Monthly Archives: December 2009

More Balls, and a new cookie

Mom and I had a marathon baking day yesterday – 700 cookies later and I’m still tired!

We made drop sugar cookies, Cheesecake Delights, Neapolitan Cookies, Peanut Butter cookies, Thumbprints, Almond Crunch, Caramels and finished some Peanut Butter Balls. I also spent all of Thursday evening baking more Oreo balls, Peanut Butter Balls, and Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies. We had so much fun trying a couple of new recipes with some tried and true ones. Also just having fun in the kitchen together. It was also fun when Beckey called asking for the fudge recipe, and Leah sending photos of her Oreo Truffles! Family baking day, thousands of miles apart 🙂

Only ONE week til Christmas!!! One more dessert to make, and a few more presents to buy. I am READY! While baking, lounging and making gifts I’ve been soaking in the Christmas music and Holiday movies (mostly on Lifetime). 

One of the new recipes I tried this year was a Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookie. I really like them! I haven’t shared them with anyone else, so perhaps the verdict is still out on this one. But I call it a success. 

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookie


This is another cookie from the Taste of Home Holiday Christmas Cookies and Candies magazine. And I have to be honest… I doubled the butter right away and had to double the entire recipe. I still only ended up with about 30 cookies 🙂


  • 24 maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 3/4 c packed brown suger
  • 1 tbs cherry juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/2 tsp shortening


  1. Pat cherries with paper towels to remove excess moisture; set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in cherry juice and vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refridgerate for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
  2. Insert a chocolate chip into each cherry (there should be a nice cut from where the pit was removed). Wrap a tablespoon of dough around each cherry. Place 1 in apart on ungreased baking sheet. I recommend following the directions on the tablespoon of dough – I didn’t follow that exactly because I accidently doubled the recipe. Mine was more like… two tablespoons. I also found it incredibly hard to “wrap” the dough around the cherry. So I mostly the scooped the dough onto the pan, then pushed the cherry into it and just kinda pulled the excess around the top. 
  3. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  4. In microwave, melt remaining chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Feel free to add more chips and shortening, these recipes never call for enough frosting. Dip tops of cookies in melted chocolate OR just spoon the chocolate on to cookie. Let stand and eat. 

Next up is another ball, just for my sister-in-law, Leah. She has some fascination with balls. Says she could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She likes Christmas with our family because we always have ham balls, and now Oreo balls and Peanut Butter balls. So Leah, this one is for you!

Peanut Butter Balls


This is an awesome recipe from my Grandma Drevs. So, I don’t ever remember her actually making these, but her name is on the recipe card. And I remember a few other delicious peanut butter and chocolate desserts 🙂 


  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 c graham cracker crumbs
  • Package of chocolate bark or chocolate chips

Directions – You have two options – you can make these into balls, or just spread in a pan and eat as bars. Grandma made them into bars. Also, you might as well double the recipe now, because it’s flawless and you will love it.

  1. Mix butter and powdered sugar, mix in peanut butter, then graham crumbs (if you are making the balls, don’t use a full cup of graham crumbs – just a little less will let you roll the balls easier) .


  1. Put out some parchment paper or tinfoil on the counter or a cookie sheet, someplace for your balls to dry.
  2. Roll into about 1 in balls, set aside.
  3. You will need the chocolate bark for the balls, the chocolate chips just wont set up enough. Melt the bark according to directions – as always, follow the directions so you don’t burn it! 
  4. Dip the balls into the chocolate. As I was putting the balls into the chocolate and removing them with a spoon, my mom suggested using a fork – it allows the excess bark to drip off before it gets to the pan. GREAT idea, as usual!
  5. Allow balls to dry, then eat and package!


  1. Spread mixture in 8×8 pan.
  2. Melt chocolate chips and spread over mixture.
  3. Let cool in fridge for 30 minutes (Grandma said not to leave it in longer or it would be too hard to cut!)

Peppermint and Macaroons

I had a busy weekend, filled with holiday preparations! Mom and I made four batches of fudge (pics and recipes to come!) and 6 pairs of flannel pants (pics to come!)! I’m still not done filling you in on my baking efforts from last weekend, so here are two more recipes for you to try!

Peppermint Meltaways




  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 c cornstarch
  • 1/4 c sugar


  • 2 tbs butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 1/4 tbs peppermit extract
  • red food coloring
  • 1/2 c crushed peppermint candies


  1. The original recipe calls for no sugar and 1 1/4 c of flour instead of just 1 cup. I followed the original recipe and the cookies turned out really bland – way too floury. My dad suggested that they need more sugar, so next time, I’m adding sugar. These cookies turned out OK – I will tweak the recipe and try them again. They were just a little plain the first time!
  2. In a small bowl cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy; Beat in extract; Combine flour and cornstarch; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  3. Shape into 1 in balls, place 2 in apart on un-greased baking sheets. My suggestion – take a wooden spoon (or your finger) and push down on the ball, making a small indent. My cookies stayed in the ball shape, so the frosting didn’t have a place to go, it just dribbled off the cookie. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  4. In a small bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, milk, extract and food coloring (add til you get the color you want!); beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cookies. Sprinkle with crushed candies. 


Chocolate Macadamia Macaroons



  • 2 c flaked coconut
  • 1/2 c finely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 3 tbs baking cocoa
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 egg whites, beaten (or one egg!)
  • 1 tbs light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 squares (1 oz ea) semisweet chocolate


  1. In large bowl, combine the coconut, macadamia nuts, sugar, cocoa, flour and salt. Add the egg, corn syrup, vanilla and mix well. 
  2. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes or until set and dry to the touch. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. 
  3. In microwave, melt chocolate; stir until smooth. Dip the bottom of each cookie in chocolate, allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper (I prefer tinfoil), let stand until set. 

These are fantastic! My mom and I love them, but we are also a big fan of coconutty desserts. I just melted chocolate chips for the top, but the chocolate squares might work better! I also thought these would be good to really cool the dough and roll into balls, then dip in chocolate bark.

Have a good, fun, not boring cookie or bar recipe?! Send!

December Snow Day

Today was an (un)official snow day! I love snow days, even as an adult. What’s better than enjoying a relaxing day at home, not at work? My office was open, but my street was not plowed. My Focus was not going to tackle a foot of snow in the street and win. Instead, I finished my Christmas presents for kids (if your name is Brooke/Jade/Ty/HayHay/Emma/Dalton/Jenny/Alanna or are one of their mothers, you are warned not to read past the recipe!), made a batch of Chex Mix, puppy chow, and a half batch of Candy Cane Oreo Truffles.

Last Christmas I was obsessed with dipping things in Chocolate and drizzling icing on everything. Neither are hard tasks and they really give desserts that extra appeal. Not that most dessert needs extra appeal 🙂 So last year I tried a couple of truffle-like recipes – Oreo Truffles and Peanut Butter Cups. The peanut butter cups were from a bar recipe, and my mom didn’t think they would work as well as balls, but they were awesome. So today I had half a package of Oreos, and half a package of cream cheese. And since it is December, plenty of Chocolate Bark and Chocolate Chips on hand.

Candy Cane Oreo Truffle



  • 1 pkg of Oreos
  • 1 pkg (8oz) Cream Cheese
  • Crushed Candy Canes (Optional)
  • Chocolate Bark or Chocolate Chips (to melt)


  1. Crush the Oreos! If you are lucky enough to have a food processor, this is a great time to dig it out. If you (temporarily) live with three boys who didn’t own a pasta strainer before you bought one from the D-Tree, a jar of peanut butter and a cutting board will work fine. I stacked three Oreos then used the bottom of the PB jar to smash them. If you’re careful, you won’t even make a mess. 
    If you are adding candy canes, make sure to crush them now. Mine were pre-crushed with food processor. I’m sure a hammer and zip bag will work just as well. 
    Also, get the cream cheese to a soft stage – melt if if you need, but it needs to be suitable for mixing. 
  2. Mix Oreos, 75% of candy canes and cream cheese together. Use a fork or mixer, whatever you want. Chill the mixture until it is easily shaped into 1 in balls. This may take an hour or so. 
  3. Put tinfoil or waxed paper on to a cookie sheet. Shape mixture into 1 in balls. Carefully melt chocolate – follow the directions on the package. Don’t just wing it. 
  4. Dip Oreo balls into chocolate, make sure to coat all sides, lets excess drip off as much as it can, and place on covered cookie sheet. Immediately sprinkle candy cane on top – get to it before the chocolate hardens. If you didn’t save out candy cane, use sprinkles. Make it pretty.
  5. Let truffles chill, then eat and enjoy. But you’ll probly need to try one as soon as they are done 🙂

Moving on.

I am making gifts for my nieces and nephews this year. Luckily they are all kids – ages 4-9 – so I mass produced the same gift for each of them – but personalized it for their personalities. So ummmm… don’t let them see this!

Monster Apocalypse


Yes, I used a pattern – McCalls 5826 – I found it months ago and fell in love with it. All of the fabrics were scraps, remnants, or old wacky dance wear knits that I had bought years ago and never used. There is a reason I never sewed on the shiny dance wears – they SUCK to sew! Machine or otherwise, it was not a pleasant experience. But I survived, with some help from my mom!

What I really love about the pattern was how easy it was to customize each little guy. There are two body forms, three ears, three arms, and like four legs. Then you get to make your face. I used felt for the face, buttons for eyes, and felt and embroidery floss for the mouths. I really just used two mouths – full teeth or a line and two fangs. And these are loving monsters, so most of them have hearts (except for the ones going to boys – I know boys don’t care for hearts!)

I’ve been working on these for a few weeks. It would have went pretty fast if I was making one or two – but there is a total of like 13 here, and that slowed me down. But it was worth it and I think the kids will really love them. I had to make a few extra for myself and some friends. And I know my sister will ask for one after her kids open theirs. Here’s some full body shots:

Cotton Monsters


Scary dance wear knit monsters


True story: The camo fabric was originally bought for my senior prom dress. But something political was going on and my mom refused to sew me a dress made out of that. So instead, she slaved and sewed it out of maroon pleather. She is a rock-star.

Marathon Holiday Baking

Happy Holidays! The holiday baking has begun! I tried out 6 new recipes on Sunday, needed to get a head start for all the holiday parties and gatherings coming up later in the month. 

I’ve also been working on Christmas presents for the nieces and nephews, photos to come.

The Cookies

The Cookies


Michelle and I had a marathon baking day on Sunday! We made all the cookies on the cute tray above – Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Molasses, Butter, Strawberry Cream, Chocolate Coconut Neapolitans, Oreo Candy Cane Bark, and Peppermint Melt-aways. I made three others when I got home. It was a long day 🙂

At Thanksgiving my sister-in-law let me browse a cook book she bought at the checkout at the grocery store. Sometimes I glance at them, but generally ignore because the internet gives me free recipes. There’s only a handful of recipes in here I don’t want to try, only because I already have a great sugar cookie recipe! Regardless, this one is a must have! It’s the Taste of Home Holiday: Christmas Cookies & Candies – I cannot find a picture of the cover – but I’ve seen it at every grocery store. I also noticed that some of the recipes are online, but go purchase the book anyways, then you have them in one place, right in front of you 🙂

My favorite from the morning was Chocolate Coconut Neapolitans! Recipe is below, other recipes to follow.

Chocolate Coconut Neapolitans



  • 1 c butter
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 4 drops red food coloring (or more 🙂
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp coconut extract (optional, this was my addition)
  • 4 1/2 tsp chocolate syrup
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tsp shortening


  1. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with waxed paper (or tinfoil), set aside. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  2. Divide dough into thirds (use your best judgement, it’s OK to be a little off!). Add almond extract and red food coloring to one portion, spread evenly ito prepared pan. Add coconut and coconut extract, spread evenly over first layer. Add chocolate syrup to third portion – we added too much, and it is delicious, but it was a bitch to cut later, use the recommended amount, or try substituting cocoa powder – do they make chocolate extract?; anyways spread over second layer. Cover with foil; freeze for four hours or overnight. 
  3. Unwrap loaf and cut in half length wise – I recommend doing this three times – so you cut it in half, then cut each of those halves again – so you have four long rectangles of dough. Cut each of portion widthwise into 1/4 in slices. Bake 2 inches apart on baking sheet, 350 for 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  4. In microwave, melt chocolate chips and shortening, stir until smooth (Start at 1 minute, then heat for increments of 20 seconds – don’t burn your chips!). Dip one end of each cookie into chocolate, place on waxed paper or tinfoil (I prefer the latter), and let stand until they set. I like to sit them outside, because it’s Iowa and it’s cold!