Black Forest Cheesecake #ChristmasSweetsWeek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with ChristmasSweetsWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the ChristmasSweetsWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

I always feel a little more nostalgic about my German heritage at Christmas. I think it’s a remnant of Opa’s Christmas cookie packages, which were synonymous with Christmas for all of my childhood. Without even thinking about it, I end up planning some German-inspired dessert for our holiday table – like this Black Forest Cheesecake.

Black Forest Cheesecake

This is obviously not traditional, but the flavors are there – and, I’ll be honest, this is going to be easier than your traditional Black Forest Cake.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Doughnuts #ChristmasSweetsWeek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with ChristmasSweetsWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the ChristmasSweetsWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

I am all about a festive breakfast for holiday celebrations – and these delicious doughnuts are a perfect treat for Christmas morning!

Chocolate Hazelnut Doughnuts 3

These pack a big punch of flavor thanks to LorAnn Oils Chocolate Hazelnut Flavor. Just a little gives these a great, complex flavor – and it’s balanced nicely by the vanilla icing. Sweets & Treats sprinkles make them extra festive and perfect for the holiday!

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Fruit Cake Cookie Bars #ChristmasCookies

This post is sponsored in conjunction with Christmas Cookies Week. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the Christmas Cookies Week recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

I grew up with my Grandfather’s stollen as a Christmas tradition, so it took me years to realize that most of the world doesn’t love fruit cake.

Fruit Cake Bars 2

Honestly, I think the rest of the world is wrong, it’s delicious. I think too many people’s first encounter was a questionably-made, mass produced dessert no one would like. If you’d tried Opa’s, I’m sure you would solidly be in my corner.

I got SO excited when I saw this recipe last year and I’ve been dreaming of it since. Usually, I try to make Christmas cookies that will be crowd pleasers, but these? I made them simply because I knew I’d love them. ‘Tis the season to treat yourself, right?

Fruit Cake Bars 3

So these are a gift for you, fellow fruit cake lovers. I know we’re in the minority here, but I say embrace it! Make yourself a batch of these this holiday to make yourself happy – I’m sure you’re doing enough to make others smile!

#ChristmasCookiesWeek Thursday Recipes

 

And don’t forget there are a whole bunch of awesome prizes that will make you smile up for grabs during #ChristmasCookiesWeek thanks to our sponsors. You can enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fruit Cake Bars 1

Fruit Cake Cookie Bars
(adapted from The Spiffy Cookie)
Makes about 2 dozen

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 cups diced fruit cake mix (or a combo of chopped candied cherries and chopped candied pineapple)
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13″ pan with parchment sprayed with cooking spray.

In a bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs with the butter until evenly combined. Press evenly into the prepared pan.

Evenly sprinkle the fruit cake mix, raisin, almonds, and coconut over the top. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over everything.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden around the edges. Cool completely before slicing.

Fruit Cake Cookie Bars

Disclaimer: Thank you #ChristmasCookiesWeek sponsors: Adams Extract, Sprinkle Pop, YumGoggle and Silpat for providing the prizes free of charge. The #ChristmasCookiesWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Four (4) winners will be selected at random from entries received. The prize packages will be fulfilled by and sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. #ChristmasCookiesWeek bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household are not eligible to enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #ChristmasCookiesWeek posts or entry.

Iced Cutout Cookies #ChristmasCookies

This post is sponsored in conjunction with Christmas Cookies Week. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the Christmas Cookies Week recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

Until relatively recently, cutout cookies really intimidated me. Now, they’ve become one of my favorite kitchen projects.

Cutout Cookies 1

I think my breakthrough was being able to let go of the expectation of perfect. I adore those perfectly-frosted cookies, but that’s just not in my wheelhouse right now. Luckily, these cookies taste just as good and are just as fun without a perfect icing job.

I was so excited when sponsor YumGoogle offered to send cookie cutters – it meant the perfect opportunity to share my go-to recipe.

I love that this icing works when piping or just spread. I piped on the icing for the snow-covered trees, while the kids spread the colored icing for their trees.

Honestly, there was nothing fancy going on here. My icing tips have gone MIA with the move, so my trees were just made with icing in a sandwich bag with the tip cut off. After the green dried a bit, I added the white “snow” and sprinkled with white sanding sugar. I really love the rustic-looking result.

For the kids, I coloring the icing a few different colors and let them go to town. After the icing was spread, they sprinkled as desired. They loved it, and their results were adorable (and delicious!)

Cutout Cookies 3

Don’t forget about the great giveaways that are part of Christmas Cookie week! There are prizes from all #ChristmasCookiesWeek sponsors, including a pack of cookie cutters from YumGoogle! You can enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

#ChristmasCookiesWeek Tuesday Recipes

Cutout Cookies 2

Iced Cutout Cookies
(adapted slightly from >Semi Sweet Designs)
Makes about 18 3 1/2″ cookies

For the cookies:
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. salt
3 cups flour

For the icing:
2 1/2 Tbsp. meringue powder
1 1/2 tsp. light corn syrup
1/2  tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup water
1 lb. powdered sugar

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix until fluffy.

Add in the egg, salt, and extracts and mix until well combined.

Add in the flour, a little at a time, until well mixed.

Roll out the dough between pieces of baking parchment to 1/4″ thick. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Cut out the shapes once the dough is hard to the touch. Place on parchment. If the dough has started to soften, chill for another 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes, until the edges just start to brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cookies are completely cool, make the icing.

In a mixer, combine the meringue powder, corn syrup, vanilla, and water. Whisk by hand until foamy.

Add the powdered sugar and hand-whisk until incorporated, then beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high for about 5 minutes, until the icing forms peaks. Add food coloring as desired.

Iced Cutout Cookies

Disclaimer: Thank you #ChristmasCookiesWeek sponsors: Adams Extract, Sprinkle Pop, YumGoggle and Silpat for providing the prizes free of charge. The #ChristmasCookiesWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Four (4) winners will be selected at random from entries received. The prize packages will be fulfilled by and sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. #ChristmasCookiesWeek bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household are not eligible to enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #ChristmasCookiesWeek posts or entry.

Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread Shortbread #ChristmasCookies

This post is sponsored on behalf of #ChristmasCookiesWeek. The generous sponsors, YumGoggle, Sprinkle Pop, Silpat and Adams Extracts have provided us with products for recipe creation and a giveaway for our readers. As always, all opinions are my own.

Welcome to Christmas Cookies Week! I’m so excited to be joining with a fabulous group of bloggers to bring you a week chock-full of Christmas cookie goodness.

Gingerbread Shortbread 1

I’m kicking off this week with these fabulous Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread Shortbread cookies.  In true shortbread fashion, these are a little crisp, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The spice of the ginger is balanced nicely by a dip in melted chocolate.

These are pretty much the definition of a Christmas cookie to me – and so adorable thanks to Sprinkle Pop sprinkles!

Gingerbread Shortbread 3

And, in the spirit of the holidays, we have some amazing prizes to giveaway from our generous sponsors. Be sure to enter – we’d love to give you one of these holiday gifts!

Thank you to Ellen at Family Around the Table and Christie at A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures for hosting #ChristmasCookiesWeek.

Prize Package #1:

From Adams Extracts comes a selection of baking delights including their prize-winning pound cake mix, pure vanilla extract, pure peppermint extract, double strength pure vanilla extract, pound cake flavor extract and vanilla cinnamon sugar.

Adams traces its beginnings back to Battle Creek, Michigan, when John A. Adams began making and selling his Green Plant Sarsaparilla extract, Adamur, in 1888. In 1905, he moved his family to Beeville, TX. At the time, most vanilla was sold to pharmacies and was often labeled “Do not bake or freeze.” John A. Adams, whose imagination was stirred by his wife’s yearning for a flavoring that wouldn’t bake or freeze out, announced that he could produce a better vanilla than the one his wife was currently using. Working with just $6.71 worth of materials on top of an old icebox, John A. Adams discovered the formula he wanted.

Prize Package #2:

YumGoggle is giving away a variety of holiday and Christmas cookie cutters. The winner of this prize package will receive a sleigh, large ornament and two cookie cutter sets. The first is a mug/ sweater set called Ugly Sweater Specialty Cookie Cutter Set and the second is a Santa/ reindeer set called North Pole Specialty Cookie Cutter Set. Each set includes 2 cookie cutters, 2 templates, 2 instruction cars and 4 bonus templates.

The YumGoggle gallery features food photography from contributors around the world. If you’re looking for a recipe, chances are you’ll find it on YumGoggle. The photos not only whet your appetite but you can easily find the recipes by clicking the photo.

Prize Package #3:

The winner of this Sprinkle Pop prize package will get their choice of 3 sprinkle varieties, at $35.00 value. Winner will be contacted by or need to contact Sprinkle Pop for fulfillment.

Sprinkle Pop offers trendy sprinkle mixes that you won’t find anywhere else. Fun fact: Over 50% of their sprinkle mixes are dyed in house, making each experience one of a kind. Sprinkle Pop also creates one of a kind confetti shapes that are unique to their mixes. Make every occasion a festive one with these fun sprinkle creations.

Prize Package #4:

One winner will receive an 11 5/8 inch x 16 1/2 inch Silpat® baking mat which is perfect for all of your cookie baking throughout the year. Reduces the need for parchment and is reusable.

The original silicone baking mat made from a dedicated silicone with reinforced fiberglass mesh. Nothing sticks to Silpat® which means you’ll spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your baking creations. Silpat® replaces the need for butter, grease, oils, and sprays.

  • Multi-purpose non-stick silicone baking and pastry mat.
  • No cooking sprays, oils or parchment paper needed.
  • Not to be used as a cutting surface.
  • Can be used in the oven, microwave and freezer.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Gingerbread Shortbread 2

Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread Shortbread
(adapted from Hungry Couple)
Makes 3 dozen

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. dark chocolate
Sprinkles (I used The Ginger Man Sprinkle Mix from Sprinkle Pop)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Stir in the molasses and vanilla.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until just combined.

Roll out the dough to approximately 1/2″ thick and cut into even strips. My cookies were about 1″ x  3 1/2″, and the dough made just about 3 dozen.

Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Let cool.

When cool, melt the chocolate in the microwave on half power. Dip each cookie stick in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with sprinkles.

Looking for more Christmas cookie inspiration? Here are more than 30 ideas from my fellow blogger friends, with more to come every day this week!

#ChristmasCookiesWeek Monday Recipes

Disclaimer: Thank you #ChristmasCookiesWeek sponsors: Adams Extract, Sprinkle Pop, YumGoggle and Silpat for providing the prizes free of charge. The #ChristmasCookiesWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Four (4) winners will be selected at random from entries received. The prize packages will be fulfilled by and sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. #ChristmasCookiesWeek bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household are not eligible to enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the #ChristmasCookiesWeek posts or entry.

Cracker Toffee

What’s everyone up to today? Any crazy holiday prep going on?

Things here are actually pretty mellow. The cookies are all baked. The gifts are all bought and wrapped. It’s almost lunchtime and we’re all still our pajamas. All we have planned really is a liquor store run and a nap. Not bad for the day before Christmas Eve!

If you’re looking for one more treat to make or need a last-minute dessert, this cracker toffee is the way to go. It takes about 20 minutes to make, then you cool it and break it up. It, by design, doesn’t have to look perfect so you don’t need to stress details today and there’s a good chance you already have the ingredients on hand!

I hope you’re all settling in for a lovely holiday with people you love. Merry Christmas from me and the crw!

Cracker Toffee

Cracker Toffee
(from Little Dairy on the Prairie)
Makes 1 sheet pan full

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
Saltine crackers or Matzo
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sprinkles, for decorating

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Line the pan with saltines or matzo so they cover the whole bottom without overlapping. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until it reaches a boil, then remove the spoon and let boil for 3 minutes. Pour the hot mixture over the saltines as evenly as possible and transfer the pan to the oven to bake for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let sit for a few minutes then spread the chocolate evenly over the crackers. Top with sprinkles, if desired, and put the pan in a cool place to set.

Once completely cooled and the chocolate has set, break into pieces and serve.

Cracker toffee

 

Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies #ChristmasCookies

If gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies had a baby, these would be the result. They are the ultimate Christmas cookie. I love everything gingerbread-spiced this time of year, but I’m also a chocolate fanatic. Marrying them is a match made in heaven.

These unassuming cookies are going to be the star of your holiday cookie trays or the hit of your cookie exchange this year – trust me!

GingerChocolateChipCookies

Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies
(from Marsha’s Baking Addiction)
Makes 3 dozen

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the butter and sugars until well combined. Mix in the egg and molasses.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in increments, stirring until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Roll the dough into 1-1 1/2 balls and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden around the edges. Let cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Can’t get enough cookies? For #ChristmasCookies Week, I’m linking up with lots of other bloggers sharing awesome recipes. You can find today’s batch of goodies below!

 

White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies #FBLCookieExchange #ChristmasCookies

Guys, it’s COOKIE SEASON! I’m seriously so pumped. Baking is one of my favorite things of the holidays. All week I’m going to be sharing new-to-the-blog cookie recipes. Some are new to me, others are family favorites. All of them are on point if you’re looking for some cookies to add to your baking list!

These little beauties were the cookies I baked up for the annual Food Blogger Love Cookie Exchange. They’re pretty simple, but once they’re dipped in white chocolate and some sprinkles are added, they look like the star of the cookie tray. And who can say no to a ginger cookie this time of year?!

I mailed these out to three food blogger friends and in return I received Chocolate Caramel Chip Cookies from If Spoons Could Talk, Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chunks and Butterscotch from Jennifer Bakes, and Salted Caramel Kahlua Sugar Cookies from Seduction in the Kitchen. They were all amazing – be sure to check out those recipes today, too!

WhiteChocolateDippedGingerCookies

White Chocolate Dipped Ginger Cookies
(from Cooking Classy)
Makes 3 dozen

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp. sugar , divided
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups white candy melt wafers
Sprinkles, for decorating

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg until combined.

Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter, 1/2 cup sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg. Mix in molasses and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients in increments, mixing until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and add the remaining sugar to a small bowl.

Roll dough into 1-1 1/2″ balls, roll in the sugar, and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Using the bottom of a cup, flatted the dough balls slightly. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Melt the candy melts according to package directions. Dip the cookies or drizzle the melted candy over. Top with sprinkles if desired.

The Food Blogger Love Cookie Exchange was full of delicious cookies from a great group of bloggers. You can see what everyone baked up here:

Can’t get enough cookies? Today kicks off #ChristmasCookieWeek so today – and all week! – I’m linking up with lots of other bloggers sharing awesome recipes. You can find today’s batch of goodies below!

Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Spread

I’m thankful for a lot. My husband who works so hard for our family in so many ways. My little guy whose smiles just make my day. That we’re all healthy, fed and safe. And my friends – because I really don’t know where I’d be without them.

Last night, we had some friends over to celebrate an early Thanksgiving. Friends I went to middle school with who have loved me since before I’d really learned to love myself. Friends from college who have been supportive of us as we dated, got married and grew the family. And newer friends, who helped me stay sane during the early months of motherhood. It was just a small cross-section of our friends, but as I looked around the table it reminded me just how lucky we are.

I think something that often gets lost in prep for these big meals is that the goal is really to spend time together – not hours cooking. With that in mind, I whipped up a few no-cook appetizers. This one is whipped up in about five minutes and can be ahead of time. For a busy day like Thanksgiving, it’s a definite winner.

CranberryPumpkinSpread

Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Spread
(from Pen and Fork)
Makes about 2 cups

8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup dried cranberries, plus a tablespoon for garnish
3/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients, except cranberries for garnish, in a food processor and pulse until nearly smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crackers or toast points.