Butter Pecan Cookies

This Butter Pecan Cookie is a light flaky crispy cookie and is perfect to complete the Christmas cookie platter, or to bring to any family or even non family gathering.  It will be uniquely yours.  It will never look exactly like anyone else’s cookie platter.

I remember as a child the cookies that were always baked right before Christmas. Those buttery, crispy, pecan cookie from years past.  This cookie is perfect by itself or dipped in a cup of hot chocolate, or in my case a cup of creamy hot coffee.

This Butter Pecan Cookie is a light flaky crispy cookie and is perfect to complete the Christmas cookie platter, or to bring to any family gathering.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare the cookie sheet, I line the sheet with tin foil and spray with non-stick stray.

Ingredients:
2 sticks/ 1 cup butter, softened
1 cup canola oil
1 cup regular sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste ( you can also use pecan flavoring)
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cream of tartar
2 cups pecans, chopped
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Additional ingredients used for decorating the cooled cookies
1 cup dark chocolate chips melted with 1 tsp coconut oil ( I microwave 15 seconds, stir, 15 seconds, etc. until melted)
1 cup  pecans, finely chopped
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In mixing bowl, beat butter and oil for 1-2 minutes. Add regular sugar, beat, add powdered sugar, beat.
Add eggs one at a time, beat between adding eggs.
Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients about 1 cup at a time.
Beat between additions.
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The choice is yours to either cook the cookies now or refrigerate first.  If you need them right away simply use a scoop or spoon, grab some dough, roll them in a ball, roll in some regular sugar, or not, up to you and place on the cookie sheet, squish down with a flat bottom cup until they are about 1/4 ” thick.  This will most likely create the most uniform cookies.
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Bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes, take out of oven, they should have a slightly golden tint around the bottom edges.  Let cool for 1-2 minutes before you take off the pan.
Let cool completely before you either sprinkle the chocolate out of a plastic bag with a tiny little hole cut into the corner or just spoon chocolate over one end and then sprinkle chopped nuts onto the chocolate.
This Butter Pecan Cookie is a light flaky crispy cookie and is perfect to complete the Christmas cookie platter, or to bring to any family gathering.

If you don’t have the time to cook all the cookies, feel free to get a piece of plastic wrap and roll the dough into a log.  Refrigerate for up to 3 days.  These are great as slice a bake cookie.  They do take a few more minutes to bake-most likely 14-16 minutes.

This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies- kind of depends on the size of the cookies you make.

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Nutty Baklava

Baklava is so decadent and heavenly.  Nutty, sweet, gooey, crunchy all at the same time.

MeasuringSunshine-Baklava is so decadent and heavenly.  Nutty, sweet, gooey, crunchy all at the same time.

Homemade baklava  is so much better than store bought in my book.  You have so many choices in the ingredients you can put in the baklava.  You can use your favorite nut, I have used walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts.  The type of honey, type of cinnamon or other  spices.

You will need:

9×13 baking pan
1 package of frozen filo dough-defrost in refrigerator 2 days before making baklava
1 lb. of nuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, or pretty much any other nut you would like to use.(chopped finely)
1 cup melted butter give or take- have extra butter on hand if needed
1 Tbsp of cinnamon, and any other spices you might want to add. (I will also use fresh nutmeg, powdered clove, you can also use pumpkin pie spice)
Honey syrup- recipe follows

Syrup ingredients:
1 cup honey
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks or 1 tsp of cinnamon

Bring to boil ,lower temperature and simmer for 15 min. Stir during cooking process.  After the 15 minutes turn off heat and let cool.

To put together the baklava:
Brush bottom of 9 x 13 pan with some of the melted butter.  Add layer of filo, brush with butter, add layer of filo, brush with butter, do this 4 more times.  Add layer of chopped nuts and cinnamon.  Add 5-6 more layers of the filo brushed with the melted butter.
When you have used all the nuts and cinnamon- add 7-8 layers of the butter filo to finish off the top.

Put pan into freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pull pan from freezer, get a very sharp knife and cut long diagonal cuts through the dough.  When you have completed the cuts it will look like a pan of diamonds.
Bake for about 1 hour- it will look nice a golden color.
Take out of oven.  Pour syrup gently over the top of the baklava.  I normally pour about half and wait 5-10 minutes and then pour the remaining syrup over the top.

NuttyBaklava-MeasurningSunshine-Baklava is so decadent and heavenly.  Nutty, sweet, gooey, crunchy all at the same time.  You have so many choices in the ingredients you can put into it.

Tips:

Make sure filo is completely thawed.
Keep filo covered with damp towel while working with it.
Either precut filo to fit the pan or just fold the filo to fit. ( this is what I do- just adds additional layers of buttery filo.)
Freezing pan after layering will help to firm up the layers before you cut them- this is not required.
Let sit for several hours for syrup to soak it completing and baklava is cooled.
Some people leave baklava out for several days, I however, will usually store covered in the refrigerator.

Easy Potato Salad

Summertime always brings with it parties and barbecue’s.  The most important dish is the creamy and ever so satisfying potato salad.  The all american easy basic potato salad.  Always a family favorite.
PotatoSalad-MeasuringSunshine
We almost always have the ingredients in the house and takes minimal time to whip up.
It doesn’t matter what type of potato you use, I prefer red, gold or white but it’s because you don’t have to peel them.  You can use russet potatoes but make sure to peel them, the skin is too tough.
PotatoSalad-MeasuringSunshine
Ingredients:
3 lbs potatoes, red, gold, white, etc.
10 eggs
1 can olives
3-4 stalks celery
3-4 large dill pickles
2-3 tbsp fresh dill
3/4 – 1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup mustard or a little less if you prefer

First step is to boil the potatoes, I really try to do this the night before I need the salad, get a big deep pan and fill 1/2 way with water.  Pick potatoes just a little bigger than an egg. Wash the potatoes and drop into the water before you turn on the burner.  Add the eggs on top.  The water should be just covering both the potatoes and the eggs. Gently boil until the potatoes are fork tender. Pour out into a colander, strain.  Put them into a big bowl and put into the refrigerator to cool.  If you waited until the last minute to decide to make the salad-I have done this a lot- then you can run cool water over them for a few minutes until cool enough to start to cut them.
Cut the potatoes into about 1″ cubes,  peel the eggs and slice in half, separate the yolks and put into a small bowl.  Chop the egg whites into small pieces.
Chop the celery, pickles, olives into small pieces.  Chop the dill finely.
PotatoSalad-MeasuringSunshine
Now take the yolks and mash, add the mayo, mustard, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper and add 1-2 tbsp of pickle juice from the jar.  Mix this all up and pour into the bowl with all the other ingredients that you finished chopping.
You can stir this up with a spoon or do what I do and mix with my hands.  This way doesn’t seem to mash the potatoes up and the salad looks better.
PotatoSalad-MeasuringSunshine
Cover and chill until the barbecue is ready.  Remember to keep this salad cool during the summer.
Here are a few other options to add:

Onions
green olives
parsley
bacon

Lemon Cheesecake

This is my much in demand cheesecake.  Lemony, creamy and very very decadent. Guaranteed  to be the hit of the gathering, holiday or office party.
You can serve it plain, with a dollop of whip cream or any type of fruit toppings.

 

Lemon Cheesecake-MeasuringSunshine
Gather the ingredients.
Lemon Cheesecake-MeasuringSunshine
Crust:
1/2 cup melted butter
3 cup graham cracker crumbs( you can you butter cookie crumbs, etc)
1/3 cup sugar
Mix together and dump into the spring form pan.”1
Lemon Cheesecake-MeasuringSunshine
Easiest way to get it tamped down is with a small flat bottomed cup. Edges should go up the sides up to 1″.  Doesn’t have to be perfect.
You can wrap the spring form pan with aluminum foil if you want to use a water bath.  I have tried it both ways.  I personally don’t care if my cheesecake has a crack in the top so I will usually pass on the water bath.  Texture is about the same either way.
Lemon Cheesecake-MeasuringSunshine
Preheat oven 350 degrees.

Cheesecake ingredients:
3 tbsp grated lemon rind
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4- 8 oz package of cream cheese
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla paste
4 large eggs

Grate 2-4 good sized lemons- enough to get 3 tbsp lemon rind.  Juice lemons to get 3 tbsp juice.
In mixing bowl, cream 4-8oz packages of cream cheese.  you can use full fat or 1/3 less fat cream cheese. The full fat is richer but I use the 1/3 less fat cream cheese. Its a little lighter and I don’t feel so guilty about eating it.  Add 2 cups sugar the 3 tbsp lemon juice, 1/8 tsp salt, 1 tbsp vanilla paste.  Add 4 eggs, 1 at a time.
Pour into the 10″ spring form pan.
Lemon Cheesecake-MeasuringSunshine
Bake for 55-60 minutes or until center is firm- poke it with a toothpick- if it comes out mostly clean its done-  don’t forget it will continue to cook after you take it out of the oven until it starts to cool.
LemonCheesecake-MeasuringSunshine

Optional topping:  3/4 cup sour cream smeared over the top of the cooled cheesecake, add any type of fruit on top of the sour cream. Serve and enjoy.

Caramel Walnut Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing better than these gooey caramel cinnamon rolls laden with fresh walnuts.  I have made some variety of these rolls since my kids were little. The kids were always very excited because I love them so much I wouldn’t bake them very often or I would end up eating most of them.

I have a friend who’s grandmother cracks walnuts and pulls the meat. I feel fortunate that I am able to buy a couple of bags each year.  The walnuts are so fresh, so beautiful, the first thing I think of making when I get my hands on the walnuts are these gooey cinnamony walnuty rolls.

MeasuringSunshine-CaramelWalnutCinnamonRolls

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 pkg rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp butter- cut into pieces
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla paste-optional
3 – 3 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
_________
1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp corn syrup
1 – 2 cups chopped walnuts
__________
3/4 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
more chopped walnuts
cinnamon, nutmeg, more cinnamon, more cinnamon

Warm up the milk in the microwave to about 115 degrees,  add 1/4 cup sugar and the yeast- set aside for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat the egg, add the chopped butter.  After the 5 minutes and the yeast has activated add to the egg and butter.  Mix  3 cups flour with the salt.  Add to the yeast mixture 1/2 cup at a time.  The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl, if not add another 1/2 cup flour.
Prepare a separate bowl with drizzling 1 tbsp of canola oil.  Set aside.

Pour about 1/4 to 1/2 cup flour onto the kneading board and them pull the dough out of bowl.  Knead  for 2-4 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy.  I keep wanting to take a picture of this but my hands are in the dough and not camera worthy.
Take the dough and toss into the prepared bowl that has the canola oil. Swish it around to coat and then flip so the oily part is on the top.  I normally cover with a towel, but you can also use plastic wrap.  Put bowl into a warm place to rise for about an hour.

While the dough is rising- get a saucepan and add the half cup butter and the brown sugar- turn the stove onto medium.  Add the corn syrup and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the sugar is all the way melted and then I will usually simmer until it thickens.  Set aside for it to cool down.

Chop the walnuts, set aside.
When the dough had risen to double the size, take out half and roll out into a rectangle mine is never rectangle. Smear the soften butter over the whole thing.   Sprinkle the white sugar, then the brown sugar, then add the cinnamon, and or other spices.  I don’t think you can put too much cinnamon. Sprinkle part of the chopped walnuts(these I chop finer than the ones that go into the caramel.
Start at the wide side and start rolling.
I use a piece of thread to cut the rolls, but a very sharp knife will work as well.
MeasuringSunshine- CaramelCinnamonWalnut Rolls

Get your pan (make sure pan has handles or a lip that you will be able to hold as you flip the pan after baking) out and pour the caramel onto the bottom, sprinkle the rest of the walnuts over the caramel.
As you cut the rolls, place on top of the caramel.
MeasuringSunshine- CaramelCinnamonWalnut Rolls
Leave some space between the rolls- these are a little too close, I actually had to take some of them out and put into a different pan. Cover with a towel and set aside to rise again for about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes.  To check to see if they are done, select one of the center rolls and pull gently away from the roll next to it.  Does it look flaky or still gooey?  If still gooey , put back into the oven for 5-10 more minutes.
After rolls are done, let cool in the pan until you can touch the pan without burning yourself.
Get a plate at least a big as the pan with the rolls.  Put the plate upside down on top of pan of rolls, grab both sides and flip.
MeasuringSunshine- CaramelCinnamonWalnut Rolls

 

Get a cup of coffee, sit down and enjoy.

You can do these the night before and when you get to the bake stage- put into the refrigerator.
The next morning let the chill where off and throw into the oven. You may need to bake a little longer.

Best Sugar Cookies

This is the best sugar cookie recipe, its soft yet crunchy, a perfect cookie for decorating.
I’ve made these cookies every Christmas since 1984 with my kids and then with the grandkids.
I love those community cook books, this one has been adapted from a 4H cookbook.
( The recipe was called “Polly’s Mother’s Christmas Cookies” the recipe was donated by Joice M. Beatty, Napa, Ca.)
Best sugar cookies, homemade cookies with homemade butter-cream frosting. good for holiday baking and gift giving.
You will need:
1 cup butter
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup of milk ( I use half and half)
2 large eggs
optional items to add:
1 tablespoon vanilla paste- for the light colored cookies-if you use the paste and not extract-remember you will see little dark dots in the vanilla cookies and the buttercream.
1/3 cup dark baking chocolate powder- for the chocolate cookies.
I usually make a batch of both and later you will see why I decided to do this.
Best sugar cookies, homemade cookies with homemade butter-cream frosting. good for holiday baking and gift giving.
Now this is a little different so read the recipe carefully.
Mix the softened butter together with the flour and baking powder. ( Weird right?)- add the chocolate to the dry ingredients here.
It will look a little like pie crust- crumbly
Separately, mix the sugar, milk and eggs and vanilla in a bowl.
Add the sugar mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together.
When it basically is one big ball of dough, wrap it in plastic wrap or whatever you choose to use and put into the refrigerator overnight.
This is required for this dough.  The least amount of time it can be in the refrigerator would be somewhere around 6-8 hours.
Best sugar cookies, homemade cookies with homemade butter-cream frosting. good for holiday baking and gift giving.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
This dough gets pretty stiff so while you are gathering the rolling pin, and all the cookie cutters take it out of the refrigerator and let sit at room temp.

Add flour to the cutting board and to the rolling pin and start rolling the dough.  I usually cut the dough into smaller more manageable pieces.
Roll dough to 1/4″ thickness.  If they are thicker they will be softer cookies, and you will need to bake longer.
I put foil on the cookie sheet and spray with non-stick spray.
Space the cookies at least 1″ apart, they will puff a little.

Cook for 10-12 minutes.  10 minutes they will be softer, 12 minutes crunchier.  They will not be brown, except maybe a little on the edges if you cook them the full 12 minutes.

If they are brown then the oven is too hot or you cooked them too long.

Here is the reason I make both vanilla and chocolate.
Best sugar cookies, homemade cookies with homemade butter-cream frosting. good for holiday baking and gift giving.
After I’ve cut all the other shapes I roll out into rectangles both the leftover vanilla and chocolate and then place one on top of the other and roll. Cut into slices and flatten to 1/4″.  Bake the same as the other cookies.  These cookies are softer.

For all those that don’t want to make the buttercream frosting and do all the decorating.  This cookies is still perfect if you just add colored sugar or sprinkles before baking.

I have to thank my daughter for taking most of these pictures for me, they turned out awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

This cookie has always been one of the favorite chocolate cookies at every event.
Perfect for any holiday or celebration.
It’s chewy, chocolaty, and melts in your mouth.
chewy chocolate cookies-This cookie has always been one of the favorite chocolate cookies at every event. It's chewy, chocolaty, and melts in your mouth.
You can do so many variations with this cookie.
I have rolled them in a ball and then nuts, or powdered sugar before baking.
I have topped them with walnuts, pecan, almonds, kisses, m&m’s, and sprinkles.
This is a recipe adapted from a community cookbook from 1984 when my daughter was in the Daisy’s.
chewy chocolate cookies-This cookie has always been one of the favorite chocolate cookies at every event. It's chewy, chocolaty, and melts in your mouth.

1 cup butter, and 1/4 cup shortening (you can use all butter, but I like the texture this way)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs, large
2 tsp vanilla paste (you can use a nut flavoring if you want- I have used almond and walnut extract)
2 cups flour
3/4 cup of special dark baking chocolate( I use Hershey’s)
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
optional:  1 cup chopped nuts, dark chocolate pieces, or wherever your imagination takes you.

Cream softened butter, shortening and sugar.  Just until mixed.
Add eggs, and vanilla, beat
Combine all dry ingredients in separate bowl.
Then mix dry ingredient into wet ingredients.
If adding nuts or chocolates do it after everything is mixed together.
chewy chocolate cookies-This cookie has always been one of the favorite chocolate cookies at every event. It's chewy, chocolaty, and melts in your mouth.
Drop by spoonful onto greased cookie sheet, or roll into a ball.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes- they will look a little puffy and under cooked- but take them  out anyway.
Let them cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before taking off sheet to cool the rest of the way on a rack.

Ginger Molasses Holiday Cookies

These cookies are spicy, sweet, crunchy and full of ginger and molasses.
Kids like these cookies but adults love, love, love them.
I break these cookies into pieces while drinking a cup of coffee.
These are always the first cookies gone off the Holiday Cookie platter.

ginger molasses cookies-These cookies are spicy, sweet, crunchy and full of ginger and molasses. Kids like these cookies but adults love, love, love them.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

ginger molasses cookies-These cookies are spicy, sweet, crunchy and full of ginger and molasses. Kids like these cookies but adults love, love, love them.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups flour
1 and 3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger(dry)
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
In a bowl, add about 1/2 cup sugar and a little of all the spices used above- this will be for rolling the dough in before baking.
Candied Ginger

ginger molasses cookies-These cookies are spicy, sweet, crunchy and full of ginger and molasses. Kids like these cookies but adults love, love, love them.

In the mixing bowl add butter and shortening- these should be soft.
Add the sugar and cream together.
Add the egg, beat.
Add the molasses, beat.
Dump the flour, baking soda and all the spices in and blend until all flour is incorporated.
(If I don’t have one of the spices I just add more of each of the others.  I feel that you can never have too much cinnamon or nutmeg.)
You can bake now or refrigerate until you want to bake for the next day or so.
Scoop 1 tbsp. of dough and roll into a ball- roll in a mixture of sugar and some more of the spices used in the recipe.
Place balls on foil lined cookie sheet that you have sprayed with non stick spray.
Squish the cookies down with the bottom of a cup or glass until they are about 1/4 inch thick.
We always seem to have candied ginger in the house because a little goes a long way.  That said, I am totally addicted to the candied ginger on top of these cookies.
Chop a bunch of  the candied ginger and sprinkle on top of the cookies. The cookies will spread so be generous with the ginger.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, leave on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Make a cup of coffee – sit and enjoy.

Quick Easy Fudge

This fudge takes all of 10 minutes to get mixed and in the frig.  Quick easy fudge, this fudge take so little time and effort to make and tastes so smooth and creamy.
You can adjust to suit your tastes or the season for giving as gifts.

fudge-Quick easy fudge, this fudge take so little time and effort to make and tastes so smooth and creamy. You can adjust to suit your tastes or the season for giving as gifts.

You can add nuts or not, you can add vanilla, peppermint, rum flavorings or not.
You will need:
14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
7oz. marshmallow cream
3 cups chocolate chips.  I use 2cups milk chocolate and 1 cup of semi sweet.  Any mixture works.  You can even use bitter chocolate if that is your favorite.
1-2 tsp of vanilla paste- you can use extract if that’s what you have. (you can also substitute peppermint, rum or other  flavoring- less amount if using peppermint or it will taste like toothpaste)
Optional items: any type of nut, or mini marshmallows, broken candy canes, chopped candy bars or candy.

fudge-product-2

Start with a heavy bottom sauce pan.  Add milk, marshmallow cream and chips………. melt and mix together over low heat.  When all is mixed and melted add flavoring.

 

Have ready a 8×8 square pan, I usually line with wax paper.
When its all mixed pour into the prepared pan.
Put in refrigerator to harden.

fudge-Quick easy fudge, this fudge take so little time and effort to make and tastes so smooth and creamy. You can adjust to suit your tastes or the season for giving as gifts.

 

quickfudge-Quick easy fudge, this fudge take so little time and effort to make and tastes so smooth and creamy. You can adjust to suit your tastes or the season for giving as gifts.

Teacake Holiday Cookies

These cookies are quick, easy and are eggless.  You can add almonds, walnuts, pistachio’s or any other nut you prefer.  I personally like them with walnuts.
You can call them Swedish/Russian teacakes, snowballs, Mexican wedding cake cookies they are all pretty similar.
I have been using this recipe since 1982ish.  Its from a community cookbook in the Bay area.

These cookies are quick, easy and are eggless.  You can add almonds, walnuts, pistachio's or any other nut you prefer.  I personally like them with walnuts. You can call them Swedish/Russian teacakes, snowballs, Mexican wedding cake cookies they are all pretty similar.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream together:
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla paste ( or vanilla extract)

Add:
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
After everything is mixed well.

Add:
1 cup of whichever nut you decided to use.
You can refrigerate at this point or start rolling  dough into 1 inch balls.

These cookies are quick, easy and are eggless.  You can add almonds, walnuts, pistachio's or any other nut you prefer.  I personally like them with walnuts. You can call them Swedish/Russian teacakes, snowballs, Mexican wedding cake cookies they are all pretty similar.

 

Bake in preheated oven about 15 minutes.  They should not be brown all over just around the bottom edge of the cookie that is against the pan.
Pour powdered sugar into a medium bowl, while the cookies are still hot roll in sugar and set aside to cool.
After they cool, reroll in sugar again.

 

This recipe makes 40 -1 inch cookies.