Having a Hoot!

Fall cookies

I am ever so slightly obsessed with owls… Seriously, if I could, I would own one, and it would be EPIC! There’s just something about their big eyes and roly poly shape that I find adorable. Actually, I think that pretty well sums up my criteria for cute animals: big, googly eyes? Check! Round, roly poly figure? Check! Adorable? You bet! So how could I resist putting such an adorable creature on an adorable cookie?

Owl Cookies
Yields about 2 dozen cookies

For the sugar cookies:
2 sticks (226 grams) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

For the royal icing:
4 tbsp. meringue powder OR egg white powder
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 lb. (~500 grams) powdered sugar
Gel food coloring in purple, green, pink, yellow, brown, and black

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Let’s Be Friends!

For all of you that may not pay meticulous attention to my side menu (because I’m sure that’s what everyone’s looking at on a food blog… the side bar), I’ve added a few new additions. That’s right, Bloglovin, Facebook, and Pinterest! Wow, so this is what the 21st century feels like… But I kid, I kid. I’m loving blogging, but part of what got me into it in the first place was the community, and I just don’t feel like I’ve gotten to know you, the reader, very well. So that being said…

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Royal Icing: The Basics

Despite my initial hesitations, I love decorating cookies with royal icing. It’s hard to beat the level of detail you can get with royal icing and the smooth finish that isn’t going to get messed up in transit. But I’ve noticed my posts getting long and repetitive as I try to explain the ins and outs of royal icing and consistency in each one. So rather than explain and re-explain, while glossing over some of the finer details of royal icing, here’s one, compact everything you need to know about royal icing and consistency. Let’s start with a basic recipe:

Basic Royal Icing
Yields enough icing to cover roughly 2 dozen cookies

4 tbsp. meringue powder or powdered egg whites
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 lb. (~500 grams) powdered sugar

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Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Pumpkin spice cupcakes

Fall baking just wouldn’t be Fall baking without some pumpkin cupcakes. This time of year, I just want to eat all things pumpkin flavored until I’m so sick of pumpkin I don’t want to see it for another year. But that’s just me. My husband, on the other hand, couldn’t be less excited about pumpkin flavored things. Maybe it’s an American thing, a taste most of us acquired growing up. But being the usual good sport, my husband agreed to try my pumpkin flavored cupcakes, amongst the slew of other pumpkin flavored goodies. I haven’t seen my cupcakes since… or my husband for that matter…

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1/2 stick (57 grams) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk

For the frosting:
1 cup milk
5 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (226 grams) butter
1 cup granulated sugar

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Chocolate Maple Cupcakes

Chocolate maple cupcakes

The other day my husband and I took a walk where we ended up at one of the grocery stores for a little after walk snack. As we were perusing the isles trying to decide what we wanted, we managed to end up in my favorite isle: the baking isle. And as I was looking to see if there were any new sets of sprinkles I might want to add to my growing collection, I saw a small glass jar of golden brown liquid… maple syrup!! This delectable syrupy treat is not so easy to find here in Norway where everyone seems to think it’s too sugary and can’t understand why in the world we’d want to make a sticky mess out of our pancakes (here they smear pancakes with jam and eat them with their hands). So I snatched it up (even at almost $20 for a bottle) and raced home to add it to my ever growing list of Fall baking ideas.

Chocolate Maple Cupcakes
Yields 12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1/2 stick (57 grams) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tbsp. baking cocoa
1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

For the frosting:
2 1/2 sticks (285 grams) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

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