Category Archives: Valentine’s Day

Bite-Size Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

bitesize-red-velvet-crinkle-cookies-nancycI never have enough time to make all the holiday cookies I’m wanting to. Because making those pretty, festive cookies does take up quite a bit of time. That’s where this recipe comes in handy. It’s easy, because cake mix makes up part of the dough, but these cookies still look pretty and festive with the crinkly, powdered sugar coating.

These Bite-Size Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies are a cute rounded shape. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside and have a soft cake-like texture on the inside. I was a little surprised that these cookies didn’t spread out more–I was fully expecting them too. They spread out a little, but for the most part kept their rounded shape. So if you want to make some bite-sized cookies for your holiday cookie tray, keep these in mind!

BITE-SIZE RED VELVET CRINKLE COOKIES by NancyC, adapted from AllRecipes

Makes 44 to 48 cookies

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
  • 1 (16.5-ounce) Red Velvet Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines®)
  • 6 Tablespoons canola oil or light olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • Parchment paper for lining cookie sheets

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Place powdered sugar and cornstarch in a shallow dish and blend with a fork; set aside (if you don’t have any cornstarch, you can just use the powdered sugar).

In large mixing bowl, mix red velvet cake mix, oil, and eggs (and vanilla, if using) until well blended and dough forms. Form dough into 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar mixture. Place on cool, parchment-lined cookie sheets, 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.

Bake 1 cookie sheet at a time, placed in the center of the oven, at 375˚F for 8 to 9 minutes or until set (be careful not to overbake or cookies will be dry). Cool cookies for 1 minute on pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

The only bad thing about these bite-size crinkle cookies is that it’s so tempting to pop a few in your mouth as you’re taking them off the baking sheet! Maybe you have more will power than I do. 🙂

Have you made any kind of red velvet cookies this holiday season?

Sharing this at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

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Cream Cheese Mints

cream-cheese-mints-nancycI love the scent of pine during the holidays. And the taste of peppermint and mint–flavored sweets! This holiday season, I’m enjoying both.

Right now, I’m using the new limited-edition winter scent of ECOS™ Dishmate™ Hypoallergenic ecoswinterpineDish Soap–they have a special holiday scent called Winterpine that they sent me to try, and it smells so fresh and clean!  It’s a great way to add the scent of pine to your kitchen. If you’re not familiar with ECOS™ products, they are earth-friendly and made with plant-derived cleaning agents that clean well and are gentle and safe to use.

And I’m also eating some wonderful minty sweets! These Cream Cheese Mints are kind of addicting. They have a rich, creamy, minty flavor. I like them more than I thought I would, which makes them dangerous for me to have around. So I’ve been sharing them with friends and everyone really likes them. You can make these yummy mints for any special occasion–birthday celebrations, wedding and baby showers, wedding receptions, and, of course, the holidays! I tinted mine red (or I guess you could say pink) and green for Christmas, but you can tint them any color you want. Or don’t use any food coloring and leave them a soft creamy white. This recipe makes about 175 small mints, which is a lot, but you’ll need a lot if you’re making them for holiday parties or any other event!

CREAM CHEESE MINTS by NancyC, adapted from BettyCrocker.com

Makes about 175 small mints

  • 2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (or use 6 ounces from an 8-ounce block)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon mint or peppermint extract
  • Red and green food coloring, optional

In large bowl, cream the softened butter and cream cheese together, then add the confectioner’s sugar, 3 cups at a time, and blend until smooth. Mix in mint extract. The mixture gets pretty thick, so you may need to work everything in with your hands. Or, you can mix all the ingredients with a food processor (use on-and-off pulses until mixture comes together in a ball).

If you’re wanting to tint your dough red and green (or any 2 other colors), divide dough into 2 equal portions and place on wax paper or parchment paper; add a few drops of red food coloring to 1 mound of dough and a few drops of green food coloring to the other mound of dough; work in or “knead” food coloring into each mound until the coloring is evenly tinted to your desired shade. If you’re just making one color, you won’t need to divide the dough, and if you want your mints to be creamy white, you can skip this whole step–just leave out the food coloring.

Roll dough mixture into small balls (I rolled mine into balls that were between 1/2″ and 5/8″ in diameter-I wouldn’t go any larger than that or they will take forever to set–smaller is better!). Place on waxed paper or parchment paper–lined cookie sheets and flatten each ball with a fork. Let stand about 2 hours or until dry (If the mints are still a little soft after a few hours, go ahead and put them in the refrigerator to finish drying). When mints are set and dry, cover with another sheet of wax paper and refrigerate until ready to serve.

These mints are perfect for parties or sweet little food gifts! And this recipe makes plenty of them, so you’ll have extra for yourself! 🙂  Besides pine and mint, what other flavors and scents do you enjoy around the holidays?

Sharing this recipe at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday.

Red Velvet Valentine Bars

Red Velvet Valentine Bars @ NancyC

You’ve probably heard of cookie exchanges…they happen quite a bit around Christmastime. We’ll, this year at work some of us had a little Valentine cookie exchange. I was kind of short on time, so I needed to make something fairly easy, but still wanted it to be very yummy. I’ve seen lots of recipes for cake mix bars and cookies lately, so I thought I’d come up with my own version of Red Velvet bars made with cake mix. After all, any Red Velvet recipe seems appropriate for Valentine’s Day and using cake mix makes it really easy!

These bars are actually more like brownies than cookies–with lots of M&M’s and semi-sweet mini chocolate chips added in! If you’re looking for a simple Valentine treat to make, with lots of yummy chocolate flavor, you still have a little time to try these out!

RED VELVET VALENTINE BARS by NancyC

Makes a 9×13″ pan 

  • 1 (16.5-ounce) box of Red Velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines®) Signature Red Velvet Cake Mix)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup canola oil or light olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (11.4-ounce) bag Valentine M&M’s (about 1 2/3 cups), divided

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or line a 9×13″ baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.

Mix cake mix, egg, oil, milk, and vanilla extract until blended–your batter will be fairly thick, but still stirable. Fold in the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and 3/4 cup of the M&M’s, stirring to distribute evenly in batter (save the rest of the M&M’s for sprinkling on top).

Press batter evenly into your prepared 9×13″ pan and sprinkle with the remaining M&M’s, pressing them into the batter. Bake at 350˚F for 23 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean (the toothpick may have a red tint to it when you pull it out). Cool completely, then cut into bars (if you lined your pan with parchment paper, lift the bars out of your pan with the parchment paper edges, and cut into bars).

These are very rich and chocolatey with all those M&M candies and chocolate chips in there! What kinds of goodies are you making for Valentine’s Day?

Gift Wrap Ideas for Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is just a few days away…if you still need ideas for ways to wrap or package your Valentine gifts, treats, or candy, here are some fresh ideas!

Above, Valentine Present Toppers from Julep look really easy to make–see instructions and downloadable heart shapes here.

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Lots of great downloadable Valentine labels for jars, gift bags, and other containers are available here at World Label.

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Speaking of jars, here’s a pretty way to dress up a jar and put a gift inside…like a food gift or candle. From The Pleated Poppy.

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Also at World Label, special treat labels and stickers for coffee or hot cocoa cups, chocolate bars, and goody bags. See instructions and downloadable designs here.

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Check out these Candy Huggers…a fun way for kids to give Valentine Candy! See downloads and instructions here at Lia Griffith.

Hope these ideas give you some inspiration for Valentine’s Day! 🙂

Linked to Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner.

Chocolate Chip Cherry Granola

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I was wanting to make some granola this past weekend, but I was also wanting something chocolatey. So I decided to combine the two and I came up with this Chocolate Chip Cherry Granola. I thought it would be a great healthy snack to munch on and keep me from being tempted to eat too much Valentine candy! It’s sweetened with honey, sweetened coconut flakes, dried cherries, and those cute little mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. So it satisfies my sweet tooth, but it still has very healthy things in it like oats, almonds, pecans, and sunflower seeds.

I love the combination of flavors in this granola and the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips are the perfect chocolate touch. If you want a healthy sweet to nibble on, too, you should try this out!

CHOCOLATE CHIP CHERRY GRANOLA by NancyC

Makes about 9 cups

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use quick oats)
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds, salted or unsalted
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 3 Tablespoons non-GMO canola oil or light olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dried cherries (or one 5-ounce package)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a 10 x 15″ or 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl or container, heat the honey for about 30 seconds so it’s thinner and easier to stir; then mix the honey, oil, and salt together in a small bowl; set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the oats, sliced almonds, chopped pecans or walnuts, coconut, and sunflower seeds. Add in the honey, oil, and salt mixture and toss again, combining all ingredients well. Spread mixture on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes; remove pan from oven to stir and toss mixture for even baking. Return to oven for an additional 15 minutes, until mixture is golden, and remove from oven.

Stir granola, then let it cool completely on pan (if the granola isn’t quite crunchy, it will get crunchier as it cools). When completely cool, add in the dried cherries and semi-sweet mini chocolate chips. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 weeks. Or package in mini treat bags and give as a healthy Valentine’s Day treat!

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Not only is this granola a great healthy sweet snack, you can have it as a cereal for breakfast, too–although you may want to leave out the chocolate chips…or maybe not! 🙂

Linked to Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.