December 21, 2011

M & M Cookies - Christmas Style

M & M cookies are Sweetie's favorite cookie, so of course, I just had to make these for him.  =)  I made them this fall with the fall colored M & M's but didn't have a chance to take a picture of them.  So, here we are with Christmas colored M & M's.  I just love how you can make the same cookie recipe but they look different with different colored M & M's.  For me, it's the little things in life.  =)  Luckily, the cookies taste delicious every time regardless of the M & M color.

I love to make the cookie dough, portion the cookies out on a cookie sheet, freeze, and store in a ziploc bag (in the freezer).  It is a super convenient way to have warm cookies available at anytime in about 15 minutes flat!

I'm pretty sure this will be my last post of 2011.  ( I didn't get as many posts in as I had hoped for.)  I think my new year's resolution should be to make my blog bigger and better in 2012!  It sounds doable and achievable!

Merry Christmas!

M & M Cookies

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup M & M's

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, sugar, eggs, shortening, and vanilla thoroughly.  Add flour, baking soda, and salt to creamed mixture.  Blend well.  Add 3/4 cup M & M candies.

Portion out some dough using a cookie scoop.  Using your hands, roll into a small ball and place on a cookie sheet.  Slightly push a few candies on top of each dough ball with remaining candies.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes.  (13-15 minutes if taken straight from the freezer).

Yield - 3 Dozen

Hat Tip - Beantown Baker

December 17, 2011

Roasted Olives

Do you like olives?  I don't. Well I thought I didn't until I tried these roasted olives at Williams Sonoma.  A friend and I went to a class/dinner at Williams Sonoma, we had the olives as an appetizer.  My friend and I both thought we didn't like olives, until I was brave and ate one.  I told her they don't taste like olives, you should try one.  She said you are right.  They are delicious!  Roasting the olives enhances the brininess of the olives, then with the addition of rosemary, orange zest, and pepper flakes it is a dangerously, delicious combination. 

Roasted Olives

3 cups assorted black and green olives
2 rosemary sprigs, cut in half
Zest of 1 orange, cut into long, thin strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes
Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl, combine olives, rosemary, orange zest, olive oil, chili flakes and salt, toss to coat.  Transfer the olive mixture to a small tapas pan and bake until the olives are warmed through, about 10 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4

Hat Tip - Williams-Sonoma

December 9, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Sweeties

This recipe was emailed to me one day from  The name caught my eye, so I clicked on the link.  They were very cute and sweet.  I decided to make them for our recent holiday party.  They were a hit!  I didn't run out because the recipe is supposed to make five dozen sweeties, but I got four dozen, which is a lot for about 15 people to eat with all the other food we had.  Anyway, I shared some with my co-workers and friends.  They loved them!!  I've been asked just about everyday "when can I get the recipe for those peanut butter balls?"  I had to put a rush on this post, so everyone could have the recipe.  =)

The sweeties are very similar to a buckeye with the addition of a pretzel.  They were super easy to make and there wasn't any cooking involved.  The recipe has to be done in stages, so it takes a bit of time for them to chill, but it is worth the wait.  It's also a very kid friendly recipe.  I enlisted the help of my nephew when it was time to dip them in chocolate.  He was a great helper! 

Chocolate Peanut Sweeties

1 cup peanut butter*
1/2 cup butter (no substitutes), softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
5 dozen miniature pretzel twists
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl, beat peanut butter and butter until smooth.  Beat in confectioners' sugar until combined.

Shape into 1-inch balls; press one on each pretzel.  Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets.  Refrigerate until peanut butter mixture is firm, about 1 hour.

In a microwave-safe bowl or heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips and oil.

Dip the peanut butter ball into the chocolate.  Return to baking sheet, pretzel side down.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Store in the refrigerator. 

*Reduced-fat or generic-brand peanut butter is not recommended for use in this recipe.

Yield - 5 dozen

Hat Tip -

December 4, 2011

Coconut-Cardamom Macaroons

Holiday baking is on!

We had a holiday party over the weekend and I made quiet a few things for the party.  Coconut-Cardamom Macaroons is the first of several recipes that I will be sharing.  I wish I could share all the the things I made for the party but a few of them disappeared before the end of the night, which is a good thing until you need a picture to go with a recipe for a blog.  =)  These macaroons disappeared also but I was able to snap a picture of them before the party.  I chose to make these for two reasons.  One, they could be made ahead (I love make ahead stuff), and two, they were very easy to make.  Just a few ingredients into a bowl and then bake.  Awesome!

Like I said, they were a huge hit!  I love when my baked goods are a hit.  =)  I was able to eat one of the macaroons right after I baked them.  They were tasty!

Coconut-Cardamom Macaroons

2 large egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups flaked sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place egg whites in a medium bowl; lightly beat with a whisk.  Add sugar, vanilla, salt, and cardamom; stir well with a whisk until foamy.  Add coconut; toss well to combine.  Loosely pack coconut mixture into a 1-tablespoon measuring spoon.  Turn out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Spoon remaining coconut mixture by tablespoonfuls onto prepared pan to form 20 mounds.  Bake at 325 degrees for 23 minutes or until golden all over.  Cool on pan 3 minutes; cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield - 20 macaroons

The macaroons can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Hat Tip - Cooking Light December 2011, page 108