be better than green

St. Patty’s day is always such a great excuse to make all sorts of sweet treats and tasty drinks, but when I look for a great recipe to make for this holiday the number of cupcakes, cakes, and brownies overloaded with green sanding sugar, clover cut out sprinkles, green oozy icing—-well it begins to look less like food and more like something you found behind your sink when you were cleaning back there that one year. Green is such a great fun tradition, but sometimes maybe we should leave the green on our shirts and let good food look like…good food. I’ve tried out several “drunken cupcake” recipes over the years and this is the cream of the crop. I combined a few different recipes and found that this is the ultimate crowd pleaser–the ultimate moist, chocolate cupcake (which I WILL figure out how to make un-boozy so i can use it all the time because it is perfect and amazing) with the perfect hint of dark, nutty guiness, the creamy bitterness of the ganache filling, perfectly offsetting the perfectly sweet irish cream buttercream that is the ultimate consistency and flavor. Convinced yet? Make it and find out for yourself how delicious these babies are. And if you can find them, top with these perfect liquor filled chocolates.

Continue reading “be better than green”

you’ll go bananas, you’ll go nuts!

This is amazing. I use the term “ice cream” loosely here–this is a 2 ingredient, 2 step, milk free, delicious frozen treat. And as someone who is allergic to milk and who knows a lot of people who are lactose intolerant, this is awesome. It tastes like a banana split and is actually good for you. Bananas and Nutella. Blended and frozen to perfection. I eat ice cream now and then and don’t worry–this holds up to that bar, too.  It scoops out just like icecream and the texture is pretty similar—a mix between icecream and frozen yogurt. I poured it in a big bowl and just scooped out of it every night until it was gone. I’m not even sure my husband got more than a few scoops by me.  So if you want to try it out, don’t come crying to me. Make your own ; )

Continue reading “you’ll go bananas, you’ll go nuts!”

’tis tea time

A cookie by any other name would taste as sweet—or something like that, right? These cookies have so many names and boy did I hear them all when I had them at work and then requested the recipe, made them myself, and dragged them 5 hours and through 1 time zone for a very merry family Christmas celebration. Tea time or wedding time, whatever you choose, these cookies are good. I’ve seen a similar variation in a cashew nouget, which I hope to try very soon. This is a favorite cookie of mine, crumbly and nutty and delicious. Messy in the way only a cookie covered in powdered sugar can be. But don’t worry, the cookies themselves aren’t very sweet so the flavor comes together in a wonderful balance. Possibly a new addition to your Christmas cookie list? Thanks to Peggy for the recipe.

Continue reading “’tis tea time”

nobody better lay a finger on my butterfinger

The classic combo—salty and sweet—come together again. And how better than in cheesecake form! I have recently been enjoying trying out all the wonderful ways to put a twist on traditional cheesecake. Cream cheese is becoming a consistent stock item in our apartment—in icings and cheesecakes, on crackers and in casseroles. And we love neufchâtel cheese, as it tastes the same and has 1/3 the fat. And this recipe is no bake, no stress. Try it out and you’ll find out just how delicious this new twist on an old favorite really can be.

Continue reading “nobody better lay a finger on my butterfinger”

a family tradition

Tradition! (>insert song from Fiddler on the Roof<)  I never really grew up with a lot of deep running family tradition and never thought much about it. We have Grandma’s Orange Stuff at holiday gatherings and Dad had that hideous Santa hat he wore while doling out gifts on Christmas morning (or actually at 11am after cleaning the house, eating breakfast and waiting for everyone else to do the same—-which was excruciating through my younger years, lol). All these were things we had invented over the years but none were by any means deeply rooted. Since marrying my husband, it’s been a lot of fun learning all about his family’s German roots–when his Oma was young her German family helped Jews in the underground railroad. There are traditions like hiding the pickle in the tree where whoever find’s it first on Christmas Eve gets an extra present (yes, I heard about that and had to buy a pickle ornament!) and there’s the bird ornament in the tree for good luck. And every year my husband is most excited to make his very favorite—potato cookies. Something his Grandma makes every year, it’s a combination of nostalgia and just plain good cookie that keep us cranking out dozen after dozen of these babies around the holidays. They taste like sugar cookies but better somehow—the way potatoes pretty much make everything better. Don’t worry, these aren’t savory cookies—-they are anything but. They have a soft middle with crispy edges, with a crunchy sprinkling of sugar on top. This recipe makes a ton, so eat them all or share if you can bear it. And know that you are partaking in a bit of deep rooted holiday family tradition.

Continue reading “a family tradition”

faux dough

This is a recipe stumbled upon on the ever popular pinterest, which is heaven for anyone who likes to look at food, eat food, make food….well you get the picture. My husband and I recently joined a gym and have been getting up to get there at 6am before work. I don’t like breakfast food—give me a cold piece of pizza any day over eggs and sausage—and my stomach is especially never happy about being up at odd hours. I saw these and thought they’d be the perfect pre-workout breakfast snack. Easy to pop one or two, healthy, and I hoped—–yummy. Every once in a while I’ll be inspired by something that sounds healthy and I think about how great it’d be to incorporate it into our regular snacks or meals, and usually it will stick for a week or two and then fade because deep down it’s not as good as the unhealthy stuff (pita chips and hummus are an exception—they have stuck in our lives forever, yum!) Okay so that was the build up—these little things are GOOD. Like pop one or five in the morning and then mid afternoon snack and then after dinner dessert good. I am going to say it and you won’t believe me, but I swear I’m not exaggerating…

Continue reading “faux dough”

cheesecake please-cake

This dessert tops my list of decadent cheesecakes. Coffee often makes its way out of our cups and into our sweets around here, lending to many a late night run to Starbucks for yet more Italian Roast via packets. Most people love cheesecake, but this combination of cream cheese, sugar, Bailey’s, Kahlua, and coffee will make you eat two pieces, lean back in your chair, and moan while you ponder where you’re going to put the next piece. The texture is creamy and smooth, with that wonderful bold coffee flavor. An even coating of cocoa powder to top and this baby is ready for the road. I loved this dessert and will definitely make it again.

The excuse for making this goody was my husband’s boss’s birthday, who happens to be a supreme-ninja-black-card-member at Starbucks (yes, I think that is the official name). For fun, I had my husband swirl a dollop of whipped cream in the middle of the cake and stick a tall, dark green candle in the middle in true Starbucks style.

Continue reading “cheesecake please-cake”

easy strawberry tall cake

This was my first attempt at a real, tall layer cake. I have made a few 2 layer cakes in the past, but normally its cupcakes or cake pops or cookies….and this was fun! There is something very satisfying about carefully constructing a tower of confections. Leveling each cake, spreading layer after layer of icing evenly, stacking one upon another until you think it may fall…and the best part by far is slicing into it and revealing the flavors inside that you can’t see. This cake is excellent for beginners as I am going to give you the easy bake oven version, and those of you who choose to may gourmet it up with made-from-scratch cake and homemade whipped cream. This is technically 2 cakes in 1, and each slice of cake must be cut thin or else you will have honkin’ big pieces. But luckily this cake is incredibly light and fresh. My coworkers were sure the pieces were too big, but it eats easy because its not covered in heavy icing. If you aren’t a pro cake baker but want to impress your friends or make someone feel special on their birthday, try out this cake. It’s delicious!

Continue reading “easy strawberry tall cake”

brown butter is better

These little ghoulish treats were a last minute design on a recipe I knew I had to make. I have recently discovered the amazing, magical thing that happens to butter when you over cook it (not over over cook). It makes a pleasantly caramel colored, rich and nutty flavored syrup that is just right in a fall meal or dessert. I have not so recently discovered my love of brown sugar in all its molasses-y glory. So to combine these two flavors into a Halloween treat was a no brainer. Don’t let the exterior fool you, these are not just a Halloween treat. Try them out for anytime of year, with a nice big swirl of what can only be described as my favorite flavor of icing (so much left over….I kept sampling and sampling until I was convinced I had to throw the rest away…>tear<). The pairing is definitely one of my favorites.

Continue reading “brown butter is better”

my sweet pumpkin

This is a particularly special post. I didn’t make this recipe. I fully intended to…I found this awesome sounding pumpkin fudge recipe, waited for the occasion to make it, gathered the ingredients, and got it in my head to do it one specific evening. What happened that evening I cannot remember much of, as I fell asleep on the couch at about 9:30 (call me grandma!) and not much else mattered after that. I vaguely remember being in and out of sleep, enough so to answer my husband’s “is this recipe hard?”s and to nod convincingly in response to his “don’t worry about the smell, it’s just a little smoke”. I woke up in the morning excited to see how it had come out—it looked good and tasted better. I felt like a Dad at the tee ball field watching his son hit a homer. My husband doesn’t cook much, for the simple reason that I like to so I do. I found it to be cute. Only to be made cuter by maybe wrestling him into my apron while he does it…..hey, a girl can dream. Back to the recipe—-it’s pumpkin but not overwhelmingly so, more of a spice fudge, with chunks of yummy nuts. Not a sludgy fudge, but the crumbly kind. It was our first stab at fudge and I liked it. Probably more so knowing that my sweet husband let me sleep while he was hard at work in the kitchen for a change : )

Continue reading “my sweet pumpkin”