Apple Butter Cookies

Every October we go to our local pumpkin patch to get pumpkins for the house. Some years we carve them, some years we don’t, but we always pick up a couple of jars of apple butter while we are there. I was in the mood to make some cookies the other day and found this recipe. These cookies are so good, slightly chewy with a wonderful apple butter flavor. My oldest son called them a national treasure, so I knew it was a winner.

  • 1/4 cup butter, I used salted
  • 1/4 cup apple butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar, for rolling

Cream together butter, apple butter, and sugar. Mix in egg, and vanilla. Mix until well combined. In a medium bowl, combine cinnamon, flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until dough forms. Place into fridge and chill for 2 hours. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375. Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, roll cookies into a ball and roll each ball in cinnamon sugar. Place cookies onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 11-13 minutes, or until the bottoms have started to brown. Move baked cookies to wire rack to cool. 

PB&J Scones

Another scone recipe! Are you ready? If you are like the rest of my family and not as excited about scones as I am that’s okay, I have enough excitement for all of us. This scone had the perfect balance of peanut butter to jam, although I would recommend using a thicker jam, a la Bonne Marie, so it doesn’t get lost in the center.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold, salted butter, preferably frozen
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/4 cup jam of choice

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Set aside. Grate the frozen butter on a box cheese grater, then mix into your dry ingredients. Add in the peanut butter chips. In a medium bowl whisk together 1/2 cup heavy cream and peanut butter. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix the dough together using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It should have a slightly dry texture and hold together, but not be crumbly. Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of cream if the dough seems too dry. Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and make two balls. Flatten each ball into a circle about 2/3 of an inch thick. Spread a layer of jam onto the bottom disk, making sure to leave about 1/2 an inch border around the outside edge of the circle. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Chocolate Peppermint Scones

Last Christmas I bought some Ghirardelli peppermint baking chips but hadn’t even opened the bag all year. As we have gotten into fall I’ve been craving those holiday-esque flavors, and with my current scone obsession I wanted to try a scone using them. I’m really pleased with how this scone turned out, it was my first foray into cobbling together my own recipe based on what end result I was hoping to achieve and it turned out tasty!

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup peppermint baking chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (you may need 1-2 tablespoons more depending on how the dough comes together)
  • additional white sugar for sprinkling on top of the scones

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking tray with a baking mat or parchment paper. Place flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, baking powder in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Grate the cold butter on a box grater and mix into the dry ingredients. Add the peppermint chips and stir very briefly to evenly distribute. Place the eggs and 1/2 cup heavy cream into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add the egg mixture into your flour mix and stir gently, until a soft, crumbly dough forms. You want it to hold if you press the dough together, but not be sticky and wet. If the mixture is still too crumbly, add in the extra cream, 1 tablespoon at a time. (I live at altitude and added 2 tablespoons and probably could’ve added one more.)  Tip the dough onto your prepared baking tray and press into a large disc, around half an inch thick. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the disc of dough into 6-8 wedges. At this stage you can leave the scones cut but together, or use a spatula to spread the scones around the baking tray with a 2 inch gap in between each one. Sprinkle some white sugar onto the top of each scones and then place in the oven for 13-17 minutes. (I left mine in a round for about 14 minutes because my mixture was pretty crumbly, then I separated them and baked for about 5 more minutes. You’ll know they are done when they are risen, golden around the edges and sound light when you tap on the top.

Blueberry Lemon White Chocolate Scones

One of my best friends in the world loves blueberry lemon desserts. When I started making batches and batches of scones, she requested one with that flavor combination and I knew exactly which recipe I would use as a base. This recipe is based on the cranberry white chocolate scones on my site and with the addition of lemon extract they turned out really well. Because I don’t put a glaze on my scones, it is very hard to get a prominent lemon flavor from juice alone, so I added lemon extract and it did the trick.

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips/chunks
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries; frozen won’t leak as much into the batter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (you may need 1-2 tablespoons more depending on how the dough comes together)
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • additional white sugar for sprinkling on top of the scones

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking tray with a baking mat or parchment paper. Place flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cubes of butter into a large bowl and rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until you have a coarse breadcrumb texture. Some pea sized lumps of butter is fine. (I was using frozen butter so I grated mine with a cheese grater.) Add the white chocolate chips and blueberries and stir very briefly to evenly distribute. Place the eggs, heavy cream and extract into a bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add the egg mixture into your flour mix and stir gently, until a soft, crumbly dough forms. You want it to hold if you press the dough together, but not be sticky and wet. If the mixture is still too crumble, add in the extra cream, 1 tablespoon at a time. (I live at altitude and added 2 tablespoons and probably could’ve added one more.)  Tip the dough onto your prepared baking tray and press into a large disc, around half an inch thick. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the disc of dough into 6-8 wedges. At this stage you can leave the scones in a circle, or use a spatula to spread the scones around the baking tray with a 2 inch gap in between each one. Sprinkle some white sugar onto the top of each scones and then place in the oven for 13-17 minutes. (I left mine in a round for about 14 minutes because my mixture was pretty crumbly, then I separated them and baked for about 5 more minutes. You’ll know they are done when they are risen, golden around the edges and sound light when you tap on the top.

Salted Peanut Butter Cookies

I saw an article not too long ago that ranked 4 different peanut butter cookies, and this recipe from Ovenly was the hands down winner. Naturally this meant I had to make this cookie and see if I agreed. After making this cookie, I will agree that it is very good. With only four ingredients it comes together very quickly and baked up well. My only note on this recipe would be to not eat this cookie hot out of the oven. It tastes like hot peanut butter, and you don’t get an opportunity to enjoy the sweetness this cookie has to offer. It was light years better after it had cooled completely. Also, the recipe states that while you can use natural peanut butter in this recipe, Skippy, Jif or Peter Pan are the preferred brands.

  • 1 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • coarse salt to finish

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Add the peanut butter and mix with a spatula until smooth and completely incorporated, and until no ribbons of peanut butter can be seen. You know the dough is ready when it has the consistency of Play-Doh. Using a scoop or a spoon, form the dough into 12 approximately 2-inch (2- to 2 1/4-ounce) balls and place them on the prepared rimmed sheet pan. For smaller cookies, use a heaping tablespoon. Sprinkle the dough balls lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake for about 16 minutes, turning the rimmed sheet pan once halfway through baking (for smaller cookies, bake for 14-16 minutes). When finished, the cookies will be lightly golden and cracked on top. Let cool completely before serving. You can bake these cookies as soon as the dough is prepared, but they will retain their shape better if you freeze them for 15 minutes before baking. 

Apple Pecan Scones

PANA9600.I think I might have a problem.  A scone problem. Currently there are 7 different types of scones in my freezer, and I have variety to satisfy any particular craving on any particular day. The thing I like about them is how well they reheat. It takes away all of the worry about trying to finish them before they go bad because you can just individually wrap them and store them in the freezer. This latest recipe filled a niche I didn’t have yet, and that is the pecans. It adds an earthiness that I enjoy and it pairs really nicely with the apple. I toasted my pecans before mixing them into the batch but that is an entirely optional step.

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, preferably frozen
  • 1/2 large apple, pealed and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped, toasted
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Grate your frozen butter with a box cheese grater, then mix into the dry ingredients. Add the chopped apples and pecans, stir. Pour in the heavy cream, and stir until incorporated. Once the dough comes together, form into a circle, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, then cut into 8 pieces and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until browned. If you want,  you can mix together half a cup of powdered sugar with two tablespoons of milk to form a glaze and drizzle over the cooked scones.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones

IMG_20200812_095234_01With fall right around the corner I knew I would need to find a pumpkin scone recipe to indulge in. The first place I checked was my go-to site, cookiesandcups.com.  Of course she had a fabulous scone recipe, but I took mine down a slightly different path and added cinnamon chips to it; as well as left off the icing. I have explained on previous recipes that I like to store my scones in the freezer and that doesn’t lend itself to icing. I judge every recipe on here as if it didn’t have the frosting and it absolutely has to taste yummy without it. The cinnamon chips in this scone just reinforce the fall flavors and add that little bit of sweetness without being too much.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold, salted butter, preferably frozen
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips, (I found mine at Walmart)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw) for garnish

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Set aside. Grate the frozen butter on a box cheese grater, then mix into your dry ingredients. Add in the cinnamon chips. In a medium bowl whisk together 1/2 cup heavy cream, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix the dough together using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It should have a slightly dry texture and hold together, but not be crumbly. Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of cream if the dough seems too dry. Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and form it into a ball. Flatten the ball into a circle about 1 1/2- inches thick. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Banana Toffee Chocolate Chip Scones

IMG_20200513_174044 (1)This scone recipe is another winner if you want a delicious scone that has lots of flavor, but isn’t dry. It comes from my favorite food blogger cookiesandcups.com and once again she doesn’t disappoint. The recipe recommends adding a drizzle to the scones, but because I freeze mine individually I leave it off. I will include it here in case you want to try it, but I personally don’t think they need it. Also, because I live at altitude I had about 2 more tablespoons than the recipe calls for in order to get everything to hold together.

Scone:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
  • 1 medium banana, mashed (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar for garnish

Drizzle:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut the butter into the mixture using a pastry cutter or a fork until the mixture resembles very coarse sand. Don’t worry if you have butter the size of peas throughout the mixture, this is fine. Mix in the chocolate chips. In a medium bowl mix together 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and banana. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and pour the cream mixture into the well. Mix the dough together using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It will be slightly dry, but will hold together. Don’t over-mix. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a disk about 1 1/2 – 2- inches thick. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 6 wedges. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet, and brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 15- 20 minutes until the edges are golden brown.

For the icing drizzle, whisk together the butter, powdered sugar, cinnamon, and milk until smooth. Drizzle the icing onto the scones and allow it to set. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Kolaches!

00100lrPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200426113858822_COVERMy husband’s family is Czech and as such he has a huge love of kolaches. We’re talking the fruit-filled pastries, not the savory roll with sausage inside. Since I’ve been having success with my baking experiments this month I found a recipe and tried making them from scratch. They were delicious! I was so so pleased with how they turned out and start to finish they only took about two hours.

For the Dough:

  • 2/3 cup milk (2% or higher is best)
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast, or instant
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon fine salt

For the Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • thick fruit preserve of your choice, I had strawberry

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter, melted

Warm the milk in a microwave-safe bowl for about 30 seconds until lukewarm. The target temperature is 110 degrees. Once it’s at precisely 110, add the yeast, sugar and 2/3 cup of the flour. Mix together well and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. (Because I used instant yeast I mixed this together while I got the rest of the ingredients together, but didn’t wait for it to double.) In another bowl, add the melted butter. Let cool briefly before stirring in the egg yolk. Add this to the yeast mixture and mix well. Add the remaining flour, salt, and mix very well well. Next, knead the dough for 10 minutes, making sure to lightly flour the board and your hands as you go. At the end of 10 minutes, the dough will be soft, supple, and not sticky at all. Grease a bowl with cooking spray and add the dough. Cover and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. (At the end of this rise, you could cover it and put it in the fridge to use the following day. It will deflate, but it’s okay).

Next, you want to evenly divide the dough into 12 equal portions. I do this by weighing the dough, and dividing it by 12. Roll each dough ball into a perfect circle (see photo). Line a 9″ pie plate with parchment paper, and arrange the dough balls in it. At this point, I press gently on the dough to make a slightly oblong shape instead of a perfect circle. Let the dough rise until doubled in a warm place. Preheat the oven to 375. Once the dough balls have doubled in size, use your fingers to make deep indentations for the fillings. Divide the fillings between the kolaches, I did 4 cream cheese, 4 strawberry and 4 strawberry cream cheese, but do what makes you happy.

Bake the kolaches for 18-21 minutes, until nicely golden brown. Use a toothpick inserted into the center kolache to ensure the rolls are done. Let cool slightly, and then tear apart and serve.

Lemon Bars

40d0a04679d843fff0c4fa959807feadI had a friend request these lemon bars because they remind him of his mother’s recipe. They come together very quickly and are the perfect addition to a potluck or spring get together.

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

For the Filling:

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • powdered sugar for dusting

In a bowl, combine the flour, butter and confectioners’ sugar. Pat into an ungreased (I prefer parchment-lined) 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. For the filling, beat eggs in a small bowl. Add the sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon juice and zest; beat until frothy. Pour over the crust. Bake 25 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into bars.