Valentine’s Chocolate Caramel Surprise Cookies

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This is an old recipe of mine, but one I have not posted before. My dear friend Jill reminded me of this recipe over the holidays, as I had included it in a little recipe book I made many moons ago to give away at my wedding shower! The tender chocolate-pecan cookie dough surrounds a chocolate covered caramel hidden in the middle that melts and leaves a surprise in the center – so good! To make these perfect for Valentine’s Day, I rolled the dough in sugar and sprinkles.

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Recipe makes 24 cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp cocoa powder (I like to use Ghirardelli all natural premium baking cocoa)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of kosher (coarse) salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans, very finely chopped
  • 24 chocolate covered caramels (“Rolos” or other brand)
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp Valentine’s sprinkles

Rolo Cookies

Directions:

  1. In a stand mixer cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix to combine.
  3. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, and then add to the batter and stir for a minute to combine until fully incorporated.
  4. Add in the finely chopped pecans and mix just until incorporated.
  5. Turn off mixer, remove bowl, and cover with saran wrap. Chill dough for 2 hours.
  6. After 2 hours, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  7. Mix the 1 tbsp of sugar and 3 tbsp of sprinkles on a plate and set aside ready to dip dough ball into.
  8. Scoop dough out into 24 equal portions using a medium cooking scoop (1 1/2 tbsp capacity).
  9. Place one rolo in the center of a portion of dough, and form/roll dough around the chocolate. Press the top of each dough ball into the sugar and sprinkles mixture and place cookie on a baking sheet. Note: Do not flatten – leave dough as a ball as it will spread when baking.
  10. Place one sheet of cookies into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. While one sheet is baking, place other sheet in fridge to stay cold. Note: You can choose to bake both sheets at same time but be sure to switch their positions halfway through baking (however I feel baking one at a time usually gives best results).
  11. Remove cookies from oven and let cool completely.

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Grilled Breakfast Wrap (Tim Horton’s Copycat Recipe!)

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I love Tim Horton’s, especially their breakfast sandwiches and wraps, so I wanted to recreate one of my faves at home – their grilled breakfast wrap with peppers, onions, bacon, egg and spicy mayo.

The results were awesome, fresh and delicious (sorry Timmy’s but I think I have you beat with my homemade version!).

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Recipes is for one wrap, increase quantities for each additional wrap you are making.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large whole wheat tortilla
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup of sliced onion and peppers (I used a blend of yellow, red and green – but use whatever you have)
  • 1 large egg, whisked with 1 tsp of water
  • 1/4 cup shredded light sharp cheddar
  • 1 tbsp spicy mayo (optional) – I used a homemade chipotle mayo spice mix I had on hand, but you could also mix 1 tbsp of mayo with a squirt or two of sriracha as well

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Directions:

  1. In a medium skillet cook bacon until fully cooked, remove to a paper towel lined plate to absorb access fat. Drain pan of all but a little bacon grease to cook peppers in.
  2. Add peppers to skillet and cook until softened. Remove from skillet and place on tortilla. Add drained bacon on top of peppers.
  3. Place skillet back on heat, add a smidge of butter or margarine if there is no longer any grease left in pan. Cook the egg omelette style (making one round cooked piece of egg), or scramble – either way works fine. Once fully cooked remove from heat.
  4. Add the spicy mayo on top of the bacon, and then sprinkle with the shredded cheese.
  5. Place the cooked egg on top of cheese.
  6. Roll up wrap by folding in sides, and then roll away from you into a burrito style bundle.
  7. Optional – heat a panini press and grill wrap for 2 minutes to finish. If you do not have a panini press you can crisp in a pan or just skip this step.

 

For another Tim Horton’s breakfast copycat recipe check out my Breakfast Panini (no longer on the menu at Tim’s but you can make it at home!)

. . .  And check out all my great breakfast recipes here

 

 

#OneTinyTaste – How Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese will surprise you!

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How would you feel if you could discover cottage cheese in a whole new way? Some of us are cottage cheese lovers, others don’t like its lumpy texture. What if I could trick your friends into thinking cottage cheese was yogurt? Well that is exactly what I did to a group of my friends, and trust me they were surprised!

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I invited some of my friends over for a little taste test to try a new product I guaranteed they would like. They were definitely a little curious. I disguised the three creamy and delicious Nordica Smooth flavours – Vanilla BeanLemon, Salted Caramel (but citron and caramel salé sound so chic yes?) .

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I set them up to taste test each sample having to identify what the flavour was they were trying, and then guessing what the product was. They all thought it was “greek style yogurt”, so when I then told them it was actually cottage cheese they were shocked. They had no idea cottage cheese could be so creamy and smooth like yogurt. Here is their awesome #OneTinyTaste Reaction!

So even better is that I sent home each of my friends with samples to try, and then they blind taste tested their families. They let me know (and shared some photos) of the kids trying it and liking it and then being stunned to learn it was cottage cheese – something they were sure they didn’t like. However, Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese has all the benefits of regular cottage cheese (low fat and a good source of protein), without the lumpy texture that turns some people off (and especially kids!). Nordica Smooth comes in 100g cup servings (pictured below), that is packed with 10g of protein and contains only 110 calories. They are great to add to school and work lunches, or grab as a healthy snack on the go. Also, I think they make an amazing dessert – for me they satisfy those cheesecake cravings I get.

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So are you ready to try the #OneTinyTaste challenge? You really must pick some up and try it – it’s delicious! All it takes is one tiny taste!

Note that Gay Lea’s Nordica Smooth is only available in Ontario currently at most major grocery stores (except No Frills and Walmart). Be sure to check out the Gay Lea website to learn more about Nordica Smooth and discover their other great products and recipes that they have posted on their site.

“Disclosure: I am part of the Gay Lea Nordica Smooth Cottage Cheese Campaign and receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opions on this blog are my own”

Orange, Raspberry & Ginger Smoothie

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Yes I am on a smoothie kick this week and this zingy smoothie is my new obsession! Packed with orange, raspberry and fresh raw ginger it is a great way to beat the winter blahs and stave off those pesky colds. Love, love, love this fresh new creation – you must try it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large navel orange, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 water
  • 3 ice cubes
  • Optional: you can add 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of honey if you feel the smoothie needs more sweetness (may depend on your orange and raspberries)

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender, and blend until completely combined and smooth. Makes one 400 ml serving (1 2/3 cups).

Go green in 2016!

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The Green Smoothie is now a regular part of my nutrition routine, and even has become a favourite of my girls. Check out those awesome green smoothie moustaches! Our #1 favourite is the Green Smoothie with Banana, Mango, Strawberry and Coconut Milk, and sometimes I also add a dollop of yogurt to make it creamier. It’s delicious! Enjoy and get more green in 2016!

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Here are my 3 go-to recipes:

Green Smoothie with Banana, Mango, Strawberry and Coconut Milk

Harvest Fruit Green Smoothie

Yummy Green Smoothie

 

The top 10 of 2015!

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Happy New Year’s Eve everyone, and I wish you all the very best for 2016.

I have been having a lovely holiday break, but to wrap up the year I wanted to share the top posts of the year to celebrate another successful year in the blogosphere.

Here are the top viewed recipes of 2015 – thank you to everyone for your support!

#10 – Apple Fritters – My most pinned recipe on Pinterest with 700+ pins

#9 – Turkey Breast Roast – A perfect turkey recipe for any occasion!

#8 –  German style Plum Cake “Pflaumenkuchen” – My Grandma’s special recipe, and a family favourite

#7 – Cheesy BBQ Potatoes with Onion & Bacon – Yummy BBQ goodness!

#6 – Tilapia Fish Cakes – Oh so good all these years later!

#5 – Panko Crusted Fish Sticks – Great recipe for any meaty white fish

#4 – Fish Tacos – Fish tacos are a family favourite, and yes my kids love them (a great way to “sneak” fish into the weekly meal plan)

#3 – Lemon Garlic Baked Fish – Great for any white fish (Tilapia, Basa, Sole, etc.).

#2 – Creamy Crunchy Baked Fish – A perennial favourite – use your favourite white meaty fish fillet for this recipe

And the most viewed recipe for 2015 is  . . . .

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#1 – No-Bake Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Squares – A great party favourite!

 

Once again many thanks to everyone who supports my blog and I look forward to another year full of great recipes and food adventures!

 

Kara’s best Christmas Cookies

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How is everyone doing? I always find this time of year exciting and happy but also a bit stressful. From finishing shopping and wrapping gifts to concerts, school events and gatherings with family and friends. So much to do! Anyway, I have to admit I am a bit behind in new recipe development and relying more on my go-to favourites. So with that in mind I wanted to post some of my best and favourite Christmas Cookies. These are 16 holiday favourites (a holiday sweet 16 for you!) that I make every year and that are enjoyed by all my friends and family (tested and enthusiastically approved!)

From top to bottom going left to right my sweet 16 is . . .

Cookie Press Cookies  – buttery, delicious and festive

Nutella Thumbprint Cookies – because who doesn’t love Nutella?

No-Bake Peanut Marshmallow Bars – a top recipe on the blog

Christmas Funfetti Cookies – a sprinkle filled favourite of the kids

Viennese Crescents – my Grandma’s recipe

Chocolate Almond Toffee Bars – a classic Anna Olson recipe (so good!)

Candy Cane Kiss Cookies – perfect for Santa

Peanut Butter Blossoms – for the peanut butter and chocolate lovers

Gluten Free Almond Butter Cookies – delicious and a great option for gluten-free guests

Jam Thumbprints – delicious with either raspberry or strawberry jam

Carmelitas – one of the best square recipes ever!

Pecan Sandies – my Mom’s #1 faves

Milk Chocolate and Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Clusters – an easy and fun no bake treat!

Chocolate Chip & Pecan Cookies – “Andrew’s Favourites” for 15 years and counting

Cherry Raspberry Pecan Rugelach – I love a great rugelach, and this is a great base recipe where you can switch out your favourite jam and dried fruit and nut combo.

Lumpy Bumpy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies – This is my favourite cookie recipe – a peanut butter and oatmeal batter filled with chocolate chunks, chopped pecans and peanut butter chips.

 

Happy holiday baking everyone!