Chinese Wedding Cookies…

I was recently asked to make cookies for a coworkers wedding. She’s using the cookies to put in her welcome bags for guests staying at a nearby hotel. She initially asked if I could make a cookie with the Chinese symbol for “double happiness.” At first I thought I could do it by hand and frost them, but after taking one look at the symbol I opted for an edible topper. I was really pleased with how they came out and she was too! Hope you have a great wedding this weekend, Mihoko!

Chinese Wedding Cookies

Chinese Wedding Cookie

Chinese Wedding Cookie 2

Chinese Wedding Cookie 3

Chinese Wedding Cookie 4

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars…

One of my biggest pet peeves for recipes is that most are not tested. I’ve mentioned this before in other posts, but it’s true. I tried this recipe and wasn’t pleased at all when I first made it. The taste was still great, but I had to tweak it a bit. Thankfully my coworkers were good sports and allowed me to try again and let me know what they thought. The second batch was much better. They were easier to cut and to handle. The first batch was too messy and fudgy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars

Ingredients:

1 1/4 Cups Peanut Butter
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Sticks Butter, melted
16 oz. Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 lb. bag of Small Pretzels (reserve 2 cups for the topping)

Directions:

1. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with non-stick spray. Put handfuls of pretzels in a food processor until they are completely ground. Do this until you have 2 cups of ground pretzels. If you don’t have a food processor, just put them in a gallon zip lock bag and smash them with a pan until they are ground.
2. Combine 1 cup peanut butter, melted butter, powdered sugar, and 2 cups of ground pretzels in a large bowl and mix until combined. Add 1 cup of broken pretzel pieces to the mixture as well.
3. Press this mixture into the bottom of the 9×13 inch pan.
Peanut Butter Pretzel Mixture
4. Melt the chocolate and 1/4 cup peanut butter in a microwave. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. Just heat it at 20-30 second intervals until melted.
5. Spread the melted chocolate in the pan, over the peanut butter mixture.
6. Take the 2 cups of pretzels and break them into smaller pieces over the chocolate.
Pretzels covering chocolate
7. Let the bars set in the refrigerator a couple of hours to set.

ENJOY!

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Two Peas in a Pod…

My brother and sister in law are expecting twins!! So for their baby shower, we created the theme of “two peas in a pod.” I was in charge of the cupcakes and did some searches online to find this great idea. I used fondant to make miniature pea pods. I bought green and white fondant and easily rolled them out to make the pea pods. The cupcakes were simply chocolate and vanilla with homemade buttercream frosting. Hope you like them, too!

Pea Pod Cupcakes
Pea Pod Cupcakes

Fondant Pea Pods
Fondant Pea Pods

More Cupcakes
Two peas in a pod

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Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes…

I’ve seen these treats on Pinterest and really wanted to give them a try. There are a bunch of different recipes out there, but I really liked this one. I altered it a bit, and overall, everyone really liked them! They’re perfect if you want to make them the night before you need them.

**The recipe makes enough batter for exactly 32 cupcakes. If you cut the recipe in half, it will make 16 cupcakes. I have a lot of muffin pans, so I was able to make 32. It’s up to you to figure out how many you’ll need!**

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

Ingredients:

44 Oreos (32 left whole, 12 coarsely chopped)
4 Blocks of Cream Cheese (8oz. each), at room temperature
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
1 Cup Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt
Pinch of Salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Place one whole Oreo cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.
2. Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add in the sugar and vanilla.
3. Pour in the eggs, a little bit at a time.
4. Beat in the sour cream/yogurt and salt.
batter
5. Stir in the chopped Oreo cookies by hand.
Batter and Cookies
6. Pour the batter into the pan. You can fill the batter to the top of the liner. They will not overflow.
Filling tins with batter
Tap the pans several times to allow the batter to settle. Then fill with more batter until it’s full.
7. Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating half way through the cooking time. Bake until the cupcake is “set” and doesn’t giggle when you move the pan.
Cooked Cupcakes
8. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Then transfer to a plate and keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours until serving.

ENJOY!

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Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins…

I had a bunch of bananas that needed to be used, so I decided to make muffins. I also had a bunch of random chocolate chips to use, so I threw them in as well! This recipe can easily be cut in half to make 12 muffins, but I doubled it to make 24 muffins.

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Ingredients:
(for 24 Muffins)
2 Cups Sugar
4 Cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
6 Tbsp Sour Cream (you can also use Greek Yogurt)
4 Eggs
2 Sticks Butter, softened
6 Ripe Bananas, mashed
1 1/2 Cups Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners or spray with non-stick spray.
2. Combine the sugar and flour in a large bowl and set aside.
3. Mash the bananas and then add them to all of the wet ingredients. Mix well.
Wet Ingredients
4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips.
5. Fill the cupcake pan with the batter. Top with additional chocolate chips.
Muffin Batter in Pan
6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Cooked Muffins

ENJOY!

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Easy Cinnamon Buns…

I was looking for an easy breakfast treat the other day and stumbled upon this recipe from Ina Garten. I’ve made cinnamon buns in the past from scratch, and this recipe is a million times easier. They’re soo good!!

Cinnamon Buns
Cinnamon Buns

Ingredients:
1 Box Frozen Puffed Pastry, thawed
12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar, lightly packed
1/2 Cup Pecans, roughly chopped

Filling:
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
2/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar, lightly packed
3 Teaspoons Cinnamon

Optional:
1 Cup Raisins

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
2. Mix together 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar with an electric mixer. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
Butter and Pecans
3 Lightly flour a wooden board. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, (and 1/2 cup of the raisins-if you’re using raisins).
 Filling for Cinnamon Bun
Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.
4. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces.
Cut Cinnamon Buns
5. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups and press slightly into the pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
Uncooked Cinnamon Buns
6. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Be careful – they’re hot! Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.
Cooked Cinnamon Buns
Cooled Cinnamon Buns

**I made half of these with raisins and half without. Either way, they’re great!!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies…

After returning from a recent trip to the King Arthur Flour Store, I was inspired more than ever to keep baking! The store was my Disneyworld! It’s full of everything you need for baking and cooking. I could have spent all day there. I had ordered products from them in the past, but it was even better to see everything in person. While I was there I picked up some miniature chocolate peanut butter cups. I found this great recipe for cookies using the peanut butter cups on the King Arthur website.
If you don’t have miniature peanut butter cups, you can use a mixture of chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. I’m certain that the cookies will be just as tasty!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Baking Cocoa
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg
2 Tablespoons Water
1 1/2 Cups Miniature Peanut Butter Cups

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease them.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
Dry Ingredients
3. In another bowl, beat together the sugars, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
Peanut Butter Mixture
4. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and water, then stir in the dry ingredients, blending well. *The dough is very thick!
Cookie Batter
5. Stir in the miniature peanut butter cups.
Peanut Butter Cups
6. Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheets. Then flatten each cookie to about 1/2 inch thick. *These cookies will not spread too much, so don’t worry about having them close to one another.
Flattened Cookies
7. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until they’re set and you can smell chocolate. These cookies are very soft when they’re removed from the oven. Let them cool on the cookie sheet and they will firm right up.
Baked Cookies

ENJOY!

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Girl Scout Cookie Lemon Cake

If you love lemons, you’ll love this cake! This was my second experiment using Girl Scout cookies. Huge Success! It has tons of lemon flavor and it’s very refreshing.

Girl Scout Cookie Lemon Cake
Girl Scout Cookie Lemon Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:
1 Box of Vanilla Cake Mix (Any variety of white cake mix will work)
(Ingredients on back of Cake Mix-oil, eggs, water)
1 Lemon, Juiced and Zested
3 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
1 Box Girl Scout Lemonade Cookies, Crushed

Frosting:
1 Box Confectioner’s Sugar
1 Lemon, Juiced and Zested
5 Tablespoons Butter, at room temperature
8 oz. Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven and crush the Girl Scout cookies. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with non-stick spray.
2. Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter and mix with the crushed cookies and press evenly into the 9×13 pan.
Crushed Cookies
3. Mix the cake ingredients together. The only exception is to measure the lemon juice from the one lemon, and then add more water to it to equal the amount of water needed for that particular cake mix. Also add in the zest of that lemon.
4. Pour the cake mixture on top of the crushed cookies.
Cake Batter
Bake as directed and let it cool completely.
5. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Then add the lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest until combined.
6. Slowly add in the entire box of confectioner’s sugar.
Lemon Frosting
I let the frosting chill in the refrigerator until the cake was completely cooled. Frost the cake (there will be a lot of frosting-yum!).
Frosted Lemon Cake

**When cutting the cake, use a spatula or cake server in order to ensure that you get all of the cookie crumb goodness on the bottom of the pan.**

ENJOY!

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Thin Mint Cupcakes…

I recently bought a few boxes of Girl Scout cookies. It was probably a big mistake. They’re all so yummy and very tempting. In order to get them out of the house, I’m going to turn them all into cupcakes and sweet treats for my coworkers. The first dessert I made tonight was with thin mints.

Thin Mint Cupcakes
Thin Mint Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
1 Box Chocolate Cake Mix (As well as Oil, Eggs and Water according to the instructions on the back of the box)
2 Sleeves Thin Mints

Mint Frosting:
2 Sticks Butter, room temperature
8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
3/4 teaspoon MINT Extract (Do not use Peppermint Extract)
4 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
Green Food Coloring

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven and prepare the cupcakes according to the back of the box. Reserve 12 Thin Mints for the topping, and put the rest of the cookies in a large ziplock bag to crush. Add the crushed thin mints to the cake batter and stir until combined. Bake the cupcakes as you normally would.
Thin Mint Batter
2. While the cupcakes are cooling, start to prepare the frosting. Mix the butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer in a large bowl. Add in the extracts and mix together.
frosting
3. Gradually add the sugar and mix well. Once the batter is combined, add in the food coloring until you achieve your desired color.
Mint Frosting
4. Cut the thin mints in half and place one cookie on each each cupcake after they’ve been frosted.
Frosting Cupcakes

ENJOY!

…stay tuned for the next Girl Scout treat!

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No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies…

These cookies were recommended to me by a friend. The best part is that you don’t have to bake them. They’re pretty easy to make and rather tasty!

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies
No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

2 Cups White Sugar
4 Tablespoons Cocoa
1 Stick Butter
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
3 Cups Quick Cooking Oatmeal

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan bring to a boil the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk.
Cookie Ingredients
2. Boil for 1 minute and then add the peanut butter, vanilla, and oatmeal.
Cookie Ingredients
3. Remove the mixture from the stove and drop the mixture by the tablespoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, parchment paper or foil.
Cookies
The batter can be molded pretty easily. I used a small ice cream scoop to make equal sized cookies and then flattened each one with the bottom of a glass.
4. Let the cookies cool and completely harden before serving or moving them onto a plate.

ENJOY!

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