Chocolate Chip-Espresso Banana Bread

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

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Enjoy!

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

 

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A Sweet July 4th!

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

 

Red Velvet and Blueberry Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

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Red Velvet Funnel Cake

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Cherry Star Turnovers

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Easy Flag Fruit Dessert

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Red, White and Blue Pinwheel Icebox Cookies

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Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

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Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

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Firecracker Popcorn

Firecracker Popcorn

 

Easy and Healthy Fresh Fruit Dessert Pizza

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Mini Fruit Tart Cheesecakes

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Best Ever Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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

Soft-Baked Monster Cookies

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles

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

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Enjoy!

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

 

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Nutella Buttercream Frosting

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

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

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Or….just eat it with a spoon.

Enjoy!

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

 

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Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

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

Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream 2

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

Enjoy!

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

Guinness Dark Chocolate Ice Cream 3

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Chilled Peach Soup

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It’s HOT already where I live so baking a lot of desserts in my oven and heating my house up even more is really not too appealing to me these days.  Which is why I love this chilled peach soup!  It’s the perfect summertime dessert and, oh yeah, it’s AMAZING.  The first spoonful of this immediately had me thinking of a peach cobbler like grandma makes except, well, with alcohol and obviously no crust!  It’s creamy, cold and just really, really good.  Top it with some homemade whipped cream and a couple sprigs of fresh mint and dessert is served!

Enjoy!

Chilled Peach Soup
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Sparkling White Wine (I used a Spumante)
  • 1 c. Peach Schnapps
  • ½ c. Sugar
  • 1 t. Fresh Mint Leaves, chopped
  • ½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ t. Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 c. Half and Half
  • 10 Large, Fresh Peaches, sliced
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except peaches in a large bowl and whisk until well blended and sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a high powered blender (I used a Vitamix) and add peaches (you might have to do this in two batches). Blend on high until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to an air-tight container and refrigerate until chilled.
Notes
Serves 10.

 

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Coconut Rum Dark Devil’s Food Layer Cake

Cake Slice

 

Cake

A couple of months ago our Gourmet Cooking Club was Caribbean themed and I made these AMAZING Jerk Salmon Tostadas with Grilled Pineapple Peach Coconut Salsa along with a little layer cake.  Ok, it wasn’t a little cake…it was freaking huge!  Kind of on accident.  I wanted to make a four-layer cake so I just thought, oh I’ll double this cake recipe and have four layers!  Well, this is a GREAT idea if you want a cake the size of Mt. Vesuvius.  Seriously, I had two layers of this cake stacked and  was getting worried.  It was big.  Too big.  I then remembered that in the past when I wanted a four layer cake, I just made two cakes and SPLIT THEM IN HALF.  Oh, right.  Needless to say I pressed on and managed to get all four layers stacked, filled and frosted without any major mishaps.  But enough about that, you just want to know how it tasted right?  Of course you do!

Cake Close

I wanted to incorporate Caribbean flavors into the cake so coconut and rum seemed like a no brainer but I wanted to have a little twist so I thought chocolate cake would be perfect.  This devil’s food cake is probably one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.  The original recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiciton.  I just swapped in some dark cocoa for the light and upped the amount of vanilla a little.  The coconut filling reminded me of a Mounds bar and the coconut frosting was perfect.  My only complaint is that my rum simple syrup really got lost and didn’t come through like I wanted it to.  I thought I had really put enough rum in the syrup (and by enough I mean A LOT more than the recipe called for) and I brushed it pretty generously over each layer, but I couldn’t taste it that well which was a total bummer!  However, I still LOVED this cake and would definitely make it again, especially the devil’s food cake part.  Divine.

Cake Cherries

Enjoy!

Coconut Rum Dark Devil's Food Layer Cake
 
Ingredients
For the Cake*
  • 3½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 3½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ c. Special Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 2 t. Baking Powder
  • 4 t. Baking Soda
  • 2 t. Salt
  • 2 c. Buttermilk
  • 1 c. Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. Freshly Brewed Strong Hot Coffee
  • *Note: The ingredient amounts listed are because I doubled the original recipe to get 4, 9-inch cakes. It made a HUGE layered cake. It may be more manageable to halve the recipe for 2, 9-inch cakes and then split those in half horizontally in order to make four layers.
For the Rum Simple Syrup
  • ¼ c., plus 2 T. Sugar
  • ¼ c., plus 2 T. Water
  • ½ c., plus 2 T. Spiced Rum
For the Coconut Filling
  • 21 oz. Sweetened, Shredded Coconut (1½, 14 oz. Bags)
  • 21 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk (1½, 14 oz. Cans)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Coconut Buttercream
  • 4½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, slightly softened
  • ⅓ c., plus 3 T. Cream of Coconut (in the can by the drink mixers in the liquor section)
  • ½ c., plus 1 T. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 7½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 T. Coconut Extract
Other
  • 2 c. Toasted Coconut (for garnish, if desired)
Instructions
For the Dark Devil's Food Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease, flour and line with parchment paper four, 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powders, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low. Add the coffee. The batter will be VERY thin. This is ok.
  4. Pour the batter in to prepared baking pans and bake for 23-27 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. My cakes took about 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before assembling cake. Or if you are making the cake in stages, allow the layers to cool for about 10 minutes, flip out of pans and remove parchment paper and wrap in foil. Store in freezer until ready to thaw and use. This will yield a SUPER moist cake.
For the Rum Simple Syrup
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with the water and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, just until the sugar is completely dissolved. This will only take a couple of minutes. Let cool completely, then stir in the rum.
For the Coconut Filling
  1. In a large bowl, combine coconut, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Coconut Buttercream
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, salt, cream of coconut and heavy whipping cream on medium-high speed. Turn to low and gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat in vanilla and coconut extracts.
To Assembly Cake
  1. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Brush with ⅓ of the rum simple syrup. Spoon on ⅓ of the coconut filling and spread evenly. Repeat with second and third layers. Place fourth cake layer on top and spread a thin layer of crumb coat icing over entire cake. Place in the refrigerator until firm. Remove and finish frosting entire cake with the buttercream. Garnish with toasted coconut. Optional: I dipped maraschino cherries in white chocolate and toasted coconut and used them to decorate the top of the cake.
Notes
Serves 12-16.

 

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Dark Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

Skillet Cookie Sundae

I have always wanted to make a cookie in a cast-iron skillet and this past Mother’s Day I finally had my chance.  I’ve seen a lot of recipes for them and they always looks so absolutely thick and chewy and decadent and warm and gooey and…   Well, you get the idea, I could go on and on with the descriptive words here.  But I won’t.  They practically beg to be eaten straight from the pan with a huge scoop of homemade ice cream on top.  We were a bit more civilized when I made it for my husband’s family and managed to eat it properly, in our own individual bowls.  😉

Skillet Cookie

I have to say that I LOVED this cookie.  To me, it was everything a chocolate chip cookie should be–slightly chewy but still soft with a tiny but of crisp to the very outer edge.  It was a little richer than your typical chocolate chip cookie due to the brown sugar and bittersweet chocolate chips.  We topped ours with homemade vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, toasted coconut, sprinkles and a cherry, of course!  It was the perfect treat after dinner and would actually make a GREAT Father’s Day dessert.  I don’t know a dad who wouldn’t love this cookie.  Or anyone for that matter!

Enjoy!

Original Recipe Source:  Tasty Kitchen

Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. Sugar
  • ½ c. Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ t. Baking Soda
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (or semi-sweet, etc)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in an 8-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in sugars and vanilla and remove from heat. Let rest until pan is warm, but no longer very hot, about 5 minutes.
  2. Crack an egg onto the butter and sugar mixture and use a fork to whisk it into the mixture. Place flour baking soda and salt on top and carefully stir into the mixture until smooth and well-mixed. Stir in chocolate chips. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes (mine took 25) or until starting to turn golden on the top and around the edges, but still soft in the center. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

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Brown Butter Oatmeal Blondies with White Chocolate and Coconut

Brown Butter Blondies White Choc Coconut

When I’m in a time crunch (which is OFTEN these days with a one year old!) but REALLY want to bake, I think “ok, what can I throw in a pan and just bake all at once?!”  Obviously brownies come to mind immediately but sometimes I want something that doesn’t involve chocolate.  Crazy, I know!  Blondies are great for curing that sweet craving and take no time at all.  These particular blondies are deliciously rich and chewy.  They start with browned butter (YUM) and finish with loads of oats, white chocolate and shredded, sweetened coconut.  Doesn’t that just sound amazing?!  I enjoyed one (ok, two) of these with a steaming cup of coffee!  I highly recommend you do the same. 🙂

Enjoy!

Brown Butter Oatmeal Blondies with White Chocolate and Coconut
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. Sugar
  • ½ c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ t. Baking Powder
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 c. Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1 c. White Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Sweetened, Shredded Coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and 8x8 baking pan. Brown the butter in a pan over medium heat until it just begins to turn brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until well combined. Add the egg and vanilla. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Gently stir in oats, chocolate chips and coconut. Pour batter into pan and press until it's even in the pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely and cut into squares.
Notes
Makes 16.

Brown Butter Blondie White Choc Coconut

 

 

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Peanut Butter Gooey Bars

Peanut Butter Gooey Bars

Peanut butter and chocolate is one of my favorite combos and it is absolutely delicious in these super easy Peanut Butter Gooey Bars!  I looooove easy these days, let me tell ya.  Don’t be put off by the use of a boxed cake mix–they really come in handy sometimes!  I added Rice Krispies for a little crispy/chewy texture but feel free to leave them out if you wish.  Perfect treat to whip up on a cold winter night (which apparently we are having lots of around here in the Midwest–UGH).

Peanut Butter Gooey Bar

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Gooey Bars
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Rice Krispie Cereal
  • 1½ c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1, 14oz. Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 pan.
  2. Combine peanut butter, butter, eggs, cake mix and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well combined. Gently mix in the Rice Krispies. Press half the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and pour on the sweetened condensed milk. Top with remaining cake mixture.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack and cut into squares.
Notes
Makes 16 bars.

 

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Norwegian Lent Buns

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I had the extreme pleasure of going to a friends house this past week and witnessing a special dessert being made called fastelavensboller; basically cardamom yeast buns filled with whipping cream.  She is from Norway and these mark the beginning of Lent in her country.  A link to the recipe can be found here.  She made hers basically the same way, although she used regular all-purpose flour for the buns and filled them with a raspberry whipping cream.  They were decadent and so delicious.  Not to mention pretty!  She put hers into heart shaped tins for a special Valentine’s Day twist.  It was such a fun project and I felt so honored to be able to share in it!  I can’t wait to try making them myself!  Below are a few photos that documented the process.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with Pink Hearts

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bar with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Doesn’t the title of these things just SOUND delicious?!  As well it should because these bars are good.  Very, very good.  They definitely remind me of one of my favorite recipes of all time, Sugar Cookie Bars, but with a touch of cocoa in the bars (YUM) and decadent white chocolate cream cheese frosting.  They are perfect for Valentine’s Day with the red in the batter and cute, sparkly pink sugar hearts on top.  I used a cookie cutter to make the heart shape and directed the pink sugar with a funnel into the heart.  Easy!  These make great treats for kids and adults alike!

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars

Enjoy!

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Ingredients
Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bars
  • 3⅓ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1½ c. Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 T. (one, 1 oz. bottle) Red Food Coloring
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1, 8 oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. White Chocolate Chips, melted
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar, sifted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray.
For the Bars
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Add the flour mixture until a soft dough forms. Press evenly into the bottom of the 9x13 baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool bars completely on a wire rack before frosting.
For the Frosting
  1. In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla and the melted white chocolate. With the mixer on low, gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Spread evenly over sugar cookie bars.
Notes
Makes 18-20 bars.

Red Velvet Sugar Cookie Bar

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Nutella Cheesecake Brownies

Nutella Cheesecake Brownies

Nutella Cheesecake Swirl

Superbowl is this Sunday and of course we’ll be having something sweet!  When it comes to food for parties, I really prefer it to not require utensils and be easy to eat.  The less fuss, the better.  These brownies fit the bill and oh yeah, are super delicious.  If you haven’t tried Nutella by now, these brownies are a great place to start (after eating some straight out of the jar with a spoon of course).  The combo of creamy cheesecake and dense brownie swirled with rich Nutella make these the perfect dessert for the big game day, in my opinion.  Can’t wait until Sunday!  I mean, it’s really about the food after all.

Nutella Cheesecake

Enjoy!

4.5 from 2 reviews
Nutella Cheesecake Brownies
 
Ingredients
Brownies
  • 1 c., 2 T. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c., 2 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ t. plus ⅛ t. Salt
  • ¾ c. Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
  • ¾ c. Brown Sugar, packed
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Cheesecake
  • 2, 8 oz. Pkgs. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 c. Nutella
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Brownies
  1. Combine flour, cocoa and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Spread batter into pan.
For the Cheesecake
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixture, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until combined. Pour over brownie batter. Drop spoonfuls of Nutella over the cheesecake and gently swirl into the cheesecake batter with a knife.
  2. Bake for 45-50 minutes until center is set. Cool completely on a wire rack and then chill in the refrigerator overnight and until ready to serve.
Notes
Makes 18-20 brownies.

Nutella Cheesecake Brownie

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Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Glaze

I have been seriously struggling lately with inspiration for my blog.  And motivation.  I mean, I WANT to bake and blog and there are plenty of recipes out there that I’m dying to try, but it’s just a little daunting trying to find the time with a baby to be in the kitchen for an hour or more.  Not gonna lie, it kinda sucks.  Love my daughter but I miss baking!!!  Just keeping it real, people.

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Slices

Anywho, most of my recipes lately have been fairly simple and quick to make and honestly will probably stay that way for awhile.  And I really don’t see anything wrong with that as long as they TASTE good.  That’s the main objective, after all…something you want to eat!  Last week I was racking my brain trying to think of something easy to make and it occurred to me that I had quite a few overripe, frozen bananas in my freezer that I needed to use.  If for nothing else, I just needed that freezer space back!  I went to see how many I had and I counted 20 bananas.  Twenty!!!  That’s a lot.  Unbelievably enough, I couldn’t find a recipe that uses 20 bananas at once (shocking, I know) but I did manage to adapt this Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread from Sally’s Baking Addiction and use a whopping four bananas.  Woo hoo, my freezer will be cleaned out in no time!  NOT.  I have a feeling we’ll be eating a lot of banana bread in the future.

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Loaf

So like I said I adapted this recipe and threw in a little cocoa powder (I love the combo of chocolate and cinnamon) and added a crunchy cinnamon sugar top to the loaf.  It turned out moist and so delicious.  The only disappointing thing was that you couldn’t see the cinnamon sugar layer in the middle of the loaf because of the cocoa…I didn’t even think about that!  But it still tasted amazing.  Simple, homey and just good.  It’s a favorite banana bread recipe in our house now!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread
 
Ingredients
Banana Bread
  • 2 c. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ¾ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¾ c. Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1½ c. Mashed, Very Ripe Bananas (about 4 bananas)
  • ⅓ c. Sour Cream
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Cinnamon Swirl
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted (this will be reserved for the top of the loaf)
Simple Glaze
  • ½ c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 T. Heavy Cream (or milk...all I had was almond milk so I used that)
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
For the Banana Bread
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, bananas, sour cream and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do NOT overmix.
  2. Spoon half of the batter into prepared pan. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the batter in the pan. Top with remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour melted butter evenly over loaf. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
  3. While the bread is cooling, make the glaze in a small bowl by combine the powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla. Drizzle over the cooled banana bread. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
8-10 servings.

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Pieces

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German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

I had grand plans this past Thanksgiving of making pie, which is definitely one of my favorite desserts.  For me, it ranks up there with cheesecake, bread pudding and really good wedding cake.  However as the time drew near, I quickly realized how challenging it would be to make two or three pies with a seven month old demanding my attention.  Yeah, not happenin’.  Soooo, Plan B was these German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars.  And I must say, I am NOT sad that I had to make these instead!  Imagine pecan pie, loaded with coconut and bittersweet chocolate chunks, on top of a chocolatey crust, in bar form.  To. Die. For.  I can honestly say I’m glad I had to change things up because these were out of this world delicious!

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 2

 

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 3

Enjoy!

Original Recipe:  Southern Living Magazine

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
 
Ingredients
Crust
  • 1¾ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened Cocoa
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, cubed
Filling
  • 1 c. Dark Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 c. Light Corn Syrup
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3½ c. Pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 2 c. Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I like Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet but you could also use semi-sweet, etc)
  • 2 c. Sweetened, Flaked Coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over the sides to use as "handles". Lightly grease foil.
For the Crust
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Add butter and crumble it with your fingers or a fork until it resembles a coarse meal. Press into the bottom of the 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
For the Filling
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and eggs. Stir in 1 cup of coconut and pecans and pour over the crust. Top with remaining cup of coconut.
  2. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden and set (mine was still the slightest bit jiggly in the very middle and I was ok with that). Cool completely on a wire rack. Lift baked bars from pan using foil "handles" and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Notes
Makes 20 bars.

German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars 4

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Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake Piece

Gooey butter cake again?  YES.  And this time with Nutella.  NUTELLA.  In OOEY GOOEY BUTTER CAKE.  Can your mind even comprehend?!  I’ve made all kinds of gooey butter cakes, but this one might be my favorite.  It’s rich, decadent and perfect with ice cream.  A great, chocolatey addition to any holiday spread!

Nutella

Enjoy!

Nutella Ooey Gooey Butter Cake
 
Ingredients
For the Cake
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
  • 1 Large Egg, at room temperature
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
For the Filling
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. Nutella
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3¾ c. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan.
For the Cake
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, butter and vanilla and mix well. Pat into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
For the Filling
  1. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs, Nutella and vanilla. Dump in powdered sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes (mine is done around 40), until a tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

 

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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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Homemade Chocolate Candy Cups

Almond Chocolate Candy Cups

I am still on a healthy sweet kick around here!  Hope you guys don’t mind!  I have been craving chocolate like MAD lately but didn’t want all the refined sugar, dairy and other junk that comes in commercially produced chocolate.  And believe it or not, you can actually make chocolate HEALTHY.  Well, ok, I’m not sure it would be classified as a health food but it’s 1,000x’s better than what you’d buy at the store.

Chocolate Candy Cups

Pistachio Chocolate Candy Cup

Good fat from coconut oil and organic cocoa make these little gems possible.  Seriously, we love them.  Yes, hubby loves them too which is the true test of course!  I topped mine with coconut, raisins, pistachios, almonds and dried mango.  Next time I’m going to experiment with pure mint oil,  peanut butter and a few other variations I have running through my brain.  I can’t wait!

Coconut and Raisin Chocolate Candy Cups

Enjoy!

Original Recipe: Pepperplate

 

Homemade Chocolate Candy Cups
 
Ingredients
  • ⅔ c. Organic, Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ⅔ c. Organic Coconut Oil
  • ⅓ c. Agave (or honey, etc)
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Toppings such as dried fruit, nuts, coconut, etc
Instructions
  1. Place mini muffin or candy cups on a cookie sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, melt coconut oil. Whisk in cocoa, agave and vanilla all at once. Spoon chocolate into muffin/candy cups and top with toppings of your choice. Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes until hardened. Store in refrigerator or freezer.
Notes
Makes 15, 1½" chocolate candy cups.

 

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