Year in pictures?

Yeah, I’m a bit behind here. And rather than try and write detailed posts for everything I’ve done since January, I’m just dumping a bunch of pics and one liners about each item and if anyone wants a recipe let me know and I’ll provide the link, this way I can start fresh going forward into holiday baking season!

Is anyone listening to me (if peeing your pants is cool, consider me Miles Davis). And I just lost my last reader to that somewhat obscure reference.

Here goes (and not even necessarily in chronological order because lord knows how my computer decided what order to load these)…

1. Spritz Redux: We remade the spritz that got jacked in the prior post for New Year’s Eve. Made in yellow with gold sprinkles. The 4 year old (at the time) was super excited about a cookie gun. Sigh.

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2. Chocolate cream pie – this was for New Year’s Eve too. It was awesome.

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3. I don’t even remember what I made these for but I think they were cake batter cookies. They were good.

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4. Superbowl Sunday football cupcakes. Nothing special, just chocolate cupcakes but frosted in football shapes.

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5. Valentine’s Day sugar cookies with my makeshift royal icing (I never have meringue powder on hand and am too squeamish for raw eggs so I usually just mix milk and powdered sugar). We used these for teacher gifts for preschool.

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6. Valentine’s Brownie Pops. Red velvet brownies cut into heart shapes, frosted with buttercream then shoved onto sticks. Except they were too heavy/dense to keep on the sticks and would roll over as soon as you picked them up. Tasted good though!

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7. St. Patrick’s Day thumbprint cookies. Just your typical chocolate cookies with hershey’s kisses, we just made them holiday appropriate with green sprinkles. I actually found them pretty blah.

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8. Chocolate chip cookie dough pie. The crust is a giant cookie. YES.

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9. Chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream. OMG this frosting. I can’t share these recipes because they were from a dear friend who owns a bakery in California and is sweet enough to share recipes with me to use for the birthday of our twins we lost to prematurity. But this cake and frosting especially was AMAZING.

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10. Passover macaroons. Nothing special/fancy about these but we liked them. They’re not burnt, the bottoms are dipped in chocolate.

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11. Matzo crack. Like Christmas crack but made with matzo. I used sliced almonds for the topping.

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12. Easter cookies to follow Passover. Yeah, we’re confused. Just regular sugar cookies with royal icing but I got meringue powder and made real royal icing this time. It was a pain in the ass.

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13. Easter nest carrot cake cupcakes. These were all about presentation but also yummy! We brought them for Easter brunch at our best friends’ house.

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14. Purple cake. This was just a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream, purple because it was the day of our annual March of Dimes March for Babies (and their trademark color is purple).

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15. Pumpkin whoopie pies. These are from just a week ago. I intended to just make soft pumpkin cookies and ice them but they were so cake like they reminded me of whoopie pies so I found a cream cheese frosting recipe and sandwiched them. BIG hit.

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16. Halloween cupcakes. Recipes from my bakery owner friend, both vanilla/almond cake (I tend to swap vanilla extract for almond) and the orange had vanilla buttercream, purple had almond buttercream. Monster and bats.

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17. Tart cherry cobbler. We stupidly signed up for a fruit/veggie CSA this summer (stupidly because we don’t have time to cook all the obscure things they sent and the kids wouldn’t touch most of it). But we did get nice fruit for baking. I had helpers.

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18. Chocolate cake with salted buttercream frosting again. Remade this for Gammy’s (my mom’s) birthday.

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19. Peach cobbler muffins. Another made with CSA haul, we got SO many peaches.

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20. Memorial day berry trifle. Not really “baked”, especially since we used store bought angel food cake for the cake part, but it looks pretty and is a prepared dessert?

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21. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These were more of a regular cookie (vs cake) consistency than the other pumpkin cookies we used for the whoopie pies. Delicious.

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Ok. Hopefully I’ll remember to post after each treat going forward so I can include more info. Thanks if anyone is still checking here ever!!!

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Gingerbread, Spritz and White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread, Oh my!!!

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There was a lot of Christmas cookie making up in here this week. The white chocolate cherry shortbread were the same I made last year (so labor intensive but my favorite so worth it), therefore I won’t re-blog that.

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This year we added gingerbread men (from scratch instead of with a mix, and knowing that you have to chill the dough before rolling out) and cream cheese spritz cookies. Because I was baking these mostly with my little 3 year old helper dude I didn’t get many pics except of final products, but here are the recipes and final pics. I will just say that I HIGHLY recommend both of these recipes. Delicious and easy.

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe (from Taste of Home).

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Vanilla frosting of your choice
  • Red and green paste food coloring

Directions

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight or until easy to handle.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-in. cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  • Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool. Tint some of the frosting red and some green. Decorate cookies.

For frosting, I found a Paula Deen royal icing esque frosting recipe that didn’t include raw eggs (too nervous) or meringue powder which I couldn’t find at the store.

Icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • Food coloring, as desired

My little man loved decorating these with me. The frosting went on wet and shiny but dried hard. Layer wax paper between tehm before storing until completely dry.

For the spritz, I used this recipe but won’t reproduce here since it’s from someone else’s blog. They were DELICIOUS, much better than a typical butter cookie thanks to the cream cheese and cinammon which gave them an interesting flavor kick.

Christmas Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies.

I added green food coloring to 1/2 to make trees and wreaths. Loving my cookie press this year. We sprinkled sprinkles and nonpareils on the trees for ornaments, and red crystal sugar on the wreaths and stars. Dough was soft and sticky enough to move through the press easily but not so sticky it didn’t work well.

 

EXTREMELY belated Christmas Cookie Post!

Wow, hopefully I can still find the recipes, LOL!

I had been planning on various fancy cakes or such, but since we were traveling to my brother’s for Christmas Eve I decided on cookies since they travel much easier. I chose two different cookies, one based on taste and one based on appearance.

1. White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread:

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 12 ounces white chocolate baking squares with cocoa butter, finely chopped [Blogger’s note – this is far easier said than done. We tried food processing it and it almost broke the blade. The husband had to manually break it down then food process it, etc.Ugh.]
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons shortening
  • White nonpareils and/or red edible glitter (optional)
Directions1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread cherries on paper towels to drain well.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender [which was purchased specifically for making these cookies], cut in the butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Stir in drained cherries and 4 ounces (2/3 cup) of the chopped chocolate. Stir in almond extract and, if desired, food coloring. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball. 

[FYI re: the food coloring. Mine sort of all congregated in one area that was bright red and the rest stayed white, until I kneaded and got it to mix in better.

3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack [or paper towel] and let cool. [They were REALLY dry and crumbly when I transferred them from the cookie sheets and a couple started crumbling apart but I smushed them back together and by the time they’d cooled they were fine. Just be careful as you transfer them!]

5. In a small saucepan, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off.

If desired, roll dipped edge in nonpareils and/or edible glitter. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set. Makes about 60. [Um, no, unless you’re making munchkin cookies. I think mine made around 30.]