Category Archives: baking

norwegian cinnamon + cardamom buns


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He gives it his thumb of approval.

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It was one of those cozy, cloudy, rainy spring days.  The kind that makes me want to do nothing but bake up something warm and sweet.  What better than cinnamon buns?  And Norwegian ones at that?

I have two favorite cinnamon bun recipes…I couldn’t decide which one to use, so I did a mash up of them both.  Here is my version of Norwegian Cinnamon Buns, based on Nigella Lawson’s recipe from her book, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, and this one from Tessa Kiros, author of Apples for Jam and Falling Cloudberries.  I love Kiros’ addition of cardamom, such a Scandinavian flavor that brings back memories of my grandparents for me.

Norwegian Cinnamon and Cardamom Buns

for the dough:

  • 5 cups white flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 3 tablespoons yeast (yes, really!  3 TABLESPOONS.)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 eggs

for the filling:

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar {plus additional for sprinkling over buns, optional}
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

for the glaze:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • a few spoonfuls of sugar {for sparkle effect, it’s a good thing}

OR…you can do this frosting instead of the sprinkled sugar glaze if you’re craving something extra sweet and sticky:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract {or vanilla, but almond is better in this particular recipe}

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cardamom, and yeast in a large bowl {that’s right, you don’t need to dissolve the yeast first! I know, it’s completely insane but it works, trust me!}. Melt the butter and whisk it into the milk and eggs, then stir it into the flour mixture.  Mix to combine and then knead the dough either by hand or using the dough hook of an electric mixer until it’s smooth and springy.  Add a little additional flour if the dough is too sticky.  Form into a ball, place in an oiled bowl {I usually use the one I mixed the dough in, just so I don’t have so many dishes to wash}, cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel, and leave it to rise for about 25 minutes.  I’ve heard that a slightly warm clothes dryer is a great place to let bread dough rise…I’m going to try it next time!

While the dough is rising, mix together all the filling ingredients.

Take half of the dough and roll it on a lightly floured surface into a 20×10 inch rectangle. Spread the dough with half of the filling mixture, doing your best to cover it entirely.  Roll it up from the longest side.  Now, grab your sharpest knife or a pizza cutter, and get ready to cut your dough into buns.  You can just do the traditional, slice, slice, slice straight across, but if you want to up the wow factor here is what you do.  Imagine you are cutting the letter ‘V’ right side up, then upside down, all across your rolled up dough.  The point of your ‘V’ should be about 3/4-inch across, and the base of it should be about 2 inches across. Does that make sense?  See the photo above if I’m not making sense, which most likely I’m not.

Great work!  Now do the exact same thing with the other half of your dough and filling.

Place a sheet of parchment paper over a cookie sheet, or grease the pan if you don’t have parchment paper around.  Take all those little ‘V’ shaped pieces of pudgy dough and sit them on their fat bottoms into the pan.  So it will look somewhat like an upside-down ‘V’.  Now press your thumb down into the center of each one until you almost reach the pan, but be careful not to break a hole through the bottom of your dough.  Along the sides you will see the cinnamon stripes peeking up and outward.  Leave a little bit of space between each one to allow room to rise while they bake.  Brush them with the beaten egg {and sprinkle with sugar if you’d like} and then let them rise again for about 15 minutes.

Put into the hot oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.  They should have risen and turned a golden brown.  If you are using the frosting, allow the buns to cool slightly before drizzling it over the tops.  Enjoy warm with an ice cold glass of milk.

Makes about 24.

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chocolate chip cookies


Who needs Photobooth when you have a shiny mixing bowl?

Who needs Photobooth when you have a shiny mixing bowl?


My dessert binder is bursting at the seams...I have a serious recipe addiction.

My dessert binder is bursting at the seams…


A beautiful day with nothing on the calendar…what to do??

First a little backyard picnic (at Olivia’s request), followed by a big batch of our favorite chocolate chip cookies, that’s what!  We cranked up some seriously fun, non-Disney kid tunes (try Elizabeth Mitchell radio on Pandora) and got mixing butter, sugar and eggs like nobody’s business.  The kids discovered their funny faces reflected in my mixing bowl, and to me, that was just as great as eating the cookies (warm with a glass of milk, of course).

This recipe makes A LOT, so I sometimes freeze the dough in spoonful-sized balls for baking later.  But honestly, with five kids plus neighbor friends constantly running through my kitchen, six dozen cookies don’t last that long!

Heather’s Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 1/2 c. white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 5 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 c. semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, or use non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, and stir into the creamed mixture until well blended.  Finally, stir in the chocolate chips.  Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Allow to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 6 dozen.




we {heart} cookies

valentine cookies DSC_6197 DSC_6198 DSC_6214 DSC_6215 DSC_6216 DSC_6234Valentine love from my house to yours!

Patty Davis’ Sugar Cookies (our favorite recipe)

1 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. cold water
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 c. flour

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, water, and vanilla and mix well.  In a separate bowl, sift the salt, baking soda, and flour together, then add to the butter mixture.  Roll dough into a disc between sheets of parchment paper and place in a large ziplock bag.  Chill in fridge for a few hours at least.  Roll out thin and cut shapes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack and spread with frosting.


2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. water
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tsp. butter
food coloring (optional)

Mix all together, adding powdered sugar gradually.



lemonade layer cake


This cake has become a tradition for my mom’s birthday.  If you like lemon desserts, I promise you will love it!

Lemonade Layer Cake:

1 1/3 c. granulated sugar
6 T. butter, softened
1 T. grated lemon rind
3 T. thawed lemonade concentrate
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. fat-free buttermilk (or you can substitute with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice mixed with enough milk to measure up to 1 cup, and let it sit for 5 minutes)


2 T. butter, softened
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 tsp.thawed lemonade concentrate
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350.

To prepare cake, place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Beat with mixer at
medium speed until well blended, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda with a whisk.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat well after each addition.

Pour batter into 2 (9-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray. Tap pans once on counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pans. Cool cakes completely on wire rack. If baking the cake as cupcakes, bake them for about 20 minutes.

To prepare frosting, place 2 T. butter and the next 4 ingredients (through cream cheese) in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, and beat at low speed just until blended. Chill 1 hour.

Place 1 cake layer on a plate, spread with 1/2 c. frosting. You can add berry jam on top of this layer if you’d like, or lemon curd (on the jam aisle). Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator (a large bowl works well, that way you won’t smudge the frosting). You can sprinkle the top of the cake with fresh berries before serving and it looks so pretty!

Serves 8-12, or 24 cupcakes.

ikea cookies


Have you had these before? Oh. My. Goodness. I’ve bought them several times at IKEA, and wondered if I could possibly make them myself. You know, so I won’t have to go to IKEA in order to add three thousand calories to my daily intake.

I’m excited to announce that I’ve figured it out. YES! After much scouring of the web for the recipe and not finding the right one, and experimenting and combining two or three different recipes, I’ve figured it out. And here it is for all you lovely people. ENJOY.

IKEA Dubbla Chokladflarn
{makes about 40 chocolate filled cookies}

2 1/4 c. rolled oats
10 whole almonds, finely chopped
2/3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 c. butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 1/3 c. white sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the oats in a food processor and pulse until the oats are finely chopped, but not ground to powder. Pour the oats into a large mixing bowl and add the almonds, flour, and baking powder. Stir to combine. Pour in the melted butter and mix well. Add the sugar, eggs, and vanilla and stir well to combine.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets (or use parchment paper). Make sure the balls of dough are no bigger than a teaspoon because they spread a lot! They will look way too tiny, but trust me…I learned the hard way! Leave 2-3 inches between each ball of dough. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Remove and cool completely on wire racks.

For the chocolate…I melt about 2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave at 30- second intervals, stirring in between each interval until smooth and melted. Spread melted chocolate onto the back of one cookie and sandwich it with another similar in size and shape.

cozy kitchen day

Out of the last 9 school days, 8 of them I’ve had at least one sick child at home. I don’t know what this flu bug is, but it has hit Ben, Hannah and Nina each twice in the last week and a half. Headache, stomach ache, cough, fever, and fatigue. They just lay on the couch all day with rosy cheeks and sleep. All the neighbor kids have had the same symptoms, so it’s just going around I guess. Poor little Will has a really stuffy nose and a icky cough. Olivia, Clay and I haven’t had it {knock on wood!}, but I’m so ready for everyone to be healthy again. I feel like if we could only get some sunshine and warmth, we would all feel so good!
At least the birds are back. That’s always a sign that spring is right around the corner. We have had flocks of birds all over our back lawn, and swooping from roof to roof the last couple days. They always come back by March. One bird was singing and checking on the nest that’s been on one of our outdoor speakers for the last five years. Maybe she’s moving back in?
Today was gray with rain that turned to snow in the afternoon. Nina was sacked out on the couch and Will was sniffling through his tiny clogged nose, so clearly I wasn’t going anywhere. I feel so bad for all these sick little kids, but I have to admit, I actually like it sometimes when I have the excuse to not go anywhere. I decided to spend some time in the kitchen in an effort to make a seemingly cold and dreary day into something cozy. I started out by getting a soup simmering on the stove for dinner, even though it was only noon. Clayton came up for a little break from work, “What’s that awesome smell?” Then since the babies were sleeping too, I made myself a spinach salad and spread a couple pieces of flatbread with butter and orange marmalade from IKEA {my favorite}. I actually sat down to eat for once!
Baking is a sure way to warm up a snowy day, and I was in the baking mood. I found some big cans of pumpkin in my pantry. Usually pumpkin only sounds good to me in the fall, but Chocolate Chip Pumpkin bread was sounding pretty good today. Halfway through mixing it together, I found that Clayton had hard-boiled all but 2 of the eggs that were left in the fridge {again!}. Grrr…I needed 4 eggs!
Lucky for me, I have an awesome friend across the street. Even though she wasn’t home when I called, she offered her garage code and told me to help myself to eggs in the fridge in her garage. I was so happy I didn’t have to go to the store! {Thanks Krystal!}

Candles were lit and we all enjoyed some warm food tonight while watching the snow come down.
Here is the link to the Herbed White Bean and Sausage Soup recipe. I don’t use dried beans when I make this. I use four cans of white beans instead {drained and rinsed}. Sometimes I add a little pasta to the soup too, and serve it with parmesan cheese grated on top.
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 c. flour
3 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. allspice {or cloves}
2 tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
2/3 c. water
1 c. canola oil
16 oz. canned pumpkin
1 c. chocolate chips
Stir all ingredients together, except the chocolate chips. When everything is combined, add the chocolate chips and mix well. Bake in 2 greased bread pans at 350 degrees for approx. 50-55 minutes, or until set in center.