Thursday, November 30, 2017

Grinch Gooey Butter Cookies

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

We all have a favorite Christmas cookie. I always reach for Spritz cookies. My dad loves buckeyes. My mom claims to not like cookies because she is apparently superior to the rest of us and can abstain from delicious treats. Kidding… kind of.

But you get my point. Cookies are one of the most popular holiday desserts, and it’s fun to try new varieties this time of year. And that’s exactly what I did this week with a new cookie I’m calling “Grinch Gooey Butter Cookies.”

The Gooey Butter cookie recipe I posted a few years ago is one of my most visited blog posts, so I decided to take that same recipe and give it a holiday twist. I put green food coloring in the dough and drew a little heart near the edge to represent the Grinch’s heart which “grew 3 sizes that day.”

You can use any light-colored cake mix available. I like the taste of yellow cake mix best. I also used Challenge cream cheese and butter in these cookies because they only use real cream, and there are no hormones, additives, or fillers. For the heart, you can either use homemade icing or get a small bottle of store-bought icing. Ideally, I would have used heart-shaped sprinkles, but unfortunately I couldn’t find any!

Grinch Gooey Butter Cookies
Yield: Makes about 24 cookies
  • 1 (8 ounce) package Challenge cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup Challenge butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) box of cake mix
  • 1 Tablespoon green food coloring
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Red icing
  1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth (about 2 minutes)
  2. Add vanilla, egg, cake mix, and green food coloring to the bowl and mix until combined.
  3. Chill dough for a half hour so it’s easy to form into balls. Dough will be very sticky if you skip this step.
  4. Once dough has been chilled for half hour, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  5. Form dough into 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet.
  6. Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes – no longer! You want the cookies to be very soft.
  7. Allow to cool before drawing a small heart with red icing.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Red Velvet Cookie Cake

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, so the Christmas baking season is in full swing around here. I love baking treats to give away to family and friends. As I was trying to plan out my cookie baking schedule this year, I know I wanted to make something that looked festive — think red, white, and green! Red velvet immediately popped into my head, and the idea for this delicious cookie cake was born. 

I love making cookie cakes for a variety of reasons. First of all, you don’t have to roll out the dough into balls. Just press it into a cake pan or a springform pan, and you’re done. Also, they’re a lot of fun to decorate. As you can see in the pictures, I just made a decorative border with the cream cheese frosting, but you could absolutely write "Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” in the center!

While I’m on the topic of cream cheese frosting, I just want to point out that I used Challenge cream cheese and butter. My frosting was not as flavorful before I started using their products. The taste is superior because Challenge uses real cream, and there are no hormones, additives, or fillers.

Red Velvet Cookie Cake
Yield: Serves 10 to 12 people
Ingredients for the cookie
  • 1 3/4 cup flour 
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup Challenge butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons red food coloring
Ingredients for the cream cheese frosting
  • 4 ounces Challenge cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup Challenge butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Directions for the cookie cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray springform pan with nonstick spray and set aside. If you don’t have a springform pan, a cake pan will also work.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Beat together butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla extract and beat again. Add red food coloring — mixture should be vibrant red.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Add dough to springform pan and use wax paper to press down the dough until the stop is smooth. Bake for about 18 to 22 minutes, or until the top is set and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Let cool before frosting
Directions for the frosting
  1. Beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and evenly combined. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. If frosting isn’t thick enough, add a little more powdered sugar.
  2. Once cookie cake has cooled, pipe frosting around the edges and decorate with sprinkles if desired.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Butter Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Pecan pie is good. Pumpkin pie is good. Cheesecake is good. All three together? The trifecta! Last year I made a version of the 3-in-1 dessert, and it was definitely delicious, but it was quite time consuming. This year I wanted to tackle it again, no-bake style. It was actually really simple, and I was pleasantly surprised that you could taste all of the individual flavors.

I started by toasting the pecans with a little butter on the stove for just a few minutes. Do not skip this step! It really does make all the difference in the taste.

Then I used two bars of cream cheese. Most people use just one bar with no bake pies, but I really wanted this pie to be nice and thick. One thing I need to point out — it’s important to always use the best ingredients available. I used Challenge cream cheese because I know there are no hormones, additives, or fillers in their products, and the taste is also superior to other brands because they use real cream.

As with most no-bake pies, I did add whipped topping, but definitely don’t add the whole container. Maybe just half the tub, or even just a quarter of it. Like I said, I didn’t want the pie to be fluffy like a mousse—I wanted it thick like a cheesecake.

I recommend topping it all off with a caramel drizzle and some more pecans!

If you’re not a fan of no-bake pies, check out this recipe from last year: Pumpkin Cheesecake Pecan Pie.

Butter Pecan Pumpkin Cheesecake
Yield: Serves about 8 people
  • 1 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 Tablespoon Challenge butter
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages Challenge cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces whipped topping
  • 1 graham cracker crust
  1. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add pecans and cook for several minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside and let cool.
  2. Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and brown sugar in large bowl on medium speed until smooth.
  3. Add pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla and beat until thoroughly combined. 
  4. Stir in whipped topping and toasted pecans and spread mixture evenly into graham cracker crust.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with caramel and more pecans if desired.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

You can find everything on the internet. Which is great for blogging because it’s easy to see what other people are baking and bounce ideas off of them. But sometimes it makes it really hard to create “original” content. You all would not believe the amount of time I spend each week trying to come up with something that’s never been done.

For example, this week I wanted my focus to be on no-bake desserts, specifically a no-bake pie. I’ve already made no-bake pumpkin cheesecake, but I knew I wanted to do something with pumpkin. As I was browsing ideas online, I came across a no-bake s’mores pie with marshmallow creme, and I thought I could adapt it to make a marshmallow pumpkin pie.

Guess what. Someone on this extremely large and vast planet has already created a marshmallow pumpkin pie. Imagine that. I was disappointed at first, but then I realized that was silly. The recipes aren’t the exact same. So what if two people have the same idea? Great minds think alike, right?

In fact, I think it’s a good idea to compare different recipes because everyone does things a little differently!

Before you skip straight to the recipe, give me one moment of your time to talk about why you need this Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie in your life. First of all, this is not pumpkin pie. It’s much lighter, and the pumpkin flavor isn’t quite as strong. So people who say they don’t like pumpkin pie will like this.

Secondly, it’s not pumpkin cheesecake either, although I realize it kind of looks like it. I think the marshmallow creme makes the pie sweeter, and the texture is smoother. So once again, people who say they don’t like pumpkin pie will like this pie.

Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie
Yield: Serves about 8 people
  • 8 ounces Challenge cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 (13 ounce) container marshmallow creme
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 8 ounces whipped topping
  • Graham cracker crust (homemade or store-bought)
  1. Cream together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth
  2. Add pumpkin puree, marshmallow creme, and pumpkin pie spice and mix until smooth
  3. Fold in whipped topping until just combined and spread mixture evenly into graham cracker crust
  4. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream or whatever else you desire.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Cheesy Dinner Roll Leaves

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Did you get stuck with “roll” duty again this year for Thanksgiving? I hate to break it to you, but it’s probably because your family doesn’t think you can cook. But they’re wrong! If you can follow directions, you can cook!

So this Thanksgiving I want you to surprise everyone by making these festive, cheesy leaves. I saw another blogger make these with crescent roll sheets. But I cannot for the life of me figure out how she did that because when I tried it, the crescent roll sheet was way too flimsy and the leaf didn’t hold it’s shape.

So my solution was to use pizza dough! You could also use puff pastry. It honestly doesn’t matter because you’re going to brush butter on it and cover it in cheese and seasoning anyway.

When it comes to decorating these leaves, use whatever cheese and seasoning combination your heart desires. The goal is to decorate them in a way that makes the look like autumn leaves. I used cheddar cheese, Italian seasoning, and paprika. Pesto would also be really good!

It’s important to note when you bake these leaves the cooking time is not nearly as long as a normal pizza crust because, of course, they’re a lot smaller.

These beautiful roll alternatives are delicious plain, or I think they would be tasty with hummus too!

Cheesy Dinner Roll Leaves
  • 1 pizza crust
  • 2 Tablespoons Challenge butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and place parchment paper on baking sheet.
  2. Cut leaves using cookie cutter on pizza crust and set on prepared baking sheet
  3. Brush melted butter on top of leaves
  4. Sprinkle cheese, Italian seasoning, and paprika on top, or whatever seasonings you desire.
  5. Bake for about 6 minutes or just until the leaves start to turn golden brown.
  6. Serve plain or with hummus.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Italian Pesto Sandwiches for a Crowd

This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I love sandwiches so much. I could seriously eat one every day. Oh wait, I do! That’s right, I have a turkey sandwich every day for lunch and I never get tired of it.

In case you're curious, my sandwich that I've ever eaten was in Charleston at a restaurant called the Tattooed Moose. Next time you find yourself in South Carolina, definitely go there. They have a sandwich called "The Thanksgiving Sammy," and it's essentially Thanksgiving din ner between two slices of bread. It's served with a side of gravy for dipping because you're in the south, and that's how they do it.

The only thing better than a single sandwich is more sandwiches. So I’m sharing a recipe that makes 12 sandwiches at the same time. Actually, depending on the rolls you buy, you could actually make up to 18 sandwiches at the same. So you can either share them with friends or eat them all by yourself.

The concept is really easy -- just take the rolls out of the bag and while keeping them together slide a knife through the middle of them. Place the bottom halves of the buns in a pan, and just pile on whatever meats, cheeses, and toppings you like best.

Add the top of the buns to the sandwiches and coat generally with melted garlic butter. Could you skip this step? Absolutely. But the sandwiches won't be nearly as good. I only use Challenge Butter in this recipe because I know they use the freshest real milk, cream, and natural ingredients for a pure, superior taste.

Once your sandwiches are ready, stick them in the oven just long enough for the cheese to melt. And that's it! So good!

You can, of course, customize the sandwiches with any meats, toppings, and rolls your like. My personal favorite is Italian meats with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes.

Italian Pesto Sandwiches for a Crowd
Yield: Makes 12 sandwiches
  • 1 package (12-count) King's Hawaiian Rolls
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/2 pound ham
  • 1/4 pound salami
  • 1/4 pound pepperoni
  • 1/4 pound provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons Challenge butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. While keeping the rolls in tact, cut them in half. Place the bottom half of the rolls in a 9x13 pan. Evenly spread pesto on bottom half of rolls.
  3. Layer ham, salami, pepperoni, provolone cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. Place top half of rolls over everything.
  4. Combine melted butter, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder in small bowl. Brush butter mixture over top of rolls.
  5. Bake sandwiches for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. If the tops of the rolls start to turn brown, cover with aluminum foil.
  6. Cut individual rolls with a sharp knife and serve.

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