Browsing Tag

Christmas

Food & Recipes

Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

December 6, 2016

cookies_2

cookies_1

cookies_3First, I need to say a big thank you to everyone who hung with me these last few weeks. I know that service on Espresso and Cream has been very spotty and the site completely crashed in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. But I’m happy to report that the site is now up and running on a brand new server that should be large enough to accommodate Espresso and Cream readers for a long time to come. Whew! 

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is cookie baking. I know that there is an abundance of desserts this time of year, and baking goodies at home is hardly necessary, but I couldn’t make it through the month of December without doing at least a bit of baking.

This year Ainsley helped with her first Christmas cookie baking and it was SO fun! I mean, she mainly stuffed frosting into her mouth by the spoonful and only frosted a couple cookies before declaring that she was done, but seeing her participate in a tradition that will no doubt continue to happen for years on end was the sweetest.

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about sugar cookies. Specifically how they can be so disappointing in flavor and texture. Some of the prettiest sugar cookies I’ve seen have been the most tasteless and some of the ugliest have been the yummiest. Isn’t there a happy middle ground? Yes, yes there is. These cookies, I like to think, strike a wonderful balance between downright tasty and pretty/cute/fun to decorate, too. Although Royal Icing always gets the best results in terms of looks, I find that it’s just plain gross to eat. And while the powdered sugar and milk combination might be temping because it’s so easy, I think we can all upgrade our game a little bit this year to something that requires just a tiny bit more effort.

The sugar cookies themselves don’t stand well on their own. They are from an old, old Southern Living Christmas cookie book that my mom and I both use every year. If I were making plain old sugar cookies I wouldn’t make these, but once they are topped with buttercream they have the perfect taste and consistency to pull the whole thing off. One tip: I always suggest erring on the side of under baking rather than over baking because I love a soft, chewy sugar cookie, so keep a close eye on these cookies while they bake as oven temps can vary!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting
 
The cookie recipe is "Old Fashioned Christmas Cookies" from the Southern Living Cookie Book. I couldn't find this old recipe anywhere online to link to, so I'm sharing it below!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Frosting
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Make the cookies: Heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a nonstick baking mat (Silpat).
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugars to the butter and beat 2 minutes more or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until just combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until combined. Do not over mix. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
  4. Roll dough to ¼-inch thickness on floured surface. Cut into desired shapes and place cookies, 1 inch apart, on baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until just barely golden brown around the edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire cooling rack and cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and salt until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add in the vanilla and milk and beat until just combined. Beat in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until frosting is smooth and creamy. Frost cookies with frosting.

 

Family

Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2015
Hofmeyers_2

IMG_3598-1

Hofmeyers_2

Hofmeyers_1

Hofmeyers_3

Hofmeyers_6

An early Merry Christmas to you, friends! Today I wanted to share a few of our holiday photos that were taken earlier this fall. It’s amazing to me how quickly Ainsley changes. She looks so different now than she did when these photos were taken less than two months ago! Tis the life of a baby, right?

There are a lot of reflective, mushy and very true things to say about 2015. It was SUCH a big year for our family. New (old) town, new jobs for both of us, living closer to family and taking on a home renovation, and most importantly taking on the roles of mom and dad. It’s hard, maybe impossible, to capture with words what this year has meant to us and what we’ve learned in the last year. Some lessons have been taught through our fair share of trials while others have been unbelievably sweet.

Thank you for reading, for following along with our family and for encouraging me this year with your words of wisdom about life and motherhood. It’s been a joy and a blessing to me to be able to do life with you – even if it’s through the computer screen rather than over a cup of coffee. My sincerest hope for you this Christmas is that you feel the light and love of Christ this holiday season and take time to reflect on the gift that we have in the Savior that came to this earth for us.

Madison

Family, Fashion

Christmas Gift Guide for Her (all under $100)

December 3, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 4.34.42 PM

1. “Wifey” T-Shirt | Ily Couture
I bought the sweatshirt version of this for my sister who just got married this year and it was a hit! I own an Ily Couture product and absolutely love how soft the material is that they use and the cute, cheeky sayings.

2. The Quinn Necklace | Natalie Borton
I love supporting small business owners, and I was so excited when my blog buddy Natalie decided to open up her own jewelry shop. Her pieces are so pretty and they are all limited edition, meaning only a few people will have the same piece of jewelry. How cool is that?

3. Volcano Mercury Glass Candle | Capri Blue
A candle is a candle, right? Wrong! I have fallen head over heels for the scent of this candle. (It’s the same one they use in Anthropologie stores…) It’s heaven on earth, I tell you, and anyone would be thrilled to get one.

4. Nourishing Cleansing Balm | Beautycounter
This is my new favorite face product and I can’t stop singing the praises of it. The balm functions as a cleanser and makeup remover while also giving moisture to your skin. Bonus? It can be used as an overnight face mask when your skin is feeling dry during these cold winter months.

5. Diaper Bag Organizer | Lily Jade
Lily Jade makes amazing diaper bags, but if that isn’t in your budget, consider buying just the diaper bag organizer from Lily Jade. I love that it immediately turns any large purse into a diaper bag, meaning you can enjoy fashion and function together in one. Great for any new or expecting moms!

6. Personalized Stationery | Rifle Paper Co.
I think personalized stationery is just so lovely, and it’s something that I’m always hesitant to buy myself. But when I do? It just feels so fancy and inspires me to write more handwritten notes. Do your family members a favor and buy them some beautiful paper products.

7. Eloise Brocade Sleep Pants | Anthropologie
I have a theory that you can never go wrong with giving a gift that is a “practical indulgence” – meaning that it’s something useful but a little more of an upgrade than what someone would normally purchase on their own. Sleepwear is a great example. I always want to buy beautiful sleepwear, but I can never justify the price. What a great gift to give, right?!

8. Chestnut Suede Slipper | Ugg
I have Ugg slippers and wear them all the time. They’re durable, comfortable and cute.

*Affiliate links used where applicable

Uncategorized

Nutella Blossoms

December 22, 2014

Nutella Blossoms | Espresso and Cream

 

This year I’m entirely behind my baking game. By this point in the month on most typical years I’ve already managed to bake through my standard rotation of Christmas goodies, but this year I’ve just started baking a few days before Christmas. I’m finding this to be a very smart way to get around my lack of willpower. At least I only have a few days to indulge rather than an entire month!

My family from Idaho is coming to visit for the week starting tomorrow, so the last handful of days have been devoted to preparing the house, grocery shopping and getting ready for their arrival. Although I didn’t get all the baking done that I would have liked, I did manage to make a few of our favorite family recipes as well as a few new recipes, like these Nutella Blossoms.

Joe requested the traditional peanut butter blossoms, but when I saw that jar of Nutella in my pantry I knew it needed to be put to use. Although I can’t say these cookies are better than the original (that’s setting the bar pretty high!) they do make a fun new addition to the holiday cookie tray. So for all you other baking procrastinators out there, if you’re looking for a new cookie recipe to try I would highly suggest these little gems!

Nutella Blossoms | Espresso and Cream (1)

Nutella Blossoms
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Additional sugar for rolling cookies
  • 24 Hershey's kisses
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the Nutella and shortening until well-combined. Add in the sugar and beat 1 to 2 minutes more until fluffy and combined. Add in the egg and vanilla, beating until just combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until combined.
  4. Roll heaping tablespoons of the dough in between your hands to form balls. Roll balls in sugar and place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set and cookies are puffy. Immediately place one Hershey's kiss in the center of each cookie. Cool 3 minutes on baking sheets. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.

 

Uncategorized

Marshmallow Creme Thumbprint Cookies

December 16, 2013

Thumbprints_1
This weekend the weather finally warmed up a bit! Okay, so when I say it warmed up, I mean the high was in the 20’s instead of -2, but you would be amazed at how warm 20 degrees feels after a week of weather in the negatives! The warmer weather meant that I wanted to get out and about rather than hibernate in my house, so Joe and I decided to bring cookies to our neighbors, along with a Christmas card. Many of our neighbors are older individuals, so we rarely see them outside during the winter months. We didn’t meet half our neighbors until April/May of this year!

Lately I’ve been obsessed with white cookies. I know that colorful cookies tend to be the thing to make this time of year, but something about all white cookies with various textures just makes me incredibly happy. Plus, how fancy and sophisticated do these cookies look?

Thumbprint_Cookies_3
I updated the classic thumbprint in a couple ways. First, I added cream cheese to the dough to give these cookies a smooth, dense texture. Second, instead of filling them with jam or lemon curd or something more expected, I used a homemade marshmallow creme buttercream mixture that is out-of-this-world delicious. The marshmallow flavor is subtle, but certainly still noticeable. If you want the flavor to shine a little more, leave out the vanilla/almond extract, which tends to cover up the marshmallow flavor a bit.

Thumbprint_Cookies_2

Marshmallow Creme Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients
Cookies
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
Filling
1 cup marshmallow creme
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions
Heat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat (Silpat). Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla until just combined, followed by the flour. Roll dough into 24 balls (about 1 inch in diameter) and place 1-inch apart on baking sheet. Press index finger into the center of each cookie to make a deep indentation.

Bake cookies 10 minutes or until just barely golden brown around edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.

Meanwhile, in medium mixing bowl, beat together the marshmallow creme and butter until smooth. Beat in the extract, salt and powdered sugar until well combined and smooth. Pipe some of the filling into the center of each cookie. Garnish with sprinkles, if desired.

Happy Baking!
Madison