Raspberry Crumble Bars

raspberry crumble bars4

Happy Friday!

Well, it’s not entirely happy for me. In some crazy sleep deprived fog I foolishly decided to give up sweets for lent. I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s been two days and already the gummy sour bunnies that live in the center console of my car are screaming my name. I’m already planning my easter basket. It’s going to be epic.

But just because I’m unhappy, doesn’t mean you have to be. You can make these Raspberry Crumb Bars. Please make them, for those of us who cannot.

raspberry crumble bars3

 

This recipe is really simple and can be easily tweaked. If you’d prefer blueberry or strawberry jam you can easily substitute. I also use this amazing granola in the topping, but if you don’t have some readily made (or you ate it all last night) you can use a good store bought brand.

raspberry crumble bars2

 

The shortbread crust is buttery, yet somehow light, and the fruity jam and nutty granola combine for the perfect bite.

raspberry crumble bars5

I made these for the first time for a meeting of my moms group. There are about nine of us moms who have babies around the same age and we try to get together once a week for play dates. It’s so much fun to get the babies together and watch them interact. But the best part is, we always have dessert.

raspberry crumble bars

It’s awesome. Once a week you can look forward to dessert (and a glass of wine!) in the middle of the day. It’s pretty great. In fact, I’ve thought seriously about being one of the people who nurses their kid until they are like, a tween, just so I can continue to use the excuse, “I’m breastfeeding” when eating my second bar. And also use it an excuse when I take tiny slivers out of a third slice until I’ve basically eaten the whole thing. Don’t worry, if you’re not nursing there are plenty of other reasons to eat these delicious, crumbly bars….”Having friends over for dinner!” “Just finished the laundry!”  ”It’s Tuesday!” …you get the idea.

raspberry crumble bars6

 

I’ll be thinking of those tiny slivers for the next 38 days…but who’s counting?

Enjoy!

Recipe: Raspberry Crumb Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 -1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces raspberry jam (I like the kind with seeds) OR USE THIS
  • 1 cup  Coconut Maple Granola (or store bought granola without dried fruit)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed just until combined. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla.
  3. Sift the flour and salt together and, with the mixer on low, slowly add to the butter mixture, mixing until it almost comes together in a ball. Turn the dough out on a board. Lightly pat two-thirds of the dough evenly on the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan and about 1/4-inch up the sides. Spread with the jam, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Mix the granola into the remaining dough with your hands. Break the dough into small bits and distribute it on top of the jam, covering most of the surface. Bake the bars for 45 minutes, until lightly browned.
  4. Cool completely and cut into 9 or 12 bars.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

 

Baked Strawberry Donuts with Strawberry Sugar

Baked Strawberry Donut

I’m baaaaaaaaack! Hey guys! Remember me? I’m the one who abandoned you and left you recipe-less for the past 7 months. I’m sorry, I really am, but I have a good excuse! I gave birth to the most beautiful, perfect, amazing little boy in the whole world and I have been spending every waking (and there have been a lot!) moment staring at him, playing with him, and planting so many kisses on him I have perma-chapped lips. So, I’ve let other things slip. I constantly have a pile of laundry that isn’t done. Ponytails are my best friend. Don’t even get me started on how much spit up I let cover my shirt before I consider it “dirty.” And, I haven’t really been keeping up with things in the kitchen – all I can say is thank goodness for Trader Joe’s and the Thai place down the street! But, all that is about to change – it’s about time don’t you think? I know my husband does – no matter how hard I try I can’t get him to consider cereal dinner.

It’s Valentine’s Day and I have a whole lotta love this year. More than ever. So, I need something to show that love. Clearly, the answer here is doughnuts.

Baked Strawberry Donut

Strawberry baked donuts with strawberry sugar. If that doesn’t sound like love I don’t know what does! These donuts are light and airy, sweet and sugary, and in true SSB fashion – “healthified” (only 2 tablespoons butter?!) so you can have one for breakfast AND dessert :)

Baked Strawberry Donut

I was racking my brain to come up with the perfect Valentine’s Day recipe. I knew I wanted something sweet, and I couldn’t get donuts off my mind…but how could I make them Valentine-y? That’s when it hit me – strawberry sugar. And the secret to this amazing pink stuff is…freeze dried strawberries. You can get them in the grocery store, usually with the dried fruit, or, if you happen to have a box of Special K Red Berries lying around the house, get diggin’!

Baked Strawberry Donut

The perk to this method is that you get to snack while you are picking out the berries! However you do it, you need about a half cup. Set them aside for later and get cooking.

Baked Strawberry Donut

 

Whisk dry ingredients together and in a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients except strawberry jam. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until moistened. Then, stir in the strawberry jam. The strawberry jam is your secret weapon in this batter. It adds a little color, a little sweetness, and lots of strawberry flavor. If you are lucky enough to have your mom’s homemade strawberry jam in your fridge, complete with chunks of strawberries mixed in, I highly suggest using it :) If not, any store bought brand will work!

Baked Strawberry Donut

 

You do need a donut pan for this recipe. I got mine on Amazon and it has been well worth the few bucks I spent. The best way I’ve found to get the batter in without making a huge mess is a good old ziplock bag. Just snip off  a corner and pipe away.

Baked Strawberry Donut

After you finish baking these pillow-like cakes, it’s time to set up your decoration station. Sugar. Butter. Donuts.

Baked Strawberry Donut

Make sure the donuts have cooled slightly or they will absorb too much butter (although some may not think that is a bad thing!) and the strawberry sugar will melt right on and turn red. It probably will do a bit of this anyway so I suggest second dusting with a spoon or if you want to get really fancy, a powdered sugar shaker.

Baked Strawberry Donut

Make these for the ones you love. Make them for your coworkers. Make them for your kids. Make them for yourself. Just make them! ‘

 

So happy to be back. Enjoy!!

Recipe: Baked Strawberry Donuts with Strawberry Sugar

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • For strawberry sugar:
  • 1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray doughnut pans with baking spray.
  2. Into a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in strawberry jam.
  3. Fill donut pans almost to the top. Bake for 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then tap the doughnuts out onto a cutting board.
  4. For the topping, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in shallow bowl. To make the strawberry sugar, combine sugar and freeze dried strawberries in a food processor and process until a fine sand is created. Pour into a shallow bowl. Dip each doughnut first in the butter and then in the strawberry sugar, either on one side or both sides.

 

 

White Peach and Olive Oil Cake

Hey there!

It has been HOT here lately. Like, escape to the movies, eat all meals in an air conditioned restaurant, run to Target for a kiddie pool HOT. So, I’ve been switching up my normal routine. Instead of my early morning gym sessions that are the norm, I’ve been waking up and enjoying hanging out and getting things done around the house while it’s not too hot yet. I open the doors and windows and twiddle around the house before I start sweating. It’s the only time it would be possible to turn on the oven. So yesterday morning before my hubby even woke up, I had this cake baking in the oven. Not a bad way to wake up, huh?

It’s no secret that I love all fruit, but white peaches are especially delicious, especially this time of year. They are really sweet and pair perfectly with the olive oil in this cake.

Look at that batter! The olive oil tuns the batter such a rich shade of yellow. If you’ve never had an olive oil cake, prepare to fall in love. The olive oil makes the cake turn out incredibly moist and gives that cake a TON of flavor. Just make sure you use a good olive oil that you like the taste of (I suggest giving it a taste plain, first) because you will really taste the olive oil in the finished product.

When making this cake, you toss the peaches in olive oil and sugar, so when you are whisking the dry ingredients in, that batter might seem a touch dry, but don’t worry. Once you add the peaches the olive oil and sugar juice that you created will thin things out to the perfect consistency.

This cake bakes in a 9×13 baking dish for only about 30-35 minutes, so it’s prefect for early morning baking because it’s done before you’re so hot you just have to turn that oven off. :)

The cake fluffs up perfectly. It is moist, crumbly, fruity from the peaches and the olive oil, and rich in the absolute best way thanks to the delicious olive oil. It’s a perfect summer treat. I thought it tasted great with a hefty dusting of powdered sugar on top, too. :) Plus, if you bake it in the morning, it is totally acceptable to eat it for breakfast ;)

Enjoy!

Find the original recipe here. The only change is using white peaches instead of yellow. You can use either, but I like the extra sweetness of the white peaches.

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

If you think “Healthy Cookie” is an oxymoron, well…you might be right. But there are definitely cookies you can feel way less guilty about eating, and this is one of them! In fact, I’ve eaten about 20 over the past couple days and haven’t had a single twinge of guilt. Perhaps it’s because my belly is already bursting with what the doctor predicts to be an 8 pound baby (eek!) …but still. :)

The combination of chocolate and cherry is a no brainer. I also firmly believe that any cookie containing oats can be eaten for breakfast without a second thought. Don’t you agree??
When you are mixing the batter up, you may be a bit worried (like I was) that there won’t be enough moisture, but just keep stirring and things will come together.
Usually, I don’t think it is too big of a deal to skip the “refrigerate for one hour” step in cookie baking, especially if you are in dire need. And truthfully, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you did skip it here, BUT I will say it makes a difference. Especially because you are using chopped chocolate, which, if you don’t refrigerate it first can get a little too melty during baking.
These cookies are sweet and hearty. Snag one before your morning workout and you’ll have an extra boost of energy to get you through. Or grab a couple after dinner for a guilt free dessert. Or snack throughout the day and say you are “keeping the baby’s energy up.” It’s a totally legitimate excuse. ;)
Enjoy!

Recipe: Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat milk
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine flours and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk.
  3. Combine melted butter and brown sugar. Add sugar mixture to flour mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add cherries, vanilla, milk and egg; beat until combined. Fold in chocolate. Refrigerate 1-3 hours. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes or until almost firm. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.
Adapted From Cooking Light

Cinnamon Apple Cake

Hey there!

Happy Friday! Hope you are looking forward to a wonderful weekend! It is supposed to be warm and sunny in the Bay Area and I’m looking forward to being outside and soaking in some rays. Until then, I’ll be eating this cake!

Don’t you just love having people over for dinner? I do! The other night we had some friends over for dinner and it was so much fun. I was in charge of the main dish and dessert. I went for an apple theme because I purchased a giant bag of apples before I left for Chicago (smart move I know) and needed to use some up. So I went with pork chops and applesauce for dinner and I spent hours trying to find the perfect apple dessert. Sometimes when I have people over, I tend to go a biiiit overboard or try to be too fancy. I was looking at some seriously complex (and don’t get me wrong, delicious) looking apple desserts, but then I came upon this ridiculously simple apple cake and for some reason just went with it.

Wouldn’t you know, this dessert received RAVE reviews from the dinner guests! Sometimes simple is best! I also didn’t mention a peep to the guys who were going on and on about how delicious it was that it was both low fat AND whole wheat! Muahahahahaaa! (ßmy sneaky laugh!)

I think one thing I did that made my guests (and me!) swoon over this cake is that I used really good cinnamon. For Christmas, I got some “boutique” spices from my mother in law which I use all the time. You don’t have to go scouring your local gourmet shop for ceylon cinnamon, but you should use a good quality cinnamon, preferable one that hasn’t been sitting in your spice cupboard since Full House was running new episodes.

Another trick is to really cream the sugar, butter, and cream cheese. I let mine run on medium high speed for about 5 minutes. This leaves you with a ridiculously airy batter and in turn, a light and fluffy cake! It’s also really important to let your butter and cream cheese come up to room temp before mixing. Don’t even try melting or defrosting in the micro. Just be patient!

After you cream the batter, gently fold in the dry ingredients and then the apples coated in lemon, cinnamon and sugar. Pour in a spring form pan and sprinkle with more cinnamon & sugar mixture. Make sure to grease the pan well so it doesn’t stick!

You may want to leave the house while this is baking to avoid being so entranced by the smell that you pull it out of the oven and dive in to a half-baked cake with a spoon.

You can serve the cake warm or at room temperature, and it goes extremely well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Incidentally, it also serves as a fantastic breakfast. J

Enjoy!

Recipe: Cinnamon Apple Cake

Ingredients

  • • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • • 1/2 cup stick butter, room temperature
  • • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • • 6 ounces block-style reduced fat cream cheese, softened (about 3/4 cup)
  • • 2 large eggs
  • • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • • 4 cups chopped, peeled apple (about 3 large)
  • • Cooking spray
  • • juice of 1/2 a lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Beat 1 1/2 cups sugar, butter, vanilla, and cream cheese at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flours, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, beating at low speed until blended.
  3.  Combine 1/4cup sugar and cinnamon. Combine 2 tablespoons cinnamon mixture, lemon juice, and apple in a bowl, and stir apple mixture into batter. Pour batter into a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.
  4. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack, and cut using a serrated knife.



Strawberry Mint Sorbet

Hey! No April foolin’ here – this Strawberry Mint Sorbet is a quick, easy, and super delicious treat you’ll want to make no matter what the weather is where you live. I say that because I’m about to head to freezing cold Chicago from sunny, warm California, but I might just make a batch of this to eat while snuggled up in a sweatshirt and blanket!

The best part of this recipe? Besides how amazing it tastes of course.. It’s only 3 ingredients!

The second best part? It only takes one simple step to come together! Just crab your food processor, toss everything in and blend away!

You want to let the berries thaw at room temperature for about 20 minutes before processing. Then, you’ll end up with a fantastic smelling strawberry mint crumble.

Don’t worry, no one will judge if you try a bite ;)

Drizzle in 1/2 cup water and you’ll get the base of your sorbet. It’s basically like a sweet, minty, fresh strawberry slurpee.

Stick it in the freezer for at least an hour and serve. Fresh, fruity, homemade sorbet that is better than any you could buy in the grocery store or pay $3 a scoop for in the ice cream shop.

Enjoy!!

 

Recipe: Strawberry Mint Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 1 16oz bag frozen strawberries, thawed at room temperature for 20 minutes
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor and process until you get a crumbly consistency.
  2. Drizzle in 1/2 cup water and process until smooth.
  3. Freeze in a shallow container for at least 1 hour.

Guinness and Jameson Cinnamon Rolls

Yesterday I was issued a challenge. My friend Mike sent me a link to this recipe saying nothing but, “Thanks in advance.” Now, I’m not one to back down from a challenge, but as soon as I looked at the recipe I dropped everything and started baking.

And that’s what you need to do right now. Drop everything. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. And bake. More specifically, bake these.

These will be the perfect way to start off your St. Patrick’s Day!!

Enjoy!

Find the recipe here.

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake

Hey there!

 Did you have a good weekend? I did! On Saturday we went to an engagement party for two of our very good friends, Alex and Stephanie. It was so much fun! We got to meet lots of family members from both the bride’s and groom’s families. Don’t you find weddings to be way more fun when you know lots of people??! :) I also discovered I am going to need to take some serious dance lessons before this wedding! The bride and groom have many Latin relatives who can turn circles around me on the dance floor. I swear one of the bride’s aunts taught Shakira all her moves. It was amazing…and intimidating! Good thing I have a year to learn! Everything at the party was fantastic, including the food! But the best part was the end of the night when the cupcakes came out! Well, they were actually like mini bundt cakes. Ohmygoodness! These things were mind blowing. There were lots of flavors, so naturally, I tried them all! We had a thing going with a few of my friends where we each took a bite and passed it around. You may think that’s weird, but think again. It is the absolute best way to try multiple flavors of baked goods! Eating one whole cupcake is so last year.
By far, my favorite was strawberry lemon. Lemon cake with really chunks of strawberry floating throughout. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. So obviously I set out to recreate it first thing Sunday morning. The only problem? I didn’t have any strawberries! So my options were…get out of my PJ’s and head to the store, or make do with what I had. Baking in your PJ’s is so much more fun anyway!
In honor of my delicious Saturday night memories, I baked this pound cake in a bundt pan, but you could definitely use a traditional loaf pan if you’d like. I think there would be enough batter for two loaves and you may want to check for doneness 10-15 minutes earlier, but it should come out tasting just as delicious!
There’s loads of lemon flavor in this cake from a double dose of lemon juice and grated lemon rind. I love adding both because #1 you get way more flavor and #2 you can see the little flecks of lemon rind in the cake so everyone knows before they even have a bite that they are about to get some fresh lemon flavor (surrounded by a moist and delicious cake of course!).
I was initially going to glaze this cake with a simple powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze, but once I tasted it I realized it was absolutely perfect as is. It is a pretty sweet cake, so it doesn’t need any extra sweetness from the glaze (of course that doesn’t mean you couldn’t do it if you wanted to!). It is a bit crumblier than a traditional pound cake, I think because I used low-fat buttermilk. The texture is almost a cross between a pound cake and a coffee cake. Which, coincidentally makes it perfect for breakfast! :)
I think you are going to love this cake as much as I do. In fact, you may even force yourself to bring two-thirds of it to work to share out of fear that you just might eat the entire thing yourself!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon rind (about 2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Coat a 10-inch bundt pan liberally with cooking spray and dust with flour.
  3. Combine 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, and stir well with a whisk. Combine 2 cups granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating at low speed. Add rind and juice; beat just until blended. Mix blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour. Stir to coat. Fold blueberries into batter.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan; sharply tap the pan once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Celebration Cupcakes!

Hi!

It’s time to celebrate!!

This past week was a big week.

First of all, I found out that two of my most wonderful friends are getting married!!! When I heard the news I think I was only slightly less excited then I was at my own engagement. You guys, this thing was major league. Thing Paris, some sneaky surprises, and the most perfect ring ever.  I am so excited for these two lovebugs and cannot wait to celebrate their nuptials and everything that goes along with it!

Second, my hubby and I got some very exciting news…We’re having a boy!!! I guess these cupcakes should have been blue huh?! :) Have you been wondering why I’ve been posting so many sweets lately??? Well, since I’m “eating for two” I can totally justify that extra cookie…or cupcake! We are so excited about our little man, but even more excited that he is healthy and growing bigger by the day (as is my tummy!)!

So, we have lots to celebrate. Don’t you? These fresh strawberry cupcakes are the perfect way to say “Life is good.”

Head over and bake up a batch right away!! 

 

Valentine’s Cookies

Hi friends!

 Love is in the air! Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching…do you have your chocolate covered strawberries and champagne ready?? Hahaha I don’t either. But I do have these cookies ready! So I feel like I’m pretty ready. I just hope my hubby feels the same way!! :)
You know those delicious, probably-super-bad-for-you cookies you get at the supermarket around holidays? They come in a plastic clamshell, usually they are round, have lots of frosting, and almost always sprinkles. You know which ones I’m talking about? Those ones you would never buy yourself but when they happen to be in the break room/at the party/stolen out of your kids’ lunch you just can’t resist? Yep. I love ‘em too. They are so fluffy and cake-y. So this is my attempt at re-creating them. I scoured the internet for recipes and picked the best parts (in my opinion) from each. I was left with a super light and fluffy dough.
You’ve got to refrigerate this dough for a few hours or overnight. When you take it out you’ll find it hasn’t totally hardened like a sugar cookie dough might, but don’t worry – that’s what is supposed to be like. It makes it really easy to roll out, but try to work quickly because it will heat up faster than dough that hardens more.
One great thing about this dough is that a lot of the recipes I found called for sour cream, but I didn’t have any in the house so I substituted for greek yogurt (which I always have). I was a little nervous that they wouldn’t turn out as good, but they turned out great! So you can use sour cream or greek yogurt…but if you use greek yogurt you can convince yourself they are healthy…or at least I did! :)
The frosting is super fluffy and I encourage you to have a good slathering on top of your already fluffy cookies. If you want to be super lame, like my husband, you can have them without sprinkles, but all the cool kids like sprinkles. :)
I used about a 2 inch heart cookie cutter, but you could use any size/shape. Just make sure you adjust the cooking time if you make them bigger or smaller. I anticipate making these with green frosting for St. Patrick’s Day, red, white, and blue for 4th of July, blue for Father’s Day, Pink for mother’s day, brown for earth day??? Point is, they are delicious and I’ll be looking for any excuse to make them again!
Enjoy!

Recipe: Valentine’s Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • heaping 2/3 cup greek yogurt
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons half and half
  • red food coloring

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, soda, baking powder, salt in a large bowl.
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and mix to combine. Mix in vanilla and greek yogurt.
  3. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until well combined.
  4. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 400.
  6. On a floured surface, roll out the dough, one half at a time, and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Repeat with scraps of dough and second half.
  7. Bake for 7-9 minutes, until edges are just slightly turning brown.
  8. Remove and let cool before frosting.
  9. For frosting: Combine all ingredients except food coloring in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until light and fluffy. Add red food coloring, a few drops at a time until you reach your desired color. Frost immediately.

Peppermint Bark – Williams Sonoma Knock Off!

Hi!

Guys, today is a great day. My Christmas vacation starts in T-4 hours and then I’m flying home to see my family including my brand new, still teeny tiny, niece! I am so excited I can hardly contain myself! But I’ll try… :)
Alright, maybe my jittery-ness is half due to excitement and half due to the giant quantities of peppermint bark I’ve been consuming over that past couple days! We’ve all been there. You walk into Williams Sonoma around the holidays and you are greeted by some of the nicest people in the world (I’m pretty sure they are Santa’s helpers) who offer you a warm cup of cider and a sample of their peppermint bark. So you take one of each and I’ll be darned if it’s possible to leave the store without buying both. It’s that good.
Well, now you can make it at home! Williams Sonoma may not share their recipe, but I think this one is pretty darn close…with a special touch of my own!
The recipe is actually quite simple, and only requires a few ingredients. But since there’s nowhere to hide, I suggest using really good quality chocolate. It’s definitely worth a little splurge!

I love the “peppermint” part of peppermint bark, so in addition to smashing up bunches of candy canes to sprinkle over the top (which coincidentally is a great way to get out a little holiday aggression or stress over not being able to find the perfect gift for your brother-in-law…don’t worry Ryan, I found something good!;)

I threw some candy canes directly into the chocolate! They won’t totally melt in, but it is ok because then you get pieces of candy can in the chocolate too. It is a welcome surprise to anyone sinking their teeth into a piece of this bark.
While this bark is pretty simple to put together, it does require a little bit of patience. After spreading out the dark chocolate layer you’ve got to put it in the fridge and let it set until it is almost hard, but not quite. This will let the white chocolate meld into the dark with the greatest of ease. If you let the dark chocolate harden to much, when you crack the bark you might end up cracking the layers too!

Speaking of cracking the bark…

I swear I don’t have a lot of holiday agression, but who doesn’t love getting to smash something in the kitchen (or otherwise)?!?! I highly suggest smashing and not cutting. Partially because smashing is a great time, but also because half the fun is in the irregular, cracked pieces.

I like to keep the bark in the fridge until I’m ready to serve it, and it will keep in the fridge for a couple weeks (not that there’s any chance it’ll last that long!)
Enjoy!

Recipe: Peppermint Bark

Ingredients

  • 16 oz good quality dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract (divided)
  • 16 oz good quality white chocolate
  • 4 large candy canes or 10 mini candy canes + 1 large or 3 small

Instructions

  1. Prepare a jelly roll pan by lining it would aluminum foil.
  2. Melt dark chocolate over a double boiler set to medium low heat. Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract and 1 large or 3 small candy canes roughly smashed.
  3. Spread melted chocolate onto foil lined pan in a single, uniform layer. Refrigerate until almost set, about 15 minutes.
  4. In a clean bowl, melt white chocolate over a double boiler set to medium low heat. Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour over almost set dark chocolate and smooth out.
  5. Crush candy canes (a rolling pin works great!) in a plastic bag. Sprinkle pieces over the top of the bark. Refrigerate until fully set.
  6. Keeps well in the fridge for a couple weeks.

;

Butter Balls

Hey there!

Christmas cookie season is in full bloom at my house and I’m so excited to share this recipe with you all! These cookies have a special place in my heart, and in my tummy! I had never tried these cookies until I spent a Christmas with my husband’s family. His mom had made a gigantic batch of these and I think I was responsible for eating 90% of that batch. I am usually pretty good about sweets, limiting myself, even around the holidays, but I just couldn’t say no to these delicious, powdered sugary delights. As if a wonderful husband AND an amazing family-in-law weren’t enough, I knew I really hit the jackpot when I tasted these cookies!

This year, I asked my MIL for the recipe and I was really surprised at how easily these cookies come together! Flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, walnuts, and of course, the star of the show…butter!

Come on people, it’s the holidays! ;)

You mix everything together and you’re left with a super sticky, buttery dough. A couple important things to remember…#1 the recipe calls for chopped walnuts, but I used half chopped and the other half I put in the blender until they were almost pureed. This way you not only got chunks of walnuts, but also walnut flavor running throughout the cookie. #2 You really have to let the butter come to room temperature before you use it. Dont try microwaving it, it just won’t work. The good news is that butter can be left out for quite a while, so take it out at night before you go to bed, or before you leave for work in the morning and it will be just fine and ready to melt into the buttery dough.

After you bake the cookies, which come out golden brown and perfect, it’s time for the fun (and messy!) part. While they are still warm, roll each cookie in powdered sugar. You’ll want to use a wire rack and line several paper towels or clean dish towels underneath – unless you want your counter covered in powdered sugar, that is!

But these cookies don’t just get one layer of powdered sugar – no, no, no. After you roll them the first time and let them cool a bit, you give them a second coating of powdered sugar. There isn’t a ton of sugar in the dough, so this double coating is really necessary, plus it makes the cookies look really pretty!

I love these cookies so much we even put them in the welcome bags for our wedding! My MIL made millions of them and wrapped them up for all of our guests. Everyone loved having the little treat in the bag at their hotel. I know any holiday guests you have will love them just as much!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Butter Balls

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer until very fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Slowly add flour, salt, vanilla, and walnuts. Mix until blended (dough will be very sticky!)
  4. Roll into very small balls and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until lightly browned.
  6. While still warm, roll in powdered sugar, allow to cool slightly and roll again.
  7. Note: these cookies freeze really well!

 

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