Category: Dessert

Pumpkin Kindergarten & 3’s School Lunches

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I had waited long enough. It was time. Time to pull out the Fall decorations and put them up proudly, knowing that not everyone would agree with my decision. So, today, that’s exactly what I did. I’ve got my Fall wreath on my front door, some sparkly gourds filling a glass pillar (because all gourds should be sparkly), some felt owls on my china cabinet. Oh yes. My boys are so excited. I also baked apple cookies. God-willing, with all this Fall surrounding me, Fall weather will come sooner and relieve me of this dreadful 90+ degree heat.

To further celebrate our festive decor, I went with a pumpkin theme on my boys’ lunches for tomorrow. I made pumpkin shaped sunbutter and apple jelly sandwiches, and used my Food Writers to add a wee bit of detail. I also packed red grapes, cheddar sandwich crackers, charred corn (in my pumpkin shaped silicone cupcake wrappers), and one Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookie.

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These cookies are the epitome of Fall. Chewy, soft, warm with cinnamon, sweet with apples.

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Oh yes, boy

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This recipe is EASY. And, wait for it…HEALTHY! I made smaller cookies than the recipe called for (instead of fifteen, I made 22), and I added vanilla bean paste, in addition to the vanilla extract. And each cookie is less than 100 calories (and actually, I think MUCH less since I made smaller cookies!). These can also be easily converted to gluten free. A must!

http://amyshealthybaking.com/blog/2015/01/03/apple-pie-oatmeal-cookies/

Happy (almost) FALL, y’all!

Kristin

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

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I have a very tumultuous relationship with banana bread. I either LOVE it or it just rubs me the wrong way. I don’t know what it is. I love a dense cake, but dense banana bread is sort of meh.

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But, I just came across a new recipe…

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And it changed me…

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…FOREVER.

This Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread recipe yields the perfect balance between dense and fluffy, chewy and crusty.

You simply MUST try it, especially if you are broken up with banana bread, as I was. Now we’re back on. Here’s to a long and successful future!

Cinnamon Swirled Banana Bread

** I didn’t use the banana on the top, and I also made two smaller loaves**

Kristin

Bourbon Candy Bar Rice Krispie Treats

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You guys. I made the yummiest dessert! My husband is a DJ and was having a DJ buddy come over on Friday night to throw down some tracks (lol), and I wanted to make a dessert for them. That was boozy. And cool. Because I need to stay relevant. Anywayzzz. I decided to do something with bourbon, because I am a bourbon/whiskey girl, through and through. I’m not even sure I should admit that. But, there you go. I also had to make something that was gluten free. So, I came up with bourbon rice krispie treats! It turns out, other boozy folk have had the same idea, according to the Internet (everything on the Internet is forrealz). But, mine is better. Because I added more butter. SALTED butter. And candy bars. And several different kinds of sprinkles. It was ridonk. Totally unnecessary. And cool. [all things that could be said about me, tbh]

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These babies were chewy, crunchy, sprinkle-y, chocolatey, caramel-y (from the Rolos!!), and bourbon-y.

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I left the candy bars off of a few for my Husby

I used a traditional rice krispie treat recipe, but added a bit of flair.

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The traditional recipe calls for a quarter cup of butter. I sort of added a half cup. #oopsie I also used salted butter, instead of unsalted butter. I love the flavor it added. It balanced out the marshmallows and candy bars. And, because I used twice as much butter, it was extra rich and gooey.

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Bourbon Candy Bar Rice Krispie Treats

1/2 C butter

4 C marshmallows (a little more won’t hurt!!)

5 – 6 C crisped rice cereal

2 good glugs of bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark, Fireball would be delicious!)

Splash of vanilla

Assorted candy bars, chopped

Assorted sprinkles

Melt the butter in large sauce pan over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until melted and well-blended. Keep it on the burner for about two minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla and bourbon. Add the cereal and stir until well-coated. Pour into a buttered 9×13 pan. Sprinkle chopped candy bars and sprinkles, and press down with buttered hands. Let it cool completely (I placed mine in the fridge) before cutting into squares. 

Eat. Responsibly.

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But cooly.

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** Rad melamine “paper” plates found at Target **

Enjoy,

Kristin

Gluten Free Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

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It might seem that I am on a chocolate cookie kick. And that might actually be true. But, I really think the universe is lending itself to chocolate cookie situations. It’s a circumstance beyond my control. Who I am to mess with that?

This time around, I made Gluten Free Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies. Mexican Hot Chocolate is simply spicy hot chocolate. The spices lend a lovely warmth to the creamy, rich chocolate. And they do the same in the cookie form.

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These cookies are crunchy and chewy, rich with chocolatey flavor. They have a little kick from cayenne and a lot of warmth from cinnamon.

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And, let me just tell you how delicious they are with ice cream sandwiched between two of them. I can barely think straight and think of that at same time!

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I just know you’re going to love these! They were perfect accompaniment to Taco Night.

Gluten Free Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

2 1/2 C powdered sugar

1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder

2 t Saigon cinnamon (it’s a bit stronger in flavor than “regular” Ceylon cinnamon)

dash cayenne pepper

1/4 t Kosher salt

1 T cornstarch

3 egg whites (or 9 T All Whites)

1 t vanilla extract

1 C bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Add parchment paper or a Silpat (I used both and the parchment paper worked better with this recipe) to a baking sheet.

Sift together powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and cornstarch. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until frothy, about one minute. Add vanilla and mix together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together. Mix in the chocolate chips. Drop onto your prepared pan, about one inch apart. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes (mine took 16). Let them cool completely before removing from the pan.

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Enjoy with ice cream! Or systematically eat them one by one, while standing over the sink, and hoping that no one sees you. Either way.

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Enjoy! Disfrute, mis amigos!

Kristin

Shark Week Cake

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In case you live under a rock and didn’t know, it was Shark Week a few weeks ago. We go bonkers for Shark Week in our house. My husband and I have been watching it for years, even before kids. It’s a thing. And now, it’s a thing for our kids. For this year’s, I prepared an entire homeschool session based around sharks. We checked several shark books out from the library, I had the boys watch a show on different kind of sharks, we went fishing, and I made cake. Because…cake. I tried to get them to eat fish for dinner, too, but they were having none of that. #moreforme

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I had so much fun making this shark cake. Honestly, I have fun making any cake, but this one was especially fun for me. Cake. Icing. Sharks. Cake. Sprinkles. Icing. Cake. Sharks.

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I made a one-layer (soooo, basically no layer(s)? not sure, too meta for me) vanilla almond cake, with a creamy, vanilla almond frosting.

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I used the I Am Baker method of swirling the frosting into rosettes and added some extra “waves”.

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I made blue toned white chocolate shark fins, used white pearl sprinkles for bubbles, and used dolphin and fish sprinkles.

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Shark Week Cake

Cake:

Recipe adapted from: White Cake Recipe, goodiegodmother.com

**The recipe below makes a one layer 8 inch cake**

1 C sugar

1 1/4 C flour (APF)

1 t baking powder

1/2 t kosher salt

6 T canola oil

1 T egg white (I always have liquid egg whites on hand)

1 t vanilla extract

1 t almond extract

1 C milk (I used coconut)

Sprinkles

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease one 8-in cake pan and set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a smaller mixing bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add sprinkles (I used green and blue) and mix together. Pour into prepared cake pan. Bake for about 30 – 35 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when touched (mine took 30). Cool the cake for 10 minutes before letting it cool on a wire rack.

Frosting:

Recipe adapted from: I Am Baker, Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

**Recipe has been halved**

1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened

1 t vanilla extract

1 t almond extract

3 C icing sugar (or more, as needed)

2 T milk (more or less, as needed)

pinch salt

Blue food coloring (I used Americolor Sky Blue)

Purple food coloring (I used Americolor Electric Purple)

White chocolate

Sprinkles

Beat the butter in bowl of stand mixer on medium to high speed until light and fluffy, for about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Turn the mixer to low speed to slowly add in the icing sugar. Whip for at least 6 minutes on medium high. Add food coloring and mix until fully integrated. Add more milk to the frosting, if too thick. Add more icing sugar, if too thin.

For the white chocolate shark fins:

Place a sheet of parchment paper over a pan. Melt white chocolate chips on the top of a double boiler (microwave will also work, I just find a double boiler more consistent). Whisk until smooth. Add a few drops of food coloring and whisk again. Once smooth, spread out onto the parchment paper. Place in the fridge until hardened. Once it is, use a very sharp knife to cut shark fin shapes.

To assemble:

Place the one-layer cake onto your serving platter. Scoop the blue frosting into a piping bag, fitted with a 1M tip. I didn’t need a coupler. Make frosting rosettes all over the cake. Once it is covered, go back and add a few flicks of frosting, for “waves”. Stick white chocolate shark fins into icing, add a few pearl sprinkles around it, as “bubbles” and sprinkle the entire cake with fish and dolphin sprinkles.

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El fin. <– get it?

Enjoy!

Kristin

One Bowl Chocolate Cookies

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I told you I hadn’t stopped baking. And, now I’m back!! Back with a yummy recipe for some super flat (but SO flavorful) chocolate cookies. These came by way of an accident. Not so much in the sense that I was making spaghetti and “oops I made cookies instead”, which has, incidentally happened. But in the sense of, they weren’t supposed to look like this, flat as a board. But the flavor is so good! So there you go. Bake them at your own risk. As you should with all the recipes I come up with. Consider yourself adequately warned.

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One Bowl Chocolate Cookies

Recipe adapted from: food.com

12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (separated into 2- 6oz piles)

1/4 C butter

3/4 C brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 C flour

1/4 t baking powder

Melt 6 oz. of the chocolate in the microwave, using 30 second intervals. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate. Add butter to the chocolate and and mix well until melted. Stir together the brown sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder and mix well. Add the melted chocolate. Stir in the second 6 oz. of chocolate chips. The batter will resemble chocolate pudding. Drop by spoonful onto an ungreased (I used a Silpat) baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 12-13 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on the baking pan. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.Store in airtight container. Eat within a few days.

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I have to tell you, I had a little batter left over (and I didn’t want to bake another round on the baking sheet) and I poured it into a little ceramic dish and it baked up like a cake. And it went over really well (with myself). So, if you feel so inclined, you can actually use this batter for a cake-like variation.

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I don’t have any pictures of said “cake”, because it was my from my own private stash…the sort I eat while my children aren’t looking.

Enjoy!

Kristin

Tropical Pavlova

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You know how these days are called the “lazy days of summer”? You know that term? Welp. That’s me. Lazy in the bloggy sense. I’ve been cooking and baking and taking pictures and eating, but that’s it. But, I’m here now. When it counts. With a delicious recipe for you. It’s super fresh and summery and I didn’t even wait until the season has passed to share it with you. That should count for something. Brownie points, maybe? Yes, perhaps I deserve a brownie. Get on that.

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I made (for you, for me, for everyone) a Tropical Pavlova. A Pavlova is a dessert that simply consists of meringue, whipped cream, and fruit. How could all that goodness be bad? It was created (possibly by the Australians, possibly by the New Zealanders) for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. I mean. This woman, who was already super, ridiculously talented in the world of ballet, had a freaking dessert named after her. #goals

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Anywho, this dessert just works. The meringue shells are crunchy and light in flavor, chewy on the inside (in a perfectly stick to your teeth kind of way), the whipped cream is fluffy, and the fruit is so refreshing. It works in the same kind of textural way that Banoffee Pie works. This is also a gluten free dessert. Bonus.

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This is a picture-perfect dessert for this ridonk hot summer. I will say that it is not delicious as a leftover (source: I’m eating it now). The delicate meringue shell has broken down into a sloppy mess. The whipped cream and fruit, however, has remained amazeballs (is that said anymore, I need to know).

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Make it. Chances are, you’ve got almost all the ingredients in your kitchen now, and if needed, you can switch out the fruit.

Tropical Pavlova

Recipe adapted from: America’s Test Kitchen

4 large egg whites, room temperature

3/4 t vanilla extract

1/4 t cream of tartar

1 scant C sugar

2 mangoes (peeled, pitted, cubed)

2 kiwi (peeled, sliced, quartered)

1 papaya (peeled, seeded, cubed)

Simply Squeeze Coco Real Cream of Coconut (or make your own)

3/4 C shredded coconut

2 C heavy whipping cream

2 T sugar

1 t vanilla extract

Adjust your oven rack to the middle and preheat your oven to 200F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Determine what size you want your shells to be and trace two circles in that shape. I did one a little bit bigger than the other. Using a stand mixer and whisk attachment (handheld is also fine), whip egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar for one minute on medium speed. Switch to medium high speed and whip for another minute. Gradually add the sugar and whip until the peaks are stiff and glossy (one or two more minutes). Separate the meringue between the two circles on the baking sheet. Spread evenly. Bake for about one and a half hours, and then turn off the oven and let the meringues sit for about two hours.

Meanwhile, chop up the fruit and set aside.

When meringues are out of the oven, prepare the whipping cream. Pour cream, sugar, and vanilla into a stand mixer (with whisk attachment), and mix for about one minute on medium speed. Increase to high and whip for about three minutes. You can store the whipped cream for up to a week in the refrigerator. Re-whip, if necessary.

To assemble, place one meringue shell (the larger, if that’s the route you took) on a serving plate. Spread almost half of the whipped cream on top, followed by almost half of the chopped fruit. Drizzle the coconut cream and sprinkle some of the shredded coconut. Put the second meringue shell on top of that, and repeat. This was easy to cut into slices.

Enjoy! I will be dreaming of this all summer!

Kristin

Dessert Tonight: Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Avocado

I love dessert. And, because of that, I am constantly looking for healthier dessert alternatives that aren’t bowls of fruit. I love bowls of fruit, also, but Imma be honest – compare it does not, to a happy bowl of decadent ice cream or a perfect slice of frosted cake.

Tonight, I put together a really delicious and super healthy dessert recipe, one that is better than a bowl of fruit – Chocolate Avocado Mousse. The avocado makes the mousse ridiculously smooth and creamy, and even little bit airy. The dark cocoa powder adds a richness. Why should you use avocados in your desserts? Well, despite being high in calories (which is why it is important to eat the suggested serving size), avocados are chock-full of vitamins, including Potassium, B, C, and E vitamins. They are low in sugar, high in fiber, and high in the good kind of fat (that helps combat the bad cholesterol).

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Chocolate Avocado Mousse

4 Servings

2 ripe [enough] avocados

2/3 C dark cocoa

2 T honey

2 T pure maple syrup

1 t vanilla extract

1/3 C unsweetened coconut milk (more or less, if needed)

Put all ingredients into a food processor. Whiz together until smooth. Transfer the mousse to individual serving dishes and refrigerate for about 30 minutes (try to avoid refrigerating for too long, as the avocados will turn brown [not that you’d see it in the rich chocolate], and affect the flavor).

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I mean, forrreeeaaallllzzz, look at that creaminess!

ENJOY!!

Kristin

Watermelon & Lime Popsicles

It is hot. Like, bad hot. While it’s still technically “Spring”, it’s been Summer weather here in Sunny Florida for a while. We are constantly trying to beat the heat. I made a fun, healthy treat this week that was both delicious and heat-beating (yes, that’s a thing). Watermelon Lime Popsicles! You need only a few ingredients, and one special tool (maybe two).

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Watermelon Lime Popsicles

Watermelon juice

1 lime

microplane

Popsicle bags (I found mine at World Market)

Cut up a watermelon (you can use whatever size you want) and puree it. Strain it. I kept the pulp and ate it, as a snack, with Tajín (a Mexican spice mix of chile, salt, and lime). Wash the lime. Zest it into your watermelon juice container. Cut the lime open and squeeze the juice from both halves into the same container. Stir the liquid and zest. Use a funnel or a measuring cup to fill popsicle bags. Once sealed, place in the freezer for several hours.

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These were insanely good. You could see the beautiful lime zest in the gorgeous watermelon juice. The taste was out of this world.

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I had only made four (using the leftover watermelon juice from my Watermelon Cupcakes) and my boys keep asking me to make them.

Enjoy!

Kristin