When I made my Starbucks knock-off mint brownies a couple weeks back I bought a bag of the Andes baking bits just to use for decoration. I had actually seen a great sounding brownie recipe or a cookie recipe or who knows what kind of recipe in a magazine recently that called for the Andes bits but, of course, once I actually had the bag in my hand I had no idea what magazine it was in and Google was absolutely no help.

These cookies are wonderful. They’re soft and chewy and have just the right amount of mint flavor. And crinkle cookies are among my favorites as far as appearance so obviously I love how they look. The only thing I don’t like is that the recipe calls for shortening but what do you do?

Mint Chocolate Crinkles

Ingredients

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup cocoa, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cup (1 10 oz. package) Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips
1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt together into a bowl and set aside.
  3. With a hand held or standing mixer, beat together the shortening and butter until creamy. Add the sugars and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Add the flour mixture and blend until smooth. Fold in Andes Creme de Menthe Baking Chips.
  4. Roll the dough, by hand, into a 1 1/2 inch balls. Roll the balls in the powdered sugar to fully cover ball. Flatten the balls gently into 1/2" thick disks and place about 2” apart, spacing them evenly on un-greased baking sheets. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cookies set 1 minute on baking sheet. Remove from sheet and move to wire rack to cool completely.
http://fakeginger.com/mint-chocolate-crinkles/
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So far in the 25 Days of Holiday Goodies I have avoided using pumpkin for various reasons but mainly because my husband’s threatened divorce if he sees one more can of the orange stuff come into our house. Well, the good news is that the pumpkin in this coffee cake is hardly noticeable. That’s also the bad news. :(

The cake itself is beyond amazing. Like I mentioned, it’s a pumpkin cake but in the center it has a cinnamon streusel and then on top is a delicious caramel with pecans sprinkled throughout.

It’s a pretty simple cake. There are quite a few steps but nothing’s difficult. You don’t even have to make real caramel, it’s just brown sugar and cream. The batter was super thick and gave me a little trouble when I tried to spread it and tried to take the pecans and the cinnamon streusel with it, but other than that it was easy. And it looks pretty impressive if you ask me! And it’s delicious, of course!

You remember what happened to my cranberry upside down cake? How the whole upside down part kind of soaked into the cake instead of staying on top? Well, that happened here too which was great as far as the taste of the cake but I was really hoping the caramel would stay on top. I ended up just making a quick batch of caramel and drizzling it over the top. If anyone has any advice on that, please help me out. I’ve never had this happen before and now it’s happened twice within a month or so.

Pumpkin Caramel Coffee Cake

Ingredients

For the Caramel:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
For the Streusel:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Cake:
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 9-inch pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Stir together the brown sugar, cream and salt for the caramel. Pour into a prepared pan and spread to coat the bottom. Sprinkle pecans over the caramel.
  3. In a food processor, process brown sugar, flour, butter, cinnamon and the salt for the streusel. Pulse until small clumps form; set aside.
  4. Whisk buttermilk, sour cream, pumpkin puree and eggs together and place into a large measuring cup with a pour spout. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a small bowl. Cream the butter and sugar with a mixer just until combined.
  5. Alternately add dry and wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry. Blend each additions just until incorporated. Spread half the batter over the caramel, then sprinkle with half the streusel. Carefully spread remaining batter over that and top with remaining streusel.
  6. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake for 5 minutes, then run a pairing knife around the sides to loosen. Invert onto a serving platter while hot, then let cool slightly before slicing.
http://fakeginger.com/pumpkin-caramel-coffee-cake/

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I’m not a candy maker. I hate candy thermometers. I hate anything that you have to keep watch over, worrying that you’ve ruined your candy if you go just a few degrees over. Stuff like that takes time away from my Tweeting and we just can’t have that.

But popcorn brittle? That needed to be made. My husband and my 2 year old both love popcorn so I knew this one was a winner before I even started. It was easy as far as candy goes. Yes, I was Tweeting as I watched the thermometer and everything turned out fine.

The brittle is extremely sweet. Ridiculously sweet. Almost too sweet. If I was to make it again, I’d cut out some of the sugar. Or the corn syrup. Or a little lot of both. Because holy geez, that’s a lot of sweetness. I was worried about the molasses since molasses is pretty much the worse smell ever, but it was actually very good in this. I barely noticed it was there but it added a little something to the overall flavor. The popcorn texture was great though! Definitely a fun change from regular brittle.

(Yesterday I started messing with my theme and totally messed it up which is why everything looks different today. Forgive me if it looks dumb on your computer. And if anyone wants to volunteer to make me a header, I would love you forever!)

(Also, today’s my half birthday! *dances*)

Popcorn Brittle

from Cooking Light

Ingredients

5 1/2 cups popcorn, popped without salt or fat
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil; coat foil with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place popcorn in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal. Crush popcorn using a meat mallet or rolling pin; set aside.
  3. Combine sugar, syrup, and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook 1 minute or until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer registers 270F (about 8 minutes). Stir in molasses and butter; cook until thermometer registers 290F (about 5 minutes). Stir in baking soda, vanilla, and salt. Stir popcorn into boiling syrup mixture. Working quickly, pour popcorn mixture onto prepared pan; spread to 1/4-inch thickness using a wooden spoon coated with cooking spray. Cool completely; break into large pieces.
http://fakeginger.com/popcorn-brittle/

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Crockpot Candy! Only 4 ingredients! I make several batches of this every Christmas - it is so good!

This Crockpot Candy recipe comes from my best friend and her mother. They make it every Christmas and every Christmas I beg her to bring me some every time I see her. I honestly had no idea it was so easy.

It’s 4 ingredients, the slow cooker does everything for you, and it’s delicious. The husband asked if I had put crack in it because he can’t seem to stop eating it. And I’m not gonna lie, I can’t either! It is seriously addictive. I crave it all year long.

The recipe only calls for peanuts but my friend usually does a mixture of peanuts and pecans. I stuck with only peanuts out of cheapness but the pecans are really good in it. Also, I halved the batch and got a ton (as you can see from the picture below) so if you make a full batch, be ready to eat a lot of peanuts!

(PS. Almond bark is found in the baking aisle of your grocery store, close to all the baking chocolates. Or you can order it online.)

Crockpot Candy! Only 4 ingredients! I make several batches of this every Christmas - it is so good!

Crockpot Candy

Ingredients

12 ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips
24 ounces dry roasted peanuts

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker. Let cook on low for 1 hour without messing with it. After an hour, stir to combine everything. Allow to cook for another hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
  2. Drop spoonfuls of the candy onto wax paper and allow to cool completely.
http://fakeginger.com/crockpot-candy/

Crockpot Candy Recipe - I make at least 2 batches of this every Christmas. It's so good!
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If you’re anything like me, your pet is an important part of your family which means he or she gets presents on holidays. Normally I buy our Duke a couple toys and a bag of treats but sometimes even dogs need a homemade treat that was baked with extra love.

(Yes, I found a way to force pumpkin on even the dog. It’s good for their digestive system. Who knew!)

Duke loves them and while I’m too much of a chicken to try them, they’re bound to be good with pumpkin and peanut butter!

Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Doggy Cookies

Ingredients

2 c whole wheat flour, plus flour for dusting
1/2 c rolled oats
2 eggs
3/4 c canned pumpkin
3 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine all ingredients in stand mixer with paddle attachment. Mix until ingredients combined. Flour work surface. Roll dough to 1/4" thickness. Cut into 1" to 1.5" pieces.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes (depending upon size). You want them firm but still a little chewy.
http://fakeginger.com/pumpkin-peanut-butter-doggy-cookies/

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