The Best Sugar Cookies Ever

Who doesn’t love sugar cookies? They’re sweet, soft, delicious and you can decorate them with icing and sprinkles!

I’ve always loved my grandmother’s sugar cookies – I remember on holidays, my cousins and I would decorate Christmas trees, snowmen, and Easter eggs. Vanilla frosting would be mixed with green and red dye, and sprinkles of all colors and hues dashed across the yummy cookie plains made for a brightly colored display.

So one day, I decided I needed the recipe! I called her up and asked her what was the amazing recipe that crafted such a delicate, sweet cookie?

And here it is: she uses “Mo’s Sugar Cookies” recipe from Square Table.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of almond extract
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

For this recipe, I would highly recommend an electric mixer if you have one. You can absolutely mix it by hand (I’ve done it before!), but the dough does get super thick and sticky, so if you have a standing mixer, use it!

Alright, first step is to cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy. Make sure your butter is room temperature, otherwise this will not work correctly. An easy weigh to get it to room temperature is to set your butter out on the counter for 30-45 minutes. I also recommend cutting the butter into little slices when you put it in with the sugar.

Add the eggs one at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition. Mix in extracts.

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In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until it is well combined. I did this in small doses, instead of all at once, to ensure that the flour was mixed in thoroughly.

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If you have plastic wrap, put that over the bowl (otherwise I just used aluminum foil) and place in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

After the time is up, grab some of the dough (I rolled mine on a cutting board, doing small batches at a time since I did not have a large one) and roll to about a 1/3 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters and place onto a greased cookie sheet!

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Ok y’all, here is the thing, these cookies do not look like they are done at 10 minutes, but they are! If you want your cookies to be more chewy/harder, you can cook them a little longer, but I like mine soft so I took them out after 10 minutes.

Let the cookies cool, and then eat them or if you want to make them more fun, decorate them with icing and sprinkles!

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Y’all these cookies are absolutely delicious! Trust me, they are not going to last long in y’all’s house! 🙂

Do y’all like sugar cookies? Let me know if you try the recipe in the comments below!

~ Southern Dreamer

Hot Chocolate Cake

Who doesn’t love chocolate? It’s sweet, comes in dozens of forms, and tastes amazing with pretty much anything!

When my dad had his birthday earlier this week then, I knew exactly what I should make him: a hot chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting.

I found this yummy recipe through Pinterest, and all credit goes to the blogger at I Heart Eating – check that link to see her blog, she has lots of great recipes! – for the recipe for both the cake and buttercream frosting.

To start off with, gather your ingredients! You’ll need…

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of hot chocolate (1 cup of water mixed with standard hot chocolate packet)
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup of buttermilk at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of butter (melted) – I used unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

NOTE: In order to get the eggs at room temperature, grab a bowl, fill it with warm water (about the temperature you would use if you took a bath) and place the eggs in it for 10 minutes. To get the buttermilk at room temperature, warm it in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Alright! Now that the logistics are out of the way, let’s get started.

IMG_0525Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and go ahead and grease or butter two nine inch cake pans, and then flour them. When you finish, they should look something like this.

If you find yourself with too much flour in the pan, gently tap it against the side of the counter top and the excess flour should separate off. You can then throw that excess out.

Moving along, in a small bowl whisk together the hot chocolate and cocoa powder.

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Then in a larger bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. MAKE SURE your buttermilk and eggs are room temperature. The first time I did this, I got impatient and went ahead and added them to the warm/melted butter…the result was that all the butter clumped together in a huge lump!

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Haha, so yes, room temperature is really important! I also mixed in each ingredient one at a time, before adding the next one.

After all of those are mixed so that they’re well combined, go ahead and whisk in the hot chocolate mixture that you set aside earlier.

Whisk in the flour, baking soda, and salt, and viola! The batter is complete!

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Pour the batter into the pans, and then bake for 20-35 minutes or until a butter knife comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, and afterwards, it’s time for frosting!

Here’s what you need to make chocolate buttercream frosting:

  • 1 cup salted butter (at room temperature)
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons of whole milk, half and half, or cream

NOTE: to get butter to room temperature, leave it out of the fridge for 30 minutes. THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT. It makes a huge difference in the frosting!

Using an electric mixer (either hand of standing), beat the butter until it is a pale color, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.

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Add 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of milk.

When I did this, I added each ingredient individual, making sure that it was mixed in thoroughly before adding the next one. Additionally, I add 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar at a time, since I didn’t want it to fly out of the bowl all at once.

Mix on low.

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Now, my family has a sweet tooth, so I added some more powdered sugar. I added about 1/4-1/2 a cup at a time, and then tasted it to see if I liked it. As long as you don’t add huge amounts of sugar at once, you can play around with how sweet you want it and it shouldn’t mess the frosting up!

Once the frosting is finished, go ahead and frost that cake!

After taking one of the cakes out, I placed it on a cake stand and frosted the top of it. Then, I put the other one on top and frosted the entire outside of it. If you have a knife that doesn’t have sharp edges, such as a specialized knife specifically for cutting butter (if you have one specific for frosting and baking, use that! I don’t have one yet so I improvised!), it will make the frosting go on smoother.

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I baked this cake on Tuesday, and let me tell you, this will not last long in your house, especially if you have teenage brothers or sons!

Let me know how it went if you try it, in the comments below! What other kinds of chocolate cakes do you enjoy?

~ Southern Dreamer

Sour Cream Lemon Loaf

Yesterday, I made sour cream lemon loaf. Y’all. It was so terrible good, therefore, I knew I had to share the recipe with all of you! 🙂

Recipe credit goes to: http://gluesticksblog.com/2016/02/sour-cream-lemon-loaf.html

Ingredients:

5 eggs

2 cups of sugar

16 oz. sour cream

1 cup of vegetable oil

1 (5.1 oz) package dry vanilla pudding mix

1/2 cup of milk

3 tablespoons of lemon extract

3 tablespoons of lemon zest

3 cups of flour

4 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

 

Glaze:

6 tablespoons of butter, room temperature

3 cups of powder sugar sifted

1/2 cup of lemon juice

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk eggs, sugar, and oil together until smooth.

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Next, add the sour cream, pudding mix, and milk. Stir!

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Now, here comes the part where patience comes into play…lemon zest. Make sure you have actual lemons to zest for this – at least five, though I used about ten or so. Then again, I’m not exactly a professional zester 😛

After you have zested your lemons, add the zest, lemon extract, and dry ingredients to the batter.

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Flour/spray/butter/whatever float’s your boat for two bread pans. Add half of the mixture to one, and half to the other.

Bake for 55 minutes. Once the timer goes off, it will likely not be done. Use a toothpick or butter knife to check the middle – if any dough comes out with the knife and/or toothpick, then cover the bread with aluminum foil. Place it back in the oven, and check on it every ten minutes until it is finished baking.

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Once it is finished, let the bread cool for about 20 minutes. Then use a butter knife to ease the bread out and onto some sort of tray or baking rack.

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For the glaze, mix the powdered sugar and butter together. After you have gathered enough juice from the lemons, slowly add the half cup of lemon juice. Now, as a note here, I’m not a huge sour person, so for me, the glaze was a little bit too sour. If you’re like me, then I would advise you to taste it as you go along, to make sure that the glaze is to your tasting.

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One the glaze is done, pour it over the two loaves! And viola! You have lemon bread 🙂

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~ Southern Dreamer

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

With October in full swing, my family was assertive in their desire for me to bake my pumpkin chocolate chip bread. And loving baked goods myself, I couldn’t very well refuse them! 😉

Note: I doubled the below measurements, since I was needing to make double the batch.

I use the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook for my pumpkin bread recipe.

  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of cooking oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 1 15-ounce of canned pumpkin

The only thing I change, is that I add 1 bag of semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips. Gotta have that chocolate! 😉

Make sure you have a…

  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Teaspoons
  • Stirring spoon
  • Oven

After you have gathered all of your ingredients, crack open the flour and measure out 3 1/3 cups! Make sure to use a butter knife to smooth over the top, so that the measurement is exact. Flour makes a big difference in baking; you want to be certain that it is just the right amount! 🙂

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Next comes the sugar!

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Measure out the cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt now. Stir everything together!

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Once all of your dry ingredients have been thoroughly combined, pour in the cooking oil! And stir!

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And now comes the water (and more stirring xD)!

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I sort of forgot to take a picture of the eggs :p But, this would be when you would put them in. Make sure to mix it all together!

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Now for the main ingredient: canned pumpkin!

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And I couldn’t forget…chocolate chips! #bestpart

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We’re almost done! Pour the batter into a bread pan (any size works, although, if you use a mini, the baking time will be shortened). Try not to fill it over halfway, since when it bakes, the bread will get bigger. Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and the timer for 55 minutes.

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To check to see if the bread is done when the timer goes off, grab a butter knife and poke it through the center. If it comes out clean, then the bread is done! If not, let it bake for a few more minutes.

When it’s finally completed, you get wonderful, good-smelling and tasty loaves of pumpkin chocolate-chip bread! Yum!

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