Archives for posts with tag: deserts

What is it about the smell of homemade cookies that can make all of your current bothers melt away? And chai gelato, but that is a whole other post.


Growing up, my sisters and I were fortunate that we generally had homemade cookies around the house. Mom’s favorite was the original toll house recipe, made with a mix of chocolate and butterscotch chips. As I got older, baking cookies was about the only cooking task I was allowed to do short of Hamburger Helper – I guess Mom was willing to tolerate the mess in her kitchen for a taste of those cookies.

Now that I’m older (but still make a ridiculous mess baking in my own kitchen), I don’t bake cookies nearly as often because it’s just DH and I at home. I was finally able to spend some time at home this weekend, and my therapy of choice were these cookies. I usually make them at Christmas, but for some odd reason I was craving oatmeal cookies, and I tend to think oatmeal cookies taste best when stuffed with something (with the exception of raisins, which I only eat in the situations when I am duped into thinking they are a chocolate chip cookie).

Try these….they are super quick to make and are awesome!

Cranberry, White Chocolate, and Oatmeal cookies
Adapted from Cooking Light
Makes two dozen cookies

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup flour
1 cup regular oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped cranberries
2 oz white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and brown sugar together in the mixer. Add vanilla and egg until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add slowly to the wet ingredients, mix until combined. Stir in cranberries and chocolate by hand.

Spray cookies sheets with cooking spray. Drop dough by tablespoons. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool briefly on sheet, then move to a wire rack.





I'm shameless....these were also an auction item to raise money for United Way

October is my favorite month in St. Louis. It’s always lovely- not a lot of rain and the weekends are still warm enough for trips to the wineries or apple orchards. But the best of the Octobers are the ones when the Cardinals are in the playoffs. I have trouble keeping up during the regular season, but I love the postseason.

During the series with the Phillies, we all learned that we have a furry fan – the rally squirrel! So now St. Louis is squirrel crazy (although not nearly as crazy as the Friskies’ commercial with Puss in Boots – yikes!)

As a transplanted St. Louisan, I jumped on the rally squirrel bandwagon once I realized Kitchen Conservatory had squirrel and cardinal cookie cutters. So rally squirrel cookies are in order!

Gingerbread Cookies adapted from Simply Recipes

3 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

Mix butter and sugar in mixer until beaten. Add egg and molasses until combined.

In separate bowl, combine flour, soda, and spices. Gradually stir into liquid ingredients until combined.

Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Using some extra flour, roll out on a cutting board until 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies and place on cooking sheet lined with a silpat. Bake at 350 for 8 – 10 minutes or until a little crisp. Let cool on wire rack.

To make royal icing:
2 tsp meringue powder
4 cups powdered sugar
5 – 6 tbsp water

Slowly mix together sugar, water, and meringue powder. When combined, increase speed on mixer and beat for 8 – 10 minutes or until shiny. Separate icing into Tupperware to color using selected gel colors. Thin out with a little water until icing can be piped. If filling cookies, add more water to further thin remaining frosting. Pipe edges of cookies, then fill. Let dry about 30 minutes, then you can pipe decos.

The squirrels didn’t use much frosting, but the filled sugar cookies will use a lot. Recipe made 36 squirrels.

Go Cards!!!

Each year, my office holds a back sale to raise money for United Way.  And each year, there is a bidding war over the chocolate cakes.




Now, I appreciate a chocolate dessert as much as anyone, but there are SO many desserts better than chocolate cake.  And I set out to prove it.  With a Pumpkin Cake with Butterscotch filling. Which turned into a classic example of biting off more than I could chew.

First, this cake called for 5 stick of butter.  2 in the cake, 1 in the butterscotch filling, and the other 2 for a brown sugar buttercream.  But, it’s better with butter, right?

Yes, I know, 4 1/2 sticks. And of course, I realized that I need more halfway through the darn cake!



  When you are forced to bake after the hour of 9 pm, you learn that a cake is a two-night ordeal.  And the first night is always deceptively simple, as all you need to do is bake the cake!  


So far, so good. Little did I know...

So, the first night, I go to bed happy.  Cake is baked, house smells like pumpkin, and I’m a happy camper. 

 Until the next night.  When I don’t get home until 9:30 from work, and I have a butterscotch filing and a brown sugar buttercream to make.  And cold Thai take-out for dinner (is this a theme!?!)

 So I make the butterscoth filing, which first starts by boiling sugar, then adding warm cream. all while whisking your freakin’ arm off to keep the sugar from cooling and forming a ball (which, of course, it did).  Thus, leading me to put it back on the heat to warm it ever so gently so that the sugar dissolved once more.  But, it turned out…


There's one stick of butter down

Then came the buttercream.  And it involved making a caramel sauce, which I think had to beat to holy heaven prior to adding the last 2 sticks of butter (my arteries are starting to clog up just think about it!).  And supposedly, whipping the caramel sauce, heavy cream, and butter was supposed to make a night buttercream that I could pipe onto the cake.


Even after sticking the stuff in my deep freeze, the frosting never quite set up.  Forget about piping rosettes.  I was just happy to get the darn stuff on the cake!

The results?  Brought it into work, where it proceeded to melt.  AND, only brought in a tiny fraction of the money that the chocolate went for. 

Melted brown sugar buttercream. Next year I'll just stick with the chocolate!


The cake was delicious, BTW.   I’m just an artist ahead of my time (who needs to learn to master buttercream).