Perfect Holiday Sugar Cookies

There are only like five days left until Christmas. How did that happen? The older I get, the less time it seems to take for holidays to arrive. Maybe it’s because I have to buy everyone a proper gift and not make beautiful homemade cards. But in all honesty, calling them beautiful is quite a stretch. I’m not going to lie.

Anyway. Time for sugar cookies. This is our family go to recipe. They are perfect for decorating, because they have a nice flat surface and they keep their shape while baking. These cookies are perfect, simple, buttery, and crisp. Not like rock-hard crisp, but not flimsy or chewy. They are great on their own, but they are also a perfect vehicle for any type of frosting.

Irresistible, easy, delicious, and adorable.

Ingredients:DSCN1142.JPG

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2  1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until thoroughly mixed, then beat on a higher setting until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  2. Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough begins to form into one large clump. Divide the dough into three sections, flatten them a bit, and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Take one dough portion out onto a floured surface and roll it until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out desired shapes, and place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (I think a bare sheet would work just fine too). Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 7-9 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Be warned-these cook quickly.
  4. Place baked cookies on a cooling rack and repeat step three with the remaining portions of dough. Let the cookies cool entirely before decorating them.

Royal Icing:

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 5-8  tablespoons of water
  • Pinch of salt (Optional)
  1. Pour the powdered sugar and meringue into a large bowl. Mix, then start adding water by the tablespoon until you reach desired consistency. Add food coloring if you want colorful frosting. Who doesn’t want colorful frosting?
  2. Put icing into decorating bags and decorate to your heart’s content. You can also just smear it on if you don’t care how they look.

You can store these cookies (once they’re dry) in an airtight container for up to three days. They won’t rot or anything, it is just likely that they will begin to soften.

They probably won’t last that long anyway.

 

I got this cookie recipe from Sunset magazine in the December 2004 section. I don’t who wrote it, but I don’t want to take credit for something I didn’t write. Thank you Sunset! We have had this recipe torn out of the magazine for about 11 years. They are gross looking pages.

The frosting was created from my very own brain. Yay me.

Glorious Chocolate Cake

There’s something horrible about bad chocolate cake. It’s like having a nightmare when you bite into a piece of chocolate cake that is not chocolate-y enough or moist enough. Dry cake is a serious no-no. My ideal cake is soft (I need a synonym to moist.. Don’t want to say it too much..) enough so that if you take a piece and pinch it, it will hold together easily. That make sound weird, but trust me on this one.

I used to have immense trouble making chocolate cakes, but I have finally found a good recipe. This one. It is moist, bursting with chocolate flavor, and it is fairly darn simple to make. Cakes are a serious trouble spot for me, so if I can make it, you can too.

Believe in yourself. This cake will be worth it in the end.

Ingredients:

For the cake

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (or some other oil, I used canola)
  • 2 large room temperature eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot fresh coffee

For the frosting:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8-1/4 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 nine inch round pans.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer, mix the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients slowly, then pour in the hot coffee. Your batter will seem abnormally thin. Don’t stress.
  4. Pour the batter into your pans, then bake for 23-27 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Important STEP! Let your cakes cool completely before taking them out, or else your will have a mess. A big mess.

For the frosting: Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix with a hand held mixer. Slather all over your cake. Enjoy.

Yum. Serve yourself a big slice, after Thanksgiving though. Thanksgiving is for pie, and pie alone. Eat pie, lots of pie.

 

I got the recipe for this cake at Sally’s Baking Addiction:  http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/04/08/triple-chocolate-layer-cake/

Guess what though.. I made the frosting without entirely following a recipe!

Amateur baking win.

 

 

Pumpkin Failures

Eyeballs are flashing.

How’s that for a spooky sentence? It scared me.

Actually, eyeballs are flashing in my window. Rad Halloween decor 101. You need to see them soon… but I can’t find my mom’s camera, so just visualize spooky eyes. Yeah.

As I stated last post, I plan to share pumpkin recipes this fall season. Well, as you can see, there are no new posts on pumpkin, so I will share my failures.

I tried making pumpkin French toast. Very dry, not pumpkiny enough. I plan on making it again soon, so keep your eyes peeled. Haha, eyes.

Sorry.

I also attempted pumpkin soup. Not bad, but I put way too much ginger in it, and it lacked flavor. I’m working on it.

If all else fails, I can always make pumpkin smoothies, because those rock.

Anyways. Holy cow I have great news! I was bumbling around Sprouts, then spotted some candy corn. Although they are my favorite candy, I’ve been avoiding them because of the gelatin. But.. they had no gelatin! Three cheers! Vegetarians rejoice!

I have to eat dinner lovely people. Halloween is coming…

🙂

Life and Random thoughts #3

Dear, dear me. I’m not going to sit and weep and apologize for not posting in ages, because why would I do that? I’m cutting myself a nice break because its my first year of high school, and if you know anything about freshman year… It’s darn hard to settle in. I really enjoy it. Except for geometry. Geometry is by far the worst thing ever. Especially when your teacher sucks you are bad at math in general. I’m trying really hard to cut my teacher some slack, because I hate my math teachers every single year…
On a better note, running helps keep my fury down to a normal level. This weekend I have off because our varsity team is running in California. I hope they’re having fun frolicking around in the sand. (They probably aren’t. Meets are stressful as hell).

Anyways, there’s my school life for ya. But guess what. Guess what time of year it is?

FALL! 

Truly the most wonderful time… Of the year! I’ve been browsing the internet for more pumpkin recipes galore. Oh! And Halloween recipes. So excited guys. Oh speaking of Halloween food, have you seen the Halloween whopper from Burger King? It truly looks horrific! Eating black dye is so good for you! Yay…

I’m thrilled that Halloween is approaching. I have a lot of sweet treat plans for y’all so stay tuned. I think I might host a fun little Halloween party, which means sugar everywhere. I might even throw some healthy recipes in this month. (What? Ew!) If I do post healthy things, they will be delish, I swear.

I hate gross healthy things.

Who doesn’t?

🙂   Have a lovely weekend. Rest, plan for Halloween, run, do whatever.

(I’m probably gonna be browsing Pinterest for like ten hours but… Shhhh…)

Busy Days and a Visit to Tucson

Hey all! Sorry for my lack of posts, school life is very much hectic. I’m bouncing from school, to cross country, to homework, then all over again. Busy, fun, and stressful all at once. I’m sure you understand.

You do right? DSC_0432

Anyways, I wanted to share a few pictures of pretty flowers and cacti that I spotted at the desert museum in Tucson. Tucson was amazing. Warm, sunny, feels like summer even at night. Love it. Now I just want to bask in the glorious memories of warm as Fall is approaching.

So excited for Fall.

Fall, Fall, Fall, Fall!

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DSC_0502Excuse this mess of a post while I try to, uhm, figure out how to set up the pictures in an orderly fashion..
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Honey Cakes

If you don’t love honey, I recommend you leave this page right now because some seriously honey flavored little cakes are about to go down here. Oh, and the lavender icing complements the sweet honey flavor so well. These things=heaven…no joke. One bite and your mouth is filled with moist, flavorful goodness.

Unlike most “honey flavored” desserts, these actually taste like honey. I hate liar desserts that are supposed to taste like honey, but they taste like vanilla or something. I love vanilla, but I asked for honey!

These mini cakes were the perfect way to soak up the remainder of summer. The warm honey, the flowery, delicate lavender… they made the perfect little treat. Unfortunately I made them for a party and I only got one.

I wanted them all for myself.

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These little cakes are delish and adorable. And yes, those are chickens in the background.

Ingredients: 

For cakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Directions: 

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients. In a different bowl, cream the butter and sugar (try not to be alarmed if it doesn’t cream right away. Just give it time). Add the egg and beat well, then add the honey.
  2. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk, alternating between the two. Flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk… You get the gist. Fill a greased and floured muffin tin (or use paper liners) about 2/3 full. I filled a 16 muffins total. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cakes are golden-brown. Soak the bottoms in honey if desired. It’s optional not optional to frost with lavender icing.

Icing Ingredients: 

  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Icing Directions: 

  1. Bring milk and lavender to a boil. Remove from heat, and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain, (I used a coffee strainer thing) and discard lavender. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Add more milk if needed.  Frost those cakes.

These are amazing cakes, but I can’t take the credit for them. The Inn at the Crossroads made these wonderful delights. Thanks a million. Here’s the original recipe: http://www.innatthecrossroads.com/2012/05/31/honeycakes/

Random Thoughts #2

So I was going to post a post about peach pie.

But I didn’t.

That should come tomorrow or a bit later in the week, because my brain is totally fried. So much homework, oh my goodness yuck ahh. It’s funny how gross things totally ruin your day. Actually it’s not funny at all.

At this current moment I’m lying on a massive pile of laundry that is waiting to be folded.

What a day!

And now I’m looking at my word count and it says 86 words. As I gaze philosophically into the distance, I wonder who the heck would want to read this bizarre post about absolutely nothing. But hey, this blog is about recipes, running, AND real life so, I’m going to be obnoxious and write about nonsense. Real life is full of nonsense sometimes. We all have our days.

I just hope you had a good one today.

🙂