Pumpkin Cake

Pumpkin Cake

This perfect pumpkin cake brings back so many memories. The tender, moist texture reminds me of the pumpkin cake bars I used to make in junior high. I got the treasured bar recipe from an old children’s cookbook. I lent the cookbook to a neighbor and never saw the book or the recipe again. Through trial and error, I came up with this cake, which I think is even better! It’s so delicious it doesn’t need frosting, but the classic pairing with cream cheese frosting takes it over the top.

Print Recipe
Pumpkin Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, pumpkin
Servings
Ingredients
Pumpkin Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting
Course Dessert
Keyword cake, pumpkin
Servings
Ingredients
Pumpkin Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting
Instructions
Pumpkin Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line the bottom of an *8-inch round cake pan with **parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
  3. In a large bowl, beat sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin purée with an electric mixer, until smooth, about 1 minute.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture. Stir just until combined.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared cake pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes.
  6. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together with an electric mixer, until creamy.
  2. Beat in vanilla extract and salt until well combined.
  3. On low speed, beat in powdered sugar.
  4. Beat in heavy cream a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. Stir with a spatula to smooth out any bubbles.
Recipe Notes

*To find the cake pan I used, click here. **To find the parchment rounds I used, click here.

Peaches and Cream Loaf Cake

Every peach season, I get excited by the abundance of peaches at my local farmers market and I end up buying way too many. So if you’re like me and you have ripe peaches sitting on your counter, turn them into peach purée. I love adding peach purée to my iced tea or adding it to desserts like this moist, tender cake. This is one of my most popular cake recipes on social media, and for good reason. It does not disappoint! To watch the TikTok video, click here.

Print Recipe
Peaches and Cream Loaf Cake
Moist, tender peach cake with peach cream cheese icing
Keyword cake, peach
Servings
loaf
Ingredients
Cake
Icing
Keyword cake, peach
Servings
loaf
Ingredients
Cake
Icing
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line the bottom of an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Set aside 2 tablespoons peach purée for icing.
  4. In a large bowl, beat sugar, oil, eggs, remaining peach purée and extracts until smooth.
  5. Add flour mixture and beat just until combined.
  6. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes.
  7. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Spread icing on cooled cake.
Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of peach purée. Beat until smooth. Add additional peach purée, if needed, until desired consistency is reached. Fold in diced peaches.

Pineapple Scones with Cream Cheese Icing

Pineapple Scones with Cream Cheese Icing

I had pineapple smoothies two days in a row. There’s something so vibrant and refreshing about pineapple. It feels sunny and tropical. Should scones ever feel sunny and tropical? I’m going to say yes! Scones deserve a summer vacation too. They can take a break from tea parties and coffee shops and enjoy a little sunshine.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you experience your first bite of a scone with a burst of pineapple flavor. I immediately thought, “Why isn’t this a thing?” There are probably other pineapple scones out there in the universe, but they’re definitely not well known, like the very popular blueberry scone for example. I’m going to go so far as to say, pineapple scones are better than blueberry scones. There, I said it. (And this is coming from a person who loves blueberries.)

Print Recipe
Pineapple Scones with Cream Cheese Icing
Servings
scones
Ingredients
Pineapple Scones
Cream Cheese Icing
Servings
scones
Ingredients
Pineapple Scones
Cream Cheese Icing
Instructions
Pineapple Scones
  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. Work butter into the flour mixture with your fingers or with a pastry blender until pea size chunks form.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together heavy cream, pineapple juice and vanilla.
  5. Stir heavy cream mixture into flour and butter mixture until a shaggy dough is formed.
  6. Fold in pineapple.
  7. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead briefly, by folding dough over onto itself a few times. Do not overwork dough.
  8. Pat or roll dough into a 7-inch round. Cut dough into 8 wedges.
  9. Place scones about 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet. Brush scones with egg wash.
  10. Bake until golden brown, about 18-22 minutes.
  11. Transfer scones to a cooling rack to cool completely. Drizzle with icing.
Cream Cheese Icing
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
  2. Add powdered sugar and pineapple juice. Whisk until smooth.

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.

Print Recipe
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.

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.

Print Recipe
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.

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 love that it contains cornstarch, which is a decades old secret to tender dough. I 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.

Print Recipe
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 and vanilla 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 1 1/2-2 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.

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Lemon Crinkle Cookies by Brownie Mischief
Click here to watch the video.

Crinkle cookies, also known as crackle cookies, have been around for a very long time. The pretty, crispy, cracked exterior and the soft, moist interior are what we love about them! There’s definitely no shortage of recipes for crinkles out there, everything from chocolate to red velvet. I noticed a new wave of interest in lemon crinkles on social media. I even saw an audacious cookie company selling lemon crinkles for twelve dollars each, more money than it will cost for this entire batch! So many of the recipes I tried were disappointing, especially the ones made with cake mix. So I created my own version and I’m sharing it with you. Here’s to making sure delicious lemon crinkle cookies are available for all to enjoy, not just a select few.

This recipe requires a bit of chilling, which I know many people don’t like because they’re impatient. I happen to be one of those people. Old fashioned crinkle cookies require about 3 hours of chilling. My recipe has the addition of cornstarch, which helps prevent spreading and allows for a shorter chilling time. As an added bonus, cornstarch makes the cookies more tender. Win win!

Fresh lemon zest and lemon juice in these cookies is crucial to the best lemon flavor. A bit of pure lemon extract is added to enhance that flavor. Don’t be tempted to use imitation extracts. The flavor will disappoint you. I added two drops of lemon yellow food color, which made them so pretty they look like pure sunshine!

Print Recipe
Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Lemon cookies with a crackled, crispy exterior and a soft, tender interior
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and lemon zest together until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in egg until well combined.
  4. Mix in lemon juice and extracts until well combined.
  5. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
  6. Add food color, if using, and stir to combine.
  7. Refrigerate cookie dough for 30 minutes to one hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  9. Roll cookies into balls, about 2 tablespoons each. **I used a #30 cookie scoop.
  10. Roll balls dough balls generously in powdered sugar.
  11. Place two inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.
  12. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for one minute then transfer to cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

*To find Americolor lemon yellow gel food color, click here.

**To find a #30 cookie scoop, click here.

To find the striped wax paper pictured above, click here.

 

Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes

Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes

Once upon a time, there was a little black bear who woke up from a long nap. As she stretched, she felt her tummy growl. She ventured into the morning sunshine and smelled something sweet. She sniffed the air, following the sweet fragrance until she came upon a beautiful purple tree. She climbed up to a comfy branch and ate the tender, purple blossoms to her heart’s content.

Bears, butterflies and bees know something good when they see it. We humans can also enjoy lilacs. I knew lilacs were edible, but I hadn’t tasted them until recently. The flavor reminds me of beets, slightly sweet with a vegetable aftertaste. I really wanted to try lilac syrup after seeing so many photos of pretty purple syrup online. I discovered that lilac syrup is not purple. It’s more of a dull, brownish blue-green. Many people use food coloring or blueberries to color their syrup. I decided to skip that step since I would be using my lilac syrup inside of cake layers. I made a simple syrup with lilac blossoms and let them steep for a couple of hours. It was just long enough to give a subtle lilac flavor without being too floral. If you want a stronger lilac flavor, I suggest using more lilac blossoms rather than steeping longer to avoid bitterness.

I paired the lilac syrup with this soft, fluffy vanilla cake and silky Swiss meringue buttercream. If you aren’t a fan of lilac syrup, feel free to use vanilla simple syrup instead and just use the lilac blossoms to decorate your cakes. They look stunning on any cake or cupcakes.

Print Recipe
Lilac Vanilla Mini Cakes
Soft, fluffy mini white vanilla cakes with lilac syrup and vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with lilac blossoms
Course Dessert
Servings
mini cakes
Ingredients
Lilac Syrup
White Vanilla Cake
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Course Dessert
Servings
mini cakes
Ingredients
Lilac Syrup
White Vanilla Cake
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Instructions
Lilac Syrup
  1. Combine lilac blossoms, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently to dissolve sugar.
  2. Turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow lilac blossoms to steep for 2 hours. Pass lilac syrup through a mesh sieve.
White Vanilla Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, oil and vanilla bean paste with an electric mixer at medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. On medium speed, beat in egg whites in two additions, then beat in egg until well combined.
  5. On low speed, beat in one third of the flour mixture, then beat in sour cream just until combined.
  6. Beat in the remaining flour in two additions, alternating with milk. Beat just until combined.
  7. Transfer batter to prepared cake pans. Bake for 28-33 minutes, or until top is light golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not over bake.
  8. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and continue cooling on a wire rack.
  9. Cut cakes into twelve 2 3/4-inch rounds using a cookie or biscuit cutter.
  10. Using a pastry brush, brush mini cakes generously with lilac syrup or vanilla simple syrup.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a large heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water.
  2. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and temperature of 160ºF is reached.
  3. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Whisk until glossy, stiff peaks form and mixture reaches room temperature.
  4. Turn mixer to medium-low speed. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing butter to fully incorporate before adding more. If mixture looks curdled, keep mixing and it will correct itself.
  5. Switch to a paddle attachment. On low speed, mix in vanilla bean paste and salt. Continue mixing on low speed for a few minutes until smooth.
  6. Remove about 3/4 cup of frosting and transfer to a small bowl. Using a toothpick, place two tiny drops of lilac gel food color and one tiny drop of violet gel food color into the bowl. Mix with a spatula until well combined.
Assembly
  1. Smear a bit of frosting on each mini cake board. Top with a cake round, frosting, then a second cake round. Frost with a crumb coat if desired. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Frost mini cakes with white Swiss meringue buttercream, then smear small amounts of lilac Swiss meringue buttercream around the sides and top. Smooth frosting with a bench scraper and smooth the tops with a small offset spatula. Decorate with lilac blossoms.
Vanilla Simple Syrup (optional)
  1. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. When sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract.
Recipe Notes

*If you can't find ultra fine granulated sugar, it's ok to substitute with regular granulated sugar.

**To find the lilac gel food color I used, click here.

***To find the violet gel food color I used, click here.

****To find 3-inch mini cake boards, click here.

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.

Print Recipe
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

 

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Marble Cookies

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Marble Cookies

To the indecisive German baker who invented marble cake, I thank you! Marble cake, sampler platters and tasting flights are the perfect solution for those times when you just can’t decide. Let’s take one more decision off the table. No longer will we have to decide between chocolate and strawberry cookies. These marble cookies are the best of both worlds. Chocolate and strawberry are opposites in many ways, but complement each other so well. After all, who doesn’t love chocolate covered strawberries?

The dark chocolate cocoa powder gives these cookies a deep chocolate flavor. Freeze dried strawberries provide the sweet strawberry flavor and color. I crushed the strawberries with a mini food processor, but you can also use a mortar and pestle, a clean spice grinder or a sturdy plastic bag and a rolling pin. When you crush the 1 1/2 cups of freeze dried strawberries called for in the recipe, you’ll end up with about 1/3 cup of strawberry powder. To find freeze dried strawberries, click here.

This recipe makes about eighteen cookies but you can also make nine large cookies as seen on my recent TikTok video. Follow the instructions for large cookies. To view video, click here.

Print Recipe
Dark Chocolate Strawberry Marble Cookies
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Servings
cookies
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
  4. Beat in vanilla extract until well combined.
  5. On low speed, mix in flour mixture just until combined.
  6. Divide dough in half. Leave half of dough in the bowl and place the other half in another bowl.
  7. Add freeze dried strawberries to half of the dough and mix just until combined
  8. Add cocoa powder to the other half of the dough and mix just until combined.
  9. Roll dough into 1 1/2 teaspoon size balls. (For large cookies, roll dough into tablespoon size balls.)
  10. To form cookies, place two chocolate dough balls and two strawberry dough balls in your hand in a checkerboard pattern. Roll into a ball.
  11. Repeat with remaining dough balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  12. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  13. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  14. Place cookies two inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.
  15. Bake 10-12 minutes, until cookies are set and edges are golden. (For large cookies, bake 14-15 minutes.)
  16. Transfer to wire rack to cool. (For large cookies, cool on cookie sheet one minute, then transfer to wire rack to cool.

The Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes

Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes

The tradition of enjoying the Nutcracker Ballet at Christmastime is another thing the pandemic took from us. I’m not sure when I’ll ever feel safe sitting close to people in a theater for ballets, plays or movies. In the meantime, I can enjoy the music at home and share some Nutcracker inspired treats with you.

The Nutcracker Land of Sweets is a magical theme that has me mesmerized. Gingerbread, candy canes, gumdrops and billowy clouds of pink frosting are what dreams are made of. And that’s exactly what these dreamy cupcakes are made of. The cupcake flavor is a subtle spice cake. The recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart cake recipe I made last summer. The original cake was paired with blackberry jam, but I knew plum jam would be perfect for these cupcakes. I topped them with a mildly sweet, fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream.

Part of the fun of making these cupcakes began at the store as I collected the sweets to decorate the cupcakes. Another perk of the job is taste testing the candy. I discovered that purple spice drops are licorice flavored and red spice drops are cinnamon. Who knew?

Print Recipe
The Nutcracker Land of Sweets Cupcakes
Spice cupcakes filled with plum jam, topped with fluffy pink frosting, gingerbread men and Christmas candy, and dusted with sugar snow
Course Dessert
Keyword cupcakes
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Spice cupcakes
Pink Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Course Dessert
Keyword cupcakes
Servings
cupcakes
Ingredients
Spice cupcakes
Pink Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Instructions
Spice Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a 12 serving muffin pan with disposable baking cups. (I used silver foil liners.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg, egg white, and vanilla, one at a time, mixing until well combined.
  5. Add flour mixture in two additions, alternating with milk. Mix until combined.
  6. Divide batter evenly into wells of prepared muffin pan, filling about 2/3 full.
  7. Bake until light golden and toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 16-18 minutes.
  8. Let cool in muffin pan for 5 minutes. Gently transfer cupcakes to cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. Core the center of each cupcake, removing a 3/4-inch deep circle. Fill with jam and replace the circle top.
  10. Frost cupcakes with pink Swiss meringue buttercream. Decorate with cookies and candies. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Pink Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercreamgue Buttercream
  1. Combine egg whites and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Set over a pan of gently simmering water.
  2. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and temperature of 160ºF is reached.
  3. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixture with a whisk attachment. Whisk on low speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed. Whisk until glossy, stiff peaks form and mixture reaches room temperature.
  4. Turn mixer to medium-low speed. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing the butter to fully incorporate each time before adding more.
  5. Switch to paddle attachment. On low speed, mix in vanilla, salt and food color. Continue mixing on low speed for a few minutes until smooth.
Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Spice Cake

Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Apple Spice Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

These Apple Spice Cookies were one of my most popular cookies last fall so I decided to bring them back a little early this year. I’m definitely not the type of person to be drinking pumpkin spice lattes in 90º weather in the middle of August, but these are my favorite fall cookies ever so I wanted to give them a proper head start. The combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla in this cookie dough will remind you of cinnamon rolls and apple pie and help you look forward to fall.

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.

Print Recipe
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 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 20 minutes, then bake as directed.