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Secret Kisses Cookies

12 Jan

A couple of weeks ago I made secret kiss cookies as part of a belated Christmas gift for my best friend and her husband. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to bake more. I’ve tackled the buying and eating desserts concept well so I figured this would give me a new challenge. No worries though, I fully intend to still do reviews of local bakeries and dessert places! πŸ™‚

These little babies were so good that my dad starting snagging some when they came out of the oven. I ended up giving him his own little stash so that my bestie and her hubby would actually have some left! They are basically Italian wedding cookies with a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle. They’re very rich and twice a good with extra powdered sugar plunked on top.

Secret Kisses Cookies (Makes 3 dozen cookies): Recipe taken from “Hershey’s Cookbook and Recipe Cards”

  • 1 cup (2 sticks margarine, softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts or almonds (I used almonds for mine)
  • 36 Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates or Hershey’s Kisses with Almonds (I used the traditional Hershey’s Kisses)

1) Beat butter, granulated sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed in large bowl until fluffy. Add flour and almonds/walnuts; beat on low speed of mixer until well blended. Cover; refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until dough is firm enough to handle.

2) Remove wrappers from chocolates. Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Using about 1 tablespoon dough for each cookie, shape dough for each cookie, shape dough around each chocolate; roll in hand to make ball. (Be sure to cover each chocolate piece completely.) Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

3) Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set but not browned. Cool slightly; remove to wire rack. While still slightly warm, roll in powdered sugar. Cool completely. Store in tightly covered container. Roll again in powdered sugar right before serving.

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The Cupcake Shoppe – Raleigh, NC

27 Dec

While at home in NC over winter break, I went to see some of my friends in Raleigh. One of my favorite cupcake places and probably the best known place in the city for cupcakes is the Cupcake Shoppe. The have a smaller menu than many of the places that I’ve been to in DC but they also have a good number to choose from and more traditional options. Some of the best flavors in my opinion include the coconut, cookie monster, peanut butter cup and black and white cupcakes.

During the holidays, they have some options that are not only seasonal but delicious. They include peppermint patty, eggnog and gingerbread. I’ve had their gingerbread in the past and it’s always a winner. The cake is gingerbread of course, the frosting is vanilla and is topped with a hot cinnamon candy. (Sorry for not posting a picture of it by the way! I took it to go and it didn’t exactly travel well. Oopsies!)

If you’re in the area stop on by. You won’t be disappointed. πŸ™‚

Location: 104 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, NC 27603; Price: $3/cupcake or $33/dozen; Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10am-8pm, Friday-Saturday: 10am-11pm, Sunday: Closed.

Trellis Restaurant – Williamsburg, VA

27 Dec

One my family’s favorite Christmas traditions is to go into Colonial Williamsburg which is close to where most of our extended family lives. I have yet to find another place that makes it feel more like Christmas time. The smells of burning wood and pine needles fill the air and houses are decorated with homemade wreaths.

While walking through this cute colonial town this year, we stumbled upon a restaurant called Trellis that had set up a bakery and coffee stand outside. The stand had hot chocolate, coffee, and cider and had a large array of Christmas desserts to choose from. Christmas cookies are one of my favorite things in the world so I naturally gravitated toward a giant gingerbread man that I ended up sharing with my mom. It was delicious! It wasn’t too hard or soft and had just the right amount of ginger in it. The amazing decorating skills on this little guy made him hard to eat initially. Look how cute he is with his M&M nose!

The Trellis is a very well known restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg. I definitely recommend it if you’re in the area. I hope everyone had a great holiday! πŸ™‚

The Grand Illumination - a Williamsburg tradition

Everyone gathered around the lanterns singing Christmas carols. πŸ™‚

S’mores, the Dessert Sandwich

4 Dec

I don’t think it matters how old you are. You’re never too old to eat s’mores. Besides, what could be more perfect that sandwiching melty chocolate and marshmallows in between two graham crackers?

A week or so ago my bestie and I went to the Festival of Lights in Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, N.C. Besides for the extraordinary light displays, our favorite partΒ  is stopping by the giant bonfire and buying two of the s’mores sets they sell. Even though I think s’mores should be eaten at any age, we were probably the only people doing so over the age of six. Haha. I’ve never quite mastered the art of giving your marshmallows that nice toasty glow…mine caught on fire TWICE as I was more preoccupied with running my mouth about something (see evidence in the photo below) than attending to the mallows. No worries though. It was still incredibly delicious. The BFF did a better job with hers.

Extra crispy mashmallows. πŸ™‚ Still tasted good though!

S'mores time!

One of my favorite light displays at the Festival of Lights.

The BFF with her smores.

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