Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cookies, cookies, and more cookies...

I am not a cookie hater...but I am not a cookie lover.  I am an In-Between Cookie-Liker.  (New word of the day:  In-Between-Cookie-Liker...I like that!)  Don't get me wrong, I do make a mean chocolate chip cookie and I think any flavor combination you think of can be put into a cookie.  It is just like a cupcake...ideas are endless.  So, today I set out to make Chocolate Chip cookies for my kids as well as the kids in the neighborhood.  I always make cookies for the first day of school...a tradition in my today, for the last day of school before winter break...I made cookies.
Everyone has there go to recipe for their chocolate chip cookies as do I.  But as long as anyone can remember, I have yet to share my recipe.  I have perfected my recipe and am very proud of this recipe.  But, unfortunately, I will not share it today.  What I will share is tips on making cookies and common mistakes novice bakers make when baking cookies.  So, you may not get my recipe, but you will have the tips and know-how to create your own chocolate chip cookies.

Cookie Tips/Tricks:
1.  Please make sure the butter is a to room temperature.  Butter does not cream very well with your sugar if it is straight out of the refrigerator.  If the butter is too soft, you get one flat cookie.

2. Measure your flour out properly and no "eye-balling".  Too much flour causes cookies to be hard and unable to spread when baking.  Too little flour  causes cookies to be flat.

3.  Allow your cookie sheet to cool or have multiple cookie sheets available to use between batches.  Cookies come out flat because the dough is place on a hot cookie sheet.  The butter in the cookies melts and cause flat cookies.

4.  Remember, if you use self-rising flour, you must omit the baking soda and salt.  I prefer not to use self-rising flour so I can control the salt content.

5.  I always allow my cookies to rest on the baking sheet after coming out the oven for 1 minute, then I transfer them to a wire rack to cool and get slightly crispy.

6.  My last secret to a good chocolate chip cookies is to use a combination of semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips.  To me, this helps balance out the sweetness of the cookie and make it just right.

So, my advice for making a good cookie, such as chocolate chip cookies, is to start with a recipe and make it your own.  Add ingredients, omit ingredients, substitute an ingredient...and when you are all will have you very own secret recipe like mine!

Moral:  Remember, you shouldn't tell secrets, but secrets should never be told!

My Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe will forever stay with me and in the bellies of all who eat them... 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Breakfast

I have talked about crafty ideas, making ornaments as well as sock cupcakes.  I have even talked about kitchen gadgets and their "other uses".  With all this Christmas shopping and planning, I think we forgot to eat???  Let's talk about Christmas morning and breakfast.  Breakfast is my family's favorite meal.  We don't go a day without breakfast in this house.  I wake up early, do my Yoga routine, then hit the kitchen to make breakfast.  But on Christmas, I am not staying in the kitchen all day long.  I want to enjoy the fun/excitement of Christmas morning and the kids opening up their presents too.  Here are some suggestions for quick breakfast on Christmas morning:

1.  Baked French Toast Casserole:  (courtesy of Paula Deen)

   This recipe is something you can make the night before and put in the oven Christmas morning while everyone is unwrapping their presents.  This time-saver will allow for you to enjoy the morning with your family.  I add some vanilla to this recipe to give it some added flavor.  You can even add cardamon which take this casserole to a whole new level.

2.  Doughnuts:

This recipe is courtesy of me.  My kids absolutely love these little treats.  I buy the small buttermilk biscuits that have 10 biscuits in it.  I cut the middle out of it each one before submerging them in hot peanut oil.  You have to watch them closely since they cook fast...only takes about 15-20 seconds or less for each don't walk away.  You can use a fork to flip them and when finished, place on a wire rack to drain/cool.  My family likes cinnamon sugar doughnuts, so after the doughnuts have cooled some, I shake them in a bag of cinnamon/sugar/cardamon.  I also make different dipping sauces to accompany the doughnut. If you want to get fancy, you can dip the tops in chocolate or vanilla icing and top with sprinkles or even peanuts.  The ideas are endless!

3.  Casseroles:

Breakfast casseroles such as the baked french toast casserole is probably the easiest thing to prepare for your holiday brunch.  If you want something with some more protein in it, try this Country Breakfast Casserole courtesy of  You can make the sausage the night before and prepare this dish quickly so you don't miss out on all the holiday fun.
  Country Breakfast Casserole. Photo by Pam-I-Am

You can serve these yummy breakfast ideas with some fruit and don't forget to set your coffee maker so your coffee will hot and ready to enjoy!  

Moral:  Who says the kids have to have all the fun on Christmas morning!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sock Cupcakes

Happy Holidays!
Today, Santa's Little Helper, me, was determined to wrap the kids Christmas presents before they got out of school this week for Winter break.  So, I started with the small stuff...socks!  My girls love socks so I bought a bunch of them. was I going to wrap them?  How else does a fellow baker wrap her Xmas presents let alone a Cupcake Lover...just like Cupcakes of course!  I got out some cupcake boxes I had and commenced to make me some Sock Cupcakes...they baked to perfection!

Check out how to make these here.

Moral:  When someone gives you socks....make Cupcakes!