Cookie Bars

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Happy Easter! I love making cookies, but I have found a new way to make them. Turn them into a bars instead! I can’t believe I’ve never really tried this method before until now. I know it’s been around awhile too. One thing I don’t like about making cookies is all the different batches you have to bake in the oven. These cookie bars just go in there once and they’re all done together. Cut them up into fancy shapes or sizes, and use different colored M&M’s for each Holiday. They’re so good!

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This weekend I went shopping and picked up a few bacon items. I got bacon bandages and lip balm. Lip balm is kind of strange if it has a bacon flavor to it. I don’t know if I like it as much.

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I also picked up some egg rings. I’ve been looking around for them and found a set of 4 at Williams Sonoma. Now I can make my own egg sandwiches. I told my family I liked having the Jimmy Dean D-Light egg sandwiches for breakfast and they freaked out and said “Do you know how bad for you those are? They are so processed.” My response was f-you. That is pretty much the only processed thing I eat. I do love those sandwiches, and now I can make my own.

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Servings: 24
Recipe from Fearless Homemaker

ingredients

2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 12oz bag M&M’s, divided
directions

preheat the oven to 325 degrees. adjust the oven rack to lower-middle position. grease a 9×13 pan + set aside.

in a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, + baking soda; set aside.

in a large bowl, beat the butter + sugars until light + fluffy. add the egg, egg yolk, + vanilla + mix well. using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix. fold in 1 cup of M&M’s + turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the spatula. sprinkle the remaining M&M’s on top + press in slightly.

bake 25-30 minutes, until the top of the bars is light golden brown, slightly firm to the touch, + edges start pulling away from sides of pan. cool completely before cutting.

Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I recently had to make a batch of my bacon chocolate chip cookies that were featured in the 50 Shades of Bacon Cook Book for a possible client. Instead of using all butter for the fat which normal cookies call for, I opted to replace some of the fat with bacon grease. I do keep a jar of bacon fat in my fridge, and yes, I am one of those crazy people that do that. If you have some bacon grease lying around the house use it up in these cookies. The other secret ingredient is the box of instant vanilla pudding. I think that really helps the flavor come out.

I am excited for this weekend to come because I get to actually go to a diner that Guy Fierri went to in Minneapolis MN, called the 1029 Bar. My brother said they have excellent shrimp po boys there but my main interest is the lobster rolls and lobster mac and cheese I saw when that bar was featured on the show. Oh yah, and I also get to make a pit stop at Trader Joe’s too. I so love that store.

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bacon

Ingredients

1/2 cup of butter
2 tablespoons of bacon grease
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups of flour
1 package of instant vanilla pudding mix
1 tsp of baking powder
1 cup of chocolate chips
5 strips of bacon, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer, beat together softened butter, bacon grease, and sugars. Gradually add in one egg at a time.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, and vanilla pudding mix. Stir together and with the mixer still on, gradually
add in the flour mixture.

Gradually add in the chocolate chips and chopped bacon.

Bake cookies for 9 to 11 minutes.

Note: You may have to press down on the cookies a bit, so that they spread out.

Oatmeal Cream Pies

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I made these homemade oatmeal cream pies from Sally’s Baking Addiction today and they put Little Debbie’s oatmeal cream pies to shame. That website is my new favorite baking blog to go to whenever I’m in the mood to bake something sweet.  I want to make another batch of them and bring some to work on Monday. Ben just loved them too. I bet you that they’re gone by the end of the weekend. Thank you for this great recipe! I may never buy the boxed oatmeal cream pies again! I wish I was a good baker and be able to come up with my own recipes like this.

So in case any of you are wondering about the cook book I helped to write called 50 Shades of Bacon, there will be a little segment on Seattle Kitchen this weekend. A famous chef who owns 13 restaurants and competed on Iron Chef America interviewed my friend Ben. How cool is that? This book has been so amazing for us and we are  thankful for all that have bought it!

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Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Oatmeal Cream Pies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
Step 2
With a stand or handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugars together at medium speed until light and creamy. Add egg, vanilla, and molasses, scraping down the sides as needed. Set aside.
Step 3
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Whisk it all around. Add the quick oats and combine.
Step 4
With the mixer running on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients. The dough will be quite thick and you may have to mix it all by hand after a few seconds in the mixer. Drop dough with a large cookie scoop, or make sure each ball of dough is 3 Tablespoons in measurement. Cookies will spread in the oven, so drop each ball of dough 2 inches apart.
Step 5
Bake for 10 minutes, until cookies are lightly golden around the edges. Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Spread 1.5 Tablespoons of cream filling on the bottom side of half of cookies; top with remaining cookies, right side up.

Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Step 1
With a stand or handheld mixer, beat butter for about 1 minute until creamy. Add the powdered sugar and mix on medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Pour in heavy cream and vanilla extract. Mix on high for 3-4 minutes until fluffy. Taste and add a pinch or two of salt, as needed.
Step 2
Cookies stay fresh and soft (with creme filling) at room temperature for 2 days in an airtight container. After that, store in the refrigerator to keep the creme center fresh. These are best eaten within 2 days.

Rainbow Cookies

The name of these cookies are called Rainbow cookies. I would like to change that name to something more festive like Red and Green Cookies or Christmas Layered Cookies. Don’t you think?

These cookies were quite challenging to make. Almond paste was an ingredient I’ve never delt with before. It’s in the baking aisle if you haven’t looked for it at all. Then,  I don’t think there is enough dough to work with either. I had divided the dough as evenly as I could and the layers were all uneven. It may not look like it in the pictures but trust me, they were.

I think the next time I make these, I would just use a regular short bread cookie dough recipe and then flavor the cookie dough with almond extract. Almond extract lasts longer than almond paste does and has a better almondy flavor. Did I mention almond paste is really expensive also? I think I paid almost $6.00 for a 6oz tube. I’d also try it with different kinds of flavored jams or maybe nutella even.

recipe from Food Network Magazine

Rainbow Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 8 ouces almond paste
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • red and green food coloring
  • 15 ounces apricot jam
  • 1 pound bitter sweet chocolate
  • cooking spray

Directions

Step 1
You'll need three 9-by-12-inch jelly roll pans or rimmed baking sheets to make these layered cookies.
Step 2
Prep the pans: Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour three 9-by-12-inch jelly roll pans or rimmed baking sheets and line with parchment paper.
Step 3
Make the batter: Combine the almond paste and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is in fine crumbles. Beat in 2 1/2 sticks butter, a few pieces at a time, until well combined. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until smooth.
Step 4
Sift 2 cups flour onto a sheet of parchment and sprinkle the salt on top; add to the mixer bowl and beat until just combined.
Step 5
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy; while whisking, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until firm peaks form (or use a hand mixer). Fold about one-third of the egg white mixture into the batter with a rubber spatula, then gently fold in the rest. The batter should be fluffy.
Step 6
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy; while whisking, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until firm peaks form (or use a hand mixer). Fold about one-third of the egg white mixture into the batter with a rubber spatula, then gently fold in the rest. The batter should be fluffy.
Step 7
Bake the layers: Transfer the batter to the prepared pans (one pan for each color). Dip an offset spatula in water and spread the batter to the edge of each pan, smoothing the tops. Bake, switching the position of the pans halfway through, until the cakes are cooked through and just beginning to brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans on wire racks.
Step 8
Assemble the layers: Spread half of the jam evenly over the green cake layer almost all the way to the edges. Unmold the plain cake layer by inverting it onto another pan or cutting board; peel off the parchment.
Step 9
Carefully slide the plain layer onto the green layer (use a wide offset spatula to help you, if necessary). Spread the remaining jam on top of the plain layer. Unmold the red cake layer and slide it onto the plain layer.
Step 10
Cover the cake with plastic wrap and top with one of the empty pans; place several heavy cans on top to weigh down the layers. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
Step 11
Unmold the cake: Remove the cans and plastic wrap. Place a cutting board on top of the cake and flip to unmold it onto the cutting board. Remove the parchment from the top of the green layer.
Step 12
Trim the cake: Trim the sides with a knife to make straight edges. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray; set the rack over a baking sheet. Carefully slide the cake onto the rack, using a wide offset spatula to help you, if necessary.
Step 13
Cover in chocolate: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; pour over the cake. Dip an offset spatula in the hot water and smooth the top and sides. Let set slightly. Scrape wavy lines into the chocolate with a fork; let cool a few more minutes until the chocolate is mostly set but still slightly tacky.
Step 14
Cut into pieces: Slide the cake back onto the cutting board. Slice crosswise into 6 strips, then cut each strip into 8 rectangular pieces. For clean edges, dip the knife in warm water and wipe it with a cloth between cuts. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Step 15
If the lines in the chocolate don't hold their shape, let the chocolate set a little longer and try again.

Cherry Chocolate Blossoms

Tis that time of year again: Cookie baking!

I love this time of year. I love trying new cookie recipes like this one. I couldn’t really taste the cherries in here at all. Maybe it needs more of the juice or more cherries, or maybe even some cherry extract. I’ll have to play around with it. What would really be good in the middle of this cookie is a Chocolate Covered cherry. Now, that would be heaven.

My kitchen aid paddle attachment mixer has gone missing and we don’t know what happened to it. I’ve looked everywhere. The last time I saw it was before our trip to Jamaica and that was a whole year ago. I want to go out and buy one but I put it on my Christmas list. Not having that attachment makes it hard to make cookies. I have to do it the old fashion way with my hand mixers. Maybe I’ll go out and just buy one myself, and if I get another one for Christmas I’ll just have two.

 

Cherry Blossom Recipe from the Curvy Carrot

Cherry Chocolate Blossoms

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons maraschino cherry juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries (diced)
  • 36 hershey chocolate kisses (unwrapped)

Directions

Step 1
. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Step 2
In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
Step 3
Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and slowly add the powdered sugar and salt.
Step 4
Add the cherry juice and the almond extract until combined.
Step 5
With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Step 6
Increase the mixer speed to medium and add the cherries.
Step 7
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, and place the balls on a baking sheet, approximately 2 inches apart.
Step 8
Using your thumb, gently press each cookie in its center until the cookie is about 1/2-inch thick.
Step 9
Sprinkle each cookie with a little granulated sugar.
Step 10
Bake the cookies until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 14 minutes.
Step 11
Once removed from the oven, immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie’s center
Step 12
Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies

 

This afternoon I was in a baking mood, but I didn’t have ingredients I needed to make certain things. I wanted to make orange fluff, but I didn’t have any instant vanilla pudding. I also wanted to make cream cheese brownies and I didn’t have a box of chocolate brownie mix. I was just at the grocery store getting things I needed and didn’t feel like going back there. Don’t you hate it when that happens? When you’re missing certain ingredients to make things?

So, I decided to make some cookies. I had the butter scotch chocolate chips but no white chocolate chips. Used regular chocolate chips instead of white chocolate chips and since I had a box of chocolate pudding mix I threw that in the cookies as well. If you haven’t tried adding in a box of instant pudding mix to your cookies yet, try it! The pudding makes the cookies so soft and good. If you decide to go the chocolate pudding route add that in to the dry ingredients.

Recipe from I Heart Nap Time

Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable (oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 bag chocolate chips
  • 1/2 bag butterscotch chips

Directions

Step 1
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in one egg at a time. Mix in oil, vanilla and almond extract.
Step 2
Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly mix into wet ingredients. Once smooth, fold in chips.
Step 3
Bake at 350 for 7-10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

 

Fig Newtons

Fresh figs are hard to find where I live. I’ve looked and looked every, come September when they are in season and can never find them. The man at the grocery store said that we never get fresh figs here because of their short shelf lives. I always end up going to Minneapolis in the Fall, they have fresh figs at Trader Joe’s. If you don’t care for fresh figs try picking up some of this. Fig butter. It tastes like jam to me.

I have always liked fig newtons when I was a little kid. I’ve tried making fig cookies before but I like how much easier these are to make. Make the dough. Spread half the layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake. Add the fig jam and top layer. Bake for a little bit longer and you have fig newtowns. Who cares if they don’t look like the cookie you get in the packages at the store? I don’t. As long as they end up tasting like the cookie, I’m fine with it.

Recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Homemade Fig Newtons

Ingredients

  • 8oz turkish figs (dried or fresh)
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the bars out. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
Step 2
Add the dried figs, apple juice and salt to a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the figs break down and the mixture is soft and syrupy, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then add to the bowl of your food processor along with the lemon juice. Pulse until the mixture has a jam like consistency.
Step 3
Whisk both flours, the baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, beating until completely incorporated. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Measure out 3/4 cup of the dough and set aside. Transfer the remaining dough to the prepared pan and press into an even layer in the bottom.
Step 4
Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, roll the dough you set aside into an 8-inch square (it's easier if you do it between greased sheets of parchment). Place the square in the freezer until firm.
Step 5
When the crust has finished baking, spread the fig "jam" evenly over it. Place the frozen square of dough on top. Bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the top crust is golden brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack, and let the bars cool completely, at least 2 hours. Use the foil to lift the bars out and cut them into squares for serving.

Grasshoper Mint Cookies

 

Chocolate and Mint are probably one of my favorite flavor combos. These cookies sure deliver on that too. Perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day coming up.  I found this recipe at Six Sister’s Fun stuff. The name of the blog almost reminds me of a shop that I go to in the Summer time. There are some really good recipes on that website and just about everything looks good looks.

I am probably bad for not trying to make these cookies lighter. Sorry for that, but sometimes I just feel like making the real thing. I kind of want to go through some of the really fattening recipes on this website and try to make them lighter.

Grasshoper Mint Cookies from Six Sisters Stuff

Ingredients:

Cookie bottom:
1 Devil’s Food Cake Mix (I like the ones with pudding in the mix the best)
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs

Mix cake mix, oil, and eggs together (do not follow the directions on the back of the cake mix- disregard them completely). Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-9 minutes (don’t cook any longer than that! You don’t want them to be overdone!). Let cookies cool completely.

Peppermint Frosting:
1/2 c. butter, softened
2 Tablespoons milk
2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
Green food coloring (optional- I added about 8 drops to get the colors of green that I had)
Mix together all the ingredients (add more or less powdered sugar until you get the consistency you like). Spread on top of each cooled cookie.

Chocolate Topping:
2 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. butter
Melt chocolate chips and butter together in a double boiler OR in a microwave (I usually microwave for 30-second intervals, then stir and repeat until the chips are fully melted). Spread melted chocolate on each cookie- I have found that it works best to use the back of a spoon to spread the chocolate around.