There's something about having a name in the title that you can just tell immediately whatever it is, it's going to be delicious. That's how I felt about Mrs. Siggs Snickerdoodles before I made them. Every time I see a recipe with "My grandmother's..." or "Mrs. ---..." I feel obliged to make it on the spot. It's kind of like what I said about church cookbooks, you just trust the recipes more. I made these for the first time last week and have since made 5 batches. It's a little excessive, yes, but these get eaten up so fast I've got to keep making them. The flavor is absolutely delicious and this is another recipe that falls in the "always turns out right" category. They bake to reveal perfect little cinnamon cracked surfaces, YUM! I'm a chocolate person so it takes a lot for me to make something without a hint of chocolate in it but these cookies did me in. Am I turning into a sugar cookie person now? No. But I've got to make something every once in awhile for those types! And considering I'm pretty much obsessed with these, I guess it's not so bad.

Mrs. Siggs Snickerdoodles
Recipe from


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
3. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Every Christmas we give away trays of baked goods to all of our family friends. We've been doing it for as long as I can remember and it's a tradition I love but this year we decided to change it up a little bit. We get lots of trays of goodies every Christmas and they're great but after Christmas you've got so many leftover desserts of your own you don't need all of the old mixed assortments. So, this year we gave everyone little vases of Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sticks rolled in candy cane sprinkles. I honestly think these look twice as good as any tray we've ever given out. Granted, the homemade buttermints and cream puffs are a treat but these are simple and delicious. I found the sprinkles at Freshmarket and just used regular Rold Gold pretzel rods for the sticks.

Pretzel Rods Dipped in Chocolate
1 12 ounce package pretzel rods
One package bark coating or 11.5 ounce package chocolate chips
Sprinkles of your choice (I used the candy cane ones)

Melt chocolate according to directions but be careful not to burn it. I usually use the defrost setting on my microwave on medium and stir it every 2 minutes or so. Once coating is melted take a spatula or spoon and with pretzels one at a time spread evenly over 3/4 of pretzel. It is best to let the chocolate pour over the end and then shake off the excess chocolate on the edge of the bowl. Shake sprinkles over all sides of pretzels and set on parchment paper.

Finished product!

By this point everyone has made oreo truffles or cake balls. They are both simple, yet over-the-top amazing little treats. Last week we celebrated my brother's college graduation from UNC and so to celebrate I made a few trays of these in carolina blue and white. I come from a family of Duke fans so having the house turn Carolina blue for one day was great. A little drizzle is something that really impresses the average person despite its simplicity. Because of this, I put drizzle over everything. Even simple cake or oreo balls get the bakery-style touch depending on how you choose to decorate them. I'll put the recipes up here just in case you don't have them. In all the rush of the day and the graduation party I forgot to take any pictures of the inside, guess you'll just have to make them to see!
Even though these recipes have circulated around a lot of recipe sites I know the cake balls come from Bakerella and she has the oreo recipe on her site as well.

Oreo Truffles
1 package oreos
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 package candy coating

Crush oreos (cream filling and all) until fine. In a large bowl combine crushed oreos and cream cheese. Work cream cheese in with hands until incorporated. When finished roll mixture into balls and dip in coating. Decorate however you'd like!

Cake Balls
Recipe from Bakerella

1 box cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
1 can frosting (16 oz.)
1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)
wax paper

1. Make cake as directed on box and let cool once removed from oven.
2. Mix thoroughly with 1/2 can frosting
3. Roll mixture into small balls and place on cookie sheet
4. Chill for several hours. (You can speed this up by putting in the freezer.)
5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package.
6. Roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (Use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate and then tap off extra.)

I got this recipe off of Sugar Cooking and I honestly don't know what I would do without these cookies. They are delicious! Don't you love those recipes that turn out perfectly every time? Perfect shape, perfect texture, perfect taste...these cookies are just perfect. I like to have cookies around my apartment at most times and usually this is the batch you'll find. These cookies sent me on a peanut butter craze. After baking one batch, next thing you know I've got peanut butter cakes, peanut butter ice cream sandwiches, peanut butter pie-there is no end. I'm a Jif person, and I always use reduced fat jiff. It's funny how 30% less fat (or whatever it is) makes me feel so much better about eating it. No need to tell me it's just the same, I've got my mind set. I tried these with Peter Pan peanut butter the last time I made them and though the results were still good the peanut butter flavor was much stronger and the texture a little different. The recipe originally comes from Baked cookbook,

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe from Baked

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter
6 ounces good quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped


1. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. The mixture will look light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and peanut butter until just incorporated.
3. Add half of the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.
4. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
6. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoon onto the prepared baking sheets, at least 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with granulated sugar and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the tops of the cookies just begin to brown. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.

These biscuits are my family's go-to for any big occasion. Even though we all love a warm batch of Sister Schubert's, it's hard to deny that homemade bread is better. The recipe comes from my step-sister and her husband, they gave it to us last year with a few jars of homemade jam and we've put it to good use ever since. They're amazing right out of the oven, never dry and very flavorful. Because we're a family full of butter addicts we inevitably slap on the butter to the individual biscuits but they're fine without it as well. I know for a fact we'll be making two batches of these easy biscuits for Christmas tomorrow.
Merry Christmas Eve!

Touch of Grace Biscuits
Serves: 10 biscuits

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups Southern self rising flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp shortening
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray 8-9" cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine self rising flour, salt, and sugar in medium mixing bowl. With your fingers, work the shortening into the flour mixture until there are no lumps bigger than a pea. Stir in the cream and buttermilk. The dough will be wet and will look like cottage cheese. Spoon a biscuit into the all-purpose flour to coat the outside. Pick it up and shape into a small round while shaking off the excess flour. Place the biscuits into the pan tightly against one another so that they will rise up not out. Bake just above the center of the oven until slightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Then brush with melted butter. Cool 1-2 minutes, then serve immediately.

I'm not a huge fan of pumpkin pie so this year for Thanksgiving I decided to go with a peanut butter dessert. There's nothing about peanut butter that screams Thanksgiving so it was a bit of an odd choice but because it was so good I don't think anyone minded. It's Christmas now, so I'm just a little late for my Thanksgiving post but I've slacked on putting up about 10 recipes and now that I finally have time I'm putting them all up at once. This dessert is nothing too impressive but it's full of flavor and a sure crowd pleaser. We had a big range of ages, from 19 to 85, and everyone thought it was great.

Giant Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sandwich
Recipe from Taste of Home Joann Belack
Yield: 12 servings

2 packages (16 ounces each) ready to bake refrigerated peanut butter cup cookie dough
6 whole chocolate graham crackers, crushed
1 cup cold milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1- 1/3 cup chocolate hazelnut spread

1) Let dough stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften. Press into two ungreased 9-in springform pans; sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until set. Cool Completely.
2) In a large bowl, whisk the milk, cram, and pudding mix for 2 minutes or until soft-set. In another large bowl, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add pudding and ice cream; beat until smooth.
3) Spread over one cookie crust. Remove the sides of the second pan; place crust, crumb side down, over filling. Cover and freeze for 4 hours or until firm.
4)Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving. Place hazelnut spread in a small microwave safe bowl; cover and microwave at 50% power for 1-2 minutes or until smooth, stirring twice. Remove the sides of pan, cut dessert into slices. Drizzle the hazelnut spread.

A good ganache is hard to beat. So the other night when I was browsing through cookbooks looking for something good to bake for dessert the simple, but elegant chocolate ganache cake stood out. I got this recipe from Inspired Cooking, First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC's recent cookbook. If there is one thing I've learned about church or junior league cookbooks it is that almost everything is good. First of all people only want to give their best recipes if their names are attached to them but secondly you're much more likely to run into recipes that have been passed down in families through generations.
This recipe is ridiculously easy but because the taste is so different from a regular chocolate cake people automatically assume you've put a lot of work into it (love those kind of desserts!) I served it alongside vanilla ice cream with raspberries. My stepdad commented that he liked it because it was "not overly chocolaty", which is something I have had to learn to take as a good thing despite the fact that overly chocolaty is what I look for in desserts. Basically, this dessert is too easy and good to not at least try.

Chocolate Ganache Cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 can (1 1/2 cups) chocolate syrup, preferably Hershey's
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semisweet chocolate morsels
1 teaspoon instant coffee crystals
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Add syrup and vanilla extract. Add flour and mix to combine. Do not over mix. Butter an 8inch round cake pan and place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean. Let cool in pan. For the ganache, place all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat until smooth and warm, stirring constantly. Place cake upside down on rack and pour ganache evenly over cake. Do not refrigerate.

Serves 8
(We made it work for 12)