Handmade Holidays Bake, Craft & Sew Along

Today, I’m participating in the Handmade Holidays Bake, Craft & Sew Along! It’s a month long festivity full of all things handmade and perfect timing for the holidays! I’m sharing this delectable recipe for Hello Dolly Bars over at a Southern Fairytale. Oh and did I mention I’m also sharing a super simple craft project over at According to Kelly as well?

Hello Dolly Bars + Giveaway

I make these bars every year and hand them out to family, friends, and neighbors. Along with a slew of other baked goods. I typically like to spend a weekend int he kitchen baking up a storm and then we begin to pass out the goodies come that Monday before the holidays! So if your looking for a tasty homemade treat to share with family and friends, definitely head on over to A Southern Fairytale to get the recipe for my Hello Dolly Bars!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And one lucky winner has the chance to win an awesome prize pack!

Don’t forget to head on over to According to Kelly for 30 fabulous crafty gifts and Skip to my Lou  for sewing inspiration!

Disclaimer: I did not receive anything to participate–just wanted to share the love with my readers!


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These Candy Bar Cookies have the base of a traditional chocolate chip cookie, and incorporates any leftover candy bars you might have laying around! The sky is the limit–chop up your favorite candy bars and add them in these sweet cookies.

Great way to use up leftover Halloween candy -->> Candy Bar Cookies from KatiesCucina.com

Happy Halloween! I can’t believe I’ve held out all month sharing a sweet treat. Yesterday, after leaving my doctors appointment I was craving cookies. I’ve been very good (and so has my husband) and neither of us have tapped into the Halloween candy bars. Although, I will admit my neighbor did bring over a bag of half-opened candy to get it out of her house and we have had a few kit kats here and there. But other than that–we haven’t tapped into our own stash. Do you eat the Halloween candy that you bought for trick or treaters or save it for the kids like we do?

Candy Bar Cookies from KatiesCucina.com

Back to these Candy Bar Cookies… I tapped into some of the candy I had on hand. Miniature Kit Kat bars (from our neighbor), some miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and a bag of m&m’s I picked up at the store! I chopped up the soft chocolates (Kit Kat Bars and Reese’s) and mixed those into the butter mixture, pour the dry flour mixture in and during the last few seconds I mixed in the bag of M&M’s. If you want these to be Fully Loaded Candy Bar Cookies you could easily add even more candy bars to the mix. Just make sure you chop the candy bars small enough. I also used my favorite OXO cookie scoop. Using the medium scoop made it no-mess and gave me 36 beautiful soft candy bar cookies!

Oh and if your wondering what the gender of the baby is… head on over to my DIY blog Sew Woodsy where I share a very unique Halloween inspired gender reveal!

Katie Original Recipe

Candy Bar Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 36

Candy Bar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 individual Kit Kat Bars, chopped small
  • 1/2 cup mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, chopped small
  • 2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package (3.14oz) M&M

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a KitchenAid stand mixer, begin to cream butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed for 1 minute. Then add the vanilla extract and eggs (one at a time). Mix until incorporated about 1 minute. Then add in chopped Kit Kat Bars and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Mix for 10 seconds until incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl add 2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the stand mixer, and mix for 30 seconds or until well incorporated. Add the package of M&M to the bowl and mix until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix one last time (for about 5-10 seconds.
  4. Using a medium cookie scoop, begin scooping dough and placing on an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and let sit on the hot cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat until all the cookie dough has been made.

Notes

*You can add any type of candy bars you'd like. You can also add more candy, but not less than what is in the directions above. You could supplement chocolate chips for M&M's if need be. If you don't feel like using all the dough in one sitting, seal well and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze.

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 Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies by KatiesCucina.com #fbcookieswap #cookies #chocolate #recipe

Today is the big cookie-swap reveal day for the second annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap organized by the amazing Julie of The Little Kitchen and Lindsay from Love & Olive Oil! These ladies worked their butts off to ensure that food bloggers all over the world could exchange cookies. A big thank you to them for all the hard work on this much appreciated event! This year, the ladies added an extra step to the cookie swap. Everyone who participated donated $4 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. According to Julie’s (personal) Facebook page over $2200 was raised this year and my friends at OXO matched it so that means over $4400 in total was raised by the Great Food Blogger Cookie swap!!!

Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

I made these Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies back in August, and then made them again in September, and then when I signed up for the Cookie Swap, I remembered that I had yet to blog about these cookies I instantly knew that these would be the cookies I would send out to my three lucky recipients! Plus these cookies are only 80 calories a cookie–a plus in my book (although you would never know because they are super moist and decadent)!

Who were my lucky recipients for the 2012 Food Blogger Cookie Swap?

Go and visit their blogs and show them some love!!!

Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies Recipe Card from KatiesCucina.com

I also made a cute recipe card for my three recipients. I found a photoshop file from Plucky Momo and I adapted the file to fit my needs. Download the PDF version of my recipe card here: Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies Template

Adapted from Cooking Light, December 2005

Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 22 minutes

Yield: 30 cookies

These chewy chocolate cookies are sure to please anyone who craves chocolate. Best of all, they are just 80 calories a cookie!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift flour, then lightly fill measuring cup and level off. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (stir).
  3. In a large bowl, place sugar and butter in bowl and beat using a mixer on high until well combined. Then add vanilla and egg and beat. Place the mixer on a low speed and slowly add the flour mixture to the bowl; beat just until well combined. Then, fold in dried cherries and mini chocolate chips.
  4. Spray a cookie tray with cooking spray. Then drop a tablespoon-ful of batter on to the cookie
  5. sheet. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees (or just until set). Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Then remove the cookies from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Notes

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Earlier this week, Christine from Cook the Story and I spoke with Angie from Eclectic Recipes about Halloween treats! You don’t have to be a baker to make sweet treats. You can decorate semi-homemade treats by utilize store bought moon pies or cookies or you can go all out and make your own treats from scratch. Candy of all shapes and sizes can be utilized to create a creepy crawly treat to an oh-so chic one! Watch our most recent Google Hangout where we talk about Halloween Sweet Treats.

25 halloween sweet treats

After our chat I decided to put together a list of some of my favorite Halloween sweet treats. These treats don’t have to be difficult to put together yet make a big impact. I hope this list gives you some wonderful ideas as we creep closer to October 31st.

  1. String Monster Cupcakes from Katie’s Cucina
  2. Melted Witch Push Up Pops from Cookies and Cups
  3. Moon Pie Owl Pops from Eclectic Recipes
  4. Bloody Popcorn Brains from Not Quite Nigella
  5. Edible Eyeballs from Disney Family
  6. Witches’ Finger Cookies from Annie’s Eats
  7. Meringue Bones from Food plus Words
  8. Bleed Red Velvet Truffles from Cookies and Cups
  9. Bloody Band-Aid Cookie from Noble Pig
  10. Mummy Munch from Picky Palate
  11. Brains in a Jar Cake  from Living Locurto
  12. Spider Peanut Butter Blossoms from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
  13. Jello Worms from The Idea Room
  14. Halloween Tombstone Cupcakes from The Little Kitchen
  15. Chocolate Dipped Worm Pretzels from Recipe Girl
  16. Frozen “Boo” -nana Pops from Skinnytaste
  17. Black Velvet Layer Cake from Food plus Words
  18. Peanut Butter Eyeball Truffles from Katie’s Cucina
  19. Silly Vampire Truffles from The Domestic Rebel
  20. Homemade Caramel Apples from Brown Eyed Baker
  21. Brain with Blood Clot Cupcakes from Annie’s Eats
  22. Ghost Cake Pops from Bakerella
  23. Chocolate Pumpkin Spider Donuts from Inside Bru Crew Life
  24. Mummy Twinkie Pops from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen
  25. Boo-Ghost Cake in a Cup from Craft-O-Maniac

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I, like many others, have been enjoying the holidays with family. I wanted to post this recipe prior to Christmas, but was trying to stay clear from the computer giving myself a much needed break. I love peppermint bark. To be exact… the William’s Sonoma peppermint bark. It’s amazing, but it’s also $25 a tin! Way too much, for this thrifty person to pay! 

In past year’s I’ve started making my own peppermint bark. It’s very simple and can make for a wonderful holiday gift. I also love to bring it to parties that we are invited too–it is always a hit! This takes a little less than an hour to make and can be passed as the fancy $25 version! The key to good peppermint bark is the quality of the chocolate you use! I always splurge and buy the Ghirardelli chocolate chips! 

Source: Katie Original

Peppermint Bark

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 12-24

Ingredients

  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 1 bag white chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 24 candy canes

Directions

  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and set to the side.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl place the bag of chocolate chips in the bowl. Microwave on 20 second intervals (stirring between heatings) until melted. Once the chocolate is melted carefully smooth it out on the parchment paper. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  3. While the chocolate is in the freezer, unwrap all 24 candy canes. Then place them in a freezer safe baggy, seal it, and begin beating the crap out of the candy canes with a mallet! You will want small pieces of candy cane! Place to the side until chocolate is ready.
  4. Prior to pulling the chocolate out of the freezer begin melting the white chocolate. I add two tablespoons of unsalted butter to my white chocolate to help it smooth out better. Remember to microwave in 20 second intervals until melted. You do not want to over cook your white chocolate. It will be very difficult to work with! Pull the chocolate out of the freezer and spoon and smooth the white chocolate over top. Then add the crushed candy canes.
  5. Place the chocolate back in the freezer for 20 more minutes. Upon pulling out the chocolate, begin to break with your hands. Place in an air tight container or in a zip lock bag. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks!
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Growing up I remember my mom always  making cranberry bread during the late fall months. I made a loaf of cranberry bread the week leading into Thanksgiving so my guest would have something quick and delish to munch on for breakfast (or dessert or for a late night snack)!

This bread recipe is perfect! The bread is dense yet moist and the tones of cranberries you can find throughout! This is a simple recipe that any novice baker could make and wow their guest! I plan to bake another batch for my guest who will be celebrating Christmas with us next week!

Source: Three Many Cooks via Shutterbean

Cranberry Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Meanwhile combine egg, milk and butter in a small bowl. Add wet mix to dry mix and combine thoroughly then stir in cranberries.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until golden brown and a cake tester comes clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes. Run a knife around pan to loosen bread. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
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I made these quick and easy truffles last weekend for a tacky sweater Christmas party that my husband and I attended. I renamed these to play along with the tacky Christmas party theme as “Schweddy Balls” after the classic Christmas SNL skit. Everyone at the party got a big kick out of the name and fell in love with these rich mis-shappend balls. Sorry… I had too! I couldn’t resist. That skit is probably one of my favorites during the holidays!

Adapted from: Giada De Laurentiis

Balsamic Dark Chocolate Truffles

Prep Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 35 minutes

Yield: 24

Ingredients

  • 10 oz dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 tsps balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • mini cupcake wrappers

Directions

  1. Melt the chocolate and cream on low in a sauce pan. Make sure you stir constantly and do not let the chocolate come to a boil. You simply want to melt the chocolate. As soon as the chocolate pieces are melted remove the pan from the stove, and place melted chocolate in a small bowl. Stir in the balsamic vinegar. Cool the chocolate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1-1/2 - 2 hours, until firm but moldable.
  2. Use a teaspoon to scoop out chocolate. Use your fingertips to shape into balls about the size of a cherry. Set the chocolate balls on a parchment-lined tray.
  3. Place the cocoa powder in a small shallow dish. Roll each truffle individually in the cocoa powder; rolling to coat the entire truffle. Return the coated truffles to the baking sheet. Continue with the remaining truffles. Once all the truffles have been coated with cocoa powder place each individual truffle in a mini cupcake wrapper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Today is the big day… the big reveal… the big share. For those of you who are food bloggers and on twitter  you may have been hearing a lot of buzz lately about The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap that was organized by Julie from The Little Kitchen and Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil.

Matches were sent out last month and I sent my cookies out last week. I can finally share with everyone the cookies that I baked and the three lucky recipients! Here were the three food bloggers I sent cookies too:

Rocio from Rosy Girl Baked Goods

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing what cookies I received, the recipes, and of course the blogger behind the cookies! *I did not receive cookies from the same people whom I sent too!

Now, on to the cookie I baked for this special event. I don’t make many chocolate based cookies, and have had this cookie recipe bookmarked for longer than I can remember. I love the chocolate/ peanut butter combo, and just had a feeling these cookies would be amazing. I am a fan of the chewy-soft cookie. Some like theirs hard, thin, thick, etc… I like mine chewy and soft, and of course preferably fresh out of the oven! These cookies encompass everything I love about a cookie and more. The ratio of chocolate to peanut butter (in my opinion) is perfect! I hope you’ll bake these cookies up and share them with family, friends, and neighbors!

Source: Hershey’s
Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: PT8-10M

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4-1/2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2-1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 bag Reese’s Peanut Butter chips

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, cocoa, bakingsoda and salt; set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer untilfluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beatingwell. Stir in peanut butter chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreasedcookie sheet.
  3. Bake 8 to 9 minutes. *Do not over bake; cookies willbe soft.
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I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin; however, I can’t get enough of pumpkin bread! There is something about the spices that lure me in every time! Growing up my mom always made pumpkin bread from a box mix. Me being the naive young child I had no idea that people could make this from scratch. I hardly ever use my fancy William’s Sonoma Bundt Pan that I received as a wedding gift, so when I was searching for a recipe this one caught my eye. Not just because of the bundt pan, but because I was looking to use up my buttermilk! 

This cake by far out beats any stupid box mix out on the market. It’s amazing. It’s moist, and full of fall flavors. I did alter the icing recipe. I only used 1 cup of confectioners sugar opposed to the additional half cup the recipe suggested and I used 3 tbsp of buttermilk. I’ve made this recipe now, twice in the past week since making it. Just looking at these pictures intrigues me to make another one for my family arriving in town this week! 


Source: Epicurious via Gourmet Nov 2005
Prep Time: 10 minutes:
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 


Ingredients for the Cake: 

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing bundt pan
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin 
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs

  • Ingredients for the Icing:
  • 3 tbsp well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar

  • Directions: 
  • 1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter bundt pan generously, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

  • 2. Whisk together flour (2 1/4 cups), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, 3/4 cup buttermilk, and vanilla in another bowl.

    3. Beat butter (1 1/2 sticks) and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, then add eggs and beat 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.

    4. Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top, then bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then invert rack over cake and reinvert cake onto rack. Cool 10 minutes more.

    5. While cake is cooling, whisk together buttermilk and confectioners sugar until smooth. Drizzle icing over warm cake, then cool cake completely. Icing will harden slightly.



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Happy 4th of July! The whole reason why I wanted to make homemade marshmallows was because I had seen a similar version on Pinterest. Melanie, from Whimsical Creations recently blogged about “Smores on a Stick“! That’s when I knew that this would be the perfect opportunity to make my own homemade marshmallows, put them on a stick, and dip them in chocolate and sprinkles!

Well, I can definitely say it worked. However, I was in a rush and failed to put the chocolate dipped marshmallows on parchment paper to dry–so they dried directly on the plate. A big dummy move on my behalf, but that’s how we live and learn. My husband was eventually able to get them off with a few seconds in the microwave and gently prying them off by using a fork! In any event–make sure you use parchment paper. These treats are delectable and you’ll want to come back for more! 

Source: Katie Original
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1-2 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup chocolate melting discs
1 batch of homemade marshmallows
Sprinkles
Lollipop sticks

Directions:
1. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

2. Place a lollipop stick in each of the marshmallows.

3. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl (in 30 second intervals). Once the chocolate is melted carefully dip the marshmallow on a stick into the chocolate. Then pour sprinkles over the chocolate covered marshmallows. *You will want to have a dish under where you will be pouring the sprinkles.

4. Let the lollipops cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Remove from the refrigerator and serve!


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