Archive for the ‘baking’ Category

posted by on baking, Holidays, quick

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Holidays! Cranberries are easy to come by so I always stock up when they’re on sale. Store ’em in your freezer for up to a year. Mine never last that long.

This cran-orange muffin recipe is something I changed up a bit to fit my tastes. In all honesty, it’s pretty sweet and more cupcake, almost angel food-like. I still had a couple for breakfast though. 🙂

If you’re not a fan of the tartness of cranberry, try using blueberries instead, they’d work equally well with the orange flavor. You could also try and toss your thawed out cranberries in a bowl of sugar and let them sit a little bit before you add them to the dough. Up to you!

Overall, this one’s a keeper! Moist, sweet and just the right amount of tart for me!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind
  • ¾ cup orange juice (prefer fresh squeezed oranges!)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 2 cups cranberries (or blueberries), if you’re using frozen, thaw and drain first
  • Cooking spray
  1. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
  2. Combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, salt & baking soda in a large bowl.
  3. Combine orange rind, juice, oil, egg & almond extract in a small bowl. Mix well with a whisk.
  4. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  5. Fold in cranberries or blueberries.
  6. Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.
  7. Sprinkle with leftover sugar.
  8. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

Original recipe found here.

posted by on baking

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Back in September I shared one of my all time favorite cookie recipes – the snickerdoodle! I only briefly talked about where this cookie might have originated which led me to search for books on the subject (nerd alert!) which brought me to this gently used book on Amazon (shout out to Lyons Elementary Library and the dewey decimal system).

Slumps, Grunts, and Snickerdoodles: What Colonial America Ate and Why by Lila Perl talks about the New World and what tested the adaptability of cultures like American Indian, European and African and led us to many favorite dishes like the snickerdoodle.

Excerpt from “Slumps, Grunts and Snickerdoodles” Instagram photo

This recipe “is derived from early days in New Netherland and owes its existence to the foresight and bounty of the Dutch wheat farmers and to the industry of their merry, energetic housewives.” —> Ugh. We won’t go into the whole housewives thing, let’s just keep in mind that they didn’t have hand/stand mixers, so when I do try this recipe, the only traditional route I’ll go is using a wooden spoon.  *I have yet to try this recipe but wanted to throw it out there for you guys that read my last snickerdoodle post!*

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ cup butter/margarine
  • ¾ cup sugar
  •  1 egg
  •  2 cups flour
  •  1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  •  2 tablespoons sugar
  •  2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. With the back of a wooden spoon, mix the softened butter and sugar until smooth.
  2. Add the egg and beat well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. In another small bowl, mix the milk and vanilla.
  5. Add ¹⁄ ³ of the flour mix to the butter and sugar. Mix until smooth.
  6. Add ½ of the milk mixture and mix until well blended.
  7. Add the next ¹⁄ ³ of the flour mix and blend well.
  8. Add last ½ of the milk mixture and mix well.
  9. Finally, add the last bit of flour mix and blend until smooth.
  10. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  11. Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto a well greased (or use parchment paper) baking sheet.
  12. Sprinkle the tops generously with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  13. Bake cookies at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes each or until the cookies are lightly brown around the edges.
  14. Remove to cooling racks to thoroughly cool and store in an airtight container.

posted by on baking, Holidays


An ode to my favorite cookie right now at Urban Cookies Bake Shop here in Phoenix. Their ginger molasses cookies… I crave them. I dream about those cookies!

Anyway… something about the combination of ginger and molasses has always reminded me of Christmas. My version isn’t overwhelmingly ginger-y, are super soft and take no time at all to put together (assuming you have ginger and molasses in your kitchen… I had to make a grocery run).

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1½ sticks of butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar + extra for rolling
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2¾ cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. Mix together the softened butter & sugar.
  2. Add the molasses and 1 egg and mix until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger & cinnamon.
  4. Add half of the flour mix to the wet mix. Mix until well combined.
  5. Add the rest of the flour mix and mix well.
  6. Roll the dough into about 1″ balls, roll in sugar until well coated.
  7. Bake on a parchment covered cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 9 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven & let cool for a couple of minutes.
  9. Transfer to wire racks to fully cool. Store in an airtight container.

posted by on baking, grandma, Holidays


This was my second Thanksgiving in Phoenix, Arizona. Luckily, as I mention a lot, my Grandmother lives close and for that I am thankful!

She decided she’d be prepping a whole turkey this year and insisted on having a cherry pie from Village Inn (she loves their pies) but I told her I refused to go without some kind of dessert with pumpkin in it. We decided we’d just have to have both!

I wanted to find a different recipe this year from the normal pumpkin pie (the first time I had made a pumpkin pie from scratch was last Thanksgiving if you can believe that!). I stumbled upon this recipe from Martha Stewart and normally her recipes are a little too bougie for my tastes but I couldn’t help myself this time.

Soft, cake-like pumpkin spice cookies frosted with a brown butter icing. They were a hit! (For the record, the cherry pie a la mode was equally awesome…)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¾ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 ¼ cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 oz.)
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For The Icing

  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) butter
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl & set aside.
  2. Put butter & brown sugar in a bowl & mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  3. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low & add pumpkin, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Mix until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; mix until combined.
  4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. (easier filling if you place the bag in a tall glass as shown in my picture above – if you don’t have a pastry bag, just use a baggie and cut off one of the corners, it will work just as well).
  5. Pipe rounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart (I did a spiral about 3 times around as shown in above photo).
  6. Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 6 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheet and bake for another 5-6 minutes until the top of the cookie is spring-like.
  7. Leave the cookies on the baking sheets & cool on wire racks 5 minutes.
  8. Transfer cookies to wire racks & let cool completely.

Make icing:

  1. Put sifted powdered sugar in a bowl & set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add butter to powdered sugar, scraping any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan. Add evaporated milk & vanilla and stir until smooth.
  4. Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie using the back of a spoon & let the icing dry a bit.

**These cookies are very soft and will not store well stacked so I recommend freezing/refrigerating or placing wax paper in between to prevent the icing from sticking.**

1. So glad our dear friend Kailey got to spend Thanksgiving with us this year!  2. My cousin Heath, Grandma & me 3.  the whole gang! (so fun to see my cousins Frankie & Weston that I hadn’t seen in 20 some years and Grandma’s sister and brother-in-law)

posted by on baking, portions

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I pinned this recipe to my food board on Pinterest this weekend. For the first time, I actually got up and started putting this recipe together shortly after I had saved it from Pinterest. It’s a little bit more work, but it’s the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I have tried.

The brown butter, sea salt & good quality dark chocolate are what make these cookies a few steps above the norm. I only had a ¼ cup of dark chocolate chips left so I halved her original recipe and then halved the dough, freezing it for later.

The brown butter part is important. The original post has perfect how-to pictures. I have the worst patience when it comes to browning butter for baking, but trust me. It’s worth it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • ½ cup + 1/8 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup white sugar (I just estimated this using my ¼ cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup + ¾ cup filled a little more than half way
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • Good quality dark chocolate chips
  1. Place the stick of butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. I use a lid, but that’s up to you if you want to cover it or not. Slowly start to melt the butter and let it come to a boil. You are looking for a nice golden brown color and brown bits to form around the edge and at the bottom of the pan.
  2. Once it turns brown, pour the butter into a dish so it stops cooking and can cool for about 5 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, place both the brown and white sugars.
  4. Add the brown butter and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the egg & vanilla. Mix well.
  6. In another bowl, mix the flour, baking soda & sea salt together with a whisk.
  7. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix well.
  8. At this point, I halved the dough (since I only had a ¼ cup of chips) placing the rest in a freezer bag with baking instructions written on the outside.
  9. Add the chocolate chips to the dough and mix with your hands or a wooden spoon.
  10. Scoop out onto a parchment lined baking sheet, sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 375 degrees for 9 minutes. Check the cookies around 8 minutes, I flattened the cookies out a bit with a fork and let them bake for the last minute.

Makes about 8 cookies (this whole recipe will make 1.5 dozen approx.)

posted by on baking, guilty pleasure

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Giant, chewy chocolate chip cookies with a slight crunch on the outer edges. I’m all about put together now, bake later. Scoop out the dough into ¼ cup portions, freeze and package in a freezer baggie so you can bake a cookie whenever you’re craving one!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2¼ cups flour (minus a few tablespoons)
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 12 tbsp. butter, softened (or 1.5 sticks)
  • ½ cup + 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup + 1/8 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ package of dark chocolate chips
  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt in a bowl and set to the side.
  2. Mix together the butter, sugar, brown sugar in a bowl until it’s creamy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla (maybe a tsp. extra) and keep mixing until it’s well blended.
  4. With a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture a little bit at a time until well combined.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. In ¼ cup measurements, slightly flatten the dough out to form a flat circular shape.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes. You only want the edges to be golden brown and then let them finish by leaving them on the baking sheet to cool.
  8. I usually bake 6 at a time to give them room to spread a bit and then freeze the remainder of the balls for baking later.


posted by on baking, cooking, Nebraska

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Nebraska Sunset

Going to grandma and grandpa’s meant having access to wide open land, horses, tractors, grandpa’s collection of classic cars, and a television with an antenna fully loaded with a few local Nebraska TV stations.

Luckily I had my two sisters and plenty of cousins and family to keep me busy when we were around, but when it was time to come inside we would turn on that little television, nine times out of 10 landing on PBS for lack of a better choice (I was too young for Jeopardy at the time).

My sister, cousins and Grandpa – Thanksgiving 1989

PBS was the mainstay and I was quickly hooked on the likes of Bob Ross (art nerd, remember?) and anything that had to do with cooking or “how to.” Of course if you really wanted to dig back we could talk about Ghostwriter, Reading Rainbow, Mister Rogers, Mr. Bean, Bill Nye, The Red Green Show, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego, Zoobilee Zoo… I digress.

Not much has changed for me since the 90’s in the world of TV. In the last couple of years I’ve ditched expensive cable’s thousand channels full of garbage and gone back to having just a few channels coming through my antenna (HD, mind you). The TV is seldom on but if it is and Game 3 of the NLCS is rained out for example (Go Giants!) I still land on PBS.

I still dig the shows that hit my passion of cooking and baking. Lidia’s Italy in America and America’s Test Kitchen aren’t shows that I necessarily go out of my way to watch but just as if I were a kid again, sprawled out on grandma and grandpa’s living room floor with that creepy ceramic cat staring back at me, I’m hooked when I catch them. It’s somewhat nostalgic at this point but all of this came to me today after I finished reading an article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine about Christopher Kimball. It’s a longer read but a must in my opinion.

“Cooking is about putting food on the table night after night, and there isn’t anything glamorous about it.” -Christopher Kimball 

Who doesn’t want to read about a man and his success after a quote like that?

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