Friday, December 31, 2010

Champagne cupcakes

Dear Betty Crocker,

Thank you for combining a delicious cupcake and champagne and sharing it with the rest of us. I shall be happy to gain 86 lbs eating these.

What you need:

For batter:
1 box white cake mix or if you are Susie Homemaker, your own homemade white cake mix. I just can't tell  you how or what to substitute you're on your own Susie. 
1 1/4 cup Champagne or sparkling wine
1/3 cup Vegetable oil
3 egg whites. 

For strawberry Butter Cream frosting:
1 cup (two sticks) Butter
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tbsp Strawberry jam
1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 400º
Combine dry cake mix with champagne then add in the oil and egg whites. Beat for two minutes. Then fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full. Put in oven for 10 minutes at 400º, then lower the temp to 350º and finish baking for an additional 10 minutes. 

While the cupcakes are cooling, beat the butter until fluffy then add in the powdered sugar. Once it starts to come together add in the vanilla and strawberry jam. 

If you want to get all fancy you can slice strawberries and place them on top of the cupcake instead of sprinkles.

*Cake batter adapted from Betty Crocker

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Hope you are enjoying a nice day with family and friends!

Remember, Sleep in tomorrow! And eats lots of left overs!

Katie, Kay & Nicole

Monday, December 20, 2010

Decorating cookies

I decorated cookies with the little bros over the weekend. I'm a little cookied out so I just used one of those cookie mixes that you just add butter and an egg. They were good, probably even better because I didn't really have to do much except mix.

I busted out my holiday sprinkles, a few tubs of frosting, some food coloring and the cookies I had made the night before and we were ready to decorate.

Any one up for some caroling around the christmas tree? I did have Gingerbread men to go with the Gingerbread ladies but someone ate all the men so the women are lonely now. Poor ladies, better get out the milk. 

When I was getting ready to make the cookies I was looking through my cookie cutters and found all my little tiny cookie cutters. I almost forgot I had them. A friend of mine gave them to me freshman year in high school way before I ever thought baking was fun. Mia? How the heck did you know my future would lead to much baking and I would find these necessary to my life someday? 

Look how cute

Oh how adorable these little candy canes look next to the giant one. Is it weird that I think a cookie is adorable? They are also delicious if that makes a difference. Delicious and adorable. 

This little Cyclops isn't as cute but I like him. 

Betcha never had a Colonel Sanders cookie. Be jealous. Why is Colonel pronounced Kernel? I never understood that and doubt I ever will. It should be pronounced Colon-ell....wait... I think I just answered my own question. Who wants to be called a digestive system. Sorry this cookie post took an unexpected turn. Disregard everything after "jealous".

This is what happens when little brother number 2 gets bored. He stacks 4 cookies with frosting and calls it a day. 

And this is what happens when I tell he needs to help finish decorating the enormous pile cookies I baked. He piles on the frosting and calls it a day. 

Little brother number 2 also "accidentally" messed up a bunch of cookies he was decorating and had to eat them. He couldn't figure out why he didn't feel good 7 cookies later.

Have you finished you holiday baking yet?

Not feeling up to holiday baking? You could always buy one of those pre-made Pilsbury holiday cookie logs. You know the ones that have the holiday image on them and you just slice the cookies. Actually, I think you don'y even have to cut them anymore, they come in a sheet and you just have to bake them. Just get some of those, a tub of frosting and some sprinkles and your done! Easy peasy.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Free Download!!

Here are TWO Free Downloads I've been working on just for you. It should print nicely on an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper. I recommend printing them on card stock.

Click here to download Set 1 Christmas Gift tags

Click here to download Set 2 Christmas Gift tags

I'm not good at explaining things so I shall explain with the aid of a picture!

(click to enlarge)

When you click the links for the tags you will be whisked away to Google Docs seen above, click File, then you can Download Original or Print (PDF).  Enjoy! 


Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Colored Ribbon Layered Jello!

Sorry, Nicole... I know you dislike jello, possibly even hate it.  BUT... THIS IS DELICIOUS and it is SUPER EASY TO MAKE!!!!

Serves 10-15 people

2 (3 oz.) pkg. orange jello
2 (3 oz.) pkg. lemon jello
2 (3 oz.) pkg. lime jello
2 (3 oz.) pkg. cherry or raspberry jello
3 (13 oz.) can condensed milk

Lightly grease a 9x13 glass pan with oil.  Mix 1 package with orange jello with 3/4 cup hot and 3/4 cup cold water.  Pour into pan and let set for 30 minutes in refrigerator.  Next layers take about 15 minutes.  Make second package orange jello with 3/4 cup hot water and 3/4 cup cold condensed milk (mix but do not whip: STIR). Pour over first layer and refrigerate.  Proceed in same manner with each package of jello in order given. 

WE used Lemon,  Cherry, and Lime jello for Christmas and topped it with whipped cream!

 MMM... Delicious!  

This makes a wonderful dessert for a party or other occasion!  You can  use whatever jello you wish for your holiday or event!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Baking Tip List - Cookie Week

The final recipe for Cookie Week has been posted, but we're not done yet! We've compiled a few baking tips to help you in the kitchen this holiday season.

1. Out of powdered sugar? You can can make your own if you don't want to brave the stores. Just put regular, granulated, sugar 1/2 a cup at a time in a food processor or coffee grinder and pulse until you have powdered sugar. Voila!

2. If you’re like me, you forget to take the butter out of the fridge for softened butter in recipes. Cut butter into even chunks and microwave on low for 10 seconds. Check the butter and repeat if necessary, be careful to not let it melt. Properly softened butter is the secret to many a good cookie recipe!

3. If you have multiple pans in the oven, do not let them touch. It can create hot spots and the touching spots might over cook.

4. When melting chocolate for dipping or coating, WATER IS EVIL. It will cause the chocolate to separate and that is a terrible thing. Also white chocolate is more prone to burning, so watch the temperature.

5. When I have a lot of chocolate dipping I need to do, like if I am making cake balls, dipping fruit or other food, I use a mini crock-pot for melting. It’s the perfect size, and it keeps a constant temperature.

6. Coat candy or fruit with flour before putting into batter. It will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake or cookie.

7. When baking cookies, it's important that they are all the same size to ensure even cooking. For drop cookies, use an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop, like this one, to take the guess work out of evenly sized cookies. (Hint: Do the same thing for cupcakes & muffins!)

8. If a cookie recipe isn't as soft or crisp as you'd like, adjust the baking time. Pulling the cookies out of the oven when the centers are still a little gooey will give you a softer cookie. Leave them in longer if you like more of a crunch (but not so long that they burn!) Also, you can make a cookie softer by swapping in a little light brown sugar for regular, granulated sugar. 

9. Parchment paper makes clean up a breeze. I use it all the time instead of greasing my baking sheet!

And the most important baking tip...
10. Turn the oven off after you're finished baking. We don't want any fires now, do we?

Do you have any baking tips to share? Post them in the comment section!




       3/4 cups butter
  1 cup sugar
          1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
               2 cups plus 2 T. flour
1/2 t. salt
2 t. soda
                                   1/2 t. cinnamon, cloves, and ginger

Mix the above ingredients together. Chill in the refrigerator 2-3 hours.

3 T sugar- make small balls of cookies and dip into sugar. Place cookies on greased cookie sheets.  

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen medium delicious cookies.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Thumbprints

Trying to think of another holiday cookie I could make, holiday thumbprint cookies with a Hershey Kiss in the middle came to mind. I always see them at Christmas parties or on cookie plates but I've never had one. These are good cookies but have a cake like texture.  
Yields approx. 36 cookies
1/2 cup of Butter
1 Egg
1 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 cup Milk
1 cup Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/3 cup Cocoa powder
1/4 tsp Salt
Approx. 36 Hershey Kisses, one 10 oz bag had more than enough. I used the peppermint ones

Preheat oven to 375º
Beat the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in a bowl until well blended. Mix together in a separate bowl the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Than add this to the butter mixture alternately with the milk in about three additions. Blend well. Cover and refrigerate the dough for about one hour. 

**Scoop the dough, a tablespoon full, onto the baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool a few minutes on cookie sheet then transfer to a cooling rack. 

**Here is one thing I can't decide on; when to add the Hershey Kisses. I pressed some into the dough balls before I popped them into the oven and let them bake with the cookies. They held their shape nicely but the tips of the kisses did start to brown a little, which isn't really a big deal. 
These were baked with the Hershey Kiss. See still pretty. 
And I added some powdered sugar to distract from the brown candy. 

I also pressed some of the Kisses into the dough right after they came out of the oven. These ones melted into a nice puddle of chocolate, which also isn't a big deal. But to me they just weren't as pretty so I sprinkled them with a little bit of crushed candy cane and I was happy with the results. You could sprinkle them with red and green sugar or some nice festive holiday sprinkles. 

Both look nice and they taste the same so it's completely up to you!

recipe adapted from Hershey's

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies w/Orange glaze

I'm not a fan of oatmeal raisin cookies but I love oatmeal cookies of every kind. I also really like dried cranberries, so instead of making plain oatmeal cookies or chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, I made Cranberry Oatmeal cookies. 

And since the combination of orange and cranberry seem so popular, I wanted to make an cranberry orange cookie. I was going to add the orange zest to the cookie dough but I really wanted to be able to taste it so I made an orange glaze that adds a hint of orange and sweetness to the cookie. 

Yields approx. 48 cookies

For Cookies: 
1 cup Butter - softened
1 1/4 cups firmly packed Brown Sugar
2 Egg
2 tsp Vanilla 
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Salt
2 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1 1/2 cups dried Cranberries

For Orange Glaze:
1 1/2 cups Powder Sugar
3 tbs Orange Juice
1 tbs Orange Zest

In a bowl mix the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda. In another bowl cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and eggs mix until smooth. Then add in the flour mixture, once combined add the dried cranberries. 

Using a sorbet scoop or a tablespoon, scoop dough on to a cookie sheet and bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Leave on the cookie sheet for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. 

While the cookies are in the oven, begin making the Orange Glaze. 
Whisk together the powder sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Add more O.J. for a thinner consistency OR add more powder sugar to thicken it up as you wish. It should be thick but pourable, not super runny. If you have one, pour the orange glaze into a squeeze bottle otherwise just leave it in the bowl.

Once the cookies have cooled drizzle the orange glaze over the cookies. If you don't have a squeeze bottle, dip a fork into the glaze and drizzle over the cookies. The icing will set up if you let them sit out for about half an hour. Store in an air tight container. Enjoy! 


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Salted Caramel Cocoa Cookies

Have you had the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Starbucks? Don't dismiss this drink for its trendiness, it's one of my very favorite things this season. I love it so much that I decided to model a cookie recipe after it. I give you the Salted Caramel Cocoa cookie!

Salted Caramel Cocoa Cookies
Yields approx. 3 dozen cookies

1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon regular salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 bag of Rolos chocolate caramel candies
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt

Preheat your oven to 350*. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, regular salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs one at a time, and stir in the vanilla. Slowly mix in your sifted, dry ingredients until just combined. 

Drop the dough by tablespoonful, roughly two inches apart, on a parchment covered baking sheet. Using your fingers, or the back of a spoon, press down on the top of an unwrapped Rolo until lightly squished* (Yes, that's such a scientific term..) Place a squished Rolo on the top of each round of dough and press down. Sprinkle a dash of the coarse sea salt on top of the Rolo.

Bake at 350* for 8 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on a rack before eating. 

Note: I recommend allowing the cookies to cool completely before taking a bite, no matter how delicious they smell. The caramel will be hot and may burn.

Adapted from All Recipes

Have you enjoyed this week's recipes so far? What's your all time favorite cookie to eat during the holidays?

xo Nicole

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

I mentioned in the peppermint bark post that I would be using it in some cookies. I didn't have a recipe for the cookies I wanted to make but I knew what I wanted, a chocolate chocolate chip cookie using peppermint bark instead of chocolate chips. 

While I am all for playing with recipes and tweaking them to see what you get and how great you can make them, I don't do well with baking failures. So Instead of playing with a recipe I scoured the internet looking for a good chocolate cookie that I could use but nothing looked good enough. Then I came across 101cookbooks and they have a fabulous recipe for Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies. 

Yields approx.: 48 cookies

3 cups Flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp Salt
1 cup  Butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 Eggs
1 tbs Vanilla
2 cups peppermint bark, roughly chopped  
Optional crushed candy canes

Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. 

In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, be sure to scrap down the sides of the bowl a few times. Then stir in the vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients in increments, stirring between each addition.  Stir in the peppermint bark by hand until it is evenly incorporated. 

Reserve a bit of the bark to sprinkle on top of the cookies before you pop them into the oven. And if you want, crush up a few candy canes to sprinkle on top for some extra color once you take the cookies out of the oven.

Using a sorbet scoop or a table spoon, scoop onto baking sheets 1 inches apart and bake @ 375º for about 10 - 14 minutes. The recipe says that the cookies will flatten out but mine didn't so what I did was dust the bottom of a glass with some cocoa powder and press the cookies down.  Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. While they are still a little hot, sprinkle with the optional crushed candy canes. 


Monday, December 6, 2010

Molasses Drop Cookies

If you're like me, the smell of molasses makes you queasy. Don't be fooled though, these cookies are delicious!
The molasses cookies are a sweet alternative to gingerbread if you just don't have the time to roll out a ton of dough. They pair especially well with a hot apple cider. Perfect for a snowy day!

This particular recipe was adapted from the recipe of a family friend, Aunt Paula. Thanks to her for sharing such a great recipe!

Molasses Drop Cookies
Yields: approx. 3 dozen cookies

2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. shortening
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1/4 c. milk
3/4 c. molasses (unsulphered) 

Preheat your oven at 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.
Cream together the shortening and sugar. Then, stir in the egg. Add in the milk and molasses.
Mix in the dry ingredients. Drop by the tablespoonful on a greased or non-stick cookie sheet. (I line my cookie sheet with parchment paper.)
Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges. Let cool on the cooling rack.

Tip: For a crunchy top to the cookie, sprinkle a little sugar on the rounds before baking.

Cookie Week

Sasquatch Willow is devoting this week to cookies! That's right. An entire week of cookie baking goodness. For the next seven days, we'll be posting cookies recipes along with printables for you to enjoy. It is only appropriate to load you with recipes for the oodles of holiday parties and Christmas dinners you will be attending. And did you hear? Calories don't count in December, so eat up. The fun starts today.

Happy baking!
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