Thursday, February 27, 2014

Candy Bar Cookies

Rewind with me clear back to elementary school.  I'm pretty sure it is first grade, it's a field trip, to where, I don't know, but somewhere cool I'm sure.  In my little backpack is my sack lunch, and because it is field trip day, there is something special in that sack.  It's lunch time and while all the kids are pulling out their awesome Lunchables and crackers, cookies and candy and all the cool popular foods I pull out a sandwich in a sandwich baggie (you know the kind with the flap that folds over itself, not the zip lock kind), my Barq's Root Beer wrapped in tin foil to keep it cold (a special treat for sure) and the last thing, the best thing in the whole world, the one thing I have been waiting for all day... a baggie holding a candy bar cookie.  So even though I feel a little left out and embarrassed for having a peanut butter and jam sandwich compared to a Lunchable I am the happiest girl because I am the only one with this cookie.

When I was younger my mom made these cookies as a special treat, and it was the best treat she ever made.  We had this big metal pan with some kind of a brown finish to it with a bunch of cut marks scraped in it, marking the perfect shape and size of these cookies.  I only remember two things being made in that old pan, these cookies and another treat our family called Maple Grove Bars (stay tuned for those in the near future...yum!)

Candy Bar Cookies consist of oatmeal, chocolate and peanut butter. Addicting is all I can say to describe them.  Oh, and easy!  The hardest thing about them is waiting for the peanut butter/chocolate mixture to set up and harden (and cutting them if they get over baked!)

But enough with past memories, let's make some new memories of biting into this goodness!

Candy Bar Cookies

1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Corn Syrup
3 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Salt
4 cups Oats
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and vanilla.  Add the salt and oats, mix to combine. Spread and press mixture evenly into a 9X13 pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Do Not Over Bake! (or your cookies with be jaw breakers!) While the cookies are baking, stir chocolate chips and peanut butter in a small bowl.  When the cookies are done, take them out of the oven and immediately (and carefully) spread the peanut butter/chocolate mixture over the top of the cookies. Let the cookies cool and the chocolate set up completely before cutting and serving.

*My Notes*
~I think it is best to use Quick Oats but I have used Old Fashioned a lot and they work just fine.
~When the cookies are done, they should still be soft and you will look at them and wonder if they are done?  They are.  Depending on your oven they might need an extra minute or two, but no more than that!
~I like to mix up the chocolate and peanut butter as soon as I pop the cookies in the oven and then put the bowl on the stove to let the heat from the oven start to melt the chocolate. If you do this make sure the bowl is heat proof.
~When putting the peanut butter/chocolate mixture on the cookies do it carefully.  I do spoon fulls at a time all over the cookies (instead of just dumping the whole bowl all at once in one place.)  That way it gives the chocolate chips some more time to melt before I am ready to spread it.  Then just keep spreading around until the chocolate is all melted and combined with the peanut butter.
~When I am done spreading the chocolate, and the cookies are still pretty warm I run my knife along the edges to make cutting them a lot easier.
~I like to make these the night before I need them so I can just go to bed while the chocolate sets know, remove myself from temptation.  But if you are pressed for time, you can also place them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.  But it is harder to cut them cold...just keep that in mind.
~This time I lined the pan with parchment paper so I could take them out of the pan to cut them. Holy Cow! It was so slick and easy to cut them into those little squares this way. I will be doing it again. The only down side to this is that the parchment paper made it a little tricky to press the mixture into the pan. But I think it was worth it in the end.

And there you have it! My favorite childhood treat! What's your's?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fast and Easy Ribbon Bookmarks

I am so excited to share this bookmark today!  Jason and I were reading our scriptures last night and I was playing with mine (I can't help but spin it around and around) and I thought to myself "I can't believe I haven't put this on my blog yet". So here we are!

These are so easy and fast to make with endless possibilities! And it looks so cute while doing its job!  This bookmark makes a perfect gift for the readers in your life.  I give them away all the time!

The one that I am showing you today is the most fancy because I included a charm and a bead cap, but the simple ones are probably my favorite. (But I really like this fancy one!)

We are just going to start with beads and ribbon (of your choice), head pins, jump rings (and tools to make them do what you want) and my trusty E-6000.

Start by measuring your ribbon.  Most of mine have been for scriptures so I do about 10 inches.  You want about an inch over hang on each side plus about a half inch on each side for gluing.  The beautiful thing about these bookmarks is that they are so versatile and you are making them.  Which means you can make them as long or as short as you want.  Just remember to add about a half an inch to each side for the gluing.  So measure your favorite novel, journal or textbook or whatever book you want and cut the ribbon.

Next slide your bead onto your head pin, make your pretty loop and attach your head pin to your jump ring.  Do both ends.

Now to finish off your bookmark, take an end of your ribbon and slip it through your jump ring.  Place a small dot of glue on the end of your ribbon, fold it over and glue it about a half inch up.

Squeeze it good and wipe away the excess glue that squishes out. Repeat on the other end.

Let your glue dry for a little bit before you handle it too much.  It shouldn't take long since there isn't that much there.

And that's it!  I told you they were fast and easy.  The hardest part is picking out your beads!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Death by Chocolate and Caramel Icing

A couple of weeks ago we went to my in-laws for dinner.  They always make the yummiest food!  I usually always volunteer a dessert (it is the perfect excuse to try something new I've had my eye on).

When we were invited over I was in major need of some chocolate.  The perfect time to try out this Death By Chocolate Bundt Cake I found over at Live Craft Eat!

This cake is so deliciously moist and chocolaty and just plain good...but without being plain.  The key ingredient in this cake is sour cream.  Sour Cream in dessert?  Up until I made this cake I would always, 100% every time skip over any sweet treat that had sour cream in the ingredient list, no matter how good the finished product looked.  The idea is really gross to me, I don't even like sour cream on my baked potato.  I don't know what made me make the exception this time, but I am so happy that I did!

Enough talking...let's get to the goods!

Death by Chocolate Bundt Cake

4 Eggs
3/4 cup Sour Cream (eww but a must!)
1/2 cup Oil
1/2 cup Water
1 small package Instant Chocolate Pudding
1 Chocolate Cake Mix (I just used the Kroger brand Devils Food)
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease your pan good so it comes out clean.  I use Baker's Joy (a cooking spray that has flour in it already, super handy!).  Beat the eggs and the sour cream together really good.  Add the oil and water, dry cake mix, dry pudding mix and chocolate chips, mix it up good.  Pour the batter into your bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes.

When the cake is done, let it cool for just a few minutes, then remove from the pan onto a wire rack to complete cooling.

Katie from Live Craft Eat suggests sprinkling powdered sugar on the cake but I wanted to try my new favorite icing.  Caramel Cream.  I got this delicious recipe from Wendy Paul's cupcake cookbook (which I absolutely LOVE!) If you don't have this cookbook, I highly recommend you get it.  Lots of yummy cupcakes and frostings!

Caramel Cream

4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
2-3 tbsp Whole Milk
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Cook the butter and brown sugars in a pan over medium heat until it comes to a boil.  Add the milk and stir constantly until it comes back to a boil.  It doesn't take long.  Take the pan off the heat and add the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Stir it good until it is smooth.  Drizzle the caramel over the slightly cooled cake.

*My Notes*
~Sour Cream is a must!
~The cake batter is thick, almost like a brownie mix.  I was expecting the consistency of a normal boxed cake batter.  But it isn't.
~The recipe calls for 1 cup of chocolate chips.  I started with 1 cup, then added a sprinkle, then another and another.  I probably added an extra 1/2 cup, but would have been happy using the whole bag.  A chip in every bite!
~ I don't have dark brown sugar on hand, so I just use a half cup of light brown sugar.
~I also don't keep whole milk in my fridge either, so I just use 2%.
~The recipe makes it sound like it is a creamy, caramely  type frosting, but I have only produced a powdered sugar icing.  I'm sure if I used the right brown sugars and the right milk it would be different.  That said, it is still so yummy!
~The icing hardens pretty quick as it cools, so drizzle fast!