Tag Archives: chocolate

I have wanted to bake this cake for several months and the initial plan was to make it for myself for my birthday at the end of February. Fast forward to being sick most of February & March and it never happened. Thankfully I have completed the task and it did not disappoint. 

For some reason this year we have been plagued with every sickness possible. I often question if it is because I work in a school and continually share sicknesses with 450 other students. Or maybe the fact that my toddler spends time at daycare and does not understand the facets of how to stay germ free yet? Whatever the case, it was a rough two months as we battled sickness after sickness. 

I’m curious what do you all do to stay healthy? I have heard of many concoctions of vitamins, airborne drinks, natural oils, but doesn’t it really just boil down to washing your hands? I feel like I do this liberally! I also try to take care of myself because I think if your body is worn down, sickness tends to grasp on with a vicious bite. What has worked for you, because I’m all ears! 

All that I know is that I am so thankful for SPRING! It is such a wonderful time of year. The sun is out, the birds are back, and it seems that the haze of sickness has dissipated (for now). 

To celebrate this momentous occasion I FINALLY got to bake this beautiful cake that I found in The Vanilla Bean Baking book. Mint chocolate chip ice cream is my all time favorite ice cream, so naturally I was intrigued by this combination all whirled up into a delicious cake!

I added a little springtime spin on the cake with the addition of a chocolate nest and peep birds. The chocolate cake is a rich sponge cake paired with the minty buttercream, this cake screams spring from every angle. ENJOY!
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Mint Chocolate Chip Cake with Peeps Nest
from the Vanilla Bean Baking Book

INGREDIENTS
CAKE
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 c. mocha frappuccino coffee, hot
1 c. buttermilk
½ c. olive oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 t. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 cups (396 g) sugar
¾ c. cocoa powder
2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

FROSTING
8 large egg whites
2 ¼ c. sugar
¼ t. salt
1 ½ pounds – 6 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 T. crème de menthe
½ t. mint extract plus more to taste
1 t.vanilla extract
½ c. chocolate chips, chopped small
Green food coloring (optional, if your crème de menthe is not colored and you want a nice minty green)

NEST
Bittersweet chocolate, cut into strips
Peeps

GUIDANCE
CAKE
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Butter and flour two 8 by 2-inch round cake pans (see note) and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Put the bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl. Pour the coffee over it and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the buttermilk, olive oil, eggs, and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on low until combined. (If the cocoa powder is lumpy, you can sift it into the other ingredients.) With the mixer running on low, slowly add the buttermilk mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat until combined, 20 to 30 seconds.

Whisk the chocolate and coffee together until completely smooth. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the coffee mixture into the batter and mix until just combined. Using a spatula, give the batter a couple of turns to make sure it is fully mixed.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake 25 to 35 minutes, until a wooden skewer or toothpick comes out with the tiniest bit of crumb. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and let cool completely. Once cool, the cakes can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated overnight or frosted.

FROSTING
Put about 1 inch of water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil. In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir the egg whites, sugar, and salt until combined. Put the bowl over the saucepan, being careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula until the sugar is completely melted, and the mixture reaches a temperature of 160⁰F, about 4 to 5 minutes. While you are stirring, be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula—this will ensure no sugar grains are lurking on the sides and will help prevent the egg whites from cooking.

Remove the bowl from the heat and place it in the stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Whisk the mixture on medium-high until stiff, glossy peaks form, 8 to 10 minutes. With the mixer running on low, add the butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition until incorporated. Add the crème de menthe, mint extract, vanilla, and a couple drops of green food coloring (if using). Beat again and then taste test. If you want your buttercream to have a stronger mint flavor, add more mint extract ½ teaspoon at a time, until you are happy with the taste. Add the chocolate (if using) and stir with a spatula to combine.

Make sure your cakes are completely cool before you frost them. If your layers have a large dome, you can slice off the rounded bump for a straight top if desired. This will help make your cake look even and professional. 

Apply a crumb coat: Make sure your cake layers are even; you want them to line up together, and none of them should be sticking out farther than the others. Gently press to adjust them if you need to and you a ruler or straightedge to make sure they are lined up evenly. With an offset spatula, apply a thin, even layer of buttercream to the top and sides of the cake, covering every surface, and filling in the gaps between layers. Smooth out any bumps or lumps in the thin coat. Be careful if you need to apply more buttercream to not get crumbs from the spatula back into your mixing bowl. Move the cake into the freezer or refrigerator to chill the cake and harden the buttercream. This will keep the crumbs in place, locking them into the crumb coat. 

Apply a finishing coat: Take the cake from the freezer or refrigerator and put it back in the center of your turntable or cake stand. Place a large amount of buttercream on the top of the cake. With an offset spatula, smooth the buttercream on top of the cake so that it is a perfectly level layer. When the top is even, move onto the sides. Put a good amount of buttercream onto the spatula and then use the spatula to put the buttercream on the sides of the cake in a thick layer. Don’t worry about getting it perfectly smooth at this point, just make sure you have a nice thick coat, covering all the cake. Press the spatula very gently against the cake at a slight angle and move the turntable or cake stand in a constant fluid circle. As the table/stand moves, the spatula will begin to collect some of the excess buttercream and even out the sides. Stop to clean the spatula off a few times. You want to be careful not to take too much of the buttercream off, or you will start to see the cake layers underneath. Keep turning the table/stand until the buttercream is as smooth and even as possible. A slight edge will have built up on the top of the cake and with your spatula at an angle, run it across the top to even it out.

Finish decorating: The cake will be smooth at this point. You can leave it as is, or add some more decoration to it. When finished decorating, move the cake to a cake stand to serve or clean your cake stand if you have been assembling on the cake stand.

Assemble the chocolate strips into a nest shape and place your peeps on top!







Ok get out your box of Kleenex…….

Two years ago my husband and I were driving to Grand Forks, North Dakota for a Fighting Sioux  University of North Dakota hockey game. I was almost 6 months pregnant at the time and looking forward to an exhilarating Valentine’s Day weekend with friends. I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed on the long, weary drive across the state of North Dakota, when I suddenly burst into tears. These weren’t tears of sadness, but more so tears from a place of love and happiness. 

There on my Facebook newsfeed was a photo of my grandparents, Catherine & Odie West. They were being honored for Valentine’s Day as the King and Queen of the Valentine’s Day Party at the nursing home where they resided. Now the tears didn’t come from just that distinct honor, but from my Grandpa’s response when asked what he was going to get my Grandma for Valentine’s Day.

His response:

“Oh I will just go up on the ranch and pick her some wild flowers” as he had always done for his sweetheart for the past 66 years it read. At this point my Grandpa’s Parkinson’s had taken most of his mobility leaving this task, be it an impossible one. I know he would have done just that if he could of at the time. 

My grandparents were a true love story, 66 years in the making at the time.  They raised 5 children and built a beautiful ranch and farm north of Pierre, South Dakota. My Grandma once wrote, “Ours is a life story of two people who together with determination, hard work and play filled their lives with love and memories.” And they did just that, they built a wonderful life that was overflowing with love and memories. 

This year will be my Grandma’s first Valentine’s Day without her sweetheart by her side. My Grandpa Odie passed away this fall. They were married for almost 68 years.

One of my favorite memories with my Grandma when I was little were the small pieces of fudge that my Grandma would wrap up and place underneath a small Christmas tree. One year, when we still lived in New York, she gave me a few small presents from under the tree and told me that I couldn’t open them until I got on the airplane. I loved waiting to open the delicate wrapped fudge pieces and enjoying them on my trip home. 

This year I will be remembering what my Grandpa said. Make sure to show those around you how much you care, even if it’s a simple bouquet of wild flowers, a small surprise of fudge, or even a phone call, it’s the thought that counts.

Here is a simple recipe for homemade fudge for you to enjoy with those that you love this year on Valentine’s Day. Cherish those that you love this year on Valentine’s Day. If it’s not a sweetheart, maybe it’s a good friend, or a family member that you love dearly. Love is a powerful bond.

To read more about my Grandpa Odie’s amazing life, check out this article here

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Homemade Fudge with Walnuts

INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. salt
4 T. unsalted butter
1 5 oz. can evaporated milk
1 jar of marshmallow fluff
1 t. vanilla
1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

GUIDANCE
Grease a 9 inch square baking pan, set aside. In a large saucepan combine sugar, salt, butter, evaporated milk, and marshmallow fluff. Stir over low heat until blended. Increase heat to medium and bring to a full following boil. Boil slowly, stirring for 5 minutes until fudge reaches soft ball test consistency (234-241 degrees on a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and chocolate chips until melted. Add nuts. Pour into greased pan and cool. Cut and enjoy!

 


It’s officially T-minus 14 days until Christmas! I have thoroughly enjoyed this Christmas season and everything that comes with it. My most favorite activity to do this time of year is to BAKE! I love to put on the Christmas tunes, sift through different recipes and bake up a storm! Speaking of storms we have had a few snow storms here in North Dakota already. All I can say is that I think this winter is going to be a unique one for sure!

With the snow, we were gifted two, yes TWO snow days. I took the opportunity to bake my little heart as the snow fell inch by inch. This holiday season I want to share 12 yummy holiday recipes that you can share with others, but also a small act of kindness to go with each!

One of my favorite activities that I do with my students, is a countdown of twelve days with an act of kindness that goes with each day. They are simple acts of kindness, but they each have big impact. I truly believe it’s important to remember the value of kindness to others. When you do something nice, it can make a large difference in how someone is feeling. My goal with the 12 Days of Christmas Kindness is to share treat plates with all of those hardworking people in my life that deserve an extra small, sugary thank you this holiday season. 

So with the next few days before Christmas I will be sharing a simple act of kindness that I urge you to try and a tasty recipe to go with each! Todays act of kindness:

Smile at as many people as you can today!

To go with that sweet smile try these oh-so-yummy peanut buttery cookies!

🙂

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Cookies

INGREDIENTS
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2 T. milk
40 mini chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped

GUIDANCE
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda. Set to the side. Cream together butter, sugars, and peanut butter until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Add the flour mixture, and mix well. Shape into 40 balls and place each into an engrossed mini muffin tin. 

Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately place a chocolate covered peanut butter cup into the center. Cool and enjoy. 

 


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Wow, to say that this week has been heavy is an understatement. As a school counselor, one of the fundamental concepts that I teach and re-teach every day is being a gracious winner and loser. Win or lose there is aways a good lesson at the end of the journey of competition. I guess I have been a little disappointed in some of the methods that reactions were delivered after this week. Being on Facebook the day after the election truly made me question what it means to be a gracious winner or loser and what that should  look like. Being gracious is something that is marked by kindness and courtesy, but also tact and delicacy. 

Many people across the country were upset and others were elated with the final decision as our citizens chose our next president of the United States. Let’s look at how to handle both sides of the coin.

Being a gracious winner:

  • be modest, no one likes a “show off”
  • acknowledge the efforts of the opposing side
  • to be a good winner you have to learn and practice the skills which made you a winner, but other skills will also need to be developed as you continue

Being a gracious loser:

  • feeling and expressing anger and frustration at losing is ok, but in a safe and private place is the best form of practice
  • look for the positives, what did you learn from the experience, what can you do differently next time
  • being a gracious loser centers around the ability to celebrate someone else’s good fortune, despite the disappointment one feels

These bars graciously offer just the right amount of tact and delicacy that we all need this week. They are both salty and sweet,  all at the same time. They have delicious peanut-butter flavor, paired with a salty crunch from the pretzels and creamy butterscotch chocolate frosting.

So whether you are celebrating this week that your candidate won, you can enjoy these delicious bars or if you are disappointed your candidate lost, take the time to move forward and make these bars to decompress. Winning and losing is a part of real life, learning how to conquer both can but just as rewarding. This quote sums it up best, “it is your response to winning and losing that makes you a winner or a loser.” Were you gracious this week?

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Pretzel Scotcheroos

INGREDIENTS
1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. sugar
1 c. peanut butter
6 c. crispy rice cereal
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 c. pretzels

GUIDANCE
Add corn syrup and sugar into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Do not overcook, doing so will make your peanut butter-cereal mixture tough. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter. Mix well. Add cereal. Stir until well coated. Press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Set aside.Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over cereal mixture. Sprinkle crushed pretzels or whole pretzels to the top of chocolate mixture. Let stand until firm. 

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When I was 9 years old, my family packed up our belongings in our New York home and moved us across the country to South Dakota. We had a going away party where my sisters and I sang “So long, Farewell” from the Sound of Music to all of our relatives and they balled their eyes out. Leaving New York was a very sad day, but I didn’t know how sad it would continue to be for me. New York was the home of my childhood, my friends, and much of my family whom I spent a lot of time with growing up. It was all I had ever known. 

South Dakota was VERY different than New York. The weather was different, the landscape was different, and the food was different too. My first day of school in 4th grade was probably one of the worst days of my life. So as we embark at the start of another school year, I want to offer some guidance for parents in terms of change. Transitioning to something new can be hard, but with the right preparation and thought that change can promote wonderful things. 

  1. If you are planning to move, time your move with your children in mind. Moving at the start of the summer allows children to adapt to their new surroundings and then transition to a new school. Taking each change in small steps is helpful. 
  2. On the first day of school, make sure your child has a buddy to take them around the school, eat lunch with them, tuck them under their wing so to speak. This is probably the most important tip. My first day of school I was alone, lost, and so scared. 
  3. Visit the school in advance. Meet the teachers, staff and discuss any school routines. It’s important as a newbie to get a solid foundation of the contacts at school so that you can better help your child. 
  4. Check in! Check in on your child several weeks after the start. Meet with the teacher and discover how your child is adjusting.
  5. Get involved. Sign your child up for clubs, sports, and activities that suit your child’s interests. These activities will allow your child to blossom and make new friends. 

Even though my move to South Dakota was hard, it truly shaped me. Change has that power, to make you stronger and to make you step outside your comfort zone. Moving to South Dakota was a blessing in disguise, because it shaped me into the person I am today. My heart will always hold a place for New York. In some strange way, I probably learned to cook because I wanted to re-create all of the classic New York treats that I grew up with. 

When I moved to South Dakota there weren’t any bakeries that made one of my favorite cookies, the black and white cookie. There were no bakeries or deli’s at all! So in my years growing up in South Dakota I took it upon myself to learn how to make the classic New York staples, black and white cookies, pizza, bagels, you know, the good stuff. 

In New York, my favorite cookies come from Rockland Bakery in Rockland County, New York. This bakery is such an icon in the northeast. It’s bakery cases host any baked delicacy your heart could desire. And the fresh bread! At Rockland Bakery you can pluck your bread, bagels, rolls, right from the oven where they come out crisp and piping hot. It doesn’t get any more fresh than that! To learn more about this amazing bakery check them out here

So as a nod to the place of my childhood, here is the classic black and white cookie recipe, which is adapted from an Epicurious recipe, with a few alterations to the chocolate frosting. In addition to these scrumptious cookies, take a look at my favorite bakery and favorite scenes from New York. 

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New York Black & White Cookie

INGREDIENTS
Cookie
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/3 c. buttermilk
1/2 t. vanilla
1/3 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg
Vanilla Frosting
1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
1 T.  light corn syrup
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. anilla
1 to 2 T. water
Chocolate Frosting
1/4 c. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1. t. vanilla
2 T. milk

GUIDANCE
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup. Beat together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth. Spoon 1/4 cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and chill (to cool quickly), about 5 minutes.

Prepare icing. Stir together powdered sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. In a separate bowl mix powdered sugar and cocoa. Mix dry mixture with butter and gradually add vanilla and milk. Beat for 1-2 minutes until smooth. Turn cookies flat sides up, then spread white icing over half of each and chocolate over other half. 

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~It’s all about the frosting!


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Achievement Days in our county was the day that 4-Hers would showcase all of their hard work and dedication through their 4-H projects. Growing up it was often an exciting day where all our projects were awarded a ribbon depending on the quality, craftsmanship, etc. For me this day was exhilarating , because I would wake up REALLY early to make cookies, cake, and fresh bread. I always wanted my food project entries to be as fresh as possible. And it paid off, most of my food projects always earned the coveted purple ribbon.

Food wasn’t the only category that I entered projects for Achievement Days. Horse, rodeo, visual arts, photography, horticulture, house plants, clothing, hobbies and collections were some of my other favorite areas. 4-H was a very pivotal program in my life and it makes me sad to see the program dying in communities around the country. I could talk for 10 days straight about why these programs are important, but I hope by sharing this with you all, you may encourage your family or another family looking for a great outlet to create and foster a sense of achievement.

So this year I got to relive my 4-H glory days by submitting entries in the Dunn County Fair. I spent the ENTIRE day cooking my entries and I loved every minute of it. It was really fun picking out my favorite recipes to cook and be judged on. I made a yummy zucchini bread recipe that is the perfect solution to an oversupply of garden zucchini. I tried a new recipe, Chewy Maple Cookies. Although they did taste great, the appearance wasn’t what I was hoping for. Chocolate Revel Bars were next up, these are an awesome treat. Rich chocolate is paired with a cookie base that is accentuated by oatmeal. My cake was a Lemon-Lavender cake, which utilized dried lavender buds in the mix. And finally the big winner was the Pecan Pie recipe. This is one of my favorite pies, especially for the holidays. 

In the end, my hard work paid off and I won the highest achievement, best in class with my pecan pie. The pie crust is extra buttery and the pie filling is to die for. What programs do your families support; 4-H, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, FFA? There are so many worthwhile youth programs out there and most counties have a county fair too. I encourage you to get out there, create a craft, bake some cookies, grow some vegetables, make a necklace. Whatever you do, your time and effort will give you a great sense of achievement. 

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Best in Class Pecan Pie

INGREDIENTS
Pie Crust                                                                                          
3 c. flour                                                                           
2 t. salt                                                                             
14 T. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled     
½ c. cold water                                             

Pie Filling
Flour for dusting
1 c. corn syrup
¾ c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
2 T. unsalted butter
2 t. vanilla
½ t. salt
3 eggs
1 ¼ c. chopped pecans plus ½ c. pecan halves

GUIDANCE
Prepare pie dough by pulsing flour, salt and butter in a food processor into pea size crumbles. Add water, pulse until dough comes together. Divide dough in half and wrap in disks. Chill 1 hour before using. Roll dough into a 12 in. round. Fit into a 9 inch pie plate. Chill 30 minutes. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk corn syrup, sugars, butter, vanilla, salt, and eggs in a bowl. Fold in chopped pecans. Distribute filling evenly over dough, arrange pecan halves around the inside edge of pie. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is set, about 1 hour.

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Lemon Lavender Bundt Cake {Blue Ribbon}

INGREDIENTS
3 c. cake flour
1 ½ t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
¼ t. salt
16 T. unsalted butter
1 ½ c. sugar
1 T. dried lavender flowers
4 eggs, lightly beaten
½ t. lemon extract
1 c. plain yogurt
1 T. lemon zest

GUIDANCE
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar, and lavender. Add the eggs, then beat in the lemon extract. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the yogurt. Fold in the lemon zest. Bake for 1 hour.

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Zucchini Bread {Blue Ribbon}

INGREDIENTS
3 eggs, beaten
3 t. cinnamon
1 c. cooking oil
2 c. peeled and grated zucchini
2 c. sugar
½ t. salt
3 c. flour
¼ t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder

GUIDANCE
Mix all ingredients together and put in bread pans. Bake bread at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Makes 2 loaves.

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Chocolate Revel Bars {Blue Ribbon}

INGREDIENTS
Cookie Layer                                               
1 c. shortening                                           
2 c. sugar                                                   
2 eggs                                                           
2 t. vanilla                                                    
2 ½ c. flour                                                  
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
3 c. oatmeal

Filling
1 (15 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 c. chocolate chips
2 T. butter
1/2 t. salt
2 t. vanilla

GUIDANCE
Mix shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Set aside and prepare filling. Melt chocolate chips, milk, butter, and salt in microwave. When smooth add vanilla. Spread 2/3 of oatmeal mixture in a 9×13 baking dish. Cover with chocolate filling. Dot with the remaining 1/3 oatmeal mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

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Chewy Maple Cookies {Red Ribbon}

INGREDIENTS
½ c. shortening
1 ½ c. flour
1 c. brown sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 egg
½ t. salt
½ c. maple syrup
1 c. coconut
½ t. vanilla

GUIDANCE
In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, syrup and vanilla until well mixed. Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture. Stir in coconut. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

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Thanks to all of the volunteers at the Dunn County Fair. There were many excellent open class exhibits as well as amazing 4-H projects!

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It’s today! National Ice Cream Day is today! To celebrate we savored some tasty treats from Java Cow Coffee and Ice Cream in Park City, Utah this weekend. I will have more for you soon from our fun trip to Utah (Huckleberry Pinwheel Cookies and some Olympic fun), but first before our ice cream melts. We devoured the honey lavender ice cream and chocolate ice cream at Java Cow. The honey lavender was so delicious, it smelled like the sweet scent of lavender but was mixed with the perfect notes of honey to satisfy my sweet tooth. My sister Riley loved the plain jane chocolate ice cream. I could tell by the looks of it that it was extra creamy and decadent. Here are a few ice cream recipes here, here, and here to help you keep cool. We ate our ice cream in golden, crispy waffle cones, but I wanted to share this fun idea to eat your ice cream in a taco! Here is a fun recipe to try with your ice cream. 

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If ice cream isn’t cool enough, here are a few other tips on how to keep your cool in life. 

  1. Look for the big picture – the next time you are super stressed, stop and ask yourself if this will affect you in an hour, a day, one week, or a year. It’s likely it won’t, so don’t let it control you. 
  2. Worry about what you CAN control – often times I see people that are so worried about things in their life that they have no control over. Focus on those elements you can control, your attitude, the way you present yourself, and your actions. 
  3. Practice patience – practicing patience allows you to learn how to stay calm when stress knocks on your door. So wait in the longest line or walk inside to get your food to go.
  4. Take deep breaths – when you find yourself getting anxious take a deep breath. Breathe in for 10 seconds through your nose and breathe out through your mouth  for ten seconds. I love to teach my students how to breathe in (smell the flowers) and breath out (pull a long piece of spaghetti out). Having the visualization is a great reminder of how to take a slow, deep breath. 

How are you staying cool for National Ice Cream Day? Thanks to my sister Riley for being our ice cream taste tester. I heard it was a tough gig. 

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