Dark Chocolate Almond Cherry M&M Cookies

imageI combined several of my favorite things plus one very special ingredient to make these amazing cookies. A chocolate chip cookie base + almond extract + dark chocolate chips + cherry M&M’s + Almond Joy Instant Pudding! I hope you like chocolate, cherry and almond flavors….if you don’t, well….there may be no hope for you. 

imageI found the Almond Joy instant pudding mix (along with Mounds instant pudding mix) at Wal Mart a few weeks ago, and had been pondering what exactly to do with them since then. When the Valentine’s Day M&M’s started showing up on shelves, specifically the cherry kind, I knew what had to be done. 

I started with a pudding cookie base, and substituted almond extract in for vanilla, and my Almond Joy extract for the basic vanilla that the recipe called for. I had to use dark chocolate chips, of course, because the combo of cherry, almonds and dark chocolate is simply irresistible. 

imageDark Chocolate Almond Cherry M&M Cookies:

  • ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup splenda (or sugar)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp almond extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Almond Joy Instant Pudding Mix
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • A pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup cherry M&M’s

Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, pudding mix, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add dry mix to wet mix and beat until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and M&M’s by hand, or beat on low speed for 30 seconds. 

Chill dough for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.

Scoop into tablespoon sized balls, and slightly flatten with the palm of your hand. Bake for 11 minutes. Let sit on baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 25-30 cookies.

Recipe adapted from Averie Cooksimage

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

imageHi all! It’s me, your not-at-all-absent baking blogger! What? You say it’s been nearly 3 months since I’ve posted? Noooo, that can’t possibly be true….

Okay, okay, it’s true. I am so sorry. As I believe I’ve mentioned, I have an actual job as a baker now, and as much as I love it, it is exhausting. I started to get behind on my blog, then it turned to winter and I lost most of the hours of sunlight I need to photograph, then it had been so long since I posted I actively avoided posting, which made me feel guilty, which made me avoid the blog altogether. Seriously. I haven’t even looked at it in months because I felt so guilty. I miss it though, and I want to make a sincere effort to regularly post again.

So, for my triumphant return, I give you a gorgeous pie!

imageI made this pie for Thanksgiving….yeeaahh, it’s definitely been awhile, huh. It’s depressing. I haven’t stopped baking but I stopped documenting! I’ve been cranking out some awesome, unique cookies lately too, and I just have barely even made note of any of them. Seriously off my food blogger game. 

Anyway, pie. This isn’t any old apple pie. It is a beautiful, homemade lattice-topped crust, two kinds of apples and drenched in homemade salted caramel sauce. So much deliciousness going on in a lovely package. My family insisted on making it the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table. It was so pretty, I wasn’t even worried that it wouldn’t taste good. It was already a smash hit.

imageSalted Caramel Apple Pie:

I’m actually not going to write out the directions because, hey, this is my first post in 3 months. Baby-stepping back into this thing. Also because I followed Sally’s recipe to a T. I trust Sally wholeheartedly, as you may have noticed based on many of my previous posts. I used her crust recipe, pie recipe, and salted caramel recipe. A perfect trifecta of wonderful. 

A few notes:

  • I used 3 Granny Smith and 3 Honeycrisp apples.
  • Definitely have more caramel sauce onhand when you serve the pie; people will always want more salted caramel sauce if it is an option.
  • Pie is good heated or cold. 
  • Definitely sprinkle coarse sugar on top if you have some on hand; it looks so pretty. 
  • When making the pie crust, seriously invest in a pastry blender. They cost about 4 dollars, your local grocery store will almost definitely have them, and it will make your life about 1000% times easier. 
  • You obviously don’t need to do a lattice top, but you should because it really isn’t difficult and it impresses people SO much. Here is an excellent step-by-step tutorial with pictures. 

I made this pie again for my coworkers and it didn’t last the day. I know apple pies, particularly this one, seem like a lot of work, but it is seriously worth it. 

imageAnother fascinating fact; salted caramel sauce can in fact be eaten with spoon right out of the jar! But seriously. This pie will convert the staunchest of apple pie haters (if such a group of people exists!)

Peanut Butter Pretzel M&M Cookies

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Hope you’re ready for some serious peanut butter action. These were a last minute life saver dish. I had made some apple butter snickerdoodles to bring to a party but I was really unhappy with how they turned out. I looked through my closet, saw that I had peanut butter M&M’s and pretzels, and had an ah-ha! moment. 

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Pumpkin Spice M&M Blondies

imageSo when I saw Pumpkin Spice M&M’s at Target a few weekends ago, I immediately bought a bag. Only problem, I had nothing to make them with them. I wanted to save them for something special, but weeks passed and nothing was coming to me. Then, last weekend, my boyfriend was going to a poker night at a friend’s and made a comment that he felt like he should bring something. For some reason, that was all the inspiration I needed, and I practically shouted “PUMPKIN BLONDIES!” 

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Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Glaze

imageWhat could be a better October weekend treat than a freshly baked pumpkin doughnut straight out of the oven? Exactly; nothing. I knew I wanted to make at least one variety of pumpkin donut this year and I knew I wanted to try a baked one. I love fried donuts as much as the next girl, but these are really more suited to being baked. Seriously; we tried frying a few, because my boyfriend finds the idea of making donuts and not frying them to be offensive, and they just did not come out that well. Baking is definitely the way to go with these beauties. 

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Golden Oreo Funfetti Ice Cream

imageI did it again. Waited an entire week between posts RIGHT after I said I promised I wouldn’t. You just might forgive me after you eat try ice cream though. Simple no-ice cream maker required, absolutely delicious ice cream. It’s a modified version of my monster cookie ice cream. There are literally 5 ingredients in the whole thing, including mix-ins. I might never buy ice cream again.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

imageSo as I think I’ve mentioned, I work full-time at a cookie company. One of my companies specialties is crunchy cookies. One of the varieties we ,make are pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These cookies are delicious, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes a girl needs a chewy cookie in her life. That’s where these come in. They are the softest, chewiest, possibly best pumpkin chocolate chip cookies in the world. I made a batch for a party 2 nights before the event. The day of I suddenly realized they were way too good to only have 1 batch of them, so I quickly made a second. Definitely a good choice, as they were a huge hit! How can anyone say no to pumpkin chocolate chip?

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Homemade Cosmic Brownies

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Did you grow up eating Cosmic Brownies? If you didn’t, they are slightly fudgey-slight cakey-chocolate frosted-candy topped brownies. Aka they’re really freakin’ good. My best friend from high school LOVED them. Every time I see them I still think of her. So when I found this copycat recipe (MONTHS ago), I bookmarked it, knowing that someday, for some reason, I would make her these brownies. I finally got the opportunity a few weekends ago when she and her husband had a house-warming party (several other treats made for that event coming up as well). She was so excited, and after tasting one, she confirmed it; they are better than cosmic brownies. 

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Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Holy strawberries, these cookies are equally delicious as they are lovely. It’s the amazing taste of strawberry cake condensed into a perfect cookie. And they’re so simple because the base is a cake mix. Yes, another cake mix recipe! I’ve been on a bit of a kick of them lately. If you’re against cake mix based recipes, you need to expand your horizons. I completely agree that overall, nothing beats homemade. But using a box cake mix and turning it into something else is so much fun! If you’ve never tried, and are still skeptical,  I suggest starting here.

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