Patriotic Puppy Chow – An Easy (and Delicious!) Red, White & Blue Treat!

8 Jul

John recently attended a kids cooking class at a local grocery store near us – it was geared towards aged 4-7 and “red white and blue” themed – so they made patriotic, kid-friendly treats, including a super awesome Patriotic Puppy Chow – it was so good in fact, that I decided to make it again this past weekend for the 4th of July!

Patriotic Puppy Chow
Ingredients
Red
1 cup red (vanilla flavored) candy wafers
3 Tbl. vegetable oil
3/4 cup Duncan Hines strawberry cake mix
4-5 cups Rice Chex cereal
1/2 cup powdered sugar
White
1 cup red (vanilla flavored) candy wafers
3 Tbl. vegetable oil
3/4 cup Duncan Hines white cake mix
4-5 cups Rice Chex cereal
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Blue
1 cup red (vanilla flavored) candy wafers
3 Tbl. vegetable oil
3/4 cup Duncan Hines white cake mix
4-5 cups Rice Chex cereal
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions
1. Melt Candy wafers in microwave safe bowl
2. Whisk in the vegetable oil
3. Add the cake mix – stir until smooth
4. Pour the wafer mixture over 4-5 cups of Rice Chex and stir lightly until cereal is evenly covered
5. Pour into a large ziploc bag, add the powdered sugar and shake until evenly coated
6. Repeat the process with the white and blue as well – and then combine all three colors

*If you can’t find colored candy wafers you can use white chocolate chips and food coloring instead

The kids loved helping me with this, and while I didn’t get any pictures of the finished product, I can assure you – it was delicious!

Advertisements

John’s Cookbook – Page 10 – Golden Grahams S’mores Bars

13 Jun

Golden Grahams S’mores Bars
(Recipe Courtesy of Just So Tasty)

Ingredients
5 cups mini marshmallows
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
5 tablespoons butter , or margarine
1/4 cup corn syrup*
7 cups Golden Grahams
1 cup mini marshmallows

Instructions
1. Butter/grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. Add 5 cups marshmallows, milk chocolate, butter, and corn syrup to a large sauce pan.
3. Melt the mixture together over low heat while gently stirring with a rubber spatula.
4. Once melted remove from the heat and immediately stir in the cereal and remaining cup of marshmallows. It will be very sticky.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and flatten down using the back of your spatula (lightly greasing the spatula can help).
6. Allow to harden at room temperature for 60 minutes before cutting into squares.

Recipe Notes
*If you don’t have corn syrup use 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water instead.

**Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature. I don’t recommend storing them in the fridge because they can get too hard.

As you can see, John loved making these (and eating them!). No-bake recipes are not only perfect for little ones to help with, but they are also awesome on a hot summer day when you don’t want to turn on the oven!

This recipe in particular is perfect for when your child has been BEGGING you for a fire to roast marshmallows and make s’mores – but the dang weather just won’t cooperate (rain for days ugh!)

A Cookie Cake For My Sweet Little Graduate

4 Jun

This sassy little man is about to graduate from PreK. Which ok – “graduate” may seem like a strong term, but it does make the end of one phase of life and the start of another. Next year he will be in full day Kindergarten – riding a school bus, eating lunch in the cafeteria, and growing up right before my eyes. Excuse me while I cry….

Ok. Now that that’s out of my system, I wanted to find a way to celebrate this milestone. Saw someone order an awesome looking cookie cake for their preschool graduate, but when I looked it up they started at $35. No thanks. So I figured – might as well try and make one

So, here we go:

Giant Cookie Cake

(Recipe courtesy of Divas Can Cook)

INGREDIENTS

COOKIE CAKE

12 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup mini chocolate chips + more

decorations (m&m’s, frosting, sprinkles, etc)

FROSTING

4 Tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup Crisco

2 Cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp butter flavoring

2 Tablespoons milk

INSTRUCTIONS

-Preheat oven to 325.

-Line a 12-inch pizza pan with grease parchment paper. Set aside.

-In a large bowl cream together melted butter and brown sugar.

-Mix in eggs and vanilla extract.

-In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.

-Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring until a soft dough forms.

-Fold in mini chocolate chips.

-Press dough evenly into prepared pan.

-Sprinkle additional mini chocolate chips on top. (optional)

-Bake for 13-15 minutes. (do not over bake. Remember cookie will continue to cook as it cools)

-Let cookie cool on pan until completely cooled.

-Prepare frosting by creaming softened butter & Crisco together. Add the other ingredients and mix throughly until light and fluffy. Spread on cake

Notes: I didn’t have any mini chocolate chips on hand – so I used regular ones, and I used way more than 1/2 a cup – more like a heaping cup. Otherwise, I followed the recipe as written – baked it for exactly 15 minutes and it came out great!

I am NOT a pro at decorating – but I think this one turned out pretty awesome! Not as fancy as if I had ordered one, but considering that this one cost nothing (since I had all the ingredients on hand) makes it pretty hard to argue with. Plus – the kid likes it, and that’s all that really matters isn’t it?

Next stop – kindergarten! (Cue sobbing moms everywhere)

Brookies – A Perfect Marriage Of Two Amazing Desserts

30 May

The other day I was just dying for some cookies. But, I was also really in the mood for a brownie – dilemma, right? WRONG – enter – the BROOKIE. If you have never heard of it before, the brookie is a brownie/cookie bar that basically gives you the best of both worlds (both the cookie and brownie worlds that is!)

So I set to baking right away:

To-Die-For-Brookies
(Recipe courtesy of Debbie Net)
Ingredients
Brownie Layer:
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt

Cookie Layer:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla exract
1 egg
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

Brownie Layer:
-In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 tsp baking powder, and 1/8 tsp salt; set aside.
-In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup white sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract; stir mixture until it is well combined. Add 2 eggs and beat well. Stir in the cocoa powder until it is well combined. Add the flour mixture, stirring well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan.

Cookie Layer:
-In a medium bowl, whisk together 1-1/4 cups flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt; set aside.
-In a large bowl, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, the light brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; continue beating until mixture is creamy. Add 1 egg; beat about 2 more minutes until the mixture is light and creamy.
-Gradually stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until the dough is combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Carefully spread the cookie dough over the brownie layer in the baking pan.
-Bake in the preheated oven, about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the brookies comes out clean. Cool completely; cut into bars.

I love recipes where I have everything in my pantry already, and luckily this one fit the bill! I threw them together and in no time I was enjoying these warm from the oven!

They turned out great, the only thing I wish is that the brownie flavor came out a little more, it sort of gets overpowered by the cookie portion, but otherwise these were great!

John’s Cookbook – Page 9 – Peanut Butter Popcorn “Cake”

9 May

Peanut Butter Popcorn “Cake”
(Recipe Courtesy of Glitter On A Dime)

Ingredients
12 oz package marshmallows
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
5 oz bag of butter popcorn (10 cups)
1 cup Reese’s Pieces candy

Directions
-Melt the butter and peanut butter together in the microwave for 45 seconds
-Add the marshmallows and toss to coat. Microwave for another minute or until the marshmallows are melted
-Add the popcorn and mix well.

-Let the mixture COOL a little and then add the Reese’s Pieces candies (You don’t want to add them too soon because they will melt!)
-Stir in the candy and press the mixture into a GREASED bundt pan
-Let it set for at least 15 minutes before turning it onto a serving plate. You can press some sprinkles into the top of the cake if you desire.

My little sous chef had just woken up from a nap when I was getting ready to make this – hence his sassy little face in the one pic. But – he was on board once he realized there was peanut butter involved!

Truth be told – I did NOT have enough popcorn for this – I thought I had plain popcorn but it was White Cheddar – which I did NOT think would mesh well with the other ingredients, so I decided to use some plain popcorn I had, along with honey nut cheerios – it turned out basically like rice krispie treats with peanut butter, and I really enjoyed it! It looks so fancy too in the bundt pan – an easy no bake treat!

WARNING! Serious PB Lovers Only: Chocolate Peanut Butter Poke Cake

7 May

I have been wanting to make this one for a WHILE – but I knew that it wasn’t something I could just randomly make for my husband & me – it looked insanely intense – so I waited until we had an occasion to bring a dessert to. Luckily, our friend recently celebrated his birthday, so I decided to whip this up to celebrate!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Poke Cake
(Recipe Courtesy of Delish)

INGREDIENTS
FOR THE CAKE
1 box devil’s food cake, plus ingredients called for on box
2 c. peanut butter, melted
1 c. chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
1 c. Reese’s Pieces
FOR THE PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING
1 c. peanut butter
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. heavy cream

DIRECTIONS
Bake cake: Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9″-x-13″ pan with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray. Prepare cake batter according to package instructions and pour into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cake cool completely.
Using the back of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over cake. Pour melted peanut butter over the entire cake, filling the holes. Set aside.
Make frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together peanut butter and butter. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in cream to loosen frosting, if needed.
Spread frosting all over the top of the cake. Top with chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Reese’s Pieces.

As I had predicted, this cake was INTENSE – the peanut butter both in the cake and on top in the frosting is super rich, and the chocolate cake flavor almost gets lost alongside all the PB-ness (which – for me is no issue, I don’t really care for chocolate cake by itself, but if you’re looking to have that choco-y flavor, it’s really not there in this one)

That being said, OF COURSE I loved it, and so did my husband, son and our friends – the fluffy frosting against the toppings and cake is a great blend of textures, and while it may be intense, it’s also tasty!

I HIGHLY recommend you have some milk on hand when you go to tackle this bad boy – trust me, it’s the perfect compliment!

John’s Cookbook – Page 8 – Bunny Butt Cookies

26 Apr

We really aren’t big Easter people, but since my son is in school this year, he learned more about the holiday (the non religious version that is!) and we did a bit more than usual to celebrate. A little egg hunt in the playroom, a nice Easter basket, and – of course – themed baking! Kids love bunnies, and butts make them laugh, so why not combine them and make these bunny butt cookies?

Bunny Butt Cookies
(Recipe Courtesy of Pillsbury)

Ingredients
1roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated sugar cookies
1container (12 oz) fluffy white whipped ready-to-spread frosting
Pink gel food color, if desired
22 miniature marshmallows
Assorted size candy sprinkles

Directions
-Heat oven to 350°F
-Cut cookie dough into 33 slices
-Cut 11 slices into 4 equal wedges; shape each wedge into ovals for bunny feet
-Place cookie dough slices and bunny feet on ungreased cookie sheet.
-Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
-In medium microwavable bowl, stir frosting and 1 to 3 drops pink food color until well blended. Microwave uncovered on High 10 to 15 seconds or until soft but not translucent.
-To make bunny butt, frost 1 whole cookie slice and 2 bunny feet with frosting. Place bunny feet on bottom of cookie as shown in photo. Place 1 marshmallow in center of each cookie for tail. Decorate bunny paws with candy sprinkles. Repeat with remaining cookie slices and bunny feet.

John really enjoyed making these with me, and I have to say – they turned out super cute!

Hope you all had a very “Hoppy” Easter! I know I did!