No-Bake Energy Bars

No-Bake Energy Bars Chocolate

Sometimes I think I like my healthy recipes better than my totally unhealthy ones…for instance, these No-Bake Energy Bars.  One word-AMAZING.  Easy and delicious, sweet but not too sweet, chewy and just yummy.  Wholesome ingredients like oats and flaxseed and a little indulgence from the dark chocolate chips. Perfect pick me up in the afternoon when energy is at an all-time low.  Now if I could only eat just one…

No-Bake Energy Bars

Enjoy!

No-Bake Energy Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ c. Organic Peanut Butter (I used crunchy)
  • ¾ c. Agave (or honey)
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Oats
  • 2 c. Dessicated Coconut Flakes (the unsweetened kind)
  • 1 c. Ground Flaxseed (I used flaxseed meal)
  • ⅓ c. Coconut Oil, melted
  • ½ c. Organic Dark Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x13 pan with foil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, agave and vanilla until smooth. Add oats, coconut flakes and ground flaxseed and combine thoroughly. Stir in coconut oil. Stir in dark chocolate chips. Press evenly into bottom of pan. Refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes until bars are firm. Invert onto a cutting board, peel away foil and cut into squares. Store in refrigerator.

 

 

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Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cakes

My love affair with ooey gooey butter cake is well-documented here, here and here.  I love it and I’m not ashamed.  And I’ll probably keep coming up with more versions as long as there’s a semi-creative bone in my body!  Hope you guys don’t mind.  Actually I know you won’t mind once you taste this Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.  It. Is. Divine.  Literally like a banana split in cake form and so, so, SO good.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

 

Banana Split Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Filling
  • 1, 8 oz. pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1, 16 oz. Box (3¾ c.) Powdered Sugar
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 Ripe Bananas, mashed (not brown ripe like for banana bread and not green...just nice and yellow)
  • 1 c. Maraschino Cherries
  • 1 c. Pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 8 oz. Pineapple Tidbits
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
For the Cake
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cake mix, egg, butter and vanilla on medium speed until well combined. Pat into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
For the Filling
  1. Still using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat in mashed bananas. Dump in the powdered sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well. Beat in cherries, pecans and pineapple tidbits until just combined. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes or until filling is firm in the middle.
Notes
Makes 18 pieces.

 

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Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

I never thought I was a huge fan of snickerdoodles until I found the recipe I’m going to share with you guys today. I mean, I always liked them ok but if given the choice, I’d probably choose a peanut butter or classic chocolate chip cookie.  However, this snickerdoodle totally gives those other cookies a run for their money.  Just like the title says it is totally soft and crazy thick and full of yummy cinnamon flavor!  I took them to our gourmet cooking club the other night and heard several people say they were THE BEST snickerdoodle they’ve ever had.  Yay!  And I have to agree!  If you’re looking for a cookie you can whip up quickly and will get you rave reviews, look no further!  This is it!

Snickerdoodle

Enjoy!

Recipe source:  Sally’s Baking Addiction

Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1⅓ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg, room temperature
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 t. Cream of Tartar
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 2½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Salt
Topping
  • ¼ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Make the topping by tossing the ¼ cup granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the softened butter for about 1 minute on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar on medium speed until fluffy and light in color. Mix in the egg and vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three different parts. The dough will be thick.
  5. Roll 1.5-2 Tablespoons of dough into a ball and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Let cool on the pans for two minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes 2 dozen.

 

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Ultimate Fudge Brownies

Ultimate Fudge Brownies 1

Just when I think I’ve found the most amazing brownie recipe ever and can end my search for good, I find another recipe that claims to be “the best, most chocolatey, fudgiest, decadent, to-die-for, OMG good” brownie EVER and just have to try it.  Such was the case with these Ultimate Fudge Brownies.

Ultimate Fudge Brownies 2

I’ve tried a few brownie recipes in my time (many flops that I have never even bothered to blog about…or maybe I should have just as a warning to readers haha) and thought I had found the perfect one with the infamous Baked Brownie but honestly, this new one totally gives it a run for its money.  And I’m pretty positive I like it better.  Ok, I KNOW I do.  It’s thicker, denser, fudgier, richer and so, so, SO GOOD.  The perfect brownie?  Umm, yes.  For now at least!  I’m not sure it can get any better!  And they are easier to make than the Baked Brownie which is another plus when you’re the mom of a newborn.   You DEFINITELY need fast and easy.

Ultimate Fudge Brownies 3

Enjoy!

Ultimate Fudge Brownies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter
  • 1¾ c., plus 2 T. Sugar
  • 1¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¼+1/8 t. Salt
  • 3 Large Eggs, cold
  • ¾ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ½ c. White Chocolate Chips (or whatever kind you prefer...dark, milk, butterscotch, peanut butter, etc)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9x9 square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Melt the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a large bowl in the microwave at 30 second increments, stirring each time until the butter is completely melted. Mixture will look gritty. Set aside for a few minutes and let cool slightly.
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition. The batter will be thick and glossy. Add the flour, stirring with a whisk until just combined. Do not overmix the batter. Gently fold in the semi-sweet and white chocolate chips with a large spatula. Pour into prepared baking pan.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick/tester inserted in the middle comes out clean with only a few crumbs. Do not overbake.
  5. Cool brownies completely on a cooling rack, cut into squares and store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 20 brownies.

 

 

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Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

I know what you’re thinking….avocado pudding?!  Hear me out on this one though!  Believe it or not, avocados make a great base for a LOT of desserts.  My brother-in-law, who is from the Philippines, will not eat guacamole because where he is from they use avocados in sweet things, smoothies, etc. so using it in a savory way is weird to him.  When I heard that I thought it was so strange but it kind of makes sense, especially now that I’ve tried it in a sweet dessert.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding Close

Avocados are fairly neutral in flavor, can be blended until they’re super creamy and contain loads of nutrients and healthy fat!  And this pudding is absolutely delicious.  SUPER thick, creamy, chocolatey and not too sweet.  Honestly, I don’t think anyone would know the difference if you never told them it wasn’t “real” pudding.  They’d probably even like it better!  I know I do.  Oh and did I mention it literally takes minutes to make?  Put everything in your food processor and done!  Easy!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding
 
Ingredients
  • 3 Medium to Large Avocados
  • ½ c. Coconut Milk (or almond milk)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 6 T. Regular, Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 2 T. Dark Cocoa
  • 6 T. Agave (or honey)
Instructions
  1. Remove skin and pits from avocados and place in a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and blend for a few minutes until mixture is smooth and no green pieces remain. Scrape down the sides and blend for a few seconds more, until mixture is thick. Put pudding in a bowl or air-tight container and place in the fridge for at least one hour before serving.
Notes
Serves 3-4.

 

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New York Style Lemon Cheesecake

NY Style Lemon Cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of my all time favorite desserts, especially New York style cheesecake.  So a couple of weeks ago when we were getting together with some extended family for a little cookout, I knew what I’d be making for dessert!  Nothing better than cool, creamy cheesecake on a ridiculously hot day…well, ok, maybe ice cream is better but cheesecake doesn’t melt!

NY Style Lemon Cheesecake Close

NY Style Lemon Cheesecake Slice

I have a fabulous cheesecake recipe that I decided to put a little twist on with fresh squeezed lemon juice and grated lemon rind.  I also topped it with homemade whipped cream, which not only looks pretty but helps balance out the sweetness of the cheesecake.  It was fabulous and the perfect ending to a great meal!

Enjoy!

New York Style Lemon Cheesecake
 
Ingredients
  • 2¾ c. Lemon Sandwich Cookie Crumbs (or graham cracker crumbs)
  • 8 T. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 4, 8 oz. pkgs Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 c. Sour Cream
  • 1½ c. Sugar
  • ¾ c. Milk
  • ¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ½ c. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice (I used 4 large lemons)
  • 2 T. Lemon Zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. (Wrap pan in foil if doing waterbath. I did not do a waterbath but did place the pan on a large cookie sheet to catch butter that would leak out.)
  2. Combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press evenly into bottom of pan and up the sides an inch or so.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium to high speed until smooth. Blend in milk and then mix in the eggs all at once, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Beat in lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour filling into crust.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the center appears firm. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Chill for at least 4-24 hours before serving. Top with homemade whipped cream just before serving.
Notes
Serves 20.

 

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Bakery Review: Elle’s Patisserie in Springfield, MO

Elle's Patisserie Outside

Elle's Patisserie Front Door

There’s a teeny little shop in our town that sells the most delicious treats.  And when I say delicious treats I’m talking legit truffles, ice cream and serious baked goods.  I had the pleasure of visiting Elle’s Patisserie a couple of weekends ago and was in love with the quaint little shop the moment we stepped inside.  From the cute purple exterior to the lovely little patio outside, everything about Elle’s is perfection.  The interior is relaxed and French inspired and tiny but the perfect size to display everything that comes out of the kitchen.

Elle's Patisserie Menus

Elle's Patisserie Menu

Elle's Patisserie Display Case

Elle's Patisserie Chairs

Elle's Patisserie Banner

Per usual, I wanted to try one of everything and was in a sort of daze just looking at all the truffles.  We sampled some ice cream (totally yummy) and then proceeded with the difficult task of deciding what we wanted to buy.  We finally narrowed it down to a piece of Chocolate Covered Bacon, a Salted Caramel Coffee Macaron, a Dark Ganache Truffle with Cocoa Nibs, a Peanut Butter Ball and a Peanut Butter Ganache Brownie.

Elle's Patisserie Ice Cream

Elle's Patisserie Macarons and Truffles

Elle's Patisserie Brownie

I won’t go into tons of detail about each one because they were all equally divine and if I wasn’t watching my girlish, post-pregnancy figure, I would have promptly bought one of each of everything else.  My favorite thing was probably the macaron.  Or maybe the dark ganache truffle.  Definitely a toss-up. Suffice it to say, Elle knows what she’s doing in the kitchen.

Elle's Patisserie Truffles

Elle's Patisserie Macaron

Elle's Patisserie Brownie and Treats

My only regret is that we didn’t get there a little earlier in the day.  By the time we arrived they were completely sold out of pastries.  Bummer!  But we’ll be back.  Elle’s is definitely a must-visit little chocolate shop so be sure and check them out if you are in Springfield, MO!

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Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding

Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding 1

So, who isn’t thinking about losing weight and looking hot in a two-piece right now?!  I for sure am thinking about it more and more as the weather warms up and summer gets closer.  And since I don’t have quite as much time to exercise right now (who knew babies could be so demanding?!) I am watching my diet like a hawk and definitely limiting my sugar intake.  Which led me to this recipe for Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding.  Did you know you could make pudding with chia seeds??  I love it!  Once this mixture sets overnight, the chia seeds plump up and thicken and you’ve got cold, creamy, good-for-you pudding!  I made mine with lite coconut milk but you could use almond milk if you’d like and even use a different fruit besides mango.  Very versatile!  And DELICIOUS.  Great guilt-free treat!

Enjoy!

Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding 2

Recipe Source:  Skinny Taste

Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Lite Coconut Milk
  • ¼ c. Chia Seeds
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut
  • 1T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 T. Agave (or honey/sweetener of choice)
  • 1 Ripe Mango, chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for 5-6 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.
Notes
Serves 2.

 

 

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Campfire Treats for Memorial Day Weekend

Cast Iron Skillet Brownie by Simply Food Love
Cast Iron Skillet Brownie by Simply Food Love

Hi friends!  Well, I’ve been just slightly busy lately with the new little person in our home and haven’t had much time for baking, unfortunately.  Sigh.  So I decided to go online and find some fabulous camping recipes that would be perfect for Memorial Day festivities.  Love all these…the skillet brownies and cherry cheesecake both look AMAZING.  Hope everyone has a GREAT weekend and eats some delicious food!

Peach Cobbler

 

Peach Cobbler

Grilled Banana Boats

 

S'more Banana Boat

Campfire Cones

 

Campfire Cones

Tin Foil Pineapple Upside Down Cake

 

Tin Foil Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Strawberry S’mores

 

strawberry+smores

Orange Blueberry Muffins

 

Campfire Orange Blueberry Muffins

S’MOreos

 

smoreos

Cast Iron Skillet Brownies

 

 Cast Iron Skillet Brownie

Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls

 

dutch-oven-cinnamon-rolls

Campfire Cheesecake

 

Campfire Cheesecake

 

 

 

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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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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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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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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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