Category Archives: Let’s Celebrate!

Valentine’s Homemade Brownie Truffles

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and one of the most special gifts you can give is homemade!  These brownie truffles are extremely easy and super fun to decorate.  Create a beautiful variety, uniquely decorated with just a handful of supplies.

Valentine Chocolate Edible Gifts

Recipe:

The easy part is using a box of brownie mix baked following the instructions on the box.  The brownies filled a 9 x 9 inch baking pan.  Once removed from the oven, slightly cool, then crumble into a bowl to cool completely.  Create uniform 1 inch balls (easiest using a cookie scoop) and place in an air-tight container until ready to decorate.

Dip each brownie ball into melting chocolates:

There are a few different ways to melt chocolate, but I prefer the double boiler method.  Boil 1 inch of water in a large sauce pan, placing a larger heat proof bowl on top of the saucepan.  This technique prevents the chocolate from scorching.  Once the water is simmering, place the chocolates in the bowl on top and stir until melted.  Note to add 1 teaspoon of Crisco to create a smooth finish.  Roll each brownie ball in the chocolate removing with a fork and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or foil.  A few truffles were decorated with sprinkles or sanding sugars immediately.

I started with a 1/2 cup of white chocolate melting wafers to decorate a quarter of brownie balls.  Then added milk chocolate wafers to the same bowl and mixed with the remaining white chocolate. 

Decoration ideas:

Any leftover chocolate?  Don’t toss it…pipe mini chocolate hearts onto wax paper and let them cool completely.  They will easily peel off to use as decorations.

The undecorated chocolate covered balls were enhanced with glaze.  Starting with plain white glaze – 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon of corn syrup and 1-2 tablespoons of milk.  Mix until a thick, smooth consistency.  Pipe a few, drizzle a few, add a drop of red food coloring to create pink…have fun!

SweetStackers chocolate truffle  storage
SweetStackers homemade Valentine truffles

Once the decorations have set, the truffles should be place in an air-tight container.  Each truffle could be placed in mini cupcake liner to separate.  Give a beautiful gift showing off your little works of art using a pretty container!  This red tin with a clear see-thru lid is perfect!

Sweet Stackers Edible Gift Valentines

Sweet StackersTM is a versatile system used to store and transport layers of baked goods in any container!   The product was designed to maximize food storage space preventing cookies and desserts from sticking together and protecting the topping, decorations or icing.  Visit sweetstackers.com for more information about our product.  Sweet Stackers can be found on our Etsy shop.

Sweet Stackers Valentine Chocolate Gift

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Candlelight Christmas Cookie Table

Merry Christmas from our cookie table to yours!!

Memories are made in the kitchen.  This year’s Christmas preparation has been fun – sharing recipes and coming together with family and friends to create special times and celebrate traditions.  Christmas Eve ended with a candlelit cookie table and the kids even picked out a few special cookies to leave out for Santa.  Hope you enjoyed some of this year’s cookie recipes:

Merry Christmas Sweet Stackers

2014’s assortment of cookies & recipes

Gingerbread Cutout Cookies

layer decorated cookies sweet stackers

Czech Crescent Cookies

Traditional Crescent Cookies

Christmas Spiral Cookies

Sweet Stackers Christmas Spiral Cookie Recipe

Ina Garten’s Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Cookie Assortment Cookie Risers

Kolacky

Cookie Stackable Food Storage

Chocolate Logs

Sweet Stackers Christmas Dessert Dividers

Decorated Gingerbread Cookies

Gingerbread cookies are THE Classic Christmas Cookie!  The aroma fills the house to create the mood of the holidays.  Simple decorations turn these delicious cookies into something festive and beautiful!  Plus, let the kids get excited and decorate the classic shaped Gingerbread Men.

Sweet Stackers decorated cookie storage

Gingerbread Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 ¼ cup molasses
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375°.  Cream the butter and sugar together at high mixer speed.  Gradually add the molasses, eggs and vanilla.  Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg together.  Measure 5 cups even cups of flour.  Reduce the mixer speed and gradually add the flour mixture.  Divide the dough into three portions, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours.

Roll cold dough to about 1/4 inch thick, cut into shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet (preferably lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper).  Bake 6 – 8 minutes.  Larger cookies may take longer.  Cool on a rack and decorate.

The glaze used to decorate (1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon light corn syrup, 1 teaspoon milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract).

Sweet Stackers decorated gingerbread cookies.

Store your decorated cookies in an air-tight container.  Sweet Stackers layer your beautiful decorated cookies to keep them looking beautiful!  The trays and risers are reusable and insert into a variety of containers you may already own.  Decorate your cookies right on the trays and lower them into your container – a great way to save space on your crowded kitchen countertops!  Plus, it makes it easy to transport “hard to transport” cookies, like jam filled or decorated cookies, to a holiday party and keeps them looking great!

layer decorated cookies sweet stackers

Rubbermaid’s 1 gallon Take Alongs container is pictured with Sweet Stackers 7.75 x 11 inch tray set.  Get three layers of decorated cookies in this container!

Visit sweetstackers.com to learn more about this handy product!

Czech Crescent Cookies

My Czech grandma made these Crescent Cookies for Christmas every year. Many other neighboring countries seem to use a similar recipe. Today, I have seen them rolled into balls and named “snowballs” or “pecan snowball” cookies. Either way, these are a very traditional Christmas cookie.  Besides tasting absolutely delicious – they are so easy and require only 5 ingredients!

Traditional Crescent Cookies

Czech Crescent Cookies

1 cup butter

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup pecans – finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla.  Reduce mixer speed and gradually add flour and pecans.

Shape into 1 1/4 inch balls (using a cookie scoop helps keep them uniform!).  Then shape into crescents and roll in a small bowl of confectioners’ sugar.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes until the bottoms turn golden brown.  Once cooled, roll again in confectioners’ sugar.

 

Pecan Snowball Cookies

Don’t let your green sanding sugars get on your jam filled thumbprints, and don’t let your powdered sugar get on your slice and bakes!  Sweet Stackers Stackable Food Storage System insert into your air-tight containers.  Layer your baked goods to maximize food storage space and prevent your flavors from mixing or disturbing the decorations!  sweetstackers.com

Cookie Assortment Cookie Risers

Christmas Spiral Cookies

Christmas Spiral Cookies are so fun and festive for the holiday season!  These homemade slice and bake cookies will certainly stand out in an assortment of Christmas cookies.  A perfect cookie to take to a cookie swap party and impress the guests!

Sweet Stackers Christmas Spiral Cookie Recipe

Spiral Christmas Cookies

yields approximately 30 cookies

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • red gel food coloring
  • 1 1/2 cups sanding sugar

Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and confectioners’ sugar together.  Reduce the mixer speed and gradually add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl.  Add the vanilla.

Split the dough into two equal halves.  Remove half of the dough.  In the other half, gradually add the red food coloring and mix until you reach the desired color.

Rollout each half of the dough between 2 sheets of wax paper or parchment paper into a rectangular shape and 1/8 inch thick.  While in the paper, place the rolled out dough onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

Remove from the refrigerator and place the sheet of red dough on top of the plain dough.  Trim the edges to evenly create a rectangular shape.  Once the dough warms slightly, it can be rolled without cracking.  Roll into a log, pressing out the air in between the layers.

Roll the log in a pan of green sanding sugar.

Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Heat the oven to 325°.  Slice the log with a sharp knife about 1/4″ thick and place on a baking sheet for 14 – 16 minutes until the cookie is lightly browned.

PartyKitchen Christmas Spiral Cookies

Store in an air-tight container and they will be fresh until Christmas!

Sweet Stackers Holiday Spiral Cookies

Sweet Stackers convert your air-tight containers to multi-level using stackable corrugated plastic trays.  Visit my website http://sweetstackers.com for more information about our product, get more ideas on how to use our product or find the right size trays that will fit a plastic storage container that you already own!

Sweet Stackers Stackable Cookie Trays

Cookie Assortment Cookie Risers

Pumpkin Pie Filled Kolacky

This traditional Czech/Polish pastry has acquired an American twist!  Kolacky (or Kolaches) are cookies traditionally filled with a variety of fruit, poppy-seed or cheese fillings.  My family serves them at most holiday dinners and they are the perfect bite-sized treat after any feast.  This time, I made them with a homemade pumpkin pie filling.

The baking season has really kicked in this week since I was invited to attend the Chicago Food Swap this weekend.  The Chicago Food Swap is an organization that meets monthly to swap homemade and homegrown food in the Chicago area.  No money changes hands and it is free to participate, plus it is a great way to form friendships and trade inspiration.  I am baking a few varieties of goodies in preparation for this event.  My baked goods will be stored and transported using Sweet Stackers.  Special for the November swap, I will get to showcase my Stackable Food Storage System and even raffle Sweet Stackers as a door prize.

These homemade Pumpkin Pie Kolacky are on my swap list and I will probably be making more for Thanksgiving dinner.

Pumpkin Kolacky

Click to get my PartyKitchen Kolacky Recipe

Pumpkin Pie Kolacky Filling

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

  • 2 tablespoon sugar

  • pinch of salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 tablespoon egg, beaten

  • 1 tablespoon milk

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Place a teaspoon dollop of filling on kolacky dough.  Bake in 400° oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cookie storage container

Sweet Stackers – economical and versatile system to convert your containers to multi-level and maximize food storage.  The Stackable Food Storage System allows you to store and transport layers of baked goods in one container.  Available in 4 trays sizes made to fit major brand food storage containers.  Visit sweetstackers.com to learn more about this product.  Sweet Stackers are available to purchase on Etsy.

Cookie Stackable Food Storage

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

October is National Cookie Month!  Aside from baking this delicious recipe, we are also celebrating with a Sweet Stackers Facebook GIVEAWAY!  This is the perfect chance to try out a NEW way store and transport layers of baked goods in one container.  Sweet Stackers are designed to fit major brand containers and are versatile, reusable and economical!  Imagine storing your Christmas cookies and holiday desserts neatly.

Check out our video of storing these frosted Pumpkin Cookies using Sweet Stackers…

So visit the Sweet Stackers Facebook page to enter in this easy contest!  A winner will be picked on 10/16/2014.  Now back from the commercial break and onto this perfectly delicious cookie recipe to celebrate the fall season!  Who wouldn’t like the combination of spicy pumpkin and the lightly sweet cream cheese frosting?  It will be hard to only eat one!

SS Frosted Cookie Storage

Pumpkin Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars together at a high speed.  Add the egg, vanilla and pumpkin.  Turn the speed of mixing down and gradually add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder.  Stir in the pecans.

Using a cookie scoop, drop a tablespoonful of dough 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are golden brown.

(note: after 10 minutes, I removed from the oven and gently pressed the cookies flat with a flat spatula, otherwise the cookies are puffed like a pillow.  Bake for an additional 2 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.)  Let cool completely.

For the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese.  Reduce speed to low and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.

Frost the cookies and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Sweet Stackers Layer Cookies

Sweet Stackers are a great way to store your baked goods in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent them from sticking together!

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint cookies are NOT just for the holidays!  In fact, they are perfect for summer when the berries are harvested.  By preserving summer berries, we are able to enjoy them year round.  These thumbprint cookies are so easy, using a handful of ingredients and buttery delicious.  Use any flavor jam, but the homemade sweet U-Pick Raspberry Preserves are the perfect topping!

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies Homemade Preserves

Raspberry Almond Thumbprint Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • ½ cup raspberry preserves (or any flavor jam)

 

Using and electric mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar on high.  Add the almond extract.  Lower the mixer speed and gradually add the flour.  Refrigerate the dough for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Make an indentation using your thumb in the center of each ball.  (I make two thumbprints at 90 degree angles, to make a better circle)  Fill each center with about 1/4 teaspoon of preserves or your favorite jam.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.  Remove to a cookie rack.

Sweet Stackers Jam Filled Thumbprint Cookies,

Sweet Stackers – No matter what time of year, Sweet Stackers come in handy to store jam or jelly filled cookies.  Thumbprints are very popular holiday or Christmas cookie.  You don’t want to mess up the jam toppings or have them stick to other cookies!  Sweet Stackers convert your air-tight containers to multi-level using corrugated plastic stackable trays.  They are an inexpensive storage solution and can easily be wiped down and reused.  Visit sweetstackers.com to learn more about this product or shop on Amazon or my Etsy shop.

Look!  3 dozen cookies without a sticky mess in 1 container!

Sweet Stackers Cookie Storage Trays

 

 

Star Spangled Tartlets

Happy Independence Day!

This is the perfect dessert to take to your 4th of July parties or BBQs!  The little tartlets are star-shaped and filled with red cherry filling and blueberry filling.  Very patriotic!  Sweet Stackers made it easy to store the bite-sized desserts stacked and in one container without messing the tops.  They are ready to transport to a party!

Homemade Blueberry Filled Tartlets

The tartlets were very easy to put together because they were made from refrigerated pie crust.  Preheat the oven to 350º.  Rollout the dough.  Using a 2.5 inch star cookie cutter, the star-shaped dough pieces were gently pressed into a lightly greased mini-muffin tin and baked for 7-8 minutes.  Remove the little tartlet cups to cool.

Star Shaped Pie Tartlets

The tartlets can be filled with any flavor pie filling.  But, to keep with the patriotic holiday, I wanted to alternate red and blue filling.  I actually had some cherry pie filling on hand and I filled half of the tartlet cups with a little dollop of cherry.  Then I made a batch of homemade blueberry filling.

Blueberry Pie Filling

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 TB corn starch
  • 2 TB butter

Place all ingredients in a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened.  Remove from heat to cool.

 

Once the remaining tartlets were filled, the following cream cheese filling was piped on top.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter , softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Using an electric mixer, on high, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.  Lower the speed and add vanilla, then gradually add the sugar.

SweetStackers Star Spangled Tartlets

 

Sweet Stackers are a handy way to store bite-sized desserts and cookies in one container to maximize the container space.  The stackable trays convert your food storage container into multi-level.  Tartlets fit perfectly in two layers in a 3″ deep container without messing the filling or having them stick together.  Visit sweetstackers.com for more details on the product, sizes available and where to purchase them.  Great thing is that they are reusable and ready to use for your next summer party!

Hope you enjoy the holiday with your family & friends!

Fairy House Birthday Cake

The spring fairies must be visiting my garden!  The flowers are blooming and my daughter has been busy building fairy houses in our yard.  She just turned 7 and to celebrate, I wanted to make a fairy house cake for her party.

A few years ago, I bought a beautiful story book called Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane.  It was about a little girl who went into the forest on an east coast island to build fairy houses made only out of natural things.  My daughter enjoys the idea so, that we still go on walks to collect sticks, bark, rocks and even seashells on vacation.  You may not collect anything living.  She then builds these cute little homes for the fairies, tucked into hidden places in our gardens.  I thought it would be very fitting if she had a fairy house cake for her birthday!

Chocolate Fairy House Cake

The idea was to make the cake look like a tree stump fairy house.  It had 4 layers of chocolate cake, two 9″ layers of dark chocolate boxed cake mix and two 9″ layers of german chocolate cake mix.  The layers were alternated light and dark to add interest when you cut into it.

The chocolate ganache frosting was very simple to make.  I was inspired by a recipe from Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman).

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 24 ounces bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Heat the heavy cream until very hot (not boiling) and add the chocolate chips.  Stir over heat until completely melted.  The mixture will turn smooth deep chocolate color.  Remove from heat and pour into an electric mixer bowl.  Refrigerate until completely cooled, but do not let harden.  After 2 hours, the bottom of the bowl was just slightly warm to the touch.  I added the vanilla and started to beat the chocolate using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Tree Stump Fairy House Birthday Cake Detail

The chocolate ganache frosting filled between each 9″ chocolate cake layer and the sides of the cake.  I covered the sides of the cake and then stroked from the bottom up to create the look of bark.  The door and windows were a graham cracker, cut with a knife to shape.  They were trimmed with a tube of orange decorative cake icing.  The vines were piped using a tube of green decorative cake icing.  The edible sugar flowers were packaged by Wilton.

Butterscotch Pudding Chocolate Ganache Fairy House Cake

To vary the color of the top of the cake, I made a box of butterscotch pudding and spread this over the top of the cake to look like the inner part of a tree.  The fairy figurine that adorned the top of the cake was purchased at a local craft store.  A piece of wax paper was placed down underneath to separate her from the cake.  The fairy figure will make a neat keepsake on my daughter’s bedroom shelf after her party.  The springy butterfly party plates napkins matched perfectly!

Happy Birthday!  Stop growing so fast!!