Monday, April 23, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

I saw these a few weeks ago on Picky Palate and have been waiting for an opportunity to try them.  Today's a perfect stay-at-home-and-bake kinda day with this Nor'Easter we're getting, so I made them for my family!  What a treat!  I bake all the time, but rarely do I bake something JUST for us.  :)

Since I made these just for the six of us, I cut the recipe in half.  Jenny's original recipe yields at least six dozen cookies.  Now I'm not saying we couldn't eat six dozen cookies, I'm just saying we *shouldn't* eat six dozen cookies!  ;)

That said, cutting the recipe in half *still* yielded 4 1/2 dozen!  My cookies are about two inches in diameter. You could easily make them larger by rolling the dough into a larger rectangle.  We'll get to that in a sec.

Begin by mixing up the dough and chilling it for a few hours in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap.  Then divide the dough into three pieces and roll each piece into a rectangle, 1/8 of an inch thick, on a lightly floured surface.   

Spread the dough with  softened butter.   I just used my fingers, but you could be civilized and use an offset spatula.

Sprinkle with brown sugar.  Again, since I'm clearly a hands-on baker, I just used my fingers to break up the brown sugar chunks, and sprinkled evenly over the dough.   I couldn't help but wonder what some chopped pecans would have been like in these.  Next time.

Roll up the dough into a long rectangle (forgot a photo of this step!) and cut into pieces.  Place them on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet or baking stone.

Bake for about 10 minutes, and let sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Mix up a simple frosting of powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk, and pipe in swirls on the cooled cookies.   Try hard not to eat half a dozen at this point.  Let the icing set before storing in an airtight container.  Place wax paper between layers of cookies.  (Jenny's recipe calls for a cream cheese icing.  While I think this would be very rich and wonderful, I opted for a simple glaze so that I don't have to store the cookies in the fridge.)

Here's the recipe with my adaptations!

Cinnamon Roll  Cookies

Cookie Dough

1 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup butter, softened
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 Cup sour cream
3 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature, divided
3/4 Cups packed light brown sugar, divided
3/4 Tablespoon ground cinnamon, divided

2 Cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 Tablespoons milk

In an electric or stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter. Add eggs, vanilla and sour cream until well combined. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined.

Form dough into a flat rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill for at least two hours.

Once chilled, divide the dough into three pieces.  One at a time, roll into a 1/8 inch thick rectangle, about 12 inches by 5 inches.  Spread each rolled out rectangle dough with 2 Tablespoons softened butter, 1/4 Cup packed brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  Roll up from the long side.  Using a sharp knife, cut 1/2 inch to 3/4 pieces of dough and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from baking sheet to cool completely on a wire rack.

In a bowl stir together powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.  Spread or pipe in a swirl pattern on cooled cookies.  Allow icing to set before storing in an airtight container between layers of wax paper.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Sock Monkey Cake

Isn't this Sock Monkey sooooo cute?!?

This cake is for a friend's son's 1st birthday, and it's inspired by some paper products she bought for his party.  Wouldn't you know we both forgot about having a special smash cake for him?!  Bummer!

*~*Happy 1st Birthday Zac!!*~*

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TWD -- Lemon Loaf Cake

Oh how I love lemony treats!  So light and refreshing and sweet and tart.  Perfect for spring.

This Lemon Loaf Cake is this week's Tuesday's With Dorie recipe.  Our hosts this week are Truc of Treats, and Michelle of The Beauty of Life.  Thank you, Michelle and Truc, for sharing your talents with us!   If you'd like to see the recipe, please visit their blogs!

The Lemon Loaf Cake was a cinch to put together.  No electric mixer required----just whisk ingredients by hand.  Awesome!

The texture of the cake is pound cake-like, and slices beautifully.  I sent the sliced loaf to work with my hubby today, but not before sharing a slice with my girls last night.  Delicious!  Perhaps a bit drier than I expected, but not horribly so.  I couldn't help thinking this would be even better with a lemon glaze, or served with lemon curd. 

Regardless, this cake would be perfect with brunch, or as a simple dessert. 


Monday, April 16, 2012

Homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies

When I saw this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's blog a few days ago, I just knew I had to make them.   I love the Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie snack cakes, so a homemade version----what could be better?!

Ree posted the recipe here and named them Oatmeal Whoopie Pies.  I just couldn't help myself in calling them Oatmeal Creme Pies.  I made them with a medium sized scoop for both the cookie and the filling.  Perfect!  Big, but perfect.  ;)  The cookies are chewy and the filling is light, and together, your mouth will sing. 

Here's the recipe, taken directly from Ree's blog!  Please visit Ree's blog to enjoy all of her fabulous pictures and commentary on this recipe.  :)


2 cups Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Butter, Softened
1/4 cup Shortening (Crisco)
2 whole Eggs
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
3 Tablespoons Boiling Water
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2-1/2 cups Flour
2 cups Quick Oats


5 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
1 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Butter
1 cup Granulated Sugar

*Cookie recipe adapted from The Best of Amish Cooking, by Phyllis Pellman Good.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Cream brown sugar, butter, and shortening. Add eggs and mix. Add salt, cinnamon, and baking powder and mix. Mix baking soda and boiling water, then add to the bowl and mix. Add flour and oatmeal and mix well. Scoop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets so that you have rounded heaping teaspoons. Bake for 10 minutes, being careful not to burn. Remove from oven, transfer to a cooling rack, and let the cookies cool completely.

In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it's very thick. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the living daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.Scoop a small amount onto cookies, pressing a second cookie on top.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Roller Skating Birthday Cake

It's hard for me to believe that my daughter just turned 11 years old.  ELEVEN!  How is that even possible?? 

It's her turn for a party this year (with four children in our family, we take turns with parties!) so we decided on a roller skating party at a nearby skating rink.  I found some cute clip art and made her invitations and my daughter asked to have a matching cake. 

Lime green and turquoise are her favorite colors, so I made sure to use them on the cake.  You may not be able to see, but the skating kids are actually on rolled fondant!  I rolled the fondant about 1/4 inch thick, then used the pattern transfer technique to copy the clip art.  I customized the clip art, changing one of the characters from a boy to a girl, and I changed their clothing.  The characters are drawn with royal icing, using the same technique I use for decorating cookies----piping the outline with medium icing, then flooding-in with thin icing.  I made the fondant topper several days ago so the royal icing would have time to dry.  Once the cake was baked, cooled, and frosted I set the fondant topper gently onto the cake and piped a border around it with buttercream. 

We're looking forward to the roller skating party tomorrow with 20 of my daughter's friends!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Cookies

These cuties are vanilla sugar cookies with royal icing.  I think the bunny is my favorite!   No wait, maybe it's the chick peeking out of the egg.  But I also love the swirly Easter egg!  And the flower!!!  :)

I made two dozen of these precious treats for my friend Amy, and my family was thrilled to have a few to munch on this Easter as well. 

*~*Happy Easter*~*

Easter Basket Cake

I made this Easter Basket Cake for a friend's son's birthday, and it was so much fun to make!  The bunny, eggs, carrots, and bow are made with fondant.  The basket handle is fondant, twisted around a shaped coat hanger.  The grass and basketweave are buttercream.

Thank you, Amy, for taking pictures since I forgot to bring my camera!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesdays With Dorie: Pizza Rustica

This is not a traditional pizza, as in a crust with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.  This is a pizza pie with two crusts and a ricotta and prosciutto filling.  Yum!

I was surprised by the sweet dough, which has 1/3 cup of sugar in it.    I ran out of AP flour and substituted the last 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour.  We love the nuttiness and chewy texture from whole wheat flour, so if anything, the addition of it just added to the yumminess of the dough.  I was supposed to use a food processor to pull the dough together, but I do not have one large enough for a large dough, so I assembled the dough by hand, using a pastry cutter to cut in the butter.  It came together just fine.  It rolled out easily, and was nice and crispy on top and bottom, holding the heavy ricotta filling just fine!  

Before baking:

The filling is ricotta cheese, mozzarella, Romano, eggs, prosciutto, fresh parsley, and black pepper.  Simple!    The recipe called for whole milk ricotta, which I used for the sake of following the recipe, but next time I'll substitute skim, and I'll also add a bunch of vegetables and garlic to jazz it up.  This was tasty, but I missed some spiciness somewhere.

Today's hosts on Tuesdays With Dorie are Emily of Capital Region Dining and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home.  Go check out their blogs for the complete Pizza Rustica recipe!  Or, if you've been inspired by my Tuesdays With Dorie posts, you could get your own copy of Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan and try your hand at baking some of these delicious recipes!

I served the Pizza Rustica with a delicious Strawberry Spinach Salad, one of our favorites this time of year.   Here's the recipe for the salad, if you'd like!  It's so refreshing.

1 bag baby spinach or spinach/lettuce mix
1 pint strawberries, sliced or halved
1/2 cup pecan pieces or pecan halves

1/3 cup canola oil
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp. dry mustard powder
dash of salt
1 Tbsp. poppy seed

In a large serving bowl, place spinach leaves, and top with strawberries and pecans.  Whisk together canola oil, sugar, red wine vinegar, mustard, salt, and poppy seed.   Pour over salad, toss gently, and serve immediately.

*I typically serve the dressing on the side and just refrigerate leftovers.