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.

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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Drink & Dish: Spider Web Cupcakes

Easy & fun spider web cupcakes are the perfect treat to bring to your Halloween party, and they are totally fool-proof!

Spider Web Cupcakes

When I was a little kid, I absolutely LOVED Halloween. Not surprising that this theatre kid loved getting dressed up, right? The best part was that every year my dad would take me trick-or-treating, and we would have themed costumes. I can’t remember everything we did, but I know it included The Lion King and 101 Dalmations. Sometimes he would rent the most elaborate costumes from local costume shops. He always went all-out, and it made the holiday really special to me.

Spider Web Cupcakes

In fact, I’m pretty sure I went trick-or-treating all the way through high school, and even one year in college (with my brother–not alone!!). Oh my brother…one year we went he was riding some scooter around! The epitome of lazy, right? I have never let him get over that one!

Spider Web Cupcakes

I actually haven’t really gotten into Halloween for a long time…until this year! You guys, Nicole and I had such a blast getting dressed into costumes, playing with dry ice and spider webs, and creating fun Halloween concoctions together. It really reminded me what this holiday is about (for me)–having fun.  I’m actually looking forward to it this year also because I work at an arts school, and I just know my students are going to come decked out in super creative costumes.

Spider Web Cupcakes

So let’s chat about these cupcakes. They are ridiculously simple. You can use any chocolate cupcake you’d like. Homemade, box mix, even one you buy from the store. I like chocolate because of the dark color, but anything will work. Red? Orange? Candy corn colors? You name it. Then you just need a white frosting. I used cream cheese because that’s what I like, but you could use butter cream, or even a store bought variety (although, I beg you, don’t buy the ones with the weird hydrogenated oils). You’ll also need some black royal icing. Confession:I bought one at the store. This stuff is totally out of my realm, and I was all about ease and simplicity.

Spider Web Cupcakes

A few tips that will help you:

  • Use a very small tip on your piping bag.  <—Small tip = more control
  • Chill the royal icing. <–chilled icing makes it thicker, less runny, and easier to work with
  • Start conservatively. <–You can always add later, but you can’t take away.
  • Practice on some wax paper or paper towel before trying it out on your cupcakes. <–I did, and I figured out what I liked.

In the latest episode of Drink & Dish, I demonstrate exactly how to make these, so you can see the step-by-step process. Nicole makes a devil’s food cake martini that is not only delicious, but she also shows how to use her awesome fake blood to make your martini look like blood is dripping down it–totally creepy and awesome. Oh, and we definitely wore costumes. It was my favorite episode we’ve ever filmed.

Drink & Dish: Spider Web Cupcakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Drink & Dish: Spider Web Cupcakes

Easy & fun spider web cupcakes are the perfect treat to bring to your Halloween party, and they are totally fool-proof!

Ingredients

  • Chocolate cupcakes
  • Cream cheese frosting (or butter cream, or any white frosting)
  • Black royal icing

Instructions

  1. See instructional video
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Drink & Dish: Pumpkin Waffle French Toast

Light and fluffy gluten-free pumpkin waffles turned into sweet, pumpkin french toast for the best of all breakfast worlds. Do you love pumpkin as much as I do? Check out my other pumpkin recipes.

Pumpkin Waffle French Toast #glutenfree

You know what I don’t really understand? When people eat brunch at 2 pm. I mean isn’t the entire point that it’s supposed to be between breakfast and lunch? You know, because you sleep past breakfast. Well, I don’t. I have an internal clock and 6:30 is considered sleeping in for me. When I say brunch, I mean 10am and that’s like…we’re eating at 10am because I’ve been up for 4 hours and could have already eaten, and then been hungry again by now. I’ve always had a big appetite.

Pumpkin Waffle French Toast #glutenfree

And I’m not one of those easy going hungry people either. Nope. Cranky, irritable, and hangry (hungry/angry) is more my style. Not to mention dramatic. I can’t even tell you how many times I have told Steve that I was “literally starving to death” or that “I have never been so hungry!”

Pumpkin Waffle French Toast #glutenfree

10am really is the right time. Wake up, drink coffee, start cooking, and by the time you’ve become a fully developed human being (it takes me a workout, or at least an hour), people start arriving, and you’ve become at least mildly pleasant.

Pumpkin Waffle French Toast #glutenfree

So let me explain this french toast to you. It’s really pretty simple. You take a waffle–any waffle, but preferably this pumpkin one–and you soak it in some French toast batter (do you call it batter? it’s not really a batter? you get the point…) for an hour or so, then you just pan fry it up like regular french toast. It truly is the best of all breakfast worlds. A couple things to note: If you use homemade waffles, you want them to be cooked crispy, and 1-2 days old, otherwise they will get soggy. If you’re using a frozen waffle, toast it first.

Pumpkin Waffle French Toast #glutenfree

For our final fall episode of Drink & Dish, Nicole and I went with a harvest brunch (in case my entirely too long rant about brunch time wasn’t an indication…). Nicole makes a delicious pumpkin chai latte that is so warm and comforting, it will knock your socks off! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to Drink & Dish on YouTube!

In addition, I have an important announcement! After hearing that many of you were worried about completing the Drink & Dish video challenge in the time allotted, we have decided to extend it all the way to New Years! We really want to see as many people as possible succeed with their videos, so you still have plenty of time to enter!

Drink & Dish: Pumpkin Waffle French Toast

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Serving Size: 1 waffle

Drink & Dish: Pumpkin Waffle French Toast

Light and fluffy gluten-free pumpkin waffles turned into sweet, pumpkin french toast for the best of all breakfast worlds.

Ingredients

    For the pumpkin waffles:
  • 2 cups gluten-free baking blend
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Dash salt
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 3/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the french toast:
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs + 8 egg whites
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  1. To make the waffles, in a large bowl whisk together baking blend, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry until just combined. A few small lumps are fine--you do not want to overmix. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat waffle heater. Spray with nonstick spray. Once batter has rested, cook until lightly browned and edges are crisp, about 10 minutes.
  4. To make the french toast, in a large bowl beat together pumpkin, eggs, almond milk, vanilla, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Place waffles in a large shallow dish and cover with pumpkin/egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Spray a large skillet with nonstick spray. Cook each waffle until browned and edges crisp, about 5-7 minutes per side. Serve immediately with maple syrup and fresh berries if desired. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Notes

Best with crisp-cooked day old waffles. You may use frozen waffles or any waffle you'd like. This is a huge recipe that can easily be halved or quartered.

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Drink & Dish: Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Bacon & Dates

Tender seared brussels sprouts with crispy bacon, soft and sweet dates, and crunchy chopped apples topped with a sweet balsamic glaze. Looking for more healthy side dishes? Check these out!

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

I want to tell you a story. A love story…of sorts. You see, I used to hate brussels sprouts. People all over the internet go crazy for them, and I never got it. I legit thought they were gross.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

Then I tasted them in a big dish of roasted veggies, and decided I could tolerate them. They weren’t terrible, but I would still find a couple lingering on my plate after I had devoured every other vegetable on there. I’m a girl who loves my veggies–I eat them first, and I almost always finish them. I would be a great example for your children.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

One day, I ordered a dish at True Foods that included brussels sprouts. I took a bite and immediately went back in for more thinking it must be a fluke. They were incredible! I find myself digging around on my plate searching, trying to find every last one. I usually only do that with goat cheese! ;)

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

Ever since that day, there has been a new veggie love in my life and I have never looked back. These quickly became my new favorite snack, and I began the process of convincing Steve that brussels sprouts really weren’t gross (he was not convinced). I figured out what made them work for me–they had to be well cooked. Soft, but not mushy. Definitely not hard and crunchy. They also had to have a beautiful browned sear for the most possible flavor. And they are always  better with bacon.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

In New Orleans I had them with bacon and dates–they came with this sweet sauce, and they were literally to die for. I gave Steve a bite and he changed his mind right then and there. He told me he would only ever eat them if they tasted like that. Challenge accepted. And I added some apples because, well, it’s fall and they just make it even better.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

Funny story, when I made these the first time (for testing, photographing and…dinner), I chopped up the apples to throw in at the last second. You must throw them in at the last second. I despise mushy apples. Anyway, I also sliced some up for the photo. I plated everything, took the pictures, and then after I was finished Steve asks me “Are you doing anything with all these chopped apples in the kitchen?” *face-palm* I had them all chopped and ready to go and never actually put them in. So I added them right then–at the very, very last second. I do things like that all the time–get something ready for a photo then completely forget about it. Please tell me it’s not just me.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Dates & Apples

For this second fall episode of Drink & Dish, I wanted to share something savory with you. I always forget about fall veggies and get caught up on pumpkin desserts. Brussels sprouts (and apples!) are fall all-stars as well, and I figured it was time for them to take the front seat! This dish pairs perfectly with Nicole’s delicious apple cider cocktail! Make sure you check it out, and of course subscribe to D&D on YouTube!

Drink & Dish: Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Bacon & Dates

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: approx 4 servings

Drink & Dish: Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Bacon & Dates

A delicious, healthy, sweet and savory side dish perfect for fall.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brussels sprouts, halved and stems removed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 slices center cut bacon, chopped
  • 4 dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1/2 apple (honeycrisp, gala, whatever you like)
  • For the balsamic glaze (optional):
  • 1/2-1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Begin with the balsamic glaze by pouring balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium-medium high to simmer. Stir occasionally until sauce has reached desired thickness. This took me about 30 minutes for a very syrupy glaze. 20-30 minutes should be all you need. Once desired consistency is reached, remove from heat immediately.
  2. Fill a medium sauce pan half way with water. Bring to a boil. Add brussels sprouts and cook for just 2-3 minutes. Strain and remove. This step helps soften the brussels sprouts--if you like them crunchier, feel free to skip it.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Set aside any extra leaves that fall off your brussels sprouts--you'll use those later (they cook faster). Add brussels sprouts flat side down. Season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until seared and brown, about 5-7 minutes. Flip brussels sprouts and move them all to one side of your pan.
  4. Add bacon to the other side of the pan and cook until it begins to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add dates and extra brussels sprouts leaves. Toss to combine. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. At the very last moment, add chopped apple and give a quick toss. Remove from heat. Serve topped with balsamic vinegar if desired. This dish is best served immediately, but leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
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Drink & Dish Video Challenge

Hi friends! Guess what??? As many of you know, in lieu of our recent speaking engagements on video content, Nicole and I have decided to create a video challenge. This means you have the opportunity to get started on video, and the chance to win faaaabulous prizes (from a girl who loves to win)!

#DrinkAndDish Video Challenge!

We know how tough it can be to add a video component to your blog, so if you’ve been considering it for a while, think of this as a nice kick in the pants. If you always said you would never dream of doing video, think of it as an opportunity to win free stuff! If you’re looking for some tips and tricks to get started, check out the slides from out latest video presentations. Nicole is a powerpoint artist.

To enter:

1. Sign up for a YouTube or Vimeo account and subscribe to the Drink & Dish YouTube Channel.
2. Brainstorm a list of at least 5 potential video topics.
3. Pick one idea and grab a camera (any camera that can record video!)
4. Create a video (3 min or less).
5. Edit your video – in some way. This could be cutting out a mistake or even just adding music.
6. Post the video to YouTube and share it on your blog. In the post link back to this post about the challenge.
7. Send an email to DrinkandDish(at)gmail(dot)com with a link to your blog post featuring the video.
8. Complete all this by December 31st!

To WIN!:

Nicole and I will review all the submissions and evaluate them based on these factors:

  • Personality – Let the real you shine through!
  • Content – Does you video fit with your blog & enhance it in some way? Does your video have a purpose?
  • Quality – Can we see what you’re doing clearly & hear what you’re saying?

Prizes:

We will choose the top 5 videos after the submission deadline on October 15th, and winners will receive:

  • Grand Prize – An 8MB HD Digital Video Camera
  • 1st through 5th place will each receive a clip-on lapel microphone

This contest is sponsored by, well, us! We want you to take the plunge and begin your video journey! Please feel free to spread the word–tell your friends about the challenge, and maybe even ask them to join you on camera! Can’t wait to see what you all put together!!