S’Mores Cookies

S’Mores Cookies.

It’s been a tough week.
Have you been feeling it too?

It’s time to have some fun!

And what s’more fun than homemade cookies?

Especially when they are loaded with milk chocolate and graham crackers and tiny bits of marshmallow yumminess?

It was s’more fun to take my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe and give it a s’mores twist.

Are you going to make s’more?
Hope you think they are s’more fun and delicious!

S'Mores Cookies

Ingredients:

4 sticks (1 lb.) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
5 cups all purpose flour
6 1.55 oz Hershey’s milk chocolate candy bars, coarsely chopped
6 honey graham crackers, coarsely chopped
1 cup mini dehydrated marshmallows

Directions:

With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until light and fluffy. Add baking soda and salt, and mix another minute. Gradually add flour and beat until well incorporated, but do not overbeat.

Fold in 4 of the coarsely chopped Hershey’s bars, 4 of the coarsely chopped graham  crackers, and 3/4 cup of the mini dehydrated marshmallows.  Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With your hands, form a cookie dough ball about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Place on baking stone. Decorate tops of cookies with reserved candy, graham crackers, and marshmallows.  Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Allow to cool on baking stone for 5-6 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

S’more Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Funny Kitchen Towels – A Wedding Shower Gift Idea

Funny Kitchen Dish Towels – A Wedding Shower Gift Idea.

This past weekend, I went to a bridal shower for a sweet young lady who I wanted to get something special for.

Becky has been out on her own for a while, so she has most of the “basics” some brides need when starting out.

One thing she is known for is her an amazing sense of humor, so when I saw these adorable funny kitchen towels on ETSY at WorksOfHeartDesignCo., I just knew I had to get them for her.

In case you can’t read on the photo, they are each personalized with her name and have the following sayings:

  • I Like Big Bundts and I Cannot Lie (Bundt Pan)
  • This is How I Roll (Rolling Pin)
  • Don’t Go Baking My Heart (Pie)
  • Chop it Like its Hot (Knives)
  • Shake it Up Baby (Salt & Pepper Shakers)
  • I Say Whip It, and Whip it Good (Whisk)
  • You Spin Me Right Round Baby Right Round (Electric Mixer)

I added a few kitchen tools and gadgets, put it all in a fun basket and wrapped with clear cellophane tied with a big bow.

If you are looking for a cute and unique idea for a bridal shower, wedding gift, or someone who loves (or hates) the kitchen, I think these are so cute!  (and FYI – I have no relationship to Jess at WorksofHeartDesign Co., nor did I receive any compensation for promoting – I simply just love her products!)

Wishing Becky and Michael a lifetime of happiness and love!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake.

What is a girl to do when a bestie friend comes home after a long time away?!

Well…. run over and visit and hug as soon as possible!  Right?!

But you can’t go empty handed!

So – what to bake to take?  I needed something quick, but yummy, that my sweet friend Janet and her Mom and Dad would enjoy…

I had some amazing fresh blueberries in the fridge I had recently bought at a local farm market, so I decided to make a blueberry cake.

And OH was it yummy!  (I know because I kept half for hubby and me and took half to them.  She is that kind of friend!  The best kind – that you can take half a cake to – LOL!)

I arrived just in time to serve it to them for dessert!

Oh the joy of friendship!  Oh the joy of baking and sharing!

Make this for yourself!  Make this to give away!  But make this amazing Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake today!  (oh dear – am I still rhyming?! )

Welcome home sweet Janet!  Looking forward to our time together.

Here is the recipe I made as I adapted from LifeLoveandSugar:

Blueberry Streusel Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

Streusel:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp. salted butter, melted

Cake:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (light sour cream works fine)
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used Skim)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare an 8-9 inch cake pan by greasing bottom and sides with shortening and then placing a circle of parchment paper in the bottom.

Prepare streusel by combining ingredients in a medium bowl with a fork.  Set aside.

Prepare cake batter by beating sugar and butter in electric mixer for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add sour cream and milk  until well incorporated.  Add egg and vanilla.  Finally, add baking powder, then flour just until thoroughly combined.

Spread half of the batter in prepared pan.  Top with half of the streusel mixture, then  3/4 cup blueberries.  Repeat batter, streusel, then 1 cup blueberries.

Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then remove from pan.

Prepare glaze by  by combining powdered sugar and milk until a glaze consistency is achieved.  Add more powdered sugar or milk as needed.

Drizzle cooled cake with glaze, and top with remaining 1/4 cup fresh blueberries.

Serve warm or cold – plain or with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream!

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Caramel M&M Cookies

Caramel M&M Cookies.

Have you tried the new Caramel M&Ms yet?

O. M. Geeeee!

I would never have believed the Mars Candy Company could made an M&M better than my favorite – Peanut.

My sons love the Peanut Butter M&Ms, and I know they make Crispy and Pretzel and Dark Chocolate, and of course the good old standby – Plain – but these Caramel M&Ms….

They are just the Rock Stars of the family!  The cat’s meow… The bee’s knees.. The bomb dot com!

Once hubby talked me into buying a bag and we tried, I knew I had to make cookies out of these little gems of heavenly deliciousness!

And they did not disappoint!  I made them for a picnic this past weekend, and it’s a good thing I took them all, because I might not be able to resist these babies!

I used my standard chocolate chip cookie recipe – replacing the chocolate chunks with the Caramel M&Ms.  Simple – but oh so delightful!

Give them a try!  Let me know if you agree.

Caramel M&M Cookies

  • Servings: 4 dozen large cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

4 sticks (1 lb.) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
5 cups all purpose flour
2 9.6oz bags Caramel M&M Candies

Directions:

With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until light and fluffy. Add baking soda and salt, and mix another minute. Gradually add flour and beat until well incorporated, but do not overbeat.

Fold in Caramel M&M Candies.  Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With your hands, form a cookie dough ball about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Place on baking stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Allow to cool on baking stone for 5-10 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

#MadewithM

I am not being paid by M&Ms to promote them, though I wish I was!  

Homemade Old-Fashioned Glazed Donuts

Homemade Old-Fashioned Glazed Donuts!

Seriously…….
could anything be more decadently delish?!

A tender ring of fried sweet dough
drenched in a glorious glaze?

I couldn’t resist making these,
and they did not disappoint.

Every once in a great while,
I allow myself to be treated to a donut….
a wickedly wonderful waste of calories.

But since it is only Hubby and me at home,
a dozen donuts AND holes
are way too much sugary goodness!

So after enjoying one each
(and a few holes – which are completely calorie free  – right?)
I shared the rest.

That really is my joy in baking…
giving it away.

Hopefully creating a brief smile…
a tiny treat or surprise for a loved one or friend.

These are soooooo worth making!
They are easy and quick to make.

I hope you will treat yourself and those you love!

Homemade Old-Fashioned Glazed Donuts

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cup  cake flour  (no cake flour?  no problem!  make it easily by the cupful – take one level cup of all-purpose flour, remove two tablespoons, and then add two tablespoons of cornstarch back in)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup  sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup  sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • Canola oil, for frying

For the glaze:

  • 3 1/2 cup  powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup hot water

Directions:

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until sandy. Add egg yolks, and mix until light and thick. Add dry ingredients to the mixing bowl in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream, ending with the flour.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

On a floured surface, roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Use a donut cutter to cut out approximately 12 donuts and holes.

Pour 2 inches of canola oil into a heavy bottomed pot with a thermometer attached. Heat to 325°F.  Fry donuts a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry on each side about 2 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Let drain on a paper bag to soak up the excess grease.

For the glaze:

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until smooth.  Dip each donut into the glaze. Place on a wire rack above a sheet of waxed paper to catch any excess glaze. Let sit for 20 minutes until glaze is set.

Best served the day they are made, but may be stored in an air tight container at room temperature for a few days.

Cheers & Sugary Sweet Hugs,
Jodi

Recipe found at:  Huffington Post’s “The Greatest Homemade Doughnut Recipes You’ll Ever Find.

 

Fresh Red Raspberry & Blueberry Pie

Fresh Red Raspberry & Blueberry Pie.

Are you looking for an amazing fruit pie that is tart and sweet and bursting full of fresh fruits of the season?

I haven’t baked a pie in a while, so I thought it was high time I treated hubby to something he would love being that it is Father’s Day weekend and all.

He would choose pie over cake or cookies approximately 99.5 times out of 100 – conservatively speaking.

I had some fresh red raspberries and some fresh blueberries in the fridge, but not enough of either to make a whole pie, so I decided to try combining the two into one pie.

I researched some recipes and then decided to combine things I liked about different ones into my own creation – including using tapioca instead of cornstarch as the thickening agent for this pie.  Grandma always used tapioca in her berry pies, so there is no other way in my book!

This pie turned out perfectly thickened and so full of fresh berry flavors.  It was a complete hit with Hubby – especially when topped with a melting scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

If you are looking for a new twist on berry pie, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try!

Fresh Red Raspberry & Blueberry Pie

Ingredients:

  • Double recipe for Pie Crust
  • 2 cups fresh red raspberries
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1/4 cup tapioca
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 tsp. freshly grated lemon peel
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract of paste
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp. milk or water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a 9 inch pie plate with bottom pastry.

In a bowl, combine berries, 1 cup sugar, tapioca, flour, lemon peel, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Gently stir, and pour into pastry lined pie plate.

Top with remaining pie crust cut and wove into lattice.

Brush with milk or water, and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

I’ve Fallen Madly in Love…. with Biscotti

I’ve fallen madly in love… with Biscotti!

I’m not sure why?  But all of the sudden, I can’t get enough of it.

It all started with an “impulse” purchase (dang hungry shopping!) – where I picked up a small package of almond flavored biscotti.

I’ve never really been drawn to biscotti – thinking it rather dry and bland tasting, but oh was I wrong!

Dry?  Maybe… but in an amazingly crispy, crunchy way.

Bland?  Far from it!  So full of flavor and texture.

And when served with coffee (or red wine) 🙂 – and dunked – Wowza!

The word “biscotto” means “biscuit” or “cookie.” Biscotti are named according to their method of baking. The root words “bis” and “cotto” literally mean “twice” and “baked.” When Italians first created biscotti in the region of Tuscany many centuries ago, they were careful to bake the cookies twice, in order to form their unique shape and allow the cookies to develop their signature crisp texture.

So after purchasing the almond…… and then the orange pecan…… I decided it was time I try to bake my own biscotti.

I considered what I had on hand and chose to try a Starbucks Copycat recipe of Dried Tart Cherry and Walnut.

I’m not sure I achieved the correct shape, but I’m pretty sure I nailed the flavor!

Hubby, who would normally not choose biscotti…. well – let’s just say he definitely liked them.  We won’t talk about how many he ate when he found them cooling, but suffice it to say, they were a hit!

Here’s the recipe I tried, and I cannot wait to try more flavors.

This could be a very dangerous love affair!

Cherry Walnut Biscotti

Ingredients:

1 stick  butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cherries
1 teaspoon grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat butter in electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Add sugar and continue beating for about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Add baking powder, cinnamon, and salt, and mix.  Add flour just until blended.

Mix in walnuts, cherries and  orange zest by hand.

Turn the batter out onto a floured work surface and divide in half.  Shape each half into a log 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Transfer to baking sheet.

Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Place baking sheet on wire rack and let logs cool for 10 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs into 1/2 inch wide slices, and carefully place the slices back onto the baking sheet.  Bake for another 10 minutes. Let the biscotti cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in airtight container.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Oreo Millionaire Shortbread

Oreo Millionaire Shortbread.

WARNING – WARNING – WARNING!

This recipe is ONLY for the most serious chocolate and salted caramel lovers.

Others – please disregard!

One of our friends who we meet up with every Thursday on our John’s Bar date night had a birthday last week.

Friends’ birthdays are always a great excuse for me to bake and try something new.

So for our sweet friend, Donna, I made these amazingly decadent Oreo Millionaire Shortbread cookie bars.

O… M… G!

What could be more indulgent than an Oreo cookie crust layered with homemade salted caramel and then topped with rich, creamy chocolate and sprinkled with additional Oreo crumbs?!?!

I found a recipe at Baking a Mess, but the recipe was in British weights and measures and contained ingredients I was not familiar with (caster sugar and golden syrup).  I did a little research into converting grams to cups and substitutes for the ingredients I didn’t have, and came up with this recipe below.

There wasn’t one left Thursday night for Donna to take home.  She had generously shared, and they were all devoured.

This is a real treat, but be warned, it is absolutely decadent, so only make when you are absolutely sure you need a luxurious indulgence!

Oreo Millionaire Shortbread

Ingredients:

Base:

  • 1 1/2 packages (14.3 oz) Oreo cookies
  • 1/2/ cup butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour

Caramel:

  • 1 14-oz can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup (sticks) butter
  • 2 Tbsp Karo Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt

Topping:

  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup reserved Oreo crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 9×9 square baking stone or pan with parchment paper.  Finely crush Oreo cookies into crumbs.    Reserve 1 cup.  Combine remaining crumbs with melted butter and flour in bowl.  Pour into parchment lined baking pan and pat firmly.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool.

On medium-low heat, put the all of the caramel ingredients (except the sea salt flakes) in a heavy saucepan.  Allow to boil, reduce and thicken into a golden caramel sauce, stirring occasionally.  This takes about 30 minutes.  Stir in the sea salt flakes and pour on top of the Oreo base.  Refrigerate approximately 2 hours.

Melt chocolate chips in microwave for 1 minute.  Stir.  Melt an additional 30 seconds.  Stir.  Pour over caramel layer and spread to cover entire surface.  Sprinkle with reserved Oreo crumbs.  Refrigerate a few hours before removing from pan by lifting parchment paper.

Cut into 36 squares.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Double Chocolate Cookies

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Double Chocolate Cookies.

I’ll bet some of you are surprised to see me baking cookies again after the past month of wedding cookie baking.

But those cookies are gone.  And we were invited to a friend’s house last weekend for a little get together, and guess what I was asked to bring???

I had a couple of Terry’s Chocolate Oranges in the pantry that I’ve been waiting to make something yummy and chocolatey with, and so I found a recipe that I modified to include them.

They were yummy!  A double chocolate chewy, fudgy cookie with a hint of orange.

I had to laugh when a friend said he didn’t really like chocolate cookies – while he was eating his fourth one!

Hope you will give these delightful treats a try!

Terry's Chocolate Orange Double Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. (4 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Dark Chocolate Terry’s Chocolate Oranges, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar in electric mixer.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Mix in baking soda and salt.  Slowly mix in cocoa powder and flour until combined.

Gently stir in chopped Terry’s Chocolate Oranges.  Refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Drop by tablespoonful onto baking stone or cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes just until set and beginning to crackle.

Leave on baking stone for 5 minutes after removing from oven to begin cooling.  Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

The Wedding Cookie Table: A Pittsburgh Tradition

The Wedding Cookie Table - It's a Burgh Thing

The Wedding Cookie Table – It’s a Burgh Thing

The Wedding Cookie Table:  A Pittsburgh Tradition.

As some of my faithful friends here at The Creative Life in Between know, I’ve been baking a few cookies for the past month for my son and new daughter-in-law’s wedding.

The wedding was this weekend, so I thought I would share a couple of quick shots we captured of the finished Wedding Cookie Table since many of you asked to see as you saw the various recipes being shared.

I have to thank my other sweet daughter-in-law for helping bake several kinds of cookies (snickerdoodles, peanut butter blossoms, s’mores cookies, and chocolate dipped oreos!) as well as my friend, Tracy, for her generosity in baking the lady locks.  A special thank you to Liz’s mom and her cousin Kathy for baking an amazing variety of sweet breads with flavored butters that added just that special touch to our brunch wedding menu.  My favorite was the earl grey tea lavender bread!  Absolutely amazing!

If you would like to see the recipes for the variety of cookies I made, here is a list with links to the recipes:

  1. Jodi’s Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. Hershey Kiss Brownie Bites
  3. Pecan Tassies
  4. Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
  5. Pecan Sandies
  6. Carrot Cake Thumbprints
  7. Raspberry Dark Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
  8. Apricot Kolaches
  9. Buckeye Balls
  10. Lemon Crinkle Cookies
  11. Red Velvet White Chocolate Cookies
  12. Oreo Cookies & Cream Cookies

A Pittsburgh Wedding Cookie Table

A Pittsburgh Wedding Cookie Table

It seems that the Wedding Cookie Table is a bit of a regional tradition to our area.  In Pittsburgh, it’s a “burgh thing” to do.  No wedding is complete without a massive buffet of favorite cookies for the guests to enjoy before, during, and after the reception.  Our wedding “favor” for the guests was an empty box to fill with their favorites from our cookie table.

We could not be happier to welcome our sweet new daughter-in-law to our family.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi