A Valentine’s Day Twist on a Classic Cookie

My husband and kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Peanut Butter Kiss cookies. I make them for birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions to show my family that I love them. And these cookies truly are an act of love because I hate peanut butter! So, I don’t even get to engage in my favorite cookie baking activity – licking the batter. What’s the point of baking cookies if you don’t get to lick the spoon, right? But that’s OK. It’s their favorite cookie and it’s an easy way to make them lip-smacking happy.

For Valentine’s Day this year though, I tried to shake it up a little. I wanted the cookies to fit in with the theme of the Holiday. So I made them pink and used Dove chocolate hearts instead of Hershey kisses.

I love baking these cookies with the kids because they can help out at almost any age. When they are little they can unwrap the chocolates and roll the dough balls in sugar. As they get a little older than can roll the balls themselves. Finally, now that my kids are tweens and teens, they know how to make them all by themselves and don’t need my help at all. How awesome is that!

Here’s the recipe:

Valentine’s Day Pink Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

1/2 c. butter (or we use Smart Balance spread and it works fine)
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Pink food coloring paste
Dove Chocolate Hearts (milk or dark)

1. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, peanut butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the creamed butter mixture. Add pink food coloring paste. I start with about a 1/4 tsp. of the paste and keep adding until I get the color I want.

3. Shape dough into balls the size of a quarter or walnut. (My husband likes a less cookie, more chocolate ratio so we make our cookies small.)

4. Roll balls in sugar.

5. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. While they are cooking, unwrap the chocolate hearts.

6. Top each cookie with one chocolate heart, pressing firmly into the center of the cookie. The cookies will crack and that is fine.

7. Bake for 2 to 5 minutes longer to soften the chocolate.

Makes about 36 cookies.

For more easy Valentine’s Day Treats that you and the kids can make for Dad, check out:

Cooking with the Kids: Valentine’s Day Chocolate Mousse

Valentine’s Day Heart Shaped Brownies

Chocolate Strawberry Pound Cake Hearts

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Valentine's Day Family Fun Ideas

10 Fun Ways to Celebrate Groundhog Day with the Kids

Groundhog Day is coming soon and with the extreme cold and snow we’ve been having so far this year, I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to hear if we have 6 more weeks of winter. Well, even if you’re not, it’s still fun to watch Punxatawney Phil and dream about Spring. To help celebrate the Groundhog’s big day and have some fun with your family or the kids in your classroom, I’ve rounded-up 10 easy, cute craft ideas, recipes, and activities.

Cook Up Some Fun

    1. While you watch Punxatawney Phil on TV Groundhog Day morning, thrill the kids with these fun and easy Groundhog and His Shadow Pancakes. My kids and I made them and had a blast.

    2. Check out these incredibly creative Groundhog Day inspired recipes from the Gourmet Mom on the Go blog. I love the Groundhog sticking up out of the hot chocolate!

    3. Here’s a Groundhog Day fruit snack idea to treat the kids after school from Jill at the Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons blog.

    4. These Groundhog Pudding Cups look so cute and tasty from the Simple Girl blog.

    5. If you really want to go all out, these Groundhog Day Cupcake Push-Pops are so cool!

Pure Fun

    6. Since the day is all about seeing a shadow, why not play shadow puppets? Set up a white sheet a few feet away from a wall. Place a lamp behind the sheet near the wall. Have your kids take turns going behind the sheet and casting shadow puppets. Here’s a post I found on making a Shadow Puppet Theater that looks easy enough.

    7. Here’s an idea for a Felt Groundhog Day Finger Puppet from Skip to My Lou.

    8. For toddlers, you’ll love this template for cutting out and coloring a Groundhog and his shadow.

    9. The official Punxatawney Phil website has plenty of Groundhog Day Activities to do with the kids. I’m all over the Groundhog ornaments to print out and hang from a chandelier or indoor tree but the Word Searches and coloring pages are cute, too.

    10. Finally, if your kids are a little older, watch the Groundhog Day movie. We saw it again last weekend and my kids think it is hilarious. “Don’t drive angry!”

Do you do anything fun with your kids at home or in your classroom for Groundhog Day?

You Might Also Like:

Fun Valentine’s Day Decorations to Make with the Kids

Valentine’s Day Brownies

15 Fun Little Ways to Tell Your Family You Love Them on Valentine’s Day

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Family Fun Ideas · Holiday Celebrations

Easy St. Patrick’s Day Chocolate Treat for Kids

I love cooking with my kids. However, what I love even more is that my 10-year-old daughter can make some of favorite desserts all by herself now. How cool is that! I was telling her that I was looking for a St. Patrick’s Day themed dessert to make and feature on the blog and she came up with a cute idea to add some Leprechaun charm to one of our favorite desserts – Chocolate Nutella Cheesecake Mousse. One of our good friends made this recipe that we found on Pinterest and we have made it at least 10 times since.

It’s easy and no baking is involved so it’s perfect for cooking with the kids. It’s also incredibly tasty! You can find the recipe here at MyBakingAddiction.com.

But back to St. Patrick’s Day! To make this dessert more Holiday-ish, we added some Leprechaun flair by drawing shamrocks and Leprechaun faces on marshmallows with edible markers. We also dyed a marshmallow black to look like a pot created an indent in the top and added yellow M&M candies to make it look like a pot of gold.

All you need are regular size marshmallows, mini marshmallows, edible markers, black food coloring, and yellow M&M candies.

To make the Leprechauns, we made two versions – one where we just drew the face and hat on a regular size marshmallow. In the second version, we stuck a mini marshmallow on top of the regular sized one to make a hat. We then colored it black with the markers.

To make the pot of gold marshmallow, add black food coloring to a cup of water. Submerge the marshamllow in the water for a few minutes. The longer the time in the water, the darker the “pot.” We used black food coloring paste to get the marshmallow so dark. Regular liquid food coloring didn’t cover as well. After you’ve achieved the color black you want, dry the marshmallow for a few minutes on a paper towel. When dry, use your fingers to create an indent in the top of the marshmallow. Insert several yellow M&M candies in the indent to make it look like a pot of gold.

We also added green food coloring to our whip cream to add a colorful dollop to our dessert.

There you have it. A delicious dessert recipe to make with the kids and some crafty decorations to make it the perfect ending to a St. Patrick’s Day party or dinner celebration.

For more ideas check out my other recipes, crafts, and activities to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your kids or head over to my St. Patrick’s Day Board on Pinterest.

How do you like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your kids?

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · St. Patrick's Day

{Cook with the Kids} Scary Halloween Cheesecake

We made this Scary Halloween Cheesecake two years ago for my son’s Cub Scout Cake Bake and I’m still proud of how it turned out. I love the scary looking rats eating the cake. The cake was pretty easy and my kids and I had a blast making the rats. (Some of them looked downright goofy and not scary so we had to play around with the faces a little.)

Our inspiration was a recipe from Redbook Magazine for Creepy Critter Cheesecake and Chocolate Rats. Like I said, it was very easy to make although we couldn’t find some of the ingredients, so we fudged a little.

cheese cake

For the Cake, I couldn’t find Famous Chocolate Wafers in the store so we used Oreo Thin Crisps. We could have also used Annie’s Chocolate Bunny Grahams, but the Oreos were darker. My son was 10 when we made the cake and I was really impressed that he was able to make the whole thing with just a little guidance from me and the Mixer. We followed the instructions for the cake exactly so you can grab them from the link.

Here’s how we deviated from the original recipe to make the rats:

For the rats, we couldn’t find black decorating sugar! It’s Halloween season and we could find every other kind of Halloween cookie and cake decoration except black sugar. ‘Sup with that? After 3 stores I was disgusted so we used chocolate jimmies to give the rats a “furry” texture. We also couldn’t find black rope licorice. What happened to rope licorice? Why don’t they make it anymore? Red or black. We had to use black Twizzlers and just cut strips for the tail. Finally, we couldn’t find “Yellow and brown candy-coated chocolate-covered sunflower seed. Personally, I don’t think these really exist. So we used a red cinnamon heart for the nose and we make the yellow eyes from candy corn. I just cut a small sliver of the yellow part of the candy corn, twirled the candy between my fingers to make it sort and then shaped it into the eyes we wanted.

Almond Ears for the mice:
strawberry mice

Chocolate Coating:
chocolate on spoon

spreading chocolate

Furry Sprinkles:
evil rat

Rats on Cheese:

Rat Wearing a Party Hat (my daughter wanted hers to look more festive):

party hat rat

Woo Hoo! We won for Most Original Cake in our class at the Cub Scouts’ Annual Cake Bake.

You might also like:
Totally Cool Halloween Cake Ideas
Halloween Crafts
Halloween = Lots of Family Fun

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Halloween Family Fun Ideas

Fun Dessert for a Family-Friendly Cinco de Mayo Party

We invited some friends over for a casual Cinco de Mayo party last weekend and we had a blast catching up with our friends and letting the kids have fun. We kept the food simple, so we could have more time to enjoy our Queso Fundido and Margaritas. (Which we greatly enjoyed, by the way.) We put the kids to work making their own dessert, Ice Cream Banditos, which was a huge hit! I mean “un exito bien grande!” So, I wanted to share how to make this fun treat.

These ice cream banditos are easy, tasty, and they kept the kids occupied. They’re perfect for a Cinco de Mayo party, Mexican Fiesta or just summer day dessert. All you need is ice cream, tootsie rolls, M&Ms, marshmallows and edible markers. It was a blast to make.

You’ll need:

  • Jumbo size marshmallows
  • Regular size marshmallows
  • Edible food markers – I bought mine online from Foodoodler
  • Tootsie rolls – we used the size up from midges to make a larger mustache
  • M&Ms
  • Vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • Optional Waffle bowls – if you want to keep the calories down, just use a small bowl for the ice cream

Step One: Make Your Sombrero

    1. Cut a jumbo size marshmallow into three circles to serve as the bottom of the hat.
    2. Cut a regular size marshmallow in half width-wise for the top of the hat. You can use the whole marshmallow but then it gets kind of tall and you need two “sticky” ends to keep your hat together.
    3. Stick the two “sticky” or cut ends of a jumbo marshmallow circle and a half of the regular marshmallow to make your hat shape.
    4. Now, use the edible markers to decorate your hat. The more colorful the better.

Step Two: Make Your Mustache

    1. Microwave a tootsie roll on high for 15 seconds.
    2. Now that it is soft, bend it into your mustache shape.
    3. Let it cool and reharden for a minute.

Step Three: Make Your Bandito

    1. Put a large scoop of vanilla ice cream in your waffle bowl.
    2. Add M&Ms for the eyes.
    3. Apply your mustache
    4. Put a hat on it.

The girls gave their banditos more of a handlebar mustache but they still look super cute. If you make one, please upload a photo on our Facebook Fan page. I’d love to see your creations!

I'm Lovin' It at TidyMom

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Family Celebrations

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