Posted in Baking, Christmas, Cookies, Desserts

Last Minute Holiday Baking Hacks

 

My hubby and I like to give out goodie trays to friends and neighbors at Christmas. Sometime in November, my oven decided it no longer wanted to heat. At all. That makes baking a little difficult. Last Friday, hubby surprised me with a new stove and oven! WHOOHOO! Let the baking begin!

With just a week until Christmas, I’ll have to make the most of my baking time if I want to get any goodies made. Luckily, I have some time-saving tricks up my sleeve! I thought I’d share some of them with you.

  1. Use store bought mixes. Sure, if you have time, homemade is ALWAYS better. BUT. There’s less than a week until Christmas and if you can save time using a mix…..do it! The gift recipient will not be able to tell whether you measured out every ingredient.  I promise.2. Think small. Mini cupcakes, mini cakes and mini bread loaves. Baking the full-size version takes the same amount of time, but, by baking smaller sizes you have more goodies for more people. Besides the smaller sizes are just so darn cute!3. Almond bark. This stuff is FABULOUS! Melt it in the microwave (or stovetop if you prefer, but the microwave is MUCH faster!) and drizzle over breads, cookies, cupcakes and popcorn (that’s right, popcorn is great for gifts, check out this recipe!) You can also use it to make barks like this one. 4. Holiday mix-ins and extracts. Add some seasonal flavor to your (store-bought) mixes with extract flavors like orange, mint and almond. For mix-ins, think crushed candy canes, cranberries (fresh or dried), nuts and coated chocolate.

There you have it….my quick holiday baking tips. I hope you found some tips you can use to speed up your holiday baking! What are you waiting for…..get baking!

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Posted in Baking, Desserts, Low-Carb, Pampered Chef

A Low-Carb Birthday Cake

Yesterday was my birthday. And. I made this Low-Carb Chocolate Cake. I’m happy to report, it was AMAZING! Worth every one of the 5.7 carbs I consumed!

Grated the zucchini using my Multi-Grater & Slicer (yep! really loving this gadget!).

Mixed all the ingredients up together (in my Kid’s Cookie Baking Set, I use this set all the time….even though I don’t have any kids….). Here’s where I should mention, I cut the recipe in half and I also used Xyla as the sweetener (instead of the Pyure which I didn’t have on hand). I didn’t have any monkfruit either, so I just omitted it (there was NO WAY I was going to town on my birthday!).

Here’s the cake ready to be baked.

And, after it was baked.

I wanted to make a cream cheese frosting for the cake and I figured why even bother looking one up, how bad could I mess this up? That’s probably why it looks a little lumpy.

Here was the “recipe” I used:

  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup Xyla (Xylitol) sweetener
  • 1-2 Tbsp. warm water

Dissolve Xyla sweetener in warm water (otherwise, I think it would be grainy), then mix into the softened cream cheese (I’m sure I would have gotten a smoother frosting if I had used my mixer, but I didn’t….).

This cake goes perfectly with a cup of coffee!