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.


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.


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.


Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars

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If you’re not tuned in to the sports world, here’s a PSA for you: the Super Bowl is Sunday.

I will fully admit that I’m just not into it this year. I’m not crazy about the teams playing. I’m over the drama of deflategate. And compared to the excitement of last year when it was held in our backyard, I’m just feeling meh about the whole thing.

But, football food. Eating during the Super Bowl is like it’s own special event. An it’s all that awesome snacky stuff that’s hard to justify on a regular night. Like chocolate caramel pretzel bars. They’re exactly as indulgent as they sound and a super perfect grab-and-go snack for during the game.

Or, you know, during the commercials.
ChocolateCaramelPretzelBars

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars
(adapted from this recipe)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup broken pretzel pieces
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup caramel bits

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

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until well combined and press into the bottom of the pan. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the graham cracker crust. Sprinkle pretzel pieces, chocolate chips and caramel bits over evenly. Press gently into sweetened condensed milk.

Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges and starting to pull away from the pan. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing  from the pan and cutting.


Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I need to start out with this: I love Christmas.

This time of year just makes me happy. I love finding the perfect presents for family members. I love pulling out all the ornaments that we’ve collected on our travels so far. I love excuses to get together with family and friends. And, of course, I love making Christmas goodies.

A lot of my baking list is dictated tradition: I make up batches of my Opa’s cookies every year, because it just wouldn’t be Christmas without them. Cookie recipes I love but haven’t made recently get broken out for exchanges. And I make ranch pretzels in mass to give as gifts.

There’s always room for something new, though, which is where these cookies come in. I made up these delicious treats for a cookie swap with some of my foodie friends. They’ll be reaching their destination today so I hope they’re well-loved!

If you haven’t tried cookie butter, you need to. Really. Just stop reading now and go buy some.

In all seriousness, though, it’s sort of like a cross between peanut butter and a gingerbread cookie – which is totally perfect for a holiday goodie like this. It’s safe to say these will be making the baking list again next year!

Cookie Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from Knead to Cook)
Makes about 3 dozen

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Cookie Butter (I like Trader Joe’s)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the cookie butter, vanilla and egg until well combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoon-fulls onto lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip and Flax Cookies from Prevention RD’s Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour (+ Win a Copy!)

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I always get excited when a food blogger I admire releases a cookbook. I love having that little piece of the internet on my bookshelf. Nicole Morrissey’s (aka, Prevention RD) first cookbook, Prevention RD’s Everyday Healthy Cooking, is in frequent rotation around here so when her editor asked if I wanted to review her new cookbook, Prevention RD’s Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour, I jumped at the chance.

As the title suggests, this book is full of gluten-free recipes – but the recipes are also marked as sugar-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, low-carb, high-fiber and dairy-free as appropriate, making it a super friendly resource for anyone trying to stick to a specific diet. Neither Mark or I have food allergies, but we have friends and family that do so we’re always looking for tasty things we can make them. We’re also, naturally, a little skeptical of recipes that stick to special diets – I mean, how do you trust chocolate chip cookies that have no butter or flour?

Luckily, Nicole has this thing nailed – these cookies were amazing. If you didn’t know they were gluten-free (and dairy-free, vegetarian and low-carb), you never would guess. They taste like regular chocolate chip cookies – not always an easy feat when you’re making something allergy-friendly. We passed off most of the batch to a friend of Mark’s who has recently gone gluten-free and they went over wonderfully.

And, there are so many equally delicious looking recipes in this book. I’m especially excited to work through the breakfast section and I’m loving that I’ll have a whole bunch of gluten-free cookie options for Christmas cookies for our Celiac family members this year.

Nicole’s editor was also kind enough to offer up a copy for a Kate’s Recipe Box reader. Want to win? Leave a comment below letting me know if you follow a gluten-free or other special diet and your favorite diet-friendly dish to make. I’ll pick one comment at random to receive a copy of Prevention RD’s Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour, compliments of Skyhorse Publishing. You have until midnight eastern time on September 7, 2014. Open to US residents only.

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip and Flax Cookies
(from Prevention RD’s Cooking and Baking with Almond Flour)
Makes 16 Cookies

1 1/4 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips (I used dairy-free chips)

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, flaxseed, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. In a second bowl, lightly beat the egg. Slowly whisk in the coconut oil to the egg, whisking constantly.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, then fold in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

After chilling, preheat the oven to 375F degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on the baking sheet. Flatten slightly, to about 3/4 inch thickness.

Bake for 7-9 minutes, until dry-looking and slightly browned. Cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Brownies

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All of the brownie recipes on this blog so far start with a box mix. I like boxed-mix brownies – the soft inside and the shiny crunchy layer on top really do it for me – so I was never in a rush to make them from scratch. When I ran across this recipe, they looked like my beloved box version enough that I decided to give them a shot.

These were really, really good. A bit more work than a box – but totally worth it. If you’re a fan of boxed-mix brownies and looking for a from-scratch substitue, these are a great bet.



Brownies

(from Sweet Anna’s)
Makes one 9×13″ pan

3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup butter, melted and divided
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9×13″ pan.

Stir together the cocoa powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup of the melted butter. Stir in the water until the mixture is smooth. Stir in sugar, eggs and remaining butter until well combined. Stir in vanilla and salt until smooth.

Add in flour and chocolate chips and stir until just combined. Transfer brownie batter to the greased pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the edges of the brownies start to pull away from the pan slightly. Cool completely in pan before cutting.


Irish Cream Double Chocolate Cookies

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This month’s What’s Baking theme was Irish Cream – perfect for the holiday. We’re not Irish, so it’s not a big holiday for us, but I do use it as an excuse to invite our family over and make a big pot of beef and Guinness stew so making an Irish cream dessert for our get together was a no-brainer.

Irish cream liquor is not something we regularly keep in the house (and, since I’m pregnant, I’ve been trying to avoid buying bottles that will just sit around) so I was excited that these cookies use Irish cream coffee creamer instead of liquor. It ends up giving the same type of flavor, but was much easier for just one recipe – a win-win. These cookies were soft and fluffy and had just a nice, subtle Irish cream flavor. I’m sure I’ll be making them for future St. Patrick’s Day parties!

You can check out the rest of the Irish cream dishes other bloggers baked up on The Redhead Baker later this month.

Irish Cream Double Chocolate Cookies
(very slightly adapted from Something Swanky)
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Irish cream coffee creamer
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

Using a stand mixer, beat together the butter and shortening. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg, creamer and vanilla.

Mix in the flour, baking soda and salt until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Rolls into 1″ balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.


What’s Baking: Red Velvet Oreo Truffle Brownies

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We’re not big Valentine’s day celebrators. We’ve been doing the same date – a college basketball game and some sort of bar-food dinner – for years. It’s not terribly romantic, but it’s a fun night out and I honestly don’t miss the mushy stuff.

I do miss the fun Valentine desserts, though, which is why I was excited when I saw this month’s What’s Baking theme was red velvet. So perfect for Valentine’s Day!

These brownies were a delicious splurge. I sent most of them to work with Mark, because that Oreo truffle layer is dangerously addictive! These are gorgeous and impressive looking, but really not that hard to pull off.

You can check out the full roundup of all the red velvet treats on Kim’s blog, Just Baked, later this month!

 

Red Velvet Oreo Truffle Brownies
(from Pizzazzarie)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan of brownies

1 box Duncan Hines Red Velvet cake mix
1 3.3 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pkg. Oreo cookies
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325F degrees. Liberally grease a 9×13″ baking pan and set aside.

Whisk together cake mix and pudding mix. Beat in melted butter, eggs and vegetable oil until well combined. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing it to the edges. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool.

Crush the Oreo cookies and mix pieces with the cream cheese until well combined. Spread over the cooled red velvet brownies.

Melt the 2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips and pour the melted chocolate over the Oreo layer, smoothing to cover. Sprinkle immediately with mini chocolate chips and pan them down lightly to set.

Refrigerate until the chocolate sets, then cut into bars. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


What’s Baking: Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookie for 2

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This month’s What’s Baking theme is “Small Servings”. I decided doing something savory would be a cop-out – I often scale down dinner recipes for just the two of us. Dessert seemed like much more of a challenge.

When I think of baking up a dessert, I never think of small batches – I think of big, special sweets. This cookie is sort of the best of both worlds. By being one giant cookie, it looks impressive and seems special. And since it’s just one cookie, you won’t end up with a ton of leftovers and the guilt of eating cookies all week.

Given how much I rave about chocolate peanut butter desserts, it’s no surprise we loved this. If you want to see what other bloggers baked up for this challenge, check out the roundup on Eva Bakes later this month!

Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Cookie for 2
(from Sally’s Baking Addiction)
Serves 2

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. beaten egg (crack an egg, beat it, and use 2 Tbsp.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup Reese’s Pieces
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined. Add in the peanut butter and mix until well combined. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and stir just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and Reese’s Pieces.

Scoop the dough onto the baking sheet. You want the dough to be rounded and a bit tall, but not totally round like a ball.

Bake for 17-19 minutes, until lightly brown around the edges. Remove from oven (The center may seem undone, but it’s okay! It will set as the cookie cools.) and let sit for 10 minutes on the baking sheet before serving.