Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Carrot Cake Cookies

My dad's favorite dessert is carrot cake, so when he came over for dinner last Sunday I tried out these cookies and he loved them! Everytime I make something new, I ask my dad for his opinion and if he gives me his approval and tells me he likes it, that's the biggest compliment I could get. He is definitely difficult to please since he grew up with my grandma making him homemade everything and she is absolutely amazing in the kitchen. His opinion means a lot to me....and believe me, he's brutally honest at times and will tell me if he doesn't like something I make. Luckily, these cookies got the stamp of approval! Give them a try! (and don't forget to add a little dollop of cream cheese frosting on top).Carrot Cake Cookies
1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup grated carrots (about 2 medium)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins or chopped dried pineapple
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper (I use Silpats). Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
2. Beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer (I use my Kitchenaid) until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until well blended. Stir in flour mixture; mix well. Stir in carrots, walnuts, and raisins.
3. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
*makes about 3 dozen cookies

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Maple Bars

This is one of my all-time favorite desserts for a crowd (also given to me by my friend Katie and made for the same baby shower as the mint brownies). It has since become a favorite recipe among the ladies in my ward, so we have them at almost every church gathering. If you like maple donuts, you'll love these maple bars!! They would be the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving if you plan on hosting a big crowd. Enjoy!Maple Bars

Yellow cake:
  • Make a yellow cake (sometimes I use a box mix, other times I make it from scratch) and put it in a jelly roll pan that's been sprayed with Pam and dusted with flour. Bake for about 12-14 minutes, just until the top is a golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the midle comes out clean. Let cool.


1 cup butter

4 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup milk

3 & 1/2- to 4 cups powdered sugar

  • Melt butter in medium saucepan on stove. Add sugar and milk. Turn up to med/high heat and continue stirring until it starts to boil. Cook for one minute. Remove from stove and add powdered sugar. Mix and Mix until all the lumps are gone. ( At this point, I suggest pouring the hot mixture into your kitchenaid, then add the powdered sugar, so you can start your mixer as soon as possible and let it do all the work because mixing by hand doesn't work as well. It hardens pretty quickly). . Immediately pour onto cooled cake and spread evenly.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

3-Layer Mint Brownies

The first time I made these brownies was for a baby shower a few years ago and everyone begged me for the recipe afterward. My friend Katie had given me the recipe, so it's her I have to thank for all the compliments! Before I had this recipe, the only way I'd ever made mint brownies was to unwrap Andes mints and lay them on a pan of warm brownies and let them melt. Then I'd spread the Andes mint "frosting" on top. If I'm short on time then I still use that method, but otherwise this is my all-time favorite mint brownie recipe....and it's really easy!

3-layer mint brownies

1. Make a pan of brownies and let cool (I like the Ghirardelli brownie mix from Costco).

2. Mix together: 1/4 cup butter, 1 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 capful peppermint extract, 2 tbsp. cold milk, green food coloring. Spread over brownies and place in fridge for 1 hour.

3. Make chocolate sauce: in microwaveable bowl, combine 1 healthy overflowing cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tbp. butter. Melt in microwave in 30 second increments and mix until barely melted. Spread over buttercream layer and place in fridge 1 hour.

4. Serve cold.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Yellow Cake With Chocolate Frosting

My friend Katy asked me to help her make a birthday cake for her husband last week and, of course, I obliged! She wanted to use my "giant cupcake" pan from Williams-Sonoma that I used for Mackenna's first birthday cake and wanted to make a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I searched around for a good yellow cake recipe that would be sturdy enough and I came across this wonderful recipe from the Wilton website. It's nice and dense, but still soft and delicious, perfect for decorating. After we finished decorating the cake and putting the fall-colored M&M's around the platter, we relized our cake perfectly resembled a pinecone! So, Katy's husband got a yummy pinecone cake for his birthday party...that's what he gets for being born in the fall!
3 cups sifted cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk


Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans and line with waxed paper or parchment paper. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Cream sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs and vanilla to creamed mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Continue beating one minute. Spread batter evenly in prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Fill and frost as desired.

Chocolate Frosting:
I was at Trader Joe's earlier that day and one of the checkers recommended the chocolate frosting mix to me when he saw I was buying cake ingredients. I was definitely skeptical at first, but I couldn't have been more pleased with the look, taste, and ease of it. It's a great mix to have on hand just-in-case!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

When I was a newlywed, I would sit at my desk at work and look up new recipes to try for dinner and dessert everynight ( ya, I had a really hard job). Besides chocolate chip cookies, my husband's favorite dessert is coffee cake, so I tried this recipe one day and it instantly became our favorite. Now that Fall has finally made it's arrival to So Cal, I decided to make this cake for dessert and I'm so happy I did because my house smells amazing!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake


  • 2 tbsp. plus 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 & 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 tbsp. chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 & 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. nonfat milk
  • 1 & 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch square springform pan.

In a bowl, combine 2 tbps. sugar, the walnuts, and cinnamon. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; sift the mixture twice and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the 2 cups sugar and beat until light and smooth, 5 to 6 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time and continue beating until the mixture is thick, fluffy, and double in volume, 4 to 5 minutes. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla, 2 minutes more.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, carefully fold in the flour mixture in 2 additions until smooth. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread to the edges. SPrinkle the walnut/cinnamon mixture evenly over the batter. Spread the remaining batter over the top, making the sides higher than the center.

Bake until the top is set and springs back when touched, and the cake pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan, about 55-60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 1 hour. Remove from the pan and set the cake on a stand or plate.

*I reserved some of the walnut/cinnamon sugar and made my own crumble for the topping, but you can also make a glaze that is amazing on top:

In a bowl, whisk together the milk and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Garnish the cake with raspberries, if desired, and drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Banana Drop Cookies

I wanted to make something besides bread, cupcakes, or muffins with my ripe bananas today, so I opened up an old cookbook given to me by my grandma and found this recipe. It was so easy and these cookies are so soft and moist! I added mini chocolate chips, but you can make them without chocolate chips if you want. Either way they'll taste great!Banana Drop Cookies
1 cup butter (I used butter-flavor Crisco)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups mashed bananas

Cream butter well, adding sugar gradually. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Sift flour with baking powder, soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture, alternating with bananas. Add a few handfuls of chocolate chips if desired. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.