Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cookie Countdown Day 10

Wrapping up the countdown is this tasty morsel I found on Joy of Baking.  Looks yummy!

Chocolate Crinkles

4 tbsp. unsalted butter
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted

In a stainless steel bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and set aside.  In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs and sugar until thick, pale, and fluffy. (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.) At this point beat in the vanilla extract and then stir in the melted chocolate mixture.  In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to shape into balls (3-4 hours or overnight).  Preheat oven to 325 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.  Place the confectioners sugar in a shallow bowl. With lightly greased hands, roll a small amount of chilled dough to form a 1 inch diameter ball. Place the ball of dough into the confectioners sugar and roll the ball in the sugar until it is completely coated and no chocolate shows through. Gently lift the sugar-covered ball, tapping off excess sugar, and place on prepared baking sheet. Continue forming cookies, spacing about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. (If you find the dough getting too soft for rolling into balls, return to the refrigerator and let chill until firm.)  Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or just until the edges are slightly firm but the centers are still soft. (For moist chewy cookies do not over bake. Over baking these cookies will cause them to be dry.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

*Note from the site:These cookies are best eaten the day they are baked.

I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Baking!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cookie Countdown Day 9

It wouldn't officially be a cookie (or baking of any type) countdown without something from Martha Stewart.  So here's a classic done Martha-style.


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp.baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven. Line baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.  Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, shortening, and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine.  In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Use a small (1 1/4-ounce) ice-cream scoop to form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after 5 minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Cookie Countdown Day 8

(Sorry this is late, I was having posting problems yesterday.)

Merry-Cherry Cheesecake Bars

Got these from Grandma while down in Fort Myers.  They are fantastic!

1/3 c. cold butter
1/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 c. all-purpose flour
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. each candied red and green cherries (can substitute 1/4 c. cherry pie filling)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In bowl, cut butter into chunks, add brown sugar and flour.  Mix at low speed.  Reserve 1/2 c. crumb mixture for topping.  Press remaining crumb mixture into 8 in. square pan.  Bake near center of oven rack for 10-12 minutes.  For filling, soften cream cheese and combine all filling ingredients together in a bowl.  Spread filling over crust.  Sprinkle with remaining crumb mix.  Continue baking for 18-20 minutes or until browned.  Cool and store in fridge.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cookie Countdown Day 7

Hope you all had a great weekend.  We had a blast visiting my grandparents this weeked.  And, as promised, I got her sugar cookie recipe.  It the best for making cut-out cookies.  Here you go:

Grandma Kanar's Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

5 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 c. shortening
3 eggs, well beaten
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

In medium bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.  Add in shortening and work in with hands until mixture is fine.  Add in eggs, milk and vanilla.  Roll out and cut into desired shapes.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cookie Countdown Day 5 and Day 6

We're going out of town this weekend to visit my grandparents (and while I'm there, I'm snagging Grandma's sugar cookie recipe) down in Fort Myers.  Because of this, I won't be able to post a cookie recipe tomorrow for the countdown.  Instead of playing catch up when I get back, I thought I'd get a head start and give you two recipes today (look at me planning ahead lol.)

Day 5-Gingerbread Cookies
For some, Christmas doesn't really come without Gingerbread men, so here's a holiday classic I found on the Food Network's site.

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup corn syrup (light or dark)
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Place the brown sugar, shortening, and corn syrup in a saucepan and heat on medium, stirring constantly until the shortening is melted.  Place all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl; then add the warm sugar mixture, stirring until all of the ingredients are well blended. The dough will appear crumbly but will hold together when rolled out.  Use the dough immediately, while it is still warm. If it starts to crumble, place it in a warm oven for 1 to 2 minutes until it softens a bit.  To make decorated cutout cookies; Roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out gingerbread women and men with cookie cutters. Place the cookies on foil-lined cookie sheets and bake until golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on racks before decorating.
 *You can also find an icing recipe to use to decorate them afterwards on the same link.

Day 6-Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints
Delicious!  I found this little gem on the Kraft website-it even has a video tutorial!

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4 squares BAKER'S Unsweetened Chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, cubed, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup red raspberry jam
Heat oven to 375°F.  Mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min.; stir until chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in cream cheese. Add 1 cup sugar, egg and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour mixture. Refrigerate 15 min.  Roll dough into 1-inch balls; coat with remaining sugar. Place, 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Press your thumb into center of each ball; fill each indentation with about 1/4 tsp. jam.  Bake 8 to 10 min. or until lightly browned. Cool 1 min. on baking sheets; transfer to wire racks. Cool completely.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Playing Catch-Up-Cookie Countdown Days 2, 3 and 4

So I'm already behind on my cookie countdown.  We were experiencing some internet problems so I couldn't get online to update.  To make up for it, here's 3 recipes today.

#1-7 Layer Bars
These are my all-time favorite Christmas cookie.  There's nothing really Christmas-y about them except that we always only made them at Christmas.  They are delicious and so easy.

1 stick of butter
1-2 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
1 cup each:
Chocolate Chips
Butterscotch Chips
Chopped Walnuts (or whatever nut you prefer)
Sweetend Coconut Flakes
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter and pour into 9x13 pan.  Add in graham cracker crumbs and press firmly into bottom of pan.  Then evenly distribute chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, nut and coconut.  Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over whole pan.  Bake for 25 minutes or until lighly browned on top.  Cool completely then cut into bars.  Yum!

#2-Peppermint Crunch Cookies

I found these at (I get their newsletter and it's always got lots of great recipes and cute holiday ideas.) They look fabulous and only 3 ingredients *You don't have to use the refrigerated dough if you choose to make your sugar cookie from scratch. I'll be posting my Grandma's Sugar Cookie recipe as part of the countdown.

1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated sugar cookies
1 1/2 cups white vanilla baking chips or semisweet chocolate chips
8 round hard peppermint candies, crushed (1/4 cup)*

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Stir or knead in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour until well blended. Shape dough into 36 (1-inch) balls. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 5 minutes.  In small microwavable bowl, microwave vanilla chips and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil uncovered on Medium (50%) 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once halfway through microwaving, until melted. Stir until smooth.  Dip half of each cookie into melted chips mixture, allowing excess to drip off; place on waxed or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Sprinkle each with about 1/2 teaspoon crushed candy. Let stand until set.

#3-Chocolate Snowballs

I found this yummy delight on Betty Crocker's website. I always loved snowballs as a kid and I like the chocolate twist.

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
60 Hershey's Kisses milk chocolates, unwrapped
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, egg, flour, cocoa, almonds and extract until soft dough forms. Shape dough into sixty 3/4-inch balls; wrap each around 1 milk chocolate candy. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Roll cookies in powered sugar. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Re-roll cookies in powdered sugar. Store tightly covered.

Happy Baking!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blastoff on the 1st Annual Cookie Countdown

I decided to do a Cookie Countdown til Christmas.  Starting it off is this amazing recipe I found at Baby Center's MOMformation Blog.  They sound absolutely divine!  I can't wait to try them out.  Here you go:

Death By Chocolate Cookies (or Shiny Happy Chocolate Cookies, recipe courtesy Cookie Madness)

1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour (1 oz)
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 oz chopped semi-sweet chocolate (62%)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 packed tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
2/3 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped and toasted (optional)

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt chocolate with butter. Cool slightly (about 3 minutes). If you melt the chocolate over barely simmering water, it shouldn’t be too hot in the first place.
Beat eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl using high speed of an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes. Beat the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir it gently into the batter. Make sure the batter is cool, then add the chocolate chips and walnuts.
Chill dough for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. I used an insulated cookie sheet.
Scoop up rounded tablespoons of dough and set dough balls on parchment paper spacing about 2 ½ inches apart. Bake for 11-13 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheet for about 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Cravings

So I'm been perusing the internet for clothing ideas for Christmas-torturing myself, really, because I've found a lot of super-cute things.  Here's some of my faves(these are all from Forever 21):

I have the cutest dark grey ruffled blouse that would look amazing with the magenta pencil skirt.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fall Craftyness-Flower Pot Scarecrow

Flower Pot Scarecrow

Medium-sized flower pot
Tan, yellow, orange, white, and black paint
Fall-themed fabric (enough to go around the pot and tie a bow)
Small straw hat
Silk flowers (I used sunflowers)

Paint the flower pot tan and let dry completely-to save time, you can spray paint it instead of handpainting it. Once pot is dry, transfer scarecrow face to pot (to do this, use tracing paper and draw your face on the paper with pencil, then flip over so that the pencil side is in contact with the pot and trace over it, which will transfer the pencil to the pot.) Paint the nose yellow, the cheeks orange-allow to dry before adding the mouth and eyes in black. Using the handle end of the paintbrush, do a dot of white on each eye for the pupil. Glue on rafia for hair. Let dry and then glue on hat. Add flowers. For the final touch, tie the strip of fabric around the bottom. Glue to keep in place.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fall Craftyness-Felt Bat Bag

I made this way back in the day and I still love it. It's a really simple and fun craft to do with kids, too.

Bat Bag


2 pieces of black felt.
Silver glitter fabric paint
Black and orange ribbon
Scissors and hot glue

Cut out two bat shapes out of the felt. Hot glue them together, leaving the top open. Glue on one piece of black ribbon and one piece of orange ribbon for the handles. On the front of the bag using the fabric paint, do outline of the wings and body of the bat.

Fall Craftyness-Milk Jug Skeleton

We just finished up with Halloween a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd show you some of the crafty things I made this year.

Mr. Bones, my milk jug skeleton. My mom had one when I was growing up and I always love it so this year, I decided to make one myself. Here's how to make one:


6-7 clean plastic gallon milk jugs
String (I found that fishing line works the best)
Scissors & craft knife
Glue gun


Turn a milk jug upside down, spout facing down.
In the corner opposite the handle, cut out a large pair of eyes, the mouth and an upside-down heart for the nose.

Make two small slits in the top of the head and tie a loop of string through them to hang the finished skeleton (you can do this when you're all done.)


Cut off the spout (leaving it on made the neck too long and weird looking. Set the spout aside, you'll need it later.) With the jug facing up, on the side opposite the handle, cut the plastic to make a rib cage-I did three long rounded rectangles, leaving about an inch in between each..

Glue the head and chest together with hot glue (but attach the shoulders first-see next step.) To keep the spout from the head from falling into the hole on the chest made from cutting off the spout, I did a few coats of hot glue around the hole and let them dry before attaching the head


Cut off two jug handles, leaving a small collar on each end. Use hot glue to attach them to the chest section.


With the jug upright, using the top half, cut into pelvic shape. I just did kind of a wavy line around the jug (see the picture if you're looking for a general shape.) Glue the two spouts together for the waist and attach to chest.


Cut 8 bone shapes (two for each arm and leg) from the jugs-I did one bone on each arm and leg with the middle cut out. You should be able to get 3 out of each jug. Tie to the shoulders and hips. Cut out hands and feet and attach to arms and legs. Ta-da!

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