Coconut-Caramel Hot Chocolate

If you’re like me, once the fall season hits, you’re ready for sweaters, scarves, boots, and oh yeah…hot chocolate.

The problem with a lot of hot chocolate is that it’s not often commiserate with reducing your waist-line.

And while I’m certainly not suggesting in any way that this is a diet/low-calorie beverage, I didn’t feel quite as guilty drinking this warm mug of chocolate as I have others in the past.

Its rich and creamy texture comes from melted chocolate chips, caramel, and a little bit of peanut butter thrown in for good measure.

But that’s all balanced out by substituting coconut milk for the regular milk.  I’ve never been a milk drinker, but coconut milk is my new favorite thing to use on my cereal or in smoothies.

And this fall and winter…in hot chocolate.

 

Coconut-Caramel Hot Chocolate

makes 6 servings. For an adult version, add in a bit of coconut rum after remove cocoa from heat.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup hot caramel ice cream topping
  • whipped cream and toasted coconut, optional

Instructions

  1. Place milk, melted chocolate, peanut butter and caramel in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until warmed through, stirring occasionally. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream and coconut, if desired.

lightly adapted from Taste of Home Best Holiday Recipes

http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/coconut-caramel-hot-chocolate/

Also, I wanted to give mad props to Ashton and Dorothy for putting together Online BlogCon 2012 (and to Sweet BellaRoos for designing an awesome site)! This first-ever online blog conference was truly a one-of-a-kind experience, and while I was excited about it from the get-go, I never dreamed how much fun I would have or how much I would learn (and um, I’m not just saying this because I won the grand prize–a mini iPad, woot!).

For those of us who find it difficult to travel to live blog conferences due to finances, work, family, etc., Online BlogCon was the perfect solution.  I was able to come home from work, slide into my trusty fuzzy slippers, and pull up guest posts from awesome bloggers like Jessica from How Sweet It Is, Christi from Love From The Oven, Shelly from Cookies & Cups, Camille from Six Sisters’ Stuff, Nikki from Chef in Training, Lexie from voiceBoks, Jamielyn from I Heart Nap Time, Kristyn from Lil’ Luna, and Stephanie from Somewhat Simple.

I’ve been blogging for just over a year, and I still consider myself a “newbie”–especially when it comes to a lot of the technical stuff, like site design, photography, and working with brands/sponsors.

Each post offered during the three-day conference offered all sorts of valuable information–for the beginning blogger to the experienced blogger alike.  Even better?  The Facebook group!

After each post went live, the conference attendees gathered on the Facebook page to discuss the information, ask questions, and provide feedback.  No kidding, each time I checked my Facebook feed, I had 20 new posts–these gals were so amazing!  Not only was Online BlogCon a great learning experience, it allowed me the opportunity to “meet” other fabu bloggers from all over the world.

So thanks, Dorothy and Ashton–and I’m ready for next year’s conference!

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Homemade Gumdrops

So.  Did you guys know you could make your own gumdrops?

Well, you totally can.

Maybe this isn’t news to you, but it sure was to me.

Gumdrops are one of my all-time favorite holiday candies.  When I found out that I could make them myself–and that they are super easy to do–I just might have done a little happy dance.

Doodle did, too, and has been asking me for “those gumdrops” nonstop over the last few days.

What can I say, he takes after his mama.

These fun little holiday candies take less than 10 minutes to mix up, though do require some chilling time before cutting.  You could definitely jazz them up even more by using small cookie cutters to cut them out into fun holiday shapes.

Since I had a very impatient 5-year old “assisting” me with these, I simply used a pizza cutter to slice my gumdrops into squares/rectangles/rhombii.  Maybe not quite so pretty, but it got the job done.  :-)  And Doodle had a lot of fun rolling these in sugar.  We just won’t talk about how much sugar was on the kitchen floor when we finished.

Homemade Gumdrops

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 1/3 cups applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2 small (3-ounce boxes) Jello, any flavor
  • 2 envelopes unsweetened gelatin

Instructions

  1. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Allow ingredients to stand for 1 minute, then bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly an allow mixture to boil for 1 minute.
  3. Immediately pour mixture into your prepared pan and refrigerate until firm, 2 to 3 hours.
  4. To shape your candies, loosen the sides of the mixture from the pan with a spatula, and turn out onto a cutting board. Cut out gumdrops with a cookie cutter, pizza cutter or knife. If the candy sticks to your knife, trying running it under hot water first.
  5. Roll candies in extra sugar and place on wax paper until slightly dry. Store in an airtight container.

recipe from Taste of Home

http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/homemade-gumdrops/

If you’re interested in participating in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, stop by Brenda’s blog to sign up!

And if you missed them, here’s what I made over the last few weeks:

{Week One}: Apple Pie Bread
{Week Two}: Double Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
{Week Three}: Melting Snowmen {Chocolate Mint} Cookies
{Week Four}: Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

 

Have a great Thursday, and be sure to check out the other yummy treats below!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!



Loaded Baked Potato Soup

The first month I was married, the Tall Boy casually mentioned that “he loved potato soup” and “potato soup sure sounded good.”  So I did what any new bride would do…I made potato soup.

Well, not this potato soup, because back then, I didn’t really know much of anything about cooking, which was obvious by the “meals” that came out of my kitchen.  Fortunately, the Tall Boy didn’t marry me for my cooking skillz.

My first sad attempt at potato soup yielded a milky, bland, boring soup…though the Tall Boy ate it with no complaint (he’s a keeper).  But ever since, I’ve been trying to perfect a great version to redeem myself.

And I think I finally did it.

While this soup isn’t super pretty to look at, it tasted phenomenal.  This is a thick, rich, and hearty, stick to your ribs soup that is perfect for a chilly fall evening.  And, if you use reduced-fat milk, cheese, and sour cream, you can cut out a few calories.  I substituted the lower fat versions in mine, and the Tall Boy had no idea.  ;-)

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 large potatoes, washed and cubed
  • 2 15-ounce cans chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • optional garnish: additional cheddar cheese, green onion, bacon

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven and saute onion for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add potatoes, broth and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Remove 2 cups of potatoes and set aside. Mash the remaining potatoes with a potato masher right in the pot.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Bring to a boil and allow mixture to simmer until thickened. Stir mixture into your stockpot withe the mashed potatoes.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir reserved cubed potatoes back into the pot.
  4. Stir in parsley, cheese, and sour cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/loaded-baked-potato-soup/

Happy Tuesday, and thanks for stopping by!

Pumpkin Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup

One of our yearly family traditions is spending a Saturday each year at a pumpkin patch close to our house.  In my mind, I envision starting off the day with a hearty fall breakfast…then bundling up in jeans, cute sweaters and scarves, and bringing home pumpkins to carve with mulled apple cider waiting for us in the crock pot.

Last weekend, it was 80 degrees and I about keeled over from heat stroke while watching Deacon ride the train around the patch.

Hi, Fall?  Yeah, you can show up here any time you want.  I’m ready.  Please?

Anyhoo, I wasn’t about to have my perfect fall weekend ruined just because the weather didn’t cooperate.

So we made waffles.

But not just any waffles–pumpkin waffles.  The best part?

The apple cider syrup.

It was sticky and gooey and absolutely full of fall flavor.  Of course, I am a sucker for apple cider this time of year, so this was right up my alley.

The cider syrup was the perfect pairing with the pumpkin waffles.  The waffles turned out light and fluffy, with enough spice to bring out the pumpkin flavor, but not so intense to overwhelm the syrup.

As much as I love pumpkin, I have to tell you–the syrup was the absolute star.  Next time you make waffles or pancakes, do yourself and favor and try this syrup.  It comes together in less than 10 minutes, and is absolutely phenomenal.

Pumpkin Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup

makes 6 servings

Ingredients

    For the waffles:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • For the syrup:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons butter (optional, but oh so good)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your waffle iron.
  2. Combine the flour and the ingredients through the brown sugar in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the pumpkin, milk and egg yolks. Whip the egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form.
  3. Stir the flour mixture and the melted butter into the pumpkin mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the egg whites, about one-third at a time, stirring until incorporated. Cook waffles according to manufacturer's instructions.
  4. For the syrup:
  5. Stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Add the apple cider. Cook over medium heat until the mixture starts to boil; boil until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons butter, if desired.

adapted from All Recipes

http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/pumpkin-waffles-with-apple-cider-syrup/

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Friday Wrap-Up

Happy Friday!

I know, I don’t usually do weekly wrap-ups, but in the midst of my crazy week, I totally forgot to tell you all that I guest-posted over at Something Swanky for Pink Week.  Ashton’s had an entire week of pink goodies over there to spread the word and raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  So make sure you stop by, say hello, and check out all of the fabu pink desserts, including my Angel Food Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream.

I also braved my candy making fears and made homemade caramels.  And then promptly gained five pounds by eating it all.

I found a way to keep the 7-layer dip all to myself with these individual-sized cups. Plus, it has ranch-flavored sour cream!

I decided I should be nice to my family and learn how to make dessert, red-velvet style:

And while it isn’t really a “recipe” per se, we toasted our own pumpkin seeds this week. Out of all of the stuff I made, this is what Doodle thought made me an “awesome” cook:

If you’re planning to carve pumpkin this year, try this recipe with your reserved seeds.   They really were fabulous!

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Friday Wrap-Up

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • pinch cayenne
  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds, washed and dried
  • cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray the pumpkin seeds with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden.
  2. Meanwhile, stir together 2 tablespoons sugar, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil over medium heat, and stir in seeds along with 2 tablespoons sugar. Cook and stir seeds until the sugar forms a coating, about 3 minutes. Stir caramelized seeds into sugar and spice mixture, and toss to coat.
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/spiced-pumpkin-seeds-and-friday-wrap-up/

Also, today is your last day to register for Online BlogCon!  If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time–don’t miss out!  Plus, by registering, you have the opportunity to win one of five sets of the e-books from the wildly popular Six Sisters Stuff:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

I might really be outing myself here by saying this, but I’m really not a red velvet fan.

In the world of food blogging, that’s probably a pretty big faux pas, but I’m just trying to keep it real.

Also, I married into a family that doesn’t like dessert (is that even a real thing??).  However, the one dessert my father-in-law will actually eat is red velvet, so I thought it might be good to have a decent recipe or two in my repertoire.

But I just can’t get excited about plain ol’ red velvet cake.  In the past, it’s left me totally underwhelmed…I’ve never made my own, but every one I’ve ever tasted has been dry and crumbly and boring.

And if I’m going to spend calories on a dessert, it’s not going to be boring.

Well, these red velvet cheesecake swirled brownies are anything but boring.

They are dense and chewy–almost fudge like in consistency.

Plus, they have a cheesecake layer.

Bonus!

Then I decided to jazz a few up by using a cookie cutter to make them into Christmas shapes.  Totally unneccessary, but also kind of fun.

Not boring at all, right?

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Ingredients

    For the brownie layer:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, (8 tablespoons) melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • For the cheesecake layer:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine melted butter sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar, mixing after each addition. Whisk the eggs into the cocoa mix. Mix in the flour until lightly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, saving 1/3 to 1/4 cup of the batter for the cream cheese layer.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Spread the cream cheese on top of the brownie batter in the pan. Put the remaining cocoa batter over the cream cheese layer. Using the tip of a knife, swirl through the cream cheese mixture to create a swirl pattern.
  4. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before cutting.

recipe from Freutcake

http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/red-velvet-cheesecake-swirl-brownies/

If you’re interested in participating in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, stop by Brenda’s blog to sign up!

And if you missed them, here’s what I made over the last few weeks:

{Week One}: Apple Pie Bread
{Week Two}: Double Chocolate Oatmeal Bars
{Week Three}: Melting Snowmen {Chocolate Mint} Cookies

Have a great Thursday, and be sure to check out the other yummy treats below!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!

 

7-Layer Mexi-Dip {Individual Sized}

If you’ve been around my blog for any length of time, you know we’re a little crazy about our Mexican food.

As in, I could eat it every day of the week and never get tired of it.  So yeah, Doodle is growing up eating a lot of spicy foods.

And we also eat a lot of ranch dressing around our house.

Strike that.  My husband and I eat a lot.  Doodle?  Um, not so much.  Seriously, I don’t know how an individual can sustain themselves on three bites of macaroni and cheese and a nibble of banana and still have so much energy.

Meal times can often be are always a struggle around my house.  Before I was a parent, I said I was never making any special meals for a kid…but the fact of the matter is, Doodle just doesn’t care about food (how can he be the child of a food blogger??), so I have to entice him to eat any way I can.

When I was given the opportunity to create a recipe to promote Hidden Valley Ranch and the Chef & Child Foundation’s Lunch Break for Kids fundraiser taking place this week, I knew right away what I wanted to make: something to dip and something with a Mexican-flair.  Kids will eat anything if they can dip it, right?

I also wanted something that would fit in little hands.  Then I remembered seeing this super-cute version of 7-layer dip over at The Girl Who Ate Everything, and I knew it was the perfect solution for my kid-friendly dip.

Of course, the great thing about 7-layer dip is that it’s really up to you as to what layers you use.  I typically like spicy salsa on mine, but since I wanted Doodle to eat some, I swapped that out for a ranch-flavored sour cream.  I replaced the guacamole with green chilies, since my family refuses to eat guac.  I used two kinds of shredded cheese, but went light on those and heavy on the olives and tomatoes.

These were a big hit, and clean-up was so easy!  Try these for a fun lunch snack or for game watching this fall football season!

 

7-Layer Mexi-Dip {Individual Sized}

Ingredients

  • 1 16-ounce can refried beans, fat-free
  • 1 package taco seasoning, or make your own
  • 1 8-ounce container fat-free sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 1-ounce package Ranch dip mix
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies, drained
  • 1 4-ounce can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 (9 ounce) plastic cups or tumblers

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together refried beans and taco seasoning. In another small bowl, combine sour cream and ranch dip mix.
  2. Evenly divide bean layer between your 8 cups, using approximately 2-3 tablespoons per cup. Follow with sour cream layer, green chilies, olives, cheese, olives and tomato.
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/7-layer-mexi-dip-individual-sized/

Have a great Tuesday!

 

The Hidden Valley® Original Ranch®, dressings & dips has provided me with free product to help with my review, but anything I receive from Hidden Valley does not affect my thoughts on its company or their product.

Vanilla Bean Salted Caramels {Secret Recipe Club}

In addition to being less than crafty, I’m also a little scared of anything that requires a candy thermometer.

Okay, so a lot scared. As in, when I see a recipe with “thermometer” in the instructions, I just keep on going.

However, when I was assigned Lynne’s blog Cafe LynnLu for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I knew I was going to have to put my fear of candy-making aside.  Along with the myriad of wonderful recipes and absolutely breathtaking photographs, I stumbled on her recipe for espresso caramels.  Attempting homemade caramels have been on my to-do list for quite a while, so I decided to break out my candy thermometer and give ‘em a try.

If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can find one at most retail/grocery stores for less than $10.  And let me tell you–after making these, it’s totally worth the few dollars you’ll spend.  Doodle and the Tall Boy–notorious NON-candy eaters–both went wild over this stuff.

I can’t say that I blame them.  I did, too.

I did alter Lynne’s recipe slightly.  I didn’t have any espresso powder on hand, so I swapped it out with vanilla bean powder instead.  And, since I had some sea salt in my pantry, I sprinkled that on the top.  Seriously, this was maybe the best candy I’ve ever eaten.

And I made it myself!  Score!

If you’re looking for make-ahead recipes for the holidays, put this one on your list.  These candies will keep for about 2-weeks in an airtight container, and are a perfect way to oooh and ahhh your friends and family.

Vanilla Bean Salted Caramels

A little extra: melt some of the caramels in a double-boiler and add enough maple stryp to make a pancake syrup mixture.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing foil-lined pan
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • sea salt, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Line an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Generously butter the sides and bottom of the foil. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter with vanilla in a small saucepan. When butter has melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla bean powder to combine.
  3. Combine heavy cream, both sugars, and corn syrup in a heavy, deep saucepan. Set over medium-low heat and stir constantly with a log-handled wooden spoon until sugars have dissolved and the mixture begins to boil.
  4. Increase heat to medium-high and place a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Continue to sitr until mixture reaches 240-242 degrees (soft ball stage), about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in reserved butter and vanilla mixture.. Stir until well-combined and pour into prepared pan. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
  5. Lift caramel out by the foil and invert on a slightly oiled surface. Peel off foil, and using an oiled knife, slice and cut the caramels. I made mine about 1/2-inch by 1/2 inch.
  6. Wrap caramels in parchment papers immediately as the candies will begin to spread.
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/vanilla-bean-salted-caramels-secret-recipe-club/

Have a great Monday, and thanks for stopping by!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!

To see other great recipes from Secret Recipe Club members, visit the links below!



Melting Snowmen {Chocolate Mint} Cookies

I am sooooooooo not a crafty person.

I wish I could say I was being a little facetious, but the sad truth is that I’m completely missing that “crafty” and/or “creative” gene.

Ugh, don’t even ask me about my about my seventh grade art project that required the painting of a self-portrait to hang outside the classroom door.  As if middle school wasn’t traumatic enough.

I have a friend from college {Hi Christy!} who is amazingly talented in all sorts of stamping/card making/scrapbooking/Cricut projects–but I think even she gave up on me when it became clear I couldn’t even use a Fiskars paper trimmer correctly.  I’m a disaster.

So, yeah. These little melting dudes are about the pinnacle of my creativity.

I took a basic cake mix cookie recipe, holiday-ified it with some mint flavoring, and used Candiquik to melt my snowmen.  Popped on a (half) Reese’s Peanut Butter cup for a hat, mini chocolate chips for eyes, and used an orange jimmy for the nose.

I’m sure you could tell that without me typing it all out, but I’m kind of pleased with myself.  Not too bad for the crafty-impaired.  :-)

I dressed some up with sprinkles, too.

They were almost too cute to eat.

But not quite.

I might have eaten one or two.

Then packed ‘em up to send with the Tall Boy to work.  I’m wondering if his coworkers think it’s odd that he shows up with snowmen cookies before Halloween?

I really had fun making these little guys.  They came together sooooo quickly, look festive, and taste yummy.  Doodle loved these–and while it’s rare that I make the same baked good multiple times, I have a feeling these might be making an appearance at his class party in December.  Can’t beat easy-peasy!

Melting Snowmen {Chocolate Mint} Cookies

makes 18 to 20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 box Devil's food cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1 package candiquik white candy coating, or other white melting chocolate
  • 10 miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, cut in half
  • mini chocolate chips
  • orange jimmies

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, butter, eggs, flour, and extract. Use a cookie scoop to drop evenly sized potions of dough onto a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on the sheet for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Once the cookies are cool, melt candiquik or white chocolate. Drizzle a spoonful over each cookie to form the melted snow. Add a peanut butter cup half for the hat, and decorate the faces with chocolate chips and sprinkles.
http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/melting-snowmen-chocolate-mint-cookies/

If you’re interested in participating in the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, stop by Brenda’s blog to sign up!

And if you missed them, here’s what I made over the last few weeks:

{Week One}: Apple Pie Bread
{Week Two}: Double Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Have a great Thursday, and be sure to check out the other yummy treats below!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!

 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

Technically, I think these bars are supposed to be a dessert.

But if we’re being honest, I think they taste like pumpkin bread and so I ate them for breakfast.

Also, lunch and dinner, but that’s pretty much a given.  Hello, these are made with pumpkin; and since pumpkin is a fruit, it’s pretty much mandatory that you eat one for all three meals.  :-)

 

I’m not ashamed to rationalize in just about any way I have to in order to eat as many pumpkin baked goods as I want.  Pumpkin is probably my very favorite thing about fall.

Every time I come home from the grocery store, I have another half-dozen cans of pumpkin.  And the Tall Boy just looks at me and says, “Didn’t you just buy pumpkin?”

The answer is yes. Yes, I did.

And I’m unapologetic about it, because I seem to use it in just about everything this time of year. Also, a few years ago, there was an actual pumpkin shortage and so I’ve been stockpiling ever since.

I’m not taking any chances.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • For the cream cheese layer:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add eggs, pumpkin, and oil; stir until combined. Spread batter into an ungreased 15x10 pan.
  3. Cream together cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in egg and milk. Drizzle over pumpkin layer, using a knife to gently marble the mixtures. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in wire rack for two hours.
  5. Store bars in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

barely adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Fall Baking, 2012

http://kitchenmeetsgirl.com/pumpkin-cream-cheese-swirl-bars/

If you like pumpkin as much as I do, be sure to check out my other pumpkin posts:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Pumpkin Latte Coffee Cake

Have a great Tuesday!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Trick or Treat Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesdays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Cast Party Wednesday, Whip it Up Wednesdays, Watcha’ Whipped Up Wednesdays, Eat, Pray {Read}, Love, Sweet Treats Thursday, Mrs. Fox’s Sweets, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, Itsy Bitsy Paper, Crumbs and Chaos, I’m Lovin’ It Fridays, Weekend Potluck, and Six Sister’s Stuff!