Thursday, December 20, 2018

Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Bread, Thanksgiving Recipes, Christmas Recipes, Holiday Baking, Christmas Decorating Ideas, Plaid Christmas Stockings, Christmas Tree
My boys are napping (well, one is napping and the other is goofing around and talking to himself in his crib), and I'm taking a break this afternoon from Christmas menu planning, list making, picking up toys, sewing a cafe curtain for our dining room to block the view of our neighbor's messy yard, cleaning and vacuuming to enjoy a second cup of coffee and a piece of this pumpkin bread I baked yesterday.  When does pumpkin bread stop being bread and become cake?  Is it when it's baked in a bundt cake pan instead of loaf pans and covered in swirls of icing?

Recipes for pumpkin bread and pumpkin cake are pretty similar, with the bread perhaps being a bit more dense, although still rather fluffy and cake-like.  And while I don't usually add chocolate chips or chopped pecans to pumpkin cake, they're a common addition to pumpkin bread, although I decided to keep mine plain this time and just ice it with a bit of leftover molasses buttercream I found in my freezer, leftover from another cake.  Whether pumpkin bread or pumpkin cake, it's exactly what I was wanting...

Friday, December 14, 2018

Christmas Tree and Wreath Cake

Christmas Cake, Christmas Baking, Cake Decorating Ideas, Plaid Christmas Decorations, Hot Chocolate Bar, Christmas Tree, Christmas Wreath, Christmas Tree Cake, Red Velvet Cake
There's no holiday that I love like Christmas, and no cake that I love to make like a Christmas cake.  This year, I get to make two, one still to come for Christmas week, and this one that I made for a party today.

I'm completely in love with this cake design.  I had envisioned something cozy, festive, and quintessentially Christmasy, like a warm crackling fire, the mantle hung with garland and stockings, and a sparkling tree nearby; this cake perfectly embodies the feeling of a cozy night spent snuggling by the fire, eating popcorn, drinking hot chocolate, and watching Christmas movies...

Monday, November 26, 2018

Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Recipes, Sweet Potato Casserole with Streusel, Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel, Holiday Recipes
Sweet potato casserole has always been my favorite Thanksgiving side dish.  I make mine with a brown sugar and pecan streusel topping that has a wonderful balance of salty and sweet, with no marshmallows anywhere in sight...

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Crepes with Cream Cheese and Caramelized Pears

Crepes, Cream Cheese, Blueberries, Caramelized Pears, Crepes Recipe, Holiday Recipes, Breakfast, Thanksgiving, Christmas Breakfast IdeasWhile doing our Thanksgiving grocery shopping yesterday with my husband and our boys, I had a sudden craving for crepes for breakfast today.  On the weekends, we've gotten into the habit of having eggs, bacon and hash browns doused in plenty of hot sauce on Saturdays, with something sweet on Sundays, and crepes seemed like just the thing for our Sunday breakfast...

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Three Holiday Cakes

Holiday Cakes, Cake Decorating, Christmas Cake, Halloween Cake, Thanksgiving Cake, Black and White Cake
It's my absolute favorite time of year.  After Halloween is over, I'm ready for the Christmas season.  When I was little, my brother and sister and I would beg our parents to allow us to put up the tree the day after Thanksgiving, but now I do hold off on decorating until a couple of weeks before Christmas, because as much as I love it, I don't want to get tired of having the house decorated.  Especially since we have two little boys, and it's a daily struggle to keep the house clean and uncluttered.  But I love the music and movies, the decorations, the lights, the presents, the food, the family togetherness, the cozy nights by the fire while it's cold and snowy outside, the eggnog and hot chocolate...  All of it.  I'm so excited this year to get our two year old more involved and see his curious little face light up at the sight of the tree and wondering what it's all about.  He'll even get to help decorate the tree this year!

If you like watching all those feel-good movies on Hallmark from now until Christmas, you're in good company.  Yes, they're predictable and silly, but they're also innocent, and filled with hope and love, and with so many depressing stories in my news feed every day, the movies remind me that there are still many, many good people in this world.  And since all this holiday talk is making me feel generous, I've put together an epic blog post for you today, with three cakes for the holidays.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Pumpkin Spice Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread Cookies, Pumpkin Spice Shortbread Cookies, Non-spreading Cookie Recipe, Cookie Stamps, Thanksgiving Desserts, Christmas Cookies
Although I just posted a cookie recipe a few days ago, I've been wanting to get these Pumpkin Spice Shortbread Cookies up in time for the holidays, and while it's still "pumpkin everything" season.  If you're anything like me, you plan your holiday baking months in advance, and these shortbread cookies are so versatile for so many occasions...

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, Nordic Ware Cookie Stamp, Christmas Cookies, Chocolate Chip CookiesIt should come as no surprise that I love peanut butter cookies, but I didn't realize until now just how many recipe variations I've posted over the years.  I've filled them with bittersweet ganache for a delectable little treat, and with strawberry rhubarb sorbet for the best little take on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookie that you've ever tasted.  I've made them with oats, with chocolate chips, and filled them with buttercream and a dollop of jam.  And today, with both oats and chocolate chips, coated in sparkly sugar and pressed with my favorite cookie stamp...

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Apple Cider Pancakes

Apple Cider Pancakes, Fall Breakfast Ideas, Pancakes, Apples, Fall Baking, Holiday BreakfastLately, I've been thinking about the days when I used to post recipes on here so much more frequently, often 3-4 a week, but life is busier these last couple of years, and one post a week, or even every other week, has become the norm.  Hopefully you don't mind.  For those of you who keep coming back, faithfully reading what I write and trying out my recipes in your own kitchen, I appreciate you.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Charlotte Cake

Cake, Naked Cake, Charlotte Cake, Sponge Cake, Chocolate CakeWhen I first saw the Charlotte Cake topped with fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar in King Arthur Flour's spring catalog, I tore the page out and set it on my desk in our kitchen, hoping my husband would take the hint and buy the Charlotte Cake Pan for my birthday.  He did!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Bourbon and Brown Butter Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Bourbon Cookies, Brown Butter Pecan Cookies, Butter PecanThese cookies have bourbon in them.  The alcohol is cooked off while browning the butter, but the flavor remains, making these a truly fantastic chocolate chip cookie.  I know everyone has a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe - I have two or three that I can't quite choose between as a favorite - but this version is definitely worth adding to the rotation.

Every time I ask my husband what his favorite cookie, cake, pie, etc, that I've ever made is, he says, "Why do I have to pick a favorite?"  Good point, but I still like to know which recipes he likes better than others and why...

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Salted Peanut Butter Ice Cream and a Better Brownie

Brownies, Fudge Brownies, Chocolate Desserts, Peanut Butter, Ice Cream, Peanut Butter Ice CreamPeanut butter is something I couldn't get enough of throughout my pregnancies, and rarely would a day pass that I didn't have a snack consisting of a banana or apple with peanut butter, or peanut butter toast and a glass of milk.  And now, I have a toddler who loves peanut butter, and has recently discovered how fun it is to dip things in it.  Messy, as you can imagine.

I prefer the all-natural peanut butters with a little salt, and although I used to believe you couldn't bake a decent cookie with all-natural peanut butter (because of the separation of the oil), I've since changed my mind.  It really requires no change other than just a bit more flour in the dough and a good couple of hours to chill to compensate for the thinner consistency of the peanut butter.

Chocolate was my other essential treat while pregnant, specifically those peanut-butter-filled Dove chocolate promises.  So when I made this Salted Peanut Butter Ice Cream, naturally, I had to make some brownies to go with it...

Monday, September 3, 2018

Wedding Vows Pie and a Polkadot Drip Cake

Chocolate Chip Cake, Drip Cake, Polkadot Cake, Cake Decorating, Rosette CakeSaturday was my 4th wedding anniversary - four years married to my amazing husband and best friend, who has become such a wonderful father to our two little boys.  Our life together is everything I ever wanted for a family of my own, and as our relationship has evolved from boyfriend and girlfriend, to newlyweds, to parents, I'm more sure than ever that this is exactly where I want to be.  That he is my person forever.

To celebrate, I made a pie on Friday which we finished over the weekend, and a cake for today, but I'll start with the cake...

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Lavender Lemon Cake

Lavender Lemon Cake, Edible Lavender, Lemon Cake, Lemon Buttercream, Herb Garden
Lavender grows exceptionally well in Colorado, and I see it all over town as landscaping, although, after researching perennials that grow well in Colorado, what I have seen around town might actually be Russian Sage, which looks somewhat similar to lavender.  With its hardy leaves and bright purple flowers that last all summer, it's a pretty and easy plant to maintain.

I finally used the last of my packet of lavender I bought in Palisade a couple years ago, so it was time to grow my own.  Last summer, we planted edible lavender in the corner of our back yard, and while the plant grew substantially in a few months, there were no flowers last year.  This summer, though, it's grown so much more, with its first flowering stalks ready to be cut and dried...

Monday, August 20, 2018

Vanilla Bean Shortbread

Shortbread, Vanilla Bean Cookies, Cutout Cookies, Shortbread Cookies, Buttercream Roses, Strawberry Buttercream, Lavender LemonIn my recipe archives, you can find quite a few different shortbread cookie recipes, sometimes dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with toffee or crushed nuts and salt, sometimes studded with chocolate chips, or flavored with lemon or almond or even lavender.  These salted pecan shortbread cookies with pumpkin ice cream were just to die for.  Besides all the cookies, I've made so many cookie bars and tarts with a shortbread crust and crumble on top.  I really, really love shortbread, and I even baked some for the dessert table at my wedding...

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Strawberry Brown Butter Cookies and Plum Strawberry Sorbet

Strawberry Brown Butter Cookies, Strawberry CookiesBefore I used those freeze-dried strawberries in my Strawberry Birthday Cake, I baked them into these cookies.  I had never had a strawberry cookie before, and I'm betting you probably haven't either, so let me tell you, these are simply delicious.

A cookie (or two or three) with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee is one of the ultimate comfort foods, and I only just recently bought a cookie jar to keep cookies, since until now, I just stored them in tupperware.  But I swear that cookies taste even better when they're kept in a pretty white hobnail jar on the counter.  My toddler absolutely loved these cookies, and would reach up towards the jar and ask in a hopeful voice, "cookie?"

Monday, August 6, 2018

Princess Cake

Princess Cake, Swedish Princess Cake, Princess Birthday Party, Carriage Cake TopperAfter watching all four seasons of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix a few months ago, one thing that I knew I wanted to try was a Swedish Princess Cake.  I loved everything about the show - the beautiful English gardens, that tent, their accents, Paul Hollywood, and all those inspiring creations to challenge my own baking...

Monday, July 30, 2018

Strawberry Birthday Cake

Strawberry Cake, Rosette Cake, Pink Birthday Party Cake, Rainbow CandlesBirthdays aren't just for kids, and should always be celebrated as something special.  And, of course, there should always be cake.  I've experimented with many variations of strawberry cakes over the years, from using fresh strawberries, to making a strawberry reduction, and now, with freeze-dried strawberries, which I absolutely love.

I've never cared for how fresh strawberries turn out when baked into batters - they not only contribute too much moisture, but they lose their color and look sort of unappealing after baking.  Making a reduction or puree with the berries to stir into the batter works a bit better, but the result still wasn't quite what I wanted, and the color of the cake ended up looking more brown than pink.

What I love about the freeze-dried strawberries, though, is their beautiful bright color and intense strawberry flavor, which makes them really perfect for flavoring a cake.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Dark Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding, Chocolate Desserts, Chocolate Custard, Desserts in JarsWe are, or rather, my husband is, in the process of building a pergola on our back patio.  We have a huge maple tree that shades the grass for the majority of the day, but the patio ends up unusable except for the early morning and evening, as it sits in full southern sun and becomes unbearably hot during the day.

The pergola is nearly done, and just needs some additional cross beams on the top, and it's looking so beautiful already...

Monday, July 9, 2018

Pies, etc.

Strawberry Blueberry Pie, Pie, Four Seasons Pie, Holiday BakingIt's been a summer of pie.  Not enough pie, if you ask my husband, but there have been berry pies, creamy tarts, and and some very pretty pie crust designs.  And with my current posting schedule of one recipe each week, I knew I'd never be able to share all these pies with you unless I combined them into one post, so today, you get four pies to inspire you to bake up something lovely yourself...

Monday, July 2, 2018

Red, White and Blue Sprinkles Cake

4th of July Cake, Red White and Blue Cake, Sprinkles Cake, Paper Straws, Paper Candles, Cake, 4th of July Desserts, 4th of July BakingAbout five or six years ago when I started baking more and more cakes, I took a basic cake decorating class at a local bakery in Denver.  The advantage to taking a cake decorating class at an actual bakery instead of attending the classes offered at Michaels craft stores, is that the bakery provided all of the tools, cake and frosting, and all I had to do was to show up there after work in the evenings, without having to buy any decorating kits or take the time to bake and bring in my own cake to decorate.  Although it was more expensive than the Michaels classes, I think the cost ends up about the same in the end, since the more expensive class was all-inclusive, and completely worth it if you're not sure you want or need all those tools until after you take the class, not to mention, having to prepare your own cake in the middle of a busy week.  These days, of course, pretty much anything you want to learn, you can do so by watching free video tutorials on YouTube, although I really enjoyed the classroom environment, seeing how others were decorating their cakes, and being able to ask questions of the teacher.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Cookies and Cream Cake

Cookies and Cream Cake, Cake, Birthday Cake, White Velvet Cake, Oreo Cake, Cookies and MilkUpon seeing this cake sitting prettily under its glass dome on the kitchen counter, my toddler learned to say cake.  Now he loves sitting with me and looking at all the pictures of cakes and pies and other sweet treats whenever I scroll through my Pinterest or Instagram feeds, and exclaiming cake! and pie! over and over.  How adorable is that?

When I was a kid, and my mom asked me what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday, I remember asking for carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  My sister once asked for a pumpkin pie instead of cake.  And my little brother always wanted a cookies and cream cake...

Friday, June 15, 2018

Overnight Baked French Toast

Overnight Baked French Toast, Overnight French Toast Recipe, Overnight Bread Pudding, French Toast Photography, Food Styling Photography
French toast is one of those special breakfasts that most of us grew up eating.  A few slices of white bread dipped in eggs beaten with milk and sugar, pan-fried in butter until golden and then drizzled with sweet maple syrup is sure to be delicious.  Personally, though, I never cared for the scrambled egg taste, when there was a little too much of the egg mixture pooling around the bread in the skillet as it cooked.  The solution?  To eliminate the pan-frying method and come up with another way of cooking the French toast so that the egg mixture was always perfectly incorporated and perfectly cooked with no scrambled egg flavor.  So I developed a recipe for Overnight Baked French Toast that's simply the best.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Apple Spice Muffins on a Rainy Spring Day

Apple Spice Muffins, Breakfast, Cinnamon and Sugar, Apple MuffinsUnless you live in the mountains, or near a lot of evergreens, Colorado winters here in the foothills of Denver tend to be rather brown and blah when there's no snow on the ground, and the nondescript scenery in our neighborhood has me longing for the end of winter. It's very much summer now, but when I made these muffins a few weeks ago, it was cool and drizzly, and everything in our small back yard turned a dark, saturated green from the much-needed moisture.

The wet weather kept my husband inside that Saturday, instead of working in the yard, so I baked muffins and we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with our coffee.  On the weekends, our toddler tends to get a "second breakfast" with us, since we feed him his usual banana, yogurt and oatmeal with cinnamon first before making our own, and he always manages to find room in his tummy, whether we're having scrambled eggs with cheese, or something sweet like these muffins...

Friday, June 1, 2018

Blueberry Coconut Cake

Blueberry Coconut Cake, Fondant Pansies, Edible Flowers, Flower Cake, White Cake, Mother's Day CakeOn Mother's Day, I made my own cake, which I didn't mind at all, since I always have far more cake ideas than I will ever have the time or money to test.  It won't be too long before my boys will be wanting to stand at the counter to "help", and then someday, to bake something all on their own.  I might let my husband handle the kitchen cleanup when that day comes...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mini Pink Poppy Cakes

Mini Cakes, Almond Poppyseed Cake with Strawberry Buttercream, Buttercream Poppies, Mini Pink CakesThere's just something about a mini cake that feels so special and elegant.  Each one so perfectly individually-sized and so carefully decorated with sweet buttercream flowers...

Monday, May 14, 2018

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Biscotti, Chocolate Almond Biscotti, Italian Cookies, Espresso, CoffeeI like my cookies soft, to the point of being under-baked, and will rarely eat a crunchy cookie if offered one.  Biscotti is different though, and its crunchiness is what makes it so perfect for dipping into a cup of hot coffee...

Monday, April 30, 2018

No Churn Ice Cream

No Churn Ice Cream, Mocha Chip Ice Cream, Cake and Cream Ice Cream, Cookies and Cream Ice Cream, Ice Cream Party, Easy Ice Cream RecipeWith the warmer days and still-cold nights, Spring hasn't officially arrived yet in Colorado, but soon...  Our rhubarb has emerged and the lilac trees are beginning to bloom, as are the wildflowers I planted last year and our peach tree, which we've been trying to protect from late spring frost so as not to lose any potential fruit buds.

As ice cream weather approaches, I've also been experimenting with a few no-churn recipes, and I have to say I was quite pleasantly surprised at just how smooth and creamy they were...

Monday, April 23, 2018

Introducing Griffin David

Birth Announcement, Maternity Photos, Baby Boy, Baby Boy Photos, Woodland Nursery, Boy Maternity Photos, Blue and Grey Maternity PhotosLast Tuesday, we welcomed our second baby boy into our hearts, and we couldn't be happier...  or more tired.  Griffin weighed in at just 7 pounds and 4 ounces when he was born, and was a little under 7 pounds when we left the hospital on Thursday to come home.  He's such a teeny tiny baby, and I can hardly remember Phoenix ever being so little.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Passionfruit Tea Cake

Passionfruit Tea Cake, Raspberry Buttercream, Swirled Buttercream Cake, Silver Carriage Cake Topper, Curly Girl KitchenWe're just one week away from the due date for our second baby boy, and I can hardly believe it.  I keep thinking of things I need to clean, make, buy and organize, and I'm sure I'm forgetting something important.  And then there's the feeling that I need to give Phoenix extra love and attention this week before his entire world is disrupted when we bring home his newborn baby brother and he never gets me all to himself again.

Of course, I thought I should also bake and decorate one more cake before the baby comes, since I'll have far less free time in the next few months.  While sipping a cup of passionfruit tea (because, sadly, even half a cup of coffee has been giving me a headache lately) and revisiting some old blog posts, I saw a recipe for a Black Tea Spice Cake I made a few years ago, and I immediately began working on a new recipe to test using passionfruit tea....

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Sweet Almond Paste Fudge Brownies

As much as I love baking, decorating and sampling cake, I have an almost equal love for a dark, chocolatey fudgey brownie.  Brownies are anything but simple, in my opinion, because there's something magical about how that combination of just a few basic ingredients can so quickly transform into a pan of chewy, chocolate comfort.  Gratification is almost immediate, since you don't have to wait long to dig into the pan of still-warm brownies and eat them while they're all soft and gooey, with a scoop of ice cream melting over the top, if you're not feeling so inclined to let them cool first...

Monday, April 2, 2018

Twelve-Yolk Chocolate Ice Cream

Twelve-Yolk Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate Frozen Custard, Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter CookiesAfter a weekend of testing white cake recipes, each of which required six egg whites, I was left with eighteen egg yolks to use up, which is a lot of egg yolks when you don't have a specific purpose for them.  I could have made lemon curd with the yolks, but didn't have an immediate need for a batch of lemon curd, or a bowl of vanilla bean custard which is always nice for dessert with fresh fruit or berries or cake.  Or, I could have simply made a few different batches of ice cream, which need 5-6 egg yolks per batch, but as a recipe developer, I love to try new things, so I thought I'd see if twelve yolks made a difference in flavor or texture.  I honestly can't remember what I used six of them for, but the other twelve went into this batch of chocolate ice cream.

Monday, March 26, 2018

White Velvet Cake

White Cake, White Velvet Cake, Wedding Cake, Silver Candle Holders, Silver Cake Topper, Candle Cake Topper, Buttermilk CakeAs it's the week before Easter, I thought a beautiful, snowy white cake would be just the thing to inspire your holiday baking and decorating for next week.  Last year, I decorated a cake with coconut, paper bunny ear toppers, and a pink chocolate bow, and in spite of (or perhaps because of) its simplicity, it's probably my favorite Easter cake I've done.  This white velvet cake would be the perfect canvas for a festive Easter cake to complete your table next Sunday...

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Lemon Icebox Pie

Lemon Icebox Pie, Lemon Pie, Lemon Cream PieOver the years, I've made quite a few lemon pies and tarts, trying to make the perfect lemon pie, but none have made it onto this blog, except for a lemon cream cheese tart in a shortbread crust.  The tart was wonderful, but still a little more complicated than what I was aiming for in an "everyday" lemon pie...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Salted Pecan Brown Butter Blondies

Salted Pecan Brown Butter Blondies, Cookies, Cookie BarsWhen you're pregnant, the cookie cravings are real.  Cookies and dark chocolate - that's what I've wanted the most the last eight months, and I could have eaten this entire pan of blondies if it weren't for the inevitable weigh-in at my doctor's office every two weeks that keeps me in check.  I mean, if you can't have all the cookies you want while you're pregnant, when can you?

Years ago, there was a dessert I used to love getting after dinner at a local restaurant - a blondie topped with ice cream and some sort of amazingly decadent buttery sauce.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Banana Pecan Cream Cheese Muffins with Maple Glaze

Banana Muffins, Banana Pecan Muffins, Banana Cream Cheese Muffins, Salted Maple Glaze, Breakfast, PancakesEveryone needs a good banana muffin in their recipe box, but it's a recipe I haven't posted on my blog before, due to not being completely happy with either the texture of the banana muffins I've baked or the quality of my photos.  These, though, these banana muffins are keepers, and I'll be baking them again and again over the years.

They don't have a cream cheese filling in the center, as you might think from the name, but rather, cream cheese is whipped into the sugar and bananas before being mixed into the batter, so the whole muffin has a lovely tang and creaminess from the cream cheese.  The cream cheese (which replaces the butter or oil in the batter) creates a really beautiful crumb, light and fluffy, soft and moist for days.  I always add cream cheese to my pound cakes, as well, and, like sour cream, it really does wonderful things for baked goods.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Orange Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Orange Coffee Cake, Orange Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Orange Streusel Coffee Cake, Coffee Cake, Breakfast, Cake for BreakfastIn just seven more weeks, we will grow from a family of three to four!  It's all kind of surreal, how much life can change in such a short amount of time.  In the last four years, we got married, bought and partially renovated a house, had a baby boy, and are about to have another.  It's been so amazing to watch our first baby grow into an inquisitive and funny little boy, and I'm so excited to give him a best friend.  Who would ever have thought that I'd be the mom of two little boys?

On Saturday morning, I made this orange sour cream coffee cake, adapted from the eggnog coffee cake I made for Christmas, and this one might be even better.  The cake is beautifully light, soft and tender, infused with orange juice and tangy sour cream, moist and buttery, topped with crumbly streusel lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, and drizzled with a sweet orange glaze...

Monday, February 19, 2018

Valentine's Shortbread Cookies

Valentine's Day, Valentines Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Shortbread Cookies, Royal Icing, Heart Cookies, Love Letter CookiesThere are generally just two occasions for which I will decorate cookies - Christmas and Valentine's Day.  This time, instead of the usual sugar cookie base, though, I baked a batch of buttery chocolate chip shortbread cookies, which are far tastier, in my opinion, than plain sugar cookies.

The cookies are wonderful on their own, with a cup of strong hot coffee, or dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with crushed nuts, toffee, or a bit of coarse sea salt...

Monday, February 12, 2018

A Valentines Berry Pie

Pie, Cherry Pie, Berry Pie, Valentine's Day, Valentine's Baking, Heart Cutout Pie, Rose Pie
It snowed over the weekend, a quiet, lazy-day type of snow that made everything so beautiful.  And when it snows, I love to bake, so I made a little pre-Valentine's Day pie in one of my mini pie pans.  I had originally planned on this being just a cherry pie, but with it being February, I couldn't find any frozen cherries, so I chose a mixed bag of frozen cherries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries.

A splash of lemon juice in the filling keeps it from being too sweet, and the simple, warm spices of cinnamon and cloves really enhance the flavor of the fruit.  The pie filling reminded me of a red Danish fruit sauce my mom makes at Christmas - sweet, tart, and complex with five or six different berries and red fruits - which my family would always spoon over ice cream or pound cake...

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Hey, Girl

Red Velvet Cake, Hey Girl, New Year's Day, Hey Girl Cake TopperExcept for the outside lights on the house and the wreath on the door, Christmas is put away, the needles from the tree and ornament glitter all vacuumed up, and everything is back to routine.  After having my husband home during the week over the holiday, it's been hard to have him go back to work, and Phoenix has missed him, too, but baby boy and I are finding our own routine again, as well as both recovering from a little cold.

Our New Year's Eve was quiet; we spent the evening with some friends, then came home early to put Phoenix to bed, then watch movies in our pajamas, eat popcorn and wait for midnight.  And there was red velvet cake to welcome in the New Year as well...