Cherry Chocolate Chip No Bake Energy Bites

These Cherry Chocolate Chip No Bake Energy Bites come together in a flash, are super delicious, and best of all are a super healthy snack option!

Cherry-chocolate-chip-no-bake-energy-bites

I’m sure everyone has seen some version or another of no bake energy bites. I know I’ve heard of them for ages and seen all sorts of recipes, but never have I actually had one or tried to make them myself. To be honest, I was a little put off by the thought of making them. I was convinced I would need twenty thousand ‘trendy’ ingredients that I would never use again and wasn’t convinced that they’d taste all that good.

Chocolate-cherry-energy-bites

I had a few leftover dates from when I was making party appetizers and decided to ‘wing it’ and try making energy bites by combining ingredients in my food processor.

Chocolate-cherry-date-energy-bites

HOLY WOW! The end result was so absolutely delicious, consider my mind blown!

No-bake-date-energy-bites

The natural sweetness of the dates melds perfectly with the tart dried cherries and then is nestled perfectly with the rich chocolate flavors!

They taste like a combination between a brownie and a piece of fudge, and I just can’t stop raving about them! Plus, they’re super healthy:

  • Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals.  Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc are found in dates.  It also contains vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K. (source)
  • Sweet or sour, cherries are bursting with nutrition. These petite stone fruits can help improve your health, from a better night’s rest to a trimmer tummy to managing other diseases (source)
  • Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet. Studies show that dark chocolate (not the sugary crap) can improve health and lower the risk of heart disease (source)
  • Dried fruits are very high in antioxidants. They’re wonderful because they’re very transportable. They’re a great snack, and they’re high in fiber, which is a big plus, because our bodies need to consume more fiber than we currently are consuming. Dates are very high in antioxidants. Any dried fruit has higher antioxidants than the fruit itself because there is less water. It’s concentrated.  Dark chocolate is number 1 in antioxidants (from Best Food Facts expert Dr. Vinson)

Cherry Chocolate Chip No Bake Energy Bites
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 30
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dates, pits removed (I used medjool dates but you could also use deglet nour dates)
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried tart cherries
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ Tbs water
Instructions
  1. Remove pits from dates and place dates in a food processor along with the water. Run the food processor for about 30 seconds, and then add all the other ingredients and pulsate again until it is a smooth paste-like consistency.
  2. If it is too thick and not coming together, add a little bit more water (only a ½ teaspoon water at a time)
  3. With a spoon (careful not to hurt yourself with the food processor blades) scoop batter and roll between hands to form a ball. Place in a little wrapper or simply on a plate. You can refrigerate the energy bites for 30 minutes or store them in the refrigerator if you want a fudgier consistency (I did this and loved it!)

For this recipe you need a good food processor. I used this food processor, it is my favorite kitchen appliance ever, like ever ever!

Have you ever made energy bites?

Chocolate-cherry-energy-bitesThis post contains an affiliate link, if you purchase amazon products through my store at no cost to you, I might get a few pennies.

Green & Gold Football Party with Skittles Cupcake and Snickers Popcorn Mix

SNICKERS® Popcorn Mix and Skittles® Green and Gold cupcakes make perfect treats for your next football party and are part of a shop that has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are as always mine alone. #BigGameTreats #CollectiveBias

Green-and-gold-football-party

Here’s a little fun fact about me:  I live in the state of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin-football-party

You might think ok, good for her, and not think anything of it. But let me tell you something about the state of WI…’Wisconsinites’ sure take their football seriously. The colors of green and gold are prominently displayed with pride everywhere.

Snickers-and-skittles-football-party

So naturally when my husband was having some friends over for the game he asked if I could throw a green and gold party. A themed party? Yes, I’m all about that!

As I was shopping at Walmart and thinking what I could make that would fit into the theme I found myself in the candy aisle and just had to get SNICKERS … remember when I made Husband Brownies – Peanut Butter SNICKERS Brownies ? … I just had to make something with SNICKERS that would be worthy of a homegating recipe, and I had just the recipe in mind, a SNICKERS popcorn mix – hey, everyone likes snacking on popcorn while watching the big game, right?

Snickers-and-skittles-at-walmart

From January 21-31, enter to win by purchasing 1 qualifying MARS Chocolate product and 1 qualifying Wrigley product at Walmart. All you have to do is snap a photo of the receipt to show proof of purchase and text or email to biggame@drvsusa.com14 winners will be drawn randomly at the end of the contest period (1 for each day of the contest), and will receive a $250 Walmart gift card! For more information on the contest, visit drvsusa.com/biggame.

Along with SNICKERS I decided to get Skittles and set out to create recipes for the football party.

I used SNICKERS in a SNICKERS Popcorn Mix. The popcorn mix was such a hit, I even got the sweetest text from one of the party goers:

Text convo

In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about in reference to the ‘cup thing’…let me tell you…another friend (also in attendance at our party) had given us this absolutely gorgeous rosemary plant (really it was more like a bush) but it was infested with fruit flies. I don’t know if you’ve ever had fruit flies in your home…but they’re the worst! Just the absolute worst, they multiply and just don’t go away. Elisabeth was kind enough to share some a recipe for a little death trap that totally worked (water, dish soap, and vinegar). It worked so well that I’ll do a little tutorial on it soon.

But back to the popcorn mix. It is one of those things that is just so good you’re tempted to give it a catchy name like SNICKERS Popcorn’ Crack’ but I personally hate trendy names ending in ‘crack’ because they’re usually such a let down. This SNICKERS popcorn mix is definitely not a let down, it’s one of the best party snacks I’ve ever made (one of my mother-in-laws friends makes an amazing popcorn mix that was the inspiration for this recipe.) EVER!

How-to-make-snickers-popcorn-mix-aka-peanut-butter-chocolate-popcorn

Making the popcorn mix is super easy actually, you’ll chop up SNICKERS bars, make a coating and stir everything together and let cool. That’s it, then you serve, and you’ll watch it disappear. Everyone loved it!

Snickers-popcorn-mix

The little Skittles cupcakes come together easily too and are topped with Skittles (use your favorite team colors!)

How-to-make-skittles-cupcakes-mini-lemon-cupcakes

Since they’re mini they’re super easy for guests to enjoy!

Mini-lemon-cupcakes-with-skittles

There was even a little football throwing and learning how to throw it in our tiny kitchen…I’m going to pretend like I didn’t notice… and good thing the snacks served as a distraction!

Football-party-fun

Is football big where you live? And what are some of your favorite ways to celebrate game day?

Skittles Cupcakes and Snickers Popcorn Mix
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For the SNICKERS Popcorn Mix-
  • 6 SNICKERS bars, cut into small pieces
  • 10 cups popped popcorn (premade or microwaveable with no salt)
  • 3 cups rice crispy cereal
  • 16 oz white chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbs creamy peanut butter
  • For the Skittles Cupcakes-
  • ¼ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 Tbs lemon zest (zest from 1 lemon)
  • Frosting -
  • 4 Tbs butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 24 Skittles (pick your team colors!)
Instructions
  1. To make the SNICKERS popcorn mix-
  2. Put popcorn and rice cereal in a large bowl (if you don't have a bowl big enough you can make this in two bowls and just put half of everything in one bowl and the other half in another bowl).
  3. Chop up the SNICKERS bars (I cut each bar in 3s the long way and then into little pieces.) Put the candy pieces in the bowl with the popcorn and stir a few times to combine.
  4. In a microwave safe bowl melt the white chocolate chips and peanut butter by microwaving in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until smooth and creamy (mine took about 2 minutes).
  5. Pour the white chocolate peanut butter mixture over the popcorn mixture and stir until all the popcorn is coated. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spoon popcorn onto the parchment paper. Allow to cool for an hour or two, and then break into pieces and pour in a bowl and serve!
  6. For the Skittles Cupcakes-
  7. Preheat oven to 350 and line mini muffin pan with 24 liners.
  8. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) cream together the butter and the sugar, then add the egg and combine, then add the milk and combine, then add the baking powder, baking soda, flour and lemon zest. Beat until smooth and creamy. Use a tablespoon scoop or a tablespoon and drop 1 tbs of batter into each lined cup. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to completely cool.
  9. To make the frosting start by creaming the butter, then scrape down sides and add the vanilla, lemon juice and milk. Beat, and then scrape down sides again and add the powdered sugar slowly, then beat again to combine until desired consistency. If it is too stiff, add a little milk, if it is too runny add a little more powdered sugar. Spoon frosting into a bag and cut off the end and pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Top each cupcake with a skittle and enjoy!

 

OREO Cookie Ball Dip and a Girly Football Party

This amazingly delicious OREO Cookie Ball Dip and football shaped OREO cookie balls are perfect for your next game day party (and girly football party) and are part of a shop that has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. As always all opinions are mine alone. #OREOCookieBalls  #CollectiveBias

Oreo-cookie-ball-dip-shaped-like-a-football

Ah the football season. A time when weekend plans are put on hold until the game schedule has been checked once, twice, sometimes three times over, just to ensure that there is no conflict. A time when guys get together and watch the game…but wait a second…let’s pump those breaks…girls like football too!

Girly-football-party

In fact, I know some girls that are more into the game than some guys (ahem, not going to call anyone out, you know who you are.) And every time I see football parties I always think that they could use a little girly flair.

Girls-liking-footballs

So when I was picking up some game day supplies at Walmart I decided to invite some girlfriends over to have a girly get together for the game (don’t worry, I said boys were allowed too). Since I had the theme of black-white-pink (classy with a little girly flair) in my mind, I thought “what better food to fit the ‘black-white’ theme than OREOS?”

Oreos-at-Walmart

And really…who doesn’t love OREOS? I decided to take the classic OREO Cookie Balls recipe (crushed up OREOS, cream cheese, and chocolate) and make OREO Cookie Ball Dip and little footballs.

Oreo-cookie-balls-football-party-food

And is it just me, or are football games at the most awkward times? At 2 or 3 in the afternoon everyone has already had lunch, but is not ready for dinner yet. That’s where party snacks come in! You don’t need a ton of things to have a successful party, but definitely something involving chocolate (little footballs) something to dip (OREO cookie ball dip) and then something salty (I put out some cheese, pepperoni and crackers). It was just the perfect amount of game day snacks if I do say so myself.

Football-party-fun

To make the football shaped OREO cookie balls it’s quite simple, but I could honestly be the poster child on trying the wrong way to decorate them…really I feel like someone should thank me for sharing the most effective way to decorate them. For covering the footballs in chocolate don’t dip them in a bowl of melted chocolate and loose them, don’t poke them with a fork and then try to cover them…no…the most effective way to coat them in chocolate is by taking a little spatula (or butter knife) and spreading the melted chocolate on them, then place them on covered cookie sheet. Another tip I’m going to share with you: when making the little football lines melt the chocolate and then spoon the white chocolate into a small baggie, cut one end off, and then use that as a piping bag (don’t try to make the lines by free-forming it with a fork dipped in the melted chocolate like I did…it will lead to a giant mess, just trust me!)

How-to-make-oreo-cookie-ball-footballs

Then to make the football shaped OREO cookie ball dip you’ll make the dip, then spoon it onto a serving plate that has been covered with wax paper or parchment paper and spread it into the shape of a football, then you’ll cover it with crushed OREOS, press them into the dip and then make football lines out of white chocolate.

How-to-make-football-shaped-dip

So grab a plate and dig in!

Oreo-cookie-ball-dip

 

OREO Cookie Ball Dip and a Girly Football Party
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For the OREO cookie ball footballs-
  • 1 pkg (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
  • 36 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups, 1 package of cookies)
  • 3 pkg. (4 oz. each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted (or 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 2 Tbs white chocolate chips (for decorating, optional)
  • For the OREO cookie ball football dip
  • 1 pkg (8 oz.) brick cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened (1/2 stick butter)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 36 OREO Cookies, finely crushed (about 3 cups, 1 package of cookies, crumbs divided)
  • 2 Tbs white chocolate chips, melted
  • Pretzels, vanilla wafer cookies, strawberries for serving with the dip
Instructions
  1. To make the OREO cookie ball footballs-
  2. MIX cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended (I used a stand mixer but feel free to mix by hand).
  3. SHAPE into footballs (I used two spoons to shape them into footballs) and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Freeze 10-15 min. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl by microwaving in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval (mine took 1 min 30 sec).
  4. Dip footballs in melted chocolate (I found the best way to do this was to use a small spatula or a butter knife and spread it on the footballs; place in single layer back onto the parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Melt white chocolate chips (mine took only 30 seconds) and then spoon into a baggie or piping bag make the little white lines on the footballs.
  6. REFRIGERATE 1 hour or until firm.
  7. To make the OREO cookie ball football dip.
  8. Mix together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and half of the crushed OREOS (I used a stand mixer but feel free to stir by hand, it might take a little muscle).
  9. Line a serving plate with parchment paper or waxed paper. Using a spatula or spoon spread the dip onto the plate into a football shape.
  10. Now take the remaining OREO cookie crumbs and press onto all sides of the dip. Tilt plate and pour off excess cookie crumbs.
  11. Melt white chocolate chips and spoon into a baggie and cut off the tip or into a piping bag and decorate the top of the football with white marks. Arrange pretzels, wafer cookies and sliced strawberries around the football dip and serve. Store dip in the refrigerator.

 

Rolled Oats Dark and Stormy Oatmeal Cream Pies

These amazingly delicious Chewy Dark and Stormy Oatmeal Cream Pies are #MyOatsCreation and use rolled oats and are part of a shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Quaker. All opinions are as alwaysmine alone. #CollectiveBias
Rolled-oats-chewy-dark-and-stormy-oatmeal-pies

Hello readers of The Sweetphi Blog this is Nick, Phi’s husband, who some of you may recognize from my forays into hand modeling occasionally featured on this blog (see here, here and here to name a few).  Phi has asked me to write the introduction to this blog post/recipe because I helped her with the idea for this recipe.

This cookie was developed for a Cookie and Drink Exchange Christmas Party we hold every year.   Attendees bring cookies and cocktails and serve them throughout the night.  At the end of the party we vote on each in the following categories Best Tasting, Best Looking, and Best Christmas Themed.  The contest aspect has made everyone up their game over the years (we’re on year 4), and has really turned out some great looking cookies and cocktails.  This recipe was our attempt to keep jumping over the ever raising bar.

I think a good Christmas cookie should have a few things going for it.  First, it should I have seasonal flavors.   We were pairing the cookie with our homemade eggnog cocktail, so we wanted to avoid fruit flavors like cranberry.  For that reason we wanted to make a ginger cookie.  Secondly, I think there should be a nostalgia factor.  Not much reminds me more of my childhood then reaching in the cabinet for an oatmeal cream pie that we always seemed to have at least one box of.  This oatmeal cream pie with chewy ginger cookies really hits both those marks.

I know what you’re thinking, “…but Nick, I see ‘dark and stormy’ up in the title, what’s the deal with that?”  Well, like I said, this cookie was for cookie AND cocktail exchange, and I couldn’t help but slip in a bit of cocktail influence into our cookie while we were at it.  A dark and stormy is a cocktail made with lime, dark rum, and ginger beer.  We ditched the lime because we wanted the cookie to just hint at the cocktail flavors and still pair well with our eggnog.  We have the ginger in the cookie, so we spiked the cream filling with rum.  In the end, I think the cookie really came together, the oatmeal ginger cookies were delicious and chewy, and the rum, butter cream filling really raised them to the next level #QuakerUp

Now, without further ado, here is Philia to walk you through how she brought my cookie vision to life!

Hiiiiiiii, Phi here! Doesn’t Nicks idea of an oatmeal ginger cookie with rum buttercream sound amazing? I headed on over to Target to get the ingredients to make this cookies and found Quaker Oats Quick Oats 42oz in a special winter canister (available only at Target) and since I was making Christmas cookies I clearly need to purchase that adorable winter oats (only at Target)!

Quaker Oats at Target

To make the rolled oats dark and stormy oatmeal cream pies you’ll start by setting out all your ingredients (this makes it so much easier when you’re making the cookie batter:

Rolled-oats-chewy-dark-and-stormy-oatmeal-pies

There are three types of ginger in the cookies: fresh ginger, crystallized ginger, and powdered ginger! Triple ginger, triple flavor! You’ll make the cookie batter, roll it in raw sugar and ginger, bake them, then let them cool while making the frosting, frost them sandwich them and then you’re ready to go!
Dark-and-stormy-oatmeal-cream-pie-cookies

What I learned during making these is the more frosting in the middle the better!

rum-buttercream-frosting

They received many compliments and it was so fun to put Nicks’ vision into reality, here is an in action shot of cookie sampling from the party:

Dark-and-stormy-oatmeal-cream-pie-cookies-with-rum-buttercream-frosting

Such a good cookie! You neeeeed to make these, and Quaker has more great ideas on their Facebook and Pinterest pages!

chewy-dark-and-stormy-oatmeal-pies

Rolled Oats Dark and Stormy Oatmeal Cream Pies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 50-60 sandwiched cookies
Ingredients
  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 1½ Cups Quaker Quick Oats, ground up
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ Cup Butter, room temperature
  • 1 up Vegetable Shortening
  • 1½ Cups Brown Sugar, dark
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ Cup Molasses, bold flavor
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 Inch peeled ginger, finely chopped
  • ¾ Cup Crystallized ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbs Ground ginger
  • 1 Cup Raw sugar for rolling mixed with 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • For the rum buttercream frosting-
  • 1 Cup Butter (2 sticks)
  • 4 Cups Podered Sugar
  • 3 Tbs Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 Tbs Rum
Instructions
  1. Start by making the cookies. Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
  2. In the bowl place flour, ground oats (I run mine through a food processor until it is a fine like powder with only a few oat pieces remaining) baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter, vegetable shortening and brown sugar until creamy (about 2 minutes). Then add the egg, molasses and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Now add the powdered ginger, cinnamon and the four mixture and slowly beat until smooth (about 3 minutes). Then add in the fresh chopped ginger and stir, and then with a wooden spoon stir in the crystallized ginger
  4. In a bowl add raw sugar and 1 tsp ginger and stir together.
  5. Scoop 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball, then roll it in the raw sugar and ginger combination (I cut the ball in half and then rolled it again) and then place on baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes (or 10 minute if making bigger ones) and then remove from oven. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack (you want the cookies to be chewy so it's ok if you take them out before they're dark brown on the edges.
  6. While the cookies are baking make the rum buttercream frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream butter (make sure your butter is at room temperature) for about 2 minutes. Then add in your powdered sugar and whipping cream and beat until combined, then add in the rum and beat until smooth. Spoon frosting into a piping bag.
  7. To assemble the oatmeal cream pies pipe frosting in the center of a cookie (frosting goes on the bottom side) and then place another cookie on top and press together, then enjoy!

Rolled-oats-chewy-dark-and-stormy-oatmeal-pies

Did you enjoy oatmeal cream pies when you were growing up?

Chewy-oatmeal-cream-pie-cookies

 

Cranberry Bliss Cookies

Cranberry Bliss Cookies are chewy, have a hint of tart from the cranberry pieces and sweetness from white chocolate chips and frosting drizzled over them making them one delicious Christmas cookie (or really a delicious cookie that can be enjoyed any time of year, because I’ll definitely be making these throughout the year!)

Cranberry-bliss-cookies

I don’t know about you, but as soon as December rolls around I start seeing Cranberry Bliss Bars appear at Starbucks. They’re an absolute favorite of mine. Ever since having one at the beginning of the month I’ve been thinking about them.

So when I needed to bake a cookie for the Great Big Food Blogger Cookie Swap, all I could think about was making these cookies. The Great Food Blogger Swap exchange is such a great event. Bloggers from all over the world participate and send each other cookies, proceeds from the event go to an organization that aims to fight pediatric cancer. After you sign up for the event (thank you Lindsay and Julie for all the coordination) you get sent three matches and then you mail three dozen cookies to three different bloggers, and then you receive three different cookies from three different bloggers.
fbcookieswap2014_whiteLG

I was so excited that I got to send cookies to three lovely ladies I’d actually all met in person: my bestie Lynn from Order in the Kitchen whom I met at ChoppedCon,  and my girl Taylor from Food Faith Fitness and Melissa from Hungry Food Love whom I believe I met at BlogHer Food in Miami.

To make these cranberry bliss cookies you’ll make the cookie batter and add in fresh cranberries and white chocolate chips and then frost them with a cream cheese frosting:
How-to-make-cranberry-bliss-cookies

I had so much fun making the cookies and shipping them and was so happy to see them being enjoyed by the recipients, here here here and here are pictures of the received cookies!

Cranberry-bliss-cookies

And let me tell you…getting three different cookies in the mail? Awesome! I got chewy molasses cookies from Dinners Dishes and Desserts (these were the first cookie that arrived and it was love at first bite, they were chewy and addictive, it was hard to keep them until the other ones arrived for pictures!), then I got chocolate almond biscotti from The Adventure Bite (whom I met at Blogher! These biscotti are perfect with a cup of coffee and who doesn’t love chocolate and almonds?) and then brown butter shortbread cookies from Love Laugh Cook (I met her at ChoppedCon! And can we talk about her packaging? How adorable…and browned butter anything? yes please) Here is a picture of the cookies I received:

Food-blogger-cookie-swap-cookies

It was such a fun event to participate in and bake cookies for!

Cranberry-bliss-cookies

Cranberry Bliss Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 5½ dozen cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Butter, at room temperature
  • ½ Cup Vegetable shortening
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1½ Cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbs Vanilla extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • 4 Cups Flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ Cup Candied ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs Orange zest
  • 1 Cup Cranberries, finely chopped
  • 11 oz White chocolate chips
  • For the frosting -
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese, at room temp
  • 4½ Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 tsp orange juice
  • 1 Tbs Corn syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter, vegetable shortening and granulated and brown sugar until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and then add the vanilla extract and the eggs. Beat until combined.
  3. Next add in the flour, baking soda, salt and orange zest and beat until combined, then add in the finely chopped ginger and cranberry pieces and beat again until all combined, then with a wooden spoon stir in the white chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop 1 Tbs of cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets (i got 12 per cookie sheet) and press down a little and then bake for 11 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and repeat the baking process with all the dough.
  5. To make the frosting start by creaming the cream cheese and then scrape the sides of the bowl and add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and corn syrup. Beat until a smooth consistency (I beat my frosting for about 3-5 minutes). Spoon frosting into a piping bag and then frost the cookies by making a zig-zag pattern over the cookies. Allow the cookies to cool until the frosting is stiff to touch, then store in an air tight container until ready to enjoy!

 

Mexican Chocolate and Raspberry Bread Pudding {and brunch party food tips}

This Mexcian Chocolate and Raspberry Bread Pudding is rich and chocolately with a hint of spice from a secret ingredient used, and is perfect for holiday brunch get togethers and is part of a shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are as always mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Mexican-chocolate-and-raspberry-bread-pudding

Anytime you gather with family and friends this holiday season and there is a brunch involved, there’s always the question about what to make. Think for example about Christmas morning.
With that special occasion in mind, I came up with some brunch party food tips:

  • Make dishes that are family-share friendly or little bite size items
  • Prep the main dish the night before
  • Have fresh fruit as a side
  • Have both sweet and savory options
  • Make a big pot of coffee
  • Set up the meal as a buffet
  • Always have condiments (think coffee creamer, ketchup, and Tabasco hot sauce)

Christmas morning is always something very special in my parents’ house. All my of my sisters (I have three) and our respective spouses come home. With everyone at different stages in life, it is the one time a year that we are all together, so it is very special. In the morning we all come downstairs and even though there are no small children present, I can assure you that the magic is still there. We all help get brunch ready and then enjoy the meal.

Mexican-chocolate-and-raspberry-bread-pudding-brunch-recipe
This year I’m going to add this Mexican chocolate raspberry bread pudding to the brunch menu. It has that amazing rich custard of bread pudding, but then added flavors of chocolate and a little spice which is made by adding Tabasco Chipotle sauce in with raspberry jam. The Tabasco sauce is the surprising secret ingredient.

Tobasco-hot-sauce-chipotle-and-tobasco-original
When one thinks brunch, sure one might think Tabasco hot sauce as a condiment, but in bread pudding? Yeah, I know how odd it may sound. But I cannot tell you enough how AMAZING it is! It is not a spicy dish by any means, but when you add the Tobasco Chipotle Pepper sauce with the raspberry it adds this great subtle smokey flavor that works perfectly with the chocolate and cinnamon and then with the creamy custard bread pudding! It is something that everyone will love, but something that is very unique and delicious #SeasonedGreetings !

How-to-make-mexcian-chocolate-bread-pudding

This bread pudding is perfect for preparing the night before and then baking while everyone is waking up (a big plus is that your house will smell amazing! Cinnamon, spice, and chocolate…YUM!

I found Tabasco Chipotle and Original Red at Target and also heard that there is a Green Jalapeño Pepper, and a Tabasco brand Sriracha Thai Chili Sauce that Target will be carrying soon check them out on Twitter here)! After seeing the delicious flavors I think these would make a great stocking stuffer for anyone that likes hot sauce!

Tobasco-sauce-at-target

Mexican Chocolate and Raspberry Bread Pudding {and brunch party food tips}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 Loaf french bread (1 day old or toasted)
  • 8 oz Semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1½ Cups Heavy Cream
  • 2 Cups Milk (skim)
  • 2 Tbs Cinnamon
  • 1 Pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 1 Tbs Tobasco Chipotle hot sauce
  • 1 Cup raspberry jam, seedless
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. If your bread is not 1 day old, cut bread into 1 inch cubes and bake for 5 minutes to dry it out.
  3. Place half the bread in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. In a bowl add raspberry jam and and Tobasco sauce and stir to combine. Spoon over the bread chunks in the baking dish.Then add remaining half of bread cubes.
  5. In another bowl add the eggs, then pour in the heavy cream and milk and whisk to combine. Add salt, cayenne and cinnamon. Whisk to combine (it's ok if it's a little clumpy).
  6. In a microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval. When the chocolate has melted (mine took 1 min 30 seconds) spoon it slowly in spirals into the cream and egg mixture. Since the egg mixture is cold and the chocolate is warm, it will form hard pieces, that is ok.
  7. Stir the cream and egg mixture with the chocolate a few times, then spoon over the bread chunks. I used a big spoon and then made sure all the bread was covered by folding the bread over to make sure everything was covered.
  8. At this point you let it sit for 30 min, or you can keep it in the fridge over night
  9. After it rests stir up the bread chunks one more time and then bake for 35-45 minutes, until the edges look brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then spoon into bowls and enjoy! I like to serve mine with fresh strawberries

 

Perfect Christmas Recipe for Gifting: Sea Salt Turtle Cups

These delicious Sea Salt Turtle Cups are the perfect Christmas recipe for gifting that everyone is sure to enjoy and is part of a shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are as always mine alone. #MyPicknSave  #CollectiveBias

Sea-salt-chocolate-turtle-cups

THE HOLIDAYS! They’re here! Imagine me looking shiftily from left to right…where did the time go?

I am stuck in the late summer of 2010…which is coincidentally when I met my husband. So I’m going to share something from that time: we went into a chocolate shop and I had my first sea-salted-chocolate-covered-caramel! My life was changed (not only because of discovering the sea salted chocolate…also because I had found the love of my life…my husband)!

It was such an experience in fact, that for our wedding favors we had sea salted chocolate caramels from that very same chocolate shop (we had them put a stick in the caramels and then used them as our seating cards-see)

wedding-favors-sea-salt-chocolate-caramels

Fast forward to this holiday season, and I realize that I am way behind on buying presents. In the past I’ve been done by this time, but this year? I’m pretty sure I have like 2 Christmas presents that I bought a few months ago, and that’s it. So as I’m grocery shopping at #MyPicknSave I came across their adorable holiday aisle and they had the cutest little nesting boxes.

picknsave-holiday-aisle

Bingo! I knew exactly what I was going to try and to make: sea-salted-chocolate-turtles!

I don’t know about you, but in my family part of every gift is required to be chocolate.  Not to throw my sister under the bus…but I just have to share this funny story: one year I went into her room at my parents’ house after we had opened presents and heard a rustling and saw her push something under the bed…curiosity peaked I asked what she was doing…and she was sitting in her room eating chocolates and had taken all the chocolate from my other sisters and was trying to hide the wrappers. I’m talking like 3 boxes of chocolate wrappers worth she was trying to hide in a gift bag LOL! So you can bet I’m making her a giant batch of these!

And they’re so easy to make:
How-to-make-sea-salted-turtle-cups

You start by melting chocolate, then use a little throw-away paint brush and paint the bottom of little cups, let them cool, then when they’re done cooling you’ll add a pecan to each up, spoon in the caramel, cover with chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt.

5-ingredient-sea-salt-chocolate-turtle-cups

The hardest part is waiting for them to cool

DIY-christmas-present-idea-sea-salted-turtles

Yum! Just look at that ooey gooey center with the nuts, and then the gorgeous sea salt on top. Wrap them in a little nesting box from Pick ‘n Save and you’ll have the perfect Christmas present for that chocolate lover in your life!

Sea-salt-chocolate-turtle-cups

After I made my first batch, I gave some to my husband to take to work, and this was the text I got:

text-message-about-chocolate-turtles

So if you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift giving recipe or recipe for a party look no further, I’ve got you covered! And if you need additional inspiration, be sure to check out Pick ‘n Save on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook!

Have you ever had sea salted chocolate anything?

Perfect Christmas Recipe for Gifting: Sea Salt Turtle Cups
 
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Author:
Serves: 24 Turtle Cups
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Cup Pecan halves (I used roasted and salted pecans, plain pecan halves are ok too)
  • 20 Caramel squares, unwrapped
  • ¼ Cup Heavy Cream (you want a little less than ¼ cup)
  • 1 Tbs Fleur de sel sea salt
Instructions
  1. Line a mini muffin pan with 24 liners.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl add about ⅓ of the chocolate chips. Microwave in 30 second intervals stirring in between each interval (mine took 2 minutes).
  3. Use a clean throw away paint brush and brush the bottom and half up the sides of the liners with the melted chocolate. Place the muffin pan in the freezer for 15-30 min and allow the chocolate to cool.
  4. Place a pecan half in each of the cups.
  5. In a microwave safe bowl add the unwrapped caramels and the heavy cream. Microwave for 30 seconds, then stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds and stir when done. The caramel will bubble up and get smooth. If it isn't fully melted together microwave for another 15 seconds.
  6. Drop a half a spoonful of caramel on top of the pecan.
  7. In a microwave safe dish add the remaining chocolate chips. Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir, then microwave in 30 seconds intervals stirring in between until it is melted (mine took about 2 minutes and 10 seconds). Spoon chocolate on top of the caramel, then sprinkle little pinches of sea salt on top of the chocolate and allow to completely cool (this took 2 plus hours - I just let them sit overnight) then enjoy!

 

5 Ingredient Toasted Pecan Snowball Cookies

These 5 ingredient toasted pecan snowball cookies are such an easy Christmas cookie to make and have a delicious nutty flavor and practically melt in your mouth. The extra step of toasting the pecans really brings out the best flavor, and then coating the cookies with powdered sugar gives them a beautiful sweet note, all around, these are one of my favorite Christmas cookies!

5-ingredient-toasted-pecan-snowball-christmas-cookies

This week is all about Christmasy and holiday goodness: Graham cracker houses with a glue that dries super quickly, cocktails, sugar cut-out-cookies that hold their shape, and now these toasted pecan snowballs. Life is good!

And only 5 ingredients? You know what that means…they’re definitely perfect for my 5 Ingredient Friday series…but it’s a Thursday…but you’ll forgive me because we’re talking about cookies and it’s the holidays, right? And I have a super delish recipe coming tomorrow as well.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I need to know: have you ever had a snowball cookie before? I think these were always a staple when making Christmas cookies. They’re just so easy! You literally toast the pecans, run them through a food processor, mix the other ingredients together, create balls, bake them, then coat them with powdered sugar and viola, you’re done!
How-to-make-toasted-pecan-snowball-cookies

The only hard part about these cookies is making sure you don’t eat them all before letting others enjoy them. This may or may not have happened at my house. I made these cookies and ate 1 (ok, fine, you got me, I ate 3-I have no self control around these bad boys) and then packaged up the rest to send to friends. I was showing my husband the pictures of these, and he goes “hey, when did you make those?” Oooops! Guess I know what I’ll be making this weekend!

Super-easy-christmas-cookies-pecan-snowballs

5 Ingredient Toasted Pecan Snowball Cookies
 
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Author:
Serves: 12-15 cookies
Ingredients
  • ½ Cup Butter (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 1¼ Cup Powdered Sugar (1/4 cup for cookie batter, 1 cup for coating)
  • 1 tsp Water
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • ¾ Cup Pecans, toasted and crushed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and toast the pecan halves for 5 minutes or until they become fragrant and toasted.
  2. Remove pecans from oven and then pour them into a food processor and pulsate until they are a fine and no big chunks remain.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and powdered sugar, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the water and vanilla, mix again.
  4. Add the crushed pecans and four to the bowl of the stand mixer and slowly mix together. The dough will be crumbly, just take pieces of dough and form into balls with your hands and then place on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes - or until bottom edges start to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then drop them gently in a little bowl with powdered sugar and coat them. Place them back on a lined baking sheet and allow to cool, then enjoy!

 

Sugar Cut Out Cookies {that actually hold their shape}

The Christmas cookies that I’m sharing with you today are my go-to, my no-fail recipe for sugar cut out cookies that actually hold their shape.

Sugar-cut-out-cookies-that-actually-hold-their-shape

There is nothing more frustrating than taking time to lovingly bake a batch of sugar cut out cookies only to have them puff up or loose their shape (or puff up AND loose their shape). Has that ever happened to you? It’s the worst!! What you want is a consistent cookie that is easy to make and turns out every time (and one that is delicious!) Which is exactly what these cookies are: they hold their shape and turn out perfectly every time and are a delicious cookie in-and-of-themselves!

And while I was originally going to call these the ‘best ever sugar cut out cookies’ I realize that everyone probably has their very own favorite recipe (in food blogger circles it’s like saying you have the best recipe for chocolate chip cookies…even if you do, there’s always someone that thinks their recipe is better and will probably make fun of you behind your back ;) and i most certainly don’t want that lol).

Christmas cookie baking was always part of the holidays when I was growing up. We’d gather around and make what seemed like a bazillion cookies. Frosting isn’t really big in European cookie baking (ok, i could be wrong, but I can honestly say that I do not remember making frosting for sugar cut out cookies – other than chocolate of course, dipping your cookies in melted chocolate doesn’t count, right?) but what is big is adding a bit of lemon zest. It perks the flavor of the cookies right up!
How-to-make-sugar-cookies-that-hold-their-shape

Besides the lemon zest, this recipe is a pretty straight forward sugar cut out cookie recipe. It holds its shape, and one major trick is that after you make your dough, you’ll roll it out, cut out your cookie shapes, and then put them on a lined baking sheet and only then PUT THEM IN THE FREEZER for 10 minutes, then straight into the oven after. No cooling and then rolling. You roll, cut, and then cool!

Sugar-cut-out-cookies-that-hold-their-shape

That is the trick will leave you with perfectly baked sugar cookies cookies with a slightly golden brown color. They’re good by themselves or can be frosting.

Are you liking this Christmas week? I’ve shared mini gingerbread houses made out of graham crackers with a gingerbread house glue that dries in under 10 minutes and then the nutcracker cocktail…stay tuned…there’s still so much deliciousness headed your way this week!

Sugar Cut Out Cookies {that actually hold their shape}
 
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Author:
Serves: 3 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup Butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1-2 tsp lemon zest (zest from ½ the lemon)
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 3 Cups Flour (plus more for rolling cookies out)
  • ½ tsp Salt
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of stand mixer add the butter sticks and the sugar and cream together (about 3 minutes), then scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg, lemon zest, baking powder and vanilla extract, then beat again for 2 minutes until a creamy yellow color.
  2. Next add 3 cups flour and ½ tsp salt and mix on low speed to combine (about 2 minutes). Cookie dough will be almost crumbly, but that's ok, pres it together with your hands and form it into two balls.
  3. On a floured surface or board roll out one of the cookie dough balls to desired thickness level (they won't rise much) then cut out shapes and place on a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet.
  4. Put baking sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. After 10 minutes take the baking sheets out of the freezer and bake for 10 minutes (or until edges start to turn golden brown.)
  7. Remove cookies from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire cooling wrack for them to cool completely before frosting, or enjoy without frosting!

 

Graham Cracker Houses and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Cookies

Making and decorating mini Graham Cracker Houses and enjoying Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Cookies is a holiday activity the whole family is sure to enjoy, and is part of a shop that has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are as always mine alone. #PBandG #CollectiveBias

Graham-cracker-gingerbread-houses

I’m baaaaaack! If you’re wondering what I even mean by that, I’m referring to the fact that last week my computer went on the fritz, and in the process I lost all of my  photography for recipes that I had planned through the month of December (thank you for all the outpouring of support and understanding, and a special thank you to my bestie Lynn for stepping in last minute and guest posting…did you see her Gingerbread Candied Bacon she posted for Five Ingredient Friday?) Instead of focusing on everything that was lost, I’m going to view it as an opportunity to rephotograph some pretty amazing recipes that I am very excited to share with you!  Caught up in the whirlwind of having to redo everything, I did about a bazillion-and-a half things this weekend.

The reason I’m prefacing this post with sharing that I was doing ALL-the-things this weekend is that throughout the graham cracker house making process, I did just about everything out of order and needed my husbands’ assistance (I’m just going to gloss over the fact that even though I ‘thought’ I was the creative one, I definitely learned that he has some mad skills in the crafting department.)

Gingerbread-house-frosting-glue

Things started off great: I cut all the house pieces and made frosting using peanut butter.  The frosting I made was amazing, I’d call it more of a ‘glue.’ I had heard horror stories of frosting not drying or being sticky enough, so I wanted an adhesive that really worked and dried quickly. Done and done. The frosting I made dries in 10 minutes! It is smooth and creamy yet stiff and holds it’s own! Good thing, because after I had cut all the graham cracker pieces, things started breaking. But as my husband joked “things not lining up? just use more frosting and cover it up.” And a little tip for when you’re cutting the graham crackers – gently run your knife along the line you want to cut first, and then gently cut down with a sharp knife. Start cutting the pieces for each house (one box of graham crackers made parts for 5 finished houses).

How-to-make-graham-cracker-houses

One would think that making graham cracker houses was enough in and of itself, but being a food blogger I just couldn’t throw away the pieces of the graham crackers that were left over from making the houses, and since everything is just better with cookies, I made peanut butter chocolate chip graham cracker cookies that could be eaten while decorating the graham cracker houses. The cookies came out absolutely amazing, subtle hints of peanut butter and graham cracker and rich chocolate chips, everyone loved them!
Peanut-Butter-chocolate-chip-graham-cracker-cookies

So after we had our little houses made, we went to my in-laws’ and all of us decorated them. The toppings I had were gumdrops, peppermint bark covered pretzels, mini cookie wafers, sixlets and mini candy canes (but any decorations you have on hand or that you like to use would work!)

Making-mini-gingerbread-houses

What a seriously fun holiday activity it was to decorate these houses, I would highly recommend stopping by Walmart and picking up some Honey Maid graham crackers (save $0.50 when you buy one (1) Honey Maid Grahams (12.2 oz. or larger)) and Skippy peanut butter (along with other fun decorating accessories).

Honey-maid-graham-crackers-at-Walmart

Have you ever made gingerbread houses or graham cracker houses? This was my first time making them and and I am definitely going to do this every year!

Mini-graham-cracker-houses

Graham Cracker Houses and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Cookies
 
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Author:
Serves: 24 cookies
Ingredients
  • For the graham cracker houses-
  • 1 Box Honey Maid graham crackers
  • 1 Batch peanut butter gingerbread house frosting/glue (recipe below)
  • toppings (gumdrops, mini candy canes, cookie wafers, sixlets, peppermint bark pretzels)
  • For the peanut butter frosting/glue-
  • 3 Tbs Meringue Powder
  • 3¾ Cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbs Skippy peanut butter
  • 5 Tbs cold water
  • For the peanut butter chocolate chip graham cracker cookies
  • ¼ Cup butter (unsalted)
  • ¼ Cup Skippy peanut butter (creamy)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup brown sugar
  • ½ Cup Honey Maid Graham Cracker crumbs
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. For the graham cracker houses-start by cutting each graham cracker for the houses and put like-pieces with like in piles. Then line each side wall with frosting and lean it up against something and wait for it to dry, then put the house together and then add the roof, then wait for it to dry for 10 minutes and decorate as desired.
  2. For the frosting-glue: Start by beating together meringue powder, peanut butter and water (it's ok if there are a few little clumps. Mix for 3 minutes, ten add the powdered sugar and beat for 5 minutes, or until the frosting holds a peak. Put into a plastic bag and cut the end off one corner and use it as a piping bag.
  3. For the cookies- Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  4. Cream together the butter, peanut butter, granulated and brown sugar. After it is creamy, add in the egg, vanilla extract and salt and beat to combine. Then add the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda and stir until combined, then stir in chocolate chips. Scoop cookies onto baking sheet (12 per sheet about an inch or so apart). Bake for 10 minutes and then allow to cool on a wire rack, then enjoy!