Since I deprived you of any unhealthy goodies for a whole week, I figured I should double up this week. Your waistline may have thanked me for my absence, but I thoroughly believe chocolate is essential for a person's overall well-being. At least that's what I tell myself. I'm sorry in advance for these delicious bites of pure bliss. Oh my they are good. I love pretty much everything on Nosh and Tell. These are no exception. It was one of the first food blogs I started reading regularly. It's entertaining and they post some darn good recipes.

These are super easy to fix up quickly. One bowl and you don't even need a mixer. I'm a chocolate and peanut butter fiend, so naturally I am pretty obsessed with these. I called them bites in the title, but truthfully they aren't bite sized. I just liked the name better because they don't look like regular brownies (ah, the deception). My fiendish ways also mean I've tried a ridiculous number of chocolate and peanut butter recipes. So, when I say this recipe is top three in my c&pb list that is big time. Let me know what you think!

And, of course, enjoy!

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
Recipe from Nosh and Tell
Makes 1 dozen brownies

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon water
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips, plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease 12 muffin cups.

In a medium sized microwave-safe bowl combine sugar, softened butter, and water. Microwave on high for about 45 seconds or until butter is melted. Stir in 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips until melted. Stir in egg and vanilla extract, mix well. Add flour and baking soda, stir until combined. Allow the batter to cool to room temperature (doesn’t take very long). Then, stir in 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips and remaining 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly wet. After brownies are out of the oven, wait for centers to fall. This will happen upon cooling. If not (they did not for me) then tap the centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole for the peanut butter.

Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds then stir. While brownies are still war spoon about a tablespoon full of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with remaining 1/3 cup of milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Cool completely in pan.

All criminal history aside, Martha Stewart is amazing. I wish I had the encyclopedia of all things crafty, delicious and beautiful that is her brain. It doesn't even matter when she runs out of ideas now because I'm sure there is a whole team that comes up with even more (not that they get any of the credit). Instead, I just try to read Real Simple and pretend that level of organization and craftiness is achievable in my life.

This cake is a masterpiece. The raspberry jam in between layers makes the whole thing moist and flavorful..and the icing. Oh lord. My mom is a huge meringue fan so she is the one who initially picked this cake out for Easter Sunday. The icing is like a meringue and frosting hybrid. It spreads on smooth, but peaks out and tastes like meringue. My granddad called me the next day to tell me how much he liked this cake. While he would never say he didn't like something I made, the extra phone call says it all. There's nothing like having an appreciative audience!

The cake is perfect for any sort of event. It's not one of those "middle of the week, I think I'll bake a cake!" cakes (yes, I realize some people don't find that normal behavior). It is beautiful, and it deserves a crowd. I somehow lose cake pans all the time, and so I had to make do with two 9-inch pans instead of three 8-inch. I swear there is a ghost in my house who likes to steal things. Cake pans, sifters, one half of my double broiler...they are all among the long list of odd bakeware disappearances in my house. As if baking wasn't already an expensive enough hobby.

Also, I'm sorry for being m.i.a. these past two weeks. I had a big advertising competition on Friday and now that it's over I have my life back. Woohoo! Just in time to enjoy the last week of my senior year of college. And to enjoy all of the delicious food that comes along with graduation parties. Get excited.


Vegetable-oil cooking spray
2 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 cups raspberries (8 ounces)
2/3 cup raspberry jam
1/2 cup large-flake dried unsweetened coconut (I just used bakers unsweetened and toasted it)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat three 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, line bottoms with parchment, and coat again. Whisk together flour, salt, and 1/2 cup sugar. In a separate bowl, beat together cream, milk, baking powder, and egg whites until mixture thickens. Whisk in vanilla, almond extract, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar.

Fold in flour mixture. Fold in raspberries, then divide among pans. Bake until golden and top springs back when touched, about 25 minutes. Let cool in pans 30 minutes. Remove; let cool completely on a wire rack.

Spread half the jam over top of 1 cake layer, and sandwich with another layer. Repeat with remaining jam and layer. Swirl frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle top with coconut.

Meringue Frosting

1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
5 large egg whites, room temperature


Bring 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, the corn syrup, and 3 tablespoons water to a boil, stirring. Wash down side of pan with a wet pastry brush, and cook sugar syrup, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 230 degrees.

Meanwhile, beat egg whites with a mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

Add sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream down side of bowl. Beat on high speed until thick, fluffy, and cool, about 7 minutes.

Sometimes I sit around and analyze food. I know it's weird. I can't help it. I'll be eating a really great bowl of cereal and think, "Man, whoever came up with the concept of cereal was brilliant. This is the best thing EVER." And then of course I will think the exact same thing about a million other foods. It probably gets obnoxious for my friends because if anyone is around me chances are I'll say it out loud. I'd imagine it's hard to be friends with me if you don't like food (I'd like to think I don't have any friends like that, but you never know with college girls).

That being said, sandwiches are another creation that I constantly sit there eating and think about how much gratitude I have for whoever invented them back in the day. I make myself sandwiches all the time, but they're pretty standard. The thing is, it is SO easy to take a sandwich up a notch. All you have to do is go heavy on the cheese and butter, and buy better bread. The fresh sourdough bakery bread is going to beat Sara Lee 45 calorie slices every time. There's just no getting around it. Life's too short to count calories.

Kevin at Closet Cooking always has the most amazing recipes and absolutely perfect food photography. I'd be jealous if I didn't love gawking at his page so much. I work three days a week, have class the other two, and am rarely around my house during lunchtime on the weekends. So, I decided that a Saturday at home over Easter weekend was the perfect time to try one of the sandwich recipes I'd been drooling over. I've been hooked on guacamole (not just avocado) in sandwiches for quite some time. Guacamole and cheese quesadillas are easily one of my top three favorite late night food choices. Adding bacon to the combo was brilliant. It was the best sandwich I've had in a good long while.

It's not all that time consuming, it's just about allowing yourself to break away from the same old sandwiches. Switching from provolone to sharp white cheddar is not breaking away. Making a delicious grilled guacamole bacon cheese sandwich is so much better.


Bacon Guacamole and Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Recipe from Closet Cooking
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 2 slices sour dough bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup jack and cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons guacamole, room temperature ***
  • 1 tablespoon tortilla chips, crumbled (optional)
  1. Cook the bacon until crispy and set aside on paper towels to drain.
  2. Butter one side of each slice of bread, sprinkle half of the cheese onto the unbuttered side of one slice of bread followed by the guacamole, bacon, tortilla chips, the remaining cheese and finally top with the remaining slice of bread with the buttered side up.
  3. Grill over medium heat until golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 2-3 minutes per side.
* I had some extra Wholly Guacamole in the fridge, so I took the shortcut and just combined that with a little lime juice, fresh diced tomatoes and garlic. It was homemade enough for me! If you have time, I bet his is delicious, too.

Yellow cake with chocolate icing. Such a simple concept, yet I always find it incredibly hard to execute up to my expectations. I would say about half of the people I know consider yellow cake with chocolate icing their all time favorite cake. Maybe it reminds everyone of childhood. I think of delicious yellow Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines cupcakes with chocolate icing and sprinkles being brought to school for birthdays. It's just too darn hard to beat. With yellow cake, boxed is better more often than not (though I do like to add sour cream to the boxed version to jazz it up a notch).

I always find something wrong with the homemade versions. This is the best I've made yet. Shirley O. Corriher's fantastic, well-known book BakeWise is to thank for it. She offers three different ways to make the cake. I didn't have buttermilk, which was required in the others, so I made the "Dissolved Sugar" method. I highly recommend buying this book. She was a biochemist, so she breaks down recipes scientifically to explain why they work and what each ingredient does. This is without a doubt the only science I have ever been interested in. What can I say, I'm an advertising and anthropology's just not a pre-req.

I think the cake got even better after the icing had cooled and settled. I tend to think sour cream-based icing is much stronger at first, and not always in a good way. But then it seems to become milder as it cools. Maybe that's just me. I may try it with a buttercream next time, but this icing was fantastic.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! If you have any great yellow cake recipes with high success rates, or perfect chocolate icings (can you ever have too many of those?) I'd love to try those out as well!

Magnificent Moist Golden Cake
Recipe from Shirley O. Corriher's BakeWise

Makes 2-3 9-inch cake layers or two dozen cupcakes
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1/3 cup buttermilk, divided
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups cake flour, spooned and leveled
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan or two (or three) 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray and dust them with flour, or line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners for cupcakes.

In a large measuring cup or similar vessel, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, 3 tablespoons of the buttermilk and vanilla.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of your standing mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat in the butter, oil, and remaining buttermilk on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, then crank it up to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add one third of the egg mixture, and beat for about 20 seconds, and scrape the bowl again. Repeat two more times until all the egg mixture is incorporated and the batter is smooth.

In a cold bowl with cold beaters, whip the cream to just beyond soft peaks. Stir a quarter of the whipped cream into the batter to lighten it, then carefully fold in the remaining cream.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans (about 2/3 full for cupcakes). Drop the pans onto the counter from a height of about 4 inches to knock out air bubbles. Bake until the center of the cake springs back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean but moist–about 40 minutes for one thick layer, 25-30 minutes for individual layers, and 17-20 minutes for cupcakes (checking progress early and often).

Do not overbake. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Lucious, Creamy Chocolate Icing 
Recipe from Shirley O. Corriher's BakeWise

(she sure does like descriptive titles!) 

12 ounces milk chocolate, cut into medium pieces
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, cut into medium pieces
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon (pinch) salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups sour cream

1. Place both chocolates in a food processor with the steel blade. Use quick on/offs to finely chop, or alternatively finely chop the chocolate with a sharp knife. (The whole point of her book is to emphasize why little things are important, she has a reason for chopping it up, but my food processor is at my parents house so I skipped this step. Whoops!) Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave on 50% power, stirring every 30 seconds. Stop and remove it from the microwave when most of the chocolate is melted. Continue to stir until all of the chocolate is melted and smooth.
2. In a mixing bow, stir together the brown sugar, salt, vanilla, and corn syrup. Stir in the sour cream with 1 or 2 strokes only. Add the melted chocolate. Beat on low until very smooth. It will be beautiful. If it is too thin, allow it to stand for an hour or so at room temperature until slightly thickened. Use about 1/4-inch later of icing between the cake layers.

**Addition: the bf was upset because this cake disappeared so quickly around my house that I never got to bring him any. I guess I was feeling nice, because I made him another one two days after this one (yes, it disappeared that quickly). It was EVEN BETTER. I am quite confident that this is the best yellow cake I will make for quite some time.