Peppermint Brownies

Peppermint Brownies 3
Mint and chocolate is one of my all time favorite combinations and is a classic for the holiday season. Combine it with fudgy brownies and it’s pure perfection.

Although I do love peppermint, I enjoy it in small doses. Like peppermint patties…one bite is enough to fulfill my sweet tooth. So when I saw this recipe I decided to double the brownie base but keep the peppermint frosting at the original amounts to cut the richness a bit. I also kept the chocolate layer on the lighter side since most of us aren’t huge chocolate lovers but I know that isn’t normal so I would recommend doubling it if you want more chocolate-y goodness.
Peppermint Brownies 2
It’s the perfect ratio of peppermint and chocolate and just a small square will satisfy any sweet tooth. I hope that you all are enjoying the holiday season with all your loved ones!

Peppermint Brownies

1 family size dark chocolate brownie mix (prepared according to box directions)

for the peppermint frosting:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 Tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the chocolate layer:
4 oz. chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4-1/2 cup Andes peppermint crunch pieces, or crushed candy canes

1. Prepare brownies according to box directions. Cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar together. Add milk and extracts and whip until thick and fluffy. Spread over cooled brownies and refrigerate for at least an hour.

3. Melt chocolate and butter together in the microwave in 30 second increments. Drizzle over peppermint frosting and spread. Sprinkle with peppermint crunch pieces or candy canes.

*frosting recipe from The Galley Gourmet


4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies 2
Sometimes during the holiday season, you get busy and stressed with your mile long to-do list. Right? So sometimes you need a really easy cookie recipe to whip up so that you can just get something marked off the dang list. That’s how I felt this weekend as I kept adding more and more things to my to-do rather than getting anything checked. I mean, seriously, getting an entire household ready for Christmas by the 22nd with a husband working late every night is kind of hard. But I was determined to get my Christmas baking done this past weekend so that Joel could take a bunch to work and I could deliver some treats to our wonderful friends.

I kept perusing my ever-growing list of treats then had the stupid idea of going on Pinterest…and found a gazillion more recipes I wanted to try. But it ended well because I found this super simple 4 ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe in the meantime and ultimately decided to pare down my list. I decided on cookie dough bites (pretty much my favorite thing ever), old fashioned iced oatmeal cookies, pretzel m&m rings, peppermint brownies (which I will share later this week) and these giant beauties. I baked them all up yesterday and promptly gained 4 pounds in the name of food blogging. I had to taste them to make sure they were good. Well, I’ve made the majority of the items on my list before so I guess I can’t put all the blame on you. Darn it.
4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies 3
While we’re on the topic of overeating, I’m kind of ready for the new year so I can get back on track. The holidays really throw me off and a new year brings revived discipline.

But let’s not talk about discipline now, let’s talk about thick cookies as big as your head. These cookies call for 4 ingredients which you may already have in your pantry. And you won’t guess the 4th ingredient….Bisquick. I wasn’t sure at first but was willing to try it since they were so easy and quick. And I’m so glad I did.
4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies 1
They are soft, thick and not too sweet or rich like a lot of peanut butter cookie recipes. Although the recipe calls to make them huge, you certainly could scale them down to fit on your holiday cookie trays. Make sure to try these simple recipe to help you get that next thing checked off the list!

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
recipe from Averie Cooks

1 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use natural or homemade for these)
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup Bisquick

1. In a stand mixer, stir together peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until combined. Add Bisquick and stir to combine.

2. Using 1/4 cup measure, roll balls and place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Smash halfway down with a fork twice, making a crisscross pattern. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 13-14 minutes or until just set. Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for about 10 minutes so they can firm up. Cookies keep in an airtight container for 1 week.

Cookie Dough Bites {Christmas Tray 2013}

Cookie Dough Bites
This past week has been a difficult one for our family. Joel’s grandpa, Glenn, passed away on Thursday. We spent the last few days together with family celebrating Grandpa Great’s life.

He was a man in love with his family and his country. He always made me feel like his own, always giving me a kiss on the cheek when we said goodbye. He lit up when he saw his great grandchildren, all 10 of them! He was a WWII veteran, surviving the bombing of the U.S.S. Franklin (it is chronicled in the book Inferno). An incredibly smart man, he could fix, build or create just about anything around the house. He painted beautiful portraits of all his children and grandchildren. It was truly evident as the church overflowed at his service that he was a man that touched many people. And he is leaving behind a beautiful legacy in our children. We love you Grandpa Great. We will miss you. We look forward to seeing you again.
Grandpa Great and Noah
One thing Grandpa Great and I had in common was a love of dessert. Just at Thanksgiving he enjoyed three…a man after my own heart. So, today in honor of Grandpa Great, I wanted to share a delicious dessert that I whipped up and brought to share with his family. Who doesn’t love cookie dough? Joel always begs me to leave him a spoonful whenever I make cookies so I knew this would be a yummy comfort food for him.
Cookie Dough Bites
The dough is egg-free so there is no worry about salmonella. And I found that although the recipe calls for them to be frozen, they are equally delicious from the fridge or at room temperature. I sampled them in all states over the past few days just to make sure for you guys! I have to say though that I prefer them frozen but since we had a big spread of cookies I just left them out with the rest so they wouldn’t be forgotten.
Cookie Dough Bites
I don’t think people could have forgotten about the cookie dough balls of goodness though. Just sayin’.

They were the first thing to disappear so if you are making them for a crowd, I recommend doubling or even tripling the recipe. They are so easy and come together in a snap. Also, they can be made ahead of time or over the course of a couple days.
Cookie Dough Bites
These are definitely a new favorite for our family and will forever grace our Christmas baking list.
Cookie Dough Bites

Cookie Dough Bites
recipe from This Homemade Life

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup applesauce or peanut butter (I used peanut butter)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips, melted for dipping (optional)

1. Cream together butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and peanut butter or applesauce until well combined. In a separate bowl, stir together flour and salt then mix into the creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts, if using.

2. Scoop out by the tablespoonfuls onto a parchment lined cookie/baking sheet. Place in the freezer for at least 3 hours.

3. Melt chocolate chips in microwave in 30 second increments. Dip frozen cookie dough bites halfway into the chocolate then place back onto the parchment paper. Freeze or refrigerate until set. Serve frozen, refrigerated or at room temperature.

Eggnog M&M Cookies {Christmas Tray 2013}

Eggnog M&M Cookies
In our house, eggnog is known as Christmas Milk. Noah and Hannah’s Godmother refers to it as this with her grandboys and we picked up on it too. Noah loves Christmas Milk and chocolate so I knew these had to be made this Christmas. And what does a 3 year old love even more than chocolate chips? M&M’s. So I switched out the dark chocolate chunks in the original recipe for M&M’s to make them even more fun and festive.
Eggnog M&M Cookies
These cookies ended up light, fluffy and chewy and the M&M’s added a nice little crunch to the soft texture. And for about 3 days straight, Noah asked if he could have cookies for breakfast. I told him no, but all that ran through my mind is Bill Cosby…they have eggs. He sure is a boy after my own heart.
Eggnog M&M Cookies
These are a fun, easy and delicious addition to your Christmas baking list!
Eggnog M&M Cookies
Eggnog M&M Cookies
recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup Eggnog
1 egg yolk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup mini M&Ms

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.

3. Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the eggnog, egg yolk and vanilla extract and continue beating until completely combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Stir in the mini M&M’s.

4. Using a small or medium cookie scoop (1 or 2 tablespoons), drop dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake 20-25 minutes (longer for larger cookies), or until the edges are set. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Eggnog M&M Cookies

Pistachio Puppy Chow {Christmas Tray 2013}

Pistachio Puppy Chow
For some reason this year, almost every treat on my Christmas baking list involves chocolate. Which is weird considering we aren’t big chocolate fans in our house. I was getting desperate to decide on something that at least didn’t involve dark or semi-sweet and then I came across this. Yep, still chocolate but at least it’s white which is Joel’s favorite variety.

Different varieties of puppy chow have been all over the internet and I have saved many of them but I just never got around to making anything but the original until now. I love anything pistachio flavored so this really caught my eye and I thought it would be just perfect to have around for snacking during the Christmas season. Plus, I like to have things beside cookies and bars.
Pistachio Puppy Chow
Another bonus is that this is super easy to throw together. It’s quick enough to make you think you can throw it together while the toddler is supposed to be napping (but then starts screaming for you) and the baby that you put down beside the Christmas tree to talk to the lights starts getting agitated that you don’t feel too bad for letting them be for a couple minutes. They’ll survive, right?

We’re really pretty lucky that any Christmas baking is getting done this year. I’m hoping to get a ton of it done on Saturday so that Joel can take a few big trays to work and we can send some to friends around town. We’ll see how that goes. But in the meantime, we’ll be snacking on this for our sweet fix.
Pistachio Puppy Chow
Pistachio Puppy Chow
recipe from High Heels and Grills

6 cups rice Chex cereal
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 (3.4 oz.) box pistachio pudding mix
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1. Melt butter, sweetened condensed milk and white chocolate chips together in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, dump cereal in a large bowl. Once chocolate mixture has melted and is combined, stir in the pudding mix and vanilla.

2. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal and gently stir until it is completely coated. Dump powdered sugar over top and either stir until coated or place lid on bowl and gently shake until coated. Enjoy!

Angel Food Macaroons {Christmas Tray 2013}

Angel Food Macaroons
I feel like such a slacker this year when it comes to my Christmas baking. It takes everything in me these days just to get dinner on the table, let alone a buffet of Christmas treats. A couple weeks ago though, I managed to whip up a batch of these and they were incredible to say the least.
Angel Food Macaroons
The recipe is slightly altered from a recipe created by Kristan, the author of one of my favorite food blogs. The second I saw these dreamy cookies I knew I had to try them this year. I love love love chocolate dipped macaroons and her twist, using angel food cake mix, was very intriguing.
Angel Food Macaroons
For some reason, orange popped into my head as I was looking over the recipe. I adore the combination of orange and chocolate so I thought it would be a delicious addition and add a tropical twist. Another change I made was rather than pressing a Hershey kiss into them after baking, I dipped them in dark chocolate. As you all know, I’m not a huge chocolate fan so I wanted to reduce the amount.
Angel Food Macaroons
They were light, airy and amazing just as I expected them to be. Definitely a new Christmas cookie staple around here!
Angel Food Macaroons
Angel Food Macaroons
recipe adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

1 (16 oz.) box Angel Food cake mix
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. almond extract
1 Tbsp. orange zest
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
12 oz. dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or coat with nonstick spray.

2. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the cake mix, water, almond extract and orange zest on low speed until combined.  Increase speed to medium and beat for one minute.  Fold in the coconut with a spatula.

3. Drop dough with a small cookie scoop on prepared sheets, a couple of inches apart.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges turn golden brown.  Remove from oven, let cool for a minute then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

4. Melt chocolate in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring each time. Dip the bottom of each cookie in melted chocolate then place on parchment paper until chocolate hardens. I placed them in the refrigerator so they would harden quickly.
Angel Food Macaroons

White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies {Christmas Tray 2013}

White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
Now that it’s November, I think it’s acceptable to start talking Christmas and I’m very excited to be sharing my first treat of the season. My dad loves these kind of cookies so when I came across a recipe in one of my favorite baking cookbooks, I knew it would be a great cookie to whip up and share with you all for your Christmas baking (and take to my parents so that I wouldn’t eat them all).
White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
The original recipe called for cranberries and raisins but I decided to change it up a bit and use craisins instead. The thing that really jumped out at me with this recipe is the use of orange zest. I knew it would be amazing with the tart craisins and it totally is. I love the texture of the oatmeal and the sweet, creaminess of the white chocolate too. They are basically perfect for Christmas. You have to make them, mmkay?
White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
recipe adapted from Best Loved Cookies and Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups craisins
1 Tbsp. orange zest
1 pkg. (12 oz.) white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a mixing bowl then add to creamed mixture. Stir in oats, craisins, orange zest and white chocolate chips.

2. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
White Chocolate Oatmeal Craisin Cookies