I've professed my love for pimento cheese many times on here, so it's no surprise that I have yet another way to take your pimento cheese game up a notch. Even better - these warm bacon pimento cheese cups are perfect for Labor Day cookouts and tailgating in the fall.

To make them you take your standard, delicious phyllo shells (found in the freezer section), and fill them with a smoked cheddar bacon pimento cheese and top each with a few more fresh bacon bits. Smoked sharp cheddar pairs really well with the bacon, but you can also make it your standard way with just regular sharp cheddar. Sometimes I use pepperjack for a little kick. The key is to find two cheeses that complement each other. Melted cheese, mayo, pimentos and bacon is probably going to taste good regardless as long as you don't go with something too crazy cheese-wise.

The number of phyllo shells that come in a pack varies by the brand, and different grocery stores carry different brands. If you're serving these for a crowd you can absolutely buy more than 48. These go QUICKLY! The recipe will probably yield enough for 60 mini cups, since only about a tablespoon goes in each cup. I usually buy Cracker Barrel cheese, which comes in 8oz packages, so most of the time I go ahead and shred the whole 16oz of cheese (upping the other ingredients as well) and then serve the rest of the pimento cheese with crackers. There are worse things than having extra pimento cheese around the house..

Enjoy, and have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Bacon Pimento Cheese Phyllo Cups

4 oz sharp white cheddar, freshly grated
4 oz smoked sharp cheddar or sharp yellow cheddar, freshly grated
3 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons diced (not sliced) pimentos
1/4 cup Duke's mayonnaise
6 strips bacon, cooked until crispy
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional
48 mini phyllo (filo) shells
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and set aside. Combine cream cheese and mayo. You can do this with a mixer, but I usually just stir them together. Add grated cheeses, spices (optional), pimentos and salt and pepper to taste. Add in crumbled bacon, reserving a few tablespoons-worth for garnish.

Scoop mixture into the individual phyllo cups and place on the pan (they can be close together). Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until shells have slightly browned and mixture has melted. Remove from oven, let cool for just long enough so that you're not risking any burnt mouths and serve!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that Smucker's sent me seven of their new ice cream toppings in the mail to try, and that I would be having a giveaway on my blog so that one of my readers could receive a "Top It Your Way" prize pack full of Smucker's goods for themselves. Well, today is the day!

I'm not one to even post recipes I don't like, so endorsing a product I don't personally like (regardless of whether I get it for free) is a big no in my book. That said, I love these Smucker's products, and I am SO excited that one of you gets this awesome prize pack. I've been using them in ice cream, on brownies, in blondies, etc.

The prize pack comes with all of the Smucker's products pictured here, AND you get the West Elm tray, Smucker's freezer bag, Smucker's ice cream scoop and chalkboard sign (you're on your own for the Anthropologie bowls and ice cream). The only thing missing is the Salted Caramel flavor. I looked high and low for where I put it with no luck. That's my favorite of all of the products, so I'm guessing I brought it with me somewhere and left it--let's just pretend that traveling with salted caramel in your purse is completely normal. The good news is that Smucker's will send you your own bag of products, and the Salted Caramel will be included. Here's the full list of what you will get in the "Top It Your Way" prize pack:

·     Branded Ice Cream Topping Bowls + Scoops
·     All seven NEW Smucker’s toppings flavors including:
o   Smucker’s®  Simple Delight Salted Caramel Topping
o   Smucker’s® Simple Delight Chocolate Coconut Flavored Topping
o   Smucker’s® Simple Delight Dark Chocolate Topping
o   Smucker’s® Simple Delight Hot Fudge Topping
o   Smucker’s® Magic Shell® Chocolate Pretzel Flavored Topping
o   Smucker’s® Magic Shell® Rainbow Sherbet Flavored Topping
o   Smucker’s® Microwavable Hot Dark Chocolate Topping

You can do as little as comment on this post to enter, or you can earn extra entries by doing the other items in the Rafflecopter. A winner will be selected randomly from the entries on Sunday. Labor Day may be this weekend, but that doesn't mean the end of ice cream season!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
A few ways I've used the toppings:

What makes brownies better? Salted Caramel and Hot Fudge. 
...and the same thing goes for adding Salted Caramel and Hot Fudge into this Double Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream.
Oatmeal Cookie Chunk Ice Cream with Chocolate Pretzel Magic Shell. There are no words. 

Now for the Golden Oreo Funfetti Ice Cream. I photographed it with the Smucker's items, but there was so much going on with it that I actually didn't even feel the need to add to it with toppings (though I'm sure the results couldn't be anything but good). So, my apologies the picture is slightly misleading!

This is for all those people who love homemade ice cream, but weren't convinced buying an ice cream maker was worth the investment (despite my case for it): homemade ice cream WITHOUT an ice cream machine.

Even better - homemade funfetti cake batter ice cream with Golden Oreos that you can make WITHOUT an ice cream machine. *Happy dance*

It's very sweet (as with all cake batter ice cream), but it is incredible. The consistency is also great. I gave it a few minutes to soften after pulling it from the freezer, but even when it's straight out it's not remotely icy. I had to give the rest of the batch to my bf because I was sneaking in huge spoonfuls every time I passed the freezer, and we haven't quite gotten to the point of the year where I justify eating more desserts than usual because it's "sweater-weather"...

But if you've been upset with me for posting so many ice cream recipes all summer when you don't have a machine, now is your chance to get in on it too! Also, a word to the wise, don't use the standard nonpareils because they will start bleeding into the ice cream almost immediately. I knew it would happen, and for some reason I did it anyways. Stick with the other kinds of jimmies so that you don't end up with some weird brown and green shade of ice cream.

Make this ice cream stat! And enter the giveaway above so that you can score yourself all sorts of delicious toppings to throw an ice cream party (or to keep to yourself).

No-Ice Cream Maker Funfetti Cake Batter Golden Oreo Ice Cream
Recipe from Averie Cooks


24 Golden Oreos or vanilla-flavored sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream - for the No-Ice-Cream-Maker version (if using an ice cream maker, use 4 cups/1 quart)
3/4 cup+ sprinkles


  1. These directions (through number 7) reflect the No-Ice-Cream-Maker method.
  2. Chop the Oreo cookies and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, and almond extract to combine; set aside.
  4. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or large mixing bowl and hand mixer), whip 2 cups heavy cream to very stiff peaks, the time this takes will vary based on your mixer.
  5. Gently add about half the whipped cream to the sweetened condensed milk mixture, and fold the cream in gently. As Averie points out, fold means turn the mixture over with a spatula from the bottom of the bowl up, rotate the bowl, repeat until the mixture is homogenous. The goal is to keep all that fluffy cream you just made as fluffy as possible. Take your time and be gentle. When you get the first half of the cream folded in and combined, add the remaining cream, and fold it until until mixture is smooth. Be patient with this part!
  6. Add the cookies, sprinkles, and gently fold them in to distribute evenly, being careful to stop if you start noticing that the sprinkle colors are bleeding into the base. If you see this happening it's ok, but you should take that as a sign to go ahead and transfer it to the container. If you are folding them in correctly, it won't take much to fully incorporate all of this into the base.
  7. Transfer ice cream mixture to a freezer-safe 2-quart container with a lid or freezer-safe bowl that can be covered with plasticwrap. Cover and freeze for at least 6 hours, or until solid. Ice cream takes about 5 minutes to come up to room temperature. Ice cream will keep airtight in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  8. If you are Using an Ice Cream Maker - Steps 1, 2, 3 are the same. Skip steps 4 and 5. Instead, add 4 cups heavy cream to the sweetened condensed milk mixture, and stir to combine. Step 6 is the same. For step 7, follow processing directions on your ice cream maker, noting to chill the mixture if necessary before churning.

Every time I make muffins I find myself wishing I made them more often. I realize there are healthier things I could eat for breakfast than a muffin, but starting the morning with orange juice and a freshly baked blueberry muffin just feels right. It's the one muffin flavor we can all agree on (I'm sure there are some blueberry haters out there who disagree).

There are a few components to the perfect blueberry muffin. It can't be so dense that you need something to wash it down. It has to have blueberries in every single bite, and the top always needs to be the best part. Maybe the top is the best because it has that fully-baked yet still gooey thing going on. Maybe it's sprinkled with sugar. I personally love streusel. These muffins are chock full of berries, they're not too heavy and the streusel on top is amazing. I've never made a blueberry muffin recipe with oatmeal in the streusel, but I've been missing out.

When I went back to grab this recipe for the post, I realized there was a glaze that I completely skipped. Note to self: don't get so distracted by the amazing smell of the muffins coming out of the oven that you forget everything else you were doing. The good news is that they were already great without it, so when you make them they will be even better! Do as I say, not as I do....except the part about making and eating these muffins. Because that part you should absolutely do.

Bakery Style Lemon Blueberry Muffins
Recipe from The Cafe Sucre Farine
Serves: 12


    5 tablespoons butter
    ½ cup sugar
    ½ cup flour
    ½ cup oatmeal
    ¼ teaspoon salt

    2 cups all purpose flour
    1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    ½ teaspoon salt
    ½ cup butter, softened
    1 cup sugar
    2 large eggs
    ½ cup buttermilk
    finely grated zest of 1 lemon
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
    3 tablespoons lemon (juice)
    1 cup powdered sugar


  1.     Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners
  2.     Make the crumb topping by combining the melted butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal and salt. Stir with a fork until crumbs form. Set aside.
  3.     Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
  4.     If using frozen blueberries, place them in a small bowl and return to freezer until ready to use. If using fresh berries, place in a small bowl and set aside.
  5.     In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter for 1 minute until soft and fluffy. Add sugar and continue to beat for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time and beat just until incorporated. Add buttermilk, vanilla and lemon zest and mix on low until combined.
  6.     Remove bowl from mixer. Add flour mixture and stir, by hand, until flour disappears. Do not over mix or muffins will be tough. Gently stir in blueberries.
  7.     Divide mixture evenly in the prepared muffin pan. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.
  8.     Bake at 350˚F for 22 to 25 minutes or until light golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a wire rack. Drizzle lightly with the lemon glaze.
  9.     For lemon glaze, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice in a medium size bowl. Stir with a fork or whisk until smooth.

I'll keep this post short and sweet. These ice cream sandwiches are the perfect summer treat. No ice cream maker needed. It's just little squares of (eggless) cookie dough sandwiching chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Cut them into small squares or go ahead and make yourself a giant ice cream sandwich--your call. Regardless, this is absolutely a crowd-pleasing dessert.

I guess you could fill them with homemade chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, but I don't really see the need to do that. Take the shortcut and use your favorite store-bought cookie dough ice cream. I personally think it's worth the extra few dollars to get name-brand ice cream because I find that it tastes better, scoops better, and, in the case of these sandwiches, is easier to slice through.

The only part that seems complicated in this recipe is the layering of the parchment, but it's actually very simple once you get the hang of the process. Check out Mel's page for her step by step pictures.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Quart cookie dough ice cream, softened to spreadable consistency
  1. For the cookie dough, in a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter with the brown and granulated sugar. Stir to combine. Stir in the milk, vanilla, and salt until well blended. Stir in the flour until completely smooth. Let the mixture cool completely (so the chocolate chips don't melt) then stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. Line an 8X8-inch baking pan (preferably with very straight sides) with two pieces of parchment paper (cut into 8-inch strips) so they extend well beyond the edges of the pan on all four sides; this will help to lift up and easily remove the frozen sandwiches.
  3. Scatter half of the dough into the pan and use your hands to press it into an even layer.
  4. Top with a second set of parchment strips that extend over each side. Lightly coat the parchment with nonstick cooking spray. Scatter the remaining dough over the top and press into an even layer.
  5. Fold the overhanging parchment over the dough and freeze for at least an hour (can be frozen for several days in advance.)
  6. Use the parchment strips hanging over the edge to lift out the top layer of cookie dough. Then remove the second layer.
  7. Place another set of parchment slings (I know, enough with the parchment already!) in the pan. Peel the parchment from one square of cookie dough and set it inside the pan with the smoothest side down.
  8. Spread the softened ice cream over the top into an even layer. Peel the parchment from the remaining square of cookie dough and place it, smoothest side up, on the ice cream. Gently press it into the ice cream.
  9. Cover the pan (with the parchment overhangs, if desired) and freeze for at least 2-3 hours but preferably 6-8. Using a long, sharp knife, run it under hot water, wipe dry, and slice the cookie dough ice cream sandwiches into squares, repeating with hot water after each slice (you can lift up on the handles to remove it from the pan before slicing - I found I had to run a knife around the edges to loosen any ice cream that had stuck to the pan corners). Eat fast so they don't melt!

It’s not hard to make an ice cream that tastes good. Honestly if you’re making a somewhat standard flavor it’s probably harder to make something that doesn’t taste good. After all, it’s cream, milk, vanilla and sugar. What sets ice creams apart, in my mind, is consistency. Recently a few of my favorite ice cream flavors haven't used eggs. They’ve stayed soft and easy to scoop without getting icy, and the flavor is creamy, smooth and delicious.

Another plus is that these recipes don’t require any heating of the milk and cream, incorporating the eggs, straining, ice baths, etc. Any time I can cut these things out I am all for it.

Since I was already throwing brownies into this base and I wanted the fudge taste as well (without having to buy fudge pieces), I just drizzled some hot fudge between layers of the ice cream. And while I was at it, I thought why not add in some salted caramel? Good decisions all around.

It helped that the good folks at Smuckers were nice enough to send me over some items from their Simple Delights line of ice cream toppings. I’ve been trying them out on everything I can, and I haven’t hit one I don’t like. I’ll be having a giveaway for readers in the next week to give you the chance to win some yourself! More details to come on that soon.

Back to this ice cream: perfect chocolate base + brownies + gooey fudge and salted caramel swirls. Be still my heart. I loved every bite, and so did everyone else who tried it. Once you find a good base you can change it up with mix-ins however you’d like. I've also crumbled up the chocolate pudding cookies and thrown them into this mixture instead of the brownies. You can't go wrong.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream with a Salted Caramel Swirl
Recipe adapted from Cravings of a Lunatic 

  • 1 cup good quality cocoa powder
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of vanilla salt (regular salt is fine to use)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups brownie pieces
  • 1/4 cup hot fudge (I used Smuckers Hot Fudge)
  • 1/4 cup caramel (I use Smucker's Salted Caramel)

  1. In a stand mixer combine cocoa powder, both sugars, salt and whole milk. Mix until the sugars dissolve.
  2. Add heavy cream and vanilla and mix until fluffy, should be the consistency of pudding. Cover and stick in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour. You can even leave it overnight, it helps the flavour to let it age a bit.
  3. Remove from fridge and transfer the liquid to a FROZEN ice cream maker bowl. Place bowl on your ice cream machine and turn on. Churn according to manufacturer's instructions.
  4. Once ice cream base is complete (about 20 minutes for my ice cream maker), fold in three cups of crumbled brownie pieces. 
  5. Spread a layer of the chocolate and brownie base into the bottom of a freezer safe container (about ¼ of total batch). Use a spoon to swirl in ½ of the warm caramel. 
  6. Add another layer of the base on top and drizzle/swirl in ½ of the hot fudge. Repeat with another layer of the base and remaining caramel followed by the rest of the ice cream and hot fudge. 
  7. Place in freezer for 6 hours, or until ice cream has firmed. It will be best after 12+ hours of freezer time.