Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Breakfast trees make Christmas morning special

Deck the halls with... bacon and doughnuts?! That's right!!! I used toothpicks, styrofoam cones, and just a few ingredients to create these awesome trees that would be perfect for breakfast. I love recipes that get the whole family involved, and these breakfast trees do just that. And the best part is there's no baking necessary.

Christmas fruit tree
  • Styrofoam cone (find at most craft shops near floral arrangements)
  • Toothpicks
  • 6 cups of fruits like grapes, pineapple, melon, strawberries, kiwi, clementines, etc.
  1. Place styrofoam cone onto plate and insert toothpick halfway at slight upward angle where you want your first piece of fruit to go. I like to start at the base and work my way up. Make sure to put the sturdiest fruits, like grapes and strawberries, at the very bottom.
  2. I like to use small fruits like blueberries or cranberries to cover up any gaps showing in the styrofoam.

Cinnamon cream cheese dip
  • 1 (8-ounce) package Challenge cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (6-ounce) container vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Beat cream cheese until smooth
  2. Add yogurt, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract and combine until smooth
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve

Christmas bacon tree
  • Styrofoam cone
  • Toothpicks
  • About 48 doughnut holes
  • 16 slices of bacon, cut in half
  • 16 pieces of sausage, cut in half
  1. Place styrofoam cone onto plate and insert toothpick halfway at slight upward angle where you want your first doughnut to go. Continue putting doughnuts around the base of the cone until there are no gaps.
  2. Take 1/2 slice bacon and 1/2 piece of sausage. Wrap bacon around sausage, stick toothpick into cone, and put bacon-wrapped sausage on toothpick. Continue alternating doughnuts with bacon-wrapped sausage until entire styrofoam cone is covered.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Painting Plaid Christmas Cookies

This is a sponsored post by Challenge Butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I’ve been wanting to try painting cookies for a while now. Some people are really artistic and paint gallery-worthy pictures on their cookies. Considering I haven’t actually painted anything since elementary school, I set expectations low for myself.

Honestly, I just really wanted to make plaid cookies. I think it’s a really classic print, and it symbolizes the holiday season well.

First thing’s first, start with your favorite sugar cookie recipe. I’ve shared my favorite recipe below. I like my cookies nice and thick. A trick to achieving that is to roll your dough out between two sheets of parchment paper before refrigeration. Refrigeration prevents the dough from spreading, and it makes it a heck of a lot easier when it comes time to cutting out your shapes.

Once your cookies are baked and cooled, it’s time to add the icing. I’ve always been a buttercream girl. I love the way it tastes. But these cookies require a flat surface since we’re going to be painting on them, so royal icing is a must.

Like I said, I don’t love royal icing, so I used a variation of the recipe. Also, I discovered another fun trick: buy a can of white frosting (Duncan Hines ranks the highest on taste tests), melt it in the microwave, and dip the cookies in that. You can add a little almond or vanilla extract to the store-bought frosting to spruce it up a bit.

I’m not usually a proponent of store-bought frosting, but this wasn’t bad! I’ll let my co-workers do a taste test, and I’ll update this later with which frosting they preferred.

Once the frosting is dry, prepare your paint colors. All you need is food coloring and lemon extract.

A lot of food coloring goes a long way! I would say start by mixing 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract with 1/8 teaspoon (about 13 drops) of food coloring.

It’s important to use extract because extract is mainly alcohol which evaporates quicker than water. You can use any extract. I just really like the taste of lemon.

Painting a plaid design on the cookies is really quite easy. I’ve broken down the steps below. Drawing straight lines is the trickiest part, but I think it’s easier if you have a very light hand. Also, I recommend painting the first color on a bunch of cookies before painting the second color on top. The colors are less likely to bleed together that way.

The painting will take anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour to dry.

Holiday Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
For the cookies
  • 3 cups flour (360 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks Challenge butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (198 grams)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
For the icing
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoons whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
For the paint
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon food coloring of your choice
  • Note: You can increase the amount using this same ratio if you need more paint
For the cookies
  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter for one minute; add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed and add egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat until combined.
  4. Add dry mixture to bowl and beat on low until just combined.
  5. Lay a piece of parchment paper on your counter top, place dough on paper, and then put another piece of parchment paper on top of dough.
  6. Use a rolling pin to gently roll out the dough between the two sheets of parchment paper.
  7. Once dough is about 1/3-inch thickness stick it in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.
  8. After cookie dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Use cookie cutter to cut out shapes and transfer to baking sheet.
  10. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges of cookies just barely turn golden.
  11. Repeat with remaining dough; cool completely before frosting.
For the icing
  1. Sift the powdered sugar into bowl.
  2. Add the milk and whisk until it’s smooth.
  3. Add the corn syrup and almond extract and continue whisking until it’s pourable consistency
  4. Using a squeeze bottle or a pastry bag, cover the top surface of the cookie, and let dry before painting.
To paint plaid
  1. Mix the lemon extract with food coloring
  2. Paint a cross
  3. Add a line above and below the cross and to the right and left.
  4. Add one or two little lines in between each of those thick lines.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows

Do you ever feel guilty about not being superwoman or superman? It's already December 4, and this is the first Christmas recipe I've posted. I've honestly been beating myself up over it since Black Friday.

Of course, I wasn't just sitting on my hiney all day every day. I'm a busy woman! But unfortunately it's much easier for us to focus on what we didn't accomplish than what we did.

So here's my reminder to you during this busy holiday season: You can't do all the things! And that's okay!

Now onto the marshmallows!

I'm not entirely sure what inspired me to make marshmallows. I think it's just because I had never done it before.

My family, friends, and co-workers receive cookies from me each year, but marshmallows... that's unique! And they're even better when paired with homemade hot chocolate mix in a fun container like a clear ornament or an empty wine bottle.

If you're like me, one of the first things you think of win considering a new recipe is "How messy is this going to get?" Shockingly (I really was shocked), the sugar syrup and marshmallow mix cleaned right off my pots and bowls with hot water and little to no scrubbing. It helps to stick everything under hot water in the sink as soon as you finish.

When preparing the sugar syrup for the marshmallows, I used a candy thermometer. This was actually my first time using a candy thermometer, and it made life a heck of a lot easier. You don't necessarily need one, but I highly recommend spending 9 bucks to get one.

Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows
Yield: Makes about 2 dozen marshmallows
  • Small amount of butter or your nonstick spray of choice and powdered sugar to coat pan
  • 3 (.75ounce) packets unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • Red food coloring (if desired)
  1. Grease pan with butter and dust with powdered sugar
  2. Combine three packets of unflavored gelatin with water. Let mixture sit for at least five minutes.
  3. Combine granulated sugar, light corn syrup, water, and salt in medium sauce pan.
  4. Stick candy thermometer on pan's edge, making sure it doesn't touch the bottom, and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and once it reaches 234°, remove from the heat.
  5. Add gelatin to bowl of mixer and start mixing at medium speed. Slowly pour sugar syrup into gelatin.
  6. When all sugar syrup is added, turn mixer up to medium high speed, and beat until mixture starts to pull away from the bowl, or about 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Add vanilla and mint extracts, and beat on high speed for one more minute.
  8. Add several drops of red food coloring and slowly mix to make peppermint swirls.
  9. Acting quickly, pour mixture into greased baking dish.
  10. Let marshmallows sit uncovered for about 8 hours at room temperature or about 4 hours in the refrigerator.
  11. Once you're ready to cut, loosen pan edges with knife and lift out of baking pan.
  12. Place eon cutting board and cut marshmallows into squares. Store in an airtight container with plenty of powdered sugar to prevent them sticking to each other for up to tone month.
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix
Yield: Makes about 10 cups of mix
  • 5 cups of powdered milk
  • 1 1/2 cup of non-dairy coffee creamer 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • (Optional: 6 candy canes, crushed)
  1. Combine all of the ingredients and sift together in a very large bowl. 
  2. Add crushed peppermints if you desire.
  3. Divvy out mix using cellophane bags, mason jars, empty mugs, empty wine bottles, etc.
  4. Pair with homemade marshmallows for adorable DIY gift.
Directions for how to prepare hot cocoa
  1. Combine 1/4 cup mix with 1 cup boiling water or milk. 
  2. Mix well and let cool before drinking.

Pin It button on image hover