Friday, February 14, 2014

Old Fashioned Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

These old fashioned sour cream sugar cookies were another Valentine's Day project in our home... :) Again, Anna was the one who made them all! She is becoming the sugar cookie expert! The recipe yielded about 10 dz cookies (I guess our cookie cutter wasn't that large but still, it was a TON of cookies, so if you do not need that many, I would suggest cutting the recipe in half). She rolled them nice and thin and they looked all so uniform and pretty once they were done, I was really proud of her. The decorating, of course, was even more fun! All the kids really enjoyed it and made some unique cookies (as you can see on the pictures here :)). My favorite is the marble effect, so I stuck with it, while they had a ball with the sprinkles. :)

Now, we have plenty of cookies for all our loved ones- friends, neighbors, classmates... :) On to delivering!

2 cups white granulated sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp baking soda
6 cups all-purpose flour (or 1/2 cup to 1 cup more)

Using a stand mixer, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Finally, beat in the eggs and baking soda. Mix in 2 cups of the flour and then slowly add more flour until the dough can be handled.

Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a least an hour. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll dough to about 1/4” thickness. Keep dough in the refrigerator while working with small batches of it at a time as it gets warm quickly (especially if your house is warm) and may get sticky. Make sure you work on floured surface to avoid sticking. Cut with cookie cutter and bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. The cookies will stay the same color during cooking. Don’t let wait for them to start getting brown. Cool completely before decorating. For these, we used a simple frosting made of powdered sugar and water only.

Makes 6-8 dozen depending on the size of the cookie cutter.

Recipe courtesy: Sabby in suburbial 

L. O. V. E. Lemon Sugar Cookies :)

Happy Valentine's Day! Be loved, be blessed, be happy!

Anna and I have been super busy baking these days. In fact, Anna was the one who did all the mixing, rolling and cutting while I manned the oven and then helped with the decorating. It all has been a work of loooove... :)

First, Anna made a batch of these cookies for her talent show at church on Wednesday night. She didn't win a trophy from the judges, but she certainly won a lot of compliments on how delicious and pretty her cookies were. She also won my admiration, as she is definitely turning into an awesome baker! She single-handedly rolled and cut out ALL these cookies without ANY of my help! And they looked uniform in size and thickness which resulted in beautifully baked sugar cookie hearts! She chose red and pink for the icing and made it all by herself too! Don't they look fabulous?

She also made a batch of these cookies to share with her class yesterday but...... school was closed because of bad weather- again!- and she was quite bummed after all the work she put into them...

Then, she made a HUGE batch of old fashioned sour cream sugar cookies for her sister, Lizzie, to take to her school today. (I will blog about these cookies in a separate post- stay tuned!) The recipe produced more than 100 cookies!!! Again, she made the dough, and then rolled and cut ALL the cookies on her own. She was pretty tired by the end- I was actually surprised she managed to do it all but she didn't give up! All of this, only to find out a couple of hours later that Lizzie's school was cancelled for the day too!!! The good news is that the shelf life of sugar cookies is pretty long, so I am hoping that they will still taste fine by next week for a belated Valentine's Day party in school. I will have to look into freezing them too as another possibility. :)

But, without further ado, here is the Lemon Sugar Cookies we made and the icing that we used for their decoration...

Lemon Sugar Cookies:

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, cold & cut into chunks
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
lemon zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg, vanilla extract, lemon juice and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.

The dough will be crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.

Roll on a floured surface to about 1/4" thick and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets. (You may want to freeze the cut out cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before baking- they will hold their shape better). Bake for 10 minutes. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack. Ice with your favorite icing. Since I am not too crazy about the taste of royal icing, I used the following recipe to which I added some lemon juice to carry out the lemon theme, but only vanilla extract would be fine too.

Lemon Frosting:

  • 2-2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3-4 Tbsp milk
  • Coloring, if desired

Mix all ingredients well and add a little more milk or powdered sugar to get the right consistency for spreading and/or piping.Have fun decorating!

Recipe for cookies adapted from: bakeat350
Recipe for frosting adapted from: melskitchencafe

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine's Day Pizza for Daddy!

For those of you who have been following my blog on a regular basis, it will come as no surprise that my 9-year-old daughter, Anna is a great baker and an all around proficient cook. So, when the other night we decided to have family pizza night and make our own pizza from scratch, she was on-board 100%! Each of the kids had a chance to make their own pizza and Anna's was spot-on for Valentine's Day! First, she decided to stuff the crust with cheese by crimping the edges after lining them with mozzarella cheese. Then, she came up with the idea of shaping the pizza as a heart and executed it all on her own! I was duly impressed by the perfect heart shape she achieved without any help! Then, she proceeded in the usual way by topping the pizza with tomato and herb sauce, mozzarella, basil and in her case half the pizza with onions and the other half- with garlic: Daddy's two favorite toppings, as it was, after all a pizza for the man who has her heart- her very own Papa!

Here is the recipe we used to make our pizza dough. It is excellent and comes out just right every time we make it!

Perfect Pizza Dough

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for oiling the bowl


Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room-temperature water and oil and stir to combine.
Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed. Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms. Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for about 1 1/2- 2 hours, or until doubled in size. 
When ready to make your pizza, place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a chef’s knife or dough scraper to divide the dough into three or four pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball and cover it with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.
Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping the others covered, shape the dough, then transfer it to a pizza peel that has been covered with parchment paper and lightly dusted with semolina or cornmeal. Top pizza as desired. Slide the dough onto the heated stone together with the parchment paper- it makes this step a breeze! Bake until the crust edges lightly brown, 8 to 12 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Here is my little chef with her finished heart-shaped stuffed-crust Valentine's day pizza for Daddy- so happy and proud! :) The pizza was deeelicious! And Daddy was smitten!

Recipe for the pizza crust originally from: Annie's eats

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

This is a recipe that my 9-year-old daughter, Anna, found in a cookbook she got for Christmas and decided she wanted to make. She pulled it off all on her own and even changed up the recipe a little bit with the addition of chocolate chips. It was a cold, snowy day outside, but we were warm and cozy inside, enjoying the wonderful smells of Anna's baking and its delicious results. Everybody at home gave these peanut butter chocolate chip bars  a hearty thumbs up!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with butter, then line it with parchment paper, letting it hang over two sides.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt until well blended. Set aside.

In the bowl of your standing electric mixer, beat together at medium speed the butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter until creamy, about 3 minutes.

Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat well.

Add the flour-oat mixture and mix on low speed just until blended.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the chocolate chips. Stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula just to incorporate.

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread it evenly. Bake at 350F for about 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden and looks firm.

Let cool on a wire rack. When cooled completely, lift from the pan and cut into bars. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: "Sweet Treats: 25 delicious recipes that kids can cook" published by Williams-Sonoma

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter No-Bake Candy Bars :)

Long name for these bars, but they are so incredibly easy to put together, your kids can make them! In our case, my 9-year-old daughter was having a playdate with a friend and asked if they could bake something together. There wasn't enough time for them to bake, but I found this recipe through Pinterest and thought it may do the trick- it was super simple and as sweets go, quite healthy. The added bonus was: the bars turned out super yummy too! :) Everybody super happy!

1 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips (dark, milk, white chocolate- whatever you prefer)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup roughly chopped peanuts (optional) 


Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper.

In a medium size saucepan, over medium heat, melt together peanut butter, honey and coconut oil, while stirring occasionally.

Once you have a hot, homogenous mixture, remove from heat and add oats, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and peanuts. Stir until combined and chocolate chips are melted.

Spread evenly into the prepared 9x13 pan. Refrigerate until hardened, about an hour. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from:  newnostalgia

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