Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Be my Valentine Cookie Recipe!

There is no better way to say “Be My Valentine” without a tasty treat to win over their hearts! If you’re anything like me you’re reading this because you love to bake. In my case, I always bake treats for gifts, parties, friends, work, holidays, or even just as a treat for myself. Buttercream cookies are my favorite go to cookies that look super cute and fun to eat. My family owns a third generation bakery in North Carolina, so I’ve been baking my entire life!
So today is your lucky day! I’m going to share three of our family recipes for our delicious homemade Buttercream Cookies with dipping icing and Buttercream icing! Let’s get baking!

So we are going to start by baking the dough for the cookies and then while they are baking, we will work on making the icing. Very important note: dipping icing for these cookies has to stay hot because when cooled it will become hard and you will not be able to manage the icing. The buttercream icing is easier to manage and does not harden over time, but we have found way easier to work with when it is at room temperature.
Ingredients for Dough
-2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon of salt
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1 large egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions for Dough
1. In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Using an electric mixer, mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic and put in the fridge to freeze until firm (minimum 20 minutes). If there is too much dough and you will not be using it all in one day, you can place the dough in a re-sealable bag and place in the freeze up to 3 months.
2. Now is the time to roll out the disks and choose your favorite cookie cutter! With the cookie cutter, cut the cookies and place on a baking tray from baking. If you are using a cookie tray, lightly spray the tray with Pam or spread a thin layer of Crisco just so the cookies will not stick to the tray. If you don’t have either of these non-stick methods around your house just simply put down a baking liner to line the tray.
3. Place cookies in the oven and bake rotating the tray half way through, or until edges are golden brown. Set aside to completely cool before trying to ice. If cookies are iced before cooling properly the dipping icing will not stick and you will be left with a mess and not a cookie!
Ingredients for Dipping Icing
-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
-3 tablespoons white corn syrup
-1-1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
-1/4 cup water
-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-food coloring of your choice to color icing

Directions for Dipping Icing
1. Mix all of the ingredients with a hand mixer on medium for 1 minute.
2. Scrap the bowl and beat again for about 10 seconds.

After the Dipping icing is made set aside until cookies are cooled. The icing will be hard by the time the cookies are cooled, but that’s okay! All we have to do is, when ready to use, is heat the icing up in the microwave starting with 1 minute and then 30 second intervals, stirring in between. We want the icing to be runny but not like water. The consistency need to be like warm cheese. If at any time during the dipping process the icing becomes hard again just repeat this process again so that the cookies won’t break in half when dipping.

When dipping the cookies, take it one cookie at a time. Place the cookie face down in the icing covering just the top of the cookie; spin the cookie in a circular motion while lifting up out of the icing. This will give you a flat surface rather than clumps of icing on the top of the cookie. Place cookie back on the cookie tray to dry. The icing will become hard and then it will be time to decorate. Repeat this process until all cookies are all iced.  
Place cookies on a cute tray, or in a box for display! And of course, you have to eat one to make sure they are Valentine’s Day worthy! The person receiving these cookies will be the luckiest Valentines in the world, how could they say no to you?

- Tabatha B.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Chinese New Year in Las Vegas

Chinese New Year is coming up (Feb 8) and we welcome the Year of the Monkey with open arms here in Las Vegas!

Here are our picks for events and sights to see if you're visiting Las Vegas during this time of year.
  1. Opening Ceremonies at the LINQ Promenade (! Ring in the new year on the Las Vegas strip on Tuesday, February 9th with these grand celebrations, including a ribbon cutting, dragon dance and performers.
  2. Culinary demonstrations at Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts Las Vegas! Various chefs showcase their skills in fruit carving, and noodle pulling on Friday, February 12th.
  3. Chinese New Year Parade in Downtown Las Vegas, around Fremont and 11th. Starting at 11am on Saturday February, 13th, join the festivities in a street party! More info here:
  4. Chinese New Year Fashion Show at the Downtown Container Park ( on Saturday, February 13th! The Container Park will also be hosting a full day of events featuring a dance troupe, martial arts demonstrations, and also a lucky draw/raffle if you are feeling auspicious!
  5. Chinese New Year floral display at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden! This ongoing display started Jan 8 and will be available for viewing until March 12th!

Hope you have a fun and safe travels to Las Vegas this Chinese New Year season! Wishing you and your families a healthy, happy and fruitful Year of the Monkey!
Gong Xi Fa Cai!!