December 12, 2012

Snickerdoodle Biscotti

I had never made biscotti before tonight. I was watching an episode of Giada De Laurentiis the other day and she made a biscotti for Christmas. It looked fairly easy so I though it was no big deal... I was right! I saw this recipe on Fountain Avenue Kitchen (written by Ann Fulton) today and since I had everything it called for in the kitchen I decided to try it tonight. Super easy and yummy!!!! I don't drink tea or coffee, but I'm pretty sure this would go great with it :) 
Snickerdoodle Biscotti
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg white
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Measure flour into a large bowl being careful not to pack the flour into the measuring cups. (Scoop into cups and then level with a knife to prevent getting too much flour.)
3. Add the 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
4. Mix the oil, vanilla and 3 whole eggs in a small bowl. Add to the large bowl. Your dough will be dry and quite crumbly.
5. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead and sort of mush together. At first it will seem too dry–I was skeptical the first time!–but it will come together.
6. Divide in half. Shape each portion into a roll about 8 inches long, and place them several inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
7. Flatten each roll so they are about 1 inch thick.
8. Combine the 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon. Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg white and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. It may seem like too much, but sprinkle it all on, tilting the baking sheet a bit so you can get the sides, too.
9. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
10. Remove loaves from the baking sheet and cool for 15 minutes.
11. Cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices and lay them cut sides down on the cookie sheet again.
12. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 10 more minutes, turn over and bake 10 minutes more. They will be soft in the middle but will harden as they cool.
13. Cool completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.
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December 8, 2012

King Arthur's Fudge Brownies

I never, ever thought I would be the kind of person who LOVES a certain kind of flour. Ever. But guess what, I am!!! King Arthur Flour is my favorite flour to use. If you have never looked at their website and love to bake, or knows someone who loves to bake, then I suggest checking out their site immediately. I subscribe to their catalog and they have the coolest, high-quality ingredients. This is an amazing company and I can't say enough about it.

Now, these brownies... holy moly. They are deep, rich and intensely chocolate-y. I found this recipe on Barbara Bakes, a really fun food blog, and I had to try it. The only cocoa I had readily available was Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa, so that's what I used. I don't know if they could be any better using King Arthur's Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa, but if so then please don't ever tell me! These are great. I broke my diet and ate 2 last night. And I had one for dinner. Calories are free on the weekends, right? I had to send the rest of them home with my friends Jenn and Ryan today on their trip back to Oklahoma. I hope they enjoyed them as much as I did!

This is Barbara's picture. For some reason I cannot remember my camera lately!

King Arthur Fudge Brownies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups (12 oz. bag) chocolate chips


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan

2) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

3) While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder and vanilla until smooth.

4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan.

7) Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.
Note: Because there are chocolate chips in the batter, you may get melted chocolate onto the cake tester and think they are still raw in the center, so look closely to see if it is melted chocolate or brownie batter on the tester.
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November 29, 2012

Quiche Lorraine Scones

Whenever I'm in Oklahoma City I try to make a trip to visit my friends Jenn and Ryan and see their daughter. We usually do brunch somewhere or I bring some sort of dessert. This time I decided to bring a savory item! I saw this recipe for Quiche Lorraine Scones on Brown-Eyed Baker's blog recently. I'm not a huge quiche fan, but I am a big cheese fan and quiche lorraine just sounded like something Jenn would like. She's fancy. So this is what I took and they were good! I didn't follow the recipe exactly and I wish I had. I put way too much cheese in them. I would recommend following the recipe exactly first and then change it if you wish :) Happy holidays!!!

Bryn means business!!

She's a sweetheart really :)

Quiche Lorraine Scones

2 cups + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch cayenne pepper
Dash nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, diced
½ cup half-and-half
2 eggs
4 ounces Swiss cheese, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
7 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Prepare the bacon, onion and cheese. Toss these ingredients together with 1 teaspoon flour; set aside.
3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cayenne, nutmeg and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the butter is pea-size. With a fork, lightly beat the eggs and half-and-half and add to the flour mixture. Add the bacon, onion and cheese mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold mixture until it begins to come together.

4. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead gently for less than one minute. Pat dough to ¾ to 1-inch thick and cut using 3-inch biscuit cutter (for large scones) or cut into squares or triangles. Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg wash.
5. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Pin It

November 11, 2012

Mile-High Pumpkin-Pecan Pie

It's nearing Thanksgiving and last week I started going through recipes trying to decide what to make for our family dinner. My first instinct is to bake at least 6 desserts... but since I have to travel the day before Thanksgiving this year I needed to find some recipes that I could make at least 2 days in advance and would travel well AND I wanted to make sure everyone has something they like.
My youngest sister loves pumpkin pie. My second youngest sister (I have 3) loves pecan pie. And they are both teeny tiny skinny little things... not fair!! ;) I don't want to make 5 pies, so I saw this recipe on Martha Stewart's webste and decided that if I could combine the best of both worlds then I'd pretty much hit the jackpot.
The crust on this was super simple to make (one of the few times I've actually make a dough pie crust and not fudged it up)! Do watch it closely in the oven though because those edges brown up pretty dang quick.
I wasn't satisfied with just cinnamon and nutmeg in the filling so I added a few more! Also, the recipe calls for 1-2 cups of pecan halves... now, I bought a 10 ounce package (2 1/2 cups) and I only used about a 1/4 of it. The remainder went into another cake ;)
All in all, huge success. I'm definitely adding this one to the holiday repertoire!! Oh, side note and lesson learned the hard way: this pie is rich, so start with a very small piece! My piece was maybe 1/12 of the pie and I ate every bit of it.... way too much for this lady (and that's saying a lot)
picture from, but this is almost exactly what mine looked like, true to form ;)
Mile-High Pumpkin-Pecan Pie
Prep time: 30 min                     
Total time: 2 1/2 - 3 hours

For the Crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

For the Filling

1 1/4  cups light-brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (29 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-2 cups pecan halves



1.   Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse flour, granulated sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Add 1/4 cup ice water in a steady stream, pulsing until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add up to 1/4 cup more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour (or up to 2 days).
2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough just over 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch springform pan, adjusting dough as needed to fit flat against bottom and sides. Trim dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch overhang (reserve scraps); freeze 15 minutes. Line dough with a double layer of parchment and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet 30 minutes. Carefully remove parchment and weights; use reserved scraps to patch any holes in crust. Bake until deep golden, 30 minutes; cover edge with foil if overbrowning.

3.  Meanwhile, make filling: In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg. Whisk in eggs, then pumpkin, until smooth. Slowly whisk in milk, cream, and vanilla. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. With edge covered with foil, pour all but 1 cup filling into crust, return to oven, and carefully add remaining cup filling; bake 1 hour. Remove pie from oven and top with pecans. Bake until filling is just set but slightly wobbly in center, 20 to 25 minutes more. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 3 hours. With a serrated knife, cut off overhang and unmold.
(recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart)
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October 21, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Growing up my grandma ("Meme") always made a few different pies for holiday dinners. Chocolate, lemon meringue and pumpkin. Pumpkin was the only one I liked and the only time I ever had it was during the holidays with my dad's side of the family.

I'm now closer to 30 than 20 years old and I haven't had pumpkin pie in maybe 8 years. So, I tried it last year and I discovered I'm not a huge pumpkin pie fan. I am, however, a cheesecake fan! I have a really amazing cheesecake recipe that my grandma ("Oma") says is better than hers (I'll share that with you another time). I wanted to make a pumpkin pie because I love the flavor and spices but since I can't get past the texture of it, I decided that combining it with a cheesecake was probably a genius idea. I was right! In conclusion, I'm a genius ;)

The recipe I had planned on using got lost and all I had was the list of ingredients I needed so I made the pumpkin cheesecake like I do my regular cheesecake and prayed it worked. It did. You're welcome. Haha. This is a pretty easy recipe, even though the list of ingredients is longer than I like. You won't regret this one and I guarantee that your family and friends won't complain if you bring this to dinner this holiday season! Enjoy!!

(picture borrowed from Brown Eyed Baker's website)

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 55 to 65 minutes | Yield: 12 to 16 servings

For the Crust:
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about a 14-oz package of cookies)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:
32 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 cups (about a 15-oz can) canned pumpkin
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Double-wrap the bottom and outside of a 9-inch springform pan with heavy duty foil. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the bottom and up the sides (about halfway) of the springform pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

2. Beat together the cream cheese and the sugars on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is incorporated. Add the pumpkin and mix on low until completely incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, cloves and allspice and mix on low to incorporate.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles.

4. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the edges are set, but the middle still jiggles a little. Keeping the oven door closed, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven, remove the foil and place the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool completely, about an additional 2 hours. Once completely cool, refrigerate for at least 6 hours (strongly recommend at least overnight!!).

5. Cover any leftover cheesecake with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

(Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker) Pin It

October 16, 2012

Homemade Marshmallow Fondant

A few major life lessons I learned tonight (a few fon-don'ts if you will):
1) It is next to impossible to unplug a stand mixer if your hands are greased up with Crisco.
2) Do not EVER but your hand in a mixer that is on to try to scrape down powdered sugar. My index  finger got stuck between the dough hook and the spoon! Ouch.
3) You should make sure you have a bowl big enough to accommodate an entire bag of marshmallows. Note: they expand when you microwave them. Shocker, I know.
4) My dog could probably eat his body weight in marshmallows.
5) ALWAYS wear plastic gloves when using red food coloring to color fondant.

Now that you know what NOT to do... let me share with you the recipe I used from Annie's Eats to make my own fondant for a little boy's Mickey Mouse birthday cake (pictures coming soon). It is super easy, do not be intimidated!!
Marshmallow Fondant
Yield: about 3 lbs.
Shortening, for greasing dishes and utensils
15 oz. miniature marshmallows
2 tbsp. water
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
½ tsp. lemon or almond extract
½ tsp. salt
7-8 cups confectioners’ sugar
Grease the inside of a microwave-safe bowl and stand mixer bowl with a thin but thorough layer of shortening.  Also grease a silicone spatula or two, as well as the hook attachment for the mixer.
In the microwave safe bowl, combine the marshmallows and water.  Microwave the mixture in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until the mixture is melted and somewhat soupy.  When the mixture is melted, remove from the microwave and stir in the lemon juice, corn syrup, extracts, and salt.
Place about 6 cups of confectioners’ sugar in the stand mixer bowl and form a well in the center.  Pour the marshmallow mixture into the well and knead on low speed with the dough hook until the sugar is mostly incorporated.  When the mixture begins to stick to the bowl, add an additional 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and continue kneading.
At this point additional sugar may or may not be needed.  (Consistency will vary due to environmental humidity and how light or heavy you scoop your sugar.)  The final consistency of the fondant should be totally smooth, but quite thick, similar to modeling clay.*  If the mixture becomes too much for the stand mixer, transfer the fondant to a greased work surface and continue to knead with greased hands until the desired consistency is achieved.
*I personally think it is useful to work with store-bought fondant at least once, mainly so you know the consistency you are aiming for. (notes from Annie's Eats)
Form the fondant into a smooth ball, coat lightly with shortening, and wrap tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap.  Place in an airtight bag, press out all excess air, and seal.  Let rest at least 3-4 hours or overnight before using.**
**I know you’ll want to know how long this lasts.  I don’t have an exact answer but I can tell you that I typically make fondant about 4-7 days before I plan to use it (for the sake of breaking up an involved cake) and it is always fine when I use it. (notes from Annie's Eats)
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October 7, 2012

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

This week was one of the best weekends I have ever had. Myself and 8 of my friends went to our friend's ranch for the weekend!! We got to spend the weekend riding horses, exploring the 800 acres her family owns, jam sessions by the bonfire and just enjoying the great outdoors.
Saturday night we had a big family dinner complete with grilling steaks and roasting corn in the fire pit outside :) It was SO good! Did I cook? Negative. Did I bring dessert? You betcha!! I brought a double batch of my most requested chocolate chip cookies and one of my new favorite fall desserts, Apple Spice Cake. There were 9 of us, so I had to make sure there was plenty of dessert for everyone and I figured a chilly night would be the perfect time to have the first pumpkin dessert of the season. I found this recipe on Whipped, The Blog and after reading the reviews I decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I did because this cake was the hit of the night. Thankfully it didn't all get eaten so I had some after dinner tonight!

(this is not my picture, I forgot to take one :( This is the picture used on Whipped's blog)
Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake


The cake:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing bundt pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-oz can; not pie filling)
3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs

The glaze:

2 T butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1-3 T cream or milk


Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour bundt pan. Combine together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl.

Beat butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, then add eggs and beat 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.

Spoon batter into pan. Shake a few times to be sure to remove any bumps then bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then invert rack over cake and reinvert cake onto rack. Cool 10 minutes more.

To make glaze, heat butter until melted. Stir in sifted powdered sugar. Mix in cream or milk 1 Tablespoon at a time until desired consistency. Drizzle over cake while it is on a wire rack so excess falls through.


- I forgot to buy buttermilk at the store so I had to make my own. It's really easy. In a liquid measuring cup pour 1 T. white vinegar and then fill to the 1 cup mark with milk and let sit for 5 minutes.
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October 1, 2012

Apple Spice Cake

Let's be honest, isn't fall everyone's favorite season?? It's cool enough to wear jeans and warm enough to go without a coat! It's my absolute favorite time of year. If I could make it fall year round I would have a lot less to complain about. Maybe ;)

This coming weekend 8 of my friends and I are going to my friend's ranch for a fun weekend outside the city. Everyone was suggesting what to cook for dinner, I knew the only contribution I could make was in the form of dessert and breakfast pastries. I saw a beautiful "fall" recipe on Smitten Kitchen's page a while ago and I immediately wanted to make a few changes and bring this along to the ranch.

This recipe is very easy. You can make it using a wooden spoon and 2 bowls. It's a very thick batter, so next time I will use my stand mixer, but you really don't need to. 

The cake is moist, spiced just right for the cool weather and studded with pieces of walnuts and chunks of tart apples! It received rave reviews at the office today. I'm so excited to share this one with you!


Apple Spice Cake

6 apples, I used McIntosh apples
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar

2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan with shortening. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it and then sprinkle the walnuts over the apples. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.


- You want to use a firm apple (McIntosh is perfect, Granny Smith, etc) that won't turn to mush when you bake it.
- This cake is easily customizable. Leave out the nutmeg, add some pumpkin pie spices... it's totally up to you.
- For me personally, it had too many apples. Everyone loved it, but I might try only using 5 next time. You just want enough to cover the middle and top layers. You don't need heaping piles of apple, unless you like it that way :)
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September 23, 2012

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

This rich chocolate sour cream Bundt cake is AH-mazing and super easy. It's a one bowl recipe and you mix it entirely by hand. No need to pull out the bulky mixer! HOORAY!
I used dark, dutch processed cocoa powder... it makes for a much richer, intense chocolate flavor and the sour cream keeps the cake moist for days! The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, but I used a king-size Hershey's "Special Dark" chocolate bar (4.25 ounces) and kept the rest of the recipe the same. The glaze seemed a little thin for me, so next time I will start with a 1/4 cup of cream and increase slowly until I get the right consistency.

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake
For the cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1/3 cup (1 ounce) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water
2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar


Make the cake

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F (176°C). Butter and flour a 10- or 12-cup Bundt pan and set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa powder, salt, and water and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring, just until melted and combined. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Place the flour, sugar, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Add half of the melted butter mixture and whisk until completely blended (the mixture will be quite thick). Add the remaining butter mixture and whisk until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until completely blended before adding the next egg. Whisk in the sour cream and vanilla until smooth.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a rack. Let cool completely before glazing.

Make the glaze
5. Just before glazing the cooled cake, place the chopped chocolate and agave nectar in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine the heavy cream and sugar in a small saucepan and put over medium heat. Stir constantly until the cream is hot and the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. If the glaze is exceptionally runny, let it sit for a minute or so to thicken.

6. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake, allowing it to drip and dribble down the sides
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September 17, 2012

Tamale Casserole

My beautiful friend just had a baby (her second beautiful little girl) and I offered to bring them dinner so they can spend as much time being parents as possible. I asked if there were any food preferences/dislikes/allergies etc and was told there were none. Of course a one dish meal (casserole) is ideal so there's not a lot of storage space needed. I've made this casserole many times and it is SO good. It's very easy to make this low-fat by subsituting chicken for beef, egg substitute for an egg, etc.

You really can customize this however you like, but I will post the recipe I used and a link to the others I've found.

Tamale Casserole #1 
Tamale Casserole # 2 - Cooking Light

Tamale Casserole
Serves 8-12 
8 oz shredded cheese (I used a Monterey jack)
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (Jiffy works great)
1 can of black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce
1 pound ground beef (turkey or chicken work just as well)
salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine the cheeses in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, stir together 1/4 cup of the combined cheese, the milk, egg, cumin, red pepper, corn, muffin mix, and the green chiles. Stir until just combined.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until just set.

While the cornbread is baking, cook your ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until cooked completely through. Drain, if necessary, and salt and pepper the beef.

Remove the cornbread from the oven and pierce all over with a fork.

Pour the enchilada sauce over the corn bread.

Top with the beans, beef and remaining cheese.

Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro or parsley if desired and serve.
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September 16, 2012

Sprinkles Cookie!!

I'm sort of obsessed with sprinkles. I have no idea what but I just really, really love them! I would be perfectly happy if they were on every dessert imaginable. I went to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies the other day, only to realize that I didn't have any chocolate chips in the pantry. Instead of chocolate chips I decided to use one of the 23 bottles of sprinkles I keep in the pantry. I don't really have 23 kinds of sprinkles in my kitchen, but I do have a lot. It turned out to be one of the best substitutions... ever! These got RAVE reviews at the office and by my friends.

Sprinkles Cookie
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
3 oz sprinkles (whatever color/shape you like) (you can use more or less depending on your preference)


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 sprinkles. Chill the dough for 1 hour.

4. Roll 2 ounces (2 heaping tablespoons) of dough into a ball. 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 the 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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July 17, 2012

Death By Chocolate Cake

An attorney that I work with asked me months ago to make her husband's birthday cake. Her husband has requested a "perfect, moist, chocolate cake with chocolate icing" for years on end for his birthday and has yet to find it. Now it's my turn up at bat. Eeeek! :-/ PRESSURE!!

BUT... I really, honestly think this is going to satisfy his request! This cake is so insanely good I am finding it hard to come up with adequate words to describe it. It's rich and chocolately and moist and.... awesome! The frosting is also pretty much the perfect chocolate frosting.  I'll let you know what her husband says about the cake :)

 Death By Chocolate Cake
makes one 3-layer 6" cake
serves 6-8
courtest of My Baking Addiction


2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee (I bought a cup at 7-11)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 6-inch round baking pans or one 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder. Mix on low until dry ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about two minutes; the batter will be thin. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes for round pans, 35 to 40 minutes for rectangular pan or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

4. Frost as desired.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
makes appx. 3 cups frosting
adapted from Savory Sweet Life


1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!)
3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.
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July 15, 2012

Hawaiian Ham Sandwiches

    My friend Jace came to visit this weekend and I wanted him to meet some of my favorite people in Dallas, so we had a pool party at my friend's apartment. Obviously I was bringing food and I had seen these sandwiches on Pinterest and thought this would make the perfect pool party food. I was right. These things are INSANELY good. Make them for your next party and I promise you they will be the first things gone. Well, not promise, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were the first things gone :)

I stole this picture from this blog because I forgot to take a picture
in my excitement at being surrounded by some of the greatest people!

Hawaiian Ham Sandwiches
Makes 24 sandwiches

24 Hawaiian sweet rolls
1 lb thinly sliced deli ham
12 slices of Swiss cheese
Poppy seeds
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, melted
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. minced dried onion

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the rolls in half, keeping each half in one piece if possible
  3. Line a 13x9 pan with aluminum foil and place the bottom rolls in the pan.
  4. Layer the ham and then cheese on top of the rolls. Sprinkle poppy seeds over the cheese. Place the tops of the rolls on top of the sandwiches.
  5. Combine the melted butter, Dijon mustard and dried onion in a bowl and mix well.
  6. Pour the butter mixture over the tops of the rolls and cover with foil.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Cut the rolls apart and serve.

NOTE: These are the rolls I used and you can find them in the bread isle (or sometimes in the bakery deparatment) at almost any grocery store or Wal-Mart.

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July 7, 2012

Pizza Balls

These are so easy! I made them in an effort to take my lunch to work more often (instead of eating pretzels while I sit at my desk). The best part is, they are easily adaptable. I made mine with pepperoni and cheese, but you could easily make them vegetarian, sausage, etc. These would be great for kids, at a football party or any party really :)

Pizza Balls
makes appx 12


1 can of refrigerated pizza dough
8 oz mozzarella cheese (I cut a 1 lb. block into 32 pieces)
Italian seasoning (optional)
Olive oil
Dipping sauce (tomato, ranch, etc)


1. Unroll the can of pizza dough and use a rolling pin to roll it very thin. (You don't have to do this, but I did to avoid have too much crust around the filling).

2. Using a biscuit cutter/cup/small tupperware, cut out as many circles of dough as you can.

3. Place a cube of cheese and whatever filling you like inside the dough.

4. Pinch the dough around the filling, being sure not to leave any openings so the filling doesn't leak out.

5. Place pizza balls in a pie plate that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

6. Spray the dough lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with italian seasoning.

7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

8. Serve with dipping sauce. Pin It

June 25, 2012

Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

There is a deli in Oklahoma City that made THE best peanut butter cookies I've ever had. City Bitees *shout out*. I've tried lots of peanut butter cookie recipes over the years and I never found one that came close to City Bites'.... until now.

Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies
makes 12 large cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1/2 c. dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. bread flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 honey-roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

* I only had unsalted peanuts in my pantry, so that's what I used in the cookie. I firmly believe honey-roasted peanuts would be INSANELY good in this recipe. Next time I make these I will be using honey-roasted peanuts.
1. Preheat oven to 375. Cream the butter and peanut butter on medium high for 1 minute.
2. Add sugars and beat at med-high for another minute. Add egg, ,and mix until smooth.
3. Add flour, baking soda and salt on low speed until thoroughly combined. Mix in peanuts (the dough will be quite soft). Chill dough for 15-20 minutes.
 4. Drop the dough onto a lined baking sheet (whatever method you prefer to keep cookies from sticking is fine). I used my 2 oz. cookie scoop. Slighty flatten the cookie on the sheet (they spread quite a bit) and sprinkle a few peanuts on top (optional).
5. Bake for 8-11 minutes until edges are barely golden brown. For a crispier cookie, allow the entire cookie to brown. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
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June 21, 2012

It's Birthday Season!!

Worked on a few birthday cakes this months. A cowboy themed cake for my friend Jordan's 28th birthday. It is, by far, my favorite cake. Ever. I have never seen a grown man so excited about a cake. I have also never laughed so hard as I did the night of his birthday party. This guy is a hot mess and one of the funniest, happiest people I've ever met. Very glad to call him my friend!

A sweet friend of mine from high school asked me to make her husband's cake for his surprise 30th birthday party. It's a blue ombre cake on the inside with green roses on the outside. She wanted to match some napkins she is using. I can't wait to see a picture of the inside once they've cut it!!

Big plans for another birthday cake for next weekend for another sweet friend's birthday. "Kate Spade" inspired!! Stay tuned....

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