Cookie Dough Truffles

I know Christmas is over, but I was being lazy and didn't get to posting these.  I think this is the last of my Christmas baking that I need to post.

These were a HUGE hit....everyone loved them.  I, once again, can thank Kari @ Beautiful Inspirations for this one.

You can print the recipe off from here.

The only changes I would suggest...

- After you roll the balls, freeze them.  This will make them much easier to dip into the chocolate.
- I added a little vegetable oil to the chocolate because so many other chocolate dipping recipes call for that.  I then used a fork to dip them into the melted chocolate.

Make sure you use mini chocolate chips in the truffle.  I did not and wish I did.  You don't want to have these cute delicious truffles and then WHAM...giant chocolate chip....doesn't work well.

I think I need to take a break from baking now for a little while.  I'm currently in a sugar coma and on my way to being diabetic.  I love Christmas!

Warm Quinoa, Spinach and Shiitake Salad

I really like this salad....Ben does not.  I think it does require a certain "taste".  It definitely won't be something everyone likes.

You can get the recipe from here.....good ol' Martha Stewart.

The only change I made was that I used cremini mushrooms instead of shiitake, because that is what I had.

Let me know if you try it and how you liked it.


White Velvet Cookies

Another good one from Kari @ Beautiful Inspirations

I know these probably look like your ordinary sugar cookie or shortbread or whatever other plain white cookies are out there.  However, I can assure these are not.  They are so good.  Just don't mess them up like I did.  Boy...did I ever mess them up.

You can print the recipe from here.

Okay so this is what I did wrong.  When I was gradually adding the flour, something seemed weird, so I reviewed the recipe and sure enough...I forgot to add the sugar.  I added it after the flour.  I think that affected the taste of the cookies because the sugar didn't probably blend in.  I also either rolled mine too thin or baked them too long, because they weren't as soft as they should have been.

Next time I think I would leave the icing white so they had more of that "winter" look to them.  I was going to pipe the icing on, but laziness got the better of me.  I'd for sure pipe the icing on for presentation purpose if I was serving these up to any company other than my family.

Either way....deliciously cream cheesey cookies.  Low fat too.


Okay...maybe not.

Coconut Rum Balls

Another super easy recipe.  I'm all about easy baking.  I'm lazy like that.

After searching through what felt like 5,284 recipes, I decided on this one.  I found it at allrecipes.

I didn't have all the ingredients on hand and I also don't like walnuts in my baking so I did make some changes.

Instead of crushed vanilla wafers I used crushed graham crackers and instead of the walnuts I used coconut.

I, also, didn't roll them in anything.  It's that lazy part of me coming through.  I think I would next time or dip them in something.  They look weird or off not being covered up.  They feel a bit naked.

Peanut Butter Snowballs

I loved these.  They are beautiful and so easy to make.  I got the recipe from a blog friend...Kari @ Beautiful Inspirations.

You can print the recipe off from here.

I only made a couple of small changes to the recipe.  I chilled the dough before rolling it into balls, so it wouldn't be such a sticky mess.  I, then, put the balls on a cookie sheet in the freezer to harden up.  After previous chocolate dipping experience, I found it was messy if I dipped into the hot melted chocolate and they weren't chilled enough.  By freezing them I found they were VERY easy to dip just using a fork.

I also added some vegetable oil to the chocolate...just a little....when melting it.  Don't ask me why.  I have just noticed most chocolate melting recipes call for this, so I did it.

Anyways...let me know if you make them!

Hot Broccoli Dip

This is so easy.  You can prepare it in the morning, cover it and keep it in the fridge until it's time to heat up and serve.

I got the recipe from Kraft Canada....so you know it's going to be simple and easy.  You can print it off from here.

There aren't really any changes I make, except I don't measure and I use whatever cheese I have on hand. 

I hope you  know you don't have to use the brand names or whatever ingredients they list.  For example...I don't use "Miracle Whip Calorie Wise Dressing", I use my mayo I have.  Keep that in mind when looking at recipes.

Anyways...I served it up with a variety of crackers.  It was a hit and there were no leftovers.


Peanut Butter Cups

Okay, so there were SO easy to make and they taste so much better than any candy you buy at the store.

Joy of Baking pulls through again with a good recipe.  You can find this one here.  I can thank a facebook friend and old high school friend for posting this on facebook months ago.  I bookmarked it and ended up browsing around their site and using quite a few of their recipes for Christmas.

Here are the changes I made...

- I just used hard margarine instead of butter
- I used vegetable oil when melting the chocolate instead of shortening.
- I wanted my tops to be as even as possible, so when I was putting the chocolate on top of the peanut butter, I found I needed about a tablespoon (recipe says to do a teaspoon).  I ended up needing to melt more chocolate.  I melted another 1/2 cup of each and it worked out perfect.
- I would also suggest putting your peanut butter in the fridge while melting the chocolate.  It'll make it easier to scoop.
- I had the perfect amount (with my chocolate addition) to make 36 of them.

Let me know if you try it.

Candy Cane Whoopie Pies

Another good one from Joy of Baking.  You can get the recipe from here.

These are so good!!  I made mine WAY too big and when I served them up the other night, I ended up cutting them all in half.  If you make these, make them bit size.  They puff up quite a bit in the oven, so don't worry about keeping them small when you're putting them on the cookie sheet.  

The recipe says to "drop heaping tablespoons" so that's what I did.  Don't.  I would do half the size next time.

The recipe also calls for "dutch processed" cocoa.  I didn't really want to go buy something when I had a full thing of regular cocoa, so I did some research on the internet and found that you can use regular cocoa if you also add it with baking soda.  They say 3 tbsp of cocoa to 1/8 tsp of baking soda.  Me, being the rule breaker I am, just added some baking soda without really measuring.  Maybe that's why my cookies were so big?  I don't know.

Anyways...they were a hit.


Peppermint Patties

Okay so here is what the picture of them look like on their webpage....

Here are what mine look like...

Here is my attempt at "staging" a good photo of them...

I want to know how they got theirs too look so nice.  Either way...these actually do taste good.  Just like those ones you can buy in the store.  And ignoring how they look, they were easy to make.

I got the recipe from here.

The only change I made was with the chocolate coating.  They said to use shortening with the chocolate to melt it, but I used vegetable oil instead.

Here are my suggestions and what I would do different for next time...

They say to "lightly dust the foil with icing sugar" (to prevent them from sticking)...I say do more than "lightly dust"...these suckers are a sticky  mess.  Also it says to flatten each ball with the palm of your hand...make sure your palm has icing sugar on it...sticky sticky sticky.


I don't know if you can freeze the peppermint filling part, but if you can, I would...after you've shaped the patties.  I'm a baking rookie, so I don't know these things.  I found they melted as soon as they hit the hot melted chocolate coating, which made them fall apart and hard to deal with.

Make them smaller and thicker.  I think I made mine too big and too thin....maybe that's why they melted  when I was trying to coat them.

Let me know if you try them and how yours turn out.

2012 UPDATE:  Made them for the third time this weekend.  I used wax paper to line the baking sheet and still lots of icing sugar. We made the dough and put it in the fridge for about an hour.  Then we rolled them into a ball and slightly flattened them.  None are bigger than a quarter and we kept them sort of thick.  We left those in the freezer overnight.  The next morning, we only pulled a few out at a time to dip in the chocolate.  They turned out to be a perfect sized treat!

Peppermint Bark

These are too easy.  It makes a small batch (8x8 pan), so you might want to double it if you're entertaining or bringing them somewhere.

You can print the recipe off from here.

Let me know if you try it!

2013 UPDATE:  This was our 4th year making these.  We don't use a recipe at all any more because we always have melted chocolate left over from our other baking.  When all our baking is done (we do one big baking weekend and that's it for Christmas) we take the melted chocolate and depending on how much we have left, we just pour it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Let it set in the freezer.  Oh and feel free to get creative with your toppings....use whatever you have on hand.  We always have left over crushed candy canes, but coconut would work well too.  

Soft Gingersnaps

Oh my are these good!  I love Starbuck's Ginger Molasses cookie and this is the closest I've ever tasted to it.  They were soft...they have the perfect amount of spices so they aren't too sweet....I love them.

I got it from allrecipes...you can print it off from here.

I followed the recipe exactly...except the salt.  I only had salted butter, so I just omitted it from the recipe.  I found in my oven they took exactly 9.5 minutes to be perfect.  You don't want to pull them out before they crack on the top.  They probably won't look done, but they are if they are cracking.  Mine flattened as they cooled.  Even 2 days later, they are still perfectly soft.

A new favorite recipe for sure!


Christmas Baking

I've only attempted "Christmas Baking" once.  Years ago.  We needed practice.  It wasn't pretty.

Only this year have I started to enjoy baking, so I thought I might try this "Christmas Baking" again instead of just mooching off my mom.

I want to try some things she wouldn't make, so we can share our goods.  My mom does a lot of traditional Christmas baking...which I love. 

I'm having a hard time deciding what to do.  Here is what I have so far...

Rum Balls courtesy of Martha Stewart

Peanut Butter Cups courtesy of Joy of Baking

Peppermint Bark courtesy of Joy of Baking

Peppermint Patties courtesy of Joy of Baking

Peppermint Whoopie Pies courtesy of Joy of Baking

Here's my problem.  You probably noticed they are ALL chocolate.  I'd like to step out of my chocolate box and try something else...but what?  I love soft chewy ginger molasses cookies (especially Starbucks), but there are so many recipes out there...where do I even start at finding the right one?

I'd also like to make homemade marshmallows but I don't have a candy thermometer.  Yes, I could easily go out and buy one, but I just don't want to right now.

I don't like nuts in baking, so any of those recipes are out of the question.

Do you have some recipes or suggestions for me?

Please...help a sistah out.


French Dip

I made this last week.  It was so good! By far, one of the best I've ever had or made.

You can find the recipe here.

My only suggestion is to cut back on the salt.  I wouldn't salt the roast before, it was a tad on the salty side.

Also, even if you're not a beer drinker, you have to trust me on this...you don't taste the beer. 

I toasted the buns with provolone cheese first and then added the meat. 

Make sure you use the juice to dip your sandwich in!!

Ham and Asparagus Crepes with Hollandaise Sauce

Okay so there is no real recipe for this.  I sort of made it up, I think.

I roasted my asparagus in the oven first.  You could also grill or boil it or however you like it.

I also made a basic crepe recipe, but omitted the sugar and the vanilla and added some grainy mustard to it.

Then I put some ham and aspargus in the crepe...

...rolled them and put seam side down in a baking dish...

....and sprinkled asiago cheese on top.  Next time I'd put the cheese in the crepe.

Baked it at 350 for about 15 or so minutes.  You just need to heat everything up all the way through and melt the cheese.

Then I made this hollandaise sauce and drizzled it on top just before serving.

Yum.  So good!


Creamy Spinach Ravioli

Need a quick easy dinner idea?

I got this one from Kraft Canada right here.

I loved it.  The only change I made was that I only had plain cream cheese, so I added some minced garlic and dried herbs to it myself instead of buying herb and garlic cream cheese.  Make sure you don't overcook the ravioli...you don't want pasta mush for dinner.

I served it beside some lemon pepper grilled chicken....delicious!


December 6 - 10

Here's our meals for the week....

Monday - creamy spinach ravioli with grilled chicken

Tuesday - taco pie (didn't end up having it on Friday night)

Wednesday - chicken broccoli divan with fusilli

Thursday - warm quinoa, spinach and shiitake salad

Friday - tuna cakes with homemade tartar sauce and mixed greens


Baked Beans

Is it weird that I love baked beans?  I don't know what it is...but I love them.

They are so easy to make.  I dump all the ingredients into my slow cooker in the morning and I let them cook all day long and when I get home from work, I have a pot of deliciousness waiting.

I got the recipe from my mom.  You can print it off from here.

What are your feelings on baked beans?  I know my sister hates them...it's funny watching her trying to be a good example to her kids when eating them.