Friday, March 26, 2010

Cheddar Penny Breakdown

I have been defeated. By cheese.
Well, not defeated..I'm just being dramatic. But I had my first failed experiment!
To be honest, I'm glad it happened with the cheddar pennies and not with a different delicious (chocolatey) dessert!

They were supposed to be little crisp things-- According to the picture in the book, anyway. And I was expecting a crispness, sort of like a Better Cheddar.

However, what I got was a big mess. They got HUGE, and spread a lot. The recipe calls for 1/3 cup flour and I admittedly put in a little less, but the dough was getting crumbly already! But that was probably the mistake. Also, despite following the recipe they came out bigger than I expected them to (even at the start, when I was cutting them.)

I'm not sure how to fix them, but the recipe is easy enough that maybe I'll suck it up and make them again one day!

Sigh. Next week will be better!

Cheddar Penny Recipe

  • 4 tbsp butter at room temperature, diced
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of chili powder


  • Cream the butter with an electric mixer.
  • Use a spoon to stir in the cheese, flour, salt, and chili powder.
  • Use your hands to form the dough into a ball.
  • On a lightly floured surface, shape dough into a "long cylinder" about 1 1/4" in diameter.
  • Wrap in waxed paper and chill for 1-2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Either grease two cookie sheets, or cover with parchment paper.
  • Cut dough into 1/4" thick slices and put on the cookie sheets.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes.

My tips:
Use all of the flour, and maybe a little more. Mine came out "greasy", so extra flour could cut down on this and also keep them from spreading.

Roll the dough into a slightly thinner rope than you think is good.

Cut the pennies slightly thinner than you initially intend to.

Make a double batch! Even if you have a successful batch, this recipe doesn't make a lot!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cinnamon Pinwheels

Back to the book!
This week I made cinnamon pinwheels, and let me tell you: They were amazing!

The flavor was awesome, the texture was pleasing, and they're just big enough to enjoy one (or two!) without feeling really guilty about it. The only issue I had was with the pastry itself. I bought the package of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (and this is what I'm using as a measurement in the recipe) which is folded into thirds-- when I unrolled it, it actually split into thirds. This didn't really cause a problem though, and it was actually easier to cut the three smaller logs than the one big one that I got on my second batch.

Second, be sure to test your cinnamon/sugar mix before you use it. Mine tasted a little too sharp from the cinnamon so I added a tad more sugar to balance it out. Just a heads up!
Cinnamon Pinwheel Recipe
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 egg white
  • OR FOR A DOUBLE BATCH (which I suggest)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 package puff pastry (comes with 2 sheets)
  • 1 egg white


  • Put the puff pastry out on the counter to thaw for an hourish.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°
  • In a small bowl mix together the cinnamon and sugar.
  • Unfold/lay out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to keep it from sticking later.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 (or 1/4 for a double batch) of the sugar mixture onto it.
  • Roll out to 10" square so the mixture is pressed into it. Sprinkle with the rest of the mixture.
  • Roll into a loose tube. Use the egg white to seal the edge of the tube, and press together with your fingers to make sure they stay secure.
  • Roll the tube in a bit of the mixture to give it a little more color on the outside.
  • Cut into about 1/4" thick rolls. Put on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
  • Cook for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Once out of the oven, sprinkle the tops with a little more sugar then put on a cooling rack.
  • When you pack them, seal them in an airtight container to keep them crisp!

Note: The crispness isn't really -hard-, it's just..not soggy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

(Virgin) Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes


Well, not yet. Her birthday is on the 15th but we're celebrating tonight instead.
She's turning 21, but her (other) best friend is still only 20 so we can't go out to celebrate.
To compromise I took on the responsibility of baking her cake. Or rather, cakes. What better way to celebrate a non-alcoholic 21st birthday than with alcoholic imitations?
So for her birthday I'm making her strawberry margarita cupcakes! They're super adorable, and delicious! You can make regular margarita cupcakes with key limes, but she doesn't like limes and LOVES the color pink and anything strawberry. And so here we are!

Strawberries tossed with sugar, for the frosting.

Strawberry Margarita Cupcake Recipe
Note: Start on the frosting first because the strawberries have to sit for 2 hours beforehand.

  • One box of strawberry cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 pint (or 1 pound/1 package-- same thing) of strawberries
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tbsp softened butter
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar

  • A package of neon bendy straws
  • Coarse sugar crystals


  • Line 2 cupcake pans with cupcake liners (makes sense, right?) I suggest either pink or white.
  • Mix and bake the mix according to directions on the back of the box.
  • Leave to let cool.

Frosting Preparation

  • Wash 1/2 of the strawberries (Since these will be blended, I chose the less pretty ones), then 'hull' them (aka cut off the leafy tops).
  • Slice the berries and put in a bowl.
  • Pour the granulated sugar over the strawberries and mix well.
  • Chill for two hours.
  • In another bowl, beat the butter until it's fluffy.
  • Drain the extra juice from the strawberries, then mash them up and add them to the butter. Add in half of the powdered sugar.
  • Blend until it's all mixed in, then slowly add in more powdered sugar until you get the consistency you want for spreading the frosting.


  • After frosting your cupcakes, sprinkle the edges with coarse sugar crystals. Note: Sprinkle as you go, because once the frosting sets it begins to reject having any sugar sprinkled on)
  • Wash/hull the rest of your strawberries, and slice in half (longway) and place one half on the edge of each cupcake.
  • Cut a bendy straw until it's about 4" long, then stick in the cupcake.

Because the frosting is made from fresh strawberries, the recipe suggests keeping your cupcakes refrigerated.

Personally, I think this would dry out the cupcakes way too fast and make them soggy, so I just waited until the last possible moment then frosted the cupcakes, so they could sit out.

Because of the freshness involved, I suggest making these the day of the event and consuming them the day of. I mean, you know how strawberries get...

Strawberry frosting recipe found here:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fruity Pebbles Treats

Bonus dessert!
Instead of making a second batch of glazed apple cookies (because I couldn't justify putting effort into a new batch at 10pm) I made a batch of Fruity Pebbles Treats to take to work on Saturday instead.

They're exactly the same as a Rice Krispies Treat, but you use Fruity Pebbles instead!

The recipe is SUPER easy, too!

  • One regular sized box of Fruity Pebbles (not the ginormous family sized box, just the regular size)
  • One bag of mini-marshmallows (again, not the huge bag, just the regular one)
  • 6 tbsp butter


  • Grease the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
  • Pour the entire box of cereal into a (very) large bowl.
  • Put butter and marshmallows into a separate large, microwave safe dish
  • Heat for 2 1/2 - 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. (I let it go for a minute before the first stir, then stir every thirty seconds) Heat until all of the marshmallows are melted.
  • Pour the melted mixture into the cereal bowl and mix with a plastic (or wooden) mixing spoon until the cereal is evenly coated.
  • Pour the mixture into the 9x13 pan.
  • This is the fun part! Butter up your fingers to keep the mix from sticking, and press the cereal out evenly in the pan.
  • Let them cool completely, then cut and enjoy!

Tip from me: Using buttery fingers at the end adds that extra bit of sweetness to them!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Glazed Apple Cookies

I'm in Lawrence instead of Olathe tonight, so I had to look up a recipe online instead of using my book. So I went to and typed in "cinnamon", and this is what popped up!

Now, I made one batch (to feed my roommate and his friends who are over) and I intend to make another later tonight, but my first batch came out...weird.

They flattened a TON, and also fell apart when i tried to use a spatula to get them off of the parchment paper (which I use in place of a greased cookie sheet.)

The walnuts in the recipe are optional, but I don't like walnuts, and I don't like raisins (in my cookies!) either so I left both out and replaced them with cinnamon chips. Tasty!

Some of the reviews suggested grating the apple instead of dicing. I grated one and diced the rest (I used 1.5 apples, roughly). I also used a paper towel to absorb the juice from the apple (HIGHLY suggested) but the dough was still really, really runny.

I think I'm going to leave the milk out of the next batch, and when I put the dough on the paper try to make it really high instead of spread on the paper, to keep it from spreading AS much.

As for the glaze:
I'm not sure who did the measuring for this, but everything seems off. I think by the time I got the consistency I wanted I'd used almost 1/4 cup of Half and Half (and they suggest 2.5 tablespoons) so just keep the H&H on hand.

They sure are cute, though!!

Glazed Apple Cookie Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup shortening (I'm going to use butter for the 2nd batch)
  • 1 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup raisins (or cinnamon chips-- or neither!)
  • 1 cup peeled, finely diced apple (I used 2 Granny Smith)
  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half (use as needed to get proper consistency)


  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • Beat shortening (or butter) and brown sugar together. The recipe says "until light and fluffy" but with this much sugar it didn't get fluffy at all. Beat in the egg; here's where it got light and fluffy.
  • In another bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
  • Blend half of the mixture into the butter/brown sugar. Add apples, walnuts/raisins/cinnamon chips, then stir in the rest of the mixture.
  • Use a tablespoon to put on a greased cookie sheet (or parchment paper) and put them WELL apart. Recipe says 1 1/2 inch..I suggest more.
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes, put on cooling rack.

Glaze Preparation

  • Blend powdered sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and H&H
  • Get to a thin consistency for spreading, but not too runny.
  • Either spread over the entire (still warm) cookie, or:
  • Put in a Zip-Loc bag, snip off a corner, and drizzle designs!

This recipe has my tweaks that I think will make better cookies in the future. For the original, go here!