Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookies

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Peppermint Hot Chocolate with words

I was invited to a cookie exchange with some friends and I, of course, had to find a new, exciting cookie recipe to try! Since I LOVE peppermint hot chocolate, I decided upon Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookies that I found at Mom Endeavor’s website.

To make the cookies you will need…
2 sticks but­ter at room temperature (or if you forget to leave it out, like me, pop it in the microwave for 25-30 seconds to soften it)
1 C sugar
2/3 C brown sugar
2 1/4 C flour
3/4 C cocoa pow­der or hot choco­late mix (I used dark chocolate cocoa)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp bak­ing soda
1 C pep­per­mint crunch bak­ing chips (I couldn’t find these so I used cut up Andes Mints. Not quite peppermint, but it still gave a great minty flavor!)
1/2 C semi-sweet or dark choco­late chips (I used semi-sweet because it’s what I had, but I think they would have been even better with dark chocolate!)
approx. 2 C mini marshmallows

Directions:
1. Pre­heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda until combined.

3. In a large mixer bowl, mix together the butter & sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and then mix until everything is combined.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the large bowl and mix until just combined.

5. Stir in ­mint & chocolate chips.

6. Form dough balls (I used my cookie scoop that I LOVE!) and place about 2″ apart onto parch­ment lined bak­ing sheets.

7. Bake for 10–12 min­utes. *At about the 8 minute mark, pull out the cook­ies and top with mini marshmal­lows (I did 4 per cookie). I lightly pushed them into the cookie before returning the cookies to the oven for the last few minutes. The marsh­mal­lows should get nice & puffy, but not too gooey. I watched for them to have a bit of a golden color on top, then pulled them out.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate on Pan

At first, I wasn’t so sure about the cookies and thought they were just ok. Then, the more that I ate them, the more I liked them! The combination of the mint with the chocolate, then a bit of the marshmallow gooey-ness on top was a winner!!

Baking love,
Heather

Turtle Cookies

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It’s been forever since I’ve blogged…but with good reason! My baby girl arrived October 2nd, and I’ve been so focused on her, I’ve had a hard time giving up time to do anything else! However, I did find some time to make tons of Christmas cookies, all of which I’m going to try to blog about! First up, Turtle Cookies!

Turtle with words

I found the recipe for the Turtle Cookies at The Kitchen is My Playground. These looked so good, I had to try them!

You will need…
Cookie:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder (I used dark chocolate cocoa powder)
1/4 tsp. salt
8 T. (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1 large egg, separated, plus 1 additional egg white
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. pecans, finely chopped

Caramel Filling:
14 soft caramel candies (I used Kraft Traditional Caramels)
3 T. heavy cream

To make the cookies…

1. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.

2. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla; mix until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture until just combined.

3. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. I left it in for about 2 hours and found that I really needed the heat from my hands to make the dough more pliable.

4. Whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy (I used my hand mixer which made this SO much easier). Place chopped pecans in another bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, and then roll in pecans. Place balls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball. Be careful when making the indentations, though. The spoon I used stuck every time. It might help to put a little butter or oil on the outside before making the indentations.

5. Bake at 350 degrees until set, about 12 minutes.

Prepare the Caramel Filling:
6. Microwave caramels and cream together in a small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes.

7. Once cookies are removed from the oven, gently re-press the indentations. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel mixture. Cool on the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

The Kitchen is My Playground’s recipe also has an option for a chocolate drizzle, but I skipped that part!

I have to say I had extremely high expectations for these cookies, but they kind of fell flat. Don’t get me wrong, they were good, I just expected a lot more!

One plus- I used the leftover caramels to make dark chocolate covered caramels…my favorite!

Baking love,
Heather

S’mores Cookie Crumble Bars

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Cookie with Ingredients and words

Today I was craving marshmallow creme, but I didn’t really want to open the jar without having something to bake, in fear that I would eat the entire jar in one sitting. I had found a recipe on Pinterest for S’mores Cookie Crumble Bars linked from the Food Network website. I decided this would be the perfect recipe to try!

To make the bars you will need…

Ingredients
1 cup store-bought graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
One 4.4-ounce bar milk chocolate broken into pieces (I used Ghirardelli)
1 cup marshmallow creme

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the ends of the pan for lifting out the finished bars. Spray with cooking spray if you wish- I was worried the aluminum foil would stick to the bars.

Stir together the ground grahams, flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl.

Dry Ingredients

Cream the butter, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until creamy and combined; do not beat a great amount of air into the mixture.

Creamed Ingredients

Add the graham mixture and continue to beat on low speed until just combined and large crumbles form.

Mixed

Place about two-thirds of the mixture in the prepared pan and firmly press down (this was easiest done with my hands). Reserve a few pieces of the chocolate for garnish (I set aside two squares), and then scatter the rest of the chocolate pieces over the base. Drop spoonfuls of the marshmallow creme over the chocolate, stretching the creme so it covers more of the base (this is easier if you spray the spoon/spatula with cooking spray, otherwise the marshmallow creme sticks). Drop the remaining cookie batter in small clusters over the chocolate and creme so the creme is mostly covered.

Ready for Oven

Bake until the dough is golden brown and the cookie in the center of the pan feels firm, about 40 minutes.

Out of Oven

The marshmallow creme will puff through the crumble and brown, and it will deflate as it cools. Cool in the pan at least 15 minutes.

Using the foil overhang, lift the crumble bars out of the pan. Melt the reserved pieces of chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals until smooth, and then drizzle over the cookies.

Chocolate Topped

Cut into squares.

Finished Cookie

Serve warm or at room temperature.

With Ingredients

This was the perfect way for me to get my marshmallow creme fix (I saved a big spoonful to eat…deliciousness!) and the S’mores Bars were pretty good too! I do wish these had a bit more chocolate and marshmallow creme because there was a lot of cookie compared to the other ingredients. I only ate an end piece so perhaps I’ll have to try one of the middle pieces too, just to make sure….

Baking love,
Heather

Baby Shower Cupcakes!

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Finished Cupcakes with words

A good friend is due in April and her baby shower was this weekend. Her sister asked if I would make a little something sweet for everyone and I was happy to do so!

To make the cupcakes, I used a recipe my sister suggested at Glorious Treats‘ website. To make the cupcakes, I followed the recipe exactly. One thing that was a little worrisome was how thin the batter is after putting in the boiling water. This is what mine looked like:

Batter

I used the advice to pour the batter into the cupcake holders using a measuring cup, which worked out very nicely, with the exception that they weren’t as uniform in size as I like. It was hard to determine how much to put in while pouring!

In Oven

The recipe says the batter will be thin and they will turn out fine…and it was right!

Baked

To make the buttercream, I used the recipe found at Savory Sweet Life‘s website. This buttercream was delicious and I highly recommend the recipe!!

To color the icing, I used Wilton’s copper coloring. I actually put WAY too much in the frosting and it turned out a completely orange color. I ended up making another batch of buttercream and added half of it to what I already made, but lightened the color enough to make it more of a peach skin color.

I colored the remaining frosting with black Wilton coloring and I had to use quite a bit to get it to the color it was. It still had a purple-y feel to it, but it was harder to tell in the small quantity that was actually on the cupcakes. I used Wilton tip #3 to pipe on the hair, eyes, and nose.

For the cheeks, I used raspberry flavored pink M & M’s, which were totally a happy accident I came across while at the grocery store. The pacifiers were Wilton’s candy pacifiers, which I found on Amazon.

Finished Cupcakes

These cupcakes were so fun to make and everyone seemed to love them!

At Shower

Baking love!
Heather