Pumpkin Spice Oreo Crispy Treats

Pumpkin Spice Oreo Crispy Bars

I have a bone to pick with Hershey’s. Why are your pumpkin spice kisses ONLY out for the fall??! I understand pumpkin is a fall thing, but OH MY GOSH y’all…pumpkin spice kisses are one of my FAVORITE candies out there. Starting in September, I start stalking Target for these things. Sadly, for some reason, my Target was WAY behind on stocking their Halloween shelves, and that made this pumpkin spice kiss fanatic slightly crazy. So crazy, in fact, that when I finally saw these on shelves a couple of weeks ago, I bought FOUR bags. I’m sure the cashier thought I was stocking up for PMS or something, because my basket was full of the healthier stuff and then 4 bags of kisses. Ha! Priorities, y’all.

I figured since I bought four bags of these things, I probably shouldn’t eat all of them. I mean, I really could, but it’s so much more fun to make things with candy! When I saw it was “National Rice Krispies Treat Day” a while back, I got a huge craving for one of these things. Then, I thought…heck, why not just throw some of these in with the cereal? I thought some chopped Halloween Oreos would be fun too, because that would make these bars a lot more festive. :-)

These treats are surprisingly really good. I had a few people tell me they were absolutely delicious, and they wanted to know what gave them the fall-ish flavors. Between the spices and the kisses, these little treats are just so darn good! I even found out someone in my office ate FIVE of them (for real)! I guess they were a winner, eh? :-)

Pumpkin Spice Oreo Crispy Treats
Source: adapted from Kellogg’s

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 30 pumpkin spice kisses, coarsely chopped
  • 15 Halloween Oreos, chopped in quarters

Directions:

  1. Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large pot, melt the butter and the marshmallows on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Once the marshmallows are melted, remove the pot from heat, and add in the cereal, chopped kisses, and chopped oreos.
  3. Using more of a folding motion, mix everything together until the mixture is combined. Immediately spoon the mixture into the baking pan, spreading until the treats are fairly even in the pan. Allow the treats to cool and set in the pan for at least half an hour before serving.

White Chocolate Brownies & A Giveaway

White Chocolate Brownies

I love living in the South. Sure, the heat index is enough to make you want to just sit in an ice bath all day, but the food?! Oh, the food MORE than makes up for it.

Around here….

…your cooking is judged based on how good your gumbo is
…we embrace stale bread for bread pudding
…we have a love (the drink)/hate (the storm) relationship with hurricanes
…we don’t mind getting our hands dirty to dig out tiny pieces of seafood over newspaper
…a biggie–you know the difference between creole and cajun food

I know a lot of people frown upon Louisiana since there are some stigmas about living here, but I really am blessed to say that this is my home. I just love the little things that make Louisiana home, and even if I don’t live here the rest of my life, I know that Louisiana will always be a part of me. Cheesy, but seriously true.

When I was contacted about reviewing a cookbook called “The Southern Foodie“, I just couldn’t resist. The book, written by food/drink/travel writer Chris Chamberlain, features recipes from favorite restaurants in the South and it’s organized by state. Of course, when I got the cookbook, I frantically flipped through the pages and bookmarked numerous recipes.

I was very happy to see Louisiana well-represented in the book, too. There are some great staples in there, like red beans and rice, pralines and bread pudding, to name a few. Besides the classics, I found that there are some fun, out of the box recipes, like barbequed oysters and sweet potato-andouille soup. This book is great for someone trying to get a feel for Southern food, and even for Southerners, it’s impressive how many different recipes the author has in here that I’ve never heard of.

One of the hardest things for me when I find a good cookbook is to choose a first recipe. I actually have quite a few that I want to try, but I was really in the mood to bake, so I decided to make these white chocolate brownies. I love that brownies bake up so quickly and you don’t have to fork out the mixer to make them. It’s sort of dangerous how easy brownies are to throw together and these were no exception. :-) This brownie is a white chocolate brownie base with white and bittersweet chocolate mixed in. Often times, I find white chocolate desserts to be a little too sweet, but I really think the bittersweet chocolate helped to balance things out a good bit. I ended up halving the recipe, since the original recipe makes two 13×9 inch pans worth of brownies (the halved recipe is below). I sent these to work with my husband, and found out that some people enjoyed 2-3 brownies on their own, so this recipe is definitely a winner. Based on this recipe, I can’t wait to give some others a try!

Now, you know I wouldn’t just dangle this cookbook in front of y’all without having a giveaway. :-) The publisher sent me extra books to giveaway to two lucky readers!

Cookbook Giveaway

[Read more...]

Levain Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This time last week, our living room was completely full. While I enjoy having family over to visit, it wasn’t because of a celebration. Rather, we were sitting in our living room, praying for our power to stay on,  and stressing about how terrible the wind/rain would be. Hurricane Isaac visited slammed southeast Louisiana, almost making landfall on the exact day that Hurricane Katrina hit. All of these feelings of anxiety just rushed back, and I hoped and prayed that our levee system would hold for my family’s sake.

When the storm was at its peak, I noticed that my family and I were definitely stress eating. I know stress eating isn’t healthy but sometimes, something like a freshly baked cookie just hits the spot and helps a little to make things more comforting. Of course, sitting through a hurricane where the winds are howling past your windows, rain is pouring horizontally, and the dogs are freaking out just can’t ever be comfortable, but something about snacks…I can’t explain it, but it just helped to get our minds off of things. These cookies were thick, chewy and just darn delicious.

Now, as for me and my (immediate) family, we were very lucky. My parents’ fence fell down, and that was the worst of it for them. However, my heart is heavy for those whose homes were flooded or otherwise destroyed from this storm. When I go to Facebook lately, quite a few of the statuses from my friends aren’t about football or politics. They’re about finding a place to do laundry, because they have no power; finding a place to take a shower after spending their whole day hauling damaged items out of their home; hoping they can find water and food for their families; hoping that FEMA can assist them in some way; scared about what the rest of the hurricane season has in store for us.

I’m tearing up as I write this post, because I’m sitting on my couch, with an intact roof over my head, knowing that all of my family members are safe and sound. I’m thankful, and I realize how truly blessed we are. We are truly blessed. If you have some prayers or good thoughts to spare, there are thousands of people out here who could use them as they rebuild. I don’t know of many local charities right now who are accepting donations for disaster relief (feel free to leave a comment if I’m wrong, though), but I do know that the Red Cross is out here. (Just to note, I’m not writing this post to ask for money, but if you wanted to donate, here’s the link for Red Cross.)

Levain Copycat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter (very cold, shredded with your food processor or cut into small cubes)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the cold butter and sugars until just combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until just combined.
  2. In another bowl, stir the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add this to the wet mixture and mix until everything is just barely mixed together. Add the chocolate chips and hand mix in until the chocolate chips are well mixed into the dough.
  3. Divide the dough into 12 balls, about 4 oz. each. (Size-wise, a little larger than a golf ball. You can use a jumbo cookie scoop to get a slightly rounded scoop as well.) Place the balls of dough in the fridge for about 20 minutes to chill.
  4. Once chilled, place 6 balls per ungreased cookie sheet. Bake the cookies for 18-22 minutes, until browned along the edges and set in the center.
  5. Allow the cookies to fully cool on the pans before transferring to an airtight container.

 

 

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

I’ve been making a ton of frozen treats lately. With the crazy heat outside, I feel like the best way to “cook” is to not use any heat at all. Sure, some ice creams use eggs, but since you have to cook the ice cream mixture in that case, I’ve been trying quite a few quick (egg free) ice cream recipes.

One of my favorite ice cream treats is a Sonic Blast with Reese’s cup pieces mixed in. Reese’s cups for me is just one of those candies I can’t say no to. I can only buy them if I have a recipe in mind, otherwise I tend to black out and find myself surrounded by Reese’s wrappers. Those things are my weakness.

In a brief, insane (yep, insane…I’m trying to lose some weight y’all!) moment, I thought to look up recipes for Reese’s ice cream, and I came across this one. Two great things…it comes together quickly and it’s egg free (no cooking!). Taste wise? Let’s just say that I’m thankful that I bought the fancy little ice cream cup that I have, because 1/2 cup of ice cream fits in there and in my mind, it feels like I’m eating a full bowl. I really could have eaten the whole container in one serving, I imagine.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Source: barely adapted from Recipe Girl (originally found in the Cuisinart Ice Cream book)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped peanut butter cups

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the peanut butter and sugar and beat the mixture for 2 minutes until it’s very smooth. Add the milk to the bowl and mix everything on low for another 2 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat the mixture on low for another 2 minutes, until the ice cream base is well-combined. Chill the mixture in the fridge for an hour.
  2. Take the ice cream mixture out of the fridge, give it a quick stir to make sure nothing settled and add the ice cream to your ice cream machine, and churn the mixture according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Add the chopped peanut butter cups, and stir them into the churned ice cream. At this point, the ice cream will be like a soft serve ice cream. If you’d prefer a more scoopable consistency, place the ice cream in a freezer safe container and freeze the ice cream for a few hours. Enjoy!

 

Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Ahh cookie dough. Whenever I see cookie dough, I imagine myself sitting on the sofa with a roll of Pillsbury dough and a spoon. Don’t judge me. I know half of you are nodding your head and smiling — y’all know how awesome it is! I know, I know…salmonella risk. However, I’ve been eating cookie dough for years and I’m still kicking. :-P

Because I’m paranoid, I just want to disclose that I’m not encouraging ANYONE to eat cookie dough containing raw eggs, like Pillsbury dough…I don’t want to get sued over this post darnit!

Anyway, since I have been seeing cookie dough all over the blogs lately, I just had to make something involving it. The craving was just too strong. I had some heavy cream in the fridge, and I figured that it would be the perfect excuse to make some ice cream. I had this recipe from Annie’s blog starred for quite a while, because it wasn’t your ordinary cookie dough ice cream. No…it was DOUBLE chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Oh man, y’all. Not only are there chunks of cookie dough in there, but the ice cream is also cookie dough flavored.

Once I finished making it, it was SO hard to not eat the whole batch right out of the ice cream maker bowl. Seriously. In fact, that little ice cream bowl you see in the picture is my secret weapon while I’m calorie counting. It’s dainty, makes me feel all sorts of fancy, and it fits two scoops of ice cream on it. For this gal who could put away a pint of ice cream, this is awesome. Portion control y’all. I’m learning.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Source: Annie’s Eats (ice cream from Joy the Baker and cookie dough from The Perfect Scoop)

Ingredients:

For the cookie dough:

  • 5 tbsp. salted butter, melted (or unsalted butter plus ¼ tsp. salt)
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

For the ice cream:

  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. To make the cookie dough chunks, stir the melted butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until everything is smooth. Add in the flour, then the vanilla and mini chocolate chips. The dough will be very soft before chilling. Form the dough into a disk over some plastic wrap, wrap the dough well in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm.
  2. While the dough is chilling, make the ice cream by first melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir often over the heat (to avoid burning), until the butter is a deep golden brown color. Whisk in the heavy cream and heat the mixture until simmering. While this is going on, in a medium bowl, vigorously stir the egg yolks and the brown sugar are pale and fluffy.
  3. Once the cream mixture is warm, add a small amount of the cream mixture to the bowl with the egg yolk mixture, whisking well. Once that’s done, slowly whisk in the rest of the cream mixture. Then, add in the salt and return the egg/sugar/cream mixture to the saucepan and heat the mixture until slightly thickened, (the temperature should read 170-175 degrees on a thermometer). Immediately take the saucepan off of the heat and pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl.
  4. Stir the vanilla extract and milk into the egg/sugar/cream mixture until well-mixed. Then cover the bowl and chill the ice cream mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator.
  5. Once the ice cream mixture is chilled, churn the ice cream in an ice cream maker (according to the instructions on your specific ice cream maker). While the ice cream is churning, chop the cookie dough into small chunks. Once the ice cream is done churning, transfer to a freezer safe bowl or container and stir in the chocolate chips and cookie dough chunks. Freeze the ice cream in the freezer for a few hours (or until firm) before serving.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m not usually a fan of shopping. My goal is to get what I need, and get out as quickly as possible. I’ve been like this since I was a kid. You can ask my Mom. A trip to the mall was agonizing. I remember most Sundays after church, there was a decision to make. Shop with Mom or shop with Dad. I usually opted for shopping with Dad. It’s not that I have issues with my Mom. Heck, I feel super blessed to have an amazing relationship with my Mom. However, my method of operation was to go on the shopping trip that would be the shortest, and usually, that was with Dad (with the exception of his trips to the sportsmen stores).

Now, as an adult, shopping trips are still quick for me. It’s very rare that I linger around a store for a while. Take the grocery store, for instance. I can usually do the weekly shopping for H and I within 20 minutes (unless the lines are crazy). This usually means that I have to stick to my list. The only time I stray away from the list is when I’m starving, which I try to avoid, but well, a few weeks ago, I went to the store starving. The chocolate chips were definitely calling me….and they were on sale. So yeah, some chocolate chips went home with me that day. :-)

I decided that the best way to handle this situation was to make cookies, of course. :-P I’ve had this recipe pinned for quite a while, since they went viral on Pinterest, so I wanted to see what the fuss was about. The cool thing about these cookies is that cornstarch is involved. I was really intrigued to see how cornstarch affected the taste and texture of the cookies, so I really wanted to finally give these a try.

These end up making mini cookies (with a tbsp sized scoop), so they bake up fairly quickly. I found that these were a nice, fluffy texture, and they were very chewy as well. I prefer a more butterscotch-y flavor cookie, like these cookies, but I will say these cookies were still really good. This recipe made a few dozen mini cookies too, so this recipe was perfect to make just one batch to the office so everyone could give them a try.

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Kelsey’s Apple a Day, originally from Anna Olson

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the butter and sugars together with the paddle attachment for a couple of minutes, until the mixture if fluffy and light. Scrap the sides of the bowl with a spatula, add the egg and vanilla and mix.
  2. Whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt together in a separate bowl and add to the wet mixture, mixing until everything is just combined. Using a spatula, stir in the chocolate chunks.
  3. Using a small tablespoon sized scoop, drop dough onto a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies are barely golden brown around the edges. You don’t want to cook these cookies for longer than 10 minutes (that will overdo it), and just as a note, the tops of the cookies will not brown during baking.
  4. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for five minutes. Then, move the cookies to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.

 

 

 

Thin Mint Blondies

Thin Mint Blondies

Somehow these cookies have survived in our house for well over a month. I guess I was afraid to open these or something. I mean, these cookies only come once a year, and I’m known for eating these a sleeve at a time. I can behave when it comes to Tagalongs, but Thin Mints? Oh no. I had to ignore them…had to.

Then, this past Saturday, I opened my freezer and stared the Thin Mints down. Then, in my cheat day rage, I ran to Pinterest and looked over recipes using thin mints and stumbled upon these blondies. Of course I had to find a way to make thin mints less diet friendly. :-P

The wonderful thing about bars or brownies is they whip up so quickly. It’s kind of dangerous, but it’s also a good thing when you want to bake something for your coworkers after getting home from work, but also before you have to start cooking supper. :-) I had a small taste of these when I was cutting into them, and whoa. If I wasn’t counting my darn calories, I’d save half of the pan for myself.

If you happen to be one of the few with a box of thin mints stashed away, definitely give these a shot. You, or whomever you give these amazing bars to, will thank you a million times over. Just to note: The original recipe calls for Andes chips, but since I couldn’t find these in the store, I made them with a mixture of milk and white chocolate chips.

Thin Mint Blondies
Source: Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 box Thin Mint Cookies, cut or broken in half
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9×13 inch pan and set it aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Then, add in the white and brown sugars and whip the butter and sugars together for 2-3 minutes until everything looks light. Scrape the bowl down
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time, as well as the vanilla and beat the mixture on low speed for about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl after adding each egg.
  4. Mix the salt and flour with a whisk separately in a small bowl. Then, add your flour mixture to your wet mixture with the mixture on low. Mix everything together until everything is just fully incorporated.
  5. Turn off the mixer, and using a spatula, fold in the milk chocolate chips as well as half of the box (one sleeve) of the Thin Mints.
  6. Spread the batter into your 9×13 pan. If it’s too thick to use your spatula, dip your fingers in warm water and spread the batter using your fingers.
  7. Bake the blondies for 20-25 minutes, until they are set in the middle.
  8. Once you take them out of the oven, working quickly, sprinkle the white chocolate chips evenly on top of the blondies. Allow them to sit for a minute, and then gently press the other half of the Thin Mints into the top of the blondies.
  9. Allow the pan to fully cool on a rack before serving.

 

 

 

Easter Candy S’mores Cookies

Easter S'mores Cookies

I absolutely love seasonal candies. When it comes to Easter, it’s so dang hard to resist my favorite candies in pastels. It just makes them that much cuter. This doesn’t bode well for my thighs, since I’ve probably consumed about 45902 Cadbury caramel eggs this season alone. :-P When I was walking down the candy aisle earlier this week, I thought about baking with Easter candy just so I could have yet another excuse to buy another bag of candy. Then it hit me when I saw the Peeps: S’mores. I know I’ve seen s’mores cookies on a few food blogs before, so I grabbed a bag of Sixlets and Peeps (as well as another box of Cadbury caramel eggs…ugh).

When I got home, I thought that colorful sprinkles would make these cookies even cuter. I mean, why not? I ended up finding a bottle of rainbow (chocolate) chips by the sprinkles. I think that was fate, since the original recipe called for mini chocolate chips, which I didn’t have (whoops). So, with all of these colorful ingredients on my counter, I was pretty darn excited to make these cookies! In fact, when the first batch of cookies were done, I really didn’t wait long to pull one of these off of the cooling rack and devour it. And y’all, these cookies are just awesome. Not only are they super cute and colorful; they’re insanely addictive. This recipe also makes quite a few cookies for sharing. :-) I used my small cookie scoop to scoop these on the cookie sheet, but since this dough spreads a good bit, it still makes a decent sized cookie. In the end, I had enough cookies to share with both mine and H’s coworkers this time around. :-)

Easter Candy S’mores Cookies
adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod, originally from Baked Perfection

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Wilton Rainbow Chip
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Easter Peeps (appx. the same size as mini marshmallows)
  • Easter Sixlets

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and salt, until well blended.
  2. In another bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat for about another minute.
  3. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add in the flour mixture slowly, and mix on low until just combined.
  4. Fold in the rainbow chips with a spatula.
  5. Using a small cookie scoop (appx. tbsp. sized), scoop the cookie dough out, giving about 2 inches between each cookie (like I said, these do spread). Bake for about 7 minutes and take the cookies out of the oven.
  6. Immediately add the sixlets and peeps, by pressing them gently into the cookie. Place the cookies back in the oven and bake them for another 3-4 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on a cooling rack, and serve!

Snickers Cupcakes

Snickers Cupcakes

Snickers bars are my diet nemesis. The candy bars are 280 calories each (yep), and I could seriously destroy one in a couple of minutes. Now that I’m calorie counting, 280 calories is a lot when you get under 1600 calories each day, but in my opinion, calories don’t count for one day of the year. Your birthday. I turned 28 on Friday, and since Snickers are my favorite, I decided to make these cupcakes to celebrate. Now, of course, I could buy a cake at a bakery and spend $30+, but heck, where can you find SNICKERS cupcakes? Not any place around here, that’s for sure!

The hardest thing for me was bringing home two bags of mini Snickers to make these bad boys happen. I totally ate about 10-ish mini Snickers that week, so I obviously don’t have any willpower against this candy….at.all. Oh, and when it came time to make these Thursday and cut the candy up for the filling….yeah, totally snuck a few tiny bites. Whoopsie!

I will admit, these cupcakes were more time-consuming than I thought, but it’s worth it to give these a try. Just don’t do it on a weeknight, like I did. :-P

If you’re concerned about me completely killing my diet, I’ll let you know that since I could have totally eaten all 20 of these cupcakes, I ended up giving most of them to H to bring to his coworkers. His coworkers absolutely loved these, and some of these actually wanted to know how much they would be for me to make them. So, I guess they weren’t a flop haha! My opinion? Heaven in a cupcake. Oh yes…if you love Snickers like I do, just make these cupcakes.

Snickers Cupcakes
Source: mildly adapted from Annie’s Eats, cupcakes originally from Martha Stewart, frosting originally from My Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot water
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. coarse salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

For the filling:

1 bag mini Snickers chopped into fourths (I found it easier to do this after the Snickers were in the freezer)
1/4 cup salted butter caramel sauce

For the frosting:

16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup salted butter caramel sauce
Pinch of coarse salt
2 tbsp. heavy cream

**To garnish the tops, you’ll need 20 mini Snickers.**

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix together until the ingredients are well-combined. In a smaller bowl, whisk the cocoa powder and hot water together until it’s a smooth liquid.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter and sugar using medium heat. Once the butter has melted, remove the mixture from the cook top and transfer the mixture to a mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment on the mixer, beat the butter/sugar mixture on medium-low speed for a few minutes, until the mixture has cooled (you don’t want to cook the eggs when you add them). Add in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating the mixture well and scraping down the side of the bowl after you add each egg. Add in the vanilla and the cocoa mixture and mix until well-combined. Then, turn the mixer on low and add in the flour mixture in two batches, and alternating with the sour cream. You want to beat the mixture until just combined (don’t overmix).
  3. Using a medium cookie scoop, add the batter to your cupcake pans (lined with cupcake liners) until each cup is about 3/4 full. Bake the cupcakes for 18-20 minutes (rotating the cupcake pan once when the cupcakes are halfway done with baking), until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for a few minutes, and move them to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.
  4. Once the cupcakes are completely cool, cut a cone shape out of the center of the cupcakes using a paring knife. Using cooled caramel sauce, add 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce to your Snickers pieces and mix until the candy is coated in caramel. Then, add a spoonful of the filling to each cupcake.
  5. For the frosting, using a paddle attachment on your mixer, whip the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add in the confectioners’ sugar with the mixer on low speed, a cup at a time (to avoid a mess), until the mixture smooth and creamy. Add in the caramel sauce (which should be just a tad on the warm side for this), vanilla and salt on low speed, and mix until well-blended. Add in the heavy cream, and mix the frosting on medium speed for a few minutes until fluffy and smooth.
  6. To finish the cupcakes, frost the cupcakes to your liking (I used a Wilton 1B tip), drizzle on some caramel sauce, and place a mini Snickers on the center of each cupcake.

M&M White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

M&M and White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Happy early St. Paddy’s Day y’all! When I was a kid, my family used to go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New Orleans. The parades for St. Paddy’s Day aren’t anything like the ones at Mardi Gras. The prized throws are vegetables. That’s right, y’all. They throw vegetables at these parades. Cabbage, carrots, potatoes…you name it! I remember catching these things as a kid, and thinking that these were the most boring throws ever. Of course veggies are boring to a kid! The tradition is that you take home your catches, and then make a stew for your family for the holiday. :-)

The fun part for me was when some older men would walk in the parade carrying these huge displays of fake flowers, and they would hand them to the ladies and little girls. My sister and I used to compare bouquets at the end of the parade, and man, it was so much fun to get flowers as a little girl!

Sadly, I haven’t been to a parade in a long time, which really should be remedied next year, but the memories I have from my childhood just make me so psyched for the holiday. Not to mention, St. Paddy’s Day is the week of my birthday (as well as my sister’s)! Her birthday is actually today! If you’re reading this, Happy Birthday Sis!

As far as these cookies go, I’ve been wanting to make these M&M cookies for a while, and since I had a bag of Christmas M&Ms leftover from the holiday bake-palooza, I took a few minutes to take out the green M&Ms, add some white chocolate chunks and make these cookies finally happen. I have no idea how that bag of M&Ms lasted this long in our house, actually, but I guess I’m getting some willpower from the good ol’ diet. :-)

Strictly for quality control purposes, I had to try one of these bad boys. :-P It took a lot for me to not grab a second or a third, because I just LOVE M&M cookies! This recipe couldn’t be easier either, since it only requires one bowl. I’m all about doing less dishes, so these cookies are even more awesome because of that!

M&M White Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Source: mildly adapted from Sing For Your Supper, originally from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup & 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsp. milk
  • 1.5 cups M&Ms
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chunks

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment or Silpat sheets.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, for about two minutes. Add the baking soda, baking powder, salt and vanilla and mix until well-incorporated. Add the egg and mix until blended. Scrape the bowl down, add the milk and mix again.
  3. Add the flour and beat the mixture until just mixed together. Do not overbeat.
  4. Using a spatula, lightly stir in the M&Ms and white chocolate chunks.
  5. With a regular cookie scoop, drop the cookies on your sheet, allowing 2 inches between each cookie. Bake the cookies for 14-16 minutes, until the cookies are a light golden brown and slightly browner along the edges. Allow the cookies to fully cool on the cookie sheet before serving.