We made these for the first time for Christmas this year, and this has become one of our favorite little treats. People can't believe that they are homemade and always ask us which bakery we bought them.
For the Cookies
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. If using vanilla bean, scrape seeds from pod. Discard pod.
In a large bowl stir together flour and granulated sugar. Using a pastry blender or large fork, cut in butter and the remaining vanilla seeds or extract until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Knead until smooth. Form into a ball.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a fluted biscuit cutter or your favorite cookie cutter cut dough out into an even number of cookies. Place cut cookies 1 inch apart on parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.
For the Orange Buttercream Filling
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoons milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.\
Add half of the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of the milk, the vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract), and orange peel. Beat until smooth.
Beat in the remaining powdered sugar and enough additional milk to make frosting of piping consistency.
When cookies are completely cooled, transfer Orange Buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a small closed-star tip. Pipe frosting on bottoms of half of the cookies. Top with the remaining cookies, bottom sides down.
Store cookies unfilled, and assemble when ready to serve or share for best results.
In anticipation of St. Patrick's Day we decided to make some Irish Cream Cheesecakes. We cut this recipe in half to make 6 individual Cheesecakes. Just the right amount of Bailey's and coffee flavor. Yummy!
1 cup Oreo cookie crumbs
2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp melted butter
3 eggs, room temp
3 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup very strong coffee
1/4 tsp instant espresso powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Using a food processor, process the Oreo cookies until they resemble fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and 2 Tbs of sugar into the cookie crumbs and stir until they are all combined. Press into the bottom of a spring form pan, or if making individual cheesecakes, press into rings on a cookie sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper. Bake the individual rounds in 350 degree oven for 10 mintes, set aside.
Beat together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the vanilla and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Then beat in the sour cream, coffee, espresso powder and Irish Cream until smooth and creamy.
Pour the filling into the prepared spring form pan, or into greased and parchment lined ramekins for individual cheesecakes.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. For individual cheesecakes arrange ramekins in a large baking dish and fill the dish with boiling water about halfway up the ramekins during baking.
Remove from oven to cooling racks for 20 minutes. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before serving.
To serve the individual cheesecakes, run a warmed knife around edges of ramekins, and turn out onto prepared cookie rounds.
As a kid, Mom always made a homemade butter cake for birthday's, special occassions, and just about anytime she was making a cake. I remember her hand written recipe card yellowed and stained from all the years of use. It read "Dad's Two Egg Cake". The only thing better than that cake with sliced banana's and whipped cream on your birthday was the little teacup with a couple of tablespoons of cake batter that she would save just for me.
I have always had problems with the recipe that Mom used. It would often come out with a corn muffin texture instead of that smooth light cake consistency. Finally, I have found the changes that make this cake come out perfect every time. So here it is, my variation of Mom's - "Dad's Two Egg Cake" recipe.
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease and flour two 8 inch x 2 inch baking pans or prepare cupcake tins if making cupcakes, set aside.
In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In mixing bowl beat the butter until light and fluffy, add eggs and mix until well blended.
In alternating additions add one third of the milk and dry ingredients and beat with hand mixture, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Repeat until all of the milk and dry ingredients have been inccorporated. Finish by mixing in the vanilla, but don't over beat the mixture.
Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally between the pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes (19 to 21 minutes for cupcakes), or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven.
Cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn cakes out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Brenda and I have tried a few different homemade brownie recipes over the years, and none of them could get us to switch from using a box mix... until now! After making these the first time, we will never go back to a box mix.
Melt together the butter, instant coffee granules and 11 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder and salt; add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and remaining chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 2 Tbs flour, then add them to the chocolate batter.
Spread batter evenly in the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then knock the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the batter. Bake for approximately 15 minutes more until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake!
You might remember around 6 years ago we tiled a whole lot up at the camp. Well, I guess it is about time we finished what we started way back then. We had planned to redo the sunroom tile as part of that project, we even bought the tile for it but never got around to it... until now. Of course after 6 years, the scope of the project got a little bigger. We have added radiant floor heat, and are putting in a ceiling fan and recessed lights as well. Here is a slideshow of the progress so far. A few more weekends until it is complete.