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.

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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.

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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.

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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.