Mexican Brownies

brownie close up

When I told some friends, also first year teachers, that I would bake for them if they came over to my apartment to lesson plan, their request was obvious: chocolate.  So naturally I immediately thought of brownies.  Now, I personally am a huge fan of boxed brownie mix.  I think Ghirardelli does a perfectly good job, and, honestly, duncan hines are delicious too.  But a blog post about how to add water to chocolate powder wouldn’t be all that exciting, and there was the additional request of chunks, which boxed mix doesn’t do all that well.

Plus I’m a chocolate snob, and making them from scratch let’s me use what I want to use.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to make these, I will tell you now that this will in no way be my only brownie post.  In fact, I consider brownies a category of their own, outside of bars, because of all the different kinds I like.  These are mexican brownies, so they have a bit of spice to them.  Texture-wise, they are more towards fudgy than cakey, but not so fudgy that they stick to your teeth.  There is a time and place for such dense deliciousness, but its not when you are also dealing with cinnamon and chili powder.

So first things first – melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl.  I used the microwave technique again of putting them in a bowl and microwaving on 50% power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring with a fork after each round.  And I used a Ghirardelli bittersweet baking bar because it was the highest percentage of cocoa I could find at A&P.

before melting

When there are still some smallish chunks of chocolate, just mix with a fork until it all melts.  You don’t want to scorch the chocolate and the heat from the already melted butter will usually do the trick to make it look something like this:


Then, add the cocoa powder and mix until smooth.  You can let the chocolate mixture sit and cool slightly while you move on.

add cocoa powder

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla until combined.

sugar and eggs mixed sugar and eggs

Then, while continuously whisking, add the chocolate mixture to the sugar mixture.  Stopping whisking while you scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula is not going to ruin anything, don’t worry.

add chocolate

At this point, I’d probably recommend switching to a wooden spoon instead of the whisk, because the batter is about to get super thick and sticky, which is less fun to mix with bendy metal.

Add the flour, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and chili powder, mixing until just combined.  Over-mixing at this point isn’t the end of the world, but it will add air to your batter, making it a little more cakey than fudgy.

add dry ingredients

mixed with dry ingredients

Next step: fold in the chocolate chunks.

chocolate chunks added  This is where you can get creative and do your own thing, but I am highly recommending chocolate chunks rather than chocolate chips.  There is just something about them being a tiny bit bigger that makes them more chocolately and really works well in the brownie model.  I think they might retain more of their structure since they are bigger, so rather than little pockets of molten melty chocolate you get the satisfying crunch.  They’re awesome in cookies as well, but if you want chunky brownies, and you want those chunks to be chocolate, don’t bother buying chips.

However, nuts might be pretty good at this point as well rather than the chocolate.  I’m not totally sure what would work the best with mexican chocolate, but I’d probably go pecans to play it safe – they seem to work in most desserts.

Alright, time to spread in a greased 8″x8″ pan.  I just sprayed it with pam and poured the batter in.  Some people like to do the whole aluminum foil thing, but  as long as you grease the pan, they aren’t going to stick that bad.  And is it really that bad to have to clean out the leftover brownie pieces with your hands and eat them?

in pan before baking

Bake at 350°F for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out without batter on it (but with chunks of brownie sticking to it).  Let cool completely in pan.

baked in pan

Once cool, cut into as few or many brownies as you like.  I did 16 because I can be mildly OCD and I liked cutting the sides exactly in half twice.

cut in pan

I usually store brownies just on the stove in the pan with plastic wrap over them.  They generally don’t last long enough to warrant anything further than that, but I’m sure you’d be fine to store them in airtight containers and freeze them if that’s your thing.


on tray closer

Mexican Brownies


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper (estimate a little under 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chunks


  1. Melt butter and chocolate in microwave safe bowl on 50% power, stirring with fork every 30 seconds.
  2. Add cocoa powder and stir until smooth.
  3. Whisk together sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in large bowl.
  4. Add chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.
  5. Add flour, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and chili powder, mixing until just combined.
  6. Fold in chocolate chunks.
  7. Spread in greased 8″x8″ pan and bake at 350°F for about 35 minutes, until toothpick in center comes out without batter.
  8. Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Giving credit where credit is due: this recipe was adapted from Baking Bites.


Oh Henry Bars

on spatula

I know, I know, it’s Monday, not Sunday.  And you all thought I forgot you.   Yesterday I ran a half marathon.  So while I did bake, I was a little bit too exhausted to think about uploading pictures and typing a post.  But not to worry, I’m here, on a Monday, to tell you all about Oh Henry Bars!

So quick shout out to Sandy for the recipe – she’s been endlessly supplying me with recipes for things, but since I hadn’t tried this one before, and it was chocolate and peanut butter (the best combination ever), I figured I’d give it a shot.

They are a remake of the candy bar by the same name, and super easy in theory.  However, as I’m sure you all know, baking adventures do not always end up with perfectly frosted lil elephant cookies.  I may have had a mishap or two, but I do think that you can learn from the couple of mistakes I made, so here we go!

First thing’s first: grease the pan.  I did so with some of the butter I was going to melt.

Grease the pan


Then, melt the butter!  Usually I melt butter on the stove, but I didn’t want to dirty a ton of pans, so I melted it in the microwave.  When you do this, make sure you set your power level to 50% and only microwave for 30 seconds at a time.  This will prevent the butter from burning/splattering the entire interior of your microwave.  Butter really is a wonderful shade of yellow.



Melt butter

Now, this is where I made my first mistake.  I just went ahead and put the oats, brown sugar, butter, karo syrup, and vanilla all in the greased pan and mixed it there, which looked something like this:

What not to do

I was mildly delirious and not thinking through my decisions.  I realize this seems like a ridiculous thought process.  Instead, I would say you should probably mix all of those ingredients in a separate bowl and THEN spread them in the greased pan.  Seems intuitive, but clearly I wasn’t seeing it.

Anyways, once spread in the pan, it should look like this:

spread in pan

Then, bake it at 350°F for 12 minutes.  It won’t look done and it will be bubbly, but according to Sandy, take it out anyways.  I believe her – she’s made this far more times than I have.  Once you’ve baked the base, you can leave it on the stove to cool while you melt the chocolate and peanut butter.

I used dark chocolate and chunky peanut butter because I love dark chocolate and I thought the extra crunch from the peanut butter would do well.  I still stand by that decision, but if you’re a milk chocolate and creamy peanut butter person, that would be truer to the candy bar and I wouldn’t hold it against you.  But I do have a great series of pictures showing the process of melting chocolate and peanut butter goodness:

melt 1

And a little more melty.

melt 3

And even more melty.

melt 2

And completely smooth (except for those peanuts).

melt 4

How can she possibly be taking pictures if both of her hands are in the shots?? That would be thanks to my sous chef of the week, seen measuring vanilla extract below.  Thanks for the help!

sous chef

So before that creamy chocolate melts, make sure to pour it over the cooled base and spread it evenly to coat.


spread evenly

At this point, depending on the time you have, you can either pop it in the fridge to set (you have plenty of time) or the freezer (you may have to be somewhere, with these bars, far too soon).

Once they harden, you can remove them and let them warm to room temperature, or just below it, before cutting into 1″x3″ bars.

Now, this is where I made mistake number two.

It was all but impossible for me to remove the bars in one piece.  However, I’m fairly certain that was because I didn’t mix the base together before spreading it in the pan.  So as long as you grease well and mix BEFORE spreading, you should be OK.  I’d also recommend using a slanted spatula to lift the bars from the pan.  Once I did that, it started going a little better.

The bars can be stored in the freezer and stay there for a good long time, waiting to be eaten whenever you need a small (or large, I’m not judging) treat.  If you find any other good ways to make the bars give up their grip on the pan, post it in the comments!


close up

Oh Henry Bars


  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 4 cups instant oatmeal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup karo syrup
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter


  1. Grease a 9″x13″ pan.
  2. Melt butter and mix in bowl with oatmeal, brown sugar, vanilla, and karo syrup.
  3. Spread mixture in greased pan.  Bake for 12 minutes at 350°F and remove from oven while still bubbly.  Allow to cool.
  4. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth.  Spread mixture over cooled base.
  5. Refrigerate or freeze until set.  When ready to cut bars, allow to come to room temperature or just under.  Cut into 1″x3″ bars.  Store in an airtight container in the freezer until ready to eat.

Fruit n Nut Granola

Full Shot

To preface this post, Yale Bake Shop Granola is hands down the best granola known to man.  It has brown sugar, it has salt, it has raisins, it has large chunks that could pass as granola bars on their own if you take the time to sift through it.  If you’ve ever seen me in the Calhoun dining hall, you know that I can eat the stuff by the bucketful.  It tastes good in alone, in milk, mixed with milk and peanut butter and small pieces of banana and chocolate sauce…  Unfortunately, I graduated already and no longer have access to unending amounts of the stuff.  So this is my attempt to find a substitute, but (maybe?) even better.

First, mix the oats, cinnamon, and almonds in a large bowl.  Make sure you are using regular oats (old-fashioned), because instant oats are more processed and won’t hold up as well when you bake them in the oven.  Also, you can use any kind of nut you want.  Usually I use sliced almonds, but the whole almonds are good if you want an extra crunch.

Dry Ingredients

Then, add the molasses, honey, water, and oil to a medium saucepan.  Heat it over medium-high heat until it starts boiling.  Make sure you keep an eye on it and remove it from the heat as soon as it starts to boil, because the molasses will start to burn and smell awful if you don’t.

Liquids Boiling Liquids

How cool does that swirl look?  Once you can do that with the foam, it’s probably time to take it off the heat, though.  Burnt molasses smells really, really terrible.  Trust me, you don’t want that to happen to your kitchen.

Then, add the liquid to the bowl with the oats and mix until all of the oats are coated.


Spray a jelly roll pan (those are the cookie sheets with the sides) with cooking spray and spread the mixture evenly across it.

Before Baking

Bake at 325°F for anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes depending on your oven.  Take out the pan every 10 minutes to stir the granola around, preventing it from burning anywhere that was spread to thin.  Granola is really touchy when it comes to baking time, so don’t forget about it and think that 40 minutes will be fine.  It takes about 3 seconds to go from wonderfully golden brown and crunchy to blackened ash.

OK that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but really, keep an eye on it.  You may even want to pull it out a little before it’s super crunchy since it will continue to harden as it cools.  You’re looking for a golden brown color, a little darker than before, and maybe a couple places that are darker.

After Baking

Put the granola into a bowl and add the raisins and dates, mixing until combined.  Pour the finished granola back onto the baking sheet to cool completely before storing in airtight containers.

Add dates and raisins

A note on dates:  dried, pitted dates are probably the most underrated dried fruit ever.  They are always impossible to find at the grocery store while things like prunes (which are disgusting) are abundant.  Dried, pitted dates taste like little balls of sugar, but not in the weird way that dried mango and pineapple bits taste fake.  I’ve never actually tasted a date in its original, plump-with-pit form, but that’s mostly because I’m sure it won’t compare to the dried variety.  Let me know in the comments if I’m wrong about that.

in bins from below

Anyways, this granola does not taste much like Yale Bake Shop Granola, but it is pretty excellent.  Rather than the brown sugar flavor, the molasses and honey make it a little less sweet and granola-bar like.  However, the addition of dates drastically improves the snack-ability of it, which is both dangerous and awesome.  And, since I adapted it from a Cooking Light recipe, you can even convince yourself it’s not quite so bad for you as other varieties of granola.


Close angle in pan

Fruit n Nut Granola


  • 4 cups regular oats
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped, pitted dates
  • 1 cup raisins


  1. Combine oats, almonds, and cinnamon in a large bowl, stirring well.
  2. Combine honey, molasses, water and oil in a medium saucepan.
  3. Bring to boil and remove from heat.
  4. Pour over oat mixture, stirring well until coated.
  5. Spray jelly-roll pan with cooking spray and spread mixture evenly onto pan.
  6. Bake at 325°F for 30 to 40 minutes, until lightly toasted.  Remove from oven and stir granola every 10 minutes to ensure even baking.
  7. Once toasted, remove from oven and stir in dates and raisins.  Cool completely and store in airtight container.


Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Swirl Frost Close

So I had no intention of making carrot cake cupcakes today.  Tomorrow is the first day of school (Yay!) and I wanted to make something quick, but when I was looking through ingredients, I dropped my carton of eggs and three cracked.  This recipe called for three eggs, so I put on Mamma Mia and went for it (Side note: the Mamma Mia soundtrack is hands down the best baking music I’ve ever found).

This is another recipe from my mom’s recipe box, adapted for my own purposes.  The recipe is for a full cake, but since I’m bringing them in for my fellow teachers tomorrow, I thought cupcakes would work out better.  Easy cake-to-cupcake conversion: bake at the same temperature for about 1/3 to 1/2 the time of the cake.

First, mix the dry ingredients.  Yes, that includes the chopped nuts (I used black walnuts because that’s what A&P had, but pecans are especially good) and coconut in addition to the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Again, leaving salt out is totally fine; they still taste delicious, I promise.

 Dry IngredientsMixed Dry Ingredients

Pro Tip from My Mom: coconut flakes are an ingredient that should be packed like brown sugar.  Yes, this means that the 2 and 3/4 cup bag of coconut is actually more like 1 cup, but trust me, if you’re a coconut fiend its totally worth it.

Packing Coconut

Next, add the wet ingredients: grated carrots, wesson oil, vanilla, eggs, and undrained pineapple.  The juice is what makes it so moist – don’t get rid of it!

Add Wet Ingredients

Pro Tip from Me: Apparently I’m feeling very professional tonight.  But if you, like me, usually grate carrots by hand on a grater and generally cut your fingers to shreds in the process, invest in a mini chopper.  It’s better than the wheel.

It turns this:

Mini Chopper

Into this:

Chopped Carrots

In like no time at all.  It’s brilliant.  Everyone should have one.

Anyways, mix until it looks like a cake batter, somewhat liquidy with no dry ingredients left in sight.  Scrape around the bottom with a bowl – sometimes flour pockets like to hide out down there.


Carrot cake batter is supremely underrated in terms of bowls you want to lick when you’re done.  Make sure you try it.  Then, pour it into lined muffin tins, filling them halfway if you want them to be flat across the top, three-quarters if you want them to be rounded on top.

Mix in Tins

As you can see, I only have a 6 spot muffin tin.  This is an extremely inefficient way of baking lots of cupcakes, and this recipe makes lots of cupcakes.  I’ll be buying a 12 spot tin immediately.  Anyways, bake the cupcakes for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.  Let cool on wire rack COMPLETELY before frosting.  See my reasoning in Lil Elephant Sugar Cookies if you don’t believe me.

Unfrosted and Baked

I had a long internal debate on whether or not I wanted to frost these.  I’m planning on giving them out as breakfast, when normal people don’t want frosting, but I felt that it was inherently wrong to have carrot cake without cream cheese frosting.  So I went for it.

To make cream cheese frosting, simply combine the butter, cream cheese, and confectioners sugar in a bowl and follow the highly scientific procedure of mixing until it looks like frosting.

Frosting Pre-MixMixed Frosting

What you do next is up to you.  I wanted to play with my cake decorating toys, so I put the frosting into a pastry bag with a 1M tip and frosted the cupcakes.

Frosting Point 1M

Swirl Frost From Above

Now I know what you’re thinking: how did she possibly make them look all swirly and cool like that?  You can judge me as much as you want, but I use a cupcake pedestal (Wilton makes one) to swirl evenly.  They look like this:

Cupcake Pedestal

You twirl it in your fingers while squeezing frosting through the bag, and end up with cupcakes that look like this:

Swirl Frost - Single

A little closer:

Swirl Frost Close - Single

Yea, they are as good as they look.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, the batch of frosting that you make will not frost 30 cupcakes to look this good.  I got it to frost 10 like this.  Normally, when I’m not making cupcakes for all the internet to see, I just frost them like this:

Regular Frosting - Single     Regular Frosting - Group

And let’s be real, this is all most of us have time to do anyways.  If you are content with these cupcakes, there is plenty of frosting in the batch you made.  Any extra can be frozen.  If you’re going the cake route, you’ll have plenty of frosting for that too.  The swirly frosting just requires way more than one cupcake’s worth of frosting.  So it’s really just an excuse for me to eat lots of cream cheese frosting.

Swirl Frost Group

If you are not serving the cupcakes the same day, store them, unfrosted, in an airtight container in the fridge.  Storing them frosted will just result in hard frosting that tastes more sugary than cream cheesy.  You can freeze them long term as well.  Let them come to room temperature before frosting, and make sure the frosting is room temperature as well – it will spread better.

Because they’re carrots, I can justify the unfrosted variety as breakfast.  But you do whatever you feel comfortable with.

Hope you enjoy your cupcakes!

Swirl Frost Close

Carrot Cake Cupcakes


  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 3/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups wesson oil (canola oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 8oz can crushed pineapple, undrained


  1. Mix dry ingredients: flour, sugar, chopped nuts, coconut, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add carrots, oil, vanilla, eggs, and pineapple.  Mix until completely wet.
  3. Line muffin tins with wrappers or grease.  Pour batter into each tin, about 3/4 full.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool completely on wire rack before decorating.

Makes 24-30 cupcakes.


Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter


  1. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl.
  2. Mix with hand mixer until combined and of frosting consistency.
  3. Frost, refrigerate covered, or freeze.

Lil Elephant Sugar Cookies

Tray of Cookies at Work Station

In college, my friends all decided that my spirit animal was a baby elephant.  I’m not really sure what that says about me, but I do think that elephants are cute, so I decided to embrace it.  As my inaugural post to SMiLes by Meg, and my first baking adventure in my new apartment, it only seemed fitting that I would make elephant cookies.

I started with a basic sugar cookie recipe from my mom that I’ve been using for years in my Christmas cookie tins, and cut it in half because really, unless you have some huge event to go to, it can be pretty difficult to give away 4 to 5 dozen sugar cookies, and eating that many cookies in one sitting would probably make you sick.

First, cream together the sugar, shortening, egg, and vanilla.  To me, that just means mix it until its smooth.

Step 1                Step 1b

Also, if you couldn’t tell, yellow is my favorite color.  So even though it may not make the most beautiful pictures, it makes me smile.  (See what I did there?)

Next, add the flour, baking powder, and salt.  I’m always torn about using salt in baking – some say that you need it to enhance the flavor of things, and maybe that’s true, but I’ve never really noticed all that much of a difference when I leave it out, so do what you want.  In this batch, i just added a pinch to see what happened.

Step 2

Again, I just mix with a hand mixer until it starts to pull away from the bowl and looks like cookie dough.  Sort of like this:

Step 3

I stuck the dough in the fridge for an hour to chill, but you can also cut the time down if you’re impatient by putting it in the freezer.  Or, if you’ve got a lot to do (I had to plan some lessons), you can leave it in the fridge for as long as you like before you roll it out.  Chilling it just makes it easier for the cookies to hold their shape.

After losing myself in classroom procedures for an hour (super exciting, I know), I rolled out the dough on a floured mat with a floured rolling pin.  Be generous with the flour, the dough tends to be on the sticky side, so it can take it.  I promise it won’t ruin the cookies.  Roll it out REALLY thin, like thinner than you think you should, because if its thick, the cookies will become pudgy lil elephants that look more like elephant-shaped clouds.  I rolled it out to about 1/8″.

Step 5

Then, use your cookie cutter to make any shape cookie you choose!  The elephant is actually the only cookie cutter I have at them moment, because why wouldn’t an elephant be the basic shape of all cookies.  But if you have another favorite shape, embrace it.  Not all of us can be baby elephants.

Step 6a

As you can see, I take pride in maximizing the amount of elephants I can fit in.  I’ve found that the easiest way to lift the cookies off the mat is to pull away some of the extra dough, dip a flat metal spatula in flour, and try to gently lift them off the mat without losing a trunk or leg anywhere.  I also don’t know where I heard this, but I will take up the scraps and re-roll once to make more cookies before declaring the dough unworthy of future cookies.  I’m sure you could get more cookies out of the recipe if you wanted to re-roll more than that; the dough might just get a little flakey with all of the flour.

Finally, bake the cookies for about 7 minutes at 375°F, or until golden brown at the edges.  Because they are so thin, keep an eye on them – they go from golden to burnt crisp faster than you would expect.

Step 6b                    Step 7

Let them cool until they are at room temperature, not kinda-warm-still-but-i-really-want-to-decorate temperature, before frosting.  To make myself wait, I usually don’t make the frosting until after the cookies have been baked.

To make royal icing, you can use one of two techniques: meringue powder or egg whites.  I couldn’t find any meringue powder at the grocery store (Wilton makes it and Michael’s stocks it, but I was being lazy), so I went with egg whites.  Two egg whites and a 1 pound box of confectioners sugar mixed with just enough water to make the icing thick enough to stay put but liquidy enough to smooth over after dragging a spatula through it and waiting 5-10 seconds is the consistency you’re aiming for.  Really royal icing just takes some trial and error.  You can always add more sugar or water.

I separated out a little bit to save for details, and added some pink food coloring gel to the base color to make pink elephants.  Use gel food coloring – that’s not up for debate.  Liquid food coloring will change the consistency, especially of icing, and that will mess with your ability to frost.

Step 9

Use a metal spatula to put the icing in a decorating bag with a #3 tip.  Line the outside of the cookies and then “flood” the center.  To flood, I just added lots of frosting and smoothed it out to the edges of the outline with a metal spatula so the whole cookie was covered.

Step 10

Let the icing harden before adding details.  I’ll say it again: let the icing harden.  This took about half an hour with my icing, but depending on how much you use on each cookie and the consistency, it could take longer.  If you do not wait, the eyes and ears will sink into the elephant instead of stand out on top.  Elephants need some dimension to them, give them time to prepare.

Once they have hardened, use that extra icing you set aside, add some black food coloring gel, and mix it.  Whenever dealing with royal icing, make sure it is always covered when not in use.  That wonderful hardened look you get on cookies will also happen in the bowl if it is exposed to air.  That is less wonderful.  Plastic wrap does the trick.

Using a piping bag with a #1 tip, add eyes and ears to your elephants, following the same technique of outline and flood for the ears.

Step 11

Again, let them harden before storing.  Voila! You have lil elephant cookies!  They will store nicely in airtight containers, but they will do better if you eat or give them away sooner rather than later.  Royal icing has a tendency to melt in the sun, so they are probably not a picnic cookie, but every other occasion works!

If you have extra icing, the court is still out on whether it will freeze.  I have a bag in the freezer, so I will let you know in a later post how that turns out.  Otherwise, you can put it in the fridge for a couple of days, COVERED, and use it again if you want to make more cookies.

Hope you enjoy your elephants!

Just Cookies

Lil Elephant Sugar Cookies


  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Cream together shortening, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing until dough pulls away from sides of bowl.
  3. Chill, covered, in refrigerator for at least an hour.
  4. Roll out on floured mat with floured rolling pin to 1/8″ thick.
  5. Cut cookies and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 375°F for 7 minutes or until golden brown around edges.
  6. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

Royal Icing


  • 1 pound confectioners sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 to 5 tablespoons water


  1. Mix sugar and egg whites.  Add water until consistency is such that a line from a spatula remains for about 10 seconds before smoothing over.