Saturday, December 24, 2011

Candy Cane Kiss Blossoms with a Chocolate Star!

I found this great recipe on Pintrest and just had to try it. It looks so festive and I love peppermint so it was a great recipe to try. I combined parts of the original recipe from Recipe Girl and parts of the Hershey's Candy Cane Blossom cookie recipe to make these.

As I was taking the first batch out of the oven I had to move the bag of Brach's dark chocolate stars, from making peanut butter blossoms, out of the way and inspiration hit me. Why not put both the chocolate star and the kiss on top?

Candy Cane Kiss Blossoms

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 12 min
When the fall holidays arrive, the Candy Cane Kisses begin to appear on supermarket shelves too. These are an incredibly delicious flavor delivered by the Hershey’s Kisses people. And they’re amazing tucked into a cookie too.


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 cups butter, at room temperature
1/2  teaspoon peppermint extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Candy Cane flavored Hershey's Kisses, finely chopped
granulated sugar
additional, unwrapped Candy Cane Kisses- about 60
Chocolate stars- about 60


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Make room in either refrigerator or freezer for your cookie sheet. Or you can do what I do which is to just let them sit out for an hour and they'll set up.
  2. In large mixer bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter, extracts and egg. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until creamy (2-3 minutes). 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet mixture and beat, scraping bowl until just blended.  Stir in chopped Kisses.
  4. Shape dough into 3/4-inch to 1-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar. Place 1-inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set.
  5. As soon as they come out of the oven, press a chocolate star  point side down in the center of each cookie. They'll crack a little around the edges, so just use your fingers to kind of hold the cookie together while you press the chocolate on.  Do all the cookies on the tray then go back and place a kiss on top of the chocolate star pressing down until the chocolate squeezes out from under the kiss forming a flower around it.

 You can leave the cookies out to set up or put cookie sheet (with cookies) immediately into the freezer (preferred) or refrigerator so that the Kisses will set quickly. Store in a covered container- at room temperature for up to a week. In the freezer they should be ok for a couple of weeks.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Peppermint Meringues

If you make the spritz cookies I have posted here, then you will have 3 lovely egg whites leftover which is what you need to make these meringues. My mother in law taught me to make them when she taught me to make the spritz cookies. They are the perfect cookie pair.
3 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup white sugar
3 peppermint candy canes, crushed up finely
1-2 drops of red food coloring- optional
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C).
  2. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper or a brown paper bag.
  3. Let your egg whites come to room temperature before you beat.
  4. In a large spotlessly clean mixing bowl (if there is any fat residue in the bowl the egg whites won't ever beat up into peaks) place your egg whites, salt and cream of tartar.
  5. Beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar to soft peaks. When you pull your beater out the top will fold over.
  6. Gradually add sugar, while continuing to beat until whites form stiff peaks. When you pull the beater out the peak will stand straight up.
  7. Fold the crushed candy canes and the drop of red food coloring into the egg whites, gently.
  8. Take a gallon Zip Lock bag and cut the corner off. The opening should be about 1/2 wide. 
  9. Spoon the meringue batter into the bag and squeeze out the batter onto the paper lined sheets. You can also slip a LARGE star tip into the corner of the bag for slightly more decorative cookies. It has to be one with a large opening or the chunks of candy cane get stuck. There's always one piece that clogs it up. In this picture the one on the left was just a plain plastic bag and the one on the right was with a star tip.
  10. You can make them up to 2 inches or as small as a kiss size. They really don't spread very much at all so if you leave 1/2" between them you should be good. If the batter is a little looser then leave an inch. In the picture at the top of the page, the large one is about 2" and the small ones are about 1"
Bake for 1 hour for small and 1 1/2 hours for large in preheated oven. Rotate the sheets after half the time.  Meringues should be completely dry on the inside but don't let them brown. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door ajar a few inches with an oven mitt, and let the meringues sit in the oven until completely cool. Loosen from the paper with a spatula. Store in cool dry place for up to 2 months.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

These cookies are chewy and peanut buttery and delicious. You can use a Hershey's chocolate kiss in the middle or a Brach's Chocolate Stars. I like the stars because they come in milk or DARK chocolate and as far as I'm concerned, the darker the better when it comes to chocolate. We love these not only at  Christmas but any time of the year.
• 48 Hersheys' Kisses or Brach's Chocolate Stars
• 1/2 cup butter
• 3/4 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Granulated sugar to roll dough balls into before baking
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees 
  2. Beat butter and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. 
  3. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. 
  4. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. 
  5. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
  6. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Do NOT put the chocolate on the cookie yet.
  7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  8. Remove from oven and immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie, the cookie will crack around edges. 
  9. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. 
  10. Cool completely. 
Makes About 4 dozen cookies

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Homemade Marshmallows and Cocoa Mix for Teacher Gifts or Neighbors

Here is an easy gift to make for teachers, neighbors or friends. Marshmallows and cocoa mix. If you've never made marshmallows, I hate to be the one to tell you that they are super simple and very impressive. I love making peppermint marshmallows to put in cocoa but you can make plain if you prefer. You can also try rolling them in toasted coconut or even chopped nuts to eat them like candy.

Homemade Marshmallows:

* 3 packages unflavored gelatin
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup light corn syrup
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
* Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Sprinkle powdered sugar into 2 8"x8" pans or one 9"x13" until bottom is completely coated.
Pour the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with your whisk attachment and allow this mixture to sit while you make the syrup.

In a large saucepan, preferably one that has a spout, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Place the lid on the pan for 1 minute to wash down the sides of the pan. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you live at higher altitudes, reduce the final temp by 2 degrees for every 1000 feet in altitude. I live at 6000 feet so I only cook my mixture to 228 degrees. Remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer onto low speed, while mixer is going, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. The gelatin will be all chunky when you turn on the mixer. Once all of the syrup is poured in turn the mixer up to high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Pour the marshmallow batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top of the mixture with damp hands. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or whatever topping you are using.

For the peppermint, I removed half the marshmallows for the plain pan and then stirred in 2 drops of red food coloring and 1/2 tsp of peppermint flavoring into the remaining half. After placing this into the second pan I sprinkled crushed peppermints over the top.

Allow to dry uncovered at room temperature overnight.

Remove the marshmallows from the pan and cut into squares. I dip a knife into very hot water before each cut then roll each strip in powdered sugar before cutting into squares. Roll the sides of each square carefully in confectioners' sugar.

Once they have dried for a few hours and aren't sticky, they  can be bagged up for gifts or stored in a  sealed container or sealed baggies.

Creamy Cocoa Mix
This makes 20 cups of mix or about 60 servings. I make a big batch at the beginning or the winter and we use it all season.

  • 13 cups dry milk powder
  • 6 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered non-dairy creamer (1- 15oz jar of powdered creamer)
Sift together all these ingredients into a large bowl. 
For extra chocolaty goodness I  add-
  • 2- 12 oz package of mini chocolate chips 
stir to combine the scoop into jars for gifts or store sealed in a container for storage.

Variations- You can use flavored creamer if you want flavored cocoa or try adding some cayenne pepper to the mix for a bit of spicy heat. 

To use this cocoa mix; Scoop 1/3 cup of mixture into mug and add boiling water. Stir and enjoy.

Alton Brown has a Recipe for Cocoa mix that I haven't tried just because I love the creaminess of my recipe but for those who don't want to use powdered creamer here is his recipe.
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Mix all ingredients together and store in airtight container.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Raspberry Or Strawberry Topped Brownies

Chocolate and raspberries or brownies are the perfect combination as far as I'm concerned. This is a great dessert that is easy enough for everyday but nice enough for company . I came up with this recipe when I needed to make 50 servings of a dessert for a school event. I didn't have time to bake so I bought store made brownies, some berries and came up with these delicious confections. They were gone in minutes and talked about for hours. While you can make the brownie part from a box or buy them at the store, they're even better when you make them from scratch.
Best Brownies Ever
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs- lightly beat before adding
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In the microwave or in a pan on the stove, melt the butter and set aside to cool. 
  3. Into a bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder- set aside Grease a 9x13" pan well. 
  4. Add the sugar to the melted butter and stir until combined then add the eggs and the vanilla. Beat well.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Don't over beat. 
  6. Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until done. 
  7. Cool completely before putting the frosting on. 
Strawberry or Raspberry Frosting
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4- 1/3 cup strawberry or raspberry puree. (I take 1 cup of fresh or thawed frozen fruit and put it into a blender and blend until smooth. This will yield about 1/2 cup of puree. Any extra puree left over, I freeze in a ziplock bag ready for the next batch of fruit frosting that I make)
In a large bowl cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and 3 TBS of the fruit puree. Beat until it comes together. Continue adding the fruit puree one tablespoon at a time beating after each addition until it is the consistency that you want. Frost the brownies by spreading over the top or for a fancier presentation, place the frosting into a zip lock bag that has a large star tip in the cut off corner. Pip a swirl onto the top of the precut brownies. Top with a raspberry or slice of strawberry. 

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