Daylight Savings Deals

You may have lost an hour of sleep to Daylight Savings, but we’ve got some great offers and recipes that make springing forward sweeter than ever. Right now, shop our spring collection and save 20% off your order. (Use code 14EBA at checkout.) It’s the perfect time to select gifts for Easter, birthdays, and teacher appreciation.  Here are some of our favorites:

Spring Treats Tray

Our Spring Treats Tray is full of bite-sized treats to share.

Springtime Floral Box

A pop of bright color and a great collection of freshly baked treats arrive in our Springtime Floral Box.

Spring Bites Box

For any occasion, our Spring Bites Box will thrill and delight with a variety of fresh flavors.

And if springing forward puts you in the mood to bake something yourself, try our favorite Black and White cookie recipe. It’s the perfect treat to mark the onset of spring!

Black and White Cookies

1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter until fluffy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and lemon extracts, and mix until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until mixed. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture batches, stirring well after each addition. Place heaping mounds (about 1/4 cup) of batter on a prepared cookie sheet, about six cookies per sheet.  Bake until edges begin to barely brown, 12-14 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

White (then Black) Frosting

4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/3 to 1/2 cup water
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup.
2  tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

Directions
Boil a cup or so of water in a small pot. Place powdered sugar in a large, heat-safe mixing bowl and pour in lemon extract. Gradually stir in enough boiling water, a tablespoon at a time to the sugar mixture to make a thick, spreadable frosting. Leave remaing boiling water on the stove. Spread frosting on half of the flat side of each cookie.

Once all cookie halves have been frosted, place the bowl of the remaining frosting over the hot water and bring it back to a simmer (creating a double-boiler). Stir in the unsweetened chocolate until melted, as well as the light corn syrup and cocoa. Ice the remaining half of the cookies with the chocolate frosting. If the frosting gets too dry, whisk in an extra teaspoon or two of the hot water to smooth it out. Frosting should be shiny. Allow frosting to set, then serve cookies immediately, or wrap in plastic to keep fresh.

 

Spring Cleaning: How to Clean Your Dishwasher

It’s spring cleaning season once again, but this year we’re going to help you clean your cleaners! (That’s right, it’s getting very meta around here.) Did you that you can extend the life of your cleaning appliances by cleaning them regularly? It’s true. This week, we’re starting with the dishwasher.  Our cleaning tips are like giving your dishwasher a spa day. It will be completely rejuvenated after!

  • Remove all drawers, racks and containers from your dishwasher and hand wash them in the sink with warm soapy water, or a mixture of warm water and 2 cups distilled white vinegar. Remove any stuck on debris or gunk, rinse and allow to dry.
  • Remove all parts in the bottom of the dishwasher than can be easily disassembled by hand. This should include the grate and filter that rests on the floor of the dishwasher. Wash them in the sink and wipe down the areas where they rest. (You’re likely to find a fair amount of debris here, so be prepared!)
  • Check the blades that spin, make sure they move easily, and check the little holes that spray the water. If they have debris or calcium buildup, give them a scrub with an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar.
  • Wipe down the door and rubber seal (a prime spot for mold, mildew, and grime).
  • Your garbage disposal is connected to the dishwasher, so give it a thorough cleaning as well.
  • Put all of the parts back in the dishwasher.
  • Now place a dishwasher-safe bowl in the top rack and fill it with white vinegar. Run the dishwasher through a cycle using the highest temperature settings. The vinegar will cut through any remaining grease and sanitize the inside.
  • After the cycle, sprinkle a full cup of baking soda all over the bottom floor of the dishwasher and run another cycle. This will deodorize the dishwasher.
  • Finally, wipe down the outside of the dishwasher, buttons, and handles.

You’re done! Your dishwasher will look brand new and will run better and last longer! Depending on your usage, cleaning it once or twice per year will significantly extend the life of the appliance.

Recipe: Butterscotch Budino Pudding

Mrs. Fields Secrets Budoni Pudding
This pudding can be summed up in one word: decadent. This is not your average after-school pudding snack, this is a rich, luxurious Italian dessert that feels like eating liquid gold. The recipe is a bit labor intensive, but oh so worth it. And it just gets better with age. Top it with your favorite caramel sauce, a pinch of salt, and a dollop of whipped cream.

Butterscotch Budino Pudding
adapted from Pizzeria Mozza

3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/8 cups dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup water
5 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
caramel sauce (for topping)
pinch of salt (for topping)
fresh whipped cream (for topping)

Directions
Combine cream and milk in a bowl and set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk egg, egg yolks and cornstarch and set aside. In a large pot, combine brown sugar, kosher salt, and water. Place over medium-high heat and let sit until edges start to brown. Tilt the pot as needed to even the browning until caramelized and deep brown in color. Stir occasionally and cook for about 10 minutes. Immediately whisk in cream mixture. The caramel will seize and harden (don’t worry!). Continue whisking until caramel dissolves into the cream and mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium.

Next, whisk a cup of the cream mixture into the egg mixture, then another and another, until half is incorporated. Remove the cream mixture from heat and immediately whisk egg mixture back into the pot and stir until pudding is very thick. This will take about two minutes. Finally, whisk in the butter and rum. Pour pudding through a mesh strainer and divide into 10 ramekins. Cover with plastic and cool at least three hours and up to three days. Before serving, top with a drizzle of caramel sauce, a sprinkle of salt, and a dollop of whipped cream.

Just Because Giveaway

One of our favorite reasons to share Mrs. Fields cookies is just because. There’s something special that happens when you recognize someone, not because of a date on a calendar, but just because you care. That’s why we’re so excited to launch our Just Because Giveaway to help you recognize someone in your life…just because. We’re giving away three great gifts on behalf of three of our readers. Here’s how to play:

1. Choose one of the following gifts and post it on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest pages.
2. In your post, tell us who you want to give this gift to just because.
3. Be sure to use hashtag #MFCJustBecause in your post to be eligible.

Classic Tin

Sunshine Satchel

Classic Craft Box

Fine print: You must be 18 years or older to participate. Nominee must live in the continental US. Multiple entries allowed. Contest ends Sunday, March 9, 2014. Winners will be selected and notified on their original posts.

Color Your Hair with Household Items

It’s always amazing to discover new uses for your household products, but these ideas really stand out…for your hair. You can switch things up with some bold color, go dramatically dark, or add soft highlights with simple items you probably already have in the pantry and under the counter. Follow the links for helpful instructions. It’s time to raid the cupboards and play beauty parlor!

Dye your hair brown with coffee: This natural way to color hair is totally safe (and smells good too). It even works to cover gray! The instructions recommend using decaf, but you might enjoy an energy jolt with regular beans!

Lighten your hair with honey: Blonde highlights are not just for summer months any more. Mixing honey and peroxide give you lighter locks with natural conditioning. (If you have very dark hair, this method will likely produce orange hues. Test a strand of underside hair first!)

Add a burgundy tint with beets: Dark hair can take on a rich, burgundy hue. (Not recommended for blonde hair.)

Take your hair a shade darker with black tea: A couple of cups of strongly brewed tea will take your natural color one to two shades darker and last for a couple of weeks. Just enough to feel new.

Add bold streaks of color with Koolaid: You’ll look great for your next home game or rock concert with this simple trick. Careful, though, depending on the natural color and health of your hair, this could be permanent!

Have you ever tried these methods? What did you think?

{Image via fineladyshop.com}

Recipe: Russian Sweet Cheese Dumplings

Mrs. Fields Secrets Russian Sweet Cheese Dumplings
Ladies and gentleman, we have a winner. Rounding out our series featuring Russian desserts, we have discovered our favorite. These creamy, sweet and crisp dumplings are an amazing treat. Drizzled with a chocolate sauce or a dollop of cream, these pillowy treats are a wonderful indulgence. We like them best with a spray of powdered sugar and fresh berries.

Russian Sweet Cheese Dumplings

2 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
15 oz. Ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups flour (plus more for dusting)
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 tablespoon salt for boiling water

Directions
Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil with the 1/2 tablespoon of salt. Whisk eggs, sugar, and salt together, then add to a mixing bowl with dough hooks and combine with the ricotta. Once you have a creamy texture, add flour and mix until you have a consistent dough ball, but don’t over mix. Transfer dough ball to a floured surface and divide into four quarters. Roll each quarter into an inch-thick rope, then cut rope into half-inch dumplings on the diagonal. Toss in a trace amount of flour to keep them from sticking. Repeat with remaining quarters of dough.

Carefully drop dumplings one batch at a time into the boiling water. They will sink to the bottom and then pop up on the surface once they are cooked. Remove and allow to drain. Continue with remaining dumplings until they are all cooked. Rinse dumplings with cold water to remove extra starch and allow to drain while you preheat a frying pan. Drizzle melted butter over the dumplings and toss to thoroughly coat. Fry them one batch at a time until golden brown on either side. Remove and serve with your favorite toppings.

Great Oscar Party Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Oscar Party
The hottest party in Hollywood is happening Sunday, but your house can be just as glamorous and fun with these clever Oscar party ideas. Invite some friends, don some fake eyelashes and get your acceptance speech ready because you’re about to to win best party host!

1. A range of flavored popcorns are perfect party fare. Have savory and sweet varieties.
2. These Tuxedo Cake Pops look so dapper. They might win best dressed.
3. You can recreate the Hollywood sign in a number of creative ways, but cupcakes would be dreamy.
4. Add a wedge of star fruit to give your bubbly drink the star treatment.
5. Make your napkins look like nominee envelopes for the ultimate touch.
6. Add your own labels to drinks so that everyone can enjoy an “Oscar Buzz.”

And don’t forget to download your free Oscar Dress Rating Card to keep track of your favorite (and least favorite) fashion looks.

25 Ways to Share a Smile

Smile Cookie Cake

If you’re pining for some sunshine, why not create some yourself by sharing a warm smile? Share a Smile Day is coming up on March 1, but you can get started now with these simple ideas. If we all work together, maybe we can bring on an early spring!

  1. Pay for the person behind you in the coffee line.
  2. Buy a package of note cards and write kind messages to friends or family and drop them in the mail.
  3. Pick up a bouquet of flowers and share them put them on display.
  4. Give someone a sincere compliment, something you’ve noticed but maybe never said.
  5. Write an email to a supervisor of someone who did a great job.
  6. Pick something bright and colorful to wear, even a crazy pair of socks. You’ll feel brighter and that brightness spreads.
  7. Ask someone to tell you about the thing they are most proud of, then listen.
  8. Invite friends over for a casual brunch.
  9. Think of a task your friend dreads and secretly do it for them.
  10. Slip a note of encouragement into your kid’s lunch box.
  11. Start an email chain with your friends asking for the funniest YouTube videos.
  12. When you see someone in military uniform, go up and thank them for their service and for their family’s sacrifice.
  13. Make a playlist of songs that make you smile and share it with your music-loving friends.
  14. Track down an old friend you’ve lost touch with and catch up.
  15. Make a donation to your favorite museum or charitable cause.
  16. Contact a local women’s shelter and ask about current needs, then organize a donation bin at work.
  17. Hold the door open on the elevator.
  18. Strike up a conversation with somebody new.
  19. When parking at a meter, feed a few extra coins into any nearby that are expiring soon.
  20. Think of someone from your past who influenced you and write them a letter.
  21. Take a walk outside and breathe in fresh air and invite a friend to join you.
  22. Break out the old home movies and watch them with the family.
  23. Visit an animal shelter and spend some time holding and petting the animals.
  24. Make your favorite “special occasion” meal just for fun.
  25. When reading, look for articles that would interest your friends and family and send them.

Of course, our favorite way to share a smile is with a fresh order of cookies from our Sunshine Collection. It’s practically impossible not to smile when you get an order of these.

Do you have a favorite way to share a smile? Share your ideas in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Recipe: Russian Tea Cookies

Mrs. Fields Secrets Russian Ginger Cookies
It’s time to explore another Russian recipe to go along with your Olympic viewing. These sweet, soft tea cookies called pryaniki are a Russian favorite, filled with the flavors of honey, lemon, ginger and spice. Try them with a cup of hot tea and some prime time Olympic broadcasting for the full experience. (Notice that they are golden circles? Purely coincidence!)

Russian Tea Cookies

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon dry ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
1 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Directions
Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt together. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar on high until pale and thick. Gently heat the honey and fresh ginger in double boiler until warm, but not hot. Stir the vanilla into the honey and then slowly incorporate into the egg mixture. Add the dry ingredients to form a stiff dough. Cover and chill for at least an hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place 12 even scoops of dough on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges are barely golden brown. While cookies are baking, prepare the icing by combining the powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest until smooth. Spread a dollop on each cookie while still warm.

5 Fun Activities While the Kids Are Out of School

Looking for a way to entertain the kids (and yourself) on a rare day off from school? Try one of these five fantastic ideas to make the most of your day:

  • Build a giant fort together then fill it with blankets, snacks and books, or watch a movie together on a laptop or tablet. Flashlights are a must.
  • Venture outdoors for a nature walk. Equip each person with a camera if possible and have everyone look for beauty and details in nature. Then, put together a slide show with all the photos set to one of your favorite songs.
  • We use the phrase “like a kid in a candy store,” but when is the last time that actually happened? Look online for an old fashioned-style candy store nearby and take the kids on a field trip. Encourage them to try something different.
  • Escape winter by finding an indoor pool and spend the day barefoot in swimsuits. Go all the way by stopping for ice cream cones on the way home.
  • Preheat the oven, roll up your sleeves and bake batches of cookies together. Cookies are a perfect beginner’s course for young bakers. Read the recipe together, measure ingredients, explain the process, and most of all, remember to lick the beaters! Bake the cookies and let the kids bask in a job well done. (Looking for recipe recommendations? Try our Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies or Melting Snowman Cookies.)
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