Fashion Show

While I don’t typically like to be in front of the camera, I had to show off some of my latest finds to you all (and Jeremy agreed to not get my face in the shots so it was all good).

First up, a cupcake necklace from the Fair Grove craft fair. Love it!

Second, a delicious cupcake shirt from Forever 21.

I also found these cupcake socks while I was waiting in line at Forever 21 to buy my cupcake shirt. I couldn’t resist.

Obviously not fashion, but I couldn’t resist sharing this Hello Kitty that my friend Nicole got me for my birthday. Yes, I know how old I am…but I don’t care, it’s adorable!

That’s all for now. I won’t be posting next Monday or Wednesday due to a vacation in a very tropical location…but I’ll have a little recap of our trip the following Friday. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Apple Cider Doughnuts

A few weeks ago on a nice, bright Saturday morning I took a little road trip with my friend Sharla to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets.  We had a great time and scored some awesome bargains.  However, my favorite find of the whole trip was this doughnut pan from Norpro.  I have been wanting one for some time and was really excited to finally find one that was a great brand at a decent price.

The store where I bought the pan also had this apple cider doughnut mix conveniently placed next to it.  I’ve been seriously longing for an apple cider doughnut from Edwards Apple Orchard from when we lived up in Rockford.  This place is amazing…the coolest general store with all kinds of yummy stuff, finger lickin’ bbq, some of the best apple pie I’ve EVER had (and yes, we DID try a slice with cheddar cheese and it was good!!)  and their beyond drool-worthy apple cider doughnuts!  Jeremy and I have seriously discussed taking a weekend trip to Rockford just for the doughnuts at the orchard (of course I’d probably have to sneak in some Chicago shopping hehe).  They also have a petting zoo, live music and apple picking galore!  Oh how I miss it!  Apparently, they don’t have a website but here are some pics I found.

Ok so back to my doughnut mix!  I made them this past weekend with the new pan and I have to say that I loved both!  The pan worked wonderfully however, the side of the doughnuts that were in the pan got a bit darker and a tad more done than the other side.  Not an issue really, just looks kind of funny.  And the mix was great!  Not quite the caliber of the orchard doughnuts but really, really good.  We liked them hot out of the pan, brushed with butter and dipped in cinnamon and sugar but they were even better after they had cooled off and set for a while.  You could really taste the apple cider and the texture was very moist and cake-like.  Loved them!  Of course I’ll be trying from scratch doughnuts next but if I ever need any in a pinch, I’ll definitely go with this brand!

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Spiced Pumpkin Cake

My original intent for this post was that it would be a recipe for pumpkin BROWNIES (or blondies..whatever) but about a quarter of the way through whipping these up I realized that I was not going to end up with the dense, chewy, pumpkin-y brownies I was dreaming of but most likely, a cake.  And I was right.  I was definitely a little disappointed at first but got over it pretty quickly after my first bite.

It was probably one of the most moist pumpkin cakes I’ve ever had and so wonderfully spiced.  It’s good enough to stand on it’s own without frosting but would most certainly be even more awesome with a layer of cream cheese frosting or a dollop of homemade whipped cream.  I took it to a family function and didn’t bring any home, so that’s a good sign!  So, I suppose it worked out but I’m still on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin brownie recipe!

Enjoy!

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Spiced Pumpkin Cake
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1, 15 oz. Can Solid Pack Pumpkin
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 T. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat oil and sugar. Add eggs and beat until incorporated. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and beat into wet ingredients just until combined.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Notes
Serves 18. *I also put an 11 oz. bag of butterscotch chips in these but since they weren't thick like brownies, they all sunk to the bottom half of the cake. So, it's up to you if you want to add them or not.

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The Butterfinger Bites Disaster

Homemade Butterfingers by Plain Chicken

My friend Joelle had been raving on her blog about how amazing these things were called Butterfinger Bites.  My favorite candy bar of all time is Butterfinger, so naturally I just HAD to make these.  The only ingredients are candy corn, peanut butter and chocolate.  And not only that, you make them in the microwave.  Awesome!

Supposedly these little chocolatey gems taste EXACTLY like a Butterfinger.  But I, for one, will never know.  Because I totally and completely screwed up this recipe.  How you ask?  That’s what I’m trying to figure out.  I followed the recipe and warmed the candy corn in the microwave for one minute.  They melted a little.  So I continued at 15 second intervals, stirring between each.  The candy kind of was kind of melting but it was also EXTREMELY hot and kind of starting to clump.  Uh oh.  I eventually got it into some sort of semi-melted blob and thought, ok, I’ll just throw in the peanut butter and see if it comes together.

No, it did not come together.  I could barely stir the mixture for all the clumps of candy corn in the peanut butter.  So I stuck it in the microwaved for a few seconds…and that kind of helped.  The clumps were turning into itty bitty candy corn bits.  So then I had the thought that I would throw it in my mixer and beat the crap out of it!  That didn’t help.  The tiny little candy corn pieces basically got distributed more evenly.  So I poured it into a pan and just stared at it for awhile.  There was no way this was solidifying or even tasting good.  So I threw it away.  Sigh.  So depressing.

I felt like a total failure, like I couldn’t bake at all!!  I mean, candy from a microwave?!  C’mon!  I went to the blog where the original recipe was posted to see if anyone else had issues with it…no, not one person.  Just me. So, I had to console myself by going back and looking at pictures of things I’ve made but never blogged about.  Yes, I was that depressed.  It actually cheered me up a little and reminded me that I’m not a total screw up.  Here’s my trip down memory lane…

Tons of homemade candy for the holidays…that was fun.  And I didn’t screw anything up!

14-Layer Cake with my baking buddy, Betsy.  We were pretty proud of that one.

A 1st birthday cake for a special little nephew.

Neapolitan Cheesecake Cake for a friend’s husband’s birthday.  Yum.

Maple Pecan and Chocolate Peanut Butter Macarons, again with Betsy.  We got those right on the first try!  Woo hoo! Lots of high-fiving going on in the kitchen that day!

Buttered Pecan Cake with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting for my sister-in-law Rachel’s birthday.  I think I need to make this one again…

Oreo and Cherry Birthday Cake for my friend Sarah Carter.  That was a fun one.

Ahh, I feel better.  Time to get back in the saddle!  Err, kitchen. Oh and YES, I most definitely will try to make the homemade Butterfingers again!

 

 

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Apple Recipe Roundup

It’s Monday!  Who’s excited?!  Yeah, me neither.  Thought I’d cheer you up with some delicious APPLE recipes from all over the blogosphere.  It’s that time of year….apple cake, apple cider, apple donuts, apple pie….the possibilities are endless!  And so, so delicious.

Enjoy!

Apple Rings by How To: Simplify

 

Hot Spiced Cider by Better Homes and Gardens

Apple Pie Cupcakes by Annie’s Eats

Smooth and Sweet Caramel Apple Dip by Zesty Cook

Caramel Apple Granola Cookies by Healthy Food for Living

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Popcorn

I’m not a huge popcorn fan but every now and then I do love to munch on some caramel or cheese popcorn and it’s usually around Christmas when some member of my family sees fit to lug a HUGE tin of the stuff to our family holiday dinner.  Ya know, cause there’s not enough food at those family dinners.

So the other day I remembered how my mom used to make caramel corn in the microwave.  I mean, really, really good caramel corn.  From the microwave!  She sent me the recipe and I made it for the first time ever and I have to say it’s even better than I remember as a kid.  Maybe I can appreciate it more now?  Who knows.  But for whatever reason I love the stuff and it’s very addictive.

I added my own little touch with some sea salt and then through in some homemade dark chocolate and peanut popcorn.  The recipes for both are below and they are super simple but if you only choose to do one, make the caramel corn!

Enjoy!

Salted Caramel and Dark Chocolate Popcorn
 
Ingredients
Salted Caramel Popcorn
  • 8 c. Popped Plain Popcorn (NO salt or butter)
  • 1 c. Packed Brown Sugar
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
  • ¼ c. Light Corn Syrup
  • ½ t. Regular Salt
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½-1 t. Fine Sea Salt (depending on how salty you want it to be)
Dark Chocolate Peanut Popcorn
  • 4 c. Popped Popcorn (NO butter or salt)
  • 1½ c. High Quality Dark Chocolate Candy Coating (NOT chocolate bark)
  • ½ c. Dry-Roasted Peanuts
Instructions
For the Salted Caramel Corn:
  1. Line a large cookie sheet pan with foil. Place Popped corn in a large brown paper bag. Set aside.
  2. Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and regular salt in a large bowl. Microwave on high setting 3-4 minutes, stirring after each minute, until mixture comes to a boil (it only took 3 minutes for mine to boil). Microwave 2 minutes longer (without stirring) and then stir in baking soda. Pour syrup mixture over popped corn in bag. Close bag and shake well. Microwave for 1½ more minutes. Shake bag well. Microwave 1-1½ minutes more (I stopped at 1 minute because it smelled slightly burned and 3 or 4 pieces did burn--no biggie, just watch it). Add the sea salt and shake bag well. Pour onto the large cookie pan. Cool and stir to separate.
For the Chocolate Peanut Popcorn
  1. Line a large cookie pan with foil. Place popped popcorn and peanuts in large brown paper bag. Melt the chocolate in a medium bowl at 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely melted and smooth. Pour chocolate into the bag over the popcorn and peanuts and shake well. Pour onto the cookie pan. Cool and stir to separate.
Notes
Serves...well, it depends on how well you share. :)

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Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies

I’ve not made a whole lot of pecan cookies in my life other than these Pecan Sandies, so when I found out tomorrow is National Pecan Cookie Day, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try another yummy cookie recipe.  I found this one from King Arthur for Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies.  The cookie is loaded with pecans, butterscotch chips and rolled in a sugar and salt mixture.

I of course just HAD to mess with the recipe.  I omitted the espresso and butterscotch chips and subbed in dark chocolate chips and dried cherries and then sandwiched them with marshmallow buttercream.  I really, really liked my finished product but I can’t wait to try the original version below.  Overall, this recipe makes one seriously delicious cookie.

Enjoy!

Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ cups pecan halves
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon butterscotch, vanilla-butternut, or butter-rum flavor
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar, cider or white
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1⅓ cups butterscotch chips
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 to 1¼ teaspoons salt, for topping*
  • If you're making smaller (teaspoon cookie scoop-sized) cookies, increase the coating to ½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar mixed with 1¾ to 2 teaspoons salt.
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  2. Place the pecans in a single layer in a pan, and toast till they've darkened a bit and smell toasty, about 8 to 9 minutes. Set them aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, salt, espresso powder, baking soda, vanilla, flavor, and vinegar, beating until smooth and creamy.
  4. Beat in the egg, again beating till smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
  5. Mix in the flour, then the chips and toasted nuts.
  6. If you're going to refrigerate the dough, cover the bowl, and refrigerate for about 4 to 5 hours; or overnight. Cookie dough refrigerated for 3½ to 4 hours will spread moderately; chilled overnight, it will spread much less.
  7. Mix the ⅓ cup sugar and salt for the coating, and put it in a bowl. Use a spoon (or a tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1½" balls of dough into the sugar/salt mixture, rolling to coat. Then transfer to the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2" between them on all sides; they'll spread quite a bit. Or use a teaspoon cookie scoop to scoop 1¼" balls of dough.
  8. Bake the cookies for 10 to 11 minutes — 11 minutes for smaller cookies, 12 for larger ones. Their edges will be chestnut brown and their tops a lighter golden brown. (For dough that's been refrigerated, add 30 seconds to 1 minute to those baking times.) Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan till they've set enough to move without breaking. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Notes
Makes about 3-4 dozen cookies. There are a few of options once you have the dough made. If you bake the cookies right away, you'll have a flatter, lighter-colored cookie. Refrigerate it for 4 to 5 hours, the cookies will be flat, but not "puddle-y." Chill overnight, and the dough dries out, with some of the starch in the flour turning to sugar. The cookies will be darker, more "caramel-y," and won't spread nearly as much. These cookies are a good candidate for the "tablespoon vs. teaspoon" scoop choice. A tablespoon cookie scoop (actually 4 level measuring teaspoons) will yield big, 3" cookies; a teaspoon scoop (1¾ level measuring teaspoons) will make smaller (2¼") cookies. Also, the sugar-salt coating can be made more or less assertive, your choice. Use the lesser amount of salt for a less adventuresome audience; the greater amount for those who love the salty/sweet experience. It's easy to make some of both; just divide the dough in half, and make the coating both ways, rolling half the cookies in the saltier coating, half in the milder.

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The Baked Brownie

Once again, I’ve missed the baking boat.  A little while ago I went searching for the ultimate brownie recipe and noticed a lot of bloggers raving about “the famous Baked brownie”.  Say what?  Please tell me I’m not the only one that doesn’t know about this brownie from a little NYC bakeshop called, well, what else…Baked!  From what I can gather, these guys made some brownies that Oprah raved about on her show which pretty much resulted to them being shot into baking stardom overnight.  Ok, so I was intrigued and got busy making the brownies.

The verdict?  Umm, the BEST BROWNIES I HAVE EVER HAD.  No joke.  They are dense, fudgy, rich and have that wonderful shiny crackle “crust” on top.  Hello, beautiful!  I was officially sold on this recipe and promptly went online to order their book and see what other awesome recipes I was missing out on.

If you love brownies, you absolutely MUST try this recipe.   Prepare for brownie heaven!  Oh yes, MILK.  Must have that, very important.  Now go bake!

The Baked Brownie
Author: 
Category: Dessert
24
 
Ingredients
  • 1¼ c. AP Flour
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 2 T. Dark Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 c. Dark Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli Bittersweet)
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 t. Instant Espresso Powder (I only had instant coffee granules and used 2 teaspoons)
  • 1½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 5 Large Eggs, room tempoerature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9x13 glass or light-colored baking pan. Line with foil, letting extra hang over the sides to use as "handles". Grease the foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder together.
  3. Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder (or instant coffee granules) into a large bowl and melt in the microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each time until completely melted and smooth. Add sugars and whisk until completely combined. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
  5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the foil "handles". Cut into squares and serve.

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Maple Walnut Scones

I saw this recipe for Maple Sugar Scones over on Good Life Eats and immediately printed it off.  Ever since I learned that scones weren’t that difficult (these Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Chip Scones, for instance) to make and were, in fact, quite delicious, I’ve been looking for another opportunity to make them and this recipe was perfect for the start of fall baking.

I didn’t have the maple sugar that the recipe calls for so instead I used Pure Grade A Maple Syrup (do NOT use the maple syrup sold in the cereal aisle of your store…it’s not real maple syrup) and adjusted the amount of dry ingredients.   They turned out so delicious!  The dough itself was more biscuit like with a hint of maple and toasted walnuts, but the syrup and sugar on top gave it a nice bit of added sweetness.  Perfect warm out of the oven with a cup of coffee on a nice, chilly day.

Enjoy!

Maple Walnut Scones
 
Ingredients
  • 4 c. AP Flour
  • 1½ t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Chopped, Toasted Walnuts
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, very cold and cubed
  • ⅔ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ⅔ c., plus 2 T. Pure Grade A Maple Syrup, plus a little extra for glazing
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Raw Sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and walnuts. Using your hands or fork, work the very cold butter into the dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. In a separate bowl (I used a large measuring cup) whisk together the heavy cream, maple syrup, egg and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to butter/flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined. With your hands, form dough into a large disc, roughly 7" round. Place on a lightly floured surface and cut into 8 wedges (the wedges were a little large so I think I'll cut it into 10 next time). Place on cookie sheet and brush with maple syrup. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of one scone comes out clean.
Notes
Serves 8-10

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My First Crafty Baking Adventure … Owl Cupcakes!

I finally did it.  I got over my fear and lack of patience for cutesy, crafty baked treats and made these adorable owl cupcakes!  Once I saw how utterly cute and simple they were, I figured there was no way I could possibly screw this up.  The craft is recommended for kids after all!   I am so pleased with how they came out and I think I might possibly be ready to embark on another crafty baking adventure…maybe…someday.

But for now, I’m just going to enjoy these!

Owl Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
  • 1 (18.25 oz.) Devil's Food Cake Mix
  • 1 (16 oz.) Chocolate Fudge Frosting
  • 1 (16.6 oz.) Package Regular Oreos
  • 1 (5.5 oz.) Bag Reese's Pieces
  • Brown or White Paper Cupcake Liners
Instructions
  1. Bake cupcakes according to directions on the box. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  2. While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, begin separating the Oreos. I warmed my Oreos on a plate in the microwave for 5-6 seconds and gently slid one cookie off (don't pull it off or it will bring some of the white with it). Test one cookie first to see how much time works for you...it probably won't be more than 5 seconds.
  3. Next, with a toothpick, dab a bit of frosting on a brown Reese's Pieces and place slightly off-centered on the white of the Oreo. These are the eyes.
  4. Now frost the cupcake with a knife and again, using a toothpick, make "ears" for the owl. Place two of the Oreo eyes on the cupcake and push an orange Reese's Pieces sideways into the frosting for the beak.
Notes
Serves 24

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Chocolate Mud Cake…In a Crockpot

There’s only one thing hotter than football this fall…crockpots.  Yes, CROCKPOTS.  They are blowing up all over the Internet like they were invented yesterday.  And there are many reasons to love crockpots…they require simple/few ingredients most of the time, they cook for you while you’re at work and it’s all done in one single piece of equipment.  Yay!  And there are soooo many recipes that you can make in a crockpot…from apple cider, to mexican casseroles, to appetizers and meatloaf, the possibilities are endless.  And I recently discovered another use for my crockpot–cake!

Who would have thought you could make a cake without turning your oven on??  Simply amazing.  Now this cake isn’t winning any beauty pageants any time soon, but in the taste department it takes home the gold!  I literally threw the ingredients together for this cake in 30 minutes over my lunch break, went back to work for a couple of hours and when I got home my whole house smelled like chocolate.  Yeah, I could come home to that smell every day.

It’s an interesting recipe because you make the cake batter and put it in the crockpot and then pour this water/sugar/cocoa mixture all over the cake.  I mean, it’s a LOT of liquid!  But amazingly enough while the cake cooks, the liquid turns to a  yummy fudge sauce underneath.  It’s hard to capture the full deliciousness of this cake in a picture just ’cause really, it’s not pretty, but alot of ugly recipes taste the best.  This is one of those.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Mud Cake
 
Ingredients
Chocolate Cake:
  • 2 c. AP Flour
  • 4 t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 6 T. Unsweetened Cocoa (I used 4 T. regular unsweetened cocoa and 2 T. Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
  • ⅔ c. Semi-Sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1½ sticks Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 t. Instant Coffee Granules
  • 1¼ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ⅔ c. Whole Milk
  • 2 Large Egg Yolks
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Fudge Sauce:
  • 3 c. Hot Water
  • ⅔ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ⅔ c. Packed Brown Sugar
  • ⅔ c. Unsweetened Cocoa (I used half regular unsweetened and half Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
For the Cake:
  1. Coat the inside of a 2½ quart to 5 quart slow cooker or crockpot with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl melt the chocolate chips, butter and instant coffee granules in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each until melted and smooth. Whisk in the sugar thoroughly and then the milk, egg yolks and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix thoroughly with a spatula. Pour into the bottom of your slow cooker and spread evenly.
For the Fudge Sauce:
  1. Combine the hot water and both sugars and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the cocoa and vanilla. Pour over the cake batter.
  2. Cover the slow cooker with a tea towel and then put the lid on top of that (the towel will absorb any condensation that occurs). Cook for 2½ hours on high. You will know it's ready when nearly all of the cake is set and the edges begin to pull away from the sides. Let it set for 30-45 minutes and then serve in bowls with whipped cream or ice cream.
Notes
Serves 12-16

 

 

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Pink Ombre Swirl Cake

I am absolutely IN LOVE with this cake from Glorious Treats.  From the different shades of pink, to the perfect swirls covering the whole cake, I just can’t stop staring at this beautiful creation!

I must make this soon.  The prettiness is killing me.  In a good way.

For step-by-step instructions and more gorgeous pictures, head on over to her blog and get inspired!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Malted Butterscotch Filling

I know that I just posted a recipe for Key Lime Pie Ice Cream earlier this week, but the truth is I am already WAY into fall baking mode.  After having several days of degrees well above 100 this summer, anything less than that seems cool and fall-ish in comparison even if it is still in the upper 80s!  So now that it’s September, I am opening up the flood gates on everything pumpkin, apple and maple and the recipes are gonna come pouring out!

Let’s start with this recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies.  I initially wanted a chewy cookie but these were some of the puffiest, softest cake-like cookies that I have ever made.  And that was ok by me.  And they weren’t too sweet which was perfect because the butterscotch filling more than made up for any lack of sweetness in the cookie.  I took these to a get-together and they got rave reviews all around and not one made it back home with me.  Always a good sign.

Let the fall baking begin!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Malted Butterscotch Filling
 
Ingredients
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1⅓ c., plus 1 T. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. AP Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 t. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 2½ c. Oats
Malted Butterscotch Filling
  • 1 c. Butterscotch Chips
  • 2½ T. Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
  • ⅓ c., plus 2 T. Plain (not chocolate-flavored) Malted Milk Powder
  • 1½ ounces Cream Cheese, softened and cut into chunks
  • 3 T. Milk
  • 1½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
For the Cookies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt and oats together. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.
  3. Roll dough into 1½-2" balls and place two inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 9-10 minutes (9 minutes was perfect for me), rotating pans half-way through. Let them sit on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Filling:
  1. In a medium bowl, microwave the butterscotch chips and butter at 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely melted and smooth. Cool to warm. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and malted milk powder until well blended and completely smooth. Beat in half the butterscotch mixture just until incorporated. Beat in the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until well blended. Beat in the remaining butterscotch mixture and the vanilla until evenly incorporated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until somewhat thickened but not stiff. (The recipe then calls for you to beat the filling on high speed until light in color and very fluffy, about three minutes. I accidentally missed that step. Oops. So it's up to you, but I'd recommend NOT skipping that step.)
  2. Spread about 1½ tablespoons of the filling on the underside of half of the cookies and then top with the remaining cookies. These can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Notes
Serves 25

*Malted Butterscotch Filling Adapted from The All-American Cookie Book

 

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Sweet Treat Aprons

I’m loving aprons right now and I think I might buy each and every one of these if I could afford to!  If you have anyone in your life that loves to bake, think about getting them one of these for Christmas or their birthday.  Such a perfect gift for a baker!  Check out the other aprons on these sites too–so pretty!

Original Frosted Cupcake-Flirty Aprons

Sweet Treat-Cupcake Provocateur

The Sophia Vintage Inspired Birthday Cake Half Apron-Boojiboo

Mother & Daughter Cherry Cupcake Aprons-Jessie Steele

Pink Sweet Treats Cupcakes-Aprons by Vittoria

 

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Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

I am pretty much LOVING all things key lime right now so I thought I’d “squeeze” (Get it?! Squeeze? Limes?? Umm, never mind.) in one more summertime recipe before the temps start falling and pumpkins and apples become the baking ingredients of choice.

A couple of months ago I saw a recipe from My Baking Addiction for Key Lime Pie Ice Cream and I knew there was no way I could let the summer pass by without making it.  And I am so glad I didn’t!  This ice cream is awesome and so simple…you basically whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl, put the mixture in your ice cream maker and let it do it’s thing and then transfer to your freezer to harden up.  That’s it!

I only changed a couple of things about this recipe.  For starters, I wanted a REAL graham cracker crust in my ice cream and let me tell you it is worth the little bit of extra effort to make it.  I also thought the mixture was a little too sweet so I doubled the key lime juice to balance out the sweet and tart–perfect!  If I do say so myself.

Enjoy this recipe!  And enjoy what’s left of summer!

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
Author: 
Category: Dessert
 
Ingredients
  • 8 T. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • Dash Salt
  • 1½ c. Whole Milk
  • 1 c. Fresh or Bottled Key Lime Juice (such as Nellie and Joe's)
  • ½ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Dash Salt
  • 1 (14 oz.) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Instructions
  1. For Graham Cracker Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and salt. Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. For Ice Cream: In a large bowl, whisk together whole milk, lime juice, heavy cream, salt and sweetened condensed milk. Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Meanwhile, crumble your crust into small pieces and place in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. When ice cream is done, layer ice cream and graham crackers into a freezer-safe container. I had about four layers of each. Cover and freeze for one hour or until firm.

 

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Bed & Breakfast Weekend

Jeremy and I just got back from a short but sweet weekend in a little town called Ironton, Mo.  He surprised me with a belated anniversary trip to a bed and breakfast called The Parlor.  When I went online to do a little research on the activities in and around the town, I found out that the B&B used to be a funeral home and was supposedly haunted! We didn’t see any ghosts or notice anything out of the ordinary while we were there but we did have an absolutely wonderful time and enjoyed our stay IMMENSELY.  The husband and wife that own The Parlor were the nicest people and so accommodating.

There wasn’t much on our agenda (which was nice) other than going to a couple of state parks, eating some good food and relaxing.  Oh and of course enjoying some yummy desserts!  Jeremy also surprised me with a horse-drawn carriage ride Saturday night when we got back to the bed and breakfast.  It was so romantic and a great way to end the weekend.  Here are some fun pictures from our trip!

Outside of our lovely B&B, The Parlor
Flowers that were waiting for me in our room.
At Elephant Rocks state park.
Chocolate covered bacon a vendor was selling at Elephant Rock (for $3 each!!). Random...but good.
Getting cooled off at Johnson's Shut-Ins.
Dinner in Farmington, Mo.
The view from our corner booth at 12 West Bar & Grill. We were a little early (and hungry) which is why it was fairly empty.
An up-close look at those gorgeous chandeliers.
Dessert #1 at 12 West Bar & Grill: Ooey Gooey Butter Cake with Chocolate, Caramel, Sliced Bananas and Whipped Cream. Insane.
Dessert #2 at 12 West Bar & Grill: Triple Chocolate Cake with layers of Devil's Food Cake, Chocolate Mousse and Ganache. Even more insane.
Other than McDonald's, this was the only cafe/restaurant type place in Ironton. Every town has to have a bakery. 🙂
Outside the cafe.

 

A cinnamon roll at Aunt Mary's. It was yummy...warm, cinnamony and soft.
Cream Horn at Aunt Mary's. I had never had one and I LOVED it. Light, flaky pastry filled with the fluffiest buttercream. Really delicious.
Old Village Mercantile in Caledonia, Mo. This was one of a few antique shops we stopped at on the way home. Bonus: They had a coffee/smoothie bar, bakery and candy shop on the first floor.
The first floor of Old Village Mercantile. Lots of candy. And check out the original, beautiful ceiling.
View from the upstairs of Old Village Mercantile. LOVE that ceiling.
Barrels of old-fashioned candy at Old Village Mercantile.
Chocolate candy. Mmmmm.
LOTS of candy!
We stopped at another antique shop in Steelville, Mo and this little ice cream stand was across the street. How convenient. 😉
My choice--Mint Chocolate Chips. It was good. But I liked Jeremy's choice better. Why does that always happen?!
Jeremy's choice--Strawberry Waffle Cone. It was sooooo good!

Hope you enjoyed the peak into our weekend!  Tomorrow I’ll have a yummy end-of-summer recipe to share with you…have a great Sunday evening!

 

 

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Anna Sova Food Paint

I’ll bet you  didn’t know you could paint your walls with food, did ya?  Well, I didn’t either until a friend recently told me she had read about it in a magazine. Sure enough there is a company called Anna Sova that is making specially formulated “food” paint.  The ingredients are the same ones found in milkshakes, powdered donuts and chocolate.

The paint is supposed to be free of the many dangerous chemicals that are found in a typical can of paint and is instead made up of more healthy food ingredients.  Not only that, it also makes your walls smell like a vanilla milkshake!  Which I think is divine, but Jeremy says it’s gross.  Whatever.  Unfortunately (or fortunately if you’re like my husband) the aroma fades after several days.

The foodie paint comes with quiet the price tag however.  At nearly $70 per gallon, yours walls should not only smell like a vanilla milkshake FOREVER, you should be able to LICK your walls and TASTE a milkshake.  Now that would be awesome…but also gross.  Yeah, never mind.

So what do you think?  Cool?  Weird?  Delicious?  Hmmm?

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