Yearly Archives: 2017

Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

coconut-pecan-chocolate-chunk-cookies-1bThere’s this soda shop here that sells cookies. My favorite is a chocolate chip cookie with pecans and plenty of coconut.

I’ve been going there with my co-workers, because this cookie is my obsession. It’s so fantastic.

So I set out to re-create the cookie at home. Naturally. Because that’s what I do.

My first attempt was not that great. I wanted a big, substantial cookie, so I went to a recipe I used several years ago. But it called for only 1 stick of butter and a whopping 4 cups of flour. I suspect this out-of-whack ratio is what made the cookies taste kind of bland.

Like they were all flour or something.

So I went for a second attempt. This time I changed almost nothing, except to double the butter content. This attempt was much much better. Butter makes the world go ’round. It is the flavor foundation of so many baked goods. You can’t just keep adding flour and eggs and expect your cookies to taste good.

You have to balance it out with some fat content.

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I made these cookies extra large. I used a 1/4 cup measure to scoop them, and I only put 6 cookies at a time on a half sheet pan. I normally put 20 regular sized cookies on the same pan.

I sometimes like large cookies, especially when you are giving them away. It makes them feel like a generous and substantial gift. I even feel generous giving them to myself. Which is what I do frequently.

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Unfortunately, they were not as amazing as the soda shop cookies. But they were pretty darn good, and I still say the recipe is a keeper.

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Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

An extra large chocolate chip cookies with pecans and coconut.

Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 dozen
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 cups shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs and mix well.

  2. Add salt, baking soda, and flour. Mix just until combined.

  3. Carefully fold in chocolate chips, pecans, and coconut, taking care not to overmix.

  4. Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour or more. Use a 1/4-cup measure to create large cookies. Flatten slightly and place on baking sheet, leaving plenty of space between cookies. (I only put 6 cookies on a half sheet pan.)

  5. Bake at 350F for 14-16 minutes, until edges are slightly brown. Let cool on pan for 1-2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

 

Condensed Milk Limeade

condensed-milk-limeadeSometimes this stuff is called Brazilian Lemonade. You can make it with either lemons or limes, but I really prefer the limeade version.

My sister-in-law is from Mexico. My brother tells me that it almost seems like Mexicans don’t believe lemons exist. Do they even have a word for “lemon?” Because the word for lime is “limon.”

He also tells me that his Mexican in-laws use limes for everything. They are squeezed over almost every dish. They are good for upset stomachs and any number of other ailments. They are great for cleaning your hair. (My own in-laws have their own version of this with the miracle mineral called bentonite. You can brush you teeth with it, lubricate the tractor, and the stuff will clear your heartburn right up.)

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But let’s face it, limes kind of are a miracle. And they taste amazing. Which is why when I made my Brazilian Lemonade, I made it with limes.

Gosh, I love limeade.

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I have a Blendtec blender and I really love it. If you have a regular blender, you can blend this lemonade up really easily, but the Blendtec does a little too good a job of it. So if you use a high-powered blender, pulse gently.

No one wants that bitter pith in their lemonade.

You know what this limeade is good for? Barbecues. And summer afternoons in the garden. And road trips and birthday parties and pretty much any other kind of day you can think of.

Now that I have discovered it, I’ll probably be making it every single day for at least a month.

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Condensed Milk Limeade

A creamy and refreshing citrus drink.

Servings 4 large glasses

Ingredients

  • 4 limes
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 -5 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons condensed milk

Instructions

  1. Wash limes and lemon and rinse thoroughly before using. Remove ends from limes and lemon, and cut into eighths. (Leave skins on!)

  2. Place lime and lemon pieces in a blender with water and sugar. If using a high-power blender such as a Blendtec, Vitamix, or Ninja, pulse the mixutre 6-7 times. If using a regular blender, a longer blending time may be needed.

  3. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a pitcher, and discard the pieces left in the sieve.

  4. Add condensed milk, and use a wooden spoon to stir until well-combined.

  5. Refrigerate, and serve chilled.

Recipe Notes

Try to choose limes with thin skins. 

If desired, you can use more lemons instead of limes.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

pb-banana-bread-4bIt’s so rare for me to have ripe bananas on my counter. The Fruitarian eats the whole bunch the day I buy them. I am not exaggerating. He can eat 6 bananas in one 24-hour period and be very happy.

I’m personally not a fan of eating bananas plain. I much prefer to bake with them.

I thought about remaking my beloved Chocolate Banana Bread. You cannot go wrong by adding chocolate to bananas. I remember how much I enjoyed that one. But, I always want to try something new and different, and share the whole thing with you, so I started brainstorming other ideas.

I thought seriously about adding another fruit to my bread, like blueberries or cranberries. I still might do that sometime in the future. But, I don’t know, I’m just not really a fruit person. What kind of person am I?

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I’m a person who loves chocolate. And peanut butter. And, ding! The beautiful idea for this bread hit me like a flash.

It’s sort of poetic, really. I smeared my Chocolate Banana Bread with peanut butter. Now I can smear my Peanut Butter Banana Bread with chocolate spread.

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Boom, baby! That’s a winner.

The only real struggle I had with this bread was that I couldn’t taste the peanut butter as strongly as I had hoped. It’s there, but it’s faint.

I did really enjoy this with butter and honey, but the slice I covered in a generous helping of Nutella was for sure my favorite.

Be sure you bake this thoroughly. Mine was slightly underdone in the center, although the top was quite brown and crusty. I wish I had given it 5 more minutes.

But I was in a hurry. I had to go back to the store for more bananas.

 

Buy the spreading knife you see above, here!

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5 from 1 vote
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Peanut Butter Banana Bread

A banana quick bread with peanut butter.

Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 1 loaf
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour

Instructions

  1. Place butter, peanut butter, and sugar in a large bowl and cream together.

  2. Add eggs, peeled bananas, and sour cream and mix well.

  3. Add salt, soda, and baking powder and mix quickly. Add flour and mix just until combined.

  4. Prepare a loaf pan by lining with wax paper or parchment paper, or coating well with non-stick spray. Pour batter into loaf pan.

  5. Bake at 350F for 55-65 minutes. Top should be quite brown, and a toothpick inserted near the center should come out mostly clean.

  6. Let cool before slicing.

Almond Raspberry Cake

almond-raspberry-cake-2bYou guys know I prefer my baking to be as easy as possible.

I rarely do any kind of decorating. I have no patience for piping bags. I only use cookie cutters occasionally. And if something requires more than 2 mixing bowls, well, it’s not the recipe for me.

Of course, the downside of that kind of baking is that sometimes you want to make something special and beautiful and extra nice. For me, it was this spring almond cake. I wanted it to be different than my usual fare. I was willing to take extra steps.

So no, this is not a box mix, it is made from scratch. But it honestly wasn’t complicated or difficult, and because I kept the frosting really simple, it looks beautiful even without any decorating skills. Which is a real bonus for me.

I have no decorating skills.

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If you’re like me and don’t want to pipe some fancy frosting onto a cake, you can always count on fresh berries to make a plain old cake look beautiful.

Or, in this case, raspberries and sliced almonds.

It’s such an easy way to decorate. And it gives the cake a fresh, spring look to it, which is exactly what I was going for.

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To keep the filling simple, I used raspberry jam. I just softened it up in the microwave for a few seconds, and stirred in a little almond extract. I spread the warm filling on the cake, and tried not to overdo it.

After all, the cake is the star here, not the filling.

Actually, it’s the almond flavor that’s the star. The raspberries are like the sub-plot. They keep it interesting and give some diversity, but beautiful, delicious almond is the diva.

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Since it’s the Easter season and all, I paired the cake with a vase full of orange tulips and a little vanilla ice cream.

And some sunshine. And Easter candy. And lots of family.

It really made for a lovely Sunday afternoon.

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Almond Raspberry Cake

An almond flavored cake with raspberry filling and vanilla frosting.

Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

For Cake:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs + 2 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup milk

For Filling:

  • 1/3 cup raspberry jam
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

For Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • fresh berries and sliced almonds, for garnish, optional

Instructions

For Cake:

  1. Place butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. 

  2. Add eggs, egg whites, almond extract and sour cream and mix well. Add salt and baking powder and mix well.

  3. Mix in flour and milk alternately, mixing just until combined.

  4. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by greasing or linin. Pour batter evenly between the pans. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove cakes from their pans, and let cool on a cooling rack.

For Filling:

  1. Place jam in a small dish. Microwave for 10-20 seconds to melt. Add almond extract and mix. 

For Frosting:

  1. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl, and use a hand mixer to beat until smooth.

  2. Spread raspberry filling on top of one layer of cake. Spread a small amount of frosting on the BOTTOM of the other layer of cake. Place frosted layer on top of the other layer.

  3. Use remaining frosting to frost the top only, leaving sides of cake bare. Top with fresh berries and almond slices, if desired.

 

Brownies for a Crowd

brownies-for-crowdOne thing I can tell you about living in Utah is that there are lots of opportunities to make large-batch desserts to feed a crowd. Between the church parties, family get-togethers, and funerals, I’ll make a big dessert several times a year.

So it’s a good idea to have a solid recipe in your back pocket for these occasions. I got this one from my aunt, and modified it just a touch. She and I kind of think alike in the recipe department… keep it simple, keep it easy.

One modification I made was to give these Nutella frosting. If you’re not into this awesome chocolate hazelnet spread, I’m sorry. Because you are wrong. Nutella is freaking amazing.

If you want, you can substitute the Nutella in the recipe for about 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder. That way it can be hazlenut-free while still tasting like chocolate.

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My family can eat these kinds of desserts at an alarming rate. Case in point, my daughter made a double batch of chocolate chip cookies yesterday, and today they are half gone. I think everyone has learned that they better act fast, or they won’t get any.

There’s no mercy in this house when it comes to desserts.

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You can easily cut this recipe into 40 brownies, and with 5 of us in the house, these ought to last about… 2 days.

Maybe.

Let’s talk texture for a minute. These are not quite as chocolatey and gooey as the box-mix brownies. They cut into nice clean squares, but they are still soft. They are just slightly cakey, but not too much.

Which is perfect, because I would FFAAAAAAARRRR rather have brownies than cake.

(No offense, cake fans.)

This recipe is roughly equal to 2 boxed brownie mixes. So go crazy!

 

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Brownies for a Crowd

Large-batch soft chocolate brownies with Nutella frosting.

Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 40 squares
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

Brownies

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups flour

Nutella Frosting

  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

For Brownies:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, place melted butter. (Make sure butter is slightly cooled before adding eggs.)  Add eggs, vanilla, and salt, and mix with a large wooden spoon.  *(see notes)

  2. Add sugar and cocoa powder and mix well.  Add flour and mix just until combined.

  3. Prepare a half sheet pan (about 13" x 18" pan) by greasing or coating with a non-stick spray. Pour brownie batter into pan and spread evenly.

  4. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes. Let cool a little before frosting.

For Nutella Frosting:

  1. In a small bowl, place melted butter and Nutella. Stir until well-combined. **(see notes)  Add milk and mix.

  2. Add powdered sugar until frosting reaches desired consistency. It should be thin enough to pour without being runny.

  3. Pour frosting over brownies, and spread evenly. Let set for 10-30 minutes before cutting into about 40 squares.

Recipe Notes

*I recommend mixing these by hand rather than using a stand mixer. Stand mixers can add a lot of air into the batter, which will make the brownies more cakey. For the best texture, a large mixing bowl and wooden spoon are the best choice.

**I melted the butter about halfway, then added the Nutella and finished melting. This softened and melted the Nutella a bit, which made it easier to mix into the butter.

***If you don't want to use Nutella, substitute it for about 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder.

 

Coconut Dark Chocolate Thumbprints

coconut-thumbprints-3bThe only thing better than coconut cookies is chocolate cookies. And this is the best of both worlds because it’s coconut AND chocolate.

Why is coconut so freaking amazing? Besides that it’s the only flavor my entire picky family agrees with, I mean.

I just love the stuff. In fact, my friend gave me some of that Crystal Light liquid stuff that you mix into water, and it was the coconut flavor, and yeah, now I’m hooked. I guess it’s better than being hooked on Diet Coke, but probably not much.

I had a bar of bittersweet chocolate in my pantry, and I was just itching to use it. I saw a couple recipes on Pinterest for coconut thumbprints with salted caramel in them, and don’t get me wrong, it sounds aaaaahmazing, but… chocolate. I just have a hard time turning down chocolate.

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Add this recipe to your Pinterest board!

I loved spooning melted chocolate into these cute little cookies.

And then eating them.

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The dough for this cookie is a bit heavy, but it helps it to keep it’s shape. Nevertheless, I would plan to eat these within a couple days rather than keep them hanging around. They could get kind of dry and stale pretty quickly if you’re not careful.

You can fill these with whatever you want. If you choose salted caramel, I won’t blame you at all. In fact, I might wish I was there to swipe one from you. You could also fill them with jam. I would recommend something with a strong flavor, like plum.

But at least consider the chocolate!

Shop Baking Supplies Now!

 

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Coconut Dark Chocolate Thumbprints

A heavy coconut cookie topped with dark chocolate

Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 3 dozen
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 ounces dark or bittersweet chocolate

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer, combine cold butter with sugar and salt, mixing just until combined.

  2. Add coconut extract and eggs, and mix. Add flour and mix just until combined. Mix in coconut, being careful not to overmix.

  3. Form tablespoon-sized balls of dough. Place on a greased or lined baking sheet and press an indent into each ball with the back of a spoon or with fingers.

  4. Bake at 350F for 9-12 minutes, until edges are slightly brown. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool.

  5. Break chocolate into pieces and place in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until chocolate is completely melted.

  6. Spoon chocolate into the indents in the cookies. Let cool slightly before eating.

 

Sweet Onion Crack Dip

onion-crack-dip-1bA couple years ago, I went to this fun food photography class in Santa Ana. I met some of my food blog besties that I only knew through facebook messenger and phone calls. I got to see one of the most amazing photo prop closets I could imagine. I had some amazing food.

And I came home with a really fun cookbook.  This one.

I think my favorite recipe in this book is the Sweet Onion Crack Dip. Which is why I decided to share with all of you. I have made this to entertain many a teenage crowd, bonko party, and family gathering.

Even if you don’t like onions, you might still like this, because the onions cook into their soft, caramely sweetness. And they are smothered in cream cheese and parmesan.

Holy freaking moly, this stuff is addictive.

Sweet Onion Crack Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies

When my son was holding group dates at our house every other weekend, we went through a lot of sweet onion dip. Not only is it a gathering point for the kids, but it also makes them self-conscious about kissing each other.

Win-win.

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I’ve frankly always been surprised that so many people dislike onions. They make almost everything taste better. And I cannot imagine anything so sweet-savory as caramelized onions. They are perfect on hamburgers and bratwurst.

And forks.

It makes me feel like this dip was crafted just for me. Add a few hearty crackers or crusty bread, and you are in business!

Recipe from White on Rice Couple

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Sweet Onion Crack Dip

Sweet onions with cream cheese and parmesan, baked into a warm dip for crackers or crusty bread.

Cook Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup finely diced sweet onion (about half of an onion)
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • crackers or bread for dipping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, parmesan, onion and pepper in a bowl, stirring to combine. Place mixture in a 9-inch square or round baking dish. (I used a cast iron skillet but a small casserole dish would work fine, too.)

  3. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes, until top is brown and bubbly. Serve warm with crackers or chunks of bread.

 

S’mores Toffee

smores-toffee-4bWhy are s’mores so freaking amazing?

I was thinking about them the other day when my friend who has daughters in Girl Scouts was telling me that she is planning to freeze some Girl Scout cookies in hopes they would last until summer.  “I really want some Samoas S’mores,” she said.

Dang, that sounds so good.

You can turn just about any dessert food into a s’mores dessert these days. Just type “s’mores” into a Pinterest search and you’ll see what I mean. I haven’t done a lot of s’mores desserts myself, and I don’t really know why. I guess I just have a hard time believing that a s’mores-inspired treat could be better than an actual s’more.

But then, it doesn’t really have to be. S’mores toffee doesn’t have to be better than s’mores, or even better than toffee, just different. Because life is in the variety.

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I made s’mores sandwich cookies once for Happy Man’s birthday. Holy moly, I had a hard time packing those up and giving them away.

Incidentally, after dozens of emotional comments on my original toffee post, I decided to give the brown sugar toffee a try. And it was a complete disaster.

Seriously. My first clue was the color. Normally I know when the toffee is ready because it turns the color of a brown paper bag. But when you use brown sugar it is that color going in, so it’s impossible to know. It also stayed very liquid, never really incorporating sugar and butter together. Then in burned very quickly. In just a couple minutes I had a mess of smoking black sugar which wouldn’t mix with the butter.

Blech.

I stand by my original recipe… equal parts butter and sugar, cooked over medium heat, stirring constantly, until its the color of a brown paper bag. Easy peasy.

The marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers are just icing on the cake. Or candy.

 

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S'mores Toffee

Homemade toffee candy poured over graham crackers and topped with marshmallows and chocolate.

Cook Time 7 minutes
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 sleeve graham crackers (about 8 full crackers)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mini-marshmallows

Instructions

  1. Prepare a quarter sheet pan or 9x13 dish by lining the bottom with graham crackers. Measure out marshmallows and chocolate chips and have them nearby.

  2. In a heavy saucepan, melt butter. Add sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches the color of a brown paper bag. Mixture may separate or look curdled, and this is normal.

  3. Pour candy over the graham crackers, trying to coat evenly.

  4. Quickly sprinkle marshmallows and chocolate chips on top, letting them sit a minute or two to melt. Use a toothpick or knife to swirl topping.

  5. Let candy cool for 15-30 minutes, then chill in fridge to let it set. Cut or break into pieces before serving.

Recipe Notes

For a video tutorial about cooking toffee, see this Pretzel Toffee recipe.

Marbled Lime Cheesecake Bars

marbled-lime-cheesecake-1I’ve never understood why some people don’t love cheesecake. The Hippie Chick is one of these.

I sometimes wonder if she really is my daughter.

The thing I love about these bars, besides, of course, the pretty swirly pattern, is the lime curd. Lime curd (and lemon curd) is one of those gorgeous little treats I never learned to appreciate until well into my adulthood.

It’s a tragedy, really.

I’ve included the recipe for lime curd in this recipe, but you won’t need the entire batch for the cheesecake bars, so you’ll have a little leftover for any fun little thing you want. You can make it into little tarts, or bake it inside puff pastry for hand pies, or fold in some whipped cream and freeze it into cream pops.

Or just grab a spoon and eat it straight. Yummmmm.

Marbled Lime Cheesecake Bars from Jen's Favorite Cookies

One of my favorite things about cheesecake bars is that you can cut them into small bars, and leave the pan in the fridge. Then, whenever you want a little bite of something sweet, there’s a perfect bite just waiting for you.

If I can keep the kids from destroying them, they can hang on for a few days.

They really taste best and have the best texture when they’ve been sitting in the fridge, too.

Marbled Lime Cheesecake Bars

You can make these with lemon curd, if you’re more of a lemon person. I kind of like that green color, though. It’s fun for St. Patrick’s Day, or really just anytime you’re in the mood for lime.

Or leave the lime out, and just have plain old cheesecake bars. Mmmmm….

 

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5 from 1 vote
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Marbled Lime Cheesecake Bars

Cheesecake bars swirled with lime curd on a graham cracker crust.

Servings 32 small bars
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

For Lime Curd:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
  • 4-5 ounces fresh lime juice

For Crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter

For Cheesecake:

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Instructions

For Lime Curd:

  1. Mix together butter and sugar. Add eggs and yolks one at a time, mixing between each. Add fresh lime juice, and stir.

  2. Put mixture on the stove over medium-high heat. Use a thermometer, and mix and cook until mixture reaches 170 degrees.

  3. Remove from stove and pour into a separate dish to cool. Use green and yellow food coloring to tint curd a bright lime-green color. Cover with plastic wrap, putting wrap right against the top of the curd to keep it from getting a skin. Chill in the fridge until cool.

    *You will not need the entire batch of lime curd for this recipe.

For Graham Cracker Crust:

  1. Mix cracker crumbs and butter together. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 or comparable sized pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 5 minutes.

For Cheesecake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. 

    With electric beaters, mix cream cheese and sugar. Add eggs and sour cream and mix well. Add vanilla and flour and mix well.

  2. Reserve about 1/2 cup cheesecake mixture, and pour the rest over the baked crust.

  3. Mix about 1/2 cup of the cooled lime curd with the reserved cheesecake mixture. Spoon lime-cheesecake mixture over the cheesecake in big dollops. Spoon additional 1/2 cup (more or less to your preference) lime curd over cheesecake in big dollops.

  4. Use a knife to make long passes through the cheesecake and marble everything together.

  5. Bake at 325F degrees for 35 minutes. Allow to cool, then chill in refrigerator for an hour or two before cutting into 16 large or 32 small bars.

 

Popcorn Krispie Treats

Popcorn Krispie Treats from Jen's Favorite CookiesI have never been a huge fan of plain krispie treats. They’re just so… boring.

Which is why I totally prefer Scotcheroos or these freaking amazing Samoas Krispie Treats. They have all that extra flavor.

Well, and sugar. Let’s be honest.

I just can’t bring myself to make them plain. I’m always thinking of something to put with them to make them more interesting.

My favorite thing to mix into krispie treats, honestly, is popcorn.

Hear me out.

Popcorn Krispie Treats from JensFavoriteCookies
Add To Your Pinterest Board!

The popcorn makes the treats chewier. And, strangely, kind of creamy.

Your friends will think they are marshmallows. Only you will know the secret.

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I made these krispie treats with mint m&m’s because it’s March and because I like mint. I added green food coloring to the white chocolate because it’s March and because I like green.

I was sort of amazed by how quickly these disappeared. I think I ate three of them in a row, and when I went back to the fridge a little while later, the pan was empty.

Someone ate the last one but left the pan in the fridge. Does this happen at your house too?

I wish I had secretly made a second batch and put them in the secret fridge. How can I hide an entire fridge?

More St. Patrick’s Treat Ideas

 

Popcorn Krispie Treats from Jen's Favorite Cookies
5 from 1 vote
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Popcorn Krispie Treats

Simple krispie treats with popcorn and chocolate topping.

Servings 16 large or 32 small bars
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package mini-marshmallows (10-ounce)
  • 3 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 3 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup chocolate candies (*optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 ounces white chocolate
  • food coloring, (*optional)

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan on the stove, melt butter. Add marshmallows and stir until melted.

  2. Place cereal and popcorn in a large bowl. Pour melted marshmallows over cereal. Stir until coated.

  3. Mix in chocolate candies. Pour mixture into a greased 9x13 pan and flatten.

  4. Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe dish and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted. Pour melted chocolate over krispie treats and spread evenly.

  5. Place white chocolate in a microwave-safe dish and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted. Drizzle a small amount of melted white chocolate over the chocolate topping. 

  6. Use food coloring to color remaining white chocolate. Drizzle over top. Use a knife or toothpick to swirl white chocolate.

  7. Chill for about an hour. Cut into 16 large or 32 small bars.

Recipe Notes

* I used mint m&m's in these bars, which gave them a great mint flavor. 

Chocolate Fudge Cookies

chocolate-fudge-cookiesMy coworkers are always bugging me to bring them cookies. These chocolate fudge cookies have been a topic of discussion for a couple weeks now.

And, I get it, it makes sense. I bake, blog, and promote my recipes every weekend. It looks, from the outside, like my house is full of cookies, brownies, muffins, and cake.

The reality, I’m afraid, is a bit less sexy.

First, there’s the fact that I have three teenagers. Teenagers who are under the impression that if they don’t eat the cookies the first minute they see them, they will miss out forever.

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It’s not far from the truth.

Then there’s the fact that I like to do my own cookie eating on the weekends, and try not to leave them around to tempt me during the week.

And sometimes I make recipes like this one, which only make a few cookies total, so there’s almost no hope of them lasting a full day.

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Fun fact about chocolate cookies: when the dough tastes like fudge, so do the cookies. OH MAN.

These are not everyday cookies. These are special occasion cookies. Very special.

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After all, this much chocolate is not to be taken lightly.

I should remind my coworkers of that fact.

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Chocolate Fudge Cookies

Oversized fudgy chocolate cookies with chocolate chunks.

Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 1 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, or 1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

  2. Place chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe dish and microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and combined.

  3. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Mix well. 

  4. Add salt, baking powder, cocoa powder, and flour. Mix just until combined. Don't overmix.

  5. Add chocolate and butter mixture to the dough, mixing only as much as needed to incorporate.

  6. Chop chocolate into chunks, and fold into dough.

  7. Form dough into 12 large cookies, about 3-4 tablespoons each. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool on the pan 1-2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Snickerdoodle Bars

Snickerdoodle BarsSnickerdoodles are such a classic cookie, aren’t they? Today, we are using them to celebrate.

I took Hippie Chick driving on the road for the first time today. Teaching your youngest child to drive is a weird experience. I was less terrified because I had been through it before, more terrified because she’s my only daughter, and sort of relieved that this will be the last time I do this.

Reminded me of potty training, truth be told.

My boys were so different behind the wheel. They had this, “I can do this, leave me alone,” kind of attitude. Like they were annoyed that I had to be sitting next to them. Hippie Chick has a more, “everything is scary, tell me I can do this,” kind of attitude. I’m not sure which is more frightening.

Snickerdoodle Bars

On the bright side, she is a fast learner. She’s also less likely to drive us into the gutter than her brothers. (Not completely UNlikely, mind you, just LESS likely.)

So we are celebrating with snickerdoodle bars.

These little gems are pretty much exactly like their rounder counterparts, but with the bonus of not having to scoop 5 dozen cookies onto a baking sheet. Since I pressed these into a 9×13 pan, I only have to bake once, wait for them to cool, and cut them into bars.

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I cut the edges off first, and then cut into 16 long bars, but you could really cut any number you like. If you like squares, I recommend doing 20.

I thought about frosting these, but they didn’t need it. They are perfect just the way they are!

Snickerdoodle Bars
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Snickerdoodle Bars

A classic snickerdoodle cookie in bar form.

Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 16 bars
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups flour

For Topping:

  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9x13 pan by greasing or lining with parchment or wax paper.

  2. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well.

  3. Add vanilla, cream of tartar, salt, and soda and mix well. Add flour and mix just until combined. Mixture should be dry and crumbly.

  4. Press dough into prepared pan. It will have an uneven top, but if you prefer it to be very flat, you can use a spatula or wooden spoon to press the dough flat.

  5. Mix sugar and cinnamon topping in a bowl or shaker. Sprinkle a generous amount over the top of the dough.

  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool before cutting into 16 long or 20 square bars.

 

Pink Layered Slush

layered-slush-drink-2 I had the idea for this layered slush drink weeks ago, and I honestly couldn’t wait to actually make it.

I was a little worried that the reality wouldn’t live up to the idea in my head.  Turns out, I had nothing to worry about.

I love the idea of a layered drink. Once you understand the principle behind it, you can make your own beautifully colored creation with almost any flavors you want.

The secret to creating layers is sugar content.

Pink Layered Slush Drink

Add this recipe to your Pinterest board!

If a liquid with a lower sugar content is on top of a liquid with a higher sugar content, they will tend to stay there. The sweeter stuff naturally wants to be on the bottom.

For this drink, I started with a layer of grenadine. This syrup is very sweet, not to mention colorful, so it makes a good bottom layer. Then I added a layer of Cherry 7-Up. This pink soda is not as sweet as a straight syrup, but still has a fair amount of sugar. I finished it up with a layer of light lemonade.

It has to be a sugar-free drink to keep it floating above the soda layer. Regular lemonade won’t do. Find one with an artificial sweetener. And if you want to spike the drink, add some vodka to this lemonade layer.

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The addition of the ice kind of helped keep the layers from mixing too much. Though it melts fast, so get everything ready to go before you start.

And can we just talk about how cute these paper straws are? Since I was making these for Valentines day, I chose flavors in red and pink colors, and straws with hearts and pink stripes. I love these particular paper straws because they don’t disintegrate like some other brands, so you can actually use them, and they come in a ton of cute patterns and colors.

They’re almost a Valentines Day gift all by themselves!

Shop Paper Straws Now

 

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Pink Layered Slush

A layered slush drink with red and pink colors.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 medium glasses

Ingredients

  • 6 cups ice cubes divided
  • 6 ounces grenadine (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup cherry or strawberry flavored soda *see notes
  • 1 cup light lemonade *see notes

Instructions

  1. Place 2 cups of ice in a blender and add grenadine. Use an ice-crushing setting to blend into a slush. Pour into 4 separate glasses.

  2. Quickly rinse blender. Add 2 more cups of ice, and cherry soda. Blend into a slush and carefully spoon mixture into glasses.

  3. Quickly rinse blender. Add 2 more cups of ice, and light lemonade. Blend into a slush and carefully spoon mixture into glasses.

    Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

The soda you use must be full-sugar and not a light or diet soda. The lemonade must be a light or diet lemonade, and not a full-sugar variety.

These melt quickly, so have ingredients and glasses prepared ahead of time, and serve immediately.

I had trouble getting the lemonade to mix into the ice, so I had to use a spoon to mix it in the blender before spooning into glasses.

The layers will mix a little bit, don't be too worried. It gives the layers a seamless, ombre look. I have found that these are best enjoyed in small to medium sized servings.

 

Red Velvet Trifle

red-velvet-trifle-7As I was putting these together this morning, The Fruitarian wandered into the kitchen to see what I was up to. When he looked around, realized I was putting together some kind of trifle, his eyes doubled in size and he started drooling.

It was like watching a cartoon character.

He snapped a couple pictures with his phone, which he sent to his best buddy, and mused about how he could make all his Facebook friends jealous. Then he had a moment of fear. “I do get to eat this, right, Mom?”

And there’s my opening. Every mom can recognize an opening like that.  “Yes, of course you can have one. Just as soon as your chores are done.”

BOOM. Just like that, the family room was getting cleaned. It was brilliant.

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Red velvet is all the rage these days. You can literally find any dessert food, breakfast foods, or snack in a red velvet variety. I myself have made cookies, brownies, and dips, among other things. And my friend Deborah has an entire cookbook devoted to red velvet recipes.

With good reason, too. You absolutely cannot go wrong with red velvet. Think of it as having a light chocolate flavor, and a gorgeous deep red color.

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I love pairing red velvet with cream cheese, because, well, cream cheese is heaven. And you can’t make a red velvet cake and then not cover it in cream cheese frosting.

Unless you want to go to jail. Pretty sure it’s a criminal offense.

I also love red velvet with chocolate. But let’s face it, I love everything with chocolate.

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I should probably tell you that while the fillings in the recipe below only make enough for about 4 medium sized servings, the cake is enough for about 4 times that much. So if you want to make this for a crowd, double, triple, even quadruple the filling layers, but just make one cake.

And keep at least one serving for me.

 

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Red Velvet Trifle

Chunks of red velvet cake with chocolate mousse and cream cheese whipped cream.

Servings 4 servings +
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 prepared red velvet cake, unfrosted (*see notes)
  • 2 cups whipped cream divided
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

For Cake Layer:

  1. Prepare cake according to package instructions. It's easiest if you bake it in a 9x13 pan, but you can do it with any size pan. Once the cake is cooled, cut into small squares.

For Chocolate Mousse:

  1. Place cream in a large bowl and whip until it forms stiff peaks. Divide whipped cream in half, place half in a separate bowl.

  2. Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until melted. 

  3. Add melted chocolate to the divided whipped cream. Use a spatula to gently fold chocolate in. Stir until mostly incorporated. (If there are streaks, it's okay.) Let mixture chill until you're ready to use it.

For Cream Cheese Whip:

  1. Whip cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and mix well. 

  2. Gently fold in remaining whipped cream with a spatula. Chill mixture until ready to use.

To Prepare Trifle:

  1. This can be made in a large trifle dish, or individual cups. 

    Layer chunks of cake, chocolate mousse, and cream cheese whip, and repeat layers.

  2. If desired, garnish with cake crumbs, sprinkles, chocolate curls, or chocolate cookie crumbs.

Recipe Notes

I did not include the ingredients to prepare the cake in this recipe, since each brand's instructions vary. I used one that called for 3 eggs, 1/2 cup oil, and 1 1/4 cups water.

I only used about 1/4 of the cake to create these. If you want to increase the number of servings, you could double or even quadruple the amounts of the other layers without needing more cake.

Easy Valentine Suckers

valentine-suckers-5I was a little skeptical about these suckers. After all, I’m not a big fan of candy making. It’s too complicated for me.

But actually, this one was pretty darn easy. And, I was happy to finally have an excuse to use my cute Valentines sprinkles.

I cleaned out my pantry recently, and found the perfect sized box to hold all my sprinkles. As long as I don’t purchase even one more bottle. I discovered a bunch of stuff in there I had forgotten about, including the heart-shaped sprinkles.

Which is too bad, because they are dang freaking cute.

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Really the main key to making candy is just being prepared. Get all your stuff out ahead of time. Use the bathroom and pour yourself a drink and finish the current episode of whatever you’re binge watching before you start.

You don’t need distractions.

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And, because I know you’re going to ask, let me answer in advance.

Yes, you do need the ice water. I learned this the hard way when I forgot to put the pan in ice water and my candy was all full of bubbles.

No, you don’t need the flavor extract, but it helps. You can use any flavor you want, though.

Yes, you will need to work fast to get the sprinkles on there. No, they don’t stay really well, which is why I ended up being happier stirring them into the candy before I poured it out.

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I wasn’t positive my family would love these, but they went plenty fast. My niece even told me I got her to like coconut, which is a real plus.

I think I might make them for more holidays.

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Easy Valentine Suckers

A very easy sucker garnished with Valentine sprinkles.

Servings 20 suckers

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut or other extract (optional)
  • sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Prepare ahead by lining two baking sheets with silicone liners. Have sucker sticks and sprinkles handy. Place a candy thermometer in a heavy saucepan and have a pastry brush nearby. Fill a large bowl with ice water.

  2. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring to a boil.

  3. Let boil 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Wet the pastry brush with water and periodically brush the sides of the pan just above the candy to keep it from crystallizing. Cook until candy reaches 310F, the hard crack stage.

  4. Place the saucepan in the bowl ice water, making sure no water gets inside the pan. This cools the pan and quickly stops the cooking process. Stir the candy while in the water, about 15 seconds, until smooth and clear. 

  5. Add extract and stir well.  If desired, you can add sprinkles to the candy at this stage.

  6. Pour candy onto prepared pans, making about 3-inch circles. Quickly set sucker sticks in the middle of each sucker and put sprinkles on top. You must work quickly during this stage. If the candy in the saucepan begins to harden before you are done, set it back on the stove over low heat to warm and soften it slightly.

  7. Let cool before gently removing from pan and serving. I found that they were safe to move within 5-10 minutes.

Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

blueberry-yogurt-muffins-6True story: I had planned to make these strawberry yogurt muffins. I just liked the idea of strawberries and the pink-red color, and blueberry muffins are soooo cliche, and I already have a blueberry muffin recipe on here, and I’m getting ready for February… and you get the idea.

And then I woke up to a solid foot of fresh snow. Which made my already lackluster desire to go to the grocery store plummet.

So I put my slippers on and made a thorough search of my freezer and found a half a bag of frozen blueberries. It is literally the only thing resembling a berry in my house. (Except some frozen cranberries leftover from this Cranberry Pecan Pie… but cranberries are SO last month.)

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I let the blueberries thaw, and when I used my half-cup measure to scoop them into the muffin batter, I got a lot of juice with them. Which is just what I wanted. It gave the muffins such a cool swirly look.

If you want to use strawberry yogurt and some frozen strawberries, you should do it. And then send me photos and your report of the finished product, because it sounds kind of amazing to me. Though, you might have to run a knife through the strawberries, since the frozen ones are often packaged whole.

I like using yogurt to really give the muffins some extra flavor and texture. I almost always have yogurt cups in the fridge anyway, and one of these 6-ounce cups is the perfect size.

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By the way, how cute are these baking cups? They are kind of my favorite thing right now. I love this quatrefoil pattern, and while they come in a bunch of fun colors, this gray really suited my mood today.

If you really wanted to, you could dress these muffins up with a little glaze. Just mix some powdered sugar with a small amount of milk in a small bowl, and either drizzle it over the top, or just dip the tops of the muffins in. It kind of puts a finishing touch on the whole thing.

Don’t you think?

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Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

A soft and flavorful muffin made with yogurt and swirled with blueberries.

Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 12 muffins
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 ounces blueberry yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries mostly thawed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.

  2. Mix butter and eggs in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

  3. Add yogurt and mix well.

  4. Add salt, baking soda and flour, and mix just until combined.

  5. Use a wooden spoon to gently fold in berries. Mix just enough to incorporate.

  6. Prepare a muffin pan by lining with paper baking cups. Fill cups about 2/3 full of batter. (Batter should make 12 muffins so spread evenly between 12 cups.) Bake for 13-18 minutes, until edges are slightly brown.

    Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

You can substitute other berries and yogurt flavors if you prefer a different type of berry.

 

 

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

strawberry-chocolate-chip-cookies-4bI’m one of those people that prefers vegetables to fruits. My son, the Fruitarian, is horrified at the thought.

“You’re telling me you would rather eat broccoli that strawberries???”

Yes. Yes I would.

If there’s a fruit salad and kale salad on the table next to each other, I choose the kale. Every time.

But… sometimes fruit just really hits the spot. Sometimes you just need something pink and fruity to remind you of a better time.

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And when I say “better time,” of course, I mean, warmer time. It’s all cold and grey and snowy here today, and I could use some spring in my life.strawberry-chocolate-chip-cookies-9

But my favorite thing about this recipe is how easy it is to make. I mean 3 minutes of mixing + 18 minutes of baking + 5 minutes of scooping cookies on and off the pan = 3 dozen awesome cookies in just 26 little minutes.

Perrrrrfect.

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5 from 1 vote
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Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Simple strawberry cake mix cookies with chocolate chips.

Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings 3 dozen
Author Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 box strawberry cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Mix cake mix, eggs, and butter until well combined. Mix in chocolate chips.

  2. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a lined or greased baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes.

No-Bake Chocolate Layer Delight

no-bake-chocolate-delight-9 I don’t know what my problem is. Every time the pressure is on, or I have some reason for the baking I’m doing, the baking flops.

Even no-bake desserts. It’s freaking ridiculous.

I mean, how do you screw up a dessert this easy?  Well, let me tell you. I did it. For some reason, my pudding didn’t want to set up, and it was like soup in the pan. I thought, it will spend some time in the fridge and it will eventually set up, but no. It spent a full day in my fridge, and it was still soup.

UGH.  Fortunately, my second try went a lot smoother.

To be honest, I was a little surprised at how well my family liked this dessert. I assumed they would prefer the baked-from-scratch stuff, the complicated cakes, the extra pretty cookies with designer ingredients.

What was I thinking?

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This dessert went faster than almost anything I’ve made in the past, and the whole family was pestering me incessantly about whether it was available for eating.

So lemme walk you through how to make this thing.

Before you get going with your day, put the cream cheese and Cool Whip on the counter to soften. It’ll just make your life easier when you’re ready to put it together.

Then start with a whole package of Oreos. The regular Oreos, the regular package. Don’t get fancy with it.  You find a way to crush the entire package. That’s 36 cookies into the food processor, blender, nut chopper, or plastic bag with a rolling pin. Personally, I use the blender.

Mix those crumbs with some melted butter, and press them into your pan.

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Get out your hand mixer and mix together the cream cheese, milk and sugar. Then fold in about half of the Cool Whip using a rubber spatula.  Spread this layer on top of the crumb layer and throw that in the fridge while you do the next step.

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The next step is to prepare the pudding. You’ll need to wash off those beaters and get a clean bowl ready. I mix about 3 to 3 1/4 cups milk with 2 small packages of instant pudding mix. Make sure it’s the instant kind. Pour and spread this over the cream cheese layer, and then give it a few more minutes in the fridge.

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Top the whole thing with the rest of the Cool Whip. And if you wanna make it cute, toss some chocolate chips or sprinkles on that thing.

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Pop the whole thing back in the fridge. You want this to be cold when you serve it.

In theory, this has beautiful black and white layers. In reality? The layers are a touch on the soft and gooey side, making them not that beautiful.

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It won’t stop anyone from eating it though. Trust me on this one.

 

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No-Bake Chocolate Layer Delight

A layered chocolate and cream cheese dessert with no baking involved.

Servings 12 pieces

Ingredients

  • 1 package regular Oreo cookies (36 cookies)
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces regular cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 3 1/4 cups milk
  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping thawed
  • 2 boxes instant chocolate pudding (3.9 ounce packages)
  • chocolate chips or sprinkles for garnish optional

Instructions

  1. Crush cookies into crumbs. Melt butter and combine with cookie crumbs. Press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

  2. In a bowl, use a hand mixer to whip softened cream cheese, and add sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix until smooth. Gently fold in about half of the whipped topping. Carefully spread this mixture on top of the cookie crumbs. Refrigerate while next layer is being prepared.

  3. In another bowl with clean beaters, mix budding mixes with 3 1/4 cups milk. Beat for about 2 minutes, until mixture starts to thicken.  Pour the pudding over the cream cheese layer and spread evenly. Return to fridge for 5-10 minutes.

  4. Top with remaining whipped topping, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles if desired. Keep in fridge until serving.

  5. To serve, carefully cut into 12 large or 20 small pieces.

Recipe Notes

Be sure the cookies are the original variety, not one with extra filling or other flavors.

Be sure the cream cheese is a full fat brick, not a lower fat or whipped product.

Be sure the pudding mix instant and not a cook and serve variety.  I have used both the chocolate and the chocolate fudge flavors with good results.