3 Ways to Make the Best Shortbread for the Holidays

Need a quick and easy cookie to bake for that last minute holiday get together? Look no further for how to make easy shortbread. It’s a crowd pleaser and easy on the eyes. Also there are three different variations I like to mix it up and give ‘er the old razzle dazzle. Start with the base dough and you can get creative from there. You can also play with extracts and toppings to show your personality!img_9437

Yes, make the dough! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Cream the butter & sugar and then add in the flour. At this point let’s get our hands dirty. For real. It’s best to do this part by hand and knead the dough slightly. If it’s quite crumbly add a bit of butter until it just holds together. Chill the dough; I usually say until I’m done being patient and then roll it out and the real fun begins.

Dough texture pre-rolling out



1) Sugar Sprinkles

The first decoration (and the easiest, I might add!) is to use a cookie stamp decorating tool. Cut out the desired shape and press the stamp into the dough to reveal a gorgeous design. Then sprinkle with sugar and bake!

2) Chocolate Peppermint Crunch

Number two!  The second option is for our chocolate lovers. For this variation you simply roll out the dough and cut a simple shape. I like to keep the shape simple for this so the outside decorations can really have their moment. Bake off, and while the cookies are cooling melt some dark chocolate and smash up a candy cane. Then dunk half of the shortbread in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with peppermint pieces. It’s best to set these to cool on parchment unless you like shortbread glued to your countertop. No judgement here.

3) Holly Jolly Trees

Aaaand number three. For the third variation we circle back to the holiday classic with MORE sugar. Grab your royal icing and get busy. Surprisingly adding royal icing to the shortbread really tops off the flavor and is a lot of fun. Of course buttercream would work as well if that is your icing of choice. Here you can mix & match the cookie colors of your dreams! I went with a fun twist of the Christmas tree and make it neon and top a few with sprinkles. Cause why not?!




  • 3/4 cup butter room temperature (add more as needed to bring dough together if too crumbly)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (plus extra for topping)


Cream butter & sugar until just combined. Mix in vanilla. Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time. At this point its best to use your hands to finish incorporating the flour. Once combined, move the dough to countertop and lightly knead. Wrap in parchment paper and chill the dough. Roll out keeping the dough about 1/2 thick on floured surface. Use cookie cutters or cut your desired shape. Place cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet. You don’t need to worry much how far apart to place these. Since there is no rising agent, these will not spread very much.


350° for 15-20 minutes.

Let cool, add icing, sprinkles, or chocolate and peppermint crumbles to create your favorite variation. Enjoy the best shortbread for the holidays!


Did you make any of these variations? Tag me on IG and FB!


Molasses Cookies Made Simple and Easy

Since we will be drinking loads of hot chocolate this holiday season we should probably find something to balance that out. The first thing that comes to mind is a large bucket of marshmallows topped with whipped cream, sprinkles and chocolate syrup. As you down that glorious and oh so practical cup of hot chocolate, grab a molasses cookie! Follow this recipe for how to make molasses cookies and you will end up with cookies that have crispy edges and perfectly soft topped with sparkly sugar.

AKA get all of your ingredients together before even thinking about baking! Of course I am kidding. However, I do find it much easier and faster to breeze through a bake if you have all of your ingredients pre-measured so they can be added in one-by-one. In the past I have caught myself trying to measure and read the instructions all at the same time and then wait, was that two or three cups of flour I just added? (more…)

Rotten Apples

On our spooky creepy journey around Halloween I can’t help but dive deep into the need to bake up a disgustingly delicious treat. There is something about this time of the year where creativity is encouraged and the decrepit has no limits. On a recent trip to my local orchard the rotting apples below the trees kept catching my eye. There’s something about the soft, mushy interior with the wrinkled deep red skin surrounding the apple that is irresistible. This got me to thinking…how can I make something edible that also looks absolutely repulsive? How about make a rotten apple! IMG_E8454


If you are still here and not hiding under a blanket from how SCARY that spider is, then grab your tea and a biscuit and tuck in cause this one is a doozy. The base of the apple is a choux pastry (see my method and recipe under Orange Puffs: Choux). (more…)

Orange Puffs: To Choux or Not to Choux

noun,  plural choux [shooz for 1; shoo for 2] /ʃuz for 1; ʃu for 2/.

Or, “shoe” for the non-French speaking among us. Once again I stumbled upon this dandy little recipe card from my grandma’s recipe tin. Having never made choux pastry before the fact that it was named Orange Puff made it far less intimidating. My only familiarity with choux is from the Great British Baking Show (stop me there, if I get going on Mary Berry and that show all of our eyeballs will be crossed since it is amazing, cute, cozy. Ok after this you can go watch it because it’s like the best show ever). I digress. So having seen how choux was made I was I knew I was in for it.

Here’s where I really like the technicality of baking where true technique makes all the difference. This orange puff takes all of the pain-points away and makes it very user friendly! Also one of the great things is it doesn’t require many ingredients which also tricks my mind into momentarily believing this is easier than it should be.



Do simple ingredients mean simple technique? Yes and no. This is definitely a recipe you want to read over a few times before turning on the oven. Once you have all the ingredients prepped and ready you are set to carry on. This is why I sift and sort out my ingredients beforehand…or mise en place (this week is full of French vocabulary!) Before this bake I had never made a mixture to then bake in the oven, which is quite fun! Cooking the ingredients on the stove cooks the flour and also makes your arm very sore. Once the water, butter and salt are melted together you will add in the flour and stir briskly until a smooth ball forms. Then remove the pan from the stove and beat in the eggs one by one – which is very important to getting a smooth mixture. Add in the zest and you are set to drop on the pan. Here I used zest from a mandarine orange. Not because I’m that fancy, but because that’s what was in the refrigerator this week. However, I would suggest a normal orange because getting the zest off of a mini little orange is a challenge in itself.

Mise en place (​[mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]) is a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “everything in its place.”

Choux Logo2


While the puffs are baking and cooling, get busy making the chocolate filling. Mmmmm hmmm it is GOOD! And simple, which are two of my favorite things. The filling is this soft, crunchy, chocolatey filling that you could honestly eat on it’s own it is so good. For this part I used a piping bag fitted with a sharp nozzle to fill the puffs. Now, this is not my favorite part because I don’t like fiddly time consuming things but it is quite worth it in the end. Or if you have less patience than me you could cut them in half and make little sandwiches. I promise I won’t tell anyone. As long as you eat them, they are delicious & make you happy that is the most important thing!

Golden-y warm mini puffs!

And of course if you have left over oranges (and if this bake maybe didn’t go as well as you had planned), you can always use them in a summer drink. Here I decided to throw them in my cucumber-lime vodka cocktail! (And yes, it made me feel better about taking on this challenge)




Orange Puffs

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 orange rind grated


Preheat oven to 450°.  Blend water, butter and salt & bring to a boil. Sift flower, salt and add to the mixture. Stir briskly with a wooden spoon until mixture leaves the pan and forms a smooth ball (about 1 minute). Remove from heat, add 1 egg at a time – beat well each time with spoon. Fold in the orange rind. Drop by small teaspoon on un-greased sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove and immediately cool.

Chocolate Cream filling

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream


Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips over hot water. Add 2 tablespoons orange juice. Remove from heat & cool. Fold in 1/3 cup finely chopped almonds. Beat 1/2 cup whipped cream until stiff. Fold into chocolate mixture.

Then eat the rest of the whipped cream by the spoonful. Just kidding! (totally not kidding it’s delicious sugar fluff I cannot resist)

I hope you try to bake and enjoy this orangey delight! 




Hidden Surprise: Cedarburg, WI


The week of 4th of July my husband and I finagled a fantastic full week off from work! We did a lot of fun things around town but one of our favorite discoveries was a small town in Wisconsin. Being from this state I have traveled all around, but had never been to this small town. New places are so exciting, especially exploring with no expectations. The day prior to our trip we decided we should venture down to Cedarburg. All I knew about this town is that it is close to Milwaukee. Well low and behold this place is a treasure hidden next to a small river and colorful natural landscaping. Not to mention walking downtown you cannot miss the detailing along the sidewalks!



Apple Surprise

Recipe Card

When I came across this recipe card for apple surprise in my grandma’s recipe tin I stopped in my tracks to see what this was all about. Is it a surprise when you find the apple? Or it’s surprisingly apple-y?

The most surprising thing about this bake is the different ingredients they use to combine into one apple-pie like bar concoction. The crust is very easy to make by adding together the butter, flour, sugar and vanilla. Here I diverted from the recipe and added a bit of cinnamon to add some depth to the flavor and a nod to apple pie. Of course I took assumption in using unsalted butter. I usually just default to unsalted butter unless otherwise specified. Some of these recipes call for shortening, which I believe means Crisco…or is what I remember my mom put in some desserts growing up. However, I thought we all agreed to leave Crisco in the past. Maybe that’s just me because I prefer butter.


The Ultimate Classic

Fruit Cake Recipe

When I first started thinking about my grandma’s recipe tin and rethinking the classics there is one recipe card that immediately comes to mind: Fruit Cake. To me this is the ultimate classic when I think of her generation and what they knew how to bake with their eyes closed. Having never made fruit cake I thought this would be a good place to start this series since the ingredients seems simple enough, but the recipe card was missing all of the instructions. This makes me laugh overtime I look at one of these cards that has zero instructions on how to make this cake. (more…)