nesting * geeking * critiquing

Posts tagged “baking

Lemon Crinkle Cookies a la Cake Mix

Baking is among my favorite hobbies, but that’s not to say that I do it often or even especially well. Nevertheless, I  know an awesome recipe when I find one. And if it tastes delicious with relatively little effort involved, all the better.

Because we’re all friends here, I’ve decided to share my latest discovery: the single best, easiest lemon cookies you’ll ever eat. And they start with a boxed cake mix.Lemon Cookies a la Cake Mix |

Lemon Crinkle Cookies a la Cake Mix

  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • Powdered sugar, at least 1 cup to be on the safe side

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a baking sheet.

Mix all ingredients until combined, except powdered sugar; I used my trusty stand mixer, but you could probably do this by hand if necessary. The dough will essentially be one big, greasy-looking blob. Don’t let that deter you.

Scoop out batter by tablespoon (or smaller depending on desired size). Roll each dough ball in powdered sugar and place on baking sheet. Note: applying cooking spray to your hands and tablespoon makes this step much easier. A little spray after each couple of scoops goes a long way.

Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are set. I  found that trying to lift up the edge of a cookie right around the 8-minute mark helped me gauge how much longer to leave them in. It’s not a science, I assure you. In fact, I really don’t think you can do these wrong unless you forget to take them out altogether. My general rule of thumb is to check early and check often to ensure they’re nice and chewy.

Dust with more powdered sugar after you take them out of the oven. Leave on baking sheet for a few minutes then move to cookie rack to cool.

Let me tell you, these are divine! If I still had the metabolism of 17-yr-old me, I’d make these suckers at least once a week. They’re sweet and lemon-y without being overpowering on either count, and the texture is chewy but also silky.

I’d imagine you could manipulate this recipe for any flavor of cake mix. I intend to try strawberry or confetti cake soon (minus the salt and lemon juice, of course).

Small investment, big return…what’s not to like?!


Leave No Doubt

Last night’s game was really SUPER, especially for Seahawks fans like myself. Seattle’s social media machine was running the tag “Leave No Doubt” and I’d say the team delivered on that. We’ll pretend like my football brownies and apparel helped clinch it—that’s the power of the 12th Man, y’all.

You, too, can make football brownies. All you need is a brownie mix (baked according to box in an 11×7 pan), a football-shaped cookie cutter and a squeezy tube of white icing. Easy, festive, yummy.

sb brownies

{brownies…teams from WA & CO…bahaha}

Pancake Squares

Many of you found your way to my corner of the interwebs via a little piece I wrote about a surprisingly awesome Anakin Skywalker toy. If you’re hoping for more along those lines, you’ll have to excuse this temporary lapse into domesticity.

Fret not, good denizens, I’ve got more pop-culture ponderings to share in the days ahead.

But first, we must reflect on the scrumptious gems known as Pancake Squares. Pancake Squares
This, friends, is what delicious looks like.

Take a minute to let your eyes linger on these. And just think, this is before adding the butter and syrup. <wipes drool from chin>

They’re so fluffy, I’m gonna die!

I stumbled across the recipe on Pinterest, originally in this post by Big Red Kitchen.
We all know that Pinterest recipes can be iffy…I’ve run into as many “misses” as “hits” (if not more). These, though, are a definite “hit” for me.

If you’re looking for a 10-minute meal, you might want to stick with the boxed mixes. It does take a bit more time to gather the ingredients for these, and you’ve got to wait for them to bake; the extra agony is entirely worth it, though!

Pancake Squares

2 Tbs. melted butter
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 Tbs. sugar
1 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

• Preheat oven to 350°. You can use the heating time to assemble your ingredients.

•  Mix together milk, butter and egg in a good-sized bowl (I did not use my stand mixer for this endeavor). Add sugar and beat in flour/baking powder/salt until incorporated.

• Pour batter into greased 8×8 pan. I’m told you can double the recipe and bake in a 9×13 pan.

• Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown (I didn’t want mine too well done so I started the toothpick test around 18 minutes).


Half-Scratch Lemon Cake

When I was in fourth grade, I decided I loved lemon cake. It wasn’t a staple around our house, so I’m not sure from whence the lemon muse came. Nonetheless, it became a fast favorite since I could bake it myself…from a boxed mix, of

Twenty years later, I still enjoy making lemon cake from a boxed mix. These days I do it a little differently, though, and it tastes sooo much better.
The “half-scratch” cake is moist and lemony, and the canned frosting makeover yields creamy yumminess.

Adapted from the recipe at Your Home-based Mom.

Half-Scratch Lemon Cake

  • 1 boxed lemon cake mix (ignore everything it says on the back of the box)
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 3/4 c. oil
  • A couple of squirts of lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees(F) and grease a 9″x13″ pan.

Throw all of the ingredients in your electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed for a couple of minutes, until it looks like cake batter.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven. As with any cake, check early and often so you don’t leave it in too long and wind up with dry cake.
I started checking mine around 22 minutes—toothpick should come out clean with a few crumbs—with 25 min being just about right. Cool completely before frosting.


  • 1 can of the pre-made stuff, lemon flavor
  • A couple of squirts of lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt

Using your stand mixer’s whisk attachment, whisk on high for several minutes. You’ll notice it become fluffier and the color less chemically yellow. After you’ve “let ‘er rip” for a few minutes (no set time, just until it looks right to you), put it in the fridge for a few minutes to stiffen back up a bit.

Frost your cooled cake and refrigerate again before serving if the frosting looks a little melty. (I also store mine covered in the fridge just to keep it nice and fresh.)


Goals Update

As you may recall, I’ve been working my way through some goals for the year. Here’s where we stand 4 months into 30. I’ve been making some progress!

30 by Through 30checklist

  • Make at least 20 recipes from Pinterest
  • Successfully ice a cake using homemade fondant
  • Visit a farmer’s market
  • Use my apron patterns to make cute, retro aprons
  • Work down to my goal weight (need to lose about 25 35 pounds)
  • Watch the Lord of the Rings movies (Not gonna lie; they’re not my favorites)
  • Attend a geek convention, preferably as part of a paid work assignment
  • Read all 7 Harry Potter books (barely treading water on book 4)
  • Attend a marathon of the Twilight films before the last one releases (I watched a couple each night at home leading up to it, that counts)
  • Run a 5K (I’ve participated in a 5K now but only ran about half; I’m planning another attempt this fall)
  • Meet a famous person (and please let it be Norman Reedus! Or Henry Cavill!)
  • Go to Disney World
  • Enter a contest (something competitive, not just a prize drawing)
  • Move into a new house
  • Plant a garden (pictures coming soon)
  • Take a flying lesson (my parents bought me one for my 29th birthday)
  • Finish my Star Wars room
  • Grow back my eyebrows completely
  • Hike in a national park
  • Pay off a credit card balance
  • Meet a real-life elephant (close enough to touch it, not just take a picture)
  • Zip line (6.22.13 LOVED it!)
  • Eat at a new restaurant/order something that I wouldn’t ordinarily
  • Volunteer for a charity event
  • Refurbish a piece of furniture
  • Get the Stormtrooper tattoo I really like
  • Make a King’s Cake for next Epiphany (missed it again this year)
  • Take a picture every day for a month and blog it
  • Wear the same article of clothing to work every day for a week
  • Have new family photos taken
  • Play my trumpet in a small ensemble at church
  • Try shooting a gun
  • Blog a day-in-my-life photo tour
  • See more of the Pacific Northwest (I’m thinking Oregon sounds pretty awesome)
  • Make curtains for my kitchen windows
  • Put together a 2,000-piece (or more) puzzle by myself