I Am Baker

Red Velvet Melting Snowman Cookies

If you have read my blog for awhile now you know that I am very, very serious about two things.

1. Honesty and Integrity in blogging… always crediting the source when you use someone else’s idea.

2. Sugar.

Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Melting Snowman Cookies #cookies #christmas #redvelvet #creamcheese

These cookie were inspired by the amazing Meaghan from The Decorated Cookie.  She created the Original Melting Snowman cookies five years ago and she is a genius.  I have admired her cookies and tutorials for years and feel lucky to know someone who is SO creative!  Her idea has been copied so many times its hard to keep track.  Its my hope that everyone would know where the brilliant idea began!

While the snowman part of this cookie was inspired by Meaghan, the flavor was all about winter.  I wanted to make a cookie that was easy and yummy.  I wanted a cookie that would stay delicious for days.  I wanted my kitchen to be cleaned by magic kitchen fairies.

Good thing I got two of my three wishes.

Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Melting Snowman Cookies #cookies #christmas #redvelvet #creamcheese

The cookie was easy.  Its made from a box!  Recipe from Better Crocker.

Red Velvet Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 box Betty Crocker® devil’s food cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Red Gel Food Coloring

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment or silpat.
  3. In stand mixer, add cake mix, butter, and eggs. With mixer on slow, add in red gel food coloring until you reach your desired color. (batter will be very thick).
  4. Using 1-inch cookie scoop, drop dough about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.
  5. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until set.
  6. Allow cookies to cool before frosting.
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I used my favorite Perfect Cream Cheese frosting, only I added in about 1/4 cup of heavy cream.  I wanted the frosting to not hold its shape and just barely start to spill over the sides of the cookies when I frosted them.

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Melting Snowman Cookies #christmas #cookies #redvelvet #creamcheese

The I bought Reese’s Peanut Butter ‘bells’ and cut them in half. I found it best to do that at room temperature.  The snowman’s nose is an orange sprinkle.  His eyes are mini chocolate chips.

Place hat on cookie, drop on the two eyes, then stick his nose on.  I let mine stick outward a bit, but you could also just lay it flat.  You really can’t go wrong!

Be sure to stop by and see The Decorated Cookie’s full tutorial and original cookie.  She has so many great ideas,  I know I could spend hours looking at all her creations.

And as always, if you are opposed to box mix, feel free to substitute your favorite red velvet cookie recipe. :)

I Am Baker

Pumpkin Sandwich Cookies with Brown Butter Buttercream

Its a mouthful.  But its a scrumptious mouthful.

Pumpkin Spice Cake Cookie Sandwiches with Brown Butter Buttercream

These cookies were a total accident.  I had a craving for a pumpkin cookie.  I found a recipe from Martha Stewart but didn’t have all the ingredients on hand so I googled ‘easy pumpkin cookies’.

Easy is an understatement.  Let me tell you this whole recipe.

1 box Spice Cake

1 15 oz can Pumpkin Puree

Mix cake mix and puree.  Using an ice cream scoop, drop rounded cookies onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350.

Done.

Pumpkin Spice Cake Cookie Sandwiches with Brown Butter Buttercream

Martha’s recipe has this brown butter icing, but again, I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand.  And we all know I have this obsession with cookie sandwiches lately, so I wanted to find a thicker, more sturdy frosting to use in a pumpkin cookie sandwich.

So I found this recipe from the Food Network.  The ingredients were what I was looking for, but the technique seemed… lacking something.  So I did some more research and came upon this recipe from Adventures in Cooking. (Gorgeous site!  Her photography is amazing)

I combined the two.

And then ended up working out for 2 1/2 hours last night after I came out of my sugar coma.

Brown Butter Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons buttermilk

Instructions

  1. In a stainless steal or light colored ceramic saucepan, melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter over medium heat. (You will want to be able to see the color changing in the butter.)
  2. As the milk solids in the butter will start to foam, gently stir the butter.
  3. The milk solids will subside then start to brown. You should start to smell the aromatic nutty flavors. (this takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes over medium heat. It can take 15 minutes over medium low heat)
  4. Remove butter from heat and set aside to cool. If you have any small brown bits that is ok, but if there are any burnt bits you will want to strain the butter in cheesecloth.
  5. Place plastic wrap in a bowl and pour room temperature butter into bowl.
  6. Set butter in fridge until solid. (about 3 hours)
  7. Remove butter from fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. (about 2 hours) Do not microwave.
  8. Place room temperature butter and room temperature browned butter into mixer and using whisk attachment, whip for about 1 minute on medium high.
  9. Add in sugar and vanilla and whip on low speed. Slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time, add in buttermilk. I usually use about 4 tablespoons but have used as many as 6. Whip frosting on high for 1-3 minutes, until it is very airy and fluffily.
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Chilled Brown Butter

This was my brown butter directly out of the fridge.

That buttercream.  I need to talk about.  It was… magical.  The aroma of the brown butter was enticing in itself, but then to taste it.

Pumpkin Spice Cake Cookie Sandwiches with Brown Butter Buttercream

Mind. Blown.

I didn’t know butter could do that.

Please be prepared for brown butter everything on my blog now.  Brown butter cake.  Brown butter pancakes.  Brown butter sugar cookies.  Its just needs to happen.

Granted, I am so busy that it probably won’t happen until next year when the trend will be officially over and everyone will be beyond sick of brown butter.  But hey.  Trendy I am not.

Now, if the whole “box mix” cookies above totally throws you off, please do feel free to substitute your favorite from scratch pumpkin cookie recipe.  My husband thought that a crisp cookie would add some nice contrast here, and I think thats a great option.

But I can’t help but love these cookies as is.  The soft cake-like texture and the rich brown butter buttercream… its was just perfection.

Pumpkin Spice Cake Cookie Sandwiches with Brown Butter Buttercream

I know the butter took half a day to make, but it was worth it.  So worth it.

These cookies sandwiches are the perfect fall treat!

I Am Baker

Monster Cake with Monster Cookies

If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw these cute little Monster Cookies I shared last week.  Since they ended up turning out pretty well, I decided to cake-i-fy them!  Thats totally a word by the way.

Monster Cookies {Full Tutorial} #halloween #cookies #buttercream

 

So I whipped up a the Perfect White Cake and threw some cookies on top.  Voila!  Monster Cake.

Monster Cake with Monster Cookies {Cookie Decorating Tutorial} #halloween #cookies #cake

 

Just in case you wanted to make some Monster Cookies, here is a tutorial!

To make six cookie sandwiches you will need:

One dozen cookies of your choice.  (I love this recipe for the Chocolate Cookies, just substitute Reese’s Pieces for the white chocolate)

1 recipe buttercream

Red, orange, brown*, blue and green food coloring

Halloween Sprinkles**

1M, #230, #4B and a 9PT tip. (the 9PT is a large open circle, you can also just cut 3 inches off a plastic pastry bag to get the same effect)

*You can also use chocolate buttercream

**If you dont have Halloween Sprinkles you can use black food coloring

I will demonstrate on the orange cookie.  For the chocolate cookie I used chocolate as a base and added a little red at the front.  (Too much red buttercream gets bitter to me)

Make buttercream.  Divide batter equally into six bowls.  Tint one red, one orange, one brown, one blue, one green and leave the last bowl white.  I use Ateco gel paste food coloring.

How to Make Halloween Inspired Monster Cookies #cookies #iambaker

1.  Put a 9PT tip (large open circle) into plastic disposable pastry bag and fill with orange frosting.  I have shown it above with no tip; I simply cut off about 3 inches from the top of the bag.

2. Pipe out a base of frosting onto cookie.  You will want it to be higher on one side so that the cookie will rest at an angle, just like an open mouth.

3. Set cookie on top.

Tutorial on How to Make Monster Cookies #halloween #cookies #buttercream #iambaker

4.  Using a coupler set and a #230 tip, fill up bag with white frosting.  Place the tip of the frosting bag to the point where the orange frosting and the cookie meet, then apply pressure.  While still applying pressure start pulling tip back then quickly pull and release all pressure.  Do this around upper cookie and on lower cookie.

Tutorial on How to Make Monster Cookies #halloween #cookies #buttercream #iambaker

5.  Fill the bag fitted with a 1M tip (you can also use a 4B tip, I have done that in orange on some of the cookies) with brown frosting.  Starting towards the back of the cookie, apply pressure and build a small mound of frosting; then quickly pull tip down.  Do this twice, as these are the monsters eye brows.

6.  Pick up your bag with the #230 tip and white frosting and apply pressure at the base of the chocolate.   Hold your tip steady and just keep applying pressure.  Release pressure when you have a satisfactory amount of frosting for the eye ball.

7.  Place green frosting in a plastic disposable pastry bag and but off a very small tip, say 1/2 inch.  Repeat with blue frosting. (You now have two bags of frosting.)  Choose which color you want to use for the eyes (I sometimes used both) and place a small dab in the center of the white frosting.

8.  Pick up black Halloween Sprinkles and place in the center of the green (or blue) dot.  Press slightly.

 

Monster Cake with Monster Cookies {Cookie Decorating Tutorial} #halloween #cookies #cake

For the Monster Cake I just added four completed Monster Cookies to the top.  I also snuck in some coordinating colors to the inside of the cake.  Just for fun. :)

Monster Cake with Monster Cookies {Cookie Decorating Tutorial} #halloween #cookies #cake

 

Since it was necessary to remove the cookie prior to cutting a slice, I decided to go back in and add some details to the slice before I served it.  Repeating the steps above, add eyebrows and eyes to the back of the slice.

Monster Cake with Monster Cookies {Cookie Decorating Tutorial}

 How fun is that?!?

These cookies are a mouthful.  Ha, ha get it?  There is a lot of buttercream and two full sized cookies, so feel free to make mini versions!

Monster Cake with Monster Cookies {Cookie Decorating Tutorial} #halloween #cookies #cake

 

I had so much fun with them!  You really can’t go wrong when decorating.  If you look closely above I even made one of them a vampire!

And I just had to show you what happens when you drop one on the ground…

Monster Cake with Monster Cookies {Cookie Decorating Tutorial} #halloween #cookies #cake

That kills me.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

(oh, and I am one of those weird people who LOVES to see what everyone and their kids are dressed up as, so feel free to share any pics on my i am baker facebook page!)

I Am Baker

Lemon Sugar Cookie Sandwiches

Did I ever tell you the whole reason that this blog started was because of my love for sugar cookies?  (That is seriously the BEST sugar cookie recipe.  Ever.)  Anytime anyone said anything about cookies my mind would wonder to the light and sugary deliciousness that is a soft sugar cookie.

As I grew and changed and tried new things I started to make more and more cakes, but I have never lost my love for the simple yet perfect creation that is a sugar cookie.

Lemon Sugar Cookie Sandwiches

Inspired by the ever creative and talented Sue from Munchkin Munchies I decided to create some Lemon Sugar Cookie Sandwich Cookies.  But these cookies arent just because I had a sweet craving, they are actually for a very special friend.

Today some fellow bloggers are getting together to honor Liz.  Liz is the creative genius behind The Lemon Bowl blog.  Liz is pregnant with her second child and this is her virtual baby shower!  In her blog Liz shares some healthier options to food as well as her own weight loss journey.  She is such an inspiration!  Not to mention a talented and gifted writer.

Lemon Sugar Cookie Sandwich Cookies

 

Lemon Sugar Cookie Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 1-½ cup Butter (I use unsalted)
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 whole Eggs Yolks
  • 3 teaspoons Lemon Extract
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2-4 drops Yellow Gel Food Coloring
  • *zest of one lemon

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. In a mixer, beat butter and sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add in 2 eggs and 2 egg yolks and mix until combined.
  4. Add in lemon extract and yellow food coloring; mix until combined. You may add more food coloring to achieve desired color.
  5. *If you want to use fresh lemon zest, add it now. I did not with these cookies.
  6. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly (about a cup at a time) add flour to butter mixture and combine. You can use a mixer or not, just depends on how strong you are.
  7. Put dough in some Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. When you are ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough out, cut out cookies, and bake for 6-8 minutes.
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In addition to trying to make these cookies have a wonderfully citrusy lemon flavor, I added food coloring and tried to shape them into lemons.  Uh, rustic lemons.

Pairing a sweet vanilla buttercream with the cookies was a great way to please your tastebuds.

lizs-baby-shower

 

And be sure to check out the other amazing bloggers getting together to honor Liz today! (Seriously, did you see the names of those recipes? I think I have a my menu planned for the next two weeks!

Appetizers

Beverages

Salads

Main Dish

Desserts


Do you like this recipe? If you are on Google+ you can +1 it right here! Just click above. Do you want to know How to Add a Live Google+ Post into Your Blog Post? Click here!

I Am Baker

Spider Chocolate Chip Cookies

So there is this image floating around the internet.  I am just going to link to it (I was not able to find the owner and get permission!) but I do encourage you to check it out.  It is a chocolate chip cookie with spiders superimposed on it.

I kid you not I stared at that thing for five minutes straight.  I was perplexed.  I was horrified.  I was intrigued.  I was fascinated.  I was officially obsessed.

Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies

So this is my little attempt to re-create that, only with no photography tricks.  Just some melted chocolate and a little time.

I started out by baking some chocolate chip cookies.  I highly recommend making these New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies.  They are amazing and delicious and something you must try at least once in your life.

Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies #halloween #spiders #scary #cookies

When I baked the cookies I took them out 2 minutes before they were supposed to be finished and added some extra chocolate chips on top.  I placed the chocolate chips tip down into the cookie so that flat bottom of each chip was sticking out of the cookie.  (This will be the base of the spider body.)

I then put the cookies back into the oven for the remaining two minutes. (When you remove them, the chocolate should be soft but not completely melted.)

Next I added about a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips into a plastic disposable pastry bag and microwaved for 1 minute.  I then removed the bag and massaged the chocolate to see if it was all melted.  It wasn’t so I placed it back in for 15 more seconds and at this stage it was mostly melted and hot so I removed it from the microwave.

Then I snipped off the TINIEST bit from the pastry bag and piped “legs” onto the cookie right around the chocolate chip.  I pipe eight legs then put the pastry bag down and picked up a toothpick.

Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies #halloween #spiders #scary #cookies

I wanted to legs to look as realistic as possible, so I painstakingly used the toothpick to go in and really add detail to the legs.  I made the ends as pointy as possible and tried to make all the legs uniform in size and length.

This took FOREVER.  I seriously got a kink in my neck.  I think each cookie was roughly about five minutes.

Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies #halloween #spiders #scary #cookies

 

But it was worth it.  These really are creepy and a bit gross.    If its just too much for you then you are exactly the friend I want to invite over when I make them.

#moreforme

Creepy Chocolate Chip Spider Cookies #halloween #scarytreats

I did post a super quick video on Vine about these… (haha, get it?  Vine only has 6 second video’s) so if you are on Vine stop over and check it out! I am @iambaker

Let me know if you try these!  Would love to see!  Well, no, I dont really want to see cause that would freak me out but I will definitely look!

If you are on google+ I would love for you to +1 this post!  You can do that by just clicking on the button below.  Thank you!

I Am Baker

Chocolate Fudge Pepper Cookies

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the Chocolate Cupcakes with Pepper and Raspberry Filling I recently shared.  The flavor combinations were something I was not used too nor comfortable with… until I tried them.

Now I crave a little complexity with my desserts.

Cocoa Fudge Cookie with Pepper

I loosely based this recipe off of a Cocoa Fudge Cookie recipe I found on myrecipes.com.  While the original recipe creates a thin, crispy cookie, my recipe is a dense cake-like cookie that has the fudginess (why isn’t fudginess a word?) of a brownie with a slight kick of a peppery aftertaste.

Chocolate Fudge Pepper Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl sift flour, soda, salt, pepper and cocoa. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in both sugars; the mixture should resemble coarse sand.
  4. Add in sour cream and vanilla to sugar mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Add in flour mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
  6. Drop heaping tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Using a small ice cream scoop or measuring cup is a good way to ensure consistency.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until top appears slightly cracked. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool to room temperature.
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Fudgy Chocolate Cookies with Coarse Ground Pepper

 

I only added a small amount of the coarse pepper because I am a seasoning sissy. Really.  Sometimes I think ketchup is too spicy.  So I really liked the subtle (very subtle) hint of pepper.  If you are more daring you can up your pepper amount and maybe even use a finely ground.  (Heck, maybe you could even add cayenne!)

Chocolate Cookie with Pepper

This cookie pairs really well with a red wine.

Just trust me on that. :)

 

I Am Baker

The Giving Cookie

 

I have the amazing privilege and honor to be able to homeschool my kids.  I have spent hours going over curriculum and studying learning styles and trying to determine the best ways to teach my little ones everything they need to know about english, math and science.

But as any parent knows, we teach our kids so much more than history and literature. We are fortunate enough to be a part in the growing of their hearts.

This past Saturday sweet little 4 year old Audrey and I were hanging out in the kitchen.  I was making a grocery list and she was lamenting over not having anything to do.

On a whim, we decided to bake some cookies.

Audrey Helping with Cookies! “And what should we do with all these delicious cookies Audrey?”

“Eat them!”

“Well, we can’t eat all of them.  Do you think we should give some away?”

She got very quiet and I knew she wanted to say no.  I could just see her trying to figure out a way for us to be able to keep all the cookies (and trust me, the thought crossed my mind, they were yummy!).

She finally said, “I guess.” Sensing she needed a little more motivation I said, “How much do you love getting cookies Audrey?”

“I LOVE IT!  Its my favorite thing in the world!”

“Well,” I started slowly, “wouldn’t it be nice to let someone else have the same feeling a joy?  Wouldn’t you love to see a friends face when they realize they get to eat our delicious cookies?” She nodded excitedly. So I decided that we would give our cookies to our local fire department.

Cookies for Random Acts of Kindness

We packaged them up nicely and the kids wrote cards and we all got in the car and drove to the Fire Station.  In the car we talked about acts of kindness, about how giving to others was truly a gift to ourselves, about how we look at and think about the world. (going for a lesson on optimism)

We pulled into the Fire Station.  It was closed.  Not a soul in site.

So we drove miles and miles to the neighboring community and found their Fire Station.  Which was also closed.

I sat in my car in the deserted parking lot and felt my shoulders slump.  Great lesson I was teaching my kids here.  We did all that work and they didn’t get to experience the joy of giving.  I turned the car around and tried to ignore the feelings of failure.

As we were turning on to our road the kids noticed the neighbors outside doing some yard work.  “Mom, mom, mom!!  Lets give the cookies to them!”

Well, yes!  Of course.  Why didnt I think of that right away? I pulled into the neighbors drive and the kids rushed out of the car cookies and card in hand.  “We brought you a gift!” Audrey shouted to a woman she had never met. (We just moved here a couple months ago)

Our sweet neighbor came over and accepted the cookies from the kids.   We all introduced ourselves and had a wonderful conversation.  Leigh and her husband were so appreciative of the gift and I could tell that we were going to be fast friends.

When we got home that night the kids told dad all about their experience with giving and how good it felt.  I think they, even more so than me, were able to see the beauty in a random act of kindness.  It has definitely inspired then to want to do more… to give more… to get out and build up relationships with the people around us.  They are excitedly talking about writing cards to friends and baking more treats to bring to Leigh’s and our other neighbors. In the end what I had perceived in a failed lesson was actually a fun and rewarding learning experience for us all!

The Best Part is an online community that’s dedicated to brightening your day—every day. How? By spreading optimism, one share at a time. The Best Part posts inspirational stories, encouraging quotes, good news and other upbeat items on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—and encourages fans and followers to share that optimism with their friends. Because when optimism is shared, it grows, making an even more positive impact on our world. Check out what others are sharing on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 

I Am Baker

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Lactation Cookies

So I recently put a post up on my facebook page about some lactation cookies I had made.  I ended up getting more emails and private messages than I knew what to do with.  So I decided to get this recipe up fast so that everyone would be able to make them!

Dairy Free Lactation Cookies

 

What is a lactation cookie exactly?  It a cookie that has a few key ingredients that promote lactation, or increase a nursing mom’s milk supply.

For instance, in this cookie I have included oats.  Researchers have long since known that oatmeal has properties in it that help to lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy blood pressure.  Oats also provide plenty of iron as well as an abundance of healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  New moms definitely need all that!

Lactation Cookies

These delicious cookies also contain Brewers yeast, ground flaxseed and dairy free mini chocolate chips.  The yeast and flaxseed are classic components to a Lactation cookie, but I wanted to take it one step further.  I decided to use all shortening instead of butter and the dairy free chocolate in my recipe to ensure it was dairy free.

I know when I was nursing Eddie I experimented with a dairy free diet in the hopes it would help with his colic.  To have been able to enjoy a scrumptious chocolate chip cookie during that time would have been such a treat!

Dairy Free Lactation Cookies

These cookies do contain cinnamon and all spice and you may certainly omit them if you have a sensitivity.

In the research I did, it wasn’t recommended to use a cinnamon supplement while breastfeeding or consume more than 1 tsp per day. (In very small doses cinnamon can actually be beneficial.)

These cookies have a crispy crunchy exterior and a chewy center.  I loved the juxtaposition!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Lactation Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp cocoa
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp Brewers yeast
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 cups oats (can be quick oats)
  • 1 10 oz bag Dairy Free mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 (I baked at 325 in convection oven)
  2. In medium bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, all spice and cocoa.
  3. In stand mixer on medium speed, add shortening, sugar and vanilla. Add in eggs one at a time. Mix on medium high for 1-2 minutes to ensure well combined.
  4. Turn mixer to lowest setting in slowly add in flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  5. Remove bowl from mixer and add in oats, mini chocolate chips, yeast and flaxseed. Mix by hand.
  6. These cookies work best when on silpat or parchment paper on your baking sheet. I made each cookie roughly a tablespoon and placed about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 7-9 minutes and then cool on cooling rack. Keep a close eye on these cookies and remove when edges are just barely browned. The center may appear slightly "wet" and that is ok. Cookie will continue to bake after it is removed from oven.
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Dairy Free Lactation Cookies

Here is the nitty gritty.  New moms need all the blessings they can get.  To be able to make cookies for a nursing mom that not only help her but taste good?  AND its recommended to eat about 4 a day.

I cant think of a better perscription!

***These cookies are delicious and can be eaten by anyone.

I Am Baker

Triple Chocolate Devils Food Cookies

I remember the first time I met my husbands grandma Carol.  We had been dating a little over a year and I was still very eager to impress all his family members.  (and failing miserably, buts thats another story)  I remember being very anxious and nervous and wishing I had brought flowers or something as a gift.

We arrived a home smelling of freshly baked cake and smiles around.  I was in shock, it appeared that his grandma had baked for us!  Carol was a busy wife and grandma (taking care of her wheelchair bound husband) and it was such a precious gesture on her part.

Triple Chocolate Devils Food Cake Mix Cookies!

“Thank you so much Carol!  This is delicious!  And thoughtful.  And delicious!  Did I mention delicious?  I cant believe you took the time to bake for us today.  It just means the world to me!”

I couldn’t stop gushing.  Her act of confectionery kindness had taken all my nervousness away.  I was starting to feel welcomed by Chad’s family.  He just might be a keeper! ;)

I was chatting with some of soon-to-be-hubby’s extended family while devouring the fantastic cake and mentioned just how good I thought it was.  Someone leaned over and whispered into my ear as if to share a deep dark family secret.

“Its from a box.”

Devils Food Cake Mix Cookies

A box?  Wasnt all cake from a box? (This was many years ago, long before I had ever baked a cake!) I was silenced and confused.

That moment changed me.  I couldnt for the life of me figure out why they would tell me that.  I could not figure out why it was even significant!  Never mind the fact that I had no clue that cake could even be made without a box, I just thought it was so unnecessary to point it out.

It hurt me.  I can only imagine how Carol would have felt had she heard.

Did the source of the ingredients decrease the value of the gift?

Fast forward to 2013.  There is still an ongoing baking war in terms of box vs. scratch.

People dismiss and reject others that do not profess to be 100% from-scratch bakers.  Magazines, authors, publishers, fellow bloggers all esteem that “from scratch” is the only way to bake and that anything less is unacceptable.  If you cannot prepare (and create!) quality from-scratch recipes then your value as a baker is significantly diminished.  I too, have been sucked into the “from scratch is best” way of thinking.  You will see that if I ever share recipes on my blog that involves a box mix I find a way to explain it or give a list of excuses why, as if trying to defend myself.

These days its pretty common knowledge that you will not be considered for any awards or publication if you embrace the “lazy” way.  People look down their nose at box cakes and actually sneer as they discovered that a  .99 box was the entire ingredient list.  Then there are those folks who pride themselves on instantly being able to determine if synthetically chemically flavored preservative laden box mix was served or if the ingredients were from scratch!

Why is there in innate fear of proclaiming the use of boxed cake mix?

When did it become shameful to admit that Betty Crocker had a hand in your confectionery masterpiece?

 

Devils Food Cake Mix Cookies

I get it.  I get it.  From-scratch is better for you.  Its sometimes cheaper.  Its more easily personalized.  Some think it tastes better.  Some think the crumb is better.  You are a real true, honest-to-goodness, original and accomplished baker if you make it from scratch.

And in all honesty, I am not concerned as to why people choose box vs. scratch.  What does concern me is the intent behind it.

I know there is no way I can win this particular baking war, but I would like to try and wage at least one small battle.

My goal is simple.  Look beyond the cake.  Yes, taste and appearance is of utmost importance and I fully support you embracing what you love best.  But its almost as if we have missed a small step in the directions.

Remember the big picture.  The giving, sharing, and devouring of cake together is a wonderful gift.  It is a time to celebrate people and make memories.

I cant think of a single time I ever made and decorated a cake to simply devour it all myself in private.  To not photograph it or show it to family or share it with friends.

Cakes are made to be shared.

At that glorious moment when a surprised birthday girl cuts into a beautiful pink cake or when a tired neighbor opens the door only to see a sinfully decadent chocolate cake in front of a friendly face… in that moment it surely does not matter if the cake was a box or from scratch.  What matters is that you touched someones heart.

That you brought them joy.

That you now have a lifelong memory based on a generosity of spirit and a willingness to serve.

That is what matters, right?

Devils Food Cake Mix Cookies

That being said, I proudly share with you today a far-from-scratch recipe that I have come to love.  Its over the top and rich and easy and wonderful.  There is an obscene amount of white chocolate chips and that is just the way I like it.  (You can certainly decrease the amount you use to accommodate your tastes.)

I share it with you in the hopes that it brings you as much joy as it has brought us.  But if you just cant beyond the fact that I used a box mix, I understand.   I cant help but think that maybe somewhere along the line though, you may miss a blessing.

Triple Chocolate Devils Food Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 box Devils Food Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Instructions

  1. Pour dry ingredients into medium bowl.
  2. Add oil and eggs and mix until well combined.
  3. Stir in all chips.
  4. Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop out small balls of dough. This recipe makes 18-24 cookies, so I had three cookies sheets prepared.
  5. Place eight dough balls on each cookie sheet. (If you would prefer a smoother appearance for your cookie, go back and roll each cookie between your hands.)
  6. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
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Enjoy!

Here is the from scratch version:

Triple Chocolate Cookies from the Pioneer Woman

 

 

I Am Baker

Rose Neapolitan Spritz Cookies

I wish I had OCD for something like laundry or eating celery.  But no.  I have to be obsessed with Neapolitan.  And ‘rose’ anything.

Like the Neapolitan Rose Cake.   Or the Neapolitan Chocolate Cookies Cups with Strawberry Buttercream.  I cant even tell you about all the Neapolitan desserts and Rose themed desserts I have made… well I could but lets just move on.

I aint here to bore ya.  Today.

Neapolitan Rose Spritz Cookies!  from iambaker.net

Believe it or not, I have never made a basic Spritz cookie before!  They are so good, so nice and buttery and light.  Hardly what I am used to baking… which is rich, heavy, sugary flavors.  These sweet cookies have just a hint of vanilla sweetness in their buttery crispiness.

So I paired it up with an even more subtle buttercream… marshmallow.  I dont know if I can detect a marshmallow flavor, but I do love the light airy texture that the fluff provides to this particular cookies sandwich.

Here is the Marshmallow Buttercream recipe I used.

Neapolitan Rose Spritz Cookies from iambaker.net

 Then I decided to get all crazy and make chocolate and strawberry too!  Because, ya know, that whole OCD with Neapolitan and Rose thing.

Now, just a heads up in the Spritz recipe.  I tried to find an origin, or the original recipe to give someone credit, and lost an hour of my life perusing google.  So let it be known, the vanilla Spritz cookies are NOT my original recipe!  I did however make up the strawberry and chocolate versions… but am sure they are not original either.  If you know who invented these sweet treats (I have a feeling they lived before the inter-web was invented) then please let me know and I will give full credit!

This one I am crediting to my MIL until notified otherwise. ;)

Rose Neapolitan Spritz Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup room temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Strawberry Spritz:
  • 1/4 teaspoon strawberry extract
  • pink gel food coloring
  • Chocolate Spritz:
  • 1/4 cup cocoa

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Combine butter, sugar, egg and extract in mixer. Blend at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add flour and salt; and blend at low speed until well mixed. Divide and tint dough, if desired.
  2. To make Rose Cookie Spritz, insert a 1M or 2D tip into pastry bag. Fill bag with cookie dough. I found that if the dough was a bit warm (as in heated by the warmth from my hands) it was easier to pipe out these cookies.
  3. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, or until slightly golden.
  4. To make Strawberry Spritz Cookies:
  5. Replace vanilla extract with 1/4 teaspoon strawberry. Tint dough with pink gel food coloring.
  6. To make Chocolate Spritz Cookies:
  7. Replace 1/4 cup of flour with 1/4 cup of cocoa. Do not use almond extract.
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Tips for success:

Do not chill the dough.  You will need it about room temperature for easier piping.

If you have ever made a Spritz cookie before, this dough should be exactly the same as that.  Like in here and here.   Piping it through a large star tip should be the same experience as using a cookie press.  This a basic recipe, with no major alterations.  If you end up adding more liquid the cookies will definitely spread and you will not have a defined shape.

I would make the chocolate dough separately and not try to divide one recipe into three.  If you do so the proportions will be off and the cookies will spread.

A reader suggested using a smaller amount in your piping bag to help it warm quicker and to allow for easier piping.  I had about 2-3 cups of dough in my pastry bag, but can see how using 1 cup at a time might be easier!

*The recipe I originally posted called for 2/3 cup of sugar, but I have since switched it to 1/2 cup.  While I found success with 2/3 cup, seems that some did not.

Since I made like 47,957 of these cookies I decided I needed to share them.  I found these fun ice cream containers and made up a handy dandy little label in photoshop.

Neapolitan Spritz Cookies:  Fun Food Packaging!

Just in case you might ask, I got the strawberry extract at Walmart.  But you can also get it online, through sites like Amazon.

Strawberry Extract on Amazon

I ordered the Ice Cream containers from Sweet Bliss Containers.

The 1M tip is from Wilton and you can get them online as well. (I use mine for everything!  From cupcakes to rose cookies to my Original Rose Cakes!)

Photography inspired by Cannelle et Vanille