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    Easy Toffee Walnut Bars

    Easy Toffee Walnut Bars are crowd-pleasing treats and only require a few ingredients! Add them to your cookie baking roster this holiday season.

    If you like to bake-and-give for the holidays, then you should add these to your short list. One pan makes a whole bunch of servings, and everyone loves them. They are chewy and chocolaty with a crumbly shortbread base. I make them year-round, because they are one of my husband’s favorite treats, plus they are SO EASY. Casual as they may be to make, they still taste special enough to make an appearance on fancy Christmas cookie trays.

    Shortbread base.
    Whisk together flour and confectioners’ sugar. Then blend a whole cup of butter into the flour mixture. I used a big serving fork’s tines to mash the butter into the flour to fine crumbs. But you could use a pastry blender if you have one.

    Press the crust mixture into the bottom of an aluminum foil-lined and greased 13×9 baking pan. The flour mixture packs well under your palms, or use the flat bottom of a measuring cup.

    The easiest filling!
    In a separate bowl, beat together sweetened condensed milk, an egg, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

    Add to this mixture a bag of milk chocolate-covered toffee bits (such as Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits) and chopped English walnuts. Mix this all together until all the bits are well dispersed.

    Next, pour the mixture over the crust and and bake. The Heath bits and sweetened condensed milk mixture will puff and turn golden as it bakes, creating a chewy crave-worthy toffee topping.
    Easy Toffee Walnut Bars

    I couldn’t help but add an extra drizzle of chocolate on top of each square. This can be optional, but it makes a really pretty presentation. When the chocolate is set, they package up neatly in cellophane bags for gift giving. They also look really pretty on a dessert buffet arranged with some Florentine Cookie Bars.

    Easy Toffee Walnut Bars

    Heather Baird

    These bars are always a hit with their buttery shortbread crust and chewy toffee topping. Made with mostly pantry staples, they come together quickly and are easy to package for holiday gift giving.You can find the Heath milk chocolate-covered toffee bits in the baking aisle at most US grocery stores next to the chocolate chips. If you can’t find the bits, you may buy Heath milk chocolate-covered toffee bars and crush them with a rolling pin to create the 8 oz. of bits needed for the recipe.

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    Prep Time 10 minsCook Time 40 minsTotal Time 50 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 30

    Equipment13×9 inch panzip top bag optional
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 2 cups all-purpose flour1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar1 cup cold butter at room temperature1 large egg at room temperature14 oz. sweetened condensed milk one can1 teaspoon vanilla extract1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt8 oz. milk chocolate covered toffee bits one package1 cup chopped English walnuts3 oz. melted semisweet chocolate optional
    Instructions Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil that overhangs the edges and grease the foil with nonstick cooking spray.In a large bowl, whisk together flour and confectioners’ sugar. Mash the butter into the flour using the tines of a fork, or with a pastry blender. Combine until crumbly.Press the crust mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake 15 minutes.Meanwhile, combine the egg, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Fold in toffee bits and walnuts.Spoon the mixture over the baked crust. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and slightly puffed.Cool in the pan about 15 minutes, then refrigerate until firm. Lift the slab from the pan using the overhanging aluminum foil. Cut into 30 pieces.If using the chocolate drizzle, place the melted chocolate in a zip top bag with a tiny hole in the corner snipped. Lay the bars on a parchment-covered work surface and drizzle each bar with chocolate. Let stand until set, about 20 minutes.Package bars in cellophane bags for gift-giving, or store them airtight between waxed paper.
    NotesA delicious variation to this recipe is to swap in pecans for the walnuts.

    Keyword 13×9 dessert, easy toffee walnut bars, Heath mik chocolate-covered toffee bits, shortbread crust, toffee bar recipe, toffee bars

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    Easy Slow Cooker Peanut Clusters

    These Easy Slow Cooker Peanut Clusters are deliciously salty-sweet and packed with peanuts. This recipe makes more than 6 dozen, so there’s plenty to share for the holidays.
    Easy Slow Cooker Peanut Clusters
    This post was originally published 10/30/2009.
    This recipe is our family favorite that I’ve been making for more than a decade. I first posted it here in October 2009, just one month into my first year of blogging. It comes from our family friend, Ms. Bobbie Ivey. She was a special lady who was well known for her confections in our home town. She would sell them during Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas holidays.
    These peanut clusters were one of her most popular sweets. They appeal to all ages. In fact, my mom just made batch this week for the children’s program at her church. They are old-fashioned and hearty – so simple to whip up for a big gathering, and one batch makes 150 small clusters, or 75 large.

    Candy-coated.
    Confectioners’ coating goes by many names: almond bark, candy coating, or you may recognize name brands like Candiquik. You can usually find it in 24 oz. blocks at the grocery store in the baking aisle next to the chocolate chips. You’ll need two packages of chocolate, and two of vanilla.

    Break up the blocks of candy and place them in a large slow cooker. Turn the crockpot to low and cover with the lid. Stir occasionally until the candy is completely melted and smooth.
    You may be asking – why not use real chocolate bars? I asked this same question before I made my first batch so long ago. So, I tried a batch with semisweet chocolate and the end result was just too rich and very expensive. The cocoa powder in the chocolate candy coating is just enough flavor without being aggressive. And the vanilla coating adds a creaminess. The creamy flavor is a big part of what draws you in, contrasting the salty peanuts.

    The peanuts.
    When the candy is melted add the peanuts. You’ll need two 16 oz. containers of roasted, salted peanuts, and two roasted, unsalted. Now, sometimes I’ll just use what I have on hand. Which may be 3/4 salted peanuts and 1/4 unsalted. Or any ratio thereof. Do try to use at least 1/4 unsalted peanuts give these clusters balanced flavor. Some brands of roasted peanuts are very salty, indeed.

    Stir until all the peanuts are coated and turn the slow cooker to WARM. Setting the temp to warm ensures the candy stays melted while you dip.
    You’ll notice when you stir everything together, that the candy coating is more like a dressing for the peanuts. It’s just enough melted candy to hold all those peanuts together.

    Cover a large work surface with parchment paper (or waxed paper) and – get to dippin! These days I use a cookie scoop to make uniform clusters. Two dips with this scoop make one large cluster. A standard trigger ice cream scoop makes them a little too large, unless you’re aiming for jumbo clusters.

    Candy coating sets up more quickly than chocolate at room temperature (about 70F). When the clusters lose their shine and become matte, peel them off the paper and store airtight. If storing them in Tupperware, separate layers with waxed paper.
    I always love revisiting this recipe. It’s easy and inexpensive considering the high yield, and everybody loves them. I hope you will too.
    (Check out another of our friend Bobbie’s recipes here: Strawberry Delight)

    Easy Slow Cooker Peanut Clusters

    Heather Baird

    This high yield recipe is quick and easy, perfect when you need a crowd-pleasing candy – it’s thrifty too! We always have a batch on the dessert buffet next to the fudge and bourbon balls at Christmastime. Two or four large clusters, packaged in cellophane and tied with festive ribbon makes a lovely homespun gift.

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    Prep Time 30 minsCook Time 35 mins1 hour setting time 1 hrTotal Time 2 hrs 5 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 75

    Equipmentslow cooker largeparchment papercookie scoop optional
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 24 oz. package chocolate candy coating (chocolate almond bark)24 oz. package vanilla candy coating (white almond bark)32 oz. dry roasted salted peanuts two 16 oz. containers32 oz. dry roasted unsalted peanuts two 16 oz. containers
    Instructions Place both chocolate and vanilla candy coating in a large slow cooker and turn to low setting. Cover with the lid.Stir occasionally to encourage even melting of the candies. Stir mixture until both candies are combined with no white streaks of candy remaining.Pour peanuts over the mixture and stir until peanuts are coated. Turn slow cooker to WARM setting.Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment or wax paper. Scoop heaping tablespoons for 150 small clusters, or two heaping tablespoons for 75 large. Allow to set completely, approximately 1 hour.Store candies air-tight in Tupperware between sheets of waxed paper, or package in cellophane bags with twist ties or ribbon for gifting.Candy will keep well airtight for up to 2 weeks, or longer if refrigerated.
    NotesUse a cookie scoop (4 teaspoon capacity) and scoop two level scoops for the perfect size large cluster. 
    I think these clusters are perfect as-is, but if you’d like to boost the chocolate flavor, add 1 cup of semisweet chips to the melted candy coating. Mix until melted, then pour in peanuts. This will help temper the semisweet chocolate, and avoid any clouding (fat bloom).
    You could make these with real chocolate bars; however, the end result will be very rich, and you’d need 21 bars (4 oz. each) for the required 84 oz. Very expensive these days.

    Keyword candiquik, candy coating, christmas candy, confectioners’ coating, dry roasted salted peanuts, millionaire candy, old fashioned peanut clusters, roasted unsalted peanuts, slow cooker peanut clusters

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    Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

    Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies are buttery beyond words! The cookies are speckled with black tea and fragrant with bergamot notes.

    This is an easy riff on my favorite classic shortbread recipe. With just five ingredients, it’s so wonderfully uncomplicated. Earl Grey tea gives it refined flavor and beautiful fragrance, I may just add these to my holiday cookie giveaway trays!
    To make these cookies extra-special, I used a fondant impression mat to make them a little fancier than usual. (I think they look like millwork!) Shortbread, when handled just so, molds so beautifully. It’s not difficult, and I’ll show you how in the video at the end of the blog post. However, if you’re not into molding the cookies, there are also simple slice-and-bake instructions in the recipe notes.

    My current favorite offshoot of the Earl Grey family is Empress Grey. It’s a bit bolder and has a more pronounced orangey flavor than regular Earl Grey. I also really love using Earl Greyer by Republic of Tea in baked goods. It has bergamot oil added to the leaves (see this Earl Grey au Lait Cake). I recommend using your favorite variety in this recipe.

    The dry ingredients.
    First, open up about 8 Earl Grey tea bags. Pour them out into a bowl and give the tea mixture a good look. The tea should be fine, but if you see any large dry leaves floating around, grind them finer in a mortar and pestle (or put the tea in a zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin).
    Pour the fine tea into some all-purpose flour and whisk to distribute the tea evenly throughout. Additionally, add in some fine grain sea salt and confectioners’ sugar.

    Cream the butter.
    Butter is such an important ingredient in this recipe because it imparts so much flavor. The ratio of butter to flour also gives the shortbread its unsticky texture. Cream 1 pound of room temperature butter well in a standing mixer before adding the dry ingredients.

    As the mixer blends the dough together, it will clump around the beater. This is a good sign that you’re on the right track. Mix it until the dough becomes so cohesive that the motion of the mixer beater begins to clean the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and pat it into a disk shape. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

    Molding the shortbread.
    I really wanted to make this shortbread look as beautiful as it tastes. My initial plan was to use my new patterned rolling pin to give the dough surface a gorgeous baroque pattern. Well, in full disclosure – and after many tries – I just couldn’t get it to work right. I received a faulty rolling pin with too shallow a pattern and wobbly handles. What a disappointment!
    As I rolled and re-rolled in frustration, I thought to myself “This is awful, I’d have more luck with an impression mat”. Which was a real lightbulb moment. Then I remembered this Baroque Scroll Relief Mat I purchased for wedding cake-making. It was perfect and turned out flawless tablets of dough.

    How to help molded shortbread cookies keep their shape.
    First of all, and especially with molded shortbread with this amount of detail, you need to freeze the cookies. If molding tablets as I have, freeze the tablets before cutting them into smaller cookies. The edges will be sharper and the cuts will be cleaner. Then transfer them to a cookie sheet.

    Second, bake them from their frozen state. Cold butter releases its water content slower and the cookies won’t puff out of shape.
    Third, bake them at a lower temperature for longer. 300F for 20 minutes was perfect for these 3 to 4-inch cookies. A lower temperature ensures the cookies stay beautifully pale, and the steam escaping from the butter does so slowly. Again, this helps the cookies from distorting or puffing too much.

    From the oven, the cookies will be slightly puffed and lightly golden around the bottom edges. The cookies should have a matte appearance when they are done. I just love how architectural they look!
    Sidenote: These cookies remind me so much of the edging and millwork on the Wedgwood-inspired Tree we put together for a Confetti Fix blog post last year (you can see that post here). I’m obsessed!
    Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

    I’ve eaten more of these than I care to admit, but they are too good to resist! They make excellent company with a cup of hot tea and a good book. The molded cookies make a fancy-looking gift presented in a little bag tied with ribbon. However, if you’re not inclined to go that route, see the easiest instructions for slice-and-bake cookies in the recipe notes.

    Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies

    Heather Baird

    Earl Grey Shortbread is buttery and rich with delicate notes of bergamot and black tea. Use the tea in sachets, which hold finely ground tea instead of large loose leaves. If using loose-leaf tea, grind the tea to fine consistency in a mortar and pestle, or put the tea in a zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin.This dough molds beautifully as pictured, or use the slice-and-bake instructions in the notes of this recipe. The silicone impression mat I used is linked in the blog post and recipe. Be sure to note that when baking molded cookies, the temperature and time is low and slow: 300F for 20-22 minutes.This recipe yields about a 2 ½- 3 dozen molded cookies. However, if you’re going the slice-and-bake route you’ll end up with about 4 dozen. Please note the change in temperature and baking time for the slice-and-bake version.

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    Prep Time 40 minsCook Time 20 minsTotal Time 1 hr

    Course DessertCuisine Scottish

    Servings 3 dozen

    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric 4 tablespoons Earl Grey tea about 8 teabags4 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
    Instructions In a large mixing bowl, combine the Earl Grey tea and flour. Whisk together to disperse the tea throughout the flour. Add the salt and confectioners’ sugar. Whisk until well blended.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed. The dough will slowly form as the beater turns. When the dough is well formed it should not be sticky, and it will be thick and clump on the beater.Remove the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.Dust a work surface with flour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut into quarters. Place a quarter on the dusted work surface. Dust the dough and a rolling pin lightly with flour. Roll the piece to a little greater than 1/2-inch thickness. Pick up the dough as you roll to make sure it isn’t sticking to the work surface. If it is, gently prod it loose with a spatula and throw a little more flour underneath it. Lightly re-roll.Use an art brush (or pastry brush) loaded with flour to liberally flour the silicone impression mold. Turn the mat over and tap out excess flour. Lay the rolled dough over the impression mat and press the dough into the cavities with your fingers. Then, use the rolling pin to roll the dough flat to about 1/4 inch. Flip the mold over onto a parchment sheet and gently peel the mold away from the dough revealing a tablet design. Cut away the excess dough from the edges and transfer the molded piece to the freezer to stiffen completely (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile repeat the molding process with the remaining dough.Preheat the oven to 300F.Remove the frozen dough tablets from the freezer and cut into 3-4-inch lengths. Bake the cookies from their frozen state for 20-22 minutes, or until they are very slightly puffed and have a matte surface. The cookies should be pale with the bottom edges very light golden in color.Let the cookies cool on the pans until they are firm enough to move, about 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Keep shortbread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 days.
    NotesSlice-and-Bake Version:
    Mix the dough as directed. Divide the dough into two portions. Roll each portion into a log shape about 12 inches long and roll in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.
    Preheat the oven to 375F.
    Slice the logs into 1/3 inch coins. Transfer them to parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 12 minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown. Let cool on the baking sheets until they are firm enough to transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool completely. Store airtight at room temperature.

    Keyword Earl Grey Cookies, Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies, molded shortbread, shortbread, slice-and-bake cookies

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    Marbled Rye Bread

    Note: *We used Arrowhead Mills Organic Rye Flour.To use the windowpane test to check dough for proper gluten development, lightly flour hands and pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute, and test again. LEGGI TUTTO

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    Cranberry Spice Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Cranberry Spice Layer Cake has all the flavors of the holiday wrapped up into one cream cheese-frosted confection.

    I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year, which puts me right in my element. I just love planning a big holiday feast for my family and friends. This is the first time I’ve hosted in years, as it’s usually held at my parent’s home. But since my dad had a stroke last July, my folks already have plenty on their plates. (He’s in rehab, on the mend, and we couldn’t be more thankful!)
    So, with the 2022 Turkey Day baton passed to me, I’m planning the menu well in advance. This cake is the most recent from the test kitchen, and it’s a winner! Truly. Every bite is filled with flavors of fall and winter holidays. I believe this cake recipe could be your go-to for both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day dinners – perhaps beyond!

    The cake batter.
    Forget any preconceived notions about what a spice cake should be (such as dark, molasses-rich, and hotly spiced). This batter is light – both in color and flavor. Buttermilk gives this fluffy batter tang while suspending ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg throughout.

    The cranberry filling.
    Start with 2 cups of cranberries – fresh or frozen (I used the latter) and stir them up with sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and a cornstarch slurry. Cook the mixture until the cranberries start to pop and a thick, shiny, slightly translucent filling is formed. Remove from the heat, and to the cooked mixture add more chopped cranberries. This addition gives the filling a touch more tart flavor. Finish it by stirring 2 tablespoons of butter into the hot mixture.
    The butter adds richness and silky texture – don’t skip this step!

    Transfer the filling to a bowl and let it cool, then place plastic wrap on the surface of the cranberry filling, wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled.

    Build the cake.
    Begin with a spice cake layer, then pipe a ring of cream cheese frosting around the outer edge. (This is the same frosting from my family’s favorite Italian Cream Cake). Place half of the filling inside the ring and spread evenly.

    Apply more cream cheese frosting the cake’s exterior and spread evenly. Chill the cake well – the frosting should be firm for the next steps.

    A little sparkle, and some piping too!
    Ok – so, this can be an optional step, but it’s so pretty – especially for Christmas. Coarse crystal sugar gives the cake’s exterior a glittering, almost snowy appearance. Spray the set frosting with a little sugar syrup and then pat on the sugar with your hands. Be sure to watch the video at the end of this post to see how it’s done. You can also roll the cake in the sugar, which can be seen in action in the video here in my Peach Ring Cake post.
    Pipe some simple scroll work on top using the remaining frosting and a small closed star piping tip (such as Wilton #32). It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just do a few cursive-inspired swirls.

    I opted for simple, natural-looking decors. Fresh cranberries, candied orange peel, and fresh rosemary sprigs all are easy to place around the top edge of the cake without a lot of fuss. And it gives the cake loads of holiday appeal!

    The cranberry filling gives balance to the sweet cream cheese frosting. And there’s just enough warm spices in the cake batter to make this confection feel nice and cozy.

    I’m just so excited to share this Cranberry Spice Layer Cake with all of you – I only wish I could hand out slices personally!

    Cranberry Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

    Heather Baird

    Say hello to your new favorite holiday cake! Light buttermilk spice cake layers are filled with tart cranberry filling and covered with cream cheese frosting. The coarse sugar coating can be optional. It adds a wintry touch to the cake, and sugar crunch. Fresh or frozen cranberries can be used for this recipe. If using frozen, thaw them before using in this recipe.

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    Prep Time 1 hr 15 minsCook Time 55 mins4 hours chilling 4 hrsTotal Time 6 hrs 10 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 12

    Equipment3 8 inch round cake pansmicroplane or zester2 disposable piping bags1 small star piping tipkitchen dedicated spray bottle optional
    Ingredients  Cranberry filling2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen whole cranberries divided1 cup granulated sugar1 tablespoon orange zest from 1 orange3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice from 1 orange2 tablespoons cornstarch2 tablespoon cold water2 tablespoons unsalted butterCake layers1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature2 cups granulated sugar4 large eggs at room temperature3 cups all-purpose flour2 teaspoons baking powder1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt or table salt1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/2 teaspoon ground ginger1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg1 1/2 cups buttermilk at room temperature1 teaspoon vanilla extractCream cheese frosting16 oz. cream cheese at room temperature1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature8 cups confectioners’ sugar 2 lbs.2 teaspoons vanilla extractDécors2 tablespoons clear corn syrup2-3 tablespoons water1 cup coarse crystal sugar1/2 cup whole fresh cranberries12 pieces candied orange peel about 1/4 cup2 large stems fresh rosemary
    Instructions Cranberry fillingChop 1/2 cup of the whole cranberries and set aside.Place the remaining 2 cups of cranberries, the sugar, orange zest, and orange zest in a medium saucepan. In a separate small bowl stir together the cornstarch and water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the pan and stir.Cook over medium heat until the cranberries begin to pop and the mixture bubbles (about 5-6 minutes). When the mixture is thick, shiny, and translucent, add the 1/2 cup chopped cranberries and the butter to the pan. Stir until the butter is melted. Let cool about 30 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Cover the filing with plastic wrap touching the surface (see video) and refrigerate until set, 4 hours or overnight.Cake layersPreheat the oven to 350F. Coat three 8-inch round cake pans with flour-based baking spray (or grease and flour pans).In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Slowly add in the 2 cups of sugar while the mixer runs. When the mixture is light and fluffy, add the eggs 1 at a time.In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Add this mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating on low speed. Begin and end with flour. Finally, mix in the vanilla extract.Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Turn the cakes out onto wire racks and cool completely before frosting.Cream cheese frostingCream together the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar in two additions. Beat until smooth. Add vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again until combined.Remove about 1/2 cup of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a small star tip. Fill a second piping bag with frosting, fitted with a 1/2-inch round piping tip (or just snip a 1/2 inch hole in the bag with scissors). Cover any remaining frosting in the bowl with a damp towel to keep it from drying out while you work.Place a cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Pipe a ring of frosting around the top edge of the cake. Fill the circle with half of the cranberry filing. Stack another cake layer on top and repeat the process, using the second half of the cranberry filling. Top with the third cake layer. Apply a thin crumb coat of frosting to the outside of the cake. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes. Cover the cake with the remaining frosting. Smooth top and sides using a cake smoother or bench scraper. Chill until set, about 1 hour.DécorsAdd the corn syrup and water to a small kitchen-dedicated spray bottle, screw on the top and shake to mix. Spray set frosting surface all over with the sugar syrup. Let stand 2 minutes to get sticky. Gently pat the coarse sugar onto the cake on all sides and the top. Lightly brush away excess sugar from the top of the cake.Using the reserved piping bag fitted with the star tip, pipe a looping scroll of frosting on the top edge of the cake. (I can best describe as free-hand cursive-inspired loops, see video.) Sprinkle the scroll work with leftover coarse sugar.Arrange fresh cranberries, orange peel, and little tufts of fresh rosemary around the scroll work on top of the cake.Store the cake in the refrigerator. Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.
    Notes
    The cake layers can be made in advance and frozen. Wrap the layers well in plastic wrap and place them in freezer bags with the air removed.
    If you don’t have a spray bottle handy to apply the sugar syrup, mix the syrup and water in a bowl and apply it to the set frosting with a pastry brush.
    The candied orange peel I purchased came in chunky strips, so I cut them down with a paring knife to finer ribbons. I recommend doing this if your candied peel is also quite thick.

     
     

    Keyword buttermilk cake layers, christmas cake, cranberry filling, cream cheese frosting, spice cake, thanksgiving cake

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    7UP Biscuits

    These buttery homemade 7UP Biscuits only need 4 ingredients! Made with Bisquick and the delicious tanginess of sour cream, these tender biscuits are a delicious and easy side to serve warm from the oven, smothered in butter or jam. 
    If you don’t have 7UP try my Butter Swim Biscuit Recipe.

    Table of Contents

    Tender Homemade 7UP Biscuits
    We may or may not be slightly obsessed with biscuits in this household. From my all-time best Skillet Biscuits to insanely light and fluffy Angel Biscuits, to these savory Cheddar Bay Biscuits, there are a few biscuit recipes floating around this blog. I love them all and make them often. 
    The latest recipe to hit my weekly rotation is this one for the most incredible 7UP biscuits! Light, fluffy, airy, tender, moist – insert appropriate adjective for AWESOME – plus, a hint of sweetness. All of the above describes these scrumptious 7UP biscuits. One whiff of these as they came out of the oven and I knew I was in for something special. Serve these biscuits warm and buttered up after they’re baked, drench them with stews and chilis, or turn them into your favorite recipe for biscuits and gravy. Any way you slice them, you won’t be disappointed!
    Why Use 7UP in Biscuits?
    Because it’s carbonated, 7UP takes the place of other leavening agents in baking. Instead of baking soda or baking powder, the carbonation in the soda helps these biscuits rise and puff up as they bake. The result is a biscuit with a delicious fine crumb and moist, light texture!
    To see 7UP in action in another easy baking idea, check out my recipe for 7UP Cake.

    Recipe Ingredients
    These are basically 3-ingredient biscuits, with the addition of 7UP to get them nice and fluffy! Below is an overview of the ingredients, and be sure to have a little scroll down to the recipe card for the full amounts:
    Bisquick: Yes, these are Bisquick biscuits! If you’ve never baked with Bisquick before, this is sort of the biscuit equivalent of a boxed cake mix. It’s a “shortcut ingredient,” made from a blend of flour, salt, leavening, and fat. If you don’t have it handy, you can make your own! See the tips section below for more details.Sour Cream: This recipe brings sour cream into the mix for added moisture and tang. 7UP: Even though these are called 7UP biscuits, this recipe will work with Sprite or any other clear, highly carbonated soda. Butter: These biscuits are baked in a pool of butter. You read that right! They’re sort of halfway to a swim biscuit, and by the time the dough bakes up you’re left with an exceptionally buttery, flaky texture.  
    How to Make 7Up Biscuits
    It doesn’t take long to have a batch of these 7UP biscuits on the table. Just one more reason to love ‘em! The recipe comes together in a flash:

    Combine the Ingredients: To make your biscuit dough, combine Bisquick with sour cream and 7UP in a large bowl. Give it a mix until the ingredients are just combined.

    Cut Out the Dough: Give a clean, flat work surface a light dusting with more Bisquick. Next, press the biscuit dough out to about a half-inch in thickness. Use a biscuit cutter or a knife to cut 8 biscuits from the dough.
    Prepare the Pan: Dump a bit of melted butter into a 9×9-inch baking pan. Arrange the biscuits in a single layer right on top of the butter. 
    Bake: Pop those buttery beauties into a 450ºF oven for about 10 minutes or so, until they’re golden. Right as you take them out, brush the biscuits with more melted butter. Voilà! Serve them warm and prepare to swoon. See below for easy serving suggestions!

    Tips for the Best Biscuits
    This recipe is awesome mainly because it’s so darn easy! Here are some extra tips to ensure that your biscuits will turn out the picture of perfection:
    Swap Out the Soda: If you don’t have 7UP in the fridge, you’re welcome to use any clear soda for this recipe. Sprite will also do the trick!If You Don’t Have Bisquick: Don’t panic. Make your own with an easy mix of pantry staples! Sift together 2 cups of all-purpose flour with 3 teaspoons baking powder, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Cut in 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter or shortening, making sure the flour is well coated. Tada! Homemade bisquick, no sweat.

    Serving Suggestions
    Breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner, these 7UP biscuits make the best stand-alone treat or easy side dish. Freshly baked from the oven, you can’t beat a tender 7UP biscuit smothered in butter or jam, or drizzled with honey. Next to a cup of coffee, it’s my breakfast of dreams!
    As a simple side dish, pair your biscuits with any of the following dinner ideas:

    You can also use these biscuits in all your favorite biscuit-centric recipes! Transform your 7UP biscuits into biscuits and gravy, make them into breakfast sandwiches, or fill them with ingredients like chicken parm or cheeseburger fixings for easy biscuit sliders.

    How to Store 
    These 7UP biscuits will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days. Seal them inside a resealable bag or airitight container on the countertop so that they maintain the most freshness. Biscuits can also be kept in the fridge for an extra day or two, though the texture won’t be quite as crisp and fluffy. However, something tells me you won’t have any issues finishing a batch of these biscuits before then!
    You can also freeze your biscuits airtight for up to 30 days. Thaw them at room temperature before serving, and see below for reheating tips.
    The Best Way to Reheat Biscuits
    The best way to reheat homemade biscuits is to pop them back into the oven! Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the biscuits onto the sheet and into the oven at 350ºF. Reheat them for about 5 minutes, or until warmed through.
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    7UP Biscuits

    Author: Shelly

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 10 minutes

    Total Time: 25 minutes

    Yield: 8 biscuits 1x

    Category: Side Dish

    Method: Oven

    Cuisine: American

    Description

    These buttery homemade 7UP Biscuits only need 4 ingredients! Soft and tender Bisquick biscuits are a delicious and easy side to serve warm from the oven, smothered in butter or jam.

    Ingredients

    Scale
    1x2x3x

    2 1/3 cups Bisquick, plus 1 tablespoon to dust countertop
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup 7Up (you can use Sprite as well, see note)
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    2 tablespoons butter, melted

    Instructions

    Preheat the oven to 450°F.
    In a large bowl, combine 2 1/3 cups of Bisquick, sour cream, and 7UP. Mix until just combined.
    Dust a clean countertop with the remaining 1 tablespoon of Bisquick. Transfer dough to the countertop and press out into a 1- inch thick circle. Using a 3- inch round biscuit cutter (or knife), cut the dough into 8 biscuits.
    Pour 1/4 cup melted butter into the bottom of a 9×9 pan. Place biscuits into the pan directly into the melted butter.
    Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
    Serve warm.

    Notes

    You can use any clear soda for this recipe.

    Keywords: biscuits with 7up, bisquick biscuit recipe, homemade biscuits

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    More Bready Sides to Try LEGGI TUTTO

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    Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Homemade Bourbon Marshmallows

    Move over pumpkin pie! Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Homemade Bourbon Marshmallows are ready to be the star of your Thanksgiving feast.

    It’s not too hard to figure out where the inspiration for these cupcakes came from. When Thanksgiving rolls around my mom always makes a big pan of buttered sweet potatoes topped with golden toasted marshmallows. It’s nearly dessert, but somehow we all accept that it belongs on the plate next to the turkey and dressing.
    Browned butter is what makes the cake extra-special. The toasty flavor harmonizes so well with warm spices and sweet potato.

    Brown that butter.
    Browning butter is easy, but it requires your undivided attention. And it’s the first step of this recipe, so let’s get into it.
    Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Use a light-colored metal saucepan so you can easily see the color of the butter change. It’s much harder to judge the doneness in a dark nonstick pan. Cook until the butter foams and steams. Swirl the pan occasionally as the foam subsides and watch closely as the butter turns golden brown and the milk solids drop to the bottom of the pan. Pour the browned butter and butter solids into a small bowl and let stand until cool but not solidified.

    Mixing the batter.
    Oh, the spices! They will fill your home and give you all the warm and fuzzies. Whisk cinnamon, ginger and allspice into the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients, which includes unsweet mashed sweet potato. You could boil sweet potatoes on the stovetop in water and then mash them. Or save yourself some trouble. Buy a can of organic sweet potato puree (such as this).

    Combine the wet and dry ingredients until smooth. Then add the browned butter along with the solids. Beat it in with an electric mixer, and you should have a thick, fluffy, perfect-looking cake batter.

    Portion it into cupcake liners using an ice cream scoop. If you don’t have a scoop, then aim for about 2/3 full.

    Look at these beauties! They rise and brown evenly, and have a soft, moist crumb.

    Marshmallow time!
    I would understand if you wanted to plop a toasted ready-made marshmallow right on top of those cupcakes for an easy version of this recipe. However. I adore the bouncy softness of a homemade marshmallow. Ever since I topped this hot cocoa cake with homemade marshmallows. Well. I’m a changed woman.
    They’re not all that difficult to make, but they will need some time to cure. You may want to make them ahead of the cake portion. I’ve added a grace note of bourbon to these marshmallows, which makes my southern heart a little happier, and it tastes divine with the sweet potato sponge.

    After the marshmallow cures in the pan for two hours, slice the slab of marshmallow into 25 squares.

    Simple cinnamon American buttercream is quick to whip up, and the perfect adhesive to hold onto the bourbon marshmallows. You’ll just need a little bit on top of each cupcake. (I used a Sultan tube, which pipes the perfect little ring of frosting.) Lightly toast the marshmallows using a chef’s torch, if you have one. Homemade marshmallows are extremely meltable, so use a light touch.

    There’s a lot of love that goes into these cupcakes, from the browned butter to the homemade marshmallows. And if you’re feeling generous, drizzle a little caramel sauce over the tops of the marshmallows and sprinkle on some pecans. I call these toppings optional because there’s already quite a bit going on, but those finishing touches are nice when serving to a crowd.
    One more thing – not everyone will have a chef’s torch to toast the marshmallows. There are oven instructions for this in the recipe notes.

    Brown Butter Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Homemade Bourbon Marshmallows

    Heather Baird

    These sweet potato cupcakes were inspired by my mom’s Thanksgiving side dish of sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. There are several steps to this recipe, but I think they are well worth the effort. And especially for the upcoming holidays! You can buy unsweet sweet potato puree canned at most grocery stores, and that’s what I used in this recipe. However, you can also make your own by peeling sweet potatoes, cutting them into 1/2 inch chunks, and boiling them until tender (about 15 minutes). Then mash them until fine, or stick them in a blender to puree.

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    Prep Time 1 hrCook Time 45 minsTotal Time 1 hr 45 mins

    Course DessertCuisine American

    Servings 25 cupcakes

    Equipmentchef’s torch8×8 baking pan2 cupcake panspaper cupcake liners
    Ingredients US CustomaryMetric Sweet potato cupcakes3/4 cup unsalted butter2 cups all-purpose flour1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda3 teaspoons ground cinnamon1 teaspoon ground ginger1/4 teaspoon allspice1 teaspoon salt1 1/2 cups granulated sugar1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar1 1/2 cups sweet potato puree3 large eggs1/2 cup sour creamBourbon marshmallows4 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin1/2 cup bourbon3/4 cup sugar1/2 cup light corn syrup divided1/4 cup water1/8 teaspoon salt2 tablespoons bourbon2/3 cup cornstarch1/2 cup confectioners’ sugarCinnamon buttercream1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature4 cups confectioners’ sugar1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamonMilk or cream to thinOptional toppings1/2 cup prepared caramel sauce1/2 cup chopped pecans
    Instructions Sweet potato cupcakesPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake tins with papers.Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Use a light-colored metal saucepan so you can easily see the color of the butter change. It’s much harder to judge the doneness in a dark nonstick pan. Cook until the butter foams and steams. Swirl the pan occasionally as the foam subsides and watch closely as the butter turns golden brown and the milk solids drop to the bottom of the pan. Pour the browned butter and butter solids into a small bowl and let stand until cool but not solidified.In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt. Set aside.In a large bowl, whisk the sweet potato puree with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and sour cream until well combined. Stir in the flour mixture and combine until only a few streaks of flour remain. Whisk in the browned butter until well combined.Divide the batter between the cupcake liners using a trigger ice cream scoop. If you don’t have a scoop, fill them about approximately 2/3 full. Bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes or until they spring back when pressed in the middle. Remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.Bourbon marshmallowsLightly spray an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and wipe away any excess with a paper towel.Let the gelatin dissolve in bourbon 5 minutes, or until well bloomed and thickened.In a medium saucepan with a candy thermometer clipped to the side, stir together the sugar, 1/4 cup corn syrup, 1/4 cup water and salt and place over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240°F. Meanwhile, pour the remaining 1/4 cup corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.Microwave the gelatin on high until it is completely melted, about 10-20 seconds. Pour it into the corn syrup. Set the mixer to low, and keep the mixer running while you check the sugar syrup.Once the syrup reaches 240°F, remove it from the heat. Keeping the mixer on low, slowly pour the syrup into the gelatin mixture in a steady stream, aiming for the space between the beater and the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 5 more minutes. Beat on the highest setting for 1 to 2 minutes more and beat in the 2 tablespoons bourbon; the finished marshmallow will be opaque white, fluffy, and roughly tripled in volume.Pour the marshmallow into the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Combine cornstarch and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl to make the coating. Sift coating evenly and generously over the top. Let the marshmallow set for at least 2 hours. When the marshmallow has set, use a knife to loosen the marshmallow from the edges of the pan. Invert the marshmallow slab onto a coating-dusted work surface and dust it with more coating. Cut into 25 large squares and dip the sticky edges of the marshmallows in more coating, patting off the excess. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature while you prepare the buttercream.Cinnamon buttercreamCombine the butter and confectioners in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high speed until well combined, about 4 minutes. Add in the cinnamon. Add milk or cream 1 tablespoon at a time with the mixer running until the frosting comes to piping consistency. Transfer the frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large sultan decorator piping tip (see blog post for link). Alternatively, you can use any large fluted piping tip. AssemblyPipe a small ring of buttercream on a cupcake and immediately top with a marshmallow. Repeat the process of piping and topping until all of the cupcakes are topped. Use a chef’s torch to lightly toast the marshmallows. Homemade marshmallows are extremely meltable, so use a light touch. Garnish each cupcake with a drizzle of caramel and a sprinkle of chopped pecans.Store the cupcakes airtight for up to 2 days at room temperature.
    NotesIf you don’t have a chef’s torch, place the marshmallows on a baking sheet and broil them for 2 minutes in the oven. As I stated before, homemade marshmallows are very meltable. When lightly toasted remove them from the oven and place them in the refrigerator to firm. When firm enough to move, transfer them with a spatula to the frosted cupcakes.
    To shortcut this recipe, you could use ready-made jumbo marshmallows instead of making the homemade bourbon marshmallows.

    Keyword brown butter cupcakes, homemade marshmallows, sweet potato cupcakes, Thanksgiving dessert

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    No-Bake Energy Bites

    Chocolate peanut butter no-bake Energy Bites take just minutes to prepare for an endlessly customizable, easy snack! Load this protein balls recipe up with your favorite mix-ins. There’s nothing like a healthy snack that tastes like an indulgent treat!

    Table of Contents

    Healthy, No-Bake Energy Bites with Peanut Butter and Chocolate!
    These chocolate peanut butter protein bites are rich, full of flavor, and super-sustaining. Pop one of these when your stomach starts rumbling. Instant satisfaction to carry you through a daily lull! Even better, these easy no-bake energy bites happen to be L-O-A-D-E-D with healthy ingredients. My kids love these just as much (if not more than) chocolate chip cookies. I didn’t know that was possible, but these don’t last long in my house. And knowing they are packed with nutrient-rich ingredients I don’t mind.
    Inspired by my Healthy Banana Oatmeal Cookies, I set out to make a healthy snack that also feels like it’s indulging my sweet side. So, along with the oats and seeds, out came the jar of peanut butter and a bag of chocolate chips. A little sweet along with the healthy stuff is my kind of snack. Great for an on the go breakfast, an after school snack, or anytime in between.
    Are Energy Bites Good for You?
    You may know energy bites by their other names: protein balls, energy balls, or even bliss balls. This recipe is obviously blissful. But energy bites are also good for you! It always comes down to the ingredients you use to make them.
    This energy balls recipe is filled with wholesome oats for fiber, protein-rich peanut butter, plus nutritious superfoods like flax and chia, among other vitamins and nutrients. They’re the ultimate guilt-free, energy-boosting bite to take along on busy days.

    The Ingredients You’ll Need
    I’ve rounded up everything you’ll need to make these fun, filling energy bites. Don’t forget to scroll down to the recipe card for the full details:
    Oats: I recommend old-fashioned oats when making energy bites. Oats lend structure and (more importantly) give off some serious oatmeal cookie vibes!Peanut Butter: Creamy peanut butter helps to bind the ingredients together. Not to mention it also adds protein and scrumptious flavor! You could also use another type of nut butter in place of peanut butter, like cashew or almond butter.Honey: Honey acts as a natural sweetener. Pure maple syrup or agave are also good options to make these chocolate peanut butter energy balls into “vegan truffles”.Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract is best.Shredded Coconut: For added texture. Feel free to omit if coconut isn’t your thing.Flax Seed Meal & Chia Seeds: Get in your heart-healthy omega-3s! Both flax seeds and chia seeds are added sources of protein, fiber, and nutrients.Mini Chocolate Chips: I like the mini kind as I can fit more chips into each energy ball. But regular-sized chocolate chips will also work.
    How to Make Them
    You don’t need any fancy equipment or food processors (or even an oven) to make easy energy bites at home. Just a big bowl and something to mix with. You can even use your hands!

    Combine: Toss all your ingredients in a bowl and give it a good mix. Next, chill the mixture so that it’s less sticky and easier to handle.

    Shape: After about a half hour in the fridge, the mixture should be good to go! I like to use a small cookie scoop to portion out the mixture into even-sized balls. You can use your hands to roll and shape them.
    Store: Place the rolled energy bites into an airtight container to keep in the fridge or freezer. See more tips on how to store energy bites in the section further on. 

    Tips, Hacks, and Easy Variations
    This recipe is simple to pull together, leaving plenty of room for easy customizing. Here are my tips for the best energy bites and variations:
    What If I’m Allergic to Nuts?: If you’d like to make this recipe nut allergy-friendly, nut butter can be replaced with a nut-free alternative like sunflower seed butter.Why Is My Batter So Sticky?: If you use natural peanut butter in this recipe, the extra oils can cause the mixture to become overly tacky. I recommend adding extra oats in this case, a little at a time, to help balance out the texture.Choose Your Superfood: The world is your superfood oyster. Try other nourishing add-ins like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, dried goji berries, and currants.Powdered Supplements: For even more protein, mix in a spoonful of your favorite whey or protein powder. You could also stir collagen powder into your energy bites for a boost of skin hydration!Double Chocolate: To give these peanut butter protein balls even more of a chocolate kick, mix in a tablespoon of cocoa powder (plus dark chocolate chunks!).White Chocolate: Instead of dark or milk chocolate chips, add white chocolate chips. You could even mix in red cranberries for white chocolate cranberry energy bites!Chopped Nuts: Stir in a handful of the nuts of your choice. Crushed peanuts, almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts are all good options.

    How Do You Store No-Bake Energy Bites?
    These homemade energy bites hold up best when stored airtight in the fridge. They’ll keep for up to 1 week for an easy anytime snack. Alternatively, you can freeze them! See below.
    Can I Freeze This Recipe?
    These energy balls will stay fresh for up to 1 month in the freezer. Store them in a freezer bag or seal them in a container and you’ll have endless energy boosts at your fingertips, whenever you’d like to thaw them. They thaw out pretty quickly in the fridge, or in a ziplock bag inside your purse for on-the-go, healthy snacking!
    Print

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    No-Bake Energy Bites

    Author: Shelly

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Chilling Time: 30 minutes

    Total Time: 35 minutes

    Yield: 36 bites 1x

    Category: Snack

    Method: No-bake

    Cuisine: American

    Description

    Healthy No-Bake Energy Bites take just minutes to prepare! This recipe for chocolate peanut butter protein balls is easy to customize with your favorite mix-ins, for a healthy snack that tastes like an indulgent treat!

    Ingredients

    Scale
    1x2x3x

    2 cups old-fashioned oats
    1 cup creamy peanut butter
    2/3 cup honey (you can use maple syrup or agave syrup as well)
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1 1/3 cup shredded coconut
    1 cup flax seed meal
    1 tablespoon chia seeds
    1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

    Instructions

    In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together. Chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes to make the mixture less sticky.
    Use a small (1- tablespoon) sized cookie scoop to portion out the mixture and roll it into balls.
    Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 7 days, or airtight in the freezer for up to a month for the best freshness.

    Keywords: peanut butter protein balls, no bake protein balls, no bake energy bites

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