Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

As I think I’ve made abundantly clear, I love, love, love the Hershey Candy Cane Kisses.  These seasonal delights thankfully only come out around the holidays, or I would likely be about four times my size.  Even though I’ve already gone through two bags of these on my own (I was always going to make cookies with them, and then somehow they’d disappear), the Husband brought home one last bag last week.  It took all of my willpower, and some prompting from my dear friend Steph, to make these into cookies.   The recipe comes straight from the back of the package, but sometimes (especially when baking), you don’t mess with a good thing.

Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

  • 1 package Hershey Candy Cane Kisses
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate, smaller bowl, mix your dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the dry mixture to the butter/sugar/egg/vanilla slowly; when it gets too dry, add a tablespoon of milk.
  4. I find the dough a bit sticky, so I like to use an ice cream scoop to place little round balls on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 9 minutes, or until edges start to brown.
  5. While the cookies bake, start unwrapping your kisses (about half the bag).
  6. Pull the cookies from the oven and let cool 2-3 minutes.  Lightly press one Kiss in the center of each cookie.
  7. Get excited you managed not to eat the bag!
hello, favorite candy of them all.
hello, favorite candy of them all.

The Verdict:

I am pretty sure my love for these Kisses has now been over-documented.  However, just for the record, one last time: I love these.

Piesgiving & the Husband’s Favorite Pumpkin Pie

One of the best parts of living in the same city as our undergraduate university is the fact that we continue to be surrounded by friends we’ve known for years – some of them for more than a decade. And one of the best traditions to come from our long stint in this city is an annual Piesgiving, hosted by our friends J & N.  This tradition has its roots in a meatball cook-off nine years ago, and has since evolved into less of a competition and more of an excuse to get together before Thanksgiving and stuff our faces with pie instead of dinner.

As soon as bright orange cans of pumpkin start gracing the grocery store shelves, the Husband starts slowly, and then more incessantly, requesting pumpkin pie.  I have been making him one of these at least once a year for the past 7 or 8 years, sometimes tweaking the recipe, sometimes making a homemade crust, and sometimes combining with other ingredients, such as sweet potato.  The original (from the back of a can!), though, tends to be the favorite.  This year, I was majorly excited to use my new pie crust shield (thanks, wedding registry!).  The look of sheer joy and delight on his face makes it worth it every time, despite the fact that I don’t even like pumpkin pie.  Now that’s love.  He just has to share with the rest of the Piesgiving crew.

Husband’s Favorite Pumpkin Pie

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin filling)
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 unbaked and unsweetened pie crust, brought to room temperature (can make your own, use a graham cracker crust, whatever you prefer)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Roll out the pie crust in a 9 inch or so pie dish.  (Do not prick the crust).
  3. Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl.  In a separate, large bowl, beat the eggs together and then stir in pumpkin, the spice mixture, and the evaporated milk.
  4. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie dish; you may have a bit of extra.  Don’t overfill the crust or it may bubble into your oven and likely burn…setting your fire alarm off…(not that this has ever happened…).  If not using a crust shield, cover the crusts with aluminum foil before you stick it in the oven (this is so you don’t burn yourself later!).
  5. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
  6. Take the pie out, and if using a crust shield, now’s a good time to place it over the pie crust.  Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and return the pie to the oven to bake for another 40-50 minutes, depending on your oven.
  7. Cool for about two hours and serve warm OR cold (the Husband prefers his cold, for breakfast).
pie for all
pie for all

A Note About Menu Planning This Week:

While it feels good to be back in the kitchen again, I’m taking off for a work trip on Tuesday afternoon…which means there’s no menu plan for this week.  (Caveat: the Husband has a plan that involves lots of Italian – pizza, pasta, and stromboli, which I hope he’ll post as his work schedule allows).

That being said, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen this weekend, and so I’ll be updating recipes on here throughout the week.

Adventures in Baking: Apple Crisp

In the spirit of “mo’ money Movember,” I am trying to make sure we make good use of everything we have in our pantry before buying any new ingredients.  So when I found two sad, bruised, tired-looking apples that I bought before we left for our big trip, I decided to do the impossible: bake.

Most people don’t need a recipe to make an apple (or any kind of fruit) crisp.  And yet, since baking generally takes a lot more precision, I decided to turn to food guru Mark Bittman for his thoughts on the best apple crisp.  Spoiler: somehow I managed not to follow the recipe.

Apple Crisp

  • 6 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced (my two sad apples yielded about 3-4 cups, and I didn’t bother peeling them)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • dash salt
  • optional: shredded coconut, nuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the fruit with half the cinnamon, the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon brown sugar and spread the mixture in a 9-inch pan (I went with an 8-in round; I think that was slightly too small, and definitely too small if you have more than two apples.)
  2. Combine all the other ingredients (including the rest of the cinnamon and the sugar) in a food processor and pulse until the butter is incorporated (but not soft, just nice and mixed around).
  3. Spread the topping over the apples and bake 30-40 minutes, until the topping is browned.
  4. Serve with ice cream!
less crisp, more mush.  but still tasty!
less crisp, more mush. but still tasty!

The Verdict:

Welp, another baking not-quite-hit.  It started with my lack of apples, I think, compounded by my refusal to peel them.  Accordingly, I should have used more oatmeal, maybe a bit more flour, and less sugar…and then we may have had more of a crisp than a mush situation.  However, neither of us are complaining: it was still delish!  We’ll be trying this one again, with a few modifications.  Maybe next time with pears?

Sunday baking: Chewy Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

For me, the best part about getting married was the incredible sense of warmth and connection I felt throughout the process – not only with my (now) husband, but with our larger community…especially the women. A few weeks before the wedding, my (now) mother and sister-in-law threw me an amazing bridal shower that joined their family and friends with my family and friends. They invited all of the women who attended to contribute a special recipe, which my mother and sister-in-law bound in a small book. It’s pretty incredible.

One of the recipes in that book came from my mother-in-law’s close friend Beth, who makes unbelievable cookies. You could call them ridiculously good. I’m certainly no baker, having no skill with exact measurements. But if I can do it, anyone can!

Beth’s Ridiculously Good Chewy Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 package Duncan Hines Chewy Brownie Mix
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Optional: crushed walnut bits
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine brownie mix, oatmeal, oil, eggs and water. Stir until combined (dough will be a bit stiff). Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Heap spoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets (I found this made about three trays of about 12 cookies; the last tray I mixed in some walnuts to jazz it up.)
  4. Bake between 10-12 minutes or just until barely set in the middle.
  5. Let cookies cool for a minute or two…and enjoy!
Beth's advice: "Life is short. Eat dessert first!"
Beth’s advice: “Life is short. Eat dessert first!”

 The Verdict:

These are so rich, so chocolate-y, so delicious.  I especially loved the ones with walnuts – they temper a bit of the sweetness while adding a somewhat salty nutty flavor.  YUM.