Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

I thought after a whole week of posting every day that I would be tired and would need a break.  I guess I was wrong!  I had a sweet tooth today, which seems to happen when I’m trying to not have one.  Does that make sense?  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make but I remembered I had cream cheese frosting leftover from a baking expedition earlier this week.  To use up the cream cheese frosting, I decided to make these delicious Apple Spice Cupcakes.  The applesauce in the batter makes these cupcakes incredibly moist.  They have a nice spice from the cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and apple pie spice.  If you don’t have apple spice in your cabinet you can easily replace it with cinnamon.  These have whole wheat pastry flour in them as well.  If you don’t have that in your kitchen you can just replace with regular all-purpose flour.  The cream cheese frosting has a nice twist to it too with the addition of the cinnamon.  You can a little or a little more, just depends on how much cinnamon you prefer.  These cupcakes make the house smell delicious too. 



Apple Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Print Recipe

Makes 24 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp apple pie spice

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

½ cup light brown sugar, packed

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups applesauce, unsweetened

Preheat oven to 350.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, apple pie spice, nutmeg, and cloves.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Reduce speed to low, add applesauce and then the flour mixture.  Beat until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarter full.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer tins to a wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes.  Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in an airtight container.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 package (8 ounces) organic Neufchatel cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 ½ vanilla extract
  • ¼ to ½ tsp cinnamon

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth; beat in vanilla and cinnamon.  Top each cupcake with 2 tbsp of frosting and spread to cover.  You can also pipe the frosting onto the tops of the cupcakes.

Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated up to 3 days in airtight container; bring to room temperature before serving.

Take a bite and enjoy!


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We are back home!  We made it back to sunny South Florida on Sunday afternoon.  Walking back into the house was great!  It was sad to leave Charleston, but we were all happy to get back home and back to our surroundings.  It also helped that the weather was 78 and sunny!  A great change from the cold weather in Charleston.  It makes you appreciate the mild climate we have in the winters.  However, today we are experiencing a slight cold front.  I think those of you up North would laugh at our version of a cold front.

While on our trip to Charleston I had the pleasure of making dessert for Christmas Eve dinner.  As I said in my previous post being in my mother-laws kitchen was interesting.  Let’s just put it this way, next year for Christmas I’m going to get her an electric mixer.  It was very comical watching me mix the batter for these cookie cupcakes.  Once the batter got to a certain thickness the beaters would come out of the mixer and into the bowl making a big mess.  At first I thought I was doing something wrong.  After several attempts I realized it wasn’t me but it was the mixer!  I ended up having to go back to the old method of mixing it by hand.  It made me appreciate my wonderful standing mixer sitting on my kitchen counter back at home.  I have to say I almost kissed it when I walked into the door on Sunday! 

This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewarts Cupcake Cookbook.  This was a Christmas gift from my wonderful assistant at work.  Thanks Jenn!  I have had such a great time looking through the cookbook and have so many marked that I want to try.  I thought these cookie cupcakes would be a nice easy dessert and something the girls would enjoy too.  I made just a few slight changes to the recipe but for the most part I have to give Martha all the credit.  Thanks Martha! 

Just a quick note: Make sure to check them towards the end and don’t let them get too golden.


Chocolate and White Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

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1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup light brown sugar, packed

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup milk

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Beat in vanilla.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk, and beating until combined after each.  Stir in chocolate and white chocolate chips by hand.

Fill each lined cup evenly with batter.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until pale golden and cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer tins to a wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes. 

For chocolate topping: Place 1 cup chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Remove dish carefully from microwave and stir chocolate.  If the chocolate is not melted, continue to microwave on high at 30 second intervals until melted through.  Once melted, use a fork and dip into chocolate and then drizzle on tops of cooled cupcakes.

Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.

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My husband loves Oreo’s so when I was looking through Martha’s Holiday Sweets magazine and knew I had to try this recipe.  I changed her recipe a little for the filling because the filling was too sweet and took away from the chocolate cookie. The dough is really sticky so please be patient with it as your rolling it out.  Trust me, I was really arguing with my dough and in the end we worked it out.  I also tried two different fillings, the traditional vanilla and a peanut butter filling.  I really liked the peanut butter version…..yummy!  I think everyone in the house liked those too because those were quick to go.  Another great thing about having my parents here to visit is they help in eating the sweets.  These were delicious cookies and if you get to try them, which I highly recommend, enjoy!

I hope everyone is getting ready for the holidays.  As my last post mentioned I was pretty stressed with my to-do list.  The stress was knocked up a few levels when my husband and I decided to head to Charleston to visit his family for the holidays.  Not only that but we are driving with two 2 year olds, a dog, and luggage.  Wish us luck as we make our adventure!  We are looking forward to seeing everyone though.  That’s another thing, I may be missing from action for a little bit but I promise I’ll be back with more treats for everyone.

Happy Holidays everyone!!


Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

Adapted from Martha Stewart 2009 Holiday Sweets Magazine
For Cookies:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/8 tsp salt
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Line baking sheets with parchment paper; lightly coat with cooking spray.  Whisk together flour, cocoa, and salt.  With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and confectioners’ sugar until pale and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beat until combine.  Divide dough in half; form into disks, and wrap in plastic.  The dough will be very sticky.  Chill until firm, at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.  Dough can also be frozen up to 2 months; thaw in refrigerator before using.
Working with one disk at a time; roll out dough to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.  Using a 1-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out shapes, transferring to prepared sheets (1 inch apart) as you work.  Chill in freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.  Brush off excess flour.  Gather togther scraps; roll, chill, and cut out more shapes.
Preheat oven to 325.  Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are firm, about 12 to 14 minutes.  Transfer cookies, on parchment, to a wire rack to cool completely.
Spread a pipe a small amount of filling on half the cookies.  Top with remaining cookies; gently press down to spread filling to edges.  Assembled cookies can be refrigerated up to 2 days in an airtight container.
For Vanilla Filling:
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until smooth.  Add confectioners’ sugar, and beat until light and fluffy.  Use immediately.
For Peanut Butter Filling:
Mix as above, but omit the vanilla extract.  Beat in 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter and 1 Tbsp milk into filling.

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12 days to Christmas!!  12 more days left to prepare for Christmas!!  Are you ready??  I have to say that I’m not even close to being ready!  The reason being is because I have not bought one present yet!!  Not a one!  When thinking about this I go into panic and stress mode.  I will try not to get myself so worked up but I will probably be spending the afternoon shopping on the internet.  It’s doesn’t help that it’s in the 80’s in South Florida. This may be playing a part in why I can’t get into the groove of Christmas.  While everyone else is experience really cold weather right now we are dressed in shorts in t-shirts.  I guess there are pros and cons of living in a mild climate but this time of the weather is when I miss the cold weather.  My parents have been visiting since Thursday (which is one of the reasons why I haven’t posted…sorry) and they have to check their flight out because Atlanta might have a chance of flurries!!  Crazy! 

To help me get into the spirit of everything and to also satisfy my dad and husbands sweet tooth I made gingerbread cookies this weekend.  I have to say the gingerbread cookies are great by themselves or with the filling.  The original recipe I tried for the filling was a little too sweet so I reduced the sugar and they came out a lot better.  The recipe below reflects my changes and my recommendations.  The gingerbread cookies are soft and chewy which is how I prefer my gingerbread cookies.  Also on the cookies I made the mistake of making them too big and they ended up spreading and getting really big.  Since they were so big and to avoid making them again I used a biscuit cutter to make them smaller.  I advised below to drop about 1 tsp sized cookies and this should help you to avoid my mistake.  As you can tell I had a lot of distractions while making these, hence the “mistakes”.  I had the girls, the dog, grandma, and grandpa all running and going crazy inside the house while I was trying to make these.  The kitchen so happen to be the place of choice for their fun.

I have also included that these are a great option to package up in a tin and tie a bow on top and give as a gift.  Maybe I should use this idea for someone….one down so more to go. 

Ok stress level rising again.  I’m going to take a deep breath and start my list and know that in the end everything will be ok.

Good luck everyone as you finish your last minute Christmas preparations!!


Gingerbread Cookie Sandwiches

Print Recipe

For Cookies:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

1 stick plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

¼ cup unsulfured molasses

For Filling:

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar

1 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position racks in the upper and lower thirds.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

To Make Cookies:

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the egg and molasses.  Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until well incorporated, scraping down the sides.  Drop tbsp size dough onto the baking sheets, 3 inches apart.  Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes, until risen and fallen and slightly firm; shift the sheets halfway through for even baking.  Let cool slightly then transfer the parchment paper to racks to cool completely.


To Make Filling:

In the bowl of a electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the confectioners’ sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in the milk until well combined.

Arrange the cookies in pairs on a large working surface and spoon or pipe onto the flat side of half of the cookie with filling.  Place the other cookie flat side down on top of cookie with filling and press down slightly until filling spreads to the edges. 

Sandwich cookies can be stored in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper for up to a week.

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It’s December!  Wow!  It’s so hard to believe Christmas is right around the corner.  To start off December, I decided that my next five posts will be all about Christmas Gift ideas.  Of course, food Christmas gift ideas.  About a month ago my roommate from college sent me a comment on my blog for ideas to send her triplet nieces and nephew for Christmas.  Her specific request was mixes.  She also wanted something that would be easy to ship since they lived in a different state then her.  I already started brainstorming ideas for my holiday posts before I received her comment, but this really started to spark more ideas.  To start off I decided to post my Christmas cookie mix.  I got the idea from the very talented Bakerella, but changed her recipe by adding a mix of all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour.  If you have been following my blog you have noticed I try to use whole grains when I can.  I also added cinnamon, removed the pecans, added less M&M’s and more chocolate chips.  I guess I changed it more than I thought.  The cookies turned out great and I think the idea to package this up and give as a gift at Christmas is great!  Especially in the economy we are in!  I purchased the clear Ball jars from Michael’s craft store and the labels I got from Paper Source and what was even better is they have a template to follow on their site.  I had to do several test runs and try to match the best red with the label but in the end it was pretty easy.  I got the ribbon from Michael’s too.  I was going to use fabric to cover the top like Bakerella did but in the end used a double layer of red tissue paper and it worked fine. 

I think the best part about this cookie mix is you could use it year-round.  Just change the M&M color you use or you could even substitute the M&M’s for white chocolate chips.  I actually might try that next time because I’m not a fan of M&M’s in my cookies.  This is also a great mix for the kids to help you with in the kitchen.  Just mix butter, vanilla extract, and an egg into the dry ingredients and have them help you roll the dough in balls. 

Chelsie, I hope this is a start and stay tune to homemade pancake mix, cinnamon sugar pecans, homemade muffin mix, and one other special treat I’m working on.

Happy December everyone and happy baking!!!

Christmas Cookie Mix in a Jar

Print Recipe

¾ cup all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup & leveled

½ cup white whole wheat flour, spooned into a measuring cup & leveled
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ tsp salt

½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup cooking oats
½ cup m&ms, red and green (or color of choice)
¾  cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½  cup brown sugar, packed
½  cup white sugar


1 slightly beaten egg
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (melted slightly in the microwave)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Use the back of a large spoon to work it all together. You may even need to use your hands to get everything incorporated.

Then roll the cookie dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, place on a parchment covered baking sheet. 

I spaced them about an inch apart.

Bake for about 10 -15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.  I got about 26-28 cookies out of these.

Start with a 1 quart smooth Ball jar. I found mine at Michael’s Craft Store.

Layer the ingredients in like this:

First: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon
Second: oats
Third: m&ms
Fourth: chocolate chips
Fifth: brown sugar
Sixth: white sugar

Pack each level down really tightly. I mean it. Pack it in. Or else it won’t all fit. The ingredients should be flush to the top of the lid when you seal it up.

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Yesterday my little munchkins turned 2!  It’s still hard for me to believe they are two.  It’s amazing how much they have changed in this short year.  Last year they could barely walk and now they are running, jumping, dancing, and everything in between.  Last year all they could do was say a handful of words now they are talking and singing up a storm.  It’s sad to think they are getting so big and growing so fast, but it has been so rewarding.  I still remember the day I found out I was having twins.  It feels like it was just yesterday.   I have to admit that day was overwhelming!  Not one, but two little ones….two little ones that I would need to be the best mommy I could.  Once the girls arrived I would not have wanted it any differently.  I couldn’t imagine my life with only one.  It was challenging in the beginning and there are times were it still is but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  They are the best little girls a mommy could ask for and they make me laugh and smile every day.  And at the end of a long work day, it’s the best medicine.

A few weeks ago I posted what I made for the girls for their 1st birthday.  After a little thought I decided this year I would make them cupcakes again but this year make pumpkin spice with maple cream cheese.  They love pumpkin, just like their mommy so I knew that would be safe.  Now for the cake topper I thought about elephants because their recent obsession has been the imitations my husband and I try to do for elephants.  It’s pretty funny and they seem to enjoy it.  I have to admit last year was my first time working with fondant and this year I was a little rusty.  I started these Saturday night and they weren’t the best but the girls loved them which is all that counted in my book.  Here are a couple pictures of their birthday cupcakes…

And the elephants….

The girls had a great birthday filled with great presents from friends and family.  Thank you everyone!  By the end of the day the girls were getting that it was their birthday and kept asking us to sing the “Happy Birthday” song.  Next year I can only imagine what their birthday will be like.  In the meantime, I’m going to sit back and enjoy another year watching my little girls grow up.  Everyone says it goes by fast so I better enjoy it.

Just a few tips on the cupcakes, you can half the recipe because a full recipe makes close to 36 cupcakes.  When only wanting a few I have just cut the recipe in half and it’s been perfect.  Also, if you want you can make the cupcakes and the frosting the day before.  Store the frosting in the refrigerator and the cupcakes in an airtight container.  Just take the frosting out 15 to 20 minutes before you plan to ice the cupcakes.  Makes things a little easier. 

And of course….enjoy!!


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

 Print Recipe

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 can (15 oz) solid packed pumpkin (about 1 ¾ cups)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two 12 standard muffin tins with paper liners.

To make cupcakes:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, oil and unsweetened applesauce.  Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.

Add the flour mixture in three additions, stirring with a whisk until combined.

Fill the muffin tins about three fourths full.  I used a quick release ice cream scoop to make sure the cupcakes were evenly sized.  Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.  Transfer the tins to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove cupcakes from the tins and let cool completely. 

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 package (8 ounces) organic Neufchatel cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

To Make Frosting:

In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Add maple syrup, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar; continue beating until combined and smooth.

To assemble cupcakes:

Top each cupcake with 2 tbsp of frosting and spread to cover.  You can also pipe the frosting onto the tops of the cupcakes using decorating tip of choice.  I usually use a 1mm star tip.

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Today we had our annual pot luck in the office for Thanksgiving.  When the sign went up to put down what dish you would bring I honestly had no idea what to make.   I knew I wanted to make a dessert and with the space limited I signed up but put TBD.  Of course, I also signed up to bring biscuits too which was a must. After all, biscuits are always on the table at Thanksgiving in the South.  So back to the dessert and the decision….I ended up doing two!  One was the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies I made last month because I got a request from one of my very pregnant co-workers and I couldn’t make her unhappy (Eneri I hope you enjoyed them!).  The other was a huge task…Tri Level Cheesecake!  It’s a level of chocolate chip cheesecake, vanilla and oreo cheesecake all topped with a fudge topping.  The best part is the oreo crust!  I honestly am not a fan of cheesecake so I didn’t take a bite but I will trust all my co-workers who approved and requested the recipe.  Actually the picture above is a piece I had to steal to take home to Scott because he was almost in tears when he found out that the cheesecake was for the office and not him.  Ok, he wasn’t in tears but he was very upset so when I brought this piece home he was very happy.  Cheesecake is one of his favorites. 

I have to admit this cheesecake takes a lot of time.  It’s important the layers set in the freezer too.  I had limited time and I really didn’t want to be up all night. I think if I let the cake sit in the freezer longer you would be able to see the levels more clearly.  Also, if you do try to transport this don’t make the mistake I did….put the fudge topping on at its final destination.  At midnight I think I was too tired and not thinking clearly because I placed the fudge topping on.  You should have seen me driving to work this morning trying to make sure the cake didn’t tumble over.  Of course, I blended right in with some of the other drivers we have in South Florida.  I was actually happy to arrive at work so I could get the cheesecake on safe ground.

Today’s potluck was a huge success and was filled with international cuisine.  Lots of food and all of it was delicious!  I think everyone in the office enjoyed the break and the time together.  We all could have used a nap after stuffing our bellies too.

By the way…Scott loved the cheesecake.  Enjoy everybody!

Tri Level Cheesecake

Print Recipe


  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups oreo crumbs
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted


  • 2 ½ pounds organic Neufchatel cheese, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup oreo crumbs
  • 1/3 cup prepared fudge sauce, optional

Lightly butter the sides and bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

To Make the Crust:

Mix together the sugar, crumbs, and butter.  Cover the bottom only of the prepared pan with the crumb mixture, using your fingers to press the mixture into an even layer.

To Make the Cake:

Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until the mixture is light and creamy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Beat an additional 30 seconds.  Add the flour and mix to incorporate.  Reduce the speed to low, add the eggs one at a time and mix to incorporate after each addition.  Do not over mix the batter once the eggs have been added.

Divide the batter evenly into 3 separate bowls, about 2 ½ cups each.  Add the chocolate chips to one bowl and mix to incorporate.  Pour this batter over the crust layer, and spread the batter into an even layer.  Place the pan in the freezer for 60 to 70 minutes or until the cheesecake layer is firm.  Add the plain portion into an even layer.  Return the pan to the freezer for 40 to 45 minutes, or until firm.  Add the oreo crumbs to the last portion of batter and pour over the vanilla layer and spread into an even layer.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 

Wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil and place the pan in a large roasting pan.  Place the pan on the middle shelf of the oven.  Carefully pour hot water into the roasting pan.  The water should rise half way up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  The cake should be slightly soft in the center.  Remove the springform pan from the roasting pan and remove aluminum foil.  Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool at room temperature for 1 hour.  Chill the cake for 1 hour and then remove the sides of the springform pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill several more hours or overnight.  Garnish with fudge sauce if desired.  Slice and serve.

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