Thursday, December 17, 2015

Eggnog Cookies

I followed my buttermilk cookie recipe with a few changes and made them into eggnog cookies. They were very good.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon sugar
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 6 tbsp shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
  • Frosting
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3 - 5 Tbsp eggnog
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon for 30 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter & sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg, blending just until combined after each addition. Mix in vanilla extract and egg nog. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Scoop dough out by the heaping tablespoonfuls and drop onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 11 - 13 minutes. Allow to rest on baking sheet several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely then frost with Eggnog Frosting and sprinkle tops lightly with nutmeg.
  • For the Eggnog Frosting:
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter until very pale and fluffy. Add in 3 Tbsp eggnog and mix in powdered sugar. Add additional eggnog to reach desired consistency.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Great American Cookie Swap

This year I entered into the Great American Cookie swap.  I received three lovely cookies.  The first was Jingle Jems.  At first when I opened up the cookies, we thought they were going to be chocolate / peanut butter.  But they weren't.  We are guessing that the secret ingredient is ground up coconut.  But we still aren't sure.

Next we received rolled chocolate cookies that were decorated as hot chocolate.  The decorations were beautiful!  My youngest son loved these cookies!

Our final cookie came to us from Japan.  They were brown sugar shortbread.  We also enjoyed the simplicity of these cookies.  The flavor was very good.

Now onto my cookies!  I made sticky toffee pudding cookies.  The cookie came out very well.  We enjoyed these at our house although I'm not sure it would be something that I'd run to make again!  [Now I've got to figure out what to do with my leftover dates:(]


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup finely chopped pitted dates
  • ½ cup caramel ice cream topping or dulce de leche
  • ½ - ¾ cup toffee bits
  1. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together in a bowl, set aside.
  2. In bowl beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  4. Mix in dates until evenly incorporated.
  5. With mixer on low, add in dry ingredients until combined.
  6. Chill dough 2 hours or overnight.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
  9. Scoop out cookie dough in 2-3 tablespoon portions, using a cookie scoop or rounded spoon.
  10. Bake 10 minutes until edges start to golden.
  11. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Drizzle with caramel sauce or dulce de leche and sprinkle with toffee bits

Monday, December 14, 2015

New Christmas Cookies of 2015

This year I made several new cookies. 

The first is Santa's Favorite Cookies.  These cookies came out well!


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 box (3.4 ounces) Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix (not sugar free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup red and green sprinkles (or any colors)
  • 3/4 cup Christmas M&Ms (or any color of M&M)


  1. Note: This dough requires chilling.
  2. Cream butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (You can also use a hand mixer.) Mix in egg and vanilla until smooth. Add pudding mix, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined. Mix in flour, then stir in sprinkles and M&Ms.
  3. Scoop 2 tablespoon balls of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment or a silpat baking mat. There’s no need to space them out, you’re going to chill them. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat baking mats. Place chilled cookie dough balls 2” apart on cookie sheet. Bake 9-11 minutes or until the edges just start to turn brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for up to one month.

The second was Somoa Thumprint Cookies.

These probably were one of the best cookies I've tasted in a LONG time.  I really loved these.  I used the chocolate and caramel recipe from the cashew caramels for this in order to not have to make several different batches of these.


  • 2 cups toasted coconut
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups flour

Caramel Filling

  • 14 ounces Peter's caramel (it comes in a block at kitchen specialty stores) or Kraft Caramel Cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons evaporated milk

Remaining Ingredients

  • ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 Tablespoons heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix both the toasted and sweetened coconuts together, reserving ¼ cup to garnish, on a large plate and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl place the slightly beaten eggs and set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar and cream together. Add vanilla and beat again. With mixer on low, gradually add flour and salt and beat until just combined.
  5. Roll dough into 1¼ inch balls, then roll them in the egg mixture and then roll them in the coconut mixture and place on a greased cookie sheet.
  6. Make an indentation with your thumb or a round spoon in the center of each ball and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and once again press spoon into the cookies and return to the oven for another 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on cooling racks.
  7. While cookies are cooling place caramel and evaporated milk in a microwaveable bowl on high for 1 minute. Stir and repeat in 30 second increments until it is smooth, stirring in between each increment.
  8. Fill the cookies with enough caramel to fill the indention.
  9. In another small microwavable bowl combine chocolate and cream. Heat for 1 minute and stir. Repeat in 30 second intervals until chocolate is smooth, stirring between each increment. Pour into a ziplock bag and snip off the end and drizzle chocolate over the cookies and sprinkle reserved toasted coconut over the top.

The third new cookie was brookies.  The family really loved them.

Brookie Cookies

 Makes 36 large cookies


Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 2 cups mini chocolate chips
  • 1 (18 oz) box brownie mix
  • 1¼ cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
For chocolate chip cookie portion:
  1. Cream butter and both sugars together for 2 minutes until fluffy and light.
  2. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  3. Mix in baking soda and salt. Then add flour and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Set aside.
  1. In a large bowl combine brownie mix and flour. Whisk together.
  2. Stir in eggs and oil until combined. Dough will be thick.
  1. Form chocolate chip cookie dough into 1 inch balls. Scoop an equal size of the brownie mixture and squish it together with the cookie portion.
  2. Place on baking sheet 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake for 9-10 minutes until edges are golden and cookies are just set.
  4. Allow to cool 3-4 minutes on baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
And finally, Carmel Cashew Clusters
Caramel Cashew Clusters
Yield: 20 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes


30 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped {about 8 ounces}
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup
salted cashews, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vegetable shortening


1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine caramels and cream. While stirring constantly, heat mixture until caramels are fully melted. Remove pan from heat.
3. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the vanilla and cashews until they are thoroughly mixed into the melted caramels.
4. Spray a small or medium cookie scoop with non-stick cooking spray and scoop the caramel-cashew mixture 2 inches apart onto the prepared pan. If you prefer a more symmetrically shaped cluster, use your fingers to mold this caramel. Repeat with rest of mixture.
5. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate and shortening until smooth stirring every 30 seconds or so.
6. Drizzle melted chocolate over clusters. See recipe notes for storage information.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Apple Pie Cheesecake

I made this for a family party and my father is still talking about it a month later!  I didn't have any of it as I'm not a big fan of cheesecake, but I definetely will be making it again.

1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 tbsp butter
Cheesecake Filling
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp all purpose flour
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Apple Cheesecake Filling
2 large apples, peeled and chopped
4 tbsp light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
Cinnamon Cheesecake Filling
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter, melted
Apple Garnish, on top of cheesecake
1 large apple, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
sprinkle of lemon juice
1 tbsp butter
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, combine crust ingredients and mix well.
3. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.
4. Bake crust for 10 minutes then remove and set aside.
5. Cover the outsides of the pan with aluminum foil and set aside.
Cheesecake and Cinnamon filling
1. Reduce oven to 300 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar and flour until combined (Use low speed to keep less air from getting into the batter, which can cause cracks). Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating slowly and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.
4. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Beat on low speed until well combined. Set aside.
5. In another medium sized bowl, toss together apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until apples are coated. Set aside.
6. In another medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Stir in melted butter until combined.
7. Add about 1/3 of the apples to the bottom of the crust.
8. Break apart cinnamon mixture and sprinkle pieces over the apples, about 1/3 of the cinnamon mixture.
9. Spread about 1/2 of the cheesecake filling over the cinnamon mixture.
10. Add another 1/3 of the apples and cinnamon mixture to the top of the cheesecake filling.
11. Spread remaining cheesecake filling over cinnamon and apples.
11. Sprinkle remaining apples and cinnamon mixture over top of cheesecake.
11. Place springform pan (covered with aluminum foil) inside another pan. Fill outside pan with enough warm water to go about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. The water should not go above the top edge of the aluminum foil on the springform pan.
8. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
9. Turn off heat and leave cheesecake in oven with door closed for 30 minutes.
10. Crack oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
11. Remove cheesecake from oven and chill until completely cool and firm.
12. To make the apple garnish for the top of the cheesecake, add chopped apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and butter to a pan. Stir together until apples are well coated.
13. Cook apples on medium heat until at desired tenderness, about 10 minutes.
14. Remove cheesecake from springform pan and place on serving plate. Add apples to the top of the cheesecake and drizzle remaining sauce from pan over cheesecake.
15. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Hot Chocolate Cake Roll

This was a BIG fail for me.  The cake came out ok, but it stuck to the towel and then I was never able to recover.  I think the pan was a little too big.  If I was ever to make it again, I would move down a pan size.  I wound up serving it as a truffle with chocolate cool whip and pudding.  But it was a bit too much for us.


  • Cake:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Unsweetened baking cocoa and powder sugar for rolling the cake
  • Filling:
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ cup marshmallow fluff
  • 1½ cups Cool Whip (in tub not can)
  • 1½ cups mini marshmallows
  • Topping:
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Mini marshmallows

  1. Preheat oven to 375 and line 17x11x1 pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking oil spray (make sure to get the sides too).
  2. Beat eggs with electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes until thick and light yellow.
  3. Slowly beat in granulated sugar.
  4. Lower speed to low and add water and vanilla extract.
  5. Still on low, slowly add flour, ¼ cup cocoa, the baking powder and salt. Beat just until batter is smooth.
  6. Pour into pan and spread evenly. Bake for 7-8 minutes and do a toothpick test. Run a spatula around edges of the pan to loosen cake.
  7. Generously sprinkle a clean kitchen towel with cocoa and powder sugar. Turn the cake pan upside down onto the towel. Carefully remove parchment paper. Trim off crusty edges if necessary.
  8. While the cake is still hot, gently roll cake with the towel from narrow end (don't make it too tight and don't press.
  9. Cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.
  10. While the cake is cooling, make frosting: Beat cream cheese with sugar on medium-high for about 2 minutes, until light and smooth. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and add marshmallow fluff. Beat until combined. On low speed, beat in Cool Whip just until combined. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and add marshmallows. Fold them in with a spatula until all incorporated.
  11. Unroll cake carefully. Carefully, spread frosting all over the cake, leaving about an inch and a half one of the short ends.
  12. Carefully roll the cake back up (starting with the side that has frosting) and place cake on the serving dish seam down.
  13. Drizzle with chocolate syrup and top off with some mini marshmallows.
  14. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve!

Eggnog Truffles

These were ok, but I wasn't crazy about them.  I'm not a big fan of white chocolate and found them a bit too sweet.  I did both methods, one dipped in white chocolate and one dipped in powdered sugar. 


  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup eggnog
  • 2¾ cups crushed vanilla sandwich cookies, divided (I used Golden Oreos)
  • 1 package vanilla candy melts or vanilla almond bark
  1. Heat white chocolate chips and cream in the microwave for 1 - 1½ minutes.
  2. Stir until smooth.
  3. Mix in 2½ cups crushed cookies.
  4. Place the bowl in the freezer for 15-20 minutes until thickened.
  5. Use a one tablespoon dough scoop to make even sized truffles.
  6. Roll the truffles between your hands to make them into smooth balls.
  7. Place on a parchment covered tray and freezer for 15 minutes to harden.
  8. Dip the truffles into melted white chocolate.
  9. Place the dipped truffles on a parchment covered tray and sprinkle immediately with the extra cookie crumbles before the white chocolate hardens.
  10. One the coating is set, store the truffles in the fridge in covered container.

If you are pressed for time, coat the truffles with powdered sugar instead or dipping them.

Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls

I made these dinner rolls on Thanksgiving and they were fabulous.  I made them in a 9 x 13 pan and made 24 rolls since I wanted them to be small.  I used whole milk and added 1 extra tbsp. of butter.  I'm not sure if the whole milk made a difference or not, but these just "melted" in your mouth.


1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 cup warm milk (100 – 110°F)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided
2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
4 1/2 cups (20 ounces) bread flour


Combine the water, milk, 1 tablespoon of the butter, eggs, sugar, salt and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 cups of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a rough, shaggy mass. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, turn to medium-low speed, and gradually add the remaining flour, kneading until a mass of dough begins to forms. Continue kneading on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly tacky to the touch.
Lightly spray a large clean bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature or until the dough is big, puffy, and about doubled in size.
Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Gently deflate the dough. Use a bench scraper, knife, or pizza wheel to divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 30 minutes, or until about doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm. Store leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.