Archive of ‘Recipes’ category

carrot cake scones with cream cheese glaze

Can you believe there are only a few days until Easter?! Even though Easter is late this year, amidst everything else we had going on I feel like it snuck up on me. But one thing I always like to be prepared for, holiday or not, is brunch. Carrot cake scones with cream cheese glaze are the perfect addition to your Easter brunch, or for a quick breakfast as you are running out the door.

Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze |

Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze |

Any time cake can be disguised as breakfast I’m all in! These carrot cake scones are not overly sweet, allowing the cream cheese frosting to balance them out when the two are combined. And there are plenty of carrots, so you can get your vegetables whenever you eat one. Or three. Vegetable breakfast dessert? That sounds about right.

The cream cheese glaze is delicious and is truly what makes these scones reminiscent of carrot cake (because who has ever had carrot cake without cream cheese frosting?). The sweet creamy glaze fills in the nooks and crannies on the craggy surface of the carrot cake scones, and makes each bite a little more satisfying. I love the drizzled look, but you could also spread the glaze in one layer across the top to really make the most of it.

Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze |

Another great thing about these scones is that you can make the dough ahead of time and bake them on Easter morning. This is ideal for those of us who take a little extra time to get ready in our Easter best. Fresh scones without the hassle of early morning mixing and measuring? I’ll take that any day! Just wrap the pre-made dough in plastic wrap, store in the fridge, and bake according to the same directions, adding on a few minutes, if necessary. Like any scones, carrot cake scones are best warm out of the oven, or cool enough to drizzle the cream cheese glaze. Only bake as many as you need, as they dry out after a day.

Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze |

Carrot Cake Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze |

I’m excited to be sharing a few recipes on Lexi’s blog, Glitter, Inc., over the next few months. Head over to Glitter, Inc. for the recipe for these carrot cake scones with cream cheese glaze!

cereal milk cake with lucky charms filling

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day – are you ready?! Pull out your green and whip up this fun cereal milk cake topped and filled with Lucky Charms marshmallows!

Cereal Milk Cake with Lucky Charms Filling |

There are a few foods that remind me of St. Patrick’s Day. Shepherd’s pie, Irish soda bread, and Lucky Charms immediately come to mind (though Bailey’s, Guinness, and milk dyed with green food coloring are close behind). Though we don’t do much for St. Patrick’s Day in our home, it was always an unexpectedly fun holiday in our house growing up. From making leprechaun houses to eating an entirely green meal, it was all very whimsical. This cereal milk cake decorated with Lucky Charms would fit right in with the theme and fun-spirited mood of the day.

Cereal Milk Cake with Lucky Charms Filling |

There are three key elements to making this cake. The first is soaking the milk with cereal (Frosted Flakes or other frosted cornflake cereals work well). The second is using imitation vanilla extract to get that nostalgic flavor from your childhood. And the third is crushing the marshmallows into the frosting between the cake layers. The marshmallows between the layers are optional, but adding them really makes the frosting reminiscent of eating a bowl of Lucky Charms. Crushed up marshmallows give you the taste of Lucky Charms cereal, without the squeaky feeling of full Lucky Charms marshmallows. You know what I’m talking about.

Cereal Milk Cake-4

The marshmallows decorating on the sides and top of the cake are totally optional, but don’t they look so fun?! If for no other reason, I’ll keep them for that. I pulled these marshmallows straight out of the cereal box, but you can also buy full bags of cereal marshmallows on Amazon! That would limit the confusion when unsuspecting family members pour a bowl of Lucky Charms and end up with only the cereal ;) Whoops.

Cereal Milk Cake with Lucky Charms Filling |

Whichever variation you choose, I hope it brings you lots of luck and joy tomorrow!

Cereal Milk Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon clear imitation vanilla
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 ½ cups flour
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup cereal milk (recipe below)
Marshmallows from cereal (like Lucky Charms), for assembly

Cereal Milk
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups frosted cornflake cereal

Vanilla Frosting
2 cups (or 4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar (or to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon milk
¼ cup marshmallows from cereal, finely crushed, optional

To make cereal milk:
Pour the milk over the cereal and swirl it around vigorously. Let the milk and cereal soak for about 20 minutes. Strain the milk through a sieve into a small bowl. With the back of a spoon press the cereal into the sieve with the to squeeze the liquid out of the cornflakes, but not forcefully enough to push the cornflakes through the sieve. Discard the soggy cereal (we compost it, but you could also feed it to your pet ;)).

To make cereal milk cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8-inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Cut out 8-inch circles of parchment paper. Line the bottom of the pans and spray the parchment with non-stick cooking spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg whites, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Blend in the vanilla and the oil.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With your mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the cereal milk. Start and end with the flour mixture.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes, checking to make sure a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the pans and transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. The cake layers should be completely cool before you frost them.

To make the frosting:
Beat together the butter and powdered sugar until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the vanilla and milk and beat to combine. You can add more powdered sugar for a sweeter variation, just add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time to keep the right consistency.

Optional: Separate the frosting into three equal parts. Fold the crushed cereal marshmallows into one part of the frosting. This will be used between the cake layers, while the other two parts will be used to frost the outside of the cake.

To assemble:
Place one cake layer on a cake plate or serving plate and top with the crushed cereal marshmallow frosting, if using. Top with the next cake layer and frost the entire cake with the remaining vanilla frosting. Decorate by placing cereal marshmallows along the sides and top of the cake in any arrangement you like. Only place the marshmallows on the cake if you are serving it soon, otherwise they will get soggy.

Happy (almost) St. Patrick’s Day!

Cake and frosting adapted from Molly Yeh’s funfetti cake

happy pi day!

Happy Pi Day, friends! I am celebrating with a round-up of some of pie recipes that have graced the blog in the past.

We will start with one of my very favorites, brown sugar cinnamon and raspberry almond hand pies (aka homemade poptarts!).

Happy Pi Day! Brown Sugar Cinnamon and Raspberry Almond Hand Pies |

Next is my twist on the classic pecan pie – chocolate bourbon pecan pie. It is so delicious and always disappears at parties. This was also one of the first recipes I ever posted on the blog! Talk about a throwback!

Happy Pi Day! Chocolate Chip Bourbon Pecan Pie |

For everyone stuck in snow today, these no-bake mini key lime pies with pretzel crusts might be able to transport you to a sunnier state of mind.

Happy Pi Day! key lime pie with pretzel crust |

I couldn’t let a fall favorite go by without putting my spin on it. Pumpkin pie bars with chocolate chip gingerbread crust and cinnamon whipped cream is still one of my favorite fall recipes. It creates such an amazing combination of flavors that pair so wonderfully together.

Happy Pi Day! Pumpkin Pie Bars with Chocolate Chip Gingerbread Crust |

If you are looking for a super easy, individually portioned pie, look no further than apple hand pies with bourbon sauce.

Happy Pi Day! Apple hand pies with bourbon sauce |

Last, but definitely not least, these tips and tricks to making pie and designing pie crusts is a great place to start this Pi Day. This resource also includes many delicious pie recipes from all over the internet, so there is something for everyone!

What are some of your favorite pies? I love my mom’s chocolate chess pie and the coconut cream pie from our local cafe!

I hope this helps you celebrate Pi Day in style! :)

galette des rois

Well, better late than never, right?

Galette Des Rois |

I don’t think many people would mind extending Mardi Gras one day for this galette des rois, or French king cake. The golden puff pastry dough rises around the cake and creates a beautiful facade. Filled with creamy almond paste and raspberry jam, the galette des rois is delicious without being too sweet, like their American counterparts.

Galette Des Rois |

Galette Des Rois |

And the best part? It is impressive but easy! I cheated and used store-bought puff pastry sheets so, besides assembly, all you need to do is make is the almond paste. If you are really short on time, you can even buy almond paste from the store. The goal here is impressive, delicious, and pretty, without too much work. (more…)

dark chocolate pecan oatmeal cookies

I found the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Dark chocolate pecan oatmeal cookies. This is not a drill.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Oatmeal Cookies |

Out of all of the baked goods, cookies are my favorite to make (as you could probably guess from the name of this blog). They are quick to make, small enough to sample, and a great base for different combinations of ingredients and flavors. I can be creative and unique, put a modern spin on a traditional cookie, or stick with the classics. They lend themselves to so much creativity, while still following similar methods of mixing and ratios of ingredients. Creating new cookie recipes is a combination of science, math and art all coming together at the same time in one ball of warm, delicious goodness.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Oatmeal Cookies |

The classic cookie my family made growing up, and the cookie dough that we still almost always have stocked in our freezer, is a classic oatmeal chocolate chip walnut cookie. We made the dough for any potluck, party, or gathering. It is the only cookie recipe I know by heart and I could do it with my eyes closed. Every now and then my dad and I would time ourselves to see how quickly we could make them while working together. Often we could make the dough, roll it all into balls and have the kitchen clean in 20 minutes, with the rest of the process only stalled by baking time.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Oatmeal Cookies |

Dark Chocolate Pecan Oatmeal Cookies |

These dark chocolate pecan oatmeal cookies were inspired by those chocolate chip cookies I know by heart. The base is the perfect oatmeal cookie base and the combination of chocolate chips and chopped dark chocolate creates pockets of melted chocolate as well as chocolate swirled throughout. Toasting the pecans brings a buttery, deeper flavor to the cookies and is perfect in combination with the dark chocolate chunks.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Oatmeal Cookies |

Dark Chocolate Pecan Oatmeal Cookies |

Get ready for some compliments! These are the ultimate oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

Dark Chocolate Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
2 ½ cups rolled oats
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped dark chocolate (I use Trader Joe’s pound plus bar) *
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 ½ cups roughly chopped pecans

*you can use all chocolate chips, but I prefer using a mixture of chopped chocolate and chocolate chips. Chocolate chips don’t melt as much as the chopped chocolate, so using a combination gives you some full chocolate chips and some pockets of swirly melted chocolate from the chopped chocolate.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 5 minutes, or until they are a few shades darker and start to smell nutty. Immediately pour the toasted nuts onto a plate so they do not continue to cook on the hot pan.

Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Pulse the oatmeal in a blender or food processor until it becomes a flour-like texture. It is okay if there are some oat flakes mixed in. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the oatmeal and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the butter and the sugars and beat until the mixture sticks together. This may take a few minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla and mix until fully combined. Pour in the oat-flour mixture until the mixture is almost fully incorporated but you can still see streaks of flour, then fold in the chocolate chunks and pecans.

Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon sized balls and place on your prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for about 9-12 minutes. The cookies will firm up as they cool, so they will be done baking before they look done. If the edges and top are golden, they have cooked too long. Allow the baked cookies to cool for a few minutes on the trays before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely.

To make these ahead of time, do everything through the scooping step. After you scoop all of the dough into balls on the baking sheets, cover the sheet with plastic wrap. Freeze the dough balls on the baking sheet for about 20 minutes, or until they are firm. Place all of the dough balls into a gallon-sized plastic zip bag and store in the freezer until you are ready to use. You can cook these from frozen, though it may take a few extra minutes.

whiskey caramel popcorn

I hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day yesterday! With Valentine’s Day behind us, I’m moving on to the next exciting event – the Oscars! There are so many Oscar nominated movies that I want to see and just haven’t had a chance to yet. And what pairs with movies better than popcorn? And even better than movie popcorn? Whiskey caramel popcorn.

Whiskey Caramel Popcorn |

Whiskey Caramel Popcorn |

Last week when I posted the recipe for chocolate cake with whiskey caramel buttercream and chocolate ganache frosting I mentioned that you should save the extra whiskey caramel. This is why. We are taking that whiskey caramel and pouring it over popcorn. On the flip side, if you haven’t gotten around to making the full cake, you can make this caramel as a fun addition to your snack today and use the rest for a delicious cake in the future. So many options! (more…)

chocolate cake with whiskey caramel buttercream and dark chocolate ganache frosting

Whew, what a name. What started as a simple request for chocolate birthday cake turned into chocolate cake with whiskey caramel buttercream frosting and dark chocolate ganache frosting, one of the best cakes I have ever made.

Chocolate Cake with Whiskey Caramel Frosting and Dark Chocolate Ganache aka one of the best cakes I have ever made |

Chocolate Cake with Whiskey Caramel Frosting and Dark Chocolate Ganache aka one of the best cakes I have ever made |

I have said it before, but I’m not a huge cake fan. It is really the frostings that make me want to try the cake. I feel like most cakes are very similar, often lacking in flavor and the frostings really enhance them and make them stand out. I have tried a lot of chocolate cake recipes and they usually take more effort than they are worth. I used to make boxed chocolate cakes and top them with homemade frostings – no one knew they weren’t entirely homemade. Sure, they were airier than I would have liked and lacked a super chocolatey flavor, but they were a lot easier than busting out 5 separate bowls just to make the cake layers. (more…)

chocolate espresso sables with raspberry mascarpone filling

What the world needs now is love sweet love. As we get closer to Valentine’s Day I like to find ways to share love with people all around me. Passing around a few chocolate espresso sables with raspberry mascarpone filling is a good way to start.

Chocolate Espresso Sables with Raspberry Mascarpone Filling |

Chocolate and Valentine’s Day are basically synonymous with each other, so while I grew up on royal icing frosted sugar cookie hearts, I knew we needed a chocolate alternative. And what better to pair with chocolate than espresso?! Chocolate and coffee is one of my favorite flavor combinations. In every form, the pair complements and brings out the best in each other.

Chocolate Espresso Sables with Raspberry Mascarpone Filling |

Can I share a secret? I typically don’t like chocolate and raspberry together, or really chocolate with any fruits. Chocolate covered strawberries don’t entice me and I am less likely to choose a chocolate torte from the menu if raspberry sauce is included on top. So why am I making chocolate cookies with raspberry mascarpone filling? Because they break the mold.

Chocolate Espresso Sables with Raspberry Mascarpone Filling |

Chocolate Espresso Sables with Raspberry Mascarpone Filling |

In smaller quantities, coffee is unnoticeable in chocolate baked goods – it merely adds depth and brings out the chocolate flavor. That is why you will almost always see coffee listed as an ingredient in brownies and chocolate cakes here on the blog. But here we use a little more – we want the espresso to shine next to the chocolate! By using dark cocoa powder, these cookies have an even deeper and more intense chocolate flavor. Bake them a little softer and they are like little brownies that melt in your mouth; bake them stiffer and they have the perfect crispness that you expect from shortbread or a typical sable cookie.

There is just enough raspberry jam to sweeten the mascarpone and make it slightly fruity, while still letting the tangy-ness of the mascarpone shine through. The coffee in the cookies adds to the equation as well and the multifaceted dessert comes out not too fruity, not too sweet, but very flavorful and absolutely delicious.

Chocolate Espresso Sables with Raspberry Mascarpone Filling |

Chocolate Espresso Sables with Raspberry Mascarpone Filling |

Bake these up for your valentine, for your co-workers, for your family and friends, and share the love, sweet love.

Chocolate Espresso Sables with Raspberry Mascarpone Filling

Chocolate Espresso Sables
1 cup flour
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup dark cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
2-3 tablespoons instant espresso powder*
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened

Raspberry Mascarpone Filling
½ cup (1-8oz container) mascarpone
2 tablespoons raspberry jam

*If you aren’t a fan of coffee or the coffee and chocolate combination, just reduce the amount of espresso powder but don’t eliminate it. By keeping a little coffee, you will get a richer chocolate flavor without the added coffee taste.

To make the chocolate espresso sables
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, sea salt and instant espresso powder (all ingredients except for the butter). Add the softened butter to the dry ingredients and use your hands to work the ingredients together until the butter is fully incorporated.

Flour a flat work surface (cutting board, counter, etc) and roll the dough out onto the surface until it is about ¼-inch thick. Dip your cookie cutters in excess flour around the edges of the work surface and cut your shapes out of the dough. Transfer the cookie dough shapes to the prepared baking sheets, placing them a few inches apart from each other. Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating halfway through. The baking time may increase or decrease depending on the size of your cookie cutters. I noticed that the smaller shapes only took about 8 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking trays for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.

To make the raspberry mascarpone filling
In a small bowl, stir together the mascarpone and the raspberry jam until the mixture is fully combined and evenly pink throughout.

Match up the chocolate espresso sables by size. Use a knife, a spoon, or a pastry bag to place the raspberry mascarpone filling on a cooled cookie and place a matching size cookie on top. Gently press the two sides into the filling so they will stay together. As shown in the photos, you can also use the raspberry mascarpone filling as frosting on open-faced cookies or as a way to stack different sized cookies together and create a layered look.

Only fill the cookies you are going to eat or serve immediately. Uneaten cookies will get softer if you store them pre-filled, but will keep their structure if you store them not-yet-filled. Store the rest of the filling in a covered bowl or airtight container in the fridge to use when you eat or serve the rest.

Chocolate Espresso Sables with Raspberry Mascarpone Filling |

homemade croissants

Homemade croissants, aka the best (and maybe only successful) yeasted baked good I can make. If you have been following along for a while, you know about my love-hate relationship with yeast. I like eating yeasted baked goods, but have struggled to get them right when I make them. Cookies, cakes and brownies – no problem; yeast rolls, doughnuts, babka – forget it. But croissants, one of the most time consuming yeasted breads out there, total success. How? Why? I don’t understand how that works, but it gives me hope that you can all make them too!

Homemade Croissants |

Back at the beginning of the month we prepared for lots of snow. While most people ran around the grocery store stocking up on milk and bread, we made sure we had enough eggs, butter and flour. I highly suggest this method of snow preparation. Instead of milk sandwiches (or whatever you do with gallons of milk and loaves of bread), we had warm croissants and cookies when we came in from the snow. Win.

Homemade Croissants |

Homemade Croissants |

This recipe is perfect for a snow day, weekend, or a few weeknights because, in the nature of good yeasted breads, it takes a long time. Do not let this deter you – most of the time is just for the dough to rest or rise, so, while the overall length of the project can take a while, the recipe is broken up into multiple steps that, individually, don’t take much time.

Homemade Croissants |

Homemade Croissants |

As someone who doesn’t make yeast breads often (or well), it was so exciting to see the dough rise and act according to the directions. I took before and after pictures each time I covered the dough so I could track the progress and see if it was actually rising. Every time I expected it to look the same and every time it had doubled in size. I would jump up and down with the excitement of a child on Christmas, take my photo, compare it to the first photo and run to show Will the difference. It’s the little things, right? ;)

Homemade Croissants |

Homemade Croissants |

This dough is amazing. You can actually see the layers on layers on layers when you roll it out and cut it and the baked croissants flake apart when you pull them. I saved half of our dough in the freezer to whip out when we have guests or just on a Saturday morning when we want it. I really expect the feeling of whipping freshly thawed homemade croissant dough out of the fridge to make me feel like Ina and Martha, and I will likely be sorely upset if it doesn’t. Don’t you imagine that’s how they live, with homemade croissant dough in their freezers at all times, ready for the unexpected houseguest? I like to think so.

Homemade Croissants |

Homemade Croissants |

Homemade Croissants |

I made plain, chocolate and funfetti croissants and cut the dough into triangles about half the size that the original recipe calls for. This gave us more croissants that were smaller, so we could try the different variations without feeling gluttonous. I highly recommend making the smaller version. The baked croissants keep in an airtight container for about a week and heat up wonderfully in the oven or a toaster oven. Alternately, you can make the dough and freeze what you don’t use before cutting or after cutting and rolling. To bake, place the frozen dough in the fridge to thaw overnight and bake according to recipe instructions.

I used the croissant recipe from Tartine (via Food52), but halved it and still ended up with plenty of dough. If you have a kitchen scale I recommend using the weight measurements, as that will be more precise, but I converted them into standard US measurements as well. The instructions on Food52 are very detailed, and I’m not sure I could explain the process better, so I linked their instructions below my halved, converted ingredients.

Homemade Croissants
3 ounces nonfat milk
1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1/8 ounces (11 ¾ tablespoons) flour

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
7 ounces (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) whole milk
14 ounces (3 cups) flour
1 ¼ ounces (1 tablespoon + 2 ¾ teaspoons) sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons butter, melted

Roll-in Butter:
11 ounces (21 2/4 tablespoons) butter

Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon cream or milk

Optional add-ins: chocolate; colorful cylindrical sprinkles, like jimmies (not nonpareils – the colors bleed)

Follow these instructions.

For chocolate croissants: place chopped chocolate in the center of the wide end of the dough triangle and roll the dough from the wide end to the tip, tucking the tip underneath the rolled croissant.

For funfetti croissants: pour sprinkles in the center of the wide end of the dough triangle (not too close to the edges), and roll from the wide end of the triangle to the tip, tucking the tip of the triangle under the rolled croissant. If you want sprinkles throughout the dough for even more of a funfetti effect (not pictured here), roll sprinkles into the butter before laminating the dough.

almond banana bread

Date check. Yup, it’s still January. How are you doing on your goals?! Will and I ran past a gym this weekend and the parking lot was packed with cars. For the next 5 minutes of our run we discussed when we think most people drop their resolutions and the gym parking lot goes back to having empty spots scattered throughout. Do people hold out until February? Do they last longer than that? Was this the last weekend we will see a full parking lot? We didn’t come to a definitive answer, other than, “sometime before spring.”

Almond Banana Bread  (gluten free, refined sugar free and paleo!) |

As I mentioned in my goals post for the year, I don’t set resolutions. So rather than set resolutions to just generally “eat healthier,” or “exercise more,” I strive to live a balanced life – balance in healthy and not so healthy food, exercise and rest, work and home. One aspect of this balance is finding ways to make treats healthier, which led to the creation of this almond banana bread. (more…)

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