Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fudge Kiss Cookies

Today, I am gathering with a few friends to have a holiday potluck lunch and exchange secret Santa gifts. I volunteered to bring a dessert (surprise, surprise). I looked to pinterest and decided to try out these Fudge Kiss Cookies I've had pinned for over a year. The recipe comes from What Megan’s Making.

What Megan's Making

I gathered up my supplies, which seems to always be a difficult task for me. I went to Shaw’s first and they were completely out of Sugar Cookie mix (the shelf was wiped clean) and Hershey’s candy cane kisses. So I headed to Stop n’Shop where I was able to get the cookie mix but no candy cane kisses. I settled on getting a variety of other kisses flavors instead.

I melted the butter & chocolate per the instructions.

Added the sweetened condensed milk.

Mixed in the cookie mix & cinnamon.

Then using heaping tablespoons, I formed the dough into balls and baked at 350 for 7 minutes.

While the cookies were baking, I unwrapped the Hershey’s kisses.

Immediately after removing the cookies from the oven, I pressed 1 candy into the center of each.

After letting the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, I tapped the tip of the kisses down.

And done!

The Verdict: These were super easy to make. They were really tasty but also very, very rich. Megan wasn't kidding when she called these fudge kiss cookies.

Things to Note/Consider: I wouldn't change anything about this recipe. It was perfect! I used three different varieties of kisses – dark chocolate, caramel, and white & milk chocolate hugs. The dark chocolate kisses didn't press down as well as the Hugs variety. Also, the caramel ones melted quickly. I would have preferred to have the candy cane kisses because they would have looked more festive but oh well! These tasted fine anyway.

Fudge Kiss Cookies
adapted from What Megan’s Making

1/3 cup butter
6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1 tsp ground cinnamon
60 Hershey’s kisses

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large bowl, microwave butter & chocolate on high for 1 minute then stir
  • Microwave on high again for 1 minute or until butter is melted & chocolate can be stirred smooth
  • Mix in condensed milk
  • Stir in cookie mix & cinnamon until well blended
  • Shape dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets
  • Bake 7 minutes (do not over bake)
  • Once out of the oven, immediately press 1 candy into the center of each cookie
  • Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes
  • Lightly tap the top of the kiss down
  • Cool completely

This will probably be the last post until after Christmas. But we should have plenty of new posts in the new year! 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! [sung like N*sync]

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes: Re-Visited

Last February, I made some Chocolate Chip Cooke Dough Cupcakes using a recipe I saw on Kevin and Amanda. At the time, I wasn't very happy with how they turned out but I had some ideas on how they can be improved.

Last month, there was a bake sale at work and I thought that would be the perfect opportunity to try the cupcakes again but using my modifications.

I used the same technique as explained on Kevin & Amanda that I used the first time. The general gist is to make the eggless cookie dough, roll it into balls, and then freeze them. While the cookie dough freezes, make the cupcake batter and pour it into the cupcake pan. The frozen cookie dough balls go on top of the cupcake batter and then they get baked.

However, this time instead of using the cookie dough recipe on Kevin & Amanda, I used the eggless cookie dough recipe I used for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles that I made last year. I didn't take any progress pictures, but if you want to see how that dough is made, you can check out the truffle post.

I also switched out the boxed cupcake mix for the cupcake batter I used in the Cannoli Cupcakes I made last January. Again, I didn't take any progress pictures, but if you want to see how to make that batter, check out the Cannoli Cupcake post.

I was lazy and used store bought frosting instead of attempting to make my own.

These chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes came out much better then the first attempt! The cupcake batter recipe I used this time is honestly the best cupcake batter ever! It’s such a great recipe.

I will say that these cupcakes were still on the heavy side. But it was a vast improvement on my first attempt. If I every make these again, I would roll the cookie dough into much smaller balls. I think that would help with how heavy they are.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Vellum Paper Mache Igloo

Some of you may recall that every year, my department at work throws a children’s holiday party. Last year the theme was snowmen and I made the Styrofoam snowmen centerpieces. This year the theme was penguins. I had some difficulty trying to think of a cute, relatively inexpensive centerpiece idea. Then, I came across this adorable igloo made out of Vellum paper from Bloesemkids.

I thought that this would be cute if I could find some penguins to place outside of the igloo. So I started my search. I went to Target first where I found these cute little penguin ornaments.

Score! They were $2 a piece which I thought was a reasonable price. So I picked up 10 of them. I also bought some latex balloons and flame less candles while at Target.

My next mission was to find Vellum paper and Mod Podge. I went to AC Moore. I found the Mod Podge easily enough. However the Vellum Paper was no where to be found. Now, prior to this project, I didn't even know what Vellum Paper was. A nice employee at AC Moore said they had it but it was sold out. I did a quick Google search to see what other stores sell Vellum Paper. And low and behold, Office Depot was one of the first places that popped up. Luckily enough, I was in the same shopping complex as an Office Depot. So off I went and picked up a pack of 50 sheets.

Now at this point, I need to apologize for the next set of pictures. I was in a rush to get these done in time for the party and only took a couple photos with my phone. However, Blosesem Kids has some better progress pictures. So be sure to check them out if you are planning to do this project on your own.

The igloos are fairly easy to make but are a bit time consuming. I started by cutting up the Vellum Paper into strips. I made sure to save a sheet or two for the archways. Next up was blowing up the balloons.

I placed the balloons in bowls (to hold them steady) and started to paste the strips onto the balloons. My first attempt did not go well. I spread way too much Mod Podge onto the Vellum Paper, which caused the paper to crinkle up. To fix that, I watered down the Mod Podge just a tad. Then using a sponge brush, I spread a very thin layer of the adhesive onto the Vellum Paper and placed it on the balloon.

The paper still crinkled a little bit but not too badly. Then I just continued to place the Vellum strips all over the balloon.

Each balloon took about 30-45 minutes to paper mache and used about 2-3 sheets of paper. Once I finished with the balloons, I covered a few glasses with plastic wrap and mod podged a few strips of paper near the rim. This is for the igloo doors/archways. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of this.

I let them all dry overnight. In the morning I slowly deflated the balloons. Then, using scissors I cleaned up the edges of the igloos and cut holes for the doors.

To finish the project, I broke out my hot glue gun and attached the archways to the igloos. I also attached the penguin ornaments with the hot glue gun to keep them steady.

And that’s it! I think they came out cute. I put the flame less candles inside the igloos but unfortunately, the party room was a bit too bright to fully appreciate that detail.

The party was a great success! One of our biggest turnouts! I also wanted to share this photo of the party entrance. We had a blow up penguin that welcomed everyone. So I cut out some penguin footprints out of orange construction paper and taped them to the ground leading up to him.

Total cost for the centerpieces
(10) Penguin ornaments                      $20.00
(1) Mod Podge (16oz)                           $9.89
(1) Pack of Latex Balloons (15pk)      $1.32
(1) Pack of Vellum Paper, (50sh)       $12.29
(2) Flameless candles (9pk)                $26.00

Total for 10 centerpieces:                 $69.50
Price per centerpiece:                        $6.95 not too shabby!

Grace and I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season! I have many posts to type up so keep checking back. We’ll have plenty of new posts in the New Year!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween [again]!

Sadly I did not win the door OR pumpkin decorating contest – bummer! I blame it on the chads.

Anyway, in honor of Halloween, I wanted to share a quick round up of some of our favorite Halloween posts.

Witch Finger Cookies

Candy Corn Pot

Headless Horseman Pumpkin

Halloween Mice

Mummy Door

Vampire Bat Pumpkin

Vampire Bat Pumpkin

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone is safe and sound after Hurricane Sandy. Grace unfortunately is trapped in her house due to a down power line in her driveway. We're all hoping that she won't need to cancel JJ's birthday party on Saturday. 

Here in Boston, all is well. At work today, we will be celebrating Halloween by announcing the door decorating winner & pumpkin decorating winner. You may recall that last year I made the Headless Horseman pumpkin – but sadly it didn't win.

This year, I once again decided to use a Michael’s craft idea.

My department went for this cute and seemingly easy Vampire Bat pumpkin. I apologize for the lack of pictures and the picture quality. I put the pumpkin together at work and didn't take the time to take progress pictures.

I found the perfect round pumpkin and painted it black with acrylic paint. Luckily the Michael’s website had templates for the wings, ears, eyes, and mouth. We used just normal card stock for the eyes, mouth and fangs and black foam for ears and wings. We attached everything on Friday afternoon using a hot glue gun as suggested on the website.

But sadly, when we came in on Monday (the morning the pumpkins were due) the wings had fallen off ripping some of the black paint off with it. We quickly reattached the wings with hot glue and tried to reinforce it with some tape on the back side. However, the wings didn't want to hold and just sort of hung on by a thread. You can kind of see it in the picture below.

The next day (yesterday) I came back into the room where the pumpkins were displayed and someone was nice enough to reattach the wings using black tape.

In hindsight we should have sliced a slit into either side of the pumpkin and slid the wings in that way.

I’ll find out the winner this afternoon and let you know if I won!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mummy Door

It’s that time of year again – time for some friendly Halloween competition at work! Each year, my office hosts a door decorating & a pumpkin decorating competition. You may recall that last year, I decorated my office door with bats and a witch.

This year I decided to copy Honey & Fitz’s DIY Mummy door.

Honey & Fitz
All you need is some white streamers & some construction paper. So easy & so cheap!

Just wrap the white streamers back and forth across the door. It definitely looks nicer when you overlap and criss-cross the streamers. I just used regular scotch tape to secure the streamers and it worked great.

For the eyes, I just cut out circles from regular construction paper and taped it up.

I apologize for the picture quality. I only had the camera on my phone.

 It did take a bit longer then I originally anticipated. To complete the door it took about 30-45 minutes.

I love it! I think it came out so cute! I will let you know if we win the competition. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pinwheel Sandwiches

This past weekend I headed to Gillette Stadium for my alma mater’s (UMass) Homecoming. This is the first year that UMass will be playing all their home games at Gillette- very exciting! Even though UMass lost, it was still a great time!

Anyway, I went with a group of friends to tailgate & watch the game. Along with bringing my signature brownie covered Oreos, I also wanted to bring something with a bit more substance. I decided to try my hand at some pinwheel wraps.  I looked to these pins for inspiration:

I made three different options – veggie, ham, & turkey.

Start by spreading cream cheese on the tortilla. I used garden vegetable cream cheese for the veggie & turkey wraps and I used chive & onion for the ham wraps.  

For the veggie wraps, I spread some carrots & lettuce as the second and final layer.

For the turkey & ham wraps, I laid the deli meat out in thin layers. Then I put lettuce on top of the meat. I also added some shredded carrots to the turkey wraps.

Then tightly roll up the wraps. I spread a little additional cream cheese on the edge of the tortilla to act as glue to keep the wrap together.

I wrapped the roll ups in Saran wrap and put them in the fridge for 30 minutes before cutting them up into bite size pieces.


The Verdict: These were very tasty! They were the perfect thing to munch on while we were waiting for the grill to heat up and the burgers to cook. I was disappointed that I couldn't get the pinwheels to stay together without a toothpick but it ended up being easier to pick up.

Things to Note/Consider: I would recommend that you spread the contents of the wrap on only half of the tortilla. When you spread it all over the whole thing, it falls out as you roll it up. Also, try to spread the contents as thin as possible on the tortilla. It makes rolling them up so much easier.

On a totally different note – Grace sent me the below pin and I just love it! I may just set up a similar candy bowl in my office.

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