Self Doubt (through Sugar Cookies)

Do you remember last fall when I discussed the Sugar Cookie Challenge? It might have even been late last summer. Well, I’m here to tell you, it was going well… and then it wasn’t. I knew it was kind of a long shot to do 300 dozen cookies, but I was willing to give it a shot. I think I actually forgot to blog a few of the different batches. I’ll go back and make sure, and if I didn’t, I’ll add them. It may not be that important but it is so fun to look back at the years on this blog and see things. Things I had otherwise forgotten… like the post on wedding dress shopping.

So where does the title fall in? Easy… When you are going along, selling dozens of cookies and then all at once BAM! cookie sales stop. You begin to wonder what happened. Then when you very seldom have repeat customers, you begin to question things again.

Were the cookies not good? I did create my own recipe. Did they not meet or exceed people’s expectations? I’m not sure. Do I just suck? Maybe. So much self-doubt creeps in. It is enough to make a person question everything. I mentioned the other day that I used to be the total optimist just like Sue Heck (the character from The Middle), but after being put down and called naive your whole life, it starts to wear on you.

New Sugar Cookies

The week before Easter I decided I was going to make some sugar cookies. It really stemmed from this whole blog. Explain? I’m glad you asked! Well, I was looking back through Easter posts on the blog looking for recipes we had used in years past. I stumbled across a post where Tbug and I decorated sugar cookies way back when. It was actually a kit I bought from the good ol’ Walmart store. The cookies were hard. Who knows how long the icing had been in the package. But it was super easy and super fun!

I decided I needed to do something like that with Abug. But the Walmart store didn’t have those kits the day I went there. So that meant I needed to make my own sugar cookies to decorate. (more…)

Easter 2018 (Better Late Than Never)

Easter 2018

Yey! Easter has come (and gone!). This year we made a trip to my aunt and uncles in southern Oklahoma for Easter. It is a 5 1/2 hour trip down, so we left Friday, celebrated Easter (with dinner) on Saturday and drove home on Sunday. Luckily this was our year to have Tbug with us too! Woot woot!

We weren’t able to get Tbug until something like 1:30 on Friday and my dad wasn’t able to get off work until closer to 3ish so by the time we got out of there, it was closer to 4 or 5. I can’t quite remember but does it really matter?

On the drive down I listened to the book, The Time of My Life by Patrick Swayze and his wife Lisa Niemi. I can’t read in a car. I get car sick just sitting in one if I’m in the back seat, so reading is totally out of the question. But Audible to the rescue! It wasn’t a total loss, yey! I’ll have to do a “book report” on that in the coming days. So totally worth reading (or in my case, listening to).

We stopped in Oklahoma City for dinner. Technically Norman at a restaurant called Salt Grass. So totally YUM! Oh and don’t worry, I sent my friend Camille a picture of the water tower. I didn’t forget her on my way through… although I never got a response. In the words of Stephanie Tanner, How Rude! haha.

We got into AC & UB’s close to 11 pm. Abug told UB she was going to get up the next morning at 7 am and do chores with him. (more…)

The Rolls Debacle

One of my absolute favorite things to do is to cook. I’m pretty calm, cool, and collected when I’m in the kitchen, even under semi stressful situations. So let me paint this picture. Do you see the rolls above? They look pretty good, right? Well, they didn’t always look that way. Oh no…

We celebrated Easter this year with my aunt and uncle down at their house in Oklahoma. By the way, I LOVE my aunt’s kitchen. If someone wants to grant me a wish, I want her kitchen please! Anyway… I was going to make the rolls on Thursday before we went down on Friday, but AC told me to use her kitchen. Probably best, because trying to travel with bread wouldn’t have been all that easy.

So I woke up Saturday morning (we did Easter on Saturday since we had to travel home on Sunday) and started in on the rolls. I chose Pioneer Woman’s Clover Leaf Rolls from her Thanksgiving episode. It’s basically the same dough she uses for her cinnamon rolls. And I absolutely LOVE that dough recipe.

Everything was going according to schedule. Milk, Sugar, and oil on the stove to heat up just below boiling point. Cool off. Add Yeast. Dump mixture into flour, let rise for about an hour. Pull off in walnut sized chunks. Place three to a muffin cup. Let rise second time. Bake. Eat. Enjoy. Yum!

Or so I thought. AC ran out of flour in her jar so I yanked a bag out of the freezer. Mistake potential number 1. Then I spent a little time measuring it while my milk mixture was cooling. When I tested the mixture, it seemed a little cooler than normal. Mistake potential number 2. When I added the milk/yeast mixture to the cold flour, placed a teatowel over it, and went on about my business. I’m sure I allowed them to rise way over an hour because I forgot to set a timer for myself or make note of when I set them aside. (more…)

French Macarons

I attempted French Macarons… again. The first time I did them, like how many years ago, they were okay. At that time I wasn’t sure what they were supposed to taste like. The recipe turned out okay I would say. I didn’t feel like filling them because I didn’t want to make a filling so we used some strawberry jam I had in the fridge. Other than that… meh. These are kind of time-consuming cookies really.

So a couple months ago I decided to try again, but this time I planned on making them Coffee French Macarons. Holy cow, they didn’t work. They didn’t bake. They were awful. I threw them all away. It was sad. Also, I didn’t have any heavy whipping cream so I tried to thicken half and half to make the ganache. My Friend Google told me I could. He lied. It was just a nightmare.

At that point, I thought I had given up… But then I ran across a blog called Bigger Bolder Baking. Gemma is Irish. She does/has a YouTube channel and listening to her accent is fun. So I decided to see if she’d made French Macarons. By golly, she had. I watched both videos she made and then I got the urge again.

Now, I was ahead of the game a little. One thing you need to do is have egg whites at room temperature and aged 24-48 hours. Over the weekend I made Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Pie. After we went to the Merchantile, everyone was raving about it. I had a bite but really don’t remember it. We had a family game night over the weekend and I made dessert. You guessed it… Chocolate Pie. It uses egg yolks so I had egg whites sitting in a bowl. I guess you could say I was already preparing to try French Macarons again before I came across Gemma’s recipe. Guilty.

French Macarons

Gemma said that these are temperamental cookies. She’s not lying. And truthfully it is not difficult, you just have to be precise. This is where the scale I got for Christmas comes in handy. Especially because she said you had to measure in metric measurements. Hello Grams. Thank goodness my scale measures in those…. whew! Saved by the scale.

She also recommended using a hand mixer, so I dug it out and did. So you want to whisk your egg whites, 55grams to be exact, until soft peaks form. Then you add sugar, turn the mixer to high and let it form stiff peaks. (more…)

Wednesday

Pan of Carrot Cake Cookies

Guys, I think I lost a day of my life. I’m not sure how it happened, but I can’t really account for yesterday much.

I know I made cookies (Trust me, run to the store and make them too! I’ll talk about them in a minute!!). From there… um…

I’m confused how I went from Tuesday to Thursday. A friend of mine a few years ago had to be kept under sedation for a day. She really did lose a day and couldn’t account for it. I can sort of account for my yesterday, but all day yesterday I was having trouble with what day is it. I guess my routine was off a little bit so it made it a little more difficult to remember it was Wednesday.

Spring Break

Tbug is on Spring Break and spending time with us. Yesterday she was back with her mom for the day. Abug knew she was coming back last night. Every time the dogs barked she’d run to the door asking if Tbug was back yet. I started feeling bad for her really. A Threenager doesn’t quite have the concept of time. Poor kid. (more…)

Apple Pie Cupcakes

I bet you thought I forgot, didn’t you? Well, truth be told, I didn’t forget but I did. The end of November snuck up on me like BAM! I’m here. It’s over. Neener neener neener. What the heck. I went to Orlando, I met a book deadline, Thanksgiving, and then WHAM! It was over. It was more so, I didn’t forget but I just ran out of time.

Okay, Nicole, what are you talking about? Haha… my Cupcake Challenge to myself. Remember that Food Network Magazine in January that started this whole thing? Well, it’s been lost many times. I’ve spilled crap on it. I’ve written all over it. But yet it still keeps coming back. Yey! I think I’m going to tear out those cupcake pages and put them in a book somewhere. If nothing else, for nostalgia purposes. Maybe to prove to myself that I was able to do it and surely I learned something about cupcakes, right?

(more…)

Happy Birthday Hubby!

Today is my dear darling husband’s birthday. I knew I wasn’t going to have an opportunity to bake his birthday cake with Abug this week, so over the weekend she and I made his cake. I decided on making a chocolate cake topped with a peanut butter butter cream icing and mini reese’s pieces. The chocolate cake I decided to use was my grandma’s recipe. Abug and I made the cake, I put it into the oven, baked it off, and that’s when it all fell apart, literally.

(more…)

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Burnt Marshmallow Icing

Were you worried I didn’t complete the challenge this month? Don’t worry, I remembered. I was quite worried I wasn’t going to so one day last week, Tuesday in fact I decided to make them. Normally I have my little one under my feet, but she wasn’t…. why? Because she was sick.

Tuesday morning when I woke up the house was chilly so I actually turned off the air (which wasn’t on) and turned on the heater. My girl woke up and she was complaining about being cold, but like I said the house had a chill so I wasn’t worried just yet. As the house started warming up, so did I. But she still kept complaining about being chilly. That’s. NOT. NORMAL. for her. I’m telling you, when the rest of us are cold, she’s just fine or even complaining about being warm. That bothered me.

(more…)

Cinnamon Browned Butter Icing (for Spiced Sugar Cookies)

Rolling out fall spiced sugar cookie dough

The other day I ran across a recipe for spiced cookies. I thought… mmmmm those sound good. Problem was, they called for 3/4 of a cup of butter. I hate when recipes make me cut a stick of butter up like that and don’t finish it off. Silly I know, but true no less.

So I continued on my day and ran across another recipe for spiced cookies, this time it used 3 sticks of butter (1 1/2 cups). Okay, so that’s better. But truth be told, I prefer to use my butter in even numbers. I’m totally weird.

All day for 2 days I’d randomly look back at these recipes thinking, boy they sound good but the butter amounts are bugging me. Finally, I decided to make the batch that used 1-1/2 cups butter, but possibly use the seasonings in the smaller batch. They were different after all. So I pulled 3 sticks of butter out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. Then I went back to staring at the recipes at hand. Both of them. That’s when it hit me… It’s just a sugar cookie recipe that they are doctoring up with spices… why not use the sugar cookie recipe that is my own unique one?

(more…)

Strawberry Birthday Cake

A slice of Strawberry cake sitting on a plate with the rest of the cake sitting on the cake plate behind it.

Today is my daddy’s birthday! Happy Birthday, daddy! I’m not sure though, that a birthday on a Monday is much fun. First off, I’m not sure of many people who like Monday’s… and secondly… read the first statement. Poor Monday does get a pretty bad rap… I wonder if people who Monday is their Saturday/Sunday hate Monday as bad as the rest of most of the world… Just a thought that has absolutely NOTHING to do with my daddy’s birthday.

Eggs

Abug and I have spent a lot of the summer learning (her not me, I’ve been teaching) how to bake. I’ve kind of created a monster really. Whoops. She wakes up a lot of mornings and asks what we are going to bake today. Haha. So I knew that she needed to bake Papa a birthday cake. I set out to decide what kind of birthday cake we were going to bake him. Little did I know, she had her own agenda. I finally decided upon a Cinnamon Roll Cake, but she changed my plans.

(more…)