Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Isn’t this the most wonderful time of the year?!?  The snow has been falling for a few weeks here in Michigan already — okay, okay — I am honestly NOT excited about that.  This year it seems as though time is just flying.  It seems like just last week it was Thanksgiving and now here we are less than a week away from Christmas.

Christmas is literally my favorite time of the year.  I love the family spirit, baking, gift giving, and most of all — the Christmas decorations.  Oh, the Christmas decorations!!!  Mark cringes when we walk into a store and they are selling Christmas items.  As a women in her late 20’s I already own more Christmas decorations than most people’s Grandmothers do!  I love decorating for Christmas.  I cannot wait until one day Mark and I have a bigger house where I can setup two or three full sized Christmas trees.

This year my Christmas spirit has been lacking a little bit.  Mark and I have had a rough fall/winter and this year I have just been struggling to get into the normal Christmas spirit that I usually have.  I was able to get our Christmas tree up this year and a few of my other decorations, but other than that I’ve done nothing.  I am always girl the who done buying Christmas gifts by Thanksgiving and this year I didn’t start until this past week.  In fact, as shocking as it may sound — I haven’t even done any baking!!

So, today I finally forced myself to get in the kitchen and bake some of my favorite holiday cookies.  I knew that these cookies would be perfect to post today!

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

These cookies taste like Christmas!  What does Christmas taste like — well, like heaven really!  For being a shortbread cookie these cookies are light and moist and the raspberry filling adds just the perfect sweet tang to the cookie.  To top it off the almond flavored icing really brings the whole cookie together.

One thing I love about these cookies is how simple they are to make.  It does not require getting out your stand mixer, lots of ingredients, or a lot of steps.  If your lives are anything similar to mine — then during the holidays being able to make a delicious cookie to share with family and friends but that is easy to make where you are not slaving over the stove all day is amazing.

Mark and I polished off about a dozen of these within an hour of making them.  I know, that means we will both need to run 3-5 miles on the treadmill tomorrow morning but trust me — they are so worth it!  I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we do!!

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies
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For the Cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup seedless red raspberry jam
Sugar for sprinkling

For the Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract

In a medium sized bowl with a hand mixer beat the softened butter on medium speed for about 30 seconds.  Add the sugar and almond extract; and mix well on medium speed until well combined.  Make sure to scrap down the side of the bowl once while mixing.  Add 1 cup of flour and mix for about 20-30 seconds on low speed.  Add the remaining 1 cup of flour and mix again for 20-30 seconds on medium-low speed.  The dough will be crumbly at this point.

Using your hands, gently work the dough together to form one large disk.  Cover the dough and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until the dough is easy to handle.

After the dough has chilled, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Shape the dough into 1-inch balls.  Place balls about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Using the palm of your hand gently press down the ball a little bit; and then using your thumb press an indentation into the center of each ball.  Spoon about ½ teaspoon of the raspberry jam into the center of each cookie and then lightly sprinkle the cookies with sugar.  Bake about 10-12 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown.  Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet for 1 minute before transferring to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.

While the cookies are cooling in a small bowl add the powered sugar, almond extract and 1-2 teaspoons of the milk.  Stir the powered sugar, slowly adding the milk 1 teaspoon at a time until it reaches a consistency that you can drizzle with.  Drizzle the cookies with the icing and enjoy!

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Source: adapted slightly from Parent Pretty, originally from Better Homes & Garden

Gooey Butter Cake

There are those desserts that you come across in life that are simple yet one of the most delicious desserts you will ever have.  I first came across this recipe when I was searching for a  recipe that was (1) quick and easy to make yet (2) still looked and tasted homemade and delicious. This past weekend my Mom asked me to make a dessert for her and friend who were having dinner together.  I wasn’t 100% in the mood to bake something elaborate — shocking I know — and I had been saving this recipe for quiet a while so it seemed perfect. I mean — how many homemade desserts can you make only 5 ingredients? 

This Gooey Butter Cake is just that — quick, simple yet is one of the most delicious desserts you can make!  The crust is soft and chewy while the topping is so gooey and rich with a light and flaky crust.  This cake is so good that my Mom, Mark and I ate an entire 9″x13″ pan between the three of us in an 8-10 hour period.  This cake tastes the best when it is completely cooled, so make sure you bake it a few hours before you will want to serve it. 

If you have never heard of Gooey Butter Cake nor tried it… trust me — give it a try!  You won’t regret it! 

Gooey Butter Cake

Gooey Butter Cake
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1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Butter, melted
1 Pound Powdered Sugar
8 Ounces Cream Cheese, softened

Pre-heat your own to 300. Prepare a 9″x13″ baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the yellow cake mix, melted butter and one egg.  Stir together to form a soft dough.  Using your fingers press the dough into the bottom of the baking dish, forming an even layer.

In a large sized mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and the eggs.  Using a hand mixer beat the mixer for 1-2 minutes until well combined.  Add the powdered sugar and using a spoon, stir in the powdered sugar until well mixed.  Pour the mixture onto of the prepared crust.

Bake at 300for 40-50 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.

Source: KevinandAmanda.com.

Pumpkin Toffee Cookies with Salted Caramel Glaze

I cannot believe that the first official day of fall is less than 3 weeks away.  I seems as though summer just showed up and it is already time for fall – not that I am complaining!! Fall is by far my favorite time of the year. Pumpkins, apple orchards, apple cider, Thanksgiving – I could go on and on about all of the reasons why I love fall time – but one of my all time favorite parts of fall is all the greats fall recipes I get to make.

Beef stew, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin loaves, etc.  One of my favorite fall time sweet treats are these amazing pumpkin toffee cookies. I came across this recipe last year and I’ve been making these cookies ever since.  The cookies

I know it is a few weeks early but I could not wait to start posting some of my favorite fall recipes and within the next month I am going to start posting some of my favorite Thanksgiving Day meal recipes. Enjoy!!

Photo by Two Peas and a Pod.

Photo by Two Peas and a Pod.

Pumpkin Toffee Cookies with Salted Caramel Glaze
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For the Cookies:
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground All-Spice
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1 cup Canned Pumpkin Puree (ensure it is not pumpkin pie filling)
1 Large Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extrat
1 3/4 cups Heath Toffee Bits (or chopped Heath Candy Bars)

For the Glaze:
2 cups Powdered Sugar
3/4 cup Salted Caramel Sauce (or 3/4 cup Caramel Sauce & 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt)
2-3 tablespoons Milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice and salt. Set the mixture aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixture beat together the butter and sugar until creamy, which will take about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract. Beat the ingredients together on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on slow speed slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated together. By hand, stir in the heath toffee bits. Try not to over mix the batter!

Using a cookie scoop or a large spoon, drop dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet placing the cookies approximately 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until they begin to lightly brown around the edges and look set. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling you can make the glaze! In a medium sized mixing bowl add the powdered sugar, salted caramel sauce and milk. Whisk the ingredients together until smooth. Once the cookies have completely cooled drizzle the salted caramel glaze on top of them.

Note: For the glaze you may need to add more milk or more powdered sugar depending on the thickness of the glaze. Slowly add 1/2 tablespoon more of milk or powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.

Source: Two Peas & Their Pod