Visions of Sugar Plum


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Hello everyone!  I hope everyone had a happy holiday season.  I'm still here in Missouri, baking cookies as usual.  I've switched gears from sugar cookies to macarons.  I hadn't baked these since pastry school and forgot how fun they are to bake.  They're tricky to make, but once you've made them a few times you get the feel for them.  I've baked four batches in the past month. 

I'm trying to perfect the recipe and technique.  Soon, I'd like to experiment with different flavors and colors.  Pictures to follow!  Do you all have a favorite macaron recipe?  Or a technique I should know about?  What flavor should I bake next?  I'm thinking some Valentine's Day macarons need to happen.  Or Mardi Gras.... that could be fun as well.  

Science Cookies

Friday, November 2, 2018

I've been slacking on baking sugar cookies lately.  I baked these guys a few weeks ago for my sister's boyfriend who is an instructor at a college here in Springfield.  He teaches biology and requested mitosis and meiosis cookies for his class. 

So I baked the cookies, frosted them, and painted them to look like the cells going through the different phases.  Kind of fun, kind of tedious.  I didn't have a lot of time to make them, unfortunately.  Work and homework has gotten the best of me lately.

I'm looking forward to making some Thanksgiving cookies!  My work is having a Thanksgiving potluck so maybe I'll make some little turkey cookies. 

What have you guys been baking lately?  I really need to bake something with pumpkin very soon....

Leaves & Pumpkins Sugar Cookies

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Sugar cookie batch two and three were leaves and pumpkins.  I had a little better control of the icing this time, but it's still uneven and not quite fluid.  Practice makes perfect!  I'm going to bake a batch of sugar cookies this weekend for my nephews' birthday party.  Hopefully they'll turn out well.  Stay tuned to see what they are!  Oh, I used luster dust for the first time on these cookies.  I dyed it yellow and painted it on top of the dried icing.  I think it would be really pretty mixed into the icing.

Apple Sugar Cookies

Monday, September 17, 2018

I've started practicing baking and decorating sugar cookies as a side hobby.  These little apple sugar cookies was my first attempt.  I'm still trying to perfect the cookie recipe, but I'm pretty pleased with it so far.  Ideally, I would prefer them a little fluffier and softer.  The cookies were decorated with royal icing, and I had a little trouble getting the right consistency.  

I need to thin down the icing more.  Also, I felt like I had to use a ton of food coloring (gel and liquid) to get a bright red.  Does super concentrated food coloring exist?  Where do I buy it from?  Anyway, thanks for stopping by and reading part one of my sugar cookie decorating journey.  :) 

Do you have a favorite sugar cookie recipe?  What cookie shape should I bake next?

BraveTart Buttermilk Biscuits

Monday, August 6, 2018

I finally got around to baking something from BraveTart's cookbook the other day.  I've owned this cookbook since February, thumbed through it a few times with intentions of baking one of the many delicious desserts from it, but hadn't settled on anything.

I've been craving biscuits lately, and decided on a BraveTart's Buttermilk biscuit recipe, since I had some buttermilk I needed to use up.  Oh, and also I bought some hybrid cherry-plums that I turned into jam and thought it would be delicious on biscuits with salted butter.

 It's not my recipe to give, but it's pretty similar to this one found on Serious Eats.  The recipe on Serious Eats uses 1 cup of yogurt, but if you substitute buttermilk, use 3/4 cup.

They were delicious and so very easy to bake.  No rolling pin necessary!  Also, I really like that you bake the biscuits in a cast iron pan.  I think next time I would cut them a little thicker and brush the tops with melted butter and a touch of sea salt.

Bon Appetite! 

Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Oh hello! I hope everyone is doing well and had the best holiday season!  I've been getting back into the swing of things and enjoying that sweet Missouri life again.  I'm looking forward to Valentine's Day next week, are you all? I know it's kind of a cheesy, commercialized holiday, but I've always enjoyed it.  It's fun, and it's nice to be able to celebrate all of your loved ones.

You could give your loved one a box of chocolates, or you could give them a box of this buttery, delicious chocolate chunk shortbread.  I know you've see this recipe a million times, it pretty much broke the internet; it's been featured on many Instagrams, blogs and food websites.  It's Alison Roman's Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread recipe.

While I disagree and don't think this should ever replace your traditional chocolate chip cookie, I do think it's extremely delicious and would absolutely make this recipe again.  It was simple to make, too.  You just whip up some salted butter, granulated sugar, a touch of brown sugar, vanilla, flour, and chopped dark chocolate.  I took it a step further and used SALTED dark chocolate, oh yes I did.  The dough is rolled into logs then rolled in coarse sugar.  The cookie logs get chilled down, sliced, brushed with egg wash, then sprinkled with coarse sea salt.  I didn't have any of that good flaky salt, so I sprinkled mine with ground sea salt.  Still very good! 

Here's the link to the recipe for you again.

Cranberry Pecan Pumpkin Bread

Thursday, November 2, 2017

October came and went didn't it?  I think that's the fastest a month has ever gone by in my lifetime.  It might have to do with the fact that I packed up my entire life and moved back to Missouri (from North Carolina) in three weeks.  So it was just a tad busy, but I did manage to bake this loaf of Cranberry Pecan Pumpkin Bread, along with a batch of Browned Butter Toasted Pecan Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies, which were pretty good, but I feel like nobody really needs that recipe.  Or this one, to be honest.  There's a million pumpkin bread recipes out there and it's not like you need another one.  I guess me posting this recipe is my way of popping in to say hellooooo and I'm still kickin'.  I hope everyone out there is doing well and having a great fall. 

I'm looking forward to spending this autumn and upcoming holiday season with my family... it'll be nice to be so close to home for a while.  Oh and I can't wait to start baking again! 

Oh gosh, I had another thought the other day; October 2017 marked my tenth year of blogging!  I mean, if you can still call it that.  I barely blog.  But technically... ten years of blogging whoooooo hoooooo.  That's a long time.  That means this blog is ancient in blog years.  Maybe I'll get a second wind and revamp it (I've been saying that for a while).  In the meantime you can catch me on Wanderlust Pig where I eat allll of the delicious things.  

This pumpkin bread was delicious, if you do happen to make it.  I hate the silicon loaf pan that I have; it always bakes such a squatty loaf.  I'm glad I left it behind in North Carolina.  Time for a new loaf pan!  I spread buffalo milk butter on top of this bread, which was pretty good.  Thanks, Trader Joe's.

Cranberry Pecan Pumpkin Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.  In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together butter and brown sugar until creamy.  Beat in eggs and vanilla until well combined.  Beat in pumpkin until well combined.  Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in dry ingredients until just combined.  Stir in pecans and cranberries until just combined.

Spread batter into prepared pan.  Bake 50-55 minutes or until well risen and a toothpick inserted into bread comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Makes 1 loaf