dessert

Peppermint Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Truffles

peppermint sandwich cookie truffleDecember is holiday time! Yay! When I think holidays (especially Christmas), I think peppermint. It’s just so festive and fun! You will definitely get your peppermint fill with these peppermint chocolate sandwich cookie truffles. OH. MY. YUM. If you’re confused what I mean by “chocolate sandwich cookie”, it’s just a very generic way of saying peppermint “Oreo” truffles. I decided not to play favorites because I did indeed use the generic brand that was labelled “chocolate sandwich cookies.” Guaranteed delicious no matter the brand. For reals.

peppermint sandwich cookie truffleI remember making chocolate sandwich cookie truffles in middle school home ec. class (Am I dating myself here? Do they still have that class??). In fact, I think that’s the only recipe I remember making in that class because, well, chocolate. You can’t forget a delicious chocolate recipe. Also, the original recipe literally has 3 ingredients…sandwich cookies, cream cheese, and chocolate chips. You don’t even really need a recipe for that. SCORE!

peppermint sandwich cookie truffleI used my homemade peppermint extract in this recipe. Amazing! Couple notes if you use a homemade extract…First of all, this isn’t baked so if you use an alcohol base in your extract, it will have a very small amount of alcohol in the final recipe (split over about 50 truffles). Also, I actually used a little extra extract than the recipe calls for (about 3 teaspoons instead of 2 teaspoons) because I find the homemade stuff isn’t quite as strong as store-bought. However, you also have peppermint candy cane dust to bring the peppermint flavor home so it’s not a huge deal if the extract isn’t super strong.

peppermint sandwich cookie truffleI love a strong peppermint flavor so you know for sure that something is peppermint. I ended up adding more and more peppermint to get the right flavor. I think I finally got there with this final recipe! Don’t forget a little candy cane garnish so everyone knows what deliciousness there is in that perfect little truffle!

peppermint sandwich cookie truffleIf you love a peppermint and chocolate combo, check out these chocolate mint crinkle cookies. You will not be disappointed. I plan on making them again this weekend because you can never have enough!

Peppermint Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Truffle
Yields 50
Mint and chocolate truffle
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 package chocolate sandwich cookies (14.3-ounce, such as Oreos)
  2. 3 peppermint candy canes (plus 1-2 more for garnish)
  3. 8-ounce package of cream cheese
  4. 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  5. 12-16 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips*
Instructions
  1. Crush the sandwich cookies with a rolling pin (or in a food processor) until they are a fine crumb. Set aside.
  2. Use a food processor to pulverize 3 candy canes into fine pieces. You are almost looking for a dust-like consistency but a few fine pieces are okay (you definitely don't want someone to bite down on a large chunk of candy cane).
  3. Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, beat together the cream cheese and peppermint extract until blended.
  4. Beat in the crushed cookies and candy cane.
  5. Form into 1" balls using a cookie scoop and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  6. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  7. While the truffles are cooling in the refrigerator, prep the peppermint garnish by crushing or food processing 1-2 candy canes into small pieces to sprinkle over the top.
  8. Right before the truffles are ready to come out of the refrigerator, melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in a microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after each increment.
  9. Dip each truffle into the chocolate using 2 spoons to help the excess chocolate drip off. Place truffles on a parchment-lined baking sheet and immediately top with the peppermint garnish.
  10. Let the chocolate set before storing in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. I ended up using one 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips plus about another 1/4 cup. You might be able to make it with just the 1 bag, but I'd recommend having more handy, just in case.
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Oven-Baked Apple Chips

Apple ChipsI hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was filled with family, laughter, and LOTS of food (of course!). I pretty much ate my weight in potatoes, rolls, turkey, and pie last week. I don’t regret it…but I think I do need a little time to let the food settle.

Apple ChipsI’m sure many of you have some extra apples lying around this time of year. No matter how wonderful that Thanksgiving apple pie was, the thought of any more pie at this moment does NOT sound appetizing to me. Ask me in like a week and my tune might change…but for now, let’s talk apple chips! A little lighter apple snack is worth a shot and these are SO DELICIOUS!

Apple ChipsThese oven-baked apple chips are super easy to make. Good food that requires little work = happy Steph. I’m sure this resonates with more people than just me. Especially after the busy Thanksgiving baking/cooking rush. You do need some patience, but you don’t need to fuss with the recipe for sure. It’s a breeze!

Apple ChipsMy little guy devoured these apple chips. As you can see, he even helped put them on the tray. Well…he did if “helped” means “took each of them off the tray and made me chase him so he didn’t drop them all over the floor.” I try to give him some credit at least for being interested in cooking. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with ways to have our little ones help in the kitchen. This could have potentially been a great activity if he didn’t love dropping things on the floor and eating apples…Maybe you’ll have better luck with your little ones. Let me know how it works out for you! (p.s. the picture shows an unlined baking sheet. I tried it lined and unlined. They both work but lined is much easier!)

Apple Chips*Note: Please don’t let your kids use a mandolin if they help. They can certainly help mix and put the slices on the trays though!

Oven-Baked Apple Chips
Simple, crispy, slightly sweet apple chips
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 apples (I used Granny Smith and Fuji, but you can use whatever you'd like)
  2. 2 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Use a mandolin on the thinnest setting to slice the apples*. Remove the seeds as you go.
  3. Toss the apple slices with the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  4. Place the apple slices on parchment-lined baking sheets (or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheets) in a single layer. It's okay if they slightly overlap, but you want most of them in a single layer.
  5. Bake for 1 hour, flip the apple slices over, and bake for an additional half hour to 1 hour. The amount of time needed will depend on the the thickness of the apples. The apples will not be completely crisp until they cool, but you want them to feel mostly dry to the touch.
  6. Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. *You can either core the apples prior to cutting, or leave the core in and remove the seeds as they are sliced. I did not core my apples and it worked great.
  2. If the apple chips begin to get soggy, throw them back in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for a few minutes until they crisp up again.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Lemon Shortbread Cookies

lemon shortbread cookiesThese lemon shortbread cookies…oh my. They are SCRUMPTIOUS! They literally melt. in. your. mouth. They just might be my new favorite cookie. Since the recipe is just a combination of household pantry/fridge staples, I find it real hard not to make these cookies every day of my life. I kind of want to go make them now. But I won’t. Self-control…

lemon shortbread cookiesI made these little delicacies for a bridal shower for one of my bestest friends. Everyone loved them! I did something you’re never supposed to do though. I made these for the FIRST time for the shower. That’s risky business because you never know if they’ll turn out. I had faith though, and was well rewarded for my trust in these cookies. Whew! 

lemon shortbread cookiesI do have to be honest about these. They started out as a vanilla bean shortbread cookie that I had saved from another blog and I now I can’t find the blog! The link is broken or it doesn’t exist anymore or something. So whoever you are that inspired these cookies, THANK YOU! If you’re out there reading this, you changed my life for the better. 

lemon shortbread cookiesRandom note that you might find helpful is that when you start mixing the dough together it will look like a crumbly mess. You might curse my name or start panicking. Take a deep breath. And another. And maybe by that time you will realize that the dough just needed to be mixed a little longer. It should become a nice smooth dough to roll out and everything will be well again. You might need to slightly press it into a ball to roll out, but it shouldn’t take too much effort.

I keep these pretty small because they’re so rich. Also a good excuse to eat a couple. Definitely not like 10 though. That’s *way* too many…cough, cough. 

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Lemon Shortbread Cookies
Yields 48
Sweet and tart lemon shortbread cookies that will melt in your mouth
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
11 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
11 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup softened butter
  2. 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 2 cups flour
  5. 1/2 cup cornstarch
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the drizzle
  1. 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  2. 3-4 tablespoons lemon juice (or juice from about 1 large lemon)
  3. lemon zest from 1 lemon
  4. water (to thin, if needed)
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter, 3/4 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, salt) in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until well-combined but still crumbly, about 1 minute. Turn mixer to medium and mix for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the dough comes together*.
  3. Roll the dough out into a 9"x12" rectangle between 2 pieces of parchment paper. It should end up being about 1/2"-3/8" thick.
  4. Transfer the parchment and dough to a baking sheet and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. After refrigeration, lift the dough from the baking sheet and cut it into 1 1/2" squares.
  7. Place the cold dough on parchment lined baking sheets. You don't need much room between them (about 1") because they don't spread much.
  8. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until pale golden brown on the edges.
  9. Let cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  10. Mix together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest for the drizzle in a small bowl. Add water, if needed, to create a consistency that is loose enough to drizzle. Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over the cooled shortbread cookies. Let the drizzle harden before storing in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. *When you start mixing, the dough will look crumbly. Continue to mix until the dough comes together...it will!
  2. Try not to overwork the dough once you roll it out or to reroll because it will get bumpy. However, if you must, the drizzle will cover some imperfections!
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Peach and Blueberry Galette

Peach Blueberry GaletteOh, hey! I haven’t been around for awhile. Don’t worry, I still love my blog and my food. It’s just that we recently moved (need I continue?). The house is amazing. BUT, it needs lots of paint and love to become our dream home! So foodie Steph has temporarily become cleaning-unpacking-priming-paining-designer-handy woman Steph. And if that isn’t enough to keep me busy, I’m trying to keep my on-the-move son away from new fun things like brick fireplaces and steps to the basement. It’s a fun, crazy life!

The other day among all the house reno work, I told Travis I needed to make cookies. I’m pretty sure he knew I was serious. I needed a break. No joke. Baking and cooking are my go-to rejuvenation activities and luckily I have a husband who would never turn down a cookie. Never ever. So Travis and I spent time together baking, and it was just what I needed. And he got cookies. Win, win. We made chocolate chip cookies and they made everything better.

Peach Blueberry GaletteYou know what else would have made everything better? You guessed it…this peach and blueberry galette. Maybe you don’t know what a galette is and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, if you would have asked me a year ago what a galette is I probably couldn’t have told you. It’s just a super simple open pie. That’s it! You could impress any guest with the seemingly complex dessert that takes about 5 minutes to throw together. It’s such a beautiful dessert even though it looks, for lack of a better term, rustic. The homemade, rustic look is charming in this case…so use it to your advantage if you have difficulty making a typical pie look picture perfect!

Peach Blueberry GalettePeach Blueberry GaletteYou know what takes this dessert to the next level? You guessed it again (you’re on fire today!)…ice cream. You take this gorgeous peach and blueberry galette out of the oven and serve it warm with cold vanilla ice cream piled on top. The fruit is juicy and sweet. The crust is crisp. The ice cream melts into the crevices. Stop. Just stop. I can’t even handle it. 

Peach Blueberry GaletteI just have to say that, like those chocolate chip cookies, this galette is a guaranteed pick-me-up. So take that much-needed break, find some ice cream to top this pile of deliciousness with, and you eat it like you deserve it. Maybe even find someone to share it with. Because, you know what they say…the only thing better than eating a galette is eating a galette with a friend. That’s not a real saying. I really just made that up right now. BUT, so much truth to it. So find a friend and eat a galette!

Peach and Blueberry Galette
Serves 6
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup finely sliced peaches (1-2 peaches)
  2. 1 cup blueberries
  3. 1/4 cup + 1/2 tablespoon sugar (divided)
  4. 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  5. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 9-inch pie crust, unbaked
  8. 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix sliced peaches, blueberries, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Place rolled out pie crust on parchment-lined baking sheet (or silicon mat).
  4. Arrange the fruit mixture in the center of the pie crust, leaving about 1 1/2 inches around the outside rim of the crust without fruit.
  5. Fold the extra pie crust towards the center. Don't worry about being too perfect!
  6. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is light golden brown.
  8. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon RollsOh. Man. I CANNOT wait to tell you about these Christmas morning cinnamon rolls! I am so excited that we will, in fact, be having these Christmas morning! It’s like a present to me. I’ll have to remember to write myself a thank you card…

Cinnamon RollsThis is our first Christmas as a family of 3 and Travis and I decided this year we needed to start some traditions of our own. First of all, we are traveling A LOT over the holidays. Or at least it feels like that. I’m pretty sure it just seems like we’re traveling more than we are because we need to pack a truckload of stuff with us now that we have a little one. Either way, we made it a point to actually be at HOME for Christmas day. I don’t think we’ve ever actually been home for Christmas day as a couple so this will be fun!

Another new tradition is apparently shopping online because we have no time to shop anymore. I’m starting to feel old because I know I’m totally late to this online shopping thing. BUT, with a baby, online shopping is the best thing since sliced bread.

Cinnamon RollsHowever, as Travis and I discussed traditions we pretty much focused most of our attention on food. Doesn’t it always go that direction?? Isn’t it wonderful?? As I thought about past family holidays, I remember the decorations and presents and snow and fun that we had. None of that was lost to me, but what I remember most is gathering around the table with family and enjoying a meal full of love and traditions. So this was like a BIG deal to come up with our own family traditions.

Cinnamon RollsSome of my most cherished holiday memories come back to baking with my grandmas, mom, and sister. Luckily, my family will be doing a little baking when we visit them so that tradition lives on! I still needed to do a little baking of my own though! That’s where these rolls come in. These cinnamon rolls are actually my grandma’s yeast dough recipe (passed down to her from her mom) that we usually would use to make bobalki (another amazing concoction for another day) and poppy seed rolls (like cinnamon rolls, but with poppy seed filling).

All you Slovak or Polish folks know what I’m talking about when I refer to poppy seed in terms of sweet treats. Most people think of the gross dry poppy seeds they find on bagels. No. Just no. This poppy seed filling I refer to is sticky and sweet and delicious. I think they take the poppy seed and engulf it in a tub of sugar and corn syrup and it comes out magical. So when you make these cinnamon rolls, I dare you to replace the filling with just a can of Solo poppy seed filling. I’m salivating thinking about it. *Warning, it may take some time to fully enjoy the amazing goodness of poppy seed filling if you haven’t grown up with it. Travis is not quite there yet…My brother-in-law is finally in love with it, but he has a few years on Travis in the poppy seed tradition.

Cinnamon RollsTravis agreed that we can make poppy seed rolls as part of our usual tradition on Christmas. However, since we were just figuring things out we landed on the cinnamon roll version for this year. And it’s hard to complain when you land on something so delicious. So I’ll share some of my poppy seed creations later. But for now, enjoy these cinnamon rolls! They will surely help make my Christmas morning so, so wonderful!

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls
Yields 24
Gooey and sweet cinnamon roll treat perfect for special occasions!
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Prep Time
3 hr 20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
3 hr 40 min
Prep Time
3 hr 20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
3 hr 40 min
Yeast Dough
  1. 1 1/2 cups milk
  2. 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  3. 2/3 cup white sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons salt
  5. 2 packets regular yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
  6. 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 6 1/2 cups flour
Filling
  1. 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  2. 1/4 cup cinnamon (4 tablespoons)
  3. 1/4 cup butter, melted
Icing
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  3. 2-3 tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. Scald the milk in a sauce pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the vegetable shortening until melted. Stir in the sugar and salt. Set aside to cool to lukewarm (about 10 minutes).
  2. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water in a large bowl. Let the yeast sit about 5-10 minutes (until the milk mixture is cooled).
  3. Add the milk mixture and eggs to the yeast mixture. Add in 3 1/2 cups of the flour and mix well. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour and knead until the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes.
  4. Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
  5. Grease two 9" round cake pans.
  6. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling.
  7. Divide the dough into 2 and roll one of the halves out on a well floured surface until it is 12x18 inches. Brush a thin layer of melted butter over the dough and sprinkle on half of the filling.
  8. Roll the dough, so you end up with a log 18 inches long. Cut into 12 pieces. Place pieces in cake pan, with a little space around each roll so it can rise again.
  9. Repeat with the second batch.
  10. Let the rolls rise about another hour.
  11. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. Bake rolls for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  13. Combine icing ingredients. Once the rolls are slightly cooled (about 15 minutes), you can drizzle the icing on the rolls.
Notes
  1. To help the dough rise (especially when it's cold), I turn my oven on to the lowest temperature for about 5 minutes then turn the oven off. Then I put my dough in the oven to rise. Make sure to take it out before you preheat the oven to bake!!
  2. You can freeze the rolls once they are cooled but before you put the icing on. To do this, remove the rolls from the pan after they are cooled and wrap in plastic wrap (I also wrap with aluminum foil after the plastic). To serve, defrost in the refrigerator and top with icing. If you want them warm, you can reheat them in the microwave or in the oven prior to topping with icing.
  3. Rolls are best eaten fresh, but can last a couple of days (but they really won't make it that long!).
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