Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Martha Stewart Living's Firework Cookies

My sister periodically sends me recipes or baking ideas from Bake at 350.  This post was taken from a recent post by Bake at 350

These cookies are really, really simple to make...all you need are a few tricks.  And toothpicks.  Lots and lots of toothpicks.

You will need:
  • circle-shaped cookies
  • royal icing tinted with AmeriColor Super Red, Bright White and Royal Blue (or Navy Blue)
  • disposable icing bag
  • coupler and #2 tip
  • squeeze bottles (3)
  • toothpicks
First, outline all of the cookies using a #2 tip.  Then, thin all 3 icings with water to the consistency of a thick syrup.  Let sit for several minutes covered with a damp dish towel.  Stir with a silicone spatula to pop any air bubbles that have risen to the surface and transfer to squeeze bottles.

Working 3 cookies at a time, fill in the circles with white icing; use a toothpick to guide to edges.

Starting with the first filled cookie, pipe the thinned red and blue icing in circles on top of the wet white icing.

If you want fireworks that burst straight out, like these...

Place your toothpick in the center of the cookie and drag to the outside.

Then, drag the toothpick from the outside to the center.  Continue alternating all around the cookie.

(For a "cleaner" look, wipe the toothpick off after every drag through the icing...wear your apron. ;).)

For a curvy, "pinwheel" fireworks effect, like these...

Drag the toothpick through the icing as described above, but curve the outward pull.

Want a swirly center, like this one?

Go all the way around the cookie with the toothpick.  When finished, make a small circle in the center with a toothpick.

Be sure to let the cookies dry uncovered for 6-8 hours or overnight before stacking or packaging.  

Aren't they fun?

Isn't Martha smart?

Let's start a petition to put cookies on EVERY cover, whaddya say?

{Psst...if you want to see a couple more examples of fireworks cookies (can there ever be too many?) head on over to see Lori's at Recipe Girl and Shaina's on Babble.}

Happy, happy Independence Day to all of you US folks.  If you don't live in the US...come visit us! We'll make you cookies!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Peanut Yogurt and Pretzels Trail Mix

Right now I am totally craving Target's Archer Farms Peanut Yogurt and Pretzel Trail Mix.  It is by far the best trail mix out there! I consider it my lucky LSAT snack. :)
Anyway I decided that spending $3.99 or so on a bag every week might be a little much so I concluded that the best solution to my problem was to make a big batch myself!

For the trail mix you will need:
  • 2 bags of salted peanuts
  • 1 bag of mini pretzels
  • Raisins to taste (optional)
  • 2 cups vanilla yogurt (recipe for one bag of pretzels)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (recipe for one bag of pretzels)
First preheat your oven to 250 degrees.  Then in a large bowl mix one cup of powdered sugar in at a time with the two cups of yogurt.  Once all five cups of powdered sugar are mixed in you are ready to dip! Prepare a drying rack on top of a cookie sheet for your pretzels and peanuts. Dip all your pretzels and one bag of peanuts in the yogurt coating and place on drying rack.  Then turn off your preheated oven and place them into the oven leaving the oven door slightly open.  Let cool for three to four hours.  The heat from the oven will help the yogurt dry without the pretzels and peanuts getting soggy.  Then combine the other bag of salted peanuts, raisins, and yogurt covered pretzels and peanuts. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

• 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 firmly packed brown sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons orange zest (for me that was the zest of 2 oranges)
• 2 cups white chocolate chips
• ** I might even add a little freshly squeezed orange juice for extra flavor**

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy.
4. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined.
5. Stir in orange zest and chips.
6. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies; it will make them dry.
7. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overcook! Cookies will be plump. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely.

Strawberry Milk Chipster Cookies

Strawberry Milk Chipsters

• 2 sticks softened butter
• 1/2 Cup strawberry milk Powder, Nestles
• 3/4 Cup brown sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1-2 drops red food coloring
• 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 10 oz bag White Chocolate Chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a stand or electric mixer beat the butter, strawberry milk and brown sugar until well combined.
3. Place eggs into a bowl and whisk in 1-2 drops of food coloring.
4. Pour into mixer along with vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds.
5. Place four, baking soda and salt into a large bowl; mix to combine then slowly add to wet ingredients along with white chips. Mix on low until just combined.
6. With a medium cookie scoop, scoop dough onto parchment lined baking sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. 7. Bake for 9-11 minute or until edges just start to brown. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Tuesday Waffle Night

The first official Tuesday Waffle Night was last night at 9629. It must be a Dillard thing, because everyone in our family LOVES Belgium Waffles. A few years ago my Dad stumbled across a fancy Belgium Waffle Iron at Sam’s Club now everyone Dillard household has one! My sister and I use our quite regularly (easy, cheap and delicious just like us); typically we use Krusteez instant dry mix. I figured we (I mean “I”) should step it up and make it from scratch. I love making things from scratch instead of a box; I know exactly what I’m putting in instead of thinking about all the preservatives that are put into the mix. Also, I can use wheat flour to make them healthier, along with skim milk, Stevia (or any other artificial sweetener) and 3 eggs whites. I’ve also heard that you can substitute vegetable oil for the same amount applesauce.

• 2 eggs (3 egg whites)
• 2 cups all-purpose flour (wheat flour)
• 1 ¾ cup milk (skim milk)
• ½ cup vegetable oil (applesauce, or I might just use water)
• 1 tbsp. sugar (artificial sweetener)
• 4 tsp. baking powder
• ¼ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. vanilla extract
• Cinnamon to taste (optional)

1. Combine all dry ingredients.
2. Whisk wet ingredients until mixture is slightly beaten.
3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture until smooth. (no lumps)
4. Spray waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. (this is a must!)
5. Add batter to the iron until completely covered with a light spread of batter. (My waffle iron came with a measuring cup, but I always end up adding a little more to make a perfect waffle)

• Any berry
• Bananas
• Maple syrup
• Powdered sugar
• Butter
• Whip cream
• Yogurt
• Or any combination

Sometimes I also like to make fruity crepes instead of waffles.
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 eggs
• ½ cup milk
• ½ water
• ¼ tsp. salt
• 2 tbsp. butter, melted
• Cinnamon to taste (optional)

1. Whisk together flour and eggs.
2. Gradually add in the milk and water. Stir to combine.
3. Add salt and butter; beat until smooth
4. In a lightly oiled (or well-coated in non-stick spray) fry pan on medium heat pour ¼ cup of batter onto the pan.
5. Tilt the pan in a circular motion until batter completely covers the bottom circle of the pan.
6. Cook for approximately two minutes or until lightly golden brown.
7. Loosen the crepe with a spatula; flip and cook the other side until lightly golden brown. Serve hot with above toppings.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pomegranate Salad

My family loves when my Mom makes her family's favorite Pomegranate Salad recipe.  Now our family seems to be divided on a few additions to the salad...the old people like to add walnuts and raisins (yuck), the kids like it without walnuts and raisins (I've trained my Mom to keep out and on the side) and my Dad loves it with CoolWhip instead of the heavy whipping cream.  I fall in the no walnuts and no raisins with CoolWhip group! 
For the salad you will need (for a serving of about four):
  • 2 cups of pomegranate seed (Costco sells them already separated)
  • 2 cups of chopped red apples
  • 1 cup of canned pineapple chunks, drained
  • about 2 sliced bananas
  • walnuts to taste (optional)
  • raisins to taste (optional)
For the heavy whipping cream topping:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of pineapple juice
Add all the chopped fruit into a large bowl.  In a separate bowl mix heavy whipping cream until almost stiff.  Add sugar and pineapple juice until cream holds peaks.  fold into fruit mixture a little at a time until it is completely covered, top with bananas, walnuts and/or raisins. 
If you like a lighter salad, try folding Light CoolWhip to the fruit mixture instead.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sarah's Buffalo Dip

My BFF Sarah gave me this recipe after attending a UFC fight party.  I have made this for several family occasions ever since! It is a definite crowd favorite. 

You will need:
  • (4) Boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • (1) 12 oz. bottle of Frank's Hot Sauce (ONLY use this brand)
  • (1) 16 oz. bottle of ranch dressing
  • (2) 8 oz. bricks of cream cheese
  • Celery
  • Cheese of your choice
  • Boil chicken and shred using two forks, once shredded place in 9x13 baking dish.
  • Add the Frank's Hot Sauce to the chicken and mix together to make sure it is evenly covered.
  • In a saucepan, on medium heat combine the ranch dressing and the two bricks of cream cheese.  Wait until completely melted then pour over chicken making your second layer.
  • Chop at least 1/2 cup of celery and sprinkle on top of ranch dressing/cream cheese layer.  (NOTE:  If you don't like cooked celery skip this step)
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
  • Take out of oven and add shredded cheese as the final layer. (Add to your liking)
  • Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes uncovered. 
  • Serve with sturdy tortilla chips or pita chips.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Martha Stewart's Coconut Cupcakes

Martha Stewart's Coconut Cupakes:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed sweetened shredded coconut (finely chopped in food processor)
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

(makes 21 Cupcakes)
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl then add finely chopped coconut.
2.  Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy.
3.  Add eggs 1 at a time.  Beat after each addition.
4.  Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with wet ingredients(vanilla and coconut milk) ending with dry.
5.  Scrape sides of bowl. Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
6.  Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.
Top with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.  Enjoy!

**Cupcakes will keep covered for up to 3 days**

Banana Crumb Muffins

Banana Crumb Muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
2.In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
3.In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
4.Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
**These go great with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

Buttercream Frosting

I have a hard time finding good buttercream frosting recipes.  I like it to be fairly light and fluffy-like me!
Here is my favorite so far

24 ServingsPrep/Total Time: 10 min.10 10 Ingredients

Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or other flavored extract, see below)
5 to 6 tablespoons 2% milk


In a large bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Yield: About 3 cups.

Easy Almond Buttercream Frosting: Prepare as directed above, use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon almond extract instead of the vanilla. Yield: about 3 cups.

Easy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: Prepare as directed above, except use 4 cups confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup baking cocoa and 6-7 tablespoons milk. Yield: about 3 cups.

Easy Lemon Buttercream Frosting: Prepare as directed above, except use 5-6 tablespoons lemon juice instead of the milk and 1 teaspoon grated peel. Yield: about 3 cups.

Easy Orange Buttercream Frosting: Prepare as directed above, except use 5-6 tablespoons orange juice instead of the milk and add 1 teaspoon grated orange peel. Yield: about 3 cups.

Easy Peanut Butter Frosting: Prepare as directed above, except use 1/2 cup peanut butter instead of the butter and use 6-8 tablespoons milk. Yield: about 3 cups.

Easy Peppermint Buttercream Frosting: Prepare as directed above, except use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract instead of the vanilla. Yield: about 3 cups.

Outback Steakhouse at Home

Molasses Rye Bread
1/2 cup warm water
3 packages dry yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup dark molasses
2 Tablespoons oil
2 cups rye flour
1 Tablespoon salt
2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water

1.  Place the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water.
2.  Add the sugar and stir. Let the mixture sit for approximately six minutes or until little bubbles
begin to appear.
3.  While you are waiting begin to make the bread mixture. First add the
water, molasses, oil, salt and rye flour in a large bowl. Mix until
4.  Next add the yeast and water and mix.
5.  Slowly mix in the all-purpose flour until the mixture is a smooth dough
which no longer sticks and is very pliable.
6.  Knead the dough for a few
minutes and then set it in a greased bowl. Let it sit until it doubles
in size.
7.  Punch the dough down and then shape it into two large rounds.
8.  Place the loaves on a greased cookie sheet which has been dusted with cornmeal – about two inches apart or evenly on the pan.
 9.  Let the outback bread dough rise again until it has doubled in size.
10.  Bake at 375 F. for roughly 30 minutes or until the bread makes a hollow type sound when you give it a light tap with your knuckles. For smaller loaves bake for 20 minutes.

One great thing about this particular Outback bread recipe is that the
bread freezes beautifully.  This recipe should yield roughly two large loaves or as many as six
smaller ones.

Outback Steakhouse Bloomin' Onion
4 Vidalia or Texas Sweet Onions

1/3 C. Cornstarch
1 1/2 C. Flour
2 tsp. Garlic -- minced
2 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
24 oz. Beer

Seasoned Flour:
2 C. Flour
4 tsp. Paprika
2 tsp. Garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper

Creamy Chili Sauce:
1 pint Mayonnaise
1 pint Sour cream
1/2 C. Chili sauce
1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper

1. Mix cornstarch, flour, and seasonings until well blended. Add beer, mix well.
2. Cut about 3/4" off top of onion and peel. Cut into onion 12 to 16 vertical wedges, but do not cut through bottom root end.
3. Remove about 1" of petals from center of onion.
4. Dip onion in seasoned flour and remove excess by shaking.
5. Separate petals and dip in batter to coat thoroughly.
6. Gently place in fryer basket and deep-fry at 375 to 400 for 1 1/2 minutes.
7. Turn over, and fry an additional 1 1/2 minutes.
8. Drain on paper towels.
9. Place onion upright in shallow bowl and remove center core with circular cutter or apple corer.
10. Serve hot with Creamy Chili Sauce.

Outback Steakhouse Alice Springs Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1/2 " thick
6 slices bacon, sliced in half
1/2 teaspoon McCormick's Season All
1 cup sliced mushrooms, drained
3 cups shredded colby or monterey jack cheese
honey mustard

1. Rub chicken breast with Seasonal All and set aside to marinate for
1 hour.
2. While the breast is marinating fry bacon crisp and drain.
3. Sauté chicken breasts on medium heat in pan with just enough oil to
prevent sticking.
4. Cook on both sides until a slight golden color and cooked in the
middle but not dry.
5. Remove from pan and place in a 9 x 13 dish.
6. Spread chicken breast with honey mustard, cover with a layer of
mushrooms, three pieces of bacon and then sprinkle with shredded
Colby/jack cheese, chicken should be covered with shredded cheese.
7. Bake at 350 degrees about 15 minutes or until cheese melts.
8. Sprinkle with parsley and extra honey mustard may be served on the

Outback Steakhouse-Style Steak 4 top sirloin steaks or rib eye steaks or filet steaks
8 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1. Mix together seasoning ingredients and rub into each side of steak.
2. Grill steaks on a large frying pan over medium-high heat; press down
on steak with spatula or tongs to sear the edges.

Lemon Cupcakes with Mint Frosting

Lemon Cupcakes
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 325° degrees.

2. Line cupcake pan with mini baking cups. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar
together until fluffy, about 4 minutes.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time until the mixture becomes creamy.

5. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt together.
Whisk to combine.

6. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk until completely

7. Add the lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. Mix batter for an
additional minute. Mixture should look light and fluffy.

8. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners and bake for 17 to 23
minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

9. VERY IMPORTANT to allow cupcakes to cool completely before

Mint Flavored Buttercream Frosting1/2 cup butter, softened
4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
½ to 3/4 teaspoons mint extract (If you want to change the frosting
flavor add desired favor of the same amount, if vanilla use 1 ½ tsp.)
5 to 6 tablespoons 2% milk

Garnish with fresh mint leaves. :)

Cafe Rio Style at Home

Cafe Rio Dressing
1 Original Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing packet (make per recipe)
2 tomatillos 
½ bunch of cilantro
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeño (Use the seeds too if you like it spicy. You could substitute a few drops of green Tabasco for the jalapeno.)

Use a food processor to blend all the ingredients well. Refrigerate.

Cafe Rio Chicken
1 small (8 oz.) bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin
3 cloves garlic-minced
5 lbs chicken breast

Cook all together in a Crockpot for 4 hours on medium heat, shred meat and cook 1 additional hour.

Cafe Rio Rice
4 c water
4 t chicken bouillon
4 t garlic -minced
½ bunch cilantro
1 can green chilies-or equivalent fresh
¾ t salt
1 T butter
½ onion
2 c rice

Blend cilantro, green chilies and onion together in food processor. Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients, simmer covered 30 minutes.

Cafe Rio Black Beans
1 can black beans
1/3 c tomato juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t cumin
2 T oil
1/2 t salt
2 T chopped cilantro

Heat oil, cumin, and garlic. Throw in the rest until warm.

Cafe Rio Chicken Tortilla Soup
1 recipe Cafe Rio Chicken (see above)
1 large onion, chopped  
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 cans chicken broth
15-oz. diced tomatoes
2 jalapeno peppers 
1/4 c fresh lime juice (3-4 limes)
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper

Tortilla chips
Sliced avocado or guacamole
Pico de gallo
Shredded cheese
Fresh cilantro

In a medium pan heat some olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and minced jalapeno and cook a few minutes more until pepper is softened and garlic is fragrant.

In a Crockpot add the chicken broth and canned tomatoes, once the onions are done add them to the Crockpot. 

Cook on high until warm, serve with Café Rio shredded chicken and the toppings next to the broth.  

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cinfull Cinnamon Rolls

Servings: 12-15 rolls

Prep Time: 1 hour 20 min

Cook Time: 30 min

1/4 ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/3 cup butter or shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 1/2 - 4 cups flour

1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for the pan
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins, walnuts, or pecans (optional)

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-6 tablespoons of hot water
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a large bowl mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and eggs. Add two cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes. Place in well-greased bowl and let rise until doubled, usually 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
When doubled, punch down dough. Roll out on flour surface into a 15x9 inch rectangle. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle with walnuts, pecans, or raisins if desired. Beginning at 15 inch side role up dough and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12-15 slices. Coat bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned.
Meanwhile, mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. Spread over slightly cooled rolls.