Sweet Baked Life

my sweet journey through life…


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Valentine M&M Blondies

Spread the love with these pretty Valentine M&M Blondies!

Valentine M&M Blondies | Sweet Baked Life

If you didn’t know it already, I love the color pink. And anytime I can incorporate any variation of this sweet color into my baking, I do (as you may have noticed a bit of pink on this blog).

And to me, Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to go all out with pink!

I know some of you are all about red for this day for lovers, but for me, pink steals my heart every the time.

Valentine M&M Blondies | Sweet Baked Life

So today, I have taken one of my all-time favorite recipes, blondies, and added some pretty little M&M’s to make these especially scrumptious Valentine’s treats!

This recipe is super easy and super delish! You start with a rich buttery base and toss in the sweet pink chocolate candy bits, and voila, you’ve got Valentine M&M Blondies to share with your loved ones!

It’s true…from the first bite of these heavenly squares, love will strike and they will cherish you forever!

Valentine M&M Blondies | Sweet Baked Life

Valentine M&M Blondies

  • Servings: 12 pieces
  • Time: 2hr 30mins - baking & cooling
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life Valentine M&M Blondies | Sweet Baked Life

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups Valentine M&M Candies

Instructions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 11×7-inch pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt and stir until combined. Set aside until ready to use.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until combined (about 2 minutes). Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then beat in the vanilla.

On low-speed, slowly add the flour and mix until just combined. Remove from stand and fold in the M&M’s. Batter will be thick.

Spread batter in prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula. Put in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top has turned golden brown and the blondies are set. Do not over bake.

Cool the blondies in the pan on a wire rack until cool. Cut into large squares. Yield 12 large squares.

Valentine M&M Blondies | Sweet Baked Life

Pretty, pink and perfectly delicious, these Valentine M&M Blondies will make cupid’s job a whole lot easier!

Have a sweet day!

Sheila


4 Comments

Snickerdoodle Apple Crumble

Warm up on a cold and rainy day with a big serving of this satisfyingly delicious Snickerdoodle Apple Crumble.

Snickerdoodle Apple Crumble | Sweet Baked Life

Yeah…and this is much needed around here! You see, my family had been taking turns with being sick. First it was my son. Poor kiddo was sick right before his winter break and had to endure finals while feeling miserable. Then my husband got the crud about a week later. And me, well, it finally hit me after all of the holiday celebrations and I still have the darn lingering cough!

For almost four weeks our household has been sluggish and under-the-weather. What about you guys? Anyone else sick out there? It’s also been raining here off and on, at times with hard rain and strong wind — not that I really like storms, but we so need the rain in Northern California! And today is no exception; forecast is for heavy rain the entire day.

So, for me, there’s nothing better than having a warm and wonderful treat to enjoy and to take the chill off your cold and tired bones!

Snickerdoodle Apple Crumble | Sweet Baked Life

That’s where this Snickerdoodle Apple Crumble comes into play. This recipe is pretty much an apple crumble, however I decided to replace my standard crumble topping with a snickerdoodle topping that is really out-of-this-world good!

Instead of the flour I normally use for my crumble topping, I added the contents of a boxed snickerdoodle cookie. And it worked. It brought that unique cinnamon/sugar flavor to a whole new level when combined with the tart apples.

Warm. Satisfying. Easy. Addicting!

Snickerdoodle Apple Crumble | Sweet Baked Life

Snickerdoodle Apple Crumble

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life Snickerdoodle Apple Crumble | Sweet Baked Life

Ingredients:
1 box (17.5 oz.) Krusteaz Snickerdoodle Cookie mix plus the cinnamon/sugar topping included
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
4 Granny Smith apples, pealed, cored and rough chopped

Instructions:
Turn your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl add the cookie mix and cinnamon/sugar topping, oats and brown sugar and mix to combine. Pour the melted butter on top of the mixture and using a fork, lightly fluff until blended (until soft clumps form, do not over mix).

Put the chopped apples in the bottom of a 11×17-inch baking dish. Then evenly sprinkle the cookie mixture on top. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until hot and the apples are bubbling.

Cool slightly then scoop onto plate or bowl. Can be served warm or cold.

Snickerdoodle Apple Crumble | Sweet Baked Life

So if you’re in need of a little sweet warmth to make you feel better, this Snickerdoodle Apple Crumble is the way to go!

Happy rainy day!

Sheila


6 Comments

Pomegranate Apple Ginger Vodka Cocktail

Ring in the New Year with this festive Pomegranate Apple Ginger Vodka Cocktail!

Cheer the New Year with this Pomegranate Apple Ginger Vodka Cocktail | Sweet Baked Life

I love making mouth-watering cocktails, especially when they look so pretty and taste great.

This Pomegranate Apple Ginger Cocktail is no exception.

It’s tart from the pomegranate, sweet from the apple, and a bit fizzy from the ginger ale.

Cheer the New Year with this Pomegranate Apple Ginger Vodka Cocktail | Sweet Baked Life

And, it’s simple to make. You start with apple juice, add some pomegranate juice, stir in some vodka and top it off with ginger ale.

I also love using mason jars for cocktails. I used 8 oz. size jars and rimmed the outside with fresh lemon then rolled them in sugar, as well, I also threw in some pomegranate seeds to dress up this cocktail for a toast worth remembering!

Refreshingly good — it’s the perfect celebratory drink for sure! You can make a single drink or easily multiply the recipe to serve to your thirsty party guests! As well, you can eliminate the vodka and serve to the kiddos as a yummy mocktail!

Cheer the New Year with this Pomegranate Apple Ginger Vodka Cocktail | Sweet Baked Life

Pomegranate Apple Ginger Vodka Cocktail

  • Servings: 1 - many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life Cheer the New Year with this Pomegranate Apple Ginger Vodka Cocktail | Sweet Baked Life

Ingredients:
apple juice
pomegranate juice
vodka
Ginger Ale
Garnish: sliced lemon, sugar and pomegranate seeds

Instructions:

For one cocktail:
Rim the outside of a mason jar with sliced lemon then roll into some sugar on a plate. Add 1 oz each of apple juice, pomegranate juice, and vodka and stir to combine. Fill jar with ice, then top off with Ginger Ale and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

For a large batch:
Add equal parts of apple juice, pomegranate juice and vodka into a pitcher and stir to combine. Chill until ready to serve. When ready to serve, rim the outside of your jars with sliced lemon then roll into some sugar on a plate. Fill jars with ice then pour cocktail mixture until each jar is 1/2 to 3/4 full, top off with Ginger Ale and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Cheer the New Year with this Pomegranate Apple Ginger Vodka Cocktail | Sweet Baked Life

Cheers. May the New Year bring you love, laughter, happiness, good health, and sweetness!

Now let’s bring on 2016!

Sheila


2 Comments

Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars

Visions of peppermint and chocolate all wrapped up as pretty Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars!

Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars - easy to make and the flavor combination is incredible. So pretty too! | Sweet Baked Life

Yes. Peppermint and chocolate is a favorite combination of mine — and add the color pink, well, I’m over the moon about these bars!

Not only are they amazingly easy on the eyes, the scent alone will make you swoon, and the flavor, well, let’s just say, I can’t stop eating them!

Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars - easy to make and the flavor combination is incredible. So pretty too! | Sweet Baked Life

You see, I wanted to make something special to bring to our department holiday lunch, and these were at the top of my list. So pretty and amazingly scrumptious!

I have made these twice in a matter of a week, and both times they came out perfect. Gee, I just cannot seem to get enough of these pepper-minty bars!

I’m positive I will make these incredible bars again and again. The recipe is that good. I may even experiment by changing up the ingredients…the possibilities seem endless. For now, let’s focus on these beauties!

Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars - easy to make and the flavor combination is incredible. So pretty too! | Sweet Baked Life

You start with a soft buttery shortbread base (seems to be a theme these days), then top it off with just the right amount of rich semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses, and sprinkled with crushed candy canes.

The topping of peppermint and chocolate melt while sitting on top of the hot cookie base. Then you swirl the chocolate and peppermint together to get this dream come true, beautiful cookie bar.

With each bite you’ll enjoy the soft cookie base covered in firm yet smooth peppermint chocolate bark — can’t go wrong with the mouth-watering flavor and texture combination.

Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars - easy to make and the flavor combination is incredible. So pretty too! | Sweet Baked Life

Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars

  • Servings: 20-24 bars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars - easy to make and the flavor combination is incredible. So pretty too! | Sweet Baked Life

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses
1/3 cup crushed candy canes

Instructions:
Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13×9-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhand on both short sides of the pan. Then spray the parchment paper with the non-stick spray and set aside.

To a medium bowl, add the flour and salt and whisk until combined.

Add the butter to a large bowl of an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and beat until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar, and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. You may need to stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then beat in the vanilla and egg yolk until incorporated. Turn your mixer to low-speed, then add slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. As a note, the dough will be thick and somewhat crumbly.

Dump the dough into your prepared pan. Spread into an even layer, and then press down on the dough to form an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Using a fork, pierce the dough.

Bake until cookies are a light golden brown and slightly puffed, about 30 minutes. Place pan on a rack and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the cookies. Let stand for about 3 minutes, or until chocolate is soft. Using a small offset spatula, spread the softened chocolate chips over the top of the cookies in a thin, even layer. Then sprinkle with the chopped candy cane kisses on the top of the chocolate and sprinkle lightly with the crushed candy canes. Using a large wide spatula, press down the kisses and candy canes pieces into the chocolate. After the candy cane kisses are soft, about 4 minutes, gently swirl the softened candy cane kisses with your offset spatula. Sprinkle more crushed candy canes if you like.

Let cookies cool completely before cutting. Lift the cookies out of the pan using the parchment paper overhang, and place on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut cookies into squares. This will make about 20 medium-sizes cookie bars, you can make them smaller if you prefer.

Store in an airtight container, layered with wax paper, in the refrigerator or freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars - easy to make and the flavor combination is incredible. So pretty too! | Sweet Baked Life

Pretty. Yummy. Pretty darn yummy!

A soft cookie base and a crisp bark topping joined together for a sweet holiday treat! Yum.

Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars - easy to make and the flavor combination is incredible. So pretty too! | Sweet Baked Life

I hope all of your Christmas dreams come true, especially if they include a big tray of these Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars!

Happy Christmas to all!

Sheila

 

{recipe inspired by Recipe Girl}

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