Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cherry Surprise Crinkles

It is time for another 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats.  This great idea is hosted by Brenda at Meal Planning Magic.  I love this recipe get-together because it provides great ideas once Christmas actually rolls around (I don't have enough self restraint to keep all of these good treats in my freezer until Christmas).

One of my guilty pleasures around Christmas is chocolate covered cherries.  There is something about the combination of cherries and chocolate that just seem so Christmas-y to me.  For my first treat, while I would love to make chocolate covered cherries, I know they would never live up to my favorite treat, so I decided to make these Cherry Surprise Crinkles.  They combine the two greats into cookie form that creates a delicious cookie.

Cherry Surprise Crinkles
from Better Homes and Gardens
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries, well drained and patted dry with paper toweling
12 Kisses cherry cordials or Kisses dark chocolates
Powdered sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and almond extract until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour and the cherries.
2) Take a tablespoon of dough. Shape each portion into a ball around a Kiss. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until bottoms are light golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Lightly dust cooled cookies with powdered sugar

I thought for sure that I'd be eating these cookies alone in my house because I'm much more into the cherry and chocolate combination than my husband, but after only 2 days, there were only enough for the picture.  Success in my mind.  I wish that the Maraschino cherries has a better quality to them, but these were fantastic cookies. 
Please see all the other treats below.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Secret Recipe Club: Samoa Bars

Confession: I was assigned Ewa's blog Delishhh for the Secret Recipe Club this month and I spent more time looking at the pictures than reading the actual recipes.  The pictures are so gorgeous and in all honesty, my pictures don't even do this dessert justice, so please go to her blog and eat with your eyes.  You'll thank me for telling you to go there.

This month, while I was looking at Ewa's pictures, I had a hard time deciding.  Ewa has a passion for healthy, simple, delicious, and fun recipes.  While I set out to find a healthy and simple recipe, I ended up getting hooked on a delicious and fun one.

In my mind, the problem with Girl Scout Cookies is that they are only available at certain times of the year. Sometimes you just have a day where you really need those delicious cookies, and they are totally out of season.  I honestly had that kind of month where I needed BOXES of those cookies, so these Samoa Bars were screaming at me.  I know, I know, it isn't Girl Scout season.  Actually it is about 6 months from Girl Scout season.  Luckily, the Keebler Elves saved my life and provided me with Coconut Dreams (aka Samoas) and Sandies (aka Trefoils or however you spell them).

Samoa Bars
barely adapted  from Delishhh
4 tablespoons of melted butter
1 box (9 oz) of shortbread cookies

2 boxes of Samoa Girl Scout cookies (or Coconut Dreams from Keebler)
16 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup jarred caramel sauce

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a 9 by 9 baking pan.  Line the pan with parchment paper, allowing the excess to hang over the sides of the pan.
2) For the crust: Pulse the shortbread cookies in a food processor until the cookies resemble the texture of bread crumbs.  Melt the better, and pulse with the crumbs to incorporate.  Press the mixture into the baking pan and bake for 12 minutes until golden brown.
3) Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl by microwaving for 30-second increments and stirring after each increment, until completely melted.
4) Pour the chocolate on the shortbread crust, reserving 2 tablespoons.
5) Pulse coconut cookie until they are 1/2 inch pieces.  Press Samoas on top of the chocolate layer.
6) Sprinkle coconut on top of the cookie layer, and then layer caramel sauce and chocolate drizzle.
7) Refrigerate 30 minutes to set.

These bars are incredible.  Ewa has a recipe for caramel on her blog, but mine turned out horribly wrong and I ended up having to cheat and use the jarred caramel.  I love how these bars have Samoa cookies in them, but then the bar themselves is a bar-like form of the cookie.  These are definitely fun and delicious.  I can't wait to try them with the real Girl Scout Cookies.  Check out what all the other swap participants made for this swap.