Sweet Treats

Recipe—Cherry Chip Shortbread Cookies

We are on Day 3 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Cherry Chip Shortbread Cookies

If you have been following me for a while now, you know fruit and chocolate are kind of my thing. Bananas and chocolate, strawberries and chocolate, cherries and chocolate… you catch my drift. Add in the melt in your mouth buttery flavor of a shortbread cookie, and you have one of the best tasting cookies ever! Not only do they taste amazing but they are also so pretty! I love the pops of red that the cherries add.

If I will give you any advice about this recipe, it is to double the recipe. One batch for you, and one batch for sharing. They really are that good!

INGREDIENTS
1 c butter, softened
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 c maraschino cherries, chopped and patted dry
1 c chocolate chips

STEPS

  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
  • Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until it is all combined.
  • Gently fold in the cherries and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  • Lay out a long strip of plastic wrap and form the dough into a log in the middle of it. I try and make my log about 2” in diameter.
  • Wrap the log up in the saran wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350º.
  • Once the log has firmed up, remove it from the saran wrap and cut it into approximately 1/3” slices.
  • Place the slices about 1” apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for about 10–12 minutes or until they just start to turn golden around the edges.
  • Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Here we go! We are on Day 1 of 5 of my Christmas Cookie Week! That’s right, this week I will be posting 5 of my favorite Christmas Cookie recipes!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every year I pick one day in December and spend the entire day just baking up a storm and listening to Christmas music. I typically bake 4–7 different types of cookies and then make assorted platters to share with coworkers and friends. This is a tradition I picked up from my mom who was also big on spreading holiday cheer in the form of baked goods.

I love these mint chocolate chip cookies for many reasons but the top reason is because they are like eating my favorite type of ice cream (mint chip) in a cookie form. There is just something about the combination of mint and chocolate that does it for me. Plus, mint and Christmas just go hand in hand, do they not? I also love that these add a nice little pop of color to my assorted cookie platters. This recipe is very straight forward and easy to make, so what’s not to love?

Note: If you don’t have Andes chocolate mints you can absolutely substitute chocolate chips in this recipe. You will get enough of the mint flavor just from the extract alone. I personally just love the way the Andes look in the cookies.  

INGREDIENTS
2 3/4 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c butter, softened
1 1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp mint extract
10–15 drops green food coloring
4.67 oz pack of Andes mints (unwrapped and chopped)

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  • Add the egg and mint extract to the butter mixture.
  • Gradually start to fold in the dry ingredients.
  • Add green food coloring five drops at a time and mix until it has reached your desired shade of green.
  • Fold in the chopped Andes.
  • Form small balls with the dough and place at least 2 inches apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until they just start to get a light golden color on the bottom.
  • Allow cookies to sit on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cutting board or cooling rack.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Sweet Cherry Chip Dip

Does anyone else have a weakness for fruit and chocolate besides me? I love the combination. I will eat chocolate covered bananas, strawberries, mandarins, apples, cherries, you name it. I wont discriminate. Now add in cream cheese, mind blown!

This dip combines the sweet creaminess of a cheesecake with the flavor of cherries and the crunchiness of chocolate chips giving you the best dessert dip ever! I warn you though, if you are like me you will be eating this by the spoonful. (I can sometimes be a pig like that.) I like to serve this with chocolate graham crackers but you can serve it with anything you want. Nilla wafers, animal crackers, Oreos, etc. Go crazy with your dipping vessles! It is perfect to bring to a party and your friends will appreciate the unique dessert that is easy to serve and sure to be enjoyed by all!

Note: This will thicken up once refrigerated. I like to take it out about a half hour before I serve it so that it isn’t so firm that it breaks the crackers when dipping.

INGREDIENTS
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 c butter, softened
1/2 c maraschino cherry juice (the liquid from the jar of cherries)
2 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 c maraschino cherries, chopped
1 c mini chocolate chips, divided
Chocolate graham crackers or similar item for dipping

STEPS

  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese and butter until well combined.
  • Add in the maraschino cherry juice and powdered sugar until well combined and smooth.
  • Fold in the chopped cherries and 3/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe adapted from Shugary Sweets.

If you like that, then maybe you will love this!

Funfetti Cake Batter Cookie DipFunfetti Cake Batter Cookie Dip

Beverages

Recipe—Creamy Hot Cocoa in a Crock-Pot

Over the weekend we had a holiday cookie decorating party for my son and his little buddies from school. It was wonderful! All the kiddos huddled around the table eating the cookie toppings quicker than they were putting them on the actual frosted cookies getting all hopped up on sugar. I love this time of year!

I wanted to have a little hot cocoa bar where all the kids (and grown ups) could make themselves a fancy cup of cocoa. I’m not talking little envelopes of dry god knows what. I’m talking thick and creamy REAL hot cocoa. The kind that fills you up and warms your belly, the kind that leaves a thick creamy mustache on your upper lip with every sip. I made this a couple of hours before the party and it was perfect! Along with a big crock pot full of pure joy I had bowls of marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, crushed candy canes, chocolate sprinkles, whip cream, and then of course some grown up mixers (Kahlua, Disaronno, Baily’s, Frangelico, and peppermint schnapps). Hey if you know me, you know I don’t half ass anything. 😉

This hot cocoa was by far the best I ever had! If you are having a few people and want to make something very special this holiday season then I recommend you make this hot cocoa. It will take every grown up back to their childhood days and will be memorable for all the kiddos.

Note: Makes 8–12 servings.

INGREDIENTS
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
12 oz bag chocolate chips (dark, milk, or white chocolate will all work)
2 c heavy whipping cream
6 c milk (2% or whole)
1 tsp vanilla

STEPS

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large crock-pot.
  • Turn on low.
  • Cook for 2 hours stirring occasionally using a whisk.
  • Ladle into a mug, add in your mixer (optional), and top with your favorite treats or leave as is.
Sweet Treats

Recipe—Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

As I announced a few weeks back after my break from blogging I started a new job back in August. It’s always a rough transition moving out of your comfort zone into something totally new. New environment. New responsibilities. New coworkers. Eek! It can be kind of nerve racking! Well the way I deal with nerves is food. Yes, I am an emotional eater! So I made a batch of these wonderful delicious bars but I couldn’t bear to eat them all so what did I do, I took them to work to share with my new co-workers. Way to bond and score some points at the new gig, right? Well these were a hit and I apologize that the recipe is 5 months late getting to you. Good news is I am still at my job so I must have made quite the impression with my tasty treats or maybe it’s my mad skills.

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted

CHEESECAKE INGREDIENTS
12 oz cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

COOKIE DOUGH INGREDIENTS
5 tbsp butter, softened
3 tbsp sugar
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c flour
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 325º.
  • Line a 8” x 8” baking dish with foil making sure there is enough to go up all four edges of the pan.
  • In a medium bowl mix together all of the graham cracker crust ingredients.
  • Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the baking pan using a spoon or backside of a spatula making sure that it is firmly packed.
  • Bake for 5 minutes and remove from oven.
  • While the crust cools beat together all of the cheesecake ingredients on low speed until smooth.
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture into the baking dish and set aside.
  • In a large bowl beat together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and salt until well combined and smooth.
  • Add in the flour until well incorporated.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Sprinkle small clumps of the cookie dough over the top of the cheesecake mixture making sure to cover most of the dish.
  • Bake until the cookie dough looks cooked and the cheesecake has set, about 25–30 minutes.
  • Move the dish to a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.
  • Chill in the fridge for a few hours.
  • Remove the entire “bar” from the baking dish by holding onto the edges of the foil and lifting it from the pan.
  • Slice into small squares and eat up.