Lemon Lime Poke Cake

What a crazy summer we’ve been having. I’ve enjoyed every adventure we’ve had but I do love it when we get to have a moment at home. I’m a baker by choice. I love to bake bread, cakes, cookies, anything really. I forget about the simple, easy things I can make sometimes but when all I have is a day here or there I’ve got to do what I can do.

My mom made poke cakes when I was growing up. We loved them. The cool, refreshing flavors were perfect for our hot summers. So I decided to make one, a lemon lime one.

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Lemon Lime Poke Cake

  • yellow cake recipe
  • 1 3-oz pkg lime jello
  • 1 8-oz container Cool Whip
  • 1 3-oz pkg INSTANT pudding
  • 1 1/2 c. cold milk

Make a yellow cake from scratch or box, your choice. Bake in a 9 x 13 pan. Let it cool. Dissolve 3 oz of lime jello in 3/4 c boiling water. Stir in 1/2 c cold water and set aside. Poke lots of holes in the top of the cake, using a fork. Twist the fork slightly when you poke, so that the holes are wide enough to absorb liquid. Slowly and carefully, pour the lime jello mixture over the top of the cake, making sure that most of the liquid ends up in the holes. It’s ok if some of it ends up running off the sides of the cake. Allow to cool completely. Place the cake in the refrigerator to set. Meanwhile, whisk lemon pudding with milk until thickened. Fold in whipped topping and use this mixture to frost the cake.

Enjoy!! Make sure you put any leftover cake in the refrigerator.

 

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Perfect Shortbread Cookies

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You know how I said how much I love sugar cookies, well these shortbread cookies are right up there with them. They are the simplest, perfect vanilla shortbread I’ve made. Roll them about 1/4 of an inch thick for the perfect softness or just a little thinner for slightly crispy cookies, my favorite. What could be better I ask you? Drizzle a little chocolate on top, that’s what. I had to get a pic quickly because those things were going fast.

Vanilla Shortbread

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream the butter and powdered sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the mixer to low and add flour. Mix until just combined. Add the vanilla and mix one more time to make sure everything is mixed in.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick with your favorite cookie cutter. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown around the edges. Carefully transfer to a cooling rack. They are a bit delicate until they cool. You can put sprinkles on them, frost them, drizzle chocolate on top, or dust with powdered sugar once cooled.

My kids rave over these and they are quick to make since the dough doesn’t have to be chilled. These nostalgic little cookies are definitely a keeper.

 

Strawberry Filled Stars with Almond Glaze

I had some sugar cookie dough left over from the other day so I made these cute little star cookies. They are delicious! These are on the frequently requested list.

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Roll out the sugar cookie dough until it is very thin. Using your selected shape cut out your cookies. Place your cookie dough onto the baking sheets lined with parchment paper. I use a spatula to move them as they will crack because they are so thin. Put a small amount of jam, strawberry here, in the center of the cookie. Using a small cookie cutter remove a small section of dough from the remaining stars. Using the spatula carefully place the second star on top of the stack. Lightly press the edges together. Bake for about eight minute at 350 degrees, just until lightly golden on the edges. Once the cookies are cool drizzle with a bit of confectioners sugar that has had a small amount of almond extract and milk added to it so that the consistency is a bit runny.

We have made heart shaped ones for Valentines Day and flower shaped ones in the summer and any others that we could imagine. You can also change out the filling. If you are using store bought jam you will need to microwave the jam for a few seconds to thin it out a bit.

Christmas Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies are one of my favorites cookies which is surprising because there’s no chocolate in them. I love the simpleness of a plain sugar cookie especially when they’re a little bit crispy. A cup of tea and a sugar cookie,  Yummmmmm! I could go on and on but I’ll spare you. Let’s just say I love sugar cookies.

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Of course I had to make some for the party so they’re all pretty and frosted. I really like them plain or when the children sprinkle them with sugar crystals but  I had the chance to spend a few minutes extra with them so I did.

Buttery Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a bowl, with mixer on medium, beat butter and sugar until fluffy; beat in egg and vanilla. On low, beat in flour and salt.

Divide the dough in half; shape each half into a 1/2-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll dough 1/8 thick. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, 8-10 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on sheets: transfer to racks to cool then frost.

If you are going to decorate with sugar crystals put the sugar on the dough before baking.

Sugar Cookie Icing

  • 1 c confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 2 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla or almond extract

In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Add corn syrup and extract and mix until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup. Divide into separate bowls and add food coloring.

Icing should be the consistency of toothpaste when you outline or add details. When you want to fill in an area make the icing a little thinner so it will spread easily.

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These cookies will store well for about 2 weeks if you want to make some in advance for a party. Good luck keeping everyone out of them.

 

“Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake/Reese’s Cake

I am not a dessert snob. All dessert should have a fair shake but I have to say my absolute favorite is either chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. It’s too hard of choice to make, please don’t ask me to. So when my niece asked me to make a chocolate cake for her birthday I assured her I could fix her up.

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Chocolate Cake

  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c Cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c milk
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour  two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla: beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. The batter will be thin. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely then frost.

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 c Cocoa
  • 3 c powdered sugar
  • 1/3 c milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk if needed. Stir in vanilla.

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We have many birthdays in November so I also made a cake for my daughter Hannah. Her favorite is what she lovingly refers to as a Reese’s cake. Actually no one in my family would turn down a Reese’s cake.  Use the chocolate cake recipe from above and change the frosting to peanut butter frosting instead.

Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • dash salt
  • 5 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 c milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Cream the peanut butter and the butter until very smooth. Add the powdered sugar and the salt. Add slowly and mix thoroughly. Add the milk and the vanilla. Beat on low until smooth. When frosting the cake sprinkle bits of broken up candy in the middle and then again on the top. You can never have to much peanut butter and chocolate.

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Goodness

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These cookies are the best peanut butter cookies I’ve ever had. They’re not greasy or crumbly, (can I just say I hate greasy cookies) and they’re so easy to make. Peanut butter cookies and a glass of milk, yummm!

  • 1/2 c shortening
  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar and peanut butter. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture util well blended. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Press balls down using a fork dipped in water. Sprinkle sugar over the top. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cook completely.