Add a Little Holiday Spirit

Dec 16, 2013 by

Building upon my previous post of creating your own traditions, infusing a little holiday spirit can be just just as simple as adding a little candy cane.

Candy Cane Cookies

If you are looking for an easy way to infuse some holiday spirit, just make some chocolate chip cookies and add in some crushed up candy cane.   It’s just that simple.

These are perfect for any holiday party or just to make the house smell awesome while you are wrapping presents.

My wife gave me the best compliment after making these, which was

“Never make these again!  They are too good and I can’t stop eating them!”

Your Truly Simple Action this week is to infuse a little holiday spirit into your week.  Turn on some Christmas music.  Make some cookies.  Invite some friends over for some eggnog (WARNING: Adults only!)

Ben…

TSA = Truly Simple Actions The goal of the TSA project is to improve your life and help make this world a better place, one simple action at a time.  Take time this week to do this one simple thing. Previous TSA’s: 

 

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Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Nov 18, 2012 by

As I mentioned in the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie post, I LOVE PUMPKIN!  So in continuing with that theme, my wife saw pumpkin snickerdoodles somewhere and suggested I make some.  so I did.  And it was a brilliant idea.  This is a great twist on an already awesome cookie.

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Here is what you’ll need to make them.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2  cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

coating mix

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Lets make some cookies

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Add the butter to your mixer and mix it all up

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add 1 1/2 cup sugar

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add 1/2 cup brown sugar

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mix it all up

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add 3/4 cup pumpkin

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add 1 egg

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add 2 tsp. vanilla extract.  Mix it all up and grab a bowl to mix all your dry ingredients

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In a big bowl add your 2 3/4 cups flour.  Add 1 teaspoon baking soda

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add 1/2 teaspoon salt

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add 1 teaspoon cinnamon

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add 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

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Mix all this stuff together and add it to your mixture in your mixer.

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You will have this wonderful dough mixture that you can’t do anything with yet.

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Cover it and throw it in the fridge for an hour.  You can also make this ahead of time and keep in the fridge for a few days or freeze it even if you need want to have some cookies at a later date.

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While the dough is in the fridge we can make the coating for the cookeis.  Grab a bowl and throw in a 1/4 cup of sugar

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add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

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add 1/2 teaspoon all spice

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add 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

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And mix it all up into this awesome mixture.

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When the dough is ready wash your hands and get rolling.   Make up some balls of dough and throw them in the coating and mix it up.  Preheat your oven to 350 at this time too.

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Throw them on the baking sheet and smush them down with a flat surface.   A glass works great

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes

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and you will end up with THE perfect fall time cookies.  These also make the house smell amazing.

If you are looking for something new to make for Thanksgiving this year, this is it.

Enjoy these cookies.  This is what Thanksgiving is all about.

Ben…

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nov 18, 2012 by

Fall is the best time of year because of of one simple reason.  Pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin everything, and it is wonderful.  I love pumpkin and I love pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and you will too.

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Here is what you will need to make these awesome cookies

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  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

These are very easy to make, and here is how you do it.

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In a mixing bowl throw in one cup of canned pumpkin

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add 1/2 cup vegetable oil

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add one egg

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add 1 cup white sugar and mix all that together.

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In a separate bowl we are going to add all the dry ingredients together.

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Stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt.

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Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well. (not pictured)

When its all mixed up add the 2 cups of chocolate chips and mix it up.

Spoon out the cookies onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350°F for approximately 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

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They will come out like this in all its pumpkin glory and everyone will love them and thus love you for making them.  Plus it makes your whole house smell like pumpkin, which is never bad.

I doubled the recipe to use the entire can of pumpkin, which may or may not have been a good idea, but it sure did make a whole ton of cookies!  Luckily I just send them to work with my wife and all the people in her hospital love her for it.

If you are looking for a good desert to make this fall, this is always a good one to make.

Also if you want to try something AMAZING, try the Pumpkin Snickerdoodles.

Ben…

If you’ve got a good pumpkin recipe, please send it over.  I love pumpkin!!

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Best cookie in the world – Take 1

Jan 14, 2012 by

I set out on a quest the other night.  To make the best cookie in the world.  I was craving a good cookie, but also had a brilliant idea.  I set out looking through the various cookie recipes and made some plans as to what to try.  Here are the results from the first attempt.

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They were pretty spectacular and here’s how you make them.

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Here’ s the usual cookie ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 small box of vanilla pudding

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And here’s the brilliant idea.  Instead of chocolate chips I had an idea to use Frango’s.   I’m not a big chocolate person, but I LOVE Frango’s.

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They used to be sold at a store called the Bon Marche that went out of a business a few years ago and now you can find them at Macy’s around the holidays.  I bought a box for my wife because they are awesome and because I wanted to eat a few of them.   After eating a few way too many, I had the great idea for an amazing chocolate chip cookie made with Frango’s.

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First you need to blend the oatmeal.  These aren’t oatmeal cookies, but they have oatmeal in them and it makes them extremely soft and chewy.

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Throw it in a food processor and process into a fine powder.

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Now add your box of vanilla pudding to this mix.  I saw this on a few other recipes and thought I’d try it in the mix.  Set that mixture aside and grab your big mixer.

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Add in your brown sugar

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and white sugar

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mix it up

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add your butter

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and eggs

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Real vanilla from Mexico is awesome.  Use it if you have it.  If you don’t have it, go to Mexico and get some.

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Throw the vanilla in

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Then add the flour

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finally add the oatmeal mixture

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Now for the magical chocolate chips made from Frango’s…

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I chopped them up into different sized chunks

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I knew I was onto something good at this point

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Preheat the oven to 375.  Mix the choloate into the dough and spoon out onto your baking sheets.

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bake at 375 for 10 minutes and voila.

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yeah they were pretty damn awesome.  Soft, chewy and a hint of mint.

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Did I reach my goal on the first take? Its hard to say. They were amazing out of the oven and everyone in the office devoured the extra’s I brought in, but I think there is room for improvement. I was also going to shave a chocolate bar from Trader Joes and add that in, but I had enough chocolate with the Frango’s so I didn’t end up using that. I also don’t know that I needed the vanilla pudding mix. It was good, but maybe not necessary.

I’m going to continue the quest and tweak the recipe and search for some new ideas, but these are definately a keeper and something I’ll make around the holdiays. The mint in the chocolate is just to die for in these.

Ben…

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An old classic…Kiss Cookies

Dec 24, 2010 by

I always like to try new things, but sometimes you have to re-visit the classics.  Its almost Christmas, and everyone’s house should be filled with no only some holiday cheer, but with the smell of something delicious in the oven.

If I wasn’t sick right now, I would be able to smell the wonderful cookies in the oven.   I visited my family last weekend for the holidays (and now blame them for getting me sick), and while up there my sister was making an old favorite of mine, the kiss cookie, as in Hershey’s Kiss.

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These are simple to make, and oh so delicious to eat.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started

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Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a bag of Hershey kisses, unwrapped
some extra sugar to roll the cookies in

Lets get started… Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

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In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking soda.

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yummmmmmy peanut butter

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Add butter and peanut butter and mix until smooth.

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Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy.

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I love brown sugar

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Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.

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Grab a bit with your fingers and roll it between your hands to get them into little balls.  They should be a bit smaller than what is seen here.

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Grab some extra sugar and pour some in a bowl.

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Roll your cookie balls in the sugar.

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Bake 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet or baking stone for 10 minutes.

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While those are in the oven you need to make these…

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look like this

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When the cookies look nice and golden brown and awesome like this, take them out.

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Push 1 kiss to the center of each cookie and enjoy that smell.

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Set them on a paper towel to cool.  The kisses will become soft and squishy.  Let cool and enjoy.

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Me and my sister when we were little would push down all the tops of the kisses on the cookies.  My mom didn’t like that very much.

thats it!  Just rinse and repeat for the next batch of cookies into the oven.

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While you are waiting for them to bake you can pre-make the dough balls and toss in the sugar bowl with others to save time rolling each one individually.

Now here is some gratuitous cookie shots

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And I only ended up with 3 extra kisses from the bag.  I’ll just eat those to clean up.

So while I was sick, my wife confirms that the entire house smells delicious and she gladly at a couple of these cookies.

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and that its filled with great family and friends.

Merry Christmas everyone

Ben…

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