Banana Cream “Pie”

 

Photo by Southern Living (Not what this recipe will look like when done, but I didn't have a photo of the one my sister made!)
Photo by Southern Living (Not what this recipe will look like when done, but I didn’t have a photo of the one my sister made!)

This is a fabulous layer dessert that my sister has made for several years and my family absolutely loves it, especially my hubby.  It really is delicious….cool, creamy, chocked full of bananas and not overly sweet.  Oh and SUPER simple to make.   If you love banana pudding or banana cream pie, you’ll love this dessert!  Perfect for Mother’s Day!  Hope your family enjoys it as much as ours does.

(Homemade Whipped Cream recipe here.)

Banana Cream "Pie"
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1, 14 oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 Large Box Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • 2 c. Whole Milk
  • 3 Medium Bananas
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip or Homemade Whipped Cream
  • 1 Regular Size Box of Vanilla Wafers (few crushed for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Beat cream cheese in bowl of an electric mixer. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat thoroughly. Add instant pudding and milk and beat 1-2 minutes until thick. Fold in sliced bananas and ¾ of Cool Whip/homemade whipped cream. Layer in 9x13 pan--layer of wafers, pudding, wafer, pudding and then spread remaining Cool Whip/whipped cream on top. Garnish with crushed wafers. Let sit in fridge overnight or 8-12 hours before serving.
Notes
Serves 8-12

 

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The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think it has finally happened.  I may have found the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie.  I’ve searched high and low and my journey may be over!  I’ve always struggled to find the ideal chocolate chips cookie which in my mind is thick, soft and slightly chewy.  This N.Y. Times Chocolate Chip Cookie was good, but a little flat for my preference and didn’t quite hit the mark.  Then, I saw this recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction and had to give it a try.  I had made her Soft Baked Monster Cookies which were PHENOMENAL so I had full confidence she knew what she was doing when it came to cookies and was excited to try her recipe.  And I was NOT disappointed.  Seriously, the perfect thickness and so soft and chewy at the same time.  Amazing.  I was SO happy, I think my search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie is over!

The Perfct Chocolate Chip Cookie

Enjoy!

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ¾ c. Dark Brown Sugar
  • ¼ c. Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 t. Cornstarch
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli)
  • ½ c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed. On low speed, mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Roll dough into 1½" balls with the palms of your hands and place about two inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes (I did 4 minutes, rotated pans and switched racks and did 5 more minutes) until barely golden brown around the edges. Let cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheets and transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

 

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Rocky Road Cake

Rocky Road Cake and Ice Cream

I wanted something dark, decadent and over-the-top chocolate for Easter Sunday dinner.  And this Rocky Road Cake TOTALLY fit the bill.  I know, I know…it’s springtime and desserts should be light and fruity.  But when is chocolate ever out of season?!  Yeah.  Never.  And judging by all the “mmmm’s” and “oh my gosh, this is so GOOD”s that I got, I think I picked the absolute perfect dessert to make.

Rocky Road Cake

I used dark unsweetened cocoa for both the cake and frosting (the recipe just called for regular unsweetened) and I loved how rich it made the cake but think next time I’ll use the regular cocoa for the frosting so it’s not quite so rich.  I also used homemade marshmallows instead of store-bought which I think makes it so good but feel free to use some from the store.  It’s definitely extra work to make you own marshmallows but SO worth it.  I was also really skeptical about the cake.  Just by reading the recipe it seemed way, waaaaaayyyy too simple to make.  However, this cake was delicious.  More like a cakey brownie, it was the perfect foundation for the gooey marshmallows and thick, fudgey frosting.

Are you sold yet??  This cake is GOOD.  So goooooooood.  Make it!  You’ll be glad you did.  Oh, and ice cream!  Ice cream is a must.  Enjoy!

Rocky Road Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c., plus 2 T. Dark Unsweetened Cocoa
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1, 10.5 oz. Bag Miniature Marshmallows or 2 c. Homemade Marshmallows
Frosting
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • ½ c. Dark Unsweetened Cocoa
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. Whole Milk
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Powdered Sugar
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Whisk together melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Whisk in cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour just until combined. Pour into pan and bake 25-30 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Sprinkle with marshmallows and pecans and return to the oven for 5 minutes to melt marshmallows slightly.
For the Frosting
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and beat in vanilla and powdered sugar with a wooden spoon. Continue beating with the spoon until frosting becomes glossy and holds shape. It will take about 15 minutes but if you place the pan in a bowl of ice, it will speed things up significantly. Pour over the cake before it gets too stiff and let it cool completely. Cut into squares and serve with ice cream, if desired.
Notes
Makes 24 pieces.

 

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Ooey Gooey Carrot Spice Cake

Ooey Gooey Carrot Spice Cake

I’ve mentioned before that I have a slight, very minor obsession with ooey gooey butter cake.  Red Velvet and Blueberry, Chocolate and Strawberry Lemonade are just a few that I’ve done and trust me, there are many more I’d like to do.  I just don’t want to bore you all!  However, this Ooey Gooey Carrot Spice Cake is in a whole other realm of yum and I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad I went with my obsession this week.

Ooey Gooey Carrot Spice Cake Bars

So how good is this ooey gooey cake?  Let’s just say my husband took one bite and then proceeded to tell me to remove it from our house immediately!  Haha.  The bottom layer of spice cake combined with the ooey gooey carrot cake filling is phenomenal.  The filling is studded with white chocolate chips, toasted pecans and pineapple tidbits.  Yeah, yum.  It’s definitely one of my favorite ooey gooey cakes thus far and I think would make the perfect treat this Easter Sunday!

Enjoy!

Ooey Gooey Carrot Spice Cake
 
Ingredients
Spice Cake
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Spice Cake Mix
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
Ooey Gooey Carrot Cake Filling
  • 1, 8 oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 16 oz. (3¾ c.) Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ⅛ t. Nutmeg
  • ½ t. Cinnamon
  • 1½ c. White Chocolate Chips
  • ½ c. Pecans, chopped and toasted
  • 1 c. Finely Grated Carrots
  • 1, 8 oz. Can Pineapple Tidbits, drained
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Spice Cake Layer
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the spice cake, egg and melted butter until combined. Pat evenly into the bottom of the pan and set aside.
For the Carrot Cake 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 butter until combined. Beat in vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir in 1 cup white chocolate chips, pecans, grated carrots and pineapple. Pour evenly over spice cake layer. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup white chocolate chips. Bake for 40-45 minutes until center is firm. Let cool completely and cut into pieces.
Notes
Makes 24 pieces.

 

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Power Bars

Gluten-Free Chocolate PEanut Butter Protein Power Bars

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that Jeremy has been wanting me to come up with a homemade protein bar similar to a Cliff Bar or Larabar but of course cheaper and healthier.  I tried one that I actually REALLY liked and could hardly keep my hands out of (you CAN get too much of a good thing) but he wasn’t really a fan so I moved onto this recipe from The Balanced Platter shared by my cupcake partner in crime, Robyn over at Gluten Free Crazy.   And I can safely say we have a winner with this one!  Jeremy loves it, I love it and everyone is getting crazy amounts of protein!  It’s very chocolatey, very peanut buttery and soooooo yummy.  They’re very rich so I cut them into small squares and keep them in the freezer, although they’d probably be fine in the refrigerator also.  Great pick me up and healthy dessert option!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Power Bar

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 16 Medjool Dates
  • 1 c. Raw, Organic Almonds
  • 1 c. Sunflower Seeds
  • ½ c. Cooked Quinoa (I had accidentally mixed my dry quinoa and couscous together so it was a mix of both which I really liked!)
  • ½ c. Thick Rolled Oats
  • ¼ c. Chia Seeds
  • 1¼ c. Chunky, Organic Peanut Butter (or smooth)
  • ¾ c. Agave
  • 1½ Scoops Chocolate Protein Powder
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 4 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x9 pan with foil, letting it hang over the edges creating "handles".
  2. In a food processor, chop the dates into very small pieces. Add the almonds and sunflower seeds and process until a meal has formed. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the quinoa, oats and chia seeds to the food processor and process until a meal forms again. Add to the bowl of the electric mixer. Add the peanut butter, agave, protein powder, cocoa and vanilla to the bowl of the electric mixer and beat everything on low speed until it is well-blended and starts to clump together. Form into a ball and press evenly into the bottom of the 9x9 pan. Freeze for 1-2 hours until firm, lift out of the pan and place upside down on a cutting board. Peel away foil, turn bars over and cut into 1½" squares. Store in freezer.
Notes
Makes 20 bars.

 

 

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Sweetened Condensed Milk Cake

Sweetened Condensed Milk Cake with Powdered Sugar

Doesn’t the title of that cake just sound divine?  I have always loved sweetened condensed milk and quite truthfully could eat it by the spoonful and have.  Healthy, I know.   So what is a sweetened condensed milk cake like?   It’s…different.  But in a good way!

Sweetened Condensed Milk Cake

Sweetened Condensed Milk Cake Slice

This recipe is by one of my favorite foodie personalities, Claire Thomas, of The Kitchy Kitchen and I think she describes the cake perfectly when she says it has a sweet, eggy flavor and is like a less buttery, denser brioche.  So almost like a very dense sweet bread.  I did a dusting of powdered sugar and lemon zest but I think next time I’ll do a little orange zest in the batter and orange marmalade with homemade whipped cream to top it off.  Or do a lemon curd with it!  It’s so different and so good and just a beautiful, simple cake.  Perfect Easter Sunday dessert!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Sweetened Condensed Milk Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 8 Eggs, room temperature
  • 2, 14 oz. Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Orange/Lemon Zest
  • Homemade Whipped Cream (see link above)
  • Homemade Orange Marmalade (or lemon curd) (see link above)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch bundt pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs. Pour in the sweetened condensed milk and beat until pale yellow and smooth, then pour in the melted butter, salt and vanilla and beat until blended. Whisk together the flour and baking powder and with the mixer on low, add a little at a time until just incorporated. Pour into the greased bundt pan and bake for 60-75 minutes ( mine took 60) until cake is slightly browned and a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely and remove from pan. Top with powdered sugar and citrus zest and serve with lemon/orange curd and homemade whipped cream.
Notes
Serves 20.

 

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Banana Nut Crunch Muffins

Banana Nut Crunch Muffin and Butter

 

I know there are many holidays right around the corner that I should be blogging about…St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day….on and on and on.  But yesterday I had an INSANE craving for banana muffins so I went with it!  And I’m SO glad I did.  These banana muffins are to. die. for.   Seriously some of the most moist, flavorful, yummy banana muffins I have ever had.  The original recipe is by Ina Garten so you know you’re off to a good start when you begin with one of her fabulous recipes.  I made some minor changes and was so pleased with the results!  Treat yourself to these for breakfast tomorrow morning…but make them tonight!  They are even better the next day!

Banana Nut Crunch Muffin

Banana Nut Crunch Muffins

Enjoy!

Banana Nut Crunch Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 c. Whole Milk
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Mashed Ripe Bananas (I used 5 medium bananas)
  • 1 c. Toasted, Chopped Pecans
  • 1½ c. Granola
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffins cups with liners.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together flour, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low, beat in the melted butter. Whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla and bananas and add to the flour-butter mixture. Mix until everything is just combined--do NOT overmix.
  3. Scoop ⅓ cup batter into each muffin cup.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together pecans, granola and melted butter. Spoon a couple of tablespoons over each filled muffin cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes (mine were done at 23) until the tops are brown and a tester inserted comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes and then remove from the pan and cool completely.
Notes
Makes 24 muffins.

 

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White Cliff Manor B&B…and some of the best food EVER.

Jeremy and I love, love, love to visit B&B’s and I’ve posted about a couple on the blog before (read about them here, here and here).  We decided to do a quick trip to one for a combined Valentine’s Day/babymoon getaway, but it will definitely not be the last!  We realized that we’ve been to four in just the past year so I guess you could say we’re kind of addicted haha.   Jeremy found this absolute gem of a B&B called White Cliff Manor in St. Mary, MO.  You’ve probably never heard of St. Mary, MO but it is a VERY quaint little town near St. Louis and Illinois (the view from our bedroom window was actually of Illinois!) with one of the biggest antique malls we have ever been to!  I mean there is literally nothing there but houses and this antique mall.  However, if you drive about 30 minutes you’ll start seeing signs for a ton of wineries!   They’re everywhere!  And thank goodness because we really weren’t sure what we were going to do for dinner the Friday night we were there but one of the wineries, Chaumette Winery, was open for dinner and highly recommended.  This place was quite possibly one of the best meals Jeremy and I have ever had.  They only use local, seasonal, organic ingredients and wow, does it totally make a difference!  If you are ever in east MO near St. Louis, definitely check Chaumette Winery out!  I have a few pictures below of our brief but wonderful trip to the B&B.

First up, the cutest little candy shop, Sweet Things, in St. Genevieve, MO which is about five minutes from St. Mary.  We tried a couple of truffles and some turtle fudge.  Yum!

Sweet Things Outside

Sweet Things Candy

Sweet Things Bakery Case

Salted Caramel Truffle

Pics of our bedroom and the view from the balcony outside our bedroom!  The snow was perfect.

White Cliff Manor Bedroom

White Cliff Manor Balcony View

Chaumette Winery.  There was a huge, roaring fireplace we stared at during our whole meal.  So cozy.

Chaumet Winery

I had the Cinnamon Bread Pudding made with their house bread, topped with a locally made apple butter, cinnamon whipped cream and a browned butter/sugar sauce.  OMG.  I was practically licking the plate.  Jeremy got the Dark Chocolate Brownie, which was their homemade, fudgy brownie, topped with chocolate whipped cream and a port infused ganache.  Heaven.

Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Brownie

This place, The Anvil, was our lunch stop in St. Genevieve before heading home.  Some of the best onion rings I’ve ever had, amazing burgers and even chicken livers!!!  Yes, I love chicken livers and they don’t show up on menus that often, ya know.  We also tried their homemade coconut cream pie and it was delicious!

The Anvil

The Anvil Bar

Coconut Cream Pie

It was a great weekend and we loved every minute!  If you are looking for a cozy, accomodating B&B (with wonderful breakfast), definitely give White Cliff Manor a try!

 

 

 

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Homemade Thin Mint Brownie Ice Cream

Homemade Thin Mint Brownie Ice Cream

I have found my new favorite thing–homemade ice cream.  Believe it or not, I have never made homemade ice cream!  I mean, I’ve made my parents recipe which is DIVINE and probably will be my all time favorite, but it’s a no-cook, eggless recipe so it’s a little different than this one.  Yes, this one had eggs, had to be tempered, the whole nine yards but honestly it was NOT hard and turned out soooooo good.

Thin Mint Brownie Ice Cream

For my first ice cream adventure I chose to do a Thin Mint Brownie Ice Cream with REAL mint, tons of crushed cookies and chunks of dark chocolate brownie.  Oh and a chocolate chip swirl!  Just for good measure.  And I have only one thing to say about it–YUM.  Actually, MAJOR YUM.  Seriously people, this stuff is so, so good.  Rich, creamy and totally addictive.  I will NEVER buy ice cream from the store again.   It does take a little forethought as you need to steep the mint and also let the final mixture chill but it could definitely be done in one day, just in time for after-dinner dessert if you start it early enough!  I’ll definitely be experimenting more with flavors in the future so be warned–lots of ice cream recipes in the near future!  Haha!

Enjoy!

Homemade Thin Mint Brownie Ice Cream
 
Ingredients
  • 3 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3 c. Whole Milk
  • 2 Bunches Fresh Mint Leaves (I used .75 ounces which was plenty in my opinion)
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • 1½ c. Sugar
  • 12 Egg Yolks
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies, coarsely chopped (I used all but 6 or 7 of the whole box, about 1½ sleeves)
  • 2 c. Brownie Pieces (I used half a batch of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate box mix)
  • ½ c. Dark Chocolate Chips, melted
  • Green Food Dye, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine cream, milk, mint and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 1 hour or overnight in the fridge (I let mine steep for 2.5 hours and it was definitely strong enough).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and yolks. Remove mint from cream mixture and discard. Bring milk mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Using a measuring cup or ladle, slowly pour about ½ c. hot milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue adding milk mixture, about a ½ c. at a time, until it has all been added.
  3. Pour mixture back into saucepan and cook over low heat, sitrring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of wooden spoon, about 10 minutes. Stir in vanilla. The custard should retain a line drawn across the back of the spoon with your finger. Pour through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Stir occassionally until cooled. Cover and transfer to refrigerator until chilled, at least one hour or overnight (I chilled mine overnight).
  4. Pour custard into a 2-quart ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions until set but not hard. Toward the end of the freezing, add green food coloring, if using. Pour into an air-tight container and stir in cookies and brownie chunks. Swirl in melted chocolate chips. Freeze for at least four hours or overnight.

 

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St. Patrick’s Day Inspiration!

Hey guys!  So I had what I thought would be a GREAT St. Patty’s Day-themed cookie recipe to share with you today but needless to say they didn’t quite meet my expectations when everything was said and done.  They weren’t horrible (actually pretty tasty!), but definitely not the prettiest cookie and not quite what I had in mind when I was making them.  And I’ve decided if I don’t absolutely LOVE the recipe and think it turned out how it should, I just don’t want to share it with you guys.  I want you to have the best!  So I’m gonna do a little more research on this cookie and figure out what went wrong and how I can get it to turn out like I want…in other words, PERFECT.  😉

In the meantime, I wanted to share some green-inspired, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day recipes from some of my favorite bloggers that I thought might get your wheels turning for the upcoming holiday festivities!  These foodies know their desserts and I’m confident you’ll find something delicious!

Enjoy!

Grasshopper Mint Chocolate Bark

 

Grasshopper Mint Chocolate Bark

Skinny Frozen Mint Chocolate Chip Pie

 

Skinny Frozen Mint Chocolate Pie

Green Velvet Cupcakes

 

Green Velvet Cupcakes

Chocolate Mint Whoopie Pies

 

Mint Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Grasshopper Brownie Bars

 

Grasshopper Brownie Bars

 

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Rich Baked Homemade Protein Bars

Homemade Protein Bars

Jeremy is on  a big lifting/protein kick right now so we’ve been searching for ways to incorporate LOTS of protein into his diet.  One of his requests was a homemade protein bar along the likes of a Larabar or Cliff Bar.  So the search began.  I found one recipe that calls for blueberry and buckwheat (who knew buckwheat had so much protein?) and he found this one, so we tried his first.  I’ll be making mine in the near future though, not to worry.

Homemade Protein Bar

So the verdict on this one?  Good.  VERY good.  At first I didn’t like them AT ALL.  I thought they had too much of a greek yogurt flavor (and I’ll probably make them again and adjust that) and I didn’t care for the amount of cinnamon in them but then the taste of them really grew on me.  And we keep them in the fridge and they are MUCH better cold.  So I’m kind of addicted to them now…pretty sure I ate almost the whole pan by myself.  Jeremy just didn’t care for the greek yogurt taste so there will most definitely be a second round of these with some adjustments here and there.  Overall, I think they are delicious and most importantly a GREAT source of protein.

Enjoy!

Rich Baked Homemade Protein Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 3½ c. Thick Cut Oats (preferably organic)
  • ½ c. Chia Seeds
  • 1 t. Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • ¼ c. Sucanat
  • 1 c. Chocolate Whey Protein Powder (one without artifical/processed sweetener, colors, flavors, etc)
  • 2 c. Plain Greek Yogurt (love Fage brand)
  • ¼ c. Raw, Organic Agave (or honey)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c. Organic, Natural Peanut Butter (only ingredient peanuts if possible)
  • ¼ c. Coconut OIl, melted
  • ½ c. Organic Raisins
  • 1 c. Chopped Raw Almonds
  • 1 c. Dark Chocolate Chips (I prefer Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9x13 pan with oil.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together oats, , chia seeds, salt, cinnamon, sucanat and protein powder.
  3. In another bowl, stir together greek yogurt, agave, vanilla, peanut butter and coconut oil until smooth. Add to dry ingredients along with raisins and almonds and mix together. Mixture will be VERY thick.
  4. Spread evenly into the pan and bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with dark chocolate chips and then place bake in the oven for about 1-2 minutes, until chocolate chips start to melt. Remove from oven and spread chocolate chips in an even layer over the bars. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Store in refrigerator.
Notes
Makes about 24 bars.

 

 

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Double Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookies

Double Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookies

Cake mix cookies…or as some call them, CRACK cookies.  And I will not lie, they are good.  But Sarah, they use a cake mix!  Yes, I know.  And I’ve discovered that very good things can come from cake mixes…such as Chocolate Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Strawberries & Cream Cake, Strawberry Cakies and even Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes!  And while I much prefer a made-from-scratch-cake over a box mix any day, sometimes when you’re in a pinch and need something quick, a cake mix can be your best friend.  Which is totally the case for these cookies.  I needed something super quick for a meeting I was going to and recalled having these cookies for the first time at my friend Joelle‘s house.  I honestly didn’t believe her when she told me how good they were but once I tasted one, I knew I was in trouble and could probably never trust myself with a batch of them in my house.  They turn out super soft in the middle and slightly crispy on the outside.  I added semi-sweet and white chocolate chips along with toasted pecans but you really could add in whatever you like and even use whatever cake mix you prefer…spice cake with cinnamon chips, orange cake mix with dark chocolate chips,  chocolate cake mix with peanut butter chips…you get the idea!

Double Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookie

Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 18.25 oz. White Cake Mix
  • ½ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ½ c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cake mix, oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth and blended. Stir in white and semi-sweet chocolate chips and toasted pecans. Using a large spoon (or use a small spoon if you want smaller cookies..mine spread and turned out quite large), drop onto pan, two inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes (8 minutes if you want them slightly underdone), rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes about 20, 3-inch cookies.

 

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Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull-Apart Rolls

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull Apart Roll

One last recipe before the big day of love tomorrow!  This one is for a super simple and delicious breakfast, Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull Apart-Rolls.  The original recipe was first published in Cooking Light Magazine in 1999.  It was a little different with dried fruit and citrus zests and far less fat and calories than my recipe has.  But I’m not going for “light” on this one.  I wanted full fat and loads of sugar!  And that’s exactly what I did.  Because it tastes good.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull Apart Rolls

Imagine a soft, fluffy yeast roll, brushed with butter, studded with tart raspberries and finished with a layer of cheesecake topping.  That’s what you get with these rolls!  They are simply divine.  The only thing I didn’t get to do (and regret immensely) was drizzle them with a yummy glaze.  I highly suggest whipping up a simple powdered sugar/milk mixture and drizzling it over the rolls while they’re still warm.  Just too add a little more sweetness since the only sugar is in the cheesecake mixture.   They would make a great Valentine’s Day breakfast treat or even dessert!

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull-Apart Rolls
 
Ingredients
  • One, 25 oz. Package Rhodes Dinner Rolls (36 rolls total)
  • 1 stick Butter, melted
  • 12 oz. Frozen Raspberries
  • 2, 8 oz. pkgs. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar and ⅔ c. Milk whisked together until smooth
Instructions
  1. Thaw rolls at room temperature for 1 hour. Place 36 rolls in two, 9-inch round pans (18 rolls in each), coated with cooking spray. Brush melted butter evenly over rolls. Cover and let rise in warm place, free from drafts for 1 hour.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sprinkle rolls with frozen raspberries and then pour cream cheese mixture over rolls. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with powdered sugar glaze.
  4. OVERNIGHT VARIATION: After pouring the cream cheese mixture over rolls, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 12 hours. Remove plastic wrap from rolls and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Proceed with baking the rolls as directed.
Notes
Makes 36 rolls.

 

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Chocolate Fudge Tart

Chocolate Fudge Tart 2

Chocolate Fudge Tart 1

If I told you this scrumptious looking Chocolate Fudge Tart was gluten free, dairy free, has ZERO refined sugar and is no-bake, would you believe me?  Well, it’s totally true!  I used this recipe from Deliciously Organic and modified it just a bit to my liking.  What resulted was one of the richest, most delicious things I’ve ever had.  If you like super dark chocolate and fudge, this is the recipe for you. And if you don’t like super dark chocolate and fudge…what’s wrong with you?!?!!

Just kidding.

Chocolate Fudge Tart 3

Chocolate Fudge Tart 4

I love that the crust uses almond meal…it’s absolutely delicious in the recipe.  Little confession though…I had to use half almond meal and half oat flour (which I just made by processing organic rolled oats in my processor) because I ran out of almond meal.  It was still delicious and I might just make it that way from now on.  As with all “healthy” treats, this one still has calories and sugar, just not the refined, overly processed junk.  So use moderation but definitely feel free to indulge without guilt!  Make it for someone you love this Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Fudge Tart 5

Chocolate Fudge Tart
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 2½ c. Almond Meal (or half almond meal and half oat flour)
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Hershey Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ t. Sea Salt (I use pink Himalayan
  • ⅓ c. Agave (or maple syrup, honey)
  • ⅓ c. Coconut Oil, melted
Fudge Filling
  • 3 c. Hershey Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1 t. Sea Salt (I use pink Himalayan)
  • 2 c. Agave (or maple syrup, honey)
  • ⅓ c. Coconut Oil, melted
Instructions
  1. Lightly oil or spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
For the Crust
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond meal, cocoa powder and sea salt. Stir in the agave and coconut oil until large clumps form. Press into the bottom and up the sides of springform pan.
For the Chocolate Fudge Filling
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and salt. With a large wooden spoon, stir in the agave and coconut oil. Mixture will get VERY thick. Pour into the crust and gently spread into an even layer. Freeze or refrigerate for about two hours, until firm. Cut into slices and serve immediately. (I actually froze mine overnight so it was a bit too firm when I took it out of the freezer. I had to let it sit and soften for about 30-45 minutes, just fyi.)
Notes
Serves16

 

 

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Strawberries & Cream Cake

Strawberries & Cream Cake Slice

I found a recipe on Pinterest for Strawberry Brownies and even though they had very mixed reviews (half said they were awesome, half said total flop), I decided to give them a try.  I made some modifications.  I know, big shock.  And what resulted was possibly one of the best strawberry cakes I’ve ever had.  And get this–I used a box mix.  The horror!  I was totally skeptical and slightly disgusted with myself for not making it totally from scratch but once I tasted this dreamy strawberry concoction, I forgave myself immediately.

Strawberries & Cream Cake

No, these did not turn out thick and dense like brownies.  And I admit, it was most likely because of my changes.  But I was totally ok with that after tasting this stuff.  I took the recipe and added in strawberry pie filling to give it a bit more strawberry flavor and added white chocolate chips.  Topped off with vanilla buttercream and what resulted was a cake that reminded me of my childhood.  It was slightly nostalgic of strawberry shortcake, minus the fresh berries and whipped cream.  It was super simple to make and would be such a fun Valentine’s Day treat for your kids or co-workers.  Don’t be put off by the use of cake mix, it totally works in this recipe.  Even a from-scratch-cake-snob (such as myself ) will LOVE this recipe.

Enjoy!

Strawberries & Cream Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1, 18.5 oz. Strawberry Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 21 oz. Strawberry Pie Filling (about 1¼ c.)
  • 1 c. White Chocolate Chips
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • ½ Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 2 T. Shortening
  • 4 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ c. Heavy Whipping Cream (or whole milk)
  • ¼ c. Red Chocolate Candy Coating Discs (such as Wilton), melted
  • Valentine Heart Decor (I got mine at Target in the $1 section-yay!)
Instructions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl stir cake mix, eggs and oil. Gently fold in strawberry pie filling and white chocolate chips. Spread evenly into pan and bake for 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and shortening until smooth. Beat in vanilla. On low speed, gradually beat in half of the powdered sugar. Beat in half of the heavy whipping cream. Beat in the remaining powdered sugar and then the rest of the heavy whipping cream. Beat until smooth and then spread evenly onto cooled cake. Drizzle with red chocolate candy coating and sprinkle with Valentine's decor.
Notes
Serves 24

 

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Raspberry Fudge Tulip Tassies

Fudge Raspberry Tassies

I have one of the cutest posts for you guys today.  I really can’t say that about many of the recipes I make because while they are delicious and look yummy, they aren’t necessarily cute or works of art.  Not that I’m saying these tassies are works of art but they took a little more effort than I’d normally put into a recipe!  What’s a tassie, you ask?  Basically tiny, teeny miniature pies.  About two bites worth.  This is a recipe that I’ve had forever and used alot when I was catering, which also means I’ve never shared it!  But when I saw this idea for the cute flower shape on Pinterest (I know, I know…you thought I was just that brilliant, right?!) I knew this would be the perfect recipe.

Fudge Raspberry Tassie

You start with a cream cheese crust, which I personally love because it has just a hint of tang from the cream cheese.  I rolled the crust out and used a tulip shaped cookie cutter and then very gently pressed them into miniature muffin tins.  Be extra careful not to puncture the crust even a little with your fingers/fingernails because the filling will seep through and you’ll have a mess!  It happened to me on two of them.  Bummer.   Anyway, I then filled them with a dollop of raspberry preserves and about a teaspoon of a fudgy, brownie-like filling.  Top it with buttercream and a cute M&M and you have tulip tassies!  I thought they were adorable.  And SO perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Truly not difficult to make and not even that time-consuming, just a little extra effort.  If you want to skip the cookie cutter, just shape the dough into 24, 1″ balls, place in the bottom of the miniature muffin tins and press down and up the sides of the tin.  They’ll still be super cute and every bit as delicious.

Enjoy!

 

Raspberry Fudge Tassies
 
Ingredients
Cream Cheese Pastry
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 c. All-Purpose Flour
Raspberry Fudge Filling
  • ½ c. Dark/Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 T. Unsalted Butter
  • ⅓ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c. Raspberry Jam
Vanilla Buttercream
  • 2 T. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 T. Shortening
  • 1½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 24 Valentine's M&M's
  • Pink Food Coloring (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the Cream Cheese Pastry
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the flour until the mixture forms a ball around the paddle. Form dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the cream cheese dough to ¼" thickness. With a 3" flower shaped cookie cutter, cut out 24 flowers. Press very gently into the bottom of an ungreased miniature muffin tin. Be very careful not to puncture the bottom of the dough with your fingers when you are pressing it into the tin. (Alternately, you can shape the dough into 24 balls and press each ball evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the mini muffin tins.)
For the Raspberry Fudge Filling
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips and butter over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar, egg and vanilla. Place a ½ teaspoon of raspberry jam into each muffin tin. Cover with 1 teaspoon of the fudge filling. Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is puffed. Let cool completely.
For the Vanilla Buttercream
  1. Beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until creamy. Beat in the powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream and vanilla until creamy and smooth. Beat in pink food coloring if using. Pipe a small amount of buttercream onto each cooled tassie and top with a Valentine M&M.
Notes
Makes 24 tassies.

 

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42 Valentine’s Day Dessert Ideas

I started pinning things for Valentine’s Day on Pinterest and couldn’t stop.  Thus, this blog post.  I knew there was no way I was going to be able to make everything I was pinning so I decided to just put them all into one massive blog post and let you decide what to make!  In my opinion, anything pink, red, strawberry, raspberry, cherry or chocolate says Valentine’s Day!  And that’s pretty much what you’ll find in this post.  Lots of pretty, delicious, Valentine’s Day-perfect treats and ideas!  How to choose?!  I hate making decisions.  Especially when it comes to dessert.  They all look amazing.

Enjoy!

 

2-Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

 

2-Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

Berry Banana Smoothie

 

Berry Banana Smoothie

Frozen Cherry Limemade

 

Cherry Limemade

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Popsicles

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Popsicles

Chocolate Dream Cupcake Bites with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

 

Chocolate Dream Cupcake Bites with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

Conversation Heart Cheesecakes

 

Conversation Heart Cheesecakes

Cupid Corn Cookie Bark

 

Cupid Corn Cookie Bark

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

 

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

Dreamy Mini Cheesecakes

 

Dreamy Mini Cheesecakes

Heart-Shaped Doughnuts

 

Heart-Shaped Doughnuts

Hershey Heart Pretzels

 

Hershey Heart Pretzels

Love Potion #9 Drink

 

Love Potion #9 Drink

Mini Chocolate Cake

 

Mini Chocolate Cake

Pink Confetti Cupcakes

 

Pink Confetti Cupcakes

Pink Lemonade Cake

 

Pink Lemonade Cake

Pretty Pink Cookie Dough Truffles

 

Pretty Pink Cookie Dough Truffles

Puff Pastry Strawberry Tart

 

Puff Pastry Strawberry Tart

Raspberry Coconut Scones

 

Raspberry Coconut Scones

Raspberry Confetti Kisses

 

Raspberry Confetti Kisses

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

 

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

Raspberry Party Punch

 

Raspberry Party Punch

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cupcakes

 

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cupcakes

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Reese’s Cupcake Topper

 

Reese's Cupcake Vday Topper

Skinny Berry Cheesecake Trifle

 

Skinny Berry Cheesecake Trifle

Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

 

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos

 

Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos

Strawberry Angel Food Cake

 

Strawberry Angel Food Cake

Strawberry Cake

 

Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Strawberry Cream Pie

 

Strawberry Cream Pie

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

 

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Strawberry Nutella Poptarts

 

Strawberry Nutella Poptarts

Strawberry Tiramisu

 

Strawberry Tiramisu

Sweet Swirl Cookies of Love

 

Sweet Swirl Cookies of Love

Triple Chocolate Cherry M&M Cookies

 

Triple Chocolate Cherry M&M Cookies

Valentine Love Letter Cupcakes

 

Valentine Love Letter Cupcakes

Valentine’s 5-Layer Finger Jello

 

Valentine's 5-Layer Finger Jello

Valentine’s Day Fruit Pizza

 

Valentine's Day Fruit Pizza

Valentine’s Day Pudding Parfait

 

Valentine's Day Pudding Parfait

Valentine’s Day Fruit Kabobs

 

VDay Fruit Kabob

 

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White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

I have not found a cookie in awhile that it is hard to stop eating.  You know, not so rich that you can only handle a few bites and then you’re done?  But more along the lines of “Wow, those are so good I can’t believe I just ate five!!!”.  Yeah, that.  Let me introduce you to these White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies.  They are soooooo good.  The kind of good you can’t just stop at one with.  The are so soft and slightly crisp around the edges and the tartness of the freeze-dried raspberries sets off the sweetness of the white chocolate perfectly.  And I love the slight chewy texture from the oats.  Yep, can’t make these often or we’ll be spending extra time at the gym!

Oh and the bright pinkish red bits make them a lovely treat for Valentine’s Day, don’tcha think?

Enjoy!

 

White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1½ c. Quick Oats
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Raspberry Jam
  • 2 c. White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Freeze-Dried Raspberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In an electric mixer beat the sugar and butter at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and raspberry jam. Slowly beat in the flour mixture. Beat in the white chocolate chips. Gently fold in the freeze-dried raspberries. Roll into 1½" balls and place on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes 36 cookies.

 

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