Yearly Archives: 2014

December 2014 Wrap-Up

dec-2014-wrap-up-1And just like that, 2014 was over.  I can’t believe how fast December went.  The whole year is kind of a blur, to tell you the truth.

In my personal life, we have endured some painful financial setbacks this year, but this little blog has really helped make up the difference.  And, my oldest son is graduating from high school this year, and it feels almost like it’s not real.  Or maybe it’s too real.  One of those.  In either case, it feels weird to tell stories about cookies and cakes when the thing I’m thinking about every day is what my kids lives are going to be like in just a year or two from now, and what kind of mothering I should be doing today.

I think the cookies are a symbol for the kind of mom I want to be.  I want to be the kind of mom who bakes bread and wears and apron, and keeps the clothes freshly laundered and the beds neatly made.  But I’m not that kind of mom.  The best I can do is a home-packed lunch with homemade cookies.  Well, sometimes it has cookies.  Besides that, the kids do their own laundry and the beds are rarely if ever made.

My family relationships, however, is where my life is truly blessed.  My relationships with my kids and husband are, not unlike cookies, warm, comforting, sweet, and reciprocal.  Okay, well, that last part isn’t true.  The cookies have never loved me as much as I loved them!  But the family members have.  Which makes it a good day to be me.

December was a slow month for the blog (I like to blame it on the recent death of my oven, but the truth is I was over busy and overwhelmed) but I did manage to share a few fun recipes this month.  Here they all are, in case you missed them!


gingerbread-cupcakes (1 of 1) Gingerbread Cupcakes with Chai Spiced Frosting

This post was a holiday party, where my friends and I all shared fun recipes for Christmas!  I love these little gatherings.  There is always so much good food!

almond-joy-fudge (5 of 3) Almond Joy Fudge

I added coconut and almonds to my favorite 2-ingredient fudge to make this easy easy easy (and delicious!) 4-ingredient fudge.  It disappeared in record time!

peanut-butter-chocolate-chip (1 of 4) Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

My nephew asked for these cookies for his birthday.  The kid has great taste, right?  There is something about peanut butter cookies that is so comforting.  And chocolate chips can only make them better!

gingerbread-cocoa (2 of 3) Gingerbread Hot Cocoa

I’ve been wanting to make this hot cocoa for a while.  I’ve had this idea in my head about how great the cocoa would taste with some molasses and ginger, and it turned out just as I imagined!  It almost makes me anxious for next December, so I can drink it again!

pesto-almonds-3 Pesto Almonds

My sister contributes a post each month, and this month’s post is these almonds.  She used fresh basil to coat the almonds and give them a fantastic flavor.  I think they would be a hit at any holiday get together!

christmas-morning-punch (5 of 1) Christmas Morning Punch

Yes, I did drink this punch on Christmas morning.  And the day before.  And the day before that.  In fact, after Christmas was over and the punch was gone, I found myself tempted to go buy ingredients for another delicious batch!

top-ten-2014-1 Top Posts of 2014

An annual tradition, a couple days ago I shared the best of the best from JFC this year.  Ten reader favorites and ten family favorites are all included in this post.  If you’re ever wondering where to start, these posts are a great starting point!


Coming up in January… Cookie of the Month!

I’m SO excited for this new feature!  I’ll be sharing a cookie each month, and encouraging you to make it.  Encouraging might be too light a word.  I’ll be all out bribing you to make it, with prizes for some lucky winners who send me photos of their cookies!  There will be lots of fun for everyone involved.  And the prizes will vary from month to month, so keep checking back each month!

Top Posts of 2014

top-ten-2014-1I have loved 2014.  All of it.

Okay, most of it.

I have had some amazing experiences this year.  I’ve worked with some awesome companies, made some amazingly helpful friends (couldn’t have done it without Carla and Diane!), learned copious amounts from these seriously superb blog coaches (I’m looking at you, Dan and Rachel!) and had tons of fun, fun, fun!

All in all, I can’t complain.

The blog grew by leaps and bounds this year as well, making me super proud to be part of your lives.  Working and watching the blog grow to include lots of fun recipes I can be proud of has honestly been one of the great joys of my life.  It’s like watching a child grow.  But with fewer diapers and a fair amount less heartbreak.

This is the time of year where I reflect back on what has happened during the past year.  So without further ado, let me share with you the top ten reader favorites (judged by number of pageviews) of 2014.  These will be followed by 10 more family favorites, two from each of us that we particularly enjoyed this year.



Number 10:

Coconut Fudge Cookie Bars

Wow, did my family love these!  I mean, we are big coconut fans from way back, so I knew these coconut fudge bars would be a hit.  We devoured them at the annual Superbowl party.

The layer of fudge inside the otherwise traditional chocolate chip cookie is a welcome, gooey addition, let me tell you.  They’re actually quite similar to these Pumpkin Fudge Cooke Bars, but slightly less gooey, and with a lot more coconut.

 Number 9:

vanilla-buttermilk-cookies-1 Vanilla Buttermilk Cookies

The Hippie Chick was thrilled that I made these babies.  That girl loves her vanilla.  And, since they use my favorite baking ingredient of all time, namely vanilla, I was thrilled too.

In fact, I love buttermilk so much, I have a whole page of recipes that use buttermilk.  I would hate for you to shy away from using buttermilk because you don’t know what to do with the leftover!

Number 8:

brownie-cookies-1 Brownie Cookies

This might be my favorite cookie of the whole year.  I mean, I luuuuuuuvvve brownies.  LOVE.  And I’m obviously a big fan of cookies.  And now I don’t have to choose.

I openly encouraged several of my friends to make this cookie, and I have made it myself several times since I blogged the recipe.  And I’ll be making this one again and again… anytime I have people to impress!

Number 7:

Butterscotch-blondies-2 Butterscotch Blondies

I have some really good memories of eating these “blonde brownies” as a kid.  They are a really fun change from traditional chocolate brownies, which, coming from a person who has a super-human tolerance for chocolate, is saying a lot.

I love adding butterscotch chips to these, but they are also nice with cinnamon chips, peanut butter chips, or even chocolate chips.

 Number 6:

Egg-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies from, You won't even miss the eggs when you use this secret ingredient! Chocolate Chip Cookies Without Eggs

I made these cookies as something of an experiment.  I don’t make many allergy-friendly recipes, but this one was a rousing success.  How do I judge that, you might ask?

First, because of the sheer number of people who searched for, looked at, and returned to this post.  And second, and more importantly, because they tasted all creamy and soft and wonderful.  If I could, I would share a batch of these with each and every one of you.

(Want more egg free recipes?  Try this Chocolate Pudding!)

Number 5:

frozen-hot-chocolate-1 Frozen Hot Chocolate

People ask me all the time what Frozen Hot Chocolate is.  And I say, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  It’s not quite like a chocolate shake, no.  It’s more like hot chocolate.  Only frozen.  I don’t know how else to describe it.

Hot chocolate has a different flavor from a chocolate shake, if only slightly.  And it’s not made with ice cream, but with milk and ice.  And it’s awesome with whipped cream.  This has been a really popular post, probably because this recipe is so easy to make, and so fun!

(Prefer it hot?  Try this Gingerbread Cocoa or this Peppermint Hot Chocolate!)

Number 4:

Nutella-swirled-PB-bars-1 Nutella Swirled Peanut Butter Bars

These have been so fun to share with you!  The swirl of Nutella is pretty, which, let’s face it, is lots of fun, but the flavor of the chocolate and peanut butter together is quite frankly fantastic.

One thing you should know, though, is that I didn’t add any kind of baking soda or other leavening agent to these bars, which makes them kind of thick and fudgy and gooey.  Which is just fine with me.

Number 3:

No-Bake-Cookies-1 50 + No-Bake Cookies & Bars

I’m not sure how I should feel about the huge number of people who have come to this baking blog to look at this collection of recipe that require no baking at all.  But, to tell you the truth, I feel pretty good about it, because there are plenty of days when I’d prefer to make something that didn’t require the use of an oven, too.

Some of these recipes are mine, and some come from other fantastic blogs that you might want to check out.

(Like collections? Check out this collection of 100 Chocolate Chip Cookies!)

Number 2:

red-velvet-cake-batter-dip-1 Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip

This dip is my new favorite entertaining stand by.  You can use any flavor of cake mix you want, but for this one, I chose red velvet.  Since it uses a dry mix, you can throw this together in just a couple minutes, and pair it with graham crackers, animal crackers, or apple slices for a fun party snack.

As mentioned above, I’m a chocoholic from way back, so my favorite flavor is obviously chocolate!

(Find more dip recipes here.)

Number 1:

plain-oatmeal-cookies-2 Plain Oatmeal Cookies

I think this was my first recipe of the year, and maybe it was the most popular because it had the longest amount of time to gather some page views, but I like to think it was the most popular because it was the most fantastic.  I mean, as boring as it sounds, a simple plain oatmeal cookie is just a classic staple.  Everyone loves them.

A little dash of cinnamon is all that is needed to enjoy these oatmeal cookies!


As with last year’s popular post post… I thought perhaps pageviews might not be the only way to measure what was the most fantastic stuff on the blog.  So I turned to the people who actually ate the treats, namely my family.  I let them each pick their two favorites.


The Fruitarian:

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this child chose the banana pudding.  This kid loves, and I mean luuuuuuuvvvvvvves bananas.  He begged me for months to make this pudding again, so I guess we can thank him for the updated photos.

He also loved the Rainbow Cake in a Jar.  The recipe I included in the post just calls for any white cake, but I used this white cake.  The one with buttermilk.  Cuz, y’all know how I feel about buttermilk.

Banana Pudding
Rainbow Cake in a Jar

The Hippie Chick:

I was hoping someone would choose these brownies, because I thought they were crazy good.  I loved them chilled.  It’s probably good I have so many other treats to make, or this one would get made every month.  Hippie Chick agreed.  The peanut butter and marshmallow combination is out of this world.

She also loved the Virgin Mojitos, proving that she is, in fact, my daughter.  Robb and I both loved these mojitos, too, and made them several times.  They are so refreshing, and since they are virgin, they are kid friendly too!

PB Crispy Marshmallow Brownies
Virgin Mojitos

The Lizard:

The Lizard must love the frozen treats because his two favorites this year were both pops.  The Snickers PB Pops were just like ice cream on a stick.  But with pieces of Snickers bar.  It’s hard to go wrong with a combination like that.

He also loved the Tropical Punch Popsicles.  I wonder if it’s because his face is in the photos!  I do love the idea of adding fresh fruit to frozen popsicles to make them a little more healthy and fresh, and if I recall, The Lizard ate the bulk of the batch I made.


PB Snickers Ice Cream Pops
Tropical Punch Popsicles


Both of these recipes represent the way Robb grew up, as they are both family recipes that are tried and true.  This chocolate cake was his birthday cake this year (and every year), and I really really don’t mind making it, because I kind of love it too.  It’s not too heavy, not too rich, and not too sweet.  Just how Robb likes it.

The Bread Pudding was another one he loved.  He and I disagree about the merits of bread pudding in general  (also rice pudding and custard) but enough people have expressed to me their love of bread pudding, that I thought I had better post it for everyone to enjoy.

Grandma’s Chocolate Cake
Bread Pudding


Yours Truly:

I’m totally surprised that my favorite recipe of the year was a rice krispie treat.  They’ve never really been my favorite.  But, it turns out, when you layer them with coconut and caramel, and drizzle them with chocolate, they are basically irresistable.  I wish the photos had done the recipe justice.  I may have to reshoot them.  It would give me an excuse to eat an entire pan of them again.  Or I could just make more Samoas Brownies.  They were equally irresistible.

The Zucchini muffins might be recipe I am the most proud of this year.  They turned out SO tasty, with their soft texture, spicy flavor, and did I mention the walnut crumb topping?  I made them several times while I had zucchini on my counter.  I ended up shredding some zucchini and freezing it, so I’ll probably be making them again one of these days.

Samoas Rice Krispie Treats
Spiced Zucchini Crumb Muffins


Before I leave this year behind me, I want to mention one thing about the year ahead.  I am starting a super fun new feature called Cookie of the Month!  Each month I will make a new cookie for you to try.  If you do try it, I’ll ask you to take a picture of it and send it to me, via email, Facebook, or Instagram.  At the end of the month, winners will be chosen from those who send photos, and prizes will be given!  The prizes will vary from month to month, so please check back each month for a new chance to win!

In the comments below, tell me what your favorite recipes of the year were!  I’d love to hear your feedback!

Have an amazing 2015!

Christmas Morning Punch

This drink makes a great Christmas carol punch!  Christmas recipes for easy punch are fun and delicious.

Christmas Morning Punch from - you'll love this quick and easy fruity punch for the holidays!I had planned to share some cookies with you today.  And not just any cookies… totally adorable seasonal Christmas cookies.

And then my oven died.

Fortunately, my stove still works, so we don’t have to eat microwaved food all week, but still.  It’s the week of Christmas and I don’t have a working oven.

It’s beyond irritating.

My dough is all mixed up and ready to go, too.  I guess I’ll be doing some baking at Grandma’s house today.  You might get Christmas cookies on Christmas Day, for all the good that will do you.

In the meantime, I’m sharing this awesome Christmas Morning Punch.  And yes, I will be drinking this on Christmas morning.  And Christmas Eve morning.  And the day before that.  And the day before that.

(Related post:  Peach Limeade)

Christmas Morning Punch from - you'll love this quick and easy fruity punch for the holidays!

Add this to your Beverage board on Pinterest!

In fact, I’m drinking it as I write this.  I’m sort of addicted to the stuff, to tell you the truth.

I debated about calling it Christmas Morning Punch, because, quite frankly, it’s perfect for any day of the year.  I’ll be tempted to pull this stuff out in July.

I’m trying to make this a new holiday tradition, though, so I’ll have to come up with something different for the summer.

(Remember my other traditional holiday beverage?)

Christmas Morning Punch from - you'll love this quick and easy fruity punch for the holidays! Christmas Morning Punch from - you'll love this quick and easy fruity punch for the holidays!

The nice thing about this punch is how easy it is to mix up.  You could even mix everything but the ginger ale the night before, and just throw in some ginger ale right when you’re serving it.

It goes great with an overnight breakfast casserole or some muffins.

And it’s perfect with gifts!

Christmas Morning Punch

An easy fruity punch.
Servings: 6 cups


  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup ginger ale


  • Mix all ingredients in a pitcher. Serve cold.


Pesto Almonds


pesto-almonds-3Maybe you remember some of my sister’s previous posts on this blog?  Posts like this amazing Caramel Layer Cake, and these simple Plums with Ginger.  I’ve brought her back today to share more of her fun and tasty recipes today, this one involving almonds.

Over to you, Em!


What you don’t know about me is that I, by and large, prefer cooking to baking.  In fact, I started a cooking blog five years ago.  Until recently, I forgot I even had a blog, and that’s why I’m not a mother.

Truth be told, this audience that Jen has compiled is a group that I feel I don’t really relate to because I’m not a mother.  Instead, I’m the kind of ass that refers to all moms as “soccer moms” just to be offensive.  On Facebook, I comment on the pictures of my friends’ kids with “not your best”, and I sort of assume that the bulk of one’s time as a parent is tied up in repeatedly yelling things like “PUT YOUR SHOES ON!” and “I SAID NO!”.

(See related post: Sweet & Spicy Pecans)


Pin this to your appetizers and party food board on Pinterest!

I work amongst many mothers, each one more perplexed than the last by my commitment to a life of childless bliss because (allegedly) I’m “missing out on so much”.  This is in stark contrast to my husband’s work where he is regularly applauded and envied for making the exact same choice.

He and I are on the same page where kids are concerned, that page being “ew, no thanks”.  In fact, my distaste for youngsters gave my husband’s blue-collar comrades reason to support his proposal to me in the first place…although that doesn’t seem to keep them from complaining about “how nice it must be to have two incomes and no kids”.

Yep.  It is nice.


(See related post: Almond Buttermilk Cake)

I’d rather avoid crippling debt and live each day free of someone else’s bodily fluids being on my person.  Kids sort of embody a huge array of my personal pet peeves: they walk too slow, they talk constantly, they have terrible taste in movies, music, books, food (and everything else), and they take all the focus off of me (which I cannot abide).

Point here being that I’m supposed to know my audience but all I really know is how to annoy my audience, which is almost better if you ask me.  I mean, I’m nearly 32 years old and I still get excited when I find new things that irritate my mother, so imagine how excited it makes me to irritate a whole mess of mothers!


Want more?  Try these fun nutty snacks!

cheese-bacon-bitespeanut-butter-granola-bitessugared nuts

Pesto Almonds
Cook time
Total time
Whole, baked almonds with a pesto coating.
Recipe type: Snacks
Serves: 2 cups
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup packed whole basil leaves
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Cups whole, unsalted almonds
  • ¼ Cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 225° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a blender, combine egg whites, basil, salt, garlic power, and red pepper flakes. Process on low speed until mixture is pureed.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, toss the basil mixture with the almonds until almonds are well coated. Set aside for about 5-10 minutes (the almonds will soak up some of the excess moisture).
  4. Stir in the parmesan. Transfer the almonds to the baking sheet and spread evenly into a single layer, leaving any excess basil mixture in the bowl.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes (or longer if needed), stirring every 15 minutes, until the basil mixture is dried and the almonds are crunchy. Let cool and enjoy.


Gingerbread Hot Cocoa

Give your homemade hot cocoa recipe a twist with the flavors of gingerbread!  This is one of my favorite homemade hot cocoa recipes!

Gingerbread Hot Cocoa from - a delicious twist on hot chocolate!I’ve been dreaming of gingerbread cocoa for a while now.  It’s probably because of my addiction to molasses.

By the way, did you know that hot chocolate and hot cocoa are not the same thing?  All these years, I’ve been using the phrases interchangeably, and it turns out there is a difference, albeit a subtle one.

Turns out, hot chocolate uses actual chocolate in the recipe, while cocoa gets it’s chocolatey flavor from cocoa powder.  It’s sort of obvious when you think about it.  I guess I just never thought about it before.

I was probably focused on the whipped cream.

(See related post: Peppermint Slow Cooker Hot Cocoa)

Gingerbread Hot Cocoa from - a delicious twist on hot chocolate!

(Add this to your Drink Recipes board on Pinterest!)

I’m going to just admit to you now that I kind of cheated and made this in the microwave.  I warmed up the milk and molasses, and then mixed them with the rest of the ingredients.

Why is that cheating, you might ask?  Because they just don’t mix as well.  If you take your time, and make this on the stove, stirring until all the sugar and cocoa are dissolved in, you won’t have so much un-dissolved chocolate in the bottom of your cup when you’re done.

And it will taste better.

That being said, sometimes the microwave is about all the “cooking” I can handle.

Gingerbread Hot Cocoa from - a delicious twist on hot chocolate!

This recipe makes 2 servings, which is awesome for a quiet morning with someone you love, or a quiet evening at home alone, when you might feel like drinking two cups instead of just one.

Not that I did that.  *ahem*  However you enjoy it, just make sure you let it brighten your day a little, okay?


Want more?  Try these winter drinks!

Hot Spiced Cider from Jen's Favorite Cookiesslow-cooker-hot-chocolateWassail featured


Gingerbread Hot Cocoa
Hot cocoa with molasses and spices.
Recipe type: Beverages
Serves: 2 cups
  • 2 cups milk (2% or whole)
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash ginger
  • dash nutmeg
  • whipped cream to garnish (optional)
  1. Combine milk with molasses and heat to desired drinking temperature. (I did this in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes, but it can also be done on a stove.)
  2. Mix with sugar, cocoa, and spices. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Garnish with whipped cream, serve warm.


Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Baking peanut butter cookies is so fun!  These butter peanut cookies are dotted with chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies.comSometimes it feels a little surreal, watching your family grow up and get old.  The big milestones have been coming and going, and it’s weird to have them behind me.

This year, The Lizard (our oldest son) is a senior and getting ready to graduate from high school.  Talk about making a girl feel old.

Even my adorable little nephew, Mateo Feo, is not so little and adorable anymore.  He is getting ready to enter high school, he’s taller than me, handsome, and is constantly reminding his dad that he wants his car.  It doesn’t stop me from pretending he is still 10 years old.

Not only is he a decent guitarist, a very good student, and fluently bilingual, but more importantly, he has really grown into the family love of peanut butter.  It’s a fine tradition in my family.  His father (my brother) is so addicted to peanut butter, all his coworkers give him peanut butter baked goods on his birthday.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from

And, what is peanut butter without chocolate?  Well, still fabulous, actually, but it’s hard not to throw some chocolate in there.

Mateo Feo asked for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for his birthday, and I just couldn’t say no to him.  Because, all that peanut butter…  mmmm.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from

One thing these cookies and Mateo Feo have in common is that I enjoy having both of them near.  He lives within walking distance and visits regularly.  And I like having these cookies close by, too.

Because, all that peanut butter!!

Want more?  Try these peanut butter cookies!

peanut-butter-cookiesbaking-peanut-butter-cookiesnutella dessert recipes


5.0 from 1 reviews
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cook time
Total time
A peanut butter cookie with chocolate chips.
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 3 dozen
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¾ cup flour
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips
  1. Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
  2. Add salt and soda and mix well. Add flour and mix just until combined.
  3. Add chocolate chips and mix to incorporate.
  4. Roll 1-inch balls, and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 9-12 minutes.


Almond Joy Fudge

One of my favorite easy chocolate fudge recipes!  This almond joy fudge recipe only requires 4 ingredients and 10 minutes!

Almond Joy Fudge from - this easy fudge recipe requires only 4 ingredients and 10 minutes!I showed the Fruitarian the pictures of this easy chocolate fudge, and he immediately chimed in with, “Is that available?”

The Fruitarian, for those who don’t know, is my 16 year old son.  I also call him The Hungry One.  And The Chocoholic.  And The Sugar Addicted.  I knew he would be all over that fudge.

However, he has a little problem where he doesn’t like nuts.  It makes me wonder if he was switched at birth.  I couldn’t let an opportunity like this pass me by.

“Of course you can have some fudge.  But there’s a problem.  It has almonds.”
“Well, it also has coconut.”
“But what will you do about the almonds?”
“I think I can suffer through them.”
“You know, I’m going to remember this.”

I think the bigger problem will be keeping his sticky fingers out of the freezer, since I intend to save the bulk of this fudge for Christmas. (See related post: Chocolate Peppermint Fudge)

Almond Joy Fudge from - this easy fudge recipe requires only 4 ingredients and 10 minutes!

(Add this to your Christmas recipe Pinterest board!)

I’m sure there are plenty of fun and fancy ways to add coconut and almonds to fudge.  (Layers, anyone?)

But seriously, I was having one of those what-can-I-throw-together-in-5-minutes kind of days.  Tell me I’m not alone.

It seems like it’s worse in December.  All that shopping and going to parties and gift-exchanging lunches with friends takes a lot of time, you know.  A girl can’t spend her whole life in the kitchen, can she?  (See related post:  Black and White Fudge)

Almond Joy Fudge from - this easy fudge recipe requires only 4 ingredients and 10 minutes!

In the end, I can promise you this takes less than 10 minutes to throw together, and maybe an hour in the fridge to set.  Maybe less.  You could be eating it by the time your favorite tv show is over.

Just be sure to put a few pieces in the freezer BEFORE your teenage son sees that there is fudge in the house!


Want more?  Check out these easy candy recipes!

cookie-dough-truffles-2easy-chocolate-candy-recipesalmond balls featured

5.0 from 1 reviews
Almond Joy Fudge
A very simple chocolate fudge with almonds and coconut.
Recipe type: Candy
Serves: 36
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 oz. chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  1. Place milk and chocolate chips in a double boiler. *(see notes) Stir until melted and smooth.
  2. Remove from heat, add coconut and almonds.
  3. Pour into a greased or lined 9x9 pan. Let cool. Cut into 36 squares.
If you don't have a double boiler, do what I do! Put a large heat-proof glass bowl over a small pot of boiling water. Keep a towel or hot pad handy.


Gingerbread Cupcakes with Chai Spiced Frosting

This gingerbread cupcake recipe is perfect for the holidays.  Your family will love these gingerbread cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Chai Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting from for #HoidayFoodParty Christmas!I will take any excuse to make gingerbread baked goods.

Like, it’s December.  Or it’s cold outside.  Or it’s Tuesday.

I just love that combination of spices and molasses and cake.  Cake frosted with a combination of spices and cream cheese and sugar.

Whoever came up with gingerbread in the first place was a genius.  Genius, I tell you.

You know what else was genius?  Spending this holiday party with my friends.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Chai Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting from for #HoidayFoodParty Christmas!

You remember my friends, right?  We’ve been celebrating holidays together for a while now.  Perhaps you remember last year’s Christmas party?

We had so much fun at all our previous parties, we decided to do it again this Christmas.  We’ve all come up with some fun new holiday recipes, just for you.  See what I mean?

Christmas Recipes on - #HolidayFoodParty

1. Chocolate Peppermint Bark from Cravings of a Lunatic
2. Buche de Noel from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
3. Cranberry Moscow Mule from The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen
4. Chocolate Gingerbread Crumb Cake from Hungry Couple
5. Gingerbread Cupcakes with Chai Spiced Frosting from Jen’s Favorite Cookies
6. Apres Ski Boozy Tea from Pineapple and Coconut
7. Raspberry Almond Torte from Magnolia Days
8. Fruit and Nut Bars from What Smells So Good

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Chai Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting from for #HoidayFoodParty Christmas!

I’m adding this Gingerbread Cupcake Recipe to my collection of reasons why I love Gingerbread!!


Want more?  Try these gingerbread recipes!

gingersnapsGiant Ginger CookiesChocolate Gingersnap 2012 featured


Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Chai Spiced Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A spicy molasses cupcake with spiced cream cheese frosting.
Recipe type: Cake
Serves: 15 cupcakes
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  1. FOR CUPCAKES: Cream shortening and brown sugar. Add egg and molasses and mix well.
  2. Add spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, and mix well.
  3. Add milk and flour alternately, mixing just until combined.
  4. Fill lined muffin cups about halfway, and bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.
  5. FOR FROSTING: Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add spices and mix to incorporate. Add powdered sugar, and mix until combined, thick and smooth. (You can add more or less powdered sugar to reach the consistency you want.)
  6. Use a piping bag to pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.


November 2014 Wrap-Up

Nov-14-wrap-up-1November felt hectic to me.  Did it feel that way to you, too?

It felt like it came and went far too quickly.  Maybe that’s just my age speaking.  Old people always think time moves too fast.

November started with Cookie Week, which gave me a good excuse to share three holiday cookie ideas with you, and it ended with one of my favorite appetizers of all time… stuffed mushrooms.  All in all, I would call that a good month.

I like to choose one recipe each month that is my personal favorite, and this month, it would have to be the flavored syrups to mix into drinks.  Let’s just say, I’ve been drinking a lot of Dirty Dr Pepper lately!  I think these will be fun to serve at the New Years Eve get together, which I will be hosting this year.  I love how versatile it is, you can make practically any flavor you want, and mix them into practically any drink you want.




Pumpkin Eggnog Cookies

It’s like October and December had a love child.
Pumpkin and Eggnog are a match made in heaven!

white-chocolate-cranberry-ginger-cookies (3 of 5) White Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Cookies

My second entry for cookie week!  I love this combination
of soft cookies with white chips and dried cranberries.

chocolate-peppermint-crinkles (3 of 1) Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles

I’ve been making chocolate crinkles for years, but this
year decided to punch them up with a little added mint.

roasted-banana-molasses-muffins (4 of 1) Roasted Banana Molasses Muffins

These oaty molasses muffins get their flavor from sweet
roasted bananas.  They are a warm addition to any
fall morning.

cranberry-pecan-pie (7 of 8) Cranberry Pecan Pie

A seasonal pie that is a little unusual but easy to make and
tasty!  This creamy pie uses fresh cranberries and pecans.

flavored-syrups (7 of 1) Flavored Syrups for Drinks

Make your own homemade syrups in any flavor you want,
and add them to sodas or mixed drinks for customized

fudge-filled-walnut-cookies (4 of 4) Fudge-Filled Walnut Cookies

Stuffed cookies are all the rage, and these cookies are
stuffed with your favorite holiday fudge!

pears-ginger-5b Plums and Ginger

My sister’s contribution to the blog this month is the deliciously
simple recipe for plums and ginger.  Try it with whipped cream!

artichoke-stuffed-mushrooms (3 of 3) Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms

I wrapped up this month with these delicious meatless appetizers
using artichoke hearts. Perfect anytime appetizer or snack!


Coming up in December?  Christmas baking.  And more Christmas baking.  And GINGERBREAD.  Yummmmm.

Also?  There’s a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Christmas food and related stuff.

And I’ll be sharing awesome Christmas stuff on my Facebook page.  Have we connected there yet?

And I know it’s a little early, but I’m getting excited about a project I have coming up next year.  Stay tuned for a way to win prizes and try out awesome recipes starting in January!

What made your November special?  Leave me a comment below!

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms

This easy stuffed mushrooms recipe is a great appetizer! It’s one of the best stuffed mushroom recipes I have found!

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms from - a great meat-free appetizer!Robb is the kind of dad who takes a picture of his butt crack to use as his profile picture on his kids’ phones.

The Fruitarian was laughing his face off, looking at the text message bubbles, which now appear to be coming out of Robb’s coin slot.  He couldn’t stop himself from using a fart noise as his notification sound for text messages from Robb.

So… that’s what it’s like at our house.

Robb is also the kind of dad who will never introduce his children to artichokes.  Or mushrooms for that matter.  That responsibility lies solely on my shoulders.  He’s the fun dad, joking about his crack, and I’m the boring mom, making them eat artichokes.

Truth be told, in my 17 years of parenting, I have never actually made my kids eat artichokes.  Except once, when they had a spinach-artichoke-crab-and-lobster-cheese dip which was so freaking amazing, you would never guess there were actual vegetables in it.

(See related post: Stuffed Mushroom Cups)

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms from - a great meat-free appetizer!

Pin this to your appetizer or party ideas Pinterest board!

It’s kind of what I was going for with these mushrooms.  If you’re looking for a meat-free appetizer, these babies are IT.

I think I ate half the batch all by myself.

While I was making them, I dropped some artichoke on the floor, and the dog slurped it up without hesitation.  It gave me some comfort, knowing that if the kids declined the mushrooms, the dog would happily take them.

My classic sausage-and-cream-cheese stuffed mushrooms are always devoured in record time by the kids, (not the husband though.  Never the husband.) so I wasn’t too concerned.

(See related post: Pulled Pork Tortilla Cups)

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms from - a great meat-free appetizer!

He may not eat his veggies, but I’m glad my husband is the fun dad.

Even if he does show his crack too much.


Want more?  Get more savory snacks and appetizer recipes here!

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms
Cook time
Total time
Cooked mushrooms, filled with an artichoke cream cheese mixture.
Recipe type: Appetizer
  • 24 oz.mushrooms, cleaned, and stems removed
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 jar (6.5 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  1. Place softened cream cheese, mayonnaise, artichoke, worchestershire, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, and salt in a bowl. Stir until well combined.
  2. Place mushroom caps in a shallow baking dish or baking sheet, tops down. Fill each mushroom very full with cream cheese mixture.
  3. Sprinkle tops with bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons parmesan.
  4. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until mushrooms are soft. Serve warm.


Plums and Ginger


pears-ginger-5bI love plum season.  There is just so much you can do with plums.

As usual, my sister has eclipsed me with her gift for recipe development.  Plums with ginger and whipped cream sound simple, amazing, perfect!

But I’ll let her tell you about that…  Em?!


A couple months ago I had this moment where I realized that I’m in my 30’s and can no longer pass for 17 and it genuinely blew my mind.

I’m getting to that age where I’m less worried about pimples and more concerned about wrinkles.  I aim to cover more of my body with better clothes over covering less of it with cheap garb, and going to bed without meticulously washing and moisturizing my face is absolutely out of the question.

In my head, I’m still 20 but on the outside, my body is melting.  I have to actually do stuff if I want to lose five pounds and it’s as if, abruptly, cosmetic enhancements like chemical peels and laser hair removal don’t sound so crazy anymore.


I try to maintain my youth by eating well and have put a concerted effort into noshing on more fresh fruit (outside of screwdrivers and appletinis).  Like Jen, I’ve always esteemed peaches.  A few years ago I spied some beauties at our local farmer’s market and bought about a hundred of them because it had been years since I’d had a fresh peach.

Long story short, it turns out I’m allergic to peaches but whatever; it’s cheaper than collagen injections.  Strange how I don’t have these kinds of reactions to potato chips, cheeses, or my personal favorite: crunchy Cheetos.

To combat this objectionable peach allergy, I’ve taken to the peach’s redheaded step-child, the plum.  I think plums get a bad rap that manifests itself in the form of prunes, which seem predominantly synonymous to an aged, non-cosmetic-enhanced, population.

It’s too bad too because plums are unequivocally badass.  Asians eat them all the time and they always look younger than they are.  I took a page out of Eastern philosophy when I imagined this little creation and frankly, it too, is badass.


 Want more? Try these plum and peach recipes!



Plums and Ginger
Cook time
Total time
Cooked plums with ginger, topped with whipped cream
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2 servings
  • Splash of oil or butter
  • 2 plums, washed and chopped into chunks
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons honey
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  1. Put enough oil or butter in a small to medium sauté pan to coat and heat pan over medium to medium-high heat.
  2. Add plums and cook about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ginger and cayenne and cook another 5-6 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in honey. Cover and let sit 30 minutes. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.


Fudge-Filled Walnut Cookies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Feast4All #CollectiveBias  Fudge Filled Walnut Cookies from

I love fudge during the holidays.  Actually, I love fudge anytime, but I usually only eat it during the holidays, so it feels like a Thanksgiving or Christmas thing.

But fudge itself can be pretty… intense.  Sweet, chocolatey, a little bit goes a long way.

Making a fudge filled cookie has become one of my favorite compromises.  I still get the fudge I love, but just a little bit nestled inside a cookie. These cookies are so basic and easy, and with a ripple of fudge in them, they’re one of my favorites, too.

I started with a batch of Nestle’s Carnation famous chocolate fudge.  I cut it into a bunch of teeny tiny bite-size pieces.  Which is a dangerous precedent, I don’t mind telling you.

Bite-sized pieces just beg you to take a bite. Fudge Filled Walnut Cookies from It also gave me an excuse to use chocolate chips.  As if I needed one.

Did you know that Nestle Tollhouse Semi-sweet chocolate morsels have been around for 75 years now?  That means these chips are older than my parents.  And that. Is. Old.

They’re also 100% real semi-sweet chocolate, no artificial flavors, no preservatives, there’s not even any gluten in these babies.  Which means that even my allergy-prone and gluten-free friends can eat them.

I also used the Carnation evaporated milk, which is another Nestle product that has been around for generations.  It’s not just for fudge, either.  I almost always have some on hand for things like cream soups and cocoa. Fudge Filled Walnut Cookies from Fudge Filled Walnut Cookies from You can get both these awesome products, like I did, at Walmart.  It’s kind of my go-to place for stocking up on baking supplies.


Fudge Filled Walnut Cookies are #ontheblog Recipe at #feast4all #ad #cookies #fudge

A video posted by Jen Stott (@jensfavoritecookies) on

Now, what to do with the rest of that fudge…!

Want more?  Try these fudgey favorites!

recipe for coconut cookieschocolate chip cookiefudge-with-condensed-milk

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fudge-Filled Walnut Cookie Bars
Cook time
Total time
A walnut chocolate chip cookie stuffed with pieces of chocolate fudge.
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 2 dozen
  • 1 batch Nestle's Famous Fudge *(recipe below)
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2¼ cups flour
  • ½ cup walnut pieces
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  2. Add salt, baking soda, and flour, and mix well. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.
  3. Cut prepared fudge into very small pieces. (about 100 pieces from a 9x9 or 8x8 pan.) *(see notes)
  4. Roll dough around a piece of fudge, and place on a baking sheet, leaving plenty of space for spreading. These should make a generous sized cookie.
  5. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned on the edges. Let sit on the baking sheet to cool for 2-3 minutes, before removing to a cooling rack.
*I used only about ⅓ of a batch of fudge to make these cookies. I cut about three small rows, and cut each row into 10 small cubes. After cookies are made, there should be plenty of fudge left over, to cut any way you wish.
5.0 from 1 reviews
Nestle Fudge
Cook time
Total time
Simple chocolate fudge,
Recipe type: candy
Serves: 48 pieces
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 5 oz (2/3 cup) evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 9 oz. (1½ cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Line 8-inch-square baking pan with foil.
  2. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in marshmallows, morsels, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until marshmallows are melted.
  4. Pour into prepared baking pan; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Lift from pan; remove foil.


Flavored Syrups for Drinks

Flavored syrups are perfect for mixing with Dr Pepper TEN and 7Up TEN!  #drinkTEN #collectivebias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

flavored-syrups (7 of 1)We leave town so rarely.  And stay in hotels even less often.

So when our son had a swim tournament in a very warm city about a half-days drive away, we jumped at the opportunity to get out of town and watch him swim.  It was heavenly.

One of the things I was most looking forward to was going to a well-known little place that sells drinks and smoothies.  They’ve created an awesome and unique menu, mostly made up of sodas with flavored syrups mixed in.

If you’re wondering if it was any good?  It was.  We went twice the same day.

After we came back home, the memory of my Dirty Dr Pepper lingered in my mind so much, I decided to re-create it at home.  And let me tell you, I came pretty dang close.

flavored-syrups (2 of 4)b

The first step was making these fun flavored syrups.  They’re super duper easy to make.  Just sugar and water, with different fruit flavors mixed in.

I even bought cute little containers and labels to store them.  Cuz that’s the kind of mom I am.

I made four different flavors, and I did that because I ran out of time to make six.  You could literally use just about any fruit you wanted to flavor these syrups.  Citrus fruits like lime, lemon, tangerine, or orange work exceptionally well.

The next step is to get some soda to put these syrups in.  This time, I chose Dr Pepper TEN and 7-Up TEN.  I love that they are only ten calories, and not too sweet, which is perfect for drinks which require a little syrup.

My favorite flavor combo?  Hands down, the Dirty Dr Pepper.  This is Dr Pepper with coconut syrup.  And it is awesome.  A close second is the Holiday 7Up, which uses 7Up, cranberry, and lime.  You can even garnish the drink with fresh cranberries and a slice of lime, to make it look a little more festive.

flavored-syrups (3 of 4)bflavored-syrups (4 of 4)b

You can find all kinds of the TEN sodas at Krogers, (Smith’s, here in Utah)  including Dr Pepper TEN, 7Up TEN, Canada Dry TEN, A & W TEN and Sunkist TEN.

Incidentally, the coconut syrup is awesome with the Sunkist TEN too.


Even though I know these syrups CAN last in the fridge for a month or more, I somehow doubt they will.  The kids love using them to make fun flavor combinations, and I suspect they will be completely gone within the week.

Which is about how long it will take me to be ready to leave town again!


Want more?  Try these fun and easy drinks!

citrus soda



5.0 from 1 reviews
Flavored Syrups for Drinks
Cook time
Total time
Flavored syrups in several different flavors, perfect for mixing into sodas.
Recipe type: Beverages
Serves: ½ cup
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
FLAVORS (choose ONE)
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup fresh pomegranate arils
  • peel of one lime
  • peel of one lemon
  • peel of half of one orange
  1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water.
  2. Add flavor mix-in. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  3. Pour syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove fruit pieces. Let cool.
  4. Add a big squirt of your favorite syrup into your favorite soda. (Syrups should last in the fridge for about a month.)



Cranberry Pecan Pie

I was compensated for this post by Hurst Berry Farm.  All opinions are my own.

cranberry-pecan-pie (7 of 8)I love pie season.

I don’t make pies often, but during the holidays, I just can’t resist.  I love when they are homemade.

I like when a pie looks rustic and imperfect, and a little messy.  It’s like the puppy with one floppy ear… charming and irresistible.

That’s probably because I have very little talent for making a pie look beautiful.  Try as I may, I just cannot get those pretty thumb-pressed edges to look right.

And hence, I cheat.  I use a fork to crimp the edges.  Or I cut out cute little shapes and use those.  That way, no one ever need know that I can’t do the pretty edges.

cranberry-pecan-pie (5 of 8)b

It seems like every year I make an apple pie and a pumpkin pie.  I get tired of making the same pies every year.  This year, I have vowed to branch out and try something different.  Different, but still seasonal and appropriate.

Enter cranberries.  It’s so fun cooking with cranberries.  They remind me of Christmas, but they’re appropriate to eat any time.

They can be a little tart, but it’s easy to cut the tartness with some sugar, orange zest and pecans.

cranberry-pecan-pie (6 of 8)bcranberry-pecan-pie-collage

My favorite source for fresh cranberries is Hurst’s Berry Farm.  You can generally find the berries during October through December in grocery stores.

They have other berries, too.  Look here for lots of recipe ideas.

Or just surprise your family with this cranberry pie!

cranberry-pecan-pie (4 of 8)bcranberry-pecan-pie (3 of 8)

Want more?  Try these seasonal treats!

easy no bake pumpkin piehow-to-make-ginger-cookiesApple Pie Cheesecake Bars

Pie Crust
A basic pie crust.
Recipe type: Pie
Serves: 2
  • 1 cup shortening
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup very cold water
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Use hands to mix dough very gently, taking care not to over mix. Mix just until dough forms into a ball.
  3. Wrap tightly in plastic, and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Split dough in half, roll out each half separately on a floured surface. Gently lift dough and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Use a fork to poke holes in the bottom before filling and baking. (Makes 2 9-inch crusts.)

Cranberry Pecan Pie
Cook time
Total time
A creamy pie with egg whites and pecans.
Recipe type: Pie
Serves: 6 slices
  • 1 prepared pie crust, 9-inch *(see notes)
  • about 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • about 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • about 1 tablespoon orange zest (about half an orange)
  1. Place fresh cranberries in a single layer at the bottom of prepared (but unbaked) pie crust. Add a single layer of pecans on top.
  2. In a small bowl, whip egg white until stiff peaks form. Fold in sugar, cornstarch and orange zest. Add cream and stir.
  3. Pour cream mixture over the top of the cranberries and pecans.
  4. Bake pie at 425F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 40 minutes.
* Use a frozen but unbaked crust, or a fresh crust, recipe included above.


Roasted Banana Molasses Muffins

Muffin tin recipes; These healthy banana muffins use molasses and quick oats.  You’ll love this muffin tin recipes!

I was compensated by Golden Barrel for this post, but all opinions are my own.

Roasted Banana Molasses Muffins from - Molasses makes these muffins extra healthy, comforting and delicious! #adThere is this thing that happens to me as soon as the weather starts to cool in the fall.

The thing is, molasses.  I start to crave it.  I dream up ways to use it.  I catalog all the flavors that would taste wonderful with it.  (There are many.)

As you might imagine, I was thrilled when Golden Barrel sent me some molasses and asked me to create a recipe with it.  I thought very seriously about making an updated version of these Molasses Bars, but in the end the siren song of muffins did me in.

And the siren smell of bananas roasting in the oven tore my son, The Fruitarian, away from his beloved xBox and into the kitchen like a bear out of a long hibernation.

It’s a win-win situation.

Roasted Banana Molasses Muffins from - Molasses makes these muffins extra healthy, comforting and delicious! #ad

By the way, have you roasted bananas before?

If you want to bake with bananas, but you don’t have any that are ripe, roasting them is a great solution.  It also makes the bananas a little sweeter and more flavorful.

To roast bananas, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  (This is just to save some elbow grease, since the bananas will leak and make a big mess of your pan.)  Place the bananas on the lined pan, and bake them at 350F for 30-40 minutes, until the skins are black and shiny.

You let them cool a few minutes, then remove the peels and scoop the deliciously roasted fruit into your mixing bowl.  YUM.

roasting-bananasRoasted Banana Molasses Muffins from - Molasses makes these muffins extra healthy, comforting and delicious! #ad

People sometimes ask me questions about molasses, so I thought I would illuminate you with a few molasses facts.

First of all, if you’re wondering what molasses is, it’s basically a by-product of the sugar manufacturing process.  When granulated sugar is extracted from cane syrup, molasses is left over.  It’s obviously quite sweet on it’s own, and for a long time was used in place of sugar, because it was less expensive.

Molasses is used to make brown sugar, and yes, you can do this yourself if you’re in a pinch.  Just put a cup of white sugar and 2 tablespoons of molasses in a food processor or high powered blender, and pulse to combine.

I learned that blackstrap molasses is a stronger, more concentrated version of molasses.  It’s usually a bit strong for baking, but great for recipes that require a stronger flavor, like baked beans.

Roasted Banana Molasses Muffins from - Molasses makes these muffins extra healthy, comforting and delicious! #ad

One of the best things about molasses is all the minerals that can be found in it.  Molasses is really quite good for you!  So no excuse to not make these delicious and comforting muffins!

Find more facts about molasses on the Golden Barrel blog.


Want more?  Try these comforting molasses treats!

molasses chocolate chip barssnickerdoodleshow-to-make-ginger-cookies

5.0 from 1 reviews
Roasted Banana Molasses Muffins
Cook time
Total time
A oat and molasses muffin with roasted bananas.
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 18 muffins
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas, very ripe or roasted *(see notes)
  • ⅓ cup molasses
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup quick oats
  • 1½ cups flour
  1. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, bananas, and molasses and mix well.
  2. Add salt, soda, and baking powder and mix well. Add oats and flour and mix just until combined.
  3. Fill the cups of a lined muffin tin about ¾ full. Bake muffins at 350F for 17-20 minutes.
* To roast bananas, place unpeeled fruit on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes until skins are black. Let cool slightly, then remove skins before using.

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles

These crinkle cookies chocolate and peppermint are perfect for Christmas or other holidays!  If you enjoy crinkle cookies, chocolate and peppermint are the perfect combination!

Welcome to the last day of Cookie Week, hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl In the Little Red Kitchen

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles from for #cookieweek When I was a kid, my very first job was at a malt shop.  It was super glamorous, taking orders, making change, and mixing milkshakes.

Occasionally, I would mix up one of those shakes for myself.  Usually, it was a peppermint shake.

What is it about peppermint that holds such fascination with me?  I can’t even describe it.  Later, when I was in college, a college which was known for it’s agricultural program and dairy products, I would wait every year with baited breath for November, when the peppermint ice cream would suddenly appear in the school dairy.

I still have a weakness for that particular brand of peppermint ice cream, and I haven’t eaten it in years.

Also?  Hot fudge.  Peppermint ice cream just begs for hot fudge.

Okay, I’ll confess.  These cookies are not really much like peppermint ice cream with hot fudge, but they are a really lovely combination of chocolate and peppermint.

(See related post:  Chocolate Crinkles)

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles from for #cookieweek

Add this to your Cookie Recipes Pinterest board!

If there is a drawback to this cookie, it is that you have to chill the dough.  It needs a good 4 hours or so before it’s ready to bake, and for the impatient among us (read: ME) that can be tough.

Did you ever notice how many cookies on this site require dough chilling?  Not very many.  See?  Impatient.


Supplies I used for this recipe:

Baking sheet
Silicone baking mat
Kitchen Aid mixer
Measuring cups & spoons
A cookie scoop
Plastic wrap
A bowl for rolling in powdered sugar

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles from for #cookieweek As cookie week draws to a close, let’s check out what fun cookies my friends have made for this final day!


Want more?  Try these chocolate and peppermint treats!

Peppermint Cream Cheese Thumbprints from Jen's Favorite Cookiesslow-cooker-hot-chocolatepeppermint bark featured


Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles
Cook time
Total time
A chocolate peppermint cookie rolled in powdered sugar.
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 3 dozen
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • about ¾ cup powdered sugar, for rolling
  1. Roughly chop the chocolate. Place in a microwave safe dish, and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until melted.
  2. Place oil, melted chocolate, and sugar in mixing bowl, and mix well. Add eggs, vanilla, and peppermint, and mix well.
  3. Add salt, baking powder, and flour, and mix just until combined.
  4. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and chill for 4 hours or more.
  5. Place powdered sugar in a bowl. Scoop 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on a baking sheet, and bake at 350F for 9-12 minutes. Let sit on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.


White Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Cookies

Learn how to make ginger cookies; These chewy gingersnap cookies have white chocolate and dried cranberries for a fun punch of flavor!

Welcome to the day 3 of Cookie Week, hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl In the Little Red Kitchen! We’ve teamed together with 10 other talented bloggers to bring you 5 fantastic days of cookie recipes to get you in to the holiday spirits.

Our sponsors for this event have provided us with some great prizes and we’d like to extend a huge thank you for their generosity. Thanks to Imperial Sugar, Circulon, Peanut Butter & Co. and Page Street Publishing for being a part of Cookie Week!

White Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies for #cookieweek I’m glad that it’s cookie week, because it gives me a good excuse to use molasses and ginger.  There’s something about this combination that makes the baked goods seem warm, even if they have been sitting in the freezer.

This year, I started out with my very favorite Chocolate Ginger Cookies, (for real, probably the single tastiest cookie on this site) and I switched out the chocolate for white chocolate, and added some dried cranberries.  Just because they are seasonal and yummy.

And cuz I wanted to.

I still used the crystallized ginger.  If you haven’t used crystallized ginger before, I highly recommend it.  It gives this tiny little punch of chewy spiciness that is so awesome.  Especially when you get it in the same bite as the white chocolate chips.

White Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies for #cookieweek

Ginger is one of those ingredients you can buy in various forms.  As seen in the photo below, you can get raw fresh ginger in the produce department, and it just looks like a gnarly old root.  But cut that root open, and you will have a nice strong, fragrant spicy scent to enjoy.

You can also buy it dry and powdered in the baking aisle, which is what I used to flavor this cookie dough.

And last but not least, the crystallized ginger might be the hardest to find.  My local store sells it with the bulk candies and dried fruits, and I’ve also seen it packed with the spices in the baking aisle.  This crystallized version can be eaten plain, although it’s pretty strong stuff.  I mostly buy it so I can have an excuse to make these cookies.

That’s how I think!

White Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies for #cookieweek White Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Cookies from JensFavoriteCookies for #cookieweek

See?  Isn’t cookie week great?

And speaking of great things and cookies, check out what my friends made today, just for you, for your holiday entertaining enjoyment.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!  Find the giveaway info in this post.


Want more?  Try these gingerbread treats!

ginger-cookies-with-molasses-2Ginger Molasses
Waffle Iron Cookies
Ginger Cookies
Gingerbread squaresClassic

Recipe adapted from Baking Bites

4.0 from 1 reviews
White Chocolate Cranberry Ginger Cookies
Cook time
Total time
A soft ginger cookie with dried cranberries and white chocolate.
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 3½ dozen
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • ¾ cup white chocolate chips
  • sugar for rolling (about ½ cup)
  1. Cream butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. Add egg, molasses, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients slowly to wet mixture. Mix just until incorporated.
  4. Finely dice ginger pieces. Fold ginger, dried cranberries and white chocolate chips into dough.
  5. Roll into 1-inch balls and roll in coarse sugar. Place on baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-12 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool before storing in an airtight container


Pumpkin Eggnog Cookies

This eggnog cookies recipe uses pumpkin!  This eggnog iced pumpkin cookies recipe will be your new holiday favorite.

Welcome to the second annual Cookie Week, hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl In the Little Red Kitchen! We’ve teamed together with 10 other talented bloggers to bring you 5 fantastic days of cookie recipes to get you into the holiday spirits.  Thanks to Imperial Sugar, Circulon, Peanut Butter & Co. and Page Street Publishing for being a part of Cookie Week!

Pumpkin Eggnog Cookies from - a tasty holiday or Christmas cookie recipe!

Last year, I tried my hand at Eggnog Cookies.  And I was super impressed with myself.  (“Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble!”)

This year, I wanted to punch those up and take them to a new level.  And therefore, I added pumpkin.


I was worried if I replaced some of the eggnog with pumpkin, that there wouldn’t be enough of either flavor to shine through, but it turns out I had nothing to worry about.  I could taste both the flavors, and love, love, love them together.

They are perfect for that tiny window of time between pumpkin season and eggnog season.  They’re also perfect when you want eggnog season to start early, or you want pumpkin season to linger.

Pumpkin Eggnog Cookies from - a tasty holiday or Christmas cookie recipe!Supplies I used for this recipe:

Kitchen Aid Mixer, a definite must.
Half Sheet Panfor baking
Silicone Mat
Cookie Scoop (size 60), you almost can’t do this recipe without one.
Cooling Rack2-quart batter bowl  (mention my name and ask for 10% off!)
Spreading knife
Airtight plastic container
Parchment paper

Pumpkin Eggnog Cookies from - a tasty holiday or Christmas cookie recipe!

You guys, having friends is awesome, and having blog friends is one of the great joys of my life.

So I really must tell you what my friends have done.  Because they have some pretty amazing cookies too!  Check this out:

Other blogs participating later this week include:



Want more?  Try these eggnog treats!

Eggnog Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookieseggnog baking recipeseggnog bars featured


Cook time
Total time
A cakey cookie made with eggnog and pumpkin, with an eggnog nutmeg glaze.
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 4 dozen
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ⅓ cup prepared eggnog*
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • ⅓ cup eggnog
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Whip butter. Add sugar and brown sugar and mix well. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
  2. Add pumpkin, eggnog, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda, and mix well.
  3. Add flour and mix just until combined. Dough should be soft and sticky.
  4. Scoop spoonfuls of dough onto a greased or lined baking sheet, and bake at 350F for 13-15 minutes.
  5. For glaze, mix all ingredients together. Frost cooled cookies. Let sit a few minutes to let glaze harden.
*Store bought prepared eggnog is quite different than the homemade variety. This recipe was made using the store bought eggnog, which is what I recommend.


October 2014 Wrap-Up

october-2014-squareI remember clear back in September, which was ages ago, people told me they were excited for October.  For the pumpkin, and the fall weather, and the soup.  And, while September might be my favorite of all months, and October isn’t too bad itself, I’m sort of dreading November.

Why?  I had to turn on the heater.  Just this week.

I don’t know why I live in one of those places that can host the winter olympics.  I love warm weather and sunshine.

On the other hand, I love warm desserts and Christmas cookies, and OHHHHHH how I love Thanksgiving.  It might be my favorite holiday.

So while I’m dreading scraping snow off my car and wearing gloves and putting extra blankets on the beds, I’m looking forward to baking up some lovely holiday inspired treats for you.  I actually have some awesome stuff planned for November, but before we dive into that, let’s take a quick look back on October.

You know, just in case you missed something.


pumpkin-buttermilk-donuts-4 Chocolate Buttermilk Donuts

(With a chocolate milk glaze!)  These beauties represent my
first donut making attempt.  And I have concluded that I need
to make more donuts!

pantry-essentials-4 Baking Essentials for Your Pantry

After cleaning out and re-organizing my pantry, I thought I
would share some essential ingredients every baker should
have in their own pantry.

choc-sugar-cookies-3 Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Simple sugar cookies cut into circles can be decorated a
variety of ways.  Here I show 5 Halloween decorating
ideas involving chocolate.

almond-shortbread-fingers-3 Almond Shortbread “Fingers”

(With “Blood” Vanilla Pudding)  Another Halloween cookie idea,
this time I shaped shortbread into fingers and used colored
pudding as a dip.

caramel-layer-cake-5 Caramel Layer Cake with Caramel Buttercream

My sister’s recipe this month is this gorgeous caramel layer
cake.  Don’t let the simple flavor profile fool you, this cake
is one you will remember!

PB-cup-cookies-7 Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Peanut butter lovers unite!  These simple cookies are stuffed
with peanut butter cups.  It gives them an unexpected shot
of extra peanut butter flavor!

hot-cheese-dip-3 Roasted Red Pepper Hot Cheese Dip

I roasted both red and jalapeno peppers, and married several
kinds of cheese, to make these delicious hot dip.  Great served
with crackers or bread.

brookies-5 Peanut Butter Brookies

More ideas for you peanut butter lovers!  These brookies are a
layer of chocolate brownies and a layer of peanut butter cookie.
What could be better?

dulce-de-leche-cookies-5 Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

This “sweet milk” has such a wonderful rich caramel flavor!  I
used it in the cookies, and as a spread to sandwich them.  They
are great plain or sandwiched!

dulce-de-leche-cookies-4 (4 of 1) Samoas Brownies

Building of my love of the Samoas Krispie Treats from several
months ago, this time I use the chocolate-caramel-coconut
combination on a brownie!

In other news, my Pumpkin Favorites board was featured in the Pinterest newsletter.  I’m pretty proud of this board.  I’ve worked hard to find some amazing pumpkin treats and meals to share with you there.  If you are looking for Thanksgiving dinner ideas, you can also check out my new Thanksgiving Favorites board.  This has a lot of savory and sweet ideas totally perfect for Thanksgiving.

Want to know what’s coming up in November?  First of all, Cookie Week!!  Lots of bloggers get together to share their favorite cookies, most of them holiday friendly, and there’s no way I’m missing an event like that.  I’ll be posting some great new cookie recipes I’ve developed for this holiday season, as well as some fun ideas from the other bloggers.  That will be happening next week, so stay tuned.

I’ve also been in talks with some of my favorite brands about bringing you some great deals, not to mention recipes using the products I love.  I’ll be keeping my eyes open for great deals on baking supplies too.  The best way to stay up to date on all this is to follow my Facebook page.  I post about 3-5 times a day there, and love to share relevant recipes, collections, and baking deals.

Also?  Pie.  That’s right, Thanksgiving pie.

Chime in!  Tell me what you love the most about these last two months of the year.

Samoas Brownies

Samoas Brownies!  These coconut topped brownies with caramel will become a memorable favorite!

Samoas Brownies from - Fudgy brownies with a caramel coconut pecan toppping inspired by Samoas Cookies!I dreamed these brownies up clear back in August when my family had a brownie bake-off at the family reunion.  I brought these.

After they didn’t win, and I was in my little corner licking my wounds, I thought that I should have made something like these Samoas Brownies.  The caramel coconut pecan topping is seriously to die for.

I was inspired, in part, by the Samoas Rice Krispie Treats I made a while back.  They might be the tastiest thing I have ever stuffed in my face.  And make no mistake, stuffing them in my face is exactly what I did.  I couldn’t stop doing it.  These things are evil that way.

These brownies kind of had the same effect on me.  Apparently the chocolate-caramel-coconut combination is my own personal form of ambrosia.  I had to send extra brownies in the kids lunches to keep myself from eating the whole pan.

Samoas Brownies from - Fudgy brownies with a caramel coconut pecan toppping inspired by Samoas Cookies!

My daughter loves to share her treats with her friends at school.  She reports that girls offered her their food, and even their cash, for them.

She didn’t accept the cash, but shared freely.  Good girl.  I sometimes send extra treats with her, because I know she does this.

There are, of course, other recipes similar to this out there in the interwebs.  Most of them, however, melt store bought caramels.  I figure, caramel is easy enough to make, there’s no reason not to.  It’s probably easier than melting down the candies, if you ask me.  And the taste is so much better!

Samoas Brownies from - Fudgy brownies with a caramel coconut pecan toppping inspired by Samoas Cookies!

The entire recipe is listed below.  But if you must know, I used my favorite go-to brownie recipe (minus the vegetable oil), and this caramel sauce recipe, and threw in some coconut and pecans.

It’s so awesome having trusted basic recipes to build from.  It makes these Samoas Brownies a total no-brainer.  AND, I dare say they would do very well in the family brownie bake-off!


Want more?  Try these family bake-off inspired treats!

pb-marshmallow-crispy-brownies-3Peanut Butter
Marshmallow Brownies
samoas-rice-krispie-treats-6Samoas Rice
Krispie Treats
(PB Krispie Treats)


Samoas Brownies
Cook time
Total time
A chocolate brownie topped with coconut, caramel, and pecans.
Recipe type: Brownies
Serves: 20
  • ½ cup butter
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • 1½ cups shredded coconut
  • ½ cup pecan chips
  1. For brownies: Place butter and chocolate in a medium sized microwave safe dish. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
  2. Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add flour and mix until combined. Do not overmix.
  3. Pour batter into a greased or lined 9x13 pan. Bake at 350F for 18-22 minutes, until edges are dry.
  4. For topping: While brownies are baking, make caramel. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add brown sugar and cream, and bring to a boil, stirring. Let boil 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Add coconut and nuts to the caramel sauce, stirring to get an even mixture. Pour topping over the top of baked brownies.
  6. Let cool on the counter or in the fridge before cutting into 20 bars.