White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread

I haven't baked in SO long! I have been to busy with other things, but now that the Christmas Season is upon us, I am back to baking.

This is a definite crowd pleaser!

1/2lb butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup icing sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Place the butter and icing sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until light.
Beat in the flour and cornstarch until well incorporated.
Mix in the zest, vanilla, cranberries and chocolate chips.
Flatten the dough into a 1/2-inch thick disc; wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4-inch thickness.
Dip small cookie cutters in flour (this prevents the dough from sticking) and use them to cut out the cookies.
Place on non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake 15-18 minutes, or until very pale golden on the edges.

Basic Pancakes

I have decided that I like homemade pancakes WAY more than the box mix or using Bisquick.  They are just like what you get at a restaurant and super easy!

2 large eggs
1 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Stir eggs in medium size boil until smooth.
Add milk and cooking oil and mix.
Add remaining ingredients and stir until moistened.
Set electric frying pan to 380 degrees and spray with non stick cooking spray.
Once heated, scoop 1/4 of batter onto the frying pan, about 4 at a time (one in each corner).
When tops are bubbly and edges ate dry looking, turn them with a spatula to brown other sides.
Remove with lifter and serve with butter and maple syrup.
Spray should not be needs for the rest of the cooking.

For chocolate chip or blueberry, add 3/4 to 1 cup into the pancake batter before placing on frying pan.
Plain and Chocolate Chip

Macaroni and Cheese

I never really use any certain measurements for this recipe.  The more margarine/butter you use in the beginning, the more sauce you will make.  Try this one yourself.  Very easy.

Cheddar Cheese (I like sharp cheddar)
Cooked Macaroni Noodles (follow package for instructions)

This will make enough for 2 or 3 people.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large bowl in the microwave.
Tablespoon by tablespoon, add flour to melted butter and mix until butter has dissolved all of the flour and it has become thick.
Add 1/2 cup of milk and whisk until the flour mixture is dissolved.
Put into the microwave for 1 minute or until mixture begins to thicken.
Remove from microwave and add another 1/2 cup of milk, whisk until combined, and return to microwave.
Heat for one minute or until mixture is thick.
Keep adding milk and heating until mixture is desired consistency, but do not turn into soup!
Grate and add as much or as little cheese as you like. 
Mix in cheese, return to microwave, and cheese is melted and can be mixed into the sauce.
Place noodles into the sauce and mix until noodles are coated. 
Put noodles with sauce into a casserole dish and cover with grated cheese.
Place in over for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to bubble.

Chicken Chipotle Panini

I made the focaccia and chipotle mayo and here are the recipes. 

If you want to buy all the ingredients pre-made, you will need:
Focaccia Bread
Sliced Chicken
Chipotle Mayonnaise
Havarti Cheese
Basil Leaves, fresh
Onions (optional)

Chipotle Mayo
1/2 tsp chipotle pepper powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 tbsp Hellman's light mayonnaise
3 tbsp light Miracle Whip
1 tbsp Mississippi Honey Mustard Mayonnaise

Mix it all together.  As easy as that!

Focaccia Bread
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Mix in the vegetable oil and water.
When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Punch dough down; place on greased baking sheet. Pat into a 1/2 inch thick rectangle. Brush top with olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Baked Apples

The perfect Fall dessert.

4 apples
4 tbsp margarine or unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 8 x 8 square cooking pan with Pam cooking spray.
Remove apple cores without cutting apples into pieces (use an apple corer if available).
Spread each apple core hole with 1 tablespoon of margarine and place in pan.
Mix brown sugar and spices, then equally sprinkle into each apple core hole. 
Sprinkle in raisins, if you are using them.
Bake for 35 minutes, pull pan out, and baste apples with juice.
Once basted, return pan into the over for another 10 to 15 minutes depending on how soft you want the apples.

Chai Tea Latte Cupcakes

These are different and are just like the real thing!

3/4 cup milk
2 bags of black tea
1 cup flour
1 cup cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
Pinch of cloves
Pinch of nutmeg
4 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with liners.
Bring milk to a simmer over medium heat, remove from heat, add tea bags and cover to steep for 15 minutes.
Whisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl while milk steeps and cools.
Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, then add flour mixture in 3 batches while alternating with tea-infused milk.
Divide batter evenly into lined cups, filling each 3/4 full.
Bake, rotating tins halfway through until golden brown and spring back when touched; approximately 10 to 12 minutes.
To finish, dip top of cupcake in icing.

Condensed-Milk Icing
4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

With an electric mixer, whisk butter and condensed milk and salt until smooth.
Add sugar and whisk until combined.
Use immediately.

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin purée
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat over to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Mix first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.
In a medium sized bowl, cream butter with sugar, then add egg, pumpkin, and vanilla once combined.
Add wet ingredients to dry and spoon onto cookie sheets.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once cooled, icing with butter cream frosting and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Skor Gelato

Yummmmmm. This tastes like a DQ Skor Blizzard, but better!  I tried Smartie as well, following the same ingredients plus added some chocolate sauce.

2 cups half and half
1 cup milk (I used 1%, the heavier the milk, the richer it will be)
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup of sugar
3 Skor chocolate bars

  1. In sauce pan over medium heat, heat  cream and milk until it starts to slowly bubble; 170 degrees.
  2. While milk is heating, whisk egg yolks and sugar in a large, heat resistant bowl until they become light yellow and fluffy.
  3. Once milk has started to bubble and reached 170 degrees, remove from heat.  Add 1/3 cup of milk to egg at a time while mixing thoroughly. Turn element down to medium-low heat.
  4. After all the milk has been added to the egg, pour the whole mixture back into the sauce pan and onto medium-low heat.
  5. Whisk mixture every 30 seconds until is starts to get thicker.  Switch to a wooden spoon and when the mixture can coat the spoon, remove from heat.
  6. Let the heated mixture sit while you put cold water and ice in the sink and place your larger heat proof bowl in the ice bath.  Pour the custard like mixture through a fine metal sifter/strainer into the heat proof bowl.
  7. Use your wooden spoon or spatula to get everything out of the pan into the bowl.  Mix the custard in the ice bath until it cools.  (Be careful of the water in the sink.  You don’t want it getting into your custard!)
  8. Once the mixture has cooled, place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours, but over night is better.
  9. Put 1 and a half skor bars in a food processer and turn it into fine pieces and place into a Ziplock bag into the freezer. Cut remaining skor into small chunks and place in Ziplock bag into the freezer.
  10. When the mixture has cooled, empty both Ziplock bags into the custard.  Mix well. 
  11. Place into Ice cream maker and mix for at least 15 minutes or until the instructed time.
  12. Once Gelato is thick, place in an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours.  Mix after 1 hour to thicken whole batch, rather than the edges hardening and the middle of the container being soft.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

Best recipe for soft chocolate chip cookies. I do not like when they are hard. These are my go to recipe and you should definitely try them!

2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 6 ounce packages semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat over to 375 degrees.
Mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla thoroughly.
Blend in remaining ingredients.
Drop dough by desired size on ungreased cookie sheets
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

I baked this and Chocolate Chip cookies almost a week ago, but I have been so busy that I haven't had time to post anything!

This chocolate cake is VERY easy to make and super moist.  Yummm! It is really good with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting.  I used the leftover icing from my Swirl Cupcakes!

2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer.
Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the cake tests done with a toothpick.
Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely

Cinnamon Buns

Yummmm is all I can say!  This recipe makes 24 to 26 cinny buns!

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5-6 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup raisins (optional)

Place the butter and brown sugar into a large bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter together till smooth and fluffy.
Start to add in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to really incorporate each egg before adding the next one.
In a saucepan add the milk and water, heat till lukewarm and add to the batter.
Add in the cinnamon, salt and instant yeast.
Mix till all the ingredients are well blended. Start to add in the flour, about one cup at a time.
Beat with a wooden spoon till smooth.
Continue to add in more flour.
When it becomes to hard to mix with a wooden spoon.
Add just enough flour to make a soft dough, but not sticky to your hands.
Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes.
Add a little oil to a large clean bowl (about a tablespoon).
Place the kneaded dough into the bowl and flip over a few times to lightly coat all sides of the dough.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour or till double in bulk.

To make the filling place the brown sugar into a bowl and add the cinnamon. Using your fingers mix together till well mixed. Set aside till needed.

After the dough has risen, pour out onto a flat surface.
Using your fingers press the dough into a 12 x 18 inch rectangle.
Brush on the very soft or melted butter onto the surface of the dough.
Sprinkle the brown sugar, cinnamon mixture evenly on top of the butter.
Sprinkle the raisins on top.
Curl the side over about a inch and then begin to roll the dough like a jelly roll.
Pinch the seam with your fingers and cut the dough with a sharp knife into 12 pieces.
Place onto a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour.

Place into a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and place onto a wire rack.
Do not remove them from the parchment paper.