M&M’s Pudding Cookies

M&M Pudding Cookies3

Here’s another cookie recipe that I made for my treat boxes to give out this Christmas. Who can resist M&M’s and white chocolate chips? I’m not sure if the pudding mix is for added flavor or to make the cookies soft and chewy. Either way, these cookies are a sweet treat. Next Christmas, be sure to put some out for Santa! You can most certainly switch out the M&M’s candy colors to suit other occasions to enjoy these cookies all year long.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 box (4 ounce size) vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup green and red M&M’s
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until fluffy; scrape side of bowl.
  4. Beat in dry pudding mix. Beat in eggs, one at a time, just until smooth. Beat in vanilla.
  5. On low speed, gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture until well blended.
  6.  Stir in chocolate candies and white chips until blended.
  7. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto lined cookie sheets. M&M Pudding Cookies1
  8. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until light brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container at room temperature.
M&M Pudding Cookies2
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Italian Christmas Cookies

Italian Christmas Cookies3

Every year I give out Christmas cookies and candies to my family and friends. And every year I try swap around the cookies and candies I make. I came across these Italian Christmas cookies. I noticed they traditionally use anise extract, but I’m not an anise (or black licorice taste) fan. So I substituted almond extract. You can choose to use either.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise or almond extract

GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Nonpareil sprinkles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time. Then add the vanilla and anise flavoring.
  5. Slowly mix in the flour mixture. Do not overbeat.
  6. Refrigerate dough for one hour.
  7. When ready to bake, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Dip the bottom of a small glass into some powdered sugar and press each ball down slightly.Italian Christmas Cookies1
  9. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  10. Remove and cool completely.

GLAZE DIRECTIONS:

  1. Sift two cups of powdered sugar in a bowl. Whisk in milk and vanilla.
  2. Dip top of each cookie in the glaze. Garnish with some nonpareil sprinkles.
  3. Allow glaze to dry before freezing. Italian Christmas Cookies2

 

Snowman Cupcakes

Snowman Cupcake

Here’s a fun baking activity for your kids or for you kids at heart to make during the holidays. All you need are a few items you may already have in your pantry.  I did make my own cupcakes from scratch, only because I was already making my Christmas cookies and had most the ingredients out anyway.  But I did use store bought frosting. Either way is fine.  The snowmen won’t complain.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box chocolate or Devil’s food cake mix
  • 1 container vanilla frosting (buttercream or whipped style)
  • white sparkling decorating sugar sprinkles (I used Wilton brand)
  • butterscotch baking chips (or use orange M&Ms)
  • mini chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare cupcakes as per cake mix directions and let cool completely.
  2. Spread a generous amount of frosting on top of the cupcake.
  3. Fill a small bowl with white, sparkling decorating sugar.
  4. Holding the bottom of the cupcake, gently press it down into the coarse sugar and rock it back and forth in all directions until the icing is completely covered.
  5. Take a regular sized butterscotch chip and gently press it into the center of the cupcake.
  6. Then use mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth.
  7. Aren’t they so cute?! How easy was that?

Snowman Cupcakes

 

Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake

I came across my bundt cake pan the other day. I thought to myself,  I really need to use it more often. So I went through my cupboard and found all the ingredients for a semi homemade pineapple upside down cake.  Then I found out my brother and his family were coming to town. I now had willing taste testers to help eat up the cake. My son and I would never have finished it by ourselves. It was fate.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can (20 ounces)  pineapple slices, reserve the juice
  • 1 small jar maraschino cherries (you will need about 15-20 depending on your bundt pan size)
  • 1 box yellow cake mix (thus the semi homemade description)
  • 1 package (3.4 ounce) vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Spray a bundt pan generously with nonstick spray.
  2. Evenly pour the melted butter into the bottom of the bundt pan and top with the brown sugar. Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake 2
  3. Cut the pineapple rings in half and, alternating with the cherries, place into the butter-brown sugar mixture in the bottom of the pan. Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake 3
  4. In a large bowl, combine the cake and pudding mixes together. Add the reserved pineapple juice and milk. Add the eggs and vegetable oil, and mix until fully blended. Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake 5
  5. Pour the batter evenly over the pineapple and cherries. Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake 6
  6. Follow the cake mix instructions for how long to bake in a bundt pan. Approximately 35-40 minutes. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake 7
  7. Cool the cake for about 30 minutes before running a knife around the edges and inner ring of the pan. Invert onto a serving plate and slice between pineapple rings to serve. Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake 8

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you need to make a large batch of cookies? Do you like dark, semi-sweet and white chocolate chips? Have I got a recipe for you. Toss those ready made cookie dough tubes. You can make your own triple chocolate chip cookies from scratch.  These cookies will have a crispy bottom and a soft center. Just the right amount of chewy and crispy.

Now you may be looking over the recipe ingredients and are thinking that’s a lot of sugar and butter!  Just remember this recipe will make 5 dozen cookies or more depending on how generous you scoop your dough.  That’s 60+ cookies! Feel free to share with your family, friends, and neighbors. Just don’t forget to save some for yourself!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 sticks of salted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Prepare baking sheets using a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat butter, granulated sugar  and brown sugar. Add vanilla extract and eggs. Beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in flour and baking soda until mixed well. If using an electric mixer, stop at this time.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.
  5. On your prepared baking sheets, drop cookie dough by tablespoonfuls or using a cookie scoop. Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies 1
  6. Bake 10 minutes or until the cookies are light brown. The centers will be soft. Cool for a minute before transferring cookies to a cooling rack to completely cool. Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

Healthy Carrot and Raisin Cake Muffins

Carrot Cake Muffins 2

What’s that? Healthy? I know most my baked goodies aren’t considered healthy. But surprise! I am actually sharing a healthy recipe with you. Well, mostly healthy.  I used  all purpose flour since I did not have whole wheat flour in my pantry.  Be sure to fill your muffin tins to the top as these muffins do not rise very much. You can see how squat mine are. Oh well. It’s always good to learn something new.  This recipe yields 12 muffins.  (Or 16, if you didn’t fill your muffin tins all the way like I did. Oops.)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 carrots shredded or grated
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (all purpose flour works too)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Prepare muffin/cupcake tin by greasing with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl whisk eggs until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and whisk again until mixture is smooth.
  4. Pour in the maple syrup, milk and vanilla extract. Beat the mixture again until smooth.
  5. Add the shredded/grated carrots, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and raisins over the wet batter. Using a rubber spatula to fold the wet and dry ingredients together just until combined.
  6. Portion the batter evenly into your prepared 12 cup muffin tin.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the muffins have risen and set.

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:

  1. Beat the cream cheese in a small bowl until smooth.
  2. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and lemon juice and beat again until the mixture is well combined.
  3. Once the muffins have cooled add a dollop of frosting on top of muffins.
  4. Optional: garnish with grated carrots.

Carrot Cake Muffins 1

Lemon Butter Cookies

Lemon Butter Cookies plated

Spring is here, but you wouldn’t know it by the dark and gloomy days we’ve been having around here. Cheer up. I have a cookie that will brighten your day. They are flakey on the outside and chewy on the inside. And the tangy lemon flavor combined with the sweet butter cookie is like a bite of sunshine.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  •  1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 drops yellow food coloring
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. 1-2 minutes.
  3. Beat in eggs, lemon zest and juice, vanilla and food coloring.
  4. Beat in dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight for best results.
  6. Preheat oven to 325 F degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  7. Roll dough into 2 inch balls then roll in powdered sugar and place on baking sheets. Let sit for 2 minutes until sugar is absorbed, then reroll in powdered sugar.
  8. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets and bake until cookies crackle and set but still slightly soft in center, 17-19 minutes.
  9. Transfer to a cooling rack  and let cool completely.
  10. This recipe yields 24-30 cookies depending on how evenly you roll your cookie dough. One day I am going to invest in a dough scoop so I can have uniform cookies. I  sprinkled a little extra powdered sugar on the cookies when cooled, but that is not necessary.

Lemon Butter Cookies