Lemon Thyme Shortbread

For Fourth of July this year I made lemon thyme shortbread cookies to go along with our fresh berry salad and homemade whipped cream. For more on this see:

https://agreenesadventures.org/2016/07/06/4th-of-july-weekend/

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I’ve wanted to learn to make shortbread for a long time and lemon is one of my favorite summer ingredients for baking.

I found a recipe from: twopeasandtheirpod: lemon-rosemary-shortbread that I adapted to make these star shaped light summer cookies.

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These are not high in sugar, although they are very buttery. People commented they would go well with tea, and were more like British biscuits. Yes I would agree they are more European in style as compared to most of my other sugar filled crunchy or gooey cookies.

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But I think in the spring and summer sometimes you need something light that pairs well with iced tea or fresh berries. What I love about these cookies is that the texture is light but still more moist then a cracker and they have a perfect burst of lemon.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 TBS lemon zest

1 1/2 teaspoons minced thyme

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 C lemon juice.

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Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, salt, lemon zest, and thyme together.
  2. In a separate bowl beat the butter and powdered sugar until smooth and creamy.
  3. Then beat in the vanilla extract and lemon juice.

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Note: add more lemon juice or zest for a stronger lemon burst or more vanilla for a more mild smooth flavor

4. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour or until firm.

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Put parchment paper, a Silpat, or grease your cookie sheet and put aside.

IMG_65976. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch thick square. Cut into shape of your choosing using a lightly floured cookie cutter.

IMG_65967. Place shortbread cookies on the cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are a light brown around the edges

8. Remove cookies from baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

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Then Enjoy!

Luke thought they were good but a little heavy on the thyme. If your not a fan or herbs in your cookies you can always take them out of the recipe or substitute them for some fresh vanilla bean.

4th of July weekend

So what did we do for the 4th?

Well after more than a week with Luke’s parents we were ready for a weekend in. (More on that week to come soon.) We spent most of the weekend working on the house, working on some of those projects that take only a few hours but are hard to fit in. We also got some quiet time to just regroup together, and on our own.

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On the 4th we celebrated with burgers, local hard cider, and dessert. For the 4th this year I decided to make a new cookie (always looking for excuses to experiment). After research online I decided to make lemon thyme shortbread cookies (recipe to come). To make them festive I used a star cookie cutter.

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To complete our dessert I made a berry salad adding fresh mint from our garden, then made some whipped cream with a little vanilla and agave. It was a refreshing and light festive dessert. Maybe a new tradition? For more on this see:

https://agreenesadventures.org/2013/03/30/hot-cross-buns-and-berry-salad-a-new-easter-tradition/

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After dessert we drove over to Loon Lake to enjoy the fireworks, we got a perfect spot, closest I’ve ever been to a fireworks show.

 

Hope you had fun celebrating with friends and family for the holiday weekend.

Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

A long title for a very delicious cookie.

For Valentine’s this year I decided to put a twist on the traditional Peanut Butter Kiss Cookie.

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Instead of buying plain chocolate kisses I bought caramel filled kisses, this time of year they come in a pink bag and are wrapped in pink swirled foil.

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I adapted a basic Peanut Butter Kiss Cookie recipe with a few gourmet twists below:

Makes about 32-36 cookies

Ingredients:

1/4 c creamy peanut butter

1/2 stick or 4 tsb unsalted butter

3/4 C brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾-1 C all purpose flour ( I use organic)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

36 Caramel kisses unwrapped

sea-salt and white sugar for topping or sprinkles

1/4 container vanilla pudding mix

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Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Stick the unwrapped caramel kisses in the freezer
  3. Cream peanut butter and butter until smooth
  4. Add in brown sugar and pudding mix beat until smooth
  5. Add eggs and vanilla and beat again
  6. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt
  7. Add dry ingredients to the wet slowly and beat on low speed

IMG_61568. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or slip pats and grease if needed

9. Let dough sit in the fridge for about an hour to chill meanwhile move the kisses to the fridge

IMG_615810.After an hour roll the dough into small 1-1/2 inch balls

11. Roll the balls in extra sugar/course sea salt combo

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IMG_6160 12. Place dough balls on baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes

13. When cookies come out of the oven give them 2 minutes to rest

14. then place a chilled caramel kiss in the center of each

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Note: Be careful when moving these cookies to a cooling rack or trying to stack them for storage, in the first few minutes after kisses are put on the cookies they will get hot and melty. My solution is to clear a place in the freezer to flash freeze the candy before packing the cookies for storage.

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These cookies were a perfect hit, both at home our jobs, they went fast. They are rich but the salt cuts the sweet and few people ate only one.

White Chocolate Ginger Snap Cookies

So my second new cookie experiment this year was a white chocolate dipped ginger cookie. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make ginger snaps and found this recipe on pintrest.

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The cookies themselves ended up taking a long time to bake, I’m guessing because of the molasses.

White chocolate can be hard to work with it can burn easily or harden quickly. So I decided to use my fondue pot to dip the white chocolate halves; the perfect solution.

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I found a sprinkles pack that had red balls, and Christmas trees. This worked out perfect to make holly. I think they were the biggest hit this year because they are so attractive and they taste great.

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Unfortunately the pictures you see are the leftovers least attractive cookies, but they taste just as good as the rest.

I do not have a modified recipe for them yet but I got the recipe from a fellow blogger Cookingclassy

Hope you are all enjoying the holiday season!

 

Holiday Velvet Cookies

So if you follow my blog at all you know I love to bake and most of all to bake cookies. And Christmas is the perfect time of year to experiment with new recipes.  This year I did two new experiments.

In the past I have worked with several different cake mixes to make cookies for more on this see 4th of July funfetti cookies or strawberry cheesecake cookies.

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So when I saw in the store a holiday velvet cake mix I thought: why not? I have before done a cake mix cookie for Christmas with the funfetti cake, but I had to add a lot of food coloring to make them festive.

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So this year the color was already in the mix and they turned out great! Similar to the other cake mix cookies I used the cake mix, vegetable oil, but this time I also add a little extra coco for a stronger velvet taste and cheesecake pudding mix.

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Here’s the full recipe below.

Holiday Velvet Cheesecake Cookies

Makes about 32 cookies

Prep time 10 minutes

Cooking time 30 minutes

  • 1 box Holiday Funfetti cake mix
  • 1 ½ small box instant cheesecake pudding mix
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ C of flour
  • ¼ C coco
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/2 cup white baking chips, divided

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, vegetable oil spray, or a Silpat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, coco and flour
  3. Add in the 3 eggs, vegetable oil, and vanilla until a dough forms
  4.  Stir in  the white chips.
  5. Using a cookie scoop, drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
  6. Press a few chips onto the tops of each cookie or seasonal sprinkles

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies just start to lightly brown.

 

The centers will still be very soft – that’s okay!

Cool for 2 minutes, then remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

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To make them extra festive I rolled the tops of the cookies in red, white, and green sprinkles and placed a snowflake on each. They are bright, ,moist, colorful and most of all taste great!

And for the second experiment . . .  you’ll have to wait for the next blog.

Lemon Cream Scones

As I mentioned in my Birthday Fun post I decided to make myself several bday treats. I have often used, as some of you may know, the Bread Bible as my guide for new recipes or new forms of baking.

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Since this was my first time making scones I thought I’d use their recipe to get me started. It didn’t hurt that it was for lemon scones.

Also, not so surprising I made a few changes. The original recipe called for putting a little cinnamon sugar on top of the scones. I opted for a glaze instead. I also added more sugar and lemon to make these more or a treat and less of a mild breakfast.

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Lemon Cream Scones

Ingredients

2 C all purpose flour

1/2 C white sugar

Fresh Lemon Zest of 4 lemons

1/4tsp salt

5 Tbs cold unsalted butter

2 large eggs

1/2 C cold heavy cream

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Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. I put my down to 375F because my oven runs hot. 1-2 baking sheets.

2. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt.

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3. Cut in the cold butter with a knife and mix together until it crumbles.

4. In a separate bowl combine eggs and cream then add it to the dry ingredients slowly

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5. Put the dough on a floured surface and lightly knead.

6. Cut the dough into three equal parts.

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7. Use your cupped hands on the sides of the dough to turn the equal parts around in a circle until they form domes.

8. Cut these domes into 4 equal pieces and place them on the baking sheet about an inch apart

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I found my baking sheet could fit about 6 pieces

9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the sides/top is slightly brown

I made my glaze and cleaned up while they baked.

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10. Glaze and put back in for another 1-2 minutes. (see below for glaze)

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Glaze Ingredients

1 egg white

zest of 1 lemon

juice of lemon

3 TBS white sugar

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Instructions

1. Separate egg white, combine with zest and juice, and add in white sugar

2. After scones have baked, while they are still warm brush the tops with the glaze 1 or 2 times

3.  Put the scones back in the oven for 1-2 minutes to let glaze set

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I found these scones to be a wonderful treat. They were especially good with a little goat cheese and strawberry rhubarb jelly (more on the jelly to come).

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Gluten Free Cereal Treats

Did you know that store bought rice cereal treats have malt or barley in the them?  Which is a problem for me. To learn more about this see why I’m barley free.

Rice cereals should be gluten free but many unfortunately are not. So I decided to make healthier gluten free cereal treats at home.

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Aldi’s has recently made new gluten free cereals so I combined two different types: brown rice and flax with chia.

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Also to change things up I  added dried apricots, blueberries, and cherries and white chocolate chips.

Here’s my recipe for Gluten Free Cereal Treats

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Ingredients:

1. 2 boxes of your choice of gluten free cereal; 9-10 oz. each or about 6-8 cups total

Note: make sure the cereal you buy is small and crunchy/hard in texture

2. 5-6 oz or about 2 cups of dried apricot

3. 5-6 oz or about 2 cups of dried blueberries/cherries or your choice of dried fruit

4. 1 1/2 -2 cups of while chocolate chips; depending how sweet you want it

Note: you can make this healthier by using yogurt chips

5. 2-3 cups mini marshmallows

6. 2 tsp salt

7. 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup butter

Note: you can exchange the butter for coconut oil for a healthier dessert

Instructions

1. Chop apricots, blueberries, and cherries

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2. Put dried fruit, cereal, and white chips into a large mixing bowl

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3. Grease two 9×11 pans

4. Heat butter in a small pot on low

5. Once the butter has softened add the marshmallows and salt

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6. Watch the marshmallow mixture on low and fold the butter/mallows together slowly with a spatula

7. Once the marshmallow mixture is completely melted pour into the cereal mixture

8. Mix with hand mixer or I used my kitchen aid mixer

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9. Once mixed, quickly place in pans, it is easiest to press down the gooey mix with greased hands or the back end of a large and wide spatula

10. Give the rice cereal treats time to cool in the fridge, once cool you can cut them into squares. Store the squares in a closed container in the fridge.

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My husband, who is not a huge fan of marshmallows thought these were much better then store bought or traditional rice cereal treats.

These were a perfect camping trip treat and easy summer snack boost.