Jess Creativ Treasures

Cakes and cupcakes are all the rage at any given celebration we host since I love playing with icing and swirls and sprinkles, but this summer I put down the piping bag filled with buttercream to allow the work of my talented girlfriend, Jess, take the stage!

When we were celebrating Bradley prior to his leaving for Boot Camp, I was looking for something different and fun to add to the day.  I mean we all love sweets, but sometimes buttercream is just too much and not everyone is a fan of fondant.  While brainstorming ideas, I happened to catch a post from Jess in my social media and it clicked…

Cookies!

We needed gorgeous, fun, colorful and themed cookies for the perfect addition to our party!

I have long admired Jess’s handiwork…. Y’all, she is so talented! Decorative cookies take a A LOT of patience and quite a bit of time; each one is a work of art. These aren’t your everyday cookies from the Publix bakery, no, these are special and made with care. From baby showers to my US Marine, Jess does a wonderful job making sure your cookies are not only delicious but the perfect centerpiece for your dessert buffet!

I can assure you these cookies are fantastic and delicious as they were completely wiped out in a matter of minutes!

And if these beautiful & intricately decorated USMC cookies don’t convince you cookies are the perfect decorative dessert, check out a few more of Jess’s fabulous treats!

If you’re interested in cookies for your next event, Jess will meet you in metro Atlanta, but she has shipped before as well! Check out her Facebook page … Jess Creative Treasures … for more information or to order cookies for your next event!!

Cream-Filled Christmas Cookies

If there is one thing that absolutely completes the holidays, it’s spending time in the kitchen baking sweets and treats galore!  Baking is a tradition that began for me as a little girl growing up.  Each Christmas Momma would pull out all the ingredients to make every variety of cookie imaginable for several days straight.  {Martha Stewart has nothing on this Momma of mine!} My sisters and I would help her decorate or fill each cookie, occasionally sneaking bite or two… or twelve, until we would be on a sugar high and Momma would be pitching a fit because we were eating all of her holiday gathering treats and gifts!

Now my girls do the same with me.  They ice, fill, and strategically arrange M & M’s or sprinkles on cookies to steal and eat share with family and friends.

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As I join The Everyday Home Blog‘s virtual cookie Exchange, I wanted to share a cookie (that I swiped from an old Better Homes & Gardens magazine & tweaked just a little) that has been a favorite tradition in our home for nearly our entire marriage; buttery, sweet, simple, and colorful cream-filled cookies that our own Christmas celebrations would not be complete without!

Now, just a little disclaimer before I share this recipe. These buttery, melt-in-your-mouth, bite sized cookies are really, really unhealthy and extremely addictive.  As a matter of fact, when I made them for work last week I was told they were like crack.

So bake these fattening, addictive cookies at your own risk.

cream-filled christmas cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup cold butter, absolutely NO substitutes (I used Kerrygold butter for my recipe)

2 cups cake flour (I used King Arther brand)

3-4 tablespoons organic, heavy whipping cream

Sanding sugar

Powder sugar frosting (recipe to follow)

Putting it Together:

Preheat your oven to 375º.

In a medium mixing bowl, cut the butter into the flour until the pieces are the size of green peas.

I actually used the pastry attachment on my Kitchen Aid for this and it worked out great!

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Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the cream over the mixture and gently toss with a fork, pushing to the side of the bowl.  Repeat until all of the butter and flour mixture is combined into a dough that you can roll into a ball.

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Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to an 1/8 of an inch.  Cut into rounds using a cookie cutter.

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Using decorative & themed baking tools sure keeps the fun in Christmas baking! I LOVE this rolling-pin from Williams-Sonoma … sturdy for rolling as well as themed for keeping spirits bright!

Place the cut cookies on an ungreased, non-stick cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with the sanding sugar.  With a fork, poke four parallel rows in each cutout.

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Bake 8-10 minutes, or just until the edges begin to brown.  Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Now for your Powdered Sugar Frosting: In a small bowl, mix together 2 cups sifted powder sugar, 2 Tablespoons softened butter (no substitutes), 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract and enough heavy cream to make a spreadable frosting. If you are coloring the frosting with just one color, add a couple of drops, mixing well. If using more than one color, divide icing before coloring. I used “Wilton” gel coloring in sky blue for my blue frosting and “Candy-n-Cake” brand powdered food coloring in red to get a true red.

Spread a smidgen of the powdered sugar frosting on the non-sugared side of a cookie and then top with another cookie round.

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Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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These are actually super easy to make; the most tedious part is carefully icing the cookies without grasping them to hard and crumbling them in your hand.

Serve your pretty little cream-filled bites of butter with hot cocoa or a cold glass of milk (skim milk not allowed).

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These dainty bite-sizes delights are perfect for parties, potlucks, gifting, and being absolutely naughty on your diet.

You can’t eat just one.

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And if you want to change these up just a little take Andes peppermint crunch, and top your cookies when they have about 1-minute left to cook.  Let cool and then ice with frosting that has 1 teaspoon of real vanilla extract instead of the peppermint flavoring.

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These cookies are very delicate, so pack with care if you are taking them to an event of gifting them.

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They’ll be a hit no matter where you serve them!

Take a little time to check out all the other fabulous cookie recipes that are a part of the Virtual Cookie Exchange today!

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The Cookie Monster {Paleo Style}

Sometimes Mommas have to be the bad guy, even when we don’t want to.
Sometimes we have to say no, even when it’s difficult.
We know it is for the benefit of our kiddos, but getting them to understand that is sometimes very difficult.
Sometimes……
Then there are times that Mommas find a solution and suddenly “no” becomes “YES” making all right in the world again.
This has been the story of my life lately as we are having to change our eating habits again, making them just a little cleaner.
When we began eating clean months ago with my lifestyle change & weightloss, things like migraines seemed disappear from our home.  That is until my Madeline would go away for sleepovers, or youth group trips, or sporting events…. places where  food (while absolutely delicious to a teenager) didn’t necessarily sit well afterwards.  After missing fourteen days of school this year with migraines (all after weekend adventures & a couple of family trips), we decided things had to change.
Healthy just got healthier as we are now going very clean and taking more of a natural (some call it Paleo) approach to eating.  Wheat & grain seem to be the source of her problems, so we are beginning to eliminate them from our diet.
The result?
No more headaches, and absolutely delicious chocolate chip cookies that were devoured in a matter of minutes as they came out of the oven the other night!
2 Cups almond flour (or meal)
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup Spectrum organic all-vegetable shortening
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (dairy & soy free)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  I lined one large cookie pan with payment paper to help prevent sticking.  In a food processor, blend together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the shortening, honey and vanilla and blend until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.  Take a tablespoon of the dough and flatten on the cookie sheet. Leave a little space between each cookie.  Bake about 7 minutes until the cookies are golden.  Allow to cool a few minutes or enjoy hot from the oven with cold milk!
{You can also press the cookie dough into a brownie pan and make delicious cookie bars.}
And just a side note …. these cookies are very addictive and while the ingredients are natural, they do not make a “diet” cookie.  These are a definitely a treat if you are trying to lose weight & not a part of a low-fat lifestyle.
But they are good.
Really good.

I hope you’ll give them a try!

 

Give Me an Old Fashioned Christmas {Christmas Cookies}

After the halls are decked for Christmas, one of my most loved traditions here at home is making cookies with my girls.  With the sounds of Bing, Dean, Frank, and Perry playing in the background I love to bring out my Christmas apron, light a winter candle and slip away to a time when life was so much more simple.

I get so excited when it is time to pull out my little storage box of sprinkles, cookie cutters, the cookie press, and my favorite recipes spending several days baking for various December events.

 

Cookies seem so simple, but there is so much you can do with them.  From decorating to gifting cookies are a very versatile treat.  I have an uncle who would absolutely want to cancel Christmas if he did not receive a box of assorted homemade cookies from both my mom and me each year!  He LOVES them, especially traditional sugar cookies!  It must be a family trait, because my Dad threatens to disinherit me every year if I don’t make his favorite cream-filled wafer!
Throughout the next several weeks I thought that I would share a few of our favorite Christmas (well anytime) treats …… starting today with traditional sugar cookies.
This recipe is really special to me as it first belonged to my Granny who passed away when I was 8 years old, but my mother has also used this recipe my whole life.

 

Ingredients:
2 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar1/2 t. salt
1 c. butter (softened)
   Cut these cut these dry ingredients together using a pastry knife.
 
1 egg
1 T. milk
2 t. vanilla
   Combine these 3 ingredients together, then mix with dry ingredients.  Your dough will be very sticky.
Press into ball.  Wrap and chill a couple of hours.
 Remove from refrigerator and lightly need a little of the dough just so that you can form a ball to roll out.  Roll 1/2 of dough at a time, on a lightly floured board,  1/8 in. thick.
Cut into desired shape & arrange about 1″ apart on cookie sheet (decorate if you would like using colored sugars, mini M&M’s or you can even ice them after baking) and bake at 375 for 8 min.

One recipe should make 3 dozen cookies.
 
This pan is from TJ Maxx & it is made in the USA!  It is a great cookie pan.

 

Cool and serve.
 
Jadite dishes (personal collection), red plates (HomeGoods), Metal tractor & Firetruck (Hallmark), Reproduction Shiny Brites (Christopher Radko), Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls (from Cracker Barrel several years back)
Here’s wishing you a sweet weekend filled with old fashioned fun!
 
 
I leave tomorrow for Tennessee & Alabama to begin wedding week fun with my daughter!  If you don’t already, follow me on Facebook for pictures & details as we decorate, cook, and get ready for this exciting day!  

Look for my holiday home tour here on the blog next week!