Saturday, February 25, 2012

Almond Sandies

  • Have you ever had Pecan Sandies? They're a buttery, shortbread-like cookie, and they're one of my favorites.  However, we never have pecans in our house...but we always have almonds.  So I decided to create an almond sandie.  And they turned out soooo tasty!  They seriously blew my mind and didn't last a day in my house!   My family could not stop eating them. They truly [melt-in-your-mouth].  The glaze is not something that's normally on pecan sandies, but I think it adds so much and makes the cookie taste much better, because pecan sandies aren't typically a very sweet cookie...and I like my cookies sweet. The glaze makes these much more unique than any other cookie.  I love the little crunch from the nuts, too.  And the almond in the center makes these so pretty and the perfect gift or dessert to bring to a party.  I can't wait to make these during the holiday season!

  • Yield: about 4 dozen

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 dash of cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped almonds + some whole ones

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pure maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, vegetable oil, 1/4 cup white sugar, brown sugar and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the almonds.   Freeze the dough for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto parchment paper place a whole almond into the center of each one, gently pressing the cookie down slightly (these don't spread out much while cooking).
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are golden. Remove from paper to cool on wire racks. 
  5.  Combine the glaze ingredients together.  Dip cooled cookies completely into glaze and let sit a few minutes to set.

Fluffernutter Monkey Bread

Original recipe:


And mine:

I got SO excited when I spotted this recipe.  Fluffernutter sandwiches are my all time favorite lunchbox sandwiches.  Have you ever heated up a fluffernutter in the microwave?  *drooling*  The marshmallow gets all melty and the peanut butter gets warm and together they're gooey and sticky and oh so delicious. And the marshmallows on top get nice and reminded my dad of s'mores.  I seriously freaked out when I saw this recipe...I don't remember how I found it...but when I saw it I was like: OMG I have got to make this now!!  I prepared the dough last night (since I wanted it for breakfast) and after the second rise, I put it in the refrigerator overnight, and then I let it sit our for about 30 minutes before putting it in the oven.  I halved the recipe simply because I didn't wanted a huge amount of the bread, and it was the perfect amount for my mom, dad, and I. The only thing I did differently was use marshmallow fluff in the glaze instead of the mini marshmallows because I ran out.  It tasted totally fine though.  My dad loved this bread, and he doesn't even care for marshmallows or peanut butter!  I seriously ate about 3/4 of it today on my own.  I just finished another piece. Try dipping it into maple syrup! good!  When I make this again, I may try adding peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, and/or a chocolate drizzle.  I think experimenting with this would be really fun!  So try it won't regret it!

This is from Heat Oven to 350s Blog found here

Chocolate Lindor Truffle Cupcakes

Make this. Make this. Make this. Make this. Make this. Make this.  MAKE THIS!  Have I told you that you should make this???  Because you really should.  I got a ton of Lindor Truffles for Valentines Day, so I wanted to use them up...and I had a chocolate cupcake recipe I'd been wanting to try, so I just dropped a truffle into the batter and wah-lah! Oh my goodness, these cupcakes are a chocolate lover's paradise!!  I made these with white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate centers...each one was incredible.  The cake part without the chocolate center was soo perfect too!  I think this chocolate cake is even better than my best chocolate cake (minus the frosting) found here. Because this cake doesn't use eggs, it makes the chocolate taste so much richer...I have no idea why.  It's so incredibly moist and sooo delicious!  They don't need frosting at fact..I didn't frost most of mine.  I just posted the picture with frosting to make it look prettier for you(:


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

24 Lindor Truffle Chocolate Candies (of your choice flavor)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa.
  3. Add water, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Beat by hand until smooth.
  4. Pour into a lightly greased cupcake pan.  Gently set one Lindor Chocolate on the top of the batter,  do not push it down farther (this will make the truffle stick to the bottom of the pan).  Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 16-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

Nutty Shortbread Toffee Bars

These are so easy and delicious! I made these bars for a party at my school, and everybody loved them.  I think it would be really hard to mess these up since the main ingredients are just butter, sugar, and chocolate(:  Those are definitely the three best ingredients ever created. The flavors of shortbread, caramel, nuts, and chocolate go super well together in this dreamy bar.  The bottom layer is a buttery shortbread, and next is a wonderful crunch of nuts, after that is a sweet, toffee-like caramel,  and then the final layer is a delightful mouthful of melted chocolate chips.  It doesn't get much better than that.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1.5 cup pecan halves (or other nuts of your liking...almonds work too)
  • 1 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 cup milk chocolate chips


  1. Combine flour, 1 cup brown sugar and softened butter in large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pat mixture evenly onto bottom of ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle nuts evenly over crumb mixture.
  2. Combine 1 1/3 cup butter and remaining 1 cup brown sugar in small saucepan. cook and stir over medium heat until entire surface is bubbly. cook and stir 1/2 to 1 minute more. Pour into pan, spreading evenly over crust.
  3. Bake in 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven 18 to 20 minutes or until entire surface is bubbly. Remove from oven; immediately sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes to allow chocolate to melt; use knife to swirl chocolate slightly. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Use sharp knife to cut into 48 bars.

Puree of Apple-Rutabaga Soup

This is my new, all-time favorite soup recipe.  I recently went to a cooking class at a local country club, and the head chef made seven recipes for us.  Of all the recipes, this was my favorite.  It's super easy...the hardest part is just cutting up all the veggies.  But the recipe is so easy to memorize because the proportions are all almost the same.  This is so incredibly flavorful and the flavors are absolutely incredible together.  When you're cooking it, your entire house smells like fall...the wonderful aroma of fresh fruits and vegetables roasting in butter.  Mmmm.  My mom kept telling me she wasn't gonna like it because the thought of apples and rutabaga in soup grossed her out, but once she smelled it, she began to change her mind.  And then once she tasted it, she scraped her bowl clean and declared it "amazing."  My mom, dad and I had all of the soup in one sitting.  I'll definitely be making this again very soon.

1 stick of whole butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup peeled, cored, rough chopped Granny Smith Apples
1 cup peeled, rough chopped Rutabaga
1 cup peeled, rough chopped butternut squash
1 cup peeled, rough chopped carrots
1 cup peeled, rough chopped sweet potatoes
1 quart rich chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste

1. Melt butter in a heavy gauge sauce pot.  Add onion, apples, rutabaga, squash, carrots, and sweet potato.
2.  Saute over medium heat until onions are soft and translucent (about 5-7 minutes).  Add stock and simmer until all vegetables are tender and cooked through (about 40 minutes).
3.  Puree in blender, food processor or using a stick burr mixer.
4.  Return to heat, add cream and syrup.  Season soup with salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Bring back to a simmer. Serve.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chocolate Chip Muffins


Oh yeah.  I made the pictures super duper big just for you.  I hope you're drooling.

...I've had a muffin obsession lately.  Lowes Foods Grocery Store has these massive, freshly baked muffins, and get one almost every time I go. Pumpkin, blueberry, apple crumb, carrot cake, banana nut, orange cranberry, lemon poppy seed, double chocolate, butterscotch (also called butter rum), and of course - chocolate chip.  My favorite one so far is probably the butterscotch.  But every single one is absolutely outstanding.  You have GOT to go to Lowes right now and get these muffins.  They are everything a muffin should be: buttery, sweet, soft, cakey, and super flavorful.  I absolutely love muffins.  And this recipe is one of my all time favorite muffin recipes...and my #1 chocolate chip muffin recipe.  I made this with my friend this weekend, and the two of us nearly finished a whole batch.  I slathered a few of mine with - what else? - peanut butter and had a big glass of milk handy.  Yum.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter - melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs - beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 package (12 oz) chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400 F. and grease up twelve muffin cups. 

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, stir together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add milk mixture and stir just to combine. Stir in chocolate chips. 

Spoon batter into muffin cups; bake 15-18 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean. Remove muffin tin to wire rack; cool 5 minutes and remove from tins to finish cooling. 

Serve warm.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Carrot Cake Pancakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

Oh yesss..I went there.  I converted the remarkable carrot cake into a pancake.  These are just as good as a big ole slice of carrot cake.  But these are slightly healthier!  They are very hearty and a great way to get some veggies into your breakfast.  Who knew you could be eating vegetables, fruit, breakfast, and dessert all at the same time?? Now I'm not saying these are the healthiest breakfast option (definitely very healthy if you omit the frosting though!), but who really cares???  It's CARROT CAKE for BREAKFAST.  I'm seriously thinking about going to make some right now...and it's 11:00 at night.   They were just that amazing.  It's everything you love about a typical carrot cake, but in pancake form.  There are just so many delicious flavors that [hit your taste buds] once you bite into these pancakes.  Cinnamon, pineapple, toasted nuts, coconut, orange juice, cranberries, cream cheese, maple syrup....oh~my~goody~goodness.  I had this with Archer Farms Coconut Macaroon Coffee on the side (found here) and I honestly felt like I was in Hawaii or something.  It was the most tropical, flavorful, super fantastic breakfast ever.  My parents and I ate sooo many of these pancakes; it was ridiculous.  Yet I legitimately cannot wait to make them again.


1 1/4 cup Complete Pancake Mix (I used Hungry Jack)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 heaping tablespoon applesauce
1/4 cup diced pineapple
3/4 cup shredded carrots
1/4 cup toasted, chopped nuts
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins


***Prepare frosting recipe below first, so you can spread it over the pancakes when they're still warm from the griddle.
1.  Heat orange juice in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Add cranberries or raisins and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to a medium-low heat and simmer for at least 15 minutes, or until cranberries/raisins are nice and plump.  Remove from heat, drain orange juice, and set aside cranberries/raisins.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together pancake mix and cinnamon. Add milk and applesauce and whisk until combined. Stir in plump raisins, pineapple, carrots, coconut, and pecans until well combined. 
3.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat and grease it. Working in batches, form each pancake by dropping spoonfuls of batter onto the skillet. Cook until golden on bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter.  Spread frosting over each pancake and serve with maple syrup.

Ingredients:  (this makes a very generous amount of frosting, so you may want to half it if you don't want a lot on your pancakes)
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pure maple syrup 

1. In a medium bowl cream together the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth.
2.  Slowly sift the confectioners sugar and continue beating until all lumps are gone.  Add the vanilla and mix until fully integrated. Spread onto warm pancakes and serve with a generous amount of maple syrup.

Rich Chocolate Filled Golden Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

Oh my goodness.  These just made their way to the very top of my list of favorite cupcakes.  I am extremely proud to say that I created the recipe...but I came up with the filling by mistake.  Did you know that popsicles, potato chips, chocolate chip cookies, coffee, sourdough bread, cheese, chocolate, ice cream cones, and even sandwiches were all created by mistake??  That's crazy.  But it proves that the absolute best foods were created by these cupcakes.  The reason I started baking these cupcakes is because it was International World Nutella Day, and - of course - I just had to celebrate by eating (what else?) NUTELLA.  I started with a classic, yellow cake for the cupcake base flavor.  Then I searched my Crazy About Cupcakes cook-book for a cream filling, and as I started preparing it, I realized way too late that I had been doing the wrong recipe.  At this point I had done the first step of the chocolate filling, soooo I decided to just continue what I had started and attempted to finish my filling by tasting and altering...and tasting and altering...and tasting and altering some more...until it was just perfect.  I brought these to my friends at school to celebrate International World Nutella Day, and they couldn't stop telling me how amazing they were.  They all begged me for the they'll probably be super duper excited that I'm finally posting it.  First, you lick off the fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth, Nutella flavored frosting.  Then you bite into that buttery, golden, soft cupcake, and lastly - your taste buds hit the extremely rich, fudgey, smooth, chocolate filling.  And you just can't help but to drool....and then grab another one.

Yield: About 12 medium-sized cupcakes

For the Cupcakes:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.  
2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the egg yolks. Beat well. Add the vanilla. Mix.
3.  In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. 
4.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating with the milk.  Mix well.
5.  With clean beaters, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form.  With a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
6. Fill the cupcake liners one-half to three quarters full.  Bake for 18-22  minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cupcakes comes out clean.  Cool cupcake in the pan.

For the Chocolate Filling:
1 cup dark brown sugar 
1/2 cup milk
3 egg yolks, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1.   Combine the brown sugar, milk, and egg yolks in a large saucepan. Heat the pan to medium heat. 
2.  Gradually add the chocolate to the pan, stirring constantly.  When the mixture is shiny and thick, after about 3 minutes, set aside to cool. When completely cool, cut a two-inch cake cone from the center of each cooled cupcake.  Spoon in chocolate filling and replace cake cone.  Frost with recipe below.

For the Nutella Frosting:
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup Nutella
3 cups of sifted confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
Little sprinkling of salt
3 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat softened butter, nutella and vanilla until well mixed. In a small bowl, mix sugar, salt and cocoa powder until its thoroughly mixed. Gradually, add this dry mixture to the butter mixture, adding milk as needed to get a creamy frosting-like consistency. Frost cooled cupcakes.