The Best Frosting Recipes for Cakes and Cookies

Mrs. Fields Frosted Cookies

Everybody knows that the frosting can make or break your favorite cakes and cookies. Get it wrong and hours of work is lost. Get it right and people are lifting you on their shoulders and naming streets in your honor. (Or so we hear.) Make your frosting always hit the mark by using our handy guide for finding the best match for your cakes and cookies.

For Cakes

Old-Fashioned Vanilla Frosting – This light, fluffy frosting can be colored (or left a soft off-white). You can also substitute the vanilla with almond flavoring.
Use it on: chocolate cake, red velvet cake, cupcakes

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting – This silky frosting has great texture and deep flavor, perfect for piping or spreading. Use real cream for best results and keep it refrigerated.
Use it on: chocolate cake, yellow cakes, berry cakes, cupcakes

Quick Chocolate Frosting – This lighter-than-air quick frosting takes only a few ingredients and a few minutes to prepare. It’s a great recipe to keep on hand.
Use it on: chocolate cakes, yellow cakes, cupcakes

Cream Cheese Frosting – The perfect balance of flavor and texture, this frosting is not too sweet, not too tangy, and has a sturdy texture perfect for piping and frosting.
Use it on: carrot cake, red velvet cake, spice cake, cupcakes

Chocolate Ganache – For serious chocolate lovers, it doesn’t get better than ganache. This recipe is decadent and perfect for glazing your favorite cake.
Use it on: chocolate cakes, cupcakes, and even brownies

For Cookies

Royal Icing – This shiny, highly versatile frosting is the favorite of sugar cookie decorators. This recipe is solid, simple (and there’s a video tutorial to help).
Use it on: cut-out sugar cookies

Chocolate Royal Icing – The chocolate alternative that, in our opinion, is severely underused. Yum.
Use it on: cut out sugar cookies

Buttercream Frosting – Fluffy, spreadable, color-able and loves sprinkles. Perfect for spreading or piping.
Use it on: drop sugar cookies

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting – Sometimes cream cheese frosting can overpower a cookie, but a little cinnamon balances everything out.
Use it on: pumpkin cookies, spice cookies, gingerbread cookies

Do you have a favorite go-to frosting? Tell us about it!

5 Easy Homemade Dog Treats

Mrs. Fields Secrets Doggie Treats
If you’ve got a four-legged friend in the house, we’ve got just the way to make their day! Homemade dog treats are a fun, healthy, affordable way to shower love on man’s best friend. There are many advantages to making your own dog treats, including customizing the portion size and incorporating your dog’s favorite flavors. We’ve gathered five fun, easy recipes (including a no-bake option) to help you get started. Try them out, customize them and make them your own. Your dog will love you (even more) for it! Follow links for the original recipes.

1. Peanut Butter Doggy Pretzels
2. Bacon Flavored Dog Treats
3. No-Bake Dog Treats
4. Peanut Butter Paw Print Biscuits
5. Healthy Morning Poochidatis

Tips for Keeping Your Cookies Fresh

There’s nothing quite like a batch of cookies fresh from the oven, so soft, chewy and moist. But how do you keep that first-day freshness until the last cookie? We’ve got some brilliant tips to help you do just that!

  • Always allow cookies to cool completely before storing. Placing still-warm cookies in a container will cause them to get soggy from steam.
  • The more butter, the longer the cookie will stay fresh. The natural fats from butter help retain moisture and softness. If you need a recipe you can make ahead of time, our blue-ribbon chocolate chip is ideal.
  • Air-tight containers are key for freshness, but pay attention to size. Use the smallest container you can, which will ensure the least amount of air inside.
  • Never store cookies in the refrigerator, which dries them out. For long-term storage, opt for the freezer in a freezer-safe, air-tight container. Frozen cookies can stay fresh up to three months.
  • Place a slice of sandwich bread inside the cookie jar or container. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread to remain moist. Replace the bread every 1-2 days.
  • Wrapping each individual cookie in plastic wrap is a great way to keep air out and moisture locked in. Plus, cookies are ready to go at any time into a lunch bag, purse or pocket.
  • When using a container, separate layers of cookies with pieces of wax or parchment paper. They will retain better shape and more even moisture.
  • Never combine soft and crispy cookies in the same container.
  • Buttery cookies like shortbreads and sugar cookies will stay fresher longer with liners. Use cupcake liners around each cookie in a container for best results.
  • Unless freezing for long-term storage, room temperature is best for cookies.
  • Cookie jars are cute, but make sure they have an airtight seal around the rim for best results.
  • To give a cookie a fresh-from-the-oven taste, wrap it in a barely wet paper towel and microwave it for 5 second increments until warm and soft.

Do you have a favorite trick for keeping cookies fresh? Share it with us!

Make Your Own Cookie Butter

Homemade Cookie Butter via A Beautiful Mess

What’s better than cookies and butter? How about cookie butter? And what’s better than cookie butter? How about homemade cookie butter. That’s right, this decadent treat is super simple to make with your favorite cookies and a few simple ingredients. It also makes an absolutely thoughtful gift. We discovered this helpful tutorial on A Beautiful Mess and give it a standing ovation. Here’s what you need to know:

Cookie Butter
adapted from A Beautiful Mess

2 cups cookie crumbs
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup evaporated milk
water as needed

Directions
Prepare cookie crumbs by pulsing cookies in a food processor. (If using sandwich cookies with a cream filling, remove the cream filling first.) Keep pulsing until you have two cups of fine powder. Transfer crumbs to a mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the butter over low heat until melted, and then stir in the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk and continue stirring until completely combined. Pour 1/2 cup of the liquid into the cookie crumbs and mix together with a spoon. Keep adding small amounts of the liquid until the cookie butter is just wet enough to stay together. Depending on how dry the cookie is to begin with, you’ll need more or less liquid. Buttery cookies (like the sugar cookies) won’t require nearly as much as the drier cookies.

Once the cookie butter is blended, allow it to cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Remove from fridge and stir very small amounts of water (start with 1/8 teaspoon) into the mixture. Continue blending and stirring until you reach a smooth, butter-like consistency, adding butter as necessary. Once desired consistency is reached, cover butter and transfer to the refrigerator. It will keep up to two weeks!

Great Tips for Your Holiday Leftovers

The holidays are officially over, but you’ve still got a fridge and pantry full of decadent food and treats. We’ve gathered up some great ideas to put all that food to good use.

Meats and Cheeses
Reinvent your leftover ham, turkey or roast and bits of cheese in a delicious frittata served for breakfast or brunch. Add in fresh veggies, eggs, even pasta or rice, and the flavors come together in a delicious new way.

Fruit
A fruit basket makes a great gift, but it can be overwhelming to eat it all before it goes bad. We recommend transforming it into a fresh fruit pizza or a pitcher of delicious winter sangria.

Cakes
If you’ve got cakes that are starting to get dry, transform them into delicious cake pops. The bite-sized treats are perfectly portioned for your New Year’s goals.

Cookies
If you’ve got an overload of cookies, place a scoop of ice cream between two of them and transform them into a fresh stock of ice cream sandwiches in your freezer.

Breads, Rolls and Crackers
Stale bread makes delicious homemade croutons. Stale rolls and crackers can be turned into bread crumbs in your food processor. Pulse them and then place the crumbs in a freezer-safe bag and store them in the freezer until needed.

Unopened Perishables
Most food banks and shelters get a lot of support during the holidays, but very little afterward. Box up your unopened perishables and deliver them to those in need. Better yet, invite your neighbors to do the same.

Do you have a favorite idea for holiday leftovers? Let us know!

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6 Christmas Morning Casseroles

Mrs. Fields Secrets Breakfast Casseroles

After working up an appetite from an unwrapping frenzy, you’ll need some sustenance on Christmas morning. We’ve gathered six mouth-watering make-ahead casseroles that will feel like a gift themselves: three savory recipes and three sweet for a decadent, delicious meal. Prepare your favorite the night before, and pop it in the oven Christmas morning. Breakfast practically takes care of itself!

1. California Breakfast Casserole
2. Eggs Benedict Casserole
3. Breakfast Enchiladas
4. Baked Oatmeal Casserole
5. Blushing Blueberry Croissant Casserole
6. Cinnamon Roll French Toast

Follow the links to the recipes.

5 Can’t-Go-Wrong Hostess Gifts

If you’re staying with friends or family for the holidays, or simply headed to a holiday party, we’ve got a list of home-run hostess gift ideas to express your gratitude and keep those invitations coming for years to come. A hostess gift doesn’t have to be lavish or complicated, but it should be thoughtful. Here are five gifts that every host will appreciate.

1. Take out containers for doggy bags. Stock up on a range of to-go containers from a restaurant supply store and gift them to your host. When the party is over, she can send guests home with easy, attractive doggy bags without raiding her own supply of dishes.

 

2. A fresh, new apron. Immediately useful and appreciated, an apron is an ideal hostess gift. And if you offer to put it on and help in the kitchen, even better!

3. Fresh flowers. You can never go wrong with a beautiful, neutral bouquet. (Be sure to provide a vase so that your host doesn’t have to figure out or arrange the display.)

 

4. Coasters. Easy and thoughtful, coasters are a great hostess gift because they can be put to use right away to protect the host’s furniture. Cork coasters are safe and absorbent and affordable. Add a personalized touch with some simple paint.

5. Relaxation. Nobody needs moments of relaxation like a host after the party. Whether it’s a spa certificate (if you’re staying a week in somebody’s house), a jar of bath salts, or a lavender-scented candle, your host will appreciate a few moments zen when the party is over.

Ultimate Gift Guide for Brownie Lovers

Mrs. Fields Secrets Brownie Lover 1 Mrs. Fields Brownie Lovers 2

The Brownie Lover. Who can blame their devotion to rich, fudge-y chocolate? Nobody. So, for the holidays, indulge it. Embrace it. Give those brownie lovers what they really, really want: all things brownies. And just in case you need a head start, we’ve put together the ultimate guide:

1. Two Dozen Classic Brownies
2. Edge Brownie Pan
3. Extreme Brownie Recipe Book
4. Brownie Batter Candle
5. Brookie Pan

Inspiring Turkey Trays

Part centerpiece, part meal, these “turkey” trays are a fun way to add some special oomph to your Thanksgiving table. Check them out and get inspired.

The Fruit Trays…

The Veggie Trays…

And our favorite, the Dessert Trays…

The countdown is on! Are you ready for Turkey Day?

Give Your Oven a Holiday Tune-Up

The last thing you need during the holidays is an oven failure, so we’re getting you ready for holiday kitchen overdrive with a simple oven tune-up to keep you running smoothly from Thanksgiving appetizers to New Years desserts.

1. Clean the oven. No need to dread this task. Most modern ovens have a self-cleaning function, but if not, there is no need to buy dangerous chemical cleansers. A spray bottle of water and a box of baking soda will do wonders.

2. Check the thermostat. The thermostat is the mechanism that helps measure and regulate the temperature in the oven. They can go bad or become unreliable, but are replaced easily. The most common indicator of a bad thermostat is an oven that overheats. You should be able to identify the thermostat in your oven by looking inside for a long tube near one of the side walls. To replace it, be sure to disconnect the electricity to the oven before starting and consult the owner’s manual for any specific instructions. It is most often a process of disconnecting the wires on the old thermostat, removing it, and installing the new one in the reverse order.

3. Check the heating elements. If you’ve noticed things baking unevenly in the oven, or taking much longer to cook, the heating element could be going bad. Replacement is quite simple. Be sure to disconnect electricity before beginning, then follow the instructions in this simple video.

4. Inspect the flames. For gas ovens, ports for the flames can easily be blocked by debris. Turn the oven on and check to see if flame levels are even in both size and disbursement. Clean away any debris or blockage. If the flame seems too low, consult your owner’s manual to find where adjustments can be made. The manual should also indicate the recommended size of the flame for your particular unit.

5. Clean or replace the bulb. The oven light is one of the most underutilized tools, since it allows you to check on foods without opening the door and letting hot air escape. If the bulb is dirty or failing, replace it before the busy season.

Simple as that, your oven is ready for whatever your holiday schedule brings!

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