Molasses Spice Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies

Molasses Spice Cookies

The weather forecast is calling for 7 to 10 inches of snow to fall in our area this weekend, and since it appears that approximately 5 inches has already fallen, it seems like the perfect time to just stay indoors and do some Christmas cookie baking.

This weekend I’m going to be whipping up a big batch of these delicious Molasses Spice Cookies, for my office’s annual Christmas cookie exchange that we will be holding on Monday. Molasses Spice cookies are one of my all-time favorite holiday cookies; with their soft and chewy texture, and sweet yet spicy flavor. My favorite way to enjoy them is alongside a big scoop of Spumoni ice cream, but either way, with or without the ice cream, these cookies are truly delicious and are a classic Christmas cookie in my book.

I originally posted this recipe on my blog back in 2009, but I think this is one of those recipes that is definitely worth repeating.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

~Enjoy~
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Molasses Spice Cookies (from “Favorite Brand Name Recipes: 100 Best Holiday Cookies” cookbook)

1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup granulated brown sugar* or granulated sugar
*Granulated brown sugar is brown sugar that has been processed to have a light, dry texture that is similar to regular granulated sugar. It can be found in the baking aisles of most supermarkets.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease cookie sheets.

Beat granulated sugar and shortening about 5 minutes in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add molasses and egg; beat until fluffy.

Combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and mustard in medium bowl. Add to shortening mixture; beat just until blended.

Place granulated brown sugar in shallow dish. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar to coat. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.

Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cookies stand on cookie sheets 2 minutes. Remove cookies to wire racks; cool completely.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies

Note: It has been suggested that, since oven temperatures can fluctuate, these cookies may turn out better for some of you if the oven temperature is turned down to 350 degrees, and the cookies are baked for approximately 12 minutes. Otherwise, the cookies may become too dark.

Whipped Shortbread Cookies

Whipped Shortbread Cookies

Whipped Shortbread Cookies

It’s Christmas cookie baking time again, and this season I’m kicking off my holiday baking with these cute little Whipped Shortbread Cookies. These crisp, light, melt-in-your-mouth little cookies are a cinch to make, and they only require four ingredients, plus decorations; if desired. They freeze well too, so you can enjoy some now, and save the rest for your holiday cookie platter.

One of the things I love about holiday baking, or any baking for that matter, is how warm and cozy it makes my kitchen feel. This time of year, when the weather is especially chilly, the extra warmth from the oven makes a wonderful, additional heating source.

I hear from various news reports, that many of my readers in the lower 48 states could really use some extra warmth. Many areas are currently in the grips of major ice storms, and are experiencing very chilly temperatures. Some places even have temperature readings well below zero degrees. We are sitting at a balmy 34 degrees right now, but we had ice storms blow through here twice in the past couple of weeks that closed schools and played havoc with driving conditions, so I can truly sympathize with what those states are currently going through.

Here’s hoping that the weather improves for those areas soon. Have a wonderful day everyone!

~Enjoy~
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Whipped Shortbread Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
decorative sprinkles

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar together until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour and cornstarch, beating until well blended.

Dust hands lightly with additional cornstarch, and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place dough balls 1-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Press down lightly with a floured fork. Top with sprinkles.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheets, then remove cookies from pan and place on wire racks to cool completely.

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Blackberry Dutch Baby Pancake

Blackberry Dutch Baby Pancake

Blackberry Dutch Baby Pancake

Are all my US readers ready for Thanksgiving? Luckily, I have my Thanksgiving dinner menu all planned, and the groceries are all safely tucked away in my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. I’m a big believer in shopping early, in order to avoid the crowds. When I go grocery shopping, I like to take my time and make it as “stress-free” an event as possible. Combat shopping is not my thing. I don’t have any desire to be in a grocery store where I have to fight over a turkey, or the last can of cream of mushroom soup. :)

Now that my holiday dinner is planned, I can now turn my attention to what to serve for Thanksgiving breakfast. I have two tried-and-true breakfast recipes that I’ve served on holidays in the past – Bacon-Cheese Pull-Aparts, and Overnight French Toast. Overnight French Toast has consistently been the most viewed recipe on my blog since I posted it back in 2011, and is especially popular during the holidays.

This year however, I decided to switch things up a bit and serve this Blackberry Dutch Baby Pancake for my holiday breakfast. This is one of those recipes that you need on a busy Thanksgiving morning, as it comes together very quickly and serves many. If you don’t like blackberries, you can top the pancake with blueberries, strawberries, or whatever fruit you desire. You can also omit the fruit altogether, and just sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with maple syrup. It’s yummy any way you dress it up, or down.

Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving Holiday!!

~Enjoy~
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Blackberry Dutch Baby Pancake

4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup blackberries
Powdered sugar, for sprinkling on top

Directions:
Place a 12-inch cast iron skillet in the oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, sugar, and salt together until smooth and well combined.

Carefully remove the skillet from the oven. (it will be very hot) Place the butter in the hot skillet and swirl around to coat the bottom and sides. Pour the pancake batter in the skillet.

Bake for 18-20 minutes; until puffed and cooked through.

Remove skillet from oven, and top pancake with berries and powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Makes approximately 6 servings.

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Although the calendar shows that it is still Autumn, this is the scene I awoke to this morning. It started snowing yesterday afternoon, and by the time it stopped this morning, there was approximately 6 inches of accumulation. I guess Autumn finally decided that it had stuck around long enough this year.

Happy Veterans Day! Thank you to all that serve, and have served our country!

~Enjoy~
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Chocolate Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies

We have yet to receive our first measurable snowfall, so we’ve had a rare opportunity to enjoy a long Autumn season this year. Our temperatures have dropped dramatically though over the past several days, and have only been in the 20′s. Despite the colder temperatures, I’m thankful for the lack of snow. I absolutely love the Autumn season, but in Alaska the season tends to be very short. I’m glad it has decided to stick around a little longer this year.

Now that we’ve turned the calender to November, it’s getting to be that time of year when we’re all a little bit busier with planning, and making preparations for the upcoming holidays. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away. Although I tend to stick with my usual tried-and-true Thanksgiving holiday menu, I still find myself prepping weeks in advance. You’d think by now I’d be able to make Thanksgiving dinner in my sleep, but I still spend a lot of time prepping, to ensure everything turns out just right.

With my time divided between work, family, and holiday preparations, I’ve been finding little time to do any baking. That’s why this recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies is so wonderful. Not only are these cookies delicious, with generous amounts of chocolate and pumpkin spice flavors, but being that they are “no-bake”, I can whip up a tasty treat for my family in no time at all.

~Enjoy~
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Chocolate Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies

2 cups granulated sugar
4 tablespoons baking cocoa
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 (3.4oz) box of pumpkin spice pudding mix
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 cups dry quick-cooking oats
Waxed paper

Directions:
In a heavy saucepan, bring the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk to a boil. Let mixture boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and add the pudding mix, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and oats to the saucepan; mix well.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let cool until set.

Makes approximately 30 cookies.

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I volunteered to make both a bride’s and a groom’s cake for a wedding reception, and I was feeling a little stressed because I had never made cakes for a wedding before. Well, I’m happy to report that both cakes turned out great, and I even managed to get them to the reception without dropping them. :)

Making the wedding cakes turned out to actually be quite fun, but I now have a new-found appreciation for those cake bakers who make them as a full-time profession. I don’t know how they do it. They must be able to handle stress a lot better than I.

There was no stress involved whatsoever in making these yummy Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles though. They are super easy to make, and not only did this recipe produce a delicious treat packed with the flavors of the Fall season, but the aroma of the pumpkin and spice from the cookies baking in the oven filled my home with a wonderful Autumn scent. In fact, the scent might stick around longer than the cookies – they are that good.

Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies, and I believe I’ve mentioned before that Autumn is my very favorite season. So it’s an extra special treat when I get to combine one of Autumn’s bountiful offerings, pumpkins, with one of my favorite cookies.

~Enjoy~
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Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

For the cookies:
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the coating:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add in the dry ingredients; mix until just incorporated. Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and spices for the coating. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Coat the bottom of a drinking glass with butter. Press the bottom of the glass in the sugar-spice mixture. Flatten the dough balls slightly with the bottom of the glass.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are set and edges are lightly browned. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Milk Chocolate Cinnamon Cookie Bars

Milk Chocolate Cinnamon Cookie Bars

Milk Chocolate Cinnamon Cookie Bars

Oh dear, I’m starting to feel my stress level begin to rise. You see, silly me, I volunteered to make the cakes for a wedding reception on Thursday – which is only five days away. I’ll be making both a groom’s cake and the bride’s cake. Now I’ve baked plenty of cakes throughout the years, but I’ve never made a wedding cake before. I’m just hoping beyond hope that I haven’t bit off more than I can chew, and the cakes turn out okay. I don’t want to ruin the bride and groom’s big day.

One thing I know for sure I can’t ruin, are these Milk Chocolate Cinnamon Cookie Bars. I’ve been pretty busy lately and I haven’t really had time to bake, but I was watching t.v. one day and a commercial for Papa John’s Pizza came on the screen. Papa John’s was advertising their new mega chocolate chip cookie, and suddenly I had craving for chocolate chip cookies. Instead of dialing my local Papa John’s Pizzeria though, I headed into the kitchen and whipped up a batch of these wonderful cookie bars.

This recipe produces an incredibly moist and chewy bar, and the cinnamon flavor pairs so beautifully with the milk chocolate. Oh, and did I mention they are a cinch to make. You only need a couple of bowls and a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients together. No electric mixer required. It’s easy-peasy!

Now, if only wedding cakes could be that simple to make…

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

~Enjoy~
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Milk Chocolate Cinnamon Cookie Bars

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips, divided

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the brown sugar and oil with a wooden spoon until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, stirring until well combined. Fold in 1 cup of the milk chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips over top of batter.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack to cool. Cut into bars.

Makes about 12 cookie bars.

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