Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have a problem with chocolate chip cookies.  I love them.  They are my favorite.  I like them chewy though and not crispy.  My favorite way to make them is with oatmeal, a trick I learned from a friend, because then they are even more chewy.

These cookies have lots of goodies them.  And they are delicious!

Craisin-Almond-Coconut-Chocolate-Chip-Oatmeal-Cookies

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth.  Add one egg at a time and vanilla, blend well.  Pour the flour, oats, baking soda, & salt into the bowl and mix well.  Stir in chocolate chips, craisins, coconut, & almonds.

Drop by the tablespoonful full onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges are just lightly browned.  Let them sit for a minute or 2 on the hot pan and removed, (this gives them time to firm up slightly so they don’t fall apart when they are piping hot).

This batch makes A LOT of cookies, about 30.  They are best cold, but I’m a cold chocolate chip cookie kinda gal.

3 Super Easy No Bake Christmas Goodies

I had big plans to post a bunch of individual Christmas ideas.  But you know, life happens and it doesn’t always go as planned.

So today I’m going to jam just some of the goodies that we made this year.

Since we’re in the camper, we cut down on baking this year.  Significantly.  In fact I did a baking day at a friend’s house and that was it.

But you’ll notice that the recipes below have some things in common.

  1. no bake
  2. almond bark (I’m not obsessed with the stuff, I promise)
  3. quick and easy to make

We did make other goodies and I swear, and they didn’t even have almond bark!  These are just the quickest things we made and are perfect for last minute treats.

So here they are…

Grasshopper Mint Truffles

grasshopper-mint-truffles

Ingredients

  • 1 (10 oz pkg) Grasshopper cookies
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 8 oz almond bark
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • green food coloring

Directions

In a food processor or blender (I used my Ninja), place the cookies and pulse them until they are a fine crumb consistency.  In a bowl, pour the cookie crumbs into a bowl and mix with the cream cheese, use your hands if necessary.  Refrigerate mixture for about 20 minutes.  Shape mixture into 3/4 inch ball size and place them on wax paper.  Refrigerate for about 20 minutes more.

Once cold, place the almond bark in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for about 1 1/2 minutes or until almond bark is almost melted. Stir well (heat in 15 second increments if its not quite melted).

To the almond bark, add the peppermint extract and food coloring.  Dip the truffles into the flavored and colored almond bark.  Tap slightly to remove excess almond bark and place them on wax paper.

Refrigerate in an air tight container.

NOTE:

  • The peppermint extract causes the almond bark to thicken slightly so these don’t end up as smooth as they would if you dipped them in melting chocolate alone.
  • We tried these with regular chocolate and white chocolate (Trust me, DON’T even try the white chocolate – peppermint makes it clumpy and nasty for whatever reason and it’s not a good coating choice).  These are far better with pepperminted almond bark or you can use the mint Ghirardelli (I couldn’t find any though).
  • Other candies and cookies absorb peppermint flavor so if you bring this with other cookies, just be sure to keep the peppermint separate.

 

Ritz Peanut Butter Cookies

*These are about as easy to make as you can get.  My aunt made these last year and I was surprised at how good they were.

Ritz-Peanut-Butter-Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 (24 oz) pkg almond bark
  • Ritz crackers
  • creamy peanut butter

Directions

Place the almond bark in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for about 1 1/2 minutes or until almond bark is almost melted. Stir well (heat in 15 second increments if its not quite melted).

Meanwhile, spread one Ritz cracker with peanut butter.  Place another Ritz on top to sandwich the crackers.

Dip “sandwich” in melted almond bark. Place on wax paper to cool.

NOTE:  1 pkg almond bark is enough to make about 60 cookies.

 

Peanut Almond Chewies

Peanut-Almond-Chewies

Ingredients

  • 1 (24 oz) pkg almond bark
  • 1 c. peanut butter
  • 2 c. peanuts
  • 3 c. miniature marshmallows
  • 4 c. rice krispies cereal

Directions

Place the almond bark in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for about 1 1/2 minutes or until almond bark is almost melted. Stir well (heat in 15 second increments if its not quite melted).

Mix in the peanut butter until smooth.  Let the mixture cool slightly, then add the peanuts and marshmallows. Gently stir in the rice krispies, you don’t want to crush them.

Using a small cookie scoop, spoon candy onto wax paper and let cool.

 

So there you have them….some great, easy last minute treats to make for Christmas.

But I have to ask, am I the only last minute cook??  I find that if I make goodies to early, we eat them all.

How about you?

Mint Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

These are a family favorite!  Most no-bake cookies have peanut butter in them but my version has NO peanut butter. 

I grew up with my mom making this cookie recipe, which she called Fudge Kisses.  She always made them without any extracts.  You can follow her example and omit all extracts or you can try them with either peppermint or vanilla.

If you want to try them with vanilla instead of peppermint, have at it.  They are very good that way as well.  In my opinion, these are better than their peanut butter counterparts.

NOTE:  It is important to cook the mixture long enough. There are instructions in the recipe, but I just want to show in photo the difference you can see before you start testing for soft-ball stage.

You don’t want to test when your mixture looks like the following photo.  It’s really thin and the hot fudge will just spread apart in the bowl of water.

When the mixture begins to look like the photo below, start testing it.

You can use a candy or digital thermometer like the recipe below states.  

To test for doneness without a thermometer, fill a small bowl with cold water and drop a small amount of the fudge sauce in the bowl.  If you can dip your fingers into the bowl and clump the fudge mixture together like a little ball of fudge, it is ready and you can move on to step 3 below.

Overcooked, these cookies will be crumbly, but they still taste yummy.  If they don’t set and stay gooey, they are undercooked.

Mint Chocolate No-Bake Cookies

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cup oats, quick
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp peppermint or vanilla extract, optional
  1. In a medium saucepan, mix together sugar, butter, cocoa, milk, & salt.

  2. Stir and heat over medium heat until in the early soft-ball candy stage (230 degrees), about 5 minutes.

  3. Immediately remove from heat and stir in oats, coconut flakes, and vanilla or peppermint extract if using.

  4. Using a small cookie scoop, drop small mounds of cooked mixture onto a sheet of wax paper.

  5. When cooled, store in airtight container.