Operation Cookie Takeover – Easter Edition!

Every few months the awesome people at Operation Cookie Takeover ask for volunteers to bake and ship cookies to our deployed troops.  I’m proud to say I have participated in every round!  This time I was assigned a Marine stationed in Japan.  I sent out an email to my department at work saying that if anyone wanted to send a card, note, or small treat along with my cookie shipment that I’d be glad to add it to my box.

Today I shipped three large flat rate boxes full of cookies, Easter candy, crackers, toiletries, cards, Tastykakes and other goodies.  I work with some awesome people.  Here is a shot of all my cookies and just some of the other donated items:

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And here are some closeups of my cookies!

Easter Bunny Cookies - Shake Bake and PartyPatriotic Easter Bunny CookiesIf you want to check out all the amazing cookies being shipped out this week head over to Operation Cookie Takeover’s Facebook page, or search the hashtags #OCT2015 and #operationcookietakeover on Instagram!  If you know a deployed soldier be sure to follow their Facebook page and when the next mission rolls around you can sign up your soldier to be a cookie recipient!

Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Strawberry Fluff Filling

I’m back, and I brought more Strawberry Fluff!  I think I might ask it to be my Valentine.

These rich Devil's Food cupcakes filled with Strawberry Fluff Cream are the perfect treat for your #Valentine!We could go for long walks on the beach, have picnics in the park, or snuggle up on the couch for a Netflix binge-fest.  The only thing that would come between us would be a spoon…  Or I could just fill some Devil’s Food cupcakes with it and then top them off with some Godiva Chocolate Liqueur spiked butter cream frosting.

Devil's Food cupcakes filled with Strawberry Fluff cream.  The perfect Valentine's Day treat!Yup.  Had to throw some booze in there.  What says “Will you be my Valentine?” better than some Godiva chocolate?  Ok, maybe some sparkly jewlery, but you can’t eat that with Strawberry Fluff.

To make these, bake a batch of your favorite Devil’s Food cupcakes.  I used the Pillsbury box mix, which made 18 appropriately sized cupcakes (ahem, Pillsbury).  After the cupcakes have cooled use a cupcake corer or a knife to remove a section from the center of each cupcake.  Next comes the Strawberry Fluff Cream Filling.

Strawberry Fluff Cream Filling  (adapted from I Heart Cuppycakes)

1-7.5 oz jar of Marshmallow Strawberry Fluff
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature

In a large bowl, whisk the marshmallow cream and butter until smooth.  Transfer into pastry bag and squeeze into the center of each cupcake.  You can push the bits you removed back into the top or you can just eat them.  : )  Now it’s time for the frosting!

Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Butter Cream (adapted from Butter Cream Frosting II on allrecipes.com)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
3 tablespoons cocoa powder

Cream butter and shortening in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add all other ingredients and beat until well combined.  Luckily for Pillsbury this recipe makes just enough frosting for 18 cupcakes.  I like a lot of icing on my cupcakes, so you may be able to stretch this to cover 24 cupcakes depending on your frosting technique.

I topped these off with a strawberry marshmallow heart but you can decorate them any way you wish!

Devil's Food Cupcakes filled with creamy Strawberry Fluff filling!  Perfect for Valentine's Day!What’s your favorite cupcake filling?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

 

Valentine’s Day Fluffernutter

Did you know that STRAWBERRY Marshmallow Fluff existed?  I had no idea until I saw it in the World Market section at Bed Bath and Beyond the other day.  I immediately grabbed a jar off the shelf.

I wish I hadn’t.

I wish….

…that I had grabbed three or four!  It’s SO GOOD!!  You know the first thing I had to do was make a fluffernutter sandwich, right?  Did you grow up on these things too?  Gooey marshmallow and peanut butter slathered onto good old white bread.  I could have eaten one every day for lunch and never gotten tired of it.

Of course, I had to take it up a notch.  We are talking about STRAWBERRY Fluff, people.  And what goes with strawberry??  That’s right – chocolate!

This strawberry and chocolate Fluffernutter is a fun and easy treat to make with the kids for Valentine's Day! It’s Monday morning, and I’m pretty sure that you know how to make a sandwich so I am going to spare you the directions.  Strawberry Fluff, your favorite chocolate nut spread (I used Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams but I am thinking Nutella would be AWESOME with this) and white bread are all you need to make this fun Valentine’s Day treat.

Strawberry and Chocolate come together in this fun sandwhich for Valentine's Day!The kids will love this and so will you because strawberry and chocolate, that’s why.  Now pardon me while I go continue eating this Strawberry Fluff straight out of the jar.

Yes, Strawberry Fluff exists and it's AWESOME!

Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes

‘Tis the season for all things red and pink so I’ve hopped onto the bandwagon and made you some strawberries and cream cupcakes!

Sweet strawberry cupcakes stuffed with Lindt Lindor Strawberries and Cream Truffles!Even if you don’t like Valentine’s Day you’ll be sure to fall in love with these cupcakes.  Sweet strawberry cupcakes, frosting made with heavy cream AND a strawberries and cream truffle stuffed into the center?  Good stuff.

Strawberries and Cream CupcakesThese cupcakes are really easy to make!  Bake up a batch of your favorite strawberry cupcakes (I used a boxed mix) and a minute or two after you take them out of the oven unwrap a truffle and just push it down through the top of the cupcake.  I used Lindt Lindor Strawberries and Cream truffles but you could use white, milk or dark chocolate truffles too.  Any kind of chocolate + strawberries = yum.  Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost them with this:

Butter Cream Frosting (adapted from Butter Cream Frosting II on allrecipes.com)

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups confectioners sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream

Directions

Cream butter and shortening in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add all other ingredients and beat well.

Strawberries and Cream cupcakes with a surprise inside! Perfect for Valentine's Day! From Shake Bake and Party

Saturday Night Sips – Hot Buttered RumChata

A few Christmases ago I made a delicious Colonial Hot Buttered Rum recipe that I found on Allrecipes.com.  It was so simple (you make it in the slow cooker!) and SO delicious!  I served it at my family Christmas dinner and everyone raved about it.

I decided that I wanted to make it again today – it’s Saturday and it’s cold, why not? ;-)  I changed it up just a bit though and I am in love with the results!  This recipe was awesome before but when you swap out half of the rum for RumChata…

Hot Buttered RumChata is the perfect drink to warm you up on a cold winter night! #cocktails #rum #slowcooker

This is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!  I could sit and drink this all day.  It warms you up from the inside and the flavor stays on your lips (if you’re into buttered rum kisses).

Hot Buttered RumChata is the perfect drink to warm you up on a cold winter night! #cocktails #rum #rumchata #slowcooker

Hot Buttered RumChata (adapted from Colonial Hot Buttered Rum submitted to Allrecipes.com by Linda Correia)

Ingredients

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup of butter
1 pinch of salt
8 cups of hot water
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
1 cup of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum
1 cup of RumChata
Whipped cream and ground nutmeg for garnish (if desired)

Directions

1. Combine the brown sugar, butter, salt and hot water in a 5 quart (or larger) slow cooker.  Add cinnamon sticks and cloves.
2. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
3. Stir in the Spiced Rum and the RumChata.
4. Ladle into mugs (or awesome cups like the ones shown in the photo from SucreShop), top with whipped cream and ground nutmeg.

Makes 8 servings.

Hot Buttered RumChata is the perfect drink to warm you up on a cold winter night! #cocktails #rum #rumchata #slowcooker

This recipe can easily be scaled down to make fewer servings.  I made half a batch tonight but I wish I had made more!  It takes just a few minutes to throw together and once it’s done you can just keep it warm in the slow cooker until every last drop is gone.  It’s a perfect drink for Christmas, a New Year’s Eve party or any random winter weekend!

This Hot Buttered RumChata is the perfect drink to warm you up on a cold winter's night! #rum #rumchata #slowcooker #drinkrecipe

Cheers folks!

Apple Pie Snickerdoodles

I was super excited to participate again this year in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap which raises money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  Food bloggers sign up and get assigned three other food bloggers to send cookies to.  This year I sent cookies to Ashley at Memoirs from My Kitchen, Claire at Simply Sweet Justice and Renee from Tortillas and Honey.   More on who I received cookies from later…

First, on to the recipe!

Apple Pie Snickerdoodles | Shake Bake and Party

I love snickerdoodles, and when I tried Apple Pie Candy Corn from Brach’s® around Halloween I knew I wanted to combine the candy with that quintessential cinnamon cookie.  I know it’s no longer candy corn season but I just checked and as of right now you can still buy a bag on Amazon.  So if you do want to give these a try you don’t have to wait until next fall!

You can use any snickerdoodle recipe that you like.  I happened to have a few bags of Betty Crocker® Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix hanging out in my pantry so that is what I used.  Easy and delicious!

Apple Pie Snickerdoodles

Ingredients

Ingredients and measurements will vary depending on what recipe you use for the snickerdoodles.  The following instructions are for use with the Betty Crocker® Mix:

1 bag of the cookie mix which contains a packet of cinnamon sugar
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup), melted
1 egg
1 tablespoon of water

In addition to the ingredients to make the cookie dough you will need 1 bag of Brach’s® Apple Pie Candy Corn

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (350 degrees F for a dark or nonstick cookie sheet).
2.  Pour the cinnamon sugar from the packet into a small bowl.
3. Combine the ingredients needed to make the dough in a medium bowl until a soft dough forms.
4. Take about 1 teaspoon of dough and press one piece of candy corn into it.  Cover with a bit more dough, making a ball around the piece of candy corn.  Make sure no part of the candy corn is poking out through the dough.
5. Roll the ball of cookie dough in the cinnamon sugar until coated.
6. Place dough 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are set.
8. Remove from oven and press another 2 pieces of candy corn into the top of each cookie.
9. Place cookies back in oven for 1-2 minutes, just long enough to soften the candy corn so it will stick to the cookies.
10. Remove and let cool for 2 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire rack.

This will make 2 dozen cookies.  Store in an airtight container.

Again, the ingredients and instructions here are if you are using the cookie mix.  If you are using a different recipe please follow the baking instructions for that recipe, just adding one or two minutes back in the oven after placing the candy corn on top.

You could skip inserting the candy corn into the center of the cookie but I wouldn’t!  It melts inside, infusing the cookie with a delightful apple pie flavor!

Apple Pie Snickerdoodles | Shake Bake and Party

I received three FANTASTIC batches of cookies from some awesome bloggers.  The first batch was Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Snowball Cookies from Marcie at Flavor the Moments.  I love that she added chocolate chips to the traditional snowball cookie!

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Snowball Cookies

Next came Browned Butter Nutella® Slice-n-Bake Cookies from Sara at Cake Over Steak.  Nutella® makes everything awesome and these cookies were no exception!

Browned Butter Nutella Slice-n-Bake Cookies

My last batch of cookies was from Maurita at Get the Good Stuff.  She sent Ginger Shortbread Rounds.  I LOVE shortbread cookies, and the addition of chewy bits of ginger took these over the top!

Ginger Shortbread Rounds

I have to say now that the swap is finished, it’s pretty depressing coming home every day from work knowing that there is no chance there will be a box of tasty cookies on my doorstep.  If any of you out there are feeling generous and want to just randomly send me cookies, let me know so I can give you my address!  ;-)

Special thanks to Julie from The Little Kitchen and Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil who are the masterminds behind the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!  Thanks for all your hard work ladies!  Can’t wait to do it again next year!

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap