Category Archives: Holidays!

Peppermint Crunch and White Chocolate Cookies

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It can’t be the holidays for me until some smashed up candy canes end up sprinkled on a cookie. Check out this peppermint-focused cookie from a few year’s back. This year, I present to you the Peppermint Crunch and White Chocolate Cookie. It’s a pretty basic buttery sugar cookie with a dash of peppermint extract, a bag of white chocolate morsels and a handful of pulverized candy canes. What could be wrong with any of that? Turn up the holiday music, here’s my favorite, and bake up a batch of cookies.

Peppermint Crunch and White Chocolate Cookiea Made by Mike Original

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 2 cups white chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup crushed peppermint candies or candy canes, crushed

Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Beat butter and both sugars with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in eggs and peppermint extract. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Stir in white chocolate morsels.

Scoop dough with a 1-inch ice cream scoop, dip the tops of the dough balls into the crushed peppermint candy. Place candy-side up, about 2-inches apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 10-13 minutes, until puffy and light-golden brown in color. Let rest 5 minutes on sheet pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 40 cookies.

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Candy Corn Krispie Treats

 

Halloween, not exactly one of my favorite holidays. It never has been. Well, except for the flood of fun-sized packets of Skittles, Starbursts and Sweetarts. Yes, I have a very real addiction to fruity-flavored confections that begin with an S.

There are a couple of other things that I really love about this time of year. Chief among them is the annual pumpkin carving with my sister’s delightful family. I was worried that it wouldn’t happen this year after their summer move to Kentucky. But alas, a visit back to Ohio was coordinated and the tradition continued. For a sweet treat, I made these Candy Corn Krispie Treats featured in the October issue of Everyday Food. You can find the original recipe here.

I tweaked the recipe just a bit. They called for adding orange zest and lemon zest to the colored layers. I thought the idea of adding a citrus twist to candy corn shaped treats a bit odd.  Instead I added some vanilla extract. The worst part of the recipe, and this is so minor, was repeatedly washing the saucepan between layers of the Rice Krispie loaf.

Candy Corn Krispie Treats - adapted from Everyday Food, October 2012.

  • 12 cups miniature marshmallows, divided
  • 9 cups puffed crisp rice cereal, divided
  • 9 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sat, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, divided
  • red & yellow food coloring

Lightly coat a 5-by-9 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a large sauce pan, melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium heat. Add 4 cups miniature marshmallows, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract; stir until melted. Stir in 3 cups puffed crisp rice cereal and immediately transfer to prepared pan. Coat a spatula with cooking spray and firmly press mixture into an even layer.

Rinse saucepan. Repeat the last step twice: To the second batch add enough yellow and red food coloring (about 5 drops, each) to tint marshmallow mixture orange before adding the cereal, then press into pan on top of the previous layer. To the third batch, add yellow food coloring (about 10 drops) to tint marshmallow mixture yellow. Press into pan on top of the orange layer.

Let set 2 hours or overnight. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and invert loaf onto a cutting board. With a sharp serrated knife, cut loaf into 10 slices. Cut each slice in half crosswise.

Using your hands, gently mold each treat into a candy corn shape pinching the white section to form the tip. Makes 20.

honey punch

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, and while many of you will be enjoying a green beer, I thought I’d feature a little pot of gold. Golden Honey Punch, that is.

As I wrote last week, I’m working my through two delightful jars of Kilker North honey. This punch recipe from Food Network magazine is pretty great. You make a simple syrup on the stove top with water and honey. Add some fresh lemon juice, vodka (I went with a citrus variety), apricot nectar and a bottle of sparkling apple juice for a little fizzy goodness. It’s a pretty sweet and refreshing punch. Perfect for a summer picnic.  Well, that’s a couple months away.  Guess I’ll keep sipping this one…

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chocolate-cherry clusters

Three ingredients, fifteen minutes prep time, an amazingly great snack: the Chocolate-Cherry Cluster.

From the January/February 2011 issue of Everyday Food Magazine.

Melt 10 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, mix in 3 cups of cornflakes that you’ve crushed slightly and half a cup of dried cherries until everything is covered in melted chocolate.  Drop by heaping tablespoons (I used a small ice cream scoop) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Let cool until chocolate has hardened. Makes 18 clusters that won’t last long, trust me on this. These would make a delicious Valentine’s treat for that someone special. Also, if you love the combination of chocolate and cherries, you’ll flip for these. So, what’s your favorite Valentine’s sweet treat?

national pie day

It’s National Pie Day in America. How both very exciting and random that it’s celebrated in the middle of winter. I though that I’d honor the day with a look back at one of my favorite pie posts. Click here to read all about the fabulously tart Lemon Pie with Pecan Crumb Crust.

So, what kind of pie are you craving today? Share your favorites in the comment section.

white chocolate snowflakes

And here we are, the final few days before Christmas. I don’t know about you, but the list of things that I need to do keeps getting longer. These are times when a quick and simple recipe is really important. I ran across this three-ingredient holiday treat on Food52.com. My dear friends, may I introduce you to the White Chocolate Snowflake? Please click the link for the recipe, it’s as simple as melting the white chocolate, then stirring in Rice Krispies and roasted peanuts. I found using a small ice cream scoop made dividing the mixture into equal portions a breeze. You don’t need to use the decorative paper cups. The recipe calls for just dropping the mixture on to waxed paper. In about twenty minutes from start to finish, You’ll have a great treat for holiday nibbling.

chocolate peppermint cookies

Oh the snow…the weather around these here parts has been pretty frightful the last couple of days. On Sunday, I decided it would be best to use my shut-in time to bake some cookies for the holidays. I made dad’s ginger cookies that I wrote about previously. I also baked white chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies and the those candy cane topped chocolate peppermint cookies pictured above. I came across the recipe for them just last week on the outstanding blog, One Ordinary Day.

They were pretty easy to make. And the peppermint marshmallow cream is amazing. Really it is.  I think next time I’m going to use the mexican hot-chocolate cookie recipe, add a little instant espresso to the batter, and omit the chili powder from the coating.  Then take two cookies and sandwich them around the peppermint marshmallow cream for a bit of a peppermint mocha inspired cookie. (This was actually Greg’s idea.) Who’s with me? What are you baking for the holidays?

5 days of sweets – ricotta orange pound cake

Here we are, day three of “Five Days of Sweets.” I don’t know about you but, but my clothes are feeling a bit tighter. It’s back to Weight Watchers after the holidays… The latest of issue of Food Network Magazine features a section on “Giada’s Perfect Presents.” One of the ideas was to make a Ricotta Orange Pound Cake and gift it along with one of Giada’s loaf pans, conveniently available at your local Target.

The cake is pretty terrific. The ricotta, while making for a lumpy kinda gross looking batter, kept the cake very moist. I’d recommend cooking it for a bit longer than the 45 to 50 minutes suggested in the recipe.  The center of my cake dropped considerably while cooling. Still very tasty though. Just a hint of orange, I tasted the two tablespoons of amaretto more than the citrus. And I was very ok with that.

Coming tomorrow: Mint-Chocolate Brownies from Everyday Food Magazine.

5 days of sweets – dad’s ginger cookies

What’s the first food-related item that comes to mind when I think of Christmas? My Dad’s ginger cookies. He made them every year along with his sugar cut-out cookies. The scent of these cookies baking in the oven filled the house with the most pleasant spiced aroma. A few notes about the recipe. Depending on the size you make, they may need a minute or two more in the oven. You’ll know they’re done when the tops begin to puff and crack.

I’ve been working on our Christmas cards this past week. Each card is getting a recipe for these sweet treats inserted in them. If you’re not on our list, I’ve included the recipe below.

5 days of sweets – chocolate mousse tart with hazelnuts

Welcome to my 5 Days of Sweets. Also known as, How Mike Will Gain Another 10 Pounds. For the next five days I’ll feature a dessert or cookie that would be just fantastic to serve around the upcoming holidays. To kick it off, we begin with the Chocolate Mousse Tart with Hazelnuts from Everyday Food Magazine. This was our take-along to Thanksgiving dinner last week.

Finally, an excuse to get out the tart pan that I searched all over Northeast Ohio for earlier this year. The really special thing about this recipe is that the crumb crust is made from crushed sugar cones. They added a real great depth of flavor to the tart that you just don’t get from graham crackers. The mousse itself is pretty great too. The recipe made just a bit more than I needed to fill the shell, so Greg and I each got a small custard cup of mousse to enjoy. Candying the hazelnuts was also something I’d not done before. After heating up a simple syrup, you let the raw nuts boil in the syrup for about a minute. Then you drain them and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet for a 15 minute roast in the oven. They turned out terrific and made an excellent crunchy topping for the silky-smooth tart.

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