Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chewy Toffee Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

After seeing all the yummilicious posts from last year's great food blogger cookie swap hosted by Julie from The Little Kitchen  and Lindsay from Love & Olive Oil, I knew I wanted to participate this year. Click on these two links to check out the recipe round up from last year, part 1 and part 2.

I'm ecstatic because this year, participating in this fun cookie swap also benefited a great charity  We raised over $4,000 for Cookies for Kids' Cancer. OXO matched our donations and even mailed each participate a good cookie spatula (which I was very surprised I got in the mail because I wasn't expecting it). It's one of those sweet unexpected gestures that made me smile.

The cookies were definitely fun to make and receive but my favorite part was the networking. Through participating,  I was able to discover new blogs I would not have had the fortune of stumbling upon otherwise. I'm sure I will have a lot more fun in discovering new blogs once the recipe roundup posts are up. I'll update this post with those links when they become available. Instagram was also very fun, check out #fbcookieswap for some delicious pictures.

It feels like Christmas already because I'm already having so much fun reading posts and going on a Pinterest frenzy. Check out my cookie board here.

For the cookie swap, I baked up a batch of what I like to call "Chewy Toffee Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies." They are actually called "I Want to Marry You Cookies" because the recipe maker got a proposal with these cookies. You can find the original recipe and reviews here.

After a failed attempt at making brownie cookies, I went back to the virtual drawing board and the name of these cookies caught my attention first so I decided to give it a try. The result was deliciousness! They taste like coconut, toffee and chocolate. What's not to love? Clean up is also easy because everything happens in one pot! I already have plans to recreate this recipe by adding coconut flakes and walnuts.

Chewy Toffee Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields 3 dozen cookies (depending on size)

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate chips

1.  Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan on medium heat. Remove from heat and add the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Stir until the whole mixture is incorporated and all the sugar has melted. This process gives the cookies a toffee flavor. Chill this mixture for 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract when the mixture is cool.

3. Add the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon to the mixture.

4. Stir in both types of chocolate chips.

5. Line a baking sheet with foil. Using a 1 tablespoon spoon, roll into cookie dough balls and place closely on the baking sheet.

6. Chill for about 30 minutes in the freezer.

7. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Remove the cookie dough balls and make for about 15-17 minutes. They won't look like they are done fresh out of the oven but when you let it cool for about 5-10 minutes, the cookies will be perfect and chewy.

I hope you enjoyed this post, I had a lot of fun baking and sending out my cookies. Waiting for cookies to arrive was also very fun and delicious!

Betsy from BetsyLife sent me some really delicious Lemon Creme Sandwich cookies.
I got some really yummy Maple Pecan Toffee Cookies from Cathy at Savory Notes.
Last but not least, I received some candy cane puffs from Teri at The Freshman Cook.

I sent cookies to Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers, Jessica from Little House Big Heart, and Emily from Pink Tiger in the Kitchen .

If you are interested in participating next year head over to this page and add yourself so that you will be notified when the cookie swap happens again next year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Top 10 Favorite Holiday Movies

I can't believe it's already December! I love this time of year. The weather gets colder and one of my favorite things to do is cuddle at home and watch a heart warming Christmas movie. Christmas movies are something I look forward to every year. Some might be cheesy cute, but that's the beauty of a good chick flick...makes you feel so warm and fuzzy inside. My favorite are the ones that are shown on Lifetime TV or ABC Family network. Unfortunately, they don't make movies like they used too. I haven't seen any recent new Christmas movies I've been even marginally interested in. These are my top 10 favorite holiday movies to date. Hope you find some time to smile with some of these this season!

Last Holiday Poster1.  Last Holiday (2006)
This movie is undeniably my favorite movie of all time! I don't think it's actually set during Christmastime but it has snow and the title has "holiday" in it...does that count? ;)  I have seen it over 10 times and have never gotten sick of it. Queen Latifah plays Georgia Byrd, a woman who has always played it safe and ''lived her life in a box." She's a dreamer who envisions herself married to a cutie at work named Sean and owner of her own restaurant. Instead of enjoying everything in the present moment, Georgia lived a boring life and did not allow herself to indulge in everyday pleasures. When she finds out that she only has three more weeks to live, she became determined to catch up on what she's been missing out on her whole life. She embarks on a luxurious trip of a lifetime, where she finally learns to enjoy life for what it is. I love this movie because it makes me smile. I love watching her transformation as she lets loose and finally enjoys herself. I love that the movie revolves around food and the fact that this movie definitely will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling when you're done watching. If you'e a hopeless romantic, like myself, you will love this movie too.

2.  Comfort and Joy (2003)
Comfort  and JoyThis is another transformation movie that I happen to love. Practical businesswoman, Jane, doesn't know what she is missing from life until after a fateful car accident. She wakes up from the accident as a completely new Jane, who is a happily married woman and a mother of two. As she adapts to this new world and falls in love with Sam all over again, she begins to realize that there's much more to life that she's been missing. This is such a feel good movie, I highly recommend it.

3.  Recipe for a Perfect Christmas (2005)

Recipe for a Perfect Christmas
Food, lovestory, and Christmastime...what's not to love? JJ, a food critic, has a hard time focusing on her work when her mom drops in for an unwanted visit. Meanwhile, Alex is a restaurant owner who is desperately trying to save his business. In exchange for a restaurant critique, Alex agrees to distract JJ's mother by taking her out on dates. Things get complicated when JJ finds herself falling in love with Alex...

4.  His and Her Christmas (2005)

Opposites attract. I don't know how true this saying is but it's certainly true in this movie. Tom and Liz are both columnists but are polar opposites of each other. He works for a large scale city newspaper and she works for a small community newspaper ("The Voice"). When his company buys her community newspaper, Liz is afraid that her paper is at risk of not being an independent circular any longer. In response, Liz starts a new column about the beauty of Christmas, which ending up increasing the readership of her newspaper. It is her hope that her efforts will save "The Voice." If Liz succeeds, Tom's new television show would be in jeopardy  Therefore, he writes a counterpoint column that focuses on the impractically of Christmas.The rest is history. This summary was harder than I thought it would be but it's a very cute movie so check it out if you have the chance.

5.  Borrowed Hearts (1997)

I am a sucker for Beauty and the Beast type movies! I love to watch the jerkface male lead transform into a woman's perfect man. I love this trend in Korean Dramas too. When something sweet in a movie makes my heart skip a beat, it goes on my favorites list, and this movie did just that. Eric McCormack plays a mean business man (Sam) who enlists his employee, Kathleen, and her daughter to pretend to be his family so that he can seal a business deal. True love follows as Sam spends more time with Kathleen and her charming daughter. I love this movie, I hope they play it sometime this year on Lifetime but I might just buy myself a copy just so I can rewatch it.

6.  On the 2nd Day of Christmas (1997)

On The Second Day Of Christmas with Bonus CDIf you loved him in Just Like Heaven and 13 Going On 30, you'll love Mark Ruffalo in this cute Christmas Movie. I know I do. Trish and her niece  Patsy, are professional pick pockets. When they are caught red handed in the mall, they are at risk of being separated for Christmas. Bert is a mall security guard that takes pity on the pair and offers to "guard" them for a few days under the condition that he guarantees that he turn them in the day after Christmas. Bert takes Trish and Patsy home for the holidays. You'll have to watch to see what happens next ;) I must say, the grumpy Bert will never be the same after spending time with these two gals.

7.  Serendipity (2001)

SerendipitySerendipity means "happy accident." Aren't most love stories a happy accident? I know mine is. This movie focuses on the theme of fate and soul mates  I have to admit, some of the things that happen in this movie seem over the top and the crazy coincidences in this movie rarely (if ever) happen in real life. However, fantasy is also a reason why we love to watch movies. This couple met years before on one fated shopping trip and parted ways with minimal information about each other. Watch this movie to find out how they finally get in touch again and if they are meant to be with each other or not.

8.  A Mom for Christmas (1990...yikes!)

An oldie but a goodie. I remember watching this movie as a young kid and if I still remember if even though I haven't seen it in over ten years, it must have been a good movie. Jessie, a young girl who lost her mom when she was three, wins a free wish from the mall. She wishes for a mom for Christmas. Her magical wish brings the store mannequin (Amy) to life and Jessie brings Amy home to spend Christmas with her family. Sounds bonkers, I know...but childhood memories are childhood memories. I really enjoyed this movie when I was younger.
Holiday in Handcuffs 

9.  Holiday in Handcuffs (2007)

Melissa Joan Hart plays a desperate 30 something year old that kidnaps an unsuspecting man at gunpoint. She takes him home for the holidays to play the part of her boyfriend. Surprisingly, this bizarre chain of event leads to a sweet holiday love story.

The Family Stone (Widescreen Edition)10.The Family Stone (2005)

This movie is based on the holiday misadventures of the Stone family and it shows how even a dysfunctional family can come together to enjoy the holidays.

What are your favorite holiday movies?