It had been awhile since I made cupcakes, so the other day I sifted through my bookmarks and found this delicious recipe. There's no time an Oreo cupcake won't do the trick. It's different than a plain old chocolate or vanilla cupcake, and pleases a crowd like no other. If I had my kit of Wilton tips I'm sure these could've also come out looking really classy with the oreo on top (at least that's what I'm telling myself). 

I actually made these twice in one week. Once to try for myself and then I made a tray for my family's annual holiday party. The icing is more time-consuming than a standard buttercream, but it's worth every second. It tastes to me like cookies and cream ice cream in icing form. As I was first making it I was contemplating all of the ways I could've made a better icing and spent a quarter of the time on it. Do you ever do that? I was muttering to myself how I wish I had just picked another recipe, but I hadn't even seen or tasted the final product. 

When it was finished I had to pry myself away from the bowl to avoid eating it by the spoonful (something I shockingly never do with icings). It's light and airy, not too sweet, and a great complement to the cupcake itself. To me, that's the perfect cupcake. You're not trying to get a bite that's mostly icing or mostly cupcake -- you want a great big bite of both. Enjoy!

Oreo Cupcakes 
Recipe from Confection Ink
For the cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 cups cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package instant chocolate pudding
3 eggs
1cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water (or strong brewed coffee – I would have used this but my coffee maker isn’t working!)
24 Oreo cookies, with one side twisted off and reserved for the frosting.
Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pans.
In a large bowl whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pudding mix. Add oil, eggs sour cream and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes) Continue beating while slowly adding in the boiling water. Beat about 30 seconds after adding the water.

Put the Oreo with one side twisted off cream side up and fill cupcake liners about 1/2 way. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Let them cool completely on cooling rack.
* I had extra batter after 24 cup cakes. I made cup cake bites using mini Oreos. I also used some mini Oreos as a garnish.

For the icing:
1 cup milk
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter -at room temperature
1/2 cup Crisco
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
24 Oreo cookie tops -crushed
 Place milk in a small saucepan.  Sprinkle the flour over the milk, 1/4 cup at a time and whisk until smooth.  Place the saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until the mixture becomes thick pulls into a ball.  Remove from the heat and put ball into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture and tuck around it to make sure there is no exposed parts.  Refrigerate until cooled to room temperature or colder (at least 30 minutes). In a large bowl, cream the butter and Crisco.  Add the cooled flour milk mixture and beat until well blended.  Mix in the vanilla.  With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the sugar and then continue to beat the icing a
fter adding the sugar for an additional 10-12 minutes until noticeably whiter and creamy. Add Oreo crumbs and mix until just blended.

Hold on to your pants, folks. This is a healthy...yes, healthy...cookie pie. I am skeptical of any delicious food that's not completely terrible for me. I have long stood by my theory that to possibly be deemed an amazing food, something has to forfeit its healthful qualifications. It's just a sad truth. Sure, some healthy foods are good, but we all know that at the end of the day cream, butter, sugar, or whatever fits with the dish would bring it up a notch.

My second bit of skepticism towards this recipe was its secret ingredient: beans. I don't want beans in my cookies. That's just that. Alas, I decided I would give it a try because a healthy cookie recipe could be life-changing for me. Results? Bean Cookies-1. Sarah-0. It was great. If I had the metabolism of a 10 year old boy I would still choose a regular cookie any day of the week, but that's not the case.

My roommates thought this was just about the most groundbreaking thing I'd ever made. When college girls can justify a dessert you better watch out. I chose not to mention that there is still a good portion of brown sugar and chocolate chips in here. "Everything in moderation." It's not like we're eating celery, here. It lasted all of 24 hours (which I realize is kind of disturbing considering the blog I found it on said she got 20 servings out of it). My roommate and I decided that you could slightly taste the texture of the beans, but not enough that it was a deterrent. I probably should have processed them up a bit more before throwing them in. Anywho, if you get around to making this let me know your thoughts!

Healthy Deep Dish Cookie Pie
Recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie

  • 2 cans white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed) (500g total, once drained)
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 T canola oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar (Seems like a lot, but this makes a big pie. I think we got like 20 servings from it! You can try adding less, if you’re used to healthy desserts; I chose to use this much because the people to whom I served it are used to “normal” desserts. Also, white sugar will work if you don’t have brown.)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Blend everything (except the chips) very well in a food processor. Mix in chips, and pour into an oiled pan (I used a 10-inch springform pan, but you can use a smaller pan if you want a really deep-dish pie.) Cook at 350F for around 35 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

75 percent of the time I'm a very decisive person. I like to call the shots when no one else will, and I almost always have some sort of opinion (bearing in mind that those opinions are not correct all the time). The other 25 percent, I'm exactly the opposite. For example, I will ponder what to order from a restaurant for as long as humanly possible. No, I'm not one of those people who sits and waits to look at a menu until the waitress' third go around. I look at it...and then look at it more...and then pick about four things I'd be happy with. This even happens at restaurants with only a few options (or really at any restaurant that includes mushrooms, feta and avocados on the same menu). I usually just open my mouth and see what comes out to the waiter or waitress. I figure that's probably what I wanted the most anyways. 

This pie is for the indecisive people out there, but it doesn't require you to choose one. Hooray! The bottom layer is cheesecake. The middle layer is pumpkin pie. The top layer is pecan pie. I made this for Thanksgiving dinner #2 with my family. Like with my Thanksgiving dessert #1, I took a shortcut. I used store bought pie crust. My food processor was in Chapel Hill, so I like to say that's why I didn't go through the trouble of making the homemade crust. Truthfully, my family isn't picky when it comes to desserts, so I didn't see a need to spend the extra time (though I'm sure it would be well worth it).

All-in-all this pie came together relatively painlessly. The layers themselves are much simpler than if you made a real cheesecake, pumpkin pie or pecan pie. The best part is that people are beyond impressed with a three layer pie. 

Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Flaky Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, chilled
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks and frozen
1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening, frozen
6 to 8 tablespoons ice-cold water

Cheesecake Layer
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg

Pumpkin Pie Layer
2 cups unsweetened fresh cooked or canned pumpkin (If using canned, strain in a fine mesh sieve for several hours to overnight, covered, in the fridge)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream (you can use evaporated milk, if you prefer)
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Pecan Pie Crunch Topping
1 1/4 cup mix of whole and coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons light or dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons melted butter

1. Place the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade and pulse on and off until combined. Scatter the butter pieces and the shortening, in large chunks, over the flour mixture. Pulse the machine on and off until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons of the ice water and process until the mixture just starts to come together. If the dough seems dry, add the remaining 2 tablespoons water as necessary. Do not allow the dough to form a ball on the blade, or the resulting crust will be tough!  You want a raggedy mess of crumbly dough, with lumps of butter showing.
2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide it in half, and shape each half into a disk – gently pressing each raggedy mess together, (DO NOT press into each disk or try to squeeze it together so the dough is uniform – it will come together in the refrigerator). Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. You will only need one disk for this recipe, so you can freeze the other disk for later use.
3. Lightly flour a large work surface. Allow the dough to soften at room temperature just until it is pliable (about 10 minutes). Place 1 disk on the floured surface and sprinkle some flour over it. Roll the dough from the center out in every direction, flouring the work surface as necessary to prevent sticking. You want a round of dough that’s about 1/4 to 1/8 inch and about 3 inches greater in diameter than the pie pan/plate you are using.
4. Transfer the crust to a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan (if you don’t use a deep-dish pan, there will be some filling left over) by rolling it loosely around the rolling pin and unrolling it carefully over the pan. Press the dough first into the bottom of the pan and then against the sides. Patch any holes or cracks with dough scraps. Trim the edges of the dough with scissors, leaving about 3/4 inch of overhang. Fold overhang over and crimp as you please.  Place shell in the freezer and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
5. When oven temperature is at 400 F, remove the pie shell from the freezer and line the pie crust with a large sheet of lightly buttered aluminum foil, buttered side down, covering the edge of the crust so that it doesn’t get too brown. Fill the lined crust with pie weights, dried beans, or raw rice. Bake the pie crust for 15 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. Prick the bottom of the crust well with a fork and bake the crust for another 7 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn golden, but the crust is not fully baked. Cool the pie crust on a wire rack while you make the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar, then add vanilla and 1 egg. Beat mixture until smooth.
2. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the bottom of the par baked pie shell, spread evenly, then freeze for about 15 -20 minutes.
3. In the mean time, in a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, heavy cream, 2 lightly beaten eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and salt. Mix thoroughly until uniform.
4. Remove the pie shell with cream cheese from the freezer and pour the pumpkin mixture on top of it. Cover edges of crust with aluminum foil to prevent excess browning.
5. Bake in 350 degree F oven for about 60 to 75 minutes (It really depends on your oven.  In one oven I used, it took 75 minutes, in another, 60 – so keep checking for it to be sturdy, but still a tad jiggly).
6. When pie is in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, combine all the ingredients for the pecan pie topping.  Set aside.
7. After pie has been in oven for 50 – 60 minutes, remove from the oven and remove silver foil around edges of crust. Sprinkle pecan pie topping evenly over top – the pumpkin pie layer will sink a bit because the pecan goo is heavy, do not worry!  Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and the pecan pie topping is bubbly.  Let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate for several hours before serving.
8.  Drizzle with melted chocolate or chocolate ganache for extra decadence!

Have you ever made a recipe, tried it, and thought, "Wow, I think I will be using this recipe for the rest of my life." No? Then make these. I've had them bookmarked for over a year. I have absolutely no idea why I hadn't gotten around to making them sooner. This past weekend was the UNC-Duke football game and we had a tailgate in my front yard. I put out a tray of the sandwiches that was quickly devoured (even with pork tenderloin sandwiches, wings, dips, etc. all around). I would have taken more pictures, but it is incredibly uncomfortable to force people to wait to eat tailgate food because you have to take pictures of the food first.

My only initial issue with these little sammies was the mayo. I like to think I hate mayonnaise. I don't actually hate it, but in my mind I dislike it unless it is on a menu as aioli. Do I love me some aioli? Yes. Do I love me some mayonnaise? Absolutely not. I read something online that said garlic was the only difference between the two. Somehow that is enough for me. So, it pained me to spread mayonnaise on every one of these sliders. Not only that, a mixture of mayonnaise and miracle whip! Being an advertising junkie, I'm used to thinking of those as two completely separate entities after the "Pick a side" campaign.  Well, they work in perfect harmony here.

I made these on Saturday. I made them on Tuesday. I doubt I'll be able to wait much longer before making them again.  Enjoy!

Ham and Cheese Sliders

24 good white dinner rolls (I recommend King's Hawaiian, 24 ct.)
24 pieces good honey ham
24 small slices Swiss cheese (I used Havarti)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup miracle whip

Poppy seed sauce 
1 Tablespoon poppyseeds
1 1/2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise and miracle whip. Spread onto both sides of the center of each roll. Place a slice of ham and a slice of Swiss inside of each roll. Close rolls and place them into a large baking dish or heavy cookie sheet. Place very close together.

In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the poppy seed sauce ingredients. Pour evenly over all of the sandwiches. Let sit 10 minutes or until butter sets slightly. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes. Serve warm.

** sandwiches can be assembled a day ahead and kept in the fridge ready to bake.

(I did this the second time I made them and they turned out just as good.)

I'll go ahead and admit that I picked the easiest Thanksgiving day dessert possible. My family was coming at 1pm, and I headed to the grocery store to pick up ingredients at noon. Not bad, eh? Of course, there are a few roadblocks that one might run into when procrastinating this much. For instance, every grocery store within 10 minutes was out of heavy whipping cream. I bought Reddi-Whip, and no one noticed. My easy dessert, therefore, became even easier. 

I made a few changes to the recipe--mainly increasing the measurements for all of the unhealthy ingredients. Sorry. I've never been a huge pumpkin pie fan, so this is my solution. I make variations of it every year simply because I feel obligated to on Thanksgiving, but I've realized they are all just less healthy versions of the regular: pumpkin pie cheesecake, pumpkin pie parfaits, pecan cheesecake pumpkin pie, etc. 

This recipe says it makes four servings, but I served seven without a problem. It's incredibly rich, so even though you'll feel like the servings look a bit shallow, it'll be the right amount. Just layer on the whipped cream and gingersnaps to gain some extra height. If you're serving more than seven I'd suggest making extra. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Gingersnap Parfaits
Recipe adapted from The Gourmand Mom

  • 1 15-ounce can Pure Pumpkin
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Ginger
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 20 Crushed Gingersnap Cookies + a few extra whole cookies for garnishing
Crush the gingersnap cookies. Beat together the pumpkin, cream cheese, brown sugar, and spices until evenly combined. In a separate bowl, beat together the heavy cream and sugar until thickened.
To assemble the parfaits, divide half of the pumpkin mixture into four (or in my case seven) cups. Sprinkle half of the gingersnap crumbs over the pumpkin. Spoon about half of the whipped cream over the gingersnaps in the four cups. Sprinkle with the remaining gingersnap crumbs. Spoon the remaining pumpkin over the gingersnap crumbs. Top with the remaining whipped cream. Garnish each parfait with a gingersnap cookie.
Serves 4-6

I love Butterfingers. 

I don't know what they are made from, and couldn't describe the taste if I tried (buttery, maybe), but they are my perfect candy. If someone asked you what's in a Milky Way you'd be able to say chocolate, caramel and nougat (though nougat is an odd component in and of itself). But what on earth is a Butterfinger made of? Bliss, I suppose.

So here it is: world's simplest and quickest pie. In fact, this pie is so easy that I am going to have to physically restrain from purchasing Butterfingers because I would make it every time I had a candy craving. There's no need to make your own crust with a pie like this--just accept it for the ridiculously simple and delicious recipe it is.  I used Light Cool Whip and 1/3 less fat cream cheese, but I'm still under no illusion that this pie is remotely good for me. Oh well. It's incredible.

Butterfinger Pie
Recipe from


    • 6 (2 1/8 ounce) Butterfinger candy bars, crushed *
    • 1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
    • 1 (12 ounce) cartons Cool Whip **
    • 1 graham cracker crust


  1. Mix first three ingredients together.
  2. Put it in pie crust.
  3. Chill.

* I used one bag of the smaller bars from the grocery store. It's around 12 oz, cant quite remember. While they were all still in their individual wrappers, I used a garlic press (first mallet-like thing I saw) to crush them. I saved three or four for the topping, and crushed those slightly less.
** I've mentioned this before, but generic brand Cool Whip is one of the few ingredients that I think works just as well when cooking. It'll save you a whopping dollar or so, which you can then use to justify Philadelphia Cream Cheese...because all cream cheeses are not created equal.

I'm a breakfast person. I wake up in the morning and immediately start pondering what I'll have to start off my day. I usually switch between fried egg sandwiches and cereal (yes, I understand that daily fried egg sandwiches aren't the healthiest choice).  I know lots of people don't eat breakfast because they don't have time, or aren't hungry in the morning. I just don't get it. 

So, for those of you who seem to think breakfast is dispensable or don't have enough time for it, I have the solution for you. These are easy peasy and taste like a breakfast casserole sandwich. They're too good to pass up. They also only take about 20 seconds to heat up. How can you possibly not have time for that? Crescents were on sale at Harris Teeter today, so I bought six tubes. Excessive? Nah. Be prepared for an influx of recipes using crescents as a shortcut! You just can't go wrong. 

Sausage and Cheese Crescent Squares
Recipe from Pillsbury


cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 2 cans (8 oz each) Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet
lb spicy or mild bulk pork sausage
package (8 oz) cream cheese
cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (8 oz)


1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. If using crescent rolls: Unroll 1 can of dough into 2 long rectangles. Place in ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust. If using dough sheets: Unroll 1 can of dough. Place in ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish; press over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides to form crust. 

3. In 12-inch skillet, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring frequently, until no longer pink. Remove sausage from skillet; discard drippings. To same skillet, add cream cheese. Cook over low heat until melted. Add cooked sausage; stir to coat. Spoon evenly over crust in baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese.

4. If using crescent rolls: Unroll second can of dough on work surface. Press to form 13x9-inch rectangle; firmly press perforations to seal. Carefully place over cheese. If using dough sheets: Unroll second can of dough on work surface. Press to form 13x9-inch rectangle. Carefully place over cheese.

5. Bake 21 to 26 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Cut into small squares.

As if I didn't already spend too much time looking at pictures of food, Pinterest came along and took things to a new level. This gem of a recipe is straight off of Pinterest, and oh my is it good. I think it probably is one of the more time consuming artichoke dips because of roasting the garlic and the "homemade" flatbread pieces, but it's worth it. I also didn't particularly like the brand of flatbread I bought, so I know for a fact regular chips are great with this as well. Note: there is no spinach in this artichoke dip.

I've made this dip twice already to rave reviews. It's super cheesy (in a good way), and the panko on top brings an extra little crunch. Within 5 minutes of serving it people had quickly eaten off all of the panko, and were asking for more of "that crispy stuff on top." I don't quite know how you'd go about adding more panko unless you managed to pry this dip out of everyone's hands to pop it back in the oven, but make sure you don't skimp on it.

If you're like me, you like quick dips that can be made with < 5 ingredients in under 30 minutes. This dip is not one of those. However, it's very simple and people will be begging for the recipe. It's a tradeoff. Enjoy!

Artichoke and Roasted Garlic Dip with Baked Flatbread Sticks
Recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon
Serves 5 to 7
flatbread sticks:
3 sheets whole wheat flatbread, cut into 1”x4” sticks
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
artichoke dip:

1 head garlic, top sliced off
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
8 ounces marscarpone, softened
1/3 c light mayonnaise
½ cup part-skim mozzarella, shredded
¼ cup parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 teaspoon dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon parmesan, grated
1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Brush the strips of flatbread with the oil and sprinkle with the smoked paprika.
3. Line the strips onto two baking sheets (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp and golden brown around the edges.
4. Set aside and allow to cool.
5. While the flatbread cools bring the temperature of the oven up to 375°F.
6. Place the head of garlic onto a small piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
7. Loosely wrap the foil around the garlic and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the garlic cloves have softened completely and slightly browned.
8. Carefully squeeze the clove into a bowl and discard the peel.
9. Mash the cloves into a paste and stir in the remaining dip ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
10. Stir the mixture until fully incorporated.
11. Scoop the dip into a 3 cup baking dish of your choice and set aside.
12. In a small bowl toss together the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the dip filled ramekin.
13. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
14. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with whole wheat flatbread crisps.

This is from when I made it the first time at night. I liked how the flatbread sticks looked more than I liked the points.

I always think of myself as a cake person. Some people order the pie for dessert. I don't give it a second glance. Why chose pie when you can have rich, fluffy, delicious cake and icing? It's taken awhile for me to realize that not only do I like pie, I can't get enough of it. Here's the catch: I don't like warm fruit. 

I had this discussion with some people I worked with this summer. We started off on how disappointing it is to find a "hot raisin" has snuck its way into your bread pudding or cinnamon roll. We all found the term "hot raisin" and our distaste for them hilarious, but really, keep the hot raisins out of my cinnamon bread/buns/carrot cake/etc. However, somehow when you cool a fruit down everything changes for me. I eat Honey Bunches of Oats with Raisins almost daily. One of my all time favorite recipes is for cold blueberry pie. Strawberry shortcake makes me swoon, and suddenly, after 21 years of thinking otherwise (counting since birth for simplicity sake), I now absolutely love apple pie...more specifically this apple pie.

The only remotely difficult part of this recipe is peeling the apples. I'm sure some people know the trick to this, but the only trick I could think of was to purchase one of those apple peelers (a.k.a I have no shortcuts). The apples in the pie are not like spiced apples, they're more comparable to cinnamon sugar apples. The topping is also wonderful. I used a store bought crust, but I'm sure if you have some extra time and want to go the homemade route that would make this even better. This would be a perfect Thanksgiving recipe. Enjoy!

Apple Crisp Pie
Recipe from Beantown Baker

For the Filling:
6 cups apple chunks (I used 3 cortland and 3 granny smith apples here)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp lemon juice
For the Topping:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. Core, peel, and slice apples. Transfer into large bowl with dry ingredients. Top off with vanilla and lemon juice. Toss to coat apples well. Set aside for 10-15 minutes while you prep the dough.
Fit your pie crust into a pie plate. You can even use store bought pie crust if you prefer. Fill pie crust with prepared apple chunks.
In a medium bowl, combine the dry topping ingredients. Pour cooled melted butter into bowl. Toss and cut until small to medium sized chunks form. Break up large chunks as needed. Using a spoon, sprinkle crumb topping over entire pie.
Cover pie loosely with foil. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and continue baking for an additional 35 minutes. Cool and enjoy.

From my experience I've found that there are few desserts more universally liked than Funfetti Cake. Regardless of how many homemade desserts I make, anything with funfetti is guaranteed to win the crowd's vote every time. My roommate saw this recipe and immediately passed it along to me to put on my must-bake list. It combines funfetti cake mix with a few homemade touches. Easy. Brilliant. Perfect.

This is one of those recipes I think I'll make time and time again because of how quick and easy it is.  I, of course, used dinosaur sprinkles, but I'm sure you could theme the extra sprinkles inside to various occasions. Maybe even throw some icing on top if you're feeling like a sugar overload. Hope you enjoy them as much as everyone in my life did!

Funfetti Cake Bars
Recipe from: Lovin' From the Oven

1 1/4 cup funfetti cake mix
3/4 cup AP flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 heaping tablespoons sprinkles of your choice (I used stars)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch pan.
  2. Cream both sugars, butter, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. 
  3. Gradually mix in flour, cake mix, and baking soda until just mixed. Stir in sprinkles.
  4. Spread batter evenly into greased pan.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is lightly browned and middle still jiggles slightly. Cool completely before cutting.

It's amazing the number of dip recipes I have bookmarked compared with the number I have on this blog. I would say I bookmark about 75 percent of the dip recipes I come across, yet I probably only make about five percent of those. I have no idea why. I think it's possible I forget about them when my brain is either focused on dinner or desserts. Poor, poor dips. At least they win me over in the beginning.

I think it's about time I change that, though. Dip is so easy to whip up, and who doesn't love a great dip recipe? Even when people don't want dip at a party they always end up going in for at least one my case I'm usually hooked after this point. This cheddar beer dip is nothing fancy (though calling it cheddar ale spread does move it up a notch or so), but it's a simple, solid dip recipe. I found that I liked it best when it had been refrigerated a bit, but I'd eat it either way. I also think pita chips or something of the sort would be delicious with this. Enjoy!

Cheddar Ale Spread 
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

8 oz. cream cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2½ cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup beer (pretty much anything but a light beer)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I substituted 2 teaspoons dried)
Combine the cream cheese, mustard, cheddar cheese, cream, and salt in a food processor. Process for 30 seconds, add the beer, and continue processing until very smooth. Pulse in the parsley until just dispersed.
This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You will want to take it out an hour before serving if you do refrigerate.
One of these days I'll take a food photography workshop, for now I just plop the chip in there and act like it does something for the picture!

I was shocked how quickly this dessert came together. Being a southerner there's really no take on pecan pie that I don't like, these bars included. I made them for my family on our beach trip this year (hence the melted ice cream in the picture two seconds after I scooped it!), and everyone loved them. Ice cream is always an essential part of dessert for my family, and while I'm not a huge ice cream and cake fan, these pecan pie pars almost demand it.

Thinking about what else to say about these to convince you they're delicious makes me want to go make them right now, so I'm going to have to cut it off here seeing that I have class in an hour. Really the only thing you might not have in your cabinet out of these ingredients is a package of pecans. So write those down on your list now and make these asap!

Chunky Pecan Pie Bars
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

For the Crust:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
¼ cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
¾ cup corn syrup
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¾ cups coarsely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (or chocolate chunks in a bag!)
1½ cups chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
2. For the crust, mix together the flour, butter and brown sugar until crumbly. Press into the baking pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly brown.
3. For the filling, beat the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter and vanilla extract with a wire whisk. Stir in the chunks and pecans. Pour evenly over the baked crust and bake for 25-30 minutes or until set.
4. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cool completely and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the refrigerator if you live in a warm/humid area with no air conditioning).

Yep, I was the impatient person who cut one right out of the center before taking pictures.