Monthly Archives: January 2014

January Wrap-Up

Best recipes for January; Best recipes for cookies, desserts, and snacks for the month of January.

January-2104 recipes from Jen's Favorite CookiesIsn’t January wonderful?

Nothing against December, I love December, and Christmas, and baking and gift giving… but January is so wonderful.  It’s all clean, and simple, there are no big holidays, no reason for the kids to have a day off school, and everything gets organized and back to routine in January.

January is all full of hope and goals and resolutions.  They might all fall apart in February, but at least we have January, my friends.  At least we have January.

January was a good month for baking, too.  The Plain Oatmeal Cookies were quite popular, especially on Pinterest.  The Nutella Swirled Peanut Butter Bars were so popular, my church asked me to bring them to a social.  The Red Velvet Dip nearly caused my kids to come to blows.  And… I got to indulge in one of my very favorite snacks ever ever… Cheesy Garlic Bread.  Yuuuuuuumm.  I think only chocolate can compete with garlic for my love.

There’s a quick recap and link to each post here:

plain-oatmeal-cookies-6 Plain Oatmeal Cookies

These simple cookies might be my favorite recipe in several months.
There are no chocolate chips, no nuts, nothing fancy at all in these
lovely, delicious, perfect oat cookies.

Cinnamon-spice-granola-5 Cinnamon Spice Granola

Homemade granola is one of my favorite things, and this one is warm
and comforting, with walnuts, cinnamon and other spices.

Nutella-swirled-PB-bars-6 Nutella Swirled Peanut Butter Bars

These fudgy peanut butter bars are fantastic on their own, but the
addition of a swirl of Nutella puts them over the top!  I guarantee
these will disappear in hurry.

key-lime-sugar-cookie-bars-7 Key Lime Sugar Cookies Bars

Sugar cookies are easy to make as bars, and they taste just as soft
and delicious!  I used lime juice to give these a fresh citrus flavor, and
even topped them with lime frosting.

cheesy-garlic-bread-2 Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

My secret ingredient for fantastic bread sticks is hot dog buns!  Cover
them in cheese and garlic butter for a great game day snack or side
dish for pizza.

black-white-cheesecake-bars-4 Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

This dark chocolate cake is topped with a layer of cheesecake, and
chocolate chips.  It makes a beautiful black and white dessert.

red-velvet-cake-batter-dip-4 Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip

My kids fought over this dip when I made it!  Red Velvet cake mix and
cream cheese make a great dip for fruit or graham crackers.  The red
color makes it a perfect addition to your Valentines celebration.

sweet-tangy-dip-6 Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip

I make this 5-ingredient combination frequently, and it works perfectly
with meatballs or sausages.  You’ll love this for your game day get


What else happened this month?

Well… I created a new Pinterest board where I shared some of the very best stuff from some of the very best bloggers during 2013.  If you would love to see some new blogs, and want to start with their very best and most recent stuff, I suggest browsing through this board, called Best Recipes of 2013.

I contributed a chocolate version of the cake batter dip at My Cooking Spot.

I re-created a crazy cute hairstyle at my daughters insistence.  Even though I couldn’t have done it without the video playing in the bathroom while I worked, I was still pretty proud of myself.  The Hippie Chick was happy with the compliments she got.  Check out Cute Girls Hairstyles on YouTube to learn this one yourself.

I bought myself a much needed utensil crock in January.  The old (very old) one was just too small to hold my ever increasing number of wooden spoons and spatulas.  The new one is red, and big, and gorgeous and NEW.  Just the way I like my stuff.

Last but not least, I chatted with some of you awesome folks over at Facebook.  If you want to catch up with me about recipes, or baking, or hairstyles, or why my dog is photobombing my food pictures, Facebook is the place for it.  I practically live there.

Leave me a comment below, and let me know what you’re hoping to see in February!

Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip

appetizer meatball recipes; This meatball dip is quick and simple to make, and tastes great with meatballs or small sausages.

Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies - also great with Lil Smokies!  Perfect for game day get togethers!Do your kids cook?  Mine do.

Our schedule is crazy enough, it has given me a really good excuse to get the kids cooking.  They each have one night of the week, and they have to decide ahead of time what they’re making, so I can get the ingredients at the grocery store.

Our meals aren’t complicated, as you might imagine, but the kids are getting to be pretty good cooks.

Meatballs have become one of our staples.  We buy the giant bag of frozen meatballs at Costco, and put about half of them in the crock pot.  Cover them with sauce, add some veggies, and voila!  Dinner is served.

I love having meatballs as game day food, too.  They’re small enough to be a snack, but unlike the chips and cookies and breads we usually have, meatballs make you feel like you’ve eaten real food instead of just junk food.

Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies - also great with Lil Smokies!  Perfect for game day get togethers!

This dip is my favorite thing with meatballs.

It’s crazy simple, just chili sauce, cranberry sauce, and brown sugar.  When I first heard about chili sauce, I wasn’t sure what it was, to be honest.  We’re not big on condiments, which makes me not very condiment savvy. Continue reading “Sweet & Tangy Meatball Dip” »

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip

Red Velvet dip;  This easy to make dip tastes just like red velvet cake batter!

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip from Jen's Favorite CookiesEver since we got Netflix, I’m getting hooked on one series after another.

Murder mysteries, mostly.  I watch one series from beginning to end, then spend a few days wishing there were more episodes, then I start over with a new series.

I was sort of devastated when I came to the end of “Dexter.”  That one will be hard to replace.

Lately, I’ve been watching old episodes of “Columbo.”  Peter Falk is classic.  I even found a few episodes I hadn’t seen before.

It’s a terrible habit.  I should space them out, I would probably enjoy them more if I didn’t watch one right after another.

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies- this easy cream cheese dip tastes just like red velvet cake batter!

I am the same way with food.  A couple weeks ago, I made some chicken salad for lunch, and enjoyed it so much I made it three more times within the next week and a half.

I’m a little sick of chicken salad now.

But my latest obsession is cake batter dip.  Lawd have mercy, I can’t stop myself.

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies- this easy cream cheese dip tastes just like red velvet cake batter!

Seeing as how February is right around the corner, I decided to try a red velvet version of this treat.

The kids LOVE when I make this stuff.  LOVE it.  They basically fight over it, and I have to threaten bodily harm to get them to share.

The Fruitarian: “This dip is so good!!”
Me: “Of course it is.  Never doubt me.”

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies- this easy cream cheese dip tastes just like red velvet cake batter! Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip from Jen's Favorite Cookies- this easy cream cheese dip tastes just like red velvet cake batter!

Since our Valentines Day celebrations basically center around the kids, I think this dip might need to be part of it.

Knowing me, I’ll probably make it four times between now and then.

Maybe I’ll eat it while watching old episodes of “Columbo.”

Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip

An easy cake batter dip, perfect for dipping crackers or fruit. Try it at Valentines Day!


  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter softened
  • 3/4 cup dry red velvet cake mix
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix until smooth and creamy.
  • Serve at room temperature with crackers or fruit.

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Recipe for chocolate cream cheese cake;  A layer of cheesecake atop a layer of dark chocolate cake is what makes this chocolate cream cheese cake recipe special.

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Bars from Jen's Favorite CookiesMy friend says all her actions fall into one of two categories: the math test or the good book.

The math test is stuff we have to do.  The good book is something we want to do.

The problem with food blogging is that sometimes the stuff I love and enjoy doing turns into something I have to do.  Stuff like social media, and writing, and of course, baking.

Today the sun came out, I woke up in a good mood, and it was time to bake something fun… just for fun.

Which doesn’t stop me from sharing it with you.  Because, honestly?  That’s my favorite part.

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Bars from Jen's Favorite Cookies

So here’s what I did.  I made a super delicious dark chocolate sheet cake.  It would have been enough by itself.  I didn’t used to like dark chocolate, but these days I can’t get enough.

But I can’t leave well enough alone.  Not me.

I found some cream cheese in the fridge just begging to be baked with, and I figured my chocolate cake would taste amazing with a little cheesecake on top.

Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Bars from Jen's Favorite Cookiesblack-white-cheesecake-bars-6

I was right, by the way.  Cheesecake and dark chocolate cake is a winning combination.  Winning.

It’ll make you feel like you’re reading a good book.

More chocolate treats you’ll love!

chocolate cookie recipeSalted Dark
Chocolate Cookies
dark-chocolate-whoopie-pies-6Dark Chocolate
Whoopie Pies
Twix-Cheesecake-Bars-4Twix Cheescake
5.0 from 1 reviews
Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A layer of dark chocolate cake topped with a layer of chocolate chip cheesecake.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 24
  • 10 T. butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup dark cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 12 T. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ⅔ cup chocolate chips
  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
  2. Add salt and soda. Mix well.
  3. In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder and boiling water. Add cocoa mixture to dough and mix well.
  4. Add milk and flour alternately. Mix until combined.
  5. Pour batter into a jelly roll pan, which has been greased or lined. Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare cheesecake layer by mixing cream cheese, egg, and sugar until smooth. Mix in half of the chocolate chips.
  7. Pour cream cheese mixture over cake, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with remaining chips, then return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  8. Let cool before cutting into bars.

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

 Plum Glazed Black & White Cheesecakes from Baking Chic
Black White & Red Cheesecake from Ooh-Look
Mini Red Velvet Cheesecakes from Baked by Rachel

chocolate cream cheese cake

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

Simple garlic bread recipe;  Fun football party ideas from DiGiornio and Walmart.  This is the best recipe for garlic bread I have found.

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

Cheesy Garlic Bread from - Leftover hot dog buns make the BEST cheesy garlic bread!It’s funny, we’re not big sports fans at our house, but every year, we like to get together with family and watch the big game.

And when I say “family,” I mainly mean my dad.  The Lizard (our son) enjoys football and basketball, but doesn’t really enjoy watching games alone, so most of the time he just doesn’t watch them.  I know that if he lived with my dad, they would watch every game together.

Poor kid.  He has to live with us boring people.

So I do try to work out opportunities for him to get his sports fix, and dad to get some company.  It works out pretty good for everyone.

And, what’s a game watching party without food?  If you ask me, that’s what game days are for.

Cheesy Garlic Bread from - Leftover hot dog buns make the BEST cheesy garlic bread! #GameTimeGoodies #cbias #shop

So good news!  The DiGiornio Pizzas are on rollback at Walmart for just $4.50.  I bought two.

I figured I could cut them into squares and serve them with cheesy garlic bread sticks.  And popcorn… and chips… and frosty beverages… you get the idea.

This is the part where I tell you about my absolute favorite way to make garlic bread sticks.  I love it because it gives you an easy way to create single servings that are just the right size, and also, the texture is perfect, just the way I like it!

The big secret is… drumroll…  hot dog buns.  Yeah.

Cheesy Garlic Bread from - Leftover hot dog buns make the BEST cheesy garlic bread!

Cheesy Garlic Bread from - Leftover hot dog buns make the BEST cheesy garlic bread!

Not to mention, the combination of DiGiornio Pizzas and homemade hot dog bun garlic bread is easy to make in less than 30 minutes.  What you do is put the pizza in the oven, then take a few minutes to put the breadsticks together, and let them join the pizza in the oven for the last 10 minutes of baking.

They come out of the oven at the same time.  Hot, bubbly, cheesy, delicious.  The perfect companion to the Sunday afternoon game.

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

Hot dog buns covered in garlic butter, herbs, and cheese.
Cook Time10 mins
Servings: 6 pieces
Author: Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 3-4 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 6 hot dog buns


  • Melt butter in a bowl. Add cheeses, garlic, and seasoning, and mix together.
  • Separate hot dog buns into two long pieces, so the top and bottom halves of the bun will each form one breadstick. Spread cheese mixture on top of each bun.
  • Lay on a baking sheet and bake at 400F for about 10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve warm.

Key Lime Sugar Cookie Bars

Key lime cookie recipe; If you like fresh citrus flavor, you’ll love this key lime sugar cookie recipe.

Key Lime Sugar Cookie Bars from Jen's Favorite CookiesSomeday I’m going to come up with a fantastic Key Lime Pie recipe.


In the meantime, I really want that sweet lime flavor in some kind of dessert.

I have a couple sugar cookie recipes that I make regularly.  THIS ONE is the perfect one for rolling and cutting out shapes, but if you’re too impatient to wait for dough to chill, or you are freaked out by shortening, or you just want to make a drop cookie, THIS RECIPE is the one.

It uses a lot of butter, I’ll give you that.  But they mix up so delicious and creamy, you’ll forgive them for it.

Plus, this recipe is great for making in one big pan, and cutting into bars.

Key Lime Sugar Cookie Bars from Jen's Favorite Cookies

I used some lime juice to give these cookies their flavor, and punched them up with more lime juice in the frosting.

The real mystery is why no one in my home seems to be able to identify that flavor.  A few people tried them, and guessed the wrong flavor before I told them they were lime.  I kind of assumed the green frosting would be a big giveaway.

But you know what they say about assuming.

Key Lime Sugar Cookie Bars from Jen's Favorite CookiesKey Lime Sugar Cookie Bars from Jen's Favorite Cookies

You can substitute any citrus juice you like.  I’ve had fantastic luck with both lemon and orange juices, and don’t be surprised if you see a grapefruit or tangerine version on here someday.

Citrusy desserts are just yummy; they have a fresh, clean flavor.  I guess that’s why I wanted to make these in January.  It kind of reminds me of the fresh start you get each new year.  And, much like fresh starts, key lime cookies were also much needed in my life today!

More citrus desserts for you!

lemon sugar cookies square3Lemon
Sugar Cookies
lemon crinkles cookiesLemon
key lime dip thumbKey Lime
Fruit Dip


5.0 from 1 reviews
Key Lime Sugar Cookie Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A lime flavored sugar cookie bar topped with lime frosting.
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 24
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ cup lime juice (if using key lime juice, reduce to 2-3 T.)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 12 T. butter
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • about 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 drop green food coloring
  1. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla, and lime juice and mix well.
  2. Add soda, baking powder, and salt and mix well.
  3. Add flour and mix just until combined.
  4. Press dough evenly into a jelly roll pan and bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned on top.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. For Frosting: Combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth and creamy. (If needed, consistency can be adjusted by adding more juice to thin, or more powdered sugar to thicken)
  7. Spread frosting on cooled bars, cut into squares.

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Funfetti Sugar Cookies from Averie Cooks
Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookie Bars from Cooking Classy
Snowman Snowflake Cookies from Created by Diane

key lime cookie recipe

Nutella Swirled Peanut Butter Bars

Nutella dessert recipes; You’ll love this peanut butter nutella dessert recipes!

Nutella Swirled Peanut Butter Bars from Jen's Favorite CookiesIt’s January.  I’m supposed to be exercising and eating brown rice for dinner and green smoothies for breakfast, and spending my free time organizing my closets.

But, you guys…  I’m terrible at eating healthy.  I’m terrible at exercising.  And I’d rather have a root canal than start an organizing project right now.  The mere thought gives me heart palpitations.

You know what I’m great at?  Peanut Butter.  PEANUT BUTTER.  And baking.  And they go together like Bonnie and Clyde.

And these bars might be the death of me.  Like Bonnie and Clyde.

Last night, after I was complaining about an e-mail I was expecting but hadn’t received, Robb told me I’m terrible at waiting, too.  “You’re a terrible waiter,” he said, right to my face.  I stared at him for a long time.  I didn’t want it to be true.  But I have to admit that he’s right.  I get impatient fast.

Nutella Swirled Peanut Butter Bars from Jen's Favorite Cookies

You can’t even imagine the self-control I had to exercise for these babies.  I wanted to eat the dough with a spoon.

It was pure torture, waiting for them to bake, waiting for them to cool, waiting for them to be photographed before I could swan dive face first into them.  Under normal circumstances, I would have burned my mouth eating a big spoonful right as I pulled the out of the oven.  It might be the hardest thing about food blogging… the waiting.

Nutella Swirled Peanut Butter Bars from Jen's Favorite Cookies

When I finally did get to take a bite…   ohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshthesearesogoodimmakingthisagaintomorrow. 

Good thing I was home alone.  Well, almost alone.  The dog gave me a funny look.

He was probably jealous.

You’re reading one of my top ten most popular posts!  See them all here:

condensed milk cookies1. Condensed
Milk Cookies
Chocolate-peanut-butter-cake-52. Chocolate Peanut
Butter Cake
lemon sugar cookies square33. Lemon Sugar
no bake desserts4. No-Bake Peanut
Butter Bars
plain-oatmeal-cookies-65. Plain Oatmeal
red-velvet-cake-batter-dip-46. Red Velvet
Cake Batter Dip
pumpkin oat cookies7. Pumpkin No-
Bake Cookies
soft-sugar-cookies-13-38. Perfect Soft
Sugar Cookies
No-Bake-Cookies-19. 50+ No-Bake
Cookies & Bars


Lightly adapted from Averie Cooks

4.6 from 9 reviews
Nutella Swirled Peanut Butter Bars
Cook time
Total time
Fudgy peanut butter blondies swirled with Nutella.
Recipe type: Bars
Serves: 9
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • ⅓ cup Nutella
  1. Cream butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar.
  2. Add egg and vanilla, and mix well.
  3. Add flour and mix until combined.
  4. Press mixture into an 8x8 pan. Drop Nutella in spoonfuls on top of dough. Use a knife to swirl the Nutella into the dough.
  5. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into 9 bars.

If you enjoy this recipe, you might also enjoy:

Peanut Butter Nutella Swirl Cookies from Six Sisters Stuff
Peanut Butter Nutella Cupcakes from Your Cup of Cake
Layers of Love Torte from Lorie’s Mississippi Kitchen

nutella dessert recipes

Cinnamon Spice Granola

Recipes for homemade granola; Honey, cinnamon, and other spices are in this recipes for homemade granola.  Your family will love it!

Cinnamon Spice Granola from Jen's Favorite CookiesI’ve learned a lot of piano pieces in my day.  Some of my favorites are those that sound a lot harder than they are.  I love it when a gorgeous piano solo is easy to learn and play, but sounds like you spent months preparing it.

I also love when the piece looks harder than it is.  I remember once when a friend with a gorgeous voice but very little ability to read music asked me to accompany her while she sang.  She nervously handed me this piece of sheet music which she thought looked very complicated and difficult.  I felt super cool telling her, “This is nothing.  I can play this right now.”

Of course, it wasn’t nearly as cool the next time I played for her, when she handed me this bear of a piece that she thought nothing of.  I guess we can’t win them all.

To me, granola is like one of those awesome pieces.  It is super easy to make, you almost don’t even need a recipe, but it leaves a big impression.  It’s simple, yes, but tasty, versatile, and so much better than cold cereal out of a box.  Nothing against cold cereal, but your family will know they are getting something special when they eat homemade granola, especially when it’s still a little warm.

Cinnamon Spice Granola from Jen's Favorite Cookies

You can easily customize granola by throwing in whatever ingredients you are in the mood for that day.  Today, I was in the mood for walnuts and cinnamon.   Continue reading “Cinnamon Spice Granola” »

Plain Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies from scratch;  You can easily make these delicious plain oatmeal cookies from scratch and impress your family.

Plain Oatmeal Cookies from Jen's Favorite CookiesYou guys?  It’s 2014.  Exactly how did that happen?  2013 was kind of a blur for me.  A hard working, always blogging blur.

I’m hoping this year I can take some time to smell the roses, so to speak.  Or smell the cookies.  That would be more appropriate, especially given that the roses in our yard haven’t been doing too well, but we have had cookies a-plenty.

I don’t often purchase cookies (with the possible exception of Oreos, because yummmm!) but there is one I buy on rare occasions.  It comes from a local bread store, where the pumpkin chip bread is divine, the breakfast sandwiches are all that and a bag of chips, and the cookies are as big as your face.  When I need a quick gift or want to treat myself to something special, I buy a half dozen of their plain oatmeal cookies.

You have to know that I’m the world’s biggest fan of chocolate chips, but these plain cookies are to die for.  Seriously.

Plain Oatmeal Cookies from Jen's Favorite Cookies

I decided to try to recreate the experience at home.  I didn’t hit the mark exactly, but I came pretty close.  This cookie is not quite as sweet as some others on this site, and that coupled with the absence of chocolate chips makes it a lovely choice for January.  Something simple after December’s abundance of sugar and butter.

Are you making resolutions this year?  One of mine is to eat less sugar.

Plain Oatmeal Cookies from Jen's Favorite Cookies Plain Oatmeal Cookies from Jen's Favorite Cookies

Don’t misunderstand me.  If you are looking for an applesauce cookie recipe, you are looking in the wrong place.  We will have none of that on this blog.

But, I believe in simplicity and clarity, and I think this Plain Oatmeal Cookie is just the dessert to embody those qualities.

Here’s to simplicity in 2014!

Plain Oatmeal Cookies

A simple oatmeal cookie with just a hint of cinnamon.
Cook Time9 mins
Servings: 5 dozen
Author: Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups quick oats


  • Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, vanilla, and water, and mix well.
  • Add salt, soda, and cinnamon and mix well. Add flour, and mix just until combined. Add oats and mix just until combined.
  • Drop spoonfuls onto a greased or lined baking sheet, and bake at 350F for 8-11 minutes.