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Friday, December 22, 2017


I just bought myself a mini bundt cake pan and decided to try these for the holidays.  Of course, I put out some of my homebaked cookies, but since everyone gets their own personal cookie tin full of cookies, it's fun to try something new!
The recipe I used indicated it would make 8 bundt cakes.....yeah, no.  It made 16!  I put several in the freezer.   Oh, and see those little holly decorations.  I ran all over town trying to find some pre-made.  After the 5th store, I bought myself some green fondant and made my own, using the cinnamon decorations I already had in my pantry for the centers.  I know a bit neurotic, but I couldn't let go of the idea once I had it.


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temp
1 cup eggnog
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the salted caramel icing:
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup heavy cream
¼ tsp. sea salt, plus more for topping
3/4 - 1 cup powdered sugar


Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and flour a mini bundt pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

Using a stand mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 30 seconds.  Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.

Combine the eggnog and vanilla in a measuring cup.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture in four additions, alternating with the eggnog, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

*Spoon the butter into the bundt cups, filling about 3/4 of the way full.   Bake 20-25 minutes or until the cake is golden brown, springs back when lightly touched and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan.  Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes, invert the pan onto a cooling rack.  

*this part is first batch overflowed.  It didn't mess up my oven but the batter came up and over the individual forms.  The cakes still came out of the pan okay, but I literally had to trim around the base of the cakes and open up the hole at the bottom.  On the second batch, I filled them closer to half full and they worked beautifully.

For the icing:
Combine butter, brown sugar and heavy cream (I used half and half since I find it hard to find heavy cream) in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and transfer to the bowl.  Let cool slightly.  Add the salt and beat for 1-2 minutes.  Add 3/4 cup powdered sugar and beat for 2-3 minutes.  Add additional to reach the consistency you prefer.  I stuck with 3/4 cup and put it in the fridge for a few minutes and it worked great.    Spoon over each cake and sprinkle with additional sea salt.  

Sunday, December 17, 2017


I've made many different types of coasters over the years, but the one I had yet to try was the "photo transfer" type.   I realized I had the perfect opportunity to give it a go with the logo for my daughter and her boyfriend's travel blog/instagram account (Kate & Mike's adventure).

I chose to use 4x4 stone tiles since the look seemed to work well with their travel theme and their logo. You can easily find these in your big box home improvement stores at a very reasonable price. 
The first step is to print the picture/image.  Be sure you flip/reverse your image before you print (you can easily do this in your computer) since you place the image face down during the transfer process. 

Also, a very important point is to print them with a laser printer, if you don't the colors will bleed when you apply the transfer medium.  For me, I put the image on a thumb drive and took it to my local Staples and printed them there. 

Once your images are printed, trim them to the desired size.  I used the Mod Podge photo transfer medium.  You can find the step-by-step process on their website (which is listed on the back of the bottle). 

I chose to leave more of the paper on this project.  I liked the way it looked like a piece of an old worn map with the compass component.   Based upon how I trimmed the paper and how much of it I removed during the transfer process, no two coasters are exactly the same which was intentional. 

I sealed the top of my coasters with three coats of matte Mod Podge making sure to let them dry throughly between coats.  Finally, I cut out cork circles and used my hot glue gun to attach them to the bottom of the coasters for a polished finish and eliminate the possibility of any table scratches when they're used.
It warms my heart when my gifts are received so positively.  They absolutely loved these!  I made them four, but who knows.....I purchased a total of nine tiles, so there may be more in their future.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


These are hands down the best Christmas cookies ever!!!  When I put my platter of cookies out after our holiday dinner, they are the first to be snagged. 
A flaky, buttery cup with a delicious filling and topped with chocolate and peanut butter morsels.  They take some time to make, but are so worth it! 

I first shared the recipe here, and they have been a part of my holiday baking ever since.  Not only do I put some cookies out after Christmas dinner, but every "family unit" gets their own cookie tin of home baked cookies each year....these by far are the #1 favorite of the entire clan.

I just had to give them their own set of pictures.  After all, they've become famous!

The filling which is made of condensed milk makes quite a bit, so this year I chose to increase the dough ingredients by 50% and it was just the right amount of base for the filling.   So again, if you make 1.5x the dough, you won't be wasting any of the liquid center and of course, you'll have more cookies to share!