Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate + Spiked Version!

Well, another month is upon us friends, and that means it is time for another Recipe Swap!!! This month I was given Simply Made Recipes, which you guys should recognize as Amber has been a part of our “Featured Recipes” section a couple of times, so it is no surprise that I knew exactly what I was going to make. With it being so close to Christmas, and the weather getting cooler, I chose to make her Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate…and boy are you guys in for a real treat!!

Spiked-Hot-Chocolate

This is the perfect drink for you to enjoy after a day out on the toboggan hill (or ski hill if you are adventurous enough!). It only takes 5 minutes to make and is a big enough batch to serve 6, which is great for all the excited kiddos and adults alike. Now, with me being lactose intolerant I chose to make a couple of adjustments to the recipe and I can tell you it is still INCREDIBLY tasty and you will not miss out on the heavy cream etc if you choose to make it this way instead. I also have a curious hubby who thought it would be a good idea to “spike” his cup…and boy was I GLAD that he did! I mean YUM, a little shot of Smirnoff Fluffy Marshmallow Vodka will leave your taste buds dancing. Anyway, here you have it, the BEST Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Recipe you will try all year, with an adult version for those of us who like a little kick!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate- the perfect drink to warm you up on a cold day!! PLUS a spiked version for adults Mmm!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate- the perfect drink to warm you up on a cold day!! PLUS a spiked version for adults Mmm!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate + Spiked Version!

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate + Spiked Version!

Ingredients

    Hot Chocolate
  • 2 Cups Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 3 Cups Milk (we chose to use almond milk)
  • 2 Cups Half and Half
  • 1/4 Cup Caramel Sauce
  • 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • Topping
  • Coconut Whipped Cream
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Caramel Sauce

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients for the Hot Chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk constantly until all ingredients have combined and continue to cook over medium heat until desired temperature (about 5 minutes).
  3. Pour into cups and top with whipped cream and desired add-ons!
  4. *add in a shot of your favorite vodka for adult version! We used Smirnoff Fluffy Marshmallow.
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tips and tricks for the perfect salted caramel hot chocolate
  • Keep the temperature no higher than medium when whisking together the ingredients (this will keep the chocolate and caramel sauce from burning)
  • Use less caramel sauce if you don’t like your drinks too sweet (this is a very sweet and indulgent drink) I think next time we make it I would use half the amount the recipe calls for
  • If you want to try something different, you can always use a semi-sweet or dark chocolate rather than the milk chocolate chips
  • You can use regular whipped cream, or even chocolate whipped cream (yep they make it!) if you don’t like coconut…but let me tell you it is DELISH!
  • Have fun with your toppings, let the kiddos have a choice from a few goodies they can add on. My suggestions? Chocolate Chips, Marshmallows, Toasted Coconut, Peppermint Chips, and anything else your heart desires!

Be sure to check out Amber’s original post here and browse her site for a ton of great recipes for any type of meal!

Cookie Swap – The Perfect Cookie Recipes for your Exchange!

In case I haven’t said it enough yet, I LOVE this time of year!!! As you know from our 13 Days of Christmas Baking, I love to bake and share different cookie recipes with you guys to help take some of your Holiday stress away and so I decided to also participate in a Virtual Cookie Exchange with a few other bloggers. I am super excited to share their goodies with you guys, so get your baking supplies out and your mixer ready…it’s gonna be a fun week!

white chocolate cranberry biscotti : our personal contribution!

One of my favorite treats to make for Christmas, these Biscotti are full of tangy cranberry flavor and bursts of white chocolate chunks…they are wonderful for a cookie tray or gift on their own! 

Christmas-Biscotti

 

 

 

 

 

Snikerdoodles: try it like it

A classic Christmas cookie with a nice cinnamon flavor, these cookies can be made in advance and placed in the freezer until ready to swap!

peppermint white chocolate brownies: Mom knows best

Who doesn’t love a good brownie recipe!? Especially when said recipe is topped with white chocolate and candy cane pieces…Mmm!

Christmas candy cookie: my pinterventures 

This cookie is LOADED with goodies (from coconut flakes to nuts) and finished off with red and green M&M’s to make it an all around delicious Christmas cookie!

 ginger snaps: lydia’s flexitarian kitchen 

A simple and delicious cookie, full of ginger and just the right amount of sugar, these cookies are great with your after dinner coffee or tea!

candy cane cookies: craftcore

Who hasn’t had a candy-cane cookie before!? They really are a favorite for many people, including those with kids, as they are so cute and festive! You make the cookie to look like little candy canes by dying half the dough and wrapping it into the shape.

gingerbread: a mom’s perspective

Ok, this is my favorite one in the exchange!! I looooove a good gingerbread cookie but have never (eeek) tried to make them myself! Her recipe is simple and she has some great decorating ideas in the post as well! Maybe I should give it a try!?

Here is a photo of all of our Cookies!! Enjoy!

Cookie-Recipes

 


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

It’s time for another recipe swap friends!!! This month I was assigned to Annie’s Aprons, a lovely  blog loaded with delicious recipes and ideas to keep your taste buds satisfied. I decided to go straight to her Sweets page (of course!!!) and chose these scrumptious Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups to make and share with you…and I promise when you see how incredibly EASY they are to make you will thank me for choosing them! 

Finished-Cookies

 

We decided to make them for my nephews birthday this past weekend so we could have as many taste testers as possible (plus he LOVES peanut butter cups…but I mean who doesn’t right?!) and they disappeared right before our eyes! Everyone loved them, from their crunchy cookie exterior to the surprise of the peanut butter cup in the center, everything about these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups is amazing! Ready for the best part?? It is only TWO INGREDIENTS (ha!) told you they were super easy to make!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups - a scrumptious cookie recipe, with only 2 ingredients that takes 15 minutes to make!!!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups – a scrumptious cookie recipe, with only 2 ingredients that takes 15 minutes to make!!!

what you need
  • Reese Peanut Butter Cups (minis) *now, mine for some reason seem to be smaller than the ones she uses in her recipe…I am thinking it is because I am in Canada and all of our treats seem to be minis of the US minis (lol)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough *I used Pillsbury (a personal favorite when needing something quick and ready to go!) but you could also use your favorite homemade recipe if you prefer! In fact, next time I would try making this with my Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies (imagine the insanity on your taste buds mmm)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 16oz package of ready to bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • 1 package of Reese Peanut Butter Cups (minatures)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to temperature as cookie dough package instructs (normally this is 350)
  2. Grease mini muffin pans and place a small portion (aprox 1" ball) of dough in each space
  3. Gently press down the dough and bake according to the package instructions (we took 3 minutes off the time as they were starting to brown)
  4. As soon as cookies come out of the oven gently press 1 Peanut Butter Cup into each cookie
  5. Allow to cool 5 minutes before taking cookie cups out, then transfer to cooling rack until chocolate has set
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my tips and tricks for the perfect cookie cups
  • Put the peanut butter cups into the freezer to get nice and firm before starting the oven! This will help to keep them from melting too quickly once you place them on the cookie!
  • If you get a “log” or tub of cookie dough like we did, just take a teaspoon and scoop it out, gently roll it in your hands before pressing into the cookie tin.
  • Grease, grease, GREASE your muffin tins! If you have a bottle Cake Release this would be best (I use this stuff for everything when I need to know it won’t stick, it is so much better than those sprays)
  • Keep an eye on your cookies! Our cookie dough said to cook for 12-13 minutes but we took them out just after 10 as they were starting to get darker than I would like.

Be sure to give these cookies a try and let me know what you thought!! Enjoy!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies – Day 13!

Here is it guys, the very last day of our 13 Days of Christmas Baking…until next year anyways!! This Chocolate Crinkle Cookie recipe is another classic, one that I truly believe you need to make (and will WANT to make) year after year once you have had a taste! They are topped with Peppermint Kisses which go perfectly with the chewy chocolate cookie, and add a nice festive touch.

Chocolate-Crinkle-Cookies

Now, if you have been following along you will notice this post is 2 days late and with good reason! We were baking up a storm all weekend so that we can bring you even MORE goodies over the next couple weeks!! You didn’t really think we were done for the season did you?! I can’t tell you how excited I am to share some of these new treats with you, and if you are looking for a sneak peak of what is in store…well…just one: Shortbread Macaroon Bars!!! Yum!

Ready to get baking?! Check out the original post for these Chocolate Crinkle Cookies here!

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies - a chewy chocolate cookie topped with peppermint kisses!

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies – a chewy chocolate cookie topped with peppermint kisses!


3 Ingredient Chocolate Caramels – Day 12

Ahh I can’t believe we are already on day 12 of our Christmas Baking Frenzy, where has the time gone?! Today we have a very special and VERY EASY treat, my Chocolate Caramels!!! They are the cutest thing you can make for your tray and the kiddos can even help with these ones, and the best part?? They are only 3 ingredients…yep they are a “cheat” goodie that will save you time and energy as you wind down your Christmas Baking and making.

Chocolate Caramels - Only 3 ingredients for this tasty Holiday Caramel! The chewy caramel is covered in milky chocolate, a perfect flavor combination!

Chocolate Caramels – Only 3 ingredients for this tasty Holiday Caramel! The chewy caramel is covered in milky chocolate, a perfect flavor combination!

Chocolate-covered-Caramels

 

Look at how the chocolate just envelopes the caramel, eee it makes me drool just looking at them!! We add red and green sugar to make them a little more festive but you could easily leave them as is or even drizzle white chocolate over them! Remember how I said they were sooo easy and only 3 ingredients? Bet ya thought I was lying or hiding something…but I didn’t! Follow along and see how incredibly simple these Chocolate Caramels are to make.

3 Ingredient Chocolate Caramels

3 Ingredient Chocolate Caramels

Ingredients

  • 1 package of store bought caramels (you will have to unwrap them, but it's part of the fun!)
  • 1/2 c milk or dark chocolate (you can do both like we did)
  • 1/2 tbsp shortening
  • sprinkles for decorating

Instructions

  1. Unwrap your caramels and set aside. (Aprox 30-35 per package)
  2. Over a double broiler melt chocolate with the shortening, keeping the water to a low simmer beneath so you don't scorch the chocolate.
  3. Once melted remove from heat and dip caramels.
  4. Place coated caramels on a cookie sheet as you go, allow to cool for 5 minutes before adding your sugar so it doesn't melt into the chocolate.
  5. Place in the fridge to harden and then you can place them in little truffle cups before packaging or serving!
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One of the things I love about these caramels is that you can freeze them and pull them out when you need them! We make these a month before we put our trays together and have never had an issue with their quality…they are equally as delicious as the day they are made (yes you need to taste test when you make them…like everything you make from our 13 Days!)! So go ahead and get making, we only have one day left for this years frenzy…but don’t worry I have lots of goodies and tips coming your way between now and Christmas!!

Butter Lemon Snow Drop Cookies – Day 11

Butter Lemon Snow Drop Cookies- A perfect blend of tangy sweetness that compliments any Christmas tray!

Butter Lemon Snow Drop Cookies- A perfect blend of tangy sweetness that compliments any Christmas tray!

These Lemon Snow Drop Cookies are guaranteed to melt in your mouth and combine the perfect mix of tangy lemon with sweetness according Meegan from Meegan Makes who was gracious enough to share this delectable cookie recipe with us for our 13 Day Christmas Baking Frenzy! These are a nice and easy cookie, with basic ingredients that you likely already have on hand, so you can whip them up anytime you are in the mood! I think they will be the perfect addition to our goodie trays this year, and a nice compliment to all the chocolaty goodness that normally fills our tummies!

Butter Lemon Snow Drop Cookies

Butter Lemon Snow Drop Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup powered sugar +more for rolling
  • the juice from 1 whole lemon
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Follow along for all 13 days of Christmas Baking! Find the cooking instructions linked below!
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full cooking instructions at meegan makes: click here! 

Have you checked out the other 10 days yet?! Here are a couple of my favorites so far this year:

Enjoy <3

Classic Italian Amaretti Cookies – Day 10

This Amaretti Cookie recipe is a very special one for me, especially this year…you see, my mother in law (who was Italian) passed away last month from a brain tumor after a very long battle, and this cookie was one she used to make for every special event and holiday. I still remember when she gave me the recipe, “Meli, one day you will want these recipes, you know to make the cookies like how I make” and boy was she ever right! These Amaretti Cookies are so easy to make, they make a ton (8 dozen!) they are full of almond flavor and they go perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee!

A Classic Italian Amaretti Cookie- a tasty almond cookie with the right amount of sweetness, makes 8 dozen cookies!

A Classic Italian Amaretti Cookie- a tasty almond cookie with the right amount of sweetness, makes 8 dozen cookies!

They are a wonderful cookie for freezing, and with the amount that they make you can bet you will always have some on hand for your holiday guests. Now, we made them in 1/2″ balls but next time I would go a little smaller, a little bit more bite sized is what I was going for!

Amaretti-and-Coffee

Aren’t they beautiful?! I love the almond on top, the crunch adds a nice surprise when you are eating the cookie, and if you are wanting to make them a little more festive you can always roll them in a colored sugar rather than white granulated sugar.

Classic Italian Amaretti Cookies

Classic Italian Amaretti Cookies

Ingredients

  • 4 lg Eggs
  • 2 c White sugar +more for rolling
  • 1 c Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Almond Extract
  • 1 medium Lemon (need peel and juice)
  • 4 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 5 c Flour (+/- depending on consistency of dough)
  • Almonds for tops of cookies

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In stand mixer beat together eggs and sugar until blended. Add in oil, lemon (zest of full lemon as well as juice) and extract, mix well.
  3. In small bowl sift together your cocoa and baking powder, add to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Dough will be very wet, you want to add your flour in 1c at a time and mix. Your dough should come together after the 4th cup, then you add by 1/4c increments until the dough is "workable" (you need to be able to roll with your hands into little balls). You will need approx 5c of flour, but may need slightly more or less depending on your wet measures.
  5. Pour 1c sugar into small bowl. Roll dough into balls (aprox 1/2") and roll into sugar.
  6. Place cookies on silicone mat or parchment paper and gently press an almond into the tops...the cookie will push down into a disc shape.
  7. Bake for 11-13 minutes (you want them slightly golden around the edge, this ensures you have a nice crunchy outside and soft inside!).
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Be sure to check out the other yummy treats in our Christmas Baking Frenzy (13 Days in total)!!


Espresso Walnut Shortbread Cookies- Day 9

Here is a SCRUMPTIOUS cookie to add to your baking list guys!! These Espresso Walnut Shortbread Cookies are your favorite cookies but all grown up!! The cookie dough itself has espresso powder and walnuts mixed in and then is smothered with a dark chocolate ganache…I mean can we say YUM?! I am so so happy that Jami from An Oregon Cottage shared this recipe with me so I could pass it on to all of you, it will become a new favorite and a cookie you will make year after year!  Just look at these beauties:

A delicious grown-up Shortbread Cookie that is full of espresso and walnuts and smothered in a chocolate ganache!

A delicious grown-up Shortbread Cookie that is full of espresso and walnuts and smothered in a chocolate ganache!

Espresso-Walnut-Shortbread-Cookies-with-Dark-Chocolate-Filling

 

 

 

 

 

The nice thing about this Espresso Walnut Shortbread Cookie is the amount of variations you can do!! I already have tons of ideas running through my head…you can change it up and do a nice Dulce de Leche cream in the middle and incorporate almonds or pecans into the dough for a nice twist, or if you want to keep it the same and make it a little more “Christmasy” you can use white chocolate for the drizzle and sprinkle with red and green sugars! The possibilities are really endless! Give em a try and be sure to let me know what you think!

Espresso Walnut Shortbread Cookies

Espresso Walnut Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients

    Shortbread:
  • 1 c. butter
  • ½ c. brown sugar
  • 2¼ c. flour
  • ½ c. finely chopped walnuts, divided
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder (or regular instant coffee)
  • ½ tsp. salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • Ganache Filling:
  • 1 c. dark chocolate chips, plus extra for chocolate drizzle
  • 3 TB. butter

Instructions

  1. Follow along for all 13 Days of our Baking Frenzy!
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ESPRESSO WALNUT SHORTBREAD COOKIES:
FULL COOKING INSTRUCTIONS from an oregon cottage



Classic: Brownie Biscotti – Day 8

Ooo time for another favorite from my Cookie Vault!!! These Brownie “Biscotti” are so incredibly easy to make and will satisfy any chocolate lover. While the name may trick you, these cookies don’t require multiple flips and turns in the oven and are actually soft and ooey on the inside, loaded with chocolate and pecans…simply delicious!

This is one classic cookie I promise you will make year after year, and if you want a recommendation…make a double or even triple batch as everyone loves this Brownie Biscotti and it will be the first cookie gone from your trays!

A delicious Brownie Biscotti- soft and ooey center that is loaded with chocolate chips and pecans! A perfect addition to your Christmas Cookie line-up

A delicious Brownie Biscotti- soft and ooey center that is loaded with chocolate chips and pecans! A perfect addition to your Christmas Cookie line-up

click here for the full recipe for this brownie biscotti!!!


Candy Cane Cookies – Day 7

A delicious Candy Cane Cookie, perfectly soft and drizzled with white chocolate, it is the perfect cookie for dipping in your hot cocoa!

A delicious Candy Cane Cookie, perfectly soft and drizzled with white chocolate, it is the perfect cookie for dipping in your hot cocoa!

Today’s cookie is a lovely addition from Gina over at Kleinworth & Co that will definitely brighten up your cookie trays! It is a soft Candy Cane Cookie that is drizzled in white chocolate and coated in crushed candy cane pieces. It is loaded with peppermint flavor and a perfect cookie for dipping in a cup of hot cocoa!

Peppermint-Cookies-and-Coffee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I mean, come on right?! Don’t they just look so yummy?! I don’t know about you, but I am ready to get baking, and I am betting you have 90% of the ingredients on hand right now…follow along for the recipe below! Be sure to make a double batch so you have enough for yourself as well as gifting!

Candy Cane Cookies – Day 7

Candy Cane Cookies – Day 7

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Topping
  • ¼ cup crushed candy cane crumbs
  • ¼ cup melted white chocolate

Instructions

  1. See site for instructions and the follow along for full 13 Days of Christmas Baking!
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get the full baking instructions at kleinworth & co: Click here!

What do you think so far guys?! We are a week into our Christmas Baking Frenzy, with only 6 days left!!! Have you made any of the goodies yet?! What are your favorites?? I hope you’ll come back tomorrow and check out what is in store!