Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lemon Cookies

As much as I love chocolate (baking with it AND eating it), sometimes it's good to mix things up and bake something different. And if I can't bake with chocolate, I might as well bake with fruit - like lemon. Over the years I've begun to like lemon-flavored foods and that includes these lemon cookies that my mom found online last year and made for Christmas. I guess they were such a hit because she added them to our list of what to bake. I volunteered to bake them, not realizing that they'd be a little more complicated than I originally thought. No problems - just time-consuming.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

'Tis the season to be baking! Since the 1st of December, my mom and I have been steadily baking, making at least two different types of cookies per week (all of which have gone into the freezer to keep fresh for Christmas). My mom made a list of what she wanted to make this year and it was pretty obvious who was making what: some were for her to make (like the Russian Tea Cakes/Mexican Wedding Cakes that I don't care for) and others were for me to make - like Peanut Butter Blossoms. I've always loved making these. What's not to like: Hershey's Kisses + peanut butter = yum!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Rolo Fudge

Other than the cheesecake, my mom wanted me to make something else, particularly with chocolate. I kinda wanted to make this Rolo fudge that I came across a couple years ago and made last year (I think for our Labor Day get-together but I can't remember). So I decided to make it, even though my mom felt it was too rich for Thanksgiving (um, what?). The recipe is from a blog called Shugary Sweets. The blogger there actually made Rolo Turtle fudge, also adding chopped pecans. Because of Carly's allergy and my preference for nut-free baked goods, I just left the pecans out and doubled the amount of Rolos (at the suggestion of the blogger, which was in response to my comment about not liking nuts). These were also a hit on Thursday.

PHILADELPHIA 3-Step Pumpkin Cheesecake

On Halloween my mom went to a family friend's house for dinner and dessert. One of the desserts was a pumpkin cheesecake, which my mom just loved. She brought a few slices home for us and she was right - it was delicious! I think the family friend got it at Costco, but Mom wanted me to make it for Thanksgiving. So last week I started my search. After a while I remembered the obvious: the Philadelphia Cream Cheese website. So I searched there and found a few choices, finally choosing the 3-step cheesecake since it would be quick to make on my pre-Thanksgiving, double-baking day.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Sometimes you wanna bake just because. Yesterday was one of those times. Earlier this month I got the urge to bake cupcakes while watching Cupcake Wars (honestly, this never really happens). I decided on Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting since it's fall and I kinda prefer pumpkin-flavored things to apple-flavored things (cream cheese frosting just sounded like a good partner for pumpkin). So while I was looking for cupcakes for my grandma's birthday, I kept an eye out for pumpkin ones. I had to wait a few weeks because my parents (although it might just be my mother) fulfilled a long-time wish and got granite countertops in our kitchen (with subway tiled-walls to match), leaving the kitchen unavailable for baking. Finally the kitchen was (somewhat) back to normal by this weekend so after a little searching par deux, I found a unique recipe in Taste of Home's Cupcakes for Every Season (released in spring 2011).

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chocolate Town Syrup Cupcakes

My family is all about birthdays. Sure, we don't go all out and hold big blowout parties for each one, but we do get together to celebrate them. And that includes the only member of my mom's side of the family who lives up here in the Puget Sound: my grandma. Her birthday was last week and as always, we had dinner this weekend to celebrate it. We decided to go to Vince's Italian Restaurant in Renton. Because we were going to a restaurant, my mom suggested it'd be easier for me to bake cupcakes that we could hand out for dessert instead of having a cake to cut. After some searching through all of my cookbooks and recipe magazines (there's at least 3 dozen of them), I finally decided on the Chocolate Town Syrup Cupcakes from the Hershey's 1934 Cookbook (an updated version published in 1971). The recipe didn't include a frosting so I just purchased a can of Duncan Hines Whipped Chocolate at the store (frosting has always been hit and miss for me so this was for the better). I tried to decorate the cupcakes fancily with a pastry bag but, well, that didn't work out. One more try next time and then I'm sticking to my new frosting motto: you can't go wrong with a can and a spreader.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cake

I love my cousin Carly. She's one of my favorite people. She's sweet, creative, and loves to hug. That being said, there's one thing I don't like about her: the fact that she's allergic to peanuts. As much as I don't like baking with nuts as an ingredient, I LOVE peanut butter and baking with it. Except I can't choose a recipe with peanut butter when picking a recipe for family gatherings (which isn't a problem: there are plenty of peanut butter-less recipes). So when my parents decided to have friends over yesterday - no family - I jumped at the chance to bake something with peanut butter. I started in the Reese's recipe folder of my bookmarks and came across this simple chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting from Dulce Dough.

Monday, August 26, 2013

S'mores Bars

My dad's other sister and her family live in Charlotte, NC, so we rarely see them. Usually in July (coinciding with Chelan). This year, things were a little different and they came yesterday, about a month later than normal. My parents invited them and the rest of the immediate family over for dinner. When picking out a dessert, I decided to do s'mores since A) it's still summer and what says summer more than s'mores? and B) National S'mores Day came and went and I did nothing for it (one of these days, I'm gonna find and make recipes for each national day/week/month that celebrates sweets). For some reason, I didn't realize how many choices there were for s'mores-themed recipes. So I decided on a specific type of dessert and eventually found these S'mores Bars on Mandy's Recipe Box.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Brownie Cookies

Recently we lost our beloved Auntie. She was like an extra mom/grandma to many of us. Tomorrow would've been her birthday so to honor her, we got together to celebrate. (It's not like we just spent a week together in Chelan or anything. Oh wait...) I was asked to bake something so I focused on bars or cookies since there's about 2 dozen of us. After a brief search (i.e. randomly grabbing magazines and cookbooks from my baking shelf until I found a recipe I could do), I decided on Brownie Cookies from the Crazy About Cookies cookbook. Even though the recipe yields at 18 cookies, I figured if I scooped out smaller amounts, I could at least double the amount. (I did :P)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Best Banana Bread

I'm not that big of a produce eater. Fruit and veggies - not my thing on a daily basis. So of course I didn't notice or care when we got back from a week in Chelan and several of my dad's bananas were brown. And because we try to waste as little as possible, Dad asked me to make banana bread with them (as opposed to throwing them in the trash or food waste). I started searching before my mom told me about the recipe that she uses from the cookbook that her godmother's church put together with recipes from members and their friends, including my mom's godmother and her banana bread recipe.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cake Mix Cookies

A couple years ago my family and I went to Boston for a week. On our first night, we were walking around when I came across Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip cookies. I took a picture as a reminder to look up the recipe and make them. Flash forward to a couple weeks ago: I hadn't yet made them but when I came across them at Safeway, I grabbed a container. Holy deliciousness! (which didn't really surprise me - in my opinion their chocolate chip cookies are better than any Nestle Toll House recipe that I make.) When my mom asked me to make the dessert for our night to make dinner during our extended family's annual vacation to Chelan, I tried to find a cookie or bar recipe that would be great for 20+ people. I started looking at the dozens of recipes that I've bookmarked (no cookbook/magazine = one less thing to bring) and came across one for Cake Mix Cookies from Sweet & Simple. This sounded perfect since it would mean fewer ingredients to bring from home and less time in the kitchen mixing it up. I decided to turn them into bars because it would mean even less time in the kitchen (no having to wait for a dozen cookies to bake at a time) and they could be cut into any number of bars.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pepperoni Pinwheels

About a week ago my parents randomly decided to have a post-4th of July party with friends. My mom asked me to make Pepperoni Pinwheels for an appetizer. I got the recipe 4 years ago at my cousin's high school grad party (her mom and sister had made them and I asked for the recipe). A week later, I made them for Kevin's high school grad party. I've also made them every Christmas Eve since as well as for other events. They're very addicting so it's probably best to multiply the recipe to make more than the 2 dozen you get in one batch. I always use pizza sauce for dipping.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Thin Mint Gooey Cake Bars

Apparently Kevin had wanted lasagna for his birthday, not burgers and hot dogs like a couple weeks ago. So tonight we got together to celebrate Father's Day and so Kevin could have his birthday lasagna. I was asked to make something for dessert for the both occasions. I decided to make something with Thin Mints since both everyone likes Thin Mints (especially my dad, who didn't want to make a big deal out of the day) and since I had bought a box specifically for baking with. After some searching, I found this recipe on the blog Picky Palate.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Maryann's Chocolate Layer Cake with Chocolate Syrup Frosting

Last weekend we celebrated my brother Kevin's birthday and our cousin Declan's birthday. I volunteered to make Kevin's cake. Of course, he wanted chocolate. Because I wouldn't have a lot of time to make it (the celebration was the day after Relay for Life) I figured I'd compromise and use a cake mix as a base. I went to two of my baking cookbooks, The Cake Mix Doctor and its follow-up, and found a good one in The Cake Mix Doctor Returns. Because Kevin often has a bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup, this one seemed perfect.

Vanilla Cake

My cousin Matteo is one of the coolest 12-year-olds I know with one flaw: he doesn't like chocolate.

Crazy, right?

For some reason I didn't know this until the topic of celebrating his recent birthday came up. I volunteered to make his cake and asked for an idea of what kind of cake to make him. She told me vanilla because he doesn't like chocolate. It took me a while (nearly all vanila cake recipes I found were for cupcakes and I'm not expert enough to translate baking times from one size to the other) but I finally found a vanilla cake recipe (I almost just decided to make a white cake and add a couple tablespoons of vanilla to it).

Don't pressure me

(I will follow the blog of anyone and everyone who knows the song that the title came from)

Let's face it, my last attempt at blogging didn't go very well. Not opening up in real life doesn't always translate to opening up online. Plus there was always pressure (that I put on myself mainly) to write a post at least once a week or so, followed by the guilt that came with not posting.

But this time is different. This time, I'm focusing solely on baking and I'm going to try to not feel guilty if weeks go by and I don't post. I may not bake a lot but when I do, I try to bake something apart from your basic, everyday chocolate chip cookies and cake and brownies from mixes. And these recipes are something that I wanna share.

Sure, I might have personal posts, but for the most part, this is a recipe blog. Enjoy!


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