Friday, January 31, 2014

Soft Orange Rolls

For Christmas this year we surprised our kids and drove to Colorado to visit my parents.  I thought for sure my 6 year old would figure it out because he's pretty knowledgeable about geography and he can read, so I figured once we hit Denver and signs started popping up all bets were off.  Turns out though that Minecraft turns you into a Zombie that loses all sense of time and direction and glues your face to a screen for 6 hours straight.  Seriously interesting and disturbing phenomena.

Anyways, the kids were completely shocked and excited when we got there.  One of the first things I did was open the refrigerator, because that's the polite way for a house guest to enter a home.  (I hope you learned that in Martha 101.)  A can of Pillsbury orange sweet rolls stared at me from the top shelf and I immediately knew my brother was there.  That kid eats orange rolls like no tomorrow.  Ever since he was in high school he's baked them on Saturday morning and eaten at least half a can. Orange rolls will forever remind me of him.

We had a great Christmas with my family but I have been craving orange rolls ever since. I adapted these from my basic cinnamon roll recipe and they turned out great.  They are so soft and so orangy. Next time I may use a non-cream cheese frosting just because I feel like orange rolls need a less tangy/sweeter frosting, but that's just a personal preference.

Happy last day of January!

  Can I get a "Hallelujah"?

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chocolate-Dipped Caramels

Who needs store-bought candy when you can make your own?

Just kidding.  I'll take a box of See's chocolate any day.

Rum raisin please. 

But sometimes it is fun to make your own- especially for Valentine's day or Christmas.  For this recipe you will need a strong stirring arm (be ready to stir for half an hour or so) and an uninterrupted period of time.  Caramels need lots of attention, so send your kids hunting for snipes or something. You will also need a candy thermometer and access to google to check the elevation of where you live.  (More details on that are in the recipe below.)

Full disclosure- I have made these several times without using a thermometer.  I am totally not recommending this, but it can be done if you're in a bind.  This is the trick: Watch for when you run a spatula through the middle of the pan and the caramel stays separated for just a second before running back together.  You should be able to see the bottom of the pan.  If you've never done caramels before you may want to follow this up with a cold water test just to double check that your caramel is ready. If you take it off the heat now you'll get a fairly soft moldable caramel that can be wrapped around pretzels or pressed into the insides of chocolate.  If you continue to cook for another few minutes or so you will get a slightly firmer caramel that is better for eating by itself.

Good Luck!
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Nothing says Christmas like sugar cookies, right?  I've posted this sugar cookie recipe before, but I wanted to share these ones all decked out for Christmas.

It completely frustrates me when I see piped cookies online but there's no information on what tips were used.

I'm not a tip aficionado.  I can't just look at a design and know which tip created it.  So to be nice, all the tips and techniques I used are listed below so you don't have to get angry and eat a bag of mini Starbursts like me. 

I mean, hypothetically of course.

That's never happened.

I may not be a piping expert, but I love doing these buttercream-piped sugar cookies. They are so versatile and fun. You can change them for any season, holiday, or party.

Looking for a Halloween Version?  How about 4th of July?


I even have a Baby Shower version.

Don't worry, a Valentine's Day version is totally coming.  

Happy Sunday!

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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Peppermint Cookie Krispy Treats

Although I haven't blogged for awhile, I did do some baking around the holidays and I took photos so I could post them someday. These Krispy Treats were one of my favorite new recipes of the season. Inspired by the Peppermint JoJo's at Trader Joes, they are the perfect holiday treat.  Super fast and simple enough that your kids can help you make them.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Peppermint Bark Buddies

Sometimes I make recipes and then post them two months later.

Honestly, it has been a busy few months and I needed a break to reevaluate my priorities and how I was allocating my time.  I feel like my kids will only be little for so long, and I don't want them to look back and remember me as always being in the kitchen and on the computer or constantly fending them off from treats that have yet to be photographed.  (Seriously, they hate that.)   I am slowly trying to rearrange the way I do things to make this a more positive aspect of my life and my children's lives. I am trying to get back to baking for them, and for other people, not for a blog post that sounds fun to write. 

I really did miss blogging.  I like to share pieces of our lives and treats that make us happy, but I am such a perfectionist that it was making me crazy.  Here's to being sporadic, imperfect, and a better steward of time in 2014.

Hope you all had wonderful & safe holidays surrounded by family & friends.  

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