Monday, August 26, 2013

Chevron Cookies How-To

I made these super cute chevron cookies for a wedding recently. I just love them! I made over 150 for the event - quite time consuming, but very much worth the result. Here's a step-by-step. It's not hard, just takes time to go through each step. Give it a try!


Chevon Cookies How-To
I start with my basic sugar cookie recipe. This is my tried and true recipe that I use for all cut-outs for holidays, birthdays, weddings, baptisms... Click here to go to the recipe.

I recommend using royal icing for these cookies because it will dry and harden so that you can package them and it keeps the colors from bleeding together. I used Bake@360's royal icing recipe. It's my favorite. Click here to get it. Please, please, please make sure you sift the powdered sugar when making icing. When you're creating designs like this, it is a must! Otherwise, you'll get small chunks of powdered sugar stuck in your decorating tip.

If you won't be packaging your cookies, you could use the simple powdered sugar frosting recipe on the perfect sugar cookies post - it will harden up a little, but not like royal. I prefer the simple powdered sugar frosting with butter over royal, but you really must use royal if you are packaging for an event or planning to stack the cookies.

Now, let's get to it. Bake the cookies, prepare the icing. Thin icing as needed.

Prepare a template... I use an index card, draw a chevron (zig-zag), cut it out. Just like this:

Next, using an edible marker (you can get this in the cake decorating aisle of any craft store), use the template you just created to trace the chevron patter onto your cookie. Start at the top of the cookie and move the template down the cookie. The space between each line is your preference and will also depend on the size of your cookie.

Now you can start with your first color. Trace a single thin line with  your icing, then flood in the spaces, but remember to go every other space so that you'll have an area for your second color.

Allow the first color to dry a bit and then fill in the alternating space with your second color. Finish by going back over the edges of the first color by piping a thin line. This makes the chevron pattern more crisp.

Your chevron pattern is now complete. Allow to dry and add any embellishment you like. I did a few different monograms for the wedding... piped with icing in an accent color and a white monogram on top of a fondant circle. If you decide to add a fondant accent, just adhere it to the cookie with a small dot of royal icing.

Now you can package them up in bags with ribbon, display them on a plate, or just eat them up!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Seared Scallops with Shrimp Lemon Vanilla Sauce

OK - so this might not be a sweet dessert, but it is most definitely luscious. It's a true knock-your-socks off dinner. It takes a little bit of time, but it's quite impressive. I used shrimp in the sauce this time, but I've made it a few times before with lobster in place of shrimp - even more rich and luscious! 

Seared Scallops with Shrimp Lemon Vanilla Sauce
12 large diver scallops
2 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper

for the Shrimp Lemon Vanilla Sauce...
6 large raw shrimp, deveined
2 shallots, minced
2 tablespoon butter
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch saffron
3 tablespoons diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

I serve the scallops (3 to a plate) on top of some sour cream and chive mashed potatoes. These are so simple to make... boil some potatoes (about 1 per person) until fork tender. Mash with about 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in 1/4 cup sour cream. Sprinkle with some freshly chopped chives. Keep warm in a low oven until ready to serve.

make the sauce...
Heat the 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. Add the shrimp and cook over medium heat until opaque and pink. Remove the shrimp from the saucepan and set aside. Add the minced shallots to the butter remaining in the saucepan and sauté until softened. Add the wine and simmer until reduced to about 1/3 cup. Add the chicken broth, vanilla, and saffron, and reduce by half. Add the tomatoes, thyme, and lemon juice.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and use a whisk to slowly incorporate the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Remove any shells or tails from the shrimp and roughly chop. Add the shrimp to the sauce. Adjust seasoning if needed with salt, a dash of extra lemon juice, or a dash of extra vanilla.

to cook the scallops...
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium high. Pat the scallops dry and remove the tough membrane (that's where it was attached to the shell). Season with some salt and a small bit of pepper. When the butter is hot, add the scallops to the skillet. Cook on one side for about 3 to 4 minutes. Then turn and cook about 3 minutes more on the opposite side or until browned. 

To serve, place three scallops on top of a dollop of the sour cream potatoes. Pour the sauce over the scallops and potatoes. Garnish with chives if desired.


slightly adapted from Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs

Monday, August 19, 2013

Barbecued Tri Tip with Caramelized Onions and Red Wine Barbecue Sauce

This past weekend, Mark and his friends had their fantasy football draft party. It's cool that the same group of guys has this tradition with each other year after year. The only problem this year is that we happen to be a couple thousand miles away from the rest of the guys... The guys in SoCal enjoyed some tri tip and other "football foods." So I decided to try to make some tri tip in the hopes of bridging the miles between SoCal and Oklahoma just a little bit. The result was fantastic... I definitely didn't think I could pull it off, but this tri tip isn't very hard and was absolutely delicious! It gives Stonefire Grill a run for its money.

Barbecued Tri Tip with Caramelized Onions and Red Wine Barbecue Sauce
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions (red and/or yellow), halved, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon California style garlic salt (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper)

2 pound beef loin tri-tip roast, trimmed of all but 1/4 inch of fat
2 tablespoons olive oil

for the Red Wine Barbecue Sauce...
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked chipotle tabasco sauce
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

First prepare the barbecue sauce...
Heat olive oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cumin; stir 1 minute. Add the smoked chipotle tabasco and simmer 1 minute. Add wine and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and liquid smoke; simmer 2 minutes longer.

Next prepare the onions...
Melt butter with olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until deep golden brown, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes. Stir in vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat. Stir in chives.

To cook the tri tip...
Set your barbecue to medium heat. If you don't have California style garlic salt, mix garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Brush both sides of tri-tip with oil and sprinkle with garlic-powder mixture, pressing to adhere. Grill tri-tip 5 minutes per side. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and grill for about 30 more minutes or until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 125°F to 130°F, brushing with barbecue sauce and turning every 10 minutes.

Transfer tri-tips to work surface; let stand 10 minutes. Cut meat crosswise into very thin slices. Serve with caramelized onion and extra barbecue sauce. Enjoy!!

I served this tri tip with smashed potatoes and a simple salad. The smashed potatoes come from The Pioneer Woman.

Tri Tip recipe slightly adapted from

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gluten-Free Banana Blueberry Muffins

This is a combination of two of my favorite gluten-free muffin recipes. I feel like these might be at least a little healthy. I mean, they DO have two kinds of fruit! Does this muffin count as one of my fruit servings for the day?! If so, I'll have two!


Gluten-Free Banana Blueberry Muffins
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1 cup fresh blueberries

Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, xanthan, and salt. In a separate large bowl, cream together the butter, canola oil, and brown sugar using an electric mixer (or you can do it by hand if you like). Add the eggs and bananas, mixing until evenly combined. Slowly add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix until smooth. Fold in the blueberries.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Gluten-Free Baked Donuts

I'm always trying to find ways to create the treats Katie could enjoy before she became gluten-free. These donuts don't quite match the raised version she used to love with cinnamon sugar on top, but they are rather yummy. She liked them (and so did everyone else in the house)! Even the biggest gluten-free critic in the house ate one for breakfast. This is a basic baked donut recipe that you could get very creative with... my version was an attempt at Katie's old favorite - glazed with cinnamon sugar on top. You could coat them in powdered sugar, top them with chocolate glaze, or go for frosting with sprinkles! The possibilities are endless...


Gluten-Free Baked Donuts
1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour (I prefer Pamela's brand)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
pinch of salt
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons agave syrup

(makes 6 donuts)
for the glaze...
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons water (plus more if needed to thin)
1/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon cinnamon

In a medium bowl, combine the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease the wells of a donut pan with canola oil.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan, and salt. Make a well in the center and add the egg, buttermilk, canola oil, lemon juice, and agave. Fold together until evenly combined. 

Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag or a large ziplock bag with one corner snipped off. This is the best way to get the mixture into your donut pan, but you could also simply spoon it in if you like. Pipe the batter evenly into the donut pan.

Bake for 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

While the donuts are cooling, mix up some glaze. Combine the powdered sugar and water in a medium bowl until smooth.

Dip the top of each donut into the glaze, allowing any excess to drip off. Then immediately dip into the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Enjoy!! ... maybe with you favorite cup of coffee or tea for breakfast!

Friday, August 2, 2013

S'mores Brownies


S'mores.... mmmmmmm.... one of my favorite things about summer. I love toasting marshmallows on the fire (usually in the back yard). I've always loved toasting marshmallows. Everyone has a preferred method - some like to set them on fire; some like to just get them a little warm; I like them just the way my mom and dad taught me how to make them. You've got to wait for the fire to burn down a bit and create those hot coals. Then you hold your marshmallow (on a long stick of course) just above the coals, turning it to keep the toasting even. You toast until it's nice a brown, but not burnt. Well, that's my favorite way. What's your's? With these s'mores, you get toasted marshmallows and you don't even need a fire.

S'mores Brownies
11 oz chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 cups)
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks)
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Hershey chocolate bar
12 large whole marshmallows 
6 marshmallows, diced
5 or 6 graham crackers, roughly crushed with your hands

Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a medium bowl. I typically melt them in the microwave. Be sure to have it on 50% power and stir every 30 seconds until smooth. You could also melt the chocolate and butter in a heat-safe bowl over a pot of simmering water.

Stir the cocoa powder into the melted chocolate and butter until smooth. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.

While your chocolate is cooling, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 by 14-inch pan with foil and spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add in the cooled chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the flour until smooth. Gently fold in the graham crackers and the diced marshmallows. Pour the batter into the prepared pan  and spread evenly. Place the 12 large marshmallows into the top of the batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, adding the Hershey bar (broken into sections) for the last 15 minutes of baking time.

Remove from the oven an allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting. Using the foil, lift the brownies out of the pan before cutting. Place them on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to cut into squares, wiping the knife clean between cuts.


recipe adapted from for the basic brownies and for the overall s'mores concept