Category Archives: Dessert

Strawberry Banana Coffee Cake

I can’t seem to stop shoveling strawberries in my mouth.

Anyone else having this problem?

Okay. Good. Glad we are on the same page.

I love when you can tell the true changing of the seasons by how produce tastes. I took one bite of a particularly vibrantly colored, delicately sweet and meaty strawberry about a month ago and said, “You guys! It’s officially spring!” The Dude and Monkey looked up from their plates with little to no interest and continued on with their respective lunches.

Oh well. I’m not sure what kind of grand response I was expecting from my exclamation.

Okay that is a lie. I was actually hoping for a little mini fiesta break, like in that commercial for the taco shells.

The one where they are lamenting over the round taco shell and the little kid says in subtitles “why not make it flat on the bottom?” and then the commercial cuts to a little party where they fling him up in the air and throw confetti.

So yeah, that is what I was hoping for. A quick springtime party with confetti and a mariachi band.

Digress much?

So when I can hold on to a few strawberries without eating them, I actually really really love to bake with them. (Remember these little cookies?)

Here is my latest strawberry concoction. A lovely little coffee cake, if it pleases you.

Oh and yes you may notice that there does not appear to be a large amount of strawberries on this cake…well…I’ll be honest with you. I ate too many before I baked up this batch for the pictures. Woopsie. (P.S. It is also the reason that I have all of two pictures of the cake in this post. Hey. This is real life. And strawberries get eaten in real life.)

This cake is sweet and dense, offering a nice contrast to the crumbly struesel layer all over the top. And the nutmeg and cinnamon thing going through it all? Sign me up! I love the way that nutmeg tastes with strawberries. The spiciness stands up so well to the smooth sweetness of the fruit.

Love it!

Happy Spring, ya’ll!

Strawberry Banana Coffee Cake

1/2 cup (heaping) diced, fresh strawberries

1/2 tablespoon sugar

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup (about 1 medium) mashed black bananas

2 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl combine strawberries and sugar. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, while mixing the other ingredients.

In a large bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine bananas, eggs, honey, vanilla, butter, and milk.

Dump the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined.

Pour batter into a well greased, 8×8 baking dish.

Drain strawberries and scatter them over the top of the cake batter. Gently press strawberries into the top of the cake with the back of a spoon.

Sprinkle struesel (recipe below) over the top of the cake. Note: I only used about 3/4 of the mixture to top the cake.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Streusel Topping

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

In a small bowl stir together the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and flour.

Then using your fingers or a fork, quickly work the butter into the flour and sugar until it becomes the consistency of cornmeal and only small pea-sized chunks of butter remain.

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Old Fashioned Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

No I did not stutter in my title.

I am presenting you with a cookie made of old fashioned oats, that tastes like an Old Fashioned cocktail.

Ya feel me?

This whole thing came to be because I have a slight Mad Men obsession. Every time I get out our big canister of old fashioned oats, I think to myself, “Ha! I should make this bowl of oatmeal Old Fashioned just like Don Draper’s favorite drink.” Well, of course that would be ridiculous (…even though I am probably going to try it…), but then I got to thinking about what else old fashioned oats are good for.

Bam! A cookie idea was born.

I totally got in touch with my inner Betty Draper in order to make these too. Oh boy.

Well first off, I showed up at the liquor store right whenever it opened…at 11 AM…to buy bitters…with a barefoot Monkey on my hip.

Mmm hmm. I’ll just let that mental image sink in for a moment.

Classy huh? I felt like to really complete the picture I should have stood outside the store and smoked a cigarette while I let her play in the parking lot.

Well, as it turns out, the ABC Store doesn’t sell bitters. And apparently you can just buy it right at your grocery store.  It is over next to the grenadine and margarita salt. So you can save yourself the embarrassment and just keep your barefoot babies where the belong ya’ll — at the grocery store.

Shoo.

So when I got home after picking up The Dude from preschool I immediately mixed myself up a little Old Fashioned cocktail. You know, just a little something something to take the edge off with my lunch.

Okay I am totally kidding. I mean, I did mix up the drink, but only so I could taste it because I had never had an Old Fashioned before. And I figured I should probably try the actual drink before I attempted a baked good that it was inspired by. Now before you go calling DHR on me, I will have you know I only had a few sips. Promise. But I will tell you, even having only a few sips of hard liquor in the middle of the day made me feel so Betty.

I have never felt more strongly connected to the Draper family.

Wow. The 60’s must have been a real special time to be a parent.

You know what else is real special? These cookies.

They are soft and chewy (aren’t the best cookies always soft and chewy?) with a nice little spicy punch from the orange zest and bitters which, as it turns out, is a really fun little flavoring (think along the lines of pumpkin pie spice). The bourbon is understated and lends a heady sweetness that is balanced out by the tart cherries.

Here’s the recipe.

Old Fashioned Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

makes 1 dozen cookies

1/2 cup salted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons milled flax seed + 4 tablespoons water (or 1 egg)

1/2 teaspoon Angostura bitters

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

4 tablespoons bourbon

4 tablespoons dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350.

In a mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. About 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Add flax “egg” (I used the flax egg method in my testing because I wanted to taste the dough as I went along, but had every intention of making the cookies with a real egg. However, I liked the nuttiness the flax gave the cookies so much, I decided to keep it in my final recipe. You can add a real egg if you prefer, though.) and stir until combined.

Mix in bitters, vanilla, orange zest, and bourbon to the butter mixture.

Dump the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir until combined.

Give the cherries a rough chop and fold them into the cookie dough.

Mound the dough into 2 tablespoon sized balls onto a greased cookie sheet, and gently flatten out just a bit with your hand.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Amazing Cold Fighting Cookies

This week has totally kicked my tail.

I think I mentioned last Saturday that The Dude was sick. Well she is better now, but of course Monkey and I caught her cold. That by itself wouldn’t be so bad except that I was a single parent this week.

The Hubs had to go out of town for work. When he left I had a whole list of fun projects I would do while I had the house to myself after the girls went to bed. I was going to work on recipes, get some random deep cleaning done, try out a project on my new sewing machine, and maybe paint my fingernails while watching Sex and the City. But then the day after he left, Monkey Mode and I woke up with fevers. Swell. So guess how many of those things I got to check off of my to-do list?

That’s right. A big fat zero.

Oh well. I know things could be worse. A lot worse for that matter. But knowing that doesn’t change the fact that it was a crappy week.

So anyway, since everyone is disease fighting around these parts, I naturally started forcing citrus down their throats as often as possible. But then I thought about zinc and what a wonderful immune booster it is.  So I started Googling foods that are high in Zinc. Well gosh darn it if wheat germ isn’t number two on the list — one of my favorite foods to throw into baked goods and oatmeal. In fact, one of my new found favorite cookies has wheat germ as one of the main ingredients.

So I was inspired to bake up a citrusy, wheat germy (how appetizing does that made up word sound??) treat that the girls would get excited about eating to help bolster that immune system a bit.

Here is what I came up with. I think you will like them. Light and healthy. The wheat germ is fun because it doesn’t weigh the cookies down like whole wheat flour does. It actually stays quite tender and gives the cookies a slightly nutty flavor. And the grapefruit (I know this is a shocking ingredient choice since I have never used grapefruit in any of my recipes before…) is understated and gives it a nice sweet freshness. The honey sweetens them up with a pretty floral note. Lovely

As with most of the baked goods that The Dude and I to make together, I used flax seed in the place of an egg. I like that it adds in some healthy fats, but mostly I just like that I don’t have to worry about rogue fingers scooping samples as we go. You can definitely substitute an egg if you would rather. But I will also tell you honestly that while we enjoyed the baked cookies, we also just snacked on the leftover dough straight out of the refrigerator. So I’m just saying that it wouldn’t be the worst thing that you ever did to treat your sick kiddos to Amazing cold Fighting Cookie Dough…just sayin’.

Amazing Cold Fighting Cookies

1/4 cup milled flax seed

1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (1 medium grapefruit)

5 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup wheat germ

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup oats

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon soda

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground ginger to taste

Combine flax seed and grapefruit juice in a small bowl and set aside.

Beat butter, honey, and vanilla until well combined 2-3 minutes.

In a separate bowl combine  wheat germ, flour, oats, salt, soda, and ginger.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir until just combined.

Pour in the grapefruit mixture.

Place dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set.

Preheat oven to 350.

Place 2 tablespoon sized mounds onto a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes. (The cookie will still be slightly soft to the touch. Do not over bake.)

Dough will keep up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

I asked The Dude to show me what cookies would look like if they were fighting a cold.

I’m not sure if she totally caught my meaning, but it is still cute.

A Super Bowl Recipe Roundup

So as you know, college football is the sport that really has the hearts of the folks in this house, so we don’t actually watch that much pro football throughout the year. But as it is true for most Americans, you will generally find us watching the big game ::ahem:: commercials ::ahem:: on Super Bowl Sunday. Basically, I can get on board with any big sporting event that traditionally calls for fun food and drink.

So here are some of my favorite football watching recipes.

If this were a sitcom, you would be watching the dreaded montage episode.

“Blah, blah, blah…hey man, remember that time Monkey Mode got in the way of you taking the nachos out of the oven?”

“Haha. Yeah. That was a good time.”

Cuban Nachos

Italian Sausage Balls

Sloppy Joe Cups

“Hahaha….it sure is fun thinking about old times…”

“Oh wow. How about that time you nearly got wasted face at 8:00 in the morning while baking up those Bourbon and Coke cookies?”

Bourbon and Coke Whoopie Pies

Kielbasa Cheddar Beer Scones

Roll Tide Rolls

Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins

“Oh man, we sure have had a lot of laughs, huh? So what about the time The Dude wore boy pajamas all day?”

Pizza Fritters

“And who could forget the time you pretended to be the Commissioner from the old Iron Chef show?”

Wasabi Pea Dip

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bites

“Well. I guess we can see from our memories together, that we have had a lot of delicious times.”

“Gosh. Food always tastes better with good friends.”

crowd says “Awwwww”

Happy Super Bowl everybody!

Brown Butter, Molasses, and Cider Shortbread Cookies

Well people we made it to the week of Christmas!

Are you all ready to go? Are all of the presents bought up? The house clean for company, or if you are traveling, is the packing done? Have you finalized your goody menu? Am I totally giving you a panic attack?

Sheesh. I’m pretty sure I just gave myself one. Are your wine glasses clean? Maybe it’s time to dirty one up.

I’ll wait.

Okay. Now that we are starting to feel a bit more relaxed, let’s talk about those goodies. As if I haven’t already made enough fattening stuff over the past few weeks, I thought I would play around with some shortbread cookies for you.

These are pretty fun. A perfect holiday cookie. The molasses gives them such a rich, warm flavor. And then at the end you get the slightest kick of sweet apple cider. Very nice.

But really it is all about the brown butter.

See all those little brown specks in there? Heaven. When you brown butter, it becomes nutty. The nuttiness is what makes these cookies really special. Special enough for the big guy. I’m pretty sure these are the cookies that Santa will get on Christmas Eve.

Uh-oh.

Great. And now she is beckoning her father over for a taste as well.

Okay so maybe Santa won’t be eating this particular batch of cookies.

Wonderful.

Well I guess I can’t cross cookie baking off of my to-do list just yet. Looks like it’s time for me to head back to the kitchen.

Where did my wine glass go?

Brown Butter, Molasses, and Cider Shortbread Cookies

1/2 cup butter

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup apple cider

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small pan cook butter over medium high heat until brown and bubbly. About 10 minutes.

Turn off heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl stir together flour and salt, and set aside.

Combine butter, molasses, apple cider, and vanilla in a mixer.

Stir in dry ingredients.

Roll out to a 1/4 inch thick disc, and cut into desired shapes.

Bake for 12 minutes.

When cooled, coat with Apple Cider Glaze (recipe below).

Apple Cider Glaze

1/2 cup plus 3 teaspoons apple cider, divided

1 cup powdered sugar

Boil 1/2 cup apple cider over medium high heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally until it is reduced by half.

Let cool completely (it will continue to thicken into a syrup-like consistency) before stirring it into powdered sugar.

Add in 1 teaspoon of unreduced cider at a time until desired consistency.

Saturday Selections: Peppermint Bark Snack Mix Brownies

I am pretty pumped.

After a short hiatus, college football is back. And so is the Peppermint Bark Snack Mix!

Yes. Look closely and you will see that I may have just sprinkled this holiday snack mix all over some brownies.

And you thought this stuff was good on its own.

You wanna talk about some serious Christmas-y football noshing, put this on top of your frosted, chocolatey brownie.

The salty, crunchy texture that you get from the cereal and pretzels cuts the richness of the brownie. Oh and can I go ahead and tell you, it is mega addicting? I know this because The Hubs and I hovered over the pan last night at 10:00 doing that move where you are “just trying to even up the lines.” You know, you cut off a million little slivers, so it doesn’t seem like you are eating that much?

Riiiiight.

After just eating “a couple of bites” a rather large section of the pan of brownies went missing.

Woopsie. I guess we know which two people just bought themselves an extra hard CrossFit workout today.

Peppermint Bark Snack Mix Brownies

FOR THE BROWNIES:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, sift together flour and cocoa powder. Stir in salt and baking powder. Set aside

In a mixer, combine sugar and butter.

Add in eggs one at a time.

Stir in vanilla.

Blend dry ingredients into wet until moistened.

Spread into the bottom of a greased 8×8 pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Let cool completely before frosting.

FOR THE FROSTING:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixer combine all ingredients until smooth.

Spread over cooled brownies.

Sprinkle liberally with approximately 1 cup of Peppermint Bark Snack Mix.

Cheesecake Stuffed Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yes. You read that correctly.

I had a life changing experience a few weeks ago at an Iron Bowl get together. My new culinary BFF (hi, Jessica!) made some amazing cupcakes that had a pumpkin pie in the center.

A pumpkin pie.

In the center of a cupcake.

It was incredible. The pie was velvety and the cake was nice and tender. But probably the most surprising part was how it all made for one cohesive bite. It was a fantastic dessert experience.

I was inspired.

But what pie/cupcake combo do I choose?

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

Look, people, I know it is scary. The calories, the time…the calories. But look. ‘Tis the season, right? If Christmas is good for nothing else, it is good for stuffing your face with insane treats so that you can feel bad about yourself later.

And if you are really scared to have these in your house, you could always make them, eat one, and then give them to your neighbors. You know the neighbors that you are trying to bribe with sweets so that they will love you forever and maybe remember that you have babies who go to bed early so maybe they shouldn’t leave their dogs outside in the cold so that they bark incessantly and wake said babies up, and besides that’s mean to the pets that you supposedly love anyway.

Hmm?

Oh wait, that’s just my neighbors?

Oh…well…let me get back to these cupcakes that you are going to make for you and yours.

Like I said, they do take a little bit of time to throw together but they are COMPLETELY WORTH IT. So let’s get to it.

First off, you need to make your cheesecakes. I just ripped off the filling from my Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Bites, but instead of the shortbread crust, I went with a more traditional graham cracker thang.

Simply crush up a few sheets of graham crackers and then stir in some melted butter and sugar. Then press a little bit of the mixture into the bottoms of a mini muffin pan. Top it off with some spoonfuls of the cheesecake batter and bake it for about 20 minutes. When they are done, let them cool on the counter, and then place the pan into the freezer for about an hour so that they are super easy to pop out of the tin. Trust me on this one. If you skip this step you will be fraught with heartache and cheesecake crumbs everywhere.

When the cheesecakes are nice and frosty, you can go ahead and make up the cake batter.

Then fill the cupcake liners just slightly less than half way full, and place a cheesecake inside each one.

Then pour cupcake batter over the cheesecakes to fill up the papers.

Bake them up and let them cool completely before frosting them. I always use Paula Deen’s Cream Cheese Frosting recipe. It is no fail, rich, and delicious. And frankly, I don’t really see any reason to try to improve upon it.

So there you have it. Cheesecake and red velvet cupcakes. Hey, think about it like this, this will make one less desert that you have to pick and choose from at your next party.

Cheesecake Stuffed Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes

FOR THE CHEESECAKES:

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (3 sheets)

1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

6 oz cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 tablespoon vanilla

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl and press into the bottoms of a well greased mini muffin tin. Set aside.

In a mixer, beat together cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar.

Stir in yogurt, vanilla, and egg.

Spoon onto graham cracker crumbs and bake for 20 minutes.

Let cool to room temperature and place in the freezer for at least one hour.

FOR THE CUPCAKES:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup milk

1 oz (fluid) bottle red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together, flour, cocoa powder, salt, and soda. Set aside.

Blend egg, yogurt, and vanilla into butter and sugar mixture.

Alternately stir in flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Stir in red food coloring.

Pour batter into lined cupcake tins slightly less than halfway full.

Place a mini cheesecake into batter.

Cover with batter to fill the tins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting with a cream cheese icing.

Woops….looks like I’ll be listening to the neighbor’s dogs barking again for the next year too.