Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not much needs to be said about these simple drop cookies!  The name says it all.  Chewy.  Peanut Buttery.  Chocolate Chippy.  YUMMY!!!

It's hard to tell, but these are little bitty cookies.  I use my small cookie scoop which holds about a rounded teaspoon of dough, so the cookies are barely more than an inch in diameter baked.  The original recipe, which I found online here, calls for a 1/4 measuring cup to be used to scoop the dough.  I also used mini chocolate chips, and only added 1 cup, not 2 cups as the recipe lists.  Just tryin' to be sensible.  :)   

Oh, and today is the 100th Day of School, and my 7 year old is home recovering from pneumonia, and she wanted to bake 100 cookies to celebrate.  Ha!  We didn't get 100 out of a single batch of dough, just so you know.  We got 70 though!  ;)  My smarty-pants figured out that each person in our family can have 11 cookies each and we'll have a few left over.   If I eat 11 cookies, please knock some sense into me.

Here's the recipe!  Just adapt the recipe to suit your fancy----use any kind of chocolate chips you like, add nuts, make 'em big, make 'em small, etc.  Just adjust the baking time as needed.   Enjoy!! 

Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the corn syrup, water, and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chunks. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are golden. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Meyer Lemon Squares

The rest of the Meyer lemons I bought last week HAD to be baked into something delicious!  They were sitting in a bowl on my counter, staring me down.  Begging me to squeeze them, zest them, juice them, bake them, eat them!! 

Ta-Dah---lightened up Meyer Lemon Squares!  (Only 118 calories, 3.2 grams of fat each!  Original recipe is from my Cooking Light cookbook.)

Meyer Lemon Squares

1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 cup all purpose flour

3 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/3 cup freshly squeeze lemon juice
3 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tsp. powdered sugar, for garnish

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  To prepare crust, beat 1/4 cup sugar and butter on medium speed of a mixer until light and fluffy.  Lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife.  Gradually add 1 cup flour to sugar mixture, beating on low speed until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Gently press mixture into bottom of 8 inch square baking dish.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and cool while you prepare the topping.

To prepare topping, beat eggs at medium speed until foamy.  Add 3/4 cup sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, flour, baking powder, and salt;  beat until well blended.  Pour egg mixture over crust.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until set.  Cool on a wire rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Yield:  16 servings.

These are tart and sweet at the same time, and perfect for a light dessert!  Try them and let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chocolate Cut Out Cookies and my new Cricut Cake Mini!

So with some birthday money I bought a new fun gadget, one that I've been eyeing in the stores for quite some time, but was never willing to spend "that kind of money" on something that (a) seemed frivolous and (b) was for me and my hobby, not for the kids or our family.  Well, since time has passed, prices have come down, and there's this awesome website called eBay (ha), I splurged on a Cricut Cake Mini machine (with hubby's "go-for-it")!  I'm having SO MUCH FUN playing with it!

If you're not familiar with a Cricut cutting machine, the original machine is for scrap booking. Different cartridges are available which have various fonts, shapes, etc. and you program the machine to cut them from  your scrapbook paper.  Way cool. 

So, a year or two ago Cricut came out with a Cricut CAKE machine, and it cuts out rolled fondant, gum paste, and pre-packaged frosting sheets!!!   It really opens up a whole 'nother avenue when it comes to cake, cookie, and cupcake decorating.  I can't wait to start using it with cakes!

Yesterday was a snowy stay-at-home day, so after we romped in the snow for a few hours, I baked some chocolate cut out cookies and tried out my new Cricut Cake Mini.  I decorated them with snowflakes and hearts.  Ya know, snowflakes cause it was a snowy day, and hearts because Valentine's Day is right around the corner!

The cookies are super easy to make, but the fondant decorating is pretty time consuming.   However, I get a big kick out of this kinda thing, so it was great fun for me!

This is the Cricut Cake Mini, in action.  I rolled out the fondant myself  and am still trying to figure out the perfect thickness.  Yay, more practice cookies or cupcakes in the future!

As I mentioned, this is the "mini" machine, with a 6 x 12 cutting area.  The "regular" Cricut Cake has a 12 x 12 cutting area.  

Pretty neat, huh?

Here is the recipe for the Chocolate Cut Out cookies, which I originally found here.  (I made some adaptations to the rolling method though, so my version is below.)  They taste like brownies!  Kinda crunchy on the outside, and still chewy on the inside.  Delish.  I decorated with rolled fondant, obviously, but these would be perfect with a simple vanilla or chocolate buttercream, or even just a vanilla or chocolate glaze.  In other words, you can frost them anyway you'd like!  I've also used royal icing to decorate them, and they're perfect every time.

Chocolate Cut Out Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Mix in the vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa powder and baking powder; add and mix well.  Divide dough in thirds. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick between two sheets of wax paper. Place rolled dough with wax paper flat on a cookie sheet and refrigerate while you roll out the remaining dough.   When done rolling dough, do your dishes.  Haha.  By the time you're done with your dishes, the dough will be firm enough to cut.  Preheat oven to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Cut with desired shaped cookie cutters. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool on cookie sheets for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.  When cool, decorate as desired.  
Yield:   approximately 40 three inch cookies.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Glazed Lemon Donut Holes

Earlier this week I bought a bag of Meyer Lemons.  I've heard talk of these bright little cuties, but have never cooked or baked with them before.  They're said to be more orangey-lemony-citrusy (sp??) and sweeter than regular lemons.  I dunno, but they sure were juicy and smelled delicious!

Today I made Glazed Lemon Donut Holes!  (My Bible study girlfriends are sooooo lucky.) 

I used a lemon muffin recipe, and baked them in one of my newest kitchen gadgets, given to me for Christmas by my wonderful sister-in-law.  A Babycakes Cake Pop baker!    They are then dipped in a lemon glaze.  Yum!

Even if you don't have a little cake pop gadget as I do, you can deep fry the little lemony balls of batter.  They would be super yummy as well, I'm sure!

Anyway, here's the recipe for the lemon muffins with a few of my own adaptations, as always!

 Rich Lemon Muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons course sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice  (2-3 lemons)
2 eggs
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Insert cupcake liners into cupcake tins.  In a large mixing bowl. stir together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a medium sized bowl, melt butter in the microwave.  Stir in lemon juice, eggs and lemon zest.  With a wooden spoon, stir egg mixture into dry ingredients and blend until well moistened.  Do not over beat!  Scoop into greased muffin tins, and sprinkle top of batter with coarse sugar.  Bake 15-20 minutes until lightly browned, but do not over bake!  Yield:  12 standard sized muffins.

Okay, to make donut holes instead of muffins, you will need canola or vegetable oil heated to 350 to 360 degrees in a deep cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pot.  Use a thermometer to check your oil temperature!  Too high and you'll burn the outside of the donut holes before the inside is cooked.  Too low and the donut will be an oily, soggy mess.  Use a small cookie scoop to drop dough in the oil.  Do not crowd your pot.  Work in small batches.  Flip donut holes over as they brown and then remove them to a pile of paper towels.  Flip them over on the paper towels after 30 seconds or so to dab off both sides.  Cool on a wire rack as you finish the frying.  Then, prepare a glaze for them, or toss them in a brown bag with powdered sugar.  Yum!!

My donut holes have a simple lemon glaze.  Simply whisk together 2 cups of powdered sugar and the juice and zest of one lemon.  Adjust the thickness of the glaze with additional powdered sugar or a few drops of milk if it's too thick or thin.  Drop a few donut holes at a time in the bowl of the glaze and remove to a cooling rack to allow the glaze to set up. 

Since this was a muffin recipe, I did make a few muffins too!  I love the crunchy top from the coarse sugar.  If you cannot find coarse sugar (called pearl sugar), you can use regular sugar in its place.  I made jumbo muffins, which are double the size or regular muffins.  My hubby will be so happy.  :)

So, there you have two lemon recipes!  Stay tuned for a third---I still have more lemons!!


Homemade Granola

Have you ever made homemade granola before?  Sooooo healthy and delicious, and overall, very cost-friendly if you buy a lot of granola-types of cereal.  I've been making this granola for a while now and have tweaked the recipe just to our liking.  That said, I never seem to make it the same way twice!  I originally found the recipe here, but, as with many recipes, I just modify it to what I have in the pantry and what flavors I'm in the mood for.

It's delicious layered with vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit in a parfait, or with milk poured over it as a breakfast cereal.  It's also yummy by the handful as a snack!  

Here is my recipe, with it's tweaks.  :)

8 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups wheat germ
1 1/2 cups oat bran
3/4 cup flax seed
1 cup sunflower seed
1 cup pepitas (dried pumpkin seeds)
1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 cup pecan halves or pieces
1 cup walnuts pieces
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup honey
1 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 cups sweetened dried cranberries (or other dried fruits)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, wheat germ, oat bran, flax seed, sunflower seed, pepitas, almonds, and pecans. In a medium saucepan, stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla and almond extract. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 30 minutes.  Halfway through cooking (15 minutes), remove baking sheets from the oven, stir the granola, and swap places in the oven.  (In other words,  the baking sheet that was on the top rack moves to the bottom rack, and vice versa.)  Remove baking sheets from oven and cool.  Stir in the cranberries or other dried fruit before storing in an airtight container.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hippie Chick Cake

A friend's daughter is having her 2nd birthday, and the theme of the party is "Hippie Chick", based on these cute paper products:

I made a bunch of fondant decorations to go on the cake and allowed them to dry for several days before baking the cake.

The cake is vanilla, but with wonderful bright colors inside, just like the cupcakes in my previous post!  Like tie dye.   I think Jordyn will love her Hippie Chick cake.  :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tie Dye Cupcakes

I had some leftover cake batter today, so I whipped up some colorful cupcakes!  (How do I have leftover cake batter, you ask??  Well, tomorrow I'll show you the cake I made for a friend today!  SO cute!)  Anyway, back to cupcakes.

The batter was colored.  Teal, pink, yellow, green, and lavendar.  Lookie:

Despite my not-so-great picture, can you see all the layers of color?  Tie Dye!

To make these, mix up your favorite white or yellow cake batter.  Divide the batter between 5 or 6 bowls.  Color the batter with paste food coloring to your preference (i.e. pastel or bright).  Mix well!

Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.  (If you use white, as I did, you'll be able to see the colored cake after baking!)  Using a teaspoon, drop spoonsful of batter in each cupcake liner, one color directly on top of the other, filling the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.  Tap the cupcake pan on your countertop to level out the batter.  Bake according to your recipe directions.

You can apply this technique to full size cakes as well!  Use a measuring cup to pour batter in the center of the pan, layering each color directly on top, in the center.  The result is a super colorful and fun cake!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Banana Bread

Whenever our bananas get so brown that no one will eat them, I just stick them in the freezer for future baking!  (Did you know that frozen bananas really hurt when they fall out of the freezer onto your foot?  They do.)  In the freezer the bananas will get freakishly black.  When you're ready to bake with them, just stick them on a plate on your counter to thaw out for a few hours.  They look really gross, but they're *perfect* for banana bread!  

Here is my banana bread recipe, adapted from one I've had for ages, it seems.  I don't even remember where I got the original recipe!  This one is really easy and fool proof.  Try it!

Banana Bread

 5 Tablepoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup heavy cream (I use milk most of the time)
1/3 cup chopped nuts (or chocolate chips---or BOTH!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray bottom and side of 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with baking spray. 

Beat butter in large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add white sugar and brown sugar and beat well.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended.  Add mashed banana and beat on high for 30 seconds.   Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and baking pwoder in medium bowl.  Add flour mixture to banana mixture alternately with cream (milk), ending with the flour mixture.  Scrape down sides of bowl often.  Add nuts and/or chocolate chips to batter and stir by hand.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until top springs back when pressed and toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs.  Cool bread in pan for 10 minute, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack. 

This is how my family likes banana bread for breakfast----thickly sliced, light toasted, and slathered with butter.  Mmmmm!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Mom, are you eating chocolate?" (Twix Bars, revisited)

I got caught.

My 5 year old was upstairs having Rest -n- Reading time, and when I went upstairs to respond to her calling because the Barbie computer was frozen, she caught me with chocolate on my chin.  Oops.

"No, sweetheart, I'm not eating chocolate."


"I already ate the chocolate.  It's all gone now."

"Mommy!  You ate ALL the chocolate?"

"Just kidding!  You can have some when you get up."

*cheer from 5 year old*

Those Twix bars sure didn't last around here, and since I had extra ingredients (half a can of sweetened condensed milk and a partial bag of chocolate chips), they begged to be made again.  That, and I couldn't stop thinking about enrobing them (good word, eh?) with chocolate a la Store Bought Twix!  An impromptu trip to the grocery store for bread and milk (they're calling for snow here tonight--haha) landed me down the baking aisle, grabbing more chocolate chips.  And here they are!  Fully enrobed-in-chocolate homemade Twix bars!  I really wanted to take a picture of my sweet girl with chocolate and caramel all over her face, but she wouldn't let me.  ;) 

Yummy, huh?  It wasn't difficult to cover the bars with chocolate.  I just allowed the caramel layer to cool completely, then cut them into bars and dipped them into melted chocolate chips.  Drop one bar into the melted chocolate and pull it up using a fork beneath.  Then tap, tap, tap the excess chocolate off, and lay them on a wax paper-covered cookie sheet.  See the little chocolate peaks on top?  To make those, allow the chocolate to firm up just a little bit and then pounce the back of a spoon on top 6 or 7 times .  Make sense?   As you can see, there is more caramel in these bars too!  I made one and a half batches of the caramel.  Perfect caramel-to-cookie-to-chocolate ratio, in my Twix-loving opinion.

Good thing we got Wii Fit Plus for Christmas!  ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Homemade Twix Bars

Wow, I think I gained a pound or two just typing the title!  ;)

I've been at home with a sick child for a week now and have ants in my pants.  Not literally, of course.  I guess I just have had a little more time to browse some of my favorite blogs this week (and eBay---oh boy, wait till you see what I bought today.....more on that another time!) and I came across this recipe.  I bookmarked it several days ago thinking I'd make it one day when I host my ladies' Bible study group.  Then this morning I realized I have all the ingredients in my pantry RIGHT NOW so........

Let me start by saying there are lots of other recipes for Twix Bars on the web.  Some are more time consuming and involved, making the cookie and caramel  layers first, then cutting them into bars, and THEN dipping them into melted chocolate.  Thus, the Twix Bars actually end up looking like the real Twix candy bars you buy in the store.  The recipe I made today is a little less time consuming than that, and you still get a mouthful of yumminess!  I adapted the recipe a wee bit from this one, but plan to make a few more adaptations next time I make them.

Homemade Twix Bars

Cookie layer:
1 1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk

Chocolate Topping:
1 ½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp shortening

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 x 13 inch cake pan with aluminum foil.  Spray with non-stick spray.  (This will help you remove the bars with ease after they’ve cooled!)   Beat together the softened butter and vanilla until combined.  Scrape down bowl.  Add the flour and sugar and beat.  You will have a crumbly mixture that seems dry.  Press the crust mixture into your prepared pan.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool completely.

For the caramel, mix together  all the ingredients in heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring it up to a gentle boil on medium heat, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat but continue to boil gently for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and cool slightly.  Caramel will thicken a bit.  Pour over your cooled cookie layer and spread to the edges.  Allow to set for 10-15 minutes.

In a microwave safe bowl melt together the chocolate chips and shortening on high for 1 minute.  Stir until all the chocolate chips are melted.  You can microwave the chocolate again for 10 seconds if the the last few chips aren’t melted.  Pour over the caramel and spread to the edges.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.  Remove bars from pan by pulling up on the aluminum foil.  Remove foil and cut into 1 x 3 inch bars.  Yield:  39 bars 

Next time I plan to either make them in a smaller pan (perhaps a 9 or 10 inch square) or double the caramel and cookie layers.  I'd love more caramel and cookie!  Don't get me wrong, these are scrumptious, but I just like to tweek things and make them just the way *I* like them.  :)  I may also try dipping them completely in chocolate!  *drool*

Happy Baking!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Skillingsbolle (Norwegian Cinnamon Buns)

My sister was here this weekend, so of course we had to have some Norwegian treats!    I made skillingsbolle for our brunch yesterday morning.  Mmmmm!  They're cardamom-spiced, filled with cinnamon sugar, and topped with pearl sugar.  They were just like we had from the bakeries in Norway when we visited my grandma as children!  Give them a try and let me know if you love them as much as I do!

~Norwegian Cinnamon Buns~

 1 cup sugar
¾ cup butter, melted
6 cups white flour
2 tsp. ground cardamom
 4 tsp. yeast
 2 cups lukewarm milk

 2 tbsp cinnamon
½ cup sugar
1 stick butter, softened

2 egg white, beaten lightly
Coarse sugar

Sprinkle yeast onto warm milk and allow to stand for 5 minutes.  In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat together the melted butter and sugar.  Add flour, cardamom, and milk mixture.  Beat on low until combined.  Change to dough hook attachment, and knead until dough is smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl.  Alternately, knead by hand until smooth and elastic.  Place dough in a bowl in a warm location and cover lightly.  Rise 1 hour.
Roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 18 inches long and 10 inches wide.   Spread dough with softened butter.   Sprinkle with ½ cup sugar and 2 tbsp. cinnamon. Roll up beginning on long side.  Slice into 18 to 20 pieces and place on two parchment paper-lined baking sheets.  Leave an inch or more between each roll.  Let rise on a pan 1 hour.  Brush with beaten egg white, then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-17 minutes until they are golden. 
 Yield 18 to 20 skillingsboller.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Norwegian Krumkake

My house smells like a Norwegian bakery today!   I made krumkake in preparation for my sister's visit this weekend (with her beau) because we're celebrating Christmas together.  (Yes, my tree, decorations, and outdoor lights are still up---and I love it!)

Krumkake is a light, crispy, delicate cookie baked on a special baker or iron, and then rolled up into a cone.   They are served with cream fillings, fruit, or puddings.  The batter is spiced with cardamom, which is a unique flavor that instantly makes me think of Scandinavian treats.  Growing up my mom made krumkake every Christmas, and I recall having them on our visits to Norway as well.  My sister has mom's krukake baker now, so a few years ago I bought one for myself.  Now I can make krumkake anytime.....but yet I don't!  They're a Christmas tradition and having them only this time of year makes them extra special.  :)

Here is my krumkake baker.  Mine can only bake one at a time, whereas my mom's baker
had two sections. 

The batter is very thin, so when you close the baker and snap the lid shut, the batter spreads.  You can see the pretty pattern from the baker.

 Once you remove the krumkake from the baker, immediately roll it on the cone.

Allow to cool on the cone for at least a minute, while the next krumkake is baking.

Mmmmmm, crispy, delicate deliciousness!

I will be serving these krumkake with a creamy filling that my sister and I refer to as "The Mandarin Orange Dessert".  Not a very original name, I'm aware, but it's what my mom always called it, so there you have it. 
Straight from the Norwegian to us.  ;)

Here are recipes!  I've included the krumkake recipe because some of you very well may have a pizzelle baker, or you may be inspired to buy a krumkake baker!  

Norwegian Krumkake

5 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium sized bowl, beat together melted butter and sugar.  Add eggs and beat mixture until light yellow in color.  Add the milk, flour, cardamom, and vanilla.  Beat on low until batter is smooth.

Preheat krumkake baker.  Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons batter onto baker and close the lid.  Bake for 30 to 45 seconds and check for desired doneness.  Immediately remove to worksurface and roll on cone.  Cool 1 minute then remove to wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.  Yield:  about 20 cookies.

Mandarin Orange Dessert

1 large can mandarin oranges (29 oz.), drained
1 large container Cool Whip (Any variety, I suppose.  I buy Light.)
2 individual serving size containers of orange flavored yogurt (I buy Orange Creme Whips by Yoplait)

Fold together the yogurt and Cool Whip.  Gently fold in mandarin oranges.  Refrigerate, covered, for at least an hour before serving.  

(I know some people do not like Cool Whip, or do not eat it because it contains hydrogenated oils and corn syrup.  And Cool Whip is most definitely NOT Norwegian!  You can more certainly substitute your own homemade sweetened whipped cream.  How awesome would that be?!   Wow!  This dessert can be served without krumkake too.  Perhaps in those mini graham cracker pie crusts, or simply in a pretty parfait dish!)

Sorry I do not have photos of the mandarin orange dessert.  Take my word for it.  It's delicious!  And even better when served with Norwegian Krumkake!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Danish Lace Cookies (Kniplingskager)

Today, since it's snowy outside here in western PA, and since I didn't bake yesterday, and since I've been wanting to make these cookies but haven't yet, and since I can ignore the laundry that needs to be put away for just a little while longer.....I baked.  Four "sinces" led to these cookies.  ;) 

Last Christmas I bought the most amazing cookbook.  The Great Scandinavian Baking Book, by Beatrice Ojakangas.  I've tried at least a dozen of the recipes, and though a few are tricky, most have been simple, and ALL have been delicious!   My mom is Norwegian, so of course most of the recipes I've tried have been Norwegian, but today  (and since I *have* been to Denmark....)  I made these Danish Lace Cookies.  They were really simple to make, required no fancy ingredients, and are so light and crispy!  Try them!

Danish Lace Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups uncooked old-fasioned rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Grease baking sheets generously and dust with flour.  (*I simply used parchment paper and had no issues.)  Preheat oven to 350.  Melt the butter and stir in the rolled oats and ginger.  Beat the egg with the sugar until foamy.  Mix the baking powder and flour and stir into the egg mixture along with the oatmeal mixture.  Drop a level tablespoonful at a time onto the prepared baking sheets, 2 to 3 inches apart.  (*Definitely do this.  Even though I only put 8 cookies per cookie sheet, some of them still spread and touched, making giant snowman shaped lace cookies.  Ha!)  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden.  Cool about 1 minute, then remove cookies with a spatula onto a rolling pin.  You may prefer to keep these cookies flat.  (*I did.)  If you bend them too much they break into pieces (*they do)---a slight bend is all they need.  Store in an airtight container.

Try them and let me know what you think!

Monday, January 2, 2012

First blog post ever!

Okay, here it is!  My very first blog post EVER!  Kinda intimidating.  Kinda exciting.  Will anyone see it?  Read it?  Care about it?  Ha.

I feel like I should have baked something for the occasion, but since I've been too busy today playing Wii Fit Plus and Lego Ninjago with my kids on their last day of Christmas vacation, and I made a vow to myself to "get back on track" with my, eh-hem, "good eating habits", there has been no creaming of butter and sugar today.

Instead, I'll post a picture of one of my recent cakes.  This is a pirate ship cake for a friend's son, and I think it turned out very cute!  Pardon my point-and-shoot flash photography.  ;)

The cake itself is double chocolate sour cream cake, and the frosting is chocolate buttercream.  The detailed elements of the cake are made with rolled fondant (cannon, cannonballs, treasure chest, coins, etc.)   I heard from his mom that Pirate Max loved his cake!   Aarrgh!

Thanks for reading if you got this far!  I'm looking forward to this new adventure in 2012.  :)