Thursday, March 22, 2018

On Friday's We Bake: Cinnamon Bun Muffins

Homemade cinnamon buns are delicious, but can be kind of annoying to make. The mess, the rolling, the rising, the have to spend hours prepping the night before just to satisfy your breakfast craving. Instead, you should just make these scrumptious muffins; less work, less time, same taste!

These might just be my most favorite muffin in the entire world. The layers of buttery cinnamon sugar goodness definitely make it a top 3 contender.

Muffin Ingredients:

1 stick butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup of packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 1/1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream

Topping Ingredients:

4 tablespoons softened butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin tin with liners or grease.

2. Cream butter and brown sugar together; beat in the eggs and vanilla.

3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in separate bowl.

4. Add about half the dry ingredients to the butter sugar mixture, then stir in the sour cream. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. The batter should be thick and lumpy.

5. Distribute the batter into the muffin pan filling about 2/3 of the way full. (this recipe makes 1 dozen) For the cinnamon topping: use a fork and mash together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Sprinkle on top of each muffin before baking.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for five minutes before removing.

If you want to get the full "this tastes exactly like a cinnamon bun" experience, you'll need to make a quick glaze. Mix a little bit of water into a lot of powder sugar until it's a honey consistency. Drizzle on the top of each muffin with a spoon. and enjoy!

Brunch season is upon us, (I'm talking to you Easter, Mother's, and Father's day!) Save this recipe and use it, you'll be glad you did.

Friday, March 2, 2018

On Friday's We Bake: Lemon Bars

This recipe is so yummy! I probably say that every week, but I could eat an entire pan of these in one day.

I love fruity desserts, they remind me of Spring and Summer, which I miss... like a lot.

These lemon squares have a lemony shortbread crust with a smooth, creamy, refreshing lemon custard. Delicious!

Not only do they taste like sunshine, they are as simple as ever to make. So let's get started with the crust!

Crust Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
pinch of salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 and thoroughly butter a 9 x 13 pan.

2. With an electric mixer, cream all of the ingredients until it forms a ball.

3. Press dough evenly into pan and bake 20 minutes. Meanwhile, bake the topping.

Topping Ingredients:

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
juice of 2 lemons
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
powdered sugar


1. With electric mixer, beat eggs well and gradually add sugar until mixture is thick. Gradually add remaining ingredients, except the powdered sugar. Continue beating until crust comes out of the oven.

2. Pour lemon mixture over the hot crust, return it to the oven and reduce heat to 325. Bake 30-35 minutes util the top is golden.

3. Remove from oven and run a sharp knife around the edge

4. Cool 20 minutes and cut into squares. Remove from pan and dust with powdered sugar.

Friday, February 23, 2018

On Friday's We Bake: Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are chocolate chip cookies, and then there are these chocolate chip cookies: thick, soft, chewy, and loaded with gooey chocolate.

There are a million chocolate chip cookie recipes out there, but this one blows all of them out of the water. Seriously. Your search for that perfect recipe ends today. So, grab your kids and let's start baking America's favorite cookie.

Have your kid get an extra math lesson in for the day by counting how many chocolate chips make it into your mouth instead of the batter.


- 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups of AP flour (more as needed)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
-3/4 cup of chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Microwave the butter so it is almost entirely in liquid form.
  2. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter with both sugars until creamy. Add the vanilla and the egg; beat on low speed until just incorporated.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until crumbly. (add more flour if needed) Use your hands to press the crumbles together into a dough.  Add the chocolate chips and mix with clean hands.
  4. Roll the dough into 1-2 inch balls and place on a ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Take them out even if they look like they’re not done yet. They will continue to cook on the pan when you take them out.
  5. This next step is hard to do, but important! Let them cool on the pan for 25-30 minutes. They will sink down and turn into the cookies of your dreams.

Friday, February 16, 2018

On Friday's We Bake: Thumbprint Cookies

I love canning in the summer and making big batches of strawberry and plum jam. I give most of them away as gifts through out the year, but I always save a few jars to make these timeless classic cookies.

Aren't they pretty? You will love them!

These jam thumbprint cookies are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. An added bonus about this recipe is that it is customizable! The base of this cookie is so versatile, it can be filled with just about anything from jam to caramel or Nutella.

Because Valentine's Day was this week... I still had heart shapes on the brain, so we made "Double Thumbprint" Cookies. We just crisscrossed our thumbprints to make the heart shape. Normally we just do one thumbprint or use a 1/2 teaspoon to make the indents.

To fill the indents easily after baking, I placed the jam in a sandwich bag, snipped off the corner, and let the kids pipe out a heart shape into the indentations.

Here is the recipe for these sweet, buttery, absolutely irresistible cookies.


2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup white granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour


1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar together until smooth and creamy (about 5-6 minutes).

3. Mix in vanilla and beat until combined, scraping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed. Turn mixer off then slowly add in cornstarch and flour. Turn mixer back on low and beat until the dough starts to crumble and clump together. If dough seems too wet - add a tablespoon of flour. If dough is too dry, add a teaspoons milk.

4. Turn mixer off and gather the dough with your hands to press the dough down and together while kneading and squishing the dough with your palms to form a big ball. This might take about 2 minutes. The warmth from your hands will soften the dough and form together.

5. Pick off roughly 1" pieces and roll and squish tightly into round cookie dough balls and place about 1.5" apart onto prepared baking sheets. Make an indentation with thumb or using a 1/2 teaspoon in the center of each dough ball.

6. Bake in oven about 10. Be careful not to overbake, as the cookies will continue cooking as they are cooling. Remove from oven and indent center again if necessary with the back of a spoon. Dough will continue to cook as it cools.

7. Allow to dry on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wired cookie rack to cool completely. Fill with your favorite jam and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Friday, February 9, 2018

On Friday's We Bake: Brownies

This is my favorite brownie recipe! You can easily make this sweet treat with your kids from scratch without expelling a lot of time, money, or energy.

A lot of brownie recipes are made from chocolate bars. I don't know about you, but I certainly don't have any chocolate bars jut hanging around my kitchen. (My mouth, maybe.) Instead, we will be using cocoa powder, which as an added bonus eliminates that extra step needed to carefully melt the chocolate.

 You only need 1 bowl, 5 ingredients, and 30 minutes in the oven to whip up these chewy, fudgy, oh-so chocolatey brownies. The awesome thing about this recipe is that the ingredients couldn't be more basic. In fact, I bet you have all of them in your kitchen right now, so lets get started!

½ cup flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup salted butter, melted
2 eggs
1/3 cup cocoa powder

1. Prepare the ingredients and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-9-inch baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, butter and eggs. Stir just until combined.

3. Bake the brownies for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before cutting into smaller squares.

Best served warm, with cold milk, a good book!

Friday, February 2, 2018

On Friday's We Bake: Bread

Ah bread. Apart from the wonderful aroma and cozy hygge feeling it instills in many of us; baking bread is also an incredible learning opportunity for kids. There's the obvious sensory, math, reading, and science... but there's also the whole culture of bread making, its history, and different recipes.

Baking bread takes time, but this recipe is perfect for a lazy pajama or snow day.

- 3 cups of AP flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 packet, or about 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar or brown sugar or honey
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup warm water (not hot, just warm)

1. Using your kitchen aid mixer or a big bowl and wooden spoon,  measure the flour into the bowl.  Make sure your flour measurements are level with the top of the measuring cup. Don’t pack the flour down into the cup. Just scoop it in lightly, and have your child even off the top of it with their finger by brushing off the excess. Next, add the salt, sugar and yeast. Stir the yeast, salt, sugar and flour all together.

2. Now measure in your oil. Add a cup of warm water. If the water is too hot and it will kill the yeast. Stir the dough with your spoon or dough hook attachment to your electric mixer until it gets sticky and stiff.

3. Next, dig into the dough with clean hands. It will be gooey, and warm... your kids will love this! Work the dough, right there in the bowl. Scrape the dough off of your fingers as needed and try to get the dough together into a ball. If it is too sticky, then add more flour. If it is too dry, then add a little of water at a time, to get it right. Keep mixing and mashing until you get a ball of dough, turn the dough out onto your counter or kitchen table. Scatter a bit of flour about the dough, and around the counter. Knead the dough. Press it, fold it, stretch it, turn it. Keep kneading the dough for a full 5 minutes.

I usually tear off a smaller piece for the kids to knead.

4. Pour a tablespoon of oil into an empty clean bowl. Place the ball of dough into the clean bowl, on top of the oil. Roll the dough around in the oil, to coat it evenly. Place the dough in a warm spot, or on the counter near the stove. Cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Allow the dough to sit and rise. You'll want it to double in size, this may take up to 2 hours. Sometimes this happens in as quickly as an hour, but usually it takes longer, especially if the kitchen is cold.

5. When it is well risen, have your child put their fist into the dough and smash down to force all the air out of it. Knead the dough again. This time, just knead it for a minute or so. Long enough to get all the air out of it.

6. Oil a large loaf pan. If you don’t have a loaf pan, then use a casserole pan, or a round cake pan. Coax the dough into the shape of the pan you are going to bake it in. Cover it with a dish towel or plastic wrap again. Set it aside and let it rise for about an hour to an hour and a half. It should double in size again.

7. After it has risen enough, it is time to bake it. Set the oven to 350°. Place the bread into the oven. You do not need to preheat the oven. Let the bread bake for 30 to 40 minutes. When it is done the top will be golden brown. Carefully turn the hot bread out of the pan and onto a dishtowel on the counter. Be careful not to burn yourself. Flick the bottom with your finger. If it sounds hollow then it is done. If it doesn’t sound hollow, then put it back into the pan and bake it some more.

8. Allow the bread to cool down for a few minutes before slicing it. When you slice it, use a serrated knife and saw back and forth across the bread like you are sawing a log.

If by some miracle you don't eat all of this fresh out of the oven with a little bit of butter or jam... this bread makes amazing grilled cheese sandwiches and French toast.

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