Top 5 Recipes of 2016 – Cake, Cookies and MORE

What a year 2016 was!!! It was such a roller coaster year for me, in both my personal and professional life, but there is one thing that stayed constant for me and that is THIS BLOG! I love being able to share with you guys so many delicious meals, snacks, treats etc! And from what I can tell, you guys LOVED it too!

I decided to participate in a “Round-Up” of sorts, with some of my fellow bloggers so we could see what our most popular recipes of 2016 were and share them with you guys in one fun place! Below you will find my Top 5 Recipes for 2016  as well as a link to the main page where you will find so many yummy eats from a wide array of food bloggers! I hope you enjoy, and please be sure to let me know if you had a favorite (bonus points if you made it!).

Whipped Shortbread Cookies

Dainty shortbread cookies with Christmas sprinkles, on baking sheet

This cookie was our most POPULAR post last year and with good reason too!!! It is such a simple yet flavorful cookie that literally melts in your mouth, and it’s perfect for any time of year (but featured for our Christmas Baking Frenzy).

Butter Lemon Snow Drop Cookies

Butter-Lemon-Snow-Drops

No surprise that a cookie recipe took both the #1 and #2 spot for us last year, especially one a tasty as this Butter Lemon Snow Drop. This cookie was featured from a fellow blogger as part of our Christmas Baking Frenzy as well!

BEef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

This is by far my favorite dinner recipe up on the blog, so it is no surprise to me that it came in as one of the top 5 from last year!! It is so EASY and TASTY and inexpensive (with the use of ground beef) that it is a perfect meal for any night of the week.

Chocolate Peanut Butter CAke

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Mmm…that is all I need to say about this one! What a SPECIAL treat to make for birthdays, holidays, dinner parties etc. It is swirled with chocolate and peanut butter batters to create a heavenly cake that everyone will love. Best enjoyed with others so you don’t eat the whole thing!

Christmas baking frenzy- 13 days of goodies

Christmas-Biscotti

This 13 Day post features different cookies, squares, truffles and bars everyday that we like to make around the Holidays to give to friends and family to enjoy! There is a treat for everyone on this list, and even many treats you can make year-round.

 

 

Well, there you have it! What did you think of our Top 5 Recipes?? Did you have a favorite that wasn’t on the list? And what about this year…what would you like to see? Let me know in the comments so I can get creative and get cooking!

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!


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



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!


Classic Whipped Shortbread Cookie – Day 4

Today is a little bit different from our first 3 days! We decided to pull out a classic from our cookie vault and share our Classic Whipped Shortbread Cookie (in case you missed it last year). This was one of our most popular cookie recipes, and continues to see love from everyone who makes it! It is so, soooo easy to make and melts in your mouth with each bite, it has to be one of my favorites, and definitely one I look forward to making every year.

Whipped Shortbread Cookies

 

This recipe is great because it makes a ton of cookies, with little effort (and I don’t know about you, but time is LIMITED  during Christmas in our household!). It makes about 4 dozen cookies, and they freeze wonderfully…which means you can make them ahead of time and pop em in the freezer until you are ready to put your goodie trays together.

CHECK OUT THE RECIPE: WHIPPED SHORTBREAD COOKIES HERE!!!

Be sure to check out the first 3 days of our 2016 Christmas Baking Frenzy and let us know what cookies and treats you’ve made for yourself!

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White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti – Day 3

This White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti cookie recipe is full of so much goodness! It is perfect with a cup of coffee, or as a late night snack...the flavors combine everything we love about the Holidays, and hope you enjoy too!

This White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti cookie recipe is full of so much goodness! It is perfect with a cup of coffee, or as a late night snack…the flavors combine everything we love about the Holidays, and hope you enjoy too!

This is one of our FAVORITE cookies to make at Christmas time!!! It takes a little bit more time than most of our other cookies, but trust me they are more than worth it! These Biscotti are loaded with cranberries and almonds, with a hint of white chocolate and even orange juice (Mmm, I know right?!).

Christmas-Biscotti

Now, like the rest of our Christmas Baking Frenzy cookies, these Biscotti are perfect for adding to a goodie tray for a friend or neighbor, and are even gorgeous on their own in a simple mug as a teachers gift! (Or you could save them all for yourself…we won’t tell!). Be sure to make a double batch, these freeze great and will hold up to 3 months (in a sealed airtight container)!

White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti

White Chocolate Cranberry Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c Butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 c Sugar
  • 3 lg Eggs
  • 3 squares White Bakers Chocolate (melted and cooled)
  • 2 3/4 c Flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1/4 c Orange Juice (no pulp)
  • 1/2 c Toasted, chopped Almonds (we use slivered, you can use whole and chop more)
  • 1/2 c Dried Cranberries (rough chopped)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In stand mixer beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. In a small bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt, add to wet mixture and mix well.
  4. Add orange juice and extract, beating until well combined. Stir in chopped almonds and cranberries.
  5. Divide dough in half, place each half on a lightly greased and floured baking sheet and shape into a 9"x 2" "log" (see photos)
  6. Bake 25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool 10 mins. Cut each log into about 12 3/4" slices, place cut side down on baking sheet and bake an additional 15-20 minutes (turn over halfway through) and remove once each side is lightly golden
  7. *Make sure to check halfway through as each oven is different and you do not want them to burn
  8. Once cooled you can drizzle with semi-sweet or white chocolate!
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Here are some photos showing the progression of the delicious Biscotti!

Your Biscotti batter should be thick, and you want to make sure that the cranberries and almonds are mixed evenly throughout

Your Biscotti batter should be thick, and you want to make sure that the cranberries and almonds are mixed evenly throughout

Spread your batter into a "log" shape on your cookie sheet.

Spread your batter into a “log” shape on your cookie sheet.

They are ready when they get a nice golden brown! You want to ensure they look like this before flipping to go back into the oven for the final cook.

They are ready when they get a nice golden brown! You want to ensure they look like this before flipping to go back into the oven for the final cook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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