Win a Silhouette Portrait Bundle {Giveaway}

Have you been following along with our week long 2014 Blogger Secret Santa Party? We have had such fun playing games, chatting, and giving away prizes to some of our awesome readers! Today, we start the last (and biggest!) giveaway of the week. One lucky reader is going to win a Silhouette Portrait Bundle!

silhouette-portrait-3t_06-xl

To enter, simply use the handy app below. Be sure to complete all mandatory steps, so your entry will count, and after you subscribe via email, be sure to verify your subscription by clicking the FeedBurner link in your email. There will be ONE winner, drawn on Monday, 12/22. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Momma Told Me {Link Party}

It’s been a busy week of baking, Secret Santa parties, Twitter parties and holiday craziness and we…love…it!  The Evolution of Mom was a participant in the 3rd Annual Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap!  What a fun time and as an added bonus, we got to meet some new blogger friends!  There are some really great recipes out there and really, we’d love to try them all.  One of our favorites was Our Mini Family’s Candy Cane Cookies!  These are perfect for the holiday season!  Pretty right?!

candy cane 1

Now it’s your turn to join our link party! Do you have a recipe, a DIY,craft, a helpful hint? If so, share it with us!

Momma Told Me Header

The rules are simple.

  • Please follow The Evolution of Mom on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
  • Please consider sharing this party on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
  • Please link up to your post, not your main blog.
  • Your link must be made or created by you!
  • No Etsy shops, giveaways, roundups or business links, please.
  • Visit other links, leave comments, make new friends & most of all have fun!
  • In order to be considered for a feature on our page, you must share the Momma Told Me button OR add a link back to the party, on EACH post linked up. Feel free to grab our Momma Told Me button here.
    The Evolution of Mom

    So are you ready to party?!

    Links will be posted in random order. The following week, we will feature a few of our favorites!  As an added bonus, we’ll re-pin all of the entries.

    Let the fun begin!

    *TEOM reserves the right to remove any content deemed inappropriate and/or not keeping with TEOM’s values.

    *By linking up to Momma Told Me, you are giving The Evolution of Mom permission to feature your project and/or photos on our social media outlets and blog.

Gluten Free Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

I know you’re all cookie-d out after the cookie recipe swap we shared earlier this week. We are too! We’ll go back to regular food very soon, but we figure as long as we’re making cookies for holiday events, and they taste good, we should probably share with you, juuuuust in case.

sandwichcookies

This time around, the cookies are for a teacher appreciation event at school. And I L-O-V-E any opportunity to appreciate the fabulous staff at my boys’ school. Of course, I just had to make a batch of macaroons from the cookie recipe swap, but this time, I made them mini instead of mutant. I also enlisted help for the dipping part, since I had another recipe in mind that I wanted to attempt. The kids are always willing participants when it comes to cooking or baking, so I grabbed my ten year old, gave him a quick demo, and then let him do his thing. He did a great job!

While he dipped, I set to work on my next batch. If I’m making up a recipe as I go, I always keep it gluten free so I can test it along the way, even if it’s intended for people without allergies. I don’t want to serve something that I’m not sure tastes awesome!

In my mind, I pictured something like an Ore— uhhh…blue packaged cookie. Crispy and chocolatey, with dense, rich, cream. And if you’ve been around long, you know I’m a big fan of anything versatile and easy! I think these hit the mark, but feel free to tell me what you think! Note: While I do use specifically gluten free ingredients, you should be able to use regular, non-GF ingredients with the same result.

Ingredients:

1- Chocolate cake mix, the darker the better

1 box Jello instant chocolate pudding

2 sticks unsalted butter (feel free to sub a high fat, low water margarine, or vegetable shortening, if you need a vegan option)

1/4 C all purpose flour

Preparation:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine dry cake mix, dry pudding mix, and flour. Soften butter in the microwave, just until you can press your finger into it. Do not melt. Add softened butter into the dry ingredients, and process until a dough forms, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If you find that there are still dry ingredients in the bottom of the bowl, press the dough against them until they all stick, and then give the dough a quick knead to incorporate them fully.

Press the dough into a flat disc between two pieces of waxed paper. Wrap in plastic, or place in a zip top bag, and refrigerate for at least one hour. Do not freeze, unless you are planning to make these another day. The dough froze SOLID after an hour in my freezer, and was still solid after another hour at room temperature. Save yourself the hassle!

Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper. Do not grease.

Once the dough is chilled, preheat oven to 375 (F). Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4″ thick. Using a floured 2″ round cookie cutter, fluted cutter, or the lid of a bottle, cut circles, pressing all the way through, and finishing with a twisting motion, to cut the dough loose from the surrounding areas. Place circles on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, and then allow to rest on cookie sheets at least 10 minutes (cookies will crumble if you move them too soon), before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.

Using a 2″ cutter at 1/4″ thickness, you should yield about 8 dozen circles, or 4 dozen completed sandwich cookies.

To finish:

1/2 bag (about 1 lb) powdered sugar

1 stick of salted butter

1/2 C shortening

2 tsp vanilla extract (or other flavor– go crazy!)

1 tsp salt

Optional: 1 tsp instant coffee (One Starbucks Via packet works great!), 1/4 C PB2 dry peanut butter, a Tbsp of cinnamon, or dry flavoring of your choice. Just add a little at a time, and taste as you go!

In your stand mixer, beat butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in powdered sugar. Mixture should be very dry, almost dough like. Add vanilla, salt, and optional additions, and mix completely.

To Assemble:

Scoop half your filling into a gallon sized zip top bag. Squeeze filling down to one corner, release excess air from the top, seal, and then cut the corner of the bag about 1/2″ across. Working on the the rough side of a cookie, squeeze out a dollop of filling. Spread gently with the back of a spoon (if you press the other cookie on top without spreading, the cookies could break). Top with another cookie, and press and twist gently to keep them together. I rolled the sides of half of mine in minced Andes mints. The other half of the batch was rolled in Heath Bar bits.

As always, if you make these, we’d love you to share you review!

Rachel_signature

Psssssst! Hey, you! Yes, you…stop scrolling. I want to tell you a secret! Dip these cookies in chocolate, and then dip the bottoms in chopped Andes mints, and you’ll never miss Girl Scout cookies again!

Linked to:  Wednesday Whatsits, Foodie FridaysFriday Favorites,

3rd Annual Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap

Cookie-Swap-Vert

Tired of all the cookie recipes yet? I hope not, because that little graphic right there is the gateway to nearly FOUR DOZEN killer cookie recipes.  As part of White Lights on Wednesday’s annual cookie recipe swap, we were partnered with The Baking Chocolatess and Home Made Modern (yep, we were the only triad this year. Triple the fun!) to swap some of our favorite holiday cookie recipes. I won’t spoil the surprise, so you’ll have to visit Kim and Valerie to see which recipe we ended up sharing!

We got Kim’s fabulous Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroon recipe, and let me tell you…it didn’t disappoint. It was, without a doubt, one of the easiest cookie recipes I’ve ever made, and it definitely doesn’t hurt that they are gorgeous. Want to make some for yourself? Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

14 oz sweetened coconut

14 oz sweetened condensed milk

1 tsp pure vanilla

2 extra large egg whites, at room temp

1/4 tsp kosher salt

6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, for dipping

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F). Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla. Set aside. In the bowl of a clean, dry, stand mixer, whisk egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Using a medium sized cookie scoop, drop mounds of dough onto lined cookie sheets. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, and remove to wire racks to cool completely.

To dip:

Melt chocolate in a small bowl, microwaving for about 30 seconds at a time until soft enough that you can stir out remaining lumps. Dip the bottom of each cookie into the chocolate, and place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until hard. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

macaroon_dipped

PS-When I got low on chocolate (I dipped them pretty thickly, as you can see above!), I didn’t let ANY of my yummy supplies go to waste:

macaroon_drizzle

I grabbed a fork and drizzled the rest. My non chocolate loving kiddos (seriously, they might’ve been switched at birth…we’re looking into it!) preferred the drizzle.

The original recipe says to be sure to refrigerate them if you dip them in chocolate. However, if you temper the chocolate (it’s easy!), you can store them at room temperature without issue.

These cookies are so SO good, I didn’t make any changes to the original recipe, and wouldn’t other than to maybe dip the melted chocolate bottoms into minced almonds for an Almond Joy-esque treat. But as is, they are amazing! I did have a little bit of an issue with the cookies oozing at the bottom while they were baking (I blame this crazy altitude!), but I was able to trim away those areas after they had cooled. Oh, and you MUST use the cookie scoop. Trust me. Mine went missing, so I used a large coffee scoop that I thought was about the same size. My macaroons were HUGE! My kids were thrilled to have giant mutant cookies, but I was a little bummed I didn’t get more out of the batch. I would have loved to share! Bottom line? I will make these again. Like, tomorrow. No seriously, there’s a cookie thing at school this week…and I’m totally making these. You should too. They’re easy, delicious, and look far fancier than they should for the tiny amount of work that goes into them. If you make them, let us know what you think! And don’t forget to stop by and give Kim at The Baking Chocolatess some love if you do!

To see the rest of the recipes, visit White Lights on Wednesday. Thanks for stopping by!

Rachel_signature