Cowboy Cookies

I know that these cookies look like they’re for kids because of the bright colorful M&Ms.  Well forget the kids, the adults love this cookie too!  They are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, my favorite.  The candy shell also gives it a nice crunch and the oats give it a great chewy texture.

I adapted this from a cookie jar mix recipe.  It is a beautiful  way to give a gift and even better because they taste amazing!!

Cowboy Cookies

Adapted from Bakerella

 

1/2 cup softened butter  (1 stick)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup cooking oats

3/4 cup M&Ms

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, blend the butter until soft.  Add egg and vanilla, then the sugars and blend well.  Next pour in the rest of the dry ingredients and blend until everything is incorporated well.  Use a #30 scoop or roll the cookie dough into 2 inch balls.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-13 minutes.

Yields about 24 cookies.

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Chocolate Eclair Dessert

This has got to be one of the easiest yet most divine desserts I’ve ever made.  It hits all the notes of sweet, creamy, crunchy and chocolate-y.  The best part about it is there’s no cooking involved.  It’s just really easy to assemble, but you certainly don’t have to tell your friends or family that.

Start by making the vanilla pudding from a box.  Whisk until thick and creamy.

Fold in the store-bought whipped topping.

Butter a pan and puzzle piece together some graham crackers.

Layer the pudding mixture and crackers, using an off set spatula to smooth everything out.  Lick fingers as needed.

Melt together bittersweet chocolate, heavy cream and butter.  What’s bad about that?

Nothing!

After three layers of graham crackers, pour on the chocolate ganache.  It should be thin enough to pour and cover the whole pan easily.

Here’s the beautiful layered shot.  Sprinkle some toffee bits for crunch and it’s ready for the fridge.

After a few hours or overnight in the fridge, what you’ll get is a decadent dessert that pleases adults and children alike.  The graham crackers turn soft and creamy.  The vanilla pudding mixture is just sweet enough to balance the bitterness of the chocolate.  And then the toffee chips on top give it just the right amount of crunchy texture.

This turned out to be one of my favorite new desserts of the summer.  Mostly because it did not require turning on the oven, but even more so because of the taste, yummers!

Chocolate Éclair Dessert

Cake:

1 (1-pound) box graham crackers

2 (3 1/4-ounce) boxes instant French vanilla pudding

3 1/2 cups milk

1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Toffee bits

 

Ganache:

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

 

Butter the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan. Line the pan with whole graham crackers. In a bowl, mix pudding with milk; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Pour half the pudding mixture over graham crackers. Place another layer of whole graham crackers on top of pudding layer. Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture and cover with another layer of graham crackers.

For ganache, combine ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 minute and stir.  Continue in 30 second intervals and stir until melted and glossy.  Pour ganache over the cake  and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Salted Toffee Brownie Cookies

Don’t make these cookies the way I did.  I know that sounds weird, but please heed my warning!  Actually, everything about this cookie was great except………I put WAY too much sea salt on them.  I forgot that sea salt is much saltier than normal table salt, hence do not overdo the salt on these cookies!! I beg of you.

Mix together the eggs, sugar and vanilla.

Dump in the melted chocolate and butter.

Lick the chocolate bowl when no one is looking.  I won’t tell!

Blend in the dry ingredients.

I used an ice cream scoop and then pressed the cookie batter down for even cooking.

Do you see the amount of salt on here?  Use half as much as this.  Trust me.  Mother knows best.

This brownie cookie is delightfully light and not very sweet.  I love the surprise crunch of the toffee chips too.  It really is a good balance between brownie and cookie.  The balance of salty and sweet however, was way off.  Hence the warning.

Salted Toffee Brownie Cookies

From Kitchenist

makes 24

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup toffee bits
a few pinches sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 170°C/350°F. Melt chocolate and butter together, either in a small saucepan over the stove, on in a bowl in the microwave. Set aside.

2. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3. In another bowl (or using a mixer), beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add the melted chocolate/butter mixture and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the toffee bits- batter will be very thick.
4. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 1 to 2 inches apart. (These cookies will not spread much.) Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the top of each cookie, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. The tops of the cookies will be shiny, crackly and brown, like a brownie. Cool on a wire rack.

American Flag Cake

This is a cake that I made last year, but I thought I’d bring it up to remind you of the wonderful holiday coming up in America in a few days, Independence Day.  Not only is this cake patriotic, it tastes amazing!!  This cake celebrates the colors of America’s flag and the tasty sweet berries that summer has to offer.

This 4th of July, enjoy your family, the fireworks and this cake!

Chocolate Banana Bread

Everyone’s had the typical banana bread, right?  Well, take that and kick it up about 10 notches.  Oh and of course, add some chocolate to that.  It pretty much takes the typical and moves it into the extraordinary!

If you happen to have some browning bananas, I would highly suggest transforming them into this spectacular creation of a banana bread.  I would even go as far as to hide bananas from my kids, in the hopes that they get brown fast enough to make this again.

Cream the butter and sugar.

Use two brown bananas and mash them in a bowl.

Add the mashed bananas and sour cream.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients, then add it to the wet.

Add the mini chocolate chips and walnuts, for extra sweetness and crunch.

Pour the batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Look at this warm chocolate beauty!  I like how those mini chocolate chips are peeking out, enticing you to come and pluck them out one by one.

I guarantee that after this banana bread comes out of the oven, the 10 minutes you need to wait for this to cool will be the longest 10 minutes of your life!!  Even though banana bread is thought of as more of a breakfast food, my family ended up eating it for dessert.  Yup, it’s that good!

Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe

From Savory Sweet Life

 

1 stick of salted butter, softened to room temp.

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

2 large ripened bananas mashed ( or 2.5 small bananas)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2 Tbl. cocoa powder

1/2 cup of sour cream

1 cup of mini chocolate chips (regular chocolate chips work too)

optional 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

 

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan, or 2 mini pans with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Stir in egg, mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla until well blended.

Add baking soda, cocoa, and flour.

Mix everything until well incorporated (about 3 minutes in a stand mixer).

Add chocolate chips and nuts (if applicable).

Pour batter into loaf pan(s) and bake for 50 minutes – 1 hr.

Insert a tooth pick into the center of the loaf and check to see if it comes out clean when you pull it out.

Remove from heat and allow bread to rest in the loaf pan for 10 minutes.

Invert the loaf pans onto a cooling rack. Enjoy warm or cold.

White Chocolate Raspberry Brownie Bites

My sweet daughter just turned 8-years old and we had a tea party at home.  This is one of the mini morsels on the tea table. That’s why they’re sitting on a fancy paper doily.  I love the the color combination with the little pop of raspberry red on top.  The sweetness of the brownie and chocolate were offset perfectly by the tangy berry.  The white chocolate also served it’s purpose with a crunchy texture.  It is definitely a decadent bite of deliciousness!

Best of all, these are super easy to make with your favorite box brownie mix.

Follow the box directions and dump everything into a bowl.

Line the mini muffin pan with paper liners.  I used my handy #70 scoop, which is about one tablespoon.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

As you can see from the bottom left corner, I left one muffin cup unlined.  I wanted to see how it would work without a liner so I could report back to you if it was worth the trouble and calories to spray each cup with oil.

Well, it was NOT worth it!  I’m glad I had the paper liners.  I had to pry the brownie out with a knife and some of it cracked off.  I can’t imagine having to do that about 50 more times!

It is very important to let these puppies cool completely before trying to peel the paper liner off.  I found out the hard way.  I was being careful, but the warm ones weren’t quite set and I lost the bottoms off a few brownies.

I just love miniature things, don’t you?  Mini chihuahuas, Mini Coopers, and mini brownies…………I love them all!

Once they’re all cooled and peeled and placed on a lovely fancy doily, you can top them with anything you want.  I decided on melted white chocolate.  I just melted one cup of white chocolate and spooned it into a sandwich bag, cut the corner and piped each one and topped it right away with the raspberry.

One box of brownie mix will make about 55 mini brownies.

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Muffins

Before I begin, YES, I do realize this is only my first post of this month and it’s already December 21st.  Does that tell you a little about my busy life right now?

Amongst all the normal preparations for Christmas…………..I’ve hosted and attended several parties……………Helped  my son with his science fair project……………..Attended weekly Bible Study……………..Helped the kids study for Chinese school midterm exams……………….Crocheted like crazy for Christmas gifts……………….Baked for neighbors…………and tried to remember to breathe.  Okay, enough with the excuses.  Let’s get to these muffins!

Is it bad that I hope my bananas go brown and mushy before my kids can eat them, just so I have a reason to bake these?  Well, after tasting these muffins, I would buy perfectly good bananas and let them go brown, just for this recipe!

Talk about moist and fluffy.  This definitely makes getting up in the morning a little easier.  Knowing these muffins are waiting for me in the kitchen, puts a little pep in my step in the morning!

Start by mashing your ripe bananas with a fork.

Mix and whisk all the dry ingredients together.

I felt that my hand mixer was getting a little jealous of my stand mixer, so I brought it out to play today.

After adding the dry ingredients to the wet, slowly fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Fill your paper liners 3/4 full and bake until your kitchen fills with the delectable smell of bananas and chocolate!

These muffins look even better sitting on this beautiful jade-green plate.  I got a set of these beautiful plates when my husband’s grandmother died this past summer.  They remind me of her and the colors of New Mexico, where she lived.

Thank you Grandma Katie, we love and miss you!

Moist Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Adapted from Curious Foodie

 

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup milk

2 small eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 20 muffin cups or line with muffin papers.
2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
3. Combine bananas, sugar, butter, milk, eggs and vanilla extract in a medium bowl with hand mixer
4. Mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over-mix!
5. Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.
6. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, fill it till 3/4 full.
7. Bake until muffins are golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, for about 20-25 minutes. (10 to 15 minutes for miniature muffins)
8. Cool muffins in tray for 5 minutes before transferring muffins to cooling rack to cool completely.

Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Ganache

Cheesecake may be one of the most decadent types of dessert.  This cheesecake bar with chocolate ganache adds an additional layer (no pun intended) of richness and decadence.  If you are craving something sweet, creamy cool and chocolatey this will definitely not disappoint.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Start with using one and a half sleeves of graham crackers to make the buttery crumb crust.

I just love watching things whirl around inside my food processor and become transformed into something completely different.

Here’s the completely transformed cracker crumbs.

They look a little dizzy to me, poor things.

Yup, exactly one and a half cups.

The crumbs with my 3 brown sugar domes (shape made by my measuring spoon).  Drizzle in the butta!

Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the pan evenly.

Be sure to lick your fingers when this step is done.

Look at this creamy richness.  Good enough to eat with a spoon………but I resisted, barely.

Smooth everything out as evenly as possible.  I also threw the pan down on the counter top a few times to get air bubbles out.

Now for the chocolate ganache.  I used half and half instead of heavy cream as the original recipe indicated.  I figure it would help with my sweet tooth guilt.  Didn’t really…….

Here is the masterpiece after an overnight stay in the refrigerator.  I prepare my knife in a glass of hot water.  Wipe it dry and cut your bars out.  The hot knife makes it so much easier.  Make sure to dip the knife back into the glass and wipe clean before each new cut.  This will ensure nice clean cuts.

This picture kinda makes me wanna lick the screen.

But luckily I don’t have to, I still have some pieces left in the fridge.  If my kids didn’t get to them first.  Oh, I gotta go check!

Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Ganache

Adapted from Bakerella

Crust
1 ½ cups crushed graham crackers (1 ½ sleeves)
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
6 Tablespoons melted butter

  • Mix cookies and sugar together.
  • Add butter and stir until combined.
  • Press mixture into a 9 X 13 inch pan.

Cheesecake
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
3 eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cream the sugar, cream cheese, and flour with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy.
  • On medium low, add eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition.
  • Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until just combined.
  • Pour on prepared crust and bake for about 45 minutes.
  • Remove and cool.
  • Prepare ganache.

Chocolate Ganache
1 cup half-and-half
2 oz. butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
¼ cup powdered sugar

  • Heat cream and butter on stove until just before boiling.
  • Remove from stove and pour over chocolate. Stir until completely combined.
  • Add powdered sugar and beat with a wire whisk until combined and smooth.
  • Pour over cooled cheesecake.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Cut into bars and serve.

Makes 24 bars.

American Flag Cake

Okay, I’ve officially been off the blogging radar for a month and I’ve missed it dearly.  A lot has happened since my last post, including moving into a new house.  For anyone that has ever done that, you know it’s lots of work and doesn’t seem to end for months to come.  I still have boxes to unpack and things to hang on the walls, but it’s slowly feeling more like home everyday.  What better way to celebrate than to make a cake for our country’s birthday!!

I am very happy to post this flag cake in celebration of Independence Day.  The summer berries are just so festive and I love the combination of whipped cream frosting with berries.  Here I made a chocolate sheet cake and it was the perfect size and shape for our flag.

The field of blueberries with white whipped cream stars.

I realize that I have the wrong number of stars, but that’s okay.  This is a cake, not a history lesson!

The strawberry stripe.

Try making this on Monday for your 4th of July barbeque and I guarantee people will LOVE it!!  There really is no other food that’s more patriotic than this, right?  And besides, it tastes amazing!

Chocolate Flag Cake with  Whipped Cream Frosting

From Hershey’s Kitchens

2 cups sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pan.
Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes.

Whipped cream

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Assemble Cake

When cake is cooled, place on platter and cover cake with whipped cream evenly.  Start by placing the blueberries on the top left of the flag.  You do not need to be precise, just eyeball it.  Wash and cut strawberries and place them in line.  Spoon the remaining whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a start tip and pipe the white stripes in between the strawberry stripes.  Then finish with white stars on the blueberries.

Chocolate Mousse Pie

This pie was so fun and easy to make.

Why so fun?  Well, I got to beat the heck out of the graham crackers in a zip top bag.  I guess you could just put them in a food processor and push a button.  But, what’s the fun in pushing a button?

Then I got to pipe whipped cream.  I love piping those pretty little scallops!

You can see that I left the crust a little bit thick.  This is by design.  Since the chocolate mousse is so rich, I really like a thicker crust to balance it out.  The contrast of smooth to crunch is just fun in your mouth.  And of course the creamy whipped cream doesn’t hurt either!

Give it a whirl and tell me what you think.

 

Chocolate Mousse Pie


Graham cracker pie crust:

1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup white sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 cup powdered sugar

1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups heavy cream

Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter or margarine, and cinnamon until well blended . Press mixture into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7 minutes. Cool.

In large bowl, combine cream cheese and cocoa. Beat well until smooth and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. In medium bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; fold into chocolate cream cheese mixture.

Pour into cooled pie crust. Cover and chill until firm, 4-5 hours.  Decorate with whipped cream if desired.