Circus Cookie Krispie Treats

Guys, these treats are the best.  I feel like I say this all the time, but these are REALLY the best, because they’re insanely delicious and come together in about fifteen minutes flat.  And you don’t have to turn on the oven.  And they’re crowd pleasers.  And I’ve also heard they cure cancer and have an answer to, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?”, but I can’t verify that.

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I bake for my SBA meetings every Thursday and I’m always looking for something fun and different to bring.  I get sick of making the same cookies over and over again.  I always tweak the recipe a bit so that I can post it on here, but it gets monotonous after a while.  Some rice krispie treats were exactly what I needed to break myself out of my cookie rut!

These are like rice krispies on crack.  You know, if inanimate objects were capable of doing hard drugs.  It’s your basic rice krispie treat loaded with coarsely chopped frosted animal cookies.  Each bite you get the smooth marshmallow, crispy puffed rice and then crunchy sweet animal cookie bits.  It’s one dynamite recipe, and one that definitely has me dreaming up new rice krispies treats!

Circus Cookie Krispie Treats

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Ingredients

5 tbsp butter

16 oz mini marshmallows

1 13oz bag frosted animal crackers, coarsely chopped

8 cups rice krispies

12 oz white chocolate

sprinkles, for decorating

Directions

In a large pot melt the butter.  Add in the marshmallows and stir until combined.  Remove the pot from heat and mix in the rice krispies and animal crackers until they are all coated in the marshmallow mixture.

Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and pat down.  Melt the white chocolate in a microwave safe container – zapping it for 30 second increments until it is melted.  Pour over the rice krispie treats and spread evenly.  Add sprinkles.

Let the chocolate set and then slice and serve.

Source:  Cookies and Cups

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PB & J Thumbprint Cookies

I’m having one of those days.  And not a bad day, but one of those amazingly good days where you feel like absolutely nothing can happen to dampen your mood.  I woke up a half hour before my alarm to sunlight streaming in from my window.  I found that since I’ve left my blinds open at night I have a much easier time waking up.  Something about the sunlight seems to send a message to my brain that I should be getting up, so I wake up well rested and ready to face the day.  Let me tell you, after one too many groggy mornings, that is not something to be taken lightly!

I’m proud to say that it is now six days into Lent and I have not touched a single baked good!  I’ve been tempted several times – cookies for a classmate’s birthday and little poppyseed muffins at church – but I’ve held strong. It’s getting easier.  I have to admit, though, when I baked those cookies I wanted SO bad to eat one of the leftovers.  It just seems like a crime to have all those cookies there and not eat one!  I then told myself to suck it up and in a few weeks I’d be able to eat them, so I got my act together and ate some grapes instead.

The entire time I was wishing they were cookies.  But, it’s fine.  It’s, what, another 34 days?  I can do that.  Totally.  I can control myself.  Just because I want cookies and muffins and scones (oh my!) does not mean I need to eat them.

Anyhoo, just because I can’t eat cookies doesn’t mean I can’t post about them.  In fact, I will probably post a lot of them.  I will live vicariously through my blog!  Today I bring you a recipe I made early in the my first semester here.  They were the first cookies I brought over to the neighbors, and are probably the only reason they tolerate me.

A delicate peanut butter cookie base is topped with a touch of strawberry jelly.  It’s your favorite middle school lunch staple in cookie form, which I pretty much think is reason enough to make these.  The cookies come together relatively quickly and keep well in a tupperware.  If you’re not similarly abstaining from sweets, I highly recommend these!  Even if you are, make them and share them with the people you love.

PB & J Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups crushed peanuts
2 sticks butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup strawberry jam
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
Mix the flour and peanuts and set aside.  In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.  Scrape down the sides and mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually add the peanut-flour mixture until combined.  You may have to use your hands to fully form the dough.
 
Drop tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheet.  Press your index finger into the center of the cookie, being careful not to press too hard.  Bake 15-18 minutes.  Let cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet, and then remove to a wire rack.
 
In a small sauce pan bring the jam to a boil.  Spoon into the thumbprints.  Let cool.
Source:  Joy The Baker

Pumpkin Bars

Earlier this week I had the grand idea to slowly wean myself off of sweets.  This is largely due to the fact that I ate nearly  half of a box of Fannie May chocolates in one sitting that spanned about five minutes.  On a side note, I feel like I need to add that I didn’t have even a bit of a stomachache after.  If that doesn’t impress you, well, I don’t know what will.

Anyway, after I saw the damage I’d done to that box of chocolates I decided that things needed to change.  I don’t typically like to eat that much sweets and I know it’s just a ring of fire where with each innocent mint meltaway I’ll be setting myself up for craving the next one even more.  So, I did what any other person trying to wean themselves off of sugar would do.

I made some pumpkin bars.

In my defense, they were not for me.  Neighbor dinner was last night and it’s just not a true neighbor dinner without some baked good.  Plus, I had a shit load of pumpkin in my pantry.  I only had two today.  So…progress?

I really loved making these bars because they don’t require a mixer.  If there’s anything I love in a recipe, it’s not having to use a mixer, because I’m lazy and really into not having to pull out my mixer and clean the two beaters.  Because obviously that requires so much effort.  Feel free to roll your eyes because I’m rolling mine with you.

These bars end up having a really nice cake-like texture, which makes them feel just a bit fancier than your usual blondie or bar cookie.  I didn’t do a cream cheese frosting, but that would be a great addition here.

Pumpkin Bars

Ingredients:

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree

4 eggs

1 cup oil

1 2/3 cup sugar

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Combine the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and flour in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until smooth.  Add the flour mixture and whisk until a batter forms.  Pour into the baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes.  It may take longer depending on your oven.  Mine almost took around 40 minutes, but I think my oven is just running wonky.

Oreo Cookie Bark

One of the best things that I did this first year of law school was getting involved with the Student Bar Association.  For those not versed in law-speak, SBA is essentially law school student council.  We plan a variety of events – both social and educational – for the college of law.  I have met so many amazing people through it, and the events that I have helped plan or execute have been really rewarding.  Most importantly, though, I found a new group of people that I can force my food on.

I feel like when you become a food blogger it’s almost a requisite step that you begin to force your concoctions on anyone within arms reach.  To furnish the blog you are constantly cooking or baking, and you get to a point where you really don’t need more cookies in your freezer.  Seriously, four bags is enough.

I bake something special for the SBA meeting each week.  It’s usually stuffed with chocolate and portable as to keep me from dropping it.  Funny story — one time I was bringing cookies to a party at one of my old workplaces and I was carrying them in a Ziploc bag that was in another plastic grocery bag.  As I was walking the Ziploc bag slipped out and I didn’t notice until I was about a block away.  I ran back, picked up the Ziploc bag of cookies, and then served them as if nothing happened.

Note for the SBA-ers…I haven’t done this to you.  Yet.

My first SBA baked good was actually this no-bake Oreo Cookie Bark recipe.  I made a Facebook status about it the night before, and there was quite the buzz among the SBA-ers.  Immediately following my talking-it-up, I then began to worry that it wouldn’t live up to the hype and I’d be that person who oversold their cooking.  I overreacted and made my roommate taste test a bunch of the batch because I didn’t want to do it myself.  Based on their reactions – and my own once I finally had some – I think I can go out on a limb and say it turned out well.  Make it and decide for yourself!

Oreo Cookie Bark

Ingredients:

16 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped and divided in half

14 Oreos, crushed and divided in half

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Melt the chocolate and mix in the crushed Oreos.  Spread out on the baking sheet and place in the freezer for fifteen minutes.

Meanwhile, get started on the filling.  Cream together the shortening and butter until smooth.  Mix in the powdered sugar gradually until a thick filling is formed. Spread on the hardened chocolate and place in the freezer for another fifteen minutes.

Melt the remaining chocolate and mix in the rest of the oreos.  Spread on the chilled bottom layer of the bark and filling, making sure to spread the chocolate to the edges of the bark.  Freeze until hardened.  Serve chilled.

Source:  Cookies And Cups

Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My goodness, these past two weeks have been an absolute whirlwind.  First there was driving back home and the wonderful reunion with my beloved DVR.  So many shows, and for once, so much time to watch them!  After that it was the holidays and then my brother’s girlfriend was in for the week to visit.  I feel like I haven’t had a moment to sit down until now!

Now, I know you all cannot see this, but I am currently typing this post up on my new MacBook Pro!  To say that I am excited would be an understatement.  After five years on my old one (named Ferdinand, if you were curious) it was about time for an upgrade.  And after the debacle that was my exam software not loading on my old computer for finals, I am very happy to have one now that will support all my law school needs.  I even notice some difference in blogging.  Love it!!

Anyhoo, this is a food blog, not Liz-goes-on-about-her-new-computer blog.  Today I am bringing another recipe from the old blog, purely because I left my camera up at school.  Yes, I am very responsible.

It feels like a day for a cookie.  In particular, it feels like a day for some cookies studded with chocolate chunks and enveloped in the rich, nutty taste of browned butter.  I actually think I may have put these here before, but that’s fine considering I make these about every other week.  Let this serve as a reminder that you need to make these as soon as humanly possible.

Browned Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
chocolate chunks/chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter, whisking constantly.  Continue to whisk until brown bits are at the bottom.  Remove from heat immediately (butter burns fast) and let cool 10-15 minutes.

Mix the butter with the two sugars.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix in the flour mixture until a dough forms.  It will be crumbly, so use your hands to mix it all together.  Roll about 1 tbsp of dough into a ball and press chocolate chip into the center.  Top with another 1 tbsp dough ball and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries

I had Taco Bell for the first time yesterday.  I ordered the XXL steak nachos after my final and proceeded to chow down watching One Tree Hill.  It started out okay, but then the more fake cheese I ingested the more I kept thinking, “This is not that good.”  And then I ate some more.  Had the same thought.  Ate even more.  And then I finished the entire 1 lb platter (yes, I mean platter) of nachos.

When I end up being 800 pounds and following fashion tips from Mama Honey Boo Boo I have only myself to blame.

In an attempt to counter the Taco Bell I am going to post perhaps one of the classiest recipes from the old blog.  For those of you who are not acquainted with panna cotta — there is no time like the present.  Panna cotta is a cooked Italian cream originating in Northern Italy.  It also has three cups of heavy whipping cream.

I said it was classy not healthy.

I made this for the first time over the summer for a small dinner party I hosted with some friends.  It is the perfect ending to a meal because despite the heavy duty ingredients, it’s a relatively light dessert.  Serve it with some cut up fruit for a delightful close to your meal.

Panna Cotta with Fresh Strawberries

Panna CottaIngredients:

2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp unflavored powdered gelatin
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup honey
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup strawberries, chopped

Directions:

In a saucepan, mix together the milk and powdered gelatin.  Let sit for 5 minutes, softening the gelatin. Put the saucepan over medium heat, and whisk for 5 minutes.  Do not let the mixture boil.  Remove from heat and add mix in heavy whipping cream, honey and sugar, about 2 minutes.  Pour into either ramekins or wine glasses and let cool before covering and putting in the refrigerator.  Set either over night or for at least 6 hours.  Add the berries and serve.

Source:  Everyday Italian

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Coconut Bars

Hello there.

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I feel like I haven’t posted a recipe on here in a kagillion years.  And yes, that is a real measurement.  It comes right after bagillion and kagibagillion.  Anyhoo, if you look it’s only really been about a week but it feels so much longer for me.  Finals isn’t really conducive for cooking and when I do find the time and energy to cook, the last thing I want to do is attempt to take semi-appetizing pictures of it all.

So, yes I made some dijon-crusted porkchops.  Yes, they were da bomb.  Yes, I DID just use the phrase “da bomb” and if I were able to post that recipe you’d be using it, too.  You’d all be going, “These pork chops.  They be da bomb.”  And apparently we’re all from one of those Barbershop movies, too.

Aannndd, I’m going on a very long tangent that is meant to lead to this cookie recipe, which is a repeat from the old blog.  I know it’s sort of lazy to repost, and I admittedly don’t really have a defense for the laziness argument.  But, I can tell you these are delicious.  And they will make you gain about eight pounds, but you won’t care because they are JUST THAT GOOD.  If those all-caps don’t make you believe, I don’t know what will.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Coconut Bars

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Ingredients:
 
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1 cup powdered sugar
 
Directions:
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 8×8 baking dish.  In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.
 
In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the sugar, butter and peanut butter.  Add the eggs and vanilla, scraping down the sides.  Put the mixer on low speed and add the flour mixture.  Fold in the chocolate and coconut.
 
Pour the batter into the baking dish, smoothing it evenly.  Bake 30 minutes, or until the center is browned and the edges darken.
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Source:  Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
** Btw, I apologize if this post or any forthcoming posts over the next two-three weeks are scatter-brained.  Finals has done bad things to my mind.  Like completely obliterating it.  **

Funfetti Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

There is not a single thing I don’t love about funfetti cupcakes.  They’re fun to eat. Fun to make.  Fun to say.

It’s fun all around!

They’re honestly one of my favorite things to make and are ridiculously easy to whip up when you have a sudden urge or need to bake.  All they really require is a basic vanilla cupcake and then some sprinkles.  Throw it all together and – voila!  You have a delightful little confection that brings a little sunshine to any party or gathering.

I made these for a Fresh Prince of Bel-air marathon that Sarah and hosted last week.  For those of you wondering why we had a Fresh Prince marathon – my response is why would we NOT  have a Fresh Prince marathon?  There’s a lot of Will Smith love here.  And it was on a Wednesday, so we were able to give the party the overarching theme of Will Smith Wednesday.

We like our alliteration over here.

By the way, I just tried to spell alliteration starting with an “i”.  Yes, I am in law school.

But back to the cupcakes.  These went over marvelously with the guests.  I think my one friend had three.  Mostly everyone else had two.  The cupcakes end up nice and dense with the perfect amount of sweetness.  The buttercream frosting is the perfect match for the heavier cupcake base.  I definitely would recommend making these for any event.

Funfetti Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:       

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup multi-color sprinkles

For the frosting:

2 sticks of butter, softened and cut into cubes

4 cups powdered sugar

1 tbsp heavy cream

2 tsp vanilla extract 

pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder.  Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together in a bowl.  Add the eggs and vanilla until just combined.  Alternate mixing in the milk and flour mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Fold in the sprinkles.

Pour into prepared cupcake tins 2/3 of the way full, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Let cool and frost.

For the frosting, beat the butter until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix until the frosting forms.  You may have to adjust the amount of sugar and heavy cream.  If your frosting is too thick, add more cream.  If it becomes too thin, add more sugar.

Source: Bakerita

Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Cookies

This recipe brought out the Paula Deen in me.

2 sticks of butter?  Yee haw!

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I love shortbread cookies because they are unapologetically unhealthy.  Yep, there’s about half a creamery in them but they aren’t giving any excuses.  You want a healthy cookie?  Go bake something with oatmeal.

These cookies take regular old shortbread to a whole different level by adding melted chocolate and toffee bits.  It results in a delectably sweet and rich cookie.  Double chins be damned.  Jiggly thighs take a number.  These cookies mean business, and I am more than happy to partake.

Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Cookies

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Ingredients:

For the shortbread base:

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 sticks butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 oz semisweet chocolate chips

For the topping:

6 oz semisweet chocolate

1 1/2 cups toffee bits

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cinnamon and set aside.  Meanwhile, cream together the butter and sugars.  Blend in the vanilla.  Carefully add the flour mixture and process until incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Pour the batter into a prepared 9×13 pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the shortbread is bubbling.  Remove from oven and put on a wire rack.

Sprinkle the shortbread with the chopped chocolate, cover with foil, and let sit for 5 minutes.  Remove the foil and use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate evenly across the shortbread.  Sprinkle on toffee bits and press down lightly to adhere.  Let bars cool at room temperature.  One cool, remove from the pan and chop into squares.

Source: Annie’s Eats

Peppermint Bark

A funny thing happened last week, and it wasn’t me almost walking into the wrong apartment.

(That happened too, though.)

I ran out of eggs.  You’re probably like, “What’s the big deal?  You can go a day or two without eggs.”  My response to that would be, “Yes, a normal person could.  Emphasis on the word normal.”  Bakers and food bloggers are not normal.  Nope.  And we can’t go a day without eggs.  Oh no.  That would mean a day without frittatas.  A day with baking.  I mean, you might as well just stay in bed all day and consider it a lost cause.

Dramatics aside, (I know, crazzzyyyy thought for this blog) I did have to make something for softball and with no eggs, my options were pretty slim.  It also had to come together in about an hour.  Talk about a tall order.  I scanned the blogs for any no-bake recipes, but most of them required hours of setting.  I needed something quick.

Cue the peppermint bark entrance.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner.  I always make it for my holiday baskets, and they are an absolute cinch to make.  I guess they just seem too seasonal for me.  Just like you don’t break out velvet until winter, it felt a bit early for peppermint.

Well, I ended up saying, “Screw you, seasonal” and made it anyway.  And it was a complete who-cares-that-it’s-still-October-hit.  This is seriously one of the easiest desserts to make.  You just melt white chocolate, pour some crushed peppermint candy on top, and you have a fantastic dessert that goes a long way.  Barks are great because they can be a vehicle for a whole bunch of toppings.  Nuts and cranberries would be great on this instead of the peppermint, or even a different candy.  Let your imagination run wild!

Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:

2 lbs white chocolate, melted

1 cup crushed peppermint

Directions

Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and set aside.  In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate.  Do it in 30 second intervals, stirring at each interval to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.  Sprinkle the crushed peppermint on top.  Place in freezer to set for 40-60 minutes.  Break into pieces and serve.