Lemon ‘Swig’ Sugar Cookies

When my friend Molly shows up to a youth baseball practice with cookies in a cellophane bag,  tied with a ribbon…I knew it was going to be good!  These cookies are a perfect mix of sugar, lemon, and goodness.  The texture is buttery and smooth.  The frosting compliments the cookie better than most.  Can you say hello Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting?     Thank you Molly,  for sharing your mad baking skills and friendship with me!  To our lemon loving friends,  it’s not too late to bake these for a special teacher or friend.  Follow the directions closely, leaving thicker than normal and also baking a short amount of time.



  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1¼ cup sugar (plus ¼ cup reserved)
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ t baking soda
  • ½ t cream of tarter
  • 1 t salt
  • 5½ cups flour
  • Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
  • softened
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 t lemon zest
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar


  1. Get ready to enjoy these scrumptious cookies!
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tarter, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, vegetable oil, sugar (1¼ C), powdered sugar, and water. Add in lemon juice and lemon zest.. Add in eggs.
  4. Slowly add in flour mixture until combined. Roll the dough into golf sized balls and place onto a non stick cookie sheet.
  5. To give the cookies their signature rough edge, dip the bottom of a glass into the reserved ¼ cup sugar and press onto the cookie ball to flatten the cookie. You still want the cookie to be thicker so don’t press them to thin.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the bottom is lightly brown. The cookies stay soft so do not over bake.

To make the lemon cream cheese frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla together until smooth and fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar. Beat until creamy.

Cinnamon and Sugar Sweet Rolls

I admit it.  Baking with yeast takes it up a notch.  The Easter Bunny prepared this yummy treat for our family.  When a recipe can be started the night before, I am all in.   Cinnamon and sugar is a win win.  Add a serving of bacon or sausage, done and done. High Five!  These were made with love for my boys.   I can only hope that sharing this recipe brings sweetness to your life.



    • 4 1/2 cups (22.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
    • 1/3 cup (2.5 ounces) granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 4 large eggs (7 ounces)
    • 1 1/4 cup hot water
    • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter, melted
    • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, melted
    • 1/2 cup (3,75 ounces) granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed
  • Splash of vanilla extract


  1. In a large bowl (to allow for about 7-8 cups of dough to double in bulk), whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.
  2. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together the eggs and pour them into the well. Use the same measuring cup for the hot water. Pour it around the edges of the well (not directly on the eggs) and then add the melted butter to the bowl. Use a large spoon to mix the ingredients together until a soft, rather wet dough is formed. It won’t look like traditional cinnamon roll dough; it will be much softer and it’s ok if it looks a bit lumpy. Magic happens overnight, I promise.
  3. Cover the bowl with greased plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for 8-10 hours.
  4. Using about 1/4 – 1/3 cup flour (more or less), dust a clean countertop. Lightly punch down the chilled dough and roll it out on the floured counter to a long, skinny rectangle (about 24-inches long and 7 or 8-inches wide).
  5. Spread the 4 tablespoons melted butter on the rectangle. It will solidify and be easier to work with as you spread it on the chilly rectangle of dough. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and spread it on top of the butter, lightly pressing it in.
  6. Fold one long edge of the rectangle up to meet the other long edge so the dough is folded in half. Use a pizza cutter or knife and cut the dough into 1-inch strips. With each strip, hold an end in each hand and twist it up several times and roll it around the center into a circle (see pictures below for a visual). Place on a large, rimmed baking sheet (11X17-inch) lined with parchment paper (about 12 per tray).
  7. Cover the trays with greased, plastic wrap and let the rolls rise until puffy and doubled, an hour or so.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-14 minutes until just barely golden on top (don’t overbake or they’ll be dry).
  9. For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla. Add more milk as needed until the glaze is thick but pourable. Let the rolls cool for 5 or so minutes before drizzling with glaze.

This recipe came from a friend of a friend and then from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, which has many fabulous recipes.  (thanks Mandy for the find!)

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies

cookiesThis recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, a blog I love so much I bought her cookbook. Some people say Ina Garten’s recipes are fail proof; I guess you could say Deb Perlman is my Ina. I made these cookies for the first time for my cookie party, which is a commitment. But they worked great, and I frosted them the exact same way as my sugar cookies, and they were a nice change of pace! 

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup lightly salted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (It does disappear once baked, though, so don’t overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.) Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Baked BBQ Chicken

This recipe is outstanding.  Bragging rights for the best and easiest BBQ chicken start here. The extra step in marinating before baking makes it all worthwhile.  I never knew baked chicken could be so yummy.  The smoked paprika gives the chicken a subtle smoky flavor.  If you don’t have that ingredient, invest now…..as we use it in the delicious fish tacos featured on this website as well.  The perfect tenderness of the chicken comes from marinating in four simple ingredients.  Enjoy!

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
3 T. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
1 1/2 t. smoked paprika
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 t kosher salt
pepper to taste
BBQ sauce

Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag and pound out until flattened to 1/2 inch.  I do this one breast at a time. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, smoke paprika, and garlic and place in a large Ziploc bag with all of the chicken breasts.  Marinate for a couple of hours.

Remove the chicken from the Ziploc bag and placed in a glass casserole dish.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 20 minutes and then brush with BBQ sauce.  Brush with more sauce every 5 minutes for an additional 20 minutes.

I am sure that this chicken would be equally as good cooked on the grill!

Eclair Dessert

Seriously delicious.  At a recent get together,  MJ knocked it out of the ballpark with a sinful dessert.  Anything that remotely resembles an eclair….I’m in. I feel confident that it was made with full strength fat and sugar, although a low-calorie version might be worth a try.  Layered desserts can be fun.  It involves no baking and relatively simple.  This would be a great recipe to make with your children.  Close your eyes and dream about a Parisian bakery without the travel.  Enjoy.

8-10 whole graham crackers

2-4 oz packages of French vanilla instant pudding (I used one regular vanilla and one French)
3 cups milk
9 oz Cool Whip

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
3 T. margarine
5 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
1 ½ cup powdered sugar

Line 9×13″ pan with graham crackers until completely covered with one layer of crackers.

Combine pudding and milk.  Beat on low-speed for 3 minutes. Fold Cool Whip into pudding mixture.

Spread ½ of the creamy mixture over the graham crackers. Place as second layer of graham crackers over the cream. Use the rest of the cream over this layer of graham crackers. Place a third layer of graham crackers over cream.

Make frosting: Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Gently add milk and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar, whisking until well  blended and smooth.   Cool for 5 minutes. Pour frosting over 3rd layer of graham crackers.

Cool 8 hours.

Healthy Breakfast Muffins

I would put these muffins in the category of “too healthy to be good.” But they are good! They are easy too, and made with things that are usually on hand. I make them quite often, even for company! (PS For the ultimate in convenience, you can even find pre-shredded carrots near the baby carrots in the grocery store!)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or 3/4 cup all-purpose and 1/2 cup wheat)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raisins*
1/4 cup chopped dates*
1/4 cup cranberries* (or any dried fruit works!)
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup skim milk
4 medium carrots, shredded
1 medium ripe banana, mashed

*if the raisins, dates or cranberries are tough, soak them in water for 10 minutes or so to soften.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt until there are no lumps. Stir in oats, raisins, dates, and cranberries. Add oil, egg, milk, carrots and banana and stir until just blended.

Fill each muffin cup with one ice cream scoop of batter; it will be thick. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. To store, freeze or keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Best BBQ Burger

I can’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe before. I made it about 10 times last summer. Everyone loves them and can’t figure out why. But I know the secret ingredient – a delicious, sweet barbecue sauce you mix in with the hamburger. You can make the sauce and even mix up the patties beforehand, and just throw them on the grill when you’re ready to eat. Because my family believes in living life to the fullest, we make them as sliders and serve them on delicious, sweet Hawaiian rolls. Enjoy!

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
6 hamburger buns, split
Toppings of your choice

In a small saucepan, combine the first 10 ingredients. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Set aside 1 cup barbecue sauce to serve with burgers.

In a large bowl, combine the egg, oats, 1/4 cup of the remaining barbecue sauce, onion salt, garlic salt, pepper and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into six patties.

Grill, covered, over medium heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 160°, basting with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce during the last 5 minutes. Serve on buns with toppings of your choice and reserved barbecue sauce. Yield: 6 servings.