Frosted (JUMBO) Animal Cookies

{image from Mother's cookies}
When my friend, Teresa, from Blooming on Bainbridge mentioned that she loves Frosted Animal Cookies, a little light bulb went off in my head. 
{PS...if you've never visited Teresa's blog, go now...they say Disney World is the happiest place on earth; they're wrong.  It's Teresa's blog.}

Why not make my own *larger* version of them?

See, I love Mother's Frosted Animal Cookies.  When kiddo was a toddler, I lived on a diet of Mother's Frosted Animal Cookies and Vanilla Coke.  Then I weaned myself off of them and started my current diet of Starbucks Pumpkin Bread and Iced Decaf Vanilla Lattes.  Much healthier.

I didn't have all of the correct shapes for the cookies; I did have an elephant cutter, but the rest, well...I improvised.
We have frosted animal bunnies, ducks, giraffes....

....and the all-important frosted animal stegosaurus.

For the flavor, I wanted to be authentic. So, I checked a bag of Mother's Cookies to see what flavor they used to make them so delicious.  Vanilla? Almond? Lemon? Butter?  Turns out, what makes them so delicious is just plain ol' sugar. I couldn't find any flavoring in the ingredients whatsoever.
Or maybe it's the sprinkles.

So here is my not-so-authentic version:

Lemon Cut-Out Cookies
3 c. unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. sugar
2 sticks salted butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp. grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.  Set aside.

With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and cold butter until fluffy.  Add in the egg, vanilla, lemon juice and zest.  Beat until combined.

On low speed, add in the flour mixture in 3 additions.  Scrape the bottom of the bowl as necessary.  Knead together the dough as needed by hand as it will be very stiff.

Roll out on a floured surface and cut into shapes about 3/8 to 1/4" thick.  Place on parchment lined sheets.  Freeze 5-10 minutes on the sheets before placing in the oven (this will help prevent cookies from spreading).

Bake 9-12 minutes, depending on cookie cutter size.  Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Lemon Royal Icing

4 TBSP meringue powder
scant 1/2 c. water
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp light corn syrup
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Combine the meringue powder and water. With the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, beat until combined and foamy.

Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine.

Add in the corn syrup and lemon juice

Increase speed to med-high and beat for about 5-10 minutes, just until the icing is glossy and stiff peaks form. (You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) Do not overbeat.
Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings. (I used AmeriColor Gel Paste Food Color in Bright White and Deep Pink.)

Remember last week when I visited my friend Cheryl from TidyMom? She wrote a great post about our visit.  Even though it was our first time to meet, I felt like I had known her for AGES!  We talked from the second I stepped off the plane until the second she dropped me back off at the airport.

Cheryl is just what she is on her, funny, creative, smart, beautiful...I'm so  thrilled to be her friend.  She also has an adorable husband and 2 beautiful girls! (AND, her cupcakes are delicious!)
Oh yeah, I also bottle fed a 750-pound lion.

If you have a bloggy friend, I highly recommend making the effort to get together in REAL LIFE!

Vegan Coleslaw Recipe with Peanut Dressing

Easy coleslaw recipe with peanut dressing that is dairy-free, vegan and gluten-free
Crunchy cool vegan slaw with a light peanut dressing.

It's almost the end of July. How has your summer been? Moonlit and sultry? All Popsicles and kiddie pool? Or just plain flat out busy as a bee? If it's been busy, Sugar, I can relate. Here in our tiny corner of the world we've been too crazy to cook much. We've been living on salads and smoothies. We're apartment hunting. Spending hours in the car navigating the neighborhoods of West Hollywood, searching for the perfect place. Or rather, the quasi-perfect place because perfection is unattainable. I know this. I do. But I still (naively) make a top ten priority list.

If I find a unit with a window over the kitchen sink (high on my list) there's inevitably no dishwasher. If I tour one with a dishwasher, there's no  window, and no patio (I'd love some outside access to put a small table and plant a few pots by the door). Washer and dryer? Ha. You know that saying, If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans? Well, if you want to hear the gods laugh even harder, make a wish list. For an apartment in West Hollywood. For example...

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How to Package Cookies for Shipping . . . Works for Me Wednesday

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Have you ever wondered about the best way to package and ship decorated cookies?  In this VLOG post, I'll show you how.  

{And come see the World's Largest Bag of Packing Peanuts while you're there!}

Vegan "Tuna" Salad Recipe

Almond salad makes a lovely replacement for tuna salad in a vegan diet
Not Starkist Salad. Eat groovy. Save a tuna.

The older I get the more I crave simple. You know what I'm talking about. Home cooking. Childhood classics- like tuna salad. Instead of getting all worldly and sophisticated and dabbling with truffle oil, with each new gray hair my taste is hula hooping into kid-friendly food faster than Marisa Tomei can waggle. Well, maybe not that fast. She is pretty nimble. But you get my drift. I'm whipping up peanut butter and banana sandwiches, not oysters Rockefeller. Actually, I wouldn't know an oyster Rockefeller if it bit me in the tuchas. Filet Mignon (would you believe I've never had it?) doesn't even tempt me, Darling. And Chicken Cordon Bleu vs Chicken Kiev? 

Okay. It is here where I confess  that I'm no Betty Crocker and I've never attempted either recipe. Most likely because I was never what you'd call a big meat eater. I went vegetarian at age thirteen. If I've dabbled at all in the culinary arts it's been because of Anna Thomas and not Julia Child. The first cookbook I ever bought was The Vegetarian Epicure. That was 1972- the first time I ever made soup from scratch, thanks to Anna.

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Cookies for TidyMom, DIY Custom Sanding Sugar and How to Market Your Business without Really Trying


I'm in Saint Louis!!!  You've heard me mention Cheryl of TidyMom here numerous times.  She's just the BEST....baking, crafting, photographing, TIDYING....she does it all.

I think Mr. E was wondering if she actually existed, so he gave me a ticket to actually meet her in REAL LIFE!

Here we are yesterday.  (Yes, I do have eyes, they just don't want to show themselves in this picture.)  I'm having the best time getting to visit with Cheryl and meet her adorable family.  If you have a bloggy friend, I highly recommend getting together in person!!! I am LOVING this visit!

So, the cookies.  I'm going to admit I'm not thrilled with them.  Cheryl is working on a blog redesign and wait until you see it.  It's fresh and bright and modern...and I wanted to make her cookies that captured that look.

I'm not sure I succeeded.

The inspiration for these comes from Decadent Cookie Favours which were featured on Sweetopia last week. (They do them much better.)

One reason, I can't pipe straight diagonal lines.  When will I learn my lesson?

BUT....I did try something new that worked!  Making custom sanding sugar!!!  Here's how easy it is...

Mix plain sanding sugar with a bit of AmeriColor Gel Paste Food Color . Shake and stir until blended.  Voila!

Now, How to Market Your Business Without Really Trying....

I was on the airplane to St. Louis and, for the first time ever, I actually had a laptop to use.  I was feeling pretty darn cool.  Had the row to myself, got out my computer and started editing the pictures of these cookies...
....that I almost didn't bring because they didn't turn out like I wanted. 

As we're taxing to the gate, the man diagonally behind me said, "Excuse me....those cookie pictures you had on your you make those? Do you have a card?"

Then the lady across the aisle said she wanted one, too.  The the guy BEHIND me asked for one!!!

Lesson can be shy and market your business...just have your computer open to your pictures.

Lesson learned 2...NEVER look at anything personal on your laptop on an airplane.  Apparently, EVERYONE is watching!

Easy Peanut Butter-Banana Scones and a Giveaway . . . Works for Me Wednesday

works for me wednesday at we are that family
Giveaways work for for me. Baking from pantry items works for me, too.  So today, we have both!  Yay!

First, let's start with the scones.  I love these because I typically have all of the ingredients on hand.  I think they're best at room temperature, so they are perfect to pop in a lunch box or for an afternoon snack. Or, for breaking off a piece as you walk by them in the kitchen. ;)

Peanut Butter-Banana Scones
{adapted from Maureen Cole and Family Fun Magazine}

3 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp coarse salt
3/4 c. peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. evaporated milk, plus more for brushing the tops
1 c. (about 2 ) chopped bananas

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 375.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until thoroughly combined.

In a large bowl, beat together peanut butter, eggs, vanilla, and evaporated milk until evenly blended.

Add the flour mixture and stir just until combined.  Stir in the bananas.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it twice.  Pat it into a 1-inch thick disc.

Using a 2 and 1/2 inch cutter, cut into rounds.  Pat scraps together and re-roll.  (Makes about 12.)  Transfer to prepared baking sheet.

Brush the tops with evaporated milk.  Bake 20 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
{Sometimes the mess looks pretty to me...that's weird, right?}

Serve with strawberry jelly for a peanut butter and jelly scone OR marshmallow creme (fluff) for a fluffer nutter scone. (Oh, it's so good!)

{It occurred to me AFTER we ate all of them that these would be really good with a peanut butter glaze. Someone want to try it?}

Now to the giveaway....

You may have noticed Sweet Cuppin Cakes over in the sidebar.  They are a sweet little sweet shop that ships WORLDWIDE!  Worldwide, people!  This is so exciting! They've also been featured in Parent & Kraft magazines.
One thing love about this shop is that the owner has a real heart and heads up Bake up Awareness for Autism.  As a matter of fact, you can help by hosting a bake sale on October 15 2010....all proceeds will go to Bake Up Awareness Autism Foundation to be donated for research in the immune testing of those with Autism.
{If anyone is hosting one in Houston, please let me know.}

Sweet Cuppin Cakes is giving away one of these adorable Cakewich cake pans!!!  How FUN are these?!?  I'm thinking a peanut butter pound cake filled with peanut butter buttercream and strawberry filling.  What about you?

To enter...
  • visit Sweet Cuppin Cakes and leave a comment here with what else from the shop you'd love to try,
  • for an extra entry, tweet about the giveaway using @bakeat350tweets and leave a separate comment.
Giveaway open until 8pm CST, Sunday (July 25th).  Good luck!

Five Ways To Chill

1. Creamy dark chocolate sorbet. It's dairy-free and vegan. Rich but not filling. Cool and dark as midnight jazz. A respite from the shimmer of summer heat. Spoon it into chilled glasses. Turn off the lights. Light a candle. Music: Melody Gardot

2. Quinoa salad with lime and fresh mint. Cook quinoa in a rice cooker and keep the kitchen cool. Toss with just squeezed lime juice, good olive oil and garden ripe tomatoes. Spike it with whatever your heart desires- scallions, red onion. Kick off your flip-flops. Music: Crowded House's new album Intriguer

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Christmas in July

I love giving homemade gifts for the holidays.  Here's the problem...I typically think of it, oh, around December 15th. 

The gals at A Southern Fairytale, According to Kelly and Skip to my Lou are hosting a Holiday Bake Craft and Sew Along.  Starting today, click over to each blog for handmade and homemade Christmas and holiday ideas.

A Southern Fairytale will be hosting the baking section (you'll find me there today)!
According to Kelly has the crafting ideas,
and Skip to my Lou will have sewing gifts!

I can't and am so happy to be a part of this! I'm making my list of homemade gifts.  How about you?

How to Make Cashew Cream and a Curry Ranch Dressing Recipe

A bowl of cashew cream with herbs and curry is an easy vegan recipe
Cashew cream makes a divine dairy-free ranch dressing.

I've been reading on Twitter it's too hot to cook. So why not go raw? Numero uno, it's easy. Numero dos, it's tasty. And as an added bonus (if you need another nudge) cooking raw keeps the kitchen cool as a cucumber- which, by all accounts, is chilly by default and well. Raw. I've been flirting with raw cuisine lately to heal inflammation and tame my monkey gut. And wouldn't you know it. It's working. Eating vegan and often raw is soothing my symptoms and revitalizing my cranky little body. I am amazed at how much better I feel. Now if I could only quell the stress factor.
Did I mention, we're moving again?

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Electrolux #splits : Dastardly Mash Banana Splits

I'm so pleased to be joining Eletrolux and FoodBuzz again in support of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund!  Remember when you could vote for or make a cake in Kelly's Cakery and Electrolux would donate $1 to the OCRF?

Well, they're at it again...this time with banana splits!  For every banana split you create, Electrolux will donate $1 to the OCRF.

FoodBuzz has joined in as well.  For every FoodBuzz featured publisher who posts about banana splits, FoodBuzz will donate $50 to the OCRF!!!

Now, let me tell you about our banana splits!  Since my dad is visiting, I decided to make his favorite ice cream from Ben & Jerry...Dastardly Mash.  Although it's a discontinued flavor, it lives on in the "Flavor Graveyard" (love that!) and Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book!

Before you look at the recipe and say "Ew....raisins!" like I did every time my dad ate it, can I tell you a secret? It's AWESOME!  I am not a raisin-lover, but the combo here is delicious.  You really don't taste raisins so much as they add a little "chewy" texture.  Trust me?

Dastardly Mash
{adapted from Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book}

1/2 c. raisins
1 c. water
1/2 c. pecan halves
1/2 c. whole, roasted, salted almonds
1/2 c. chocolate chips, semisweet
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/3 c. dutch-process cocoa (or natural)
1 and 1/2 c. milk
1 c. sugar
2 eggs (pasteurized if you're a worrier)
1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Soak the raisins in the water in the refrigerator.  (This can also be done the night before.)

Combine the pecans, almonds and chocolate chips. Place in the refrigerator.

Melt the unsweetened chocolate in a bowl over simmering (not boiling) water.  Whisk in the cocoa.  This may lump up in your whisk.  It's ok. Whisk on the milk, a little at a time...this will dissolve the cocoa....heat until blended.  Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.  Gradually whisk in the sugar, then  whisk 1 minute more.  Whisk in the cream and vanilla.  Add in and whisk the chocolate mixture.

Cover and refrigerate 1-3 hours. 

Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze following the maker's instructions.

Meanwhile, drain the raisins and add them to the nut mixture.

Two minutes before the freezing cycle is over, add the raisin/nut/chip mixture.  Once completed, transfer to a freezer-safe container, press plastic wrap on top, cover and freeze to harder ice cream.

For the banana splits

Whip cream with a little sugar.  Slice bananas.  Scoop ice cream into dishes.  Surround with banana slices. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry.  Ta-da!

Now....go make your OWN banana split and help Electrolux raise money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.  Do it for your mom, your nana, aunt, sister, daughter...yourself.  Don't make me get bossy! ;)

I love Electrolux's commitment to the OCRF, I love being a part of Foodbuzz and I love ice cream.  Yep, I'm linking this up at TidyMom's I'm Lovin' It party!

Unbleached All-Purpose Flour . . . Works for Me Wednesday

works for me wednesday at we are that family
For years, I grabbed the same bag of flour my mom always used.  Worked for her, worked for me.  I'm not even sure there were many choices of flour available when I was growing up.

 {photo credit: Meijer}
Several years ago, I started noticing recipes calling for "unbleached" all-purpose flour and got curious. Just from habit, I'd been grabbing that same bag of flour without even thinking about it. Bleach? I was nervous though....what would UNBLEACHED flour look like?  I'll tell you, it looks like this:

One day, I threw caution to the wind (yep, I'm wild like that) and bought a bag of King Arthur Flour unbleached all-purpose flour....I've never looked back. Bleached flour hasn't entered out house since.

{photo credit: Meijer}
King Arthur Flour isn't the only one readily available. Gold Medal makes unbleached flour as well.  Sometimes it's a better fit in my grocery budget.

All-purpose flour with no chemical bleaching?  That works for me!  Do you use it?