I really wanted to make these Chocolate Chunk Peppermint Pudding Cookies, but I couldn’t find the Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips.  Has anyone seen them in the Greater Boston area?  Maybe I am not looking in the right places.

Anyway, I was heading to a gathering this weekend and wanted to make something.  I had all of the other ingredients on hand, so I substituted a bag of Nestle Peanut Butter and Chocolate morsels for the peppermint chips.  I knew they wouldn’t be nearly as festive, but cookies are usually welcomed in any case.

Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by having so many awesome bakers among my family and friends, but I was disappointed by these cookies.  Of course, it isn’t really fair to substitute a central ingredient in a recipe and then complain!  The cookies are fine, but nothing special.  The pudding mix gives them an interesting texture, so the cookies don’t fall squarely in either the “crispy” or “chewy” camps.  I almost feel silly trying a new cookie recipe when I have so many amazing ones already on the blog, so next time I’ll go back to one of my favorites!

 

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It seems like everyone is talking about the impending bacon shortage.  I can easily do without bacon, but the shortage of canned pumpkin these last few years has been distressing.  Based on a quick scan of my grocery stores shelves, it looks like there is plenty (for now.)  It just isn’t fall without some pumpkin!

I’ve had this recipe for Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal Pecan Cookies from Skinnytaste bookmarked for almost a year.  I was inspired last week to do a little baking, and this seemed like the perfect choice.  I think pecans would be delicious in this recipe, but I substituted dried cranberries instead.  They added a little bit of color and a touch of sweetness to these chewy cookies.

 

 

This recipe is really easy and uses mostly pantry staples.  The cookies do not spread very much at all, so you can go ahead and place them close together on the cookie sheet.  Although these are lighter than the average cookie, I still made mine fairly small.  They are the perfect addition to your lunchbox or afternoon coffee break.  And I still had over half a can of pumpkin leftover…

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Some of the best afternoons include an impromptu cooking project with friends!  Well, it was impromptu for me anyway, but a friend wanted to make macaroons and I never turn down an invitation to cook, especially when there’s a Kitchen Aid mixer in the house.

We used a very simple Alton Brown recipe with three ingredients: toasted coconut, egg whites, and sugar.  The recipe calls for dropping just a teaspoon of batter on the cookie sheet, but we used much closer to a tablespoon so they took a little longer to bake.  Still, they came out nicely browned on the outside and chewy on the inside.  The picture below doesn’t capture how good the cookies were or how much fun we had!

 

 

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No matter how busy you might be this week, you can probably find the time to make these incredibly easy Almond Raspberry Cookies.  With just 5 (yes, five!) ingredients, you can have these cookies ready for Santa, or anyone else who might enjoy them.  They not only look like they came from a bakery, but they taste great too.

 

 

My friend Paula is a long time swapper, who won a prize 2 years ago for these Cherry Chocolate Pecan cookies.  But this year, she showed us how to keep things simple and still make homemade cookies.

 

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It was another fun cookie swap, although it went by way too fast.  There was a tie for 1st place and 2nd place, so we had 4 winners overall this year, but all of the cookies (and bon bons, and chocolate covered pretzels….) were great.

This Mint Chocolate Delight was made by first time swapper Page.  They start out like a classic Tollhouse cookie, and then take a fun turn.  The crushed candy canes make them look festive, and the cookies have a great fudge-like texture.  You can’t go wrong with the combination of chocolate and mint.

 

 

Mint Chocolate Delights

2 c. flour
2/3 c. cocoa
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 c. semisweet chocolate morsels
10 candy canes, crushed

Preheat oven to 325F.  Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, cream the butter.  Add the sugars and vanilla and beat until creamy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Gradually beat in the flour mixture.  Stir in the morsels and the dust from the candy canes into the batter, reserving the larger pieces of candy cane.  Drop by rounded tablespoon onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.  Press the candy cane chunks onto the cookies.  Bake the cookies for 6 minutes; allow them to cool on the parchment paper before removing them to cooling racks.

-Adapted from the Nestle Tollhouse Mint Chocolate Delight recipe

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