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Funfetti Cookies

12 Feb

Though I love to bake from scratch, sometimes it is so worth it to bake semi-homemade style.  These funfetti cookies are a testament to that.  Funfetti cookies, a step-sibling to the adorable funfetti cakes, have always been a staple for my family, but surprisingly I realized this last Christmas that Rob has never had one that he can recall.  Granted, my mother-in-law doesn’t bake much, but this is definitely her kind of baking so I couldn’t get over the fact that he claims she never made these for him.

With the urge to bake something quick and easy that I knew Rob would love, nothing was appealing to me (that would appeal to him).  That is – until I was making the turn to head to the check-out at the grocery store last weekend.  Right in front of me was a huge Valentine’s Day candy display, along with boxes of Valentine’s Day themed funfetti cake mix for $.99.  Yes, less than a dollar – I had to snag it up knowing that I had to make Rob some funfetti cookies!

To be honest, though these cookies are a staple in my family – I’ve never actually made them.  Maybe it’s because once I started baking I tried to stick to baking from scratch, or maybe it’s because they’re not “new” to me so I didn’t see the point in baking them when I knew that I’d have them the next Christmas.  Regardless, I’m glad I finally decided to make them because with the little one on the way it’s good to learn some super quick, easy, kid pleasing desserts.  Though baking from scratch isn’t hard in my opinion, it does require a little extra prep that I may not have time for in a few years when I just want to bake with my kids!

Being that I never made these, I actually had to search for the recipe.  It wasn’t hard to find, but then when I went to open the box I noticed the recipe was right on the side of the box.  Oops!  There really is nothing easier than these cookies and I’m sure one day I’ll look around for a homemade version – but until then these will definitely work.  They’re so delicious – they taste like they’re completely from scratch – no one has to know you need only 1 bowl, 1 spoon and 4 ingredients!

Funfetti Cookies
Ingredients:
1 box Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1/2 can Pillsbury Funfetti frosting, or frosting of your choice (a great way to seasonalize the cookies!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375

In a large bowl combine cake mix, eggs and oil until thoroughly moistened.  Add candy sprinkles from box and fold in well.

Shape dough in to 1-inch balls and place two inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Take a glass and lightly press cookies to 1/4″ thickness.

Bake for 6-8 minutes or until edges are just golden brown.   Cool 1-minute then remove from pan and place on cooling rack.

Spread frosting over warm cookies and immediately sprinkle with candy from frosting, or with desired decorations.

Source: Pillsbury

Sugar Cookie Place Cards

4 Jan

In my opinion, holiday baking is not complete without some sugar cookies.  However, in the past, one of my least favorite cookies was the sugar cookie – that is, until I tried this cookie!  I’ve made some sugar cookies that I’ve liked, but never one that completely wowed me.  This year along with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law we made Sugar Cookie Place Cards for Christmas dinner and so I wanted a recipe that would bring the W-O-W factor, plus the decorations that would produce the cute factor!  Not needing to look far, I decided to try Annie’s favorite sugar cookie recipe.  She has a few variations, but considering it was Christmas I decided to go with the original almond flavoring.

With the exception of trying out the other flavor variations, I intend on this recipe being my standby sugar cookie recipe.  I love the flavor the powdered sugar provided and the hint of almond was fantastic!  Not to mention the fact the my husband kept raving about them, insisting I eat mine immediately after dinner despite the fact that I was stuffed and “saving it for later”.  Plus, the bonus is that the cookies held their shape perfectly which makes it easier to decorate.

Speaking of decorating – I didn’t get pictures of the process like I intended to so I was unable to do a tutorial on decorating with royal icing.  Check out Annie’s fantastic tutorial here.

Sugar Cookies
Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cup flour, sifted

Directions:
Cream butter and add powdered sugar.

Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and sifted flour.  Chill dough until firm (a few hours).

Roll to 1/4″ thickness on well-floured surface.  Cut with cookies to desired shapes.  Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Cookies should not brown.  Allow to cool completely before decorating.

Source: Annie’s Eats

Gooey Butter Cookies

17 Dec

For those of us in St. Louis, Gooey Butter Cake and Cookies are everywhere; especially this time of year around the holidays.  However, thanks to the genius of the interwebs, Gooey Butter Cake and Gooey Butter Cookies are becoming more well known.  The very first post I did on this site was dedicated to a Holiday Baking day with the women in my family (which is an annual tradition that I look forward to every year!).

One of the recipes I included was Gooey Butter Cookies, but I have decided to repost the recipe.  First of all, I highly doubt anyone will go far enough in to the depth of this blog to find this fantastic recipe, and secondly, I have since starting making these cookies on my own, with different flavor variations that I wanted to share.  Third, when reposting I noticed that I missed an ingredient in the original posting, plus it was very bulleted and non conversational.

Gooey Butter Cookies
Ingredients:
1 egg
1 box yellow cake mix
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 stick softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for rolling and dusting

Directions:
In a large bowl with a mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Beat in the egg, then beat in the extract.  Beat in the cake mix.  Cover and refrigerate until firm enough to roll (2 hours to overnight if preparing in advance).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place powdered sugar in a bowl set to the side.  Roll chilled dough in to tablespoon size balls and then in the powdered sugar.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart and bake 12 minutes.  The cookies will remain soft and gooey.  Cool completely and sprinkle with extra powdered sugar if desired.


Variations:
I have made these cookies in the traditional butter flavor, but have started making them in different varieties.


Mint Chocolate:
Use chocolate fudge cake mix and swap out the vanilla extract for mint extract


Red Velvet:
Use Red Velvet cake mix


Snickerdoodle
Use a Cinnamon Swirl cake mix and roll in cinnamon sugar instead.  Or, use a butter cake mix and mix in 2 teaspoons cinnamon and roll in cinnamon sugar


Kitchen Sink (Monster) Cookies

14 Oct
There is something very comforting about baking cookies, much more so than most other baked goods in my opinion.  Maybe because fresh baked cookies always remind me of childhood.  Even as an adult one of my favorite things about the holidays is baking cookies with all of the women in my small family.  
Until recently I’d only ever heard of Monster Cookies, but since I’ve been seeing them more and more on blogs, menus, etc. I knew I’d have to try them, and try them soon.  The moment I saw these cookies featuring PRETZEL M&Ms I knew I had to try this recipe.  I am very partial to Peanut M&Ms, but I do enjoy snacking on the newest M&M creation that is taking the country by storm – the Pretzel M&M.  Plus, my husband LOVES them so I knew I’d get him to sample these cookies by throwing that out there.
I admit, I made a mistake with these cookies.  I was actually doubling the batch because I had three purposes to bake them for, however after wondering why they weren’t really puffing up I remembered that I forgot to double the baking soda.  Oops!  With that being said, these cookies were still like crack they were so good.  
Note: the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup raisins added with the M&Ms and chocolate chips, which I omitted because I don’t like them.  I’m thinking these would be good with Crasins though so next time I make these I’ll try that.  Oh, and believe me – there will be MANY next times!
Kitchen Sink (Monster) Cookies
Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups creamy peanut butter
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal
1 1/4 cup pretzel M&Ms
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In the bowl of an electric mixer combine sugars, peanut butter and butter.  Beat on medium-high speed until well blended.  Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scrapping down the bowl as needed.  Blend in the baking soda, vanilla, and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the oatmeal until just incorporated.  Fold in the M&Ms and chocolate chips with a spatula.
Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving a couple of inches between each dough ball.  Bake 8-11 minutes, until light golden and just set, being careful not to overbake.  Let cool on the baking sheets 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.
Source: Adapted from Annie’s Eats, as seen on Blue Eyed Bakers

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

12 Oct
Fall is without a doubt my favorite season.  The list of things I love about fall is pretty long:
  • Mums
  • Fall Decorations
  • Halloween and all that implies
  • The smell – leaves, grass, pumpkin and cinnamon candles…
  • Fall foliage
  • Baseball playoffs – when the Cardinals are actually in it 😦
  • HOCKEY SEASON!!
  • Hoodies in the evening
  • Open windows in the house and while driving
  • Curling up on the weekends with a hot drink and a good book or uber-girlie movie
  • Yoga pants and long sleeve t-shirts all weekend long
  • Bulky cardigans
  • and most importantly – THE FOOD!!!

Fall weather has been hit or miss here this year, but that doesn’t deter me from participating in some seasonal baking and cooking.  One of the first seasonal inspired items I’ve baked were these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with a Maple Cream Cheese Filling.  If you like pumpkin you definitely need to try these.  They’re sweet and spicy, the perfect combination for Fall, and then you add a little maple syrup cream cheese filling and they’re positively decadent.  
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Filling 

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground fresh nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup canola oil
3 cups chilled pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk to sugars and oil together. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine thoroughly.  
Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined.  Sprinkle the flour mixture over the pumpkin mixture and whisk until completely combined.

Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop heaping TBSP of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely on the pan while you make the filling. They will look more like mini cakes then cookies, so don’t panic about that.

Maple Syrup Cream Cheese Filling
Ingredients:
3 cups powdered sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 TBSP maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth with no visible lumps. Add the cream cheese an beat until combined.

Add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful no to overbeat the filling, or it will lose structure.

To assemble Whoopie Pies:Turn half the cooled cookies upside down. Pipe filling (about a TBSP) onto that half. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spread to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm before serving.

Sugar Cookie Bars

9 Jul
When trying to think of a new recipe to take to a family gathering I stumbled across these sugar cookie bars I had starred in my Google Reader.  These sugar cookie bars are quite the rage lately, but I couldn’t pass blogging them as well.  These were out of this world amazing and I already can’t wait to make more.  They remind me of the thick sugar cookies with gobs of frosting that you can buy prepackaged at Sam’s Club – only better!  The only change I’ll make to these in the future is to not thin out the frosting as much as I did – and maybe use a little smaller of a jelly roll pan, or make a little extra frosting so that it’s a bit thicker.  Additionally, to flavor slightly, use other extracts instead of vanilla (such as Almond, lemon juice, etc.)  I do love being able to easily tweak a recipe for variety 🙂
Sugar Cookie Bars
Ingredients:
For the Cookie
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
5 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
For the Frosting
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons milk
food coloring, if desired
Directions:
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl sift together flour, salt, and baking soda.  Slowly add to butter mixture and mix until just combined.  Great a large rimmed baking sheet (13×18 or 10×15).  Gently and evenly spread out batter onto sheet.  
Bake at 375 for 10-20 minutes, until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  (I’ve seen recipes ranging from 10 – 25 minutes across the board – mine took 13).  Allow to cool completely before frosting.
To prepare frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Mix in vanilla and salt.  Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until combined, then add milk and mix until smooth and spreadable.  Add a few drops of color if desired.  Spread over cooled cookie, then cut in to bars.  
Source: Love and Olive Oil, originally from Recipe Girl

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

20 May

I recently posted that for a coworkers birthday I wanted to make two kinds of Whoopie Pies… I personally wanted a S’more based dessert, but coworker LOVES Red Velvet.  I made S’mores Whoopie Pies, rather gratuitously, and Red Velvet for her.  Granted, these don’t look to pretty, they were a huge hit.  The pretty factor was all me – I was having some difficulties with my piece of a cookie scoop.  They were rich, moist and creamy.  I loved that the cakes weren’t too sweet, since the filling was pretty darn sweet.

One thing I will say about these Whoopie Pies is that I was shocked at how thick the batter was.  I’ve seen blog posts with people piping the dough, but when I saw how thick it was I chose not to because I thought it was too much… maybe I was wrong though.  Also, another note – I do think I should have chilled the filling a little before assembling.  Chilling it would stiffen it up a bit, therefore making it less likely to spill over the cookies once sandwiched.  Regardless of the slight issues – still delicious, and that’s all that matters!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie 
Ingredients: 
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1-oz. bottle red food coloring (2 Tablespoons)
1 recipe Whoopie Pie Filling, below

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment; set aside.  In medium bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and set aside

In a large mixing bowl beat butter on medium to high, 30 seconds.  Beat in brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating after each addition until just combined.  Stir in food coloring.

Spoon batter in 1-2 inch diameter rounds, about 1/2″ high on prepared baking sheets, allowing 1″ between each round.

Bake 7-9 minutes  for 1″ cookies, or 9-11 minutes for 2″ cookies, or until tops are set.  Cool completely on baking sheets on rack.  Remove cooled cookies from baking sheets.

To fill, dollop Whoopie Pie Filling on flat sides of half the cookies.  Top with remaining cookies, flat sides down.

To store: refrigerate in airtight container up to 4 days.  Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before serving.

Whoopie Pie Filling
Ingredients: 
1/4 cup softened butter
4 oz. softened cream cheese
7 oz. jar Marshmallow Creme

Directions:
In medium mixing bowl beat butter and cream cheese until smooth

Fold in marshmallow creme

(I recommend chilling for a little bit to stiffen up some before assembling cookies/pies.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens