Sweetheart Sugar Cookies – for any occasion or anyone on your list

Who says sugar heart cookies have to be for Valentine’s Day. Isn’t everyone in love with someone. It doesn’t have to be just a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse. You can love anyone you want. If you love someone, why not show it with sweetheart sugar cookies.

Ready to Bake!

First step – supplies and ingredients: baking sheets, parchment paper, rolling pin, extra flour for rolling, cooling rack, measure cups and spoons, flour sifter and/or colander for sifting (I’ll show you how), heart cookie cutter (the amount of cookies you yield will depend on the size of the cookie cutter. This cutter was about 1 1/2 inches.

This made 48 really thin and crunchy sugar cookies.

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

1 cup sugar

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (meaning, you have to sift it and then measure)

1/4 teaspoons of sale (if you happen to only have salted butter, you don’t need this)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I prefer to use aluminum free)

1 large egg, lightly beaten (meaning, just wish it with a fork two or three times)

2 tablespoons orange juice or lemon juice, depending on what taste you want. If you don’t want the citrus flavor, use water)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I prefer to use the real stuff, not imitation)

1/4 confectioners sugar.

Instructions: cream the butter and the sugar. sift together the dry ingredients; add to the butter mixture and beat well. Add the egg, orange juice, and vanilla. Beat again until well mixed. Shape the dough into three flattened round, wrap with clear plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1/2 hour. Preheat over to 350 degrees F, 325 if you have a convection oven. Line baking sheets.

On a well floured board, or countertop (I like to use my granite island since it’s nice and cold, and as long as it is cleaned off thoroughly, its fine to work on) roll out the dough until it is 1/3 inch thick. Cut into shapes and set on cookie sheet – well enough apart so that they don’t cook together (I usually give it about an inch, but then risk it if I want to back in less intervals).

Well floured surface

Bake for 10 minutes. I found that with my 350 degree temp on my convection oven they took about 7 minutes to bake. So, without the convention, I would say 9 – 10 minutes. If they start to smell, they are done (also, don’t let them brown on the sides. if slightly browned, they will just be crunchier. Let them sit on the cookie sheet for about 1 minute before transferring them onto a cookie cooling tray. I use my mini spatula for this. Let cool.

I bought these little boxes at Michael’s; they come flat, you have to fold them (really easy). Perfect fit for the size cookie (1/2 dozen in each box).

Mix some confectioners sugar with a little orange juice or lemon, depending on what flavor you like. Spread over cookies and add decorations. You can also make up different colors of confectioners sugar to decorate your cookies with.

I used the leftover dough for cookie press cookies. You can use the any leftover dough once more before it starts to get sticky and/or too soft. to work with. If you refrigerate it again, you can roll it out and cut more cookies. This only takes more of your time. If you don’t have the time, you can refrigerate it and come back to it the next day – just roll out and cut from it again. I just like to cookie press it so I don’t have to roll it again. When using the cookie press, you can’t press on parchment. I transferred the cookies onto the parchment after pressing, using my small serving spatula.


Vanilla Banana Crepes with Cinnamon Apple Pieces

While on a business call, this recipe came up. Since I have some TLS Vanilla on hand, it was the perfect start to a well developed recipe. Most of the time someone comes up with a recipe and you have to go to the market to buy all the ingredients. Well for me, this wasn’t the case. If you don’t have the TLS Vanilla and/or Pumpkin mix, you can go here to find it.

What you need: non stick pan or crepe pan, baking spatula, spatula for cooking, coconut oil, apple, cinnamon, swerve sugar (if KETO), TLS vanilla powder, egg, banana, plate for serving. You can line the crepes with parchment paper so they don’t stick to each other.

Ingredients:

TLS Vanilla powder

1 egg

1 medium banana

What I found with this is you can mix it all with a hand mixer or spatula.

Instructions:

Mash the banana with the 2 scoops of TLS vanilla powder. Beat the egg in a cup – add it to the mashed banana and powder.

If you have a non stick pan, you can coat it with a little coconut oil – it may separate, but that is okay. I have a crepe pan I use, only because I find it easier to flip the crepes.

Once the pan is hot enough (you want it hot enough to cook quick, but not enough to burn the batter), pour a scoop of the batter on the pan and move the pan around in a circular motion so the batter will spread to the edges. If it doesn’t do it by itself, take the back of a spoon and spread it around yourself. Once the crepe starts to bubble, it is time to flip. You can use a spatula for this process so you don’t break the crepe.


Chewy Molasses Cookies

This recipe came from a Good Housekeeping cookbook I bought when I was first living on my own. It was alike a cooking encyclopedia. It has anything and everything from soup to nuts. Well, these cookies call for shortening and granulated sugar. I swapped the granulated sugar for confectioners sugar (same amount), and butter instead of shortening (same amount). The difference between the two swaps was the texture and the look of the cookies. After setting the cookies on the cookie sheets, I put them in the freezer for about 5 minutes, then baked them for 8 minutes. The images shows the cookies with the confectioner’s sugar.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cold water.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients all in the same bowl, mixing well. Once everything is mixed, using an ice cream scoop, scoop dough into 1 inch balls. Dip balls into confectioner sugar and place onto cookie sheet 12 at a time. Place in freezer for 5 minutes, then bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.


Apple Crisp

One of my favorite times of year is fall. I love the leaves turning colors, the cool air, and best of all, apple picking. We went to the farm. It was a little busy, so we picked apples and sunflowers, then continued on home to wash and dry the apples right away. A couple days later, I decided it was time to make something with apples. I chose this apple crisp recipe:

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake for 45 minutes. I found that convection with this recipe cooks the topping too fast and may burn it. I thought to put tin foil, but I wanted the topping to be crisp and not add any more liquid to the base. I used swerve white and brown sugar to cut down on the sugar content – still tastes the same.

Apple mixture: I placed 5 cups of apples (green tart), cored and cut in chunks) 1/2 cup white sugar (I used swerve), 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, a pinch of ground cloves, 1/4 cup water into a 8 quart mixing bowl. After mixing everything together, I poured the ingredients into a 9 x 11 pyrex dish. I scraped the remains with my scraper to clear the bowl of any residue into the pyrex dish

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Topping: In the same bowl, I placed 1/2 cup quick cooking oats, 1/2 all purpose flour, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I used swerve), 1/8 teaspoon baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 cup of butter, melted (I used vegan butter). Mix all together until ingredients come together.

Spread the topping over the apple mixture, then bake

(remember 350 degrees on bake, for 45 minutes).


Fried Wontons/Vanilla Soft Serve with a drizzle of caramel

This dessert reminded me of a few people and a few great times in my life’s journey. I first made this dessert back in 1999, just after I graduated Culinary School. I landed a job as head pastry chef at a new bistro in my home town. There were a few things on the menu: Creme Brûlée, Chiffon cake with chocolate ganache, and wontons and ice cream.

This one is simple to make; using coconut oil I melted about 1/4 cup in a small sauce pan (this will yield about 8-10 wontons before the oil starts to turn color from the frying. You have to make sure the wontons stay moist out of the package (cover them with a damp paper towel while working with them). Measure two tablespoons of granulated sugar or swerve sugar (natural replacement) in a bowl or small dish and add some cinnamon (place to side). Prepare a plate with a paper towel.

Heat the oil, then place one wonton at a time into the pan (sliding it so it stays flat). Cook until just browned, then turn over and brown on other side. Place cooked wonton on a paper towel and sprinkle with a pinch of the cinnamon sugar right away. Repeat each wonton. If you have a bigger skillet and want to do three or four wontons at a time, you can. Be careful not to burn the wontons if you do it this way. You have to act really fast.

This part will always remind of the time I was up in New Hampshire with family and I made caramel on the spot for some cheesecakes we were having. When I served the cheesecake to my sister-in-law, she asked me where I got the caramel. I told her I made it and she was in awe. We still laugh about it to this day.

With any leftover sugar, I place it in the a small saucepan, adding a drop of water and a sliver of butter – heat up until it starts to bubble, add a pinch of baking soda and a drop or two of cream – this will make caramel. Again, my unconventional way of cooking is just to use up what I have and not really have to measure anything. I will add a video of the caramel at a later date.