Sunday, December 30, 2012

Classic Shortbread with Fleur de Sel: Baked Sunday Morning

I am about cookied-out from all the Christmas cookie baking so I was very slightly hesitant about making these.  But I love shortbread and I have never made it so I forged ahead and I am so glad I did.  I halved the recipe, because I didn't really want to have all those buttery treats hanging around the kitchen calling my name.  I did not have Fleur de Sel and the stores around here don't have all that kind of stuff so
I substituted sea salt.

 These are very simple to make and the result is so incredibly good!

I may have to add them to my holiday cookie list!

The recipe and the results of what all the other talented bakers did are here.  Please take a look see. 

Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Italian Rainbow Cookies

This cookie is simple to do but it is an all day affair!  This is the first time I have made these, I wanted to do them last year but time got away from me.  I want to add more and more Italian cookies to my Christmas lineup.  I think this one will be a keeper. 

I had lots of air bubbles in my layers after they came out of the oven. Not really sure what could have caused my layers are not even the way I would like them to be. I will give it another shot next year!


Italian Rainbow Cookies
Lidia's Italy in America

8 ounces almond paste
1 cup sugar
2½ sticks unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces, plus more for the pans
4 large eggs, separated
½ teaspoon
kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
1 teaspoon red food coloring, gel or paste preferred
1 teaspoon green food coloring, gel or paste preferred
Two 15-ounce jars smooth (not chunky) apricot jam
1½ pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour three 15-by-10-inch rimmed sheet pans, and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.

Combine the almond paste and all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until you have fine crumbles. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and pulse until well mixed. Plop in the egg yolks, one at a time, and mix until the batter is smooth. Sprinkle in salt, and mix. Sift in flour, and mix until just combined.

Whisk egg whites in a bowl until foamy. While whisking, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and whisk until firm peaks form. Fold about a third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then gently fold in remaining egg whites.

Divide batter evenly into three bowls. Leave one bowl plain, without any coloring. Add red food coloring to one bowl, stirring to make a deep-salmon color. Add green food coloring to last bowl, stirring to make a medium-green color. Spread batter into each of the prepared pans with a spatula. Bake, rotating pans to opposite racks, until cakes are cooked through and just beginning to brown around the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let cakes cook completely on wire racks, then remove from pans.

Trim each of the layers to even out the thickness of the cakes. Put the green cake layer back, cut side up, into one of the lined pans. Spread 1/2 jar of jam over the cake, almost all of the way to the edges. Place the plain layer of cake on top of the jam. Spread the remaining jar of jam almost all the way to the edges of the plain layer. Place the red layer on top of the jam, cut side up. Wrap the entire cake in plastic, and top with another pan, weighted with cans. Chill in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.

Melt chocolate in a double
boiler. Unwrap the cake, and place on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour and spread the chocolate over the top the cake, using a spatula to guide the chocolate over the top and down the sides of the cake. If the kitchen is cool, let the chocolate harden that way; if it is warm, clear a space in the refrigerator to place the cake and let the chocolate harden. When the chocolate is about halfway set, gently rake the topping with the tines of a fork or a dough scraper with dentals, starting from the end of the chocolate covering all the way to the other end, slightly undulating the lines as you move along. Repeat until all of the chocolate has indented stripes. Let the chocolate set completely.

Using a
serrated knife, cut the set and decorated layers into three dozen rectangles, using the outer sides to form perfectly cut rectangles.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Spicy Brownies: Baked Sunday Morning

I have not made any Baked Brownies yet.  I love brownies and I have an all time favorite brownie recipe from the Barefoot Contessa.  I absolutely love her Outrageous Brownies...they are to die for and it has been my go-to recipe for brownies for many years now.   So when I saw that we were baking Spicy Brownies this week I was a little reluctant but very curious about this brownie with chili pepper in it.  I really didn't know what to expect!  I was pleasantly surprised by the subtleness of the spices, in fact it was difficult to really detect the chili powder.  What you get is a nice warm hint of spice. They were chocolaty, fudgy and quite good!  A really delicious variation of on my all time favorite sweets! 

When you want a little something different....give these a try!  You will find the recipe here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie: Baked Sunday Morning

I was going to pass this one by because I am in a whirlwind of baking Christmas cookies right now, but this recipe is so darn easy and really tasty I just did it anyway.  They will be a nice treat for all the people that my husband and I work with.

I love that Matt and Renato filled the pages of their Baked cookbooks with nostalgia, that is one of the things that attracted me to these books, however, 
I have no fond memories of Mom or Aunties whipping up these treats in the kitchen, in fact no one in my family has ever made these.   Since they were popular in the seventies, I guess I would have been the Mom making these for my son.  But I never did.  The funny thing is, while I was making these today it made me think of a Weight Watcher treat I used to make in the seventies or eighties....not sure, I have been on Weight Watchers so many times it would make your head spin!  But anyway, we used to take a diet hot chocolate pack or a Weight Watcher shake package and mix it with peanut butter and oatmeal. and water.  At the time I thought I died and went to heaven!  Even in it's Weight Watcher form these cookie/candy things are delicious!

I like that this recipe was no-bake and they literally went together in minutes.  The longest wait was while they were chilling in the fridge.  Give them a try if you never have... you will be amazed as how addictive they are! 

To see what the other bakers did this week and to get the recipe please visit the Baked Sunday Morning site.  There are truly some amazing bakers in the group!  I am happy to be part of it!

Whenever I get the chance I will keep on baking on Sunday morning!

Until then,

Friday, November 30, 2012

ABC: Ginger Crackles

This year the ABC group has been baking from The Weekend Baker by Abigail Dodge.  I have enjoyed all the recipes that we have done and will continue to bake from it even though this is our last recipe from this cookbook as a group.  Next year we will be baking from the King Arthur Flour site...that should be fun!  I love all the recipes that I get from there. 
Anyway, back to the Ginger Crackles.  This recipe sure was simple and easy!  Abby suggests that you double the recipe and freeze some to have on hand.  That certainly would be easy enough to do and you could have a nice little treat for when you needed it or wanted it. 

They are soft on the inside and the outside has a nice little crunch from the sugar coating.  They are really quite delicious!

Pretty...aren't they?  They taste as good as they look!

These would be a nice addition to your Christmas cookie platter.  You can get the recipe on Abby's website.  Click here.
I anxiously await our ABC oven trips of 2013!
Until then....
Be Sweet!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Quick Skillet Snack Cake: Baked Sunday Morning

We were suppose to do grits this week but I never have grits in the house so I opted to do a "make-up" recipe.  This snack cake was baked in a cast iron skillet and is a nice chocolate treat.  The cake was very dense and rich and the frosting was light and fudgy.  I may have baked it just a tad too long because I thought the cake was just a bit dry but still very tasty!  We loved it!  If you would like the recipe go here
And if you would like to see what I was suppose to do and what all the other wonderful bakers did take a peek here
Until next week...


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Frosted Pumpkin Spice Cookies

I had some leftover pumpkin from the pumpkin tart that I made and thought that it would be good to make some pumpkin cookies to take to work.  I found this recipe on the baker chickThe cookie has a nice spicy flavor and is topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  I took it just one step further and added a candied pecan.  These would be a good addition to the Thanksgiving dessert table.

Give these a try! 
They are very simple! 
I hope you like them as much as I did.
soft frosted pumpkin spice cookies
Makes 3 dozen
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup softened cream cheese
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
3.Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven.
4. Make frosting: cream butter and cream cheese together. Slowly add powdered sugar and mix with an electric mixer until thick and creamy. Add vanilla and cinnamon.
5. When cookies are cooled- spread frosting on top with an offset spatula.

recipe adapted from: All Recipes

candied pecans


  • 2-3/4 cups Diamond of California® Pecan Halves
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Place pecans in a shallow baking pan in a 250° oven for 10
  • minutes or until warmed. Grease a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan
  • with 1 tablespoon butter; set aside.
  • Grease the sides of a large heavy saucepan with remaining butter; add
  • sugar, water, salt and cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat until
  • sugar is dissolved. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture
  • comes to a boil. Cover and cook for 2 minutes to dissolve sugar
  • crystals.
  • Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 236°
  • (soft-ball stage). Remove from the heat; add vanilla. Stir in warm
  • pecans until evenly coated.
  • Spread onto prepared baking pan. Bake at 250° for 30 minutes,
  • stirring every 10 minutes. Spread on a waxed paper-lined baking
  • sheet to cool. Yield: about 1 pound.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings: Caramel Coconut Cluster Bars

The Baked Sunday Morning challenge this week is from the newer cookbook Baked Elements. This cookie, which is actually much more like a candy bar, was not too difficult to make but very time intensive. From toasting the coconut to making the shortbread crust then patiently waiting for the caramel to get to the right temp, waiting 3 hours for them to cool and set and another 15-20 minutes for the chocolate to harden it was an all day affair!
These bars are pretty decadent and rich, the shortbread is quite good, the caramel layer is soft and luscious and the chocolate tops them off quite nicely. I always make the recipe just as it reads the first time, but if I were to make these again I would not make as much caramel, that layer was a bit too thick and it was out of balance with the rest of the flavors. These are suppose to be inspired by the Girl Scout Samoa cookie. I have never had one of those (I am a thin mint gal) so I can't really judge.
All in all these were a pretty tasty treat. They are going to work with my husband tomorrow!! Need to get these babies out of the house!
To get the recipe and to see what the other bakers did with this challenge go here.
As Always

Sunday, November 4, 2012

ABC: Velvety Pumpkin Tart

Autumn is here and the holidays right around the corner.  There is nothing that shouts out Thanksgiving more than a pumpkin pie.  The Avid Bakers Challenge for this month was this Velvety Pumpkin Tart.  We are baking from The Weekend Baker by Abby Dodge.  The cream cheese made this velvety and creamy but I think there was a bit too much sugar...I found it to be a little too sweet.  I was not really fond of the gingersnap crust...I think a pastry crust would have made me happier.  This tart was very easy to put together...gingersnaps are pulverized, sugar and butter added then pressed into a tart pan and baked.  The filling was fast and easy....cream cheese, brown sugar, pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla mixed together then poured in the crust and baked.  I wanted to gussy it up a little so I added some meringue.  It looks pretty but didn't really need the added sweetness.

Another challenge done. 
Next month we are making Ginger Crackles.

Happy Fall!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Creepy Witch Fingers

I make these cookies this time every year only this year I did a little different twist.  I usually use whole almonds, this time I used almond slivers which made the nails looks a bit more realistic.  I also did not use the red gel for blood this year...instead I brushed the cookies with cocoa powder to bring out the detail and give it a dirty creepy look.  I think they turned out great!  Really eerie looking.  What do you think?
If you want the recipe and look at my other witch fingers go hereThey both are a fun cookies to make for Halloween.  Just remember when you make them make the finger very skinny and keep the dough very cold as the dough with spread quite a bit. 

 Trick or Treat!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Baked Sunday Morning: Ginger Rum Molasses Cookies/ Joe Frogger

I am making all kinds of baked goods that I never heard of thanks to Baked Explorations, Baked Elements and this Baked Sunday Morning group.  I have never heard of a Joe Frogger until I got my Baked Explorations cookbook.  I adore molasses cookies and have a dynamite recipe that I make at Christmas time.  This cookie has rum in it sooooo I thought that was a good enough reason to give a shot....right?
I love the history behind this cookie....

A little piece of History

The Legend of Joe Froggers: A couple known as Aunt Crease and Black Joe lived at the edge of a pond in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Joe had fought in the Revolution as a young man. On election night, they would open their house, which on occasion was also a local tavern, and serve grog. Joe would play the fiddle and Aunt Crease would cook. One of her specialties was a molasses cookie the size of a modern-day salad plate. She made them for fishermen, who found they stored well in barrels during long sea voyages. In the early 1800s, the election took place at the end of May, a time when frogs were peeping in the pond, and by association the cookies were called Joe's Froggers.  Over time the possessive was dropped, and the name today is Joe Frogger.

I love old fashioned recipes and I have started a vintage cookbook collection.  I just love to just look through them and read all the recipes.  I guess I am kinda weird like that...oh well, we all have our little quirks. 
Anyway, back to the cookie.  I made mine quite large just like Aunt Crease did.  I would say they were about the size of a small salad plate!  These cookies are delicious!  The edges are slightly browned and crispy and the center is soft chewy molasses yumminess.

If you have never tried this cookie....I suggest you try them soon!  You will not be sorry!  You will find the recipe here along with the results of all the other bakers who participated in this challenge.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chocolate Cookies for Lily

I am baking for my granddaughters again!  This time for Lily....she will be 12 soon and I always send them cookies for their birthday.  Lily likes chocolate so I thought she might really like these outrageous chocolate cookies!  They are full of chocolate chewy richness and quite scrumptous!  You gotta get a glass of milk to accompany these! 

Happy Birthday Lily!

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

Do not bake the cookies to a crisp; they are meant to be soft and chewy
Everyday Food, September 2003

Prep Time 20 minutes

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ABC: Honey Oatmeal Bread

I am super late with this challenge, but I did not want to pass this one by.  I had so much baking to do for our annual pig roast that this beautiful loaf had to wait until I had the time to bake it. 
I am glad I took the time!!  This bread is delicious!  Soft and slightly sweet.  It makes a really nice sandwich bread.  Oats are softened in warmed milk and then honey is added.  The oat mixture is added to the flour and yeast.  I used bread flour instead of all purpose flour....just because I had it.  The crust got dark fast, I guess I should have covered it with some foil half way through.  It still tasted great and made the house smell heavenly.  Check out all the beautiful loaves the other bakers did here


Honey Oatmeal Bread
Abby Dodge-Weekend Baker
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 1 optional tablespoon, melted, for glazing
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/3 cup honey
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
Pour the milk in a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in the oats, the 3 tablespoons butter, and the salt. Cover and set aside, stirring frequently, until the oatmeal is soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in the honey.
In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour and yeast. Whisk until well blended.
Check the temperature of the oatmeal; it should register about 120 degrees on an instant read thermometer. In order for the yeast to grow, the liquid needs to be between 115 and 125 degrees.
Fit the mixer with the dough hook. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the warm oatmeal to the flour mixture and beat until the flour is completely incorporated. (Note: I combined it with a wooden spoon first, then switched to the dough hook.) Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, about 10 minutes. If the dough begins to climb the hook, stop the mixer and scrape the dough back into the bowl.
Scoop up the dough and shape it into a ball. Lightly grease the bowl and pop the dough back into it. Cover the top securely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Lightly grease an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface (Note: Dodge says there’s no need for flour here, but my dough was still so sticky it did need a dusting of flour.) Press down gently to deflate it. Press the dough into a 7-by-10 inch rectangle. Starting at a short side, roll up like a jelly roll. Pinch the bottom and side seams closed. Place the dough on the counter, seam side down and perpendicular to you. Using the outside edge of your slightly curved palms, press gently but firmly on the bottom seam until the dough forms a smooth rectangle 8 inches long, with a rounded, taut-skinned top. Place the dough, seam side down, into the prepared pan. Press on the dough to flatten and fill the pan in an even layer.
Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes. The center of the dough will rise about 1 1/2 inches above the rim of pan.
When ready to bake, position an oven rack in the middle rung. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the plastic and, using the tip of a very sharp knife or razor blade, cut a slit about 1/2 inch deep down the center of the loaf, traveling its length. Bake until the loaf is puffed and browned, about 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and brush the top with melted butter, if using. Tip the baked loaf onto a rack and remove the pan. Set the loaf on its side and let cool completely.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Whiskey Pear Tart: Baked Sunday Mornings

I love pears so I was elated when Baked Sunday Mornings choose this Whiskey Pear Tart for the challenge this week. (I have had it bookmarked in my cookbook since I got it because I thought it looked so good!) 
 Even though I have a rectangular tart pan I decided to use my round one and  I used an 11 inch one like they said but sadly, I don't think I had enough of the almond filling.  But it still was very delicious!  I loved the almond, whiskey and pear flavors together! 

I will definitely make this one again!!  For the recipe and to
take a look at what the other bakers did here.
Until next time...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Brooksters: Baked Sunday Mornings

Brownie and cookie heaven!

Okay, I have to admit, I did not know what a Brookster was when I saw it up on the list of the next Baked challenge. I had to wait until I got my copy of Baked Elements to find out what it was.  What the heck is a Brookster?  Well it is a brownie-chocolate chip cookie collaboration!! Chocolate chip cookie dough is placed in a brownie shell and baked together.  Very rich and very delicious!  It is suppose to be done in mini 4" pie plates.  While I have a nice array of baking pans, 4" pie tins were not included in my collection, so I had to opt for the muffin pan brookster.  I am glad I did.  The 4-inch variety would have been far too big and way too rich to eat in one sitting (well, maybe I could force it down with some vanilla ice cream!!)

I also found this nifty little instructional video on how to make them on Martha Stewarts web site.  Made by none other than Matt Lewis himself!  They were calling them Brookies then. 

These are great, but extremely sure to have a nice ice cold glass of milk nearby when you devour one of these! 
Please check out what the other bakers did here.  We have a very talented group!!
Until next time!