Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

How the candied pecans looked coming right from the stove.

...and how they look separated. They're all glossy!
When these came out the kitchen smelled like warm pumpkin and cinnamon.

Yet again it's another cold Saturday here in Memphis where the ice is coming down like mini hail. The weather predicts that soon it'll turn into snow. Yesterday the temperature was 63, and now it's 33 and icing...and people wonder why they're always sick here. I wanted something warm since it's so messy and cold outside, so what better than some warm bread?

I found this recipe from It's a pumpkin bread with nuts and a swirl of cream cheese. I thought it looked pretty, and I had the ingredients, so I decided to make it. One bad thing about this bread is that it uses up a lot of dishes. Another bad thing is that after I finished everything (cleaning included), I looked down to see that my cream jacket I have on has nice little splots of orange pumpkin bread batter all over the front. This is what I get for wearing cream I guess. It's kind of like when you eat spaghetti it's inevitable that you'll be wearing white that day.

Moving on from my inability to bake with dirtying myself, this bread tastes amazing...well ok the batter tastes really good, the bread is still baking in the oven. I did tweak the original recipe slightly though. I added some maple syrup and I made some candied pecans to go on top for an extra layer of crunch. If you didn't know--I'm all about multiple textures. I hate eating something with one texture; it's just not fun. If you look at the ingredient list and freak out that there's so much sugar and butter in it, remember that it's making two whole loaves of bread. It's not like you're eating 2 sticks of butter on your own, which reminds me of Kate Hudson in Bride Wars where she was in her Butter of the Month club. :)

Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature (I used reduced fat)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

Pumpkin Bread:
1 cup pecans or walnuts
3 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 15-ounce can of pure pumpkin 
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 & 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Butter and lightly flour two 9 by 5 x 3 loaf pans. Set aside.
Toast nuts by placing on a baking sheet in oven for 8-10 min. Cool completely and coarsely chop. Set aside.
Cream cheese filling: In a food processor, process cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and process just until smooth; add eggs one at a time, processing just until incorporated. Don't over process. Stir in flour. Set Aside.
Pumpkin Bread:
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly beaten. Add sugar and melted butter and whisk until blended. Whisk or stir in pumpkin, water, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and toatsed nuts. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir JUST until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix b/c it will make the bread tough.
Divide the batter in half. Take on half and divide it evenly between the two prepared pans. Divide the cream cheese filling in half and place each half of filling on top the two pans of batter, smoothing the tops. Top with the remaining half of batter. Bake breads for about 50-60 min, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
Place pans on wire rack and let them for for about 10 min. before removing breads from pans. Can serve warm, cold,or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or else freeze for later use. 

Candied Pecans:

From my last experience with, I should've known NOT to use their recipes again...but I'm a nice person and I thought I'd give them a shot. Their candied pecan recipe was again a joke, so I had to tweak that too and hopefully it'll turn out ok.

1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
5 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 & 1/4 pecans

Bring salt, sugar, cinnamon, and milk to a boil. Let boil on medium heat for about 5 min. I put in a candy thermometer and it read about 220 degrees F. Let the mixture thicken and remove from heat. Add in vanilla and pecans. Pour on wax paper and let set, separating with a fork. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chocolate Blood Orange Bars

Well, you  win some and you lose some. I almost didn't put this recipe on here, but it was just b/c the form wasn't what I wanted...but they taste so good I had to. Last night I had the idea to make an orange bar instead of lemon bars. Rather than use a graham cracker crust, I made a chocolate graham cracker crust. Sounds pretty good right? It does taste good...really good, but let's just say it's a mystery how it turned out. 

I've always been fascinated with blood oranges. One b/c they're oddly a dark red, and two b/c the name kind of scares me. Well the name might have put a curse on these bars, but you'll have to find out for yourselves. 

This was my crust; it was absolutely perfect.

My added ingredients.

The finished product! It looks pretty doesn't it...just wait until it's cut open.

Here's a square.

...and the inside. 

Now if you recall, I used a chocolate crust...and the crust/bottom of this is clearly not chocolate. What happened? Who's a mystery, but I think it's kind of cool actually. The only bad thing about these bars was that they are very goey, but all you have to do is chill them overnight and they set up perfectly. This could be for a number of reasons: I would add more flour than just the 1/4 cup I got from one recipe, the glass pan wasn't the best choice to cook them in, and they needed to set in the refrigerator longer. B/c I  got impatient and wanted to see what they looked like, I only let them chill for 30 min. 

I'm hoping that by tom. they'll set up some more, but oh my goodness they taste so good. It's like eating an orange truffle in a gooey mess of goodness. If any of you have any suggestions for this, let me know. They are definitely best served cold and chilled.

Ok so confession time: I have to come out of the closet and admit that I like my brownies and bars a little gooey...a lot gooey, so of course I loved these when they first came out. Then the next day I loved them even more when when were cold and had hardened a bit. The orange and chocolate are completely blended together--one doesn't overpower the other. Feel free to leave any comments on my creative endeavor. But point being: if you like your bars on the fudgier side, follow my instructions and let them chill. If you like them to be a little cakier, add more flour and reduce the amount of eggs. Either way they definitely are a must to make.

1 & 1/2 cups chocolate graham crackers, crushed finely
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
5 tbsp. butter, melted

Combine all ingredients and press firmly into a 9 x 11 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 min.

4 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup blood orange juice (about 3 medium-sized oranges)
1 & 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. orange extract (optional)
1 tsp. orange rind
1/2 bar of dark chocolate, broken into little pieces (optional)

Combine beaten eggs and sugar until smooth. Add orange juice until well blended; add orange extract and orange rind. Add in dark chocolate pieces and pour over graham cracker crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min. Chill in refrigerator or let set and serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cocoa Butterscotch Krispies


In my defense, I really had no plans on baking anything today. After finishing reading for one 
of my literature classes, I decided to go get some popcorn or something to equip for my next book I have to start for another literature class (such is the life of an English Lit. major). So as I'm glancing over our pantry, I see a box of Cocoa Krispies that in a week or so will go bad...and I felt sorry for them. So then I look up and see an opened bag of mini marshmallows that will also go bad in a week or so. Then something inside me took over and the next thing I know I'm whipping up a batch of cocoa krispies! I swear it was an out of body experience. 

I didn't want just a boring cocoa krispie though, so again a light shines upon a half leftover bag of butterscotch chips screaming at me to be used. So I decide to add a middle layer of butterscotch and M & M's (for a little crunch and rainbow :))

10 minutes later out come probably one of the best rice krispies I've ever had. They are sweet, but sooo good. The butterscotch really marries the marshmallow and chocolate flavor together wonderfully. I highly recommend these if you love rice krispies. These are also great b/c they're made in a smaller pan, thus they're bigger. I hope you enjoy my sweet creation. :)

3/4 bag of mini marshmallows
5-6 cups Cocoa Krispies
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 bag of butterscotch chips (about 1 & 1/4)
3/4 cup M & M's

Lightly butter an 8 x 11-inch pan with butter or margarine (I used butter flavored cooking spray b/c I was lazy). Melt butter or margarine with marshmallows in the microwave; add Cocoa Krispies. Add half of mixture into prepared pan. Melt butterscotch chips in microwave for about 1 & 1/2 min. Spread over Cocoa Krispies and add 1/2 cup M & M's. Add remaining Cocoa Krispie mixture on top. Top with remaining M & M's. Let set until firm or set in the refrigerator for a few min. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pretzels

I recently had an inclination to try and make pretzels for the first time. I scanned through a few recipes online and all of them called for around 5 cups of flour, which seemed like a lot to me. I thought it would end up making way too many pretzels than I wanted. I finally settled for this recipe on, and boy was it a mistake. I've never seen a recipe have such ambiguous language in it!

All of the mixings ready to be beaten until "smooth and glossy"

The shape that I formed looked like a calzone.


All formed into their pretzels shapes and ready to be put in the oven.

My personal favorite was to wait until the dough was "satiny." What is that even supposed to mean? Then it was supposed to be "soft" butter...does that mean butter softened or a spreadable butter? Another favorite was that the batter was supposed to be beaten until it was smooth and glossy. Dough doesn't get glossy! So I basically just used the recipe as guidelines and took over for myself...not like I had any option.

The end result tasted just like a pretzel! They weren't bland necessarily, but I might add more brown sugar and cinnamon in my b/c I have a huge sweet tooth...more like a sweet mouth. But they taste great, not an overload of sugar that will make your teeth rot. They also make the house smell like those little pretzel places at the mall that when you pass, you feel like if you don't have a pretzel at the very moment--you'll die. :) Definitely try and make these though! Pretzels taste so much better when they're hot and soft compared to those hard store bought ones. They would taste wonderful with a skinny Cinnamon Dulce' Latte from Starbucks.

Pretzel Dough
1 pkg. active dry yeast (or 2 & 1/2 tsp.)
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 cups flour (I used whole wheat flour)

2 1/2 tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions (with no help from thank you)
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast with warm water; add dry milk and stir. Let stand 5 min. until  yeast foams or bubbles. Beat in 1/3 cup butter, salt, egg, 2 cups flour until well blended. Beat in 1 more cup of flour. Let dough stand for 15 min.

Sprinkle some flour on top of dough and turn onto a floured board. Knead for about 1 min., or until "satiny." Spray a large bowl well with nonstick cooking spray. Turn dough into this bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled, 1-2 hours. 

Turn onto lightly floured board. Roll to 12 x 14 inches. Spread half the dough with 1/4 of melted butter and sprinkle with 3/4 of sugar and cinnamon mixture. Fold unfilled dough over filling; press edges together (mine looked like a calzone). Cut into 12 strips. Separate strips and twist if the dough separates. Form into pretzel shape (see my picture if it's almost like a heart with the center touching the bottom). Lay pretzels seam side down on cooking sheets sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Use a baking brush to spread the remaining melted butter across the pretzels and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon and sugar on top. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 min. or until slightly brown and firm to the touch. 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Marbled Nutella and Peanut Butter Brownies

So it's a cold and rainy day here in Memphis...and what better way to beat the blues than to bake! Though really, it's not like I ever need an excuse to bake something. I realized that what makes baking so fun is that I always get excited to bake something; there's never a moment when I dread going into the kitchen and making something tasty. 

With these three ingredients, how can you go wrong really? 

This is the syrup I used in place of the hazelnut extract that I wasn't able to find anywhere.

With that being said, I found this recipe on, thus I'm of course giving all credit to Anna who is a baking genius. I, however, did tamper with the recipe just a bit. Instead of using a dark chocolate bar with hazelnuts in it, I bought a package of hazelnuts and toasted them. Then I added 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips to the Nutella swirl mixture. 

I know that Nutella has a hint of hazelnut flavoring, but I wanted to make it more prominent with the addition of the actual hazelnuts themselves. Plus I thought that the batter might need some hazelnut flavoring as well. I searched two grocery stores for a hazelnut extract and came up empty-handed. On the way home as I was trying to think of an alternative, it hit me that I have some sugarfree hazelnut coffee flavoring syrup. I was weary of how good it might taste in a dessert, but on the bottle it said that it can be used in baking. So I added a tsp. to the peanut butter brownie mixture and it gave it a nice, subtle hint of hazelnut. Yum.

Peanut Butter Brownies
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. hazelnut syrup (regular or sugarfree)

Swirl Mixture
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. butter
1/4 cup Nutella
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted (toast in a oven at 350 degrees for about 10 min. or until fragrant)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x11 inch pan with aluminum foil.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until slightly crumbly, but able to be smoothed when stirred with a spatula. Beat in vanilla and peanut butter. Add eggs one at a time just until mixed--don't overmix. Add baking powder and salt until well blended. Add flour until it is just incorporated and spread peanut butter mixture into prepared pan.

To make the swirl mixture, place chocolate chips, Nutella, and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until smooth (about 1 1/2 min.). Add in hazelnuts. 

Drop spoonfuls of Nutella mixture of peanut butter brownie batter and drag a knife through to make a marbled pattern. Bake on center rack for 30 min. or until brownies begin to pull away from the side of the pan and center seems set. Cool pan on a wire rack. When brownies hit room temperature, chill them for an hour or so. Lift from pan and cut into squares. 

Friday, February 20, 2009

Funfetti Friday!

Funfetti Cookies (I made mine a little large)

You  can use whatever food dye you want in the frosting, but I used pink of course :)


Funfetti Cake Balls
This is what they look like all mixed up and about to be put in the refrigerator.

My cat Cinnamon sat patiently watching me while I was baking in the kitchen...but I think he got a little tired from all that staring. 

So if you are one of those people who are stuck with having to bring dessert somewhere and have no time to make anything, here's two good recipes using a Pilsbury Funfetti Cake mix. Yes funfetti is supposed to be a kids cake, but why can't adults enjoy the sprinkles in a white cake too? The cookie recipe came from Pilsbury's official website, and if you wanted to add a special flavor try adding vanilla or coconut extract. The cake balls recipe comes from, but you can also use any kind of cake to make these. I've made a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting from a mix and dipped them into semisweet chocolate. I've had great reviews of those red velvet cake balls too...they almost look like a glorified truffle.

Now if you think that you're too grown up to eat funfetti cake, make it for the kids b/c if it has sprinkles, they're going to be sold on it. I think these would be a great dessert to take to a kids birthday party. For a baby shower you could decorate the cookies with a blue or pink frosting (I used pink of course b/c I'm a girl and will put pink on everything). 

Funfetti Cookies
1 (18.9 oz) Pilsbury Most Supreme Funfetti Cake Mix
1/3 cup oil
2 eggs 
1/2 (15.6-oz) vanilla frosting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, oil, and eggs; stir with spoon until thoroughly moistened. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. With the bottom of glass, dipped in flour, flatten to 1/4-inch thickness. 
Bake for 6-8 in, or until edges are lightly golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Spread frosting over warm cookies. Immediately sprinkle each with sprinkles. 

Funfetti Cake Balls
1 (18.9-oz) Pilsbury Most Supreme Funfetti Cake Mix
1 can of vanilla frosting
white or milk chocolate to coat (about a package worth of of chocolate)

Bake cake according to instructions on the box.  Let cake cool slightly and crumble into pieces. Add frosting and form into balls. Let them set in the freezer for about 3 hours. 
Put parchment or wax paper on cookie sheets. Remove cake balls and coat with chocolate; place on cookie sheets. Let set in the refrigerator for chocolate to harden.  

Hawaiian Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found a recipe on for a Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookie. After scanning through the ingredients and reviews, I decided to tamper with the ingredients myself. I knew that just adding coconut and almonds to a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe wasn't going to yield enough flavor, so I added coconut and almond extract.  As my mind was ticking of new ways to make this next time, perhaps an addition of coconut milk or mashed banana would be good. 

1/2 cup butter, softened or at room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. coconut extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 &1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add almond and coconut extracts.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir in small additions into the creamed mixture until well blended. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips, coconut, and almonds. Drop by spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-12 min. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 min. before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

Death By Chocolate Trifle

This recipe was found off I tweaked the recipe a little to make it more my own, but it's super easy to make. If you're a chocolate-lover then you're just going to have to try this recipe. If you don't want to use a cake mix, you can also use a brownie mix too.

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 cup chocolate syrup
2 (3.9 ounce) packages instant chocolate pudding mix
8 candy bars (whatever your favorite are)
1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed

Bake cake in 9x13 inch pan according to the manufacturer's instructions. While the cake is baking, prepare the instant pudding according to instructions on box, set aside to chill.
When the cake comes out of the oven, punch holes in the cake with a fork. Pour the chocolate syrup over the top of the entire cake. Using a fork, crumble the cake into smaller pieces. In a large bowl, put a layer of cake on the bottom, then cover with a layer of pudding. Then spread a layer of whipped topping, then sprinkle some of the crushed candy bars. Repeat the layers to the top of the bowl, ending with the candy bars on top. Refrigerate until serving time. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Peppermint Brownie Cups

I stumbled upon this recipe on a website at I so happen to have looked in my pantry earlier on today and saw these Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking chips that we've had since Christmas and was wanting to use them up. I tweaked the recipe slightly to make it my own, but also a little more user-friendly. They actually turn out to be a 
nightmare if you use the mini muffin tins like I don't. They stick.

6 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cups Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with liners.
In heat-proof bowl, melt together butter and chocolate in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until smooth. DON'T overcook b/c it will make the chocolate thicken up. Allow to cool for 5 min.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Whisk or beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add eggs and peppermint extract, mixing until combined and smooth. Add to flour mixture and mix until combined. Gently fold in the 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups peppermint chips (the other 1/2 cup is used to sprinkle on top).
Carefully pour batter to prepared each muffin liner until about 2/3 full. Sprinkle a few peppermint chips over top of each individual brownie. Bake for 18-23 for both sized muffins.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cappuccino Chip Muffins

I discovered this recipe off one of my new and favorite websites, It's actually a "celebrity recipe," apparently William Shatner likes these muffins a lot. The espresso powder is slightly hard to find so I suggest going to little Italian shops. I found this specific espresso powder at a place called Luccesi's. The espresso acts like a subtle background to the cake-lake muffins. The coffee also acts as the perfect counteract for the chocolate. I used mini muffins tins in my recipe, so adjust the cooking time to 8 min. Note: make sure the eggs, milk, and butter are all around room temperature, otherwise the muffins won't rise as well or they'll either be too tough. 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg (room temperature)
1 cup milk (room temperature)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray. 
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, cinnamon, and salt. 
In a medium bowl, whisk egg lightly. Whisk in milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in milk mixture. Stir JUST until evenly blended (over stirring will make the muffins tough). Stir in chocolate chips.
Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake 8-15 min. for regular-sized muffin pans, or 7-9 min. for mini-muffins pans. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Neapolitan Rice Krispie Treats

I found this recipe on a website called If you haven't figured it out by now, I love cooking with cereal. These are just a change from the regular Rice Krispie treats. The bottom layer has strawberry NesQuick in it, which I personally wouldn't drink on my own, but it gives the bottom layer a nice hint of strawberry. The second layer has Cocoa Krispies with a little bit of chocolate chips, and the last layer is just the plain Rice Krispies. I added a little more butter, marshmallows, and Cocoa Krispies to mine b/c I of course wanted the chocolate layer to be the largest. 

Layer 1:
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 3/4 tsp. strawberry Quik
2-3 drops red food coloring
2 1/4 cups Rice Krispies

Layer 2:
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 1/4 cups Cocoa Krispies
Small handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Layer 3:
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
2 1/4 cups Rice Krispies

Line a 9x5 inch metal loaf pan with parchment paper on non-stick foil (I used a glass pan with aluminum  foil).
Melt butter in a bowl. Stir in Strawberry Quik and food coloring into melted butter, getting a dark pink hue. Add the marshmallows and stir to coat with pink butter. Microwave marshmallows for 30 seconds; stir until melted and smooth. Add cereal and stir to coat. Empty into loaf pan and press down well.
Rise out bowl and repeat melting procedure with Layer 2--add Cocoa Krispies to melted marshmallows, then stir in chocolate chips. Empty onto strawberry layer and press down as neatly as possible.
Repeat melting procedure with Layer 3. Add Rice Krispies, stir to coat, then layer on top of the chocolate layer. Press flat. At this point, your bars should be at the very top of the loaf pan. 
Let sit for a least 1 hour. 
Lift from pan and set on a big cutting board. Slice a thin layer off each end of the loaf to trim. Slice lengthwise down the center, making to long sections, then slice the loaf cross-wise to make 6 big squares.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chocolate Wafer Icebox Cake

This cake is very  light and can be used with chocolate wafers (which are really hard to find...try Fresh Market), but I used Oreo cookies that I separated. It's easy to make and tastes like an ice cream chocolate chip cake minus the thick ice cream texture. 

4 cups heavy cream
3 tsp. sugar
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla
1 & 1/2 packages Nabisco chocolate wafer cookies (or Oreos)

Combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip until soft peaks form. Do not overmix. Place a cookie in the center of a plate that is at least 9 inches in diameter. Arrange 6 cookies around the center one, formng a circle. Spread about 3/4 cup of the cream mixture onto the cookies. Repeat layers, ending with the whipped cream. Garnish if desired with chocolate shavings, nuts, cocoa, etc. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours. 

Nutella Cupakes

This came from one of my favorite blogspots, Fresh From the Oven. Just so I get this out, I really feel guilty for using these pictures that aren't my own. I feel like I'm committing the unforgivable sin of plagiarism. I won't keep doing it, but I hate giving a recipe without a's no fun and gives no motivation or desire for you guys to make it. 

I made these cupcakes and they were very easy and delicious. I used the mini-muffin pans to make them smaller, but they are so pretty and swirly!

10 tbsp. butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 & 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
Nutella, 12 tsp. (1 tsp. for each cupcake)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 min. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. The batter won't look smooth. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt, and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains. 
Fill each muffin liner with bater. They should be 3/4 full. Top each cake with 1 heaping tsp. of Nutella; swirl in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the Nutella. 
Bake for 20 min. and allow to cool on a wire rack. 

Mandarin Orange Cake

So it has been over a month since I've last posted anything on the website; I'm afraid I've become quite lazy with taking pictures of my recent discoveries. Because of this, the few recipes I'm going to put up don't have pictures that I've taken.  Instead I'm just going to steal the pictures from the original website just to get things started up again...I promise to take my own pictures next time. 

This cake recipe was given to me by my dear friend Ashley who raved about how wonderful this cake was. I myself haven't made it or tried it, but my mom did and she said it was easy and absolutely incredible. The oranges in the cake batter apparently make the cake very moist and light. 

1 (18.25 ounce) package of yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin orange segments
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
1 (3.5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and mandarin oranges with juice. Beat until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 min. Allow to cool. 
To make topping: In a large bowl, beat together whipped topping, pineapple with juice, and dry pudding mix until blended. Spread on cake.