You guys, these cupcakes are ridiculous. Just sitting here writing about them makes me want to run to the kitchen and whip up another batch. They may be one of the best treats I’ve ever made. And I’ve made a lot of treats. For this recipe I used a dark chocolate fudge cake mix and cream cheese frosting but you could mix flavors up to your liking. The star of this show is the cheesecake center. Creamy. Speckled with dark chocolate chips. Divine.
How can you say no to this?
And the best part is that they look really fancy but they aren’t hard to make at all. I promise.
It’s not uncommon to find a box or two of cake mix sitting on our pantry shelves any time of year. Cake mixes often go on sale for about a dollar each at the grocery store we shop at and in my opinion you don’t need a special occasion to eat cake.
But sometimes baking a cake—even with a mix—is more effort than I feel like making. So on a recent quest for something chocolate I decided to try something a little different with the box of Devil’s Food cake mix we had on the shelf. Cupcakes be damned. We’re making cookies.
In all my years of cooking and baking, I had never whipped up a batch of No Bake cookies. A week and a half ago I made my first batch.
I made a third batch last night.
I cannot stop eating these cookies. The fact that they take less than 10 minutes to make doesn’t help the situation.
There are tons of variations on this basic recipe for No Bakes and this is no exception. My brother-in-law passed his recipe along to me with a follow-up message of modifications. I started with that recipe and altered it slightly in the three batches I’ve made to suit my needs. I use old fashioned oatmeal and natural peanut butter—both affect the consistency and timing of the recipe. The key is finding the right amount of oats so your cookie is not too dry or too wet to hold its shape. Humidity levels will affect this so keep that in mind when making these tasty treats. You may need a few more or less tablespoons of oats depending on your climate.
The recipe below is my current incarnation and is ridiculously delicious. I should probably padlock the Tupperware dish so I don’t eat them all in one sitting.
Oh, and make sure you eat the last bite out of the pan with a spoon while it is still warm. Trust me, you will not be sorry.
No Bake Cookies makes 24–30 cookies
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon milk
1/4 cup cocoa
4 tablespoons butter (heavy 1/4 cup—probably an extra TB full of PB)
2 1/4 cup oatmeal*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter
pinch of salt
Combine sugar, milk, cocoa, and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling boil stirring often.
Boil for one minute.
Turn off the heat and add oatmeal, vanilla, peanut butter, and salt. Mix well.*
Drop teaspoonful size cookies onto wax paper and cool.
*You can use quick cook oats or old-fashioned oats. I use old-fashioned oats and allow the mixture to sit in the pan for 3 minutes before dropping the cookies onto the wax paper. If using quick cook oats you and mix and drop right away.
Inspired by this post written by Daisy over at Curvy Girl Guide (you are reading CGG, right? You know I also write there, correct?), I decided to make a batch of my own bark.
The results were fantastic.
In my opinion, the beauty of bark is that you can throw pretty much whatever you want in the chocolate and create some pretty delicious results. In addition to the dried cranberries, almonds, and cashews, I sprinkled some kosher salt on the top of the chocolate before it set. I highly recommend doing this. I do the same thing when I make almond clusters. I don’t use salted nuts and the addition of the kosher salt at the end is a great contrast to the creamy sweet chocolate.
Place chocolate chips and shortening in a double boiler—I use a small metal bowl set inside a small pan filled with a little water—over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the chips melt being careful to not get any water in the bowl.
Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup each of the almonds, cashews, and dried cranberries.
Pour the chocolate mixture onto a rimmed cookie sheet lined with wax paper and spread out with a spatula.
Top the bark with a few more cranberries, almonds, and cashews and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Refrigerate to set. Break apart set bark with a butter knife.
5–6 ounces of chips is about half a bag. I just eyeball it and don’t worry about measuring out the chocolate.
Dry off the bottom of the bowl you melt the chocolate in before pouring the mixture onto the baking sheet so no water drips into the chocolate.
In a moment of seasonal inspiration the other day, I concocted what might be my new favorite holiday cocktail. The cranberry margarita. The cranberry and key lime juices are great together. And while I’m usually a regular-on-the-rocks-with-salt sort of girl, the sugar is a perfect contrast to the tartness of the juices. Bonus is that the sugared rim looks a little like fallen snow.
1 1/2 oz. tequila
1 oz. triple sec
1 oz. cranberry juice
1/2 oz. lime juice
Mix in a shaker with crushed ice. Serve in a sugar rimmed glass. Serves 1.
I used a cranberry juice cocktail. If using an unsweetened cranberry juice you may need to add a bit of sugar or simple syrup.
My lime juice of choice is currently key lime juice leftover from the key lime pie my mom makes me for my birthday. Fresh squeezed limes would be excellent and I’m sure Rose’s Lime Juice would be good as well.
Tiny grape tomatoes all from one little plant. I thought I would be safe by just planting one grape tomato plant this year—along with two varieties of large tomatoes. I’m the only one that will eat the grape tomatoes but one can only eat so many of those little gems before they bad.
So what’s a girl to do with quart after quart of grape tomatoes?
Dehydrate them of course.
Turn them into little tomato candies that can be tossed in the freezer and used anytime you need some tomato flavor in your dishes.
Plump them back up in some hot water and add them to soups and sauces.
Chop them up and mix them with some basil, mozzarella, and olive oil to spread on a baguette.
Eat them on a cracker with a smear of cream cheese.
The possibilities are endless.
And the process? Super easy. All you really need is some time and an oven. Well, and tomatoes.
Oven Dried Tomatoes
Set oven to about 150°.**
Cut tomatoes in half and spread cut side up on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper.
Bake for 8–10 hours until dried.
Toss in the freezer for long term storage or cover with olive oil and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
**My oven shows the lowest number as 200° but will heat up in the little section of white between the OFF and the 200° mark. I’m estimating that it is around 150°. What you want is a very low setting.
These are seriously yummy right off the baking sheet. Give them a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Why? Because she is responsible for this OMG IT’S SO GOOD recipe.
Seriously, look at this thing.
Bubbly cheesy goodness and enough to feed a crowd. That is if you want to share. One bite and you may want to horde it all to yourself.
It is a Cheesy Ham and Hashbrown Bake and I cannot wait to make it for a family gathering. I made it (7.1.11) for JQ, G-tot and I and never got sick of eating the leftovers—which there were plenty. I’m seriously salivating over this just thinking about it.
What’s in it you ask?
Cream of Potato Soup.
LOTS of Cheese.
Basically you mix it all together and bake it.
So very good.
And you end up with this.
Want the recipe?
Wait, let me answer that for you—YES, you want the recipe.
The first recipe I chose for the 1 Year/100 Recipes challenge was Shish Tawook Chicken and Garlic Sauce (made 6.30.11). When I pulled this recipe out of my Entrees folder and looked it over, one thing that caught my eye was the date printed at the bottom—12.14.06. I have had this recipe in my possession for almost 5 years and had never made it. That is exactly why I’m doing this challenge. If I’m never going to make it—or if it doesn’t taste good—why am I hanging on to these recipes for years and years?
Pretty sure from the recipe that there is nothing authentic about it but it was still really good. Good enough that both my husband and my 4 year old son really enjoyed it and agreed that it should be put in the “keep” pile.
I did alter it slightly from the original as I made it and that alteration is what I’m going to share with you today.
I served it with yellow rice and some fresh veggies. If you give it a try I’d love to hear what you thought of it.
Shish Tawook Chicken and Garlic Sauce
For the Chicken
3 TB vegetable oil
2 TB plain yogurt
2 TB ketchup
2 TB mustard
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp curry powder
boneless skinless chicken breasts—in bite size pieces (Recipe called for 3 pounds. I used what I felt was appropriate for a family of 3. Use what you need.)
For the Garlic Sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 tsp salt
For the Chicken
1. Mix together first 9 ingredients in a medium bowl (vegetable oil through curry powder). Add chicken pieces, coat thoroughly, and refrigerate for several 1. hours or overnight.
2. Sauté in pan for approximately 12 minutes (Until chicken is cooked through. No extra fat is needed in pan.)
For the Garlic Sauce
1. Mix together mayo, yogurt, garlic, and salt in a small bowl.
2. Cover and refrigerate to allow flavors to meld.
I love to cook. I’m not afraid to experiment in the kitchen and even better is that I’m actually pretty good at it. If I have no real plan and I’m not sure what to make for supper? Let me see what we have in the refrigerator and the pantry and I’ll whip something up with what is on hand. Chances are it will be tasty.
There aren’t too many things that I don’t like to eat either. Bologna? No, thanks. Olives? I keep trying but I just don’t like them. Head Cheese or tripe? Not a chance. But for the most part I’m willing to try new things.
New recipes included.
I hate to get in a food rut. I don’t want to make the same stuff over and over when there is a world of delicious food out the to experience. Mmm…food.
So…I set a challenge for myself.
100 Recipes in 1 Year.
That might be a little enthusiastic with a baby on the way and life in general. But, it is just about two new recipes a week on average. Plus, I like the way it sounds. It sort of rolls of the tongue. One year, one hundred recipes.
Over the next 52 weeks I will attempt to make 100 new to me recipes—entrees, sides, salads, marinades, drinks, desserts, etc.—in order to broaden my arsenal of awesome eats. Anything goes. I’m pushing through the stacks of recipes I’ve cut out over the years and never made. I’m finding a ton of yummy looking new ideas and pinning them on my Pinterest boards to try. I’m modifying them as I see fit and I’m using my family as guinea pigs and taste testers.
I’ll share the results—and the recipes—with all of you.
I started this little venture on June 30th and have tried 6 new recipes so far.
Put them all together and you get a treat for your taste buds that will have you shoving these babies in your mouth as fast as you can chew. I’m not kidding. My husband and I devoured 24 of these tongue-tantalizing morsels last night and are both seriously considering making them again for dinner tonight. We cannot get enough of them.
Almost as good as they taste is how easy they really are to make. Three ingredients. A small amount of prep work. One awesome appetizer that you will love making for yourself or for a crowd.
Obviously eating them was much more important than taking a decent photograph.
Bacon Wrapped Cream Cheese Stuffed Jalapeños
1 block of cream cheese
1 pound of bacon
*Each pepper will make two appetizers. I usually grab 10–12 whole peppers for my and my husband’s voracious appetite. Twelve to twenty—depending on the size—will accommodate the other ingredients no problem.
Cut the top off each pepper and then cut the pepper in half lengthwise and remove seeds.
Spread cream cheese in each pepper half.
Wrap with 1/2 to 1 whole slice of bacon (depending on how large the pepper is).
Bake in oven on a rimmed cookie sheet at 425°–450° for 20–25 minutes or until bacon is cooked and crisp.
I recommend draining briefly on paper towels to remove a bit of the excess grease from the bacon. Serve warm and enjoy the tasty goodness!