Monthly Archives: November 2011

Orange Snowballs

Sweet and tangy, these delicious orange treats are a perfect addition to a holiday cookie tray. Made with orange juice concentrate and vanilla wafers they are simple to make and require no baking. The orange snowballs are softer than a cookie (more of a cookie dough texture). I dressed the base dough up with a variety of toppings: coconut, powdered sugar, orange sugar, and chocolate. I loved them all! I also added craisins to a few to make orange cranberry snowballs, they were also fantastic.

Orange Snowballs
adapted from The Cooking Photographer

12 ounces vanilla wafers
3/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 pound powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, half melted
Craisins (optional)
Chopped pecans or walnuts (optional-I did not use nuts)

Crush vanilla wafers in food processor, blender, or plastic bag (do not process too fine, it is nice to have a little texture in the cookies). Mix butter and orange juice concentrate. Then add in crushed wafers and powdered sugar and mix until combined. Chill for a few minutes until easy to roll.

sweetened shredded coconut, powdered sugar, chocolate for dipping (I used milk chocolate)


Orange Sugar adapted from Cookies for Christmas via No Reason Needed
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup sugar

I hope you are all having a fabulous Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones. We are enjoying the holiday with my husband’s siblings. Wish me luck as I cook my first turkey. :)

I can’ t believe there is only a month left until Christmas. This is Week 9 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies and Sweets! Be sure to check out the rest of the yummy cookies and treats linked up below.

My previous Christmas Cookie Posts:
Apple Pie Cookies
Double Chocolate Mint Chip Brownie Cookies
Soft and Chewy Gingersnaps
Caramel Apple Cookies
Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookies with toffee

Leaf Sugar Cookies with Colored Dough

Looking for a sweet way to dress up your Thanksgiving table? These colorful sugar cookie leaves are easy and sure to impress your friends and family! I originally saw similar cookies posted on Pinterest and I knew I had to give them a try.

All you need is your favorite sugar cookies dough and some food coloring (I used AmeriColor and Wilton gels). Country Living has a great tutorial with pictures.

1. Make your cookie dough (I used the recipe from Our Best Bites).

2. Divide your dough for each separate color. Knead in the food coloring.

3. Divide each ball of colored dough into multiple sections and scatter the colors on wax paper. Gently press the dough together (do not over mix the colors). Then roll the dough out to your desired thickness. Chill the dough until firm.

4. Cut leave shapes, draw vein impressions using a knife or toothpick, and bake according to your recipe’s directions.

5. Carefully combine the scrapes  and roll again.

These cookies are fun to make with kids! My daughter loved playing with the colored dough! You could also make some pumpkins or apples to go along with the leaves.

Biscoff Pumpkin Cupcakes

Have you tried Biscoff Spread? I hadn’t heard of it until recently. The moment I saw it mentioned on Shugary Sweets, I was instantly reminded how much I loved the Biscoff cookies served on the airplane. YUM! This spread is made from Biscoff cookies. Move over peanut butter and Nutella! I am in LOVE! While it is hard to describe the taste, I love Aimee from Shugary Sweets’ description: “think gingersnap meets graham cracker, in a creamy spread.” 

I found the Biscoff Spread in the grocery store by the peanut butter. You can also order it online directly from Biscoff (They also have a chunky spread available online).

This is how I’ve been eating it for the last week: (one spoonful at a time, periodically throughout the day).

I couldn’t help but pair this delicious spread with fresh pumpkin puree and cream cheese for this month’s Improv Challenge! This is the second month of the challenge, last month we did Caramel and Apples, this month it is all about Pumpkin and Cream Cheese! What a perfect combo!!

Biscoff Pumpkin Cupcakes: Pumpkin cupcakes filled with Biscoff Spread with Biscoff Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cupcakes
slightly adapted from Martha Stewart
Yield: 12 regular sized cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
a pinch of ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 can (7.5 ounces) pumpkin puree (I used fresh pumpkin puree, about 7/8 cup)

Preheat oven to 350°F degrees. Melt butter and set it aside to cool. Line cupcake pans with liners.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk sugars, butter, and eggs. Add the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Mix in pumpkin puree.

Fill cupcake liners. Bake 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Biscoff Cream Cheese Frosting
from Biscoff

1/2 cup Biscoff Spread
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese (Neaufchatel), softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients together using a hand mixer until smooth.


Method 1: Using a sharp knife, cut a cone shaped section out of the top of the cupcake, reserving the cut out cupcake. Fill the hole with a little Biscoff Spread. Top with the rest of the cupcake and press the top of the cupcake down a bit. Then frost with the Biscoff Cream Cheese Icing (I used a Wilton 1M star tip).

Method 2: If you don’t want to go through the work of filling the cupcake you can spread a little Biscoff Spread on top of the cupcake, then frost with the Biscoff Cream Cheese Icing.

Storage: Store frosted cupcakes in the refrigerator.

I loved these cupcakes. I even preferred them with a little less icing (less than shown in the images), because then the flavors of the pumpkin and the Biscoff could really shine through. Delicious! They are even great plain!! I think I might just have to eat one without the frosting and call it a pumpkin muffin for Breakfast!  :)

If  you want to see more Biscoff recipes:
Shugary Sweets: (Biscoff No Bake Cookies, Biscoff Truffles, Biscoff Rice Krispie Treats, and more!)
Bake at 350Biscoff Cut-Out Cookies and Biscoff Brownies
Biscoff’s website

Be sure to check out all the other entries below for some fabulously delicious pumpkin and cream cheese recipes. I know that I can’t wait to give some a try!!

Also, today is a double post day for me. Feel free to stop by and see this week’s Christmas cookie: super easy and delicious Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookies (They are perfect for any occasion)!

Chocolate Dipped Sugar Cookies

I LOVE easy recipes that look fancy and taste amazing! These cookies are definitely one of my new favorite treats! Plus how can you go wrong with a nice tasty cookie, chocolate, and toffee bits?! They will brighten up your holiday trays and make excellent gifts!

The idea came from Our Best Bites; I have loved every recipe I have made from their blog. These cookies have been on my “to make” list for a long time! However, I rarely have toffee bits in my pantry (I tend to eat them straight from the bag when I do have them around). Luckily this week I happened to have some leftover sugar cookie dough and I knew it was time to try these cookies. How have lived without these cookies?!?! I’m afraid I might just have to keep the toffee bits around so that I can dip all my leftover sugar cookies in chocolate and toffee!

Sugar Cookies (use your favorite recipe, refrigerated dough, cookies from the grocery store bakery, etc–I won’t judge, this is supposed to be easy)
Chocolate (milk, semi-sweet, dark – I used milk chocolate dipping chocolate, if you use chips you might need to add shortening, check your package for melting instructions)
Toffee bits or sprinkles
White Chocolate (or almond bark)

Bake and cool your cookies. In the microwave, melt the chocolate in a bowl for 30 second increments at a power level of 50%, stirring every 30 seconds (Do not overcook).

Dip half of the cookie in the chocolate. You can fully dip the cookie and coat both sides, or mostly coat the front using a spoon. Immediately, sprinkle with toffee bits or sprinkles. Lay cookies on a wax paper lined baking sheet and allow to dry until chocolate is set.

Then melt the white chocolate in a Ziploc bag in the microwave at a power level of 50%, kneading every 30 seconds (or less), until melted. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and carefully drizzle the white chocolate across the cookies. (Be sure you don’t accidentally press too hard and rip the seam). Allow cookies to set and enjoy!!

*Sorry I don’t have any real measurements. It depends on how many cookies you want to dip. I only used about a cup of chocolate and a 1/4 cup white chocolate.

I know that not everyone is ready for Christmas baking just yet, so I had to throw in a few pumpkins. How perfect would these be on Thanksgiving day?!

We are on Week 8 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies! Can you believe it?! With Thanksgiving next week, the Christmas Season is just around the corner! Be sure to check out all of the fabulous treats linked up this week (and the previous weeks) for some tasty goodies to impress your friends and family!

My previous Christmas Cookie Posts:
Apple Pie Cookies
Double Chocolate Mint Chip Brownie Cookies
Soft and Chewy Gingersnaps
Caramel Apple Cookies
Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Also, today is a double post day. Be sure to check out my Biscoff Pumpkin Cupcakes and the other Pumpkin and Cream Cheese recipes for the Improv Cooking Challenge!

Fall Sugar Cookies

I love Fall!! I think it might be my favorite season. Maybe it is because it sneaks up and then in a blink of an eye it is over. I absolutely love the colors of the leaves changing. We have a gorgeous decorative vine growing next to our house. For about one week the leaves are the most stunning red and orange colors. Then suddenly all the leaves are gone and we are left with bare branches. I really wish the magical colors of the season would last a bit longer. But at least I can capture the colors with icing.

The leaf cookies were quite easy to make. I outlined them, then flooded the cookies. Once the icing was dry, I piped the leaf veins. I really need to do a basic sugar cookie tutorial one of these days. In the meantime you can check out this tutorial from Bake at 350 for some awesome tips and step-by-step photos. I am loving Sugarbelle’s leaf cookies that have been sprayed with color mist…adorable!

I couldn’t resist making some apple cookies for the platter. This Fall I have been trying to squeeze in a little baking between freezing, canning, and dehydrating apples. This has been my first time canning on my own. I think I’ve found a new hobby. I’ll have to share more of it with you in another post. These apple cookies would also be perfect for a teacher gift or school themed party.

More pumpkins?! I know I’ve probably overdone the pumpkin sugar cookies this season. But I had to try them again using royal icing this time. They are so fun and I love the texture. For more details on how I made them see my previous pumpkin post.

I used the sugar cookie recipe from Our Best Bites and the royal icing recipe from Bake at 350.

What are your favorite things about this season?

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Chewy and delicious these chocolate peanut butter brownies are absolutely amazing. Not only do they taste fabulous, they are also fast and easy to make. If I need an emergency dessert this is one of my go-to recipes. They are always a crowd pleaser.

The recipe is from Home Cooking The Costco Way, a free recipe book that Costco distributed a couple of years ago during their after Thanksgiving sale.

Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Costco and Ghirardelli

1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 pouch Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix*
1 cup peanuts, chopped (optional, I never add them)

14 oz (1 1/4 cup) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan. Mix together oil and eggs. Add brownie mix and nuts (if desired), stir until just combined. Press half of mixture into the pan.

In a separate bowl, mix together sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until smooth. Spread over brownie mixture in the pan.

Drop spoonfuls of the remaining brownie mixture on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes** or until the top is set. Cool completely before cutting.

*I have only used the Ghirardelli mix (originally makes one 9 x 9 and uses 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, and 1 egg). However, I am sure you could use another brownie mix and have great results. I’ll have to give it a try sometime when I don’t have a Costco sized box of brownie mixes on hand).

**Mine took longer than 30 min to bake, but it might just be my oven.

Everybody needs a quick recipe to fall back on during the holiday season. I hope you enjoy these bars as much as I do. Can you believe we are already on Week 7 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies & Sweets?! The holidays are just around the corner. Be sure to check out the rest of the cookies submitted today (and the past weeks) for great holiday ideas. You can save yourself some precious time during the busy season by baking now and freezing the goodies!!

Gourmet Caramel Apple Sugar Cookies

Who can resist gourmet caramel apples? I have been thinking about caramel apples for the last couple of months and I couldn’t help creating them in cookie form.

I iced these cookies using the glacé icing recipe found on Our Best Bites. While I prefer royal icing for decorating, glacé is easy to make and is great if you are just getting started.

I outlined and flooded the red apple section and let it dry. Then I used a little thicker icing (between a piping and flooding consistency) for the caramel section because I wanted it to look like it was covering the apple. After the cookies were dry, I added all the extra little details.

If you want to add sticks to the cookies (which would be awesome!), you can do it before you bake them using this tutorial by Our Best Bites, or you could add them after baking with Sugarbelle’s tutorial (you will probably want to use royal icing in this case).

Let’s pretend that I didn’t use orange and black for the details. Or imagine that I posted these before Halloween. I forgot what colors I used on the cookies until today, now I remember why I was supposed to post them earlier. :)

If you are looking for a great caramel apple flavored cookie, be sure to check out my Caramel Apple Cookie recipe.

Caramel Apple Cookies

Rich chewy caramel and sweet tangy apples drizzled with ribbons of chocolate…these gourmet caramel apple cookies are absolutely delicious! The amazing cookies taste just like a caramel apple, but  are easier and less messy to eat! Not only are they are perfect Autumn treat, they will be a great addition to your Holiday baking list!

When I saw these delicious cookies posted on From Apples to Zucchini for the Caramel and Apple Improv Challenge two weeks ago, I knew I had to try them. I altered the recipe using my new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, this time using Barbara’s high altitude adaptations found on Barbara Bakes. The cookies turned out a little drier than I had anticipated. They didn’t flatten out like the cookies did the first time I made them. I think the change in texture had more to do with using the dehydrated apples and not the high altitude adaptations. I think the apples absorbed some of the liquid from the cookies. That said, I still loved them! I am wishing I didn’t send the leftovers to work with my husband, but then again, maybe it is a good thing or else I would have eaten them all myself. :)

Caramel Apple Cookies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated via Barbara Bakes and From Apples to Zucchini

1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 – 1 1/2 cups dehydrated apples, chopped to bite sized pieces.
3/4 cup Kraft caramel bits
chocolate for drizzling (milk, dark, or white) optional

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Combine flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Heat butter** in a skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown and has nutty aroma, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour browned butter in to large heatproof bowl.

Add sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until incorporated. Then add eggs and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times. The mixture will be thick, smooth and shiny. Stir in flour mixture by hand until just combined, about 1 minute. Fold in apple pieces and caramel bits.

Using 1 1/2 tablespoon of dough, drop dough 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 8-12 minutes, rotate tray halfway through baking. Cool cookies completely on the tray before serving. Drizzle with melted chocolate if desired.

Makes about 3 dozen

**The original directions say to brown 10 tablespoons butter, then add in the remaining 4 tablespoons after removing from heat. I accidentally browned all of the butter when I made these cookies.

This post is for Week 6 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies & Sweets hosted by Meal Planning Magic. Be sure to check out all of the other fabulous cookies posted this week linked up below!


Linked up at:
Reasons to Skip the Housework’s Tuesday Time Out

Halloween Cookies 2011

I keep thinking that one of these holidays I will get everything posted before the holiday is over. Maybe next time. So, even though you are probably sick of Halloween and ready for the next holiday, here are the cookies I made the last couple of days. This time around I used the sugar cookie recipe from The Decorated Cookie and the royal icing recipe from Sweetopia. They turned out great!

It’s a little hard to tell, but after the six legs on the spider dried, I piped two more on the top edge of the cookies.

I also made the googly eyes ahead of time using the idea from HowDoesShe. Seriously, I wonder why I don’t think of these things on my own?!

The names for the gravestones and coffins came from here, here and here. There were so many fun choices.

What is your favorite Halloween candy? And what do you do with all of the leftover candy and your kid’s candy? I need some suggestions!! My kids are young enough that they didn’t notice that it was all missing this morning, but now I have a lot of candy in the cupboard that I need to avoid!

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