Tag Archives: kids

Cookies by Julias: Valentine Shortbread Cookies

2017-01-27 14.42.44

2 Julias + 1 day off of  school = Tons of cookie fun

2017-01-27 14.16.31

These 2 cute girls wanted to bake cookies on their day off of school, and since one of them is allergic to eggs, they decided to make shortbread cookies. But traditional rectangles were way too boring, so they went with hearts. And chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

2017-01-27 14.12.39

And once the chocolate melting and dipping started, their creative juices really got flowing!

2017-01-27 14.43.28

2017-01-27 14.42.44
If you are looking for more traditional shortbread cookies, you can always go with plain-old-boring-rectangles:

shortbread-1

 

RECIPE:

2017-01-27 14.43.28

Valentine Shortbread Cookies

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
4 ½ cups flour
Dark chocolate and/or colored candy melts

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Make sure that butter is very soft, but not melted. Cream butter and brown sugar with a mixer for 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla and salt. Gradually add flour, mixing well.

Lightly sprinkle flour on a pastry board or mat. Gently press or roll dough until dough is about 1/3” thick (dough will be softer than a normal cut-out cookie dough). Use a heart cookie cutter to cut out shapes and use a thin metal spatula to transfer hearts to ungreased cookie sheets, leaving a small space between cookies.

Bake at 325°F for  about 20 minutes. Do not brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a small microwave safe bowl, melt about 1 cup chopped chocolate in microwave by cooking in 30 second increments, stirring after each heating, until completely melted. Dip cookies as desired. To drizzle chocolate, place chocolate or candy melts in a Ziploc bag and cook for 30 seconds in microwave. Squish bag and repeat as needed until melted. Use a toothpick or skewer to poke a small hole in one corner of the bag and drizzle melted chocolate over cookies.

Place cookies on parchment paper or wax paper to harden. You can chill them in the refrigerator, if desired, to speed up the setting of the chocolate. Higher quality dark chocolate will take longer to harden than the candy melts.

Makes 2 ½ – 3  dozen cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cookies, Desserts

Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

DAY 5: Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Balls of peanut butter cookie dough baked in a mini muffin pan and then squished by a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Definitely a kid favorite! Both to make and to eat.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies 2

RECIPE:

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 pkg (12 oz) Reese’s Miniature Peanut Butter Cups, unwrapped **

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a mini muffin pan (or spray with non-stick baking spray).

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat in peanut butter, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy.

Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to mixing bowl and beat until well mixed.

Roll dough into 1” balls and place in greased muffin pan. Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until dough puffs and just barely begins to brown on the bottom.

Remove pan from the oven and immediately press a Peanut Butter Cup into the center of each cookie, pressing down until top of peanut butter cup is level with the top of the cookie. Cool completely in the pan and then remove to a wire rack. To remove cookies, hold the cookie by the top edge and twist gently.

Makes about 32 cookies.

**NOTE: A 12 oz package of peanut butter cups usually has 40 candy pieces. The recipe makes about 32 cookies, so you may have a few extra.

4 Comments

Filed under Cookies, Desserts

Halloween Spider Cookies

Spider Cookies 3

Looking for an easy way to turn a chocolate chip cookie into a chocolate spider cookie? A few melted chocolate chips and a piping bag are all you need!

Use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (mine is below) and cut the normal amount of chips you use about it half. After baking, add 3-4 chocolate chips to the tops of the hot cookies. Melt some more chips in a piping bag (or Ziploc bag) and use a narrow tip to pipe legs onto your spider bodies.

Spider Cookies 4

 

RECIPE:
Spider Cookies 3

Chocolate Spider Cookies

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 Tbs cornstarch
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat into butter mixture. Stir in ½ cup chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoonsful onto baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Gently press 3-4 chocolate chips onto the top of each HOT cookie (these will be the spider bodies). Cool cookies on wire racks.

Place remaining chocolate chips (about 3/4 cup) in a pastry bag or Ziploc bag. Microwave for 30 seconds. Knead bag with your fingers to melt chips. Heat for an additional 10-15 seconds, if necessary.

Using a very thin tip, pipe legs around the spider bodies (chocolate chips). Let chocolate harden completely before storing.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cookies

Partying with Penguins

Penguin Cake 3

Today is my baby girl’s 9th birthday. We worked together to create this fun Penguin Cake. She has a delicious cotton candy belly.

Here is the penguin without the cotton candy:

Penguin Cake 1

We love having Little J in our family. She is just as sweet as her penguin friend.

Penguin Cake 4

Happy Birthday Little J

We love you always!

 

Inspiration for cake from an Australian Women’s World Cookbook magazine from 1998. Cake frosted with this Buttercream Frosting (with the addition of orange extract).

Leave a comment

Filed under Desserts, Kids' Cakes

Quick & Easy Nutella Crescent Rolls

3711 133-1

A quick and easy idea today that isn’t really a recipe, as it only contains three ingredients: a tube of packaged crescent rolls, a jar of Nutella and some chopped nuts. I used walnuts, but chopped hazelnuts, pecans or almonds would also be good. These are the jumbo-sized rolls, but you can make them with any of the varieties.

Great for kids to make for a Mother’s Day breakfast (or dessert). And always popular with hungry teenagers after early-morning seminary.

3711 123-1

Open tube of crescent rolls; separate dough into triangles. Spread with Nutella. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

3711 129-1Roll into crescent shape, beginning with wide end. Curve ends into crescent shape. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. Bake according to package directions until golden brown. Serve warm.

RECIPE:

3711 133-1

Nutella Crescent Rolls
———-(adapted from Deep South Dish)

1 tube Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (regular or jumbo)
Nutella
Finely chopped nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds or pecans)

Unroll and separate raw crescent roll triangles. Spread with Nutella. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Roll into crescent shape, beginning with wide end. Curve ends into crescent shape. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon liner. Bake according to package directions until golden brown (about 15-18 minutes at 350°F for the jumbo size).

Cool slightly. Serve warm.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Breads, Breakfast/Brunch, Desserts

Twelve (More) Days of Christmas Cookies: Turtle Pretzel Snaps

12-1-10 029-1

DAY 11: Technically, these are a candy, not a cookie, but they still make a great addition to any holiday cookie tray. Sweet & salty; crunch & chewy. A great combination of tastes and textures.

These candies are a simple, fun alternative to traditional Turtle Candies. They are also an easy treat to make with kids. They can do almost all of the work themselves.

The base of these treats is a Pretzel Snap: the square criss-crossed shaped pretzels that look kind of like a window pane. Place the pretzels in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. You can use a Silpat, parchment paper or foil to line the pan. Top each pretzel with half of a caramel. Instead of a caramel, you can also use a Rolo candy. I prefer the flavor of the plain caramel, topped with a bittersweet chocolate chip. Using plain caramels also allows me to make some “chocolate free” candies for Little A. But the Rolos do save you one step.

12-1-10 003-1Bake the caramel topped pretzels for about 5-7 minutes, until caramels (or Rolos) are soft. Remove from oven and immediately top with a chocolate chip.  I like the Ghirardelli bittersweet chips, for both the flavor and the fact that they are slightly bigger than normal semi-sweet chocolate chips. (If you are using Rolos, you don’t need to use any chocolate chips) The chocolate will melt by the time you have finished putting one on each caramel. Press one M&M or toasted pecan half into the soft chocolate. Let candies cool completely before moving from baking sheet. 12-1-10 014-1

RECIPE:

12-1-10 029-1

Turtle Pretzel Snaps

Pretzel Snaps (criss-cross shaped)
Caramels or Rolos
Chocolate chips (if using plain caramels); I like the larger Ghirardelli bittersweet chips
Peanut M&Ms
Whole Pecans, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lay pretzel snaps in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat, parchment paper or foil. Cut caramels in half and place one half on each pretzel (Alternately, top each pretzel with a Rolo candy). Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until caramels are soft. Remove from oven and immediately top each caramel with one chocolate chip (omit chocolate chips when using Rolos). When chocolate is soft, press an M&M or pecan half into the chocolate. Let chocolate harden before moving to a serving plate.

 

TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES (2010) RECAP:
DAY 1: Raspberry Crumb Bars
DAY 2: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
DAY 3: Chocolate Nutella Cookies
DAY 4: Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
DAY 5: Almond Macaroon Brownies
DAY 6: Trail Mix Cookies
DAY 7: Cream Cheese Cut-Out Cookies
DAY 8: Chocolate Revel Bars
DAY 9: Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Cookies
DAY 10: Caramel Pecan Bars

3 Comments

Filed under Candy, Cookies, Desserts

Four Fun Fondues

Continuing with our All-Dipping-All-Day Christmas menu, for dinner/dessert we made four fondues:

Kid-Friendly Cheese Fondue
Pizza Fondue
Dark Chocolate Fondue
Vanilla Custard Fondue
– specifically for the non-chocolate eating Little A, but it was definitely enjoyed by all!

dec 361-1dec 358-1

dec 373-1 dec 404-1

Today I will share our savory fondues: the cheese and pizza fondues, and then tomorrow everyone’s favorites: the dessert fondues.

dec 362-1

The Kid Friendly Cheese Fondue was a pretty standard cheese fondue recipe, but I substituted chicken broth for most of the wine (which I completely boiled down to remove the alcohol) and used a combination of Gruyere and Muenster cheeses, for a slightly milder taste than an all Gruyere/Swiss combination.

dec 360-1

The Pizza Fondue was a super fun kid favorite. The dip was an easy-to-assemble “pizza sauce” full of sausage and chopped pepperoni. We then dipped bread cubes, mozzarella cubes, and other “pizza toppings” (olives, mushrooms, peppers, broccoli-you can get creative here!) in the sauce. If you let the cheese cubes sit in the fondue for a little while (on your stick), it gets wonderfully melted and gooey! Or try putting two or three pizza items on a fondue stick for the full pizza experience.

dec 340-1

The bread and vegetable trays were shared between the two fondues.

dec 348-1

The cheese cubes were just for the pizza fondue-cheese on cheese is a little too much for even a cheese-lover like me.

dec 343-1

What to do with leftover pizza fondue? Make a real pizza, of course! Make (or buy) a crust, use the fondue for the sauce, top with the chunks of mozzarella and slice up your favorite toppings from the dipping plate. I love getting two family-friendly meals from one day of food prep!

And how about that leftover cheese fondue? Heat it up again with some heavy cream or half-and-half, pour it over some sliced potatoes (add some onions and diced red peppers, if you want) and bake until tender. Then pretend you slaved all day over these fabulous Au Gratin Potatoes.

What to do if you don’t own a fondue pot? Or don’t have enough fondue pots for an all-out fondue party? Here are a few alternatives for fondue pots:

  • Crock-pots: these are a fabulous way to keep things warm, without burning your delicate cheese or chocolate
  • Double boiler: heat water in the bottom pot of a double boiler, set on a trivet and put your top pot with your fondue mixture over the hot water. The water should stay hot enough to keep your fondue from solidifying while you eat. You can “make your own” double boiler by using a saucepan (one with small side handles is best) for the water and a glass or ceramic mixing bowl to hold your fondue.
  • Single-burner tabletop butane/propane stove (camp stove). Just be sure to keep the flame on low, and on a secure surface. These work really well for broth or oil fondues where you are actually cooking things (as opposed to just dipping them) and need to maintain a higher temperature.

Recipes:

dec 371-1

Kid-Friendly Cheese Fondue

12 oz shredded cheese (I used 8 oz Gruyere and 4 oz Muenster)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 Tbs sherry, optional
Dash white pepper
1 clove garlic, halved
Dipping items: French bread cubes, fresh vegetables, cooked and cubed meats (sausage, chicken, shrimp)

Combine shredded cheeses and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat wine to a boil. Boil and reduce wine until there is only 1-2 tablespoons of liquid remaining (watch pot carefully, or you will end up with a very burned saucepan). Add chicken broth and sherry and bring mixture just barely to the boiling point. Reduce heat and stir in cheese/cornstarch mixture, a handful at a time. Stir in each handful of cheese until melted. Stir in pepper. Cook until mixture bubbles gently and cheese is completely melted.

Fill bottom portion of a fondue pot with very hot water. Place over flame. Rub your  ceramic fondue pot insert* with the garlic clove halves. Discard garlic. Pour cheese mixture into ceramic fondue pot insert and place over hot water. Use skewers or fondue forks to dip bread, vegetables or meats in cheese.

*NOTE: Cheese fondues should not be placed directly over a flame. They will burn or clump easily. If your fondue pot does not have a ceramic insert (allowing you to create a double boiler), use a glass or ceramic bowl that fits just over the lip of your fondue pot.

dec 368-1

Pizza Fondue

1/2 lb sausage, mild or spicy
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 jar meatless pasta sauce
6 oz pepperoni slices, finely chopped
1 Tbs chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp (or more) crushed red pepper flakes
Cubed crusty French bread
Fresh mozzarella balls or cubed mozzarella
Vegetables: mushrooms, red or green peppers, whole olives, broccoli, pineapple-any of your favorite pizza toppings!

Cook sausage and onion; drain. Stir in sauce, pepperoni, oregano and red pepper flakes. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Or put into a crock pot and cook for 3-4 hours on low.

Serve in a fondue pot or crock pot with skewers to dip cubed bread, cheese and vegetables.

Hint: leave your cheese in the sauce (on its skewer) for a few minutes and it will be nice and melted- just don’t overdo it or you will lose your cheese completely!


 

Leave a comment

Filed under Appetizers, Main Dishes