Spring M&M Cookies

???????????????????????????????

There are many things I love about Norway. The natural landscape, for example, is breathtaking! On a clear day, we have a gorgeous view overlooking a fjord, and with just a 15 minute walk we’re within view of Norway’s third largest glacier. The candy selection, however, is not so impressive. Most of it is just chocolate bars (plain or with nuts) or marzipan. There are some gummy sorts of treats, but my experience has been that the vast majority are very tough and hard to chew. On weekends, my husband and I like to have movie nights and treat ourselves to some sort of sweet for the occasion. Standing in the candy isle for what seemed like the billionth time, my husband was yet again chiding me over how picky I was being. “Aren’t there any candies you could eat? There must be something you’d like here,” he was saying for the umpteenth time. My appeal to just get a soda and call it good for my part wasn’t working. You see, I’m pretty particular when it comes to candy. I like chocolate and mint, Kit-Kat bars, M&Ms… any one of a number of things we don’t seem to have here. And that’s when I saw it: a bag called “Nonstops” with a picture of what looked almost exactly like M&Ms on the front. We bought it, took it home, and I tentatively tried one hoping there would be no marzipan “surprise” in the center (sorry, I’m just not a fan of marzipan). To my surprise, I had finally discovered a Norwegian candy I liked, the M&Ms of Norway no less, and couldn’t help but make some delicious cookies to celebrate.

Spring M&M Cookies
Yields approximately 20 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable shortening
1 egg
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup M&Ms

Continue reading

Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes

???????????????????????????????

I’ve been working on several Easter Day dessert plates, and it just wouldn’t be a family get-together if I didn’t bring cupcakes at some point. I really wanted to make something creative this time, something that would not only taste good but would be visually stunning as well. And, of course, very Easter themed. So as I was pouring through one of my favorite cupcake decorating books, I came across the perfect idea for Easter cupcakes: a great Easter egg hunt.

Easter Egg Hunt Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:
4 tbsp. (57 grams) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tbsp. baking cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sour cream

For the chocolate buttercream frosting:
1 stick (113 grams) butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. baking cocoa

For the vanilla buttercream frosting:
3 sticks (339 grams) butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Green food gel

For the candy decorations:
Colored jelly beans/candy coated eggs
10 white candy coated chocolates
Pink royal icing/gel icing/frosting (for the rabbit paws)
5 Oreos, finely crushed

Continue reading

Spring Chick Cookies

???????????????????????????????

For a long, looooong time, I’ve been contemplating trying my hand at sugar cookies with royal icing.  And for some reason, I’ve always found it very intimidating. Maybe it’s because growing up, my Mum and I decorated sugar cookies with a watered down version of royal icing that made any sort of intricate design difficult. Maybe it’s the fact that all the royal icing recipes I’ve looked at call for meringue powder, and I immediately become tense at the mention of my arch-nemesis and kryptonite (seriously, I have never been able to make a proper meringue). For whatever reason, it’s been one of those baking endeavors I’ve just been putting off. But lately I’ve seen soooooooo many beautiful blog entries with decorated sugar cookies that I just couldn’t resist finally trying it. So armed with my one cookie cutter (that’s not even a cookie cutter, but really a biscuit cutter) I set about making some festive spring chicks!

Spring Chick Cookies
Yields about 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

For the sugar cookies:
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder

For the royal icing:
4 tbsp. meringue powder or powdered egg whites
1/2 cup luke-warm water
500 grams (just over 1 lb.) powdered sugar
Food coloring gel in yellow, orange, and black

Continue reading