Saturday, October 29, 2011

My Favorite Cookie

Today is a very, very cold day.  We needed to bake to keep things toasty and warm in our big old drafty house. The kiddos helped me decide on a few things to make - first up?  My favorite cookie EVER!  I used Jessica's recipe from How Sweet It Is, and we whipped up a batch!  They smell sooooo good, and don't tell the kids (because I said we couldn't eat them yet) but they taste delicious too!

Recipe (adapted from How Sweet It Is - Original recipe)

1 stick butter, room temp
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 Tbs. milk
1 Tbs. cinnamon (I used Pampered Chef Cinnamon Plus which also has nutmeg & cloves in it!)
1/4 c. white sugar

Cream together butter and sugars.  Add in egg and vanilla and beat until fully combined.
Add in flour, baking powder and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  Stir until dough begins to form.  Add in milk, and mix until smooth dough forms (if crumbly, add a little milk at a time until dough is uniform).  Chill dough for 30 min.

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1 Tbs. cinnamon in small bowl.  Roll chilled dough into 1" balls.    Roll dough balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture, coating fully.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake 11-13 minutes until they just begin to turn golden and the tops are slightly cracked.  Remove to cooling rack.

Makes about 20 cookies.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Zucchini Bread ~ Recipe 1

I'm a bread-loving girl.  I'll admit it.  I'll also blame a few of my extra lbs on my love for bread :)  I love banana bread, pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, bread-bread!  I am a purist though - I don't typically like add-ins.  No nuts, no chocolate chips, just a nice moist, dense bread.  Lots of flavor.

I got a few big zucchinis and decided I needed to make a few loaves of bread with them.  It turned out okay, but I think I will try a few different recipes to see if I can perfect it.  These were a little dense, and the sugar kind of "floated" to the surface and crystallized.  It was still yummy, but I was imagining something different.

So here is my first attempt at zucchini bread.  Stay tuned for future attempts!

3 1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
3 c. sugar (I might try substituting brown sugar for 1 c.)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 c. water
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 c. grated zucchini (about 1 large zucchini)

Preheat oven to 350; butter & flour 2 standard loaf pans.
In large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
In a separate large bowl, combine sugar, oil, butter, eggs, water, lemon juice and zucchini until fully combined.
Slowly combine with wet ingredients with dry ingredients, stir until combined (but do not overmix!)
Pour batter into prepared pans, bake for 1 hour until tester comes out clean.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Berry White" Muffins...can't get enough of this love, baby

I keep buying berries this summer with the intention of making really amazing recipes...and instead we just end up eating them or letting them shrivel up and get past their prime.  Last night, I had the brilliant idea to crank my oven up to 400 degrees on a hot, humid night, so that I could use the berries I'd just bought.  But it was sooooooo worth it -- these muffins turned out beautifully and I wish I could stop eating them!  They're just the right texture, so moist, with a crumbly top.  

You will make these and you will love these.  Your friends will love you.  You will wish you had made more.  Much more (then you will be thankful that you didn't because you won't be able to stop eating them!).  

2 c. flour
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 egg
1 c. milk or plain yogurt
1/2 c. butter, melted (slightly cooled)
3/4 c. blueberries
3/4 c. strawberries, cut into small pieces
1/2 c. white chocolate chips

Streusel topping:
2 Tbs cold butter, cut up
1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 400, grease or line 12 muffin cups.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, 1/4 c. brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat egg until frothy and light yellow.  Beat in milk.  Stream in melted butter.  Add vanilla.
Add flour mixture in 2 to 3 installments, stirring only until combined.
Fold in white chocolate chips.
Fold in berries until incorporated throughout the batter.
Divide among 12 muffin cups - they will be full, and that's okay!
For streusel, mix together 1/4 c. brown sugar, 2 Tbs flour and cinnamon.  Cut in cold butter with fork until mixture becomes crumbly.  Divide among muffins, pressing lightly.

Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes (you may want to put a tray on the rack underneath, to catch any drippings), until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan about 5-10 minutes, remove to rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This Ain't Your Mother's Better-Than-Sex Cake

Seriously.  This is my twist on a pretty old favorite - I've heard of this and I've seen the same basic concoction for years.  I never made it.  I've sampled it....people make it with chocolate OR vanilla cake, a bunch of ooey-gooey-goodness, and some sort of candy on top.  Sometimes whipped cream is involved.  You could google it and find out for yourself, I suppose, instead of me droning on.  You probably just want me to get to the good stuff. 

Like this.

I'm not sure if this picture is speaking to you, but let me tell you what it says to me:  ooey.  gooey.  CHOCOLATE.  Throw in a few Oreos and I'm sold!

Here's how I make this party for your mouth:
1 dark chocolate (or devil's food) cake -- you can use a (gasp!) box mix, or use  your own favorite recipe
1 c. mini chocolate chips
1 small can sweetened condensed milk
Caramel ice cream topping
Dark Chocolate Fudge ice cream topping
About 12 Oreos, coarsely chopped

After mixing up cake batter as directed, add mini chocolate chips.  Bake in a greased & floured Bundt pan at 350 (it's okay if it's not done done, as long as it's mostly done.  Trust me on this).  Cool about 10 minutes. Leaving in pan, poke several holes in the still-warm cake with the handle of a wooden spoon.  Pour sweetened condensed milk over cake, filling holes, and drizzling over the rest of the cake.  Let cool completely.  Invert onto serving dish (it's best if it is a dish with sides or something that will keep the ooey-gooeyness from running off the dish!).  Drizzle with caramel liberally, then with fudge.  Top with crushed Oreos, and drizzle just a little more caramel over top.  Slice into slabs and serve with a smile!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Today is Chocolate Custard Day!

I try to keep up on what's going on in the I googled "Today is..." (using my fancy schmancy smarts that got me that college degree).  Seriously, if you've never done that, just go to Google and type in "Today is" -- that's all!  I found lots of fun stuff, really, but I like to look at the calendars and find out what kind of weirdness and food are being celebrated on any particular day.  Today, to my delight, turns out to be Chocolate Custard Day!

I have never before attempted to make chocolate custard from scratch.  But it sounded intriguing.  So then, of course, I had to start searching for the perfect recipe.  There were a few (I have added several to My List), and I chose this particular one because it required no baking and minimal chilling time -- I wanted to be able to enjoy it tonight!

Much to my delight, it turned out to be really pretty easy, quick and the end result was thick and rich -- very yummy!  My hubby gave it two thumbs up.  This only makes two servings (though they're pretty good sized), so if you're planning on entertaining more than just you and a friend, plan ahead to increase the amounts!

Chocolate Custard
1/4 c. milk
3 Tbs. sugar
1 large egg yolk
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
pinch of salt
2 Tbs butter

In small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk and sugar; heat until steaming and sugar is dissolved.
Put egg yolk in small glass bowl, and gradually (verrrrrrrrrrrry slowly as to not cook the egg) whisk in hot milk.  Return to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture thickens (about 2 minutes).
Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and salt until smooth.  Whisk in butter.
Pour into 2 shallow bowls.  Chill 10 minutes.

For whipped topping, beat 1/2 c. heavy cream with a pinch of ground cinnamon (using a chilled bowl and beaters) and 1 Tbs sugar until softly whipped.  Dollop on top of custards before serving.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coming Soon...

Check out what I scored in a bargain bin recently:

I will be trying out loads of new recipes from this little treasure!  You know, when I find the time between work, family and renovations!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie with a twist

Check this decadence out:

That, my friends, is a two layer peanut butter pie with a cheesecake/pudding layer on the bottom.  Light, yet rich.  Addicting, definitely!  And did I mention easy to make?


1 pre-made chocolate crust (or you can make your own with crushed Oreos and butter)
1 small package cheesecake-flavored pudding mix
2 cups cold milk, divided
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 small package vanilla pudding mix (I used sugar free)
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. Cool Whip, thawed (save the rest of the container for garnishing)

In medium bowl, pour 1 c. milk, add cheesecake pudding and whisk for 2 minutes - mixture will be very thick.  Pour into prepared crust.  In bowl of mixer, cream the cream cheese, slowly adding in milk until fully combined.  Add pudding mix and peanut butter, beat until fully combined.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Pour into crust on top of pudding layer.  Chill at least 2 hours.  Cut into 8 wedges and serve with additional Cool Whip.

You're welcome.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Are you ready for these?  I found this recipe over at Brown Eyed Baker.
A word of caution: the dough may not all make it to the oven!  It is delicious itself, and perfectly safe to eat!  I must admit, I only made about 10 cookies, and ate the rest of the dough.  Whoops.  :)


1 stick butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
1 c. crushed Oreos

Cream together butter and cream cheese.  Add in sugar and vanilla.
Slowly add in flour, until fully combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.
Roll into 1 1/2" balls, toss in Oreo crumbs.
Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets.
Bake at 375 for 12 minutes until puffed up and the edges are just turning golden.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I did not drop off the face of the earth!

I started a new job, and am adjusting to my new schedule (nights & weekends off!  but up early every weekday morning -ugh!).  And then my laptop had to be sent out for repair (AGAIN) so my blogging has been pushed off to the side.  But never fear!  I have a few things up my sleeve to share with you, and will post them soon.   Today is a busy family day, but hopefully tonight I will have time to post a few of the things I've managed to make lately.

Also, while on my hiatus, my sweet little girls became TV stars!!!  A short little clip was aired on America's Funniest Home Videos on March 13!  It was so amazing to see my girls on the big screen (seriously, we watched it at my parents house - they have a HUGE TV!!!  :))  Here is a sad little video I took with my little camera while we watched it:

Monday, February 14, 2011

♥Happy Valentines Day♥

Happy Valentine's Day to my darling husband!  He is my forever Valentine!
Tonight for dinner, we had some filet mignon, stuffed sole, garlic mashed potatoes...
And for dessert?  Fabulous Chocolate Fondue!

8 oz. heavy cream
12 oz. bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped
pinch salt
tsp. vanilla

Heat heavy cream over medium heat until it just starts to bubble.  Whisk in chocolate, whisking until smooth and thickened.  Whisk in salt and vanilla.  Pour into serving dish or fondue pot.  Serve with assorted fruit, marshmallows, pound cake, graham crackers, etc. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

We're almost there! V-day is TOMORROW!

You'll have to forgive me...I spent yesterday and today preparing for and celebrating the birthday of my two tiny Valentine Twincesses.  They'll be three tomorrow.  I'm a little weepy knowing my babies, most likely my last, are growing up so fast!  They're not babies anymore (as they inform me on a daily basis).  Sigh.

So, while my hubby is my #1 Valentine, and I will have something special to share with you tomorrow (aka the Big Day), today I'm going to share what I made for my girls.  They were an unexpected blessing, a miracle in my eyes, and I cannot imagine what life would be like without them. Without any of my kids!  

I suggested a ladybug party, I figured that would be easy.  They insisted on UNICORNS.  Really?!?!  So I did what I could and here it is:

I will share with you my recipe for this buttercream that I used -- it is SO creamy and smooth!!!

1 c. butter (the real deal, people), softened
1 c. crisco (I used butter flavor)
1 Tbs vanilla
1/2 c. heavy cream
4 to 6 c. powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and shortening.  Beat for 10 minutes (yes!  10 minutes!); it should be a nice light, whipped texture.  Beat in vanilla and heavy cream.  Add powdered sugar a bit at a time, until you reach the right consistency and flavor.

Store leftovers in fridge.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Countdown to Valentines Day ~ White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Day 11 of sweets for my sweet :)
Only 3 days left!!!!  

I have a confession to make.  I am not very good at from-scratch white cakes.  Chocolate cakes, I can usually manage.  White cakes?  I always screw up somehow.
But I was not going to let that deter me from trying this yummy recipe.  I *had* to give it a try.  

White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

And guess what?!!?  I think it worked!!!  Hubby gave me a thumbs up anyway.  And since these are all special treats I've made with him in mind, I guess that's all that's really important.  Right??

1/2 c. butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon raspberry extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
12 tsp. seedless raspberry jam

For the frosting:
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon raspberry extract
Pinch of salt
1 or 2 drops red food coloring
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup white chocolate chips (2 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line standard muffin cup with paper or foil liners.

Beat the butter, sugar, lemon zest and both extracts with an electric mixer at medium speed until very smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue mixing until well blended.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer running on medium, add about half of the dry ingredients to the butter-sugar mixture and continue mixing until well combined. Mix in the milk, then add the balance of the dry ingredients. Continue mixing, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until the batter is smooth and creamy.

Spoon the batter into the paper-lined muffin cups.  Using a teaspoon, drop 1 tsp. raspberry jam in very center of each cupcake, making an indent and pushing it down into the cupcake batter as you go.
Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center (to the side of the jam) comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove the cupcakes and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Frosting:  Beat together butter, half and half, extracts and food coloring until well blended.  Add the confectioners' sugar and continue beating until smooth and creamy.

Melt the white chocolate in a glass measure in the microwave. Use 15 second bursts on 80% power, stirring in between. Stir the melted white chocolate into the butter mixture and beat on medium speed until well incorporated.

Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake.  Garnish with fresh raspberries, or a drizzle of dark chocolate.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Countdown to Valentines Day ~ Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese

DAY 10!  It's sneaking up on us, friends!

Today I'm going to share a sandwich that we've recently started making.  It involves cheese, buffalo chicken and ranch dressing...three of our favorite things!  This is one of the things my honey and I have in common, a love of buffalo chicken!  In any way, shape or form.  Seriously.  He honestly prefers Bleu Cheese, but we don't often have it.  I have a tolerance for it, but it's not my favorite.  He likes Ranch dressing too, so it's a win-win for this sandwich.

Now, I know...a "recipe" for a grilled cheese sandwich?  Really?  Okay, so this isn't really a "recipe;" it's more of a good idea that I want to share.  My secret?  This stuff:

Here is how we do this:

1 c. Louisiana Hot Sauce (or Wing Sauce)
1/2 c. butter, melted
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
2 slices American cheese
1/2 c. shredded cheddar
Ranch dressing, as desired (or Bleu Cheese)
4 slices bread (I use whole grain white)
soft butter

Mix the hot sauce with the melted butter; toss chicken in the sauce.  [This will actually make more than you need for two sandwiches, you can keep the remainder for more sandwiches or put it on salad, or make chicken wing dip with many options!!]  Place one slice of American cheese on one slice of bread; put about 1-2 Tbs of the chicken in sauce on top; place about 1/4 c. shredded cheddar on top of the chicken, drizzle with Ranch dressing.  Place another piece of bread on top.  Butter the outside of the sandwich (both sides) and cook on a preheated griddle, or frying pan.  Repeat with remaining ingredients for second sandwich for a lunch for two!  :)

Countdown to Valentines Day ~ Chocolate Crescent Hearts

Holy Smokes!  5 more days?!?!  Sorry I missed yesterday, lots going on in my world.
Day 9 ♥ of sweet treats for my Valentine.

This is super easy, and I promise - totally worth it!  
Chocolate Crescent Hearts
Easy, cute, and most importantly -- Delicious!!

1 can crescent rolls (8 oz) 
1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips  
2 Tbs butter, melted
1 Tbs raw sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

Roll out crescent dough.  Cut into 8 equal squares (press perforations to make seamless).  Place each square on a baking sheet (baking stones work wonderfully for these!).  Put about 1 oz. of chocolate chips on each square.  Fold corner to corner, making a triangle.  Fold in the two corners to form top of heart shape.  Brush each completed heart with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 12-14 minutes, until lightly golden.  Meanwhile melt about 1/2 c. chocolate chips in microwave, or over double boiler.  After removing crescent hearts from oven, use a fork to drizzle melted chocolate over each heart.  Serve warm.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Countdown to Valentines Day ~ Lemony Blueberry Bread

Day 7 ♥ ONE WEEK LEFT!!!  Are you ready?!  
I'm not.  

But here's one more thing for you to consider for your sweetie.  My sweetie happens to be a big sucker for breads.  Especially sweet breads.  Even more especially sweet quick breads!  And this bread, my friends, is very VERY sweet!  Perfect for your Valentine!


1/3 c. butter, melted
1 c. sugar
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed)

Whisk together melted butter and sugar.  Add in lemon juice and eggs.  Add half the flour, baking soda and salt.  Whisk in the milk, then whisk in the rest of the flour.  Stir until fully combined.  Fold in lemon zest and blueberries.  Pour into greased loaf pan.  If desired, sprinkle with raw sugar on top before baking.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour, until done all the way through.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack.  If desired, make a glaze out of 1/2 c. powdered sugar, 2 Tbs. lemon juice and milk as needed to achieve the consistency you want.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Countdown to Valentines Day ~ Homemade Hot Chocolate

Day 6 ♥  
The big V-Day is one week from tomorrow, peeps!  Are you ready?
Here is something to warm you and your sweetie up.

There are lots of recipes out there, I've tried a few.  I absolutely adore this concoction I put together tonight!!  It's thick and rich, with just a hint of extra heat.  And the whipped cream on top is positively necessary.  This is not a drink for the faint of heart, or for those trying to lose weight (I will be one of those people again in the morning - this was my "day off").  But once you have it, you will not want any others!

1/2 c. dark chocolate chips (or 3 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate)
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch chipotle chili powder
1/3 to 1/2 c. additional milk
whipped cream

Combine chocolate chips and 1/2 c. milk in a glass microwave-safe container.  Heat 1 minute.  Whisk, then return to microwave for 1 additional minute.  Whisk in cinnamon, salt and chili powder, whisking until smooth and frothy.  Add additional milk.  Heat 45 seconds, until hot.  Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Countdown to Valentines Day ~ Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

Day 5 of Sweet Treats for my Sweet Valentine

It is not quite 9 a.m. and my honey just taste-tested these for me.  He gives them two thumbs up!
Vanilla Chai Cupcakes

Like yesterday, I'm not exactly being gourmet today...these cupcakes started out with a (gasp!) cake mix.  Yes, I do use mixes.  I like to use them to make something new.  There are SO many things you can do with mixes!

Here, I took a vanilla mix, added some instant chai latte and pudding mixes and made yummy cupcakes that even my little ones raved about!  I *did* make the frosting from scratch -- it's the cinnamon cream cheese buttercream I mention in this post 


1 box cake mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1 individual packet chai latte mix (about 3 Tbs.)

1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 c. water
1/3 c. oil
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 24 cupcake cups with paper or foil liners.
In mixing bowl, add cake mix, chai mix and pudding.  Beat in water, oil and eggs.  Beat for about 2 minutes.  Pour into lined cupcake tins.  Bake about 18 minutes, until cake is done all the way through.  Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.  Cool completely before frosting.

Cinnamon Buttercream
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 to 4 c. confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs milk (more or less, based on how thin you want frosting)

Cream butter and cream cheese until fully combined.  Add in vanilla, cinnamon and 2 cups powdered sugar.  Continue mixing, adding powdered sugar and milk until frosting is your desired texture.

Countdown to Valentines Day ~ Peanut Butter Blossoms...sort of

Day 4 of Sweets for my Sweet ♥

OK.  Today was not a gourmet day for me.  It wasn't even a homemade day for me.  Tomorrow won't be either.  But that doesn't mean I can't come up with tasty treats that are perfect for sharing with your loves.  

Today, I'm doing a "cheater" version of peanut butter blossoms (you know, the cookies that usually have a chocolate kiss stuck on top?).  While I do have a favorite peanut butter cookie recipe or two -- have you all tried the 3 ingredient recipe? -- today I went with "premade."  As in, I had refrigerated cookie dough, already portioned for me, that I used.  And it was a GOOD kind:

And I added a little of this (I LOVE this stuff SO MUCH!!):

And to top it off (literally), some of these:

So easy, and so delicious!  Simply take your dough, roll it into a ball, coat with raw sugar, place on cookie sheet and bake 10-13 minutes at 350 (depending on the size of your cookies).  Do not flatten the cookies before baking!  When you remove from the oven, immediately press one unwrapped Dove heart shaped chocolate in the center of each cookie.  Let sit a couple minutes before removing to a wire wrack to cool completely.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Countdown to Valentines Day ~ Mocha Chip Brownie Bundt Cake

Day 3 of Valentine treats for my Valentine (he'll be so excited to see this waiting for him when he wakes up in the morning!)

I was inspired by Jessica over at How Sweet and decided to try my hand at a brownie-type bundt.  This is a Mocha Chip version.
It is sooooo good, I cannot even describe it in words.  Pictures do not do it justice.  It is rich and dense and chocolaty and heavenly...Yeah, words just can't do it.  You must make it and find out for yourself.  

But wait!  There's more!

A Mocha Glaze!  So very, very good.  And makes this decadent treat even MORE decadent!

1 1/2 sticks butter
6 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 Tbs instant coffee granules
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. sugar
6 eggs
2 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1 c. dark chocolate chips

1 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbs butter, room temp
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. strong brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a Bundt pan generously.
Melt butter and chocolate together in a microwave safe bowl.  Once melted, add coffee granules and beat until fluffy.  Add in sugar and vanilla; beat until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add flour and cocoa, stirring until combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for about 75 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze.  Whisk together powdered sugar, butter, melted chocolate and vanilla.  Add coffee in until you reach desired consistency.

After the cake is done, let rest about 5 minutes, then invert onto serving plate.  Drizzle with glaze before serving.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Countdown to Valentines Day ~ Homemade Hot Fudge

Day 2 of Valentine Treats for my Valentine ♥

Homemade Hot Fudge sauce!!  

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 (1 oz. ea) squares bittersweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs butter

In a small saucepan over low heat (a "2" on my electric stove), combine milk and chocolate.  Heat over low heat, stirring, until chocolate is completely melted and mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter; beat with spoon until fully combined.  Serve warm.  Keep in tightly covered container in refrigerator for up to a week.

Don't forget to lick the spoon!!

Delicious over ice cream!

I also attempted caramel sauce.  I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  But here's a peek at it:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Countdown to Valentines Day ~ Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

As a tribute to MY Valentine, I'm going to devote the first 14 days of this month to him, showcasing some of his favorite treats (and some that he doesn't even know will become his favorites!).

Day 1 ~ Chocolate Chip Cookies!
He says there is nothing better than a warm, gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie, freshly baked.  With a tall glass of milk, of course.  And I have discovered maybe the most perfect recipe - IF you like soft, sweet and thick cookies!

Yeah, I made that.  

These are actually very easy, and quick.  The texture is PERFECT (to me anyway, and my hubby, and all four of my kids :)) and the taste is amazing!  


2 1/3 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 sticks butter
1/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5 1/4 oz. pkg instant vanilla pudding (if you have two small pkgs, use one whole, and 1/4 c. of the second)
2 eggs, beaten
12 oz. DARK chocolate chips (or you could use plain ol' semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 350.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, butter, sugars, vanilla and pudding mix (yup, dump it all in).
Beat together until smooth and creamy.
Add in beaten eggs and mix until fully combined.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by Tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 9-10 minutes.

Word of caution -- this is a very thick cookie dough (and really pretty yummy).  They will pretty much stay in the same shape that you put them on the sheet.  So if you're using a cookie scoop, you might want to flatten them slightly with the bottom of a glass before baking.  Unless you want cookies like this:

(which, by the way, are just as tasty and delicious....they just are cookie blobs instead of nice looking cookies:))

Bake them.  Enjoy them.  Make sure you share them!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

My new favorite pancake recipe

Breakfast for dinner is a common occurrence in our house (at least once a week!) and I have used the same basic pancake recipe since I "perfected" it a few years ago.  I'd venture a new one every so often just to see if there were any better out there, and while most others have been GOOD, I've always returned to my basic stand-by.  Maybe one day I'll post that here too.  But last night I discovered a new recipe that was soooooooooooo good and so perfect -- just a little crispy on the outside, nice and tender on the inside, and oh, so light and fluffy!

The kids, of course, got sprinkles on theirs:

The grown ups had ours a little more plain, with just a drizzle of syrup:

See how fluffy?  And PERFECTLY done all the way through!
Now, I have to whine a little up front:  My griddle bit the dust last week.  I have one of those Presto 19" electric griddles, and it is used A LOT in my kitchen!!  Several times a week, at least!  It finally had enough of our abuse and refused to heat up last week.  I must go find a new one.  BUT, because of that, I had to resort to using my 10" skillet on the stovetop.  It's been a very long time since I've had to do that.  And it takes a lot longer to make dinner, only able to make 3 pancakes at a time.    But it worked, and they still turned out perfectly!

1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 c. butter, melted (I recommend REAL Butter!)

Mix milk with lemon juice and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder & soda, and salt.
With a fork or whisk, combine eggs and butter with milk mixture.
Add wet mixture to dry mixture, mixing thoroughly but being careful to not overmix.
Heat griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat (DO NOT SPRAY!)
Drop by approx. 1/4 cupfuls onto hot surface.  When edges are dry and surface is covered in bubbles, flip.  Cook an additional minute or so, until done.  Do not flip more than once!
This should make about 14 regular sized pancakes.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

National Chocolate Cake Day ~ Part Deaux

I had to share my love National Chocolate Cake Day with my family too -- and a mug of cake will only go so far.  So I whipped up one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes:  CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE!!!  Sooooo gooooood!  This is where you layer the ingredients in such a way that it creates a saucy pudding bottom layer and a yummy cake layer on top.  This is most delicious warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream!
adapted from

1 1/2 c. boiling water
1 pkt Starbucks Via (instant coffee)
1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. cocoa powder

3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 large egg
4 Tbs. butter, melted (slightly cooled)
1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease/Spray an 8" square (or round) cake pan.

Mix instant coffee into boiling water and set aside.  In separate bowl, mix together 1/3 c. white sugar, brown sugar and cocoa powder; set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together flour, 1/4 c. cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.
Separately, whisk together egg, melted butter, sugar, milk and vanilla.  Slowly add in flour mixture.  Spread into prepared pan.  Sprinkle sugar mixture on top.  Very carefully, pour coffee mixture over sugars. 

Bake 25 minutes, until edges are pulling apart from edges of pan and top looks mostly dry.
Remove from oven, let sit on wire rack.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.  Leftovers (hahaha) can be stored in the refrigerator.


National Chocolate Cake Day! Hooray!

See this?

It's going to become a cake in just THREE minutes!  A single-serving (or two if you want to be generous with your loved one) of yummy, warm, chocolately goodness just for YOU, in less than five minutes!!

See?  Mmmmm!
Here's how you do it:

4 Tbs flour
4 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1 egg
3 Tbs milk
3 Tbs oil
3 Tbs dark chocolate chips
dash of vanilla

Mix the flour, sugar and cocoa in a large, microwave-safe mug.  Add egg and mix well.  Add milk and oil, stir until fully combined.  Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips.  Cook in microwave for 3 minutes (for 1000-1100 Watt oven -- it's OKAY if the cake rises above the edge of the mug!).  Let cool for a minute or two and then invert onto plate.  Share with a friend if you like, or enjoy it all by yourself!!