Cookies have always been one of my favorite things to bake. They were the first things I learned how to bake when I was little. Every Christmas we would make tons of cookies and give them out as gifts and I still do that now. I love nothing more than to see my kitchen covered in cookies. So, when I had a group party to go to this week I made cookies!
Since we were going to have a big group of people I went with 2 different kinds of cookies, a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cookies and M&M Chocolate Cookies. Plus, anytime I make something with peanuts or peanut butter I like to make something else since I want to make sure people with nut allergies have something too.
The banana cookies were basically banana bread with chocolate and peanut butter chips. I was a little surprised how much of the banana flavor came through because there was only 2 bananas used. I thought for sure the flavor would get lost but it didn’t. They were soft and delicious. I would make these again in a heart beat and they were a big hit with the crowd.
The chocolate M&M cookies were dense and very chocolatey. I would also make these again as well but I would change it up a bit. I would chill the dough next time so the cookies would be a little puffier. I was a little disappointed that they went a little flat after cooling. Also, if you look at the picture from the recipe you can clearly see the M&M’s and you can just kind of see them in mine. I’m pretty sure that they put M&M’s on top of the cookies before baking them so you can see them on top like that. I know it doesn’t do anything for the taste but you know what they say, you eat with your eyes first.
Now let’s talk chocolate chips. I am 100% a ghiradelli girl. I think they make the BEST chocolate chips. They are huge and even at room temperature they stay nice and soft. I love them! My favorite is their Milk Chocolate (which I used in the banana cookies) and I used the Dark Chocolate in the M&M Cookies. They’re going to cost you a little more but I think they are totally worth it.
And now I want milk and cookies….which I’m going to go get right now!
I started out the weekend thinking I was going to make a cake with dark chocolate and raspberry filling and then the San Diego heat wave said….nah I don’t think so lady. I baked my cake and then I had visions of chocolate frosting sliding down the side into a big gooey mess. So, I went back to my list and looked for a refrigerated dessert and voila we have the Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake. And that’s a terrible name, it’s too long and I don’t know if I would really classify this as a cake but more of a layered dessert. But the one thing I can tell you is that it was delicious and was perfect for a hot summer night.
The recipe is pretty simple, especially if you have a kitchen aid, you beat together cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until nice and smooth. Any dessert recipe that has sweetened condensed milk in it just about always gets a thumbs up in my book. I love the stuff. At some point I’ll have to tell ya’ll about my Hot Chocolate recipe that starts with a can of this stuff…yum yum. But I digress, next up was adding the instant pudding. The recipe called for cheesecake flavor but I go my own way sometimes and went with banana. Mostly so I could say BANANA like a Minion. Plus, I love bananas and strawberries together.
Now the hardest part, assembly. And that should tell you hard this recipe is. Start with Graham Crackers and I suggest leaving them connected together as much as possible because when you add your first pudding layer it will make it easier to spread it out. Also, on that note, I recommend putting a good amount down to start with and use a small offset spatula to basically frost the crackers. Add your sliced strawberries and then repeat. You want to top it with a little Cool Whip (and yes, I’m not a Cool Whip snob, it has its place in the culinary world too…don’t Cool Whip shame!) And then I finished it off with some crushed Graham Cracker crumbs. It makes it all pretty like! I refrigerated it for about 8 hours and it set up beautifully.
I used a metal spatula to cut and serve it and it came out perfect. While eating this I kept thinking about all the different combinations of fruit and puddings that I can use. I would love to do Lemon Pudding and Blueberries, I think that would be really good too. And it’s a great dessert for potlucks and picnics. So, a big thumbs up for this one and if the heat wave continues I see more cold desserts ahead.