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Santa Brought Me Silicone Baking Mats (I Must Have Been On The “Nice” List!)

6 Jan

I have to say – I was pretty pumped when I opened up these bad boys on Christmas morning – so much so that I got right down to the business of testing them out!

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For those of you NOT familiar with what these are – they are silicone baking mats, which act as a non-stick tray liner for all your baking needs! They fit standard half sheet pan size trays (these are the ones I have – the mats fit perfectly on them), and are of course oven safe, and washable

There are a lot of different brands of silicone baking mats – and Silpat is probably the most widely known – but I had asked for (and was lucky enough to receive) the amazon basics version – which are basically the same thing

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I whipped up some classic Chocolate Chip Cookies to test out the mats – and they were perfect – just what I needed, and I can’t wait to use them again!

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*Note – this post was not AT ALL sponsored by amazon, silpat, or anyone else for that matter – I just really was excited to get these and share how well they worked with the world!

These No Bake Toffee Fudge Bars Are The Perfect Holiday Gift!

23 Nov

Well. It’s that time again – the holidays. It really snuck up on me this year, not sure about you – but suddenly it was September and fall, then Halloween, and now Thanksgiving, and Christmas is looming, too! 2016 is quickly coming to an end, and if you haven’t started Christmas shopping already, then you might want to get on it!

I love to incorporate handmade gifts whenever and wherever I can – I make applesauce and jar it every year to share with friends and family, and cookies are another item I love to give (and receive!). This year I plan to make at least two kinds to share (maybe more, time permitting!), and I came across a recipe that would make a perfect addition to my sweet gifts – these No Bake Toffee Fudge Bars. Whipped them up in no time and they were so easy and delicious! Check it out:

No Bake Toffee Fudge Bars Recipe

Ingredients:

2-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (2 sticks) butter , divided
1 cup sugar
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk
1 bag (10 oz.) miniature marshmallows
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup HEATH Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits
1 cup HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:

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1. Line 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with foil. Melt 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter; combine with graham cracker crumbs. Press crumb mixture evenly in bottom of prepared pan.

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2. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, remaining 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter and marshmallows in large saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, stirring until chips are melted.

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3. Immediately pour over crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle surface with milk chocolate toffee bits and milk chocolate chips, pressing in lightly. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. Cut into bars. Store leftover bars covered in refrigerator. Makes 24 bars.

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These set up nicely and were easy to remove from the pan and cut after being in the fridge all morning

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These were loved by all – big and small!

And the great thing is the recipe makes 24 – so they are great to share (as they are pretty sweet so you only need to tuck a couple in each gift package!).  What’s better than an easy and delicious recipe that you can share with those you love this Christmas? Not much in my book!

Baking With Nutella – Soft And Chewy Nutella White Chocolate Chip Cookies

31 Aug

Ok, I’m just going to say it – I LOVE NUTELLA. I love it on a waffle, on toast, on an apple – but most of all I love it on a spoon right from the jar. It is chocolatey, smooth, and amazing, and before I discovered this recipe for Soft And Chewy Nutella White Chocolate Chip Cookies, I thought that there was NO WAY Nutella could get any better – but I was wrong. The pairing of Nutella with butter, sugar, flour, and yes- more chocolate – is a recipe for delicious success! Check out how I created these gooey, delicious cookies:

Soft and Chewy Nutella White Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Recipe Courtesy of Averie Cooks)

YIELD: 11 large cookies
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: about 9 minutes
TOTAL TIME: about 3 hours, for dough chilling

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
heaping 1/3 cup Nutella (stir well before adding)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the butter, Nutella, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes.

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So – I went ahead and made a double batch of these – because twice as many cookies is always better, right?

2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.

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Oh hello Nutella dough!

3. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the white and chocolate chips, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

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 In go the chocolate chips (yum)

4. Using a large cookie scoop, 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form approximately 11 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly. Tip – Strategically place a few chocolate chips right on top of each mound of dough by taking chips from the underside and adding them on top.

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  Dough balls – before and after chilling

5. Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 5 days. Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.

6. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just set, even if slightly undercooked and glossy in the center; don’t overbake. Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving. I let them cool on the baking sheet and don’t use a rack.

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7. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

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I can’t even look straight at this – it’s too glorious. Warm, gooey center with melty chocolate chips…this is heaven!

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I really enjoyed making these – it’s a nice break from normal chocolate chip cookies, something a little different and a LOT delicious. The Nutella doesn’t overwhelm the cookie, but you can definitely taste it. If you don’t eat them all right out of the oven, I recommend you warm them up a bit before eating – it just makes them that much better (trust me!)

Loaded M&M Oreo Cookie Bars = Cookie Heaven

26 Jul

What is better than cookies? Well, not much if you ask me – but I would say one thing that’s better than cookies is MORE COOKIES. I’m thinking like a cookie bar with cookies baked inside – now that’s basically perfection for a cookie lover like myself. I had saved the recipe for these loaded Oreo M&M cookie bars a while ago – and now that I have made them, I have no idea why I waited so long – as they were easy, tasty – and did I mention – cookie in cookie?

Loaded M&M Oreo Cookie Bars
(Recipe Courtesy Of Averie Cooks)
Yield: 8×8 pan (9-12 generous squares)
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 20-25 min
Total Time: 30 min

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
18 Oreo Cookies, coarsely chopped (I used Oreo Chocolate Birthday Cake Sandwich Cookies
about 1/2 cup M&M’s (I used plain, use your favorite flavor or other chopped candy)

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Ingredients = assembled. Let’s bake.
Oh – and – I’m making a double batch. Because, well – why NOT?

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
-In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
-Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.

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-Add the flour and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.

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-Stir in the Oreos.

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-Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
-Evenly sprinkle the M&Ms over the top, lightly pressing them down with your finger or a spatula.
-Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, or until done based on add-ins used. Top should be set and edges slightly firm. A toothpick inserted in the center (if you can find a bare patch to test) should come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.

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-Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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NOTES: I decided to add some M&M’s into the batter too (in addition to putting them on top). I used peanut M &M’s – which tasted great but was kind of messy when it came to cutting them – the candy kinda fell apart – so I would recommend plain using plain or even mini M&M’s instead

In the original recipe, she states that you can really use anything – any cookies or mix in’s – so it might be fun to experiment with these – mini peanut butter cups and peanut butter oreos, chips ahoy cookies and cut up snickers…I could go on and on – but you get the idea. No matter what you use they will turn out delicious!

 

Chewy Oatmeal M&M Cookies For The Win

19 May

I came across these beauties on Pinterest – and I knew immediately that I NEEDED them in my life – as I love oats, and I much prefer a chewy/gooey cookie to the crispy variety. Oh, and M&M’s rule – so there’s that too. So it was for sure a win on paper, and I wasted no time in figuring out if it was going to be a win in my mouth, too:

Chewy Oatmeal M&M Cookies (Recipe Courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Ingredients:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 2/3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup flour
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup mini M & M’s (regular size may be substituted)

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Ingredients? Check! Oh, and I am making a double batch, because, well – why not?

Directions:

Cream Together the softened bugger and both sugars until smooth using a hand or stand mixer. Add egg and vanilla and mix on high until combined, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides/bottom of bowl as needed

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In a separate bowl, mix together the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add this to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Fold in the M&M’s (the dough will be very thick at this point). Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator

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Ok – the dough is pretty and all – but let’s get down to business

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper

Roll out balls of dough (about 1 Tablespoon per cookie) and place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 10-11 minutes until very lightly browned on the sides (the centers will still look soft). Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack

Cover and store the cookies at room temperature for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months

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Aren’t they pretty? And they taste great too – the texture of the oats and mini M&M’s is perfect – and my family loved them too, which means I will definitely be making them again! They were great warm out of the oven, and they defrosted well from the freezer too, which makes it a great recipe to double (or triple!) and freeze some away for a rainy day…or a cookie emergency (you’d be surprised how often those occur, at least in my house anyway!)

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Peanut Butter Cup Cookies – A Seriously Easy And Delicious Addition To Any Cookie Exchange

4 Dec

Holiday Time = FOOD TIME. Seriously – there’s always so much to eat at the holidays, and it’s all so amazingly delicious! Personally, I enjoy the baked goods the most (big surprise, right?) – and while I love to spend time in the kitchen baking away, sometimes I like to whip out a fast and easy recipe that will get me in and out in no time.

These cookies are perfect for last minute party invitations, or in case you forgot about that cookie exchange you agreed to go to…just two ingredients, 8 minutes in the oven plus some cooling time, and you’ve got a delicious, “cookie exchange worthy” dessert!

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

You Will Need:
-Premade Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Logs
-Reese’s mini peanut butter cups (unwrapped)
-Mini muffin tin(s)
-nonstick spray/shortening

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375
2. Grease mini muffin tins using nonstick spray or shortening
3. Cut peanut butter cookie dough log into 1 ¼ inch pieces, and then cut each of the pieces into quarters
4. Place one piece into each greased muffin tin
5. Bake at 375 for about 8 minutes
6. Once removed from the oven, IMMEDIATELY press an unwrapped Reese’s cup into each cookie
7. Let them cool before removing from the muffin tins

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The biggest pain about this? The fact that you have to unwrap a bunch of peanut butter cups and NOT eat them all immediately – willpower is a tricky thing…

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Here they are before and after baking – they are ready for their chocolaty additions!

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Quick work done by me – I pressed all those suckers in quick!

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The holidays are a BUSY time – and these cookies are the perfect way for me to make something for a party without too much time in the kitchen. Frees up my time for this guy – ain’t he cute? He liked the cookies too!

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars (No Bake = No Oven On A Hot Summer Day!)

27 Jul

I will be the first to admit that I am a total weirdo. Why, you might ask? Well, there are many reasons, but one of the big ones is that I don’t really care for summer. It just doesn’t do it for me (I’m much more of a fall girl!), and while I may not love this season, I know that most people do, and I have recently started to discover my own reasons to love these hot summer months – one of them being that I get to watch my 9 month old son experience the great outdoors, and another being that I get to try some awesome no bake desserts (because who wants to crank up the oven on a hot summer’s day?) – most of which usually involve peanut butter and chocolate (one of the world’s best combinations!)

These No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars are a triple win – not only are they easy and don’t require an oven, but they are super tasty, and best of all – you probably have most (if not all) of the ingredients already on hand! So let’s get baking! Whoops – I mean microwaving!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
(Recipe Courtesy of The Girl Who Ate Everything)

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups creamy peanut butter, divided
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1½ cups rice crispy cereal

Instructions
Line an 9×13 pan with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray

In a large mixing bowl (or by hand with a spoon), beat together the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, 1 cup peanut butter, and salt. Spread into the pan. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes to firm up

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In a microwave safe bowl melt together the chocolate chips and remaining 1 cup peanut butter in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal. Spread on top of the chilled peanut butter layer

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Refrigerate until chocolate is firm before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge

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I love the textures in this – the chocolate peanut butter layer has those crunchy pieces of cereal in it, and the peanut butter/graham cracker layer is nice and gritty (which sounds weird but it is actually perfect ha!)

They are pretty rich, as desserts go, so I recommend cutting into at least 24 or 32 pieces – as one is probably enough for anyone!

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I will definitely make these again, and hopefully on your next hot day you’ll whip these up and enjoy them as much as we did!

Another fun variation on this recipe are these Chocolate peanut butter pretzel ritz bars – where there’s a nice crunch and saltiness thanks to the pretzels and crackers, or if you’re in the mood for that chocolate peanut butter combo but not crazy about bars, then maybe you should try this No Bake peanut butter pie/ No matter which you choose, you’re getting to beat the heat and enjoy a delicious treat too – and if that’s not a win then I don’t know what is!