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Desserts Eat Inspire Musings

Nana’s Sugar Cookies

Sugar cookies are a tradition to last the test of time. Decorated with colorful icing and sprinkles, weather eaten or hung on the tree, will warm everyones heart.

Ever since I was a wee little nipper, sugar cookies dressed with icing have been a Christmas time tradition.

My sister, Marcey, & I would put on our little aprons, push up our sleeves and bake our little hearts out.

We would adorn our family tree with the cookies that we had baked and decorated along with candy canes, bows and strings of cranberries & popcorn that we had strung by the fire…

…dressed in our matching stretch & sew outfits that mom had so lovingly made for us.

Just kidding, we didn’t always sit by the fire.

I can still remember the thrill of unwrapping the precious cookies from past years. We would eagerly tear their tissue paper cocoons open and hang them on the tree. The cookies became a growing collection…a connection of the past to the present – an ongoing documentation made of sugar and flour and each precious year frozen in time .

These memories will be forever baked into my sappy nostalgic mind and my sister’s too. We still remember those special moments as if they were yesterday. Marcey can probably remember the time, temperature and exactly which stretch & sew outfit we happened to be wearing. I can still remember the colors of the icing, how many dragees I snuck into my mouth and what outfit I painted onto each cookie.

We both have the minds of an elephant. It can be both a blessing and a curse.

In honor of nostalgia, I decided to rally the troops for a day of memory making, baking, icing, decorating and just plain fun.

My mom, sweet baby sister and darling little *ahem* (they’re taller than my sister) girls couldn’t wait to get started. It doesn’t take much to create a day full of sweet confections and memories that will last a lifetime.

Just gather some sugary bobbles to decorate with,

cookie cutters and baking sheets,

paintbrushes for painting the icing onto the cookies,

and straws for making holes in the cookies to thread ribbon through.

Our day started with Nana and Sweet Cheeks diligently

making the icing.

Sassafrass got busy making the cookie dough.

After the dough chilled, we all took turns rolling,

and cookie cutting.

Nana was in charge of making the straw holes in the tops of the cookies before they went in the oven.

And then after the cookies cooled…

the creativity began.

Paintbrushes make a fabulous tool for applying icing to your cookies.

My sister has Celiac Disease so she wore rubber gloves to ensure that she didn’t absorb any gluten.

Perhaps next time we’ll make a gluten-free version as well.

Imaginations can run wild with a rainbow of icing and a few sprinkles at your finger tips.

A little ribbon tied through a cookie can make a most adorable ornament.

And a day spent in the kitchen making a big ‘ol mess with those you love can make a most lasting memory to enjoy for years to come.

What are you waiting for?

Go bake some memories!

Warmest holiday wishes to you!

~Wenderly

Nana’s Sugar Cookies
Recipe Type: cookies
Author: Wenderly | Wendy Hondroulis
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3 dozen
Sugar cookies are a tradition to last the test of time. Decorated with colorful icing and sprinkles, weather eaten or hung on the tree, will warm everyones heart.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F
  2. Sift dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. With *hands* mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add sifted flour, baking powder and salt and mix with hands until incorporated.
  4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  5. When ready to use dough, sprinkle falt surface with flour and roll dough with a rolling pin until it’s a 1/4 of an inch. Cut into dough with cookie cutters, (poke hole with straw if you want to hang cookies on tree) place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet or silpat baking mat. Bake in a pre-heated 400° oven for 6-8 minutes until golden brown. Repeat process until all of the dough has been used. Let cookies cool completely before icing them.
  6. *Note: For the icing we just followed the recipe on back of confectioners sugar bag and added food coloring.
  7. ENJOY!

 

Categories
Desserts Eat Inspire

Sweet Lion & Lamb Cupcakes

 

In like a lion out like a lamb. Isn’t that how the saying goes? Spring in suburbia has indeed come in like a lion and I just pray that it will go out like a lamb.

I’m ready for some sweet sunshine, blue skies and gentle breezes.

Years ago (as in five, but who’s counting?) I saw a picture of some darling lion and lamb cupcakes in a Family Fun magazine. I did my usual…tear out, file and forget about it routine and as the years have slipped by I have never actually made the cupcakes.

Do you ever do that? Well, this year I decided that it was now or never. My girls are, ahem, more mature and a tad less interested in cute little cupcakes. They weren’t so interested in making them with me, however when they laid their eyes on them they couldn’t help but to “awwwwwwww”  and “that is SO cute, can I have one?”

And I did what every chicken little mama would do…

I said, “nope” “if you didn’t want to help then you don’t get to enjoy”.

Just kidding.

Of course I let them dig in and I’m pleased to report that they enjoyed the daylights out of them. Actually I don’t know who enjoyed them more, me or them. It was such a delight to watch my very mature, distinguished teen and pre-teen children happily lick their very mature and distinguished lips in between happy giggles. I even suggested sending them in their lunches and well, you can only imagine the <eye rolling> and verbal responses that I received.

So… I just kept pouring them milk and feeding them cupcakes. I just had to relish in the moment as long as they’d let me. That’s innocent enough isn’t it?

Can you tell that I’m having a hard time watching my babies turn into young ladies? <sniff>

The cupcakes were a cinch… I made the lion as I had remembered it from the magazine and created the lamb myself. I baked some boxed cupcakes, iced half the batch with yellow icing and half with white.

For the lion, I put orange gum drops for the mane, a brown jelly bean cut in half for the eyes, an upside-down cinnamon chip for the nose and some sour tape cut into strips for the whiskers.

For the lamb, I used two blue gum balls for the eyes, a pink jelly bean for the nose and then covered every other inch of the cupcake with mini marshmallows.

I got so carried away I even made a duck for good measure. I figure that I should cover all my bases.

Sometimes life just calls for fun and sweet innocence doesn’t it?

I hope you treat yourself to some today.

Wishing you & yours a Happy Spring full of everything sweet…and innocent.

Wenderly

Categories
Desserts Eat Inspire

Tate’s Bake Shop Chocolate Pound Cake & a Giveaway *Closed*

It’s the week after Christmas, the day before New Year’s Eve and I’ve decided to make chocolate pound cake.

Doesn’t everyone do that?

My house is a mess, my laundry isn’t done and my pants are giving me an added extra hug that I just don’t seem to remember feeling a mere two weeks ago.

Sooooo, I’ve decided that cake, a chocolate POUND cake mind you, would be the perfect solution to my dilemma.

I figure…extra pounds on me + pound cake + a dash of denial = BLISS.

Makes sense doesn’t it? Well to me it does. And this isn’t any ol’ pound cake either. Nope. It’s a Tate’s Bake Shop chocolate pound cake. You see I recently received a lovely cookbook and a trio of cookies to review from Tate’s Bake Shop, a fabulous little bakery located in Southampton run by Kathleen King. Ina Garten wrote the forward in this delicious cookbook and many have praised the incredible cookies including Rachel Ray and the New York Times. As I excitedly opened the package I did what any other food blogger would do, I immediately sampled the cookies, hid them from my family and anxiously began reading the cookbook from stem to stern.

Just kidding, I graciously shared the infamous cookies with my family and then hid them…

Well... wait until you try them and you’ll see why! They are the perfect combination of buttery, sweet… but not too sweet, crispy on the edges, soft in the middle, I’ll-just-have-ONE-more-nobody-will-notice-except-my-jeans kinda cookies.

Which brings me back to the decadent pound cake…

and my jeans that give me an unwanted hug…

and the fact that I’ll be living at the gym in 2011…

and my family that feels loved because I made them a Chocolate pound cake to make up for the cookies that I coveted in my pantry.

O.k. enough about me.

Now it’s time for YOU! You get the chance to win a delicious trio of your very own oatmeal raisin, white chocolate macadamia nut, and chocolate chip cookies (that you may or may not hide from your family).

AND your very own copy of the Tate’s Bake Shop cookbook to drool over.

You get 2 chances to win!

  • Leave a comment on this post letting me know what you favorite dessert is!
  • For an additional entry, head over to the Tate’s Bake Shop Facebook Page and become a fan. Once you’ve done that, then come back to this post and leave a comment letting me know that you are a Tate’s Bake Shop fan.

This giveaway will end next Thursday, January 6 at midnight EST at which time one lucky winner will be randomly chosen and notified. Contest is open to US residents only (sorry to my Canadian friends) Tate’s will ship directly to you.

If you act fast there’s still time for Tate’s 15% discount to anyone to uses the code “cookie” when checking out until December 31st!

Here’s one more taste of the delicious chocolate pound cake!

Good Luck & wishing you all the BEST in 2011!

Wenderly

************** WINNER ***************

We have a winner folks! Thanks so very much to all who joined in the fun!!

So now it’s the time that we’ve all been waiting for…

Who will get to indulge (or perhaps hide) a trio of scrumptious cookies and a enjoy a lovely cookbook from Tate’s Bake Shop?

The lucky winner is…

Stacy! Who said,

“Plain and simple…Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite!!”

Congratulations Stacy! I’ll be contacting you about the details!

And thanks again to the great folks at Tate’s Bake Shop for sponsoring this fun giveaway!

Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy!

Chocolate Pound Cake

Tate’s Bake Shop Cookbook

1 cup Dutch-processed coco powder
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup salted butter, softened room temperature
2 cups Sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tbsp water

Preheat over to 325º F. Grease a 10″ Bundt pan.

Sift the cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder into a small bowl and set aside.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl. With and electric mixer beat them until they are light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Mix the sour cream and water.

Add the dry ingredients alternately with half of the sour cream mixture in three stages, beginning and ending with the flour mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl between stages.

Spread the batter into the prepared Bundt pan.

Bake it for 1hr. Remove it from the oven and let it cool in the pan. Turn it out into a wire rack to cool completely.

Optional: I added a drizzle of chocolate glaze just for a little pizazz.

Chocolate Glaze

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tbsp water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine butter, corn syrup and water into small sauce pan bringing to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat then mix in chips until shiny and smooth. Cool slightly then drizzle over cake