Monthly Archives: February 2013

Rocky Road Bars

Rocky Road is a classic flavor combination.  This easy recipe for Rocky Road Bars uses a chocolate, peanut, and marshmallow flavor combination.
chocolate peanutRecently, I held a little cookie-making demonstration for the ladies at church.  They obviously all know that I am a rich and famous food blogger *ahem* so several people came and baked and asked questions.

It was a fun morning.

I had these great plans.  We made Oreos from cake mix, and talked about various cake mix + frosting flavor options.  (White cake + grapefruit frosting… Spice Cake + Maple Frosting… Chocolate cake + peanut butter frosting… the possibilities are practically endless.)  Then, I took that same cake mix cookie, and mixed some stuff in to make a Rocky Road Cookie.

It was a brilliant idea, but an utter disaster.  The cookies are still glued to my favorite baking sheet.  Talk about embarrassing.

(Actually, they’re not still glued to the baking sheet.  They were stuck fast for a day or so, and then Robb rescued me and cleaned the whole mess up, as he frequently does.  You see why I keep him around.)

rocky road

At any rate, this embarrassing failure bothered me, and I reworked the recipe a couple different ways until I found a combination that I was happy with.  I’ll warn you now… they don’t look pretty, but they taste great.

The key decision-making ingredient is the marshmallows.  It’s the marshmallows that made the cookies stick to the pan, and it’s the marshmallows that make the bars kind of ugly-looking, and it’s the marshmallows that make the whole thing taste so amazing.

And since we are obviously not leaving the marshmallows out of the cookie bars, we are just going to have to learn to deal with them.  The lion tamer has a chair and a whip, and we have a 9×13 pan and some parchment paper.

Parchment paper is the key to your sanity on this particular recipe.

rocky road

And sidebar, the stupid grocery store got me again.  I’m quite certain I purchased regular old parchment paper, but when I got home, the grocery store had secretly switched it for parchment-lined foil.  Wha-whaaat?  I don’t know why the grocery store would do that to me, but it works just as well as parchment, so that’s what I used.

One last tip: you might want to put the marshmallows just on top, rather than mixing them in.  This way there is no danger of sticking, and the marshmallows get all lovely-toasty-brown and delicious.

If you want to mix them in, go right ahead, but you should at least let the person doing the dishes get the biggest vote. Continue reading “Rocky Road Bars” »

Condensed Milk Cookies

These condensed milk cookies are simple to make.  The recipe for these three ingredient cookies calls only for butter, flour, and condensed milk.

condensed-milk-cookies-1Since my kids, and my nieces and nephews, have been getting older, and there are no really little kids left in our family, my mom has been trying to come up with some fun activities that we can all do together.

To that end, she planned a pizza and Pictionary night.  It was brilliant.

My dad fought the idea, being sort of Pictionary-impaired, but he was outvoted.  Anyway, the more interesting thing than who is a good artist is watching how each person chooses to communicate their ideas.

I was bragging up how great I was going to be because I’ve been practicing by playing Draw Something on my phone.  I kind of love this game.  It’s basically just like Pictionary, except it’s a one-on-one game.  Not even one-on-one, more like one-with-one, because you play more as a team than as opponents.

Which is why I don’t mind “cheating.”  At least, that’s what Robb calls it.  He hates that in a game called “Draw Something” I would add letters, numbers, symbols, names, and even entire words.  Every time I play it, he looks over my shoulder and tells me I’m cheating.

And then I tell him that he’s lying.  It’s like a game of ethical one-up-manship between us.  Or one-down-manship.

condensed-milk-cookies-3b

I mean, sometimes a girl just has to cheat a little to stay sane.  Sometimes she has to hide dirty dishes in the oven, or run the dress shirts through the dryer with a wet towel rather than iron them.

And sometimes she makes three-ingredient cookies.

Here’s the story with the three ingredient cookies.  The three ingredients are: butter, flour, and sweetened condensed milk.  The flour, however, should be self-rising flour.  I didn’t have any self-rising flour in my pantry, so I… well… I cheated.

Yep.  Made my own self-rising flour with regular flour and baking powder.  So now they’re four-ingredient cookies.  And if you add chocolate chips, they’re five-ingredient cookies.  And you can’t NOT add salt, so… FINE.  I lied when I called them three-ingredient cookies.  It was a big fat cheat all the way around.  I admit it.

Happy, Robb?!

Condensed Milk Cookies

By the way, I did NOT cheat at Pictionary, I kind of rocked it.  Except for the word porpoise.  How do you get someone to guess the word porpoise?  I drew a porpoise, but everyone on my team just kept guessing the word dolphin over and over again.

The cheaters.

condensed milk cookies
2 from 1 vote
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Condensed Milk Cookies

A recipe for 3-ingredient cookies made with sweetened condensed milk.

Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups self-rising flour (*see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (*optional, see notes)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Mix butter and condensed milk. Add salt, baking powder and flour, and mix just until combined.

  2. Stir in chocolate chips.

  3. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Recipe Notes

If you're like me, and don't enjoy keeping self-rising flour around, you can use instead 2 cups of all-purpose flour + 3 teaspoons baking powder. 

Salt is a good idea if you are using unsalted butter, but it's personal preference.

Cream Cheese Mints

Sweets recipes, this recipe for Cream Cheese Mints is both simple and delicious.

SweetsThis batch of cream cheese mints caused me to exercise a vast amount of self control.

Vast, people.

And I did okay at exercising all this self control.  Not amazing, but okay.

In other words, I only ate half the batch by myself before I shared with anyone.

These little mints are not unlike the Butter Mints over at Averie Cooks, or these Cream Cheese Mints from Kelley Highway.  I’ve been drooling over both of these little confections for weeks.

I was self-controlling right and left so I could share these little goodies with my friends, who were obviously impressed.

I might be reading too much into their compliments and snacking.

But I don’t think so.

Cream Cheese Mints

Here’s the thing.  Once you mix these up, and form them into whatever shape you’re going to use, you have to lay them out on a tray and let them dry for a long time, overnight at least, but preferably 24-36 hours.

I had this really great idea to put them in a container, so I would Stop. Eating. Them., but, of course, I couldn’t do that.  Because the texture is ever so much better with a few more hours of drying.

Just a few more hours.

sweetscream cheese mints

I’m really not quite as pathetic as I’m making it sound here.  But the mints are really that fantastic.  My kids were distraught that I shared them all with my friends instead of with them.  I tried to explain to them that they get the benefit of my weekly cookie and dessert making, and the friends ought to have a turn once in a while.

But next time, I’m making a double batch.

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Vanilla Cupcakes

This is the best Vanilla Cupcake recipe, which includes buttermilk and sour cream.  This white cake recipe is dense, moist, and delicious, with a simple buttermilk icing.

Vanilla Cupcakes from JensFavoriteCookies.com - the best vanilla cupcake you'll ever have!My Hippie Chick daughter will choose vanilla over chocolate every time.  Leading me to believe that she was switched at birth.

She will even say things like, “This is too chocolatey,” as if there were such a thing.

I blame my husband.  Robb will buy vanilla bean ice cream 9 times out of 10.  The other 1 time will be chocolate chip, or starlight mint, which are nice, but sometimes I want chocolate with nuts and caramel and peanut butter and marshmallows and chunks of brownies.  That’s what I’m talking about.

Despite my outwardly bad attitude about this, I have to say that I love a good white cake.  {The key word being “good.”}  It’s a staple in our household.

Most cakes are too soft and airy and crumbly for my taste.  I hate it when I’m eating cake, and I feel like I just got some crumbs in my lungs, because I inhaled while the cake was near my face.

Give me something dense and fudgy.  Something you know you’re eating.  That’s my kind of cake.

Vanilla Cupcakes from JensFavoriteCookies.com - the best vanilla cupcake you'll ever have!

I actually love this recipe, because it’s super easy.  You start with a boxed white cake mix, and then you improve on it by adding your own concoction of creamy milk fats.

Mmmm…  milk fat.

And can we just talk about the elephant in the room for a minute?  As in, why are these Vanilla Cupcakes pink?  Funny story.

Well, not that funny.  More like pathethically sad.

The thing is, I had this *brilliant* idea about making them into an  ombre cupcake.  Something elegantly beautiful, like this pink cake or this blue-green-ish cupcake.  And then, the red food coloring came out a little fast, and before I knew it, the top half of the cupcakes was a WAY darker shade of pink than the bottom half.

*sob* *sniff*

Vanilla Cupcakes from JensFavoriteCookies.com - the best vanilla cupcake you'll ever have!

The idea is totally sound though.  You might have more luck if you try it yourself.

Or just color the whole cupcake.

Or don’t color it at all.  This cake is yum-tasty, colored or not.

One more word, this one about the totally boring-looking frosting.  I made this beautiful cream cheese frosting to pipe into beautiful tall swirls on the beautiful pink cupcakes, but I ended up scrapping it in favor of this simple buttermilk icing.  When I tasted the really delicious cream cheese frosting with the really delicious buttermilk and sour cream white cake, I was sad that the combination wasn’t mind blowing.  In fact, it wasn’t a very good combination at all.

Don’t ask me why.  I have no idea.

But this simple buttermilk icing was really delicious on the cupcakes, without distracting from the simple vanilla flavor.

The icing was the right decision, even if the red food coloring wasn’t.
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pudding cookies recipeVanilla Sprinkle
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Chocolate Buttermilk Muffins

Chocolate buttermilk muffins made with buttermilk.  You’ll love this copycat Costco chocolate muffin recipe!

Chocolate Buttermilk Muffins from JensFavoriteCookies.com - These taste similar to the giant muffins from Costco and are guaranteed to satisfy your chocolate cravings!My husband recently put us on a cash diet.  Which is worse than a regular diet, if you ask me.

I’ve been fighting his cash diet idea for years, but I finally gave in this year and decided to embrace it.  I put all my cash in neat little envelopes and planned out all my grocery shopping, and headed to Costco.

I don’t know if you know this… but standing in Costco with nothing but cash to spend?… Sucks.  Big Time.

It’s a proven fact that it is impossible to leave Costco having spent less than $100.  It’s also a proven fact that 9.5 out of every 10 people who enter Costco leave with a case of toilet paper.

This week I was purchasing around $20 worth of fruit, and $20 worth of ground beef, (and by the way, $20 worth of fruit takes up WAY more space than $20 worth of meat!) both of which are right next to the famous Costco baked goods section of the store.

Chocolate Buttermilk Muffins from JensFavoriteCookies.com - These taste similar to the giant muffins from Costco and are guaranteed to satisfy your chocolate cravings!

You know what I’m talking about.  It’s the section where you buy those giant chocolate muffins that are loaded with chocolate chips, so that you can eat dessert before noon and pretend it’s breakfast.  If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would believe that Costco wanted me to be carb addicted.

Well, I have news for you, Costco.  I was carb addicted long before I met you.

The aforementioned cash diet forced me to part with my beloved chocolate muffins, but I figured there was no reason on earth I couldn’t recreate them with ingredients I already had on hand at home.  Happy Dessert-Breakfast to me.

Chocolate Buttermilk Muffins from JensFavoriteCookies.com - These taste similar to the giant muffins from Costco and are guaranteed to satisfy your chocolate cravings!

And, I know I’ve said this a million times, but I have a hard time letting an opportunity go by to describe my love affair with buttermilk.  I recently made these Coconut White Chocolate Buttermilk Scones, which were beyond delicious, and I’ve been dreaming of my great-grandmother’s Chocolate Frosted Buttermilk Cookies lately, and oh, I’ve been dying to share my Vanilla Cupcakes with you.  Because they’re made with buttermilk.

I made my batch late at night, after the kids had gone to bed.  This turned out to be a brilliant idea, because I got to eat a warm muffin right out of the oven, totally alone and undisturbed.

Also, I think this is the first batch of muffins I’ve made in a year that has lasted longer than 6 hours.

chocolate muffins
5 from 1 vote
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Chocolate Buttermilk Muffins

A rich chocolate buttermilk muffin with chocolate chips.

Cook Time 18 minutes
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Combine vegetable oil with sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

  2. Add salt, soda, baking powder, cocoa powders and mix well.

  3. Add buttermilk and flour, and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

  4. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

  5. Prepare a muffin pan with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350F.

Stuffed Mushroom Cups

Stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorite appetizers.  Since I kind of love appetizer recipes, I decided to remake this old classic with a new twist.

stuffed mushroomsI can’t remember where I learned to make stuffed mushrooms, if that tells you how long I’ve been making them.  I have a vague sense that this tradition began when I was in college.

At least, I remember being kind of mean and nasty to my college friends, and making them eat the stuffed mushrooms, even if they were mushroom-averse.

I’m nicer than that now, just so we’re clear.  And if any of my mushroom-phobic college friends are reading this, I’m sorry.

These days, if you don’t like the stuffed mushrooms, it just means there’s more for me.  And now whenever I make them, people get really happy and excited about it.  They never last long.

By the way, what is the story with people disliking mushrooms, anyway?  I used to kind of understand this, but the older I get, the less I understand it.  Mushrooms are SO amazing.

stuffed mushrooms

I remember my junior high French teacher, when we were learning fruits and vegetables vocabulary, telling us quite animatedly about her love of mushrooms.  “J’aime les champignons!!,” she said.

I did think it was a little weird to love mushrooms as much as she claimed.  Now I dream of Stroganoff with fresh mushrooms, and garlic sauteed mushrooms on my steak, and mushroom bisque with crusty bread for lunch.

Madame Baigue was totally right.

appetizer recipes

I don’t have that many occasions to make appetizers, to tell you the truth.  I wish I did, because they are so fun to eat.  When I had some friends over this week, and needed some appetizers, I wanted to fall back on my old standby.

However, I had these cute-as-heck fillo cups in my pantry, and these babies were calling my name.  Now I had a decision to make.

Stuffed Mushrooms?…  Fillo cups?…  Stuffed Mushrooms?…  Fillo cups?…

And the answer is: Both.  Obviously.

appetizer recipes

Normally, I fill the mushrooms with sausage and cream cheese.  To make them suitable for fillo cup filling, I added some finely diced shrooms.  You could throw in a little onion if you wanted, too.

Another nice thing about this appetizer recipe is that you can make it a few hours ahead of time, and pop it in the oven right before everyone comes to the door.  Then they walk in to the lovely aroma of sausage and mushrooms, and see you pulling them out of the oven, all ready to eat, like you’re Holly Homemaker or something.

They’ll never know how totally easy that was to do.

They don’t need to know.

P.S.  These fillo cups are not always easy to find.  I did find them at my local grocery store, but when I went back for more, they were nowhere to be found.  It might take a little hunting to come up with them.  Or you could just grab them from Amazon.
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Chocolate Cherry Trifle

This trifle is made with brownies, cherries, and chocolate mousse.  The trifle recipe is quick and simple to put together.

trifleWhat is the story with Valentines Day being called “singles awareness day?”  This kind of bugs me.

I know you’re going to say, it’s easy for me, since I’m married and not in the position of being aware of my single-ness, and you’re right about that.  I’m not single.  But stick with me.  I have a good point here.

The pre-Valentines ads are driving me crazy, too.  They have these messages about not letting your wife or girlfriend be disappointed on Valentines Day because she didn’t get flowers or jewelry.

Let me just go on record here and tell you that I am not the sort of woman to have a fit about Valentines Day.

I told Robb that I didn’t think I had ever in my life received roses on Valentines Day.  I saw the worried pallor wash over his face.  Then I relieved him by telling him I don’t remember ever caring about it, either.trifle

I think it’s weird that I’m supposed to celebrate my love with my husband on some arbitrary day established by… who? The government?  It’s not right.  I’ll celebrate my marriage on the day of my choosing.  And he better get me a gift on that day! 😉

Meanwhile, I think Valentines Day is a really fun opportunity to celebrate love in the family, and focus on the kids.  It’s a great day for passing out candy to school friends, and learning how it feels to dance with a boy your own age at the school Valentines Dance.

And if my daughter is reading this, it is NOT an okay day to say “I love you” to boys you’re not related to.  Just so we’re clear.

We’ll have a quiet dinner, give little Valentine gifts to the kids, and eat chocolate for dessert.

chocolate mousse

Robb was worried he wouldn’t get any of my latest dessert creation, (It’s been known to happen.  Kind of frequently, actually.) so I put this dessert in individual dishes.  You could totally put the whole thing in a big trifle bowl if you wanted though.  It’s super easy, delicious, and perfectly Valentiney for your night of family love-showing.

Lady Behind the Curtain Dessert Challenge
And, as long as we’re showing love, I want to show some love to Sheryl over at Lady Behind the Curtain for organizing this seriously awesome monthly dessert challenge.  Many of us jumped at the chance to join her for a monthly two-ingredient party.  And this month is our first party!  You guys are super fortunate to have in front of you a collection of some fabulous Chocolate and Cherry recipes to help you through your February.

I hope you’ll look through some of the recipes below, click through, comment, pin, and show some love to these fabulous food bloggers!  And for even more great ideas, visit the Behind The Curtain Dessert Challenge Pinterest Board.

And just for me, show some love to the kiddos in your life this Valentines Day.
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sugar cookies

Chocolate Cherry
Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Banana Parfait

Chocolate Banana
Parfait

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Oatmeal Chocolate
Chip Cake

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Girls Night Out

I know it seems like I’m all about clogging your arteries and widening your butt, but I want you to be healthy, too.  I truly do.

Here are some healthy things I’m really into:

Green Smoothies.  Seriously.  It’s my favorite breakfast.
Not getting cancer.  Because cancer sucks.
Looking better in your 40-something clothes than your teenagers look in their teen-something clothes.
Seeing.  I have excellent vision, and I intend to stay that way.

Of course, there are healthy habits I’m not that interested in, too:

Running.  It’s far too cliche and far to hard on the knees.
Eating salads every single day.  I like a good salad, but every day?  Really?
Being vegetarian.  Nothing against the vegetarians out there, but this is totally not for me.

That being said, I think I’ll attend this U of U Healthcare conference for women.  If you’re in the greater Salt Lake area, and you’re interested in being healthy and having an excuse to spend a Thursday night with your moms, sisters, and besties, this conference is for you.  All the info can be found on this personal invitation:

Girls Night Out

You can also find more info at their website.

Some highlights of this event, that I am personally looking forward to:

Cooking demonstrations, naturally.  With samples.
CHAIR MASSAGE.
Eye Screenings by Moran Eye Center.
Guest speaker, Mary Nickels.  She’s pretty cool.
Self-Defense Demonstrations.  I’m a big fan of martial arts.  Ask me about it sometime.
Free gifts, hors d’oeuvres, and prize drawings.  Who doesn’t love free stuff?
Find out important cancer screening tests.

Honestly, the cancer screening stuff is totally life saving.  My own mother probably prolonged her life and reduced her stress substantially by having some testing and screening done.  They were able to detect breast cancer while it was still in stage 1, which is super rare and hard to do.  She pressed all her children hard to get their own genetic testing done, so that we too could live long and healthy lives.

So, all my Utah friends, I hope to see you at the U of U Healthcare Girls Night Out on February 21.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Cookies are so delicious with a little chocolate on top!  I love to add Hershey’s kisses to my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe to make them extra special.

peanut butter cookiesHere in Salt Lake City, we have some of the most polluted air in the country.  But, unlike some other areas of the world, Salt Lake’s pollution problem is largely a matter of geography.  Since we are completely surrounded by mountains, we are prone to experience inversions.

For the uninitiated, an inversion is when a layer of warm air gets trapped in the valley by a layer of cold air above it.  It also means that all the pollution from cars, factories, and cow flatulence gets trapped in the valley, too.

Which is super fun to breathe.  Especially with the seriously nasty flu that every person in the valley has right now.

Ugh.  I swear the last inversion lasted 6 weeks.  It was 6 weeks of hacking coughs and no sunshine.

Which is why every winter I tell Robb I’m moving to Arizona.

peanut butter cookie recipe

Even the dog has been suffering.  Because it is too cold and nasty outside for anyone to actually take him for a walk.  He’s been a little stir crazy lately.

But today, the sun finally came out.  The air cleared, and we could actually see the beautiful mountains.  It makes everyone a little happier.  We look for reasons to be outside.

It was making the dog nutso that everyone was outside but him, so I put his leash on him, and instructed The Lizard to run up and down the street with him.  They both came back panting and tired.

And hungry.  As usual.

peanut butter cookies

Cue peanut butter cookies.  Because I had a brand new jar of peanut butter in the pantry, and honestly?  Why have I never blogged Peanut Butter Blossoms before?  They’re so yummy.

There are lots of good peanut butter cookie recipes out there.  The one I chose today is extra heavy on the peanut butter, which makes it a little on the soft and fudgy side.  If you want to dial down the peanut butter content in this recipe, I totally understand.

Just don’t skimp on the chocolate!
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15 Great Valentine Recipes

A collection of Valentine recipes to help you celebrate!  This roundup includes plenty of heart shaped, pink, red, chocolate Valentine Day recipes.valentine recipes

Nothing says “I care” like a pink, heart-shaped cookie.  Right?

Well, that or chocolate.

This year, I’m bringing you my favorite pink, red, chocolate, and heart-shaped cookies for your Valentine viewing  and drooling pleasure.  I’ve even categorized them, because I’m the Queen of recipe organization like that.

Or maybe I’m the Queen of Valentines like that.

I don’t really care, as long as people think I’m the Queen.

sugar cookies chocolate sugar cookies pink cookies sugar cookies Red Velvet Cookie Recipe

Sugar Cookies

Your basic Soft Sugar Cookie can easily be cut into heart shapes, and topped with pink frosting.
I used royal icing to make these delicious Chocolate Sugar Cookies super duper cute.
Cherry Sugar Cookies are not only heart-shaped, but also pink.  And yummy.
If you are having trouble deciding, these Chocolate Cherry Sugar Cookies might be for you.
You can’t go wrong with Red Velvet Sugar Cookies.

chocolate cookie recipe Triple Chocolate Oreo Cookies fudge ice cream Chocoholic Cake Chocolate no-bake cheesecakes

Chocolate Treats Continue reading “15 Great Valentine Recipes” »

Coconut White Chocolate Buttermilk Scones

Scones are one of my favorite breakfast foods.  This scone recipe uses coconut, white chocolate, and buttermilk.

sconesI understand that most kids do their chores on Saturdays.  At our house, chores are done on Fridays.  It’s a lot of work, but it makes the Saturdays ever so pleasant.

This Saturday, the kids {and adults} woke up late, lounged in pajamas for a while, and started craving a home-cooked breakfast.

There’s not much in the fridge these days, but the search for breakfast food netted one gem: buttermilk.  The kids love buttermilk.  They immediately came asking if they could make buttermilk pancakes with buttermilk syrup.

Not that I blame them.  Buttermilk syrup is the nectar of the Gods.  It’s like having candy for breakfast.  Exactly like it.

It’s lucky they asked, though, because I had other plans in mind for that buttermilk, namely buttermilk scones.

scones recipe

“Scones?!” The Lizard queried.  “For breakfast?”  He thought I was talking about the fry-bread that you smother in honey butter, and to be fair, I make that with buttermilk as well, and it’s also wonderful, heavenly food.

Once I explained about these dense, muffin-like scones, he was completely on board.  I even convinced them to put clothes on and help me bake.  {It’s not every Saturday that I can be successful at that job.}

scones

The Fruitarian was counting minutes until these were ready to eat.

“How long until I can eat them?”
“They need to bake for about 20 minutes.”
“I think I’m going to die!”
“And I’m going to photograph them before you eat them.”
“I’m going to die again, Mom!”
“Have a piece of candy while you wait.”
“You just saved my life, Mom.”

Mother of the Year, I know.

scone recipe

The kids reveled in this rare Saturday morning family breakfast.  The Hippie Chick devoured her grapefruit, and two scones.  The Fruitarian spent the morning making “This is so delicious!” comments.  The Lizard asked me to make it again tomorrow.  Robb even stepped away from his work to try one, which is a compliment all by itself.

On top of it all, the sun came out for the first time in probably six weeks.

{Smile} Success.
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Banana Bread Recipe

Banana Chocolate Chunk
Mini Muffin

coconut cookie

Coconut
Crispies

Nutmeg Cookie recipe

Nutmeg Buttermilk
Cookies

 

You might also like this “Muffins & Scones” Pinterest Board!

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Chocolate Cherry Sugar Cookies

These are not your momma’s sugar cookies.  Chocolate cookies with small inlaid cherry cookie hearts are so cute, and perfect Valentine cookies.

sugar cookiesIs it just me or are all movies the same?  I’ve been lamenting {in a very vocal and incessant way} about how predictable and boring I find almost every single movie.

What?!  Are you telling me you didn’t know that Iron Man and Captain America would set aside their differences and learn to work together {in an hour long fight scene} for the good of the country?

Or that Cat Woman would turn out to be just misunderstood?

Or that Katniss and Peeta would both return home?

Robb has been very sweet and trying hard to find some movies I would enjoy more.  He went to the public library and came home with a handful of videos, proudly announcing that there were no guns in any of them.valentine cookies

To be clear, presence/absense of guns is not the yardstick I’m using.  It’s more like presence/absence of plot or interesting characters.

For instance: Bella from Twilight is NOT an interesting character.  And Avengers does NOT have an interesting plot.  My theory is that men watch Avengers to get their superhero fix, and women watch it so they can stare at Thor.

You did it, too.  Admit it.

One of the movies Robb checked out was The Secret Life of Bees.  This movie had far more interesting characters and plot than anything I’ve seen in the past 6 months.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  When the movie ended, I was smiling, but Robb’s comment was, “I try to pick movies you will like, and this is what happens.”

By “this,” he means the story is essentially a sad one.

valentine cookiesvalentine cookies

What does all this have to do with cookies?  I don’t really know.  I guess you have to be a girl to understand the urge to create a cookie that is cute, involved, and holiday-themed, just so you can eat it while crying through a sad movie.

I will admit that these cookies were a little bit of work, because I had to mix up two different recipes, roll two different doughs, and cut two different sizes of hearts.  It wasn’t particularly difficult, just time consuming.

First, I used this Cherry Cookie recipe for the pink dough.  I don’t even like cherries, but I love this dough.  Then, I used this Chocolate Sugar Cookie recipe for the brown dough.  You should know that the cherry recipe makes about twice as much as the chocolate recipe, so you may want to double the chocolate dough or half the cherry dough to get the amounts right.

I also had to go back and forth a bit, cutting pink hearts, then cutting brown hearts, then putting them together on the sheet pan to get the process right.  The best method I found was to cut a large pink heart, then place it on the baking sheet.  Then I cut a small heart out of the center and removed it.  I found the cookie kept it’s shape better if I didn’t have to move it after removing the center heart.  I used the same cutters to cut brown hearts, and placed a small brown heart inside the space in the middle of the larger pink heart.  There wasn’t anything else required to get them to bake together as one seamless cookie.

I recommend eating them with a love story.
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9 Minute Chocolate Microwave Cake

This chocolate cake recipe is fast, easy, and made in the microwave.  Who knew microwave cake could be so delicious?

chocolate cake recipe

Packing my kids’ lunches in not my favorite chore ever.

Our oldest kid, The Lizard, is easy to please, and since their school has a couple microwaves, it’s even easy to pack leftovers.

The Fruitarian is another matter entirely.  Once, I put some chili in a thermos for him (I make a mean batch of turkey chili!), but he didn’t eat it because it didn’t stay hot enough.  The next time, I put chili in a container so he could heat it up at school.  It came home with not a single bite taken, because he didn’t want to stand in line for the microwave.

“So you didn’t eat your lunch at all?  Not even a bite?”
“No.  I’m hungry, is there an after school snack?”

I wanted to strangle him that day.

microwave cake

I assume the kids get tired of sandwiches, so sometimes I pack a pasta salad.  Fruitarian brings that home untouched, too.

“It tastes weird.”  (by “weird,” he means he may have spotted something green in it.) {pause}  “I’m hungry.”

On top of all that, his years of orthodontia have made him unable to eat a whole apple, corn on the cob, or anything sticky.  Fruit must always be cut up for him.

And he is Always. Hungry.  And he always wants my fresh fruit.

Thank goodness for fast and easy recipes.  When the inevitable herd of teenage boys tramples through the house at 3:00 today, I’ll be ready for them with the fastest chocolate cake in the west.

chocolate cake recipemicrowave cake

**IMPORTANT NOTE Number One** about baking in the microwave:  It’s all about the pan.  It needs to be a silicone bundt pan for this to work right.  Because, obviously, metal pans do not belong in the microwave, and if there is not a hole in the middle, the middle will never be cooked through.

**IMPORTANT NOTE Number Two** about this recipe: {because I know you’re going to ask} YES.  You do put the frosting on BEFORE cooking.  I know you’re worried about it, I know it sounds strange, baking frosting, but trust me.  It’s Okay.  What happens is that the frosting melts down through the cake mix while it bakes, making it all moist and delicious, and when you turn the bundt pan over, there is all this gorgeous melty frosting on the bottom, which is now the top, and it runs beautifully and temptingly all over the cake.

**IMPORTANT NOTE Number Three** about the frosting: If you are using a can of store bought frosting, you can use the entire can, if you want.  (This is what I normally do.)  If you find it to be too moist and delicious for you, feel free to back that down to about half a can.  For the cake pictured in this post, I used homemade frosting, in an amount that would be close to about half a can of the store bought stuff.  I do like it more frosting-y, but this is one of those recipes that is, shall we say, open to interpretation.

You can use any cake mix/frosting combo you like, although in my humble opinion, Devil’s Food with chocolate frosting is the best.

chocolate cake recipe
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9-Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake

A very easy cake which is baked in the microwave.

Cook Time 9 minutes
Servings 12 slices

Ingredients

  • 1 box chocolate cake mix + ingredients listed on box
  • 1 can prepared chocolate frosting

Instructions

  1. Prepare cake batter according to package directions.

  2. Pour batter into a silicone bundt pan. 

  3. Drop spoonfuls of frosting on top of the cake batter.

  4. Place bundt pan in the microwave and cook for 9 minutes on high. Immediately overturn onto a large platter. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can be made with any cake/frosting flavor combination you prefer.