I’ve definitely been getting into the Christmas spirit the past couple of weeks. Lots of baking and decorating have been going on around here, Christmas music playing in the kitchen…it’s safe to say preparations are in full swing! I’d had these cookies bookmarked to try for a while, and they kept popping up all over the place with rave reviews. For my birthday, I received 2 different sets of AmeriColor food coloring. I knew I wanted to make these cookies to play with my new present.

They’re all they are cracked up to be! Big and thick, cakey, and delicious. They were so much fun to decorate too! I split the batch of frosting in two, and did one half red, and one half green. I thought they were very bright and cheery for the Holidays. These kicked the pants off of the store bought variety of these cookies. Here’s how to make them!

I love pastries of all kinds, and when I came across this recipe for cherry kolaches back in the summertime I knew I had to make them. I kept putting it off, weather was too hot to be baking, etc. One setback led to the other, and by the time I got around to actually making them I couldn’t find the magazine they were in. Finally found it in a stack upstairs yesterday, and made them. They were great!

My only experience with kolaches previous to this had been of the savory variety. When visiting my mother-in-law while she was living in Texas (they’re a favorite there), we got them for breakfast one day. A every-so-slightly sweet dough, filled with a meat of some kind, eggs, and cheese. Yum!

These are definitely much different. The yeasted dough is still slightly sweet, topped with a cherry topping, then baked. After cooling, a glaze is added to the top of the pastry. I wish I had waited a little longer to drizzle the glaze onto the kolaches. They were still warm, and the glaze got a bit runny. But, it was still delicious! They’d probably also be great with powdered sugar on top instead.

I had my first pumpkin cream cheese muffin at a very notorious coffee shop some years ago. They always looked gorgeous, but in the grand tradition of most store-bought baked goods…they were not anything to “write home about”.  I thought about trying my hand at making my own, figured that they were too complicated and forgot about them. When my friend Annie posted them last year, I knew I had to make them.  I did not get around to making them last year (pregnancy was in full swing at the time), but they were at the top of my list for this fall.  I finally got around to  making them last week, and let me tell you, they are wonderful!

I personally feel like they fall under the realm of cupcakes more than muffins. The pumpkin cake is so light and moist. Not that dense cake that a muffin usually calls it’s own. I’m not going to complain though, I can eat a “muffin” in the morning for breakfast and not feel the least bit guilty. Then again, I’ll eat a cupcake for breakfast and not feel the least bit guilty either. At least I’m honest. Whenever you choose to enjoy them, I’m sure that you (and whoever else you share them with) will love them, and love you for making them. Enjoy!

Back at the end of July, Chincoteague Island had their Annual Blueberry Festival. In addition to a wide array of arts and crafts, and delicious food offerings, they sell flats of blueberries for a great price. We ordered a flat, and brought it home. We immediately froze and bagged most of them, to be used through out the year in various recipes. My home brewing husband, Jon, brewed a blueberry cream ale a few weeks ago. It’s getting ready to be kegged next week, and should be pouring shortly thereafter. Neither of us can wait to try it! That, however, is another post…

I’d been wanting to make these beautiful cupcakes for some time now, back when Annie posted them in the spring. They looked so deliciously light, and airy. And lemon/blueberry is just about one of my favorite combinations on the planet. This one is definitely a winner! A  fresh change of pace from a traditional run-of-the-mill standard cupcakes (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). I love that the cream cheese frosting has a hint of lemon too, just puts it over the edge. Try these!