2013: My Favorites

Cornbread Sausage Stuffing #glutenfree #dairyfree

My turn, my turn!! As it turns out we have some very similar tastes, you and I, but there was a serious lack of dessert in your favorites. Don’t worry, I’ve more than made up for that here. So in no particular order, here are my very favorites (and yes, it was SO hard to choose!) of 2013. Also, unintentionally more than half of them happen to be from Drink & Dish. Must be because working with this girl is always exciting, inspiring, and FUN!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Cheesecake Cups {easily gluten-free-able}

I always get my best ideas for Steve’s birthday dessert. You know what they say about love coming through your food and all that hippy dippy stuff? I totally believe it. These tasted like pure love, and are without a doubt one of my favorite desserts of all time.

Caramel Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies {gluten-free + vegan}

I still can’t get over these, and I made them twice this holiday season. Everyone at work kept asking me to make more. I love soft and chewy ginger molasses cookies, and with that gooey piece of caramel on they inside, they are just irresistible (<—an other word I ALWAYS spell wrong).

Inside Out Buckeye Cookies {gluten-free + vegan}

So I have a thing about stuffing cookies. Obviously. This was one of those recipes where I truly loved everything about it–from concept to taste, and I even though they looked beautiful which is a rare occurrence for me.

Cookie Butter Cookie Dough Bars {vegan}

Nicole and I talked for hours about what dessert we would make for after we completed our marathon. She made brownies (duh), and in my cookie butter obsession, I came up with these. They were SO good. I literally couldn’t stay away. Graham cracker crust, cookie butter cookie dough, and salted dark chocolate. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.

Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Bacon & Dates {gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo}

My mom always talks about how these are the best veggies she’s ever eaten. They turned my brussels sprouts hating husband into a believer, and they disappear faster than you can say the title (granted the title is super long). I crave them all the time, and there is nothing like a veggie dish that tastes like comfort food.

Cornbread Sausage Stuffing {gluten-free, dairy-free, easily vegan-able}

This is an other family favorite. I’ve also had friends and readers make this to rave reviews. My brother was so skeptical, but he tried it on Thanksgiving and came up to me specifically to tell me that this made him like stuffing. It’s great as a meal any time of year, or the perfect impressive Thanksgiving side dish.

Jalapeno Popper Hot Dogs {gluten-free}

This is what happens when this girl comes to visit. Our brains work like magic, and the best recipe ideas come out of it. I knew I wanted to create a fancy hot dog, but the rest of the magic I can’t even take credit for. The result was definitely the best hot dog I have ever eaten, and something I made multiple times this summer.

Red, White & Blue Grilled Cheese {gluten-free, vegetarian}

In case you didn’t know, melty cheese actually goes perfectly with blueberries and raspberry jam. I don’t just make this for the 4th of July. It’s one of my favorite easy dinners year round. It might sound kinda strange at first, but just trust me, okay? ;)

Loaded Baked Potato Salad {gluten-free}

I don’t know if this one even needs words. Literally a loaded baked potato meets potato salad, and the result is a side dish that will disappear first at your barbecue or get together. My husband is always requesting this as well as the sweet potato salad that came after it. Totally addicting, and a lot healthier than you would expect!

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread {vegan + easily gluten-free-able}

I resisted the banana bread thing for a long time. I really have no idea why because ever since I made this one, I’ve been literally obsessed. I don’t usually like baked goods with cookie butter or nutella baked inside because I feel like the flavor gets muted, but swirled and in a crunchy streusel topping you get the best of both worlds in this ridiculously soft and tender treat.

Gingerbread Granola {gluten-free + vegan}

I have a granola problem. In fact, this is my second favorite granola from 2013, but I haven’t shared my first favorite with you, so that will have to wait until next year. But this granola is right up there. Gingerbread cookie in granola form…let’s just say it didn’t last long. ;)

 

So, that’s that. I guess I already asked you what your favorite was, so this time tell me your favorite dish that YOU made this year. Or just tell me more things that I made that you like because that’s fun. We all know how I like to be the center of attention. No shame.

2013: Your Favorites

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

I know I sound like a total cliche, but can you even believe this year is over? It started out feeling like worst year ever (with lots of dramatic flare and plenty of exclamation points) being injured and having to give up on a few goal races, but looking back the year was pretty amazing. I ran my first marathon, completed my first century (I swear I will actually finish that recap someday), started a new job, recovered from my injury, and ended up the happiest I have been in my adult life. Oh, and I also made a ton of delicious food. ;)

But enough about me, this post is about you and what your 10 favorite recipes were from 2013.

10. Curried Chicken Salad {gluten-free}

I’m not surprised. This was one of my favorites too. The bold curry, sweet grapes and crunchy almonds are the perfect combination and take a plain ol’ chicken salad into something I was excited to eat for lunch for the entire week.

9. Sun Dried Tomato & Basil White Bean Burgers {vegan + gluten-free}

I had a friend request a homemade version of a veggie burger she had at the store that she claimed tasted like pizza in a burger. This happened, and you guys loved it as much as I did! When I was making these, they looked so dry at first that I was terrified I’d made a horrible mistake by testing them out on guests, but after one bite, they were anything but dry, and everyone went back for seconds!

8. Caprese Pasta {gluten-free}

This meal is so simple and delicious, and who doesn’t love caprese? The big chunks of mozzarella cheese really take it to the next level, plus it doesn’t hurt that it’s packed with veggies and pretty light as far as pasta goes!

7. Guacamole Chicken Salad {gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo}

This was an other bulk lunch that I looked forward to eating until it was gone, and it disappeared super quickly. These were also some of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken.

6. Noodleless Chicken “Pad” Thai {gluten-free, dairy-free, easily paleo-able}

This is one I’ve been making forever. It’s a favorite around here, and with good reason–chicken pad thai is so bold, flavorful, and comforting, and you don’t miss any of that by swapping in the spaghetti squash!

5. Chipotle Black Bean Burgers {vegan + gluten-free}

This is one of the recipes people tell me they make the most. I’ve had a lot of friends and readers make them to rave reviews. Super flavorful, and a much cheaper option than the frozen ones I used to buy. Now I make these and freeze the leftovers instead!

4. Healthy Crockpot Orange Chicken {gluten-free + dairy-free}

Oh man, I LOVED this chicken. I would seriously choose it over the nastiness at Panda Express any day of the week. It actually tastes like real orange, and isn’t overly sweet. Super easy, and a great make-ahead meal.

3. French Onion Meatloaf {gluten-free}

OMG I’m SO glad you guys love this one too! I was seriously obsessed with it. It had a little bit of a slow start as far as traffic goes, but it picked up and became pretty popular on pinterest. This would definitely be in my top 10 for the year as well. In fact, my mom says she only makes meatloaf this way now!

2. Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash {gluten-free}

Oh man, I was sure this one would come in first place. It came so close. Without a doubt my favorite recipe of 2013 (and in actuality the most popular–the #1 spot has months on this one, and not too many more views). Sometimes you just get a really great idea and everything ends up exactly how you wanted. That was this recipe.

1. Spaghetti Squash Boats {gluten-free}

Okay, so technically I posted these in 2012, but it was December 27th, so I’m counting it. Up until I posted the lasagna spaghetti squash, this baby got all the attention, and it is GOOD. Really good. This recipe kind of inspired my spaghetti squash obsession, and it looks like you guys love it (and chicken salad) as much as I do.

Did anyone else notice there were no desserts?? That’s just crazy to me, but maybe that’s because my sweet tooth is the size of Texas. ;) Just for fun, here’s 2 from 2012 that still made my top 10 traffic this year (and beat out a couple of the ones listed above).

Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad {gluten-free}

Spaghetti squash and chicken salad. Maybe I should just stick to those things? But for real, this is what inspired my chicken salad obsession (yes, apparently we all have the same obsessions), and it is so surprisingly delicious. Simple perfection in my book.

and (my favorite of all time)

Vanilla Bean Cookie Butter Cup Cupcakes

I mean, I think the picture and title say it all here. My favorite cupcakes I’ve ever eaten.

I’m dying to know, what was your favorite?? I love hearing from you guys about what you like, and what you’d like to see more of, so if you have any requests, shout ‘em out! Also, if you made anything and loved it (or even if you didn’t love it–feedback is always good!), please tell me!

 

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze {gluten-free}

Rich, fluffy, chocolatey donuts topped with a smooth, bright, citrusy orange glaze. The perfect flavor combination. 

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze {gluten-free}

Have I ever told you about how my husband refuses to use the correct name for the cooling rack? He insists on calling it the “drying rack”, and whenever I ask him to get out the cooling rack, he corrects me. And every time I make sure I let him know that he’s wrong. The drying rack is for dirty dishes; the cooling rack is for delicious baked goods.

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze {gluten-free}

At this point he (obviously) knows the difference, but I’m pretty sure finding ways to annoy me is his favorite past time. In fact, I’m pretty sure everyone who knows me gets a deep sense of joy out of getting a rise out of me. Probably because I make it so easy. I am the first one to get all fired up about things that absolutely don’t matter. I think they call that “dramatic”.

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze {gluten-free}

So, this morning I made donuts. I never make things the day I post them, but this is what happens when I sign up for things. I forget all about them until, like, the day before, and then I’m like “Oh crap, I have to make donuts”. Anyway, I made donuts, argued my husband about the term for the rack where I placed the donuts, ate the donuts (totally the best part), and, well, here I am. Sharing donuts with you.

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze {gluten-free}

This month’s theme for The Recipe Redux is good luck foods for the new year. Apparently, I live under a rock because I didn’t even know that was a thing, but luckily Google told me that round foods symbolize good luck, and in my opinion chocolate always means good luck, so I made you round, chocolatey good luck charms, and they are unbelievably good. They are the softest, fluffiest donuts I have ever made, and they are 10 million times better than so many of the dry, deep-fried cake donuts I’ve tasted before. Seriously, I would choose these instead any day, and I am usually one that believes the deep fryer automatically makes everything taste better. ;)

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze {gluten-free}

The bright orange flavor of the glaze is the perfect contrast to the rich chocolate, and the recipe all comes together in about half an hour, so it’s easy to make at the last minute if you have guests, and want to give them a little treat. We had my family over for brunch this morning, and everyone was super impressed with these! My mom kept talking about how “professional” they were. Then my brother proceeded to eat 3. I don’t blame him.

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen

Serving Size: 1 donut

Chocolate Donuts with Orange Glaze

Rich, fluffy, chocolatey donuts topped with a smooth, bright, citrusy orange glaze. The perfect flavor combination.

Ingredients

  • 4 oz dark chocolate
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free baking blend (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 heaping cup powdered sugar
  • 4-6 tbsp fresh orange juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Spray donut pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Place dark chocolate and coconut oil in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on increments of 30 seconds stirring after each until melted. Let cool while preparing other ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine baking blend, baking soda, cornstarch and salt. In a large bowl, beat together brown sugar, egg, buttermilk, applesauce and vanilla. Slowly beat in melted chocolate, then beat in dry ingredients until just combined.
  4. Fill donut molds about 3/4 and smooth out with a spoon. Bake for 11-13 minutes until set and donut springs back when gently pressed with your finger. Place donut pan on a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled, remove from pan.
  5. To make the glaze, place powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Slowly add orange juice 1 tbsp at a time stirring constantly until glaze reaches desired consistency. I went with a thinner glaze for this donut. Thickness will depend on liquid added. It is important to go slowly and mix thoroughly before adding more liquid. If you find you glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar until it reaches your desired consistency. Drizzle glaze onto donuts and let set until dry, about 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Donuts will stay fresh best if you store them unglazed and glaze before serving.
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Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

Drippy, sweet and melty honey roasted macadamia butter. All it takes is one ingredient and 5 minutes to create your new favorite spread.

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

I’m really not the “DIY” type. As much as I love anything homemade, especially when it’s heartfelt, bringing myself to devote hours of time to a craft that I will inevitably be unhappy with when I finish is just not something I can usually do. I am, however, in total awe of people who can/do. Honestly, anyone that can make things look pretty, or at least not look like a kindergartner made it is totally impressive in my book.

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

Most of the time when I see a “Beautiful #DIY Gift Idea #Christmas” on Pinterest, I steer clear, and remind myself that the “5 Minute Up-Do” I found took me more like an hour, and I still wasn’t satisfied with the result.

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

But food? That I can do. Even DIY food. I love making people treats, especially things you can’t buy in the store, and I adore stuffing my family’s stockings with homemade nut butters, granola, and puppy chow rather than candy canes filled with m&ms.

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

So meet my newest obsession. The best, drippiest nut butter I have ever tastes. Now, if you like a more solid texture, not to worry! Stick this baby in the fridge, and you will get more of a traditional peanut butter texture, but I LOVE the way it drips right off the spoon, and has almost a melted texture. Macadamia nuts are the best nuts for spreads, in my opinion. They always come together super easy and quickly with no food processor starting and stopping. This DIY project will literally take you 5 minutes. 10 if you include dishes, but I wouldn’t know since I don’t actually do those.

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

I found my honey roasted macadamia nuts at Trader Joe’s, but I’m sure you could also find them online, or make your own!

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: approx 1 1/2 cups

Honey Roasted Macadamia Butter

Drippy, sweet and melty honey roasted macadamia butter. All it takes is one ingredient and 5 minutes to create your new favorite spread.

Ingredients

  • 16 oz honey roasted macadamia nuts
  • pinch sea salt, optional

Instructions

  1. Place macadamia nuts in your food processor. Blend until a smooth and creamy butter forms, about 3-5 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary. Store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to one month, or in a cool, dry place for 2-3 weeks.
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Gluten-free Cranberry Bliss Bars

Gluten-free Cranberry Bliss Bars

Rich, gooey blondies studded with white chocolate and cranberries topped with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting. Just like your favorite Starbucks treat, but with a lightened-up, gluten-free twist.

Gluten-free Cranberry Bliss Bars

One of my favorite holiday treats is the Starbucks cranberry bliss bar. I’ve made them every year for the last 3 years, so I guess you could say they’ve become one of our holiday traditions. Along with puppy chow. I’m pretty sure my family would be super upset if a year went by without either of these.

Gluten-free Cranberry Bliss Bars

This year I made a gluten-free version, and it turned out every bit as delicious as the original! Today I’m sharing the recipe over on Laura’s blog. Click over and check it out! Also, if you don’t already read Laura’s blog, she gives amazing running tips, and she is just a super positive, inspiring person all around.

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones {gluten-free}

Rich, crumbly white chocolate shortbread-like scones filled with sweet and tart dried cranberries are the perfect treat on Christmas morning, or any time year round. Vegan & gluten-free.

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones {gluten-free}

Okay, let’s take a quick break from cookies for a minute. Actually, I have a confession. These were supposed to be cookies. I wanted to make white chocolate cranberry cookies, and I took one of my chocolate cookie recipes and started to modify it, and at the end I looked at the dough and thought “these are not cookies”.

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones {gluten-free}

So I went rogue, and decided they would be scones. I had no idea how they would actually turn out, but as soon as they came out of the oven, I knew I had made the right choice.

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones {gluten-free}

These scones aren’t flakey like a traditional bakery-style scone, but more crumbly like a shortbread. They have that buttery (without butter) melt-in-your-mouth kind of feel, and you will find yourself picking at every last crumb.

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones {gluten-free}

Instead of using white chocolate chips, the white chocolate is melted into the dough so you get tons of delicious white chocolate flavor in every single bite. Ya know when you’re eating something with chocolate chips, and you get a bite without chips? How it’s basically the most disappointing bite ever? Yeah, none of that here.

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones {gluten-free}

And as if there wasn’t enough white chocolate flavor in the scones themselves, of course I had to drizzle a little extra on top because, well, it’s my favorite. I know I should choose dark chocolates, and blah, blah, blah, antioxidants, but I’ve always been a white chocolate girl at heart, and mixed with cranberries? Let’s just say these babies didn’t last long, and I am already craving more!

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6-8 scones

Serving Size: 1 scone

White Chocolate Cranberry Scones

Rich, crumbly white chocolate shortbread-like scones filled with sweet and tart dried cranberries are the perfect treat on Christmas morning, or any time year round. Vegan & gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces white chocolate*
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons gluten-free baking blend, or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • dash salt
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a small baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan heat white chocolate and coconut oil over medium heat until melted, stirring constantly. Alternatively, you can heat them in a small bowl in the microwave in increments of 30 seconds stirring after each.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together baking blend, sugars, cornstarch, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in melted white chocolate and coconut oil. Mix in cranberries
  4. Roll dough into a large ball and press down into a 1-1 1/2" thick disk. Cut into 6-8 equal pieces. Do not separate.
  5. Bake as if for 10-12 minutes until golden and set. Set baking dish on wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle extra melted white chocolate if desired, and let set for about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Notes

*For vegan scones, use vegan white chocolate.

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Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies {vegan + gluten-free}

Soft, nutty almond meal cookies with bold eggnog flavor, and melty chunks of dark chocolate. Vegan, gluten-free and unlike any cookie you’ve ever tasted!

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies {vegan + gluten-free}

How do you feel about eggnog? It seems to be one of those holiday things that people either LOVE or find totally disgusting. I never understood how anyone could dislike it, but then again, if I had it my way, I’d eat my cereal with half and half. ;) Rich, thick and creamy has never been something I turn down. In fact, in my, um…less healthy days, I could probably drink a carton of eggnog in one sitting. Okay, now that does actually gross me out now, but that’s how much I love it.

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies {vegan + gluten-free}

But don’t worry, if drinking eggnog isn’t your thing, these cookies have got you covered in the flavor department, without that creamy texture. They also use the soy nog. I’m usually not a big fan of soy anything, but I’m also a big fan of saving calories, and it really is the lightest one around. Not to mention, it means you can share it with all your vegan and lactose intolerant friends. Or keep them all to yourself, because you probably won’t want to share. That’s where using the lowest calorie eggnog comes in handy. ;)

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies {vegan + gluten-free}

If you’ve never had almond meal cookies, they are unlike any other cookie you will ever eat. It’s not one of those times where I’m gonna be like “I swear, it tastes exactly the same!” because it doesn’t, but not in a bad way, but in a totally unique, surprising kind of way. The almond meal gives them tons of texture without having huge chunks of nuts in your cookies. I hate that. I love nuts, but I don’t usually like them in my desserts. I like to save room for things I love more. Like chocolate, which these babies are loaded with.

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies {vegan + gluten-free}

Okay so about the chocolate…You want to use the good stuff. I mean, don’t spend a fortune, but don’t buy one from the check out stand. I always use a salted dark chocolate. It’s my favorite. I’m a 65-75% kinda girl. Some people love their 90%, and I don’t think that’s dessert, but if you like it, more power to you! Pretty much, just use what you like because you will be the one unable to keep your hands off these little gems. On second thought, maybe you should use something you hate…

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies {vegan + gluten-free}

A couple hints before you get started: Don’t worry if the dough seems really wet, and more like muffin batter. It will firm up a bit when it chills, but it still won’t be a traditional cookie dough. Use a scoop if you want your cookies to come out not looking like aliens. You can use a large spoon as well, but the scoop will yield much prettier and more even cookies. DO NOT try to roll them in your hands unless you like doughy fingers. Oh, and if you love these as much as I do, you have got to try this version using Baileys instead of eggnog!

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 2 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Eggnog Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Meal Cookies

Soft, nutty almond meal cookies with bold eggnog flavor, and melty chunks of dark chocolate. Vegan, gluten-free and unlike any cookie you've ever tasted!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • dash freshly ground nutmeg
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup soy nog (or light eggnog)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp rum extract
  • 5 oz dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond meal, baking soda, cornstarch, brown sugar, nutmeg and salt. Add eggnog and extracts. Mix until well combined. Fold in dark chocolate. Cover and chill for 30-60 minutes
  2. Use a small cookie scoop to drop onto prepared baking pan. Bake until tops just begin to brown, about 11-14 minutes. Cool completely on cookie sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
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Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

Ultra soft and fudgy mint chocolate crinkle cookies topped with a smooth and creamy peppermint Hershey’s kiss.

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

All my life, I’ve always been obsessed with those peanut butter cookies with the chocolate Hershey’s kiss on top. I know, I know…they’re called “Peanut Butter Blossoms”, but to me, they will always be those peanut butter cookies with the chocolate Hershey’s kiss on top.

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookiespeppermintblossomcrinklecookies-2

If I ever saw them at a party, I’d immediately grab a couple, and then try to secretly make my way back all night long. What can I say, I’m a classy lady.

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

A few years ago, Heather and I made some peppermint crinkle cookies during our holiday baking extravaganza. This baking extravaganza was no joke. Heather made a spreadsheet dictating how many pounds of butter, flour and sugar we needed to stock up on at Winco. Oh Winco…best grocery store ever.

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

Then we baked for probably a solid 24 hours, and gave away our treats to the entire musical theatre department, and used our talents to suck up to our professors. How could we not be your favorite voice student when we made you 70 pounds worth of holiday dessert???

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

So I took two of my favorite cookies, and I made them one. I made them for a couple of Christmas parties last year, and they were the first thing everyone flocked to (we all have similar tastes it seems ;) ), and immediately asked “WHAT ARE THESE????” Then they quickly disappeared. Fluffy powdered sugar covering a rich peppermint chocolate cookie with a smooth, melty peppermint kiss on top. It’s everything you could ask out of your holiday cookie.

**Note: All photos on this post were taken by my husband. I made these last year before I was exclusively taking the photos for my site. I could make them again (they are so good), but his photos are gorgeous, so I decided to keep them. :)

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: approx 4 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Peppermint Blossom Crinkle Cookies

Ultra soft and fudgy mint chocolate crinkle cookies topped with a smooth and creamy peppermint Hershey's kiss.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (or gluten-free baking blend)*
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 and 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup light cream cheese
  • 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • Approx 1 cup powdered sugar for rolling
  • 48 peppermint kisses (the mint truffle kisses would also be delicious!)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, eggs and cream cheese. Beat in melted chocolate and extracts until well combined. Slowly beat in flour mixture. If dough becomes too thick, use your hands to mix the rest of the way. Cover and chill for 2 hours (or longer).
  3. Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or lining sheet. Pour powdered sugar into a wide, shallow bowl. Shape dough into 1" balls and roll in powdered sugar until coated, then drop onto prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes until set and crinkles have formed. Immediately press a kiss into the top of each cookie. Let stand on cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

*Recipe tested with white whole wheat flour, but I have subbed the gluten-free baking blend in many similar recipes and it has worked perfectly. Cooking time may be lower, so check cookies at 7-8 minutes.

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Inside Out Buckeye Cookies

Inside Out Buckeye Cookies

Soft and chewy peanut butter cookies stuffed with melty dark chocolate and covered with powdered sugar–just like an inside out buckeye! Vegan, gluten-free, and seriously addicting.

Inside Out Buckeye Cookies

You know it’s Christmas time when I post cookies 3 days in a row. Okay, that’s a lie. I always post cookies. I love cookies. Everyone has their “thing”, their go-to dessert, that one thing they feel like they do significantly better than all other baking. Mine is totally cookies. In fact, I mess up brownies more times than I get them right, and I constantly have to remake cupcakes because I under bake them (because that works with cookies…not so much with cakes…).

Inside Out Buckeye Cookies

For part of my segment for Health2Fit (read more about the whole experience here), Natalie asked me to bring in some health(ier) cookies so she could demonstrate some creative ways to package them for swaps. That was awesome for me since I love to bake things, and then I totally fail at packaging in any sort of attractive manner. They were a huge hit at the studio, and everyone said they wouldn’t have been able to tell that they were lightened up, vegan & gluten-free!

Inside Out Buckeye Cookies

I’ve made these with both white whole wheat flour, and then more recently with my gluten-free baking blend. The only adjustment for the gluten-free version included baking time. They cooked about 1-2 minutes quicker than the original. In fact, the first batch I second guessed myself, left them in too long, and ended up with overly chewy (not the good kind of chewy), flat cookies. I was worried that they wouldn’t work, but the next batch, I took out as soon as they set, and they were awesome! Not quiiiite as puffy as these, but certainly not flat, and the taste was identical.

Inside Out Buckeye Cookies

Oh, and I guess maybe we should discuss what buckeyes actually are? Because I had no idea until the last year when I saw them floating around the blog world. It’s kind of like a Reese’s cup crossed with a truffle. They are little balls of peanut butter mixed with powdered sugar covered (mostly) with chocolate, but leaving one little “eye” remaining, So these cookies are…the opposite! Dark chocolate in the middle, with the peanut butter and powdered sugar on the outside. I love melty dark chocolate in the center of my cookies, and I am a peanut butter fanatic. The powdered sugar is that perfect extra touch that makes these cookies the first to go at parties or cookie swaps!

Inside Out Buckeye Cookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Inside Out Buckeye Cookies

Soft and chewy peanut butter cookies stuffed with melty dark chocolate and covered with powdered sugar--just like an inside out buckeye! Vegan, gluten-free, and seriously addicting.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free baking blend or white whole wheat flour*
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz good quality dark chocolate, in small squares or roughly chopped
  • approx 1/2 cup powdered sugar for rolling ( + more for dusting)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and corn starch. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the apple butter, peanut butter, sugars, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in dry ingredients until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large cookie sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Pour powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll dough into 1" balls then press a square of dark chocolate inside. Re-roll dough around chocolate. Make sure no chocolate is showing. Add more dough if necessary. Roll in powdered sugar, then transfer to prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake until edges are just set, about 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake. Cool completely on cookie sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Notes

*Gluten-free cookies will bake 1-2 minutes faster than if you use white whole wheat flour. Check gf cookies at 7 minutes, and wheat cookies may be in for closer to 11 depending on your oven.

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PS: Don’t forget to check out the segment this Saturday (12/14) @ 11am AZ time. Local channel 7, cable 13.

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap}

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {gluten-free}

Pillowy soft, fluffy, and loaded with vanilla flavor, these sugar cookies are irresistible. Eat them plain, frost them, or decorate with your favorite holiday decorations.

Pssssst…Today is the last day to enter this awesome giveaway! Don’t miss out!

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {gluten-free}

So yesterday we were discussing cookie swaps, yes? I may not have a ton of experience with them, but this year is the second time I have participated in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and it is AWESOME! You sign up, and then you are sent your 3 matches. You make and send a dozen cookies to each match, then you receive a dozen cookies from 3 surprise sources.

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {gluten-free}

I signed up for the gluten-free option so I could share my cookies with Steve. The last thing I need is 3 dozen cookies that only I will eat. As awesome as that sounds. Heather sent me spict gingerbread cookies, Marianne sent me chocolate snickerdoodles, and Rachel send me peanut butter blossoms. Everything was amazing. Steve loved the peanut butter blossoms, and I kept getting drawn back to the chocolate snickerdoodles, but I mean who doesn’t love gingerbread cookies this time of year too? Seriously.

photo (31)

I sent these sweet li’l sugar cookies to Dre, Amy, and Sara.

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {gluten-free}

First I made peppermint mocha cookies. They were amazing (and I will totally share them soon), but they just didn’t look pretty, and I couldn’t bring myself to send something that didn’t at least begin beautiful. Although, who the heck knows what they looked like by the time they arrived. Sending cookies makes me so nervous. What if they get smushed? What if they’re dry and cakey by the time they arrive? What if, what if, what ifffffff….????

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {gluten-free}

Well, I can’t tell you what they looked like when they got there, but I can tell you that I absolutely loved them. They were unbelievably soft and fluffy, and the vanilla flavor was so bold, but definitely a nice change from all the chocolate I’ve been devouring. ;)

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {gluten-free}

I used coconut oil + vanilla yogurt instead of my usual apple butter. I wanted to keep the color as light as possible. Between the brown rice flour, oat flour and almond meal in my baking blend, it’s really tough to get cookies that look like the original, and I couldn’t get past the idea of brown sugar cookies, so I did everything I could to keep these as white as possible. The little bit of coconut oil adds an immense amount of softness and richness to the texture, making the cookies satisfying and irresistible.

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap}

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: approx 4 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Soft & Fluffy Sugar Cookies {The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap}

Pillowy soft, fluffy, and loaded with vanilla flavor, these sugar cookies are irresistible. Eat them plain, frost them, or decorate with your favorite holiday decorations.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups gluten-free baking blend
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking blend, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, yogurt and coconut oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined, scraping down sides of the bowl as necessary. Cover and chill for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Use a small cookie scoop to transfer dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake until outsides are just set, about 8-10 minutes. Cookies will look underdone. Do not over bake. Cool completely on baking sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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Drink & Dish: Caramel Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies

Caramel Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies

Soft baked ginger molasses cookies stuffed with sweet, gooey caramel. These will easily become your new favorite Christmas cookie! Gluten-free with vegan option.

Caramel Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies

Would you believe me if I told you that until this year, I had never actually done a cookie swap? Okay, that’s a lie, I did The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap two years ago (And again this year which means you’re getting two…actually 3…days in a row this week. I’m sure you’re devastated.), but I had never done a real life one. I was just always the one giving away all of the cookies. The idea of getting some in return of kind of amazing!

Caramel Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies

This year we did a cookie swap at book club, and that was my first, official, in real life cookie swap. So much deliciousness. Did I tell you I was in a book club? Ummm, I am SO BAD at it. It’s been going on for almost a year? More than a year? And I’ve read 2 books. Well, that’s not even true. I read one book, then when it was my turn I picked my favorite play (August: Osage County), and never got around to rereading it. I just show up, drink wine, and at Christmas time, swap cookies.

Caramel Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies

But seriously, if you’ve sucked at anything in life and want to make up for it, I feel like these cookies might be the key to solving all past mistakes. They *might* be the best cookies I’ve ever made. It’s so hard because cookies are my favorite. As if you couldn’t tell. Most of the time brownies and cupcakes, while delicious, are only mildly tempting, but cookies get me every single time. So clearly, I make them a lot, and these are definitely high on my list.

Caramel Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies

In fact, after I brought them in to work, I had requests for more for practically a week. Pretty much until I made them again for Drink & Dish, and had more leftover cookies to bring in to satisfy everyone’s craving. The sugared edges give them a light crispiness, but the insides are cookie-dough-soft. Almost like if it was a gingerbread brownie on the inside. I can hardly describe it–just think absolute perfect cookie texture. And with soft, melty caramel in the middle? It honestly doesn’t get much better. They are best with homemade caramels. You can see how well homemade caramels melt in these salted caramel mocha cookies. For these I just used store bought because that’s what I had, and ya know what? They still came out awesome. You could also use vegan caramels to make them vegan (captain obvious), or omit the caramels if it’s not your thing. The cookie itself is so good it stands on it’s own.

Caramel Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies

Sooooo, in case you couldn’t tell, the theme of this episode of Drink & Dish is Christmas Cookie Swap! Nicole and I wanted to make sure that you guys had awesome things to bring to all your holiday swaps. Nicole makes a gingerbread martini that is absolutely to die for, and obviously the perfect pairing to these cookies!

These are absolutely a must-make this holiday season, and a great way to spice up your usual ginger molasses fix!

Drink & Dish: Caramel Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Drink & Dish: Caramel Stuffed Ginger Molasses Cookies

Soft baked ginger molasses cookies stuffed with sweet, gooey caramel. These will easily become your new favorite Christmas cookie! Gluten-free with vegan option.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten-free baking blend
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 24 caramels*
  • granulated sugar for rolling

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together baking blend, baking soda, spices and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together apple butter, molasses, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in dry ingredients until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 large baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.Roll dough into approximately 1" balls. Press caramel inside, and roll dough back around. Make sure caramel is completely covered. Add more dough if necessary. Roll in sugar and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Bake until just set, about 9-11 minutes. Cookies will look underdone,. Do not over bake. Cool completely on cookie sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Notes

*Use vegan caramels, or omit caramel to keep vegan.

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Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

The perfect holiday snack mix with sweet and salty kettle corn, crunchy Chex, soft cranberries, and bold, creamy dark chocolate–you won’t be able to stay away from it. Vegan, gluten-free & even nut-free!

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

A couple of weeks ago, I had the amazing opportunity to film a segment with Health2Fit on (edible) DIY holiday gifts. The whole thing was kinda surreal, like too good to be true. I got to go to a real studio (eeee!), and although I was super nervous, everyone was so nice and welcoming! Natalie asked me to share 3 treats, so I baked up some of my new favorite cookies (those are coming very soon ;) ), put together my DIY Brownie Mix Jars, and made this snack mix.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

The whole thing was a blast! I was (of course) really nervous while we were filming, but I’m excited to see how it all turned out. It was totally a dream come true, and I (and YOU!) get to see the final product this Saturday! The segment will air on local channel 7, cable channel 13, Saturday 12/14 at 11am (AZ time)! I will also be posting the video on here if you guys want to see it.

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

I actually don’t make a lot of snack mixes. I an such a snack monster that the last thing I need lying around the house is tempting snack food like this, but it’s always a hit at parties, and this one is actually pretty light for a dessert snack mix! Or at least that makes me feel better about the copious amount I consumed…

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

I love all of the different flavors and textures that come together in perfect harmony. The dark chocolate, by the way? Totally mandatory. And it has to be melted. I tried making it with chocolate chips, and although everything still tasted good, the melted dark chocolate is what really bring everything together. When it cools, it gives you those big, dreamy clusters that snack mix are all about. You could also use white chocolate–that’s been on my to-do list ever since I made this!

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: approx 5 cups

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Snack Mix

The perfect holiday snack mix with sweet and salty kettle corn, crunchy Chex, soft cranberries, and bold, creamy dark chocolate--you won't be able to stay away from it. Vegan, gluten-free & even nut-free!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups popped 94% fat free kettle corn
  • 2 cups Rice Chex cereal
  • 1 cup reduced sugar dried cranberries (or regular dried cranberries)
  • generous pinch sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate (or dark chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Evenly spread popcorn in a single layer over parchment paper. Top with Rice Chex, then cranberries. The goal is for all ingredients to be evenly dispersed. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  2. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a medium microwave safe bowl by heating in 30 second increments, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Drizzle chocolate over other ingredients. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
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