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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Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull-Apart Rolls

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull Apart Roll

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

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pull Apart Rolls

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

Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

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

 

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Strawberries & Cream Cake

Strawberries & Cream Cake Slice

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

Strawberries & Cream Cake

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

Enjoy!

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

 

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Raspberry Fudge Tulip Tassies

Fudge Raspberry Tassies

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

Fudge Raspberry Tassie

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

Enjoy!

 

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

 

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42 Valentine’s Day Dessert Ideas

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

Enjoy!

 

2-Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

 

2-Ingredient Strawberry Fudge

Berry Banana Smoothie

 

Berry Banana Smoothie

Frozen Cherry Limemade

 

Cherry Limemade

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Popsicles

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Popsicles

Chocolate Dream Cupcake Bites with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

 

Chocolate Dream Cupcake Bites with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream

Conversation Heart Cheesecakes

 

Conversation Heart Cheesecakes

Cupid Corn Cookie Bark

 

Cupid Corn Cookie Bark

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

 

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

Dreamy Mini Cheesecakes

 

Dreamy Mini Cheesecakes

Heart-Shaped Doughnuts

 

Heart-Shaped Doughnuts

Hershey Heart Pretzels

 

Hershey Heart Pretzels

Love Potion #9 Drink

 

Love Potion #9 Drink

Mini Chocolate Cake

 

Mini Chocolate Cake

Pink Confetti Cupcakes

 

Pink Confetti Cupcakes

Pink Lemonade Cake

 

Pink Lemonade Cake

Pretty Pink Cookie Dough Truffles

 

Pretty Pink Cookie Dough Truffles

Puff Pastry Strawberry Tart

 

Puff Pastry Strawberry Tart

Raspberry Coconut Scones

 

Raspberry Coconut Scones

Raspberry Confetti Kisses

 

Raspberry Confetti Kisses

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

 

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

Raspberry Party Punch

 

Raspberry Party Punch

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cupcakes

 

Red Velvet Sweetheart Cupcakes

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

Reese’s Cupcake Topper

 

Reese's Cupcake Vday Topper

Skinny Berry Cheesecake Trifle

 

Skinny Berry Cheesecake Trifle

Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

Skinny Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

 

Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos

 

Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos

Strawberry Angel Food Cake

 

Strawberry Angel Food Cake

Strawberry Cake

 

Strawberry Cake

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies

Strawberry Cream Pie

 

Strawberry Cream Pie

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

 

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Strawberry Nutella Poptarts

 

Strawberry Nutella Poptarts

Strawberry Tiramisu

 

Strawberry Tiramisu

Sweet Swirl Cookies of Love

 

Sweet Swirl Cookies of Love

Triple Chocolate Cherry M&M Cookies

 

Triple Chocolate Cherry M&M Cookies

Valentine Love Letter Cupcakes

 

Valentine Love Letter Cupcakes

Valentine’s 5-Layer Finger Jello

 

Valentine's 5-Layer Finger Jello

Valentine’s Day Fruit Pizza

 

Valentine's Day Fruit Pizza

Valentine’s Day Pudding Parfait

 

Valentine's Day Pudding Parfait

Valentine’s Day Fruit Kabobs

 

VDay Fruit Kabob

 

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White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

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

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

Enjoy!

 

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

 

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Valentine M&M Blondies

M&M Blondie

Get ready, Valentine’s Day is coming.  Some will roll their eyes, others will get giddy with anticipation of flowers and gifts and then some will just look forward to eating CHOCOLATE.  Lots and lots of chocolate.  Like me.  Nothing like a big box of chocolates whether single or attached.  Everyone loves them.  My favorites used to be Russell Stover and Whitmans while I was growing up but then I discovered See’s and I love, love, loooooove See’s.  As a matter of fact we are actually getting a permanent store in our mall any day!!!  Seriously, pinch me, it’s too good to be true!  And you better believe I will be buying myself a box for Valentine’s Day if no one else does (hint, hint Jeremy).   Raspberry Truffle, Dark Buttercream, Mocha, Orange Cream….ahhhh, they are ALL good.

M&M Blondies

Another great way to get a chocolate fix this Vday is with these M&M Blondies!  They are super rich, super buttery from the BROWNED BUTTER (one of my favorite things to do with butter!) and chalked full of chocolate.  Great for kid’s parties, work parties, your significant other, a night just by yourself….really, just come up with some excuse to make them.

Enjoy!

P.S. What is YOUR favorite chocolate??  Brand, flavor?  I’d love to know!

 

M&M Blondies
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar, packed
  • ¼ c. Granulated White Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 c. Valentine M&M's
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it turns an amber color and begins to smell nutty. Brown bits will start to appear in the bottom of the pan.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the browned butter and sugars. With a wooden spoon, stir in the egg, vanilla, heavy whipping cream and salt. Stir in flour, semi-sweet chocolate chips and half of a cup of the M&M's. Spread evenly into the pan and sprinkle with the remaining M&M's. Gently press them into the batter.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes (recommended 27 minutes). Let the blondies cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares and store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 16 bars.

 

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Cherry Pie Bars

Cherry Pie Bar

I am not quite done with Superbowl recipes (I’ll have another later this week!), but I made these Cherry Pie Bars a couple of days ago and they were so fantastic I couldn’t wait to share the recipe!  I love anything cherry and combined with the crumbly streusel topping, they are beyond yummy.  And so incredibly easy to make.  I think they would make a lovely Valentine’s Day treat!

Cherry Pie Bars

Enjoy!

Cherry Pie Bars
 
Ingredients
Crust and Topping
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • ¾ c. Unsalted Butter, softened
Cherry Filling
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c. Sour Cream
  • ⅓ c., plus 1 T. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 t. Almond Extract
  • 12-16 oz. Frozen, Unsweetened Dark Cherries (I could only find 12 oz. in my store)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 pan with non-stick cooking spray.
For the Crust and Topping
  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into ½-inch pieces and add to the flour mixture. Cut in with a fork or use your fingers (my preferred method) until the butter is evenly distributed and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Evenly press ¾ of the mixture into the bottom of the pan and reserve the rest for topping.
For the Cherry Filling
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, sour cream, flour and almond extract. Gently fold in the cherries and pour over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining topping mixture evenly over the top
  2. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes (mine took 55 minutes) until the top turns golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
Notes
Makes 16 bars.

 

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Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake Shake

I know the big thing around Valentine’s Day is chocolate dipped strawberries, which are great, but I’ve gotta admit I’m more of a chocolate covered cherry kinda girl.  And I know I can’t be the only one!  So my love of chocolate and cherries inspired me to create this super simply shake but not just any shake…a CAKE shake.  Yep, there is one big ‘ole slice of chocolate cake with vanilla frosting mixed right into this creamy concoction.  I picked my slice of cake up in the Wal-mart bakery case (don’t judge) but if I’d been thinking, I would have gotten one of the mega-huge chocolate cupcakes that Walgreens now sells.  But the shake still worked out alright. Actually, better than alright–it was, in fact, AWESOME.  I topped mine with homemade whipped cream, melted chocolate and festive sprinkles–so cute!

Share one of these with your sweetie tomorrow!  Or don’t share….it’s makes enough for two. 😉

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake Shake
 
Ingredients
  • One Big Slice of Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Frosting or Two Regular Cupcakes (or chocolate frosting/white cake/etc..whatever you prefer)
  • 20 Maraschino Cherries, chopped
  • 1 Pint or 4 BIG scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 14-1/2 c. Heavy Whipping Cream (depends on how thick you want it...I used ½ a cup)
  • ¼ t. Pure Vanilla
  • 1 T. Maraschino Cherry Juice
  • ½ c. Dark Chocolate Chips, melted
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in the blender (reserving a tablespoon or two of the melted chocolate for decoration) and blend until the shake has reached your desired consistency. Top with your choice of sprinkles, chocolate, whipped cream, etc.
Notes
Serves 2.

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Romantic Valentine’s Day Dessert

Despite the title of this post, I’m not really sure desserts can be classified as sexy, romantic, etc.  I mean, what defines that exactly??  Is chocolate inherently sexy??  Is it the shape of the dessert?!?  Is it the way the candlelight bounces off the glistening, sugary crust of your crème brûlée into the deep and yearning eyes of your one and only true love??!?!

These are the important questions people!!

Ah well, regardless of what you think of the umm, sex appeal (?) of sugar, these desserts are touted as perfect for a romantic evening and sure to get you…uhh….in the mood…for…dessert??  Yeah, let’s go with that!

Cupid Cakes (plus many more from Woman’s Day)

Chocolate Souffle

Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding with Raspberries

Individual Brownie Sundaes

Crème Brûlée

Almond Praline Cakes (see more desserts for two from Taste of Home)

Lemon and White Chocolate Mousse Parfaits with Strawberries

Cherry-Ricotta Doughnut Holes with Chocolate Sauce

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Red Velvet Crepes

Chocolate Fondue

Strawberry Zabaglione

Mocha Pots de Crème

 

 

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Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

As you know I can’t let a holiday pass without showing all the best that the internet has to offer in themed cupcakes. And Valentine’s Day is no exception!  Check out these absolutely adorable cupcake ideas!

Box of Chocolates Cupcakes

 

Heart in the Middle Cupcake

 

Cupcakes for Two in Under 10 Minutes

 

Fondant Rose Cupcakes  (These pretty fondant roses have been a favorite of mine for a looong time!)

 

Swirled Two-Toned Frosting Cupcakes

 

Buttercream Frosting Rose Cupcakes

 

Sugared Heart Cupcake

 

Double Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

 

X and O Cereal Cupcakes

 

Conversation Heart Cupcakes

 

Red Velvet Heart Cupcakes

 

X and O Candy Cupcakes

 

Cherry Coke Float Cupcakes

 

Flying Hearts Cupcakes (L.O.V.E. these!)

 

Candy Kiss Cupcakes  (Could these be any cuter?!  Seriously.)

Sweetheart Cupcakes

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Strawberry Fruit Dip

Sometimes “mistakes” in the kitchen really work out.  For instance, Strawberry Fruit Dip.  It started with me wanting to do some kind of simple, homemade strawberry candy or truffle for Valentine’s Day.  But as I mixed up this pretty pink concoction, I slowly realized the consistency was, ummm, not quite…firm.  This is normally when I go into panic mode.  But I decided to shove it in the fridge overnight and see what would happen.  I literally laid in bed trying to think what I could do with the mixture.  It tasted WAY too good to throw out.  What to do?!!?

So, the next morning I was again racking my brain with what to do as I ran a few miles on the treadmill (how wrong is that??).  And then it hit me–fruit dip!  Perfect.  I wouldn’t have to throw it out!  Phew.  And what a yummy fruit dip it is…packed with strawberry flavor and so creamy and delicious.  I served it at a party with graham crackers, fudge brownies, pretzel chips, strawberries, bananas and apples.  My favorite thing to dip in it was the pretzel chips.  It reminded me a really amazing white chocolate dipped pretzel but with strawberry flavor thrown in.  And the best thing was I didn’t have to spend hours in my kitchen rolling little balls of strawberry truffles and dipping them in chocolate.

Yay for “mistakes”!

Strawberry Fruit Dip
 
Ingredients
  • 1, 8 oz. Package Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 c. White Chocolate Morsels, melted and cooled
  • 1 c. Vanilla Wafer Crumbs
  • ½ c. Strawberry Preserves
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla
  • ¼ t. Strawberry Oil (optional)
  • 1 c. Powder Sugar
  • Pink Dye (for color--optional)
Instructions
  1. Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until cream. Beat in melted chocolate until smooth. Stir in vanilla wafer crumbs, strawberry preserves, vanilla and strawberry oil. Beat in powdered sugar. Serve with fruit, cookies, marshmallows, pretzels, etc.

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Kid-Friendly Valentine’s Day Treats

Most people think of romance when they think of Valentine’s Day but it’s also a great day to express your love to your kiddos!  And let them do the same to others!  I thought I’d share some easy, kid-friendly treats I found around the web.  Even as an adult with zero kids, I’m tempted to make some of these–they are just that cute!

Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats Hearts

Valentine Jelly Pops

Valentine’s Day Marshmallow Pops

Chocolate-Raspberry Hearts

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Sweethearts Bark

Valentine’s Day Candy Cane Hearts

Easy Valentine’s Day Brownies

Oreo Cakester Hearts

Valentine’s Heart Cookie Pops

Valentine S’mores

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Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies (aka homemade Oreos)

I am not the craftiest.  I have admitted this before but I just thought I’d state it again.  So when I spied these dark chocolate sugar cookies online, I knew I would make them but needed to come up with a way to make them cute that didn’t involve royal icing and piping and such.

So behold, the chocolate sugar cookie sandwich!  Also known as cutely shaped, cut-out homemade Oreos.  Really freakin’ amazingly good, never-buy-store-bought-again, homemade Oreos.  Yes, they are THAT GOOD.  I just cut out about 14, 4-inch cookies and then cut smaller shapes out of the middle of half of them.  If you don’t bake the small shapes like I did, you could reuse the dough and get about 16, 4-inch cookies.  Which is what I’d do next time because the tiny ones didn’t turn out terribly cute. But tasty!  And that’s what really matters, right??

Recipe courtesy of Sprinklesbakes.com

Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies (aka homemade Oreos)
 
Ingredients
Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies (aka Homemade Oreos)
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1 c. plus 2 T. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla
  • 2 c. plus 1 T. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 c. Dark Cocoa Powder
  • ⅛ t. Salt
Buttercream Frosting
  • ⅓ c. (5 T.) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 3 T. Heavy Whipping Cream (or milk)
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla
  • ½ t. Almond Extract (optional)
Instructions
For the Cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until just incorporated. Do not over-mix at this stage or the cookies may spread while baking. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix on low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl intermittently as needed.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add to the butter and egg mixture. Mix on low speed until a dough is formed and there are no longer any streaks of butter in the mixing bowl. The dough will clump around the paddle attachment but that's ok, it's normal and a good sign your dough is the right consistency. With your hands, form the dough into a ball.
  4. On a clean counter-top, roll out your dough to ¼-inch thickness. Cut out desired shapes from the cookie dough and carefully transfer to your baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through to endure even baking. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Frost with frosting and decorate with sanding sugar, sprinkles, etc.
For the Buttercream Frosting
  1. Beat butter, sugar and milk about 5 minutes. Beat in extracts.
Notes
Makes 16, 4-inch Sandwich Cookies. Tip: These cookies are best eaten within 24 hours or the same day they are made. They are still very good but not be quite as crisp the next day.

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Dark Chocolate Nutella Raspberry Cupcakes

Nutella is everywhere right now.  People are putting it in cookies, cakes, brownies, cheesecakes, rice krispie treats, eating it straight out of the jar with a spoon (Who would do that?! Seriously…I don’t even know…).  It’s Nutella madness!  But there’s a reason.  The stuff is GOOD.  I mean really, really good.  So I decided I must bake with it.  Somehow.  What to dooooo???

And then I had an idea…another really, really good thing is raspberry beer.  Specifically, Framboise Lambic raspberry beer.  This stuff is beyond yummy, like drinking the ripest, juiciest, sweetest raspberries.  I’ve wanted to incorporate it into my baking FOREVER.  Hmmm, Nutella AND raspberry??  YES.  Chocolate cupcake with Nutella ganache and raspberry beer buttercream???  DOUBLE YES.

Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but this is one of the best cupcakes I’ve made to date.  I simply love this one-bowl dark chocolate cake recipe from Sweetapolita.  It is super moist and reminiscent of a wacky cake just like my mom used to make and reminds me of birthdays past.  The Nutella ganache is decadent and gooey and the light, airy raspberry buttercream is just the perfect frosting for the whole thing.  Oh and dare I suggest TOTALLY perfect for Valentine’s day with the faint pinkness of the buttercream and the cute dark chocolate heart topper??  (You can find the mold for the chocolate heart here.)

Is this the perfect cupcake? Perhaps.  The best use of Nutella EVER, in all baking history??  Maybe.   A really, really super delicious crazy good cupcake?!?  Definitely!

Dark Chocolate Nutella Raspberry Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
One-Bowl Dark Chocolate Cake
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1⅓ c. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ c. Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1¼ t. Baking Soda
  • 1¼ t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Salt
  • ¼ c., plus 1 T. Vegetable Oil
  • ⅔ c. Buttermilk (I only had whole milk so that is what I used and it seemed to work fine.)
  • ½ c., plus 1 T. Espresso or Strong Hot Brewed Coffee (I used the coffee)
  • 2 Eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla
Nutella Ganache
  • ¾ c. Nutella Hazelnut Spread
  • ½ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
Raspberry Buttercream
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ½ c. Shortening
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • ½ c. Raspberry Beer (suggested: Lamboise Frambic)
Instructions
For the Dark Chocolate Cupcake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 20 regular cupcake pans with cupcake wrappers.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, sift or whisk all of the dry ingredients together. Add all remaining ingedients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and beat or 2 minutes on medium speed. Spoon 3 tablespoons of cake batter into each cupcake tin. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from pan and cool completely.
For the Nutella Ganache
  1. Place the Nutella in a medium size bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil and pour over the Nutella. Whisk or stir until smooth. Let cool completely.
Raspberry Buttercream
  1. Cream the butter and shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually beat in 2 cups of the powdered sugar and then ¼ cup of the raspberry beer. Beat in the other 2 cups of powdered sugar and the remaining ¼ cup of the raspberry beer. Beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
To Assemble Cupcakes
  1. Using a serrated knife or apple corer, cut out a small piece from the middle of each cupcake. Fill with 2 teaspoons of Nutella ganache. Pipe with raspberry buttercream.
Notes
Makes 16 cupcakes.

 

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Strawberry Cakies

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake…in cookie form.  That’s what this little pink nugget of cookie goodness is.  And it’s delicious.  I typically am against cake mixes but it is a must in this cookie (until I can figure out how to make it from scratch, of course!).  It’s soft and chewy all at the same time and bursting with strawberry flavor from the cake mix and tiny little pieces of dried strawberries.  And they’re perfect for that holiday coming up…ya know, the one with hearts and cupid and all that.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Cakies
 
Ingredients
  • ½ c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1, 8 oz. Package Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 t. Vanilla
  • 1 Box Strawberry Cake Mix
  • ½-3/4 c. Finely Chopped Dried Strawberries
  • 1 c. Powdered Sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla thoroughly. Beat in the cake mix and then the dried strawberries. The mixture will be very sticky, but that's ok, it's nothing a little powdered sugar can't handle. Put powdered sugar in a bowl. Coat your hands in powdered sugar and pinch off some of the cookie dough, roll into a ball about 1" in diameter and dredge in the powdered sugar then place on the baking sheet. Keep using the powdered sugar to coat your hands in order to work with the dough. Place the balls about 2" apart on the baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, rotating and switching racks halfway through to ensure even baking. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes and move to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
Notes
Makes 30 cookies.

 

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White Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Well now that Christmas and New Year’s is behind us it’s on to the next holiday–Valentine’s Day!  There are so many cute things to make and bake for Valentine’s Day it’s really hard to know how to choose or where to start. But, I had seen these cookies on Pinterest and the ingredients alone made me want to make them immediately.  I have a thing for cherry-almond anything.  And cute, pink baked goods.

Speaking of pink, you can’t make much for a holiday that is trademarked in pink and red without using UNGODLY amounts of  dye.  And these cookies are no exception to that but you could always omit the dye and bring in the color with the sprinkles and sugar…at least it cuts back on the unnatural ingredients a little.

These were supposed to be a shortbread cookie but the dough was so incredibly dry I just couldn’t resist adding more liquid, plus I wasn’t happy with the flavor and wanted to amp up the cherry and almond in it.  They might not have quite the crumbly shortbread texture and actually more closely resemble a soft sugar cookie, but these cookies are AMAZING.  Jeremy and I could have eaten them all and according to him they are the best cookie I’ve ever made and I never need to make him a birthday cake ever again, just these cookies.  Done.

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from BHG

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 2½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Cold, Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. Maraschino Cherries, drained, squeezed (somewhat) dry with paper towels and finely chopped
  • 11 oz. White Chocolate Chips
  • 3 t. Almond Extract
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla
  • 6 T. Cherry Juice, reserved from the maraschino cherries
  • Pink or Red Dye
  • Sprinkles, sanding sugar, etc for decor
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender or two forks (I actually prefer to use my fingers), cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in drained and chopped cherries and ⅔ cup of the white chocolate chips. Stir in the cherry juice, almond extract, vanilla and food dye. Knead the mixture a bit to get it into a more cohesive mass. Pinch off a chunk of dough and form a ¾-inch ball. Place on the cookie sheet and press down slightly with a drinking glass that has been dipped in granulated sugar.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes (mine took 12 minutes exactly) or until the centers are set. Do not overbake. Cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  4. In a small bowl, melt the rest of the white chocolate in the microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each. Dip half the cookies in the melted white chocolate and decorate with sprinkles, sugar, etc. Place on foil and let dry completely.
Notes
For a thinner white chocolate coating, use use white chocolate candy melts. That's what I will use the next time.

 

 

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Doughnut Hearts

I’m sure you’ve noticed Valentine’s Day is everywhere right now so I thought I’d get an early start with a fun v-day idea. Forget heart-shaped pancakes and waffles–homemade doughnuts are where it’s at! Well, semi-homemade doughnuts. I actually thought my idea was fairly original until I discovered Krispy Kreme had already beat me to the punch–in 2007! That didn’t deter me however and I got down to deep frying!

Cookie Cutting

 

I was a tad skeptical since these are made with buttermilk biscuits. And I was definitely disgusted as I poured a whole BOTTLE of vegetable oil into my electric skillet! But I quickly got over that after I tasted one of these babies hot out of the oil, dipped in glaze/powdered sugar/cinnamon sugar–warm, melt-in-your-mouth goodness!

Basic

And naturally I had to make some filled ones. Raspberry, of course. That was always my favorite doughnut. Back when I was allowed to eat doughnuts, before I was conscious of what calories and trans fat were. Sniff.

Filled

These were just for kicks and giggles.

Conversation2

Conversation1

I think they’re quite cute. I just want to eat them up. Wait….I did.

Pink with Red Sprinkles

5 Hearts in Circle

Lastly, what to do with all the little cut out hearts? Doughnut hole hearts! YUM.

Minis

I’m not much of a doughnut connoisseur but Jeremy and I LOVED these. I was almost just as happy to discover the yummy glaze recipes that I used for them too. Needless to say, I think my doughnut drought has come to an end and I’ll be spending a little extra time at the gym to atone for my sins.

Homemade Doughnuts

2 quarts vegetable oil
1 can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (I actually used reduced fat–couldn’t tell a difference)
-Powdered Sugar, Cinnamon Sugar, Glaze (see recipes below) for dipping
-Raspberry/Strawberry Preserves, etc for filling

Directions

1. Heat oil in a deep fryer or electric skillet to 325 degrees (mine never got to that temp so I started frying at 290).

2. Spray a piece of foil with non-stick cooking spray. Using this as your surface, separate the biscuits and cut out holes with a cookie cutter for the doughnut shape you desire.

3. Gently place doughnuts in hot oil. Fry until golden brown, 1.5 to 2 minutes on each side.

4. Drain on plate covered with paper towels. Dip in coating of your choice.

5. If using a filling, cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag, insert a very small tip and fill the bag with the preserves. Push the tip through the side of the doughnut and fill.

Basic Glaze

1/3 c Butter, melted
2 c Powdered Sugar, sifted
2 t. Vanilla
3-4 T. Warm Milk

Combine butter, sugar and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Stir in milk until somewhat thin, but not watery. Dip.

Satiny Chocolate Glaze

3/4 c Semi-Sweet or White Chocolate Chips
3 T. Butter, melted
1 T. Light Corn Syrup
1/2 t. Vanilla

Melt chocolate in microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring after each time. Stir butter, corn syrup and vanilla into melted chocolate until combined.

Dip.

Eat.

Mmmmmmmm.

Note: When coloring white chocolate, use a GEL based dye, as opposed to water or oil based. They will ruin the chocolate and cause it to seize. Not pretty.

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