#WIAW Christmas treats

I usually go a bit nutty over the holidays, baking up a ton of treats to dole out to friends. This year I had #elf4health, and an infant, to keep my baking at bay. But I did whip up some goodies that are share-worthy. But I didn’t snap pictures, so I’m borrowing these from the blogs I found them from. Meh, sorry about that. But their photos are prettier anyway.

My first batch was white chocolate topped chewy gingerbread.

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I tried not waiting til the end to add the white chocolate chips, and instead topping them in the beginning. It did not work out well. Do not do that! Follow the directions as is!

White Chocolate Chip Peppermint

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I didn’t have white chocolate m&m’s, so I did a cup and a half of white chocolate chips and a full cup peppermint pieces. I also used dark brown sugar instead of light, and an extra half cup flour to increase the chewiness. These were bomb dot com.

I also whipped up two favorites from last year: soft chewy sugar cookies, and peanut butter filled pretzels covered in chocolate.

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This year I made the pretzels with Rold’s Gold tiny twists, which are surprisingly large. Last year I used Costco pretzels, and I think they turned out better.

And finally, I attempted to make an almost flourless chocolate cake for New Year’s Eve. I thought the recipe called for semi-sweet, but it needed bittersweet. I didn’t have any on hand, but I did have a Costco sized bag of chocolate chips, so I used those instead. I was pretty impressed with myself. I totally thought I’d botch the cake, but it was delicious! Now I need to figure out who I can gift half a cake to…

Almost Flourless Cake

What was on your holiday treat menu this year?

Bernadette’s Berry Buckle

Way back in the day my parents didn’t have a lot of money, but they did have love and creativity. Everyone they knew had kids graduating from high school, getting married, or other milestones that required a gift. So my mom gathered recipes from friends and family and created a cookbook chock full of comfort foods.

When I moved into a dorm with a fully equipped kitchen my Sophomore year of college my mom gifted me a copy of this same cookbook. I use it all the time, but for some silly reason haven’t posted many of the recipes. I think the only one I have posted is Grandma Crider’s German Sweet Chocolate Cake, (which is amazing and doesn’t have that crappy syrupy coconut frosting).

Today I’m sharing another one of my favorites: my mom’s any berry buckle. It is the perfect way to use up some of those summer berries that are super cheap right now. I like to eat a square or two with a scoop of homemade ice cream 🙂

Bernadette’s Berry Buckle

Ingredients

Crust:

1/4 Cup butter

1/2 Cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 Cup sifted flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

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Filling:

2-2.5 cups berries – raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, any berry will do

1/2 Cup sugar

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Topping:

1/3 Cup flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 Cup butter

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375.

In a large bowl cream 1/4 C butter, 1/2 C sugar, and vanilla. Add egg and mix well. Add 1 C flour, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp baking soda. Mix until combined, and press into a greased 8×8 pan (I use a dab of coconut oil on a paper towl & spread it around).

In a medium size bowl combine berries and sugar. Spread over crust in pan.

In the same large bowl you used earlier combine 1/3 C flour, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 C butter. Sprinkle over the berry filling.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.

Try to wait until the buckle cools to enjoy!

By Accident Blueberry Pie

Blueberry pie is on my top ten dessert list. Especially when paired with homemade vanilla ice cream. My mom and I decided to whip up two pies on the 4th of July, and really, this recipe couldn’t be easier. It is a pie without a top crust, which isn’t how I normally eat fruit filled pies. But I decided to trust her and roll with it. Or not roll with it, as we didn’t make our own pie crust.

She said this recipe wasn’t by accident, she knows what she is doing. It is a “by eye” and “by taste” recipe, but I think by accident blueberry pie rolls off the tongue better.

By Accident Blueberry Pie

1 9-inch pie shell (we used Marie Callendar’s frozen)

5-6 cups blueberries, divided (we used frozen and thawed them under running lukewarm water)

1.5 heaping TBS cornstarch

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup white sugar (we used Baker’s sugar)

1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp – 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

Pre-bake pie shell according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large pot combine 2 cups blueberries, cornstarch, water, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Bring to a boil (make sure cornstarch is combined thoroughly before you turn on the heat!), stir constantly on high heat, and reduce down until you have a nice saucy consistency. There will still be some whole blueberries, but it will mostly be a gelatinous mixture. If it gets too thick add water to adjust. At most this will take 5 minutes.

Add remaining 3-4 cups blueberries to the sauce and stir to coat with the sauce. Taste and adjust for flavor, adding more sugar if needed. If you are using fresh blueberries you will want to cook them in the sauce a little bit, about 2-3 minutes.

Once pie crust has cooled completely, pour blueberry mixture into pie crust and chill. Serve cold or at room temperature.

What is your favorite flavor of pie?

Vanilla Lemon Cupcakes

Mmm, I love cupcakes, especially dense/wedding-eque ones. But I don’t like them to feel too heavy in my stomach. So I like to lighten them up with a not-so-intense frosting. Well, technically lightened up isn’t the best term, as when is frosting ever really light?

When deciding on the perfect cupcake for our gender reveal party, I sifted through my recipe file and decided to tweek a previously pinned recipe.

Clearly, I couldn’t have the raspberry frosting, as that would be a dead giveaway. But the cupcake itself was fair game.

Vanilla Lemon Cupcakes

I am not an adept froster.

adapted from  this recipe

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 TBS lemon juice
1 cup 2% milk

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375 and line 24 muffin tins with liners/cooking spray, or set up your silicone liners.

In a large bowl, beat butter for 1 minute and add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. This process should take about 5 minutes. Yes it is tedious, but it is worth it.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Blend until smooth before adding the next. Beat in vanilla.

In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to large bowl, alternating with 1/2 the milk and 1/2 the lemon juice. Beat until fully combined.

Pour 1/4 cup at a time into lined muffin cups and bake for 20-22 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

6 oz cream cheese, room temperature

4 TBS unsalted butter

4 cups powdered sugar

3 TBS lemon juice

Directions

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pipe onto cupcakes with decorating bag, or pour frosting into a large ziplock and cut the tip off to pipe onto cupcakes.

What is your favorite cupcake recipe?

When life hands you lemons…

make Lemon Sour Cream Cake.

(source)

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably noticed I was recently laid off. My school district laid off 238 certificated staff (including teachers, librarians and counselors) on Tuesday. That’s a whole lotta lemons life handed out.

At the school board meeting on April 27, it was decided that the district would increase class size by 3 students, and an estimated 90-150 teachers would be cut. I pretty much knew this was coming. Therefore I signed up to run a half-marathon on July 10th, figuring I would throw myself into something healthy, (training), rather than stuffing my face, (my normal stress coping mechanism).

However, after I received official notice that I had been pink slipped, I reverted back to good ‘ol comfort foods. I’m giving myself a week to cope this way, and then I will pick myself up, dust myself off, and resume half-marathon training with full gusto.

But until then, I’ll bake.

Friday evening I had a postponed Cinco de Mayo celebration,


a Steve-o de Mayo party if you will, to celebrate one of my Master’s cohorts arrival in Spokane. I signed up to bring sour cream and cheese, only to find out those items were already taken. I was kindly asked to bring some sort of dessert.

Dessert I can do.

But I wanted to use the sour cream I had already purchased, and didn’t have a clue what to make. I googled sour cream cookies, sour cream cake and sour cream dessert. I settled on this Lemon Sour Cream Cake recipe, simply because it seemed the most tedious. I really needed something other than my current situation to occupy myself with, and beating butter for 1 minute solid, and then adding sugar tablespoon by tablespoon for 8 minutes seemed like the perfect solution.

And it was. I followed the directions to a T, which is something I never do. The only modification I made was I did not use lemon peel, and instead doubled up on the lemon juice.

Holy tedious.

Look at how moist it is!

Holy delicious.

This recipe is definitely one I will be pulling out again and again in the future. It reminds me of fantastically-fab wedding cake. It is insanely dense. I think it weighed around 10 pounds. I’m totally serious. I got quite the bicep workout carrying it from my friend’s car to the party.

There are only two slices left. And I am very excited to eat them for dessert tonight.

And yes, that is a Ronald McDonald plate. It is pretty much my favorite plate ever. And I hate McDonalds.

Next on my pink slip cooking agenda: Pink Slip Pie.

What is your favorite sour cream recipe?