Delectably Creative Treats

Posts by julianaevans

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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