Where have I been?

Getting a Doctorate!!  Now that is all said and done, back to our regularly scheduled program.  Here is a cake I did this summer for a very cute one year old, photographed by my good friend Jody Mack at Jody Mack Photography

How is your fall shaping up?  I have made my fave pumpkin bars so far.. hopefully more new recipes to come.1 

Pecan Pie Cookies

One of Rich's favorite desserts is pecan pie.  So I saw this recipe and knew I had to make it.  They turned out really really yummy and were not as much work as I thought they would be. Try them!

Pecan Pie Cookie Recipe

1 cup  packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder

1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Prep cookie sheets wiht silpats or parchment paper
2. Combine butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamed
3. add egg and vanilla and beat until combined, then add flour and baking powder and mix until combined
4. Mix filling ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.
5. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart. Make thumbrints with your thumb
6. add a teaspoon of filling into the center of the thumbprints
7. Bake for 8-10min rotating halfway through until lightly browned
8. cool on cookie sheet for 2min and remove and continue cooling on cooling rack

Best Pumpkin Bars Ever .. they happen to be vegan and gluten free, but dont judge them by that

I found this recipe last year and it changed my life.  I have since modified it to be a bigger recipe because they get eaten too fast.  I know that they are vegan and gluten free and that makes most people go yuck, but let me tell you as a butter and flour loving girl...... I do not miss these ingredients at all.  This has become my favorite fall recipe ever.  You must try it right now!

Peanut butter Pumpkin Bars Recipe

1 cup peanut butter
1 can pumpkin puree

2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar

4 cups oats
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp vanilla extract

Optional: Add  1 cup of raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips to the mixture for some pizzazz  I like mine plain but this would jazz it up.

1. Pre heat oven to 350 and line a 13x9 in baking pan with parchment paper
2.Combine pb, pumpkin, sugars spices and vanilla in a bowl and stir till combined
3. Fold in oats
4. Spread batter into prepared pan (it will be very moist).  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  The bars may still look underdone, but that’s ok because they will continue to set up as they cool.
5. allow to cool completely before slicing.. I know the wait is agonizing but you bars will cut better if you wait.

Caramel Apple Popcorn.. or The Best thing I Have Ever Made

Its fall!  Time to try new yummy fall recipes.  This popcorn is like crack, its amazingly delicious and I cant stop eating it.  It filled a whole cereal tupperware container so it made a really big batch.  Good Luck trying to keep your hands off it while it is cooling.

Caramel Apple Popcorn


5  100 calorie bags of popcorn popped (or about 3 normal bags, but I would go with the light butter and salt)
2 (2.5 oz) bags of apple chips
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1 (14 oz ) can of sweetened condensed milk


1.Preheat oven to 250°  Prep a big bowl with non-stick cooking spray and pour popcorn and apple chips in. Also cover 2 cookie sheets in partchment paper or silpats
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt. Heat until melted and begins to boil. Once boiling, pour in your can of sweetened condensed milk and stir continuously for 5 minutes
3. Remove from heat and pour directly over popcorn and apple chips, stirring until coated evenly.
4. Divide evenly among the 2 cookie sheets and spread out into a single layer
5. Place cookie sheets in preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes
6. Remove from oven, break into pieces and allow to cool.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Kirispies

 These pumpkin spice marshmallows hit the scene last year and I missed them =( ... so this year I bought 5 bags and will probably go back for more. This is an amazing recipe... you must try it!  Its similar to the recipe that is on the back of the marshmallow bag, but I changed the steps a bit because I don't do anything by the book Yo.  Add this to your fall recipes because you wont be disappointed.


1/2 stick butter
1 bag pumpkin spice marshmallows
5 cups rice kirspies
1/2 -1 cup candy corn

1. Prep 13x9in pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.  Spread candy corn evenly in the bottom
2. Prep large bowl with nonstick cooking spray and poor rice krispies in it.
3. on med heat melt butter, add marshmallows and stir constantly until melted
4. Pour mixture over rice kirspies and stir until well mixed.
5. Pour mixture into pan on top of candy corn and press firmly into even layer.
6.  Let cool and eat!

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are so easy and make such a big splash that they have now made it into my normal baking repertoire .. they are less fussy than my other chocolate chip cookies  but also take a lot of ingredients because they are giant.  These are a knock off recipe from a popular bakery in NYC.   I have made them with and without nuts.. so feel free to be creative.



2 cups cold unsalted butter
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
6 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cup chopped pecans

 1.Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Pre heat oven to 350

2. Cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add  eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cornstarch. Gradually add the flour, mixing just until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.

3. Use an ice cream scoop to scoop dough onto cookie sheets, and use hands to roll into nice balls.  Place cookie dough balls in the freezer for 10 minutes.

4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool 5 to 7 minutes on the cookie sheets, then move to cooling racks.

Purple Rose Cake

I made this purple rose cake for a friends daughter and her 1st birthday photoshoot.  Isn't she adorable in her tutu.. oh I made that too.  Our friend and colleague Jody Mack did the pictures.. you can see more of her wonderful photography at her website.  Jody is scheduled to do our Christmas pictures again this year.. can't wait.

Salted Caramel Brownie Bites

Made these little beauties for a baby shower... they are a little bit of effort, but I love the way they turned out!

Brownie Recipe
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup  unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, Fill 24 mini muffin tins with paper
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler
3. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar.
4.Next, stir in the vanilla extract and eggs. Finally, stir in the flour and salt
5. Pour into prepared muffin tin
6. bake for about 15min or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack

Caramel Recipe
1 C brown sugar

1/4 C light corn syrup
1/3 C whipping cream
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

For salted caramel use 1/2 – 1 tsp coarse sea salt.  Add salt to desired saltiness.
Cook sugar, syrup and whip cream over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until it reaches 230 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Stir in butter and vanilla.  let cool to room temp

Ganache Recipe
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate

1 cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

Coarsely chop chocolate. A serrated knife is best for the job; its sawlike teeth grab the chocolate, breaking it up.Bring cream just to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour over chocolate, and add salt. Let stand for 10 minutes (don't stir -- doing so will cool the ganache too quickly, making it grainy).
Stir with a whisk until smooth and shiny to break up any pieces and emulsify cream and chocolate.
 Let ganache cool to room temperature, stirring often, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Beat it with a mixer on medium-high speed until paler and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes.


on each brownie put a swirl of caramel sauce then top with some piped ganache.  Then add some more caramel sauce and sprinkle with some sea salt.. and watch them disappear

Awesome spicy bread

Made this for a dinner party and it was oh so yummy... the 4 of us at the whole loaf!

Recipe From Joy The Baker

1 cup (8 ounces) of warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees F)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
pinch of granulated sugar
4 ounces unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
3/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
 4 cups  bread flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
a few big pinches of coarse ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
olive oil, coarse sea salt, and chili flakes for topping

1.Sprinkle yeast over warm water, add pinch of sugar and stir gently.  Allow yeast and warm water to rest, foam and froth for about 5 minutes.  If yeast does not foam and froth after 5 minutes, toss it and start over again with new yeast.
2. Melt butter in a small saucepan.  When butter is melted, remove from heat and add herbs, chili flake, and garlic.  Set aside.
3. Place flour in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a bread hook.  Add salt and pepper.  Pour in activated yeast mixture, and butter mixture.  Stir on low speed, with the dough hook, for about 10 to 12 minutes.  The dough ball should clean the sides of the bowl and not stick to the bottom of the mixing bowl.  The dough will be relatively smooth and supple, with some firmness from the bread flour.
4.Place dough in a large greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.
5.Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
6.When doubled in size, place on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for about 2 minutes.
7.In a large Dutch oven, add about 2 tablespoons olive oil, to coat the bottom of the pot.  Place dough in pot and use a large knife to slice a fairly deep cross into the dough.  Drizzle about 3 more tablespoons of olive oil atop the bread.  Sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt and pepper flakes.
8.Cover with tight fitting lid and bake for 30 minutes.  Reduce oven heat to 400 degrees F, remove lid, and allow to make for about 15-20 minutes more.

Cinco De Mayo Party Photos

 Sorry it has been so long since the last post.  Here are the pics from Cinco de Mayo party.  Enjoy!

Are You Ready?

Tomorrow is cinco de mayo... Im doing some last minute preps as well as making food.  Just wanted to share my new prep... I made a little subway art.  I made it downloadable for you as well.  it is also fully editable so you can go in and change the words if you like.




Last week we attended our first Seder dinner.  Everything kosher, no leavening.. so I made this classic Passover cookie to bring.  They are great for beginners and make a wonderful treat anytime not just for Jewish holidays.

Macaroons Recipe

1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups  shredded coconut
2 large egg whites

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat
2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, coconut, egg whites. Using your hands, mix well, completely combining ingredients.
3.  Use 1 1/2 tablespoons to form mounds; place on prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart.
4. Bake until golden brown, 16 to 17 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool on a wire rack.

For the chocolate variety, melt 4oz semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler, let cool a few minutes and add to the mix, bake as directed above.

Prepping for Cinco De Mayo

Here is a menu for my Cinco De Mayo party.. so excited it is on a Saturday this year!

Burrito Bar
            -Chile verde
            -Sour Cream
Chicken Quesadillas
Mexican Fruit cups
Tres Leches
Margarita Cupcakes
Aguas Fresca

Here is a small Idea board with links!

Fruit cups- no link.. just put fruit in a cup with lime and chile powder

Key Lime Cupcakes

Sorry I have been out of commission for a while... I have been baking, but just not blogging .. it has been a very busy spring so far.  Here is something to cheer you up in case you were sad I was gone.

Key Lime Cupcakes with Key lime curd!

Want something tart, sweet and oh so refreshing?  Try these.. but I warn you, if you do not have a juicer.. your little fingers will be tired.

3 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cool unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs 
1/3 cup key lime juice
2 tablespoons key lime zest
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a muffin tin with 24 paper liners.
2. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt three times, set aside.
3. Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low until it’s softened a bit. Add the sugar and increase the speed to medium. Beat until fluffy, about four minutes. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lime juice, zest, and food coloring and beat until mixed. (The mixture will look curdled.)
4. Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Mix on low until just combined. 
5.Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool completely 

1/2-cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons grated key lime zest (about 4-5 key limes)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice (8-10 key limes)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

1. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, eggs, lime zest and juice.
2. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Cook until mixture begins to thicken and hold the mark of a whisk ran through it; about 10-15 minutes.
3. Remove pan from heat. Whisk in diced butter a few pieces at a time. Mix until well combined
4. Place in a bowl and  cover mixture tightly with plastic by laying plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd. This prevents a film from forming. Chill in the freezer for 1 hour.. but check every 20 min to make sure it isnt actually freezing, you just want it to cool and thicken.

1 stick cool unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature), cut into 8 pieces
2 ¼ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon key lime zest

1. Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on low until it’s softened a bit. Increase speed to medium and add the cream cheese one piece at a time. Reduce speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar until combined. Beat in zest.

To Put all together... place curd in a piping bag with a round tip or filling tip and pipe curd into cupcakes.  Then ice as desired.. and sprinkle with some key lime zest.

Chocolate Insanity Brownies

I have made these brownies about 4-5 times in the last 2 months because they are heavily requested and quite easy for a seasoned baker.  If you are not a seasoned baker or do not have many of the tools for this, it might be much much more difficult for you.  So I suggest this recipe for experts only.  Once you have mastered them, everyone will want them.  Rich says he now would consider it child abuse to serve our kid brownies made from a box  now that he knows what real ones are like.  These are truely chocolate insanity. They are huge, moist and you must make them a day before you need them because they take a long time to cool down before you can cut them, but they are worth the work and the wait (judging by the praise I get because i have never eaten one)

Recipe modified from here  Makes 24 2.5 inch square brownies (very big!)


1 pound unsalted butter (4 sticks at room temp)
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Butter and flour (i just used my silpat)  a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet (1/2 sheet pan).
3. Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl    over simmering water in a double boiler. Allow to cool slightly.
4. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
5. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt.
6. Add flour mix to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss  12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then fold into  the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.
7. Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Top will be shiny but not wet.  Do not overbake!
8. Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate for a few hours to make cutting easier, and cut into 24 large squares.

Here is my pretty new double boiler that I got for christmas.  It works so much better than me trying to balance a bowl on top of a pot. I heart it.. and it is pretty much necessary for this recipe unless you have mastered the balancing bowl-pot act.

Here is the batter going down onto my 1/2 sheet pan and silpat.  A silpat is not necessary for this recipe but you will have to thoroughly butter and flour the pan.  when mine is done I just run a butter knife (not a sharp knife because it will ruin the silpat) along the edge to loosen the sides and then turn it upside down on the counter and peel off the silpat.. super easy and ready for cutting. If you dont have a 1/2 sheet pan I would suggest splitting the batter into 2    13x9 pans and backing off on the bake time. 

Here is what it looks like when it is done. Nice and shiny but not wet.  I must remind you that there are giant chocolate chips in this, so your toothpick test might hit one of them and be covered in chocolate giving you a false impression that it is not done.  I suggest you do several toothpick tests to make sure you are not hitting a melted chocolate chip.  Here you can see that the top of my toothpick hit a chocolate chip, but when turned around and placed in another area it came out clean (bottom of toothpick)  so my brownies are done!

Hope you have the stamina to make these, cause they are worth it.  If you need them for a party I highly suggest doing them a day before because the cooling process takes hours!

Just in case you were not convinced of the richness and denseness of these brownies, here they are on my food scale.. yes this recipe makes 5 POUNDS of brownies!