Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lemon Cookies to soothe my soul

Long time no see, huh? No, I didn't drop off the face of the planet (though at times, it sure felt like it). It has been two weeks since my last post, which makes me sad. My family has been going through a lot over these past two weeks, though, and I just haven't had the time do bake or to post. To give you the abridged version....I *may* have breast cancer (we'll find out after my biopsy later this week), my daughter was in the ER because they *thought* she had a serious blood platelet disorder (turns out she didn't), I had to take my Mom to the hospital because she *thought* she had a heart attack (turns out she didn't), and so much more!

So, the first "free" moment I had....I landed myself in the kitchen.....baking lemon sandwich cookies. YUM!


These were easy to make and they are delicious! If you like lemon (or love it...the way we do), you'll definitely have to try these. If you don't like rolling dough into a log, you could easily roll it out flat and use a cookie cutter. If that isn't your thing either, you could just roll the dough into balls in your hands and flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Either method should warrant great (and yummy) results.

Lemon Sandwich Cookies
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Icing (filling)
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp lemon extract
1 cup powdered sugar (I used a little more than this, but you can do it to your desired consistency)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, lemon zest, and salt until combined. With mixer on low, add flour (dough will still be stiff and somewhat crumbly); finish mixing with a wooden spoon.


Turn half of the dough onto a piece of foil or plastic wrap, bring two opposite edges of the foil up and form a log. (Repeat with second half of dough) Wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour (and up to 3 days).


Unwrap dough; cut into 1/4" slices. Place 1 inch apart on two baking sheets; sprinkle with granulated sugar, if desired. Bake until barely beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes; transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

While your cookies are cooling, you can make the filling/icing. Mix ingredients together until desired consistency.

Form sandwiches: Place about 1 teaspoon filling between two cookies, sugared sides facing out; squeeze gently.

I ended up getting about 20 sandwiches out of this recipe.....though I rolled my dough pretty fat/thick, so if you made longer, skinnier logs, you could easily get more than that....but we like big, fat cookies!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Lunchbox Brownies

Do you know what makes "lunchbox" brownies? Well, until yesterday, neither did I. But here is what I learned:

Lunchbox brownies are not too cakey so that they go stale, but they're not too fudgy so that they make a huge mess. They sit comfortably in the middle. Evidently, the middle is good.

According to my hubby (self-renowned foodie) these are just the very best brownies he has ever put in his belly. He actually demanded that I make another batch "as soon as possible.....which means today" (since the first batch is already gone, partly due to him and partly due to our Family celebration yesterday)

brownie,chocolate,chips,dessert,white chocolate,milk chocolate

This is his first brownie from this batch. My hubby loves whipped cream, can you tell?

Now, I did follow the recipe exactly.....until it came to the "additions". I threw in (no kind of actual measurement) some milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and a little chopped pecan. Yummy.

This recipe was super easy to make and pretty quick. It makes a full 9 X 13 pan, so enough to go around a decent size crowd (or a couple of serious brownie lovers). They aren't too rich that you have to eat a teeny piece, but they're fudgy enough to satisfy the chocolate lover. A really good and happy medium.

Wanna make them? Here ya go:

Lunchbox Brownies

1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 C sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously butter a 9 X 13 pan; set it aside

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, powder, and salt until well combined. Set aside

3. Place the butter and chocolate in a bowl and put in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat at 15 second intervals until chocolate is completely melted. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. (You can also use a double boiler to melt the chocolate and butter together, if you prefer)

4. Beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture with a whisk or with an electric mixer at medium speed (I recommend the electric mixer, you'll see why in just a second); continue beating until the mixture is well-blended. (About 6 minutes by hand or 3 minutes with the mixer) Beat in the eggs one at a time, allowing each to be thoroughly incorporated before adding the next. After beating in the third egg for 1 minute, beat in the vanilla.

5. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Do not beat, although the batter will be very thick. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it gently to the corners.

6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Set the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool for 30 min - 1 hour.

7. Cut and serve. This will make 24 - 2 1/4 X 2 1/8 brownies.

*After cooling completely, you can wrap with plastic wrap and they'll stay fresh for up to 2 days. If you wrap them (individually) tightly with wax paper and seal in a freezer-safe bag, they can freeze for up to 4 months (allow them to thaw at room temperature before serving).

**To vary this recipe:
Whisk one of the following spices into the flour mixture - 2 tsp cinnamon; 1 tsp ground mace.
Add one of the following flavorings with the vanilla - 2 tsp banana extract; 2 tsp orange extract; 1 1/2 tsp maple extract.
Stir in 1 1/4 C of any of the following mix-ins (or 1 1/4 C of any combination of the following) with the flour mixture - chopped candy bars; honey-roasted walnuts; chopped malted milk balls; chopped pecans; chopped hazelnuts; cocoa nibs; crumbled Oreo cookies; dried blueberries; dried cranberries; milk chocolate chips; peanut butter chips; white chocolate chips; pinenuts; Raisinets; shredded coconut; shelled sunflower seeds; plain or chocolate-covered espresso beans; or just about anything you love!

I leave you with a bite:

brownie,chocolate,chips,dessert,white chocolate,milk chocolate

If you feel like sharing....I'd love to know what makes your ultimate brownie? Fudgy? Cakey? What do you like in your brownies?


PS) Don't forget to enter to win Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook here.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The best Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry muffins are a classic. Practically everyone has had at least one in their lifetime. Well, I have seen (and now tasted) the best blueberry muffins....ever.


Blueberry Muffins with Pecans

Delicious. Trust me. The best blueberry muffins....ever.

First, I don't think I've ever had a blueberry muffin with pecans in them. Another thing, these babies have another addition - a brown sugar surprise....baked in. Yummy.

The recipe I found didn't say how many muffins would be made, but I was able to get 12 regular size muffins and this cute little ring, too.


The ring would serve another 4 - 5 people, I'd say. Though, if you wanted to stick to all muffins, you could easily get 15 - 17 muffins out of the batter.

The inside is so wonderful! Baked to perfection, honestly. There is a nice blend of cinnamon with blueberry and pecan. Wanna see the inside? Here, I tore a piece of the ring just for you:


See that pecan? See the yummy blueberries. Delightful.

Wanna try them at your house? Here you go baby:

Blueberry Pecan Muffins with Brown Sugar

2 C flour
1 C sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C chopped pecans
1 C buttermilk
1/2 C oil
1 Xtra lg egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 F

Combine flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon, salt, and pecans in large bowl

Whisk buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla in small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir just until combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Refrigerate batter for 10 minutes before scooping into the muffin liners.

Mix 1/2 C packed dark brown sugar, 1 Tbsp flour, and 1 Tbsp softened butter with fork until crumbly. Sprinkle about 1 tsp over each muffin. Top with additional pecans (if desired).

Bake muffins for about 20 minutes or until toothpick test is clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or cold.

*The brown sugar mixture will sink into the muffins and create little pockets of deliciousness. You could easily skip that step if you don't want the pockets.*


PS) Don't forget to enter to win Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook here.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mmmm - Cheesecake

Let me tell you how much I love cheesecake.

Cheesecake can make me happy after a horrible day. Cheesecake can make me smile while I'm crying. Cheesecake makes me feel loved. There. I said it. Eating cheesecake makes me feel loved. So, it is only right that I love it back, right?

Well, no matter which side of the fence you're on for that one, I'm sure you'll love this:

cheesecake,peanut butter,dessert,cake
Peanut Butter Swirl Cheesecake

This, my friends, is like eating a little (or giant, either way is fine with me) piece of Heaven! Now, as much as I love cheesecake....I love peanut butter, too. Putting the two together is, well, I'm at a loss for words, honestly. It was just fabulous!

*Just a small note from me: The recipe called for 2 cups of peanut butter for the swirls. I followed it exactly and ended up with close to 1 cup of it left over. So, the next time I make this particular recipe, I'll be cutting that part in half. Otherwise I think it would be way too overpowering, but that's just me.*

Not to mention....did you notice that there is not a "normal" cheesecake crust on that baby? Nope, that is SPONGE CAKE for the base! Yeah, I thought that might be a little weird, too, but NOPE! Delicious! Really.

All that topped with whipped cream, drizzled with peanut butter topping, and sprinkled with some milk chocolate chips. Absolutely delightful. Mmmmm.

I came across this book: Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook and had to buy it! Well, I have some seriously fabulous news for all of you.....I love this book so much that I want you to have it, too! (Well, at least one of you)


So, here is another giveaway for all my wonderfully gorgeous (yeah, I don't mind a little butt-kissing every now and then) readers, my friends. There are 50 To-Die-For Recipes for New York-Style Cheesecake found in this book. Awesome.

From the Peanut Butter Swirl to Pumpkin Swirl. From Key Lime Mousse Cheesecake to Creme de Menthe Cheesecake. Even Tiramisu Cheesecake!

Alright, alright....I know you're sitting on the edge of your chair wondering how you're going to get to enter this giveaway, right? Well, here ya go:

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. Thanks!

1 - Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite kind of cheesecake is (mandatory)

2 - Follow my blog (or just post if you're already a follower)

3 - Follow me on Twitter (see right-hand column for a button)

4 - Twitter about this giveaway (leave me either a permalink or your user name)

5 - Blog about this giveaway (leave me a link)

*You can tweet once daily and post each time you do for extra entries*

Please be sure to leave your e-mail address or that your profile has your e-mail address accessible. Thanks!

Comments for the giveaway will be accepted through May 31st at 8 PM Eastern. Winner will be announced shortly there after.

For now, I leave you with a nibble:
cheesecake,peanut butter,dessert,cake


PS) I'll post the recipe soon for those of you who'll be wanting to try this out!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I was so very excited to include a "Cuppie Social" in our last FFNOW event! We had bakers contribute their favorite recipe and bake a dozen (or in some cases more) to share!

I ended up baking FIVE dozen cuppies to share at the event! It was fun, but a bit overwhelming, honestly. I pulled out a book that I have never consulted before, 125 best Cupcake recipes. I was pleasantly surprised. There are a lot of great recipes in there....125 to be exact. :)

Okay, so I baked the French Toast cuppies, Chocolate Mint cuppies, Chocolate Chip Cookie cuppies, Banana Nutmeg cuppies, and the Chocolate Peanut Butter cuppies. All of which were good....but the French Toast cuppies were FAB-U-LOUS! Really. If you like french toast or maple in general, those are for you!

Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry that I didn't get to take pictures of all the cuppies, which makes me sad. But I was able to get a picture of the Chocolate Mint cuppies before we went....and I had a couple left over that made it home with me, so you get pictures of those too!

Chocolate Mint with Chocolate Mint buttercream and a junior mint on top!

Chocolate Chip Cookie cuppie with Chocolate buttercream dollop in the center!

Banana Nutmeg cuppie with powdered sugar sprinkled on top - delightful!

French Toast cuppie - we split it open and doused it with some more maple syrup and sprinkled it with powdered sugar - just awesome!

Some of the other cuppies that were there:
Pineapple Upside Down cuppies
Pina Colada cuppies (which won the grand prize)
Jones soda cuppies
Strawberry Ice Cream Cone cuppies

I'll get the recipes up here for you all lovely people soon.


following DOES pay off (and other news)!

Sheesh - it's been a long time, yeah? I can't believe it has been 10 days since my last blog and I've missed you all!

With Syndel in the National American Miss Ohio State pageant (which is upcoming), I've been very busy with taking her out to get sponsorship, getting her dress and outfits together (which I'm having custom-made for her), training sessions, etc. It really never ends.

Also, we took another trip to the Zoo Friday with some good friends of ours. We spent nearly the entire day there (from 11 AM to 5 PM). It was a total blast! Syndel accidentally fed the zoo map to a goat, who then split the map in half with the other goat. Sharing isn't over-rated, even for goats, I suppose. A baby cheetah tried to eat Syndel, not once, but twice (thank goodness for high fences and zoo keepers). I also learned how to tell apart male red-crested cranes from female ones......evidently, if they're digging in their own butts, they're male (according to Syndel anyway). Overall, it was a very eventful day with lots of interesting happenings.

Here are a few pictures from our recent trip to the zoo:
So pretty!

We LOVE all the beautiful flowers around the Zoo!

Syndel being silly in the Children's Zoo (part of the Zoo)

Just MOMENTS before that goat stole Syndel's Zoo map! If only we knew why that goat was getting so snuggly with Syndel through that fence! *tee hee hee*
PS) For those that might be concerned, I went and got a zoo keeper in fear that the goat would get sick. We tried grabbing the map back and he just wasn't going to give it up. The zoo keeper said that it happens at least once a day and that the goat would be just fine. :)

Thursday was full for me also. I am President of a local network of WAHMs (FFNOW) who get together and do "quarter auctions" for fun....and to raise money for local charities (Starfire and the Norwood Service League). I'm the auctioneer, so I definitely keep busy throughout the entire event.

Anyhoo - onto the real reason that following me DOES pay off.......The winner of "The Only Bake Sale Cookbook You'll Ever Need" is a follower! AND, her comment to say, "Hey, I'm a follower" is the one that counted!

Congrats Rose! I've already e-mailed you, so as soon as I get your address, your book will be on it's way!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered! It was a lot of fun!

I'll be baking this week, so I'll have more goodies up for you to check out! Also, more giveaways are coming soon!!!


Saturday, May 9, 2009

IronCupcake: Earth (Savory #1)

Ok, so I didn't win April's challenge....but that is fine by me. Thanks to everyone who voted - it was a lot of fun!

May's IronCupcake: Earth challenge is SAVORY! I thought I'd have a little trouble with this one, since I focus mostly on sweets....but I wanted to give it a nice effort.

I give you......Meatloaf Cuppies!

I know, I know.....it just sounds weird, doesn't it?

I created little cuppies of meatloaf first, yes, in my cuppie pan.

Then I whipped up a nice creamy batch of my Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes for the "icing". Diced up some green onions for "sprinkles"......

VOILA! Meatloaf Cuppies

If you'd like to know, they were fantastic! I always make meatloaf with mashed potatoes.....almost like it is a sin to eat meatloaf without mashed potatoes. Honestly, I don't know why I feel compelled to have the two together. Anyone else out there have something weird like this they want to share? Do you always eat your meatloaf with mashed potatoes? Would you feel normal not eating meatloaf with mashed potatoes....or is it just me?

Well, anyway, they were tasty. Confused Syndel (Ceryse didn't care, she'll eat [literally] anything) to all-get-out, but delicious.

Want a nibble? Here ya go:

Our May ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from artists:
A sweet cupcake ID bracelet by INSANEJELLYFISH
something sweet and dangly from CHERRYCREEKCHARMS
a sweet surprise from Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Cupcakery

PLUS, IronCupcake:Earth can not forget our good friend, CAKESPY, who is now going to be doing a piece for our winner each month until further notice - sweet!Last and certainly not least, don’t forget our corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson, JESSIE STEELE APRONS,TASTE OF HOME books, a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM.
Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by

Oh, yeah! By the way - don't forget to enter my giveaway going on NOW through May 12th!