December 17, 2014

Christmas Gooey Butter Cookies

There is only one week left until Christmas and if you are still planning to deliver goodie plates to your neighbors and friends, these Christmas Gooey Butter Cookies would make a great addition to that goodie plate.  Plus, one batch makes a lot of cookies, so there is plenty to go around.   

They are so soft and chewy and the powdered sugar coating makes them extra special.  I chose to add almond and orange extracts, because those flavors remind me of Christmas.  You get just a hint of each flavor.  Since we are using a white cake mix, you can really add any flavor of extract (lemon, coconut, vanilla, etc . . . ) or you don't have to add any flavor of extract and you can just enjoy the flavor of the cake mix.

I opted for two different types of sprinkles.  I added jimmies to the batter, because the colors don't seem to blend into the batter as much and then I added the small round crunchy sprinkles to the cookie dough balls just before baking.  I love the crunch from the small round sprinkles.  Gooey Butter Cookies are definitely a cookie recipe you will want to have on hand. 

Click HERE to get the cookie recipe on The Recipe Critic's Site.


December 14, 2014

Shortcut Orange Butterflake Rolls

It actually snowed today for a few minutes.  Nothing stuck to the ground, but if it could just snow at least a few more times, maybe it will feel more like Christmas.  The weather in Utah has been way out of the norm for this time of year.  I haven't even had to wear a winter coat yet. 

To help me get in the Christmas spirit, I needed some orange rolls.  Do you make orange rolls for your family on Christmas morning?  Here is a super easy shortcut recipe for you. 
You can thaw the frozen dough the night before in the refrigerator, so when you wake up,  you will have just  a little prep work and in no time, you will have warm, mouthwatering, rolls with flaky layers that pull apart and have just enough orange flavor.   Topped off with a simple orange icing, these are irresistible.  Some end up looking more like butteflake rolls than others, but it doesn't matter, they are all delicious.   
These are even good on day two.  Just pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds or so and they soften right back up.

There is something about pulling apart the flaky layers of a warm roll that I can NEVER resist.  What I love about this shortcut recipe is you can really make however many you want.  I usually thaw 12 regular dinner rolls, so when I combine two per roll, I only end up with 6 finished rolls. 
 You might also like:
Almond Poppy Seed Bread with Orange Glaze 
Shortcut Orange Butterflake Rolls
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

24 Rhodes frozen dinner rolls, thawed, but still cold
   or 12 Texas-Size Rhodes rolls
2 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted
6 Tbl. sugar
zest of 1 orange

Orange Icing:
2 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted
juice of 1/2 - 1 orange
zest of 1 orange, opt.
1 c. powdered sugar

Place 24 frozen rolls in a 9x13-inch baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and thaw in the refrigerator overnight.  In the morning, combine two rolls and roll into a ball.  Using clean kitchen scissors, cut four to five deep cuts almost to the bottom of the roll.  Place in a greased muffin tin.  Repeat with remaining rolls.  

Combine melted butter, sugar and zest of one orange and brush over rolls, getting into all of the slits.  Spray plastic wrap with cooking spray and cover rolls.  Allow to rise until doubled. 

When rolls have risen, remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Remove rolls from muffin tin right when they are finished baking, because the sugar starts to harden as it cools and if you wait it's really hard to get them out of the cups in one piece.  Drizzle orange icing evenly over warm rolls.  Serve.

For the Orange Icing:  Combine melted butter, orange zest and one cup of powdered sugar.  Stir together, adding orange juice as needed, to reach desired creamy icing consistency.   

December 10, 2014

Pistachio Nanaimo Bars

OMG . . . These bars are so stinkin good and I can't even stop eating them. The texture, the flavor . . . . everything, I mean really.  They are delicious at room temperature AND served cold, right out of the fridge.  If you eat them cold, you will first get that "snap" from the chocolate topping, followed by the creamy thick pistachio filling, then the chewy (and a little crumbly) base.  Don't judge the individual layers, wait until you try them all together.  All the layers together are perfection. 

This is the kind of recipe that you should give away to your neighbors ASAP, because you WILL want to eat the entire pan by yourself.   

My little niece wanted to put Christmas sprinkles over the top, which would have been way cute, except the chocolate was already hardened when she thought of it.  So, if you want to pretty them up a bit, you can top with sprinkles or chopped pistachios.

Pistachios are pretty pricey and you could always substitute pecans, walnuts or maybe even almonds in the crust.  

You might also like:
Pistachio Nanaimo Bars
From: Jenn@eatcakefordinner 
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

1 egg, lightly beaten  
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbl. sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, cubed
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. crushed graham cracker crumbs (one sleeve/9 full crackers)
1 c. coconut, toasted
1/2 c. pistachios, finely chopped

Pistachio Filling:
4 Tbl. unsalted butter, softened
1 (3.4 oz.) box instant pistachio pudding
pinch of salt
6 Tbl. milk
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Chocolate Topping:
1 c. chocolate chips (I used milk)
1 Tbl. coconut oil (or you can use shortening or butter)

Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan and spray with cooking spray.  Place graham cracker crumbs, toasted coconut and chopped pistachios in a large bowl; set aside.  In a medium saucepan, stir together the egg, cocoa powder, sugar, cubed butter and vanilla.  Heat over medium-low heat until butter is melted and mixture starts to bubble.  Remove from heat and pour over graham cracker mixture.  Stir together until everything is evenly coated in butter mixture.  Press crumb mixture onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan.  

For the Pistachio Filling:  Cream together butter, dry pudding mix, salt and milk until creamy.  Add one cup powdered sugar and mix until combined.  Add remaining one cup of powdered sugar and almond extract and mix until smooth and creamy.  Spread evenly over prepared graham cracker layer.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.  

For the Chocolate Topping:  In a small microwave-safe dish, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil.  Microwave until chips are melted, stopping to stir every 30 seconds until smooth and creamy.  Carefully, spread evenly over chilled bars.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours before cutting into bars.  Store in the refrigerator.

Jenn's Notes: These are amazing served cold and room temperature.  If you cut the bars while they are cold, the chocolate topping will crack a little.  If you cut them at room temperature, the chocolate will cut easier.  Mine still tasted great on day four.   

December 7, 2014

Easy Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Soup {Shortcut Recipe}

 Want to hear a genius idea?  Using diced hashbrowns for potato soup.  Have you ever thought of that before?  This is my new favorite shortcut for potato soup.
My Sister-in-Law sent me this recipe and I made it within a few days.  I knew it would be good thanks to that amazing list of ingredients, yet when I tasted it . . . I was still blown away by how delicious it is.     

I have now made it many times and we even made it for a work party and it was a huge hit.  There were A LOT of recipe requests and everyone was amazed when they saw how easy it is to make.

You really have got to try this easy creamy soup.

You might also like:
My Favorite Twice Baked Potatoes
Hash Brown Taco Casserole
Copycat Olive Garden Chicken and Potato Florentine Soup
Easy Slow Cooker Loaded Potato Soup
1 (30 oz.) bag frozen diced hash browns
1 (32 oz.) box chicken broth
1 (10.5 oz.) can cream of chicken soup
3 oz. Real bacon bits
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped green onions, for garnish

Put hash browns in the slow cooker.  Add the chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and half of the bacon bits.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until potatoes are tender.  An hour before serving, cut the cream cheese into small cubes and place in the slow cooker.  Mix a few times throughout the hour before serving (I like to use a silicon whisk to help the cream cheese completely dissolve into the soup).  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Garnish with additional bacon bits, shredded Cheddar cheese and chopped green onions and serve.  Serves: 4-5 people.   

Jenn's Notes: I like to use O'Brien hash browns with onions and diced peppers.  I usually use low-sodium chicken broth, 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup and 1/3 less fat cream cheese and it's still fabulous.  My potatoes are usually tender right around 6 hours. 

December 2, 2014

Mint Cookies 'n Cream Fudge

I have had a crazy past few months.  I sold my condo and moving into my new house got delayed, so I ended up in a hotel for a month and a half.  After cooking dinner almost every night (for several years), going that long without a good home-cooked meal was torture.  Once our new house was available, we spent every day after work tearing out carpet, painting and remodeling a bit.  

We finally moved in the day before Thanksgiving.  Just so you know, after living in such small quarters, the new house feels like a mansion :)  I still have a million boxes to unpack and if you saw this Instagram pic, it's a mystery as to what is inside some of them. Ha ha!!  But . . . hey, it sure feels good to sleep in my own bed again.    
I have learned that I don't think I could ever build a house from the ground up.  It took me hours and several trips to different stores just to pick out a ceiling fan.  I pretty much hated one thing about every single one and I finally settled for one with clear glass instead of frosted glass.  I still want to know why a ceiling fan can't just use regular light bulbs?  

Hopefully, I can now get back to posting more regularly.  I have had this fudge idea in my head for a long time and I finally was able to make it last weekend.  It's just as good as I had hoped.

I love the flavor of Mint OREOS and when mixed with a vanilla fudge . . . it is rich and creamy and melts in your mouth.  I took some to work and it was a huge hit.  

This would make a perfect neighbor gift.  You could even make a batch with red peppermint OREOS and give them red and green fudge.  So pretty.    

You might also like:
Mint Cookies 'n Cream Fudge
adapted from: Natalie T.
(Printable Recipe) or (Printable with Picture)

16 Mint Oreos
2 (12 oz.) pkgs. white chocolate chips (vanilla chips)
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbl. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 tsp. vanilla extract 

Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with foil or parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.  Break the Oreos into small chunks and add half to the bottom of the baking dish.  Pour the two packages of white chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and butter into a large microwave-safe dish.  Microwave for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth and creamy (Mixture can also be melted together on the stove-top).

Stir in vanilla until well combined.  Pour over Oreos in baking dish and spread fudge out evenly.  Top with remaining cookie chunks and press down slightly.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set.  Cut into pieces and serve. 

Linked up at Weekend Potluck!

November 30, 2014

Sugar Cookie Bars with Whipped Eggnog Frosting Plus a Giveaway

Thanksgiving is over, it's officially Eggnog time.
These bars are for all the eggnog lovers out there.  Me being one of them. 

A soft and chewy sugar cookie base lightly spiced with nutmeg and topped with a light and airy Whipped Eggnog Frosting.  I usually top my Sugar Cookie Bars with a creamy Buttercream Frosting (like in these Candy Cane Kiss Sugar Cookie Bars), but I wanted to switch things up and use a whipped frosting instead. 

They get better on days two and three.  I love them at room temperature and I love them cold, right out of the fridge.

Click HERE to read more, to get the delicious recipe and to enter the giveaway.