Sweet Treats

Recipe—Sugar Cookie Bars

Last month we celebrated my son’s third birthday. I knew I wanted to send him to school with some sort of treats to share with all his friends. Well, his birthday is the day after Valentine’s Day so that week is already pretty hectic for me. I didn’t have tons of time to spend on baking and frosting individual mini-cupcakes like I wanted to. I needed something easy that I could make a lot of, and fast. I stumbled upon a recipe for sugar cookie bars. I knew they would be perfect! They had a cute festive look to them and were so easy to make. They turned out perfect! They were just the right size for a bunch of toddlers and I didn’t have to frost them all individually. These sugar cookie bars are perfect for any occasion. Have fun with different festive colored frostings and sprinkles. (I love sprinkles!)

COOKIE BAR INGREDIENTS
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

FROSTING INGREDIENTS
1/2 c butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
2 c powdered sugar
2–3 tbsp milk
food coloring
sprinkles

STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 375º.
  • Using an electric mixer beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Beat in the eggs and vanilla making sure to mix well.
  • In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking soda and stir to combine.
  • Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the creamy mixture.
  • Line a xx” x xx” baking dish with parchment paper going both directions.
  • Press the cookie dough into the lined baking dish.
  • Bake for 12–14 minutes.
  • Allow cookie bars to cool completely.
  • Using an electric mixer beat together the butter, vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar until well combined.
  • Gradually add in the milk until your frosting reaches the desired consistency. (If it becomes too runny just add in a bit more powdered sugar.
  • Once your frosting reaches desired consistency beat in the food coloring.
  • Spread the cookie bars with the frosting and top with sprinkles.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour and use a pizza wheel to cut into squares with ease.

Brunch, Sweet Treats

Recipe—Spiced Carrot Bread

With my produce now being delivered weekly, rather than bi-weekly, I am finding myself with leftover items when the weekend rolls around. This equates to some creative cooking. I still had some giant carrots from the previous week and decided to make some spiced carrot bread with them. This bread is quick and easy to make, the challenge is waiting for it to bake and cool because it smells so incredibly good while in the oven. You just want to eat it right away! My entire house had the aroma of sweet spices wafting around for days, perfect for fall. While this would be fabulous with a cream cheese based frosting, I wanted something that didn’t require refrigeration. It gives the bread just the perfect amount of sweetness. Enjoy it as is for breakfast or topped with whipped cream for dessert, either way you will be indulging your sweet tooth while getting in a healthy serving of veggies.

Note: This recipe makes two loaves of spiced carrot bread. Enjoy one now and freeze one for later! 

BREAD INGREDIENTS
1 c oil
4 eggs
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tbsp vanilla
2 1/2 c sugar
2 c shredded carrots (2–3 large carrots)
4 c flour
1/2  tbsp baking powder
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2  tsp baking soda
1/2  tsp nutmeg
1/2  tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves

FROSTING INGREDIENTS
1/4 c butter, melted
1 tbsp water
1 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

BREAD STEPS

  • Preheat oven to 350º.
  • Spray two loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl whisk together oil, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and sugar.
  • Stir in the shredded carrots.
  • In a second large mixing bowl mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until well combined.
  • Evenly distribute the batter between the two pans.
  • Bake for 60–70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean when inserted in the middle.
  • Allow loaves to sit in the pans for 5 minutes and then carefully remove and place on a cutting board or cooling rack.
  • Allow loaves to cool completely before frosting.

FROSTING STEPS

  • Once the loaves have cooled completely stir together the melted butter and water.
  • Add in half of the powdered sugar and beat using the fork until smooth.
  • Add in the remaining powdered sugar and continue beating until the frosting is nice and smooth.
  • Stir in the cinnamon.
  • Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag. (If using a Ziploc bag cut off a small corner of the bag.)
  • Drizzle both loaves with the frosting and allow to set for 15 minutes before slicing.