Firecracker Cookies

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I’ve been on a cookie kick for the last week or so. I mixed up batches of my favorites for a few parties last weekend so I wanted to try something new for this weekend’s festivities. These were super fun and super easy. You can make these with your favorite sugar cookie and buttercream recipes, or just use packages – whichever your schedule allows.

Adding pop rocks on top makes these firecrackers for your tongue but you want to add them right before serving or the moisture of the icing will activate all of the “popping” early.

FirecrackerCookies

Firecracker Cookies
(from momdot)

Your favorite sugar cookies
White icing
Strawberry or Watermelon PopRocks
Red, White and Blue Sprinkles

Prepare your favorite sugar cookies. Once cook, frost and decorate with sanding sugar and sprinkles. Add Pop Rocks right before serving.


Cookies and Cream Popsicles

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We had a really lovely Memorial Day Weekend. Mark’s been working long hours the last few weeks and his CFA exam is only a few weeks away so things have been generally crazy around here. Having three days of him home with no real plans was glorious.  We played in the baby pool with Jake, had a picnic with friends, walked over to the town parade – such a perfect, laid-back weekend.

And I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, which is something that’s been hard to do lately. I got to try out a whole bunch of summery recipes I’m super excited to share – but figured that kicking off summer with popsicles was a sweet way to start.

Oreos are a favorite around here so these were a big hit. I got four popsicles out of the recipe but my molds are fairly large so I think you’d get six with most others.

CookiesAndCreamPopsicles

Cookies and Cream Popsicles
(from WonkyWonderful)
Makes 4-6

3/4 cup milk
1/2 frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 Tbsp. sugar
6 Oreos

In a blender, combine the milk, whipped topping an sugar. Add the Oreos and pulse until they are small bits.

Freeze in popsicle molds until solid.

 


Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

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Supporting organizations that deal with hunger issues is near and dear to my heart. To me, there are few things as important as making sure those in your community are fed. We have a local organization here that has a few different anti-hunger programs (among other great programs!) – and my favorite is their holiday meal service. On Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter they set up a big, free meal for anyone who feels they need it. They usually end up serving around 400 people.

Everything is funded through donations so when I saw that they were looking for people to make some cakes for them to serve on Easter, I jumped on it. Jake and I whipped up this quick-but-delicious bundt cake for their dessert spread. I’ve been too busy to share the recipe before this, but never too busy to help out a good cause!

ChocolateChocolateChipBundt

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
(from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!)
Makes 1 Bundt Cake

1 package plain chocolate cake mix
1 package chocolate instant pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preaheat the oven to 350F and grease a bundt pan.

In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, water, vegetable oil and vanilla until well combined, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in the chocolate chips and transfer batter to the prepared pan.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, until it springs back when lightly pressed. Let cool for about 20 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before decorating.


Mint Chocolate Chip Krispie Treats

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So, I’ve gotten pretty good at time managing holiday prep with Jake around. I didn’t offer to make anything overly ambitious – a fruit tray, a veggie tray and some cupcakes. I planned out things a few days in advance and figured out how to get everything made with plenty of time to spare. What I didn’t account for? How much two days of Easter parties would mess up the poor kid’s schedule. He’s currently taking his first decent nap all week, which is why I’m finally getting around to a blog post.

I debating not even posting these because I feel like they’re too simple – I just added some mint extract and chocolate chips to the classic recipe. But, I’m appreciating simple things more and more – and for not a lot of time or effort, these make a mighty addicting dessert.

MintChocoleChipKrispieTreats
Mint Chocolate Chip Krispie Treats

(adapted from Kellogg’s)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

3 Tbsp. butter
1 10 oz. package marshmallows
1/2 tsp. mint extract
Green food coloring
6 cup Rice Krispies
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease a 9×13″ pan and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add marshmallow and stir until melted. Stir in mint extract and enough food coloring to reach desired color until well combined. Stir in Rice Krispies until well coated. Stir in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Press the mixture into the pan evenly and let sit for several hours before slicing and serving.


Pecan Streusel Muffins

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I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, but in January I officially became a stay-at-home Mom. It wasn’t something I was really planning on doing so the last few months have been a bit of a scramble to figure out how I’m going to fill my days now. My best find so far? The local moms club.

We’re hosting some new friends for a playgroup this morning. Tomorrow, we’re meeting up for stroller club. Wednesday is a tiny-person-friendly hike at a local park. Thursday, there is a playground play date. And Friday is mom’s night out – we’re going to take a wine glass painting class. I can’t tell you how much saner I feel when I get out of the house so having all of these things to do is pretty much heaven-sent at this point.

It’s also a new audience to bake for. I made up these quick muffins for one of our meetings and I loved them. I’m planning to make another batch for Easter breakfast!

PecanStruselMuffins

Pecan Streusel Muffins
(from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!)
Makes about 1 1/2 dozen

 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 package yellow cake mix
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Line a cupcake pan with papers.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix and flour. Add in the sour cream, oil, water, eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Spoon a heaping tablespoon of batter into each well. Cover with a teaspoon of the streusel. Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle remaining streusel over the tops.

Bake until golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for five minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.


Strawberry Pop Tart Pie

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Happy Pi Day!

I’m surrounded by nerdy love. My cousin was posting Pi Day memes on Facebook yesterday. My Mother-in-law owns a Pi pie plate I couldn’t let the most epic Pi Day this century pass without some acknowledgement in the form of pie. I just wouldn’t fit in this family if I didn’t!

I love Pop Tarts so this pie was just begging to be made. It’s basically an awesome strawberry pie with an almond-icing glaze. Such a fun pie! We really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to try making it again with fresh berries when the garden starts overflowing.

And what’s better than pie on Pi Day? Well, lots of pie – so I’ve joined up with some of my blogging friends to bring you even more pie! Check out what they made to celebrate the most epic Pi Day of the century below.

StrawberryPopTartPie3

Strawberry Pop Tart Pie
(from Willow Bird Baking)
Makes 1 9″ Pie

2 sheets of refrigerated pie dough
6 cups frozen whole strawberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. quick-cooking tapioca, ground in a spice or coffee grinder
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. milk
Colored sanding sugar

Preheat your oven to 400F degrees.

Squeeze out the grated apple, removing as much liquid as possible. Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook 3 cups of the frozen strawberries, stirring often, until the berries have become jam-like and reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the grated apple, remaining berries, sugar, tapioca and salt. Stir to combine.

Roll out one pie crust and lay in a 9″ pie pan. Spoon strawberry filling into the pie dough and dot the top with the cut up butter. Cover with remaining pie crust sheet and crimp edges with a fork to seal.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool on a cooling rack for several hours.

When room temperature, whisk together the powdered sugar, almond extract and milk and drizzle over the pie. Decorate with sanding sugar and serve!

StrawberryPopTartPie2

But the pie doesn’t stop there! Check out these other great pies bloggers cooked up for Pi Day!
Pies for Pi Day

Strawberry Pop Tart Pie from Kate’s Recipe Box

Indiana Sugar Cream Pie from Eva Bakes

Coconut Cream Pie from Relish

Individual Pepperoni Pizza Pot Pies from Cheese Curd in Paradise

Lemon Cheesecake Pie from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

Chocolate Pecan Pie from Cookaholic Wife

Sweet Potato Pie from Kosher Kitchen


Mint Chocolate Chip Snow Ice Cream

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You know what the best part of today’s snow storm is? That most news outlets are calling it the “last” of the season. I have a feeling they’re just getting our hopes up to crush them with a late-March blizzard but instead of irresponsible reporting, I’m choosing to see it as optimism. I am over winter.

To be fair, we haven’t gotten that much snow this winter. Instead, we’ve been getting ice storms. I prefer snow.

I’m using the “last” storm today to do all the things I feel like I’ve been missing out on this winter – more snowman making, more cuddling under a blanket reading, more hot chocolate drinking while watching the flakes come down and, of course, more snow ice cream.

SnowIceCreamMintCC
Mint Chocolate Chip Snow Ice Cream

(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 4

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. mint extract
1/2 c. milk
Large bowl of snow
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, vanilla, mint and milk until well combined. Stir in snow until you reach the desired consistency. Fold in chocolate chips. Serve immediately.


Sprinkle Cookies

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I, along with most of my friends from school, are turning 30 this year. It’s weird to think we’re exiting our 20s – mostly because that makes it painfully obvious we’re no longer “just out of college” or “just starting adulthood”. Hello, we’re here.

Adult doesn’t necessarily mean mature, though. We’ve had two 30th birthday parties so far this year: one involved playing dodgeball at a trampoline park and the other was a pizza party. Because, you know, my friends are awesome.

I made up these cookies as a 30th birthday gift for our friend, Douglas. I’d actually made them back in November when Jacob was baptized with blue and white sprinkles and Douglas was crazy for them. His wife held a Christmas cookie exchange in December and he was sorely disappointed I didn’t bring these so I knew they’d be a hit his birthday.

They remind me of the soft vanilla cookies my Mom used to get from the bakery. Just the right amount of chewy center with a slightly crisp edge. And switching up the sprinkle colors makes them perfect for just about any occasion. Or, any 30th birthday party you may be attending!

SprinkleCookies

Sprinkle Cookies
(from Grace and Good Eats)
Makes about 2 dozen

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sprinkles

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and pudding mix. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until well combined. Beat in vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until well combined. Mold dough into a ball and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Roll the dough into 1″ balls, roll the balls in sprinkles and place on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden at the edges and just set in the center. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip

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My snacking recently has been out of control in the worst way. You don’t even want to know how much chocolate I downed on Valentine’s Day. Seriously. And since I have to fit in a bridesmaid dress in about two months, I’m making more of an effort to curb the junk food and reach for healthier snacks.

This was a healthier snack/dessert that went over really well. It’s just the right amount of sweet without being loaded up with sugar. I really loved this with sliced up bananas!

PeanutButterYogurtFruitDip

Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip
(from Food, Fun & Life)
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 heaping cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup natural, unsweetened peanut butter
2-4 Tbsp. honey, to taste
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Fruit, for serving

Mix together yogurt and peanut butter. Stir in honey, starting with 2 Tbsp. and adding more until it suits your taste. Stir in cinnamon. Refrigerate until serving.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Cookie Bars

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I know, I know. Another chocolate peanut butter dessert. I think they’re coming close to being their own category on the blog there’s so many of them – but this was too good and too easy not to share.

Magic cookie bars have become a go-to since Jake was born because they’re just so darn easy to throw together. Now that I’ve got the basic recipe memorized, I’ve been playing with all different flavor combos and this one is a particular winner. It’s sort of like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. With peanut butter. And none of the cookie-dough scooping. Can you say win? These also freeze great, so they’re a great one to make if you want to make dessert ahead (or force portion control!)

ChocolatePBMagicBars

Chocolate Peanut Butter Magic Cookie Bars
(a Kate’s Recipe box original)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a 9×13″ pan and line it with parchment.

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crust. Sprinkle on the oats, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Pat the toppings down so they sort of stick into the sweetened condensed milk.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until the edges are golden and pulling away from the pan. Let cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting.