Posts Tagged ‘dessert’
As I surveyed our pantry, I realized that although we just went grocery shopping we did not have much by way of snacks. I decided to make sugar cookies with the kids and we had a blast. I absolutely love the way the kids wear flour and powdered sugar and don’t bother trying to hide the fact that they are sneaking sugar cookie upon sugar cookie as soon as they hit the plate.
This is the sugar cookie recipe that my mom has used since my sister and I were little girls. It is just the perfect flavor. We make these cookies every year for Christmas but this is the first time I have made them for another holiday.
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cream of tartar
1 cup margarine, softened
1/2 t. almond extract
2 1/2 cup flour
1 t. baking soda
Mix powdered sugar, margarine, vanilla, almond extract, and egg. Stir in the remaining ingredients. I usually start with my Kitchenaid mixer and then finish mixing the dough by hand. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours. When it comes out of the refrigerator, it may seem crumbly. Mix it up and knead the dough by hand. Roll out on a lightly floured surface (or my favorite Pampered Chef pastry mat!) and cut with cookie cutters.
Bake on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes. The longer they cook, the crispier they will be. Cool on a baking rack.
Once completely cool, frost with your favorite frosting.
I usually use a buttercream frosting, but this time I used a powdered sugar frosting.
2 cups powdered sugar
2 T. vanilla
2 T. milk
food coloring if desired
Mix the vanilla and milk and add powdered sugar. Continue to mix until it is almost a pourable consistency but not quite.
I also made a chocolate powdered sugar recipe. Following the above directions, I just added 2 T. of cocoa powder to the powdered sugar before combining with the liquid. Next time, I will probably not add the vanilla or only add about 1/2 teaspoon. I felt like the frosting was much overpowered by the vanilla. The kids don’t have a problem with it though!
Once you cover the cookies with frosting (it will be messy!!), allow to dry for at least an hour.
Raise your hand if you are on a diet! Me too! Raise your hand if it has been super easy to follow! Mine neither (either? neither? you know what I’m saying)! I have recently (like, last week) started my first diet ever in my life. Sure, I have had times where I have counted calories or made sure I was eating a lot of high fiber, low fat foods. To be honest though, I never knew why. Why high fiber? Why fish? Why not my favorite thing on the planet…BREAD?! For goodness sake, why is everything that tastes to good SO BAD for us??? It just isn’t fair!
We all have our reasons for dieting. Most of my friends would give me a hard time if they even knew I was “dieting.” I, like everyone else, also have my reasons. For the last five months I have been training for my first marathon. Already a big deal for most, this is a really big deal for me because I have only considered myself a runner for about 8 months now. I have used running as an exercise in the past, but the most I ever did was a once a week running club. We ran a 5K and celebrated our 300 burned calories by drinking probably 3 times that in beer. Not incredibly effective, though incredibly fun.
My first 5K race (3.11 miles), I finished in 44 minutes. There was beer after that run too. That is just over a 14 minute per mile pace. When I told my mother, she told me she used to walk a 5K in the same time. I was so embarrassed. Not to mention, I was also running it with my boyfriend at the time, who loved me so much he left me behind so he could still have a good finish! Yes, that is sarcasm you note. Don’t worry, I broke up with him a week later. Of course, he’s my husband now, so I don’t know how much that is saying! :o)
Last week I ran 20 miles in just under 3 hours and 4 minutes. That is a 9 minute and 10 second per mile pace. For 20 miles! I am very excited and proud of how far I have come when it comes to my running. I have dedicated myself to it and not only am I achieving my goals, but I feel healthier than I have in my entire life.
However, I have struggled with the “fueling” aspect of running. Energy bars, protein shakes, before, after, all day…what to do? I have recently thrown myself into researching what and when I should be eating for the different running exercises I do, which right now range from 4 miles of running up and down hills, to the 20 mile long run (the most I will do pre-marathon is 22 miles). I finally found a diet that I think is working out wonderfully for my needs.
It is a 50-25-25 diet. 50% carbs, 25% proteins and 25% fats. Carbs are split up into “good”: fruits and veggies; and “bad”: breads, pastas, you know…the GOOD stuff!!! I have everything laid out into a spread sheet that I am living by day-to-day. I count the calories for EVERYTHING I eat and place them into their proper categories. No, of course I am not going to live like this forever. But I am certainly going to do it for a while. Long enough to teach myself how to eat properly on my own. I’ll talk more about the 50-25-25 aspect of it during another post. I should probably wrap this novel up for you right about now!
The point of today’s post is that I am already tired of eating all of this stinking fresh fruit! And I LOVE fruit, I always have. I am eating quite a diverse menu of it too! But I’m bored with it already. So tonight for dessert I decided I would add a little flair to my post dinner fruit serving and I came up with these fancified pears. They were SO yummy and definitely filled me up, satisfying my sweet tooth at the same time. They also made my kitchen smell wonderful! A great winter fruit dessert! By my account, one serving comes in at under 180 calories, mostly good carbs.
Fancy Pears (serves one, multiply recipe as necessary for multiple servings)
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 dash cinnamon
- 1 dash ground cloves
- 1 dash nutmeg
- 1 pear (I used bosc), peeled, cored, and sliced as desired
Combine the juice, sugar and spices in a small saucepan. Simmer on medium heat until lightly bubbly (I covered mine and it was simmering in 3 – 4 minutes). Add the peeled pear slices and simmer 8 – 10 minutes covered, stirring occasionally. Do not allow to boil rapidly as you do not want to overcook the pears. Remove from heat and pour into serving bowl. Serve warm.
Any kind of juice will work – apple, orange, pomegranate, you name it. Cranberry just happened to be what I had on hand. You better believe I drank all of the juice after I ate the pears too! A great warm drink on a cold winter night – spiced cranberry juice! DE-LISH! Next time I will probably add some walnuts or pecans either during the cooking process or as a garnish on top…gotta get those fats into my diet too!
In case you are wondering, I totally kick my husband’s butt running now. We can both maintain a decent speed for about 3 or 4 miles together, but then I can leave him in the dust. Just had to throw that in there :).
Don’t know what to get your Valentine for that special day this year? Instead of the typical stuffed bear and box of chocolates why don’t you try this box of Valentine cupcakes? It was super fun to make and a great excuse to play with all the different designing techniques involved when it comes to icing. I had most of the materials on hand but did buy a few things like the chocolate hearts and the sugared jelly cherry hearts.
This, of course was very dangerous because every cherry heart that was not put on a cupcake was put in my mouth. Ugh…so much for today’s calorie counting!!! A few items I used to decorate: red hots, chocolate covered sunflower seeds in purple, chocolate hearts filled with caramel, and the m&m’s to fill the box.
The cupcakes in this box are mint chocolate chip with mint icing and snickerdoodles with buttercream icing. Since I knew I would be putting the time into the decorating, I took the “box shortcut” (as seen in the recipes below). Of course, any flavors would be great. If I were making several of these at one time I would make all sorts of flavors so there would be an assortment like a true box of chocolates. Next time, I will also probably stick with four or five designs for the tops of the cupcakes and just repeat them over and over. My inspiration for this came from the Hello Cupcake Blog. I am very happy with the results and I think I did a pretty good job recreating it. What a great, different idea for your important someone!
Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
- 1 box triple chocolate fudge cake mix and all ingredients box mix requires
- 1 teaspoon mint extract
- 11/2 cups chocolate chips
Follow recipe as given on box but add in extract and chocolate chips. Bake as directed on box
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon mint extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 – 3 tablespoons milk
Cream butter and shortening until smooth. Mix in extracts and confectioners’ sugar. Add milk until you have reached desired spreading/piping consistency.
- 1 box yellow cake mix (I used butter recipe) and all ingredients box mix requires
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Follow recipe as given on box but add in cinnamon.
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 – 3 tablespoons milk
Which one is your favorite cupcake in the picture???
Here they come again…the delectable Carter Mountain Orchard Apples! Everyone around me has been talking about apple pies and apple crisp and apple everything. It has totally gotten me in the mood for my next adventure in apple deliciousness! You will rarely find me using a recipe off of a box, or out of a normal cookbook (in case you are new to my baking part of this blog). So as usual, I went on the hunt for something, well, unusual.
I am finding there are few things people do with apples. We are traditionalists when it comes to our “comfort food.” But I did manage to find a recipe that seemed half pie, half crisp, all GOODNESS! It was featured on Good Morning America in 2001 as the winner of their apple pie contest and is called Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie. The had me at Caramel.
So after the my little angels climbed into bed tonight and the kitchen was clean from dinner, I got to baking (so I could of course mess my kitchen back up!)!
Rewind: One of my ALL time favorite memories as a kid was sitting with my mother at our little 80’s wooden table in the breakfast nook in our house in Quantico, Virginia. We went apple picking as soon as the apples were ready and looked forward to coming home and preparing them for freezing. My mother had a Pampered Chef Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer that I got to sit down at the table with and spin for what felt like forever. That was 20 (?) years ago and if you go check it out at their website, you’ll see the contraption hasn’t changed a lick! It even has the same wooden base to use in case you don’t have somewhere you can attach it to! When I called her and told her about our trip to the orchard, she stuck her Peeler/Corer/Slicer in the mail the very next day. So sweet!
Fast-forward: To begin the pie, I first peeled/cored/sliced the apples and made the crumb topping. I swear, I would have no problem with sitting and eating a bowl of nothing but butter, brown sugar, flour and oats. It looked SO fantastic! Next I mixed the apples into the dry sugar mixture. This is where I made a few changes.
First, I used brown sugar instead of white sugar. I do this a lot and I think it really makes the baked good much richer in flavor. Not to mention, I need an excuse to eat a spoonful of brown sugar out of the container. It’s my mother’s fault. Blame her. And no, I don’t double dip.
I also added a teaspoon of vanilla because I basically think EVERYTHING tastes better with vanilla! Next time, I’ll probably add two! Also, with recipes like this I usually use my Pampered Chef Cinnamon Spice Blend instead of just regular old cinnamon. The extra spices add that little “oomph” I am always looking for in my desserts.
Now, another quick interjection here…in the recipe they made a comment “6 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (You may need more if your family sits by the bowl and sneaks the sliced applies when you are not looking).” Holy cow, they were NOT joking! The apples mixed with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt was to DIE for! So at this point, I could pretty much sit and eat all the parts to this recipe separately without putting them together! That is a GREAT sign!
After making sure I saved enough apples for the pie, I put them in the prepared pie crust. I know my friends call me Betty Crocker, but no. I do not make my own pie crust. Many things I will do on my own just for the sake of it, but this is not one of them. Thank you Pillsbury.
The last step from here was to add the crumb topping and put it in the oven (I use a pie crust tin instead of aluminum foil. They are cheap, easy, quick and worth it! No naughty comments please!).
Into the oven she went and the waiting began. The kitchen was clean before I had to take the tin off halfway through and all of the laundry was folded by the time it was done baking…my kind of dessert!
It was one of those creations that you can barely get out of the oven, your mouth is watering SO much. It looked BEAUTIFUL and the entire house smelled like an orchard! And oh my gosh, the TASTE! It was a lusciously autumn dessert made for someone just like me. So here I sit, eating my Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie, and drinking a glass of the Rapidian Peach wine I bought at Carter Mountain Orchard, enjoying a nice quiet evening before hopping in to bed. YUM!