thegingerchef

Recipes from My Kitchen

Guest Post – Homemade Almond Joys

While I have company this weekend, I have a Guest Blogger: my mama!! I made a good dessert for my guest, but I will post about that another day 😉 Enjoy this recipe from my mom 🙂

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I am a guest today for The Ginger Chief Blog. I am always trying new recipes and this is one that I plan on making often. I want to introduce you to Homemade Almond Joy Candy Bar Bites. Did I say they were delicious, mouth-watering, and taste exactly like an Almond Joy Candy Bar? Well, that is exactly what they taste like, if not better. This recipe makes 15 bite size candy bars, which is just perfect for two people who don’t know when to stop eating them. We haven’t had any sweets in our home for a few weeks. I had to take the picture fast because Cowjunky was wolfing down the bites as fast as I put the chocolate on them and I must confess that I was right behind him. I think I just had enough left for a picture. The only downside I have with this recipe is you do have Eagle Brand Milk leftover and what do you do with leftover Eagle Brand Milk? Make another batch of these delicious bites! These are good. They are easy to make. You will want to make them… Maybe tonight!

This recipe is a quick, simple, recipe and if you like Almond Joy Candy bars you are going to love this recipe.

Homemade Almond Joys

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Recipe makes about 15

2-2/3 cups Sweetened Coconut
2 Egg Whites
1/3 Cup Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
Raw Almonds * I only had sliced almonds so that’s what I used because, well, that’s just the way I roll.
1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1/3 Cup of milk for melting Chocolate

 

1. In a food processor with the metal blade, add coconut, egg whites, and condensed milk. Pulse until well processed.
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray the sheet with baking spray.
3. Mold a ball of the mixture onto a spoon. Place on a cookie sheet. Make sure the mixture is compact in the spoon or your hand before placing on the cookie sheet.
4. You can either press an almond down into each ball or you can do what I did and add the sliced Almonds to the food processor and mixed it into the mixture. I liked this much better, however, you could also add an Almond to the top of the ball if you wanted to.
5. Place into the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes or at least until golden brown.
Topping:
Place the pieces on a cooling rack with wax paper underneath. This will catch any stray coconut or chocolate drippings.

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate over low heat stirring continuously. As chocolate is melting, add milk to think out. I just took a spoon and poured the chocolate over the bites.

Goodness Gracious….This recipe hit the spot…

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Strawberry Cake Cookies (with icing!!)

 

All you need is a box of cake mix!!

This recipe looked so good on the website, but the cookies were a little soft and hard-to-handle.  I still think they taste more delicious than they looked – but we’ll reevaluate it in the morning when the other people try to eat it :-p

Really they were very easy to make – and they’re cute for kids.  You can make them just about any color you want (it’s just a box of cake mix) and the sprinkles can be any color.  The icing is the key though – makes the cookie worth eating (it’s a cookie, but it’s cake! so of *course* icing is required 🙂 ).

For the cookies
1/4 cup butter (half of one stick), softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 1/8 cup strawberry cake mix (I doubled the recipe, which is an entire box of mix and double the rest of the ingredients)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix the softened butter, egg, vanilla, and stir by hand or with a mixer until combined.  Add  the cake mix and stir until smooth.

If time permits, chill the dough by placing the mixing bowl in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Chilled dough spreads less during the baking process (I just put mine in the fridge for a while, i couldn’t tell a huge difference, but i did refrigerate it while the first round baked).

Form 1 inch balls on a Silpat-lined, parchment paper-lined, or cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Allow for adequate spacing because they do spread (but are easily separated); which is why I recommend chilling the dough and do not exceed 1 rounded tablespoon-sized or 1 inch sized balls.  Bake at 350F for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are barely browned.  They make look a bit loose and jiggly after only 8 to 10 minutes (I cooked for 10 minutes) but they will continue to cook on the sheets after you remove the from the oven and will firm up as they cool.  Do not overbake.  Allow the cookies to cool well (on the cookie sheets is fine) before attempting to move them.

While the cookies are baking, make the frosting.

For the
 frosting

1/4 cup butter (half of one stick), softened

1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 to 4 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar (I used 3)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the butter and cream cheese either by hand or with a mixer.  Then add the vanilla extract and add two cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  If you like thick(er) frosting, add more powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.

Spread on top of cooled cookies and single-layer them onto your serving tray.  Be sure to store in the fridge if you’re not serving them till the next day, since the icing is a dairy product.

Again, it wasn’t a great recipe, but something I still wanted to try.  And it wasn’t awful (pretty tasty, actually).  So if you need a good Valentine’s day recipe, or something for a pink-themed party (or make a different color), these are perfect.

 

From the website:  http://www.loveveggiesandyoga.com/2012/01/strawberry-cake-mix-cookies-with-vanilla-cream-cheese-frosting.html

 

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Christmas Cookies – Part II

Whew!  After about 13 hours over two days, and 686 cookies (yes, I counted every one :-)) I am finally done.  In fact, half of them are already handed out!  The cookies for mine and Tony’s offices will be handed out Monday and Tuesday.

The first part of the morning I made the Gingerbread dough for the Christmas Trees.  I made these a few years ago and they were so cute that I couldn’t resist.  It takes about 10 cookies for each tree – 3 large, 3 medium, and 3 small stars for the tree, and one small star for the top.  I made a simple icing (milk, confectioner’s sugar) to use as a paste to hold them together, and then colored it for the star.

 I found out the last time I made these the easiest way to attach the star was toothpicks; but you have to insert the toothpick in as soon as they come out of the oven, so they’re still soft and pliable.  If you wait until assembly, the cookies are more apt to break apart.

Here are my finished trees!!

Then I finished the Cranberry Oat cookies I made the day before.  This recipe I got out of one of Mom’s Southern Living (or something) magazines – It’s one of my favorites 🙂  I melted the chocolates and dipped them in about halfway – they cool pretty fast and look very festive for Christmas.

Another new recipe I tried this year was a Red Velvet Cookie – since I didn’t have a lot of color in my mix, I didn’t want to do the traditional peanut butter/Hershey kiss cookie, so I tried this one instead.  I got the recipe from Betty Crocker (http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/red-velvet-rich-and-creamy-cookies/815f4270-d7b5-4d25-a2e1-dabb498d4b85) – but this isn’t the real recipe:  I saw it in a book in the check-out line at the grocery store (which is where I get a lot of good ideas) but didn’t want to buy the book. So I searched and this is as close as I could get.  (The Red Velvet is made by using Cocoa and red food coloring – I think this recipe calls for too much cocoa and the cookies are darker than I would have liked 😦 )

The last thing I tried were meringues – I wanted to make these really pretty snowflakes I saw, but I never could get it fluffy/stiff enough to make the shape I wanted.  So I just spooned it onto a pan and put sprinkles and edible silver stars on them 🙂  They didn’t turn out too badly, and definitely pepped up the plates a little!!

I love making food for other people to enjoy (I have only eaten one santa hat, one bite of an m&m cookie, and one spoonful of icing …so far ;-)) – and this is a tradition I get from my Mama – she always hands out cookies to friends and family at Christmas time.  Hopefully, at this time next year, my kitchen will be twice the size…maybe my cookie list will be, too!!!

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Christmas Cookies – Part I

I am carrying on my mom’s tradition of making large amounts of cookies and giving them out to people.  I did this a couple of years ago and completely skipped last year.  So  trying again this year and am pleased with the results thus far!!  I’m not posting step-by-steps of what I’m making, but I will try to share the links and am happy to answer questions.  I baked for about 8 or 9 hours today – a lot of that was waiting on the oven though, or waiting on stuff to chill/shape/mix/facebook/etc.  Tomorrow shouldn’t take nearly as long and I will post pictures of the final trays.  So, without further ado, here are my Christmas Cookies, Part I!!

What chef is complete without their chef’s pants!! (Or, in my case, my WVU jammies 🙂 )  I figured I should be comfortable while spending 8 hours in the kitchen.

The first thing I made were mints – they were a lot easier to make after I re-read the directions and figured out what 3 oz of cream cheese really was :-p  I ended up making them about 195 of them out of one turn; I made them bite-sized so had a few more than the recipe called for.  I found them on Pinterest, but I have had the recipe in my collection for a while.
http://kitchentrialanderror.blogspot.com/2011/05/creamy-mints.html

 

The next thing I made I *definitely* found on Pinterest – and it’s so simple and easy, and they turned out so cute!!
http://www.freefunchristmas.com/christmas-recipes/christmas-santa-hat-pretzels/

I used about half a bag of melting chocolates and made about 70 of these, and had chocolate left over.

 

 

This is another new recipe that I tried – and of all the things I made, I have yet to eat any of them (well, I had one bite of one cookie, because I wasn’t sure how it turned out – which wasn’t bad – but that’s probably all I’ll have).  This is another Martha Stewart recipe (love me some Martha!) and other than the melty chocolate being a mess, they were really easy to make.
http://marzipanmom.blogspot.com/2009/12/2-days-till-christmas-chocolate-crackle.html

Tony wanted some m&m cookies – I tried two different recipes, and he prefers one over the other, but I’m not super-thrilled with how they turned out.  One, it was hard to find the Christmas m&ms – so I used Cadbury chocolates which were much bigger and more awkward.  But since Tony ate them, and he doesn’t like sweets, then I guess they are a win 🙂


The last thing I made today is an old family recipe – cherry-filled bon-bons!  I am not a fan (cherries, and all), but they do give the plate a lot of color 🙂  I’m not too sure I’m going to give this recipe out 😉

 

 

 

Stay tuned tomorrow for the rest of the cookie goodness!!!

 

 

 

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