Ultimate Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

First, Happy Halloween! Even though our little pumpkin is too young for Trick or Treating (or even having a clue that today is Halloween!), I still couldn’t resist dressing her in spirited gear. I think she looks pretty cute, but I might be a little biased. Second, I have to admit that in this house black and orange are not just colors you wear on October 31st. They are colors we rock all year long in support of our hometown team – the Cincinnati Bengals! Truth be told, when I saw this special bag of chocolate chips at Target the first thing that popped in my head was “Tailgate cookies!” Because who doesn’t like to eat delicious and spirited cookies while watching football? But it just so happened that I used the chocolate chips the day before Halloween, so holiday spirit works too. :)

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If you are a fan of Sunny Side Up on Facebook (and why wouldn’t you be ;)), then you may have seen my post yesterday about my entire house smelling like chocolate. These cookies are the reason why my house smelled so delicious. They are called “Ultimate Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies” and the name is pretty much spot on. The cookies are rich with a crispy exterior and melt-in-your mouth fudgy interior. I used a bag of Halloween chips which were half orange-colored white chocolate and half semi-sweet chocolate, but you can use whatever chips you have on hand! All semi-sweet, all white chocolate, a mix of chopped up leftover Halloween candy… If it tastes good with chocolate, chances are it will taste good in these cookies!

 

 

Cheddar and Ranch Cheese Ball

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Happy Halloween! As I promised yesterday, here is the recipe for the BRAINS!! If you’re still looking for an appetizer to take to a Halloween party tonight why not give this a try? It’s super simple, tasty, and will impress/gross out all of your friends! This would also be good for non-Halloween events, just skip the brain shaping and roll into a ball and then in sliced almonds instead!

Cheddar and Ranch Cheese Ball

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups shredder cheddar cheese (I used a mix of sharp, mild, and Vermont white)
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (optional, I skipped)
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix (Hidden Valley brand)
1 cup sliced almonds (Obviously omit if you’re making the brain)
2-3 drops of black food coloring, if you want a grayish hue
3-4 drops red gel food coloring, for “blood”

Directions
Add the cheese to the bowl of food processor*. Pulse a few times for 3 seconds each. Add the cream cheese and Ranch seasoning packet and process until smooth.

To make the brain, remove half of the mixture and form an egg shaped ball, place on a plate. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, or a ziploc bag with the corner cut, with the remainder of the mixture. Starting in the middle of the formed ball pipe a straight line length wise to the edge of the egg shape. When you reach the edge start zigzagging your way back to the middle. Repeat on the 3 parts of the egg shape. I used the picture below as a model when I piped. If you have a lot left, try piping a second layer directly over top.

Place the brain in the refrigerator for about an hour. Before serving spread red food coloring on a knife and stick it cheese ball. Serve with crackers. (The left overs were also really good spread on a bagel!)

*If you don’t have a food processor this can also be done in a bowl with just a spoon (or a hand held mixer), but the food processor does make it extra smooth for piping.

Adapted from What’s Cookin, Chicago?


Foodbuzz 24×24: Boo-tiful Cookie Decorating

>If you ask me in November what my favorite holiday is, I’ll probably say Thanksgiving. Ask me again in December and I’ll probably say Christmas. And if you ask me right now, I’ll say Halloween. What can I say? I just like holidays and all of the festive things that go along with them. Right now black cats, ghosts, zombies, and sweet treats are putting me in the holiday spirit. So when Foodbuzz put out the call for fall-inspired ideas for this month’s 24×24*, a lightbulb went off.

*Each month Foodbuzz showcases 24 food bloggers as they host a meal in the same 24 hours and blog about it on the same day.

My idea was to host a cookie decorating party – for kids. The girls that I watch were each allowed to invite a few friends and as soon as the invitations were delivered we started the party planning.


Coming up with the menu was pretty fun. I had about a million ideas for fun gross variations of food. But at the end of the day I had to keep in mind my audience so I needed to keep it simple. Oh, and I am apparently no good at making deviled eggs, so at the last minute I had to give up my dreams of creepy eyeballs.

First up was the main course. Mummy calzones. Each one was filled with cheese and pepperoni and then finished with a green olive eye. Most of the girls didn’t eat the “eye” but they loved the rest of it!



Next up was the “Bone Crunch” or popcorn. Not homemade, but I knew the girls would like something simple to munch on while they worked their cookie magic.


Despite the fact that some of the girls were a little afraid of eating the brain, it was a big hit! Everyone that tried it loved the flavor and EVERYONE loved the way it looked. The “brain” is just a cheddar cheese and ranch cheese ball that I piped into the shape of a brain. *recipe to be shared on Halloween day!!



For dessert I made “Graveyard Cups”. Super simple but a pretty fun effect. Just yellow cupcakes, and frosting, with crushed Oreos for dirt and a Milano cookie for a tombstone.


To drink I once again kept it simple with a jazzed up lemonade. The night before I filled 2 rubber gloves with water and red food coloring, then I tied them up and put them in the freezer. Right before the party started I cut the glove away from the hand shaped ice and added it to the bowl of lemonade. Two things to note about this: First the red food coloring dyed the heck out of my hands as I was cutting away the glove. Maybe wearing gloves while cutting the glove would be a good idea. Second, I wanted a “mangled hand” effect so I froze it with some folds and that made the fingers weak. As soon as the glove was cut away the fingers fell off. Still fun though.


I set the mood with a black and purple spider theme and Halloween music playing in the background. I also made Halloween themed signs with each spooky food name (and what it really was below in parenthesis).



Finally, the main attraction! The cookies!!! I made 5 different shapes; cats, owls, ghosts, pumpkins and circles for spiderwebs/spiders. In another post I’ll be sharing how I planned and spread out the work, but for now how about some pictures of the girls working on their masterpieces? It’s fun to see how creative kids get. Purple pumpkin – of course! Pirate spider – you bet! Polka dotted cat – well yeah!


The masterpieces!

I asked each girl to pick their favorite creation and these are the winners!


The aftermath