Delectably Creative Treats

Posts by julianaevans

Orange Scented Chocolate Hazelnut Cherry Skillet

Orange Scented Chocolate Hazelnut Cherry Skillet

on Jun 12, 2017 | 0 comments

  Whether you are in a hurry to make a tasty breakfast or a fabulous dessert, a semi-homemade fruit skillet is always a good option!   Ingredients: 2 cans of refrigerated biscuits 1 can Cherry pie filling 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted 1 orange zested and juiced 1 cup of chocolate chips 1/3 cup chocolate hazelnut spread powdered sugar     Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep a 8-10″ cast iron skillet with a bit of melted butter. 2. Cut each biscuit dough into four pieces, I use scissors, and place in a large bowl. 3. Pour in melted 1/2 cup butter and sugar and mix with hands making sure all pieces get coated. 4. Zest and juice orange over biscuit pieces, mix well. Pour in can Cherry filling and be sure all biscuits are coated. 5. Mix in chocolate chips. Pour everything into iron skillet and bake 40-50 minutes until center is no longer jiggly. You may want to cover with tin foil at about 30 minutes if top begins to look too dark. 6. Remove from oven and allow to cool to warm. Heat Chocolate Hazelnut spread in microwave until warm and fluid like (about 20 seconds) Drizzle over skillet and then top with powdered sugar....

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Sweet Hearted Sugar People Cookies. Shake & Rattle Your Holiday Cookie Gifts.

Sweet Hearted Sugar People Cookies. Shake & Rattle Your Holiday Cookie Gifts.

on Dec 17, 2015 |

      Baking cookies for the girls’ classes are a big part of our Christmas celebrations. This year, I was looking to do something more fun and unique than the average decorated sugar cookie. I have been totally consumed with production happenings, the girls’ school functions, and everything else household related. So it is a super huge relief to finally get back into my kitchen and get creative.     These sugar cookie people are my simple cut out recipe, that is filled with clear, homemade vanilla lollipops. The lollipop acts as a window and allows the sprinkles to be seen and shake around like a rattle 🙂     Bare with me, it seems like a lot of steps. But the longest part is the decorating. So get those kiddos in the kitchen and get artsy with your Holiday cookies.             Sweet Hearted Sugar People Cookies Yields: 10 cookies (3 sugar cookies per serving)   Sugar Cookie Ingredients: 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 2 eggs 1 tbsp clear vanilla extract 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 4 cups all purpose flour Gingerbread cutter 1.5-2″ heart cutter (make sure it will fit inside your gingerbread shape) parchment paper rolling pin White chocolate candy melts Holiday sprinkles     Sugar Cookie Directions: 1. Preheat oven 375 degrees. In a mixer beat butter until smooth. Add in sugar and then eggs. Mix in vanilla, followed by baking soda, salt and all purpose flour. 2. Between 2 sheets of parchment paper, roll dough about 1/2″thick. Refrigerate about 10 minutes to make cutting dough easier.     3. Cut 3 gingerbread shapes per serving. 2 of the gingerbread men need to have a heart cut out of the center.     4. Bake 375 degrees 8-10 minutes. 5. Allow to cool completely. Repeat steps until all the dough is used.         Clear Lollipop Ingredients: 2 cups granulated sugar 2/3 cup light corn syrup 1/4 cup water 1 tsp clear vanilla extract Silicon mats Candy thermometer Pastry brush Ice Water   Clear Lollipop directions:   1. Take the 1 heart cut out cookie, per serving, (this is the top decorated...

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It’s almost game day! Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dumplings!

It’s almost game day! Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dumplings!

on Sep 9, 2015 |

          Woohoo! NFL begins this week and I have the best semi homemade, super easy game day dessert. These are a dream for those Oreo and Nutter Butter cookie lovers. I had a ton of half empty bags of Oreo cookies laying around. Plus, y’all will remember me saying that I always have these wonton wrappers hidden in the fridge.         I guarantee these are a show stopper at your next tailgate! My Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Dumplings swirl together Oreos and Nutter Butter cookies with cool, cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Which are then deep fried to a golden brown for an unforgettable sweet crunch. These decadent dumplings are reminiscent of something you would pick up at the county fair while strolling around. Yes, they are deep fried, but way worth every calorie.         Let’s start baking…   Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dumplings   Ingredients:   1 cup (8oz) cream cheese, softened 1 1/2 cups Oreo crumbs 1 cup Nutter Butter cookie crumbs 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 3/4 cup powdered sugar 32 wonton wrappers (found in produce section of grocer) water for sealing wonton edges Vegetable oil for frying   Garnishes:   Powdered sugar and chocolate ganache   Directions:   1. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot to 375 degrees. 2. In a mixer beat cream cheese until smooth. Then add in powdered sugar. 3. Combine well until no lumps, scrapping sides periodically. 4. Mix in vanilla. 5. Stir in all cookie crumbs.     6. Take one wonton wrapper and with a point towards your belly (diamond shaped), place one tbsp of mixture in center.           7. Wet edges of wonton wrapper with dabs of water, fold over filling, forming a triangle.     8. Press firmly, sealing mixture so there is no oozing.     9. Fry in 375 degree oil 30-45 seconds on each side until golden brown. 10. Remove and allow to drain on paper towel. 11. Before serving, garnish with dusting of powdered sugar and drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired.  ...

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Let’s Go Gluten Free With My Famous Brownie Recipe!

Let’s Go Gluten Free With My Famous Brownie Recipe!

on Aug 31, 2015 |

    These look crazy good, right? Yes, they are gluten free and no one will EVER know it! I easily converted my famous brownie recipe for those who require a gluten free diet. Let me tell you, one of the things I detest about gluten free baked goods….crumbly and dry. Yuck, I feel like every time I try a GF dessert from a store, bakery, or restaurant I am eating chalk. I feel EVERYONE on EVERY diet deserves the right to a good ooey-gooey dessert. And these brownies will do just the trick. Not much explanation needed for this beauty, chocolate, warm, ooey-gooey brownies that are equivalent to the ones baked with flour! I hope y’all enjoy these. My family did and truly couldn’t believe these were gluten free 🙂   Let’s start baking…     Gluten Free Ooey-Gooey Brownies Yields: 12-20 pieces (depending on how generous your feeling that day)     Ingredients:   1 cup unsalted butter, melted 2 cups granulated sugar 2/3 cup cocoa powder 4 eggs 2 tsp vanilla extract (McCormicks is GF) 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup of Gluten Free All purpose flour (I used King Arthur’s for this recipe) 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum (this is your binder and acts like gluten in flour) Pam nonstick original spray (this too is GF)     Directions:   1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 pan with aluminum foil and spray with Pam nonstick original spray. Set aside. 2. In a large microwavable bowl, melt butter and then add sugar.     3. Mix in cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla. 4. Stir in eggs.     5. Mix in xanthan gum, followed by gluten free all purpose. 6. Batter will be thick, pour and spread evenly into the prepared pan. 7. Bake at 350 degrees for 28-32 minutes. You want them to be slightly gooey, so I pull mine out at 28 minutes. This way the edges satisfy those who like them more cooked and then the center is perfect for me 🙂 8. Optional to dust with powdered sugar, after they have cooled mostly.  ...

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Warm Chocolate Custard Smores Jars…Guess What, They’re Dairy Free!!

Warm Chocolate Custard Smores Jars…Guess What, They’re Dairy Free!!

on Aug 30, 2015 |

  I have been DYING for custard. Yes, craving and wanting warm chocolate custard, like nobody’s business. And my littles have actually been begging for this sweet and smooth treat too. I am always apprehensive about purchasing the pre-made, store bought pudding for school lunches. Actually, I REFUSE to let my kids eat that, it seems just super duper artificial. Gabby’s been begging, almost daily, for chocolate pudding. But, for selfish reasons, I decline to make it because I cannot resist eating every bowl in the house. And then….I am miserable. Our bellies no likey 🙂     My latest obsession with So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk has caused a whirlwind of reinventing my old recipes. I have been making chocolate custard from scratch using So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk and we LOVE it. The best part is you can too. My chocolate custard is super simple, quick, tasty, and better yet, DAIRY FREE!!!     I wanted to roll with my love of smores. So to beautify this already smooth and bold custard, I layer up some graham cracker crumbs, dairy free chocolate custard, and toasted marshmallows in a super cute, squatty mason jar…Totally adorb. This little smores concoction turned out so cute and yummy, it was no question I was going to enter it in the Go Dairy Free contest. You can enter your yummiest, dairy free creations using So Delicious brands too. Just head on over to the site by August 31st at midnight to enter.     Let’s start baking…     Warm Dairy Free Chocolate Custard Smores Jars Yields:  6-8 servings, depending on jars     Ingredients:   2 cups of So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk 3/4 cup of granulated sugar 1/3 cup of cocoa powder 1 egg 1/3 cup cornstarch 1/4 tsp salt 1 tsp pure vanilla extract about 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs 30-36 standard size marshmallows   Directions:   1. In a medium pot on low heat, mix So Delicious coconut milk, sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch,  and salt until well combined. 2. Whisk egg and add into the pot and combine well. 3. This is the no fun part….whisk, whisk, whisk. Just like making cook and serve boxed pudding,...

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After School Snack-time With My Frozen Berry Basil Non-Dairy Smoothie!

After School Snack-time With My Frozen Berry Basil Non-Dairy Smoothie!

on Aug 30, 2015 |

          Yes, it’s that time again….school!!! Seriously, this momma welcomes the school year very happily every late summer. I don’t know about y’alls children or even yourselves, but everyday when school lets out, my kiddos are STARVING. I am bombarded every time they walk through that door with “what can I have for a snack?”. And majority of the time my littles are craving something sweet. I absolutely don’t want them eating dessert or cookies after school; so I figured why not sneak in a tasty smoothie? But here are 2 problems with the smoothie idea: 1. 3 of my girls detest fresh fruit, yup refuse to eat it whatsoever (unless it is in ice cream or a cake). 2. Dairy….Yes, we actually try to stay clear of dairy when possible. I know, I know, I use it in my baking, but drinking real dairy does just not “go over well” in our home.     So the trick to this possible smoothie dilemma? Frozen berries, a hint of basil, So Delicious Strawberry ice cream, and So Delicious Vanilla Coconut milk! Not to mention, a cute mason jar and paper striped straw! Yup, believe it or not they chug this smoothie as if it is a strawberry milkshake from the ice cream parlor! And much to my surprise, one of my foodie friends shared a So Delicious Snackable Recipe Contest with me. So let me tell you, I did a little jig when I knew I “killed 2 birds with 1 stone” with this lil’ post 🙂     I must share with you also, I am ABSOLUTELY addicted to So Delicious dairy free products! Seriously, now instead of coffee in the morning and evening, I now drink So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk. AND the belly is happy about it 🙂       Let’s start baking…well, not really 🙂   Frozen Berry Basil Non-Dairy Smoothie Yields: 4 servings Ingredients:   2 cups of So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk 2 cups of So Delicious Strawberry Ice Cream 2 cups of frozen strawberries ( I buy fresh and put in freezer) 2 cups of ice cubes 3-4 small fresh basil leaves (grab a few extra and...

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Peanut Butter Graham Brownie Smore Bars

Peanut Butter Graham Brownie Smore Bars

on Aug 7, 2015 |

    What other fun Smore items can I possibly concoct to get your attention? Well, I will just pat myself on the back with these sweetly rich bars. I played up the typical smore by using peanut butter sandwich cookies, along with the usual culprit, graham crackers. These 2 crunchy, sweet items blend together to form the perfect crust as the base for my Brownie Smore Bars. This is the perfect combination of crunchy, ooey-gooey, and sticky sweetness in every bite. And yes, this is my “famous” Food Network brownie recipe, which this guy…Andy said “He wasn’t gonna lose to a brownie” 😉     National Smores Day is August 10th, I can’t think of a more perfect way of celebrating this “national food holiday” than these Peanut Butter Graham Brownie Smore Bars.     The little ladies are quite fond of these bars and request them as often as they request my chocolate chip cookies. And I brought these bars along with me to WESH 2 News on August 7th, to help bring “smore awareness” to central Florida 😉     The best thing to remember when hosting a smores party, smores bar, or just having smores as a tasty dessert, is to think outside of the typical graham cracker box! Try new items that can sandwich the toasted marshmallow and chocolate in happy union. Indulge in smashing peanut butter cups or other chocolate candy treats instead of the mundane chocolate square. And PLEASE, remember that fruit makes for an awesome smores filler, not to mention a beautifully plated smore.                     Let’s start baking…   Peanut Butter Graham Brownie Smore Bars Yields: 16-20 bars depending on how generous your portions are 🙂     Ingredients:   For the crust: 1 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs 1 1/4 cups of peanut butter sandwich cookie crumbs 1 tbsp of granulate sugar 1/2 tsp cinnamon 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted   For the brownies: 1 cup unsalted butter melted 2 cups granulated sugar 2/3 cup cocoa powder 4 eggs 1/2 tsp salt 2 tsp pure vanilla extact 1 cup all purpose flour   Topping: 1 bag of mini marshmallows  ...

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Smores Cheesecake Eggrolls, Heaven In Every Bite!

Smores Cheesecake Eggrolls, Heaven In Every Bite!

on Jul 31, 2015 |

    I will apologize for your jeans becoming tighter, right now. This is a ridiculous and yummy over-the-top version of Smores. National Smores Day is August 7th, I will be throwing a few fun recipes your way, so you can celebrate properly. These sweet dessert eggrolls are really a smores lovers dream come true. Oooey-gooey and warm. Yes, the marshmallows survive the frying and become soft and delicate. Smores Cheesecake Eggrolls are simply divine.     Between the littles and I, they were gone by 10:30 this morning. Well hey, it’s summer and my kids burn so much energy playing outside in the pool, I figured “what the heck, dig in, dudes”. Yeh, mother of the year right here….I know 😉 I always seem to have these store bought eggroll wrappers on hand. They are so versatile and easy to use for sweet or savory dishes. I highly suggest you swing by the fresh produce department in the grocer store and pick up a pack to leave in your fridge. The filling of these crunchy, sweet treats is basically a graham cracker cheesecake, not overly sweet and has just the perfect amount of graham flavor with a hint of cinnamon to jazz it up.     Seriously, how can you look at these photos and not just want to dive right in and meet your caloric intake for the day?!   Let’s start baking…     Smores Cheesecake Eggrolls Yields: 10 full size eggrolls         Ingredients:   1 cup softened cream cheese 1/3 cup granulated sugar 2 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/2 tsp cinnamon semi sweet chocolate chips 1 bag of regular size marshamllows 1 package of store bought eggroll wrappers powdered sugar Melted chocolate for drizzling water to seal the eggroll vegetable oil for frying   Directions:   1. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot to 375 degrees. 2. In a mixer beat softened cream cheese until smooth and add in sugar. 3. Mix in vanilla and cinnamon. Beat until well combined and be sure to scrap the side so everything is incorporated. 4. Finally stir in graham cracker crumbs, mix thoroughly.     5. Take...

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The Perfect Dessert Cocktail..Adult Milk & Cookies!

The Perfect Dessert Cocktail..Adult Milk & Cookies!

on Jul 15, 2015 |

  Y’all know I don’t just dabble with chewable desserts, right? I mean, my previous post was the Buttery Wizard Shake, which is perfectly awesome and sweet. But what about those times we want to kick back and enjoy a cocktail, but are not really in the mood for something fruity? Well darling, do I have one for you! This recipe,  Adult Milk & Cookies, is a show stopper. Can’t you just imagine a party with a table full of these cute little milk bottles perfectly dripping with chocolate ganache? Adult Milk & Cookies cocktails look like they belong in a magazine. You can also make these kid friendly so your littles don’t have to miss out on the fun.     Adult Milk & Cookies cocktail is pretty simple to make and of course (and always) there’s a couple of secret ingredients that make it SOOO good. White cake mix and Marshmallow vodka are swirled inside a blender with vanilla ice cream, vanilla extract, and heavy cream. Pretty sweet concept.     The kicker of these cocktails is the presentation. Glass bottles and mason jars are everywhere now a days. I picked up these super cute milk glass bottles at Michaels, but have also purchased some at Old Time Pottery. And let’s not get me started on those cute paper straws, I have way too many and thanks to the wide varieties available at craft stores, I am always properly stocked. The warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies are homemade, which you can whip up the recipe with this link, Chocolate Chip Cookies. And my simple chocolate ganache recipe can be whipped up in a couple of minutes or you can just melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips with a bit of vegetable oil in the microwave and that will do the trick too (but definitely not as decadent). While we are on the subject of cocktails, let me share with you some exciting news that is headed to Orlando, Florida September 18-20th! It’s The Americas Cake and Sugarcraft Fair, but the reason I speak of this fun event today is to let y’all know there will be a Sugar Arts Fashion Show and Cocktail Party!! Woohoo, can you just...

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Buttery Wizard Shakes

Buttery Wizard Shakes

on Jul 13, 2015 |

  I’m about to take the plunge and share with y’all my super secret Buttery Wizard Shake recipe. The photo that I posted on Instagram has been taking the country by storm, even Everyday With Rachael Ray Magazine had something to say about this ridiculousness! My daughters adore this vanilla-butterscotch and toasted marshmallow concoction. I mean, who wouldn’t?! Cool, creamy vanilla ice cream, swirled with a buttery butterscotch and topped with a perfectly browned, toasted marshmallow. This is one of my all-time favorite flavors, “Butterbeer”. Of course most people who know the awesome Harry Potter books can appreciate my ode to Butterbeer. I have taken my cupcakes and cake flavors and blended them nicely for a great summer treat. BTW, just be prepared for all of my fun, nostalgic, and fabulous shake recipes this summer 🙂     The best part is to make this “adultified” add some dark rum….yummy in my tummy 🙂     Buttery Wizard Shakes         Ingredients:   1 cup of cream soda 2 cups vanilla ice cream 1 box of DRY instant butterscotch pudding mix 1/2 cup heavy cream 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 cups ice cubes Marshmallows at least 32 reg size Store bought butterscotch sauce (in ice cream toppings isle)     Directions:   1. In a blender, liquify cream soda, vanilla ice cream, dry instant butterscotch pudding mix, heavy cream, vanilla, and ice cubes until thick.                 2. Pour shake into mason jars. 3. Toast all of the marshmallows (I use a kitchen torch).     4. Top mason jars with at least 4 toasted marshmallows. 5. Generously drizzle butterscotch sauce over the top of toasted marshmallows.     Enjoy this cool, nostalgic, shake fireside...

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White Chocolate Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats, A Fast And Yummy Dessert You Will Love!

White Chocolate Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats, A Fast And Yummy Dessert You Will Love!

on Jul 8, 2015 |

      If you live in Central Florida, you may have seen me on WESH 2 news on the CW 18, Friday, July 3rd. I was on with 2 of my daughters, Gracie and Gabby, presenting kid-friendly 4th of July desserts. I am a big advocate to get your kids in the kitchen and thanks to WESH 2, I was able to have the girls demonstrate our Glitter and Smore Pops. As we spoke about other dessert ideas, the camera panned across the table at these fine, squared beauties….White Chocolate Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats. Yes, they are amazing and pretty simple too.           These crunchy, bright red, sweet treats are made with Red Velvet cake mix. Yup, remember in my previous post I warned you to have extra cake mixes on hand because these Rice Krispie recipes are about to take over the blog (not to mention your life). In response to your requests for more “semi-homemade” treats for the hurried baker, I created these unique and simply brilliant White Chocolate Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats. This takes the simple Rice Krispie treat to an adult dessert level.       Let’s start baking…     White Chocolate Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats Yields: 8×8 pan 9-16 pieces (depending how large of squares you cut)       Ingredients:   6 tbsp salted butter 4 cups mini marshmallows 1 cup dry red velvet cake mix 1 tsp red food coloring 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 6 cups Rice Krispie cereal 1 cup white chocolate morsels       Directions:   1. Line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick spray. In a large pot on low heat, melt butter completely. 2. Stir in marshmallows and continue mixing until butter and marshmallows are smooth.     3. Remove from heat and add in red velvet cake mix. 4. Next stir in vanilla and red food coloring. Be sure, there are no remaining lumps.     5. Mix in all of the rice cereal and coat mixture evenly.           6. Be sure the cereal mixture is just warm and not hot before adding in the white chocolate chips....

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Ultimate Cake Batter Popcorn Balls

Ultimate Cake Batter Popcorn Balls

on Jul 2, 2015 |

  We’ve been on a huge popcorn binge lately. The little ladies just can’t get enough of this stuff and of course, I always seem to have more than enough boxes of Orville Redenbacher in the pantry. I was craving salty-sweet big time this week, but nothing was satisfying me…until this happened.     Yup, popcorn balls. But these aren’t your average, hard, Halloween treats. These babies were made with love, movie theater popcorn, cake mix, and M&Ms!!! Oh my, this just makes me smile. This classic portable treat was made in the response to all of you who wanted easy, cute, desserts using boxed cake mixes. There’s not a whole lot of explanation needed for this recipe. My eldest daughter actually made these completely on her own (she’s 8). So, I have faith in you 🙂     The only problem you may find is these Ultimate Cake Batter Popcorn Balls may disappear too quickly.   Let’s start baking…but not really 🙂     Ultimate cake Batter Popcorn Balls Yields: 10-4″ popcorn balls       Ingredients:   1/4 cup unsalted butter 6 cups popped popcorn 1/3 cup favorite dry cake mix 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1-10 oz bag of regular size marshmallows 2 cups chocolate candies (M&Ms, we did a 4th of July theme)     Directions:   1. Pop popcorn and place in a large bowl or tray.     2. In a large pot over low heat, melt butter. 3. Add in marshmallows and stir until smooth. 4. Remove from heat, add in vanilla and dry cake mix. 5. Mix this sticky combo well, so there are no lumps. 6. Pour over popped popcorn.     7. Spray hands with nonstick spray and start mixing popcorn with hands. Add in chocolate candies and keep mixing until well coated.       8. Spray hands again and form popcorn mixture into balls.     Enjoy the salty-sweet goodness with lots of giggles 🙂...

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“Wow” Your BBQ Guests With My Stars N’ Stripes Vanilla Sugar Cookies!

“Wow” Your BBQ Guests With My Stars N’ Stripes Vanilla Sugar Cookies!

on Jun 29, 2015 |

      I love summer and I especially love eating and gathering outside. The little girls have been preparing for the 4th of July for about a month now, fireworks, t-shirts, and red, white, and blue candies of all kinds scattered throughout the house. Some of our favorite times as a family is just heading outdoors and grilling up an awesome meal, accompanied by incredible desserts to gobble up.     And yes, even the hounds appreciate a fun treat outside from time to time…     It’s fun to kinda “over-do” the cuteness at a picnic. I adore mason jars, paper straws, and cake plates (like nobody’s business). And it’s no surprise that I freak out over a super cute and tasty dessert. Which brings me to these Stars N’ Stripes Vanilla Sugar Cookies. These cookies are my classic, non-spreading, rolled cookie dough. Now, bare with me through these next couple of posts because the cookie dough recipes are pretty much the same, except for the extracts and cookie sandwich fillings. There’s just too much versatility and creativity to these cookies to just keep all to myself 🙂 I swear these are my go-to, simple, cutest, eye catching dessert recipe to bring to a family shin-dig. Easy to make and easy to “glam” up.     Stars N’ Stripes Vanilla Sugar Cookies are adorably adorned in Satin Ice fondant. Satin Ice fondant tastes so similar to a marshmallow, it’s amazing! Not only does it taste good, but it is also very easy to work with…especially for the beginning home bakers. If you have a local cake supply store (google will be your friend for that) head on over and pick up your red, white, and blue Satin Ice fondant buckets for this fun, Americana cookie. If not, you can go to Satin Ice’s website and order some for yourself, they have tons of colors and sizes to chose from 🙂 I will never claim to be a fondant expert, but I know what works for me and what I consider to be cute. I think the fondant techniques, I will be sharing with you the next few months, are simple and a great starting point to learn how...

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Firecracker Cake Batter Brownies…Snap, Crackle, Pop! Plus, You Could Win A Chance To Bake-Off Live Against THE CAKE BOSS, Buddy Valastro!!!

Firecracker Cake Batter Brownies…Snap, Crackle, Pop! Plus, You Could Win A Chance To Bake-Off Live Against THE CAKE BOSS, Buddy Valastro!!!

on Jun 28, 2015 |

    Yeh, you read that title correctly, Cake Batter Brownies. And yeh, ya saw those Rice Krispie Treats on top of my already delicious and famous brownies. It’s kinda sick, the things I concoct in my brain, while I am watching the littles swim in the pool on these hot days. I love my ooey-gooey brownies and I love any flavor of MY Rice Krispie Treats ( and I call them mine because I created a recipe that is different than your usual marshmallowy treat, which we will get into later). Ok, so yeh….I’ve got a sweet tooth problem, now ya know (as if you didn’t already).     I felt like I had to up my brownie game after being on Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship. I got such stellar reviews on my original recipe from those ultra famous judges, that I wanted to out bake myself once again. These sweet bars come just in time for the 4th of July holiday. I also found these fun, 4th of July M&Ms at my local Target store…Ummm, no doubt I was buying a bag (or 3 or 4)! Are ya on the same path as me now? Rich, ooey-gooey brownies, cake batter Rice Krispie Treats swirled with 4th of July M&Ms. Here’s a napkin 🙂     Let’s get back to my Rice Krispie Treats game. These are so yummy and quite addictive and I have a secret—->cake mix. Yup, whenever you find those “buy one-get one” sales, snatch up a few boxes because you will be making a variety of my Rice Krispie Treat recipes and experimenting on your own. Whatever your favorite cake flavor and depending on what else you plan on adding to the mix, you will be adding 1/2 to a whole cup of dry cake mix. YUMMO Let’s start baking…   Firecracker Cake Batter Brownies Yields: 12-18 brownies (depending on how generous you feel that day) 🙂       Ingredients for the brownies:   1 cup melted unsalted butter 2 cups granulated sugar 2/3 cup cocoa powder 4 eggs 1/2 tsp salt 2 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp instant espresso powder (brings out the chocolate flavor) 1 cup all purpose flour  ...

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Patriotic Swirl Buttercream Sandwich Cookies! Happy 4th Of July Folks.

Patriotic Swirl Buttercream Sandwich Cookies! Happy 4th Of July Folks.

on Jun 24, 2015 |

    I wanted to introduce everyone to my fun swirled cookies, but do them with a patriotic twist! My girls LOVE these sandwich cookies and the best part is that these can be made into any flavors and colors those little hearts desire. The littles have always enjoyed those fun, pre sliced, decorated, refrigerated, cookie doughs you buy in the cold sections in the grocery stores. I wanted to make something just as fun, but more to my tastebuds’ liking. I am a sucker for all things cute and brightly colored, not to mention, all things sweet.       In this recipe, I take my sugar cookie dough and brightly color 2 portions of that sweet goodness. In honor of July 4th and staying true to easy portable desserts at this time of year, I am going to teach you my Patriotic Swirl Buttercream Sandwich Cookies. Now, if you would like to change the flavor with one of your favorite extracts, please do so. It is very easily done in the cookie dough and buttercream recipes. This recipe will take a little longer than my typical cookie recipe because we must roll and refrigerate. But the work will pay off in the long run and make your kiddos and guests kooky for your cookies!         Patriotic Swirl Buttercream Sandwich Cookies Yields: 12 sandwich cookies about 3″ wide     Ingredients   For the sugar cookies:   1 cup of unsalted butter, softened 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 eggs 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 4 cups all purpose flour blue gel food coloring red gel food coloring Parchment paper Roller   Directions:   1. Beat the butter until smooth, then add in sugar and mix well 2. Next beat in eggs, followed by vanilla. 3. Stir in baking soda and salt. 4. Slowly mix in flour, one cup at a time (dough will become thick).     5. When dough is formed, remove it from bowl and separate into 2 equal balls of dough. Place one back into the mixer. 6. Add about 1/2 tsp of the blue food gel to the dough and using the...

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4th of July Cones. Is That Ice Cream? My Ice Cream Cone Impostors!

4th of July Cones. Is That Ice Cream? My Ice Cream Cone Impostors!

on Jun 15, 2015 |

  I’ve had a lot of emails, posts, and friends asking me to start incorporating recipes that can be made using box mixes and store bought goods. I understand that not everyone wants to bake from scratch, let alone has the time. I also understand, that you still want to present cute desserts and treats. I have nothing against boxed cake mixes, in fact, I usually have some in my house for projects such as this one. My children can totally tell the difference between boxed mix and a homemade cake (no lie), but that doesn’t mean they won’t eat it. And I’ve heard from time to time that some people actually prefer the flavor of some cake mixes over homemade.     There are so many varieties of boxed cake mix and a lot of them have pudding in the ingredients, which y’all know is huge in my baking arsenal. In this fun and patriotic post, I figured I would get y’all excited about the 4th of July! Seriously, it’s right around the corner people. The neighborhoods will be swarming with block parties and parks filled with family picnics before we even know it. I was trying to drain my brain and think, hmm…what is tasty, portable, pretty and won’t melt. I mean com’on, most kids LOVE LOVE LOVE giant ice cream cones, but in reality-ice cream cones and small children at a public event in the hot sun is a recipe for disaster (I should own stock in wet wipes).           Keeping in mind that you requested simplicity, yet cute, I went ahead and made my impostor ice cream cones. These are really fun, easy, and pretty. They can be made with boxed cake mix and store bought frosting if you chose. However, I am not big on canned frosting, so I made my own creamy vanilla buttercream recipe. By ALL means though, if store bought frosting is your jam, then go for it 🙂     You have choices in this treat, you can swirl the cakes together and go for a psychedelic ice cream cone or just have simple red, white, and blue cones. And if you want to get real...

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A Simple Way To Learn Making Fondant Roses, A Beginner’s Tutorial!

A Simple Way To Learn Making Fondant Roses, A Beginner’s Tutorial!

on Jun 5, 2015 |

    It’s June and that means 1 month closer to The Americas Cake And Sugarcraft Fair in Orlando, Florida, September 18-20, 2015. I am really excited to be attending this years convention and learn new fondant and sugarcraft techniques. In case you missed my last post about this awesome 3 day event here is a little bit of information on The Americas Cake And Sugarcraft Fair, hosted by Satin Ice. “Buddy Valastro and Ron Ben-Israel among headliners at international cake show in Orlando; three-day expo seeking key sponsors and exhibitors Orlando, Fl. (Feb. 23, 2015) – Satin Ice – a world-industry leader in premium rolled fondant, established in more than 65 countries – is hosting The Americas Cake & Sugarcraft Fair (TACSF) September 18, 19, and 20 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fl. The highly anticipated show is expected to attract 30,000 trade professionals and cake enthusiasts – including many from the bakery, pastry and in-store supermarket cake industries – and more than 150 exhibitors in its inaugural year. The international cake and sugarcraft expo – open to both trade and the public – will feature a jam-packed schedule of lively stage demonstrations; cake competitions and displays; a sugar arts fashion show with edible ensembles; and hands-on classes taught by the world’s best cake decorators. Attendees will also be treated to multi-day appearances by celebrity guests like Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s “Cake Boss;” Roland Mesnier, former executive pastry chef to the White House; Mich Turner, cake artist to the Queen of England; and Ron Ben-Israel, renowned for his $10,000 cakes, who will speak on “How to Cater to High-End Clients.” Other show-stopping highlights include a wedding zone for “I do” inspirations and the latest cake and wedding trends; a chocolate zone, exploring the finest in gourmet chocolate making and modeling; a kids zone, for a yummy interactive experience for burgeoning cake artists; and a sugar arts zone for a sweet introduction to sugar art.” Head on over to The Americas Cake And Sugarcraft Fair website to purchase your tickets and start planning your September cake and sugarcraft learning sessions! In honor of us being 1 month closer to a fun and creative event, I...

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Brownie Batter Stuffed Cookies…Yes, You Read That Correctly!

Brownie Batter Stuffed Cookies…Yes, You Read That Correctly!

on Jun 2, 2015 |

    Ever since my brownies were on Food Network, y’all and my family just can’t get enough of them! Brownies, brownies, brownies…But then my brain said “hey why don’t you try putting that yummy brownie batter into a cookie?”. Uhhh, that seemed like a fabulous idea, not to mention extremely delicious. I am the self declared “cookie queen” and was pretty determined to figure out how the heck to work this idea out. I really wanted to wow the socks off of my girls and let them bite into a cookie without them knowing what secret was inside. Let me just tell you, absolute success! Once again, an idea of stuffing something ridiculous into my already superb cookie dough worked. Woohoo, don’t y’all love it when a plan comes together? Well, the idea was there but it took me 3 tries to perfect this recipe 🙂 These are beyond exciting and if you are a die-hard cookie lover, like myself, then get ready to make a double batch of these. They take longer than your average cookie to make because you need to prepare and freeze the batter (which will take about an hour in the freezer). It is a cookie labor of love, but positive cookie addict results are guaranteed Let’s start baking…       Brownie Batter Stuffed Cookies Yields: 18-3″ cookies   Ingredients For the brownie batter filling:   1/2 cup margarine, melted (this MUST be the margarine that contains 80% vegetable oil or your cookies and filling will be FLAT and SPREAD) 1 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup cocoa powder 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 cup milk (this is taking the place of our eggs) 1/2 cup all purpose flour   Directions:   1. In a microwaveable bowl, melt margarine. Mix in sugar and then cocoa powder. 2. Stir in salt, vanilla, and then the milk. 3. Mix in flour.     4. Take a 1/2 tbsp scoop (I found my tiny metal scoop at the grocery store) and scoop out brownie batter balls. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. When all balls are scooped place in freezer at least an hour or until the batter is hard and frozen...

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Triple Threat Cookie Dip

Triple Threat Cookie Dip

on May 31, 2015 |

  It is super hot out here in Orlando and it’s only May! We are outside almost everyday in our pool and eating a heavy cake poolside isn’t always the easy answer to dessert. I wanted to make something that would feel “light”, but not necessarily light on flavor or sugar. I was looking for a fun combo that would pair well with fruit, but not your typical caramel or yogurt based dip. I had a bunch of individual packages of mini Nilla Wafers, Nutter Butter, and Oreo cookies laying around the house, left over from this school season. I figured these 3 cookies all wrapped up in some kind of a concoction, would not only be tasty, but would look kinda cool too (like a really good ice cream you would pick up in a parlor).     My Triple Threat Cookie Dip is so incredibly yummy and simple you will be in the winner’s circle when your friends and family dig in. It’s not an overly sweet dessert and my dip fast to assemble. You can even make a day ahead of time and place in the fridge. A tasty, sweet combination of Nilla Wafers, Nutter Butter, and Oreo cookies in a cool, creamy cream cheese based dip. If your not a big baker, then this is the dessert for you to WOW your crowd.         Let’s start baking (but not really)…        Triple Threat Cookie Dip Ingredients: 1 cup (8oz) cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 cup heavy cream 1 cup mini Nilla Wafers 1 cup mini Nutter Butters 1 cup mini Oreos Fruit for dipping Graham crackers for dipping           Directions: 1. In a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. 2. Add in powdered sugar and beat until creamy. Scrap bowl sides and be sure its mixed thoroughly. 3. Mix in vanilla. 4. Put all cookies in mixer and mix into cream cheese combination until well mixed. Make sure to scrap the sides of bowl again.     5. Pour in heavy cream and mix on low until combined. 6. I like to add a handful of each kind...

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Bring The Cutest Bugs To Your Memorial Day Picnic!

Bring The Cutest Bugs To Your Memorial Day Picnic!

on May 21, 2015 |

    Memorial Day is upon us! Woohoo, super close to summer and NO school schedules. I always remember, while growing up in Chicago, going to the neighborhood’s Memorial day picnic. It is a fun day to get outside and celebrate those who have sacrificed so much for America. There are a lot of really cute desserts you can create to bring along with you to your picnics, but today, I will be teaching y’all cookie pops. Cookie pops are those thick-cut, sugar cookies you can buy and have delivered to someone special. You can also find yourself spending a pretty penny on one of those fancy, boutique cookie bouquets. Now don’t get me wrong, my daughters LOVE receiving these fun and yummy treat baskets. But after examining the cookies thoroughly, I was like “hey I can totally make these”. Plus, they would be a really fun project for the girls to get involved with. For most designed cookies, the baker uses royal icing to get a smooth finish. To make mine different and to avoid the long drying process of royal icing I decided to use Satin Ice fondant.     A lot of home bakers are intimidated by fondant, I was too. As y’all know, I am a self taught baker and I would watch all those different cake shows and be mesmerized by the incredible, decorated cakes featured. I often wondered, if I would be able to work with fondant because I have a ceramics background. I built up my confidence to purchase some Satin Ice fondant from my local cake supply store and surprisingly, I really enjoyed working with this stuff. There is a wonderful, marshmallowy, vanilla smell to the Satin Ice fondant-just think of edible modeling dough! There are some helpful hints located on the Satin Ice website, if you are looking for more than what I will offer you on this post. The other and bigger exciting news about this fondant post, is that I get to tell you about a fun, learning event that will take place in Orlando, Florida on September 18-20, 2015, The Americas Cake And Sugarcraft Fair. This is a great, 3 day event for all ages and family friendly. It...

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Do You Have Too Many Blueberries? Let’s Make Muffins! Blueberry Streusel Muffins.

Do You Have Too Many Blueberries? Let’s Make Muffins! Blueberry Streusel Muffins.

on May 19, 2015 |

    We ventured into the hot Florida sun this past Sunday morning, to pick our very own blueberries for the first time ever. Yup, I am 35 years old and have never ever been to a blueberry patch! Not quite sure why I have waited so long for this short and fun adventure, but I must say the girls and I had a blast. 5 pounds of fresh blueberries and 1 hour later, we were dirty, hot, and happy. I told the girls they better be ready for some blueberry overloaded desserts.     Yeh, y’all saw my epic muffin fail on Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t know how to make incredible muffins, but rather, I couldn’t use any type of sugar besides honey. Yes, I have learned from the taping, how to bake with honey. It is similar to baking with corn syrup…you must bake low temperature and slow. Not to mention altering ingredients to make up for the added liquid…blah, blah, blah. I was so mad at myself on the show because I know how incredibly good my blueberry muffins are and how much everyone loves them.     This Blueberry Streusel Muffin recipe I will be sharing with you today, is my original recipe…NO HONEY!! So, you don’t have to worry whether or not the recipe will work or even taste good…IT WILL. My muffin recipe is moist, not overly sweet, and can use any fresh fruit (as long as the fruit is properly dried). I’ve been supplying my husband’s work and daughter’s teachers these muffins for years. I hope y’all love them as much as I do!     Do you know the muffin man, the muffin man, the muffin man? Well, I’m about to whip his muffin butt with this great recipe. Let’s start baking…       Blueberry Muffins Yields: 14 Large muffins   Ingredients: 3 cups all purpose flour 3 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 2/3 cup vegetable oil 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar 2 eggs 2/3 cup buttermilk 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 & 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried well 2 lemons, zested   Streusel Topping Ingredients: 2/3 cup...

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The Brownies That Won Duff Goldman’s Heart! Raspberry Cream Cheese Espresso Brownies.

The Brownies That Won Duff Goldman’s Heart! Raspberry Cream Cheese Espresso Brownies.

on May 14, 2015 | 1 comment

      Ahhh, finally after many weeks of hiding out because I had to keep the zipper on my big mouth, I am finally able to talk about Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship episodes I was on! Woohoo. Ugh, you have NO idea how hard it is for me to keep a secret, especially when it involves baking, tv, and big celebrities. So there you have it, I made it through 3 of the 6 episodes of Spring Baking Championship on Food Network. Not bad for an amateur stay at home mommy baker. It seriously was an emotional roller coaster, up-down-all-around and I survived. I had a couple of fails for this competition, but I have also had some major YES moments.     For Mother’s day episode, I made Raspberry Cream Cheese Espresso Brownies with a coffee whipped cream, Yummo times 10!!!! And if you saw the show, then you know that Duff Goldman swooned for them. He stated: “Juliana’s got four kids, and I know she knows how to make brownies. Lorraine, Nancy and I all wanted her espresso brownies, and I was thinking we might have a new Pre-Heat winner on our hands. But, Juliana, if I criticize you, you cry. If I compliment you, you cry. Every time you cry I feel bad! Juliana is such a good baker, and Lorraine was right: Juliana needs to have more confidence. The worst thing is not when someone is too confident for their skill set, it’s when they have the skill set and don’t believe that they do. Juliana has the talent, no doubt. I’ve never even heard of Juliana’s trick using melted marshmallows to stabilize whipped cream. I love this show. I learn so much.” Read more at: http://blog.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/2015/05/spring-baking-championship-duff-goldmans-recap-of-episode-3/?oc=linkback. Wow, what a compliment. I have watched Duff Goldman and he has inspired me in the cake decorating field for 15 years. So when he had nothing but incredible things to say about my brownies, well, let’s just say I could’ve peed my pants 😉           If ya watched the Mother’s day episode then you watched my elimination. It was an incredible ride and I am so honored that I had the...

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Hop Into Spring With Toasted Coconut Key Lime Puffs & I’ll Spring A Big Surprise On You!

Hop Into Spring With Toasted Coconut Key Lime Puffs & I’ll Spring A Big Surprise On You!

on Apr 20, 2015 | 1 comment

      Yes, I have been off the blogging radar for quite sometime. Ok, a real long time. There is really good reason for it, I promise. First let’s talk about spring. I love spring in the south! It’s not too too hot and definitely no longer cold, I consider it just perfect. Spring is the time of year I love to add citrus and bright colors to our desserts. One of my favorite flavors is key lime, so tart and tangy. What a delightful wake up to your slumbering winter tastebuds. I have worked an awful lot the past 3 months learning about choux and how to make it. As y’all know, I’m self taught in the kitchen and choux was only made by my Grandma for eclairs on Christmas Eve. I have never even seen it made. My Grandma gave me her super old cookbook as a gift, which is when I started experimenting. Choux sounds super fancy and by God it’s french. How’s this southern, self taught baker gonna pull it off. Many batches ended up in the trash. But I am now ready to share with y’all this simple choux recipe that can be filled with anything. From custards, puddings, pastry creams, and citrus curds, the sky’s the limit on what can be placed in these crunchy little balls. Today, I will be filling them with key lime pastry filling and topping them with some toasted coconut flakes. Now, on to where in the world have I been! I will be on Food Network’s new series Spring Baking Championship, which will premiere on April 26th at pm ET! Woohoo. So Exciting!!!!! It was so hard to not share with anyone that I would be baking my heart out on national tv, but now is the time I get to share my wonderful secret. I must say the moment I found out that I would be on the show, I was in my kitchen practicing every waking moment. I wanted to teach myself every recipe I didn’t know and practice every recipe I already knew. What an honor and OMG what a challenge. I must say the other 7 competitors are amazing and I have become extremely...

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Cookie Dough Lovers Beware! These Cookie Dough Eggrolls Are Addicting!

Cookie Dough Lovers Beware! These Cookie Dough Eggrolls Are Addicting!

on Mar 28, 2015 |

    I’ve never claimed that my dessert recipes are healthy. And today isn’t the day I will start. I had a few left over eggroll wrappers left from dinner this week and instead of throwing them out, I started brainstorming. I was curious what sweet desserts I could create and the family would just adore. It’s no surprise to anyone that cookie dough is one of our favorite sweet treats. The minute the girls hear the mixer whirling around they come running with spoons. I LOVE cookie dough and I am quite guilty of indulging by eating half of the bowl myself. Now, if you are uneasy about the raw eggs in cookie dough, they sell awesome pasteurized eggs in the grocery store. But, I feel, as long as the eggs are fresh and they have been kept cold-I am A-OK eating cookie dough with eggs in the mix. I mean, I grew up eating spoonfuls of this stuff and I think I turned out alright (well, maybe)…     Today, I have something that is incredible and you can probably just eat one and be prepared with that cold glass of milk by your side. Cookie Dough Eggrolls!!!!! Umm, yeh. I don’t think I need much of a description here. Super crunchy eggroll shells hiding an ooey-gooey goodness of warm cookie dough inside. Dress these cute rolls up with some powdered sugar, drizzled ganache and a pretty red strawberry on top and your guests will think you went to pastry school. Ok, get ready for this easy recipe and your new addiction. Let’s start baking…       Cookie Dough Eggrolls Yields: 12-14 depending (how much you fill them)   Ingredients: 1/2 cup margarine with 80% vegetable oil 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 2 tbsp instant vanilla pudding mix, dry 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/2 tsp salt 1 egg 1 cup plus 2 tbsp of all purpose flour 1 cup of mini chocolate chips 1 package of eggroll wrappers, found in the vegetable section of your grocery store vegetable oil for frying water for sealing eggroll wrapper *There is no baking soda in this recipe because we are not baking. No need....

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Super Simple & Cute Edible Robins Nest Decor

Super Simple & Cute Edible Robins Nest Decor

on Mar 27, 2015 |

    This post is gonna be short, cute, and sweet. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these cute little robins nests. How stinkin cute? Right? You and your kids will really enjoy making them to sit on top of your spring cupcakes, cakes, or just your dessert plates. They add a nice spring touch and show your guests that you went that extra mile to present them something a little special. As I have said before, I love Easter candy. These nests use the mini Whopper eggs, but by all means, use whatever cute little egg candies your heart desires 🙂 FYI, if you are a coconut lover, you should probably make a double batch because I ate 4 of these bad boys just while taking the photos…no lie. And since I am being honest, if you really want to enjoy your sweet toasted coconut, how about adding a small scoop of ice cream into the center and taking a nice, big bite. Mmm. Let’s start baking…           Robins Nests Yields: 12 mini cupcake sized nests     Ingredients: 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes 1 tbsp melted butter 1 tsp granulated sugar 36 mini Whopper egg candies Mini cupcake pan or you can use standard size and just make 6 big nests.     Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 2. Melt the butter in a medium microwaveable bowl. Mix in sugar. 3. Stir in coconut flakes and be sure to coat all of them with the butter.         4. Take about a tbsp full of the coconut butter mixture and place in each mini cupcake cavity. 5. Press down and form the shape of a nest. Imperfections are what make this even cuter!         6. Bake 325 5-6 minutes until the top edges and most of the sides are golden brown.         7. Allow to cool completely in the cupcake pan and remove when perfectly cool. 8. Add 3 mini egg candies to each nest.         Enjoy...

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Break Out That Easter Candy & Stuff Some Cookies

Break Out That Easter Candy & Stuff Some Cookies

on Mar 26, 2015 |

      It’s here, that time of year where every store you go into is jammed packed with all sorts of yummy spring candies. I have a hard time not buying every bag of every flavor spring candy available. I rarely bring the little ladies with me down those isles because there is a guarantee of at least $20 worth of candy to be purchased. I’m sure I’m not the only mommy out there who struggles with the holiday isles, but Easter isles always hit us hard. After my many excursions down the spring displays and Easter is said and done with, I always have an extreme amount of left over candies. The left over candies would just sit in my freezer until I would eventually throw them out at Christmas time (yeh, guilty). The solution to this sweet spring problem was simple. And me, being the cookie baking queen, decided to have an Easter candy intervention. These Candy Stuffed Chocolate Cookies will make you look like one smart cookie.     I will teach y’all how to make my really simple chocolate cookies stuffed with cookies and cream flavored chocolate eggs. Yup, the Oreo lover in your house will adore these cookies and they are pretty simple to make. Just because I am using the Hershey’s Cookies and Cream chocolate eggs, doesn’t mean those are all you are limited to! These cookies can essentially be stuffed with Cadbury eggs, solid chocolate eggs, or caramel filled eggs. Please be sure to buy the mini sizes and freeze away for at least 3 hours. Another tip when venturing into this recipe, remember and be sure to completely cover the candy in the cookie dough 100%. If there is any candy showing, in even the tiniest hole, then the stuffing will ooze out while baking.   Let’s start baking…       Candy Stuffed Chocolate Cookies Yields: 18 cookies   Ingredients: 1/2 cup softened margarine with 80% vegetable oil 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 2 tbsp instant chocolate pudding mix, dry 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted in microwave 1 egg 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 1/4...

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White Chocolate Stuffed Cranberry Gingerbread Cookies, Yikes!

White Chocolate Stuffed Cranberry Gingerbread Cookies, Yikes!

on Mar 7, 2015 |

        As a child, I remember walking into my Polish Gramma’s house during the holidays and smelling the spicy aroma of her gingerbread cookies. It was a comforting, welcoming, and loving kitchen that always had freshly baked cookies or cakes that would overtake you sense of smell. Whenever I bake during the holidays, I instantly am taken back to Gramma’s house when the smell of ginger and cinnamon fills my kitchen. I never did receive any of my Gramma’s recipes, as they were lost with her when she passed away. It has been my passion and determination to create such amazing baked goods as she did. I love the warm memories that ginger and cinnamon mixed together bring to mind. It has taken me some time to master a gingerbread cookie I am fond of. I didn’t want just a plain gingerbread, but rather try and recreate a complex version. By adding the tart dried cranberries and baking white chocolate in the centers, it updates this old fashioned favorite. My White Chocolate Stuffed Cranberry Gingerbread Cookies are sophisticated and appealing to sweet loving crowds. These cookies are crunchy on the edges and incredibly soft and chewy in the centers. Everyone who bites into one cannot believe how the white chocolate just oozes out! People always ask me for this recipe, but I have yet to part with it. Seeing that it is the holiday season, it only seems fit to share such a wonderful recipe with the world. So here’s a little story behind this recipe…I actually entered this gem into the Barnes & Noble Holiday Cookie Contest. There were over 3,000 entries and the top 3 were chosen to fly to New York to compete with an assigned chef to have their cookie sold at all of the Barnes & Noble cafes. Well, much to my surprise, I was chosen as one of the 3 finalists. I was in shock and so excited. But little did I know, this scheduled competition would take place during the same time I had another HUGE commitment. It was so hard and sad to tell them I had to decline. And at this point, I am unable to disclose...

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Baby It’s Cold Outside. Warm Up With My Old Fashion, Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cake!

Baby It’s Cold Outside. Warm Up With My Old Fashion, Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cake!

on Feb 28, 2015 |

      I love hot cinnamon oatmeal on a cold night. And yes, even though I live in Orlando, it gets cold here. There is nothing more warming to my heart than a warm cinnamon spice cake. But let’s take that one step further and mix in some oatmeal to make it hearty and dense….Then I am going to blow your mind by topping this old fashioned cake with some homemade toasted marshmallow frosting. This recipe is old school, but I have tweaked and updated the ingredients to my liking. It is a unique cake with a large dense crumb and you can actually see the oatmeal throughout this sweet baby. Once you make it your tastebuds will be begging you for more on a weekly basis. And since it has oatmeal in the batter, it is technically breakfast. So, eating this cake at all hours of the day is acceptable in my book. My little ladies adore this homemade marshmallow frosting. Now it is made on the stovetop, so they are not able to assist as much as usual. But as soon as this stuff is cool, they are up for licking the beaters, spoons, and dipping their fingers in the bowl. I am SO guilty of that myself!         Let’s start baking…     Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cake With Toasted Marshmallow Frosting   Yields: one 9×13 pan   For the cake   Ingredients:   1 1/2 cups hot water 1 cup instant oatmeal 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 2 eggs 1 box french vanilla instant pudding 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 tbsp cinnamon 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt             Directions:   1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 9×13 dish with nonstick spray. 2.In a bowl sift flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 3. Add instant oatmeal to hot water and allow to thicken.         4. In a stand mixer, beat softened butter until smooth.Then add in both sugars and beat until fluffy.           5. Add in instant pudding mix. Next mix...

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What Do I Do With All Of These Candy Canes? Peppermint & White Chocolate Stuffed Cookies!

What Do I Do With All Of These Candy Canes? Peppermint & White Chocolate Stuffed Cookies!

on Dec 29, 2014 |

    Christmas celebrations are all said and done. Now I find myself with an abundance of candy canes and peppermint hard candies. Oh what to do?! Well, I will show you how to use some of those candies up in a super yummy way. These Peppermint and White Chocolate Stuffed Cookies are sweet, buttery, salty, and minty all in one bite. Quite the little crowd pleaser and you won’t have those neglected candy canes hanging around your kitchen anymore. Battling the ingredients and a couple of failed attempts, I finally nailed my idea to create a stuffed white chocolate cookie. I filled that tasty, buttery white chocolate cookie with a large piece of white chocolate and then brightened the flavor up with some crushed candy canes! I don’t like peppermint, in fact, I detest it ( I only use cinnamon toothpastes). BUT, I LOVE these cookies…and that alone says a lot. For the New Year’s gatherings, these cookies are a must. They are pretty and delectable, really not a lot of trouble to make. You may, actually, want to make a double batch 🙂           Peppermint & White Chocolate Stuffed Holiday Cookies Yields: 16 stuffed cookies           Ingredients: 1/2 cup margarine made of 80% vegetable oil, softened 2 bars of white chocolate 1 cup of white chocolate chips, melted down equalling 1/2 cup 1/2 cup of granulated sugar 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour 10-12 candy canes, crushed         Directions: 1. About 20 minutes prior to baking, take the 2 white chocolate bars and break apart squares. Then cut squares into halves, leaving about 20 pieces of white chocolate. Place into a ziplock bag and stick into the freezer. 2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 3. In an electric mixer beat margarine until smooth. Add both sugars. 4. Put  1 cup of white chocolate chips into a microwaveable bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in-between until smooth. It will give you 1/2 cup of melted white chocolate. 5. Stir white chocolate into margarine, sugar mixture.  ...

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Outrageous Chocolate Holiday Cookies

Outrageous Chocolate Holiday Cookies

on Dec 19, 2014 |

  I’m sure you now know, I was on the Today Show December 17, 2014. I was one of the 3 Holiday Cookie Finalists to present our cookies to the judges and be crowned the winner. The Today Show was amazing and everyone there is super sweet beyond words. I felt at home, completely comfortable and not one bit nervous. The behind the scenes hospitality is amazing and I was treated like a princess. I am happy to say I was the grand prize winner. And I got to kiss Al Roker!!! Here is the link:  Holiday Cookie Segment. The Today Show requested that we write a little bit about ourselves and our families, this was an excerpt from my entry. I LOVE having my 4 little ladies in the kitchen with me! The holidays are about family, love, & spending time making memories. I find the best memories (so far) are baking with my curious, glittery clan. There are so many fun & different Holiday candies, flavors, & chips available this time of year.The sky is the limit on my creations. I have never been professionally trained in baking, but can make you the best, moist, delectable cookies you’ve ever eaten. I have an artist background & like to use dessert as my medium. I adore watching my littles’ eyes light up as they sneak a taste of the batter they just whipped up or bite into a cookie & the gooey surprise we stuffed inside just filled their mouths with pure bliss. Baking cookies also teachers math & patience, which is always a challenge in our busy family. My husband adores all things chocolate & after a hard days work in the O.R., he can come home & sink his teeth into one of my delectable cookie creations. I believe there are few things sweeter than spending & watching your children create & enjoy the fruits of their labor. My Outrageous Chocolate Holiday Cookies are dark chocolate cookie dough baked with a Holiday chocolate wafer cookie (winter Oreos) hidden inside. These sweet babies are dipped in semi-sweet chocolate and covered with crushed candy canes. It’s a wonderful combination of soft and crunchy. It looks difficult, but it is...

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Award Winning Perugina Chocolate Lovers Stuffed Cookies

Award Winning Perugina Chocolate Lovers Stuffed Cookies

on Dec 6, 2014 |

          I bake these Perugina Chocolate Lovers Stuffed Cookies very often. My family of 6 are huge fans of Perugina chocolate and crave dark chocolate all the time. My sweet young daughters are always in the kitchen with me enjoying every moment of hiding the Perugina chocolate squares in the delectable Perugina chocolate cookie dough. My husband is a die-hard fan of dark chocolate and I am always looking for new ways to incorporate it in fun baked goods. Everyone who tries these beauties can’t get over the ooze of the chocolate centers.   These yummy cookies took 2nd place in the Perugina and Fine Cooking Magazine Chocolate Dessert Challenge! There were only 2 prizes offered- grand prize was a chocolate lover’s trip to New York for two and 2nd place receives a Baci/Perugina Chocolate basket, a year’s subscription to Fine Cooking Magazine, and a special interest baking addition publication. I am honored that my cookie recipe was recognized and we are able to enjoy some super fine chocolate 🙂         Perugina Chocolate Lovers Stuffed Cookies   Ingredients:   2 sticks (1 cup) of margarine made with 80% vegetable oil, softened 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 2 eggs 2 dark chocolate Perugina bars or milk chocolate (whichever preferred) 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 2 & 2/3 cup all purpose flour 2 dark chocolate caramelized almond Perugina chocolate bars     Directions:   1. 2 hours prior to baking, place 2 dark chocolate caramelized almond Perugina bars in the freezer. 2. Preheat oven 375 degrees. In an electric mixer, beat margarine until smooth. 3. Add sugars. Put the 2 Perugina Chocolate bars of your choice (that were not placed in the freezer) broken up into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals stirring. When melted allow to cool a couple of minutes. Stir into margarine and sugar mixture. 4. Mix in eggs then vanilla extract. 5. Add in baking soda, salt then the all purpose flour. 6. With a 1 tbsp disher (scooper) scoop 12 balls of dough out. Take the Perugina Dark Chocolate Caramelized Almond bars out of the...

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Super Simple & Beautiful Sophisticated Holiday Bark

Super Simple & Beautiful Sophisticated Holiday Bark

on Dec 2, 2014 |

    My No Bake Sophisticated Holiday Bark is such a show stopper at all of my holiday gatherings. It also makes the perfect gifts for coworkers, neighbors, and teachers. It is light, fruity, nutty, and perfectly sweet with the wonderful combinations of dark and white chocolates, orange, cinnamon, cranberries, and walnuts. Say good-bye to the expensive, mundane, store bought Holiday bark and hello to a bark that you can create with love. My Sophisticated Bark is so quick and delicious your friends will be begging you for the recipe. This recipe was created for my family and it slowly became a staple in our gift giving during the Holiday season. My daughters can help make this simply scrumptious dessert. This flavor of my bark recipes is geared towards the adult crowd, who typically enjoys nuts and fruits with their dark chocolate desserts. I love giving a cutely wrapped dessert box filled to the top with my Sophisticated Bark. It is such a show stopper! Let’s start baking…     Sophisticated Holiday Bark   Ingredients   1 cup of melted dark chocolate 1 cup of melted white chocolate 1/2 tsp orange extract 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 cup dried cranberries 1/2 cup chopped walnuts     Directions   1. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. 2. Place dark chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on 30 second intervals stirring in between. Stop when perfectly smooth.     3. Measure out 1/4 tsp orange extract and add to the melted dark chocolate.                 4. With a spatula, pour and smooth chocolate onto parchment paper. Smooth into a large triangle about 1/8 inch thick (or whatever thickness you desire). 5. Place into freezer for 15 minutes until it hardens. Pull out of freezer. 6. Put white chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Do the same as above. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. When smooth, remove from microwave. 7. Add in 1/4 orange extract, stir until combined. Then add in cinnamon.           8. Pour and spread quickly over the frozen dark chocolate. Try to cover as much of the dark chocolate as possible....

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Wow Your Holiday Guests With Peppermint Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Wow Your Holiday Guests With Peppermint Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

on Nov 30, 2014 |

    Hello Holidays! It is time for all things red, green, and peppermint! Tired of the same old red velvet cupcakes making an appearance on your Christmas dessert table? Well I’ve got something for you, whoopie pies. The name just makes me smile. Explaining what these were to my little ladies without them having a picture to look at was quite comical…A cake that is like a sandwich? Now, this recipe is a twisted version of my incredibly moist and classic red velvet cake batter. It is a labor of love when it comes to making the batter, frosting, and then assembling. But, I promise you they are worth every step. I will also be posting some “semi-homemade” whoopie pie recipes within the next week, for those of you who have a bunch of cake mix in the pantry and not too sure what to do with all of it. My Peppermint Red Velvet Whoopie Pies can be made without peppermint if you are not a big fan. Just eliminate all of the peppermint baking chips throughout the recipe. You can supplement the pretty garnishes with some mini semi-sweet chocolate chips for that added pizzazz. Just remember, if I can bake with these little munchkins in my mixing bowl and still manage to get a pretty looking dessert, you can definitely do it! Bake it with love and you will be happy with the outcome.     I believe there will be a swarm of Whoopie Pies for my holiday baking lists and gifts this year. So cute, so portable, and so easy to eat. Let’s not even get into how many I have already consumed 🙁 Let’s start baking…         Peppermint Red Velvet Whoopie Pies Yields: 18-3″ whoopie pies   For The Cake Part   Ingredients:   1 cup vegetable oil 1 cup granulated sugar 2 eggs, must be room temperature 1 tsp vinegar 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1/4 cup liquid red food color 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/2 cup buttermilk, must be room temperature 1 cup all purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 1 1/2 cups of peppermint baking chips (found in the baking isle) Plus one full bag...

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I’m Baaack From The World Food Championship! And Here’s A Simple Shortbread Cookie For You!

I’m Baaack From The World Food Championship! And Here’s A Simple Shortbread Cookie For You!

on Nov 24, 2014 |

    These past few weeks have been a blur in my mind. They have seriously slipped by me at a blink of an eye. I can’t even believe I have already been to Las Vegas and competed in the World Food Championship 2014! Yes folks, I did it! And I feel that I represented the home bakers out there darn good. There were overwhelming emotions the entire time, mostly because I have NEVER been away from my little ladies or husband. The anxiety and “high” you feel just standing on the sidelines of these makeshift, outdoor, Kenmore kitchens is beyond me putting into words. I can kind of describe the prebaking contest jitters similar to childbirth. The doctor tells you that it’s time for your c-section and you nervously lay there on the table knowing that it is going to be an incredible journey, but the unexpected scares the crap out of you. The girls and I like to refer to this emotion as nerve-i-cited.             I chose my mom as my baking assistant this year and it has been years since we have actually baked together. She was a great choice and handled my nerve-i-cited emotions well. The day we landed in Las Vegas, we checked into the competition room and had professional chef photos taken of us for our scoreboards. Then we hopped in one of our many interesting taxi cabs and headed to a local grocery store. Let’s just say I have never been to Vegas and had NO idea you can play slots in the markets, wow. After shopping and separating our ingredients into 2 separate dessert piles, we headed to “old Vegas”, downtown on Freemont street, to check out how the kitchens were set up. Talk about intimidation! There was a long line of competitors waiting to prep and compete that evening. Just seeing the mounds of ingredients, coolers, and looks on some of their faces shook my world.           There was very little sleep the night before, between the time change and anxiety I’d say I clocked in about 2.5 hours-tops. It was freezing to us Orlando girls. Baking outside was challenge enough,...

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Get Your Fill Of Ghirardelli Stuffed Chocolate Croissants And A Look Into Our Ultimate S’mores Party!

Get Your Fill Of Ghirardelli Stuffed Chocolate Croissants And A Look Into Our Ultimate S’mores Party!

on Nov 3, 2014 |

    I’m in the ultimate countdown now! Only 9 days left until I leave to compete in Las Vegas at the 3rd World Food Championship! Squeee, you probably can’t even understand all of the overwhelming emotions I am having at this point. But all that jazz aside, it was time I surprised the family with some super yummy morning treats! Yeh, not very many people can say no to these, Chocolate Filled Croissants. I am swimming in Ghirardelli chocolates of all kinds, and no, that’s not a bad thing! Especially when you are die-hard Ghirardelli chocolate fans like my entire household!     The absurd quantity of Ghirardelli in our cupboards, baking cabinet, and freezer is due to the fact that we celebrated our Grand Prize winnings October 25th! I was fortunate enough to have my Ultimate S’mores Recipe chosen as the grand prize winner in Ghirardelli Chocolates Ultimate S’mores Contest! And after the long awaited wait, planning, and coordinating my family and friends got to partake in a Fall For S’mores Party at Orlando’s Hard Rock Hotel!!!! This was seriously a dream come true for my little ladies (not to mention my husband, I thought he would need a wheelchair as an escort down the chocolate table)! I truly enjoyed planning this party with Ghirardelli staff and making it a Fall theme and have all things surrounded by little ones. After all, I entered this contest solely to try and win just for my Ghirardelli hoarding husband and chocolate licking sticky fingered girls!                   We were very generously given an amazing lunch catered by Loews Hard Rock Hotel, a Face Painter provided by Makeup By Renette, and a whole spread of make your own S’mores, which was accompanied by 3 of the best Ghirardelli Chocolatiers I could ever had asked for! Can you just imagine letting loose 40 kids and grown ups with every kind of delectable Ghirardelli Chocolate flavor known to man?! I lost count of how many times my little ladies visited the chocolate table (the husband too)! I will try not to bore you by posting WAY too many photos, but they are seriously AHHHmazing, so...

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EXCUSE ME?! Cookie Butter Glazed Pumpkin Cake?

EXCUSE ME?! Cookie Butter Glazed Pumpkin Cake?

on Oct 28, 2014 |

    In the midst of my Las Vegas World Food Championship preparations, I took a little time to whip Gabby up a batch of Pumpkin Bundlettes. I just adore these sophisticated, yet perfectly portioned molds. I found my 4 inch bundlette pans on amazon. Now, they are a pretty penny, but I have NO complaints otherwise. These simply delicious cakes are scrumptious naked but for me, I wanted to jazz them up with a bit of my obsession…Cookie Butter. I call it Cookie Butter, but it is actually Biscoff’s Cookie Spread. Yup, still eating it by the spoonful! There was a whirlwind of excitement this past weekend. We celebrated with our grand prize winning from Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and had our Ultimate S’mores Contest at the Hard Rock Orlando Resort. I also received my Harley Davidson on Sunday that I had won from Frank’s Red Hot. My family is literally hung-over with giggles. In honor of the big weekend, I took a break from my Las Vegas creations and made something I couldn’t say “no” to, Cookie Butter Glazed Pumpkin Cake. It isn’t heavy or overly sweet, just a perfectly smooth and spicy spice cake. Fall is incredible here in Orlando. My girls usually sweat in their Halloween costumes and the pumpkins rot a lot faster! I embrace everything squash, pumpkin, brown, and orange. It is seriously, my favorite time of year!             Every time I see this photo of the littles, I am just amazed at how much they have grown, especially the baby! Boohoo, boohoo…Ok, enough.   Let’s start baking…             Cookie Butter Glazed Pumpkin Cake Yields: about 4 1/2 cups of batter – 34+ standard cupcake size       Ingredients: 1 cup vegetable oil 4 eggs, room temp. 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup brown sugar, packed 1/2 cup instant Jello pumpkin spice pudding (or if you have Jello’s instant vanilla pudding mix) 1 cup canned 100% pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix! 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 tbsp cinnamon 1/2 tbsp nutmeg 2 cups all purpose flour 2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1 jar of Biscoff Cookie...

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Help Me Become Truvia Sugar’s First Ever Baking Star!!!!!!

Help Me Become Truvia Sugar’s First Ever Baking Star!!!!!!

on Oct 22, 2014 |

        So yeh, you’re probably thinking, “where has she been?”. “Where are some new recipe blogs?”. Well, let me just apologize and simple explain by saying it has been more chaotic than normal in the Evans’ household. I have been extremely busy perfecting secret recipes to use for in Las Vegas for the World Food Championships this November. Wow, talk about stressful! So confusing on what types of goodies to create and questioning whether or not the judges will swoon. I mean, I don’t even know who the dessert judges will be, so I can’t even do a little research to see what their palates favor. Frantic, dramatic, and sugar overloaded is my household these days. Besides preparing almost daily for the WFC, I have been “contesting” like a mad mama. And I have found out that I have a talent for them! Now, the contests I have been entering are not just luck of the draw…they are creative outlets for my mommy brain. My new found addiction, besides cookie butter, ranges anywhere from social media videos, prints, to recipe submissions. I have recently been named the Entenmann’s Donut photo Grand prize winner, $365 in Entenmann’s coupons (a years supply).     A runner up in Welch’s Fruit Snacks Lunchbox Notes. This is where Gracie and I designed a fun lunchbox note together and took a cute photo of it.     I also received a 5th place award from Lawry’s Marinades for a print I submitted for Happy Chaos moments during dinner!     These are just a few of my wins and now I feel I have appropriately explained my disappearance!   There is one more point to this blog post before I continue editing some drafted recipe posts…I am a top 10 finalist to be Truvia’s Sugars First Baking Star! Yup, it’s amazing. I am extremely excited about this opportunity and can only hope I will receive enough votes to fly to New York on November 19th (yes, the day after WFC) and compete against 3 other bakers for a grand prize of a professional video shoot for my recipe! How FREAKING cool is that? I have really enjoyed venturing into the video...

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Woohoo! Another Win For The Record Books!

Woohoo! Another Win For The Record Books!

on Oct 1, 2014 |

      Ya see what Ethel from Frank’s Red Hot is riding on? Well, it’s mine!!! SQUEEE! That’s right, I am the grand prize winner for a Frank’s Red Hot motorcycle!!! I can’t believe it. I am new to contesting, but not new to photography, art, and baking. But I am seriously blown away that within 30 days, I have bagged 2 grand prizes and a ticket to the World Food Championship in Las Vegas this year. Wow, takes away my breath. My photo submissions through Instagram were chosen as finalists in August and one of them was the grand prize winner! Crazy. Best part is, whether it be coincidence or destiny, I have been learning to ride my husband’s ridiculously fast, track motorcycle. Granted, I haven’t been outside of the parking lot, it is a lot of fun. My family was super duper excited that we will be receiving the motorcycle in a few weeks. The only problem is how am I going to rig 4 carseats on this thing? Here are some of my entry shots. The last shot of the card game is the one that brought home my 2 wheel prize.                                                    ...

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Pumpkin Spice Crispy Waffle Treats

Pumpkin Spice Crispy Waffle Treats

on Sep 22, 2014 |

    Came across those Eggo pumpkin spice frozen waffles today. Yup, bought them and double yup…made my Crispy Waffle Treats with them! And let me just tell you they are SUPER simple and SUPER D-licous!!!! I LOVE all things pumpkin and I am getting ready to bombard this blog with a plethora of pumpkiny desserts. So, I will apologize in advance for the pumpkin exhaustion. Not much to say about these little treats, except there are only 4 ingredients. For step by step pictures, please refer to my Crispy Maple Waffle Treat recipe. Let’s start baking…       Pumpkin Spice Crispy Waffle Treats   Ingredients: 1 box of pumpkin spice flavored frozen waffles 1.5 tbsp of salted butter 2  cups of mini marshmallows 1/3 cup cinnamon baking morsels (in the baking isle of grocer)   Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap entire box of waffles. Place a baking rack on top of a cookie sheet. Put all waffles on rack and bake in oven 8-10 minutes until crispy. 2. Using a food processor, crush the toasted waffles up to the size of a nickel. Then remove the baking rack and spread waffles out on cookie sheet. Bake again 7-10 minutes to crisp. 3. In a medium pot on medium heat, melt butter and only 2 cups of marshmallows. When fully melted, remove from heat and add in toasted waffle pieces. Mix until all pieces are covered in the mixture. 4. Stir in the cinnamon baking chips. 5. Place warm waffle treat mixture on parchment paper & flatten with hand (spray your hand with nonstick spray). Allow to cool & cut 12 snack size servings....

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Waffle Lovers Beware! Crispy Maple Waffle Treats

Waffle Lovers Beware! Crispy Maple Waffle Treats

on Sep 22, 2014 |

      I believe I have explained to y’all before, that my husband and girls are head-over-heels for waffles…Yes, for as long as I have known Trip (going on 11 years), he as always consumed at least 2 Eggo waffles for breakfast. The littles enjoy waffles every other morning because I just cannot fathom eating that stuff everyday of their lives. Today, I was craving rice cereal treats and found myself fresh out of the cereal. As I puttered around the cupboards and refrigerator, I came across a couple boxes of Mini Maple Eggo waffles in the freezer. The lightbulb magically went off, “Why can’t I crisp up some waffles and use them as the crunchy ingredient?”.  And there you have it, the Crispy Waffle Treats were born. My ladies gobbled them up quickly, when they arrived “starving” from their day at school. It is really a fun experience when an idea/experiment works the first time ’round! I mean 3 ingredients? How can you go wrong? My mind quickly began swirling…I can very easily change the treat flavors by buying the unique types Eggo has to offer. Or let’s not forget adding some dried fruits or flavored baking chips! Let’s start baking…     Crispy Maple Waffle Treats   Ingredients: 1 box of maple flavored frozen waffles 1.5 tbsp of salted butter 2 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows   Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap entire box of waffles. Place a baking rack on top of a cookie sheet. Put all waffles on rack and bake in oven 8-10 minutes until crispy.     2. Using a food processor, crush the toasted waffles up to the size of a nickel. Then remove the baking rack and spread waffles out on cookie sheet. Bake again 7-10 minutes to crisp.     3. In a medium pot on medium heat, melt butter and only 2 cups of marshmallows. When fully melted, remove from heat and add in toasted waffle pieces. Mix until all pieces are covered in the mixture.     4. Stir in the additional 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows so we can see them in the bars! 5. Place warm waffle treat mixture on parchment paper...

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No-Bake Mini Mason Jar Pumpkin Cheesecakes

No-Bake Mini Mason Jar Pumpkin Cheesecakes

on Sep 11, 2014 | 5 comments

    It’s that time of year again, pumpkin season! Where everything and anything you can possibly imagine is flavored with this stuff! My family, however, has been eating pumpkin year round. This delectable flavor never leaves our cabinets. The requests for a dessert that features pumpkin occurs weekly in our household. There’s something so warm and comforting about the aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin basking together!     Since so many people are gearing up for fall, I figured it would be an awesome time to introduce y’all to my incredible No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake. I presented these pretty and tasty desserts in my mini mason jars. I LOVE mason jars and I especially LOVE my mini mason jars! We eat with our eyes and presentation makes a huge difference in our home (if it doesn’t look like fun and is new, the littles won’t try it). My No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake is fairly simple to make and the best part is there is no oven required! You can eat this sweet, creamy, and spicy pumpkin dessert in a matter of minutes. My crust is a loose crust made of gingersnaps. The cheesecake has pure pumpkin puree and french vanilla pudding mixed in. Then I garnish with store bought whipped cream (just to make it even easier to throw together), sprinkle some of the gingersnap crust, and then tie some twine and a mini plastic spoon. This cheesecake will not cut well. It is a soft cheesecake and is best in a cup, trifle bowl, or mason jars. But any size and ratio of the layers will do. Let’s start baking…         No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Yields: A bunch…depends on the size and portions of each layer you want but you will have plenty for at least 12 good sized dessert cups or jars.     For the gingersnap crust   Ingredients: 1-14 ounce bag of Gingersnap cookies 3 Tbsp of granulated sugar 2 tsp cinnamon 1/3 cup of melted salted butter   Directions: 1. In a food processor, empty the bag of gingersnaps and crush to a fine crumb. 2. Add in sugar, cinnamon and melted butter. Be sure to combine will. And you will eat...

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Would You Like A Spot Of Tea N’ Honey?

Would You Like A Spot Of Tea N’ Honey?

on Sep 1, 2014 | 1 comment

  I’ve been feeling a bit lacking in the sophistication department lately. Am I the only one who doesn’t really do tea time? I mean, I play it in the toy room on a weekly basis, but to actually sit and eat finger food and sip tea in mid-afternoon sounds delightful. I obviously have been missing out. I discovered boxes of Earl Grey Tea in my pantry this past week (I guess I was preparing for the zombie apocalypse).  Quite honestly, tea was my husband’s obsession for quite sometime…Me? Well, I prefer to obsess over coffee, but, granted, I am the one who is up with the littles multiple times a night! I haven’t made Thumprint Cookies in years, as a matter of fact these cookies spread a bit more than a traditional Thumbprint (but you’ll forgive me, right?). Believe it or not, one of the pickiest little ladies really enjoys honey! Which totally surprises me, considering she has turned her back on Macaroni and Cheese and peanut butters. Ugh that child! Anywho, I wanted to try and upgrade my girls’ and husband’s palates to a sophisticated dessert flavor. I wanted a hint of floral to reside on the back of our tongues and by golly these did the trick! Tea N’ Honey Thumbprint Cookies are really intriguing because you can seriously taste the Earl Grey in the first bite. It is a fine process to infuse tea into baked goods and far worth the effort. Just plan on setting aside about 10 minutes of your time. I have tried just incorporating the tea directly into the cookie or cake batters, by dumping it in, but you really can’t taste it. So, the secret is to steep the tea in the butter you will use in your recipe. The trick is to add about 4 tbsp more to the pot than the recipe calls for because those tea bags will sop some of the butter up. The next time you are attending a ladies’ luncheon, bridal shower, or a girly event, provide the dessert and walk in with my Tea N’ Honey Thumbprint Cookies. I promise they will be a favorite and everyone will wonder how you got the...

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Decadent Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes, I’ve Died And Gone To Heaven

Decadent Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes, I’ve Died And Gone To Heaven

on Aug 15, 2014 |

    There are just some days I cannot get chocolate off my brain. ALL day long, ALL I want to eat is chocolate. It is an amazing thing and can take care of many Mommy problems. It’s my “Calgon Take Me Away” place. My little girls feel the same about chocolate. I’m pretty sure there are NO other flavors that come close to being their favorite choice of any dessert. I am a firm believer that one bite of that sweet, dark-brown goodness, makes every problem, boo-boo, or heartache minuscule. Is there any better way to celebrate than cramming your face with a dark chocolate cream cheese frosting? NO, I THINK NOT! Most of my recipes revolve around chocolate. I have been light on ya’ll by mixing up the menu. But, in all fairness, it’s really the center of my mind when it comes to dessert. Yes, I LOVE food. Yes, I LOVE dessert. I have a love-hate relationship with these things because I LOVE to stuff my face, but then I hate it when I realize that I, alone, have consumed the whole thing (come on, I know I am not the ONLY one). I love buttercream frostings, especially when they are not overly sweet. But sometimes the occasion just calls for something a bit more rich, cream cheese. Yes, my family is split on this old friend, 3 detest cheese and 3 LOVE cheese. Since I am the one baking, I usually win and sneak cream cheese frosting on the desserts from time to time. Today, I made my super moist chocolate cupcakes and topped them off with my decadent chocolate cream cheese. As if that wasn’t enough, I gave these pretty little cakes a nice drench in semi-sweet chocolate! Are you ready to gain 5lbs?! Let’s start baking…       Decadent Chocolate Cream Cheese Cupcakes Yields: 32 standard size cupcakes       Ingredients: For the cake: 2 cups granulated sugar 3/4 cup cocoa powder 1/2 cup instant chocolate pudding mix (one box) 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 cup chocolate milk 2 eggs 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 cups all purpose flour 2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt...

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Ghirardelli Ultimate S’mores Contest Is In The Bag!

Ghirardelli Ultimate S’mores Contest Is In The Bag!

on Aug 11, 2014 |

    If you are not on my Facebook page, Twitter, or Ghirardelli’s fan pages, then you haven’t heard that I am the grand prize winner of The Ultimate S’mores Contest!!! Yes sir, I won their national contest for the most creative s’mores recipe. If you have been following my blog then you will remember my post on my Mini Mason Jar S’mores Shakes. Those sweet, little frozen treats brought home the grand prize of a year’s supply of Ghirardelli Chocolate and a $5000 ultimate s’mores party provided by Ghirardelli!!! Woohoo, my family and friends are SO excited! This past Wednesday was huge for us because not only did I discover that I was the winner of Ghirardelli’s Ultimate S’mores Contest, but also won a place to compete in the World Food Championship 2014.     Yes, I almost fell over and no matter what kind of chaos was going round our disheveled house, it was in no way going to bring me down. I seem to be on a roll these days, which usually isn’t the case. Telling the girls and Trip (the ultimate Ghirardelli lover) that I won, was absolutely amazing. The excitement filled our car when we found out and I promised the girls that they could have an unlimited number of their friends come and celebrate with us. Can you just imagine a bunch of 7, 5, and 3 year old kids with endless sugary s’mores? Hence the reason this Ultimate S’mores party will NOT be at the Evans’ household! Even though Gwennie didn’t understand there was no holding her back…       Here is the link to my award winning shake! I hope you take sometime to celebrate with me and sip on that cool, s’mores goodness! XOXO My Mini Mason Jar S’mores...

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Ooey-Gooey Smore’s Cake…Featuring My Old Fashion Graham Cracker Cake

Ooey-Gooey Smore’s Cake…Featuring My Old Fashion Graham Cracker Cake

on Aug 8, 2014 |

    In anticipation of National S’mores Day, celebrated on August 10th, I have decided to share with you my cakey version of this fun and messy treat. There is actually another reason for this special cake too, but that explanation will have to wait for now! I know it is making you antsy just knowing I will be revealing a secret soon… S’mores are one of my “fall back on” flavors for dessert choice. The combination of the sweet, creamy chocolate with the gooey, toasted marshmallows followed by a nice crunch of the graham cracker is heaven in my little mind. I really LOVE dark (practically burnt) marshmallows, there is no mistaking the flavor of a toasted marshmallow… S’mores are such an easy dessert and make for many possibilities. My kiddos are always lining up in the kitchen with their skewers in hand, when my kitchen torch makes an appearance (yeh, there’s NO way in heck I would EVER attempt to build a real fire, I’m WAY TOO girly for that mess). That reminds me to ask y’all, do you have a kitchen torch? It is a lifesaver in the kitchen and has been used in many recipes, so if you don’t have one, I highly suggest you march yourself to the store and buy one!     This cake is a unique one because I have revived a very old recipe for the base. My cake layers are made of my moist and incredibly, unique Graham Cracker Cake. Yup, a cake made of mostly graham crackers. My Graham Cracker Cake isn’t overly sweet and has a different crumb texture compared to a normal flour and butter cake. You see, the graham crackers act like flour in this recipe producing gluten and holding all the yummy stuff together. There is one cup of flour in the batter to help tighten it up, but just so you know, it has a remarkable graham flavor! If you are a graham cracker lover (which we are and eat boxes of them weekly) then this different, retro cake is for you. I am honestly not really sure why you don’t see graham cracker cakes a whole lot, maybe because it is a...

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World Food Championships 2014, Here I Come!!!!

World Food Championships 2014, Here I Come!!!!

on Aug 8, 2014 | 2 comments

      I’m SO excited to announce that I was one of 5 people chosen from Cookmore.com to be a contestant in the World Food Championships 2014!!!! I, seriously, worked very hard creating recipes that would get me noticed! This is huge for my baking career and family! If you don’t know what the World Food Championship is, I will let their official website explain:   “The World Food Championships is the natural progression of the thousands of cooking competitions that take place across the globe each year. Tens of thousands of consumers will compete in a year-long trial to qualify for the World Food Championships. The World Food Championships takes over where Food Network leaves off – in the kitchen and backyard of every American home. Not fake made for TV stars – but everyday real consumers who simply believe they can. Nowhere in the culinary landscape is the spirit of integration and engagement more alive than at the World Food Championships, where the world’s most creative food champions face off for pride and culinary glory. The World Food Championships averages about 25,000 attendees per day throughout the multiple zones and competitions.” “The field for the 2014 World Food Championships will be expanded to nine categories with 550 competitor spots. Returning categories include: Barbecue, Chili, Sandwich, Burger, Dessert, Bacon and Recipe, while Pasta and Seafood have been added as the two new categories. As in years past, the Recipe category is based on a theme of food, and this year that theme will be Cheese. Using the EAT methodology and a hybrid of sanctioned and celebrity judging processes, in a tournament style competition, the World Food Championships will identify winners in each of the seven key categories of competition. Once the champions of each category are crowned, they will meet at the Final Table for ultimate bragging rights and a pile of cash. When the smoke clears and the Final Table judges have their say one lucky competitor will be left standing as the World Food Champion.”     WORLD BARBECUE CHAMPIONSHIP WORLD OPEN CHILI CHAMPIONSHIP WORLD BURGER CHAMPIONSHIP WORLD DESSERT CHAMPIONSHIP WORLD SANDWICH CHAMPIONSHIP BACON WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WORLD RECIPE CHAMPIONSHIP WORLD PASTA CHAMPIONSHIP WORLD SEAFOOD CHAMPIONSHIP “The World...

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Soft, Delicious, & Tasty Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft, Delicious, & Tasty Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

on Aug 6, 2014 | 1 comment

      Even though I bake with full blown butter, sugar, and flour, it is always nice to change things up from time-to-time. And quite honestly, my family doesn’t even realize when I bake gluten free. Yes, I know, I should be incorporating these ideas and recipes more often on our dessert menu because they truly are better for you, but some habits are just SO difficult to break! My gluten free recipes are surprising to most because they are really, really delicious. The best part is they can very easily be turned eggless as well. There is a wonderful egg substitute on the market that works incredibly well in baked goods, Ener-G Egg Replacer. I find it at my local Whole Foods grocer, but you may also purchase online. In my gluten free recipes, I enjoy using Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour with xanthan gum. Most grocers carry these items, but there are also many substitutes that can be used if these are not readily available. My next go-to choice for baking is Arrowhead Mills All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Mix. The Arrowhead Mills GF choice already uses Xanthan gum in the mix so there is no need to add any in your recipe.           I have become pretty educated and crafty in my gluten free and sometimes vegan recipes. Did you know that most instant puddings are gluten free as well? So if you really wanted, you could use any of my basic cookie recipes and change out the flour for your gluten free substitute, I actually do it all the time!     These Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies bake really nicely in a mini cupcake pan too! It is great to have an option of flattened cookies or a cute mini cupcake that you can top with a bit of buttercream. I will be posting my vegan, gluten free buttercream frosting recipe soon! Let’s get to baking…       Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Yields: 18 cookies   Ingredients: 3/4 cup  Earth Balance spread, softened ( you may use margarine or unsalted butter too) 3/4 cup packed  light brown sugar 1/4 cup  white sugar 1  egg...

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Butterbeer Cream Cake…For Only The Finest Of Wizards

Butterbeer Cream Cake…For Only The Finest Of Wizards

on Aug 6, 2014 |

    There is a BIG benefit, besides weather, to live in Orlando, Florida…theme parks! We basically have multiple “large and famous playgrounds” only minutes from our home. Universal Resort sports amazing Harry Potter attractions, goodies, and alternate worlds. It was at Universal Islands Adventure, that we had our first addicting sip of Butterbeer. Of course, if you didn’t know, Butterbeer is from the series of “Harry Potter” books. Butterbeer at Universal is served as a cold beverage or a frosty slushy drink. This stuff is SO good, especially when you are sitting in lines in the 100+ degree heat! Butterbeer resembles butterscotch and vanilla cream soda. It has a very smooth flavor and delightfully reminiscent of a butterscotch sundae. Ever since my eldest had one sip, she has become obsessed with this stuff! I have posted before about this infatuation and how Gracie won Kellogg’s Rice Krispies contest for creative kids with her Butterbeer bites. Harry Potter fans can be magically transported into Hogsmeade by drinking this cold concoction. My quest to serve Gracie some of the best Butterbeer desserts has NOT been an easy one!     Butterscotch is a very strong flavor and can overpower others when present in large amounts. It was a fine process to create a cake resembling Butterbeer. I wanted to definitely taste the creamy, vanilla flavor behind the initial taste of butterscotch. This cake is a lot of fun transformed into cupcakes, in fact it was a top seller on my food truck. My simple Big Boy Vanilla Cake is filled with a creamy butterscotch filling. Then frosted with my light, fluffy, and Luscious Vanilla Buttercream. The cake is beautifully drenched with butterscotch sauce and a homemade vanilla cream sauce! When making Butterbeer Cream Cake into cupcakes, you will fill the center of each with my butterscotch cream, frost, drench, and then top with an adorable striped straw! Seriously, this is one of my favorites, flavor-wise and visually.       Although you can’t tell by the photos, this Butterbeer Cream Cake is only a 4″ circular cake. I have enjoyed making these little beauties because they eliminate any leftovers (although, I’m embarrassed to say, there are usually are none). Last...

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Does Life Get Any Better Than Cookie Dough Frosting?

Does Life Get Any Better Than Cookie Dough Frosting?

on Aug 4, 2014 |

    One word, incredible. That’s what people say when taking a bite of my cookie dough frosting. It’s as if you just dipped the top of that cupcake into a bowl of freshly made cookie dough! This frosting isn’t for the occasional sweet lover, it is for the die-hard, spoon-licking, hardly-any-left-to-bake, cookie dough lover. My cookie dough frosting is my exact chocolate chip cookie recipe, minus the baking soda and eggs. So yes, pregnant ladies, you may indulge. This is probably one of my most popular cupcake flavors to date. There is just something about eating cookie dough that will bring even the snootiest adult to his knees.       I put this cookie dough frosting on just about anything! It works great with vanilla bases cakes, chocolate cakes, chocolate-chip cakes, cookies, and yea, even ice cream! For these photos, I used my Big Boy Vanilla Cake recipe.       The smoothness of the frosting comes from the milk. The milk replaces the eggs, allows the dough to become creamy, and gives you the ability to pipe cakes. And there is no fear of eating raw egg in the cookie dough (which I might add, has NEVER been a concern in my family, LOL). Cookie dough frostings are super easy to make and basically any flavor cookie dough can be easily converted. Use this recipe as a basic guideline for making a base of a cookie dough frosting and then start adding your own flavors, crunches, or candies to the mix! And here’s an exciting fact, they CAN be made gluten free! I have made many gluten free Cookie Dough Cupcakes in my kitchen. Of course, just eliminate the flour and replace with your gluten free all purpose baking mix of choice. Even people with special dietary needs can enjoy the buttery sweetness along with everyone else. Let’s start baking…       Cookie Dough Frosting   Ingredients: 1 cup margarine, softened (2 sticks ) 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup instant vanilla pudding 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2-4 tbsp of milk (it will depend on your desired consistency for the frosting) 1 tsp salt 2 cups all purpose flour 2...

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Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

on Aug 4, 2014 |

    Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day! It only seems right to share my most favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe with you today! These are very easy and very tasty. I am picky with my cookies (just like my cake textures). My family and I love cookies that have a nice crunchy edge, but are moist and soft in the center. I love reheating these chocolate chip cookies the next day to enjoy the sweet, buttery goodness as if they just came out of the oven again! But honestly, most of the time, they don’t make it to see the next day after they were made.     These are a simple recipe and most people usually have the ingredients on hand. I would like to take a moment and explain to you why I use margarine. It is very important when baking these cookies to use a margarine that has 80% vegetable oil. This makes a huge difference in the cookies texture and how it bakes. Have you ever used butter in a recipe and the cookies come out thin and flat. Or have you used a margarine (whatever was on sale) with out even looking at the percent of vegetable oil and your cookies didn’t bake up the same as the last batch you made? The vegetable oil in margarine allows the cookie to puff up and look fuller. There is a simple explanation, according to Better Homes & Gardens, “The margarine should have 100 calories per tablespoon. Margarines with less than 80 percent vegetable oil have a high water content and can result in tough cookies that spread excessively, stick to the pan, or don’t brown well.” Many years back, I actually had never realized this was the problem with my cookies. I would buy whatever margarine was on sale or cheaper at the store and wonder why my cookies were always inconsistent. But, after actually reading my margarine boxes and making many batches,  I finally realized the problems were with my margarine choices. Hope this helps if you are puzzled, like I was! Now, let’s get baking…         Chocolate Chip Cookies Yields: 24 cookies Ingredients: 1 cup of margarine, softened (2...

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There’s A Secret Hiding In My Double Chocolate Cookies, Mini Ghirardelli Squares-Baked In!

There’s A Secret Hiding In My Double Chocolate Cookies, Mini Ghirardelli Squares-Baked In!

on Aug 3, 2014 |

Everyone in my household LOVES Ghirardelli chocolate. We always have some bars, chips, or squares on hand. So, when I came across Ghirardelli’s new bags of mini chocolate squares in an array of flavors, it put a little skip in my step. These have been a staple in our house for over a month now. The newest flavor I came across was the Sweet Dark Chocolate Cookie Bits Mini squares. These are perfect for my little ladies, who can’t seem to get enough of anything with chocolate wafer cookies crushed inside! I was making my Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies last night and just happened to glance at our candy dish sitting across from me. Those little Ghirardelli mini squares caught my eye and the idea was born! I was excited to stuff my double chocolate cookies with a hidden secret for my family to bite into. The plan went into effect and I was on my way creating my sneaky sweet treat. It was a great feeling to crack these warm cookies open and see that Ghirardelli chocolate ooze out from the center! I knew I had created a new hit with my loved ones. The surprised look on each of their faces as the melted chocolate oozed down their chins was priceless. I plan on using ALL of the different flavored Ghirardelli mini squares in a lot of cookie recipes to come. It is a nice new twist to my already yummy recipes in my arsenal. This Double Chocolate Cookie recipe is an easy one. The chocolate in the center will ooze as long as the cookie is warm. When the cookie cools it will not run like pictured. If its been awhile since you baked the cookies and you are looking for that oozy bite. Then just pop it in the microwave a few seconds and there you go, just like it was out of the oven! Just be sure you have a glass of cold milk on hand. Let’s get baking.       Double Chocolate Cookies Yields: 24 cookies Ingredients: 1 cup margarine, softened (2 sticks that must be made of 80% vegetable oil) 3/4 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup...

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Gasp, Cookie Butter Stuffed Snickerdoodle Cookies!!

Gasp, Cookie Butter Stuffed Snickerdoodle Cookies!!

on Aug 1, 2014 |

    I believe it is my civil duty to share this new recipe with you! These cookies basically speak for themselves, Cookie Butter Stuffed Snickerdoodles! Yup, this will be your NEW favorite cookie. Cookie Butter Stuffed Snickerdoodles were born the other day when the hamsters in my brain got to running. I was actually dipping a shortbread cookie into my Biscoff Cookie Spread Jar and thought, “why haven’t I tried filling a cookie with this stuff?!”. And so my mission began, figuring out how to stuff this buttery, cinnamon cookie spread into my super easy and tasty cookie dough. It actually came out perfectly the first try (which is really amazing considering that rarely happens). You see, cookies are my number 2 go-to sweet treat. They follow VERY closely behind cake (my first love). My mom is a cookie addict and claims that she has “never met a cookie she doesn’t like”. So, it is for that reason alone, I blame her for my “sit-down and eat an entire batch of freshly made cookies” problem! It is my birth right to eat as much cookie dough as possible before popping those dough balls into the oven. There is a simple explanation for this cookie sickness, let me amuse you…     A long time ago (in the 80’s) when I was 10, it was late in the evening and my mom decided to make chocolate chip cookies. I eagerly helped, knowing I would be indulging in that buttery, sweet dough before bedtime. As the dough was mixing,  I quickly turned my head and, in a blink of an eye, my butt length hair got sucked right into the electric stand mixer’s beater! Ahhh, my hair became tangled all the way to my scalp! Seriously, no lie! Here I am with perfectly washed hair, stuck in a very heavy mixer’s beaters and unable to move my head! All I could think about, at that age, was “do I have to go wash my hair again?”. My panic stricken mom called the neighbor to help in my flattering catastrophe. I can’t even imagine what this man thought seeing my head tightly wound in cookie dough (although I believe his only...

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Cookie Butter Lover’s Stuffed Cupcakes, Only With Biscoff Of Course!

Cookie Butter Lover’s Stuffed Cupcakes, Only With Biscoff Of Course!

on Jul 30, 2014 |

    You probably thought I would be over my cookie butter issues by now, but nope! I must admit, I dream of this stuff. Those who know me really well are not surprised that my new obsession was added to my “life’s necessities” list. Taco Bell and Starbucks are among those on the top of my chart, followed closely with Jello’s instant pudding (right Sam?). My Cookie Butter Lover’s Cake has been a huge hit among friends, family, and the internet. I am so excited and happy y’all are enjoying that sweet, Biscoff Cookie Butter Lover’s Cake as much as I have. I have to limit how much I make cakes like that because I would certainly be eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! I LOVE that recipe so much (and because I need to limit my intake), I decided to make it into cupcakes, but FILL THEM with Biscoff’s Cookie Spread. I thought this would be a splendid surprise, biting into that moist, tasty cake and having a pure, smooth bite of Biscoff Cookie Spread pop in your mouth! YUMMY IN MY TUMMY!!!!!       This is a simple recipe. The filling is extremely easy and needs no doctoring or mixing because it is straight from the Biscoff Cookie Spread jar! Let me just tell you how much your party goers will ADORE this recipe. Be prepared to sign autographs, take pictures, and of course, share my blog for the recipe passing! Just look at how Gwennie, our 16 month old, behaved when I stole a bit of HER dessert cupcake!       Let’s get baking!   Cookie Butter Lover’s Stuffed Cupcakes Yields: 24 standard size cupcakes     For The Cake Ingredients: 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup instant vanilla pudding (1 box) 2 eggs 1 tbsp cinnamon 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1/3 cup Biscoff* cookie spread 1 1/4 cups buttermilk 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (no presifting, just measure out of bag) 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt FOR THESE CUPCAKES YOU WILL NEED 2 JARS OF BISCOFF COOKIE SPREAD AND 12 WHOLE BISCOFF COOKIES (FOR THE GARNISH)    ...

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Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake

on Jul 28, 2014 |

    Everyone who knows me well, knows that I am an admitted Starbucks addict. It is not a hidden secret. If the company offered stock for their best customers, I would be one of their top share holders. When we lived in Santa Monica for a year, our apartment was on top of a Starbucks, which fueled my addiction. It became very apparent that I had a problem when my then, 2 year old daughter, could order my drink verbatim. My coffee habits have become the butt of many jokes in my family and each of our daughters can down an entire latte themselves, if allowed. Admittedly so, each child can tell a barista what mommy drinks with no coaching whatsoever. And my expensive habit becomes almost a daily, morning adventure when the littles are back in school. Unfortunately, the Starbucks on my school drop-off route offers a drive-thru which makes it all too easy to get my fix. I am your usual iced vanilla latte drinker, but come fall the minute pumpkin spice becomes available count me in! My family eats pumpkin year round, it isn’t just savored for the fall and winter months because, my goodness, it is just way too good to eat half of the year! Anything pumpkin is eaten within a day or two, so I must make a double batch. I am very happy to say, that the little ladies are big fans of pumpkin desserts. Taking into account my family LOVES pumpkin, LOVES chocolate, and LOVES coffee, I decided to create this awesome cake for dessert tonight! It is the perfect combination of chocolate and pumpkin spice. The light and fluffy coffee buttercream gives this cake the familiarity of a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. My creation is heaven for that coffee lover. I promise you the work that goes into this cake is worth every waking minute. Now, you will probably think, I have to make two different cakes from scratch?! Yes, but each recipe is fairly simple and you can place any extras in the freezer for months. So, on a rainy day, when your children start school, or for that special someone’s birthday… This cake is worth the effort,...

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins, Not Cupcakes!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins, Not Cupcakes!

on Jul 27, 2014 | 1 comment

    It seems that I get at least 2 requests for my gluten free recipes a week. Diets may change, people choose a healthier lifestyle, or a necessity to change eating habits due to a medical issue, but the common “whoa” of this diet is the need to have that special treat from time to time. I was challenged with the gluten free recipes 3 years ago. My daughter’s preschool teacher has a gluten free diet. There are always little kiddos bringing treats to school for birthdays and snacks, but what about those who cannot partake? I don’t like leaving anyone out and especially someone who has the power to fail my child (wink, wink). Any-who, my voyage with my cupcake truck also led me to discover that gluten free was becoming more and more popular and I had to switch things up. A lot of the gluten free desserts I had eaten were not that moist and tended to have a cardboard flavor and texture. It was my mission, 3 years ago, to learn how to bake gluten free and make it just as good as my original recipes! By golly, I did it. Not only did I learn how to convert my super, moist cakes and cookies to gluten free, but I also learned how to convert them to vegan if necessary (yes, that’s right, NO eggs or butter). However, I have yet to attempt eliminating soy from my recipes, I see that in the distant future also.   My second daughter, Gabby is obsessed with pumpkin muffins. She isn’t your typical 5 year old who begs for the most heavily frosted cupcake on the table. Gabby would much rather take that naked pumpkin muffin sitting on the counter every other little kid ignored. When Gabs asks me to bake my pumpkin muffins, she insists that they be gluten free because they are healthier! I swear, not exaggerating at all, this kid has taste! My darling also declares, ” there shall be no frosting on top, so they can be eaten for breakfast”. I am happy at least one of my daughters enjoys a bit healthier dessert choice. Now, don’t get me wrong, this kid can...

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My Cookie Spread Obsession Continues…Super Easy, Biscoff Cookies & Swirls Ice Cream

My Cookie Spread Obsession Continues…Super Easy, Biscoff Cookies & Swirls Ice Cream

on Jul 26, 2014 |

    This weekend, I found myself eating spoonfuls of Biscoff Cookie Spread (yes, again). Geeze, that stuff is WAY addicting and there is no way you can eat just one bite! I can’t even tell you how the thought of this warm, cinnamon, buttery goop just makes me drool. Yeah, I am in serious need of cookie spread counseling, I know… I had the idea of turning this fabulous stuff into ice cream. No, not the homemade, churn-your-own ice cream kind. But the simple, fast, and tasty way to make your own flavored ice cream at home. YES, you CAN do this too, I promise. This Biscoff Cookies and Swirls Ice Cream was gone in 2 hours, that’s right 2 hours. I would love for Biscoff to take this idea and run with it! I took my family’s favorite, store-bought, vanilla ice cream and mixed in crushed Biscoff cookies and swirled in a bunch of Biscoff’s Cookie Spread. It’s ok to say OMG at this point…The picture on top pretty much speaks for itself. These were the mini cones I made for my little ladies. They could have certainly eaten a full sized cone, but then there wouldn’t have been enough left for my late night gorging.     I smartly and very tastefully dressed these mini cones with a melted Biscoff Cookie Spread drizzle and half of a Biscoff cookie. This made the perfect, summer afternoon treat.     But wait, you know I didn’t stop there! OH NO, this Biscoff Cookie and Swirls Ice Cream had so many possibilities and the outcomes are endless! I took that amazing, cold, delicious cookie concoction and made them into sundaes…       and ice cream sandwiches!       These creamy cinnamon-nie treats were incredibly delectable. I actually made more the next day. My girls are really just adoring this Biscoff Cookie and Swirls ice cream, just look at the happiness in her mouth!       Are you ready for my super simple, anyone can make it, Biscoff Cookies and Swirls Ice Cream? Welcome to your new craving!     Biscoff Cookies & Swirls Ice Cream   Ingredients: 2 cups of your favorite vanilla ice cream, softened...

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Southern Charm Cake

Southern Charm Cake

on Jul 25, 2014 |

    I found my fruit basket left with only 4 Georgia peaches left. That made yesterday’s dessert feature very easy, but what to make? I had a couple of my 4 inch Big Boy Vanilla Cakes left from a couple of days ago (don’t despair, the were wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and tucked away in the freezer). I have mentioned before that my cake bases freeze extremely well and taste just as fresh when thawed. I hate having a bunch of left overs that end up in the trash so, I have learned to portion correctly. Ok, back on track-Southern Charm Cake….   I wanted to make my dessert warm and spicy. I, again, wanted a light whipped cream to sweeten up my peaches just a bit. I love taking vintage, southern recipes and giving them a new twist. That is basically the idea behind my Southern Charm Cake. The base, as stated earlier, is a vanilla sponge cake. I am actually really digging my “open faced” cakes lately (as if you couldn’t tell). Then I chose to liven things up a bit with a peachy pecan pie filling. Trust me, this is no ordinary pecan pie filling!  This peachy pecan pie filling is made with chopped fresh Georgia peaches and dark rum! Oh my it is a nut lover’s delight. It has a nice soft peach flavor and leaves a rum-cinnamon taste on the back of your palate. My Southern Charm Cake was smothered in my delicious stabilized vanilla whipped cream. Then I topped that pretty southern belle with a couple of slices of fresh peach and whole pecans.   My mini Southern Charm Cake is sure to charm the pants off of any dinner guest. Her looks are undeniably beautiful and packs a punch of flavor that the most traditional southerner couldn’t argue against. Let’s get baking     Southern Charm Cake Yields: 4-4″ circular cakes       Ingredients: For the cake: 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding (half the box) 2 eggs 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 cup buttermilk 3/4 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 2 cups cake flour...

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Mini Mason Jar S’mores Shakes…That Makes Me The Most Awesome Mommy!

Mini Mason Jar S’mores Shakes…That Makes Me The Most Awesome Mommy!

on Jul 24, 2014 |

    Three of my sweet little ladies are attending gymnastics summer camp this week and they are loving it! I won’t lie, I am actually loving it too because they come home at 3:30 and are pretty much exhausted. After I dropped the gymnasts at camp, I stopped in to browse Old Time Pottery. I LOVE this store. It is extremely dangerous for my wallet, especially with the isles of glassware, tableware, and let’s not even talk about the unique bakeware!  Anyway, I came across these tiny mason jar mugs for only $0.89! They are too cute. The mini mason jars are made of glass, have handles, and only hold 4 ounces of liquid! They make the perfect, fancy mug for my little ladies. And I knew just what to fill them with. I wanted the girls to know that momma missed them even though they are gone for only 6 hours. I also thought these ice cold shakes would be a nice treat in this 100+ degree weather.   These are the most amazing and creamy mini sweet shakes you can imagine! My recipe for the perfect Ghirardelli chocolate s’mores shake is the perfect mini treat. Mini S’mores Shake has the perfect ratio of creamy vanilla ice cream, crushed graham crackers, and Ghirardelli Mini Chocolate Chips blended together. I then pour in a little melted Ghirardelli chocolate on top of the shake, which gives my Mini S’mores Shake an even richer flavor! Next smash in a marshmallow and toast it with a kitchen torch. Drizzle some more of that melted Ghirardelli chocolate and break apart a graham cracker for that eye catching garnish. Tah-dah!       Mini Mason Jar S’mores Shake Yields: about 2 1/2 cups of shake Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream 1 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs 1 cup Ghirardelli Mini Chocolate chips 1/2 cup of milk plus 1 tbsp marshmallows     Directions: 1. In a blender, liquefy ice cream, graham crackers, mini Ghirardelli chips, and milk (reserve the 1 tbsp of milk for later use).     2. Stop when it is a consistency you like. You may add more milk for a thinner shake. Pour in mini mason jars....

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Drunken Peaches N Cream Cake, My Guilty Pleasure

Drunken Peaches N Cream Cake, My Guilty Pleasure

on Jul 23, 2014 | 1 comment

    This invention of mine is epic! I would like to declare myself insane after I tell you about my newest dessert. Drunken Peaches N Cream Cake! Ohhhh, just the name rolling off my tongue makes me drool for this sweet, tart, buttered-rum goodness. My new cake will make people who don’t like peaches rethink their tastebuds. I am one of those people! I am not really a peach fan, but I am a fan of this cake. The peachy taste is not overbearing and is complimented by my butter rum glaze I poached them in. I had 8 fresh peaches in my house and I wanted to venture into a fruit topped dessert tonight. I am in LOVE with dark rum, it just gives a warm and inviting flavor to my palate. In my middle age, I have grown fond of this adult beverage and it is always in my cocktail of choice. Now, this cake will be for the adults only in my house because the littles detest peaches and definitely don’t do “rum” flavored anything.   I wanted this cake to represent a dessert from the old south, but couldn’t decide if I wanted peaches and cream or peach cobbler. So, I actually combined the two ideas and then made a sick twist of incorporating dark rum. I was so tickled at the idea, I couldn’t peel my fresh peaches fast enough! In fact, I was trying to peel them so quickly, I ended up slicing the skin off of the top of my pinkie finger (and I wish I could say I was lying, but it is the unfortunate truth). After 3 of my lovely ladies helped tend to my gushing wound with many cartoon band-aids, I finished up cleaning, peeling, and slicing my ripe peaches. Now all my girls can talk about is how they saved mommy and planting the peach pits to see if a stalk will grow (I guess that will be our weekend fun).     The idea of this cake was to have a summer lightness to each bite. I didn’t want a thick glaze or a heavy buttercream overpowering the natural flavor of the fresh peaches. My plan...

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Wake Up Your Tastebuds With My Ricotta Orange Marmalade Buttermilk Cakes

Wake Up Your Tastebuds With My Ricotta Orange Marmalade Buttermilk Cakes

on Jul 21, 2014 | 2 comments

    Allow me to introduce you to my newest, little sweet-tart, Ricotta Orange Marmalade Buttermilk Cake. Yeh, the name is quite a mouthful, but this mini cake has too many features and I didn’t want to leave the exciting ones out. Y’all know I’m not a big fruit dessert person, but I know many people who are. I have had tons of requests for fruity cake and cupcake recipes. Once again, I found myself searching the pantry hoping for a unique or overabundant ingredient to jump out at me. Why do I have so many flavors of jam, jellies, and marmalades in my cupboards, I will never know, but I decided today would be a great day to showcase orange marmalade. It hasn’t been too sunny in Orlando, lately. Seems as if the rain is coming earlier and staying for longer periods of time each day. I can only say that living in the “orange state” has inspired me to feature a summery fruit on this rainy, Sunday evening. I wanted to have my simple, yet big on flavor, Big Boy Vanilla Cake as a base to these mini cakes. My Big Boy Cake is a buttermilk cake and only seems fit when representing a southern state in this dessert. I had a container of ricotta cheese and wanted to incorporate it into a glaze of some sort. I also wanted this cake to feel light and summer-ish, something you would find at a southern ladies’ luncheon, which made me realize covering this petite cake in buttercream wasn’t an option. My Ricotta Orange Marmalade Buttermilk Cake is very moist because of all the buttermilk. There is just a bit of tartness to each bite from the pure orange marmalade layered between the sweet cakey layers  The mini cakes feature a little ring of ricotta and cream cheese frosting, just enough to hold the orange marmalade in tight.  And finally, this fruity dessert is coated in a ricotta based orange marmalade glaze, which has a hint of cinnamon for the “wow” factor. Hopefully, this recipe will get some on-lookers and respect from the judges of The World Food Championships. I will be submitting this tiny baby later this week. Wish...

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Bittersweet Pumpkin Caramel Cream Brownies

Bittersweet Pumpkin Caramel Cream Brownies

on Jul 20, 2014 |

    Pumpkin and chocolate are a great combination in my little head! Today, the littles were requesting my brownies as an afternoon delight. I had to oblige because who can turn down a perfectly moist, rich brownie? Ahh, but for the adults in the family, I felt the need to make it a little more special. I have been really craving pumpkin after cleaning out my baking cabinets and finding a ton of Jello’s instant pudding pumpkin spice mix. I had the strong urge to make a pumpkin cream cheese filling and turn my brownies into a sandwich. Then to further jazz this thing of beauty up, I broke out my hidden stash of pumpkin caramel. This brownie stack is really quite dreamy. The bittersweet chocolate compliments the mildly, sweet and thin pumpkin cream cheese filling. My pumpkin filling is very mousse like, but much thinner. I feel that even though this should be featured in fall, it still makes for a delightfully, sophisticated treat at the end of a lovely soiree.               Bittersweet Pumpkin Cream & Caramel Brownies Yields: 10-2″ brownie circles   Ingredients: 10 Tbsp unsalted butter 1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 3/4 cup good cocoa powder (I love Ghirardelli brand) 1/4 tsp salt (heaping) 1/2 tsp instant coffee (I prefer Starbucks VIA) 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 eggs 1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli as well) 1/2 cup all purpose flour   1. Preheat oven 325 degrees. Line a 8×8 pan with tin foil for easy removal after baked and cooled. I also like to spray the foil with nonstick spray.   2. Put about 2 inches of water in the pot and place on burner using a medium to medium-high heat. Place pyrex bowl on top. You are using a double boiler method for these brownies, trust me it makes a huge difference!   3. Place butter in the pyrex bowl and melt thoroughly using a whisk to stir out lumps. Add both sugars, cocoa powder, instant coffee, and salt. Mix on double boiler until mixture is completely wet looking and well combined. Remove bowl from heat and set...

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“Give Me Samoa That Cake” An Ode To My Favorite Girl Scout Cookie

“Give Me Samoa That Cake” An Ode To My Favorite Girl Scout Cookie

on Jul 18, 2014 |

      There is nothing more exciting than having those cute little Girl Scouts ring your doorbell or chase you down in the grocery parking lot to sell you a box of their scrumptious cookies. I am always sad when our freezer stash of these crunchy, treats disappear. I was craving the famous “Caramel Delites” AKA “Samoa” cookies (that’s how old I’ve become, they changed their names?) and figured that would make the perfect dessert for tonight. Instead of cookies, I wanted to use the Samoa’s flavors and make them into a mini cake.     My dilemma lately are leftovers! I LOVE to bake and eat sweets, but now that I am older my body just can’t handle all that good stuff. So yes, I have had to limit my sweet intake. All in moderation, right?  You see, my problem is that I have new, freshly, baked goods sitting and looking at me all day long. They talk to me and say “go ahead Juli, just one more bite” and I simply just can’t resist. So, I have decided that bringing a left over box of my goodies to playdates, local employees, and my daughters’ teachers and coaches was a good solution. But, it is definitely forming a bit of a habit. And if there is a day where I attend an event without a bakery box in hand, there are frowns all around. I have become known as the “cupcake lady”. That’s right, the people in my local community and family activities may not know my exact name, but they certainly know I am usually covered in sugar, flour, or some other type of baking ingredient! And having 4 young children, I am pleased when my clothes are covered in something edible .       This pretty cake is big on flavor but mini in size! I baked my decadent coconut chocolate cake in 2-4″ circle pans. It can feed 4 people a good size piece or 6 people a nice sized sliver. This will probably be my new go to size for our nightly desserts. It is really a thing of beauty and you can’t appreciate the itty bitty cuteness from the pictures. My mini...

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A Successful Experiment! Creamy Celery & Almond Cupcakes

A Successful Experiment! Creamy Celery & Almond Cupcakes

on Jul 18, 2014 |

        Creamy Celery & Almond Cupcakes The challenge of my baking today takes on celery! Yes, people, celery. It is perfect timing to tie this concoction into my baking with veggies recipes. I had a fresh stalk of celery just awaiting me in the refrigerator. Off to work I go, disguising more vegetables in a delightfully sweet treat for my little girls. This cupcake recipe combines the flavors of bold celery, almond, and cinnamon. It’s really quite a combination. The celery comes through strong after you swallowed the last bite! It is reminiscent of a zucchini or carrot cake but definitely shows pizazz with an almond-celery cream cheese frosting! Let’s get chopping!         Creamy Celery & Almond Cupcakes Yields: 15 standard size cupcakes For the cake Ingredients: 2 eggs 3/4 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1 tsp pure almond extract 1 cup all purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tbsp cinnamon 1 cup shredded fresh celery (dry slightly with paper towel) 1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix (half box)     Directions:   1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 15 standard cupcake cups. 2. With a food processor, shred fresh celery stalks including the leaves. Place the shredded celery on a paper towel to soak up a lot of the water. Then place shredded celery in a dry ingredients measuring cup.     3. In a sifter, over a dry ingredients bowl, measure and place the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Place aside. 4. In an electric mixer, place oil and both sugars. 5. Mix and then add eggs one at a time. 6. Next mix in instant vanilla pudding mix, cinnamon, and almond extract. 7. Then add in celery. Batter will be watery.     8. Slowly, on the lowest setting, stir in sifted dry ingredients. Once most of the dry ingredients are combined, turn off mixer and mix thoroughly by hand. Be sure to scrap sides and bottom. 9. With a 2 tbsp disher (ice cream scooper), place batter into lined pans 2/3rds way full. Bake 10-12 minutes until tops spring back or...

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Biscoff Cookie Spread Transformed Into…Cookie Butter Lover’s Cake

Biscoff Cookie Spread Transformed Into…Cookie Butter Lover’s Cake

on Jul 16, 2014 | 5 comments

    HEELLLLOOOOOO BEEEAAAAUUUUTIFUL! This cake is a thing of beauty! I can’t believe how happy everyone is with my new Cookie Butter Lover’s Cake. But, in all fairness, how can you look at this sweet goodness and NOT grab a fork?! My entire family and I are COMPLETELY head over heels for Biscoff’s Cookie Spread. It is heaven on a spoon. Seriously, don’t tell on me, but, I just bought 4 jars and I’m 100% sure they will disappear in a few days. Biscoff’s Cookie Spread is my new sweet tooth addiction. I crave this stuff something awful and my little girlies think it’s an acceptable breakfast item on toast. Ugh, just like their momma!     Biscoff’s Cookie Spread has been described as “Nectar From The God’s” and I certainly can’t disagree! The light and creamy flavors of cinnamon and Biscoff cookies gets my bells and whistles blowin. It’s no wonder I can’t stop thinking about the assortment of desserts I can create. I want to feature this spread in an array of desserts. But first, my heart must hold true to an old-fashion layer cake. The idea of reconstructing my peanut butter cake recipe and using Biscoff’s Cookie Spread, got me super excited. My plan was to not make the batter of this cake super sweet because I was planning on drenching this sponge in cookie spread! Plus, there was no doubt, I was going to top this cake with the most amazing, not overly sweet, super creamy, Biscoff Cookie Spread Buttercream! Can’t just stop there! I must further my Biscoff cookie and cookie spread obsession by crushing Biscoff cookies and smooshing them into the sides and top of the cake. Then top that purty-baby-cake off with melted Biscoff Cookie Spread! Are you drooling yet? It’s ashame it’s already gone because I would be taking a very unlady like bite right about now. So enough chit-chat let’s bake!       Cookie Butter Lover’s Cake Yields: 24 standard cupcakes or 1-3 layer 6″ cake (feeds 10-12)   For The Cake Ingredients: 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup instant vanilla pudding (1 box) 2 eggs 1 tbsp cinnamon 1 tsp pure vanilla...

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Caramel Infused Sweet Potato & Carrot Cake, Time To Eat Your Veggies

Caramel Infused Sweet Potato & Carrot Cake, Time To Eat Your Veggies

on Jul 12, 2014 |

    There is nothing more comforting to me than a home that smells of warm cinnamon. Yes, it may be summer, but I want a warm spice cake! I also wanted to incorporate some veggies into dessert today. I am determined to get these girlies to eat some of nature’s goodness. I had a can of sweet potatoes hiding in my pantry and a freshly shredded bag of carrots. These make a perfect pair, especially when covered in cream cheese frosting. Yea, maybe this isn’t the “healthiest” way to eat your vegetables, but it certainly couldn’t hurt. I am really into making homemade caramel these days. Super simple and super easy. My sneak attack for disguising these orange vegetables was to infuse the cakes with my homemade caramel sauce. The plan sounded great, now to bake it up quickly, before those little eyeballs spot the vegetables going in the batter!   Caramel Infused Sweet Potato & Carrot Cake Yields: 1-6 inch 4 layer cake or 28 standard cupcakes           Ingredients: For the cake 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil 1 cup granulated sugar 1 cup light brown sugar, packed 4 eggs 1/2 cup instant vanilla pudding (one box) 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1 cup shredded carrots 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour 2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt     For the cream cheese frosting 1 cup salted butter, softened 1 cup cream cheese, softened 1/2 cup vegetable shortening 1 tbsp clear imitation vanilla extract ( I LOVE McCormicks) 7 cups powdered sugar   For the caramel sauce 1/2 cup salted butter 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup half and half 1/4 tsp salt 1 tsp vanilla extract   For the garnish 1 bag of pecans, chopped ( about 2 1/2 cups)         Directions: For the cake 1. Preheat oven 375 degrees and prep 4-6 inch pans with nonstick baking spray. 2. Shred carrots and measure, place aside. Smash cooked sweet potatoes (I used canned) and measure, place aside. 3. In a sifter over the dry ingredients bowl, place flour, soda, powder, and...

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Awaken Those Tastebuds With Creamy Blueberry Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes

Awaken Those Tastebuds With Creamy Blueberry Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes

on Jul 6, 2014 |

    It’s time to lighten things up and bring a little fruitiness into the mix. Today, I am feeling like we need to change the dessert from rich and gooey to bright, light, and tangy! Then the thought of refreshing lemons popped into my little brain! I have had many people enjoy my Blueberry-Lemon Cupcakes for quite sometime. Granted, fruity flavors are not MY go to choice for dessert but, on occasion, it is definitely nice to awaken your senses after a good dinner with a sweet and slightly sour treat. Last night, I was totally into making these lemon cupcakes, yet my picky little ladies turned their noses up at the idea. Looks like I will be the only one eating dessert tonight! Yea, more for Momma! This cake is SUPER moist and airy. Really, it feels as if you are holding a cotton ball when they come out of the oven. The lemony cake is a chiffon, which is made up of vegetable oil instead of butter. Add a couple of zested lemons, instant lemon pudding, and lemon extract and you get a very delightful lemon flavor. It is not overpowering at all! I like the contrast of the blueberry flavor that highlights the cream cheese frosting. Then I drizzle a store bought blueberry syrup on top and garnish with a sugared lemon slice for that added pizazz! It is an eye capturing dessert at many parties and bbq’s, the colors just grab everyones attention. But it’s that amazing flavor and texture that will really get your crowd coming back for seconds. Ready, set, go!       Creamy Blueberry Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes Yields: 24 standard cupcakes Ingredients: For The Cake: 2 cups all purpose flour (don’t presift) 1 tbsp baking powder 3/4 tsp salt 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar 3/4 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup instant lemon pudding (one box) 2 whole eggs (room temp) 1 1/2 cup milk (I use whole) 2 tsp lemon extract 2 lemons zested   Creamy Blueberry Frosting: 1 cup salted butter, softened 1 cup blueberry cream cheese spread, softened 1/2 cup vegetable shortening 1/2 tbsp of imitation clear vanilla extract ( I like McCormicks) 7 cups powdered sugar  ...

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Southern Red Velvet Cake

Southern Red Velvet Cake

on Jul 5, 2014 |

    We had a wonderfully relaxing July 4th. No running around, no hosting parties, and no huge catering events, just the Evans’ family hanging out. I, of course, had a few, patriotic desserts planned throughout the day which included my Red Velvet layered cake. My girls LOVE this bright red beauty! Watching those little fingers become covered in red cake only seems fit on this holiday. But my Red Velvet cake is perfect all year round. It is not overly heavy and can very easily be summer-ized by adding some coconut or almond flavoring. The littles have grown up on this cake. After all, it has taken me their lifespan to perfect. It seems that this vintage, southern cake has come back around in it’s popularity and has become quite trendy in the younger generations.     I always get requests for my Red Velvet cake recipe whenever I showcase this beauty. It is a classic flavor, but Red Velvet has to hold true to it’s old-fashion ways. I’ve had many Red Velvet cakes and there were only a few that made me say “wow”.  This recipe has taken years to perfect and sometimes, I like to add mini chocolate chips to the batter to give a bit more of that chocolate flavor. Your best friends for this recipe are liquid red food coloring, buttermilk, vinegar, and a little bit of cocoa powder. Yes, the red food coloring wasn’t in the early Red Velvet cakes, but it does give this vintage cake it’s distinct flavor. And a lot of people really can’t even tell that there is chocolate in the batter, but yes there definitely is very little in every Red Velvet recipe. A little history on Red Velvet cake according to Wikipedia: All used red food coloring, but the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk tends to better reveal the red anthocyanin in cocoa and keeps the cake moist, light and fluffy. This natural tinting may have been the source for the name “red velvet” as well as “Devil’s food” and similar names for chocolate cakes.[2][3] When foods were rationed during World War II, bakers used boiled beet juices to enhance the color of their cakes. Beets are found...

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Pumpkin Caramel Oatmeal Cakes, Could Breakfast Get Any Better?

Pumpkin Caramel Oatmeal Cakes, Could Breakfast Get Any Better?

on Jul 2, 2014 |

  What? Me make breakfast? LOL. Yes, believe it or not I, 100%, suck at making breakfast items and cooking dinners. My husband won’t let me near his usual breakfast plate or let me assist in his weekend waffle makings. I am really not quite sure why I can’t shake a good breakfast recipe or two out of my arsenal. And preparing dinner? Ugh, it’s usually burned, over cooked, or way over sauced. Seriously, I belong on that show on Food Network, “Worst Cooks In America”. How I am able to dream up successful, dessert recipes and combinations, but not figure out what flavors go well together to dress up a chicken breast?  I’ll never understand!  I fantasize over sweet treats in my head and have visions of different cupcakes, cookies, and brownies all day long. But when it comes time to plan breakfast or dinner, I draw a blank and I grow quite intimidated. Anyhow, my sweet little ladies have enjoyed a few of my breakfast trials the past few weeks. I’m becoming so irritated with my breakfast and dinner issues, it’s truly absurd.     Here’s the funny part, I saw that Bob’s Red Mill is hosting a contest “Spar For The Spurtle“, which is a contest for the best steel cut oats recipe! You can probably tell by now, I have become majorly addicted to baking and recipe contests. It has been a lot of fun creating and actually writing down recipes, instead of keeping them all in my head and selfishly to myself! I seem to be entering a contest at least once a week. I’m giggling inside when I pull up web addresses and see my deliciously, beautiful dessert sitting on the line up to be judged! Now do you see my frustration with being breakfastly impaired? I wanted in on the Bob’s Red Mill contest, so to the drawing board I go. The catch to this Spar For The Spurtle contest is that you are only allowed to use 2 stove-top burners as equipment, no oven, no blenders, no microwave, etc. Umm, wow, that’s a hard one for me because ALL I do is bake and I always want to turn things into...

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Hooray For Cotton Candy Sandwich Cookies!

Hooray For Cotton Candy Sandwich Cookies!

on Jul 1, 2014 |

    Nothing puts a smile on my babies’ faces more than a heaping handful of cotton candy! I know, nothing but pure spun sugar, but there’s something magical about that airy, sweet stuff. Maybe it’s the pure sugar high that causes us to get the case of the giggles whenever we melt that blue and pink candy int our mouths. To us, it is a happy reminder to be a kid again. Cotton candy just puts summer fun, carnivals, and circuses on the map. I even know some adults who adore this stuff more than my girls.       It only seems fit that the popular flavor is now sold in the isles of many grocery stores as frosting, boxed mixes, ice cream, lollipops, and flavored lip gloss. But a cookie? Oh no, I’ve never seen a cookie flavored as cotton candy! These are the perfect match for my pink princesses. Bright pink, soft and chewy cotton candy flavored cookies with a fluffy helping of real cotton candy smashed in between, how could these NOT catch your eye?!     Circus and carnival parties are a big theme for birthdays, I did one myself for the eldest little. I think these would look absolutely adorable on the perfectly dressed kid’s party table, don’t you? And let’s not forget they are pretty simple to make.       This recipe calls for Cotton Candy Extract. It is available online and in many specialty cake supply stores, I have yet to see this stuff at the big chain grocers. However, one bottle will last you a life time! Cotton candy extract is strong so a little goes a long way. If you are dying to make these but can’t wait to get your hands on the cotton candy extract, you can substitute the extract with a 1/2 tsp of raspberry extract and 1/2 tsp of strawberry extract. It gives a very similar flavor to cotton candy because most are a light, berry based flavor. In addition to the extract, I like to use strawberry creme instant pudding mix by Jello. I find this flavor at my local Walmart stores. You can’t substitute this for gelatin, it has a completely...

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Summertime S’mores Cream Pops

Summertime S’mores Cream Pops

on Jun 30, 2014 |

    By now ya’ll know my family really digs s’mores! And my husband, REALLY digs Ghirardelli Chocolate, actually it’s more like ANYTHING made with or by Ghirardelli. It’s been SO hot, the last thing on our minds is sitting by the campfire. Our dilemma though? We LOVE S’mores, especially made with Ghirardelli Chocolate. No joke, whenever a recipe or craving calls for chocolate,  the ONLY kind the Evans’ grab is Ghirardelli! I quickly brainstormed after the kids were asking to have s’mores for dessert later tonight. We’ve seen and had s’mores ice cream, but it wasn’t that strong s’mores flavor I love. Why couldn’t I turn those yummy ingredients into a creamy, cold pop? The recipe that follows is a fun and absolutely, unique s’mores idea. Perfect for sitting out on lawn chairs or lounging by the pool enjoying family time and making memories. Afterall, that’s what I feel food is all about! Then come to find out through Twitter and Facebook this week, Ghirardelli announced their Ultimate S’mores Contest. Each week consists of a different theme around the Ultimate S’mores Idea! So much fun! And ever since Gracie received her winnings from Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Creative Kids Contest, she has been begging to enter another.           Summertime S’mores CreamPops             Ingredients: Yields: 6 full size pops 1. Half of a 1.5 quart vanilla ice cream (we will only use half so chose a brand you will eat later!). 2. 2 cups graham cracker crumbs ( 2 full sleeves,crushed). 3. 1/2 tsp cinnamon 4. One bag of Ghirardelli semi sweet chips 5. One cup of mini marshmallows 6. 6 mini Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares (or which ever flavor you love!).   Equipment: One large piping bag or large spoon to scoop ice cream into cups Large spoon to scoop chocolate mixture 6 clear plastic disposable cups 6 Popsicle sticks   Preparation: 1. Allow ice cream to soften and divide in half. Place half of vanilla ice cream in a microwaveable bowl and freeze other half for future use.           2. Microwave ice cream about 45 seconds until soft and mixable. Pour in graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon....

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Please Give Me A Simple Chocolate Cupcake

Please Give Me A Simple Chocolate Cupcake

on Jun 27, 2014 |

  It is a day where Mommy’s shower awaits on the back burner while everything else takes priority. Have you had those days? I mean, the kind of day where you look at the clock and think OMG it’s almost dinner time and I haven’t even washed my body yet? With 4 littles running around and not to mention, our youngest is literally into EVERYTHING, it’s no wonder I look as if I just rolled out of bed at 6:30 p.m. most of the time. This weekend has been in the high 90’s to low 100’s, which is miserably humid and hot! So it only seems fit that the air conditioners decided to break and can only be fixed by fully replacing them! Yes, can you imagine how hot our house has been? My poor babies all red and sweaty with little understanding of why they can’t sleep comfortably! The girls were troopers. We made it fun by allowing a camp out in our master bedroom underneath all of the fans, I must say it helped the breakdowns. It was the longest 2 days in history, no baking because it was 90 degrees in our house and there was no way, in heck, I was turning that oven on! My withdrawal from mixing up butters and sugars were so bad, that I consumed a half jar of Cookie Butter with a spoon in one sitting. That stuff is SO dangerous! Now that the Evans’ house is cool and actually functioning to the best of our abilities, my oven is back on and I’m craving chocolate cupcakes.     My chocolate cupcakes are a pure dream for any chocolate lover. You see, I am a firm believer that chocolate fixes EVERYTHING (sort of like people and Windex). But today, I didn’t want chocolate overload. I wanted my classic, moist, chocolate cake with my creamy, luscious vanilla buttercream. Oh yes! I can’t seem to bake them up fast enough. I’m salivating excessively at this point. The chocolate bases are an easy recipe and they actually become more moist the longer they sit in an airtight container! Yup, if you want a super moist devil-dog like chocolate cake, pop these babies in...

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My “Big Boy” Vanilla Cupcakes

My “Big Boy” Vanilla Cupcakes

on Jun 24, 2014 |

  These beauties deserve the highest respect. I decided to photograph them in the “nude” just so you can see the light-airiness. Let’s just consider this a “boudoir” photo shoot for my delicate cupcakes. My Big Boy Vanilla Cupcakes got their name because when I make them in mass quantities, I must use my “big boy” mixer. Ya know, that mixing bowl that holds up to 14 cups of flour? Well, I have 3 wonderful mixers that I hold just as close to my heart as my daughters. No joke. Mishandle one of those bad boys and there will be hell to pay! Can you see all of those wonderful little holes, resembling a sponge? My Big Boy Vanilla Cupcakes are extremely moist and feel like you are holding feathers in your hands. This recipe has gone through many alterations, until I finally created the perfect chemistry. Vanilla cupcakes have made me cry for years, too flat, too dense, too dry, sunk in the middle, etc. But now when it comes time to prepare a vanilla cupcake for any occasion, I find comfort in my Big Boys. This recipe is the base to many flavors I have created. The base can easily be altered to an array of flavors. My Big Boy cupcakes are so good, my little love-bugs actually consume the entire thing (not just the frosting)! Pair this very vanilla cake with my Luscious Vanilla Buttercream and you will be everyone’s best friend! As you all probably know, I have a passion for all things cupcake. Yes, I jumped on the band-wagon of those pretty little cakes. Most of my future blogs will be on my wide variety of flavors, from common to unique! But first, we must learn one of my basic recipes before we dive into my sick baking ideas (and by sick, I mean awesome!!).         Big Boy Vanilla Cupcakes     Yields: 18 standard size cupcakes Ingredients: For the cake: 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding (half the box) 2 eggs 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 cup buttermilk 3/4 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 2 cups...

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The Most Luscious Vanilla Buttercream You Will Ever Put In Your Mouth

The Most Luscious Vanilla Buttercream You Will Ever Put In Your Mouth

on Jun 23, 2014 |

  Frosting, it is a love-hate relationship for me. I hate frosting when it is thick, overly sweet, and leaves that weird residue on your tongue. Let’s not get into the bright and artificial colors that always stain my kids teeth, tongues, and lips whenever they go to a birthday party! Ok, Ok, I have been guilty of dying my buttercreams for my kiddos, but gee-whiz, the commercial markets can sometimes over do it. You may recall me saying that I am from Chicago, ya know the place that has REAL, old-fashion bakeries. Ugh, that was one of those things that when we moved to Florida I missed the MOST. My little ladies LOVE frosting. Seriously, they would bathe in the stuff if I let them. The sweeter the better and quite honestly whenever we go for a celebration and cakes or cupcakes are involved, all they do is lick off the frosting and leave that poor cake shivering in the wind. I know my stinkers are not alone in this frosting lapping conspiracy.     It has taken me a long time to perfect my basic vanilla buttercream. Not too sweet, not to “shortening-ey” (I like to make up my own words), and definitely won’t leave that weird taste in your mouth. I like it when frosting highlights the cake, not overpowers that sweet little sponge. I mean, you put so much work into that from-scratch cake, why the heck do you want to slather it in a bag of sugar? If I may say so, my frosting is epic. This stuff leaves many people in my life running back for more. It is the base of many flavors and I have never-ever given it out!   But if you want it, you must take the oath!   I solemnly swear to never-ever call this buttercream frosting: ICING! I will hold true to it’s luscious body and ALWAYS refer to it as BUTTERCREAM. It is mandatory that our terms be correct because in NO WAY can this be confused or substituted for icing. You see, a lot of people use the terms interchangeably but they are NOT the same!! Frosting is a thick and fluffy coating of butter. Icing...

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Coconut Almond Bitty Bons

Coconut Almond Bitty Bons

on Jun 22, 2014 |

        The coconut cravings are ridiculous these days. I’m thinking it has something to do with the fact that we are always in the pool, it has been at least 95 degrees everyday, and my girls look as if they are running around in permanent, nude color, bathing suits while dressing in the morning.  Ahh, to only be young again and carelessly frolic in your birthday suit while singing “Let It Go” at 7 a.m.! I love my little ladies taste for life and free-spirit shenanigans . No matter what chaos they have in store for the day, someone always makes me laugh until I almost wet my pants.       As I was cleaning out one of my many baking cabinets, I came across an entire box of lollipop sticks. I went through the cake pop craze just like everyone else, except mine were always what I considered “epic fails”. The perfectionist in me was never satisfied with my cracked shells, too large tops, or the amount of time it took to make each perfect animal head, only to watch in be masticated in one bite. They just weren’t for me. There are many patient and talented cake pop makers in the world and I give them amazing props! Looking at the plethora of naked lollipop sticks, I’m thinking, how can I start using these? And then I began to think, ” I love my cookie dough so much, why not make a cookie dough lollipop?”. But, the whole chocolate chip cookie dough thing has been played out SO much (just like “Frozen” in our house), I knew I had to change things up to make this idea something special. I told ya’ll before how obsessed I am with coconut combined with almond flavors, I’m naturally drawn to this match from Heaven. Then my cycles started spinning, Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs is hosting a “No-bake Summer Recipe Contest” at the Food And Wine Conference in Orlando, Florida, on July 18-20th 2014. These are really awesome eggs because they are pasteurized and there is no longer a “fear” of eating raw eggs. I feel confident letting my girls, especially the 1 year old, consume any...

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Not Your Grammy’s Cookies

Not Your Grammy’s Cookies

on Jun 20, 2014 |

    My little ladies were begging for some cookies yesterday. Not just any cookies, MY famous chocolate chip cookies! Their Daddy would be gone on call for 24 hours, so dinner would be easy Chickfila drive-thru. And since my guilt of not cooking for them always gets the best of me, I must follow up with a dessert of their choice! I wasn’t satisfied with presenting my precious babes with my basic chocolate chip cookie. It had to have a wow-factor. Something that would make people say “how did you do that?”. I quickly search my vast variety of baking goods, candies, and hidden stash of goodies for a witty ingredient to add to my soft and chewy cookies. Tonight while scavenging my pantry, I came a cross an open package of Oreos. I am a fan of Oreos, simple chocolate crunch with a sweet vanilla center. The discussion of sitting with a coffee mug filled with milk and a spoon to skillfully dunk and scoop my sopping wet Oreos (guilty) will be saved for another time. Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! Those hamsters are spinning my wheels and I’m thinking “Why have I not tried making a super-duper, cookie lover, cookie by stuffing the inside of my chocolate chip cookies with a full size Oreo?”. That is how the “Not Your Grammy’s Cookie” came to be. I couldn’t wait to try this mad idea and present these creations to the little sweet tooths awaiting in the other room.   I am EXTREMELY picky when it comes to cookies. I am 100% head-over-heals in LOVE with cookie dough. I try to sneak that stuff into every recipe just so I can eat the stuff by the spoonful as often as I can. And I’m sad to say the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, the persnickety Evans’ girls adore cookie dough just as much as I do. I am not exaggerating when I say they are like a dog drooling at the base of the mixer, awaiting that sweet moment when I say they are allowed one spoonful. Some scarf it down as quick as they can and the others savor every sweet lick of...

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Dessert Is Better With Bacon

Dessert Is Better With Bacon

on Jun 18, 2014 |

    Yeh, my day needs something special. I’ve put this day in the bag already and it’s ONLY 8:30 a.m.! Have you ever declared a redo? Well, I do ALL the time. You see, my weekdays always start at 4:30 a.m., just so I can spend some “alone” time with my husband (and actually have a conversation with someone who is taller than me) before he hurries off to work at 6:15 a.m.. And no, I rarely ever, go back to bed. Chores pile up, dishes are always a mile high, bills to pay, blog to write, and creative recipe ideas run through my head. This past night, my average 10 p.m. bedtime somehow managed to grow to midnight. How or why, I have no idea; but in turn that meant my night would consist of 4.5 hours of sleep (that is if everyone actually stays asleep). Our 1 year old, Gwennie, was up 3 times last night. Finally waking at 6 a.m. to find her crib thoroughly soaked. The last of the 4 littles, Faith, arises and lets just say there is evidence of a “fully submerged mattress” from last night. Ugh, seriously? 2 Loads of bed laundry all before 9 a.m.? Not to mention that my 2 oldest girls have been down each others’ throats since their eyes opened. Ahh, summer break is here. Full (and I mean full) days of my little ladies “playing” together SO nicely and the wonderful sound floating down the stairs “I’m bored!”. Somedays, I think to myself, “my sweet, little babies, you are lucky you are so cute”.       To ease the painful start of the day,  after the ladies were all set with a safe activity, I headed to the kitchen. I was in one of those moods where I could’ t decide if I wanted to stuff my stressed out face with something salty or sweet. Ahh, there is the idea, my recent brownie obsession turned delightfully salty-sweet! Plus, in the back of my ever wandering mind I recalled seeing a Bacon contest. Yes folks, cookmore.com is hosting a recipe contest featuring the best bacon creations. The winner will receive a ticket to the famous World Food...

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Summerlicious Coconut Almond Red Velvet Brownies

Summerlicious Coconut Almond Red Velvet Brownies

on Jun 17, 2014 |

For the past couple of days Red Velvet has been on my mommy brain. Ya’ll know what mommy brains are right? It’s basically functioning on empty (no sleep and little food) and having multiple random thoughts come across your brain faster than a speeding bullet. This tends to happen during my moments of heaviest conversation, “Gracie, you know you have homework due tomorrow, it is chapter 11-SQUIRREL!” And there you have it, a random, sometimes pointless, thought jumps into my weary brain. Perhaps this wandering squirrel thought of something interesting at that moment…Red Velvet Brownies! Yes, I’ve seen the “dump the cake mix” boxed version. But, I’m talking about converting MY Infamous Red Velvet cupcake recipe into a dense, moist brownie bite. BAM! Can you deal with that? I wasn’t just satisfied with that concept. Considering it’s been 95 degrees and hotter every day, I wanted to give these Red Velvet Brownies a light and summerlicious feel. Ya know what I’m talking about right? When I sip or eat anything with coconut, I am instantly brought to the beach or poolside. Regardless of how many whippersnappers are pulling on my skirt, wiping their boogers on my legs, or fighting their sister to-the-death, coconut puts me in a summer trance. One of my favorite flavor combinations is coconut with almond. So of course, I paired these two in my cream cheese frosting. I wasn’t introduced to Red Velvet Cake until my move to Orlando. Quite honestly, I wasn’t a big fan. Didn’t see what all the hoop-de-doo was about. Then when I began dessert catering I got the request for a wedding to make Red Velvet cupcakes. Ugh, it was such a love hate relationship. Seriously, 1/4 cup of red food coloring?! OMG, not to mention there was very little cocoa powder in the original recipes. Many days and many baking tears later (you can ask my husband; my baking struggles cause me to cry ALL the time) I developed the PERFECT Red Velvet Recipe! It quickly became one of my favorites, little ladies’ favorite, and by golly when I added some mini chocolate chips I couldn’t keep them on the serving trays!     Overlooking my battles with the...

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Sophisticated Smores, No More Messy Handfuls!

Sophisticated Smores, No More Messy Handfuls!

on Jun 13, 2014 |

        We LOVE Smores, especially my husband. They mark the night by the campfire and have summer fun written all over them. But 2 days ago after cleaning up my 4 girls’ (and husband’s) Smores mess I had it! I mean yes, they are good and gooey, but the marshmallow and chocolate is constantly oozing out all over the table, shirts, hands, hair and faces. And my goodness, don’t ever consider serving this crowd pleasing dessert at a cocktail party. So, my baking expedition the next day was an elegant, cleaner, bite size Smore that won’t dribble down your chin. Don’t get me wrong, I like a messy dessert as well as anyone else, but you really can’t serve it at a gathering without a container of wet wipes (even for adults).           Once again I fall back on my Perfect Brownie Recipe as the base of this masterpiece. The rich, moist, dense, fudge brownie makes the perfect sturdy bottom. Then my secret weapon, seriously,  I have never given this recipe out to anyone! We eat it out of the bowl by the spoonful, Graham Cracker Cream Cheese. Yes my friends, it’s similar to that wonderful cookie butter circulating the grocery stores, but OH so much better. You can put this stuff on anything. Shhh, a couple of my family members HATE cream cheese but eat my Graham Cracker Cream Cheese because they simple can’t tell or know that it’s in there (insert evil laugh here). Top this bite size baby off with a half marshmallow that is perfectly toasted by my friend “The Torch” and a zigzag of semi sweet ganache and you have got yourself one delicately, delicious, adult-ified dessert.       Sophisticated Smores   Ingredients: The Perfect Brownie  10 Tbsp unsalted butter 1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 3/4 cup good cocoa powder (I love Ghirardelli brand) 1/4 tsp salt (heaping) 1/2 tsp instant coffee (I prefer Starbucks VIA)  2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 eggs 1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli as well)  1/2 cup all purpose flour Graham Cracker Cream Cheese 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick, softened)   8 ounces cream cheese (softened)   2...

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My Twisted Version Of Mud Pie

My Twisted Version Of Mud Pie

on Jun 13, 2014 | 1 comment

      Growing up in Chicago during the 80’s was a lot of fun. We lived in a new construction neighborhood and I remember making Mud Pies with my best friend in all of the newly dug up dirt. Little did I know about the delicious chocolate dessert that I had yet to meet.     I was first introduced to Mud Pie when I moved to “The South”. I found Orlando, Florida to be my new home in the early 90’s and there were many new things for this northern girl to learn about! Who’d have thought that I would fall in love with Mud Pie, Red Velvet Cakes, and Key Lime Pie?       In my new brownie obsession mood, I decided to turn those Perfect Fudge Brownies into Mud Pie Bites. And come to find out it is perfect timing because Dixie Crystals is hosting a contest that ends June 27th! Here is the official contest page http://foodandwineconference.com/dixie-crystals-brownie-dessert-contest-2014/. #FWCON       I LOVE coffee, no wait, I’m INFATUATED with coffee. I’m one of those mommies who is absolutely, 100% dependent on coffee getting me through the day. I am a self declared coffee snob. And in all fairness, there is nothing in comparison. Then there’s Oreos, are there no other amazing, yet simple cookies that are more recognized all over the world? Mix those two absolutely wonderful things with my Perfect Fudge Brownies and there is sinful written all over that idea! OH YEH BABY! Are you ready to knock your socks, or rather tastebuds, off?       Mud Pie Bites       Ingredients:   Perfect Fudge Brownies Yields: 18- 1 inch circular bites   10 Tbsp unsalted butter 1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 3/4 cup good cocoa powder (I love Ghirardelli brand) 1/4 tsp salt (heaping) 1/2 tsp instant coffee (I prefer Starbucks VIA)  2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 eggs 1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli as well)  1/2 cup all purpose flour Mud Pie Buttercream 1 cup salted butter (softened)   1 cup vegetable shortening (not butter flavored)   1 tbsp clear imitation vanilla extract (this is necessary and has been the secret to my creamy,...

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The Best Brownies I Have Ever Put In My Mouth!

The Best Brownies I Have Ever Put In My Mouth!

on Jun 12, 2014 | 1 comment

    Ok, I must admit that I have a bit of an obsession lately…Yes, I am obsessed with making the perfect scratch brownie. I’m not talking about the cakey bar type “brownie” recipes. Or dumping the mix from a box into the bowl and adding oil and eggs. I wanted a rich, moist, deep chocolate brownie that a 2″X 2″square of one satisfies your craving for the day. I have tossed many experimental batches in the trash and continue scratching my head wondering what am I missing?! Well, by golly, I have done it. I made the MOST amazingly rich and delectable brownies I have ever eaten in my 35 years of life.   The little ladies agree and have been sneaking licks from the bowl and the left over scraps from my circle cookie cutter. I tell them almost daily, that I have eyes in the back of my head. They OBVIOUSLY don’t believe me, but EVERY mother develops this talent by the time their child is walking. I mean, she’s seriously cute but REALLY? Am I not supposed to know you were consuming something yummy?!         Now let’s get to the good stuff. I promise you, this recipe doesn’t disappoint and you will never ever use that boxed stuff again.       The Perfect Fudge Brownies     Yields: 12-16 pieces (depending on your portion control!) Ingredients: 10 Tbsp unsalted butter 1 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 3/4 cup good cocoa powder (I love Ghirardelli brand) 1/4 tsp salt (heaping) 1/2 tsp instant coffee (I prefer Starbucks VIA)  2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 eggs 1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli as well)  1/2 cup all purpose flour Equipment: One large pyrex bowl   One pot (We will be using a double boiler method)   8X8 nonstick pan   Tin foil         1.  Preheat oven 325 degrees. Line a 8×8 pan with tin foil for easy removal after baked and cooled. I also like to spray the foil with nonstick spray.     2.  Put about 2 inches of water in the pot and place on burner using a medium to medium-high heat....

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Baking Is Fun, Especially When It Involves A Contest!

Baking Is Fun, Especially When It Involves A Contest!

on Jun 11, 2014 |

  This summer has arrived so quickly here in Orlando. Our home is now a full time daycare, preschool, and elementary school. I am always looking for activities and outings for my young ladies. Of course, one of the daily to-do lists involves baking. Gracie (my 7 year old) and I have recently discovered the Rice Krispies Creative Kids Contest. This contest must be entered through Pinterest only. The requirements are no more than 10 ingredients from a chosen list provided by Rice Krispies and must include 3 mandatory ingredients of butter, marshmallows, and Rice Krispies cereal. There is still more time to enter here is the official page and rules http://www.ricekrispies.com/treatmaking-contest.  My oldest, Gracie, LOVES (more like infatuated) with all things Butterbeer. After her first sip of the slushy, cold concoction at Universal Islands Adventure, she has been requesting every dessert under the sun be turned into a delightful resemblance of Harry Potter’s Butterbeer.   Gracie’s first sip of Butterbeer With this in thought, we ventured into the idea of Butterbeer Rice Krispie Bites. How perfectly sweet they should be and tiny as well, so the littlest of fingers could grasp these witty bites. One Saturday morning, in her pajamas and all,  we dreamed and created what we call “An Ode To Harry Potter, Butterbeer Rice Krispie Bites”. That night with weary eyes and pure confusion I set up my Pinterest account, ugh it’s a long story but finally done! We received an email from Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal that WE HAD WON! Woohoo! We are the third round winners for their contest and Gracie gets to receive the 1st place gift basket worth over $460! I must confess, this has lit a huge fire under my mixer. Yes, we will now be entering all sorts of fun baking and recipe contests. I mean, hey, I already bake my heart out daily; why shouldn’t I just write down these awesome recipes and share them with the WHOLE world.    Here is our winning pin on Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/Jujebee/butterbeer-rice-krispie-bites/     Butterbeer Rice Krispie Bites    Ingredients: 6 tbsp salted butter  1 package butterscotch chips  1- 10 ounce bag mini marshmallows 4 tsp vanilla extract 6 cups Rice Krispies Cereal 1 container...

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Welcome to Graciously Sweet!

Welcome to Graciously Sweet!

on Jun 1, 2014 |

Most Mommies can appreciate the daily adventures of little eyes staring at you while on the toilet, fingers peeking under the closed bathroom door, and always having an attentive audience in the shower with you. In a house of 6, someone’s usually calling your name every 1-2 minutes and then quickly forgetting why. Screaming your name as if there is a catastrophe, only to discover they are out of juice. Freshly cleaned shirts & skirts have turned into tissues. My makeup drawer is no longer neatly organized, instead always scattered about with little fingerprints on the colorful squares of eyeshadow. Yet, somehow, these habits are always forgotten when that small hand is placed in mine or those little arms are wrapped around my neck. I celebrate the end of our hectic days with a yummy, sweet treat. My young munchkins are involved in most of my baking, boogers and all. It’s a time to learn, create and bond together. Wifehood, Mommyhood, and Bakerhood all mixed into one crazy life. I’m inspired by my beautiful, free-spirited, playful daughters. They have taught me that cute and elegant can always be combined. I manage to channel June Cleaver with a side of Britney Spears…Yeh, I said it. And let us not forget that EVERYTHING is better with glitter and...

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