Monday, February 27, 2017

Sugar Cookies

 It's after school Cooking Camp at Nana's again!  Look at the pretty tea time tray for Cissy. 

 This is the pretty teacup that Cissy picked out for today.  It's one that my daughter (Cissy's mom) gave to me.  it goes with Cissy's shirt and the cookies!  Good choice, Cissy!

In this picture,  Cissy has outlined the cookie first and is now flooding the center with icing.  

  Cissy is doing more flooding and then decorating with sprinkles that she chose.  I said to her, "Cissy, you're doing so well.  You're my top student!"  Cissy replied, "Uh Nana, I'm you're only student!"  Oh, funny girl!

yield: About 3 dozenprint recipe

Sugar Cookies

This recipe always turns out great! It came from a local grocery store, and I hope you give it a try.


  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 t. vanilla (my addition)
  • Powdered sugar for rolling out the dough


To make the dough:
  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Place the butter and sugaar in large bowl of electric mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat to combine.
  3. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
To make the cookies:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle the surface where you will roll out the dough, with powdered sugar.
  3. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from the refrigerator at a time. Sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4" thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it isn't sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place a cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill.
  4. Cut into desired shapes, place at least 1" apart on greased cookie sheet, parchment covered baking sheets, or silicone baking mats. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time.
  5. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from the oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.
Easy Icing:
  1. Mix together: 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar,  1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond flavoring,  1 teaspoon light corn syrup,  2 and 1/2 tablespoons room temperature water,  pinch of salt.   If icing is too thick, add a little water. If too thin, add a little powdered sugar. Add gel or liquid food coloring. Use squeeze bottle for easy decorating, outlining your design first, and then flooding the center and spreading with a knife.
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Monday, February 20, 2017

Brownie Pudding

 Would you like to join me for one of my all-time favorite desserts?  We are having some Brownie Pudding and some Black Forest Cupcake tea that a sweet friend sent to me, who knows how much I love it! 

 This teacup, named Petit Rose,  came from Stephanie's teacup exchange a couple of times ago.  Isn't it a sweet design?  

 My friend, Bea, gifted me with this pretty teapot.  I love mixing and matching patterns.

yield: about 9 servings print recipe

Brownie Pudding

This recipe comes from my vintage Better Homes and Gardens Dessert Cookbook that I started using as a bride in the 1970's. I have to say that it is one of my all-time favorite desserts, and came about before chocolate molten or lava cakes were popular. This dessert is all about cozy comfort foods! I hope you try it.


  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4-1 cup chopped walnuts, optional
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 and 3/4 cups hot water


  1. Sift together the first five ingredients into a medium size bowl.
  2. Add milk, oil, and vanilla; mix smooth. Add nuts, if using. Pour into a greased 8x8x2" pan.
  3. Mix brown sugar and the 1/4 cup cocoa powder; sprinkle over batter.
  4. Pour hot water over entire batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. The sauce will be on the bottom and the brownie part will be on the top.  Let for for a bit before serving, as the sauce will thicken up some. 
  5. Scoop the brownie part and spoon the sauce over top into bowls. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream and enjoy!
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I recently started crocheting these cute bears from the book,  Magical Amigurumi Toys, which can be found on Amazon.  They're a fun project and make perfect gifts.

I am sharing this with these lovely parties:

Monday, February 13, 2017

Red Velvet Cupcakes for Valentine's Day

 Today, after school, Cissy finished decorating her red velvet cupcakes, which we had made the week before and then froze.  She had made little, free-hand chocolate decorations onto wax paper and I saved them for her to decorate.  She set the table and chose our teacups.

  This little baker get right to work.  She whipped up the frosting and then look at how great she is decorating the cupcakes!  She's standing on a chair to make it easier to get leverage.

 She sprinkled the tops and placed her chocolates on top.  Isn't she adorable and didn't she do a great job?

 Cissy chose this Strawberry Fair teacup by Johnson Brothers for her vanilla chai tea.


These little cute granddaughters came by and made some chocolate covered, sprinkled pretzels.  They also played lots of games to earn "Uncle Bucks" and then shopped in the "store" for prizes!  Yes, it was warm enough for shorts, tee-shirts and flip flops over the weekend. 

yield: 24 cupcakesprint recipe

Red Velvet Cupcakes

The cupcake recipe comes from the Williams-Sonoma American Girl Baking cookbook.


  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2-3 teaspoons red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Cream Cheese Frosting, found here


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the cocoa and the boiling water, then whisk in the buttermilk.
  3. In a large bowl, using and electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy and pale, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the food coloring, vanilla and salt and beat until combined. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Add half the flour and beat on low speed just until blended. Turn off the mixer. Add the remaining flour and mix until blended. Turn off the mixer one last time and scrape down the bowl.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together the baking soda and vinegar, then quickly stir the mixture into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  6. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups, filling about three-fourths full. Bake the cupcakes for about 18 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cupcake, comes out clean.
  7. Remove the pans from the oven and let the cupcakes cool in the pans, on wire racks, for 10 minutes, then transfer them to the racks to cool completely.
  8. Frost the cupcakes.  Cissy used my Wilton Dessert Decorator Plus.
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Monday, February 6, 2017

Strawberry Shortcake and Other Treats

 This sweet granddaughter spent two nights with me and we made lots of treats!  Cissy even set the table for a special Valentine Tea for the two of us.  Didn't she decorate the table so pretty?  The tea took place in my bedroom at the kids' card table.  For our tea, we made strawberry shortcakes from her cookbook that I gave her for Christmas, and I let her choose the recipe.

 We made heart-shaped pizza, which Cissy shaped with her own hands.  Can you tell which end is hers?  She only likes cheese pizza!

 Chocolate dipped pretzel rods were another fun treat to make.  We used a quart canning jar to heat the chocolate and then we tilted it on it's side to coat the pretzel rods.  A tall glass would work, too. We then coated the  chocolate with sprinkles before the chocolate set, and placed them on wax paper to harden.

 Just look at her bouquet of pretzel rods to take home!  We packaged them in pretzel rod wrappers that I had purchased several  years ago, in the candy section of either Michael's or JoAnn's.  Cissy's mom (my daughter) put the pretzel rods in a pretty pitcher as a Valentine decoration.

yield: 6print recipe

Strawberry Shortcake

This recipe is from the Williams-Sonoma American Girl Baking Cookbook. Cissy gave the recipe a 3-Star, as she wasn't all that fond of the shortcake part. I thought it was a 5-Star.  Cissy decorated her own shortcake so beautifully, don't you think?  She also chose this strawberry plate and cup set that my friend, Linda, gave me.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter cubes. Using a pastry blender, or two knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Pour in the cream and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together.
  3. Sprinkle a work surface with flour. Turn the dough out of the bowl and onto the floured surface and pat into a disk. Roll it out with a rolling pin, giving the disk a quarter turn now and then, into a round slab that's 1" thick. Pat the sides to make them neat. Use a 3" biscuit cutter (we used a pretty heart-shaped cookie cutter) to cut out the shortcakes. Gather the scraps, roll them out to make more shortcakes.
  4. Set the shaped dough on the prepared cookie sheet, evenly spacing them apart. Bake until the shortcakes are golden brown on top, 18-20 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool.
  5. Prepare the strawberries: Cut the stem and core from the strawberries, using as many as you think you will need. Cut the berries into wedges and put them into a bowl. Sprinkle the berries with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar (the amount varies depending on how sweet the berries are. Let the berries stand for 10 minutes.
  6. Whipped Cream: 1 cup heavy cream 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla on low speed until the cream begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Raise the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the cream forms peaks when the beaters are lifted, about 3 minutes.
  7. Split the shortcakes in half horizontally. Place the shortcake bottom, cut side up, and spoon on some of the strawberries and a big dollop of whipped cream (we actually used aerosol whipped cream because Cissy loves it!). Place the top of the shortcake on and add more strawberries and whipped cream.
  8. We garnished our shortcakes with some powdered sugar that we tapped from a fine mesh sieve.
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