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baby boy collage

Forgive me if my posts and blog visits have been sporadic lately. In addition to preparing for the holidays, we’ve also been preparing for our eighth grandchild and he is finally here.

Jalen 1

Jalen James Garth was born on Wednesday November 27th and we are head over heels in love. Baby Jalen had a rocky start as his lungs weren’t quite strong enough. He was given several shots to strengthen them and spent a few days in NICU. Now he and his mom are home and we are thrilled. Can you imagine the birthday parties this cutie pie is going to have? Let the spoiling begin!!!

jalen james

Cream Cheese Cookies ~ Fill the Cookie Jar

cream cheese cookies 1

On the first Thursday of the month we bakers from the Fill the Cookie Jar group reveal our choice for the month. It’s pretty much a no brainer that this month’s theme is Christmas. This is peak cookie season at my house and I’m sure at many others as well. In years past I would bake 40+ dozen cookies and give decorated plates full to family and friends. I’ve scaled way back these days! Now I’m down to about 15 dozen and that takes us through the days when all of the kids are home. Continue reading

Red Velvet White Chocolate Bundt Cake

blogger Christmas series photo

Christine Graves who blogs at “Rustic & Refined” invited me to join a Blogger Christmas series. At this event we will be sharing all things Christmas from crafts to recipes. The first entry I want to share with you today is a Red Velvet White Chocolate Bundt Cake. The name alone is festive and I wanted to make it more so by baking it in my Heritage Bundt Pan.

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This cake may look like lots of work was involved but trust me it wasn’t. I used boxed mixes for this holiday beauty, don‘t judge. For the white cake I followed the package directions and added four ounces of white chocolate. I took the shortcut a bit further with the glaze. During my many YouTube sessions while on the treadmill I read about a technique to make canned frosting look like fondant. Of course I was interested.

red velvet white chocolate 5

Heat a can of frosting or a portion of it in the microwave until it liquefies. Then pour it over the cake. Yeah that’s what I call easy. When the frosting/glaze sets it’s all shiny and smooth. To use it as a fondant alternative to cover a whole cake or petit fours you’d have to use several coats for an even covering. For this cake I used cream cheese and this works for me. Especially when time and patience is of the essence.

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I hope you visit the other bloggers see what they’re up to and I hope your holiday season is off to a great start.


These are the linky parties I participate in. Drop by and show them a little love!

Play Party Pin

House of Hipsters

Wow Us Wednesday’s

Tablescape Thursday’s

Inspire Me Tuesday

It’s Overflowing

Katherine’s Corner

DIY by Design

Rustic and Refined

The Scoop

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 sweets

Thanksgiving was a whirlwind of activity around here as I’m sure it was with most of blogland. We’re taking a breather here before we dive headlong into Christmas so forgive the short and infrequent posts. Although there was lots going on we still took the time to pause and count our blessings. We have much to be thankful for. Continue reading

Cranberry Apple Pumpkin Bundt

cranberry cake 5

We Cake Slice Bakers have been on pins and needles anticipating our first baking venture from our new book; Southern Living The Southern Cake Book. This is the first cookbook I own where I want to make nine out of every ten recipes. It is already one of my favorites. Continue reading

Bake it Now~Serve it Later

My friends, stuff is about to get real. It seems that after Halloween, time speeds up or maybe it’s just me. Thanksgiving is in two weeks. Count ‘em 2! There’s lots to do, cleaning, decorating, shopping, catching your breath and of course baking. Some of us may want to go all Martha and have magazine worthy platters of baked goods presented on the finest of trays, stands, etc. Some of us just want to turn out a decent cookie or cake. Before the elves and dust bunnies steal us away here are a few things that we can get a head start on.

buttermilk lb cake two

black velver 2

Bake and freeze a Buttermilk and Chocolate Pound Cake. Serve these with a dollop of whipped cream or caramel sauce. They can also be sliced and made into a trifle layered with whipped cream, homemade or store bought no judgment. Add to those layers your choice of sauce, pudding, coconut, maraschino cherries, or chopped nuts.

Cookie dough is a given and when made from scratch and properly wrapped it keeps well in the freezer for months. If you have a sudden burst of energy, you can bake and freeze them.

Chocolate Turkey Cookies

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Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip

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Sweet Potato Pie is a must at my house for Thanksgiving, and at Christmas. When everyone is home, I bake at least four. At Christmas, I give up on my quest for the perfect scratch piecrust. The filling is the bomb diggity and that’s all the matters to my hungry family. My grocery store has a sale this week on frozen pie shells and now is the time to stock up.

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Other things that can be baked ahead and frozen are layer cakes, cupcakes and brownies.

Cream Cheese Brownies

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Check out this article from Kraft that gives some great how to’s on freezing baked goods.

When you’re compiling your baking list, consider these items to have in your pantry, fridge and freezer.
PicMonkey Collage baking 1

Buttermilk – fresh buttermilk can be frozen. I’ve frozen a whole quart and it was good as new when thawed. I’ve also frozen it in 8 oz Styrofoam cups with a lid. Another option is to buy the buttermilk powder. I haven’t tried it yet but heard that it is good.

Egg whites – These come in dried form also but are super expensive. I didn’t like the ones in the carton because they had seasonings in them. You can get small plastic containers that hold approximately one egg white and pop those bad boys in the freezer. They’re small so they don’t take up much space. You can also freeze them in ice cube trays.

Cream Cheese and butter are the last things I’m going to ask you to buy and freeze, I promise. I’m sure you have a stash of bananas in the freezer also so space is at a premium.

Mini bottles of alcohol and liqueurs. They add tons of flavor to frostings, fillings and cakes. They also help you get through long baking sessions, ha!!

Check your stores weekly ads for flour and sugar. Powdered, granulated and brown. I have a plastic bin with a lid just for my stockpile.

In previous posts, I’ve confessed my complete adoration of Big Lots. They have an awesome baking section complete with all varieties of Guittard Chocolate Chips. At $2.75, that’s almost a steal. Buy it now before everybody finds out and the price goes up.

Planning and shopping ahead when you can is a time and sanity saver. We want to bake the best for our family and friends but it’s also very important to make sure we take the time to enjoy the season. This means setting aside some time just for us. Put your feet up and have a few cookies with your favorite beverage. Turn off the electronic devices and just be still for a bit and enjoy those tidings of comfort and joy.

Chocolate Turkeys~Fill the Cookie Jar

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This is my second month baking with the Fill the Cookie Jar Group. Quite appropriately this month’s theme is Thanksgiving, and I can’t think of anything more Thanksgiving than turkey. No my cookies aren’t turkey flavored, that would be taking things a bit too far. I found a wonderful Chocolate Sugar Cookie recipe at Sweetopia and set out to bake a batch of turkey shaped cookies. Not only did I find a delicious recipe, I found good tips on how to keep my cookies from losing their shape while baking. A problem I’ve run into on occasion. The tips are found in the recipe so I’ve included it here along with a link to Sweetopia so you can browse through the huge cache of wonderful recipes and drool over her pictures. I only made a half batch and that was plenty.

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Since taking the fondant class I’ve been looking for more opportunities to practice with it and these cookies fit the bill. I used half of the cookies for this technique. I lightly tinted a small amount of fondant orange. I probably could have made them a deeper orange but I like to err on the side of less color so the decorations aren’t bitter.

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In order to get the fondant super thin I rolled it out with a pasta maker. One of the best $20.00 I’ve spent in a long time. After rolling it out I used the same turkey cookie cutter for the fondant. I applied a small amount of piping gel to the cooled cookies so the fondant would adhere.

My turkeys were still looking a tad plain so I used a stencil to apply green royal icing in several designs. The final embellishment on these are sugar pearls, a few swirls of yellow glitter frosting gel and a tiny bit of melted chocolate applied with a skewer for the eye. Fancy Smancy huh!

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I made sandwich cookies with the other half. They are filled with vanilla butter cream again tinted with orange coloring. In the feather area I piped small orange butter cream stars and garnished them with mini chocolate chips. The final fill in for that area are swirls of green royal icing. A small dot of the yellow gel frosting for the eye finishes them.

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This is the first chocolate cutout cookie I’ve made and I’m very pleased with it. The chocolate was not overwhelming and the texture was equal to a basic sugar cookie. In a few weeks I’ll make these again so the rest of the family can enjoy them also.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Chocolate Turkeys~Fill the Cookie Jar
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 dozen
 
Chocolate Sandwich Cookie with Vanilla Buttercream Filling. This cookie really holds it's shape while baking.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • ½ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer on low to medium speed and mix until thoroughly combined– for about one minute.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and mix again for a few more seconds.
  3. Over mixing the butter and sugar in this step will cause too much air to be incorporated into the dough which will make the dough spread during baking.
  4. Add eggs slowly and mix. Scrape down the bowl with your spatula at least once and mix again.
  5. Add vanilla and stir briefly.
  6. Sift together dry ingredients.
  7. Add all of the flour mixture to the bowl.
  8. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds.
  9. When the dough clumps around beater/attachment it’s ready, do not over mix the dough.
  10. Roll the dough out between 2 large pieces of parchment paper.
  11. Place on a baking sheet and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
  12. Roll out the dough further if you need to, and cut out cookie shapes. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet or silpat.
  13. Put cookie dough shapes back into the fridge for 10 minutes to 1 hour to chill again.
  14. This will help them hold their shape when baked.
  15. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  16. Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes or until the center of the cookie no longer looks wet.
  17. Cool to room temperature and frost if desired.

 

Please visit my fellow cookie bakers and see what they’re filling their cookie jars with.
fill the cookie jar

These are the other link parties I participate in. Please drop by and show them a little love also.

Wow Us Wednesday’s

Tablescape Thursday’s

Inspire Me Tuesday

It’s Overflowing

Katherine’s Corner

DIY by Design

Rustic and Refined

The Scoop