Brown Sugar Cookies

These are from the recipe on They were pretty yummy!

Fresh Figs

Picked from the backyard! I never knew my sister had fig trees. I had never tried fresh figs before this summer at the farmer's market. Thank you farmer's market, you have introduced me to many lovely foods.

Banana Bread

I had a bunch of bananas who had seen better days and were just begging to be made into bread. I didn't have any eggs so I googled "vegan banana bread" and found this recipe from a site called "Cookie Madness." I didn't make a truly vegan bread because I used half & half instead of the soy milk that was called for and butter for the pan, but was so happy with my results! The texture was nice and it was very yummy. I would definitely make this bread again. It is a very simple bread with no added nuts or chips, but I don't think it needs anything more. I adjusted to recipe based on what I had at home, here is the recipe exactly how I made it:
 Banana Bread
adapted from cookie madness

1/4 cup half & half 
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
2 cups all purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3 ripe bananas
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

 - Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
- Butter your loaf pan generously (mine was 9x5), lay a sheet of parchment on the bottom and butter that as well.
- Add vinegar to the half & half and let sit.
- Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- In a large bowl, beat together oils and sugars and add in bananas, mashing them with a pastry blender (or a potato masher would work too. You can use a mixer if you prefer, I just like to see banana chunks in mine).
- Add vinegar/half & half mixture to it and stir well. 
- Add half of the flour mixture and once that's incorporated add the rest of the flour until it is well mixed, try not to over-stir. 
- Bake for an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on a rack and enjoy! 


Monday's Cookies

If I could improve in one area right now, it would be in piping. I am just not very good at it. So naturally, my favorite cookie style is either plain or one of these swirly ones because the colors are supposed to mix! And sanding sugar is also a nice covering.

These flowers are also another another style to practice. I recently bought some luster dust and experimented with brushing some shiny-ness onto them. I am not sure if I like the silver color though, I think I might buy a few more shades of dust. It is a nice little addition though. I need to find more ways to use the stuff.


A Trip to the Farmers Market

Every Saturday there is a farmers market here in old town Orange. I love going by and looking for pretty produce, especially heirloom tomatoes. They are so colorful! Expensive too, that's why I look for mini ones so it doesn't cost me a fortune.

Mini 'Maters


Green Zebra Tomatoes

Blood Orange

There is also a stand there that sells asian fruits and vegetables, so interesting! I love seeing all the variety in nature, God is so creative!


Ruffle Cake

If you are into baking blogs at all, I'm sure you know this cake is all the rage now a days. Just do a google search for "ruffle cake" and many cakes just like this one will pop up. I just had to try my hand at it though because It's just so dang pretty!  

As far as I know, this was a Martha Stewart design and it can be found at her site here. Other blogs I have seen this on were i am baker and at and all over the Sweet & Saucy Shop blog. You can even see a youtube tutorial from the Sweet & Saucy Shop here.
If you are a baker you should try this out, it's simple and girly. I made this one for a bridal shower. In case you can't tell, the thing on top is a little candle in the shape of a pink and purple castle. I found it at the kids party section of Target but I thought, brides want to feel like a princess on their special day, don't they? 


Camo Cookies

The theme of my work's Vacation Bible School this year was "B.O.O.T.Camp"... an acronym for something but now I don't remember what. Oops! I think it was Biblical Outlook and Outreach Training? Anyways, my boss asked me to make 100 sugar cookies to pass out to everyone at the end of the week. This was the largest amount of sugar cookies I have ever made at once! It was a lot of work, man.  I used this decorating tutorial from Sweet Sugar Belle's website. It was fairly simple once I got the hang of it, especially because camoflauge is a random pattern anyways.

Here I have them all packaged and ready to go. This was a good learning experience and I am happy for the chance to have made such a large order. Here are some things I learned:

1. Always bake extra cookies. In case some of them come out a little deformed or in case I get distracted while cookies are in the oven and some come out a little too toasty.
2. When working with cold dough, make sure it has had time to thaw before rolling. I never usually chill my dough but I did this time so I would be able to spread the work out over the week. The day after I baked I felt like I was beat up! My arms were sore and my hands hurt for days from pressing down on the rolling pin.
3. Never, NEVER cover cookies with wax paper. Even if they look dry, they night not be. I always hate leaving cookies out to dry overnight because I feel like there should be some covering. I had made half of them in the afternoon and when the time came to sleep I though, they look dry, I'll just cover them overnight. The next morning the paper had dried on in spots on at least half of my cookies, peeling off the royal icing when I removed it. It was a sad day. Luckily, my boss said they still looked fine and I didn't need to remake them.
4. I should invest in re-usable piping bags. I went through so many!
5. Make sure the icing is the right consistency before loading it into a bag. I filled up 4 bags, began piping and realized it was too stiff and had to empty out all 4 bags to fix it. It was a total waste of time.

6. If there are extra cookies and icing, make more of the cookies you are supposed to make instead of trying out other stuff like I did here. This is sorta like #1. It would have been nice to have made some extras so I could pick out any if I didn't like them.

Do you have any good tips to share from past baking experiences? Leave me a comment!


Dulce de Leche Icebox Cake

This recipe is really just a sham, there's no new recipe in this post, it is simply a combination of graham crackers and classy cream layered in a yummy ice box cake.  

I work at a church and have the opportunity to meet many church members who attend activities throughout the week. One lady, Betty, recently turned 90 years old. I thought I would make her something to celebrate and figured this was simple and tasty. But then I went and had to bake my own cookies for it, taking away the simple factor... but it's still tasty which is all that matters for the reciever of the gift.

Isn't the bowl on the left cute? I found it at an antique store in the Orange circle.

Stack alternate layers of graham crackers and classy cream until its about cake height. Store-bought crackers should work just as well if you don't want to make them.
I used a #21 piping tip for mine to make it look fancy.
Place cake in the freezer for a half hour so the top will set a bit before covering it in plastic wrap and setting it in the fridge. Refrigerate this 8-24 hours before serving cold. The longer it sits the more cake-like it will be.
Before serving, drizzle more dulce de leche sauce over the top (optional).


Sugar Cookies

When I decorate sugar cookies, I love how they look right after the royal icing has been put on the cookie, while its still shiny and pretty before it has dried.

The cookies above became these below.

I made them for a baby shower. I used a brush embroidery technique but totally didn't come up with the design at all. These were inspired by these fabulous cookies from the Amber Spiegel blog. I first found her stuff through etsy and just love the stuff she makes. And I love how she paints with luster dust, so pretty!

My cookies aren't as perfect, but I'm still practicing.


Graham Crackers

When I saw this recipe for homemade graham crackers on the Smitten Kitchen blog, I thought, these crackers sound amazing, I should make these. 
This recipe does make a fabulous graham cracker, but I did not cook them as long as they needed and they came out soft. I don't have a real oven and the toaster oven I use tends to burn things when I use the noted oven time so my time guesstimate wasn't long enough.
I have to be honest, these cookies were a pain in the butt to make, but I am impatient and think I probably made it harder than it should have been. Even so, I could totally see myself making these once a month if I had kids, just to avoid store bought ones. Then I know exactly what is in it and besides, home made always tastes better doesn't it?
I have included notes at the end of the recipe, please learn from my mistakes. It is clear to me that I am not good at following directions since I missed steps along the way. My rolling process seemed more difficult from the Smitten Kitchen one, but here is my experience.

Graham Crackers
from Smitten Kitchen

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup clover honey
5 tablespoons milk (full-fat is best)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To make the dough:
Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl with a pastry blender (a food processor can also be used but I don't have one). Next, add in the butter and continue to blend it together until it is well combined and looks similar to a coarse meal.

In another bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract.

Add it to the flour mix and combine it with the pastry blender until it forms a dough. It will be sticky.

Lay out a layer of plastic wrap on a counter and dust flour over it. Plop the dough onto it and form it into a rectangle-ish shape about 1 inch thick. Wrap it completely, then chill overnight.

The next day:
Prepare the topping by mixing the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set it aside.

Unwrap your dough and cut it in half  and return one half to the refrigerator. Spread out a piece of wax paper on your work space and liberally dust an even layer of flour onto it. Roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick.
The dough will be really sticky and you will not be able to lift it off the wax paper.
This is where I cut shapes into the dough. It is a lot easier if you cut it into squares or rectangles, but if you use cookie cutters, press the shape in and don't touch it. Don't try to remove the excess dough, it will be a mess.
Place the wax paper onto a cookie sheet and chill until firm, somewhere around 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer.
After it is firm, then you can peel away the excess dough and carefully pull off your shapes. Dip both sides into the cinnamon mix and place on a baking sheet. Make a separate ball with the scraps, wrap in floured plastic wrap and refridgerate it. Repeat the cookie process with the second half of the dough.
After all the scraps are chilled you can repeat the process with that as well.

Heat oven to 350°F.

With the cookies on the cookie sheet, you can make the indentations with a toothpick for decoration if you want. I don't think it affects cooking, so you can leave that part out if you want.

Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, and rotate the sheets halfway through. It should look browned (it should also be firm to the touch)

* This dough is really sticky. Add more flour if the rolling gives you trouble.
* Make sure you THOROUGHLY chill the dough, especially if you use shapes. I have no patience and I rushed it, which (I am sure) was what made it difficult for me.
* Touch the cookie to make sure it is firm (another step I missed).


Classy Cream

For any of you who have felt a lack of creamy goodness in your life, this cream is the answer for you. It's richer than regular whipped cream due to the addition of mascarpone cheese and fancier than whipped cream due to a large amount of dulce de leche. These fancy additions are the reason I chose to call this "classy" cream. I mean really, the majority of its ingredients are in a foreign language. Classy. It can be served with a bowl of fresh strawberries for dessert. Classy. It looks good in a glass dish. Classy. And above all, my friend Eunice enjoys this cream and, if you know Eunice, she loves luxurious things and has some pretty high standards. Classy.      

Classy Cream (Dulce de Leche Mascarpone Cream)
yields: around 4 cups

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup + 1 Tbs. dulce de leche sauce
8 oz. container of mascarpone cheese

Chill bowl and mixer beaters in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Using chilled items, beat together dulce de leche and cheese until well combined.
Add heavy cream and beat until it has a stiff consistency. The picture below is what mine looked like.

This recipe makes a whole lot! Layer it in a trifle, spread it on graham crackers, dip things in it, do what your heart desires. Or you can halve it and no one will be the wiser.  

This recipe can be made a day ahead of time, just make sure you beat it well in order to get a good consistency.


"You're so furry and black, what's with that?"

This is Ojos our cat.

What's that you say? This is a baking blog, what does my cat have to do with it? 
Well, Ojos, puts the "love" in Butter, Sugar, Love. Yes!..
I know.
He has his evil days. He'll hiss in my face if I hold him too long and runs under the bed so we can't pick him up. But we like to think he enjoys being owned by us. Somewhere deep down in his black kitty heart. 
At least we like him. And we all know he's better off with us than in the streets fighting off strays and catnip pushers. even writes songs about him. The title of this post is actually a line in one of his many Ojos jingles. Maybe I shouldn't admit that online. Anyways... 

Ojos facts:
*He is about 3 years old now
*His name means "eyes" in Spanish
*My sister named him that because she said he had big eyes as a kitten
*He is really talkative
*He loves all dairy products, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, it's all good
*He drools when he's happy
*He likes to lay on the edge of our matress with his front arms hanging over the side, pressing on the bed frame like this:
I caught him sticking his tongue out.
It's weird isn't it?

 We love Ojos.
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