December 29, 2011

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes


 These are incredibly easy to make and incredibly difficult to resist more than one! Enjoy..

 Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes
makes 12-14 cupcakes


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup assorted colored sprinkles + more for sprinkling on frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cupcake pan with liners.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of an stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until lightened in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Lower speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping the bowl as needed.  Add vanilla and mix until combined.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the milk and mixing just until incorporated.  Toss the sprinkles in about 2 tablespoons of flour (this keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake) then fold in sprinkles with a rubber spatula.

Fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 full.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cupcakes cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Frost with vanilla buttercream (recipe below) and top with sprinkles.

Vanilla Buttercream

2 sticks butter, softened but cool
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract (to help maintain bright white color)
1 tablespoon heavy cream or milk (if needed)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, cream butter on medium-high until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar.  Add in vanilla then increase mixer speed to medium-high, beating 2-3 minutes and scraping the bowl as needed.  If the frosting is too thick, add heavy cream or milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.  If the frosting is to thin, add powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until it thickens.

Frost cupcakes as desired and top with sprinkles

Recipe from Sweet Peony blog
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December 20, 2011

Rolo Turtles

These babies are super easy to make and they are the perfect combination of sweet and salty! Enjoy :)

Rolo Turtles


1 bag Rolo candies
1 bag of mini pretzels (any shape you like)
Pecan halves


1.       Preheat the oven to 250° F.
2.       Unwrap the Rolo candies.  Place one Rolo on top of one pretzel.
3.       Bake in the oven for approximately 3-5 minutes. Watch them and when the chocolate starts to look shiny give it about a minute longer and remove them from the oven.
4.       Press one pecan halve into each Rolo.
5.       Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 5-7 minutes.

These will last several days in an airtight container.
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December 19, 2011

Easy Peanut Brittle

Peanut brittle is one of those candies that I never understood. My grandpa loved it and I could never understand why. I like peanuts, sugar and butter, but the combination never held any appeal for me. However, I was looking for a Christmas candy to make for gifts and I failed miserably at my first attempt at fudge so this seemed like a good idea for the second shot. I got this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs Brown Eyed Baker. Um: WOW! I to give it away immediately because it's that good. I took it with me on my trip to California last week and only half of it landed in Orange County with me. It's simple (you don't even need a candy thermometer!) and it's delicious.

Watch for the sugar mixture to start to turn a golden color. And make sure once you add the baking soda, butter and peanuts that you mix quickly and get it spread on the pan as fast as possible. It will harden up very quickly.

**Note: I made 2 batches of this. The first batch I had a partially used 16 oz jar of unsalted peanuts, maybe 12 ounces. The second batch I made the recipe exactly as listed on her website. I don't know if salted vs. unsalted or more vs. less made the differnece, but I preferred the first batch. The following is my adaptation of the original recipe. Both are very good though!!!
Easy Peanut Brittle

Yield: About 1½ pounds
Cook Time: 25 minutes | Set Time: 15 minutes


Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
½ cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon baking soda
12 oz. unsalted (or lightly salted) dry-roasted peanuts


1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, water, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high and cook until deep golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in butter, baking soda, and peanuts (mixture will foam). Stir until mixture is no longer bubbling and caramel is smooth, 1 minute.

3. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread with a lightly greased spatula. Let cool until firm, 15 minutes. Break into pieces. The brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
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December 4, 2011

Bean's Favorite Cookie

My dog, Bean, responds to 2 words. "Outside" and "cookie". Cookies of course are code for dog treats. He is almost 9 years old but still flips out like a puppy when he thinks/knows he's about to get a cookie. I've tried making him cookies before that were a complete disaster. Technically they were supposed to be "brownies" but they ended up looking like pudding.

Pumpkin is a great source of fiber. Most dogs will readily eat canned pumpkin, but it can be messy, inconvenient and isn't a practical take-along treat on outings. These easy to make whole wheat pumpkin dog cookies are the perfect way to give your dog a healthy snack featuring beneficial pumpkin fiber.

This treat didn't require any special ingredients and since I already had them all in the pantry from Thanksgiving I decided this was the best way to use them. They were a big hit. If you were so inclined you could eat them yourself, but just knowing I made them for my dog was enough of a detterent to keep me from trying them. My mom would though! She has always tried the natural treats she gave to her dogs. We try not to judge her, but..... Parents are so weird :)

This recipe produces a very stiff dough, so make sure to flatten the "cookies" before baking as they will not spread.

Bean is the only man in my life that has never disappointed me ;)
Finished product.

Pumpkin Molasses Dog Cookies

  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)


1. Preheat your oven to 350 Farenheit.

2. Blend the pumpkin, molasses, water and vegetable oil together in a mixing bowl.

3. Add the wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon to the wet ingredients and stir until a dough forms.

4. Form the dough into balls (whatever size you like, I used a 1/2 oz. cookie scoop) and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten them using a fork/cup/palm of your hand, etc.

5. Bake until hard, 25-30 min.

6. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. Pin It

November 21, 2011

Brown Sugar Banana Nut Bread

So I had a ridiculous amount of bananas, and coincidentally 4 of them were so ripe they were almost black! I came across this recipe and immediately knew how to use those bananas :) I used pecans instead of walnuts and dark brown sugar instead of light brown, but I have zero complaints and I'm not really sure it could get any better. The result: WOW!

Brown Sugar Banana Nut Bread


1 cup golden brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 medium banana, mashed
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts


1.  Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×5 pan with nonstick spray.

2.  Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time. Stir in vanilla and banana.

3.  Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until combined. Fold in walnuts until combined.

4.  Pour in pan, top with additional 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts and bake 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
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November 16, 2011

Coconut Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

For years I swore I didn't like onions and now I love them raw on sandwiches, salads, etc.  I keep saying I don't like coconut, but for some reason everything I taste with coconut in it is delicious.... I think my taste buds have changed! I'm all grown up now ;-)

I had some flaked coconut left over from the key lime pie I made a few days ago and I decided to throw it into an oatmeal cookie for Glen. I ate 2 before I gave them to him, but that'll be our secret. Okay?

The recipe says it makes 4 dozen cookies, but I live in Texas and we do everything bigger here. I used a 1/4 cup cookie scoop and got 20 big cookies out of the recipe. When you put the dough balls onto the sheet just BARELY flatten them before putting them in the oven because they do spread quite a bit. Trust me.

Coconut Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
Makes: 4 dozen


2  cups all-purpose flour
1  tablespoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
1  teaspoon baking soda
¼  teaspoon salt
1  cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾  cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
¾  cup granulated sugar
2  eggs
2  teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
  cups dried cherries
1  cup flaked coconut (I just dumped what I had left in the bowl) 
1  cup quick-cooking oats (I used old-fashioned)
1  cup white chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

2. With an electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stir in cherries, coconut, oats, and chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons 1½ inches apart onto baking sheets.

3. Bake until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.
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November 15, 2011

Key Lime Pie with Coconut-Pecan Graham Cracker Crust

I'm a big, make that huge, fan of citrus. I like the sour bite much more than chocolate, vanilla, etc.

Today is one of my boss's birthday and I was informed that his favorite dessert was key lime pie. I decided to go the non-traditional route and use mascarpone cheese in the filling, to make it even creamier. While I love key lime pie, I am generally NOT a fan of graham cracker crusts. I don't use it with my cheesecakes, ever. I found this recipe using coconut and pecans in the crust and decided that I could probably tolerate graham crackers if it had enough sugar and butter.

Well, it was delicious! This pie is very creamy and easy to assemble. I'm dying for Sean to cut into it so I can have a piece!!! For some reason they didn't have any key limes at the store when I went so I ended up using Persian limes, but if you can get key limes I definitely recommend using those.

Key Lime Pie with Coconut-Pecan Graham Cracker Crust


1/2 cup key lime juice, fresh if possible
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated lime or key lime zest, divided
5 egg yolks
whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
1 coconut-pecan graham cracker pie shell (recipe follows)

Whisk sweetened condensed milk with the egg yolks. Whisk in Mascarpone cheese. Stir in whipping cream and lime juice. Stir in 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest. Pour into a prepared graham cracker crust and bake at 325° for 15 to 20 minutes.

Coconut-Pecan Graham Cracker Crust

1 ¾ cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup pecans
7-8 T. unsalted melted butter

In a food processor, blend together graham cracker crumbs, coconut, sugar and pecans. You want to make sure that none of the coconut is visible. Add about 7 T. melted butter. Pulse a few times. If it seems like it needs more butter add the remaining T. Pour contents into a pie pan and press to form a shell. I used a 9-inch pie pan and there was way too much crust to fit in, so next time I will try a 10-inch deep dish crust.

Bake crust for 10 minutes at 400F. Pin It

November 2, 2011

Snickerdoodle Blondies

I love a challenge. This is 99% due to my Type A personality. I'm a very jovial Type A though, promise :) My boss today told me that he was disappointed in the selection of candy in the bowl on my desk. We went back and forth about why I'm awesome (his points were not valid) and ended with this question: What have you done for me lately? I didn't save him a cookie, or alert him via email, when I brought Sarah's Pumpkin Cookies cookies to work on Monday. I refuse to have anyone think I'm less than amazing. Knowing he likes snickerdoodle cookies and not wanting to spend the time roll individual cookies (I don't like him that much) I found a recipe for snickerdoodle BLONDIES! Genius. They.Are.Delicious. Buttery and cinnamon-y. On second thought.... maybe I won't give them to him after all! I kid. Behold:

I only had one stick of butter in my fridge, so I halved all of the ingredients and baked them in an 8"x8" baking dish for 25 minutes. Turned out perfectly. The recipe below is for an full recipe. 

Snickerdoodle Blondies
Yield: 24 blondies
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 25 to 30 minutes


2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla. Beat, scraping the bowl, until thoroughly combined. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined. Give the dough a final stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to make sure the flour is incorporated.

4. Spread the dough evenly into the pan (I found an offset spatula was the best tool for the job, as it’s a thick batter). Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool completely before cutting. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe and picture courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker

**DISCLAIMER** The comments about my boss were made in jest, he knows I'm kidding, and he will read this. I love my job and I like the people I work with very much!! Pin It

October 30, 2011

Sarah's Pumpkin Cookies

My dear friend Sarah is REALLY good at cake pops. I mean REALLY good. Check her out here: Try Sarah Pops. We knew each other in Oklahoma through a guy I dated (she was the best thing to come out of that relationship ;) Hehe).  We've both since moved to Texas and we both get down in the kitchen. We also share a deep love for NKOTB. Yeah, we went to the NKOTBSB concert this summer in Dallas. Don't hate.
 Me and Sarah at the NKOTBSB concert

My amazing acid washed leggings!

I'm getting off track... there is a sandwich place in Oklahoma called City Bites. Their sandwiches rock and their cookies roll. Haha, so cheesy, I couldn't help mahself. They make a pumpkin cookie with frosting that people go on and on about. Miss Sarah has perfected the recipe and let me have it today. I am not a pumpkin lover, I ate 2 of these cookies. Watch and learn.... Thanks Sarah!!

She told me to drop the cookies by tablespoons full and spread the dough a bit. Well, since it was so sticky I decided to put it into a Ziploc bag, cut off the tip and pipe it out. It didn't look too appetizing:

If you can get someone to eat something that looks like that, you are amazing.  

 Wet your fingertip and flatten the tops so they bake up nice and smooth.
Apply a generous helping of frosting and use an offset spatula to cover the cookie
Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and devour!


 If there way a way to have cookies, cakes and pies into one recipe, I think this might be it!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


8oz of cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. (one stick) of butter, softened
4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons of vanilla.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy.
  3. Mix in dry ingredients.
  4. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly. (see note above)
  5. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. (Sarah said 15-20 min, mine only took 9 min, so it will depend on your oven, how big you make them, etc) The cookies are done with the edges barely start to brown.
  6. Cool cookies, then frost.
**** The cookie batter will be sticky, so make sure you spread it out to your desired thickness and size. They don't really spread while they are baking either. **** Pin It

October 23, 2011

French Silk Pie

Okay, I am not a chocolate person. My mom and sisters always say I pick "non-candy" at the movies/gas stations/etc. I always pick Twizzlers, Skittles, etc. Never chocolate. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate, I just never pick it. Until now. This pie was SO easy to make and even easier to eat! Seriously, 6 ingredients! I will definitely be making this for Thanksgiving next month.

Notes: I filled my pie crust and there was about 1/2 c. extra filling, so I refrigerated the pie and the extra filling for about 2 hours, then once it had set up I added the extra filling on top, making a taller pie. I also used the Cool Whip "Extra Creamy" and used an offset spatula in circular motions to make the design on top.

French Silk Pie
yields 1  9-inch pie


Pie crust, baked (I used Marie Callendar's deep dish frozen pie crust)

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tbsp vanilla
4 eggs
pinch of salt
Whipped cream or Cool Whip


1. Bake a pie crust or use a refrigerated/frozen crust and make according to package directions.

2. Beat sugar and butter until sugar creamy, appx. 5 minutes. Add cooled chocolate, vanilla and salt. Mix until well combined.

3. Add eggs, two at a time, beating 5 minutes after each addition. Pour into cooled pie crust. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Before serving, top with whipped cream. Pin It

October 21, 2011

Most Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever

Yesterday an attorney at my office brought in cookies from Tiff's Treats and Glen (my boss) walked by my desk and commented on how good they were. He did it to get a rise out of me, and it worked! So I tasted one and while they are delicious, mine are better.

Nathan (another attorney I work for) was giving me a hard time about not sending him a thank you note for the gift certificate he gave me. I totally earned that gift card by working 6 hours of overtime helping him. But, being the sweetheart that I am, I decided I would make him cookies. He told me like chewy chocolate chip cookies.

I did a little bit of research on the internet to try and figure out the secret to chewy cookies! Sour cream? Melted butter? What was the answer??? It was this: bread flour, melted butter and brown sugar! Of course! Bread flour has a high protein content which helps the cookies to spread less. Cookies made from brown sugar will absorb moisture after baking, helping to ensure that they stay chewy. Melting the butter first helps dissolve the sugar better than softened butter and gives the cookie an amazing texture! And as always, I recommend buying a digital kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients instead of using measuring cups/spoons and to make sure the cookies are each the same size.

So behold: the most amazing chocolate chip cookie. Ever. I promise.


Most Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookie Ever
yields approximately 24 cookies

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (10 5/8 ounces) bread flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. You want to bake these on the middle rack position in your oven, so arrange the racks accoringly. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or use a nonstick pan. Do no spray them with nonstick cooking spray bc it will turn brown in the oven and cause the bottoms of the cookies to burn a bit.

2. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended and the sugar is disolved (appx 5 minutes in the mixer). Beat in the egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chips. Chill the dough for 1 hour.

4. Roll 2 ounces (2 heaping tablespoons) of dough into a ball. Use the technique from Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies to for the dough. Place the formed dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, jagged surface up, spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart. I put 6 on a large cookie sheet.

5. Bake until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges just start to harden yet the centers are still slightly underdone, 8-10 minutes. DO NOT overbake. Start checking hte cookies at 8  minutes and then recheck in 1 minute intervals until the edges have just started to brown. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 10 minues then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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October 20, 2011

Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

I don't know if there are many things I love more than a good sugar cookie with frosting and sprinkles. In hopes of Texas Rangers' victory last night I made cookie bars. Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars, to be exact.  I'm glad I didn't go all out and make blue and red frosting because, last night, our dear Rangers LOST. Ugh. So, to console the office I brought these tasty treats for everyone to drown their sorrows in.... so far everyone is holding up well ;-) 

Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
(from A Little Bit Crunchy A Little Bit Rock and Roll)


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Add the vanilla to the creamed mixture and then slowly add the dry ingredients.

Press into a greased 13 x 18 inch pan and bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes.

Cool and frost.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons of milk
food coloring (optional)
sprinkles (optional)

In a mixing bowl, beat the shortening and butter until creamy.  Add the vanilla and powdered sugar.  Gradually add the 5 tablespoons of milk until you reach your desired constancy.

For the sprinkles, I found that they rolled all over the place.  To help this, place a sheet of plastic wrap over the frosted sugar cookies and gently press the sprinkles into the frosting.

Chill and cut Pin It

October 18, 2011

Hashbrown Casserole

Cooking is not my favorite thing to do BUT when I find something I really, really like I get really excited about sharing it with everyone else. This recipe is SO easy and perfect for a large group. We had a luncheon at work yesterday for Bosses Day and I brought this as a side dish. It was gone in a jiffy. It's basically a baked potato casserole. Feel free to customize to your liking. You could certainly add chopped bacon (apparently "everything is better with bacon"), ham, sausage, Tabasco, etc. You could serve it for breakfast as well. I doubled the recipe and put it in a roasting pan in the fridge the night before and just baked it the next morning. Enjoy!

Hashbrown Casserole
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


2 lbs. frozen hashbrown potatoes, thawed
1 cup chopped onion/green onion 
8 oz. sour cream
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup butter, melted
8 oz. (2 cups) grated sharp cheddar cheese


1.   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.   Mix all ingredients (except cheese) together in a large mixing bowl.
3.   Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.
3.   Transfer the potato mixture to the baking dish spreading it evenly.  Cover the top with grated cheese.
4.   Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and the top of the casserole is nicely browned.  Cover with foil for the remainder of the baking time if the casserole is browning too quickly.
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October 16, 2011

Strawberry Cake with Fluffy Strawberry Frosting

Strawberry cake is very nostalgic for me. For some reason all I can think of when I think of strawberry cake is my Meme making it for some fair/carnival when I was a little girl. She used a boxed mix and canned icing and I remember it being delicious. So a few years ago I made one with a mix and canned icing and it was, in a word: GROSS. God bless my Meme, but she was not a baker. I've recently started making a version using fresh strawberries and some strawberry gelatin to pump up the flavor. My boss's birthday was a few weeks ago and since he has repeatedly told me that strawberry cake was "the best thing I've made" I knew that was the only option for his cake. I decided to jazz it up a little and make a layer cake, instead of dumping it into a 13x9 pan. Either way it's still delicious. And, YOU'RE WELCOME, GLEN! He's very hard to please*, so this cake is worth the effort. I only wish he'd have cut it using the lightsaber I got him for his birthday. You think I'm joking, but yes, that's what I got him for his birthday.

*My boss is great and not that hard to please :)

Strawberry Layer Cake
Yield: 3 x 8″ round layers


1 3/4 cups (12 oz/350 g) granulated sugar
1 (3 oz/85 g) package strawberry flavored gelatin (such as Jell-O)
1 cup (8 oz/227 g) unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs (room temperature)
3 cups (10.5 oz/300 g) sifted cake & pastry flour
1 tablespoon (15 mL/17 g) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon (3.75 mL/5 g) salt
1 cup (236 ml/8 liquid oz) whole milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (2 liquid oz/4.5 oz/130 g) strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries (puree should be closer to room temp, not frozen or icy)


1. If you’re making your own strawberry puree, remove frozen strawberries (about 2 handfuls) from freezer and place in a single layer in a flat dish to thaw slightly. Place into food processor and puree the strawberries until smooth. Stir to ensure it is nice and smooth and not icy. Measure out 1/4 cup for cake and 3 tablespoons for frosting, and freeze the remaining puree for another use.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter, line with parchment, and flour three round 8-inch pans, tapping out the excess. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl or measuring cup, combine and stir the milk, strawberry puree, and the vanilla. Set aside.

4. Sift and whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, and set aside.

5. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar, gelatin, and butter on medium speed (I use “4″ on my KitchenAid) until light and fluffy–about 5 minutes.

6. Add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with spatula.

7. Add the wet & dry ingredients to the creamed mixture by alternating–beginning and ending with dry ingredients and mixing just enough after each addition to incorporate, but not overmix.

8. Divide the batter in three, spreading it evenly with a small offset palette knife. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh each pan filled with batter, to ensure 3 even layers.

9. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes clean when inserted into the center. Be so careful to not overbake. Check cakes at 20 minutes, but not before, and once you feel it’s almost ready, set the timer for 2 minute intervals. Let cool on racks for 10 minutes before loosening the sides with a small metal spatula, and invert onto greased wire racks. Gently turn cakes back up, so the tops are up and cool completely.

10. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Chilling the cake layers will firm them up and help them hold up while assembling the cake.

*I recently bought a digital kitchen scale and I will never be the same! It's amazing the difference it makes. For example, some recipes will say "1 3/4 cups (12 oz)" and if you weigh out 12 oz and then measure it you will see that it does NOT equal 1 3/4 cups. Don't get me wrong, not using a kitchen scale will not ruin your recipes, but they will turn out a lot better if you invest in one.

Fluffy Strawberry Frosting


3 sticks + 2 tablespoons (13 oz/375 g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
4 cups sifted (18 oz/500 g) confectioners’ sugar (icing, powdered)
1 tablespoon (15 mL) milk
1 1/2 teaspoon (7.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons (45 mL) strawberry puree made from frozen strawberries


1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter for 8 minutes on medium speed (I use “4″ on my KitchenAid). Butter will become very pale & creamy.

2. Add remaining ingredients, except strawberry puree, and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 6 minutes. Frosting will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.

3. Add strawberry puree (can be cool, but not frozen or icy) and mix until incorporated.

4. Best used right away, but can be covered in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

Strawberry Layer Cake Assembly

1. Place a cake layer face-up on cake plate or 8″ round thin cake board.

2. Place 1 cup of frosting on top, and spread evenly with a small offset palette knife.

3. Repeat step 1-2.

4. Place final layer, face-down (bottom of cake layer is facing out). Place a generous scoop of frosting on top, spreading evenly with a small offset palette knife and working your way down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake. Use a bench scraper to achieve very smooth sides. Chill until set — about 30 minutes.

5. Remove from refrigerator and cover with a final layer of frosting.

6. Finish with any decorations of choice, or frosting borders.

7. Store in a cake keeper at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in refrigerator for up to 5 days. As with most cakes, it’s best eaten day 1. This cake is easiest to cut and cuts more cleanly if refrigerated. I took it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cutting. Pin It

October 11, 2011

"Paradise" Cookies

There is a bakery near my office, Paradise Bakery, and we recently had lunch catered at the office. There was a cookie on the tray that pretty much blew my mind. I am a HUGE fan of sprinkles. I love them on just about anything . So this cookie was loaded with sprinkles, crumbly and buttery, oh my. To put it plainly it was "slap yo mama" good. I attempted to recreate this at home and I came pretty close. One of this girls in my office called this cookie her "wedding dress saboteur."

"Paradise" Cookies
yields appx. 3 dozen cookies


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups shortening
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 4 1/3 cups cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • sugar/sprinkles, for decorating


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugars and shortening on low speed for 30 seconds.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula then mix the sugar mixture until light and fluffy (3 minutes on speed setting 4 on my Kitchen Aid)
  4. Slowly add the vanilla and beaten egg while mixing.
  5. In a seperate bowl, combind the flour, baking soda, baking power and salt.  Gradually add the flour mixutre to the wet ingredeints on slow speed until just blended. Do NOT overmix.
  6. Form heaping tablespoons of dough into balls and roll them in sprinkles.  Place directly on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten slightly with palm of hand.
  7. Bake for 9-10 minutes.  Cookies are done when small cracks appear on the top and are pale golden brown.  Ideally, you do not want the edges to brown.
  • I love giant cookies, so I used a 1/4 c. ice cream scoop to form the cookies. I got about 20 giant cookies.
  • Make sure to line your cookie sheet because these are very soft when they come out of the oven and if you tried to move them too soon they will crumble.  I usually slide the parchment paper onto the kitchen counter and let them cool before trying to take them off the paper.
  • These cookies do not spread much at all, so make sure to flatten them almost completely to the size you want them.
  • My first attempt at these I rolled the entire dough ball in the sprinkles. Big mistake. The sprinkles on the bottom melted and basically glued the cookie to the sheet. On the second batch I rolled just the top of ball in sprinkles and left the part that sits on the baking sheet naked. Much better.
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October 9, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls

Sometimes you just need a cinnamon roll. Right? For me they have an amazing ability to take me back to my childhood. My Oma went to state fair of Oklahoma just for a cinnamon roll and my Meme would crack open a can of refrigerated cinnamon rolls and bake them off for us on Saturday mornings when we were kids. My dear friend Tiffany came in town this weekend for the OU/TX game (BOOMER SOONER) and I decided that I could probably make a version that was even more delicious while also being easy enough for a beginner baker. I was right! Nuking them in the microwae for 20 seconds the next you couldn't even tell they weren't fresh out of the oven. Behold:

This is a single batch of icing.....

This is a double batch of icing!! Yummy :)

Cinnamon Rolls


1 cup milk (heated approximately 1 minute in microwave)
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature and beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
5 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast (from two 1/4 oz packages)
Cinnamon Filling (see recipe below)
Butter Frosting (see recipe below)


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
4 to 5 tablespoons ground cinnamon

In a large bowl or in the bowl of a 5 quart stand mixer, combine all the ingredients (for the dough) in the order given. Using a dough hook, mix everything together until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface (you can spray the counter with cooking spray, you just don’t want to add a lot more flour if it is sticky), and knead until elastic, approximately 10 minutes. If you just want to use your mixer, turn the speed on 4 and let it go for 8 minutes.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.

Butter a 9×13x2-inch baking pan; set aside. After dough has rested, roll and stretch the dough into approximately a 15×24-inch rectangle. Brush the softened butter over the top of the dough with a rubber spatula. Combine the cinnamon and sugar well in a separate bowl. Sprinkle the cinnamon filling over the butter. Starting with long edge, roll up dough; pinch seams to seal.

With a knife, lightly mark roll into 1 1/2-inch section. Use a sharp knife or slide a 12-inch piece of dental floss or heavy thread underneath. By bringing the ends of the floss up and criss-crossing them at the top of each mark, you can cut through the roll by pulling the strings in opposite directions. Place cut side up in prepared pan, flattening them only slightly. The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other before rising and baking. Do not pack the unbaked cinnamon rolls together.

To bake immediately: cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size (after rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 or until they are a light golden brown.

To bake the next morning: Put them in the refrigerator covered. They will rise slowly overnight. Put them into the oven the next morning and follow above cooking instructions.

To freeze: Wrap in plastic wrap. Take them out the night before baking and leave out of the fridge. Allow them to thaw and rise before baking.

Once baked, let cool for 5 minutes then spread the warm rolls with cream cheese frosting. Mmmmm

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING: (If you love a ton of frosting or want to serve with extra, double this!)

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c. butter, room temperature
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

In a medium bowl combine cream cheese and butter until creamy.  Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt and mix until combined and creamy.  Slather over warm rolls and enjoy!


*Because the dough is so soft, I highly recommend using the floss method to cut the cinnamon rolls.  This prevents the rolls from being squished and mishapen when baking them.

* This recipe yields appx 15 rolls, but the one from each end didn't have any filling in them for some odd reason (I never said I was an expert) and I can't back 13 for obvious superstitious reasons.
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October 4, 2011

Banana Walnut Bread

Does anyone else watch The Rachel Zoe Project? Let me clarify, by "does anyone else watch" I mean "is anyone else in love with". If you don't, you should. If you do, you know what I mean when I say this banana nut bread is BANANAS! I die!

A few tips/tricks/suggestions:

1) Putting bananas in a paper sack and sealing it for a day will speed up the ripening process.

2) Toast the walnuts on a baking sheet at 350°F for 5-10 minutes until fragrant to release the natural oils, but watch carefully so as not to burn them!! No one likes burnt nuts.

3) If you don't want to buy a large container of plain yogurt or you don't have any on hand you could buy a smaller container of vanilla, banana, etc. or use whatever you have in the fridge (honestly vanilla or banana would be best, but I'll let your imagination run wild!)

Banana Walnut Bread
yields one loaf (and as many servings as you'd care)


2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 1/2 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped, toasted and cooled
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. mashed banana (about 3-4 very ripe, dark, speckly bananas)
1/4 c. plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 c. (6 Tbls.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


1) Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F degrees.  Butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

2) Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and walnuts together in a bowl.

3) Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter and vanilla in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon or spatula.  Fold the dry ingredients into the banana mixture just until combined.  The batter will be thick and chunky. Be careful not to overmix to avoid a tough bread.  Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

4) Bake until the loaf is golden brown and passes the toothpick test (aka when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean): approximately 50-55 minutes depending on your oven.  If your loaf is browning too quickly put a sheet of foil over the top and continue baking until done.  Cool bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  The bread can be wrapped in plast wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. Pin It