Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Easiest, No-Egg Cake You'll Ever Make

My family is already very familiar with this recipe. As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I have a nephew with egg allergies so this cake has been made several times already. I made it again this weekend.


any cake mix you want
any 12-ounce can of pop you want

It's really this easy--Spray your pan with cooking spray. Mix the cake mix and the pop in a bowl. Pour into a greased cake pan and bake at the temp and time listed on the box. And there it is!

Something about the carbonation in the pop causes the cake to rise. So I guess that means any carbonated beverage would work. (Beer cake, anyone? Champagne? Seltzer water?) You can have lots of fun mixing pop flavors with cake flavors. You can easily give a yellow cake a little orange flavoring with your favorite orange pop.

If you'd like to make this cake diabetic-friendly as well, use a diet soda and frost with a "light" version of Cool Whip.

One little warning--this cake won't hold together quite as well as a regular cake will. That's why I usually leave it in the pan and serve it right from there. It also works really well for cupcakes since you don't have to "unmold" those from the muffin cups until you're ready to eat!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Black Forest Cookies

I love the combination of chocolate and cherry. However, I have to admit that these cookies might be a bit too rich even for me. I chose to make them without the nuts and I used semisweet chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate, and those two changes may have been a mistake. If I were to make them again, I would put in the nuts, be sure to use milk chocolate chips, and perhaps even increase the amount of cherry-flavored Craisins.

Actually, I'm thinking of trying my own concoction of Black Forest Cookies. I'll let you know if I do. In the meantime, this recipe comes straight from the back of the cherry-flavored Craisins package. You can find them in the raisin aisle. They're basically dried cranberries that come in a variety of flavors.

Black Forest Cookies

1 11.5-ounce package of milk chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 6-ounce package of cherry-flavored dried cranberries (Craisins)
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 3/4 cup of chocolate chips into microwave-safe bowl. Set the remaining chips aside. Microwave for about two minutes. Stir until the chocolate is smooth.

Stir in brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Add flour and baking powder. Mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in remaining chocolate chips, Craisins, and nuts.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Baking for 12 minutes. Cookies should be puffed yet firm to touch. Cool on cookie sheet for two minutes. Then remove to wire rack.

Yields about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

My parents gave me some leftover blueberries before leaving on a trip, and I was desperate to use them up since I already had some blueberries of my own at home. A Google search brought me to this recipe from

If you like oatmeal raisin cookies, you'll really enjoy these. They're soft and chewy. I usually allow myself only two cookies at a time, but I found myself downing these in groups of three or four. Oops! Must start giving them away.

Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

In a mixer, cream butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla.

In another bowl, stir together the oats, flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Gradually add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.

Remove mixer bowl and gently stir in the blueberries.

Drop by teaspoonfuls (or small cookie scooper) onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on wire racks.

Yields 4 dozen cookies.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

In case you did not attend K-Fest 2010, I made these cookies for my friend Karen’s birthday party—hence, the K on the cookie. As usual, Karen and her hubby Noel threw a great party. Karen told me I have permission to say she was celebrating her 37th birthday. Go, Karen!

The story behind this cookie is a little interesting. It started with a bad trip to the car dealership. Although I had twice been told that my 75,000-mile tune-up would take only 2 to 2 ½ hours, it ended up taking four hours, and I was super late to meeting some friends. On the bright side, I found a recipe for “Mini Ricotta Cakes” in a Family Circle magazine while I was waiting at the dealership. At home, I checked the internet for similar recipes and found the Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis (I want to be her when I grow up) had a very similar recipe for Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze.

I decided to take the basic recipe from Family Circle and the lemon glaze from Giada. The result is a melt-in-your-mouth cookie with a mild lemon flavor. Who would have thought a bad trip to the car dealership would end up in something so delicious? It just goes to prove the old saying—when life hands you lemons, make lemon-glazed cookies! ☺

Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

Ingredients for cookie:
2 ¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Ingredients for lemon glaze:
1 ¾ cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

In medium-sized bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.

In a mixer, beat butter and sugar until blended. Add egg, ricotta, and vanilla, beating until combined. On low speed, add flour mixture slowly.

Use a small cookie scooper to drop the dough onto cookie sheets. (If you don’t have a cookie scooper, you can drop by tablespoonfuls, but you won’t get the nice domed shape.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes. Watch cookies carefully. They won’t brown on the top, but they should be lightly browned around the edges. After three minutes, remove to cooling racks. (Warning: bottoms can brown quickly without seeing much browning around the edges.)

Let cookies cool for fifteen minutes before making glaze.

Stir powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Dip top of cookies into glaze. Allow glaze to harden before storing.

Yields: about 60 cookies if you use a small cookie scooper.

I liked these cookies so much that I also made them again for a summer cookout. This time I used the cake icing to make flowers on the tops of the cookies. I also added one drop of yellow food coloring to the glaze to make it look more lemony. The center of the flower is a sugar pearl, an edible decoration from Wilton. You can find them in craft stores.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cherry Corn Flake Cookies

I have found several variations of this cookie recipe. The first one I found was actually on the box of Kellogg's Corn Flakes. The second one was in a book. There are versions online as well. The recipe below is a combination of the other ones. If I made them again, I think I'd try them without the dates or nuts.

Cherry Corn Flake Cookies

2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon almond extract*
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
½ cup dates, pitted and chopped (optional)
½ cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/3 cup chopped maraschino cherries (optional)
1 ½ cups crushed Corn Flakes (measure after crushing)
about 15 more maraschino cherries cut into quarters

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Then stir in the sugar. Beat the two eggs in a dish and then add them to the sugar and butter.

Stir in the almond extract, vanilla extract, and the maraschino cherry juice. Add flour mixture, combining thoroughly.

If desired, add dates, nuts, and/or chopped cherries.

Using a small scooper, shape the dough into balls. Roll them in the crushed Corn Flakes and place them two inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Press each cookie down a little and top with a cherry quarter. If dough is too sticky to roll, you can refrigerate it for a bit first.

Bake at 350 degrees for about ten minutes or until lightly browned. Remove immediately from baking sheets and cool on wire racks. Store in airtight container.

Yields about 5 dozen cookies.

*Note: If you don’t have almond extract (or are allergic to nuts), you can skip it and just increase the vanilla extract to one full teaspoon.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fourth of July Shortcake

You've got to have something red, white, and blue for dessert on the Fourth of July, right? This dessert brings back memories of a very patriotic Jello mold my mom used to make for the Fourth of July.

Fourth of July Shortcake

Ingredients for shortcakes:
1-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups blueberries

Ingredients for crumb topping:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, melted

Extra goodies:
Cool whip

Spray a muffin tin (the kind for twelve muffins) with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large mixer bowl. Add milk, melted butter, egg, and vanilla. Beat for two minutes or until well blended. Gently fold in blueberries.

Scoop into muffin tins. Each cup should be about 1/2 to 2/3 full.

In a small bowl, combine the
3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Sprinkle this crumb mixture atop the cake batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until golden. Cool and then remove from muffin tins.

When ready to serve, slice each cake in half crosswise. Layer with cool whip and diced strawberries. Add a few extra blueberries for a finishing touch.

Serves 12.