CHEW THIS! New Favorite Lemon Bars

New Favorite Lemon Bars

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, April 21st 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

My new favorite lemon bars, updated!
Blaise Doubman

When developing recipes, I love creating something that becomes a new favorite, such as these lemon bars. Sometimes I take a favorite recipe and see if I can somehow make it even easier or tastier. Take for instance my chocolate mayonniase cake. I replaced the water in the recipe with freshly brewed coffee and the recipe instantly transformed into something even better than before! It is amazing what a little change here or there does to transform a recipe! People ask me all the time what they can do to make their baked goods taste better. My first question back to them is if they use salt in their baked good recipes. Most of the time they look at me puzzled and tell me no, salt is for savory items only! No! This is not true! Salt is very important in baked products and makes the final result taste so much better than something with no salt added. Sometimes I even sprinkle a little finishing salt on my final dessert.

I have shared a couple of lemon bar recipes in my cookbooks as well as a lemon bar recipe in a previous column that I shared here with everyone, but these lemon bars are my new favorites! I love the easy shortbread crust and the easy filling. These lemon bars are sweet and tangy without being overbearing in taste or texture. I could go on and on about how fabulous these are but I really think you need to make them so you can see for yourselves! These are also the perfect make ahead dessert bars because when left at room temperature, or even chilled in the refrigerator, the filling firms up and transforms into almost like a thicker pudding texture. Dust the final bars with powdered sugar if desired or even sprinkle a little powdered sugar and lemon zest combination on top for a little extra punch! These are perfect for the spring time!

New Favorite Lemon Bars

Feel free to dust as much, or as little, powdered sugar on top of these as you desire. I personally love them with a mountain of powdered sugar sprinkled on top but not everybody likes the taste or texture.

For the crust…
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups white all-purpose flour
½ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon salt

For the filling…
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ¾ cups white granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
½ cup fresh lemon juice

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl combine the softened unsalted butter, white all-purpose flour, powdered sugar and salt with a fork. You may even want to use your hands for this. Once the mixture is combined, press lightly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Place into preheated oven and bake for 33 minutes.

Once baked remove from oven. In a large bowl whisk together the lightly beaten large eggs, white granulated sugar, lemon zest and white all-purpose flour. Whisk in the lemon juice last and immediately pour the filling over the prebaked crust.

Place back into preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

The filling should be slightly giggly but still rather firm. The lemon bars will slightly thicken and firm up as they cool to room temperature.

Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar, if desired and cut into squares. Leftovers should be kept refrigerated and will last 4 days if chilled.

Ask and Answer: I have been getting a few questions about a previous column and recipe for orange bars. People have been curious if they can freeze them in advance and then bring them to room temperature before serving. Yes! You absolutely can. What I would do, is bake the bars, cool and precut them. Wrap them well in aluminum foil and freeze them either in the pan or individually. Bring them to room temperature and then dust them with powdered sugar.

Mississippi Mud Brownies

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” December 11th, 2017

I still sing the song when I spell out Mississippi. Do you? Do you know which song I am talking about? You know, the one that helps you remember how to spell it? No!? Ok. Maybe it is just me then. Anyways, these “Mississippi Mud Brownies” are delicious any way you spell them! Some people add toasted pecans to the tops of the brownies (with the marshmallows) but I prefer to leave them out for a number of reasons. Highly recommend you try these! Homemade brownie, topped with smooth peanut butter, marshmallows and a silky chocolate frosting. Hello, YUM!

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Mississippi Mud Brownies

For the brownies…
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups white granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups mini marshmallows

For the frosting…
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, white granulated sugar, large eggs and pure vanilla extract. The mixture will be bright colored, smooth and glossy.

Next, whisk in the pure vanilla extract.

Whisk in the white all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

After baking, leave oven on and remove brownies. Allow to cool 10 minutes. Spread evenly the smooth peanut butter all over the top of the brownies.

Sprinkle on the marshmallows. Place back into the oven for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool before frosting.

To make the frosting whisk together the melted butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, whole milk, pure vanilla extract and powdered sugar until smooth and glossy.

Frost the brownies evenly then refrigerate for one hour before cutting and serving.

Enjoy!

CHEW THIS! Pecan Pie Bars AND Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

Pecan Pie Bars AND Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, December 3rd 2017 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Dessert Bars are perfect for Holidays
Blaise Doubman

Lately I have been testing and developing recipes using the “bar” method, whereas you create some type of dough, and or filling, and bake in a large 9×13-inch pan and cut into bars once baked and cooled. You can take just about any type of cookie dough recipe and transform the cookies into “bars” by using this method, and when pressed for time, it is so much easier to spread into one pan instead of dolloping up each cookie. Same goes for cakes! People ask me all the time if you can take a recipe for a cake, calling for two 8 or 9-inch pans, and bake it instead in a 9x-13-inch pan. Yes, you can! This method of baking got me thinking about different types of pies that could be made into “bars”, as well as brownies that could be “bars, yet brownies”. Yes, this is how my mind works most of the time. Ha! The results were fantastic!

I started with the pecan pie bars. Pecan pie is my favorite pie on earth and my favorite recipe is that of a traditional, old-fashioned pecan pie that I shared with everyone several columns ago, right here! I do have a recipe in my cookbook for a “Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie” which is tasty and delightful too, but for my bar recipe I wanted to stick with traditional. I made a crust recipe, placed it into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan, baked the crust, made the filling, baked the filling, allowed it to sit awhile and chill and the results were fantastic! Better than a traditional pecan pie because transformed into “bars”, the pie suddenly becomes a portable food. Portable pecan pie, how bad could that be? When developing the Rice Krispie Treat Brownies I wanted to combine the two, brownies and the cereal treats, but could not think of a way of holding them together. Then I thought about marshmallow cream and it worked! The combination of and texture of the brownie with the crunch of the cereal treats and the marshmallow sandwiched inside really makes for something fun and different. I would recommend trying both of these desserts to serve to your family and friends at your Holiday table!

Pecan Bars and Rice Krispie Treat Brownies

Each of these dessert bars are the perfect make ahead dessert! Whip up a batch of both, cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to three days. You will find that after both of these dessert bars chill they are not only easier to cut and serve, but the flavors really have a chance to come together. The Rice Krispie topping on the brownies can also be made with Cheerio cereal or Frosted Flake cereal. Each makes one 9×13-inch pan and serves about 20-25 people depending on the size of pieces cut for each. These are deliciously rich desserts!

For the Pecan Bars…
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, soft
½ cup white granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups white all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups white corn syrup
1 ½ cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups chopped pecan pieces

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. In a large bowl beat together the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and salt. Slowly stir in the white all-purpose flour and mix until it becomes a soft dough. Press the dough into the prepared pan with clean wet hands. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool slightly.

To make the filling, combine the beaten eggs, white corn syrup, light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract and pecan pieces in a large bowl. Whisk this together until small bubbles appear in the mixture. Pour the filling over the warm crust and place bake into the 350 degree F oven for 35 minutes. You will know when it is done because the filling will be firm and not jiggly. Remove and allow to come to room temperature before refrigerating. Chill at least 4 hours before cutting and serving the bars. Serve alongside vanilla ice cream if desired.

For the Rice Krispie Treat Brownies…
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, soft
2 cups white granulated sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup white all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 jar (7.5 oz) Marshmallow Fluff
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 cups Rice Krispie cereal

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour. In a large bowl combine the soft unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar until light in color and fluffy in texture. Beat in the large eggs and pure vanilla extract. Fold in the unsweetened cocoa powder, white all-purpose flour and the salt. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, until the edges pull away from the pan. Once bake remove and allow to cool completely.

Once cooled, frost the top with the Marshmallow Fluff, spreading evenly along the top and sides. Place into the refrigerator while you finish making the topping.

To make the topping, combine the peanut butter and semi-sweet chocolate chips in a large microwavable bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir until melted and glossy. If you need to microwave more, do so in 30 second intervals. Once melted and glossy, add in the Rice Krispie cereal and stir well to combine and coat all of the cereal. Remove the brownies from the refrigerator and top with the topping, spreading evenly.

Wrap with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before cutting and serving.

Ask and Answer: Sheila Cole Dellinger would like to know what recipes or cookbook I would recommend for someone who has allergies against regular all-purpose flours. Shelia, I would recommend “Flavor Flours” By: Alice Medrich. You can find this cookbook available online and wherever books are sold. Alice is a genius in the kitchen is known for her extensive work on pastries and chocolates. Recently she has been winning awards and gaining followers for her newest venture into diverse types of flours, ranging from almond, coconut and rice flours.

CHEW THIS! Mrs. Byrd Winters’ Yellow Angel Food Cake with Bitter Sweet Icing AND Jell-O Red Velvet Cupcakes

Mrs. Byrd Winters’ Yellow Angel Food Cake with Bitter Sweet Icing AND Jell-O Red Velvet Cupcakes

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, September 20th 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman 

Recipe mix: Catherine Winters, Angel Food Cake and Cupcakes…
Blaise Doubman

Not that long ago, I was contacted by Patricia McDaniel, Chair of the Historic National Road Yard Sale, to let me know that two of my submitted recipes had made the upcoming cookbook the “Historic National Road Yard Sale Cookbook” – Volume 6. I expressed my excitement, and told her of my plans to write about it here for my column. We were discussing ideas and she asked if I had ever heard of Catherine Winters. I told her yes! While working at the New Castle – Henry County Public Library, I would hear questions about Catherine Winters from patrons several times a week. I always found the story fascinating. After talking about Catherine for awhile, Patricia sent me a few recipes that can be tracked down to that family and that time in history.

I’m sharing two of those recipes here with you. I am also including a recipe for my red velvet cupcakes – which will appear in Volume 6 of the “Historic National Road Yard Sale Cookbook”. Patricia told me that more of Catherine’s family recipes will be included in the cookbook, as well as my recipe for “Grandpa Max’s Stuffed Green Bell Peppers”. For more information please contact Patricia at info@oldstorefrontantiques.com.

Mrs. Byrd Winters’ Yellow Angel Food Cake with Bitter Sweet Icing

This cake is an old recipe that was originally found in “Good Things To Eat” By: The Gleaner Glass. The old, brittle and coverless book was discovered by Charlene Perry in an antique store along route 40 one summer. Since then, the book and recipe have been shared by Charlene’s daughter, Lisa. The recipes have a connection with Catherine Winters – it was Byrd Winters’ who submitted this recipe, along with some other recipes that were published and shared by her Sunday school class…

For the cake…

1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cold water
½ cup hot water
1 ½ cups white all-purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cream of tarter
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 egg whites, beaten until stiff

For the icing…

2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
3 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 oz. dark chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Beat together the white granulated sugar, egg yolks and cold water until very light in color. Next, beat in the hot water. Sift together twice, the white all-purpose flour, baking powder, cream of tarter and salt, before adding to the mixture. Beat in pure vanilla extract before gently folding in the beaten egg whites. Place mixture in a tube-pan and bake in preheated oven 60 minutes. Once baked, remove from oven and invert pan until cake has finished cooling.

To make the icing, mix together the powdered sugar, melted salted butter, cream and pure vanilla extract. Spread this on the cooled cake. Drizzle melted dark chocolate on top before serving.

Jello Red Velvet Cupcakes

This recipe was originally published on my “Blaise the Baker” blog, and went on to be one of my most popular recipes for 2014. It’s also one of the recipes that will be published in the upcoming “Historic National Road Yard Sale Cookbook” – Volume 6. For the publication of this column, I’ve changed my original recipe to include a delicious cinnamon cream cheese frosting, which is perfect for Autumn…

For the cupcakes…

1 package Red Velvet cake mix
1 3.9 oz. package of Jello Instant chocolate pudding

For the frosting…

1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 ½ – 3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Whole milk

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 24 cupcake wrappers and lightly spray each cup with non-stick cooking spray.

Whisk together the cake mix according to the package directions, being sure when adding the water, the water is hot.

Once thoroughly mixed together, add in the package of Jello instant chocolate pudding, and mix to combine.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cupcake pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat together the unsalted butter and cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Next, beat in the powdered sugar and pure vanilla extract. Add in the ground cinnamon and combine. To reach desired consistency, add a little whole milk if needed.

Frost cupcakes and serve.

CHEW THIS! Buckeye Chocolate Brownies

Buckeye Chocolate Brownies

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, November 2nd 2014 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Buckeye candy transformed into brownies!
Blaise Doubman

How many people love buckeye candy? You know – the delicious little balls of peanut butter, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar all rolled into little balls and dipped into chocolate? The candy, by the way, was named for its resemblance to the nut found in the Ohio buckeye tree and is very popular to this region. I’ve grown up eating this candy for years. I even posted an easy buckeye recipe on my blog that doesn’t require paraffin, which was inspired by the candy making at Good’s Candies in Kennard. My love of chocolate and peanut butter have followed me through many years of dark chocolate peanut butter candy from Good’s Candies, peanut butter and chocolate “puppy chow” (also on my blog) and several chocolate and peanut butter cups. I really didn’t know what I was missing in the “chocolate and peanut butter” dessert area, until I developed these…

Don’t have the use of a boxed brownie mix turn you off from making these. People will never know (just follow my tricks below) and take all of the credit for these “homemade brownies”. Besides, using store bought mixes shouldn’t be anything to apologize for in the first place! Just make sure you buy the best quality mixes you can find, and whatever you make is sure to turn out perfectly…and nobody will ever know the difference.

Buckeye Chocolate Brownies

These brownies are amazingly rich and decadent – so cut smaller pieces when serving. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before starting – an important rule when baking. The hint of coffee will make the chocolate brownies taste more like chocolate and the vanilla in the peanut butter filling will really add to that peanut flavor. Lining the baking pan with foil, and spraying with a non-stick cooking spray will help the brownies be “lifted” from the pan; making for a guaranteed non-stick surface. Leftovers should be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. These can also be made up to one day in advance and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

For the brownies…

1 box of good quality brownie mix (make sure it fits 13×9-inch pan) and ingredients called for on the box. (Usually water, vegetable oil and eggs)
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules

For the peanut butter filling…

1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate topping…

1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (about one bag)
½ stick (2 oz.) unsalted butter

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F and line a 13×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.

Prepare the brownies according to the package directions, except instead of adding water, add milk. Also add the 2 teaspoons of instant coffee granules to the batter and stir to combine.

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly.

Bake in preheated oven for 26 minutes and remove, allowing to cool completely.

After the brownies have cooled, start making the peanut butter filling by combining the butter, creamy peanut butter, and powdered sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Once incorporated, add the milk and vanilla extract and stir well.

Spread the peanut butter filling over the cooled brownies, evenly.

Next, in a small microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and butter.

Microwave on high 60 seconds and stir. Microwave another 30 seconds and stir until completely melted. Allow this to cool slightly.

Pour on the melted chocolate and spread evenly with a knife or the back of a spoon.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze

Originally published on “Blaise the Baker” October 7th, 2014

I made this cake a couple of days ago and it was delicious! It is a spin off an OLD recipe from the 1940’s. I love finding old recipes and updating them to meet today’s flavors! I WILL admit that this recipe produces a cake that is NOT to photograph! Ha! It’s…just not the prettiest cake. But cake is about taste, and less about presentation right?! At least, that’s the way I look at it…

It’s important to start on the glaze the minute the cake goes into the oven. Why? Because you need to cook it and immediately pour it over the cake as soon as it is out of the oven.

It produces a delicious cake that stays moist the longer it sits! Make sure and store any leftovers (I did not have many) in the refrigerator. When reheating – place in the microwave for a few seconds. AND if you want a dessert that is simply over the top – cut a piece and serve it with vanilla ice cream. Oh – and a little caramel drizzle wouldn’t hurt either…but it is really up to you and your tastes. (My tastes are SWEET!)

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before starting…

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Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze

For the cake…
2 cups diced and peeled apples (you can use any apple but I prefer Granny Smith)
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup white all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the glaze…
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz)
1 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F.

Lightly grease an 8-inch square cake pan with baking spray.

Start making the cake by combining the white granulated sugar and the diced and peeled apples in a large bowl. Mix well to make sure the sugar is coating all of the diced apple pieces. Let stand for about 5 minutes (while you prepare the other ingredients) until the sugar is dissolved.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ground cinnamon and baking soda. Whisk together to sift and combine.

In the bowl with the sugar and apples, add the egg and stir well to coat and combine.

Add the flour mixture to the sugar, apples and egg and stir well to combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread out evenly.

Place into preheated oven for exactly 37 minutes.

Start making the glaze by placing the brown sugar, white granulated sugar, flour, butter, water and vanilla in a medium sized saucepan and stir over medium / low heat.

Stir and melt all of the ingredients together slowly.

Once it comes to a boil, cook until thickened – which should take around 10 minutes.

Once the cake is finished baking, remove from oven and immediately poke holes all over the top with a fork. Do not be afraid to poke A LOT of holes all over. The more holes – the more moist!

Pour on the hot glaze SLOWLY all over the top of the cake, being sure to coat evenly.

With the back of a spoon, spread out to make sure there is glaze in each and every hole.

Try to wait for it to cool slightly before serving.

Enjoy!

CHEW THIS! Soft and Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookies

Soft and Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookies

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The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, October 5th 2014 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

Cinnamon and Sugar are the Smells of Autumn
Blaise Doubman

Autumn is here and to me that means the smell of cinnamon and sugar coming from the kitchen. There is nothing like the freshly baked smell of something with cinnamon and sugar coming from the oven. Apple pie, apple crisp, cinnamon bread, candied pecans and Snickerdoodle cookies are just a few of the mouth watering scents that usually make their way through the kitchen throughout this time of year. These scents along with the changing colors of the leaves, cooler weather, and Jacob’s Family Orchard’s apple cider, donuts and slushies (personal favorites of mine) are all signs that Autumn is upon us!

Over the past several months I have been testing Snickerdoodle cookie recipes and with this time of year, it’s the perfect excuse to make these delicious cinnamon and sugar rolled cookies. In “The Joy of Cooking” it states that Snickerdoodles are probably German in origin meaning “snail noodles”. A large part of my research though, shows that the actual invention of these cookies is largely unknown. Whoever invented these and for whatever reason – I would like to thank them for this creation, and after trying this recipe, you will want to thank them too…

Soft and Chewy Snickerdoodle Cookies

These cookies fall into the category of “soft and chewy”. They will last several days in an air-tight container. Before starting the recipe, make sure all ingredients are at room temperature – an important rule when baking. Also remember to bake these just at 17 minutes and allow them to cool on the baking sheet. You can place these fairly close together on the baking sheets – they do not spread out that much. When using a 1-inch cookie scoop it makes around 3 dozen cookies.

For the cookies…
1 ½ cups white granulated sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (8 oz.)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

For the cinnamon-sugar mixture…
½ cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well.

Next, add in the shortening, baking soda, and salt and stir to combine.

Carefully add in the flour (a cup or so at a time) and stir until just combined, being careful not to over mix the dough.

In a small bowl, combine the ½ cup white granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon and stir together until well combined.

Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, scoop the dough out into balls and place into the smaller bowl with cinnamon and sugar and roll around until evenly coated, one at a time.

Once evenly coated, place on prepared cookie sheets. Do this until all the dough is used.

Place baking sheets, one at a time, into preheated oven and bake for 17 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.