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.

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.

Gingerbread Apple Crisp

Gingerbread Apple Crisp

Gingerbread Apple Crisp

Fall has reappeared here in our neck of the woods, and the rains that have accompanied it have washed away all signs of the snow that fell earlier this week. Many of the leaves on the trees have turned a brilliant gold color, and the temperatures have climbed back into the 50’s. We’re supposed to get another chance of snow falling next week, but for the time being, I’m enjoying the reappearance of Fall.

To welcome back the Autumn season, however brief it may be, I decided to make this incredibly yummy Gingerbread Apple Crisp. Now I’ve had plenty of apple crisp throughout the years, but this recipe is one of my favorites. I’m not sure what makes this apple crisp so good. It could be the allspice and brown sugar that wraps around and coats each and every apple slice, or it may be the gingerbread pudding mix, oats, and pecans that combine to create the crisp and delicious topping. Whatever it is, I really love it.

If you’re not a big fan of gingerbread, you can get creative and try this recipe with other pudding flavors such as vanilla, cheesecake, pumpkin-spice, etc. Whichever flavor you like and think would pair well with apples.

~Enjoy~
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Gingerbread Apple Crisp

4 cups apples, peeled & sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup water

Topping:
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 package (3.4 ounce) Gingerbread Instant Pudding & Pie Filling mix
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the apples in an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, allspice, vanilla and water. Pour over apples.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, pudding mix, sugar, cinnamon, salt and pecans. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apples.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and fruit is tender.

Remove from oven and place pan on wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping; if desired.

Zucchini Banana Nut Bread

Zucchini Banana Nut Bread

Zucchini Banana Nut Bread

Summer is winding down pretty quickly and Autumn will soon be upon us, but there is still time to stop by your local farmer’s market and stock up on all the fabulous produce they have to offer – which is exactly what I have been doing for the past several weeks.

I must say, there is nothing quite like the taste of fresh, locally grown produce. Anything you bake and/or cook with fresh fruits and veggies tastes more flavorful, not to mention it feels so good to support the local farmers.

While strolling through the entrance of a farmer’s market recently, I caught sight of a huge zucchini at a nearby stand. I was quick to purchase the monster squash before anyone else could snap it up, and as I placed it gently in my canvas shopping bag, I knew that I had severely underestimated just how big and heavy it actually was. After just a few minutes of toting the hefty veggie around the market, it began to dawn on me that it probably would have been wiser to save that purchase for last. :)

One of the first things I thought of using the zucchini in was bread, but instead of making the usual zucchini bread, I decided to combine it with another family favorite, bananas, and made this delicious and incredibly moist Zucchini Banana Nut Bread. This yummy bread is quick and easy to prepare, and can be enjoyed anytime of the day – whether it is with a cup of coffee for breakfast, or as an afternoon snack.

Now, what should I use the rest of the zucchini in?? (trust me, I have a lot left over)

~Enjoy~
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Zucchini Banana Nut Bread

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg
1 cup mashed banana (approx. 2 medium bananas)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan, or spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a small bowl, beat the egg, banana, oil and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in zucchini and pecans.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool bread in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Yield: 1 loaf

(To print this recipe, click on the ‘Print & PDF’ button below)

Mango Upside Down Cake

Mango Upside Down Cake

Mango Upside Down Cake

I think Spring must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. We still have about a foot of snow piled up outside, and our temperatures have only been in the high 20’s to low 30’s. So if anyone sees Spring, and it looks confused and doesn’t seem to know where it should be heading next, could you please direct it to Alaska? :)

Since Spring seems to be taking the scenic route up to our neck of the woods, I’m just going to sit back, close my eyes, and envision I’m in a warmer climate while munching on a piece of this Mango Upside Down Cake. Every bite of this delicious cake makes me feel like I’ve been transported to an island in the tropics – as long as I don’t open my eyes and look out my window.

~Enjoy~
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Mango Upside Down Cake

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 (10 ounce) package frozen mango chunks
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray.

Place mango chunks in a colander and rinse under cold water; drain.

In a small bowl, combine the 3 tbsp. melted butter and brown sugar. Pour over parchment paper in baking dish. Arrange mango chunks over brown sugar mixture. Set aside.

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

In a large bowl, cream the 5 tbsp. softened butter and granulated sugar together until creamy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; mix until smooth. Gradually add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Smooth batter over mango chunks.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Place pan on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto serving plate. Peel off parchment paper. Let cake cool a bit longer, then cut into squares and serve.

(To print this recipe, click on the ‘Print & PDF’ button below)

Easy Dutch Apple Pie

Easy Dutch Apple Pie

Easy Dutch Apple Pie

We’re having a really cold weekend here, with low temperatures dipping well below zero, and high temperatures hovering just a few degrees above. (currently it is -9 degrees out)

Since it’s so bitter cold outside, I decided this would be a good weekend to stay indoors and take care of some household tasks that I have been putting off. (procrastinating on really)

Even though these tasks are keeping me pretty busy this weekend, I still wanted to take some time to whip up a quick dessert for dinner tonight. This Easy Dutch Apple Pie couldn’t be a more perfect dish to make when you only have a short amount of time. The oatmeal crust and topping combine together in a jiffy, and makes a wonderful base for the apple filling. The taste is pretty similar to an apple crisp, but in pie form.

I purposely used a sugar-free apple pie filling, in order to make my pie a little healthier, but you can certainly use the regular apple pie filling with sugar added, if desired.

Well, it’s time for me to get back to work. Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!!

~Enjoy~
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Easy Dutch Apple Pie

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 (20 ounce) cans Wilderness No Sugar Added Apple Pie Filling

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, and butter until crumbly. Set aside 1 cup for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture into an ungreased 9-inch pie pan.

Pour apple pie filling into crust; top with reserved crumb mixture.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

(To print this recipe, click on the ‘Print & PDF’ button below)

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