I’m back!

I had really intended on scheduling posts for while we were on vacation. But man, I was so busy in that week or two before we left that I just didn’t have time. And then, conveniently, my new design was ready to go the day after we left so it all kind of worked out.

And yeah! Did you see the new design?! I’m pretty excited about it. The lovely girls at Wooden Spoons Kitchen did an amazing job. And now my next task is to speed the site up. Hopefully within the next few weeks, everything will be worked out.

So now, Sand Pudding!

It occurred to me about halfway through taking these photos that worms probably don’t live in sand. Then I remembered that the baby and I both got bit by something on our trip to the beach and my mom said that it may have been sand fleas. And that’s when I decided that gummy worms are much cuter than sand fleas (seriously, google those things!) and the worms could just stay on the sand pudding.

This is the kind of dessert that I just love. You guys, I don’t even like pudding. But because it has crushed cookies that look like sand on top, I’m all about it. And of course the kids loved it. My 4 year old keeps asking for “that ice cream with the dirt on top” because he is deeply confused the whole thing.

Click for the full recipe

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Happy Memorial Day to all!

Fun plans? Please tell me all about the delicious grilled food you will be eating today! I am still terrified of our grill and since all our friends are either in Afghanistan or have moved, we’re probably just going to stay home and eat ice cream sandwiches.

Speaking of, if you have a Safeway near you, run – yes, RUN – and get a box of their birthday cake ice cream sandwiches. They have a layer of icing in them and omg, best thing ever.

But today we’re here to talk about cookies!

I’ve been kind of obsessed with cake mix cookies ever since I made those Watermelon Cake Mix Sandwich Cookies. They’re really great for people like me who decide that they want to have cookies ready for their kid when they get home from their last day of school. With only 20 minutes to spare.

And they’re delicious. Because duh, cake mix.

Chocolate M&Ms Cake Mix Cookies

adapted from Something Swanky

Ingredients

18.25 ounce chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup flour
1 cup M&Ms

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together cake mix, eggs, canola oil, and flour until everything is incorporated. Stir in 3/4 of the M&Ms with a rubber spatula.
  3. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Press remaining M&Ms onto the tops of the dough.
  4. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/05/26/chocolate-mms-cake-mix-cookies/

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I’ve been kind of obsessed with pudding cookies since I first tried them almost a year ago. Since then I’ve made pumpkin ones and cranberry pistachio ones. I just can’t get enough!

If you’ve never put pudding in cookies, I really suggest you try it. Especially if you love a soft cookie! The pudding takes a regular cookie and gives it a little something special.

These cookies are basic peanut butter cookies with chocolate chunks and then have a packet of vanilla pudding in it. Peanut butter cookies are probably at the top of my Favorite Cookies list so I’m sure you can imagine how much I loved these.

Two years ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Three years ago: Pulled Pork with Alabama Barbecue Sauce
Four years ago: Loaded Blondies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Pudding Cookies

about 3 dozen cookies

adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen

Ingredients

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chunks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and vanilla pudding mix.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, peanut butter, and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add in flour mixture and beat until just incorporated. Fold in chocolate chunks.
  4. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly.
  5. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving about 2 inches between each ball of dough.
  6. Bake 10 - 12 minutes or until cookies just start to turn golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/03/05/peanut-butter-chocolate-chunk-pudding-cookies/

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Do you have Valentine’s Day plans yet? I told my husband that I want takeout sushi and a bottle of wine. And probably a Revenge marathon.

If you’re having dinner at home with your sweetheart, I’ve got the perfect dessert. I made an amazing brownie pudding last year for Valentine’s Day and I won’t lie, I kind of want to make it again this year. It’s that good. But I decided to try something different.

These Chocolate Shortbread Cakes aren’t technically cakes since there’s no baking. Nope, none at all! It’s basically chocolate with cookies inside, covered with more chocolate. I always say I’m not a huge chocolate fan but every once in a while a super rich chocolate dessert is just what I need.

Chocolate Shortbread Cake

6 cakes

adapted from Southern Living

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups chopped shortbread cookies
For the ganache:
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/14 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Line each compartment of a 6-mold jumbo-size muffin pan with plastic wrap.
  2. In a double boiler, melt milk chocolate chips, butter, and honey together over simmering water. Stir occasionally until completely smooth. Whisk in heavy cream.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in cookies. Pour about 3/4 cup into eat prepared muffin cup. Chill at least 2 hours or until set.
  4. Remove cakes from pan onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. To make the ganache, place semisweet chocolate chips in a mixing bowl.
  6. Heat heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat just until it begins to bubble. Pour over the semisweet chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Stir in honey and salt. Let stand 10 minutes or until it reaches spreading consistency.
  7. Slowly pour over the cake, spreading to edges and sides. Chill 1 hour, or until the ganache is set. Remove from refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.
http://fakeginger.com/2014/02/12/chocolate-shortbread-cake/

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I feel like the worst blogger ever. I actually made 4 different treats like week, took photos, and all that so I could blog them in the days leading up to Christmas. And then I totally dropped the ball.

You guys. I have been very busy watching vlogs, buying workout clothes (because I’m going back to my boyfriend Shaun T starting January 1st and you can’t restart a workout regimen without new clothes – duh) and tricking my husband into telling me which mall he had to go to to get my presents so I can harass him with “Is it…?” every 5 minutes. Very busy, I tell you.

I absolutely had to get these Italian Sugar Cookies up for you though because they’re that good! My husband actually made fun of them and said he was going to slice them in half and put sandwich meat in them since they look like little rolls but once he tried one, he took it all back. I guarantee Santa will love them!

I’m posting my favorite, favorite, favorite cookie tomorrow so maybe sure you check back!

One year ago: Eggnog Bread
Two years ago: Finnish Ribbon Cookies
Three years ago: Caramel-Filled Chocolate Cookies
Four years ago: Pumpkin Caramel Coffee Cake

Italian Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons lemon extract
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
dash of salt
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 - 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together eggs and sugar until light in color. Add cooled shortening and lemon extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this to the egg mixture and beat until just combined.
  4. Taking a tablespoon at a time, roll into balls and place on sheet.
  5. Bake for 7 minutes or until the bottoms are a nice golden color.
  6. Cool on a baking rack before glazing.
  7. To make the glaze:
  8. Whisk powdered sugar, heavy cream (or milk), and lemon extract until no lumps remain.
  9. Dip each cookie in the glaze and top with sprinkles. Place on a wire rack over a paper towel to catch any drips. Allow glaze to harden before packing in an air tight container.
http://fakeginger.com/2013/12/23/italian-sugar-cookies/

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