Baking Cookies (the easy way)

One of the last things on the summer checklist is to bake cookies. Now, when we’re not so close to the beginning of the school year, I love flipping through cookbooks and planning and shopping for ingredients and all that. However, when we are close to the beginning of the school year, I basically have no desire to take the time to do anything. I always feel like there is no time to get anything done……so, I knew that we were going to make cookies but I wanted to make it as easy a possible.

So…..I present to you…..super easy cookies!!!!

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Yep. I bought the kind where you just grab the cookie dough cubes and toss them on the cookie sheet. But, actually, the kiddos had a lot of fun with these. Big girl liked to position her cookies in a certain pattern. Little girl liked to lick her hands after placing her cookies. (Ew.)

The chocolate chip ones turned out better than the Reese’s pieces ones but I’m kind of blaming my cookie sheet on that one. The newish cookie sheet had the chocolate chip cookies on it. The much older one had the Reese’s pieces ones…..the older cookie sheet might be close to being removed from the cabinet for good. 😦

One of the strangest things that happened for me was the strong desire to have a glass of milk with the cookies when they came out of the oven. Now, for most people, wanting a glass of milk with cookies is just a given. It is simply assumed that you are going to have a glass of milk with cookies. For me, however, that is something that hasn’t happened in a long time. When I was pregnant with big girl, most dairy foods tasted….well….off….for me and it took awhile for me to like eating them again. But milk, well, milk still tastes kinda off for me.

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But, let me just say, that glass of milk was sooooooooooo delicious with the cookies!

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So, I may have found a way to talk myself into having a glass of milk every day.

I’m just going to have to bake more cookies.

 

Summer checklist thus far:

  • Go to the library.
  • Go to the pool.
  • Make banana pudding.
  • Ride the train at the mall.
  • Go to the playground.
  • Make cookies.
  • Go downtown.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Go to American Girl Place.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Go to the zoo.
  • Eat at Flat Top Grill.
  • Read books.
  • Eat at Noodles & Company.
  • Get ice cream.
  • Go to the splash pads downtown.
  • Go to the water park.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Go to the movie theater.
  • Play on the McDonalds playground after lunch.
  • Go to family fun festival downtown.
  • Go to the Art Museum and go to the kids area after looking at paintings.
  • Go to the dinosaur museum (Field Museum).
  • Go to the space museum (Adler Planetarium).
  • Have a pajama day. (Although big girl has now requested that we have 100 pajama days.)

 

Easter Dessert

So, Easter was a few weeks ago…..but I only recently have had anything resembling spare time. So, here’s a post about Easter dessert….almost in May…..

I’ve made these nest cookies before and thought that I had everything ready to go once I was ready to start.  It is important with these cookies to move pretty quickly once you start because the melted chips start to set up pretty quickly.

1) Melt butterscotch chips.

2) Mix melted chips in with a bag of chow mein noodles. (the crunchy ones)

3) Form into nest shapes.

4) Add chocolate eggs or jelly beans.

5) Allow them time to set up. (Or you can just put them in the fridge and hope that they get cold quickly.)

6) Eat and enjoy.

And, that’s how it should go. This should be a simple, no-stress dessert.

Should be.

So, I started melting the chips and realized that one bag was just not going to cut it. Well, that’s fine because I had purchased two more bags earlier in the week. Of course, though, those extra bags were nowhere to be found! Ah!

Problem solving husband to the rescue! Ryan reminded me that we had a partial bag of chocolate chips. Would those work?

Chips, chips, and more chips

Chips, chips, and more chips

The chocolate melted quickly and smelled great with the melted butterscotch. I tossed the newly melted chips in with the already semi-coated noodles.

Here goes nothing....

Here goes nothing….

The chocolate/butterscotch combo smelled great but was sure messy! Far messier than just the butterscotch would be. So, it was hard to get the noodles in a nest shape without being covered in chocolate and butterscotch. As a result, the cookies ended up being a bit….um….huge. But, portion control is not my concern when it comes to dessert.

I decided to top half of the cookies with chocolate eggs and the other half with jelly beans. Big girl helped out by sticking the eggs onto the nests.

Mmmmmmmmm

Mmmmmmmmm

They ended up being very yummy. On Easter, there were already requests for me to make them next year. The chocolate/butterscotch combo is really tasty but I do miss the taste of just butterscotch. I think that next year, I’ll make a batch with chocolate and butterscotch and another batch with just butterscotch.

 

Oh…and those bags of butterscotch chips that disappeared? We found them the week after Easter.

On the kitchen table.

Bird’s Nest Cookies

In my search for an easy treat to make for Easter, I found several versions of the bird’s nest cookie on Pinterest.  I chose to do one with butterscotch instead of chocolate.  Why?  Because I love butterscotch and feel that I don’t use it nearly enough.

You can find the recipe that I used here.

They are super super easy. Seriously.

Step 1: Eat a handful or two of butterscotch chips.  Seriously.  Those things are so good!

Step 1: Eat a handful or two of butterscotch chips. Seriously. Those things are so good!

Step 2: Gather your ingredients.  The recipe called for one bag of butterscotch chips.  I ended up using almost two full bags to ensure that the noodles were fully coated.

Step 2: Gather your ingredients. The recipe called for one bag of butterscotch chips. I ended up using almost two full bags to ensure that the noodles were fully coated.

Step 3: After melted butterscotch and noodles are combined, add a couple chocolate eggs to the pile.  I found that the best way to keep the eggs attached was to squish the noodles around the chocolate pieces.

Step 3: After melted butterscotch and noodles are combined, add a couple chocolate eggs to the pile. I found that the best way to keep the eggs attached was to squish the noodles around the chocolate pieces.

Seriously easy.  Seriously delicious.  And I seriously need to keep butterscotch chips on hand more often.  What is in those things?

Cake Decorating Basics Class – Session #1

So, as you already know, I signed up for a couple classes at Jo-Ann after Christmas. After the crochet class, my next was Cake Decorating Basics class. I’ve got to tell you, you should take this class. I have no idea if it’s the teacher, the materials, or if I have some actual talent for it, but this was really fun. The first session actually flew by really quickly. And I learned a lot! Seriously.

The finale for the first session was decorating cookies using “stars.” I’m super excited about the next session already as we will be decorating and filling our first cake. Woo-hoo!

Yum! Frosting!

The search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie

So, I’ve given myself an assignment.  I am going to find the recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.  I have a couple recipes already gathered up…but I’d like more to choose from.  Do you have a really great chocolate chip cookie recipe?  If you’d like to share, I’d love to bake.

The cookie baking begins next week.  And no worries, I’ll definitely be updating with the results as I bake.

Christmas cookie extravaganza – No Bake Chocolate Cookies

When I was almost done with all of the cookies, I realized that there was a particular taste that our cookie batches were missing.  We didn’t have any chocolate!  This had to be remedied and remedied quickly.  Unfortunately, I was pretty tired of baking at this point.  Fortunately, one of my favorite chocolate cookies requires no baking.

I have many memories of this cookie appearing on plates of cookies that had been dropped off by friends and family.  No Bake Chocolate Cookies!  Or as Ryan referred to them, “the oatmeal blobs of chocolate.”  Yes, it was time for some oatmeal blobs of chocolate.

It was actually kind of difficult to find a recipe.  Finally, I found this one.  (What would I do without the Food Network?)  The recipe was really simple and the smell of the peanut butter and chocolate melting together was just fantastic.  If you are going to make these, add the oatmeal in small batches because it gets pretty difficult to stir pretty quickly.

The final outcome of the oatmeal blobs of chocolate?  Delicious.

Christmas cookie extravaganza – Sugar Cookies

The next cookie on the extravaganza list was Ryan’s request – sugar cookies.  Since the other cookies that I was going to make were going to take quite some time, I decided to cheat a little bit.  My sugar cookies were going to come from the tube.  I can already hear people saying out loud “But, sugar cookies are easy to make!  They hardly take any time at all!!” I think that this stems from the fact that for me, the whole point of sugar cookies is getting to the decorating of the cookies.  That’s where all of the time should go.  So, we have frosting that I will dye in lots of different colors.  The grocery store was out of many of the normal types of sprinkles, so Ryan bought me a big jar of Winnie-the-Pooh sprinkles!

So, I encountered a problem fairly early with these cookies.  There is just something weird about the dough I used.  It was sticking to everything!  I had flour everywhere.  The rolling pin?  Covered in flour.  The table?  Covered in flour.  The dough?  Covered in flour.  Me?  Covered in flour.  And yet the dough just kept sticking.  So, I had a difficult time getting all of the dough to hit the same width.  Some cookies are just going to end up being fatter than others.

The second problem happened involved my cookie cutters.  I don’t know if the cookie cutters weren’t defined enough or if the dough just wasn’t cooperating but everything came out looking like a blob.  So, we have Christmas tree blobs, snowmen blobs, and little people blobs.

Once the cookies had cooled, it was time for the really fun part.  I have never thought of myself as a decorator and most of the cookies that I decorate are actually just a pile of frosting on top of a cookie.  (Although who can really complain about a pile of frosting on top of a cookie?  Mmmmmmm.  Frosting.)  So it should come as no surprise that some of the blob cookies look like blob cookies with a blob of frosting on top.Some of the cookies do, actually look kind of cute.  The Winnie-the-Pooh sprinkles look pretty great on the Christmas tree blob cookies. In fact, the Winnie-the-Pooh sprinkles don’t really look like Winnie-the-Pooh characters.  They really do look more like different colored blobs.  So, it’s actually very fitting.