Christmas Party Goodies!

Zack and I got to go to the first Christmas party of the season last weekend.  His boss had a dinner party for the management and office employees.  I really enjoyed going, because I got to meet the people that Zack works with.  It was really nice to get to put faces with names that I’ve heard Zack talk about.

Everyone was so nice, too!  Plus there was lots of good food.

Zack and I took a platter of desserts – peanut butter and chocolate fudge and cookie balls and a plate of jalapeno cheddar bite appetizers.  People seemed to like both plates of stuff.

There were some leftovers on both plates, so I took them to work with me Monday and every bit got snatched up 🙂

I forgot to take a picture of the platter of goodies which sucks, because the fudge and cookie balls looked so cute arranged on the platter!  Oh well, at least I got individual pictures.

Christmas Tree Cool Mint Oreo Cookie Balls

Prep: 30 minutes, plus refrigerating. Makes about 24 cookie balls.

– 6 oz package cream cheese, softened

– 1 pkg (15. 25 oz) Oreo cool mint cream cookies, finely crushed

– 2 pkg (6 squares each) white chocolate, melted

– 6 drops green food coloring

– red and green decorating icing

Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well blended.

Shape into 1″ balls; place on waxed paper covered baking sheet.  Freeze 10 minutes.  Mix melted chocolate and food coloring until well blended.  Dip balls in chocolate; return to baking sheet.  Squiggle green and red icing onto balls to make Christmas trees.  Let stand until chocolate is firm.  Keep refrigerated.

Chocolate Fudge

Prep: 10 minutes.  Cook: 30 minutes.  Cool 2 hours.  Stand 1-2 hours.

– 4 c sugar

– 1 1/3 c milk

– 1/4 c corn syrup

– 1/4 t salt

– 4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate

– 1/4 c butter

– 2 t vanilla

Grease bottom and sides of square pan, 8×8 with butter.

Butter sides of heavy 3-qt saucepan.  Place sugar, milk, corn syrup, salt, and chocolate in saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and sugar is dissolved.  Cook, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, to 234 degrees on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into a cup of very cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from water; remove from heat.  Drop butter on top, but do not stir.

Cool mixture without stirring to 110 degrees, about 2 hours (bottom of saucepan will be lukewarm). Add vanilla.  Beat vigorously and continuously using wooden spoon until fudge begins to thicken.  Then, continue beating 5-10 minutes until mixture is thick and no longer glossy.

Quickly, spread or press into pan.  Let stand about 1-2 hours or until firm.  Cut into 1-inch squares.

Peanut Butter Fudge

– 8 T butter, plus more for greasing pan

– 1 c smooth peanut butter

– 1 t vanilla extract

– 1 lb powdered sugar

Combine the butter and peanut butter in a 4-qt microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave for 2 minutes on high.  Stir and microwave on high for 2 more minutes.  It will be HOT.  Add the vanilla and powdered sugar to mixture and stir to combine with a wooden spoon.  Mixture will become hard to stir and lose its sheen.  Spread into a buttered 8×8 pan lined with parchment paper.  Fold the excess parchment paper so it covers the surface of the fudge and refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours.  Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Jalapeno Cheese Bites

– 1 can pizza dough

– 2 jalapeno peppers, halved, seeded, blanched, and sliced

– 1 – 1 1/2 t olive oil

– salt & pepper

– 1 t mixed dried herbs (oregano, parsley, basil)

– ~ 1 c Tex-Mex shredded cheese

Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Press down the dough on a lightly floured surface.  Then pull and stretch the dough into a rectangular shape.

Spread the oil on the dough and gently press it into a 14×8 inch rectangle.  Sprinkle some salt, herbs, pepper, cheese, and jalapeno peppers onto the dough.

Roll up the dough as tightly as you can.  Pinch both ends, and slice the log into 3/4″ – 1″ rounds.  Place the rolls on the baking sheet, cut side up, and bake for about 16-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and light golden brown in color.

Makes about 14 bites.

Cookie Crazy!

Sometimes I get on baking kicks.  I will spend hours in the kitchen without even realizing it.  It is so relaxing for me.

This time on my baking-spree, I decided to make cookies.  Not one, two or three different kinds but four.  Yeah, it’s excessive.

Zack and I are going to visit his brothers in our hometown, so I am going to take a platter of cookies to them and a platter to my dad’s business.

It’s weird, but after spending hours working on my baking project, I didn’t even have a desire to try the cookies.  Zack tried them and said all the varieties are good, though.  The satisfaction of baking them is good enough for me!

I’ll probably eat some later…especially the peanut butter Nutella ones! mmm!

Zack has been wanting me to make some Mint Chocolate cookies for a while now, so he was happy and a happy Zack makes a happy Jenn 🙂

The dough for these was extremely sticky and a pain to put on the baking sheet.  I floured my fingertips and it helped exponentially.

Mint Chocolate Cookies

– 1 cup butter, softened

– 1 3/4 cups sugar

– 2 eggs

– 2 teaspoons peppermint extract

– 2 cups all purpose flour

– 1 cup cocoa

– 1 teaspoon baking soda

– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until well blended.  Beat in eggs and peppermint extract.  Gradually add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt and beat until well blended.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Form dough into 1-inch balls.  Place two inches apart on prepared baking sheets.  Flatten balls slightly.

Bake cookies until edges begin to firm but center still appears soft, about 9 minutes.  Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes.  Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely.

I’d never made cookies from a bake mix before.  It was really easy and they turned out pretty well.

Devilishly Good Chocolate Chip Cookies

– 18 1/2 oz package Devil’s Food Cake Mix

– 1/2 cup oil

– 2 eggs, beaten

– 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix dry cake mix and remaining ingredients.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden.  Let cool on wire racks.

I’d been wanting to make these for a while.  Peanut butter and Nutella is such an amazing combo!

Peanut Butter & Nutella Swirl Cookies

– 1/2 cup butter, softened

– 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

– 1/2 cup white sugar

– 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

– 1 egg

– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

– 1/4 cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla.  Mix until well blended.

Add flour, baking soda, and salt.  Drizzle Nutella on top of the dough then swirl it through the dough with a butter knife.

Chill dough 15 minutes in the refrigerator.  Roll into balls by hand.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Using a fork, press down on the balls to flatten slightly.  Bake until edges are very lightly browned (about 7-10 minutes).

Allow to rest 2 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring cookies to a cooling rack.

One of my friends from Elementary school used to always have some of these at her house.  I was very nostalgic the entire time I was baking them.  Aw, good memories!


– 1 1/2 cups sugar

– 1/2 cup butter, softened

– 1/2 cup shortening

– 2 large eggs

– 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

– 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

– 1 teaspoon baking soda

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 1/4 cup sugar

– 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, butter, shortening, and eggs in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed.  Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls.  Mix 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon.  Roll balls in cinnamon sugar mixture.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until one set.  Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.