December 19, 2017

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I am sharing a very delicious coffee cake recipe today that would be great for any holiday gathering you are hosting or attending. 

It's also perfect for breakfast Christmas morning.

It consists of a yeast dough, which is made the night before,  refrigerated until the next morning and then turned out onto a floured surface, kneaded and rolled out into a rectangle.  It is then filled with the cream cheese filling and roll up like a jelly-roll.  Isn't it pretty?

The coffee cake has to rise for one hour until doubled in size and baked in a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

This recipe makes two coffee cakes.  One I sprinkled with powdered sugar  and the other one, I glazed with a powdered-sugar glaze.

It isn't as yummy as my Buttertop Coffee Cake, but it is a close second!! 


Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
 1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.  Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl.

2.  Heat sour cream in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir in 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup melted butter.  Cool to lukewarm.

3.  Combine sour cream mixture and yeast mixture together.

4.  Add eggs and flour and mix well.

5.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

6.  In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment mix cream cheese, sugar, one egg, salt, and vanilla together, being sure to stop mixer and using a spatula to scrape cream cheese from bottom of bowl to make sure everything is well incorporated.

7.   Turn dough onto a floured surface.  Divide dough into two portions.  Roll each into a 8 x 12 inch rectangle.

8.  Spread with cream cheese mixture.  Roll like a jelly roll from wide end.  Fold edges under and seal.

9.  Place on a greased baking sheet.  Cut slits through ring from outer edge at 2-inch intervals.  

10.  Let rise covered in a warm place for one hour or until almost doubled in size.

11.  Spread with mixture of confectioners' sugar, milk, and two teaspoons of vanilla.

12.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or  until bread is done.



December 3, 2017


We went to a Christmas Party last night, and I made and took these seriously delicious Raspberry Shortbread Cookies.

And I got a high five for my efforts.

I've never made shortbread cookies before.  But there is a first time for everything, right?

When I was checking out recipes for shortbread cookies, and I began mixing the dry ingredients, it was flour and salt.  What?  No leavening agent?  Upon further investigation, I realized that there are no liquid ingredients, and no need for baking soda.  Can that be right?

Turns out that's right.  These cookies were some of the best cookies I've made in a long time.  I do love shortbread cookies.  Don't you??

My hubby pointed out to me at the party that they were all gone. Hey, that's always a good sign.  He thought they were delicious, as well, but he told me it took you all day to make a dozen cookies, which is not true.  It only took half a day.  Ha!!

As a matter of fact, they were so good, I am going to make some more ASAP.

After making the shortbread dough,  I used a medium-sized cookie scoop and rolled them into balls.  I pinched a little off of each one to get the size that I desired.  (It's not a perfect science.)  I pressed the balls of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and then pressed an indentation into the middle of each cookie with my thumb to hold 1/4 teaspoon of seedless Raspberry Jelly.

I made a glaze with powdered sugar, water, and vanilla.  If you want your glaze pure white, you can leave the vanilla out.  Either way, they are wonderful.


Raspberry Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of cold butter (two sticks), cut into tablespoons pieces
2/3 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
Seedless Raspberry Preserves (I used Dickinson's Pure Seedless Cascade Mountain Red Raspberry Preserves, which I bought at Kroger.)

For the Glaze

1 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoons of vanilla
2 - 4 teaspoons of water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  In a bowl using a fork, whisk flour and salt together.  In a mixer bowl with the paddle attachment beat the cold butter and sugar until combined, stopping mixer to scrape down sides.  Add vanilla.  Mix in the flour and salt, adding a small amount at a time until combined.  

Using a cookie scoop, scoop onto baking sheet and press dough down and make an imprint using your thumb in the middle of each cookie.  Fill the indentation with 1/4 teaspoon of seedless raspberry preserves.  Place in refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove from refrigerator and bake in a 350 degree oven for 18 minutes.

Let cookies cool completely.

Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla and water in a small bowl.  Fill a sandwich baggie with the glaze, close the baggie, and snip the tip of the baggie off with a pair of scissors and pipe glaze onto cookies.

Serve to family and friends!!


November 8, 2017


Wow!  These Pumpkin Muffins are delicious.  They are very moist and the white chocolate chips make them very decadent.

It's interesting how our "tastebuds" change as we get older.  When I was younger, I didn't particularly care for white chocolate.  I only wanted to eat chocolate.  But now I absolutely love white chocolate.  

I was inspired to put white chocolate chips in these muffins by a recipe I made earlier this summer from Food & Wine Magazine.

Pumpkin season is upon us; so, I decided to use canned pumpkin in this recipe.   I did not add pumpkin pie spice.  It is sort of amazing how mild the pumpkin taste is in these muffins, but the addition of the pumpkin makes a very moist and tasty sweet treat.

I like pumpkin spice, but I don't like a lot of it.  I find it kind of overpowers every other flavor in the recipe, but if you would like tto have the pumpkin spice flavors added in, I would suggest about a teaspoon.


Pumpkin Muffins with White Chocolate Chips

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
3/4 cup pumpkin
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces white chocolate chips
(I used Ghirardelli)
More sugar for sprinkling

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin liners.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda together.

3.  Using a stand mixer and the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, egg and pumpkin until fluffy, being sure to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixer bowl.  (Beat for approximately two minutes).  

4.  Add in the dry ingredients on low speed until just incorporated.    At low speed, beat in chocolate chips.

5.  Using a ice cream scoop, scoop batter into muffin liners.  Sprinkle each muffin with sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  

6.  Cool muffins and enjoy!


October 28, 2017

Brown Butter and Pink Himalayan Rice Krispie Treats

If you need a fun dessert for a Halloween Party, these sophisticated Rice Krispie Treats will be perfect.  

And if you're not having a party, and just want to make them for yourself, you won't be sorry.  I really like Rice Krispie Treats and have made them often through the years.  I like to add miniature marshmallows to the treats.  The more marshmallows, the better.

I think the brown butter adds an autumn touch to these timeless treats, and a few orange and black sprinkles make them the perfect treat for Halloween.

They are delicious.  I seriously could not stop eating them.  

They are a great treat for both adults and kids!


Brown Butter and Pink Himalayan Salt Rice Krispie Treats

Spray a 9 x 9 inch pan with Canola Spray

1/2 cup of unsalted butter (1 stick)
40 regular marshmallows 
6 cups of Rice Krispies
1/8 teaspoon of Pink Himalayan Salt
1 cup of miniature marshmallows

Brown the butter in a dutch oven.  To brown butter, melt the butter in a pan until it begins to foam and turns a brown color.  Remove from heat.  Add marshmallows to brown butter and stir until marshmallows are melted.  Stir in Rice Krispies, salt, and miniature marshmallows.  Spread into prepared pan.  



October 23, 2017


Last week I went to JoAnn Fabrics to buy yarn for a new knitting project.

As I first went in right by the check-out counter, there were these little Ghost Peeps.  

Although, I realize the cupcake craze has reached its peak, I would rather eat a cupcake any day than a piece of cake.  #truth.

So interesting to me the debate over "from scratch versus box cake mixes".  I almost always use a box cake mix and "jazz" it up.  It is so dependable, and I like the taste.  And I never use canned frosting but always make my own, which is really a throw back to my mother, as she always said cake mixes are fine, but you must always make your own frosting.

My motto is do what works for you!

Aren't these adorable??  They are fun and delicious.  I kept some and gave some away.   Sharing the cupcake love.


Halloween Cupcakes

1 box white cake mix
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups of milk
3 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Mix ingredients together with a mixer until incorporated and beat on high speed for 2 minutes.

2.  Using an ice cream scoop, scoop cake batter into cupcake paper lined cupcake tins.

3.  Bake according to directions on back of cake mix box.

Chocolate Frosting

1 stick of unsalted butter
4 cups of powdered sugar
4 tablespoons of cocoa
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Pinch of salt
 4 tablespoons of heavy cream

I doubled the recipe.  I then piped on the frosting with a large decorator's tip.   I sat the ghost on top of the cupcakes and finished off with some sprinkles.



October 12, 2017


I made brownies for our Couple's Golf Scramble at our local Country Club.  After our scramble, we have a "potluck".   There's always lots of good food!

These delicious brownies are made from a brownie mix that is "doctored" by adding buttermilk instead of water, butter instead of oil.  You get the idea.

I searched Pinterest for a recipe, and this one popped up first.  You can find the recipe over on Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.  

The recipe is from the book The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!  I have ordered it from Amazon, and I am greatly anticipating its arrival!!

These brownies taste somewhat like fudge.  They are simply a chocolate-lovers must bake.

The frosting is made "from scratch" and is poured over the top of the brownies.  I refrigerated my brownies before cutting.  It made them easier to cut.

They really are the "best brownies", and if you are looking for something that is "foolproof" and delicious,  I recommend this recipe.  Happy Baking!!

September 25, 2017


The calendar says it is Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, but the weather says it's still Summer.  It's suppose to be 89 degrees here in the Midwest today.   But we are promised cooler temperatures are on the way by the end of the week.

 I have been reluctant to make anything with pumpkin until it's cooler and feels like Autumn.  I have also been reluctant to buy mums and pumpkins for outside yet, but I'm sure the first cooler day, I'll be first in line!

 The recipe for Gooey Butter Cake has certainly been around for years, many years.  And the addition of flavors to the top layer is genius!

I have made the pumpkin version as much in the last decade as I have made the original version, but this is the first time I have made it in a cheesecake pan.

I was unsure of how long to bake it, and I just kept checking it until it was done enough to take out of the oven.  It was still "gooey" in the center, and I waited until it was completely cooled and then put it in the refrigerator before cutting and serving.

So  lovely!


Gooey Butter Cake (Or Chess Cake)

1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter (melted)
1 egg

8 ounces cream cheese
1 15-ounce can of Pumpkin
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 eggs

Mix cake mix, butter, and 1 egg and spread in the bottom of a cheesecake pan.  Mix cream cheese, pumpkin, powdered sugar, and 3 eggs and pour on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 hour 15 minutes.  Let cool.  Refrigerate.  Serve with fresh whipped cream.  (You will need to use your judgment on baking time by checking center with a toothpick.  You want it to be a "gooey" consistency but not "runny".)


September 11, 2017


I bought zucchini at the Farmer's Market and made Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread.  Wow, is it ever moist.

I guess this is one way to get your veggies!!

It is not only quite beautiful but very tasty as well.  I cut a slice and heat it in the microwave on high for 8 seconds (or so) and then add room temperature butter.

I am so sorry to see our Farmer's Market season winding down.  I go to the Market at least once a week.  We love all the locally grown fruits and vegetables.  We also buy our little Cavashon dog treats!

I made this recipe for just one loaf; since there's just the two of us, but if you want two loaves, of course, you can double the recipe.

Happy Baking . . .


Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

1-1/2 to 2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
2 eggs 
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.

1.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

2.  In a stand mixer, mix together eggs, sugar, oil, sour cream, vanilla extract, and zucchini. 

3.  On low speed, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until blended.  Mix in chocolate chips.

4.  Pour into a prepared loaf pan.  (I sprayed my pan with Canola Oil.)

5.  Bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of bread comes out clean.



August 14, 2017


After playing 18 holes of golf yesterday and only eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast, and skipping lunch, I made this for an early supper.

I am going to have to buy a notebook to keep in my kitchen so when I cook for the Blog, I can write down measurements, etc.  If I am not specifically following a recipe, I don't measure things out.  I sort of "throw the ingredients together".  Sometimes it's a keeper, and sometimes, well, it's not.

This one is a keeper!

 To me, a recipe is a guide, not necessarily to be followed exactly, but tailored to one's own liking.

I have been told recently, by someone whose judgment I clearly trust, that if you change just one ingredient in a recipe, it is essentially not the same recipe.  By this opinion, I take it, then it is your own.  

What else can you say about baked spaghetti?  It was cheesy and delicious and makes a 9 x 13; so, for two people, there are leftovers for today, which means no cooking for me!


Baked Spaghetti
1 pound ground beef
1 24-ounce jar of spaghetti sauce (I used Prego)
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder
1 Tablespoon Parsley Flakes
1/2 small onion
12-ounces of spaghetti (cooked al dente)
4 ounces of Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup of Sour Cream
1 cup of shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup of shredded Mozarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F

Boil spaghetti according to directions on box; leaving it al dente  Brown ground beef, adding salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion.  Drain any grease.  (I used 3% fat; so I had nothing to drain).  Add spaghetti sauce and parsley.  Let meat and sauce simmer on low.  (I also added a bit of water).

Drain spaghetti.  Mix cream cheese and sour cream together until smooth.  Stir into spaghetti.  Put spaghetti in a 9 x 13 glass dish.  Pour meat sauce over the spaghetti and stir together.  Stir in Cheddar Cheese and Mozzarella Cheese.  Bake at 350 Degrees F for 25 minutes.



August 3, 2017


I like to eat at Newell House, which is a locally owned and operated restaurant.  It has a really relaxing atmosphere, good food, and good service; all the things I'm looking for when I eat out.  

Their Rigatoni and Zucchini dish is my favorite.
It is a meatless dish, which is perfect for me.  I don't eat a lot of meat.  Much like my grandmother before me, if there's fried chicken, I just want one wing, and just a dab of steak, which I rarely eat,  will do me.

And much like my grandmother before me, I have a "sweet tooth".

But, hey, this dish is a nice departure from my baking posts, and I do love pasta, and maybe you do, too!!

After I got home from playing golf today, I made this Rigatoni and Zucchini.  No recipe needed.  

It is delicious, and how can you not like Rigatoni noodles??


Rigatoni and Zucchini - Boil Rigatoni Noodles according to package directions (as much or little as you want), one zucchini, sliced; capers; kalamata olive pieces; roasted red peppers; two tablespoons of butter; two tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil; White Wine; garlic powder; parsley; salt; and pepper.

  I melted two tablespoons of butter and approximately two tablespoons of EVOO in a large skillet.  I  added in the sliced zucchini, kalatma olive pieces, capers, roasted red pepper, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  I cooked these ingredients until the zucchini was fairly tender, but not mushy.  I added in a little more EVOO and wine (approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup of wine).  I mixed in the rigatoni noodles and continued cooking until it was all heated through.  I removed the skillet from the burner and sprinkled dried parsley over the top of the pasta dish.