Recipe: Birthday Cake Bars

Today is my birthday! 

I've taken off from work and am having a relaxing day buying myself brunch, going to some of my favorite shops, and having a cocktail or two. Over the weekend I celebrated by hosting a brunch party for a handful of friends, surrounded by some of my favorite people and the 50+ balloons I had blown up, and eating great food. We chatted and hung out in the house, played some group games and then had a lull around dinner time before a few of us rented a private karaoke room. We sang until I was on the brink of loosing my voice. I couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate. I'm feeling really positive going into 28. 

Let's talk about these bars for a moment, shall we? These Birthday Cake Bars are A LOT. They're a lot of uncooked butter and sugar and vanilla but sometimes that's all you need. These definitely won't be for everybody, but if you have a cookie dough lover in the house then these are a sure bet. If you wanted to feed more of a crowded with these, I would recommend cutting them in half before doubling the recipe. That way, everyone gets a one or two bite treat! 

Birthday Cake Bars

Yields 12 bars

Bars
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoon sour cream
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

Vanilla Buttercream
1 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons milk

To make the bars: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale in color (about 4-5 minutes). Add in sour cream and vanilla extract and mix. Add in flour & salt, then milk, mixing until everything is combined into one dough. Fold in sprinkles with a rubber spatula. 

Line a 8x8" or 9x9" baking dish with plastic wrap (enough so that it is hanging over the sides on all sides). Press your dough into the dish until it is evenly distributed. Fold the plastic wrap over the top of the dough and refrigerate for at least one hour, if not overnight. 

To make the buttercream: In an electric mixer, whip butter until it is soft and fluffy. Gradually add in confectioner's sugar, then vanilla extract and milk. Whip for 3-4 minutes until the buttercream is fluffy. If your frosting is too thick, gradually add in more milk one tablespoon at a time. You'll have a thick frosting that's pipeable.

Assemble: Remove your bars from the refrigerator and lift out of the baking pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 even pieces. Fill your pastry bag fitted with a star tip with buttercream and begin piping small swirls until the each bar is covered. If you don't have a piping bag or don't feel like digging it out, you can always spread the frosting on with an offset spatula. 

Store these bars in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. They longer they stay out of the fridge, the softer they will get, but because this is an eggless cookie dough they are fine to eat at room temperature. 

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Cocktail: Bubbly Jack Rose

I'm spending the last couple of days of 2017 trying to balance relaxing and being productive. Having slow morning and getting brunch. Movies dates, playing video games and taking long baths. Cleaning around the house and getting the Christmas stuff put away. Working on recipes and blog posts. I'm hoping this is the creative refresh that I've been needing lately and I'm hoping to kick off 2018 with calmness and positive energy. The dream.

We also need to kick off the new year with a little bubbly because we just have to. Here's my take on a classic Jack Rose (which is Applejack, citrus juice, and grenadine) but we're switching in pomegranate juice for a winter twist and adding champagne for a little bit of bubbles. 

Bubbly Jack Rose

Makes one drink

1 oz Applejack
2 oz pomegranate juice
juice from a lime quarter
top with champagne
pomegranate seeds, lime wheel & lemon wheel (optional)

Add pomegranate juice, Applejack, and lime juice to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a coupe glass and top with champagne. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, lime wheel and lemon wheel.

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Recipe: White Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Popping in today to share one of the easiest recipes I've ever brought you.

Let's bring together 3 ingredients, top them with sprinkles, never turn our oven on and call it a treat. With only a few more sleeps until Christmas and time running out, I thought I would share these incredibly easy, no-baking required truffles.

I will say that though this recipe is easy, it is a bit messy just FYI. I think this would be a fun treat to make with kids, where they can get their hands a little dirty and create something that doesn't have to go in the oven. If you are going to make this with little kiddo hands, I would recommend melting extra white chocolate to cover the truffles so you have more room to make a mess.  

White Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Yields 36 truffles

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
24 oz white chocolate chips, separated into 8 oz and 16 oz
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
sprinkles or nonpareils (optional)

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip cream cheese until smooth. Melt 8 oz of white chocolate chips in the microwave and add into the cream cheese, along with the vanilla extract. Mix until combined and refrigerate for 1 hour or until filling is stiff.

Remove from the refrigerator and roll your filling into 36 small balls about the size of a large marble. Place on a plate and freeze for 30 minutes to hardened slightly.

Melt the rest of the white chocolate and begin dipping your filling into the white chocolate. Remove each ball with a fork, slightly shake off some of the extra chocolate and place each truffle on a piece of wax paper or a nonstick baking mat to dry. Decorate with sprinkles or nonpareils and let the chocolate set completely before enjoying. 

Recipe: Funfetti Christmas Cookies

We're less than a week away from Christmas and I'm over here trying to not feel the pressure. There's still gifts to buy, traveling to do, wrapping to take care of, and cards to mail out but I'm taking a deep breath and trying to enjoy the season. It's important to take good care this time of year and live in the balance between holiday chaos and end of the year relaxation.

Out of all the recipes I've posted on this blog, these cookies are by far the thing I make the most. Simple, soft sugar cookies with sprinkles that you can easily eat 3 or 4 of without blinking an eye. Most recently I made these for a cookie swap party and holiday gifts (also while eating my far share of them myself). Here we go!

Funfetti Christmas Cookies

Yields 2 dozen cookies

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/3 cups flour
3 tbsp sprinkles or nonpareils

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and shortening with an electric mixer. Add sugar and mix until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, salt, and baking powder. With your mixer on low, add dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixer. Using a spatula, fold in sprinkles.

Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake 8-10 minutes or until bottoms just begin to brown. 

Around Here

Hello friends! 

I stopped posting Around Here posts a while back since my house wasn't changing too much. This is the longest I've lived somewhere since my childhood home, and somehow I'm not tired of it yet. Maybe it's because since G moved in last year we've been doing a lot of changes. Or maybe because other parts of my life have been hectic that having this restful place has been a relief. Whatever it is, it's nice to keep improving on a home.

I've been struggling a bit with a creative block that I can't seem to get through, hence the lack of blog posts. I was sick most of last week, had a series of busy weeks at work, and just can't bring myself to work on anything that I don't absolutely need to. Does that ever happen to you? I'm always on the look out for ways to motivate my brain, spark some creativity, and light a fire under myself. How do you stay motivated when you aren't feeling your best?

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