Confetti Sugar Cookies

Confetti Sugar Cookies

I was scrolling through pins on Pinterest and a photo from Deliciously Sprinkled caught my eye.  While the Funfetti cake looked absolutely delicious, I was really drawn to the color of the sprinkles she used. The colors were just so vibrant, with every color of the rainbow.  Most importantly, they don’t have any brown sprinkles which I don’t like the look or taste of.  In the post, Jenn said she bought them in bulk from Nuts.com. I haven’t heard of Nuts.com before, but I certainly had to check out these sprinkles.  Not only are they beautiful in color but they are only $2.99/pound!  I also like that these jimmies have more of a crunchy texture rather than a waxy texture like other sprinkles. I know they are only sprinkles and it’s probably silly how I talk about them like I am in love or something. But, I can’t help but get excited about new baking product finds and I had to share. I immediately ordered 2 pounds of the rainbow jimmies, a pound of nonpareils, a bunch of dried fruit and nuts. My kids especially loved the dried strawberries, dried berry mix and dark chocolate covered almonds.  There are so many things I still need to try.

So, now that I had 2 pounds of rainbow jimmies, I had to find something to make with them. I really didn’t feel like making cake or cupcakes. Instead, I decided to make these confetti cookies and they were exactly what I was looking for.  I like that there aren’t many ingredients; it’s all stuff you probably have on hand. The dough comes together easily and quickly and in no time, you have about 3 dozen delicious buttery sugar cookies. The texture of these cookies is really soft, which is a nice contrast to the sugar crust on the outside.  Sadly (embarrassingly?), we tore through all these cookies in only 2 days. And in 2 weeks, I went through a whole pound of rainbow jimmies between these confetti cookies and another super delicious frosted sugar cookie recipe that I hope to share soon.

Confetti Sugar Cookies

Yield: ~36 cookies (I got 34)

1 1/3 cup butter @ room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract   I used vanilla bean paste

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sprinkles   Jimmies don’t bleed like nonpareils (the beads)

granulated sugar for the top of the cookies   (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat

In the bowl of your KitchenAid mixer, beat together the softened butter and sugar with the paddle attachment. Continue to beat until light and fluffy ~ 3 minutes.

Beat in the 2 eggs and vanilla until completely combined.

In a small bowl, with a whisk, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mixing until combined and the dough comes together.

Gently fold in the sprinkles with a spatula to prevent the colors from bleeding.

With a cookie scoop, drop balls of dough on the prepared baking sheet, about 1-inch apart.

Optional step: Place about a 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in a small bowl. Roll just the top of each dough ball into the sugar  (this makes them sparkle and gives them a sweet crust)

Bake for ~11 minutes or until edges are just starting to turn golden. (Turn the cookie tray around at about 6 min). The tops will look just slightly underdone.

Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Source:  Buns In My Oven adapted from allrecipes.com

Note: I don’t have any affiliation with Nuts.com, nor was I paid at all for this post. I just really like their products and wanted to share.

What’s Baking Red Velvet Round-Up

February was my month to host our What’s Baking blog group. I chose red velvet as the theme because it only seemed fitting with Valentine’s Day.  And, I realized, I haven’t baked anything red velvet and it’s about time I did. I just love the contrast of the bright white cream cheese frosting to the red velvet base- whether it be cake, cookies, brownies or whatever.  And, the chocolate flavor is so mild, even my husband can enjoy it and he did indeed.

Whats Baking Badge

My good friend Eva, of Eva Bakes, made these amazing looking red velvet marble brownies.  I almost made brownies too, but at the last-minute went with cookies instead. These look so crazy delicious that I had to put them to the top of my baking to do list.

Red velvet cheesecake brownies by Eva Bakes

Alison, of Sparks from the Kitchen, made red velvet cookie bars with vanilla bean frosting.  Butter cream frosting is always made better by the addition of real vanilla bean and these look delicious. I have never made the red velvet version, but frosted sugar cookie bars are one of my favorite things to bake. Why?  Because they have the taste of soft frosted sugar cookie with much less work and my family absolutely loves them. My husband has been known to eat most of the pan himself.

Red Velvet Cookie Bars - Sparks from the Kitchen

Nicole, of Seven Ate Nine (can’t help but love this blog name), made Red Velvet Cake Batter Squares.  She had these bars at her rehearsal dinner at The Blue Willow Inn almost 5 years ago and was able to recreate them from the inn’s cookbook. I love how food can bring you back to a day and you can almost relieve that memory as you eat it.  And, I also love that these bars have just 5 ingredients.  I mean really, it can’t get any easier than that!

Red Velvet Cake Batter Squares- Seven Eight Nine

Ange, of The Tiny Tyrant’s Kitchen, made red velvet chocolate chip cookies.  Chocolate chip cookies have always been my favorite dessert to eat. I have never had red velvet chocolate chip cookies before but I’m thinking that should change.  Ange had the same problem I did.  Our red velvet wasn’t as red as we would have liked because of the brown color of the cocoa. But, never mind that because these look delicious.

Red velvet chocolate chip cookies- The Tiny Tyrant's Kitchen

Carrie, from Carrie’s Sweet Life, made a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting for her grandmother’s birthday. Until now, Carrie had the same problem I do, and that is finding a homemade cake that she likes. I have found homemade cake to be too dense or too dry. This is the cake that changed all that for Carrie… as it was moist, the frosting wasn’t too sweet..in other words perfection.  I’ll have to give it a try. I have been meaning to make a layer cake so I can use the beautiful and incredibly thoughtful engraved cake server set my husband gave me for reaching a million views in November.  Awww…

Red Velvet Cake from Carrie's Sweet life

And, I made soft red velvet sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting.  In this house, we love soft, frosted sugar cookies.  So, I thought a red velvet version would be just perfect. And, I was so right. These cookies were amazing. They were really soft, with a hint of cocoa, and the most delicious cream cheese frosting.  Honestly, there aren’t too many recipes I make more than once because there are just so many I want to try.  But, I see more of these cookies in my future. So delicious and pretty too.

Soft red velvet sugar cookies with crea cheese frosting

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard Pops

One of Jack’s and Sammie’s favorite places to have lunch is at Culver’s.  They like the fries and the chicken fingers alright, but they are really there for the free frozen custard that comes with a kid’s meal.  I can’t blame them. It really is delicious.  Because of all the extra egg yolks, frozen custard tastes so much more rich and flavorful than regular ice cream.  Though, you know I would never turn down ice cream. 😀

I was so excited when I found this recipe for frozen custard in a popsicle form.  Brilliant!  I love the addition of vanilla bean not only for flavor, but also for the visual.  I mean, who doesn’t love those little black vanilla bean specks?  When my husband tried them, he said they reminded him of the vanilla pudding pops we went crazy for as kids.  You remember, Bill Cosby?  Justin wondered how many there were because he was seriously going to eat them all.  Tonight.  Sorry, but the recipe only made 7 and we ate 3 before you came home from work.  No worries though. I’ll make more.

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard Pops

Yield: 10 pops (I got 7)

2 cups (16 fl oz/500ml) whole milk, divided 

1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

1 large egg plus 3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup (6oz/185g) sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise

In a heavy saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups milk and the cornstarch.  Bring to a boil over med-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, ~ 7 to 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together the last 1/2 cup of milk, the whole egg and the yolks, sugar and salt.  Using a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean halves into the bowl and then add the halves.  Stirring constantly, add the egg mixture to the thickened milk mixture.  Cook, whisking constantly, over med-high heat until the mixture returns to a boil.  Remove from heat.

Pour the custard through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, then cool over an ice bath.

If using conventional ice pop molds, divide the mixture among the molds.  Cover and freeze until solid, at least 6 hours and up to 3 days.  If using sticks, insert them into the molds when they are part frozen, about 1 hour.  Then continue to freeze until solid, about 5 more hours.

Source:  Ice Pops: Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

If I had to pin down a recipe that I am known for, my signature recipe, it would have be one-step pound cake.  And, before me, it was my mom’s signature recipe.  I just kind of took it over. 😀  Mostly, because my husband’s family is so crazy about it.  I just love the ease of dumping everything into the bowl, mixing and baking a delicious pound cake.  So, why even mess with it as my husband would say?  Well, because I am always on the lookout for something better.  There is only one recipe that I love so much that I can’t see making any other way, and that is the Baked brownie  (please excuse the picture, it was one of my 1st posts :D).  Sure, I’ll make different flavor brownie recipes but as for a plain brownie, the search is over. Perfection I tell you.  Mmmm. Sorry, I digress.  Back to poundcake.

I had a giant stack of Cook’s Country magazines and I decided to go through them and write down what I would like to make in each one.  Man, that is a lot of recipes.  A bit overwhelming, but I decided to dive in right away with this cream cheese pound cake.  Because it is one of my favorite desserts, I have eaten more than my share of pound cake.  But I don’t think I have have ever had one with cream cheese.  While this recipe certainly isn’t one bowl, three bowls actually, it is worth the extra effort.  And really, it isn’t that much extra work, just more dishes.  In the end, you get a buttery, velvet textured pound cake with a tight crumb and a pleasant tang from the cream cheese.  To me, the flavor is very reminiscent of cheesecake.  Pound cake that tastes like cheesecake?  That can only be a good thing.  In fact, it was so good that Sammie had to create a new high to our rating scale.  Instead of a sky high thumbs up, it got all ten fingers sky high.  Now that my friends, is a good pound cake.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Yield: 1 bundt cake

3 Cups (12 oz) cake flour
1 Teaspoon salt
4 large eggs plus 2 large yolks, room temperature
1/4 Cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 Cups (21 oz) sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter , softened
6 oz cream cheese, softened

Adjust the oven rack to middle position and preheat your oven to 300F.  Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan.  Combine flour and salt in a bowl.  Whisk eggs, yolks, milk and vanilla in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat sugar, butter, and cream cheese on medium high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low and very slowly add the egg mixture until incorporated (batter may look a bit curdled).  Add flour mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Give the batter a final stir by hand.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and gently tap it on the counter to release any air bubbles.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 80 to 90 minutes.  Rotate the pan halfway in the baking time.  Cool the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes only.  Longer than 15 minutes, and it may be hard to remove from the pan.  Remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely, about 2 hours.  The cake can be wrapped with plastic and held at room temperature for 3 days.

I like to serve with sweetened strawberries and whipped cream.

Source:  Cook’s Country April/May 2012

Downtown Bakery and Creamery Donut Muffins: 4 New Flavors

I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl when it comes to menu planning.  So, early Sunday morning, I decided I need to quickly think of a special breakfast to make my family for Easter.  I thought the donut muffins from Downtown Bakery and Creamery would be a great choice.  But then I remembered that my daughter, Sammie, didn’t like the cinnamon sugar very much.  What’s not to like about cinnamon sugar?  I can’t say I get it, but I know she loves chocolate like me.  So, I decided to make some with chocolate glaze.  Then as long as I was making chocolate glaze, I might as well make vanilla glaze for my husband too.  Oh, but wait, how about vanilla bean sugar?  And regular powdered sugar?  So, very quickly plain cinnamon sugar donut muffins spiraled into 5 different flavors.  All the toppings are easy to do, but it does end up dirtying a bunch of dishes.  I always have cinnamon sugar, vanilla sugar and powdered sugar on hand, so those were ready to go.  Then, I was able to make the two glazes while the muffins baked.  So, while it seems like a lot of work to make all those toppings, it really wasn’t.  Jack and Sammie both said “Wow!” when they saw all the flavors (especially the sprinkles!) and they each inhaled 4 muffins.  Well, Sammie ate the tops off of 4 muffins.  😀 What better way to start off Easter than with a super delicious breakfast, followed by searching for baskets, hunting for eggs and spending the day with the people I love more than anything?  For me, it doesn’t get much better than that!

Downtown Bakery and Creamery Donut muffins 5 ways:

Donut muffin recipe:

  • Again I made half of the original recipe and baked them in a mini muffin pan.  This time I got 36 muffins and I baked them for 15 to 18 minutes.

5 Toppings:

Cinnamon Sugar: (the original)

Cinnamon Sugar

melted butter- 2 sticks for original recipe, 1 stick for half a recipe (1/2 stick if you are doing multiple flavors)

Brush the warm muffins with melted butter and roll in cinnamon sugar.

Vanilla Bean Sugar:

Vanilla bean sugar

melted butter- 2 sticks for original recipe, 1 stick for half recipe (1/2 stick if you are doing multiple flavors)

Brush the warm muffins with melted butter and roll in vanilla bean sugar.

Powdered Sugar:

about 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl

Roll warm muffins in powdered sugar

Chocolate glaze:  (This is the original recipe, I made half and still had lots left over.)

5 Tbs. unsalted butter

4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup hot water

sprinkles optional

Fill the bottom pan of a double boiler with 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In the top pan of the double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate chips. I melted the chocolate and butter in the microwave.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and hot water until combined. Set the top pan over the simmering water and keep the glaze warm until ready to use.  Dip the doughnuts, one at a time, into the warm glaze, covering the top half of each doughnut with glaze. Immediately add sprinkles if desired.  Place the doughnuts, glazed side up, on the wire rack and let the glaze set for 10 minutes

Vanilla glaze:  This is the original recipe, I made half and still had lots left over.

Follow the instructions for preparing the chocolate glaze, omitting the chocolate chips and decreasing the hot water to 3 Tbs.

Sources:  Fine Cooking for the donut muffins.  Williams-Sonoma for the chocolate and vanilla glaze.  Better Homes and Gardens for the vanilla bean sugar.

Note:  You will need to use your judgment to adjust the amount of topping depending on whether you make the original recipe or half recipe, regular sized muffins or mini, and the number of flavors you decide to make.

Vanilla Whoopie Pies

Whoopie pies (or gobs) are a popular treat in the Northeast, supposedly originating with the Pennsylvania Amish.  If you ask most people here in the Midwest what a whoopie pie is, unless they are a foodie, you’ll probably get a huh?  Basically it is a small cake, in the shape of a cookie, sandwiched together with a sweet, creamy filling.  What’s so fun about whoopie pies, besides the name :D, is that there are so many different flavor combinations of cakes and fillings.  So far, I’ve made chocolate chip and chocolate cakes and marshmallow and buttercream fillings.  But, how about lemon with lemon mascarpone cream or banana with salted caramel or mocha with tiramisu filling?  So many different whoopie pies to try…. Ahhh, I guess those are for another day.  But, I’ll be sure to share. 😀  Today I made vanilla whoopie pies with the traditional marshmallow filling.  I have been making a lot of chocolate desserts lately and I thought it was about time I make something that my husband would enjoy.  I decided to roll them in some red, white, and pink nonpareils to dress them up for Valentine’s Day.  It’s right around the corner.  Are you ready?   If not, here is a super cute, delicious, little hand-held dessert that you can make for your Valentine. I can bet they’re gonna love it!  Mine did!  Red heart

Vanilla Whoopie Pies

Yield: 24 whoopie pies

Whoopie Pie:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

4 tablespoons vegetable shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or the seeds from a vanilla bean (I added about 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste with the extract. Can’t have too much vanilla!)

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.  Sift onto a large piece of wax paper.

In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle, beat the butter, shortening and both sugars on medium speed until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs and buttermilk and beat until combined. Don’t worry if your batter looks curdled. Mine did, but then came together when I added the rest of the ingredients.

Combine the milk, baking soda, and vinegar in a small measuring cup.  With the mixer on low, add the milk mixture to the batter along with the flour mixture.  Beat just until everything is combined.  Add the vanilla and beat on medium for 2 minutes, until completely combined.

Using a small cookie scoop (1 tbsp) , drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space between cookies.   (I got 16 cookies per sheet.)   Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 10 minutes (start to check at 7 minutes) , or until they are set and just beginning to brown.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Marshmallow filling ( I used Martha Stewart’s recipe because I prefer butter in the filling to shortening)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 jar (7 1/2 ounces) marshmallow Fluff

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add Fluff and vanilla and continue mixing until well combined.  I put the filling into a large Ziploc bag, and cut off the corner, so I could easily pipe the filling onto the bottom cookies.

Source:  Vanilla whoopie pies from Whoopie Pies: Dozens of Mix’ em, Match’em, Eat’em Up Recipes and the marshmallow filling from Martha Stewart

Cook’s Country Black and White Cookies

I have never been to New York, though I would love to go just to eat.  On my list of New York must have foods:  bagels, pizza (could it possibly be as good as Chicago?), cheesecake, a good deli sandwich, and some black and white cookies.  Somehow, for someone who loves cookies, I have never had a black and white.  Crazy, I know.  For some reason, I am always drawn to them when I see recipes in a cookbook or magazine. Maybe it is the size? I mean, who doesn’t love a giant cookie?  Most likely it is the 2 flavors of icing in one cookie.   I love chocolate, but vanilla is also delicious….I can never make up my mind.  With these cookies I don’t have to.  😀 I always thought it was weird that most of the recipes I see have lemon in them.  Lemon and chocolate just don’t seem to go together to me.  This recipe leaves it out for this same reason.  So, what you get here is a giant vanilla flavored, cakey cookie, coated in both chocolate and vanilla glaze, just like you would get in a real NY deli…well, minus the lemon.

Cook’s Country Black and White Cookies

Yield:  12 cookies (I only got 10)

Cookies

1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

10 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 cup (7 oz) sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Adjust racks to upper middle and lower middle.  Line two baking sheets with parchment. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside

Using a stand mixer with a paddle (I used my hand mixer :D), beat butter and sugar on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until combined.  Reduce the speed to low, add the flour in 3 additions alternating with 2 additions of sour cream, scraping down the bowl as needed. Give the dough a final stir by hand.

Using a greased 1/4 cup measure, drop cookie dough 3 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets.  I got 4 to a sheet, they spread quite a bit.  Bake until the edges are lightly brown, 15 to 18 minutes, switching and rotating the sheets halfway through baking (I did one sheet at a time). Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, 1 hour.  Make the glaze.

Glaze

5 cups (20 oz) powdered sugar, sifted

7 Tbsp whole milk (divided)

2 Tbsp corn syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

3 Tbsp dutch processed cocoa powder, sifted

Whisk sugar, 6 Tbsp milk, corn syrup, vanilla and salt together in a bowl until smooth.(I had to add a bit more milk because my glaze was too thick).  Transfer 1 cup of glaze to a small bowl and reserve.  Whisk cocoa and the remaining 1Tbsp of milk into the remaining glaze until combined.  Working 1 cookie at a time, spread 1 Tbsp of vanilla glaze over half of the underside of a cookie (the flat side) with an offset spatula.  Refrigerate until the glaze is set, about 15 minutes.  Cover the other half of the cookies with 1 Tbsp of chocolate glaze and let the cookies sit at room temperature until the glaze is firm, about 1 hour. The cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Source:  Cook’s Country February/March 2012

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