Salted Brown Butter Cookies

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Santa won’t want to go back up the chimney once he tries these salted brown butter cookies! The brown butter adds a delicious twist to the simple sugar cookie. They are sure to be the stand-out treat at a cookie exchange, too!

Ingredients

Cookies:

3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Icing:

1 (1 lb.) box powdered sugar
4 tsp. meringue powder (found at Michael’s)
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until butter has a nutty aroma and golden brown color. Pour into bowl and chill until almost firm, about 30 min.

Whisk together flour and cornstarch in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together chilled butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg, salt and vanilla until combined. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.

Heat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll out one disk of dough between two large sheets of wax paper until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies with cookie cutters and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are golden. Repeat until all dough is used. Transfer to wire rack

To make icing, beat together all ingredients in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and beat until icing holds stiff peaks, about 4 minutes.

Transfer icing to large Ziplock bag and squeeze out excess air. Cut 1/8-inch opening in bottom corner of bag and pipe icing onto cookies. Let dry for 1 hour before storing.

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Snowball Cookies

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Every holiday season, my mom bakes her amazing “Snowball” cookies. They are so simple, yet so delicious. Since I won’t be home for Christmas this year, she had all of my favorite Christmas cookies ready for me when I came home last weekend. It wouldn’t feel like the most wonderful time of year without these seasonal sweets! I wanted to spread the Christmas cheer, so below is the recipe for these festive cookies. They also make great gifts, especially when served on a festive plate.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (sometimes less, add slowly to see how dough is coming together)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cups chopped nuts (optional)
  • Small bowl of sifted powdered sugar for coating the cookies

Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients (except the powdered sugar for coating) until dough forms. Roll into balls and place onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. While warm, roll balls in the bowl of sifted powdered sugar and then repeat when they are a little cooler since the first coat will most likely dissolve. Enjoy, but leave some for Santa :)

Happy Holidays! 

Caramel Apple Bread

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I’m a little late in posting this since apples and pumpkins have been replaced by peppermint and gingerbread, but I still wanted to share this fall flavored bread. Reminiscent of the childhood treat, this recipe takes the classic caramel apple and transforms it into a dessert grownups and kids can enjoy. Since there was left over batter, I also made a few muffins, which were just as tasty! The soft, moist bread with a caramelized crust is the perfect combination of textures.

Speaking of apples, congrats to my Washington huskies for winning the Apple Cup! Beating WSU never gets old.

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Ingredients:

For the batter:

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups apples, chopped (I used Granny Smith)
For the toppings:
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, cold
  • caramel sauce
How to:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray loaf pan with canola oil.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together butter and sugar.
  3. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and lime juice. Let foam until dissolved, then add to butter mixture. Mix in eggs and vanilla until combined. Add flour and salt until batter has thickened. Use your hands to mix in the chopped apples. Set aside.
  4. In a medium-sized bowl, combine cinnamon, flour and brown sugar. Use a pasty blender to cut in the butter. Combine until crumbly.
  5. Spread half of the batter into pan (should be 1/4 full). Sprinkle with crumb mixture and drizzle caramel sauce. Top with remaining batter, crumbs and drizzle caramel sauce on top. *Be careful to not fill the pan more than half full because otherwise it will be hard to bake all the way through
  6. Bake for 40-60 minutes until toothpick comes out mostly clean (except for caramel). Cool on wire rack.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I’ll admit it. I cheated. But I couldn’t resist this cupcake mix from Williams-Sonoma! My friends know that I love cupcakes, baking and pumpkin, so this was one of the best birthday presents that I received last year! I finally got around to making them (51 weeks later…), but it was worth the wait! These cupcakes taste homemade, which is the ultimate compliment for a boxed mix. The moist and fluffy cupcakes are so flavorful and pair perfectly with the suggested recipe for cream cheese frosting. The classic fall flavor can’t be beat.

20131014-204315.jpgI also found these adorable cupcake liners at Home Goods, which are cute and functional! What’s really cool about them is that they are sturdy enough to fill with batter and cook on a cookie sheet instead of a muffin pan, which can be messy and overflow making it hard to get the cupcakes out. Plus the pink chevron and scalloped edges are so fun – looks like a sweet treat from a retro bakery!

Below is the recipe for cream cheese frosting from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the butter and beat for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth and no lumps of sugar are visible. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Treats

20130914-194600.jpgFall is my favorite time of year. I love fall fashion, cooler weather, football and most of all – PUMPKIN EVERYTHING! While strolling the festive aisles of Target I came across pumpkin spice marshmallows, which were also shaped as pumpkins. So cute! Since I had some Rice Krispies sitting in our pantry, I decided to add a seasonal spin to the classic treat.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 5 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1 bag (8 oz.) pumpkin spice marshmallows

Pour cereal into large bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Pour marshmallow mixture over cereal. Use a buttered spatula to combine until cereal is fully coated. Press into 10″ x 6″ pan coated with cooking spray. Cut when cool and serve!

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If this festive treat made your mouth water, check out my recipe for pumpkin bread, too! Nothing says fall like pumpkin-flavored fare!

Cake Batter Cookie Bars

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Who doesn’t love funfetti?! You can use it to celebrate your birthday or any day! I’ve had a boxed mix sitting around in my cupboard, but wasn’t in the mood for making an entire cake. Instead, I used it to make these cookie bars. They were delicious! It had the funfetti flavor, but the consistency of a buttery, chewy cookie. And how can you resist this batter? Let’s just say not all of it ended up in the pan…

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup funfetti cake mix
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 9×9 inch pan.
  • Cream together butter, sugars, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine cake mix, flour and baking soda. Gradually add to butter mixture and stir until combined.
  • Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned.
  • Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Cool completely before cutting.
  • Enjoy!

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