Favorite Valentine Cookies

Baking Valentine sugar cookies has become a family tradition.

I don't know about you, but when I bake, I don't want to have a lot of extra time-consuming steps like waiting for cookie dough to chill. Through the years I have experimented with recipes to find one that did not need to be refrigerated.  This is my favorite.

Basic Sugar Dough Recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg and vanilla.  Mix.  Stir in flour and salt.

The dough will look very dry but do not worry, you can easily form a ball with your hands.

Scoop up a bit of the dough.  Roll to desired thickness (about 1/8 inch - slightly thinner if attaching wooden skewers).  There is no need to use flour when rolling.  Use parchment paper if you want an easy clean up.

Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters.  If you do not have cookie cutters you can cut out a heart from parchment paper or wax paper.  Place the paper on top of the dough and…

My Favorite Cake for National Chocolate Cake Day

My Favorite Cake for National Chocolate Cake Day

This is a recipe I have posted before and it is definitely what I want to eat on National Chocolate Cake Day! 

A few years ago I saw a recipe on a container of ricotta cheese claiming to be the "Best Chocolate Cake Ever" so of course I had to try it.  It is actually quite simple because it uses a cake mix, but I found a way to make it even better.  
I decided to make 2 1/2 inch mini cakes and fill them with three different cream fillings:  sweetened whipping cream, ganache and chocolate whipping cream. 

The ricotta cake mix recipe is light and quick to mix. If, however, you prefer to make everything from scratch, then use my favorite chocolate cake recipe listed below.  I actually prefer it to the ricotta cake recipe because it is heavier and it is a great contrast to the light cream filling.
Favorite Chocolate Cake 
1 cup flour 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup chocolate chips 3/4 cup butter …

Last Minute Halloween Treats - Owl Cupcakes and Oreo Brownies

Halloween is just around the corner so I am re-posting two of my favorite last minute Halloween treats.

I love the creativity Alan Richardson and Karen Tack presented in their book Hello, Cupcake.  These owl cupcakes are extremely easy to make and they are fun for Halloween.

The brownies are delicious!  The Halloween Oreos add bright colors to the brownies.  I was a bit disappointed this year, however, to see that the Halloween Oreos do not have fun pictures printed on the cookies like past years.  Hopefully they will bring back the pictures again next year!  For a change, these brownies can also be made with mint Oreos.

Halloween Oreo Brownies

1 1/4 cups chocolate chips
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup butter
3 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour (+2 Tablespoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 Halloween Oreo Cookies

Add butter, cocoa and 1 cup chocolate chips to a saucepan.  Melt over low heat.

In a large bowl combine eggs, vanilla, sugar, 1/2…

Mini Waffle Cookies

The heat of summer is here and it's one of those kinds of evenings when there is no way I am going to turn on a hot oven to bake cookies!  Luckily I have a recipe that does not require an oven.

Taking cookie dough and baking it on a waffle iron is such a great idea for delicious summer treats!

These mini waffle cookies are cute, crispy and perfect with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar or a drizzle of Nutella.

Mini Waffle Cookies

1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In a separate bowl beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Carefully stir in the flour mixture.

Lightly grease a waffle iron with vegetable oil.

When the waffle iron is hot, drop small spoonfuls of cookie dough (about 1 inch balls) onto the iron. Space the balls about 2 inches apart.  Close the lid and cook until golden brown.

NOTE:  If …

Mini Ice-Cream Domes with Cherries

I love cherries during the summer and I thought it would be fun to make a cherry dessert. Unfortunately, the fresh cherries at the store did not look like they were at their best for the season.

I decided to use frozen cherries, along with a jar of Morello Cherries from Trader Joe's. I also used some of my favorite vanilla ice-cream.

These mini domes of ice-cream were molded in small metal bowls. This dessert could be made in a larger bowl and then sliced when ready to serve, but I think the individual servings are more interesting.

This dessert is extremely easy to make. It just requires planning a day ahead to allow time for the domes to freeze.

The flavors are intense, especially as the ice-cream melts and the sauce pools at the base of the dessert.

This is such a refreshing dessert on a hot summer day!

Mini Ice-Cream Domes with Cherries
Frozen or fresh cherries (I used dark, sweet, organic frozen cherries from Costco)
Trader Joe's Dark Morello Cherries (1 jar)
*Vanilla Ic…