Lavender Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with Honey Buttercream

Lavender Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with Honey Buttercream

Lavender and honey go so well together. Bees know it, fairies know it, princesses know it. The flavor combination is so delightful in these cookies, that I decided to share them with you. In addition to delicious, compatible flavors, these cookies have a divine texture combination. The shortbread cookies have a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Together with the silky, smooth honey buttercream, they’ll make you feel fancy and regal. You’ll hold your head up higher, ring for your tea and declare that you do indeed deserve fine things!

Some people are nervous about baking with lavender because they don’t want their baked goods to taste like soap or perfume. That can be a concern if the lavender flavor is too pronounced. However, if you don’t use enough you won’t be able to taste it at all. There’s a fine balance. If you use the right amount, it will taste pleasant and have sweet undertones. I used two teaspoons of culinary lavender in these cookies, but you can adjust the amount to your tastes. You can start out with one teaspoon, bake a small sample of dough and taste it, to customize the flavor.

Speaking of tasting, my grandmother always said, “taste as you go.” This is also helpful when making the honey buttercream. Typically, when making other flavors of buttercream, you add more powdered sugar if your buttercream is too thin. In this case, adding more powdered sugar can make the buttercream too sweet. Once you have added the amount of honey that tastes good to you, you can add a little cornstarch if you need to stiffen it up a bit.

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Lavender Shortbread Sandwich Cookies with Honey Buttercream
Tender lavender scented cookies with silky honey buttercream filling
Keyword cookies
Servings
Ingredients
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Honey Buttercream
Keyword cookies
Servings
Ingredients
Lavender Shortbread Cookies
Honey Buttercream
Instructions
Honey Buttercream
  1. In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugar together until smooth. Add honey, one tablespoon at a time until desired sweetness and consistency is reached.
  2. Mix in a pinch of salt to taste.
  3. Mix in cornstarch, if necessary, to firm up buttercream. *See notes below.
Recipe Notes

*The addition of cornstarch helps to firm up buttercream without adding additional sweetness.

To find culinary lavender, click here.

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Blackberry Oatmeal Cookies

Blackberry Oatmeal Cookies by Brownie Mischief

We’ve all heard our parents telling their childhood stories of walking miles to school and suffering worse hardships than we ever had to. My mom used to tell me stories like that, but she had a sense of humor, so her stories were always fun to listen to. She used to tell me about her friend’s mother, who would make big, delicious oatmeal cookies. My mom would trade her baloney sandwich nearly every day to get one of those cookies from her friend. She reminisced about those cookies so much, that I set out to make her some when I learned to bake. She and my grandmother would taste test batch after batch of my cookies over the years. I have probably baked enough oatmeal cookies to circle the earth. Okay that’s an exaggeration, but seriously I have baked quite a few. Of all the oatmeal cookies I’ve baked, these are one of my favorites!

Most of the time when you see fruit added to an oatmeal cookie, it’s dried fruit, like raisins or cranberries. That’s mostly because if you just dump fruit into your cookie dough, the fruit releases water, leaving soggy spots in your cookies. To solve that issue, for this recipe, I macerate the blackberries before baking. The purple blackberry juice that’s released from the berries is used to make a beautiful lilac icing to drizzle over the cookies.

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Blackberry Oatmeal Cookies
Course Dessert
Keyword cookies
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Brown Butter
Macerated Berries
Oatmeal Cookies
Icing
Course Dessert
Keyword cookies
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Brown Butter
Macerated Berries
Oatmeal Cookies
Icing
Instructions
  1. In a small, light colored saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until dark golden and fragrant. You will see brown particles sink to the bottom. Keep a close eye on it. It can go from toasted to burned very quickly.
  2. Remove from heat and immediately transfer brown butter, including the brown particles, to a small bowl. Refrigerate until solid, about one hour.
  3. Place blackberries in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and toss to coat. Let sit for 30 minutes until berries release their juices.
  4. Drain blackberries and reserve the juice.
  5. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  7. In a large bowl, beat brown butter, softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
  8. Add eggs and vanilla extract in three separate additions and beat until well combined.
  9. Stir in flour mixture just until combined.
  10. Stir in oats until combined.
  11. Gently fold in blackberries.
  12. Scoop 1/4 cup sized portions of dough, about 2 inches apart, onto prepared cookie sheets. *I used a #16 2 ounce scoop.
  13. Bake until cookie tops are set and edges are golden brown, about 13-15 minutes.
  14. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  15. Pass reserved blackberry juice through a sieve to remove seeds.
  16. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, heavy cream and one tablespoon reserved blackberry juice until smooth. Add more blackberry juice, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
  17. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies.
Recipe Notes

*To find the portion scoop I used, click here.

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Brioche Cinnamon Buns

Brioche Cinnamon Buns

I can honestly say that cinnamon buns are one of my favorite foods ever!!! Yes, this statement required three exclamation points. Bring on the cinnamon buns, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon twists. I love them all. I’m especially fond of this recipe because it never disappoints. The brioche dough is soft, fluffy and easy to work with. I specifically chose this recipe to share with you because you’ll have a very high chance of success with it. Yeast can be moody, but she’s always in a good mood when I make these buns.

I topped these cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing, but you can top them with fruit, nuts, honey or a simple vanilla glaze instead. They’re amazing topped with peaches and cream too.

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Brioche Cinnamon Buns
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Servings
cinnamon buns
Ingredients
Brioche Dough
Filling
Cream Cheese Icing
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Servings
cinnamon buns
Ingredients
Brioche Dough
Filling
Cream Cheese Icing
Instructions
Brioche Dough
  1. In a small bowl, whisk warm milk and yeast together. Whisk in eggs until well combined.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt on low speed until combined.
  3. Keeping mixer at low speed, gradually add milk mixture. Continue mixing on low until dough comes together.
  4. Increase speed to medium. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, making sure each addition is incorporated before adding more.
  5. Continue mixing on medium speed until dough is smooth and stretches easily, about 10 minutes.
  6. Shape dough into a ball and transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.
Assembly and Baking
  1. Line a 9"x13" pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12"x 16" rectangle.
  4. Spread softened butter evenly onto dough to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over butter.
  5. Starting at a long end, roll dough tightly into a log. Trim off 1/2 inch of uneven ends.
  6. With seam side down, slice log into 12 equal sections or 9 equal sections for large buns. Place rolls in prepared baking pan.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise again in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  8. Heat oven to 350ºF. Remove plastic wrap. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
  9. Let cool 20 minutes. Top with cream cheese icing.
Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla bean paste and salt. Beat until combined.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until well combined.
  4. Beat in milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Recipe Notes

*To find the yeast I used, click here.

**To find the cinnamon I used, click here.

***To find the vanilla bean paste I used, click here.

To find the baking pan I used, click here.

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Strawberries & Cream Tarts

Strawberries & Cream Tarts

May is when I get to pull out all of my summery recipes. These pretty little Strawberries & Cream Tarts remind me of a summer day. The kind of day when you’re outside enjoying the sunshine and you’re craving a cool, refreshing dessert. This strawberry cream filling alone is so delicious that I could just eat the entire bowl with a spoon. But since I’m extra, I had to create an aesthetic dessert with it.

I used my favorite tart shells for this recipe, but this would also be delicious with those little pre-made graham cracker pie crusts if you want to take a shortcut. The reason I love this tart crust recipe so much though, is that it actually tastes delicious. Once, a few years ago, I purchased a beautiful, small fruit tart from a famous bakery. The fruit was vibrant and glistening and the pastry cream filling was sweet and silky. Now we need the sound of a mic drop, because the tart crust was hard and flavorless, like cardboard! Ever since then, I knew I would settle for nothing less than a delicious tart crust.

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Strawberries & Cream Tarts
Course Dessert
Keyword strawberry, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Strawberry Cream Filling
Course Dessert
Keyword strawberry, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Strawberry Cream Filling
Instructions
Tart Crust
  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt. Set aside.
  2. Work in butter and egg yolk with a pastry blender or with your fingers, until pea size pieces are formed.
  3. Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together.
  4. Form dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness
  6. Cut dough into six 5-inch rounds. Press rounds into six 4-inch or 4 1/4-inch tart pans.*
  7. Dock the bottoms of pie crusts with a fork. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  8. Heat oven to 375ºF. Place tart pans on a large baking sheet.
  9. Line tart shells with six 6-inch parchment rounds. Fill with pie weights. (You can use dried beans or rice if you don't have pie weights.)
  10. Bake tart shells for 12 minutes. Remove parchment paper and pie weights. Continue baking until tart shells are light golden brown, about 4-6 more minutes.
  11. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Strawberry Cream Filling
  1. Purée strawberries in a blender or small food processor. Pass through a mesh sieve to remove large seeds.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat strawberry purée and sugar over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a medium bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, place 3 tablespoons water into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin powder over the top of water. Let sit until water is absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour gelatin mixture into warm strawberry purée mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
  5. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  6. Add extracts and beat until combined.
  7. Add strawberry purée mixture a little at time and whisk until well combined
  8. In a medium bowl, beat heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form.
  9. Fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture.
  10. Spoon into cooled tart shells. Smooth tops with a small offset spatula. Refrigerate for two hours. Garnish with sliced, fresh strawberries.
Recipe Notes

*To find the tart pans I used, click here.

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Raspberry Rose Shortbread Cookies

I don’t think I’ve ever created a recipe that delighted all of my senses as much as these cookies. If you decide to embark on this journey, you’ll start with your sense of smell. Whether you purchase dried rose petals or make them yourself, they’re pleasantly fragrant. I used dried rosebuds, but you can also use dried rose petals. To find dried rose petals, click here. To find dried rosebuds, click here. I pinched the calyx and stem off of the rosebuds to avoid large crunchy bits in the cookies, then I crushed the roses with a mortar and pestle. You can also place them in a plastic bag and roll over them gently with a rolling pin. Your sense of hearing will be satisfied with the crunching of the delicate, dried rose petals. Next, you’ll use your sense of touch to experience the fun rolling cookie dough into balls and maybe even trigger some childhood memories.

The finished cookies have a rustic, almost shabby chic look with their cracks, rose-speckled dough and beautifully imperfect dried roses. You’ll gaze at your beautiful handiwork. And of course, you’ll sample a warm cookie, before you’re supposed to. The cookies will taste tender and slightly sweet with a hint of rose. I like a more subtle rose flavor in my baked goods. But if you prefer a stronger rose flavor, feel free to add a small amount of rose water to your dough. Start with 1/8 teaspoon or 1/4 teaspoon, because a little goes a long way.

If you’re like me, you’ll taste a spoonful of the raspberry ganache because you can and should. Speaking of the raspberry ganache, please use a good quality white chocolate! In some recipes, it’s fine to use white chocolate chips or candy melts if you prefer, but NOT this one. In my humble, yet educated opinion, you should never use chocolate chips to make ganache. I studied chocolate in culinary school with a master chocolatier. I never use chocolate chips for ganache because they contain stabilizers that keep them from melting completely, which prevents you from having the smoothest ganache possible. They also contain less cocoa butter and tend to have a waxy mouth feel.

For this recipe, when it comes to butter, you should also be a little bit picky for successful baking. Low quality butter tends to contain more water and your cookies may spread too much. So make sure to use good butter. Your butter should be room temperature, but not warm. If the butter is shiny, it’s too warm. Don’t try to speed up the softening of butter with your microwave. That’s not a hack, in spite of what you may hear on the internet. Microwaves heat unevenly and will potentially melt your butter. The best way to speed up the softening of your butter is to simply cut it into cubes. By the time you get the rest of your ingredients ready, the butter should be soft enough to use. My last, but most important success tip, is to weigh your ingredients. U.S. Imperial weights are shown in parenthesis on the recipe.

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Raspberry Rose Shortbread Cookies
Rose petal shortbread cookies filled with white chocolate raspberry ganache
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cookies
Filling
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cookies
Filling
Instructions
Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter until smooth, with an electric mixer.
  3. Add crushed rose petals and beat on low speed until combined.
  4. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Beat until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Beat in flour in two additions, on low speed, just until combined.
  6. Roll dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 7 minutes, then remove from oven. Press indentations into each cookie with the flat top of a 1-inch diameter bottle cap, to form wells.
  8. Return cookies to oven and continue baking until edges are light golden brown, about 5-7 more minutes.
  9. If the wells in the cookies lose definition, press again with bottle cap while cookies are still hot on the baking sheet.
  10. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Filling
  1. Purée raspberries in a blender or small food processor. Pass through a mesh sieve to strain out the seeds.
  2. Place raspberry purée in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn down heat and simmer until purée is reduced by half, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Transfer purée to a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Place chopped white chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl.
  5. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream over medium heat to a simmer, just until bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Stir in raspberry purée and heat just to a simmer again. Do not boil.
  6. Pour cream mixture over white chocolate. Let sit for 2 minutes, then stir with a spatula until smooth.
  7. Let ganache cool until slightly thickened. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into the well of each cookie. Ganache will continue to firm up as it sits.
  8. When ganache in cookies has firmed up, decorate with dried rosebud or rose petals, if desired.
Recipe Notes

*To find dried rose petals, click here.

**To find dried rosebuds, click here.

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Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts

Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts

These Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts have the nickname, The Fantastic Three, around my house. That’s because I experimented with each separate component of this recipe until I perfected them individually. Then when I combined them together they were unstoppable. The tart crust is flaky and tender, yet sturdy enough to hold the filling. The filling is just sweet enough for my sweet tooth and the whipped cream has just enough Earl Grey flavor.

This recipe makes enough whipped cream to cover the entire tops of the tarts or you can be like me and try to be artistic and avant-garde with your whipped cream. To make the Earl Grey infused whipped cream, use your favorite Earl Grey tea, whether it’s loose leaf tea or a teabag. We don’t discriminate here. All forms of tea are welcome! I do have a favorite Earl Grey tea. If you want to check it out, click here. The tea will make your whipped cream a dull pale yellow. This issue is purely aesthetic. I added a tiny bit of violet gel food color which brightens the whipped cream. You can add more if you want a lavender shade.

Print Recipe
Blueberry Earl Grey Tarts
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberries, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Blueberry Filling
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
Course Dessert
Keyword blueberries, tarts
Servings
4-inch tarts
Ingredients
Tart Crust
Blueberry Filling
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
Instructions
Tart Crust
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, powdered sugar and salt.
  2. Work in butter and egg yolk, with a pastry blender or with your fingers, until pea sized pieces are formed.
  3. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time until dough comes together.
  4. Form dough into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
  5. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  6. Cut dough into six 5-inch rounds. Press rounds into six 4-inch or 4 1/4-inch tart pans
  7. Dock the bottoms of tart crusts with a fork. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  8. Heat oven to 375ºF. Place tart pans on a large baking sheet.
  9. Line tart shells with 6-inch parchment rounds. Fill with pie weights. (You can use dried beans or rice if you don't have pie weights)
  10. Bake tart shells for 12 minutes. Remove parchment paper and pie weights. Continue baking until tart shells are light golden brown, about 4-6 more minutes.
Blueberry Filling
  1. Set aside 1/2 cup blueberries. Combine the remaining 3 cups blueberries, sugar, corn starch and lemon juice in a medium saucepan.
  2. Simmer over low heat until blueberries are softened and sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the reserved 1/2 cup of blueberries during the last minute of cooking.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
  1. Combine heavy cream and tea in a small saucepan.
  2. Heat just until bubbles form around the edges.
  3. Transfer to a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool.
  4. Pass through a sieve to strain out tea leaves or remove tea bag if using.
  5. Cover surface with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill.
  6. Transfer chilled cream to a large bowl. Whip with an electric mixer until thickened.
  7. Add powdered sugar and food color in separate additions and continue whipping at high speed until stiff peaks are formed.
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Vintage Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting

Dark Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting

If you love chocolate cake, this is the post for you! Chocolate cake is one of the best comfort foods there is. I’ve tasted many over the years, but my all time favorite was one I had growing up. I’ve spent years trying to duplicate it. Most cookbook recipes were either too dry, too dense or too spongey. Some books have some velvety, butter based recipes that use the reverse creaming method, but they don’t have the moist, nostalgic texture I was looking for. I noticed that nearly every chocolate cake recipe on the internet is a variation of the century-old recipe from the Hershey’s Cocoa tin. I think many people have passed it down as a family recipe, each grandmother adding her own personal touch. Even some celebrity chefs have claimed it as their own. It’s an easy, delicious, moist recipe and its popularity is well deserved. You can tweak the flavor additions a bit to make it your own too. It’s a recipe that’s hard to mess up.

The recipe I’m sharing here is my version of the vintage original, adapted over time by my family. I like to use dark or black cocoa powder in this recipe, which makes a rich, dark chocolate cake. The chocolate frosting recipe is one I developed, mostly because I couldn’t find a chocolate frosting recipe that didn’t taste gritty and/or look speckled from the cocoa powder. Swiss meringue buttercream with melted chocolate added is one alternative, but, while it is smooth, silky and perfect for piping, it’s missing that deep chocolate richness. Another option is chocolate ganache. It looks rich and creamy in those viral videos, but it’s a little too rich and overpowering to use as frosting in my opinion.

I think this frosting recipe is the one! it has the best of both worlds and is perfect for a classic chocolate cake. You’ll notice this frosting contains maple syrup. It gives a subtle maple note in the background, but mostly, it helps make the frosting silky and gives it shine.

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Vintage Chocolate Cake with the Best Chocolate Frosting
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, chocolate
Servings
2 layer 6-inch cake
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Frosting
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, chocolate
Servings
2 layer 6-inch cake
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Frosting
Instructions
Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease two 6-inch cake pans and dust with cocoa powder. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Add sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Combine egg, egg yolk, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Whisk lightly to combine.
  4. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix on low speed with a handheld electric mixer, until combined. Stop mixer. Scrape sides of bowl with spatula. Turn mixer up to medium speed and beat for 1 minute.
  5. Add hot coffee and stir to combine.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cake pans, dividing batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Chocolate Frosting
  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together maple syrup, water, cocoa powder and espresso powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter, powdered sugar and salt until smooth with an electric mixer
  3. Gradually add cooled maple syrup mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Stir in melted chocolate until well combined.
Recipe Notes

*For smoothest results, use chopped bar chocolate and make sure chocolate is completely melted.  Do not use chocolate chips

 

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Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

apple spice cookies with brown butter icing

Any respectable autumn baking recipe needs to have the three C’s. Cozy. Comforting. And of course, cinnamon! Would pumpkin-spice-anything even exist without the three C’s? I think not! These Apple Spice Cookies understood the assignment. The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in this cookie dough will remind you of cinnamon rolls and apple pie.

The apples in this recipe are cooked briefly on the stovetop to bring out the flavor and create the perfect texture. Dropping raw apple chunks into cookie dough or cake batter is never a good idea. If you’ve ever baked an apple pie, you know that apples release liquid as they’re cooked and that liquid will end up in your baked cookies, creating soggy spots. So definitely don’t skip this step!

These gorgeous, golden brown cookies are perfectly delicious on their own, but extra credit goes to the Brown Butter Icing for taking them over the top!

apple spice cookies with brown butter icing

Make sure to head over to TikTok to watch the video of these Apple Spice Cookies being created.

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Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cooked Apples
Brown Butter Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cooked Apples
Brown Butter Icing
Instructions
Cooked Apples
  1. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add apples, sugar and cinnamon to skillet.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Drain any excess liquid from cooled apples.
Apple Spice Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract, one at a time, until well combined
  5. Stir in reserved flour mixture, just until combined.
  6. Fold cooled apples into cookie dough.
  7. Divide dough into 12 equal golf ball size portions and place three inches apart on prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake until golden brown, about 12-13 minutes. Let cool 1 minute on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
Brown Butter Icing
  1. In a small saucepan, cook butter over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Immediately transfer browned butter to a small bowl. Whisk in powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt and 1 tablespoon milk. Add more milk if necessary to reach desired consistency.
  3. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies.
Recipe Notes

NOTE:  If your cookies spread too much when baking, refrigerate dough for 15 minutes, then bake as directed.

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Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves with Caramel Filling

pumpkin spices mini loaves with caramel filling

In early September, I saw someone announce the fall season on social media. In addition to people pointing out that it was too early for the announcement, the word police corrected the person with the word autumn. Since both terms are correct, we can call the season whatever we prefer. I think autumn is a pretty sounding word, so I’ll use it for the rest of this post. Whatever you call it, these Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves are a perfect little celebration of the season. They have just the right amount of pumpkin spices, making them so fragrant that your kitchen will smell like cozy autumn heaven.

pumpkin spices mini loaves with caramel filling

I call them loaves because I originally made them in mini loaf pans. They’re so cute and delicious that I often give them as holiday gifts. This year I decided to try them in ramekins and I loved the results! I used 6-ounce ramekins, but you can use 8-ounce ramekins, any size mini loaf pans, a muffin pan or even a 9-inch loaf pan. Keep in mind that baking times will differ. To find the ramekins I used, click here.

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Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves with Caramel Filling
Mini loaves of tender pumpkin bread with caramel filling and luscious cream cheese frosting
Servings
mini loaves
Ingredients
Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves
Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings
mini loaves
Ingredients
Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves
Cream Cheese Frosting
Instructions
Pumpkin Spice Mini Loaves
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour seven 6-ounce ramekins or six 8-ounce ramekins or any loaf pans of your choice.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
  5. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla until combined.
  6. Divide batter evenly into prepared ramekins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake. (Mini loaves or muffins bake for 15-25 minutes, depending on size. 9-inch loaf bakes for 40-50 minutes)
  7. Cool completely if serving in ramekins or remove from pans after cooling for 10 minutes. Continue to cool on wire rack.
  8. Make 3/4-inch well in the center of each loaf. Fill with caramel sauce. (For the 9-inch loaf, make multiple holes with a skewer. Fill with caramel.)
  9. Top with cream cheese frosting and pumpkin seeds
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla extract and salt and beat until combined.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat at medium speed until combined.
  4. Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined.
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Raspberry Lemonade Brownies

Raspberry Lemonade Brownies by Brownie Mischief

Here is the lemon brownie enlightenment no one asked for, brought to you by the self proclaimed lemon brownie expert, yours truly! We all know what a lemon bar is. The one we all know and love has a lemon curd filling on a shortbread crust, possibly drizzled with lemon icing or sprinkled with powdered sugar. The lemon brownie is a whole different animal. Don’t mistake lemon brownies for lemon cake either. Lemon brownies contain white chocolate which gives them a rich, fudgy texture like their chocolate cousins. We may be tempted to call them blondies, but blondies have a butterscotch flavor and typically don’t contain chocolate. Now that we got that straightened out, we can sleep peacefully tonight.

May I just say that my lemon brownie credentials go all the way back to childhood? I grew up with a big lemon tree in my backyard and I loved experimenting with lemons in cooking and baking. I also experimented my way to the perfect lemonade ratio. My younger brother and I made a lemonade pact. He would pick the lemons and I would make lemonade. Our mom never bought soft drinks, so if we wanted refreshments, we had to team up! Decades ago my family was delighted to see me making a batch of raspberry lemonade for the first time. The raspberry lemonade brownie recipe I’m sharing here has that same sweet-tart flavor we enjoyed back then.

Raspberry Lemonade Brownies by Brownie Mischief

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that there is no electric mixer needed. You can literally execute this recipe with only a wooden spoon to stir it! My other favorite thing is the burst of flavor and color from the fresh raspberries. The icing contains no food coloring. Just three raspberries will give you that luscious shade of pink!

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Raspberry Lemonade Brownies
Course Dessert
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Raspberry Lemonade Bownies
Raspberry Lemonade Icing
Course Dessert
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Raspberry Lemonade Bownies
Raspberry Lemonade Icing
Instructions
Raspberry Lemonade Bownies
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line an *8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium microwaveable bowl, heat white chocolate and butter in the microwave for 20 second intervals until melted. Alternately, melt white chocolate and butter on the stove in a double boiler.
  4. In a large bowl, combine melted chocolate and butter mixture, sugar, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and eggs. Stir until smooth.
  5. Add flour and stir just until combined.
  6. Gently fold in raspberries.
  7. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan. Bake until top is set and edges are light golden brown, about 25-28 minutes.
  8. Let cool completely.
Raspberry Lemonade Icing
  1. In a small bowl, smash raspberries with a fork.
  2. Add powdered sugar, melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Whisk until smooth, adding more lemon juice as necessary.
  3. Spread icing over cooled brownies.
  4. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve with additional raspberries, if desired.
Recipe Notes

*To find the 8 x 8 inch pan I used, click here.

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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Orange Slices

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Oranges

Every winter, when blood oranges come back in season, I start keeping an eye out for them at grocery stores and farmers markets. This year was different. I’ve been at home, having my groceries delivered instead of perusing the local produce aisles. If you’ve been entrusting strangers to do your shopping like I have, then you know delivery produce selections are hit and miss. So I was elated when a bag of perfectly beautiful, ripe blood oranges landed on my doorstep. This simple joy made my day. There was no choice. I had to make something worthy of the gorgeous red beauties!

I didn’t get enough of gingerbread this holiday season, so I decided to make a gingerbread cupcake recipe that I created a few years ago when I was experimenting with blood oranges. I used blood orange zest in the cupcake batter and brushed the warm cupcakes with the blood orange syrup left over from making the candied oranges. If you don’t make the candied oranges, you can easily make a batch of the syrup* or skip this step altogether. They will still be delicious. I topped the cupcakes with cream cheese icing made with more orange zest and some blood orange juice mixed in. The juice makes the icing turns a soft shade of pink.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Blood Oranges

Candied blood orange slices are so stunning, that I can’t bring myself to just lay them on top of a dessert. They remind me of stained glass windows. I like to place them on toothpicks so they can stand up in regal style! Many recipes out there will instruct you to boil the orange slices, then let them air dry. This is perfectly fine if you don’t mind floppy candied oranges. For this recipe, boiling the slices, then letting them dry in the oven on low heat will give them enough stiffness to stand up.

If you can’t find blood oranges where you live, here’s a link to get blood oranges shipped to you. This recipe will also work with other types of oranges. You won’t get the deep scarlet color and the flavor will have a bit more tartness, but it will still be beautiful and delicious!

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Gingerbread Cupcakes with Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Servings
12-14 cupcakes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Candied Blood Orange Slices
Servings
12-14 cupcakes
Ingredients
Gingerbread Cupcakes
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Candied Blood Orange Slices
Instructions
Gingerbread Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray the wells of a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed, until smooth.
  4. Add brown sugar and orange zest and beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Add molasses and beat until combined.
  6. Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined.
  7. Mix in dry ingredients in two additions, alternating with buttermilk. Beat just until combined.
  8. Scoop the batter into prepared muffin tin, filling wells 2/3 full. (If you have any remaining batter, prepare an additional muffin tin.)
  9. Bake for 15-18 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan.
  11. Place cupcakes upside down on cooling rack and brush generously with orange simple syrup. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese at medium speed, until smooth.
  2. Add butter, orange zest and salt and beat until combined.
  3. Add powdered sugar. Beat at low speed until powdered sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth.
  4. Add blood orange juice and beat, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Candied Blood Orange Slices
  1. Slice oranges into thin 1/4 inch slices.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a shallow saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add orange slices to saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain oranges, reserving syrup.
  5. Heat oven to 175ºF. Place on a large baking sheet lined with a baking mat in a single layer and bake until orange slices begin to stiffen, about 2 hours.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet. If desired, insert toothpicks when slices are cool enough to handle. The slices will continue to stiffen as they cool.
Recipe Notes

*To make orange simple syrup,  combine the juice of one orange with enough water to make 1/2 cup. Combine mixture with the zest of one orange and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool and transfer to a glass container. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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Pastel Snowball Cookies

pastel snowball cookies

This delightful melt-in-your-mouth cookie recipe has been in my family for decades. We call them Snowballs, but they’re also known as Mexican Wedding Cakes or Greek Kourabiedes. I make them every year for Christmas, but they would also be perfect for Easter, Mother’s Day, birthday parties, tea parties, weddings, bridal showers, and baby showers.

Pecans are my favorite nuts to use in this recipe, but you can use almost any nuts you have on hand. The original snowy white version is a classic but you can take them up a notch with pretty pastels and fruit flavors. You can use crushed, freeze-dried fruit for color and subtle flavor. Spirulina is a nutritious, vibrant powder you can use to make beautiful blue cookies. You can also dress up your snowballs with edible glitter or luster dust used for cake decorating. There are endless ways to be creative with these cute cookies!

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Pastel Snowball Cookies
Melt-in-your-mouth powdered sugar covered shortbread cookies
Course Dessert
Keyword cookies
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cookies
Pink powdered sugar
Blue powered sugar
Lavender powered sugar
Course Dessert
Keyword cookies
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Cookies
Pink powdered sugar
Blue powered sugar
Lavender powered sugar
Instructions
Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 325º. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy.
  3. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla and sea salt. Beat until light and fluffy.
  4. In a separate medium bowl, combine flour and pecans.
  5. Add flour and pecan mixture to butter mixture gradually. Mix on low speed until well combined.
  6. Shape dough into scant 1-inch balls. Place balls one inch apart onto parchment lined baking sheets.
  7. Bake until light golden brown, about 18-21 minutes
  8. Place the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a plastic bag. With a spatula, transfer three warm cookies into the bag. Shake gently to coat cookies with powdered sugar. Transfer to cooling rack. Repeat with remaining cookies.
  9. Cool cookies completely then proceed to instructions for pastel powdered sugar, depending on which color you have selected.
Pink powdered sugar
  1. Process freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries into a fine powder in a mini food processor.
  2. Whisk freeze-dried berry powder with 1/3 cup powered sugar together in a small bowl.
  3. Transfer powered sugar mixture to a plastic bag. Place three cookies in the bag and shake gently until coated with the powdered sugar mixture. Transfer cookies back to the rack and repeat with remaining cookies.
Blue powered sugar
  1. Whisk 1/3 cup powdered sugar and spriulina powder in a small bowl.
  2. Transfer powered sugar mixture to a plastic bag. Place three cookies in the bag and shake gently until coated with the powdered sugar mixture. Transfer cookies back to the rack and repeat with remaining cookies.
Lavender powered sugar
  1. Process freeze-dried blueberries into a fine powder in a mini food processor.
  2. Whisk freeze-dried blueberry powder with 1/3 cup powered sugar together in a small bowl. Whisk in petal dust for a more vibrant color, if desired.
  3. Transfer powered sugar mixture to a plastic bag. Place three cookies in the bag and shake gently until coated with the powdered sugar mixture. Transfer cookies back to the rack and repeat with remaining cookies.
Recipe Notes

*The ratios for the pastel powered sugar are approximate. Freeze-dried fruit varies in color. Add more or less to achieve your desired shade.

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