Basic Sugar Cookies

I don’t know how Santa Claus did it. Somehow, in the midst of delivering all those presents, he’s managed to get the rep of needing a plate of cookies when he arrives at your house. Whether it started with parents and their sweet tooths or an older tradition, the idea of leaving cookies and milk out for good ol’ Kris Kringle has stuck. I’m not mad about it. That’s actually one of the traditions I love. However, you may be wondering why I’m talking about Santa in April. Well, with Easter upon us it has me thinking…. what about the Easter Bunny?

He’s big. He’s fluffy. He gives out Easter baskets. Wouldn’t he like some cookies too?

Better believe it.

So, Easter Bunny, this post is for you.

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This basic sugar cookie recipe is great for any occasion. The dough calls for less than 10 ingredients and can be made up to 3 days in advance. Just remember, it does need to chill for at least 1 hour!

I love these cookies because they aren’t overly sweet but still provide satisfaction to a sugar craving; I could eat them in the morning with coffee or after dinner for dessert, but then again, that’s how I like to enjoy most sweets.

The royal icing is also relatively simple and only requires 3 ingredients. When making the icing, you will want to prepare piping frosting as well as flooding frosting; the main difference between the two is their thickness. The piping frosting should be used first to line the edges of the cookie and is what will prevent the flooding icing from running off the sides; the piping frosting is also used to add designs to the cookies. The flooding icing, as the name suggests, is more fluid and can be used to add the base color to the sugar cookie. If you’re confused and want to dive more into icing, Sweet Sugarbelle does a great job detailing the process.

Now that you know the basics, let your creativity abound. Happy frosting, friends!

Recipe links:
Sugar Cookie Dough (Thanks Real Simple!)
Royal Icing (I used the egg white version, thanks Joy of Baking!)

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Oversized Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lazy days are something I rarely grant myself the freedom to enjoy. But after weeks of busyness and a schedule that has me running from place to place, sometimes a lazy morning is exactly what’s needed. And what better way to indulge in a day off than to enjoy freshly baked cinnamon rolls.

cinnamon rolls

When it comes to these morning pastries, the phrase Go Big or Go Home comes to mind, well kind of. I mean, I’m already home, and I’m going big too. So. There.

…. have I mentioned these cinnamon rolls are oversized?

Not only are these cinnamon rolls oversized, they are swirled with intricate layers of cinnamon and topped with a well balanced creamy, sweet frosting. One of my favorite things about these rolls is that they can be prepared the night before. You can even slip out of bed half awake in the morning to let them finish rising. As the smell of cinnamon wafts through your house, you’ll have enough time to brew a pot of coffee and prepare the decadent frosting. When it comes time to layer on the frosting, don’t be shy; it’s part of what makes these treats so special.

Once the rolls finish baking and you’ve adorned them with frosting, grab a cup of coffee and head back to bed to enjoy the warmth of your covers and a good book.

To treat yourself to these cinnamon rolls, head on over to Lovely Little Kitchen for the recipe. If you want to make these rolls oversized, like I did, simply cut the dough into 8 sections instead of 12. For an extra punch of cinnamon, I also added 4 tablespoons to the filling instead of the recommended 2-3.

Nutella Cinnamon Sticks

What do you get when you mix Nutella, cinnamon, and sugar? A recipe that has lovingly been dubbed Sugar Sticks.

photo (8)Last weekend, I set out to make an updated version of the cinnamon roll; one that would be oozing with gooey chocolate hazelnut goodness and drizzled with a layer of sweet, cream cheese frosting. Sounds pretty good, right?

Well . . . things didn’t quite go as planned, and sometimes you just need to roll with the Nutella slathered dough that’s lying in front of you.

I blame the pounds of hazelnut spread layered on this moist dough that resulted in a cinnamon roll refusing to roll. Okay, blame might be too strong of a word; I can’t say I was mad about the amount of chocolate and sugar I was about to consume. But seeing as round cinnamon rolls were no longer in my future, I quickly switched gears and decided to bake this in a log shape instead of the typical cinnamon roll form. Once it came out of the oven, I still drizzled it with the rich cream cheese frosting and cut it into perfectly dunkable sticks. Since this treat is so sweet, it pairs perfectly with coffee or a glass of milk. Enjoy!

Nutella Cinnamon Filling:

  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs butter, softened
  • 1 cup Nutella (I melted mine slightly so it was easier to spread)

Dough:

  • 2 ¾ cups flour
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 4 Tbs butter, melted, divided
  • 2 Tbs butter, softened

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 3 Tbs butter, softened
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Begin by preheating the oven to 425ºF. Next, prepare the cinnamon sugar filling by combining sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a fork until well combined, set aside.

In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Separately mix the buttermilk, regular milk and 2 tbs melted butter. Once combined, add the wet mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined, then knead with your hands for about 30 seconds. Be sure to flour your hands first as the dough will be very sticky.

Once you’ve finished kneading, you’re ready to roll out the dough. On a lightly floured surface, use hands to press dough into a 12×10 inch rectangle. Coat the dough with Nutella leaving about ½ inch of space around the edges. Next sprinkle the dough with cinnamon sugar mixture. Starting with the long end of the rectangle, roll the dough to the opposite end. Roll the dough back and forth to shape it evenly into a log shape. Pinch the ends together and cut off any excess dough. Transfer dough to a non-stick cookie sheet and brush the top with 2 tbs melted butter. Place in the oven and allow to bake for 10-15 minutes. Once the top begins to turn golden, cover the roll with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

While the roll is baking, prepare the frosting. Using a hand mixer, beat softened butter and cream cheese until light and creamy. Add in powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Mix until well combined. When the roll is finished baking, allow to cool 5-10 minutes before drizzling on the frosting. Next, cut the log into 1 inch thick slices (similar to a biscotti). Store in airtight container for 2 days or serve immediately. Enjoy!