Sometimes you need a quick dessert to whip up for that last empty bit of table space at a party. That's where these come in. I know you may be tempted to set a bowl of peanuts in that space, or maybe a bag of m&ms. Stop right there. Make these. They're salty, sweet and bite-sized (read: perfection). I've seen them on a few other blogs recently, so obviously I'm not the only one who loves these. Next time I may try them with the caramel filled Hershey's Kisses. You can't go wrong!

M&M Pretzel Hugs

1 10oz bag plain Pretzel Snaps (this will be about three times as many pretzels as you'll need for one batch)
1 bag M&Ms

Preheat oven to 175 degrees farhenheit. Line a sheet pan with tin foil. Arrange pretzels on tray, leaving about a centimeter between them. This should still give you enough space to fit enough pretzels to use up all of the Hershey's Hugs on one pan. Unwrap the Hershey's hugs and place one on the center of each of the pretzels. Place in the oven for three minutes. The hugs will melt quickly, so don't walk away. Keep an eye on them. You want them to still have their shape, but be melted enough on the inside that you can press an M&M into each one. Remove from oven and place an M&M gently on the top of each hug, pressing down slightly. Allow to cool to room temperature, then remove from pan. If you want to speed up this process throw the tray in the fridge for 15 minutes. Allowing them to cool ensures that the hugs won't stick together on the sheet. 

The few days leading up to Christmas are always a baking marathon for me. By the time Christmas finally gets here I'm just about sugared out. It's that time when you start thinking about eating more dessert and feel slightly nauseous. Do I keep eating desserts anyways? Yes. But I think twice before grabbing that last cookie, and it takes a lot of sweets to get me to that point. 

I wanted something easy to prepare for Christmas dessert with my family. I go to my grandparents house for lunch on Christmas so that leaves about four hours of cooking before the other side of the family comes over for Christmas dinner. Basically I need to prepare Christmas dessert early so I can leave those four hours for cooking for the 15 people arriving at 7pm. This meringue was just the trick. It's beautiful and easy, and it's supposed to be made ahead of time. It needs to be assembled the day/night before, but it's nothing too tricky. The original recipe says it serves 8-10, but I've changed that to 10-12, and as I said, I served 15 with a bit left over.

My only complaint is that it's nearly impossible to cut a pretty slice of meringue cake. Maybe I was just doing it wrong, but the second I started cutting it I immediately decided I would need to make meringue parfaits because the slices were going to look like a mess. By the second or third slice it got slightly better, but I'm just warning you about that in advance. If the cake isn't cutting well, make them into meringue parfaits. In the words of Donkey from Shrek, "Parfaits gotta be the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet!"...True words, Donkey.  


Chocolate Meringue Cake
Recipe from Heat Oven to 350

  • 6 large egg whites (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • Chocolate shavings for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw two 8-inch rounds on one sheet of the parchment and one 8-inch round on the other.
  2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar at high speed until stiff and shiny. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts and cocoa powder. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the melted chocolate down the side of the bowl and gently fold until the meringue is lightly marbled.
  3. Spread the meringue in the drawn circles. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 300 degrees and bake for 1 hours and 20 minutes, until crisp; rotatating the pans halfway through baking. Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar to let the meringues cool completely.
  4. In the bowl of the standing mixer, beat the cream with the powdered sugar until firm. Remove the meringues from the parchment paper. Spread the whipped cream on the layers and stack them. Refrigerate or freeze the cake overnight. Cut into wedges (this is done easiest with a serrated knife when the cake is frozen or very cold) and serve cold, but not frozen. Garnish with chocolate shavings before serving.
Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 1 hour 20 min Serves: 10-12

I'm a mushroom fiend (normal 'shrooms, people). Seriously, I will throw them on anything and everything. I was in New York for Santacon this past weekend and managed to get a portobello mushroom sandwich from one of my favorite sandwich shops there three times from when I got in Friday night to when I left Sunday night. I also order a mushroom dish on any menu 9 out of 10 times. Coming from a huge meat eater, it's kind of an odd obsession. 

I know mushrooms aren't for everyone, though. I actually made this pizza over the summer and never posted it because look at it - that's a mushroom overload. But I realized that it's a delicious pizza and there's no reason it has to have mushrooms on it for those who aren't fans of fungi (I do somewhat understand the aversion if you've never tried them). The method for making the crust is the part I found most interesting about the recipe. Resist temptation and add the extra step!

I've obviously made it pretty clear on my blog that I make pizza all the time. It's so easy and I love being able to mess with ingredients however I want. For those of you who like mushrooms, feel free to make your pizza look more like mine. I think my goal when making this was to cover every inch of the pizza with mushrooms. If that's not your thing, add all of your personal favorite toppings. Also, if you don't want to splurge on truffle oil you can do without it.


p.s. get excited for holiday's coming!

Truffled Fontina and Mushroom Pizza
Recipe adapted from Flying Fourchette

Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 servings
1 pound pizza dough, thawed if frozen
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
3/4 pound cold Italian Fontina (or Taleggio), rind discarded and cheese sliced, or freshly grated (use good fontina for this)
1 teaspoon white truffle oil (optional)
1 tablespoon minced garlic spread


Put a large heavy baking sheet (17 by 14 inches) on lowest rack of oven, then preheat oven to 475°F.

Stretch out dough on a lightly floured surface, pulling on corners to form a roughly 16- by 13-inch rectangle. Transfer to a tray lined with parchment paper. Lightly prick dough all over with a fork.

Slide dough (still on parchment) onto hot baking sheet. Bake until top is puffed and pale golden in patches, 6 to 10 minutes.

Remove from oven; prick any large bubbles with a fork and flatten. Gently spread garlic over crust, and scatter mushrooms or your toppings of choice on top.

Season with salt and pepper and lay or sprinkle cheese on top.

Bake pizza until edge of crust is deep golden and cheese is bubbling and golden in patches, 8 to 10 minutes.

Drizzle with truffle oil (if using) and season with pepper. Serve immediately.

Welp, looks like we're back to pumpkin overload. I couldn't resist. I won't do a long write-up on these cookies because they're honestly so good I think you just need to make them and let them speak for themselves. I'm not usually a fan of cake-like cookies, so I was a little hesitant to give this recipe a try. I tend to think they often end up either overly dry or at some weird in-between consistency that bothers me. I also am not usually a fan of butterscotch. Alas, the recipe was super easy and I had everything on hand, so I went for it anyways (why I had butterscotch chips on hand when I don't like butterscotch is beyond me). 

These cookies are soft and cakey, but also incredibly flavorful with the butterscotch chips. They're probably some of the best seasonal cookies I've ever made. I'm already planning the next time I'm going to make them...I give it less than a week. 


Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies
Recipe from Wishes and Dishes

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 325  degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the  paper.Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon  together in a medium bowl and set aside.In a large bowl, using an  electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and  lightened in color, about 1 minute.  Stop the mixer and scrape the  sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.  On low speed, mix the oil,  pumpkin, and vanilla until blended.  Mix in the flour mixture to  incorporate it.  Mix in the chips. (Note: I chilled the dough at this point to make it easier to scoop.)
Using an ice cream scoop with a 1/4-cup capacity, scoop the  dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2  1/2-inches apart.  You could also simply use a 1/4-cup measuring cup if  you don’t have a  scoop.  Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten  the rounds.
Bake the  cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a  toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 16 minutes*.  Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a  metal spatula to  transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Optional: dust the cooled cookies lightly with powdered sugar.
The cookies can  be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

*They were done in about 12-13 minutes in my oven. Make sure to keep an eye on the cooking time!

I'm not sure what it is about green bean casserole that makes it somehow only seem normal at fall and winter holidays (at least that's how I feel). I remember eating it at potlucks every once in awhile, but green bean casserole was never something I ate much growing up. It wasn't until high school that I asked my mom if we could please add green bean casserole to our Thanksgiving meal. I had seen the countless "Who brought the green bean casserole?" commercials and being the advertising junkie that I am, I suddenly began to wonder why no one in my family ever brought the green bean casserole. Where was this delicious looking dish that I'd only had a handful of times?

Of course my mom was happy to add such an easy dish to her Thanksgiving repertoire. It's little effort and big payoff. So, why change up a timeless dish that everyone already loves and make this more complicated version? I don't have a great answer for that, but I liked the idea of having real mushrooms and I also think this spin on the dish looks far more elegant. Sure, it's green bean casserole, but no one would know it if you brought it to a party. They'd take a bite, love it (because it's fantastic) and then realize that it's a dressed up version of an old favorite. I kind of like that about it. It's seems much less "holiday-only" and much more of a dish that is really just a combination of a lot of delicious ingredients. You'll notice it says "Best Ever" on Alton Brown's recipe. That's his wording, not mine. I loved this variation, but now that I've been exposed to a whole new world of GBC I think I may have to try out a few more before awarding that title! (Starting with Paula's...which had even better ratings!)


Best Ever Green Bean Casserole
Recipe from Alton Brown

For the topping:
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Nonstick cooking spray

For beans and sauce:
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use. Turn the oven down to 400 degrees F.

While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Cookie cake reminds me of elementary school when every birthday was an all out celebration. That's my style. Someone's parent would send them to school with a cookie cake. The teacher would cut it into a million tiny pieces. You'd hope you got the piece with a small portion of the balloon made out of icing. No one wanted the plain cookie square. Ah, those were the days. As I get older I've realized people place less importance on birthdays. Gone are the days of cookie cakes. How depressing!

So what's a grown up cookie cake? This right here. You don't even need a birthday for it. This is one of my all time favorite recipes. It's three layers of wonderful. The first layer is a delicious cookie, the second is rich ganache, and the third is cold, sweet whipped cream. It's also a simple recipe despite the three parts. It may take a little extra time to allow the layers to cool, but it's definitely worth it. I've yet to meet a person who didn't love it!


Chocolate Chip Cookie and Cream Tart
Elinor Klivans' The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook 
Mixing time: 20 minutes for crust, filling, and topping
Baking: 350 F for about 17 minutes

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces ) semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2/3 cup (4 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 10-inch springform pan.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smoothly blended. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until it is incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips.
Use your fingers to spread the dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake just until the top begins to turn golden but the center is still soft, about 17 minutes. Cool the crust in the pan on a wire rack.

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and butter over low heat until the cream is hot and the butter melts. The mixture should form tiny bubbles and measure about 175 F on an instant read thermometer. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove pan from heat, add chocolate chips and let mixture sit for 30 seconds to let chips soften. Whisk chocolate together smoothly and add vanilla. Let the mixture cool and thicken at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Spread sauce over crust leaving a 1-inch edge uncovered, refrigerate for about 30 minutes to firm the filling.
In a large bowl beat cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until firm peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the chocolate filling, mounding it slightly in the center. Serve or cover carefully and refrigerate. Serve cold.

First of all, I apologize for putting up two pumpkin recipes in a row. I would try to put up something different if I didn't love this recipe so much. As it is, I feel you all need this recipe in your lives as fast as possible, so I'm sacrificing variety. I'll change it up next time!

I only made these pumpkin bars because I had a 1/2 cup of pumpkin left and nothing to do but bake. I'd had them bookmarked for awhile. There's nothing fancy about them, so I think they got overlooked whenever I was deciding on which recipe to make next. I should know by now that the simple recipes are always the best. These were amazing. Technically they're blondies, but I still think of blondies as somewhat dry and crumbly. These are the opposite. It's like biting into that top gooey part of pumpkin bread, but without the issue of having to savor it since you know the next bite won't be as good. I also added in white chocolate chips to jazz them up a bit. 

I have zero complaints about this recipe. Honestly, just thinking about them makes me want to go whip up another batch. You should do the same.  


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondie Bars
Recipe from Lauren's Latest
yield: 12 small; 9 large 


6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8×8 square dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Stir in egg, vanilla and pumpkin. Pour in all dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread dough evenly into prepared baking dish. Bake 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean after being inserted. {Some ovens are hotter than others. Keep an eye on yours!} Remove from oven, cool 5-10 minutes, cut into bars and serve warm. Or wait and serve at room temperature.

Being from North Carolina, hurricanes are an inevitable occurrence. I used to have an irrational fear of them when I was little. That was added to the list of multiple other irrational fears of my childhood: bombs, alien invasions, tidal waves, monsters, twisters/Kansas..the list goes on. This is what happens when you watch too many movies as a child. What's unusual is that I'm now on hurricane watch in DC. DC! I didn't see this one coming.

My parents were in town this weekend and we braved the grocery store yesterday. I think most people were stocking up on bread and water, but I had other things in mind, all of which could be found on the baking aisle. The power lines in my neighborhood are above ground, so I am almost certain my power will be out within the next 24 hours. Good thing I'm thinking ahead and decided to go on a baking spree. This way, come tomorrow when I need to crash at a friend's place because my power is out, I'll come bearing gifts. 

I LOVE pumpkin flavored baked goods. I don't love pumpkin pie, but everything else is right up my alley. I bought one can of pumpkin and managed to make two recipes out of it using everything else that I already had on hand. These cupcakes are perfect. They are super easy and the cream cheese mixed with simple pumpkin base is delicious. And, as my roommate Brooke said, "I know you hate this word, but these are so moist!" Indeed they are. This recipe is going into my staple pumpkin recipe box. 

Work was cancelled today, so I had plenty of time to take pictures outside of my front door (which thankfully is covered by the stairs to the upstairs apartments so I stayed out of the rain). The wind was picking up towards the end of my pictures, but all-in-all everything is fine outside as of now. We just have lots of heavy rain. As an added bonus, since the neighbors aren't letting their kids outside in the weather, I didn't even have to deal with the usual obnoxious screaming while I tried to take my photographs. 

That being said, for everyone else on the east coast battling out this storm, stay safe, dry and inside! I'm wishing everyone safety as we ride out this storm, and my thoughts especially go out to everyone who has already been hit by the weather.

If your power is still on and you have pumpkin, why not give these a try? Perfect storm food if you ask me.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
Recipe from The Cupcake Suite
Makes 1 Dozen

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together in medium bowl.  In a larger bowl mix remaining ingredients until completely smooth.  Slowly add flour mixture and stir until combined.  Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes enough for 12 cupcakes

6 ounces cream cheese
6 tbs butter, softened
1/4 plus 2 tbs brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer until smooth and fluffy.  Add brown sugar and beat until incorporated.  Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well each time.  Add remaining ingredients and beat for addition 2-5 minutes.

I'm a generous baker. I try to give away what I make whenever possible because a) I don't need to eat a pan of brownies on my own and b) I really don't bake for myself, I bake for other people. Everyone loves good food. However, I've hit a bit of a roadblock as I'm now in a city and have no idea how to share anymore.

First of all, riding the metro with a tupperware full of sweets to the office is not remotely enjoyable. I'm not above it, but walking a mile to the metro and then hopping on with a giant container while simultaneously trying to snag a seat and read the paper is awkward. My solution to this was just to throw everything in a ziploc and stuff it in my purse to bring to the office, but as you can imagine this really doesn't work. Talk about smashed cookies...

Second, in college friends come over all the time. Friends take the food. The food is enjoyed. Problem solved. Friends come over on the weekends now, but I'm not usually baking on a Friday night so everyone can have fresh cookies with their wine (though wouldn't that be nice?).  I don't have a car and apparently people don't think I'm serious when I say, "Drive over here, I need you to come take these cookies/brownies/cake pops/etc." 

Then there is my last issue with sharing: neighbors. I don't know any of my neighbors and I doubt this is the type of place where a welcome to the neighborhood casserole is normal. My only contact with neighbors is from the people who live above me and their three children under the age of five. Their pastimes include dropping heavy objects on the floor, screaming and running, pushing furniture around and playing indoor basketball at 6am every morning. Yesterday when they saw me taking pictures outside they just stood there staring at me yelling, "COOKIES COOKIES CHOCOLATE"....they're gems. Feeding those children more sugar is the last thing you'll find me doing.

None of this really relates to these amazing cookies except for the fact that this recipe made a ton of them. They beg to be shared. If you've ever debated between a chocolate cookie and a chocolate chip cookie this is the answer to all of your problems (cookie problems, at least). It's the best of both worlds--the compromise cookie. I love them. So, as much as I wish I could give you the rest of these that are sitting in my kitchen, I will instead pass along the delicious recipe. How's that for sharing? Enjoy!

Double Fudge and Chocolate Chip Smashed Cookies
Recipe from Butter Baking

For the double fudge chocolate cookie dough
165g unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

For the chocolate chip cookie dough
Adapted from Baking Illustrated.
165g unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1  cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C) and line a few trays with baking paper.

To make the double fudge cookie dough, using a wooden spoon, mix the melted butter and both sugars together in a large bowl.

Add the egg and the egg yolk, mixing well between each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

Mix in the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt until just incorporated. Finally, stir through the chocolate chips. Set aside while you make the other dough.

To make the chocolate chip cookie dough, using a wooden spoon, mix the melted butter and both sugars together in a large bowl.

Add the egg and the egg yolk, mixing well between each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

Mix in the flour, baking soda and salt until just incorporated. Finally, stir through the chocolate chips.

Form each dough into 24 balls, using a large tablespoon of dough per ball, so you have a total of 48 balls of cookie dough.

Break each ball of dough in half and press together one half of chocolate chip cookie dough and one half of double fudge cookie dough, with the broken side facing up.

Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking trays and bake for 10 minutes. Makes 48 smashed cookies.

When life gives you blueberries, you make blueberry muffins. Unfortunately, life (or your neighborhood grocery store in this case) does not always give you blueberries. I'm not one to shy away from out of season fruit--with the exception of watermelon--so when I decided a week ago that I was making blueberry muffins I didn't even consider that I wouldn't be able to find any. What I did find was 2 for 1 strawberries. Order was restored and I took this delicious blueberry muffin with blueberry jam recipe and just subbed in strawberries.

The only thing I didn't like about these is that I "forgot" to give any away and I couldn't eat them all on my own. Strawberries tend to hold a lot of moisture, so you won't be able to get away with eating them a few days in unless you happen to enjoy mold. I'm sure keeping them in the fridge would help. I've never frozen muffins before, but I popped a few of these in the freezer to test out the results. I'll update the post when I try them.


Strawberry Lemon Muffins
Recipe Adapted from Damn Delicious

Yields 12 muffins


  • 2 cups sliced strawberries, divided
  • 3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the lemon sugar topping:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
DIRECTIONS:Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners or coat with nonstick spray; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup strawberries and 1 tablespoon sugar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes. Let cool 10-15 minutes.
To make the lemon sugar topping, combine the sugar and lemon zest, rubbing the zest into the sugar with your fingertips; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla.
Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.
Add the remaining 1 cup sliced strawberries and gently toss to combine.
Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray. Top each muffin with 1 teaspoon strawberry jam, swirling into the batter using figure eight motions. Sprinkle with lemon sugar mixture.

Place into oven and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

ps - Sorry for the lack of creative place settings. This is what happens when you rush pictures.

I like to store things in giant ziplock bags. It's not what I would call entirely organized, but it's as organized as I can get. As long as I confine my ziplock bag use to baking goods it's not a problem. Things got a little crazy when I decided it was a brilliant storage device when moving. The next thing you know I had jewelry bags, junk bags, paper bags, pen bags..etc. Those ziplocks have yet to be unzipped. Anywho, in my kitchen I have a sprinkles bag. I don't know why at 22 years old I still gravitate towards sprinkles and bright colors, but I've accepted it. I'm a seven year old at heart.

Of course, for these I decided I wanted to use my favorites, the dinosaur sprinkles. So I guess I'm a seven year old boy at heart. Aside from opening a bag of cake mix all over my kitchen, these are a breeze to make. I bought a tube of crescent dough at the grocery store, but everything else I had on hand. My only advice would be to make sure the icing is a bit runny. I didn't measure (whoops) and proceeded to use the thicker icing instead of adding more milk (read: I was lazy). It covered up the cute little swirled tops. Lesson: don't be lazy, use your better judgment.


Mini (no yeast) Cake Batter Cinnamon Buns
Recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction
  • 1-8oz tube crescent roll dough
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Betty Crocker Supermoist white or yellow cake mix (or any brand white or yellow cake mix)
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • cake batter icing (recipe below)
  • sprinkles for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (or whatever your tube of crescent roll instructs). Spray 16 tins of a mini muffin pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Roll out half of the dough (4 triangles) and close the seams together by pinching. Flip over and pinch those seams together as well.
  3. Sprinkle the dough with half of your sprinkles and smooth out with a rolling pin. You want the dough to be totally seamless and the sprinkles to be pressed into the dough as much as possible. I do not have a rolling pin in my tiny apartment, so I covered the dough with parchment paper and rolled over it with a glass cup. The dough needs to be completely smooth and 1/4″ thick.
  4. Brush dough with 1 Tbsp melted butter and cover with 2 Tbsp of the cake mix. Brush 1 Tbsp melted butter over the cake mix and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp brown sugar.
  5. Roll into a log and cut into 8 equal buns.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 with the other half of the crescent roll dough.
  7. Place 16 buns into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the buns are lightly browned.
  8. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and spoon icing (recipe below) over top each bun. Top with sprinkles.
Cake Batter Icing
  • 3/4 cup SIFTED Betty Crocker Supermoist white or yellow cake mix (or any brand white or yellow cake mix)*
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp half-and-half (or milk)
Whisk together sifted cake mix and half-and-half until fully combined.  Add more or less half-and-half depending on how thick you want the icing.  Spoon over warm cinnamon buns and top with sprinkles. Store cinnamon buns in fridge.

French toast reminds me of Sunday mornings when I was growing up and living at home. My mom always cooked something delicious for breakfast on Sundays. I guess it was her way of making the kids get up for church. That's the effect it had on me, at least. There was no way I was going to miss blueberry pancakes, waffles or french toast. Such are the motivators for the average teenager (they'd probably still work on me). 

Alas, I never really have it anymore. I think I get distracted on brunch menus by other delicious things, and somehow french toast gets the short end of the stick. I have no idea why. The aroma fills the air, the cinnamon, syrup and powdered sugar come together in perfect harmony...what's not to love? So, what happens when you take everything that's wonderful about french toast and put it in cookie form? Yep, harmony. Again. I'm sorry french toast, oh how I under appreciated you. 

The best part of these cookies is the icing. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by this considering french toast is nothing without it's maple syrup counterpart. Rich, maple frosting dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Now we're talking. 

My camera is still glitching. Sorry for the odd coloring on the pictures! 

French Toast Sugar Cookies


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, slightly softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tsp. maple extract
  • 2-4 Tablespoons milk, or to desired consistency

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream sugar and butter with mixer; add egg and beat until combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients to a sifter. Alternate adding milk and dry ingredients to the butter mixture while mixing. Then add vanilla and stir.
  4. Chill for 30 minutes before rolling out. Roll out on floured surface, cut into squares and bake at 375 degrees for 10-11 minutes, being careful not to over-bake.
  5. To make the frosting, cream softened butter with 1 cup of the powdered sugar and then slowly add in the rest.
  6. Add maple extract (I used 3 teaspoons) and milk, and stir. The consistency you’re looking for is thick and spreadable; not runny.
  7. Once cookies have cooled, frost the tops with the maple icing and dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Sorry for the brief break between posting--I've been having some camera issues recently. It seems they may have fixed on their own, but we shall see! On the bright side, I've been baking up a storm. I'm all settled in my new place and I can finally fit all of my cooking supplies. It's a glorious thing. I may not have been able to take pictures of everything, but it was all so good I guess I'll just have to take one for the team and go for round two. More to come in the next few weeks with those. 

As I'm sure is pretty apparent, I love adding candy to recipes. The dough base for these cookies is fantastic, and I'm fairly certain it would be great with all sorts of candy add-ins. I stuck with the recipe this time and the results were amazing. The caramel melts out, the twix cookie provides the perfect crunch, the chocolate...well, you know how I feel about chocolate. Basically this is just a great cookie. It's nothing fancy or complicated, but I loved every part of it! 

Sidenote: after three years I finally was about to snag a chocolate therapy domain name before someone renewed the contract. You can now get to my page by going to The blogspot address will redirect there. Spread the word!

Twix Bar Cookies

2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely chopped Twix bars

Preheat oven 325°. Coarsely chop the Twix bars (about 1/4-inch chunks). I used mini Twix bars and cut them in half  I like to cut each bar in half lengthwise, and then make several cuts width ways to make even blocks. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and beat at low-speed just until combined. Gently stir in the Twix chunks.

Roll a scant half cup of dough into a ball. Break into two pieces, placing each on the baking sheet with the rough sides facing up and keeping ample room between mounds of dough. Repeat until all dough has been used. If you run out of room in the oven, store the extra dough in the fridge until you have space to use it. Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 15-18 minutes). Do not overbake. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet. Since the caramel from the Twix can make the cookies stick a little, I use an offset spatula to slide under the cookies without breaking them apart. Enjoy!

I love Rice Krispie treats, but I think they are just about the biggest pain to make of any of my favorite treats. Every time I've made them Rice Krispies end up all over the place and marshmallow is stuck to every surface within five feet of me. It's one of those recipes that is so easy but I get so much anxiety in the process it's not even worth it. Baking shouldn't be stressful.

Alas, thankfully I never gave up on making Rice Krispie treats entirely. I've only done this with a few foods (ahem, lemon curd). I saw these on FoodGawker and knew it was fate. I needed to brave the Rice Krispie/marshmallow duo once again. It was so worth it. These aren't your ordinary RKT, they have peanut butter in them! And not only do they have peanut butter, they also have peanut butter cups AND chocolate. They remind me of the better than crack brownies I used to make all the time, but I think they might be better. Better than the better than crack brownies..that's pretty darn good right there. 

You'll notice that there are multiple steps to this recipe, but the good news is they are all very easy steps. Melting the marshmallows in the microwave takes a huge pain out of the process. You'll also be able to reuse a lot of the bowls because you're using the same ingredients. My advice is just to set everything out first and make it a smooth process. I made them twice in 24 hours (didn't get to take pictures the first time), so they obviously can't be too tedious! 


Peanut Butter Cup Rice Krispie Treats
Recipe adapted from Sweet Tooth

For the 1st layer rice krispie treat:
3 cups Rice Krispie cereal
1 cup mini marshmallows
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

- Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x9 pan.
- Measure out the 3 cups of rice krispies and set aside.
- Put the marshmallows, butter, peanut butter, and vanilla in a large microwave safe bowl.  Melt in the microwave for about 45 seconds, and stir until smooth.
- Stir in rice cereal and spread evenly into pan.  (keep out the bowl, you can reuse it!)

For the 2nd layer peanut butter fudge:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-1/4 cup mini peanut butter cups (not the ones wrapped in foil, the new kind with the smaller cups)

- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and peanut butter until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar and vanilla and stir until smooth.  Spread evenly over first layer of rice krispies.
- Sprinkle your mini peanut butter cups on top of the fudge and press them gently into the fudge.
- Transfer pan to the fridge to let the fudge set as you prepare the next layer.

For the 3rd layer rice krispie treat:
3 cups Rice Krispie cereal
1 cup mini marshmallows
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

- Prepare rice krispie mixture like the first layer, then spread evenly over the peanut butter cup layer.  Set aside.

For the 4th layer chocolate PB ganache:
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups chocolate chips

- Place the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals until melted and smooth, stirring in between each round.  Mix in peanut butter.
- Pour ganache over rice krispies and use an offset spatula to evenly spread the chocolate.  
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ganache is firm.  Cut into bars (I made mine small because they are super rich!)