Thursday, December 13, 2018

Painting Plaid Christmas Cookies

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I’ve been wanting to try painting cookies for a while now. Some people are really artistic and paint gallery-worthy pictures on their cookies. Considering I haven’t actually painted anything since elementary school, I set expectations low for myself.

Honestly, I just really wanted to make plaid cookies. I think it’s a really classic print, and it symbolizes the holiday season well.

First thing’s first, start with your favorite sugar cookie recipe. I’ve shared my favorite recipe below. I like my cookies nice and thick. A trick to achieving that is to roll your dough out between two sheets of parchment paper before refrigeration. Refrigeration prevents the dough from spreading, and it makes it a heck of a lot easier when it comes time to cutting out your shapes.

Once your cookies are baked and cooled, it’s time to add the icing. I’ve always been a buttercream girl. I love the way it tastes. But these cookies require a flat surface since we’re going to be painting on them, so royal icing is a must.

Like I said, I don’t love royal icing, so I used a variation of the recipe. Also, I discovered another fun trick: buy a can of white frosting (Duncan Hines ranks the highest on taste tests), melt it in the microwave, and dip the cookies in that. You can add a little almond or vanilla extract to the store-bought frosting to spruce it up a bit.

I’m not usually a proponent of store-bought frosting, but this wasn’t bad! I’ll let my co-workers do a taste test, and I’ll update this later with which frosting they preferred.

Once the frosting is dry, prepare your paint colors. All you need is food coloring and lemon extract.

A lot of food coloring goes a long way! I would say start by mixing 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract with 1/8 teaspoon (about 13 drops) of food coloring.

It’s important to use extract because extract is mainly alcohol which evaporates quicker than water. You can use any extract. I just really like the taste of lemon.

Painting a plaid design on the cookies is really quite easy. I’ve broken down the steps below. Drawing straight lines is the trickiest part, but I think it’s easier if you have a very light hand. Also, I recommend painting the first color on a bunch of cookies before painting the second color on top. The colors are less likely to bleed together that way.

The painting will take anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour to dry.

Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
For the cookies
  • 3 cups flour (360 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks Challenge butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (198 grams)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
For the icing
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
For the cookies
  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter for one minute; ad the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed and add egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat until combined.
  4. Add dry mixture to bowl and beat on low until just combined.
  5. Lay a piece of parchment paper on your counter top, place dough on paper, and then put another piece of parchment paper on top of dough.
  6. Use a rolling pin to gently roll out the dough between the two sheets of parchment paper.
  7. Once dough is about 1/3-inch thickness stick it in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.
  8. After cookie dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Use cookie cutter to cut out shapes and transfer to baking sheet.
  10. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges of cookies just barely turn golden.
  11. Repeat with remaining dough; cool completely before frosting.
For the icing
  1. Sift the powdered sugar into bowl.
  2. Add the milk and whisk until it’s smooth.
  3. Add the corn syrup and almond extract and continue whisking until it’s pourable consistency
  4. Using a squeeze bottle or a pastry bag, cover the top surface of the cookie, and let dry before painting.
To paint plaid
  1. Paint a cross
  2. Add a line above and below the cross and to the right and left.
  3. Add one or two little lines in between each of those thick lines.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows

Do you ever feel guilty about not being superwoman or superman? It's already December 4, and this is the first Christmas recipe I've posted. I've honestly been beating myself up over it since Black Friday.

Of course, I wasn't just sitting on my hiney all day every day. I'm a busy woman! But unfortunately it's much easier for us to focus on what we didn't accomplish than what we did.

So here's my reminder to you during this busy holiday season: You can't do all the things! And that's okay!

Now onto the marshmallows!

I'm not entirely sure what inspired me to make marshmallows. I think it's just because I had never done it before.

My family, friends, and co-workers receive cookies from me each year, but marshmallows... that's unique! And they're even better when paired with homemade hot chocolate mix in a fun container like a clear ornament or an empty wine bottle.

If you're like me, one of the first things you think of win considering a new recipe is "How messy is this going to get?" Shockingly (I really was shocked), the sugar syrup and marshmallow mix cleaned right off my pots and bowls with hot water and little to no scrubbing. It helps to stick everything under hot water in the sink as soon as you finish.

When preparing the sugar syrup for the marshmallows, I used a candy thermometer. This was actually my first time using a candy thermometer, and it made life a heck of a lot easier. You don't necessarily need one, but I highly recommend spending 9 bucks to get one.

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows
Yield: Makes about 2 dozen marshmallows
  • Small amount of butter or your nonstick spray of choice and powdered sugar to coat pan
  • 3 (.75ounce) packets unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • Red food coloring (if desired)
  1. Grease pan with butter and dust with powdered sugar
  2. Combine three packets of unflavored gelatin with water. Let mixture sit for at least five minutes.
  3. Combine granulated sugar, light corn syrup, water, and salt in medium sauce pan.
  4. Stick candy thermometer on pan's edge, making sure it doesn't touch the bottom, and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and once it reaches 234°, remove from the heat.
  5. Add gelatin to bowl of mixer and start mixing at medium speed. Slowly pour sugar syrup into gelatin.
  6. When all sugar syrup is added, turn mixer up to medium high speed, and beat until mixture starts to pull away from the bowl, or about 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Add vanilla and mint extracts, and beat on high speed for one more minute.
  8. Add several drops of red food coloring and slowly mix to make peppermint swirls.
  9. Acting quickly, pour mixture into greased baking dish.
  10. Let marshmallows sit uncovered for about 8 hours at room temperature or about 4 hours in the refrigerator.
  11. Once you're ready to cut, loosen pan edges with knife and lift out of baking pan.
  12. Place eon cutting board and cut marshmallows into squares. Store in an airtight container with plenty of powdered sugar to prevent them sticking to each other for up to tone month.
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
Yield: Makes about 10 cups of mix
  • 5 cups of powdered milk
  • 1 1/2 cup of non-dairy coffee creamer 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • (Optional: 6 candy canes, crushed)
  1. Combine all of the ingredients and sift together in a very large bowl. 
  2. Add crushed peppermints if you desire.
  3. Divvy out mix using cellophane bags, mason jars, empty mugs, empty wine bottles, etc.
  4. Pair with homemade marshmallows for adorable DIY gift.
Directions for how to prepare hot cocoa
  1. Combine 1/4 cup mix with 1 cup boiling water or milk. 
  2. Mix well and let cool before drinking.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Buffalo Pretzel Thanksgiving Dressing

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Do you all say stuffing or dressing? I usually say stuffing, but then I felt really self-conscious about it because I realized I’m not actually stuffing it into anything. On a whim I decided to call this recipe “dressing,” and now I’m having a little bit of an identity crisis. Regardless, it’s a lot of carbs, and I sure do like carbs.

Everyone has a pretty standard stuffing recipe they gravitate toward, right? That’s why I decided to throw in this while card option. I like pretzel rolls and I like buffalo sauce, so I thought I should combine them, right?! Because why the heck not?! There’s no harm in taking a risk.

Buffalo Pretzel Thanksgiving Dressing
  • 10 cups soft pretzel rolls (about one 14.5 ounce bag of rolls)
  • 1 cup onion, diced (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 cup celery, diced (about 3 stalks)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 10 tablespoons Challenge butter, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups buffalo sauce 
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth or veggie broth
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 6 slices bacon, crumbled
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. 
  3. Place cubes on baking sheet and stick it in the oven for about 8 minutes or until they’re golden brown on the edges.
  4. Remove from oven and place in large bowl.
  5. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter on medium heat in a skillet and add onion, celery, and garlic.
  6. Sauté until onions and celery are tender, or about 8 minutes.
  7. Add parsley and sauté an additional minute. 
  8. Remove from heat and pour over pretzel bread.
Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter in the microwave in a medium-sized bowl. Let cool for about 5 minutes before adding buffalo sauce, chicken broth, eggs and seasoned salt. (It’s important to let butter cool so the heat doesn’t scramble the eggs on contact.
  9. Whisk to combine before pouring the mixture over the bread cubes. Gently stir until the bread is coated.
  10. Transfer mixture to 9x13 baking dish and bake about 45 minutes or until it is just golden on top. 
  11. Remove dressing from the oven and top with crumbled bacon, blue cheese, parsley and green onions before serving.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Chipotle Bacon Au Gratin Potatoes

So I've been pretty good about posting my blog posts on a weekly basis before I do my segment, however, I had a bit of a slip up that prevented me from posting it on time last week.

You see I bought a mandoline for the first time. I had never seen one used before so I didn't know how dangerous they were.

But I really wanted to try making au gratin potatoes, so I did some research and chose what appears to be the flimsiest mandoline ever. It has rave reviews on Amazon and Target though, so maybe it’s the operator (me) and not the tool that was faulty! Anyway, for whatever reason, I couldn't figure out how it worked, and as I was testing it out, I sliced my thumb.

As I was looking at the blood, I started to feel faint, so I called my fiancé William and despite having just left my apartment to go back home, he drove 25 minutes back to check on me. By the time that I was all fixed up, I completely lost all of the daylight necessary for me to film and take pictures of the potatoes. But William finished slicing the potatoes on the mandoline for me, and I finished the au gratin—a little reward for him coming to check on me. I tell you what, it was truly delicious.

So here we are, five days later, and I’m just now getting you the recipe. And I must say, this is one of my favorite dishes I’ve made all year. It is so tasty! When I was trying to decide what cheeses to use, I saw smoked Gouda at the store, and I thought it would be interesting to go with a chipotle theme for the dish.

Also, I came up with a few tips that will make this au gratin come together super quick!

Firstly, use red potatoes. In addition to the fact that they're more nutritious than other types of white potatoes, you don't have to peel their skin. The reason is because the skin on red potatoes is a lot thinner than the skin on regular potatoes, and it doesn't taste bitter and papery when you eat it.

My second tip is to stack the potatoes on their edges in the casserole dish so they stand up. This is opposed to laying them down and making layers which requires you to layer the sauce. I also like this method because the edges get a little bit crispy and it prevents the potatoes from becoming a soggy soupy mess. Also, I love the way it looks when the potatoes are stacked on their sides. It looks like a wreath!

Before I let you loose to make your new favorite potato dish, I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you to BE CAREFUL with the mandoline! Always use the guard. And if the guard isn’t working, use a fork! Do not use your hands!

Chipotle Bacon Au Gratin Potatoes
  • 2 pounds red potatoes, sliced thin (I used the 3/16th-inch setting on my mandoline, but it doesn't really matter! Just make sure it's thin.)
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup smoked Gouda
  • 4 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 1.5-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Add half and half to pot and heat on stove with jalapeno and Chipotle powder until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses and bacon.
  3. While you are waiting for it to simmer, begin stacking your potatoes on their side in the casserole dish until you have enough to circle the perimeter.
  4. Once cheese is melted in sauce, pour it on top of potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove aluminum foil after 40 minutes, and cook an additional 15 minutes uncovered.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Bloody Zombie Guts (cinnamon rolls + cherry pie filling) are a gore-met dessert

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

Is there zombodie who you would truly like to frighten? Serve up these gore-met Zombie Guts! This dessert is so easy to make, it's ghoulproof!

Bloody Zombie Guts
  • 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
  • 2 cans jumbo cinnamon rolls (save icing for later)
  • 3 Tablespoons Challenge butter, melted
  • Red food coloring
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spoon half of your can of cherry pie filling into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch pan 
  3. Remove cinnamon rolls from can. Unravel each of the cinnamon rolls so they resemble a long rope.
  4. Bend the unraveled dough around each other in the pan so they resemble intestines.
  5. Brush melted butter on top of rolls and bake for 16 minutes or until the rolls start to turn golden brown.
  6. While it’s baking, mix together icing from cinnamon roll packs, the remaining cherry pie filling, and a few drops of red food coloring.
  7. Remove cinnamon rolls from oven and spoon icing mixture on top before serving.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Halloween treats to die for!

This week I was planning on creating another fun Halloween recipe, but instead I went on vacation, had too much fun, and didn't do any school work. So I had a LOT to catch up on when I returned home. I regret nothing though! I went to Mackinac Island to plan my wedding! I'm getting married there in June! Mackinac Island is very near and dear to my heart. I'm actually planning on making a travel guide soon. In the meantime, I want to share an "engagement photo" taken on the top of Arch Rock by my dad. It's one of my favorite places on the island!

Now back to Halloween... I'm still planning on sharing one more recipe before the big day next week, but until then here are a few of my favorites from years past!

Red Velvet Brain Dip

Pumpkin Macarons

Monster Sandwich Cookies

Mummy Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles

Shattered Glass Cupcakes

Shrunken Head Punch

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Red Velvet "Cauldron Cookies"

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I'm honestly not sure why I love Halloween so much. Maybe because it was so much fun for me when I was a child. My neighbor Melanie would make handmade matching costumes for me and her two sons, and we would spend hours walking to every single house in the neighborhood. It was my favorite night of the year. I don’t think we had specific trick-or-treating hours like most cities in Indiana have now. We had to put together a list of trick-or-treating times for our FOX59 and CBS4 websites last week, and some of the towns only allow trick-or-treating for and hour and a half. That’s ridiculous! I feel bad for those kids!

I currently don’t live in a neighborhood where I can hand out candy, and I don’t know any young children who would allow me to follow along while they trick-or-treat. But that doesn’t make Halloween any less exciting for me. Halloween encompasses a lot of different themes: goofy, scary, cute, etc. And it’s all about having fun!

Each year, I try to make my Halloween treats some of my most creative recipes! A few weeks ago I had an idea to make cookies that were black on the outside and red on the inside. I came up with the idea after seeing this recipe for “Brimstone Bread.” It looks so cool, right?! I love how the black cracks so you see little peeks of red on the inside. I thought about how to do the same thing with a cookie for about a week before the idea came to me just in the nick of time: crinkle cookies rolled in black powdered sugar!

I’m sure many of you are familiar with crinkle cookies. They’re very popular around Christmas time. Essentially, it’s a cookie rolled in powdered sugar, but it gets it’s name because it cracks on top.

I started out by making red velvet cookies using red velvet cake mix. If you have a favorite “made-from-scratch” red velvet crinkle cookie recipe, by all means use that! But I use a box mix because it’s a heck of a lot easier, and we’re going to be rolling them in powdered sugar anyway.

So here’s the deal: as mentioned before, we’re going to roll the dough balls in powdered sugar before baking them, but before we do that, I recommend first rolling them in granulated sugar. The reason being is that the black powdered sugar is an essential part of how the cookie looks at the end, so we want as much of it to stay on the outside of the cookie as possible. The problem is a lot off the time the powdered sugar is soaked up by the fat in the cookie when it bakes, so it disappears for the most part. By rolling the dough in the granulated sugar first, we are creating a barrier between the cookie and the powdered sugar which will help it stay on the outside of the cookie better. I even took it one step further, and I rolled my cookies in black sanding sugar (it looks like black sprinkles) to ensure the effect I wanted was achieved.

After rolling the dough in granulated sugar comes the powdered sugar, of course. But not just any powdered sugar, black powdered sugar. It’s very easy to make! Just blend about a half cup of powdered sugar with gel black food coloring in a food process until it starts to turn black. If it won’t get any blacker, add a little cocoa powder if you want to enhance the effect. Don’t add too much cocoa powder, though, because you don’t want to change the taste of the cookie!

That’s all there is to it! Bake about 10 to 12 minutes until the cookies are just barely set. The black powdered sugar does get your fingers a little messy, but it’s totally worth it!

Also, in case you’re curious, I’m calling them cauldron cookies because I think they look like hot coals burning under a cauldron!

Red Velvet “Cauldron Cookies”
Yield: Makes about 2 dozen cookies
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) box red velvet cake mix
  • 6 tablespoons Challenge butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • Black gel food coloring
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (or black sanding sugar)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a large bowl, combine red velvet cake mix, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. Put in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes so the dough is easier to work with.
Add powdered sugar and black food coloring to food processor and pulse until the powdered sugar starts to turn black. It will probably turn more gray than black, but that’s okay. You can add cocoa powder in 1 Tablespoon increments if you want the color to be a little deeper.
  3. Place the powder sugar and granulated sugar in separate, shallow dishes.
  4. Scoop out a 1-inch diameter ball of dough. Roll it in the sugar to coat before transferring it to the powdered sugar and rolling to coat. 
  5. Place dough on baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes until cookies are just barely set. 
  6. Remove cookies from oven and let cool before serving.

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