Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"No Bake, No Gain!"

[Someone posted "No Bake, No Gain" on FB today and I thought it was so clever! True in SO many ways!]

Every year I tend to try new things, rather than going back to tried and true recipes. Thankfully, my mom is still here to bake up the classics (fudge, peanut blossoms, Christmas crunchies). That means I get to experiment! Here are this year's goodies.

Toffee Pecan Cookie Bars
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon (yes TABLESPOON) vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup English toffee bits
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 375. Mix Flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.

2. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer, on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually stir in flour mixture until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips, toffee bits, and pecans by hand. Spread in greased 15X10X1 baking pan.

3. Bake 20-24 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into 42, 2X1 inch bars.

*Thoughts: This one is still baking so I don't have finished pictures. It SMELLS great though. Very easy to put together and I would think there would be a high "like" factor. I added red and green M&Ms for color, and because I had a few left over from another recipe. **Just got done baking and baked to a really nice golden brown.

Chocolate Graham Goodies

2/3 cup butter flavor shortening

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 large egg

2 tablespoons fat free milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup M&Ms mini candies

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl cream shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla extract, blending well.

2. Combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Blend well into creamed mixture. By hand, stir in M&Ms. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake 8-10 minutes until set. DO NOT OVER BAKE. Cool 1 minute before removing to wire rack; cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

*Thoughts: Ho hum. Nothing too special about these. We added an M&M on top in the center, but as you can see they shifted during baking. I couldn't find mini M&Ms so we used regular. Maybe they would be better with mini? At any rate, they made up quickly and the kids really like them.

Mint-Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 2/3 cup mint chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 375.

2. Beat butter, sugars, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs. Beat well. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

3. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool slightly, then remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Thoughts: These are AWESOME! There are a TON of mint-chocolate cookies out there (and we have tried several of them). This is the recipe we will be coming back to year after year. Totally addictive! This recipe makes something like 7 dozen cookies. Two tips. (1) Don't over bake. I like things on the more baked side, but these really don't taste good if over baked. (2) Use the Hershey's Mint and Chocolate Chips (some are mint and some are dark chocolate. We tried a batch of these with the Ande's baking chips, but those chips are too small. They melt into the dough so there is no chunks of chocolate or mint, and it changes the rise of the cookies.

Happy baking!


Heather 10:13 PM  

Girl... . Why ya gotta do me like that?!! I just drooled all over my clean pj's!

Rachel 3:25 PM  


Btw, how is Eric doing? You haven't mentioned his health lately and I was curious how his kidney is doing and how his recovery has been?

Renee 5:22 PM  

Oh, YUMMY! I know some youngun's who would love the first recipe for sure.