Monday, 30 November 2015

Blogmas 2015

I'm trying something new this coming month and I'm going to give Blogmas a whirl (a post every day leading up to Christmas).  I've even started a link up for it.  If you want to join in for one of the days, some of the days, most of the days, or all of the days come back tomorrow and leave your link.  I'm not expecting many links to be left behind so I'm hopeful that if you leave yours I'll be able to visit your post and leave some kind of lovely, thoughtful comment as a way of saying "hey, thanks for visiting my blog"

Tomorrow's post is all about the countdown to Christmas (and both of my blogs are taking part in this one!) and I think you should come back and check it out!

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Thin Mint Cookies

52 Weeks Of Cookies:  Week 22

You can find the recipe for these on Baking Bites

I have not been having much success trying out new recipes lately...

I didn't change much about these other than I didn't have any dark chocolate for the chocolate coating so I used semi sweet (and then I wasn't paying attention to the microwave to realize that I had put the chocolate in there for far too long to melt it and it burnt just a smidge.

Here's the thing... the dough was incredibly dry!  It took a lot of effort to make 2 logs out of the dough because it kept crumbling apart.

I did manage to get 2 logs put together and put them in the freezer (I don't recall for how long but when I took them out they were solid).  So solid in fact that they were nearly impossible to slice apart.  And so my 2nd alteration was that my cookies were likely quite a bit thicker than they were supposed to be.

Anywho, John was over and helped me ice them.  We decided to not dip them into the chocolate because it was a little on the thick side and instead just put it on top.  They turned out alright... but definitely nothing to write home about.

If I really wanted to make mint chocolate cookies again I think I would stick to a basic chocolate cookie recipe and throw in some mint chocolate chips.  Sounds delicious to me!

I'm also going to try another mint cookie recipe next month to try to make up for these.

Because I know there is something better out there these only get a 3/10.

Last week I made some Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies

Chocolate Cheesecake Cookie Ingredients

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 21

You can find the recipe for these cookies here

Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies
I'm trying to use up the cream cheese I had leftover from a couple weeks ago when I made Oreo Cheesecake Cookies and these ones looked pretty good.

First off, I know if anyone was going to leave a comment it would be something about the white chocolate on top.  This time I DID NOT DO IT!  John was over setting up the tree with me and while I put the ribbon around the tree I told John that he was in charge of melting and drizzling the white chocolate on top of the cookies... this was his take on it.  Prior to giving him the option to doing it like this I did offer to stick some chocolate chips on top before I put the cookies in the oven so that they would melt while baking but he said no.

Anyways, these were not so tasty... and I don't think it is just because I don't really care too much for cream cheese.

The cookie dough sat in the fridge for about 2 hours probably and while it sat in there it got incredibly oily!  So oily that the dough was nearly impossible to form around the cream cheese icing.  It was kind of gross.. and although I halved the recipe I know I also halved the amount of oil.

On to the surprise insides... they are REALLY sweet.  Also, in the photo on the site I got the recipe from the insides look hard and not at all gooey... whereas mine run out of the cookie (okay, it isn't quite that gooey).  Or the inside is so heavy that it is about to fall right out of the bottom.

In case you hadn't guessed already I will not be making these again.  I give them 3/10... and I'm not all that sorry about it.  But someone should try making them and perhaps we can see where I went so terribly wrong!

Last week's cookies were delicious and you should definitely go and try some Turtle Cookies

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Turtle Cookies

Turtle Cookie ingredients

 52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 20

You can find this tasty recipe on Pixelated Crumb

 Now let me tell you a little something about these cookies.  Upon my first taste I thought they were too chocolately.  I would say they are more like a brownie in cookie form.  But then I had a few more and decided they were pretty good.  However, a brownie would be easier to make.

My first and only alteration happened when I had to use a spoon to press in the middles of the cookies and they started breaking *insert a sobbing face here*.  I know I make my cookies smaller than what people usually do though... so I just used my thumb.

The only problem with using your thumb and not a spoon (I later noticed that it is so clearly a measuring spoon which makes more sense to use) is that the middle isn't sunken down as much... which means less room for caramel.  I served them to John and told him they were turtles cookies and he told me that turtles had caramel with them... so slight fail?  Maybe he got the one with the smallest amount of caramel?

Turtle Cookies
Anyways, despite them not be caramelled enough for some people I still thought they were quite good (even if they were a little too chocolately the first time.  Plus, this is my 20th cookie... one would think I would know what a good cookie (and not so good cookie) taste like.  So I'm giving these a 9/10 because I think you'll like them too!

If you happen to be in the mood for some Oreo's and cheesecake you should check out my cookies from last week: Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

52 Weeks of Cookies:  Week 19

Today's cookies are brought to you by The Hunger Pains

Confession #1 I pick out (for the most part) my cookie recipes at the beginning of each month.
Confession #2 I am often working on a cookie recipe one week ahead of time so that I'm not rushing to get it done and written about on the Friday before I post.  This doesn't always work out but at least it puts me a tiny bit ahead of the post.

This week I thought I was going to have to make these cookies later in the week because I didn't have eggs... You see I do a big grocery shopping trip on the first Tuesday of the month because at 3 of the large grocery stores in my area you can save 10% (I just go to the one with the deals for the groceries that I need for that month).  Before anyone panics that I must have a bunch of rotten produce and milk by the end of the month I will go back for that stuff later on (I freeze a lot of my meat).  The point is... this cookie recipe came at the exact right time because I was fresh out of eggs and what a wonderful surprise to see that this recipe doesn't require eggs!  So if you can't have eggs here is potentially the recipe for you (but you might want to check if Oreo's contain eggs first).

and... Confession #3:  I can't melt white chocolate properly.  Either I overheat it and it burns and therefore doesn't work or (I'm assuming) I under heat it and it isn't runny enough to make cookies look picture worthy.  Luckily for me I don't have such a large following that no one is going to talk about me on some gossipy site about how I can't make a cookie look nice... even if you did I would agree... these ones look nothing like the picture on Hunger Pains... and I mostly blame my inability to melt white chocolate.

Going into this I knew the white chocolate would not turn out well but I wanted to make the proper recipe and in the picture on Hunger Pains there is clearly white chocolate on them.  I guess I could have put it in a bag, cut a hole in it and applied it that way... but meh.

The good news is that despite the white chocolate catastrophe they don't taste bad.  I mean... if we have all agreed that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover let us also not judge a cookie by the way it looks.

I didn't change much... in fact I may not have changed anything at all... the thing is... I really don't know if I used the appropriate amount of cream cheese or not.  Our cream cheese is measured in grams here (not ounces) so when it said 3 ounces (and I was halving it) I had no idea what that meant.  I looked it up and things were just getting too complicated in the conversion and dividing up the cream cheese process so in the end I decided on equal amounts of cream cheese to butter (except I used margarine).

Wow, that was a lot of rambling when all you care about is what I thought about these cookies anyways.
Well, they were super easy to make which is nice... however, I personally enjoyed my Cookies and Cream Cookies more... and the ingredients are not too different.  Plus, I thought John would really like these because of the cream cheese and he said he couldn't even taste it (which could totally be my fault of perhaps not adding enough?).  Anyways, I'm giving these cookies a 7/10.

Last week I made some Reese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thursday, 5 November 2015

The Gift of Giving to Others

Our "shoe boxes"
At our (John and myself) church they started their
 Operation Christmas Child stuff so we picked up a couple of boxes from there and headed to the store Sunday afternoon.  I knew going in that it would be incredibly easy to fill those smaller sized boxes that they give us (or maybe the correct word is difficult because the stuff we wanted to buy was too big to fit inside!).  So we opted for not using those shoe boxes and instead bought some reusable bins from the Dollar Store.

We were thinking about what would be the most unlikely age/gender to receive gifts and John had heard that it was the older group (ages 10-14) that were normally left out... more often the boys.  So we decided to fill 2 boxes for the boys in that age group.

It makes me so happy that what we are doing will give a couple boys that may not have ever received anything for Christmas or for a birthday ever their very first gift.  That they can experience the joy that receiving something for nothing is.  Of course Christmas shouldn't just be about giving gifts... so I also hope these boys get to celebrate with friends or family or people that care about them this year too.

Some of the things we put in the shoe boxes
The good news is that these boxes aren't due back (at our church at least) for another couple of weeks so if you want to fill one you definitely still have time!  Simply head over to the Operation Christmas Child website to learn where the closest collection center to you is!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Happy Halloween

and only a couple days late!

I ended up working on the 30th so I went as the same thing as last year... Minnie Mouse.  Even though I was subbing at the same school as last year I think many of the students (and staff) had forgotten that it was what I had worn the previous year so all was well.

On Friday John and I went out in search of the perfect pumpkins to carve.  After hitting up not one, not 2, not even 3 stores... we finally found the "perfect" ones at store number 5 (the first 4 places were all sold out).  The ones we found were likely not perfect at all... one had a rotting hole, another was green and rotten on one side (and on the inside), and the third was well.. I guess it was the least rotten out of the bunch.  But they were perfect for us!  And they were staying at John's place so I didn't worry about having to deal with a bunch of rotting pumpkins and the smell they would bring with them.

John, his sister, and myself each carved a pumpkin... can you guess which one is mine?

And no we did not use any tracers (or fancy pumpkin carving tools).  Yes, we did look up ideas online first.

I didn't buy any candy to pass out because I had heard that trick or treaters don't come to the condos.  Which was nice because I was off the hook from having to buy treats for children then!  And... I didn't run the risk of having to get tricked instead because of my lack of treats (no one came to my door)

And where I'm from we take part in this lovely thing (that apparently isn't so lovely if you have children) called day light savings time.  It happened to fall on the same weekend as Halloween this year.  What did I do with my extra hour?  I went to bed early and got up an hour earlier than usual.  Exciting stuff!