Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A $25 GIVEAWAY and Wacky Uncle Dave Bakes Cookies for Their Drive Home

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
2 eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
1 small package (2 ounces or 55g) M&M candies 
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.
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.

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! NutsOh 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).  

Raw Cashews
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.

Chocolate Pretzel Dark Chocolate Basket
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...
Please offer your readers (you guys)  3 ways to enter

1. Your reader should  go to the Oh Nuts Christmas gift baskets page (click the Blue Letters to go to that page... but you knew that). They have to choose their favorite Christmas Gift and leave a comment on your  blog post with the name and url of the gift they like the most.


Your reader should  go to the Oh Nuts Hanukkah gifts page. They have to choose their favorite Hanukkah Gift and leave a comment on your  blog post with the name and url of the gift they like the most.

You (I) will pick a random winner and we will email the winner a $25 gift certificate.

2. Your readers can go to the Oh Nuts facebook page  and post on the wall the url and name of their favorite  Hanukkah Gift OR Christmas Gift. They should also write "I am here via "Your blog" 

3. You readers need to follow @ohnuts and should Tweet 

" Win a free Hanukkah Gift from http://bit.ly/6nIsCi Follow @ohnuts & Retweet to enter.  "


" Win a free Christmas Gift from http://bit.ly/dUpizt Follow @ohnuts & Retweet to enter.  "
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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  1. The red and green cookies are sooooo cute and vibrant. What a great idea for a holiday cookie!

  2. Your over the top cookies and cakes must have been so much fun for the kids.

    The 6 section nut platter is the one I'd choose.

  3. You must be the most popular uncle....the baking uncle!!!

  4. You are a pretty cool uncle :-). It sounds like you had a great visit. I hope the quiet is not too much of a letdown. Blessings...Mary

  5. My favorite gift is the Christmas Chocolate Planter. Thanks for the giveaway!


    zekks at yahoo dot com

  6. Nice giveaway. I like Homemaker's Gift Basket.

  7. Dave.... the cookies look yummy. Who knew you were so creative with the cookies? I live the Homemaker's Gift Basket.

    Also, I love the Pomegranate Deviled Eggs on your sidebar.

  8. I think that the Christmas Jovial Dot Pot Gift just adds life to any gift giving event.
    msgb245 at gmail dot com

  9. I love the red and green cookies, great colors. The rocks are fun, too. And no it's not too early, I love this time of year, too!

    PS. My friend Melissa replied to your question about the cake balls. Just thought I would let you know in case you hadn't seen it yet!

  10. This would be my choice.

  11. Already a happy follower! I love the chocolate chip rocks, and will remember them when baking cookies for my three year old grandson, who promptly fell asleep on my lap during the previews at Tangled 3-D. He did wake up to about the last ten minutes of the movie. :-)

  12. Oh how I wish I can get those lovely chocolate chip rocks here. The colors of the cookies are brilliant! It is not too early to go into the Christmas mood... never too early:D

  13. Totally stealing your idea of the opposite red and green m&m cookies for my cookie exchange this year!

    I think this is the perfect gift from Oh Nuts!

    My husband is the pistachio lover in our family.

  14. Your cookies look so festive!
    I love the Holiday Gift Basket (http://www.ohnuts.com/buy.cfm/holiday-gift-basket). That is a very pretty arrangement that everyone would enjoy.

  15. I am now following OhNuts! on Twitter and tweeted the message on my page!

  16. Posted a comment on OhNuts! FB page.

  17. I really, really like the Chocolate, Dried Fruit & Nut Gift Basket! It's got everything I need (except for the peaceful music!) to make myself HURT! HA!!

  18. I left a comment on their facebook and also "liked" them

  19. I tweeted and added a little link back to this magnificent blog :)

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Jenna Gayle said...
    I've been following your blog for quite some time now! I usually do it at a most inoportunistic time... stuck at work and starving!! I love the little rock chocolates! I may have to get some for a cookie baking session with my neice and nephew!!

    Sorry if deleting that other comment messes you up... I can't spell for crap!

  22. I wonder how I missed this post! All of these amazing cookies...this awesome giveaway...heaven.

  23. Such cute cookies and great recipe, too! You must be their favorite uncle, now. Great giveaway and I like the Holiday Gift Basket.
    And also, I've been a follower for a long time! :)

  24. You can call them rocks from Santa, but to me, they're Flintstone cookies!

    The whole gang over at Mystery Lover's Kitchen follows you -- we even have you listed as one of our favorite blogs, along with a snippet of your posts. : )

    ~ Krista
    Domestic Diva Mysteries

  25. Okay well...it's just mean makin' me choose, but I choose... Chocolate, Dried Fruit & Nut Gift Basket http://www.ohnuts.com/buy.cfm/gift-baskets-by-type/nuts-chocolate-gifts-2/dried-fruit-nut-basket! I happen to love dried fruit AND nuts AND of course chocolate, so...HEAVEN! Thanks for the chance, Dave!!

    And I love your cookies...you're definitely a fun uncle. My kiddos would totally dig those chocolate rocks!

  26. I just left my choice on the Oh Nuts! facebook page :)

  27. I follow your blog...but of course ;)

  28. I follow Oh Nuts! on Twitter...and I retweeted!!

  29. Dave, the rocks marching the food coloring is brilliant!! Love that you can buy kids. Which store? LOL

  30. Hey Dave - I absolutely adore those rock chips. How cool.
    And, thank you, thank you! I visited the Oh! Nuts site and found these:

    Our family isn't Jewish, but my husband and kids have been collecting those state quarters for years. This will make a totally awesome gift for their stockings. Never saw these before.

  31. Hey, I've got some of those rocks. I've been wondering what to do with them.

  32. Cool cookies! Visited Oh Nuts site and love it all. My husband and I have family all over the country and Canada. We love sending food gifts to those we can't be with at the holidays. My Mother-in-law would love the candy house. Great site, thanks for sharing it!

  33. Hi Dave. Just had to say - love you and your blog! Of course, I'm a follower. :) Those beautiful kids are lucky to have a guy like you in their lives. Cheers, Uncle Dave. Can I have a cookie?!

    ~ Cleo Coyle
    author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries