Back in Denver and finally found the time to squeeze in some baking amidst the chaos of the week! Last week I decided enough was enough. It was time for some baking. I have been meaning to make a recipe I found for cheesy puff pastry pretzels for the last month or so. A busy week can always be made busier with some yummy puff pastry right? I mean really, when it takes 15 minutes to make a cheesy carb-loaded snack, you make the time.

I will confess I cannot shape pretzels for the life of me. I cut myself some slack since this was my first attempt, but I should blame my impatience in rolling out the dough. I was in a rush. I was hungry. I got sloppy. Therefore the strips of puff pastry dough ended up shorter than I expected and thus the misshapen pretzels ensued. Though they are not the perfect pretzel shape, they are cute little twisted snacks!

Cheesy Puff Pastry Pretzels (recipe adapted from Just A Taste)

Ingredients:

2 sheets store-bought puff pastry, thawed
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1½ cups shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

On a lightly floured surface, place one sheet of puff pastry and, using a rolling pin. roll out until you have a 14″ square.

Lightly brush the puff pastry sheet with the melted butter and sprinkle half of the Parmesan over the top. Press the cheese into the dough to ensure it sticks.

Cut the dough into 12 even strips using a sharp knife. Fold each strip into a pretzel shape and place onto the lined baking sheet.

Repeat steps two through four with the second sheet of puff pastry.

Bake pretzels for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with dipping sauces such as mustard.

Next on the baking list were Russian Tea Cakes. This weekend I co-hosted a bridal shower and since the theme was an Alice in Wonderland mad hatter tea party, I thought tea cakes would be the perfect favor; particularly when they are nestled in a favor box that says Eat Me…

(so freaking cute, right? I must admit, I do impress myself at times).

Of course the simplest of recipes doesn’t mean that making them is simple, does it? Before I get ahead of myself, I have to tell you now I am in love with my KitchenAid mixer. It is beautiful and red and shiny and makes me smile every time I haul it out to bake.

Everything was going fine, the mixer was mixing away when suddenly that little round metal KitchenAid attachment just popped off. No warning, it just popped off and fell into the mixing bowl. Unfortunately I was not fast enough to catch it and my mixer started to make this terrible clicking noise and shaking before I could stop it… I am sad to say that my beautiful mixer is now injured and I am just praying that I still have an active warranty on the thing….

Aside from the damage caused to my precious mixer, (good thing I hadn’t picked a name out for it right? It’s not like I’m attached to the thing…) the cookies were a major hit. Obviously they are perfect for a tea party, but I think they ROCK as breakfast. Yes I eat cookies for breakfast. I would also eat cake for breakfast. Or ice cream. I better stop there before I start craving maple bacon ice cream… Too late. And my mixer that allows me to make ice cream is broken. Crap.

Russian Tea Cakes (adapted from Mrs. Fields Cookie Book)

Ingredients

Cookies:

1 cup salted butted

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. salt

Topping:

½ cup fruit preserves (I used apricot and raspberry)

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together using an electric mixer. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Blend in flour and salt, mixing until thoroughly combined.

Roll one tablespoon of dough into a small ball about 1 inch in diameter. Place dough ball on lightly greased cookie sheets. Repeat the process with the remained dough, placing balls roughly 1 inch apart. Press down the center of each ball with a spoon, forming a small depression. Fill each with a teaspoonful of preserves.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cookies immediately to a cool, flat surface. When cookies are completely cool, dust them lightly with confectioners’ sugar.