Thursday, July 28, 2011

M&M Cookies- Take 2

The last time I made M&M cookies, they tasted great, but ended up very thin and chewy. This time I went for a thicker, softer version to satisfy my craving. Delicious!
What cookie are you in the mood for today?

1 cup all-purpose flour (plus about 2 Tbsp)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/8 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 package M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add the egg and beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in M&Ms. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. 
Yields 18 cookies.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Big Island Candies II

After the shipment of treats I ordered from Big Island Candies last spring, I knew I had to go to the source! As soon as you walk in the door, you receive cookie samples as well as a coffee sample. Then the fun begins! The store is not large, but it is packed with all sorts of delicious treats and many samples. The factory was not in operation the day we visited, but normally you can see the process firsthand.

There were several items I was excited to try: caramel chocolate dipped shortbread, brownies, candy, and savory shortbreads. The carmel chocolate dipped shortbreads had a very good flavor, but the flavor was just chocolate, not caramel and cookie. The carmel did stick in my teeth, so I know it's in there! I was disappointed in the brownies and glad I could sample them before buying a big box. The chocolate coating was very good, but the brownie itself was rather cakey. The candies were very good, but I had much better chocolate covered macadamia nuts from Mauna Loa. The savory shortbreads were quite unique. The lavender and green tea flavors were my favorite. They still had a hint of sweetness. If you prefer sugar-free desserts, they do not disappoint! I was very surprised that the difference between the two was not easily discernible, and the sugar-free offerings were plentiful.
Now that I am back home, I'm wishing I had bought more! For shipping information, visit their website:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brownie Goody Bars

This easy recipe from Betty Crocker was a snap to prepare and produced a delicious result. Gooey, chocolaty, peanut buttery, and a little messy made this feel like an indulgent dessert. I omitted the vanilla frosting and put the crisp rice cereal mixture right on top of the cooled brownies. Below is my version. I slightly under baked the brownies, too. Let me know what you think!
1 package of brownie mix (for an 8x8 or 9x9 pan)
Egg and oil as called for on brownie mix
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Prepare the brownies according to package directions, and allow brownies to cool completely after baking.
In a bowl, mix together the crisp rice cereal and chopped peanuts.
In a small sauce pan, melt together the peanut butter and chocolate. Pour over the cereal mixture.
Press the cereal mixture on top of the cooled brownies and refrigerate for about 30 minutes until set.
Yields 16 servings.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mauna Loa Macadamia Chocolate Chip

These cookies are so hard to stop eating! Their size and crispiness reminds me of Famous Amos cookies, but I don't remember having such a difficult time controlling myself around Famous Amos. I wish they had portion-controlled packs instead of the giant box. I'm having a hard time concentrating because my mouth is watering so much right now...

Each cookie had lots of chocolate chip and tiny bits of macadamia nuts. I could not taste any nuts, and the chocolate flavor was definitely the star. I should have bought more of these!

A 10-ounce box was $5.95. Visit for more details and ordering information.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Coconut Brownie Bars

These bars didn't look good (coconut topping looked goopy and melty), but they sure tasted great and were a hit at work. They are very sweet, so be ready for a sugar rush after one bar. Normally I don't cut items from a 8x8 pan into 24 pieces (prefer 9 larger pieces), but smaller bite sized portions are a must with these bars.
I adapted the recipe from the coconut bon bon bar recipe found on the Betty Crocker website.

Brownie Base
1 package of brownie mix (sized for a 8x8 or 9x9 pan)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
Coconut Topping
1/4 cup butter softened
1/2 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup shredded coconut

Bake brownies according to package directions.
Beat butter and milk with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Stir in coconut until well blended. Spread filling evenly over brownie base. 
Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until filling is set.
Store covered in refrigerator.
Yields 24 servings.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Bars

I've seen so many recipes for chocolate oatmeal bars recently and adapted a recipe from Eat Better America. Unfortunately I burned the bottom of these bars. The top tasted good, though! The chocolate mixture for the swirl was excellent, and I hope to find more uses for it.

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips 
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Heat chocolate chips and milk over low heat, stirring frequently, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth; set aside.
Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix flour, 1/2 cup oats, the baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, stir brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and egg until smooth; stir into flour mixture until blended.
Pour dough into pan. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture on top and swirl with a knife.
Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool completely.
Yields 16 bars.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cookie Corner

I almost didn't stop for a cookie here. I was so full from a delicious dinner. Mr. Sleuth insisted, though. It's vacation, so why not?!?
Mr. Sleuth must have a sixth sense when it comes to cookies. Their shortbread rivals Big Island for it buttery flavor and crispy texture. Cookie Corner also sells cookies by weight, which end up being about $1.75 each. I tried the chocolate chip and chocolate dipped peanut butter cookies. I could taste the white sugar in chocolate chip cookie; it had plenty of chocolate chips and was cakey. The slightly grainy peanut butter cookie didn't have the greatest texture, but nearly all of it was chocolate dipped which made up for it.

Visit for locations and ordering information.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Hilo Hattie Cookies

I learned that you can't visit Hawaii without stopping at Hilo Hattie. They even have a free shuttle that will pick you up and bring you to the store! They are great stores filled with clothing, accessories, nick knacks, and snacks. I wasn't too sure about the box of cookies they had, but I am so glad I went for it! I tried the purple box (macadamia nut cookies with chocolate chips) over the yellow box of plain macadamia nut cookies. The cookies are advertised as crispy, and they certainly are. Fortunately, they are not so hard that you're afraid of chipping a tooth. The cookies are so delicious (one-bite sized) that it is easy to eat the whole box in one sitting. I was able to control myself, though, and these cookies stayed fresh after one week of opening in the package. There were just the right number of chocolate chips in each cookie, but I could not taste the macadamia flavor at all. I will be sure to stock up on the purple boxed cookies next time I'm in Hawaii!

For more information, visit Cookies are available online for purchase. A seven ounce box is $4.99.