Thursday, December 29, 2011

Gingerbread Biscotti

We are getting the house cleaned up and packing for our trip to Orlando to watch The FSU Seminoles play Notre Dame in the Champs Bowl. So last minute baking is on the schedule. We have made a batch of marshmallows and still have a batch of peppermint marshmallows, mocha cocoa mix, gingerbread biscotti and possibly a batch gingerbread cupcakes.

I have already posted the marshmallow recipe. To make the peppermint marshmallows I simply add peppermint extract instead of vanilla. I add a few drops of red food coloring to the top right after I put them in the pan.

Here is the recipe I use for Gingerbread Biscotti.

I can't remember where I got this recipe....but it is great and I have been making this for 7 years.

Gingerbread Biscotti

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 1/2 Tbs ground ginger
3/4 Tbs ground cinnamon
1/2 Tbs ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prep a cookie sheet with parchment paper
In a large bowl, mix together oil, sugar, eggs, and molasses.
In a separate bowl combine flours, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
Mix the dry into the wet ingredients. to form a stiff dough.
Divide dough in half, and shape each half into a roll the length of the cookie.
Place the roll on to the cookie sheet and flatten down to a 1/2 inch thickness.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Remove and cool.
Cut into 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices. Place biscotti on a parchment lined cookie sheet, cut side up.
Bake for 5 - 7 minutes on each side.
Allow to completely cool.

Now you can garnish with a drizzle of lemon flavored white chocolate bark or serve with lemon curd. You can also make a mixture of powder sugar and half-n-half with lemon extract, drizzle over the biscotti.

Enjoy with coffee, tea, or cocoa.

The Gingerbread biscotti dough

the flatten roll out of the oven

cut, baked and cooling.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mini Monkey Bread Cups

The dough - cutting into pieces
Butter and cinnamon sugar in the muffin cups

right out of the oven

Ready to dig in!! Yum!!!!
We love monkey bread, I mean we LOVE monkey bread. It is actually easy to make and something the entire family will eat.

This is my version. I usually make Monkey bread in a loaf pan, a bundt pan, or a springform angel food cake pan. This time I decided to make them in cupcake liners. You can also use store bought frozen dough or even canned biscuits. You don't have to make the dough from scratch. I just love to make bread. I know - I am slightly insane.

Monkey Bread Dough

1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup + 1 Tbs Sugar
1 egg
1 Tbs Salt
2 Tbs yeast (or 4 packages)
2 cups warm water
9 - 10 cups flour
1 cup of butter (more like 2 cups)

Scald you milk, add the 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup melted butter. I usually scald my milk in the microwave for about 2 minutes or so, depending on your microwave.
Let the mixture cool slightly.
Add 2 cups of flour, 1 egg and 1 Tbs salt. Stir well and allow to cool.
Combine 2 cups warm water, 2 Tbs yeast and 1 Tbs sugar - wait for it to bubble or develop.
Pour the warm milk mixture into the yeast mixture. stir. It will be a very liquid consistency.
Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time. I use my Kitchen Aid and dough hook. Add in the remaining 7 cups of flour.
Smooth into ball and cover the dough. Allow to rise until doubled in size.

For the monkey bread -
Melt 1 - 2 cups of butter
combine 1 cup sugar and 1 Tbs cinnamon

Cut the dough in small pieces, about a 1 inch ball. Dip the dough into the melted butter then into the cinnamon sugar. Place 3  - 4 pieces into a muffin cup, depending on the size of your muffin cup. Remember it will rise a but and your don't want it to over flow from the pan.

You will get about 100 muffin cups of monkey bread. I freeze mine immediately for future use.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes, depends on your oven. It may take up to 15 minutes if they are bigger and your oven bakes at a lower temp then mine.

If you freeze them, simply take then out the night before and thaw in your refrigerator.

They are ready to eat!! Let me know if you have any questions or comments. These would also be great if you do any freezer meal groups.


Vaverek Munch Caramel Popcorn

A few years ago my mom brought us some "Moose munch" popcorn. So I decided to recreate it.
I have merged a few recipes together to come up with our version of caramel popcorn.

Vaverek Munch Caramel Popcorn

6 quarts of popped popcorn. I make about 3 -4 bags of microwave. I try to use the unbuttered type. But if you can only find buttered, use light butter.
1 3/4 cups - 2 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans (can use peanuts or any other type of nuts)
1 cup butter
1  - 16 oz - package of light brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup of milk chocolate - chocolate chips
1 cup of white chocolate - chocolate chips
1 bag of M&Ms
Toasted Pecans

Prep your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Popcorn placed on in a layer on a cookie sheet.
Popcorn waiting for the caramel, pecans, and chocolate
Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan. Stir in brown sugar and next 3 ingredients; bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.

On the stove top turning into caramel
Pour mixture over popcorn layer in an even coat.
Bake at 250 degrees for 30 - 45 minutes or so.  Stir every 15 minutes.
Take out of oven and spread the pecans and chocolate chips over the caramel popcorn. Put back in the oven for 10 minutes to melt the chocolate chips.
Take out of oven and spread the pecans over the popcorn and chocolate.

Cool for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into a very large bowl and sprinkle the M&Ms over the popcorn mixture. Stir the bowl  to combine the entire mixture.
fresh out of the oven, just put the pecans and chocolate chips on top of the caramel popcorn
out of the oven before pecans and chocolate chips

Finish product

Monday, December 26, 2011

Emily's new Christmas present

E playing with her new cake cricut

Cutting out hearts

Finished product - cake pops with gum paste hearts
Emily got a great gift (thanks to her awesome momma) a cricut cake cutter. She loves it. We are still playing with it to figure out the secrets but so it. She cut out hearts for cakepops she made with her new.....cakepop maker.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Moravian Stars

When we lived in Columbus (about 11 years ago)  I saw a special on TV, on HGTV I believe. They made these amazing Origami Moravian Stars and I had to make them. I made maybe 20 and stopped. I forgot about them until Pinterest. Now I am determined to make a whole mess of them.
Here is the link to the pattern for making these great little stars.


Mocha Cocoa

I included 2 servings of this cocoa mix in each box. I wanted them to have a nice beverage to drink with their cookies. I made 4 batches. I put mine in bags with the directions included. This would be really cute in mason jars with cute tags and chocolate dipped spoons or peppermint sticks.

Mocha Cocoa
 makes 12 servings

1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup instant espresso powder
1 cup powder milk
1/2 tsp salt

Mix and put in the chosen package.
I put mini chocolate chips on top of the cocoa mix. I just put about 1 - 2 Tablespoons in each bag.

Directions to make the mocha cocoa

Combine 1/3 cup mix and 1 cup boiling water. Stir and enjoy.


White Chocolate Key Lime Truffles

These were originally Lemon truffles. But I did not have any lemon extract, or any lemons, or lemon juice. So - I made it Key Lime.
Yes, this is yet another Pinterest recipe. This recipe came from Kellynbakes' blog

These are yummy and I made a double batch.

You can find the recipe here. I followed the recipe exactly except for using key lime juice instead of Lemon extract. Next time, I will use the lemon extract. I think the flavor will be stronger and stand out more.


Homemade Vanilla Marshmallows

If you have never had homemade marshmallows then you are missing out. They are so much better than the store bought - out of the bag - rubbery kind.

Basic Vanilla Marshmallows

4 packets of gelatin envelopes
3/4 cup water
1 Tbs vanilla extract
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup water (no I did not forget and repeat - you need 2 separate 3/4 cups of water)
1 1/4 cups corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt

Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with a non stick spray then sprinkle with powder sugar, use a heavy hand with the powder sugar.
Fit a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. In the mixer bowl combine the 3/4 cup water with vanilla extract. Sprinkle the gelatin over the liquid to bloom (soften).
Add the sugar, salt, corn syrup and other 3/4 cup of water to a heavy sauce pan ( I use my 2 quart sauce pan). Bring to a boil with the lid on and with out stirring. *I don't do this. I bring it to a boil and continue to stir it. I have issues with it boiling over so I watch it like a hawk.* Continue to boil the mixture until it reaches soft ball stage (240 degrees).
With the mixer at medium speed, pour all of the hot syrup slowly down the side of the bowl into the awaiting gelatin mixture. Be careful as the hot syrup is VERY hot and may splash. Use caution!!! If you have a splash guard, this would be a great time to use it. When all of the syrup is added, bring the mixer up to full speed.
Whip until the mixture is very fluffy and stiff, about 8 - 10 minutes.  Pour the marshmallow into the parchment lined pan and smooth. You can spray your spatula with cooking spray to help scrape the bowl and smooth the marshmallow mixture.
I now sprinkle the top with powder sugar.
Allow the marshmallows to sit for 10 -12 hours. I usually make these in the evening and allow them to sit over night. *Most recipes call for mixing the powder sugar with rice flour, it is not necessary. The plain powder sugar is fine.*
Turn the slab out onto a cutting board. Slice with a pizza cutter dipped in powder sugar. Cut into even squares. You can now dip in powder sugar, dip into melted chocolate, or how ever you would like to decorate them.

There are many variations to these marshmallows. Experiment and tell me what you created! Better yet - share!

Sugar Cookie Truffles

These involved a few steps but worth it!

Yes, I found these on Pinterest. The recipe came from Munchkin Munchies. You can find the recipe here.
I made a double batch and I used homemade plain sugar cookies.

We finished them by dipping in white chocolate and using snowflake sprinkles to decorate them.


Thin Mint Truffles

These are a huge favorite! They are also perfect since Girl Scout Cookie season is coming up soon. Grab a few extra boxes to make these yummy truffles. They even got the seal of approval from the Chastain Girls.

9 oz box of Thin Mints (if you can't get Girl Scout Thin Mints you can get generic Publix Brand variety that will work fine too)
4 oz (1/2 block) cream cheese, softened
Dark chocolate almond bark or dark chocolate candy melts
nonpareils or green candy melts for decoration

Crush the Thin Mints into fine crumbs. You can use a ziploc bag and rolling pin or a food processor. I used the food processor and it made the job easy.
Once they are crushed, transfer them into a large bowl.
Add the softened cream cheese. You can mix them with your hands. If you are not using a stand mixer, this is the easiest way to mix them. They just don't mix well with a wooden spoon. Mix until you can no longer see any cream cheese.

I would suggest refrigerating them for an hour or so. You can roll them into 1" balls right away but chilling them makes the job a little easier.

Roll them into 1" balls, place on a wax paper or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate for an hour or so.

Melt the dark chocolate and dip them completely. I use the 2 fork method, drop the truffle in use one fork to pull out the truffle and the other fork to help get the excess chocolate off the truffle.  Place back on the baking sheet. You can sprinkle them with the nonpareils before the chocolate sets up. Or let the chocolate set up and drizzle with the melted green candy melt.
Refrigerate until firm.
Keep refrigerated to store them. Store in air tight container.

Makes 24 truffles.


Double Chocolate Biscotti

I can't remember where I found this recipe. I think I may have found it on Pinterest? I try hard to write down where I find recipes and give credit where it is due. I truly apologize to whoever first came up with this recipe!

Double Chocolate Biscotti

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa - unsweetened
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 3/4 all-purpose flour
4 oz. white chocolate ( I used half a bag of ghiradelli white chocolate chips)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375 degrees
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy
Beat in the cocoa and baking powder
Beat for 2 minutes.
Add in eggs, 1 at a time. Mix well after each addition.
Stir in the flour.
Stir in the chocolate chips (white and chocolate).
Cover and chill for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 parts - about 9" long log
Flatten each section
Place on pan with parchment paper.
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes
cool for about an hour

Heat oven to 325 degrees
Cut into slices and lay on their sides on a baking sheet (covered with parchment paper)
Bake for 9 minutes, then flip to the other side. Bake for 9 more minutes

Cool for an hour or 2.
Dip in chocolate or drizzle in chocolate. You can also sprinkle with crushed peppermint pieces.


Salted Caramel and Whiskey Truffles

Yes, another Pinterest find!!
I found this one on pinterest and the recipe can be found here on Baker's Royale. These were a little involved but not hard. They are worth the extra effort.


Espresso Shots

Connor and Carter love this cookie! I made 2 batches and kept about 10 at home. They are through them in a matter of minutes. They were a hit!

Here is the link Espresso Shots . This is just me being lazy and not wanting to retype the entire recipe ;-)
I did have a tough time finding the instant espresso powder. I could only find it at Publix. I used Kahlua for the coffee liqueur. I also left the chocolate ganache off the cookie. By the time I remembered to add it, I had already set them on the table to package.


Moravian Cookies

*I did not make these this year. BUT I have made them every other year. I will probably make a batch after Christmas.
This is a great recipe for a crispy ginger cookie. I got the recipe from Martha Stewart way, way back in 1999. I searched for the recipe on her website but was not able to find it.

Moravian Cookies
Martha Stewart Living: Program Guide printed 11/17/1999

makes about 375 very thin cookies

5 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 Tbs ground ginger
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup molasses
1 cup (1/2 cup) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1/4 pound) vegetable shortening, melted and cooled

1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together 1 cup flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

2. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddles attachment, combine the molasses and brown sugar; beat until well-combined. Add the vegetable shortening and butter. On low speed, add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, to form a stiff dough.

3.Divide the dough in half. Place each half of dough on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a rectangle, and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

4. Begin with one half of the dough , and divide the rectangle into quarters. Working on a lightly floured baking mat, roll out one of the quarters as this as possible, until it's almost translucent, to completely cover the baking mat. Trim the edges, forming the dough into a rectangle. I use the silpat silicone mats. The rectangles don't have to be perfect but as close to the mat size as possible in order to get the most cookies out of the dough. Keep the quarters refrigerated, but if you are baking them all at once this step is not critical.

5. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place the rolled-out dough and the baking mat on a pan. Bake 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and continue baking for 4 more minutes.  Remove the sheet from the oven, and, using a cookie cutter, quickly stamp (cut) out as many as you can before the dough cools. Transfer the stamped-out cookies to a wire rack to cool. If dough becaomes too hard to tamp, reheat it in the oven for 45 to 60 seconds. Continue stamping out the cookies until all the dough is used.
Repeat the process until all the quarters have been baked and cookies cut out.

* I use a round fluted cookie cutter, about 2" in width. You can use other shapes but I found the round gets the most out of the dough.

Grasshopper Squares

These recipes came from way back in 2005. Carter loves Grasshopper pie and I thought this was a good variation. It is yummy!
The actual recipe is really long and involved. One way to help cut down on time is to use boxed brownie mix and make in a 11 x 14 sheet pan. Or a 9 x 13 pan if you want them to be a bit thicker.

Here is the link to the recipe:


White Russian Cupcakes

I found this recipe on Pinterest. Baked Perfection's blog featured the recipe and I was inspired!! Carter's associates loved these cupcakes. Thanks Baked Perfection!!!

White Russian Cupcakes
makes 12 cupcakes (it truly makes 12 cupcakes) I made 4 batches

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 TBS butter, softened
1 large egg and 1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/8 cup vodka
1/4 cup Kahlua, divided

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Line the cupcake pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl or in a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until combined. Add egg and egg white, one at a time. Then add the vanilla, vodka, and 1/8 cup of Kahlua. Gradually add the flour mixture in the three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions, ending with the flour mixture.

bake 17 - 20 minutes. I had to bake mine for 16 minutes, but my oven bakes hot. The toothpick should come out clean  when inserted in the middle.  While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with the remaining 1/8 cup Kahlua. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire tack before frosting.

Kahlua Buttercream

1 stick of butter, sfotened
2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
 3 - 4 TBS Kahlua

Beat butter until creamy. Add salt. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until combined. Add Kahlua 1 Tbs at a time until you reach desired consistency.

They are awesome!


I make these every year for Christmas. I found the recipe in the newspaper, but can't remember which one now. I tried several recipes but this one by far the best I have found. *Warning - it is time consuming and the butter makes everything greasy as you are cutting and packaging. Also if you are making more than one batch - make them separately. Do not double the batch.

2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup light Karo syrup

Prep an 8 x 8 inch pan. You can line it with foil then butter it or use parchment paper. Make sure you leave enough to hang over the sides.
In a large pot ( I use a 2 quart pot), heat sugar, butter, heavy cream, and corn syrup to a boil over a medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, uncovered, for about 35 minutes. Stir constantly. You want it to reach 250 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Remove from the heat and spread evenly in the pan.
Cool completely, for about 2 hours or until set.
Remove the candy from the pan and place on a flat surface. Using a straight edge knife slice the caramels into 1 inch squares. You may have to spray the knife with a cooking release spray. The caramels will get sticky.
You know have to wrap each piece in a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap. This is a great job for your kids! You really need to wrap each one individually or they will stick together.
Store in an air tight container or tin for up to 4 weeks.

Per candy (based on an 1" x 1" piece)
78 calories



This is my fudge recipe. I found it many years ago and it is a favorite. Not an easy fix but worth the effort.

In a large bowl combine the following:
12 oz chocolate chips, semisweet
12 oz German Chocolate baking squares
2 tsp vanilla
optional - 2 cups of chopped nuts.

Set aside. I put mine in my stand mixer bowl.

4 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tbs butter
1 can evaporated milk
pinch of salt

Bring to a boil. Keep at a boil for 5 minutes. Stir constantly while boiling. It will spill over if you just let it boil. Really keep an eye on it.
After 5 minutes - pour into the bowl of chocolate. CAREFULLY turn on the beater in the bowl. Or beat by hand until smooth and the chocolate is melted.

Pour into a 9 x 13 buttered pan.

Cool before cutting.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Moravian Lemon Cookies

I make these into snowflake shapes. I can't remember where I found this recipe, I have been using it since 2003. I make a double batch of these too. It is my understanding that the Moravian community is originally from the same region of Europe as Slovakia where Carter's family originates.

Moravian Lemon Cookies
2 1/3 cups cake flour (not self rising)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 cup butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp milk
1 1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 Tbs grated lemon rind
confectioner's sugar for dusting

Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in medium size bowl.
Beat the shortening and butter in a bowl until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes
Beat in egg
Beat in milk, lemon extract, and lemon rind until combined
On low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture until combined
Cover and chill for 4 hours (I don't always do this step - it is okay if you skip it)
Heat oven to 325 degrees
Divide dough ini half and roll out dough about 1/4 inch thick
Use the cutters to cut the cookies
Bake for 12 - 14 minutes
Transfer to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Dust with the powder sugar.

Store in air tight container.


Bourbon Balls

This recipe is from my mother in law, Lorene Vaverek.
I also doubled this recipe for the boxes too.

Bourbon Balls

1 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafers
1 1/2 cups ground pecans
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 Tbs cocoa
1/4 cup bourbon
1 Tbs vanilla
2 Tbs corn syrup, I use light but dark would work too
1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar for coating

Combine all the ingredients. Refrigerate for an hour or so.
Scoop into balls and roll in powder sugar.
Can be stored in an air tight container for a week or two. They mellow after a few days. They can also be frozen before you roll them in the powder sugar.


Gingerbread Truffles

This recipe is from by Elizabeth Labau

I made a double batch for the goodie boxes

I also copy and pasted the recipe from the website. I did not alter or change a thing except I dipped them in white candy coating and sprinkled them with gingerbread men sprinkles.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 30 truffles


  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup finely chopped nuts
  • 2.5 cups gingersnap crumbs (about one 12-oz box)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, for rolling


1. Place the white chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring after every 45 seconds to prevent overheating.
2. Once the white chocolate is melted, add the corn syrup, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract. If it seems to be separating, stir gently with a whisk until it comes back together. Stir in the gingersnap crumbs, powdered sugar, all the spices, the salt, and the chopped nuts. Place the mixture in the refrigerator until it is firm enough to shape, about 1 hour.
3. Using a teaspoon, roll the candy into small balls between your palms. Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl, and roll the balls in the sugar.
4. Place the gingerbread truffles in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. These candies store for several weeks, but they tend to lose some of their strong ginger flavor after about a week. Allow the truffles to come to room temperature before serving.

Red Velvet Cake Balls

This is my Red Velvet Cake recipe and Cream Cheese Frosting made into a cake ball.

Red Velvet Cake
Makes 2 - 8" cake rounds

2 1/2 cups flour
1 /2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 TBS cocoa
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
 2 eggs
2 oz (2 bottles) red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

prep pans by using vegetable shortening and flour (I make a mix of flour and cocoa) on the pans (grease the pan then sprinkle the flour to coat the pan)
Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Sift the flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa together in a medium bowl
 Cream sugar and oil together in a large mixing bowl (takes 3 - 5 minutes)
When the mixture is well creamed add in the eggs one at a time. Mix well.
Slowly add in the food color and vanilla.
Alternately add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk. Begin add end with the buttermilk.
Mix well.
Pour into the prepped pans.
Bake for 28 - 30 minutes.
They also make great cupcakes. Or to make the cake balls pour into a prepped 9 x 13 pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

Cream Cheese Walnut Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
 1 # ( 4 cups) powder sugar
 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup  - 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) You can also use pecans

Cream the cream cheese and butter. Add the vanilla and powder sugar. Mix well.
Fold in the nuts.

* To make the cake balls. Crumble the cooled red velvet cake. Add the cream cheese frosting. Refrigerate the mixture for several hours. Scoop by the tablespoon full onto a pan. Refrigerate for another hour or two.  Melt white candy coating. Dip each the cake balls into the white chocolate. Let set or refrigerate until set.


**Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

I forgot to add to my Pumpkin Whoopie Pie post the Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe.
I prefer it to store bought varieties
Here it is!!
1 TBS Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Ground ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Combine and store in an air tight container.


A great tool for baking

I have one tool that I love. It is my cookie scoop. It makes life so much easier. You can get them anywhere. I think I got mine at Target or maybe I received it as a gift? I can't remember. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!

So you can see what I am talking about here is a link Cookie Scoop  (I am not endorsing or recommending this brand or style - it is just what I have and use. So I guess I am endorsing it!)


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I make these starting in October. They are great with or without the filling. They also freeze well. If you are going to freeze them. Lay them on a flat cookie sheet, freeze then package with parchment or wax paper between the layers.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
from Family Fun magazine November 2005

2 eggs
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
3 cups flour (can use all purpose or whole wheat, or a combo of both)
1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice **
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Filling/Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 - 3 cups confectioner's sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees
In separate bowl combine flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Beat eggs, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until smooth.
Stir in pumpkin.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture a half cup at a time, blend well after each addition. (Note: I use my stand mixer, add the flour mixture in a bit at a time)
Drop by heaping tablespoon onto a baking sheet. (Make sure you use parchment or sprayed baking sheet. The recipe says ungreased but trust me - use something on the baking sheet. The recipe also says to flatten them, but this is not necesary. They flatten on their own.)
Bake for 10 -12 minutes and transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely before filling. (this is a good time to freeze them if you are going to do so. Do not freeze them with the filling, they will get soggy)
To make the filling:
Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract in a bowl until light and fluffy.
Mix in the confectioner's sugar a little bit (1/2 cup) at a time until the frosting is spreadable. You can also add a teaspoon or 2 of milk if it is too thick.
To assemble:
Turn one cookie on it's top and spread a generous amount of frosting on each one. Top with another cookie.  Keep refrigerated since you are using the cream cheese frosting. Cover well and they will be good for up to a week.
I usually get about 40 cookies. The recipe says 10 - 14. They must have used BIG tablespoons!!

These are super easy and great for kids to make.


Christmas Eve Deliveries

They are all delivered!!!! 30 varities - DONE.  Now time to finish posting all the recipes!
Yes - we are already working and adjusting the list for 2012.

From our families to yours - have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year..


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Caramel Filled Brownies

I made 3 batches of these. I also used a cheater - I did not make the brownies from scratch. I know, it is awful but I was trying to save a little time.

Caramel Filled Brownies

1  - 1 1/2 cups pecans - I use chopped pecans
for the Brownies:
12 oz bittersweet chocolate or chopped up chocolate
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 TBS vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flours
1/2 tsp salt
Or use a box of brownie mix ;-)

1 (14 oz) bag of caramels
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (more if you like)

350 degree oven. Place pecans on a cookie sheet and toast for 7 -9 minutes. Let cool and chop.

for Brownies:
13 x 9 pan - line with parchment paper and spray with pan release spray. At this point you can use the box of brownie mix. Follow the directions and put half the batter in the pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Or make them from scratch - recipe follows.

Place chocolate and butter in microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and repeat until smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes. While the chocolate cools, in a separate bowl beat the sugar and eggs on high speed of an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture into sugar/egg mixture. Add a small amount of chocolate at a time or you will cook your eggs. Gradually add the flour and salt. Pour half of the batter into the lined pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Cool brownies for 20 minutes. Prepare filling.

Put the bag of caramels  along with 1/3 cup of heavy cream in a micro safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Put back in microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Place over the brownies. Spread 1/2 the pecans over the caramel.

Put the remaining brownie mixture over the caramel and pecans. Scatter chocolate chips and the remaining pecans over the brownie mixture.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes or so. Until the brownies look dry.

Cool. You may want to refrigerate the brownies in order to make cutting easier. These are thick and rich.


For my Keefer Girls

I am an only child and my cousin Kelly means the world to me. She has 2 of the most beautiful and perfect girls  - Kerrington is 3 and Quinn just turned 1.  I just love love love them!!!
So in their Christmas box I am making them a batch of this Gingerbread Play-dough I found on Sweet Sugar Belle's blog.

I put mine in a quart canning jar with gingerbread cookie cutters attached.

Gingerbread Play-dough via Sweet Sugar Belle

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 TBS ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 tsp orange extract (optional)

In a medium saucepan whisk together dry ingredients. Next mix in the water, oil, and orange extract and stir until a thick batter is formed.  Cook the mixture over low/ medium heat until a thick dough forms. Turn out onto parchment paper and knead until smooth. Makes about 2 cups of dough.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Margarita Balls

These are a favorite of everyone. It is like a mini margarita in cookie form. I dare you to eat one and not love them!!

Margarita Balls

1 package vanilla wafers (12 oz) finely chopped - I use a food processor
1 1/2 cups of pretzels to make 3/4 finely chopped pretzels - use the food processor
combine these and set aside.
1 package (16 oz) confectioner's sugar
3/4 cup frozen margarita or limeade concentrate (thawed)
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp tequila (optional - although it is a minimal amount compared to the other ingredients)
1 tsp orange-flavored liqueur (optional)
combine and mix with the vanilla wafers and pretzels until well combined
refrigerate for 2 - 3 hours.
1/2 - 1 cup granulated sugar
zest the rind of 3 limes
combine the granulated sugar and zest of limes. Now divide the sugar mixture into 2 bowls.
In one bowl add a few drops of red food coloring and combine well.
In the other bowl add a few drops of green food coloring and combine well. You can actually use any colors or leave the food coloring out.
Scoop the margarita mixture and coat in the granulated sugar mixture. I make half red and half green.
after they are all scooped refrigerate the balls.



I know - Buckeyes - not a secret recipe and I am sure everyone has their own twist on them.
This Buckeye recipe came from my Grandma McCray. She made these every year, maybe because she lives in Ohio, maybe because she likes Peanut Butter....who knows. I double the recipe, freeze the Peanut Butter filling then dip them in Chocolate.


1 cup smooth Peanut Butter
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar/10X powder sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (Use butter not margarine)
Melted chocolate, I use the chocolate candy bark

Combine the peanut butter and the softened butter until it is well mixed. You should not have any lumps.  Gradually add the powder sugar.
Refrigerate the mixture.
Scoop into balls, about a tablespoon amount.
Freeze or refrigerate overnight or several hours.
With a toothpick dip into melted 3/4 of the way.
Makes about 40 pieces.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Surprise! Another Pinterest find. I am in love with Pinterest.
 The recipe comes from here Annie's Eats.  I doubled it and it turned out great. I will make one more single batch this weekend. Right now they are scooped and frozen until next Tuesday.

Pumpkin Spice Truffles
Yield: about 30 truffles
1 cup white chocolate, coarsely chopped (about 5 oz)
½ cup pumpkin puree
¾ cup finely ground gingersnaps
¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp. confectioners' sugar
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon **I used pumpkin pie spice blend instead of straight cinnamon
Pinch of orange zest
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
For dipping:
about 16 oz. chopped white chocolate, melted (or white candy melts)*
For garnish:
Additional gingersnap crumbs
To make the truffle filling, melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water just until smooth.  Set aside to cool slightly.  Add the pumpkin, gingersnap and graham cracker crumbs, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and cream cheese.  Mix well until completely blended and smooth.  Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator or freezer until it has thickened up enough to scoop and roll into balls (about 1 hour).
Scoop the filling mixture and roll into balls, about 1 inch in diameter.  Transfer to a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet.  Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer and let chill until firm, about 2 hours.
When you are ready to dip the truffles, melt the white chocolate or candy melts for coating in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water.  Once completely melted and smooth, carefully dip one of the balls of filling into the chocolate.  Turn quickly to coat and balance on the tines of a fork to shake off the excess.  Transfer to a lined baking sheet and sprinkle with additional gingersnap crumbs, if desired.  Repeat with the remaining filling balls.  Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator and chill until the coating is set.
*I prefer the flavor of good quality white chocolate to that of candy melts.  However, melted white chocolate can be tricky to work with sometimes so candy melts may be an easier way to go.


Eggnog Truffles

 I am not sure where I found this recipe now but I know it was on Pinterest! Found it!! Here is the link from

I will say - I had a hard time getting my white chocolate to melt. I think it was old and didn't cooperate at all. My second batch was with a new bag of the Ghirardelli white chocolate chips and it worked out much better. I made 2 double batches and will make a 3rd double batch this weekend.

Eggnog Truffles
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Refrigerate: 5 hours
·    1 pound white baking chocolate, divided
·    4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
·    1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
·    1/4 teaspoon McCormick Ground Nutmeg
·    1/4 teaspoon McCormick Imitation Rum Extract
·    McCormick Ground Nutmeg (for sprinkling)
1.    Melt 8 ounces of the chocolate as directed on package. Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, nutmeg and extract in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Add melted chocolate; beat until well mixed. Cover. Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm.
2.    Shape into 24 (about 3/4-inch) balls. Place on wax paper-lined tray. Refrigerate until ready to dip.
3.    Coat only 12 truffles at a time. Melt 4 ounces of the remaining chocolate in small microwavable bowl on MEDIUM, 1 1/2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Using a fork, dip 1 truffle at a time into the chocolate. Place on wax paper-lined tray. Sprinkle truffles with nutmeg. Repeat with remaining 4 ounces chocolate and remaining truffles.
4.    Refrigerate 1 hour or until chocolate is set. Store truffles in refrigerator up to 1 week.
Makes 2 dozen.
Test Kitchen Tip: When dipping the truffles, do so in 2 batches (as directed above in Step 3) as the coldness of the truffles may cause the melted chocolate to harden. 

To tide you over...

Sweet Sugar Belle posted on Facebook a cookie swap round up link. Tons and tons of cookies!!! head over to The Little Kitchen to try them out. The link up is called The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011.


A little behind

I know  -  I am a little behind in posting. Hoping to catch up in the next couples days. I will also finally have pictures!!!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup granulated Sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup cream PB
1 cup Butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 (6oz) or 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat Oven to 325 degrees.

Cream Butter, sugars, and peanut butter in a large bowl

Add eggs

Stir together the flour and baking soda in another bowl. Add to creamed mixture

Beat just until well mixed.

Stir in Chocolate Chips.

Drop by teaspoon fulls (we use a small scoop) onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. You can flat them slightly. We do not.

Bake 10 -15 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned.

Cool slightly on pan then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes 6 dozen yummy cookies!!