Regarding July 9th

Just wanted everyone to know about a very important day this month.  Most of you know July is “National Ice Cream” month.   However, did you know, July 9th is “National Sugar Cookie Day“?   I am letting you know ahead of time so you will have plenty of time to make your cookie dough, stash it in the freezer (yes, sugar cookie dough freezes very well) and bake a batch of fresh homemade sugar cookies!

Be sure and let me know how you celebrate the big day.  (I’ll post a photo of the best celebration!)  Your family and friends will thank you!

Happy Baking!

PS: July 22 is “Ratcatcher Day” (really!)  So…go catch a rat?? Yikes!

Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July!

  I love the 4th of July!  Fireworks and picnics, get out the lawn chairs and wait ….(what seems like forever) for the fireworks to begin. 

This year I am going  to fireworks celebrations Fri. and Sat. (maybe even Sun. somewhere?)  Can’t wait for that first ear-shattering……BOOM!  Then it begins!  Sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes 1 hour of “open your eyes and turn on the party lights in the sky“.

One of my very favorite July 4th  memories is a yearly party with the Swemm family.  Kerrie Swemm was my very dear childhood friend and our families would meet near the American Legion Post in my hometown of Danville.  There was always wonderful picnic food; grilled hotdogs, red potato salad and  garden fresh tomatoes from my dads garden.  Then there were the desserts!   On one end of the food table lay a massive amount of all things sweet and tasty.  I remember the pies; berry, apple and lemon.  Also, my moms famous blond brownies and a sheet cake iced with homemade buttercream iced to look like the flag; red, white and blue.   Then there were the cookies!  Chocolate chip, molasses and ginger, peanut butter, and of course sugar cookies.  I helped make the sugar cookies. (go figure?)  My job was to sprinkle red or blue sparkling sugar onto the cut out cookies.  Then my mom would pop them into the oven and we would wait.  12 minute later………joy and happiness!  Cookies!  We could each have just one cookie before the picnic. Guess which one I wanted?

I remember all of this like it was last week……….can it really be over 30 years ago?  My mom no longer bakes so I carry on the cookie tradition for her.  So here’s to you mom (and dad).  Happy 4thof July!  Enjoy the fireworks tomorrow! I love you both!

Happy Baking!

Coffee and Cookies

Don’t you just love coffee?  People that know me, know I NEED my morning coffee!  I like to sit outside and drink my first cup and slowly greet the morning.  (It’s even better with a plate of cookies!)

Did you know, by adding strong, cooled coffee to any chocolate dessert, you bumb up the flavor of the chocolate? Just a tablespoon or so, really adds to the taste.  You will not really taste the coffee, but it will make whatever you bake with chocolate so much better.  You can also use espresso powder.  Yum!

Some of my favorite chocolate parings: Add orange, real vanilla or hazelnuts for a wonderful taste treat.

  I can never leave a recipe alone.  I am always experimenting with unusual flavors.  But…….trust me……sometimes they do not work.  (Like the time I added hot peppers to brownies.)  Now, a bit of heat in chocolate brownies can be quite tasty, but these were awful!  See?……..even I make baking “boo boos”.  The point is, I try…….I experiment.  And sometime it turns out to be a wonderful new treat!  NOTE: A word about altering recipes for baked goods. Be very careful not to alter the liquid/dry ratio or the fat/dry ratio in baked goods.  You want to add ‘flavor’ not change the structure of the basic recipe.

So go bake something today!  Let me know what you come up with! I love to hear from you!

Happy Baking!

Chill that (cookie) dough!

Wow! It’s hot out there! One very important thing in rolling out any cookie dough, is to be sure your dough is well chilled.  This makes rolling out the dough and cutting cookies out so much easier!  Remember, if your dough is too warm, it will stick to the mat and your rolling pin.  You will end up using more and more flour to keep it from sticking and your cookies will be tough and will grow to giant-size!  So always freeze or really chill dough.

Another tip: place several ice packs on your counter top.  Place the wrapped cookie dough on top. This way as you roll out small amounts of the dough, the rest of the dough will stay chilled.  I use to re-wrap my dough about every 10 minutes to chill it over and over.  Now I can leave it on the counter (on top of  the ice packs). It stays nice and cold.

Happy Baking!

-Cathy