Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

I have always enjoyed all things coconut, so one night while browsing cookie recipes because I had a craving for something sweet I found these and knew I HAD to try them.  Besides the use of both coconut and coconut extract, both already promising for a very Coconutty cookie, I was intrigued by the use of coconut oil in place of butter.  Having read my fair share about the benefits of coconut oil both for the outside and inside of your body I was really excited about these.

These cookies are so incredibly good!  Not only do they deliver on coconut flavor, but the oil makes them so “buttery” without butter!  And you can’t help but feel like you’re doing something good for your body by indulging in one.. or two… or three!  They have a nice soft, but chewy texture.  I used walnuts, and really liked the combination, I just might add a few more next time.  If you go with the written instructions you’ll yield a lot of cookies out of this, and because there are so many the walnuts just seemed sparse in some.

Rather than scoop my dough onto cookie sheets, I actually rolled them into balls and then lightly pressed them flat onto the sheet which gave me better looking cookies.  This is especially nice if you plan to give some away.

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Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients :

  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil (measured solid) melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (or coconut extract, or do half and half which is what I did)
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts (can also use pecans, sliced almonds, or macadamia nuts) optional

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.  Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together granulated sugar, brown sugar and coconut oil until fluffy.  Mix in the eggs and extract.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
  5. Fold in the shredded coconut, oats and nuts.
  6. Scoop about a Tablespoon of dough at a time and place onto the prepared cookie sheets.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until very lightly golden.  Let cool for 2-3 minutes on the sheet before moving to a rack to cool completely.
  7. Store in an air-tight container.

Recipe from

Published in: on May 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm  Comments (2)  
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Macadamia Nut White Chip Pumpkin Cookies

A couple weeks ago, in my excitement over the Fall Season, I bought one of those little recipe booklets you find by the check-out line at your grocery store.  This one was all about Pumpkin!  After quickly thumbing through it I was certain I would try enough of the recipes to make it worth the little splurge…. and THIS was definitely first on my list!  I love white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, so the addition of pumpkin had me drooling just thinking about it.

The verdict… AMAZING!  Like maybe my favorite cookie ever now.  I would say these cookies are dangerously good…. because one day I think I actually ate like 7-8 of them!  They did not last long in my house….  I can never bring myself to make cookies as small as suggested, so I got about 3 dozen out of this recipe.

I did run into a little issue… or maybe not, but it wasn’t what I was expecting.  I thought they would be more cookie-ish I guess, but the texture of mine turned out much softer and more like pumpkin bread.  I even baked them slightly longer than suggested trying to make sure the centers were set up because I could tell they were so soft.  Once I accepted that they weren’t going to firm up however, and embraced the pumpkin bread texture of them I honestly couldn’t have been happier.  I LOVE pumpkin bread lol.  It just made for a harder time storing them without being able to stack them up.  If I had to guess, and I am no expert on the science of baking, I would say there is just too much butter and pumpkin, and not enough flour to get that cookie texture, but as I said I wouldn’t say it was a flaw, just something to be aware of perhaps.

This is definitely one I will make every year to ring in Fall, and I may even share some of them…. maybe.

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Macadamia Nut White Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Yield : 3 dozen

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups all purpose four
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts, or walnuts

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, and baking soda in a small bowl. 
  3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixer bowl until creamy.  Beat in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until well blended.
  4. Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  5. Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto greased baking sheets (or lined with parchment paper); flatten slightly with back of spoon.
  6. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes or until centers are set. (Read above).  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe from Pumpkin recipe booklet

Published in: on September 28, 2014 at 5:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

Or as I decided to call them for my son’s Halloween Birthday Party… Witching Hour Cupcakes!  I think these can pretty much be summed up in one word, and that’s MMMMMMMMMM!  At least that is the sound you’ll be making as you bite into one of these indulgent little treats!  I will be the first to admit that I often use boxed cake mix for cupcakes when I am throwing a party.  Why not?  They are quick, and IMO they taste pretty good.  But this year I just wanted to do something different.  Even though I usually make my own frostings, I wanted to make the entire thing from scratch, and I wanted it to be Cupcake Wars worthy!  I’d say I accomplished that this year.

The cake is dark and delicious itself, but then you get to that ganache center and OMG.  The ganache is so melt in your mouth good, I could seriously eat it by the spoonful, and a great contrasting chocolate flavor.  Then as if that weren’t enough to send  you into a chocolate coma they are topped with the best chocolate frosting I have ever had.  I typically don’t like frosting because it is SO sweet.  Afterall you are adding a lot of powdered sugar most of the time, but I promise you this is not one of those overly sweet frostings.  It’s more like someone took a rich and decadent chocolate, whipped it into a frosting, and put it on top of the cupcake.  If you are looking for THE chocolate cupcake recipe stop now, because you have found it!

Now a couple of notes…  I actually couldn’t find dutch processed cocoa powder even though I went to three stores.  I ended up using the Hershey’s special dark which is a combo of regular and dutch cocoas.  I don’t know how different these would have been had I found the right stuff, but they were still nice and dark like the photo from the original blog.  I used Ghirardelli bittersweet 60% cocoa chocolate bars, and Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips.  For the hot coffee, I heated up some of my cold brew espresso, and as a side note to that I wanted to brag that my husband honestly couldn’t taste the coffee in this even though there was a lot.  I have mentioned in the past that he absolutely hates it and usually catches me when I try to slip it into anything.  I doubled the recipe, and even with 1 1/2 cups of coffee, he could only guess that it was in there.  Doubled this made exactly 24 cupcakes as stated, but I did have a good deal of frosting left over.  I suppose this depends on how high you like to pile your frosting, but I figured since making these for kids I better keep it under control…. at least for the parents’ sake.  That and I find it hard to store cupcakes with a mountain of frosting on top anyway.

Anyway, I doubt the pictures will do these justice because I was tired from throwing the party and my light was fading, but you will NOT regret making these!

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes : 12 cupcakes (doubles nicely)

Ingredients :

Ganache Filling :

  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 T. powdered sugar

Cupcakes :

  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 . vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting :

  • 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 oz. chocolate (milk, semisweet, or dark) melted and cooled

Directions :

  1. Make the Ganache Filling: Place the chopped chocolate, heavy cream and powdered sugar in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave on high power until the mixture is warm to the touch, 20 to 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth, then refrigerate until just barely chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.
  2. Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard-size muffin pan with liners. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin pan cups. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon of ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
  6. Make the Frosting: In a food processor, process the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla extract and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 one-second pulses. Frost the cupcakes as desired. The frosted cupcakes can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Notes :

  • The frosting can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 hours before using, or refrigerated for up to 3 days. If refrigerated, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.
  • Regarding timing, what I did to make sure the ganache and chocolate for the cake portion were both in the fridge for the proper amount of time and not longer is I got all my chocolate chopped first, and got both bowls ready to go.  Then I put the ganache into the microwave, and heated my coffee at the same time and got them both into the fridge at about the same time that way.  That way when I took the first out after 20 minutes and finished adding the ingredients to the batter it was the perfect time to take the ganache out to finish up.

Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker


Published in: on October 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dark Chocolate Espresso Pumpkin Bread

Sounds amazing right?  Well it is!!  I almost couldn’t bring myself to bake it because the batter was so good.  Yes, I know I shouldn’t eat raw eggs, but I just can’t help myself lol.  I have always loved pumpkin bread, and then last year I made pumpkin and chocolate chip muffins which I also loved.  So when I saw the addition of espresso in this bread I knew I had to try it.  Problem is I knew my husband wouldn’t want any because of the coffee.  As I have mentioned before he absolutely detests it, and claims even the slightest bit ruins it for him lol.  So I just didn’t tell him.  He did taste it though, and said though he didn’t hate it, the coffee was gross and he didn’t want anymore.  No problem…. more for me!!!!

The bread was nice and moist, and you could taste all the elements from the pumpkin, to the spice, and the chocolate and espresso.  I didn’t have a 70% chocolate on hand so instead I used half a 60% bar and half a 100% bar.  It worked well for an overall flavor, but once in a while I ran into a chunk of the 100% that I didn’t chop small enough and it was a bit weird.  If I didn’t have the 70% on hand I would use the two again, but just make sure to chop it smaller I think.  This took a while to fully bake for me and I didn’t want the top to get too dark so I ended up putting some foil loosely over it during the last half of the baking time (which for me was a bit longer than the longest suggested time).  Unfortunately for me it stuck in my pan in one spot on the bottom even though I buttered and floured it well, but it wasn’t a big deal other than for pictures.  I also didn’t have actual espresso powder on hand, but I had just finished making a batch of cold brew espresso the day before so I just subbed the water in the recipe out for that and it worked perfectly.

Despite my husband’s protests to the coffee in this bread I am definitely going to be making it a lot this Fall.  I may or may not share with friends…. lol


Dark Chocolate Espresso Pumpkin Bread

Makes : 1 loaf

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 T. pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. espresso powder (see note above)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup room-temperature water (see note above)
  • 6 oz. good quality dark chocolate, chopped (60-72%) (see note above)

Directions :

  1. Position rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and oil until well combined. Add in the espresso powder and both sugars and whisk until combined. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, then the vanilla. Add in the water and mix until combined. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, just until combined. Be careful not to over mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 65 to 85 minutes. (mine took 80 minutes) (see note above)
  5. Transfer the loaf pan to a wire rack, and allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Turn out the loaf onto the wire rack and cool completely.
  6. The bread can be stored tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 2 days, or frozen for 1 month.

Recipe from Portuguese Girl Cooks


Published in: on September 19, 2013 at 10:22 am  Comments (3)  
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Lighter Fresh Raspberry Squares

These were absolutely amazing!  I love raspberry, and these were no exception.  They are the perfect balance of sweet, fresh raspberry flavor, and nutty crust that reminds me a lot of my family’s pie crust recipe.  I would eat these whether or not they included the word “Lighter” in their title, but you can think of that as the icing on the cake.  Who doesn’t like to enjoy a fantastic dessert, and know that it’s considered “lighter”!?  This recipe was adapted from Eating Well Magazine.

I did have one little issue though, but I am assuming it was a time thing and not a recipe thing.  I followed the directions for baking time, and noted the slightly jiggly center when taking it out as mentioned in the recipe.  However, once cooled I realized they never really set up all the way.  I think it would have been better to go until they were no longer jiggly, though the crust was starting to brown on the bottom around some of the edges.  That could probably be countered with just baking the crust a little less.  I did so until it started to brown as stated, but you could probably take it out just before and it would be enough.  Or perhaps just turning the convection fan on would be enough, though I tend to not do that when baking because it cooks the top too fast in my oven.  Anyway, the sightly oozy filling didn’t subtract from the flavor or enjoyment of these, it just made them look a little less perfect lol.  I also didn’t have any fresh raspberries to top them off for the picture since I used frozen but that’s optional anyway.  I think it would be nice with a fresh berry on top, but it’s not necessary.


Lighter Fresh Raspberry Squares

Makes : 9 squares

Ingredients :

Crust :

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup ground pecan nuts
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 T. cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 T. canola oil
  • 3 T. butter, softened

Filling :

  • 3 cups fresh raspberries, or frozen
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 T. cornstarch
  • pinch of salt

To Serve :

  • powdered sugar
  • fresh raspberries

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Line an 8″ square baking pan with parchment paper, letting it overhang on two sides.
  2. For the crust : combine flour, ground pecan nuts, powdered sugar, cornstarch and 1/4 tsp. salt in a medium bowl.  Add oil and butter. Using a pastry cutter, blend into the flour mixture until evenly combined. The mixture should be a little crumbly. Firmly press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake until just barely beginning to brown around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. For the filling : While the crust is baking, combine raspberries and water in a medium saucepan. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the fruit is very soft and mostly broken down, 4 to 6 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing on the solids to extract all the liquid. Discard the seeds. Pour the strained juice into a measuring cup. You need 1 cup strained juice; remove any extra or add a little water if you are short. Stir in lemon juice.
  4. Whisk granulated sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl until well combined. Whisk in eggs. Stir in the juice mixture, pouring it slowly into the egg mixture while beating constantly. Pour the filling over the crust.
  5. Bake until just set, 15 to 20 minutes. (The center should still be a little jiggly—it will firm up as it cools.) Let cool to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack, about 1 ½ hours. Gently slide a sharp knife along the edges of the pan that are not covered with parchment paper, and lift out of the pan all in one piece using the edges of the parchment paper. Cut into 9 squares.
  6. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh raspberries, if desired, just before serving. Keep remaining squares in an airtight container (in a single layer) in the fridge and eat within 3 days.

Recipe from Food Nouveau


Published in: on July 16, 2013 at 10:01 am  Comments (2)  
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Key Lime Pie & Homemade Whipped Cream

This is not the unnaturally green pie you get at the store, but a TRUE key lime pie filled with fresh ingredients and flavor.  It’s a bit more work, but so worth the effort.  I was very pleased with how this pie turned out, and I would definitely make it again.  I made this one for some friends, for our dinner party, and it was the first time making this recipe.  Usually I don’t like to take chances, when cooking for other people, on recipes I haven’t tried before, but I am glad I did with this one.

As I mentioned it is a bit of work… especially when it comes to zesting and juicing all those tiny key limes!  I thought my arm would fall off, or that I would grate more of my fingers into the pie than actual zest, but I somehow made it through lol.  I bought one of those green netted bags of key limes, and I wanna say it took about 20-25 to get the full amount of zest, and ALL of them (minus the one I left out for garnish) to get the amount of juice called for in this recipe.  Actually I was a little short, and ended up having to cut up about half a regular lime for the rest.  Whether you have to do it that way or not, I strongly urge you NOT to use the bottled lime juices.  They are so artificial tasting.  Trust me on this, no short cuts!

The other thing I was tempted to take a short cut on was the crust.  A graham cracker crust, though quite simple to make, is somewhat of a struggle for me for some reason.  More often than not I end up with a crumbly mess when I go to serve it, but miraculously this one turned out well and held together nicely.  Because I was concerned though I didn’t even go for a single slice shot when taking pictures.  Not that the first slice ever comes out clean anyway!  I really just didn’t want to make my guests wait any longer as they were already being so patient allowing me to take the few photographs I was able to get (not my best work unfortunately lol).  It’s good that we didn’t wait longer because our power actually went out for some reason after that and it got dark in my house rather quickly.

Finally, making homemade whipped cream…. another labor of love for sure!  I actually don’t recall ever making my own before then, but I really enjoyed it and think I will always do it that when as long as time allows.  We did it the hard way and whipped it up by hand.  Talk about an arm workout!  Guess you don’t have to feel as guilty about eating the pie after all that hard work.  We actually all took turns because my arm was going to fall off otherwise.  Made for some good laughs for sure.  You could of course use a mixer, preferably one with a whisk attachment, but where’s the fun in that?!

Anyway, all that work comes together to make a fantastic pie with a great tart flavor and creaminess.  You will never be able to eat that green garbage from the store again!


Key Lime Pie

Makes : 1 pie

Ingredients :

  • 1 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 2 T. lime zest
  • 1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup key lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • whipped cream for serving (recipe to follow)

Directions :

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Dump the crumbs into a 9-inch pie plate. Press the crumbs in an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake until the crust is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Set aside while you make the filling.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the yolks, sugar and zest with a hand mixer until pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Add in the milk and beat for 2 to 3 minutes more. Add the lime juice and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake until the filling is just set, about 10 minutes. Allow the pie to cool to room temperature; cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Serve with whipped cream.  *Note, I found covering with plastic wrap stuck to the pie which as you can see made it no longer smooth on top, so I put the base of my largest springform pan on top and then wrapped that on with plastic wrap.


Homemade Whipped Cream

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T. sugar or confectioner’s sugar (I used confectioner’s)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions :

  1. In a deep mixing bowl combine all ingredients. 
  2. Using a handheld mixer on medium-high speed (or a whisk), beat until soft peaks form. Makes about 2 cups.

Recipes from picture-perfect meals



Dirt Cake

Throughout the years I have seen multiple versions of this recipe online, even some for variations that resemble Kitty Litter, but this was the recipe my mom used to make and I figure why mess with a good thing.  My husband claims this is his favorite cake, so it was fitting that I made it for him for Father’s Day.  If you have not had the pleasure of having dirt cake, you don’t know what you are missing!  This is especially a big hit with the kids!

Speaking of kids… and I suggest you do this as well… while making this cake I managed to fool my oldest son into thinking it had REAL dirt in it.  Once I got the cookies processed I took them in a bowl outside and announced that I needed to dig up some dirt for the cake.  All he saw was me coming back in with the bowl of “dirt”.  I explained to him that though the cake had a real dessert pudding type filling and gummy worms (because who wants to eat REAL worms?!) it also called for real dirt and that mixed together it tasted really good.  Being a 6 year old boy, he was fairly easily convinced.  Putting real flowers in the cake erased any doubt he might still have had (he didn’t know I used straws to keep them out of the cake).  I am actually quite surprised he tried it lol.  Of course once he had a bite he knew it was cookies.

Perhaps your kids won’t be fooled, but I promise they will love the novelty of this cake as much as the taste and it makes for quite an impressive presentation!  It’s also quite easy to make!  I will list out the things you need to make it look like a real dirt cake, but please know these are optional, and you can certainly  make it and put it in any bowl if you don’t want to bother with the flowers/pot.  For a fun and tasty variation my mom used to make this with chocolate pudding and thin mint girl scout cookies.  And I can say that a lower fat version is still quite tasty if you are trying to watch your calories!


Dirt Cake

Things you will need :

  • flower pot (my pot is about 9.5 inches wide at the top, and about 7.5 inches tall)
  • real or fake flowers
  • if using real flowers straws that fit the diameter of the stems
  • foil or wax paper, or perhaps a bowl that fits inside the pot if you can find one (you just may want something to keep the cake from falling out the bottom of the pot depending on what type you have)

Ingredients :

  • 1 Family Sized Pkg. Oreos
  • 1/4 C. butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 C. powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 12 oz. cool whip, thawed
  • 2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • gummy worms

Directions :

  1. In a large bowl whisk together pudding and milk for a couple of minutes, taking care to get out the lumps and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Add the pudding mix and combine.
  3. Fold in the cool whip and set aside.
  4. Using a food processor, pulse the cookies until they form “dirt”. 
  5. To assemble, place a little dirt at the bottom of the pot (or bowl) and alternate between that and cream until you get to the top, which should be completely covered in dirt so you can’t see any of the cream.
  6. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours to help set.
  7. If you are using fake flowers you can just stick them down in and you’re ready to go.  If you are using real flowers however you are going to need to stick them into the cake using straws.  What I do is stick the straw in, measure where I need to cut it, pull it back out (this is messy so be careful not to disrupt the cake) and then make the cut.  You can likely cut them all to the same length at that point.  I also found it easiest to insert the flower (I used Gerber Daisies here) into the straw before putting it back into the cake.
  8. You could decorate the finished cake with a couple of the worms, but I wouldn’t suggest putting them throughout the cake before serving because they could get soggy.  I usually put a couple in each dish when serving.

Recipe from My Mom ♥


Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Knock You Naked Brownies

If you have already “liked” my facebook page (link on right side of blog) you have probably heard about these and been waiting for the recipe.  I believe I used the word AMAZEBALLS to describe them the other day lol.  Yes, they are a little insane, and perhaps even unnecessarily over the top, but they are seriously the best brownie I have ever had.  The texture of the brownie is perfect, soft and chewy and full of nuts.  Then you get that thick gooey layer of melty caramel with chocolate chips! YUM!!  By the way, I have no idea where the name came from, but I assure you, people will leave their clothes on…. probably!

I was pretty surprised that the brownie portion came from a cake mix, and if you are concerned, don’t be.  I honestly couldn’t tell it had if I didn’t already know.  It sure makes preparation easy though!  In fact, the entire recipe is quite easy to make, and results in not only a delicious brownie, but also an impressive looking one.  I got the recipe from Pioneer Woman, which for those who are unfamiliar is a cooking show about a woman who lives on a Ranch, and cooks for her family.  In the recipe she mentions a 9×9 pan, but I think I watched her use an 8×8 which is what I also used.  You could use either, but she also mentioned that the original recipe called for a 9×13 pan.  If you want a giant thick gooey brownie go with the square pans, but if you don’t have one go for the other.  I cut mine into 9 brownies, and while they were on the “too large” size, I feel like if I had gone for 12 it might have made them even harder to get out of the pan.  It’s not so much that they stick to the pan (as long as you grease it well) as that the caramel layer makes them hard to separate without breaking them trying to get them out.  Just go slow and make sure you slice all the way through and all the way around.

You are going to want to cut into these right away…. DON’T!  They really do need time to set up in the fridge.  So plan ahead for these.  I made them for our Superbowl party, and so I made them the night before and didn’t cut into them until that morning.  Wait to put the powdered sugar on until just before you cut them.  If you can’t wait over night I suggest at least 3-4 hours in the fridge.


Knock You Naked Brownies

Serves : 9-12                          Time to make : 40 minutes + chill time

Ingredients :

  • 1 box German Chocolate Cake mix
  • 1 C. finely chopped pecans
  • 1/3 C. evaporated milk
  • 1/2 C. butter, melted
  • 1/2 C. evaporated milk (additional)
  • 60 whole caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/3 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 C. powdered sugar

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pecans, butter, and 1/3 C. evaporated milk.  Stir until well combined.  Batter will be thick.  Pat it down in bowl with a spatula and cut it in half.
  3. Take one half and press it into a well-greased 9×9 (see notes above) pan and bake for 8-10 minutes.  You just need it to set up, so don’t worry about cooking it longer.  Once done, set aside.
  4. Place your caramels and the 1/2 C. evaporated milk into a double boiler and melt until you get a smooth consistency.  This takes a few minutes.  Pour over the brownie.  Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the caramel.
  5. Take the second half of the brownie dough and place it on a piece of wax paper.  Using your hands, shape it into a square (about the same size as the pan, but just a little smaller because it will expand).  Using the wax paper will allow you to easily turn it over and peel it off so you can place it on top of the caramel and chocolate layer.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top layer looks done.
  6. Allow to cool then refrigerate for several hours.  Before cutting them, generously sprinkle powdered sugar over the pan in a thick layer.  Take care to loosen and cut all the way around brownies before trying to remove them from pan as the caramel tends to stick.

Recipe from Pioneer Woman


Snickerdoodle Cookie Granola Bars

I wasn’t sure if I was going to blog these after messing up the recipe so much, but the results were still very good and I am sure would be even better if made correctly.  In true Monday fashion, I wrote down the ingredients wrong when I was making my notes and ended up putting twice the amount of sugar it called for and only a teaspoon of cinnamon when it called for a tablespoon.  As I said, the results were still very good, but definitely on the sweet side, so using the correct amount of sugar would likely take care of that issue.  My bars did remind me of snickerdoodles, but the additional cinnamon would definitely boost that familiar taste.  My version reminds me a lot of the Cinnamon and Brown Sugar instant oatmeal in bar form.

One thing I can’t be sure of is texture… mine were soft and very chewy/filling, but I have to wonder if they would have been firmer perhaps with less sugar.  Or maybe the opposite, I honestly don’t know.  The recipe I followed describes them as dense and chewy so I think it worked out fine.  The real test is whether they are enjoyable anyway right?  Well my 2 year old sure thought so as he sat at my feet begging for bites of the one I tried lol.  I do hope to try these again soon when my diet will allow and make them the correct way, so perhaps I will come back and add an update with notes on how they turned out.  I’d love to hear from anyone who makes them correctly as well.  Maybe it will turn out that the perfect recipe is somewhere in the middle!

I loved the simplicity of this recipe, and that there was no cooking involved.  I have never made my own granola bars before and now that I know how easy it is I can’t wait to try many other varieties.  I can’t say that they are particularly healthy, and especially not with double the sugar like I used, but they aren’t too bad since they are pretty filling, and they do have oatmeal which is good for you.  You can likely save a few calories on these by using margarine, and perhaps replace some of the sugar with splenda.  The recipe also suggested honey as an alternative to the light corn syrup and, though I don’t know if it’s much lighter in calories, I imagine it is probably more beneficial to your health.  I used the light corn syrup because it’s what I had on hand, and I needed to use it up to make room in my fridge.  One last thing I found was that I didn’t need as much chocolate as it called for to make a nice drizzle across the bars.  I probably ended up using about half of it, but if you like more chocolate go with the full amount.


Snickerdoodle Cookie Granola Bars

Makes : 12                        Time to make : 10 minutes + 2 hours

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 T. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (optional, or to taste)
  • 3 1/2 cups quick oats (I used the Quaker 1-minute oats)
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour, + up to 4 T. as needed
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted for drizzling

Directions :

  1. Line an 8×8 baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  You want the foil to have an overhang so you can easily lift it once your bars have set.
  2. In a large microwave safe bowl combine the butter, syrup and both sugars.  Heat for a total of 3 minutes, stirring at the end of each minute.  You are making a caramel sauce so watch closely in case it starts to boil over, but you shouldn’t have an issue as long as you used a large bowl.
  3. To the sauce add your vanilla, cinnamon, cream of tartar and salt and stir to combine.  Next add the oatmeal and stir to combine.  Add the flour last and a little at a time stirring to incorporate it all.  If after the 3/4 cup of flour your mixture is still sloppy you can add up to 4 T. extra (one at a time).  Mine didn’t need any extra flour.  You do want it moist and sticky.
  4. Press into your prepared pan firmly and evenly.  You can either top with your melted chocolate now or later on each individual bar. (I did it now)  Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set up, or 1 hour in the freezer if you are in a hurry.  Once set, lift your bars out and cut into 12 bars.  Individually wrap each in plastic wrap if you aren’t serving them right away and either store in an air-tight ziplockbon the counter up to a week, in the fridge up to a month, or in the freezer up to 3 months.

Recipe from averie cooks


Chocolate Mug Cake (Eggless)

You may have heard of the mug cake; a single serving cake baked in a mug in the microwave.  I have been intrigued by it for quite some time, but hadn’t gotten around to trying it myself.  I don’t know why, but I have doubts about food cooked solely in a microwave.  As I was browsing through FoodGawker the other day I came across yet another recipe and was convinced by the image I saw… that of a moist, fluffy cake dripping with honey.  Since I am counting calories I didn’t use any honey, but I imagine it would be even better with something on top.  Perhaps even some chocolate syrup!  I just went with a simple powdered sugar embellishment for today.

The cake itself is only good, at least without something to top it off.  However, I know there are countless recipes out there for these cakes so perhaps others have perfected the ingredients for an even tastier cake.  This one though is eggless, which is going to really help keep the calories down for those like me that just want a taste of cake without having an entire cake left over to tempt you for the next few days.  I actually split it with my husband and two boys today so I only got a fourth, but it was just enough to quiet that voice inside me SCREAMING for chocolate on a daily basis lol.  The best thing about this cake IMO is how quick it all comes together.  You can be enjoying a nice serving of cake in a little more than 5 minutes tops!

Today I used mini chocolate chips since that’s what I had on hand, but the recipe didn’t specify.  I do think they worked best though since they sunk to the bottom and made the cake a little hard to get out in one flawless piece (which is no big deal, and doesn’t detract from the taste at all).  I imagine a larger chip would only be worse.  I used a ramekin for mine today because I wanted a wider cake to share with everyone, but any large sized mug would probably work, or even a small glass bowl.


Chocolate Mug Cake (Eggless)

Serves : 1                           Time to make : 5 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 3 T. all purpose flour
  • 1 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 T. chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3 T. milk
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions :

  1. In a small bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt.  Stir to combine and break up any lumps.
  2. In a separate bowl combine milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk with a fork to combine. 
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients stirring until just combined, do not over stir.
  4. Grease a mug, ramekin, or small glass bowl (I used some shortening) and pour in your batter.
  5. Microwave on high for exactly 1 minute, keeping a close eye through the door (don’t open) around 40 seconds just to be sure it’s not going to spill over, though you shouldn’t have any issues.
  6. Allow to cool for a couple minutes before running a knife around the edges and overturning onto a plate.


Double Chocolate Banana Walnut Bread

The best of both worlds!  Banana bread and chocolate, what more could you ask for?  This is a gorgeous bread both in flavor and appearance and is pretty easy to make.  I stumbled upon this on food gawker, and I was amazed at how dark the chocolate must have been to get the bread as dark as they did.  I didn’t quite get it, but I only used ghiradelli cocoa in mine and I am sure there are plenty of other rich dark cocoas available.  If I recall I may have had to bake this longer than stated, but as long as you make sure the knife comes out fairly clean you are ok.

Anyway, my family really enjoyed this, and especially with a bit of marscapone spread on top!  I am glad I found this in my archive of photos so I can make it again now.  There goes that diet I haven’t even started yet!


Double Chocolate Banana Walnut Bread

makes : 1 loaf

Ingredients :

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 stick (8 T.) unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Directions :

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan and place it on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets one on top of the other.  This extra insulation will keep the bottom of the bread from over baking.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  3. Working with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute  until soft.  Add the sugars and beat for 2 minutes more.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each addition.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the mashed bananas.  Add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing only until they disappear into the batter.  Still on low, add the buttermilk, mixing until it is just incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.  Scrape batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 3o minutes.  Cover the bread loosely with a foil tent to keep the top from getting too dark, and continue to bake for another 40-45 minutes (total baking time is between 70 and 75 minutes), or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for at least 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges of the bread and unmolding it.  Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.


Published in: on December 31, 2012 at 12:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Spiced Vanilla Apple Cupcakes with Vanilla Cinnamon Caramel Frosting

Wow, what a mouthful!  And trust me, you are going to want to have a mouth FULL of these!  A while back I made some caramel apple cupcakes, and they turned out good, but I knew they could be better.  After running out of desserts in our house yet again I decided today was the day to play around and see what I could come up with.

Some of the ingredients I used today might not have been my first choice, but I was trying to stick to things I had on hand.  For example, the confetti cake lol…. I would likely use plain white/vanilla next time.  I might also throw in more than the 15 caramels I had on hand, or perhaps even throw in some caramel syrup to really bring the flavor up front and center in the frosting.  Really though, even with the things used everything turned out great, and if I had those things on hand again I would use them in a heartbeat.

These cupcakes don’t rise a whole lot because of the density from the apples  so I recommend filling them fairly full.  When added the cinnamon to the frosting start with a little and add in small increments until you reach your desired amount.  If you are like me and want to save a bit of time, or enjoy a bit of texture in your cupcakes you can leave the apples unpeeled, however I find kids prefer them peeled.  Also, I know most apple desserts call for granny smith apples, but I used some firm golden delicious today and they worked very well, so don’t be afraid to use your apple of choice for this.

Spiced Vanilla Apple Cupcakes with Vanilla Cinnamon Caramel Frosting

Servings : 24 cupcakes                 Time to make : 35-40 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 box cake mix (confetti or white)
  • water, eggs according to box directions
  • 1/3 cup applesauce (or however much oil the recipe calls for on box)
  • 1 1/2-2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 apples, diced 
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • 15-20 caramels
  • 1 T. butter
  • cinnamon to taste

Directions :

  1. Mix cake mix, water, eggs, and applesauce in a large bowl until moist.  Continue on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  2. Add cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, mixing well.
  3. Fold in apple pieces.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake according to box directions.
  5. Allow cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
  6. To make frosting : melt the caramels and butter in a glass bowl in microwave slowly, stirring every 10-15 seconds until smooth.  Set aside and allow to cool a bit.  Once cooled fold into the frosting until smooth.  Add cinnamon to taste.
  7. Fill a piping bag, cut a small hole in the end, and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes.  Then sprinkle a tiny bit of cinnamon on top.

Day 154 : Raspberry Sauce & Raspberry Lemon Shake

I wanted to make a lemon shake and got the idea to add raspberries, but I didn’t just want to throw whole berries into the mix.  A few years ago I created this raspberry sauce I knew would be perfect for this so went ahead and whipped some of that up and then used a bit of it for the shakes.  You will end up with extra sauce, but it is great over ice cream, on pancakes, or drizzled over cake, etc.  Tonight I used sugar free/fat free pudding because it’s what I had on hand, but honestly I HATE them.  I hate that fake sugar flavor and the feeling it leaves on my teeth, so unless you are dieting (and in that case you are likely aware of the issue and it doesn’t matter) I would suggest using the regular version.


Raspberry Sauce

Serves : makes about 1 cup              Time to make : 5 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 1/4 T. sugar
  • 1 T. raspberry preserves
  • 4-5 T. prepared pink lemonade (I just make a glass from the powder and measure from that)

Directions :

  1. Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. 
  2. Push contents through a sieve to remove seeds.
  3. Cover and store in the fridge.

Raspberry Lemon Shake

Serves : 1                 Time to make : 5 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 1 T. raspberry sauce
  • 1 1/2 T. lemon pudding mix (instant)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • whip cream

Directions :

  1. Combine all but the whip cream in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Top with whip cream.


Day 148 : Nutella Iced Coffee

Ok, so I know it’s starting to look like I have a nutella addiction…. and maybe I do, but I came up with this the other night and just had to share it with you all!  Although I enjoy making blended frappes at home with my nifty machine I have been craving just iced coffees lately and have been experimenting with new versions of that.  This is simply YUMMY!  Creamy, chocolatey, nutty, and satisfies both my need for dessert and coffee all at once!

I don’t measure when making my coffees, so below are just estimates.  Feel free to add more or less to your taste.


Nutella Iced Coffee

Serves : 1              Time to make : 5 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1/2 cup strong brewed coffee (I use hazelnut espresso beans)
  • 2 T. nutella
  • 1 T. chocolate syrup
  • ice
  • 2 T. fat free half and half
  • milk (top off)

Directions :

  1. Brew your coffee, then with that combine the nutella, chocolate syrup, and 2-3 ice cubes (helps it to blend) in a blender on high until well mixed.
  2. Fill a tall glass about half full with ice then pour the coffee mixture over top.
  3. Add the half and half and fill the rest of the way with milk.
  4. Stir.


Day 141 : Strawberry Breakfast Crescents

I am supposed to shoot a maternity session today, and so planned a breakfast recipe for the day since I will be pretty busy this evening and into the night.  Of course now the weather is not cooperating at all, and I fear it may have to be postponed, but I went ahead with my food plans anyway.

I found these on key ingredient and thought it was just such a great simple idea!  They took minutes to prepare and the flavor was fantastic.  I want to try other flavors now, and I know Yokes sells some organic natural fruit rolls that would maybe make these even better.  Some of them busted open a tad and the strawberry leaked out, but it wasn’t bad and I think it only made them look better.  I did have quite a bit more glaze than I needed, so you could cut that back or use the rest on something else if you want.  You might even be able to stretch the amount for a double batch of the crescents.

Strawberry Breakfast Crescents

Serves : 4 (2 each)                Time to make : 20 minutes

Ingredients :

  • 1 pkg of crescent rolls (I used reduced fat)
  • 4 betty crocker strawberry fruit rolls
  • 2/3 cup powder sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tsp. milk (I used fat free half and half)

Directions :

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Separate crescents into triangles.
  3. Unroll the fruit rolls and cut diagonally into 2 triangles each.  Place a triangle on each crescent, folding as necessary to ensure it is within the edges and not hanging out.
  4. Roll up crescents as you would normally and place on prepared cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden.
  6. In a bowl whisk together powder sugar, vanilla, and milk to create the glaze.  You may want to start with 2 tps of milk and add a bit more at a time until you get the desired consistency… which should be liquid enough to drizzle but still on the thicker side.  Drizzle over the crescents and serve warm.