Sunday, December 31, 2017

Lemon Cutouts

For Kati I also decided to stay away from chocolate. I focused specifically on lemon since I remembered that she likes limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur (like my mom, she has happily embraced being an Italian-by-marriage). When I came across Lemon Cutouts in a Taste of Home Best-Loved Cookies & Candies magazine, it seemed perfect: a couple years ago for my birthday, she, Anthony, Kevin, and Helen got me a set of cookie cutters but I hadn't yet had the opportunity to use them. Until now.

Vanilla Wafer Cookies

Because I'm a chocoholic myself, I tend to gravitate for chocolate recipes when choosing someone's gift if I know they like chocolate. So for Kevin I decided to look at vanilla recipes. I eventually chose Vanilla Wafer Cookies in the Taste of Home Christmas Cookies 2012 magazine. (For some reason my thinking was "Ooh, wafers, just like in Kit-Kat bars." More like the Nilla Wafers you can get in the cookie aisle. Oops. Oh well.)

Citrus Shortbread Cookies

With the exception of my dad (more on that in another post), I like to change things up every once in a while when picking out recipes. Which means that because the last two cookies I made my mom had coconut in them, her Christmas present was going to be something different. I decided on citrus because I know she likes those flavors. In an effort to use more than just what I've pinned, I took to my recipe magazines and cookbooks before coming across Citrus Shortbread Cookies in the Betty Crocker Best Desserts 2011 magazine.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Biscotti

It's that time of year! Time for me to wear out myself and my KitchenAid mixer in order to give the best gift I can think to give: baked goods. Picking recipes out is often hard because even when I have specific flavors to go off of, there are a lot of options in the form of cookies, brownies, etc. Still, I somehow find recipes for everyone.

Nonni's was a bit easy. I decided to make her something with coconut in it. I do have a few coconut recipes saved for her and Mom on Pinterest so I looked at those before deciding on Coconut Chocolate Chip Biscotti from Desserts Required.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pumpkin Cake

Last week we had a potluck to celebrate the end of the fiscal year and reward ourselves for working hard and doing a great job (I have a feeling this'll be the last potluck for a while). Because it's fall I decided to make something pumpkin flavored. After a bit of debate over what kind of dessert to make (bars, cookies, cake, cupcakes...) I finally decided on making a cake since I hadn't made one in a while and I wanted to use up the the last of the caramel cream cheese frosting (based on some of the pins on my Pumpkin/Fall board, caramel goes just as good with pumpkin as it does with apple). I finally decided on a Pumpkin Snack Cake from Kitchen Meets Girl.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Apple Pie Macarons with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Between last year and Pinterest, I was able to remember that Chiara is a fall megafan. Since she was recently in Paris I immediately decided to make apple pie macarons and use what I could of the caramel frosting (from July) as the filling. One problem: I couldn't really find a good macaron recipe that had apple pie spice in it (I finally broke down and got a container off Amazon). You'd think it'd be easy; however, most recipes I came across either had another source for the apple flavor in the macarons (like freeze-dried apples - no idea where to find those) or had the apple flavor in the filling instead of the shells. Finally, I found a recipe on The Macaron Queen for apple pie macarons.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Chocolate Chip Blondies

A couple weeks ago we had a dessert potluck at work. Because it was a bit last minute I decided to stick with brownies or bars: quick to bake, usually makes enough for lots of people. Rather than turn to Pinterest or the internet I turned to my cookbooks (with a limited amount of eggs and butter, it would be quicker to skim the recipes for what I had). I grabbed 500 Best Cookies, Bars, & Squares and started looking at the brownies and bars sections, eventually settling on Chocolate Chip Blondies since I had all the ingredients (or so I thought).

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Easy Dinner Rolls

A couple years ago for Thanksgiving my mom asked me to make the rolls. I chose a biscuit recipe that required cutting butter into flour, something I'd never done before. Since I didn't have a pastry cutter I just used two knives (as suggested by food blogs and recipe sites). I thought everything was going great until it was time to put the dough on the baking sheet.

And that's when the breakdown began, as I discovered that there was still chunks of butter in the biscuit dough (I tend to cry like a child when I get frustrated, especially when it's something that shouldn't be hard). So I tossed the dough and asked my mom to make a last minute run to the grocery store (surprisingly she found some). (Over the last year and a half that I've been watching Food Network regularly I've discovered that I didn't screw-up - there's supposed to be chunks of butter. If I remember correctly it makes the bread fluffier). So last year when Mom asked me to make the rolls again I decided to stick with a yeast dough since I'd made some before and was successful. I found some very fluffy dinner rolls from Recipe Girl. They were a hit! So much so that Kati asked me to make them for Easter when she and Anthony hosted. I can't remember why I didn't do a blog post either time - forgot to take pics I guess (something I do from time to time since, you know, I don't do this daily like a normal food blogger). So when I needed rolls for myself, I knew exactly which recipe to look for.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

As I stated at the end of my chocolate macarons recipe post, I had a ton of caramel cream cheese frosting left over. So after a while of it sitting in my fridge. I decided to make chocolate whoopie pies and use the frosting as the filling. It didn't take me long to find a recipe: a while ago I bought a whoopie pie recipe book at Barnes & Noble. So I pulled it from my (barely used) recipe bookshelf and found a recipe for chocolate whoopie pies (not hard to find as it was the first one. Based on the recent Portland, Maine, episode of the Food Network show I Hart Food, chocolate with marshmallow filling is the original whoopie pie flavor). I mainly chose whoopie pies because a few years ago I got a whoopie pie pan at Kohl's and I've only used it once. Plus, these things are pretty easy to make.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Egg Yolk Cookies

I try not to be wasteful when it comes to food. So when I made my macarons I didn't want to just throw out the 5 egg yolks that were leftover. While researching the correct way to make macarons last year, I came across a Q&A on Food Nouveau that included some ideas for using up the yolks. I decided to keep it simple and make Egg Yolk Cookies from

Chocolate Macarons with Caramel Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

When I made the Fireworks Cookies & Cream Cookies for work I had a ton of eggs leftover plus 4 oz. of cream cheese. So I decided to try making macarons again using the same method that I had used last time. For the cream cheese the only solution I could come up with was cream cheese frosting to I started looking at every cream cheese frosting recipe on my Pinterest Frostings board until I found one on Wicked Good Kitchen that only required 4 oz. of cream cheese (and for once, I stayed with the first one I found instead of saving it for consideration). Because it was a caramel frosting I decided to make chocolate macarons since caramel is one of the many things that goes deliciously with chocolate. I finally decided on a chocolate macaron recipe from Diethood.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Fireworks Cookies & Cream Cookies

A few years ago I had a temp job gave employees a 4-day weekend because the 4th of July was on a Thursday that year. They probably did the same this year since the holiday was on a Tuesday. My current job isn't that generous (government/federal jobs must be like this in general since I had to work the day after Thanksgiving when I had a temp job at a bank one year). So to make up for it I decided to make some patriotic cookies to take into work on Monday. After looking at my patriotic treats Pinterest board (because really, where else do I have to look? 😏) I decided on Fireworks Cookies & Cream Cookies from Inside Bru Crew Life.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Girl Scout Thin Mints (homemade)

My brother Kevin, like nearly everyone else in the country, loves Thin Mints. It's kinda my dad's fault: come Girl Scout cookie selling time, he'd only buy Thin Mints (and of course immediately put them in the freezer. Dad likes everything cold but this was the one thing that we agreed is better when cold). Kevin even asked me to make the Thin Mint Gooey Cake Bars just for him for his birthday a few years ago because he'd like them so much the first time I made them for everyone. So this year I decided to make him Thin Mints (thanks to the internet, there are a lot of homemade Girl Scout cookie recipes). I looked through my pins and finally settled on a recipe from This Grandma Is Fun.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Chocolate Velvet Cake

Last weekend we had a family birthday party for Kevin and Declan. I offered to make something so my mom said I could make the birthday cake. Kevin and Declan both wanted chocolate cake so I started looking through my thousand or so chocolate cake pins. I eventually decided on a chocolate velvet cake (yes, velvet, as in red velvet but without the red food coloring. Apparently there's a velvet cake for all colors/flavors. I now have a Pinterest board for them) from Add A Pinch.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Strawberry Coconut Cake Mix Cookies

For Mother's Day this year I knew I had to do something simple. Auntie Vicki was having a brunch and my mom wanted me to make the orange pound cake I'd made her a couple birthdays ago (the night Anthony and Kati announced their engagement). Because I would be limited on time I decided to look at what kind of cookies or bars I could make with a box mix (I have no idea who it was that first came up with the idea to doctor box mixes but I will never not thank that person. The recipes are great when I'm short on time). For the flavor I decided to make something with coconut (I can't seem to not make something for my mom with coconut. Not that she's complaining) and that was strawberry flavored. The latter I did for two reasons: 1) I love strawberries and I know she's not picky about what flavors her treats are and 2) my dad (for whatever reason) hates strawberries so even if what I picked didn't have coconut, he'd stay away from them. I eventually settled on Strawberry Coconut Cake Mix cookies from The Frugal Girls.

(P.S. I know it's been two weeks since Mother's Day. My first excuse was that iCloud wasn't working so I couldn't get the pics on my iPad to make the collages. My second excuse is that I've been hesitant to do certain things lately. Like cut cable and switch to paid streaming services like Netflix.)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

I've never really had the popular lemon poppy seed flavor. If I'd had, it wasn't memorable. So for my next Sunday breakfast (after the waffle recipe I made in high school cooking class - one of my faves!) I decided on something lemon poppy seed flavored. I also decided on bread because I had mentioned to my family that I don't have a loaf pan and Kati said "Take some of ours! We got more than we need for wedding gifts." So I now have two loaf pans. I searched all the sources I have and finally decided on a recipe from the Joy of Baking website (I swear, this was one of the most decisive moments I've ever had. So quick to pick the flavor and type).

Sunday, March 26, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Double Post: Irish Shortbread and Mint Sugar Cookies

I didn't just make pretzel bites for our day of St. Patrick's Day performances; I also made Irish shortbread. Amber had asked me one day if I knew how to make Irish shortbread and I said no but I could most likely follow a recipe for it. This basically got the idea in my head that I had to make it for St. Patrick's Day.

My original plan was that I would make a batch then divide it in two: half for performance day and half for work. But I ended up only making about 8 so I figured I'd make something else for work. So I turned to my cookbooks for a sugar cookie recipe (since I wanted to give my hard copies some attention). At the end of performance day, though, I had almost the same amount of shortbread that I'd started with. So I still made the sugar cookies and took both to work on St. Patrick's Day.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Homemade Pretzel Bites

Last year, after an almost 8-year absence, I finally returned to Irish dance. Coincidentally, it was with the same school that I had been with for my first 7 years; it was just under a different director/teacher as my former teacher/the school's founder had somewhat retired from Irish dance (Amber, the new director/teacher, knows Anne through homeschooling so that's how that happened). The day I returned was St. Patrick's Day, a Thursday, with 3 performances.

Apparently, this was a relaxing day compared to their usual (a lot had changed since I left, apparently; I only remember doing a recital when we went through Kent Parks & Rec). This year was more the norm: a weekend full of performances.

To prepare for a day of driving around from performance to performance, I decided to make some snacks for the road (this was also because I didn't know if/when we would eat lunch nor when we would eat dinner). Because of my continuous pretzel kick, I decided on pretzel bites. I even searched for a spider strainer to easily remove the bites from their boiling water bath as I knew the wooden slotted spoon I had wouldn't be effective (finally found one at Bed Bath & Beyond).

Lemon Brownies

I've noticed on Pinterest that lemon seems to be a popular flavor of Italian baking. While it could be argued that most of the food bloggers who call lemon cookies "Italian cookies" don't know what they're talking about, I choose to believe them since my mom and sister-in-law both love the Italian liqueur Limoncello (a.k.a. lemon). So I guess I wasn't too surprised when my mom recently told me that Anthony loves lemon. And while I was indecisive at first, I decided to make him lemon brownies for his birthday. I'd always wanted to make them so why not for my brother's birthday present?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Funfetti Cookie Dough Balls

Ever since she was a little girl, my cousin Carly has loved sprinkles on her ice cream. I remember every year in Chelan, there'd be a container of the stuff in the cabinets that her parents had brought. It's pretty much the only topping she'd have (it's possible this has changed as she's gotten older and she's added chocolate syrup or something but I'm a horrible person who doesn't pay attention so I'm not sure). So when picking out her 16th birthday present, I decided to stick with sprinkles (a.k.a. funfetti). Since I was on limited time and ingredients, I also looked at no-bake posts on my Pinterest boards (because apparently I have no other sources for recipes...) and finally decided on edible cookie dough. Because what teenager/person doesn't like edible cookie dough?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been a bit lazy lately. I have no idea why. All I've wanted to do is sit and watch TV and play as much Cookie Jam as I can. Granted, I have still done some chores and most of the regular stuff I need to do (laundry, weekly grocery shopping) but I probably could be doing more. My only theory is that I (finally!) started my new job in January after almost a year and a half of unemployment. I guess my homebody side isn't getting enough TV and computer time anymore? Anyway, I'm trying to change that. Nothing to do with a belated New Year's resolution (I don't really make those anymore); just mad at myself for not doing much. Hence why this Valentine's Day recipe is over a month late.

Now, on to the (first of many) recipe(s that I'm posting this week)!

Some of my new co-workers decided to have a dessert potluck on Valentine's Day. Being the indecisive person that I am, I first went back-and-forth between doing something or not (I'm always a bit nervous about baking for others). When I finally decided to make a contribution I then couldn't decide what to make. Eventually I decided on red velvet cookies because what other color says Valentine's Day?


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