Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

Need a quick and easy dessert for your holiday dinner? Just pick up a store-bought pie and dress it up with these great and simple ideas! These small hacks will make your pie look and taste homemade!

 

The holiday preparation continues this week on the blog.

Today I want to showcase 5 easy ways to decorate store-bought pies for the holidays.

Supermarket pies can still look beautiful and will taste even better with my ideas for some fun toppings and additions.

Although we have a fantastic pumpkin pie recipe on here and even a step-by-step picture tutorial for making the perfect pie crust, I know that many of us just don’t have the desire to tackle pie baking.

This post is especially for you and I hope you can create a swoon-worthy dessert table that will leave people guessing if you made those pies or not.

 

Spiced Whipped Cream

 

Add a Delicious Homemade Topping

Although your pie may not be homemade, your toppings can really stand out with just a few simple ingredients that will add a lot of flavor to your pie.

One of my favorite toppings is a Spiced Whipped Cream that gets its hint of spices from ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and a little sugar. It is the perfect accompaniment to your store-bought pumpkin or pecan pies for the holidays.

 

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping

 

Another idea for layering on the flavors is to add texture through a fun crunchy pie topping.

One of our favorites that I created for our pies last year was an easy Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping made from amaretto cookies and fresh cranberries.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Add Unique Details

One of the greatest tools that I got for my holiday baking this past year was a set of piecrust cutters that I found on Williams Sonoma.

Not only are these great tools to keep handy for masking any flaws on your homemade crusts, but they can double as a great detail to adorn store-bought pies.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Purchase pie crust from the refrigerated section of the store and then roll out on a lightly floured surface.

Dip your cutters in a little flour and then push down and press these cutters to create your shape.

Bake these adorable details in a 400 degree oven for 6-8 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Allow these to cool and then decorate the tops of your pies with these.

These little details are also so pretty to sprinkle on your dessert table and add that extra festive touch.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Make a Mini Pie Spread

When I spotted these adorable mini pies in the bakery section of our local Walmart, I knew this would be another fun spin on pies to try for the holidays.

These mini pies are less than $1 each and come in a variety of flavors year-round.

For smaller families, these store-bought pies offer the perfect serving size and give everyone exactly what they love the most.

Adorn these with the smaller size pastry cutouts and add a bowl of spiced whipped cream in the center so that everyone can create their own pie experience.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Give the Gift of Pie

One of my favorite things to give as a hostess gift is a sweet treat for their hospitality.

Nothing is sweeter than a little individual treat just for me after entertaining, at least that is my opinion, and one of my favorite gifts to give happens to be my little peppermint cheesecakes in a jar.

If you are short on time though, consider purchasing these mini pies as hostess gifts for the holidays.

Dress it simply in some festive ribbon and tie a bow around it to create a sweet little gift to give for the holidays.

At less than $1 each, these are a sweet way to say thank you without spending a lot.

 

5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies from MomAdvice.com.

 

Create a Beautiful Display

I love that when I posted a picture of this pie display on Instagram & Facebook that people were asking if this was even real.

I think it really goes to show that with a few easy details and staging, you can take store-bought pies to another level.

With this display I used mismatched cake stands in varying heights to create a display.

Don’t be afraid to drape a cloth napkin over a stand to make it cohesive or even create a stand out of a teacup and plate and cover it with the cloth napkin, if you are short on serving pieces.

If you have multiple dishes out, consider adding these cute chalkboard label frames to help people navigate the dessert table.

Sprinkle pastry cutouts along the tablecloth to decorate the display and pull in leaves, bare branches, or create a unique centerpiece like I did this year to add some color to the table.

I hope these ideas are inspiring and that you will find a new way to love store-bought pies this year with these creative details!

 Oh, and enjoy all that free time you have now that you aren’t baking this year.

Winning!

 

Don’t miss this series on how to make your Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time and freeze the meal!:

 

make-ahead mashed potatoes from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

 

 

 

Ultimate Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauce from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Brandied Orange Cranberry Sauce

 

 

 

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole

 

 

Bacon, Apple, and Cornbread Stuffing from MomAdvice.com

Make-Ahead Gluten Free Bacon & Apple Cornbread Stuffing

 

 

 

Buttery Dinner Rolls in the Bread Machine from MomAdvice.com

Buttery Bread Machine Dinner Rolls

 

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Dress Up Store Bought Pies MomAdvice.com

 

Other great Thanksgiving ideas from MomAdvice:

 

Centerpiece for all seasons MomAdvice.com

DIY Table Runner for All Seasons

 

 

Thanksgiving TV Episodes MomAdvice.com

6 Sitcoms that Make Us Give Thanks

 

 

 

How to Make a Pumpkin Spice Latte from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Pumpkin Spiced Latte

 

 

 

5 Ways to Date Your Husband in the Fall MomAdvice.com

5 Ways to Date Your Husband in the Fall

 

 

 

Dress up Store Bought Pies MomAdvice.com

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Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Header

Not a baker? You can still make this sugar & spice candied nut mix for gift-giving. Tossed in sugar and spices, this holiday nut recipe is a great gift to give or to share at your holiday dessert table.

Not everyone is a baker and that is why I wanted to share with you an easy sugar & spice candied nut mix that you can pull together for your holiday giving that is as impressive as any holiday cookie.

Making your own flavored nut mixes might not be something you have considered for the holidays, but once you try this delicious nut mix, you will have a hard time giving these sugared and spiced nut mixes away.

Tossing Sugar & Spice Candied Nuts With Egg Whites

For many years, I was embarrassed about my lack of baking skills. Despite taking courses on baking and cake decorating, I never could master the art making baked treats.

What changed though was my perception of my cooking skills after watching those early episodes of Rachael Ray.

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Poured On Cookie Sheet Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Sugared on Baking Sheet

While Rachael Ray could make an incredible breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, brinner, etc.., she ALWAYS defaulted to store-bought dessert hacks and prepared doughs for making her desserts.

It helped ME to realize that just because you don’t bake doesn’t mean you aren’t an incredible cook.

Baking requires exact ingredients, weighing, and doing thoughtful baking practices (like sifting flour).

Cooking though is measured with my heart. I can test flavors, and taste-test as I go, adding and taking away as I cook.

I think the biggest challenge, for me, has been translating those recipes for you.

I mean, how do you say, add the salt until it tastes right on your tongue?

Hahaha!

Let’s move on to this delicious recipe that you ABSOLUTELY can taste test until you get the perfect balance of sweet, salty, or even spicy.

Here are a few questions that get asked often on this recipe.

Sugar & Spice Candied Nuts After Baking Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Adding Kosher Salt

Where is The Best Place to Buy Nuts for Gifts?

Let’s be honest, nuts aren’t the cheapest gift to give so I recommend shopping around for the best prices.

If you have a membership to Costco or Sam’s Club, you can buy these ingredients in bulk to save on your cost per pound.

I also found this Reddit thread on where to buy the cheapest nuts and thought it had some incredible suggestions that I wouldn’t have thought of.

What Are the Best Nuts for a Holiday Nut Mix?

You can choose any combination of mixed nuts that you might love or just keep things simple and roast only your absolute favorite. In this recipe, I’m just using three of my favorites- pecans, almonds, and walnuts.

You can definitely use your own favorite combination for your sugar and spice nuts.

My favorite variety of nuts include pecans, almonds, and walnuts.

These nuts are then tossed with an egg white, water, sugar and some of my favorite holiday spices- cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and allspice.

Once you pull them hot out of the oven, I sprinkle liberally with kosher salt to add that sweet and salty combination

I love so much in everything from my salted caramel mochas to my dark chocolate & sea salt brownies. The salt really adds to the flavors and helps make these even more addictive.

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix After Baking Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix After Salting

How Do I Package Nuts for Gift-Giving?

This time of year, the craft stores are loaded with food packaging for your gifts. I love to check the seasonal aisles in Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and Jo-Ann Fabrics.

The important thing is that they are airtight, especially if you are giving a large amount as a gift. While these paper boxes make a cute display, an inexpensive tin or even recycling nut tins will keep your treat fresher longer.

To make the most of your recycled container, consider wrapping it with festive gift wrap or scrapbooking paper to make it more unique.

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Packaged Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Close-Up Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix Packaging Idea

Don’t have a lot of money in the budget? No worries at all!

Did you know that you can order items IN BULK from the Dollar Store?

This shop usually has a TON of great packaging solutions for just one dollar.

Target’s Dollar Spot might also be a great option, if you have on a budget.

Can I also remind you how IMPORTANT it is to have this app on your phone when visiting your craft stores? It costs nothing and it gives you cash back on all your purchases. Here’s $10 to get you started ASAP.

Not only does this make a good amount for sharing, you can easily double the recipe.

Package these nut mixes up in a pretty box tied with ribbon.

I actually found these little Wilton boxes at our local grocery store, but I am sure they have something similar at your favorite craft store.

I lined the interior of them with a little tissue paper and finished them with satin ribbon.

 

Sugar & Spice Nut Mix
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
An easy nut mixture to create from spices in your pantry and perfect for your holiday snacking or giving.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup sugar (you can use white or brown sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Coarse salt for sprinkling
  • 2 cups pecans, halves
  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • Optional: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to make these into sweet & spicy nuts.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the beaten egg white, sugar, and all of your spices (except the salt).
  3. Add the nuts and toss until evenly coated. Make sure to stir to coat each individual piece well.
  4. Spread nuts in a single layer, evenly, onto a greased or lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  6. Spread out on parchment paper and sprinkle, while still hot, liberally with coarse salt.
  7. Package for your gift-giving needs.

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This post contains affiliate links.

Looking for more great holiday treats? Here are a few of our favorite recipes!

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com no-bake peppermint cheesecakes in jars

the hidden secrets to the perfect cut-out sugar cookies

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com gluten-free cake mix sugar cookie recipe

Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe Step-By-Step gingerbread biscotti recipe

What are some of your favorite treats to share around the holidays?

Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix from MomAdvice.com Sugar & Spice Candied Nut Mix from MomAdvice.com

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Gingerbread Biscotti Step-By-Step Tutorial

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe Step By Step Header

Did you know how easy it is to make biscotti? This great recipe shows you how to make this gingerbread biscotti treat that is perfect for dunking in a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Get the step-by-step tutorial and printable recipe on the blog today!

One of my favorite gifts to give is homemade biscotti.

This gingerbread biscotti is the perfect gift to give for the holidays or to share in this year’s cookie exchange.

Biscotti seems like a really difficult treat to make, but it is just as easy as making a regular batch of cookies.

The biggest difference is that you bake these treats twice to get a cookie with crunch.

Gingerbread Biscotti with a Cup of Coffee

What Are Biscotti?

Biscotti are an Italian twice-baked cookie.

You begin by baking these tasty treats in a loaf, then slicing with a serrated knife, and finish them with a second round of baking.

This yields a dry, crunchy oblong cookie that is perfect for dunking!

Are Biscotti Gluten-Free?

Many of our readers need to eat gluten-free so this is one of our most commonly asked questions. Biscotti are made with flour (this recipe is made with all-purpose and wheat flour) so biscotti are NOT gluten-free.

How Can I Make Biscotti Gluten- Free?

Substitutions for all-purpose flour in this recipe can be made by using oat flour instead. Here is a recipe for gluten-free gingerbread biscotti that may cater to your dietary needs more.

where to find molasses for gingerbread biscotti

Where Do I Find Molasses In My Grocery Store?

I can admit, the first time I started making gingerbread-flavored items, I had NO CLUE where to find molasses in my grocery store.

Is molasses in the cereal aisle with the pancake mixes or is it in the baking supplies aisle?

If you are lost too, I would suggest you check both aisles. While I have found it in my baking supplies aisle, some stores do carry it in their breakfast aisle.

Don’t think of it as only being stocked near the sugar either. This can be found randomly down by spices or even near the puddings.

Don’t want to hit your grocery store? Check here and order online instead.

How to Make Gingerbread Biscotti


This Gingerbread Biscotti is filled with all of the gingerbread flavors you love.

To achieve this flavor, we mix molasses, brown sugar, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon into our batter.

patting the gingerbread biscotti dough Splitting Gingerbread Biscotti Dough for a Second Bake split gingerbread dough patted down Gingerbread Biscotti Dough After First Bake Cutting Biscotti for a Second Bake The most important thing with this biscotti, I have found, it to keep an eye on it because it will go from done to burnt rather quickly!

Start checking these after twenty minutes (on your first bake time) and don’t leave them neglected after that point or you may have some burnt biscotti on your hands!

After baking these, for the first time, you will slice them with a sharp knife (serrated is a great option).

You should note that you start with a higher temperature, on the first baking, and then you reduce the oven temperature for the second round of baking.

Gingerbread Biscotti Baked a Second Time

Once they are sliced, you will spread them out on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 

Bake them again.

Gingerbread Biscotti Glaze Drizzling Glaze on Gingerbread Biscotti

After finishing the second round of baking, allow these to cool completely on a wire rack before drizzling with glaze.

Packaged Gingerbread Biscotti Close Up of Homemade Gingerbread Biscotti With Glaze

These can be packaged in festive treat bags with a little ribbon and would make a cute accompaniment to a favorite homemade drink mix, coffee, or the makings of a coffee gift basket with my homemade peppermint syrup or gingerbread syrup for easy homemade lattes.

However you package it, solo or in a basket, I guarantee that this recipe will be a hit for your holiday giving and baking!

Gingerbread Biscotti
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 dozen
 
A sweet and simple gingerbread biscotti recipe that is perfect for your holiday gift-giving!
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1½ tablespoons ground ginger
  • ¾ tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • For Glaze: ½ cup confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar), sifted
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons milk or light cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oil, sugar, eggs, and molasses. In another bowl, combine flours, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg; mix into egg mixture to form a stiff dough (depending on your humidity, the dough may be sticky).
  3. Divide dough in half, and shape each half into a roll the length of the cookie.
  4. Place rolls on lined cookie sheet, and pat down to flatten the dough to ½ inch wide thickness.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. KEEP A VERY CLOSE EYE ON IT as it will go from done to burnt quickly.
  6. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool.
  7. When cool enough to touch, move over to a cutting board and cut into ½ inch thick diagonal slices.
  8. Place sliced biscotti on cookie sheet, and bake an additional 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until toasted and crispy. If the biscotti already looks a little "too" crispy, you can decrease your oven temperature to 275 degrees and bake for 7-10 minutes instead.
  9. Let cool.
  10. In a small bowl mix together the confectioners sugar, vanilla extract and milk until it is incorporated. Using a small spoon, drizzle back and forth your glaze over the biscotti. Allow the icing to harden before packaging.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Looking for more great holiday hostess gift? Here are 3 other projects to check out!

Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com make some chocolate coffee spoons to pair with the biscotti

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

no bake peppermint cheesecakes in a jar

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles slow cooker pumpkin spice candles (SO fun and easy!)

What fun treats are you baking this holiday season? Any great big batch recipes you might like to share?

Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe Step By Step Header

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No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars

Friday, November 15th, 2019

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

These no-bake peppermint cheesecakes in a jar are a perfect gift to give and full of that peppermint flavor we crave around the holidays. The best part about these isn’t the jar though, it is the, “no baking required,” feature that I happen to love the most. Print this recipe today for an adorable individual-sized dessert.

These mini peppermint cheesecake jars are a fun holiday party dessert or could be a fantastic hostess gift to share with someone. This no-bake cheesecake recipe is quick and easy and perfect for stashing in the freezer for the unexpected guest.

I have a theory that any gift in a jar is more special when decorated and created in a portion size for one.

In the past, I have made only salads in a jar. Although I do love a good jarred salad, I have to say that cheesecake is a heck of a lot more fun.

This year I wanted to create holiday hostess gifts that would long be remembered, but quickly be used.

What could be more memorable or useful than a tiny cheesecake in a jar?

The thing is, I am NOT a great baker.

Why let my skill set stop me from delivering a delicious dessert though? 

That is why I thought it would be fun to make a no-bake treat instead that even a beginning cook could pull together.

These no-bake peppermint cheesecakes in a jar are a perfect gift to give. Nothing says the holidays to me more than that minty flavor and festive crushed candy canes.

Is it just me or are chocolate and peppermint the most perfect of pairs? With this dessert, I used crushed cookies instead of the traditional graham cracker crust (made from graham cracker crumbs) for my cheesecake.

I just love bringing those peppermint and chocolate flavors together.

I also love a rich cheesecake filling so I skipped a lower calorie filling substitution (like greek yogurt or sour cream) and opted for full-fat cream cheese for my filling.

YOLO, amiright?

The best part about these isn’t the jar though, it is the, “no baking required,” feature that I happen to love the most.

Here’s how to make these delicious no-bake peppermint cheesecakes.

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars

The cookie crust, for these adorable jarred cheesecakes,  can be created by crushing the cookies with a rolling pin or pulsing them through your food processor.

Gluten-free?

No problem!

They make delicious gluten-free cookie sandwiches or I have even used a gluten-free chocolate granola as a fun substitution for my curst.

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

After laying down your cookie base you can blend up your cream cheese mixture for your cheesecake filling.

I like to use a handheld electric mixer and blend this cheesecake filling in a mixing bowl.

Folding in the whipped cream, at the end, allows helps this cheesecake filling to be light and airy.

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

To get that holiday peppermint flavor, we just substitute a traditional vanilla extract with a peppermint extract instead.

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

The possibilities with this fun food craft are endless.

Convert your favorite no-bake cheesecake into a sweet gift. I love to decorate jars with spray paint or a scrap of pretty fabric.

These gifts can easily be personalized and will be a fun treat for whoever you might share them with.

I guarantee if you made me one of these, as a hostess gift, I would have you over and over again…

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

How To Decorate Yours No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars

Supplies Needed

10 Half-Pint Ball Jars

Red Spray Paint (I REALLY recommend getting one of these to help with paint application)

Hot Glue and Glue Sticks

Green Grosgrain Ribbon

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

Directions

Remove the bands from the jars and set aside. Outside or in a well-ventilated area, spread your jar lids out on newspaper.

Shake your spray paint well.

Slowly and evenly, spray your spray paint back and forth until all of the lids are covered with the spray paint.

Allow these to dry for at least thirty minutes.

Plug in your glue gun and allow it to heat up.

Tie grosgrain ribbon (any width you desire) into a small bow. 

Place your spray-painted lids on top of your jars and screw the bands into place.

Squirt a tiny dot of hot glue on the back of your bow and place it on top in the center of your lid.  Hold it in place for a minute. Sit back and bask in your crafting glory.

 

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

5.0 from 1 reviews
No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes In A Jar
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
A sweet & simple no-bake cheesecake in a jar that you can give to someone special for the holidays. This is the perfect little hostess gift, teacher gift, or neighbor gift to share!
Ingredients
  • 10 Half Pint Ball Jars
  • Cooking Spray
  • 2 cups of chocolate sandwich cookies (approximately 17 cookies)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 2 cups whipping cream, whipped
  • Red food coloring
  • 20 peppermint candies
  • 3 freezer bags
  • 1 rolling pin
  • For decorating jars (optional): Red Spray Paint, Green Grosgrain Ribbon, and Hot Glue
Instructions
  1. Place your chocolate sandwich cookies in a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to smash them until they become cookie crumbs.
  2. Add your melted butter and sugar to a bag and mix until the three ingredients pull together. You just want to make sure that your crust is well incorporated so it holds well together.
  3. Take the lids off of your glass jars and place them on a cookie sheet to contain the mess.
  4. Spray each of the jars with cooking spray. Put two spoonfuls of cookie crumbs into each jar and use the back of the spoon or your hands to press the crust into each jar.
  5. Slide the cookie sheet of jars back into the freezer to chill while you prepare the filling.
  6. In a large bowl, beat your cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually pour in a can of sweetened condensed milk until it is smooth.
  7. Stir in your peppermint extract and red food coloring, approximately three drops, to achieve a pale pink color. Mix all of these ingredients well.
  8. Fold in your whipped cream.
  9. Remove your tray of jars from the freezer. Using a standard ice cream scoop, add one scoop of filling to each of your jars. Use the back of a small spoon to smooth the filling on top until it is level and smooth.
  10. Remove the wrappers from your peppermint candies. Place the peppermint candies into a double-bagged freezer bag and use your rolling pin to smash these into small pieces to garnish your cheesecakes. Sprinkle the broken peppermints on top of each one.
  11. Screw the lids back on your jars and put these back into the freezer. Freeze for two hours or until firm.

Make a batch of these and keep them on hand for those unexpected occasions where a gift is needed!
It also could be a lovely reward for yourself after all of that hard holiday preparation you have been doing. You deserve it.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Looking for more great holiday hostess gift? Here are 3 other projects to check out!

How to Make Knitted Wine Toppers from MomAdvice.com knitted wine bottle hats and scarves

slow cooker pumpkin candles

DIY Vanilla Chai Tea Mix from MomAdvice.com diy vanilla chai tea mix in a jar

What are some of your favorite hostess gifts to give? 

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Jars from MomAdvice.com

 

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Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe

Monday, November 4th, 2019

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com

 Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookie recipe can be made into beautiful sugar cookie rolls with just a few simple ingredients. This easy freezer recipe for gluten-free cookies is such a great item to keep stocked for the perfect hostess gift or for a friend in need. Tied with ribbon, you have the perfect gift for any occasion!

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Do you ever have a really hard time with a recipe and then later wonder if it had ever been tested?

That was the case with this project from start to finish.

These cookies were supposed to be simple and straightforward, but the recipe ended up being written completely wrong.

Thankfully for you, I spent a whole day figuring out what went wrong with this one and how we can fix it so that you can have an awesome baking day!

Please read this post carefully, I am offering you a load of tips for a successful baking day!

Are M&M’s Gluten-Free?

Let’s begin with the question, are M&M’s gluten-free?

The answer is that most M&M’s are gluten-free.

In fact, most of the varieties they typically carry, other than their pretzel variety, are gluten-free.

What I found with the Red Velvet M&M’s though are that they are gluten-free, but in high times of production, like Halloween & Valentine’s Day, Mars uses alternative facilities to make its candy and some of those may introduce cross-contamination risks.

These Red Velvet M&M’s are ones that could have been cross-contaminated.

If this is of high concern, look for the plain M&M’s, preferably mini-M&M’s to help your dough hold up better. 

It is always important to read your labels carefully and know that Mars Chocolate always promises to call out any wheat, barley, and rye ingredients by name, as well as any cross-contamination risks on their labels.

I recommend this information page for finding which candies are safe to eat.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Tips for a Successful Dough

As, I am a big fan of the Betty Crocker cake mixes, I used this mix to create my cookies.

As you can see when I mixed the ingredients together, this dough is very crumbly.

To help make this dough really hold and stick together, add 3-4 teaspoons of water to the dough, until it really comes together. This will help when slicing your sugar cookie rolls.

The recipe that was written did not add this to the dough and so when I sliced them, the cookie dough crumbled. I had to add my water later and chill them again for another three hours.

Once I sliced with the liquid addition, the dough held much better.

If you need these cookies to be dairy-free as well as gluten-free, please read the notes in the recipe on how you can create these without the butter.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Tips for a Successful Sugar Cookie Log

One more thing, I learned while creating this cookies is that it is better to make your sugar cookie roll WITHOUT the M&M’s in it and then add them to your cookies after so you can get beautifully clean slices.

Trying to cut through these Red Velvet M&M’s was a real challenge so I would encourage adding them after or just doing these cookies as a drop cookie.

To do a sugar cookie roll, as pictured above with M&M’s, seek the mini varieties.

Again, read the packaging carefully to insure that they are safe for eating.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com

Wrap your sugar cookie roll in wax paper and chill for three hours or more.

Once you are ready to bake off your cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and then slice them and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet or a well-greased cookie sheet.

I prefer parchment paper squares (like these), both for the ease of clean-up and how beautifully these cookies will set up.

Allow these to cool and then transfer.

These cookies are very delicate in texture so you will want to give them plenty of time to set up. 

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com

What Do They Taste Like?

These cookies are so delicious that you will NEVER know that they are gluten-free.

The dough is so flavorful and the healthy dose of vanilla in the batter makes these taste like a cookie dough that you truly slaved over.

The addition of the candies adds that yummy chocolate flavor that I think every good cookie should have.

With these helpful tips, I hope you will have a successful baking day and hope that this easy treat idea will help as you plan your own holiday treats this year!

Can I Freeze These?

Cookies can be frozen!

It is recommended that you wrap them in aluminum foil or in a resealable plastic bag for up to one month.

Let the cookies thaw on the kitchen counters overnight before serving.

What Other Ways Can I Spice Up These Cookies?

If you can’t have chocolate, there are many other ways you can spice these easy cookies up.

Add Sprinkles– Lightly beat one egg white and brush the tops of your cookies with it, then sprinkle with gluten-free sugar sprinkles.

Add Zest– Add 1 teaspoon of grated lemon, orange, or key lime zest

Switch Your Extract– Try a different extract in your dough like almond or butter

Make It Spicy– Add a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, or dust the tops with the egg white & a cinnamon & sugar combo.

Check out the recipe below! Love this project? Here are a few other gift ideas I think you will like!

diy your own chai tea mix

diy vanilla chai mix

diy orange sugar scrub

how to make knitted wine hats and scarves diy knitted wine hats & scarves

diy mojito bath salts

DIY Grilling Seasoning Mixes for Father's Day with printable labels diy grilling seasoning mixes

How to Make a Knitted Coffee Sweater

knitted coffee cozies

 


Gluten-Free Cake Mix Cookies
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
 
Cake mix cookies that can be gluten-free and dairy-free for a fun treat to share for any holiday.
Ingredients
  • 1 package (15 ounces) yellow gluten-free cake mix
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter- if dairy-free replace with vegetable shortening, MELTED
  • 1 large egg
  • 3-4 teaspoons warm water, just until you see your dough pull together
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup M&M's or read the post for other ways to spice up these cookies
Instructions
  1. Place the cake mix, butter (or vegetable shortening), egg, water, and vanilla in your mixing bowl and beat on low speed until well-combined.
  2. Using a spatula fold in the M&M's (if mini-sized) or reserve to press these into each cookie after they have been cut (if large-sized)
  3. Place the cookie dough on a sheet of wax paper and then press with your hands to form a long,approximately 12 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Tightly roll the dough and chill it in the refrigerator for at least three hours or overnight.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets well or cover these in parchment paper.
  5. Unwrap the dough and transfer to a cutting board and slice them in ¼-3/8" slices.
  6. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake until the cookies are lightly browned on the edges,7-10 minutes.
  7. Let the cookies fully cool before transferring.

 

Have you ever made gluten-free cake mix sugar cookies? Do you have any tips for beginning gluten-free bakers on ways to increase success with cake mix cookies?

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

This post contains affiliate links.

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com

 

 

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The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Monday, November 4th, 2019

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Do you know the hidden secrets to the perfect cut-out sugar cookies? Put your stand mixer to work and blend up this incredible sugar cookie dough. You will learn how to make rolling and cutting sugar cookies easier. These tricks yield cookies that stay soft- bookmark this perfect cut-out cookie recipe today!

I love, love, love to cook.

Baking bread, whipping up fancy dinners, making stacks of gourmet waffles…those are my favorite thing to do!

Baking cookies?

Total fail.

I don’t know what it is, but making great cookies is not something I am good at.

To be honest, I just don’t think I have the patience for it.

More than that, I haven’t had the time.

I rely on bar cookies, quick breads, and other easy snacks to get us by.

Of all of the fails, cut-out sugar cookies have been the biggest fail for me.

They are misshapen, taste like cardboard, and are far too time-consuming.

I tried so many recipes with the same results and had determined that cut-out cookies were just NOT my thing.

I decided this year though that I would find a good recipe that would look nice and yield a tasty result.

Where do I turn when I don’t have time to run a full-fledged test kitchen out of my home?

My America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.

Don’t they have such great recipes?

The recipe was entirely unique and promised fantastic results.

Crisp cookies, full flavor, and step-by-step tutorials that would be worth eating and sharing.

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies from MomAdvice.com

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

Trick #1: Use a Superfine Sugar

The first step towards a great sugar cookie was to use superfine sugar.

According to the cookbook, superfine sugar gives the cookies a finer crumb and crisper texture.

What is Superfine Sugar?

Superfine sugar s simply granulated sugar that’s been ground more finely. It’s often called for in recipes where a faster dissolving granule is needed.

This ingredient can be purchased at your local grocery store over by the other sugar options.

Don’t want to buy superfine sugar for one recipe?

Yeah, me either!

How Can I Make My Own Superfine Sugar?

Instead of purchasing a specialty sugar, process one cup of your granulated sugar in a food processor or blender.

Once the sugar is to a fine consistency (approximately 30 seconds), you can measure out 3/4 cup for your recipe.

Easy enough!

You know me, I chose the cheaper option for this recipe and put my blender to work.

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Trick #2: The “Reverse Mixing Method

The second step to their perfect cookie was a “reverse” mixing method.

In traditional recipes, we would cream the room temperature butter and sugar together. They took a reverse mixing method approach instead.

With this method, you mix together all of the dry ingredients first and then add butter tablespoon by tablespoon.

The dough mixture is finished with cream cheese, another unusual addition to a cut-out sugar cookie recipe. This ingredient really pulls everything together and makes the dough workable. Once it has pulled together, finish with a little vanilla extract for flavor!

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

 

The dough looked like this. It looked crumbly and not very wet. You were instructed to pull the dough together with your hands and form it into a ball. I wasn’t too sure how this was going to work out. It just did not seem sticky enough to me.

The dough looked like this. It looked crumbly and not very wet.

You were instructed to pull the dough together with your hands and form it into a ball.

I wasn’t too sure how this was going to work out. It just did not seem sticky enough to me.

After a couple of minutes of kneading, this is what my dough looked like. I don’t think my dough has ever looked this good.

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Trick #3: Chill Your Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Dough

Have you ever had a sugar cookie that looks misshapen?

Chances are that the cook didn’t chill the dough. This look step helps these cut-out cookies to turn out great.

Divide the dough and place them in your refrigerator to chill. It is recommended to flatten them into two 4″ disks, and leave them there for 20-30 minutes.

 

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

 

While the dough is chilling, you can tidy up the kitchen and then get everything else ready to go.

Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper and lay out your cookie cutters.

Next, tear off two additional sheets of parchment paper per dough disk to roll out your cookie dough.

That’s right, no floured counters which will save on clean-up time!

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Tip #4: Roll Your Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Dough Between Two Sheets of Parchment Paper

Put your disk between the parchment paper and roll the dough out.

I secured one set of corners between me and the counter to hold the paper in place.

Tip #5: After You Roll Out Your Sugar Cookie Dough, chill it AGAIN!

Now pop the dough back in the refrigerator for ten more minutes or until the dough is firm for cutting.

I know waiting for the dough to chill again feels like a waste of time.

Trust me, you will be glad you did it.

This will yield a cookie with sharp edges and that hold their shape.

I promise that this will be worth the wait.

At this point, I was already patting myself on the back.

Aren’t you glad you weren’t in the kitchen with me for this annoying moment?

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

The cookies cut out beautifully and were firm enough that I could easily transfer them over to the parchment paper.

How crazy that we won’t be losing snowman feet and arms or the poor wings off of our bird cookies!

I bet you are glad you never saw my past cookies (*ahem*)!

Put your cookie sheets in the oven and watch them through the glass.

Be sure to continue, annoyingly, patting yourself on the back.

Tip #6: Rotate Your Cookie Sheets For Even Heating

Instead of letting one rack stay doughy and one rack get burnt, they have you rotate the cookie sheets halfway through.

What a novel idea!

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

These are my cookies after baking!

I KNOW!

Keep in mind, these cookies remain a pale color so don’t worry that they haven’t cooked long enough. Ten minutes is just the amount of time you need for these cookies to

They didn’t look done to me, but they were so don’t overcook them.

I had one batch that got out in the nick of time after I added two minutes to the cooking time.

They will harden up for you without any additional cooking.

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Tip #7: Ice Your Cookies With America’s Test Kitchen Royal Icing (OR NOT)

They recommend decorating with a royal icing glaze.

I am not a fan of how those royal icing recipes turn out.

I stick to a traditional frosting recipe that requires a little more time to harden, but has a thicker tasting frosting.

What If I Want the America’s Test Kitchen Royal Icing Recipe?

Blend together 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 1 ounce cream cheese, softened, and food coloring to make the America’s Test Kitchen Glaze.

Since our cookie sheets were lined with parchment paper, I reused these sheets for decorating.

This caught any runaway sprinkles or the sprinkle dumping that seems to occur every year (see above for examples).

The cookies looked good, but the real question is did they taste good? I asked our very official taste-testing and decorating crew to give me their honest opinions.

Sometimes a picture is all you need! They were perfect, not crumbly, sturdy, but not thick, tangy, but buttery. Basically, perfection!

The cookies looked good, but the real question is did they taste good? I asked our very official taste-testing and decorating crew to give me their honest opinions.

Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com Hidden Secrets to the Perfect Sugar Cookie from MomAdvice.com

Sometimes a picture is all you need! They were perfect, not crumbly, sturdy, but not thick, tangy, but buttery. Basically, perfection!

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cu-Out Sugar Cookies from MomAdvice.com

The Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookie Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Desserts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: approximately 3 dozen
 
Do you know the hidden secrets to the perfect cut-out sugar cookies? Put your stand mixer to work and blend up this incredible sugar cookie dough. You will learn how to make rolling and cutting sugar cookies easier. These tricks yield cookies that stay soft- bookmark this perfect cut-out cookie recipe today!
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup superfine sugar (purchased or diy this flour with my instructions above)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½″ pieces & softened
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Rolling pin, cookie cutters, and sprinkles
  • Sugar Cookie Frosting:
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Food coloring
Instructions
  1. Whisk the flour, sugar, & salt together in a large bowl.
  2. Beat the butter pieces (into the flour mixture) one piece at a time. I suggest using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, and beating until the mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet. This should take about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Beat in the cream cheese & vanilla until he dough just begins to form large clumps, about thirty seconds.
  4. Knead the dough in the large bowl by hand a few times until it forms a large, cohesive mass.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter, divide it in half, and apt into a two four inch disks.
  6. Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until they begin to firm up, 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375.
  8. Work with one disk at a time, roll out the dough to a ⅛″ thickness between two sheets of parchment paper.
  9. Slide the rolled dough and parchment onto a baking sheet & refrigerate again until firm.
  10. Working with one sheet of cookie dough at a time, cut out shapes using your cookie cutters.
  11. Next, lay them on two parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced about 1″ apart.
  12. Bake the cookies until light golden brown, about ten minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.
  13. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for two minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
  14. Be sure to allow them to cool completely (approximately 30 minutes)
  15. When cooled, the cookies can be decorated as desired.
  16. For frosting: In a large bowl, cream together confectioners sugar and shortening until smooth.
  17. Gradually mix in milk and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth and stiff, about five minutes.
  18. Color with food coloring if desired.

I would highly recommend adding this cookbook to your holiday wish list. That same recipe can be adapted for many different types of cookies! It has definitely earned its keep on my bookshelf.

Do you have a favorite holiday cookie recipe? Please share your recipes or links here!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This post contains affiliate links.

Love this post? Here are a few other baking tutorials that might help you in the kitchen!

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread easy gluten-free homemade pumpkin bread

Gluten-Free Cake Mix Sugar Cookies Recipe from MomAdvice.com gluten-free cake mix sugar cookies (great for freezing!)

Mini Cannoli Cream Pastry Bites mini cannoli bites (pair with the Annie film for a fun family night idea!)

3-ingredient-star-cakes 3-ingredient star cakes

Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Peppermint Frosting chocolate chiffon cake with peppermint frosting

The Hidden Secrets to Perfect Cut-Out Sugar Cookies from MomAdvice.com

Happy baking!

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Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Do you love pumpkin recipes and are on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free recipe to share for the holidays? Add this spiced pumpkin bread to your cooking agenda today! 

It has been surprisingly cool already here in the Midwest. As soon as those temperatures dip, this girl is ready with a few cans of pumpkin. If you are as excited as I am, you are really going to enjoy the blog this month because I tend to go ALL THINGS PUMPKIN in the kitchen.

Last Fall, I finally perfected a gluten-free pumpkin bread that I have held on to share with you until this year. I have tested this recipe on friends and family and NO ONE ever suspects that this quick bread doesn’t contain gluten.

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe buy this pan for an impressive loaf

To spice up my infatuation for pumpkin  even more, I decided to snag this beautiful pumpkin bread pan for my holiday baking. This  created such a beautiful loaf that my family, honestly, hesitated to eat it. 

They never suspected that it requires exactly the same amount of effort as a regular standard loaf. 

I was, in fact,  so tired from making this beautiful artisan loaf that they volunteered to clean the dishes. 

I love the trickery that I get away with around here.

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe flashback to our pumpkin patch days- how did my kids get so big?

Back in my early days of blogging, I helped write food and craft content for Kenmore for over eight years. There were many intimidating things I had to try as their spokesperson that really pushed me out of my comfort zone.

Filming a YouTube contest for them (and receiving the YouTube feedback- OUCH!) was one of those challenging things I did for the brand. 

The other? 

It was working their kitchen booth at an American Baby convention.

I was asked to create and share a few of our family recipes, to be created for the thousands of attendees that would be at the event. 

Not only would I be making food for thousands, I also was supposed to hand out recipe cards with my picture and website on them to let them know who I was.

Those weeks leading up to the event had me in an absolute panic. 

You see, I thought they were asking ME if I would make all the bread for everyone and I had never cooked for more than twenty people. 

I laid awake all night trying to think about how this would be done in their kitchen booth space and how awful it would be if my recipe didn’t turn out. 

I am not kidding that I was CRYING about PUMPKIN BREAD for weeks.

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe I, nervously, arrived that morning, prepared to give all the attendees food poisoning and bad bread.  

As we prepared the booth space, I admitted to someone in marketing that this would be my first time cooking for so many people and that is when she started giggling.

“Amy, you aren’t making the bread for everyone. You couldn’t possibly make that much, not to mention, we don’t want anyone to get sick.” 

Hahaha. LOL. 

To my surprise, they had sent all my recipes to be prepared in a commercial kitchen by legit chefs. 

My REAL role was just to stand there, show them how to mix the ingredients, give samples, and distribute recipe cards.

Now that’s something that I could do. 

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe

You know that whole, “Fake it until you make it,” stuff that they say you should do in business? 

It just goes to show that maybe you shouldn’t always sell something you can’t really do.

They did allow me to bake a couple of loaves though to hopefully lure people down to our booth space. It was amazing  how many people started traveling to our booth because the smell of the pumpkin and spices were so darn enticing in that huge space.

I’m not sure if milkshakes really do bring all the boys to the yard.

It could just be this pumpkin bread.

Now that you have heard my horrifyingly embarrassing story, let’s talk about some frequently asked questions that you might have about making your first batch of gluten-free pumpkin bread.

Don’t worry, this recipe is so much easier than you think!

How to Make My Easy Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Best Gluten-Free Flour for Baking the gluten-free flour mix that I swear by

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe

How Do You Make Gluten-Free Quick Breads?

In all seriousness, I swear by this baking flour as the perfect cup-for-cup substitution for your all-purpose flour. Typically, I find the texture of many flours to be gritty and a little off-putting. 

Can you mix up your own gluten-free flour mix?

Of course, you can.

I have to admit that I’m one of those moms that just hasn’t made time for it, especially since discovering how good this flour works in many of my recipes. 

I have not had a recipe fail on me yet with this flour blend.

The best part is that it does not contain the xanthan gum so you have more control over this addition when tackling all of your baking.

This dairy-free loaf gets its brown hue from the combination of pumpkin pie spice and ground cloves. 

You may notice the loaf in the fancy pan looks darker than the standard loaf. This is simply because the loaf has been inverted and you are seeing the bottom on the decorative loaf! 

Don’t have any pumpkin pie spice in the pantry? No worries at all! You can snag a recipe to mix up your own pumpkin pie spice from the spices you have in your cabinet

The bread has been sweetened with granulated sugar (rather than brown sugar) although you could sweeten it up with a handful of chocolate chips or some coarsely chopped walnuts to try out different flavors. 

Pour your batter into prepared loaf pans (sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with parchment paper so you can remove them from the pan easily). 

Be sure to allow these to cool completely (room temperature) so that your loaf holds together. Gluten-free baked goods have a tendency to fall apart easily if they haven’t been allowed to cool completely. 

Despite these two loaves being in entirely different pans, they both took the same amount of time to cook.

If you are concerned if the middle is done though, be sure to test it. The best way to check (without damaging your loaf) is to have a toothpick inserted to poke the center. If it comes out with batter on it, you will need to cook it a little longer! 

What Type of Pumpkin Do I Use- I Get Confused at the Grocery Store?

One of the biggest mistakes I made, when first starting to cook with pumpkin, is picking up the wrong type of pumpkin at the grocery store. If you see a can that says, “Pumpkin Pie Mix,” (it looks like this), you do not want this type of pumpkin for your baking. 

Pumpkin Pie Mix is intended to just be mixed with milk and eggs to create pumpkin pies really fast. Lucky for you, you don’t need anything like that because you have this recipe in your back pocket.

Instead, you are looking for canned pumpkin (that will look like this) because it is ONLY pumpkin and allows you to add in your own sugar and spices to create your dishes. 

As you can see, the labels are almost identical and this can really throw people off when they are shopping for their recipes. 

What Else Can I Use Canned Pumpkin For?

I mean, what *can’t* you use pumpkin for? Our family loves pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin chili, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin lattes, and even pumpkin pasta.

If that isn’t enough recipes for you? I can’t wait to share more this month!

Why Is It Even Called a Quick Bread?

Quick breads come together…well, quickly. The reason they are called this though is because these batters can be mixed up and then baked immediately, thanks to the addition of ingredients like baking soda and baking powder. 

Basically, if the ingredients don’t include yeast and a rise time, they are often referred to as quick breads. It’s not limited to bread recipes like banana, zucchini, or pumpkin breads though. It can also include muffins, cornbread, or quick rolls (like drop biscuits). 

Erin Waynick

I Don’t Need to Be Gluten-Free. How Can I Make This Bread and Retain That Gluten?

Well, aren’t you lucky?

This recipe is so easy to convert because the only gluten-free substitution we are making is the cup-for-cup flour substitution. If you don’t need to make this substitution, just make it with regular ol’ all-purpose flour. 

What is the Best Way to Store My Quick Breads?

Do you need to store the loaf if you ate the whole thing in one sitting?

I’m asking for a friend.

Should you have any pumpkin bread leftover, I have found a good airtight container is good to have in your arsenal. I found mine at our local Home Goods. These discount retail shops are a great place to shop for food storage solutions.

Remember, this does yield two loaves so you can always store your second loaf (or share it with a friend) 

What is the Best Way to Freeze Quick Breads?

You can freeze your loaves after they have cooled, to be enjoyed later. If you want to freeze them, I like to wrap them in a layer of plastic wrap, a layer of tin foil, and then place these loaves in an airtight freezer bag. 

Make sure to clearly label the bread as well as the date that you froze it. These loaves can be frozen for up to six months! It makes this recipe a perfect one to prepare and share for the holidays. 

How Long Should I Cook it If I Do This Pumpkin Bread in Mini Loaves?

Mini loaves are such a great way to share bread with others. Just look at how many loaves you can make with this pan!  They also make great hostess gifts. Although there is no “perfect” amount of time necessarily (because it depends on the type/size of the pans), I did find this advice very helpful for making time adjustments.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of today’s recipe and am looking forward to sharing more fun pumpkin recipes in the upcoming weeks! 

 

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 loaves
 
Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe from MomAdvice.com. This gluten-free flour makes gluten-free baking a cinch. Learn how you can spice up this loaf with chocolate chips or nuts for your own unique pumpkin combination. Storage tips for quick breads, how to pick the right canned pumpkin, and ideas for making creative loaves with bakeware are all included in this step-by-step post.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin (read which pumpkin to buy at your local grocer in the post above)
  • 3 cups gluten-free flour (I recommend this brand for best results- I am always sad to hear when people attempt substituting and don't achieve the best results)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (I have even been known to throw in 3 if I’m wanting those spices to be a little bolder)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans (I recommend this pan for best results or this pan to make the pretty loaf I have featured).
  2. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend.
  3. Mix in eggs and pumpkin.
  4. Sift flour, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts or mini-chocolate chips (1 cup) if desired.
  5. Divide batter equally between prepared pans.
  6. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes.
  7. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes.
  8. Using sharp knife, cut around the edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.
 

 

Here are 3 of your favorite gluten-free recipes on the site!

Easy Homemade Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe 5-ingredient gluten-free pizza dough recipe

gluten-free meatloaf recipe gluten-free meatloaf recipe

Gluten-Free Orange Chicken gluten-free orange chicken recipe

This post contains affiliate links.

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from MomAdvice.com

These make-ahead holiday dishes are my favorites & I love that I can have our holiday feast prepped in our freezer. These recipes, decorating ideas, and hostess gift ideas are the perfect things you need in your arsenal for a perfect day!

It’s that time of year again where I show you how incredibly awesome it is to prepare your Thanksgiving meal ahead and pack it away in your freezer for the big upcoming feast.

Over the years I have tried so many recipes to share with you and today I want to show you my foolproof technique meal for creating a delicious meal right from your freezer and to your table that will taste like you cooked it that very day.

Before we dive into all the recipes, here are a few items I recommend having in your arsenal to make your meal preparation day easier and to actually create room for all of these delicious dishes.

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from MomAdvice.com

Ninja Cooker For Preparation & Buffet

This item is definitely a splurge item, but has paid for itself over and over again for me. The Ninja Cooker has two functions on it (Stovetop & Slow Cooker) that allow you to brown meat inside of it and then switch to slow cooking. It also has a Buffet setting that is perfect for using on Thanksgiving Day to keep your dishes warm.

I can’t recommend this gadget enough and consider it to be a smart holiday investment.

Did I mention it is nonstick?

DREAMY!

Ziploc Freezer Bags For Food Storage for the Big Day

I love, love, love Ziploc Freezer Bags for their stackability for storing our food for the big day.

I use these to package up my stuffing and casseroles to help me pack more in my freezer without taking up so much space like a disposable pan would.

Make sure you reach for the freezer bags and not the regular ones though to prevent freezer burn.

When in doubt if something will hold, always double bag!

Chinet Bakeware For An Elegant Freezer Meal Spread

Since I freeze my feast for Thanksgiving Day, I love the ease of stacking (and clean-up) when it comes to disposable pans.

Chinet makes ones that are nonstick and I have found them to be a bit more durable for transporting from oven to table.

Since they are made of paper, the first time I used them I was a little scared how my food would turn out, but I have had great success with these and find them to be an affordable alternative to foil pans for Thanksgiving Day.

If you want to keep things looking nice, these casserole baskets (less than $10 each) are a clever trick I use to disguise a disposable pan.

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from MomAdvice.com

Pie Cutters For Glamming Up Store-Bought Pies

If baking pies isn’t your thing, consider buying a little pie dough and adding a personalized touch with an inexpensive set of decorative pie cutters.

You simply roll out the pre-packaged dough, cut out a piece with the pie cutter and press to make a detailed impression on the top.

Transfer these delicate details to a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake as directed.

Add a glossy shine with a little egg or sprinkle sugar & cinnamon on top to add a little flavor.

Between this and a glammed up whip cream or quick topping, your store-bought pies will be a fabulous addition to the dinner table.

Carry-Out Dishes For Packing Leftovers

Sharing the leftovers is not only a nice gesture for your guests, but it makes sure that all the dishes get eaten.

I use my takeout pho containers when packaging food up for myself, but these Fitpacker containers would be lovely to share and let your guests take home food or to prepare a few lunches/dinners for your own family for the week so you can really put your feet up!

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes To Try

Cheddar Apple Pie Dip from MomAdvice.com

Appetizers

Bacon Ranch Cheeseball– Need I say more?

Spunky Spinach Dip– A delicious combination of spinach, salsa, & cream cheese. Serve with carrots and tortilla chips for dipping

Cheddar Apple Pie Dip– Prepare until the point of baking. Freeze for the big day.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip– AKA Crack Dip, as it is so lovingly referred to in our house.

Slow Cooker Chex Mix

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Appetizer

Gluten-Free Meatballs– Bake & prepare sauce. Freeze separately for the big day. Warm up on the stove top and then skewer with baby mozzarella balls.

Sugar & Spice Nut Mix– Would also make a great hostess gift if you aren’t making the meal!

Cranberry Spread– Tangy and a delicious dip to pair with crackers.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Sides

Green Bean Casserole– Panko with homemade mushroom cream sauce- it’s divine!

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes– I always double batch this recipe because these are the best mashed potatoes you will ever eat.

Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce– This is the best cranberry sauce I have ever eaten- truly!

Buttery Bread Machine Rolls– This foolproof recipe makes storing a bread machine worth it! Be sure to read this article for lots of bread machine tips!


Make-Ahead Gravy

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe– Finding out I could make this early last year saved me so much time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cornbread– Bake & freeze for the big day!

Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, & Sage Sourdough Stuffing

Gluten-Free Bacon, Apple, & Cornbread Stuffing follow these directions for freezing!!

Slow Cooker Turkey for Thanksgiving Turkey

This turkey isn’t a make-ahead recipe BUT did you know you can cook it in your slow cooker?? Follow these instructions to save some space in your oven for the big day!

Not having a lot of guests? Give this easy method a spin. If you only like white meat, you can double or triple one of these for about the same price (and save the hassle of carving- boom!)

Not up for cooking the turkey? Check out this easy option you can have delivered to your doorstep from Amazon Prime!!

Fancy Up Store-Bought Pies

Desserts

Store-Bought Pie Tricks– Wow, your guests with a few easy details

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

All-Butter Pie Crust– Prepare and freeze discs of dough

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping– Store wet and dry ingredients separately for the big day

Spiced Whipped Cream– Make-ahead and store in the fridge for the big day

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes– A promise of all the good treats to come this holiday season

Not cooking? Here are a few of my favorite hostess gifts

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Candles

Mini Pie Hostess Favor

Mini Pie Gifts

diy trophy toppers (free gift tag printables)

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Easy Microwave Peanut Brittle

diy vanilla chai tea mix

succulent terrariums (even a sweet small one in a thrifted tea cup!)

Sugar & Spice Nuts Mix

Sugar & Spice Nuts

Knitted Sweater Cozies

Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies

Wine Hats & Scarves

Wine Hats & Scarves

Neon Paint Dipped Spoon Set

Paint-Dipped Spoon Sets

Free Thanksgiving Printable

Thanksgiving Decor, Crafts & Entertaining

Woodland Thanksgiving Table + Free Printables

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

DIY Table Runner for All Seasons

Decorating & Food Advice for the Perfect Friendsgiving

Friendsgiving Feast

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

How to Entertain the Kids on Thanksgiving Day

How to Set the Perfect Thanksgiving Table

DIY Chalkboard Food Label Frames

I hope these ideas inspire you! If you are looking for a great turkey recipe, be sure to check out this Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast or just use this simple technique for a small crowd to prepare a boneless breast! Happy holidays, friends! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though! 

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How to Make Pumpkin Hand Pies

Monday, October 8th, 2018

When I was a kid one of my favorite treats in the world was an apple pie that they served at a fast food restaurant in town.

The flaky crust in a pocket filled with the warm apple filling was the perfect comfort food to me and it always seemed to be the perfect amount to satisfy my sweet tooth craving.

Clearly, I am no food snob when it comes to the humble pie whether it is from a box in the grocery store or a local diner.

Just give me ALL THE PIE.

It should come as no surprise that my children adore pie like their mother so I wanted to create a treat for them that would be deemed one of the coolest after school snacks I have made to date.

Of course, we are creating the only pie worth making, at least according to our household.

For us, it is the incredible pumpkin pie that truly brings together the flavors of fall in every delicious bite and makes it feel like Thanksgiving… even if it really is just another boring Monday.

Of course, I have a little secret in the refrigerator now that I am a busy mom.

These little treats couldn’t be easier to prepare thanks to store-bought pie crust that saves me a lot of time on treats (and dishes).

With a little pumpkin shape placed on top of each delicate pie and dusted with cinnamon and sugar, this treat looks impressive, but can be pulled together in a matter of minutes.

These would be just perfect for a fun Halloween lunchbox treat or to celebrate the season any other day of the week! Best of all, since the filling calls for just a cup of pumpkin puree, it is the perfect way to use up a leftover can that might be taking up space in your refrigerator.

If you haven’t made a hand pie before, it couldn’t be easier. You can use a floured cup as a circle cutter or a biscuit cutter to cut out your circles. Add a tablespoon of your filling to the tops of each of your circles and then add an identical circle on top to pull the pie together. To make sure everything is secure, I seal and add pretty scores with a fork.

Want to make it even easier? Can I recommend this handy gadget?

It’s amazing for making lunchbox sandwiches too! I promise, you will get a lot out of it!

shop seasonal pie cutters HERE (SO many fun ones!!)

To add a little decoration, I love to buy seasonal decorative pie cutters that add a little detail to the edge of my pies, decorative edible touches to a dessert table for the holidays, and happen to add the perfect detail to these hand pies.

To secure these adorable pumpkins, I brushed the pies with an egg wash and then rested this on top, brushing again lightly with the egg wash.

It adds a beautiful touch and shine to the crust and makes these pretty pies into a little work of art.

I hope you can share these treats with someone you love this month and I look forward to sharing more fun fall ideas with you on the blog. Looking for a traditional pumpkin pie for the whole gang? I can’t recommend this tried-and-true recipe enough!

Don’t want to make pie at all?

I feel you.

Check out these ideas for decorating those store-bought pies!

Speaking of more fun fall projects, scroll below the recipe for a few of my ABSOLUTE FAVES!!

Pumpkin Hand Pies Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
This fun semi-homemade treat has all of your favorite pumpkin pie flavors in a single size version. Be sure to snag some fun pie cutters to really make these festive! Need to make these gluten-free? No problem! Simply switch your prepared pie crust to a gluten-free version!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ⅜ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 2 packages prepared pie crust (make sure to bring this to room temperature)
  • 1 egg
  • Cinnamon and sugar to garnish
  • Optional: This handy tool and decorative pie cutters
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the pumpkin, brown sugar, spices and heavy cream. Set aside. Unroll your room temperature pie crusts. Using a 2½ inch biscuit cutter or the opening of a drinking glass as your guide, cut out your circles. Remember, however many you can cut out of your first pie crust, you will want to try to do the same amount on the next pie crust to create your toppers. The amount you can get will depend on your circle size that you are punching out.
  3. Place your first half of your circles on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
  4. Add in about a tablespoon pie filling, then place a dough circle on top. Press together with your fingers to seal them. Then use your fork to seal and create a pretty edge to the pie.
  5. Whisk one egg in a small bowl and then brush on top of the dough.
  6. Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a big glass of milk or a dollop of whipped cream for a sweet treat!

here are a few of our most popular fall projects on the site right now!

autumn burlap wreath tutorial

doughnut hole ghost cake (no baking necessary!)

dollar store thumbtack pumpkins

how to make glow in the dark jell-o

19 thrillers to keep you up all night

slow cooker pumpkin spice candles

no-sew blanket scarf tutorial

this post contains affiliate links!

How to Make Pumpkin Hand Pies from MomAdvice.com

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Candy Apple Martini and a New Chilling Thriller

Monday, September 24th, 2018

This post is sponsored by St. Martin’s Press. Thank you for supporting our sponsors! 

Are you looking for a way to escape the back-to-school chaos?

Lucky for you, I have the perfect thriller and cocktail to escape with this fall.

Today I’m sharing about the new twisty thriller from T.M. Logan called, “Lies,” and I’m pairing it with a new Candy Apple Martini recipe to sip while you are indulging in this suspenseful read

If you haven’t yet heard of T.M. Logan it is because he is making his debut this month with, “Lies.” Logan is a seasoned writer who has worked as a national newspaper journalist. This is why, perhaps, this book does not seem like a debut at all.

In this story, our lead character, Joe Lynch, is driving home from work with his young son. He happens to see his wife’s car ahead of him and decides to follow her and ends up witnessing a secret rendezvous with another man. This encounter threatens to tear the two families apart and Joe finds that he is being set up for a murder that he never committed.

If you are a fan of Peter Swanson’s writing, I have a feeling you are going to absolutely love this thriller. Logan expertly weaves the plot of this story so well that you will find yourself questioning just who is innocent and who is guilty.

Even more than that though, we all know that a satisfying thriller has a twisty conclusion that we don’t see coming and Logan not only keeps the reader on their toes throughout the story, but he also manages to add smart twists that even a seasoned thriller reader just won’t expect.

Logan really goes to great lengths to help us explore the question, can we ever really trust those closest to us? I absolutely loved this thriller and finished it in a single day. It was the perfect way to unwind from the craziness of back-to-school season.

I know as moms it can be difficult to carve out time for ourselves, particularly during this time of year. The thing is, more than ever it is important to incorporate self-care activities that fill your cup too. Reading, for me, has always been my self-care outlet.

In busy seasons, I gravitate more towards the thriller genre because these tend to be fast page-turners and offer a much-needed escape during difficult parenting seasons.

This novel hit stores on September 11th and is available now for purchase. You can read the first 27 pages of the book over here.

I guarantee, you will be hooked.

 

I wanted to pair this book with a fall cocktail so today’s recipe is for a Caramel Apple Martini that you can sip while furiously flipping those pages.

This drink is a combination of butterscotch schnapps, sour apple schnapps, vodka, and cranberry juice. These flavors, once shaken together in a martini shaker or mason jar, taste just like a delicious candy apple.

To fancy this drink up, dip the rim in water and then dip it in a little cinnamon and sugar mixed together. It can then be garnished with a fresh apple to bring it all together.

I can’t think of a better pairing than a great thriller and a delicious martini.

Happy reading, friends!

Candy Apple Martini
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 martini
 
A delicious combination of butterscotch schnapps, sour apple schnapps, cranberry juice, and vodka make the perfect martini that tastes just like a candy apple. Dip the rim in cinnamon & sugar and garnish with an apple, to add those special finishing touches.
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce butterscotch schnapps
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 2 ounces sour apple schnapps
  • Cinnamon & sugar mixture
  • Apple slice
  • Martini shaker or mason jar
Instructions
  1. Dip rim of glass in a shallow bowl of water.
  2. Next, dip it in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Add your apple garnish to the rim.
  3. Add ice to a mason jar or martini shaker.
  4. Pour the butterscotch schnapps, vodka, cranberry juice, and sour apple schnapps over the ice.
  5. Shake for thirty seconds.
  6. Pour strained drink into prepared martini glass.
  7. Sip while reading, "Lies," by T.M. Logan

 

Purchase, “Lies,” HERE. You can follow T.M. Logan on  Twitter and Facebook!

This post is sponsored by St. Martin’s Press. Thank you for supporting our sponsors! 

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