Cronuts, and New Beginnings!

It's been a little quiet around these parts, huh?

Well, I can assure you that I've still been cooking and baking away in the kitchen, and also behind the computer - Jeff and I have been busy cookin' up a brandy new food blog - Queen Bee Kitchen! I'll still be posting any cakes that I make here on Decorate This!, but all new recipe content will be up on QBK.  Come on over and visit, and stay awhile ... and while you're at it, check out my latest post - cronuts, that you can make at home!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

These days, it seems like more and more people have food sensitivities and allergies (including myself). In truth, I often don’t eat many of the decadent sweets that I make – I’m sensitive to gluten and dairy (though, I often through caution to the wind, and enjoy small bites – which sometimes works out just fine, other times, not so much!). I’m starting to delve into the world of gluten-free baking, filled with a wide variety of alternative flours. The sheer number of flours alone in many gluten-free recipes can be seriously overwhelming, and I’m also very happy to find tummy-friendly recipes that I can make with what I already have in my pantry. And these cookies are seriously simple, and really, really delicious! They’re soft, super peanut buttery, and filled with texture from the oats, peanuts, and chocolate chips. I promise that you won’t miss the butter and flour one bit.

One note on the dough – it’ll seem seriously oily, particularly when you’re shaping the cookies. Don’t worry; it’ll all come together in the end!

Cream Scones

I'll admit it - I'm not a "vanilla" person. I'm the one who needs a million toppings on my ice cream. I yearn for lots of texture and crunch, and interesting flavor combinations. Given the choice, I'd take chocolate (or caramel, or berry-filled, or dressed to the nines) any day.

But sometimes, I think it's really important to enjoy something plain old "vanilla". Really, truly, enjoy it. Get back to the roots of your confection, to remember how incredible it can be all on its own, without an excessive amount of chocolate, being drenched with some succulent sauce, or studded with this and that. I refuse to say "plain", because "vanilla" should be anything but plain. Personally, I think "vanilla" is the hardest thing to do well - it needs to be exceptionally well executed in order for whatever you make to get rave reviews. So yeah, "vanilla" is a challenge.

I've been on a scone kick lately (but really, what "kick" am I not on, let's be honest). And while the scones I've been making are good, they haven't been GREAT, and we all know that perfection is the name of my game. I've tried leaving chunks of butter, grating the butter, refrigerating all ingredients, refrigerating the scones overnight, etc - and there's always been a little something not quite right. So, I decided to go "vanilla", and go back to square one. No chocolate, no strawberries, no glaze, no nothing. The simplest ingredients, only - butter, flour, salt, leaveners, cream, and creme fraiche. Cream scones.

Friends, these cream scones are really out of this world. Not plain in the least, and they fly directly in the face of dry, dense, overly-sweet, brick-like scones. They are high rising, impossibly light, and quite literally melt in your mouth delicious (really). The simple addition of coarse sanding sugar is the perfect adornment, that adds a slight crunch and a hint of extra sweetness.

Vanilla (and scone!) perfection.

Savory Sunday: Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad

Whenever I buy a head of cabbage, it seems to last FOREVER. Seriously, it's like the vegetable that just keeps on going! I remember one particular occasion last summer - I wanted to bring cole slaw to a party, and bought both red and green cabbages. Four batches of cole slaw later ... we were cabbaged out.

This salad though, is definitely going into the regular rotation this summer (and, I'll buy cabbages just to make it)! It's packed with produce and protein - not to mention tons of fresh flavor. Perfect for a light but filling meal. I used a rotisserie chicken, but feel free to use whatever protein you like - sliced pork or shrimp, or maybe even edamame, would be delicious too.

Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing

My friend Laura took a bite of one of these cinnamon rolls, and declared that this recipe alone could put Cinnabon out of business!

You're pretty much guaranteed to make some new friends with these poufy, soft, sweet rolls. They're filled with just the right amount of butter and cinnamon-sugar, baked to perfection, and slathered with slightly tangy vanilla cream cheese icing. Cinnamon roll perfection, as far as I'm concerned!