Happy Independence Day!

In honor of Independence Day, I decided to post a few Patriotic Crafts.

Red, White and Blue Quilt donated to Quilts of Valor


A quilt given to a foreign exchange student to remind him of his time spent in the USA:


A woven scarf:


And, some Raspberry & Blueberry Scones:


Raspberry-Blueberry Scones
Makes 6 scones
1 cup  flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/4 cup granular sugar
1/4 cup butter, cold, cut into pieces
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tbs dehydrated blueberries
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
2 Tbs freeze dried raspberries, cut in half

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking powder and sugar.  Cut in butter (a mini food processor works really well).  Add milk and vanilla.  The batter will be very crumbly but should hold together when pressed into a ball (add a small amount of milk if necessary).  Mix in berries and chips.  Divide into six scones.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  Drizzle with glaze (optional).



Holiday Baking 2018

Taking a few days off of work gave me some time to start my holiday baking.  With a son who is on a low sugar and low gluten diet (not for any medical reasons, it’s just healthier), I worked out a few new recipes.

Having read somewhere that Stevia can be substituted for half of the sugar when baking, I decided to try to make cookies with a lower sugar content.  Using the traditional Tollhouse Cookie recipe as the base, I made some mint flavored cookies. You really couldn’t tell that there was less sugar in them than the normal recipe.

Mint Chip CookiesIMG_2834
Makes 4 dozen
2  1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup granular sugar
3/4 cup Stevia
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Green food coloring
1/2 cup  Mint Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 teaspoon shortening

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Beat butter, sugars, vanilla and coloring until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chips. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until bottoms are light brown.  Cool slightly, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Heat dark chocolate in microwave until starting to melt.  Fold in shortening and mix until creamy. Drizzle chocolate over cookies.


IMG_2835Next, I decided to try making a new recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, but modified to use Gluten-free Flour (King Arthur Measure for Measure).  The first batch I made tasted great but was extremely crumbly.  For the second batch, I added an egg to the mix.  This gave the dough enough binder to hold the cookies together.

Cherry-Walnut Balls (modified)IMG_2832
Makes 4 dozen
1/4 cup coarsely chopped maraschino cherries
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup  Gluten Free Flour (KAF)
3/4 cup Chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Drain the maraschino cherries on paper towels.  Beat butter on high for 30 seconds.  Add sugars, egg and flavorings and beat until creamy. Gradually beat in flour.  Stir in nuts and cherries. Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 18-20 minutes until bottoms are light brown.  Cool slightly, then roll in powdered sugar to coat and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Lastly, I planned to make my personal favorite – Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies. However, when I looked into my pantry, I realized that I had some lemon wafers that needed to be used up. So, I decided to try to alter the recipe and make a lemon-lime flavored version.

Lemon-Lime Thumbprint CookiesIMG_2833
Makes 5 dozen
1 cup butter
1 cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 teaspoon Green Food Coloring
1/2  teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lime juice powder (KAF)
2 1/2 cups flour
Lemon melting wafers (KAF)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Stir in egg, coloring and vanilla. Mix together dry ingredients and stir into butter-sugar mix. Shape into 1 inch balls, roll in sugar and place on baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and immediately top with melting wafer. Cool slightly, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Happy Pi(e) Day

In honor of National Pi Day (March 14 or 3.14), I made two pies for my birthday treat to take to work.

Peach Pie with Pecan CrustIMG_2627

Pastry Dough

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup ground pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream together shortening, butter and sugar.
3. Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder.
4. Combine creamed mixture with dry ingredients and ground pecans.  Dough will be crumbly.
5. Chill dough for 30 minutes.
6. Press dough into pie plate and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Peach Filling
5 peaches, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbs corn starch
1 small pkg peach jello

1. Place peach slices and water in a microwave safe bowl and cook at high for four minutes. Drain water into a separate bowl.
2. Mix together sugar, corn starch and jello.
3. Slowly sprinkle mixture into hot peach water.
4. Heat to a rolling boil.
5. Remove from heat and stir in peaches.
6. Pour mixture into pecan crust.
7. Refrigerate until set.


Almond Pear TartIMG_2628

Pastry Dough

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten

1. Place flour and sugar in food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
2. Scatter butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse to coarse mixture.
3. Add egg and process for about 10 seconds, until clumps form.  The dough at this stage will be very sticky.
4. Wrap dough and freeze for one hour to make dough easier to handle.
5. Press dough into pie plate and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.    Note: a removable bottom tart pan would make serving easier since the crust tends to stick to the pan.
6. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Custard Filling
2/3 cup almond flour
1/3 cup sugar
6 Tbs butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 large egg

1. Mix flour and sugar together.
2. Add butter and flavoring and blend until smooth.
3. Mix in egg. Pour into crust.
4. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

2 pears, peeled, halved and cored
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice

1. Bring water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
2. Add pears and allow to sit in hot syrup for 30 minutes.
3. Remove pears and place on paper towel to remove excess moisture.
4. Cut each pear half into thin slices and arrange atop the filling like spokes of a wheel, pressing down into filling.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

If you try these recipes, I hope you enjoy them.

Christmas 2017

Today we celebrate the birth of our King, Jesus. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for who he is, all he has done and his great love for us. Yes, Christmas is a special time of year here at the Erickson house.  Merry Christmas to everyone!

A Christmas Craft – Fused Glass Ornaments


A Christmas Recipe – Cranberry Honey ButterIMG_2579

1 cup salted butter, softened
1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbs orange peel

Beat together all ingredients and divide into jars.  Store refrigerated. Enjoy!




Holiday Baking

I enjoy baking.  And, since most of my boys no longer live at home, I will sometimes try a new recipe and bake for my staff. For tomorrow, I decided to try making Lemon Brûlée Mini Tarts.  This recipe called for four egg yolks.  Not wanting to waste the egg whites, I  also made Chocolate Cloud Cookies.  These cookies are gluten free since there is no flour.

I hope the staff enjoy these treats in the morning.

Lemon Brûlée Mini Tarts IMG_2560
Pastry Dough
1 cup flour
5 Tbs cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 Tbs shortening
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs ice water

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 egg yolks
1 whole egg

Blend together flour, butter, shortening and salt until mixture resembles coarse meal (I used a mini food processor to do this).  Drizzle water over the mixture and pulse until incorporated.  Be careful not to overwork the dough or it will become tough.  Divide dough into 12 pieces.  Roll each section to 1/8″ thick and press into well of mini tart pan.  Trim edges and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place the tart pan on a large baking sheet and bake the shells for 15 minutes. The mini tart pan I used had 12 wells with removable bottoms (to make removing the tarts easier).

Near the end of the baking time, whisk together cream, sugar, zest, juice, yolks and whole egg until combined.  With the oven rack extended, carefully pour the filling into the tart shells, then carefully slide the rack into the oven.  I had extra tart filling that I poured into individual custard dishes. Bake the tarts for 20 minutes, or until the custard is set.  Remove from the oven and cool for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the tarts from the pan.  Sprinkle the top of each tart with sugar.    Using a baking blowtorch, move the flame back and forth over the top of the tart, avoiding the crust, until the sugar is caramelized.  Let stand 5 minutes, top with a fresh raspberry and serve.

Source: this recipe is a modification of a Epicurious recipe.

Chocolate Cloud CookiesIMG_2555
4 egg whites, beaten stiff
4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup Triple Cocoa Blend
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Sift together sugar, cocoa and salt.  Add egg whites and vanilla.  Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment paper and bake for 12 minutes.  Store in airtight container.

Source: I have had this recipe for several years and unfortunately do not remember the original source for it.  There are several different cloud cookie recipes available on-line.  Most of these use cream of tartar, but not this one.

Veggie Tart

IMG_2243My Facebook news feed is generally filled with fun things that my friends are doing. When a “Suggested Post” (aka – annoying ad) shows up, I usually click Hide Ad because I hate seeing them.

Every once in a while, however, there is an ad that I like.  That was the case recently when the Food Network had a video for “Rainbow Rose Veggie Tart” that showed up on my new feed.  It sure looked tasty, so I wanted to give it a try. The original recipe can be found at Food.com.

After reading some of the reviews, I did decide to alter the recipe.  The two main criticisms of the recipe were (1) the veggies were too stiff and (2) the cheese tart was too bland.

To reduce the stiffness of the vegetables, I precooked them in water for six minutes in the microwave.  This resulted in soft, easy to roll veggie slices.  To change the flavor, I decided to add some of the spices that I normally use when making quiche. The spices added a nice taste to the tart.  The original recipe called for varied colored carrots. However, I found that the purple carrots lost their color in the precooking.  Next time, I think I will try eggplant instead of purple carrots.  I think they will keep their color better and add some additional flavor to the recipe.

So here is my version of the recipe.

Veggie Tart
1 sheet Puff Pastry
15 ounces Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon oregano
carrot, peeled

  1. Unfold a puff pastry sheet and roll thin before placing in a tart or quiche pan. Place parchment paper in the center and weight it down with beans or pie weight (I actually used a glass pie plate, which worked very well).
  2. Bake the tart base in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment paper. Let it cool.
  3. In a bowl, mix the cheeses, eggs, and spices until smooth.
  4. Slice strips carrots length-wise using a potato peeler or a mandolin. Place the slices in a bowl of water and cook in the microwave for 6 minute. This step will soften the slices and make them much easier to roll.
  5. Slice strips of zucchini and eggplant length-wise.
  6. Cut broccoli heads into small pieces.
  7. Spread the cheese mixture on top of the tart base.
  8. Take one slice of a vegetable and roll it up very tightly—this will form the core of the rose. For the carrots, take another slice and keep rolling. With around 2-3 slices you should obtain a decent-size rose bud. A single slice of the zucchini and eggplant is sufficient to make a nice looking rosebud. Place the buds in the tart, pushing it down into the cheese. Keep rolling roses of different colors and place them in the cheese mix.
  9. Bake the tart at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes.


Holiday Baking – Thumbprint Cookies

Day Two of holiday baking included several different of Thumbprint Cookies

Salted img_1981Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup butter
3/4 cup granular sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs (yolks only)
2  1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
3 Tbs heavy cream

Combine 1 cup butter, sugars, egg yolks and vanilla and beat until creamy.  Add flour and beat at low speed until well mixed.  Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Shape dough into 1″ balls.  Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets, 2″ apart.  Make an indent in the center of each cookie with the end of a wooden spoon handle.  Bake for 7-10 minutes until edges begin to brown.

Combing brown sugar with 1/3 cup butter in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to boil.  Continue cooking and stirring for one more minute.  Stir in whipping cream.  Allow to cool for about 15 minutes.  Spoon 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture into the center of each cooled cookie. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprint Cookiess img_1972

Trial #1:  Follow the recipe above.  When the cookies are removed from the oven, top with a chocolate star candy and cover with caramel.




Trial #2:  Follow the recipe above.  When the cookies are removed from the oven, top with a chocolate star candy and drizzle with caramel.

Trial #2 looked nicer and tasted better!


Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookiesimg_1982
I made these last year and really liked them. So, they were included in my baking this year as well.  For the recipe, see the December 15, 2015 posting.