Fancy Sprinkles

Fancy Sprinkles.

I’ve mentioned before...  I kinda have a “thing” for sprinkles.

Well… what a SWEET surprise I came home to yesterday after an especially long day at the office to find a glittery, sparkly package in the mail pile with a sweet note from my bestie!

She has a knack for always knowing the right timing and just the right thing!

I’ve recently had a couple cookie fails in my attempts to try “something new” for Christmas cookies.

UGH!

Yep – happens to all of us I guess.

One was with a “best ever” sugar cookie recipe a baking blogger claimed to have refined after many attempts to create the absolute best.

Well…. NOT!  At least for me.  I knew when I made the dough, it wasn’t right….

Take it from someone who bakes cookies almost every week.  You get a “feel” for it.

I told hubby the dough felt dry, and I didn’t think they were going to turn out.

I baked a batch, and yep…. DRY!  (Though hubby didn’t seem to mind spreading jam on them like biscuits and enjoying them.

For some reason, I just can’t seem to make sugar cut-out cookies.  Anybody else have a “best ever” recipe I should try?

So even though it was late, I just couldn’t resist whipping up a batch of Sprinkle Cookies from a recipe I knew was yummy with these special Fancy Sprinkles.

I made one batch with the beautiful blue and white “Frostbite” sprinkles that had  hearts and stars and pearls and blue metallic balls and another batch with the adorable red, brown, and white “Peppermint Hot Chocolate” sprinkles – complete with tiny gingerbread men and mini marshmallows!

And, ironically, earlier in the day, a coworker and I laughed about the love her 6-year old son has for sprinkles and how he chose the “sprinkliest” cake he could find for his “second” birthday cake this year.

If you’d like my recipe for Sprinkle Cookies, just click here.  They are fun and festive and delicious!  I added just a smidge less flour to this batch and flattened the dough balls just a bit before baking to make this batch a little chewier.   I like how they turned out.  You can always adjust the amount of flour a bit to make your cookies flatter or thicker.

Thanks for sprinkling me with your friendship and love, Jill!

Happy holiday baking friends!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies.

It’s December, and that means time to start Christmas cookie baking!

These cookies are a wonderful version of pecan pie in a cookie!

They are similar to Pecan Tassies, but a lot easier.

The cookie is buttery and shortbread-like, while the filling is nutty and sticky and sweet and AMAZING!

I had a little bit of extra filling left that I just couldn’t throw away, so I spread it on a sheet of crescent roll dough, rolled it up, and sliced it into 8 easier-than-pie pecan “sticky buns!”

So
worth
it!

Hope you will give these yummy cookies a try for something new on your Christmas cookie baking list.  I do believe these will become a regular in our home!

Here is the recipe I found at  Crazy for Crust, which I only slightly altered.  Thanks for a great recipe, Dorothy!

Pecan Pie Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:

Cookie Batter:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Pecan Pie Filling:

  • 2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse or flaked salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4-5 Tbsp. Half and Half or Heavy Cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Optional:  Powdered sugar for sprinkling on top of cooled cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat brown sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in electric mixer until creamy.   Add in baking powder, salt, and flour, and mix on low speed until well combined.

Shape dough, two tablespoons at a time, into balls, and place the balls two inches apart on a baking stone or cookie sheet.  Indent a hole in center with your thumb.

Prepare filling by stirring pecans, salt, brown sugar, and vanilla with cream until it forms a thick mixture.  Spoon approximately one teaspoonful into thumb indentation of each cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes on stone or cookie sheet before removing to rack to cool completely.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Cookies freeze well for up to a month.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies.

It’s that time of year…

Time for baking things with pumpkin and spice and everything nice!

Though I almost always have my “almost-famous” chocolate chip cookies in the freezer,
these cookies just suit this time of year so perfectly.

Our gang loved them!  Hope you will too.

Here is the recipe as I very slightly adapted from the beautiful blog:  A Family Feast:

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • Dash salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar in the Raw Turbinado Cane Sugar

Directions:

Cream butter, sugar, and molasses with electric mixer 3-4 minutes until fluffy.  Add egg, followed by pumpkin, beating until mixed.

Slowly add in salt, baking powder and flour on low speed just until incorporated.

Divide dough into four logs, approximately 8 inches long.  Wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Pour Turbinado cane sugar into a shallow dish or pie plate.

Unwrap one log of dough at a time.

Roll log into sugar to coat.

Cut log into quarters.  Then cut each quarter into thirds.

Put cookie slices in sugar, coating both sides.

Place sugared cookie slices on baking stone or cookie sheet, and bake for approximately 12 minutes.

Remove from oven, and allow cookies to cool on baking stones/cookie sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling racks to cool completely. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

White Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies

White Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies.

Last weekend we went to a Hawaiian Lua Party and Pig Roast.

Hubby “signed me up” to bring a dessert.

I had fun searching for a new cookie creation that could tie into the theme.

I found a recipe at Delightfulemade that included coconut and macadamia nuts that I slightly adapted.

Not only did they suit the theme, they were DELISH!

Not wanting to go to the grocery store, I needed to improvise on white chocolate chips.  I happened to have some White Chocolate Cupcake Hershey’s Kisses left over from something, so I chopped them up for the white chocolate chips.  YUM!!!

Next time I make these, I might try toasting the coconut first to step it up even one more notch.  (Let me know if you make and try toasting the coconut first!)

I know coconut is one of those things people typically LOVE or HATE.

Haters can hate, but lovers…. you’re gonna wanna make!

Here is the recipe:

White Chocolate Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 2 8-oz. blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
  • 2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Directions:

Cream butter and cream cheese with electric mixer.  Add sugars, and beat until fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, and coconut extract mixing until combined.

Add salt and baking soda, followed by flour, mixing until combined.  Add white chocolate, coconut and macadamia nuts to the batter, and mix until incorporated.

Chill dough for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make golfball-sized balls of cookie dough.  Place on baking stone or cookie sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove from oven when beginning to turn golden brown.  Press down on each cookie lightly to flatten.  Cool for 10 minutes on baking stone before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Aloha!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  I am nuts about this adorable kitchen sign my DIL made for our McKinneyX2designs shop!  Such a sweet gift for the bakers in your life!

Salted Dark Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Salted Dark Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.

Oh My Stars!

These fudgy, brownie-like, dark chocolate, chewy, but crispy heavenly bites may just have you seeing stars!

I saw a photo of these stop-me-in-my-tracks, make-me-wanna-bake, longing-to-get-in-my-belly cookies on ButterandBrioche, but alas the recipe was in metric measurements.

Thank goodness for Convert-me.com!

I’m not quite sure what the addition of ground coffee scientifically does to these, but I do know coffee somehow enhances the true flavor of coffee.

And the sprinkling of flaked sea salt that is just enough to balance the fudgy, chocolately amazingness…. well – all I can say is – you really want to try these!

Here is how I made them after converting:

Salted Dark Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 22-24 oz high quality dark chocolate (I like Moser Roth 70% Dark Chocolate, which I find at Aldi)
  • 8 Tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp instant or fresh ground coffee
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • Flaked sea salt (Maldon is my fave!)

Directions:

Melt chocolate and butter in microwavable bowl for 1 minute on high.  Stir.  Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring, until melted and blended.  Cool.

Mix brown sugar and eggs with electric mixer until thick and doubled in volume, about 4 minutes.  Add the melted and slightly cooled chocolate.  Mix until well incorporated.

Add flour, coffee, baking powder, and salt, and mix just until combined.  Add water, and mix until combined.

Refrigerate the fluid batter for 15-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Scoop batter with a cookie scoop onto baking stone or parchment lined baking sheet.  Once sheet is full, tap lightly 2-3 times on counter to slightly flatten cookie dough.  Sprinkle with a little flaked salt.

Bake for approximately 11 minutes.  Open oven and tap sheet lightly to flatten a bit.  Return to oven for 2 more minutes.  Repeat until cookies are firm around the edges and set in the middle with plenty of crinkles.

Cool for at least 10 minutes on baking stone or cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Coconut Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies

Coconut Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies.

Are you a coconut lover?
Is dark chocolate your chocolate choice?

Would you choose a Mounds bar even if you are a little nutty?!

Then these cookies are definitely your dream come true!

They didn’t last long in our house.

I used Moser Roth 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate I purchased at Aldi.  YUM!

Not a coconut fan?
Make them for someone who is…
You just might earn Betty Crocker Baking Super Star status .

Just sayin’…

Coconut Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies*

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup solid coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 cups sweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream coconut oil and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add in egg and vanilla, followed by baking powder, salt, and flour.

Stir in chopped chocolate and coconut.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto baking stone or cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned and set.  Cool completely.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

* Original recipe slightly adapted from Add a Pinch.

Sprinkle Cookies

Sprinkle Cookies.

There was an old lady (well – let’s call her middle-aged)
who lived in a house.

She had so many sprinkles,
she didn’t know what to do.

So she poured them in batter
with butter and sugar,

and whipped them all soundly
and put them in the oven.

I found a recipe for Half Pound Sugar Cookies, which I slightly adapted to “normal” sized cookies, from Cookies & Cups.

These fun, buttery cookies just make you smile and are a great way to celebrate!  They kind of remind you of eating birthday cake in a cookie!

The family loved them.  They are just enough crispy on the outside with a tender, chewy inside to be the perfect combination.

Here is how I made them.

Sprinkle Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temp.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sprinkles

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix butter and sugar with electric mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking soda, and continue mixing until well incorporated.  Add in flour on low speed just until combined.  Stir in sprinkles with wooden spoon.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and bake on a baking stone or cookie sheet for 9-11 minutes until edges just begin to brown.  Cool on cooling rack.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Chocolate Chip & Dried Tart Cherry Cookies

Chocolate Chip and Dried Tart Cherry Cookies.

I have shared many versions of cookies here at The CreativeLifeinBetween.

In fact, in some homes (very few indeed), I am known as the Cookie Queen.

And it seems no matter what kind I make, the all-time favorite is the Chocolate Chip Cookie.

I often change it up a little, but when I add dried tart cherries, I know I am going to make at least one guy smile ( who happens to be my youngest son).

So this week, I made a batch that I hope will bring a smile to our busy family as we prepare for exciting days and years ahead.

New homes – growing families – lots of love.


Here is how I make them.

Chocolate Chip and Dried Tart Cherry 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
1 12-oz bags Nestle Chocolate Chunk Morsels (or your favorite)
8-oz  Dried Tart Cherries (I used Trader Joe’s)

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 chocolate chunk morsels and dried cherries.  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 5-6 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Cheers  & Hugs,
Jodi

A Merry Grinchmas Celebration

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comA Merry Grinchmas Celebration.

As I sit by the fire late Christmas evening – basking in the warmth and glow of a wonderful Christmas holiday spent over the past week or so with many of those I love most, I feel so grateful.  The house is quiet, except for the dishwasher running, the fire crackling, and a holiday movie playing in the background.

I’m feeling peaceful and content.

There is nothing like the excitement leading up to Christmas, and I loved hosting three dinner parties three days in a row (and that’s not counting one the weekend before).  But there is also something very special too about the days that follow Christmas….

The calm afterglow…  The snuggling in…  The nesting…  Looking at pictures… Smiling at the memories.

Movies, books, leftovers, jammies…

Today, I want to share a fun party we had this past Saturday, the eve of Christmas eve, with our McHendy family.

My bestie, Jill and I decided we wanted to surprise our families with a theme, so we created a McHendy Grinchmas Celebration.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comA Happy Whoville feast –

complete with Roast Beast (Beef Tenderloin),

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comWho Mash (Mashed Potatoes),

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comGrinch Greens (Sauteed Fresh Green Beans with garlic),

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comand Cindy Lou Who Salad (Crisp Greens, Tart Pomegranate Seeds, Crunchy Pecans, and Creamy Goat Cheese).

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comThis feast was preceded by some fun appetizers earlier in the day, including Grinchy Green Deviled Eggs,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comGrinch Santa Hats,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comand a Tortilla Wrap Christmas Tree.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comAnd it was followed by a tiered tray of Grinchmas Cookies,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comand plenty of other sweet treats.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comEach guest received a little favor bucket that included a green ornament with a tiny red heart and lime green and red candies,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comas well as a Grinch beanie hat (which we all wore for a fun family photo – with the exception of hubby who wore a full furry Grinch onesie!)

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comThe games planned took a different twist than intended, but ended up being just as fun!

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comThere were sleigh rides and races,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comI Spy the Who Hash,

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comand boxed games around the cleared dinner table.


Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comGuests of honor

adorned the powder room and office doors.

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comAnd as we ate and played and talked and laughed and cried, we celebrated being family in every true, authentic sense of the word.  And we reminded ourselves that “Merry Christmas doesn’t come from the store.  Maybe Christmas perhaps is a little bit more.”

Grinchmas Feast Christmas Party - TheCreativeLifeinBetween.comCheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Dark Chocolate M&M Chocolate Dipped Cookies

Dark Chocolate M&M Chocolate Dipped Cookies.

So the thing about Christmas cookies is that it’s fun to make them fancy.

Well – sometimes fancy might mean taking a usual cookie (like my “Jodi’s Best Ever  Chocolate Chip Cookies,” and using Dark Chocolate M&Ms instead of chocolate chips (DARK Chocolate M&Ms is the key here! They are insanely delicious!), and then dunking them in some more dark chocolate….

…. but only half way….

to be fancy!

They are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

You can make these by simply following my tried and true recipe here and substituting Dark Chocolate M&Ms or your favorite Maybe you want to use chopped up Butterfingers or Snickers or Milky Way candies or maybe even peppermint sticks.

Go wild.  Get fancy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi