Category Archives: Desserts

Imitation Lofthouse Cookie Sandwiches

From garage to international business, Lofthouse cookies has flourished since 1994.  I remember my first bite of a Lofthouse cookie.  It was the Valentine’s Day Pink Frosted Sugar Cookie.  I made a mess of the sprinkles, but the incredibly soft sugar cookie melted in my mouth and it’s one of my favorite treats to date.  Lofthouse now offers a variety of colors for the different seasons and holidays.  My favorite cookies are still the pink frosted!

On Valentine’s Day I decided to tackle an imitation Lofthouse cookie recipe I found on Pinterest, courtesy of the Authentic Suburban Gourmet blog.

 

 

Tip of the day: FREEZE YOUR LOFTHOUSE COOKIES!  I put the leftover cookie sandwiches in the back of my freezer (to hoard for myself obviously) and I couldn’t control myself.  The cookie is so soft that it doesn’t freeze and the frosting slightly hardens.

I used homemade Italian meringue buttercream frosting for the filling in these cookies.  I couldn’t find the exact recipe, but this one is pretty close!

I highly recommend doubling the recipe because I always run out and the frosting will last for a few weeks in the refrigerator.

A final note on the baking instructions:  I cut out my cookies with a standard-sized shot glass, and baked them at 400 degrees for 5 minutes.  You have to really watch these cookies because the bottom browns quickly.  Remove them from the oven when the top of the cookies are puffed up, but the bottoms are still white.  Place them immediately on a cool surface so the pan does not continue to cook the cookies.  In this case, pale is better!

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Coco-nutty Cupcakes

Hey everyone!  I hope you are having a beautiful Mother’s Day weekend and a happy Saturday at that.  If you are a Jimmy Buffet fan in the Midwest region than you have another reason to be celebrating as well.  Tickets for Jimmy’s annual Alpine Valley show have finally gone on sale.  WOOOOO!  Thanks to my amazing dad, I already have my seat reserved for August 25th.  You won’t want to miss this one guys.  Wisconsin has the absolute best weather in August and it’s a perfect way to end the summer with family and friends.  Incase I have persuaded you to join us Parrot Heads, here is one of the sites where you can get your tickets: Click Me

The celebration continues in my house with some honorary Jimmy Buffet baking.  Oh yes, we are already gearing up for the infamous Alpine Valley pre-show fiesta!  These Coco-nutty Cupcakes are perfect following a Cheeseburger in Paradise.  They are sure to make Jolly Mon Sing.  You have been forewarned, this recipe contains a little rum, but hey, what Parrot Head doesn’t want to wast away in Margaritaville?  Okay that was the last one I promise, just trying to get everyone in the island spirit!

Now PLEASE bare with me here, I am still trying to perfect this recipe, but I think these are my best batch yet!  One of the reasons I love these cupcakes so much is because they are so incredibly moist.  I’m also a huge Key Lime Pie lover and I used some fresh key limes in this recipe to give the cake a little extra tang.  The crunchy, toasted coconut combined with the  sweet and tangy cake creates a really nice flavor.  I have even turned people who hate coconut into coconut lovers!  So, without any further adieu, here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 box Betty Crocker Supermoist Vanilla cake mix
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • Spiced rum (to taste)

Frosting

  • Betty Crocker vanilla frosting
  • Juice of 1-2 key limes
  • Spiced rum (to taste)
  • Confectioner’s sugar

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine the flaked coconut and condensed milk.  In a separate, larger bowl, beat the water, oil and eggs.  Like I said before, I love the tangy key lime flavor, so I added a splash of juice to the cake mixture, about 1 key lime.  Then, slowly mix in the Supermoist Vanilla cake mix.  I like to add the rum last so I know what I’m getting myself in to.  In this last batch I added about 2-3 teaspoons of Meyer’s rum to the mix; however, the key lime flavor definitely overpowered the rum.  I probably would have been safe adding at least 2 more teaspoons.  Be careful, it is VERY easy to overdue it!  Better start with little amounts and add more.

Next, line some muffin tins with baking cups and fill them about half-way, no more than three quarters.  I think muffins are so much prettier without the cups; that way you can see the gorgeous cake color and texture, but this filling tends to sink to the bottom, so you definitely don’t want to go birthday suit style with these treats.  Now add a generous teaspoonful of the coconut and milk mixture to the top of each cup.  Don’t worry, the filling will sink as the cupcakes bake.  You can bake these cupcakes on the middle rack for about 20 minutes.  The top of the cake will be a little moist when they are done, but firm.  Look for a golden-brown coloring around the edges.

While your cupcakes are baking, prepare the frosting.  I am still looking for a worthy buttercream recipe, so for now, I just use Betty Crocker’s pre-made vanilla frosting.  Personally, I LOVE it!  I am so one of those people who dip their finger into the frosting can and go to town.  However, I would love any frosting recipe suggestions.  Empty the frosting into an electric mixer along with the juice of about 2 key limes, and about 3-4 teaspoons of rum.  Again, this balance of ingredients is all according to personal preference so do not be afraid to experiment!  Depending on how you want to frost the cupcakes, you may need to stiffen the mixture with some confectioner’s sugar.  However, if you decide not to add confectioner’s sugar, chill the frosting for about twenty minutes before frosting the cupcakes or else you will have a runny, nutty mess.  On another note, the cupcakes must be COMPLETELY cooled before you start frosting!  This is very important.  Take from someone who has learned the hard way many times.

For a final touch, I toasted some leftover flaked coconut in the oven for about 15 minutes or so.  You can sprinkle this right on top of the frosting.  If you want to make these delectable creations even more fun, try adding a sugared fruit slice or maybe an umbrella.  For you Jimmy Buffet fans, my dad suggests turning the fruit slice into a shark fin!  What a great idea, the possibilities are truly endless.  I really hope you all have fun with this recipe, and if you’re feeling courageous enough, come join us at Alpine Valley in August.  It’s sure to get a little nutty!

Fins up Parrot Heads!

S’mores in Mason Jars

Mason jars are my new obsession!  There are so many creative things you can do with them, especially related to food.  Check out this awesome webpage for some inspiring ideas: 50 Different Foods You Can Put in a Jar.

The only recipe I have tried so far is the “S’mores Cake in a Jar”, and it was absolutely delicious.  I have adapted this recipe from how sweet it is.

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • pinch of salt

Melt the butter and mix in the crumbs and salt.  Grease the bottom and sides of 4 jars, and press the crumb mixture into the bottom of each jar.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cake:

  • 1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream (optional)

Mix all wet ingredients together.  I opted for a healthier cake by substituting the milk and heavy cream with Almond milk.  I left out the sour cream and added a little more butter to keep the balance of ingredients.  In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients together.  Then gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.  Divide the cake batter between the 4 jars with the crumb mixture.

Place the jars in a baking dish and add 2 cups of water to the bottom of the dish.  Bake for about 30 minutes.

Press a few marshmallows into the top of each jar.  Broil them in the oven until golden brown or slightly melted.  This will happen very quickly, so keep an eye on your marshmallows, only about 1 minute or so is necessary.  On my first try the marshmallows exploded everywhere!

Fruit Pizza

This is a great dessert to make for any party!  It’s light and sweet with a little nutrition.  You can top the pizza with any fruit, and this is a great dessert to follow a color scheme.  For example, on the 4th of July you could use blueberries and raspberries or strawberries.  The spread is white so now you have a beautiful red, white, and blue display!  For this particular pizza I just topped it with my favorite fruit:

For the pizza crust:

I just used a pre-made sugar cookie dough from Pillsbury; however, you can also make your own dough from scratch.

Roll out the dough into a circle to your desired thickness, and bake according to the package directions or according to your recipe.

Spread:

  • 8 0z softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Mix ingredients together and spread on cooled cookie crust.  Then top with sliced fresh fruit.

Apricot Hamantashens

What exactly is a Hamantashen?  Well, for those of you who have never experienced the delight of eating a Hamantashen, it is a triangular shaped cookie traditionally eaten on the Jewish celebration of Purim.  The cookie itself is a perfect combination of the sugar cookie and the shortbread cookie.  I like to fill my Hamentaschen with jams such as raspberry, boysenberry, and apricot.  However, other traditional fillings include poppy seed, chocolate, dates, and even cheeses.  Really you can fill it with whatever floats your boat at the time!  For Purim this year, I made my dad’s favorite kind, APRICOT.  You cannot possibly eat just one, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For the filling:

  • 1 jar of Apricot preserves (or jam or your choice)
  1. Mix all of the cookie ingredients together to form a soft dough.  You may find it necessary to add a little more flour.  My last batch was a little on the sticky side.  If the dough is too soft to handle, let it chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
  2. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about a 1/8 inch thickness.  Using a circular cookie cutter or a drinking glass, cut the dough into about 3 inch diameter circles.
  3. Spoon a little of the apricot preserves into the center of each circle.  Fold up the sides of the circle to form a triangle.  Pinch the corners together and smooth the dough with your fingers.  Be gentle these cookies are delicate before they are baked!  If the corners will not stay together, wet the tips of your fingers and pat each corner lightly.
  4. Bake the cookies at 375 degrees on a non-stick cookie sheet.  These cookies are tricky to bake so watch them carefully!  I usually put them in for about 12 minutes, but I like mine a little crispier on the outside.
**This recipes yields around 30 cookies.
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Brown Sugar Pecans

Who doesn’t love that sugary vanilla smell wafting through the baseball stadium?  And who would ever think that it came from the sugared nut stand?  Well here is a great recipe for you to try at home in the offseason, and if you don’t like nuts, it will still make your house smell amazing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of tightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • About 2 cups of your favorite type of nut, or why not try a mix!

First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, cloves in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg, water, and vanilla.  Add your nuts to the wet ingredients bowl and stir them around so they are well coated.  Next, transfer your nuts to the dry ingredients bowl.  You may want to mix your dry ingredients in a bag so you can just shake the nuts around.  This method makes less of a mess.  Transfer the mixture to a greased foil covered pan and spread out the nuts.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  You should keep a close eye on your sugared nuts because they are quite easy to burn, especially pecans.  You should check the even every 10 minutes or so and stir up the mixture.

Red Velvet Cheesecake

This post is a tribute to Valentine’s Day!  It is literally right around the corner so you might as well embrace it and make some special plans.  This rich cake is the perfect way to top off your date night.  As for you single gals and boys, why not enjoy a slice with your favorite Valentine’s Day movie.  CAUTION: You will want seconds.

As much as I wish it was, this recipe is not from my own genius, so I must give credit where it is deserved.  Willow Bird Baking is the mastermind to this complex culinary delight.  Please subscribe to her page.  She is a true inspiration and has posted some fantastic recipes.  In addition, there are some very helpful tutorials and tips on the site.  Here is the link to Willow Bird Baking’s Red Velvet Cheesecake: http://willowbirdbaking.com/2011/01/24/red-velvet-cheesecake/

My version does not look as professional, but hey, for my first layer cheesecake I think I did pretty great!

I actually made this cake for my extended family on Christmas.  It was a huge success!  Due to time constraints I was forced to use pre-made cream cheese frosting, but I think it went over well.  This cake freezes quite nicely and it can be made in three parts.  Good luck and happy baking!