Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas Cookie Mix

This weekend I mixed up a few cookie mix jars for some last minute edible gifts. If you’re a long time follower you may remember my Cowgirl Cookies post from way back when. These are based off of those, but with a little wardrobe change and some merry little labels.

Here are all the dry ingredients for the cookies that get layered in a 1 quart smooth Ball jar.

When I assembled these I started out really nice and organized, but I tend to make things messy when I’m in the kitchen so by the end I had ingredients everywhere. Check out my instagram if you want to see the chaos behind the scenes.

When assembling, layer the flour first, then oats and then red and green M&M’s.

Then add the chocolate chips and brown sugar. As you go, make sure to pack the ingredients in as tightly as possible. When you get to the brown sugar layer, press the back of a large spoon all around the edge as you rotate the jar.

Then add granulated sugar. And finally, instead of chopped pecans like the Cowgirl Cookies call for, I used white chocolate chips for these. The ingredients will go all the way to the very top of the jar when you’re done.

Look how pretty all the ingredients look layered in these glass jars that I found at Hobby Lobby.

Keep in mind, you could totally give away the jars just like this…

…But I wanted to dress them up a bit for the holiday.

Here are some Merry Christmas Cookie Mix labels that I created and that you can use too if you like. Just download the pdf and print it out on heavier weight paper. Use a 1 7/8 inch paper punch to cut out the shapes so you can attach them to the jar. The pdf also includes quick instructions for the recipient on how to bake them. YAY!

I love these fun fabric bundles I found at Hobby Lobby to wrap around the lids. I also made a bunch of little white pom poms to make them even merrier.

Oh my gosh… so cute.

Of course I had to make sure these cookies were as good as I remember, so my nieces who were visiting and I baked up a test batch to enjoy while we played in the kitchen making snowmen cake pops. It was a super fun and festive day.

If you want the full instructions on how to make Cookie Mix Jars or simply want to make a batch of these yummy cookies, then check out this Cowgirl Cookies post for the full details and recipe.

Enjoy and have the Happiest Holiday! Hugs!!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Cookies to Fawn Over

I made the sweetest baby deer cookies to give to my nieces the other day and I’m so happy with how they turned out. I say that because each time I pipe cookies, I get nervous right before drawing on them with royal icing. I’m much better with a pencil. These turned out totally cute though. Yay and Happy Holidays!

Here’s a link to the fawn cookie cutter I used. I just love the sweet shape and I’ve been admiring it on pinterest and instagram for a while… so I finally ordered one.

Also… Here’s the sugar cookie and royal icing recipe I used.

You’ll need royal icing in brown, green, pink and white. I just guesstimated how much of each. Brown and white with the most, a little green and a tiny amount of pink.

Now for decorating… You can totally pipe the deer in one color, or give them more detail. I went for more detail, but I didn’t want to take any chances on screwing them up, so I used a black edible ink writing pen to draw on the cookies first. This is much easier than winging it for me.

When you’re ready to pipe, just trace over the outlines with icing. Brown first.

While the outline was still drying, I carefully piped a little pink ear and used a toothpick to coerce the royal icing gently in the shape I wanted.

Next up, I filled in the white tail, tummy and face areas. I didn’t use outline icing here, I just piped and filled at the same time with royal icing that’s slightly more fluid than the outline piping consistency.

Now the fun part. With the brown outlined, go ahead and fill in the body with flood consistence brown royal icing. And while the icing is still wet, pipe teeny-tiny dots with flood consistency white royal icing.

I like to use a decorator bag fitted with a no.2 tip for outlining and usually a small squeeze bottle when filling in with color.

Okay, now let dry. Let dry. dry.

Then you can draw on hooves with a brown (or black) edible ink writing pen.

To finish the faces, attach tiny noses with royal icing as glue. I used rainbow chip sprinkles. The brown ones make the perfect little nose.

See… super cute. I went easy on the eyes and drew them closed with long eyelashes using the black edible ink writing pen again. Sooo handy and the closed eyes make them seem even sweeter.

The trees are easy peasy. Cover the surface of the cookie in green royal icing and let dry completely. Then pipe on wavy lines of white icing and sprinkle with white sanding sugar before the icing dries.

You don’t have to decorate tiny trees, but they’re going to make the next step tree-mendously adorable.

See what I mean?

Okay, back up to cutting deer and tree shapes out of the dough and throw in a few round circles that are a little wider in width than the deer’s legs. Use the fawn cutter to make marks in the dough that match the leg spacing and then grab a straw. Press the straw down in the cookie dough a few times to remove dough where the legs will go.

After the circles bake, you can reuse the straw to immediately remove any cookie that may have spread. The openings in the circle make it easier for the deer to stand while you attach it to the base.

Not shown: Pipe and fill circles with white royal icing and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Then when the circles and decorated deer are completely dry, fill the holes with a small amount of melted white candy coating (it dries more quickly than the royal icing). Place a decorated deer into the candy coating and hold in place while the coating sets. Then attach a tiny tree with more melted candy coating. Sprinkle sanding sugar on any of the exposed coating so it appears seamless with the rest of the cookie base.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal Brunch

A couple of weeks ago I shared these Grab and Go Breakfast Bars in collaboration with Quaker Oats. And today I have another make ahead morning meal for you. This Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal is quick and easy to make in the morning. But you can also prepare everything the night before so you can pop it in the oven for a quick breakfast or fun brunch with friends.

Plus, if you make it the night before, then you can get on with your day instead of starting it off by washing a bunch of dishes on a Saturday morning.

Okay, let’s get going. Oats, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.

Toss them all together in a medium bowl.

Layer the oat mixture in an 8-inch baking dish with your favorite fruit. I’m feeling bananas and cranberries today.

Then mix up the wet ingredients. Milk, vanilla, melted butter, egg, and maple syrup. Oh yes!

Gently pour the milk mixture over the oats mixture.

The liquid will cover the ingredients, but I reserved a few uncoated pecan pieces, cranberries and bananas to place top. Now, cover and refrigerate overnight or bake right away.

When you take it out of the oven, let it sit for a few minutes before diving in.

I used these mini casserole dish ramekins to serve the baked oatmeal in and they made it just too cute.

Almost as cute as it is delicious. Make sure to get a berry in each bite for that extra burst of flavor. So so good.

Banana-Berry Baked Oatmeal

2 cups Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup cranberries
1 large banana, sliced

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease an 8 X 8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. (I used a 9-inch round dish and you can also use a 7 X 11 oblong dish.)
  • Mix oats, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined.
  • Pour oat mixture into prepared dish.
  • Using the empty bowl, you can then whisk the egg, milk, vanilla and maple syrup together before slowly adding melted butter. Set aside.
  • Place cranberries and banana slices in dish. Toss with oats to evenly distribute.
  • Gently pour milk mixture evenly over oat mixture until completely covered.
  • Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the top of the oatmeal is set. Let rest for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy as is or with an extra drizzle of maple syrup.

Notes:

  • You can reserve a few cranberries, banana slices and chopped pecans to dress up the top before baking.
  • Try toasting your pecans. Place them in the oven for 8-10 minutes, tossing once. Watch closely to make sure they don’t burn.
  • You can dip banana slices in lemon juice to help delay them from turning brown. If you’ll be preparing the oatmeal the night before though, then tuck them under the surface and then add a few freshly sliced banana pieces the next morning right before baking.

Enjoy!

This post is in collaboration with The Quaker Oats Company. #OffYouGo
For more tips to make mornings easier, visit: www.brit.co/tag/quaker

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sweet Art

I ordered this delicious ice cream print a few weeks ago and I love love love it more in person than I did when I first saw it online. It’s part of a series of three different ice cream cone pairings. And I may have just ordered the other two. Whoops. I think I’m obsessed.

The artist is Joël Penkman and she creates the most amazing still life paintings of food and everyday objects.

 

Here’s a print that I bought a couple of years ago, but I think it may be sold out now. These sweet candy sticks are so happy and colorful … they make me smile every time I look at them.

 

And here’s another one. Just look at those doughnuts. A stunning dozen!

 

So if you’re looking for a fun gift for your favorite food lover, then check out Joël’s Etsy shop for some sweet art.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Grab and Go Breakfast Bars

I eat granola bars for breakfast almost every day. It’s my go to morning meal when I’m in a hurry or when I’m traveling and need an easy on-the-go treat. So when I teamed up with The Quaker Oats Company to share a recipe that makes my morning easier, I couldn’t wait to make these Cherry Almond Grab and Go Granola Bars for you guys.

Of course, we’re starting off with Quaker Standard Oats. They’re 100% whole grains and the star of these breakfast bars.

And I’m including other goodies, too. Sliced almonds, rice cereal, dried cherries, peanut butter, honey, chocolate chips, vanilla, and maple syrup.

And oh honey… these are going to be good!

Warm the peanut butter, honey, maple syrup and vanilla and mix together so you can easily pour it on the dry ingredients.

Oh my! Now mix all the ingredients together until everything is completely coated.

Once coated, transfer the granola mixture to an 8 X 8 inch dish lined with parchment paper and press all the ingredients down as flat as you can.

I used a 6-inch round cake pan to do the work for me so my hands didn’t have to get sticky.

Sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips on top and press down gently.

Now just bake the bars for about 20-25 minutes and then cool completely.

I let these cool for about an hour and a half on the counter and then I transferred them to the fridge for about an hour. They’re easier to work with when chilled.

Once cold, cut them into 12 equal bars while they were still in the dish.

I wanted to nibble on these right away, but I needed to wait so I could get them all dressed and ready for the week ahead.

With the bars still cold, wrap them in strips of parchment paper and tie each with string.

Then just slip them into treat bags and tape them shut.

Cherry Almond Grab and Go Granola Bars

1 1/2 cups Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup rice cereal
1 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8 X 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper overlapping on opposite sides so you you can easily lift bars from the dish when finished.
  • Toast almonds. Spread them in an even layer on a large baking sheet and place in the oven for 5-10 minutes. Watch closely so they don’t burn. Remove from the oven and reduce temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place oats and toasted almonds in a food processor and give it several pulses to break the shapes up into smaller pieces. This will make the ingredients press together more compactly in the baking dish.
  • Place all the oats, almonds, rice cereal, dried cherries and chocolate chips in a large bowl and mix together until evenly distributed. Reserve about a tablespoon of the chips to sprinkle on top at the end.
  • In a medium bowl, microwave the peanut butter, honey, syrup and vanilla for about 10-20 seconds so you can easily stir it together. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir until completely combined and all the dry ingredients are coated.
  • Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and press down as flat, even, and compact as possible. You can use a smaller baking dish to help or press using your hands coated with vegetable oil. Once the mixture is as flat as you can make it, sprinkle any reserved chocolate chips and gently press them on top.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove and cool completely for at least 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for another hour. Remove and cut into 12 equal bars using a thin serrated knife while still in the baking dish. Lift the bars from the dish holding the parchment paper.
  • Makes 12 bars. Bars will be good for several days at room temperature or for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.
  • To prepare them for the week ahead: Working with chilled bars, wrap each one in a strip of parchment paper and tie with a string. Place in a plastic treat bag to travel with. You can also dip the bottoms in a little melted chocolate or candy coating and let dry before packaging.

Adorable! Now you have individually wrapped and ready breakfast bars handy and a yummy way to brighten the beginning of your day. Just grab one and go.

Enjoy!

This post is in collaboration with The Quaker Oats Company #OffYouGo! For more tips to make mornings easier, visit: https://www.brit.co/tag/quaker/

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