocolate waffle cookies with a peppermint glaze. You can easily switch out the peppermint extract for another flavoring to change the flavor of the glaze.

Rating 5/5

 

Chocolate Peppermint Waffle Cookies

Cooking Time: 1-3 minutes

 

1/2 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup white sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

6 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil

1/2 tsp espresso powder

1 cup powdered sugar

4 tsp water

1/4 tsp peppermint extract

Preheat a nonstick waffle maker. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour, cocoa powder, oil, and espresso powder. Beat until just combined.

Using a cookie scoop or spoon, drop a tablespoonful scoop of batter onto each section of the waffle maker. Close and cook until cookies are puffed up and spring back when touched, about 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

In a separate bowl, combine powdered sugar, water, and peppermint extract until smooth and glaze forms. Slowly spoon and drizzle glaze over cooled cookies. Allow to set before storing in an airtight container.

Enjoy.

Black Bean Brownies

I know it sounds weird, but hear me out on this… Black bean brownies. I first heard about this back when I was in school in one of my nutrition courses where we were required to take regular recipes and turn them healthy. I thought black bean brownies sounded like such an insult to the delicious, fudgy brownies I was use to making. Never considered actually making any until now. They turned out to be pretty great.

The best thing about these brownies is there is no flour. It’s mainly black beans. There is also no sugar. I use erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol derived from fruits. It does not affect blood sugar levels, is only partially absorbed during digestion, and prevents tooth decay. How great is that? You use cocoa powder for the chocolate flavor which doesn’t add any sugar. And you can throw in some walnuts, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

You can add walnuts or if you want to cheat and go for more chocolate, add chocolate chips. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla bean coconut ice cream on top. A decadent dessert with no guilt! Found the recipe here.

 

Rating 5/5

 

Black Bean Brownies

Oven Temp: 350°F

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

 

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

2 large eggs

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup erythritol (I use Swerve)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp almond milk

1/4 cup chopped walnuts or semisweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor or blender, blend the black beans until smooth. Add black bean puree to a large bowl and whisk in eggs, one at a time.

Whisk in the coconut oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, erythritol, baking powder, and almond milk until combined. Fold in the walnuts or chocolate chips.

Scoop about 3 tablespoons of batter into a greased 12-slot muffin pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until dry on top. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

Enjoy.

 

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies


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Lately I have been craving Oreo Cookies, peeking at them every time I’m at the store. I remembered I had found a recipe for these on Pinterest that looked amazing! Even though I’m on summer break, I am still finding it hard to bake more at home. With my free time I am out exploring new hiking trails with my pooch. However I can not forget about my passion because it is what makes me happy! This afternoon had “relaxing baking time” written all over it.

For the cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup dutch process cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

For the filling:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp half and half
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
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In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract until well combined.

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In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
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Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture on low speed until just combined.

Form dough into a ball. Separate ball into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour.
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Preheat oven to 350º F. Roll out dough one disk at a time on a lightly floured surface. Cut out dough using a 2-inch round cookie cutter. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch apart.

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Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack immediately. Cool completely.
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To make the filling, beat together the butter, half and half, vanilla, and salt. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, one 1/2 cup at a time. You want a thick frosting-like consistency.
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Once the cookies are cooled completely, pipe a small amount of frosting onto half of the cookies. Sandwich them with the second half. You can use a piping bag with a frosting tip or a ziploc bag with the tip cut off.

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I loved these cookies. I’m going to stash this recipe in my collection for later. They were so easy to frost and assemble. The 12 minute baking time was spot on. They harden slightly once cooled so they are ready to be frosted.

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Rating 5/5

Recipe found here.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake

I feel so ashamed! It has been at least two months since I baked or cooked anything and posted it on my blog! I feel so deprived of my relaxation time. I only have my busy schedule and lack of energy to blame. While I’ve had plenty of extra money to go all out and bake my butt off, I have not had any time. Only five more weeks until summer break and I can bake (or cook) to my heart’s content!

This past week was spring break for me. This gave me a little extra time to make something special for my boyfriend’s family. I had some cream cheese in the fridge and a package of chocolate chip cookies. I came up with chocolate chip cookie cheesecake.

I was very sad about making the cheesecake with a disposable pie pan. Not only are they not very deep, but it just doesn’t create a beautiful cheesecake like a spring form pan (which my sister lost). Either way the cheesecake came out pretty tasty.

1 1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate chip cookies

1/3 cup butter, melted

3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1 tsp all-purpose flour

6-7 chocolate chip cookies, crushed by hand

1 tsp mini semisweet mini chocolate chips

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Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine finely crushed cookie crumbs with melted butter in a small bowl until crumbs are moistened. Press onto bottom and sides of a pie pan or spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

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In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk until smooth.

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Mix in vanilla extract and eggs one at a time.

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In a ziploc bag, shake together the 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips and flour. Coating them in flour will allow them to keep their shape and prevent them from sinking to the bottom while baking.

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Stir in mini chocolate chips and the remaining chocolate chip cookies by hand. Pour cheese mixture into prepared crust. Top with more chocolate chips.

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Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees F. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake inside for 30 minutes. Look for some light browning on the top and no jiggle in the center. Do not leave the cheesecake in the oven long enough for cracks to form. At this point, the cheesecake has overcooked. Remove from oven and cool completely. Allow to refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight before serving.

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I apologize for the poor quality picture of the cheesecake. I was not present to take a picture and so I had my boyfriend text me a picture. Luckily I was able to try this recipe because my boyfriend saved me a slice. It was perfect. It tasted like a chocolate chip cookie without being overwhelming and I got some positive feedback from others. I want to buy myself another spring form pan and continue to try and perfect the cheesecake.

Rating 5/5

Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

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Birthdays mean cake! Cake means I can get creative and make something I’ve never made before. My boyfriend requested an ice cream cake for his birthday. Chocolate cake with mint chocolate chip ice cream. I was excited to finally make one. It seemed easy enough to do with my busy schedule. All you need is two cakes and a tub of ice cream. I found a light, but delicious frosting recipe to cover the cake. Remember to work quickly with the ice cream to avoid melting. You don’t want to lose your cake and be left with a big, sticky mess!

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1/4 tsp salt

4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa

2 sticks butter

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs, beaten

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting:

5 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 sticks butter

1 cup sugar

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt.

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In a small saucepan melt butter. Stir in cocoa until combined. Add boiling water and allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Pour into flour mixture and briefly stir to cool.

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In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla extract. Stir buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture.

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Pour batter into a greased cake pan and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

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Allow to cool completely before removing from pan. In this case, I made two 9-inch cakes. Wrap both cakes in plastic wrap and allow to freeze overnight.

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Take a clean cake pan and line with wax paper. Set out the ice cream to allow it to soften. Once soft, fill the wax paper-lined pan with ice cream until level. Allow to freeze overnight.

When you are ready to assemble the cake, remove cake and ice cream layers from freezer. Place one layer of cake on a platter or plate. Remove the ice cream layer from the cake pan, removing wax paper. Place on top of the cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the ice cream layer. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to freeze for an hour.

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To start the frosting, whisk together the milk and flour in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. The recipe states it should be as thick as brownie batter. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Add vanilla extract.

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In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cooled flour mixture. Beat until it reaches a consistency of whipped cream. Spread onto the cooled cake.

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The cake was very delicious. The frosting covering the cake kept it moist in the freezer and protected the cake from freezer burn. If you can keep it covered, definitely go for it. It took awhile to finish off the cake, but it was a big success and all who tried it, loved it! I wouldn’t mind making more ice cream cakes. The next birthday… my sister. And she wants something a little more flashy!

The recipes were found here and here.

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark & Turtles

Now it is time for more of the candy portion of the cookie bundles. I love peppermint anything. And so I wanted to definitely give white chocolate peppermint bark a try. On top of the bark, the turtles are another candy that reminds me of Christmas. I have never had very many caramel candies for Christmas but I have always seen them in Christmas treat collections.

16 (1 oz) squares white baking chocolate, finely chopped

1 tbsp shortening

1 cup chopped peppermint candies

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In a microwaveable bowl, melt 12 oz of the white chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in melted shortening and the remaining 4 oz of chocolate until smooth.

Spread on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with the chopped peppermint candies. Chill and let harden for 3 to 4 hours. Break into pieces.

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1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

salt

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

12 oz bag soft caramels

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. In a bowl, coat the pecans completely in the melted butter. Spread in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove and allow to cool completely.

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Arrange small clusters of pecans on a baking sheet. Melt unwrapped soft caramels in the microwave at 30 second intervals and drizzle over each cluster. Top with melted chocolate. Chill and let harden for 3 to 4 hours.

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When it comes to the peppermint bark, there are a ton of variations. I went with the really simple recipe of melted chocolate topped with crushed candies. Some recipes use a layer of milk chocolate and then a layer of white chocolate. Others use only white chocolate but involve peppermint extract. Next year I think I will try the two layered chocolate peppermint bark. It looks awfully delicious. The more peppermint flavor, the better (in my opinion).

The turtles came out great. They look so cute and everyone is excited to try them. I have a few people who get to test out my treats and I have received nothing but good reviews so far.

These candies will add a nice touch to the several cookies that will go in my cookie tins.

Enjoy.

 

I found both of these recipes in the food network magazine.