2012 Baking Resolutions

Photo courtesy of We Take the Cake.

I decided it would be a good idea to come up with some baking resolutions for 2012.  Just like with any other resolutions, I wanted to write them down and make specific goals.  Here’s what I came up with.

1.  More International Desserts.  Since my blog is titled Desserted Planet, I decided it would be fun to incorporate more desserts from around the globe.  My goal is to do one per month and I can’t wait to start with one that I’ve been meaning to make for a couple of years now, Brazo de Mercedes.  It’s a Pilipino treat that was introduced to me by my brother-in-law and his family (who are from the Philippines).  It’s a type of rolled cake (sometimes referred to as jelly roll) made from a sheet of soft meringue with custard filling, sometimes flavored with lemon.  It was love at first bite for me.  I can’t wait to try my hand at it.

2. More Classic Desserts.  I often get asked if I have great recipes for classic desserts such as Coconut Cake (see pic above), Pumpkin Pie, Carrot Cake, etc and I’m ashamed to say that I’ve not made a good deal of classic, tried and true dessert recipes.  That’s going to change!  I’ll be incorporating one per month from here on out.

3. More Challenging Desserts.  In other words, I can’t just throw it in a pan, shove it in the oven and BAM!  It’s done.  Now I do love those kind of recipes (and there are many good ones), but I want to stretch myself just a bit and try things that require a little more patience and methodology.  I’m thinking more French pastries, baklava, soufflé, etc.  Again, one each month.

4. More Healthy Desserts/Baked Items.  I LOVE healthy baking.  I know, shocker.  But I used to do a lot of healthy baking and love the challenge of finding suitable, all-natural substitutes for uber sugar-laden and fat-heavy sweets.   I’ve already got one under my belt, my Healthy Banana Bread, and plan to do lots more, think desserts, breads, muffins, etc…one recipe each week!  I’m very excited about this.

Did you have any New Year’s resolutions??  Baking or otherwise?  I’d love to hear them!

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White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Well now that Christmas and New Year’s is behind us it’s on to the next holiday–Valentine’s Day!  There are so many cute things to make and bake for Valentine’s Day it’s really hard to know how to choose or where to start. But, I had seen these cookies on Pinterest and the ingredients alone made me want to make them immediately.  I have a thing for cherry-almond anything.  And cute, pink baked goods.

Speaking of pink, you can’t make much for a holiday that is trademarked in pink and red without using UNGODLY amounts of  dye.  And these cookies are no exception to that but you could always omit the dye and bring in the color with the sprinkles and sugar…at least it cuts back on the unnatural ingredients a little.

These were supposed to be a shortbread cookie but the dough was so incredibly dry I just couldn’t resist adding more liquid, plus I wasn’t happy with the flavor and wanted to amp up the cherry and almond in it.  They might not have quite the crumbly shortbread texture and actually more closely resemble a soft sugar cookie, but these cookies are AMAZING.  Jeremy and I could have eaten them all and according to him they are the best cookie I’ve ever made and I never need to make him a birthday cake ever again, just these cookies.  Done.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from BHG

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Cold, Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. Maraschino Cherries, drained, squeezed (somewhat) dry with paper towels and finely chopped
  • 11 oz. White Chocolate Chips
  • 3 t. Almond Extract
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla
  • 6 T. Cherry Juice, reserved from the maraschino cherries
  • Pink or Red Dye
  • Sprinkles, sanding sugar, etc for decor
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender or two forks (I actually prefer to use my fingers), cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained and chopped cherries and ⅔ cup of the white chocolate chips. Stir in the cherry juice, almond extract, vanilla and food dye. Knead the mixture a bit to get it into a more cohesive mass. Pinch off a chunk of dough and form a ¾-inch ball. Place on the cookie sheet and press down slightly with a drinking glass that has been dipped in granulated sugar.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes (mine took 12 minutes exactly) or until the centers are set. Do not overbake. Cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  4. In a small bowl, melt the rest of the white chocolate in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each. Dip half the cookies in the melted white chocolate and decorate with sprinkles, sugar, etc. Place on foil and let dry completely.
Notes
For a thinner white chocolate coating, use use white chocolate candy melts. That's what I will use the next time.

 

 

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Cupcakes on Etsy

I know I post ALOT about cupcakes but they are everywhere these days and trust me, if there was something even half as cute, I’d gladly blog about that but I have yet to find something as dainty and adorable.  So that being said…I LOVE these cupcake items from this seller on Etsy.  Almost everything is cupcake.  Just wanted to share the cuteness!

Hope everyone has had a great weekend!

Cupcake Wine Stopper.  I need these.

Cupcake Ring. Fashionable and delicious.

Cupcake Drawer Knobs.  I am so very tempted to replace all the knobs on my kitchen cabinets with these.  Don’t think Jeremy will go for it though…

Cupcake Kitchen Timer.  Soooo cute.

 

 

 

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Cupcakes…from Walgreens?

Yes, you read that right.  Walgreens now sells cupcakes under the name Good & Delish.  Jeremy and I were in this past weekend when we saw them and our curiosity was piqued.  I mean, isn’t buying a cupcake from Walgreens the equivalent of buying one at a gas station?  I mean, you just don’t do that!  It’s cupcake SIN.  But, we had to try these.  I was curious about the claim that they were “all natural” and was certain they would be just downright horrible.  So, I picked out three at $1.99 each and off we went to try them at home.

First up, Strawberry.  It was indeed all natural, deriving the strawberry flavor and pink color from beet juice.  My first impression of this cupcake was that it was HUGE.  Way bigger than a normal size cupcake.  My second thought was…”hmm, this isn’t bad”.  I mean, it was actually…gulp…good.  Yes, I know!  It’s cupcake sacrilege but the vanilla cake was actually VERY dense and moist and honestly good!!  The “strawberry” flavored frosting tasted more like cranberry or some other slightly indescribable berry, which wasn’t horrible, just not strawberry. And don’t be fooled by the little dollop of frosting on top; there is a tunnel of frosting down the middle.

On to the second one, Red Velvet.  Ummm, it was good too.  Not out of this world amazing, but in a pinch, it would curb that craving you have for something sweet and is far superior than something you’d pick up from Wal-mart.  Although this one was labeled “All Natural Flavors” due to the red dye in it.  Ah, details.

And last, Tuxedo.  Ok, get ready for this people…I really, REALLY liked this one.  Jeremy and I both agreed it was our favorite. It was a dark chocolate cake that was honestly soooo good.  Very rich and super moist (how do they do that?!?) and the cream cheese frosting was yummy as well.

Oh, and this is a Black Cherry drink under the same label, that Jeremy just had to try.  Again, very good.  Awesome cherry flavor and it was lightly carbonated.

Needless to say, we were impressed.  Seriously, I can’t believe I’m saying that!!  I totally expected these to be the WORST cupcakes ever but that was not the case at all.

So, if the urge ever hits you around 2 a.m. for a cupcake, now you know where to go!

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Dessert Trends of 2011

Looking back on the world of pastry in 2011, it was a pretty good year.  But there was some not-so-good mixed in according to a few food critics.  What made the list of good and bad??  Find out now!

Up first…cake pops!  While cupcakes are the number one sugary obsession with just about every living, breathing human being, cake pops came in a close second during the past year.  People call these things crack on a stick and eat them like they truly are!!  Personally, I prefer my cake and frosting separate and in layers.  But that’s just me.  Read more about the “worst” food trends (including cake pops) here.

Hello Kitty Cake Pops by Bakerella

Also noted in the aforementioned article, savory sweets.  Cheese and bacon cupcakes??  Salami flavored marshmallows?!  Umm, no thanks!  While there is a place for a touch of savory at times (think bacon maple cupcakes or beer infused baked goods), there’s a fine line between good and gross.

Jalapeno Bacon Cupcakes by mybakingheart.com

Speaking of beer, it became very trendy to use it in baking as noted by Serious Eats.  From beer brittle to these beer and pretzel caramels, it looks like it will be making more appearances in baked goods in the future.  And I have nothing against that.

Beer Pretzel Caramel. Image Courtesy of Serious Eats.

Serious Eats also noted the macaron trend, perhaps my most favorite of all cookie sandwiches.  This is a trend that I hope continues to grow.

French Macarons. Image courtesy Serious Eats.

Finally, a trend in Miami that some there wish would disappear…mini cupcakes.  They don’t like them.  Not one bit.

Mini Cupcakes from thecupcakeblog.com

So what do you think about these trends??  Do you agree with the critics?  I think overall 2011 was a pretty good year for desserts and I definitely can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store!

 

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Easiest, Yummiest (Healthy!) Banana Bread

 

Happy New Year!!  I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!  I’m sure that you celebrated to the max and are now on to thinking about all those New Year’s resolutions, one of which is most likely to lose weight.  Now, that’s all good and everything and I believe in you, I really do, but don’t go thinking dessert can’t fit into a healthy diet…in moderation, of course!  I mean, you have to have a little treat every now and then or else you’re bound to get so deprived that one day you snap and go to the nearest gas station, raid the candy bar aisle and have a total diet meltdown inside the confines of your car in a very dark parking lot somewhere and find yourself buried in a heap of wrappers and half-eaten Snickers…

Ummmm, ok.  Ahem.  Where was I??  Oh yes!  New Year’s resolutions.  I am not going to go totally health conscious on this blog but do want to support all of you out there in your healthy eating endeavors and in order to do so, I am making my very first post of the new year an uber-healthy one!  This banana bread is seriously delicious and seriously healthy.  I don’t mean low-fat, low-calorie healthy (although it is that also), I’m talking about chalked full of NUTRITION healthy.  There is ZERO oil in this bread and a healthy dose of Greek yogurt which is packed with tons of protein.  I also used wheat bran, thick cut oats and white whole wheat flour to give it some extra fiber and nutrients.  The edges got just a little well done, as you can see, but the bread turned out fabulous and I’ll definitely make this a staple in our household.

Enjoy!

Easiest, Yummiest, (Healthy!) Banana Bread
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. White Whole Wheat Flour
  • ½ c. Thick Cut Oats
  • ½ c. Wheat Bran
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Salt
  • ½ t. Cinnamon
  • 1 Large Egg, plus 1 Egg White
  • ½ c. Fat-Free Greek Yogurt
  • 1⅓ c. Mashed, Fully Ripe Bananas (3 bananas)
  • ¾ c. Honey
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, wheat bran, oats, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. In a large bowl, stir together egg and egg white, honey, vanilla, Greek yogurt and bananas. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and stir until just moistened. Pour into loaf pan and sprinkle with oats.
  3. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely.
Notes
Serves 16.

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Gingerbread Cheesecake

Please excuse me for a moment while I declare this THE. BEST. CHEESECAKE. RECIPE. EEEEEEVVVVVERRRRR.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way…I made this cheesecake the other night with my friend Nicole.  She wanted to make it for her family for Christmas and I am SO glad she did.  It’s truly amazing, super creamy, has THE BEST gingerbread flavor and  is heavy on the molasses which I love!  And I have a newfound faith in water baths..we actually used one, after my ranting and raving that I didn’t think they actually made a difference.  Well, they DO.  There was not even a hint of a crack on the top of the cheesecake and I really believe it contributed to the creaminess of it.  Just divine.  Perfect if, say, you have a party this weekend…there might be a couple happening.  Just maybe.

(Recipe from Cooking Pleasures Magazine)

Gingerbread Cheesecake
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 2 c. Finely Ground Gingersnaps
  • 6 T. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 T. Granulated Sugar
Filling
  • 4, 8 oz. packages Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • ½ c. Sour Cream
  • ½ c. Molasses
  • 2 t. Ground Ginger
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Ground Cloves
Topping
  • 1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla
  • 1 T. Rum (optional...but recommended)
Instructions
For the Cheesecake:
  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and wrap outside of pan with a couple pieces of heavy-duty foil.
  2. Combine all crust ingredients in a medium bowl. Press into bottom and halfway up sides of springform pan. Refrigerate while you make the rest of the cheesecake.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and both sugars until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add all remaining filling ingredients and mix until combined. Pour into crust.
  4. Place pan in a large baking or broiler pan. Add enough water to baking pan to come a couple inches (no more than halfway) up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until edges are puffed and top is dry to the touch. Center should move slightly when pan is tapped but should not ripple as if liquid.
  5. Remove cake from water bath; Remove foil. Cool on wire rack 1 hour. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
For the Whipped Cream Topping:
  1. Beat heavy whipping cream in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Beat in powdered sugar, vanilla and rum. Spread over top of cooled cake.
Notes
Serves 20

Nicole mentioned, and I agree, that even though we cooked it for an hour and a half (five minutes longer than the recipe called for), it could have probably used another 5-10 minutes.  So, use your judgement.

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New Year’s Eve Cupcakes

Yes, cupcakes. Again.  People love them, there’s absolutely no denying that.  When I first started researching for this post, I wanted to do cupcakes that were themed and decorated for New Year’s Eve but man, the selection and variety was abysmal!  So instead of coming up with (and making) something cute and clever myself, I opted for Plan B:  Boozy Cupcakes.

Are cupcakes and liquor a match made in heaven? Most certainly.  I love any chance I get to throw alcohol into my desserts and these cupcakes are an absolutely legitimate excuse to do just that.  So, for the guests at your New Year’s Eve party that love cupcakes and would rather eat their alcohol than drink it (or do both), whip up one or two of the cupcakes below…maybe create a cupcake “bar”??  I think that’s one bar-tending job I could handle!

 

White Chocolate Champagne Cupcakes

Stout Cupcakes

Cherry Amaretto Cupcakes

 

Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

Mudslide Cupcakes

 

Jack and Coke Cupcakes

 

Margarita Cupcakes

Red Wine Cupcakes

 

Chambord Cupcakes

Cupcake “Shots”

 

 

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Mini Doughnut Muffins

Another recipe to add to your mini dessert collection!  Well, I suppose these are actually classified as breakfast but seriously, let’s be honest…this is DESSERT.  A really, really, delicious, cinnamony, sugary, cakey, yummy dessert!  These taste just like a cake doughnut, minus the frying part so I suppose you can feel not *quite* as guilty eating one or two or four.  They are mini after all.

I chose to do half with cinnamon sugar and half with strawberry jam and powdered sugar and they were both delicious.  The batter was VERY thick which worried me a bit as I was spooning it into the mini muffin tins but much to my pleasant surprise these turned out super tender and like I said before, just like a cake doughnut!  I’m thinking this recipe would be perfect for my doughnut pan.

Add this recipe to your New Year’s Eve desserts menu!  Think about serving them with small mugs or shot glasses of milk at the end of the night.  Perfect end to a night of partying.

(Recipe adapted from Blue Ribbon Cookbook)

Mini Doughnut Muffins
 
Ingredients
Doughnut Muffins
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2½ t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Salt
  • ½ t. Ground Nutmeg
  • 10 T. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ¾ c. plus 2 T. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla
  • ¾ c. Whole Milk, at room temperature
  • 2 T. Buttermilk, at room temperature
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
  • 8 T. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 T. Ground Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2, 24-cup mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the milk and buttermilk.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time until just combined. Beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in ⅓ of the flour mixture until combined and then half of the milk mixture. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until incorporated. Do not over mix.
  5. Fill the prepared muffin cups just to the rim with batter, about a spoonful. Bake, one pan at a time, until lightly golden and firm to touch, 15 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  6. While the muffins cool, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a large, resealable plastic bag. Brush each muffin generously with melted butter. Place a few muffins in the bag with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Shake well to coat the muffins. Repeat with remaining muffins.
Notes
-For Jelly Doughnut Muffins, I omitted the nutmeg and filled middle of the doughnut muffin with strawberry jam before baking and shook in a bag with powdered sugar after they had cooled. You could also fill them with jam after baking, with a pastry bag and small tip. -Makes about 40 doughnut muffins.

 

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New Year’s Eve Party Mini Desserts

I have been in love with mini desserts for years.  They are just so darn cute and the fact that you don’t have to pick just ONE dessert but can in fact try several, due to their tiny size, is just awesome to me.  I love them so much that I actually used to cater desserts and only did miniature sizes.  It was so much fun and sometimes I really miss planning dessert tables for weddings or parties with loads of colorful, bite-size desserts!  Thank goodness for the holidays when I can unleash my creative baking skills (obsession?) on all my family and friends!

So, I thought what would be better for a New Year’s Eve party than mini sweets?!  Finger foods are VERY popular for New Year’s Eve parties and these desserts stay right with that theme.  Some of these are super easy (2-3 ingredients), which is great since you have no doubt been in the kitchen waaaayyyy too much between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Also, another way to make easy miniatures is to bake up a normal 9×13 pan of brownies, blondies, cake, etc. and cut them small with a knife or fun-shaped, small cookie cutters or take any regular ‘ole cookie recipe and just make smaller than normal cookies (be sure to cook them for less time!).  Ok, let’s check out some other awesome tiny goodies from around the blogosphere:

First up, Mini S’mores Cakes.  How cute are these?!  Get a lot more mini ideas from Delish here.

I LOVE baklava.  Love it.  It was the one thing I was looking most forward to indulging in over the Christmas holiday. I’ve actually made Baklava Cups before and they are super good and MUCH less labor intensive than the traditional way.  See more ideas from Women’s Day here.

Mini Oreos.  Yum.

Mini Ice Cream Cookie Pops. How fun!  However, if you’re afraid of the ice cream melting before people can scarf them down, try it with buttercream frosting.

I love these Mini Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats.  Rice Krispie treats are sooo classic and just plain good.

Banana Split Bites.  Delicious and gorgeous.

Vanilla Bean Baby Doughnuts.  Perfect after a night of imbibing.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.  One of my favorites.

Poptarts on a stick.  Totally awesome.  AND easy.

These Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes look soooo rich and decadent.  Pure bliss.

Cut these yummy Red Velvet Brownies super small for bite-size treats.

These Lindt Mini Chocolate Trifles are adorable.  Use some larger shot glasses for the cups and think about switching up ingredients…caramel sauce for the fudge, brownies for the cookies, etc.

I have been making Brownie Tassies forever.  The only thing I do differently is top them with coffee buttercream and toasted, slivered almonds.  People will go nuts over these.

Ummm, excuse me but this Chocolate Covered Bacon Caramel Popcorn is dangerous.  Dangerous I tell you!!  And I am SO going to make it.

These Mini Cherry Pies are just down right pretty.  And begging to be eaten.

I love the playfulness of this Gumdrop Fudge.  Very festive and party appropriate.  Not to mention easy.  We like easy!

Well, hopefully this gives you some inspiration for whatever crazy New Year’s party you may be hosting or attending.  Tomorrow I’ll have my own recipe for Mini Doughnut Muffins!

 

 

 

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All I want for Christmas…

I must have been a VERY good girl this year because I got some of the most wonderful gifts ever this Christmas!  Here is a little roundup of some of my favorites…

My friend Nicole got me this soft, lovely. pink cupcake blanket.  I was thrilled to get it and have been using it every night!  She also got me this Hello Kitty with a cupcake for my birthday back in July so I’d say she knows what I like quite well.

My sweet niece Joslyn got me this absolutely awesome set of earrings.  There are cupcakes, spoons and baking pans!  I LOVE these earrings so much.  I’m seriously considering getting two more holes on each ear just so I can wear them all at the same time!

And last, this ABSOLUTELY AMAZING cupcake Scentsy!!!  My sister-in-law got this for me and I was SO surprised and excited because I had seen this at a local apple festival waaaaayyyyy back in September and wanted it so badly but didn’t get it.  She obviously was paying attention.  I even got some cupcake scented wax cubes to go with it.  Fun!

Overall we had a great Christmas and had so much fun with our families.  I’m always sad to see Christmas come to an end but if it wasn’t just once a year it wouldn’t be quite as special.

I hope you all have a lovely holiday week and New Years.  This week I’ll be posting some fun dessert ideas for your New Year’s party and I’ll also have a blog post looking at 2011’s dessert trends (good and bad) and what’s predicted in the world of sweets for 2012.  Stay tuned!

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Orange Slice Cake

I just had to get in one last recipe before Christmas is over and this cake was the perfect one to share.  This is a cake that my Grandma used to make and I first had it a couple of years ago when my Aunt Tammy made it for a family get-together.  Can I just say, this cake totally blew my mind?  I kid you not.  It was so incredibly moist and bursting at the seams with all kinds of good stuff…dates, coconut, orange slice candy and pecans.  It had an orange glaze all over it that had soaked into the cake and made it out-of-this-world amazing.  AMAZING.

I started craving it a couple of days ago.  At first I tried to ignore the craving, telling myself I already had enough to make and bake, but it just got more and more persistent.  So I thought ok, I’ll see if I can find the recipe, but no such luck. Not meant to be.  And then my mom emailed me a recipe for Orange Slice Loaf.  Hmmm, that might work.  But before I settled on that one I hopped onto allrecipes.com and sure enough, found a recipe for an Orange Slice Cake. I figured between the two recipes, I could probably come up with something VERY similar to my grandmother’s.  So I finally gave in, went and bought everything and made the dang cake!  How did it turn out?  Umm, awesome.  If I do say so myself.  Just like Grandma’s!

Now the good thing about this cake is that it gets better with time as it sits in the fridge and soaks up all the orange glaze goodness, so if you make it now, by the time Sunday rolls around it will be complete and total perfection!  Give it a try, I think you’ll love it!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Orange Slice Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla
  • 4 c. All-Purpose Flour, divided
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1½ c. Buttermilk
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 2 T. Orange Zest
  • 1 lb. Orange Slice Candy, chopped (I used my kitchen scissors to cut each piece into 4 small pieces)
  • 1 lb. (2 c.) Dates, finely chopped
  • 2 c. Sweetened Flaked Coconut
  • 1½ c. Pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1 c. Orange Juice
  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in the buttermilk and set aside. Whisk together 3½ cups of the flour and the salt. Add the flour to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the orange slice candy, coconut and dates. Toss with ½ cup of the flour. Add to the batter and thoroughly combine. Fold in chopped pecans.
  4. Pour the batter into the tube pan. Bake for 3 hours. Whisk together the orange juice and powdered sugar. Heat the juice mixture for 30 seconds in the microwave just before applying to the cake. As soon as the cake comes from the oven, poke a few holes in it with a chopstick or other pointy object and begin spooning the orange juice mixture over the cake. It will take several times of spooning it over the cake for it to soak in. Just apply some of the juice, let it soak for a few minutes and then do more. Let the cake cool completely and then put in the fridge until ready to serve.
Notes
Serves 18

 

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A Vintage Christmas

I am so in love with this pretty, pastel vintage Christmas dessert table.  If only I had time to squeeze in another Christmas party before this weekend, I’d so do this.  For now I’ll just have to be happy with looking at these pictures…over and over and over again.

 

If you’d like to see more of the photos, you can check them out here.   Hope everyone is having a great week so far!  Only a couple days until Christmas!

 

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Festive Holiday Punch Recipes

Here are some great punch recipes that would be appropriate for either Christmas OR New Year’s.  Any of these would be a nice change from the same old mug of cider or glass of champagne you’d normally serve.  The coffee punch is soooo good…I will never forget the first time I had it at a bridal shower and thought “what IS this?!”  I immediately obtained the recipe (as I’m sure everyone else at the shower did) and occasionally get the urge to make it for myself.  Yes, just for me, no special occasion or party or whatever.  But I haven’t done that…yet.

Hope you find one you love!

Ultimate Eggnog Punch

Coffee Punch

Christmas Cinnamon Punch

Peppermint Eggnog Punch

Milk Punch

Citrus Champagne Punch

Mocha Nog Punch

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A Candy Cane Christmas

Nothing is more symbolic of Christmas than a candy cane and peppermint has been one of my favorite flavors for as long as I can remember.  I’ll never forget taking trips to see my Grandma who lived in Kansas City around the holidays and there was a little ice cream shoppe that had the most amazing hand-dipped candy cane ice cream.  I could hardly stand the three-hour drive from Springfield to KC in anticipation of that peppermint, creamy, frozen goodness!  Such a good memory.

So, I went searching for some awesome peppermint recipes and found so many, I almost didn’t know when to stop!  But I did manage to stop and I have quite the selection to share with you!  Not only are these desserts GORGEOUS but they are chocked full of peppermint goodness.  Make one of these for your holiday gathering this weekend!

 Layered Peppermint Cheesecake Cake

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cheesecake

Peppermint Crunch Truffles

Peppermint Meringues

Peppermint Brownies

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Peppermint Whoopie Pies

 

Candy Cane Cake Pops

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Cake

Chocolate Peppermint Roll with Chocolate Ganache

Peppermint Ice Cream

Peppermint Mocha Kahlua Truffles

Vanilla Peppermint Cupcakes

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Eggnog Fudge

I FINALLY had candy making success last week–yessss!  Lately, things have been a little rough in the kitchen and I have no idea why…maybe doing too much at once or not having enough time, but for whatever reason, my candy making had been very, very sad.  But with this latest recipe for eggnog fudge, I have regained my confidence!  Yay!

I happened to see that Brown Eyed Baker had posted this recipe earlier in the week and decided to make it for my husband’s office Christmas party on Friday night.  I made it Friday morning since the instructions said to let it sit overnight and it was actually totally set up by noon, in about four hours.  I also had a little trouble with the directions, as my fudge reached the temperature  waaaaayyyyy before the stated time of 8-10 minutes.  So I have my version of her recipe in this post, but if you’d like to go by the original, you can find it here.

Oh and I should mention that the day I made this it tasted very much like white chocolate to me and not as eggnog-y as I had hoped but by the next day the flavor was awesome and tasted JUST LIKE eggnog.  Totally yummy.  Try this recipe for creamy, rich eggnog fudge…you will LOVE it.

Enjoy!

Eggnog Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ c. Eggnog
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • 11 oz. White Chocolate Chips (I chopped mine to allow for quicker melting)
  • ¼ t. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1, 7 oz. Jar Marshmallow Creme
  • 1 t. Rum Extract or Pure Vanilla (which is what I used)
Instructions
  1. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and let it hang over the sides, creating "handles". Butter well and set aside.
  2. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, eggnog and salt over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, immediately and quickly stir in the chopped white chocolate chips, nutmeg and vanilla until melted and smooth. Stir in marshmallow creme. Beat until blended and then pour into prepared pan. Let stand at room temperature until completely cool and firm.
  4. Using the foil "handles", lift the fudge out of the pan and cut into 1-inch squares. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 60 pieces.

 

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Christmas Cupcakes

I couldn’t let all this Christmas baking love go by without mentioning what else….cupcakes!  There are some seriously cute ones out there.  I really don’t know how people come up with this stuff, but I LOVE it.  I think I’d make the snowmen, but with my homemade marshmallows, of course!  They are just toooooo cute.  Check out all of them below!

Holly Berry Cupcakes

Candy Cane Tree Cupcakes

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Snowman Cupcakes

Reindeer Cupcakes

Santa Cupcakes

Gingerbread Man Cupcakes

Festive Sugared Marshmallow Cupcakes

 

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Peanut Butter Balls

As promised, my famous Peanut Butter Ball recipe!  Ok, maybe they’re not quite famous, BUT I have sold alot of this candy over the years and people love them!  It’s a recipe I have never shared before but since I took it to the cookie exchange I figured why not put it on the blog?  As you can see, I chose to top mine with crushed potato chips-delicious!  There are a lot of peanut butter ball recipes out there but this is the best, in my opinion.  They are super creamy and 100 times better than a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  Seriously, the best.  But that’s just my opinion…

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Balls
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 2 c. Creamy Peanut Butter (I prefer Peter Pan)
  • 1 lb. (3¾ c.) Powdered Sugar
  • 1 lb. High-Quality Chocolate Candy Coating
  • Crushed Potato Chips, Chopped Dry-Roasted Peanuts, etc for topping
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a large bowl. Add the peanut butter and stir until smooth and thoroughly combined. Add the powdered sugar and stir until completely incorporated. The mixture will become stiff (you may need to use your hands, I do). Form into two balls and let it stand overnight on the kitchen counter. Knead it the next morning until smooth. Put in the refrigerator to firm up a bit, about an hour. Form into 1½" balls and place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Place back in the fridge while you melt your chocolate. Melt the chocolate candy coating in a microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth and completely melted. Dip peanut butter balls (I remove only a few from the refrigerator at a time) in chocolate and immediately top with crushed potato chips, chopped peanuts, etc. and let cool on foil until hardened.
Notes
Makes 55-60.

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Christmas Cookie Exchange

Last week I got to experience my first every cookies exchange and it was SO much fun!  A sweet girl from our church, Monica, was gracious enough to host the event for a whopping 27 women!  Yes, 27 women…27 different kinds of cookies, candies, etc.  We made 12 dozen of the treat of our choice and swapped goods when we got there which meant we left with 12 dozen different goodies!  It was insane.  I was in sugar heaven.  I brought my famous Peanut Butter Balls (recipe tomorrow!) and had so much fun checking out and tasting everyone else’s homemade treats.  I can’t wait to do it again next year!  Here are a couple of photos of the bounty I brought home.

This is the platter…there was fudge, toffee, butterscotch cookies, chocolate cookies, buckeyes, Oreo stuffed brownies, ginger cookies, Nutter Butter Snowmen cookies, Oreo truffles, chocolate dipped candy cane coated pretzels, loaded oatmeal cookies and on and on it goes….

One of my favorites was the Chocolate Candy Cane Cheesecake.  Soooo good.

And my absolute favorite was this biscotti.  It had spices and orange flavor (at least I think it was orange..something like that), along with chocolate chips…it. was. amazing.

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Homemade Christmas Candy

This past weekend I made homemade candy, which is probably my favorite thing to make in the kitchen.  I tried a couple of old recipes and a couple of new ones.  One of the new ones was out of a candy book that I have and unfortunately it was a total disaster.  It was supposed to be similar to a 3 Musketeers but was more like chocolate taffy.  The taste was great because I used my super delicious Mexican cocoa powder but the texture was way off.  I was soooo disappointed in the recipe but I’m not going to give up!  I think that is what I like about candy making, it can be a challenge and it’s fun to figure out why recipes went wrong and what to do right or change the next time.

Here is a small collection of candy recipes that I’d love to try this Christmas, from simple to a little bit more complicated.  The homemade Snickers bar and Coffee Toffee are totally calling my name…actually they ALL look good!  Which one would you like to try??

Chubby Hubby Truffles

Gumdrops

Coffee Toffee

Honey Vanilla Bean Marshmallows

Cherry Cordials

Pumpkin Spice Truffles

Peanut Brittle

Eggnog Fudge with White Chocolate and Walnuts

Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Chocolate Dipped Caramels

Oreo Truffles

Divinity

Homemade Snickers

Peanut Butter Cups

Candy Cane Marshmallows

Salt Water Taffy

Chocolate Covered Coffee Crackle Crunch

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