Monday, September 27, 2010

Football Cookies-September '10 Daring Bakers Challenge

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

In all honesty, decorated cookies are not really my forte. I love them. I love to look at them. No doubt, I love to eat them. But, I do not love to make them. For me, they are a bit time consuming. Besides that, my hands just do do not acquire the patience or the precision required to make these delicate works of art.

So, when I saw this month's Daring Baker's Challenge, I can't say I was terribly jazzed about the thoughts of the drippy icing, the piping, the flooding, the drying with little Runwilder fingers trying to touch them every few minutes....I'll be honest, I started to bow out for this month. But, after mulling it over, I decided just to go with a simple design so that I would not lose all patience and sling them to the backyard for the squirrels. And, what better (and simple) design  to make since September has ushered in football season. Here in the South football is serious business.  Mr. Sweets believes it is morally imperative that one only cheer for one team. And its a viscous (and sometimes a bit tacky) few months among the rival team fans.  I just try to be quite and stay out of trouble as much as possible, so I made my football cookies "team neutral"
The appearance was just so-so for me. They are what they are, but there was nothing terribly intricate about their general detail to begin with. The sugar cookie recipe provided by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?! was really incredible. I would have loved to have this cookie with no icing at all. Now, my little Runwilder Princesses declared these cookies to be the best cookies ever. Though... now that I think about it, I think they say that every time I make cookies. The icing is S-U-P-E-R sweet and chocolaty(probably why they love them so much).  Not that that's a problem, but its always good to know something like that, especially if your don't like to indulge in a little sugar shock every afternoon ;)


Decorated Sugar Cookies
Basic Sugar Cookies:
Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4" Cookies
200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
• Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming
creamy in texture.
Tip: Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during
baking, losing their shape.

• Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.
Tip: I don’t have a stand mixer so I find it easier to switch to dough hooks at this stage to avoid
flour flying everywhere.

• Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces.
• Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 5mm/1/5 inch (0.2 inch)
• Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.
Tip: Recipes commonly just wrap the whole ball of dough in clingwrap and then refrigerate it for an
hour or overnight, but by rolling the dough between parchment, this shortens the chilling time and
then it’s also been rolled out while still soft making it easier and quicker.

• Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface.
• Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife.
• Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30mins to an hour.
Tip: It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking.
• Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up.
• Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted) / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
• Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.
Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in
some cookies being baked before others are done.

Tip: Rotate baking sheets half way through baking if your oven bakes unevenly.
• Leave to cool on cooling racks.
• Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.
Tip: If wrapped in tinfoil/cling wrap or kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated
cookies can last up to a month.

Quick Pour Chocolate Fondant :
From All Recipes


  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 5 fluid ounces water
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
In a saucepan, combine confectioners' sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a temperature of 92 degrees F (33 degrees C.) Remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate and almond extract until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

CSN Giveaway Winner!!

I  have really enjoyed reading through all the comments detailing your CSN wish list and your suggestions for my upcoming baking adventures. Thanks for all the great ideas!!

Now, I know you're waiting patiently so I will get to the winner
My CSN Giveaway winner was:


Congratulations Donna!!
I have sent you an email and forwarded your info on to CSN.
Have fun browsing the CSN site for your prize!!!

Thanks to everyone for entering. I'll be back tomorrow with my Daring Baker's Challenge for the month.
Have a great Sunday!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Bad Day Brownies

Has it been a bad day, or week? Or perhaps a bad month? Sometimes life just seems to deal us that hand. Poor Mr. Sweets was having several bad weeks not long ago. He had 3 vehicles break down on him, ran over a fire pit cover, our bedroom ceiling fell in (this was a very long story, and I don’t want to say “I told you so”, but this one could have ended differently :).Wow the streak of bad luck just went on and on and on.  You know it really is true that men and women are wired differently. Mr. Sweets got frustrated about his luck. But, if this had been me that all this was directly happening to, well lets just say I would have easily put on about 20 pounds over those few weeks.


This is the kind of thing I make when I’m having a bad day.

What is it you ask?? It is a Caramello Blondie topped with Cookies and Cream Fudge. No….not fudge icing, its an actual layer of fudge.….on top of a blondie filled with Caramello bars.  That’s right. We'll just call them Bad Day Brownies.

Oh, and please note. I do not share when its been a bad day. Hence the reason, those of you that know me are thinking “I’ve never seen those brownies before…”

No, you haven’t…..

But I will share the recipe. Its sure to be the perfect solution to a bad day/week/month.
I don’t even have to tell you that they're worth the effort….

Bad Day Brownies

Blonde Brownies:


  • 2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter
  •  2 cup packed brown sugar
  •  2 eggs
  •  2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 Caramello bars (king size)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Measure sifted flour. Add baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift again.  Mix well and set aside.
  3. Melt butter. Add  firmly packed brown sugar and mix well.
  4. Add eggs (beaten) and vanilla. Blend well. Add flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing well.
  5. Spread half of mixture in 9 x 13 inch pan. Break Caramello bars into scored pieces. Evenly space candy over blondie mixture. Cover with remaining batter. Bake for 25-30 minutes. 
 Cookies & Cream Fudge 
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 12-oz.  package White  chocolate chips
1 7-oz. jar marshmallow creme
1 cup crushed Oreo cookies
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup Oreo cookies (for topping, broken but not finely crushed)
Traditional method:
Combine sugar, margarine and milk in heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan; bring to full rolling bail, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring. Remove from heat, stir in white chocolate till melted. Add marshmallow creme and vanilla beat till blended. Gently stir in crushed cookies. If not pouring on brownies, pour into greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Let cool and cut into 1-inch squares. 
To assemble:
Make blonde brownies as directed. Let cool. Prepare fudge. Pour over cooled brownies. Let cool until fudge is set. May need to refrigerate for quicker set up. Slice into squares and serve.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Petit Fours & Pie..Oh My!! And a CSN Giveaway!!!

Ok, so now that I have your attention :)

Not too long ago, I was asked to do a product review for CSN stores. I’ve said it before, CSN is a fabulous online source for most anything. Can you believe they've got everything from dining room tables to toys. I’ve done a few giveaways and reviews for them,  but I seriously shop at CSN stores even when I’m not in blogging mode. I really like the selection, the prices, and how quick they are to ship their products out. I’ve not had a single issue with any of my transactions. Ok, ok, I’ll stop bragging on CSN now. On to the review, recipe and GIVEAWAY!

I chose to review the Pink Emile Henry Pie Plate

And the
NordicWare Tea Cake/Candy Molds

So, with my review products, I made 2 recipes. The first, with the pink Emile Henry Pie Plate, I made a classic Apple Pie. 

This apple pie brought back a major rush of memories due to its flavor. One of my very favorite great-aunts made fried apple pies often when I was a child. The filling on those fried pies was so extraordinarily sweet and cinnamony. This filling is very much the same. Plus, who doesn’t like apple pie!?!
(Ok, if you don’t that’s ok, please don’t flood my inbox with emails stating that its ok to dislike apple pie. It was rhetorical:) On the pie plate itself, I seriously love it! I love its color, pretty pink on the outside white on the inside.  Its stoneware, but its finished with a lovely shiny glaze making it naturally non-stick. So, you get the great even cooking of the stoneware, but not all the sticking issues that is sometimes associated with stoneware. Best of all, the pink pie plate is part of the Bake for the Cure campaign which supports The Susan G. Koman for the Cure, formerly known as The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Emily Henre donates 10% of the sales of the Bake for the Cure products to Susan G. Comen for the Cure. Great products for a great cause.

Next, I tried the Nordicware Pan to try out a few different options. I loved the idea of making petit fours.

Which, thinking back, I’m not really sure why. I really despise making petit fours. I don’t know…it just seems like a lot of work for something so small. Perhaps, it’s the idea of petit fours that I love. Yes, that must be it. Anyways, I did make Petit Fours, which turned out cute. I suppose this pan really made it easier since there was no slicing and trying to make perfect squares and layers. One annoyance that I have with Petit Fours is that the icing never seems to cover as well as I would like. I can always seem to see the actual cake under the icing. Now, I’m certain this is user error on my behalf and certainly this has nothing to do with the pan. And perhaps it is only an issue for me, because I do not recall anyone that tried the petit fours making remarks about the sight of underlying cake. That said, this recipe for petit fours is wonderful!! They do have the flavor and texture of the petit fours that you would buy in a high end bakery, but they start with a cake mix. The recipe worked great in this pan, picking up the beautiful, intricate details. The release was perfect. No sticking. 

I did also try the Nordicware pan to make candies.
This I thought was even better than the petit fours. I did find that pouring the chocolate/candy coating into the pans would produce tiny holes in the surface of the candies. This absolutely drives me nutty. I banged the pans repeatedly to try to produce candy with no holes, but my efforts were fruitless. So, finally I read the instructions that came with the pan. Well, apparently, those things are quite useful on occasion. The instructions indicated that I should “paint” the chocolate into the pan first. Let it set and then finish filling the molds. Well, it worked. 

No holey chocolates after that. Well, at least fewer and less noticeable holes. See the blue ones were poured and the pink ones were painted and then poured. I love how well the chocolates picked up the details of the pan. Very pretty. I did find, for some reason, if I greased the pan, the candy seemed to stick. Go figure… it’s a non stick pan to start with so I don’t know if that had something to do with it. But that’s how it worked out for me. I think these cute candies would be perfect for a bridal/baby shower, ladies luncheon, or a tea party with some sweet little princesses! Recipes will follow the giveaway info. Enjoy!

And here’s the part you‘ve all been waiting for!! CSN has offered to giveaway a $65 gift certificate to one of my Sinful Southern Sweets readers. So, you can get some great cooking gadgets, homewares, toys for the kids (Christmas will be here before you know it!), or anything your hear desires from one of their 200+ stores.

How to enter:
Leave a separate comment below on each of the things that you do for your entries.
* Visit the  CSN website and comment below on a product you might like to have in your own home.
*Become a Sinful Southern Sweets follower via Google Friend Connect. If you are already a follower just comment that you are.
*Follow me on Twitter
*Follow CSN on Twitter
*Tweet this giveaway with a link back to this post.
*Blog about this giveaway on your next post! (3 Extra Entries-leave a comment for 3 separate entries)
*Follow me via email or let me know you already do (3 entries-leave 3 separate comments)
*Leave a comment telling me a recipe you'd like to see me blog on Sinful Southern Sweets.
Deadline: Midnight Eastern Time on September 25th .  Contest open to all US and Canadian friends) residents only. You do not need a blog to enter. Good Luck!!

Classic Apple Pie
  • 7 cups baking apples, thin-sliced, cored, peeled
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Prepared Pie Crust, unbaked (need a crust for top and bottom) This is my favorite
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place one crust into a 9-inch pie pan.
  2. Place sliced apples into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Combine sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle mixture over apples and toss. Spoon apple mixture into piecrust. Place the second crust over the filling. Seal edges, trim and flute. Make small openings in the top crust.
  3. Bake in preheated 425 degrees F oven 40-50 minutes or until the top crust is golden. Serve warm or chilled.

    Petit Fours
    via Land O Lakes

    1 (18 1/2-ounce) package white cake mix
    1/2 teaspoon almond extract


    3 cups sugar
    1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1 1/2 cups water
    1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
    1 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla
    3 drops food color, if desired


    Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) square baking pans. Set aside.

    Prepare cake mix according to package directions, adding 1/2 teaspoon almond extract with water. Evenly divide cake batter between prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely. Trim edges from cake; cut each cake into 24 (1 1/2 x 1-inch) pieces.

    Combine sugar, cream of tartar and water in 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a full boil (12 to 14 minutes). Cover; boil 3 minutes. Uncover; continue cooking until candy thermometer reaches (228°F. to 234°F.) or small amount of mixture dropped into ice water forms a 2-inch soft thread (15 to 20 minutes). Remove from heat; cool to 110°F. or until bottom of pan is slightly warm to touch (do not stir) (1 hour). Stir in powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon almond extract and food color.

Note:Candies were created using Wilton candy melts