Tag Archives: recipe

Spring Daisy Spritz Cookies

Bring on Spring!  We are finally getting a break from this crazy harsh winter.  It was so nice to bake with bright sunshine and some fresh air filling the house.  My daughter is having a Daisy Girl Scout Investiture Ceremony tonight and I wanted to make a special little treat for our troop.  These Daisy Spritz Cookies will be perfect to celebrate!

Spritz Spring Daisy Cookie storage

Spritz Cookie Recipe

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift the flour and baking powder.  On high speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract.  Lower the mixer speed and add the flour mixture slowly until combined.  Fill the cookie press (I love my Wilton Cookie Press!) with dough and place the desire disk in.  Press cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Back for 10-12 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.  Place on a cooling rack.  Makes 7-8 dozen cookies.

Girl Scout Daisy Cookies

Once cooled, I decorated the daisy center with the Girl Scout Daisy blue center.  Just like the first patch they earn when they can recite the Girl Scout Promise.  The centers were iced with a dollop of glaze (1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon corn syrup and 1 tablespoon of milk) and dyed with two drops of blue food coloring.  Blue crystal sugars were sprinkled on top.

Sweet Stackers Decorated Daisy Cookies

Sweet Stackers are pictured in an air-tight Rubbermaid Take Alongs container.  Create 3 layers of cookies in this container.

Sweet Stackers elevate your baked goods on stackable trays in your container.  Decorate your cookies right on the trays, place the risers carefully in between and stack the trays without messing the decorations right in your container.  Dry the icing with the lid off, then store  with an air-tight lid to keep them fresh.  They are ready to transport to your event! 

Sweet Stackers are reusable, economical, versatile and fit a variety of containers that you probably already own – visit www.sweetstackers.com for more information.

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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!

Coconut Key Lime Bars

Most of the time, I bake from scratch.  But there are those times when you need a quick dessert.  I always keep a couple of cake box mixes in my pantry and tada…we have super simple dessert bars!  The marshmallow crème makes a tasty and easy topping – a bit of sweet to complement the tart lime flavor.

PartyKitchen Coconut Key Lime Bars

Coconut Key Lime Bars

  • 1 box of Pillsbury Key Lime Cake Mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
  • 2 cups of sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup of marshmallow crème *

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9 x 13″ pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, butter and 1 ½ cups of coconut.  Spread evenly in pan and bake for 19-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges turn golden brown.  Let cool.

Sprinkle remaining ½ cup of coconut on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 6 minutes, watching carefully until it is lightly toasted.

Spread marshmallow crème in a thin layer over the dessert bars and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

*note:  could use fresh whip cream or Cool Whip as a topping

Sweet Stackers KLB Squeeze Risers  SweetStackers risers squeezed between dessert

Layer baked goods in one container using Sweet Stackers!  This stackable food storage system insert into major brand food storage containers.  The trays are available in 4 sizes and the risers come in two sizes for either cookies or dessert bars.  They can even be squeezed flat in between bars or brownies.  Why not layer cookies and brownies in the same container?!

SweetStackers dessert storage solution

Stack the dessert tray over the bottom layer and they are ready to go!

sweetstackers.com

SweetStackers layer bakery

Czech Chicken Paprika

Old world recipes can be very difficult to pass on from generation to generation.  Back in the day, recipes were not written down and made from memory.  Since they weren’t written down, you just add a little of this and a little of that until you get the “right consistency” and if not you add a little more of this and that.

As I grew older and took interest in cooking, I wanted to learn from my Grandmas how to cook their traditional meals.  I didn’t want to see these recipes lost forever.  Funny thing, as I look back it seemed like some recipes were a big family secret.

Today I made one of my favorite main Czech dishes and transcribed the recipe with measurements.  Measurements are a bonus because some of the old cook books that my Grandma owned listed ingredients without measurements.  I think you were just supposed to know what to do!

This recipe is so easy and the gravy is absolutely delicious!  Gravy always seemed to be so daunting to make from scratch…but really it is easy!

Traditional Czech Paprika

Czech Chicken Paprika

  • 2 TB cooking oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 8 pieces of chicken (breast & thighs with skin on)
  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 TB paprika
  • S & P

Chicken Paprika Gravy

  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 TB paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, add cooking oil and onions over high heat.  Cook until the onion softens.  In the meanwhile, salt and pepper chicken pieces.  Place in the pot, skin side down.  Cook until the skin is browned scraping the bottom of the pot, then flip and brown the other side.  Add 8 cups of water to cover the chicken and bring to a boil.  Cook chicken in boiling water for one hour.  Reduce the heat, transfer chicken to a platter and strain the juice. (I use a slotted spoon to get little pieces out)

For the gravy, whisk flour and water in a small mixing bowl, getting all of the lumps out.  This will create a paste.  Whisk the paste into the large pot of chicken juices, constantly whisking until the gravy comes to a boil and it will slightly thicken.  Add sour cream, continuing to whisk to get any lumps out.  Then season with paprika and salt.  Let gravy simmer for approximately 10 minutes.  Place the chicken back in the pot to heat through.

Serve chicken pieces on a large platter with a gravy boat filled with hot gravy.  Traditionally this would be served with dumpling.  But it is also delicious with egg noodles.

 

 

 

Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

My dream is to have a lemon tree someday!

There is nothing more summer than a refreshing glass of lemonade.  Maybe this is a silly post to some people, but I have never made freshly squeezed lemonade before.  On occasion, I have resorted to buying the powdered or frozen forms of lemonade.  Never again, because it is so easy to make your own!

Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

  • 1 cup of lemon juice (approximately 6 lemons, squeezed)
  • 1 cup simple syrup
  • Pitcher full of water

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water.  Heat until the sugar dissolves (do not boil).

In a large pitcher, add the lemon juice and simple syrup.  Then completely fill the pitcher with more water and ice.  Everyone’s taste buds are different, so you could add more simple syrup if you need it sweeter or more lemon juice if you need it more tart.

Note: to cut back on sugar, I dissolved ½ cup of sugar in 1 cup of water. 

I infused the lemonade with a couple of ripped leaves of basil in my glass and a garnish on top.  I am sure you could do this with other herbs too!

What do you add to your lemonade?

 

 

Homemade Pasta Bolognese

This is one my “go to” recipes for a weekly meal.  My version of Pasta Bolognese has a bunch of veggies too!  There is one unusual ingredient that gives it a ton of flavor – balsamic vinegar.  The balsamic vinegar gets caramelized a bit on the bottom of the pan.  Then you can scrape all of the goodness stuck to the pan and incorporate it into the sauce.  Plus the smell is amazing as this is simmering away!

Homemade Bolognese Sauce

Homemade Pasta Bolognese

  • 1.5 lbs. ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 – 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs or fresh herbs to taste

Brown the meat over medium heat in a large sauce pan.  When almost cooked through, add the onion and carrots.  Continue cooking until the veggies are soft.  Add green pepper and garlic.  Once the meat is browned and the veggies have been cooked, add the balsamic vinegar.  Let the balsamic vinegar cook down a bit and it will start to caramelize.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits.  Add the tomatoes and sauce.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer down for at least 10 minutes….or longer.

I usually add cooked pasta right into the sauce and toss with the sauce.

Enjoy!

Fresh Herb Greek Yogurt Dip

Hooray for Summer and the kids being off of school!  It was a great day to pick some fresh herbs from our garden.  All of our radishes were ready to harvest too.  This fruit & veggie plate made for a super healthy afternoon snack with my girls on the porch.  We didn’t limit ourselves to veggies, we even tried it with peaches and plums.  I love it when they at least try a new veggie they wouldn’t eat before!

I don’t think you can get any healthier than this dip!  It is only made from Greek Yogurt (which I think has the same taste and consistency of sour cream).  I chopped some fresh chives, thyme and dill and added a little salt to taste.  The kids were pleasantly surprised that they liked it!

 

Fresh Herbed Greek Yogurt Dip

Fresh Herb Greek Yogurt Dip

1 cup Greek Yogurt

1 TB chopped dill

1 TB chopped thyme

1 TB chopped chives

S & P to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve with veggies and fruit.

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!!

 

Lemon Garlic Baked Chicken

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Baked Chicken should have been title of this dish!  So easy, so tasty and just a handful of ingredients.

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Lemon Garlic Baked Chicken

  • 2 large chicken breasts with skin on
  • 2 lemons; one sliced thin and 1 squeezed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh green beans

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Prepare baking dish and drizzle bottom with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Layer the lemon slices on the bottom of pan and place chicken on top.  In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and S&P.  Toss the green beans in mixture and pour over the chicken.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked.  About half way cooked, spoon juices over the chicken to baste.

Serving suggestion – serve with pasta tossed in the lemon garlic juice from the chicken bake.

 

 

Homemade Toaster Pastries & The Cookie Thing

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It was quite a chilly day, a perfect day for baking!  I finally got to try a new kitchen tool that I actually won in a giveaway a couple of months ago.  I can already tell it is going to come in very handy next month for holiday baking.  This new tool, called The Cookie Thing, is designed by Susan Butler.  Quite a clever invention to aid in getting a perfectly uniform rolled dough.  It can be tricky to ensure that each batch of cookies is the same thickness!

The package I won came beautifully wrapped containing the roller and 4 different sized measuring boards.

IMG_3064

Toaster Pastry Dough

2 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 sticks of butter, cut into ½-inch dice

6 – 8 tablespoons ice water

Pulse the flour, salt and sugar together in a food processor to combine.  Add the butter and pulse 10 more times.  Add 6 tablespoons of water and pulse 3 more times.  The dough should come together and not be sticky.  Divide the dough in half and shape into a disk.  Wrap in plastic and place in the fridge for at least two hours.

For today’s baking project, I used the thinnest measuring boards to roll dough for homemade toaster pastries.

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Cut the dough with a rectangular shaped cutter or knife approximately 4″ x 3″ (I used a toaster pastry press).  Place the bottom layer of dough flat on a cookie sheet.  Add 1 tablespoon of filling and spread leaving a ½ inch border.  Brush the border with egg.  Place another layer of dough on top and crimp the sides to seal all the way around.  Place the pastries in the refrigerator for another half hour.

Bake in a 350º oven for 25 minutes, until the crust is golden.

The fun part about toaster pastry is that you can use a variety of fillings.  Today I used big spoonful of apple butter.  But preserves, peanut butter, hazelnut spread would all be delicious!

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The pastry is so buttery and crunchy.  A classic American treat and so much tastier than the store-bought brands!