Friday, July 29, 2011

VBS Snacks: Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

So this is definitely my new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. (Sorry, back of the nestle chocolate chips bag - you are out). I have made these cookies at least 5 times this summer, and every time, they are just so good! There's a post about them from a while back (the first time I made them), minus the gushing about the goodness, because I didn't realize then that these would be the new best ever cookies! So, if you want to make the BEST chocolate chip cookies, either click here for the original recipe, which makes about 6 dozen cookies (yikes!) or use this half recipes, which makes about 3 dozen...

Here's what you will need:
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips - I like to use M&M's and mini chocolate chips...About this many:  

Here's the rest of the recipe, taken from the original recipe, just split in half to make less cookies.

    1. Preheat oven to 350. Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside. (Optional, I never do the sifting).
    2.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and M&M's.
    3. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
    4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Edges should be golden brown.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

VBS Snacks: Snickerdoodles

This is the snickerdoodle recipe I use to make cookies with the 1st graders at school every year. Now you know it's easy, because if 1st graders can follow it, so can you!

Here's what you need:

And here's what you do:

And here are a few notes:

1. I never chill the cookie sheet, so don't worry about it.

2. I do chill the dough, but just not for too long, otherwise the cinnamon sugar won't stick.

3. Even if they don't look done after 10 minutes, take the cookies out of the oven - they will be soft and delicious!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

VBS Snacks: White Chocolate Popcorn

This is one of the easiest, but still tasty, snacks to make for a big group of people. You don't need a lot of ingredients, and it doesn't take a long time or make a huge mess. It's also really easy to put your own twist on it. Start with some microwave popcorn and vanilla almond bark and then add whatever else you want!

I usually add pretzels and M&M's. Sometimes nuts, but not this time.

Once you have all of your goodies ready to go, it's a pretty easy process. The only tricky thing can be the timing. Here's what I do...

1. If you are just making 1 bag of popcorn, use 4-5 squares of almond bark. (For more popcorn, just use more almond bark). Start melting the almond bark. Put the squares in a microwave safe bowl, and melt on high for about 1 min. Take them out (they won't be melted all the way) and pop 1 bag of popcorn. When the popcorn is done, finish melting the almond bark (just follow the directions on the package).

2. Dump all of the popcorn into a big bowl. Try not to let the old maids sneak into the bowl. (FYI: "old maids" are the popcorn kernels that didn't pop!) 

3. Once the almond bark is melted, pour that on top of the popcorn. Then crush up some pretzels (as many as you want) and throw those on top. Toss a handful of M&M's in there too.

4. Mix it all together. The pretzels and M&M's tend to sink to the bottom, so I like to spread it all out onto a cookie sheet while it cools.

5. Let it all harden together, then enjoy your tasty treat!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

VBS Snacks: Cinnamon Scones

A while back, I posted the recipe for these tasty little scones (check it out here). But if you don't want to look it up again, here's the easy recipe...

If you click on the picture, you can see it bigger!
The original recipe is from my aunt's friend, so the typed notes are her's. I added my own at the bottom. Here are the notes that I should add: I usually use a little bit less than 3 cups of flour, otherwise the dough is too crumbly. Also, sometimes I bake them on a pizza stone or just on a regular pan (no parchment paper). Either one works fine. So those are my suggestions - take them or leave them!

Monday, July 25, 2011

VBS Week: So Many Snacks!

This week was VBS at my church, and somehow my mom and I got talked into baking treats for all of the volunteers and parents. There were 90 volunteers. There was also a coffee shop where parents could stop by after dropping their kids off. So we were baking all week long. Here's a peek at what my kitchen looked like all week...

Oreo Pudding Cups

White Chocolate Popcorn

Cinnamon Scones

Cake Balls

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

Stay tuned later this week for some of the recipes!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cake Auction

Here's an update on my grandma's cake auction. I realized I showed off the flower cakepops, but not the finished product. So here it is...

And here are the cakes my aunt and cousin made for the auction...

The auction was pretty fun. They brought in a real auctioneer and there were about 40 cakes being auctioned off to raise money for a computer for the residents of the nursing home (where my grandma volunteers, she's far too young to live there yet!) I guess the auctioneer was pretty convincing and persistent in his efforts to get us to bid on cakes, because here are all of the cakes that we ended up with by the end of the auction...

Yep, there are 5 cakes. Yep, one of them is a Barbie cake. Yep, one of them is the one I made - my grandpa won that one (I don't think he knew it was the one I made!) Yep, we might have gone a little overboard, but at least it was for a good cause!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Flower Cakepops

For my birthday this year, one of my sweet teacher friends (thanks, Meghan!) gave me cakepop wraps to make flowers. My grandma is having a cake auction at the nursing home where she volunteers this weekend (more on that later), so I thought this would be a fun time to make some flower cakepops.

They were really easy to make because they come all ready to go in a nice neat package.

 There are 3 different colors of flowers, and you use all three to make one flower.

Just fold up the edges of each flower...

Slide them up the cakepop one at a time... 

Then enjoy your beautiful garden of cakepops!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fourth of July Decorations: Star-Spangled Banners

I've been seeing all of these super cute fabric banners all over blog-land and finally decided the perfect time to make one would be for the 4th of July party. I found all of this great patriotic fabric and then enlisted my mom's sewing help!

Once I got my mom on board, it was a pretty easy project. First we made a pattern for the triangles, then cut them out with pinking sheers (no hemming!)

When all of the flags were cut out, using all of the different fabrics, we attached them to our red ribbon. We used paper clips for the first banner, because that's what we had (the pins were far away upstairs). When we actually sewed them on, we found out it was easier to not pin them on at all, but just place them on the ribbon as we went.

I didn't put the flags on in any certain order, but just randomly placed them. The banners turned out pretty great, and added lots of festive-ness to the backyard for our party!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fourth of July Decorations: Poofs!

Ok, this one's not about baking at all, but remember how I got all crazy about my mom's 4th of July party this year? Well, that includes decorations, so get ready for a few snapshots of our decorations...First up, RED, WHITE, and BLUE tissue paper poofs!

I discovered how to make thses poofs from someone's post on pinterest (my other new obsession). They are super cute, and actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it.

I went a little overboard and made enough to decorate inside and out. I was pretty happy with how it all turned out!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fourth of July Baking: Oreo Pudding Cups

My second 4th of July dessert is a super easy no-bake Oreo dessert. We call it "Roger's Dessert" because my aunt's friend (named Roger) introduced us to it.

Here's the simple recipe (then I'll tell you how I tweaked it to make the pudding cups)

For the pudding cups, cross out butter from your list of ingredients. All you need for the crust is:

Don't follow steps 1 and 2 in the recipe. Instead of crushing all of the oreos together in a bowl, follow these easy steps...

1. Place muffin papers in 2 1/2 muffin tins (about 30 cups). Then put 1 whole oreo in each muffin cup.

2. Get out your meat tenderizer (or other appropriate crushing tool) and mash each oreo into a few pieces. They don't have to be super small, just make sure it breaks apart.

When your crust is ready, gather up your ingredients to make the filling.

While I was making this dessert, I realized that I have been making it wrong all this time, because instead of layering the pudding mixture with the cool whip on top, I just mix it all in together. So in the recipe, in step 3, add the cool whip in too. It makes it easier, and tastes great!

The last step is super easy - just spoon some of the filling into each pudding cup. Sprinkle the top of each one with some leftover oreo crumbs. Arrange on a pretty plate, and enjoy!