Monthly Archives: April 2014

April Wrap-Up

April14-round-upI’m hoping April showers really do bring May flowers, because April has been rainy.

I got some air conditioning installed in my house, and I haven’t even been able to use it.  What fun is that?  Right now I’m kind of hoping May will bring warmer weather just so I can revel in my wonderful air-conditioned coolness.  Is that wrong?

Even though the skies were grey and cloudy, there was a bright spot in my kitchen this month.  I had fun making snacks and desserts for you in April.  All of these were fun, but I think my favorite was the Caramel Corn Snack Mix.  At least, it was the one I had the most trouble keeping my hands away from!

In case you missed it, here is a recap of all the recipes I shared this month:

 

granola-bites-6 Peanut Butter Granola Bites

I wanted a slightly healthier snack to help me get ready for
swimsuit season, and these granola bites hit the spot.  They’re
full of nuts and fruit, and pack a lot of energy!

coconut-truffles-4 Coconut Truffles

Also known as “Bunny Tails,” these fun little no-bake coconut
bites are the perfect addition to any Easter celebration!

vanilla-buttermilk-cookies-8  Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies

I made these for my vanilla-loving daughter.  The buttermilk
makes the cookies very soft and moist, and the glaze brings
a lot of extra flavor.

chocolate-pavlova-6 Double-Decker Pavlova with Chocolate

My kids couldn’t remember the name of this stacked dessert,
but it didn’t stop them asking for more!  The combination of
meringue and whipped cream is really tasty.

onion-dill-crackers-3 Onion Dill Oyster Crackers

I have wanted to try making flavored crackers for a while
now, and I was super happy with the results of this one!  The
flavor was different than I expected, and I can’t wait to make
this recipe again!

Red Velvet Waffle Iron Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com - SO fast and easy to make, with a red velvet cake mix! Red Velvet Waffle Cookies

These little cookies were a happy experiment in what you can
do very quickly and easily.  A cake mix, a few ingredients,
and a waffle iron are all you need to make these fun treats!

caramel-corn-snack-mix-3 Caramel Corn Snack Mix

Plain old caramel corn is too boring for this girl.  I souped it up
with cereal, pecans, and a drizzle of white chocolate.  Then, I
couldn’t keep my hands out of it!

kitchen-sink-cookies-6 Kitchen Sink Cookies

I absolutely love these oaty cookies, because they are full of
fantastic stuff.  They have everything in them, except the
kitchen sink!

 

I had a few other fun things happen in April.  I shared these SO delicious Lemon Creme Nanaimo Bars on My Cooking Spot this month.  If you haven’t tried Nanaimo Bars yet, do yourself a favor and check them out.  They are my favorite no-bake dessert EVER.

I started some new Pinterest boards recently.  You might be interested in “Cake and Cupcake Favorites” and “Food Blog Favorites.”  I’m always searching out fantastic content to share with my Pinterest followers, so I hope we can connect there.

I have some fun things planned for May!  I’ll be doing a Mothers Day recipe party with some of my awesome and talented friends, you won’t want to miss that!  I also have some delicious recipes in store for May, including some breakfasty baked goods, and some really interesting and amazing chocolate cookies that have kind of stolen my heart.

And, last but not least, since Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner, let me share a few recipes that would be perfect for your Mexican-themed get togethers!  I seriously love this fresh Mango and Avocado Salsa.  In fact, I’ll be making it again myself this week!  These little tortilla cups are super easy to make, and make a delicious appetizer, filled with pulled pork, cheese and topped with cilantro.  And this post about lightly spiced little Mexican cookies called Bizcochitos comes with links to a bunch more fantastic Cinco de Mayo recipes!

See you around, my friends!  And keep on baking!

Kitchen Sink Cookies

You’ll love this recipe for chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, because it has lots of add-ins!  It has everything in it, but the kitchen sink!

Kitchen Sink Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies  -  These chocolate chip oatmeal cookies have everything but the kitchen sink in them!Robb and I decided that we are going to spend this summer making some much needed repairs on our house.

We’ve saved up money for a new roof, a new furnace, air conditioning, and a new garage door, and if we’re lucky, maybe a family vacation.

What we did not save money for is a new mattress.  I figured if my mattress could survive 18 years, it could survive one more.  The mattress recently showed it’s first real and concrete sign of aging, namely springs sticking out the side.  Sooooo classy.

Truth be told, I probably would never have noticed the spring. One morning, when I sat up to get out of bed, the spring sliced me nearly the entire length of my right calf.

It was adorable.

I was pretty cranky about it, and complained to Robb when he got home from work that day.  He quickly snipped off the spring to keep it from injuring anyone else, and we went back to thinking the mattress was going to have to last another year.

Kitchen Sink Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies  -  These chocolate chip oatmeal cookies have everything but the kitchen sink in them!

You know me, I complained as loud as I could to anyone who would listen.  I’m super charming that way.  And guess who listened?  One totally awesome friend.  A few days after I had a fit about it, she bought me a mattress and had it delivered!

Who does that?!

So I laid down on my new, soft, comfy mattress, and you know what I thought about?  Chocolate chip cookies.  Because eating chocolate chip cookies is like going home, or like wrapping up in your favorite blanket, or laying on a really cushy bed.   Continue reading “Kitchen Sink Cookies” »

Caramel Corn Snack Mix

The best caramel corn recipe can be used on more than just popcorn!  And pecans and cereal for a fun snack mix!

Caramel Corn Snack Mix from JensFavoriteCookies.com - this mix includes cereal and pecans for a delicious snack!

I burned myself making this popcorn for you.

Oh, how I sacrifice for my craft!

Let’s just say, when this candy comes off the stove it is very very hot.  Be forewarned. Was it worth it?  Yes.  Yes, it was.  Because caramel corn is good, but caramel corn plus chex and pecans is great.  Fantastic.  Amazing, even.

And speaking of sacrifice… do you know how hard it is to make this gorgeous, crunchy caramel and then NOT eat it immediately?  I promised my family I would bring snacks to the family get together this month, so into a lidded container this whole batch went.

*sniff*  *wipes tear*

Caramel Corn Snack Mix from JensFavoriteCookies.com - this mix includes cereal and pecans for a delicious snack!

Here’s a little insight into my life as a dessert blogger.  When my kids come home from school/work/friends/misc. activities, they say something like, “Mmm, it smells like…” insert something here like “peanut butter” or “caramel” or “cookies.”  This is immediately followed by, “Can I have some?”

Continue reading “Caramel Corn Snack Mix” »

Red Velvet Waffle Iron Cookies

These waffle iron cookies are quick and simple to make, with a red velvet cake mix.  Waffle iron cookies are best eaten warm!

Red Velvet Waffle Iron Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com - SO fast and easy to make, with a red velvet cake mix!Some days I like baking complicated desserts that require long amounts of time to prepare.  I like the love that goes into a good dessert like that.

And other days, I just don’t want to mess with it.  You know?

These are the days I love cake mix cookies.  Simple, delicious, very customizeable… cake mix cookies save the day.

And, as long as we are talking about baking heroes, I may as well bring up the waffle iron.  The waffle iron has been gaining ground in recent months, as a tool that is great for more than just waffles.  Did you know you can bake cinnamon rolls in that thing?

Upsides to using a waffle iron: you don’t have to heat up the oven and consequently the whole kitchen, and stuff cooks in half the time.  Downsides:  You can only cook a few at a time.

Even heroes have their flaws.

Red Velvet Waffle Iron Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com - SO fast and easy to make, with a red velvet cake mix!

I always think waffle iron cookies are best eaten warm.  I like to let the icing melt onto the cookie.  That combination of warm cookie + cool icing is heavenly. Mmmmmm.

These cookies required some extra flour to make them stiff enough to bake in the waffle iron, but that same combination makes them turn rock solid within a day or so.  Trust me, you’re going to want to eat them warm.

Red Velvet Waffle Iron Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com - SO fast and easy to make, with a red velvet cake mix!

There are lots of great waffle cookie recipes out there.  I love this one for Molasses Waffle Iron Cookies with Chocolate Frosting.  They are a delicious winter-flavor option.

But basically, waffle iron cookies are fabulous any time of year!

More red velvet treats you’ll love!

red-velvet-sandwich-hearts-5Red Velvet
Sandwich Cookies
red-velvet-cake-batter-dip-4Red Velvet Cake
Batter Dip
Red Velvet Cookie RecipeRed Velvet
Sugar Cookies

Red Velvet Waffle Iron Cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A heavy cake mix cookie that can be baked in a waffle iron.
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 24
Ingredients
COOKIES:
  • 1 box red velvet cake mix
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
ICING:
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Combine cake mix with butter and eggs, mix well.
  2. Add flour and mix until combined.
  3. Roll dough into balls, about 1.5 inches in diameter. Place balls in a heated waffle iron, and cook according to waffle iron instructions. (Usually about 3-4 minutes.)
  4. To prepare icing, combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth.
  5. Spread a small amount of icing onto warm cookies. Serve immediately. (These cookies don't keep well, they are best eaten right away.)

 

Onion Dill Oyster Crackers

Flavored oyster crackers are fun to make and tasty!  They’re a great snack for parties.

Onion Dill Oyster Crackers from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  Great for parties, quick and easy to make!Our son planned a weekend video gaming party with his cousin.  He instructed me that he would be needing snacks for this little soiree.

And not just any snack would do.  Popcorn?  No.  Licorice?  Maybe.

Actually, he wanted muddy buddies, but I nixed that idea.  Chocolate and powdered sugar + video game controllers?  Not so much.

The thing with gaming party snacks is, they come with rules.  Wrappers take too long to deal with.  Cookies take too long to eat.  You need something with no wrappers, something that can be eaten one small handful at a time, something that doesn’t get your hands messy.

And the answer is… flavored oyster crackers.

Onion Dill Oyster Crackers from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  Great for parties, quick and easy to make!

There are lots of ways to flavor plain crackers.  Whatever flavor you choose, they’re simple, quick, and really delicious.

This particular flavor combo was suggested to me by a friend.  A brilliant friend.  A friend who knows what’s good.

I was kind of surprised, actually.  You can taste both the onion and the dill in these crackers, but the combination of the two flavors was something else entirely.

Onion Dill Oyster Crackers from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  Great for parties, quick and easy to make!

You don’t have to limit yourself to oyster crackers here.  This same combination would work with pretzels or saltines, too.

But for this little gaming get-together, the oyster crackers worked perfectly.  Maybe next time, I’ll have the party and my kids will make the snacks!

More great party snacks you’ll love!

caramelized onion dip and potato chipsPotato Chips &
Caramelized Onion Dip
Mustard PretzelsMustard
Pretzels
pizza-bites-7Pizza
Bites

 

 

Onion Dill Oyster Crackers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Flavor your store-bought oyster crackers with dill and onion for a tasty snack!
Author:
Recipe type: Snacks
Ingredients
  • 1 pkg. oyster crackers (12 oz.)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons dry onion soup mix
  • 1½ teaspoons dill weed
Instructions
  1. In a small dish, combine oil, onion mix, and dill.
  2. Pour crackers into a large bowl, pour oil mix over the top, and toss to coat.
  3. Place crackers in a single layer on a large baking sheet, and bake at 250F for 15-20 minutes.

 

Double-Decker Pavlova with Chocolate

This pavlova with chocolate is delicate, but still satisfying.  Chocolate pavlovas are an impressive dessert!

Chocolate Pavlova from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  This chocolate meringue dessert is so impressive topped with chocolate curls!I love going to the symphony.  I haven’t been in ages, but I love it.  It’s probably my musical background that does it.  I find it so uplifting and relaxing.

When I find myself getting all caught up in the cell phone and Netflix and YouTube, I find it’s really nice to unplug and go back to the classics, you know?  Classics like symphonies and plays and operas and ballets.

This pavlova, by the way, is the perfect dessert to eat after watching the classics, because it’s sort of classical itself.  It’s named after a Russian ballerina.  And, just like her, it’s sort of delicate and yet fabulous.

Although, not like her, pavlovas originate in Australia.  Or is it New Zealand?

 

Chocolate Pavlova from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  This chocolate meringue dessert is so impressive topped with chocolate curls!

A pavlova is basically a giant meringue.  Egg whites and sugar make a beautiful thing, my friends. Continue reading “Double-Decker Pavlova with Chocolate” »

Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies

Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com

Oh, buttermilk.  You’re the key to this girl’s heart.

My kids always go crazy when I buy buttermilk.  I generally buy it a quart at a time, and they love using it for buttermilk pancakes, and more importantly buttermilk syrup.  I don’t often let them make buttermilk syrup because it’s even more candy-like than regular syrup, and it’s sort of a big mess too.

Personally, I would rather use my buttermilk for baked good than for pancakes.  I’m just not much of a pancake kind of girl, what can I say?

There is really no way to turn down cookies and muffins and cakes and scones made with buttermilk.  Maybe it’s the acidic quality of buttermilk that breaks everything down, and makes it soft and flavorful and amazing, I don’t know.  And I don’t care, as long as I have some buttermilk baked goods in the house.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com

For today’s buttermilk creation, I decided to keep it simple and flavor the cookies with vanilla.

The problem with vanilla is that it is so frequently used in baking, it can actually be a hard flavor to recognize.  When my son, The Lizard, ate a cookie, I asked him what it tasted like.  He first talked about the texture (creamy, he called it), and then started guessing at flavors.  Cinnamon?  Lemon?

Maybe it’s his unrefined palate, but I suspect it’s at least partly because vanilla is a hard flavor to place.

Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.comVanilla Buttermilk Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.com

My vanilla-obsessed daughter is always thrilled to have vanilla treats in the house!  I usually stick her with my triple chocolate treats every week.

This cookie makes us both happy! 

 

Leftover buttermilk?  Try one of these recipes:

chocolate muffinsChocolate
Buttermilk Muffins
sconesCoconut White Choc
Buttermilk Scones
vanilla cupcake recipeVanilla
Cupcakes
Nutmeg Cookie recipeNutmeg
Buttermilk Cookies
blueberry-buttermilk-muffins-5Blueberry
Buttermilk Muffins
buttermilk cookiesChocolate
Frosted Cookies

 

5.0 from 7 reviews
Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies
 
Cook time
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Cakey buttermilk cookies with vanilla buttermilk icing.
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 4 dozen
Ingredients
COOKIES:
  • ¾ cup softened butter
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
ICING:
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add buttermilk and mix well.
  2. Add salt, soda, and flour, and mix until well combined.
  3. Drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet and bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes.
  4. For icing, combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth and creamy.
  5. Lightly frost cooled cookies, and sit out to let icing set for a few minutes.

 

Coconut Truffles

Coconut truffles recipe;  This easy coconut truffles recipe is a great fit for Easter or spring celebrations.

Bunny Tails!  These super easy Coconut Truffles make a great Easter treat.  From JensFavoriteCookies.com Regular readers of this blog know how I feel about coconut.

It’s lovely.  It’s fantastic.  It’s delicious.  It’s one of my favorite flavors, right behind chocolate.  And peanut butter.  And mint.  I’m so indecisive.  I just love all of it.

When I spied these completely adorable Bunny Tails on Pizzazzerie recently, I knew I had to give them a try myself.  Partly because they’re adorable, but mostly because they are coconut.  Anything that involves copious amounts of coconut and powdered sugar is fine with me.

I asked my son and his buddy whether they loved the coconut truffles enough to serve them to their hypothetical girlfriends.  (At least, they better be hypothetical.)  They were concerned that girls wouldn’t like the idea of bunny tails, (too gruesome) so they opted to call them cotton balls.

I don’t know what cotton balls have to do with anything.  But, to each his own, I guess.

Either way, they were fine eating them, fine enough that they went back to the fridge several times in a 5-minute span.

Bunny Tails!  These super easy Coconut Truffles make a great Easter treat.  From JensFavoriteCookies.com

This recipe is proof positive that candy making doesn’t have to be the laborious and detailed process that I always thought it was.  I remember a neighbor showing some of us girls how to make homemade suckers, back when I was a teenager.  I thought the process was hard and scary, and I was just certain I would ruin a pan doing it, so I never did try it on my own. Continue reading “Coconut Truffles” »

Peanut Butter Granola Bites

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TENways  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Peanut Butter Granola Bites from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  packed with protein, dried fruits, and nuts.Robb and I have been having this disagreement lately.

It all started when I decided to make some healthier eating choices.  The truth is, I found the new rules to be kind of a drastic change from the old ones, and really difficult to stick to.  So, I came up with a brilliant plan…

Half-measures.

I figured I could have a weaning-off period, a period during which I don’t completely give myself to the new lifestyle with wreckless abandon, but I start moving in that direction by getting halfway there.  Robb has always been a black-and-white kind of guy, so the whole idea of half measures makes him nuts.

He says I should just do it, or not do it.  Half measure are for wimps.

To each his own, I guess, my half measures have been working out great for me.

Peanut Butter Granola Bites from JensFavoriteCookies.com  -  packed with protein, dried fruits, and nuts.

One of my alternatives to junk-food snacking this season is these Granola Bites.  There is still enough sweetness in them to make them really fun and delicious, while packing a protein punch that keeps the cravings at bay. Continue reading “Peanut Butter Granola Bites” »