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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies (Bars & Brownies): Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies 1

Welcome to the 12th Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies! This year, I am focusing on brownies, blondies, and other bar cookies.

A note about cooking bar cookies: If you have trouble with burned edges and raw centers, try using a metal pan instead of a glass or ceramic pan. This is especially true of  bigger pans, 9×13” or larger. You can also bake the batter in 2 smaller square pans instead of one larger one to get more evenly baked bars and brownies.

DAY 1: Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

This is an easy to make dressed-up brownie dessert that starts with a boxed brownie mix. Raspberry jam is swirled into both the brownie layer and the cheesecake layer.

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies 2Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies 3Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies 4

RECIPE:

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Eleventh Annual Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Christmas Sprinkle Cookies

Sprinkle Cookies 2DAY 9: Christmas Sprinkle Cookies

Nothing says Christmas cheer like Sprinkles! These are sure to please both kids and adults.

Sprinkle Cookies 4

Sprinkle Cookies 3

RECIPE:

Christmas Sprinkle Cookies

  • Servings: 2-3 dozen small cookies
  • Print

Sprinkle Cookies 2

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp cream of tartar
¼ tsp salt
About ½ cup Christmas sprinkle candies

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.

Using a cookie scoop, place level scoops on baking sheets, about 2” apart. Roll scoops of dough into 1” balls, then roll dough balls in sprinkles and return to baking sheet.

Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until baked through, but still pale. Don’t overbake. Remove baking sheet from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheet before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 2-3 dozen small cookies

Light-The-World-Image-26

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Sugar-Free Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse

Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse 2

A light, refreshing sugar-free dessert perfect for summer evenings. You can use any fresh berry (raspberry, strawberry, blackberry). It is sugar free, low-carb, and keto friendly.

Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse 1

RECIPE:

Sugar-Free Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse

Blackberry Cheesecake Mousse 1

12 oz fresh blackberries (about 2 cups)**
¼ cup water
¼ cup granulated low carb sweetener (I used erythritol)
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
¼ cup powdered low carb sweetener (I used a monkfruit/erythritol blend)
¼ tsp liquid stevia
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
Additional fresh blackberries for garnish

Combine blackberries, water, and granulated sweetener in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, crushing blackberries with a potato masher or spoon. Strain blackberry mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pressing with a spoon to strain all of the pulp. Set strained mixture aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, powdered sweetener, stevia, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer for 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in cooled blackberry mixture. Taste and add additional sweetener, if needed.

In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into the blackberry mixture.

Spoon mousse into 8 small ramekins and refrigerate until slightly firm (1-2 hours). Garnish with fresh blackberries, if desired.

NOTE: you can also use other berries like raspberries or strawberries.

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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies Recap

After an extensive process of nominations and voting, these are the cookies that our family voted as their favorites. It is not an exhaustive list, and the voting may have been skewed by the child who hates anything chocolate. Tomorrow I will share a few Honorable Mentions and some favorite Christmas candies.

Merry Christmas and Happy Baking!

DAY 1: Christmas Cherry Pecan Cookies

Christmas Cherry Pecan Cookies

DAY 2: Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

Lofthouse Cookies 3

DAY 3: Swedish Peppar KaKar (soft, mild gingerbread)

ninjabread-men-3

DAY 4: Russian Teacakes

Russian Tea Cakes 2

DAY 5: Sugar Cookies

Snow Capped Christmas TreesStained Glass Sugar CookiesSugar Cookies 2Sharp Edges Sugar Cookies

DAY 6: Chewy Molasses Cookies

Chewy Molasses Crinkles

DAY 7: Andes & Rolo Cookies

Andes and Rolo Cookies

DAY 8: Scottish Shortbread

Scottish Shortbread (12)

DAY 9: Old-Fashioned Coconut Macaroons

2018-10-16 11.25.09

DAY 10: Chocolate Dipped Orange Shortbread Cookies

2018-10-11 09.57.20

DAY 11: Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies

Raspberry Almond Linzer Cookies (7)

DAY 12: Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints 1

 

 

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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies 1

DAY 5: Sugar Cookies (Two Doughs/Many Variations)

Sugar Cookies are the iconic Christmas treat. Good thing they are also extremely versatile. Once you have your sugar cookie base, you can easily change up the design for very different looks and tastes. I have two basic sugar cookie doughs that I like to use. The first is a soft, thick dough that stays pillowy soft and tender after baking. This is the dough I use for most of my sugar cookies:

Sugar Cookies 2

But if I need really sharp edges, and absolutely no spread when the dough is baked, I go with the dough below. The cookies are still soft if you don’t overbake them, but they are more dense than the other recipe.

Sharp Edges Sugar Cookies

Whichever dough you choose, you can make traditional frosted sugar cookies, with various types of icing, or try something just a little different. These two options are actually easier than frosting with a regular icing.

Snow Capped Christmas Trees:

Snow Capped Christmas Trees

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies:

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies 2

ORIGINAL BLOG POSTS:
Soft and Thick Sugar Cookies (2009)
Sharp Edged Sugar Cookies (2014)
Snow Capped Christmas Trees (2016)
Stained Glass Sugar Cookies (2016)

RECIPE:

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies 2

Soft and Thick Sugar Cookies

3 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
About 7 – 7 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar, butter, sour cream, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Mix in 4 cups of flour, the baking soda, and salt. Mix in enough additional flour to make a moderately stiff dough.

Chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour for easier handling. Roll out dough to desired thickness (about 1/4” thick) and cut with cookie cutter.

Bake at 375°F for 10 -11 minutes; if they brown, it’s been too long.  They should look white when done.

Frost and decorate as desired.

Yield will depend on the size of your cookie cutter and the thickness of your dough. I got 6 dozen cookies made from 3” cookie cutters.

Sharp Edges Sugar Cookies

Sharp Edged Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups flour

Royal Icing
Optional: Shimmery Sanding Sugar or Coarse Sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in extracts and egg.

In a separate bowl combine baking powder with flour and slowly mix into the wet ingredients. The dough will be stiff.

Do not chill dough. Roll dough out onto a floured surface to almost 1/4 inch. You want these cookies to be thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out cookie shapes and place on baking sheets.

Bake for 7-9 minutes. Let cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

Yield will depend on the size of your cookie cutter and the thickness of your dough. I got 25 cookies made from 4” snowflake cookie cutters.

(Sharp edged sugar cookie dough from In Katrina’s Kitchen)

Snow Capped Christmas Trees

Snow Capped Christmas Trees

Sugar Cookie Dough (see above)
Green food coloring
About 12 oz white chocolate, or white melting candy discs

Prepare sugar cookie dough.  Mix in a few drops of green food coloring. Chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour, if necessary, for easier handling. Roll out dough and cut out with Christmas tree cookie cutter.

Bake according to sugar cookie dough recipe.

Place white chocolate in a bowl at least as wide as the cookie sides you will be dipping. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each heating, until melted and smooth. Dip each edge of the cooled cookies in the melted chocolate and place on waxed paper to harden.

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookie Dough (see above)
1 package Jolly Rancher candies, cut in half for small openings

Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Roll out dough to about 1/8” and cut out with large  cookie cutters. Place shapes on lined baking sheets. Cut out a smaller shape inside of each cookie  (after placing on baking sheet). I used the centers from a linzer cookie cutter set to make the center openings

Place half of a Jolly Rancher candy in the center of each cookie. Use a whole Jolly Rancher if the opening is large enough to lay the entire candy down inside the opening.

Bake according to sugar cookie dough recipe. Cool completely on the baking sheet. When candy centers are completely cool and hardened, remove cookies to a sheet of parchment paper.

Store covered between layers of waxed paper or parchment paper. The candy centers will stick together if they touch.

Frostings

Sugar Cookies 2

Glacé Icing

1 lb powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
¼ cup+ 2 Tbs  whole milk
¼ cup + 2 Tbs light corn syrup
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract
Gel food coloring
Additional powdered sugar to reach piping consistency

With a whisk, combine sugar and milk until smooth. Stir in corn syrup and almond or vanilla extract. Add food coloring for desired colors.

You will use this same recipe for both glazing and piping. The way it is right now is the consistency you want for glazing. It’s smooth and thin. It easily runs off of a whisk in a thin drizzle.

To prepare the icing for piping, add additional powdered sugar until icing is stiff, but spoonable.

(Glacé Icing from Our Best Bites)

Sharp Edges Sugar Cookies

Royal Icing

2 Tbs meringue powder
scant ¼ cup water
½ lb powdered sugar (about 2 cups)
½  tsp light corn syrup

Combine the meringue powder and water in a stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat until foamy. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. (Do NOT skip the sifting!)

Mix in the corn syrup. Increase speed to med-high/high and beat for about 3-5 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. (You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) Do not overbeat.

To store for later use: cover with plastic wrap touching the icing and refrigerate.

For Snowflakes: Use a thick open circle decorator tip to pipe thick lines onto each snowflake. Sprinkle cookie with sanding sugar or sprinkles immediately after piping lines (on each cookie). Icing will harden quickly.

Chocolate Butterfly Cupcakes 11

Cooked Vanilla Icing

1 cup whole milk
5 Tbs flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar (do not use powdered sugar)
Optional: food coloring

In a small saucepan, mix the flour and milk until combined. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, until mixture thickens (and is just about to boil). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl (a stand mixer works best for this) cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the cooled milk mixture and beat for 5-7 minutes, until frosting is light, fluffy, and completely uniform throughout.  Beat in food coloring, if desired.

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Top Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

Lofthouse Cookies 4

DAY 2: Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

Lofthouse Cookies: those pillowy-soft cookies in the grocery store with a frosting that hardens just enough to be able to stack them. The homemade version are even better. And much easier to make than rolled and frosted sugar cookies.

Lofthouse Cookies 1

To frost them, simply hold them in your hand and dip them upside down into a bowl of icing. Shake on some candied sprinkles, let them set for an hour and you are ready to go. You can use different flavored extracts (vanilla, almond, orange, peppermint, etc.) for different flavored frostings.

Lofthouse Cookies 5

ORIGINAL BLOG POST (2014): Lofthouse Style Soft Sugar Cookies

RECIPE:

Lofthouse Style Frosted Christmas Cookies

  • Servings: about 3 dozen
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Lofthouse Cookies 1

Cookies:
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix into butter and sugar in mixing bowl. If the dough is too sticky to roll into balls, refrigerate dough for 30-60 minutes.

With hands, roll dough into 1” balls for small cookies, slightly larger for larger cookies. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Flatten dough balls slightly with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 7-9 minutes. Do not overbake.

Glaze Frosting:
6 Tbs butter
½ cup heavy cream
1 lb (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla (or ½ tsp almond, ½ tsp orange, or ¼ tsp peppermint) extract
3-4 drops gel food coloring
Candy Sprinkles

Place butter and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 60-90 seconds, until butter melts. Use a whisk to mix in powdered sugar. If you are making more than one color or flavor of frosting, divide frosting into separate bowls. Stir in extract (if you want to use white icing, use a clear vanilla or other flavored extract). Mix in food coloring.

Dip tops of cooled cookies in warm glaze and place on a sheet of waxed paper. Sprinkle immediately with candy sprinkles (the glaze starts to set fast: dip one cookie, then add sprinkles, then dip another cookie, etc). If glaze gets too thick, heat in microwave for 15-20 seconds. Allow glaze to set on cookies for about 1 hour before storing cookies.

To freeze: Freeze cookies in single layer and then place in container and store in freezer. Thaw cookies in a single layer.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

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