Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies: 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (Week 10)

Have you had these?  
Let's just say we've done our fair share of sampling. This week I wanted to try and recreate them at home. I found this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction that sounded pretty close and it was! I left out the pecans, but would make them again and try it both ways.  I think this is the first time I've used cornstarch in a cookie, but I like the way these kept their shape from the oven and didn't flatten out as they cooled.  These are a must try! Tip - don't let the kids add the sea salt ;)

We're closing in on the end of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, but maybe you're just starting to think about your holiday baking. Be sure to look back over the previous weeks for some great baking ideas.  Check out all of the recipes shared this week at the end of this post and visit Brenda's blog, Meal Planning Magic, for the hop details.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

Source: Sally's Baking Addiction

  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 16 wrapped caramels, cut into 4 or 5 pieces each
  • Sea salt
Line an ungreased cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.

In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. On low speed, slowly mix it into the wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick and sticky. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Drop 1 Tbsp balls of dough onto cookie sheet OR used a standard-sized cookie scoop. If the dough is too crumbly, use your hands to roll the balls of dough. Press a few pieces of caramel onto the tops of the cookies and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. Do NOT cook them longer than 10 minutes. Remove and let cool for 3 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack.

Notes: Use cold dough for each batch (keep refrigerated between baking each batch). Do not drop dough onto warm cookie sheets; allow sheets to cool between batches.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

1-Hour Cinnamon Rolls: 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (Week 9)

Every year, we have cinnamon rolls for breakfast one Christmas morning. Usually, I am staying up late to make them the night before or getting up really early on Christmas to start them. This year, I am taking the lazy way out. Not only am I skipping the long, time-consuming recipe that requires kneading and two rises by trying this 1-hour recipe, I am making them ahead of time and freezing them.  I'll get them out and let them sit in the refrigerator the night before and then pop them in the oven for just a few minutes to warm them.

These did take me longer than one-hour, but I had a few interruptions and also heated the milk and butter too long, so I let it sit for several minutes to cool. If you stay on task and work quickly, you can get them done in just about 1 hour. The finished rolls were just as good as the other recipes I've tried. I really liked the brown sugar in the filling in addition to the granulated. Most recipes I've made only use the granulated. Icing options are up to you. I went with cream cheese, but maple or plain vanilla would be just as tasty. Another neighbor gift idea??  Possibly!

Only 3 weeks left in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats!  My list of things to try is still long, so it will be hard to choose which three to make!  Thanks again to Brenda, from Meal Planning Magic for setting everything up each week.  Check out the other goodies below!

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

Source: Gimme Some Oven


  • 1 cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 envelope instant or ‘rapid rise’ yeast (approx. 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 egg
Cinnamon-Sugar Filling:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, (completely) softened
Cream Cheese Icing:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk (if needed)

To Make The Dough & Filling:
Combine milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute, then remove and stir. Continue heating in 20 second intervals, pausing after each to stir, until the butter is melted and the milk is warm to the touch but not hot. If needed, let the milk mixture sit for a few minutes until it is warm but not hot.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Stir by hand to combine. Add the egg and milk mixture, and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. When the dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, you have added enough flour. Continue beating for 5 minutes on medium-low speed. Remove the dough hook and cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make your filling by whisking together sugars and cinnamon in a bowl until combined.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured work surface. Then use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 14 x 9 inches in size. (If you want all edges to be even, you can use a pizza slicer to cut the dough into a perfect rectangle.) Use a knife or pastry spatula to spread the softened 1/2 cup of butter out evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Then sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Beginning at the 14-inch edge, tightly roll up the dough. And then give the final seam a little pinch so that it seals. Use a piece of dental floss* to "cut" off the two ends of the roll (just a centimeter or so) so that they are even. Then cut the remaining dough into 11 or 12 equal pieces. (11 rolls seem to fit in a pie plate, while 12 rolls fit in a rectangular pan.)

(*To cut dough with dental floss, simply break off a piece of floss about 12 inches long. Then very carefully slide the middle of the floss under the dough to the place where you want to "cut". Then pull the ends of the floss up and cross over the top of the dough. Then give a quick tug to literally cut all the way through the dough. This is the best method for not squishing your dough while cutting it -- although the standard knife method still works too.)

Place each of the cut cinnamon rolls into a greased pie plate or 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Then cover again with a damp towel, and leave the dish in a warm place to rise for 25 minutes. (I typically turn on my oven to 200 degrees, then turn it off and place the dish in the oven with the door cracked open. It's a great option if you don't have a vent or a warm window nearby.)

While the dough is rising, make the icing (instructions below).

When the rolls have risen, uncover the dish. Then place on the center rack of the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until the rolls are golden and cooked through. Remove and let cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. Drizzle with your desired icing and serve.

To Make The Cream Cheese Icing:
Either in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, or a mixing bowl, whisk softened butter and cream cheese together until combined. Then whisk in powdered sugar until combined. If the icing is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk to thin.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cherry Coconut Bars: 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (Week 8)

Remember these Walnut Cookie Bars from last year? Looking back, they may have been my favorite of the 12 treats I made last year.  This recipe is pretty similar, but changes up the flavors.  It uses the same crumbly crust, but instead of brown sugar and walnuts for the filling, these have cherries and coconut and almonds (but I forgot to add the almonds! agh!).  They are chewy and sweet with a little crunch on top.  I still prefer the walnut version, but if you don't like walnuts, try this one!

We've only got 4 more weeks of treats before we reach the end. How is that possible?!  As always, the rest of the sweets are found below in the hop and thank you Brenda @ Meal Planning Magic for all of the time you put into this!
12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

Source: The Hungry Housewives


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 TBSP brown sugar


Pat into 8×8 pan, bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

2 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup quaretered marachino cherries
3/4 cup slivered almonds (optional)

Mix all ingredients and pour over crust. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes then reduce to 300 for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Peanut Butter Cups: 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats (Week 7)

Has everyone come down from the sugar-high this past week? Luckily (for me) we ran out of candy trick-or-treat night.  Don't worry, every kid that came to the door got something, but no extras left for us. Yay! I was a little worried that we wouldn't be able to take the kids out because they predicted a bad storm to come through the area in the evening.  But, the weather held off for a few hours and we just had a little drizzly rain, but it was warm and not too bad! I took Caitlin around our neighborhood while Ryan passed out candy at home with daddy. Both kids had a blast!

Peanut Butter cups are always a favorite in the trick-or-treat bags, aren't they? They would also make a easy substitute for making Buckeyes this Christmas if you're short on time like I always seem to be (thanks to never-ending laundry and Candy Crush). No rolling and dipping one by one. I thought they tasted pretty authentic. I looked at a few recipes and some didn't include the brown sugar, but I think the texture of the filling would be off without it.  Caitlin however disagreed that they were like a "real peanut butter cup".  She tasted one and told me immediately that I made them wrong because I didn't put them in black paper. :)  

Here are my Halloween cuties.  Rapunzel and Flynn Rider:

Be sure to check out the rest of the hop below!  Thanks, as always, to Brenda for organizing each week! Click the logo below to visit her blog. 

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop | Hosted by MealPlanningMagic.com

Source: Food52

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 32 oz. chocolate (I used semi-sweet chips)

Mix together the peanut butter, butter and sugars in a bowl. Taste, then add salt if needed.

Melt the chocolate using 20-second intervals in the microwave. Be very careful not to overcook and scorch or burn the chocolate. You can stop heating when most of the chips have melted, but not all.  At this point, stir it until it becomes smooth and completely melted. (Or you can melt the chocolate over a double-boiler on the stove-top if you prefer a safer method.) 

Arrange mini cupcake wrappers on a baking sheet. Pour a small amount of chocolate in to fill the bottom of the wrapper about 1/8 of an inch. Gently lift and drop the tray a few times to flatten out the chocolate, then chill in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

While the chocolate is chilling, begin shaping heaping teaspoons of peanut butter filling into discs about the diameter of a quarter and setting them aside on parchment paper. Remove the chilled chocolate from the fridge, then place each peanut butter disc into a cupcake wrapper.

Transfer the remaining chocolate to a heatproof measuring cup. (If it isn’t as warm/pourable as you’d like, reheat it for a moment or two on the stove top, or for 10–15 seconds in the microwave.) Pour into cupcake wrappers until peanut butter discs are just covered. Once you’ve covered all of them, gently lift and drop the tray again to even out the chocolate, then add more to the wrappers as needed.

Place the tray in the fridge for 30 minutes. You can enjoy them cold from the refrigerator or let them warm up for about 5 minutes on the counter before eating. 

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