Tag Archives: cookie

Ballad of the Rainbow and the Snow

Yesterday in Olympics news women competed in ski jumping for the first time, with Germany’s Carina Vogt taking home the gold.  U.S. snowboarder Shaun White placed fourth in the men’s halfpipe competition, where he had hoped to win his third straight gold medal.  Russian snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov (called the I-Pod) won gold in that event, and Japan’s Ayumu Hirano and Taku Hiraoka won silver and bronze, shutting the U.S. out for the first time since the 1998 debut of snowboarding as an Olympic event.

Day six of the Winter Olympics feature celebrates the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan.  This was the first time a Spanish athlete won a medal at the Winter Olympics, when skier Francisco Fernandez won the slalom event by a full second, winning a gold medal.  These were also the first Winter Olympics to take place in Asia.  The Sapporo Winter Games were the last Winter Olympics where a skier won a medal on all-wooden skis.

Sapporo is home to an interesting confection called Shiroi Koibito.  Essentially, these are a pair of thin buttery cookies that nearly melt in your mouth sandwiching a white chocolate ganache filling.  The cookies start as more of a batter than a dough, and that batter is piped onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  I tried a few methods to pipe these so that they baked up as nice squares like the ones in photos I found of the real deal.  Well, this batter spreads rampantly the second it is exposed to heat due to the butter content.  Ultimately, I had success piping the batter in very small blobs, baking the cookies, using a paring knife to cut them into squares, then putting them back into the oven for a minute or two so that all four edges were nicely browned.  If you think this sounds like excess work, you’re right.  If presentation really isn’t critical, go ahead and pipe the batter into little blobs, bake the cookies, let them cool and then try not to eat them all before you put some ganache between them.

shiroi koibiti cookies

Shiroi Koibito Cookies

Ingredients:

for the cookies:

  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 C. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

for the white chocolate filling:

  • 4 oz. good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 C. heavy cream

Directions:

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer), ream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the egg whites and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Add the flour and mix until well-combined.

Use a piping bag or resealable bag with the corner snipped off to pipe the batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, making mounds a little smaller than a Hershey kiss (this will give you round cookies- if you want squares, see above).

Bake for 10 minutes until the edges just start to brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

To prepare the ganache filling, place the chocolate in a mixing bowl.

Bring the heavy cream just to a boil, then pour over the chocolate.

Whisk until chocolate is smooth, then place the bowl of chocolate over an ice water bath and continue to stir until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

Spread the chocolate onto the bottom of 1 cookie, and top with another cookie.

Source: cookies adapted from  From My Kitchen; filling adapted from Martha Stewart

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Send The Marines

We have a lot of social events coming up in the near future, and one that we’re pretty excited about is Lane’s nephew’s graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point.  What has us even more excited is that he is not only graduating from West Point, he has worked hard to cross-commission into the United States Marine Corps. When he graduates in May, he will have a Bachelor of Science degree and he will be a Second Lieutenant in the Marines.  We know he will have great success and we couldn’t be more proud of his accomplishments.

We weren’t able to rush out to West Point to raise a glass in his honor, so we celebrated by baking and shipping cookies.  Sugar cookies with royal icing might seem like a challenge akin to finishing four years at West Point (and I know how hard these men and women work to accomplish that), but it really is much easier once you have a few basics down.  I have consistently used this sugar cookie recipe because the cut-out cookies don’t lose their shape once they’re baked.  The biggest annoyance when I’m making sugar cookies for decorating is when the butterfly shape I was expecting comes out of the oven looking like something from an ink blot test.  The recipe has few ingredients, mixes up quickly and is very easy to work with.  The result is a buttery and not overly sweet (you’re going to add plenty of sweetness in the icing) cookie with a nice bite to it.  You will need to leave plenty of time to chill the dough though, both after mixing the dough and after cutting out the cookie shapes.

As for the royal icing, it’s incredibly forgiving.  After mixing the ingredients together initially, the icing will be at its thickest consistency.  Adding a tiny bit of water makes it suitable for piping the outline, and thinning it just a little more makes it perfect for filling the outline, or “flooding.”  When I plan on writing with royal icing as I did for some of these cookies, I prepare the icing for the outline and when I’m done making the oultine, I set aside some of the icing at that consistency before adding water to the rest so I can flood.  I find it’s very easy to thin the frosting but thickening it again is more difficult so it’s easiest to just pipe the words on using icing as thick as the icing for the outline.  Playing mad scientist by going back and forth adding water, then powdered sugar, then water again and so on is possible here, but I like making these best when I can skip that part.  Royal icing is forgiving that way, so adding more powdered sugar if you’ve thinned the icing too much is an easy fix.  These are time-consuming because you do have to let the outline dry before you fill in the outline, and then they must dry completely before piping on any additional details.  The results are so worth every bit of effort.  After the recipe, I’ve provided more in-depth detail as to how I decorated each type of cookie but having the basics, you can make gorgeous cookies to celebrate any occasion.

usmc sugar cookies with royal icing

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Ingredients:

for the cookies:

  • 1 C. butter, softened
  • 1 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 C. flour, sifted (sift after measuring)

for the royal icing:

  • 4 C. powdered sugar, sifted (sift after measuring)
  • 2 Tbsp. meringue powder
  • 5 Tbsp. water

Directions:

To make the cookies, beat the butter for 2 minutes on medium-high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer).

Add the powdered sugar and beat to combine.

Beat in the egg, almond extract, vanilla extract, salt, and flour.

Cover the dough and chill until firm, at least one hour.

Roll the dough out on a well-floured work surface to 1/4 inch thickness.

Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Place the shapes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, cookies should not brown.

Cool completely on wire racks before icing the cookies.

To make the royal icing, combine all of the icing ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until the icing has a matte appearance (7-10 minutes).

Decide how many colors you will need to decorate your cookies and divide the frosting into that number of air-tight containers.

At this point, the icing is at its stiffest consistency and is still to stiff to use for piping the outline.

Starting with the colors you will use for outlines, add water a very small amount at a time (I like to use a spray bottle for this) and stir by hand until the icing reaches a consistency appropriate for piping (if you are having difficulty piping the consistency is still too thick, add a little more water, stir, and try again).

At this time, add food coloring to the icing to reach desired shades of the colors you will need (if you are using liquid food coloring, I suggest adding it before the water so that the icing doesn’t become too runny).

Transfer the outlining icing colors into pastry bags fitted with piping tips, or resealable bags with a tiny piece of the corner snipped off, or squeeze bottles.

Pipe around the edges on the top of each cookie, then let the cookies stand so the outline completely dries before proceeding.  Keep all of the other icing covered so that it doesn’t start to dry while you’re working.

If you are going to pipe writing or other fine details onto any of the cookies, you may need to separate icing in those colors into additional air-tight containers and set them aside at this time (for instance, if you’re going to flood the cookies with blue icing and later add blue details, separate out some blue icing while the frosting is at piping consistency before thinning the rest to flooding consistency).

For flooding the outlines, add water to all of the icing colors you will use for flooding a little at a time, stirring by hand, until the icing reaches flooding consistency.  The icing should drip off of a spoon easily and smooth in with the remaining icing.  If you thin the icing too much, add sifted powdered sugar until it thickens again.

Transfer the flooding icing to pastry bags fitted with piping tips, or resealable bags with a tiny piece of corner snipped off, or squeeze bottles.

Squeeze the flooding icing into the piped outline, using a toothpick to help the icing reach the edges if needed.  Use a toothpick to pop any small bubbles that may form in the flooding icing.

Allow the flooded cookies to set completely before piping on any details.

Use the remaining piping consistency icing that was set aside earlier to pipe any details or writing onto the cookies.

Allow the cookies to dry completely before serving or packaging.

Makes about 40 cookies.

Source: cookie recipe from Annie’s Eats, royal icing from Annie’s Eats originally from Good Things Catered, with icing tutorial adapted from Annie’s Eats.

To make these cookies specifically, and other cookie words of wisdom:

For the round cookies, I mixed piping icing in yellow (using Wilton Golden Yellow gel food coloring) and piped the outline, then added water until the icing reached flooding consistency.  I then flooded the cookie as described above, and allowed to set before writing on the cookies.

When planning to write on cookies, be realistic about what you’d like to write.  Originally, I wanted to include some that said “Congratulations” and then some.  The final cookies say “Congrats!” because it wasn’t all going to fit no matter how I tried.  Also, piping words requires a little more precision than piping the outline which can make for tired hands (read: sloppy lettering) quickly, so allow some time to give your hands a break if needed.

To write on the cookies, I mixed blue and red icing separately (using Wilton Royal Blue and Wilton Red Red gel food coloring) to piping consistency and when the yellow icing was completely dry, I used squeeze bottles to write on the cookies.

For the camouflage stars, I mixed khaki icing to piping consistency (using a combination of Wilton Red Red and Wilton Kelly Green gel food coloring) and piped the outline.

When the outline was completely dry, I added water to the khaki icing to thin it to flooding consistency.  I flooded the camouflage pattern using that same khaki color (the lightest one in the pattern), drawing puzzle piece-like shapes with the icing and using a toothpick to move icing to the edges of the outline.

Next, I added some more green and a tiny bit of black food coloring to the original khaki colored icing and again flooded some more of the cookie by drawing puzzle-piece-like shapes.

To complete the camouflage cookies, I mixed a small amount of black food coloring to the same icing (that was originally the khaki outline color), and filled in the remaining space on the cookie by flooding with the final, darkest, color.

I suggest using the darkest color last for both ease of mixing (just add a little more black at a time), and because starting with the darkest color results in an overwhelmingly dark looking cookie.  It is okay if the shades blend together at the edges as you flood with the different colors, I did not let each color dry in between adding shades to the pattern and it works fine.

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Over the Hill

Today is Lane’s fortieth birthday, and tonight we have a special dinner and cake planned with the kids (where they will give their dad the birthday gifts they carefully shopped for).  I can’t post his birthday cake just yet because it’s a surprise and like a good boyfriend, Lane is a dedicated reader of this site.  We were out most of the weekend between celebrating and Lane getting one last day of skiing in for the season while I shopped like a mad woman for supplies for next weekend’s birthday party.  I have to take a minute and ask why the party supply industry is so adamant that a person wants to celebrate a fortieth birthday by being told they are old and “over the hill,” and acting like the end is in sight.  Forty isn’t even close to old, and I swear Lane is aging in reverse, so wherever this hill is, he’s far from over it.  I don’t post pictures here of Lane (or the kids) but I promise you, other than a touch of grey at the sideburns, he looks exactly like he does in photos from college.  I almost went with a Star Wars theme just to spite the mounds of “Over the Hill” paper plates I saw.  That’s the end of my rant, but I do feel like with all of the celebrating and shopping, I haven’t seen my kitchen all weekend.

I did get a chance to make an old favorite treat while it snowed on Thursday which worked out well because when it really snowed on Friday, at least we had cookies.  Early on in the days of this site, I shared “The Chewy,” Alton Brown’s take on the Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe but the post just doesn’t do these cookies justice.  Changing up the Nestle recipe (my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe for pretty much my whole life) a little, this recipe always yields a soft and chewy perfect chocolate chip cookie.  I have tried other recipes and methods, but when I want the perfect cookie, this is how I get there.  Melting the butter means not having to wait for butter to soften before proceeding.  If you’re like me and don’t decide to bake cookies until you’re craving a cookie this is great because it means you have cookies much sooner.  Even when you factor in chilling the dough for one hour before baking, that’s faster than waiting for butter to soften in this house.  Bread flour is key to this, the higher protein content is largely what makes these cookies chewy.  Many people try to achieve soft, chewy cookies by pulling them out of the oven too soon.  This presents the risk of cookies that are raw in the middle (and there can be a huge problem when you’re dealing with undercooked egg as a result) and I like to avoid that concern by fully baking my cookies.  The Chewy is fully baked and it remains soft and chewy.  Stored in an air tight container or resealable plastic bag, these stay soft for at least a week.  I would know, because forcing myself to leave cookies around for a week in order to check that theory is torture.  They might last longer than a week, but I couldn’t hold out that long.  I used a food scale to weigh the ingredients where weights are given below, and it really does make a difference.  A cup of flour can vary widely in weight depending on a number of factors.  I’ve given approximate volume amounts as well, but I really do recommend weighing the ingredients to get a more consistent result.

the chewy chocolate chip cookie

“The Chewy” Chocolate Chip Cookie

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. (1 C. or 2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 12 oz. (2 1/4 C.) bread flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 oz. (1/4 C.) white sugar
  • 8 oz. (1 1/4 C.) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbs. milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 12 oz. (2 C.) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over low heat and set aside to cool slightly while completing the next few steps.

Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda together onto a paper plate (to make it easier to add to the mixer bowl) or a medium bowl.

Pour the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl if you’re mixing by hand).

Add the white and brown sugars and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla in a measuring cup.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the egg mixture.

Mix for 30 seconds, until completely combined.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Once all of the flour has been mixed in, turn the mixer down to “stir,” and add the chocolate chips (or stir them in by hand).

Mix until the chocolate chips are evenly mixed in (about 30 seconds), then cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees and place the oven racks in the top third and bottom third of the oven.

Scoop the dough into 1 1/2 oz. portions (I used my cookie dough scoop to do this) and place them onto parchment paper lined baking sheets, 6 cookies to a sheet.

Bake 2 sheets (12 cookies) at a time, rotating the pans halfway through baking, for 15 minutes total, until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and baked through.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven and carefully slide the parchment paper with the cookies on it onto a wire cooling rack.

Let the cookies cool for at least 5 minutes before eating.

Makes 24-36 cookies (depending on how you measure the dough for each cookie).

Source: Alton Brown, Good Eats: The Early Years

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Monster Munch

Did you know that the Super Bowl is this Sunday?  Oh, you did?  Good, because that spares me a lot of time carrying on about football when there’s monster cookie dough dip to discuss.  I admit, I’m most interested in the Super Bowl when the New York Giants are involved but that clearly didn’t happen this season.  I’m still going to a Super Bowl party where I’ll watch to see which commercial I like best team becomes the NFL champions for the 2012 season and have a good time with friends.  Snow is in the forecast, and I’m hoping it doesn’t cause us to change our plans.  Although, if we have to change our plans I suppose the upside is that we get to keep this cookie dough dip for ourselves.

This takes all of the things you love about monster cookies and with the help of some cream cheese, turns them into a fun dessert dip.  It’s like eating all of the dough without baking a single cookie, and there’s no raw egg so it’s worry-free.  Everything comes together in one bowl, so there’s very little clean up which makes this perfect if you’re entertaining.  If you’re going to be a guest at someone else’s event, it travels well and there won’t be any leftovers to haul home when the party’s over.  As far as what items to use as a vehicle for getting this deliciousness into your mouth, I recommend animal crackers, graham crackers, ‘Nilla wafers, pretzels, or even fruit.  Feel free to add more peanut butter if you want more peanut butter flavor; I found that one cup did the trick.  If you want a thicker consistency, add more powdered sugar (obviously you can use less and have a thinner dip).  I used one and a half cups and found that gave me the right balance between “not runny” and “so thick I’m breaking all of my crackers trying to scoop this.”

monster cookie dough dip

Monster Cookie Dough Dip

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 C. butter, softened
  • 1/2-1 C. peanut butter (use more or less depending on flavor preference)
  • 1-2 C. powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 C. oatmeal (or more if desired)
  • 1 12 oz. bag plain M&M’s
  • 1 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk the cream cheese, butter, and  peanut butter until smooth.

Add the powdered sugar, starting with 1 cup and mix until combined (add more powdered sugar as desired for a thicker dip).

Add the brown sugar, flour, and vanilla and mix to combine.

Check for flavor and add more peanut butter if desired, 1/4 cup at a time.

Add the oatmeal, M&M’s, and chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Serve with items for dipping as suggested above.  If you made the dip especially thick, you may wish to provide a knife so guests can spread the dip instead of using the dipping items as a scoop.

Makes about 2 cups.

Source: adapted from Something Swanky

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Peanut Butter is the Answer

After making these peanut butter cookies, I came to the very important conclusion that I don’t make peanut butter cookies often enough.  Peanut butter cookies are a pretty big deal for me, believe it or not.  When I bake, I try to time it so that the baked goods will leave the house soon or so that we’re expecting company and I can share baked goods with them.  That way, I don’t even have to consider eating three dozen peanut butter cookies over the course of a day or two.  Healthy eating isn’t just about moderation, it’s about not having peanut butter cookies staring at you from a plate in the kitchen all day.  Not many foods set off that reaction in me, but peanut butter is one food I could eat by the truck load.  When you add more sugar, then some flour, and some eggs to the peanut butter, that doesn’t make it any less appealing.  Potential feeding frenzy be damned, I made the peanut butter cookies.  We kept a few to enjoy here at home and the rest were wrapped up and sent off to friends and co-workers.

Over time, I’ve tried a lot of recipes for peanut butter cookies.  This one, from Dorie Greenspan, is by far my favorite.  Every time, I get a soft and chewy cookie.  I very finely chop the peanuts and think they make a nice addition texture-wise.  As far as peanut butter goes, crunchy or creamy work equally well.  I’ve had people who swear they don’t like chunky peanut butter devour these cookies, even with the additional chopped peanuts in them.

peanut butter cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 C. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 C. creamy  or crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 C. packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 C. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 C. very finely chopped salted peanuts (optional)
  • Extra 1/2 C. of sugar for rolling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line baking sheets with parchment or spray them with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and baking soda together.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), beat the butter on medium speed in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy.

Add the peanut butter and beat for another minute.

Add both of the sugars and beat for 3 minutes more.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition.

Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition as well to fully incorporate the sugar and eggs.

On low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they just disappears.

Mix in chopped peanuts if you are using them.

Pour the 1/2 cup of rolling sugar into a large shallow bowl.

Working with a level tablespoonful of dough for each cookie, roll the dough between your palms into balls and drop the balls, a couple at a time, into the sugar.

Roll the balls around in the sugar to coat them.

Place on the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between them.

If the dough is too sticky, cover it and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

To make the criss-crosses, use a fork and press down on top of the sugar crusted cookies.

Bake for 9-12 minutes (mine took closer to 9 minutes).

Finished cookies should be lightly colored and somewhat soft.

Makes about 40 cookies.

Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

 

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New Year’s Eve at Home

As 2012 comes to a close tonight, I’m looking forward to celebrating with friends at home tonight.  I’ve enjoyed New Year’s Eve a number of ways in the past- sometimes visiting friends, sometimes hosting parties at home, and sometimes hanging out on the couch eating Chinese food and waiting to see the ball drop on tv.  This year, we’re enjoying the evening at home with M and O, and a dear friend of mine and her two girls.  I won’t be making fancy things, or coming up with signature drinks.  Instead, we’ll have some kid-friendly snacks (snacks as a meal are a New Year’s Eve guilty pleasure tradition for me), maybe in our pajamas, and see which of the grown-ups is snoring first.

I had a good year here at Diana’s Dishes, and it seemed fitting to celebrate that as I look forward to a better one in 2013.  A lot of posts were competing for popularity on here, but these are the top ten as determined by my readers.

soft pretzel#10 Soft Pretzels

I made these for day 6 of my Summer Olympics feature, showing foods from countries that have hosted the Summer Games.  These soft pretzels, for Munich, are easier than they look and incredibly delicious.

cannoli cupcake

#9  Cannoli Cupcakes

What happens when the birthday girl loves cannolis and the baker can’t find her cannoli forms?  These cannoli cupcakes, which made a delicious dessert for M’s eighth birthday.

barbecue sauce

#8  Homemade Barbecue Sauce

I made a huge batch of this and put it in jars for both of my dads, and for Lane as a Father’s Day gift and it met with rave reviews. Definitely man-approved.

monster cookies (1280x856)

#7 One Bowl Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chcolate Chip M&M Cookies

We had absolutely no trouble working our way quickly through four dozen of these easy one-bowl cookies.

waffle

#6  Basic Belgian Waffles

Ditch the boxed mix and make fresh waffles.  These are amazing with fruit and whipped cream or butter and syrup.  Make a big batch and freeze them for another day!

arroz con pollo

#5 Cheater’s Arroz con Pollo

An amazingly easy chicken and rice dish, simplifying a classic.

fomushrooms

#4 French Onion Stuffed Mushrooms

There are hardly words for how delicious these are.  Oh, and if you were wondering how “Lane” got his nickname, this would be an entertaining post to read.

baconlayerbark

#3  Milk Chocolate Whisky Marshmallow Candied Bacon Bark

There are hardly words for how absolutely amazing this stuff is.  I made it for a New Year’s Eve party last year, and a year later, we’re still talking about it.

smores bars

#2  S’mores Bars

When I ask if I can bring anything to a party, the answer now is almost always “yes, those amazing s’mores bars.”  Every bit as delicious as traditional s’mores, but without the open flame and sticks.

honey ginger chicken wing

# 1  Honey Ginger Baked Chicken Wings

Great for a snack anytime, super for a party and easy on your waistline since they’re baked, not fried.  Isn’t the Super Bowl coming up?

While I completely enjoyed every one of the things in my top ten as determined by my readers, there were a few things that were my personal favorites that didn’t make the list.  I’d like to take a moment and give these ten recipes the love they deserve, in no particular order.

high heel cupcake 2

The high heel cupcakes I made for my birthday.  Time consuming? Yes.  Worth it? Absolutely.  We’re still talking about these!

cookiepuss

The homemade Cookie Puss ice cream cake replica I made for Lane’s birthday.  This was worth the effort, and I solved the mystery of how to make amazing ice cream cake cookie crunchies.

perry the platypus cake

The Perry the Platypus cake I made for O’s birthday.  Perry starts out as a pound cake!

fettucine alfredo

Fettucini Alfredo, for my grandmother’s 80th birthday.  It turned out to be her final birthday, and I’m glad I got a chance to make her one of her favorite dishes.

chickensandwich

The chicken sandwich that was so good, it changed my life.

bacon roses

Roses, made out of bacon.  I’m sure no further explanation is necessary.

blue moon cupcake

Blue Moon beer cupcakes to celebrate the blue moon we had in August.  Hope you made it count!

apple crumble pieApple crumble pie we made after apple picking.  It was the first project I took on with Chef M and Chef O, and I can still hear O declaring his love for the “apple peeler machine.”

cranberry apple sangriaCranberry Apple Sangria.  This delicious (and easy) beverage saved my sanity this holiday season.

cheesecake3Classic cheesecake.  I brought this for dessert the first time I met Lane’s family and it was enjoyed by all.

Looking through the twenty posts above has provided me with a great look back at 2012, and I can’t wait to share the excitement of 2013 with all of you.  Happy New Year!

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