Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Ultimate Sugar Cookies

I love Tyler Florence's show "Tyler's Ultimate", and I think if he was doing a show about the ultimate sugar cookies, he would use this recipe. If you are looking for a sugar cookie that bakes up soft without a cakey texture, this is it. The only downside to these cookies is that you wont be able to stop yourself at just one, two, or even three! They are simply irresistible. I also love the almond flavor they have, everything is a little better with some almond extract I always say:) You can pair these cookies with your favorite frosting. I made a simple buttercream with almond extract and vanilla bean paste. Another perk to these cookies is that they really maintain the shape of the cookie cutter you use. Have you ever made sugar cookies with your favorite cookie cutter and found that after they baked the shape of the cookies ended up being nothing like your cutter? Well that wont happen with this least it didn't happen when I made them:) Hope you have a chance to try this one out!

See how perfect it kept the heart shape?! I made mine about 1/4 of an
inch thick, maybe they would have spread a little more if I made them thicker, I'll
try it out and let you know how it turns out:)

Special Occasion Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softenend (I used 1/2 c. butter 1/4 c. butter flavor crisco)
1 egg
3 T. Whipping cream (I used half and half because that's what I had)
1 t. vanilla
1 t. almond ext.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
Granulated sugar

Combine sugar, butter, egg, whipping cream, vanilla and almond ext. Beat at
med. speed until light and fluffy. Add flour, baking powder and salt at low
speed until soft dough forms. Cover and chill until firm.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. on floured surface roll dough 1/4 in. thick, cut
desired shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle lightly with
granulated sugar (I would only sprinkle with sugar if I wasn't frosting them). Bake 4-6 minutes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cute Carousel Cake!

Yesterday was my little nieces first birthday. I can't believe she is already a year old! My sis in law threw the cutest lil birthday party for her, and I made her cake:) I saw a picture of a really cute carousel cake and decided I wanted to duplicate it but make it a little different. I found some of those candy sticks with sugar dinosaurs on them and used those for the carousel poles. For the cake itself, just 2 8" round cakes. To make the carousel top, cut a 9" circle out of paper, made a cut to the center of the circle then overlapped the cut a little and tapped it together. Pretty simple, and it turned out really cute. I might have to make this for my little girl when she is one, I have a while to think about that though, considering she wont even be here for about another 10 weeks:)

So no recipe for this post because I just used a cake mix for the cake. But tomorrow, I will post a recipe for the best sugar cookies ever! So get excited:)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

If you haven't made a fun Valentine treat yet, this is a good one to try out. I saw these on Annies Eats a little while ago and knew I had to try them out. I thought they would be fun to make for any occasion, but just perfect for Valentines Day. The texture of these were amazing, just like a whoopie pie should be. To be honest though, I didn't care too much for the red velvet pie by itself, but once I added the cream cheese icing it took it to another level. You can make these into simple round whoopie pies but they sure are cute as hearts. To see some great step by step pictures check out Annies Eats.

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies
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For the cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 oz. red food coloring


For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

*I added a little almond extract to the frosting

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.

Using a heart template cut out from card stock, trace evenly spaced hearts onto pieces of parchment paper sized to fit two cookie sheets. Place the parchment on the cookie sheets so that the side you have drawn on is facing down; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated. Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients. Do not overbeat. Blend in the food coloring.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper using the heart tracings as a guide. Bake 7-9 minutes or until the tops are set, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack. Repeat with any remaining batter. Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

Transfer the frosting to a clean pastry bag fitted with a plain, round tip. Pair the cookies up by shape and size.

Pipe frosting onto the flat-sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear. Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Source: cookies adapted from Dinner and Dessert, originally from Better Homes & Gardens, December 2008; frosting frosting adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Monday, February 8, 2010

Clearing up the Confusion!!

Ok-so pretty much disregard a lot of what I said in my last post. I just went online to food network and read some of the comments again about Kathleen Kings cookies, and Kathleen herself posted a comment saying that 1 1/4 cups of butter is CORRECT! She also uses salted butter as well as adds salt to the recipe. Feels good to get that confusin cleared up:)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Kathleen Kings Double Chocolate Almond Cookies

I was watching Ina's new episode yesterday and she had a friend on showing her how to make chocolate almond cookies. They looked so amazing that I got up and started making them. I looked up the recipe on the food network and was surprised to see that it only called for 1 1/4 c. of butter online, when I was certain that she used 2 1/4 cups on tv. O well-I just proceeded and started making them from what the recipe online said. As the first batch was baking I decided to read some reviews about the recipe. Every review that was posted so far was saying how "the cookies turned out horrible because the butter measurement is off". I decided to rewatch the episode and find out for certain how much butter she used, and sure enough, it was 2 1/4 cups! I was expecting the cookies to turn out horrible, but they didn't! Quite the opposite actually, they were one of the best homemade cookies I have had. They had such a dense yet moist texture. If I didn't know it was missing a cup of butter I wouldn't have thought there was anything wrong with these cookies. I am however going to make these cookies again this week with the proper amount of butter. I think they could be even better, because they did get a little dry the second day, and I think if I used 2 1/4 cups of butter they would be more "gooey". Anyways here's the recipe, after I make them again with the full amount of butter I will do another post and let you know how they turned out:)

Kathleen King's Double Chocolate Almond Cookies


  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups salted butter, softened to room temperature (I just found out for certain 1 1/4 c. is correct, disregard all of talk about 2 1/4 c. :) )
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1/2 c. semi and 1/2 c. milk)
  • 1 cup almonds, chopped (I left out because I didn't have any)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. (Recipe on tv also says to preheat oven to 375, I baked mine at 350 and they turned out fine, but I also used a cup less butter)

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and mix together. Add the flour mixture and continue mixing until just combined.

Add the chocolates and almonds and mix until combined. Using two tablespoons or a small ice cream scoop, drop the dough two inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment. Bake for 15 minutes. (Mine were perfectly done at 12 minutes, check at 10 minutes)

Cool the cookies on the cookie sheets. The cookies should be very soft when they are removed from the oven. They will firm up as they cool.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Copy Cat Panda Orange Chicken

During my pregnancy there have been a few things that I have been craving, and one of them is Panda Express' Orange Chicken. I love the stuff! I just can't seem to get enough of it, but I have been trying to cut back:) A few months ago I saw a bottle of Panda Express Orange Sauce at the grocery store in the Asian aisle. I have resisted getting it, but last week I just couldn't resist any longer. I was excited to try it out and see if it really resembled Panda's orange sauce. I found this copy cat orange chicken recipe online, tossed it with the orange sauce, and it was delicious! My husband loved it. It was such an easy meal as well. And I figured that it is so much cheaper to make the orange chicken from scratch using the bottled sauce rather than buying it from Panda Express. I will definitely be making this again! :)

"Panda Express" Orange Chicken

2 lbs. chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 egg
Fresh ground pepper
1 T. oil
1/2 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. flour
Oil for frying
1 bottle panda express orange sauce

Coat chicken in egg, salt and pepper and 1 T. oil; mix well. Stir cornstarch and flour into the chicken. Heat oil in a wok (about an inch deep in a wok) over medium heat, and add chicken in batches, frying until crisp and browned on the outside. Heat up some of the orange sauce and toss with chicken.