I just love these patriotic cupcakes from a few of my favorite blogs. So creative and soooo tasty looking! Makes me want to grab a sparkler and get the party started!
I just love these patriotic cupcakes from a few of my favorite blogs. So creative and soooo tasty looking! Makes me want to grab a sparkler and get the party started!
July 4th is on a Wednesday this year. Middle of the week. No vacation days before. No vacation days after. I’m not liking it. Not one bit. Especially considering everyone in my office is taking off leaving me alone to man the phones and do what else? Hmmm, not sure. I’m predicting a lot of Words with Friends.
Since it’s going to be SO WEIRD to have July 4th in the middle of the workweek, I thought we could use something to get us into the patriotic spirit first thing that day! And that something are these fun star pastry pie turnovers. Made of puff pastry and cherry pie filling (store-bought or homemade) they are the perfect breakfast treat! I would actually liken them more to a turnover than a pie…flaky layers of buttery dough and ooey gooey cherry filling. My only frustration with these things was the amount of cherry pie filling I could fit into each star. I carefully placed four cherries in the middle of each and was able to just barely fit another star over the top and seal it shut. So it’s a little more puff pastry than filling but they are still quite delish.
Can I be honest? If I had the option, I’d make a different kind of ooey gooey butter cake every week. I am totally not joking. EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. Who knows, if things got really crazy I might even make TWO different kinds in one week! I just love it so much. But that would bore you, wouldn’t it? I mean, you’d think “Wow, Sarah, seriously? What about cookies and pie and brownies??” Right? Oeey gooey butter cake 24/7?? Boring! And I definitely don’t want to bore you so I will refrain from indulging my ooey gooey butter cake obsession. For now.
I actually realized it’s been about a year since I have posted this recipe for Chocolate Ooey Gooey Butter Cake so I thought it was high time I make one. And man, it is such a struggle to make desserts for the 4th of July that are red, white and blue. Let’s face it, unless you go the totally unnatural red and blue dye route, what are you left with?? Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. That’s it! So I thought this cake might be a little different but still incorporate the patriotic tones of July 4th.
And bonus: this cake is AH-MAZING. It was all I could do to keep from eating the whole thing. Poor Jeremy is really cutting out sugar right now and proclaimed that he would be relinquishing his duties as my official taste-tester (I know, I know…how dare he?!!?), but he could not resist having a bite of this cake. It is so good. Whatever get-together you have coming up, take this and it will be gone in no time!
Lately I’ve been doing more healthy baking and noticing that I feel like I’m using the same ingredients over and over again for a lot of the new recipes I’m trying. You’d think that everything would taste the same using the same ingredients repeatedly, but it’s truly amazing the different variations you can get just with a few simple ingredient swaps. For instance, I’ve done Cinnamon Apple Pecan Oatmeal Bars which have really similar ingredients to these and I’m discovering the quinoa can be used in lots of healthy dessert recipes, yet somehow these Banana, Oat & Quinoa Bars are still unlike anything I’ve made.
They remind me of a cross between banana bread and oatmeal bars and are very homey and good. The original recipe called them 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars but of course they had more ingredients than that after I was done with them so the name changed a bit. They could also be considered gluten-free (although there is debate whether oats are truly gluten-free, so please use your own judgement) and have very little added sweetener, which is nice. All in all a great recipe and one that I’ll make over and over again.
A couple weeks ago I posted about a trip Jeremy and I took to Oklahoma City to visit a few bakeries and cupcake shops, all in the name of research, of course! We started out our day bright and early with Sara Sara Cupcakes and from there hit up CocoFlow and Bricktown Candy Co. I won’t go into many details because either of these places because I honestly wasn’t blown away by them. But here’s a quick rundown with lots of pictures!
I choose CocoFlow because I thought it would be neat to go to a place that wasn’t cupcakes and instead focused on chocolate truffles. I was actually really excited to visit this little shop right in the heart of Bricktown. It was a very unassuming, cafe type space. When we got there, there was actually a chocolate making class in full-swing which I thought was SO cool and wanted so badly to join but we would have had to have previously signed up so it was a no-go. They had a pretty good variety of chocolate truffles to choose from, a few jars of HUGE cookies and some other miscellaneous baked goods. I choose a Chili Truffle, Marzipan Truffle, Peanut Butter Cup and Coconut Macaroon. Jeremy got a lemon bar.
My first indication of the quality of this place was when employee waiting on us unwrapped the previously made (who knows when?) lemon bar right in front of us and plopped it on the plate and then proceeded to ask if we wanted powdered sugar on it or not. Umm, sure. She then proceeded to ring up our treats (unsuccessfully) and after five or six attempts we were finally able to pay and headed outside to sit on the deck, in the lovely late morning weather.
I’m going to be honest here…the Chili Truffle was a huge bomb. We wondered if we got the right thing because there was absolutely ZERO chili/heat to this thing and it was coated in granulated sugar which I just thought was weird. The Peanut Butter Cup was actually a massive chocolate ganache truffle, dipped in chocolate and then topped with a dollop of peanut butter. The Marzipan Truffle was again, a thick layer of ganache, a very thin, barely there layer of marzipan and it was dipped in chocolate. The lemon bar was ok. Lemon goo and a shortbread crust and almost too sweet. My favorite (and the only thing I liked..actually I LOVED this thing) was the Coconut Macaroon. It was decadent and chewy, had loads of almond flavor and was dipped in a dark chocolate. It was divine. Needless to say we won’t be back to that place…unless of course, to get a coconut macaroon.
Bricktown Candy Co. was also nothing to write home about. I was kind of shocked by the aesthetics of this place. They have a prime location in the heart of a historic district but the inside is very rundown, warehouse like. It’s pretty big and divided into one side which is primarily bulk candy and the other side is gelato and almost every bottled drink and soda known to mankind.
The candy was ok but pretty much the same thing I can get at our local Mr. Bulky’s. Not the best or freshest but definitely not stale and gross. Just good, standard candy. I did try the gelato and it was actually really good…if it hadn’t been 11 in the morning I probably would have gotten some but it was just a little early for ice cream (But ya know not too early for chocolate, cupcakes and candy. Ugh.).
My biggest issue with this place? The teenager girl that was working the cash register, smacking her gum and talking on a phone the WHOLE time we were there, including while we were checking out. Gee, sorry are we interrupting your highly important conversation?? Don’t mind us, just customers wanting to GIVE YOU MONEY. I mean, really?! It was so rude. To make matters worse, one of the managers was there and knew she was on the phone and apparently didn’t think anything of it. We totally felt like we were an inconvenience to this girl’s phone call. Yeah, not going back.
Ok maybe for gelato…maybe.
Ok, so not such great choices on my part but it was still fun to try some new places. And the day definitely gets better! Next review–Pinkitzel!
A few days ago I posted some dreamy ice cream treats, one of which happened to be a Strawberry Icebox Cake. As I mentioned in that post, I have wanted to make an icebox cake forever and decided that now was the time! Add in the fact that I had been OBSESSING about making something with blueberries and lemon and voila! This delicious dessert was born.
So, was an icebox cake everything I thought it would be? Ummm, YES. And more. I can see why these things were so popular with our grandma’s back in the day…super simple to make and unbelievably delicious. Once the cake sets overnight, the layers of graham crackers get perfectly soft and the thick, whipped cream filling is almost mousse like sandwiched between everything.
In my humble opinion this is THE perfect summertime treat…simple, gorgeous and bursting with fresh blueberry and lemon flavor! Enjoy!
Note: If you don’t like lemon, feel free to omit it or substitute almond flavor, etc. It’s a very versatile recipe!
One of the best things about being on Cupcake Wars?? The huge, insanely fun watch party we got to throw! Of course we HAD to make cupcakes for everyone to eat while watching so we made three of the four kinds of cupcakes that we made on the show (Red Velvet, Take 5 and Bananas Foster). And we did not make just enough for everyone to have one measly little cupcake…no, no we made 750 cupcakes…enough for every person there to have one of EACH cupcake. Insane!
Here are some fun photos from the night…
All in all, I think Red’s Cupcakes definitely brought it and yeah, TOTALLY should have won. But hey, you can’t win ’em all and in the end I think our cupcakes were beautiful, our display was amazing and we gave it our all so we’re proud of what we did! Robyn will forever reign as Cupcake Goddess and I, the Candy Queen!! Hah!
Thanks to everyone who watched and cheered us on and for all your support!! Love and appreciate each and every one of you!
Brunch, it’s what every dad wants. Trust me on this. Sure, when you ask him what he wants for Father’s Day he’ll throw out the usual grilling/golfing/fishing ideas, but what do men REALLY want?? Food. Homemade, from scratch, fill-your-belly FOOD.
Now I know that typically the word “brunch” invokes thoughts of girly tea rooms and fine china and quiche and ya know, things that don’t sound too manly. But throw in a couple meats (bacon, sausage, etc) and some kind of breakfast casserole (one with eggs and hashbrowns and loads of cheese and absolutely NO vegetables…unless it’s jalapenos..those are manly) and brunch is no longer just for the ladies.
And I’m sorry, but it just wouldn’t be brunch without something sweet. Luckily, I have a few recipes that would fit the bill for any dad’s mid-morning sweet tooth. Like these Mini Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins.
Or maybe he’s a health nut…this Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola is uber-healthy and most importantly delicious. Great plain, with milk or over greek yogurt with fresh berries. Yum.
For the chocoholic, these Triple Chocolate Muffins will totally give him his fix.
Another healthy AND gluten-free option–Blueberry Almond Meal Muffins.
Lastly, Berry Bread Pudding (minus the ice cream..I mean, this IS breakfast after all). My personal favorite.
Really, you can’t go wrong with any of these options. Pick one (or two!) and get to baking!
And cookies. And cake. And brownies. And…well, you get the idea. Sometimes dad’s even like to get in the kitchen and show-off their baking skills! If your dad falls into any of these categories, may I suggest some of the following gifts and ideas, perfect for Father’s Day?
I think every dessert-loving dad should own this shirt. Ok, scratch that–every REAL MAN should own this shirt.
Real Men Can Bake apron. Says it all.
These beer themed sugar cookies are soooo cute. Oh, maybe cute is the wrong word…probably not very manly. Oh well.
He likes pancakes? And bacon? And beer? No problem–he can have all three for breakfast! Nothing says “love ya, dad” like Beer and Bacon Pancakes.
I’ve got your dessert for Father’s Day. Chocolate Stout and Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cupcakes. Also known as, the manliest of manly cupcakes in the history of mankind. Ok, at least that’s MY take on them. And I think my husband would agree also. And any other man that has the extreme pleasure of tasting one of these amazing cupcakes. They combine what I understand to be essential manly ingredients such as peanuts, pretzels and beer and turn a cupcake into something a REAL man is not ashamed to eat. ‘Cause really…cupcakes are cute! And what man eats something cute?? I know of none.
I will be honest–you could just stop with the chocolate stout cake. The cake recipe makes a little more batter than is needed for the cupcakes so I ended up having five cupcakes that were only chocolate cake and uuummmm, yeah…AH-mazing. I topped one with some simple homemade whipped cream and it was out of this world. Just an idea if you don’t want to bother with the peanut butter cheesecake. But may I suggest you bother?? Because it really is worth it. The combination of the whipped chocolate ganache buttercream, chocolate stout cake and creamy peanut butter cheesecake is just out of this world.
Really, truly the PERFECT treat for any dad on Father’s Day. Make them. You will automatically become his favorite child. Promise.
Chocolate Stout Cake recipe adapted from Epicurious
Hard to believe that when we did this little video soooo long ago, we’d find ourselves in the baking battle of our lives! Be sure to watch what happens and cheer us on when we go whisk-to-whisk with three other teams on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in one week on Sunday, June 17th at 7 p.m.! (Central Time)
Two things were in my mind when I came up with these brownies: 1. Father’s Day and 2. Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. I actually made these a couple of weeks ago for a Memorial Day get together with my family and because I knew my parents would be making and bringing their famous homemade vanilla ice cream to the dinner, I wanted something super chocolate and decadent to go with it. And I knew Father’s Day was around the corner and what dad doesn’t love chocolate?? I don’t know any.
I didn’t do much searching before I came across a recipe from Betty Crocker for Milk Chocolate Malt Brownies. I rarely search for something online and choose the first thing that pops up but with these I thought, why not? I didn’t want to spend hours looking for what I thought might be the “perfect” recipe and it’s Betty Crocker…how can you go wrong? Of course I made a couple of minor changes and topped my brownies with a super decadent dark chocolate malt frosting. If you’re thinking, “Wow Sarah, these sound rich and ridiculously good”…yes, you’d be right. They are ridiculously good. A little goes a long way, trust me. And I will tell you the longer these set, the softer/better they become. Although the malt balls on top do get chewy…but I kind of like ’em like that.
These are great for your dad, your uncle, grandpa, brother, nephew…whoever you know and love who also happens to be a dad! Nothing says love and thanks like homemade brownies!
Blueberry syrup reminds me of childhood. When I was a kid, we’d go every year around the beginning of blueberry season to a blueberry patch about 20 minutes from our house and pick buckets and buckets of blueberries…and also eat quite a few in the process. It was so fun. Blueberry picking in the late spring and apple picking in fall are honestly some of my best memories from childhood. Probably because they involved food I guess?! Hah.
So after picking for a couple of hours we’d take our load of blueberries home and would freeze most of them right away but a few fresh ones would be reserved for homemade blueberry syrup. My mom made THE BEST blueberry syrup and pancakes. It was a reason to get up before noon on Saturday morning! So when blueberries, blackberries and peaches started showing up at our local Farmer’s market recently, I definitely had her yummy blueberry syrup in mind.
Although I didn’t have my mom’s exact recipe, this turned out just like I remember hers. Who knows, it might be the same one! And can I tell you it could not be easier to make blueberry syrup? Put ingredients in pot and heat. That’s pretty much what it comes down to! The use of orange juice may seem odd, but trust me, once it sits overnight, all the flavors meld together and you taste nothing but blueberry the next day! It’s thick and quite sweet and just delicious over pancakes, waffles or crepes. Will definitely be making it alot over the next few weeks!
Jeremy and I took a whirlwind trip to Oklahoma City this weekend. The original purpose of the trip was to visit a little candy shop I have been eyeing online for what seems like forever called Pinkitzel. From what I had seen of their website, this place seemed like a candy lovers dream and their decor was right up my alley–pink, white, black and Rococo everywhere!! I was absolutely in love. I had to go. NOW. So we decided to do it and after realizing it would take nearly 5 hours to make the drive, we booked a hotel. Well, at least I thought we had booked a hotel. Jeremy surprised me by booking a B&B just outside of the Tulsa area. It was so sweet…I think I’ll keep him. 😉
So knowing that we didn’t have to rush back and could just do whatever on Saturday, I immediately looked up other places around OKC we could get our sugar fix at. I found a few cupcake places and narrowed it down to one and then also discovered another candy shop and a chocolate shop. Fun!
We set out early (5:30!) Saturday morning and made it just in time for our first destination to open up. Sara Sara Cupcakes is located in an old, historic party of Oklahoma City…and it is SO ADORABLE. The house is quite aged, probably built in the early 1900’s which of course only adds to the charm. They’ve painted the doors pink and the inside is totally white and clean/modern looking. I loved it.
As for the cupcakes, they were HUGE which made sense since they were $3.59 each. I kind of freaked out about the price (however would I be able to try my regular half dozen?!), but then I was informed that on that day they were 3 for $9…not bad!
So it was decision time…I hate this part! I am HORRIBLE at making decisions, especially when it comes to dessert and I was struggling. I can’t tell you how many times the employees at these places stare at me like I’m crazy while I stand in front of their bakery cases looking constipated and Jeremy is flitting around taking pictures. Yeah…we probably look insane. But oh well, all in the name of research! So I managed to decide, with some input from Jeremy, and we came up with the following delightful cupcakes: Coconut Cream, Crimson & Cream and Judge Joe Cannon. I will say up front that these cupcakes are delicious and straightforward. They were all homey and just good. Nothing fancy or over the top. Cake and frosting. That being said, here’s the breakdown of each one.
Our least favorite was the Crimson & Cream. And not because it was bad! It definitely was not bad, it was just not our favorite. The red velvet cake was the perfect buttermilk, red velvet cake…so moist and the cocoa was just barely noticeable. Like red velvet should be. Topped with a delicious, not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting and chocolate shavings. We liked it a lot.
Our next favorite was the Judge Joe Cannon, a banana cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting and chunks of Snickers. I personally LOVED this banana cupcake because it was actually a super thick and dense banana bread. Oh, it was soooo good. However, the frosting was totally a let down…it was not a buttercream but more like a whipped topping that was greasy and slightly grainy. I was really bummed about it because I loved the cake part so much.
And our absolute favorite was the Coconut Cream. A delicious and moist chocolate cake topped with a milk chocolate frosting and yummy toasted coconut. Loved it.
Such a great start to the weekend! If you are in the area, definitely pick up some cupcakes from them!
I am so, so, SO excited to share this recipe with you guys. I was trying really hard to come up with a peach recipe that wasn’t a pie or crisp and man, was I having some serious inspiration issues on this one. I wanted something cheesecake-y but NOT baked…the less oven time in the summer, the better, you know what I mean? So I finally had an idea for something fresh and light and just overall yummy. I can honestly say that these peach cheesecake bars are one of my favorite things I have ever made, if not THE favorite thing. Yeah. Good. Really, really, really, good.
The recipe started with this brilliant idea I had for a boozy peach sauce and then it evolved from there to include a buttery, crumbly (but not too crumbly!) shortbread crust and thick, creamy no-bake cheesecake filling. I have to say I could have stopped with the peach sauce…I literally was licking the spoon on this one. It has the perfect combination of warm spices, peach and citrus. Divine. Add in the no-bake cheesecake factor and this is pretty much the perfect summer dessert.
I can tell I will be making LOTS of trips to my farmer’s market this summer. 🙂
Have you heard about chia seeds yet? They are an awesome super food that have so many health benefits, it’s truly unbelievable. From lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol to helping surpress appetite, I am sold on these little seeds of goodness. Do a quick Google search and you’ll find all kinds of information on them.
The first time I ever saw them was in a water bottle that the cashier was drinking out of at my local health food store. They looks like hundreds of little bubbles in her water. She explained what they were and all the benefits and I was intrigued but didn’t purchase any until recently. I love to put them in my oatmeal and my juicing concoction I make in the morning. I’ve also had them baked into thin, crisp bars (recipe courtesy of my friend Joelle…I’ll be blogging it soon!) and can now add jam to my list of uses for chia seeds! The seeds actually absorb water like crazy so instead of using pectin to make the gel-like consistency of jam, these seeds do all the work! It’s totally amazing and so, so tasty. I just used honey to taste to sweeten this jam, so even though I list an exact measurement, feel free to use however much tastes good to you.
I made three different kinds, Strawberry, Strawberry Pineapple and Peach. I think I like the Strawberry Pineapple the best. Because I made three different kinds, I went ahead and froze two of them, so we’ll see how those hold up after they’re thawed out. So far I’ve enjoyed it by the spoonful, on whole-grain sprouted bagels and plan to make some whole wheat waffles to try the spread on. I am so excited about this stuff…healthy and good for you. Enjoy!
Original recipe by Tosca Reno
The days have been getting noticeably warmer lately…as in it feels like July and it’s only May kind of warmer. And just about every day around 2:30 in the afternoon I start craving ice cream. Ugh. I then have to play referee between Good, Healthy, Angelic Sarah and Dessert Loving, Devil Sarah (umm, yeah that’s what it feels like!). Thankfully, most days I am able to rationalize myself out of NOT eating Andy’s Frozen Custard for dinner. And can I just say that is quite the feat when they are less than half a mile from your house?! Don’t think I haven’t thought “hey, I’ll just walk there and that totally justifies eating it!” Because I have. Oh, I have.
So ice cream remains a treat, like it should. And because I’ve got ice cream on the brain, I looked up some fun ice cream recipes online and wanted to share with you all. Tell me these don’t get you drooling?!?
First, Key Lime Pie Ice Cream from yours truly. I loooooove this stuff. It totally transports me to Florida and white sandy beaches. Ahhhhhh.
While not quite ice cream per se, an ice box cake is a frozen treat that I have been wanting to try FOREVER. And this recipe for a No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake has inspired me to finally do it! It’s just so pretty.
Chocolate Covered Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich. Want. Now.
Mint and chocolate are one of my weaknesses which makes this Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake oh so very tempting to me. I think if I try it, I’ll use a boxed Devil’s Food Cake mix, just to save some precious time.
And last, but certainly not least, Almond Milk Ice Cream. Jeremy and I have cut dairy from our everyday diet and I have been dying to try a recipe for almond milk ice cream. This one looks good and I think I’ll try making it in my ice cream machine after mixing all the ingredients together and letting them chill. I’ll definitely post my results on here!
Guess what is showing up at our local farmer’s market right now? Peaches! Beautiful, soft, juicy peaches. This past Saturday I arrived at our local farmer’s market, Farmer’s Market of the Ozarks, at exactly 7:30 a.m. (yes, this is when they open and quite a few people had already beat me there!) to be sure I could get my hands on some before the crowds arrived. I made a beeline to the booth that had them and happily paid for my peck of peaches. I also managed to score some strawberries but barely, there were only a couple of pints left!
So I got what I came for and headed back to my kitchen…I had a plan for these peaches that involved champagne, brown sugar and lots of spices. I could hardly wait to get started. What resulted was one of the most delicious ice cream sauces I have ever tasted. My kitchen smelled like a cross between Christmas from all the spices in the sauce and summer from the orange zest and peaches. Pure. Heaven. If you are a fan of peach pie, this will remind you of just that…but without the crust! It is decadent and delicious over vanilla ice cream, especially homemade vanilla ice cream, which is exactly how we enjoyed it this past weekend. Next week I’ll have another recipe that involves this peach sauce that is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Stay tuned!
Memorial Day weekend is coming, bringing with it lots and lots and LOTS of food. And I don’t know what it’s like where you’re at, but here it’s in the 90s already! And you know what that means…pools. And lakes. And…bikinis. Yes, it’s already swimsuit season! Yikes! Are you ready?!? It kinda snuck up on me, I gotta admit, but I am trying to incorporate more and more natural sweets (as in honey, fruits, etc) into our diet so we don’t look like the michelin man when we bare it all at the first water-type event this year. Of course, can’t do anything about the whiteness (trying to avoid that pesky skin caner) but we CAN do something about the shape of our bodies and our overall health!
(Sorry, little peptalk for myself there. Ahem. Ok, back to the recipe…)
If you are watching what goes in your mouth this weekend (like me and my husband) and are kinda scared about the next 72 hours of festivities and merriment, may I suggest these Honey Almond Date Balls as a sweet and healthy alternative? You might want to double or triple the batch because once people taste them, they will want more. Seriously. Jeremy doesn’t even like coconut and he LOVES these things. I left the recipe alone for the most part except instead of rolling the balls in more almonds, I rolled them in unsweetened coconut.
We love ’em.
We’ve made a double batch for this weekend.
We’re ready to battle the crazy food war.
Original recipe by David Lieberman
This past Friday night we had our once-a-month Gourmet Cooking Club that my friend, Shawna, hosts at her house. It was a pizza themed event this time (yum!) and while everything was delicious, my favorite thing was actually a drink that Shawna made. When we walked into her kitchen there was a beautiful glass punch bowl with what looked like lemonade but with something additional floating on top…basil leaves and sliced jalapenos! Yes, somewhat uncommon for a sweet punch but trust me on this, it is AMAZING. The lemonade is sweet and tart and bubbly and the basil is the perfect, refreshing addition. And then there is just the slightest kick and spice from the jalapeno…it’s barely there but definitely noticeable and honestly, delicious!!
Put this one on your list for your Memorial Day party–I guarantee it will end up in your regular drink rotation for the summer!
Recipe by Better Homes and Gardens