Sparkle Princess 3rd Birthday Party!

This year, Avery had enough of an opinion that SHE wanted to pick the theme for her third birthday party. I had the luxury of being in total control of her first and second birthday and honestly thought I’d have a couple of more years to decide party themes, but apparently not! I’m not upset though because doing a sparkle princess theme was actually a lot of fun and gave me a little challenge with the dessert table. I ended up doing Princess Popcorn, White Chocolate Castles, Crown Cookies, Royal Gumballs, Majestic Sixlets and Magic Star Fruit Wands! Oh and her cake was by Affordable Splendor Cakes and absolutely DELICIOUS.

Here are some shots from the day.

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We had such fun at Avery’s party! Can’t believe she’s 3! Love our baby girl!

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German Chocolate Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

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So life has been…busy.  And I have been MAJORLY slacking with Desserted Planet!  Sigh.  Between now having two kids and starting an awesome meal planning side business (more on that later but for now you can check out what I’ve been up to at bhsmealplans.com!) I have just let this little blog go which was not my intention at all so I’m slowly but surely starting to get back into dessert blogging mode!  I won’t be posting every week but hopefully more than once every six months, haha!  And to kick things off, I’ve got a FABULOUS ooey gooey butter cake recipe to share with you all!

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As I’ve said before, I’m only slightly obsessed with ooey gooey butter cake (see examples of obsession here, here, here, here, here and here).  I can still remember the first time I ever had it probably 10 or 15 years ago!  One taste and I was hooked forever.

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With this ooey gooey cake I was wanting to capture the essence of a german chocolate cake and think I managed to do just that!  We ate it with a scoop of vanilla custard on the side and it was divine!  Simple, delicious and totally not good for you but so worth it!

Enjoy!

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German Chocolate Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
 
Ingredients
For the Cake:
  • 1 (18¼ oz) pkg. German Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1 Egg
  • 8 T. Butter, melted
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Filling:
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 Eggs
  • 8 T. Butter, melted
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract vanilla
  • 1 (16 oz) Box Powdered Sugar
  • 1 c. Pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1 c. Sweetened Flaked Coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.
For the Cake:
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cake mix, butter, vanilla and egg until well combined. Pat evenly into the bottom of the pan and set aside.
For the Filling:
  1. Still using the electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs. Dump in powdered sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in melted butter until combined. Beat in vanilla, pecans and coconut.
  2. Pour into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until center is firm. Let cool completely and cut into squares.
Notes
Makes 18-24 bars.

 

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Bakery Review – Wicked Good Cupcakes

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I was recently contacted by the lovely ladies of Wicked Good Cupcakes and asked if I’d care to sample their cupcakes in jars.  Now I will be completely honest and admit that I had never heard of Wicked Good Cupcakes but OF COURSE I’d never pass up on opportunity to try cupcakes!  I will however admit that I had my reservations—cupcakes in jars??  Seemed slightly gimmicky to me and how fresh and delicious could these cupcakes possibly be?  Well, I was about to find out!

To start off, the jars came packaged neatly and securely in a box with four spoons.  They were adorable little mason jars which I was actually excited about because I realized after the cupcake is gone and they are thoroughly cleaned, they are reusable–yay!  So that was an immediate plus.  Now, on to the cupcakes!

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I was sent the three new spring flavors, Strawberry Lemon, Neapolitan, Tiramisu and a bonus flavor, Mr. Wonderful’s Cookie Butter.  I’m just going to get right to the main point–these cupcakes in jars were DELICIOUS.  Even my husband who is not a big cupcake person was loving them and my three year old daughter wouldn’t stop asking for bites!  An amazing combination of the most moist and flavorful cake and creamy, not-overly-sweet frosting in a tiny jar.  They actually tasted fresher than most cupcakes I’ve had from bakeries which was shocking to me!  These were really, really hard to not eat all of each and every jar.

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My absolute favorite was the Strawberry Lemon which is lemon and strawberry cake layered with strawberry jam and lemon buttercream frosting.  Tangy, sweet and just divine.  My second favorite was the Neapolitan which is chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cake layered with vanilla buttercream frosting and sprinkled with some cute chocolate jimmies on top.  Third favorite was Tiramisu which is vanilla cake with layers of coffee syrup, and tiramisu butter cream frosting.  And my least favorite (and my daughter’s new cake obsession haha!) was Mr. Wonderful’s Cookie Butter which was yummy cinnamon cake layered between homemade caramel and cookie butter buttercream frosting topped off with a dollop of Biscoff cookie butter in the center.  Don’t get me wrong, this one was super yummy just not my favorite.  If you love cinnamon it would probably be your top pick though!

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The only thing I noticed about the jars was that there was no description of each flavor like there is on the website and I think it would be nice to read what’s inside the jar when you open it up.  Kind of get your taste buds going before you have that first bite. 😉  As for price they are a tad pricey but you are getting the equivalent of two cupcakes in ONE jar plus a jar to keep!  In my mind totally worth the cost and they would make a fabulous gift for Mother’s Day or just about any special occasion…Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Christmas…or just treat yourself!  Don’t wait, order some today!

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Bakery Review – Grandma Ruth’s in Branson, MO

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My friend Shana had raved many times about a little place in Branson, MO called Grandma Ruth’s that apparently has some of the BEST cinnamon rolls around.  So the first opportunity I got, I high-tailed it down to Branson and stopped into this little hole in the wall cinnamon roll shop!

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The first thing I noticed was the music coming from the room that had the table and chairs where people were eating their treats…it was live music!  A guy with a guitar singing your typical country western tunes and he wasn’t bad!  And there is nothing fancy about this place, just basic tables and chairs in one room and then you enter the next room and it’s the “kitchen” and counter where you place your order.  It’s completely open so you can see all the baking happening and Grandma Ruth herself is sitting there making cinnamon rolls!  Adds a nice personal touch!

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The day we visited they had three kinds of rolls: Cinnamon, caramel and toffee.  We purchased two of each kind and made our way back to the tables and chairs area to eat them.  My favorite was the classic cinnamon followed by the caramel and then the toffee.  These rolls were HUGE, enough for two people to share!  And they were indeed delicious!  Tender, yeasty, not to sweet (ok the toffee was a tad too sweet for me!) and so good, just like you expect a classic cinnamon roll.  My daughter LOVED them and my hubby and I both enjoyed ours immensely.

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If you’re in Branson and looking for some sweet indulgence, these cinnamon rolls are just the thing!

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Chip-Espresso Banana Bread

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I love banana bread but when you throw in deep, dark chocolate and a hint of espresso, something magical happens to this delicious breakfast staple–it gets even BETTER.  This bread was so moist and decadent, I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to my standard banana bread recipe again!  And I love that I get a little extra jolt of caffeine from the chocolate AND the espresso.  Pair it with a mug of steaming coffee and you’re good to go until lunch!

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Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip-Espresso Banana Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Mashed, Very Ripe Bananas (I used 6 large bananas for this)
  • ¾ c., plus 2 T. Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ c., plus 2 T. Packed Brown Sugar
  • ¾ c. Coconut Oil, melted (original recipe calls for butter but coconut oil was all I had on hand)
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temp
  • 2¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 t. Instant Espresso Powder
  • 1½ t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Baking Powder
  • 1½ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray one, 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, beat together bananas, ¾ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, melted coconut oil, vanilla and eggs. In another medium bowl, whisk together flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With mixer on low, add flour mixture to banana mixture and thoroughly combine. Beat in chocolate chips. Pour into loaf pan. Sprinkle remaining 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar on top.
  3. Bake 50-55 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on cooling rack.

 

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A Sweet July 4th!

I can’t believe I’m already writing a Fourth of July blog post!  This last couple of  months have flown with my daughter turning two and having a baby…suffice it to say I’ve baked nothin’ in the last few weeks and don’t have any super-fabulous, totally-original July 4th recipe to share with you BUT I do have some past inspiration from my blog and others that are patriotic AND delicious!  So here are 10 gorgeous red, white and blue desserts that you can feel proud serving this Fourth of July holiday!  Enjoy!

 

Red Velvet and Blueberry Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

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Red Velvet Funnel Cake

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Cherry Star Turnovers

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Easy Flag Fruit Dessert

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Red, White and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies

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Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

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Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

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Firecracker Popcorn

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Easy and Healthy Fresh Fruit Dessert Pizza

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Mini Fruit Tart Cheesecakes

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Best Ever Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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The original title of these cookies is actually Soft & Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies but after making and eating a couple (or 5…) I thought BEST EVER was more of an accurate description.  Because they truly are that good!  And of course this cookie recipe comes from Sally’s Baking Addiction.  I am in love with her cookie recipes.  I really, really am.  Some of the ones I’ve tried and LOVE include:

Soft-Baked Monster Cookies

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles

And then there are these oatmeal raisin cookies.  Typically oatmeal raisin isn’t at the top of everyone’s favorite cookie list, but this one definitely deserves a spot.  The raisins are plump and sweet, the addition of molasses gives it a slightly deeper flavor and the white chocolate chips are the perfect amount of additional sweetness.  This cookie rocks.

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Enjoy!

Best Ever Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. Light Brown Sugar
  • ¼ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 T. Molasses
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 3 c. Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • ½ c. Raisins, soaked in water overnight and drained
  • ½ c. White Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs and mix on high until combined, about 1 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and molasses and mix on high until combined. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Add to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. Beat in the oats, raisins and white chocolate chips on low speed. Dough will be thick and very sticky. Chill the dough for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Roll dough into 1.5" ball and place on baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until very lightly browned on the sides. The centers will look very soft and undone. Remove from the oven and let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will continue to "set" on the baking sheet during this time.
  5. Store cookies in air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

 

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Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott

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My friend Shawna had more than once told me how AWESOME Natasha’s on the Plaza in Kansas City was.  Especially their macarons, apparently the best and I LOVE macarons.  So, when Jeremy and I had a chance to go to a B&B in Excelsior Springs for a couple of days for our fifth anniversary (yay!), I knew that I would absolutely have Natasha’s on my agenda since KC was so close and I wanted to go shopping on the Plaza anyway.  Perfect!

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All I can say is from the time I walked into Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott until the time we left, I was absolutely mesmerized by everything about this little place.  I felt like I was in a little Parisian shop/cafe, surrounded by vintage furniture and picture frames, pristine white walls with pastel accents, gorgeous chandeliers and a little tea bar against one wall.  And the desserts…jars of cookies, bars and marshmallows,  assorted pastries, tarts and little cakes in the pastry case and the most impressive display of macarons I’ve ever seen!

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And the best part…because we were there on Saturday, they had a fresh batch of their massive brioche cinnamon rolls, covered in buttercream.  They apparently only make them on Friday and Saturday which is a shame because if I lived there, I’d buy one every. single. day.  They were TO DIE FOR.  We got one to share and then every flavor of macaron which was 14 different kinds in all.  We thought there was no way we’d be able to eat the whole cinnamon roll but oh my gosh, once we started, we couldn’t stop!  Best one I’ve ever had.  As for the macarons?  Also amazing and probably the best I’ve had.  I liked almost every one (except the maple bacon…I just can’t get into desserts with bacon ick) but Jeremy and I agreed our favorite was the margarita which I wasn’t expecting!

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Our overall rating:  5 out of 5 stars!  This place is a MUST if you are anywhere near the Plaza in Kansas City.  You will be in French pastry heaven!

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S’mores Puppy Chow

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Don’t you hate it when you have a whole blog post written and nearly done and you shut your computer WITHOUT SAVING IT and the next day, BAM!, it’s not there?!  Yeah, me too.  Sooooo, without further adieu, we’re just going to get right to this recipe!  S’mores are everywhere right now because camping is the thing to do (at least in Missouri) and you obviously can’t camp without making s’mores!  But if you’re anything like me and hate to camp but still love s’mores and can’t legally/safely build a bonfire in your backyard, this S’mores Puppy Chow is THE PERFECT thing to make.  It combines the crunchy, addictive goodness of puppy chow with all the decadent components of s’mores.  And it is impossible to keep your hands out of it.  Trust me, I know.  This would be perfect for any July 4th party (yeah, already time to make that menu!)…s’mores without the work and mess but all the flavor!

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Enjoy!

S'mores Puppy Chow
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ½ c. Butter
  • 2 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 9 c. Rice Chex
  • 2 c. Brownie Mix
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 4 c. Golden Graham Cereal
  • 4 c. Mini Marshmallows
  • 2 c. each Semi-Sweet and Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Place the Rice Chex, 2 cups of the Golden Grahams and 2 cups of the mini marshmallows in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the peanut butter, butter and chocolate chips at 20-second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each until completely melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Pour the chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the cereal and marshmallow mixture and stir gently until everything is evenly coated.
  4. Place the brownie mix and powdered sugar in a large paper bag. Add the chocolate/peanut butter/cereal/marshmallow mixture to the bag. Shake vigorously to evenly coat everything with the powdered sugar and brownie mix.
  5. Spread the remaining 2 cups of Golden Grahams out in a single layer on two large, foil-lined baking sheets. Melt 1 cup of the semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup of the bittersweet chocolate chips in a medium bowl in a microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each until completely melted and smooth. Drizzle over the Golden Grahams and let the chocolate dry completely.
  6. Place the puppy chow in a large bowl and add remaining 2 cups of the Golden Grahams with the chocolate drizzle, remaining 2 cups mini marshmallows and remaining 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips. Stir everything together. Eat!
Notes
Makes ???? servings. A LOT. Enough for at least 25 people.

 

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Ice Cream Shoppe 2nd Birthday Party!

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I almost can’t believe that I’m already posting about my daughter’s SECOND birthday party!  It seems like just yesterday I was posting about her Rainbow Sprinkles & Confetti FIRST Birthday Party! This year I had a much easier time coming up with a theme because her tastes and likes are a little more formed now at the age of 2.  😉  And without a doubt one of her most favorite things in the whole wide world is ICE CREAM!  So it was kind of a no-brainer to do an ice cream shoppe themed birthday party!

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There were so many great ideas for an ice cream theme party on Pinterest and I had about 8 or 9 different ice cream themed desserts I was going to do for her dessert table, but in the end I realized my limit (thank God!) and just did two cute little treats along with an ice cream sundae bar and birthday cake.  It was more than enough for everybody!

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Donut hole “melting ice cream cones”!

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White chocolate dipped, sprinkle ice cream cone chocolate cookies.  Yummy!

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We also had an ice cream cone pinata, ice cream cone garland and her very own ice cream shoppe stand!  I tried to keep it as simple as possible and was still really happy with how things turned out.  It was so much fun and she STILL sings happy birthday to herself almost every other day!  Haha!

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The gorgeous cake!

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Blowing out the candles!

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Beautiful birthday girl….happy SECOND birthday Avery Gwen!  We love you SO MUCH!

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Nutella Buttercream Frosting

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I’m currently sitting at home typing this blog post as fast and furious as I can before my kids wake up from their naps.  That’s right I said kids…as in plural, as in I now have more than one!  Our little boy was born at home a little over a week ago on Sunday, May 17th and it’s been non-stop crazy since then.  But in a good way of course. 🙂

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So since I’m pressed for time I’m sharing a super simple, completely decadent buttercream frosting recipe with you today!  I had initially planned on blogging about the whole scrumptious cake you see above but to be honest I was a tad disappointed with how the yellow cake turned out.  Heavy, dense and slightly dry…bummer.  I still think this is the best Yellow Cake recipe I’ve found to date so I’m sticking with that one as my go-to for now.  The Nutella buttercream however was a whole different story.  Not only was it good, it was GOOD.  Forget putting it on the cake, I about made myself sick eating it with a spoon.  But it was so, so worth it.  Try it on homemade Yellow Cake, sandwiched between Chocolate Chip Cookies or even spread over Sugar Cookie Bars.

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Or….just eat it with a spoon.

Enjoy!

Nutella Buttercream Frosting
 
Ingredients
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • ½ c. Crisco
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 c. Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ c. Nutella
  • 1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and Crisco together on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder on low speed until combined. Slowly add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in Nutella until frosting is well combined and smooth. Use on cupcakes, cake, cookies or eat with a spoon.
Notes
Makes enough for a round, 9-inch three-layer cake or 48 cupcakes.

 

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Sinfully Delicious Desserts in Las Vegas

Las Vegas can be a dangerous place for people with sweet tooth’s. Though the city is widely known for its selection of casinos and endless forms of entertainment, perhaps one of the most evil temptations is the food that fulfills every foodie’s fantasy.

The food isn’t deemed as one of the most common reasons for visiting Vegas, and it’s strange to think that some of the best dishes come from casino establishments. It might be peculiar, but there’s an explanation for the need of upscale menus in gambling facilities.

It struck a chord for the gaming industry when the revolutionary online portal InterCasino was introduced in 1996 as it paved a way for regular patrons to gamble without having to leave their homes. Land-based casino operators took it upon themselves to broaden their scope of non-gaming entertainment, inviting international artists to grace their stages with their talent and world-renowned chefs to feed hungry patrons with their latest creations.

For years, Las Vegas casinos have successful reeled in celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Giada De Laurentiis, and Wolfgang Puck, taking casino goers on a culinary adventure with their delectable dishes. But it’s the selection of desserts that truly epitomizes the sin of “Sin City.” By the looks of it, sin seems to follow you from the casino floor to the dessert menu.

Some More S’mores, N9NE Steakhouse at Palms

This dessert isn’t your ordinary marshmallows-graham crackers-chocolate combination. The chefs put an “adult” spin on the s’mores, making their own marshmallows using orange and strawberry Grand Marnier, or hazelnut amaretto, and smearing dark and white chocolate ganache over the graham crackers.

24-Layer Chocolate Cake, Strip House at Caesars

Chocolate cake doesn’t get any better than this Strip House delight. Between the 12 layers of cake is a generous amount of rich chocolate filling, with the outside of the cake covered in a semi-sweet chocolate ganache.

Bamboozled Shakes, Holsteins Las Vegas in The Cosmopolitan

Another dessert for adults are these alcohol infused milkshakes, Holsteins’ signature creations. One of the most popular shakes is the Drunken Monkey, which is a concoction of Reese’s, banana, malt, and Frangelico.

Have you tried any sinfully delicious desserts in Las Vegas lately?

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Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

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I honestly don’t need to say much about this recipe other than MAKE IT.  IMMEDIATELY.  For your own good and the good of all the people you love around you, make these cookies and share them with the world!  Yes, I love them that much.

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Once again, Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction has nailed it with these Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies.  I will admit that at first I was skeptical about putting a Rolo in the middle.  Umm, there’s not much gourmet about a Rolo?  But once you put it in the middle of this super dark double chocolate cookie that is sprinkled with sea salt and it gets all melty and gooey inside…you forget it’s a Rolo and only know you can’t stop eating it!  These cookies are thick and soft and perfect.  Honestly, perfection.  Grab some milk and enjoy!

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, softenend to room temperature
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, rom temperature
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1⅓ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ¼ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 c. Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (or whatever dark chocolate chip you prefer)
  • 35 Rolos, unwrapped
  • Coarse Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the sugars with the mixer on medium speed and cream together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to the wet ingredients. Slowly mix in the heavy whipping cream then the bittersweet chocolate chips. The dough will be thick and sticky. You can chill it for a few minutes at this point but I used mine immediately and had no issues with it.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. Form a 3-inch ball of dough in your hands and then flatten slightly and make an indentation in the middle. Place the Rolo in the indentation and wrap the rest of the cookies around the Rolo making sure to seal well and form into a slightly flattenened ball again. Repeat with the rest of the dough and remaining Rolos. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt before putting in the oven.
  5. Bake for 12-13 minutes. Cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Notes
Makes about 36 cookies. Store in an airtight container.

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St. Patrick’s Day Dessert 2015

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve done a recipe roundup and thought St. Patty’s day would be the perfect time to share some goodies from around the web!  These all look SO good to me and I wish I could make every single one!  Hope they give you some inspiration!

Thin Mint Puppy Chow

 

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Surprise-Inside St. Paddy’s Day Cupcakes

 

Suprise Inside St. Patricks Cupcakes

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies

 

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St. Patrick’s Day Rice Krispie Treats

 

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Thin Mint Brownie Ice Cream

 

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Leprechaun Hat S’mores

 

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Mint Chocolate Fudge Recipe

 

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Thin Mint Truffles

 

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Mint Chocolate Cookies

 

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Thin Mint Brownies with Bailey’s Buttercream

 

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Salted Caramel Sauce

Salted Caramel Sauce

A couple months ago I made some delicious cinnamon raisin bread pudding and homemade eggnog ice cream for our Gourmet Cooking Club and just felt like it needed a *little* something more to send it completely over the top.  I soon figured out that what was missing was Salted Caramel Sauce. Maybe one of the best things ever invented, in my opinion.  I have a pretty tried and true recipe that I’ve always loved but I wanted to try something different and hopefully a bit easier.  I found this recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction and I knew it would probably be awesome because somehow her recipes are always fool-proof and absolutely delicious!  The girl knows what she’s doing.  And this recipe was spot-on delicious and easy to whip up!

My only change I might make was to reduce the salt just a touch, for me it was a bit much.  Contrasted with something very sweet like eggnog ice cream, it didn’t really bother me and was still delicious but I might reduce it to 3/4 t. salt instead of the 1 t. the recipe calls for.  Just my preference!  We also tried this salted caramel sauce over warm raisin oatmeal white chocolate chip cookies with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it was absolutely divine.  I’ll have the cookie recipe soon so be sure and look for that!  In the meantime make a jar of this luscious, creamy, sweet and salty caramel sauce and have it ready and waiting in your refrigerator!

Enjoy!

Salted Caramel Sauce
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 6 T. Salted Butter, cut up into 6 pieces
  • ½ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 t. Salt
Instructions
  1. Heat granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a high heat resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  2. Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Be careful not to burn.
  3. Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add the butter. Be careful in this step because the caramel will bubble rapidly when the butter is added.
  4. Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Very slowly, drizzle in ½ cup of heavy whipping cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble and/or splatter when added.
  6. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow to cool down before using.
  8. Cover the caramel tightly and store for up to 2 weeks (it has been in my refrigerator for over a month) in the refrigerator. Warm the caramel up for a few seconds before using in a recipe.
Notes
Makes 1 cup.

 

 

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Glazed Orange Scones

Orange Glazed Scones 1

Last week at my Bible study someone brought in scones.  Normally scones don’t tempt me but a friend I was sitting with got a plate and brought it over to share.  There were two kinds, blueberry and orange.  Not expecting much I took a bite aaaannnnndddd….hold me back.  These scones were good.  No, not just good, AMAZING.  I initially thought someone in our study had made them but I soon found out they were from Panera!  I haven’t had much from Panera except their soups and sandwiches and of course when bagels were “healthy” a few years ago and I worked in an office that had them on a regular basis in the break room, I stuffed my face happily with the carb-y goodness.  But I had never given their scones a second glance and I now realize that was a huge mistake!  They are simply delicious.  Out of the two, blueberry and orange, the orange was my absolute favorite.  They were both flaky and buttery and not too sweet but the chunks of orange zest along with the delicious orange glaze on top, sent that one over the top in my opinion.

Orange Glazed Scones 2

Orange Glazed Scones 3

So naturally I went home and was obsessed with finding a recipe to duplicate my own Panera orange scone!  I finally came across this one from Love Grows Wild.  Overall this was a great recipe and everyone who tried the scones loved them.  While I thought they were good, they didn’t quite meet my Panera scone standards.  Haha.  The scones I made were more cake-like and a tad on the bland side in my opinion.  I think I was hoping for a lot more citrus flavor and a more crumbly biscuit texture.  However, if you like your scones dense and cakey and not overwhelming sweet, these are the scones for you!  They do go well with a nice hot cup of coffee!

Glazed Orange Scones
 
Ingredients
Scones
  • 3¾ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 6 T. Sugar, divided
  • 1½ T. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1¼ c. Heavy Whipping Cream, divided
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4-5 t. Orange Peel, finely shredded (I used two whole oranges)
Glaze
  • 1½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ⅓ c. Fresh Orange Juice
  • Zest of One Orange
Instructions
For the Scones
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, 4 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter (I grated mine first with a cheese grater) until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine eggs, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoon of heavy whipping cream, vanilla and orange peel. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Using a fork, stir until just moistened and the mixture comes together in a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing for 10-12 strokes or until dough is nearly smooth. Divide dough in half. Pat or lightly roll each dough half into 8-10" circles. Cut each circle into 10 wedges. Place dough wedges two inches apart on baking sheets. Brush scones with remaining two tablespoons whipping cream and sprinkle with remaining two tablespoons of sugar. Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden. Remove from baking sheet onto a rack.
For the Glaze
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla, orange juice and orange zest. Spoon and spread over warm scones (I had enough to do this twice after the glaze dried the first time). Serve warm.
Notes
Makes 20 scones.

Enjoy!

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Lemon Creme Crumb Bars with Toasted Coconut and White Chocolate

Lemon Creme Crumb Bars

One more easy and delicious recipe for Superbowl!  I always tend to lean toward chocolate recipes for the big game but this time decided to go in the complete opposite direction and go with lots and lots of LEMON!  I absolutely love citrus desserts like Key Lime Pie, Lemon Cheesecake, Lemon Bars and Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake, just to name a few.  And these Lemon Creme Crumb Bars can now be added to my list of favorite citrus sweets!

I was craving something similar to the lemon sandwich cookie from the Girl Scouts but these bars blow those sandwich cookies out of the water and beyond satisfied my craving!  The crunchy oat and coconut crust and topping is so buttery and slightly salty with just the right amount of sweetness.  Then there’s the gooey, creamy lemon filling.  Oh.  My.  Word.  It’s similar to the texture of key lime pie filling but not quite as firm.  And just the right amount of real, tart lemon juice.

Lemon Creme Crumb Bar

This is the kind of dessert that isn’t too rich and I could eat 2 or 3 (or 6!) pieces of.  I promise these will be a hit for Superbowl or any party you bring them to!

Enjoy!

Lemon Creme Crumb Bars with Coconut and White Chocolate
 
Ingredients
Crumb Crust
  • 2½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2½ c. Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1¼ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar, packed
  • 3 Sticks Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ c. Sweetened Flaked Coconut, toasted
  • 1 c. White Chocolate Chips
Lemon Creme Filling
  • 2, 14 oz. Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 T. Finely Grated Lemon Zest
  • ⅔ c. Fresh Lemon Juice (5-6 Large Lemons)
  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  • 1 t. Lemon Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Crumb Crust
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, rolled oats, salt and baking soda. Stir in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until no clumps of sugar remain. Stir in vanilla and melted butter until evenly moistened. Stir in toasted coconut. Spoon half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and gently press into an even layer. Stir white chocolate chips into remaining crumb crust mixture and set aside.
For the Lemon Creme Filling
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolks and lemon extract until well blended. Pour mixture over crumb crust in baking pan and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle top evenly with remaining crumb mixture. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, then remove and cut into squares. Store in and airtight container in the refrigerator. Serve chilled.
Notes
Makes 18 bars.

 

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The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar

The title of this recipe does not lie.  These truly are THE BEST chocolate chip cookie bars I have ever had!  My friend made these for a New Year’s Eve party and I became obsessed with them and had to make them!  They are the thickest, softest, chewiest, most delicious cookie bar!  And easy peasy, like 30 minutes start to finish.  Love that!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I almost like them as much as my super yummy Sugar Cookie Bars..almost.  I’m still a sucker for frosting on a cookie.  Which just gave me the idea that putting buttercream on these bad boys might make them the most insanely delicious thing I’ve ever tasted.  Hmmm I’m gonna go try that out right now…

Enjoy!

Recipe Source: So Festive!

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ t. Salt
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter, sugars and vanilla until thoroughly incorporated, about 3 minutes. Add in eggs at low speed.
  3. Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add gradually to butter mixture at low speed until fully incorporated. Add in chocolate chips at low speed.
  4. Spread evenly in pan and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes (mine took about 25) until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely and cut into squares.
Notes
Makes about 18 bars.

 

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Bakery Review – The Sweet Tooth in Blue Springs, MO

The Sweet Tooth

The Sweet Tooth Inside

The Sweet Tooth Bakery Case

Recently the hubby and I went to a B&B in Excelsior Springs for our fifth anniversary and came across this little cupcake shop in Blue Springs, MO called The Sweet Tooth.  When we were there they happened to be remodeling so the place was in a bit of disarray but their cupcakes still looked fabulous and that’s all that matters, right?!  I had read online that their cheesecake was good and cupcakes were REALLY good so I was excited to try both!

Silly Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cupcakse

I chose a plain, mini New York style cheesecake and four different kinds of cupcakes:  Lemon cake with lemon filling and frosting, white cake with white chocolate filling and raspberry buttercream, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and white cake with chocolate frosting.  I will be totally honest and say….that I loved them all!  I don’t know what it was about their cupcakes but they were just soooooooo good.  I can usually take one or two bites of a cupcake and be done but I wanted to eat all of each and every  one of these!

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

The cakes were super moist and the frosting wasn’t overly sweet and the fillings were perfect.  I will say they were some of the best cupcakes I’ve had which I definitely was not expecting!  The cheesecake was also very good.  Highly, highly recommend this little shop!  A must if you are wanting some really delicious cupcakes.

Chocolate Mint Cupcake

 

Black and White Cupcakes

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Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

I almost forgot to post about this super simple and delicious ice cream I made about a month ago.  Thankfully (or not) it’s still in the 90’s around here so not to late to make this cool and refreshing treat!

Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream 2

My favorite ice cream recipe has always been my parents homemade vanilla ice cream.  It’s the no-cook kind made with loads of sugar, cream cheese and lots of other bad-for-you-but-oh-so-delicious ingredients.  However, I just recently discovered ice cream recipes made with tempered eggs and how seriously easy they are.  I love, love, love this Homemade Thin Mint Brownie Ice Cream.  It was the first one I ever made with egg yolks and honestly it was so smooth and creamy, more than a no-cook version.  The same could definitely be said for this Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream.  It’s totally rich with a deep chocolate flavor and hint of guinness beer.  In a bowl or cone or even in a Guinness float, it’s divine.

Enjoy!

Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream
 
Ingredients
  • 7 oz Bittersweet Chocolate
  • 7 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate
  • 2 c. Whole Milk
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 8 Egg Yolks
  • 2 c. Heavy Cream
  • 1½ c. Guinness Stout
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Put the chocolate in a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top.
  2. Warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture in to the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
  3. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer over the chocolate, then stir until the chocolate is melted. Once the mixture is smooth whisk in the cream, then the Guinness and vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
  4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (AT LEAST 8 hour or overnight...very important, I tried mixing mine in my ice cream maker after 5 hours and it DID NOT work. Must chill at least 8 hours.), then churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions and place in freezer to firm up.

Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream 3

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