A Better Gift
Christmas cookies were big in my house growing up. As a young sweets lover I loved to bake, or do anything in the kitchen with Mom. I’m not sure which was better – the act of baking itself or the pleasure of eating the treats!
Cupcakes, birthday cakes, cookies—they were all so much fun to make! In our family each child got to choose what flavor or style his birthday cake would be each year. Biiiiig stuff! We enjoyed a variety of Christmas cookies, but decorated sugar cookies were Mom’s favorite. She joyfully told the story that when she was a little girl, they inadvertently misplaced a box of sugar cookies and found them at Easter time-- It was like finding GOLD! Knowing she loved these also made gift giving easy, because they were such a treat for her. As she grew older and couldn’t bake anymore, ANY holiday was a good time for her favorites!
Toymakers made children’s dreams come true when they introduced the Easy Bake Oven in the 1960s. One Christmas, my seven or eight year-old self circled and highlighted it in our Sears Christmas Catalog for my wish list. This was my kind of toy! MUST HAVE Easy Bake Oven! Think of all the treats I could make, and eat!
Mom said, “No, it’s too dangerous.” TOO DANGEROUS?!! What was she talking about?? I still remember my deep disappointment.
Instead, my thoughtful and caring mother gave me a shoebox filled with little Washington cake mixes, frosting mixes, a pair of hot mitts, a few mixing tools, and the promise that she would help me with my baking endeavors. Wow, thanks, Mom. (Womp, womp)
But it was a great decision on her part. Not only did I not just bake treats for myself and possibly get injured with a “too dangerous” oven, but I got to spend time with Mom, baking like a big girl. She instilled in me a confidence that “I can do this” with baking. This continues to be a blessing as I still enjoy experimenting and trying new baking projects, not just for myself, but to share with others.
Mom loved my poem, “Cookies In Heaven”. I wonder now, this Christmas, if she’s enjoying decorated sugar cookies heaven? And if so, what they must taste like??
As an adult I’ve thought of buying myself an Easy Bake Oven, but the luster is gone. But oh, what I would give to bake with Mom again.
I have never made homemade cinnamon rolls...
...until last week!
I was always pretty intimidated, but was convinced by the rave reviews and great instructions on this post by Robyn Stone at Add A Pinch to give it a try! The recipe makes a LOT, but they can be frozen, or shared. :)
Evan is a big cinnamon roll fan, and loved these... Me, too!
I actually ran out of time and made these in two days. After the part where you cut and lay them in the pan, I covered the pan well in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. I gave them their second rise the next morning, by letting them sit above a warm toaster oven. Ever tried Saigon cinnamon or creme bouquet flavoring? I'd never heard of these, but after reading different recommendations, I've been using them in my baked goods.
All I can say is "Wow!"
Wish I could share one with you!
Click here for recipe.
Wills Kitchen: Mexican Cornbread Casserole
Winter Storm Quinn dropped 7 inches of snow on us today. A great day to stay in and make a hearty meal!
I had some Jiffy Cornbread Mix I had to use up and found a recipe that I thought Evan and I would both like...
Wills Kitchen Mexican Cornbread Casserole-- recipe here. Delicious! (Only Evan's side got the jalapeños)
It looks like Will has some other great recipes, too!
Soughdough Dinner Rolls
I'm a big bread lover, and have really enjoyed trying different bread recipes. I was intimidated to try sourdough bread till one of the recipe blogs I follow posted a recipe, with a link to how to make an easy 'starter'. So, I made it-- and so glad I did! It's a simple recipe that just involves some waiting time. The easy Sourdough Starter Recipe I used is here, and the Sourdough Rolls Recipe is here. Great thing is, the 'starter' keeps in the refrigerator, so I'll be ready to go next time. :-) Try it, you'll like it!
I enjoy watching baking competitions on TV and was inspired to try something a little over-the-top for Evan's birthday cake this year-- a four-layer, supposed-to-be-'pumpkin'-shaped chocolate cake with orange-colored peanut butter frosting. Each layer had chocolate frosting and chopped up Reece's cups in the middle, and as you can see-- the whole thing is covered in fall sprinkles and peanut M-n-Ms. Pheww! Yeah, it's a little rich... While it's no showpiece, Evan liked it and it was fun to make!
Early birthday treats for Evan: Bat Oreo Pops
Jewish Apple Cake
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