Superheroes Eat M&M’s!

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HeroesEatMMs

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Captain America: Winter Soldier has just been released on DVD!

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To celebrate, we went to WalMart to find it on BlueRay, have some yummy Superheroes cupcakes, and pick up M&M’s for our movie treats.

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The girls chose Iron Man (Uncle Sean would be proud):

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The toppers were actually little rings, so we all were sporting ours.

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I picked Thor, because…THOR:

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At home, we made Captain America shields out of sugar cookies & M&M’s. They turned out so cute! Are you allowed to refer to a superhero’s weapon as cute?

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I used my Sugar Cookie & Easy Buttercream Frosting recipes (below), then decorated with regular & mini M&M’s. I did my best to make the star out of the frosting, a toothpick helped get it looking like a star and not a blob :)

I’d forgotten how good those Mini M&M’s are! When I was growing up, before we went on an airplane for vacation, my mom would take us to the store to get some snacks for the plane. I remember getting Mini M&M’s in the little colorful plastic tubes and putting them in my backpack. Yum!

Here is a video of us making and playing with our Captain America Cookie Shields, I hope you try making them at home – your kids (& husbands aka big kids) will have a blast!

Simple Sugar Cookies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 2-3 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add egg and mix. Add the powdered sugar and beat well, scraping down sides as needed. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.
  2. On a floured surface, roll out dough to about ½ inch thick. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut into desired shapes and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  3. Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.

Easy Buttercream Frosting
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Frosting
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until very soft and light, about three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed. Enjoy!!

 

Lemonade LA & Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Cookies

A couple of weekends ago, we went down to the Los Angeles LDS Temple for Stake Temple Day. It is so peaceful there. IMG 4543

We love going back to where we were married :) A big thank you to my in-laws for watching our girls for the day so that we could do a session together!

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I was sent the Lemonade cookbook to check out (isn’t it pretty?):
In reading it, I found that there are multiple Lemonade locations in the Los Angeles area. We decided to try one out after the temple and headed to the Brentwood location.

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Matt loved his Braised Short Rib Sandwich, and we all loved the Arugula Strawberry Salad and Red Quinoa Salad with Apples. Matt’s brother said the Ahi Tuna was the best thing he’s ever eaten and my sister-in-law raved about the Brussels Sprouts. The recipe is in the cookbook and I can’t wait to make them!

My uncle and I both got the Blood Orange Lemonade and it was sooooo good! I just asked the girl which one was the sweetest & she was right on.Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies  - karainthekitchen.com

I decided to make the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies on Sunday and they were awesome! We munched on them while watching the Oscars :) They have a crispy, sugary bite around the edges and are chewy on the inside.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies  - karainthekitchen.com

Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Cookies
 
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I doubled this, because when is one dozen cookies ever enough? :)
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two baking sheets, or line with silpat or parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Put the butter and sugars in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or use a hand-held electric beater. Beat on medium speed until light a fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the peanut butter, beating well to incorporate. Add the egg and continue to beat until well combined.
  3. Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar mixture in 2 additions, beating just to combine. Do not overmix or the cookie dough can become tough. Turn the mixer off and fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula, until evenly distributed.
  4. Using a small scoop, put the dough on prepared pans about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the cookies are just set on the edges but still fairly soft in the middle. Cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Making Sugar Cookies with Ada

Every Christmas growing up, we would make sugar cookies for Santa with my mom. I remember learning how to roll out dough, cut out shapes, and decorate cookies. When I told Ada that I used to do this with her Nonnie, she just laughed and said, “That’s weird!”

Unfortunately, these cookies didn’t make it until Christmas. We’ll just have to make another batch for Santa :)

It’s really hard for me to give up control (especially in the kitchen), so baking with children is a good exercise for me. I just try to relax, know that it’s going to be messy, and keep my cool. Ada couldn’t help but lick her fingers every time they got dough on them, so we made many trips to the sink to wash them yet again! Ah, lessons in life.

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She did such a good job! I loved watching her little hands at work.

Sugar Cookies

This recipe is great for children because it doesn’t require the dough to chill in the refrigerator. Which means you get your cookies faster. Wahoo!!

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We used a simple buttercream frosting and decorated with festive sprinkles. I just love a thick sugar cookie with a buttery frosting and crunchy sprinkles on top. I know Santa will be happy!

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I hope you and your children will try making these together! It’s messy but worth it.

I mean really, look at this face.

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So worth it :)

Simple Sugar Cookies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add egg and mix. Add the powdered sugar and beat well, scraping down sides as needed. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.
  2. On a floured surface, roll out dough to about ½ inch thick. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut into desired shapes and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  3. Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.

 
Easy Buttercream Frosting
 
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Author:
Recipe type: frosting
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until very soft and light, about three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed. Enjoy!!

This post was originally featured on Mom it Forward on 12/15/13.

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Bars

This year, I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap again! It was once again hosted by Julie of The Little Kitchen and Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil. For the second time, I have been amazed at how they pulled something like this off! Over $13,700 was raised for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and I am so honored to have been a part of that, however small.

http://www.fbcookieswap.com/

It was kind of a crazy time…coming home from MixedCon in Virginia, Thanksgiving(s), then having to make cookies, photograph them, and ship ’em off to three people! But with a little help from my mom’s old Betty Crocker Cookbook and my best friend (who watched my girls for a few hours), I got it done.

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I looked for an easy cookie recipe that wouldn’t take very long. The second I read about these Toffee Bars, I knew they were the winners.

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Bars - karainthekitchen.com

They may look like chocolate chip cookies, but don’t be fooled. They have a crisp, buttery bite instead of a squishy, floury one. They are perfect for large gatherings because one recipe makes 48 bars. Bar cookies are also an easy way to save time and not have to keep scooping dough and baking batches. One time and you’re done!

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Bars - karainthekitchen.com

I hope my cookie swap matches liked them, (I know one did)! My family and I sure loved them & I will be making them again soon. You should too :)

Chocolate Chip Toffee Cookie Bars
 
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Author:
Recipe type: cookie
Serves: 48
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1½ cups chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly cream butter, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla together.
  2. Add the sifted flour and mix well until combined.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed, then pat dough into an ungreased 15½ x 10½ x 1 inch baking pan.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
  5. While warm, cut into bars, then let cool completely before removing from pan.

 

 

Coconut M&M Oatmeal Cookies

Have you ever tried Coconut M&M’s before? This was my first time, and I was VERY pleasantly surprised! I bought them on a whim in the Easter aisle at Target. They’ll never replace my #1 M&M love, Peanut Butter, but they are a great addition to the M&M family. I thought I’d experiment with them and make cookies…it just might be the best decision I’ve ever made. Coconut M&M Oatmeal CookiesI love the teal Easter egg color!Coconut M&M Oatmeal CookiesHad to add coconut to enhance the flavor of the chocolate.Coconut M&M Oatmeal CookiesThey are so good! Chewy oats and coconut in the middle, crunchy golden edges, with smooth coconut M&M’s sprinkled throughout. They’d be a perfect addition to your Easter spread with those pretty little eggs showing through.Coconut M&M Oatmeal CookiesMy friend is a Coconut M&M’s lover and told me that they are available year round, so you could make these cookies anytime with the non-seasonal variety. Enjoy!

Coconut M&M Oatmeal Cookies
 
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Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • ¾ cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 9.90-ounce (scant 2 cups) bag Coconut M&M's
Instructions
  1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars.
  2. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape down sides of bowl, then add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix to incorporate.
  4. Add the flour, oatmeal, and M&M's. Mix on low speed just until combined.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet in rounded 2 Tablespoon scoops.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. The centers may look a little wet, but they will continue to cook and set as they cool.

 

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Number one: I am sorry for being absent from Kara in the Kitchen for so long. I have been in the kitchen a ton, but also in the car, traveling, at the park, at church, and in my family’s lives. I am back now and I have a recipe I made up just for you! Can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies, right?

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies - www.karainthekitchen.com

I LOVE when experiments in the kitchen turn out well! I was given a bag of raw sugar by my Nana, and I wanted to see how it would taste in cookies. The answer? Carmely-chewy-crunchalicious. Which means GOOD. These cookies taste & smell like the type of cookie you would buy at a nice bakery. They’re sturdy & big, and would be a welcome gift…meaning I think they’d ship well.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies - www.karainthekitchen.com

I hope you like them! Enjoy :)

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies - www.karainthekitchen.com

 

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2½ sticks butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup raw sugar
  • 1¾ cups brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 ounces baking chocolate, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the flour mixture in two batches, stirring just until combined.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips and chopped chocolate.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick mat. Scoop dough into two-Tablespoon balls, and flatten with your palm once they are on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of raw sugar.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookie are golden-brown and the centers still look a bit doughy. Remove from oven and set cookie sheet on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before completely removing cookies to cooling rack.

 

 

Top 5 Recipes of 2012

Here are the top 5 recipes on Kara in the Kitchen this year! Thank you WordPress for compiling the data for me so I didn’t have to do the leg work :) I’d also like to thank all of YOU, my readers! I love sharing recipes with you and connecting with old and new friends through food. Thank you for supporting me and making this all so much fun!

Here’s to many more recipes on Kara in the Kitchen to come! I’d like to hear from you…what would you like to see more of in 2013? Let me know in the comments & thanks again for being so wonderful!

1. Crêpes

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2. Stuffed Blue Cheese Potatoes

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3. Peppermint Brownies

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4. Pioneer Woman’s Perfect Pot Roast

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5. Peanut Butter Blossoms

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Peppermint Brownies

Oh my goodness. I am so glad that I made these for a cookie swap! Otherwise I would’ve eaten all 4 dozen by myself. I participated in the 2nd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap benefiting Cookies for Kids Cancer. It was put on by Julie from The Little Kitchen and Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil. It was so neat to have 3 boxes of cookies show up in my mailbox! What’s better than getting mail? Getting COOKIES IN THE MAIL!

The sweetest part about the cookie swap, though, was the cause it benefited. Pediatric cancer is something that hits very close to home as a friend’s son passed away two months ago after losing his battle with it. He was only a few months older than my Ada, and if this is one way I can help the fight against this awful disease, then I am going to do it.  I sent my brownies to Jennifer of Bake or Break, Joanna of Go Ahead and Snicker, and Camilla of CaffayWay. It was crazy sending off my little guys in a box! I hope they made it to New York, New Jersey, and Colorado safely and tasted as good as when I made them. I received yummy treats from Leah at Wine Imbiber, Milisa of Miss In The Kitchen, and Mika from Merienda With Mika. Thank you so much ladies! I have been wanting to bake these for a long time. Last Christmas my sister-in-law gave me the cookbook Our Best Bites with a mint brownie recipe inside! If you’ve ever been to BYU, you know that their mint brownies are to die for! They usually sell out at the Creamery & Wilkinson Center during EFY and Education Week. These taste as good as BYU’s and I put my own twist on them to make them festive for Christmas. Pink frosting instead of traditional green (although you could do green too), and Andes Peppermint baking chips on top! Much better than candy canes, in my opinion. More chocolate always wins in my book! Layers of moist homemade brownie, fluffy peppermint frosting, decadent chocolate ganache, and bits of peppermint white chocolate. YEAH! 

Peppermint Brownies
 
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 (1 oz.) squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1¼ c. flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Frosting:
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1½ teaspoons peppermint extract
  • Red food coloring
  • Chocolate Glaze:
  • 6 oz. (about 1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with tin foil, letting the edges hang over the side of the pan. Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Break baking chocolate into chunks and slice butter into ½ in. pats. Put both into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds increments, stirring after each time until smooth. Set bowl aside and stir every now and then to keep smooth.
  3. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla for 2 minutes. While it is mixing, whisk flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl. With the mixer running, slowly add the melted chocolate and beat to combine. Turn mixer to low and add in flour mixture by the spoonful, mixing just until combined. Pour batter into pans lined with foil and bake for 20-30 min. or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool brownies to room temperature on a cooling rack. Prepare frosting by beating all frosting ingredients, starting with 1½ Tablespoons of milk and adding more if needed. (I only used 1½ T.) Beat until light and fluffy, then spread evenly over brownies. Chill in refrigerator.
  5. While the brownies are in the fridge, make the chocolate glaze. In another (or the same) microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and 6 Tablespoons butter. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, just until melted and smooth. Let cool for about 15 minutes, then spread on top of frosted brownies. Be gentle, careful not to pull up the frosting below. Sprinkle with peppermint baking chips and return to refrigerator to cool.
  6. When the chocolate glaze has hardened, lift brownies from pan using foil overhang. Slice into squares and eat, serve, or ship. Enjoy!

 

Homemade Oreos

Meet our little decorative crow, Richard Nixon. Ada named him that…I guess she has picked something up from those Presidential flash cards!

He’s a proud bird. Proud to be sharing a photo shoot with such decadent cookies!

I saw this recipe on Bakerella’s beautiful site, and she made it from the cookbook Flour. Which has now been added to my wish list :) Thank you, thank you for sharing it! It is a keeper and so versatile. You could leave the filling white for any time of year, or add food coloring to make them festive for holidays.

Mine are definitely more rustic than Bakerella’s, but I’d love to make them perfectly round like she did (using a cookie cutter) when I don’t have two monkeys hanging on me. And Richard Nixon pecking at me.

Homemade Oreos!
 
Author:
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • For the cookies:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • For the filling:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1⅔ cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Food color, optional
Instructions
  1. In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk the butter and sugar until well combined. Add in the vanilla and chocolate, then whisk in the egg until combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, salt, and soda until combined. Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Let the dough sit for an hour to firm up.
  3. After an hour, turn the dough out onto waxed paper. Use a spatula to shape the dough into a log about 2½ inches in diameter along the edge of wax paper. Start rolling the dough and shaping as you wrap and roll. Try to keep the paper tight and push the ends of the log so that they are flat. Twist the ends of the waxed paper to secure. Refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm. If log settles and flattens on one side, rotate every 15 minutes or so to maintain a round shape.
  4. Heat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Slice dough into quarter-inch-thick slices and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cookies are firm to the touch. Note: Bakerella under-baked her cookies by half the time and said they were fine, so I followed her suggestion. I was worried about charring them since they're black already and there's no golden brown edge to go by! Mine were fully cooked and soft, I imagine if you cooked them the full time you would end up with a hard cookie much more like an Oreo. It's all up to you and what you prefer.
  6. Let cookies cool on a rack and prepare the filling. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the milk and salt and continue beating until smooth again. Place about a tablespoon of filling on the bottom of one cookie and sandwich with a second. Repeat with remaining cookies and enjoy!

 

Homemade Kettle Corn

And the winner of the OXO spatula is…

comment #5, Lindsay Johnson!

She just happens to be my lovely sister. I promise you all it was completely random! Here’s the proof:

She just moved into a new apartment and needs a spatula, so it’s on its way!

Thank you for all of your entries, I loved hearing all of your favorite cookies. I was surprised by the amount of snickerdoodle lovers out there! For me, nothing beats a chocolate chip cookie. Mmm.

Here is another one of my favorite things: kettle corn. I love the smell of it being cooked at Farmers Markets and can’t help myself when Costco has Popcorn, Indiana’s kettle corn in stock (their brand is my favorite to date…they have more sweet & sugary kernels than Trader Joes and other brands). It’s highly addictive! Matt & I ate a whole bag while watching The Bachelor last week. Oops! (Don’t tell him I told you he watches it. We laugh so hard together!)

I love homemade popcorn, it reminds me of Sundays at my grandparents’ house. Bobba makes it the best with lots of melted butter on top! I also use my popper to make caramel corn. So I thought I should try making kettle corn in it! Rule #1, DO NOT put corn syrup in your stir crazy popcorn maker! You’ll end up with a scary burning mess that will take tons of elbow grease to clean off.

This is how it’s done right.

Stir-Crazy Kettle Corn Recipe

1/3 c. canola oil

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. popcorn kernels

Pour canola oil into bottom of popcorn maker. Sprinkle sugar on top, followed by popcorn kernels. Move little hands out of the way, place bowl on top, and plug in Stir-Crazy. Watch the kernels pop and then flip over and remove base when pops are 3 seconds apart. Sprinkle with salt to your liking, toss, and enjoy!

If you want to get really crazy, melt 1/4 c. chocolate chips and 1/4 c. white chocolate chips and drizzle on top! Place in a small bowl and microwave chips separately in 10 second increments, stirring until completely melted. Be careful not to overheat them! Lay your beautiful kettle corn in a single layer on waxed paper.

Drizzle to your heart’s content!

I make this and store it in gallon-sized Ziploc freezer bags. It’s the perfect snack when you want salty & sweet!