I love a Valentine’s Day treat! At the same time, I admittedly unfollowed an IG influencer who spouted “small” Valentine’s Day gifts for her kids – then the next thing we saw was coloring kits, playdoh sets, puzzles, stuffed animals, candy, play jewelry, and matching pjs. It is their job to get people to buy stuff – but none of us need the expectation out there that we’re showering the kiddos with so much stuff every single holiday. Cookies are the right answer – everyone can enjoy a soft pink cookie.
Strawberry Crinkle Cookies Ingredients: 1 box strawberry cake mix 2 tablespoons flour 2 eggs 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Directions: Mix the cake mix, flour, eggs, oil and extract together.
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. Let cookie dough cool at least 10 minutes in the fridge. Roll golf-ball sized balls (~1.5-2 inches) and gently roll in powdered sugar. Place onto a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray or with a silicone mat each one about 2 inches apart. Bake 9-10 minutes and let sit on the baking sheet 1 minute out of the oven then carefully let cool on cooling rack.
I love these. They are delightfully soft and almost gooey. The strawberry flavor brings some summertime feelings to mid-February.
I baked! I had this idea churning and we were having cheesecake for Christmas day so I left some space after just having it – then I just went for it without an occasion. This has pretzel & graham cracker crumb crust with cheesecake topped with apple and salted caramel.
The cheesecake is super fluffy and has a great balance of crumb to cheesecake to topping ratios – I pretty much want each in every bite.
Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Apple Topping Ingredients: (for graham cracker & pretzel crust) 1 packet of graham crackers 1/2 cup of pretzels 1 stick of butter, melted 1/4 cup sugar (for cheesecake) 16 oz cream cheese 2/3 cup sugar 8 oz sour cream 4 eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half (for salted caramel apple topping) 3 large cortland apples 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup caramel sauce 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. In a food processor, blend together the graham crackers, pretzels, butter, and sugar and press into a springform pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for 8 minutes then reduce heat to 325 degrees. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and heavy cream. Bake for 60-minutes until the edges are set and the middle is barely giggly.
Let the cheesecake fully cool out of the oven, in the pan. Peal and chop the apples to cook over medium-low heat in the butter. Add in the brown sugar and cinnamon and cook for ~5 minutes until they soften but aren’t mush. Add in a teaspoon of the caramel apple sauce and some salt. Taste and add in more of the kosher salt as you like. Refrigerate until serving.
When serving, spoon apple topping over the cheesecake and drizzle with remaining caramel and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Enjoy!
I loooved this. I started with apple topping from just 2 apples then made more wanting there to be PLENTY. I love the little salt bits in the crust and on the topping. Cheesecake is so convenient to prep ahead of time and I liked the salted caramel apple topping even better when it was cool – just like the cheesecake.
So addicting! Muddy Buddies are fool-proof and great to make quickly – and to be ready to gift! Sweet chex-mix with 2 flavors is the best. I made mint & chocolate for Saint Patrick’s Day and I made raspberry white chocolate muddy buddies for Valentine’s Day.
Read through before making – I have you make one kind, then the other since the chocolate shouldn’t cool/harden before you’re ready to mix it all up. These are delightfully wintry – not holiday-ish so make whenever!
Hot Chocolate Muddy Buddies: Ingredients: 1 cup white chocolate chips 6 cups rice chex cereal (that’s 2/3 of a box) 2/3 cup hot chocolate mix 1 cup chocolate chips 2/3 cup powdered sugar 1/2 cup mini dehydrated marshmallows
Directions: Melt white chocolate chips – stirring every 20-seconds in the microwave for ~1 minute OR over a double boiler. Then gently stir into half the chex, carefully to not break the cereal. Then transfer into a zip-top bag and pour in the hot chocolate mix.
Shake shake shake to cover evenly. Then pour onto wax paper and spread out evenly to “dry” (hot tip: place on baking sheets to be able to move them.) Let it sit for ~30 minutes – an hour.
Melt the chocolate chips – stirring every 20-seconds in the microwave for ~1 minute OR over a double boiler. Then gently stir into half the chex, carefully to not break the cereal. Then transfer into a zip-top bag (use the same one!) and pour in the powdered sugar. Shake shake shake to cover evenly. Then pour onto wax paper and spread out evenly to “dry” (hot tip: place on baking sheets to be able to move them. Sound familiar?) Sprinkle the dehydrated marshmallows so some will stick to the chex clusters. Let it sit for ~30 minutes – an hour.
The dehydrated marshmallows are so so fun and a big bag was half the price than the little tub by ice cream toppings or by hot chocolate in the stores. I’ll totally put on top of ice cream, on yogurt, add to trail mix, drop into hot chocolate, and into hot chocolate bombs and I definitely want to try in ebilskiver pancakes!
I’m fully embracing Valentine’s Day this year because, well, we definitely need things to look forward to. I had decor up before Feb 1 hit and planned to make muddy buddies. We made some mint ones at Christmas and it was so fun. This muddy buddy batch has half white, half pink raspberry with some M&Ms in there too!
I like that these require so few ingredients. With so many Chex varieties I totally could have done half as raspberry and half vanilla chex, which would lighten up the sugar too.
Raspberry White Chocolate Muddy Buddy Ingredients: ~1 box Rice Chex cereal (I used one box minus 2 kid bfast servings) 3 cups white chocolate 1 teaspoon raspberry jelly (optional) 1 cup freeze dried raspberries, pulverized into powder 1 cup powdered sugar 1 bag Valentine’s M&Ms or small valentine candies or pink sprinkles
Directions: Melt half the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds. Mix half the cereal in, stirring carefully to not break the cereal. Pour into a zip-top bag and pour in half the powdered sugar (don’t push the air out before closing the bag, keep it balloon-like). Shake, shake, shake until well covered. Empty onto a sheet of wax paper to cool/dry. Melt the other half of the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds. Mix the remaining half the cereal in and jelly, stirring carefully to not break the cereal. Pour into the same zip-top bag and pour in remaining half of the powdered sugar and the raspberry powder (don’t push the air out before closing the bag-keep it balloon-like). Shake, shake, shake until well covered. Empty onto a sheet of wax paper to cool/dry. Let it cool/dry for 15 minutes and then pour both batches into a large air-tight container with the M&Ms or sprinkles. Enjoy!
Using the bag was much easier than stirring in a bowl. I’ve now mastered how not to dirty 2 of everything! We had freeze dried raspberries that nobody liked for snacks so I ground them up for PB&J inspired energy bites and the rest for these! The kids like freeze dried mango, strawberries, apples, etc so I’m not sure why they weren’t a hit, but ohh well! They bring great flavor and color.
A lighter option to lessen the sugar would be to half the white chocolate, half the powdered sugar and to make the raspberry batch and mix in a few cups of vanilla chex or honey nut chex.
Welcome to the easiest dessert ever! It is so perfect for your small family gatherings – with only slightly more effort than, say, an oreo. It is sweet, flavorful, and unique for home. I’ve done a twist on this before, for easy chocolate mousse or strawberry cheesecake mousse.
Go for it even if you wouldn’t say you like Cool Whip- it is so good and that’s not what stands out!
Cheesecake Mousse with Salted Caramel Apple Ingredients: (for ~5 servings) 1 package cheesecake pudding 2 cups milk 4 oz Cool Whip 1 cup granola (or crushed graham crackers) 1 tbs butter 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 can of apple pie filling 4 tablespoons salted caramel sauce
Directions: Prepare the pudding according to the package – mine had 2 cups milk whisked for 2 minutes. Then it chills for at least 30 minutes. Gently mix in Cool Whip to the pudding.
Melt the butter and mix in the granola and cinnamon.
Assemble with some granola at the bottom of each bowl, then cheesecake mousse, then apple pie filling, and finish with a drizzle of caramel sauce. Enjoy!
I loved this and it is such an easy one to make ahead and just assemble when serving. It could easily have a few options – I liked the salted caramel apple but some crushed candy canes and mini chocolate chips would be fun too!
This is totally cheating- this isn’t true mousse, but everyone needs the easiest dessert ever, right? YES. Kids could definitely make this. It seems silly to share given how little cooking is involved, but it is a great one to have in your back pocket- especially something quick and cool. The other night we did a friends call where everyone picked a drink and food item. I went with a riesling and this chocolate mousse. It was a great paring!
Easy Chocolate Mousse
1 box instant chocolate pudding
milk (as the package instructs)
6-8 oz cool whip
mini chocolate chips or chocolate sprinkles
Prepare the pudding according to the package.
Once cooled and set, mix in 3/4 of the cool whip.
Serve with a dollop of cool whip and garnish.
Mr. J chose a white wine and boursin with melba toasts. We had a great variety!
I baked! It happens so rarely that I feel like it requires skywriting with “I did a thing”! In full disclosure, I did not make this recipe up but I’m not 100% sure of the origins. Ms. L gets all the credit as these are a staple in her arsenal of skills. I tweaked ever-so-slightly. They were great!
Hot Chocolate Cookies
Ingredients: (makes 4 dozen)
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 sticks room temperature butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour
4 packages Hot Chocolate Mix (not sugar free)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Cream together sugars and butter until fluffy. Add eggs & vanilla.
In another bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to the butter mixture.
Add chocolate chips.
Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Bake for ~7 minutes.
Lightly press a few marshmallows in the top of each ball. Bake for another 4 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute on the tray, then on a cooling rack.
These were so good! I loved them and will definitely make them again. It seemed too mentally taxing for me to have 2 timers going for 2 rounds each so I just cooked 1 tray at a time. Had it been daytime, maybe I could have handled more than that.
They were perfectly cooked, and super cute amongst their cookie friends at a swap. I made 3 dozen for the swap and froze the rest to bake for Santa!
And by peach, I always mean nectarine, but it doesn’t have the same ring to it. I don’t do peach fuzz but eat lots ‘o nectarines. This is a foolproof dessert…that comes from a non-baker. It was fantastic to make a tiny one or make a full size one for a crowd! I loved it and will whip it up again soon- I’m thinking blueberries before it is apple season! The little dude thinks chocolate, but it won’t work the same. 🙂
There are lots of “dump cakes” around the internet. I just had to share because who doesn’t need a foolproof dessert option in your back pocket?! Also, it’d be easy to make 2 varsities at the same time if you don’t want half a box of cake mix hanging around until your next one!
Easiest Fruit Cobbler
Ingredients: (serves ~4)
2 teaspoons of white sugar
1/2 box cake mix
1/2 stick of butter
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the peaches and lay into a small baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray (a pie plate or 9×9 would work).
Sprinkle the peaches with sugar then sprinkle half the cake mix onto the peaches.
Slice the butter and lay slices across the top.
Bake for ~20 minutes. Check that the whole top is getting nicely brown. Bake another 5 if needed for a light brown crust.
Enjoy! Serve warm or room temperature.
The little guy had this twice and I had it about 3 times. We added whipped cream on top and loved it. He liiiiives for dessert and it was fun to have something special/different and fitting for the season without making a ton. Mr. J would head towards ice cream or an Oreo before this- unless served at a dinner party or holiday etc.
Frozen fruit (peaches, mixed berries, cherries, blueberries) would be great too and make it super convenient to whip up quickly. I tucked the other half of the cake mix away for another day but need to keep this these ratios in mind!
Today I bring you a dessert I made during the holidays but thought it was a good choice for the day my little man turns 4! Woah! He’s just as sweet as these chocolate chip cookie + oreo + brownies.
Everything Cookie Brownie Bars
1 roll of chocolate chip cookie dough (brought to room temperature)
2/3 package of Oreos
1 box brownie mix, prepared as instructed
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Spread the cookie dough into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray.
Then line up Oreos across the cookie base.
Mix up the brownie mix with eggs, oil, and water, as directed.
Pour the brownie batter on top being careful to pour it all over (it doesn’t spread well without disrupting the Oreos).
Bake for about 45 minutes.
Let cool completely, then cut and enjoy!
I loved this but cooked mine a smidge long for my liking. Go for 45ish minutes. I left mine in for about 55 and that might be too much. I’d also like a bit more cookie on the base so next time I might do 1 & 1/2 rolls of cookie dough…I’m sure the remainder won’t go to waste. 😉
These would be a natural birthday dessert offering for a now-4-year-old, but we’ll have leftover cake, complete with party hats even just for the 3 of us who can sit upright on our own. I’d imagine the babe might get a hat for a few minutes…and a dog or two might partake as well.
I’m backkkk! I whipped up these super quick cheesecake mousse parfaits and can see them showing up on occasion since these are so tasty and so simple. They’d be easy to customize. I nabbed the end of strawberry season which made me love these that much more but top as you like your cheesecake- any berry, chocolate sauce, caramel drizzle, or whatever!
Cheesecake Mousse Parfaits with Strawberries
Ingredients: (for 4-6 servings)
1 box cheesecake pudding mix (prepared according to package)
2 cups strawberries
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon sugar
4 oz cool whip (1/2 of a container)
1 cup granola
Mix the pudding according to the package and refrigerate.
Slice the strawberries and stir in water and sugar. Refrigerate until serving.
Before serving, mix in the cool whip. Serve mousse with strawberries and top with a sprinkle of granola.
Swap out the granola for graham cracker crumbles or vanilla cookie crumbles too.
I had this on the brain for awhile but whipped it up (literally, whipped the pudding! Ha!) on a random weeknight. Now I’d be ready to bring this anywhere. It’d pack really well to mix just before serving.