Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter has always been my comfort food.  I remember many days as a child eating peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  
Today, I still find extreme satisfaction opening a new jar of peanut butter.  Can you hear the sound of the seal peeling back?  The fragrance is amazing! I love scooping out a spoonful of peanut butter as a snack.
I've tried many peanut butter cookie recipes.  With a few tweaks and secrets, this is my current favorite. The cookies are crispy on the outside and slightly chewy in the center.  
If you prefer cookies that are Extra Crispy, then leave them in the oven for a few more minutes.  They will become crispier as they cool.  When these "Extra Crispy" cookies are completely cool they will be begging for a cup of milk for dunking!
These cookies do not break easily and they are great for picnics! 
There are a few secrets I have for this recipe so read to the end before baking!

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 cup salted butter 1/2 cup suga…

Mini Chocolate Cakes for Mother's Day

Mother's Day and Chocolate

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 the chocolate cake recipe from Chocolate Cake with Sugared Walnuts (also listed below).  I actually prefer it to the ricotta cake recipe because it is heavier and is a great contrast to the light cream filling.
These make wonderful party desserts any time of the year but they would be an especially delicious surprise for Mother's Day brunch.  Everyone gets their own mini chocolate cake.  Combine that with food from the chocolate chip pancake brunch.


Delicious Chocolate Cake

I have been searching for chocolate cake recipes.  Little did I know that this next one would come from family.  It is simple to make and it is absolutely delicious.  This is home-baking at its best.

Delicious Chocolate Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/2 cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda mixed with 1/2 cup buttermilk

In a bowl mix together flour, sugar and salt.  In a medium pot boil water, butter and cocoa.  Add to the flour mixture.

Stir in the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla.

Spread the batter into a 9x15 pan.

Bake 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

While the cake is still warm, frost with chocolate icing.  It will melt slightly and create a glaze over the entire surface of the cake.

(This recipe can also be used for cupcakes.  The cupcake in the photo above was frosted after it cooled.  The frosting is thicker than the glaze recommended for the sheet cake)

*Chocolate Icing

1/2 cup butter, soft

24. Christmas Eve Cinnamon Rolls

Our family has a tradition of eating breakfast food for dinner on Christmas Eve.  These cinnamon rolls baking in the oven fill our home with a fragrance that is extremely comforting.

I've tried many recipes for cinnamon rolls that promise to be the best, but in addition to tasting good I also wanted something that is extremely easy to make.

I've made this recipe for many years and even after trying many other recipes for cinnamon rolls, I believe that this is still the BEST.  It is fast and easy to make, especially if you have a bread machine.

This is a wonderful, gooey, delicious recipe to end our Countdown to Christmas! (Of course, all of these recipes are delicious any time of the year!)

Happy Holidays!

May you enjoy this wonderful time with friends and family.

Christmas Eve Cinnamon Rolls

2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 cup warm skim milk (or 1/2 cup warm water and 1/2 cup warm milk)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 - 4 cups flour

Follow the directi…

23. Lemon Meringue Drops

When I was making Lemon Curd recently I had extra egg whites so I decided to experiment with a lemon cookie. I wanted something that had an intense fresh lemon flavor.

The result is this cookie recipe!  The outside is a delicate meringue that melts into a chewy, intense lemon taffy.

Lemon Meringue Drops

3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice*

In a small bowl combine sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Mix well and then set aside.

In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Add the cream of tartar and salt and continue to beat until it forms stiff peaks.

This is the tricky part!  Carefully fold in the sugar mixture.   If it is over-mixed the batter will become runny.

Carefully spoon the meringue into a large pastry bag or a small plastic bag.  Squeeze small dots (about 1-inch) onto a parchment lined baking sheet leaving at least 2 inches between the cookies.  This recipe will …