Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sugar Cookie Madness

Every year my family bakes up a frenzy of goodies to hand out to neighbors and fellow church goers...and to devour about half of them in the process. We've been using the same cookie recipe for years, and it's the best sugar cookie recipe I've ever had. The recipe was given to my mom by my Aunt Julie who got it from my Grandma Hillam, who got it from...Who knows! Give these cookies a try, you won't regret it!

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 cups margarine or butter
3 cups sugar
3 eggs
4 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 pound sour cream
9 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Cream margarine and sugar. Mix in eggs, vanilla, and sour cream, making sure to thoroughly incorporate each ingredient before moving on to the next. Add about half of the flour and mix, then add the salt and baking soda. Then add the other half of the flour and mix until it is nice and smooth. (If you're as lucky as my mother and have an amazing Bosch, use that. If not, your hand mixer is the best bet!) The cookie dough will be sticky, don't over mix!

Flour your counter and rolling pin, and turn cookie down out onto floured surface. Roll to desired thickness. (we like to roll ours out a little thicker than normal, it makes for a yummy, fluffy cookie!) Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes. You may have to play around with your oven, but don't over cook them! If they are right they'll stay soft and fluffy for days!

We frost and decorate ours with store bought frosting made pretty and yummy with extracts and food coloring. Copy us or make your own, frosting is easier than you think!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Goodies

Christmas and all that it entails is my favorite holiday of the year. Since graduating and moving away from home, I think that coming home for Christmas each year is the one thing I look forward to all the year long. My mom and I plot and plan what goodies we're going to make and give away, and which we're going to just keep for ourselves! Every year we bake up tons of goodies and plate them up for neighbors, church friends, and pretty much anyone who asks for them. We started in on the baking tonight, and this is the product of that!

My mother's usually spotless counter covered in gadgets and flour...Or is the powdered sugar?

Mexican Wedding cookies, about to go into the oven (after being put on a cookie sheet, of course!)

And...Mexican Wedding cookies, hot out of the oven!

My mom's famed "Sienna Bread" rising and waiting their turns in the oven

The caramel that yours truly made, by herself and from SCRATCH!
I'm not known for my willpower when it comes to food, but it positively MELTS under the spell of home made caramel! Usually we'll wrap a bit of marshmallow with the caramel and stick it in a square of wax paper, but I just wanted plain old caramels this year!
This was a new recipe, and a little odd, but it was fun to make! I got it from the December/January edition of Country Living, and you can also find the recipe at

Vanilla Caramels
Makes: 60 pieces
Working time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 1/2 hours

Vegetable oil, for greasing (I'm lazy, I used Pam)
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Line an 9 inch square pan with foil and generously brush with vegetable oil. Set aside. In a medium saucepan over high heat, cook sugar, without stirring, until it begins to melt and bubble. Using a metal spoon, stir until completely melted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add cream (sugar will seize into a solid mass). Add butter and corn syrup. Fit a candy thermometer to saucepan, return to stove top and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until mixture liquefies, about 30 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until caramel mixture reaches 238 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove pan from heat; stir in vanilla extract. Carefully pour hot caramel into prepared pan. Using a spatula coated in vegetable oil, smooth any bubbles on surface. Cool caramel until firm but still lightly warm, about 35 minutes. Life caramel from pan and peel away foil. Place on an oiled cutting board and cut into 1 inch squares, using an oiled knife.

Friday, December 11, 2009

About Me

My name is Ashlee, and I'm at 24 year old single mom living in San Bernardino, CA. I grew up near Seattle, Washington with a Mormon Martha Stewart of a mother who is my absolute hero and a insanely creative sister who you can find here .After months of debating I've finally decided to vamp up my creativity with a cooking and baking blog. I've always loved to cook and have been able to turn out a pretty tasty dinner and amazing dessert, if I do say so myself. I'd like to get to the point where I'm able to make up my own recipes and also become a really good baker.
Right now I'm in Washington visiting my family for Christmas, so you'll get to see all of the goodies that we make during Christmas! This year we're going to try our hand at some fancy candies and goodies, so stay tuned!