Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lemon Slice and Bakes

These are my new favorite cookie and I can't get enough of them. I have made batch after batch since Thanksgiving and have a stash in my freezer. I just pull a few out to go with with my coffee or just because.  A melt in your mouth shortbread with a hint of lemon. They have a lemony glaze and I sprinkled them with silver sugar for the Holiday season. You can easily leave the dusting of sugar off or change it. My sister & her friend made Butterscotch Blondie bars with peanut-pretzel caramel-amazing!! I love salty & sweet. Both recipes came from the December issue of Bon Appetite' www.bonappetit.com. How can I refuse making them when they look so beautiful in the magazine? I am a sucker for photos of gorgeous food or home decorating. I think I buy my cookbooks based on the photos alone. I just can't help myself. As I was making up our cookie tray and in the hustle & bustle of prepping for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I was again thinking of the cookie list for next year, the gifts I want to make, the stocking stuffer's, menu planning and holiday decorating. I'm bad like that, enjoying the season now and already thinking and planning for the next! These cookies are great for any occasion, they double and freeze well.

I wish everyone a very happy and safe New Year's, I already have a cake idea for this New Year's celebration! I encourage you to keep a journal and keep entries of the many blessings God gives you and even the trials you go through. At the end of 2012, you will be amazed at what he has done for you. I am not much of a New Year's resolution girl. I am a list girl! I love making list, reading list, & get so much joy from scratching that one thing off my list. I have a journal for blessings & trials and one for my never ending lists, the bucket list, music, places to go, gift ideas, menu ideas, recipes to try, cookbooks and more cookbooks, home & garden, just about anything list!!!!! This year I will be trying to focus on Galatians 5:22 & 23 but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. With God's grace and strength I can have more love, joy in the life, peace about so many things, even in the trials, patience, patience, patience, show more kindness, do good to others, be more faithful in my walk, be gentle and have self-control. What will you be focusing on?

Lemon Slice and Bakes-
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (could change our for lemon and make them extra lemony)
4 large egg yolks

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
sanding sugar
food coloring (optional) if you want to color your glaze. I left mine white

Whisk flour and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat butter, sugar and lemon zest and vanilla in a large bowl, occasionally scraping down sides, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks; beat just to blend. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture and beat, occasionally scraping down sides, just to blend. Divide dough in half; roll each half into a 10" long log about 1 3/4' inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 1 hour. Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Arrange racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap 1 dough log. Using a sharp, lightly floured knife, cut log into 1/4" thick rounds. Transfer to prepared sheets, spacing 1" apart. Bake until cookies are firm and golden brown just around the edges. Cool for 1 minute on sheet and transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough log.

Whisk sugar and 2 Tablespoons lemon juice in small bowl, adding more juice by 1/2 teaspoonfuls if too thick. Add coloring if desired. Spread or drizzle icing over cookies. Decorate as you wish. Let stand until icing sets, about 10 minutes or so. Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Eat Well, Sonya

Monday, December 19, 2011

A New Addition & Triple Berrry Pie

Welcome a new addition to our family! She arrived on Friday, December 16th. She is absolutely beautiful and greets you with a pie, my son's favorite of course, Cherry. I might have some competition though, her pie crust looks perfect. My husband has named her Sue B. I saw a bear similar to this on a road trip one day and was telling my friend about her. I thought it would be so cool to have a bear greeting you at our door with a pie. I'm all about pie you know! (Our Sue B is way cooler!!!) This was my Christmas gift from her to me, to cross off my bucket list and to move forward. Do you have a bucket list? I never really thought about it until Friday. Yes, I guess I do have a bucket list. Somethings I keep to myself and other things I share. My husband has helped me cross things off my list. God has surrounded me with wonderful family and friends, and through them he continues to bless me and they too have helped with my bucket list. God enriches me daily with His one and only perfect gift, His Son, Jesus!

The Christmas Story continued-
Luke 2:16-20 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manager. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 

I wish you and your families a  Blessed Christmas and an amazing New Year. Thank you for reading my blog, for being an encouragement and a blessing in my life.
Triple Berry Pie-
Your favorite pie dough for a double crust
1 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup  hulled sliced fresh strawberries 
34 cup fresh blackberries
3/4 cup fresh raspberries 
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
milk for brushing & coarse or regular sugar for sprinkling on the crust

I usually like to make this pie when fruit is fresh and in season, but the frozen mixed berries have worked really well. Just thaw them and proceed with the recipe. This is also my son's favorite, and we can eat this together with just forks in hand. Yummy!!!!


Roll one crust in bottom of a 9" pie plate.

Combine sugar, salt, flour and cinnamon in a large saucepan. Add the berries and gently toss with the sugar mixture until coated. Add the water and lemon juice and cook over medium heat just to the boiling point. Stir often.

Pour filling into crust and dot with butter.

Roll out top crust and place on the top of the filling, or you can cut strips and do a lattice pattern. I just cut out some leaves and placed them randomly on the top of the berries. If you place a top crust, make sure to cut vents in the middle to let steam out. Crimp you edges and lightly brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. 

Have oven preheated to 350 degrees. Bake the pie until the berries bubble and the crust is golden brown about 45 minutes. Cool completely.

Eat Well, Sonya

Monday, December 12, 2011

Whoopie Cakes

It's recipe of the month with Nicole and she picked whoopie cakes. I know that both our families love these and who wouldn't. A chocolate sponge cake filled with buttercream, and even better no fork required! You could just run out to your local bakery and purchase some, or check your pantry and see that you probably have all the ingredients on hand. We used the recipe from www.lorrainepascale.com. It's from her Baking made easy cookbook. We did some tweaking to the recipe to convert some of the measurements to American, adjusted the flour a bit and the end result was delicious! This is where a kitchen scale would come in handy, and one is on my Christmas list. You really need to be patient and let the cakes cool before filling them. I know it's hard with those chocolate cakes sitting there so pretty just waiting for that beautiful buttercream filling to be placed between them, but if you don't, the buttercream will melt. Baking is a lot like life. You need to be patient and not get ahead of yourself, let the ingredients work together, enjoy the process and the end result will be worth the wait. Whoopie cakes are love.

The Christmas Story continued-
Luke 2:11-15 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manager. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rest." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

I know that lots of people are starting their cookie baking and that cookie exchanges are getting going. If you are attending a  cookie exchange, encourage your group to bring an extra dozen. Make a cookie tray and donate it to a local nursing home, hospice or food pantry. You and your family could also make a cookie tray with your baked goods and drop one off together. If you are not a baker, why not pick up a box of cookies or doughnuts at your local bakery and drop them off?

Whoopie Cakes-
120 ml (4.2 fl oz) milk
190 g (6.7 oz) Demerara sugar (we used brown sugar at just about a cup)
120 ml (4.2 fl oz) sour cream (a little more that a 1/2 cup)
180 g (6.3 oz) all purpose flour (we used about 2 cups to make a cake like batter)
55 g (1.9 oz) cocoa powder (we used a heaping 2 Tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
4 drops of vanilla extract (we used about 2 teaspoons)
115 ml (4 fl oz) sunflower oil or regular cooking oil (just under a 1/2 cup)

Buttercream filling-
200 g (7 oz) softened unsalted butter
400 g (14.1 oz) confectioners' sugar (we used about 2 cups)
1 Tablespoon milk


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 

Heat the milk gently in a small saucepan, add the sugar, then take off the heat and add the sour cream. Stir to combine. Leave to cool to body temperature.

Put flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt together in a large bowl. Once the milk mixture has cooled add the eggs, vanilla and oil. Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and fold gently. (This is where you might have to add a bit more flour to get the right consistency.)

You could transfer this mixture to a piping bag and pipe just about 2" circles on your cookie sheet or do as we did and scooped it out. They will spread out as they bake. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean.

Cool Completely!! This would be a good time to clean up your mess, start or fold laundry, pick up.....etc., etc.

Make the buttercream filling by beating all ingredients together until light and fluffy adding a touch more milk to get a spreadable consistency.

Once the whoopie cakes have cooled frost one bottom half and top with another cake. Repeat with the rest of the cakes.

Eat Well, Sonya

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baked Skillet Cookie

First, and foremost do you not love cast iron skillets? This pan was handed down to me by my Aunt. I love it and use it almost daily. It has a permanent place on our stove top. It is extremely versatile. You can make eggs, skillet chili, cornbread, one dish chicken pot pie, you'll be telling those salt potatoes to move over and make room for the best skillet potatoes you've ever had! It goes from stove to oven to table, and makes amazing campfire meatballs and fruit cobblers on the grill. I love that you can make a dish in it and serve it at the table. Rustic, elegant and never ever goes out of style. The ease of clean up is a breeze with warm water and a little kosher salt to use as an abrasive. Wipe dry and coat with a thin layer of cooking oil and back on the stove it goes. These pans are like cheese and wine they get better with age. If you don't own one, scour flea markets, local five & dime stores or garage sales. You won't be disappointed and then you can make this baked skillet chocolate chip cookie. If you don't want to make individual cookies then this is the cookie for you. One batch of dough, dumped into a skillet and baked for about 45-50 minutes. Gooey, and full of melted chocolate. Cut into wedges, serve warm with a scoop of the best vanilla ice cream and some fudge sauce wouldn't hurt either. Amazingly delicious!

The Christmas Story-continued
Luke 2:6-10 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL the people.

With all the busyness of Christmas, the shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, we sometimes forget about the needs of others. I encourage you to count your blessings and think of your local shelters, food drives and I know that some local schools collect coats & pajamas for children without. Just think what you might be able to buy if you gave up a few lattes or lunches out. Every year I remember our parents picking a candle off the local Christmas tree at the mall and purchasing an item for that individual. This year our youngest & I will be out doing the same. Maybe your office, local neighbors, or a group of your friends and go in and collect a small box of clothing or bring in items for a meal to donate. It will all be appreciated.

Baked skillet cookie-
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup softened butter (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cup light brown sugar1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda & salt together. Beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add egg & vanilla and beat well. Stir in the dry ingredients and then mix in your chocolate chips.

Scoop the cookie dough into a 10" oven proof skillet, spreading evenly out to the edges. Bake 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes, cut into wedges and enjoy. Delicious with vanilla ice cream or a cold glass of milk.

Eat Well, Sonya