Monthly Archives: February 2014

February 2014 Wrap-Up

Recipe collection from February.

February Wrap-Up from JensFavoriteCookies.com February is like a cruel joke here in Utah.  It does this Every. Stinking. Year.

It gets sort of warm.  Sort of.  Warm enough that we get rain which melts the snow, and the tulips start to poke out of the ground, and it makes you think spring is coming.  You start going places in just a light jacket.  You start making plans for your flower garden.

Then?  March comes and it snows again.  And again.  It freezes your tender fruit blossoms and basically just kills your soul.

Spring fever is the worst in February.  Because in reality, spring is nowhere in sight.

On the other hand, February baked good are SO fun.  Between the Valentines Day desserts, and the game watching snacks, February is just plain fun.

Here are the highlights:

strawberry-oreo-pudding-cookies Strawberry Oreo Pudding Cookies

The strawberry pudding gives these cookies not only
their color and flavor, but also makes them so soft
and chewy!  A simple and easy pink treat.

red-velvet-sandwich-hearts-5 Red Velvet Sandwich Heart Cookies

We celebrated Valentines in style with this awesome
collection of 14 Valentine recipes!  These red velvet
cookies with chocolate frosting are super easy to make.

peppermint-bark-brownies-5 Peppermint Bark Brownies

I don’t know why everyone thinks peppermint is just for
Christmas, because I could eat it all year long.  These
brownies topped with peppermint bark really hit the spot!

choc-chip-scones-7 Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones

These simple drop scones with chocolate chips are the perfect
remedy for a rotten day.  They also make a lovely Sunday
morning breakfast.

coconut-fudge-cookie-bars-4 Coconut Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

It’s been a while since I had as many compliments as I had
on these cookie bars.  Plus, I seriously love coconut.  The
coconut fudge makes these completely decadent!

rainbow-cake-in-jar-3 Rainbow Cake in a Jar

These single serving, rainbow colored cakes are baked in
canning jars and topped with vanilla frosting and sprinkles.
Perfect for birthdays or St. Patrick’s Day.

soft-pretzels-3 Soft Baked Pretzels

Homemade soft pretzels are easier to make than you might
think.  I’ve made them at least five times in the last three
weeks, and they are devoured within minutes.

pork-and-hummus-flatbread-bites-3 Pork & Hummus Flatbread Bites

Garlicky hummus, pork loin, arugula and goat cheese
make these little flatbread rounds a fantastic idea for
an appetizer or light lunch.

I had a great time with my friends celebrating Valentines Day food blogger style.  If you didn’t check out all 14 incredible Valentine recipes, I suggest you do!  And if you’re into Valentines Day, you might want to follow my Valentines Favorites board on Pinterest, too.  It will be full of great V-day treats!

And speaking of Valentines Day, I made these fun Strawberries and Cream Pudding Cookies for My Cooking Spot this month.  Pudding cookies are so delicious, soft, and creamy!

I found my recipes featured in several different places this month, including this brownie collection on Delish.com, this brownie collection on Cosmopolitan, and this awesome red velvet collection on BuzzFeed.  You’re going to love all these collections!

I can’t wait to share with you everything I have planned for March!

Pork and Hummus Flatbread Bites

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

Pork and Hummus Flatbread Bites from JensFavoriteCookies.com   These delicious appetizers are made with hummus, pork loin, arugula, mozzarella, and goat cheese.I went to this pizza place with some friends the other day.  I had never been before.

I chose this pizza which was… don’t get me wrong, it was tasty… but it was basically a pizza with a salad on top.  It was a little difficult to eat.  The whole time, I kept eyeing my friend’s pizza, which had artichoke and spinach and arugula baked right in.

Leave it to me to wish for the one with more cheese and less salad.

I’m pretty sure I was dreaming of that pizza when I dreamed up these fun little flatbread rounds.  I think they would be an excellent appetizer, or even a pizza-ish meal if you put a couple of them together.

Since I made the hummus and the pork, I figured I would buy the flatbread.  I turned out to be a bigger chore than I imagined, since I apparently arrived at the grocery store before it had been stocked for the day.

I spend so much time at the grocery store, you’d think I would have the system down by now.

Pork and Hummus Flatbread Bites from JensFavoriteCookies.com

Anyway, I came away with these pita-like sandwich thins, and some naan.  As you can see from the photos, the pita rounds won, and the naan lived to see another day.  You’re welcome to use any old kind of bread you want, though.  Pita, naan, flatbread, even good old pizza dough. Continue reading “Pork and Hummus Flatbread Bites” »

Soft Pretzels

Soft baked pretzels recipe; See why I’m addicted to this very easy and tasty soft baked pretzels recipe!

Soft Pretzels from JensFavoriteCookies.com I made these pretzels on a far too common day off school.  Which, naturally, means my house is full of teenage boys.

The smell of this soft baked pretzels recipe was enough to bring them running (I exaggerate not) up the stairs.

“I smell food.”
“Mom, we’re hungry.”
“Is there any pizza left?”
“Can we have snacks?”

*sigh*  My pantry was looking like Old Mother Hubbard so I told them to wait for me while I photographed these pretzels, and then they could dive in.

They waited… staring… sort of patiently.

“You only need one photo, right?”
“Shh… let her get in the zone.”

As soon as I gave them the all-clear, they devoured the pretzels.  Within 5 minutes, all but one of those 16 pretzels were gone.  Not a crumb remained.  It was seriously like those African ants that march through the town and eat everything in sight.

Soft Pretzels from JensFavoriteCookies.com

To tell you the truth, I sort of wish I had never learned to make them, because they are far easier and faster than I expected, and seriously?!!  Warm bread… extra salt… This is going to be SO bad for my waistline.  I’ve made them about 5 times in the last three weeks.

So maybe it was a good thing all those boys were around to help me eat them.

Soft Pretzels from JensFavoriteCookies.com

A word to the wise: eat these babies fresh out of the oven.  First of all, they taste sooooo good warm.  And second, they just don’t really keep well.

If you’re anything like me, you won’t have any trouble wanting to eat them the minute they come out of the oven.

Last recommendation: try them with my Cheesy Mustard Dip!

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Soft Pretzels

A basic recipe for soft baked pretzels.

Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 38 minutes
Servings 8 large or 16 small pretzels
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup + 1/2 cup warm water (about 110F)
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • sea salt

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, yeast and 1 cup water. Continue until it forms a heavy dough.

  2. Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let rise until about double in size, about an hour.

  3. Split dough into 8 pieces for large pretzels, or 16 for small pretzels. Form each piece into a long rope, and tie into a knot.

  4. In a small dish, combine ½ cup warm water with baking soda. Dip each formed pretzel into baking soda water, and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each with sea salt.

  5. Let rise while preheating oven to 450F, about 10 minutes. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until brown and cooked through. Serve warm.

Rainbow Cake in a Jar

How to make rainbow cake in a jar;  Cake in a jar is fun and easy!  Learn how to make rainbow cake.

Rainbow Cake in a Jar from Jen's Favorite CookiesWhy exactly would you want a rainbow colored cake?  Well, let me tell you.

a) You’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in a cute way.
b) You want something bright and colorful for a birthday party.
c) You’re like my daughter, and you change your mind about what your favorite color is every day.

And why would you want this cake in a jar?

a) It’s cute.
b) You’re kids are constantly fighting over portion sizes.
c) It’ll look amazing on Pinterest.

Cuz I know you are super concerned about how they look on Pinterest.  Or is that just me?

Rainbow Cake in a Jar from Jen's Favorite Cookies

I’ve actually blogged these before.  But since my photography, writing, and cake-coloring skills have improved so much, I figured it was time for a re-do.

Or is it re-doux?

Let’s talk about cake-coloring skills for a moment, shall we?

Rainbow Cake in a Jar from Jen's Favorite Cookies Rainbow Cake in a Jar from Jen's Favorite Cookies

The first time I made this recipe, I used the liquid food color drops that you get at the grocery store.  I wasn’t thrilled with the results.  That stuff is great for lightly colored frosting, but not so much for brightly colored cake.

I really have a thing for not going to specialty stores, though, so if you want to use the regular drops, knock yourself out.  Just know they will be more pastel, and not bright or bold.

Today I used gel food color from AmeriColor .  This stuff works great, I promise you’ll love it.  And if you aren’t near a restaurant supply store, then it might be a good candidate for online purchase.

Rainbow Cake in a Jar from JensFavoriteCookies.com Rainbow Cake in a Jar from Jen's Favorite Cookies

Once you get your colors all mixed up, just drop spoonfuls into the jars, a little blob here, a little blob there.  They really don’t have too look too perfect, because the batter expands as it bakes.  The jars should be half full or less before baking.  Follow the instructions, and bake them in a water bath.

Your St. Patricks / Birthday / Rainbow party is going to be such a huge success!

rainbow-cake-in-jar-3
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Rainbow Cake in a Jar

Rainbow colored white cake baked in canning jars with white frosting.

Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 cakes
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 white cake, prepared but not baked (I used a box mix.)
  • gel food coloring, 5 different colors
  • 1 can prepared frosting
  • sprinkles, optional

Instructions

  1. Split prepared cake batter into 5 separate parts, each in a small bowl or cup.

    Put a small amount of food coloring into each part, stirring to achieve a bold color.

  2. Carefully drop a spoonful of each color batter into each of 6 half pint canning jars.

  3. Place jars in a 9x13 pan, with ¼" water in the bottom. Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes.

    Once cakes have cooled, frost the tops and decorate with sprinkles.

Coconut Fudge Cookie Bars

Coconut cookies recipe;  This chocolate chip cookie has a ripple of coconut fudge.  You’ll love this coconut cookies recipe!

Coconut Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from JensFavoriteCookies.com You just never know where tomorrow will take you.

Not that there have been any life-altering changes happening around here, but even small changes force you to grow or run.

And some days, I sure want to run.

And thus, I have returned to my coconut loving roots.  Because when you’re just the tiniest bit uncomfortable with the latest situation life threw at you, it helps to have something constant to comfort you.  Something you recognize.  Something that’s exactly what you expect.

The comforting thing I always return to is dessert.  It’s a dessert blog, after all.

I had to start with chocolate chip cookies, because they’re more predictable than my daughter leaving her dirty socks on the floor.  Which she does Every. Single. Time.  I’ve even started charging her every time I have to look at her dirty socks.

Coconut Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars from JensFavoriteCookies.com

Then I added coconut, because it’s just about the only thing this family loves more than popcorn.  We love coconut.  It’s sort of a family tradition.

I’ve been promising them Coconut Cream Pie, and they’re going to revolt if I don’t deliver on that promise soon. Continue reading “Coconut Fudge Cookie Bars” »

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones Recipe; This chocolate chip scones recipe is simply delicious and no-fuss.

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones from JensFavoriteCookies.com  I remember when I was sixteen, and my dad was trying to explain to me what a pain in the neck it is sometimes, owning a car.  I didn’t believe him.  Or, more likely, I didn’t want to think about it.  A car meant freedom and that’s all I cared about.

What he should have told me is that owning a house is far worse.  Oy.

This week’s adventures in home ownership: mold removal.  What a disgusting job.  Long story short, a leak under the kitchen sink caused us to have to rip out half the drywall and some of the carpet in the bedroom below.  It was so much worse than we expected.

Maybe I’m just saying that because it means I have to go to the home improvement store.  Me.  The Queen of Everything.  At Lowe’s.  I hate that store.  I’m grateful that it’s there and available, but I really hate shopping there.  I mean, seriously, why can’t men make a store pretty and pleasant to shop in?!  Who actually wants to shop in a huge warehouse that smells like dirt and sawdust?  Blech.

You should have seen me, helping Robb carry the dry wall and load it in the back of the pickup.  He may as well have taken our 6 year old nephew.  I was practically useless.  And I’m sure I looked awesome, carrying my little corner of sheet rock so poorly.

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones from JensFavoriteCookies.com

If I’m being completely honest, I’m pretty grateful Robb is willing and able to tackle this disgusting project, because I sure don’t want to do it.

Continue reading “Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones” »

Peppermint Bark Brownies

Peppermint chocolate candy brownies recipe;  These brownies use peppermint bark candy to take them to the next level!  You love this peppermint chocolate candy brownies recipe!

Peppermint Bark Brownies from Jen's Favorite CookiesI like flavors being seasonal, for the most party.  I like to save lemons for spring and summer, pumpkin for fall, and gingerbread for winter. But… there is an exception, and that is peppermint.

Why should peppermint be just for winter?  Why is Peppermint Bark only sold in December?  It’s a tragedy, if you ask me.  You can get peppermint gum anytime, why not peppermint baked goods?

I stocked up on the peppermint bark when I found it at the store during the after-Christmas clearance sale.  Maybe some people are tired of it by January, but not me.  Not even close.

Peppermint and I have some things in common, namely, that we are both close personal friends with chocolate.  Very close.  In fact, I think it’s fair to say, we both love chocolate.  And we’re both tired of cherries and strawberries monopolizing the Valentines Day dessert scene.  It’s time peppermint had it’s day.

Peppermint Bark Brownies from Jen's Favorite Cookies

I tweaked my basic One-Bowl Brownie recipe just a little, to keep these from being too gooey.

Continue reading “Peppermint Bark Brownies” »

Red Velvet Sandwich Heart Cookies

Red velvet cookies heart shaped;  These easy cookies are sandwiched with chocolate frosting.  A perfect Valentine treat!  Red Velvet Cookies heart shaped.

Red Velvet Heart Sandwich Cookies from Jen's Favorite CookiesRed Velvet is all the rage these days, but I want you to know that when I was a kid, my mom would make Red Velvet Cake for special occasions.  Red velvet cake was all I knew, I could never have conceived of red velvet cookies, pancakes, crepes, fudge, brownies, dips, or any of the hundreds of other amazing creations I have seen lately.

My mom even had a heart shaped cake pan, and sometimes we would have a beautiful, heart shaped red velvet cake with pink frosting on Valentines Day.

My mom is kind of the best that way.  She’s great at making holidays fun, and giving little gifts she knows you’ll enjoy.

I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll go all out on a big red velvet cake for my kids this year.  I’m pretty lazy, after all.  Maybe I’ll tell them that only kids with good grades get red velvet cake.

Or maybe I’ll tell them that only adults get red velvet cake.  That’s even better.

Red Velvet Heart Sandwich Cookies from Jen's Favorite Cookies

I already know this Valentines Day is going to be a good one, because I get to celebrate it with my blog buds!  We’re back!

This time around, everything is so cute; red, pink, chocolatey, or otherwise perfect for your Valentine.  With all this talent, you’re bound to find a recipe or two you can fall in love with!  You’ll want to check out each and every one, just in case.

VDay-3  Continue reading “Red Velvet Sandwich Heart Cookies” »

Strawberry Oreo Pudding Cookies

Strawberry Oreo Dessert; These strawberry pudding cookies with crushed Oreos are perfect for Valentines Day.  You’ll love this strawberry oreo dessert!

Strawberry Oreo Pudding Cookies from Jen's Favorite CookiesWhen I was a kid, my parents finished the basement, and I got to move into a downstairs bedroom.  Besides the independence of having my own room, my favorite part was choosing the colors we would use to decorate.

I chose grey and mauve.  What can I say, it was the 80’s.

I loved my pink and grey room.  I felt so cool in my little basement home, with the grey carpet and the pink curtains, and the pink and grey comforter on the bed.

These cookies remind me of those days.  The pink cookie with black Oreos has a very 80’s feel.  It’s okay though… the 80’s are in again.  Everything but the hair, that is.

Let’s hope that hair never comes back in style.  Some things are best forgotten.

Strawberry Oreo Pudding Cookies from Jen's Favorite Cookies

Pudding cookies are so awesome.  They’re all soft and chewy and flavorful.  And when you use strawberry pudding in the cookies, it makes them pink.

Which is just darn cute. Continue reading “Strawberry Oreo Pudding Cookies” »