Tag Archives: dessert

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Hello friends! I feel like it’s time for some summer flavors! I’ve been doing a lot of chocolate cupcakes lately and I think it’s time for a change. Since I made the strawberry buttercream a few months ago I tried a raspberry buttercream, but I couldn’t get the natural raspberry flavor to come through. Weird right? I’ll keep working on that, but in the mean time here is a delightful treat to keep you satisfied 🙂 This strawberry buttercream has a great flavor and paired with the lemon cupcake it’s a classic combination! Guys….I am bound and determined to come up with a white chocolate sauce. White chocolate is notoriously difficult to work with in baking. I am still going to keep working on it, but this the best result I’ve had so far. Things got a little dicey there for a minute but I really like how it turned out.

I’m pretty excited because now I have a whole new audience for recipe testing. I very recently changed careers and employers and even though I am only 2 weeks in it has been great so far! Great people, great environment and the work is a refreshing change. When I started mentioning the blog my new co-workers seemed very interested and just talking about it so much sort of re-kindled my passion. Plus with the garden re-vamp finally being completed I think I can start posting regularly a couple times a month now!

These cupcakes were a huge hit in my new office so I hope you give them a try! Seriously you will not be disappointed!

Makes 24

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 Box Lemon Cake Mix
  • 1 Package Jello Lemon Instant Pudding
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Melted Butter
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Filling:

  • 1 Cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • Zest of a medium lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Frosting:

  • 1 Cup Salted Butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 6 oz White Chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Strawberry Puree (cut the tops off 8-10 strawberries and puree in a food blender)
  • 2-3 Cups Powdered Sugar

Make the filling first. Fill a medium sauce pan with about 2 inches of water and place a metal bowl on the top so that it doesn’t touch the water. Bring the water to a boil, and then melt the butter with the lemon zest and juice in the bowl. Remove bowl from heat and slowly stir in the white chocolate.  As soon as all the chocolate has melted place the bowl in the fridge. Let chill in the fridge while you prepare the cupcakes.

*side note If your white chocolate starts breaking down then add 2 tbsp of powdered sugar and beat in with beaters and get it in the fridge. It will be ok….this happened to me and it still turned out great!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the cupcakes add the cake mix and pudding into a stand mixer and mix on low. Add butter and milk. Mix well. Add eggs, vanilla and sour cream. Mix well for 2 minutes scraping down the sides of the bowl. It’s very important to make sure that the sides of the bowl are scraped down because if the batter isn’t evenly mixed your cupcakes will have inconsistent texture and bake.

Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely before filling and frosting.

Remove the filling from the fridge. Use an electric hand mixer to beat it for about 2 minutes until it has become light and creamy. Use a piping bag and filling tip to fill the  cooled cupcakes with the lemon and white chocolate mixture.

To make the frosting:

In a medium bowl beat the butter and salt with a hand mixer until it lightens in color and becomes light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar, mix well. Slowly beat in the melted white chocolate. Add 1/4 cup strawberry puree. Slowly add 1 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and beat well for 3-4 minutes until it’s light and fluffy. Add more puree and sugar to taste. You will want the frosting to be stiff enough to hold it’s shape.

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Ice Cream with Scotch and Coffee

We were having dinner with my parents, sister and nephew tonight. I just love having this family time. We only get together a few times a year and it’s usually only once a year when every single one of us gets together. So I really cherish these moments. When I’m in the kitchen pulling the last details together and Levi is helping with whatever I need. Mom is fussing over whatever is bugging her in that moment. Dad is trying to take professional photographs of the baby while he eats leftover Mac and cheese. The dogs are waiting ever hopeful for a dropped morsel. My sister is just trying to keep the kid alive and happy. I just look around and I am so grateful for these moments.

For dessert my mom decided to bring over some vanilla ice cream and of course my dad brought over the good Scotch. So after a wonderful dinner of French dip subs and potato salad we were hanging out and my mom went to get a bowl of ice cream and my dad, Levi and myself were pouring a bit of apres dinner scotch. My parents can’t quite remember when or where they heard about this, but the conversation turned to a dessert they read about and had to try: Ice cream with scotch and topped with coffee grounds. That’s right. Coffee grounds.

Sounds completely terrible right?!?! That’s what I thought, but curiosity got the best of me and I decided that it sounded so terrible I just to try it.

And now this one of my favorite desserts and we will be indulging on the regs. The smooth scotch with a creamy ice cream tastes so indulgent and the coffee grounds add a totally new layer of flavor that cuts through the sweetness. The grounds soften up a little bit so your aren’t just chewing on grainy ice cream.

Ready for this super complicated set up? Here we go:

Ingredients:

  • 3 scoops French Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1 tsp Coffee grounds ( we used Folgers Vanilla Blend)
  • 2 oz Scotch (we used Johnny Walker Black Label

Add your scoops into your favorite bowl, sprinkle coffee grounds on top and pour scotch around the edges.

I swear if you give this a try you will not regret it!

Orange and White Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies

These cookies are the perfect summer treat! The tangy orange with the sweet white chocolate is almost like a creamsicle! One of the best things about this recipe is that the orange flavor is all natural so you don’t have any of that funky extract after taste.

These cookies are also so soft and chewy, some people fall either into the crunchy cookie lover category or the chewy lovers. Which one are you? I can go either way!

I brought these to both jobs and only had a few leftover for us to enjoy! My favorite part was opening the tupperware and getting a burst of orange right in the olfactory sense! I just love making treats to share with my friends at work. I have one co-worker who doesn’t really like desserts and now whenever he hears I have treats is right at my desk curiously peeking in the box!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Sticks Salted Butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • Zest of 2 Oranges
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 16 oz White Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350.

In a stand mixer or large bowl beat the butter and sugars together until you have a grainy paste. Add the vanilla, egg, zest, juice, salt and baking soda. Mix until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Slowly add flour, mix until well combined. Finally add the white chocolate chips and mix for about 30 seconds until well distributed.

On a large baking sheet drop small spoonfuls of cookies I did 5 rows of 4 cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Do not over bake or else the citrus will burn the bottom of the cookie.

Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and finish cooling. Store in a covered container if they last long enough 😉

Feel free to comment below and let me know how yours turned out or if you have any questions.

Freedom Fire Blondies

Where does everyone like to go to watch the fireworks? We will either watch them from the lawn in front of Convergys or we’ll go to the stadium. This year I work till 9 and meeting my parents at the stadium. Hopefully it all works out!

I’m not sure where this started but watching the fireworks has always meant a great deal to me. I love the patriotic music and when those fireworks get popping I just get really emotional. I thinks fireworks are really romantic, and unfortunately it’s always been a terrible day for me relationship wise. But I am so happy to be able to spend it with my friends and family now!

And of course when you are sitting on a lawn or in a stadium for hours you need to bring treats! Chips or pretzels for the salty crew……but what to bring for the sweet teeth? Blondies of course! And I had to make them holiday appropriate……all you need is a little food dye!

These Blondies are a great treat with white chocolate chips and pecans for a little crunch. These are incredibly easy to make and a quick treat to whip up and delight your  friends and family this holiday!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Sticks Butter, softened
  • 2 Cups Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Cup Pecans, finely chopped
  • Red and Blue food dye
  • Your favorite patriotic sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl beat together the butter and brown sugar until you have a grainy paste. Add the egg, vanilla, salt and baking powder. Mix well. Beat in the flour until you have a thick batter. Gently stir in the white chocolate and pecans.

Split the batter evenly into 3 different bowls. In one bowl slowly add blue dye until you get your desired color. Repeat with the red dye in a separate bowl.

Spray an 8×11 pan with cooking spray. Using a cookie scoop. scoop the batter into the pan in alternating colors. Run a knife under hot water for about a minute and then drag it through the batter to create a swirl. (Careful not to over do it otherwise your colors will start to bleed.)

Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Remove from oven and add sprinkles. Let it cool for at least an hour before serving.

Strawberry and Chocolate Cookies

I am getting a head start on my Valentines Day blogging this year! I feel like a month is a pretty good jump on things. I haven’t quite planned out everything that I will be making this year yet. What are your favorite Valentine’s treats? Let me know in the comments and I might give it a try!

Visit the Valentine’s Day Page for more ways to wow the love of your life 🙂

Don’t want to spend loads of money and time on making chocolate covered strawberries for Valentines Day this year? Well here is an excellent alternative! And there is no shortage of red, pink and white M&M’s on the shelves so grab a bag and have some fun with your kids whipping up a special treat!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup White Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Butter, softened
  • 1 package Jello Strawberry Creme Instant Pudding Mix
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • Pink Food Coloring
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 Cup White Cheesecake M&M’s
  • 1/2 Cup Milk Chocolate M&M’s

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer beat the white and brown sugar with the butter until you have a grainy paste. Add the vanilla, food coloring and eggs, mix until combined.

Beat in the baking soda and salt. Mix in the pudding mix. Slowly add the flour. Mix well. Using a large mixing spoon mix in the M&Ms. If your dough is really soft place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Using a cookie dough scoop get a heaping scoop of dough. Place on a large non stick cookie sheet. I did 3 cookies to a row and 5 rows.
Bake for 13-15 minutes until the edges just start to brown.

Cool on a wire rack.

Caramel and Chocolate Cookies

I have been on quite a baking frenzy lately! And now it is time to share all my goodies with all of you! These cookies are very soft and chewy, I love the texture.

I shared these cookies at work a little while ago and even the most picky person I know absolutely loved these! I didn’t tell anyone about the candy in the middle of the cookie and everyone just freaked….they loved them!

I can’t wait for another charity bake sale, I think these will be a big hit! One of the most satisfying things in life these days is seeing others take joy is a tasty treat that I put so much thought and hard work into. It’s become incredibly rewarding and I am very lucky to have very supportive people in my life.

In the instructions I do strongly suggest that you let the cookie dough chill in the fridge to let it firm up. This will help keep the cookies keep shape around the candy bar and not spread out too far.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup White Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Butter, softened
  • 1 package Jello Caramel Instant Pudding Mix
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Bag of Twix bites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer beat the white and brown sugar with the butter until you have a grainy paste. Add the vanilla and eggs, mix until combined.

Add the baking soda and salt. Mix in the pudding mix. Slowly add the flour. Mix well. Using a large mixing spoon mix in the chocolate chips. Place the cookie dough in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Using a cookie dough scoop get a heaping scoop of dough. Place a twix bite in the middle and roll the dough around to cover the candy. Place on a large non stick cookie sheet. I did 3 cookies to a row and 5 rows.


Bake for 13-15 minutes until slightly browned on the bottoms and edges.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!!

I am always looking for fun cookie ideas! Comment below and let me know what your favorite cookies are!

Bourbon Pineapple Slices a la Mode

I completely forgot that I hadn’t posted this recipe yet!! We’ve made it a few times and it is positively heavenly!! And it only takes a few minutes prep and a few minutes to cook……so simple! It is so tangy and a little sweet, with a slightly boozy flavor….it’s really balanced and add some creamy vanilla custard on top and it’s tough to beat!

It’s difficult to say which fruit is Levi’s favorite…is it pineapple or raspberries?!?!?! I can’t tell…..I should make a recipe with both and he would be in heaven! But in the meantime I want to make this again and again! Personally I am not the biggest fan of pineapple, I have to be in the mood. But this recipe will get me in the mood anytime!!

Due to Levi’s deep and abiding love of pineapple I got a stocking stuffer of a nifty little pineapple corer and slicer device. It is pretty handy because I can only imagine what a nightmare butchering a pineapple is. But really the best ones are fresh, not canned, so all that hard work definitely has it’s reward.

I hope you all love it!!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh Pineapple, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 cup Bourbon, or you favorite spiced brown liquor
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • Your favorite vanilla ice cream or custard

In a small bowl whisk together the bourbon, brown sugar and cinnamon. In an 8×8 baking pan lay the pineapple slices. Pour the mixture over the slices and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. About halfway through flip the slices over to ensure even coating.

Pour the sauce into a small saucepan. Over a medium heat bring the sauce to a simmer. Then reduce heat to low and let it reduce for about 8-10 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

To cook the pineapple use a large saucepan or a grill over medium heat. Coat the pan or grill generously with non-stick cooking spray. Lay the pineapple in a single layer and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. You should get some nice caramelization on each side.

Remove the pineapple slices from the pan and add your favorite vanilla ice cream and then drizzle the sauce over top.

Yum yum yummy!!! Levi…let’s make some more!!!

Mixed Berry Pie

I know that a mixed berry pie is not really a traditional holiday pie, but I thought it was a wonderful addition to our table. It was so bright and flavorful. A really wonderful way to end a super heavy meal. This would also be great in the summer! The best thing about this pie is that you can really play with the flavors depending on the season. Add cinnamon and nutmeg for a warm wintery feel. Add lemon zest in the summer to add an extra burst of bright flavor.

Click here for the pie dough recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup each: Sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Cornstarch
  • Optionals: 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. 1 Tbsp lemon zest.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and spices. Add the berries and mix it all together.

 

 

 

Let it sit for about 30 minutes to allow the sugar to macerate the berries and make them soft and extract some juice. One tip that I read about making berry pies is to coat the bottom of your crust with sugar to keep the juices from making your crust soggy.

Preheat oven to 350.

Pour the filling in the pie crust and cover with a lattice. Don’t forget that pie crust will shrink in the oven so make the strips a little long. Not too shabby for a first try! Brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with some coarse sugar to add a little crunch. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the crust is a lovely golden brown.

Whip up some heavy cream with sugar and vanilla for the perfect topping!! Slice it up and enjoy!!!

Happy baking and happy holidays!!!

Homemade Pie Crust

I was completely intimidated by making my own pie crusts. But it ended up being much easier than I expected and tastes soooo much better than a store bought crust. I am now on the pie train and you can expect to see a lot more of these from me!!

I can’t believe that the first time I tried to do this was ON Thanksgiving day! How ballsy is that?!?!? So we hosted Thanksgiving at my house this year for my parents, due to their extensive remodel.

This was my first time cooking a Thanksgiving meal and I had the Turkey, mashed potatoes and 2 pies!! It was a little bit stressful but ended up being amazing and totally worth it! The food coma lasted all night! We didn’t even wake up before 7 for Black Friday shopping……now that’s kind of crazy.

This recipe makes enough for 1 pie that has a top and bottom crust. Or 2 bottom crust only pies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, diced
  • Cup of ice water

If you are making a savory pie then omit the vanilla and reduce sugar to 1 tsp.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter cubes. Using a pastry blender cut the butter into the mix until it resembles coarse meal.

  

Add vanilla and 4 Tbsp of ice water. Using your hands start to mix the dough and it will start to come together. If your dough is still really crumbly then add more water 1 Tbsp at a time. Don’t overwork the dough or it will be too tough.

Cut the dough ball in half and flatten it into disks. Wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for an hour.

Once your dough is chilled then you can roll it out on a floured surface. If your pie dish is 9 inches then your rolled dough should be about 14 inches. I rolled the dough around the rolling pin and then unrolled it over the pie dish. Trim the dough so that you have even edges and fold the edge under.  If your pie only has a bottom crust, then use 2 fingers and a knuckle to crimp the dough around the edges.

IMG_3693

Bake according to what your filling requires. If it’s a longer bake, then cover the edges with tin foil to prevent burning.

IMG_3695Click here for a Mixed Berry Pie!

Happy baking everyone!

 

Dr. Pepper Bourbon Cupcakes

Dr. Pepper Bourbon Cupcakes

Here it is!! The pinnacle of our Dr. Pepper-palooza meal!!!! Oh my gosh. This is one of the most intense desserts I have ever created! I have never tried making a cupcake with a filling before and I am so proud that my first attempt was such a huge success. Levi and Alanna loved them! My parents told me it was decadent 🙂

Levi and I had sooooo much fun making these together! Dancing around the kitchen jamming out to the bizarre playlist that happens when you put your 5 year old iPod on shuffle all. Good times.

I really love cooking with booze. And when you are making something sweet I think that bourbon is the way to go. Even when your food gets a little boozy it’s not the most horrible thing. The right bourbon has that smooth almost buttery taste and will accentuate so many different flavors all the way from chocolates to cherries to raspberries to peaches!

Thanks to a Beat Bobby Flay episode I finally understand reductions. You want to boil the liquids till they are about 1/2 or 1/3 the size when you started. That’s it. Simple right? And then you get all that flavor in a thick syrupy sauce. It’s a nifty little trick that you will see me use a little more from now on.

Ok are you ready to rock and roll? Here we go:

Cupcake Ingredients (makes 12):

  • 1 cup of flower
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 9 regular marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 3/4 cup Dr. Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg

Cupcake Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and sugar. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the Dr. Pepper and cocoa. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add marshmallows and stir them in until they are completely melted.

Pour the Dr Pepper mixture over the dry ingredients, add milk, and egg. Mix thoroughly.

Use a muffin tin and cupcake liners. This dough won’t rise a whole lot so when you fill the cupcake liners you can do a little more than 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick can come out clean. Cool these on a cooling rack. While you prepare the “ganache”

Chocolate Bourbon Ganache

So I made a little adjustment to a traditional ganache recipe because I don’t really like it when the filling drips out of the cupcake or is too messy.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. Bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup half and half
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 5 tbsp Bourbon
  • 3-4 marshmallows

“Ganache” Directions:

In a small sauce pan heat the cream to simmering. In a metal or glass bowl pour the cream over the chocolate. Add the marshmallows and mix until smooth. Add butter and bourbon and keep stirring until smooth.

Cut a cone shaped hole in the cooled cupcakes. (You should probably save this so that you can dip it in the leftover ganache and snack on it while you make the frosting.) Put the ganache in a pastry bag, or a ziplock with the corner cut off. Pipe the ganache into the cupcake.

Almost done cupcakes

Bourbon Dr. Pepper Cherry Buttercream Meringue Frosting

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 stick softened unsalted butter. (This time it’s important to use Unsalted. Believe me.)
  • 1 can Dr Pepper reduced to 1/2
  • 3 tbsp Bourbon
  • 1 tbsp maraschino cherry syrup

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a metal bowl, combine the egg white and the sugar. Create a “double boiler” over a pot of simmering water. Whisk consistently until the sugar has dissolved. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and use a whisk attachment to beat the mixture until the content has doubled in size and holds it’s form in peaks. This is what it should look like.

Frosting

This is going to take awhile. Be patient.

Switch over to the paddle attachment. Cut the butter into 2 tbsp squares. Add each square one piece at a time. And mix thoroughly between each square. Keep that mixture going until it’s still smooth. In a small saucepan add the Dr. Pepper and 2 tbsp of Bourbon. Boil until it’s 1/2 or even better 1/3 the size. Let it cool a little bit and add most of it to the frosting. (Save some to drizzle over the finished cupcake.) Keep the mixer going and add the last tbsp of bourbon and the cherry syrup. Now taste it. Keep adding booze and cherry syrup till you have reached your frosting flavor nirvana.

Pipe the frosting on top. Drizzle a little reduction. We added some cake decorations and a cherry and get ready to revel in the decadent amazingness that is your Dr. Pepper Bourbon Cupcake.