Monthly Archives: March 2017

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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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.