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Christmas Gifting – The Original Chex Party Mix

12 Nov

I love to bake for the holidays – there are few things better than giving a homemade gift, to me it really shows you care, plus – it’s delicious! I have made Snickerdoodle Pinwheels, Cutouts, Peanut Butter Balls, and plenty of other recipes for Christmas gifting. In fact, I am so serious about my Christmas baking, I usually take a whole day off so I can have time to focus and get it done since the holidays can be such a crazy time!

This year, I decided to change it up a bit. Still giving homemade gifts, but going the “treat” route instead of the traditional “cookie” route. Nothing against the cookie of course – I love it in ALL its forms, but I just wanted to try something different this year. So I have decided that the following items are on this year’s gifting “menu”:

Crock Pot “Crack”
Saltine Toffee
Rolo Pretzel Treats
-Chex Mix – the Original Version

Of course, I had to test out the Chex Mix before giving it out as gifts, and I am happy to report it went well!

Chex Mix
Ingredients
3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup bite-size pretzels
1 cup garlic-flavor bite-size bagel chips or regular-size bagel chips, broken into 1-inch pieces
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Directions
-In large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside.
-In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
-Spread mixture out onto two cookie trays lined with silicone pads or parchment paper
-Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes
-Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.

Ingredients are assembled and ready for action!

Looks good enough to eat as is, doesn’t it?

Butter and spices – smelling amazing

Waiting for it to cool – patience wearing thin…

Close up of the goods

So – this was easy to throw together and toss in the oven, and it made the house smell AMAZING while it baked

Once it cooled, we all deemed it worthy of gifting, so I will be making more batches in the coming weeks. The good thing about it was all the stuff I bought for the first batch will make at least 1 more batch (the cereal, nuts, etc), so it’s basically like getting two for the price of one!

Now – the official Chex website directs you to make this in the microwave, but I was not into that idea, so I looked around online and saw some recipes with the baking directions, and did that instead. I am all about shortcuts, but for this I really wanted the crispness that comes with using the oven. Besides, when the first Chex Mix recipe was introduced back in 1952, the instructions stated to bake it in the oven – and I say, if it was good enough in the 50’s, it’s good enough for now!

Snickerdoodle Blondies = Cinnamony-Sugary Heaven

15 Oct

When a friend of mine sent me a link to this recipe, I knew I had to try them – not only for her (to bring to her after her recent surgery), but also for my house and boys, too (my husband is a big snickerdoodle fan!)

So – in true “me” fashion, I decided to whip up a double batch of these – with some help from the cutest sous chef, of course!

Snickerdoodle Blondies
(Recipe Courtesy of Delish) 

Ingredients
Cooking spray
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. cinnamon sugar

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350° and grease a 9-x-9″ pan with cooking spray.
-In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
-In another bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until just combined.
-Press batter into prepared pan and sprinkle top with cinnamon sugar.
-Bake until golden and still slightly soft in the middle, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cool before slicing into squares.

I had all the ingredients on hand for this – and since I am slightly lazy, this is always a HUGE win for me – and as I was making these more as a gift/for others, I wasn’t really expecting to like them too much, but they were AMAZING – just the right amount of chewy, and the SMELL they filled the kitchen with – WOW. These are a MUST make – trust me!

John’s Cookbook – Page 11 – Milk ‘N Cookies Fudge

19 Jul

I asked my little sous chef what he was in the mood to make today – and he picked FUDGE – and really – I am not mad about that at all – after all, what’s not to love about fudge? It’s basically frosting in a more solid, easier to eat forma – and since frosting is my all time fave I am on board!

Milk N Cookies Fudge
(Recipe courtesy of Delish)

Ingredients
3 c. white chocolate chips
1 tbsp. butter
pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 c. sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 c. marshmallow Fluff
1 c. mini chocolate chip cookies
1 c. crushed mini chocolate chip cookies
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

Directions
–Line square (8″-x-8” or 9″-x-9”) baking pan with parchment paper then grease with cooking spray.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine white chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, butter, vanilla and salt. Cook, stirring often, until melted and smooth.
-Reduce heat to medium-low and add marshmallow fluff. Stir until melted.
–Remove from heat and immediately stir in mini chocolate chips and mini chocolate chip cookies.
Pour mixture into prepared baking pan and immediately press whole mini chocolate chip cookies into fudge.
-Refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours, then slice into squares.g

 

 

Easy to make? Check

Super sweet? Check

Delicious to eat? Check! Oh – and it earned a thumbs up from my little man – a win-win!

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!

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!)

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!