Entries Tagged as 'joanna'

2011 Cookie Party Recipes

December 7th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Here are the recipes from the the cookie party. See also, recipes from other years: 2010 recipes, 2009 recipes, 2008 recipes, 2007 recipes (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

1st Place
by Loden

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup yellow cake mix
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3-4 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons sprinkles

Truffle Coating
16 ounces (8 squares) almond bark (or white candy melts)
4 Tablespoons yellow cake mix

Beat together butter and sugar using an electric mixer until combined. Add cake mix, flour, salt, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add 3 Tablespoons of milk or more if needed to make a dough consistency. Mix in sprinkles by hand. Roll dough into one inch balls and place on a parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill balls in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up.

While dough balls are chilling, melt almond bark in the microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir between intervals. Once melted, quickly stir in cake mix until incorporated completely. Using a fork, dip truffles into almond bark and shake of excess bark by tapping the bottom of the fork on the side of your bowl. Place truffle back on the cookie sheet and top with sprinkles. Repeat with remaining balls until finished.

Chill cake batter truffles in the refrigerator until serving. Makes around 24-30 truffles.

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2nd Place
by Rachelle

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bacon, finely diced
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut (6 1/2 ounces)
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup salted roasted almonds, chopped
One 16-ounce jar dulce de leche
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, leaving up to 1 inch of overhang. Spray the paper with vegetable oil spray.

In a medium saucepan, cook the butter over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and browned, about 4 minutes. Scrape the butter into a large bowl and freeze just until solid, about 15 minutes.

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sugar, vanilla seeds and egg yolk into the butter at medium speed until blended. Add the flour and salt and beat until moistened crumbs form. Press the crumbs into the prepared baking pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until the crust is set and lightly browned.

Meanwhile, wipe out the bowl used to make the crust. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels and let cool. In the bowl, toss the coconut with the chocolate chips, almonds and bacon.

In another bowl, whisk the dulce de leche with the condensed milk; pour two-thirds of it in the crust. Lightly press the coconut-bacon mixture over the dulce de leche. Drizzle the remaining dulce de leche mixture on top.

Bake the bars for 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the bars cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Carefully remove the bars from the pan and peel off the paper. Cut into bars and serve.

The bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or refrigerated for up to 1 week.

From: Food & Wine.

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3rd Place
by Jessica

Apple Filling
8 c. apples, thinly sliced (choose Gala, Pink Lady, or Fiji for a sweet filling or Granny Smith for a tart filling. Note: Jess used Granny Smith)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter or butter-flavor shortening, cold
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1/4 – 1/3 c. milk
1 c. crushed cornflakes or crushed graham crackers (Note: Jess used graham crackers)
3 Tbsp. soft butter for dotting onto filling
1 egg white, beaten lightly
1 Tbsp. sugar

1 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 15×10-inch baking pan; set aside.

To prepare apple filling, peel, core, and thinly slice apples into a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add dry mixture to apples and toss well; set aside.

To prepare pastry, in a large bowl sift together flour and salt. Cut in butter or shortening until pea-size clumps form.

In a liquid measuring cup, beat the egg yolk; add enough milk to measure 2/3 cup and mix well. Add milk mixture all at once to flour mixture; stir with a fork until combined. On a floured surface, roll a little bit more than half of the dough into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Transfer rectangle to prepared pan. Sprinkle crust with crushed cornflakes. Spread the apple filling evenly over the cornflakes. Dot the apples with the 3 tablespoons of soft butter.

On a floured surface, roll out the remaining dough into a 16×12-inch rectangle. Dot water around the edges of the bottom crust. Place top crust over apples, press edges of crusts together, and trim excess crust. Brush top with egg white; sprinkle with sugar; cut six 2-inch-long slits in the top of the pastry.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the edges are golden brown, and the filling begins to bubble through the slits in the top crust.

To prepare glaze, in a small bowl combine powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Drizzle glaze over bars while still warm. Cool on wire rack.

Makes 24 bars. (Note from Jess’s mom: Freezes well.)

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4th Place
by Joanna

Gingerbread Cookies
1 Brie log
Cranberry Sauce

Slice Brie log into 1/4″ rounds. Place each slice on a gingerbread cookie and top with cranberry sauce. To make this really easy, use store bought gingerbread cookies and cranberry preserves. One Brie log will make about 20 pieces.

Gingerbread Cookies (recipe from Haute Apple Pie)
Makes 4-5 dozen

14 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. molasses
1 large egg
1 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 c. flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Beat until fluffy.

Beat in molasses and the egg until the mixture is combined. Mix in ginger, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Gradually beat in the flour, working in one cup at a time. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on a cookie sheet. With your fingers, flatten into a round disc. Bake for 8 minutes.

*You can also make this “crinkle style” by rolling the balls in sanding sugar and not flattening them. Top with a slice of crystalized ginger after baking.

Cranberry Sauce
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. water
1 cinnamon stick
1-inch pice of fresh ginger, grated
1/4 of an apple, peeled and grated
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. lemon zest

Combine cranberries, sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add cinnamon stick, ginger, apple and salt. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, or most of the water has evaporated and the mixture is sticky. Add the lemon zest in the last 2 minutes of cooking.

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by Jessica & Stephanie

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus 2 tablespoons for icing
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
Vegetable oil, cooking spray

Melt chocolate with 1 cup butter (2 sticks) in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Let cool slightly.

Put eggs, vanilla, and granulated sugar in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale, 4 to 5 minutes. Mix in chocolate mixture, salt, cinnamon, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, and the flour.

Heat a waffle iron until hot. Lightly coat grids with cooking spray. Spoon about 1 tablespoon batter onto center of each waffle-iron square to make 1 1/2-inch rounds. Close cover; cook until set, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, bottom sides up. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter, coating grids with cooking spray after each batch.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add confectioners’ sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa powder; stir until smooth. Stir in milk.

Gently dip 1 surface of each cookie in icing so that just the waffle lines (not gaps) are coated. Repeat with remaining cookies and icing. Transfer to wire racks; let stand until set, about 10 minutes. Dust iced surfaces of cookies with confectioners’ sugar.

Makes about 4 dozen

From: Martha Stewart.

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by Mom/Mary

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon brandy (substituted vanilla extract)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and brandy. Combine the flour and baking soda; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the white chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. For best results, take them out while they are still doughy. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Note: I melted the rest of the white chocolate chips and drizzled them on the top in patterns.

From: AllRecipes.

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by Rachelle

Semisoft chocolate cookies with a pecan hidden underneath, a marshmallow on top, and then a thick chocolate icing.

1 3/4 c. sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process), strained or sifted
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
28 large pecan halves (see notes)
14 large marshmallows (see notes)

Adjust two racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment or foil. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa, and set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the vanilla and the sugar and beat to mix well. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until smooth. On low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only until thoroughly mixed.

Place a large piece of wax paper on the work surface. Use a heaping teaspoon full of dough for each cookie – place them on the wax paper making about 28 mounds.

Wet your hands under cold running water and shake off excess water – your hands should be damp but not too wet. Pick up a mound of dough and roll it between your hands into a round ball. Press a pecan half into the ball of dough, placing the curved side (top) of the nut into the dough. Do not enclose it completely.

Place the cookie on the sheet so that the flat side of the pecan is on the bottom of the cookie. Continue to wet your hands as necessary while you shape the remaining cookies, placing them 2 inches apart on the sheets.

Bake 16 to 18 minutes, reversing sheets top to bottom and front to back once to ensure even baking. Bake until cookies are barely done – not quite firm to the touch. Do not over bake.

While cookies are baking, cut the marshmallows in half crosswise. (Easier done with scissors.)

Remove the cookie sheets from the oven. Quickly place a marshmallow half, cut side down, on each cookie. Return to the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Watch the clock! If hte marshmallows bake any longer, they will melt and run off the sides of the cookies – they should not melt and they should stay on top. These should not actually melt at all – only soften very slightly – and not get soft enough to change shape.

Let the cookies stand for a few seconds until they are firm enough to be moved and then, with a wide metal spatula, transfer to racks to cool.

Prepare the following icing.

Chocolate Icing
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
2 2/3 oz. (5 1/3 Tbsp.) unsalted butter
About 3 Tbsp. boiling water

Place the cocoa, salt, and sugar in the small bowl of an electric mixer. Melt the butter and pout the hot butter and 3 tablespoons of boiling water into the bowl. Beat until completely smooth. The icing should be a thick, semifluid mixture. It should not be so thing that it will run off the cookies. It might be necessary to add a little more hot water, but add it very gradually – only a few drops at a time. (If the sugar has not been strained or sifted before measuring, you might need as much as 2 or 3 additional teaspoons of water.) If you add too much water and the icing becomes too thin, thicken it with additional sugar. If the icing thickens too much while you are icing the cookies, thin it carefully with a few drops of water. Transfer the icing to a small bowl for ease in handling.

Lift a cookie and hold it while you partially frost it with a generous teaspoonful of the icing. Allow some of the marshmallow to show through – preferably one side of the marshmallow – the contrast of black and white is what you want. Also, don’t try to cover the entire top of the cookie itself or you will not have enough for all the cookies. Replace cookie on rack. Ice all the cookies and then let them stand for a few hours to set.

Notes: If you do not have large pecan halves you may use several small pieces – just put them on the bottom of the cookies any which way. If you use your own homemade marshmallows, they will be smaller than the regular-size commercial ones. Don’t cut them in half; use them whole.

From: Maida Heatter’s Cookies

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by Kristin

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour

Additional Ingredients
1 jar raspberry jam (I’ve also used blackberry)

Crumb Topping
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
(mix together with a spoon to create a “drizzle”)

To make crust: Mix 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 cups flour in food processor or by hand. Press into jellyroll pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and, while still warm, spread with jam. (Try not to spread the jelly too close to the edge of the jelly roll pan. I usually leave one half inch or so to the edge. Otherwise it starts to burn if it touches the sides and is impossible to cut into bars after you bake it for the rest of the time.)

To make topping: Mix sugars, flour, salt and butter. Sprinkle over top of jam. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. (You might check it at around 30 minutes or so. It browns very quickly in the last few minutes. The jam and crust around the edges can brown quickly because of the sugar.)

When cool, drizzle with sugar/milk/vanilla “drizzle”. Then cut into bars.

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by Sara

The recipe is literally a box of Ritz Crackers (I use reduced fat to make me feel less guilty), Peanut Butter (I used Jif for these because it is sweet and what I grew up on), and meltable chocolate – I usually get the semi-sweet Bakers chocolate sqaures.

Waxed paper makes a good work surface for easy clean up on plates, trays, or your counter top.

Butter up your cookies, then melt your chocolate.

I used about 6 squares of chocolate for 48 cookies, but you can make more or less easily! I usually melt 3 squares at a time, and melt more after I’ve used that batch so it doesn’t get hard while I’m working.

Spoon the chocolate on a cookie & spread it around to even it out and cover the peanut butter.

They are good right away, but I prefer them the next day when the chocolate has more time to set. I put the ones for your party in the fridge for a few minutes to firm them up before packing them.

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by Kate

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 c. oil
1 c. dark brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
3 c. pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs

Cream Cheese Filling
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
1 8-oz. package cream cheese (you could use light)
6 c. powdered sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup of 1/2-1 tsp. maple extract
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

Lightly spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level with a knife. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the brown sugar, white sugar, and oil. Add the pumpkin puree and mix well. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix well. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until combined.

Using a 1 tablespoon scoop or a 1/2 tablespoon measure, drop the batter onto a baking sheet (lined, if possible, but not necessary), leaving about 1″ between the batter. Try to keep the batter as circular as possible. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until the tops are done and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the pan and then transfer to a cooling rack.

To prepare the filling, beat the butter on high for 1-2 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, maple, and vanilla and beat until combined. Transfer to a large Ziploc bag and cut 1/2″-1″ off the corner.

Flip the cakes over on a flat surface. Squeeze about 2-3 tablespoons of filling per large whoopie pie (less if you used a 1/2 tablespoon measure) onto every other cake. Top each pie with the remaining cakes. Serve immediately if possible; otherwise, these can be refrigerated in an airtight container. Makes about 30 large whoopie pies.

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by Jen

1 3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp Vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup flour
2 cups Hershey syrup
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsp Creme de Menthe
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream together 1/2 cup butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, flour, hershey syrup, and salt. Bake at 350 in greased 9 x 13 pan for 30 min or until done *see shortcut. Let cool.

Mix together powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter, and Creme de Menthe. Spread over cake and chill at least 1 hour.

Melt 6 tbsp butter and chocolate chips. Spread over other filling. Refrigerate and cut into small squares while cold. (May want to let sit at room temp for a few minutes before cutting to keep chocolate from cracking.)

*shortcut to brownie
Use one of the boxed brownie mixes that has chocolate syrup in the package to make brownies like Duncan Hines Double Fudge. Then continue with recipe after “Let cool”

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by Marlena

Yield: 30-35 balls
Time prepping: 30 minutes plus chill overnight

* 1 1/4 cups (125 grams) of cookies (any vanilla or chocolate flavored cookie works as long as it doesn’t have a filling, I usually use chocolate Graham Bears or vanilla butter cookies)

* 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) of nuts (I used almonds but hazelnuts or walnuts are also good). If you are allergic to nuts, then replace this ingredient by adding extra 1 1/2 cups to your cookies.

* 2 tablespoons (15 grams) of cocoa powder

* 2 tablespoons of honey (light corn syrup or liquid glucose syrup also work)
(Optional if you want the balls to be sweeter) 1/2 cup (60 grams) of powdered sugar

* 1/4 – 1/cup (depending on your taste ;-)) alcohol of choice (rum, coconut rum, bourbon, Bailey’s, Kahlua, just no flavored vodka ;-))

* Coating of your choice (cocoa powder, chopped nuts, coconut flakes, etc.)

Finely crush your cookies in a food processor or put them in a plastic ziplock bag and crush with a bottle, rolling pin or meat tenderizer. Once your are done, put the crumbs in a larger mixing bowl.

To toast the nuts, make sure to heat up a dry pan and then just toss the nuts into it and keep them moving in the pan for few minutes until they are nicely toasted. They can burn quickly so keep an eye on them. Once you are done toasting, let the nuts cool down and just like the cookies, put them in a food processor or finely chopped them and then add them to the crushed cookies. You can skip the toasting portion but it definitely brings out the flavor.

To the cookie and nut mix, add the cocoa, powdered sugar (if using) and stir all ingredients until combined.

Add honey or corn syrup and then the alcohol. Mix all the ingredients well until you have a thick, sticky batter. If the batter is too thick to work with, add more alcohol.

Once the batter is ready, form small balls with your hands and then roll each ball in cocoa powder, coconut flakes, or finely chopped nuts to coat. Place the finished balls on a cookie sheet or carefully one on top of the other in a bowl or container and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Let them chill in the fridge overnight and then keep them there until they are ready to be served.

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by Jill

1 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg, seperated
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tstp. salt
1 – 1 1/2 c. chopped nuts (walnuts etc. fine may work better than chopped)
strawberry & apricot preserves

In large bowl, beat butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Blend in egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. Add flour. Mix well.

Beat egg whites until frothy.

Shape level measuring tablespoons of dough into balls. Dip balls into egg whites and then roll in chopped nuts. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and flatten slightly. Make an indentation in the middle of each cookie and fill with preserves.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned.

Makes 3 dozen.

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by Abby

4 ounces saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

Line cookie sheet with saltine crackers in single layer.

In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over saltines and spread t cover crackers completely.

Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts. Cool completely and break into pieces.

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by Ashley

1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds
1/3 c. raspberry jam

1/2 c. powered sugar
4-5 tsp. half and half
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In large mixing bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add flour and poppy seeds. Beat at low speed until soft dough forms.

Divide dough in half. On lightly floured board, roll half of dough to 1/8 to 1/4-inch thickness. Using 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut circles into the dough. Place circles 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Spoon about 1/4 teaspoon raspberry jam onto center of each circle. Fold top half of circle over bottom half. Press edges with fork dipped in flour to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and jam.

Bake for 7-9 minutes, or until edges are light golden brown. Cool completely.

In small mixing bowl, combine glaze ingredients. Stir until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cookies. Let dry completely before storing.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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by Amy

1/2 c. butter (room temp)
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. flour
1 bag (unwrapped) Hershey’s kisses (and/or caramel kisses)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In separate bowl mix flour, baking soda & salt together.

In large bowl beat butter, peanut butter and sugars together until creamy. Beat in egg & vanilla.

Add dry ingredients to creamy mixture, until well blended.

Shape teaspoons full of dough into balls and roll in sugar (use about 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl).

Bake 10-12 minutes or til golden brown.

Press kiss into center immediately, cool on wire rack. Cool completely before storing (about 1-2 hours).

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by Suzanne

1/2 lb. almond paste, crumbled
2 sticks margarine
3 eggs
2 c. sugar
2 c. flour

Cream sugar, eggs, margarine and almond paste until fluffy. Stir in flour.

Press into a 9×13″ ungreased pan.

Bake at 300 degrees for 40-45 minutes until the bars are a very light golden brown.

Cool and cut into squares.

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by Suzanne

2 c. granulated sugar
2 c. water
2 c. fresh cranberries
3/4 c. superfine sugar (regular sugar works too, but less pretty)

Combine sugar and water in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer. Do not boil or the cranberries will pop!

Stir in cranberries, pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 8 or more hours.

Drain cranberries. You may keep the cranberry simple syrup if you want to use it for something else.

Roll cranberries in superfine sugar.

Dry by spreading on a baking sheet at least an hour.

Do not store in an airtight container or they will get soggy.

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5th Annual Cookie and Tree Trimming Party

December 6th, 2011 · 14 Comments

Amy, Raiden, Loden, Joanna, Kate, Abby, Jill, Kristin, Rachelle, Marlena, Stephanie, Jessica, Jen, Sara, Mom, Suzy

On Saturday I hosted my annual cookie and tree trimming party. As was the case for several of the past years, the Roundarch holiday party was the night before. Luckily, this time I really watched myself at that party to make sure I didn’t drink too much and to make sure I got some sleep. There was one disaster year, for sure, when I didn’t do these things and then hosted 20+ people the next day. Not easy!

Dallas with friends he has seen: Jen & Kristin

Dallas was not so smart and this year he didn’t make it out of the house before everyone arrived. Which, actually, was good because he got to visit with some of the ladies that he hadn’t seen for a while. Before he left, we had him take the photo of everyone. The only ones missing are Jessica, Ashley and Lisa.

Christmas decorations

Ashley & Loden

Lisa, Rachelle, Kate, Sara

This year there were several cookie party newbs, so that was fun. The people who’d been to my party several years in a row helped them along, though. Put out your cookies, label them, EAT! Also, this year only one baby: Raiden. He’s so cute!


To counterbalance all of the sweets, I also served dill dip with vegetables, beer dip with pretzels, olives and pickles. I’ll share the beer dip recipe later. If you’re interested in the dill dip, it’s here. As always, we also had hot apple cider (spiked or not) which Stephanie made and kept stocked. Don’t you love it when they’re old enough to assign tasks? I’m still using Julene’s Chicagoist recipe for the cider!


Do we look taller? Older?

These were all the tasty treats we sampled:

Creme de Menthe Brownies (Jen)
Carousel Cookies with Strawberry or Apricot Preserve (Jill)
Chocolate Waffles (Stephanie & Jessica)
Chocolate “Crackers” (Abby)
Gingerbread with Brie & Cranberry (Joanna)
Fudge Mallows (Rachelle)
Apple Pie Bars (Jessica)
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (Kate)
Raspberry Jam Bars (Kristin)
Cake Batter Truffles (Loden)
Dulce de Leche, Bacon, Coconut & Chocolate Magic Bars (Rachelle)
Poppy Raspberry Kolaches (Ashley)
Ritzy Rounds (Sara)
Drunken Balls with cocoa & Bailey’s or coconut & rum (Marlena)
Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies with chocolate kisses or chocolate caramel kisses (Amy)
White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies (Mom)
Almond Bars (Suzy)
Sugared Cranberries (Suzy)

Everything was so delicious! And a new thing this year: Several cookies had savory elements – bacon? brie? ritz crackers? Yes, please. These are right up my ally.

Cookie Party!

Sometimes the cookie parties can get crazy if there are a lot of people, but most times I get a chance to relax and realize the time. For some reason this time the party just flew by! Before I knew it, someone told me they had to leave in 15 minutes, so I better get the show on the road… meaning, it had been a few hours and we needed to do the vote. So, I handed out the voting cards.. new and improved this year. Instead of ripped up pieces of construction paper, I actually designed cards, printed, and cut them out ahead of time (see here).

Loden, Cookie Victor

And how did it all come out? Unlike some years, this year every cookie was written down at least once, which was pretty amazing and showed how people’s tastes can vary so much. Everyone likes something different and everyone brings something different, which is so great. But there were four clear winners. In fourth place were Joanna’s Gingerbread with Brie & Cranberry Cookies. Placing third was Jess’s Apple Pie Bars. The runner up was my Dulce de Leche, Bacon, Coconut & Chocolate Magic Bars. This was the highest I ever placed! Actually, I think it was the first time I ever placed. Nice! And the winner is……… Loden’s Cake Batter Truffles! Congratulations, Loden. Breaking from tradition (the last 3 years I gave away Martha Stewart’s Cookie book), Loden won Rose’s Christmas Cookies. This book got great reviews online and when I bought a copy for myself I really liked it. Hope you like it, Loden!


Oh, also, Amanda couldn’t make it to the party this year (bummer!!), but she was the big winner last year. She won the Martha book and Jess and Steph made their chocolate waffles from that book for this year. Maybe a new tradition? Person who wins has to bring something from the book they win the following year?

Taking cookies to go! Sara, Marlena, Amy

I’m declaring the party a success again this year! I’ll post the recipes for the cookies soon!

Me & Mom

Oh, and P.S. one final note: My mom didn’t think she’d be able to make it to the cookie party for the first time ever. The weather forecast was terrible for Saturday and her car was getting repaired (she hit a deer). But on Friday, she got her car back and the weather was perfect, so she drove to my brother’s house that day and then drove down to Chicago on Saturday. The weather down here was not so bad. Some rain, that’s about it. I’m so glad that she was able to make it, since she’s such a big help at the parties! Handing out parking permits and getting everyone situated, not to mention leading the cleaning crew (of me and my nieces). She deserves a big shout out for making the the party a success every year!


Text much, Steph?

And I was so glad that even though Amanda had to work (bummer!!), my mom was still able to bring my nieces, Jessica and Stephanie, because it wouldn’t be the same without them! And who would decorate my Christmas tree if Jess wasn’t there?

Mom & Steph, and the decorated Christmas tree

Totally worth the sugar crash at the end of the day. Meanwhile, Jess was filling my camera with photos like this:


That kid has a lot of energy.

4th Annual Cookie and Tree Trimming Party
3rd Annual Cookie and Tree Trimming Party
2nd Annual Cookie and Tree Trimming Party
1st Annual Cookie and Tree Trimming Party

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Homemade Lemon Hand Scrub

February 15th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Over the holiday season Joanna gave me this lemon hand scrub that she made. What a great gift! I love to use it after I have been chopping garlic or onions or other things that tend to stain your hands with their pungent scent.

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