1. Sugar Cookies
Whip up a batch of these and decorate with some cute cookie cutters and colored frosting.
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Stir the powdered sugar and the milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and vanilla until icing is smooth and glossy. If it’s too thick, add more corn syrup. Divide icing into separate bowls and stir in food coloring as desired.
For those looking for something more adventurous, fondue is a fun way to spice things up.
2/3 cup half-and-half
12 oz milk chocolate or 1 bag (11.5 oz) milk chocolate chips (2 cups)
2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur, kirsch, brandy or half-and-half
Dippers (pound cake cubes, strawberries, pineapple chunks, apple slices, marshmallows)
In 2-quart heavy saucepan, heat half-and-half and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth; remove from heat. Stir in liqueur. Pour into fondue pot or chafing dish. Spear Dippers with fondue forks; dip into fondue. (If fondue becomes too thick, stir in a small amount of half-and-half).
3. Red Velvet Cupcakes
These cupcakes are classic but are popular for a reason.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons red food coloring
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard muffin/cupcake pan with liners. On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg. In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix. Slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center of the largest cupcake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes and then remove cupcakes from the pan and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.
4 ounces butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Using the whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese for about 5 minutes. Slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.