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Easy Recipes for You

Easy Recipes for You

Print YOUR Blog in Book Form! (Works for Me Wednesday)

Several months ago, I mentioned a great company called Blog2Print.  They actually print your blog in book form.

Whether you are a food blogger, or a craft blogger, or a mommy blogger, or a home blogger….or even if you aren’t, but you know a blogger…..this is such a cool idea!

When my book came in the mail, I opened it and saw cookies and baking projects that I had already forgotten about.  And I LOVE that kiddo will be able to look back on it someday…and maybe even try some of the recipes!

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ January 26-28, 2010
Blog2Print and I are teaming up for the Blissdom blog conference.  I leave for the conference in Nashville tomorrow (and guess who is my roomie!), but while I’m there…..

Blog2Print is offering one of you a $40 credit to print your own book!

To enter:

  • go take a look at Blog2Print’s site…and then leave a comment here telling why you would love to print your blog….or maybe you would print someone else’s blog as a gift for them.

Extra entries (leave a separate comment for each):

{If you will be at Blissdom, please come say “hi!”  I’d love to meet you and I’ll have my B2P book with me if you’d like to see one up close! And if you’re not going, be sure to follow the fun on twitter using the #blissdom hashtag.}

{Drawing will be held Sunday, January 30th at noon, CST. Good luck!} giveaway now closed.

Easy Recipes for You

Sweet on Trader Joe’s Saturday: Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Slims

Happy Saturday! Happy Weekend!

trader joe's dark chocolate pretzel slims review

For this week’s review, kiddo and I taste-tested Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Slims.

trader joe's dark chocolate pretzel slims review
Pretzel Slims are crunchy, thin pretzels (like a cracker), and these are covered in dark chocolate. Trader Joe’s describes them as “the ultimate blend of salty and sweet – the perfect combination to satisfy both crunch and chocolate indulgence.” A 6-ounce bag runs $2.99.

A mom’s (my) take: Um, hang on. I’m trying to write this review as I grab my purse and car keys to drive back to Trader Joe’s to stockpile these babies. Oh MY. These chocolate pretzel slims are perfection. Salty, sweet, crunchy. Maybe they should be called “pretzel UN-slims” because I can already tell these are dangerous to the ol’ waistline. My only beef with these…4 servings per package? 4??? I’m thinking, more like 1.
(a very enthusiastic) 5 of 5 stars

A teenager’s (kiddo’s) take: Even though you may know that I’m not a dark chocolate fan, this chocolate isn’t dark enough to repel me. The pretzel is crunchy and has that perfect amount of saltiness! I love these.
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

trader joe's dark chocolate pretzel slims review

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Slims: our TJ’s location may be sold out. 😉 

Read all of our Trader Joe’s sweet treats and dessert reviews!

Easy Recipes for You

Mary Berry’s Lemon Poppy Seed Traybake

Mary Berry's Lemon Poppy Seed Traybake

I’m sharing a Mary Berry recipe with you for an important reason. There are exactly TWO MONTHS left to reserve your spot for the London Baking Adventure, inspired by the Great British Baking Show. Y’all. It’s going to be BRILLIANT. 🙂 Read all of the customized for Bake at 350, baking-themed itinerary details here.

Mary Berry's Lemon Poppy Seed Traybake

Merry Berry Fast Cakes is filled with, you guessed it, quick-to-make cakes. There are also a few other recipes included, like quick biscuits (cookies), scones, and quick breads. There are lots of recipes for “traybakes” which always intrigued me when watching the GBBO. A traybake is a cake baked in a rectangular pan, what I might have referred to as a “snacking cake.”

Mary Berry's Lemon Poppy Seed Traybake

This lemon poppy seed traybake might not look super special, but oh my goodness…it’s incredible. The cake is fluffy with a large, soft crumb. The glaze adds flavor – a big hit of lemon – and moisture.

Now, I did modify the recipe just a bit. Most of the recipes in this book call for margarine – mainly because it doesn’t need to be softened. I used butter. Get the butter out of the fridge while you gather all of the other ingredients and prepare the pan for baking. It’ll be ready when you make the batter.

The other little change is that I made this in a 13×9″ pan. The book calls for 12×9.” Must be a British-sized pan.

The cake recipe calls for superfine sugar. You might find it in the store labeled as “caster sugar.” If you can’t find it…or don’t want to buy it…give granulated sugar a whir in your food processor until the granules are smaller, but not powdery. Then, measure for the recipe.

Mary also uses self-rising flour in almost all of the recipes in the book.

microplane lemon zest

You’ll use lemon zest and juice in the recipe. A microplane is the perfect tool for zesting the lemons.

poppy seeds

Here’s where you’ll think Mary is crazy. All of the ingredients (except the poppy seeds) get mixed together all at once! No creaming the butter and sugar, no adding the eggs one at a time, no flour in a few additions – ALL AT ONCE. It works! Mary knows her stuff.

While the cake bakes, you’ll make the glaze. The glaze is: lemon juice and granulated sugar. What? Not a typo…granulated, not powdered.

Mary Berry's Lemon Poppy Seed Traybake

Once the cake is baked (you’re going to swoon over how fluffy it is)…

Mary Berry's Lemon Poppy Seed Traybake

…pour the glaze over the hot cake. Let the cake cool before lifting it from the pan.

Mary Berry's Lemon Poppy Seed Traybake

The glaze makes a little bit of a sugary crust. A sugary, lemony, delectable crust.

Lemon Poppy Seed Traybake
{24 servings, modified from Mary Berry Fast Cakes}

1 cup salted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup superfine sugar (see note above)
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
4 tablespoons milk
finely grated zest of two large or three small lemons
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

for the glaze:
juice of 2 large or 3 small lemons
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Remove the butter from the fridge while you gather the ingredients and line the pan. Grease a 13×9″ pan. Line with a sheet of parchment (bottom and sides). Preheat oven to 350.

Place all of the cake ingredients except the poppy seeds in a bowl. Beat on low to combine, then increase speed to medium and mix until light and fluffy. Fold in the poppy seeds.

Pout into the prepared pan, spread evenly and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top of the cake springs back when pressed in the center.

While the cake is baking, mix the glaze together. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour the glaze over the top, spreading evenly. Let cool before cutting. Use the parchment to lift the cake out of the pan, if desired.

Mary Berry's Lemon Poppy Seed Traybake

I think you’ll love Mary Berry Fast Cakes. To see other cookbooks in my collection (that should be in yours, too), visit my Amazon shop!

Are you coming with us to London????? 

Easy Recipes for You

And the Golden Globe (cookie) Goes to . . .

…..Jim Parsons (Sheldon) from The Big Bang Theory.

Here’s the story….a sweet girl, Lindsay, who I used to work with actually knows Jim.  Yep, I know people who know people. 😉

Turns out that Jim went to the same high school I did although, I’m sure, MANY moons after I graduated.

I’ve always said that nothing makes me more nervous than making a logo cookie, since I don’t have one of those handy-dandy projectors.  Well, I’ve amended that….nothing makes me more nervous than making logo cookies for a Golden Globe WINNER.


{You know what?  Everything looks better with a little ribbon….even a shaky logo.}

Did you know that the Golden Globe award has a little “filmstrip” wrapped around it?  I didn’t, either.  That’s what those dots and squares are supposed to be. (I used a luster dust called Golden Charm here….I love the color!)

Bazinga!  That’s Sheldon’s catchphrase.

Congratulations on your Golden Globe, Jim!  You’re doing Spring, Texas proud! 🙂 

Easy Recipes for You

You are Too Stinkin’ Cute!

For years, I’ve thought of making skunk cookies for Valentine’s Day, but never really questioned why. It dawned on me not long ago…Pepe LePew, the most romantic of all Looney Tunes characters.
(Unless, of course, you count Yosemite Sam.)

heart-shaped skunk cookies ... you're too stinkin' cute!  {valentine decorated cookie tutorial}
You could make these cookies into a “Love Stinks” theme for Valentine’s Day, but I like the love sayings…”Too Stinkin’ Cute,” “You’re Odor-able,” “Scent-sational valentine.” Also, these would make really cute valentine cookies for kids…”for my little stinker.”

heart-shaped skunk cookies ... you're too stinkin' cute!  {valentine decorated cookie tutorial}
Even if you don’t make the cookies with the words to go with them, these heart skunk cookies are perfectly sweet on their own…and easy to make. I think Pepe and his kitty friend would approve.

heart-shaped skunk cookies ... you're too stinkin' cute!  {valentine decorated cookie tutorial}
To make Valentine Skunk Cookies, you’ll need:

  • cut-out cookies, heart-shaped
  • royal icing, tinted with AmeriColor Super Black, Bright White, Sky Blue
  • coupler and icing tips: #1 & 2
  • squeeze bottles
  • disposable icing bags
  • toothpicks
  • large heart sprinkles
  • small, clean paintbrush
  • meringue powder
  • white sanding sugar
heart-shaped skunk cookies ... you're too stinkin' cute!  {valentine decorated cookie tutorial}
Use a #2 tip to outline the cookies with black icing. Reserve some of this icing for piping details later.
Thin the black icing with water, a bit at a time, stirring with a silicone spatula, until it is the consistency of a thick syrup. You’ll want to drop a “ribbon” of icing back into the bowl and have it disappear in a count of “one thousand one, one thousand two.” Four is too thick, one is too thin. Count of 2-3 is good. Cover with a damp dishcloth and let sit for several minutes.

heart-shaped skunk cookies ... you're too stinkin' cute!  {valentine decorated cookie tutorial}
Stir the icing gently with a spatula, then pour into a squeeze bottle. Flood the cookies with the thinned icing, using a toothpick to guide to the edges and pop any large air bubbles. Let the cookies sit for at least one hour.

heart-shaped skunk cookies ... you're too stinkin' cute!  {valentine decorated cookie tutorial}
heart-shaped skunk cookies ... you're too stinkin' cute!  {valentine decorated cookie tutorial}
After an hour or more, pipe the white detail outline over the black icing, using a #2 tip. Thin the white icing as above, then flood the white outline.

heart-shaped skunk cookies ... you're too stinkin' cute!  {valentine decorated cookie tutorial}
Switch the tip on the black icing to a #1 and pipe on ears. Add a bit of icing to the back of a large heart sprinkle and add for a nose. Use a #1 tip to add eyes with blue icing.

heart-shaped skunk cookies ... you're too stinkin' cute!  {valentine decorated cookie tutorial}
Let the icing dry uncovered for 6-8 hours or overnight.

The next day, mix 1/4 teaspoon each meringue powder and water. Brush the mixture onto the white portion of the skunk face. Sprinkle on the sanding sugar; shake off the excess.
heart-shaped skunk cookies ... you're too stinkin' cute!  {valentine decorated cookie tutorial}

Do you guys love Valentine’s Day as much as I do? I think it has to be my favorite cookie season! ♥

heart-shaped skunk cookies ... you're too stinkin' cute!  {valentine decorated cookie tutorial}

Cheers to Pepe! ♥

Easy Recipes for You

German Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies – Bake at 350°

German Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies : bake at 350

My uncle has a German chocolate cake on his birthday every year. By every year, rumor has it, it’s been since he was about 5 years old. He just celebrated 65.

German Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies : from bake at 350 cookie blog

To commemorate this milestone birthday, I decided to bake a little something that was a nod to his German chocolate cake – German chocolate COOKIES! Instead of decorating them with royal icing, I used this imprinting technique that you may remember from these star birthday cookies. I just love the look of them, and they’re so fun to make.

For the cookies, I made a chocolate dough. Not a deep, dark chocolate dough like these, but a milder chocolate. The thing about German chocolate cake is that it doesn’t (to me) scream CHOCOLATE. It’s more subtle.

What makes these a nod to Geman chocolate are the pecans and coconut mixed in. Both are chopped small so that the tops and sides of the cookies aren’t too craggy. Important if you’re decorating. Or even imprinting. The pecans are toasted; the coconut is the sweetened variety.

how to imprint cookies

If you’re doing imprinting, bake the cookies, then press in the smaller cookie cutters as soon as they come out of the oven. I’ve had my set of mini letters and numbers for a while and can’t find the exact one. This set from Amazon looks very similar.

Here’s some great news – these got better over time! I sent the bulk of these to my uncle but packed a few in our treat bag as we headed out on a road trip. You know…for research purposes. We loved them on day one, but we loved them more on day two and so on.

how to imprint cookies

Want some real decadence? Crumble one over ice cream. ♥

Here’s the recipe…

German Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
{makes about 15 four-inch cookies}

2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 cup natural cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup salted butter, cold and cut into chunks
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup finely chopped sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy and combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla. On low speed, add the flour/cocoa mixture in three additions. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the pecans and coconut and mix on low until incorporated.

If there are bits of dry flour in the bottom of the bowl, knead the dough together by hand. Dust rolling surface and rolling pin with a mixture of flour and cocoa. Roll the dough to a thickness of 3/8″. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter that has been dipped in flour.

Chill the cut shapes for 5-10 minutes before baking. Bake for 9-12 minutes, depending on cookie cutter size. Let cool on the rack for a minute or two then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

German Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies : from bake at 350 cookie blog

Happy birthday, Uncle Mike! ♥

Easy Recipes for You

Pecan Snowballs – Bake at 350°

You know those people in your life that you just *trust* when it comes to food? I don’t care if they are serving you a piece of toast, or a bowl of soup, or a slice of pie….you know it’s going to be good.

Well, this recipe comes from one of *those* people….my Aunt Janice. When she mentioned these Pecan Snowballs around Christmastime, I knew I MUST make them!

Two things….

  1. Aunt Janice says that she usually doubles this recipe. I forgot to buy double the pecans.  I will not make that mistake again. DOUBLE IT….they go FAST!
  2.… not pinch off a piece to taste before baking.  You may end up eating half the dough before it gets to the oven. {Not that I did that or anything.}

Pecan Snowballs
{from Aunt Janice}

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup flour
Powdered sugar to coat the snowballs after baking

Cream sugar, salt, butter.

Add vanilla, then flour and nuts.

Chill 2 hours.

Form small balls…about 1 inch diameter

Place balls on cookie sheet and bake in 250 degree oven (yes, two hundred fifty:)  until light brown on bottoms……40-50 minutes.

Roll them in powdered sugar as soon as they are cool enough to handle.  Then, roll them again after they’ve cooled more.  Then, roll them again when completely cool.

These cookies were a huge hit at our house!  Make them….just remember to double that batch!

Easy Recipes for You

Oatmeal Bourbon Raisin Cookies – Bake at 350°

oatmeal bourbon raisin cookies from @bakeat350
Yes, Bourbon.

My dad is a lover of the oatmeal cookie. As a kid, I remember many times being so disappointed to discover that my mom was not, in fact, baking chocolate chip cookies, but oatmeal raisin.
Oh, I had a tough childhood.

For Christmas, I told my dad I would send him a batch of oatmeal cookies each month of 2015.

oatmeal bourbon raisin cookies from @bakeat350
We’re starting off the year boozy. Why not?

The raisins for the cookies are soaked overnight in bourbon.
making bourbon infused raisins is easy ... oatmeal cookie recipe, too!
See how plump they get?

The raisins really DO soak up that bourbon. As a matter of fact, these cookies might leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

oatmeal bourbon raisin cookies from @bakeat350
The cookies themselves are soft and chewy with a good hit of vanilla and salt.

I think my dad will like them…and I think you will, too.

Oatmeal Bourbon Raisin Cookies
{makes about 28 cookies}

1 cup raisins
3/4 cup bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark)
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup old-fashioned oats

oatmeal bourbon raisin cookies from @bakeat350
The night before making the cookies, combine the raisins and bourbon. Cover the container and let sit overnight at room temperature.

The next day, strain the raisins. (Reserve the liquid for ice cream or coffee. ;)) Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs, then the corn syrup, and vanilla.

oatmeal bourbon raisin cookies from @bakeat350
On low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing on low until just combined. Stir in the oats and reserved raisins.

oatmeal bourbon raisin cookies from @bakeat350
Roll into balls about the size of a golf ball. (I used my 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop the dough evenly, then rolled into balls.)

Bake for 13 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

*recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour’s basic drop cookies from their Commemorative Edition Cookbook.
oatmeal bourbon raisin cookies from @bakeat350

Cookies + Bourbon? I’ll never complain about oatmeal cookies again! 

Easy Recipes for You

How I Store Baking Staples

How I Store Baking Staples : for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends

I am not an organized person by nature. My favorite section in The Container Store is gift wrap, not containers.

How I Store Baking Staples : for The Pioneer Woman Food & Friends

Over the years, I’ve learned a few ways to store my baking products, though, that keep them more organized…and more importantly, more fresh.

Along with my favorite storage ideas, I’ll tell you what baking staples I keep on hand in my kitchen.

Easy Recipes for You

Chocolate Nutella Turnovers – Bake at 350°

Nutella and chocolate wrapped in puff pastry…

…if only every morning could start like this!

As part of FoodBuzz’s tastemaker program, I received a coupon for a free box of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry. {Who says blogging doesn’t have it’s benefits?}

All I could think of was chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. And let me tell you, I was a hero in my 10-year-old’s eyes after serving these for breakfast. (That lasted all of 15 minutes, but it was worth it.)

Even my husband who “doesn’t like Nutella” ate two of them and said these belonged on the menu at a “fancy pastry place.” Sorry, honey…I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you officially like Nutella now.

Chocolate Nutella Turnovers

1 sheet Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry (from the 17.3 oz box), thawed
1 & 1/2 c. chocolate chips, divided
1/2 c. Nutella
1 egg
1 TBSP water
2 TBSP slivered almonds
1 TBSP shortening (such as Crisco)

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Stir together 1 cup chocolate chips and the Nutella.

On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 12 x 12 inch square. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 9 squares.

With a fork, whisk together the egg and water. Using your finger, apply the egg wash to 2 adjacent sides of each square.

Add 1 heaping tablespoon of the chocolate/Nutella mixture to the middle of each square. Fold over to make triangles and press to seal edges.

{There will be some of this mixture leftover. What happens in the kitchen, stay in the kitchen.}

Brush the top of each turnover with egg wash. Sprinkle with the slivered almonds. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the reserved 1/2 c. chocolate chips and the shortening in the microwave on 50% power in 30-second intervals. Stir after each interval until melted. Set aside.

Remove the turnover for the oven and place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.

Spoon the melted chocolate into a quart-sized freezer baggie (a storage baggie might burst) and snip a hole in one corner. Squeeze over the turnovers in a decorative pattern.

Having guests for Christmas? They are going to love these!

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