Sweet Hearts for My Sweetheart

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What do you make for your Valentine who doesn’t like chocolate? Mini fruit pies on sticks, of course! These adorable heart-shaped pie pops were the perfect edible gift and they were pretty easy to make too.

All you need is a good homemade pie dough, a heart shaped cookie cutter, a jar of your favorite jam and a pack of oven-safe lollipop sticks. I rolled the dough out to about an 1/8 of an inch and then cut an even number of hearts.

It’s a bit of a challenge to get a decent dollop of jam in the center since the top dough heart will inevitably press some of the jam out the sides, but it’s still pie crust and jam, so no one’s complaining. A sprinkling of turbinado sugar over the egg wash before baking added some crunch and a little extra sweetness. They’re basically fancy Pop Tarts on sticks and they do an excellent job of brightening up a snowy winter day.

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Christmas Cookies, You Will Be Missed

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is coming to a close. This festive time has flown by (okay, honestly the past few MONTHS have flown by, hence my disgraceful lack of blogging) and I’m one of those people who instantly gets depressed the moment people start taking down their Christmas decorations.

But it is still December and I fully intend to keep the holiday spirit alive as long as I can. To quote that large absent-minded spirit, “It is the season of the spirit, the message if you hear it, is make it last all year!”

I was lucky enough to have my best friend/cousin, Hallie, visit me the weekend before Christmas and while we spent an inordinate amount of time watching Hallmark Christmas movies, we also did one of the things we love to do together — BAKE!

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After hours combing Pinterest (fine, it was probably, like, five minutes, or one cheesy Hallmark scene), Hallie found this gem of a recipe for gingerbread cookies and we got to work.

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They were amazing! So soft and chewy with a slightly crisp exterior. We swapped out the granulated sugar for turbindo sugar to roll the dough balls in and it added an excellent crunch and caramelized flavor. I highly recommend them — Christmas time or not!

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Summertime Sweets!

It’s practically impossible to believe that 2014 is more than half over and we are swiftly approaching the 4th of July. The good old FoJ is one of my all-time favorite holidays and the traditional summertime foods associated with the day almost rival the epic bounty that is Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m looking forward to whipping up some patriotic treats next week, but until then, here are a few of my favorites from years past.

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Blondies Have More Fun

Just look at these gorgeous golden bars studded with dark and white chocolate and toasted walnuts…they’re a sight to be seen. The secret to their supreme deliciousness (or so I’m told, by the brilliant folks at Food 52) is the added boost of vanilla. This recipe calls for 4 teaspoons — about twice as much as a typical blondie recipe. The result is an ooey gooey cookie bar with an extreme depth of flavor.

Of course, the a scoop of vanilla frozen custard doesn’t hurt when it comes to amping up the flavor. It’s like eating an ice cream sandwich in a cup. And who wouldn’t love that?

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Hoppy Easter!

Hoppy Easter!

Chocolate chip cookie cups make the perfect little nest for M&M eggs.

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Treats for Plummy!

IMG_1948I suppose I should get used to it…after all the wedding showers come all the baby showers. It is, as they say, that time of my life. Friends are getting married and having babies, which for me means a lot of baking.

For my dear friend Katie J, I knew I had two key ingredients I wanted to incorporate: peanut butter and Oreos. Lest you think these are some of her pregnancy cravings, let me assure you, they are not. These are regular old Katie J faves and perfect flavor profiles for baby shower treats. I went with classic Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies and Funfetti Oreo Cupcakes inspired by these beauties.

And now, gratuitous photos of some delectable desserts…

I know, you’re welcome.

Then there were the lemon cookie cutouts shaped like umbrellas with fluffy vanilla frosting and a sprinkling of sanding sugar for that oh so baby shower effect.

They made the perfect party favors along with these straight up Pinterest ‘Ready to Pop’ bags of popcorn and M&Ms.

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We have my very talented mom to thank for all of the non-dessert food including three types of quiches(including Blue Cheese & Herb, Spinach, and Quiche Lorraine), a gorgeous salad, roasted asparagus, and mini muffins.

We are so nailing this baby shower thing. Bring on the next one!

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Sweet Hearts

I made these little cookie favors for my brother’s wedding this past summer (oh my gosh, remember summer?!) but they would work perfectly for Valentine’s Day! Just swap out the blue and white for pink and red and you’re good to go.

They look more complicated than they are — all you need is a big batch of homemade sugar cookies shaped like hearts and a bowl of icing glacé (what’s that, you say? It’s like royal icing, but tastes better). Pipe a border of thickened icing around the edge of the cookies and let it dry. Then flood the center of the cookie with looser icing until it’s completely smooth. While the icing is still wet, pipe small dots in a different icing color around the border then immediately drag a toothpick smoothly through the dots until a chain of cute little hearts form!

Now you can make sweet hearts for your sweetheart!

Icing Glacé Recipe

1lb powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
6 tbsp. whole milk
6 tbsp. light corn syrup (6 tbsp. is equal to 1/4 cup plus another 2 tbsp.)
1 tsp. extract (vanilla, almond, whatever works)

Whisk powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Stir in corn syrup and extract and whisk until smooth (this should be a good flooding consistency — add more powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired thickness for piping). Add food coloring as needed (gel food coloring works best).

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