autumn oatmeal cookie bars

Another squash recipe, but this time – a sweet version!

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I don’t know if it’s the cooler nights, seasonal flavors, or the fact that it’s no longer “swimsuit season” {LOL} but this time of year I start craving desserts. There’s something so special about sitting down at the end of the day, dinner cleaned up and dishes put away, and enjoying the perfectly sweet bite of dessert. For some people – ice cream {year round!}, others – cookies and cakes. I am not going to say no to any of those options, but boy…do I love me a good cookie.

This particular recipe was inspired by…as mentioned above…squash. I LOVE pumpkin, y’all! It’s a great ingredient to work with; packed with vitamins and minerals, full of flavor, and it serves as a great way to scale back on some of the typically not-so-good items that go into cookies. Paired with tangy Greek yogurt, the resulting cookie is perfectly moist and chewy, and loaded up with spices. A combination of rolled oats and all-purpose flour lends a hint of nutty flavor, which is beautiful with the pumpkin and brown sugar. The little nuggets of chocolate chips and raisins don’t hurt, either ; )

Once you bake up a batch of these, don’t expect them to last long. BUT! If you want to, portion of a section of the pan to freeze; your weeknight self craving something sweet, but not overly indulgent, will be glad you did.

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~~~

Autumn Oatmeal Cookie Bars {recipe adapted from Averie Cooks}

Traditional chocolate chip cookie meets pillowy pumpkin cookies. They taste every bit delicious as they look: perfectly fluffy, with crispy edges and bursting full of flavor and goodies. Ideal for any autumn get-together; I promise, they won’t last long. 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed {light or dark is fine}

1 large egg

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree {not pumpkin pie filling!}

1 Tbsp. molasses

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

pinch salt

3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour {I used a combination of 2 cups AP flour and 1-1/4 cups oats, just for extra texture and flavor}

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2-1 cup assorted dried fruits…cherries, apricots, cranberries, raisins, etc. *nuts of your choice can also be used

*optional: for a sweeter cookie, add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar 

**optional topping: 1/3 cup granulated sugar + 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, mixed together

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine plain Greek yogurt, brown sugar {optional granulated sugar to be added here, if using}, and beat on medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes to cream ingredients together; stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add in the egg and vanilla, and beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy.

Add in the pumpkin, molasses, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, pinch of salt, and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute.

Add in the flour {or combination of flour and oats} and baking soda, and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips {and any add-ins you might like} by hand. Cover the mixing bowl and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 90 minutes {I only chilled for about 30 minutes because of time constraint}. Dough can be chilled for up to 4 days.

Prepare your 9″ x 13″ baking dish by coating liberally with nonstick spray. Evenly distribute the batter into the dish, making sure to spread it out evenly and ensuring that all corners are filled. Top with optional cinnamon/sugar mixture, and bake for 20-25 minutes {edges will be golden and set, and the top will have just set; they will continue to firm up as they cool}. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into bars.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to three months.

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Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles

The hubs and I are preparing for a whirlwind of trips over the next couple weeks. Typical summer, I say. Lots of fun but…that means it’s time to clear out the fridge. We’ve been going through leftovers like you wouldn’t believe; frozen meals I prepared who knows how long ago, frozen produce {and fresh, of course – because I’m a crazy lady and buy it in droves every.single.week}, pantry items that are probably on their last leg…and then there was this yogurt. A large, unopened container of 2% Fage Greek yogurt. It had somehow ended up there, and thankfully I noticed it before it turned because if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s wasting food! I know many of you agree with me on this : ) 

Standing there, with the door open and wasting precious energy, I began to contemplate what to do with it. I hardly ever buy the large containers, simply because we don’t go through them fast enough. Individual sizes are perfect for lunches, breakfast smoothies, or packing for a quick weekend hike. I knew I had to utilize it soon or it would meet the fate that I so hate. So when the thought of making a frozen dessert popped in my mind, I knew I had a winner. I didn’t have to worry about it going bad while we were gone, and BONUS! – fresh, delicious, healthy popsicles would be awaiting our return. Everyone wins!

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This recipe is extremely flexible to however you want it to be – I’ve simply outlined my method of preparation. Feel free to use whatever type of yogurt you prefer; the same goes for the fruit. I used a mixture of fresh and frozen, but anything will do. Let your imagination run wild! Your mouth will thank you on a particularly hot summer day, when cooling off needs to happen ASAP.

~~~

Fruit & Yogurt Popsicles 

Perfect for those boiling hot summer nights, these frozen treats are sure to cool off even those whose temperature runs the hottest! Made with creamy Greek yogurt and exploding with fresh fruit, you won’t feel guilty about indulging in these any time. 

Ingredients:

2 cups plain Greek yogurt {I prefer 2% when making desserts/sweeter things}

1 bag {10 ounces} frozen fruit of your choice *but make sure that it’s thawed before blending*

1 additional cup of fresh fruit {I opted for blueberries}

up to 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, or to taste, for sweetening the mixture

up to 1/4 cup milk of choice, to thin out the mixture for pouring purposes

To Prepare:

Place all of the ingredients, expect for the milk and maple syrup, into the bowl of a large food processor. Pulse a few times to mix up. Taste and adjust the level of sweetness with the maple syrup.

Pulse again until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Slowly add in the milk until the texture reaches an easily pourable consistency.

Using a large Pyrex container {or any pitcher with a pouring mouth}, carefully fill up your popsicle molds until full. I have these ones and I LOVE them! Seal tightly and freeze overnight.

To serve, simply run the container until warm water for a few seconds. This will help loosen the popsicle from the container, making pulling out a breeze.

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Enjoy!

plum tarte tatin

Have you seen anything more beautiful?

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Fresh, juicy plums just begging to be transformed into a luscious dessert. Typically, I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to fruit desserts {hello, apple pie} but with my parents in town…which just happened to be her birthday weekend…I knew I had to do something special.

I’ve seen the oh-s0-wonderful Ina Garten make tatins countless times; I’m a huge fan of her show, and while watching an episode not long ago, this plum tart tatin jumped out from the screen, just begging me to make it. After reading up on the recipe, I was sold – packed with fruit and little else, it was a simple dessert, but a total showstopper.

This particular recipe is practically a one-pot wonder. Aside from making a rich simple syrup, it is a no fuss, low maintenance dessert. Halved plums are packed into a buttered baking dish, then topped with the syrup. A light and fluffy batter is haphazardly dropped on top of the fruit. Once popped into the oven and baked off, you wait with bated breath until the cake has cooled slightly, and you can invert it onto your baking dish. You want the entire dessert to come out in one fell swoop, but fear not! – if a plum or two pops out during the turning out, you simply re-position it back into the cake. It will be out little secret.

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And y’all? The juice that is created from the fruit baking and marrying with the simple syrup….wow. Soak up every last bit of that heavenly liquid. You won’t be sorry.

~~~

Plum Tarte Tatin {recipe adapted from Ina Garten}

Wonderfully simple and totally gorgeous, this cake will impress anyone. Served with a bit of sweetened whipped cream, it’s the perfect springtime dessert. I recommend enjoying it al fresco! 

Ingredients:

3 tbsp. unsalted butter {room temperature} + 3 tbsp. plain nonfat Greek yogurt

additional butter for greasing the dish

6-10 large plums, cut in half and pitted

3/4 cup sugar + 1/2 cup sugar, for separate uses

1/3 cup water

2 extra large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

optional: confectioners’ sugar, for serving 

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9″ glass pie dish and arrange the plums in the dish, cut side down.

Combine 3/4 cup of the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it turns a warm amber color, about 360 degrees on a candy thermometer. Swirl the pan but don’t stir. Pour evenly over the plums. Set aside.

Cream the 3 tbsp. butter, 3 tbsp. yogurt, and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy {about 5 minutes}. Lower the speed and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add in the 1/3 cup yogurt, lemon zest, and vanilla and mix until combined.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add it into the butter mixture. Mix only until combined.

Pour the batter evenly over the plums {you might have to use your spatula to spread it a bit; it’s ok if some of the tops of the plum peak out} and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes.

Invert caked onto a flat plate or serving stand. If a plum sticks, simply ease it out and replace it in the design on the top of the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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easter dinner: what to make!

With Easter dinner right around the corner, it’s high time we start nailing down those menus! Our celebration will be a bit different this year than others in the past, but nonetheless, I’m looking forward to it! Here are some ideas for those who will be entertaining – from tablescapes to treats, I do hope you find some inspiration in what’s to follow!

Beverages:

VOGA Sparkling Spring Sangria [RECIPE]Sparkling Spring Sangria

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Champagne Limoncello Cocktails

Champagne Limoncello Cocktail

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Black Rose

Black Rose

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Limoncello Collins, Hatfields• Los Angeles

Limoncello Collins

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Dishes {mains & sides}

 Honey-Curry Glazed Lamb with Roasted Grapes and Cranberries Recipe

Honey-Curry Glazed Lamb

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Roasted Ham with Cherry-Chutney Glaze

Roasted Ham with Cherry-Chutney Glaze

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Shaved Vegetable Salad with Toasted Almonds Recipe

Shaved Vegetable Salad with Toasted Almonds

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Cheese Grits Soufflé with Mushroom Gravy

Cheese Grits Souffle with Mushroom Gravy

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Easy Three-Seed Pan Rolls

Easy 3-seed Pan Rolls

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Desserts 

Carrot Cheesecake

Carrot Cheesecake

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Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Berries recipe

Pavlova with Lemon Curd & Berries

~     ~     ~     ~

Apricot-Coconut Cake

Apricot-Coconut Cake

~     ~     ~     ~

Decor:

carrots in large vases, c/o valentinexday

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mini cadburry eggs in hurricane glasses, c/o holiday central

 

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egg cups & shells used as name cards and food labels, c/o lushhome

Happy Easter! xoxo

“snickerdoodle” cookie dough dip

I’m a woman obsessed. Obsessed with making and eating cookie dough.

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Many of you may remember way back to this post, when I finally put to the test the oh-so-popular “cookie dough” dip. I wasn’t really one to doubt the idea, as I am all about making indulgent treats healthier, but I knew that a certain someone in my household might not be so keen. After all, beans are the main ingredient! Am I crazy?!

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Well, fast forward about 15 minutes later, and both the hubs and I are going all at the batch of dip that I whipped up. It was a total, 100% success! Not that I had any reason to believe otherwise. heh.

It’s been quite some time since that day, and many a batch have been whipped up since then. I’ve experimented with a few different flavor combinations to see what else I could come up with, but none shone as bright as the one we’re making today. It’s snickerdoodle style, y’all. And wow, is it incredible. I have to thank the hubs for this one, because not only is this his favorite type of cookie, but it incorporates a childhood favorite as well; cinnamon toast cereal is acting as the “grain” of the cookie, resulting in the most glorious cinnamon-sugar flavor punch imaginable. It’s fantastic, delicious, and…well….delightful.

Of course, any brand of cinnamon-sugar cereal can be used, but I had those crazy squares on hand. You could use a gluten-free option, or go the more organic route, too! It comes together in a matter of minutes, and probably won’t last much longer than that.

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~~~

Sneaky Cookie Dough Dip {a twist on this recipe!}

The best way to indulge in all the goodness of cookie dough, but without the guilt! This dip will fool even the pickiest of eaters; they’ll be going back for seconds, and then thirds!

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups chickpeas or white beans, drained and rinsed very well

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup nut butter of choice {my homemade peanut butter works excellent here!}

up to 1/4 cup of milk {I used my favorite sweet cream coffee creamer}, only if needed

1/2 cup cinnamon-sugar cereal, plus additional for garnish

To Prepare:

Add all ingredients into the body of a good food processor, and process until very smooth. This will take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the liquid, a tablespoon or so at a time, until your desired consistency is reached.

Scoop into a dish and sprinkle with additional cinnamon-toast cereal pieces. Garnish with graham crackers, sliced fruit, or cinnamon-sugar toast points. Enjoy!

old fashioned sugar cookies

Yes, another holiday dessert recipe!
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This cookie is special, and not just because it’s easily one of my favorite cookies. Like, ever. I can still remember the first time that I had this; back in college, when I went home for Christmas break, my youngest sister had already been hard at work whipping up lots of fabulous treats. We always made sugar cookies as children – we spent hours with our mom rolling out dough, decorating all the shapes we cut out, and eating way too many {but who doesn’t?}. So the first time that I sank my teeth into these pillowy, soft cookies I was instantly converted. Gone were my days of making the thinner and snappier version. My heart, and my taste preference, had changed.
These cookies have the best texture, without question. The edges get slightly crisp, but the interior remains perfectly soft and moist. I had been looking forward for weeks to make these cookies, but I had to make them my own {surprise, surprise}. The fine folks over at Chobani contacted me not too long ago about participating in their #MadeWithChobani Project, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do something crazy-fun with these cookies!
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I absolutely love cooking with Chobani Greek Yogurt. Not only is it a great substitution for oils and butter in baking, but it packs in a hefty dose of extra protein! The end product remains unaffected; I like to say that I can eat a few extra cookies because I made them better for me ;)
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You absolutely, totally MUST make these cookies. And when you do, let me know what you think! I’d love to see photos, and be sure to tag them as #MadeWithChobani so we can spread the goodness! Happy cookie-making, and eating!
~~~
Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies {recipe adapted from Tate’s Bake Shop}
Makes about 24 cookies 
Ingredients:
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup Chobani 0% Greek Yogurt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup reduced fat sour cream
To Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
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With a standing mixer {or in a large bowl} cream together the Chobani 0% Plain Greek Yogurt, butter and sugar on medium speed until they are light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add in the vanilla and the egg; mix well, and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is evenly distributed. Add in the sour cream and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture in three to four batches, or until combined. Be sure to not overmix.
Drop the cookies on the prepared baking sheets about three inches apart; the cookies will flatten out and spread slightly.
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Bake for 16 minutes or until the are pale/golden brown {your oven may take less time or more, depending on the size of your cookie and the actual oven temperature}. Allow them to cool for 3 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
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Enjoy!

sneaky cookie dough dip

This fun little snack has long been on my list of “must try” recipes, so not long ago, I decided to give it a whirl!

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And y’all, I would be crazy if I didn’t say that it wasn’t amazing. Delicious, fantastic, stunning, and fabulous also came to mind. But I shouldn’t ramble…

I always find it so wonderful that you can transform the healthiest of ingredients into something that is totally opposite of its original inspiration. I mean, this “indulgent” dessert dip has a base of beans{!}. Is that not absolutely crazy? I mean, who would have thought of taking said ingredient and deciding to throw it in with traditional chocolate chip cookie dough materials?

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…if I could, I would like to give them a hug, or at least a high-five.

This dip is the perfect snack for anyone who has a sweet tooth and can’t say no to multiple spoon dips when making cookie dough, for the person who likes to munch on chocolate chips {I mean, who doesn’t do that?!}, or just anyone who like sweet treats. You will fool even the pickiest of eaters with this snack. And the best part is that you can indulge without feeling guilty! The beans are packed with fiber and vitamins, the nut butter adds in GOOD-FOR-YOU healthy fats, and there is minimal sugar. You could even swap out the chocolate chips for extra dark chocolate to get the antioxidant benefits.

But I won’t judge if you want to up the ante and use mini chocolate chip cookies for your dunkers. Just sayin’.

~~~

Sneaky Cookie Dough Dip {recipe adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie}

The best way to indulge in all the goodness of cookie dough, but without the guilt! This dip will fool even the pickiest of eaters; they’ll be going back for seconds, and then thirds!

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups chickpeas or white beans, drained and rinsed very well

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup nut butter of choice {my homemade peanut butter works excellent here!}

up to 1/4 cup milk, only if needed

1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips

2 to 3 Tbsp. oats

To Prepare:

Add all ingredients {except for chocolate chips” into the body of a good food processor, and process until very smooth. This will take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, drizzle in a tiny bit of milk until desired consistency is reached.

Fold in the chocolate chips and scoop into a dish. Garnish with graham crackers, sliced fruit, or cinnamon-sugar toast points. Enjoy!

apple cake with bourbon-vanilla buttercream

As a child, we had a tradition in my family. On your birthday, you got to pick whatever dish you wanted for dinner. No if’s, and’s or but’s, my mom was always up for the challenge. Most years, my sisters and I would pick our tried and true favorites – dishes that were easy to create but nonetheless special, because mom made them just for you on your birthday. Is it just me, or does food taste just a tad bit better when it’s like that?

The same went for desserts. Again, tried and true favorites were picked. Yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting was on regular rotation for my sisters, and sometimes evolved into a certain chocolate ganache cake that was so rich, only a mere sliver could be enjoyed. Cheesecakes would often sneak in, and ever so often a pie would appear.

You may be asking yourself what this has to do with today’s recipe.

Well, y’all, the tradition of special birthday meals has not been ignored every since I flew the coop and got hitched a couple years back. As long as the hubs and I have been together, I’ve enjoyed preparing dishes and desserts for him every year on his birthday. The only stipulation? It has to be something uncommon, and something we wouldn’t necessarily make at home. The same applies for dessert. We’ve had the cake version of my Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes, trifles, and various twists on the classic chocolate cake. So this year, I challenged HIM. We had to select a dessert that had never passed our lips, but that would be delicious and sumptuous.

With fall just around the corner, the mental light bulb was quick to turn on. Almost simultaneously, after discussions of how amazing our wedding cake was, we thought “APPLES!”. It couldn’t be more perfect – the hubs love apple-based treats, and when I suggested a buttercream centered on his favorite libation {bourbon}, he was instantly sold.

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And I’m telling y’all, this is to.die.for. Like, seriously. It is perfectly moist and decadent, but not at all overly sweet or heavy. We use applesauce, not oil {!}, in the cake, and it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done.It adds the perfect amount of sweetness to the cake, and creates the most beautiful crumb when you slice through it. One bite of this, topped with fluffy buttercream, and you’ll want this for your birthday.

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~~~

Apple Cake with Bourbon-Vanilla Buttercream {cake adapted from A Beautiful Bite, & frosting recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma}

Just because it’s not quite yet fall, doesn’t mean the desire for apples in baked goods isn’t here! This cake is full of apple flavor, and the bourbon buttercream takes it over the top. Supremely moist and full of flavor, this is sure to satisfy. 

Ingredients – Cake:

4 cups firm fleshed baking apples, cored and diced {I used a mixture of Fuji/Granny Smith/Red Delicious}

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup turbinado sugar {granulated will work fine; I think the turbinado offers a richer and more complex taste}

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1-1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp. vanilla extract {homemade, if you have it!}

Ingredients – Bourbon Vanilla Buttercream:

6 cups confectioners’ sugar

16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter

3 tbsp. milk, plus more if needed

2 tsp. vanilla extract {again, if you have homemade, go for it!}

1 to 1-1/2 shots of bourbon {optional, but encouraged!}

pinch salt

To Prepare – Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (2) 9″ baking pans and set aside. As these cakes tend to bake a bit taller than usual, I would recommend greasing all the way up the sides of the pans, and the lips as well!

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In a large mixing bowl, combine flour/cinnamon/salt/baking soda. Mix well and set aside.

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Using a stand mixer or hand mixer set on medium speed, combine both sugars/eggs/applesauce/vanilla. Mix until incorporated.

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Slowly add in the flour mixture; mixing only until incorporated.

Stir in the apples by hand. Pour cake batter into the (2) pans, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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Remove from oven and let cool, in pans, for at least 20 minutes. Flip out of pans and cool completely on a cooling rack.

Once cooled, cover with Bourbon Vanilla Buttercream.

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To Prepare – Bourbon Vanilla Buttercream:

Have all of the ingredients at room temperature for best result.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, milk, bourbon and vanilla and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixture and scrape down the sides. Increase the speed to medium and beat another 3 minutes. Stop and scrape the sides down again. Turn the mixture onto medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, another 3-5 minutes.

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Cake will stay, covered, on the countertop for up to 3 days. If it lasts that long, transfer to refrigerator.

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Let’s Discuss: do you and your family have any special birthday traditions? What is your favorite birthday treat, whether savory OR sweet?

candied citrus peels

A recent bout of juicing has left me with a riduculous wonderful amount of residual citrus fruits. Because we sadly don’t compost, and because I couldn’t bring myself to throw so much deliciousness out, I knew that there had to be another solution. A few Google searches later, and I knew I had come up with the perfect answer…

…candied peels!

This is something I had yet to try, in all my time spent in the kitchen. To be quite honest, the thought of preparing and making candy anything always felt slightly out of reach; something I longed to try, but just couldn’t bring myself to do. I blamed it on my lack of resources {not having a candy thermometer}, not trusting the cheap stovetop in my kitchen {the worst for uneven heating and cooking!}, and really, I was just a little scared. So I though this would be the perfect trial run – I mean, how hard could it be to work with what’s little more than simple syrup? My cutting skills are up to par, and my knives are good. I was set, and ready to start this adventure.

I’ll be honest in saying this is, easily, one of the quickest and tastiest treats I’ve whipped up in quite some time. The bitterness of the pith is removed prior to cooking, so all you’re left with is a sweet burst of citrus flavor, highlighted and rounded out with the simple syrup in the second part of the cooking process. The final sprinkling of sugar at the end takes it over the edge, making it seem more indulgent than it really is. A few adaptations I found along the way:

-if you like less sweet treats, scale back on the sugar during the second cooking {I reduced mine to 3/4 cup, and it was perfect for my palette}

-a squeeze of fresh lemon juice in the second cooking helps to enhance the flavor

-mix in a little bit of fine sea salt with the sugar {for tossing at the end} to get more of that “salty sweet” combination so many of us love

The hubs has plans to integrate these little jewels into summer cocktails, both as garnishes and flavor enhances. Myself? I can see a second batch happening soon, with one end dipped in chocolate and maybe a few sprinkles of fun, flavorful toppings. Happy candy-making, y’all!

~~~

Candied Citrus Peels {adapted from Martha Stewart}

Ingredients:

2 grapefruits

3 oranges

1-1/2 cups sugar

 

To Prepare:

With a sharp paring knife, slice off ends of all fruits. Following curve of fruit, cut away the outermost peel, leaving most of the white pith on fruit. Slice peel lengthwise int to 1/4″ wide strips.

In a medium pot of boiling water, cook peel until tender, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer peel to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Spread in a single layer to dry slightly, about 15 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add peel and boil until it turns translucent and syrup thickens, about 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer peel to wire rack, separating the pieces as needed.

Let peel dry for 1 hour. Toss with 1/2 cup sugar to coat.

Candied Citrus Peel

 

 

brown sugar

Let’s talk recipe ingredients today, shall we?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in the kitchen, baking up a storm, when I have gone over to my pantry and reached for the brown sugar, only to come up short. I blame it on my {somewhat} obvious habit of poor planning. But seeing as how my brown sugar typically lives on the top shelf in my pantry, it can’t help but happen to a girl sometimes, right?

After a few times of mid-recipe runs to the grocery store, I decided that there had to be an easier way to overcome this problem. I always, always have turbinado sugar on hand…”there has to be a way you can create your own brown sugar!” – I was mumbling this to myself, over and over. After settling in at my desk with a cup of coffee, I began to click away.

And then I saw it – homemade brown sugar.

Eagerly scanning the page, I couldn’t help but think how easy this would be! A simple combination of two ingredients and a food processor {I imagine you could use two forks, or a mixing spoon if you don’t have one}, a few minutes of your time and – BOOM – done. Fresh, simple and perfect brown sugar ready whenever you need it.

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Since finding this magical combination, I haven’t batted an eye about buying brown sugar from the grocery store. Light or dark, this recipe has you covered. Simply adjust the amount of molasses according to your recipe (less yields a lighter brown sugar, and more will produce a darker brown sugar), and taste as you go to make sure you’ve got it how you need.

This is truly a fool-proof recipe. Once you try it, you’ll never go back.

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Brown Sugar

{recipe is adaptable to any quantity needed; this will yield you one cup}

Ingredients:

1 C. sugar {I prefer using turbinado sugar}

2-4 tsp. molasses {the amount used will result in either light or dark brown sugar}*

To prepare:

Pour your sugar into the bottom of a food processor, fitted with the standard blade. Drizzle the desired amount of molasses onto the top of the sugar. Process until the two ingredients merry; you will know this has happened when the molasses has been fully integrated into the sugar. Reach into the bowl {power off!} and pinch a small amount together with your thumb and forefinger – if it’s sticky and holds together, you’re done!

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*depending on the recipe you’re making brown sugar for, you can adjust the amount of molasses added into the sugar as you need to. A light brown sugar will require the lower end amount of molasses, whereas the higher amount will yield you a dark brown sugar. If you plan on making both light and dark brown sugar for a recipe, simply add in the total amount of sugar needed for both sugars, and start with the lesser amount. Once you’ve reached the light brown stage, pull out the required amount of light brown sugar and continue adding the molasses until your dark brown sugar is completed.