Cooking for a family, while making family time

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2 Ingredient Fruit Dip

2 Ingredient Fruit Dip

We had a holiday open house to attend this afternoon and I borrowed a new recipe from a good friend of mine to bring. It was such a hit with both the kids and adults. Also, you can’t beat it being only 2 ingredients. Ingredients: […]

Apple Cinnamon Monkey Bread

Apple Cinnamon Monkey Bread

This is Christmas morning in our house. I’ve made monkey bread every year for Christmas morning since my husband and I started dating many moons ago. It’s become a really special tradition we’ve gotten to pass onto the kids. Now the kids even request it […]

Edible Gingerbread House “Glue”

Edible Gingerbread House “Glue”

It’s hard to believe Christmas will be here in LESS than two weeks! December is flying by, as it usually does with all of the fun holiday things everyone has going on. One big tradition in our house is gingerbread house building. We usually make our creations Christmas Eve morning so that we can leave them out for Santa to see with his cookies, milk and carrots. Good news for you loyal followers is I just happen to have THE BEST secret tip for gingerbread house making! As much fun as decorating all those houses is, the royal icing that comes in those kits is awful at keeping them together. A few years back I found this little tip that will make your gingerbread house solid as a rock. Burnt sugar. It’s just as it sounds, you pour regular white sugar into a small frying pan on medium high heat until it’s a rich caramel color and has a liquid consistency. Now this stuff is HOT and will burn you so do not let the kids anywhere near it. I usually make the structure and then let the kids go nuts with decorating. You have to work fast as the sugar will dry and harden very quickly (similar to working with hot glue). Also be sure to rinse your pan quickly to avoid a lot of elbow grease and scrubbing later on.

 

 

Ingredients:

Gingerbread house kit
1/4-1/2 cup White sugar

Method:

In a small frying pan pour 1/4 cup white sugar and heat over medium high heat. Stirring occasionally with a metal spoon, 5-10 minutes should do but really go off the color and consistency. A deep caramel color is what you’re looking for, not an actual burnt black. Consistency should be like syrup. Once done, move quickly spooning or dipping the ends of gingerbread pieces into your burnt sugar and placing them together with other pieces to make your house.

    

As I mentioned above this stuff is hot, I burnt my hand a few years back and it was ugly. As anyone who’s in the kitchen a lot knows burns happen, but this stuff is pretty serious so please please be extra careful! Serious food, does mean serious results, so your structure will be very solid. When working with the burnt sugar it will dry very quickly, so you can create the house and in a few minutes let the kids decorate it. Another option is you can create the structure and let it sit until you’re ready to decorate, regardless of if that’s a matter of hours or days. Now this is safe to eat, however it’s very hard, so I don’t recommend it. It’s nice to know it’s safe though, if your kids are anything like mine. For every glob of icing or candy that gets put on the house another goes in their mouth! The really fun thing I’ve noticed the past few years are the different kind of gingerbread kits they offer. We’ve done the gingerbread train a time or two, character themed gingerbread houses, as well as the gingerbread town (this is a hit with multiple kids who all want to make their OWN house) and I even saw a gingerbread ninja kit this year. Be sure to come back and post your creations as you make them, both me and my kiddos would LOVE to see what you make.

   
Snowman Bagel

Snowman Bagel

This little creation came about last winter and quickly became a favorite with my children. We love mini bagels around here, a staple for breakfast or packed in their lunch boxes. I turn them into pizzas, sandwiches or now, snowmen! It’s no surprise I love […]

Peppermint Patty Cookie Cups

Peppermint Patty Cookie Cups

If you’re not a fan of York peppermint patties, feel free to skip this recipe. If you love them like my husband does, then these cookies are for you! I stumbled upon these mini peppermint patties when I grabbed the unwrapped mini Reese’s peanut butter […]

Cookies n’ Creme Cookie Cups

Cookies n’ Creme Cookie Cups

Have you guys tried this candy? Cookies n’ Creme Crunchers? They are awesome!! I was in the candy aisle brain storming for cookie cup ideas, pondering different flavor combinations and these caught my eye. Boy am I glad they did!! These cookie cups are one of my favorite because they pack not only a flavor punch, but they have… you guessed it, texture!

Ingredients:

Refrigerated chocolate cookie dough, the brand I used above I cut into 4 even chunks
1 bag Cookies n’ Creme Crunchers

Supplies needed:

A mini muffin tin
Non-stick cooking spray (this is a MUST)

Makes 48 cookies

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Very generously spray your muffin tin with non-stick spray. Unwrap your cookie dough and cut into 4 even chunks. Roll each chunk of cookie dough into a ball using the palms of your hands. Drop a cookie dough ball in each mini muffin slot. Bake for 9 minutes. Once the cookies come out of the oven you have to move FAST. Place your cooked cookies on the stove top and quickly press one candy (or a few pieces, the Crunchers come in a variety of sizes) into the center of each cookie. This will create your “cup”. As you gently press down on the candy the cookie will form around the sides of the candy giving it the appearance of the candy sitting inside a cookie cup. Move your cookies to a safe place to set, a dish towel or pot holders on the counter top will do. You want the cookies to have a chance to set before you try to take them out of the muffin tin. As your cookies cool, the candy in the center will begin to melt. If you’re feeling fancy now would be the time to add sprinkles. Let the cookies cool at least 10 minutes in the muffin tin. Then move them to a cookie rack to cool or if you’re short on time, or just anxious to eat, place them in the fridge to set up faster. Store in an air tight container and enjoy within a week.

 

As I mentioned, the candy comes in a variety of different sizes, some bigger pieces I broke down to fit in the middle of the cookie cup better. Towards the end of the bag it was the opposite, a lot of smaller pieces of candy. With the smaller pieces, I would use two or three pieces of candy to fill the center of the cookie cups. What you’re looking for is even cookie to candy ratio, so you can be the judge and do what works for you, I doubt you’ll get any complaints from an over filled candy center! The texture I mentioned above is one reason I love these cookies, another is the color contrast from the dark brown cookie cup and white chocolate Crunchers. You eat with your eyes first and these cookies are immediately intriguing, and even better than that, they’re delicious!

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Cups

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie Cups

It’s no surprise I am a lover of the sweet and salty dessert, so these cookie cups are right up my alley.  Also the crunch of the pretzel not only brings some salt but also adds good texture. And for what it’s worth, according to my […]

Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

Peanut Butter Cookie Cups

I’m sure you’ve seen these floating around on Pinterest, or even tried them yourself. It’s a spin on the classic peanut butter blossoms that are always a Christmas cookie staple. Mine are a little different than the usual peanut butter cookie cup, I found that […]

Peppermint Cookie Cups

Peppermint Cookie Cups

Nothing screams the holidays quite like the flavor of peppermint. The mere mention of a peppermint mocha latte or candy canes is immediately nostalgic with this time of year. An undeniable combination is peppermint and chocolate. For these cookie cups I used a chocolate cookie and a combination of my favorite peppermint candies.

Ingredients:

Refrigerated chocolate cookie dough, the brand I used above I cut into 4 even chunks
Favorite peppermint candy, I did a combination of peppermint hershey kisses and peppermint chocolate bells

Supplies needed:

A mini muffin tin
Non-stick cooking spray (this is a MUST)

Additional ingredients:

Holiday sprinkles

Makes 48 cookie cups

Method:

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Very generously spray your muffin tin with non-stick spray. Unwrap your cookie dough and cut into 4 even chunks. Roll each chunk of cookie dough into a ball using the palms of your hands. Drop a cookie dough ball in each mini muffin slot. Bake for 9 minutes. While your cookies bake, unwrap all of your candies and set them aside on a plate. Once the cookies come out of the oven you have to move FAST. Place your cooked cookies on the stove top and quickly press one candy into the center of each cookie. This will create your “cup”. As you gently press down on the candy the cookie will form around the sides of the candy giving it the appearance of the candy sitting inside a cookie cup. Move your cookies to a safe place to set, a dish towel or pot holders on the counter top will do. You want the cookies to have a chance to set before you try to take them out of the muffin tin. As your cookies cool, the candy in the center will begin to melt. If you’re feeling fancy now would be the time to add sprinkles. Let the cookies cool at least 10 minutes in the muffin tin. Then move them to a cookie rack to cool or if you’re short on time, or just anxious to eat, place them in the fridge to set up faster. Store in an air tight container and enjoy within a week.

  

Do not skip spraying your muffin tin, or those cookie cups will not be coming out! These cookies are a great one for the kids to help with, I always put mine to work with unwrapping the candies. We count how many cookies are in the muffin tin and then it becomes a counting activity to match that amount to the amount of candy they unwrap. My tip for this one, when your candy starts to melt in the middle of the cookie cup, you can press ever so slightly on the candy (it will be messy) before adding your sprinkles. By pressing down on the melted candy you will get a nice even coverage of candy to cookie cup. This is especially nice when using the bell candies as they are larger and could be a bit hard to bite through if not smushed down a little bit

Leftover Turkey Bolognese

Leftover Turkey Bolognese

Without a doubt my FAVORITE way to use leftover turkey. Nothing about this dish screams Thanksgiving, it’s a twist on an Italian classic that I actually like more than the traditional beef bolognese. Under 10 ingredients and done in 30 minutes. Perfect for a quick […]