Christmas 2018 is done! And I’m feeling slightly relieved about that. This season nearly sank me, but I am still afloat. These Peanut Butter Buckeye Balls were meant to go up on the blog before Christmas, but not everything has gone as planned this month.Read More
Every year after our Thanksgiving feast, I cut myself a teeny tiny slice of pumpkin pie. I enjoy it, but an entire piece can be too much. Which is why I love pumpkin desserts with minimal bits of pumpkin. These Pumpkin Pie Truffles have the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor.Read More
My cute hubby and I are basking in the glow of our recent kidless time away. We savored our time together in Chicago. We held hands as we strolled through the Art Institute. We giddily sipped coffees and enjoyed a handful of DELICIOUS meals together.Read More
Today is: November 1st, the day after Halloween, a chilly grey day in which I am working by a fire, the day that officially feels like Fall is over and winter has begun and most importantly it is a day for feasting on Halloween candy leftovers.Read More
I just got home from a whirlwind trip to Chicago. I have the most amazing, talented friend who lives in the windy city. She drove me around for two straight days and we sampled aaaalllllll kinds of baked goods.Read More
Every day when I wake up I begin scanning our yard for signs of life. Finally in the past few days flowers have begun peeking out of the ground. The grass gets a little bit greener every day. Birds are starting to return to the land of the no-longer frozen.Read More
There is something about having a nice long BEAUTIFUL fall that makes impending winter not seem so terrible. I had to dig the boys' hats and mittens out of a box in the garage this morning and it got me excited for snowmen, cocoa and skiing!Read More
Are any of you cursing the leftover Halloween candy sitting in your house like I am? Candy is impossible for me to ignore. And we have a ton left over. I am talking bags and bags who have spawned smaller baby bags. I've been thinking up ways to get rid of said candy and I plan to..Read More
The older our boys get, the more candy we accumulate this time of year. There are more opportunities to get candy and their tummies are more eager. Last week I peeked inside our "candy bowl" and millions of calories were staring back at me. Curses. I have such a hard time resisting candy.Read More
This is the first of twelve Christmas treats I will post about in the next twelve days! Exciting! Or maybe it's just me. Part of the reason I love this season so much is because of the baking and stirring and cutting and wrapping and eating and delivering. This caramel recipe is possibly my favorite of all Christmas treats.Read More
I'm not done with sweets just yet! Please bear with me while I work through my sugar addiction. Speaking of which, I am currently visiting my dad in North Carolina, who is perhaps the world's biggest sugar addict. One thing that always always always makes me think of my dad is old-fashioned pepperminty gumdrops.Read More
I mentioned in one of my recent posts that I have many favorite types of candy. Candy, candy, candy, oh how I love my candy. If you peek inside my mouth you will go, "Ahh, yes, you do, indeed!" I had a dentist growing up who (I believed) took pleasure in my constant need for fillings.Read More
If you ask me what my favorite candy is, I will probably give you a dozen different answers. Rolos, Starburst, Dots, Twix and Butterfinger are all at the top of my list. I'm not just a salad connoisseur, I am also a candy connoisseur! I know my candy well. I have 36 years of candy-eating experience and a mouth full of fillings to back that up.Read More
Oh me oh my, it's a mystery! What oh WHAT could the secret ingredient be?
I saw this recipe in Food Everyday: Martha Stewart Magazine and was intrigued by the "mystery" in the title. Mysteries are always exciting, right? I read through the recipe, and I loved what the mystery ingredient was. I made the cookies almost immediately! I ended up bringing most of these to work with me, and it was fun to hear what people thought the mystery ingredient was after they took a couple bites. I got all kinds of guesses!
And here it is! The mystery ingredient. An assortment of miniature candy bars. Genius!
Coarsely chop 16 miniature candy bars. I used exactly what you see in the above photo: Twix (4), Milky Way (4), 3 Musketeers (4) and Snickers (4). I'm sure any kind and any combination would be just as wonderful. And these were wonderful.
Cut 20 caramels in half. Set the candy bars and caramels aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fine salt
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
Using an electric mixer, beat together in another large bowl:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat on high until fluffy and pale, about 3 minutes.
Beat in 2 large eggs.
With mixer on low, beat in the flour mixture in three additions until combined. Fold in caramels and candy bars.
On parchment-lined baking sheets, press cookie dough into 2-inch circles, 2 inches apart (9 cookies per baking sheet). Bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven.
Remove from the oven and press M&M's candies onto cookies for decoration.
I'm not kidding you, I had this bowl of M&M's off of the counter for 1 second before a chubby hand scooped into it. This was not a staged photo. :)
Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 8 to 9 additional minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely.
Getting the cookies off of the parchment paper without breaking them was a bit tricky. The caramel that seeped onto the bottoms of the cookies (uhh, yum!) liked to stick to my spatula. And then to the cooling rack. One thing that helped was using a metal spatula and loosening the perimeter of each cookie before trying to completely free it. I generously sprayed my wire rack with cooking spray before transferring them, as well.
I have to tell you that these were totally delicious little treats. I loved the different flavors from the different kinds of candy bars. It's 3 Musketeers! No, wait! It's Snickers! No, caramel! Looking for a cookie more geared for the sophisticate pallet? Try out my Salted Caramel Refrigerator Cookies all the caramel flavor, but a little more "grown-up!"
My 4-year-old has a very hard time being patient, as I'm sure most 4-year-olds do. We have learned not to tell him we are going to the park, to Grandma's house, to the zoo, to the mall (all places he loves), until two minutes before we are ready to leave. If we break this rule, the whining for "paa-aa-aaaaa-aaaaark" or "Gwaaa-aaaaa-maaaa's hooo-ooouse" gets ridiculous. I gambled big time by showing him my new cupcake cookbook (What's New, Cupcake?) and telling him to pick out which cupcakes he would like me to make for his birthday....TWO WEEKS in advance. "I want my moooo-oooo-ooooonster cuuu-uuuup-caaa-aaaa-aakes!" Ugh! So, by the time I finally got around to making these, I felt a little bit of tension between myself and these little colorful monsters. Once they were done, though, they were so stinkin' cute! I fell in love. And most importantly, my birthday boy adored them.
First, bake 12 cupcakes, whatever flavor(s) you desire, according to package directions. Also, bake 12 mini cupcakes according to package directions. Since I was making these for a birthday party, I made three different flavors: yellow, chocolate and confetti. Kids like options.
While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, prepare the monster eyes. Push the stick of a dum-dum lollipop through an apple or peach ring and pull the ring around the lollipop. This is super slick. They wrap right around each other like they were meant to be together.
Do this 24 times. It doesn't take long, I promise.
I used canned vanilla frosting, but feel free to make your own. Place a few spoonfuls of vanilla frosting into a large Ziploc bag and cut a teeny hole in the corner. By "teeny," I mean around 1/8 of an inch.
Squeeze the bag so frosting comes out of the tip. Dab a small circle of frosting in the center of each dum-dum. Before the frosting hardens, place a brown mini-M&M directly in the center. Allow the monster eyes to sit for a few minutes in order to fully harden.
Prepare the frosting that you will be using to cover the cupcakes with. I used a total of 2 jars of store-bought vanilla frosting and divided it between three small bowls. Using neon food coloring, I made one of the bowls bright orange, one bright green and one bright purple.
Grab a cupcake and a like-flavored mini cupcake.
Remove the wrapper from the mini cupcake and turn it upside down. Place it on top of the regular-sized cupcake. If you'd like, squirt some frosting between the two to help keep them in place.
Spoon the colored frostings into three separate large Ziploc bags and cut an 1/8 to 1/4 inch off the corners. Squeeze the frosting over the surface of the cupcake, in "strings," completely covering it. This was my favorite part! Get crazy!
Push the sticks of the dum-dum eyes into the cupcakes. Give the monster a fun M&M nose, if you'd like.
Aren't they adorable? They were an absolute hit for my boy and his cousins.
I had leftover cupcakes, so I made a few different kinds of monsters.
And I made a special plate for the birthday boy.
Have you ever seen a happier face?
I have such fond memories of experiencing Halloween as a kid. There is something so special about enjoying holidays as a child. And I find it crazy how the little things that I enjoyed thirty years ago still give me butterflies. Like popcorn balls!Read More