Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

These decadent cookies are crispy and chewy. Studded with white chocolate and sweetened coconut

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, Cookie Exchange

Wow I can't believe the holidays are already upon us. I've been busy shopping, prepping for staff parties, and baking for cookie exchanges. I love cookie exchanges! This year one of my best girlfriends decided to host one at a local coffee cafe. We are each to bring 10 cookies, for everyone attending. So we arrive with 80 of our own cookies, and leave with a variety of 80 cookies from everyone else. I'll be tossing mine in the freezer, for when company drops by.

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, Cookie Exchange

I decided to make two different cookies, so everyone will be receiving 5 Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies and 5 of these Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies. I had originally planned to make white chocolate cranberry cookies, certain I had cranberries in the pantry, but I was mistaken. With the dough almost complete I racked my brain to think of what I could throw into the dough to make it taste amazing. I decided to add some cocoa powder with the flour, white chocolate chips and coconut. The dough was a bit thick, so I added a generous splash of my favourite coconut Rum.

Let me tell you, these cookies smelled beyond amazing while cooking. Once cooled, these cookies are crispy, but chewy at the same time. The white chocolate paired with the coconut, adds a wonderful and decadent flavour to the chocolate dough. I'm very happy I have a dozen leftover for the family, because I am absolutely in love with these cookies!

I made a double batch, which yielded 5 dozen cookies (using a medium cookie scoop).

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, Cookie Exchange

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

1 C butter
1 C brown sugar
1 C white sugar
2 egg
2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbs coconut Rum (I used Blue Chair Bay)
3 C flour
1/3 C cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C white chocolate chips
1 C sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixer bowl, fitted with a paddle attachment (you can also use a hand mixer), beat the butter until soft and smooth. Add in the brown sugar and white sugar, beating until mixture is light in colour. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and coconut Rum.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Add to the wet mixture, mixing on low speed; until fully combined. Mix in the white chocolate chips and coconut; until evenly distributed.

Using a medium cookie scoop, place cookie dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 9-10 minutes; until bottoms are lightly golden and tops start to crackle. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheets, before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies, Cookie Exchange

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hot Chocolate Reindeer~ The Perfect Holiday Treat

These cute hot chocolate treats are a perfectly fun way to warm up, during the chilly holiday season

Dollar General Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips

The cold weather has finally hit, despite our longing for it to stay at bay a little while longer. When the temperatures drop, the kids and I love to snuggle up with a nice warm cup of hot chocolate. With the holidays right around the corner, the kids wanted to make little gifts to take with them to their grandma's house this weekend. We figured their little cousin would love these hot chocolate reindeer; so we headed to Dollar General to grab some ingredients and craft supplies.

I love that Dollar General has everything from craft supplies, to groceries. It makes one stop shopping so much easier! Which we all know is much needed with all the holiday preparations happening this month. Dollar General has all the brands you love and savings you need, when feeding the whole family this holiday season. Plus you can have access to a bunch of different money saving coupons, just by visiting the Dollar General website!

We quickly found our favorite  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels and knew that they would add a decadent rich chocolaty taste to our hot chocolate. With my kids, the more chocolate the better, LOL.

Having worked all week, I also grabbed a DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizza, because let's face it, sometimes a mom needs a break in the dinner department. Armed with what we needed and a quick dinner to boot, we got together and started making these super cute Hot Chocolate Reindeer.

Dollar General Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips
Ready to start creating!!!

Dollar General Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips
Tie it all up before decorating!

Dollar General Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips
Can't wait to taste it!!!

The kids really loved making these reindeer, and sampling the yummy  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels. It's a good thing I purchased two bags (yay for the Price Break and a $1.50/2 coupon!), because we may have snacked on more chocolate chips, then we put in our piping bags, LOL. After all that chocolate, we needed something savory, so I baked up our DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizza, whipped up a salad and called it dinner. The kids asked if we could sample one of our creations and I happily agreed. Thanks to Dollar General for helping make life a tad easier, and making it easier on my wallet, to spend some fun quality time with my kiddos!

Dollar General Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips
Hot Chocolate and Pizza, life doesn't get better than this!

Hot Chocolate Reindeer

4 clear medium sized disposable piping bags
3 C  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels, divided
1 1/3 C hot chocolate powder, divided
6-8 C mini marshmallows, divided
plastic sandwich bags
twist ties
googly eyes
red pompoms
black or brown pipe cleaners
hot glue*
curling ribbon

Fill 4 plastic sandwich bags with 1/3 C of hot chocolate powder. Seal the bags up tightly, removing any access air. Set aside.

Fill each piping bag with 3/4 C of  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels. Carefully insert the wrapped hot chocolate powder, tucking in the sealed top of the bag. Once hot chocolate powder is nestled on top of the  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels, fill each piping bag with 1-2 C of mini marshmallows; allowing enough space at the top to gather and tie the piping bags shut. Tie piping bags shut with a twist tie and set aside.

To make antlers, take 2 pipe cleaners and twist one end around the tied part of the piping bag. Take a third pipe cleaner and cut it into 3 equal pieces. Take one of the smaller pieces of pipe cleaner and twist it around the upper third part of the pipe cleaner to create an antler. Repeat on remaining reindeer.

Using hot glue, attach googly eyes and a red pompom onto the front part of the piping bag, to create a reindeer face.

Take curling ribbon and decorate piping bags, where they have been tied, to add a little holiday cheer to your creation.

To make the hot chocolate- Place the  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels and hot chocolate powder into a sauce pot, with 3-4 C of milk. Heat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels have melted and mixture is hot. Carefully pour hot chocolate into mugs and top with mini marshmallows.

*Please take caution when using hot glue, as you could easily burn yourself.

Dollar General Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chips

Friday, October 14, 2016

Coconut Cherry Chocolate Torte

Dark chocolate, cream and coconut rum, fill this decadently silky tart, which is topped with cherries and fresh whipped cream.

This recipe was originally planned for a BIG blogging event which happening this week. While I had every good intention of participating, life slapped me in the face and woke me up to my reality. I still don't have time to create several recipes in a short period of time and do everything that is necessary to get to recipes up on the blog. So I decided to just share this beautiful tart with you guys today.

My kids and I are suckers for dark chocolate. Surprisingly the kids prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, which is ok with me because it is a bit healthier than milk chocolate. When I mentioned my plan for this torte to the kids, both of them were pretty much salivating at the thought, LOL. So when they saw me trying to get photographs of the tart for the blog, I was met with cheers and inquiries as to whether they could have a slice when I was done. 

This torte is super simple to make and tastes amazing. It is silky smooth and rich, but the cherries and fresh whipped cream cut the richness and add a delicious pop of flavour to the tart. I decided to add a subtle coconut flavour by adding some coconut rum to the chocolate and coconut extract to the whipped cream. 

Coconut Cherry Chocolate Torte

2 C chocolate cookie crumbs
3 Tbs butter, melted

Chocolate Ganache
3 C chocolate kisses, chopped
1 C heavy cream (35%)
2 Tbs coconut rum (I used Blue Chair Bay)
1 tsp coconut extract

Cherry Topping
3 C frozen dark cherries
1/2 C sugar
1 tsp almond extract
2 Tbs cornstarch
3 Tbs cold water

Coconut Whipped Cream
1 C heavy cream (35%)
1 tsp coconut extract
1/4 C powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl combine the chocolate cookie crumbs with the melted butter, until mixture resembles wet sand. Press crumbs into a 9 inch tart pan, making sure to press crumbs up the side of the pan as well. Refrigerate while working on the chocolate ganache.

In a small sauce pot, combine 1C heavy cream (35%), coconut rum and 1 tsp of coconut extract. Heat over medium heat, until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Place chopped chocolate kisses into a mixing bowl. Pour hot cream mixture over top and let sit 3 minutes. Stir until chocolate is melted and has combined with the cream to form a smooth mixture. Pour into refrigerated cookie crust and return to the fridge until set (1-2 hrs).

While the chocolate filling sets, place frozen cherries into a clean sauce pot and combine with sugar and almond extract. Cook over medium heat, until cherries have thawed and sugar has dissolved; about 10 minutes. Combine the cornstarch with cold water. Remove the cherries from the heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Return the pot to the heat and stir cherries until mixture thickens; about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Once cool, pour cherries into center of the torte; spread out to 1 inch from the edges.

Place 1C heavy cream (35%) into a mixer bowl; fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add in 1 tsp coconut extract and powdered sugar and continue to beat on high speed until firm peaks form. Place whipped cream over cherries and garnish with some chocolate shavings.

Refrigerate until ready to serve

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Crock Pot Moose Stew

Tender wild moose, is slow cooked all day with potatoes, peas, carrots and herbs, resulting in a hearty and delicious cold weather dish.

Crock Pot Moose Stew, Crock Pot Beef Stew

I bet you are all surprised to see a new recipe aren't you? I can say that I've missed blogging. I've missed creating recipes, taking photographs and sharing them with you. Sometimes life gets in the way, which is the case here.

About one year ago my life took a turn I never thought it would. I suddenly found myself as a single mom, who suddenly had to find a job and be both mom and dad to my children. That transition, along with trying to heal a hurt and broken heart, was too much to focus on and things like my blog fell to the wayside. They say things in your life happen for a reason and that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Well let me tell you, I was able to build myself back up and show my children that their mom is a strong and determined woman that will always be there for them, even when she feels defeated. One year later, I can proudly say that I am doing better then I have in a long time....even before my marriage ended, and I am now ready to return to blogging, to create, to photograph and to share fantastic recipes with you.

I decided to make this crock pot moose stew my come back recipe, because this shows who I am. I am a simple small town girl, who grew up eating wild game and hearty down home recipes. With hunting season beginning, I've been trying to use whatever moose is in my freezer, to make room for this year's kill. Now I know some of you think hunting is a bad thing, but my family hunts to feed ourselves. We do not hunt for sport, we hunt to fill the freezer. With the cost of living increasing at insane speeds lately, any help I can get to cut my grocery budget is much appreciated. This recipe can also be made with beef (nice tender stewing beef would be best), if moose isn't your thing.

Crock Pot Moose Stew, Crock Pot Beef Stew

Crock Pot Moose Stew

1 1/2 lbs moose steak (or stewing meat), cut into bite size pieces
15 mini white potatoes, cut into quarters
2 medium carrots, slices
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1 large bay leaf
6 C beef broth
1 packet brown gravy
1/2 tsp each, salt & fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 C frozen peas
2 Tbs each, cornstarch & cold water

In a 6 quart crock pot, place the meat, onion, potatoes, carrot. Whisk the brown gravy mix and thyme into the beef broth, and add to the crock pot. Add in the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hrs.

30 minutes before serving, add the peas to the crock pot. Mix the cornstarch with the cold water and also add to the crock pot, stirring to combine. Stir mixture well before serving and remove the bay leaf.