Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sugar Cookie Frosting

Sometimes a cookie is fabulous just by itself.  For example, a great chocolate chip cookie or a chocolate crinkle cookie.  Nothing else is needed.  Sometimes, though, the cookie needs a little more to give it that umph.  Recently I made plain sugar cookies which were pretty good, but when I put two cookies together with frosting in between they moved up to really really good.

Here is the frosting I used:

Frosting for Sugar Cookies, or anything else!

4 cups confectioner's sugar (it is a good idea to sift the sugar if there are any lumps at all)
1/2 cup  butter that has been sitting at room temperature until softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 Tablespoons of milk

Mix the confectioner's sugar, butter (softened, remember!), vegetable shortening and vanilla in a bowl, adding milk a little at a time until the consistency is just what you want for spreading.

You could probably add another flavoring.  Some people like almond flavoring. I like it, too, but have had bad results depending on the almond extract.  Some almond extract is very concentrated making icing inedible if you use the same amount as a less fully-flavored extract.  If using additional flavorings, be smart and add only a little at a time, tasting to be sure you have not over-done it.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Soft Vanilla Sugar Cookies

One of my favorite YouTube food bloggers is Laura Vitale.  I just love the way she says, "This is Laura Vitale, Guys!"  Because I was invited to make some sugar cookies for an upcoming  Relief Society meeting, I thought I would check for soft sugar cookies (Dear One likes SOFT cookies) online.  There were several recipes I noticed that seemed good but I chose to make Laura's recipe.

Laura Vitale's Soft Vanilla Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder (Yes! 1/4 teaspoon)
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Put parchment paper on two half-sheet pans.

In a large bowl or in your stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until they are light.  Add the eggs and vanilla and continue whisking/beating.   This will take about one to two minutes

In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking powder and mix well, then add in to the sugar/butter/egg mixture until well-combined but be gentle and quick...don't stir very long or you can toughen the cookies.  Not so much fun to eat tough cookies...

Using a 2-Tablespoon portion scoop or a heaping tablespoon, scoop out the dough and put no more than twelve cookie dough globs on each cookie sheet.  I bake them one at a time but if you want to cook two at once you MUST rotate the cookie sheets around half way through to cook them evenly.  

Bake 10-12 minutes.  My cookies, one sheet at a time needed 12 minutes to be baked.  They should be pale on top and lightly browned around the edges.  They are nice and soft with a tiny crisp circumference.

Because I tend to gild the lily, I decided to put some Wilton Candy Melts on top as an icing of sorts.  Also because I did not want a lot of dishes to wash (since I had already put the dishwasher running and I DEPLORE opening the dishwasher door after deciding it was full enough to set going, unlike SOME people in our home...) I put two different colors of candy melts in a cereal bowl and microwaved them for 30 seconds, stirred,  then for another 15 seconds.


At first I just drizzled some of the melted candy over the tops of some cookies but that was not appealing so I just spooned it on.  Well, I was getting ready to be done because I was afraid I would start eating them if I did not hurry.

This is what they looked like finished:

Not so hot to look at but since the kids that eat them receive them at 6 AM, they may possibly not be quite awake and are less likely to notice imperfections.  At least, that is what I tell myself...

Dear One came home and went right to the unfrosted cookies.  In moments they were gone.  I broke down and ate two of them myself.  R-r-r-r!  They did taste pretty good and the soft, yet crisp, is really a winning combination to my way of thinking, but I did NOT want to eat any.  Companionable eating/social eating is a very bad thing for some bodies...

Monday, January 18, 2016


Soon after I first met my husband he began building a log cabin.  I visited him there a few times and each time I noticed he had a bag of gingersnaps that he had purchased from some store.  These cookies were about an inch and a half across, were very spicy, and extremely hard.  After we had been married for some years I learned that he does not like hard/crisp cookies.  This recipe is chewy and delicious.  I found it originally on Better Homes and Gardens as Santa-Size Gingerbread Cookies but changed it slightly.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg

 Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, if using in a bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the brown sugar and molasses and beat until smooth. Add egg and beat again until well-mixed. 

Carefully add the flour mixture until well-combined then cover and refrigerate one hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Using a portion scoop (I used a 2-Tablespoon scoop), place balls of cookie dough on parchment paper lined cookie sheets 12 or 15 to each sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake 10 minutes then check to see if the edges of the cookies are set.  They probably will not be so let bake another 2-3 minutes and check again. 

When the cookies are set, remove from oven and let sit on pan 10 minutes then remove to wire rack to cool completely. 

If you want, you can make a confectioner's sugar frosting:  1 cup sifted confectioner's sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 Tablespoon milk mixed together.  If icing is too thick, add milk one teaspoon at a time.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Fat Molasses Cookies

Molasses cookies can be really yummy.  I found this recipe at Better Homes and Gardens' website.  Of course I made them right away.

Fat Molasses Cookies

5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.  

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat shortening until creamed then add brown sugar and beat well, scraping sides of bowl. Add the molasses, eggs, water, and vinegar and beat until completely combined and smooth, cleaning the bowl sides again. It looks a little icky when you add the water and vinegar but continue beating and it will smooth out. 

Stir in the dry ingredients until well combined then cover bowl and refrigerate for an hour. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly flour your work surface and roll out half of the dough at one time to about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut with a floured cookie cutter and place cookies about 2 inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets.  You can sprinkle with sugar, coarse sugar, or crystallized ginger if you want to be fancy.  

Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes.  The edges need to be firm.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

These cookies were eaten but without much enthusiasm.  They are very "flour-filled".  They definitely are fat, and they certainly are soft, but they were not very popular.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Easy "Sticky" Buns January 2016

Sticky Buns are always popular.  I was asked to make cinnamon buns for the kids and thought about sticky buns.  I went to multiple websites to see what was available for recipes.  Many of them were going to take hours and hours. Since I did not have life enough to spend that kind of time I made my own thing, at least partially.

For the cinnamon bun part of the sticky buns I used the Sixty Minute Cinnamon Roll recipe found on Grammie's Kitchen and Bedtime Stories.

For the sticky bun part, I used this:

1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts

For the pan I used a non-stick spray to grease a 12-inch Wilton round 2-inch high cake pan.  Spread the melted butter in the bottom of the greased pan then sprinkle with the brown sugar and walnuts.

When the cinnamon buns are rolled up and ready for their final rise, carefully place them on the butter/brown sugar/walnuts and cover with a clean cloth to let them rise for 15-30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degress F.  Yes, let the oven heat at least 15 minutes, or as long as you let the buns rise.  You know your own oven.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes, then check every 2-3 minutes until the tops are lightly browned and the spot where the buns grew together looks rather pale still.  My oven took about 25 minutes to cook but I checked them after 15 minutes then kept adding 3 minutes to the timer until I was happy with them.

Remove from oven and let sit 4-5 minutes then turn over onto a cooling rack set on a large rimmed baking sheet.  This is a little bit the rack and the baking sheet upside down over the buns then flip them over carefully.  Let them cool completely if you can.  At the bare minimum, do not eat any until at least 15 minutes have gone by or you will burn your mouth with the hot butter and sugar.

First reports on these buns came in: "They are "heaven"!"  That is something I have NEVER heard before.  I will take it!

NOTE:  as far as I am concerned, these are not really "sticky" buns because the sweet goo on the bottom of the buns is not true sticky goo and does not stick to your teeth.  I believe this is because I did not use a recipe that included corn syrup in it. If you want to make these, and make them actually sticky, better go online and find a recipe with corn syrup.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Overnight Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast

1 large loaf hefty bread...whole grain is best--really sturdy.  You don't want wimpy "Wonderbread"-like bread.  That will just be mushy and icky.
7 large eggs
2 cups cream
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon, divided
1 cup raisins

Grease a 9 by 13 glass baking dish with butter or coconut oil.  Break the bread into large pieces and place in bottom of dish.  Mix together 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon with 1/2 cup sugar and sprinkle over the top of the bread. Sprinkle raisins over the cinnamon sugar bread.   In a large bowl combine eggs, remaining sugar, remaining cinnamon, cream and milk.  Stir well then pour evenly over bread pieces.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  In morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and bake for 45-60 minutes, removing foil after 30 minutes.  Serve warm with boiled cider sauce or warmed maple syrup.

Boiled Cider Sauce

2 cups boiling water
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup boiled cider (you can make your own by boiling down 1 gallon (yes, gallon) of fresh apple cider to 2 cups of nice boiled cider)
4 Tablespoons butter

Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl.  Bring water to a boil. Whisk the sugar/cornstarch mixture into the boiling water and continue stirring for about 3 minutes until mixture is thick.  Add the boiled cider after about one minute.  Remove from heat then stir in the butter until smooth.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Jam Rollups

One of the easiest early morning treats I have made was these jam rollups.

Take one tube of crescent roll dough and a jar of strawberry, or other, jam.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Put a parchment sheet on a cookie sheet.

Unroll the dough and split into the eight triangles that have been cut.  Take one teaspoon of jam and spread carefully on the larger end of the triangle then roll up into a nice crescent. 

Bake about 10 minutes.

Jam Rollups
 These look really good to me.  Too bad I won't get to try one...!