Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snowman/woman Oreos

These snowman/woman cookies are so cute, but are so incredibly time consuming. This was the second time making them, which was a little surprising to me considering that after I made them the other day I swore it would be the first and only time I would ever make them. But they are just so cute!
To make them, I used double stuffed Oreos, white chocolate, royal icing, large sugar crystals, and luster dust for the cheeks. I'm hoping the next time I have to make these (which will be in a few days!) they will start to go a little faster!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ahhhh...all in a days work.

I found this recipe for Eggnog Thumbprints on which is one of my favorite recipe sites. Normally I when I find a recipe I tend to change it up and play with it some, but this one was perfect as is.
Eggnog Thumbprints
3/4 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Next add flour and salt and combine until a dough forms. Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and make a thumbprint in the center of each ball.
Bake cookies in a 350 degree oven for about 10-ish minutes (I never set the timer) or until cookies are firm when you touch them.
For the frosting, combine 1/4 c. butter, 1 c. confectioners sugar, 1 tbsp. rum, and a pinch of nutmeg until smooth (I kept thinking that I would have to add more liquid, but it ended up being fine.) Using a star tip (#21) pipe rosettes into the thumbprint of each COOLED cookie. I had just enough frosting, but if you make your cookies smaller you probably will have to make a little more frosting. Sprinkle cookies with nutmeg and let sit until frosting is set up.

This is kind of a generic recipe for Peanut Blossoms, but I can't ever do anything plain and generic, so I had to change them up a little.

1 c. shortening (yeah, I know)
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1/4 c. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
sugar for rolling
2 bags of mini peanut butter cups
chocolate chips for striping
Cream together shortening, peanut butter, and sugars until smooth. Add eggs, and then milk and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt until combined. Roll into balls and then roll in sugar. Place on greased cookie sheets and bake in a 375 degree oven for 10-ish minutes.
Make sure you have all of your pb cups unwrapped, and place one on each cookie as soon as it comes out of the oven.
Melt chocolate chips in the microwave (add some vegetable oil if you need it) and stripe cookies. I was short some pb cups, but Emily had also been in the bag some, so I'm not sure how many (if any) I might of been lacking. =)

Ahhh, and here is a finished tray, ready to be wrapped up for Adam to take to work. I had also made Cake Truffles, a few variations of Almond-Marmalade Shortbread Thumbprints, one with coconut mixed into the dough, black cherry jam, toasted coconut on top, and striped with white chocolate (these were GOOOOOD!) Spritz, and some Chocolate-Peppermint Fudge.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snowflake Butter Cookies

Making these cookies really makes me wonder how Anna has the patience to decorate the butter cookies at work like she does. I really enjoy decorating snowflakes like these, but man they are time consuming! Maybe it's just because when you do "projects" like this at home, you are are bound to get interrupted by two little girls, wondering what you are doing, wanting to watch (which means getting too close and bumping into me while I'm trying to pipe royal icing,) wanting to help, or wanting me to stop a million times to get them something. These snowflakes are all that I have the patience for, probably in part because I only need two colors of icing, and one tip. And I can't help getting a little nostalgic, remembering how my sister and dad taught me to make paper snowflakes when I was little (something that I've recently failed at teaching Em and Cam!) Anyway, I thought these cookies turned out really pretty, and I have more dough in the fridge ready to be rolled out, so I probably will be making more in the next few days. Sorry no recipe on this one; it's a cafe recipe, so I can't disclose! =)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lots of cookies, so little time......

I can't even believe it's already into December; where did November go? I started off November thinking that I would get ahead on holiday baking and start filling up the new freezer (yay!) but having Ziploc bags of cookies at hand made it seem like we had a free cookie store in house. =) So basically, it's the first week of December, and I don't have any baking done. Plus it's into another round of Operation Baking Gals...I have to get "crack-o-lackin!"

These cookies did not last long in our house! I'm trying to think back now and remember which recipe I used for these...I'm almost thinking maybe I used the recipe for Almond-Marmalade Thumbprints, replacing the almond extract with vanilla and rolling them into logs instead of balls. I really liked these a lot, too, but I think I might use a recipe for shortbread fingers next time. I had problems getting these to roll into a rope so I could slice them evenly, so I hope to find a more fitting recipe.

I think these cookies are pretty close to the top (if not THE top) of my favorite cookie list. I don't know what it is about them...they just have this subtle, not overpowering, buttery, yummy...they are just GOOD! The almond just adds THE right touch. I love them!

Almond-Marmalade Shortbread Thumbprints
1 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 c. flour
marmalade, or any type jam
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in extract, and then flour. Roll dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Make a thumbprint hole in the center and fill with jam.
Bake in a 350 degree oven until slightly brown (between 10-15 minutes.)
Once cookies are cooled, make a thick glaze using confectioners sugar, almond extract and milk. Stripe cookies and let the glaze set.

I think I'm the only one that has been eating these cookies! I'm not really sure why, considering that Em was eating the kisses.
Candy Cane Kisses
1 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 2/3 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa
1 bag candy cane flavored Hersey Kisses
confectioners sugar
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, then flour and cocoa. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour (or throw it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.) While you are waiting for the dough, unwrap kisses. Wrap about 1 tsp of dough around each kiss and roll to form a ball. Roll balls in confectioners sugar and place on and ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
Place remaining kisses in a small microwavable bowl and microwave until they are melted. Stripe cookies and let set.

I hate making these cookies. I don't really know why. It's not like they are difficult to make, or even have a lot of ingredients. They require no baking, I don't even need to use a mixer. Just a lot of ball-rolling.
Brandy Balls
2 1/2 c. crushed chocolate graham crackers
1 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. brandy
confectioners sugar or more crushed chocolate graham crackers (to roll in)
Combine first four ingredients. The mixture will be crumbly, so you will need to adjust with more melted butter and/or brandy until you find the right consistency so you can roll the dough into balls without having them fall apart. Then just roll them in the confectioners sugar or graham crackers. Refrigerate them in a covered container, and give them a good week to get "saucy."
Rum Balls
2 c. crushed vanilla wafer cookies
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. rum
confectioners sugar (for rolling)
Combine first four ingredients; dough will be a little crumbly. This year I added another 1/8 c. rum and it made it perfect consistency for rolling. After rolling the dough into balls, roll them in confectioners sugar and refrigerate in a covered container. Again, give them a good week to get "saucy."

These cookies were really easy to throw together; I will probably mess with them and think of some other cookies to make out of them.
Sugar Sprinkle Slices
1 1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
confectioners sugar
clear vanilla extract
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, and then flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix to form a dough. Split dough into two even parts. Roll each into a log, and roll each log in sprinkles. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and throw in the freezer until hard enough to slice.
Cut 1/4 in. slices, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven until cookies are just set (they are better when they are slightly underdone.)
Make a thick glaze using confectioners sugar, milk, and clear vanilla extract. Once cookies are cool, spoon glaze onto the center of each cookie.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


YAY! The cookbook is ready!!! I just got the shipment today, so I'm really excited to get this fundraiser moving!!!!
This fundraiser is so important to me, as my brother has CF. We have been doing the Great Strides walk for several years, and the profits from the sale of this cookbook will be going towards the 2009 walk.
I am selling the books for $9, and shipping a book to a US address is around $2.50. If you are interested in purchasing one let me know!

A few good cookies.....

I love, love, love recipes that I can make into different things. I recently found a chocolate chip cookie recipe that does just that. Round 4 of Operation Baking Gals is here, and so I decided to use the chocolate chip recipe, omit the chocolate chips, and do a few different things with the dough. The results were these peanut cookies and sugar cookies. They both were really yummy, and it gave me lots of ideas for things do do in the future with this recipe.

Here is the recipe...

Cookie Base
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 yolk

Cream butter and sugars until they are pretty light and fluffy (the cafe is really taking hold of me because I would of skipped the light and fluffy part in the past!) Add in the egg, yolk, and vanilla; beat again for a little while. Add in remaining ingredients and mix.

For the sugar cookies, I mixed regular granulated sugar and some coarse, colored sugar together. I'm too lazy to wait for the dough to refrigerate, so even though the dough was a little sticky to work with, I rolled them in the sugar anyway. They came out really good.

For the peanut cookies, I added in peanut butter chips to the dough. Then I put some honey roasted peanuts through the chopper, and rolled my balls of dough in that. They turned out quite good, as well.
Pretty simple changes, but I like it when I can make a big batch of one kind of dough, separate it and make different kinds of cookies.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blueberry bread and a snow day

Why is it that I'm always "surprised" when it gets cold, and then even more surprised when it snows? Like it's an oddity for that to happen in NY? I woke up this morning to snow on the ground, and Em having a 2 hour delay, which turned into a school closing shortly after. Now it's been snowing for hours, and I know that I need to go shovel the driveway before Ad gets home. How did that happen?!

I have been noticing more and more that I am unable to go a day without baking something. Usually I don't have anywhere for it to actually why am I baking? I think I might be starting an obsession with taking food pics. Yes, I am a dork...but I already knew that.

Last night I had some blueberries that I wanted to use up, so I made some blueberry bread. The recipe I was using had good reviews, so I was expecting positive results. It ended up looking nice, but tasted a little bland for me. The recipe didn't actually call for vanilla extract, and I was out of it anyway, so I added almond and some cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. It smelled like eggnog while I was mixing it, so I think that is what I was expecting. It wasn't horrible, but not a recipe I'd use again.

These blondies, however turned out great. I figured since I was home today, I might as well get started for the next round of Operation Baking Gals. Here is the recipe...

M&M Blondies

3/4 c. butter, softened 1 c. sugar

1 c. packed brown sugar 2 1/2 c. flour

3 eggs 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 pkg. baking M&M's

Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, then mix in eggs and vanilla. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and blend. Stir in a little more than 1/2 of the M&M's.

Spread batter evenly into a greased 13" x 9" baking dish. Sprinkle remaining M&M's on top. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Last day of soccer

Today was Emily's last soccer game. I must admit, at first I didn't think I would like sitting the sidelines, being the soccer mom, but it turned out to be a huge highlight of my week. It's amazing how good the kids on her team are; they had an undefeated season, even. Ad was the coach of the team; I am really proud of how great he did and how good of a coach he was. =) After the game today we had a little pizza party, and I made some cupcakes too. I thought they were cute.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Peanut Butter Bars

I have been trying to think of a new bar to put out at the cafe, and this is one recipe I came across that I thought I'd try out at home. I'm not sure if it's a winner for the cafe (more candy like than bar like) but it is really yummy either way.
Peanut Butter Bars
1 c. (2 sticks) butter
3 c. confectioner's sugar
1 c. peanut butter
1 1/2 c. crushed graham crackers

Combine all ingredients and mix completely.
Line a baking dish (8 x 11 would work; I actually doubled the recipe and used a 1/2 sheet pan) with foil, folding the it over the sides of the pan to form "handles." Press peanut butter mixture into pan.
For topping, I melted a little more than 1 bag of milk chocolate chips and spread it over the peanut butter mix. For the lines, I melted together peanut butter and white chocolate, then striped the milk chocolate, and went back over it with a toothpick.
This recipe was very, very easy...the bars taste just like a peanut butter cup. Yum! I think I will go back and cut the pieces in half though...they are very heavy! =)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Triple Chocolate Cookies

On Wednesday, Em went into the cookie jar and sadly found it empty, so I promised the girls we'd fill it back up this past weekend. Saturday was a lazy, stay at home day, so I baked some chocolate chip cookies and some of these triple chocolate cookies with them. I was a little surprised at how good the triple chocolate cookies came out; they definitely got rave reviews from Ad and the girls. I think I will add them to my Christmas cookie list, as well as make them for the next round of Operation Baking Gals.

Triple Chocolate Cookies
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tbsp milk
2 1/4 c. flour
1/3 c. cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. milk chocolate chips
mini Hershey's Kisses

Beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs and milk. Add flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt to the mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Refrigerate for at least a few hours, or until the dough is hard enough to shape into balls. Place balls on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

As soon as the cookies come out of the oven (before you take them off of the baking sheet) place three mini Hershey's Kisses on each cookie. Remove cookies from baking sheet and let them cool.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Operation Baking Gals and "Old Food"

So I guess I have a lot of updating to do for my first foodie post. I keep taking pictures and thinking that I'm going to come on and post them, then I never get to it. So I guess I have a lot of "old food" to blog about today! =)

This soup rocked! I say that I'm not much of a cook (although sometimes that might just be to get Ad to cook) but I guess I don't mind too much. This soup I made on a chilly pre-fall day; I remember it being one of those days where you know you need to be "good" but all you really want to do is eat. So I threw this soup together...pretty easy; a ton of veggies, a (measured!) serving of pasta, chicken broth, and a little rue to thicken it up. I had some homemade pita chips that I brought home from work, so I threw those on, too. This probably made 3-4 bowls and really hit the spot.

I really hate those days where you change a recipe and it doesn't turn out how you planned. That was these Apple Cream Bars. These originally were a recipe for caramel bars, using packaged caramels. I'm not one for using packages items, so I decided to use sweetened condensed milk and slowly heat it on the stove top, to make a caramel. Yeah, that didn't work. Maybe if I had used a double boiler? I didn't want to do the "boil-the-can" method, basically....which, on a side note, WOULD of worked. So I went with the sort-of-caramel-but-not-really anyway, and added chopped apple. The bars came out ok, but I definitely got a cream flavor and not the caramel flavor I was looking for. Oh well, they still looked pretty.


In August I came across this great group, and immediately signed up. I had been wanting to do SOMETHING for our troops, but just didn't know what or how. This group was just what I had been looking for. Every month, there are several teams, and each team has a different solider to send their items to. You can find the Operation Baking Gals site here.

Some baked goods that I sent this last month:

Pumpkin Bread

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chip Muffins

I also sent puppy chow (which I LOVE!) and some packaged Halloween candy. I'm already looking through my cookbooks to figure out what I will send the next round. Very exciting! =)