Cookies and CupcakesThe holidays are a special time for family, friends, fun … and delicious baked goods! 

Located in downtown La Crosse is a store dedicated year-round to cookies, bars and cupcakes. It’s also a wonderland of seasonal baked delights during the holidays. 

The decadent aromas immediately captivate your sweet tooth as you walk through the door of Kathy’s Cookie Company and The Cupcake Underground. Kathy Wall, the owner of Kathy’s Cookie Company, started baking when she was 8 years old. “I remember baking cookies, pies and bars for family and classmates throughout my school years,” says Wall. She opened her business in December 2014 and enjoys the freedom to come up with her own cookie ideas. Everything is freshly baked in small batches from scratch. Wall also offers creatively decorated cookies in various shapes for every occasion. 

Angel Petersen-McDonald opened The Cupcake Underground in July 2016 after Wall offered space at her shop. “The Cupcake Underground is an ode to the adventure baking has been for me so far,” says Petersen-McDonald, who has been baking for over a decade after learning the ins and outs at her aunt’s dessert shop. She likes the challenge of creating new flavor profiles and learning new decorating techniques, which in turn helps her make an ever-expanding assortment of delicious cakes and desserts. An employee at Western Technical College, Petersen-McDonald enjoys the creative outlet of making beautiful, edible art in the form of cupcakes.

Since the holiday season is often the most popular time for baking, Wall and Petersen-McDonald have a few tips to offer.

Tips for baking cookies: 

• Try splitting cookie dough into two different cookies for a little variety.

• Look at your recipes and try to change them into something a little different.

• Have fun!

Tips for baking cupcakes:

• Read through your recipe ahead of time, make sure you have everything ready to go, and understand the order of directions. 

• Use an ice cream scoop to measure out batter and keep cakes a consistent size. 

• Don’t overbake! Use a timer and set it to check the cake a minute or two under the expected baking time. Using a thermometer to gauge the actual temperature of your oven instead of relying on the dial can make a big difference.

• Frosting ratio should be almost 1:1. Don’t be stingy with the frosting! The cake and the frosting should be delicious enough to stand on their own. 

Kathy’s Cookie Company and The Cupcake Underground are located at 125 6th Street South in La Crosse. Stop by to grab a delicious treat this holiday season, or let Kathy Wall and Angel Petersen-McDonald do the baking for you this year. To learn more about these businesses, find them on Facebook at Kathy’s Cookie Company and online at thecupcakeunderground.com.

Oatmeal Cranberry & Walnut Cookies

cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

Cream sugars and butter together, add egg and vanilla, mix.

Add in oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder and salt, then slowly add flour.

Slowly add in cranberries and walnuts.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 min.

Makes about 12-14 cookies

Modeling Chocolate

cupcakes

White Modeling Chocolate:

  • 2 cups (12 oz.) white chocolate (chips, candy melts or quality baker’s chocolate)
  • ⅓ cup (4.1 oz.) or slightly more light corn syrup

Semisweet Modeling Chocolate:

  • 2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate (chips, candy melts or quality baker’s chocolate)
  • ⅓ cup + 2 tbsp. (5.7 oz.) light corn syrup

Heat the chocolate slowly in a double boiler on the stovetop or in a glass microwave-safe bowl in the microwave until melted. Heat the corn syrup 10 seconds at a time in the microwave until warm (not too hot or it could scorch the chocolate). Combine the melted chocolate and heated corn syrup with a spatula until blended. Avoid overmixing.

Spread out in a flat disk on a sheet of saran wrap, covered on all sides, and store in a Ziploc bag. Let sit at room temperature until the chocolate sets to the consistency of a tootsie roll. Place in refrigerator to speed up the setting process. Store long term at room temperature in the Ziploc bag or an airtight container.

Knead out a small section of the chocolate at a time to shape or mold. If adding a color (gel color suggested), let the chocolate rest and set again after kneading in the color. Use a bench scraper to knead in the color if your hands are too warm. Use cornstarch to prevent the chocolate from sticking to your hands or work surface.