Cherry Date Dainties

I love making old family recipes, especially around the holidays.  This cookie/candy treat comes from my wife’s side of the family and has quickly become one of my favorites this time of year.  Dainties have everything you want in a Christmas treat – sweet, chewy crunchy and festive-looking!  The combination of cherries, dates and nuts isn’t unique, but the crunch given by the addition of crispy rice cereal is.  And who can resist the snowy indulgence of coconut??

IMG_1567.jpg

CHERRY DATE DAINTIES

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Cups Chopped Dates
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups Crispy Rice Cereal
  • 3/4 Cup Maraschino Cherries, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla
  • Dash Salt
  • 1 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan, combine dates, sugar and eggs.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  • Cook/boil for 10 minutes until dates break down and mixture becomes almost smooth.  Continue to stir constantly or the mixture will stick and burn.
  • Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla.
  • Add cereal, cherries and walnuts.  Stir until mixture is evenly coated.
  • Turn mixture out onto a plate or pan and allow to cool until you can handle.
  • Roll mixture into 1-inch balls and then roll into coconut to lightly coat.
  • Cookies will keep up to 2 weeks.

IMG_1565

This is an easy recipe, but a little tough to execute.  The mixture is VERY sticky and makes it hard to handle.  I like to take a small spoonful of the dough and place it on the coconut and then use the coconut as a barrier to press and roll the cookies.  It doesn’t have to be exactly round as the cherries and flaked coating make them look wintry and festive.  Give them a try and keep this one in your go-to cookie recipes for the holidays.  Dig in!

Fudgey Sandwich Cookies

The last hurrah of summer picnics was yesterday at my in-law’s house.  And while it’s sad to have one last pool weekend of the year, we had a perfect day for family, fun and feasting!  Nothing says party and picnic like these devil’s food sandwich cookies.  Milk’s bff, they’re rich, decadent and unbelievably easy to make.

FullSizeRender 14

FUDGEY SANDWICH COOKIES

Ingredients

  • 1 Box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2/3 Cups Shortening
  • 1 Can Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Instructions

  • Cream shortening and eggs with an electric mixer until combined.
  • Add half the package of cake mix and beat until fluffy.
    • Note:  I’ve tried several mixes to get the best result and Kroger brand devil’s food cake mix is by far the best.  However, any brand will give you a good results as long as it’s devil’s food.
  • Add the remaining cake mix and beat just until combined.
  • Using a cookie scoop, drop 1″ balls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 9-12 minutes.  BE CAREFUL!  These cookies can burn really easily so watch them closely.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely on wire racks.
  • Spread bottom of one cookie with 1/2″ of fudge frosting and top with another cookie.
  • Store in an airtight container until serving.

This recipe will make a dozen sandwich cookies, so we typically double it every time we make it.  And while you could definitely make your own frosting and/or switch up flavors, this is a tried-and-true winner.  Try them for your next tailgate or birthday party.  Dig in!

Chippy Ice Cream Sandwiches

Cookies and ice cream are BFF’s in my latest dessert creation.  To be honest, this is way easier than it sounds given that I already have an awesome recipe for Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies on my blog from the holidays.  With a few tweaks, you’ll have the perfect homemade sandwiches for your next picnic, birthday party or just for an occasional sweet treat!

FullSizeRender 3

CHIPPY ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Prepare cookie dough recipe per instructions.
  • On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out dough into a single layer.
  • Bake 14-18 minutes or until edges are golden brown and center is set.  The ice cream sandwiches actually stay together and cut better if the cookie is a little under-done.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan.
  • Remove ice cream from freezer and allow to thaw 10-15 minutes until it is spreadable, but not runny.
  • Cut cookie in half and turn one half over so it is bottom-side up.  Spread entire half gallon of ice cream in an even layer on cookie and top with the other half.  Press and twist slightly to get good contact.
  • Place entire cookie sheet in freezer and chill for 4-6 hours.
  • Remove from freezer and cut into bars with a sharp knife.  Serve immediately or store in zippered plastic bags in the freezer for up to one month.

FullSizeRender

With a little time and patience, you can make these super-decadent treats all summer long!  Make them festive by substituting M&M’s for the chips or using different flavors of ice cream.  Want to take it over the top?  Make a quick chocolate ganache, dip half of each sandwich in it and then into colored sprinkles!  The possibilities are endless when you have a good cookie recipe and quality ice cream – just make sure you have a sturdy batter that doesn’t get too crispy or it won’t hold up or cut properly.  Dig in!

Butter Pecan Cookies

Butter cookies represent the richness and decadence of the holiday season for sure.  Instead of a store-bought tin or the basic butter recipe you might make, try this twist.  These guys get an upgrade from a roll in colored sugar crystals and topped with a pecan half.  They’re slightly crispy, but still melt in your mouth.  And they sparkle like all great things around Christmas should!

fullsizerender-2

BUTTER PECAN COOKIES

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 3/4 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Each Red & Green Sugar Crystals
  • 50 Pecan Halves

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  • Gradually add flour and mix well until dough is formed.
  • Cover and chill in refrigerator for a minimum of 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place sugar crystals into small bowls.  Red in one and green in the other.  You can use any color you want!
  • Form dough into 1-inch balls and then roll in one of the colors of sugar.
  • Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Once sheet is full, use the flat bottom of a glass or jar and gently press cookies flat.  You made need to dip glass in the sugar crystals between cookies to prevent sticking.
  • Place a single pecan half on each cookie and press gently into dough.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, remove from oven and cool on wire racks.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Be careful when baking these as it doesn’t take much for them to scorch.  They should be slightly browned on the bottom.  Once you figure out the right time for your oven, it’ll be super easy though.  Make them before next weekend and let me know how you like them.  Dig in!

Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s no cookie more iconic than chocolate chip!  And I’ve had an awesome variety of big, small, crispy, chewy and more that have all been fantastic.  This recipe though is a little twist on your favorite.  With a chewy consistency and the addition of butterscotch chips, they’re a great take on the American classic.  If you can pull yourself away from your go-to family recipe, give these a try this holiday season – or any time of year for that matter…

FullSizeRender 14.jpg

BUTTERSCOTCH CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Butter-Flavored Shortening
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • 2 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 6 Ounces Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 6 Ounces Butterscotch Chips

fullsizerender-13

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together shortening, eggs, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  • In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well.
  • Using a spoon, fold in both types of chips until evenly distributed.
  • Use a 1-inch cookie scoop or drop by spoonful onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.  Store in an airtight container.

Even if you’re not a huge butterscotch fan you’re going to love these cookies.  And maybe, just maybe, they might become your new family favorite.  Get a glass of ice cold milk and belly up to the kitchen table for a few.  Dig in!

Coconut Cookies

Let the holiday cookie-making continue!  My wife introduced me to one of her favorites back when we were dating and they quickly became one of my favorites too.  Here’s the twist, there’s no coconut in them!  The interesting combination of instant mashed potato flakes and coconut flavoring will fool anyone.  And you will absolutely love the crispy edges and chewy middles with a hot chocolate or coffee by the fireside.

fullsizerender-10

COCONUT COOKIES

Ingredients

  • 1 Package or 1 1/3 Cups Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • 1 Cup Bisquick (or similar baking mix)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Margarine, Softened
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Tsp. Coconut Flavoring

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl cream together butter and sugar.  Add coconut flavoring and mix well.
  • Add egg and beat well with an electric mixer.
  • Stir in Bisquick and potato flakes, with a spoon, until mixture comes together.
  • Cover and chill cookie dough in refrigerator for 1 hour or longer.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Form dough into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
  • Remove from oven and put cookies on a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
  • Store in a covered container.

Simple, weird and totally delicious!  Try making a batch of these this year for something a little different on your cookie platter.  I hope you love them as much as we do.  Dig in!