Don't you love the looks of these "rocks" that are actually chocolate chips??? Keep reading, $25 worth of cooking ingredients (like these "rocks" or dried fruit or nuts or gift baskets) could be yours!
Is it too early???
Tough, I love this month... MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Jackie and I (famous on the blogworld for being empty nesters) were thrilled to have our favorite Niece and her family visit for Thanksgiving. Guided by the grand nieces and nephew (ages 4,6 and 7), we went to tree lighting ceremonies, sat on Santa's lap (Santa even remembered that one of the nieces cried on his lap when she was 2... you should have seen the look on her face), ate at three kid friendly restaurants (had our hamburgers delivered on a model railroad car), saw live theater (Junie B Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells), saw Disney's new movie, Tangled in 3-D and had hot chocolate and S'Mores around our firepit in our snuggies.
I highly recommend having a few pre-teens around the house for the holidays.
Long time readers also know that I am an early riser. I like to get up and watch the sun come up, take a walk and sort my head around my plans for the day (that sounds so much better than I get up because I have to pee and I can never get back to sleep. I'm old, and you all will be there sooner than you think.).
Well, yesterday, instead of a walk, I got up and made the kids cookies. They have an 8 hour drive back to South Dakota (truly God's country). I found out this week that my grand nieces (the 6 and 7 year olds) have a favorite color. One likes pink and one likes green. Perfect for those Christmas colored M&M's.
My grand nephew, age 4 is... well, he is the MOST "4 year old" you have ever met. His parents must be exhausted all day long. But he is at that perfect age to threaten with the rocks from Santa line. It's kind of amazing how often that line was used this weekend. Like I said, he's 4.
So, with a little food coloring, a bag of M&M's and a bag of these "rock" chocolate chips (and a simple butter cookie recipe), it is a simple matter to have an individual gift ready for their drive home.
I found this recipe on the SophistiMOM blog.
2 1/2 cups (375g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (16 tablespoons or 220g) unsalted, room temperature butter
1 3/4 cups (380g) sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
1 small package (2 ounces or 55g) M&M candies
Pretty obvious the changes I made, mix and match the colors with some food coloring. Substitute the "rock" chocolate chips for M&M's for the 4 year old's cookies. One note is to bake for just 12 minutes. These are wonderfully buttery soft with a crisp bottom when slightly under baked, but are almost rock hard if you let them get too done.1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (190 degrees Celsius).
2. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. With an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on high until smooth and light, about 2 minutes. Next add the sugar and continue beating until light in color and fluffy. With the speed on low, add eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Beat until smooth.
4. Turn off the mixer and scrape down sides of bowl. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.
6. Scoop out dough by 2 tablespoonfuls and place about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Press 5-8 M&M’s on each ball of dough. Flatten each ball of dough slightly with the bottom of a glass. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until barely golden brown on the edges.
7. Remove from oven and let rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Amid all the hugs and wet sloppy kisses good-bye, I gave each of the kids a bag with their favorites; told them each I made them special just for them because they were my favorite and I wanted to make their favorite colors.
I am not above buying affection with cookies!
And what great timing...
Just last night, the Christmas angels were smiling down on me. I got an email from the "nut" elf at OHNUTS!
Oh Nuts is a wonderful company. Specializing in mail order ingredients you may not be able to get locally (dried Papya, Figs, Mangoes and Blueberries for an example).
I am a HUGE fan of the "raw" cashews you can buy in bulk. If all you have had is the oil coated, over salted cashew, you really haven't tasted the true taste of a cashew.
They also have ready made gift baskets (like these chocolate covered pretzels in a dark chocolate basket), perfect to let your fingers do your Christmas shopping for you.
And of course, I always order a pound or two of the Chocolate Rocks. Soft, candy coated and a fun way to make chocolate chip cookies a little different... Or how about making Rocky Road Brownies really look... Rocky!
So, here's the deal, one lucky winner will get a $25 virtual gift certificate straight from the nut elf at Oh Nuts! They ship daily, so you will be able to get an order in and received before Christmas! Here's their rules...
Also, I want to add a category. I used to think that followers were fun and inspiring,, but ultimately, not really important. In fact, they are a measurement that some companies use to measure the popularity of your blog. I am starting to enter more contests, and number of followers is one of the many factors that is weighed when winners are considered. So, if you are following me now, send me a comment that you already are (thanks). If you are not a follower, become one now and leave me that comment (look at all those happy faces at the top of this column, that's where you sign up to follow).
SO, 4 ways to enter. Please leave me a separate comment for each way you qualify to win! contest is open until Tuesday, December 7th at midnight. Winner will be announced next day and you can turn in your order the same day for all you Christmas baking needs!
Good luck, I hope you all win (but only one will from me)
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