Monday, March 17, 2014

. . . Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies . . .

When I was thinking about what I wanted to make for my son's classmates and teachers for St. Patrick's Day I had the brainstorm to make my Pudding Chocolate Chip Cookies into Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I had all the ingredients on hand and I love making cookies so this was perfect.  I created a cute little gift tag and he is all set for St. Patty's Day treats.

 In our house we are all about a good old chocolate chip cookie.  I swear that I have lived most my adult life trying to find the perfect recipe for chocolate chip cookies.  This recipe was one that was given to my mom when we were kids and then passed along for me when I was on my quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  I did change it up just a bit this time around and love how they turned out.  I added a secret ingredient that always makes a different with chocolate chip cookies...Cornstarch.  It will fluff up your cookies right away and mix that with the pudding and you have a no fail chocolate chip cookie recipe.  These are so fun for any occasion since all you have to do is add food coloring to match your event or your holiday.  Food coloring gel is the way to go when you want a bold color like these.  The only thing with food coloring in cookies is that when they bake they are going to brown which will darken the color a bit.  Don't be surprised when you pull them out of the oven and they aren't quite as bold in color.  They still will make people smile since the color is unexpected!

Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 Cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Cornstarch 
1 Cup Margarine (Use Blue Bonnet for best results) or Unsalted Butter
1/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Brown Sugar
1 Small Package Vanilla Instant Pudding (the key to this recipe)
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Eggs
1 Bag of Mini Chocolate Chips and/or Mini M&Ms
Food coloring gel of your choice
Preheat over to 350 degrees

Mix flour, cornstarch and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.
Combine softened margarine, sugars, pudding mix and vanilla.  Mix well with electric mixer.  Add eggs one at a time.  Slowly mix in the flour mixture.  Divide your dough up into bowls and add your food coloring and mix well to blend it all in.  Add chocolate chips and combine.

Drop by spoonfuls on a Silpat mat or Parchment Paper lined baking sheet.  Bake for 7 to 10 minutes.

 I made 3 batches of cookies so I divided each batch so I would get 6 colors.  I would make sure to use the food coloring gel if you want bold colors.

 I chilled my dough a couple hours before baking and I think that also helps keep these cookies fluffy and not flat.  If you don't have time to chill them they are still awesome but I would try to chill them if at all possible.  Bake for 7 to 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

 Cool on a baking rack and then seal in an airtight container or package them up to give as gifts.

 These cookies just make me smile!

 I bagged up the cookies for my son's classmates so that each child got 4 of them and then added a cute tag.  All set!
 Each teacher, principal and secretary got a dozen colorful cookies for their special treat.

 Perfect for any occasion!  

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

. . . Easy Peasy 2 ingredient pumpkin muffins . . .

I love muffins of any kind but my hips would not love me if I ate them all the time!  Thanks to this easy peasy recipe you can enjoy muffins without all the calories or fat grams!

I have been making these 2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins for years!  I really don't recall where I came across the recipe originally but after making them once I was hooked.  Sometimes I make them with chopped up apples or raisins but my favorite way is just the basic recipe with some crumbled cereal on top. 

I personally like using a Spice Cake mix but this time around I didn't have one in my pantry so I used Yellow cake mix and it was just as good.  I think I would use the yellow cake mix again but would add some cinnamon and maybe a dash of pumpkin pie spice too.  Those spices would just bump up the flavor a bit. 

 These muffins are so incredibly moist!  I love making them in the mini muffin tins because they are the perfect bite size snack.  They aren't too sweet but will satisfy your sweet tooth without piling up the calories! 
 You will need just 2 ingredients:
1 can of Pure Pumpkin
1 Spice Cake Mix or Yellow Cake Mix
Chopped apples
Crushed cereal for topping--I usually use Raisin Bran Crunch minus the raisins

 Mix the cake mix and pumpkin together until well blended.  If you are adding any mix ins this is where you'd do it.  If you use apples or raisins as I mentioned I'd make sure they are chopped pretty finely, especially if you are using a mini muffin tin.  You don't want the chunks of fruit to be bigger than your whole muffin.

 Drop by spoonfuls into a greased muffin tin.  You can use liners for your tin if you prefer but I usually skip this step--call me lazy but I don't want to unwrap my muffins.  If you are using crumbled cereal on top this is where you'd sprinkle it on.  To keep it in place I usually lightly press it into the batter before baking.

 Bake at 350 for about 18 to 20 minutes or until muffins are set.

 Let the muffins cool for a bit then remove from muffin tin.  Seal in an air tight container or a ziploc bag.  I typically keep mine in the fridge if I'm not serving them immediately.

 YUMMY in the TUMMY!

 Could this be any easier?  Nope, I don't think so!

Don't you just love simple recipes that pack a big punch?  I know I do!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

. . . Candy Bar Pie with Pretzel Crust . . .

Anything with Peanut Butter AND Snickers AND Pretzels has to be amazing, right?  Yep, in my mind that is going to be one awesome recipe and this one sure fits the bill.  So yummy!

I saw this recipe online at Southern Living several years ago and made it a couple times and then forgot about it until last weekend when I was planning a dinner and needed a dessert that was good but not too time consuming or too hard to make.  I started flipping through my massive binder of recipes and this one was what caught my eye and I suddenly remembered how great it was.  It has a pretzel crust which makes it unique and then it has almost a caramel flavor due to the Snickers and the filling ends up being like a cheesecake and then the crunchy nuts on top just push it over the top.

Have I made you want to run to your kitchen to start preparing this Candy Bar Pie?  I hope so because it's that good.

. . . you will need. . .

  2 cups finely crushed pretzel sticks 2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar 3/4 cup melted butter 
3 (2.07-oz.) Snicker Bars or about 20 mini Snickers (the tiny ones)
1 baked Pretzel Crust
1 1/2 packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream 
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter 
2 large eggs 
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts 
for the crust   Stir together all ingredients; firmly press crumb mixture on bottom, up sides of a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack, and cool crust 1 hour or until completely cool before filling.
 for the pie  Preheat oven to 325°. Cut candy bars into 1/4-inch pieces; arrange over bottom of crust. Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add sour cream and peanut butter, beating at low speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Spoon cream cheese mixture over candy on crust.
Bake at 325° for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool 1 hour or until completely cool. Cover and chill 2 hours.
Right before serving the pie microwave chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 30 seconds or until melted and smooth, stirring at 15-second intervals. Drizzle over top of cooled pie, and sprinkle evenly with peanuts.
gather your ingredients
Prepare crust by using 2 cups of crushed pretzels.  I put mine in a ziploc bag and crushed them with a rubber mallet. 
Combine melted butter, pretzels and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and mix up
Press pretzel mixture onto a lightly greased pie plate and press it up the sides until about even.  You may have to remove some of the excess so the crust isn't too thick.  Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes and then cool completely before assembling the pie.
Chop up your Snickers bars.  I used the tiny mini ones and used about 20 of them chopped up into little pieces.  
 Place them all around the cooled pretzel crust covering the entire bottom of the crust.
Beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.
Add your sour cream and peanut butter and mix well.  Then add eggs one at a time just until they are mixed in.
Pour your cream cheese mixture over the candy bars and smooth it all the way to the edges of the pie plate.  Baked at 325 for about 35 to 40 minutes or until pie is set up.
Perfection!  Let pie cool and then chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
Just before serving you are going to top the pie with drizzled chocolate and peanuts.
Chop your peanuts in a food processor of mini chopper
Mix your whipping cream and chocolate chips together and microwave to melt.  Make sure you stir this up every 15 seconds so the microwave won't burn your chocolate.
Drizzle the pie with melted chocolate and then sprinkle the peanuts all over the top.  
Cut and serve to your hungry guests or family
rich and creamy!
this pie disappears before your eyes!
perfection in my opinion!