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Christmas Desserts 2018

I can’t believe I’m posting this in January, but better late than never.

One day right before I started baking Christmas cookies, my husband asked me to bake some brownie bites for work.

I don’t have pictures of the brownies in this post, but that day will be this year’s Christmas List of Unfortunate Events (and I’m adding my Christmas dessert pictures).

Oh, and for those of you don’t know– my baking mishaps have become a trend!

Italian Ricotta Cookies

I was baking the brownie bites when one of my kids had a meltdown, so I went to talk to him.

Mini Cupcakes for a School Party

I didn’t hear the timer go off, and by the time I realized it, the brownies were overdone!

So I decided to make a second batch.

Crockpot Chocolate Peanut Cups

I stopped to talk in the middle of prepping, and then couldn’t remember if I had added one of the ingredients.

So I had to start again.

Soft Gingerbread Cookies

The third time was the charm– except the oven decided to go up to 387 degrees for no reason, and I freaked out.

But at least they were fine.

Peppermint Blossoms

Then I was trying to put red coloring in the frosting, but accidentally used maple extract instead.

Yes, I was stressed and the bottles looked similar.

And it wasn’t just one drop– I dumped a bunch in it.

Almond Biscotti

So I had to start again with the frosting.

There’s a pattern here…

Honey Coins

And then I needed some purple frosting. 

I used really nice purple food coloring, but it didn’t work.

I tried red and blue together, but it didn’t work.

No matter what I did, it came out grayish blue.

Lace Florentines

I finally settled for white frosting with sprinkles!

Mini Biscotti with Chocolate Chips

So for those of you who ever have stressful baking episodes, I can relate.

 

See you for the next episode of My List of Unfortunate Baking Events!

Here are the rest of my cookies:

Shortbread Cookies dipped in white chocolate

Rainbow Cookies

Snickerdoodles

Lemon Spritz Cookies

Chocolate Spritz Cookies

Oh, and one more thing, the Hot Cocoa station I set up:

Hope your holidays were great!

Christmas Desserts 2015

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Yes, I am aware that it’s January 9 and Christmas is long past, but I wanted to post anyway.

This year, the holidays were not the same. 

I tried my best and still got the cookies done, but some weren’t done until Christmas and some even later.

What I did finish on time were the cupcakes for my kids’ school parties.

My middle child got these:

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Don’t they look huge??  They are mini cupcakes.  I love my tiny plate!

My youngest got little stockings:

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My oldest got nothing, sadly, because he had no party at school.

I offered to show up to his class anyway, but he was horrified at the thought.

He is 12, after all….  🙂

I also made these new Apricot Cookies.

They taste more like a pastry.

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And I made Lemon Spritz Cookies for the first time.

They were a hit!

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The Cranberry and White Chocolate Chip Cookies were good, but didn’t look as pretty as I hoped:

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Speaking of funny-looking, here’s my Oreo Fudge.

I made it with fat-free condensed milk though, so it was low fat!!  Yay!

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So yummy straight out of the fridge!

And this year, I added pretzels to my Oreo and M&M bark:

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And the rest are the cookies that I make every year (hey, I know it’s repetitive, but I work so hard on them that I need to show them off!)

My little Snowflake Sugar Cookies:

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I came up with a new design this year.  The little things that make me happy…

Rainbow Cookies:

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What happened to my camera?? They look like they are underwater!

Chocolate Spritz Cookies:

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Lace Florentines:

Lace Florentines

Almond Biscotti:

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Low Fat Chocolate Chip Biscotti:

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My favorite Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies!

Christmas tree sugar cookies

And finally, although I didn’t make them in Christmas colors (gasp!), here are my chocolate dipped pretzels:

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And that is all….

I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays!

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Christmas Desserts 2014

I wish I could say something new this year, but it’s the same:  I ran out of time.

I was doing really well, until my husband had to travel during 2 weeks in December.

Yeah, in December!  Can you believe him???

I mean, couldn’t he just say he needed to stay home so his wife could bake Christmas cookies?

I’m sure his boss would understand…

OK, back to reality.

Here are my new sugar cookie trees– I call them my “Whimsical Trees:”

Whimsical trees 2a

I love them!  The funny thing is that I made them with a leaf cookie cutter that I bought in a Thanksgiving pack.

I also made mini cupcakes with fondant toppers:

Christmas Cupcakes a

Cappuccino Biscotti so my husband won’t cry that he doesn’t like any of the desserts:

Cappuccino biscotti a

Lace Florentines (these cookies are seriously delicate.  I cracked a bunch just trying to break one in half to try it. Good news is that I got to eat the broken pieces).  

They each have 2 thin cookies with melted chocolate in the middle:

Lace Florentines a

There are 13 cookies stacked on top of each other! (Actually 26 because they are sandwich cookies.)

Chocolate Chip Cookies, with cute Christmas chocolate chips!

I was very excited when I found Christmas color chips, until they turned pink and light green after I baked them.

Oh well, just make believe they are red and green!

Chocolate Chip Cookies 2a

Oreo Cheesecake cookies:

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies 2a

And my usual ones…

I know, I keep posting the same cookies every year…

But how else can I prove that I made sooo many desserts that they almost killed me?

Here are my favorite tree cookies!!!!

Christmas tree cookies a

My Low Fat Chocolate Chip Biscotti:

Low fat biscotti. ajpg

Dipped in dark chocolate.

Really big snowflake cookies:

Big Snowflake Cookies a

Medium snowflake cookies:

Medium Snowflake Cookies a

Small snowflake cookies.  

Yes, I’m now done with snowflake cookies:

Small Snowflake Cookies a

Chocolate Spritz Cookies:

Chocolate Spritz Cookies a

And Rainbow Cookies:

Rainbow cookies a

And that’s it!! I actually had a few more on my list, but I’m exhausted!  😦

Now I have another million things to do, so I better stop writing.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!

 

Christmas Cookies 2013

I thought I had it all under control this year, but I’m way behind!  So just like last year’s Christmas post, I have no time to write a story.

Now that I think about it, part of this post will be like deja vu, because I tend to make the same cookies each year (with a few different ones, don’t worry).

So, if you didn’t read last year’s post, then you’re fine.

If you did, just act surprised!

Here are the Chocolate Spritz Cookies- with glaze, without glaze, and half-glazed!!

Chocolate Spritz Cookies a

I made chocolate-dipped pretzel crisps to switch it up a little.  Yum!

Chocolate dipped pretzel crisps 2a

Here are my gingerbread men this year:

Gingerbread men 2a

And the Christmas party mix I make for the teachers (I had to make extra because I couldn’t stop sampling.  You know, to make sure it wasn’t getting stale… every few minutes…)

Holiday Chex Mix a

See the tiny marshmallows? I dipped them in chocolate and sprinkles myself!

The low fat Chocolate Chip Biscotti is one of my favorites.  This year I dipped the bottoms in chocolate (yes, this was exciting for me):

Chocolate Chip Biscotti 2a

My really messy 7-layer cookies.  I blame it on my new oven, of course.  🙂

7-layer cookies a

I also made very buttery thumbprint cookies:

Thumbprint Cookies a

And now for the ones that are basically the same as usual:

My favorite– Christmas trees!!  I LOVE these- I think it’s the cutest cookie cutter.

Tree Cookies a

Three sizes of snowflakes:

Snowflake Cookies- small a

Small

Snowflake Cookies- medium 2a

Medium

Snowflake Cookies- large a

Large

I always make Almond Biscotti because, well, it’s probably the only Christmas cookie my husband likes.  

I know, it’s insane.

Almond Biscotti a

And finally, the M&M and Oreo Bark:

Oreo Bark a

And I still have to make 2 more, but it won’t happen any time soon, so I’ll have to post them later!

Happy Holidays!!

Tree Cookies 2a

Lemon Cake

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It’s spring, so I just had to make something lemony!!

Lemon Cake 2a

Here are some facts about this cake:

1) It’s the moistest cake I’ve ever made.

2) It’s hard to describe, other than it tastes good and has a weird texture.

Lemon Cake 4a

3) It’s the kind of cake you want to keep eating, even if you’re not sure why.

Lemon 3a

 4) It’s really easy and fun to make, until you realize you don’t have lemons, the only yogurt you have is low fat, and the only flour you have is whole wheat. That’s when you get stressed out, but you continue with what you have.

Lemon Cake 5a

I wish I could I just cut the top off and eat it all.

 5) It kills hand mixers right in the middle of mixing. (Well, at least that’s what you think, until your husband informs you that you popped a circuit, and the mixer is fine.)

Lemon Cake a

I have no idea how I had the willpower to let the glaze dry before I cut it. I did make myself feel better by eating some glaze with a spoon, though. 🙂

 6) It’s lemony, so of course my husband doesn’t particularly like it. Or at least that’s what he said when he cut his third slice.

 So now that you’ve gotten to know the cake a little better—why don’t you try it for yourself? :)

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Lemon Cake (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

  • 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain low fat yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (I used the kind in a bottle)

For the glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon extract, and vanilla.

Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated.

Pour the batter into a prepared loaf pan and bake  at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan.

While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Low Fat Raspberry Cookies

Let me start off by saying that these cookies were originally named
“Raspberry Strippers.” 

I couldn’t call them that without laughing (how mature), so I changed their name.

Just had to share that.

So anyway, here they are:

Raspberry Strips 2a

I’ve made these cookies many times, and they never disappoint.

They are easy to make, bite-sized, and yummy!

They’re also low fat, which makes them even more appealing (at least to me).

Raspberry Strips a

I thought I was finally done with the craziness of the holidays, but now it’s time to get ready for New Year’s Eve!

We eat lots of appetizers for New Year’s Eve (or hors d’oeuvres if you want to sound fancy), so small cookies would be fun, too!

OK, I’m not saying big cookies aren’t fun.

All cookies are fun.

But I was just trying to make a point.

Never mind…  go make these cookies!  🙂

Raspberry Strips 4a

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Low Fat Raspberry Cookies (adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup raspberry preserves (I use jam instead)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Beat granulated sugar and butter with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended (about 5 minutes).

Add 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla and egg white; beat well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, stirring well with a whisk.

Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, stirring until well-blended. (Dough will be stiff.)

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Roll each portion into a 12-inch log.

Place logs 3 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Form a 1/2-inch-deep indentation down the length of each log using your index finger or end of a wooden spoon. Spoon preserves into the center.

Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove logs to a cutting board.

Immediately cut each log diagonally into 12 slices. (Do not separate slices.) Cool 10 minutes.

Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and almond extract; stir well with a whisk. Drizzle sugar mixture over logs.

Transfer slices to wire racks. Cool completely.

My Christmas Desserts

I haven’t even started wrapping presents.  And I still have a couple of desserts to make.

So there’s no time to write you a story!

Therefore, you’ll just have to look at pictures.

Here are my Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies:

Tree cookies a

I figured it wouldn’t be fun to show my Christmas desserts AFTER Christmas, so I’m just throwing the pictures up here.

Here are big (and I mean big– almost the size of my hand) Snowflake Sugar Cookies. 

Snowflake cookies a

This was the second time I’ve ever piped icing on cookies. Hard work!!

And medium snowflakes:

Snowflake cookies 3a

And little snowflakes:

Snowflake cookies 4a

OK, no more snowflakes.

I also made little brownie reindeer:

Brownie Reindeer a

M&M and Oreo Bark:

M&M and Oreo Bark a

White chocolate fudge (I made it a few minutes ago, so this is the only picture I have):

Fudge a

And Chocolate Spritz Cookies with chocolate glaze:

Spritz Cookies 2a

Gingerbread men (sorry for the bad picture, but I’m running around like crazy)!

Gingerbread Men a

And finally, the Holiday Party Mix I made for all the teachers.  All 15 of them!

Holiday Party Mix a

I have a few more, but I didn’t get to take pictures yet– so I’ll post them some other time.

Time to run…  HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Rum Cake

You know those times when you all of a sudden need a rum cake, and you just don’t have time to make one from scratch?

And you’re out of rum?

Don’t you hate when that happens?

OK, fine, it’s never happened to me either.

But you never know when you might have a rum cake crisis, and you need to be prepared.

This is when I cut it and it was still warm. Mmmmm…

That’s when this post will come in handy.

I love this recipe.  It is soooo easy.

OK, so it’s not made with real rum—but it still tastes like rum! 

And yes, I used a cake mix in there, but I was in a hurry.

But just look at it…  don’t you just want to take a bite?

OK, I hope I helped you through a potential rum cake crisis.

See you next time!

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Rum Cake (adapted from McCormick)

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 1 box of instant vanilla pudding mix (3.5 oz)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 2 Tablespoons rum extract

Beat all ingredients in large bowl with mixer on low to moisten.

Beat on medium for 4 minutes.

Pour into greased 12-cup bundt pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan.

Let cool for 15 minutes in pan.

Remove from pan and pierce with fork.

For Glaze:

Mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 butter and 2 tablespoons water.

Bring to boil on medium heat on boil one minute.

Remove from heat.

Stir in 1/2 teaspoon rum extract.

Pour over cake.

Start eating!

(NOTE:  If you want to use real rum, you can substitute 1 tablespoon of light rum for 1/2 teaspoon extract OR 1 tablespoon of dark rum for 1-1/2 teaspoons extract.)

Light Lemon Cookies

I was away at a farm cottage this past weekend.

Great fun with friends, lots of relaxation, and no baking! 

I know, it was tough.  🙂

But before we left for the weekend, I made these cookies to bring with us:

I’ve made these many times now, and they’re awesome.

They’re tasty, and lemony, and light, and soft… And the best part?

They don’t try to sabotage my baking.  Ever!!

I definitely recommend them.

I make them fairly small, and got a batch of 44.

Are you ready for this??  They were 64 calories and 2 grams of fat each.

I know, I almost fell out of my chair too.

Oh, but there’s one problem- they go fast.

So I recommend you hide some for yourself.

Don’t worry, I won’t tell.  😉

 

Light Lemon Cookies (adapted from Cooking Light)

Cookies

  • 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
  • 7 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/3 Cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  •  1 large egg
  • 1-3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt

Beat sugar and butter at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Add honey, extract, and egg; beat until well blended

In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Stir with a whisk.

Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yogurt (beginning and ending with flour mixture).

Drop 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Glaze

  • 1 Cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Stir powdered sugar and lemon juice with a whisk.

Brush over cookies.

Sour Cream Mini Donuts

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I don’t want to confuse you.

Because all kinds of havoc is created when people get confused about baked goods.

I’ll explain below, but for now, I just want to tell you that even though this recipe is for sour cream donuts, they don’t taste like your typical sour cream donut.

They are kinda chewy. 

With a little Italian Zeppole thrown in.

And some funnel cake.

However, the recipe was for fried donuts, and I decided to bake the first set.  Bad idea in this case. The baked ones are good with glaze, yet I’m not too thrilled with them. 

But I had to show you a picture because they’re cute, aren’t they?  🙂

Now, I never fry anything in my house, but my husband convinced me that we needed to try SOME of these fried.

So he fried the rest of the dough:

And no, these don’t taste like donuts either.

Let’s call them Dough Balls of Yumminess. 

They are best eaten fresh, and warm.  With powdered sugar.  (They’re ok when they cool, but not nearly as good.)

And now to explain why I didn’t want to confuse you.

I’ve experienced some strange situations caused by people who get confused by baked goods.  For example:

Me (handing a person a baked good): “Let me know what you think.”

Person: “It’s ok, but this muffin is a little too dense, so I can’t rate it very high.”

Me: “It’s a cookie cup.”

Person:  “Oh!!  A cookie??  Then it’s awesome! Delicious! I love it!…..”

Well, you get the idea.

So, if you decide to make these fried Dough Balls of Yumminess—please remember:

Not-Your-Traditional-Donut.

Good, now you’ll be fine.  🙂

And I’m off to continue my quest for the perfect baked mini donut.   Until next time…

Sour Cream Mini Donuts (adapted from maryannatwork’s recipe on Food.com)

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg (I didn’t use nutmeg)
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 orange rind, grated

Beat eggs in a bowl.  Add sugar, sour cream, and milk and beat thoroughly.

Sift dry ingredients together 3 times. Add orange rind.

Stir into egg mixture to make donut batter.

Drop spoonfuls of batter into hot oil. Flip over when bottom side is brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Don’t forget the powdered sugar.

Eat while warm and fresh!!

Mini Donuts

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I woke up a few days ago and thought it was a good Mini Donut Day.  The kids each got a few donuts to decorate by themselves, so it also provided entertainment!!  How awesome is that?

I made vanilla glaze, but I thought it was too boring to just do one flavor—

 

So the other half was strawberry glaze.  Yum!

So easy to make.

So cute.

So hard to watch them dry and not pop them all in my mouth.

  

By now you must think I’m a pig.

WeIl, I am. Lol.

OK, I just really really like food. Yeah, I live to eat. Sorry.

Not sure why I’m apologizing—it just feels like the right thing to do.

Anyway, after all that– I was a little bit disappointed with the recipe (from Wilton). I didn’t think it was the greatest. Not bad, though. If you ever try it, let me know.

However, the glaze was awesome.

When is glaze ever bad?? I can eat it by the spoonful.

And I did.

So, are you hungry yet?  🙂